The Wonder in Alaska - September 2-9 2013

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Ellester, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

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    I am wondering why your Mom's dinner was always so late to arrive. :confused3

    I am always slower to eat than my family, so if that had happened to me, I would have been sitting there all night long.
     
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  3. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    We never quite figured it out. Her food came up separately from the "allergy galley" and was supposedly there at the start of the seating time each night since she had preordered the night before. The timing of meals the whole cruise was a little off. The kids would get everything right away, or even their entree at the same time as their appetizers. That would have been fine for "dine & play" but often the younger two were all done before we even got our salads and it was tough to keep them entertained. Nick, the head server, wanted to personally serve her and he wasn't always available when our servers were ready to give the rest of the table their meals. Very unorganized. I did like all our servers, very friendly and enthusiastic, but it was strange that they never did get the timing down. My mother was very upset about it by the end of the trip.

    Busy with Halloween activities here and my DH's 25th college reunion is this weekend but hopefully I will get more posted early next week! Thanks for following along everyone!
     
  4. beccawes7471

    beccawes7471 Mouseketeer

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    Really enjoying your TR, we cruised Alaska 2 years ago with our then 12 year old and 2 year old on Holland. Would love to go again on DCL out of Vancouver. Cant wait to read more!
     
  5. marquislaura

    marquislaura Mouseketeer

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    reading along
     
  6. perfectmatch300

    perfectmatch300 DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your TR. Looking forward to reading the rest.
    I am trying to convince DH to do an Alaska cruise. So far, he's not sold on the idea, but I get ideas from every Alaska TR I read to help convince him that he will enjoy it, and will not be totally frozen the whole time. :sunny:
     
  7. ByKnight

    ByKnight Look out WORLD here we come!

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    That is to bad we had the opposite experience as our daughter's meals that were ordered the night before to accommodate her allergies showed up on time with the head waiter every evening. However anytime we ordered something different than what we preordered it took forever. I am really enjoying your report.
     
  8. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    Wednsday, 9/4
    Tracy Arm Day!
    Once again, I was up early. I never did really adjust to the time change. I tried to be extra quiet this morning though so I wouldn't wake the kids up again. I threw on some clothes and headed up the Cove Cafe. I enjoyed a tasty cafe mocha and some goodies from the pastry case. There was some kind of little granola loaf that was very tasty! I sat out on deck 9 for a little bit just relaxing. There were a few people out and about, but not many. I walked a few laps on deck 4, it felt good to get a little exercise. I stopped back at the room and the kids were starving so I took them up to BBB for a little breakfast while John took a shower. We stopped by the Promenade Lounge for Natalie to participate in the Wake Up with Disney Junior activity. She warmed up slowly and was dancing by the end. I've seen where sometimes Pluto comes out to dance, but we didn't have any special visitors just the girl hosting it. It was still cute!

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    I dropped them at the Oceaneers Club for Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers after breakfast and headed back to the room to take a shower and get ready for brunch at Palo. By then Anabelle was up and hungry so she and John headed to Triton’s for breakfast. I’m not real sure what Rebecca was doing but I am guessing she was at the Edge. While I was getting ready, I looked out the window and saw a pod of orca swimming by! It was truly amazing and awe inspiring! I watched them until they passed out of view. I headed up to Palo to meet my mom. We had made a reservation for three but when John realized he didn’t have any dress pants packed and blue jeans were not allowed, he cancelled his spot. The Palo staff offered to deliver pants for John to wear, they keep a stash for just such an occasion. But John was not comfortable with that so he opted out. At brunch, we figured out he would have been fine with his black jeans and Converse shoes but it was too late by then. There were several guys in pretty casual clothes. Lesson learned. My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed brunch. With her allergy issue, she got special attention from the chef, Silvio. He was great, making my mom whatever she wanted fresh. She wanted to try the marinated scallops but they had red pepper in them so Silvio made her the most delicious seared sea scallops. They were out of this world! We had a nice view of our entry into Tracy Arm from Palo, but were anxious to get changed and get outside.

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    With Silvio

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    John had lunch with the kids at BBB. Andrew and Natalie reported that Andrew had found Chip during hide and seek in the Oceaneers Club. Natalie was quite proud of her big brother! Natalie also said that Belle read them a story and she thought that was pretty awesome.

    This is why we wanted a balcony.

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    We spent the afternoon on deck 10 viewing the incredible scenery. The front of the deck was pretty crowded, but there was really great views from everywhere. We didn't see the characters out much. Anabelle took this one, it's the only pic we got the whole afternoon with one of the gang.

