Monday, October 7, 2019

Pier 91 in Seattle--Budget Style

So, if you've read much of my blog or my books, you know I'm a budget traveler...who also likes cruising.  These two things are generally a bit at odds.

So, how does a budget cruiser get to the cruise port to board her ship?  Why, she takes public transportation or walks, of course.

Sometimes this is a snap, like in Vancouver.  Pier 66 in Seattle isn't too bad either, though it may require some stairs or steep streets.  But Seattle's Pier 91 (Smith Cove Terminal) is a bit more exciting.

We stayed the night before in Seattle, as I always advise, so we began our trip from downtown.  Since I was traveling with my mom, who is a super trooper--but cannot walk as far or as vigorously as I can--I'd booked a hostel (yes, a hostel, not a hotel) near a bus route that went straight to Magnolia, past the Smith Cove Terminal (currently buses #33 and #24).  The morning of embarkation, I dragged my mom and our suitcases to the bus stop, hauled everything on, paid our fare--in exact change--and set off.  This particular trip, the in-route entertainment was provided by a good mother singing and doing fingerplays with her cute little baby.  After a bit of a ride, we saw our ship and the Magnolia Bridge.  This is the point where you should ask the driver where to let you off.  Because...well...it's not exactly impressive or obvious.

The bus stopped and we were the only ones it dumped out on the side of the road on the Magnolia bridge.  I have a feeling only a small percentage of cruisers arrive by this particular method.

Here's the view:


See that staircase going beneath the bridge?  Well, here's a closer view:


Yup.  Walk toward that elegant loading dock with the topsy-turvy pile of cardboard boxes.  Then haul your suitcases down the rusty staircase into the dark underbelly of this concrete bridge:


Carry both suitcases on the stairs, but let your poor mom pull hers down the ramp:


Navigate through the closed gate, down more steps, and past the guardhouse where there may or may not be a guard who barks, "You can't come through here--you have to go back up" and then bursts out laughing at your faces.  Don't worry, he'll let you through.


Now all you have to do is walk to that ship in the distance.



My mom was amazing!

Price: $2.75 for adults, $1 for seniors
All the adventure and the humble-brag rights:  priceless



For tips on having your own budget adventures in Alaska and the Northwest, read my travel guides:

2 comments:

  1. Thank you!! The expenses for this cruise that I have no control over are too much! My wife and I plan to save where we can, and taking public transportation to the cruise port was one way we saw that we could save some money. I have been trying to find out how feasible it is. Your blog post is PERFECT!! The pictures and your explanation answered ALL my questions!! Thank you!

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  2. I'm so glad you found it useful. If you're in decent shape, it's an adventurous (and cheap) way to get there. You can also reverse the route when you leave. Last time there was a family waiting on the bridge with us for the bus to pick us up, so we weren't the only people on the ship who did it that way. :)

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