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deannad

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About deannad

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  1. Just returned from the Amsterdam and I plan to post a full review, but I just want to thank those who recommended Harv & Marv for our whale watching in Juneau!!! I am so glad we went with Harv & Marv. We had a party of 6. Captain Liz was very knowledgeable and super sweet to my almost-80-year-old Dad who had the time of his life. It was so nice the way the boats "share" information with each other. We headed East and saw some sea lions, but no whales. Someone called Liz to report humpbacks around the corner and we made it in time to watch 8-10 humpbacks bubble net feeding. She moved us around to great angles to get good photos! I know this isn't "everyday" behavior - a huge treat for us! As though this wasn't thrilling enough, Liz got another call about some Orcas and hauled it over there. The Orcas weren't quite as "photogenic" (ie predictable for photos) as the humpbacks, but it was so exciting to see those gorgeous animals. Just can't thank Liz enough. Other companies saw the same whales we saw, but our experience on the small (only our party of 6) boat was SO much better. You could see the folks on the larger boats jockeying for position near the rail while we were comfortably sprawled out on our little private vantage point! The bus driver (Clare?) was very entertaining and the reservations folks/pier greeter were also very nice. Highly, highly, highly recommend these nice folks!
  2. After a long search for a reasonably priced hotel we booked the "Cruise/Stay" package for 2 nights at the Hampton Inn in Tukwila. This was an EXCELLENT decision. Fri night was $157 and Sat night (with cruise transfer) $197. We called the hotel from the airport and within 10 min we were on our way. The room was fine, internet, breakfast & bed were excellent and the folks at the front desk were wonderful! They shuttled us (leaves every half hour) to the light rail station and we took that to downtown and then monorail to the Space Needle area. When we were done they picked us up where they dropped us. No charge for this shuttling! The Chihuly exhibit was amazing! The Space Needle itself was way over-priced and not very interesting (view wasn't very appealing). Each activity was approx $20. I'd say the Chihuly was worth twice the price and Space Needle maybe worth $5, but lesson learned. My husband checked out the SciFi museum and enjoyed it. We walked to Pike's Market and that was interesting. On the way we passed through Olympic Sculpture Park - not much there. The morning of the cruise we were told to meet the shuttle (Orion) at 10:30 which got us to the port early and we cruised through the embarkation process. The shuttle lady was hilarious and made the trip to the pier enjoyable. Thanks for all the hotel suggestions! After seeing the crazy rates they wanted for even 2-star hotels for this busy summer weekend, staying in Tukwila was definitely the right solution for us!
  3. I would love to see the colorful starfish in Ketchikan, but I've only seen them mentioned up at Totem Park. Can you see them anywhere else from land? If not, and we took the bus up to the park could we get a cab back? I'm told the buses don't pass very often and with 4 ships in port I'm worried about being stranded there. We'll have a group of 6 and only in port 7am-1pm. Also, is the park always open? I can't find any hours posted online. Thanks!!!
  4. Happy to see your review. We sail on the Amsterdam Sunday and the last few reviews I've found have not been very complimentary. This vacation is quite a splurge for us. After reading your review I feel more optimistic!
  5. Thanks! I misunderstood that from Orca's website. I think we'll enjoy having Harv & Marv's boat to ourselves though, so I'm ok with my decision. I just didn't want to be behind glass trying to take photos. After all, I'm dragging 25# of photography equipment across the country. I'll be upset if I don't get some decent shots!
  6. Thanks everyone! Those suggestions give me a great place to start!
  7. I booked them too. Thanks for all the help!
  8. Leaving next weekend on MS Amsterdam out of Seattle. I have seen posts for other ships, but wondering if anyone can recommend the best photography spots on the Amsterdam for passing through Tracy Arm? I'm dragging a bunch of equipment along, so I don't want to have to figure out the best spots by trial & error! TIA!
  9. Sorry for the typo. The ship vendor is Allen Marine.
  10. I'm still trying to decide on a whale watching trip. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe on Orca & AllentMarine (the ship's vendor) you have to rotate through the outside viewing area to take pictures as they can only hold a few people at a time. I'm sure pictures from the enclosed areas wouldn't be very good. Is that also true for Harv&Marv? I would prefer to have open view the entire time.
  11. Thanks! There is a combo, but it goes to the glacier first. I'd prefer to do the whale watching first and then have more time at the glacier (ie find our own way back to the ship). Decisions...decisions... I can't decide which is better...BigBoatPlusNaturalist or SmallBoatNoNaturalist. My sister wants to just find one as we leave the ship, but I am a planner :-)
  12. Has anyone done this excursion? They don't mention any transportation to the glacier. Wondering if there's a way to grab a cab at the whale watching boat's dock instead of going back to the ship on the shuttle and leaving from there. We will have a party of 6. There aren't many details on the HAL site. It says it goes to "scenic Auke Bay". Is this basically the same place that Harv & Marv take you? thanks!
  13. Any restaurant near Pier 91 where we can watch the world cup final just before boarding? We will have our luggage with us, so can't travel too far.
  14. We're sailing on the Amsterdam in a couple of weeks. We'll be stopping in Juneau, Ketchikan & Sitka. Juneau sounds like the best opportunity to see whales, but some of our party may prefer not to go on a whale-watching excursion due to the expense. Any land-based vantage points to see whales? What about just seeing some from the ship? Is that common? I'd really like to see some whales!
  15. It's fine!!! It's documented on the cruise website. I also had this confirmed for my Dad & Uncle who will travel with us on the same cruise in July via the website chat. Have a great cruise!
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