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Everything posted by NothingBeatsBaseball

  1. We had a family of five and stayed here. Not super close to Canada Place, but nice to have a few bedrooms and a kitchen for two days before we left. A grocery store across the street was nice to save a few bucks on a meal. https://www.timessquaresuites.com/ We did a precruise tour that picked us up from the hotel and dropped us off at Canada Place. We were happy with the experience. https://vancouvertours.com/cruise-tour/pre-post-cruise-vancouver-highlights-tour/
  2. We enjoyed renting the car for the drive when we did it 10 years ago or so. Really enjoyed it. Stopping whenever we wanted was nice.
  3. Tammy, you can message the Turo owner in the app and make those arrangements to see if they will drop off, etc. It is really up to them as to what they're willing to do. Turo allows you to cancel up to 24 hours before, but you do pay when you book. So if you are worried about who booked with based on their dialogue with you, you can cancel. I booked about five months out and then kept an eye on the reviews of the car I had to make sure they were still positive. Then a week or so out sent a message to the owner to confirm, because who knows what could happen to a car in an Alaskan winter. Sounds like your husband will have his wheelchair, but the Shrine has wheelchairs you can borrow. So if you have anyone else in your party who may like one, they are available.
  4. We did the Sapphire Princess one way from Vancouver last year with an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old. For them never having been on a cruise before, being on the ship and that whole experience itself was mostly enough to keep them entertained. They liked exploring the ship and we had a few bundled up late night walks on the promenade deck where they flopped on the deck ala SpongeBob. But we packed some surprise gifts (croc charms, small legos sets, hot wheels, etc) that that helped give them something to look forward to. The Glacier Bay day we made sure they saw the glaciers, but we didn't force them to watch the whole time. We stayed on our balcony for a decent time and let them watch movies in the room. We got room service pizzas and ate them on the balcony as a family, which was nice. It was a challenge as a parent to juggle "hey kids appreciate this nature!" with "what is realistic kids this age would appreciate?" but also "how can I relax and enjoy the trip while keeping them busy?". We didn't do any of the kid clubs. Both kiddos enjoyed the two magic shows we saw on board. We swam once, but the pool was too deep and too crowded for them to enjoy it much. In port, we did the train in Skagway (the 8-year-old enjoyed more than we expected... the 4-year-old slept through it as little did we know but he'd feel sick that night). Renting a car in Juneau was fantastic. We were going to do a float plane trip in Ketchikan but it was canceled due to wind.
  5. We went to Mendenhall Glacier, ate lunch, and then headed to the National Shrine of St. Thérèse. As we drove back to the main part of the city we stopped on the side of the road a few times. We pulled into Lena Beach but didn't stay long. Then we headed over the bridge to Douglas Island. There are lots of trails there. Our kids had a good time running around Sandy Beach. We took some of our favorite photos there. We spent more time there than I expected. There is a trail in the Treadwill Mine there, but we didn't get to it. There are other trails on Douglas Island. We tried the Outer Point Loop Trail.... but it was flooded halfway or so. We saw some beavers which was neat. On Douglas Island, there were multiple places we pulled off on the side of the road to just take photos and enjoy the view. We had perfect weather so it was one of our best days of the trip.
  6. https://turo.com/us/en/suv-rental/united-states/juneau-ak/jeep/cherokee/1376008?endDate=01%2F25%2F2024&endTime=10%3A00&startDate=01%2F22%2F2024&startTime=10%3A00 This was the car we rented.
  7. I did this tour with them last June. https://vancouvertours.com/cruise-tour/pre-post-cruise-vancouver-highlights-tour/ We did it as a pre-cruise tour. They picked us up at our hotel, on time and exactly where they said they would. The guide was good. The bus was fine and bout what you'd expect. Our luggage was handled fine. We were dropped off on time at Canada Place at the bus offloading zone. Overall, very happy with it. The actual tour didn't see a ton of Vancouver. But covered what it said it would. It served as a great way to use more time in the city and not have to worry about an Uber or train ride to Canada Place with luggage. For what we saw, was it worth it on that price alone... probably not. But we had ages 4-70 with us, so the ease of not having to worry about traffic, etc and still experiencing more of the city made it worth it. Our group was glad we did it. (Edit to answer your specific qusetion) Yes, we had other guests with us. Some were on different "tours", so they dropped some off to go to an observatory when we were taken to Canada Place. Seemed fine to me and they seemed organized about it. They had lots of space in the back of the bus for luggage. As far as enough time. Perhaps your tour is longer, what we had wasn't enough at Granville Island but we knew that going in. It was walk around a bit, eat, find the bus. Stanley Park, I mean it's huge, but it spent the time it said at the various spots.
