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Old 06-28-2013, 09:31 PM   #91
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We were on the 6/17 Alaska sailing, how funny! Alaska Mickey was already sold out I did manage to snag a Minnie, because she totally cheered up my sad little girl on Tracy Arm day. Sat down on the chair right next to her and gave her a huge hug
We also had amazingly WARM weather - the only day I wore my jacket (with sleeves attached, at least) was in Tracy Arm...and even then it was bright and sunny! All those hand warmers I brought went unused. We kept waiting for our luck to run out but amazingly it didn't rain until the day we returned to Vancouver. Thank goodness I had packed some capris!

It's funny, ship loyalty. We've been on the Wonder now 6 times (7 for my husband, long story), the Magic once and the Dream twice. The Wonder is, and will always be, my favorite ship. I think it's because it was the first, and it feels like home. I do like the new ships, but they feel too big at times - so many levels of rooms rooms rooms, and the dining rooms feel gigantic. And of course the adult pool leaves much to be desired. Remy, however, IS AMAZING.

My husband is working on our pics so I can actually work on my trip report. In the meantime, I am reading everyone else's! Enjoying hearing a fellow Floridian's (a Winter Spring-ian at that!) take on the great white north.



PS several cabins near us had those Mickey "hats" that go over the circle on the door and I was totally jealous! They traded them out almost daily. I must enlist some help for my next cruise because I NEED THOSE.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:03 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by zweihund View Post
We were on the 6/17 Alaska sailing, how funny! Alaska Mickey was already sold out I did manage to snag a Minnie, because she totally cheered up my sad little girl on Tracy Arm day. Sat down on the chair right next to her and gave her a huge hug
We also had amazingly WARM weather - the only day I wore my jacket (with sleeves attached, at least) was in Tracy Arm...and even then it was bright and sunny! All those hand warmers I brought went unused. We kept waiting for our luck to run out but amazingly it didn't rain until the day we returned to Vancouver. Thank goodness I had packed some capris!

It's funny, ship loyalty. We've been on the Wonder now 6 times (7 for my husband, long story), the Magic once and the Dream twice. The Wonder is, and will always be, my favorite ship. I think it's because it was the first, and it feels like home. I do like the new ships, but they feel too big at times - so many levels of rooms rooms rooms, and the dining rooms feel gigantic. And of course the adult pool leaves much to be desired. Remy, however, IS AMAZING.

My husband is working on our pics so I can actually work on my trip report. In the meantime, I am reading everyone else's! Enjoying hearing a fellow Floridian's (a Winter Spring-ian at that!) take on the great white north.



PS several cabins near us had those Mickey "hats" that go over the circle on the door and I was totally jealous! They traded them out almost daily. I must enlist some help for my next cruise because I NEED THOSE.
I guess a Disney ship is like the Doctor (Doctor Who) ... you never forget your first one and you're pretty partial. The Dream feels more like "home" to me and my family; every ship we've been on, except for the Wonder and our very first cruise 10 years ago, has been about the size of the Dream. And by every ship I mean just one other (Mariner of the Seas). I guess if the Wonder wasn't as full it wouldn't have been so noticeable and even bothersome at times. I wouldn't hesitate if the DCL itinerary I want is on the Classics--they are, after all, Disney ships! But I won't go out of my way to book them until after the refurbs and they expand some of the areas. As it is, for our family cruise next summer, we're going to have to go back to RCI due to cost. I booked a dummy date on DCL to use just for my immediate family and/or friends in 2015, and it's definitely going to be on the Fantasy.

I'm trying not to come across as too critical of the Wonder in my report, but it seems to come out that way regardless. Really, I was pretty comfortable with her by midway into the trip. But after being on the Dream as recently as last January, it was so hard not to compare. Particularly when the crowds were very noticeable all over the ship, when compared to the Dream when it felt like I could go to many places to escape.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:47 AM   #93
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I guess a Disney ship is like the Doctor (Doctor Who) ... you never forget your first one and you're pretty partial.
Haha - love it!
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:58 AM   #94
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But after being on the Dream as recently as last January, it was so hard not to compare. Particularly when the crowds were very noticeable all over the ship, when compared to the Dream when it felt like I could go to many places to escape.
I agree. The dream is our home ship at least for now-we have the fantasy in sept and the new magic for tgiving coming up this year. We did the wonder in may which had come after two dream cruises. It is so hard not to compare! My partner thinks the wonder is "decrepit". Lol. Not sure i would go that far, but the wear is obvious on the wonder. At least for someone who just was on the dream. That said-we are booking Alaska for next year on the wonder and I know we will have a great time.

