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Old 06-09-2014, 12:15 PM   #31
disneyfaninaz
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North to Alaska!

Day 3: Sea Day
Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunrise: 4:29 AM
Sunset: 9:14 PM
Temp: 50’s



I woke up at around 3:30 AM and noticed light coming through the curtains on the verandah so I got up to see what I could see. This is what I saw. Sunrise!
Sorry for the blur, it was only 3:30 in the morning!





After snapping some photos, I went back to bed. We woke up later to clear sunny skies this morning, and it made for some beautiful photos.





Overnight we had sailed west of Prince of Wales Island to just below Baranof Island. Today we would be taking the Chatham Strait, east of the island, up towards Icy Straits, go through Icy Straits, sail right by the entrance to Glacier Bay and then out towards the Pacific Ocean to sail south to Sitka along the west coast of Baranof Island. We were very excited as we were in for quite the treat scenery wise.

Since we ate at Animator’s Palate last night, our character breakfast was scheduled this morning for 8:15 AM. This was our Palo Brunch day as well at 10:00 AM. Only 7 of us went to the breakfast for the kid’s sake and had just a small bite as we anticipated eating very well at Palo. We met 4 characters dressed in their sailor outfits this morning, Minnie, Goofy , Pluto and, of course, Captain Mickey . They move through very quickly, so have your cameras and autograph books ready. The characters kind of chose the poses, so make sure your kids are sitting together if you want their pictures with the characters.



Steven and Shane made us all napkin hats. The three girls on our side of the table were Minnie. DH was a pirate, complete with dreadlocks, DD was Tiger Lily while DNJ and DSisterJ were each Peter Pan. After breakfast we went up on deck 10 to take pictures and watch for whales and take pictures of scenery.









Just before 10:00 AM we arrived at Palo for our brunch. We were so excited to be in the private dining room. Last cruise, we had a table of 8 next to the piano by the windows. Which was a lovely space, but they couldn't accommodate our group there this year. We were escorted back to Palo’s private dining room and sat at the table with the Alaskan Set Up. Basically 4 of us were facing the windows looking over the beautiful scenery while 2 others sat on either side with a view out the windows as well. On Tracy Arm day, they put up signs on Deck 10 and no one is allowed in front of the Palo windows. Not too many people went by today and it didn’t bother us. The room was beautiful and had beautifully done mosaic tile murals along the wall. The centerpiece was also lovely.











Judy was our server and was very friendly and helpful. We all ordered complimentary mimosas and then she started by giving us a tour of the different food stations; anti-pasta, seafood, bread and cheeses, baked goods and desserts. She also told us what was available to order from the kitchen. All the food is amazing. Instead of just crab claws, they had entire Alaskan king crab legs. Yum! However, my absolute favorite item is the sticky buns! They are just to die for.





No, this was not all mine, DH and I shared.


After sampling from the buffet, I ordered the cold strawberry soup and the chicken parmesan. They were both delicious. Most everybody in our group ordered the chicken too. As usual, the food was delicious and the scenery floating by wasn’t bad either.



After they rolled us out of Palo, we went to our room and changed. We ran into Jun and asked him to change our clock, which he did. We also asked him to replace our Wave phone charger as the previous occupants had pulled the plug out of the charger so it wouldn’t work.

I then met DD and her friends in the Promenade lounge for Wonder Hunt, an Amazing Race type scavenger hunt game throughout the ship using wave phones at 12:30. JD and Sarah ran the game. While your team searched the ship for the answers to the clues, one stayed in the promenade lounge to provide the answers to the staff and get the next clue. You used the phones to communicate. DNDDC and DNDDM joined us. We didn’t win, but had a great time none the less.

At 2:30, I returned to the Promenade Lounge to play Disney Tunes Trivia. I met Della, from Chandler of all places; it truly is a small world. We teamed up to play. Ashley from the Crew Staff ran the game while Tom Scott, the onboard pianist, played the tunes. Tom was amazing! We heard him play quite a bit in the Atrium for character greetings. Together they made the game a lot of fun. Tom would play a tune and we would have to name the song, the movie it is from and answer a bonus question. I was better at the bonus questions than the songs. I have to say, Della really knew her Disney tunes. We came close, but didn’t win.

