DCL Wonder B2B May 2022: Hawaii to Vancouver plus the 1st Alaska sailing of 2022! (complete! updated 7/4/22)

iannovich

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
It was a great cruise, wasn't it? :)

It was fantastic! We really want to do this again.

Seems we were following in each other's footsteps! We also rented cars in each of the ports, but we used Turo, so the the cars were waiting for us right outside each of the ports and we were able to drop them back off there as well. We went up to Haleakala, and then over to Lahaina for lunch. When we got back to Kahului were heading for a gas station and we could see the ʻIao Valley in the distance. It looked so lush that we decided to make a trip there before letting our Turo hosts know we were done with the car. It was gorgeous in the gorge. We made sure to get back in time for the Formal Night fun... but while we were getting changed we happened to get tipped off (by some posts in a Facebook group) from people who had already found out (the hard way) that it was not going to be the Formal Night. I think you're right: I think they just predicted formal night based on the previous cruise. It made zero sense to be on a port day when the all aboard time was 10pm.

In Hilo we picked up another Turo and also we headed up for Volcanoes National Park. We must have been off in timing from you, because we were able to see lava splashing around in the crater. It was not easy to spot, but we had binoculars that we were passing around to the other folks that were there. I managed to get a few very bad pictures, and some shaky video. We kept saying that we really wished our overnight was on the Big Island instead of Kauai, so we could have been able to visit the caldera at night time, when the lava would have been so much more visible. But we were grateful to have been able to hit the Big Island at all, since the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary didn't get to stop there.
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
It was fantastic! We really want to do this again.

Seems we were following in each other's footsteps!

... We kept saying that we really wished our overnight was on the Big Island instead of Kauai, so we could have been able to visit the caldera at night time, when the lava would have been so much more visible. But we were grateful to have been able to hit the Big Island at all, since the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary didn't get to stop there.
So much fun! Definitely would have liked to have either a longer day in Hilo or an overnight, or even have the ship go around the southern tip of the Big Island when we left Hilo, in case we could see any of the orange glow. When we were looking (and we didn't have binoculars), someone else that was down at that end of the road said they had seen a little orange lava, but we couldn't see it. I bet we might have seen a little if we had binoculars.

Yeah, there were some interesting thoughts on social media in the first several days of the cruise, between transportation, excursions, the weird formal night thing. I was glad when we just got to the sea days and all the activity could settle down. LOL
 

greensombrero

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Thanks for this report, definitely sounds like a unique and fun itinerary! I love that you visited the national parks on the islands.
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Hawaii cruise Day 4-- port of call Nawiliwili, Kauai

Time in port: 10 am to midnight. Ship stayed in port overnight here.

Today was a fun and pretty chilled out day. We got up early to run on deck 4 (I do run/walk-- joints are getting old), but the sea was smooth and we really enjoy running or walking around the ship. After we cleaned up a little, we went to Triton's for breakfast so I could have real eggs, sausage and fruit, and DH had the eggs Benedict. That morning, there was a group photo of the characters with their Hawaii outfits on in the atrium. Since they weren't listing the specific characters in the app, it's sort of hard to know when this is going to happen, but some crew tipped us off that some of the 9 am photo opportunities listed for 'atrium' are group photos. (I'm sure this is subject to change, like so many things).
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We also got photos of Donald and Daisy together and Minnie and Mickey.
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See how their outfits coordinate-- Daisy and Minnie match, and Donald and Mickey match. So cute!

We then met up at our designated spot (Azure?) for our 10:45 excursion, which was the Waimea Canyon and Spouting Horn. This is one of the excursions we did through DCL, instead of messing with a rental car for this island. It was pretty much the basic bus tour-- drive somewhere, hop off and look around; get back on the bus to next stop, hop off... etc. But it was good and suited our purposes for the day.
The first stop was the Spouting Horn blowhole. We basically had about 30 minutes to watch the water at a fairly crowded spot. It was sort of cool. Seems like about half our alloted time I was in line to visit the tiny bathroom at this little tourist overlook. LOL. That's what happens when 2 buses of tourists gets to a spot at the same time.
This is not a super photo of Spouting Horn-- didn't save one of DH's for here.
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The bus then took us to the little town of Hanapepe, where we had about 30 minutes to shop or grab a quick snack. We opted for Hawaiian shave ice, stopping at Longies Shave Ice and Treats. It was delicious. We just sat and relaxed while we ate it. Sadly, I found out later that there is a Lilo and Stitch mural in this town, and we didn't get to see it.
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The next stop was the overlook at Waimea Canyon. Ooh, boy, being in a large passenger bus on a road full of switchbacks on the way up and down to get there was a little sketchy. But our driver did fine. The canyon was beautiful. I wish we would have had time to hike a little. Tip: for people who aren't able to climb a bunch of stairs, there was a ramp to the overlook going to the right from the parking lot-- somehow we saw people pass that by in favor of the stairs, I guess thinking they would have a better view from higher up.
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So pretty!

