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About disneyochem

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  1. Haven’t been to Fairbanks yet but based on my research we chose Pike’s Lodge for our trip next summer based on friends’ recommendations and reviews. Booked directly with them and got a pretty good deal on one of their cabins. The Lodge also has a complementary breakfast and shuttle. I contacted a number of hotels in Fairbanks and asked a number of questions. Pike’s Lodge, for me, had the best customer response/interaction—very friendly and helpful! We’re renting a car while in Fairbanks and they will take us to/from the car rental office as well as transporting us to the train depot on our departure day. Top on our list to do in Fairbanks is to head north! A fly/drive tour to the Arctic Circle (on hubby’s bucket list!) as well as touring the town (Pioneer Park, etc). Hubby is also a big golfer so will also try to fit in a round of golf before leaving for Denali.
  2. We will readily cruise again when we’re able to. Knock on wood but we’re not in any of the high risk categories (age getting there though! Mid 50s). Currently we have three cruises booked for 2021 and one for 2022. Princess is our preferred line but daughter works for Disney so we also like to cruise on Disney (can’t beat the price! 😁). I personally like some of the proposed changes to cruising. For example, I never ate at the buffet because of health and safety issues. Too many times I saw people touch food, leave the bathrooms without washing hands and fill personal containers directly from the drink dispensers! Not big pool/hot tub/shows people so won’t mind those changes. We wear our masks, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. Won’t have a problem doing the same on board. Regarding cost, we have a Panama Canal Cruise in January 2021 that I am expecting to be cancelled (14day FLL to LA). Can’t imagine that cruises will be able to dock anytime soon in LA! We rebooked the same itinerary for January 2022. We had an inside cabin but on the rebooked Cruise got a mini suite for just $150/pp more! So, yeah we put down a refundable deposit.
  3. On embarkation day, hubby slaps a luggage tag on a couple of Coke Zero suitcases (duct taped together) and it shows up with our luggage. How much he brings depends on length of cruise so he will also restock at different ports. I’m not a soda drinker but hubby only drinks Coke Zero. Won’t touch Diet Coke!
  4. We have cruised out of SF to Alaska a couple of times (10 day cruises). We are very fortunate that the rough seas don’t really bother us and that we love sea days. That being said, we didn’t find the seas that rough—in fact, we had table mates who were surprised it was so calm and stopped taking medication! Both trips were in late May/early June. We live close to SF so love any cruises from our “home port!” We’re taking the Sun Princess out of LA next July (14 day) for a couple of reasons—ports (Prince Rupert, Sitka, ISP) which we usually don’t get to from SF, and going with family members who live in SoCal. Just a quick trip down for us as opposed to a longer trip up to Seattle or Vancouver. Princess did a nice job with infusing the cruise with the Alaskan experience—music, nature talks, history, arts and crafts, lumberjacks and axe throwing, carving of a totem, dances, Libby Riddles, puppies in the Piazza(!), specialty drinks and food. We have taken the 9-day trip that Norwegian offers (left Seattle, disembarked in Vancouver). That was a very nice trip as well—I would highly recommend that cruise.
  5. Okay, got it. Thank you!
  6. I do prefer to book on my own but, unless I’m missing something, to stay at the Denali Backcountry Lodge I have to book through the Alaska Pursuit Company since they own the Lodge and buses to access the property. Same with staying at the Kenai Wilderness Lodge—this company owns and operates the Lodge and boats used to access the Lodge. I priced out (using spreadsheets) the costs for everything we want to do for a completely DIY trip versus what Alaska Pursuit offers (as well as Alaska Rail travel packages). Same price—no mark up on the train tickets, rooms were similar in price, tours were the same costs on the independent websites. In fact, i actually received discounts ranging from 20-30% on some experiences/tours using their company because I booked early.
  7. Great idea about cutting a day from Denali. I scheduled two days on the way up because I’m trying to use up travel vouchers (we have a lot of $$$ we need to use!). We wanted to do the Fly/Drive combo tour from Northern Alaska Tours—fly to Coldfoot and drive back to Fairbanks. Based on your comments, I’m going to take a look at taking one of their multiple day tours (if I cut one day from Denali) out of Fairbanks. Don’t have anything booked yet—have to wait until a year out but our TA has spoken to them. Again, thanks! I love the planning and research, hubby does not so this is really fun for me!
  8. I’m using the Alaska Cruise Transportation, the “Big Bus”, to go from Whittier to Anchorage. I had booked them this year; got a credit for use next year so that transportation is already paid for. We’re doing a full day tour that goes to the wildlife center, Hotel Alyeska, tram ride, lunch and tour of Anchorage. Certainly not my first choice now that I’ve done more research but, as I said, it’s paid for! Oh man, you are giving me such great options! Hubby is going to want me to stay off these boards since I keep changing what to do (and the cost! 😁). We’re looking at Northern Alaska’s fly/ride combo. This tour fits in well with our dates. But, hubby just looked at the Deadhorse trip and loves it! I think I’ve talked my hubby into a focused bear viewing trip for Summer 2022. I believe you are right—we need to spend multiple days viewing bears and not just a 6 hour tour! Love what Bear Lodge has as well as Gondwana Ecotours. We’re doing a bear viewing tour out of Prince Rupert on our earlier cruise. It just might have to hold us until 2022! Thank you, thank you for all your time and suggestions! Much appreciated!
