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Old 06-08-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
scrapbookingpro
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Sailing without Flip Flops!! Our Alaska Cruise - May 28th, 2012 UPDATED 7/5

Hi Everyone!!

I really was not going to write a trip report this trip (not sure I'd have the energy to finish it!) BUT......
I was looking and looking for some Alaska reports from last year and I really could not find very many, and only found ONE with photos!!! Now, I'm sure there are some floating around out there that I could not find, but still- I though I would contribute some experiences and lots of pictures for anyone else who is searching around out there.

I really will try to keep this informative and to the point. So, real quick:

I am Tracy. My sailing mates were DH,38 DS,5 My mother,65 and her friend Ralph and lastly my brother,38 and his friend RJ. This is the 9th cruise for DH and I, but FIRST time to Alaska. Everyone else has sailed 1-5 times, all with Disney, never to Alaska.

To say that we were excited would pretty much be the understatement of the year. I was beside myself giddy. I couldn't think, I was completely stressed out from my over-the-top planning, and I hadn't been sleeping. In short I was a hot mess for the whole week leading up to this trip.

I won't bore you with details, but basically we flew up to Seattle on thursday and spent the weekend with my in-laws who live in Tacoma. We had BEAUTIFUL weather, and I think I was able to "chill out" a bit and sleep some while we were on pre-vacation. My family is thankful.

MONDAY, DAY 1

We started our day at out Seattle hotel, The Camlin. We were up very early so we could get packed and have breakfast with my in-laws. We had breakfast at this random restaurant at the hotel next door, and they tried to make my son a Mickey pancake. HAHA, 'A' for effort!!



My mom and Ralph had their car- they drove up from California to take this cruise with us. (We are from Florida, by the way. Orlando!) They picked us up at the hotel at 10AM. We had a scheduled check-in time of 11AM. Of course, being a worrier and a super planner, I wanted to get there earlier, but it just didn't happen.

We had to use the GPS to get to the port. I wasn't driving of course, so I didn't pay as much attention as I should have, but it did not take us long to get there. Maybe about 20 minutes? I think we went a longer route than we needed to because there was a LOT of traffic on the freeway (Memorial Day and all....). Anyway, we got turned around once, but after that we quickly found the parking lot. It was about 10:30 when we arrived.

Ralph dropped us off in the drop-off area where there were lots of other cars and taxis pulling up also. A porter came immediately to help us with our fifty million bags. Yikes, I have never packed so much for a trip before!! Then the porter commented that we were "traveling lite", and I laughed out loud. I don't know WHY I didn't take more photos outside, but here is one:



Mom and Ralph went to park they car. They came back on a shuttle. It didn't take long, but it FELT really long. I hate waiting. While we were sitting outside, my brother and RJ arrived by taxi. YAY, the gang is all here!!

*Note- If you are wondering, they had a food cart outside with different snacks and foods/drinks for sale. There was nothing inside the port (that we saw), so if you are hungry, grab it outside!

Time to go IN! The first thing they do when you walk in is hand you an Alaska Info book. I meant to read it cover to cover but to be honest I forgot all about it later and never looked at it. We went through security- there was no line what so ever which was nice because we ALWAYS wait in line at Port Canaveral. Then they sent us upstairs.

Here is a pic of the upstairs area:


First stop, fill out the paperwork that says you are not sick. Second, get in line to check-in. There was no line for us. They handed us a boarding card with the number 8. EIGHT, really?? It's not even 11AM! And I am here, ready to go. How did we get an 8? I still think it was a mistake. And my crazy perfectionist planner self was starting to freak out, but RJ said, hey-it's OK. And it was, of course.

For the record, I don't know how strict they were being with Check-in times. We were pretty much there at our scheduled time, but nobody mentioned it to us at check in.

Checking in:


Now of course the port is not as nice as the one in Florida. No TVs or awesome model of the ship, or fancy floors. But it was still nice, and the characters were already out for photos. I made everyone drop their stuff and run over to catch Goofy and Pluto.





They started boarding really soon after. I didn't check the time, but it had to have been before noon. It only took about 10 minutes for them to get to our number (EIGHT.Really?). We stopped for the traditional photo and then checked ourselves on board!!

Now, if you've sailed before you know that in Florida you will enter the ship through the atrium on deck 3. In Seattle, we walked out onto a ramp and walked up and up and up and ended up entering through the outside door of deck 4. Felt very strange to me! After they greeted us (love that part) we went down to eat in Parrot Cay. We always choose Parrot Cay- it's just a personal preference. It feels more like "vacation" to me than BBB.

I love that even though the buffet changes slightly from trip to trip, there are always things I can get every time, like corn dogs nuggets and chocolate chip cookies. Happiness



Let me just break here for a second and I will finish up day one!
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Last edited by scrapbookingpro; 07-07-2012 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:59 PM   #2
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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DAY ONE, part 2

SO, there we were enjoying our first CRUISE meal, feeling super happy. I don want to note that the characters used to come around and visit people in the restaurant at this time. I don't know when they stopped doing this, but they definitely did not come around when we were there.

