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  #1  
Old May 24th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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LkGcruiser LkGcruiser is offline
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Default Tendering a Tender Subject in Juneau on Solstice

Just off the Solstice Alaska cruise and buy & large a top-notch cruise, however anyone sailing in the subsequent weeks might want to think hard on planning an independent excursion while in Juneau.

The tendering process was a nightmare to say the least. 1st offense was having everyone stand on queue for a tender ticket. People lined up 1/2 hour before the designated time and then proceeded to pick-up 20 tickets (I assume for there buddies) at a time.

The excursions booked through the cruise line had priority, as it should be since they are paying top dollar, along with Elite class & those in suites. By the time they started calling for the "ticketed tender #'s" they had an angry bunch of people who had again waited for hours (no exaggeration) and were going to miss their excursions.

Part of the problem lies with Juneau only having room for 2 tenders at a time.
At the Captains Club party we learned that if they had room at the tender dock to accommodate more tenders it would make a difference and the late arrival in port added to the difficulties.

I wouldn't be surprised if Juneau does something quickly to alleviate the problems encountered during this past weeks cruise by allowing Solstice to drop anchor earlier and get clearence faster as I am sure the local businesses lost money.

As we offered suggestions on how better to make it work the Officers said they have looked at it every-which-way & heard it all. If we could come up with a better suggestion they hadn't already thought of they would love to hear it.
My husband had the the best suggestion they actually hadn't thought of: ZIPLINE straight into the pier!!! That got a hearty chuckle from them.

So, the point to my story is to really think about your options for Juneau. Do you want to spend vacation time waiting in lines? Possibly miss a pre-booked excursion? Maybe just wait and get the later tenders once all the craziness has subsided? It was much easier by 4 pm. Your choice. Good Luck.
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  #2  
Old May 24th, 2013, 04:15 PM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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Sorry that it was a problem and thank you for sharing your experience.

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  #3  
Old May 24th, 2013, 04:45 PM
BigDaddy2002 BigDaddy2002 is offline
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We will be on the Solstice on the June 28th sailing. This will be our third time in Juneau. On each of the two previous cruises (Carnival & Princess) we were docked in Juneau. Were there other ships in port that day? Is tendering in Juneau a new procedure?
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  #4  
Old May 24th, 2013, 04:51 PM
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Interesting! I have been to Juneau twice and we have always been docked - both on Celebrity.

I just checked the Celebrity site. Originally I thought maybe the Solstice is too big since all the 2013 Alaska cruises show "tendered" for Juneau. However, in 2014 all of the cruises show "docked". Maybe when they added the Solstice to the Alaska itineraries all dock space in Juneau was already booked for the season, OR, perhaps she is too big and new docks are being built???? Who knows. I'm sure someone will find out the reason why, but right now it doesn't seem to make much sense.

Sorry you had to experience that! Tendering is tenuous even when everything "works".
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Last edited by gimletgal; May 24th, 2013 at 05:00 PM.
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  #5  
Old May 24th, 2013, 04:56 PM
Spender Nui Spender Nui is offline
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I've always docked in Juneau too.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 05:14 PM
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I have also been to Juneau twice, and have always been docked. Thanks for sharing this important information.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddy2002 View Post
We will be on the Solstice on the June 28th sailing. This will be our third time in Juneau. On each of the two previous cruises (Carnival & Princess) we were docked in Juneau. Were there other ships in port that day? Is tendering in Juneau a new procedure?
I'm on the same upcoming cruise.
I don't understand why those who are taking X's excursions are treated preferentially. Don't all passengers have the same contract with X for transportation to the ports listed on the itinerary?

As far as our cruise is concerned, per the below info, we will be anchoring.


Currently we are planning on having Solstice at AJ Dock on May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, Sept 2

Best regards,

CLAA Juneau

http://www.claalaska.com/schedules.html
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Last edited by POPDISPLAY; May 24th, 2013 at 05:31 PM.
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  #8  
Old May 24th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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The one time we were in Juneau, in 2005, we had to tender. This was on the Sapphire Princess. We were supposed to dock but did not and why I dont know but the tendering process was a mad scramble as they were not at all prepared for this and all they had was two young ladies trying to calm a horde of angry passengers and clearly these two were overwhelmed.

We had a ships tour which we did not miss but had little time for seeing Juneau.
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  #9  
Old May 24th, 2013, 06:29 PM
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We were on the May 17th Solstice cruise as well, and the OP is correct. The tender process was a nightmare. I've never witnessed such angry passengers before.

The other problem with the tender process is that the dock in Juneau was at a very high incline and created many problems for those with mobility issues. It was a strenuous climb for many once they reached the dock.

I also heard that there are some sailings this year that will dock vs. tender based on other cruise line schedules. (not confirmed, just something a bartender told me) Hopefully, Celebrity will work this out since it was one of the only blemishes on a wonderful week in Alaska
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  #10  
Old May 24th, 2013, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POPDISPLAY View Post
I'm on the same upcoming cruise.
I don't understand why those who are taking X's excursions are treated preferentially. Don't all passengers have the same contract with X for transportation to the ports listed on the itinerary?

As far as our cruise is concerned, per the below info, we will be anchoring.


Currently we are planning on having Solstice at AJ Dock on May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, Sept 2

Best regards,

CLAA Juneau

http://www.claalaska.com/schedules.html
Priority is given to the tours Celebrity sells. It is like this for every cruise line that tenders.
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  #11  
Old May 24th, 2013, 07:39 PM
Northern Aurora Northern Aurora is offline
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I live in Alaska, but that doesn't make me an expert in "all things Alaskan." However, I did want to point out that four ships can dock in Juneau, and when they have a fifth it has to tender.

