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Old 10-14-2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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I've always wanted to go to Alaska. I can't wait to hear all about your cruise.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #17
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Following along!
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Great report! Can't wait to read the rest.
Welcome aboard! I've gotten almost everything written out, now it's a matter of cutting and pasting!

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Subbing in and loving it! Wow, your mom sounds so similar to my mother in law! We love them but wow they can ruin the mood of a room in no time flat.

Glad you daughter found her phone...
I was never so happy to see a phone in all my life! Poor Rebecca takes a lot from my mom.... Like you said, I do love her. But it isn't always easy!

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I've always wanted to go to Alaska. I can't wait to hear all about your cruise.
I hope you get there someday, it truly is amazing! Thanks for following along!
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:45 PM   #18
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Tuesday, 9/3

Several times throughout the night, I woke to hear the fog horn sounding. It was actually a soothing sound and I fell right back asleep each time. Two things really helped with sound sleeping this trip. The first which I read about on the boards, was a clothes pin. I used it to fasten the curtains closed and it stayed really dark in our room. The second was a white noise app that I downloaded on my iPad. I knew I would want something to mask the sounds of the ship, the kids sleeping in our room (Andrew is a notoriously loud sleeper, he has whole conversations with himself.), the sounds in the hall, etc. It worked fabulously. The bed was super comfy as well. The comfort did not keep me from waking up by 6:00am though (9:00am EST). I tried to be as quiet as possible as I got dressed and got the laundry together. The kids did wake up as I was rummaging around though. I tried to get them to be quiet, which was a losing battle so John was soon up as well. I headed to the laundry room and got three loads started, I had gotten clothes from the other room the evening before. I always travel with a folding hamper so I just lugged it down the hallway to the laundry room. I had brought detergent pods and dryer sheets so I only had to pay for the washer and dryer. The washer cycle was only 27 minutes, so it wasn't long before things were ready for the dryer. The dryer cycle was longer, so I ran up to get some breakfast with the kids at BBB. I got back in time to get our stuff out of the dryer. Not many using the laundry at 8:00am on the first day of the cruise! Laundry was all done by 9 so my mom and I headed up to the DVC Member Celebration. We enjoyed some champagne and got some goodies and were tempted with the Grand Floridian Villas but we will stick with our 200 points at Saratoga Springs for now! My mom won two shirts from the real Saratoga, NY that some members from that area had brought. She also got a DVC tumbler and we both got portfolios, lanyards, and a bunch of hats. I'm not sure what John and the kids did during this time but we all met up for the 10:30 showing of Monsters University. John, Rebecca, and my mom had not seen it yet. We all enjoyed it for the first or second time. We had no trouble getting good seats at 10:10 but by 10:25 it was packed! We had not seen it in 3D the first time, so that was fun. We were still full from breakfast, but we did run up to deck 9 to get everyone sodas for the movie. Andrew really wanted to see the Route 66 area. He is big on geography and he was excited to see the map on the carpet. we had to follow it to the end!





We decided to try Triton's for lunch which worked out being much easier than BBB even though it did take a while. I had the halibut which was delicious!

Andrew is a big fan of bacon cheeseburgers!



Service was really slow, so much so that we had to leave for our 2:00 Mixology class before our key lime pie arrived. I took Andrew and Natalie up to the Oceaneers Club. The big girls waited for their dessert and then went to their own clubs. Our Triton's servers brought out our pies to go, so the girls dropped them by the room after they finished up. We had a few bites for a snack later in the day and determined it was pretty good pie, not the best ever but tasty. Oh, and a magical moment occurred when I was walking Natalie out of the side door of Triton's to head to the restroom. Cinderella was passing by after the Princess gathering and stopped to give Natalie a huge hug! It was so fast that I didn't even get a chance to get my camera out. But it sure made Natalie's day!
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:03 PM   #19
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So, on to Mixology! I was really looking forward to this tasting. My mom and I had gone to Guest Services earlier to make sure they weren't going to do lots of sugary drinks. Mom is diabetic and wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be all daquries and mudslides! The CM called the Cadillac Lounge and found out mom should be OK. So off we went to the Cadillac Lounge! Jesus was our fearless bartender/teacher. There were four very tasty looking drinks set in front of us.



They were still working on the final drink when we sat down, soon there were five drinks!




