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  #1  
Old August 21st, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Cruisetour #11 trip review - Aug 7-19, 2011

July 29, 2011 (Day 1) – Toronto to Vancouver
The long-awaited trip to Alaska has finally started! We could actually see the land of Richmond where Vancouver Airport is situated after a 45-minute delay at the Toronto airport. This marked the first day of our 9-day pre-cruise vacation in Vancouver.



I bought a Vancouver Entertainment Book for $10 a few weeks before our trip and we started using the buy-1-get-1-free coupon for our first dinner at Tropika Malaysian Cuisine in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond...yummy food, especially the satays!
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002




Last edited by wismergirl; August 21st, 2011 at 03:00 AM.
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  #2  
Old August 22nd, 2011, 11:09 PM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 – August 7-19, 2011

July 30, 2011 (Day 2) –Vancouver Downtown
I forgot to mention that we rented a Nissan Versa hatchback for $183 (8 days) from Hertz. Surprisingly, that little baby could fit all our luggage (3 big suitcases, 3 small suitcases & 3 backpacks) and it could still seat 4 adults. Good job, Nissan!




We decided to explore downtown using the new Canada Line of the Skytrain that connects downtown Vancouver and the airport/Richmond. Instead of paying for 2 zones, we only needed to pay for 1 zone on weekends. It’s important that you have exact fare in coins as sometimes the machines could not give you change or take any bills. It took less than 25 minutes to go from Aberdeen (in Richmond) to Waterfront where the cruise terminal (Canada Place) is.



A Princess cruiseship was docked there when we were there. On the other side of the dock there was a Holland American one. Seeing them made me REALLY want to go on the Alaskan cruise…can’t wait!!



Walked along the Sea Wall and saw the Olympic Cauldron overlooking Coal Harbour.

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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #3  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 – August 7-19, 2011

July 31, 2011 (Day 3) – Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

As it was bright and sunny, we decided to drive downtown for lunch, forgetting that it was Gay Parade that day and there was nowhere that we could park our car. So, off we went further north, past Stanley Park, crossed Lion’s Gate Bridge, to North Vancouver’s tourist destination, Lonsdale Quay.



We had lunch at Burgoo where they had the yummiest Mac & Cheese, yes, so different than the packaged one! Then we had a nice walk along the quay just outside Lonsdale Quay Public Market and had a spectacular view of the Vancouver harbour.


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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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Old August 23rd, 2011, 01:51 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 1, 2011 (Day 4) – Alice Lake Provincial Park, north of Squamish


Another beautiful sunny day…excellent weather for hiking…we hopped on our rental car and drove for over an hour to Alice Lake Provincial Park. The drive was very scenic, it’s the same route for driving to Whistler (we went there on Aug 4 after this hiking trip). We stopped at the Squamish Adventure/Visitor Centre as the building was very beautiful.



Upon arrival at Alice Lake, we chose the 4 lakes trail which was a nice, easy stroll. We finished the whole trail with lots of photo stops in less than 3 hours.

Alice Lake



Edith Lake



Cheekye River with snowy mountain in the background




Fawn Lake



Stump Lake

__________________
Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #5  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:52 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 3, 2011 (Day 6) – White Rock, B.C.

Many people mentioned White Rock as a must-see in B.C., off we went and... wow … it was truly phenomenal! The “White Rock” – actually a glacial deposit - was PAINTED white to match the name! LOL! However, its long and old pier, the little stores along Marine Drive, the delicious fish & chips and ice cream – even better with the 50% off coupons using the Vancouver Entertainment Book, all added to make this little town unique and authentic!

White Rock







White Rock Pier






Low Tide

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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 4, 2011 (Day 7) – Whistler, B.C.

Our family of 6 joined a local tour that took us to Whistler by coach for $50 per person, then coming back to N. Vancouver by train for an additional $145. It would be so much cheaper to just go by car, but the car could not jut sit there & wait for us to pick it up after our train ride, so we just had to pay more for the convenience. That was a really pricey excursion: $50 (tour) + $145 (train) + $50 (Peak 2 Peak Gondola) + $7.5 (tip for tour guide) = $252.5 per person plus a taxi ride to the meeting place at 6:45 am outside the Yaohan Centre in Richmond. However, the experience was wonderful and the views were spectacular!

First we made a stop at Shannon Falls, it was beautiful!



Then we visited the calm Lost Lake in Whistler.



