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Old 06-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #76
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Where I live 70 is real hot, and 75 is a heat wave!

Yes, we are the folks wandering around WDW in shorts and t's in "Winter".
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:54 PM   #77
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Great trip report, looking forward to reading more!
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by tink,too View Post
Where I live 70 is real hot, and 75 is a heat wave!

Yes, we are the folks wandering around WDW in shorts and t's in "Winter".
Ha ha! And we are expecting 116 later this week!

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by AZMermaid View Post
Ha ha! And we are expecting 116 later this week!
I was going to say the same thing. I would give anything for 75 degrees this week!

Apologies to Orcapotter for changing the subject! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:22 PM   #80
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I loved reading your report. We are from Florida also and we are doing our Alaska Cruise next June. I am already thinking about making sure I have enough layers to keep warm.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:55 PM   #81
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Staying off topic, seems the Floridians are now invading the North instead of the SnowBirds invading Florida

I love it. Very well timed TR

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Old 06-26-2013, 11:58 PM   #82
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Day 4 - Tracy Arm Day

Thanks for following, everyone! Count me in as another who'd love for it to be 75 degrees outside right now. Heat index today was in the 100's! If I could, I'd have a summer home up north. Really, I don't know why people visit Florida in the summer. If I go outside these days, it's to move from the house to the car, car to the building, or I'm sitting in some body of water.

But Tracy Arm Day ... now, that was cold. Harry, our head server, had told us the night before that it'd be in the low 50's and hey, he saw a bear on the shoreline just the last week. Well slap my knee and call me Earl, that sure does sound swell! My parents and I looked forward to our first major destination with earnest.

Each morning of this cruise was early-to-rise, and this was no exception. Only, we had to make sure we were on the ball today because this also happened to be our character breakfast assignment. Only, this was also the day I had my mani-pedi scheduled for 9 AM. Breakfast was 8 AM. Oh no! Julie, our AS, assured me that breakfast was very quick--no more than 45 minutes, so I figured I would have time. After all, after reading the DIS, I was prepared for the blitz the character breakfast was.

I don't remember what time we woke up--on average, I was awake every day around 6 AM. Strangely, it was not hard to do this--and I am as far from a morning person as one can get. It was not necessarily because of the early sunrise, but I just never wanted to miss a moment. At any time a whale could spout just off the balcony and I didn't want to miss that, not to mention just all the scenery. This was not a lay-around-and-nap cruise! The landscape was so alien to my native Floridian eyes.

Now, I'm pretty sure this was the morning I did this, but here was one of my all-time favorite moments. As my parents got ready, I stood out on the balcony with my iPod and stared at the scenery with the Alaska playlist I had assembled before leaving home. I'm telling you, it was like living in a movie. It almost brought tears to my eyes because it was like an otherworldly experience--or the ultimate 3D/4D film experience you could possibly have!

Imagine staring at this:

While listening to the main title from Last of the Mohicans.

If you'd like to assemble your own Alaska playlist, movie soundtracks (which I'm a fan of) work great. Here is the rest of my playlist:
1. "Welcome" The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Brother Bear Soundtrack
2. "Transformation" Brother Bear Soundtrack
3. "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" Coldplay
4. "Paradise" Coldplay
5. "Sailing By" Dagda, Dreaming of the Gods of Love
6. "Behind the Waterfall" David Lanz & Paul Speer
7. "The Roundabout" Engima
8. "Rivers of Belief" Enigma
9. "True Nature" Yanni
10. "Voyageur" Enigma
11. "Northern Lights" Enigma
12. "Sea" George Winston, Pure Moods IV
13. "20,000 Miles Over the Sea" Enigma
14. "Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness Et Prosperity)" Yeha-Noha, Pure Moods
15. "The River Sings" Enya
16. "Counting Stars" One Republic
17. "The Promise" Michael Nyman, Pure Moods
18. "Life in Color" One Republic
19. "The Mystic's Dream" Loreena McKennitt, Pure Moods II
20. "This Is Where I Belong" Bryan Adams, Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimerron
21. "The Island Awaits You" Steve Jablonsky, The Island
22. "She Wolf" Shakira
23. "Good Life" One Republic
24. "On My Way" Phil Collins, Brother Bear
25. "Great Spirits" Tina Turner, Brother Bear
26. "My Name Is Lincoln" Steve Jablonsky, The Island
27. "Elk Hunt" Trevor Jones, The Last Of The Mohicans
28. "Main Title" Trevor Jones, The Last Of The Mohicans
29. "From East To West " Enigma
30. "Orinoco Flow" Enya
31. "Ebudae" Enya
32. "Long Long Journey" Enya
33. "Chevaliers de Sangreal" Hans Zimmer, The Da Vinci Code
34. "The Misty Mountains" The Hobbit soundtrack

After our usual room service pre-breakfast, we were down and waiting by Parrot Cay about 10 minutes before 8. We're usually a little late for things, so it was quite a shock that we were early. We hung in the Promenade Lounge, watching the families with toddlers run all over the place, and also watching a line grow longer and longer. I decided to get on the line, since this was my first character breakfast at sea and I wasn't quite sure how it would work. Well, 8 AM came and went. I nervously watched the time now that we were eating into the precious hour prior to my relaxing spa experience. And the anxiety was far from relaxing.

