Disney Wonder Repo Cruise Sept '11 with DL/WDW back to back
This is a delayed trip report for our third Disney Cruise, the Repositioning Cruise September 20 thru 25th. We had an absolutely great time and I'm not for sure why I didn't write a trip report when we got back. Well I'm five months late but better late then never.
Cast of Characters
Me - Jenny, aka Missj1975, Disney fanatic and spoiled princess (so my husband grumbles...a lot).
DH - Bob, aka Angry Donald, Disney fanatic and best husband in the world.
Months ago...in the planning stage DH did a lot of research on how to get to Vancouver to board the Disney Wonder for the start of the cruise. We are so use to Orlando so we really had no idea what to do with a different port. He compared prices to fly directly to Vancouver, take a train from Seattle to Vancouver, rent a car, blah, blah, blah. Everything expensive and complicated. After a bottle of advil, Bob was ready to give up on the whole cruise.
So I immediately went to the disboards and thank goodness someone posted the tip of taking a one day Princess Cruise from Seattle to Vancouver for $100 a person. Yeah it would get us to Vancouver a day early but since neither of has been to Vancouver we didn't mind an extra day to explore.
So in warning, this trip will not only cover the Disney cruise, but also the one day Princess Cruise and our extra day exploring Vancouver. Oh, and our one day at Disneyland after the cruise.
But wait...there's more.
So about two months before the cruise, Disney Event Services released a Haunted Mansion Event at Walt Disney World...the weekend after the Disney Cruise. We went to a Haunted Mansion event in DL in 2009 and had a blast. I didn't want to miss this one but DH was a bit weary about taking two trips so close together...California one weekend and then Florida the next weekend.
Thank goodness my DH has a problem saying no to me so in no time at all I had us signed up for the Haunted Mansion Event. And just to drive my husband even more crazy I signed us up for the Food & Wine Festival 5K race that just happened to be going on that weekend too. Signing up for the 5K race actually saved us money because Event Services gave us a package deal on a room for the weekend at All Star Sports and discounted park tickets.
So the game plan
Sunday: fly to Seattle, board the Princess cruise that afternoon
Monday: arrive in Vancouver, explore the town
Tuesday: board the Disney Wonder
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - cruising on the Wonder
Sunday: disembark in LA, spend the day at DL
Monday: fly back to St. Louis
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-work my butt of in hopes that my boss doesn't notice that I won't be at work on Friday
Thursday-after work, fly to Orlando, Magical Express to All Stars Sports
Friday- race packet pick up and Room for One More Event
Saturday - 5k race, Epcot/Downtown Disney
Sunday - fly back to St. Louis
The game plan for the most part worked with only a few hiccups.
First hiccup of the vacation
We love & prefer Southwest. We have flown other services...American, Delta, etc., but we really prefer Southwest.
Well Southwest didn't have any flights into Seattle that fit our timeline. We decided to go with Frontier for the flight to Seattle and then we would fly Southwest back from LA.
DH booked the flight for the morning of the day that we were boarding the Princess. He booked the flight and I didn't think to warn him that we really should fly in the day before just in case there are any flight delays cause it would suck to miss boarding the cruise ship.
Whenever Southwest changes anything to do with our booked flights, we get a text message, email, and maybe even a phone call. Well Frontier changed our early morning flight to late afternoon and never notified us. Thank goodness about a month before the cruise DH went to the website to double check our flight info. And he couldn't believe what he was reading. :scared1: There was no way we would make the cruise boarding time. So he immediately called Frontier. They apologized, said there was only one flight that day but they could change our flight to Saturday with no flight change cost to us (really...no cost...you think).
We had our flight changed to Saturday afternoon. I called Princess Cruise line and they booked us in their sister Hotel - The Doubletree for Saturday night. I think the room was $100 each. That included someone picking us up at the airport and someone taking us to the cruise ship the next day. I was happy but DH wasn't cause he was irked by the extra cost of the hotel room and that we were never notified by the airline change.