We waited in line for over 15 minutes to buy the Peak2Peak gondola tickets that could take us up the Whislter Mountain, then crossed over to the Blackcomb Mountain, and down the Blackcomb using open chairlifts. We could have asked the tour guide to get us the Peak2Peak tickets to skip the wait, but again we were using the Entertainment coupons for 50 % off a 2nd ticket, 3 coupons used for the 6 of us and we saved $75 instead of $30 through the guide, so we chose to line up and get our own.

Peak2Peak Gondola
The red ones were just regular ones and the silver ones were those that had a glass bottom. We waited an extra 10 minutes for the glass bottom one, it`s not really that special.




Beautiful scenery up the Whistler Mountain






We saw a black bear on the slope when we were on the chairlift. We didn`t have our tele and so it was just a black spec on our shots, not worth posting. The guide said there were about 70 bears in the Whistler area as they were looking for food.

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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #7  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 04:39 PM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 4, 2011 (Day 7) – Whistler, B.C. (con`t)

Cruise Critic does not allow me to post more than 6 pictures each time, that`s why I had to keep adding new replies when the limit is reached.

Back to the trip report…we did not have time to go all the way to both Whistler and Blackcomb`s highest points as we had to take different chairlifts to go up, then back down and we (basically it`s just me but not my family members!!) were afraid that we would miss the train in the afternoon, so I kept saying ``no, no, no!`` We just barely had time to get a take-out lunch to eat on our way to wait for the shuttle to take us to the train station. The shuttle came on time and there were a lot of other customers who rode the train to Whistler that morning. If we had done a return journey, we wouldn`t have enough time to ride the Peak2Peak gondola. Good job we opted for the bus tour!

Our train was schedule to leave at 3:30 and we were on the very comfortable and beautiful train just after 3 pm. It was only a 10 minutes shuttle ride from the shuttle stop at Whistler. Let`s enjoy some wonderful scenery here.


Rocky Mountaineer at the Whistler station





The rail follows the mountain with bridges and tunnels



Going in the tunnel



Getting out of the tunnel



Awesome canyon view



View of Downtown Vancouver from train



That`s the end of the pre-cruise vacation in Vancouver. After a day of shopping, walking around and relaxation in Richmond, off we went to Alaska, flying off from Vancouver to Anchorage. Stay tuned for the next post for our Alaskan adventure!
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #8  
Old August 24th, 2011, 12:53 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 6, 2011 (Day 9) – Vancouver, B.C. to Anchorage, Alaska

I am so excited to write about our amazing, brilliant, cool, divine, enjoyable, fabulous, gorgeous, hilarious (wait till you watch or take part in ‘Quest’ on board), incredible, joyful, knowledgeable, luxurious, magnificent, narrative, outstanding, phenomenal, quaint, remarkable, supercalifragilistic (I love Mary Poppins), terrific, unique, venturous, wonderful, x-traordinary, yummy and…let’s sing…Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (we did get a few days of sunshine so we could see the peak of Mt. McKinley (or Denali) and the whole Alaskan Mountain Range). By now, after the very educational Alaskan Cruise A-Z, can you tell that I am a music teacher in an elementary school?

National Car Rental said we did not use our free rental day since 1998, so, in order not to disappoint them again, we claimed our full size car for the day. We got upgraded to a Toyota Rav4 SUV that could fit all 4 people’s luggage (4 big suitcases, 4 carry-on suitcases, 4 backpacks) closely and neatly. We had to take pictures so we could remember how to pack the car the same way to the airport for Fairbanks the next day. I deliberately write about this point as I was always wondering if the rental cars could ‘accommodate’ all our bags, and of course, plus 4 adults (my daughters are 22 & 18).

Our rental SUV



We took the 11 a.m. Air Canada direct flight from Vancouver to Anchorage and we were in the Sheraton by 2:30 p.m. As an SPG Gold member, I got a free room on the Club Floor with full access to the Club Lounge. Free fruit, juice, soda, water, hot beverage, candy (like gummy worms & bears) and munchies were available 24 hours. Continental breakfast had only a few choices.

View from the Club Lounge



Sheraton’s lobby was very nice with 4 free computers for guests to use. Each log-on would allow you 45 minutes, and you could extend the time. We printed out lots of info regarding our drive around Fairbanks the following day. Self-parking was directly across the street for $10 per night.

