|06-13-2013, 06:08 PM||#16|
Join Date: Jun 2009
Yay! I am definitely subscribed to this! We just signed up for our first Disney cruise out of the Port Canaveral and I am definitely thinking about booking an Alaskan Cruise while onboard for the discount! Can't wait to read all about it!
|06-13-2013, 06:38 PM||#17|
Disney Kid at Heart
Join Date: Dec 2010
Looking forward to hearing a fellow Floridan's prespective on Alaska. We are cruisin' next year.
|06-13-2013, 09:00 PM||#19|
We love the Wonder and Magic of Disney cruising!
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Great Northwest
Waiting for more. We did the Alaska cruise last year and loved it!
DL 1969, DL 1971, DL 1972, DL 1996. WDW 1974 Offsite, 1977 Offsite, 1981 Offsite, 1985 Offsite, 1988Offsite, Sept. 2005 Shades of Green, Sept. 2008 SOG, Sept. 2009 POR, January 2010 POR, Sept. 2011 POR, Wonder Alaska 8/27/12, Magic W. Caribbean 12/1/12, Magic Bahamas 5/10/13, Disneyland April 2014
|06-13-2013, 10:38 PM||#21|
Lucky to be local to the Mouse
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Winter Springs (Orlando), FL
DAY 0--How NOT To Start Your Vacation
Thanks for subbing! A warning ahead of time: I get into a lot of detail. But then, prior to this trip, I was craving for detail and many of the few Alaskan TR's were not too detailed. So here ya go!
Before we begin, some mug shots:
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (323) by orcapotter, on Flickr
The parental units
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (324) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Of course, those smiles were after we had finally boarded the ship. Our experiences leading up to that moment, however, were something else entirely.
June 1, 2013: Traveling
I won't bore you too much with this, other than in saying that when you have a flight that leaves at 8 AM and you need to be at the airport no later than 6 AM, you need to make sure you've taken every precaution to ensure you are up on time. Don't forget Murphy's Law: Be waiting for Murphy with a sandwich and a glass of iced tea. We, on the other hand, didn't think about what could possibly go wrong! Both my mother and I had set our cellphone alarms for 4:45 AM. Naturally, excitement and whatnot had everyone up on the hour every hour. So, you would think that we would have caught any potential problems before they started.
Do you sense the foreshadowing?
Well, all of the sudden, the doorbell goes off and the dogs go wild. That could only mean my brother had already arrived to pick us up. I reached for my iPhone, only to discover the thing was completely shut off and not turning on. Clearly, it crashed and shut down--I couldn't get it back on. It had never done that before, so of course, it chose the one essential morning I needed it to function to crash. My mother's phone, also, for some reason the alarm did not go off at all. It was on and the alarm was set for the right time, but according to her, it did not go off.
Commence a Home Alone panic sequence:
We managed to get to the airport by 6:30, and waited at least 10 minutes to check our bags. Then it was on ... to ... security. Let's just say, at 6:45 in the morning, I have never seen the Orlando security checkpoint as mobbed and backed up as it was. Naturally! It was agonizing watching my watch tick the minutes closer to boarding time, then past boarding time, as we were stuck in the security mire. At 7:30, they flag my mother's carry on bag, and we had to stand to the side and NOT TOUCH ANYTHING while the security woman took her sweet time discovering my father's full-sized shaving cream can.
Needless to say, we were literally the last 3 people on the plane. To add insult to injury, all the overhead space was full, so all of our carry ons that could not fit under the seats had to be checked. There went my father's insulin (without us really realizing it in our panic), my mother's Nook, etc. It felt like it wasn't until we were halfway to San Francisco that we could calm down.
I got to see the Grand Canyon from up in the air, though! That was a first.
We had a 2 hour layover in San Fran, then boarded a puddle jumper for a 2.5 flight to Vancouver. We somehow got stuck with the very last seats in that tiny thing. But in a short time, we were finally touching down to see the tallest mountains I had ever seen up until that point!
