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Old 06-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #16
Doodles811
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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
August 2013 - Carnival Miracle to Alaska
August 2012 - Disney Wonder to Alaska
September 2011 - Disney Dream to Bahamas
July 2010 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:03 PM   #17
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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, 06:28 PM   #18
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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, 08:08 AM   #19
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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, 10:42 PM   #20
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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 06-20-2013, 04:20 AM   #21
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Were they asking for port arrival times or just letting everyone in? Do you know what time the port opens?
Not that I remember. No I don't sorry.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:54 PM   #22
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Up in the Air

As the title of my post suggests, I am OCD about planning. Because we booked this cruise 31 days out, there are some things that are out of my control. This drives me a little bit crazy. There are also a few things about our plans that have me a little nervous. Here's my current list of concerns:

1) Our Room: I'm not really all that worried about this one, but I am constantly checking the website to see if we have been assigned a room. We are guaranteed a verandah, so I will be happy no matter what. I may be slightly disappointed if we get a white wall. On the flip side, I will be THRILLED if we get a category 4. When I search for availability for a family of 4, only category 5's come up right now, so I assume that's what we will get. Hopefully we will know by early next week. It seems many get their VGT assignments about 2 weeks out.

2) Passports: My husband, son, and daughter don't have passports. We went at three weeks and two days out to apply and had them expedited. They should arrive in time (I've already been alerted that they are being processed), so we aren't too worried at this point. I won't start freaking out until a week and a half from now.

3) Dining: We are currently down for second seating, and I asked to be waitlisted for main. There's really no way we can do late seating, so I am hoping the waitlist will come through. We eat on the early side at home, and we are also coming from the east, so there will be a 2-3 hour time difference (so 8:15 will be like 10:15 and 11:15 according to our body clocks). We are going to do our best to start adjusting the kids about a week before we leave, but we may end up having to skip dinner in the main dining room. I also have severe reflux, and I really don't need to eat so close to bedtime. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one! If the waitlist doesn't come through before we leave, I will try to get it changed as soon as we get on the ship.

4) Returning Home: We fly out of Seattle on the day we disembark. Our flight is at 3:30. That gives us about 5 hours to make it with 1 1/2 hours before our flight, which should be more than enough, but I am really hoping there's no delays or security issues at the border on that day!

These are a few of the unknown aspects of our trip swirling through my brain. It's going to be a great trip, so I'm trying not to worry too much!
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:14 AM   #23
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Hope everything comes together for you.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:01 PM   #24
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Passports arrived today! That's one concern that can be checked off. We fly to Seattle two weeks from today!
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:14 PM   #25
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OMGsh are we twins?? We have the exact same circumstance as you - decided on this Disney cruise at the last minute (after debating Disney/Princess/Royal Caribbean), saw the VGT rate, hemmed and hawed, saw it disappear, kept checking, saw it come back on and pulled the trigger without doing any research prior! OK, wait a minute, we're not twins because unlike you, I never pored over the pages and pages of Alaska TR and testimonials on DISboards or others prior to pulling the trigger. I should have because I feel unprepared! Our first cruise ever and our first time in Alaska! Yikes!

We are also booked on the Bering Sea Crab tour (booked through the website - snagged the last spots!), and also considering Alaska Galore whale watch in the morning we arrive in Juneau! Why did you pick Alaska Galore over Harv and Marv or others?

Also booked on second seating (didn't know we can waitlist for main?). Do you have your room assignments yet? I don't think we do. Did you request dining rotation? Any recommendations for the preferred rotation sequence?

It's too bad you can't stick around for Vancouver - it's SO beautiful! Stanley Park (some totems there, bike along the seawall or at least drive it), Vancouver Aquarium, the Roots store on Robson St., try a Japadog...

I look forward to gleaning more well-researched info from you as the trip gets closer!
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:50 AM   #26
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OMGsh are we twins?? We have the exact same circumstance as you - decided on this Disney cruise at the last minute (after debating Disney/Princess/Royal Caribbean), saw the VGT rate, hemmed and hawed, saw it disappear, kept checking, saw it come back on and pulled the trigger without doing any research prior! OK, wait a minute, we're not twins because unlike you, I never pored over the pages and pages of Alaska TR and testimonials on DISboards or others prior to pulling the trigger. I should have because I feel unprepared! Our first cruise ever and our first time in Alaska! Yikes!

We are also booked on the Bering Sea Crab tour (booked through the website - snagged the last spots!), and also considering Alaska Galore whale watch in the morning we arrive in Juneau! Why did you pick Alaska Galore over Harv and Marv or others?

Also booked on second seating (didn't know we can waitlist for main?). Do you have your room assignments yet? I don't think we do. Did you request dining rotation? Any recommendations for the preferred rotation sequence?

It's too bad you can't stick around for Vancouver - it's SO beautiful! Stanley Park (some totems there, bike along the seawall or at least drive it), Vancouver Aquarium, the Roots store on Robson St., try a Japadog...

I look forward to gleaning more well-researched info from you as the trip gets closer!
Ahh! So you are the reason the Bearing Sea tour was available on their website one day and gone the next. How funny that we are in such similar circumstances.

We don't have our room assignment yet either, but I've been checking our reservation several times a day hoping it will show up. I think they usually assign them in the 11-14 day window, so I hope it's soon! We did not request a dining rotation. If we can get switched to main, I won't be picky about the rotation.

We couldn't book Harv and Marv because we have two kids under the age of 13. Rum Runners was my next choice, but they were booked. I chose Alaska Galore after that. All three of these are very highly rated on Trip Advisor--that's where I found them. There are several other highly rated companies as well. If you search Juneau on TA and look at the "Things to Do", you can look at a list.

We also hemmed and hawed and grabbed the deal when it popped back up. We considered waiting to see if a later week got the deal because my kids were supposed to go to a camp at their school that week. Glad we didn't do that because there haven't been deals offered for the other weeks!

Thanks so much for commenting! We'll have to keep "talking" over the next week and a half as we plan and pack. I'm getting very excited!
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #27
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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, 01:27 PM   #28
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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 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:05 PM   #29
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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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Old 06-27-2013, 06:03 AM   #30
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great news on the room
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