Alaska September 2nd-9th 2013 - Our EPIC adventure!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by topsy, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    Well, this report has already started badly. I promised myself that I would get home and crack on with writing it as well as sorting my 3000+ photos and designing a photo book. Yeah, that didn’t happen. This annoying thing called life got in the way – how dare it!

    So, now that it seems like a lifetime ago that we went on this trip, I am going to make a start on my TR. Let me introduce the all British cast –

    Me! I’m Kirsty, I am from Somerset (I live in a village just outside Bath for anyone who is interested), 26 and self-confessed Disney addict.

    My good friend Elle, who turned 29 on the day we flew out to Vancouver, lives in the south-west and is studying Law at Exeter University.

    Elle and I met in 2008 when we were both working in Epcot at the Rose & Crown on the Cultural Representative Program. We weren’t really friends until we went into service training together (one of the most intense weeks of my life!).

    Our Disney addictions have fuelled one another’s ever since! We’ve stayed at AKL, OKW, ASMovies and Boardwalk Villas, gone on a 7 night DCL Western Caribbean cruise, had a 2 week dining plan visit to WDW, a long weekend at Disneyland Resort Paris and often dreamed of what comes next…

    I had been looking at the Alaska cruise for months, originally wanting my boyfriend to go with me but he wouldn’t commit as Disney and cruises are just not his thing. A chance meeting with Elle in January this year meant we chatted about all things Disney over dinner and the cruise came up. We joked about how fun it would be to go and low and behold, the next day, we were booked on the last cruise of the season!

    Originally, we had booked an inside room as it was the cheapest option. About a week later we upgraded to the last available navigators veranda, a decision we are so glad we made. Some of the best moments of our cruise happened when out on our balcony, and as it wasn’t entirely open, we were shielded from the rain and cold.

    Anyway, that’s enough of the background. Let’s get on with the show!

    When planning our trip, I really enjoyed reading other TRs and particularly loved the ones with photos and videos. With that in mind, I am going to make this as informative and picture filled as I can. I appreciate this may get a little boring if you’re not a details person so I will apologise in advance!
     
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  3. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Can't wait! :surfweb:
     
  4. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    The day started as most do, chores, walking the dog, finishing the packing. Luckily our flight wasn’t until mid-afternoon so we had some time in the morning before leaving for the airport. I’m not a worrier when it comes to travelling. I kind of think that so long as you are on time, you’re ok. Everything else is out of your control so you may as well just go with it!

    Elle and I were meeting at Heathrow, she had some ridiculous journey of about 6 hours to get there from Manchester, where she as staying at the time. I got to the bus station in time and was soon curled up listening to Fantasmic on my I-pod (a tradition when I go on any Disney trip!).

    I realise I just mentioned not being a worrier when it comes to travelling but I did had a mild panic when we got to about 2 miles from Heathrow and the traffic was solid. Nobody was moving. I thought it was a really cruel trick to have had no traffic the whole journey but as soon as I was in sight of the airport I just had to sit there and watch other holidaymakers in their planes fly off to paradise. Luckily our bus driver was pretty smart and took us down some old back roads and got us there only 10 minutes late. Just about the time Elle had arrived too, yay!

    We were flying Virgin Atlantic and had checked in online so just had to drop off the bags. Krispy Kreme then caught my eye so I grabbed 3 doughnuts and took them through security with us, as you do! The wait in the airport was pretty harmless, we ate the doughnuts, did a bit of shopping and popped lots of anti-sickness pills.

    Now this is something that really bothers me. I have been fortunate enough to have been travelling my whole life and LOVE travelling on planes. However, in the last couple of years, I have started to become travel sick on flights. I think it comes down having been ill on one flight on 2010 (another Disney trip!) and since then I panic myself about doing it again so its actually the thought of it happening rather than it actually happening. But still, it’s now something I have to think about when flying. Elle has also been suffering recently so we were like two old dears this trip, checking we had our pills with us at all times and making sure we were looked after!

    I digress. We boarded our plane, named by Virgin as Molly, and it was a full flight. Virgin uses some of their oldest aircraft for the Vancouver route which was quite disappointing. We had the old Virgin colours, the tray backs and seat back plastic was all tinted yellow as the colours had faded and the entertainment system was so prehistoric! It really is a sign of the times when we are disgraced at only being able to have choice of 10 channels and the movies are on a loop. Needless to say, it was quite a long, boring flight, but comfortable nonetheless.

