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Everything posted by sherryf

  1. When you are *inside* the train! Sit on the left side of the train.
  2. Yes, it is walkable, without mobility limitations. If you are at the furthest (AJ) dock, it would be a long walk. You could take the Mendenhall shuttle and do the museum on your own for a lot less than $89.
  3. I hate umbrellas! They are useless on a windy ship, and annoying in crowded ports. A good rain jacket with a hood is much more useful. I like to wear a ball cap under my hood, which keeps the rain off my glasses and prevents the hood from drooping down too low. Here in Seattle, we like to say that umbrellas are only for tourists. I don't think I even own one.
  4. We got the same for our cruise next week. I'm going to switch out the lanyard for one of my own. Thinking about doing a DIY paper background, but I have less than a week and I'm not very crafty.
  5. The adult-only pool near the spa has been quite warm (and quiet!) on many of our cruises.
  6. This is good to know, since I have 2 old cards with a total of 6 punches remaining that I plan to use up on my Alaskan cruise starting 8/10.
  7. I'm the opposite - I hate hot feet! I have always gone to Alaska in July or August, so although it's Alaska, it's still summer. I have only felt the need for wool socks on cold glacier-sailing days. The rest of the time, it's just too warm. I do have some alpaca-wool socks, which seem to breathe better and not feel as hot, so I usually take those.
  8. If you already have water-resistant, quick-dry hiking pants, bring them, but don't go out and spend a bunch of money on them if you will never use them again. "Rain pants" are overkill and not necessary. I live in the Seattle area and have been to Alaska 11 times, and I do not even own "rain pants." I do own hiking pants and bring them, but before I had them, I just wore jeans. In all of my trips to Alaska, some with quite a bit of rain, I have never gotten so wet that it ruined my day. Then again, maybe after living in Seattle for 25+ year, it just doesn't faze me as much as some people. You don't need to bring two rain jackets. Bring the shell and layer. Unless you are doing *serious* hiking, you don't need boots. Most people can get by with sneakers. I do bring low-cut hiking shoes, which are just a little sturdier than sneakers, if I am going to hike. If the "rainforest hike" you plan to do is the tour in Ketchikan, you won't need more than sneakers for that. It's like a casual stroll in a park. Boots are bulky and heavy, so don't waste the luggage space if you don't really need them.
  9. sherryf

