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karatemom2

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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. Oh my gosh - so many, where to begin. Ketchikan itself is a charming little town with a wonderful history, so just exploring in town offers quite an array of things to do and see. We love going up to Cape Fox Lodge for breakfast and sitting by the window watching the float planes land and then walking down Married Man's Trail from the top and exploring the historic Creek Street area. During salmon season you can watch hundreds of salmon fighting their way back up the creek and we like to fish from the bridge and docks there. You will find a couple of small, but interesting museums in town and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, plus just lots of charming shops and some fun and delicious places to try the local cuisine. The Lumberjack Show is cheesy, but fun for a once and done kind of thing. But we really love getting outside of town and exploring the beauty - in one direction you will find Saxman Native Village and up the road Herring Cove, where you can stop and watch for bears during the salmon run. If you head the other direction you will see the beautiful Totem Bight Park on the beach with it's pretty trails, Ward Lake and the hiking there as well as Lunch Creek Trail which is so easy and leads to a beautiful waterfall. We find that we have our best days in Ketchikan by renting a car or van for the day and letting the weather and our sense of adventure dictate our itinerary for the day. It is the best way to get out and explore and driving is so easy as there is basically just one road and you can only go so far in either direction. This is a great map to use for an overview: https://www.experienceketchikan.com/support-files/revillagigedo_map.pdf
  2. What was the daily charge of the package for your daughter if it was priced lower due to the Zero Alcohol package? The general understanding is the Plus Package price is the same price for everyone, regardless whether it is the Zero Alcohol option so it would be interesting to know exactly what you paid per day for your daughter. Was it $50 a day, $40 a day? Surely if you paid a lower price, you could share what the actual cost was. It would be helpful for others here to know if in fact Princess does allow a reduced charge for minors.
  3. Parking at San Pedro is very easy. You can line up and drop your bags off with a porter, then go park your car. It's a huge lot - generally plenty of spaces available. You are charged at the exit gate on departure and it is easier to use a credit card - it's an automated system where you put the ticket in the machine and then pay with your card - although there is always an attendant there to help, so I imagine you could possibly use cash, but who would want to do that these days?
  4. Generally in a side by side comparison, Princess usually offers better port times, not just in length of time, but also not odd hours. Also, in Ketchikan, Princess docks right in town as opposed to a remote dock at Ward Cove that NCL uses. We have cruised both Princess and NCL multiple times in Alaska and one of my main issues with NCL was the Ward Cove docking location. It is very inconvenient and really diminishes the time you have to enjoy your time in port due to the shuttle situation. We love Ketchikan and always have a full day planned. Princess also just does a great job onboard with their Alaskan cultural and naturalist program that we have never found matched on any other line we have tried for Alaska.
  5. Oh yes, that makes sense. He was there in February! So definitely not peak time. I’m sure prices skyrocket in summer.
  6. To this day, out of all our trips to Skagway, our visit to Bennett Lake is one of my favorite excursion memories. If you have any interest in history, especially Gold Rush history, it is like a living museum. There are still artifacts everywhere you look on the trails at the historical site - it is all left untouched and prohibited from being removed. I could have spent hours there - and of course the train ride is beautiful and you still get the bus tour as well with all of the scenic stops. Driving yourself is fine, but in my estimation a bit less satisfying, especially for those who have not traveled to Skagway many times because without a guide and commentary, you miss a lot of great detail and also an expert who knows where to look for things like wildlife and important sites. Emerald Lake is very pretty, but it is just a scenic viewing location. Bennett Lake offers so much more.
  7. My son recently was in Anchorage and stayed at the Embassy Suites there. It was reasonable and very nice. Huge rooms and great breakfasts according to him.
  8. My kids have been cruising on Princess with us since they were 5 and 10 - they are adults now. They never had any issue being bored and always met other teens onboard. There will be a lot of families traveling over the summer and Princess puts together a nice program for all age groups. Yes, NCL has more stuff onboard with the Go Carts and Laser Tag - that would be fun for teen boys. But, really this trip should be your opportunity to really let them see Alaska and Princess is so much better for that. I would look at planning some really fun and adventurous port tours too which would make it even more fun for them.
  9. Another good option, if you opt not to purchase a package for your 17 year old grandaughter and she enjoys sodas, is to preorder the 6 packs of sodas that will be delivered to your room when you board. You can also order bottled water as well. Very cost effective as the sodas end up costing about $1.95 each and the water about 65 cents each - a big savings over what they charge at the bars, and you have the convenience of being able to keep the in the fridge in your stateroom. Helps cut down on the ala carte cost if you decide to skip the additional package.
  10. I certainly hope they honor it for you!! I thought it was bookings before the end of December, but according to the post by jagoffee, it was bookings by 12/1/23 and it sounds like yours was booked just a few days after that. Princess should really do the right thing and honor it since they were clearly still advertising it when you booked. Please let us know what happens when you finally find someone to assist you. Good luck!!
  11. Thanks for noting that correction. I never realized that it changed based on the area from which the ship was cruising, but it makes sense I guess if those countries have a lower drinking age. I’m glad my kids were not aware of this when it would have allowed them to drink “underage” on a couple of our cruises. 😊
  12. She does not have to have the Plus package, but there is no other package offered that provides just soft drinks and WiFi. She will either need to have the package or you will be paying for those items ala carte which in her case may be more cost effective. The Plus package does offer a Zero Alcohol Package which includes basically all the same benefits of the Plus with no alcohol for those underage - but as far as I know, it’s the same price. There is a stand alone soda package you can purchase - no WiFi or Crew Appreciation bundled in - that provides unlimited soft drinks, mocktails, and smoothies. It costs $14.99 per day plus 18 percent service charge. By the way, the drinking age on Princess is 21, so the 18 year old will not be able to purchase alcoholic beverages with the Plus package either.