Thanks for your report. I love the subject because we will be in your shoes next year and i have been looking for advice on how a Floridian gets by in Alaska! Your writing is beautiful and really makes the report fun and easy to read!
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #95
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Day 4 - Tracy Arm Part 2

I left off at lunch on Tracy Arm day. It was quite frustrating to want to enjoy the lunch but also not miss a moment of nature. Throw in the fact that it was freezing, and now drizzling, and I was just overwhelmed with feels. It took forever for my parents to get their own food--by the time they caught up with me, I was already finished and ready to go back up to the top deck. In fact, I left them there to go reclaim a spot for ourselves. And while there, I had my first character spotting!


Chip and Dale popped out right where I was. Alas, finally some of that random characters-wandering-around action I heard so much about! Only ... not unlike the sea gulls at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, people swarmed in and enveloped the two with demands for photos. All those family reunions appeared out of nowhere. And I was shoved to the side and only managed to get the above photo before the chipmunks made a beeline past me toward the front of the ship, dragging a posse of groupies clambering for a photo along behind them.

Chip n' Dale! Hi can I--oh ok bye.

But surely there'd be other characters flitting about, right? Surely I'd have my own magical moment later! Oh well, back to nature! And where are my parents? They should be finished eating by now.


By now, the light drizzle had become a light rain. Throw in the bit of wind and it was freezing. I had finally managed to hook back up with my parents, and the weather forced us to seek some indoor shelter. The Cove Cafe is 2 levels on the Wonder--or is the upstairs the Outlook Cafe? I don't remember and this would be the only time we were in there. I wish that it had been expanded out to the side of the ship; you had to squint between the brave souls outside to see out, and the curve of the glass created a film that obscured your view at times. People were camped out in there and the space was small, so we ended up bumming off this couple who had the prime next-to-the-window seats. I also saw Goofy in his ski suit fly past, again with a posse of paparazzi. He did not hesitate to run indoors, so a no-go on Goofy there, too.

We sat in the cafe for several minutes until I could see the glacier peeking around the corner. No one else seemed to be paying attention that far ahead yet, so I gathered my chilled and damp parents up to drag them back outside for a prime viewing location. The front of the ship was already packed, so we secured a spot just to the side where the pilot bridge is. As we got closer to the glacier, we were quickly boxed in by a crowd at least 4 people deep.


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (92) by orcapotter, on Flickr


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (97) by orcapotter, on Flickr
Glacier ahoy!


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (98) by orcapotter, on Flickr


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (101) by orcapotter, on Flickr


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (102) by orcapotter, on Flickr


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (108) by orcapotter, on Flickr


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (111) by orcapotter, on Flickr
See that black, longish speck in the upper center? That's a seal. Who would be our nemesis!


2013 June Alaska Cruise--Dad (112) by orcapotter, on Flickr

How does this day end? What will the seals do? And who is Bear "The Grizz" Grizzly? You'll have to wait because I have to go to a hair appointment now! Bwahaha!

Last edited by OrcaPotter; 07-07-2013 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #97
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Wow! Amazing photos!
Could you give us some advice on the best place(s) to be for viewing on Tracy Arm day? Grandpa can not stand for long, and several family members are sensitive to the cold. Does the room veranda give a good view? Deck 4?
Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:13 PM   #98
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Loving your trip report!!!

To the previous poster - we really loved the "secret deck" at the aft deck 7. Since most people were clamouring for a spot at the front of the ship as the ship was sailing into the fjord, it was very empty and peaceful - there were only a few other families out there and plenty of room at the rails. There are sun loungers there too, so a place to sit if needed. We got to see the same sights, and when the captain turned the ship around at the end of the fjord, the aft swings around and we were right up close to the glacier and had the best view leaving. Everyone on the top decks had run from the front to the back of the ship, and were looking down on us asking how we found such a great place!

Can't wait for your next instalment...

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Old 06-29-2013, 05:10 PM   #99
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Wow! Amazing photos!
Could you give us some advice on the best place(s) to be for viewing on Tracy Arm day? Grandpa can not stand for long, and several family members are sensitive to the cold. Does the room veranda give a good view? Deck 4?
Thanks!
I had read a lot of advice about the "best" places to be for viewing on Tracy Arm day, including the "secret verandah" on deck 7 that Aby mentioned.