After trivia we headed up to Shutters. Every time we walked through shutters the photographers were usually glued to the port holes watching for whales. By the way, this was a great place to watch for whales as it was cold and windy on Deck 4 and the port holes had nice cushions to sit on. It seems that the cast members were as, if not more, excited than the passengers to see whales. One photographer, Dom, stood out as the most ardent whale watcher. He was a lot of fun and probably sold more binoculars than the others just by standing by the window looking through them. He even helped spot a few whales. You could see their spouts from very far away and they just looked like black logs in the water. From shutters, my DD actually spotted a Humpback whale breaching. But alas, no picture.

Before dinner I changed the magnets on my door to my Alaska theme and took some more pictures.



Dinner was Casual in Parrot Cay with the Caribbean Island Cuisine menu, which meant banana bread! As usual, dinner was very good. We were usually done about 7:30 PM each night.

After dinner DH, DD and I went to see Magic Dave’s show at the Walt Disney Theater. We saw a bit of his act during the All Aboard show and he was hilarious. Before the show started he was going through the audience doing card tricks, he did one with our DD, which was pretty cool.





The kids he recruited out of the audience of course stole the show, particularly one 4 or 5 year old boy. When asked what animal he wanted out of balloons, he said a bunny. Well, of course, Dave already had a dog made, but told the boy to pretend it was a bunny. Then Dave asked the boy to name his bunny. The boy said “Tonka.” Too cute! Magic Dave was very funny and his act didn’t disappoint for this show.

We were visiting our first port tomorrow, so we went up to the stateroom and prepared for the day and went to bed.

Our towel animal that night was nothing less than a . . . wait for it . . . . BUNNY!



Guess what we named it? You got it, TONKA!

Next: Sea Lions, Whales, and Otters, Oh My!

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-09-2014 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:25 PM   #32
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I am loving reading your detailed report! We are not going until 2015 so I'm learning a lot along the way. I was wondering about the MDR table size. I know they are usually for up to 8 people but were they able to put all 11 of you together at the same table? We have 13 for next year and were hoping to be at one big table but I wasn't sure if that was feasible. Thanks!!
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:58 PM   #33
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Your report is so wonderful ! Thanks for posting !! Getting so excited for our Aug 4 cruise !!
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:00 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by rockinrollercoasters View Post
I am loving reading your detailed report! We are not going until 2015 so I'm learning a lot along the way. I was wondering about the MDR table size. I know they are usually for up to 8 people but were they able to put all 11 of you together at the same table? We have 13 for next year and were hoping to be at one big table but I wasn't sure if that was feasible. Thanks!!
No problem. Our table, the Captain's Table was actually set up for 14, but we only needed 11 seats. I think the second seating after us had a party of 14 people.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:39 PM   #35
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Alaska is definitely on my bucket list of places I want to travel to. I can't wait to hear all about the cruise and see your beautiful pictures.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #36
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9 short weeks until our family sails the Wonder through Alaska and I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying your trip report!!!
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:58 AM   #37
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Sea Lions, Whales, and Otters, Oh My!

Day 4: Sitka
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sunrise: 4:21 AM
Sunset: 9:35 PM
Temp: 50s

All Ashore: 7:30 AM
All Aboard: 5:30 PM




Dear readers, thank you for being patient. This has been what you have all been waiting for. Now, the fun really begins. While we enjoy cruising, by the end of the second sea day, we were all ready to get off the ship and see some of Alaska! WARNING: These next posts are going to be very photo intensive.

Of all the ports for this cruise, I think this is the one that I was most looking forward too. Maybe it’s because it was Disney’s first time there, or that not many other ships go there. Anyway, I heard that it was beautiful and couldn’t wait to see it.

I woke up about 6:00 AM to take pictures coming into port. It was cloudy and the water was still as glass. Jimmy had said the night before that the forecast was for sunny skies. We'll see. The fishermen were out. Sitka is full of little islands and they were beautiful coming in.