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    We arrived in Vancouver around 5.30pm and flew in over the mountains from the east. It was a beautiful decent and really fun looking at the ships in the sea below, thinking that we would be there in a couple of days.

    Immigration was fine, fairly quick. I had checked on the boards before going what we should put on our forms. We would technically only be in Canada for 2 days before boarding the cruise. We would also have 2 days in Vancouver after the cruise. The long and short is that we decided to only say we would be in Canada for 2 days as we knew we would have to fill out a new card when we left the ship. This worked perfectly and the immigration officer just asked what we were doing in Canada, we said we were going on the cruise and he smiled when we said Disney!

    I had planned on taking the skytrain to Downtown as we were staying at the Ramada on West Pender which was only a block or two from the station. But to be honest, we were tired and couldn’t be bothered to drag our cases, so we got a cab! As others have mentioned, they are mostly Toyota Priuses so there’s not a lot of room for luggage. We paid $35 to get to our hotel; I believe this is about the going rate.

    We checked in at the Ramada and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of our room, number 603 to be exact. We didn’t want to splash out on a fancy room when we wouldn’t really be using it much. If I remember rightly, the room was about $120 (Canadian) per night and was in a good location.
    Once we’d settled in, we headed out in search of food and quickly came across Canada Place. We got there right as the sun was starting to set, it was beautiful.

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    We mooched around here for a while, watching the floatplanes and taking note of where we had to go on Monday when we had to check in for the cruise. You need to go to the underground area, under Canada Place, it’s a bit manic on embarkation day but just follow the crowds and you’ll be fine. They also have Disney reps out on the sidewalk to direct you. But that’s Monday, and we’re only on Saturday!

    Once we’d had our fill of the sunset, we headed off and found a 7/11. As Brits, we have some strange cravings for American food. A lot of the stuff you can get in the states is banned in the UK because of having too many e-numbers or other silly reasons. The things we miss and were looking for were Fruit Loops (YUM), Cheetos, Twizzlers, Hershey’s Kisses and really good Orange soda – the luminous kind! We found most of these and took them back to our room for snacking on later.

    On the way back we stopped in at an A&W burger place and had some surprisingly good food. It was all cooked fresh and tasted great. We also had our first taste of poutine on this trip. I wasn’t crazy about it but Elle really enjoyed it. I think the gravy reminded me of the gravy they used to serve at school so put me off. I grew much more fond of poutine as the trip went on. Yes that’s right, we ate more of it!!!

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    We made our way back and called it a night, after watching a bit of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Don’t they all look so young in that film?! We were both out pretty quickly and slept through until the morning – our first day exploring Vancouver!

    If you’re still reading, thank you and well done for hanging in there this long! I promise there are LOTS more pictures from this point on.

    Next up- Our first day in Vancouver!
     
  5. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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  6. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    Yay, one follower! At least someone is reading this - thanks disneyfaninaz!!
     
  7. Grumpy's Wife

    Grumpy's Wife Dollar Tree gal here

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    :wave: Joining in. Can't wait to hear all about your cruise.
     
  8. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    BEST DAY EVER! Well, that is until we had all of our other best days ever on the Wonder! This is where the use of the word “Epic” started to feature in our trip.

    We slept through until about 7.30am and with no particular rush, we got ourselves up and ready to head out. Packing for this trip had been really hard as we had so many mixed opinions of what the weather would be like. Let me tell you, it was hot! I think I wore skinny jeans and a tank top. I also made sure I slathered myself with sun cream, being the red haired, pasty skinned Brit I am; I was bound to catch the sun!

    We ventured down to the breakfast room in the basement as this was included in our room price. We didn’t stay long. It was dark and smelt of burnt toast. The offerings looked ok and it was clean, it just wasn’t very inspiring. Plus we were craving something else…Tim Horton’s!

    Luckily, just a block away, and on our way to Canada Place, there was a Tim Horton’s. FYI the maple dip doughnuts at TH are AMAZING. I actually bought a box of 6 on our last day in Canada and ate them all before I could bring them home! TH became an important part of our morning routine each day we were in Vancouver.