The bus then took us back to the ship-- about another 45 minute or hour drive. We're glad we brought some snacks off the ship (packets of macadamia nuts we bought the day before) since we didn't have a proper lunch. (Also, we brought our own water bottles-- we bring refillable bottles on the ship and refill them all the time. The water is FINE.)

After a beverage at Signals, we had dinner in Triton's. It wasn't too crowded, since it was a full day in port and I think a lot of people went to a luau as a port excursion. Dinner was mostly seafood for us on this night, and one of many ice cream sundaes for dessert for DH. I think he had one almost all of the 10 nights of the Hawaii cruise.
After dinner, we went to a show in Azure that was some performers that had been on the ship from Aulani. One was Uncle (somebody) and then one of the dancers from Aulani. He was so graceful! It was a nice show. I know there had been other shows with them, as well as luau dance classes, ukelele classes, and other stuff-- we were usually too busy to attend a lot of these Hawaii-specific offerings.
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ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Hawaii cruise day 5-- Nawiliwili, Kauai day 2

The Wonder stayed in port overnight. We got up pretty early and headed to Cabana's for breakfast. Then, one of the highlights of the entire trip-- our helicopter ride! EEEE!! We booked this independently with Air Kauai. Thumbs up! One of the reasons we chose this company was that they had a reasonable cancellation policy, which came in handy when our friends had to cancel, as the 4 of us were going to go together. Also, as far as I could tell, they had a good safety record. We had an option of doors off or doors on (I chose doors on, so I wouldn't be *as* nervous); and also choices of a shorter ride (I think 50 minutes) or a longer ride (75 minutes)-- we opted for the longer one, thinking that we didn't know if we'd ever do a helicopter again, and might as well do the most we could do.

At the Kauai port, there were very few taxis. And for rideshare, you had to go out of the secure area to get picked up. We had seen people dealing with this situation the day before, so we got off the ship by 7:45 am, needing to be at the helicopter place by 8:30 am. it wasn't too far away, but we weren't sure how quickly we'd get a ride. Luckily, there didn't seem to be a ton of people trying to get to early excursions. As I was pulling up the Lyft app, just outside the port area, a taxi went by and we flagged her down. Yay! She got us to the helicopter place in no time, and gave us her card for us to call when we were done. Thank goodness for that, because I almost right away realized that I had left my phone in the taxi, so we were able to call her and she brought it to us (extra tip for that!).

The folks at Air Kauai were super professional and we felt very comfortable. After a safety briefing, they took us in a van to the helicopter pad. There were 6 passengers and the pilot on board. Luckily, we got in the front seats. :)
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We had headphones so that the pilot could talk to us, as it is fairly loud in the helicopter.
We flew over the Wonder and off around the island of Kauai! It was very smooth, and the pilot was very cool and confident, so it put me at ease.

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We flew over the famous Jurassic Park waterfall, over Waimea Canyon, and along the Napali coast. There were times it felt like we were really close to land features, but we were safe the entire time. Photos are a little out of order here- Napali Coast, Waimea, and waterfalls. We also flew over a crater that is one of the rainiest places in the planet and were surrounded by so many tall waterfalls.. it was magical. I almost cried. My tender moment was then interrupted by the pilot handing an airsickness bag behind me to one of the other passengers-- oh dear, I had no idea someone was not having a magical time. :(IMG_7286.JPGIMG_7239.JPGIMG_7332.JPGIMG_7228.JPG
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Kauai, day 2, continued
(sorry, hit reply and wanted to not overload that post)

