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momthecruisedirector

Back from the 7/2 Diamond to Alaska today

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We just got home a few hours ago. I had tried to keep a running journal everyday but as you’ll see I wasn’t always successful. I love reading other reviews so will submit my own. This is what WE did and WE had a great time – don’t know what others did or thought.

 

This will be mixed in present tense and past tense since I am writing as we go. It will be long because I write like I think – fast, frequently scattered and sometimes out of order! We are cruising the Diamond Princess on July 2nd, 2005. We booked this trip back in September and have spent a lot (A LOT) of time researching the Frommers guides, AAA guide books and especially cruisecritic.com. There are three of us, Danny, our 16 year old son, Jimmy, 43 year old husband and myself (momthecruisedirector/Pam), 43. Our oldest son couldn’t join us this time – God bless the working stiff!

 

We live in West Seattle, minutes away from Pier 30. We have been to see the ship many times, looking from the view points on Admiral Way and driving down and entering the actual parking area to get a close up glance. I have forwarded links of the Diamond web cam to my best girlfriend and to our son and his girlfriend so they can see where we are. The morning we are to leave I checked out the webcam and saw it was still in Victoria! What!?!?! Well, I know the webcams are not always current but I still make my husband drive me to the viewpoint (I throw a jacket on over my jammies and throw on a pair of slippers) so we can be sure it is here. He laughingly shows me it is right where it is supposed to be – okay, he’s right, I am nuts! So – shower, shampoo and shine and we are ready to go. Call for yellow cab at 9:30 and we are at the ship by 10:00 (told you we were close). We are the sixth group to enter the building. It had rained this morning so the parking lot is puddly but we slosh inside with a good attitude – heck, we’re officially on vacation now! Check in is a breeze, have to fill out a form stating you don’t have diarrhea or are throwing up. There are hand washing stations set up in the line – a good reminder for us that we will be washing our hands constantly on this trip to avoid any contact with germs. (Some people don’t use it, so be sure to wash YOUR hands before eating – and don’t forget lotion, your skin will really dry out). We sit down and people watch – relieved to see there is a wide range of ages boarding. Around 11:10 they open the big door to let us into the other section of the ‘warehouse’ – actually a nice, clean open space building though the process could use a little more organization. Maybe I’ll send my suggestions to our port commissioner! After getting our picture taken for the welcome aboard photo we get in a single file line to wait for the other doors to open – we’re all pretty happy until a Princess employee tells everyone that we’re all going on the same ship so just crowd together. WHAT??? This makes it a little crazy and of course there is a rush for the door when it finally opens about 20 minutes later – why must everyone fight to ‘be first’, do they think the ship will run out of food???? Once through that door (where they look one more time at your passport and sailcard) you go through a metal detector. Jim noticed no one was walking to the far left, they were just herding to the longest line so we walked to the empty station, emptied our pockets, put our bags through the xray machine and walked through the metal detector. Off to the ship – walking up the ramp to be greeted by Princess staff in white gloves to direct you inside the ship and to the elevators where they escort you to your floor.

 

We have a mini-suite and it is very well appointed. A lot of storage and room for the suitcases under your bed, a lot of closet space, counter space in the bathroom is wonderful and there is a large dresser type cabinet. We met our room steward, Sabin, who will later bring us a wonderful fruit bowl and bathrobes for the three of us.

 

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Horizon Court (salads, deli meat, scallops, fish, chicken wings, desserts…) we went back to our room to find our luggage had already arrived. By 1:30 we are unpacked and raring to go. We had made plans to meet our rollcall group at 2:45 so after hanging out on our balcony we head up to the Outrigger. It is a very nice place to meet, it is on the aft end of the ship which is facing the city. We met Melissa and Steve from Detroit, Jenny and Charlie from Southern California, Al and Gayle from Long Island and Bobby and Linda from Chicago. It was a lot of fun getting to visit them and get such a positive review of our city from their eyes. We hope to meet up with the rest of our group on our way to Juneau on Monday. Had to leave to get to the muster drill which was very painless, lasted less then 20 minutes and then we were off to REALLY begin our vacation. As soon as we got on board I had called the concierge from our room. We made reservations for dinner for tonight at Sterling Steak House ($15 per person), tomorrow at Pacific Moon and Friday for Sabatini’s ($20 per person). It was a very simple process and nice to have out of the way.

