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Thread: Summer Trip to Cooler Climates

  1. #21
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Yes, Andrea it was cool this morning and on the boat out to the Fjords. I was wearing a tee shirt and the outside part of a removable warm liner coat-can be worn as a lightweight, medium or heavy weight coat. By afternoon I did not need a jacket. It was a rare beautiful sunny day in Ketchikan.

    Pegmeister, yes, dress is casual. Most of the excursions say to wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes. Layering is needed. Dinner is smart casual. There are two formal nights, both of which hubby refuses to participate because he said he wasn't carrying a suit all over Alaska(we will be here until August 12), but he was not the only one who did not dress up. It is more of suggestion than requirement. Last night I had on a black dress and he had on dockers and long sleeve polo and we went into the dining room. Thursday is the other formal night and we will probably do one of the other dining options. People do what they want.

    The food on the cruise is plentiful, but not great. My prime rib on the first night was over cooked and cold(everyone at the table). The next morning our breakfast in a restaurant(not the buffet) was stone cold-nothing like cold pancakes for me and cold eggs for hubby. We are surely walking off our meals. Just getting to the buffet for breakfast and back today registered .43 miles on my app. I'm not indulging much because the stress I was under for the 4-6 weeks or so before we left caused a huge flare up of my acid reflux(never had it like this) and I am watching what I am eating. The horrible cough associated with it is almost gone, and I don't want it back.




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  2. #22
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Hope your time in Alaska serves as a great distraction and you get relief from your stress

    i was curious about how casual the dress was as it’s been more than 30 years since we have done a cruise. I much prefer dining when and where you please and dressing casual.

    Enjoying tour report!!

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  3. #23
    Senior Member hatteras's Avatar
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    I'm loving your report. I'm reliving our Alaska cruises as I read. Princess is exceptional for Alaska cruising, but we've been cruising Celebrity for the last 8 or 9 years, exclusively because they've eliminated formal nights and have very strict smoking policies. No smoking anywhere inside the ship, including balconies, and only smoking allowed in two designated areas. I can breathe a lot better on them. I hope your acid reflux continues to improve. I have it too, and I hate that cough. Once it starts, it's hard to get it under control. Enjoy your day. I can't wait to hear all about it. We are at the beach in NC this week, with the family. I'm reading your report while I watch the waves from our front porch.


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  4. #24
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robin View Post
    Attachment 7827 here we are in Ketchikan with our signs. Of course I have my Aruba bag on my shoulder.
    So cool. I only have 2 states left, Alaska and Oregon.

  5. #25
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    I am so enjoying Robin's report!

    Peg, cruises have evolved quite a lot over the years.
    Paul and I have cruised lots (he loves it, me not so much) but we no longer participate in "formal nights".
    The most formal we dress is me a sun dress or linen capris and a silk tunic...Paul, khakis and a long sleeve dress shirt....no tie, no jacket.We are dressed pretty much like the majority. There are some that still wear gowns and suits.......they are the minority.
    On the non formal nights, I wear capris and tank tops or dressy tee........Paul, khakis and a golf shirt.

    The cruises too have increased their dining options with specialty restaurants and the Lido buffet always seems to be open.
    Those buffets, you can be in swimwear with a cover up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pegmeister View Post
    Hope your time in Alaska serves as a great distraction and you get relief from your stress

    i was curious about how casual the dress was as it’s been more than 30 years since we have done a cruise. I much prefer dining when and where you please and dressing casual.

    Enjoying tour report!!

  6. #26
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Smoking is in designated areas only-a deck on the aft and the casino if we are gambling and only certain days and one other place. We went to a dining room for breakfast and I could smell smoke in the ladies room. I asked the staff said that the smoking area was one deck up.




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  7. #27
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Tuesday
    We arrived in Juneau to sunny skies. This had to be the best excursions we’ve done. We were transported to a heliport by bus. We saw many bald eagles along the way. Once at the heliport we watched a safety video and donned glacier boots and we outside to await the return of the first groups that went out earlier. We boarded a helicopter (our first ride in one) with another couple. There were two other helicopters going with us. The view was breathtaking. We saw the waterways and the mountains, then came an amazing view-The Mendenhall Glacier! Wow! It was stunning! White and blue shades, rugged, and with mountains all around! We flew over the glacier for about 5 minutes before landing on it near a dog sledding camp. They had over 280 dogs plus some pups born the night before and one mama ready to deliver. We were assigned a musher and a team of dogs. This time we were with a different couple from one of the other helicopters. We took turns in different seats and standing while going along a mile path. It was so much fun! The dogs, which were mostly mixed breds, were friendly and like to interact with people. They truly loved to run and got antsy every time we stopped to change positions. Once back at camp, we got to cuddle a puppy. I was able to spend a few minutes with a dog that was not part of our team but was named Robin. We had an amazing time but, then it was back to Juneau on the helicopter. We headed back on ship to drop our warm clothing and headed into town for lunch and some shopping. Once done we headed back to the ship and took a nap, before walking back into town for dinner and a stop or two to pick up a few things before heading back for All Aboard.