Jesus explained the process of making and designing cocktails and gave us some interesting tidbits along the way. Most were courtesy of his "friend, Google". He was hilarious and I did learn quite a bit. The prepared drinks were a Bahama Mama, Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmo, Mudslide, and B-52. They drew a name from the ticket stubs to come make a drink behind the bar and my name was chosen! With Jesus' help, I came up with a tasty green drink made from vodka, rum, Apple Pucker, Midori liqueur, and sour mix. After Jesus quipped that it looked like I had made a drink or two before, I joked that with four kids I needed some kind outlet! The group decided the drink should be named "Mom with Four Kids" and a few times later in the trip people mentioned it to me!






I also noticed that a few in the class had name cards from the DIS meet group and told them I was sorry I missed the meet. They told me who had the name cards and luckily I still had the room information for our recipe exchange so I planned on leaving a note for our fearless leader to see if I could get our tags. During the tasting, Jesus' assistant, Richard said "whale" and pointed out the window. We all immediately turned our heads and were able to see our first whale spume of the trip! Richard said if you ever want to see something funny, go up to deck 9 or 10 and yell "WHALE" and watch everyone run to the rail! We picked up Andrew and Natalie from the club and headed to the room to relax on the veranda and rest up before dinner.

We really enjoyed just looking off the veranda. I don't know that we would enjoy one as much if all that was out there was ocean, but there was ALWAYS something to see in Alaska!



Andrew, Natalie and I left for dinner a few minutes early to deliver a few of the recipes we had brought for the exchange. We stopped by our leaders' door and she and her daughter were just leaving so we got to meet and get our name tags. She also gave me another copy of the groups' activities. Anabelle had spent the afternoon in the Vibe and really enjoyed the Video Scavenger hunt. Dinner tonight was in Parrot Cay with the Golden Mickeys menu. We headed down a little early to partake in the Welcome Reception and see Mickey decked out for the show.



I have some silly girls!






I had the swordfish, which was pretty good but not the best ever. John and I both thought the food got progressively better as the cruise went on. Natalie really enjoyed her strawberry sundae though!



My mom finally getting her dinner, as we were finishing dessert. This became a major issue as the trip continued.



Rebecca turned 12 right before the trip, so her birthday was one of the celebrations that night.



We stopped in the shops briefly before the Golden Mickeys, but made sure we got to the theater early to get a good seat although we would have been fine later since we were more concerned with sitting higher up so my mom wouldn't have to climb much. We enjoyed the show (not Andrew's favorite, he's not a showtune guy) and then went back to the shops. I asked if the 2013 Alaska merchandise was going to be on sale any time during the cruise (some was marked down, most was not) and was told ALL Alaska merchandise was 40% off whether it was marked 2013 or not. Well then! I got scrapbook stuff, a Tervis tumbler, Alaska pins for each kid (we always get them a pin of our resort when we are at WDW), and Andrew picked out the Alaska plush set of Goofy, Donald, and Mickey. Natalie grabbed the last Alaska Minnie on display which sent Andrew into a tizzy. He is somewhat OCD and not having Minnie would mean he did not have the COMPLETE set. Oh the horror! We asked and the CM said there were none in the back. Andrew spent the rest of the evening conspiring how to convince Natalie to give him the Minnie. Thankfully, my mom asked a different CM after we left and Fernando was great and said he would check another storeroom in the morning and let her know. (Spoiler alert: He did find another Minnie and Andrew's cruise was saved!!!) My mom had been getting a bucket of ice refilled by our steward each day. I called room service to see if we could get some ice and they brought some in a non-insulated plain white bucket! It had a towel under it to soak up condensation and plastic wrap on the top! Not sure what was up with that, I just wanted a regular ice bucket like they had next door. I didn't get any more ice the rest of the trip, it was just kind of weird!

A dinosaur was our pet for the night.



Andrew took it apart and couldn't figure out how to reassemble it, so he made a towel "sushi roll" for us!



I actually ran down and did another load of laundry since I didn't have all of Anabelle's stuff that morning. Laundry done, we turned on the white noise app and off to dreamland we sailed.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #20
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Great trip report, we are trying to figure out what kind of cruise to take for next year.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #21
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I am wondering why your Mom's dinner was always so late to arrive.