  8. We rented a Turo. I understand the hesitation with it. I had some too, but ours worked out great. The owner met us across the street from the port. We had all day to go whenever we wanted. We too wanted a larger vehicle and were able to find what we needed.
  9. I did the Sapphire Princess inside passage with Glacier Bay last June. I think if you had a balcony you'd be happy with what you can see from the balcony if you couldn't move to other spots on the ship the easiest. My only suggestion would be to get a balcony that has cover above it so if it is raining, it feels like you can still use the balcony. I traveled with someone who couldn't walk long distances and we found Princess' help getting them on and off the ship in a wheelchair was very considerate and helpful. I will add this, Princess' port locations in Ketchikan and Skagway were great. I can't speak to what they are for cruises you are looking at. But in Ketchikan, we were right in the city steps off the ship. Skagway.... not as much... BUT if you book the train through them, the train nearly pulls up to the ship.
  10. In Juneau, if you can swing a Turo rental car there are lots of trails. Douglas Island has some awesome views. The beach there is really cool. The Turo we rental worked out great. We met the person across the street from the dock and drove off from there.
  11. Customs is very easy in Vancouver. I've done it at the airport and train station. No problems. The Amtrak ride from Seattle to Vancouver is very scenic and worth the trip alone for the views. If you can swing it, sailing out of Vancouver is the most recommended option on these boards.
  12. An obstructed view can be a good choice too. This was our view on the Sapphire Princess. The natural light was nice to keep our body clocks normal. We also used the view to check the weather, see how close we were to port, etc. I don't remember the price difference but everyone in our party was happy with the choice. I think the balcony is only a must if you or your party have mobility issues. Then it is nice to have that dedicated space to view Glacier Bay, College Fjord, etc.
  13. We had room E731 on the Sapphire last summer. It was big and was fully covered. It was great for a few foggy/drizzly days. Extra space and it being completely covered a a huge plus. I didn't wander down to the bow in Glacier Bay ... but I do think it was open. I can't remember now. Someone else could speak to it better than I.
  14. We rented a Turo in Jueneau and went to multiple places. There are some nice hikes across the bridge on Douglas Island, a few were flooded when we went through. We went to the shrine as well. Packed a lot into a day.
  15. If you're getting the rental cars, instead of making Anchorage your base for a few days, I'd suggest staying in or near Palme for a few days. It is on your way to Manatuska Glacier anyway. Hatcher Pass near Palmer is fantastic for hikes. There are grocery stores and restaurants in Palmer. The drive to Manatuska is awesome.
  16. I took advantage of the Major Marine Cyber Monday discount last year (December 2022) for a six-hour cruise in June 2023. Well worth it as it's an expensive trip. It was a very well run cruise. We had a foggy day, which meant we didn't end up with some of the great sights that others have shared photos of. So saving some money on the booking with the discount was nice. It seemed like they had lots of boats going out the day we went as our dock was right by Kenai's offices. We ended up buying some souveniers there instead of Major Marine since we were much closer to it.
  17. We had an eight year old and a four year old on a Princess cruise to Alaska in June. We couldn't get them to go to the kids club, so I can't speak to that. We brought some cars and legos and let them play in the room as we enjoyed Glacier Bay on the balcony. Made them come out for some photos, etc. But it didn't hold their attention. But just being on a ship, the buffet and free ice cream!, the magic show and stuff like that held their attention for a week. The swimming pool was too deep and busy for their liking. In port we had our float plane canceled due to wind in Ketchikan. Juneau, we rented a car and made stops in various places. They did like playing at the beach at the falls at the end of the Mendenhall Glacier. Skagway we did the train. 8 year old said he liked it but the 4 year old fell asleep for an expensive nap. But, what can ya do. We did five days on our own in Alaska after. The kids still talk about the trip in a positive manner and want to do another cruise. The 8 year old has talked about it at school. So all in all it was a win. Both kids did get sick by the end, so more hand sanitizer next time!
