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About mommiemudd

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Douglasville , GA USA
  1. Your Welcome! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  2. Yes that’s it! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  3. [emoji16] Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  4. We really enjoyed our time there! The weather was warm the days we were there but still better than Georgia in the summer! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  5. It was an hour and a half. When we reserved I chose the entire back row for us. Best for pictures. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  6. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=56412695#post56412695 Great cruise! Five of us. 76, 44,47,47,16. Second Alaskan cruise for three of us. First cruise for my dad. R/T Seattle. Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC
  7. Excursion report. Not sure if I’ll do a ship report because let’s face it, it’s all about Alaska. We did like the ship. It was a different class than our previous cruises. Loved the newly added areas. Only issue we had that it wasn’t convenient to get drinks with our soda card. There were place they just didn’t seem to b in the right pat, or they were closed or busy. Balcony cabins 7132 and 7136. Our cabins were forward. I should’ve chosen aft, I think that locations would’ve been more convenient for food. We were convenient for shows. Rough seas overnight the first and last night. Didn’t bother us. Great sleeping weather. Comedians were good. Epic rock was great. Staff was very friendly. Loved our room steward and dining team. I’m struggling with their menu now, I think it’s time to change. But if I’m not cooking, I’m not complaining. Played bingo and clue. Missed the clues though. We were so busy with excursions and naps. Enjoyed the naturalist that we had. Happy with what we paid compared to other lines. Guess I just did a ship report. Lol:') We were on the Carnival Legend June 19-26. Here is how we spent our time at each port. Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. ⚓️🛳 We visited Alaska 14 years ago and we loved the excursions that we did then, so I wanted my dad and brother to have similar experiences. This was their first time to Alaska and I wanted this to be a trip of a lifetime for them. No pressure. Lol. 🤣🤣😮 Typically, I start with the excursions offered by the cruise line to see what interest us. Same process this time. I spent hours reviewing cruise critic, an Alaskan Facebook page, and trip advisor to determine what we wanted to do and then researching private vendors. I know that Carnival will match the price and I do have a Carnival credit card that would give me an additional discount. However, I prefer private vendors. I know everyone feels differently about this but it’s what has worked for us for 15 cruises. We have found that the groups are smaller and we can customize if necessary. And the vendors can be reached by email and answer any questions that I might have during the planning process. Try reaching someone at the cruise line. Not easy! I booked most of our excursions in November for our June cruise. This allowed for us to pay for some of the big items months in advance of the final cruise payment. All had great refund policies and we purchased travel insurance. Speaking of travel insurance, we always buy using insuremytrip.com. After chatting with an agent, I found a policy that would cover all five of us. This vacation was way to pricey to chance losing any money. I always buy insurance for the Caribbean too. And never through the cruise line. Better, cheaper coverage is available. Tracey Arm. Actually ended up being Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. Our first Alaskan cruise was only our second cruise and we did everything through through cruise line and I didn’t do a ton of research so we missed this opportunity. I was determined to do this excursion if we ever went back. This excursion has to be booked through the cruise line. It’s operated by Allen Marine. We were picked up at our boat by their boat. Around 11 or so. This was a three hour tour. Lol. 🤣 We were able to get so close! The captain opened up the third deck, the views were amazing. We were able to see and hear the ice calve. Bring your binoculars! The Carnival Legend captain was also able to get incredibly close. The naturalist on our excursion was impressed with how close he was able to make it to the glacier. But still, our experience was the best. So grateful that I was able to go back to Alaska and do this excursion. Doughnut holes and hot beverages were available free of charge. Other items available for purchase. The crew was great, very personable and knowledgeable. If this is offered on your ship, do it. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife. A few eagles and sea otters playing along the way. So don’t expect this to be a wildlife excursion. It’s all about the scenery. It was chilly, I wore a jacket that’s lined inside, earmuffs, and gloves. For shoes, I wore my duck boots that kept my feet warm. Inside the boat was nice and warm. My favorite thing about this excursion is that I didn’t have to worry about where to be on the ship to get the best view or be distracted by happenings on the ship. I was just there. Experiencing a glacier in Alaska. That was worth the price of this excursion. Highly recommend this tour! Skagway My brother loves trains so I knew we had to do the Yukon Rail and Bus excursion. We had done a similar excursion previously that went to Liarsville and we had a salmon bake. Really wasn’t interested in redoing that part of the tour. Based on my research it seemed that Chilkoot Charter had the best options and reviews. So that’s who we used. https://chilkootcharters. You can read the tour description on their website. We elected to do bus first, train second. This was suggested as sometimes it’s foggy in the morning and might interfere with views from the train. It was also suggested to sit on the right side of the bus going up, and the right side of the train coming down. So we did. Because we had only 13 on the tour everyone could sit on the right if they wanted on both the bus and train. Our group had our own train car as well. And yes, passports are required. We did go into Canada. They did check our passports as we entered. Also, when we returned to the US on the train, customs boarded and checked our passports. This was actually the reason we obtained our passports 14 years ago. Once you book, they email meeting instructions along with your confirmation. 8:30 meet time. Their rep was right outside of security as we disembarked. We were sent to a bus (shuttle type) where we met our driver Anne. Anne, native of Ireland, was awesome. Of course, with that Irish accent, I could listen to her all day. We hit many points of interest, and our guide was always willing to be a photographer. She knows the ropes and knows how to avoid most of the crowds and if there was a crowd, she worked with the other guides so everyone could quickly get their pictures. There are a couple of stops for the potty along the way but there aren’t many, so you may want to wait to hydrate until boarding the train where water and a bathroom are provided. 😁Sometimes I needed a jacket at our stops, but not on the bus. I wore tennis shoes and had my Columbia fleece jacket. If it was raining I would’ve wanted my duck boots. This tour includes lunch at Caribou Crossing. It was good, the doughnuts being the star of the show. And this is also where you can pet the husky puppies. Oh. My. Word. My daughter is now searching for a husky to buy. Lol. Yes, it’s kinda a cheesy tourist trap. But it has great history and we actually enjoyed it. My favorite stop was Emerald Lake. Gorgeous!! We also saw a bear! 🐻Just walking down the side of the road. Very cool! We stopped in Carcross and had about 30 minutes to be tourists. Then we headed to Fraser where we boarded the train. 🚂 Loved our train ride! We spent most of the time outside on the platform. We needed jackets on the platform, not in the train. Our weather was amazing! No rain. The train ride ends just north or town. Anne met us here, sometimes it’s a different driver, just an FYI. She dropped us in town and we went straight to the White Pass train store for souvenirs. There’s a coupon in the book they give you onboard for a T-shirt and hat combo for $15 or so. Great deal! Onboard they sell some things as well, like a hat you can only buy onboard. We bought a few things in town and then headed back for dinner onboard. We were docked till 9 so there was lots of time for exploring the town. We were tight time wise at our other ports so we knew this was the best place for us to shop. It may not be the best place to shop but it was the best for us. It’s a short walk back to the ship or you can take a SMART bus for $2. We loved Skagway! So much history. Another great option here is to rent a car and use Murray’s guide. If we ever make it back, this is what we will do because I’ve done the train twice. I don’t know that I would choose the rental car over this excursion because we loved the train ride. Highly recommend this company and this excursion! Juneau I knew right away that I wanted to do a whale watch and go to Mendenhall Glacier. I originally booked this excursion through the cruise ship because of our short port time. But after additional research, I cancelled and booked the Whale Watch and Mendenhall Glacier tour with Juneau tours. http://www.juneautours.com/. I had originally booked the tour that included the whales, the glacier and a city tour. About two weeks before, I emailed and cancelled the city portion because I wanted more time at the glacier. There might still have been enough time for this, so if it’s something you really want to do, email and ask the timeframe for that excursion. This was an early day! 7:30 meet time. Again, detailed instructions were emailed with our confirmation. They were right where they said they would be near Mt. Roberts tramway. Their shuttle bus took us to their boat. We were lucky! We were on their brand new boat! One month old. There were only 12 of us on this excursion. There is nothing like being on the boat in Alaska. It was a warm day but I still needed gloves and my warmer coat. The doors to the inside area were closed as we went out looking for whales but eventually they were open and we moved quickly sometimes to get to the whales, so it did get chilly. I wore tennis shoes because of the walk to the glacier later that day. Loved the crew! Tori was our naturalist. Very personable and knowledgeable. We were given bottled water, granola bar, and fruit snacks. We only saw one whale, Flame. It’s so incredible to me that the recognize and know the whales names. 