You enter the fjord around 11 AM and reach the glacier around 2 PM. You're back out of the fjord around 4 PM. So it's pretty much an all day affair. Personally, to get a true appreciation for the experience, you'll want to move around a bit. Wildlife sightings can happen anywhere and quick--by the time you hear about that humpback whale, it's already gone. I liked being on the top deck midship--it was amazing being totally surrounded by towering mountains and waterfalls only a couple dozen yards away from each side. Going down to deck 4 offered a closer look at the water and the ice, not to mention it seemed like the glacier was closer down there. So while the aft deck 7 public verandah is a good idea, you're pretty limited unless it's included in your wandering-the-ship-for-all-angles plan.

For your party members who are sensitive to cold and need a place to sit, you may need to stake out some chairs pretty early in the Outlook/Cove Cafe to grab a window seat. It looked like people were camped in there, but I personally wouldn't want to stay in there (see my comments in the latest update for why). Viewing from your own verandah is definitely an option, but you're again limited for the aforementioned reasons. We ended the trip in the fjord in our verandah room and it was wonderful.
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:48 PM   #100
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Do you see that guy? He was part of the entertainment crew and I feel bad I can't remember his name. We met him on the 1st day and he committed us to his memory, along with our names. Every time he saw us, he greeted us by name and asked us how we were doing.
That's Ponz(I think, He might go by another name now and I haven't seen him since he was on the Dream in 2011, but looks like him and he was great at remembering names)
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:25 AM   #101
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Another great installment. Thanks again for sharing. So sorry that the characters seem so elusive. It is a mystery to me as to why they are not in their Alaskan costume longer and more often on this sailing. I mean, isn't that one of the things that everyone is there for?
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:35 AM   #102
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Another great installment. Thanks again for sharing. So sorry that the characters seem so elusive. It is a mystery to me as to why they are not in their Alaskan costume longer and more often on this sailing. I mean, isn't that one of the things that everyone is there for?
I agree!
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:05 PM   #103
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That's Ponz(I think, He might go by another name now and I haven't seen him since he was on the Dream in 2011, but looks like him and he was great at remembering names)
That's it! YAY! Thank you!
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:12 AM   #104
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We didn't see any characters when we were there last year but we were right at the front the whole time though until we left the glacier.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:20 PM   #105
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Day 4 - Tracy Arm Part 3

I had started this post yesterday, but due to some serious computer issues trying to save the video presentation of the cruise, I lost what I started! Urgh.

We had just approached the glacier in my last post. By this point, you couldn't move at the front of the ship due to the thick crowd, and folks were so excited and eager to get close to the glacier that we were all leaning so far over the glass I'm surprised no one careened overboard in their enthusiasm!

I'll mention now that there was a naturalist who was scheduled to speak throughout the afternoon. In the Navigator, you're led to believe it's going to be a non-stop narration of everything going on in the fjord from about 11 AM to 4 PM. There were also a lot of reminders, both in print and through announcements, that the volume of the speakers had to be kept low so as not to disturb the wildlife. The naturalist was the same as the guy who did the bear presentation. However, I guess nature was taking a break that day, because he only came on to speak about 4 or so times the whole day--1 of them being the announcement just as we got to the turn to see the glacier:

Due to 3 perfectly placed icebergs and the presence of mother seals and their pups, the Wonder could go no further. If we disturbed the mother seals, they'd get frightened off and actually abandon their pups. While pretty disappointing, no one wanted to create orphan baby seals. We could still see the glacier pretty well, so the captain just turned the ship right there.

After several shots and a good amount of time soaking in the view, I did my best to turn around and evaluate how to leave that spot! Finally, I made a deal with a guy to switch places if he could take a photo of my parents and I, which he eagerly obliged.


We managed to stumble from our spot, which was instantly filled with with much pushing and shoving. After a quick pit stop in the restrooms, I insisted on going down to deck 4 to get that perspective--and also hopefully run into those elusive character interactions. Sure enough, after the initial "ooh" and "ahh" of being that much closer to the ice, I spotted Pluto.

STOP THAT DOG, I AM HAVING A PHOTO WITH HIM USING ALASKA AS A BACKDROP THANK YOU! I grabbed Mom and beelined down the deck. Pluto only had a handful of people clambering for his attention, and no family reunions were springing from under the deck chairs. Finally! After a quick hug and photo--and my father (either deliberately or not) calling him "Goofy" (I thought they were going to throw my father overboard; I was close to), Pluto ran off. Folks were now appearing like sharks smelling blood in the water, and it was as if the sight of them all was scaring Pluto off.


