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About PhotoGal07

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  1. We're heading on our cruise to Nassau and Grand Bahama Island, as well as NCL's Great Stirrup Cay this November. My 9 year old daughter is really interested in snorkeling, and I'd like to take her somewhere along the way and let her try it out a little bit. Any suggestions on where to take her for her first trip? Doesn't have to be the most amazing snorkeling, but I'd like it to be easy to access with decent amount of fish. We'll also have my 7 year old with us as well, and it'd be great if he could get a mask on and snorkel with us, but we can split up for a few hours too if necessary. I'm currently considering a taking her if we go to Atlantis, finding a private charter, or just grabbing some snorkel gear when we do Great Stirrup Cay, but any info you could provide on what would be good (or good to avoid) would be incredibly helpful.
  2. I can't speak to Celebrity, but we took our butler up on the offer to unpack and pack for us when we've stayed at the St. Regis in Bora Bora, and it was heavenly not having to touch a thing. They unpacked everything while we were out at lunch on the day of arrival, and then packed everything up while we were at dinner the evening before we were due to leave (we unpacked/packed our own carry-ons with our cameras/laptops, etc). Your hotel room or cabin is not that big, and there are limited places for them to put things, I promise nothing will get lost. Everything is put exactly where you would assume it would be. Collared shirts and dresses hung up in the closet, a drawer or two with extra tee shirts, and shorts. Hairbrush and cosmetic bag set nicely in the bathroom (they won't take everything out of your cosmetics bag, just set it on the vanity). Bathing suit, coverups all folded nicely on the closet shelf with your sun hat on top. Paperback book and extra chargers set on the nightstand. I took a separate lingerie bag for undergarments, and everything was left inside. Shoes were lined up at the bottom of the closet. Storing clothes is pretty intuitive, and there's not much variation. I imagine if you had 100 people unpack their clothes into a room, 85-90% of them would put their clothes in the same basic spots. If it's offered, I highly recommend utilizing the service assuming your presence isn't required to supervise, in which case yes, you might as well do it yourself. But if you can have someone else do it, while you are already lounging and grabbing your first drink, that's the way to go.
  3. I'm getting a little antsy for our next vacation, and am starting to look at Crystal for our next potential family vacation, and a few other lines for an anniversary trip for H and I. Since I'm currently without a vacation, I'd love to live vicariously for a few minutes and hear about your favorite luxury cruise experience. Was there a great shore excursion that was arranged, a wonderful meal that was prepared, or just something unexpected that surprised you?
  4. Travel is great for jaded teens! I think I'd have them go research some excursions, so they know what to expect. Hop onto pretty much any cruise line's shore excursion list, and they'll have pretty much the same things listed for Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. Have them look at the list, and help pick out the activities (take a look yourself, and decide on a realistic budget for them to use). Learning how to do internet research is a great skill, and this is a wonderful way to practice it.
  5. All things being equal, yes I'd grab the port side cabin. But as I understand it the difference is only slight. I wouldn't let it keep me from being on a chosen ship.
  6. Can't wait to read the rest! We're planning a trip for 2021, and the kids will be 8 and 10 then, and I came to the same conclusion about Denali! There's no way a long plane ride, followed by a long train ride up to Denali, a long bus ride within Denali to see the sights, followed by a long bus or train ride back to get to our ship would end well.
  7. Port times will of course be a factor, but Princess has a few extra Alaskan perks, they do a Puppies in the Piazza event, where they bring Husky Pups on board for everyone to cuddle, Libby Riddles (the first woman to win the Iditarod) comes on board one day, and I believe there may be a few other similar appearances. I also know the Coral is touted for having lots of viewing space on deck for all the beautiful Alaska scenery, but I don't know how the Jewel stacks up against that. I'm also pretty certain that the Jewel does not have an indoor pool (if that's important to you). The Jewel does however have more specialty restaurants, so if varied dining is important that might factor in. For kids clubs, they are separated into different age groups. For NCL it's 3-5, 6-9, 10-12 and 13-17 years. For Princess it's 3-7, 8-12, 13-17 years. So if it's important for kids to be together in kids club, that might be something to consider as well.
  8. Bummer I don't think I can justify the cost for that for 4 people. Gonna go glare at my disposable income sinkholes, I mean my offspring.