I had been curious as to how the tender process would be received by passengers tendering in Juneau. Does anyone who has tendered off the Solstice in Juneau have enough knowledge of the Gastineau Channel to be able to state where the Solstice was anchored? Approximately how long did it take to reach shore once the tender left the ship?
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Old May 24th, 2013, 09:06 PM
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Sailed Princess in Alaska (August '09) and we docked. No ships tendered.
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  #13  
Old May 24th, 2013, 09:20 PM
RBKL RBKL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Aurora View Post
I live in Alaska, but that doesn't make me an expert in "all things Alaskan." However, I did want to point out that four ships can dock in Juneau, and when they have a fifth it has to tender.

I had been curious as to how the tender process would be received by passengers tendering in Juneau. Does anyone who has tendered off the Solstice in Juneau have enough knowledge of the Gastineau Channel to be able to state where the Solstice was anchored? Approximately how long did it take to reach shore once the tender left the ship?
The Solstice is tendering when it is the fourth ship in Juneau.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for letting us know. we are on in 2 weeks.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 11:28 PM
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The Solstice alternates with another ship (a different cruiseline) for docking. I can't remember which ship it was, but apparently they are sharing the dock and taking turns, like we are taught to do in kindergarten

So it's a biweekly thing. My particular cruise tenders I've done it before and can do it again, but it's sooooo much nicer to dock.
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Old May 25th, 2013, 01:06 AM
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I'm sure they will get the kinks worked out within the next week or two. This seems par for the course when a ship is new to a port or doesn't usually anchor at a port. When we were on the Equinox in the Mediterranean in 2011, we had to anchor at Naples (where they had expected us to dock), which caused mad chaos in boarding the tenders and loads of furious people fighting near the gangway. It was so bad, we went back up to our room and decided to wait until later in the day to get off. The Juneau situation will definitely smooth itself out.




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Old May 25th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POPDISPLAY View Post
As far as our cruise is concerned, per the below info, we will be anchoring.


Currently we are planning on having Solstice at AJ Dock on May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, Sept 2

Best regards,

http://www.claalaska.com/schedules.html
Not sure I understand Celebrity's (?) statement that they "plan" to have the Solstice at AJ Dock on those dates since the schedule clearly shows that the Solstice has no dock. Other ships are scheduled for AJ on those dates. In any event, AJ is not near downtown Juneau, which has always been such an easy walk-off port. Everything right there from the main docks. I imagine shuttles to downtown will be provided. Still, not very convenient.

Here's a photo of AJ Dock:
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  #18  
Old May 25th, 2013, 09:00 AM
sldispatcher sldispatcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxnAquarian View Post
I'm sure they will get the kinks worked out within the next week or two. This seems par for the course when a ship is new to a port or doesn't usually anchor at a port. When we were on the Equinox in the Mediterranean in 2011, we had to anchor at Naples (where they had expected us to dock), which caused mad chaos in boarding the tenders and loads of furious people fighting near the gangway. It was so bad, we went back up to our room and decided to wait until later in the day to get off. The Juneau situation will definitely smooth itself out.




Michael
I agree with this as well. Whether it is sailing on a maiden voyage or an inaugural run to new ports/new situation (this class of a ship), I think the expectation that everything is going to run smoothly the very first time is a bit much. Something tells me they are already working hard to make any sort of improvement in the process that they can.

There will always be those that counter that "Celebrity has been going to Alaska for years" or "this is not the first time that they have ever tendered".

I say relax. I'm on Solstice on the 31st with a group of 40 with an independent excursion in the afternoon. I took steps to pad our schedule knowing that it is a tender port. I'll take steps onboard to help the group have a hassle free tender experience.

HOWEVER, I can't predict everything that might happen. I cannot control the weather either. For some, one rain drop might "ruin" the entire cruise.

If Celebrity does nothing and simply moves ahead with the same chaos every other week, then we'll have another debate.
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  #19  
Old May 25th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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SLDISPATCHER - We are going to be on the SAME SHIP!

We are also doing an independent tour and chose to go later in the afternoon - we will still WANT to get off early because its JUNEAU for crying out loud! We want to hit the pavement running, ya know!

I have NEVER had any tendering issue with ANY Cruise Line in the Caribbean. So my fingers are crossed that they will have this worked out.

Its a shame that Celebrity (Solstice has got to be one of the largest ships in Alaskan waters) doesnt have any priority -

PS - Bring on that drop of rain! Any day thats RAINING on a CRUISE SHIP in ALASKA is better than a day at work! Right?! I have rain gear!
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Old May 25th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Yes, Solstice is THE largest ship to date to cruise Alaska. The Ketchikan news actually had helicopter filming our departure. It was big news.

Also, from what our locals told us, the new dock that is being built was supposed to be done this year to accommodate the Solstice & large ships but it is not finished.

We also had an independent whale watch booked & I purposely booked it for a later time (4:30) w/check-in a 1/2 hour before. We dropped anchor later than scheduled and clearence for the ship was a bit later. What with the tender situation many people from our ship that were booked on the same whale watch barely made it. We were with Orca Enterprises and they were EXTREMELY nice in delaying the tour and combining the 3:30 trip with the 4:30 one to get everyone out. As it was we left from Juneau instead of Auke Bay forfeiting the bus trip (no prob!) and left at 5 pm. Trip was awesome.

Again, it is not what one wants to contend with while on vacation.
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