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Assateague Island Princes

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About Assateague Island Princes

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Bethlehem, PA
  • Interests
    Reading, my dog, the beach, trips to our cabin in NY State, Everything Alaska!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska! Will do it again and again!

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  1. Love these cabins! Particularly 7056, on the aft of the Navigation Deck. Literally four steps out your door to that little 'secret' deck overlooking calming wake views. We rarely found anyone out there, and were able to treat it almost as our own private balcony. Then one flight up the steps to the Lido deck, the aft pool, the Seaview Bar, and the buffet area. We sailed in 7056 on the 14 day Alaska itinerary several years ago, and it fast became my favorite cabin on the ship. It is an oddly shaped cabin, but had plenty of storage space for my DH and I for the entire 14 day sailing. We used the little 'nook' behind the bathroom wall as our staging area for the next day's port activities - used the hooks to hang our backpacks and waterproof jackets, and used the end of the loveseat for our camera/binoculars/water bottles. All within easy reach to grab and go when we were ready to head into port. There is a large window overlooking that aft deck that you can walk right up to - atleast when the bed was in a king (?) sized configuration. Our friends stayed in 7055, which is just as nice and convenient for the aft deck, however the view out the window was partially blocked by the stairs heading up to the Lido deck. I would take either of those cabins in a heartbeat and be very pleased with my choice. Great value for the $.
  2. OP, you could always rent bikes in each port. Order the visitor's guides from each port or check them out on-line to see the various companies who provide bike rentals. Are you on the 14 day itinerary? If so, you're in for a treat! I've done it 3 times, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. There are great bike paths in Homer (along the Spit and in town itself out East End Road), Sitka (paved path along the water front from town out to the totem park), Icy Strait (from where your ship docks to the authentic town of Hoonah - watch for whales and tons of eagles), Ketchikan, and Anchorage. You may even be able to rent a bike in Kodiak and take a cab out to Ft. Abercrombie, there are awesome trails all throughout the rainforest, with gorgeous ocean views all around. Have a wonderful time!
  3. Totally agree with Northern Aurora - Haines for me every time. We've visited Skagway twice - once while on a cruise, and once last Aug. when we took the Fast Ferry from Haines (where we were staying for 12 nights) to take the train to Fraiser Meadows. I too find Skagway a little too commercialized for my tastes. Haines on the other hand, is a refreshing slice of life in Southeast Alaska. What time of year are you going? If in August, I'd highly recommend staying in Haines, renting a car and driving out to Chilkoot Lake (about 10 miles, maybe north of town) to look for bears fishing in the lake and river. We specifically went to Haines at that time of year to see the Chilkoot bears and we were NOT disappointed! Each day we'd go out there, we'd see atleast one bear, but more often than not, we'd see about 5 different bears. All fishing for their breakfast, lunch and dinner - we found early morning - anytime before 8:30AM and in the evening, around 6PM to be the best for bear viewing and to have less people. The locals fish and boat at the lake, and often times we'd see folks fishing within 50 yards of a bear doing the same. If you aren't going during the salmon run, then I would still rent a car - you could drive up the Haines Highway (if you cross over into Canada, you will of course need passports). One day while we were there, we drove up to Haines Junction - spectacular drive! We also drove out to John Schnable's mine, made famous by the Discovery TV show "Gold Rush" just outside of Haines at Porcupine Creek. We were even fortunate enough to see Parker's dad, Roger, who owns a road building company in Haines and was working on the bridge over to Porcupine. He was very friendly and let me take his photo while he was in his dozer. We drove up to Steve's wildlife park for the tour - it was fun and we enjoyed it. I got to kiss a moose and we were able to pet the reindeer, and also a gray fox, but other than that, there wasn't a whole lot of interaction with the animals. My husband asked for (and got!) a porcupine quill while they were doing a demonstration with the animal. Steve's quirky and a little bit out there, but he was nothing but entertaining. He and his staff/family love what they do and it shows. Other things to do in Haines include a visit to their very informative little museum, walk along the beach by where your cruise ship is docked, go to the Haines distillery and try some of their spirits, get a loaf of the best homemade bread ever at the Pilot House Restaurant/bakery, check out their award winning library, get fantastic homemade fudge at Alaska Rod's near Main Street, drive out to Chilkoot State Park or Chilkat Lake State Park and take in the gorgeous scenery and hike the trails, take the Takshanuk Trails 4X4 excursion which includes a delicious lunch at their wilderness lodge (the views are spectacular up there!), check out many of their artisan shops with lovely handcrafted items, go kayaking, have a delicious sandwich, soup or snack at the Mountain Market - be sure to try their fantastic coffee. There is much to see and do in Haines if folks would just take the opportunity to research it. Hope these recommendations are of some help to you. Go, have fun and enjoy beautiful Alaska!