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    After our wonderful doughnut breakfast (this was not destined to be a healthy trip!), we walked on to Canada Place to catch the free shuttle to Capilano. This is a brilliant spot for tourists, all the local attractions have free shuttles in the summer season which all depart from CP. The hop-on-hop-off busses also run from here. If you’re ever unsure of where to go or what to do, head to CP and take your pick! We also looked at the prices for the Flyover Canada attraction and decided we would do it after we returned from our cruise as we would need something to cheer us up after disembarking!

    On the way to the shuttle we saw this really cute rock on the road as we waited at the pedestrian crossing.

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    We hopped on the Capilano shuttle and had a lovely driver who was very informative as he drove us through Stanley park and over the bridge to Capilano. We had pre-purchased tickets online which really helped at the gate, there was quite a long line for tickets. We are students, Elle full-time and me part-time, so were able to get student tickets for most places we visited. We never had to show our IDs though.

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    Capilano was lovely; we spent about an hour and a half here. As much as I enjoyed it, I did feel like once we’d done one treetop walk, we’d done them all. The main suspension bridge and cliff walk were both busy and of course people stop constantly for pictures so you get bunched into groups, unable to move forward. Darn those pesky tourists…oh wait, that’s us! The gift shop here was really sweet and had some lovely items which we didn’t see anywhere else so if you see something here, be sure to get it.

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    When we were done, we walked across the street to the bus stop (right next to the car park, you can’t miss it) and waited for bus #236 to Grouse Mountain. The bus was $2.75 for a return in that particular zone, which included the Seabus from Lonsdale Quay to Canada Place. However, there is a time limit on the ticket so be sure to check that. We were at Grouse so long we had to buy another ticket on the return. But still, you can’t go wrong for a total travel cost that day of $5.50! The bus took about 15 minutes and was full – you will probably have to stand.

    The line at the ticket booth to the gondola at Grouse was reasonable; we only waited about 10 minutes. We had already decided we wanted to do zip lining so we bought the 5 line ticket (available in summer green season) for $109 each which included the Peak Experience (Skyride, mountaintop activities and Peak Chair access). You can upgrade to $119 to include the Eye of The Wind attraction but we weren’t too concerned about this. They give you a zip line tour time when you are down at the ticket booth, the earliest we could have was 4.30pm, it was only 1.00pm so we had 3 hours to kill up on the mountain. You also have to give them your weight in lbs, which is not something I knew off the top of my head so be prepared if you plan on zip lining. The girl at the booth was so sweet though when I worked it out and gave her my weight. She said “I don’t think you’d be that heavy” I assured her that unfortunately I was but she still didn’t believe me!

    We were soon heading up on the gondola and wow, we had spectacular views across to the city. We could not believe how wonderful the weather was, it was so bright and clear. We went in the search of food to begin with as we didn’t want to zip line on full stomachs. I think the place we ate at was called Lupins café. it was a cafeteria type place where you line up at
    the hot food counter first then go and get your drinks/snacks etc. the staff were very friendly and food was pretty good but it was so slow! I had a crispy turkey wrap (the size of my head!) and shared a side of poutine with Elle, who had a cold turkey wrap.

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    After lunch we decided to go up on the chairlift to watch the paragliding. It was a lovely ride out in the fresh air. When we got to the top, we took some photos and then headed straight back down, just in time to catch the Lumberjack show which was just starting. This was brilliant. Cheesy as you like and really corny but that was what made it fun. plus, the lumberjacks were pretty easy to watch if you know what I mean?! We didn’t go to the show in Ketchikan so can’t compare the two but this was really fun and I would recommend anyone going to Grouse watch the show.

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    Once the show was over, we went for a Beavertail, another food item I learned about on the Dis. Apparently there used to be a booth in Epcot? I had a maple butter tail which was delicious but oh so messy. I can’t recall what Elle had; I think a sugar-cinnamon? We took them to the lumberjack seating area and watched the guys set up for the next show as we ate. After this, we kind of just mooched around looking at the different totems and carvings, watched some helicopters and paragliders, before heading to the zip lining hut to check in for our tour.

    We checked in and were in a group of about 10. There were lockers downstairs to store bags and loose articles but the harness you wear on the tour also has a back zip pocket so you can take glasses or cameras if you wish. They also hired out GoPro cameras for $25 which they clip onto a special helmet. I really regret not having hired one now as I was too afraid to take my camera in hand so I have no evidence of our amazing tour. We were all adults bar one guy with his young son who was only just heavy enough to come on the tour. I think you have to be between 70-250lbs?

