Just returned from Alaska 6/3-6/10 ... AMAZING

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by OrcaPotter, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. OrcaPotter

    OrcaPotter Lucky to be local to the Mouse

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    Movies I saw listed were:
    Lincoln
    Wreck-It Ralph
    Oz the Great and Powerful
    Iron Man 3 (it played in the Walt Disney Theatre on Juneau night in place of a show)
    Brave
    The Avengers
    ... and I was surprised that many of the other showings were for classic Disney animated movies, nothing else new or relatively new.

    Honestly, with all there is to see outside you will not want to be inside watching a movie! I saw Oz on the first night that started around 10:30 PM. You're going to have a fantastic time.

    Ooo, it's hard to remember all the tips I noted to give, so I'll be sure to include those in my report. As for the disembark process, it was relatively smooth. Only, it was our first cruise ever that we were hassled the night before to have our luggage out as early as possible. On all our previous cruises, we were never bothered and managed to get everything out by 10:30 or so. Our room steward this time was urging my mother to have everything out no later than 8:30, which was when the last show started. When she told him there was no way, he wanted to know at exactly what time we would have everything out. We went back to the room immediately after the show, and our steward was literally knocking on our door every 5 minutes wanting to know if we were done yet. We couldn't believe it, and it soured my perception of him after having good service from him for the whole cruise. It was clear he wanted all the luggage out before his shift ended, but considering we weren't even docked until 8:30 or so, we couldn't understand why the pressure to have all the luggage (for a ship half the size as the Dream) prepared as early as possible.

    The first group called was around 8:45 AM, and it was Ariel. Followed by Daisy, then Minnie. We had Minnie tags; as we were leaving, they were prepping to call Tinker Bell. Everyone was urged to have passports and customs forms ready, and they controlled the amount of people in the terminal at one time (you get your luggage in the same area as you checked in). Only--after we handed over our customs form to the Canadian official ... no one asked for our passports. You might as well tuck them away for later at the airport. No one ever asked to see them, which I found really weird. You go through U.S. customs before your board the ship, but there is no checkpoint for Canada when you return. The airport is a different story, however. It is checked multiple times by multiple officials.

    The whole process was smooth. We were in a taxi by 9:30, and that was after about a 15 minute wait to get a taxi after getting out of the terminal. Note! If you use a taxi, most taxis in Vancouver are Priuses and can only hold about 2 large pieces of luggage and 3 people. Vans were scarce and could only hold 4 people to accommodate a lot of luggage.

    ETA: Yes, the Pixar Party was the same night as semi-formal night, which made things really awkward. The party was around 10 PM and if you want photos with characters, you need to be on deck 3 and snap a quick photo with them as they dance around. Because once the show is done, they all go back inside. No formal photo ops. Other than the party and the Toy Story menu (and Toy Story: The Musical show) ... that's all the Pixar offered. The few families who dressed up were all Incredibles. My tip: Go change into comfy sweats after the show, then go back out for the party. It was cute. What was even better was my discovery of wearing sweats around the ship.
     
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  3. elvisdiddy808

    elvisdiddy808 Earning My Ears

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    Packing question. Did you need to pack your own umbrella, poncho, or rain jacket or is this something the ship will provide if it's raining? I hear it rains often.
     
  4. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    JMO, it's best to bring your own raingear. And a waterproof jacket with hood works best. Poncho second best. Umbrella not as good due to poking other people in the eye in crowds and not having both hands free for cameras and such. Yes Alaska is classified as a rain forest, so it rains there.
     
  5. Asnell

    Asnell Mouseketeer

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    I'm so excited to hear more about your Alaska trip. We are on the 8/5 sailing!
     
  6. doriemg

    doriemg Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for posting this OrcaPotter! We're sailing the Wonder on August 12 so it was awesome to read this post. We're so excited we can barely contain ourselves. We also have Chilkoot booked in Skagway for the Bennett Scenic Journey. We went with Chilkoot because they got all kinds of rave reviews so it was great to hear another one from you. I did have one question for you. I posted this earlier to the boards but never really got the answer I wanted. Is there a crowd on the ship in Skagway waiting to go ashore right at 7:15? Even if I'm right there and ready to go ashore at 7:15, I'm worried that I'll get stuck in a crowd of everyone trying to get off the ship at the same time and will miss the 7:30 tour time. Thanks again for this. Can't wait to read your trip report.
     
  7. Cmbar

    Cmbar DIS Veteran

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    We are leaving in just over a month and I am freaking out about what to pack. Can you tell me what was your core things you used and wouldn't have made it through the trip without? What type of jacket, shoes for the ship vs. the excursion? Were you cold at dinner time when you had to dress up? Should we plan on sweaters for dinner or can we get away with lighter clothes while on the ship. Sorry I really am freaking about what to bring:crazy2::scared1:
     
  8. OrcaPotter

    OrcaPotter Lucky to be local to the Mouse

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    The ship does not provide any rain gear (for free). There were some basic ponchos (and I want to say umbrellas) for sale in the gift shops. We brought 2 travel umbrellas and ponchos for each of us, in addition to our weather-resistant jackets and shoes. We used all of it, though only the umbrellas while were in port. But yes, as previously said, southern Alaska is a rainforest. It will rain. We were fortunate that out of the 3 port days, it only rained all day in Ketchikan. But it was cold and wet on Tracy Arm day as well.

    You'll be very happy with Chilkoot! They were very prompt, professional, and friendly. Now, my parents and I did not wait for the moment they opened the gangway, so I can't say whether or not there was a crowd. However, I think they opened the gangway at 7 AM and we walked off around 7:20 and had NO wait whatsoever. It didn't look like people were rushing off at all. Most of the tours I saw, however, meet you literally steps away from the gangway, so don't worry about needing to sprint anywhere once off the ship. You'll have an amazing time!