When researching port excursions we looked at the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest offered through DCL. Our DNeighbors chose to do this excursion. But I decided I wanted something a little smaller and more personal. I started researching on Trip Advisor and found Sitka Sound Tours. It’s basically a one man operation with a 6 passenger boat, referred to as a 6-pack, that does tours in the Sitka Sound. It sounded perfect and the price was right and less expensive than DCL. I emailed him and after he emailed me back, I booked him right away. I highly recommend him if you find yourself in Sitka.

Our tour was set up for 8:30 AM. We ate breakfast at Beach Blanket and then headed down to Deck 1 Aft to get off the ship. Some women were dressed in period costumes to meet us as we got off of the ship.



DCL arranged for shuttles to take us from the Old Deep-water Dock to downtown Sitka. It was about a 10 minute ride. We were on one of the first buses to leave at 8:00 AM. It dropped us at the Heritage Center, which is also their visitor center. After taking a potty break, we headed over to find Captain Jim.

He actually found us and we waited for another family from DCL to join us. Once we were all gathered he took us down to his boat. It was low tide, so the boat ramp was pretty steep. The boat was called “Quiet Mon.” If any of you are a John Wayne fan (we are), you get the reference right away. Evidently, Jim’s son spent a few years in St. Johns and there was a bar there called The Quiet Mon. It had photos and references to John Wayne’s movie, “The Quiet Man.” We watch it every year on St. Patrick's Day. So that is how Jim named his boat.



Now, as you can see, this is not a big boat and I am around 5’9” tall. Well, what do you think was the first thing I did while going into the cabin? If you guessed, hit my head, you would be right. Ouch! I sat outside in the back of the boat the entire time, which was what I wanted to do to begin with anyway. The other mom and her daughter were content to sit inside the cabin. DH sat up front with Jim for most of the time.

We left the dock and set out for the sound. Some people own entire islands and have their house on them. Of course, as is everything in Alaska, they are not cheap by any means. We had great views of Mt. Edgecumbe.







Jim pointed out some eagles up in a tree, one adult and one juvenile. The juveniles are all brown and haven’t developed their white head yet.







The first sea animals we encountered were some harbor porpoises.



According to Jim they are very shy and can only be viewed from a distance. Well, Jim cut his motor and what do you think happened? They all came closer, even Jim was surprised. He kept saying, they won’t get any closer than this and then they would.







Continued on next post.

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-10-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:06 PM   #38
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Sitka continued

After watching these animals play in the surf we headed out to find otters. My DD’s favorite. We found a couple of males frolicking around a small rock island. One wasn’t so sure of us.







Some more otters.





Next, Jim was heading out towards the big sea mammals, whales. On the way, we heard grey whales were around. They were literally surrounding us. I was using an 18-300 zoom lens on my camera, I wasn’t even needing that far of a reach with these photos.











At this point, Jim wanted to know if we wanted to go see Puffins or more whales. It was pretty much unanimous to see more whales. We spotted a humpback whale fluking.



We spotted a lot more eagles.



Then we saw some more sea otters, including a couple of moms with their pups.

















We also saw the Wonder.



While heading back to town, we passed the Pioneer Home and we spotted the iconic eagles sitting on top of the St. Michael’s Cathedral’s spires.







Continued on next post.

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-10-2014 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #39
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Great report Wendy! Looking forward to reading more.

We have a way of posting photos, through flicker and many more steps, and I was wondering if you had a faster more efficient way of posting?
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #40
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Sitka continued

We also saw a sea lion playing with part of a king salmon a fisherman had thrown to it.











Bye –Bye



Here’s a sign we don’t see every day.



After we got back to town we ran into DNeighbors and DCousinC. We thought we would get lunch together, people had recommended the pub. We went to it, and were told food was an hour wait. So we went across the street to the hotel. We were also told lunch would be an hour. The guy at the podium suggested Subway. Yeah, like I couldn’t eat there at home. The girl at the podium recommended a Mexican place down the street. While it was nice of her, we’re from Arizona. Enough said. Well we didn’t want to waste time waiting so we parted ways with our friends and we ended up eating hot dogs from a corner vendor. DH’s dog was actually reindeer. DD and I had the beef dogs. Anyway, lunch was quick and we got to sit next to this guy.



