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About cbpanda

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Southern MD
  1. cbpanda

    Princess Wilderness Lodges

    We took a two week trip to Alaska just this past June (one week interior and one week cruise). We stayed at both of these lodges, as well as, the Fairbanks Lodge. Funny -- I don't even remember seeing the hot tubs! Sorry I can't help you there. However, both of the lodges are beautiful and offer tons of public space to just sit and read or take in the view. It was late June/early July and every lodge had a fire in the fireplace. They all have fantastic outside areas and decks that have breathtaking views....especially at McKinley if the mountain decides to show itself. :) I thought the food was really expensive -- not just at the lodge, but all over the state. Fortunately, we had our meals included in our package, so it was (more-or-less) paid for before we left. There were some reasonably priced places at both lodges. Denali offered the pizza place, as well as some places across the street (including a Subway). McKinley had a bar in the main lodge and also a reasonable restaurant that was located on the compound. I would definitely pack snacks. We stocked up on snacks and drinks in Fairbanks on our first day. If you want to see the lodges, feel free to check out my pictures (the links are in my signature). I took lots of the lodges because I wanted to show my mother when we got home! You will have to sift through quite a few but they are organized chronologically and we started in Fairbanks, then Denali, then McKinley (so the McKinley lodge will be towards the end of the land pics).
  2. cbpanda

    Princess Wilderness Lodges

    The only thing it would add to the trip is a possible view of Mt. McKinley (it is only visible some of the time) and more view of interior Alaska, which is beautiful! We did not get the opportunity to see the mountain while in Denali Natl Park (it was way too cloudy), but got a rare glimpse to see it while at the McKinley Lodge. As mentioned, however, the McKinley lodge is somewhat isolated. The closest town (and the train station) is an hour away -- Talkeetna is a cute little town.
  3. cbpanda

    Towel Animals on Princess

    100% agree!
  4. See here is the problem! We technically only have one airport in the state. The others are in Virginia....and what do the DC residents do -- they don't have an airport within city limits?
  5. cbpanda

    First time on the Diamond Princess

    Thanks to both of you for your responses. I'm super excited about Alaska -- it's definitely one trip on my must do list! We are making the most of it and doing a week on land before we cruise. 5:00 Somewhere, I'll have to check out that hidden bar! Sounds intriguing!! Thanks for the tip.
  6. We are cruising southbound from Alaska at the beginning of July and I was looking over the deck plans recently. Can someone explain why there are 5 dining rooms on the ship?
  7. We are going to Alaska at the end of the month and when we looked into booking our flights earlier this year, our TA suggested that we check the Princess EZAir options. Upon checking I came across one major issue that affected our airline pricing..... We live in So. Maryland, which is considered to be in the Washington DC metro area. As a result, we have three airports to choose from when picking the best price (all three are basically the same distance from our house) -- two in VA (DC National and Dulles Intl) and one in MD (Baltimore Washington Intl). Princess EZAir would only quote (and subsequently book) airline reservations for the state in which we lived -- BWI. That meant that we only had 1/3 of the available flights and fares to choose from. While this is not an issue for the majority of people out there, not having the other airports available played a significant role in our decision not to use Princess' air booking system. Until they fix this restriction, we will not even consider using it in the future.
  8. cbpanda

    New Princess "Secrets"??

    This is what I bring....small battery operated candles. Works perfectly and safely.
  9. cbpanda

    New Princess "Secrets"??

    Last February on the Ruby Princess this door had an "Crew Only" sign on it. It didn't stop most people, but be forewarned.
  10. cbpanda

    I'm a little sad and discouraged now...

    For the last couple of years, I've been lucky enough to cruise twice a year. I vacation with my husband and we get a balcony room and then I cruise with my mother and for budget reasons we get an inside room. Believe me when I tell you that I enjoy both cruises simply for the opportunity to be on a cruise. Honestly, it is nice having the private balcony, but when I cruise with my mother, I find that we spend more time participating in the ships activities (either on deck or in the piazza).
  11. cbpanda

    Caribbean Princess out of New York?

    I have been on the Caribbean Princess twice before, although not out of NYC. She is a beautiful ship. The atmosphere is warm and relaxing. If you want to see pictures of her, feel free to click the link in my signature. And while I have not been on the Miracle, I have been on a Carnival ship out of the Manhatten pier....embarking and disembarking was an absolute nightmare. It took hours to board the ship at 3pm in the afternoon (we went in July for Canada/New England). That was my very first cruise ever and I'm very glad that I didn't not assume that boarding was like that universally. I would like to say that not all Carnival ships are "party" ships. We just sailed the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore, and honestly it seemed as though if you weren't interested in karaoke, the ship was mostly deserted after 9pm. Some nights we were hard pressed to find something to do later into the evening (aside from the production shows, which we do not like).
  12. cbpanda

    Questions about anytime dining!

    We just go off the Ruby a couple of weeks ago and they asked for our cabin number every evening in the Anytime dining room. First time that has happened. Not that I cared, but it was unusual. Personally, I love anytime dining -- never make a reservation and the only night I've ever had to wait is on the formal nights, and on those nights we go down, get our little pager and enjoy a drink or two before dinner.
  13. cbpanda

    Confused Vancouver Customs & immig

    We are doing this, only directly to the Seattle airport. Our cruise on the Diamond in July ends in Vancouver as well, and we booked transfers through Princess to SeaTac expediting the border crossing.
  14. cbpanda

    Caribbean Princess vs. Ruby Princess

    Likewise, we have been on both ships. Also, as many have said, I prefer the Ruby over the Caribbean. Maybe it was because the Ruby was brand new when we went on it, but it just seemed that much nicer.
  15. cbpanda

    anytime dining waitlisted

    Yikes! :eek: