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Old 07-20-2013, 12:10 AM   #16
MickeyMomTo2
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Originally Posted by msbuzzlightyear View Post
Looking forward to your pictures and report, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary last year on the Wonder to Alaska, still think about it everyday.
This was our third DCL trip and by far the best, never lacked for anything, even good weather.
What a great way to celebrate your 40th! It is definitely a trip that leaves a lasting mark!
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:00 PM   #17
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We're heading on this cruise next month 8/19 - looking forward to hearing all about your trip!

We are also spending a night in Seattle (but after) and hope to hit some of the highlights too.
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:25 PM   #18
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Hi!

Looking forward to reading your trip report (no pressure!) We also leave aug 18, and are starting to line up the items for packing. Planning is definitely half the fun :-)
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:29 PM   #19
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Subscribing! Loving it so far
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mndisneygirl View Post
We're heading on this cruise next month 8/19 - looking forward to hearing all about your trip!

We are also spending a night in Seattle (but after) and hope to hit some of the highlights too.
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Originally Posted by kjmumma View Post
Looking forward to reading your trip report (no pressure!) We also leave aug 18, and are starting to line up the items for packing. Planning is definitely half the fun :-)
KJ
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Subscribing! Loving it so far
Thanks for reading! So excited for those of you going in August. You are in for an amazing trip!
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:01 PM   #21
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Baseball and the Border

Our family loves baseball. My husband played through college, and both my kids play baseball/softball. If we are visiting a city with a Major League team, we make sure our visit matches up with some games. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that on this trip. We took advantage of a last minute VGT, and we couldn't really turn down the offer because the Mariners happened to be on the road at that time. But, that didn't keep us away from Safeco Field! Most Major League stadiums do tours, so we reserved tickets for a late-morning tour on Sunday.

Like Saturday, we ate breakfast at the hotel and took the shuttle to the light rail station. Again, the rail system was on a delay for maintenance, so it took about an hour to make it into town. Even though the forecasts for both Saturday and Sunday were for sunny skies and around 80 degrees, the mornings were cool and cloudy. We never need jackets during the summer in Tennessee, so we had to pull something out of the "Alaska" suitcase to help us keep warm until mid-day (I had packed a smaller suitcase for the things we would need in Seattle so we wouldn't have to get into all the bags).

We look like we are freezing, but it was really in the sixties.


041 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

We walked over to Safeco and had to walk around a bit before we found the gift shop, the starting point for the tour.

(These two are out in left field.)


1497587 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

From the gift shop, we were taken to many areas of the stadium and field. My DS was on cloud nine because we got a tour guide who clearly loved baseball. He threw out stats and trivia for the entire 1 1/2 tour. He would ask obscure questions, and my DS was thrilled to be able to answer them all (and the guide loved having a kid on the tour who knew his baseball)! My DD found parts of the tour interesting, but she glazed over with all the history and facts. She wanted to move from location to location without so much discussion!

Here are a few of the highlights:

Safeco's roof is on a track and can be opened or closed. Last summer we visited Chase Field in Phoenix which can also be opened. Of course, in Phoenix, they air-condition the stadium when the roof is closed (which is wonderful when it's 108 degrees). In Seattle, they built in openings around the edges for circulation. No air-conditioning needed! Seattle also has a new, very large scoreboard. It's the third largest screen in the US, behind Daytona Speedway and Cowboys Stadium. It was massive!


044 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

I didn't realize that someone hand-paints the foul line in the outfield. I would not be very good at this job.


046 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

This is half of the owner's suite and the view of the field from there. It would be nice to watch the game like this!


047 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


049 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

We visited the press box and the press room. My DD has been learning how to score games, so she sat in the head-scorers seat in the press box.


053 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

These two are ready for the media's questions...


057 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

Probably the coolest part for my DS was going in the dugout and on the field. We weren't allowed on the grass (they are very protective of it and even have two backup fields nearby to replace the grass, if necessary).


062 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


058 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

The dugout/field was the final part of the tour, so we headed back to the rail station and went all the way into downtown to grab some lunch. It was about 12:30, so we wanted to grab something quick before heading back to the airport area to pick up our bags and a rental car. With all the wonderful choices in Seattle, where did we head? The food court at Westlake Center. There was something for everyone, and we were able to eat quickly and get back on the train.

