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LIVE! From Celebrity Solstice May 11th 2018 Alaska Cruise

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It is Captain Tasos Kafetzis...he said during the muster drill this was his first cruise after having 3 months off so I’m assuming he will be on the ship for June 1st. He is hilarious btw...

 

 

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He was our captain on our New Zealand cruise and that was his last trip before he had time off. He is really funny....enjoy his humor.

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Just enjoyed an amazing hot glass show. They made three beautiful pieces and at the end of the show they had a free raffle where they gave away 5 pieces total. It was a very nice experience.

 

 

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Enjoy them because they are going to go away for a more "interactive" hot glass experience. We loved these shows during our New Zealand cruise.

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It may be longer than you want to do, but last year we did the Yukon Adventure and White Pass Railway excursion. We went by bus up to White Pass and beyond to get to the Yukon (amazingly scenic and we saw a bear on the side of the road!) and then turned around, had lunch at a sort of gorge with a suspension bridge and then took the train down. I recommend it.

 

 

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Can you tell me what the code is for your excursion. Thank you in advance.

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Long update coming soon but in the 15+ cruises we have taken, this was the first cruise where me and my husband were the last two people back on the ship. We saw them pull back the gangway as we stepped on, not a good feeling but also an amazing one knowing that we made it back on board. All aboard was 5:30pm and we got back on right at 6:05PM. We are so grateful and will never book an excursion through an outside company.

 

 

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Hi, we board when you hop off on Friday. Could you possibly find out who the casino host is and possibly send me their email?

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Long update coming soon but in the 15+ cruises we have taken, this was the first cruise where me and my husband were the last two people back on the ship. We saw them pull back the gangway as we stepped on, not a good feeling but also an amazing one knowing that we made it back on board. All aboard was 5:30pm and we got back on right at 6:05PM. We are so grateful and will never book an excursion through an outside company.

 

 

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oh wow that sounds stressfuL!

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Long update coming soon but in the 15+ cruises we have taken, this was the first cruise where me and my husband were the last two people back on the ship. We saw them pull back the gangway as we stepped on, not a good feeling but also an amazing one knowing that we made it back on board. All aboard was 5:30pm and we got back on right at 6:05PM. We are so grateful and will never book an excursion through an outside company.

 

 

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OMG I've been that person, was anyone cheering or yelling at you from their balcony-bc they did at us lol.

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We were on Solstice in February/March. I noticed from the daily you posted under the Culinary Delights, it shows the Mast Grill hours for burgers & dogs, then the Crab Shack from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. What is the Crab Shack? I've not heard of it before.

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So long update from our crazy day yesterday in Skagway.

 

I’ll start from the beginning, we had done this exact same cruise in May 2015 and in Skagway we had done an excursion through Celebrity called Laughton Glacier Snowshoe Hike, it was an awesome experience, the white pass railway takes you to around mile marker 16, if you are on the excursion you get off and then do a 5-6 mile round trip hike with amazing views of a glacier. We had an awesome time with that excursion in 2015 and wanted to do it again this time.

 

So this time initially Celebrity offered the exact same excursion and we signed up through them, 4 weeks before the cruise, we got an email from Celebrity stating the excursion had been cancelled. They never said why but it was because not enough people signed up for it. We really had our mind set on doing this particular excursion so we found out who celebrity contracted out the excursion to and it was a company called “Packer Expeditions” so we called them and directly booked the excursion through them. The day started off just like our experience 3 years ago and hike and the views were amazing. We did a 5.5 mile round trip hike with amazing views just like last time. The place where the train had dropped us off we made it there at 3pm and our pickup time was supposed to be around 3:20 PM, and with that timeframe we would have been back in Skagway at 4:20 PM with the all aboard time being 5:30 PM. Well that did not happen and this is where everything that could go wrong started to...

 

The White Pass Railroad company that operates the train is the major culprit at fault here, they had a train that had engine troubles and it delayed everything. We were told it was only a 30-45 minute delay and not to worry, then it turned into oh it might be another 30 minutes and that another 30 minutes turned into a total of 2 hour delay in getting back on the train. While we were waiting to hop back on a train two trains passed us. This is where I blame both packer expeditions and the railroad company, they knew we were cruise ship passengers and needed to co-ordinate our pickup to make sure we made it back on the ship on time. This was a delay because of them and packer expeditions works closely with the train to do multiple other hikes and excursions and could have made things happen. Our guide had a radio that they use to communicate with the train personnel. Three trains passed us on the way down with plenty of empty spots and did not stop to pick us up. The fourth one did stop to pick us up around 4:55 PM and only had passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship which was scheduled to leave Skagway Port an hour after our ships departure time.

