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Old 06-16-2013, 11:08 PM   #31
mom2twokids
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Day 3 Tracy Arm

Today was probably my least favorite day of the cruise. Having said that, my least favorite day on a Disney cruise is way better than spending the day at home!! I just found there to be a lack of activities scheduled for the day throughout the ship and even the kids clubs were lacking activities. Thankfully that doesn't bother my kids, they love every minute there activity or no activity.
For me, I wasn't interested in sitting on the deck for 4 hours. I don't have thick enough skin for that and no number of blankets is going to make that warm enough for me!

We had breakfast in Triton's today which always takes longer but it is so nice to know you will have a table and you don't have to battle the crowds at the buffet. I think if we didn't have the kids we would have eaten here every day.

We wandered the ship a bit but the kids wanted to go to the kids club, so off they went.

I forgot to mention that my parents had spotted whales twice on our first sea day. Once they were just in their stateroom looking outside and they saw a couple of whales. The second time they were sitting by guest services looking out the window and there they were. Apparently the second sighting was quite the show. The whales were in and out of the water quite a few times and splashing their tales. It made the cruise for my parents as they have never seen anything like this.

I hunted down my parents who had found a cozy spot on deck 10 right behind the partition of glass so they could watch the approach into Tracy Arm. They had been sitting there well before 11:00 am so that they would get good seats. Believe it or not, my parents spotted their third whale spotting! We still hadn't seen any, but they had seen 5 of them in total. This time it passed right along the front of the ship. They were pretty excited about this.

Unfortunately around 11:30 people started piling in in front of the glass to watch the view, blocking my parents view. I don't blame the people for standing where they were. It's just unfortunate that my dad had no other option that was sheltered to view the scenery as he can't see over the railings if he is right up along side them.

On deck 10 they serve hot chocolate and cookies and pass out blankets to anyone who is interested. It's a great set up, but it sure got packed in there by 12:30 and there was no space at all. If my dad was able to we probably would have gone to the secret deck on 7 as I don't think that got too busy at all.

My husband took the 3 oldest kids for swim while I joined my parents for lunch with our baby. The kids had a lot of fun swimming. It's nice to have empty pools and many people joked that it was only the Canadians that actually went swimming in the pools, but we are just fine with that!
As a side note - My husband did attempt to take our 2 year old swimming the day before but he said the water was not warm at all and it was drizzling a bit so they got right back out and decided they would try some other time.

We went down to beach blanket for the special Alaska BBQ they around 11:45 as this is when our server told us to arrive, even though it didn't start until 12:00. Apparently this is what every server told all their tables, as it was PACKED and there was no way we were ever going to find a table. After getting a little bit of food we decided to just go back to the room and eat it there. The decks were packed, the buffet was packed and it was too cold to eat at the tables on deck 9 that weren't sheltered. I later attempted the buffet again and it was almost empty around 1:30.

After lunch my husband took the two younger kids for a much needed nap and I took the two oldest to wander the ship. If you are interested in seeing the characters in their Alaskan outfits, be sure to wander deck 4 and have your camera ready. There was no mention of these characters being out and we just kept running into them. It's unfortunate that we had no idea as I would have been really sad if we had missed them all. Luckily we ran into Mickey, Minnie and Donald on deck 4 and Pluto on deck 9.







You will find the characters in the lobby later that evening, but it's not the same as actually having them with the Alaska background.


We were not able to make it right up to the glacier as there were so many icebergs in the way and the icebergs had quite a few seals on them. It's hard to hear the announcements when they come on the loudspeaker but what I caught from it was that if we went any further we risked spooking the mama seals and they are known to abandon the baby seals when they sense danger. We definitely couldn't let that happen. So we unfortunately did not get right up to the glacier. I wish we could have, but it did not ruin the cruise for me in the slightest. We could still see it from a distance even if the view was obstructed. It was still a beautiful sight.



Those little black spots are seals.

We didn't listen too much to the narration as it was difficult to hear and understand. I was very interested in hearing this information but it just wasn't happening. I did end up sitting up on deck 9 with my parents for a while and enjoying the scenery. We saw our share of birds, but not much more than that.