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    Making our way up to deck 10.

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    Not many people inside!

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    Captain Thord spend a good bit of time close to the glacier. It seemed like we were right up next to it. They announced we were closer than they had been all summer, within about a mile of the glacier. The size of it was hard to comprehend, it sure seemed like we were way closer than a mile! We heard the “white thunder” a few times, which heralds the calving of a piece of ice. We saw a few smaller pieces fall (small being relative, they were still bigger than a house!).

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    Anabelle with one of the several dozen veggie burgers she consumed on the trip. ;)

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    Seal on an ice airplane!

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    Obligatory glacier picture that doesn't even kind of do it justice.

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    The kids were getting cold, so they went back to the room to warm up and hang out on the veranda. John and I took advantage of the Cove Cafe and enjoyed some delicious Coffee Toledos (Baileys, Kahlua, Espresso, Hershey's Chocolate sauce, Whipped Cream) while warming up.

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    It was about time to get ready for a surprise for Natalie, the Princess Tea! John and Andrew opted out but all the girls went. On the way down there, I walked outside on deck 4 to take a last look at the glacier. I was just in time to see a huge, and I mean huge, piece erupt out of the water. An office building sized piece of the glacier had broken off under the water line and popped up like a cork! Amazing!

    That dark blue piece to the right is the one that popped up. Hard to believe it's the size of a multi-storied building!

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  9. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    We arrived at Studio Sea a few minutes before the 4:00 tea and found a seat inside. We had not told Natalie what we were doing and she was excited to see the “tea” pot (full of apple juice) and have a tea party with her sisters. She had no idea who the special guest was going to be, she was beyond thrilled when Ariel made her appearance. Tiana also came out and they both visited each table. Then there was a dance lesson and each princess posed for pictures and signed autographs. If you have a princess loving kid, this is a must do! It’s not advertised, I only heard about it on the DIS. I had signed up at Guest Services on embarkation day and had the choice of today or the last sea day.

    Getting ready for the surprise!

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    One of my favorite pictures of the trip, she was SO surprised to see Ariel!

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    Serious princess conference!

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    Tea party concluded, we met up with the men who had spent some quality bonding time in the arcade. Dinner tonight was in Parrot Cay again, the standard rotational menu. I tried one of the specialty drinks, the Banana Caribe. The kids had chocolate smoothies.

    Very tasty!

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    My mom had ordered the Ahi tuna and they had made it in the allergy kitchen, along with the rest of her meal. She tasted the sauce that was on the plate and said it had peppers in it and immediately felt ill. She got up and headed back to the room to rest. Nick brought me the ingredient list and the only thing in the sauce was tamarind paste. We never did find out if there was any pepper in the paste, but my mom was very upset and she became very critical of the dining staff after this point. She did make it to the show with us. The show tonight was Magic Dave. I knew Andrew would really enjoy this one, and he really did. Right up his alley. The girls and adults liked it as well. I really appreciated the family friendly shows on the ship. On our one Carnival cruise, I felt I needed to constantly cover the kids’ eyes during the “family” shows! After the show, my mom had a special surprise for Andrew. Fernando had found some more Alaska Minnies! He was SO happy, his collection was complete!!! The big girls headed off to their clubs with the admonition to not stay out too late. We had an early morning coming up! We took Natalie up to Pluto’s Pajama party, she was VERY excited to go to the club in her nightgown! We picked her up at 10:30 and admired her cool half-colored pillowcase. Time for bed and our first port day tomorrow!

    The collection is complete!!

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  10. twindaddy

    twindaddy DIS Veteran

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    Loving your TR! keep it coming!
     
  11. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    We saw several HAL ships! Andrew enjoyed trying to pronounce their names. ;) I would go again in a heartbeat!

    Thanks for joining!!

    We had great weather! The coldest we got was on the deck in Tracy Arm. I am a total cold weather wimp and as long as I had my earwarmers, I was fine.

    Glad you are enjoying it! It was strange, it really became a self-fulfilling prophesy. My mom was not cutting them any slack, but they definitely could have done better.

    Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it! I always love going back and reliving our trips through a trip report. I still go back and read my old ones from time to time to bring back the great memories.
     
  12. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    Thursday, September 5h

    Our first port day dawned nice and overcast. But, clearing looked promising and we were all looking forward to our first footfall in Alaska!

