Yukon ho! Another 5/21/12 Wonder trip report! - updated 6/26!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by mrp4352, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    It looks like several of my fellow cruisers have started their trip reports already. I'm sorry I'm late to the party, but I'm here!!

    Hi! I'm Michelle! :sail: I'm a DCL addict! For my 40th birthday, Mom let me pick our trip! She's Vicki, MsTxMom on the boards - but she lurks more than she posts. I was given a budget for her share of the trip (which I crashed in about, oh, two months of planning - but shhhh... don't tell Mom that!) :rolleyes1

    We picked the cruise - the Vancouver to Seattle repositioining cruise to Alaska! Booked it while on a cruise last June with my brother's family and we were off to the races!

    We flew Southwest to Seattle on Saturday, the 19th. Took the Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver on the 20th and boarded the Wonder on the 21st. Sadly, we had to fly home and back to the real world on debarkation day...

    I hope you enjoy the ride!!
     
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  3. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    Up and at ‘em! It’s get away day! We left the house right on time at 6am and made it to the airport with time enough for breakfast at Chili’s before boarding our very full flight! We had time in St. Louis to run to the restroom, then boarded our second flight – not only was this one over sold, it was LONG! But, Southwest got us in early. We made it to the Double Tree by Hilton at SEA and ran to the restaurant for the best burgers we have ever eaten! (Possibly because it had been almost 8 hours since we had had breakfast). We also had wonderful tempura battered fried asparagus spears (just don’t figure the per-spear cost!). After the meal, we both agreed that we were exhausted and didn’t want to do much. So we explored the hotel a little (beautiful trees and flowers), then swung by the in-hotel Starbucks (we were in Seattle after all) for coffee and dessert before heading back to our rom to enjoy our mountain view and to play cards. There are huge chains that come off the roof of the hotel – Mom asked the desk clerk about them. They use those instead of downspouts! We went to bed early – tomorrow’s another early day!
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    Our balcony – and the view from it!
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    Around the hotel:
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    A really unusual tree in front of the hotel:
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    PS - the chapters get longer! Promise!!
     
  4. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    Another early morning, but we are off for the train station! The SEA station is beautiful – it’s in the process of being renovated – when it’s done, it will be sensational. We were a little surprised that we had to figure out on our own what was happening – I think we both thought they would just kind of walk us through where to be when. We found the ticket machines and picked up our pre-paid tickets, then checked our bags. A little while later, we noticed a long line at a booth marked “seat assignments” so we asked and found out we needed to get in the line to get our seats – coach 4, seats 49 and 50.
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    I left the next picture larger – on the left, you can see the almost completed work, but on the right, they’ve just begun.
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    Enjoying the last few minutes of cell service before we leave…
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    Time to go! Our train is here!
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    About 20 minutes before departure, we were escorted out to board the train.
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    The really cool, antique-looking baggage carts that Amtrak used:
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    We were on the second level – they were great seats! (Evidently normally they don’t run the two level passenger cars, but some were in maintenance, which was also why business class wasn’t offered on our trip.) We could see the water and had better scenery for most of the trip! 
    About 30 minutes out, I went to the dining car and grabbed some breakfast - I had a Steam Engine Everything bagel and Mom had the Southbound Sesame bagel.
    Along the way we saw some cool stuff:
    • There were several little shops, they looked like snow cone stands. But instead – they were espresso stands!
    • We saw probably 30-40 eagles – beautiful bald eagles along the shore. Sadly, with the train movement (and eventually my dead camera batteries) I only got one picture.
    • We passed a McDonald’s truck advertising ‘100% Canadian Beef’
    And pictures of the cool stuff we saw!
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    I left the next picture large so you can see the track that hugs the coast line!
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  5. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    More Amtrak pictures!!
    We passed the marshmallow fields along the way!
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    More lovely scenery:
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    As we crossed into Canada, we completed our customs paperwork and played the music from the “O Canada” movie at Epcot!
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    The pacific north westerners were out enjoying the day!
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    My one eagle picture! Mom got a kick out of me trying to take pictures, though: click, look at the shot, “dang”, click, look at the shot, “dang”, click, look at the shot, “dang”… But – I did finally get one! 40-50 eagles and I get one picture…
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    Upon arrival, it took almost an hour to detrain and make it through customs. But the Amtrak people were very kind and helpful the whole time. Once the rain started, they worked hard at keeping us out of the rain as much as possible. We took a cab to the hotel – look! There she is!! She is right across the street. The Wonder in all her glory!
    Our room at the Fairmont Waterfront wasn’t ready, but we checked in with the cruise line desk – and then headed downstairs to the mall for lunch. We ate at the Urban Diner – a great little place with wonderful sandwiches. Mom had the pulled pork bbq sandwich and I had a BLT. Afterwards, I stopped and bought some batteries then we headed up to get our room. We were given 2211 – the next to top floor and directly overlooking the Wonder! The hotel is so efficient – our luggage beat us to our room.
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    Hi Mom!!
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    We headed out to Canada Place across the street to see our ship – in the rain. It was pouring!! But we did get some good pictures.
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    Look! There’s Mom!
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    Walking back over, we cut through the convention center and found:
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    (You should have heard us trying to explain what it is to my 5, 6 and 8 year old neices!)
    However, the rain did put a dent in our plans for the rest of the day. Everything we had planned to do was outdoors – the clouds are too low for the space needle. So, we ended up taking the SkyTrain (which, ironically, was underground most of the time) to River Rock, a local casino. Along the way, we went over a river and there were hundreds of logs floating in the water – just like you see in the cartoons with the lumberjacks! We played for a short while, and then came back to the hotel for pizza in the room.
    I know, pizza in the room sounds rather boring. But let me tell you – this was a fantastic meal! Room Service brought up a trestle table and set it up in front of the huge picture window, dressed it with white tablecloth, cloth napkins and flowers and presented the best pizza we have eaten in a long time. Mom had the pepperoni and caramelized onion (car-ama-lized according to the young lady who took the order) and I had the pepperoni, black olive and roasted garlic (huge cloves of roasted garlic all over the place).
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    While dining, we enjoyed the view (and the hockey bloopers show on the Canadian sports channel somehow it seemed right watching hockey bloopers in Canada, eh?) Because the cruise before ours was a repositioning cruise, the Wonder didn’t leave Vancouver. So we went to bed with the window wide open, overlooking our beautiful ship.
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  6. Momma2Jax

