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LoveByrds

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About Me

  • Location
    Oregon
  • Interests
    I love to read and I love researching and planning future vacations!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska & Nassau Bahamas
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    LoveBird's Travels - youtube
  1. Ship - Encore Deck - 9 Stateroom # - 9864 Stateroom Category – balcony Starboard or Port Side - not sure Quiet Stateroom? Yes Was stateroom a connecting stateroom? Yes Balcony View - Balcony seems larger than those on deck 10 and above. This one just out several feet beyond the floors above it. Deck 8's roof makes it so you can't see directly down into the water. Balcony Size? Normal or oversized for class? - Was wind a problem? No Any other comments? There is a bunk that can drop from the ceiling, over the couch. Bed is next to balcony.
  2. I've been working on posting YouTube videos from our cruise. It's a bit harder to do on my phone then I thought it would be. If anyone is interested in hearing about the other ports (Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau) or have questions about the ship let me know.
  3. Thank you for chiming in with your experience! Great points!!! My mom accidentally packed her boarding docs in her suitcase. The app not having it available on check-in day is a huge hassle, hopefully they fix that. It took mom a tiny bit little longer to get thru each check-in point, but it was fine. I'd suggest getting a screenshot of the barcode 1 day before your cruise. (And all other important docs.) On the app it was difficult to find...I can't remember if I had to get it from the webpage or app. It was an orange button at the bottom of one of the pages. I took a screenshot, because internet is not always reliable. If anyone can add to this info, I'm sure it would help others.
  4. Here are pics of the shops near the pick-up area.
  5. Ports of call Icy Strait Point: We waited on the couches of deck 8 watching passengers line up to go to ISP, while sipping on drinks from the mojito bar. Once the crowds thinned out we debarked. Most of the crowds were actually lining up for whale watching excursions, and we walked right off and onto the island. We didn't do an excursion, although I heard reports of whales bubble feeding on the whale watching tours. It's a short walk to the gondalas at Wilderness Landing, and the sign said it was free today, although I haven't heard of a fee. We got in line for the green gondala going to Adventure Landing/Historic Cannery. The gondala line moves very quickly, and even with a long line went quickly. It reminds me of getting onto the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland. It moves slowly and you walk on/off. I like that each Gondala is for your party and they didn't stuff them full. If someone is in a wheelchair or needs a little extra time climbing on, there is someone there to easily pause the ride while they enter. Even an electric scooter will fit inside. It says it's a 4 minute "flight" from Wilderness Landing to Adventure Landing based on the signs, but with the stopping and starting for wheelchairs, our 2 trips each took to take 7-8 minutes. It's a very relaxing ride, not to high up, and it didn't rock much. I hadn't been in a gondala before, and was nervous it would be like a rickety fair ride, but it actually felt safe and secure. For those that prefer to walk, the men in our group walked it separately, and said it was about a 15 minute leisurely walk. Once you arrive at Adventure Landing you can watch the Zipline participants, or continue onto the Cannery museum, where there's also shopping (check out Tlingit Botanicals for locally created crafts, jewelry, art, and skincare products!), a rocky beach, a cemetery, a restaurant, several restrooms, lots of areas to sit and rest, and my favorite - roaming kitties! Back at Wilderness Landing a red gondala is being built to take you up to Hoonan mountain top. It looks really interesting to me, and I can't wait to visit again once it's complete! According to the map we found on the side of the green gondala (pictured below, and I have no idea of its accuracy), it looks like there will be hiking trails, access to the zipline, a cave, lots of viewpoints, and Alice Lake up there. If you have questions about ISP, let me know!
  6. We really enjoyed the layout of the Encore. One thing that really stood out is that many of the activities, venues, and eateries are grouped together in the center of the ship on deck 6, 7, and 8. Some ships make it seem like you walk a million miles between things, but this the Encore has things closer together. I felt like there were always fun activities going on in the atrium (trivia, concerts, music, games), as well as things in the venues that surround the atrium. We loved deck 8's outdoor seating with continuous bar service! There are many different seating area, heaters to keep you warm, several areas with floor to ceiling windows for when it rains, and plenty of nearby restrooms. My mom still got chilled so the next best thing to being outside, was the Observation Deck. The Observation Deck is on 15, just below the buffet. The floor to ceiling windows, muted decor, and easy access to restrooms, snacks and a bar made it perfect for reading, chatting, and playing cards. We saw whales in the distance, jellyfish, and some sort of ray from here. And even in the nastiest weather, we were warm and cozy. I finally won at 5 Crowns, but proceeded to lose every card game thereafter. Luckily there were frequent desserts to cheer up my losing streak, and my favorite drink The Painkiller (sub Malibu for Prussars).
  7. It felt like "before" Covid times on the ship in a lot of ways. As far as know all activities seemed to be available - Covid wise. I'd hoped to do some extra fun activities the last sea day (racetrack & slides), but they were closed due to weather. While the crew was all masked, most of the passengers did not wear them. Although I started wearing mine, and saw more worn after receiving notice of crew illness on the 5th day. (I have immunity issues and am more cautious then most though.)
