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thegoaliegirl

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    Princess

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  1. We used Bear Paw Transportation (https://www.bearpawtransportation.com/). I had to fill out their form for a quote but they got back to me pretty quick. They were slightly cheaper than other companies and will pick up anywhere in Anchorage.
  2. I did the SB Royal in Aug and we had 76 kids in the 3-7 category (with 14-6 year olds and 13-7 year olds) and there were 147 in the 8-12 group (29 8 year olds). They did movies together in the evenings. I had kids in both groups (6 and 8 )and they had an amazing time.
  3. Here is my advice- book the round trip Anchorage car right now, as prices will go up. You can always change/cancel it if prices go down or you decide to book the one-way rental. We went in August, with a group of 6, so we needed a minivan. Had the car for 5 days and did a round trip Anchorage rental and then a private transfer to Whittier. It was $1000 more for us to do the one-way rental than our round trip Anchorage rental. We even looked at doing a one day one way rental and we still saved a ton by doing it as a roundtrip with private half day tour. Since there are only 4 of you, you might get lucky and the difference in price might be less. Keep monitoring prices up until you travel, as they varied greatly.
  4. We went to Alaska this summer on Princess and my kids are 6 and 8 (youngest had her 6th birthday on board). Here is what we did and my thoughts for younger kids. In Juneau we did the tram (it was a clear day). Kids loved it. We did something similar when they were younger (around 2 years old) and they liked it but enjoyed it more later. If you do it- go early, as lines/crowds are less. It is pretty expensive but an all day ticket. After we finished that, my kids wanted to get back to kids club on the ship. In Skagway we did the White Pass and Yukon 3 hour ride. They were bored. They liked going outside but both fell asleep on there. Brought snacks and things to keep them entertained but it was more a waste than a good family activity. In town there is a really cute playground a block off the main street. It had rubber instead of bark. Kids loved it and could have spent hours there. Maybe some adults can split up and some take the kids to the playground while others explore? There is also a Junior Ranger building in town, with limited hours. The 4 year old could easily earn the badge but not so much the two younger ones. Instead of the normal book, it was very hands on. Some ipads with info but a lot of interactive stuff (dress up, a "boat" to sit in, etc). Then the discussed the activity with the ranger (6 year old had to do one. Don't remember the exact one, but talk about courage or something). Didn't take up too long (kids didn't get bored) and was free. In Ketchikan we did the lumberjack show. Both kids loved it. 4 year old probably would and the younger two, not sure. There was a lot of crowd participation and saw a lot of younger kids there. Doesn't take too long. Across the street is another place to earn a badge but it was more in depth and would not recommend for the ages of the kids. My kids found creek street boring. On board, my kids were both old enough for kids club and they were there every second it was open. So we planed our days around that. They also had the kids club open on port days. I'm not one to want to ditch my kids every chance I get but when the kids are so excited from the activities they did in there, or what the next ones will be, it was hard to say no to them, as they wanted to be in there so bad. We still had lots of family time together. If you haven't already thought about it, have some activities for the kids to entertain them, especially if doing sit down dining. This summer my kids did great with just the coloring/activity sheet that had the kids menu on it but the year before they couldn't sit still for meals at all.
