Jump to content
Forum Maintenance: Wednesday March 20 @5:00 am ET Read more... ×
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About SiliconCruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    San Jose CA
  • Interests
    Discovering new places, photography, visiting old estates.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. SiliconCruiser

    Alaska cruising and land tour

    The cruise lines that cover Alaska, mostly Carnival brands like Holland America, Princess, and Carnival are U.S. based businesses that must offer accessibility in compliance with ADA. And they often own the lodgings in Alaskan land/cruise tours, and like any public lodging in the United States, they too must offer accessibility in compliance with ADA. Train transportation must also be ADA compliant (after all, Alaska is part of the United States 😉.) The one caveat would be the excursion operators at the Alaskan ports. Many do not offer accessible vehicles and are not required to. You'll want to check before you book any of them. Same with the excursions offered by the cruise line (since many are through the same operators.) If the excursion is accessible, it will usually be noted in their literature.
  2. SiliconCruiser

    Transporting your Scooter

    I would avoid ride sharing services, unless your traveling companion can lift and place the scooter into the vehicle on their own. Uber/Lyft drivers can come up with all sorts of excuses to not assist you. The drivers could care less about ADA compliance, though Uber and Lyft feign compliance with "guidelines" for drivers. We find regular airport shuttles (they have vans with motorized lifts) to be far more reliable and consistent with pricing. Many of these shuttles also go to cruise ports. US airlines are better trained and are pretty consistent about transporting and gate-checking mobility devices so that they'll be waiting for you right outside of the aircraft. Your experience on the ship and disembarking at ports may vary depending on the ship's crew (not necessarily consistent throughout a cruise line.)
  3. SiliconCruiser

    Wheelchair vs scooter questions

    We also experienced the same thing in Singapore. When we got down to baggage claim, we saw a female baggage handler struggling to try and push the wheelchair with the wheels locked. I screamed "Stop!" very loudly across the room and she stopped. Fortunately, the only damage that was sustained was a bent bolt. We filed a claim immediately and received a repair authorization. (Changi airport in Singapore uses a centralized damage claim area for all of the airlines, so you don't have to deal with the excuses/lies from the airline employees. You should not deal with airline employees in Singapore.)
  4. SiliconCruiser

    Wheelchair vs scooter questions

    Yes, it is not a problem. At least not in the U.S. and some of the more responsible airlines for international travel. My wife uses a transportable motorized wheelchair that uses a Lithium battery. With the exception of China Airlines, the battery has always remained with the chair in transit. Unless your assistive device has shock absorbers, you'll feel the bumps with both. Wheelchairs turn a tighter radius. Motorized wheelchairs use separate motors for the left and right drive wheels enabling much more agility in maneuvering crowded areas. Scooters are cumbersome and inconsiderate passengers will often leave them sitting in the hallways outside of their staterooms, blocking the hallways. I have moved a few of them (yes, I know how to move them without the key) so that my wife could go by in her wheelchair. Both scooters and wheelchairs will fit through the doorways of ADA accessible staterooms.
  5. SiliconCruiser

    Victoria, BC - Chinatown

    The Cantonese settlement that is descended from the early immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century can still be found in Vancouver's Chinatown (this is the one that is the oldest in Canada and was once second only to San Francisco's Chinatown.) While some of the places there are reminiscent of the earlier Chinese restaurants (i.e. no-frills) there are still some there. It would appear that the more recent immigrants (Hong Kong people escaping from the Chinese turnover, Taiwanese, and PRC) have settled in Richmond. We didn't go to any Chinese places in Victoria, but other cruisers (descendants of early Chinese immigrants to the U.S.) tell me that is is slightly tourist oriented (not outrageous, but definitely targeted for a more lucrative market.) We were in Vancouver a few weeks ago, and the scenery has certainly changed. Higher end Cantonese Chinese restaurants (the ones that reflect offerings to the more financially affluent of the recent Hong Kong migration) are all over Richmond and some in Vancouver (though not in Chinatown)
  6. SiliconCruiser

    Self service laundry on Island Princess

    For the sake of convenience, I'd suggest bringing those soap pods. Pack a few more than you think you might need in a zip-loc bag and close it leaving a lot of air (for cushion). In a separate zip-loc, pack dryer sheets (like Bounce) if you normally use them. As I recall, it was $3 to wash and $3 per dryer cycle. You'll use your cruise card to buy tokens for use in the washers and dryers, and the cost will be charged to your account.
  7. SiliconCruiser

    Formal dress?

