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Old 06-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #1
MickeyMomTo2
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Planning a WONDERful Alaskan Cruise in 31 Days: An OCD Mom Survives Booking VGT!

My name is Lauren, and I am a 39yo married mom of an 11yo son and an 8yo daughter. I am an obsessive compulsive planner, particularly when it comes to Disney vacations. In 2011, we went to Disney World 6 times (thanks to my wonderful husband who gave us annual passes as a gift). As amazing as that was, we decided we needed to work in some other travel experiences for the kids. In 2012, we visited the Grand Canyon and went on a Bahamian Disney cruise. This year, we are going back to WDW in November, and we planned to go to San Francisco/Yosemite in July. We considered a Disney Alaskan cruise, but the price seemed steep. We put that idea on the back burner.

For an OCD planner, putting it on the back burner means that even though I didn't think we were going to go to Alaska, I still spent lots of time reading about the trip on the Disboards (this info is now going to be very handy). My husband and I also stalked the Disney website, paying attention to prices. Last Wednesday (6/5/2013), my husband called me to tell me that DCL website showed a VGT rate for the 7/8/13 Alaskan cruise. Our San Fran/Yosemite plans were flexible and able to be cancelled, so we were seriously considering the cruise. By the next morning, however, the VGT rate for 4 people was gone. Okay, no big deal...we had a great vacation to California planned anyway, but we were a little disappointed to miss out. Friday morning, I checked again, and the deal was back! We decided to jump on it! We are sailing to Alaska on 7/8/2013.

With only 31 days to plan, make reservations, pack, get passports, etc..., my OCD planning mind is on overdrive. I hope to use this thread to document the next four weeks, and I plan to include a trip report when I return. All are welcome to join our journey to the land of the midnight sun!

Here's my crew:

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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You'll love Alaska its amazing, happy planning.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
kmeagan
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Smile Help!! Having a hard time choosing Alaskan port adventures !

I have cruised on Disney before but this is our first trip to Alaska and I am beyond excited! Any top recommendations for port advenutres in Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau?

Thanks,
Kathy
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:23 AM   #4
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I have cruised on Disney before but this is our first trip to Alaska and I am beyond excited! Any top recommendations for port advenutres in Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau?

Thanks,
Kathy
In Skagway we did the Yukon Suspension Bridge and White Pass Railway.

In Juneau we did the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Tour.

In Ketchikan we didn't book a tour just explored the town and went to the Totem Heritage Centre.

We enjoyed all our tours.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:40 AM   #5
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In Skagway we did the Yukon Suspension Bridge and White Pass Railway.

In Juneau we did the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Tour.

In Ketchikan we didn't book a tour just explored the town and went to the Totem Heritage Centre.

We enjoyed all our tours.
Can you walk to the Totem Heritage Center from the pier? We have an excursion planned at 1:00 (I plan to update this thread with those plans this afternoon), but I was wondering if we could walk and see some totem poles before our excursion.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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Can you walk to the Totem Heritage Center from the pier? We have an excursion planned at 1:00 (I plan to update this thread with those plans this afternoon), but I was wondering if we could walk and see some totem poles before our excursion.
Yes we walked from the pier. We took the funicular up part of the way, I think it was $2 although we didn't pay as there was no one there to take the money. It was $5 to see the totems.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
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Airfare, and Hotels, and Excursions, Oh, My!

After we jumped on the VGT rate last Friday (6/7), my head starting spinning with the details we needed to take care of. We had a trip booked to San Francisco, so the first thing I did was cancel our flights and hotels there. DH is a frequent traveler, so we use his Southwest points to fly and his Hilton points for hotels. Thankfully, points are easy to cancel and rebook. It didn't take long to make changes.

Here are our flight details:

We are flying nonstop to Seattle (because we can fly there on points) on July 5th. We leave TN around 11:00 and arrive at Seatac around 2:30. This will give us all of Saturday and part of Sunday to explore Seattle (and a few days to adjust to the time change before the cruise--our kids do NOT fall back easily).

Our return flight is on Monday, July 15th at 3:30PM. We will have to self-disembark the ship and get back to Seattle in 5 hours in order to be at the airport with 1 1/2 -2 hours before our flight, but I have spoken to several friends in the Seattle area, and they assure me this will be plenty of time. I hope so!

Hotels:

We plan to stay near the airport in Seattle for two nights and use the light rail to get into downtown. On Sunday evening, we will stay near the airport in Vancouver. Both Seattle and Vancouver hotels are Hilton properties, and staying near the airport takes fewer points than downtown. We plan to rent a car (again, we are using DH's points from traveling) in Seattle and drive ourselves to Vancouver. We will drive ourselves to the port, and our car will be waiting for us when we need to make a speedy departure after the cruise.

