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geoherb

LIVE: Island Princess to Alaska and Back, June 19-July 3

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On 6/20/2019 at 1:56 PM, geoherb said:

My OBC loyalty credit showed up today in the travel summary for my second cruise. That’s good.

 

Texasnee: The deck plans don’t show a wall that is between your cabin and the lobby area in front of the elevators/stairs. That wall extends down to your cabin but not to B502. People exiting from the elevators/stairs can take a shortcut to the left of the wall to get to the corridor of the higher cabin numbers instead of walking by your cabin. The door to the restricted access area for crew members only is across from B504. There should be enough of a buffer considering the distance and the wall so that you wouldn’t hear crew members going in and out of that door. 

 

CruzinNoony: Natalie is very nice and energetic. She’s Australian. I spoke with her after the martini demonstration this morning. She’s said she’s been working on Princess ships since 2006. She’s been a cruise director for a few years now. She mentioned having been on the Emerald, Regal, and of course the Island. I probably missed a few. Her contract for this time ends in October. I did not get the exact date, but she’ll still be on the ship in August for your cruises. By the way, I was one of the volunteer shakers for the martini demo. My martini was the Sky Fall, consisting of Stoli vodka, triple sec, and blue curacao. I told her we should be dancing after we had the martini, not before. It was a fun demonstration. The other martinis were a sour apple, chocolate, and cosmopolitan. At the end, one of the bartenders poured seven martinis into glasses at the same time. They gave away those as well as for those of who shook and danced for our martinis.

 

Wallyj: Thanks for the info on the internet package. I’ve been typing up my comments offline and then copying and pasting them into this Cruise Critic thread. I’m always behind in reading any responses before I post. I may stop posting the menu photos because uploading photos is using up my minutes. I’ll try to keep going with the activity pages of the Patters.  I noticed I can still purchase the unlimited internet package for my second cruise on the cruise personalizer. I wonder how the internet manager would treat that. Cognac is a type of brandy. I didn’t want to have to look up the spelling of Courvoisier. 
 

Geoherb....thank you SO much for answering my question about Baja cabin 426. You have gone above and beyond! I now have a much clearer picture of what that hallway is like and based on your comments and firsthand account, I think we’ll stick with 426. I’m enjoying hearing about your trip and look forward to reading your posts. Thanks again!

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The scenery as we sailed toward Icy Strait Point was spectacular. I loved seeing the mountains right alongside the ship. I was missing sharing it with DH and started pricing cruises back to Alaska in August when he finishes his current work contract. Surprise! The other option is another transatlantic cruise in September, this time on the Crown Princess.


I ate lunch in the dining room: beef tortellini for an appetizer, vegetarian stuffed pepper for my main course, and a fruit plate for dessert. I was at a table with the Australian man who was at my table at breakfast. He’s on a 37-day holiday. He started in Las Vegas, flew to Saskatoon to visit someone, and then took the train over the Rockies to Vancouver. He’ll spend a few days on a tour after the cruise before flying home. That’s the way to travel. The others included a couple from Saskatchewan, two women from Michigan, and two women from Alberta. Everyone was very nice.

 

I walked to Hoonah after lunch. It’s about 2 miles each way. I have walked 21,621 steps so far today, nearly 11 miles. Along the way, I saw bald eagles in the trees and some flying over. The journey is the destination in this case, because there isn’t much to Hoonah. I did enjoy talking to some of the residents. One was a young man at an excursion tent in town. He said he works in Hoonah in the summers and lives in Juneau in the winters so he can snowboard. The couple I spoke with were watering their container gardens—large plastic tubs about 3 feet across each. The husband said their last frost was the middle of May, but they start a lot of the plants inside. They had a couple of nice zucchini ready for picking on one plant. The other tubs had various herbs and vegetables. They also live in Juneau in the off season.

 

I made it back to the ship in time for trivia. In the morning trivia, I rejoined the couple from Alabama along with a brother-sister pair from Texas and Oklahoma. We came in second. The brother and sister were there this afternoon, so I joined them again. We managed to score 22 out of 24 points—winning wine bottle stoppers. I hope I win enough things to give them away to my tablemates.