After the helicopter ride, and our purchase of a video and photos that were recorded on our flight, we called our sweet taxi lady back to bring us back to the ship. Didn't really plan too much for the rest of the day, as our big adventure for that day was done. We walked back off the ship to go get some lunch at a local food truck (it wasn't great), and pick up some local beer for DH to have on board (and share some with our friends when we met them in Vancouver). We also looked at the beach area nearby. I didn't want to be in the sun too much, but it looked like a nice beach that would have been good for part of a day off of the ship.
Dinner was in Animator's Palate (no show this night). Then we went to the main show, which was Jon Armstrong--comedian/magician. It was entertaining.

Also, here is my photo of the most adorable Rapunzel ever. We had really good princesses and other character experiences!
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KGmomoftwins

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Love your report! Thank you!!! Here’s hoping that Rapunzel is there for our August cruise as she is one girls favorite!
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
We honeymooned in Kauai and also did a helicopter tour! It's an unforgettable experience.
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Hawaii to Vancouver cruise May 2022-- day 6-- at sea

Our first sea day! After a couple of days in the Honolulu area and 4 ports, we were looking forward to relaxing for 5 sea days! I love sea days on DCL-- you can relax, you can fill your day with activities, you can just watch the ocean. Oooh, I just want to be back there again! :)

For a point of reference, here is a photo of the route we took around the islands, shared to me on a FB group.
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We got up and ran (DH) and walked (me) around deck 4 for a couple of miles, then had breakfast in Tritons.
After breakfast, we did an Animation drawing class in the Crown and Fin Pub-- it wasn't Gus teaching it, but another crew member, who was almost as good as Gus. My husband is so much better at drawing than I am-- it's a talent I didn't know he had until we did some classes on a previous cruise.

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It was fun, but pretty crowded in the pub (and also maybe because it was the first day everyone was on the ship and not at ports), so we didn't do any other animation classes, not wanting to pick up any germs and get sick before the 2nd cruise.
There was an olive oil tasting seminar held in Animator's Palate-- it was okay. Nothing out of this world. I was hoping they would have us tasting some infused oils or add some spices like we've done at an olive oil place in California before, but it was very basic.
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We had a quick lunch (probably Daisy's-- our go to for 'healthy' food at lunch), then DH went to see the Dr. Strange movie in the Buena Vista Theater, and I went to my first session of Bingo (did not win-- missed by 1 number on one round). Quick note on the movie popcorn situation-- they are refilling popcorn buckets and you can take popcorn into the theater. Our room was on Deck 5, so we walked by the popcorn stand very often and it smelled so good. Also, the crew member working there (Shenlly) always smiled and waved to us-- we stopped and said hi to her every day. :love:
I'm not sure why we didn't spend more time outside, but I'm thinking the pool decks were all pretty crowded, being the first sea day and nice weather. Captain Fabian told us to enjoy this day and the next, as we would be heading for cooler and rainier weather as we approached Vancouver.

And then... hey, it's Formal Night, take 2! haha.
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chipdaleformalhawaii.jpgThe cruise staff sort of seemed like they realized they had mixed up the itinerary with the not-really formal night on night 2, so they kept reminding us to check the app and refresh the app often, as offerings may change. Good advice (but I still miss paper Navigators, esp as I try to recount these sea days). We didn't get full on dressed up, but I had brought a few dresses and we got some nice photos after dinner, which was at Tiana's that night.
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The sunset was GORGEOUS.hawaiisunsetnight1.jpg


The show that night was the Golden Mickeys, always a favorite! I love the variety aspect of this show and the pacing. (and was secretly happy that Bob Iger is still in the video clip and not the other Bob).
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Hawaii to Vancouver cruise May 2022-- day 7-- at sea

Another sea day! As most days, DH got up and ran and I came down and walked a few laps. We had breakfast in Cabanas.

If you've been on some of the longer cruises, you may be familiar with the photo challenges-- there is a sheet that you pick up at Port Adventures with small cropped photos of walls or artwork or chairs or carpets or signs-- various ship decor things, and it's sort of like a scavenger hunt where you can walk around the ship and identify where the things are. For example, they might have just the photo of the octopus on the mural just inside Cabanas, so you have to write on the paper where you found him. I don't have one of the pages with me, as you turn them in at Port Adventures by the end of the evening and they draw one to win a prize the next day. It's just a fun way to explore the ship and gives you something to do on a sea day. We actually won one of the days, and I think got some luggage tags and small backpack? I get lots of steps in and climb lots of stairs doing these challenges. The crew will sometimes help.

