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Old 01-27-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
KelseyLaPerle
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Alaskan cruise questions

I have read nearly all the Alaskan info. threads and yet I still have a few questions. We are on the late July sailing, it'll be just DH and I (celebrating our 10th anniversary).

1.) While on board, do we need to keep anything with us at all times? I'm having a hard time deciphering the actual size of the ship and how long it will take us to walk around, etc. If it'll only be a 2-3 minute walk to get back to our room for stuff, I won't carry around a bag. Otherwise, I'll want to stash stuff and keep it handy.

2.) I know the ship is cash free and we'll pay for everything at the end of the cruise. Can we do this with Disney gift cards, credit card or cash?

3.) What is the pier like where we'll have to wait in line to board? It'll be late July so the weather shouldn't be too bad, but I'm wondering if we'll have to stand out in the wind while we wait.

4.) For excursions, I assume we can bring a backpack with stuff for the day and for space to remove layers if needed? For higher activity excursions, like zip-lining, is there a place to store items or will we have to carry everything with us at all times?

5.) What are the indoor temperatures like at the restaurants, etc.? I guess it can be chilly on deck but the temperature must be controlled inside.

6.) We have AT&T cell phones - will they work on the ship or at the ports?

7.) Do we pay for excursions when we book them online, or is our place held and we pay on the ship?

8.) Can we only make a reservation at Palo during our normally scheduled dining time?

Thanks so much for any and all help!
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:03 AM   #2
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Also, the excursion information online does not include exact times. Once I get to my booking date, will this information be available? I don't know how to plan excursions if I don't know what time they are happening. We'd like to do more than one on some days.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:24 AM   #3
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Well, I'll answer some.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
I have read nearly all the Alaskan info. threads and yet I still have a few questions. We are on the late July sailing, it'll be just DH and I (celebrating our 10th anniversary).

1.) While on board, do we need to keep anything with us at all times? I'm having a hard time deciphering the actual size of the ship and how long it will take us to walk around, etc. If it'll only be a 2-3 minute walk to get back to our room for stuff, I won't carry around a bag. Otherwise, I'll want to stash stuff and keep it handy. The ship isn't that large that a 2 or 3 minute walk won't get you where you're going. I usually just have my KTTW card, and chapstick. And the ever important camera.

2.) I know the ship is cash free and we'll pay for everything at the end of the cruise. Can we do this with Disney gift cards, credit card or cash? Charges to your onboard account will be taken (in this order) from any gift cards applied to your account, then cash, then charged to your credit card. Be sure to keep your gift cards after applying them to your account, in case there is any left they need to be put back on the same gift card.

3.) What is the pier like where we'll have to wait in line to board? It'll be late July so the weather shouldn't be too bad, but I'm wondering if we'll have to stand out in the wind while we wait. Don't know what dock DCL uses, but all our cruses (Alaska or otherwise), you are in the terminal, go out on a small deck sort of area and directly onto a covered gangway, that leads into the ship.

4.) For excursions, I assume we can bring a backpack with stuff for the day and for space to remove layers if needed? For higher activity excursions, like zip-lining, is there a place to store items or will we have to carry everything with us at all times? Sorry, haven't done ziplining, don't know this one.

5.) What are the indoor temperatures like at the restaurants, etc.? I guess it can be chilly on deck but the temperature must be controlled inside. I have always found the MDRs (as well as the theatres) chilly onboard.

6.) We have AT&T cell phones - will they work on the ship or at the ports? We have Verizon, we called home from Ketchikan, Juneau, and Anchorage with no problems. Onboard the ship, while cruising, you will be charged for Cellar at Sea ($2.49 per minute).

7.) Do we pay for excursions when we book them online, or is our place held and we pay on the ship? Excursion are charged to your onboard account once you are onboard (usually shows up on the day of the excursion). If you book an excursion, and want to cancel it, you must do so 3 days prior to the beginning of the cruise, or you will be charged for it, unless DCL can re-sell you spot.

8.) Can we only make a reservation at Palo during our normally scheduled dining time? You may make Palo reservations for anytime during thier dining hours. In many cases, this isn't when your "regular" scheduled dining time.

Thanks so much for any and all help!
Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
Also, the excursion information online does not include exact times. Once I get to my booking date, will this information be available? I don't know how to plan excursions if I don't know what time they are happening. We'd like to do more than one on some days.
You won't know the exact times the excursion is being offered until you do your online booking. At that time, when you select an excursion, it will offer you a selection of times for it, or show the only time it is happening (as some excursions may only run once).
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
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I haven't done Alaska yet, but this year's Alaska trip will be third Disney Cruise, so I'll help where I can

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
I have read nearly all the Alaskan info. threads and yet I still have a few questions. We are on the late July sailing, it'll be just DH and I (celebrating our 10th anniversary).