 

Our dining experience at the Sterling Steak house was very nice. They knew who we were as soon as we walked up to the door, a nice touch. We had a table next to the window and as the sun began to set and became to bright the window shears came down automatically to shade our eyes. It was a very long dinner – 2 ½ hours but it gave us an opportunity to slow down, relax and visit, not rush through things which is our tendency. Besides the taste of the food, the atmosphere was wonderful. Okay – here is what we ate: Danny had shrimp cocktail, a 14 ounce rib eye steak and a 12 ounce new york strip steak served with baked potato, spinach Florentine, sautéed mushrooms and a baked tomato. Jimmy had brie and mango quesadilla, a 10 ounce filet minion and 14 ounce rib eye steak, served with the same sides. I had the spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips, 16 ounce new york bone in steak, same sides. For dessert Danny and I had the crème brulee and the chocolate pecan pie (I took mine back to the room). We were too full to go to the show so went to our room, put on our robes, watched the sunset and watched A Few Good Men. According to the clock on the telephone it was 10:45 when we ordered room service – a pot of hot tea for me, club sandwiches for Jimmy and Danny and a hotdog for Danny too that no one could eat!

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Sunday morning – it’s 59 degrees but it feels good when I go out on the balcony. At 5:30 this morning there was an all call into all the cabins announcing there was an Alpha code for Room 421 – they announced it again about 10 minutes later. It must have not been too much of an emergency as we did not have to stop or turn around. Jim and I walk for 50 minutes around and around the promenade deck. Then, even though it is raining, we jump into the Jacuzzi on the aft deck. Call Danny who is still sleeping and he comes out to join us. We went to the Horizon Court for breakfast and ran into Jenny and Charlie, Robert and Connie. Jenny saw a whale while they were at dinner last night. It’s been a long day, we are turning our watches back an hour but I don’t think the extra hour of sleep will have much of an effect. I was queasy all day yesterday and until about 3:00 today but now I am feeling great.

 

After breakfast today we went back to the room and I took a nap while the guys watched a couple of the Seinfeld videos we had brought with us. We decided we better get acquainted with the ship, we saw Bobby and Linda as he was on his way to the art auction and she was on her way to lunch. We ended up in the International Dining Room for lunch – it was very nice and we sat with a family from New Hampshire.

 

When we booked our cruise we were lucky to have an excursion though Signature Travel. We received our excursion tickets (Skagway – rail and trail) on the first day along with a coupon book and an invitation to a cocktail party in the Skywalkers Nightclub. After lunch we stopped in the casino and used a few of our matching bet coupons. Jim played craps and blackjack while I hit the nickel machines. When it seemed like my nickels were all disappearing I cashed them out and hit a few quarter machines. Jim bullied me into playing blackjack – gosh, it was fun! Win $5, lose $5 back and forth but finally came out even before walking away from the table, I think I was at the table for about ½ an hour so I was pretty happy.

 

Our cocktail party started at 3:00. When Darren, our host, came over to introduce himself he knew who we were. He had been following our roll call! It was very funny to us – he knew Danny had just had a birthday and had planned to join us at our first meet and greet but was too busy. Darren was very nice, helpful to those had questions and we had a great time visiting him.

 

Gosh, by the time that party was over it was time to head back to our room to get ready for formal night. We had a few minutes to relax on the balcony, before getting gussied up for pictures and dinner. Jim has just lost over 130 pounds so it was fun to get his pictures taken. While you are waiting for pictures they hand out horsdevours – Danny had his first caviar (he decided he is NOT a fan). They have rum punch, wine and other drinks – you can request virgin drinks (the drinks are too strong for us). Our dinner was in the Pacific Moon, their specialty item is a wonderful stir fry with scallops and prawns.

 

After dinner we went to the Piano Man show – it really is as good as everyone says. We sat in the center of the front row and had a really good time. You aren’t allowed to video tape but you can take still pictures. I turned off the flash and the pictures turned out really good. After the show we went to the Hit’s of the 80’s music in Club Fusion then stayed for Princess Idol (I told you I felt better!!). It was a fun show to watch and actually had more talented people then I had imagined. Now we are back in the room - I just ordered chocolate chip cookies from room service.

