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Old 07-29-2011, 06:04 PM   #1
I'm with Beast
eandesmom's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 13,788

You’ll never get me on a cruise. Unless it’s to ALASKA! Recap and New PTR Link! 2/1

Ok first off let me start out by saying that I did not utter those words. The ones in the title of this report that is. That would be my beloved husband Jeff.

For as long as I can recall he’s been anti cruise. He has visions of being stuck on a boat with nothing to do with people he has nothing in common with. The thought of it gives him major anxiety and as a result it’s not something I’d explored much with him as a family vacation option, at least until 4 years ago. Back in 2007 we were in Key West on a “date” trip (as we like to call our getaways sans kids) and saw a DCL ship cruise in (not sure if it was the Magic or the Wonder) and were very very intrigued by the idea of doing a Disney Cruise as a family and specifically doing the Key West itinerary. We love Key West! Imagine our sticker shock upon returning home and looking into it as a possible summer vacation when we realized that just like the resorts, DCL isn’t built for a family of 6. Two staterooms for a family that typically rented condo’s on most trips anywhere, just wasn’t in our budget. And so the idea, which was lovely but far far out of reach, was put aside with no real thought of revisiting.

I’ve been on two cruises in my life so it’s not like I have a huge basis for comparison. One, in high school on a band trip, in Greece on some old random boat in the middle of the world cup, filled with crazy greek teenagers on a band trip. I’ll spare you all the actual year. Good times but not something I’d fly the family over to try as a first venture. The second was in 98, a Carnival cruise out of Tampa with my ex that included NOLA on the itinerary. It was a fun cruise in a lot of ways, not so in others but it did give me a better feel for what cruising as an adult might be like. As a result I could actually see where Jeff might have issues with it and have it really not be his thing. He’s not a planned excursion kind of guy or a lounge around the pool all day on deck kind of guy either so it’s not something I’ve ever pushed. That is, until DCL announced they were going to Alaska. I’d actually been eyeing the Mexican Riviera cruise with DCL and had hoped to do that over President’s week this past winter. But, between the time I thought about it, and could actually book it not only did prices jump, it also seemed very unlikely I could convince my husband who has zero desire to go to Mexico (at least with how things are right now). So I didn’t bring it up. I’d kind of forgotten about Alaska until I went to check on the Mexico idea. Now this was something he might go for! I couldn’t have brought up the idea before as we’d have been in the 2 stateroom scenario (if we are going to do it, it was go verandah or forget it so the 2 inside stateroom thing just wasn’t appealing to either of us) but the reality is, things have changed. Though we are a family of 6, we are a blended one, the older two splitting their time with us, and their mom. The oldest, Taylor is off to college this year. SCARY! But, as a result, he is working as much as he can and didn’t want to take any more time off. The next one is our crazy busy athlete, Kendall. For those of you following over from previous trip reports you know the saga well of her sports schedule and our attempts to schedule family trips around it. It has become next to impossible to schedule anything that doesn’t conflict with a camp or a tournament of some sort. We did a 2 week Orlando trip last summer that we specifically scheduled around all potential conflicts to make it work and it was a major major ordeal with her mom, almost an 11th hour situation of “is she coming or not” type thing. Though we pulled it off and won that battle, we’ve given up trying to win the war. We made a pact 2 years ago, when we didn’t take a vacation at all, trying to make sure all 4 could go (and there wasn’t a single week where they could) that we wouldn’t let it happen again.

Gingerly I broached the subject. I knew the idea of a cruise would mean acknowledging up front, months in advance, that we were giving up on trying getting the older two to go. The reality was that the week that worked best had slightly lower rates and was definitely in the middle of high school soccer tryouts for Kendall and potentially in the middle of getting ready for college starting (not knowing where he’d be going at the time we booked) and so even if we could afford to take all 4, chances are they couldn’t/wouldn’t want to go anyway. And so, the decision was made to book a cruise for 4 and to have a separate vacation for all 6 earlier in the summer. You’ll see how that part played out soon.

I was surprised at how easily my husband agreed to all of this. Bottom line is he has always wanted to go to Alaska and has mentioned more than once that he thought a cruise would be the way to do it; he just assumed it would be when we were older. However, the idea of going, being able to take the kids but knowing we’d be on a ship with tons of things for them to do (and thus have some adult only time) was hugely appealing. Add a balcony with a view and voila, we were booked!