I am always slower to eat than my family, so if that had happened to me, I would have been sitting there all night long.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:16 AM   #22
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I am wondering why your Mom's dinner was always so late to arrive. I am always slower to eat than my family, so if that had happened to me, I would have been sitting there all night long.
We never quite figured it out. Her food came up separately from the "allergy galley" and was supposedly there at the start of the seating time each night since she had preordered the night before. The timing of meals the whole cruise was a little off. The kids would get everything right away, or even their entree at the same time as their appetizers. That would have been fine for "dine & play" but often the younger two were all done before we even got our salads and it was tough to keep them entertained. Nick, the head server, wanted to personally serve her and he wasn't always available when our servers were ready to give the rest of the table their meals. Very unorganized. I did like all our servers, very friendly and enthusiastic, but it was strange that they never did get the timing down. My mother was very upset about it by the end of the trip.

Busy with Halloween activities here and my DH's 25th college reunion is this weekend but hopefully I will get more posted early next week! Thanks for following along everyone!
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:13 PM   #23
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Really enjoying your TR, we cruised Alaska 2 years ago with our then 12 year old and 2 year old on Holland. Would love to go again on DCL out of Vancouver. Cant wait to read more!
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:03 PM   #24
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reading along
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:00 AM   #25
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Enjoying your TR. Looking forward to reading the rest.
I am trying to convince DH to do an Alaska cruise. So far, he's not sold on the idea, but I get ideas from every Alaska TR I read to help convince him that he will enjoy it, and will not be totally frozen the whole time.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:12 AM   #26
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We never quite figured it out. Her food came up separately from the "allergy galley" and was supposedly there at the start of the seating time each night since she had preordered the night before. The timing of meals the whole cruise was a little off.
That is to bad we had the opposite experience as our daughter's meals that were ordered the night before to accommodate her allergies showed up on time with the head waiter every evening. However anytime we ordered something different than what we preordered it took forever. I am really enjoying your report.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:45 PM   #27
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Wednsday, 9/4
Tracy Arm Day!
Once again, I was up early. I never did really adjust to the time change. I tried to be extra quiet this morning though so I wouldn't wake the kids up again. I threw on some clothes and headed up the Cove Cafe. I enjoyed a tasty cafe mocha and some goodies from the pastry case. There was some kind of little granola loaf that was very tasty! I sat out on deck 9 for a little bit just relaxing. There were a few people out and about, but not many. I walked a few laps on deck 4, it felt good to get a little exercise. I stopped back at the room and the kids were starving so I took them up to BBB for a little breakfast while John took a shower. We stopped by the Promenade Lounge for Natalie to participate in the Wake Up with Disney Junior activity. She warmed up slowly and was dancing by the end. I've seen where sometimes Pluto comes out to dance, but we didn't have any special visitors just the girl hosting it. It was still cute!



I dropped them at the Oceaneers Club for Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers after breakfast and headed back to the room to take a shower and get ready for brunch at Palo. By then Anabelle was up and hungry so she and John headed to Triton’s for breakfast. I’m not real sure what Rebecca was doing but I am guessing she was at the Edge. While I was getting ready, I looked out the window and saw a pod of orca swimming by! It was truly amazing and awe inspiring! I watched them until they passed out of view. I headed up to Palo to meet my mom. We had made a reservation for three but when John realized he didn’t have any dress pants packed and blue jeans were not allowed, he cancelled his spot. The Palo staff offered to deliver pants for John to wear, they keep a stash for just such an occasion. But John was not comfortable with that so he opted out. At brunch, we figured out he would have been fine with his black jeans and Converse shoes but it was too late by then. There were several guys in pretty casual clothes. Lesson learned. My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed brunch. With her allergy issue, she got special attention from the chef, Silvio. He was great, making my mom whatever she wanted fresh. She wanted to try the marinated scallops but they had red pepper in them so Silvio made her the most delicious seared sea scallops. They were out of this world! We had a nice view of our entry into Tracy Arm from Palo, but were anxious to get changed and get outside.



With Silvio



John had lunch with the kids at BBB. Andrew and Natalie reported that Andrew had found Chip during hide and seek in the Oceaneers Club. Natalie was quite proud of her big brother! Natalie also said that Belle read them a story and she thought that was pretty awesome.

This is why we wanted a balcony.












We spent the afternoon on deck 10 viewing the incredible scenery. The front of the deck was pretty crowded, but there was really great views from everywhere. We didn't see the characters out much. Anabelle took this one, it's the only pic we got the whole afternoon with one of the gang.




Making our way up to deck 10.



Not many people inside!



Captain Thord spend a good bit of time close to the glacier. It seemed like we were right up next to it. They announced we were closer than they had been all summer, within about a mile of the glacier. The size of it was hard to comprehend, it sure seemed like we were way closer than a mile! We heard the “white thunder” a few times, which heralds the calving of a piece of ice. We saw a few smaller pieces fall (small being relative, they were still bigger than a house!).



