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  #1  
Old June 29th, 2005, 06:25 PM
Deb in Cali Deb in Cali is offline
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Default Review of Regal Princess Alaska Part 2

Juneau.

We sailing into Juneau early on a Saturday morning. We were already docked when we awoke. We had two tours scheduled for the day. First was to be the Mendenhall glacier and an evening tour with Captain Larry.

At the eveing show at the International Lounge the CD announced that we were going to be leaving Juneau at 9:30 PM. (instead of the 11 PM that was orginally posted on the Princess website). I thought that I didn't hear him right. So we checked our Platter when we got back to our room. Sure enough the time had been moved to 9:30 PM.

So we booked it to Orca Enterprises that morning to see how that was going to fit our evening whale watching adventure. Orca was sure that we had the time wrong so they called Princess office in Juneau. Princess told them that the Regal would not be sailing until 11 PM. Orce Enterprises informed us that we would be getting back at 9:30 PM from the whale watching. They then asked if we wanted to be moved to the morning tour because they had a few seats open. We decided that we were going on the morning expedition. The other group had already left we, so a driver raced over to one of their van packed us in and raced to meet the first group. We ended up beating them to the dock. Captain Larry was waiting for the group in the boat.

They explained the safety procedures and we were off. As we were heading for the whale feeding grounds Larry and the other crew members pointed out some of the glaciers and other landmarks of the Juneau area.

Someone asked Larry how he knew where to find the whales. Larry talked about them having their favorite resturants just like we do. They know where the food is and that is where they have a tendency to hang out.

We were provided with quite a show by a single female for about 15 to 20 minutes. Larry explained that they were to stay 100 yards away from the whales, but we were allowed to stay put even if the whale came closer. She was quite aware that we were there . She flipper her dosal flippers and showed off her tail numerous times before diving for food.

We then saw some Dall dolphins and some lazy seals that were hang around a channel marker. We saw some whales blowing in the distance but they disappeared before we got there. We saw lots of eagles, a few sea otters and lots of seals.

We never saw or had any other whale watching boats come near us when we were stopped and scouting for whales.

During the tour the crew set out snacks of coffee, bottled water, Capri Suns, good cheese, crackers, and smoked salmon. The kids inhaled the crackers and cheese but weren't thrilled about the smoked salmon.

We were the only passengers from the Regal on the tour. The rest of the passengers were from the Carnival Spirit. The were NOT happy cruisers. They gave us chapter and verse about their cruise. Apparently they were suppose to be in Sikta the same time we were, but they were having engine trouble. I'm sure that it didn't help that we were all happy about hearing about our fun day in Sitka.
They then went on to explain that they had missed their day at the glacier along with Sitka. They did end up spending most of one day and all of the next day in Juneau. Carnival compensated them by giving them a $50 on board credit per person.

Back at the pier Orca divided us up according to where we were heading. The took us out to the Mendenhall glacier after dropping off some others for their helicopter tour.

Mendenhall was fabulous. We spent more time outside then in the visitors center. We hiked to the falls that is within a quarter mile of the glacier. Since this was a no pay area, it appeared to be the local swimming hole. The local teens were swimming in the water that was shallow inlets of the main lake. The lnlets were surrounded by sandbars that were created from the silt and sand being washed down. Obviously the water in the inlets was much warmer than the water in the main lake since the main lake had icebergs floating in it.

The waterfall was really flowing heavy. I don't know if it slows down as it gets later in the season. The hike out to it took about 20-25 minutes. It is mostly level with a small rocky hill to climb at the end. There is a sandbar to stand on that will take you right up to the base of the falls. If it is a warm day I would recommend that you wear a swimsuit under your clothes and bring a towel in your backpack.

The visitor center encluded a model of the glacier with a park employee to answer questions. There was also a film about the glacier.

We took the shuttle back to Orca Enterprises office then walked the short distance back to the ship. I wanted to eat, but I also wanted to do some shopping. So we went back to the ship for a late lunch early dinner. I then grabbed a friend and we went back into town to do some shopping and left my DH back at the ship.

We did pull out of Juneau at 9:30 PM sharp. The next morning we were in Skagway at least an hour earlier than what we were orginally scheduled.

We scheduled the White Pass Railroad through the ship. The price difference was $10 pp. So I opted to just go through Princess. The Regal was docked at the Railroad dock and it is aptly named. When we were finished with breakfast the train was parked on the dock. We didn't even have to go through the security checkpoint to get to the train.

Princess had about 8 cars reserved, another ship had about 6, then there were another 4 for the general public. The scenery was pretty with views down in to the deep gorge and waterfalls off of the face of the mountainsides. Most of the views were real quick so you had to be fast with a camera to get the shot. The up and back on the train proved to me montonious. We had several opportunites to see mountain goats. I couldn't find them until the very last chance. They look like white speck on the side of the mountains. There are very hard to find since you need binoculars and with the train in constant movement you have to try and focus on them.


The train stops at the top just past the Canadian border. They then switch the engine around. You are not permitted to leave the train. They informed us that if we did, that Canadian custom officals
would arrest you.

The back of the seats flip so that you are able to face the front of the train going back down. We had so few passengers in our car that we didn't have to trade seats for everyone to get a chance to see the scenery.