We had much better luck with the train ride back on Sunday. We didn't have to wait nearly as long for a train. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for our hotel shuttle. When we got to the rail station, we called for the shuttle. On Saturday, the driver arrived to pick us up within minutes. On Sunday, it took three calls and an hour before someone came. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was past the time we were hoping to be out of Seattle, and we hadn't even gotten the rental car yet. A new shuttle driver came on duty around this time, and he was nice enough to take all of us and our bags to the rental car facility (he was really only supposed to take people to the airport, where we would have needed another shuttle to get to the rental facility, but we were his only passengers). This helped us make up for some lost time, and made the process much easier.

Before I finish talking about Seattle, I would like to interrupt this trip report and take a minute to say what we would have done differently if we hadn't had our kids with us. Please know that our kids had a wonderful time, and we are glad we did this trip as a family, but we would like to repeat it at some point by ourselves. There were some aspects of the trip made more fun by having the kids with us, but there were also things we didn't do because of their interests and tastes. If we return to Seattle, I would love to do one of the many food tours. My kids just wanted basic, familiar food, and they wouldn't have enjoyed sampling what Seattle has to offer. My DH and I would have liked this, and I hope we can do it at some point. Also, we really enjoyed our free walking tour, and felt it gave a great overall view of the city, but if we had more time, I would have added the Underground Tour as well. Maybe we'll make it back at some point!

Now back to the regularly scheduled program...We got our rental car and headed for Vancouver. The drive from Seattle to Vancouver took much less time than we expected. Total time to the Vancouver Hilton (airport area) was less than 3 1/2 hours, and this included a 45 minute dinner stop and a 30 minute wait at the border.

My husband has been to Canada before, but it was pre-9/11. We didn't really know what to expect. We had our passports, cruise documents, and rental car agreement ready to show the agent. He asked for our passports, and then asked my DH to roll down the back window. I guess he wanted to be sure that the passengers in the back matched the passport photos. At this time, he looked into the back window and asked, "Are you carrying any weapons?" My DD, thinking he was talking to her said, "Ummm. I'm not sure." Of course, DH and I both gave a resounding no. It was so funny to us because we don't own any weapons. We don't hunt or anything like that, so we don't know why she would have been confused on this. On the way back in, we were sure to remind her that we didn't have weapons before crossing the border!


1497599 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

We arrived at the hotel around 7:30 and got a pleasant surprise. The room category we booked was not available. Would we mind being upgraded to a two-bedroom suite on the top floor with a balcony? Ummm, PLEASE! It was such a blessing to have a night to spread out. We had two bedrooms, a living area, a bathroom, and a balcony. There were many moments on the trip when the kids were driving each other crazy, so it was wonderful to separate them for a while.

Our views weren't bad either!


1497600 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


1497603 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


1497604 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

I took DD for a rooftop swim while DS and DH watched Canadian ESPN.


1497601 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

After a long day, we called it a night and went to bed with great anticipation. After one more sleep, we would be boarding the Wonder for Alaska!

Coming Up...Embarkation!!!
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:40 PM   #22
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Thanks for the TR. Thanks for the hint about the clothes pin, might have to add that to my list.

Out of the mouths of babes. Gotta love the things kids say
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:14 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by chris31997 View Post
Thanks for the TR. Thanks for the hint about the clothes pin, might have to add that to my list.

Out of the mouths of babes. Gotta love the things kids say
In the cabin, we also used the bedroll type pillows and the cushioned stool to keep the curtains closed at the bottom. The sun rises in the middle of the night! The adults also have the benefit of the dividing curtain between the master bed and the bunks.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:08 AM   #24
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Embarkation Day!

Rise and shine, Vancouver!


077 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

We woke up excited on Monday morning! We weren't in a huge rush, so DH went to the fitness center while the kids and I got ready. My DD also enjoyed some time out on our balcony (she has always had an affinity for balconies).


076 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

We all went down and started our 7 days of non-stop eating with the very yummy breakfast buffet (hooray for free breakfasts because of DH's Hilton Honors membership)! A little before 10:00, we loaded up the car and headed downtown. Our port arrival time was not until 12:30 (this was the best I could get at 31 days out), but I wanted to get there as early as I could. I needed to go to Wavebands as soon as I boarded to request main dining, so I wanted to get to the port early, even if we had to wait in the terminal.