Anabelle with one of the several dozen veggie burgers she consumed on the trip.



Seal on an ice airplane!






Obligatory glacier picture that doesn't even kind of do it justice.



The kids were getting cold, so they went back to the room to warm up and hang out on the veranda. John and I took advantage of the Cove Cafe and enjoyed some delicious Coffee Toledos (Baileys, Kahlua, Espresso, Hershey's Chocolate sauce, Whipped Cream) while warming up.




It was about time to get ready for a surprise for Natalie, the Princess Tea! John and Andrew opted out but all the girls went. On the way down there, I walked outside on deck 4 to take a last look at the glacier. I was just in time to see a huge, and I mean huge, piece erupt out of the water. An office building sized piece of the glacier had broken off under the water line and popped up like a cork! Amazing!

That dark blue piece to the right is the one that popped up. Hard to believe it's the size of a multi-storied building!

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Old 11-10-2013, 01:00 PM   #28
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We arrived at Studio Sea a few minutes before the 4:00 tea and found a seat inside. We had not told Natalie what we were doing and she was excited to see the “tea” pot (full of apple juice) and have a tea party with her sisters. She had no idea who the special guest was going to be, she was beyond thrilled when Ariel made her appearance. Tiana also came out and they both visited each table. Then there was a dance lesson and each princess posed for pictures and signed autographs. If you have a princess loving kid, this is a must do! It’s not advertised, I only heard about it on the DIS. I had signed up at Guest Services on embarkation day and had the choice of today or the last sea day.

Getting ready for the surprise!



One of my favorite pictures of the trip, she was SO surprised to see Ariel!










Serious princess conference!





Tea party concluded, we met up with the men who had spent some quality bonding time in the arcade. Dinner tonight was in Parrot Cay again, the standard rotational menu. I tried one of the specialty drinks, the Banana Caribe. The kids had chocolate smoothies.

Very tasty!



My mom had ordered the Ahi tuna and they had made it in the allergy kitchen, along with the rest of her meal. She tasted the sauce that was on the plate and said it had peppers in it and immediately felt ill. She got up and headed back to the room to rest. Nick brought me the ingredient list and the only thing in the sauce was tamarind paste. We never did find out if there was any pepper in the paste, but my mom was very upset and she became very critical of the dining staff after this point. She did make it to the show with us. The show tonight was Magic Dave. I knew Andrew would really enjoy this one, and he really did. Right up his alley. The girls and adults liked it as well. I really appreciated the family friendly shows on the ship. On our one Carnival cruise, I felt I needed to constantly cover the kids’ eyes during the “family” shows! After the show, my mom had a special surprise for Andrew. Fernando had found some more Alaska Minnies! He was SO happy, his collection was complete!!! The big girls headed off to their clubs with the admonition to not stay out too late. We had an early morning coming up! We took Natalie up to Pluto’s Pajama party, she was VERY excited to go to the club in her nightgown! We picked her up at 10:30 and admired her cool half-colored pillowcase. Time for bed and our first port day tomorrow!

The collection is complete!!

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Old 11-10-2013, 02:15 PM   #29
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Loving your TR! keep it coming!
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:50 PM   #30
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Really enjoying your TR, we cruised Alaska 2 years ago with our then 12 year old and 2 year old on Holland. Would love to go again on DCL out of Vancouver. Cant wait to read more!
We saw several HAL ships! Andrew enjoyed trying to pronounce their names. I would go again in a heartbeat!

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reading along
Thanks for joining!!

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Enjoying your TR. Looking forward to reading the rest.
I am trying to convince DH to do an Alaska cruise. So far, he's not sold on the idea, but I get ideas from every Alaska TR I read to help convince him that he will enjoy it, and will not be totally frozen the whole time.
We had great weather! The coldest we got was on the deck in Tracy Arm. I am a total cold weather wimp and as long as I had my earwarmers, I was fine.

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That is to bad we had the opposite experience as our daughter's meals that were ordered the night before to accommodate her allergies showed up on time with the head waiter every evening. However anytime we ordered something different than what we preordered it took forever. I am really enjoying your report.
Glad you are enjoying it! It was strange, it really became a self-fulfilling prophesy. My mom was not cutting them any slack, but they definitely could have done better.

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Loving your TR! keep it coming!
Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it! I always love going back and reliving our trips through a trip report. I still go back and read my old ones from time to time to bring back the great memories.
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