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About kmerlin14

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Brunswick
  • Interests
    dancing, reading, writing, hiking, nature, history

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  1. Thanks so much. I'm glad someone found it useful. And I'm sure you will love your cruise. The rain didn't really dampen things and we had some lovely weather. I was impressed that they handed out raincoats and possibly umbrellas as you left the ship.
  2. Thanks. I read a lot of reports when I was planning ours, so I was trying to pay the favour along to someone else.
  3. Here are the daily programs. I left out most of the ad stuff, but tried to include the useful stuff. Alaska daily programs - Dec 4 2019 - 12-29 PM.pdf
  4. I have some, so I will try to get them organized and scanned for you, but it may take a day or two. Meanwhile I have finally finished my day by day report over on the Alaska board if that will help you with your planning. I tried to answer all the questions I had when I was planning, but I'd be happy to answer any others you might have if I can.
  5. Thursday, June 20-Debarkation We cleared out our stateroom and took our carryons to the Lido restaurant for one last breakfast. It was quite crowded, so we actually ate in the garden lounge. I hadn’t realized that the main dining room was open as well, so we probably should have gone there since we didn’t have to muster in the auditorium until 9:30. That was a case of hurry up and wait, but at least we had a place to sit instead of standing in a big long line up for two hours. The staff were checking on the line up and sending us out as it got shorter. Then they could direct us straight to where our luggage was so we could pick it up and then go stand in the line for the taxis. I was actually surprised at how long that line up was because we were the only ship in port that day. If there is more than one ship in port, I suspect it might be quicker to take the ship’s airport transfer. And FYI anyone requiring assistance was sent to a separate line for accessible cabs etc. One woman didn’t need an accessible cab, but she had trouble standing, so they asked us if she could jump ahead of us, so they do their best to take care of everyone. I’ve attached a picture of the taxi lineup so you can get an idea of it. Our plane was a little late taking off, so we were late getting to Toronto, but the weather was so bad, they told us all the planes were going to be late, so we would probably make our connection. They were right. I got about 8,000 steps moving from gate to gate as they kept shifting it and I think it was something like two am before we finally took off. An exhausting end to a wonderful vacation. If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Someone on the Cunard board has asked for daily programs, so I will try to scan them in and post them there.
  6. Tried to post last night, but the board was undergoing some sort of upgrade and it wouldn't' let me. Wed, June 19-Victoria The last time I was in Victoria, I was too young to rent a car, so I wanted to rent one this time—before I got too old. But the idea was stressing hubby out to much—I did point out that we could always take the ferry to catch up with the ship if we missed it, but he didn’t go for the idea at all. So, we signed up for the shore excursion to Butchart Gardens instead. I’d been on a night tour there and I really wanted to see it during the day. My tin of salmon meant that I had to go down to the pursers area while my husband went to the Queen’s room to check in and get our coloured stickers. But when we got there no one seemed to know where we were supposed to go, especially since the room we’d been told had been taken over by the customs people. Luckily, we were in Canada now, so I could call my husband easily on his cellphone to let him know there had been a delay because they were still figuring out what to do about us. Finally, someone told us to just go through the customs line with everyone else and they’d let us know if there was an issue. One of the other passengers asked if we could just get our cards scanned to see if there was an issue, so we did that, and everyone was fine. I headed up to the Queen’s room which was still full because it took longer to get off the ship at this port because everyone had to go through customs. The gardens themselves are beautiful. They were also packed. We were also hungry because of the delay leaving the ship, but we didn’t want to waste any time and stop for lunch. I did find a concession stand that sold sandwiches, so we bought a couple and munched on them as we toured the gardens. I’m pretty sure we managed to see everything and even had time to go to the gift shop. They were warning everyone at the cash that they might now be able to bring the seeds across the border, but this time I didn’t have to worry because we’d gone through our customs. We planted their annual and perennial mix in our garden and the plants did very well until Dorian came through and flattened them. I would have liked to have had more time at the gardens, but we had to return to the bus after about an hour and a half. If I were doing it again, I’d probably try to find a private tour that would let me take as long as I wanted at the gardens. Most of the ones I had found left from the downtown area, so it would have been tricky to schedule knowing that we had to go through customs first. The commentary on the bus was interesting though. ON the way back he told us about how the owners had gone on vacation to Europe and one of them was very interested in ducks and insisted on going to Germany buy a rare duck even though his wife was worried they’d miss their ship if they went. She was right, they missed their ship. But seeing as how it was the Titanic, it was probably just as well. Then it was time for one more dinner, show, and a quick turn round the dance floor before we packed up our suitcases and left them out in the hall. They didn’t have to be out until around 11pm. I've posted some pictures below. The gardens are famous for their blue poppies and I did find a few in bloom which made me happy because they weren't in bloom when I went with my Dad all those years ago. You can get an idea of the crowds in the picture of the rose garden which I would have liked to have spent more time in so that I could have said "hi" personally to each variety instead of feeling like I was on some sort of sightseeing assembly line that had to keep rolling along.
