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Everything posted by jamminlion

  1. Ok, so hit me with deck 15......does it mirror 12 and 13? Thanks.
  2. Hey everyone, Cruising soon in a club balcony, and wondering if we can swap out the included embarkation sparkling wine for a different bottle of wine? Anyone had success doing this? How did you do it? Thanks!
  3. Ok, so my top 3 pieces of advice - learned over 5 Alaska sailings. 1. plan to arrive the day before. You just never know about airlines these days. The ship will leave without you, and then you will be responsible to get yourself to the next port, which will be 2 days into your cruise. 2. once you decide which line you are cruising on, choose your hotel and book it EARLY! I recommend booking as soon as your dates are available to book. These will likely be your best prices. It's simple supply and demand for Seattle hotels. I usually track my bookings every week or two just to see prices. I have never seen a hotel price go down once I have booked it. (You can also book through one of the big box stores that starts with the 3rd letter of the alphabet). If you stay at the airport, there are many properties that have a free shuttle from airport to the hotel, but not to the pier. If you stay down town, you may be able to walk to the pier (if Pier 66) but you will still need to get downtown. Either way, you will pay to get downtown. There are lots of options. You can ride share, taxi, or take a paid shuttle, even take the light rail from the airport, whatever works for you. 3. Rental car: if you decide to come in early (which I highly recommend), you should book your rental car as early as possible. Again, supply and demand, and book with that same big box store. Also keep in mind that you will likely have more luggage than you would for a Caribbean cruise, so book the rental car accordingly. I often share this story - we arrived in Seward at the end of our cruise from Vancouver. I had booked a mini van for 4 of us, as my husband was pulling up so we could load our luggage, we witnessed another Dad looking bewildered as he was pulling up in a Toyota Camry. For 2 people, this is normally fine. This family also had a mom and 3 large older teenage/young adult college age boys who all looked like linebackers who were going to get into this Toyota Camry, with a very large duffle, 2 full size suitcases, 2 carryons and 5 loaded backpacks. It was a sight to behold watching Dad play tetris with the luggage, and then everyone pile in, barely able to see out the windows because mom and brothers were all holding carryon and backpacks piled high. Book the car that you will NEED, not just based on price. As for Alaska advice itself: 1. Prices for excursions are high. Sticker shock high. You get what you pay for. A beach excursion in the Caribbean is easy and inexpensive because there are so many beaches. Alaska excursion season is very short (April to October) and it's expensive to live there, so the operators have to make most of their living in a short period of time. Plus, fuel costs, maintenance costs, insurance, all the things add up. Book a bucket list excursion that you cannot do anywhere else, and enjoy it. All of the ports are walkable, and you can find enough things to do there. You will also find folks at the pier or downtown areas offering last minute tours. Remember, it's Alaska, so in my opinion way safer than some of the Caribbean ports. 2. Pack layers. You will need short sleeve shirts and at least one pair of shorts. We experienced 85* in Juneau and also in Fairbanks in 2019. Bring long sleeve and a hoodie or fleece. You may also need a rain resistant jacket. Only need heavy boots if you are glacier landing or hiking. There are 100 shops in each port that will sell you warmer clothing (plan to buy a souvenir afterall), but don't generally carry shorts. Don't forget sunglasses, hats, and an eye mask. Summer sailings have long periods of daylight, and it doesn't really get dark in June/July. 3. Bring the best camera you can manage. More pixels are better. Make sure you are familiar with all the settings and practice using it if it's new. Cellphones do a great job taking photos, but you may want something more. Same with binoculars if you want to scan the shore for wildlife. 4. Yes, you can see whales off the side of the ship, but it's not guaranteed. Keep your eyes peeled and be looking. 5. There are no best cruise lines or best dates to sail. Any line can get you there, just depends on what you want in a ship. For me, Alaska is the key, I don't have much opinion about the ship really. Kids will want all the latest and greatest of course. The best dates are subjective to you. Want fewer kids, sale in May and September/October. Have kids, then take advantage of the kids clubs. You will enjoy your break from each other. The weather can be warm in May and freezing in July. It just depends on the week. 6. If you can swing it, book the balcony. If you can't, then plan to be out on deck as much as possible. I'd rather have an inside cabin and get 2 weeks vs a suite and only 1 week. You do you, no shame in any cabin category. 7. My final advice: prepare yourself to fall in love and want to go again and again and again. We board our 6th Alaska sailing in a few weeks. I am just as or even more excited as I was for the first sailing.