 

Our saving grace was the third train that had passed our train 10 minutes before had Celebrity passengers on it and they had excursions through celebrity so the ship wasn’t leaving them behind. We got to the Ruby Princess dock which is far away from where our ship was docked, as soon as we got there we were the first passengers off and the train company had an SUV waiting to quickly take us to our ship, about 5 minute drive away. It was 6PM, the ships departure time and we were freaking out...

 

We made it to the gangway and there was a bus that was loading passengers to the ship, these were the people from train 3 that had excursions booked trough Celebrity and of course Celebrity waited for them. The car we were in pulled in right behind the bus and we ran onto the gangway, all the people on the port side of the ship are clapping at this point, we made it on at 6:05 PM, as soon as my husband got on, within a minute the gangway was pulled back and we started our departure from the port, we had a whirlwind of emotions going through our minds at that time but the biggest was a sigh of relief and happiness about having made it back on board. The ship would have left us had it not been for that third train that had Celebrity passengers, we made it back with not even a minute to spare.

 

Moral of the story - In Skagway never book any excursion that involves the train unless you go through Celebrity directly. Never book an excursion directly through Packer Expeditions as they did not go above and beyond to make sure you get back onboard in a timely way.

 

Now to end on a positive note...pictures from the excursion itself...it truly was an awesome experience up until 3pm and all the delays that started happening.

 

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Wow. Glad you got back on time. The pics you got that day are amazing though. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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So glad you made it back on board in time. The photos are great. I can't wait until it's our turn.

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Put a review into Trip Advisor with your concerns on how Packer Expeditions handled this problem. I’m sure their office in Skagway could have got in touch with the ship regarding the situation with the train and how it might affect your return. Packer Expeditions has excellent reviews on Trip Advisor so I’m sure they would take your concerns onboard. Also companies don’t want bad reviews, bad for business.

Awesome photos. How hard was the hike?

Sandra

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Put a review into Trip Advisor with your concerns on how Packer Expeditions handled this problem. I’m sure their office in Skagway could have got in touch with the ship regarding the situation with the train and how it might affect your return. Packer Expeditions has excellent reviews on Trip Advisor so I’m sure they would take your concerns onboard. Also companies don’t want bad reviews, bad for business.

 

Awesome photos. How hard was the hike?

 

Sandra

 

 

 

The hike was moderate intensity. They can tailor it to be slightly easier than what we did.

 

 

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So glad you made it back in time...and that you had an amazing day (up to the return trip)!

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Glad you made it back. Enjoyed having my "daily fix" of your adventures and will soon start our count down to 7 September.

Your photographs are awesome.

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Your Skagway hike is in the midst of such stunning scenery!! I had read of others doing this hike and was interested, but we are sailing on the Millennium and she isn't in port long enough to offer this excursion. Sounds like quite a fortunate turn of events in getting you back to the ship on time...a stressful time to what looks to be an amazing day, hopefully you can let that go, focusing on the beauty of the day earlier and having a bit of drama in the midst of your future storytelling that ends well.

 

Your weather looks perfect...how was your temps?

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Great review. I think my husband would have hyperventilated by the time we got to the gangway! Glad you made it.

 

Joe

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Your Skagway hike is in the midst of such stunning scenery!! I had read of others doing this hike and was interested, but we are sailing on the Millennium and she isn't in port long enough to offer this excursion. Sounds like quite a fortunate turn of events in getting you back to the ship on time...a stressful time to what looks to be an amazing day, hopefully you can let that go, focusing on the beauty of the day earlier and having a bit of drama in the midst of your future storytelling that ends well.

 

 

 

Your weather looks perfect...how was your temps?

 

 

 

Yes def agree. I tried my best to include the fact that up until the delay, the day was absolutely gorgeous, but def important to let people know how close we came to missing the ship. We will def laugh about it when we tell the story in the future but right now still upset at how it all played out.

 

Weather we got very lucky with

 

Ketchikan - no rain, high temp was about 60. Very nice day and our favorite port of call.

