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Old 06-07-2013, 08:49 AM   #16
Linda67
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We are only a couple of weeks away from our Alaskan Cruise so I am loving this TR
We've requested the same dining rotation as you did and if the character breakfast falls on the Tracy Arm day it would be perfect for us
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #17
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Curious to know how chilly it was on your White Pass Train trip?
We liked to stand outside on the train to get good pictures. It was very cold out there - even with gloves, hat and a pretty good winter coat, I would only stay out a few minutes at a time. Once we got off the train and didn't have the wind blowing, it wasn't too bad. The sun was shining at the top so that helped keep us warm.

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We are only a couple of weeks away from our Alaskan Cruise so I am loving this TR
We've requested the same dining rotation as you did and if the character breakfast falls on the Tracy Arm day it would be perfect for us
Thanks Linda . Yes, I believe you will get the same character breakfast day we did
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #18
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Some pictures from our Juneau Day. One of my cruise mates was able to get better pictures of the whales, seals and bald eagles (I was more concerned with staying warm and dry; also she had a much better camera). I'll come back to post those when I get them from her.





I think that splash is a seal:

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Old 06-07-2013, 05:46 PM   #19
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Ketchikan Pictures



























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Old 06-08-2013, 12:33 AM   #20
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Enjoyed your TR and photos. We did the Alaska cruise last year and had an amazing time. I never get tired of photos of Alaska!
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:58 AM   #21
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Awesome pictures! Makes me want to go to Alaska even more now!

Jill in CO


I agree. I had very little desire to go but wow, these pics are amazing.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:18 PM   #22
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Gorgeous pictures! We are on the last Alaska cruise this season and have been so looking forward to the reports from this year. Thanks for posting so soon!
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:34 PM   #23
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We are going on the 9 night next year. I am LOVING this report (and your humor has my 4 yo asking me "what's so funny mama?")

Our 1st cruise was this May and just the 3 nighter. Is the character breakfast you mentioned in Tracy Arm, the "regular" breakfast rotation or do you have to sign up special for it?

Very glad to see we should plan for weather in all ends of the spectrum! Can't wait to see how heavy our suitcases will be!

Thanks for your report!
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Luv2Diz View Post
Enjoyed your TR and photos. We did the Alaska cruise last year and had an amazing time. I never get tired of photos of Alaska!
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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
I agree. I had very little desire to go but wow, these pics are amazing.
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Gorgeous pictures! We are on the last Alaska cruise this season and have been so looking forward to the reports from this year. Thanks for posting so soon!
Thanks for all the encouragement!! I was kind of worried I would take all the time to write this up and then no one would care. Now I know, pictures are the secret

I'll add more pictures once my family sends me what they took. They're on their way home today so might still be a short while before I get their shots though.

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We are going on the 9 night next year. I am LOVING this report (and your humor has my 4 yo asking me "what's so funny mama?")

Our 1st cruise was this May and just the 3 nighter. Is the character breakfast you mentioned in Tracy Arm, the "regular" breakfast rotation or do you have to sign up special for it?

Very glad to see we should plan for weather in all ends of the spectrum! Can't wait to see how heavy our suitcases will be!

Thanks for your report!
Awww... It's so nice to hear I'm not the only person laughing at my corny jokes!

You don't have to sign up for the character breakfast. It's assigned to you on one of the sea days depending on your dining rotation. Just check your meal ticket on the first day to see when yours will be.

You're not kidding! This was the only time in my life I had overweight luggage. I've traveled across the Atlantic for two or three month stays with less luggage then I needed on this trip!

Admittedly, it didn't help that my entire family used me as their personal shipping company on the basis of the fact that I had less distance to travel and goods (like decent quality binoculars) available to me here in the US that they couldn't find in their countries of residence.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:08 PM   #25
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Thanks for the trip report. Lots of fun to read. We leave in 17 days for our Alaskan sailing with mickey.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:31 PM   #26
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One of my fellow cruisers took some great shots and was kind enough to share them with me. A big thank you to Mattfrombuffalo and the Mallon family for these:




































Pixar Party:








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Old 06-08-2013, 07:32 PM   #27
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Pictures from Matt continued :























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Old 06-08-2013, 10:29 PM   #28
travelvr
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Wow!