Sheraton lobby and LINK (where the computers were)



Although Anchorage is the biggest city and most populated in Alaska, the downtown area near Sheraton did not really have a lot of life. If you want more convenient locations, Hilton would be a much better choice with lots more shops and restaurants around.

Anchorage Downtown near Sheraton



We wanted to visit Portage Glacier and it’s about an hour’s drive from the hotel, so we had to rush to get a drive-through lunch and hit the highway so we would be in time for the last cruise to Portage Glacier at 4:30 p.m.
__________________
Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #9  
Old August 24th, 2011, 01:31 AM
MonkeyTHECruiser MonkeyTHECruiser is offline
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Like your review. can't wait to see more.
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Old August 24th, 2011, 01:49 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 6, 2011 (Day 9) – Portage Glacier, Alaska

As soon as we were on the scenic Seward Highway, it started to rain…typical Alaskan rainy weather in August. We made it to the Portage Glacier dock at 4:15 p.m. and boarded the last cruise of the day to view our first glacier. There were only about 20 passengers on board the mv Ptarmigan. It was $29 per adult, with a 10% discount if you are AAA/CAA members for the 1-hour cruise.


Boarding the mv Ptarmigan



As it was raining, we couldn’t sit on the top deck. We had no choice but to take the audio class on the lower deck and listened to all the narration, which was actually quite informative and interesting. After about 20 minutes across Portage Lake, we could see the stunningly blue and white living Portage Glacier.

Portage Lake



1st sight of the whole glacier






The boat was so close to the glacier that we took lots of great pictures in the rain. The glacier was from a relic of the Ice Age, with occasional calving (fractures of ice breaking off the glacier and crashing into the water below) that we did not see.

Stunning close-up view of the blue and white glacier with black moraine



Our next stop was to visit the nearby Begich-Boggs Visitor Centre to see the glaciology exhibits. The centre closed at 6 p.m. so we only had 20 minutes to see everything. It was still rainy and dull outside.



We ate at a local restaurant called Spenard Roadhouse on W. Northern Lights Blvd. The salmon and the seafood jambalaya were both delicious.
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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Old August 24th, 2011, 02:12 AM
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Default working hard on getting the pics

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Originally Posted by MonkeyTHECruiser View Post
Like your review. can't wait to see more.
Glad you like it. I am choosing my next batch of photos to upload to Photobucket. It takes forever!
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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Old August 24th, 2011, 03:47 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 7, 2011 (Day 10) – Anchorage to Fairbanks

My family boarded the Alaskan Airline flight at 9:45 a.m., and it arrived at Fairbanks in an hour. Alaskan Airline said they would give us a $20 refund if our luggage did not come out in 20 minutes after the arrival time. We wondered how they did it, but then, no refund for us (we were acvtually quite happy about that), as our bags came out in just 10 minutes after our arrival. Amazing service!

The arrival/baggage claim area was quite compact. Baggage claim was in the centre of the hall, there were a line of car rental counters against the back wall, and a line of cruiseline welcome stands in front of the window between the exits. When we arrived at Fairbanks, there was no RCI reps there but the Princess & Holland America reps were already working.

Fairbanks Airport



We picked up our standard SUV (Ford Explorer) from Alamo this time (Yup! It’s our 3rd car in 10 days…still 2 more to pick up, one in Juneau and one in Vancouver after the cruise. It’s also like a test drive trip!) The car pick-up location was directly across the arrival hall so it’s very convenient. The first SUV’s windshield was all cracked with a big crack of at least 3 feet long. We didn’t feel safe driving that so we went back to the arrival hall to switch to another one. Luckily there were a lot of Ford Explorers to choose from.

We saw lots of beautiful and colourful flowers just next to the rental car parking lot. I guessed it’s because Fairbanks had over 20 hours of daylight in the summer so plants could grow luxuriantly.




We were planning to go to Chena Hot Springs but it seemed too far, so we just went to Gold Dredge No.8 on the Old Steese Highway near Fox (about 20 minutes drive from Fairbanks). We didn’t know that they offered guided tours and lunch would be included in the $14.95 admission fee. We were just lucky that there were a group of Holland American cruise passengers doing their excursion at that time and we were able to join the guided tour without having to wait.

Gold Dredge No. 8 is a ladder dredge operated by the Fairbanks Exploration Co. from 1928 to 1959. Starting in the 1920s, water was brought to the area through the 90 miles (145 km) Davidson Ditch for gold mining. The Gold Dredge No. 8 cut a 4.5 miles (7.2 km) track and produced 7.5 million ounces of gold (quoted from Wikipedia).