1.) While on board, do we need to keep anything with us at all times? I'm having a hard time deciphering the actual size of the ship and how long it will take us to walk around, etc. If it'll only be a 2-3 minute walk to get back to our room for stuff, I won't carry around a bag. Otherwise, I'll want to stash stuff and keep it handy.
I found it handy to bring aboard a small wristlet for carrying just my Room key card (slash charge card), camera, ID, and maybe some lipstick. Everything else stayed stashed away in the room safe.

Quote:
4.) For excursions, I assume we can bring a backpack with stuff for the day and for space to remove layers if needed? For higher activity excursions, like zip-lining, is there a place to store items or will we have to carry everything with us at all times?
I don't know specifically what each excursion will or won't require, but I have always brought a small day bag or backpack with me on excursions before. I bring something that I won't mind carrying around all day if I have to. (I have a small backpack/purse purchased a few years back at WDW that has served me quite nicely!) I can't speak to a specific ziplining excursion. You could always research the company running the excursion you want to do and call them directly.

Quote:
5.) What are the indoor temperatures like at the restaurants, etc.? I guess it can be chilly on deck but the temperature must be controlled inside.
Bring a cardigan sweater or wrap to dinner and the shows in the theater - it can be a bit chilly at first in anticipation of thousands of people crowding into one room.

Quote:
7.) Do we pay for excursions when we book them online, or is our place held and we pay on the ship?
You will pay for your excursion on the day that you take it, if you book directly through DCL. Sometimes ports are changed due to weather or are canceled, so you will not see the charge appear until the day of. If you are comfortable with it, I would highly recommend booking Alaska excursions on your own in advance. My excursions for this July are already all paid for, and I saved a bit over DCL's prices.

Quote:
8.) Can we only make a reservation at Palo during our normally scheduled dining time?
When you sign in online to book Palo dining, you will see a choice of times for dinner or brunch. You can eat in Palo whenever is convenient for you (or available!), and if your schedule allows you can even show up at your regularly scheduled time in the dining room, too! (Although I'm not sure why you'd want to...you will be STUFFED after Palo! I do confess that on one Palo brunch day I did show up for our character breakfast, ate half a bagel, took some photos, and then scurried away to Palo.)
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
I have read nearly all the Alaskan info. threads and yet I still have a few questions. We are on the late July sailing, it'll be just DH and I (celebrating our 10th anniversary).

1.) While on board, do we need to keep anything with us at all times? I'm having a hard time deciphering the actual size of the ship and how long it will take us to walk around, etc. If it'll only be a 2-3 minute walk to get back to our room for stuff, I won't carry around a bag. Otherwise, I'll want to stash stuff and keep it handy.

While the ship is not the size of the Fantasy or the Dream, it will take longer to get to your stateroom than 2-3 minutes (unless you run!).

2.) I know the ship is cash free and we'll pay for everything at the end of the cruise. Can we do this with Disney gift cards, credit card or cash?

Your KTTW card will charge everything to your account. We always put a credit card on the account.

3.) What is the pier like where we'll have to wait in line to board? It'll be late July so the weather shouldn't be too bad, but I'm wondering if we'll have to stand out in the wind while we wait.

You are inside to wait and they have seating areas until your number is called.

4.) For excursions, I assume we can bring a backpack with stuff for the day and for space to remove layers if needed? For higher activity excursions, like zip-lining, is there a place to store items or will we have to carry everything with us at all times?

Yes, you can bring a backpack or tote along on any of the excursions. Don't know the answer to storage on zipline adventures.

5.) What are the indoor temperatures like at the restaurants, etc.? I guess it can be chilly on deck but the temperature must be controlled inside.

The temperature is controlled and usually comfortable. Ladies might want a sweater if you usually get cold in bare arms.

6.) We have AT&T cell phones - will they work on the ship or at the ports?

We had connections, but charges can be extremely high on cell phones.

7.) Do we pay for excursions when we book them online, or is our place held and we pay on the ship?

You book your excursions and DCL adds them to your bill.

8.) Can we only make a reservation at Palo during our normally scheduled dining time?

No, you can book Palo for the time you desire as long as they still have reservations available.

