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ErLee

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About ErLee

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    United States
  • Interests
    Travel, cruising, family, dogs
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Not sure! I've loved all that I've tried!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I haven't been there yet!

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  1. We were just on a two-week Princess Connoisseur Escorted Cruise tour in June, including a week on the Coral Princess, a fantastic ship for Alaska, and two nights each at the McKinley Lodge, the Denali Lodge and the Fairbanks Lodge. We loved every minute of our Land Tour and I'm astounded at the comment that it was boring! I also can't say enough good things about the McKinley Lodge. It was beautiful! It probably helped that Denali was in full clear magnificent view for the whole two days we were there, and it's hard to take your eyes off that beautiful mountain! That Lodge affords a most spectacular view of the mountain. It's not even visible from the Denali Lodge at all and only visible on the tour in to the park at a couple specific spots through a v in the mountains, nothing like the view you can get from down at the McKinley Lodge. Of course that all hinges on being there on a day when the mountain is out. 😍 We actually took a flight with K2 around Denali and saw it up close and personal before we ever even checked into the McKinley lodge, and we were still enamored of the view the whole two days we stayed there. Our room was great, the restaurants were good, we had a great time there! It's a good thing we didn't take people's advice on these boards and decide against this trip, because it was the trip of a lifetime! I'm working on my trip report now and posting as I go, so if anyone is considering a cruise tour, I'll share a lot of great information with you!
  2. We were also out with Jayleen on June 15th, and we talked about her family and growing up in the business, but she did not make any mention that he was back in business. We rode by her parents house and her mom stood out on the bank and waved at us 😍
  3. I went back and forth about the camera for our 2 week trip last month, but I ended up taking all my pictures with my Android phone because it was simple, lightweight, and always with me. I don't have mad camera skills, but I think my pictures turned out great! You can check them out if you're interested in my trip report over in the trip reports thread πŸ˜ƒ
  4. Medallion net on the Coral worked great in Alaska in June. There was only one morning where it wasn't working and we were in Port and getting off the ship anyway. It was working by the time we re boarded. We did not have any other issues with it whatsoever, it was well worth the $59.99 each we paid for the week.
  5. Lucky you! We booked on the Sky for January 2020 last October at a fantastic price. Since then the price has only gone up, and when I looked to see if we could add the sip & sail it would have increased our fair by $500pp. Now mind you, I do like to drink on a cruise, but even I can't drink that much in a week πŸ˜‚ We kept our great fare and we'll carry on wine and pay the corkage to save a few dollars on the drinking at dinner!
  6. We were at the Princess Fairbanks Lodge 10 days after the fire. Most of the lodge was unaffected, but the first day we were there the restaurant was operating on a limited menu, using disposable tableware because their dishwasher wasn't up and running yet, and doing all the cooking outside on grills. We still had a decent meal and the grilled steak was delicious. The second day they went back to the regular full menus in their venues.
  7. I know this is not one of your options, but in case other people look at your thread for suggestions, we were just on the Coral in June and had a forward mini-suite starboard on Caribe for a northbound Cruise. For one thing, the mini suites are fantastic, I liked it so much better than our traveling companions' balcony cabin. Secondly forward on Caribe is a great location, because of the little known forward viewing deck, which may be the same situation as that aft deck on dolphin others were mentioning. The only reason I knew about it was from being on Cruise critic, and even at times when it had the best viewing on the ship, there were probably only 20 people out on that forward deck. It was cold and windy up there on Glacier Bay day, but oh what a view! And the sunsets from that deck...😲
  8. June 15th - Juneau On Saturday we woke up in Juneau to overcast skies and a forecast for a rainy afternoon. Undeterred, we packed up our rain gear and binoculars and headed off the ship as soon as they let us. I had rented a car for the morning from Avis up the street. My husband is awaiting knee surgery, so I had him wait while I made the half-mile walk up the hill to get the car. It worked out smoothly, and as I drove back down the street I was able to just pick him up right across from the ship. The rental process from Avis was quick and easy, and it felt good to be on our own for a few hours able to do whatever we wanted to. We had a whale watch booked for the afternoon at 3, but I wanted to make the most of the six hours we had until then, and renting the car wasn't that much more than paying for the bus to the glacier. Although I had carefully mapped out a sensible order to do the things we wanted to do based on proximity, we decided to head for Mendenhall first to try to beat some of the crowds there. I'm glad we did because we had no problem driving up there and parking in the little parking lot. We paid our $5 each at a little machine there by the parking lot and then took the path down to Nugget Falls. it was a bit slow going with my husband's knee, but it was definitely doable and not at all strenuous. Completely worth the effort for the view of the falls and the glacier! Rather than walking back on the same path, I recommend that you take the little side path that