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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. We have used Evergreen Taxi Service on past trips and found them very reliable. I'm sure they can assist with your questions about communication and meeting point. The taxi companies are very informed about ship arrival times, locations, etc. http://www.evergreentaxi.com/
  2. I have never seen a discount offer on specialty dining on Princess. In some instances a TA may offer a specialty meal as a perk included with your booking or if you have casino benefits your host may arrange a complimentary specialty dinner. Also people booked in suites get the benefit of a free meal in a specialty restaurant on embarkation day. But other than that or getting it included in your Premier package, the price for anyone purchasing onboard remains consistent.
  3. I will share a suggestion that worked really well for us when we had a late flight out of Vancouver. We rented a car at the port, used it to enjoy touring the city for the day, and then returned it at the airport location and took the rental car shuttle to our terminal. It worked great - we had our own transportation all day, no problem with storing our luggage which just went in the trunk, and it was way cheaper than the Princess transfers. If my memory serves me right we rented from Hertz, but Enterprise and Avis both also have offices near Canada Place.
  4. The easiest place for self hikes within in walking distance of the ship is probably in Skagway. Here is a link with some info: https://www.nps.gov/klgo/planyourvisit/hiking.htm In Ketchikan, there is some good hiking around the Ward Lake area, but you would need transportation. We generally rent a car. Same in Juneau - there are hikes at Mendenhall Glacier, Perseverance Trail, and Treadwell Mine, but all would require you to have a means of transportation to get there. One option in Juneau that is walkable from the ship is to take Mount Roberts Tramway to the top, (or you can hike up, but that is strenuous and muddy at times), and there are hiking trails at the top that you can take from the Visitor's Center area.
  5. Princess tends to have better itineraries - longer port times and docks directly in Ketchikan instead of remotely at Ward Cove so take a good look at the itinerary comparison. Generally Princess offers a superior Alaska experience. Glacier Bay as part of the itinerary is an important consideration as well. The weather may be a little colder and wetter late in the season, and you will have less daylight, but on the upside you may get a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights that late in the season. Some tours and shops may be closed, but as long as the ships are still coming, there will be plenty offered. Enjoy!
  6. It’s a great tour but I am not sure it would be the best for a 9 year old child. There are likely age minimums. It’s pretty strenuous and there are some inherent hazards. As a parent, I would not have chosen that excursion for my child at that age. We did it with them when they were in high school and college.
  7. A few ideas to consider: https://www.alaskazoo.org https://www.crowcreekgoldmine.com https://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/matsu/indepmineshp.htm https://www.alaskanative.net https://www.anchorage.net/outdoors/wildlife-viewing/
  8. We have not seen waitstaff in the theatres since prior to COVID. It used to be so nice on the older ships that have the foldout table in the armrest to order a cocktail prior to the show from one of the waiters wandering around taking and delivering orders. Just another relic of past times on Princess.
  9. Options for dinner would be Skagway Brewing Company, the Red Onion, or Fish Company near the dock.
  10. Oh my gosh. We haven’t seen Alfred and Seymour for years. They were regulars on many of our West Coast cruises for many years prior to COVID. They are very funny guys and super personable when you run into them around the ship.
  11. Pretty much any whale watching tour in Juneau will guarantee you see whales - humpback whales. Orcas are a very rare sight, much more prevalent in the Victoria and Vancouver BC areas. Safest and reliable is probably most likely guaranteed on one of the larger Allen Marine vessels that you book through the cruise line tours. Smaller private vessels like Harv and Mary offer a great personalized experience, but smaller vessels, while very safe, may not feel as comfortable for everyone.
  12. Princess has recently advertised some excursion “sales” on a few itineraries. However, what has been noted is that it appears the pricing of the excursions is raised just enough prior to the “sale” that the actual reduced price is pretty much the same as it was before. In general, the trend with Princess excursions is that they keep getting more and more expensive as the cruise gets closer. The excursion prices for our Norway cruise this summer have gone up across the board - 20 to 40 percent higher in some cases. Your best bet is to book early on any excursions you really want to do through the ship. If the price does get discounted, you can always cancel and rebook. That being said, we found the British Isles an incredibly easy place to book private tours. There are so many really good, reliable operators that cater to cruise ship passengers. Out of 9 ports we booked only two with Princess for very specific timing and desired activity reasons. In all other ports we did private tours that were way more cost effective and featured smaller groups and a more personalized experience. If you check out the British Isles ports of call board here on CC, there are many great recommendations. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/148-british-isleswestern-europe/
  13. The two places we have caught halibut in Alaska are just as @wolfie11 suggested - Icy Strait Point and Sitka. In Icy Strait we went with Glacier Wind - captain Sean. But I think they only do whale watching trips now. You would have to check - maybe he would do a fishing charter. We reserved the whole boat for our party if 6. In Sitka, we rented a boat and gear and fished on our own.