  4. VennDiagram, are you sailing on HAL? If you are, you may want to check the cruiseline's excursion list. I'm not sure if it still holds true, but back in 2014, HAL offered a tour to Annette Island. I had wanted to do it, but then went on an independent bear excursion instead.
  5. I seem to remember reading something about a hot springs near Ketchikan, but I don't recall just where it is (near Annette Island, I think??) or how you would get there. Try "Google" and put in hot springs near Ketchikan - maybe something will come up.....or maybe I was dreaming?!?
  6. Update: My brother and his wife called my Mom from Puerto Rico, where they arrived late this afternoon. They are now in the process of trying to get a flight back to Newark - not sure how long it might take to book an available flight. But at least they are making their way home - slowly but surely. BTW - they took a chartered ferry from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico, which was arranged thru their hotel and included many other stranded travelers. The NCL Sky is still expected to reach St. Thomas late tomorrow to pick up as many travelers as they can, as originally planned. Appreciate all the good wishes for my loved ones, and all the great information people have been providing on this thread.
  7. OP here. A bit of an update on my brother and SIL's story. Received a text from them at 2:04PM (Eastern Standard Time) as follows: "Evacuation day today to Puerto Rico by boat! Will take hours. Will call you and Mom hopefully later today. Phone service is so limited, can't believe we have service now. Love to all." So I don't know if the NCL ship got there earlier than anticipated (was supposed to be Monday night before they arrived).....or if they were picked up by another cruise ship..... or just an inter-island ferry from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico - they didn't specify in their text what 'boat' they were going on. I will post the specifics when and if I get that phone call later today. Agree w/Joanie - any and all cruise lines who have stepped up to the plate on this rescue mission - in whatever form it may take - has my undying gratitude. To our CC friends in Florida, stay safe, batten down the hatches and ride this one out - we are all thinking about you and sending prayers your way.
  8. My brother and his wife will be two of those estimated 2000 stranded passengers who will be boarding the NCL Sky in St. Thomas on Monday night. Our whole family is so grateful for this generous act - good on you, NCL! I think you've now got a whole Pennsylvania contingent of first time NCL cruisers in your future. Thank you, thank you.
  9. Below is part of a message posted on Norwegian Cruise Lines website. My brother and sister-in-law have been stranded on the island of St. Thomas for the last week, having made it thru Irma's wrath and facing whatever Jose' is throwing at them right now. They will be two of the estimated 2,000 travelers who will be gratefully taking advantage of NCL's generous offer. Many thanks go out to NCL from a very worried Pennsylvania family about their loved ones who have endured Hurricanes Irma and Jose' - we tip our hats to you, NCL, for this kind gesture! "Acting as a responsible corporate citizen and supporting the destinations that our ships operate in is a core value of Norwegian Cruise Line. In the wake of this devastating storm, we will be deploying Norwegian Sky from her current position off the coast of Cancun to St. Thomas, USVI to retrieve approximately 2,000 travelers who were unable to evacuate the island prior to the storm. The ship is departing immediately and will arrive in St. Thomas in the late evening hours on Monday, September 11. Norwegian Cruise Line is working closely with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and the Governor of St. Thomas to execute this rescue mission. When all designated vacation guests have boarded the ship, Norwegian Sky will sail back to her homeport of Miami and is expected to arrive on Thursday, September 14."