  9. Thank you for the feedback! They seem great—glad to hear you had a good experience with them.
  10. Yes, I misspoke about the Princess train. We are riding in the Princess cars pulled by the Alaska rail train! We board at Anchorage. Lots of interest in going north while in Fairbanks. We have an Arctic Circle flight reserved. Getting a car because we’re staying at a AirBnB outside of town. We’re really looking forward to staying at Backcountry Lodge. Taking the bus out to the lodge and then flying back after our stay. thanks for your thoughts on the bear viewing. I need to look more into this. We might need to schedule bear viewing for summer 2022. Our dates are not flexible —we’re on a 14 day Alaskan cruise out of LA on July 3. A college graduation present for our youngest daughter.
  11. We’ve cruised the inside passage in Alaska numerous times but this will be our first stay on land (done B2B to Seward orWhittier/Vancouver) a couple of times) for an extended period. The only Princess property we’ll be using is their Denali Lodge for two nights on our way to Fairbanks. The Kenai property is on Fox Island—we access it by boat (get dropped off by Kenai Marine Tours). I’m not sure what this company is—don’t think it’s just a booking agency since they own a number of lodges, restaurants, touring companies. I was working with Alaska Railroad on booking one of their packages—they use the company so decided just to work directly with them! Where and who do you use for bear viewing? Currently, I’m looking at Rusty’s Air to Redoubt Bay. It’s only a day trip though.
  12. Good morning, checking to see if anyone has experience with this company. We have cruised to Alaska many times but this summer (2020) we had a three week land tour booked (a combination DIY and a Princess connoisseur tour) that was cancelled. I’m in the process of rescheduling our land tour for next summer. We have a ton of FCC so am using these funds for some of our plans. Hubby is a huge train fan so only wants to travel via train AND wants to go Goldstar. What I have so far is a 7-day Cruise north from Vancouver to Whittier (Sapphire Princess), 16 days on land and then a southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver. I have credit (from 2020 cancellation) with the Alaska Cruise Transportation so will be doing the all day tour from Whittier to Anchorage. I have booked a Princess Blue Denali Rail Tour (using $ from cancelled tour) that goes from Anchorage to Fairbanks (two nights in Denali). Hubby thought is might be fun to travel on the Princess rail cars which seem to be different than the Alaskan rail cars. Will rent a car in Fairbanks for a couple of days before joining an Alaska Pursuit tour. I’m working with Alaska Pursuit to book the rest of our visit. We will be going to Denali, Talkeetna, Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward. Currently we have a stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge as well as a stay on Fox Island (two days) with kayaking and a Kenai Fjords Cruise. All travel is via the Alaskan Railroad Goldstar as per hubby’s request. Also added a bear-viewing flight out of Anchorage, a stay at Alyeska Lodge (with a couple of excursions) and ending trip with a stay at the Windsong before boarding our ship. Has anyone worked with this company or stayed in any of their lodges? Or have taken any of their tours? The hotels sound great —Denali Backcountry Lodge, Windsong, Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, Talkeetna Alaska Lodge, Alyeska Lodge—as do the included meals. I am aware that we could save money with different options (especially Goldstar and some of the lodges) but this is a rescheduled 25th Anniversary trip and hubby wants to do it well. They own some of the lodges (Kenai and Backcountry) so if we want those experiences, we need to use this company. Thanks in advance for your thoughts/suggestions. We know we can’t do all we want to do. Have already decided to do another land tour in 2022 that will include Homer and other areas we won’t get to next summer!
  13. True! We had an outstanding naturalist on our last Princess Cruise to Alaska. Her presence, both in the lectures and on land (we were with her on a couple of Discovery Channel excursions) certainly added to our enjoyment of the cruise. The other experts—while good to excellent—didn’t have that same level of personal connection.
  14. I agree with what others have said about the excursions. We have cruised to Alaska on three different lines (Disney, Princess, Norwegian) and the excursions are very similar. I would ask about which lines provide a better onboard experience in Alaska. Of the three lines I have experienced, Princess does the best job. Much more cultural, scientific and artistic activities (nature talks, crafts—jewelry, dream catchers, beading, music and songs from the Gold rush era, history talks, totem carving onboard, axe throwing demo, sled race talk AND puppies!) as well as an Alaskan food focus (salmon bake, Tracy crab shack offerings and special drinks). We had really enjoyed the Disney trips but really got a lot more ‘Alaska’ on our Princess sailings. Norwegian was a bust compared to other lines—enjoyed the cruises because, hey you’re in Alaska, but we felt the onboard activities were not as Alaskan themed as it could be. when I’m cruising to Alaska, I like that the ship is decorated and focused on the area.
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