1st Alaska Cruise of 2022! Our Honeymoon Cruise 5/16/22 - 5/23/22 (Updated 7/14/22)

Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Enjoying your report!

When we were on the aft of the Wonder in Oct we also noticed a lot of engine noise and vibration. It is extra bad when they have all the engines running. I have to wonder if it has always been that way or just a consequence of the ship’s age though you’d never realize how old it is with how well they maintain things in general. The engine noise was kind of annoying but also kind of fun I thought. Reminded me I wasn’t in a normal hotel room at night.

I look forward to continuing to hear about your adventure!
Thank you!

I think it's more location on the ship than age, but I'm no authority on that, lol. It is nice to know that you're on a different type of vacation. Hoping to be able to do the next installment soon!
 

Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Hi! Love your report so far- we are going in July 11. Could I bother you with a few questions?
- do you happen to know what shows where which nights?
- same for dining..? (Trying to book a Palo but don’t want to go on a night with a dinner show!)
- did you have to wear masks anywhere on the ship?
- do you know if the locker rooms and rainforest room in the spa were open again? Or the laundry rooms?

TIA!! :)
Thank you for joining in!

1.) We had the golden mickeys on night 2 (1st day at sea), frozen on night 5 (Juneau day), and dreams on night 7 (last day at sea)
2.) This will depend heavily on your dining rotation so your experience may be different but I'll give you what we had. Our rotation was animator's, tiana's, then triton's and they lined up in the following fashion:
Night 1: Animator's - Sorcerer mickey show
Night 2: Tiana's - No show but Tiana and Louis were there for pictures
Night 3: Tiana's - Frozen menu night (We went to Palo this night as we weren't interested in the menu)
Night 4: Triton's- No show
Night 5: Animator's - Animation magic show (don't miss this!)
Night 6: Tiana's - Full tiana's show with parade (also a must see)
Night 7: Triton's - No show
3.) They were not required anywhere
4.) We did not use the spa or laundry facilities on this trip, so no advice to give here
 

Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 5 (5/18/22): Cruise Day 3 - Dawes Glacier

We woke up this morning around 9:00 AM and hopped up for our usual quick Cabanas breakfast. At 10:00 AM, we headed down to the Walt Disney theater for Tom Hedekar's lecture about Alpine Glaciers. I found this lecture to be fascinating. When in school I had to take a geotechnical engineering class that briefly discussed ice flow, but as the university is in Florida, this was not a huge point of focus. Tom had tons of graphs depicting ice flow and soil characteristics and even a little bit of math about soil and ice pressure on glaciers. I loved all of this, but many found the first half of the lecture (which contained this material) a bit dry. He even said, "Now that that part is out of the way, let's talk about the fun stuff," which included fun slides about the history of Endicott Arm (which we would be traversing to get to Dawes Glacier) and tips on how to identify different types of ice formations. My wife laughed at me because after he said that we're moving on, I actually said, "No! More Math!" out loud. I thought that was just in my head, but the sentiment remains, lol. I'm pretty sure I was one of very few who wanted more math. This was the last lecture we were able to attend and I want to take a moment here to commend both DCL and Tom Hedekar. I think an important part of a vacation like Alaska is education. You will not get the full value of a trip like this just by lounging on deck with umbrella drinks, there are plenty of trips in the Caribbean/Bahamas for this purpose. Alaska remains one of the last true frontiers we have and much of the beauty and majesty is disappearing at a rapid pace. We must do all we can to preserve it, and these types of lectures give you a greater appreciation for what you are seeing.

We had our first excursion of the trip today, the Dawes Glacier Explorer tour. This is the only excursion/opportunity to leave the ship on this day and they offered 2 departure times. Our time was scheduled for noon. The meeting spot was in the Walt Disney Theater and we arrived there at 11:45. I highly recommend that if you have a large party you all arrive at the same time. There were 2 boats being used for this excursion and you are assigned a boat as you arrive. There were several moments of chaos as people angrily demanded that their boats be switched as they wanted to all be together as a party. I'm sure the communication from Disney could have been better regarding this, but I would hope that all arriving together for an excursion is common sense!