I will hopefully finish this review on the next try.

Deb
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  #2  
Old June 29th, 2005, 08:06 PM
Coral Coral is offline
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Thanks for the review.

So glad that you were able to go whale watching in the morning. Capt Larry is awesome.
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  #3  
Old June 30th, 2005, 08:26 AM
kes kes is offline
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Hi Deb,
Great review. I look forward to your next instalment. (saves me doing all the work )

We did the Photo Safari in Juneau which included Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife viewing on the water. We saw a few whales (got a couple of good tail shots) and heaps of seals and other wildlife. This tour was great because there was a limited of only 14 people. We then did the helicopter tour to the glacier, which was excellent.
In Skagway we did the Yukon tour. We took photos of the Deb’s train (did you see us? ) with the beautiful scenery in the background - the bus driver passed the train and stopped near a waterfall so we could take the train photos with the waterfall behind. We had this young woman as our tour guide and bus driver – she was so funny, she told jokes and stories about the early days in the Yukon. We stopped along the way for photo ops, stopped for bbq lunch at Caribou Crossing trading post and visited the wildlife museum and played with the sled dogs (cute). We also stopped at Carcross for my husband’s favourite food – Ice-cream. On the way back we dropped a couple of people off at the railway and they took the train back.

Kes
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  #4  
Old July 20th, 2005, 11:48 AM
ghgeckos ghgeckos is offline
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Deb in Cali

Looking forward to part three, hope you have had time to write it.
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  #5  
Old July 20th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the review - take your time, we're here all summer! (Seriously, it took me 2 months to finish mine!)

We also had a good time on Capt. Larry's whale watching and hiking out to the falls at Mendenhall. Nobody was swimming in May, though!
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  #6  
Old July 22nd, 2005, 09:47 PM
Deb in Cali Deb in Cali is offline
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Hang in there I will finish it.


I had surgery a few days ago so I am not feeling real well right now. I have been in "prepare the family for Mom's surgery" mode, and am now in the aftermath of it all. Lucklily I precooked meals and made arrangement for the family to function while I am not functioning.
Deb
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  #7  
Old July 23rd, 2005, 12:32 AM
ghgeckos ghgeckos is offline
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Deb in Cali,

Hope all is well since your surgery, hopefully your recovery will be swift. Since DH is working the next couple days we had to pack for our trip today. Boy I can't believe we will be on the Regal on Wednesday.
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  #8  
Old July 23rd, 2005, 01:39 AM
3SDcruisers 3SDcruisers is offline
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Default Speedy recovery

Hi Deb -

First, I hope you have a speedy recovery! Didn't you know Mom's aren't allowed to not function.

ghgeckos
We had a great time on our Regal trip, 7/7 - 7/17. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Wish I was going with you again!
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  #9  
Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:10 AM
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DOTTYCAN DOTTYCAN is offline
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Hi Deb,

Great review of Skagway - still one of our favorites was the train ride. Enjoyed reading all of the other reviews.

Dotty
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  #10  
Old July 23rd, 2005, 10:01 AM
ghgeckos ghgeckos is offline
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3SDcruisers,

What entertainment was on board? We were on the Star in Feb and were hoping some of the entertainment was different. Also was the Love boat dream on the always serve dessert menu? It's our first trip to Alaska so I excitedly read everything.

Thanks
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  #11  
Old July 24th, 2005, 02:55 AM
3SDcruisers 3SDcruisers is offline
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The shows were Curtain Up!, Country Roads, and Piano Man. We really enjoyed Piano Man - great costumes. There is only one show (two times) per night. It seemed like the earlier time filled up pretty quickly. There is also a movie theater that has a different movie every day with several showings, although we never made it to a movie - too much else to do!

What are you planning to do in each port? I happened to catch the Regal in Tracy Arm this morning on the web cam. I heard our cruise was the first to get in there because of weather. Looks like we have some good luck going now, hopefully it will stay beautiful and you will get in there, too.

The Princess Love Boat is only offered on the last night. It didn't seem to be quite the same to us as it had been in the past. We were bummed because the night they had chocolate souffle....they ran out. I actually liked the desserts the day they had them all out at the lunch buffet. Seems like it was one of the last two or three days. There was a very yummy chocolate dessert. If you are an ice cream person make sure and get to the buffet between 3pm-5pm. They have it out only at those times; a couple of flavors with some toppings.

Alaska is Beautiful...Enjoy! Let me know if you have any more questions.
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  #12  
Old July 24th, 2005, 09:49 AM
ghgeckos ghgeckos is offline
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The piano man sounds nice. I enjoy shows. On the Star there was a humurous piano player near the attrium, do they have anything like this on the Regal? Too bad about the Love boat Dream we shared one every night last cruise. We have first seating so hopefully they won't run out of other items. How was your weather? I've been looking at the weather forcast and it looks like we are going to get rain most of the week.

We are doing some ship tours and in some ports we are exploring on our own. In skagway we are taking a ship tour, the Glacier point Wilderness safari, In Juneau we are going whate watching in the morning then go up to mendenhall glacier, in ketchekan we are going to check out the totem pole park, and in victoria we are going to go to the Royal British museum and then checking out downtown.
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