Tonight was dinner in Parrot Cay, which we were late for, again. We wanted to meet the characters that we hadn't seen in their Alaskan get up and they were there at 5:15 or 9:30 and I knew we wouldn't make it until 9:30, so being late for dinner was our best option. I'm pretty sure this was the only night we had the opportunity to meet them in their outfits and we weren't going to miss that opportunity. This also meant that we missed the evening show, which was a hypnotist. Koda and Minnie were out at 7:45 and we were not done with them before the show at 8:30. No one seemed to mind though.
The kids went off to the kids club for a couple of hours while the rest of us wandered the ship.

It was another day and we definitely enjoyed it. I only wish that they had more stuff going on around the ship for those of us who weren't interested in being on the deck for 4 hours. I also wish that we had gotten tea party tickets for this day instead of the last sea day.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:20 PM   #32
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Loving your trip report so far! We sail July 22, 2013. My family is going with my parents and my brother and his wife! We are super excited!!!

I love your fish extender! I do not sew...so this would be a great one for me to make. If your willing...could you share more info on the FE and some directions!
I read the thread in the forum on duct tape fish extender and took it from there. Basically I found some medium sized brown paper bags at our garden store. I laid out 6 pieces of card stock (an average family will not need this many) in a long line and wrapped them in duct tape. I cut the paper bags to the size I wanted them to be and wrapped them carefully in duct tape, then I taped them to the wrapped card stock. I decorated them as you can see with ribbon for the girls and mainly duct tape for the boys with some foam sheets and felt used as well.
I'm terribly sorry that my instructions are so awful, I wish I had taken pictures as I went so I could show you, but I didn't. If you want me to send you some more pictures close up, feel free to message me your email address and I could do that for you. It was really easy to make, just slightly time consuming since there were so many pockets. I also recommend you search for the duct tape fish extender thread. It was super helpful for me.

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I am enjoying your trip report, looking forward to reading about your family's shore excursion as I had planned on the same ones when I cruise in Aug with my 12 year old nephew. - Liarsville in Skagway, Summer Dog Sledding in Juneau and the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan.

How did you decide between the 2 Juneau summer dog sled excursions?
I actually booked my excursions privately and I remember one being significantly more expensive than the other. I actually think the main reason for that was because they wanted to charge me for my 1 and 2 year old whereas the one we ended up taking did not charge for them.
I also struggled choosing between doing it in Skagway and Juneau and knew that the one we did in Juneau was the same company as the one offered in Skagway. The Skagway excursion seemed to have plenty of great reviews, so I figured I would be safe to use the same company in Juneau. Thankfully my theories proved to be right. They were absolutely fabulous and I think it was our whole families favorite day by far.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:39 PM   #33
Tsunami
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Can you tell me more about the characters in Tracy Arm? About what time did you see them and did they have photographers with them (looks like Donald did?)? They seem to be positioned in a crowd free part of the deck - was there a line to see them? Your photos are are wonderful!!!!
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:11 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Tsunami
Can you tell me more about the characters in Tracy Arm? About what time did you see them and did they have photographers with them (looks like Donald did?)? They seem to be positioned in a crowd free part of the deck - was there a line to see them? Your photos are are wonderful!!!!
The characters were on deck 4 and when we saw them it was around 2:00-3:00. There seemed to photographers on deck 4 at all times. They didn't seem to know when the characters were going to show up though. It was a surprise for everyone. We did get photos from the photographer taken with Mickey and Minnie as well.
We never knew what side they were going to be on either. We were on the port side when all of a sudden I heard some one say let's go see Minnie. Sure enough we followed them and there she was on the starboard side. There was never a line longer than 4 people to see them.
I saw photos of people with Koda, Chip and Dale and Pluto positioned like our photos were. We never saw them ourselves. I imagine they were out before we discovered the characters.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:14 AM   #35
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Loving your TR! I am curious about your dad's power chair. Was he able to get it into the room or did you have to charge it in the elevator bank area? How hard was it for him to get around with it?

Thanks for doing this. You're right. There are very few Alaska TR. This is very helpful.

Emily
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:28 AM   #36
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Skagway

Who would have thought that when I booked our excursion for an 8:30 start time that my early risers would need to be woken up to make it?!
I figured with the 2 hour time difference that they would be up at the crack of dawn, but they slept consistently until 9:00 every morning. (The blessings of an inside room).

