Cruising the West Coast to San Francisco – Rainy Day Armchair Travel

Two years ago we took a cruise from Seattle down the West Coast with no masks, no vaccines, and of course – no covid! Those were days of carefree travel and I can’t wait until they return!

But until then I thought I’d revisit our trip (our second ever cruise) with some of my favorite memories.


We left Seattle under stormy skies and I lamented booking so late in the year.

But the rain stopped as we sailed out the Straight of Juan de Fuca and we enjoyed sunshine every day thereafter.

Cruising to Astoria

The next morning I woke at sunrise and took my morning promenade.

It wasn’t long before we arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River and were piloted into Astoria.

Astoria was founded in 1811 by John Jacob Astor who funded the expedition but never set foot in the town. I have set foot many times but enjoyed seeing it from another angle – from the ship at sunset.

Onward to San Francisco

After a day at sea we arrived in San Francisco, slipping stealthily under the Golden Gate bridge – or so it seemed to me. (Click on pictures in the gallery to enlarge them.)

Watching the sunrise over the city is still one of the highlights of our trip.

Later that day we visited Alcatraz, taking the boat from the pier next to ours. (Which is why I didn’t purchase the shore excursion from the cruise line for almost double the price.)

I know it was a prison with a creepy past but honestly it makes a great tourist destination!

Afterwards we explored more of the waterfront before heading back to the ship for dinner and sunset.


We woke the next morning in Monterey, only two hours south by car but the ship took us slowly while we slept.

This was the only port where we took a tender to shore – see how small is the tiny orange boat next to our ship.

For our shore excursion that day we traveled along scenic 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach to Carmel. One of my favorite stops was at Bird Rock where sea lions, seals, pelicans and gulls share the accommodations.

A Day at Sea and North to Victoria

Why Victoria? Why not a return directly to Seattle? Because of the Jones Act which prohibits foreign ships from carrying passengers from one US port to another without stopping at a foreign port.  No it doesn’t make sense to me but Victoria is fun to visit anytime.

There was all the usual charm of the capital city of British Columbia.

But there was something new for me on this trip – a visit to Fantan Alley in Chinatown, Canada’s oldest.

After a full and wonderful week we crept back into Seattle the next morning where yes, it was raining.

Ready to be home again, but already plotting the next cruise.

Maybe next year. 🙂

~ Susanne

19 Comments on “Cruising the West Coast to San Francisco – Rainy Day Armchair Travel

    • Right? 😉 We locals like the little town, but it so happens it also makes a nice port for stops down the coast! Sort of like the small ports on the Alaska cruises!

  1. This was a great trip for you, and the photos are beautiful. I’ve never heard of this Jones Act, seems a bit odd.

    • Thanks, it was a great trip! Yes the Jones Act is over 100 yrs old and became a problem when the Seattle cruises to Alaska wanted to resume this year but Canada wasn’t willing to let them stop because of Covid. I think it needs to be revisited.

  2. Looks like a great trip. We´ve been on 7 ocean/sea cruises and one river cruise. Never had a bad one! Hope we can do them again soon.

  3. Lovely light in so many of your photos! And it sounds like a lovely trip. I’ve seen posts from other bloggers suggesting that cruising is opening up again for fully vaccinated passengers and with relatively few restrictions 🙂

    • Thank you! One of my favorite things about cruising was seeing sunrise and sunset everyday, making wonderful light for photos! Cruises started out of Seattle again this summer but we weren’t quite ready. Hopefully next year.

  4. I have only ever been on a Nile cruise, in Egypt. Calm river waters, on a very small boat. Those giant cruise ships look like too much for me, especially in potentially rough waters.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • A river cruise on the Nile sounds fabulous! We enjoy the cruising experience and had no rough water on our cruise down the coast. Nice to leave all the work to someone else and just relax. And so easy for us since our cruise left from Seattle. We’ll probably do another one to Alaska hopefully in the next year.

  5. It is truly a spectacular coastline – thanks for sharing and yes, can’t wait for life to get back to normal – we got our boosters yesterday so we are doing our part!

  6. So many beautiful pictures, Susanne. The pictures featuring the sun and the ocean are breath taking. And the concept of your going under the Golden Gate is wonderful. Thanks for bringing us along.

    • Thanks so much for your comment.😊 One of the best things about cruising to me is seeing sunrise and sunset over the ocean.
      My husband woke me up as we were passing under the Golden Gate. It was so cool but I wasn’t fast enough to get any good pictures. Maybe next time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: