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~*Lou*~

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  1. Having done both Radiance northbound and Coral Princess southbound, I would encourage you to consider a cruise itinerary that included scenic cruising in Glacier Bay NP, and one big advantage of sailing Princess is you sail from Whittier, not Seward, giving you a very scenic evening on departure as you cruise through Prince William Sound. However if you are absolutely set on RCI, I suggest a either a northbound or southbound cruise, rather than round trip from Seattle. I think on the round trip you sail west of Vancouver Island and not east? I recommend sailing east, its very scenic. You also get (or should get, it was cancelled due to poor weather when I was on Radiance) Hubbard Glacier on a one-way itinerary. If you do one-way, can you afford the time and do some travel on land within Alaska? We had a week with a rental car after our northbound cruise and went as far as Denali. Prior to the southbound cruise we had 5 nights with a rental car and focused on Girdwood/Seward/Kenai Fjords before taking the very scenic train from Anchorage to Whittier the morning of our cruise, then glacier quest small boat cruise in the afternoon before boarding Coral Princess for an evening departure - that was a fabulous day. We had internal cabins on both these cruises, we couldn't afford the balcony on top of airfares from Australia and extra time in Alaska. We didn't regret it - we were very careful in choosing ships with plenty of public outdoor viewing decks, in fact both Radiance and Coral had decent indoor viewing spots too, lots of glass. Hope that helps Lou
  2. I have a booking on Serenade on 30th Dec 2020 for 13 nights to New Zealand. Obviously watching and waiting as patiently as possible to see what actually happens.
  3. We will be on board Serenade somewhere between Australia and New Zealand for New Year Eve. We've not cruised over the holiday period before and have no idea what to expect. I assume it will be a formal night but what else could we expect in the way of activities on NYE that might appeal to our family (children will be 13 and 10 years old). And aside from semi formal and formal nights, are there any other themed nights (13 night cruise if that matters)? Many thanks Lou
  4. I only found one in our cabin on Coral (June 2019) - at the back of the TV and it was slow, but it did work.
  5. Post in the Alaska board but in short, DIY would be so much better for you - we've done it twice with children (have a search on my user name, we cruised to Alaska with DIY in Alaska in 2015 and 2019 and I did a detailed trip report for both.
  6. I would expect you ca purchase a myki card at the grey ticket machine in the middle of your photo, just past the hand rails. That machine should sell you a myki card and let you top up its value too, before you hop on the tram into the city.
  7. We have cruised to Alaska twice, in 2015 with children aged 5 & 7 yrs, and then in 2019 by which time the children were 9 & 11 yrs. Trip reports are here: and here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2221528 Try to fit in a small boat trip from Seward or Whittier (depending which port your cruise starts or ends at) - 26 Glaciers or Glacier Quest in Prince William Sound out of Whittier and Kenai Fjords cruise out of Seward - this will deliver on the sea lions, whales, other sea mammals and get you close to glaciers and fabulous scenery. You should see sea mammals from the cruise ship too, but at more of a distance - but you do have to be looking - I loved walking round the promenade deck in the evening and seeing wildlife in the water, I would have missed it if I was in the theatre or a bar. hope that helps Lou
  8. We have cruised to Alaska twice, both times including some time in Alaska with a rental car. We cruised to Alaska in 2015 with children aged 5 and 7 yrs (trip report here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2221528) and then again in 2019 with children now aged 9 & 11 yrs (trip report here: I can't comment on NCI, but my children enjoyed the kids club on both Radiance of the Seas and Coral Princess. For my children, as long as they can swim (indoor pools on both Radiance and Coral) and there is ice cream, I can pretty much take them anywhere. Hope that helps Lou
  9. Hi The 3rd cruise was to the Med, not Alaska, with MSC. I think having done both NB and SB, we preferred SB. We had a few days in Alaska first, then the cruise (then a week in the Canadian Rockies). When we chose to go back to Alaska the second time I had 2 criteria for the cruise itinerary - must be a nice long day in Skagway so we could do the day trip we wanted, and must have Glacier Bay NP. That narrowed down which cruise line to go with very quickly for us. Compared to the RCI's itinerary, sailing with Princess meant missing Icy Straight Point, which we enjoyed enough the first time but we weren't rushing back to (unlike Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, which had things we either wanted to do a second time, or had other things we wanted to try having done something different the first time). Hope that helps Lou
  10. You might want to Google "Coral dry dock 2019" or something similar for details, I believe the dry dock was mostly addressing behind the scenes stuff like getting Coral ready for Medallion. We hadn't been on her before so don't have a direct comparison of before and after the dry dock. We also haven't sailed on any of the new mega ships (any cruiseline) to have a comparison to anything new and glossy either. We enjoyed Coral but we were really there for the itinerary, and not super-fussy about the ship. For us, being in an inside cabin, all the outside viewing decks Coral offered were a big draw card.