Excursions:

Now the fun part! I am very excited about the excursions we booked. I booked all the excursions on my own after researching tripadvisor, the Dis, and Cruise Critic. Many of them are the same tours offered by DCL, but I got a price break by booking on my own. I have several hours of buffer time at all three ports, so I don't think we will have a problem making it back to the ship before it sails. I am so glad that I had spent HOURS reading about excursions and options before we even knew we would take this cruise. This is where my travel OCD comes in handy!

In Skagway, we are planning a Glacier Discovery by Helicopter in the morning and the Sled Dog and Musher's Camp in the afternoon. I decided to book the helicopter on our first day so that if it gets rained out, we can try again in Juneau. I really think the Musher's Camp will be my DD's favorite excursion of the entire trip. Playing with the puppies will be a highlight for her!

In Juneau, we are doing whale watching with Alaska Galore in the morning. In the afternoon, we plan to hike at the Mendenhall glacier on our own, unless our helicopter/glacier trip gets cancelled in Skagway.

In Ketchikan, we plan to do the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour, and we hope to check out some totem poles. I feel like I need some pictures with these! I was really excited to get tickets to the Crab Fisherman's Tour. It was sold out on their website and through Disney. I checked with Shoretrips.com, and they still had some tickets available. They have an A+ rating with the BBB, and the reviews for them online are positive, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that our tickets are legitimate! The tour looks very fun!

I have lots more of our planning details to share! We are getting very excited!
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyMomTo2 View Post
My name is Lauren, and I am a 39yo married mom of an 11yo son and an 8yo daughter. I am an obsessive compulsive planner, particularly when it comes to Disney vacations. In 2011, we went to Disney World 6 times (thanks to my wonderful husband who gave us annual passes as a gift). As amazing as that was, we decided we needed to work in some other travel experiences for the kids. In 2012, we visited the Grand Canyon and went on a Bahamian Disney cruise. This year, we are going back to WDW in November, and we planned to go to San Francisco/Yosemite in July. We considered a Disney Alaskan cruise, but the price seemed steep. We put that idea on the back burner.

For an OCD planner, putting it on the back burner means that even though I didn't think we were going to go to Alaska, I still spent lots of time reading about the trip on the Disboards (this info is now going to be very handy). My husband and I also stalked the Disney website, paying attention to prices. Last Wednesday (6/5/2013), my husband called me to tell me that DCL website showed a VGT rate for the 7/8/13 Alaskan cruise. Our San Fran/Yosemite plans were flexible and able to be cancelled, so we were seriously considering the cruise. By the next morning, however, the VGT rate for 4 people was gone. Okay, no big deal...we had a great vacation to California planned anyway, but we were a little disappointed to miss out. Friday morning, I checked again, and the deal was back! We decided to jump on it! We are sailing to Alaska on 7/8/2013.

With only 31 days to plan, make reservations, pack, get passports, etc..., my OCD planning mind is on overdrive. I hope to use this thread to document the next four weeks, and I plan to include a trip report when I return. All are welcome to join our journey to the land of the midnight sun!

Here's my crew:

Not to worry. I cannot tell you how many time I looked at the website before deciding on a cruise to Alaska. I took my mother (82 years old) and my 14 year old son on the Wonder last year to Alaska. I cannot begin to tell you what a fabulous time we had. The weather was perfect, the excursions were amazing, and the scenery was breathtaking. We did an excursion in every port (except Victoria).

In Skagway it was the Yukon Expedition which included a delicious lunch and the train down the White Pass.

In Juneau our excursion was The Best of Juneau (and let me tell you - it was). Mendenhall Glacier, Whale watching, and a amazing lunch at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island

Ketchikan was City Highlights, Totems, and Creek Street by Trolley - the totems were very interesting. Had I known this tour was going to end so quickly, I would have booked the lumberjack show as well.

Because Victoria was our last night on board and we had to get our luggage packed and out by 11:00 we just took the free shuttle bus into town and walked around. I was thinking about Butchart Gardens but I'm glad we didn't. By the time we arrived in port it was starting to get dark. Don't know how many flowers you can see in the dark. Not too much to do in town. We walked around on the main street (most of the stores were closed) and then took the bus back to the ship. We were back in time for dinner.

Loved Alaska so much - we are doing it again (this time with Carnival - long story).

Hope you have just as an amazing time as we did.
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January 2015 - Disney Dream to Bahamas
August 2014 - Pride of America to Hawaii
March 2014 - Disney Magic to Bahamas (DS birthday cruise)
October 2013 - Disney Dream to Bahamas
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August 2012 - Disney Wonder to Alaska
September 2011 - Disney Dream to Bahamas
July 2010 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean
August 2009 - Disney Wonder to Bahamas
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doodles811 View Post
Not to worry. I cannot tell you how many time I looked at the website before deciding on a cruise to Alaska. I took my mother (82 years old) and my 14 year old son on the Wonder last year to Alaska. I cannot begin to tell you what a fabulous time we had. The weather was perfect, the excursions were amazing, and the scenery was breathtaking. We did an excursion in every port (except Victoria).