I also think he figures that it gets him out of going to WDW for at least another year. As for me, I’m hoping he loves it, that we all love it and that I can book another one while on board.
They still offer a couple of those Key West itineraries…..not that I have dates picked out or anything like that.

Enough of the preamble!

Here’s my entire gang on our only cruise to date. An Illuminations Cruise last August which included my MIL and her DH.

And here’s the 4 people actually going on this cruise (August 23-30), also from our trip last August.

Myself, DH Jeff, Evan (12) and Eric (10...almost 11). Eric's birthday is actually 6 days after we return so we will be doing a little bit of pre-birthday celebration on the cruise. The almost 11 is kind of a big deal for the cruise as being 10 technically keeps him out of the tween club. We will be seeing if there is flexbility there or not.

Our BFP (Big Fat Plan) looks like this. As of today. I reserve the right to change my mind over the next 3 weeks. I've changed things more than once already but we are getting close to the wire.

Tuesday 8/23.

Drive from Seattle to VAN. My mom (bless her heart!) will be driving us. We’ll be putting together our FE bags in the car which should make the drive pretty painless. We’ll treat her to lunch in VAN before we get on the boat, boarding on the later side with the hope of being able to carry those carryons (i.e. beer, wine, rum lol) straight to the room.

I currently have a spa mani and pedi booked starting at 5:30. We have second seating so this should work. While I had great intentions of getting it done prior to the trip, my last 4 trips would indicate otherwise so I decided to quit deluding myself and get it done on board. Will my family care that I’m ditching them right after we board? We will see.

Wednesday 8/24
At Sea, no plans

Thursday 8/25
Tracy Arm Day. I have Palo booked for brunch at 10:30. I’ve been looking to book brunch for what feels like forever and amazingly, it opened up 2 days ago.

Friday 8/26.

We plan to zipline in Skagway. Originally we’d planned to do the White Pass Railway. Which, we’d still like to do. But a couple of things made us change our mind.
1. AK excursions are PRICEY!
2. A float plane excursion was a must (for those who know us, no surprise there)
3. I let the kids stack rank the narrowed down list and surprise….zipline beat the train.
4. I have really skinny kids who don’t weigh enough for some of the other ziplines (in Ketchikan) and this one’s cheaper. LOL

Basically it came down to the float plane trip that we all wanted eats up the bulk of the excursion budget. Which meant only 2 port excursions, not 3. And I’m ok with that. I have some other plans noodling around but I’ll get to those later.

We have Palo booked for dinner that night.

Saturday 8/27
This is our BIG excursion, the Enchanted Taku Glacier Lodge Flight and Feast. I also hope to have time to ride the Tramway.

Sunday 8/28.
Our no plans day. Still noodling on this one. Kind of fun to just not have a plan though.

Monday 8/29
At Sea, no plans.

Tuesday 8/30
Disembark, get picked up by my mom and make our way home. Very likely we will stop either in Bellingham (Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro) or Mt. Vernon (Skagit Valley Brewery) for lunch. Both have great food and good beer, two of our favorite things. Excellent homemade root beer too for those who like it Sarsaparilla style.

Chapter links

Whistler, BC pre-trip
A pre trip trip
Another one bites the dust

Planning and Packing

Day 1 - Vancouver
And we're off!
A spa with a view

Day 2 - At Sea

Fog Horn, Hecate Horn
A formal affair

Day 3 - Tracy Arm

I'd like her wardrobe
FE Goodies
Seals, seals, everywhere!

Day 4 - Skagway

Friday is our favorite day!
Date night!

Day 5 - Juneau
The best hot chocolate EVER

Lunch in the wilderness
Bye Bye Taku, we'll miss you!

Day 6 - Ketchikan
Characters and More Characters!
Puddle Splashing!
It's a small world, and it's full of pirates!

Day 7 - At Sea
Last day????? NO WAY!
A setting sun
Till we meet again

Day 8 - Vancouver
The dreaded disembarking!

General Info
Seattle hotel recommendations

Last edited by eandesmom; 02-01-2012 at 03:22 PM.
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