  10. VennDiagram - thank you SO much for that website link for the St. Thomas Hurricane page on Facebook. I'm not on Facebook, but other family members are and we were able to glean a great deal of information from it for news of my brother and his wife who are stranded on St. Thomas. We received a much-needed phone call from them on Friday afternoon. They are safe, but it has been a harrowing experience and they have been left shaken. They had secured their mattress to the window of their room and managed to survive the night that the eye of Irma passed over the island by staying in the closet of their hotel room. When they finally ventured out of their room on Friday around noon, they were stunned by the devastation of St. Thomas, as far as the eye could see. Like walking wounded, they stayed within several blocks of their hotel, and couldn't believe the destruction they witnessed. All the trees and bushes were stripped of vegetation, boats and cars in places they shouldn't be, roofs ripped off, houses destroyed. Fortunately, they met up with a honeymooning couple who had rented a car for their stay, who offered to drive them to another part of the island where they had heard cell coverage (though spotty) was available. That is how we were able to get a call from them. We are so thankful for these kind strangers who shared their transportation with my brother and SIL, they have become fast friends thru this ordeal. As of Fri., they were hoping to get a flight out on Tuesday, but that was dependent on when and if the airport opened. Today, we received some wonderful news - Norwegian Cruise Lines is sending one of their ships - the Norwegian Sky - to St. Thomas on Monday night, 9/11, to pick up 2000 travelers who were stranded on the island. They will go out into the Gulf where they will remain until Thurs., 9/14 when they hope to disembark their weary travelers at the Port of Miami. I understand that if the port is unable to accommodate them due to damage from Irma, they will continue to sail up the coast to Baltimore to disembark. My brother and his wife were made aware of this by their hotel and were told to pack their bags to be ready to go on Monday night. Of course, they will still have to make their way home to Penna. from either Miami or Baltimore, but they'll cross that bridge when they get to it. Atleast there is a plan in place and the calvary is coming. Good for you, NCL, for stepping up to the plate and helping with the rescue effort of so many who were affected by Hurricane Irma! If you go on NCL's website and click on their hurricane link, you will see the whole story. Very, very impressed with NCL right about now! To those yet to experience Hurricane Irma, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.
  11. My brother and his wife are currently in a second floor hotel room on the beach in St. Thomas as I type this. They are there celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary - who knew Irma was invited to the party? Right now, St. Thomas is ground zero for the storm. As of 2PM this afternoon, they've been dealing w/sustained winds of 170mph with gusts up to 187 mph. I can't even wrap my head around it. My 85 year old Mom and 106 year old grandmother are beside themselves w/worry and fear about their son/grandson. Mom says she's going to kick both their butts when they get home for planning this trip during hurricane season. My SIL sent her last text this morning saying that they experienced a sleepless night with howling winds and pounding rain. The - hotel is prepared w/storm shutters, sandbags, enough food and water for their guests for the next five days. They handed out flashlights and bottled water yesterday, and provided each room with a cooler with some food. Officials warned that a curfew went into effect yesterday afternoon, no one allowed outside and so far, it appeared as though people were following suit. Right now, my whole family is just worried sick about the safety of our loved ones. I pray that all in the path of Hurricane Irma take the necessary precautions as soon as possible and get outa dodge if you can. Sending good thoughts to all.
  12. We've stayed at Healy Heights Cabins twice and really enjoyed the experience. The owners are lovely, friendly folks, the grounds are beautifully kept, and the cabins are cozy and clean. Try to book the smallest cabin (located by itself across the road from the property - sorry, don't recall the name of that specific cabin) with a deck overlooking the mountains and forest. That was our favorite - sitting in the window seat and looking out over the view after a long day on park shuttle is one of my favorite memories. Great value for the price, and we loved the location. Saw fox and moose daily as we left the area to travel to DNP. Would highly recommend.
  13. Becky, Thank you so much for this review, particularly the details and photos of the wildlife center excursion in Haines. After showing it and the photographs to my DH, he was most enthusiastic about booking it while in Haines for our 10 day land only trip (in just two short weeks - but who is counting? woo-hoo!). I've sent an email to Steve, referencing your glowing review, so hoping we can book this on one of the days we've still got available. Again, I really appreciate it! And welcome home.
  14. LuckyBecky - thank you SO much for this indepth review of your visit to Steve's wildlife park. We are doing a land only trip to Haines beginning 8/11/17, renting a house there on Paradise Cove, for 10 glorious nights. And I can't wait! I've had my eye on this tour, but was afraid my husband would think it was too 'zoo-like' and wouldn't be interested. I'm anxious to show him your review and photos - I think he'll quickly change his mind! BTW - what was the per person cost of the tour itself? We will have a rental car for our 10 day stay, so transportation is not an issue? Appreciate any info you can provide. And great review! I'm loving every detailed minute of it! This upcoming trip will be the latest in many visits to Alaska - 2 seven day cruises, 3 fourteen day cruises, two land only trips to Denali Natl. Park and Homer (my favorite place on the planet - Hoping to retire there one day!), and one land only trip to see the Northern Lights with a stay in North Pole (just outside Fairbanks) and Denali. We've never visited Haines before, so we are so looking forward to a new adventure in the Great Land. Your review has brought back a ton of memories and has got me even more pumped for this upcoming trip. Keep up the good work! More please! :)
  15. You can get them at any of the locations mentioned. Also, if you are sailing on HAL, they sell them in their gift shop onboard the ship. Just be sure to check that they are made in AK.
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