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About BarbinMich

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Detroit suburbs
  • Interests
    travel, genealogy, photography, gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Celebrity, HAL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. BarbinMich

    Sitka - Alaska... Must Sees at this port

    Thanks for the info. Looks like the dock in the Halibut Point Shipyard (http://halibutpointmarine.com/cruise-terminal.html) is a big success for Sitka. As for the number of ships calling at Sitka, I went to one of my favorite websites,: http://ports.cruisett.com/. Looks like the 2019 season will be very busy for Sitka: 16 ship visits in May (28,000+ pax), 23 visits/month in Jun, Jul, Aug (37,000+ pax in both Jun, Jul; 33,300 in Aug); 17 visits in Sep. (23,500 pax). The largest ship to visit will be the Ovation of the Seas (4,000+ pax) in May (only ship to visit Sitka in May, presumably because it's so big that Sitka couldn't accommodate another ship on the same day).
  2. BarbinMich

    Sitka - Alaska... Must Sees at this port

    Thanks for correcting my erroneous post; don't know where I got the info re HAL not stopping there. Thought I had gone to the HAL site, but just checked and they certainly have Sitka as a port. Often I go to http://ports.cruisett.com/ to check on ships in port and they definitely show multiple HAL ships in Sitka, as well.
  3. BarbinMich

    Sitka - Alaska... Must Sees at this port

    Thanks for the update! Although as other posters suggest, some ships still have to drop anchor--I guess when there's more than one ship there.
  4. BarbinMich

    Sitka - Alaska... Must Sees at this port

    The larger the ship the more likely it will have to tender at some ports, i.e. the ship is too large to dock at the port's pier. I've never been on a RCCL ship, but on HAL, Celebrity and Princess they use the larger life boats as "tenders", when a ship can't dock. Occasionally, a port will have its own boats that come out to a ship to pick up the pax, but I don't think that's the case in Sitka. FYI, the town's population is 8,000+ and your ship can carry 4,100-5,000 pax.
  5. BarbinMich

    Pros/Cons of Alaska glaciers

    There is also College Fjord, which is a bit west of Valdez and access is from the Gulf of Alaska via Prince William Sound. We were there many years ago (1996 and 2004) and it was a beautiful place. There are multiple glaciers, some named for famous universities. I don't know if any ships still call there, because ships are so much bigger now. We were on 1200-pax ships for both of our visits. There are probably smaller boats out of Seward that might go in there.
  6. BarbinMich

    Juneau on own

    We've been to Juneau several times. Once Mt. Roberts was "socked in" so didn't bother going up there, but the second time (2016) it was a beautiful sunny day so had a great time "up top". Eagle watching was especially good! We've been out to Mendenhall in all kinds of weather and always enjoy it--they have a very nice Visitors Center and there are various hiking possibilities. [Note: my great aunt was a intrepid traveler about 75-100 years ago and took a steamer to Alaska one year; the Mendenhall Glacier came all the way out to the highway in the 1920s. It's retreated miles since then!]
  7. BarbinMich

    Alaska in August - Some Q's

  8. BarbinMich

    Sitka - Alaska... Must Sees at this port

    One of the more interesting things about Sitka for me is its Russian heritage. Besides walking around downtown there is also the Sitka National Historic Park which has a lot of totem poles. Here's a link which shows many more things to do there: http://www.alaska.org/destination/sitka/things-to-do When we were there Sitka was a tender port and I would assume it still is. BTW, what ship will you be on? We were there on a HAL ship and that line doesn't appear to stop there anymore. Enjoy!
  9. BarbinMich

    Solo cruise to Alaska?

    I didn't know Princess did 4-day cruises to Alaska so I looked to see what port they sail from and how many ports. The Golden does 4-day RT from Vancouver to Ketchikan on 5/14 (Tue) and 9/21 (Sat) this year. So one port and 2 sea days. On Wed. 9/11, there's also a 5-day RT on the Island from Vancouver with stops in Juneau and Ketchikan and 2 sea days. Think these would only be practical/economical for those living on the west coast. The 5/14 looks to be fully booked so I guess Princess knew what they were doing.
  10. BarbinMich

    Excursion in Belize

    I did a Princess tour to Altun Ha in Jan 2017 and enjoyed it. I had done a paper on the Mayan people in high school so it was great to finally see some of their ancient structures (kind of like pyramids, but with a flat top instead of a pointy one). I'm not familiar with the Lamana ruins. I see they're only (?) accesible by river boat. The photos of the Lamana ruins looks similar to what I saw at Altun Ha, although I'm not sure they're as tall.
  11. BarbinMich

    Coral / Royal / Island

    This is my personal opinion. We first cruised to Alaska in 1996 on a 1,200 pax ship. There were probably larger ones at the time, but not many. Since then we've sailed there on HAL's Statendam (1,400 pax) in 2004, HAL's Volendam (1,400 pax) in 2005 and the Star P (3,000 pax) in 2016. The port towns in Alaska are very small Ketchikan--8,000, Junearu (the capital)--32,000, Skagway--741. On a typical day there are several ships in each of these ports. So there will be many more pax than local population, including seasonal workers. The Royal P carries 3,600 pax and it will not be the only large ship up there; Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy with 4,000 pax each will also be up there this summer. A typical example: in Skagway on Jul 2 (Tu) along with the Royal will be the Ruby P, Celebrity Solstice, and HAL Nieuw Amsterdam (12,150 total pax at double occupancy). This number of pax will be good for business, I suppose, but I'm not sure how great an experience the pax will have.
  12. BarbinMich

    Coral / Royal / Island

    Yes, it does if you go all the way to the top to the Sky Deck forward. Not positive it's 360 as I was only interested in looking forward as we entered the bay where Cobh, Ireland sits. But there's nothing behind it on the deck plan schematic. It's 2 flights of stairs up from the Sun Deck. Royal is doing Alaska for the first time this year. IMHO, it's too big a ship for Alaska. Plus, there is little sheltered outdoor space for viewing/photo-taking as there is on the older ships. We last did Alaska on the Star P and it was great to have the covered promenade. It was still very cold (in mid-May), but they served hot drinks out there when we were in Glacier Bay--the only place one usually spends any time outdoors on a ship up there. It's a few years (and many cruises) since we've been on the Coral so I don't remember its layout at all. I do remember that I really liked it at the time (on a Panama Canal cruise in 2008 and in 2013), partly because it was fairly new in 2008 and different from the Grand class ships we'd been on. I'm sure others will respond about what's "wrong" with the Island. Originally, it was identical to the Coral, but then they added cabins aft and no one seems to like the new version.
  13. BarbinMich

    I don't want to write this review...

    Anyone have any thoughts on why the food on the CB is so poor, at least compared to the Royal/Regal? And how is CB food compared to its more-or-less sister ships like the Crown, Emerald, etc? I believe they added an additional deck when they built the CB. So there are more pax, but the same size buffet/kitchens. Don't seem to hear similar complaints about the MDRs or at least not as many. Our last cruise was on the CB in Jan 2017 and it was ok then.
  14. BarbinMich

    Top 10 Best of Halifax - Royal

    Great photo! Nice to see it all by itself.
  15. BarbinMich

    Kauai, Hi. Docking

    Just curious if you know where you want to go on Kauai. From the port one can go west and visit Waimea Canyon , their "Grand Canyon" (did an excursion to there on our one cruise to HI). We're not beach people, but I think there are beaches (Poipu comes to mind) along that route. Since our Hawaiian cruise, we've stayed on Kauai several times and usually in the Kaapa area, north of the port. On the north shore is the Kilauea lighthouse in a spectacular setting. Further west of that on the north shore are several public beaches.