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CruznLexi 07-30-2013 01:59 AM

Another Floridan goes to Alaska
Well we have another Floridian back from the Wonder to Alaska. I can't believe it is all over. I wish I could just hit rewind. I was gone for about 12 days. This was not my first cruise to Alaska this was my 3rd. It was my first Alaska cruise on Disney. The other 2 were on the Vision of the Sea out of both Vancouver and Seattle. I grew up as an Army Brat and my dad had orders to be head of the Ballard locks back in the mid to late 70's. He ran the US Army Corps of Engineers at the Ballard Locks. While there I was starting the 3rd grade and met my best friend Shelly who sat next to me. She and I are like to opposites as she is very tall her parents are over 6 foot and I was very short. We did everything together. It was not uncommon to spend the entire weekend together. I spent many a weekend on her sailboat and her in our RV. We still remained close after all these years and keep in touch via phone, email and FB. Our good friends whom went to West Point with my dad wanted to celebrate her 70'th b'day and go to Alaska. So I booked their cruise, her sister and her husband's cabin and mine and my Mom's last July. They booked 2 inside cabins onboard the Magic last summer. I had a dummy booking that I changed. My mom does not do insides so we had a catg 9 with the bigger port hole on deck 2 aft. I think the cost was around. $3500 and that had insurance and gratuities added to it. My mom loves in North Alabama so we could not fly together as I would be using SW for a day in Seattle before and after the cruise. I was able to fly SW on FF points and would get to Vancouver via train and back to Seattle via Quick Shuttle. My mom's plane ticket was around $800 from Alabama to Canada. If I had flow from North Florida it would have cost $650 to Seattle or $900 to Vancouver.

CruznLexi 07-30-2013 11:13 AM

I had an 845am flight the day I left florida and got into Seattle around 430pm. Seattle has a light rail system so after getting my bags I hoped on light rail to my meet my friends mom. The light rail cost $2.75 and you basically walk across the parking deck to it. It was very easy but somewhat of a bother if traveling by yourself. It was now close to 6pm by the time I met up with my friends mom. We had a great seafood diner at the Lockspot cafe which was near the locks in Seattle and featured on the Deadliest Catch. The weather was beautiful mid 70's. the next am I got to Amtrak around 630am for a 740 train. It was already quite busy at this time. It was sort of confusing where to stand in line and drop your bags but once that was sorted out it was not much of a problem. I had paid $53 for business class with a AAA rate. That gave me priority boarding, unloading and wifi and $3 food voucher. By 7am it was very busy and there were lots of cruise passengers heading to Canada even a few Disney ones too. At 710am they close all luggage. When I checked in I asked if I could sit on the water side which is the left side. You get a little card with your train number and seat. So far so good. The business class car had lots of room to move about and seats had plenty of room. You had to stick your card about your seat as there were other stops along the way. There was a bathroom right in the car that I was in and was very roomy much bigger than your bathroom in your cabin. The scenery was mostly water most of the way. It felt almost like. Iwas Harry Potter. The like for food was quite long but took maybe 15 min. Only breakfast items so no soup or burgers or sandwiches. I ended up with a yogurt parfait. There were quite a few stops along the way but most were less than 5 min. As we got close to Canada the conducter asked to see Passports and we then were given customs forms. The entire trip took close to 4 hours. I would go up this way in a second again. Once at the train station bags are unloaded along the fence line and then each train is cleared by customs and then let off. From the time off the train and through customs and into a taxi was less than 5min. I was staying at The Pan Pacific and was tired of lugging my bags around so I took a taxi which cost about $ 10. The Pan Pacific is connected to the cruise terminal so that day there were 2 cruise ships one on each side. The hotel is beautiful think Bay Lake. It had a large conference center, food court below, multiple places to eat, pool hot tub, spa and weight room, gift shops. My bags were taken as soon as I arrived and then I headed up to the hotel portion. There is a totem pole inside the hotel too. Check in was very easy and my room was ready! The bags are sent to your room within minutes of check in. My mom would not arrive until later that night but our other friends arrived later that afternoon. The ended up with the corner 2 bed room suite which was just awesome! It overlooked the harbour and the cruise ships. Wow!

jedijill 07-30-2013 09:35 PM

Go Army!

Can't wait to hear more about the trip. Thanks for the detail on taking Amtrak...I've thought about that option if I get to Alaska some of these days.

Jill in CO

CruznLexi 07-31-2013 01:44 PM

We are colorado fans. Been to Aspen many times.