Now, my camera was tucked in my carryon, so unfortunately, no photos until we got to our hotel. But just to let you know, we arrived around 4:30 PM PST. The customs/immigration area had to be the size of a football field. And it was empty. We walked right up to the TSA person, wearing huge grins because we're finally there and ready for our cruise to Alaska, and not unlike U.S. TSA, the girl (who looked like she could bench press a walrus) just stamped our passports and waved us on.
Vancouver Airport Tips:
- The trek from the gate to customs took at least 5-7 minutes on an overhead hamster trail above the terminal. If you are in desperate need of a bathroom, you won't find one until you get down the escalator to customs.
- Have your camera out as you walk along. It's a very pretty airport with a lot of native art displays and nature replicas. I regret not being in the right mind to do this.
- The customs area looks like it could hold hundreds of people on line. We had 0 wait, but just be aware of the possibility that if there are a lot of flights in at the same time, you could be in a long line. Bring snacks.
- The porters do not work just for tips. They had a rate of so much money per bag with a minimum bag number. If you bring a lot of luggage, like we did, it's an option. It was another 4 or so minutes to get out to the taxi area.
- Most of the taxis in Vancouver are Toyota Priuses. If you have more than 2 large suitcases, they won't fit and you'll need to wait for a van. This was the shortest wait for a van we had the entire trip. The ride to downtown took about 20-30 minutes and cost around $40.
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (5) by orcapotter, on Flickr
The view from our room of downtown Vancouver
We stayed at The Sutton Place Hotel. Now, our pre-cruise hotel was a subject of a lot of scrutiny on my part. Ideally, I wanted to stay at the Pan Pacific--which is directly connected to the cruise terminal. However, a month prior to the trip, rates were still well above $350/night for the Pan and I just couldn't swallow another grand just for 2 nights in a hotel room, no matter how nice or convenient it was. The Sutton was listed on most sites as a 5 star and was located about 4 blocks away at the heart of downtown from Canada Place (the cruise terminal). I paid, after taxes, about $240 a night. Finding anything close to the terminal for under $200 was very difficult, and since this was a huge special vacation, I wanted to stay someplace very nice. The Sutton had a lot of good reviews.
It's a smallish hotel and very, very posh looking once you're in the lobby. Like, I felt grubby when I was walking around there. But they were friendly and the concierge staff was what made this hotel so wonderful. Because I booked through Kayak, naturally I got a bargain room. We ended up in an oddly laid out king room with a rollaway bed squeezed in:
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (2) by orcapotter, on Flickr
You walked in to face a sitting area, which is where I was seated and looking to my right to face the rest of the room. The bathroom was around that corner and nicely sized.
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (3) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Looking left toward the door.
We were strangely alert for having been awake for over 12 hours, so we refrained from getting too comfortable and decided to go look for dinner. At first, we were ready to eat in the hotel. However, the prices were crazy, and we were not dressed to fit the atmosphere. Cue the awesome concierge staff! The lady not only grabbed a free package of shaving cream to replace the can TSA confiscated from Dad, but recommended a restaurant directly across the street for dinner.
It was Joey Berrard--which is kinda like a chic Ruby Tuesday's and it would appear to be a chain, as when we walked down Berrard toward the water (later), there was another Joey's a few blocks down. We had no wait to be seated, and I was fascinated by their life-sized horse lamp:
2013 June Alaska Cruise-Kim (4) by orcapotter, on Flickr
"I have brilliant ideas, but no one pays attention."
One thing from me: Unless my plate of food is utterly fascinating or special in some way, I don't take food pictures. You'll have to take my word for it on what I ate and what it looked like.
My mother had a steak, which she thought was fantastic, along with mashed potatoes which were wrapped in an egg roll. It was really interesting but tasted great. I had fish tacos; I had to be careful with what I ate because I have a very sensitive stomach and when I went to Disneyland in 2011 and had their more traditional Mexican food the night I arrived--the results weren't pretty right after. Dad had salmon and thought it was great, too.