 

We have to set the clocks back an hour tonight and we plan on being on the front deck by 6:00 a.m. to see if we can find some whales.

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Monday, July 4th. We know we are going to hike at Mendenhall Glacier so we didn’t go on our walk this morning. By 6:00 we are up on the Sports Deck with binoculars, camera and video camera – I am wearing my hoodie, a windbreaker and gloves – to start our whale search. The jogging track surrounds that court area so it is too difficult to watch from there. We decided to go to the front of the promenade deck and we are so glad we did. No one else is there except for a few people walking by. After about half an hour or so Jim spots a whale tail along the horizon! Within an hour we’ve seen two pods, approximately 12 whales all together. Two of them get pretty close to the ship. We did get a few shots of the water spouts but not any pictures of the whales. I am curious to know if we got any on video but we’ll wait ‘til we’re home to watch it. At 8:00 we went back up to the sportsdeck to see if any of the cruisecritic people were there – we didn’t find anyone but hung out for a while and played tennis. We had a great time. When we returned to our balcony we saw iceburgs! They were a beautiful blue/green color. Getting up early was important to our day – it was everything and more then what we had hoped for.

 

We arrived in Juneau on time, there was no wait to get off the ship. We had rented a car from Rent a Wreck, because their office was closed on the 4th we paid for them to drop the car off at the parking garage. The car was easy to find – with a placard with our name in the window and the keys in the car. We felt like we had saved so much time, the streets were just opening from the parades as we arrived at the garage so we were able to leave immediately. They had left a map for us in the car and we drove straight to Mendenhall Glacier. There were many eagles on the way – they are so much larger then the eagles we see in Seattle. Parking was a breeze at the glacier and we walked down to the viewpoint to take pictures and dip our hands in the water too feel that ice cold water. We saw a porcupine in a tree along the path. We had been looking forward to hiking the east loop as I thought it took you to the falls. We did not go into the visitor center but did talk to a couple rangers who said there had been bear sightings that morning so we were to be ‘bear aware’ and make noise while we were walking. Well, we made noise and hustled up the trail, it does not take you to the large falls but when you get to the top there are AJ Falls that you can veer off the pass to see. Because of the threat of bears – and the fact there were NO OTHER people on the trail we decided to head back instead of completing the loop. The path to the waterfall was not in good shape so you had to climb over this slate rock – slick and steep. Well, I got ¼ of the way up the rock and panicked that I was going to fall so started yelling at Jim (which didn’t make getting off the rock any easier, but there was beginning to be a crowd watching and I didn’t react well!!!!) and I, of course, slip and slide on my butt about 10 feet before stopping. Poor Jim scraped up his knee trying to get me to stop. After a breather and deciding the falls were pretty from a distance we went back to the car where I wiggled out of my shorts and into the pants I had brought in case it got cold!

 

We then headed out to Eagle Beach, we stopped at a Safeway store on the way and picked up something to drink and found a number of souvenirs. There are some cute tin breath mint tins that are for ‘bear breath’ or ‘fish breath’ that were $1.99 each so we got a few (found them in town later for $3.99). Eagle Beach is a beautiful park area. It is very quiet and the view – it’s breathtaking. Danny wanted to dip his toes in the water and made Jim do it too! It was so cold. We spotted an eagle in a tree across the stream and a number of other birds. We stopped to top off the gas tank and the guys talked to a gentleman from Santa Cruz, CA that said the fishing has been so good that you could practically reach down and grab fish out of the creeks! We saw a number of eagles on the way back, when we got close to the city of Juneau we quickly pulled over. We later found out we were near the dump, but there were so many eagles – probably 15 – 20 in this area. We watched and took video for quite a while before heading into the city.

 

Danny had been looking forward to the 2 pound hamburger at the Alaskan Hotel for quite some time – unfortunately it was closed. Danny was a really good sport, but Jim and I felt terrible because he had really been wanting to see if he could eat it in the 45 minute time limit. We took him to the Red Dog Saloon to make up for it and he had a great time. Our sweet grandmotherly neighbor had been there in the 50’s and she had told him it was not to be missed, so we took pictures of him there to give to her when we get back. We did some shopping and went into the Harley Davidson shop too.

