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About clskinsfan

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Winchester, VA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival, RCI

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  1. We have cruised the most on Carnival. But we stopped cruising them 3 years ago because the food had gotten so bad. Prior to that I never had a complaint about Carnival at all. The service was decent. Food was good and it was a cheap way to take the kids along with us. Celebrity is a completely different experience. More upscale in the evenings. WAY better MDR food in our opinion. And just a more relaxed atmosphere all together. We were actually surprised just how quiet the Eclipse was after 11:00. It all depends what you are looking for in your cruise experience. If you want to party the night away there is nothing wrong with Carnival at all. If you are looking to relax and spent some relaxing time with your significant other than Celebrity may be right for you. We have sailed a few time on Royal and NCL as well. We wont do it again. There are just way too many people on their ships for the price they charge.
  2. I cant speak on the Summit's food quality as I dont sail here until January. But I just got off of the Eclipse a couple of weeks ago. And we have cruised on almost every major line. And by far TO US Celebrity had the best MDR food we have ever had on a cruise. The smaller Royal ships from the mid to late 90's were pretty close. But you are going to have a hard time finding better food and service in any MDR on the seas than we experienced on the Eclipse. I only hope the Summit is as good this winter.
  3. Day 9. May 14th 2019....Icy Strait We are up early and excited for our whale watching excursion today. Icy strait is a really nice port. It is located a good distance away from the town of Hoonah though. And there are shuttles that will run you into town for a nominal price. Once you get off of the ship you walk through the port and meet your tour guides on the outside of the port area. Our guide pulled up roughly 10 minutes after we arrived. And right on time. We decided to do our whale watching tour with Glacier Wind Charters. They are a dream to deal with. Prompt email responses, great customer service and two small boats make this a really nice way to see whales. The boats are run by a Dad and Son team. I dont want to call out anyone by name. But we were with the dad and he was really nice. We saw eagles, sea lions and whales on the tour. Including a calf with its mother. The guides are very knowledgeable about the area. And we had some great conversations about the past in that area. One thing I will tell you about Icy Strait is that the cruise ship docks in the perfect spot to see whales. We saw as many whales from the ship as we did on the excursion itself. But dont let that stop you from using Glacier Wind. They have excellent reviews for a reason. We really enjoyed our time with them. One thing I was told is that they are expanding the docking capacity of this port to allow for three ships in the future. The locals we spoke with showed some real concern about this. Yes. They need tourism to survive. But they arent sure how the port be able to handle that number of people in a single day. After our excursion. We elected to be dropped off in the town of Hoonah. We spent a couple of hours walking around and checking out some of the small stores. We then caught the shuttle back to port around mid afternoon. Where I got my local beer from a restaurant right at the pier area. Icy Strait is a beautiful place and unspoiled by tourism. It is a shame that will most likely change in the future. Here are the pics of our day. I will try to keep them in chronological order as much as possible. Once we were back on the ship it was up to the room for some evening relaxation. Then up to the Sky Bar for a couple of drinks before dinner. Dinner was in the MDR again tonight. And once again Jorge, the food and service were excellent. I believe we had the comedian after dinner tonight. And he was really good. After the show we spent the remainder of the evening at the Martini Bar enjoying people watching and the band in the center of the ship. Then off to bed. Tomorrow is Juneau.
  4. I am sorry your experience at Tuscan was not good! We ate at all of the specialty restaurants on this cruise. And to us La Petit was the worst of them. We rated Murano the best and ate their twice on this cruise. Tuscan was second and the Sushi place was third. I tend to agree with you about spending money on them though. We would probably only do Murano again in all honesty. The MDR food and service are outstanding on this ship.
  5. And nobody really cares. Why do so many threads here break down to NA vs. Europe. Regardless of where you live you should expect a good experience for a cruise that you paid for. Obviously that wasnt delivered here.
  6. From those pictures it looks like the river boat was definitely moored. Look how the side of the ship has been completely bent outwards. My guess is the lines snapped when the ship ran into it. The angle that the ship hit them was about as good as it could be. instead of running right over them it hit them and pushed them away from the dock. Crazy.
  7. In the videos you can see the staff of the river boat trying to get people off of the ship on the gangway. There is a guy hanging on the gangway while the ship runs into them. I cant tell if anyone fell overboard. Scary stuff though.
  8. We couldnt on Eclipse a couple of weeks ago. They had the fire doors closed that lead to the cabins. Not a big deal for us as all we had was out backpacks full of medication and other necessities. We just checked out carry on bags at the port.
