Embarkation and Disembarkation are critical aspects of every cruise. They affect your attitude for the first few days of the trip, and color your memories of the trip once you return home. Two options in Seattle include the waterfront Cruise Ship Terminal off Bell Street and Pier 66 (Norwegian Jewel and Pearl, Oceana Regatta); and the old Naval facility at Smith Cove and Pier 91 (HAL, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival). The Pier 66 facility is a dream – park across the street, and board. Or walk up the hill and explore Pike Place Market and First Avenue. The Pier 91 facility can be a nightmare – hard to find for those new to the Seattle area, awkward parking in a gravel lot, shuttle bus to terminal. And there is not much nearby to see, explore or experience.
Embarkation in Seattle - Heaven and Hell
The inside of Pier 91 seemed to work well. I only stood in line for about 15 minutes total and then straight to the ship.
Outside, OTOH, was a disaster. With two ships in port, both sharing the same loading lanes for boarding and debarking passengers. It was a disaster.
I stayed a couple of days ahead of time for my one cruise that departed from Seattle. The city is wonderful for tourists but the hills can be killers. I have very fond memories of Seattle. For one the temperature was sunny and in the low eighties. I never saw a drop of rains. we did all the touristy things and had a ball. The Pike Place market was a treasure trove. We watched the fish tossed back and forth and found the bubble gum wall. Food was delicious at the restaurant where we dined one evening and oh the flowers they sold in the market!
Seattle is a fun town. The waterfront has been torn up for years trying to dig a deep tunnel (right on the edge of the Puget Sound) - to replace an aging and unsafe viaduct. But all else being equal (ie Norwegian vs HAL) the Pier 66 terminal wins hands down (and it's the home port for my first run with Oceana).
Seattle is nothing compared to Vancouver. Especially when there are two ships in port. I dont let these prossesses bother me. I've seen it so smooth we were in awe and we have seen it be just a cluster. When the cluster happens I just people watch can be very entertaining.