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ace1zoe2

OCD Planner's Live ALASKA Photo Trip Report 16 day Cruise Tour aboard Radiance

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We booked this cruise way back in March 2012 shortly after the itineraries came out. Since Kruisin Kath (I found out later from our Roll Call thread) had already snagged the much coveted corner aft balcony 9256, I settled for a mid aft on deck seven. Over the course of this past year I watched and upgraded to two different aft cabins on deck 8 & 9. Then in March of this year I cashed in some RCI Visa card points to upgrade from a D2 balcony cabin to OUR FIRST EVER JUNIOR SUITE AFT BALCONY! This turned out to be a good move on our part as we will now receive DOUBLE C&A POINTS FOR THE ENTIRE 13 NIGHT CRUISE TOUR, not just the cruise portion! Even better news for us... We will FINALLY be DIAMOND at the end of this cruise.

 

Our itinerary will be as follows:

 

p><p>I will mention now... this will be a very LONG & DETAILED report with LOTS OF PICTURES to come.  I plan to include links to website, reviews of the hotels used by RCI, train times, motorcoach departure and arrival times, a review of the cruise tour itself.  If you just like pictures, feel free to skip the written part and just enjoy the beautiful pictures of Alaska and hopefully some wildlife!  At the conclusion I will give an overall review of the entire trip.  I plan to do this review "live" as I go.  However,  Alaska tours and days tend to be much busier than laying on a beach in the Caribbean and there may be areas that I can

 

I will let you know up front that I am a self proclaimed OCD TRAVEL PLANNER and budgeter. I read everything I can get my hands on. Travel books, travel guides, travel websites, CC forums, the Alaska forum on CC and TripAdvisor. I learned about the coupon books for Buy One Get One free excursion tour coupons (Northern Lights and ALASKA TOURSAVERS), I learned about the Alaska Airlines FREE COMPANION FARE with their credit card, I learned about the Shuttle to Eielson & the absolute minimum distance that I needed to get in to Denali, I found out about MURRAY'S GUIDE to the South Klondike Hwy. I cannot even begin to tell you of all the fun that I have had planning this cruise. Some people are overwhelmed in planning for their trips...ME? I live and thrive on planning my trips!

 

I have the Travel Tracker Pro app & Tapatalk, on my iPad and iPhone, the iDo Notepad Senior app on my iPad for writing my review as I go, and of course I have the travel BINDER (with pocket dividers labeled with each port stop) the tickets or anything like a Set Sail Pass that needs to come out, goes into the easy to pull out pocket divider. Everything else gets hole punched and put behind the divider.

 

My work friends and family all think I'm OBSESSED. I am happy to confess that I AM! And I don't mind... Anything I need to know about or for my trip I have in one place, in print, in case I have no cell phone reception or my battery goes dead. Better yet when friends or family talk about taking a cruise, who do they come to with questions... Who, me? The OCD planner...absolutely, they come to me.

 

When I started researching for this trip it was hard to find reviews for cruise line sponsored cruise tours. The ones that I could find were very limited in the information they provided as far as when the land tour arrives and departs each town while on land, how much time is available to book private excursions, what hotels were used, how far away the restaurants are, prices for food on the train, etc.

 

I am hoping that my trip report will help answer those questions for others embarking on this type of trip for themselves. There are lots of folks who do their own DIY land tours and probably save some money. However, we decided for our first land trip we would take the easy way out. This is our second Alaska cruise with our first being in 2008. We have visited Juneau, Skagway & Vancouver previously.

 

I'm just getting started and there's lots to come with lots of planning information. For those who've never cruised Alaska, trust me when I tell you that you NEED to plan well in advance to secure reservations for the best excursions. Also in my case, I need to plan well in advance so that I can spread out the costs over time. Unlike the Caribbean where basically every excursion the cruise-line offers, you can find on your own thru a private tour guide for 1/3 to 1/2 off what RCI offers, Alaska prices are almost always the same price.

 

I plan to do a day by day report for each stop along the way. I hope that you will pack your virtual bags and join us for the trip of a lifetime! SPEAKING OF BAGS... Have I mentioned that we are doing this 16 DAY TRIP WITH ONE CARRY-ON & ONE BACKPACK EACH?????

 

Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions or add your thoughts as your read along. I would appreciate any and all comments and encouragement as this will be a long drawn out trip report since our tour won't finish until June 15th! Then I will do the wrap up when I get back home and add even more pictures.

 

Only 3 more working days and we'll be off on our next great adventure!