 

We had dinner at the Horizon court (and since I am writing this on Wednesday morning I can’t remember what we ate!).

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Tuesday, we woke up and we were in Skagway. We have a starboard balcony so had wonderful seats to watch the morning activities. We ordered room service for breakfast (pastries, fruit, cereal, orange juice, cranberry juice, coffee and tea) and had a wonderful morning (Jim laughed at my girlie tea party set up!). Our Rail and Trail excursion was scheduled for 12:15 and we had been planning on spending a relaxing morning on board and seeing the town afterwards but we couldn’t wait. We weren’t sure how far the town was so we took the little STAR bus for $1.50 each, well, we certainly could have walked and did walk back when we were done. The town is very cute – reminded us a lot of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle where they depict our cities beginnings, wooden sidewalks, shops, etc. Okay – what did we do???? We went to the store that sells Starbucks coffee for a cappuccino (I don’t like to complain, but the coffee on board really is awful). I was on a mission for Ulu knifes and didn’t want ones made in China. This store had the ones made in Alaska for $14.95 – I spent the day looking for a better price but could only find ones made in China (mostly for the same price), so we came back after we were down in town and bought two. We had reindeer sausage (hot dog type) at the Popcorn Shop in the Skagway Bazaar, Danny had his picture taken with one of the working girls, we went to the Outlet Store (coupon books everywhere) and got our free train whistles. We had a wonderful time before heading back to store our goodies and get ready for our excursion. We were lucky to get wonderful seats (front row, left side) on the train – the scenery is amazing, only being topped by the stories that are told by the conductor. You MUST take the train ride – it is historic, it is science, it is geography, it is geology, it is BEAUTIFUL. We saw two bear cubs (well, everyone but me saw them!) and mountain goats. The second part of our tour was a narrated tour bus ride to Liarsville for a salmon bake, a show and gold mining. We had a great time (despite the mosquitoes), and Danny was called on stage to shout out if he saw anything exciting (these words from a scantily dressed ‘working girl’) but I think she meant to shout if he saw gold! We had such a wonderful time all day long. This vacation has really been wonderful. We walked around Skagway a bit more and picked up a few more gifts for people back home (city tax is 4%, less then half of the tax we pay at home). We had dinner at the Santa Fe – Jim had the fajita’s – it was Italian night but that is their specialty menu item. I hadn’t made reservations for this evening because I wasn’t sure exactly what time we’d be back to the ship. There was no wait at 7:00. We were going to go to the Jacuzzi but just as we were leaving Skagway it began to rain and we were exhausted anyway so we were in bed by 11:00 (how did it get to 11:00 so quickly!). Oh, we did buy our formal night pictures – they turned out really nice.

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So now it is Wednesday morning and we should be at Tracy Arm in an hour and a half – the guys are still sleeping and I’ve got a load of laundry in. Although we all wish our oldest son was here, we are having a great time. We haven’t had a chance to read a book, play dominoes or Life but hopefully we’ll have time for some of that today.

 

Tracy Arm Fjord is beautiful – here are my suggestions: Bring gloves, a windbreaker and a hat! We, of course, were center front of the ship just below the jogging track. They sell hot chocolate ($2.00) and hot chocolate drinks (like with amaretto). I don’t think you need to be upfront unless you are entering the glacier area itself, it’s nice to go up just so you can get windblown and take a few pictures but there are plenty of covered areas to look. There seemed to be more action on the starboard side on this trip – we saw humpback whales, harbor seals (dark and a white one), and there were two bear sightings but we didn’t see them. We went back to our balcony and enjoyed the view, the hard ice truly is ‘windex blue’. I was disappointed that we were unable to get all the way to the glacier but there was so much ice we knew there was no way we’d be able to get through. There really is a lot to see and the pictures don’t do it justice. The naturalist can be heard throughout the ship and on your cabin tv, very informative. After we turned around and were heading out of the fjord we decided to go swimming (temperature – 50 degrees). We went to the back of the ship and swam in a very warm pool above the Outrigger then went into the Jacuzzi. We had a number of weather changes while we were in the pool, rain, wind, sun…I didn’t know how bright the sun was until we got back to the room and my face was quite sunburned.