Thanks so much for any and all help!
Answers are after each of your questions. Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
Also, the excursion information online does not include exact times. Once I get to my booking date, will this information be available? I don't know how to plan excursions if I don't know what time they are happening. We'd like to do more than one on some days.
When you book the excrusion, they give you choices of times (if they are offered more than once) so you will know the schedule at that time. Your actual tickets are usually in your stateroom and tell you where to meet and what time to be there. Don't be late-they will leave without you (seen it happen!).
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:05 PM   #7
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As far as the excursion times, you will only see the exact times available when you go to book them. You can try to book more than one but I will warn you, with DCL excursions, when we were in Alaska we had a hard time finding 2 that could be done on the same day (I know with the ones that interested us, we couldn't juggle any of the days to make it work). DCL will not allow you to book one that starts less than 1 1/2 (or maybe it's 2) hours after the scheduled end time of the first excursion. In most of the ports, there is plenty for you to see on your own schedule so if you want to do one excursion (whether with DCL or a private tour company) and then head out on your own, that is very doable.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
What is the pier like where we'll have to wait in line to board? It'll be late July so the weather shouldn't be too bad, but I'm wondering if we'll have to stand out in the wind while we wait.
You will wait inside. You're leaving from Canada Place, right? You might *want* to go outside to look around, and it will probably be lovely to do so in July. We've walked around the outside of Canada Place during visits to Vancouver, it's neat to see the outside of the ships "parked" there.

And you'll want to go snag a JapaDog from the stand nearby before you leave. OK, maybe buying food before you get on a ship is silly, but there are very few places you can get them.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
I have read nearly all the Alaskan info. threads and yet I still have a few questions. We are on the late July sailing, it'll be just DH and I (celebrating our 10th anniversary).

1.) While on board, do we need to keep anything with us at all times? I'm having a hard time deciphering the actual size of the ship and how long it will take us to walk around, etc. If it'll only be a 2-3 minute walk to get back to our room for stuff, I won't carry around a bag. Otherwise, I'll want to stash stuff and keep it handy.

I only kept my room card with me at all times. Of course, we did tend to bring a camera sometimes as well, but nothing else really. I never used my purse.

3.) What is the pier like where we'll have to wait in line to board? It'll be late July so the weather shouldn't be too bad, but I'm wondering if we'll have to stand out in the wind while we wait.

The pier in Vancouver is very nice and you wait indoors.

5.) What are the indoor temperatures like at the restaurants, etc.? I guess it can be chilly on deck but the temperature must be controlled inside.

I found the inside freezing when we were on a 3-day in the Bahamas. It was much warmer in Alaska, I guess to offset how cold it was up on deck. But I needed to wear sweaters less in Alaska than in the Bahamas.

6.) We have AT&T cell phones - will they work on the ship or at the ports?

We had no trouble getting a signal while in port (and sometimes from our balcony when we were very close to little towns, but you have to be careful and make sure it's really AT&T so you don't get roaming/satellite charges.

8.) Can we only make a reservation at Palo during our normally scheduled dining time?

They don't care when your normal dining time is when you make the reservation.

Thanks so much for any and all help!
I hope this helps! And have a fantastic time -- cruising DCL in Alaska was amazing!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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There is lots of room inside to wait before entering the terminal so you won't be outside like at PC. On the Alaska cruise in addition to carrying our camera with us at all times, we also kept our binoculars with us. You never know when a whale or other wildlife will be spotted when you are out on deck...or even walking past the portholes inside. I was walking to midship with DS one day and when I glanced out of the porthole I saw a water spout. I told him to run and follow me. We went outside and were able to see two whales breaching.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:13 PM   #11
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I have not ziplined in Alaska, but when I did it in Hawaii, we were not *allowed* to bring anything with us besides sunglasses (with loaned keepers if you needed them) and cameras that could be clipped somewhere. There were lockers provided for us. They don't want you worrying about things that you're carrying, or dropping them, etc. I can't imagine them letting you carry stuff with you.

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Old 01-27-2013, 06:10 PM   #12
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Since all of your questions were answered, I just wanted to add that we also have AT&T and if you look at their online map of coverage, all of the port towns provide coverage. We cruised at the very end of Aug and didn't get any extra charges & I was texting with cruising buddies back home a lot, texting pics, etc. If you're at sea or approaching port, just reboot your phone and make sure the display says AT&T so you're in the network & not roaming.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:22 PM   #13
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I ziplined on our Alaskan cruise and it was great. We were not allowed to bring anything except sunglasses and their was no place to store it, so I left everything with dh. We took a bus to the top of the mountain and spotted a bear on the way up. The view is absolutely breathtaking. We loved it!
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