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About RandallFlagg

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. Thanks so much! I expressed my opinions and ONLY my opinions. I have no doubt that there are those that enjoy "cruising" but it isn't for us. We tried it and (for us) it doesn't work. In other words - we will never be "elite" :D We will stick to "land" vacations and leave the "paper airplanes through the hoola-hoop" games to the long time cruisers.. :eek::eek: We've got more than enough time to return to Alaska and do it "right" next time. Here's hoping that all of you have a great time on your next "cruise".
  2. Okay - let's start this off from the beginning, shall we? Frontier Airlines - Never EVER fly this miserable excuse for an Airline! 3 hours late for take off (security checks) :D But I believe that there was a flat tire on the aircraft. How this airline remains in business is a mystery to me, but I suppose that this is "flying" in this day and age. Finally got to Seattle at 9PM. Hotel Theodore - Seattle - Beautiful hotel in the heart of Seattle. Although we were late arriving, our driver waited for several hours, picked us up and dropped us off nicely. The Hotel itself is newly remodeled and very, very nice and I cannot recommend it enough. I would caution anyone, however, to watch the restaurants - VERY pricey! but surprisingly good! :D Embarkation - The embarkation was effortless. The staff at pier 91 was as professional and as courteous to us FIRST TIME CRUISERS as they could be and patiently walked us through each step with ease. We boarded quickly but had to wait for an hour or two on the ship for luggage - no big deal, right? We were ON OUR WAY!!! :D Ruby Princess - After boarding we were directed to the buffet for "lunch". :D No big deal, Thankfully we had just finished a delicious breakfast BEFORE boarding. We were allowed into our rooms about an hour later and our luggage arrived about 2 hours after that. Balcony Stateroom was nice (C231) but nothing overwhelming. Our steward (sorry can't recall his name) was a complete professional and greeted us each day with a smile. I would say that 100% of the staff were as professional and polite as they could possibly be. Not one complaint. Great job guys! Dining - This is my major complaint. The "food" was tolerable and nothing more. The food in the Horizon Court buffet was horrendous - tasteless and basically the same day after day after day. The MDR was (again) nothing to write home about. These are supposed "Chefs" - and if that's the case, I am a CIA trained Chef (which I am not). Even the Crown Grill (8/5) was less than "great". You can get the same steak at most local eateries in any hometown. Those who have complained about the Pizza onboard are 100% RIGHT most god-awful pizza I have ever eaten. On the other hand, the Trident Grill (hamburgers, hotdogs, brats) was actually fairly good. The International Cafe was the same. Same tasteless food. I will add, however, that my "soda and more" card that was on the Cruise Card (as well as the coffee card) worked effortlessly and the staff never had a problem filling my "mug" several times a day with soda. One thing I would add, however, is that the coffee in the dining rooms and the buffets was nowhere as bad as many have complained about.I drank it many times and saw nothing "wrong" with it. The Cruise - We left Seattle and headed North to rolling seas that night - or so I'm told :D Slept through the night on a wonderful bed - I understand that these are "new" - I WANT ONE! Arrived in Juneau the next morning to heavy fog and rain. Our Helicopter and Dog Sledding excursion was cancelled (the purpose of the trip for my Wife). I completely understood and agreed with the decision NOT to fly in that weather. Did a little shopping and headed back to the ship, a little bummed, but with the understanding that we had another dog sledding excursion scheduled the next day for Skagway. Nope. The next morning we are informed by the Captain that it was too "windy" to dock in Skagway so we would be just "sailing" the inside passage. So, we sailed around and around for the next 18 hours. Next day - Glacier Bay. About as "underwhelming" as watching grass grow. Nothing more to say about that - except that the weather for that was rain and fog. Next day - Ketchikan. Heavy Rain. I mean HEAVY rain. I'm an old Army Infantryman. HEAVY rain. Finished our "shopping" and returned to the ship, soaked to the bone. Played childish games in the atrium for the rest of the day, attended a ridiculous "art auction" and my Wife was kind enough to purchase a nice Citizen Eco-Drive Watch for me in the Jewelry store. Back to Seattle. Debarkation - Again, effortless. Left the stateroom at 8AM and was off the ship by 9AM and headed to the Airport by 10AM. Absolutely no complaints, very professional considering they are dealing with over 3,000 folks! Bottom line? This was our first cruise and will be our last. In my opinion, (and ONLY my opinion), We spent a great deal of money for (what we feel) was a wasted effort. Granted, no one can control the weather and that's a given. But for the amount invested in this "cruise" (or what I overheard one man say - a "comfortable prison") - there are much, much better alternatives. We are already planning our next adventure - flying into Alaska, staying in hotels and accomplishing what we want without the constraints of a "ship". Live and learn, I guess.
  3. Wasn't on a cruise (My Sister and her DH and kids live in Anchorage) and we were visiting in 2011. Well, about 11:30 in the evening, we were getting hungry - we were staying at their house outside of town. I was chosen to ride back into Anchorage to grab a couple of pizzas. No big deal, right? I opened the door to head to the car and there - not 5 feet from me, standing on the porch was a black bear. I looked at him - he looked at me and we both stood VERY still…I backed up, slammed the door and stood there (like Curly in the 3 Stooges) making all kinds of strange noises. :) I told my Sister that I had just seen the biggest Black bear in the world standing on her porch….She and BiL started laughing, we all went to the porch, looked out the window and it was, of course, a bear. About 5 feet tall - a mere cub. They told me that the Momma and her cubs are constantly walking around the area….nothing to worry about. I STILL waited until they had "shooed" the cub away before I left. Now, understand this…I live in the Rockies. I have seen (literally) hundreds of bears, Elk, big horn Sheep, a few Moose and many mountain Lions. But never stood eye to eye with one of them….Big Game hunter…..yeah, right. :)
  4. No. We bought directly from the Ulu factory online. http://www.theulufactory.com Same merchandise that they sell in the ports. Our consideration was, of course the weight - 3 knife and bowl sets weighed in at around 9 pounds. We didn't want to have the added weight. That is reserved for all the other "trinkets" that we will no doubt purchase during the trip. ;) We WILL, however, be picking up the sheaths for the knives. They aren't included in the "knife and bowl" sets - but 3 sheaths shouldn't be a big deal. And yes - all 3 sets were/are made in Alaska. That is the FIRST requirement that we have. Cost? Each knife and bow set was $34…..actually a damned fine price! :)
  5. Honestly (and don't tell our kids) but we bought directly through the Ulu factory (Anchorage) and had them (3 knife and bowl sets) delivered directly to our house. Got them 4 days ago and they are wonderful. They ARE a tad heavy though. However, they WILL make great Christmas gifts! The "main" reason for buying them now was simply WEIGHT. Those three sets would have added another 7? pounds to our luggage. :D But just a cursory inspection shows them to be high quality and I HIGHLY recommend getting the knife AND bowl set.
  6. We are using Nobel Transport for our service. Can't really tell you if they are any good. However, we are being picked up at the Airport the day before, picked up at our Hotel the day of - and taken to pier 91. Private car.
  7. Curious. I have read that several in Club Class? has had the alcohol in the mini bar removed for coffee cards. My question - can someone in a Balcony do the same or is it only for mini-suite and above? Thanks!
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