  9. Day 8. May 13th 2019....Skagway Up at the crack of dawn this morning as we are pulling into Skagway. We have booked an excursion with Frontier Excursions called the Yukon Discovery Tour. It is LONG. 6.5 hours long to be exact. We did not know what to expect. We head up to the buffet around 6:30 and it is already hopping. I get some eggs benedict this morning. It was really good. But I will be honest. I think NCL does a better version IMO. We take our backpacks with us to breakfast this morning as we need to be of the ship as soon as possible. After breakfast we head down to deck two. They are already letting the Celebrity excursions off so we just jump right in line and off the ship we go. The walk down the pier in Skagway is a long one. Just a heads up for those with mobility issues. There is a free golf cart shuttle though if you need it. We walk to tend of the pier and find out tour. He says we have 40 minutes until we leave so we can either wait there with him or walk to the office in town which is around a 15 minute walk. We elect to walk into town. My opinion of Skagway is that it is very commercialized. Every store you see is geared towards cruisers. That makes sense. But it is not what we came to Alaska for. Dont get me wrong. We like to shop for stuff just like anyone else. But Skagway is a tourist trap. Really no other way to put it. We arrive at the excursion office, settle the bill than hit the restroom. The next restroom on the tour is around two hours in. Into the Van we and we are off on what would become the most incredible excursion ever. We will be driving 65 miles into the Yukon. And the sights are just ridiculous. Our guide was fantastic as well. Just the whole experience was really great. We end the northbound loop at Emerald Lake. Then head back south. The ride back is much quicker than the way up as you really do not stop on the way back. We did stop at one point to watch a black bear who was right next to the road. On this excursion we saw Dahl Sheep, Goats, Bear and Eagles. I took hundreds of photos on this excursion. I will post a few of my favorites below. They are in no particular order. But if you take this excursion on a sunny day you will see all of this as well: I could literally post 100 more pictures with just as stunning of views. The Yukon is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. And I have been blessed to be able to travel all over the world. In a word If you have a chance to do this excursion DO IT. It was simply phenomenal. Yes. It is long. But is it worth every second you get to spend in that beautiful place. After the excursion we were pretty much wiped out and elected to get dropped off at the dock instead of in town. We had walked around Skagway in the morning and neither of us felt like we really needed to see any more of it. We needed a hamburger. Up to the mast grill we went. The burgers are really good by the way. And so are the fries. After the mast grill it was back to the Sunset Bar for a few more beverages. Then down to get ready for dinner. We ate in the MDR tonight. And Jorge was happy to see us after not eating there last night. After dinner we went up to the Sky lounge for the remainder of the evening. Then off to bed. Tomorrow is Icy Strait and our Whale Watching Tour.
  10. Day 7. May 12th 2019... Sitka We had no excursions planned for Sitka or Juneau. I usually try to leave a couple of ports open when I book a cruise. It is nice not having to jump out of bed and be in a hurry to get somewhere a couple of days during your vacation. We were up early anyways. And my wife sat up in bed an yelled WHALES!! There were maybe 10-15 whales off in the distance. They were blowing and tail slapping. She was able to catch a couple of pics of them: We sat on the deck and watched them for a few minutes. We were just a couple of miles away from docking. We were starting to think maybe we should have book our whale watching excursion in Sitka instead of Icy Strait (More on that later). Sitka is a stunning stop. The port area itself isnt really amazing. But you can take a free shuttle into the town from the port. We were up to the breakfast buffet at around 7:45. Had another really good breakfast. Than back to the room to pack up our backpack for the days adventure. We were off the ship by around 8:30. We caught the bus into town which took maybe 10 minutes. Off of the bus and the views were simply amazing. Big mountains on all sides and beautiful waterfront as well: We then proceeded to walk the entire town. There are some really good walking guides out there for Sitka. I had printed one out before we left. The walk takes you along the waterfront to Sitka National Historic park. Then through the woods to the Raptor Center, Then back into town on a northern road that passes the National Cemetery and ends at the Russian Cemetery. The total walk is a little under 4 miles. Sitka is such a beautiful area to walk. There are views at every turn. We walked along the waterfront: Stopped and went into the Russian Bishops House. After touring that it was back to the waterfront. While walking through the woods we had a Raven land right next us. The bird decided to give us a tongue lashing for the next ten minutes. It was hysterical. And we and another couple just stood there in awe listening to him. He eventually got tired of yelling at us and flew off. Back to walking along the waterfront. And the big volcano looms in the distance: Eventually you come to the National Historical Park. There are tons of Totems here and miles of trails to walk as well. The inside of the park building has some really nice historical items from the native people in it. Also some good displays. It is worth seeing. Most of the totems are remakes of originals. But here is a tip. If you want to see some original very old totems go around to the backside of the building. They have them locked up in a display there: After the park we walked through the woods to the Raptor Center. We did not go inside. We just checked out the area than walked down the road to the National Cemetery. From there it was back into town and to catch the bus. We spent around 4 hours in Sitka itself. It is a very special place. Stunning beauty and great people. We got off of the bus at the port and decided we wanted some crab for lunch. There was a tent at the dock selling crab. It is called Halibut Point Crab and it was outstanding. It is family owned. And we met the entire family while eating there. One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that I had a local beer in every port we stopped at. It was one of my goals on the trip. While eating the crab I had a couple of local beers actually. 🙂 My wife and I shared one and half Dungy's then rolled back to the ship around 2:30 or so. I highly recommend Halibut Point. The food was excellent and the owner and his family are awesome as well. Once back on the ship it was up to the Sunset bar for our daily Pina's. We stayed up there for sail away. Sitka is a must stop in our opinion. It was definitely the best port of the trip. We had reservations at Tuscan for dinner tonight. Once again the food and service were outstanding. We had a seat right against the rear window as the sun was going down. It was a very romantic spot to enjoy our dinner. And the views were to die for. After dinner we went to see the Magician they had on this cruise. We thought he was very good. But I felt bad for the guy as he really didnt get the applause he was looking for. After the show it was up to the Sky Lounge for a bit than off to bed. Tomorrow is Skagway and one of the absolute best excursions we have ever been on in our lives.
