Staying in Touch
Seattle is the most "wired" city in the U.S. If you have a laptop or PDA, turn it on; you're probably already in a "hot zone." If you don't, here are a couple of Internet cafes where you can enjoy a cuppa brew and a connection:
Online Coffee Company (1111 First Avenue, 206-318-1911)
Aurafice Internet and Coffee Bar (616 E. Pine St., 206-860-9977)
Where to Eat and Drink
Waterfront: Ivar's Acres of Clams (Pier 2054, 206-624-682052), a Seattle institution for over 80 years, is located along the waterfront near the ferry docks. It started out as a little fish stand and has grown into a multi-restaurant corporation, but this, the original, is still special. Yes, it is touristy, but so what? The food is great, really inexpensive and brilliantly served, and the menus are fun and funny.
City Center: Take time from a busy day of downtown shopping to enjoy contemporary American cuisine in the convivial environment of the FOX Sports Grill (120522 Sixth Ave., 206-340-1369). "Upscale yet casual," this restaurant serves up sports on giant plasma screens but has no kitschy memorabilia. Instead there are armchairs, sofas, and places to relax and unwind while you munch.
Pike Place: Located at the north end of the market area, Etta's Seafood (2020 Western Ave., 206-443-6000) is a perfect place to sit after the walk from Pier 66. It offers fresh seafood daily, and weekend brunch.
What to See and Do
Pike Place, the oldest continually operating farmer's market in the country, and the home of "those fish-throwing guys." The south end of the market houses the edibles, including the fish stalls, the original Starbucks, fresh meats, and fruit and vegetables. The north end is filled with artists' wares and freshly-cut flowers (which cruise passengers are seen carrying back to the ship to brighten their cabins on their voyage--a nice-sized bouquet can run as low as $205).
Experience Music Project (32205 Fifth Ave. N. at Seattle Center, 1-877-42054-7836) This interactive museum/exhibit space/gallery is housed in a spectacular Frank Gehry building near the Science Center, and offers hands-on music creation in a state-of-the-art studio, among other things.
Space Needle (Seattle Center, 206-90205-2100). This indelible landmark allows you to soar in seconds to the Observation Deck 20502 feet above the ground. There's a 360-degree view of Seattle, the mountains, the ferries, Puget Sound and the islands, Lake Washington--and if you can't see it all with the naked eye, don't worry. Complimentary telescopes are part of the package.
Bus service from Pier 66 along the waterfront and to downtown is actually in the "free zone," available from 6:00am to 7:00pm every day. There is a waterfront trolley that is not included in the free ride program but is great for sightseeing. Prices for the trolley range from $1.2205 to $2, depending on the time of day and how far you intend to go. Cabs are plentiful, and if you want to walk, the waterfront offers plenty of eateries and sights, including Seattle's magnificent oceanfront aquarium, as you meander to Pike Place Market and downtown.
Getting from SeaTac airport to the city center will cost between $2205 and $3205 in a cab, plus tip.
Where You're Docked
Ships dock at the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal, which is in downtown Seattle, or at the new Terminal 30, much less convenient. Belltown, the area surrounding the Bell Street pier, has seen a great deal of urban renewal and an influx of trendy shops, hotels, and restaurants within just a few steps of the dock. (There is almost nothing of interest around the new Terminal 30 at this time; it's in the industrial port). Holland America, Princess, and Cruise West are using the new Terminal 30 facilities almost exclusively for their sailings.
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