  11. My children enjoyed both Radiance and Coral - their priorities are pool, kids club and buffet, preferably including ice cream (both had soft serve), also sports facilities like basketball court and mini golf. We chose Princess the 2nd time round because of the itinerary - I really wanted Glacier Bay NP which Royal Caribbean didn't offer. We have now cruised 3 times, 3 different lines, 2 different locations, at the end of the day the itinerary is most important thing for us. Hope that helps Lou
  12. Have a read of another current thread - Cruising Alaska with Little Ones - there will be some useful suggestions in there. Hope that helps Lou
  13. RCLcruiser2012 - there weren't many kids in kids club but enough for them to run the usual age groupings, although I did find when I collected them in the evening they were all together, usually watching a movie. They didn't mind.
  14. Not sure if this helps but in 2015 my children were 5 and 7 yrs, then in 2019 they were 9 & 11 yrs. Both my children enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool on the ship on both trips - happy kids, happy family. They also enjoyed the kids club on-board both times too. But I think under-3's can't swim or use kids club, might vary from cruise line to cruise line. Ketchikan - first time we just wandered round, Creek St, rode the funicular up to the hotel above Creek St. There was a book store where we let them choose a book each, one was a storybook about the 3 bears (polar, black and brown) and another about an otter, those books were read and reread for years and we talked about the trip heaps after as well. Second trip we did a kayaking trip, my children really enjoyed this but they don't take children under 8. This would work if one adult looks after the children while everyone else kayaks. Juneau - we took the bus to Mendenhall Glacier and walked to Nugget Falls. An active 4 yo could do it, the younger two should be in baby carriers on a parents' back. Second time we hired a car for the day, did Mendenhall again, but also out to Eagle Beach and St Therese Shrine. Having a the flexibility of a car (or cars in the case of your group of 14) might be helpful, especially with children who needs naps. Skagway - Chilkoot Charters bus/train half day trip - the 4yo would be ok with this if they liked trains, however I'm not sure about the younger two. The bus part is 90 mins with about 3 photo stops and no toilet stops. Toilets are on the train. Is it possible for one adult to look after the younger two (or three) while everyone else does a tour? Or again hire cars for the day, the scenery from the road is very similar to the train, or some adults could come back by train as long as enough adults to drive the cars back, with the young children in the cars for the their naps? Icy Strait point - I think this has been developed more since I was there but we just explored on foot - my children were happy running through the forest with the very tall trees and then playing on the rocky beach. I think this is a good port for whale watching - again could one adult look after the 3 children for the day while everyone else takes a whale watching trip? (not the same adult who misses out on the activity in other ports, rotate the parenting duties!) Looking for animals - sea mammals from the ship - 4 yo might be interested, if so try to get them to watch some documentaries before they leave home so they know what they are looking for (Sea otters, seals, sea lions, whales, porpoise). Younger 2 won't be interested, their parents will have to carefully plan how they keep them entertained both on board and off the ship, so everyone else can enjoy the scenery. There will be very few other children, especially that young, on board. The vast majority of cruise ship passengers to Alaska are much older. Hope some of that helps. If you do a search on my user name, I did a detailed trip review of both trips (or look on the sticky thread 2015 trip reports and 2019 trips reports for my user name). Lou
  15. Hi i have scoured the deckplans and looked on the RCI website but I can’t work out if there is ice cream or soft serve (aside from on the MDR menu) available or if there is pizza available on Serenade (travelling with teens, this is important!). Four years ago I was on Radiance (sister ship) which at that time had only soft serve frozen yogurt in Windjammer, and no pizza but did have a hot dog/grill place outside Windjammer near the pool. many thanks Lou
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