    Don't panic! Here's my rule of thumb that my mother refused to take to heart: don't overpack. And by overpacking, I mean you do not need 7 day outfits and 7 night outfits. Because you layer in Alaska, much of what you wear can easily be worn multiple days and no one would be the wiser. Especially since some of your layers are so bulky, you want to preserve the space and weight in your luggage. Here is what I packed:

    3 pairs of jeans (they are great for multiple day use if you manage to stay "clean" -- i.e. don't spill anything on them)
    1 pair of sweatpants--awesome lounge wear around the ship!
    1 fleece pullover (though I wish I had one or two more just for variety's sake in photos)
    1 hoody
    4 t-shirts (6 after I bought some as souvenirs)
    4 long sleeve t-shirts to layer underneath t-shirts
    3 light long-sleeve sweatshirts
    1 medium-weight weather-resistant jacket (I got this for cheap at JC Penny, and the zipper completely broke off and ripped the first day I wore it ... I ended up buying the really nice light fleece-lined weather proof jacket in the gift shop to replace it)
    1 formal dress
    1 semi-formal outfit
    1 nice sweater for formal outfits
    1 business casual outfit (for Palo brunch)
    4 pairs of winter PJ's
    A lot of socks (because I love socks)
    and a pair of tights

    I recommend investing in the Space Saver travel bags that roll out the air without needing a vacuum. I had a ton of space left over in my large suitcase after packing all of the above. For footwear, I had 2 nice pairs of shoes and 2 casual shoes. The casual shoes were both water proof/resistant. I ended up wearing my Sperry Topsiders for most of the trip. They were great until Ketchikan when it was soaking rain; they are definitely not rain boots. I would plan to bring some sort of water-proof shoe and bring thick socks for excursions in the rain.

    I wore nearly everything I brought, and because of layering, I wore many things more than once. Now, I'm from Florida, and I was shocked at how chilled the inside of the ship was kept even on the coldest days. So yes, I would make sure to have a sweater for dinner and a hoody or sweatshirt for inside the ship if you're from warmer climes. Alaska weather is very unpredictable. When sunny (which we were repeatedly told is rare), it can warm up nicely and you only need a hoody or less. But the moment that sun is gone, the layers go back on! You will definitely need a jacket, hat, and gloves on Tracy Arm day. The closer you get to glaciers or the higher you get in the mountains (on excursions), the colder it gets.

    I plan to post my packing list to my trip report.

    Which! I've started---check it out here if anyone is interested:
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3126122
     
  9. my3lilonkeyz

    my3lilonkeyz Earning My Ears

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    Just curious if you have the name of your room steward? I am curious if he was the same we had on the Wonder in April. Nice guy but on the last night hovered outside our door and kept asking if our luggage was ready. It was a little off putting :/ I was assured we still had an hour to get it out right before this when I stopped at customer service to settle my bill. Yet No sooner I got to my room he was there making me feel like I was imposing on him.
     
  10. SnowWhite2

    SnowWhite2 DIS Veteran

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    We are going next year - June 9th for DDs graduation gift. Her choice over senior week at the beach. Can't wait to read your trip report.
     
  11. maria-fan-22

    maria-fan-22 DIS Veteran

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    We got off this same cruise as well, and our Host did the same thing. His name was Gunther, and all cruise long he was wonderful. Then the last night he kept nocking on our door to see if our luggage was ready. kind of annoying.
     
  12. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    "Alaska is amazing" is what I tell anyone who'll listen, one of my fav holidays ever. Looking forward to your TR.
     
  13. cruisecrasher

    cruisecrasher DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait for the trip report. We're booked end of August 2014.
     
  14. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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    SO excited for a trip report. I am booked on the last cruise of the season and reading these reports makes it all a bit more real! Subbing! popcorn::

    RweTHEREyet - how did you get those wonderful Mickey Heads in your signature? They look lovely and would make a great magnet for a stateroom door!
     
  15. ShellB8585

    ShellB8585 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for sharing!

    I want to a B2B California coast and Alaska for my 30th in 2015 so I am really hoping they still have this available :cool1:
     
  16. IBelieveInTheMagic

    IBelieveInTheMagic DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for taking the time to answer :) The first disembarkation seems a little later than the first sailing. I'm thinking for those that have earlier flights and self disembark with their luggage it will be a little earlier?

    Interesting that they have now added another Pixar Party at 4:30pm!

    Can't wait to read your trip report!! :goodvibes

    Heather
     
  17. scrapycruiser

    scrapycruiser DIS Veteran

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    Excited to hear more. We go Aug 4,2014 ! :yay:
     
  18. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I know, right? :goodvibes

    Here is the website: http://www.tagxedo.com/
     
  19. FlowerMouse

    FlowerMouse 1st time Disney cruiser

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    I have a question. What time did you arrive at Canada Place and what time did you actually get on the ship? Trying to get an approx idea of how long of a wait. Did you arrive at a crowded time?

    Thanks, So looking forward to your trip report.
     
  20. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    I totally concur that the one best thing I bought & brought on my Alaskan cruise (besides my AWESOME camera!) was a weather-proof Gore-tex jacket with a hood. Water proof & wind proof. Large enough to slip a light fleece under if necessary. SO totally useful, and much better than hassling with an umbrella. And most rain ponchos I've used don't breathe at all, and are hot & humid.

    Sayhello
     
  21. forrestfamilyoffive

    forrestfamilyoffive Earning My Ears

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    Always wanted to check out a DCL, and to Alaska?! That sounds amazing! I will definitely be on the lookout for that again after my trip to WDW.
     

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