    They kitted us all out and gave us a safety briefing, all pretty standard stuff. They do warn you that at the end of each line is a huge spring which is there to stop you. It looks scary but you won’t hit the spring yourself, just the handle bar thing you are holding will hit it. they do say though that you shouldn’t have your tongue between your teeth otherwise you will bit it. I can confirm that this is true!!

    The first line was a breeze; it’s more of a practice line. They also take a photo of you on this one so you’ll want to make sure you pose well! The next two were faster and longer, one going over a lake. Then for the last two, we had to go up on the chairlift again (glad we did it early…) as they are right at the peak. These suckers are loooong and very high. They were also amazing, I’m so glad we both enjoyed them and found them exciting rather than being scared or worried about what could happen at that height, over a huge canyon on top of a mountain, at 4000+ft…it was breath taking.

    Once we were done, we all trekked back down on the chair lift. This is where we discovered the guy with the young boy (and their family who were following us watching) were on our cruise the next day! We had a great conversation with them on the way down to the hut and found out we were both on the Disboards and had worked for Disney. Little did we know then, we would end up bumping into them every day of the cruise! We didn’t trade Dis names but if you’re reading this and know who you are…hi, it was lovely to meet you!

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    Once we got back to the hut, we went to collect our belongings and by the time we came back upstairs everyone had cleared out! We decided to buy the photos of us as we didn’t have any of our own and the guy serving us offered us 2 for 1 as it was the end of the day and they were going to be thrown out anyway. The tour had lasted around 2 hours so it was about 7.00pm when we decided to take the gondola back down to catch the 236 bus to Lonsdale Quay, again for $2.75. it was a longer journey, taking about 20-25 minutes and the bus was full again as I guess this is the primary route for people getting back to the city. The Seabus was fun and the sun was setting as we crossed back towards Canada Place.

    We were pretty tired by this point so we stopped at a pizza window on West Pender St. I was looking at the pizza and said to Elle that I didn’t think I would like it as I don’t love really thin crust pizza. A local overheard me and said “you’ll regret it, it’s the best!” - so we each got a slice and took it back to the hotel. He was right, it was really good. I just wish I remembered what the place was called! we sat in our PJs watching another Harry Potter movie, eating pizza and drinking our luminous orange soda. We packed up a little ready for our embarkation the next morning and fell asleep around 11pm.

    Next up – Embarking on the Wonder!
     
  9. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Great info on Capilano and Grouse. We're planning a day similar to yours sans the zipline. :goodvibes

    Note to self: Get a Beavertail! BTW, any idea how many carbs one of those puppies are? :scratchin
     
  10. pascalstongue

    pascalstongue DIS Veteran

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    I'm following along! Great TR so far. I'm hoping to do an Alaskan cruise and as a fellow Brit I will be picking up any tips you have with great interest?
     
  11. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    Great start to your report! Signing on for the rest.

    Jill in CO
     
  12. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    Hard to tell, I'm inclined to say about a billion?! :rotfl2:
     
  13. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for following so far, please feel free to chip in with any questions you may have. I have most of our navigators so will try and post those at the end. I made lots of notes so will try to answer your questions as best I can.

    Monday 2nd September

    The original plan for today was to get up, check out, have breakfast and head to CP for a check-in time of 11.30am. This was not to be.

    I had woken this morning at 3am; unsure whether it was the jet lag or the excitement of boarding the Disney Wonder today…I’m going with the latter! When I couldn’t get back to sleep at 5am I contemplated heading out to Canada Place to see the Wonder pull into port. I soon decided against this as I had no idea what time the Wonder docks and it was nice and snuggly in bed, despite not being able to sleep.

    Eventually we got up around 7.30am and were out of the door by 8.30am. The night before, we had discovered that there were a couple of things we had forgotten to pack and Elle needed some extra t-shirts so we decided to spend the morning shopping before coming back to our room to check out by 12pm. We didn’t mind being a bit later arriving at port; we knew we had until 3pm ish before we HAD to be on-board.

    We stopped by Tim Horton’s for our traditional breakfast of doughnuts and coffee (mmm…maple dip doughnuts…seriously, I dream about those doughnuts) and then walked towards the shops. For a Monday morning, we thought it was really quiet, I even mentioned to Elle that I was surprised at how quiet the Vancouver rush hour was! It wasn’t until we got to the shopping centre and saw all the shops were shut that we remembered it was Labour Day! It’s not a holiday we have in the UK so we had completely forgotten about it.