So my DH stewed...which he is quite good at...and then got on the phone with Frontier. Next thing I knew Frontier was paying for our hotel Saturday night and even dinner. Cool!!! We paid up front and then when we got back from the cruise, we submitted the receipts to Frontier. We got a check back within two weeks.
Vacation departure day finally arrives. We boarded Frontier no issues. I was impressed by the actual airline. They had tv's in the headrests so we could watch tv (for a fee) during the flight. After the flight started we were pleasantly surprised when the stewardess came around and swiped her card so we could watch tv for free. Apparently Frontier had upgraded our flight package. So I watched the Rachel Zoe Project the whole flight. Flying from St. Louis to Seattle was a very long flight and watching TV made the flight just fly by ;-).
Once we reached Seattle, we headed to baggage claim and was met by a Princess Cruise rep. He waited with us while we got our luggage and then carted our luggage over to the shuttle pick up. I kind of felt like a celebrity at that moment, having our own personal Porter. He was a super nice guy and we talked to him for like twenty minutes. We actually talked a lot about Disney and I know he told me some interesting facts...I just can't remember them for them for the life of me. Yep that is what I get for waiting five months to write my trip report.
Our room at the Doubletree.
Free hot chocolate chip cookies when we checked in.
Dinner at the hotel. The best fried shrimp I've ever had and the dipping sauce was amazing.
DH's dinner was Salmon, he enjoyed it.
We shared dessert, Creme Brulee.
The best part of this dinner was it was basically free!!! After I submitted the receipt to Frontier, I thought for sure I would get a call that they only would reimburse so much for dinner but no call came and the reimbursement check was for the full amount.
Great start to your TR
Looks like your plans got off to a bumpy start but it's great that the airline came through and sorted everything out
A free hotel room plus free food = bliss :)
Can't wait to hear the rest of your report Jenn. I want to re-live our trip and dream about going on another cruise.
Totally signing on... I so want to learn more about the one day Princess cruise as we have to figure out how to get from Vanc to Seattle after our (hopeful) repo LA to Vanc cruise!
Even though everything worked out we will never fly to the cruise ship the day it departs. Too many things can go wrong and I just don't like stressing. For our upcoming cruise in April, we are flying in the night before.
Time to kill before the cruise
After dinner, we thought about exploring around the hotel since neither of us had been to Seattle before but it was raining the whole evening. Instead we just decided to enjoy our hotel room and go to bed early.
We got up early and since the shuttle to the cruise ship wasn't leaving for a couple of hours we decided to find a couple of geocaches.
DH and I love to geocache. We discovered this hobby about two years ago and we love it. For anyone not familiar with geocaching, it is a global treasure hunt game with a gps. We use to use a handheld GPS unit but now we use our Iphone since it has a handy geocaching app. Anywhere we go I can pull up the app and see if there any geocaches nearby.
With the Iphone app, we could see there was a park nearby in walkable distance so we set out to the park. I think it was a bit chilly that morning but the walk was enjoyable.
The nearby park. We loved seeing such a nice park near the Seattle airport. Our St. Louis Airport is in a not so nice area, definitely not an area I would suggest anyone walk around in.
We found a geocache.
The trees are amazing. We have nothing this tall in Missouri. Even though we only got to explore Seattle for an hour, we loved the area. We definitely have to come back for a weekend trip so we can visit all the touristy areas.
After the geocaching hike, we headed back to the hotel, picked up our luggage from the room and headed to the shuttle meeting area. I think there were about three duos of friends traveling together and one family all heading to the Princess on the shuttle with us. I overhead their conversations and it seemed like they were all heading to Vancouver to board the Disney Wonder too.
We didn't have to wait for long for the shuttle to the ship. I think it was about a twenty minute drive but it went by quickly cause DH and I talked to the driver the whole trip.
The driver was very interesting. She talked a lot about Seattle and LA. She worked for the Princess half the year in Seattle and then half the year in LA.
Boarding the Sapphire Princess was pretty easy, similar to boarding the Disney cruise ship. Go thru security, fill out health forms, and wait in line to board. All in all I think we were on the ship in less then an hour. The waiting in line seemed to go pretty quickly since I love to people watch. And there was definitely lots of interesting people to watch.popcorn::
After we boarded we headed to the lunch buffet. The food was good but the buffet was confusing and the employees were less then helpful with directions. Plus finding a place to sit down was next to impossible. This ship was definitely sold out.