 

Tonight’s menu includes the twice-baked goat cheese soufflé. It’s one of my favorites. I made the recipe the week before I left so that DH could have a taste of Princess cuisine. They turned out very tasty. I’ll be ordering it tonight to see how mine compared to the official version. The main courses are potato gnocchi, seafood-stuffed trout, diver scallops, Cornish game hen, pork tenderloin, fried chicken, and the Curtis Stone entrée, beef tenderloin tips and mushroom cobbler. 

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I went to dinner in the Provence Dining Room around 6. I wanted to make it to the early show of On the Bayou. The twice-baked goat cheese soufflé was tasty, but I think my version at home was better. I’m not sure they followed the recipe that’s been around here on Cruise Critic. It seemed to be missing the other cheeses. I ordered an appetizer size portion of the scallops. The waiter never brought me them, but the stuffed trout was filling enough that I did not bother to ask. I was at a table with two women traveling together from Wisconsin and a couple from Australia. I never dreamt that bull semen would come up in conversation around the dinner table, but it happened. One of the answers from trivia is in the previous sentence. It’s not the bull semen. The couple own a ranch and raise Black Angus cattle. The husband talked about his previous visit to America to acquire the aforementioned item. He also ordered the steak from the special insert in the menu that they charge for. It looked very good. His wife said the fried chicken was dry, but she kept eating it.

 

On the Bayou is a fun show with lots of singing and dancing. The dancer I talked with in Hoonah said it was his favorite show. I can see why. The dancers get to show off in it a ton more than in Encore. I sat on the front row again. I understand why they don’t want unaccompanied children in the first few rows.
 

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I can't wait to read your "live from" every morning!  Thanks so much for taking the time to do it.  

When we go to Icy Straight the beginning of August, we are going whale watching at 12:30 and bear searching at 4:00.  Did you talk to anyone who did either/both of these and if so, did they have success?

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On 6/20/2019 at 3:13 PM, beckntom said:

Hi, Sheryl!  Missed you on the Coastal.  Could have used those minutes because I "burned" mine several times when I forgot to log off.  Internet manager reinstated them, even though he did roll his eyes a time or two.  Hope to see you on another cruise! 

I'm pretty sure this happens multiple times each cruise.  At least I've witnessed people coming in with every reason in the book about why they didn't get logged off.  I've never seen an Internet Manager give anyone any problems about reinstating them.  They always reinstate.  Has anyone has been denied minutes being reinstated?

Oh, and interesting about the new policy of combining minutes for B2B's.

We were on the Ruby in April for a 12-day followed by a 5-day.  The minutes were separate on that one.   We'll be boarding on 6/26 in Whittier and be on for 3 B2B cruises.  Will make sure we get all 450 minutes each!  

Another question, do the cabins on the Island still have the mailbox outside or has it already been removed in preparation for OM?

Thanks for the patters and your live info!  Really enjoying following your cruise.  Hope to meet you at the M&G on 6/27.

Thelia

Edited by RRFan

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:46 AM, geoherb said:

Thanks, everyone. We did sail on the Island before Princess chopped it up. That was back in 2010 to the Panama Canal. It was one of our favorite cruises, primarily because of Richard Joseph.  The Island wasn't my first choice in ships, but then the price convinced me to give it a try. I'm going for two weeks what it would have cost me to sail for one on the Star Princess or Ruby Princess doing another round-trip cruise from Seattle. I did not consider doing a one-way cruise to or from Alaska. It's going to be interesting to see how the chopped up Promenade Deck and lack of an aft lounge affects the cruise experience.

Enjoy reading your journey.   We will be on Island in mid-July, same as yours round trip from Vancouver.    I like to learn how you search the pricing for solo cruiser.  If you may, could you tell me what "key word" to do search on internet?  that will lead me to the proper sites.  Thanks. 

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Sunset last night at 10:10 was spectacular. Lots of folks were out on the Promenade Deck to enjoy it. Sailing into Juneau was also nice this morning. I watched on the little deck outside the Horizon Court with one of the couples from Alabama. I like seeing the little waterfalls on the hillsides. I spotted a few eagles in the trees but not any whales or other marine life.