    Princess tends to be fairly lax on the Alaskan cruises due to the nature of the cruise and the more informal dress standards in Alaska. Many male diners are seated with open collared dress shirts, without a jacket. Even saw a few polo shirts.
  8. SiliconCruiser


    I have routinely taken 500ml bottles of mouthwash in either carry-on or checked luggage without question or suspicion. Do bear in mind that contrary to the stuff about "your safety", the alcohol prohibition is solely to benefit the bottom line of the Carnival cruise brands. If they were really concerned about your safety after consuming alcoholic beverages, why would they sell you an all you can drink card for $56 a day? And in a pinch, Listerine (and generic versions) has an alcoholic content from 20-27% (40-54 proof), and it is consumable.
  9. SiliconCruiser

    Princess Star Embarkation Day Lunch - where?

    Seems that you usually have to be mildly assertive when you ask which dining room is open for lunch on embarkation day. Seems the standard answer is the buffet, but if you keep pushing they'll eventually tell you.
  10. SiliconCruiser

    Downtown Vancouver Hampton Inn

    Probably best to call the local hotel (in Vancouver) and ask them to be sure. Was up at Canada Place last week (not for a cruise) and it appears that passengers may board below street level from the parking garage. Didn't see any porters at street level.
  11. SiliconCruiser

    First cruise to alaska--questions galore!

    We went in late May and had no problems getting excursions on the piers, there are vendors galore at each port. I'm of the impression that there is no need to book excursions through the cruise line for any of the venues. Also, in Juneau, I neglected to mention the Mt. Roberts Tramway (directly across from the pier.) Yeah, it's a tourist attraction, but seemed to be a worthwhile. The tickets are for an all-day pass, so you can use it multiple times in a day.
  12. SiliconCruiser

    Best Places to Buy Salmon

    To be perfectly honest, get it at your local Costco when you get home (they have Norwegian and Alaskan Sockeye.) The retort packaged (cooked) smoked salmon is probably available at one of your local grocery stores. As for cold smoked salmon, the level of care that is required to transport it on various forms of transportation over a period of time, is really not worth the risk. You don't want your friends to be saying that they managed to survive the lox/lachs that you brought them from Alaska ... ;p As for totally raw salmon it's really not even worth considering.
  13. SiliconCruiser

    First cruise to alaska--questions galore!

    We cruised the Inside Passage on the Grand last year. The Alaskan port calls are pretty standard for the Carnival brands (including Princess). It should be noted that at every one of the port calls, you will find pretty much the same excursions on the dock that you can purchase from Princess (albeit usually for less.) Ketchikan - A van tour will often take you away from the Creek Street area and will enable you to see some other sites other than the tourist traps. But even the van tours will usually drop you off near or at Creek Street so that you can leave some of your tourist dollars with the local merchants. Juneau - Take the bus (either the ship excursion or one from the dock) to Mendenhall and then come back at your leisure (they're all in the $35 neighborhood.) If you're able to go into the downtown area, it is worth wandering around to see some less touristy sites (not to worry, it is pretty hard to get lost since you'll probably have visual sight of the ship.) If you're over 62, rush to any National Parks or multi-agency site in your area and get a Senior Pass for $10 before Aug. 28 (goes to $85 after that.) It will save you the per person charge (for up to 4 people) when you go to Mendenhall. Skagway - Again, you'll find tour operators at the dock offering the same tours for less. White Pass excursions usually consist of a bus (or van) in one direction, and the train in the other direction. Be sure you bring your passport with you, as you will go into B.C. and both the Canadian and the U.S. officials will want to see that your face is a reasonable facsimile of the one on your passport (or passport card if applicable.) If you wander further than the dock, you'll also find tour operators on the main drag. (The further you are from the ship, the lower the cost for the excursion.) And the main drag is pretty uniform and looks nicely maintained; seems that the National Parks Service manages that strip of land and requires a specific appearance for the merchants that lease those properties. Victoria - is the mandatory foreign stop before the ship can return to the U.S. (since it is not a ship of U.S. registry). If you've been to the B.C. capitol in any recent time, it hasn't changed. Get off ship to enjoy some of the local scenery, it should be a relatively short port call.
  14. SiliconCruiser

    Need battery carrier for lithium-ion battery

    Not sure which airline you may be traveling on, but many passenger aircraft actually have specific compartments for Li-Ion batteries. You can give it to a flight attendant and they will return it to you on arrival. U.S. airlines seem pretty well-versed in this procedures, some of the non-U.S. airlines are not quite as well trained.
  15. SiliconCruiser

    U.s. National park pass price going up

    Originally heard that the magic date was going to be 8/21 from a NPS employee in Seattle, looks like it may be 8/28, at least for online applications. But you can get a senior pass for $10 from any National Park (whether they charge for admission or not,) or pay the processing fee in addition to the $10 fee to get it online. The price after that, will be $85, not $80 as indicated in the original post. Sequim88, just used it the other day going to Hurricane Ridge.