  5. Here are my thoughts. The private transfer is a great idea to Seward. Don't discount the half day tours. This summer we went with Bear Paw Transportation, group of 8 (with a 6 and 8 year old) from Anchorage to Whittier. Their half day included the Wildlife Conservation Center- definitely recommend it. Kids and adults loved it. This was the perfect kid activity as we walked around for about an hour and they got some energy out. Really loved Bear Paw. Take a good look at the full day itinerary, as they vary greatly from company to company. If the kids are anything like mine, they don't do as well cramped in a car for hours on end. An ideal trip, for us, includes lots of stops for them to get out and move around. The viewpoint stops, at least for us, were for 5-10ish minutes, which wasn't very long. The Alyska tram was neat but my kids only found it mildly interesting. We had a car for a few days before our cruise, so we went there in our own vehicle. We took the tram up, had lunch, looked around for a bit and then left. It was neat but for us, not a must do. Plus, if it isn't a clear day, then you won't be able to see anything. Ididaride was the highlight of our entire trip, for kids and adults. We had friends go a week earlier and it was their highlight as well. I know they have an option that includes transportation. Not sure which Kenai Fjord boat tour you are looking at but here are my thoughts. We went on the 6 hour Major Marine tour. (Book Black Friday weekend- got 40% off, was able to pay for an open ended ticket and then select date later once we knew our exact day). It was a clear day but there is a rough section of open water. Two people (1 adult, 1 kid) were super seasick- not the point of throwing up but very close, even with seasickness meds. Both missed at least an hour or more. Plus side- we saw lots of sea life- tufted puffins, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, otters, various birds, Finn Whales, transient Orcas and eagles. The park ranger on board had binoculars and had Junior Ranger books for the kids to work on to earn a badge, which helped to fill in some time. Did the lunch buffet on board- little spendy but prime rib, salmon and bread were good. Made it easy to not plan out lunch that day. Felt we got our moneys worth. Everyone was feeling better by the time we ate lunch. Got pretty close to the glacier, which was really neat. I'm glad we did it but had some good and bad. We visited both Exit Glacier (near Ididaride) and Byron Glacier (near Girdwood/Wildlife Conservation Center) and here are my thoughts on both. We liked Byron Glacier better. Hike was fairly easy (fairly flat, maybe about an mile?) I was still recovering from tendinitis in my knee and struggled with steps/inclines/walking too far and made it to the base of the glacier just fine. Short walk from end of trail to the glacier. Very family friendly. The visitor center (you pass on the way in) has a junior ranger book for the kids to earn another badge. Harder to get to. Now Exit Glacier (according to their website) has a transfer for a small fee. Due to a mama bear and cub on the shorter path to the glacier, that one was closed (and looks like it still is), so we had to go by the river and do the longer hike. By the time we got to the split for the glacier, the kids were done. We went down by the river and got to see the glacier in the distance and see chunks of ice floating in the river. There is a junior ranger book (same one as the boat tour) but also a patch. To get the patch you check out a backpack (ours had art supplies) and the kids drew/painted pictures of the glacier while sitting on the rocks and had a short book to fill out. Could work to split into two groups- those that are going to the glacier and those that are going part of the way. Kids say they liked Byron Glacier better, since they got to touch the glacier. Seward has a really cute playground on the water- we stayed in Hotel Seward and it was a few blocks away. It was super cute. Sadly, it was closed for maintenance while we were there (2 days of the year) but it was so cute. Saw several sea otters while walking on the path by the water. We did not go to the Sea life center, as everyone felt we saw enough sea life on the boat tour. Our hotel was a short walk to the Sea Bean Cafe, our go to breakfast stop. They had great coffee and a nice assortment of breakfast foods - scrambled eggs for the kids, pastries, smoothie bowls, baked oatmeal which was amazing, bagel with lox or smoked salmon. Ate there 3 days and never had a bad item.
  6. Your reservations can definitely be linked. I just sailed with a group of 8 under 4 booking numbers. Had no issues linking each one as someone else booked. Try talking to your TA again.
  7. If you want to buy direct- you are looking for the summit excursion. That is the one that is up and back on the train (https://wpyr.com/excursions/product/summit-excursion/). Just select the day you are in Skagway and pick your time. Please note that if you buy direct from the railroad, you will have to make your way into town, pick up your tickets and board at the depot. It took us maybe about 15 minutes or so to walk there from the cruise pier. If you book through the cruiseline, you will board at the pier, right after getting off your ship. We found, that this summer, that different times were offered if you booked directly and if you booked through the cruiseline. I booked directly and our train cars were a lot less full that the ones from the cruise ship. Hope this helps.
  8. I don't have any experience in your ports, but we just did the summer sled dog tour in Seward with a 5 (she turned 6 a week later) and 8 year old. It was the highlight of their entire trip, ours too actually. We had friends who went a few weeks before us and it was their one don't miss this activity piece of advice for us. Ours sounds very similar to the Musher Camp/Dog Sled excursion already mentioned. We learned about the dogs, went on a summer sled ride (ours held 6 plus the musher), got to pet the dogs that pulled us, learned about the Ididarod race and met some puppies. I'm not the biggest dog person, but had an amazing time and so glad we did it. Each part wasn't too long, so it was definitely kid appropriate for the ages you have with you.