We walked along the water, heading towards the Sitka National Historic Park. Along the way we passed the Russian Bishop’s House.



A pretty little church.



The Sheldon Jackson Museum.



It was a pretty along the water.





We reached the park Visitor Center.





I had brought my National Park Passport book with me to get stamped. We walked along the trail and saw the different totem poles.









We walked to the battle field and then headed back towards the Raptor Center. There was a pretty little pond.



Along the trail.





On the way we spotted some people off the trail looking up in a tree. It was actually 3 ship photographers, including Dom, looking at an eagle. We took some pictures too and continued on our way.



We didn’t realize the Raptor center was across the only major street in Alaska and up a dirt road a ways. We got there and bought our tickets. We went into the visitor center and found out that 6 rehabilitated eagles were going to be rereleased back into the wild that afternoon. Well, we weren’t going to miss that. We walked around for a while and looked at the birds that they had.





Continued in next post.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:16 PM   #41
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Wow! Those photos are amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:18 PM   #42
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Sitka continued

They sometimes trade birds with other bird sanctuaries and actually had a great horned owl, which are very popular here in Arizona. It was even named "Arizona."



This owl had the most interesting face.





Along the nature trail.





We eventually made it around to the release area. It was really quite extraordinary to see these rehabilitated eagles fly free.
You can see how big these magnificent birds are.





They would put the bird on a rock and then simultaneously remove the straps on their talons and the blindfold on their eyes.



Then the bird would take a step or two and soar.











We didn’t want to walk back to town. The raptor center had a phone you could use to call taxis, so we did.

While we were waiting for the taxi, we walked around some more.





The driver was very nice and she told us about Castle Rock. She dropped us off there and we climbed up a nice ramp to the top. We had a great view of the town. This was where Alaskan ownership was transferred form the Russians to the Americans. Very interesting history here.





After we took it in, we walked back down toward the cathedral.



After doing some quick shopping, I went inside the cathedral. It was very small as far as cathedrals go. I wasn’t sure if we could even take pictures, so I didn’t. However, the smell of incense was so strong I couldn’t stay long anyway. But, what I did see was very gilded and ornate.

After that, we we decided we were done and had a full day in Sitka. We walked back to the Heritage Center and got on a 4:30 PM shuttle headed back to the Wonder. After a brief stop in the gift ship, we boarded the ship. We watched for DNeighbors to arrive and I watched eagles from our verandah.





Dinner was casual tonight in Triton’s with the French Cuisine menu. After dinner, the characters were in their Alaskan outfits so DD and I went to get some photos taken to put in my Alaska photo matte. We had no interest in seeing Robert Creighton Theatrical Show. DH’s back was hurting him, so he went to stretch out in the stateroom. DD went to hang out with her friends so I went up to the Outlook Café until I got a text from DD that Mickey & Minnie were both out in their Alaskan clothes at 10:00 PM.

This was our towel animal tonight.



While the sun never did come out in Sitka, we had a wonderful full day and enjoyed our visit there very much. We hope Disney will consider Sitka as a stop in 2016.

Next: Ice, Ice Baby!

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-10-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:29 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrapycruiser View Post
Your report is so wonderful ! Thanks for posting !! Getting so excited for our Aug 4 cruise !!
Thank you! You will have a wonderful cruise.

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Originally Posted by Grumpy's Wife View Post
Alaska is definitely on my bucket list of places I want to travel to. I can't wait to hear all about the cruise and see your beautiful pictures.
I can't recommend seeing Alaska enough. Even if it is such a small part of that great state.

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Originally Posted by DindelsPA View Post
9 short weeks until our family sails the Wonder through Alaska and I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying your trip report!!!
Thanks! Your time will fly by.

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Originally Posted by Arizona Rita View Post
Great report Wendy! Looking forward to reading more.

We have a way of posting photos, through flicker and many more steps, and I was wondering if you had a faster more efficient way of posting?
Hi Rita! Thanks and welcome to my report.

I use Photobucket. I find it very easy to load photos and copy them onto the Disboards. Check them out. I tried Flikr, but didn't like it as much.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:39 PM   #45
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Your Sitka post is great, thank you! Love all your pictures..what a beautiful place!
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