Then we had our pool/sun day! We found a nice spot by the main pool and relaxed, getting in and out of the pool from time to time to cool off. There was a bit of motion, so at times, it felt like we were in a little wave pool. The lifeguard said that their threshold for closing the pool is when the water splashes completely out onto the deck, so it wasn't too bad and made the pool fun. It was a lovely day, and we watched Frozen on the FunnelVision. Remember, there were very few kids on this cruise, so it was pretty much like all the pools were adult pools, with a few kids mixed in the main pool.
The characters were out and about in their beach costumes.
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We rode the waterslide a few times, and had pizza for lunch. Then, a fancy pineapple drink that they were preparing off to the side of the pool deck. Yum. (note: on some of the tablet things when they run the charge to your room, they don't show the automatic tip that goes with adult beverages-- so I accidentally double-tipped. I don't mind that I did-- the servers were working so hard and with fewer passengers, they don't have as much tip opportunity-- just saying watch out for this.)
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Once it was time to get out of the sun, we went back to our stateroom to relax a little, then I went to Bingo. I won a small prize on a round that was split between about 13 winners.

This night was Pirate night, and there were quite a few people who dressed up, but we didn't bring pirate costumes, having had to pack for 2 cruises in one. This guy dressed up, though:
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He's so cute! Minnie had her usual pirate costume...(spoiler-- if you haven't seen her new outfit on the Wish, go search for it-- it's adorable! I just saw the photos from the media cruise yesterday.)
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We had dinner in Triton's. Did not go to the main show, which was Buckets and Boards-- we've seen them before and enjoy them, but just decided to chill out. We did not go to the Pirate Deck party, and then we learned that they were not able to shoot off the fireworks due to technical issues. So we called it a night.
 
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ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Hawaii to Vancouver cruise May 2022-- days 8 through 10-- all at sea

I'm going to condense the next 3 days, partly out of brevity, and mostly because I did not take very many photos or notes. :)

Day 8-- we got up and had breakfast in Cabanas. Then we wandered around doing the photo of the day contest.
One of the fun things they were doing on the sea days was to have a Live version of the cruise director's morning show, with an audience, in the D Lounge. We had been watching the morning show usually at some point each day, and it turns out there were some funny running jokes between Lee, the cruise director, and Ann, the assistant cruise director, as well as some silly jokes by Jenny on the cruise staff. It was fun to attend in person-- Team Lee all the way!
My silly screenshot on the phone in lieu of a sign:
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A note here that ALL of the entertainment team was AMAZING. I just can hardly describe how special these two cruises were because of them. Lee and Ann were funny and kind and generous with their time. The character/entertainment staff was so engaging-- maybe it was different because there were not too many people on board, and I'm sure only a percentage of people even meet the characters and their handlers, but over 17 days of being around them over the 2 cruises, we got to know them a little bit and they took the time to get to know us. We didn't do a bunch of the game show type offerings, but the Bingo staff was energetic and fun. The shopping staff, photographers, waitstaff, and bar staff were just above and beyond, and we can't thank them enough. Having the time of 5 sea days gave us time to stop and talk to people (crew and passengers) and it was just fantastic. I wish I had taken more photos of them, but they are in my heart forever.

As they do on some of the longer cruises, they had the boat building contest on this sea day. Sorry, no photos. They have little seminars in the days leading up to it, in which you can source materials to build your boat, and then have a contest on a sea day where the contestants have to see if their boat will float in the pool, holding a full soda can. Prizes are given for best theme, most seaworthy, overall best of show, etc. It's fun to watch, though it was quite chilly and rainy for this voyage. One family team had made an awesome Moana themed boat.

I think this might have been the day we went to the Anyone Can Cook class and watched the chef make Apple Strudel. They had several cooking classes (demonstrations and tastings, really), and they were all well attended. Also, a bit of food to taste at the end!