  7. I found the coffee up in the Lido Buffet was quite drinkable, so I always went there for my fix. They also had machines that gave very hot water for tea and a selection of Twinings teas. (The lemon ginger is good if your tummy feels a little wobbly from the waves) We had Twinings tea and coffee and a kettle in our Britannia balcony room. I think we just made tea in the room though. When they opened deck five for scenic viewing, they often had some sort of hot beverage there as well, but I can't remember what it was. It was all very civilized. We enjoyed having the fridge and coffee making facilities in the room. The sofa was right be the balcony window so we could see out if we came in to get warmed up.
  8. We did that cruise last year and very much enjoyed it. I scanned the list of shore excursions that were available once we were on board and I'll see if I can attach the pdf. It will also you give you and idea of port times and what sold out. I've also done a post-live trip review on the Alaska board that I've almost finished if you think that will help you with your planning. alaska shore excursions.pdf
  9. Sea Day- Tuesday, June 18 I had been looking forward to one more line dance class and dance lesson on this sea day, so I was heartbroken to find out that they were cancelled because they Queen’s room was needed for a cocktail party. I was able to go to Zumba though and it was fun even if I was upset about the other two classes being cancelled. Instead, we had a lazy day: trying to finish our library books, walking on the promenade deck, and chatting with the naturalist in the garden lounge. And remember that tin of salmon I bought in Icy Straight Point? I’d had to check off yes to the “are you bringing food products into the country” question even though I knew it was in a tin and was in no way going to affect our agriculture industry. But it earned me a phone call telling me I’d have to report for special customs screening when we got to Victoria. Yet another souvenir had gotten me into trouble. As usual, we went to the Lido for lunch so I could load up on vegetables. Only this time it backfired because it was the chocolate buffet. I ate my vegetables like a good girl, but I did have to check out the desert offerings. They had Nanaimo bars and butter tarts, but the serving staff had never heard of them before so I was able to explain them a bit. I picked up a butter tart, intending to split it with my husband, but then I ate the entire thing. It was really good, but could be one of the reasons I fell asleep after lunch instead of going to the lecture about the Apollo mission like I had intended. I found the waves made me sleepy and hungry. I almost wondered if they made me slightly dizzy and I mistook the dizzy for the lightheadedness you get when you are hungry and kept eating even when I probably shouldn't have. Most nights we didn't’ bother with anything for seasickness (except for the candied ginger and chocolate in the dining room), but that night we took one of the meclazine capsules I’d had my pharmacist makeup for us before the cruise just in case. We were taking the passage on the far side of Vancouver Island so it wasn’t as sheltered. My husband hasn't been very keen on travelling and cruising up until now, so I was thrilled that he was having such a great time on this voyage. In fact, he suggested that I book another cruise while we were on the ship. We couldn't' decide which cruise we wanted, so we went with the future cruise deposit option and I booked the Eastern Seaboard cruise for next year when we got home. That will give us a chance to experience the Queen Mary and we plan to take the train home form Quebec city. This was the second formal night and it was the Roaring Twenties theme. I already posted a picture of our table mates in all their glory, so I won’t post another, but I do have some pictures that I took around the ship that show the various dance floors if anyone is interested. After dinner, we went to the Hollywood Nights show. Then we went to the ballroom for the roaring twenties ball. It was quite crowded so we just danced a bit and then left. I think we tried the Yacht club but it is higher up on the ship so the waves made it difficult that night. The pictures attached show some of the paintings that show cruising in days gone by and the garden lounge where we thought would be a good place to see the scenery, but then found we liked our balcony just as well. The first dance floor is the Yacht Club and the second one is the Queen's Room. And there is also a shot of the upstairs of the library where all the good fiction books are.
  10. Great. I really enjoyed yours of Alaska and of your British Isles trip. We are hoping to do the British Isles in 2021 if we can swing it. Enjoy your trip back to Alaska.
