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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. The Love Long Beach Festival is that weekend. It’s a pretty big event. https://www.lovelongbeachfestival.com
  2. karatemom2


    We always enjoy catching them”Days of 98” show if we have time. It’s very entertaining and provides a fun take on Skagway’s history.
  3. Your mileage may vary depending on how busy your particular cruise is, when you arrive, how many fellow passengers fall into each category, port of departure, etc. We have picked up at port when we have had minimal wait time. On our Southampton departure last year it was pretty easy. However, we waited in a very long line in San Pedro for our NYE cruise while my daughter and her husband who had their medallions shipped walked right onboard. We spent over an hour in line and missed out on lunch in the MDR which we always enjoy as a way to begin our cruise. That was enough to convince us to have our medallions shipped from now on. They are already ordered for our two upcoming cruises this year. It’s a small price to pay for the potential of making our boarding process quick and easy.
  4. Agree that I have never seen whale watching excursions in either Ketchikan or Skagway. What I have noted in Ketchikan are what are referred to as scenic and wildlife boat tours that mention whale sightings as one of the possibilities - but definitely not a guarantee like in Juneau or ISP. More luck of the draw likely. But here is one that seems to be focused on whale watching: https://ketchikanfishfinder.com/ketchikan-whale-watching.html
  5. You are a brave one taking on Marriage Match! Good for you - what a fun thing to do on such an epic cruise! We actually had a very similar experience at The Catch on the Sky this past September. We were very excited to try it and we were very disappointed. Like you, our service was painfully slow - our longest dinner ever clocking in at nearly 2 and half hours. The stretches between courses were so long that we bordered on asking if there was a problem. We really never complain so just didn’t say anything but by the time dessert finally arrived I just wanted to get going. I enjoy a leisurely meal but this was too long and the timing between courses was just off. I wasn’t wowed by the food either, which didn’t live up to the hype for us. But people rave about it so I’m planning to give it another try. We didn’t have anyplace to be, but generally if we do we try to let our wait team know that we need to be done by a certain time. Not sure if that would have helped in your situation. Also, if we leave before dessert we generally try to let our wait team know we are leaving and why. But regardless, there is no excuse for them confronting you like that. Absolutely unacceptable way to approach a paying customer.
  6. it’s not a difficult drive - the road is good with some minor curving, but nothing hair raising. Also, typically the worst conditions you are likely to experience are rain or fog. It’s not like you are driving in snow or ice. We have done the drive numerous times in rental cars and find it quite easy. That being said, the real advantage of letting someone else do the driving is so you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery. We are very comfortable driving rented vehicles in new places, but if you feel that might be stressful for you, by all means book a tour instead.
  7. Kona is also a great place to book a snorkeling trip to Kealakekua Bay, in my opinion one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. It is like swimming in an aquarium.
  8. None of the existing International Cafes on any Princess ships have been closed to my knowledge. Certainly that would have come up here had it happened. But there is one Princess ship - the Diamond - that does not have an IC. In terms of the offerings, they have cut back on a number of items. It is a little bit more simple offerings now, primarily sandwiches and desserts - they no longer offer the array of salads and daily soup that they used to. However, they definitely still offer the almond croissants, along with other pastries and muffins. Breakfast ordered via the hang card in your stateroom is still provided at no charge. If you call and place an order from Room Service via the phone there is a $5 fee.
  9. There are basically two options for sled dogs - one involves the fairly expensive helicopter tours that allow you to do the dog sled ride on actual snow. It sounds cool, but for many the price is prohibitive. Other options would be in Juneau and Skagway. Outside Juneau you can do a tour to Dog Sled Summer Camp and get a good look at how they raise, care for, and train the dogs as well as a sled ride on dirt. In Skagway, you have the option mentioned by gvgseg which I have heard great things about, and you can find a similar option at Caribou Crossing where you can hold the puppies and do a sled ride on dirt. Here is a link with information: https://www.wildadventureyukon.ca/
  10. Not that we have ever seen. Skagway is a tiny town. There is a local shuttle bus to get around town, but not taxis. Most vendors providing this drive will be private tour operators and would be booked out in advance.
  11. Here’s a good thread on the packages from late last year that breaks down costs and benefits that you might find helpful.
  12. Congratulations on your anniversary!! Even though you are doing a vow renewal, it sounds like one of the wedding packages may be more in line with what you are seeking, especially since you have guests. I’m sure they would offer vow renewal with these packages as well. https://www.princess.com/en-us/ships-and-experience/celebrations/romance/wedding-cruises
  13. Depending on how late in July you are traveling. If the salmon are running you can often spot black bears feeding at Herring Cove on the outskirts of Ketchikan. We have very good luck there.