    Momma2Jax DIS Veteran

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    Joining in! I loved the pay phone! Haha!

    Btw I live in the Seattle area and have been wanting to take that Amtrak trip, and you just convinced me to!
     
  7. DisSarahK

    DisSarahK Missing Mickey...

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    Reading along!

    As a Northwesterner, it always intrigues me to hear what visitors find noteworthy about our area. Rain chains, logs in the rivers and sloughs, espresso stands...these just are common place to me and yet of course (once I stop and think about it) they are something that catches visitors eyes. It just is fascinating how we all live in the same country and yet our experiences in daily life are so different.
     
  8. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for peeking in on me!

    Actually, that was as much a highlight of the cruise as the cruise itself. The trip far exceeded our expectations - and it was very reasonable! Even with the extra night hotel and the train tickets, we saved over $200 vs flying directly into Vancouver the night before the cruise!

    That's part of what makes reading trip reports so interesting to me - you get so many different takes on the same thing!

    Now, come on down to cruise out of Galveston and you can see our snow cone stands, dry creek beds (in the summer) and pickup trucks! :thumbsup2
     
  9. Señor DonDuck

    Señor DonDuck DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. I am enjoying all the details of your trip getting to the Wonder.
     
  10. happenin2you

    happenin2you Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! My husband and I were on this cruise as well. I am loving reading the different things that we all did. Was your hotel the one that was part of Canada Place? Or just very close?
     
  11. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    It did - pretty much as soon as the indoor sail away party ended, so did the rain!:laughing:

    No, we were at the one directly across the street - the Fairmont. We had looked at the one that's part of Canada Place, but the Fairmont was much less expensive.




    It's been a crazy couple of days. Hopefully tonight or Sat morning I'll get the next update in...
     
  12. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    It’s here!! Cruise day is here!!! We enjoyed a lovely, lazy morning at the hotel.
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    The view from our hotel:
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    We kept the windows open and watched the ship getting ready for us – and all the port activity. The tug boats brought the fuel barge over and we could hear the “When You Wish Upon a Star” chime from our ship while they made the no smoking announcement! (see the fuel barge on the right?)
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    There is a heliport nearby and we watched a helicopter land. Nearby is the bus/limo staging area for the cruise ship passengers. We had a great morning watching all the activity. I took the elevator straight down to the mall and brought McDonald’s back up for our breakfast and at 9:45 we headed across the street to the port – it’s time to go!!
    (a look back at the Fairmont)
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    We walked across the street and made our way over to security for the port.
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    Unfortunately, it wouldn’t open until almost 11 (in part because they couldn’t get everyone off the ship from the last cruise). We wandered the one little shop a bit, Mom found a great hat and we picked up a couple of Canadian souvenirs for Scott and Kassie. Then we got in line – we were about 20 people back and got a coveted number 3 boarding pass when we finally made it through security and US Customs.
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    Check in was quite an operation – they had 25-30 temporary booths set up, each one with a different cast member for checking people in. It looked like DCL had shipped everything up just for our cruise. We hopped in the Castaway Club line, but then I promptly left Mom because Minnie didn’t have any line at all! I’m such a sap – It was hard for me to do much besides grin like a little girl.
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    After meeting Ms. Mouse, I rejoined Mom in line and shortly thereafter we were checked in with Key to the World cards in hand. They’ve changed the room keys to a non-tropical theme. We had to wait another 20 minutes or so before boarding started, but once it did, it went quickly! We stopped for embarkation photos, then walked down the gangplank to board the ship. “Welcome aboard, Price family!”
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    Lunch was the Parrot Cay buffet. We were given a table to ourselves without asking and enjoyed a good lunch (anytime there are blocks of blue cheese and fresh, crusty bread – it’s a good lunch!). We went to the Cove Café for coffee afterwards, and settled in on deck 10 in the overlook. Big comfy chairs and coffee service – I think we’ll be spending a lot of our free time there this week!
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    Around 2 we went to find our room. Mom had ordered the Happy Birthday package for me, so we were greeted with banners, bright Mickey decorations and a birthday cake!
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    The verandah is lovely and the room is HUGE!! It’s amazing the difference 5 extra feet of length make. We relaxed on the verandah, until it was time for Muster Drill.
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    The ghost ship through the rain…
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    We opened our door and were blocked in by two of our suitcases. They were so quiet; we didn’t hear them drop the bags.