After this was all sorted, they took us down to deck 1 to the forward tender lobby at about 12:30 (the delay was due to people switching boats and several late arrivals) where we would board our smaller boat and begin. The boat had three levels. The bottom level was entirely enclosed, the second level was about half and half, and the third level was entirely outside. The third level was roped off while the boat was moving rapidly. I'll tell you here, every single one of the tour operators was ecstatic to have us on board. This was pretty much the theme for all of our port days. Tourism in Alaska has been mostly shut for two entire years so the relief and excitement from the locals was palpable. The whole crew introduced themselves over the loud speakers and we were on our way. We pushed away from the Wonder and started making our way out into Endicott Arm. You can see the other excursion boat in the picture below. Apologies for the reflection, there was double paned glass.

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This tour received mixed reviews from the people we spoke to (for reasons I'll discuss at the end), but I can tell you we both loved the excursion. The scenery was gorgeous and we were able to get up close and personal with all of it, including a little bit of wildlife. We would move in spurts, stopping and starting as new things of interest came into our area. We stopped for a good 20 minutes at one point as were in the middle of three or four humpback whales that we coming up every few minutes or so. We had great views of the Wonder the whole way too, which was an added bonus. My wife and I had a great time identifying different ice formations based on what we had learned in the lecture that morning. We had brought binoculars of our own, but the crew had some available to borrow if needed.

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Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 5 (5/18/22): Cruise Day 3 - Dawes Glacier Continued

About halfway through the excursion we came upon a National Geographic expedition boat that had parked itself at a point where the arm begin to narrow in earnest. The people on that ship were using small motor powered dinghies to navigate the water. They were able to get much closer to the glacier than we did as they were able to navigate the ice easier than we could. The ice was getting more prominent and our pace started to slow down. Every time the channel I narrowed I thought, "Well that's it, there's no way the Wonder will be able to get in any closer." To my surprise, Captain Fabian kept hot on our tails, making it much further in than I would've thought possible with the amount of ice in the water. That's why he's the captain I guess!

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About 20 minutes after passing the Nat Geo boat, Dawes Glacier came into view!

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We slowly made our way closer, taking care not to hit any ice too hard. We kept inching forward for about another 20 minutes before reaching as far as our captain was willing to let us go safely. At this point everyone was taking turns getting pictures on the upper outdoor decks of our boat. After we had taken our fill of pictures, we retreated down to the first level to get out of the wind and keep watching from inside. 2 of the boat workers went to the aft end of the ship and grabbed a sizeable chunk of ice out of the water. They used the ice in drinks and I will say the Glacierita was very tasty! After hanging out for about a half hour here it was time to make our way back to the ship. The Wonder stayed close and it only took a few minutes to get back to her and reboard.

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I'll take a moment here to discuss our thoughts on this excursion. Like I said earlier, we had a great time but the reviews of others were fairly mixed. Some felt that we did not get much closer to the glacier than the Wonder did and we did not see enough wildlife. I believe both of these complaints are not totally within Disney's control. We were still fairly early in the season, causing more ice to be present, especially near the glacier, making it harder for boats to get close. As for wildlife, this is never a guarantee. I was slightly disappointed not to see any seals or smaller mammals, but there were far more humpback whales present than I thought there would be, so there's a tradeoff. For what it's worth, a pair of women who were with us on our excursion in Juneau said that they had done the later departure and had seen one ice float that was covered in seals. The main complaint was not getting that much closer than the Wonder and I can see why people were disappointed given the hefty $260 per person price tag. These are the risks you take in Alaska and I encourage you to do this excursion if your budget allows. As we move later into the cruising season, the area should become easier to traverse.

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Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 5 (5/18/22): Cruise Day 3 - Dawes Glacier Continued

We were back on the ship around 3:30 and were starving as we'd only had a quick breakfast at around 9:00 AM. We didn't want to eat too much as we had Palo that night, so we opted for some pool deck food. This is one area that the classic ships absolutely have over the Dream class. The variety of the food is much better and some of it is closer to the drink station. I got a chicken shawarma and some fries, while my wife stuck with pizza. We went down to our cabin to enjoy the scenery from our verandah, and just decompress a bit. We also took a look around the shops and got some pictures of merchandise to send people back at home as we would be able to talk to people back home from Skagway the next day and see if anything caught anyone's fancy.

At 7:00 we headed up to Palo. We chose to do Palo this night as the MDRs had the Frozen menu that night. We had looked at the menu before the trip and were unimpressed, so we thought this would be a good time. We had a fantastic table right against the windows and for the first time in all of our Palo experiences we were able to truly appreciate the scenery. It's usually dark by the time we're dining in there, but the sun was not setting until around 10:00 PM so the views remained spectacular.