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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thank you for all your effort,i will be following closely , up until the 12th , when we head for vancouver to take kruisin kath's cabin over as she departs :D

 

have a spectacular time:cool:

 

dave

Edited by ERTHDOG

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thank you for all your effort,i will be following closely , up until the 12th , when we head for vancouver to take kruisin kath's cabin over as she departs :D

 

have a spectacular time:cool:

 

dave

 

Dave,

 

Thanks so much for taking time to follow along! Happy Sails to you also... it seems like it takes forever for the cruise to get here and then in a flash it seems like it's already time to get off the ship!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Enjoy your cruise. I would love to know how you are getting all those clothes packed in a carry on and a backpack. I really want to go on an Alaska cruise, can't wait to follow along

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Dave,

 

it seems like it takes forever for the cruise to get here and then in a flash it seems like it's already time to get off the ship!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

 

how true that is, dont remind me :( , we also booked early,an hour or so after bookings opened up!

 

the good news for us is , after they kick us off the ship , we begin our 5 day DIY denali/matanuska journey :)

 

gettin exciting !! :D

 

dave

Edited by ERTHDOG

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Enjoy your cruise. I would love to know how you are getting all those clothes packed in a carry on and a backpack. I really want to go on an Alaska cruise, can't wait to follow along

 

Oh, just you wait! I packed today and will post more about it tomorrow including my packing lists and pictures of my bags. I admit, I was nervous... I wasn't sure it would all fit, or if I would have to sit on the bags to zip them (I DIDN'T!)... but I got it all in there and we're now officially ready to roll!

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I'll be on the Radiance in July 2014. Can't wait to read about all your travels! Thanks for all the info. I am also OCD about cruise planning. It helps me get all excited about the cruise!

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Anticipating this report! I also would like to know your packing/planning tips. We are doing the Panama Canal-15 nights-and even though it's two years away, I'm already planning! :D

 

P.S. thanks in advance

Edited by geoblond

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I'll be on the Radiance in July 2014. Can't wait to read about all your travels! Thanks for all the info. I am also OCD about cruise planning. It helps me get all excited about the cruise!

 

CDO... Sorry it has to be alphabetical :)

I have to be planning something all the time. Startling to work on our 2014 European cruise before I'm even off on the Alaskan cruise! OCD planners unite!

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Anticipating this report! I also would like to know your packing/planning tips. We are doing the Panama Canal-15 nights-and even though it's two years away, I'm already planning! :D

 

P.S. thanks in advance

 

I have lots of tips for you coming tomorrow about clothing, packing & how YOU TOO can go 15 nights in a carry-on!

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Sound like a wonderful adventure.

 

Keith

 

Thanks for following along Keith. I'm sure it will be a fantastic adventure! Can't wait to get started.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Can't wait to read this. Alaska is on our radar...maybe 2015. Just starting to "lurk". Have planned Caribbean and New England/Canada excursions independently, but Alaska (like Europe), seems so intimidating.

 

Thank you for taking us along for the virtual ride!

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I am so excited, I get to read a review of the cruisetour we are taking June 29. Ace1zoe2, thanks for taking all your extra time to provide us with valuable information and pictures. I wish you sunny skies, happy trails, and calm seas.

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ace1zoe2,

 

Really looking forward to your live review. We sail on the Radiance July 26 in 9256 :D. We have had this cabin before so we know what our view looks like.

 

I too am OCD when it comes to our cruises, like to budget and save when I can. Be happy to share some of the European tours we used after your review is over.

 

Really interested in your packing list. Are you using the dining room? I bet you explain everything as you go along.

 

Don't forget Deck 5 Promenade for Hubbard Glacier viewing.

 

Also, interested in what tours you do and what did in Skagway. We actually don't have anything planned for that day as we took the White Rail Pass tour with Dyea Dave last time. Short time in port so didn't want to do it again.

 

Have a wonderful time..... I am sitting back with my cup of coffee waiting to start the cruise.

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I'm pretty sure we are doing Alaska next year. I would love to do a longer land tour as well, but we don't get enough vacation time to comfortably spend 10 days of it on one trip. Plus my client frowns upon taking more than 5 days off at a time. I will have to work some magic to extend it by a day or two.

 

I can't wait to see more!

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Can't wait to read this. Alaska is on our radar...maybe 2015. Just starting to "lurk". Have planned Caribbean and New England/Canada excursions independently, but Alaska (like Europe), seems so intimidating.

 

Thank you for taking us along for the virtual ride!

 

I thought the same thing initially... however, if you can plan a New England/Canada cruise you can do Alaska just as easily. It just takes research and I hope to give you lots of links to set you on your way. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

 

I am so excited, I get to read a review of the cruisetour we are taking June 29. Ace1zoe2, thanks for taking all your extra time to provide us with valuable information and pictures. I wish you sunny skies, happy trails, and calm seas.

 

I hope you enjoy my review as you anticipate your upcoming cruise. I thought this week would never arrive. Only 2 more working days (I've already counted this one as done since I'm up & here :))

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ace1zoe2,

 

Really looking forward to your live review. We sail on the Radiance July 26 in 9256 :D. We have had this cabin before so we know what our view looks like.