    Time for Muster – without the life jackets! One of the boats was lowered and wide open – it was cool to peek inside.
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  13. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    After Muster, we beelined straight into the atrium overlook on deck 4 and grabbed wonderful spots for the Sail Away party (inside because of the rain). The crowd was excited and we had a great time!
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    Afterwards, we went up to deck 10 to watch the ship sail away from Vancouver. The Captain sounded the regular horn (without warning, so Mom and I both jumped a mile), then slowly started backing out. One of the duty officers came on the loud speaker and warned us the ship’s horn was about to sound - a little late! However, this time it was her special horn – When You Wish Upon a Star! We’re truly underway! (click for video)

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    As the deck got more crowded, we decided that we could make it to our personal verandah before we got to Lions Gate Bridge, so we headed down and settled in with our drinks, slices of birthday cake (with real whipped cream filling) and my camera. The world slid by.

    A ship in dry dock in Victoria:
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    The cool floating Chevron
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    The Lions Gate bridge and Stanley Park
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    Sadly, a bit of real world snuck in – we had some chores to do, but the week will be much better enjoyed if we move out of our suitcases. Once done, we went down to wander the gift shops while most everyone else was either at dinner or enjoying the Welcome Aboard Variety Show. I got a great hoodie, a Christmas ornament and Mom got some post-it notes. I’m sure we’ll be back later this week!

    Off to Studio Sea for Mickey Mania, which, to borrow the phrase the cruise team used, was insania. They picked four pairs to compete – but there was still a lot of audience participation. I even begged my way into answering a question! I knew Figment was the new character created just for Epcot.

    Dinner was the show dinner at Animator’s Palette. We met Jose from Peru (our server) and Marvin the Philippines (our assistant server). We also met our head server, Roy. Mom had the mushroom risotto (in honor of Eve), the baked potato soup and the fillet medallions. I had the butternut squash soup, the smoked salmon salad and the fillet medallions. We both had the apple buckle for dessert. (meh… it would have been better if the buckle was hot enough to melt the ice cream). Our wait staff also brought out a wonderful dark chocolate mousse for my birthday! I should have just had that for dinner!

    After a quick walk out on the decks, we headed back to our room for bed. What a fantastic day!
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  14. Señor DonDuck

    Señor DonDuck DIS Veteran

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    What a great view from your hotel room! Nice pictures around the port, too. Never seen a mobile Chevron before. That was pretty cool.
     
  15. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Awesome beginning to your cruise!!! Such great locations you had in the hotels!
     
  16. caitlinsdad

    caitlinsdad DIS Veteran

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    Great start of a report Thank you
     
  17. barbbarnes

    barbbarnes Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for sharing your trip with us! You took some great pictures and they are really making me excited for our trip! Can't wait to read more :)
     
  18. alliebelle3

    alliebelle3 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you so much for sharing your TR with us. We're going on the Wonder out of Vancouver next May and I was just thinking yesterday about how it would be nice to fly to Seattle and explore there for a day or so before making our way up to Vancouver. How long was the train ride? It looks like you saw some gorgeous sights!
     
  19. Shazzasmd

    Shazzasmd Mouseketeer

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    Looks like a great start to your trip. Will be following along as you journey through Alaska.
     
  20. mrp4352

    mrp4352 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome, erveryone, and thanks for coming along! Hopefully I'll have another part up by Wed evening at the lastest!

    We loved doing Seattle first. We were both very sorry that we had stayed up so late the night before and were tired after our long flights. The train ride was 4 hours, then another 30-60 minutes for debarking/customs. If you can, evidently the upgrade to business class is very reasonable (about $20 pp extra) and it gets you off the train first once in Vancouver. The normal cars for the train weren't available on our trip, so business class wasn't offered. It took us almost a full hour to get off the train and through Customs, but we were in the last car and among the last off...

    It was very, very nice of the Amtrak people to keep us on the train as long as possible during that time - especially once the rain started!
     
  21. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    The train sounds great. You can just about see me and DH in your first sail away party photo!
     

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