takes you along the edge of the water. It is much more scenic than the marked path to the falls, and you get a great and uncrowded look at the glacier across the water. We enjoyed watching the Arctic terns swooping around defending their territory from the crows. There were a lot of pretty wildflowers everywhere. After you walk back around the water, there's a place where you can merge back into the main path. It's not marked down there, but it's also very easy to find and you can't get lost! You can see the visitor center up above and just have to keep heading in that direction. After we left the glacier, we decided against Glacier gardens and instead drove up to the National Shrine of St Therese. It is a beautiful and peaceful setting with outstanding views and no crowds in sight! We had a lot of fun watching the little marmots feeding along the shore of the lake. Next we drove out to Eagle Beach. This was another beautiful and uncrowded location, but apparently I didn't take any pictures! Despite the name, we only saw one eagle sitting on the beach, but the view is very pretty. We watched a seal swimming around there off the shore. After Eagle Beach we drove back towards town to visit the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. Even though the salmon were not running when we were there so we couldn't watch them on the salmon ladder, it was still a very interesting and inexpensive stop to learn about the life cycle of the salmon and how the hatchery works. I did not know the difference between a salmon farm and a salmon hatchery, but now I do! We saw their tank where there were over a million salmon hatchlings that would one day be released back into the open water to live their lives before returning to this spot to spawn. It's a fascinating process, and I highly recommend this quick stop if you're interested. Next, we went to a little dive called The Sandbar for lunch. It's in an out-of-the-way industrial area, but near the marina where we were to meet for our whale watch, and highly rated on TripAdvisor for their fish and chips. The ratings were well deserved! The place is nothing to look at inside or out, but they are hand cutting and hand battering halibut for their fish and chips and it was worth every bit of the $20 they charge for a plate! By now it was raining as we drove to Andrews Marina to meet up with Jayleen from Jayleen's Alaska for our whale watch. She had gone to pick up our traveling companions who were joining us for the whale watch. This is another excursion that I booked in the fall of 2018. The four of us boarded her boat, and headed out to look for whales. And boy did we find them! We spent the first 30 minutes or so heading out to an area where Jayleen said we should be able to find some humpbacks. I used this time to get to know her and learned all about what it was like to grow up on the island there off the grid. She's a lovely young woman, and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with her. We passed some sea lions hanging out on a buoy along the way and then got to the place where she thought the whales would be. We started to see some action, and she told us that we had found one of the resident mothers, Flame, and her six month old calf, Bunsen. She was explaining to us that while sometimes people do witness a humpback breaching, it is not common behavior for an adult humpback in Alaska, because it takes a lot of energy and they are not up there to burn excess energy, but rather to feed and put on lots of weight. Lucky for us, Bunsen was in the mood to play, and as a typical youngster, wasn't worried about whether he was burning too much energy πŸ˜‚. We were lucky enough to follow him around for about 45 minutes while he breached repeatedly - at least 10 or more times. I was standing out on the back of her boat in the rain, enthralled and not even trying to take any pictures. Getting a good shot at a breach with a phone on a small, rocking vessel in the rain is barely worth even trying, and I decided I would rather just live in the moment and enjoy what we were lucky enough to witness. The good news is Jayleen was doing her best with her good camera to capture some shots, which she posted on Facebook the next day so I was able to download them and save them to my trip photos. Once he even waved a flipper at us! We spent the rest of our time following around several other adult humpbacks and another mom and calf and saw a good many backs and tails, but nothing could compare to the show that Bunsen put on for us! It was unforgettable! I am a person that likes to books my excursions independently, because I like the personal experience that you get, and this whale watch was case in point. It was just the four of us plus Jayleen witnessing this spectacular event together with no jockeying for position or fighting for a view. She was willing to take us wherever we wanted to go and look for whatever we wanted to look for. She told us that that morning she had some photographers on board that were determined to look for orcas, so they spent their morning going all over the place looking for them without success, but she was willing to do what they wanted her to do. Once again I wholeheartedly recommend Jayleen for your whale watch in Juneau! After the whale watch we drove back towards town and stopped off to see the beautiful sculpture of a breaching humpback that is along the river there. It is well worth the stop, even in the rain! I returnedthe rental car and walked back to the ship without incident, satisfied with the choices we had made for a fantastic day in Juneau! We didn't really see any of the downtown area, but our day away from the crowds and off the beaten path was just what we needed!
  9. On Glacier Bay day, a park ranger boarded the ship and broadcast commentary throughout the ship as we sailed through the glaciers. There were also other naturalist talks that I saw listed in the daily schedule, but we never made it to any of them. We were mostly outside looking at the scenery all the time that we were on the ship.
