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Old 02-14-2013, 03:44 PM   #31
zweihund
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It's ON!!!!!

Guess who just paid the cruise balance???

THIS GIRL.

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Old 02-14-2013, 07:07 PM   #32
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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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Old 02-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by zweihund
Guess who just paid the cruise balance???

THIS GIRL.

Whoop Whoop
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:01 PM   #34
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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 02-20-2013, 12:01 PM   #35
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I just realized today, I have not started a packing list.



What the heck is wrong with me? I need to get on that. In the meantime, a little about Vancouver.....

Last year we spent a few days in Vancouver before the cruise, and it was great. What a cool city. We were within walking distance of the bottom corner of Stanley Park AND the sea wall. We hit the aquarium, Granville Island and did some general mosey-ing around the city. Lionel found a great little local café and I have fond memories of a daily morning latte upon waking. I also have memories of the strangest portable air-conditioning unit I’ve ever seen, though I wouldn’t necessarily call them fond. Mostly the thing just freaked me out. It looked kind of like that robot from Lost in Space, one arm dangling out the window. It made this horrible noise when it was on, and when you pushed the “off” button, well, nothing changed. Creepy.

I digress.

We stayed at a place called the Rosellen Suites. What? Never heard of it? Well, it was nothing fancy-schmancy, no chocolates on your pillows or television broadcast to your bathroom mirror. Basically, it was like renting an apartment. A clean, average-sized two bedroom apartment. Sarah and Ian stayed in one room, and Lionel and I stayed in the other with Isabelle. It had a furnished kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom. And free wi-fi for up to two devices, for all of you geeks out there.

And you know who you are.

While the digs themselves didn’t blow me away, it ended up being the perfect way to spend time with our friends AND our kid. If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to wrangle them in the morning and get everyone out for breakfast, and you dread evening restaurant trips for the inevitable “I’m not tired” meltdown. It was great having the option to bring takeout home and eat it AT AN ACTUAL TABLE, and to put leftovers in the fridge.

There MAY also have been a cupcake or two in there from the local bakery. I can neither confirm nor deny this, so I’m just leaving it out there.

It was nice to be able to shut the bedroom door while Izzy napped, instead of tiptoeing around a single hotel room. And the dining room table was the perfect size for board games after baby bedtime. I would definitely stay there again. I think it would be a great choice for us and the grandparents, but I would spring for the suite with two bathrooms this time. Now that Isabelle is potty trained, a single bathroom for four adults and a squirmy toddler is just not a risk I want to take.

I definitely want to go back to the aquarium, because it was awesome. But I’d also like to see more of Stanley Park. In particular, the totems and more of the sea wall. I’d also like the chance to see other parts of the city, like Gas Town and some of the cathedrals. Maybe even the gardens. How many days do we have again?

The current TENTATIVE plan (because we haven't booked airfare yet) is to fly in and out of Vancouver, possibly with my parents. They aren't 100% solid on their pre- and post- cruise plans yet, so we may end up flying on our own and meeting them there. The other family is trying to decide whether to fly through Seattle and "train it up" or whether to just fly up and meet us in Vancouver. They'll be staying on their own, we're just not sure where yet.

Off to make my packing list. It's the little things that bring me joy.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:48 AM   #36
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Meeting with Mom next week to finalize plans for flight, hotel and excursions - it's getting real!
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:11 AM   #37
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Nice to hear so many good things about Vancouver

We are spending a few days there pre and post cruise, and we are really looking forward to it

We are planning to visit Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge as well as taking a day trip over to Victoria

The rest of the time we just want to spend walking around the city and hopefully seeing Granville Island, Stanley Park and Gas Town, oh and we definitely want to check out the aquarium

As usual I am probably trying to pack too much in but we will have 6 full days to play with
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:47 AM   #38
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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, 10:25 AM   #39
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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 03-09-2013, 02:42 PM   #40
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Nice to hear so many good things about Vancouver

We are spending a few days there pre and post cruise, and we are really looking forward to it

We are planning to visit Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge as well as taking a day trip over to Victoria

The rest of the time we just want to spend walking around the city and hopefully seeing Granville Island, Stanley Park and Gas Town, oh and we definitely want to check out the aquarium

As usual I am probably trying to pack too much in but we will have 6 full days to play with
I think when dealing with so many potential weather changes it is hard NOT to overpack. So no judgement from me!
A funny story: I was talking to my mom and my friend about my packing plan, and they both looked at each other and then back at me and said in near unison "can you send us your list?"

Granville Island is very cool, lost of neat little shops and eateries. The aquarium was AWESOME - mind you, I used to work at Sea World and I go to The Living Seas at Epcot all the time so I was not expecting to be impressed. Well, I was. We missed Gas Town last time so I definitely want to hit it on this trip, as well as more of Stanley Park. Great minds think alike

Quote:
Originally Posted by calliope View Post
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.
Woohoo, take all the notes you want! And then, document them on a color-coded excel spreadsheet.
Whut.
You will love it, love it LOVE IT. Hopefully I'll get a lot of the post TR banged out before then. I might have to send you the cliff notes before you go! lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by tink,too View Post
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!
I lived in Scotland for three years!!! I went to Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, but I also spent a lot of time near Elgin. That's where I learned to say things like "hi hi, fit like?"
And yes, I do recall being the only person in jeans and long sleeves during the "summers" there lol

I highly recommend jumping on the laundry bandwagon....but I think you are right - your normal clothes will be just fine! The Alaska weather was pretty similar to what I remembered - slightly drizzly, damp 50's to 60's most of the time. Layers, layers layers. And raingear!
Welcome "aboard" - I look forward to hearing the reports from those travelling after us as well!
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:04 PM   #41
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New Digs.