  18. We took an 8 year old and 3 year old on the train this last summer. My 8 year old enjoyed it enough to make it worth it. We went out on the little outside area a few times. I got one of my old digital cameras for him so he could take some photos and video. My 3 year old fell asleep. So, do with that info what you will. 10 years ago on my honeymoon we rented a jeep and drove to Emerald Lake and it was a nice calm day of scenery and snackings on food in the jeep and pulling off whenever we wanted to for photos, etc. If we ever go back on an Alaskan cruise, I'd do this again instead of the train. But the train was the best option for us this time with kiddos.
  19. With the group you say you have, DIY is the way to go. We had five days on land so we did Seward and then drove up to the Palmer area and Hatcher Pass. It would be lots of driving to do that much in three days, but it can be done. My family liked Hatcher Pass and the drive on the Glenn Highway east of Palmer more than the Seward area. We did the boat tour in Seward but my family had the vibe of "we just got off a boat and now we're on another" But that was just our family. Seward and boat tours have glowing reviews and it is great, but our family just liked Hatcher Pass more. So knowing what I know now, if I only had three days, I would... ... take the bus to Anchorage (I'd do the train if I had more extra money). Rent a car in Anchorage. Drive to the Palmer area and make that my base for three days. Plenty of scenic VRBOs in the are. Do a full day at Hatcher Pass doing multiple hikes. Palmer has grocery stores and restaurants so I would get snacks/lunches/etc for food for a day. Then another day I'd drive east down the Glen Highway and do a glacier walk on the Matanuska Glacier. You have to pay for a guide now. We didn't do the glacier walk (kids were too young), but your ages would be perfect. Our family did do the Glen Highway drive and took our time, stopped multiple times, saw a moose on the side of the road. It was great for the wide range of ages we had in our Turo minivan. Plus we had some kids a bit sick by the end of the trip so a scenic drive with stops was enough adventure. That's my two cents.
  20. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted the car we were going to use for the rest of the trip as soon as possible. I don't remember the quote from PJs but I was still going to need to get a one-way rental in Seward to Anchorage even if I took PJs to Seward. So if I recall the math was breaking down. Plus driving is one of my favorite parts of a trip. I guess if I only had a few days on the mainland I could've done PJs to Seward and then a bus/train from Seward to Anchorage to fly out, but we were going to head to Hatcher Pass after Seward so a car was going to be a necessity to get there.
  21. I was in a similar spot. The cruise I wanted went to Whittier, but I wanted to spend a few days in Seward. I did look up the PJ's option, they got a quote to me really quickly, but I decided not to do that. So I had three options left. 1. Shuttle to Anchorage, rent a car there. 2. Rent a one way Whittier to Anchorage (where we were flying out of) car from Avis 3. Hunt down a Turo that would do a drop off in Whittier. I booked an Avis rental I could easily cancel (I didn't need to put my credit card in) and then I hunted Turos. They aren't supposed to do oneway rentals.... but they can do dropoffs for a certain fee and some do extend to Whittier for a fee even if they are Anchorage-based. I eventually found one, and a minivan too (Avis didn't have a minivan) that was about $400 cheaper than Avis even with the dropoff fee. The Turo thing was still a little nerve-wracking for me but the one in Whittier and the one we did for the day in Juneau both worked out great. I'll say this the drive to Anchorage and back is gorgeous so if there is any drive you have to do twice, it is probably as good as it gets.
  22. Thank you for that research! That is an option that would help. The more research I found seemed to indicate the little bed is a trundle and could slide under one of the beds. So if I can do that on my own (as sounds like NCL only has one cabin service a day), I'd be fine with that. Just that little more space would help with the kiddos.
  23. My family and I aren't regular cruisers. Two Alaska trips in a 10-year span. So I'm not super experienced on different ships/lines. But we (two parents and two kids) are looking at a trip on the Gem next year to Bermuda/Bar Harbor as we did enjoy our Alaska trip this last year as a family. My only pause at the moment is the bed setup for four people. The only setups I've seen based on internet searches is with one Pullman and one small cot brought in that even on the balcony rooms looks like it takes up much of the floor space. We had two Pullman's on Princess this year and even though it didn't give us much room between, it really did give us some space to move around, get to our nightstands, etc. The NCL setups (especially the inside cabin) look much tighter. I'd hate to pay more for a balcony only have to duck under to get to it each time. My question is, are there any other setup options out there for four people in a cabin? Any secret cabins with two Pullman's? Any other thoughts of folks who traveled with four in a room on the Gem or similar trip?