  9. Are there any Skagway helicopter excursions that do both a the dog sledding and actual time dedicated to a glacier walk (potentially with an extra helicopter landing?). I found a few that do this in Juneau, but I would prefer to do the excursion in Skagway if possible, and not leave it till we hit Juneau (in which case we'd have no back up day to try again).
  10. Weird question of the day: Are the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches that are available on Princess the pre-made uncrustable type, or could we ask them to hold them jam for a picky child?
  11. I'm getting close to finalizing my booking for Alaska and choosing between the Star and Sapphire (the Coral did not have the room configuration our party needed). The itinerary is exactly the same for both sailings. Anything I should know when choosing between the two ships?
  12. Well that settles that then 🙂
  13. We'll be spending some time in Seward for a few days before our cruise out of Whittier (most likely on Princess). Currently considering taking the train to one of those destinations. Are there any factors that I should consider when deciding on which route we should take the train? I know the Coastal Classic to Seward has the Gold Star class domes, and the Glacier Discovery to Whittier does not. Will the scenery be better with the gold star domes? Is the scenery on the way to Whittier way better, so that we should save the train trip for that instead? What's the scoop?
  14. Currently mulling over itinerary possibilities for a DIY land trip. Flying into Anchorage and ending up in Whittier, planning for Day 1: Arrival Day in Anchorage from East Coast (nothing else here) Days 2, 3, & 4: Exploring wherever the wind takes us Day 5: Getting over to Whittier for Cruise I would like to: Do the glass dome train ride Take the kiddos (8 & 10) on a kayaking trip somewhere with the hopes of seeing some whales/wildlife and some "bergy bits". Stay in a secluded cabin on a shore somewhere where we can have a bonfire, the kids can do some tidepooling and explore, and enjoy the quiet and solitude of nature. Other things we'd be interested in fitting in: Alaska Cultural Museum, Aquariums, Husky Camp to see the puppies, the touristy panning for gold, but none of those are must do's. Not super interested in getting to Denali this trip, I think the long drive there and back with the kids, along with the long shuttle trip there to actually sightsee is not on the docket. My only real requirements here are that the 8 year old will meet the age requirements for the kayaking trip, and that the cabin has bedding provided, along with plumbing, and is reachable without a 20-30 minute hike. I found some promising options in Seward, but getting from Seward to Whittier seems difficult. Renting a car, utilizing public transportation are both fine, and budget for this is pretty flexible. Any suggestions on where to go, and how to arrange our days would be much appreciated!
  15. We'll be going in 2021 (our kiddos will be 8 and 10 at the time, so pretty similar). Everyone I've ever talked to (or read posts from) waxes poetic about the scenery in Glacier Bay, and how gorgeous it is, and unfortunately that majesty is all melting away, so getting in to see it sooner rather than later is key. From all of my research, it seems that Princess and HAL are THE Alaska operators, and so I sort of nixed NCL and RCI from the list based on that, and I 100% want to get to Glacier Bay, it's non-negotiable. I did look briefly at NCL, because they do have some routes that go to Glacier Bay, but they are all Northbound for some reason, and we wanted to do our land portion before the cruise. If that's less of an issue for you, then I'd probably give them a harder look. Like @RussNJodi, we really like the suite cabin configurations on NCL, and their suite perks are very nice. As far as considering HAL, while we haven't sailed it before, most HAL cruisers are quick to remind you that the age goes down significantly for the Alaska summer sailings, so I don't think that matters terribly much. And for the kids clubs, having slightly fewer kiddos is a bonus for us as our kids get overwhelmed when the clubs are overrun and crazy, but your mileage may vary based on personality of your little ones. There were two things that stuck out to me when comparing the Princess and HAL lines. The first was the menus (I found more on Princess that my picky eater family would likely eat). The other was that Princess gets into Juneau earlier in the day (though they both spend the same amount of total time in port). For our east coast family that will likely be getting up earlier, getting up and off the ship before the rest of the crowds arrive is definitely a nice perk. Apart from that, I would look simply at cost and cabin configuration/square footage to make sure it suits your family's needs. If NCL had the itinerary we wanted, we'd likely have gone with them, but as it is Princess is edging out HAL ever so slightly.
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