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Old 09-27-2013, 12:25 AM   #16
topsy
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Originally Posted by RweTHEREyet View Post
I am thoroughly enjoying your trip report, the narrative and all the lovely pictures. Thanks for taking us on the trip with you. We sail to Alaska next May, so I am reading every report I can find. Thanks again.
That is so kind of you to say, thank you!

I also read every report I could find before out cruise, most of them more than once! I am a photo person so be prepared to see lots more!!
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:57 PM   #17
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Day Four – AT SEA; Treatments, Spinning, Shopping and Formal Night!

Tuesday 3rd September

This morning I woke again around 3am, darn time difference, but dozed until around 6.30am when our alarm woke us up. We both had spa appointments this morning so we couldnt sleep in. I got up and looked out on the veranda to find I couldnt see anything. It was unbelievably foggy! I heard the ships fog horn sound a few times but couldnt really hear this inside the room. The ship was definitely moving about and rocking gently but not enough that I could really feel it or felt ill.



I decided to go up and get us some breakfast and wander the ship as nobody else was around. I couldnt believe how foggy it was, it was so spooky. It reminded me of the first Pirates film when theyre sailing through the mist. I walked all the way up to the front of the ship and was standing alone in front of the wind shield on deck 10 when the fog horn sounded. I can tell you, I have never been so surprised in all my life. I think I left my skin in Alaska; I jumped so far out of it! I thought it would be a good idea to go back to civilisation at that point so I went to BBB and Goofys Galley to get a selection of food to take back to the room.






We go to the spa just before 8.00am and signed in. I was having the seaweed wrap which included a foot and ankle massage, head and neck massage followed by a half body massage. It was bliss. I think the lady doing my treatment was called Jonalyn from the Philippines, Im not sure if I wrote her name down correctly. She was lovely but told me I have lots of stress in my upper back. She asked if I work at a desk or in front of a computer, which I do every day. Apparently my job is too stressful and I would benefit from more massages, I knew that, but unfortunately cant afford to have massages throughout the year; theyre saved for my holidays.

Half way through my treatment I had a funny five minutes where I felt like I was spinning. This wasnt your normal drunken night out the room is spinning situation, I felt like I was lying on a plank and it was the plank that was spinning and tilting. I put it down to the ship movement but had to keep my eyes open to focus on something, rather than gently dozing off and relaxing.
After my treatment I popped into the salon where Elle was having a hair treatment and told her Id meet her back in the room but of course I went to via the shops. I looked a mess as I had wet, oily hair (shed used oils for my head massage) and was in my gym clothes but I didnt care  dont you love that on the cruise nobody is judging you?! I managed to splurge and do all my shopping in that one hit. I had two of the big carrier bags and think I pretty much cleaned them out of all things Alaska. Except for that vinylmation&!



On the way back to our room I saw Elmer, our stateroom host, in the hallway. Elmer was brilliant; he always chatted to us and cleaned our room impeccably. Elle was sleeping on the pull out couch bed as she had graciously given me the bed. Elmer made her bed up with princess sheets (yes I realise we are nearly 30 but hey, its Disney!).

When Elle got back we tucked into the cake and watched Disney classics in the room, what a life! We eventually got showered and dressed with the plan to watch the DVC presentation at 1.45pm. Well, that didnt happen! We missed it and instead watched the princess gathering in the atrium. I cannot tell you how many cute girls there were dressed as princesses, they were adorable. And the princesses were really good. Belle was the most beautiful I have seen and Snow White was brilliantly in character.




In the afternoon the fog lifted and once again we had a beautiful, warm day. We decided to walk along deck 4 and almost instantly we saw something moving quickly through the water. It was so exciting, everyone on the deck ran to the railings to see what it was. It was a pod of porpoise! They were far too quick for us to catch on camera but it gave us a good taste of what was yet to come&





After that excitement, we decided to borrow some blankets from deck 4 to leave on our veranda and picked up some hot chocolate to go back to the room with. We ordered some grilled cheese from room service and settled in on the veranda. The grilled cheese and fries (which were more like chunky chips) were not brilliant but edible. The cheese hadnt melted and I prefer thin fries.




Within about 5 minutes of sitting down, we saw whale spouts! We stayed out on the balcony until show time just watching the scenery and several whale sightings including lots of breaching, a pod of about 10 in one go and some baby whales. We missed a ship tour because we didnt want to leave the whales! This became a recurrence on our trip, there was so much to see from the veranda that we didnt do too much else.