I ate breakfast in the dining room with the women from Texas and Louisiana. Dave Lethin, the lecturer who gave the “North to Alaska—Deadliest Catch” talk in the Princess Theater yesterday morning was at the table. We had a couple from Australia join us. Dave is leaving the ship in Juneau to go back home. It was interesting to hear some of his stories. He said he works just a few cruises a year and has trained some of his crew members to be lecturers on others. He is hiking the ice caves at Mendenhall Glacier with the naturalist before heading home. I like that Princess gets so many good guest lecturers in Alaska. Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod, will be on tonight to give a presentation.


There are several stands on the docks offering tours. I wanted to go to Mendenhall Glacier. There’s a way to take the public bus system real inexpensively, but I decided to go with one of the shuttle company buses for the sake of convenience. The cost was a little more than $47 ($45 plus tax). The ship’s equivalent tour is $54.95 for adults. I think the shuttle cost us $16 each back in 2002 when we were on our first cruise to Alaska. The best thing about taking one of the independent shuttles is that you can stay as long as you want. The Princess excursion gives you 2.5 hours at the glacier. I ended up staying 3, primarily because it started to drizzle. 


I started off watching the 15-minute film about the Juneau Ice Field and Mendenhall Glacier at the visitors’ center. I then walked on the Photo Point Trail to get a better view of the glacier. It has receded a lot since we were last there in 2012. That trail is a third of a mile long round trip. I then walked on the Nugget Falls Trail, which is 2 miles there and back. Along the way I saw a porcupine in a tree. It reminded me of the sloths we saw in Costa Rica but not as cuddly. I also walked a good bit of Steep Creek Trail. That’s probably what I would have missed if I had taken the excursion through Princess.

 

The National Forest Service had plenty of rangers throughout. I enjoyed talking with them. I found out from one that the flower I’ve been seeing a lot of is called goat’s beard.


Last night I dropped off a form at the passenger services desk about my internet minutes. I noticed this afternoon that they had added 50 minutes to my account. A representative from passenger services also left me a voicemail message to let me know. It seems so simple to me that the internet manager should be empowered to make this change, or even better, give everyone the minutes they deserve to start with. 
 

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FishinChris: I’m taking quite a few, but they’re never going to be as good as your photos. 


CroozinNoony: I talked with people who did both yesterday in Icy Strait Point. The people who went on the whale watching tour loved it. They saw lots of whales, primarily humpbacks. They said one in particular was very active, turning on its side and flipping its tail out of the water. The people who went on the bear watching tour did not see any. They were very disappointed. I think it’s too early in the season to see many, although there’s a sign at the Mendenhall visitors’ center listing animal sightings, and it included people seeing a mother bear and two cubs on one of the trails (but not the easily accessible ones). August should be a much better time for bear sightings.

 

RRFan: We still have mailboxes outside each cabin door. I’m meticulous about my internet minutes. Most of the time, I’m able to sign on and off in under 4 minutes. I’ll have multiple browser windows open during that time—one to check email, one for Facebook, one to update this thread, plus one to download my hometown paper. I’ve used 51 minutes so far. The main thing I want to be sure of is to have enough minutes to check in for my flights on the last day of the cruise.


Sunny88: Search for “low single supplement” + “cruises” or just try to find some large travel agencies that specialize in cruises. The one I found has a dedicated page of cruises with low single supplements. You can also find them on the Princess website’s search page by choosing “Show more options” and then “1 Guest Per Stateroom” in the last box after filling in the other options you wish, such as destination, length of cruise, type of cabin, etc. I think the default results list is always sorted by price, low to high. A good travel agent should always be able to do better than the Princess price, either directly or with onboard credit.
 

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Beautiful pictures!  Watched the NHL 1st round draft by Canes is Ryan Suzuki and Canes acquired Patrick Marleau from Toronto.  Marleau was drafted by Coyotes in 1997 and played there and for the Leafs.  Your twice baked dish was delish!  Congrats on the trivia victory!  Glad you had fun at Mendehal Glacier hiking!

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goeherb

 

how did you learn about these low single supplement prices

 

Princess had a very low single supplement for these cruises. The other ships I looked at were charging solo passengers double, whereas this cruise was only around $100 more.

 

thanks

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Geo Herb , If you have a smart phone, should work in Alaska. We have TMobile and  we were not charged any roaming charges. I hardly used any minutes on my cruise last year, In all the Alaskan ports, used my phone.Great when I posted photos and checked email.

