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About txwriter

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    Bedford, TX
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  1. This is interesting to me since I was in the Disney Magic docked near the Sky this very week in Grand Cayman. I woke up and saw the beautiful new Sky Princess right outside of my window. (I was a little sad not to be on her since I had initially been deciding between the two.) I had hoped for a horn battle between the two ships, but it did not happen. Now I know why. We did get a back and forth with our sister ship the Disney Wonder who was also in port that day. I realize it’s not some people’s cup of tea, but I like the specialized horns. I think they are fun and give the ships a special identity.
  2. I took my mom to Alaska last year, and she wanted to fish for salmon. Mom was using a wheelchair at the time due to injuring her knee after we landed in Alaska, but we were able to go on our excursions including our Ketchikan fishing excursion which was her favorite of the whole trip. We both caught our limit of one king salmon each despite it being a time of year when certain posters here always say no one catches fish then (I actually caught 3 but could only keep one). Neither mom or I are super experienced fishermen. I actually had never caught a fish before, and neither of us had been fishing in a LONG time. We went with Captain Nick at Chasin Tail Charters. He was awesome!!! He rents the boat, so you are not with other people—just your group. He was very patient and super knowledgeable about all things fishing. The boat was clean and comfy with plenty of seating space and clean restroom onboard. He also has some snacks onboard. His website specifically states they welcome kids. https://www.ketchikan.fish/ketchikan-fishing-charters/#captain Oh, and a bonus, he will call the eagles over which is just SO AMAZING. I will make one very small warning which is not about this captain, but I did hear some salty language coming over the radio from some of the other captains on the water that day. Enjoy!
  3. You should go ahead and book it if rates are agreeable. It gives you more time to think before final payment is due. My philosophy is that if a person loves to travel, they should not let their solo status stop them. Most people complain about the “double” charge for a single cruiser, but I pay for myself and my mom when we go together, so it’s the same for me. Plus, hotels are the same way. They don’t charge you less if there is just one person in the room.
  4. We tip most places (when the wheelchair assistance is contracted workers). We do not tip at DFW when flying American because those assistants are airline employees (not the case for all airlines at DFW or for AA at all other airports). It is against airline policy for employees to accept tips, so I do not offer them. I used to work for that airline and employees who violate this policy can be fired if it is discovered, so I do not want to hurt them by trying to help. In cases like this, it is much better to reach out to corporate to let them know when exceptional service is delivered. That said, our service from contracted workers has been far superior with some of them even offering to help me with my bags when it was just my mom who needed the assistance. For those who are kind and efficient, we do offer a nice tip. Our best service so far was at the airport in San Diego. We sign up online to let the airline know we need assistance.
  5. I just wanted to remark about the comment regarding the elevator doors closing too slowly. I traveled with my mom last June on our first Princess Cruise. I was glad the elevator doors did not close too quickly as mom was in a wheelchair. If she had not been using the chair, she would have been on her walker. Not all people can run onto the elevator (most people who can, and are in a super hurry, use the stairs). If you find the doors are taking too long and there is no one coming, you can always push the button to close the doors more quickly. Final thought: recently, a nurse at a local hospital received very bad crushing injuries from an elevator door that closed too quickly. I am totally okay with waiting a bit for the doors to close.
  6. Agreed! Thank you for all of the details. 😄
  7. I’m curious if you have any insight on the port of Miami. I have only been on two cruises prior. My first in 1990 and the second last June. Last June on Princess in Vancouver was very simple except I somehow did not have my paperwork filled out and no one mentioned it until we were on the march toward the bus (we had booked a post cruise hotel stay). But still, so much easier than our first cruise on Royal Caribbean in NYC. That was a nightmare. I found the system on Princess very efficient and easy to do. We knew where to be at what time. We got breakfast, went to our spot, and waited. We did have some navigation challenges since some areas were blocked off that we were used to being able to go through, but we got to where we needed to go in plenty of time. And we actually were let off much earlier than they had originally told us. I am scheduled to be on my first DCL cruise in December out of Miami, so I would appreciate any help. I find embarking and disembarking the most stressful times, but because of that horrible experience on my first cruise it is leaving the ship and trying to make a flight the same day that makes me nervous enough to just not want to go. I cannot stay an extra day in Miami this time since I need to get home. I plan to use Disney’s transportation to the airport.