  8. In between testing and check-in my husband realized he forgot his hat, and went back to the car to get it. The rest of us wandered the pier waiting for him. So some time passed between testing and boarding. Onboard the Encore: The first thing that occurred when we boarded the Encore was to be directed to our muster station. (Your muster station is printed on your ship card.) Our muster station was in the Manhattan Dining room. It was a quick overview, we confirmed we'd watched the safety video, and we were on our way! By now was close to 3pm, so we decided to peek and see if our room was ready. So we walked up to deck 9 to our balcony stateroom #9864. And it was ready and waiting! Our cabin had the bed close to the window, and the balcony was larger then we expected! It was longer then expected, and partially covered and partially open above us. What was unusual was it wasn't considered a obstructed view, but deck 8 jutted out beyond our balcony so we couldn't see straight down into the ocean. I liked having the bigger balcony though! I probably could have fit a lounger. One of the things I like about the ship already is that the carpet has fishies heading towards the front of the ship. So knowing we had an even numbered cabin, near the aft elevators made it easy to find throughout the cruise. Next up, exploring the ship!
  9. Yes I think so. After dropping off luggage, getting tested, and getting pink wrist bands, then we were free to wander prior to checking in. In fact my husband went back to the car in the parking garage to get a forgotten item, and we roamed around the pier while waiting for him.
  10. Hi! I'm just off of the Encore, and thought I'd share our cruise and excursions. We had a great trip with sunny weather, and a wonderful time. This is our 4th Alaskan cruise (2 Princess, 1 Celebrity, and now NCL).🙂 I've started posting the videos I took on YouTube if you're interested. I'm a very amature videographer with access to 1 free background song. Sorry, Lol. https://youtube.com/channel/UC1mkAxeAbvonaOvQYU0DSbA I'll start with the onboarding process. We drove up from Oregon that morning, and arrived in Seattle around noon on the 28th. Our checkin time with NCL was 1:30pm. I won't detail our frustrating 30 minute journey trying to drop off luggage, and park the car, instead I'll tell you what we will do next time! If you are driving, or being driven, from I5 or wherever, take Wall street and turn left (south) onto Alaskan Way. There will be an area to pull off on the right to drop off luggage (just before the green skybridge). If your luggage has NCL tags already, just drop it off. (We were shouted at and told to "drop your bags and go. GO! GO!") There are no names checked here, literally just luggage drop off with a porter. Keep your carry-on bag with you, and all important papers! (Have your driver park the car and meet you at the bottom of the Bell Harbor Conference Center.) Walk south towards the green skybridge. Continue under the green skybridge. When the area opens up and you can see Anthony's Pier 66 restaurant, there will be an NCL employee at the base of stairs of the Bell Harbor Conference Center directing you to one of 3 testing sites (based on how full they are). On 8/28 they were testing at the Marriott, the World Trade Center (flag place beside Marriott), and in the Bell Conference Center. Once our driver/vacationer arrived we were ready to get going. Our boarding time was checked, and we were allowed up 15 minutes prior to the time listed on the boarding pass. Overview of queues: You'll first be tested, sit in a waiting room for the results, have your ID checked, checkin for the ship, be x-rayed, and finally board. You will want to have these close at hand: NCL boarding pass showing your boarding time (paper or electronic), your ID, and your passport/birth cert. We were tested for Covid, and onboard within an hour!!! If you have difficulties walking long distances, I'd suggest getting a wheelchair. The checkin process was fast, but lengthy with lots of queues and walking. Another pro tip - if you park in the parking garage on the corner of Wall street and Alaskan Way and pay online, when you exit next week you will need the ticket stub you received upon entry and the payment transaction ID. When you get to the ticket booth, push the call button to speak to someone. They will ask for the faint red number of your ticket, and need to know where/how you paid and the payment/transaction ID. Since there was no one at the ticket booth, this was a huge issue for many drivers and caused lengthy backups exiting.
  11. I'm just back from Alaska, and I wanted to mention a few local shops we enjoyed. I didn't have time to explore Juneau, sorry it was left out. Ketchikan: Ketchi Candies - locally owned, sells amazing chocolates. Currently located inside of NCLs Ward Cove station. Ketchikan: Salmon Etc. Locally owned. Amazing smoked salmon. I like the red can of salmon best! On mission street near broadway. Skagway: Alaska Artworks - lots of Alaskan artists. 510 Broadway. Skagway: Boreal Artworks - local art, yarn, and hand crafted items. 602 Broadway. Skagway: Klothers Rush (and Duffy's next door) - both are locally owned. Best selection of tshirts I've ever seen! Also has a wide selection of Columbia & Northface jackets, clothes from top to bottom, quality shoes, and everything needed if you lost your luggage or missed packing something. Icy Strait Point: Tlingit Botanicals. All items are made by family & friends of locals. Arts, herbal botanicals, crafts, & jewelry. Super nice ladies running the shop. Support local businesses and artists. ❤️
  12. There wasn't a fee for the bus from Ward Cove to Ketchikan on 9/2. Although it doesn't sound like that's a permanently waived fee. It took around 20 minutes for the actual bus ride. Probably 30-45 from actually leaving the ship and get into Ketchikan though.
  13. When flying, I always bring a full change of clothes in my carry-on, and the things I can't live without, like my RXs, glasses, etc. Just off the Encore, and their giftshop sells lots of watches, jewelry, jackets, tees, purses, binoculars, cameras, and alcohol. I didn't see any pants, or under clothes. In the very back corner there were basic toiletries, mentos, Altoids, and chips, but no candy. We came across a great family owned store in Skagway AK that had everything a person would need if their luggage was lost called Klondike Clothes next to Duffys. Most ports will have similar stores.
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