Although it was formal night, we went to the show, the Golden Mickeys, in our sweats. I love this show, Ensign Benson is always brilliant and tonight was no exception, she was wonderful and so bubbly. We saw the girl who played her around the ship escorting characters and she was always lovely and happy. I asked her on the last night whether she was friends with other characters and she (dressed as Ensign Benson) said she was close friends with the fairy godmother. Before the show, our cruise director Jimmy tried really hard to promote audience energy and tell the audience that they should clap and cheer. We found the audiences this cruise to be a bit flat and not really lift the performers.

After the show we went back and got dressed up, we wore smart outfits but nothing too formal or ball gown-y. We had a cocktail in the Cadillac Lounge before dinner, a pomegranate passion I think, before heading to Animators Palate for dinner.

At dinner I ordered the Avant Premiere cocktail from the Golden Mickeys menu and ate the scallops (good but didnt like the risotto) and cheese ravioli (ok). It was when our appetizers came out that I had a bit of a funny turn. I suddenly felt really sick. The ship was moving more this evening so I dont know whether it was sea sickness or the fact that I may have eaten too much cake during the day! I was very close to leaving the table and going back to the room, but didnt want to miss dinner. After a glass of coke and only a couple of mouthfuls of each appetizer, I felt better so carried on.

For my main I had the yachtsman steakhouse NY strip steak which was really good. I loved the baked potato served with it and liked it even more when Shervonne came round with some sour cream to top it off. For dessert I had the strawberry sundae, along with most of my table mates, which was really yummy! I dont know why I didnt but I should have also ordered the sweet temptations here, a trio of Creme Brulee, The Golden Chocolate Award and Raspberry Cheesecake. I have had it before and really liked all of them.







Once wed finished dinner, two of our tablemates left for a late night whiskey tasting session so the remaining 4 of us lingered for a while and chatted over coffee.

Before going to bed tonight, we had to set our clocks back 1 hour to Alaska time. I also tried on my winter coat again as it was brand new, I wanted to check it would fit after all the cruise food! Elle started laughing and said I looked like Ensign Benson so she took a picture. What do you think?!



We went to bed and carried out our usual routine of watching movies until one of us fell asleep! Tomorrow would be Tracy Arm day and our first taste of Palo brunch.

A quick note about the spa situation - I had read up on the rainforest passes on the Disoards before going and decided not to buy any. I thought we could try to buy a day pass if we found we wanted to once on the ship. On the first day they flat out refused to sell anything other than the 7 day passes. They told me to check back throughout the cruise as any 7 day passes they dont sell, they would break down into single days and sell like that. I checked every day (as the spa kept calling out to me and wanting me to have another treatment!) and each day they became less strict about this. Finally on our second to last day they were selling the day passes. Basically, they want to sell you the week long pass at $150 (ish). So if you know you will only want a day  buy it before you go to guarantee it. It looked lovely in there and if we go on a longer cruise (hopefully planning the EBTA next May) we will buy the 7 day pass and take full advantage.

Next up  Palo!
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:21 PM   #18
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I can just see one of the crew members standing in the bridge with their finger on the fog horn waiting for some unsuspecting guest to stand in front of the ship so they can fire it off and watch them jump! I guess you were the lucky one!

Can't wait to sit on our verandah and watch the whales! How lucky you were to see them breach.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #19
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I can just see one of the crew members standing in the bridge with their finger on the fog horn waiting for some unsuspecting guest to stand in front of the ship so they can fire it off and watch them jump! I guess you were the lucky one!

Can't wait to sit on our verandah and watch the whales! How lucky you were to see them breach.
Next time we cruise and I see fog...I will stay inside and save myself the heart attack!

You will not regret having a veranda, and will probably not move away from it!
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:17 PM   #20
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Reliving the cruise through your report! I am working on mine, hopefully I will get some posted this weekend. We also fell in love with Tim Horton's. I could go for a maple dipped right now! That fog was something else. I woke a few times during that first night to the fog horn, I can imagine how loud it was up on deck! Glad you didn't get bounced overboard! We saw a whale out the window of the Cadillac Lounge during our mixology class. One of the bartenders said that if you want to see some passenger activity, go up to deck 9, stand at the rail, and yell "WHALE!".
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:23 PM   #21
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Thanks!

I am thoroughly enjoying this trip report. I will be on the Wonder in 6 weeks!