🐳 We saw Flame a couple of times and Tori told us when to be ready with our cameras. I guess I was expecting more whales, but so happy with what we did see. There were a few other boats in our area so it’s not like they were seeing something we weren’t seeing. Tori did mention that late July/early August is the best time to see the bubble feeding. Although, I just read that some groups this May saw it as well. We were out for two hours but it went by so fast! If I were to do this again, I would see if there was a longer tour available, I don’t think there is with this company, another company might offer a longer tour. It was just so nice to be on the water. Yes, I know we were on a cruise but this was so different and relaxing. When we got back to the dock, our driver took us to the glacier. Randy was very informative about what to expect and how to navigate the glacier area. We toured the visitors center then headed down the path to Nugget Falls. It was a mile walk but not a hard walk at all. I was watching footwear as we went along, hiking boots, sandals, flip flops, duck boots but mostly tennis shoes. We were able to get some great shots of the glacier and the falls. We followed the shoreline back towards the visitors center and eventually met up with the main trail. We walked a little bit of the elevated platform then headed to our shuttle pickup. We explored the town a bit, stopped in the Red Dog Saloon to see Wyatt Earp’s gun. Then back onboard. There are many different ways to do the whale watch and the glacier. Some rent a car, some take a taxi and some use the shuttle. A lot of choices for whale watching as well. Harv and Marv get great reviews and they offer some tours you can customize. We really wanted transportation to the glacier included. Yes, I know you can take a taxi or a one way shuttle. This is just the way we decided it worked for us. Research, ask question and determine what route works best for your family. Highly recommend this excursion and this company! Ketchikan My dad was with the Blue Angels in the Navy and retired from Delta Airlines. So I knew he would love the seaplane. We had used Island Wings previously and loved our experience, so we decided to use them again. http://www.islandwings.com/. Shona, the operations manager is great! So informative and excellent with communication. It was pouring the day we arrived. I emailed Shona to make sure we were still ok for flying and she said it wasn’t raining in the fjords and we were all set. Short port time here, back onboard at 12:30. So, we knew we had to explore the town before our flight at ten. This would’ve been a great place to have real rain gear. We had planned to see the totems at Cape Fox Lodge. It was raining too hard for that walk (we’re wimps) so we shopped of course. Great deals at Tongass Trading Company. I had emailed Shona to tell her we were staying dry in the Visitors Center and she said she’d be right over to pick us up and she was. Isn’t it amazing when people do what they say they’re gonna do? We got back to the office in time to see Michelle land from her first tour. Then we were off. Michelle, the pilot was wonderful. Smooth flight. She was more personable than I anticipated. I’ve read a few negative comments about her personality but our experience was great! She took pictures and selfies with us and answered all our questions. Very pleased with our experience. It was even better than our first time, I remember thinking the flight was incredible but didn’t really love her interaction with us. She’s still very professional but is more personable now. I like the fact that she lands on a lake and that’s just another experience for us. I just don’t even know how to explain this excursion. There are no words. Breathtakingly beautiful hardly does it justice. It’s definitely a splurge but so worth it! We eventually had to land, Shona helped load the next group and then took us back to the port. This was the only excursion that made me a little nervous time wise. All aboard was 12:30 and we boarded about 12:20. I had even emailed Shona that I was nervous about the timeframe but she assured me that it would be fine. Their dock is literally 5 minutes away. And of course it was fine. Highly recommend this excursion and this company! Victoria BC I am a planner. I had a notebook full of all our plans for this trip. This port troubled me because of the time in port. 7:30-12. I really wanted to do tea at The Empress but that wouldn’t work in our timeframe. I liked the idea of a double decker bus but was afraid to pre book anything. Because if it was raining or if we were exhausted, we would just stay onboard. So, we decided we would just see what was offered at the pier. First time I’ve ever went that route. It was a wise choice. We found Big Al of Ambassador Transportation. He’s an older gentleman with a mini van. There were nicer cars and limos but this just felt right. So, he gave us a two hour tour of the city. The van was able to go places the bus wouldn’t fit. We walked around the gardens at the governors house, drove through Chinatown, saw the peacocks, and many other points of interest. Great photo ops along the way. We really enjoyed learning about Victoria from him. Two hours well spent. We didn’t shop here, we have enough T-shirt’s and hats, so back onboard. Well, that’s a wrap for our excursions. I’m very happy with our decisions. Wouldn’t change a thing. Any ?’s, just let me know.