  9. Personal preference, but I would not pick a guarantee room. You are only guaranteed that category of room or better. What the cruise line thinks of as better, might not mean the same to you. You could end up in the front or back of the ship, way up high, below the pool, near the nightclub, etc. I much prefer to pick my own room and then mark it no upgrade (at least with Princess, where there will typically not move you but you might still get an upsell offer for a (usually) small fee but you get to pick your cabin and location.) Recently went to Alaska- had booked two connecting insides and received an upsell to a balcony. It was so wonderful to have the balcony- I woke up before everyone else and was able to go out and sit and watch the world go by. Did a Southbound sailing and was on the right side of the ship- other side had more land while sailing. Sometimes we were on the dock side, others we weren't. I had originally booked the insides because balconies were over double the price per person. If you can afford it and think you might want to use the balcony (or at least get a little fresh air), then go for it. Not sure what cruiseline you are looking at, but Princess ezAir allows you to book flights but not pay for them until final payment- they aren't ticketed until 45 days or so out (ours were 35 days out). The plus to this is that you can re-book your flights at NO PENALTY if the price drops, you find a better flight, etc. Even if the price drops after final payment but before being ticketed, you can still get a refund on the price difference.
  10. Now I'm curious as to what actually happens tomorrow. I got my info about the winds from someone posting from the Royal on facebook and as of a minute ago, they had not been notified about any further changes in plans, other than an extra sea day today instead of Juneau.
  11. If you are in the US, then yes, if the price drops, you can re-fare at the lower price. As an example, this summer went to Europe with family and friends and had a total of 4 cabins. Most were re-refared for lower prices but the promos were different for each one. It is entirely possibly that the price will drop for guests 1 & 2 but go up (double or more) for the 3rd person. If you are happy with the price as of right now and think that you really want to go, put the refundable deposit down. Then, if you change your mind, you can still cancel. If a lower price (factor in all perks you lose vs ones you gain), then you can re-book.
  12. The reason the Royal left early week or so ago from Ketchikan was due to the tides in Vancouver. I was on the 10-17th sailing- we had to leave Ketchikan early (3:30) to hit the right tide to clear Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver on the 17th at some crazy early hour (3:30am I believe it was). We ended up going faster than scheduled from Juneau, and were able to get off in Ketchikan a little early (about 30 minutes or so). I read on facebook that Juneau was skipped today due to high winds. It was not safe to make it there (other smaller ships made it in earlier but they had issues).
  13. I have done two of them from Seattle. The first was the Ruby from Seattle to Vancouver fall 2017, as hubby and I needed a night away without the kids (and grandma lives in Seattle). Second time was on the Emerald fall 2018 with the kids to see how cramped 4 in a cabin felt before booking Alaska for this past summer. They were totally different cruises. On the Ruby, casino and shops opened not long after leaving and production show was pretty good. It was a Saturday night. On the Emerald, a Sunday night, casino and shops opened very late (after 10pm, or maybe the casino didn't open at all but the shops did?), production show wasn't as good. Boarded early enough both times to eat lunch in the MDR, dinner was anytime dining. They are a bit of hassle. Great if you want to have a quick getaway, work up to a higher status level or purchase future cruise credits.
  14. I just used Bear Paw Transportation https://www.bearpawtransportation.com/ to get to Whittier and were so happy with our private transfer. Another one to look into.
  15. I have not been the all you can eat crab at George Inlet (wanted to but were in Ketchikan for not enough time this trip) but based on their website they have Dungeness. Living near the Pacific, I eat a lot of Dungeness and love them but they are smaller and more work. Tracy's has king crab, which are giant. We were there a few days ago and they had a special of broken pieces for a slightly reduced price ($115 I think). We were a group of 4 and got the regular bucket, which was 4 legs and 2 claws (one feeder, one killer claw) plus coleslaw and 3 rolls. It was enough for all of us, as they were huge. My hubby probably could have eaten an extra leg or two but for the rest of us, it was plenty. We went for the first time 10 years ago, when it truly was a shack. It was neat to see how much bigger it has gone. For us, Tracy's was well worth the money!
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