I look forward to the next installment.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:14 AM   #22
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Day Five – TRACY ARM; Whales, Mimosas and Glaciers

Wednesday 4th September

Part One -

This was it, the day we had been waiting for. No not the beautiful scenery, seals and magnificent Sawyer Glacier but our first Palo brunch! Ha, we have our priorities right!

The day started wonderfully, the ship movement had calmed down, we were awake at 7.00am and by 8.00am we had seen five whales from the veranda, two of which kept breaching. The only problem with seeing whales from the ship is that the ship moves a lot more quickly than the whales so once you’ve managed to lock eyes on them, they’re already behind you. Thank goodness I had a good zoom and binoculars, both of which were used constantly during this trip.





I decided to run up to BBB and get some doughnuts* and hot chocolate; we didn’t want to fill up as we had Palo reservations at 10.00am.

*(A quick note – the doughnuts became progressively drier and less edible as the cruise went on and the chocolate ones disappeared after 2 days!)

We ended up being a little late as we were so enthralled by the whales we lost track of time. When we did get to Palo we had a brilliant seat by the window, right in the centre and could continue watching the show, in fact we saw one whale slapping its fin on the surface.







Our server was Mladen from Croatia. He was lovely, really funny and eager to please; we ended up having him as our server for dinner later in the week. I believe they try to keep you with the same server if they can. We each had a mimosa and were shown the buffet tables. He explained which items went well together and offered his opinion on the cooked food you can order from the kitchen.


The pastry station


Antipasti station


Seafood station


Dessert station


Cheese and bread station







I had heard so much about the strawberry soup, grape and gorgonzola pizza and parmesan chicken that I ordered all three for us to share. Elle also ordered the veal to share. The chicken was outstanding, I don’t know how they make such a simple dish so extraordinary but I nearly ordered a second! The pizza too was perfect and I enjoyed the soup, Elle not so much. The veal was ok, but I would rather have had two chicken plates!


Parmesan chicken – AMAZING


Strawberry soup


I can’t remember what this is…veal I think?!


Grape & gorgonzola pizza

The rest of the buffet was great but I really didn’t get my fill as I was so stuffed with all the other dishes. I definitely want to do the brunch again, and hopefully go on a cruise where I could do it two or three times in one trip. Maybe the transatlantic next year?! We did have a very British moment at brunch in that we had no idea how much to tip. In theory, 20% is a good tip but 20% on $20pp would only be $8 between us – for 1.5hours of great service. This didn’t seem like enough so we (wrongly or rightly) gave him $20 which we later realised was a 40% tip! Oh well, it was worth it to us.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:17 AM   #23
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TRCY ARM - Part Two

We returned to the room around 11.30am and changed into some warmer layers. Unfortunately the weather was quite miserable and dull. We couldn’t really see the beautiful blue colours in the water until much later in the day. I wore jeans, a t-shirt and thin cardigan with my thick winter coat on top and felt warm enough. I later had to change again as my jeans got so wet and made my thighs really cold. I changed into my sweatpants and they were much better in the rain. I had debated bringing waterproof trousers but decided I wouldn’t need them. I now wish I had, just for comfort more than necessity.

After watching the world go by from our veranda, we ventured up to decks 9 and 10, probably around 12.30pm. It was really quiet, even at the front. This definitely changed though the nearer we got to the glacier. We didn’t base ourselves in one place, instead we spent the afternoon moving around and spent most of our time on deck 4 which was brilliant. We were well sheltered and nearer to the icebergs plus there was loads of room along the railings. We didn’t even know it was raining until we went up to deck 9 after we’d turned around at the glacier!









On the way in we were passing lots of seals, we moved very slowly in towards the glacier. Did anyone else feel like they were in Jurassic Park? The mountains we were sailing past were very Jurassic Park-y to me!















I found it very hard to find any characters on Tracy Arm day, supposedly they walk around decks 4, 9 and 10 and we saw loads of professional photos in Shutters the next day but we only ever caught glimpses of them as they were marching back to their backstage areas, with a gaggle of people behind them.

The captain managed to get us very close to the glacier despite seeing what he said were the biggest chunks of ice he has ever seen in Tracy Arm. He took us up there then turned the ship to the right, so the port side was facing the glacier. We stayed there for what felt like an hour but I’m sure wasn’t. There was definitely plenty of time to take about a million photos of the same thing (which we did!). We went back to our room to watch from the veranda at this point.

First glimpse of the glacier…




















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Old 09-28-2013, 05:18 AM   #24
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TRACY ARM -Part Three

Eventually, he turned the ship round on the spot; this was amazing to see as he had to do it so quietly and slowly. So now the starboard side (right) was facing the glacier as was our veranda.