  8. Thank u to everyone that answered my questions and gave suggestions. So, here is what we did! And I don’t think I would change a thing, except maybe add a day at the end to tour the Mt Rainier area. Hotel: dang, they’re expensive. So it was either spend one day downtown prior to cruise or stay out near the airport for a few days. We wanted to experience the area so we chose the airport. I know everyone has their own opinions about hotels. My daughter is a hotel snob. I want clean and safe. Also, we had 5, so not many hotels would fit all of us and our luggage. I know most would just do two rooms but it seemed such a waste for us cause we were literally just sleeping there. And I grew up with only one bathroom so it wasn’t difficult. We typically use Priceline, Hotwire or hotels.com. The ability to chose the type of beds can be an issue with these. I have had great success calling the hotel after a winning bid and receiving bed choice but this was making me nervous so I decided to go another route. After extensive research by my daughter and myself we chose Red Lion Hotel. Trip advisor reviews varied but what I did notice was the managers response to both positive and negative reviews. Also, I had emailed them a couple of times and received a response. Not always timely but always a response. I also called on one occasion and was happy with the interaction. I found a great rate that included a hot buffet breakfast for all five. And it was a 15 mile walk to the light rail. We had my dad with us, he’s 76 and in great shape so he did fine with the walk but a closer hotel might’ve been better if we had utilized the light rail more than once. I did continue looking up until the trip but couldn’t find anything that worked. All in all we were happy here. Room was big. Roll away was out of the way as was our luggage. We had a late arrival and I had requested for the roll away bed to be set up and ready for us if possible and it was! Shuttle for airport worked well once I called and listened carefully to pick up instructions. Shuttle driver even called ahead and had luggage carts waiting for us upon arrival. Breakfast at Gregory’s was great, we ate dinner there one night and it was excellent. Yes, it’s an older hotel but it has had some updates and I would stay there again at the rate we paid. If I was spending lots of time just in the hotel room, there are probably better options. Seattle Day one: We rented a car through Budget. I rented months in advance and was able to get a full size car for $30 for the day. I did notice the rate doubled as it got closer. My husband just walked over to the airport while we were getting ready and came back to the hotel to get us. Free parking during the day but they charge to park overnight. I bought advance tickets for Boeing at 11:30. We got there a little early and were able to tour some exhibits before the tour. The tour was fabulous. Well worth the money in our opinion. My dad retired from Delta Airlines so this was the perfect way to spend Father’s Day. We stopped at Jack in the Boxfor lunch. We had one years ago so it was neat to visit one again. Then it was off to Ballard Locks. Free parking on Sundays! Woohoo! Such a nice place to spend some time. We enjoyed watching the locks work. Could’ve stayed there for longer but we had more to see! Seattle Fisherman’s Memorial was up next. We are fans of the tv show The Deadliest Catch, so it was nice to see the memorials. Also, drove around the pier area to see if any ships were leaving but we were a little too late. We are also fans of Greys Anatomy, so it was off to the house they use for Meredith Greys house. And then, literally around the corner, Kerry Park. What an amazing view! 😮. Great photo op! Last but not least, Alki Beach. Super crowded so my husband dropped my daughter and I off to get a few pictures. Looked like a fun place to hang out. We then just followed the coast around a bit and saw more of West Seattle. Stopped along the way and purchased some things at the grocery store and had dinner before returning the rental car. Great day! Day 2: walked down to the light rail, 15 minutes or so. Purchased round trip tickets and hopped aboard for the ride downtown to Westlake Center. Then we caught the monorail over to Seattle Center. We had reservations for the 11:00Duck Tour. We arrived early so we shopped at a few of the souvenir shops and checked out the area. Duck tour was so much fun! Tour of the city and the lake. Back at 12:30. We had prepurchased tickets for the Space Needle for 12:30-1. Perfect timing. Still was a long line and it was hot! Heat wave for the three days we were there. Figures. We are from Atlanta and can’t escape the heat. On the plus side there was no humidity so it wasn’t that bad. Spent some time at the top. Construction is ongoing but we still enjoyed the great views! We walked through the Armory, great places to eat but we weren’t hungry yet. So off to monorail and back to Westlake. Finally time for Pike Place Market. Gum alley was first. Yuck. We toured around the market. Daily dozen donughts. Yummy. DeLaurenti for the walking charcuterie board. Hubby, dad and brother had BBQ. daughter had a sandwich from Lowell’s. All of it was fantastic and huge portions. I wanted Beechers mac n cheese and piroshky piroshky but we were full. Lol. And of course, the obligatory picture in front of the original Starbucks. Line was long so no drink here. Then we walked along the waterfront, visited the Starbucks here, and made our way to the Washington State ferry. I had already printed the schedules for the Bainbridge and Bremerton runs, we had decided we would