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Joeghartman

August Alaskan Bliss(with photos)

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Hello all! I am going to be diligent in trying to get this full review done in a timely fashion. Enjoying my final day in Seattle for our 10 day trip.  We flew in very late Friday, August 9 from Philadelphia and checked in to the Sound Hotel (by Hilton). This is an extremely accessible hotel near Fourth and Blanchard. We were within walking distance for the monorail for the space needle and all the tourist traps near pike market. We also were so close to the Bliss we walked instead of grabbing an Uber.

 

if booking this hotel, I highly recommend booking through the website itself and not a third party. We stayed two nights and did two separate bookings. The hotel had one night, but not the other, so Expedia and the hotel were going back and forth for about an hour.  The hotel itself is brand, modern, and quite spacious. Walk in shower, and very comfortable sleeping conditions. Check out the fire pit patio on the 7th floor.

 

After a nights sleep, I was up and ready to explore the city on Saturday. We took the two stop monorail to the space needle and explored that and the Chinchuly Gardens. Both are worth the time if it’s your first visit.  I was scared as hell to put my back up against the glass on the top of the space needle, but joined in with everyone else (last one).  We got to check out the Joy getting ready for their journey. The gardens are glass sculptures are beautiful and worth checking out. Great photo opportunities! 

 

Later in the day, we checked out the piers and pike market... all enjoyable and picture worthy;

although, quite crowded on a Saturday.  So far in these areas, Seattle is quite beautiful, hipster, clean, and relatively few homeless compared to Philly. 

 

Later that night, we wanted to check out the Seattle gay scene and ubered over to Capitol Hill. It was an absolute gorgeous evening, grabbing dinner at an Italian restaurant(Tavolota).  I make pasta from scratch, and this was the best homemade pasta I’ve had. Afterwards we walked around, people watched, and explored.  This is definitely where we noticed it a little more sketchy.  I didn’t feel unsafe with a group, but just a little edgy part of the city.

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Sunday - Seattle sail off

 

just want to throw out there... feel free to ask any questions. A group of us booked this trip late last year as a bucket list trip. My partner and I shared a room and the other three shared a room. We had two join us from other parts of the country.  We originally had an inside cabin booked because of the prices. I wanted to get everything booked and make a move when the price dropped. About two months before sailing we upgraded to a balcony cabin for about $360 more total. We did not have any dining or drink packages booked.  

 

I signed us ya up for the early check in so we had plenty of time to explore before sail away.  We arrived at the port around 10:30 and had a smooth check in process. The line was a continuous flow and being a latitudes reward member, walked right up to check in.  

 

We explored the decks and after being on the Getaway, was completely “wowed” by the Observation Lounge. This ship was made for Alaska. So many of the touches, viewing areas, seating. The Bliss is a gorgeous ship. We took a tour of the thermal spa(which we did pre-purchase passes for).

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Great review so far.  I'm happy you felt at home in Seattle, we try.  

 

Can't wait to read more.

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I'm loving your review so far!  I live in downtown Seattle and was on the Bliss just a few weeks prior to you, so it's fun to hear your perspective on everything and relive my trip through your awesome photos.  Can't wait for the rest - I'll be following!  Here's the review I wrote on the Bliss (heavy on food pics), if anyone would like another one to read while they are waiting for the rest of yours.  https://profcruise.com/norwegian-bliss-ship-review/

 

Come back to Seattle again soon! 

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Monday- Sea Day

 

I did forget to mention we purchased the internet social media package for two devices and also booked the go karts and had a time slot for the Skagway day as we were leaving.  I was apprehensive after reading a lot of these reviews, but was sold after seeing the track. 

 

we decided to do the free morning abs class before heading to breakfast at the cafe. The first day of abs class had such a turnout you could barely walk into the room. People had that motivation to stick to their regiment from home or at least try to be disciplined. For free, the class was great and worked the abs well. We hit the gym, which was packed the first morning, but pretty accessible the rest of the trip. Comparing this gym to the one on the Getaway, I found this to be less of a cluster f***. What was also exciting was the spotting of each possible whale. Everyone would stop and get closer to the glass, or ohhh and ahhh if we saw something. It was nice as it brought everyone together.

 

we also were certain Moira from schitt’s creek was on our sailing. We loved seeing her.

