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Old 09-12-2012, 09:11 PM   #1
zweihund
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Geeks on a boat, now with more geeks! Literally. Alaska 2013 planning starts now!

*wipes the dust off the monitor*

Hola! It’s been awhile. Like…..a WHILE. If you’re old like me, you may remember a few TR’s from several years ago detailing much drinking of cocktails amidst playing of nerd games. You know, like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne and Agricola and – oh, wait, maybe you don’t know. Better left unsaid, I guess. Since 2008 or so, however, I’ve been mostly absent. Why? Because of THIS:



Oh sure, she’s cute and all. But she sucks up free time as if it were a pack of fruit snacks. Berry flavored.

So I’ll back up just a moment. I am Erica. 37-year-old self-professed geek. Occupational therapist by day. Occasionally employed (and sometimes even paid) freelance writer. Mom. Which feels strange to say even now, nearly three years in. My hubby is Lionel, a 40-year-old technology teacher who sucked me into his world of geek about 12 years ago. We were set up by mutual friends, and have pretty much been inseparable since. I used to be a nice, mostly normal girl. And then he introduced me to board games, sarcasm and the art of the cocktail. We’ve been married for 8 years.



About three years ago, we were blessed with our little geek-in-training. Isabelle, known to most as Izzy. Like Daddy she is tall and loves to talk. Like Mommy, she is detail oriented (she lines up her magnets on the fridge, and likes to organize her crayons by size….she’ll graduate to color-coded excel spreadsheets before her 4th birthday). We’ve been exposing her to Disney since before she was born. In fact, her “first trip” to the Magic Kingdom took place about two months before she was born. She doesn’t play favorites – she has equal love for princesses, fairies, Pixar and Mickey and pals.

The three of us at Magic Kingdom last month:



Our first cruise was in 2005, and we’ve been cruising yearly ever since. Izzy’s first cruise was in 2010, when she was just 10 months old. This trip to Alaska will be number 9 for Lionel, 8 for me (I was too pregnant to attend a friend’s wedding on the Wonder in 2009, Lionel subbed for me as a bridesmaid. True story) and 4 for Izzy.

A word about me: like many on the DIS, I am a crazy over-planner. At the same time, however, I am not a person who books up the entire vacation or follows a strict “fun schedule.” I describe it like this: if I’m spending money on the vacation of a lifetime, I want to do so with no regrets. Therefore, I will research every potential excursion, complete recon on all of the ports and leave no stone unturned when it comes to making the most of our time in Vancouver and Alaska. I try not to go too crazy when plans change at the last minute. Which, let’s face it, ALWAYS seems to happen.

If you’ve made it this far, be warned: you are about to embark upon 10 months of crazy. During this time, I will post color-coded spreadsheets, bargain bin finds, packing lists (and possibly diagrams – more on that later) and probably a few “crises” which will be in no way TRUE crises, and more like decisions over formalwear and possibly my daughter outgrowing “the perfect shoes.” We cruise June 17, 2013.

Supporting cast:
  1. Mom and Dad. My parents are coming! Dad turns 60 in 2013, and Alaska is on his bucket list. After seeing our pics from 2011 he thrilled us by choosing the Wonder as his means of transportation. They have been on the Wonder once before, in 2010, for Isabelle’s first cruise.
  2. Karissa, Brian and Liam. We’ve known Karissa and Brian since we went through puppy class with our practice children together back in 2005. We’ve since discovered that disciplining human children is shockingly similar. Liam will be almost two when we sail. We cruised together on our mini Dream vacation earlier this year (their first Disney cruise) and they enjoyed it so much, they joined us at the Alaska booking desk.
  3. Stefanie, Jason and Paige. Paige is Izzy’s little buddy from preschool, and we are fortunate to not only like her parents, but to also have similar senses of humor and interests. We regularly hit the Disney parks together as a family (and sometimes sans kids), and after some minor coercion tactics they agreed to join us as well. This will be their first Disney cruise.

So now we get to celebrate my Dad’s milestone birthday in style, hang with some of our best buddies, and my parents get to see what life would be like if they had two extra grandkids. Because they’re not getting more from us anytime soon.

Next up: 50 pound limit my hiney! You try taking a 3-year old to Alaska for a week!
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:28 PM   #3
zweihund
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So I just realized my husband turned 41 this year, not 40.

WIFE FAIL.

It'll be our little secret, 'k?
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
Tink rules
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that's not a fail.. you're just making him feel younger!!
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'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, t'will be in the valley of love and delight.

MichelleAll it takes is faith, trust and a little bit of PIXIE DUST!!! Dream of Small worlds and large Mice!Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten. This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.
Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says "Oh Crap, she's up!"
1972 - 1986.... Various times while visiting Gram and Gramps!!! 1986 - Off Site Sheraton 192...With Beverly 1987 - Same but this time with Mom 1994 - Poly with Em 1996 - Disney Institute & Poly & Grand Floridian w/Mom 2000 - Grand Floridian w/M 2005 - AS Music & Grand Floridian w/Mom The GRAND Tour!!! Panama Canal WB Repo Cruise 5/2008
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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viva le mochaccino!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oybolshoi View Post
viva le mochaccino!!
Sing it, sister!
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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You're back! You're back! Oh....I am SO excited to read one of your TRs again-

Congrats on the little one....
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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Your excursion choices look great

Lovely family photos - you little girl is a cutie

I must admit the one thing I haven't really looked into is where to eat and more importantly where to get a good cup of coffee, so any suggestions you have would be great!