    We had to kill about 2 hours before we could go back to the shops when they opened at 11am. What could we do to pass the time? Head down to Canada Place to see the Wonder of course! We had great pleasure watching everyone disembark (not a feeling we enjoyed so much the following week when it was us disembarking!). We took some pictures and generally basked in the beauty of the Wonder. We could also see where our stateroom was and noted how close to Canada Place it was. You could see straight in, something which we remembered later when we were in the room and had people staring in at us!

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    After our fill of the Wonder, we mooched over to another Tim Horton’s for lemonade and free Wi-Fi. Eventually it was time to go back to the shops. We hit London Drugs for sea-sickness tablets and umbrellas, and then went to H&M for some last minute clothes. Eventually we headed back to the hotel, finished packing and ordered a taxi to the port. Again, we could have walked very easily but we had bought so much and had already over spilled into our spare holdall, as well as having hand luggage full of wine bottles. We thought it would just be easier to take a taxi. It cost us around $6 I believe.

    When we got to the port, all hell broke loose! It was so busy. There was another ship departing that day so the place was rammed. One of the nice bellman chaps took our bags and sent them off towards the Wonder whilst we were directed to the biggest queue I have ever seen for a security checkpoint. It moved so slowly. Eventually we were through and then off to line up for immigration, again this was a breeze and the guy we saw was actually really nice and fun. No offence America, but your immigration officers are terrifying! This guy was a breath of fresh air. I like to believe that being in such close proximity to the Disney magic made him more cheery!

    Next we went straight through to the DCL check-in and although we went to the Castaway Club line, there was actually no queue at any of the lines. The guy who greeted us was really friendly and gave us a boarding number of 4, which was already boarding!

    Soon enough we were winding our way up the gangway, I never thought I’d say it but it was the best looking gangway I had ever seen – well done Vancouver. Before we knew it, we were being announced…”Disney Wonder please welcome Kirsty & Elle”. Unfortunately I was busy filming this bit for the video I am yet to make, but it turns out I actually turned the camera off instead of on, so I have no footage of this. Rookie error.

    We made our way straight to Wavebands to see if we could change our Palo brunch from Tracy Arm day to the first sea day as we wanted to have enough room in our bellies to experience the on-board BBQ on Tracy Arm day. They were fully booked for brunch and unable to make the change. Never mind – it actually worked out pretty well as we ended up watching whales from our table at brunch. But again, you’ll have to wait for that bit! We never did try the on-board BBQ either.

    Next, we headed to BBB for some lunch. The weather had been a bit foggy and drizzly that morning but once we were on the ship; it cleared up and was beautiful. We sat out at the back of BBB, a delightful experience, sitting in the sunshine with the Vancouver skyline right there behind us, floatplanes taking off and landing, people walking along Canada Place watching us, enviously. Wonderful.

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    My plate (clockwise): Peel & eat shrimp, mashed potato and mixed vegetables, salmon (very dry), bread, mac 'n' cheese and coleslaw.

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    Dessert plate: Strawberry and white chocolate mousse thing (AMAZING), chocolate cake, raspberry cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie.

    After lunch we went to tour the spa. Neither of us had used the spa area on previous cruises so we were keen to have a nose around. We liked it so much; we decided to book ourselves some appointments for the first morning at sea. We also entered the raffle and after an ice-cream on deck (gotta love that machine!) we went back to the spa for the draw. They actually gave away a lot of prizes but alas, we didn’t win.

    Somewhere between BBB and the spa we went to check out our room 6642 on deck 6 aft. It was on the right side of the ship, starboard I think?! We loved this room; it was close enough to everything we needed without being too noisy. We had no issue with light coming in through the curtains in the mornings and the navigators veranda was ideal for the slightly cooler climate. When we went in, we saw someone hovering outside our veranda!

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    One of our bags arrived shortly after we got there but we were waiting on the bag which had sun cream inside as we were starting to pink a little on the shoulders. When in the room we found our safe door was hanging off so we made a call to guest services who assured us they would get someone to take a look. Later we discovered it had probably been hit by the sliding wardrobe door (easy to do in rough seas).

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    When Elle’s suitcase arrived it was also broken. The top handle had snapped clean off and was missing. It sounds a small issue but when she had to carry it through London on the way home up and down steps to the tube, that handle comes in really handy. When we were packing to leave the ship at the end of the cruise I realised my bag was also broken but it was still functional so I didn’t bother to tell guest services. Oh, the wave phone was also broken; one of them just wouldn’t turn on even though we charged it.