  4. Both adults are not platinum. Second adult is only gold.
  5. 2. We are putting the teens across the hall inside cabin. But for reservation purposes, we have to have one adult in each cabin.
  6. Ok all knowing gurus - our upcoming sailing, we have 2 cabins reserved. "My" cabin comes with 2 FAS meals, while "their" cabin comes with 1 FAS meal. "My" cabin also has 2 latitudes rewards coupons. Can we use a FAS from "my" cabin and one of the latitudes coupons to cover "their" cabin? Or is it that the latitudes rewards coupons are attached to "my" cabin/key card? I'm sure this has been tried - looking for your experience and success rate. Worst case, the teenagers end up in the buffet while the parents end up enjoying 2 specialty meals without them.
  7. I am booked for Alaska this summer. I have a 10% off Latitudes cruise on Escape for 1 week only in April. Never had this before, and sadly can't get that time off. Oh well! Must be new marketing strategy.
  8. What an awesome review! Wow you all had a great time. Makes me even more excited for our return to AK this summer. I have a couple of questions about Ward Cove in Ketchikan. Is it possible to get a cab there, or do we have to have an excursions or pay for the shuttle to downtown Ketchikan? We want to go back to Totem Bight, and find it ridiculous to have to go in to Ketchikan to then come right back out and past Ward Cove. Any insight? Thanks again for this great review!
  9. I recommend going to Totem Bight. It's easy to get to on the city bus. You can take the bus to Saxman also, but you get charged to walk on the property and look around.
  10. My TA gives us OBC (refundable since they are essentially purchasing a gift for our cabin). If you don't spend all of the refundable OBC, *****it goes back to the original form of payment**** i.e. the TA's account. So it's important to spend it all. We aren't big spenders once on the ship, so on our last cruise Guest Services was sending letters to the cabin asking me to report to the desk regarding and "urgent matter with your on board account". I get to the desk, and the crew member pretty rudely told me "You have a large credit balance here. You need to be spending more money on board." Ha ha ha. Right-o. Next day, same thing. Day after that, I stopped asking about the 'urgent matter'. What they didn't know was that the plan all along was to cash out that refundable OBC, which they did, but weren't thrilled about. Because of course they are in the business of getting every nickel and dime they can out of you. One thing I highly recommend doing is going to the desk every day and asking for a print out of your account. Keep track. The line on the last full day of the cruise gets really long and patience starts running thing. On the morning of disembarkation, they tell you that the account is closed and you will be billed, deal with Miami office for concerns. I have seen more than one irate person on disembarkation day. I've got $1200 refundable OBC on my cruise this summer. It's a game between my husband and I -how much can we walk away with.
  11. The Sun is a perfect "chill" ship. The aft facing mini-suite/club balcony is my favorite cabin across the fleet. The Spinnaker is a great observation lounge. There is also an open area in front of the Spinnaker where you can get a little closer to the bow of ship. This is great for Glacier viewing for sure. I also love the Great Outdoors where you can get get a 180 degree view of the gorgeousness that is Alaska. While it is an older ship, she's still wonderful! A perfect size for us - the gigantic ships are a big turn off for us. Remember that when you sail Alaska, it's Alaska that is the draw, not all the bells and whistles of slides and gocarts and the like. At the very least, book a balcony if you can. If that's not budget friendly, then book inside and spend all your time outside.
  12. My TA gives us about 10% back in OBC. We do some Deal or No Deal and maybe something from one of the onboard shops. The rest we cash out. Last cruise in 2019, I was getting daily notices in the cabin to come to guest services. I was told "you need to spend more money on board". Yeah, no. Cash back please.
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