  24. We had a 3-year-old and 8-year-old last month. We were going to do a float plane in Ketchikan... but it got canceled due to the wind. Ended up walking around a rainy downtown. Juneau, we rented a Turo and drove around to the spots we wanted to see. This worked nicely. We didn't make them get out of the car if they didn't want to when we were stopping to look at the scenery. They both loved running around the beach on Douglas Island so we had some stops they liked too. We did the walk to the falls at Mendenhall Glacier and they had a good attitude and enjoyed running around the beach there too. We did need to do a full sit-down meal after the walk at Mendenhall to let them rest and refuel. Skagway, we did the train. My youngest fell asleep for half of it... but my oldest liked going on the platform to take photos. We gave him one of our old digital cameras for the drop and that helped keep him engaged during the stops. As far as whale watching, we did one in Cape Cod a few years ago and our kid fell asleep during it. We did the Major Marine tour in Seward this trip, for a six hour tour, and my three year old slept as well lol but when he was awake he was engaged enough looking for puffins to make me glad we took him. We went to the pool on the ship one of the first days and they didn't love it since it was deeper than most hotel pools now. Which was kinda nice because then they weren't badgering us to come back. We did make them look at some scenery when in Glacier Bay, etc. But we punted on trying to really force them the whole tiem. We had a mini suite, put some kids movies on the tv on the bed, put the commentary on the TV by the balcony, opened the sliding door, and sat on the balcony and enjoyed our time. We don't watch a ton of movies as a family, so they really enjoyed the options on the TV. We broke down and purchased some of the knockoff legos for the kids at one of the gift shops in port. Which was a bit of a mistake because the pieces were soooo small. (this is just a random note) One thing we did do was pack some surprise gifts/toys to keep them busy when we wanted to just relax. However, this didn't avoid a meltdown of our three-year-old in the College Fjords on the promenade deck. GUH! Our Princess cruise had free ice cream and we kept it as a reward for good behavior. Our oldest liked looking at the map on the TV and seeing where the boat was. Both kids liked the magician on board.
  25. I did a northbound one-way on the Sapphire Princess in June 2023. I am far from a cruise regular. I've only gone on two, and the other one was a Holland America 10 years ago Alaskan cruise. These are a few of my thoughts: - If you enjoy planning trips, then planning the land portion isn't very difficult. I enjoyed finding the VRBOs, finding the spots I want to go, etc. I'd recommend doing your own research, doing some of it via train, rent a car for the days you need it, and go for it. The Princess Cruises don't go to a place like Hatcher Pass and it was my wife's favorite place on the trip. - I thought Glacier Bay was awesome when we did it 10 years, this time around... I don't know, perhaps because I did it before, I wasn't as impressed. (I don't think most people would agree with me on this.) I mean it's great, we enjoyed our day in it but I've moved on from feeling it is a must. My group thought College Fjord was awesome and wished we had more time in it. - Yes 10 years apart... but if we had to choose between our experience on Holland America 10 years ago or Princess last month, we'd go with Holland America. We didn't like the food much on the Princess cruise. You need to prepare for a tech experience with the Medallion App that doesn't work half the time with Princess. We knew that going in and were ready. I considered NCL as well but didn't want to dock in Ward Cove, and I am happy I avoided that. - I was told ahead of time one risk is if you get sick on a northbound cruise... it might put you out of commission for the land portion. I didn't listen to that advice and once my kiddos got sick the second to last day of the cruise, we all got a little sick during the land portion. It impacted everything I hoped to do. I doubt your adult children are licking the elevator lol so you might be okay, but something people consider. - Our mini suite had an extra large balcony as it was the last one on the Emerald deck starboard side. It was great. Even with all our little complaints on the Princess ship, we had a great time and the big covered balcony was a big reason why. Port time was good for Juneau and Skagway. Ketchikan was a little early like the northbound one you list there, but the berth we had was great so it was easy to get to downtown. - If you haven't been to Vancouver, if you can spend some time there that is definitely worth it. We stayed at the Times Square Suites which was perfect for my family.
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