 

I too am OCD when it comes to our cruises, like to budget and save when I can. Be happy to share some of the European tours we used after your review is over.

 

Really interested in your packing list. Are you using the dining room? I bet you explain everything as you go along.

 

Don't forget Deck 5 Promenade for Hubbard Glacier viewing.

 

Also, interested in what tours you do and what did in Skagway. We actually don't have anything planned for that day as we took the White Rail Pass tour with Dyea Dave last time. Short time in port so didn't want to do it again.

 

Have a wonderful time..... I am sitting back with my cup of coffee waiting to start the cruise.

 

We had 9256 for our last cruise aboard Brilliance of the Seas for Canada/New England and I was really hoping to score it for Alaska, but Kruisin Kath beat me to it. I'm sure she will enjoy it tremendously. And it all worked out in the end because we upgraded to an aft JS & will get double points :)

 

Yes, we will be using the dining room most nights but have purchased the Royal Dining Package which will allow us to go to Chops, Giovanni's, Samba Grill & Izumi (we'll probably do that one at lunch).

 

Would love to get tour recommendations from you for Europe when I get back!

 

Enjoy your coffee and let the fun begin!

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I'm pretty sure we are doing Alaska next year. I would love to do a longer land tour as well, but we don't get enough vacation time to comfortably spend 10 days of it on one trip. Plus my client frowns upon taking more than 5 days off at a time. I will have to work some magic to extend it by a day or two.

 

I can't wait to see more!

 

April,

 

Thanks for taking time to post! I know what you mean about time off work. I'd love to do the Australia/New Zealand to Hawaii cruise but its 18 days or more plus travel time to get there to start, and then travel home from Hawaii... I don't even have that much vacation time! Guess we'll have to save that one for retirement :rolleyes:

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I have lots of tips for you coming tomorrow about clothing, packing & how YOU TOO can go 15 nights in a carry-on!

 

I admire people that can do this, but I don't think it can ever happen for me! I'm really interested though.. I know for Alaska I need my hiking boots and running shoes for the gym. Those take up a lot of space, especially DH's size 12 boots. And toiletries, how can you not need a can/bottle of hairspray? I don't know how to get it all in a quart size. But if you can explain it, I'm all ears! Especially since I have a 10 day trip to Paris next year.

Edited by sr4mjc

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I am extremely excited to read about your adventure. My husband and I will be stopping at some of these ports in July 2014. I cannot wait to see all your reviews. Thanks for taking all of us along on your vacation! :D

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This will be so exciting to read!! We are sailing on the beautiful Radiance next June in our first GS # 1556!!

 

There are some trips that you can just wing it and have it be a blast, but Alaska is not one of them, especially if this will be one of those " once in a lifetime opportunities". So I will be eagerly devouring all the info and help you will be writing about with glee!!

 

Have a great time and thanks for taking us along :)

Edited by Tkaklita

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I admire people that can do this, but I don't think it can ever happen for me! I'm really interested though.. I know for Alaska I need my hiking boots and running shoes for the gym. Those take up a lot of space, especially DH's size 12 boots. And toiletries, how can you not need a can/bottle of hairspray? I don't know how to get it all in a quart size. But if you can explain it, I'm all ears! Especially since I have a 10 day trip to Paris next year.

 

I too was very skeptical of this approach but I've decided it's a frame of mind!

 

You've heard the old saying, Go Big Or Go Home? My new motto is Go Light or Stay Home!

 

I'll reveal all my secrets to organizing & packing in my next post.

Edited by ace1zoe2

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I am extremely excited to read about your adventure. My husband and I will be stopping at some of these ports in July 2014. I cannot wait to see all your reviews. Thanks for taking all of us along on your vacation! :D

 

Amber (dear sweet co-worker of mine, who makes fun of my OCD tendencies),

 

So glad you are going with me! I will bequeath all of my Alaska knowledge, as well as the contents of THE BINDER to you when I return from my trip!

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This will be so exciting to read!! We are sailing on the beautiful Radiance next June in our first GS # 1556!!

 

There are some trips that you can just wing it and have it be a blast, but Alaska is not one of them, especially if this will be one of those " once in a lifetime opportunities". So I will be eagerly devouring all the info and help you will be writing about with glee!!

 

Have a great time and thanks for taking us along :)

 

Trust me, you will be on virtual OVERLOAD of information if you choose to take this trip with me for the next few weeks. So glad you can come along!

 

PS

I am Suite-envious of your Grand Suite. Maybe someday if I win the lottery I can afford one. I'm just happy in my little Junior Suite this trip then it's back to the regular balcony cabins for me :)

Edited by ace1zoe2

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