Thank you for your TR! My family and I (DH, 3 kids, my parents) are going on our first Alaska cruise (a first cruise of any kind for my family) in July with DCL. I literally just booked and purchased the rooms yesterday! Of course, not having been on a cruise before, I had NO clue what to do next! I haven't researched this for months, and am new panic mode...
These are the bits and pieces I've gathered so far:

1. Book reservation at Palo
2. Book excursions

That's it.


Help! I have a few questions..

Q1. When's the best time/day to do Palo? Tracy Arm day 10:30 brunch? What time is the salmon bake? Will the brunch ruin my appetite for the salmon bake? What about dinner? Which is a so-so dinner night I can sub for Palo?

Q2. Excursions - yikes! What's the can't-be-missed activities that will please 5-65 year olds? (I booked the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Boat excursion in Ketchikan. That looked like fun).

Q3. I read here that some people book their dining rotations? What does that mean and how do I do that?

Q4. When is the taste of Alaska dinner?

Q5. Is 8:15 dinner too late for people with young kids?

So excited...

(Thanks)
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:06 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by travelvr View Post
Thank you for your TR! My family and I (DH, 3 kids, my parents) are going on our first Alaska cruise (a first cruise of any kind for my family) in July with DCL. I literally just booked and purchased the rooms yesterday! Of course, not having been on a cruise before, I had NO clue what to do next! I haven't researched this for months, and am new panic mode...
These are the bits and pieces I've gathered so far:

1. Book reservation at Palo
2. Book excursions

That's it.


Help! I have a few questions..

Q1. When's the best time/day to do Palo? Tracy Arm day 10:30 brunch? What time is the salmon bake? Will the brunch ruin my appetite for the salmon bake? What about dinner? Which is a so-so dinner night I can sub for Palo?

Q2. Excursions - yikes! What's the can't-be-missed activities that will please 5-65 year olds? (I booked the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Boat excursion in Ketchikan. That looked like fun).

Q3. I read here that some people book their dining rotations? What does that mean and how do I do that?

Q4. When is the taste of Alaska dinner?

Q5. Is 8:15 dinner too late for people with young kids?

So excited...

(Thanks)

Hi travelvr

Let me preface this by saying that you're in for an amazing vacation, regardless of how much you plan. Even if you do nothing and board the boat tomorrow you will have a great time! I say this because I am a crazy meticulous planner and so you might feel like you're about to get a bit of an information dump.

Okay, so the first thing I recommend is to find your group's meet-up thread if you haven't done so already. This way you can get to know your fellow cruise mates before you leave and there might even still be time to sign up for the fish extender gift exchange if you wish to participate.

I also recommend doing the online check in and I think you can pre-register your kids for the clubs but I'm not sure. Perhaps someone here can help you out with the details of planning for little ones?

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Q3. I read here that some people book their dining rotations? What does that mean and how do I do that?
I'm going to go a little out of order here. I thought I should explain this before going into details about Palo dinner. As soon as you board the ship you will be given a dining rotation - in other words you will have a restaurant assigned to your family for each night you are on board. The rotations are:

PTTAPTA
APPTAPT
TAAPTAP

P = Parrot Cay; A= Animator's Pallet; T=Tritons

You can leave it to chance which rotation you get, or you can call Disney and request a specific rotation before you board. They say they can't guarantee the rotation, but they have always honored my requests in the past.

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1. Book reservation at Palo

Q1. When's the best time/day to do Palo? Tracy Arm day 10:30 brunch? What time is the salmon bake? Will the brunch ruin my appetite for the salmon bake? What about dinner? Which is a so-so dinner night I can sub for Palo?
If you're leaving in July it may be too late to get a Palo reservation online. Try, but if you don't succeed, no worries. They hold back 50% of the reservations until embarkation day. As soon as you board the ship, head up the first staircase you see and walk into Studio Sea. There you can make reservations for Palo and any tastings you might care to partake in on your sea days. The tastings are fun - mixology being my favorite but there's a cost of $10 to $15 per person depending on the tasting you choose.