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geoherb, regarding the per day wifi, I read on the internet (and you can always believe what you read on the internet, right? Right?) that once you are on board you can get the 25% off. If this isn't true, we will probably buy ahead of time since it is a bit of a discount, just not as much. 

 

Love your pictures and reading about how it is going. 

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hey all, Geoherb, love the pictures.  That Sunset is spectacular!  Getting ready to fly out tomorrow from Orlando to Anchorage to start our land portion of our southbound Island cruise.  It's been a very trying couple of days here, but hope to get some down time and recharge..  Can't wait to meet you at the M&G on the 27th. Enjoy!!

Karen 😎

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I finally traded out some items in my minibar this afternoon. It took about 20 minutes for someone from room service to come. I’ve spent longer than that on hold for room service on previous cruises. I went to the tail end of afternoon tea in the Bordeaux Dining Room. I joined a table that included two couples who are also sailing back to the Vancouver on the next cruise. One is from South Africa, and the other is from Vancouver Island. The ones from South Africa are visiting friends in Victoria after the cruise, so the other couple told them several ways to get there.


Chris directed afternoon trivia. The brother and sister with whom I won yesterday already had a full team, so I joined a young couple from Portland, Oregon, and two men who were traveling together with their wives. (The wives weren't there.) We tied with four other teams for first place with 17 out of 20 points, including my former teammates. Instead of a tiebreaker question, Chris decided to award the prize to the team with the lowest score. That team had 11 points. Ironically, the prize for each team member was a medal that says “winner” on it. I don’t need one.

Edited by geoherb

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If it were me, I wouldn't consider going unless I had a cast.  On a different note, I tore my MCL a week before a cruise and my sister insisted that we still go.  I had a cumbersome brace and was in constant discomfort the whole time.  Looking back, I should have stayed home and rested on the couch.  But that's a different injury.

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1 hour ago, 1emerald1 said:

If it were me, I wouldn't consider going unless I had a cast.  On a different note, I tore my MCL a week before a cruise and my sister insisted that we still go.  I had a cumbersome brace and was in constant discomfort the whole time.  Looking back, I should have stayed home and rested on the couch.  But that's a different injury.

What????

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40 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

What????

Oh geez, I think I posted on the wrong thread.  Sorry!!

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6 hours ago, geoherb said:

FishinChris: I’m taking quite a few, but they’re never going to be as good as your photos. 


CroozinNoony: I talked with people who did both yesterday in Icy Strait Point. The people who went on the whale watching tour loved it. They saw lots of whales, primarily humpbacks. They said one in particular was very active, turning on its side and flipping its tail out of the water. The people who went on the bear watching tour did not see any. They were very disappointed. I think it’s too early in the season to see many, although there’s a sign at the Mendenhall visitors’ center listing animal sightings, and it included people seeing a mother bear and two cubs on one of the trails (but not the easily accessible ones). August should be a much better time for bear sightings.

 

RRFan: We still have mailboxes outside each cabin door. I’m meticulous about my internet minutes. Most of the time, I’m able to sign on and off in under 4 minutes. I’ll have multiple browser windows open during that time—one to check email, one for Facebook, one to update this thread, plus one to download my hometown paper. I’ve used 51 minutes so far. The main thing I want to be sure of is to have enough minutes to check in for my flights on the last day of the cruise.


Sunny88: Search for “low single supplement” + “cruises” or just try to find some large travel agencies that specialize in cruises. The one I found has a dedicated page of cruises with low single supplements. You can also find them on the Princess website’s search page by choosing “Show more options” and then “1 Guest Per Stateroom” in the last box after filling in the other options you wish, such as destination, length of cruise, type of cabin, etc. I think the default results list is always sorted by price, low to high. A good travel agent should always be able to do better than the Princess price, either directly or with onboard credit.
 

Thanks.  Nice pictures.

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Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod, gave a great presentation. She spoke about 10 minutes, showed a 10-minute video, talked another 10 minutes, and then took a few questions from people in the audience. The theater was almost full, with a few vacant seats scattered throughout different sections. I enjoyed her presentation a lot. We saw her on our first cruise to Alaska in 2002 on the Star Princess.