 

We’d been feeling like we’ve missed too many activities so we brought the patters with us and decided to hit as many events as possible. SO….from 1:00 to 4:00 we did the following:

 

Watched the ice carving

Returned to cabin to change out of bathing suits

Art auction (free champagne) – it’s really fun to watch, once the sales spiel is over

High Tea – no one does it better. Though it’s lipton tea, the open faced and other sandwiches are wonderful as are the scones (they bring over the jam and cream and serve it for you), fruit tarts, cheesecake….

Barbeque at the Trident grill – prawn skewer, halibut kabob, crab cakes, fries, venison chili

Back to room – watched part of a movie before having to get ready for dinner (I made reservations for 6:00 in the Santa Fe, had no idea so many other food things would be happening today!). It’s king crab leg night so we’ll have to force ourselves to eat dinner.

 

We are determined to stay up late tonight – guess we’ll all find out tomorrow if we made it or not!

 

Why wait until morning to review! The crab legs in the Santa Fe were wonderful. I had the crab cakes, rockfish chowder, the featured salad with the sautéed onion vinaigrette and the crab legs. For dessert I had a rhubarb cake, Jim had the almond and peach parfait and Danny had the black forest cake. Yum.

 

On our way to the multi media trivia contest we heard a slow song in the Wheelhouse Bar. Jim whisked me in and we danced to “You were always on my mind”. What a nice pit stop. When we got to the Explorer Lounge Darrin was there so we all teamed up and WON! Hooray for cheap ship gifts. Then off to the Weakest One contest (Linda from cruisecritic almost won). We got down to the 70’s music – dragged Danny out to the dance floor with us, embarrassing him! We saw Gayle (of Al and Gayle fame) cutting a rug. So now it’s 11:45 and our shoes are off and we’re watching the American Film Institutes Best Movie songs, playing our own version of music trivia. We should be in Ketchikan by 6:00 and we are scheduled to pick up fishing poles at 8:00 – it’ll be a busy morning.

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Thursday morning – we ‘slept in’ until 6:15 then hustled to get ready so we could disembark (like every other day there is no line to get off the ship). We headed out straight to find Frontier Gems and Jewelry on Stedman Street (we asked one of the excursion hawkers and they pointed us in the right direction). We knew they wouldn’t be open until 8:00 so we used our 50 minutes to look around. We got to Dolly’s house as they were opening and took the $5.00 tour, actually kind of interesting though the other ‘whore houses’ had a younger staff!! Looking over Creek Street you could see so many king salmon and they were huge. We picked up our fishing pole ($15 for an hour, $25 for two hours) and Danny and Jim fished for two hours – the fish were jumping all over the place and if we had more time I am sure they would have caught something. The weather was what we expected – cloudy, drizzly, a little windy, some sun. There were eagles flying directly overhead – like 10 feet overhead!! We went to the Ketchikan Harley shop (our third in as many ports) and looked around. The shopping we did was at Barnaby’s, one of the few Alaskan owned stores (not cruise ship owned). Got a fleece pullover for $12.99 and a couple t-shirts for $5.00 for souvenirs before heading back for the only line we have had this trip – getting back on board. The time is so limited in Ketchikan and we forced ourselves to get back by 11:30. Dried ourselves off and went to the International Dining Room for lunch. We were beat after lunch so had a little family meeting and decided to head back to our cabin for a power nap – which lasted almost 2 hours! We did wake up in time for afternoon tea which was, again, a wonderful experience. After some contemplation we knew it was time to get back on our walking regiment so back to the cabin again to change into our walking clothes and around and around the promenade deck we went. Until today I had forgotten about the spa pool and Jacuzzi’s, so we went there after our walk. It is very quiet and because the weather isn’t wonderful there is no one there. Following our soak Jim and Danny went up to play tennis while I found the steam room and sauna – oooohhhh it was nice. They have a wonderful shower with very girlie smelling body soap, shampoo and conditioner (there are towels for your use in this area). It was heavenly.