CruznLexi 07-31-2013 02:15 PM

We spent two days in Vancouver before the cruise. We booked the Pan Pacific 11 months out with a AAA rate of $249 and $229. It was truly a beautiful hotel. It has a large conference center too. No matter where I cruise out of I always come the day before. It just is too stressful and it why risk an expensive vacation. I was the first of the 6 of us to get to the hotel. My room was ready when I checked in at 1215. When you give your bags to the bell services they are sent a call by the desk when your room is ready and come up to your room. They came promptly less than 5 min wait. We had a city view which was nice but it would have been nice to have a water view. Not in the budget though. Bell services also told you about the morning of the cruise and getting your bags to the ship. There are several high priced places to eat in the hotel which we did not opt for. There was an opera diner buffet which was. $50 a piece and there was a Sunday breakfast brunch which was about the same cost. There was coffee place outside to the left near where the ships can be seen. They had Flying Over Canada just pass here as well. I think the prices were. $16.95 for kids and $21.95 for Adults and $2 more for front of the line. This was Saturday and Sunday and was quite busy until the ships were gone but once gone it was easy to walk on. Monday am there was no one there when it opened. The weather was mid 70's sunny and we could see Mt Baker in the background! Within walking distances are many shops and places to eat. Once the next set of our group arrived we headed for lunch at an Italian place it was just ok. The place that it was in was a big building with grass on top of it directly across from the Pan it had many other shops and stores. We took a little walk to see what was around and there were many seaplanes and tours leaving right from the sea planes. If you walked a little farther you could see the Olympic torch. We soon found out that both my Mom's flight and our other friends flight were delayed. One neat thing was the hotel had a TV that had all the flights coming in and out of Vancouver. From time of getting off the plane to getting to the hotel was close to 2 hours. The hotel has a food court under the hotel. All of our group finally made it by close to 11pm. Now time to sleep! The beds were heavenly. The beds on the ship and at the world can not even come close. After a great sleep we were up for adventure. We had a late breakfast at De Dutch which was only open for breakfast and lunch and closes at. 4pm. Very popular but were seated within 10 min the food was fantastic the specialize in thin pancakes I had mine with strawberries and bananas. We then decided to go on the trolly tour. It was $40 for adults and was good until end of day or for $5 more you could have it for a second day. There were 2 separate lines the red and blue. It was good but not enough to do it again. For diner we are at an Irish place which was in the same building as breakfast. We had stopped in China town earlier and the egg roll had given me a headache so I did not enjoy my diner as much but the portions were big. It is amazing that it was still light at. 930 at night. Only one more sleep till the wonder!

CruznLexi 08-01-2013 02:01 PM

Boarding day was finally here after 12 months of waiting! Well I had asked the hotel the night before what time the ship comes in. I knew from previous comments that the ship was not early like in PC I was told completely docked by 7am. So I decided to get up at 6am and watch. I walked outside around 10 after 6 and walked almost all the way down in Canada place. It was near flying over Canada. I thought there would be a few people out but there was hardly anyone. I had a great view and then out of know here I could see the smoke and famous mickey icon on her smoke stack appear under the bridge and within a few minutes she was in full view! Wow! I even played O Canada on the IPOD! I stayed until she was fully docked! What a great thing to do. You don't get the chance to do this too often so try and do this. I went back to the room and repacked the bags. I called bell services and handed over the bags to them. At 1030 the 6 of us took the elevator down to the CSS level where you walk across the parking deck and you are in the customs area. There are 2 ships there so both set of cruise ships go through customs together then you split apart. We got boarding number 3. We were on the ship right about noon. We headed straight to BBB which opens at 1215. The Wonder looks great! Cabins are not ready until 130pm. The food was great there was fresh from Ketchican on the ship. Yum. There was shrimp,salad,beef, mash potatoes, French fries,soups. The deserts were good too .We went to the cabin when they were ready and quickly changed into pool atire and ran to the pool before boat drill. The beauty of Vancouver is something like nothing else! Seeing Mt baker in the background and snow capped mt's were just awesome. The pools are heated. So it was nice to sit in the hot tub and pool and relax. The bar guys had Alaska mugs for sale itihnk with drink they were. $16 I had mine with an adult beverage. We were on the port side and our drill was outside. The sail away party was fantastic. Within 30 min we were sailing under the bridge. Sight not to be missed. We had late seating diner so we went to the show and then changed for diner. We had a great waiter named Patryk and Ast named Tetree. Both were very good. The first night I had to have my Mickey bar! We were in the Parott Cay for diner. The show that night was the welcome aboard and had a comedian/ jugular. Who was really good. After getting up early it was time for bed.

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