 

Juneau - mild to moderate rain, high 50’s, very crowded port, 5 ships! The port will be loosing my business next time if there are that many ships, will likely stay on board.

 

Skagway - no rain, was predicted to be very cold but turned out to be a nice weather day with high temp is mid to high 50’s.

 

 

 

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Glad you made it back. Enjoyed having my "daily fix" of your adventures and will soon start our count down to 7 September.

Your photographs are awesome.

 

 

 

Thanks :)

 

 

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Dinner for Skagway Night was in Luminae and was pretty good. Didn’t do a whole lot after dinner and passed out at 10pm [emoji43] . My husband on the other hand stayed up till 11pm and saw this gorgeous sunset from the balcony.

 

 

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Crab Shack at the Mast Grill on this menu for the 15th. What is this? Never heard of it before on any S-Class Ship.

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Juneau - mild to moderate rain, high 50’s, very crowded port, 5 ships! The port will be loosing my business next time if there are that many ships, will likely stay on board.

 

We'll also have 5 ships when in Juneau. We're the last Tuesday with ONLY 5...there'll be 6 every Tuesday there after. I was surprised you were there on a Monday and also had that many. Hmm.

 

Thank you for the weather report. And for posting here. I'm enjoying this as a work up to our own first Alaska cruise in June.

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Dinner for Skagway Night was in Luminae and was pretty good. Didn’t do a whole lot after dinner and passed out at 10pm [emoji43] . My husband on the other hand stayed up till 11pm and saw this gorgeous sunset from the balcony.

 

 

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Dinner is in Tuscan Grill again tonight, we initially had Murano repeat but changed our mind as a family for the better views, service and the type of food we were in the mood for. Will ask for Darko again who was awesome.

 

 

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Ah, came across this in my research! I don't think you missed much: http://www.thepreismans.com/alaska_17_page1.htm, about 1/3 down or search for "feast".

 

Thanks. It's probably going to flop just like it did when they started charging for burgers at the Mast Grill.

 

Enjoyed reading your review and the great pictures.

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Thanks. It's probably going to flop just like it did when they started charging for burgers at the Mast Grill.

 

Enjoyed reading your review and the great pictures.

 

Can't take credit, not my site. I'm still a cruise virgin! :D

Happened to stumble across it from a link somewhere here on CC, you are right though, it's a fantastic review for the Solstice Alaska itinerary.

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Thanks. It's probably going to flop just like it did when they started charging for burgers at the Mast Grill.

 

Enjoyed reading your review and the great pictures.

 

Do they really charge for burgers at the Mast Grill.? I new to this and this is good to know.

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Do they really charge for burgers at the Mast Grill.? I new to this and this is good to know.

 

No. They had a program last year where they were going to convert the Mast Grill to do gourmet burgers and charge $10 for them, but it flopped and they went back to the free burgers & dogs.

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Your Skagway excursion photos are gorgeous. So glad you had a great day at least up to the point that went downhill, literally!

 

Your harrowing experience reminds me of a similar incident we endured aboard Constellation in 2006. We were in Le Havre and took the train into Paris for the day, on our own. We made sure we caught a return train back that provided “wiggle room” before the ship sailed. Shortly after leaving Paris the train came to a halt, where we sat...and sat...and sat. A few announcements were made, all in French, of course, and each one was met with collective sighs throughout the car from the passengers. Finally we learned we were stuck behind a broke down train ahead of us. The 2 hour trip stretched to 5 hours. After awhile, I got up and started making my way through the very long train, one car at a time. I was searching for anyone from the ship I might recognize. Thankfully, just a few cars away I spotted a group of people I recognized. Long story short, one of them had a cell phone who had already contacted Celebrity in Miami and told them if our plight. They had been assured the ship would wait for us. As it turned out, not only were there a lot of ships passengers aboard the train, independently, but also crew. Even though we were assured the ship would wait, until we walked up that gangway and onto the Connie were we able to breathe a sigh of relief.

 

 

Enjoy dinner with your family tonight in Tuscan with Darko! Between the late-setting sun and scenery in Alaska, Tuscan is the best spot to enjoy a relaxing dinner.

 

 

Thanks again for taking us along with you.

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Dinner in Tuscan was absolutely amazing. From the amazing and personable service by Darko, the food and the gorgeous sunset we saw was just the perfect dinner we had on this lazy sea day. The entire family enjoyed the whole experience. So glad we decided on Tuscan over Murano.

 

 

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