  11. Sitka: (Monday, June 17) Kitchen Reno is finished and the living room has been painted, so I’ll try go get some more of this review done The next port was Sitka and we didn’t have any excursions planned for this one since it looked like it was a good port to walk around. We really enjoyed our day. The ship docked a fair distance from the main downtown, but there were shuttles provided to take us into the main part of town. They dropped us off at a tourist info/shore excursion station that had a museum that told the story of the town from the Tlingit, Russian, and American points of view. We picked up a map of Sitka and started to navigate our way to St. Michael’s Cathedral which had some wonderful icons. (but was it ever crowded) We found our way to the blockhouse which was a little eerie because there was no way in, but it sounded like there were footsteps inside it. I couldn’t help wondering if maybe it was haunted. Then I dragged hubby through the mud and into the graveyard. It was wild and different. At this point, my husband wanted to head back to the ship, but I managed to persuade him to walk along the harbour to the salmon museum. (I didn’t actually want to go to this museum, but I did want to see the Sitka National Historic Park—I just didn’t’ think this was a good time to tell him that.) Once we got there, I did persuade him to stroll through the woods and it was almost magical. There are totem poles throughout the woods, and we got as far as the clearing where the last Tlingit/Russian battle took place. There were still a few places I wanted to check out, but I did let him talk me into going back to the ship after that, partly because I’d seen the weather reports and knew the heavens were about to open up. On the way back to the shuttle bus stop, we saw the house where I think they filmed The Proposal which is just behind the Celebrity ship anchored in the bay. Someone had told us that the film had been shot in Sitka, so we'd tried to watch it before we left on our trip. After paying to rent it on demand from our cable company, after we couldn't' find it on Netflix, it was one of the movies offered on our flight to Vancouver. We took advantage of our early return to have tea in the Queen’s room and was it ever good. The scones seemed fluffier than the ones in the Lido and the clotted cream they served with them wasn’t sweet. (I have to watch my sugar intake, so I appreciated being able to have some this time.) I probably made up for it by having the chocolate treat, but was it ever good. That was the only time we got to tea in the Queen’s room, but I really enjoyed it and want to do it again on another voyage. There was a great acrobat show in the theatre that night and then we headed to the Queen’s Room for Big Band night. We even got up the nerve to dance again because there were lots of numbers we could jive, chacha, mambo or hustle to. They played the recorded ballroom music in the Yacht club, so many of the serious dancers went there instead. Some of our table mates took an excursion to Fortress of the Bear and really enjoyed it. The pictures are of ravens (very important in their culture), the blockhouse, the graveyard, the site where the battle took place, the house where the Proposal was shot I think (no ship sorry), sign at the high school that we saw on the bus shuttle, and the Queen's room tea.)
  12. Hubbard Glacier: I figure this is a good time to do a few more posts about our trip because our living room is still covered in dustsheets until our painter feels well enough to finish the job. Our next “port” was our visit to the Hubbard Glacier, but it was more like a sea day with awesome scenery. The day dawned wet and drizzly, but my husband went to the viewing deck while I stayed behind and took a picture of him on the bridge cam. I found it was much pleasanter to watch from our balcony because it was sheltered from the wind and rain and we could make a cup of tea while we were watching. I loved the sound of the ice cracking as we entered the bay. It sounded just like the water scene from the Titanic movie. But we couldn’t here it as much once we got closer to the glacier. And our Captain got us very close to the glacier—even the naturalist on board was impressed. Once she was there, she rotated the ship twice so that everyone got a great view. I found it was interesting to see out the bay when we weren’t facing the glacier, so I was just as happy watching everything from our balcony as I would have been on the viewing deck. We also got to see some glacier calvings, but I don’t know if I can upload videos or not. The weather had cleared up by the time we were due to leave the face of the glacier, so we went for a stroll on the promenade deck as the scenery drifted past. (I’d skipped two dance classes to watch the glacier, so I needed the exercise.) Then we headed for the Lido for lunch, but the place was jammed because it was the seafood buffet. We couldn’t find a seat either there or in the Garden lounge, so we decided to go to the main restaurant. At supper, a couple of our table mates later told us that they had taken their lunches back to their room, so we’ll know what to do next time. It wasn’t a formal night, but I decided to wear my swishy skirt and a fancy top because it was a sea day and I didn’t feel out of place at all. Usually after supper, we always headed back to our cabin to get freshened up. It was always fun to read The Canadian (a news digest) and the Daily Program before going out to the show in the theatre. For some reason, we took too long this night and realized we were going to be late for the show. Since we didn’t want to walk in late, we decided to skip it and go to the Queens Room to see how crowded it was for the recorded ball room music. And we finally got brave enough to dance, so I got to dance on the big dance floor wearing my swishy skirt. We even caught the late show in the theatre, so all in all it was a great night.
  13. There was one itinerary where I debated about getting on in Halifax instead of New York, but my travel agent pointed out that if the ship didn't make it into port for any reason, it would be our responsibility to catch up with it. So you might want to consider how often the port is cancelled for weather because by the time you got to Sydney, the voyage would be almost over. We're booked on the itinerary you are looking at.
  14. Day 9 Sitka was Day 8 and Victoria was Day 10 and we disembarked in Vancouver the next morning.
  15. The first formal night was the second night while we were cruising the inside passage. It was the black and white ball. The second formal night was on the night between Sitka and Victoria while we were cruising the ?outside passage. (We went on the other side of Vancouver Island.) It had a Roaring Twenties theme. The itinerary is very port intensive, so the only other "sea day" is the day the ship visits the Hubbard Glacier. That wasn't a formal night on our voyage, but it could possibly be made one. The early dining time was at 5:30, so it was sometimes a scramble to get changed for dinner on a port day. We didn't even try when we visited Juneau.
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