  14. Yes! Exactly why we booked one for our Norwegian affords cruise this summer. Can’t wait to take it all in from our forward facing balcony! Really besides the forward facing cabins, the best forward views are probably from the Sanctuary.
  15. Sounds like this is really a dream cruise for you and I agree - a full Panama Canal transit is on our bucket list and I think doing it over the holidays will be magical! Yes, there will be lots of children - traveling happily with extended families. Often you will find multiple generations traveling together. I love children - raised two of my own on Princess cruises and we made great holiday memories with them on the ship. Sharing Christmas with children is a joyful experience for me. We raised our children to be respectful and never had any real issues with other children onboard. Of course, kids will be kids at time and do some annoying things like hit a few extra elevator buttons or congregate in the stairwell. That was about the worst we experienced from the younger crowd. However, the stories I could share about the rude adults onboard over the years we have cruised far outweigh any bad behavior from kids. And yet, I don’t let any of it deter me from enjoying my experience. Princess does a great job providing activities for the kids that keep them busy and having fun. And seeing their shining faces with Santa is pure joy. Go and enjoy your dream cruise and don’t be deterred - no cruise is ever perfect, but we have done 6 holiday cruises with Princess and they have all been wonderful!
  16. Christmas and New Year’s are a wonderful experience on Princess. First, the ships are beautifully decorated. Christmas celebrations generally include caroling, gingerbread house building contests, formal evening on Christmas Eve with Christmas Crackers at your place setting at dinner, a reading of The Night Before Christmas, Fun Fair for kids with activities including cookie decorating, and visit from Santa with a gift. These are just some examples - different CDs will add other things from ship to ship. New Year’s Eve is a giant party. Also a formal night, you will get hats at your dinner place setting. There are multiple parties staged throughout the ship with the largest generally on the top deck, weather permitting. There is a huge countdown at midnight and lots of music and dancing. I don’t have a basis of comparison as I’ve never spent a holiday with any line but Princess, but I can’t imagine anyone else does it better. Princess makes it a very special experience.
  17. Thank so much for your report! The Sky has definitely become one of our favorite Princess ships and we are so looking forward to our cruise in June!
  18. You can't use the Casino deposit in advance - because it is considered exactly that, a deposit to hold your booking and you lose it if you cancel. Therefore, even thought it transfers to OBC once onboard, you can't use it in advance like other types of OBC. But you can definitely use it toward buying the packages once onboard so it should work just fine for you - there are plenty of crew just waiting and eager to sign you up for the package as soon as you step on the ship.
  19. We have found this to be the case. We have brought six packs of canned or bottled sodas back with us from port many times.
  20. Dun Laoghaire is a tender port, so if you don’t have a ship tour you will need to go to the lounge where tickets are being distributed. I would suggest getting there as early as they open up so you can be toward the front of the line. Elite passengers and those with Princess shore tours get priority for tendering, so if you don’t fall into one of those categories, you could be facing a bit of a wait so the earlier you can get to the lounge for your ticket the better. Your whole party will need to be with you in order to get the tickets. Then you wait in the lounge until they call your group. It’s hard to say how long this will take - depends on how close you are to the front of the line and how many priority passengers are departing early. Another point, the tender transit into Dun Laoghaire is the longest we have ever experienced - it is a good 30 minute boat ride. So you will need to factor that in as well. I would imagine, if the ship arrives on time and receives prompt clearance the tenders will start running immediately, but depending on your tender group you willl likely have at least a minimal wait time even if you are in an early group so I would not expect to be at the dock to meet your family until 8 - 8:30 am at earliest.
  21. Yep, same offer here. Sadly the timeframe doesn't work for us, but we would jump on it otherwise!
  22. Exciting news, thanks for sharing! We are back to Alaska on the Ruby this September for the first time since 2022 and so happy to be going back again to our favorite destination. It is great to see that Princess is really upping its Alaska game, which in my opinion was excellent already! We will be really looking forward to experiencing some of these new offerings!
  23. The classic soda package does not include bottled water or the freshly squeezed juices from the juice bar. It does include all fountain and canned sodas, regular juices that are available at the bars like apple, orange, and smoothies and mocktails. We used to get it for our kids when they were younger and they definitely enjoyed getting the smoothies and mocktails. And my daughter was the Shirley Temple queen!
  24. The wildflowers are beautiful here this year with all the rain we had this season. I bet it was gorgeous. The interior jeep tour is a great tour - I hope they don't change your itinerary. Catalina is such jewel!
  25. Skagway Fish Company has very good food and is literally right at the dock area if you want something close by. No shuttle required - just a short walk from the ship. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60877-d5110097-Reviews-Skagway_Fish_Co-Skagway_Alaska.html
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