For lunch, we ate beef stews in buckets and tasted their scones, like the miners in the good old days. After lunch, we visited different houses that were once occupied by the miners and the officers. They were very well-kept.

In one of the rooms, we saw a mini-organ. Did they really play the instrument in a miner’s room? Most unusual! I never knew miners could be so musical!



After the Gold Dredge, my daughters wanted to go to North Pole to visit Santa Claus, but we unintentionally drove past the Alyeska Pipeline. Having a husband who is a civil and structural engineer, and a daughter who is inquisitive about everything, we had to stop there and investigate.

Trans-Alaska pipeline



Teacher says, "Time for Q and A."
Q: What’s the purpose of building the pipeline?
A: to move oil from the North Slope of Alaska to the northern most ice-free port in Valdez, Alaska
Q: How long is the whole pipeline?
A: 800 miles
Q: How long did it take to build the whole pipeline?
A: Construction began March 27, 1975 and was completed May 31, 1977.
Q: Why was the pipeline high up above ground?
A: to avoid melting permafrost and let animals to cross underneath
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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Old August 24th, 2011, 05:46 AM
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Great review. Looking forward to reading more (and hopefully a photo from the Santa's place!)
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Old August 24th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pattle66 View Post
Great review. Looking forward to reading more (and hopefully a photo from the Santa's place!)
North Pole will be on my next post.
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #15  
Old August 24th, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 7, 2011 (Day 10) – North Pole, Alaska

After half an hour on the Old Steese Highway & the Richardson Highway, we reached North Pole, Alaska. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles south of Earth’s geographic North Pole (yes, we were still VERY far from it).

Outside the North Pole Visitors’ Centre



Nonetheless, we got so excited to see a big gift shop called Santa Claus House, and the world’s largest fibreglass statue of Santa Claus outside.



Did you see my younger daughter try to be Santa’s reindeer and the other one giving directions? They sure had a lot of fun there.



Santa Claus House (spent a fortune there!)




I bought postcards and sent to my school, knowing that my students will be thrilled to get mail from Santa Claus in North Pole.
Christmas-themed streets like Santa Claus Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, etc. were all over the town, even street lights were decorated in a candy cane motif.

Are you ready for class? Study the next 2 pictures, make sure you “actively & attentively & actually” take part in silent reading…just kidding! However, we did spend some time looking for this historic pole…see, we were good students who were following instructions given by the lady in the Visitor’s Centre.





There were many houses close to the visitors’ centre with beautiful green roofs. Many of them were log cabins. I loved this quaint little town with white, red and green everywhere. Just in case you don't know: the city's fire trucks and ambulances are all red, while the police cars are green and white.
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #16  
Old August 24th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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Keep it coming!
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  #17  
Old August 25th, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 7, 2011 (Day 10) – Fairbanks downtown and Pioneer Park

After North Pole, we drove back to Fairbanks downtown and had a nice walk along Chena River. In 1901, Captain E.T. Barnett landed here and established a trading post which became known as Fairbanks.



On the other side of the bridge was the modern and beautiful building of Morrison Thompson Cultural & Visitors Centre. The park nearby had a beautiful animal antlers archway.




Near the Golden Heart Plaza there was a fountain of the Unknown First Alaskan Family, right opposite was the Ice Museum but I heard that it was not very special. Having been to a great Ice Bar in Copenhagen, Denmark, I guessed we didn’t really need to recap the experience here in Alaska nor put on parkas, hats, mitts and boots yet.



We made a final stop at the Pioneer Park before returning the rental car to the airport. I couldn’t believe that such a wonderful park was free! We walked around, boarded the train that went around the whole park twice for the fare of $2, then went to Pizza Hut for dinner…how I wished I had chosen to eat the salmon bake buffet at the park!!



We drove back to Fairbanks Airport just before 8 pm. The very pleasant, friendly and helpful RCI rep greeted us warmly, called the Bear Lodge hotel shuttle and helped us move all our luggage outside the arrival hall while my husband returned the rental car. All these were done in 15 minutes and off we went to the comfortable and spacious Bear Lodge.