Today we were going on the Liarsville excursion. I booked it because I really wanted my kids to pan for gold and I figured that this was something that we could all enjoy. My parents were doing The Klondike Experience and the train ride today. We decided to do our excursions separately so my parents could experience Alaska without the kids holding them back. In hindsight I probably should have booked the Klondike experience with them as it sounds like the kids really would have enjoyed that one and it would have been nice to tour with them. I knew that we were not doing the train because there is no way I would subject anyone to being stuck in a confined space with my two youngest children for 2 hours. My parents really enjoyed it though and even saw a bear.

We woke up bright and early and quickly headed up to beach blanket buffet for breakfast. Then we met our tour in the theater. We were led to board these big yellow buses, which my kids enjoyed, and our bus driver's name was Butterfingers. He was very good at giving us a little history of Skagway. We traveled a few minutes to Liarsville where we were greeted by some comical people.


From there we got some very watered down apple cider and some cookies. We watched a little puppet show, which was cute but did not engage my children at all. They were pretty bored watching it. I took pictures of it, but they didn't turn out so well, so I will spare you those pictures.

We were given instructions on how to pan for gold and taken on a scavenger hunt of sorts. It wasn't really much of a scavenger hunt because we were put in groups of 15 or so people and led around by one of the workers. I think my kids really would have enjoyed doing the scavenger hunt on their own and figuring out the clues by themselves. Instead they weren't all the interested in following the guides around.

Then we were led to pan for gold. They had given us instructions, but we were not having much luck. Out of fear from dumping all our gold out we were all hesitant to really look the way we were supposed to. Thankfully Chip and Dale came around to make it a little more interesting.





The guides were really good and came and helped our kids find their gold. They spent the time necessary to allow them to feel like they were finding the gold themselves and because of that the actual panning for gold was a positive experience for them.
After my kids found their gold they went and danced with Chip and Dale. I think if the characters weren't there my kids would not have enjoyed themselves at all. My daughter did get some guitar instructions from one of the staff, which she thought was pretty fun.

We went and roasted some marshmallows at the campfire. We were waiting for Donald Duck to have a shorter line before we went and visited him. The kids enjoyed their marshmallows and played a little more with Chip and Dale.



We went over to see Donald and I made sure that the kids each got their own picture with him since most character lines are so long we don't have that opportunity. I am happy I did it this way because these are some of my favorite photos from the trip. My youngest son decided he was scared of Donald all of a sudden so it took some coercing from Donald but he eventually grabbed Donald's hand and walked with him over to the waterfall. It was so nice of Donald to take that time with him.



After all of this we were led over to the salmon bake. They had cesaer salad with salmon in it, pasta salad, baked beans with caribou sausage in it, chicken, salmon and blueberry cake. (There were probably other things but I can't remember now). It was only about 10:30 or so when we were eating, so it was an awkward time and I honestly didn't think the food was all that great. The chicken was good, the salmon was ok and the beans were decent. None of us really ate that much though. Perhaps it was because it was so early and we weren't ready for that kind of meal, or it could have been it just wasn't all that good, I'm really not sure.

I believe we were on the bus to head back just after 11. We were given a couple of options as to where we wanted to be dropped off. We decided we wanted to go back to the boat.

We had a little bit of a rest on the boat and then grabbed ourselves some lunch. The kids and I delivered some more of our FE gifts and then they headed off to the club. They did not want to go shopping with us, so we decided to leave them in the club and do some quick shopping.
I know, some of you are crawling in your skin. Please don't attack me for it. You need to keep in mind that Skagway is so small. You can see the complete town from the boat and we had a good 4 hours before all aboard time. We were only gone for an hour while we quickly shopped the shops and we made it back to the boat just fine and all the kids were more than ok. Everyone was happy they got to do what they wanted to do. Maybe we were lucky that nothing happened to us or our kids, or maybe it just wasn't a big deal.

I thought Skagway was a good place to shop simply because it was so small. It had all the main touristy type stores and stores with the made in China type items. I did not see much in the way of unique items in the Skagway area. They all seemed to be stores that were in both the other ports as well. I have no photos as they are all on my other camera, which I seemed to have misplaced in all the chaos. I know it's here somewhere, I just am not sure where.