I got DH some binoculars at Shutters, since I had lost his on our last Alaska cruise. And we played Bingo (terrible cards this time) for fun. Dinner was in Animator's Palate with the Animation show, and of course, we went to see Frozen: The Musical in the Walt Disney Theater.
They did the fireworks this night, making up for the technical difficulties the night before.

Day 9--
LOL, all I have written down is breakfast at Daisy's and laundry. I bring laundry detergent sheets with me, as they are flat and take up no space in luggage and there is no liquid component to leak in case they get squished during travel. Got them on Amazon. Laundry is $3.00 to wash and $3.00 to dry for each load. Love that the app tells you when your laundry is done, but I was watching the time as well, so my laundry didn't take up space in case someone else needed the machines.

I know we visited with characters. I always like to hang out on the 4th floor by the atrium because you catch them coming and going to their appearances.
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I think this was the day we did a cheese tasting in Animator's Palate. Again, it wasn't super fancy, but we learned about cheese and had a tiny snack. This was the 2nd of two cheese tastings that I saw offered on the cruise.

Dinner was in Tiana's, and it was the Mardi Gras themed night! Oh, I love this, and I love the beignets! Tiana wasn't coming around through the restaurant, just appearing on the stage, but Louis the alligator walked around the MDR. And...we did have the dance line around the restaurant! It started to finally feel like things were returning to normal from all of the spacing and precautions. (note-- it's not really back to normal, and people still need to follow precautions, no matter how much you think it's normal. Protect our cruise staff, please!!!) But it was super fun and we had a nice dinner.
Note about dining seating (for that time)-- we were at a table for 2, since our friends didn't make this cruise. Next to us was another table of 2, and next to that, another table of 2. We all ended up talking each night, so by the last 2 nights, we just sat all together. It probably made it a little easier on the servers, and it definitely made it easier to have conversations.

Day 10--
Breakfast was... probably Cabanas.
We spent some time at Shutters, trying to select photos, as we had ordered the photo book. We had gotten the book for our Panama Canal cruise and liked it. But somehow, for this cruise, even with character photos and stock photos, it looked like it was going to be a whole book of -- here's me and DH. And here we are again. And again. And there we are again. We had different clothes and different backdrops, but it just felt weird. So we narrowed our selections down to 15 or 20 and the Shutters staff adjusted our order for just the photo downloads and reversed the charge for the photo book.

Oh, yeah... Bingo. Final Jackpot. Spoiler--did not win. People's behavior--also did not win. My goodness, there were some stressed out cranky people at times on this cruise. There was a huge line, well in advance of the final bingo session, and at one point, it looked like they were going to run out of tablets. People were rude to the staff, rude to each other. Just poor behavior. Yes, there was a potential payout that turned out to be about $6000 for the final winner, but please, be nice! (I think part of why we had such good interactions with crew is because we were nice to them and treated them with respect. There were definitely some passengers with an entitlement attitude, and just.. don't.) But hint for future cruisers-- get to Bingo earlier than they say pre-sales begins.

We packed most of our belongings, since we had to change cabins for the 2nd part of our cruise. Our stateroom host assured us he would move our luggage the next morning, even the hanging clothes, so we didn't have to re-fold everything. We also took a home Covid test, to just see if we had picked up anything, since we would have to test officially the next morning.

Dinner was at Triton's, with the delicious lobster tail. The show was Dreams. Which, I like the show, but it sometimes feels like it could go a little quicker.
And then we went to bed-- a little nervous about how the B2B process would work, but excited to finally meet up with our friends for the Alaska cruise!! Yay!
 
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ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
So-- that is the Hawaii portion, and my goal is to get as far into the Alaska report as I can this weekend, seeing as how we're 6 weeks out and people may want trip reports before their Alaska cruises the rest of this summer.
If you have any questions about any specifics that I may have left out, feel free to ask, and I will answer to the best of my knowledge.
 