 

There is a portion of the ceiling that was down for the projection system. I haven’t noticed if that is always like that or just down when they’re using the projection system. In any case, it does partially obstruct the view of some of the middle seats on the top three or four rows. I was just a couple of seats over from what would have been an obstructed view for me on the fourth row. Shorter people may have been fine in the middle of my row, but I noticed a lot of empty seats between the couple to the left of me and the six people at the end of the row as well as the rows behind us. So if you ever get to the theater late and see these big sections of available seats, realize they’re vacant because someone probably sat in them and then moved seats when they found out they’re obstructed.

 

I went back to the Provence Dining room. Tonight’s menu was excellent. Among the choices were an Alaskan seafood bisque, pasta with braised pork shoulder, red king crab legs, halibut with a coconut milk sauce, and cioppini seafood stew. The Curtis Stone selection was the chicken and leek potpie. The young woman from Washington State across from me ordered it. She said it was very good. I had a salad and the crab legs and halibut. I did not eat the potatoes and corn on the cob that came with the crab legs. The crab legs were absolutely delicious. I will skip ordering the halibut next cruise and perhaps get an appetizer size portion of the pasta, which sounded really tasty to me. The young woman’s mother was with her. Our other tablemates were two women traveling together. One lives in Arizona and the other in Kentucky. The Arizonan’s husband stayed home. The Kentuckian’s husband is on a two-week biking trip to Denali from Anchorage. The women are staying on for the land portion after the cruise but won’t catch up with him. Then there were a couple from California at the end of the table. They were talking about having been on back-to-back cruises to the Panama Canal—from California to Florida and back. I asked if they were the most-traveled passengers. They also made the top 40. They’re also taking the southbound cruise back to Vancouver.


Dinner took so long that I missed the show by comedian/magician Michael Misko. It was scheduled for 9 p.m. instead of the usual 9:30 starting time. There wasn’t an early show due to Libby Riddle’s presentation. The strange thing to me is that the first night’s comedian is scheduled again for tomorrow night in the theater. I wish they had switched these two. Perhaps tonight’s performer will be on again later in the cruise.

 

We’re back to fixed seating tomorrow night even though the ship doesn’t sail until 8 p.m. from Skagway. I may sleep in if possible in the morning. There’s no rush for me to walk to the Gold Rush cemetery and Lower Reid Falls. And if there’s more liquid sunshine, I may just stay on the ship since I’ll be back next week. The woman from Arizona said they’d struck out on both today’s excursion and yesterday’s. They were on one of the bear watching excursions in Icy Strait Point without a sighting. Today they kayaked in Mendenhall Lake in the rain. I’m glad I went early and got to Nugget Falls before the rain started. She said they couldn’t see the glacier or the falls from their kayaks. 

 

When we kayaked there seven years ago, it was drizzly, but we still got close enough to see both. The other big change I noticed today was that there weren’t any huge chunks of ice floating in the lake. I asked one of the rangers, who told me that they don’t get as many of them now that the glacier has receded and the ice is sitting on ground instead of on top of the water. One of the maps in the visitors’ center shows the face of the glacier at several different periods of time. In the 1700s, it was three miles from where it is today. The shuttle bus driver taking us back to the dock pointed out the place where it was most advanced. There are also three video displays in the visitors’ center showing photos from different years. I noticed that seven years ago the face of the glacier covered most of one of the large rocks between it and the falls. The map shows an estimate of where it be in 2050, perhaps not even visible from the visitors’ center.
 

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:38 PM, SeaofStars said:

I know they’re going to repeat the menus, but can you make note of whether it’s the same menu order both ways or whether they reverse them? So 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 or 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-1-2-3-4-5-6-7? (Or maybe you already know  - first time cruiser here!)

 

I’m also interested if they’re still doing the Escape Rooms this year or if they’ve been replaced by the Heist activity?

 

Looking forward to following along! Have a great trip!

Really? What difference does it make? 

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4 minutes ago, tothemall&beyond said:

Really? What difference does it make? 

This question was already answered (it’s the same) but I am doing a one way cruise, not a B2B and got info about the menu order for the opposite direction. I figured since geoherb is doing a B2B they would be in a position to know. Also, in case I do a B2B in the future, I just wanted to know for planning purposes. 😑

 

Anyway, geoherb, still following along and enjoying your Live! Dinner sounded delicious. Good luck with trivia!

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