Gold, Grizzlies and Glaciers
About This Page: This is a discussion on Gold, Grizzlies and Glaciers within the Globetrotting: General Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Who: Don 64 (when I cruise) male
When: May 5-14, 2010
Where: Alaska Inside Passage
How: Air/foot/Cruise on Royal Caribbean ...
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Who: Don 64 (when I cruise) male When: May 5-14, 2010 Where: Alaska Inside Passage How: Air/foot/Cruise on Royal Caribbean Lines Rhapsody of the Seas June 2009 Being retired an on a set income, I start saving in advance for trips (I don’t book them until I have enough set aside to pay it off when booked. I already had a DCL Western Caribbean Cruise and 10 WDW trip booked for right after Thanksgiving 2009. Things were going well in July my ‘travel’ reserve reached enough for another trip to be planned
Would I do a DCL Eastern in 2010 or something else. Maureen (statelady01) had started her trip report on an Alaska cruise, and I was extremely interested.
I sent an email to my trusty TA (who works as a Disney specialist, but is connected to a company that does a lot of other cruises too). I told her my interests (May..before schools get out) and she sent me information of inside passage, Glacier Bay (usually one-way Seattle/Vancouver to Anchorage) and cruise/tour (Glacier Bay plus an inland tour going to Fairbanks with a stop in Denali). I perused the information and decided the compromise between what I wanted to see and budget only allowed for an inside passage cruise with a couple pre-days in Vancouver. I sent my TA another email and said pick your three inside passage with a Vancouver start and let me compare them .
July 2009 I picked my trip. Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas with a somewhat different itinerary. It starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle. That little difference saved me some money in airfare. I would fly from Sacramento to Vancouver, spend two nights in Vancouver (I splurged on the Vancouver Marriott-super expensive) then 7 nights on the cruise with stops in Skagway, Juneau, visit to Tracy Fjord, and Ketchikan. I did a second splurge in the booking, booking a balcony. (Hopefully I won’t have a full foggy day like Maureen ). Being single, cruising is expensive (you pay about 90% of what a couple pays). I emailed my choice to my TA, and she booked the trip, applied my deposit and informed me of the balance. I then called her and told her to pay it off. (Alaska Cruises are not cheap (DCL announced later and would be about25% higher priced.))
So for 2010 it is off to Alaska (not WDW) with maybe a fall trip to DL to get a Disney fix.
I am so happy for you in that its almost here! And I am stinkin sorry I didn't finish- life has just been way, way too hectic to even think about it.
I will be thinking of you. Honestly, Alaskan cruises are expensive enough as it is- I couldn't imagine paying anymore than we did. I hope your experience is as outstanding as ours was- hands down it was the best cruise I have ever been on.
Keep us posted! And I will be looking for your pictures with the moose, polar bear and whatever crazy RCCL character acosts you and the other passengers for photo ops on port days.. ( they usually seem to descend at the entrance of Windjammer FYI)
I'm excited to hear about your trip too! I am looking into booking a Land/Cruise to Alaska in 2013 for myself and my parents. I hear you about the solo cruiser though, it's going to cost almost as much for my own room as for my parents together!
Pre-trip report, part two Being a typical Passporter, trip planning is in my blood. With the base package booked (hotel, air, cruise) now it was time to really start reading up on where I was going.
First was an internet search for what free information I could get. I also checked a ‘visit Alaska box’ from one of my multitude of travel magazines. Second was a stop at our local Barnes and Noble. I sat on one of the step stools and previewed Alaska and Vancouver travel books. I settled on Fodor’s Alaskan Ports of Call and a newly published Frommer’s Vancouver & Whistler day by day. Within a week I also received Official Visitors Guide 09-10 from Tourism Vancouver.
With a reservation (paid in full) in hand, I could also enter Royal Caribbean’s website to watch for further details on my cruise. I registered on the site as the traveler, and this paid off later.The site is very helpful, if you are patient and take some of it with a grain of salt. It wasn’t until October when further details relating to my cruise started to become available. In late October, the 43 page pdf file of available excursions became available, so I downloaded it and started comparing the offerings with what I had read (and reread and reread) in my guidebooks.
About Veteran’s day (November 10 or so), I got an email from Royal Caribbean offering 10% off of excursions if booked early. Since my choices were already picked , I made my excursion reservations. I picked: Ketchikan- Saxman Native Totem Village ($62) 2 ½ hours A visit to a modern Tlinglit village, for tribal dances and stories, see the Beaver Clan house and the Village Carving center. Juneau- Mendenhall Glacier and Gardens ($68) 3 ½ hours A visit to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest and the Mendenhall Glacier. A guided tour of the rainforest, going from sea level to 580 feet in the forest. Then on to the Glacier, and its visitor center. Skagway Yukon Exploration & White Pass Scenic RR (188) 8 ¼ hours By motor coach, follow the trail of ’98 to the White pass summit, and then on into the Yukon. Visit with lots of historical points being pointed out, then on to Tormented Valley and visit the Village of Carcross near Lake Bennet. BBQ lunch, with wildlife exhibits, and a Wooly Mammoth Experience. Stop at a sledding dog puppy camp. Then retrace our steps to Fraser, BC to board the White Pass and Yukon Railroad for the historic train ride journey back to Skagway. Lucky you have your passport for the cruise, as you will need it on this trip as you cross in and out of Canada on the trip.
By booking early I saved $32.00 (that will buy a couple of Adult Beverages on board).
Checking later on the RCL website, the FAQ indicated that I could get my flight information 45-60 days out but my TA should be able to get them at 90 days out. (It still says that). I emailed that info to my TA (including the FAQ link). She tried at 90 days and no luck. : When she called them they told her the same 45-60 days out. And the FAQ is still the same. She placed the revised calling date at 60 days on her ‘to do’ list While waiting for the flight information, the period for booking beer/wine/soda packages opened up. $48.30 for a week’s soda package (including ‘souvenir’ mug and 15% tip).
We finally got the flight details on March 15 (for a May 5 start of the trip). I was actually very happy with the flights I was assigned. Sacramento to San Francisco to Vancouver on United. Early enough that I can pack the night before, get up when I normally wake up, a two hour layover in SF (which often gets flight slowdown) so I have time to get food between planes, and use a real restroom and not worry about the planes not connecting. I am schedule to arrive in Vancouver just after 1… so I should be at my hotel by 3, giving me Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday morning to explore Vancouver. The cruise transfers are included, then again the cruise terminal is about 6 blocks from my hotel.
With the unusual depart Vancouver disembark Seattle, they booked me on a direct Seattle to Sacramento flight home.
So the planning is done (except for what to pack). North to Canada and Alaska!