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About karatemom2

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    3,000+ Club

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  • Location
    Southern California
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska, Hawaii

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  1. I would agree that making Glacier Bay the only choice for scenic cruising is limiting yourself - it probably is a must if this is your first or possibly only cruise to Alaska. Then I think it should be the top choice. But for returning cruisers who want to see more it is nice to pick different itineraries - I personally agree that Tracy Arm Fjord is even more beautiful in many ways. And College Fjord is impressive as well - the Hubbard Glacier is a site to behold. I'm glad we have mixed it up on our cruises so we have had a chance to see other glaciers and fjords.
  2. Skagway may say 59, but it gets really windy there sometimes and the wind chill really cuts into off the canal there. It's all relative. We are from Southern CA and temps of 65-75 are our normal summer weather here on the beach. But honestly, I can tell you those same temperatures feel cooler to me in Alaska, especially if accompanied by rain or wind. Also, your scenic viewing day can get very cold when you are right up in front of the glacier. You will likely want to be outside taking in all the beauty and if your freezing because you don't have adequate layers you won't enjoy it much. Just be sure to bring some layers to keep you comfortable and warm as you need them and something to keep you dry.
  3. Yes, and I would be fine with that. But Princess has chosen to use this color scheme to differentiate cruisers who have achieved different levels. They give you the black card, they put it on your door tag and now the medallion. Princess has chosen to make this distinction - not the passengers. When I am out and about on the ships I see all different colors when people are wearing their card, and now their medallion around their neck or on their wrist. I never give it a second thought - yet somehow, those with a hint of black showing anywhere - even to pull out your card to buy something in the store, get a drink, enter the wine tasting at no charge, or heaven forbid get directed to a priority tender are flaunting something. My point is that is just a silly premise - if there are a handful of people who seriously do try to show it off somehow, they are wasting their time because literally no one cares except to think how nice it will be when they have cruised enough to get those extra perks. It's not like an Olympic Medal or any other actual honor - it's just a loyalty designation that people have basically paid to get.
  4. Thank you! These conversations are so ridiculous. The OP is Elite and wants the correct medallion. I totally understand. People go all crazy about the idea that pulling your black card or now wearing your black medallion is somehow "flaunting" something, but in reality no one else cares, or at least they shouldn't. I truly believe for most passengers who have obtained Elite level status it is about just being recognized so they can get the benefits offered to them. If your are Elite you should have the black medallion - nothing wrong or ostentatious in asking for or expecting that. If someone else is offended by my black medallion hanging around my neck - they can look the other way!
  5. We were just on the Royal in May and our Medallions were black in the center with silver rim that stated our names and voyage date. Only the plastic holder was blue around the medallion and the lanyard was white with blue print. But the actual medallion itself was black and silver.
  6. Unlike the stores which often extend hours for the cruise ships staying late in town, the museums will not. The published hours will be observed so you just want to keep that in mind when planning your afternoon. You might not have time to fit in all three, so I would first really look at the web site info and TripAdvisor reviews to determine what your priorities are in order. Since the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center closes at 4 p.m. you might want to make that your first stop if it is a high priority. The Tongass Historical Museum is a short walk from that, so you could probably easily hit both of those in the time window you have. It is a small museum that is connected to the Library and doesn't require a lot of time to go through. The Totem Heritage Center is little further out - if you want to fit that in as well I would take a taxi so you don't waste a lot of time walking.
  7. I would call Avis. I have run into challenges trying to reserve cars online in Alaska ports. Sometimes the web site just isn't up to date what is actually available, hours etc. Your best bet is to speak to someone directly - or better yet someone actually working at the location. It may be they just haven't opened up reservations online for next summer yet.
  8. Yes, there is a taxi line as you leave. They have it roped off and very well organized and there are taxis lined up around the block just going through one by one to pick up passengers. We saw numerous van taxis coming through that could take larger groups - we ended up in a Prius as it was just the two of us. The person coordinating at the head of the line will ask how many in your party and get you in the appropriate size taxi.