  11. This has been going on forever. I remember algae blooms in the 70's and 80's. It is not a new issue. Here is a site that tracks Sargasum blooms in the Caribbean. It has some great beach cams as well. http://seas-forecast.com/
  12. My wife and I walked by one of the auctions a couple of weeks ago on Eclipse. And the woman DEFINITELY said Max is an investment. In fact we watched a woman drop $4500 on a "special" 3 for 1 Max auction.
  13. Day 6. May 11th 2019....Ketchikan We were up with the sun this morning. Out on the balcony with a hot cup of coffee watching the ship pull into Ketchikan. We had to be in the Theater at 7:30 for our excursion. But had plenty of time to enjoy the Eclipse coasting into docking position. We went up to the breakfast buffet around 6:30 and it was much more crowded than yesterday morning. No crazy wait times. We just had to settle for an inside seat instead of at the window. Oh darn :). After breakfast we head down to the theater and arrive right around 7:20. Up to the stage I go to get our stickers with our group numbers on them. We are in group 5 for our excursion. No long wait we are on our way downstairs to deck 2 promptly at 7:30. Of the ship and onto our excursion. The excursion we chose for Ketchikan was The Misty Fjords Explorer by high speed boat. And it was simply stunning. The Misty Fjords are just gorgeous. The excursion picks you up dock side by the ship. Then you are off on a pretty long boat ride to the Fjords themselves. But the ride is beautiful and you have your choice of inside or outside areas during the journey. Here is a picture of the inside of the boat: On the way to the Fjords you pass by New Eddystone Rock. It is a beautiful chunk of basalt that seems to just be stuck in the middle of the water all by itself. The naturalist explained that it is the top of a long dead volcano: From there it is into the Fjords. Now I mentioned that we had no rain at all in any port on this trip. But there was definitely mist in Misty Fjords. Not enough to obscure any of the views. But the air was definitely damp. The Fjords themselves are simply stunning. Huge sheer cliffs on either side of you. With too many waterfalls to count. We saw porpoise, sea lions, seals (which one of the girls on the boat called little gray sausages) and eagles on the trip. I still chuckle thinking about the little gray sausage comment. I have way too many pics to put on the site. But here are a few of my favorites. Here are the little gray sausages: And some sea lions: The ride back from the Fjords is a long one. But the scenery is beautiful. I spent almost the entire boat ride back on the rear deck taking pictures. This excursion was almost 5 hours long. So it isnt for everyone. But we LOVED it! And I would not hesitate to do it again if we ever make it back to Alaska. Once we returned to the dock we had plenty of time to go explore the town a little bit. We walked down the waterfront and found a little shack to get some halibut fish and chips. It was great. From there we walked over to Creek street and took the mandatory photo of that area. We spent the next couple of hours shopping for trinkets and such. After shopping for a bit it was back to the ship and a date with the Sunset Bar for some sail away Pina Colada's. We went down to the room around 6:00 to get ready for dinner. We ate in the MDR tonight. And once again the service and food were excellent. We didnt make it to the show that night. After dinner we headed down to the Martini Bar and people watched for a couple of hours. Then off to bed. Tomorrow is our favorite port of the entire trip Sitka. We loved some of our excursions better than Sitka. And Misty Fjords is one of them. But as far as ports go. Sitka is simply stunning.
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