KGmomoftwins

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
So-- that is the Hawaii portion, and my goal is to get as far into the Alaska report as I can this weekend, seeing as how we're 6 weeks out and people may want trip reports before their Alaska cruises the rest of this summer.
If you have any questions about any specifics that I may have left out, feel free to ask, and I will answer to the best of my knowledge.
Thanks so much! Curious what you did in Skagway? I have the mushers camp and dog sledding booked for my family but now I’m thinking I want to do something more private to avoid being around all those people(I have private tours booked in Juneau and Ketchikan). Although I’m worried about the border crossing. Thanks a bunch!
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Thanks so much! Curious what you did in Skagway? I have the mushers camp and dog sledding booked for my family but now I’m thinking I want to do something more private to avoid being around all those people(I have private tours booked in Juneau and Ketchikan). Although I’m worried about the border crossing. Thanks a bunch!
We were going to do the Glacier Wilderness Safari in Skagway-- a combination of boat ride, hiking, and kayaking-- but it was cancelled due to the amount of ice that was on the body of water where we would kayak, since it was early in the season. So we just explored town on our own, on foot--walking around and hiking over to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Lower Reid Falls. I think the mushers camp and dogsledding sound fun for a family-- we're just adults, so take that however you want. :) If you're concerned about exposure to people, I'd lean towards more outdoors excursions. We did not cross the border or venture very far from Skagway since we didn't re-book another excursion.
 

KGmomoftwins

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
We were going to do the Glacier Wilderness Safari in Skagway-- a combination of boat ride, hiking, and kayaking-- but it was cancelled due to the amount of ice that was on the body of water where we would kayak, since it was early in the season. So we just explored town on our own, on foot--walking around and hiking over to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Lower Reid Falls. I think the mushers camp and dogsledding sound fun for a family-- we're just adults, so take that however you want. :) If you're concerned about exposure to people, I'd lean towards more outdoors excursions. We did not cross the border or venture very far from Skagway since we didn't re-book another excursion.
I’m sorry your plans changed! I think I’m over thinking it just worried about being crammed on a bus. We plan on doing Reid and the cemetery dh is a huge gold rush fan so maybe that with walking around Skagway will be enough. Our girls are pretty go with the flow easy to please so we are lucky there. Thanks again!
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
I’m sorry your plans changed! I think I’m over thinking it just worried about being crammed on a bus. We plan on doing Reid and the cemetery dh is a huge gold rush fan so maybe that with walking around Skagway will be enough. Our girls are pretty go with the flow easy to please so we are lucky there. Thanks again!
It's ok... it would have been a fun excursion, but we just re-adjusted. Part of the adventure!

It's just under 2 miles from the ship to the cemetery (one way), FYI. If I'm remembering, your kids are not very old? There is a shuttle in Skagway that may go there, or at least part of the way, in case y'all don't want to walk all the way there. Sorry I didn't pay more attention to it, we were just enjoying walking and talking with our friends. I know people did get to the parking lot in buses and other vehicles.
 

KGmomoftwins

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
It's ok... it would have been a fun excursion, but we just re-adjusted. Part of the adventure!

It's just under 2 miles from the ship to the cemetery (one way), FYI. If I'm remembering, your kids are not very old? There is a shuttle in Skagway that may go there, or at least part of the way, in case y'all don't want to walk all the way there. Sorry I didn't pay more attention to it, we were just enjoying walking and talking with our friends. I know people did get to the parking lot in buses and other vehicles.
They are going to be 10 the day we embark 😭😭. We are very active and they have hiked all over Acadia last summer plus walked all over Chicago last week. I think we are going to rent a car and drive to the dogs and the cemetery/Reid falls.
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
End of Hawaii cruise/start of Alaska cruise--Vancouver, Canada May 2022--debarkation/embarkation

This was a day of ups and downs. Mostly ups.
We gathered our backpacks with our travel documents and checked out with our room host, again being reassured all of our belongings would get to our new cabin.
During breakfast in Triton's, our head server realized that we were staying on and told us we would keep our serving team through the Alaska cruise. Honestly, we liked them, but also had requested at GS to have a different server that we knew from a previous cruise, but the other one might not have been available. Not a big deal (they were used to us, though I was hoping for my husband to have a server who spoke a little more slowly b/c of his hearing impairment--the masks and various accents make it a little difficult at times).

Our instructions for the B2B were to meet in Azure "by 9 am." Since we had early breakfast at 7, we were in Azure by 8:15 am, and I didn't know what the process was, so we just sat there, waiting. Looking back, it makes sense that they were waiting for all of the B2B cruisers, some of which probably had the 2nd time for breakfast. Also meeting in Azure were the people doing the Vancouver excursion that is a tour of Vancouver, then they take the guests to the airport with their luggage (not a bad idea if you have a later flight out of YVR).