Our wish list looks like this at the moment

Skagway - White Pass Railway & Trail Camp
Juneau - Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier
Ketchikan - Rainforest Hike & Totem Park (booked this independently with Tracy at Wild Wolf Tours)

We are trying to keep the excursion lengths pretty short so we have time for a wander around the ports (max length is around 3 hours)

We've been back and forth over these so many times but I'm happy with our choices now and think they give a nice mix

Do you think the excursions will sell out quickly? I have second choices if I can't grab these on my booking date
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonPie View Post
We are also on the 9/2/13 Alaskan cruise I have planned our shore excursions, then replanned them and then changed my mind entirely. I asked DD did she want to see bears or whales. She voted for bears so we are (probably) taking the Taku Lodge float plane and salmon bake tour. Most everyone says that they have seen bears there. It is a cruise for DH and my 25th anniversary and we are taking the kids. DS 24, DS 22 and DD 11. I will be watching your trip report closely for more tips for our cruise. One thing we have done before is take pirate outfits for pireate night. Well since it is not such a big deal on the Alaskan cruise I got pirate t-shirts from 6dollarshirts.com. They are cute and will do the trick. I also always pack a good boxed wine, yes there is a good boxed wine. I hope I will have luggage room to do the same this time. It makes good space to bring things home that I buy on the trip since the wine will be gone.
I do not scoff at the boxed wine! Good thinking with the pirate outfits. We did opt out of the fish extender exchange on our 2011 Alaska trip simply because we didn't want to try to lug all of that stuff back home PLUS whatever we bought. Last year with only ONE kid we ended up with:
  • A Belle dress
  • A giant stuffed Minnie Mouse
  • A stuffed seal from the whale tour
  • "Wolf" from the Eagles and Totems tour
  • Assorted shirts/hats for us
  • A solid stone bear carving
  • An orca puzzle
  • A few coffee mugs....

I know there was more than that, but I've lost track at this point. I'd save all the room possible for bring-backs....we had no intention of getting that much stuff - it just kind of happened. Slowly. Thank you, packing gods, for inventing Space Bags. Sucked the air out of whatever I could and crammed it into the small suitcase. Which I'm pretty sure weighed as much as the large one for the flight back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Your excursion choices look great

Lovely family photos - you little girl is a cutie

I must admit the one thing I haven't really looked into is where to eat and more importantly where to get a good cup of coffee, so any suggestions you have would be great!

Our wish list looks like this at the moment

Skagway - White Pass Railway & Trail Camp
Juneau - Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier
Ketchikan - Rainforest Hike & Totem Park (booked this independently with Tracy at Wild Wolf Tours)

We are trying to keep the excursion lengths pretty short so we have time for a wander around the ports (max length is around 3 hours)

We've been back and forth over these so many times but I'm happy with our choices now and think they give a nice mix

Do you think the excursions will sell out quickly? I have second choices if I can't grab these on my booking date
Thanks!
Last year I booked in the 90 day window and we got everything we wanted. In fact, we originally booked the Misty Fjords boat tour and changed our minds at the 75 day mark. We were able to change to the Eagle tour without any problems. Granted, I don't think we chose the most "popular" excursions, but from what I read and heard from others there was plenty to go around.

I am starting to get excited now. But then I priced Vancouver flights and started to panic again.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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It's ON!!!!!

Guess who just paid the cruise balance???

THIS GIRL.

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Old 02-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zweihund
Guess who just paid the cruise balance???

THIS GIRL.

Whoop Whoop
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:01 PM   #12
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I am signing on for the ride. Our sailing is not until May 2014, but I am starting now in the planning and researching. I am sure I can learn a lot from your planning tips.

This will be our first trip to Alaska, so it is truly exciting to hear that you enjoyed it so much that you are going back again so soon.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zweihund View Post
Guess who just paid the cruise balance???

THIS GIRL.
Woot! Woot!

I'm following this thread closely, since I only wish I could be as good at obsessive pre-planning as you. Also, I've really enjoyed your other trip reports.

We're sailing on the Wonder to Alaska in early August. We loved our MR trip last spring (and are very sad that the only sailing from L.A. this year is the repo).

So, I'll be over here, taking notes.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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I've just found your PTR and I'm in! Must say your DD is a real cutie.

We're sailing on the 15th July Alaskan cruise - first time to Alaska & first time on the Wonder. We're now PIF too - yay!!!

I'm not stressing too much about what to pack - being from Scotland we'll just pick some stuff out of our wardrobes - but I am concerned about luggage weight restrictions!

I did find your comment about 80 degrees not being hot especially amusing - to us, that's a heat wave! Yes, we are the folks who visit WDW in Winter and wear shorts & tees!
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zweihund View Post

A word about me: like many on the DIS, I am a crazy over-planner. At the same time, however, I am not a person who books up the entire vacation or follows a strict “fun schedule.” I describe it like this: if I’m spending money on the vacation of a lifetime, I want to do so with no regrets. Therefore, I will research every potential excursion, complete recon on all of the ports and leave no stone unturned when it comes to making the most of our time in Vancouver and Alaska. I try not to go too crazy when plans change at the last minute. Which, let’s face it, ALWAYS seems to happen.

If you’ve made it this far, be warned: you are about to embark upon 10 months of crazy. During this time, I will post color-coded spreadsheets, bargain bin finds, packing lists (and possibly diagrams – more on that later) and probably a few “crises” which will be in no way TRUE crises, and more like decisions over formalwear and possibly my daughter outgrowing “the perfect shoes.” We cruise June 17, 2013.
Woo hoo! So glad I stumbled on this pre-trip report! I love planning but like you no strict schedule on vacation! Just know your options when things change. I'm looking forward to following your thread!
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