  9. We had a very different experience. We disembarked on a Saturday and there were two other ships there as well. We chose walk off and our time assigned to leave the ship was 7:45 am and we walked off exactly at that time. As we were in the first group leaving the ship the taxi line was short and we were at the airport in no time at all. Upon arrival it was not the least bit crowded at 9 am. We literally were through security and immigration within 20 minutes. We had hours to kill waiting for our 1 pm flight. I will note that by 10:30 it had gotten much more crowded and by Noon it was packed. We also heard from fellow cruisers on our trip that the taxi lines were horrendous as the morning got later. I believe the key is doing walk off and getting off among the first group to beat the crowds.
  10. On our recent cruise with Princess ending in Vancouver we had a 1 pm flight but still wanted to get to the airport as early as possible to get breakfast and just relax - it’s such a lovely airport. We opted to do walk off and take a taxi which cost about $30. We were off the ship just before 8 am, waited in line only about 10 minutes for our taxi and were at the airport by 9 am. Had there been an earlier flight option for us we would have taken it. If you get right off the ship and head straight to the airport the earlier flight time should be no problem
  11. I'm so sorry to hear about the problems with leaks in your cabin. I must say, we have spent a good many days and nights on the Grand as we love to cruise from San Francisco to Alaska, but in all of my years cruising with Princess it is the leakiest ship we have ever seen. We never had an issue in our cabin, but so many times we have witnessed leaks in public areas with buckets set up and more than once sitting in public areas, particularly the Vista Lounge for some reason, I have been dripped on from above. Perhaps it is a flaw with that particular ship, but dealing with it in a public area is a minor nuisance. Dealing with it in your cabin - especially as bad as it has been in yours - is an entirely different scenario. I hope you get the problem resolved and are adequately compensated for the discomfort it has created on what should be a very fun and relaxing cruise!
  12. Unless it is an excursion that will potentially arrive back close to our departure time or something that we just cannot book independently, we almost always book directly with the vendors. We have done 11 Alaska cruises now and had some of our most amazing excursion booking through independent vendors or just renting a car and touring on our own and have never even come close to missing the ship. Examples of tours booked through the ship: Evening Wildlife Excursion in Haines from Skagway as it ended very late in the day and I felt more comfortable doing it through Princess - we were literally the last people walking onboard and they closed up the gangway behind us. I was glad to be on a Princess excursion for that one. Another one was a Ziplining Excursion in Ketchikan - the price difference to book it direct was minimal and since it was just my daughter and I, we felt more secure going with Princess. Examples of tours not booked through Princess: White Pass/Yukon train - twice we have gone with Chilkoot Charters, Whale Watching Juneau - once with Orca Enterprises, once with Weather Permitting, twice on a small boat excursion in Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier with Adventure Bound, Combined Fishing/Whale watching trip with Glacier Wind in Icy Strait Point, Private Tour in Ketchikan with Ketchikan Taxi Tours, Fast Ferry from Haines to Skagway on our own, Gold Coast Salmon Bake in Juneau where we got the local rate because did not come as part of a tour, and a private tour with Memory Makers in Kodiak. These are just some of the highlights in addition to all the times we have rented our own car and done our own tours. Overall I prefer private tours because they are less crowded and more personal and generally offer you more control of your time and plans. I don't like being herded on and off buses and feeling crowded. I really feel like I get to see more of the real Alaska by getting out on our own. It might not be for everyone, but I have loved those days we have spent in port doing our own thing.
  13. Someone just posted this link on a recent thread on the topic: https://book.princess.com/captaincircle/membershipFAQ.page I’m an Elite member, is there a way to customize my mini-bar? Yes, you can make changes onboard by dialing room service. Mini bottles of liquor can be exchanged; liquor can also be exchanged for beer. You can also exchange the entire setup for: a bottle of wine, coffee cards, sodas only or waters only. We usually exchange ours for a combination of Diet Coke and Bottled Water - I think it worked out to 9 each on our most recent cruise.
  14. Renting your own vehicle is the best way. That way you can stop at a couple different times of day if you don’t have success on your first try. Plus you can visit other areas around Ketchikan. If you head the other direction you can visit Totem Bight and Ward Lake. Renting our own vehicle is our go to for our visits to Ketchikan. You just can’t beat the freedom it gives you to explore and control your own schedule.
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