    Unbeknown to Elle, I had ordered a cake to be delivered to our room so it was there when we first arrived. It wasn’t. I didn’t tell her about it and decided to give them a few more hours before I called guest services. We went off to the mandatory muster drill in Animators Palate and when the cake wasn’t there upon our return, I called Guest Services. They had to call me back and when they did, they said there had been a mix up and they needed a few hours to deliver it. This, to me, suggests that they needed a couple of hours to defrost a cake and add the detail to it…I’m not one to complain and to be honest didn’t mind about this as Elle didn’t know it was coming so it’s not like a surprise had been ruined or anything but I was a little disappointed that there was no further apology or suggestion of compensation. It would have been nice if they sent up some champagne or chocolate covered strawberries or even just a note with the cake when it finally arrived after dinner!

    Back to our day – next we went up on deck to watch us sail away. We have seen the sail away party before and as we had no children with us who were desperate to watch it, we went to the back of deck 10 to watch as we sailed away from Vancouver. It was so different to be sailing away from skyscrapers rather than an open Floridian port with nothing (except NASA) around! We marvelled as we passed underneath Lions Gate Bridge and then wondered decks 10 and deck 4 as people started to clear out for first seating of dinner. When we stood at the front of the ship taking our iconic Mickey shots, guess who we ran into for the first of many times? Our zip lining friends from the day before!

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    Before going to the show that night, we spent time unpacking, browsing in the shops, followed by a drink of Rosa Regale on our veranda before dinner. Have you ever tried that drink? It’s lovely and the sell it all over WDW!

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    As for the shopping part – I collect vinylmation. Well, I used to when I had cast member discount, not so much these days unless I am on a specific trip and they mean something. For example, I bought the cruise line set this trip as they weren’t out the first time I cruised. Anyway, I had heard that there were limited edition vinyls for each cruise destination and the Alaska one was a whale. I really wanted to get it as it would be a memory of this trip. I got to the vinyls stand and just as I did another guest was there picking up random vinyls saying to his wife “what the hell are these things?” at which point a crew member piped up saying “they’re vinylmation and that one in your hand is 40% off because it is Alaska themed. All Alaska merchandise is 40% off as this is our last cruise of the season.” At this, he took the last Alaska vinyl and bought it, not even knowing what it was! Never mind, it might be the start of a new vinylmation addict!

    The show tonight was the All Aboard, let the memories begin show. It was ok; I prefer the full on Disney shows such as Dreams or Twice Charmed. After that we went to our first dinner in Tritons. Our rotation was TAAPTAP, table number 78 and our servers were Niti and Shervonne, Head Server was Josip.

    When we arrived we were a little unsure about the set-up. There was a table of 6 with two couples already sat down opposite one another so the two seats in the middle had been left for us. At first, as we were a little later than the others it was really quiet and we felt a bit out of place but 5 minutes later we were all chatting away and sharing stories. I have to say, I loved our table mates – Disney did a great job putting us all together, we seemed to click really well and were pretty like-minded. By the end of the week it was as if we had known each other for ages.

    Something curious – 5 out of the 6 of us had worked for Disney previously. I know that if you’re an existing cast member on a cruise, they seat you with other cast members, I think so that you don’t share stories with guests. Do you think they knew our Disney histories and that’s why they put us together?

    Dinner was the regular French menu tonight and I recall ordering the French onion soup (very hot, I almost burnt my tongue!), the duck breast and grand marnier soufflé. All the food was good, the duck was excellent. People have raved about this soufflé; I’d give it a solid B+.

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    After dinner we went straight back to our room and found Elle’s cake there on a tray. It was a marble cake with white chocolate mousse filling and chocolate buttercream coating. It was really good but the buttercream, on the outside was a bit rich. The white chocolate mousse was amazing. I know there has been much discussion about the quality (or lack thereof) of DCL cakes but we really enjoyed this one. And it was worth the $28 I paid for it. Eventually we fell asleep around 11.30pm, most likely watching some sort of Disney movie!

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    Her name is actually Elle, they didn't get it wrong, Owl is a running joke of a nickname between us!

    Next up – Our first sea day!
     
  14. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    364
    Hi, thanks for tagging along. If you're looking for any specific info or tips, just ask.

