We were up early, I think out of excitement! Our trip has officially began. My friends that live in Seattle, dropped us off at the Space Needle at 8:30 a.m. on their way to work. The Space Needle didn't open until 9:00 a.m. So we walked around the grounds of the Space Needle saw cool art and a pretty garden. 9:00 a.m. we bought our tickets and rode the elevator up to the top of the Space Needle. This was my second trip to the Space Needle, however the height still gets to me. Guess what we saw when we reach the top??? FOG! I would recommend to go to the top of the Space Needle mid day or evening. I paid $16.00 for fog.
Then we walked down the block to the Experince Music Project. First of all the exterior of the building is SO cool, architect Frank Gary designed it. Actually the exterior & interior are a must see. If you are a music lover - go to the EMP (Experince Music Project) We had so much fun!
This has been my 7th visit to Seattle in the past 5 years. My best friend lives there. The best sightseeing/informational tour that I have participated within the past 5 years is The Ride the Ducks Tour. Looking back I wished that I would have gone on this tour the first time I visited Seattle. Amphibious vehicles from the WWII are used to trolley you around Seattle, the drivers are very enterataining & very informative. The tour lasts about 1 1/2 hour. Arrive 1/2 hour before your scheduled tour. You first start out driving through Seattle, then float on Lake Washington where you will see float planes, perhaps a boat from the show "Deadliest Catch", the houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle and an Industrial Park from the movie "10 things I hate about you". For kids you can purchase a 'quacker', it makes a quacking sounds and looks like a duck's bill.
After the Ride the Duck Tours we headed north of Seattle for Bellingham to board our first ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway.
The Columbia Ferry
We arrived at the Bellingham , WA Ferry Terminal around 4:30 p.m. we checked in. They gave us all of our boarding passes and accommodation tickets for every ferry that we would be taking on the Alaska Marine Highway over the next week & a half. Then we went up the foot passenger ramp & entered the ferry.
First we had to find the purser office to receive our room assignment. One purser was working. The area in front of the purser was crowded with luggage, supplies and coolers as we waited in the long line to receive room assignments.
We received our room assignment. We reserved a 2 person berth with facilities and no window. I figured the only time I’m going to be in the room was to sleep, why spend money on the room with a window? In our room were bunk beds, a little closet, one side chair, one end table, a nice size sink/counter and a bathroom with commode & nice size shower. After we were settled into our room, it was time to explore the Ferry.
The Columbia Ferry was the largest Ferry that we took on this trip. It had a number of amenities;
- Observation Lounge(s)
- Heated Solarium
- Gift Shop
- Theater area
- Small video arcade room
- Cocktail Lounge (tipping prohibited)
- Ice Machine
- Vending machines for snacks
- Full-Service Dining Area (with white table clothes)
- Self-Service Dining Area (Cafeteria style)
We stood outside on one of the decks as we left the port of Bellingham , WA.
We finished the evening relaxing in the cocktail lounge, drank some beers, mingled with all kinds of people and enjoyed listening to the bartender sing/play a few songs on a guitar. It was a fun first night on the ferry.
There is a sign in the cocktail lounge that says ‘Tipping Prohibited’. We discovered that all steward postions on the ferry are paid the same hourly wage; whether you’re the bartender, purser, gift shop clerk, cook or dishwasher. You’re all part of a team and you help each other out where needed on the ferry, which I thought was very cool.