Palo brunch and Palo dinner are two completely different experiences. I highly highly recommend a brunch - this was a wonderful experience for us. The brunch is only offered on sea days so space is limited though. The day you choose is entirely dependent on what works for your family. My family wasn't very inclined to stand out on deck in cold weather for a long time so that's why it worked well for us having this on Tracy Arm day. We got to enjoy the view while nice and warm. However, the down side is that we did miss a lot of the sightings of bears and wildlife. However, 10:30 is early enough that you would probably be able to finish your meal with plenty of time to head out on deck. Do be warned that the deck will be crowded by this point though. Do you have a stateroom with a veranda? That could solve this problem. The narration is broadcast on one of the tv channels .

Oh, on our sailing they did a bbq I think. We saw the smoke from it, but we were too busy enjoying the very extensive brunch to care. Yes, the brunch would definitely ruin your appetite for food in the near future (a problem that is remedied by dinner time )

As for Palo dinner, it's like a nice meal at an upscale restaurant. I would still highly recommend it, but not with the same intensity as I recommend the brunch.

A so-so dinner night ay? I wish there was one. Back when they had the pirate menu, I would have said that one hands down; but on the Alaska cruises the pirate menu is replaced by the Pixar menu which I loved. I guess if push comes to shove I would have to say my least favorite was the rotational menu at Parrot Cay. To schedule your dinner on the same night as that, you would definitely have to call DCL in advance and request a dining rotation. I recommend asking for the same rotation I had just because this gives you the more up-scale restaurant, Tritons, on formal night. However, your character breakfast would be on Tracy Arm day with that rotation, so then I would definitely not recommend the brunch on that day.

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Q2. Excursions - yikes! What's the can't-be-missed activities that will please 5-65 year olds? (I booked the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Boat excursion in Ketchikan. That looked like fun).
Wow, this is an extensive topic on it's own. Well, first let me make it a little more confusing by telling you that you have the option of booking your excursions through Disney or with private touring companies on your own. The advantage of booking through Disney is that the ship is guaranteed to wait for you if your tour group is late for whatever reason. If you are on a private excursion, they will not wait for you. With that said, you might have noticed that I booked both my excursions with private companies. I found that they had better prices, offered better experiences, and smaller tour groups. Furthermore, they had guarantees of their own about returning us to the ship on time and claimed that passengers had never missed the ship while on their tours. This was reassuring enough for me

In Skagway, the typical excursion is to take the White Pass train up the mountain. I booked with Chilkoot, because I read from reviews that the view from the train is the same on the way down and so the return can be a little boring. Instead, we returned by bus with a tour guide who was willing to stop at scenic sights so we could take pictures. This worked great for us. You can visit their website for an extensive list of their tour offerings.

I don't recommend the dog-musher camp as I read from reviews that this feels somewhat like a tourist trap and the dog sled ride is disappointingly short. Beyond that, you have helicopter and flight plane excursions, hiking and canoeing (I don't recommend either just because there's always a good chance of rain and I at least tend to be less happy when I am unintentionally wet), as well as more simple tours of the town. All this is pretty much true of Juneau as well, except that there's the addition of the whale watching option there. We did end up seeing a whale from our ship on the last day, so if you only care to see one whale then perhaps you can use this opportunity to add a different experience to your trip. However, we loved the whale watching and Harv & Marv's boats are small so you essentially get the tour guide to yourself. The only downside is that if you are traveling with children, you would have to book the whole boat or find someone from your meet thread who might be willing to join you and share the cost.

Quote:
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Q4. When is the taste of Alaska dinner?
If I remember correctly, Taste of Alaska was on the semi-formal night which means it would have been the same evening as Ketchikan. You can do a google search for the personal navigators to confirm this. I hear the ones from our sailing have already been posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelvr View Post

Q5. Is 8:15 dinner too late for people with young kids?
Well, this question is slightly beyond my experience, but I'll offer what information I can. Depending on where you're coming from, you and your children might be jet-lagged. If so, I imagine your children would be rather tired by 8:15, especially if you couple that with a day full of activities and excitement. Perhaps if you give them the opportunity to take a nap in the afternoons, they will faire better for the evening? After all, early dinner does still mean you have the show afterwards.

I hope this helps! Please do let me know if you have any more questions. I love Disney planning and don't mind getting a little thrill vicariously through you
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:27 PM   #30
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Thank you for sharing your trip and pictures with us. My family is also going on the 9-night next year, although the kiddos don't know it, yet Making me excited for the trip.
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