Forgive this random bathroom story::::
My son had to use the bathroom at this point. I took him to the closest one, which is a little small, and then he informed me that he had to go #2. So I'm standing outside his stall in this little bathroom that now had a wait for stalls and he is taking FOREVER and occasionally saying things like, "Come on poo poo, hurry up!!" Um, slightly embarrassing.

Anyway......
I had to go over and change my Palo reservations, so off we went to Wave Bands. There wasn't a really long line, but after sitting there for 10 minutes I was getting impatient. I need to work on that. After about a 20 minute wait, it was our turn. I wanted to change my reservation because I thought I had made it for pirate night. Turns out pirate night was the following night, so no need to change at all! DONE.

Time for a ship tour! We always do this, just for fun. We walk around the pools and the spa and the clubs and just look and feel excited about everything.
Here's a view from the window:



It is so awesome to look at and see the space needle from the ship!!!



Usually we would try to get in the pool about now, but I knew there was NO way my son would go in. It was beautiful out, but windy and chilly for us Florida-types. When we walked by, no one else had ventured near the pool either.

Our rooms were ready in a flash. Why does this part of the trip always go by so FAST??

If you haven't seen, here are the new CC gifts:


The bed, after being sat on, and throwing stuff on it.....


Veranda, and I'd like to say that this was our very first veranda that was NOT a navigator's veranda. We were excited!


Of course if you are an over-planner like me, you will want to decorate your door.


Next up, Dinner!!!
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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DAY ONE, part3

This first day time between getting to your room and going to the muster drill- well, it's always a blur to me, and goes by very quickly. Usually it's all unpacking. this trip we had a LOT of unpacking, and I had to decorate my door, as well as my mom's and brothers. OK, I didn't HAVE to, but....I did.
I remember feeling very rushed. I just wanted to sit on the veranda and take a bunch of pictures, but I somehow got through all the unpacking.

The Muster Drill was uneventful. If you haven't cruised in a while, you'll be pleased to know that you no longer have to wear the life jackets to the drill. That means all you basically do (besides pay attention, of COURSE.) is go to your area and wait for them to release you. It took a very short time.

We went up to the Sail Away Party after that. Frankie was the entertainment guy that led the party. I think he came over from the Magic.
*Confession time. After 9 cruises, the sail away party does not hold much interest for me, especially since my son hates the "noise" and refuses to dance. However, this time they were handing out big Mickey hands to wave with, so we took, i dunno, like a hundred pictures with those.

Here is number 42:


We waited for the most wonderful sound of the Mickey horn, then we went up to deck 10 to watch the ship sail away. Also one of my favorite parts of the trip. Here are some of the pictures we took sailing away.










Such great weather and gorgeous views.

We had early seating, which is very rare for us. We suddenly found ourselves rushing to get ready to eat. I always get anxious about who our servers will be because I am the world's pickiest eater, and we have had bad luck with servers in the past. Not that they ever give bad service!! They are usually excellent, but the last couple that we've had, well they made me feel like a burden and I didn't want to feel that way for the whole week. Also our group was made up of some very different personalities and I didn't want a server with no sense of humor, which has also happened to us several times before.

SO, we all got changed for dinner- nothing fancy, just changed out of our jeans and jackets. The cruise ship was generally not cold inside, even when it was very cold outside, so you could easily wear short sleeves or skirts to dinner without worrying that you'll freeze. Or was I the only one worried about that?? I am always cold.

We were in Tritons for dinner. Our rotation was TAAPTAP. We had table 28- a window!!! Also a first for us. There are 7 in our group and we had our own table.



Our servers came right away. I am getting an ulcer, worrying as usual.
We had Anastasia for our assistant server. She was from the Ukraine. Christian was our head server, from Chili. He said we could call him Chris.

All that worry for NOTHING Chris turned out to be one of my favorite severs of all time. We have only had 1 that compares, in 9 cruises. LOVED him- our whole table loved him.

First thing I asked for was apples for my son because it is the only healthy thing he likes. Every night they brought us a giant bowl of sliced apples for him.
Second request- a plain salad for me, with croutons. Cuz I never like any of the soups or appetizers. Picky Eater. Me.
They brought me salad every night. Chris didn't give me a funny look, or roll his eyes, or say that it couldn't be done. He said NO problem, I will have it here every night!


They were quick and attentive and especially FUNNY. We loved that every night Chris would give us "a second or 2" to read the menu and then say- "that is Chili time, of course....". He gave us random puzzles to solve one night, he brought several meals to go (Ralph never stayed for a whole dinner ) and he always acted proud when I ordered more than one dessert.