    I've also just noticed you are from High Wycombe? I have friends who live in a village next to Great Missenden so I drive through High Wycombe all the time!
     
  15. pascalstongue

    pascalstongue DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    546
    Yes, I live in a small village just outside High Wycombe!

    I'll be sure to ask questions as and when.
     
  16. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 1999
    Messages:
    6,412
    I am thoroughly enjoying your trip report, the narrative and all the lovely pictures. Thanks for taking us on the trip with you. We sail to Alaska next May, so I am reading every report I can find. Thanks again.
     
  17. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    364
    That is so kind of you to say, thank you!

    I also read every report I could find before out cruise, most of them more than once! I am a photo person so be prepared to see lots more!!
     
  18. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    364
    Tuesday 3rd September

    This morning I woke again around 3am, darn time difference, but dozed until around 6.30am when our alarm woke us up. We both had spa appointments this morning so we couldnt sleep in. I got up and looked out on the veranda to find I couldnt see anything. It was unbelievably foggy! I heard the ships fog horn sound a few times but couldnt really hear this inside the room. The ship was definitely moving about and rocking gently but not enough that I could really feel it or felt ill.

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    I decided to go up and get us some breakfast and wander the ship as nobody else was around. I couldnt believe how foggy it was, it was so spooky. It reminded me of the first Pirates film when theyre sailing through the mist. I walked all the way up to the front of the ship and was standing alone in front of the wind shield on deck 10 when the fog horn sounded. I can tell you, I have never been so surprised in all my life. I think I left my skin in Alaska; I jumped so far out of it! I thought it would be a good idea to go back to civilisation at that point so I went to BBB and Goofys Galley to get a selection of food to take back to the room.

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    We go to the spa just before 8.00am and signed in. I was having the seaweed wrap which included a foot and ankle massage, head and neck massage followed by a half body massage. It was bliss. I think the lady doing my treatment was called Jonalyn from the Philippines, Im not sure if I wrote her name down correctly. She was lovely but told me I have lots of stress in my upper back. She asked if I work at a desk or in front of a computer, which I do every day. Apparently my job is too stressful and I would benefit from more massages, I knew that, but unfortunately cant afford to have massages throughout the year; theyre saved for my holidays.

    Half way through my treatment I had a funny five minutes where I felt like I was spinning. This wasnt your normal drunken night out the room is spinning situation, I felt like I was lying on a plank and it was the plank that was spinning and tilting. I put it down to the ship movement but had to keep my eyes open to focus on something, rather than gently dozing off and relaxing.
    After my treatment I popped into the salon where Elle was having a hair treatment and told her Id meet her back in the room but of course I went to via the shops. I looked a mess as I had wet, oily hair (shed used oils for my head massage) and was in my gym clothes but I didnt care  dont you love that on the cruise nobody is judging you?! I managed to splurge and do all my shopping in that one hit. I had two of the big carrier bags and think I pretty much cleaned them out of all things Alaska. Except for that vinylmation&!

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    On the way back to our room I saw Elmer, our stateroom host, in the hallway. Elmer was brilliant; he always chatted to us and cleaned our room impeccably. Elle was sleeping on the pull out couch bed as she had graciously given me the bed. Elmer made her bed up with princess sheets (yes I realise we are nearly 30 but hey, its Disney!).

    When Elle got back we tucked into the cake and watched Disney classics in the room, what a life! We eventually got showered and dressed with the plan to watch the DVC presentation at 1.45pm. Well, that didnt happen! We missed it and instead watched the princess gathering in the atrium. I cannot tell you how many cute girls there were dressed as princesses, they were adorable. And the princesses were really good. Belle was the most beautiful I have seen and Snow White was brilliantly in character.

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    In the afternoon the fog lifted and once again we had a beautiful, warm day. We decided to walk along deck 4 and almost instantly we saw something moving quickly through the water. It was so exciting, everyone on the deck ran to the railings to see what it was. It was a pod of porpoise! They were far too quick for us to catch on camera but it gave us a good taste of what was yet to come&

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    After that excitement, we decided to borrow some blankets from deck 4 to leave on our veranda and picked up some hot chocolate to go back to the room with. We ordered some grilled cheese from room service and settled in on the veranda. The grilled cheese and fries (which were more like chunky chips) were not brilliant but edible. The cheese hadnt melted and I prefer thin fries.