This is just a quick update, as my daughter fell asleep on the couch watching Tangled so I'm not sure how much time I've actually got...commence speed typing! GO GO GO!

We had a little planning meeting up at Starbucks the other day, my mom, my friend and I. Finalized arrival and accomodation plans a bit. My friend and her family will be flying through Seattle and spending a few days there before taking the train up to Vancouver sometime on Sunday (we sail Monday). Mom and Dad have decided, along with us, to fly straight into Vancouver and spend our pre-cruise time there....in a condo!

Because my mom is brilliant, and it never occurred to me to look into vacation condo rentals, looks like we'll be somewhere in the center of town in an updated 2/2 condo with a view and a balcony! For less than the Rosellen suites!

I totally fist-bumped her.

I think we'll end up winging it when it comes to Vancouver. My dad wants to fly a plane while he's there, we all want to do the aquarium, we all want to see more of Stanley Park and the sea wall, and Gas Town. But I don't think we're planning anything in advance, I think we'll play it by ear depending on how we are feeling and what the weather does day by day. In 2011, we were all pretty much useless for the first day and a half there due to the whole East Coast to West Coast time change. I don't want to plan it all out and then end up sleep walking through the itenerary.

As far as Alaska itself, looks like we're all booking the same excursions in Juneau (whales plus glacier) and Skagway (yukon train plus bridge), and using Ketchikan as our "do whatever you want" day. We're going to try and do Palo brunch as a group, but I think we're all doing Palo "on our own" - it'll probably end up being all on the same night, but at seperate tables. Date night!

And I might get kicked out of compulsive over-planners anonymous when I admit this, but....

I HAVE NOT DONE ANY PRE-BOOKING YET.

You heard me. We're gold members, the window has been open since Tuesday. And I haven't even been on the site. What's wrong with me, you ask? Have I gone mad, you wonder? WHAT IS MY PROBLEM????

I tell you what my problem is: sailing with noobs.

Mom and Dad's window won't open for another 10 days (they are Silver level), and our friends' another 25 (noobs!). I would be lying if I said it wasn't killing me, and that I won't be on the Disney Cruise website sometime this weekend with an itchy "book it now" finger....but there's really no point in trying to get all the best times now, knowing it may all change in about 3 weeks. I'll probably book something (or a few somethings...) for myself at the spa, and our Palo dinner, and check out excursion times for our reference. But other than that, my hands are kind of tied.

It's the price I must pay for turning people onto Disney.

More soon, including my shopping scores!
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #42
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Woohoo, take all the notes you want! And then, document them on a color-coded excel spreadsheet.
Whut.
You will love it, love it LOVE IT. Hopefully I'll get a lot of the post TR banged out before then. I might have to send you the cliff notes before you go! lol
Well, I do already have a GoogleDocs spreadsheet for the Alaska Excursions - with columns that add up the cost for our family, so we don't have to keep doing the math - with my personal favorites highlighted.

And I still have the packing and general trip advice compilations I put together before last year's trip.

We've actually been to Alaska once before, on NCL, back when I was pregnant with Lil Miss, so we do have a few things in mind already to do or not do.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #43
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I lived in Scotland for three years!!! I went to Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, but I also spent a lot of time near Elgin. That's where I learned to say things like "hi hi, fit like?"
And yes, I do recall being the only person in jeans and long sleeves during the "summers" there lol[/QUOTE]

Elgin is approx. 2 hours drive for us - we're on the NE coast. So, in response to your question, I'd say "nae bad, fit like yersel?" Now, I promise to limit my use of the Doric on the Dis from now on, honest.

It's hard to believe that this time last year we were having a "heat wave" and folks were out and about in shorts, today it's been struggling to get above 5 degrees and it has just been snowing! Alaska in the summer doesn't sound too bad at all, and we're going to stop off in Las Vegas for a week before the cruise to catch some sunshine first.
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #44
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Hey, Erica, did you see there's a new Passporter for DCL coming out at the end of this month?

I remember reading in an earlier trip report that you recommended that book. I've been hemming and hawing about it, and then saw today that there's a new one coming.

Now, it's coming to my house!
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #45
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Elgin is approx. 2 hours drive for us - we're on the NE coast. So, in response to your question, I'd say "nae bad, fit like yersel?" Now, I promise to limit my use of the Doric on the Dis from now on, honest.

It's hard to believe that this time last year we were having a "heat wave" and folks were out and about in shorts, today it's been struggling to get above 5 degrees and it has just been snowing! Alaska in the summer doesn't sound too bad at all, and we're going to stop off in Las Vegas for a week before the cruise to catch some sunshine first.


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Hey, Erica, did you see there's a new Passporter for DCL coming out at the end of this month?

I remember reading in an earlier trip report that you recommended that book. I've been hemming and hawing about it, and then saw today that there's a new one coming.

Now, it's coming to my house!
I'm jealous! I probably need to invest in a new one, it really is a great resource. Enjoy it! I highly recommend color-coded post-it flags.

So, I did finally get on the DCL site last night and I may or may not have booked a massage....
I also got to check out the main times for our excursions, which seem to either be at ridiculous o'clock or right over lunchtime. I have to do a little investigation into what time things open in Skagway and Juneau, which are our early ports. 7:15 for Skagway, and 6:15 (!!!) for Juneau. And I'm thinking....what is there to do at 6:15 am in Juneau? I mean, besides get coffee?

I realize, however, we East-coasters are at a slight advantage when it comes to early excursions....considering only partially changing our schedules not only to put an early excursion into the realm of possibilities for folks travelling with toddlers, but also to ease the transition back to real life once we return to reality at the end of the cruise.

Thoughts?
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