As Pluto was charging back to his doghouse, I spot "Deadliest Catch" Mickey coming outside. Only, he has an entourage of clambering families. We approach him, hoping to wait our turn, but Mickey is flying down the deck as if his slickers are on fire. His handler is actually ushering him along, telling us that Mickey was "just taking a walk" and we could "follow him" if we wanted to.

What?

Mickey flies past me, and I just manage to snap this photo:


Other people, including the lady in the left side of that photo, were not taking the passive "no photos" statement for an answer. They cornered Mickey so he couldn't go forward, and managed to get their shot. The crowd that had followed him quickly descended and got their way as well. Meanwhile, I'm sorta standing there, confused. Wasn't the reason for coming out here to interact and take photos with guests? Is Mickey now a dog that needs to be "walked" every hour? There was no scheduled meet/greet at that hour, so I didn't understand why the characters hustled around and only seemed to stop when they had no choice. This was totally not what I anticipated after ready many posts on the DIS about how wonderful the Classic ships were for character interaction, and how they just wandered the ship and spent all this time with you with seemingly no one around. I had read previous Alaska TR's with plenty of deck photos with characters, even. So did those folks have to tackle those characters to the deck in order to wrangle that seemingly random photo?

Oh well. We went to the other side of deck 4 and took some more photos:


By now, we were thoroughly damp and cold and tired. My broken zipper on my jacket had now completely broken off by now and the zipper track had ripped away. There was no choice--we had to go buy the jacket in the gift shop. We headed in to do more retail damage, and walked into poor Minnie trying to grab an elevator while we all awkwardly stood around questioning the ethics now of asking her for a photo:


She finally got on an elevator, and the poor thing was squeezed in there after a crowd of families insisted on riding with her. We headed down to the gift shops, and choked down the price for the Alaska season jacket. Which, we rationalized, is actually a pretty good Florida jacket. It's warm but not heavy. I liked it so much, and Dad liked it so much, that by the end of the cruise he had bought one for himself in the men's gray color. This is also when I caved and bought the grizzly bear puppet, particularly after I walked around the shop conversing with it and the cast members, effectively making them chuckle pretty hard.

And so enters Bear "The Grizz" Grizzly into our family vacation:


We hung out in the room for a while, defrosting and enjoying our trip out of the fjord from the privacy of our own verandah:


After a conversation with Bear, we headed down to dinner. I didn't feel like changing; for some reason I was still freezing and our servers even commented on it when we sat down in Triton's again. Julie brought me some hot tea right away ... I mean, I was still wearing gloves! I'm sure we stood out like sore thumbs a bit in the fancier restaurant--many people appeared as if they managed to freshen up and dress properly. For the first time, I felt eyes on us at dinner. But you know, I wasn't dressed improperly and everything was clean. Tonight was the rotational menu and I felt a little adventurous--I'm going to try escargot! And it was amazing, why have I never tried it before? I could have had seconds on that.

Appetizer: Escargot (amazing)
Soup/Salad: Market Green Salad (in the past, I always got the French onion because it's my favorite, but the past 2 DCL trips I have consecutively become very sick after eating it and it ruined my evenings--even into the next day, so I sadly avoided it) (this salad was good)
Entree: Seared sea bass (very good)
Dessert: Grand Marinier souffle (excellent)

I'll mention here that every night, the bread selection was excellent. On the Dream, they must serve different breads because they were all exotic kinds and I didn't like most of them. This was not the case on the Wonder.

After dinner, the characters were doing proper photos with folks in their Alaska garb. Disappointed we had only 1 photo with a character dressed that way outside, we got in line for Goofy, Chip n' Dale, and Minnie.


I think this was the night they were showing Iron Man 3 in the WD Theatre. We had seen it before and did not necessarily want to see it again while we were surrounded by Alaska, so if memory serves we just wandered around. They were doing So You Want to be a Mouseketeer in Studio Sea, and we popped in when I overheard some of the questions about WDW. After a while, I decided I wanted to play and they were still giving out numbers at the main entrance. Apparently, they draw from a lottery for contestants. We were there for 2 more rounds--and it's pretty much a super, super easy trivia contest that it's pretty much a given that you'll "win" in the end, and they give you a little "trophy" and a pin. I didn't get called, but they raffled off a few extra pins, and I won the first one! Mom insisted on a photo:


I don't remember what else we did that night; I'm sure a trip to the drink station happened for hot cocoa. We had a super early wake-up for Skagway (our excursion meet time was 7:30), so we'll just say it was off to a shower and bed!

The next update might not be for a little while--I'm visiting family out of town for the holiday and I doubt I'll have time to make an update. So, count on a new update late next week!
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