This was our first time dining in Palo since they changed to the a la carte style menu. I did not love this change as we missed the antipasto service (still available but cost an addition fee of something like $25), but most of my favorites were included in the fixed price menu. My wife decided to pick from the a la carte menu. I got a burrata appetizer, arugula salad, tenderloin, and the chocolate soufflé. My wife had the pesto gnocchi appetizer (this might have been her favorite thing she ate on the entire cruise), butternut squash ravioli, a side of asparagus, and the limoncello tart. We also got the fried yukon potato tower to split, and I'm glad we did because it was delicious but huge. We finished our evening at Palo around 9:30 with an apple aperitif and they brought us a decorated plate to celebrate our honeymoon. The service was great as usual and were overall satisfied with the experience despite some of the not so great changes.

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After dinner we decided to head down to Azure where there would be a dueling piano show. On the way we spotted Mickey in his Alaska outfit with a small line for picture in the Atrium. This was a picture my wife was looking forward to very much, second only to the picture with Tiana from earlier. We took advantage of the small line and she had a great interaction with him. We made it down to Azure and found a booth in the back. We got a cocktail and enjoyed the show. The two girls were a lot of fun and the crowd was having a great time. They took requests and their catalog was varied so everyone had something they would like. We made it until about 10:45 before my body decided it was done for the night. We headed back to the cabin and found a bear towel animal waiting for us along with a reminder that clocks were turned back an hour that night.

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Next up, Skagway!
 

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Corabella

Still getting the hang of it...
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Hello everyone!

Welcome to my very first trip report! I've done smaller recap posts on the boards before but never something of this scale. Just a bit of background on us. We are an early 30s husband and wife from Orlando, Florida and we got married this past October.

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We booked this trip in the summer of 2019 and it was supposed to occur in May 2020 but I think we all know why it didn't happen. We originally pushed our booking to May 2021 when the first round of cancellations hit, but we were without any real optimism that it would actually occur in 2021. It was always our intention to kick the can down the road until cruise operations resumed and we were hoping (and luckily correct in assuming) that cruises would resume prior to the Alaska cruising season opening in 2022. We pushed our booking again and (after our travel agent did a little pushing as Disney did not want to honor the placeholder with which the cruise was originally booked) officially a-go for May of 2022.

We got engaged in August of 2020, and after deciding on a wedding date of October 2021, we decided to make this trip our honeymoon. After all, the trip was already booked and seemed like something we would be able to remember for the rest of our lives, so why not? We did do a small road trip after the wedding, but we kept that purposefully low-key, just a quick getaway. After every change to the trip that was either forced on us by a global pandemic or that we decided to make ourselves, the trip grew larger and more elaborate/upscale. When we first pushed the cruise to 2021, we decided to take advantage of the 125% credit to upgrade our stateroom from an Oceanview to a Navigator's Verandah. After deciding the trip would be our honeymoon, we decided to add a visit to Disneyland after the cruise to our itinerary as my wife has not been and it's been 7 years since I was last there. After bringing the wedding in under budget, receiving some wedding gifts in the form of contributions to a honeymoon fund, and a gift from a familial estate, we decided to upgrade the Disneyland visit by doing VIP tours both days we were there and fulfilling an aviation bucket list item for me by flying JetBlue Mint home. After all was said and done, this had turned into a monster trip and we (but me mostly, lol) enjoyed every second of planning, frustrating or otherwise.

My goal for this trip report is to report honestly on the entire experience, which was a dream honeymoon. There were hiccups along the way, but in this day and age of travel it's impossible for everything to go entirely smoothly. I intend to give a thorough break down of the logistics of all parts of the trip including covid testing before and after the cruise, travel to and from Canada, and ArriveCAN details. I'm bad about taking pictures as I tend to not enjoy seeing myself in pictures or videos. Luckily for all of us, my wife is better about taking pictures than I am, so there should be plenty of pictures. There will also be a lot of details about all aspects of the travel as I'm an aviation enthusiast and got into the travel points game a few years back. I enjoy traveling immensely and can make any budget work, but I really like traveling well, and with a little bit of discipline, more luxurious travel is easily reachable.