There is something to be said about seeing the cruise ship in among the mountains. It's not something you see very often. When I think of cruise ships I think of tropical beach locations. It was a refreshing change.


Tonight was our dinner in Triton's which is one of my favorite menus, so I was not going to be late for this one. Some times the best laid plans....
I just had to get some photos done. I knew I was going to buy the cd if I could get some good photos, so I made an effort to do it. The kids and my husband obliged but weren't too thrilled about it. I think it was worth the efforts though as we got quite a few nice photos throughout the trip.



We managed to get pictures with Captain Jack Sparrow, Terk and Captain Hook and Mr. Smee tonight. There were opportunities to meet Pinocchio, Stitch and a few others as well but we just didn't make it to see them.





Tonight the evening show was Iron Man 3 in the theater. We hadn't seen it yet so we decided to let the kids go to the club and nursery so we could have an evening for ourselves. We enjoyed the movie and the kids didn't even miss us. We went to pick the kids up from the nursery and they had them both asleep. The nursery workers are such amazing people. They were so kind to our kids the whole trip and our little ones just loved going there.

We had a great day in Skagway.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:31 AM   #37
mom2twokids
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Originally Posted by emilyann415 View Post
Loving your TR! I am curious about your dad's power chair. Was he able to get it into the room or did you have to charge it in the elevator bank area? How hard was it for him to get around with it?

Thanks for doing this. You're right. There are very few Alaska TR. This is very helpful.

Emily
My dad's chair was no problem at all on the ship. They did have a handicap room and he was able to take it in and out of the room no problem. Because of the extra space in the room he was able to leave it in there and charge it there.
He had no problem at all getting around the ship. The ramps in the ports were a different story. They were quite steep and even in his manual chair (which he also brought) he had a hard time navigating them but he was able to get on and off in every port.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:31 AM   #38
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Excited to read your report! My son who will be 5 at the time and I are going on the 9 mightier next year. A lot of the excursions we are considering are the ones you did! Can't wait to read more (just did the 1st post so far!).
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:25 PM   #39
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Thank you for sharing your experiences. We're sailing on June 24 with 2 kids (8 1/2 and 6 years old. I'm super excited, but also stressed since I haven't pulled a single thing to pack yet. (By this point I've usually got the guest bed covered with stuff that we plan to take with us.)

I'm looking forward to reading more.
We're on the same cruise with RRBB and so excited to find a recent, new Alaska TR. Sailing with 2 older kids: 11 and 14. Thanks OP for the pictures and I absolutely LOVE that you surprised your kids AND your parents!
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:49 AM   #40
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Baby

THANK YOU so much for such an awesome trip report. We have a 20 month old traveling with us. How did your little one liked the nursery? How was your LOs experience overall?

I'm loving your pictures! Thanks for taking the time
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:51 AM   #41
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You have a very cute family.

I've been looking forward to this years TRs so I can relive my cruise from last year.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #42
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THANK YOU so much for such an awesome trip report. We have a 20 month old traveling with us. How did your little one liked the nursery? How was your LOs experience overall?

I'm loving your pictures! Thanks for taking the time
My son was 21 months so almost the same age as your LO. He loved the cruise. He still talks non stop about the Mickey boat and how he wants to go back. I was worried about him in the nursery because I remembered it being so small. He was fine and loved every minute of it. They did crafts with him, played with Play-Doh, characters visited and the staff in the nursery were absolutely fantastic. I can't say enough good things about the nursery. Every time we walked anywhere near the nursery he would ask if he could go play.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #43
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My son was 21 months so almost the same age as your LO. He loved the cruise. He still talks non stop about the Mickey boat and how he wants to go back. I was worried about him in the nursery because I remembered it being so small. He was fine and loved every minute of it. They did crafts with him, played with Play-Doh, characters visited and the staff in the nursery were absolutely fantastic. I can't say enough good things about the nursery. Every time we walked anywhere near the nursery he would ask if he could go play.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! You put me so much at ease in reference to the nursery. Thank you sooo soo much!
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:26 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by mom2twokids View Post
My son was 21 months so almost the same age as your LO. He loved the cruise. He still talks non stop about the Mickey boat and how he wants to go back. I was worried about him in the nursery because I remembered it being so small. He was fine and loved every minute of it. They did crafts with him, played with Play-Doh, characters visited and the staff in the nursery were absolutely fantastic. I can't say enough good things about the nursery. Every time we walked anywhere near the nursery he would ask if he could go play.
I agree, Flounders is awesome. My daughter (now 6) spent many, many hours there on her first cruise when she was 15 months old and loved it. It was hard for us to walk down that hallway without her trying to run in. Even our son, who was 3 1/2 at the time, loved spending time there. Though he was old enough for the Oceaneer Club, he preferred Flounders with his sister.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:54 PM   #45
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Thankfully today's excursion was scheduled to start a little later than Skagway's. We needed that extra bit of sleep.