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    Within about 5 minutes of sitting down, we saw whale spouts! We stayed out on the balcony until show time just watching the scenery and several whale sightings including lots of breaching, a pod of about 10 in one go and some baby whales. We missed a ship tour because we didnt want to leave the whales! This became a recurrence on our trip, there was so much to see from the veranda that we didnt do too much else.

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    Although it was formal night, we went to the show, the Golden Mickeys, in our sweats. I love this show, Ensign Benson is always brilliant and tonight was no exception, she was wonderful and so bubbly. We saw the girl who played her around the ship escorting characters and she was always lovely and happy. I asked her on the last night whether she was friends with other characters and she (dressed as Ensign Benson) said she was close friends with the fairy godmother. Before the show, our cruise director Jimmy tried really hard to promote audience energy and tell the audience that they should clap and cheer. We found the audiences this cruise to be a bit flat and not really lift the performers.

    After the show we went back and got dressed up, we wore smart outfits but nothing too formal or ball gown-y. We had a cocktail in the Cadillac Lounge before dinner, a pomegranate passion I think, before heading to Animators Palate for dinner.

    At dinner I ordered the Avant Premiere cocktail from the Golden Mickeys menu and ate the scallops (good but didnt like the risotto) and cheese ravioli (ok). It was when our appetizers came out that I had a bit of a funny turn. I suddenly felt really sick. The ship was moving more this evening so I dont know whether it was sea sickness or the fact that I may have eaten too much cake during the day! I was very close to leaving the table and going back to the room, but didnt want to miss dinner. After a glass of coke and only a couple of mouthfuls of each appetizer, I felt better so carried on.

    For my main I had the yachtsman steakhouse NY strip steak which was really good. I loved the baked potato served with it and liked it even more when Shervonne came round with some sour cream to top it off. For dessert I had the strawberry sundae, along with most of my table mates, which was really yummy! I dont know why I didnt but I should have also ordered the sweet temptations here, a trio of Creme Brulee, The Golden Chocolate Award and Raspberry Cheesecake. I have had it before and really liked all of them.

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    Once wed finished dinner, two of our tablemates left for a late night whiskey tasting session so the remaining 4 of us lingered for a while and chatted over coffee.

    Before going to bed tonight, we had to set our clocks back 1 hour to Alaska time. I also tried on my winter coat again as it was brand new, I wanted to check it would fit after all the cruise food! Elle started laughing and said I looked like Ensign Benson so she took a picture. What do you think?!

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    We went to bed and carried out our usual routine of watching movies until one of us fell asleep! Tomorrow would be Tracy Arm day and our first taste of Palo brunch.

    A quick note about the spa situation - I had read up on the rainforest passes on the Disoards before going and decided not to buy any. I thought we could try to buy a day pass if we found we wanted to once on the ship. On the first day they flat out refused to sell anything other than the 7 day passes. They told me to check back throughout the cruise as any 7 day passes they dont sell, they would break down into single days and sell like that. I checked every day (as the spa kept calling out to me and wanting me to have another treatment!) and each day they became less strict about this. Finally on our second to last day they were selling the day passes. Basically, they want to sell you the week long pass at $150 (ish). So if you know you will only want a day  buy it before you go to guarantee it. It looked lovely in there and if we go on a longer cruise (hopefully planning the EBTA next May) we will buy the 7 day pass and take full advantage.

    Next up  Palo!
     
  19. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    11,624
    I can just see one of the crew members standing in the bridge with their finger on the fog horn waiting for some unsuspecting guest to stand in front of the ship so they can fire it off and watch them jump! I guess you were the lucky one! :rotfl:

    Can't wait to sit on our verandah and watch the whales! How lucky you were to see them breach.
     
  20. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    364
    Next time we cruise and I see fog...I will stay inside and save myself the heart attack! :thumbsup2

    You will not regret having a veranda, and will probably not move away from it!
     
  21. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,500
    Reliving the cruise through your report! I am working on mine, hopefully I will get some posted this weekend. We also fell in love with Tim Horton's. I could go for a maple dipped right now! That fog was something else. I woke a few times during that first night to the fog horn, I can imagine how loud it was up on deck! Glad you didn't get bounced overboard! We saw a whale out the window of the Cadillac Lounge during our mixology class. One of the bartenders said that if you want to see some passenger activity, go up to deck 9, stand at the rail, and yell "WHALE!". ;)
     

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