    2 one way trips

    This article is a bunch of hooey. These cruises do not sail from Seattle to Anchorage. They sail round trip from Seattle to Alaskan ports, and back to Seattle. They don't even get near Anchorage, or even the common end ports of Whittier or Seward. One bad article is not proof of anything. Find me an actual itinerary that sails from Seattle to Anchorage without a distant foreign port stop, and then I might believe you. It would have to be a US flagged ship that follows US employment laws, and none of the major lines qualify. It is in violation of the PVSA for a foreign flagged ship to transport passengers from one US port (Seattle) to another US port (Anchorage/Whittier/Seward) without a stop at a DISTANT foreign port. There are no distant foreign ports to stop at (no, Victoria does not count) so no ships sail between Seattle and Anchorage. The round-trip Seattle sailings are allowed with a near foreign port, which is usually Victoria.
  10. I always take my swimsuit! We often swim, and even if the weather is not warm, the hot tub feels great after a long day of hiking or whatever. While you are at it, also take sunscreen and aloe. I have gotten sunburned a few times when I neglected my sunscreen. You can buy sunscreen on board, but it will be crappy and expensive. I was NOT able to find aloe on board the time I needed it, and had to just suffer for 2 days before we were in port again.
  11. You really don't need these. They will take up valuable luggage space. In 10 trips to Alaska and over 25 years living in the Seattle area, I have NEVER seen anyone wear these.
  12. You have it backwards. The left side is best when going up. (Left while facing the front of the train.) Since the train doesn't turn around, the same side is still best going down, but as others have said, they make you switch sides at the turnaround point on the round trip.
  13. While they may not check, it is usually printed in the Patter for the day and there is also usually a sign where you disembark. If you take those things off the ship, you are breaking the rules, even if you do not get caught. Those rules exist for a reason, and they pertain to everyone. If you need snacks for your kids, bring pre-packaged granola bars and such, or grab the packaged cereal from the buffet.
  14. We did the Orcas Cove kayaking trip with Southeast Seas kayaking: https://kayakketchikan.com/guidedtrips We had a group of 5, so it was just us with 2 guides. We met them on the pier, and we walked to where their boat is. They outfitted us with waterproof jackets and life jackets. Then they took us by boat out to Orcas Cove where they had kayaks already set up to go. We happened to be there during a very low tide, so got to see a lot of sea life (urchins, sea stars, etc.) on the rocks. I loved that we were away from town and saw no other people while we were out there. The guide was great and "figured out" my quirky kids early on, so geared his chatter to suit them. We had a fantastic time and will always remember this trip!
  15. I live in the Seattle area where I do 2+ hours of recess duty every day. I am getting ready to start packing for my 12th trip to Alaska. I do not even own rain pants and have never felt the need for them in Alaska. I do own waterproof hiking shoes due to my job, but before I had them, I just took sneakers. I've never had my shoes get so wet that I couldn't wear them the next day. My recommendation is to not spend a lot of money on things you may not need and may never use again. I good rain jacket is worth the investment. Rain pants and shoes are not, IMO.
  16. Breakfast does not make or break a cruise. I like most things about Princess, but I think they could do a better job with breakfast. I am not a "shameless breakfast gourmand" by any means. I love going to little local diners for breakfast, and have even been known to enjoy an Egg McMuffin. I've been to breakfast in the MDR and I haven't found the quality to be any better. It just wastes more of my time. Even the eggs benedict in the MDR is not good, and they won't even make it every day. I've had them tell me No when I have asked for it sometimes. Honestly, I'd be content in the buffet if they would have tortillas, shredded cheese (not slices of Muenster) and salsa! I could make my own burrito, even if I had to use slimy eggs.
  17. Hooray! I'm not necessarily looking for exceptional quality, just items that I like. I've never gotten a eggs benedict on Princess (buffet or MDR) that comes even close to any that I've had on land, but I'd rather have mediocre eggs benedict than gross, gooey scrambled eggs. And if they have anything resembling a breakfast burrito, I will be thrilled!
  18. I think it is partially because it is easier to have a blanket rule - only prepackaged foods may be taken off - and not have a bunch of exceptions. If they allow coffee, do they allow tea? What about a tea/juice mix? A smoothie? Now you are getting into the realm of fruit. The person at the pier doesn't know exactly what's in your to go cup. It's not prepackaged, therefore it is not allowed. 🤷‍♀️
  19. We will be on the Royal Princess in Alaska in a few weeks. (I know, not the ideal choice, but it's what worked for us this time.) I have heard that the Horizon Court buffet on the Royal is far superior to that on previous ships. One area that I have always found lacking about the Horizon Court is breakfast. I love a good breakfast when I'm on vacation, like eggs benedict or huevos rancheros, or even just a good egg burrito. The one time we went on Holland America, I was thrilled that I could have fresh, made to order eggs benedict every single day... and I did! But that's not enough reason to switch cruise lines. I continue to cruise Princess and to be disappointed with their breakfasts. So, my question is, does the Royal Princess Horizon Court have a better breakfast selection than the Grand class ships that I've been on, or is it still the same old slimy eggs, artificial tasting pancakes, and potatoes reheated from the previous night's dinner? 🙄
  20. Only sealed, prepackaged food (granola bars, boxes of cereal, etc.) allowed off the ship in Alaskan ports. I have seen them tell someone to stand aside and finish their coffee or throw it away.
  21. I've heard Matt is great, so looking forward to being on the Royal next month. Can you tell me who the Naturalist is?
  22. We have done this tour. Our guide was very interesting and fun. We enjoyed the gold panning here much more than the other place we have panned for gold. (Skagway gold dredge) Here they give you a seeded pan, but you can also keep panning in the sand at the bottom when you are done with your pan. They also give you a little glass bottle for your gold, so you can actually see it. The other place gave you a black, opaque container (like a film canister) and then tried to sell you jewelry and stuff to display your gold.
  23. We've done the Yakutania Point and Smuggler's Cove trail. It's quite easy to find and follow.
  24. I find that the temperature inside the ship tends to be about "room temperature". Of course, like anywhere on land (restaurants, theaters, shops, etc.) that can vary a bit, and what one person thinks is comfortable, another might feel is chilly or too warm. I wear long and short sleeves during the day, depending on the outdoor weather, and I am generally comfortable either way. I tend to wear short sleeves in the evenings and don't feel that I need a sweater. I do wear shorts (and I'm female! 🙄) if it is over about 65 F, but I'm from the Seattle area where it is generally cool in the summer. I also use the pools and hot tubs and I'm never tacky enough to use bath robes on deck. A lightweight pool cover up is enough for me.
  25. We usually go the last week of July, and almost never see salmon then. The times we've gone in early August there have been lots of salmon.
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