If you've made it this far with me and intend to follow along, I truly appreciate having you here with me. I intended to actually start this process before the cruise, but my anxiety about if the trip was actually going to happen reached such a pitch in the week before the cruise that I actually made myself sick! It was not covid thankfully, but I was so sure it was that we tested everyday from Wednesday to Saturday before leaving for Vancouver on the Sunday. It was expensive, but the home tests brought some fleeting piece of mind. I welcome engagement, so let's hopefully have a great dialogue! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Our stories are so similar. My DH and I were supposed to go in 2020 for our honeymoon/first anniversary. Do you happen to know if the Romance Package is just no longer offered? It's still in the photos on the website, and I had really wanted to surprise the hubs...any advice welcome. TIA! I'm catching up and now waiting to read about your Skagway adventures! Cheers!
 

Timon

DIS Veteran
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Aug 18, 1999
Great report so far, can't wait for the rest! :cool1:
 

Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Our stories are so similar. My DH and I were supposed to go in 2020 for our honeymoon/first anniversary. Do you happen to know if the Romance Package is just no longer offered? It's still in the photos on the website, and I had really wanted to surprise the hubs...any advice welcome. TIA! I'm catching up and now waiting to read about your Skagway adventures! Cheers!
I didn't see the romance package offered ahead of time but it may have been listed and shown as sold out. We did not use the spa on this trip ourselves. Thanks for joining in!
 

Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 6 (5/19/22): Cruise Day 4 - Skagway

Today was our first day in a proper port. This is probably the port day I was looking to least as my prior research made it seem like Skagway was going to be the kitschiest touristy type of day. While this did end up being somewhat true we still had a great time this day. We had chosen the Best of Skagway excursion booked through the cruise port adventures. This was the only port day that we did an official cruise excursion as this hit all of the main items we wanted to see in Skagway and I could not find an independent tour that offered all of the items in one tour with transportation to each spot taken care of. My wife picked this excursion as she was most interested in the Red Onion Saloon Museum tour and the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. This tour was affectionately dubbed by us as "Trains and (somewhat inappropriate term that I won't say here for participants in the world's oldest profession)." Think the song in the music video shot on the boat in the movie Step Brothers.

The tour group meeting spot was in Azure. We were off the ship and at our tour bus meeting our tour guide at about 11:00 AM. We ate a somewhat late and large breakfast in Cabanas that morning as we did not know when we would be arriving at our tour stop in Liarsville which was to include a buffet lunch. I'm glad we made this decision because our tour guide let us know that the Liarsville camp was to be our last stop. This was a long tour (about 7 hours) so we would not arrive in Liarsville until 4:30. If you do take this tour, just know that this tour is not in any guaranteed order, so potentially plan for a very late lunch.

Our first stop of the day was at the Red Onion Saloon. A museum worker playing the part of the bordello Madam boarded our coach and was to be our tour guide. I will tell you that she was a hoot. She played her character very well and the innuendos were plentiful. We were led off the bus up to a bar area where they handed out Champagne and gave us some history of the Saloon. This bar area was probably the most explicit part of the tour. There were many paintings of people in various states of undress involved in different activities. I don't think this should put anyone off of visiting here though. History is history after all and this was all presented in good fun. We then were led upstairs where most of the museum artifacts were held. We were shown all kinds of items including dresses, wallpaper samples, and even an antique curling iron which plugged into a light socket. All of these items were remnants of what those who had been employed there had left behind. In one of the pictures I show below you will see a picture of nail holes in a ceiling. These nail holes were from the old dividing walls that were in the room. They had multiple smaller rooms with only the essentials back in the day as more rooms meant more volume.

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Our next stop was a scenic outlook about a 10 minute bus ride from the saloon. This outlook provided great views of the whole town. On the bus ride up, our tour guide gave us a rundown of what living in Skagway year round is like. There are 2 facts he gave us that I think exemplify the living in Skagway experience: groceries come in once a week by boat and there is one school that this past year had a graduating class of 2 people (he said that the senior prom must have been awkward that year as they were siblings).

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Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 6 (5/19/22): Cruise Day 4 - Skagway continued

Our next stop was the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. We boarded our train car and waited about 20 minutes before we truly started making our way up the rails. As the Canadian border was closed to train traffic we did not get to circuit the whole route, but we still saw plenty. The views, especially after reaching the top of our circuit and beginning our descent back down, were spectacular. Bottled water was available in every train car as well as a small bathroom, and staff would pass through occasionally to answer questions as one staff member narrated the tour over speakers. The tour started out with lush forest scenery and gradually turned into thick snow that eventually was piled higher than the train at some points. This post is going to be short as I'll max out the picture limit and I still don't know if I'll do the views on the way down justice.