  8. Sources on another board are saying the next release date will be this Thursday, Feb. 28th. Booking can begin a few days later based on your cruise status with Disney. Hope this helps.
  9. This is not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but it is good information. Thank you!
  10. Does Princess only do holiday activities and special food/decorations if the actual day is during the cruise, or are there several weeks when holiday festivities can be enjoyed onboard? I am looking specifically for Christmas decorations or activities, but I cannot take off day before AND after Christmas so when it falls in the middle of the week a cruise with the actual day would not be doable for me.
  11. Thanks for the encouragement! 😄
  12. Another option might be to rent a wheelchair to use on excursions where your scooter cannot be accommodated. We used Scootaround, and they were able to deliver it to the room even with less than a week notice. Would you be able to wheel yourself or have someone in your party push you if/when needed? My mom uses a rollator for help with distances most of the time. The wheelchair was a last minute addition. With the rollator, there is a built in seat, so she can sit and rest. Is that an option? I do think the bigger buses could accommodate a scooter so maybe focus on those? You might get better responses to your questions here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/114-disabled-cruise-travel/
  13. I actually had a chance to take Mom to Alaska last year, and it was great. I had originally thought she’d have her walker, but she ended up needing a wheelchair after hurting her knee just prior to the cruise (like on the plane so really just prior). Luckily, all of our planned activities were doable. We even went fishing! (We took the wheelchair onboard). Have you contacted the tour companies directly? I found Alaskans to be very friendly and helpful. Most were good at communicating and definitely willing to answer my many questions. You can get very specific with them about things how much space you’d need for the scooter for example. Some are even gracious enough to make suggestions of other vendors who might be a better fit. We used Beyond Skagway in Skagway. They customize tours specifically for your group and what you want to do and see. They are great! They even helped me plan a few extra surprises for mom. Skagway itself is completely doable for you in the scooter. Just beware the railroad tracks. I missed the last bus stop, because the ship looked so much closer than it really was. I ended up pushing Mom all the way back. The railroad tracks were difficult to get over, and at the first set, some kind gentlemen helped me get her over by basically lifting the chair. I know there are some taxi tours and other types of private tours in both Ketchikan and Juneau. Trip Advisor is very useful to find private tours as are these boards. I believe Allen Marine has a wheelchair accessible whale watching excursion in Juneau. I believe one was offered by Princess, but we did the Underground Gold Mining Tour which was very accessible, but this is where I warn you about gravel. What passes for accessible in Alaska is not necessary what we would expect here at home. There are often gravel driveways or paths which can prove difficult since heavy objects like scooters like to sink into it. On our gold panning tour, the part inside the mine is a wood plank covered path. Outside of the actual mine, there are some gravel areas. I was able to negotiate these easily, so this was not the deep gravel I warn you about. Alaska definitely can be done with limited mobility, but planning ahead will help. Have a great trip! 😄
  14. I definitely think if you have been to Alaska before then that changes things. 😊 Congratulations on the opportunity to celebrate such an amazing milestone with your granddaughter! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your trip! It should not be too much longer to wait. There are some Disney Cruise blogs that might post this info sooner than cruise critic or if you were to contact a Disney specialist travel agent. They would probably love to help you make a special trip for your granddaughter and could grab you a hold spot as soon as the fares come out. Disney does not discount, but some of the TAs will give OBC. I am excited for you. Bon Voyage! 😄
  15. Are you set on only cruising Disney? Most of the other lines that cruise Alaska already have their itineraries out for 2020. At the very least, if you are bored, you might look them over. I took my mom on the southbound Princess Cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver last year. Port times were fantastic, and we got to do both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. There are are so many things to do on shore, you may find you will want to spend more time off the ship than you might in other places. Plus, Disney prices are really sky high even when first released compared to other lines. Of course, it is a different story if you have gone on Disney many times and know your kids love it and plan on utilizing their kids clubs a good deal. I have, however, read a ton of Alaska trip reports and hear many good things about kids clubs on other lines though. Some even report their kids like the clubs better on other lines. It really just depends on why you are picking Disney. Are you 100% sold on Disney only? Would you be open to doing some time on land prior to the cruise? We spent five days on land prior to the cruise and loved seeing a little more of everything and meeting some of the people that live in the Great Land.
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