This is when something amazing happened. We had seen several small bits of ice calve off at this point and heard the noise, something which can’t be explained. Suddenly we heard these huge cracks but could not see anything moving or falling off the glacier. We kept looking and hearing noises, until suddenly a wave started to appear and something started to come up from out of the water. This HUGE piece of ice had broken off from underneath the glacier and was rising to the surface, moving all the other bits of ice as the wave came toward the ship. Don’t worry, this wasn’t a tsunami sized wave, we couldn’t even feel it in the ship but you could certainly see it and see that it was moving the ice; the little seals were bobbing up and down on bits of ice!

This chunk was the most brilliant blue I have ever seen and although we knew it looked big, it wasn’t until later when we were told it was the size of an office building that we really understood just how big it was. I shall never forget that moment.























Shortly after this, we started to move off, gently nudging bits of ice out of the way. From our veranda we saw a huge piece of ice hit the ship, or the ship hit the ice, we’re not sure which! It made a big scraping sound and when the ice floated off you could see it had been compressed almost on one side. Again it’s nothing to worry about. That ship is tough!

Around 5pm we decided to go on the hunt of the characters dressed in their Alaska gear as we hadn’t had any luck during the day. We were still moving out through Tracy Arm at this time. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Chip & Dale were all in the lobby but they each had separate lines which were so long, we could only line up for one. We chose Mickey. I don’t understand why they don’t set this up like the Princess gathering where they have them all in a line and you move from one to the next. That way you would get to see them all. You’d still line up but would be able to see more in a shorter space of time.



Whilst we were in the line for Mickey, Captain Thord announced that he would be stopping the ship at some points of scenic interest. A few minutes later we stopped by a gorgeous waterfall and saw that beautiful crystal blue water I had seen in so many other TR pics. It was wonderful. We didn’t even realise it but he even turned the ship around so people on both sides could see it. It was on deck 4 looking at the waterfall that we ran into Goofy, finally. However there was no Disney photographer there at the time, I saw other people’s pictures with the same background in Shutters later on. We must have just missed the photographer.







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Old 09-28-2013, 05:20 AM   #25
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TRACY ARM - Part Four

The show tonight was Magic Dave, who although was very funny in his little skit during the first night show, didn’t appeal to us as a whole show, so we skipped it. Dinner tonight was in Animators Palate again and was show night. Two of our tablemates were on their first cruise so were excited for the show. We noticed this night how empty the dining room was, and each of them seemed to be every other night. The guest services desk said the ship was full but it can’t have been. Unless a LOT of people ate elsewhere each night?





For dinner tonight I ordered the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup which was so good, I had a second helping! I wish I had ordered the Wild Mushroom Risotto and Porcini Twist as it looked lovely. Next time…! For my main I had the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken Breast which came on top of Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables, and Grain Mustard Jus. I was trying not to have steak every night which is very easy to do! If I remember correctly, I ordered a Mickey Premium Bar for dessert as I didn’t really fancy anything on the menu. It set a trend and 4 of the 6 of us had a Mickey bar!







After dinner, we went through our usual exciting routine of putting on PJs, watching Disney movies and going to sleep. Not before having a final peek out on the veranda just in case there were more whales…in the dark.



Next up – Land, I see land!!!
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Old 09-28-2013, 01:11 PM   #27
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Antipasti station
That's me in the purple/black blouse helping my mom get some goodies. So yummy! We also had the tipping question, so it isn't just a British thing! We also tipped $20 which seemed such a bargain for the fabulous service!

That ice breaking off was just astounding wasn't it? I was just walking outside on Deck 4 when I saw it. My DH actually caught it on video on his iPad from our veranda. Unbelievable!

It's so much fun reliving the trip through someone else's eyes!

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Old 09-28-2013, 02:13 PM   #28
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That ice was amazing! I'm really enjoying your trip report, thank you for sharing!
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:31 PM   #29
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Enjoyed so many new installments. Still here following along, still enjoying your report and getting even more excited about our sailing next May. I hope we are as lucky with the whale sightings as you were. Each person's experience seems to be different.

The ice calving from the bottom sure was something--I am sure it would have scared me a bit, would have made me wonder if something could come up underneath the ship.
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:07 AM   #30
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all of your lovely comments, I've always wanted to have a TR and followers so thanks for tagging along!

This report should be complete by the end of next week, I have I all written up, just waiting on photos to upload.
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