In Skagway it was the Yukon Expedition which included a delicious lunch and the train down the White Pass.

In Juneau our excursion was The Best of Juneau (and let me tell you - it was). Mendenhall Glacier, Whale watching, and a amazing lunch at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island

Ketchikan was City Highlights, Totems, and Creek Street by Trolley - the totems were very interesting. Had I known this tour was going to end so quickly, I would have booked the lumberjack show as well.

Because Victoria was our last night on board and we had to get our luggage packed and out by 11:00 we just took the free shuttle bus into town and walked around. I was thinking about Butchart Gardens but I'm glad we didn't. By the time we arrived in port it was starting to get dark. Don't know how many flowers you can see in the dark. Not too much to do in town. We walked around on the main street (most of the stores were closed) and then took the bus back to the ship. We were back in time for dinner.

Loved Alaska so much - we are doing it again (this time with Carnival - long story).

Hope you have just as an amazing time as we did.
Sounds like you had an amazing trip! We won't go to Victoria on this cruise because we are sailing out of Vancouver, but I am looking forward to our adventures in the other ports. I hope your return trip this August is wonderful as well!
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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Vancouver

We will be leaving Seattle on Sunday afternoon to drive to Vancouver. We are renting a car at the airport. We are getting the car free with my husband's points, so even though we will be paying for parking at the port, it's still cheaper than paying for a shuttle service. We plan to leave mid-afternoon. (It would be good to leave earlier so we could see more of Vancouver, but we don't want to pay for an extra day with the car.)

Our hotel in Vancouver is near the airport, so I'm not sure we will drive all the way into the city. I hate to miss out on seeing the sights, but we will see how it goes. We may just see what time we arrive and play it by ear.

On Monday morning, we will drive from the airport area to the port. We have reserved a parking place in the garage there. Our port arrival time is not until 12:30, but I'm wondering if they are picky about this in Vancouver. I'm thinking the port arrival times were added to accommodate the Dream and Fantasy in Port Canaveral, so I'm not sure how strict they are about this with the classic ships. The only reason we would like to arrive earlier to board is we expect we will be assigned the second seating for dinner. We are waitlisted for main now. If we get main dining before we board, I won't be in a hurry, but if we don't, I'd really like to get to Studio Sea as early as possible to request a change.

I guess we may not see much of Vancouver. I've heard it is beautiful. I won't worry about it too much, since I know the trip will be filled with amazing sights!
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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I'd plan to arrive as early as poss. The queue to get through security was HUGE when we went and another TR i've read this year said the same thing.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:42 PM   #12
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I'd plan to arrive as early as poss. The queue to get through security was HUGE when we went and another TR i've read this year said the same thing.
Were they asking for port arrival times or just letting everyone in? Do you know what time the port opens?
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:09 PM   #13
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We got our room assignment. We are in a 5C. Would have been ecstatic to get a 4, but very thankful to avoid a whitewall verandah. Now that we have an assignment, it seems even closer. Very excited!
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:27 PM   #14
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What do 5 C and 4 mean?

Yes, I pulled the trigger about the Bering Sea even though I wasn't 100% sure - I figured the $25 cancellation fee is worth the peace of mind of knowing someone is booked. I'm glad we did because I think it'll be a unique-to-Alaska experience.


What time is your Alaska Galore tour? They only have the earliest one available. I'm not a morning person...

Have you heard anything about Orca Enterprises? Who are you doing the Glacier tour with?

So excited!

Last edited by travelvr; 06-26-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #15
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What do 5 C and 4 mean?

Yes, I pulled the trigger about the Bering Sea even though I wasn't 100% sure - I figured the $25 cancellation fee is worth the peace of mind of knowing someone is booked. I'm glad we did because I think it'll be a unique-to-Alaska experience.

What time is your Alaska Galore tour? They only have the earliest one available. I'm not a morning person...

Have you heard anything about Orca Enterprises? Who are you doing the Glacier tour with?

So excited!
Category 4 rooms are on deck 8 and are larger than other veranda rooms by about 40 sq. ft. Category 5 rooms are broken down into A, B, and C based on the deck and whether they are midship or not. Category 6's have solid verandas (instead of see-through). You can see the deck plan and categories here:

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/me...ps/mw-deck.pdf

I think our Alaska Galore trip is around 8ish. We are going to have LOTS of trouble sleeping in because of the time difference, so this will not be a problem for us. Orca does have good reviews with trip advisor. I am sure they would be good, too.

Our Glacier Adventure in Skagway is booked through M&M Tours, but Temsco is the company that operates the tour.

I agree about the fisherman tour being unique. We thought about the Lumberjack show, but its sister show is actually in Pigeon Forge, TN, which is not far from us. We want to do things we can only do in Alaska!
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