They finally opened the doors around 8:10 and we were seated at our assigned table with our dining team, and ordering by 8:15. They brought in the characters, still wearing their Caribbean garb, and they commenced their whirlwind tour of the dining room. You'd think by the 3rd Alaskan season with at least 1 more planned, they'd put the characters in something more appropriately themed. I don't care if the room is Caribbean themed!

The menu this morning was nothing to write home about; it was pretty slim pickings. This is probably deliberate so that you're focused on the character you only have 30 seconds to interact with instead of a meal. One thing I made sure to order that was not on the menu was regular yogurt (not the weird smoothie option). The yogurt came out quickly, but it was quite some time before our meals arrived.

Meanwhile, we're watching the characters zoom around with their handlers. My camera decided to die right before our first character appeared (Goofy) so thank goodness we always had at least 2 cameras with us at one time. I'm not joking about the 30 seconds either; at least I was prepared for it, so it came as no surprise.

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (52) by orcapotter, on Flickr

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (53) by orcapotter, on Flickr

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (54) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Time for the napkin hats! Up for me: the Minnie Bow

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (57) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Dad became Jack Sparrow

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (59) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Julie said Mom's was a "princess." Uh, it looked more like a headband with a feather stuck in it.

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (60) by orcapotter, on Flickr

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (62) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Breakfast finally arrived around 8:45--way too close for comfort to my spa appointment. Fortunately, as you can see, it was easy to eat quickly. But we still hadn't seen all the characters ...

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (64) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Pluto was my priority--he is my favorite, after all. Once he came over, I was set.

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Mom (66) by orcapotter, on Flickr

Turned out Pluto was my last. 9 AM came and went; I had finished most of my meal and I was having a good time, but I wasn't going to miss my appointment and I was frantic they would cancel it on me. I left my parents to finish their meal and meet Minnie, who was left to see. It didn't take long to get up to the spa, and the place seemed empty.

Now, to rewind a bit, back when I made the appointment on the day we embarked, I didn't necessarily get a lot of warm fuzzies from the folks in there. They seemed a bit put out; no doubt they were annoyed by the folks in there whose main concern was entering the raffle that had just started. When I arrived for my appointment, there was one girl at the desk. She also didn't necessarily start out warm and fuzzy, either. I filled out a form asking about my line of work and stress levels, then she brought me back to do the mani-pedi herself.

The mani-pedi room is in the same area as the hair salon; the windows look out once you get past the walkway and the random people going by. At the time I had committed my spa person's name to memory, but annoyingly I have forgotten it. Oh well. She was not that much younger than me, and we had a lot of fun chatting about all sorts of things. One thing I was leery of was the sales pitching; I had read that the spa on the ships were bad with this. This was my first spa experience at sea; of course on land, they try a little bit to upsell you ... but nothing bad. My person would casually mention a product (especially the detox pills) and what it would do for me, but she never pushed or even suggested I should buy it all. It really put me at ease and let me enjoy the experience, which, let me tell you, was awesome. I had been having strange nerve pain in my forearms, mostly from repetitive movements, and the hot stone massage did the trick to make them go away completely. With the mountains in the background, it was amazing.

Then it was the pedi time, and it was equally amazing. A little girl came in shortly after to have a pedi done with the "chocolate" treatment (I was surprised, I thought the spa on the Classics were completely adult only). The girl accidentally knocked over my cup of lime water I was offered, and all over my Wavephone, and myself. She was also pretty nervous, although allegedly she had had this done before. I was impressed, though, that the spa person in charge of her actually went and got her an ice cream--must be part of the service--but it seemed to relax the girl a bit.

Watching the scenery outside while my legs were massaged and then wrapped in a cool lotion with hot towels (OMG AMAZING) was another highlight of this trip. I appreciated that I never felt rushed through this experience. Whenever I have had a mani-pedi before, no matter where, it's like you're rushed through and churned out like something on an assembly line. Yes, compared to home, it was an expensive service. Nail polish colors were limited (I chose blue, most of the others were shades of red) and not the best quality, surprisingly. They also don't put your nails under a fan or anything. Unsurprisingly, I had smudged most of my fingers getting into the pedicure chair. And even after she fixed them, they managed to smudge even with my concentrated effort not to. Thinking about it, also, I was given no real dedicated time to dry. Once the fingers were done, it was time for the toes. Once the toes were done, it was time to leave. My toes dried fine and seem to be holding up well, but my fingers were chipping very shortly after arriving home.