  13. I was just thinking the same thing. Looking at the email address provided in another response: dietaryrequest@princesscruises.com This is a different email from the standard customer email address you were likely using. It’s likely your message was forwarded to that department to respond and their emails went to your spam folder, especially if they contained attachments. You might want to do a search of your junk folder to see if you find anything.
  14. Agree. It’s really not any more intrusive than the former process, and honestly so much quicker and easier once you get your account set up. The benefit is applied to your account very quickly once you submit through the app.
  15. There is definitely an advantage to letting someone else do the driving so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Plus you get the best of both - the train trip and the drive. We have toured with Chilkoot Charters a couple of times and they deserve the great reviews they get. I would suggest you call them and ask about the space for the walker. I seem to recall that the large touring van they use has space in a back trunk area that would probably easily hold a fold up walker.
  16. This made my chuckle! On our one and only HAL cruise that we chose in Alaska for the great itinerary, at 8:30 pm when we would walk down the hall to our cabin for a quick refresh after dinner, everywhere you looked the breakfast order cards were already hanging on the doors because people had turned in for the night. It was the most low key nightlife we have ever experienced on any ship. Thank goodness for the wonderful piano bar performer who kept us and one other couple our age entertained each evening.
  17. @Buddysmom10 we are also on the same cruise with you this summer. We have had no problem getting right off the ship on our two recent cruises the in past years out of Southampton. We will also be doing early walk off again this year on our upcoming cruise and have our car service scheduled to pick us up at 7:45 am. You don’t need to provide Princess with any flight info. Just let Guest Services know once onboard that you are want early walk off for your disembarkation.
  18. Say what you want about port times, NCL’s times are short or odd hours that make many activities that don’t start that early or run that late difficult. When you factor in the transit time from Ward Cove it just adds even more time and inconvenience. Sure, if you are happy to stick to cruise line excursions, you will find things scheduled to work. But Alaska is a very easy and desirable place to plan individual excursions that are infinitely more cost effective and often more satisfying. We really like NCL and have actually done six Alaska trips with them. But we were not happy with the Ward Cove set up - and we gave it two chances figuring perhaps the first year was just still working out the kinks. I’m quite good at basic math, enjoy NCL and am not just wed to cruising Princess, and have personally experienced the Ward Cove port. It’s not for me. I would rather spend my time experiencing Alaska then a manufactured port with chaotic shuttles and limited access to all the area offers without relying on a cattle call cruise excursion. So, we will happily cruise NCL many other places in the world but not in Alaska. I’m sure they will still fill the ships - but ultimately some people just don’t understand what they are missing out on, and those that do can come here to complain if they choose - since this is Cruise CRITIC. And in the end, people who prioritize port time and access will choose other lines.
  19. It creates a nightmare! Our last visit to Sitka in 2022 was on the Royal Princess which is already a larger ship holding over 3,000 passengers. We were lucky we got there first and we had early plans so we were up and off the ship as soon as it cleared and immediately got the shuttle into town. However, Ovation of the Seas, which holds nearly 5,000 passengers arrived shortly after us, and I heard the waits for people trying to get the shuttle after that ship arrived were hours long. Getting back on the ship was a cluster. The line for the shuttles in town was ridiculously long, and the port was a complete zoo when we got back - no way was I even attempting to go into the few local businesses or eateries there. It took us around 90 minutes to get back from town and back onboard the ship.
  20. From what has been shared here that benefit has been discontinued and is only available on your cruise if you made the booking prior to the end of December 2023. Not sure when you booked, but if it was after the beginning of this year, it will not be offered for free as a suite benefit. If it was prior to then end of year deadline, you should still get it as a perk, but may have to call ahead to get it worked out or have your concierge arrange it onboard. I can say based on our experience doing it on the Discovery on New Year’s Eve, it is well worth the price if you do end up having to pay for it.
  21. When we had a similar long time frame before our flight, we rented a car at port that we used for the day and then dropped off at the airport. It was way more reasonable then the Princess excursion, we were able to easily able to keep our luggage with us stowed in the trunk, and we had full freedom to do whatever we wanted to do. At the airport we returned the car and took the shuttle from the rental return to our terminal. It was great!
  22. The van portion picks passengers up in Fraser where the train ride ends and proceeds to Carcross, Carcross Desert, and Emerald Lake. On the way back to Skagway it also makes many scenic stops including Caribou Crossing and the Yukon sign. They also have a combined trip with the train that goes all the way to Lake Bennett we have taken as well. Both are great combos.
  23. Here is a link for the Roll Call for your specific cruise which is likely where you would want to share this message: Enjoy! We loved our British Isles cruise a couple of years ago!
  24. Yes, they are fully covered and flush with the decks above so no one can look down into your balcony space so you have shade and privacy.
  25. Understood that the OP is visiting Haines and not Skagway, but for others reading these comments who may be stopping in Skagway, another good option is the train/van combo offered by companies like Chilkoot Charters. This allows you to get the best of both worlds and experience the train, which is a wonderful experience, but also see this scenic route from another vantage that the highway offers while also stopping at several places along the way. On our different trips to Alaska over the years, we have done train only, van tour only, car on our own, and the train/van combo, and for what it's worth I think the train up and van back is my favorite option.
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