I highly recommend the place! Just make sure you're in your right mind when you go to pour salt in your hand ... when in reality it's soy sauce and you just sit there looking at the dark viscous liquid running down your arm as if you just had a sci-fi movie experience. (::cough cough:: MOM)
We went right back across the street intending to go straight to the hotel because we were beyond exhausted. However, we wandered up the cross street for a few stores before spotting a Canada souvenir shop. We spent a good while in there checking out all the mostly-made-in-China goodies and spent a goodly amount on t-shirts, keychains, etc. Then finally we made our way back to the hotel, but not before I spotted the Japadog stand right there on the corner to the left of the hotel. (Unfortunately, despite all my intentions of trying out their cuisine, I never did )
Tomorrow: DAY 1: ADVENTURES IN VANCOUVER!
|06-14-2013, 07:33 AM||#22|
I managed to wrestle a playhouse to the ground and twisted it into submission
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
oooh, looking forward to reading more of this! You did my magnet DIS-igns for my upcoming cruise, so I already feel like we "know" each other! Enjoying getting to read all about your cruise experience! We are doing Bahamas this time, but I think I want to try Alaska in 2015! Keep the details coming!
Jessica . View my Disney Digital Scrapbook HERE
|06-14-2013, 07:58 AM||#23|
I was having a bit of a blonde moment
Married my prince at WDW
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Essex, England
All holidays seem to start out with some sort of panic, I think it helps you appreciate the holiday part afterwards even more!
|06-14-2013, 10:18 AM||#25|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Columbus, GA
Yay!!! I agree that there were not too many detailed Alaska trip reports so I am really looking forward to reading yours. We sail on 9/2 and are in the midst of trip planning. We do have kids (widespread progeny as you put it! LOL!), but it will be great getting the adults' view as well. Can't wait for more!!!
|06-14-2013, 11:08 AM||#26|
I should be Cruising today
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Treasure Coast, Florida
great report so far. And as a Floridian going out of Orlando at 8:00am the morning of our upcoming trip to Alaska, I paid very close attention to that part of the story! Extra alarm clocks!
SSR BWV BCV --proud owners
2014-Magic 3 day, AKL
2013-BLT, BCV, Wonder -Alaska!,4 day Dream, SSR
2012- AKL, BWV
2010-Universal PBH, Magic Baltic Cruise
2008-BCV and SSR and DGC
2007-WB 14 day transatlanic Magic
March 22 -Fantasy 7 day Eastern Caribbean!
Joanne John Sara & Amanda
|06-14-2013, 03:00 PM||#29|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Subbing. I have read one of your other reports and it was great...can't wait to read this one as we leave in September
1999-WDW-All Star Movies
Nov 2005-Eastern Disney Magic, Nov 2006-Eastern Disney Magic Nov 2006 DVC Member
Nov 2007-Nanas reunion cruise-Disney Magic; Feb 2008 20th anniversary at SSR
Nov 2008-Tierra Bob and Dreamboats reunite; Jan 2010 Eastern Disney Magic; June/July 2010 OKW
May 2011-OKW; Nov 2011 Disney Dream; May 2013-OKW
|06-14-2013, 06:38 PM||#30|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Subbing. I'll be heading to Alaska in August 2014 with my DD14, my mom, my brother and his girlfriend. This will be the 3rd DCL cruise for me and DD but first for the others. My brother was concerned that the cruise might be too kid focused but I've somewhat convinced him that DCL is great for adults too so I'm really looking forward to sharing your trip report with him.
July, 1990 & February, 1995 - Offsite; March, 1998 & November, 1999 - ASM; May, 2005 - Fort Wilderness (DD 5th B-Day Fam Trip); May, 2006 - ASM (DD 6th B-Day); May, 2012 - Fantasy 7 Night Western Caribbean (DD 12th B-Day); August, 2013 - Dream 3 Night Bahamian
|alaska, alaska 2013, alaska cruise, alaska trip reports, dcl alaska|
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