choose once we were there and knew what time we had left for sightseeing. We ended up on the ferry to Bremerton. This is the longer of the two routes, about 2.5 round trip as opposed to a little over an hour round trip for the Bainbridge route. So glad we chose Bremerton! Fantastic way to spend a few hours. Loved being on the water! Well worth the $40 or so for all of us. The last place we wanted to visit was the Amazon Go Store. We had walked a lot that day, so we decided to try another first, Uber! We took Uber from the ferry to the store. Spent a few minutes there, then walked back to the Westlake station and the light rail back to the airport. That 15 minute walk back to the hotel seemed a lot longer. We stopped in the restaurant attached to our hotel for a late dinner. Gregory’s. It was surprisingly good. I didn’t have high expectations but we loved it! Then back to our room to prepare for the cruise. I know we just skimmed the surface of what the area has to offer but we feel that we accomplished a lot in two days! Transportation: we used Shuttle Express. Excellent communication. We booked a private suv to get us to the cruise pier then from the cruise pier to the airport. Friendly, reliable drivers. No issues. When u get off the boat, they have a tent where they load the shared shuttles or call your driver for the private. We chose private because we had an 11:20flight that was stressing me out. Lots of discussion on here about flight times Here’s my experience. We were a Tuesday to Tuesday cruise on the Carnival Legend. No Port Valet. Ugh. So. When we received our luggage tags onboard, we went immediately to guest services to get an earlier zone number. We received zone 5. We walked off the ship between 7:45-8. Found our luggage quickly. Tracking down a porter is more difficult here than in Florida. Customs was quick. I would say we were at the Shuttle Express tent a few minutes after 8 and in our car by 8:15. Very smooth. Arrived to airport around. 9. That’s when my perfectly planned vacation went haywire. As we are attempting curbside check in, there’s a problem. We were flying on the 11:20 from SeaTac to Chicago. Our plane from Chicago to ATL was cancelled. Bad weather in Chicago and St. Louis was causing major issues. I left hubby with luggage and ran inside to get in line to speak with an agent. She started frantically searching for alternate routes. She found a 9:55 flight to Oakland where we could take a flight to ATL. By this time it’s 9:20. Yes. We had 35 minutes to get this luggage checked and through security. We got the last 5 seats. Another agent helped her get our luggage squared away. We sent three ahead to get to the gate. Finally the last two of us ran through security. Which thank goodness was very short and quick. They were already loading when we arrived at the gate. We actually liked our seats, they weren’t in the same row but somehow all together. Weren’t so lucky in Oakland. Spread apart but we stopped in Austin and we had a chance to regroup. Originally we had about 1.5 hour layover at Midway and we had planned to get dinner there, instead we had 15 minutes to grab something as the next flight was boarding. Still can’t believe we made that flight. So yes, early flights can b done. I for sure wouldn’t schedule one that early. Lol. And to think I was stressing about 11:20. Sigh. I feel really lucky, I found out that a lot from my cruise weren’t so lucky and spent the night at SeaTac or in other airports trying to make it home. Home by midnight. What a crazy way to end our Alaskan adventure. I hope to do a review on our cruise soon but I thought this might help others plan their Seattle days. Let me know if you have questions! I planned for a year lol. Devouring all the reviews and posts about Alaska and Seattle. I’m really happy with what we chose to do with our time.
  9. My 16 year old does the social plan and is happy with how it works. Snapchat was iffy last time for her. But a friend is on the conquest right now and it’s working. They also say iMessage can b iffy but it’s always worked for us.
  10. We typically take around $500 cash- mostly in small bills for tipping. We also redeemed points for Amex gift cards that we will use in Seattle for our two days of sightseeing. We link credit card to onboard account. And use credit card for hotel, gas, food on the way to and from. Remember that u should notify your credit card that u will b traveling. Had a hold placed on ours once. We prepay soda, water, tips, internet, and excursions where possible. Husband takes a separate stash for gambling-he finances this through his yard sales 🤣. He has a budget and sticks to it. We don’t buy photos. Bingo here and there. Maybe a drink or two. Daughter has a $50 onboard budget for arcade, etc. we typically pick a port to buy a souvenir like a T-shirt or beach towel. So onboard account is usually small. We are headed to Alaska next and our purchases in port will definitely cost us more than our typical Caribbean purchases. But excursions for the most part are prepaid already. We try not to have a huge credit card bill because that’s no fun to come home too!
  11. I emailed Chilkoot and they replied that they’ve been told the train would b operational starting June 3. And if for some reason it’s closed, they will have reps at the dock with alternate tours for us to choose from.
  12. We are using shuttle express for the same route. We are doing a private transfer for around $85 each way. We can all fit into a large SUV tho.
  13. Thanks for doing the review, we sail in June on the Legend. Can't wait!
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