 

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I don’t know why, but we went to the cafe so much, we wore it out. It did the job and even on sea days it was manageable. The set up flowed well and there was plenty of variety, but by the end, I was ready for my healthier diet. I have to admit, in this setting it is hard not to judge, even myself as I go for another dessert or ice cream cone.  

 

I tried to eat healthier at breakfast with oatmeal, fresh fruit, and eggs.  If I can make a recommendation, go to the Local for breakfast. I found it uncrowded and made to order. 

 

Most of the sea day was spent in the thermal spa, as once again, we got excited as we saw wildlife. Definitely, pay attention to the scenery during this sailing day. The isolation and beauty you enter into is so stunning. It starts to feel like your entered the end or the top of the world. It’s amazing.

 

the thermal spa, as expected, was packed all day. I love the snow room that is on the Bliss and not the Getaway. What a wake up.  

We would all go from the thermal spa to the observation lounge, which is just a slice of heaven as well. The chaise loungers are perfect, and as others have said, tons of people fall asleep in them, including myself. It’s hard not to when you get in vacation mode and become relaxed.   The front of the observation lounge is a bit challenging to find a spot. We managed a few times.  They had the informal LGBT social at 7pm there and we managed to make friends with quite a few, and later spent time with in ports.

 

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Tuesday- Juneau 

2:30-11pm

 

once again, we decided to do the morning abs class followed by a work out. The class was about half the size. It was so hard not to be more distracted by the sighting of possible whales, but managed to keep up.  The gym was busy, but quite manageable for so early in the morning.  I believe we slept with the balcony door open and it did get chilly, but was so nice to hear the ocean.

 

it seemed to be pretty typical to grab breakfast in the cafe and head to the spa and observation lounge.

 

i did forget to mention that we had tickets to Havana the night before, but were too tired to attend. The remainder of our group said we didn’t miss too much.

 

while waiting for the ship to get in, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. We felt like we made it to the top of the world. It was so exciting. We had to go into the hot tub on deck to snap some pictures after telling ourselves we were going to be a quick minute.  It was cold, but well worth the photos. The mountains and the beauty were awesome! We spent a lot longer an planned on deck.

 

We had an excursion booked for a guided bus tour of the town followed by some time at the glacier.  It was approximately a 2 1/2 hour guided tour and was definitely worth the money. Our tour guide was wonderful and provided an informative education to the capital of Juneau.  It was great spotting some bald eagles on the light posts and once in a while see a bird grab a fish while driving. We made it to the glacier and had an hour to explore. We weren’t able to walk to the falls but was completely struck by the glacier. So majestic and silent and still.

 

 

Afterwards we got a tasty crepe from in town and ate dinner in town at the Hanger, after several locals recommended it. I don’t eat seafood, but several at our table said it was the best halibut they ever had.

 

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Great pics, we go on The Joy in two weeks.  The Bliss is a beautiful ship.

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After glancing through my pics, I have to backtrack... and add in the beautiful sunset we caught on our sea day. It was pretty cool seeing the sun still up in the far distance near 10pm.

 

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I will also add before heading on to our Skagway adventures that we did have dinner as a large group in Taste one of the nights.  A few of us agreed the meals were underwhelming. We had a table of 7 and the service was just fine, but most of us left hungry.  Several ordered the stuffed mushroom cap appetizer and they were the smallest 4 caps we have ever seen. Two of us, including myself, ordered the strip steak.  It was just dreadful.  The steak was small and cooked to the same temperature.  I hate complaining about food because I did work in food service for a majority of my career, and realize the pains and struggles. We assumed the restaurants would be a little better than the cafe, but it really wasn’t until we ate in the Manhattan.

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So enjoying your review and pictures.  Alaska is on our long  cruise bucket list. 

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Really enjoying your posts and pictures! We’re doing Alaska on Bliss September 2020. So looking forward to the thermal spa!

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40 minutes ago, Carmen1409 said:

Really enjoying your posts and pictures! We’re doing Alaska on Bliss September 2020. So looking forward to the thermal spa!

Thank you.

 

You will enjoy every second of it.. just laying on the lounger and taking in all of the scenery was one of many highlights. 

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On to my favorite day:

 

Skagway 7am-8:15pm

 

we had book all of our excursions through Alaska shore tours, and today we had the 8 hour white pass and Yukon train ride up with the bus ride back. This excursion far best any expectations and hopes I had. It was worth every penny.  