  10. June 14th - Ketchikan We woke up early Friday AM, went out on our balcony to see what we could see of Ketchikan, and right off to the left I saw the Island Wings offices and workers getting the planes ready for the day. Very exciting because we had a flight booked with Michelle at 9am! I watched the 7am flights load up and taxi away for takeoff on the other side of the ship. It was a beautiful day, and we were so excited! After breakfast we got off the ship and walked to the meeting point in town. If we had thought this through better, we would have just walked over to Island Wings, as some people did, because it was about the same distance walk, but we had already said we would be at the meeting place so that's where we went, down by the Liquid Sunshine gauge. We met the driver and rode back over to the dock only to find out that Michelle had had a problem with the starter on her plane on her first run of the morning and wasn't able to take us up at 9. She rebooked us and the other two couples on a noon flight with Adam. We were a little disappointed, but understood that these things happen, and certainly didn't want to get stuck somewhere with a plane that wouldn't start! We decided to go walk around the shops over on Creek Street to pass the time, although probably we should have gotten back on the ship for a while because we had more time than we needed. There were some interesting things in some of the shops, but we didn't buy much as it was our first stop and we were going to have to carry it around with us. As it got a little later into the morning it started to get very crowded there, so if you're planning on shopping in Ketchikan, maybe earlier in the day is better depending on what other ships are in port. Just as we were leaving to go back to Island Wings, the Westerdam had arrived and all her passengers were flowing down the gangplank. We went back to Island Wings, and were soon on board Adam's plane. It was Adam and six passengers total. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful the flight was! Adam was engaging, an expert pilot, and enjoyable to talk to and listen to. He answered all of our questions and provided information about what we were seeing as we flew along. The flight was completely smooth, no turbulence whatsoever and not scary in the least to me! He made a beautiful smooth landing in a gorgeous lake high in the mountains. We were able to get out of the plane and walk around and take pictures there for about 20 or 30 minutes, and then we re boarded for the flight back. I can't recommend this excursion highly enough! I booked with Island Wings way back in the fall of 2018, and they were communicative and easy to work with all along. Despite hearing all about the unfortunate incidents with the float planes in the beginning of the season, we decided that we were going to go forward with our booking and would not let fear keep us from an amazing experience. I'm so happy we made that decision. It could not have been a more perfect day, and I would not have wanted to miss it for anything!
  11. I remember seeing the Mariner in Port - I hope you enjoyed your trip as much as we did!
  12. June 13th - Sea Day We woke up to fog and cool temps, but as the morning progressed things improved, and by afternoon the sun was shining brightly. It was chilly and windy on deck, so we spent much of it up in the buffet by a window as we sailed up the Canadian inside passage. While sitting by the window we saw some lovely dolphins jumping in unison alongside the ship and a little seal popping his head up! We were excited at the wildlife sightings yet to come! I walked the promenade in the afternoon to enjoy the sun, but the wind was brisk so I only managed to get in 1 mile. I enjoyed the view of the wake when I came around the rear, and it made me wonder if I might like to try an aft balcony some time. I know they're very popular with some cruisers! When the sun was finally setting at 10:30pm, I put to use my cruise-critic-gained knowledge of the "secret" forward viewing deck on Caribe. This tip was one of the main reasons that I picked a forward minisuite on Caribe, and I was not disappointed! I went through the "emergency exit" marked doorway and out onto the deck where I stood all by myself in complete silence and took in the beauty of a sunset at sea. It was a moment of utter perfection! As I turned to go back in, I looked up at the bridge and got a friendly wave from an officer up there 😊
  13. Can't seem to delete or edit those photos to try a different way of attaching them, so I'm going to repost the first one to see if it works. Can someone tell me if the pics show up this time? It's so strange since it was working fine in the earlier ones! The scenery at Sail Away was beautiful! I had no idea how much better it was going to get!! We spent the sail away on our balcony with a glass of wine....it was perfect!
  14. Hmmm...are they not showing up at all or is there anyone that can see them?
  15. June 13th - Sea Day We woke up to fog and cool temps, but as the morning progressed things improved, and by afternoon the sun was shining brightly. It was chilly and windy on deck, so we spent much of it up in the buffet by a window as we sailed up the Canadian inside passage. While sitting by the window we saw some lovely dolphins jumping in unison alongside the ship and a little seal popping his head up! We were excited at the wildlife sightings yet to come! I walked the promenade in the afternoon to enjoy the sun, but the wind was brisk so I only managed to get in 1 mile. I enjoyed the view of the wake when I came around the rear, and it made me wonder if I might like to try an aft balcony some time. I know they're very popular with some cruisers! When the sun was finally setting at 10:30pm, I put to use my cruise-critic-gained knowledge of the "secret" forward viewing deck on Caribe. This tip was one of the main reasons that I picked a forward minisuite on Caribe, and I was not disappointed! I went through the "emergency exit" marked doorway and out onto the deck where I stood all by myself in complete silence and took in the beauty of a sunset at sea. It was a moment of utter perfection! As I turned to go back in, I looked up at the bridge and got a friendly wave from an officer up there ☺️
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