The drive into Vancouver was pretty smooth. We took HWY 99 into town. Although this is the same road as I-5 in the US, it changes into more of a main four-lane city street and less like an interstate as you get into Vancouver. There did not seem to be left turn lanes, so we were sometimes backed up with people trying to turn left. We noticed a bit of a traffic jam in the outbound traffic and hoped it wouldn't be that way when we returned the next week!

We made it to Canada Place and into the parking garage where the attendant directed us to the luggage drop-off. There were two ships in port that day, so there were porters for both the Wonder and the Princess ship. After dropping off our bags, we parked the rental car. It was about 10:30. We had pre-paid for parking, and we had to get a voucher from the parking garage office at the time we parked the car. This was no easy feat! There were no signs, and we wandered around with another family for a few minutes before we found it. When we located the office, several families were already in there and were upset with the attendant (who didn't seem to care at all). They had been looking for the office for an hour! In case you need to know, the office is right next to the yellow bar that goes up when you are exiting the garage. If you find the exit, you find the office.

The attendant in the office gave us all instructions. One instruction was to avoid reserved spots. He said if we parked in a reserved spot, the car would get towed. When I left, I noticed that the family that had been upset in the office was in a reserved spot (they had already left the office when the attendant was talking about not parking there). I stopped them inside the port and told them they were in a reserved spot and needed to move, but the lady responded, "No! We prepaid. Those spots are reserved for us!" The husband hesitated, but the wife was sure they could park in the reserved spots. I repeated what the attendant said, but they didn't listen. I couldn't help but think of them when we got off the ship. I hope they had a vehicle waiting for them!

I was expecting really long lines for security and customs, but it went very quickly. We were through security, customs, and Disney check-in by 11:15 (our parking garage adventure took longer than the customs/check-in process). I don't know what time the port opened, but there were lots of people already there. Since we pulled in the garage at 10:30, I was a little surprised by the large crowd already waiting in chairs. The only line that was VERY long was the registration for the kids club. I had registered my kids online, and I knew we could pick up their bands the first time they went to the club, so we did not wait. Instead, we found a spot to sit.

If you are facing the check-in counter, our seats were on the right. I would suggest going to the left instead. For one thing, the right hand side was much more crowded (it was where the kids' club registration was), and it was also about 10 degrees warmer on that side. My DD and I went to the other end to find the bathroom, and we couldn't believe how much better it felt down there!

Also, we found someone else on that end of the terminal!


082 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

Our port arrival time was tied to our boarding number, which turned out to be #14. BUT, I was glad we got there early because they called #14 at 12:15 (earlier than our PAT of 12:30). It was time to board the ship!

Coming Up...Let the WONDER begin!
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:12 AM   #25
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Great couple of days in Seattle. Looking forward to hearing about Alaska.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #26
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Great report so far. As a Seattle native I enjoy hearing what people think of our city. This is definitely the very best time of year to be here! I'm sure you did nothing wrong in Steinbrueck park-sadly that's a place that many choose to avoid because of what you experienced.

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Old 07-22-2013, 07:15 PM   #27
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My DS 9 was on this cruise with his grandma, but I couldn't go due to work. He had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the glacier. We are from Michigan so the temps didn't bother him. Nice to read a report, as his retelling is somewhat sketchy. Really enjoying your report so far.

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Old 07-22-2013, 07:18 PM   #28
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My DS 9 was on this cruise with his grandma, but I couldn't go due to work. He had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the glacier. We are from Michigan so the temps didn't bother him. Nice to read a report, as his retelling is somewhat sketchy. Really enjoying your report so far.

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Did he go to the glacier by helicopter? We were on that excursion with a grandmother and grandson.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:46 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by MissingFigment View Post
My DS 9 was on this cruise with his grandma, but I couldn't go due to work. He had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the glacier. We are from Michigan so the temps didn't bother him. Nice to read a report, as his retelling is somewhat sketchy. Really enjoying your report so far.

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P.S. I am just laughing thinking about how my son would describe his cruise. With all the amazing things we did, he would probably say, "I ate a lot and played basketball." I am sure most tween boys aren't the best with details.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:57 PM   #30
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What a great last minute trip! Really looking forward to hear more about it.

Jill in CO
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