A little after 9, they took the excursion people, and we were still waiting. At least 1 passenger was getting cranky and letting everyone know while they berated the cast member (very entitled attitude, that I won't quote since it might have identifying info-- but again, just one of those people.) I think it was close to 9:45 when they finally gathered us up and led us off the ship. So, yeah, the cranky person had a reason, but they could have been less than condescending to the cruise staff. There were something like 78 people doing back-to-back with the Hawaii cruise. I don't know how that number stacks up for other B2B cruises, but it's not a small amount of people. When we got off the ship heading out through Canada Place and over to the Fairmont for testing, we saw a sea of people outside! We saw a few port/cruise staff holding signs for people to line up for their port arrival time, but it was clear that things were not running on schedule.

At one point, it looked like they were going to put the B2B people in a line with the 10:30 group, but there might have been a mutiny if we didn't at least get to go through first, as we all had thought so we could get back to the ship. I had messaged our friends and they were in line for their PAT of 10:45. We got to the testing area (DCL was still doing testing on all passengers at the port at this time, and it is my understanding that B2B cruisers will still be tested between cruises by DCL), and that part went fine-- there were plenty of testing staff.

Then we were led to an area to wait for results. Had to get on hotel wifi. At the same time, we needed to update our ArriveCan info for the 2nd embarkation. I had lots of questions about this, as I didn't fully understand that for the new info, we had to delete the previous QR code, and I was nervous to do that. But we took a screenshot of the old QR just in case, and updated the info. Again, they weren't updating the projected screens with test results, so we also had to keep refreshing the Safe Passage info. When we got cleared to sail, we went to another room, where they gave us wristbands with a time written on them. (that time, I *think* was to indicate around when we were tested, so that we didn't go roam about Vancouver and pick up a virus and come back to the ship hours later--maybe?) Then a port staff member checked our cruise arrival form and said to sit and wait because we were in boarding group 9. I tried to explain that we were B2B, but the port people don't know what that means. I'm sure he was just following directions. Someone else allowed us to go to the DCL check in, where they didn't seem to have separate lines set up for Gold vs Silver vs Concierge-- and only the Concierge sign was prominent. I hesitated, because I thought we were in the Concierge only line, but again, the port staff doesn't know those DCL nuances, and we were able to hop in a line and check in. It felt like this all took a very long time, and was not efficient or clear (partly my fault for not knowing how B2B works). But we got checked in and through passport control and finally able to wind through Canada Place back to the ship!

Of course, as confusing as all this was, imagine if we were in the lines and lines of people outside, waiting their turn. I had messaged our friends a couple of times, and it took them about 2 hours to get through the process from luggage check in to boarding. Granted, it was early in the Vancouver/Alaska season, and now that DCL isn't requiring testing right at embarkation (the rule changed during this week that we were on board), I assume it is a less time-consuming process at the port of Vancouver.
For some reason, right after being greeted in the atrium, they shunted us over to Azure to make sure we had the app and knew how to use it. Weird, since we had just been on the ship-- I guess they decided some guest training was needed. I did of course, have trouble again switching over to our new reservation, which is totally a user error on my part about not clearing out the old info. We swung by our muster station to do that checkin, then went to Tiana's to get a seat for lunch. I let our friends know we were there, and kept my eyes on the nearby entrance for about 20-25 minutes.

Then, one of the happiest moments of the whole adventure-- our friends arrived!! Big hugs all around. We've been missing them since the pandemic started. They were our tablemates on a Panama Canal cruise, and we hit it off so well that we have become true friends, and this was now our 3rd cruise together (we have a 4th planned already!). So for those of you who balk at sitting with others at dinner, you might be missing out on new lifelong friends. You never know!

OK, I just got tears in my eyes thinking about that moment. We're so blessed.
 

ironz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
They are going to be 10 the day we embark 😭😭. We are very active and they have hiked all over Acadia last summer plus walked all over Chicago last week. I think we are going to rent a car and drive to the dogs and the cemetery/Reid falls.
Acadia is on our wish list!
 





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