 

Back to the cabin to dress for formal night and attend the Circle Club cocktail party. We met the Captain and had our pictures taken with him. They offer free cocktails, free appetizers, good music, and a drawing for free champagne. It is a nice affair and a good start to our dinner in the Pacific Moon. We all had the lobster tonight and it was wonderful! Danny asked for a second serving and our waiter brought two more plates, he asked Danny a number of times if he wanted more but we’d had too many little scones at tea to eat another bite. The champagne waterfall was at 11:15 and we decided to attend. It’s funny on an Alaska cruise, normally this is a very formal thing but because it’s Alaska and cold and often rainy, they combine it with what would normally be Island Night and it is a boisterous occasion. Be sure to go – it gets crowded but if you take the glass elevators and ride them up and down a few times you can get some good pictures. I actually got in line to ‘pour’ this time. Jim and I people watched for a while there before heading up to bed.

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Friday – ahhhhh, slept in a little. The water was extremely rough and I was really fighting not getting sick, when we left the cabin we saw other people feeling the same way. We went to the buffet for breakfast (I had a dry bagel and tea) our waiter from Thursday night was working and he told us that things should calm down by 2:00. (We are home now and I am trying to remember what we did in the morning). We stopped in the casino for a bit and lost a few dollars on roulette and the slots, bought the picture of Danny with the Captain from last night. We went to the spa to take use the Jacuzzi again then wanted to use the steam room, there are mens and womens rooms and I guess I got lucky the first time I used them because I had it to myself. This time a naked woman joined me and I found out that Jim and Danny didn’t use their steam room either – too many naked men! Yikes. So…we went to tea and strumpets for the last time then sat outside on the sundeck and saw some whales! All of a sudden it was 5:00 and we had reservations for Sabatini’s for 6:00 – I used the bar phone and changed the reservations to 7:00. Was so glad they could make the change – Jim hadn’t eaten at tea so had grabbed a sandwich and, heaven forbid I miss a meal, I ended up getting a few fried shrimp (okay, okay AND a dessert). There was an announcement that we would be late getting into Victoria, which I expected, so was glad we were able to change the time for dinner. I have to say I was really disappointed with Sabatini’s. The headwaiter told us they would go quickly so we could get to Victoria, I told him we had no plans to go to Victoria so please don’t rush. Besides rushing through a meal that I was anticipating to take two hours or more, the food just wasn’t great. It wasn’t even that good, let along great. The lobster we had the night before had been so good and the lobster in Sabatini’s was dry and flavorless. I was one who wanted to try it even though I had read a few negative reviews – I really would not eat there again or recommend it to anyone else.

 

We got to Victoria around 9:00. We did get off the ship and we had a great time. We decided to walk and see if we could find the city. Because I had not planned on leaving the ship in this port I had no information…so we just walked to the right and kept going. It was a lovely night and we walked along the waterline and saw a couple whales. We probably walked a good 2 plus miles before we asked someone ‘how far is it to ‘something exciting’ – he said about 10 minutes (we had to be back on board by 11:30) so we speed walked and found the Empress and some shops. With one exception (someone from our ship didn’t understand the receipt so put up a fuss that she was overcharged – she wasn’t, but she did make a scene), the city was fun and we were glad we went. We caught a taxi back since we had walked so far and so fast. There is a nice gift shop right on the dock (we didn’t buy anything at the other shop because the lady (?) was so annoying she was making us see red!). Once on board we went to the front of the ship on the sports deck and looked around – the Holland America ship was right next to us so we spied on our neighbors for a few minutes. We went back to the cabin and tried to watch I-Robot. I have no idea if anyone watched it because I feel asleep as soon as I put my head on the bed. (You put your luggage in the hallway before leaving for Victoria)

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This morning I woke up at 5:00, in time to see West Seattle out my balcony window. We left our room around 7:30 to give our room steward time to clean it before the next guests arrived. We grabbed a light breakfast then went up to the sundeck on the port side to wait for our color to be called. We waited until the color after ours was called before heading down. The advantage to this was that our luggages were the only pieces left in our color section – making finding the luggage a breeze! We were to be called down at 8:55 but it was closer to 10:00. We found a cab and were home by 11:30.