    Pulling into Skagway. Princess and Holland America beat us in!

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    The dock from our balcony.

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    We had put the card out to have breakfast delivered to the room and we had an assortment of bagels, muffins, cereal, and fruit. I didn’t specify two coffee cups so I had to call for an additional one. Breakfast worked out really well, the kids ate and watched TV while we got ready. We had to be in Wavebands at 7:30am for our Whitepass Rail and City Tour excursion. There were several excursions leaving at the same time and it was a bit confusing. We eventually figured out we needed to be in the huge group exiting the ship so got up and joined the crowd. My mom had a really hard time on the gangplank. It was lowtide and the gangplank was very steep. The rest of the excursion group plowed ahead and I was worried we would get left behind. Everyone else was already at the buses and we were only ½ way down the gangplank. People kept pushing past my mom which made her nervous of a fall, so she would stop and let everyone by. We eventually had to make a wall behind her so she could get to the dock! I ran ahead to let them know we were making our way as fast as we could. As a result, we had to split into two separate trolleys for the city part of the tour. My mom was NOT happy about that but they assured us that part of the tour was pretty short. My mom, Natalie and I were on one trolley and John and the big kids were on the other. The trolley driver was great, she gave us a thorough tour of what is not a very big town. The trolley part of the tour took about 20-25 minutes and I felt like it had covered Skagway in considerable detail.

    On the trolley.

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    We then stopped at “the cleanest bathrooms in town” for a quick break and boarded a little bus for our ride up the mountain. The bus was very comfortable and our driver was very knowledgeable. We stopped several times for scenic overlooks and once backtracked to try to find a bear that John had glimpsed. He was gone by the time we turned around and got back to the spot. The clouds were still low, but the scenery was still breathtaking.

    These are all from the bus portion of the tour.

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    Andrew and Mom stayed near the bus for this one.

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    It was really "otherworldly" up here with the low clouds and the rocky landscape. The lake is half blue and half green due to a current. It's hard to see in the picture, but it was exceedingly cool.

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    The drive up to the top of the mountain took about an hour. We got to the train station at the top just after the train arrived. Since we had crossed back into Canada, a Canadian Customs agent had to clear the bus. The agent came aboard and we all held our passports up to our faces. Apparently we were all close enough to our pictures and we were able to get off the bus and make a pit stop at the bathrooms and stamp our passports. I was glad we were able to get to the bathrooms before the train was unloaded because that line got long in a hurry!

    Across from the train station.

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    We boarded the train and there were only a few people on our car. We had plenty of room to stretch out and move around. There were cases of water in the back of the car which we all happily partook of.

    Yay for Costco water!!!

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    There was a small heat stove in the front of the car, but it wasn’t on which was fine. It was very comfortable in the car. The route down was simply gorgeous! There was some narration in the car which explained what we were passing and giving a heads up for anything interesting coming up ahead. Anabelle spent most of the trip out on the back platform where you can’t hear the narration. Natalie and I spent some time out there as well. When I heard that something interesting was coming up from the narrator, I would go tell Anabelle so she would be ready with her camera. She got some fabulous shots!

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    Not very reassuring train wreckage.

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    A Whitepass rep came through the cars offering DVD’s and hats for sale. They were all reduced since they were dated 2103. We got Andrew a hat for $5.


    Andrew's stylish new hat. You can see how empty our car was.

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    The Photog

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    The trip down lasted about 1 ½ hours, we were back in town and off the train by noon. We headed back to the ship and had lunch at Triton’s. My mom and I had the Cobb Salad, which was very good and just the right amount and the apple strudel for dessert which was not so great. John and the girls had the seared tilapia with cheese grits and they all absolutely raved about it. Andrew had his standby of a bacon cheeseburger.

    Cheesing it up with Ariel.

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    It looks like Anabelle's head on Ariel's body!

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    We went back to the room for a few minutes to freshen up and noticed something swimming in the harbor. Binoculars confirmed that there were seals feasting on salmon and playing around. On our way back into Skagway, we stopped to watch the seals for a while. There were at least 4 or 5 of them entertaining all of us with their antics. All the wildlife was definitely a highlight of the trip!