 

Our excursion left at 7:30, so we had the alarm set for 5am, giving us enough time to shower and eat. Breakfast was at The Local... I always got the oatmeal and cheese omelette, which was always good and satisfying.

follow that up with an order of French toast to split, which is 100% better here.  We had enough time for that, got off the ship (which was always confusing and like a herd of animals), and walked to the train station in time. I love the look of Skagway. It’s like a real life Frontierland at Disney.

 

They checked our passports, we met with the driver meeting us in Carcross, and the crew for our train ride. Around 7:50 we were off... and what a journey it was! Be prepared for an onslaught of photos.

 

The first few were when we woke up and then as we left.

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I believe Julianne did the narration for the day. You have to stay in the cars until they give you the okay to head out on the platforms at each end of your car. You can not cross to other train cars. They make the announcement fairly quickly that you can step outside.  Once you do, you can no longer hear the narration. She was funny, sarcastic, and very thorough. Excellent guide, but I wanted to take photos.  It does not take long until you start to climb the 3000 feet and the climate changes. Stunning beauty. I can not describe it enough. People say it, but photos do not do any justice to what you see all around you.

 

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The beauty and scenery just explodes and doesn’t stop. It truly is amazing.

Shortly after a few tunnels, steep elevation , a rickety bridge we were convinced we were traveling over, you reach lake Bennett and head into British Columbia. You really start to notice a change of scenery. The harsh winter show its affect on the landscape.

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lake Bennet is a sight to be seen! The milky emerald water from glaciers melts. Astounding!

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If you have looked into this excursion, you can see there’s only a small part traveling through British Columbia before entering into the Yukon.  It does turn into mountainous territory all around with fields and woodlands around the train. It’s beautiful.  We did not see any wildlife. I think the train scares them off. But it was cool looking at the snow caps and taking everything in.

We had a half hour stop to explore before our stop up to Carcross.  Picturesque scenery as we got to go on a mini hike and climb the top.

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By the time we got back on the train, the crew was ready to hand out our boxed lunches. I was quite impressed. Nothing fancy, but turkey sandwich, cheese cubes with grapes, small serving of chips, and a cookie as we trekked towards our last stop before hopping on the bus.

not gonna lie, a lot of us were getting tired. The early wake up caught up.

We made it to Carcross where I believe we had 45 minutes or an hour of free time.  We got coffee and relaxed.  We then hopped in to the bus and met with Heidi, who was an absolute pleasure. She knew what had already been discussed and tried to keep it different, battling an already exhausted group. I was picturing a charter bus, but was pleased to see it was a comfortable mini bus. She stopped off at the desert, which honestly, was underwhelming. It’s a sand dune basically.

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Heidi made several stops along the way back to Skagway including the famous view of lake bennet, a stop off of an out of sight creek where she picks blueberries, a waterfall, and the Alaska sign.

 

Forgot a group shot of us from the train.

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We got back into Skagway around 4 pm(crossing time zones got me all messed up throughout the day) and explored a little. I have to admit, it’s a unique town, but was disappointed to see the same crap with Skagway printed on it. A lot of the same t shirt stores and of course, jewelry. But this village did have plenty of its own unique shops.

 

we headed back to the ship, showers, grabbed dinner at the cafe because we had an 8:30

go kart spot.

 

i have read so many negative review on the go kart track, and after being on the Getaway, was quite disappointed there wasn’t a ropes course on this ship. All of that changed after this experience.  This ended up being one of the highlights on the ship. We all had a blast!  They told us to get there at 8 to check in and do the safety briefing. They were ready to take us as soon as we got there. It barely took any time before we were sitting in ready to go. 

 

I love how environmentally friendly these karts are; even taking noise pollution into consideration with Alaskan protocol.  These karts run so smooth and for a cruise ship, the track is quite long and provides enough excitement.  They do control the first lap with speed to give you a feel for the karts and track. Perfectly understandable.  I drove like a maniac, but in control. Never once bumping anyone.  There was a little girl driving who was understandably driving slow. There are few spots to pass and they try to keep slow drivers to the right.  It was a cool experience just as we were sailing out of Skagway, but you really are just focused on the track. Don’t take it too seriously if you aren’t given a time slot you would like.

 

Forgot one more of lake Bennett.

 

 

afterwards, we still had some energy and decided to do a little blackjack.  We  have been playing a little here and there. Overall, I walked away with about $125 by the end of the trip.

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