Upon arrival, we were greeted by our cruise director, Leah. She explained everything that we needed to know regarding check-in and the itinerary of the 1st day. I asked her about the train upgrade from Anchorage to Seward as my parents would be joining us just for the cruise and I’d like to travel with them if possible. Leah was very helpful and promised me she would check on it later that night, which she did and gave me a positive answer the following day.
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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002




Last edited by wismergirl; August 25th, 2011 at 12:38 AM.
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  #18  
Old August 25th, 2011, 12:43 AM
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Great review!
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  #19  
Old August 27th, 2011, 03:35 PM
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Default Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruisetour #11 trip review – August 7-19, 2011

August 8, 2011 (Day 11) – Riverboat Discovery Cruise, Fairbanks, Alaska (Excursion 1)

I hereby announce the official commencement of our 12-night Alaska Cruisetour #11 starting from Fairbanks, Anchorage. We met at 7:45 a.m. to board the comfortable and clean Royal Celebrity coach and met our driver, Michael, who happened to be one of the most humorous, knowledgeable and dedicated drivers (I'll tell you one of his jokes later when we came to the part about Pioneer Park). Our tour friends, average age 65+ (my 2 daughters aged 22 & 18 were like their babies, fellow cruisers kept talking about how cute they were), were so punctual (except once when we had to wait for 2 ladies for 15 minutes in Denali) that we were able to leave without delay every single time, kudos to everyone on tour!

We had a short drive to board the Discovery III Riverboat, spent a little time at the gift shop with free coffee, then started a 3-hour cruise on a paddlewheeler that took us into the heart of Alaska.




You have to sit on the left side of the boat to see a floatplane taking off and landing on water.



Then we visited the kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher and saw how the great dogs pull the sled and ran around the complex 2 times. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual sled dog team race across Alaska. Mushers and a team of 12-16 dogs have to cover over 1049 miles in 9-15 days from Anchorage to Nome. This place was also on the left side of the boat. Thanks to my powerful Jason fast focus 10x50 binoculars that I could follow the dog sled easily even in a great distance.



Next we passed by a fish camp to learn about the ancient Athabascan Indian culture and how they caught and preserved their fish. The fish camp was on the right this time but the boat turned around to make a stop there in the latter part of the journey, so, it’s on the left side of the boat again! Don’t stress out if you could not take good pictures since it was so far away from the boat, you’ll have ample photo opportunities later on. I kept deleting pictures that I took from far away…what a waste of time!



On the return journey we stopped at a Chena Indian Village where the fish camp was located and had very well-organized guided tours run by the Alaskan native guides. Below is a picture of Chena Village Alaska Post Office, outside which was a statue of Granite, the famous lead-dog of Susan Butcher, a 4-time Iditarod champion. I loved the green roof!



At the village they split the passengers into several groups and took them to different locations so everyone could have a seat when listening to their explanations. I must give credits to the excellent communication system that Riverboat Discovery used. Whether we were on board or at the Indian village, every word was broadcasted clearly whether they were far away (like the guides at the dog kennels and fish camp) or right at the village. They also showed the special locations using live video on the TV on board, just in case you could not see the kennels or fish camp clearly from where you were sitting. That made our 3-hour journey so much more interesting.

The gift shop on board was packed with passengers and the merchandise was quite reasonably priced. I bought a pair of gloves for $1.99 and some little items made by native Alaskans at a 20% discount.

We were driven back to downtown Fairbanks for lunch. As my family rented a car and drove around the day before, we didn’t walk around, instead, we had a sit down lunch at Gambardella’s Pasta Bella where the cruisetour guides ate. The bread was good, food was average and the service was quite slow. After lunch, on our way to El Dorado Gold Mine, we passed the Alyeska Pipeline again. This time it was not raining, so we took more pictures and the girls jumped again and again to touch the pipeline.

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Celebrity Infinity - S. America, December 2014; Celebrity Summit - Bermuda, August 2014; Crystal Serenity - W. Mediterranean, July 2014, Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas, March 2014 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean, August 2013; NCL Pride of America - Hawaii, July 2013; Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, August 2012; Celebrity Equinox - Italy, Greece & Turkey (E. Mediterranean), July 2012; Radiance of the Seas - Alaska, August, 2011; Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2010; Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas, July 2010; Splendour of the Seas - South America, March 2010 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia, August 2009; Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2008; Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean, July 2007; Monarch of the Seas - Mexican Riviera, August 2006; Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas, August 2005; Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, August 2004; Monarch of the Seas - Western Caribbean, August 2002



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  #20  
Old August 27th, 2011, 03:49 PM
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BettyPC BettyPC is offline
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Great review - excited to see / read the rest!
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