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  13. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    Tuesday continues:

    After lunch we headed back into town, taking a few minutes to admire the seals! We walked the main street of Skagway to do some shopping. Our bus guide had invited Andrew to come skateboard with his kids after school at the new skatepark, he offered to lend Andrew a skateboard! Andrew was a little shy, so we didn’t do it but we thought it was a really nice gesture! We browsed the shops, the girls bought a few things and we got Natalie a little stuffed orca she really wanted. Most places were having “End of the Season” blowout sales. There were plenty of deals most everywhere. We were the last Disney ship but apparently there were a few more lines still sailing the following two weeks, but things were definitely slowing down and the shops were trying to dump as much inventory as possible.

    We stopped at the popcorn store and bought some to take to the movies on board. There was a little coffee shop on the other side of the store and the kids wanted some frozen treats. John and I were holding out for ice cream but when we got to the ice cream shop there was a big line and then we saw it wasn’t homemade or anything, it was Dryers which is good but we can get the same stuff at home (the brand is Edy’s here, but the same company) so we took a pass.

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    We wandered some more then met up with my mom who was moving at her own pace. She headed back to the Wonder and we headed to the creek to see the salmon.

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    On the way back to the ship we stopped to take some obligatory Skagway pictures and watch the seals for a few more minutes.

    Gotta get the snowblower and handcart pictures! I think they might not let you out of town until you do! ;)

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    I love these kids!

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    Natalie had somehow hit her head on this Indian and was loudly complaining how he had "stabbed" her!

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    Anabelle was anxious to get back on board for Smoothie Hour in the Vibe so she headed that way. John rested in the room for a little while with Andrew while Rebecca, Natalie, and I delivered some more recipes (I believe I made a quick run by the Promenade Lounge for a beverage during our deliveries!).

    Andrew's bed was now sporting "Cars" sheets!

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    Natalie spotted Belle in the Atrium so we stopped for a quick visit. Natalie was impressed she was in her ballgown and not the blue dress she wore to storytime in the Oceaneers Club!

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    It was time for dinner, which was conveniently in Triton’s tonight.

    I am not so sure bottomless soda is such a great idea......

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    About this time they came over the intercom to say that they were having problems with the screen in the WD Theater and that while they were working on it, they were going to have to cancel the first showing of Planes that evening. I was planning on taking Natalie to see Planes at 8:15 since everyone else was planning on going to see The Lone Ranger in the BV theater at 8 and I knew that wasn’t a good choice for Natalie. So after dinner, we hung out in the room for a bit and took a last look at Skagway. John, the older kids, and my mom took their popcorn and headed to the BV Theater. They announced that the screen was fixed and the 8:15 showing of Planes would be on time. Natalie and I headed up to deck 9 to get some soda to go with our popcorn and headed to the WD Theater. Natalie was super tired and zonked out about 20 minutes into the movie. I was not impressed with what I had seen so far so I roused her enough to see if she wanted to go back to the room to sleep and she did. So we headed back to the room and I got her settled into bed watching a movie on TV. I ran down the hall to do a bit more laundry and enjoyed just relaxing in the room. John and Andrew made it back and reported that everyone seemed to enjoy their movie. My mom had come back to the room early, she didn’t really like the movie and said the seating was too tight for her to get comfortable.The big girls were headed to their clubs and our room settled in for a good night’s sleep. We had an appointment with whales in the morning!!

    So long Skagway!!!

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  14. disprincess4ever

    disprincess4ever DIS Veteran

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    awesome report so far, you're a good writer! Can't wait to read more. :)
     
  15. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

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    Still enjoying and anxious for more when you get the chance.
     
  16. peachygreen

    peachygreen DIS Veteran

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    Great read so far! I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your cruise
     
  17. jennyjinx3

    jennyjinx3 DIS Veteran

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    May i follow too? We are considering a 2015 Alaska cruise with our three girls. I am loving your report!!:goodvibes
     
  18. jetskigrl

    jetskigrl No mumbojumbo here

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    I'm loving the trip report. We are heading to Alaska next August. I'm glad to hear that the Delta Vancouver Suites worked out for you. We have that booked right now because the Pan Pacific is $500 a night (I really wanted to stay at Pan but just can't swing that price for two nights).
     
  19. KnightRail

    KnightRail Mouseketeer

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    Definitely subbing! This is so building my excitement for my June 2014 Alaskan cruise I just booked! :)
    I can't wait to read more!
     
  20. nancipants

    nancipants Mouseketeer

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    I'm really enjoying your trip report! My fiance and I are taking the same cruise next July for our honeymoon, so I'm reading all the reports I can find. Looking forward to more!
     
  21. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    What a fun TR! I LOVE the pic of your kids on the handcart- they are hilarious!
     

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