Ah, anyway, loved them. If you are lucky enough to get them, you will not be disappointed.

Here is my son getting his Mickey ketchup:


A couple of things from the menu:




I can tell you what they are, but I have to look it up....

They brought a Mickey bar for DS after dinner. He was getting tired.
Time to change again for the show. One of the best things about the ship is going to places in sweats and slippers. I don't know if this is frowned on by some or not, but we did it every night. Sweats and slippers. In the Caribbean, it's shorts and flip flops. But sweats and slippers is nice too.

We saw the Welcome Aboard show with magician Wayne Hoffman. Half our group works in entertainment, so we were especially in to all the show stuff. The welcome show is really cute, and Wayne was OK. Actually I didn't like him much at first, but he grew on me.

Here are DH's slippers, attending the show.


DS was wiped out after this. We took him to the room to go to bed- around 9:45. It was still quite light outside. We found this puppy on our bed:



He was asleep after 2 stories.

One more thing for day 1: Wonder Quest
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:25 PM   #5
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DAY ONE, part 4

So, if you can get away at 10:30 on the first night of your cruise, come to Wavebands to play Wonder Quest. It is really fun, and we play it every time we cruise. We have never lost, lol. You get together in teams and then your host (Frankie, in this case) tells you what he wants to see, and you do it or bring it. Who ever gets there first gets more points.

Examples of things you may be asked for:

4 socks tied together
A picture of the white house
a tattoo
a lady wearing a man's shirt

get it? It is a really good time and you will meet lots of people. You can sometimes "steal" from other teams, which can be very funny indeed.

Here is a quick picture of the chaos:


This is how light it still was:


The first day can be exhausting. We went straight to bed afterward.
Day 2, our day at sea, coming next!!
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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If you looked really closely at your sail away shot you can see me waving you off
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:28 PM   #7
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Love it! Love it! I seriously don't know how I'm going to make it to September. I think I might explode from excitement!
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #8
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I'm excited to follow along! Just back from our FIRST cruise last month, and I'm hoping our SECOND one will be to Alaska! Would be 2 or 3 years out, but at least I have that placeholder reservation I booked onboard!!
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write a trip report! We don't sail unitl Aug 27th and reading reports just gets me more and more excited.

I love your pictures of our beautiful Seattle skyline! FYI for those who don't know the Space Needle is celebrating 50 years, thus the orange/gold top. It's the original color it was painted for the World's Fair in 1962.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:45 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone!

I am so jealous of all of you who have cruises yet to come....even if they are far off. I love that anticipation! It is the best feeling.

My husband and son are passed out COLD right now and it's only 8:30, so I guess I'll write a bit more.

Thanks for reading!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:00 AM   #11
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I'm glad to have stumbled upon your trip report! I'm cruising in 20 days and still have some decisions to make. Your report has been very helpful. I have a few questions . . .

The lumberjack show . . . Do you think it would be safe to purchase tickets at the door?

Did you notice any pin trading being offered?

We've booked the Victoria carriage ride through Disney, but I've researched booking on my own. Did you see many carriages available for hire? I'm feeling the same way you did. I don't want to give up my last evening on the ship OR seeing Victoria. I'd like to put off that decision with the hopes that if I cancel my current reservation, I could still walk off the ship and get a carriage if I choose to.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:41 AM   #12
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There was limited pin trading, host and hostesses at the restaurants and store clerks etc... A trading Kiosk was open for one hour each night outside the stores, and there was a officers pin trading night I believe on Friday (but we did not get to go). Never saw any good pins except on other passengers, I do not think that the crew update their lanyards very often. It seemed that if there were any fun pins from the crew, they must have been traded the week before us.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2dzb View Post
I'm glad to have stumbled upon your trip report! I'm cruising in 20 days and still have some decisions to make. Your report has been very helpful. I have a few questions . . .

The lumberjack show . . . Do you think it would be safe to purchase tickets at the door?

Did you notice any pin trading being offered?

We've booked the Victoria carriage ride through Disney, but I've researched booking on my own. Did you see many carriages available for hire? I'm feeling the same way you did. I don't want to give up my last evening on the ship OR seeing Victoria. I'd like to put off that decision with the hopes that if I cancel my current reservation, I could still walk off the ship and get a carriage if I choose to.
Hi!!

Well, in my opinion it would be very easy to purchase tickets for the lumberjack show at the door. I don't know if they get busier later in the summer, but when we went there were plenty of seats still available

I'm afraid I didn't notice any pin trading, only because no one in our group was participating. (Sorry!)

As for Victoria, the horse and carriage was my original plan as well! I tried to email one of the companies there before we left and they never got back to me, so I figured we would play it by ear.
On our walk to The Empress we passed at least 3 empty carriages. They were trying to get us to take a ride. I would have loved to if we had the time. My guess is that you will have no trouble finding a last-minute ride

Have an awesome trip!!!!!
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