 

We had a wonderful time on this vacation, as we always do. A vacation is what YOU make of it. We are all exhausted and glad we have 2 days at home before heading out for Las Vegas for the second week of our vacation.

 

If you have any questions please ask. I am brain dead at this moment and can’t remember any of my little jewels of advice I had when I was on board. Do make yourself a rollcall, it really did add to the enjoyment of our cruise to run into people we ‘knew’ – whether they were dancing, involved in a game, or just relaxing.

 

Pam

 

 

I will try to have my pictures up on the webshots by tomorrow. I'll post the link if it works. Sleeeeeeppppppyyyyyyy!

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Just got home, the cruise was awesome. My family is pretty dissapointed about Tracy Arm, it really seems like we were jipped. The identical boat went in right before us and made it through, and boats after had gone through (talking on flight home). There was a lot of ice, indeed, but nothing that the other boats couldn't handle. After talknig to youth security, I found out that the Diamond actually had a broken propeller :o - It seems that oculd be why we didn't make it through. He said it has been broken for 6 months but he probably meant weeks. Anybody ever had soemthing like this happen?

 

e39m5

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Yes, I have heard rumors of the broken propellor too. I wonder if that may have contributed to the rockiness we felt as well. ....and may it have played a role in the fact we were late to Victoria? Bad business, in my opinion. Though the ship is sea worthy, there was quite a bit of shaking during the night with gale force winds. I don't believe they would risk our lives, but I do believe we did not get the experience we deserved due to the ship's mechanical issues.

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The only night I really noticed the rocking was the night of ketchikan (after we left the port). We were in the middle of a storm with 5 foot waves and im not exaggerating. It was impossible to make it to the bow that night. It was understandable we were late after that weather.

 

It does seem that the broken prop did affect going into Tracy Arm, which is bad business. It seems that theyve decided that the boat still runs and its not worth losing the money from shutting the boat down for a week.

 

e39m5

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post_old.gif May 22nd, 2004, 08:51 AM

MamaTene user_offline.gif vbmenu_register("postmenu_1408251", true);

Cool Cruiser

Join Date: May 2000

Location: Uniontown, OH 44685

Posts: 388

 

 

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Hi everyone;

Just heard from our cousins via their cell phone aboard the Diamond Princess. Captain just announced that they should arrive at the Seattle harbor around noon. They state that the Diamond hit a breakwall in Victoria. Heavy gail force winds last night in the area could have been a contributing factor. The harbor pilot was onboard when the ship hit the wall. Ship has sustained a 50 ft gash and the propulsion system is damaged on the starboard side.

Our friends were able to contact their Airline as soon as they had cell phone connectivity and reschedule their flight..they will be taking the last flight out tonight at approx midnight, connect in Atlanta and arrive in Ohio tomorrow morning around 9:30.

Rumor has it onboard that the cruise scheduled to embark today is cancelled as the ship will need to go into drydock for repair.

I will post updates as they become available to me from my cousin.

 

 

Unless something else has happened since, you can see in the above post that the prop was damaged in May, 2004. They said at that time that it wouldn't be replaced until DP went into it's scheduled drydock. I understand that is every 2 or 3 years. DP has made many cruises since then.

 

We were on the Diamond Princess for a 5 day coastal - Vancouver to LA in Sept., 2004. Didn't notice any effects from the damaged prop.

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It was determined the damage to the propeller did not require immediate dry docking – Princess was contemplating sending Diamond to dry dock if necessary. The damaged areas of the propeller were shaved down by divers who afterward checked the propeller periodically. I would be fairly secure in thinking the propeller was working well – any issues with it would cause an increase in fuel consumption and with the increased prices for fuel, that’s not something that would be tolerable.

 

And any ship will shake in gale force winds…Diamond Princess probably is a 9 story building over the waterline.

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There have been a lot of postings about the Diamonds propeller - we knew in advance of possible delays. This is the reason we made our Sabatini's reservations for Friday night, we knew if we made it in to Victoria it would be late and this way we'd still have a 'special' evening. If we were really concerned we would have taken the Saphire instead.

 

I think research is an important aspect to any vacation, but that is just me. Vacations are too short and too far in between not to have a game plan and a back up plan AND the flexibility to go with the flow when your plans don't work.