For me, the service was worth it just for the massage and treatment--not so much the nail polish. Though, I noticed later in the day that my finger tips were very sore (my nails were pretty short already and she filed them, being a bit too enthusiastic without noticing she was filing my fingertips). At the moment I didn't mind that much, but later I had sore fingertips for the next few days--and scabs on my cuticles (but whenever I have a manicure this happens, so I wasn't surprised).

After my spa experience, I ran back to the room--and I promptly became lost, LOL. I was so surprised! I never got lost on the Dream. After a tour of many staterooms and staring at dead ends, a CM finally turned me around. My parents only ever used the Wavephone whenever I was literally in the middle of something. Mom called while my hands were being done this time. I ran back to the room, where they were busy suiting up for Tracy Arm and looking for my camera battery charger. Hence the phone call. I quickly changed; I wore my sweats to the spa for ease in rolling up, and my flip-flops (which was the only time I wore them). Now, I was trying to zip up jeans without damaging my already smudged nails and putting on socks over toes I wasn't sure were dry. I managed to do it, though. Layers, layers, layers! Everything was on us--hats, gloves, ear muffs, etc.

Then it was up to the top decks to stake our spot. I was so excited! I had no idea when characters would appear, but I knew from the DIS that the characters walked around for photos during Tracy Arm--and everyone always brags about how nice it is on the Classics that you can just run into characters anywhere and everywhere with no one but you around to take photos with them. Or at least, that's how I always interpreted it.

You get to the mouth of the fjord around noon, though you begin to see things around 10 AM. At first, we had no problems staking out a table and a nice area toward the back of the ship. We hung out there a while, taking the first glorious photos:

This was the coldest day of the trip, and it noticeably got colder very quickly as we got closer to the fjord, and ultimately, the glacier. There were still several children and some adults in the pools, though! OMG. The cruise director later joked that they were all Canadians.

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (11) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Entering the fjord, this Princess ship was leaving it. We would shadow this ship for the rest of the trip.

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (14) by orcapotter, on Flickr

2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (15) by orcapotter, on Flickr

I really took a ton of photos, so I'll give you only a sample and the rest you can view on my Flickr account. Besides, I had been worried after seeing so many photos of this itinerary that it would feel like I'd seen it already before I saw it in person. Trust me when I tell you that no matter how many photos or videos you see before you leave, it will still blow you away in person. The highest resolution camera still could not capture the true beauty of everything Alaska has to offer.

As we were entering the fjord proper, I was starving. Breakfast was quite a while ago, and it hadn't been all that fulfilling. I don't remember if the BBQ was listed in the Navigator; if it had, I missed it, and was sorely lacking my copy at the moment. I wanted to eat and I wanted to ensure we kept our spot. So I left my parents to see if the BBQ had started, only to hear later that I had just missed seeing 2 humpback whales joining us at the fjord's entrance. Major :: palmface ::

Well, this would be the last time we would attempt Beach Blanket. It was mobbed and it took forever. The BBQ items were out where the outdoor seating was. Everything else was on the buffet line. It took me quite a while to make it through the buffet line, then I fought my way through the crowd to the BBQ area. The smoke was really thick, but I didn't wait terribly long; there were BBQ chicken, salmon, and I want to say steak. It wasn't communicated to everyone how this particular food line worked. We (or I) stood there expectantly in front of the salmon station, supposedly waiting for the cook to put some on our plates. But no, apparently you have to ask directly, and they just scoop it up and give it to you. I waited as long as I did for nothing, really.

So then it was a fight to get out of the buffet area and back to where I left my parents. Up a narrow staircase, only to find them gone. I traversed back down and found them at a table in the area next to the family pool--blocked by the tables near the window which were fully occupied. By the time I sat down, my food was ice cold. Urrg. But at the same time, I was frustrated by my hunger, because I felt like I was missing everything.

Even ice cold, the salmon tasted great. I could only imagine how good it must've been hot!

It's pretty late, so I'll continue this day in my next post tomorrow!
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:31 PM   #84
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Oh I love the music from Last of the Mohicans. I'm not a fan of the buffet either.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #85
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Love the TR! Do you happen to recall what your dining rotation was?
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #86
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Enjoying your updates. Is your dad trying to get a kiss from Minnie?
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:09 PM   #87
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I wonder if some of you recent cruisers can post your navigators?
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:29 PM   #89
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Thanks for the packing list. Very helpful!
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:29 PM   #90
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Continuing to enjoy your TR. I totally agree with what you said about photos not doing Alaska justice. It is so majestic - you have to be there in person to truly experience it.
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