    Wednesday
    We awoke to rainy skies in Skagway. Our tour was later today, so we slept in a bit and had breakfast while talking with another couple for about an hour. The rain was light and off and on all day-but mostly it was just cloudy. We met our excursion group around 11:15 and headed out on the ferry to Haines. It was a lovely ride through the fjords. In Hanies we boarded a bus to take us to a river for rafting (not white water). We were assigned 4 couples to a raft after donning boots and life jackets. We sat on the edge of the raft while our great guide rowed, steered and narrated. This was my first time on a raft and it was a lot of fun. We were in an eagle preserve and tons of eagles. Since the salmon are beginning their run upstream now, the eagles were hanging around, wait to catch some lunch. We floated for an hour or so before going ashore where our bus, hot drinks, and bagged lunch was waiting. We ended up eating on the bus(a school bus) because it just started to rain as we changed out of our boots. We made the reverse trip back to Skagway arriving at 6 pm. Stu and I headed into town for dinner but didn’t get look around much as All Aboard was 8 pm and we wanted to be back on by 730. After dropping our stuff in our cabin, we headed downstairs for some adult beverages. They were doing a group vow renewal for anyone who wanted to join in, so we figured why not? There were about 6 couples who decided on the spur of the moment to do it and it was lead by the cruise director. It was fun to do and we are supposed to get a certificate. We then went upstairs to the art gallery to an event we were invited and once done, we headed into to see the comedy show. Adult beverages and some conversation with others topped off our evening before heading to our cabin for the night. Thursday and Friday are cruising days.




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  8. #28
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Thursday
    Today was Glacier Bay National Park scenic cruising. A friend of ours suggested we reserve the Sanctuary (an adult only section with comfy lounge chairs on one of the decks near the adult pool). We were told we would get breakfast and lunch there. We headed up around 8 because the narration by a park ranger(park rangers go on all ships going into the park) would start. We went up and it was freezing cold. We decided to head to the regular breakfast where it was warm and back to our cabin to get the appropriate clothing. The park ranger’s narration, which could be heard in specific areas of the ship, was great. He did an excellent job of explain everything. The views were amazing. They turn the ship around so everyone could see both sides(you also have to turn to get out). By the largest and most beautiful glacier, the ship just slowly turn around several times. During this time, I left the Sanctuary and went up to the top sun deck and took some panoramic pictures which I could not do in the Sanctuary. As we started to make our way out of the area-maybe 1230-1 we decided head back to our cabin because the sun disappeared and it started to drizzle. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the cabin, taking care of somethings and napping. We eventually went to dinner, walked around and then headed back to the cabin and we are just hanging out here tonight. I’m just really tired and hubby is grumpy.

    One thing I do have to say about Princess is that they have a lovely clean ship, a friendly staff, awesome excursions, and tons of activities. However; the food and food/beverage service is really lacking. It is not just us that feel that way. We spoke to others who said the same thing. Some of them are Princess “frequent fliers” and have said that this is the worst dining and beverage experience they’ve seen. Several hot meals were cold or dry for sitting too long(in the dining rooms). In the buffet, getting drinks(teas, soda, etc) is awful. For example, yesterday, Stu asked for two cups of tea with lemon and a diet coke(this was for both of us). They bring two diet cokes and 1 tea. He asked for the second cup of tea with lemon and the guy brings a cup of tea, sets it down and says “one tea with lemon” but there is no lemon. In one of the bars last night, Stu ordered a double Gentleman Jack neat and a diet coke, and I asked for a glass of wine and a glass of water. I never got the water(yes, they repeated the order back to us). Stu sent an email to Princess headquarters earlier in the week and we were called by someone on the ship yesterday as we walked into our cabin about it. Stu said we just walked in and to call us back. Well, the head maître d’ tracked us down while we were in the Sanctuary(they can tell where you are because the Medallion tells them-you can track where any member of your group is as long as they have their Medallion with them) and we had a discussion. He was not happy about what happened and offered us dining in one of the specialty restaurant, but we already had dinner in one of them, so he offered to comp our stay in the Sanctuary, which we thought was very nice.




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  9. #29
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Love the detail in your report. I never realized how active the Alaskan cruise could be. You just may need a vacation from your vacation. Too bad the food is not up to par. For me, the food is a big part of the vacation experience. Hopefully it gets better.

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  10. #30
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks so much robin for your detailed "story"

    I love reading of the activities and your eagle sightings!

    imo the food on the cruises seems to be "meh" over the last few years.
    it seems to me that the focus is on quantity and not quality.

    stay warm and dry and again, thank you!!!!

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