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About martincath

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    YVR & PDX
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    Travel, eating, eating while traveling;-)
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  1. I haven't used taxis to either of these sites, but since you haven't had a useful response and it's been a few days I suggest reposting on the Alaska Ports of Call board - your questions are specific to AK ports so the other board is both more relevant and more often visited than this one, so you're more likely to get more folks seeing your question. FWIW, my wife and I just walked to the Raptor Centre in Sitka, among other places - the distances are not huge, it's pretty hard to get lost as there aren't exactly a lot of roads, and we had a lovely wander along some pathways through
  2. Until cruising restarts here it's impossible to say whether the pre-Covid storage service will return or not - but CDS lost the franchise after the 2018 season, replaced by one of the local bus tour companies (WestCoast) with the rates basically doubled to at least $12 a bag. Take one of their tours and you got 50% off storage, but solo touring or using other folks' services made it terrible value. The hotel above the pier (Pan Pacific) stored bags for the day with more flexible hours for lower cost, with shorter queues as the only folks aware of the service are cruise critic membe
  3. Yes - a range of eleven to thirteen months ahead seems to be a pretty safe bet for online bookings locally, different hotels operate different systems so the exact date that rooms are made available varies. You can narrow down your potential hotels based on all non-price criteria like location, room sizes, facilities, popularity with guests & star ratings easily enough whenever of course - and then call them directly if you're mad-keen to lock something down. Personally, given how weird a year it's been for hotels, I'd wait until at least this Fall to make a refunda
  4. Glad it was useful - come on back with your second draft when it's ready.
  5. I had heard that processing times were faster these days - but approved in a week? That's outstanding!
  6. No worries - we've only renewed once ourselves so had similar concerns about timing, re-interview or not! If you're at the 6-months-to-expiry point I'd file the renewal right now - and the good news is that if you have not altered your circumstances or travel behaviour toward 'higher risk' the odds of an interview being needed are lower than they used to be. Of course they don't say how many folks are randomly selected for re-interview - but they did specify at least a year ago they were reducing the frequency of re-interviews for existing members who have maintained low risk behaviour.
  7. Last September I got an email about this - since enrolment centres are closed and won't reopen until the US-Canadian border does, obviously this impacts anyone renewing their card if they are required to do an interview. It explicitly said if you file for renewal you'll get up to 18 months added onto the current card to allow time for you to schedule an interview - and if the border closure continues I'd be surprised if they didn't further extend that timeframe. If you aren't asked for an interview, your new card will come in the mail pretty quickly - with no new applicants being p
  8. ???? With or without " " to force searching as a phrase, Google (and Bing) only brings up Astoria in Oregon, or further down the page links to different Canadian cruise ports like Canada Place here in Vancouver. Even going directly into Google Maps and searching for Astoria in Canada finds the hotel of that name and a valve-making company here in Vancouver, or a retirement home in Port Coquitlam. Regardless of whether Astoria Canada is real or a Covid-induced fever dream though - the only remotely plausible destination I can see Canadian West Coast port-wise
  9. I've taken a packaged Princess tour in Juneau - rather than the generic ones that use the big catamarans (~75 to 150 pax) we opted for the one Princess called something along the lines of the 'Whalewatching & Mendenhall Photo Safari' and specified a small boat (14 or 22 pax). I'd absolutely recommend these, as that guarantees you are on one of the Gastineau Guiding boats specifically designed for whalewatching, with huge fully-opening windows as well as open decks on a really stable vessel, plus a professional photographer who will advise on camera settings to optimise success in all thre
  10. Apologies in advance for the very long response - I'm a waffler, and very out of practise at re-editing myself given how little traffic there's been on Cruise Critic this last year! Assuming we go back to open borders/all mentioned businesses remain open/other Covid-caveats - then it's absolutely possible... but it's not going to be particularly cheap or quick, so unless the journey itself is a thing you want to do there are going to be more efficient options. Compared to flying taking the ferries is slower, far less frequent, and even the price might end up being higher.
  11. Well that's a different kettle of fish! There's a station, with a regular scheduled stop, in both Talkeetna & Denali and the fare page for the route confirms the price between them to be $101 ($51 kids) [less in shoulder season, more for Gold class] so you obviously can book the train for just that leg - and I'd assume the lodges would be happy to shuttle you to the stations. Edit - actually, having just checked the route from Talkeetna train station to the Mt McKinley lodge, it looks like a very indirect trip with a big backtrack, almost an hour... so the odds of a
  12. You can't take the train from Denali to Mount McKinley because they're the same mountain (renamed in 2015). There has been some to & fro and general hassle, with both names coexisting a long time - Wikipedia has a decent article.
  13. In my experience most of the short cruises tend to be start/end of season and either one-ways to/from Vancouver or Vancouver RTs - the PVSA does make things tricky when lines reposition their ships to Seattle for the AK season. This means they're almost all in April/May or Sep/Oct, rather than in August when you're planning to be in CA. But if Orca spotting is your primary purpose for coming north from Disney, and you're not interested in other things to do in Vancouver, you could take advantage of much cheaper domestic-only flights and just spend more time on the US side of the bo
  14. Best advice I can offer is to check with generic/land-based travel sites, like TripAdvisor, as there are so few cruises that visit Toronto there aren't really any locals who post regularly. As someone who lived there almost a decade, have friends there with spare rooms, our hotel stays are very infrequent - but I can at least name a few reliable names in good locations for you to help narrow your search, as I used to do some tour guiding so met with a lot of folks in their hotel lobbies and could ask them about how they were enjoying their hotel stay. Depending where you plan to sp
  15. I'd agree that a fully-refundable rate is definitely the way to go... considering that even the most optimistic dates being thrown out by our government for mass vaccinations across the population are last quarter of 2021, I'm personally 99% sure there will not be a Canadian cruise season in 2021 (and therefore no Alaska cruises, one-way or round trip). Just in case though - or if you bump to 2022 which is looking very possible with multiple vaccines offering good results so far - you definitely want to stay downtown unless you plan to do no sightseeing whatsoever - the airport is
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