 

If you go to any of the comedy shows you will see that the common jokes are about the movement of the ship and the flushing of the toilets! I never know how the dancers manage to keep their balance on stage. I am always sick on the first night until midmorning the second day on each cruise, just takes me a while to get my sea legs. Since I had my kids (and they are 20 and 16) I can't even swing anymore without getting an upset stomach. I love to cruise so buck up and make the most of my first day and once it passes - I am set for fun. I didn't feel well yesterday morning but put my wrist bands back on, had a dry bagel, went outside and it passed, but I guess I'm repeating myself.

 

I hope your next experience is more enjoyable for you. It would have stressed me out keeping an 18 month old busy and 'good' while on board and I do home childcare! With a family (young family) I think the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera is a better first cruise.

 

But we should all count our blessings as there were two passengers that passed away while we were on board. If all we had to deal with was rough waters I think we had it pretty good.

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But we should all count our blessings as there were two passengers that passed away while we were on board. If all we had to deal with was rough waters I think we had it pretty good.
If I have to go, that’s the way I want to go… :o

 

 

Great review, by the way…

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The store has a big Starbucks sign. In fact we thought it was a Starbucks store and my son dug his starbucks card out of his pocket - but they just serve it. I can't find my reciept but it is very easy to find. It is either right next to the liquor store or one store away from it. It's close to the entrance of the city, probably on 1st or 2nd Street.

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But we should all count our blessings as there were two passengers that passed away while we were on board. If all we had to deal with was rough waters I think we had it pretty good. - Originally posted by Pam

 

The first morning we woke up to a "Code Alpha" Is that what that means?

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Great review! Made me want to get back onboard!!! And in regards to the comments made earlier in the thread about the propeller, I was on the Diamond a month+ ago, and we had no rough seas, so the movement is caused by the movement of the waves, not by the propeller. It is "luck of the draw" to what weather you will get. I was on the Sapphire in August, and the ship moved ALOT. I loved every minute of it, those who felt sick got some meds and felt better.

 

As far as "bad business" and the need for emergency dry docking. I always ask this same question when this comes up. Would you like YOUR week to be the one cancelled for the dry docking?? I would, personally, rather be delayed getting into Victoria and Juneau by a few hours than not cruise at all. Would you like to get the phone call a few days before you are scheduled to leave to say your cruise is cancelled?? These ships are booked many, many months out in advance, and just making due until the scheduled dry dock is the only way to not anger/disappoint and entire ship of people, most of whom have airfare already paid for and vacation time taken from work. I can just imagine the posts on the board from people who got cancelled. Talk about "bad business"!!! jmho

 

So, back to the thread. Great Review! I live in Magnolia, so we are neighbors across the water from each other!!! Saturdays and Sundays make me so happy driving across the viaduct so I can see the ships!!!

 

Casey

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A "Code ALPHA" is a medical emergency, of some sort. Usually, if you hear it on the ship's intercom, it's past the emergency stage, and probably even too late for the ship's doctor. I've seen these a few times, once with the captain sitting nearby (in a lounge) enjoying a wine. He didn't even move; he knew he couldn't do anything about this.

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Pam,

 

Thanks for the great review, it helped me relive everything!

 

I didn't know we had 2 people pass, that is awful. I am assuming that it was the code alpha.

 

It was great to meet you all and hope to see you on a future cruise.

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We are debating about booking the Diamond for a Sept.16 2006 Vancouver - LA cruise. Can you tell me a bit about it? Especially want to know if it was too late for the floral beauty in Victoria/Butchart Gardens? And how were the ports? Thanks for any info you (or anyone else) can send my way!

binkquest@aol.com

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We are debating about booking the Diamond for a Sept.16 2006 Vancouver - LA cruise. Can you tell me a bit about it? Especially want to know if it was too late for the floral beauty in Victoria/Butchart Gardens? And how were the ports? Thanks for any info you (or anyone else) can send my way!

binkquest@aol.com

 

The gardens looked pretty full, we didn't arrive to late, so I couldn't go to the buchart gardens. I am unsure what it will look like in september, but with the amount of care they give them, i sure it will look nice

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