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About elbodans

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    reading, writing, cooking, gardening, and, of course, travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL. Also enjoyed Celebrity. Did not love RCCL.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska. Bermuda is second. Could take or leave the Caribbean.
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. we only ate in the MDR maybe 5 nights out of 14. which is nuts as i hate buffets. but the sun never set and i never wanted to leave the aft pool deck. so we'd get food from the lido and sit outside and eat it. the lido buffet was SO BAD for breakfast. like CRAZY understaffed. it was not great for lunch but for sure not bad for dinner.
  2. Thanks! And you are very welcome. And right?!? Isn't that itinerary the best??? We are so happy we stumbled upon it!
  3. yeah there were. a woman i met in the crow's nest asked me how much we paid for our trip and i said: i'd rather not say. (it was SO LITTLE.) i would LOVE to do an RV trip in AK. and a DIY Denali trip is absolutely in our future. i was thinking flying into Anchorage and doing a sort of figure eight--down and around the peninsula and then up into Denali. is this advisable, based on your experience?
  4. so i was kind of laid back about my eye in these clips, but i was LEGIT FREAKING OUT. it hurt so much and i couldn't see at all. wind and sun made it worse...and you know, i was on a ship. in the wind and sun. and we had a sea day and a half after. i was totally freaking out. but a guy on the ship saw me struggling and told me he had the same thing happen to him and that it was a scratched cornea and that i should just not use that eye for a good half-day. so i did that thing with the headband to keep it closed. i even went to dinner in the MDR that way. people looked at me funny but i was like: whatever. i went to bed that night a little early and slept for maybe 12 hours and in the morning it was fine. i'm so glad i was able to give you inspiration! feel free to ask me further questions as your sailing approaches. i'm super jealous that you have this trip to look forward to. i'd do it again in a second. as for where am i off to next: no idea. we are very last minute planners. we actually booked this trip less than a month in advance. i would love to do a more exotic cruise; south america/antarctica for example. or something close to home, like a new england/maritimes sailing. for now i'm back to work travel. i'll be spending a bunch of time in new england these next few weeks and hope to get some good video content there. maybe. if i have time between work!
  5. you are very welcome! i hope it helps you plan some of your own trip! feel free to ask me any questions you may have. i admit these posts are far from all you need to best plan. i'm happy to help!
  6. Greetings all! I just FINALLY finished the video series I created featuring Alaska Cruising on a budget. We sailed on the HAL Zaandam this past July and did all independent excursions with the purpose of saving money. We had a PHENOMENAL time. I would sail to Alaska on HAL again in a heartbeat--and hope to do so in summers to come. If you are interested in watching any of my ports on a budget videos, they are all here: http://www.suitcasescholar.com/category/alaska-on-a-budget/ Feel free to ask me questions about anything!
  7. For those of you who have been sort-of following my video posts from our 14 day sailing on the HAL Zaandam this past July--here's the last one! It features our day in Sitka--where an incident with some peanuts almost led to tragedy but eventually led to hilarity--as well as a general wrap up of the entire on-a-budget trip. We had a fantastic time. I can not recommend this sailing more highly. And it can TOTALLY be done on a budget. Last post: http://www.suitcasescholar.com/2018/09/16/the-final-alaska-cruise-vlog-sitka-and-captain-tracys-one-eyed-wrap-up/ All Alaska on a Budget posts: http://www.suitcasescholar.com/category/alaska-on-a-budget/
  8. 1. July. You should have the best weather--and you will have the longest days--but of course weather changes on a minute by minute basis, so really no time of year is a guarantee for good (or bad) weather. 2. We've done Celebrity and Holland America in Alaska. Holland was hands down the winner, but that's because we value itinerary/port days FAR far far more than we care about the actual ship. I of course argue that Alaska is one of the cruise destinations where itinerary matters the most--why GO to AK if you aren't there to see the natural beauty? But some people like the ship experience. In that case, Celebrity or Princess. If you are traveling with young children, the new monstrosity of a Norwegian ship--the Bliss--might be a good fit. You'll note I'm calling it a monstrosity; it has a freaking go kart track on the top deck. For me that's a HARD NO, and for others that's a HECK YEAH. So first figure out what is important to you, and then we can all help you more effectively. :-) 3. We've done the majority of port stops in AK (minus Seward and Whittier, though we drove out from Anchorage and I can say the entire Kenai Peninsula is worth doing.) But none of the land portion (so no Denali). And I can honestly say--each and every port was worthwhile. As for the scenic cruising days, some will argue over the relative benefits of Glacier Bay vs. Hubbard Glacier vs. Tracy Arm Fjord. They were all beautiful, though Tracy Arm was my personal favorite. You really can't go wrong, so I'd say book the trip with the MOST port stops/cruising days. We did the 14 day sea-only sailing on HAL this summer and it was one of the best trips we've ever taken (and we travel A LOT.) 4. Consider the cost of lodging in whichever city you are leaving from and/or returning to (assuming a round trip; there are also northbound/southbound options which have you flying into one city and out of another.) These cities are typically Seattle or Vancouver, Canada. Both are VERY very very expensive hotel-wise. Budget that in (we didn't and I ended up needing to spend ALLLLL of my Marriott points to cover just 3 nights in Seattle; it would have been over $1200 otherwise.)
  9. for real, there were SO MANY TIMES where we were just sailing. and no one said hey, look outside the window. and we were passing like MULTIPLE hanging glaciers. specifically after our tracy arm fjord day, but for sure more often that that. we barely took our eyes off of the scenery for the entire 14 days! and we had an inside cabin. so we basically lived on the aft pool deck and in the crow's nest. i could not have asked for a better trip.
  10. Yes! This! We saw this as well. I didn't understand where we were at first but it was amazing; and then I looked at the GPS map thing on the wall and then I saw the spit and figured it out. SO BEAUTIFUL! Also: watching the pilot get on and off the ship is amazing. I happened upon that one night and tried to catch it every time I could.
  11. thanks! have a wonderful time on your visit! my husband recommends Boardwalk Fish and Chips for fried halibut. We also went to Captain Paddies, which I liked and was more restaurant-esque. But for the money (and the view) Boardwalk was great.
  12. Homer is on the 14-day HAL itinerary, and while I was psyched to get to visit a lesser-visited port, I could not find ANYTHING fun-but-on-a-budget to do on our port day. So we planned a hike to Grewingk Glacier Lake using Mako's Water Taxi. Aaaaand...then we didn't feel well enough to do that. So instead we just sort of walked around the spit. And do you know what? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So for those of you struggling to figure out what to do in Homer: just walking around is fine. And it's flat, so it's rather accessible (though we did walk a lot on the beach, which is rocky). We also ate all the halibut and watched the fishermen bring in their catch. It was a great day. Here are some of my photos from the day and a very brief bit of video footage: http://www.suitcasescholar.com/2018/09/08/homer-alaska-port-day/
  13. That was our other choice for the day! And that's why we clearly need to just fly into Anchorage and spend some time there. Next time!
  14. well gee. it seems you've both convinced me to visit Anchorage in the wintertime. that's some serious persuasion you have going on there. but the dog sled races? yes. and the running of the reindeer? YES. and reasonable flights? i'm in. i can also imagine the tranquility. sigh. i'll report back in mid-march upon my return.
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