Exploring the Ship
After we ate a quick lunch, we explored the ship. The Sapphire Princess is a very beautiful ship. I liked the pool area.
Me updating facebook in a cozy area.
While exploring the ship, we found a counter service with pizza. DH is a huge pizza fan so we decided to give it a try. The pizza was the best we have had on a cruise ship. So that is one thing Princess does better then Disney...Pizza.
We headed to check out our room. We were notified of a free upgrade a couple of weeks before the cruise so we were excited to see what the room would look like.
We liked the room. It seemed very spacious. We were only in the room for a couple of minutes when the steward knocked on the door and offered us free glasses of champagne.
Bob enjoying the free champagne on our balcony.
We stayed on our balcony when the ship set sail. There might have been a sail away party but since Mickey wasn't there we just didn't care.
After the ship set sail we decided to check out the gift shops. I wasn't too impressed with the shops but apparently everyone else was.
This is the line of people waiting to purchase duty free alcohol. The shop always had a line and I saw lots of people carting around boxes of alcohol. I like a drink here or there but stocking up like that isn't my thing.
All that walking around the ship made us a little hungry so we visited the buffet again. I can't remember if it was a different buffet from lunch or if it just had different food choices. Either way, the buffet lines were still confusing.
Looking over the Princess Navigator, there were three dining rooms that had no specific seating time, just go anytime between 5:30 and 10pm. That sounded like a plan. So we walked to each dining room to look at the menu outside the doors. Each dining room had the same menu, LOL. I think we ended up choosing the Pacific Moon cause I liked their decorating theme.
I don't remember the time but they were already seating people. We walked up to the podium and the host said they were full at the moment but to come back in a half hour. I said sure, do you need my name? The host said, nope, seating won't be an issue in a half hour....Hmmm...really?
So we waste some time looking at the shops again and then head back to the dining room. Now there is a line but it moves pretty quickly cause the host is taking names and handing out pagers. He is telling everyone it is going to be at least a thirty minute wait. I am normally a calm person but I was very :mad: at this point.
So it is my turn at the podium and the host starts to give me the spiel. I was like wait a minute...I was here thirty minutes ago, you said come back in thirty minutes and you could sit me no problem. He starts to interrupt about giving me a pager and I was like no way. I looked him in the eye and said in a very calm but forceful voice "You will find me a table and sit us now." He looked me in the eye and blinked. :laughing: Yeah I've been told I have quite the death stare. He grabbed two menus and said follow me.:woohoo: I am pretty sure at the point my husband fell to his knees and worshiped my Jedi abilities.
I don't remember the names of the dishes we ate but they were all pretty good except for the pate looking appetizer. That was just disgusting.
After dinner we thought about going to the show but the theater looked pack and we just didn't really care. Instead we stopped somewhere for a drink and headed back to our room.
My overall impressions about the Sapphire Cruise line. Their employees who check you in before you board the ship are wonderful. The employees who are actually on the ship, not so wonderful. No employees greeted us when we passed them in the halls and most seemed incredibly put out when we asked them a question. Disney Cast Members totally spoiled our expectations of employee behavior cause they are always so cheerful and helpful.
The ship was beautiful and food was pretty good (not great) but we missed the Disney atmosphere. This cruise was perfect to get us from point A to point B. The price was right and the room was excellent, much better then sitting on a train or riding in a car. So I would definitely use Princess again for a transportation method but I won't be using them for longer cruise.
I'm in...can't wait to hear more. I'm planning an Alaskan cruise for next year to commemorate a significant birthday. ;)
Jill in CO
Do they do a Vancouver to Seattle trip? I am doing the LA to Vancouver repo next year and need to figure out how I will be getting from Vancouver to SEATAC, soooo much cheaper to fly out of there.
Excited to see this TR :)
We were on the repo cruise with you and I can't wait to hear more about your view of it, and see if I can spy any of us in your photos, lol!
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