  14. Princess excursions have become noticeably more expensive of late. If they do have a “sale” many have noted they raise the price first, only to reduce it via the “sale” to the original price. As time goes by and the cruise draws closer, the prices just seem to be going up exponentially. Excursion prices for our Norwegian fjords cruise this summer have gone up across the board, some substantially. My advice is always to book early if there is a particular excursion on which you have your heart set. I will say that our years of cruising in Alaska have provided a lot of experience with independent tours there. We much prefer them over ship tours unless it is something we really want to do and a ship excursion is the only option. Alsska is a very easy place to find exceptionally reliable private tours or even just to tour independently with a rental car for transportation. There is an excellent tour operator in Skagway that offers combined train and van tours called Chilkoot Charters as one example based on your interest in that excursion. Highly recommended and very well reviewed. I imagine this thread will get moved to the Alaska port board, but if not, I would encourage you to research there for lots of great advice and content for people planning Alaska cruises.
  15. Most native Californians find that term as a reference to our home state ridiculous and lazy. For example I would never refer to some other US states as “Flori”, “Ari”, “Washi” , “Virgi”, or “Monti”, just to rattle off a few examples to illustrate how silly it is. Just call it by its proper name like you would any other state. We live in California.
  16. While I do appreciate some of the videos on different itineraries and ships that provide a nice preview for things like stateroom selection, ship information, and excursion planning, I do see how intrusive and annoying it has become for crew and fellow passengers. I particularly cringe at the vloggers who literally shove their cameras in crew members’ faces. It is incredibly inconsiderate and invades their privacy while they are trying to do their jobs. We had the misfortune of being seated adjacent to a couple of “influencers” filming their dinner in the MDR on our New Year’s cruise on Discovery. Talk about entitled and obnoxious! They yammered loudly through dinner with their cameras filming constantly - and completely putting our wait team on edge and annoying fellow diners, many of us exchanging “looks” and being extra nice to our waiters who were clearly stressed by the entire ordeal.
  17. The 12 night is a great cruise and we loved it but the port intensive schedule takes stamina. We did it following 4 fully action packed days in London, and we saw and did so much that I sometimes still wonder how we fit it all in. It was exhausting, but so worth it. One of our best travel experiences ever!
  18. No worries, the Casino will be open and happy to welcome you and your investments. My DH got plenty of gambling time in the evenings on our British Isles cruise, although he was one of only a small handful of craps players. He managed to close the table down a few evenings rolling in to our cabin just a few hours before I made him rise and shine for another full day of touring on our very port intensive cruise. But he was a good sport and I allowed him to snooze in the tour vans between stops! 😁
  19. When we were in Halifax we rented a car to go to Peggy’s Cove on our own. It’s a beautiful place to visit. Shore Excursions is a company that caters to cruise ship passengers. Its entire business model depends on making sure that passengers get back to their ship on time. We did this trip completely on our own, plus additional touring in Halifax and made it back on the ship on time with no problem. You will be on a carefully timed and managed tour designed to get you to and from your destination in a timely manner. I don’t think you have anything to worry about in terms of going with what seems to be a reliable company.
  20. Soleil is Deck 5 Midship, Estrella is Deck 6 Midship, and the aft MDR on Deck 6 down the back stairs or elevator is Cielo.
  21. I hold such a special place in my heart for Lahaina. We honeymooned nearby at Kaanapali Beach at the Royal Lahaina Resort - it will be 40 years ago this fall. It was the first time I had ever been to Hawaii, or almost anywhere for that matter and my DH and I were just kids really. We thought Lahaina was the most charming little town we had ever seen and made so many memories there on that first trip and many subsequent trips. Watching those videos is heartbreaking. But articles like this one about the famous Banyan Tree showing signs of recovery remind me that Lahaina will be back in time - maybe a long time, but someday. I hope I get to see it and celebrate when it does come back and sit in the shade of that beautiful tree again. https://mauinow.com/2024/04/11/lahaina-banyan-tree-continues-to-show-signs-of-recovery-eight-months-after-the-maui-fires/
  22. You will be allowed off immediately if you are ready to go as soon as all clear is called. I would be prepared to get off immediately and try to either get on one of the first shuttles out or see if there is a taxi available. We noted that there were several shuttles lined up waiting to go and they would depart as soon as they were full. We also saw a couple of taxis waiting there too. You also may be able to prearrange taxi pickup by calling one of the local companies to see if you can book them in advance. An hour should allow you time to make it to town, either via an NCL shuttle or taxi.
  23. Here are a few things we enjoyed; Alaska Native Heritage Center - we found this a very worthwhile, interesting, and enjoyable place to spend a few hours. Tony Knowles Trail - great place to ride bikes or take a walk. It’s very beautiful and we saw moose! Earthquake museum - really interesting and fun simulation for this Californian. Independence Mine Historical Site - super interesting place to visit, but about an hour outside of Anchorage.
  24. I really love my bracelet - I've worn it on three cruises now. It is very comfy and looks nice as well. I purchased the gold, but they come in silver too.
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