Today we did the sled dog and musher's camp. We booked directly through Alaska excursions and found a significant savings in doing so. We were scheduled to start at 11:00 and had to meet our guide at the pier for 10:45.

We had a very slow start to the day and didn't head up for breakfast until around 10:00. We ended up sitting with the nice man who played piano in the atrium every night and struck up quite the conversation. My older children are both in piano lessons and they found it interesting to hear what he had to say. He had just started his contract and was such a friendly guy. My son who doesn't necessarily love taking piano (meaning he hates it) even enjoyed hearing what he had to say. I was hoping that he would be eager to get back to piano lessons when we returned. That didn't happen.

We hurried through breakfast and got off the boat. Our guide was waiting not too far off the boat and was really easy to find. We soon found out that we were getting our own private tour as no one else had booked our excursion!
I was slightly relieved as you never know how others will react to seeing a 1 and 2 year old on their excursion. As well behaved as our children are, they are still 1 and 2 and we can't change that.
We took a 20 minute or so drive to their camp. Only we arrived before the previous tour was done so he took us for a little detour and showed us some sights up the road. Mainly we drove up to ski hill and back, but he was a nice guy and we had an interesting conversation along the way.

We arrived at the camp and they had the sled all ready to go for us. We piled in the sled which was really a modified golf cart type thing with wheels. Off we went. We did a few laps and circles around the camp. Nothing all that exciting but it really was a lot of fun. A couple of the turns we went around so fast that it felt like we were going to fall out. The kids were all smiles the whole time. The sled ride lasted around 15 minutes and we returned back to the camp.



Upon returning we were able to get out and we were introduced to the mushers dog team. She introduced each one of her dogs by name and told us a little about that one dog. She definitely had such an attachment to these dogs and it was quite fascinating to see. She was from Kentucky and was an aspiring Iditarod racer. My son had just learned about the Iditarod in school a couple months back so it was really neat to hear and learn up close and personal about it. We got lots of time to pet the super friendly dogs.



Then we were taken to an area where we were introduced to the materials needed in an Iditarod race. The kids each got to put booties on one of the dogs and try on a musher's jacket and boot. They got to see a real sled that was once used in the Iditarod. I was thankful that we were the only ones on this tour because we really go to take it at our own pace. When the kids lost interest we didn't have to do anything to entertain them, we just moved on.






From here we took a quick walk over to the suspension bridge they have at the camp. Our baby especially enjoyed this. She has no fear of anything, including heights.



Then we got to head over for some hot chocolate and cookies. Although we didn't need the hot chocolate today, it turned out to be an incredibly beautiful day!

We then got to pet the 2.5 week old puppies. They were so sweet and my kids just loved holding them and cuddling with them.






Once we were done with them we loaded back up and headed back to the ship. Our ship was docked at the pier furthest away and a free shuttle was provided from the ship. We asked our tour guide to drop us off in town so we could explore a bit. He very happily did so and gave us his recommendations of places to see.

We wandered through the shops on the what seemed to be the main street and didn't find anything exciting so we headed back to the ship. We did notice the tramway and thought it really would be neat to see but the cost for all of us didn't seem worth it. It was the perfect day for it though as it was so clear and sunny all day.


I just love seeing the ship in the mountains. It never gets old!


Up next...Pixar Party and Semi-Formal night

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