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Peanato1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Day 6 (5/19/22): Cruise Day 4 - Skagway continued

The train portion of the tour was complete when we arrived back at the train station. We very much enjoyed this overall but I will give two points here for others' consideration. First, this was a very long portion of the day. I would say the entire train experience took about 3 hours. There were some times where it felt monotonous, especially on the way up. Second, the benches on the train were not comfortable at all. I had a flare up of a sciatica issue and there were some points in the trip where I was in legit agony. Near the top of the trip I decided to get up and stand outside on the small standing area outside our train car so I could stretch out and keep my leg moving which helped immensely. We do recommend the train for anyone else, just keep this provisos in mind, especially for children who may bore easily.

Our final stop on the tour was the Liarsville camp. This camp was set up like an old timey outpost with workers acting as those who lived at the camp. We arrived at 4:30 and everyone on the bus was ravenous and eager for the buffet. The buffet was decent, but we didn't go for the main food attraction which was freshly grilled salmon prepared by the owner of the camp, which I heard was excellent. We're not big fish people so we went back for seconds of salad and cornbread which were delicious. There was a musician playing soft music while people ate, and after finishing with cooking the salmon, the owner brought out a guitar and joined in for a few songs. This was one of the more touching parts of our vacation. We were one of the first groups to visit the camp in 2 years due to Covid and the owner of the camp became very emotional when thanking all of us for visiting as it had been an understandably difficult 2 years without much business. After finishing lunch we perused the camp and some of the exhibits they had. We then watched a show where they performed a tableau of some poetry written by Robert Service. After this show, we did a small interactive activity where everyone could pan for gold, which was a lot of fun. Overall we had a great time at this stop.

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After finishing at Liarsville, the tour was pretty much over. Our tour guide offered to drop people off in town as it was still a few more hours until all aboard or take us back to the ship. A few people opted to go into town, but we were wiped as it was about 6:00 at this time so we opted to go back to the ship. He dropped a few people off in town and took the rest of this back to the ship. I'll take a moment here to shout out our tour guide. I feel bad because his name escapes me but he was great all day. I value keeping to a schedule and he was on it all day, to the point where we almost had to leave some people behind at the Red Onion Saloon who didn't think that schedules applied to them. He was also full of funny anecdotes and his way of signaling everyone at a stop that it was time to leave was by blowing a conch shell. At the end of the tour he even let us take a small video where we could hail the magic conch to make SpongeBob and Patrick proud.

I was completely wiped at the end of this tour due to the issues with my back and leg and just wanted to go to the stateroom and take a nap, which I did while my wife kept herself busy somehow. I was so tired that I practically had to be dragged to dinner at Triton's that night. When our waiter Andrew saw how out of it I was, he almost scolded me for coming to dinner and insisted that if at any point in the rest of our cruise one of us was too tired, the other should come alone to dinner and he would deliver whatever the other person wanted for dinner back to room so they could relax while eating. These touches and show of concern were just one of the things that made our serving team so great. Again, i can't say enough about them. We were both super tired so there won't be a lot of food pictures, but I'll show what we did manage to get pictures of. My wife had the fried pierogi and cucumber salad as appetizers (pictured below) and the mini potato dumplings as an entrée (pictured below). I had the french onion soup and escargot as appetizers and the chateaubriand as the entrée. All were delicious. For dessert, we got a bunch of desserts to split including the grand marnier souffle, creme brulee, and the duo chocolate slice (pictured below), which were all also delicious.

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Thoroughly stuffed and tired, it was time for us to turn in for the evening. We went back to the stateroom and found our towel animal for the night, which was probably my favorite of the cruise.

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The use of the nighttime chocolate as a cigar got me good. Next up, may favorite day of the cruise, Juneau!
 
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Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
I haven't replied yet but am excited because we are doing that same excursion in Skagway (in a little under a month)! I'm glad you liked it!
 

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
It was definitely a great time, just be ready for a long day.
Yeah, we have taken note of your tips too! Eating beforehand, etc. Hopefully we will have good enough views though it looks to be pretty rainy while we are there!
 

Elleinthecity

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
>My degree is in Civil Engineering, so I won't ever pass on an opportunity to ogle a suspension bridge.

My dad's is too. I get you. And my favorite memory of Alaska and cruising out of NYC is cruising under the bridges. Just nothing like it.
 



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