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A 99 Day Journey to Alaska (Serenade by the Sea) with a Teen and Young Adult (over 21)


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Activities and Excursions for Alaskan Ports of Call (Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka)

 

I have listed pretty much all that there is to do in Ketchikan and Sitka. Juneau is kind of light since I knew that Whale Watching was already our primary focus for activities at that port. [If there is enough requests I will conduct some more research and update the list.]

 

Also note that there is a workpage specifically for the Sitka DIY walking tour.  It is still being updated and researched, although I have already begun to add specifics such as operating hours, addresses, admission fees, etc.  I promise that I will provide the completed tour when it has been completed.

 

[Please see attached . . . . ]

 

Enjoy and I hope many of you find this useful . . . .

Alaska Research Activities Excursions.xlsx

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16 hours ago, Travel R said:

 

Thanks for following along on the journey. Hopefully there are some parallels.

 

Q: Are you on the Haines or Sitka alternative itinerary?

Umm, both? Sitka day 3 and Haines day 5.

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Back in 2019, we did whale watching in Juneau in the morning and the Mendenhall Glacier in the afternoon (we were on Radiance).  The whales were great sports and gave us an excellent show.  We saw the Mendenhall Glacier about 25 years previous, and it was surprising how much it has receded.  I would also recommend getting some King Crab Legs right on the pier.

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48 minutes ago, snowcruiser said:

 I would also recommend getting some King Crab Legs right on the pier.

 

Are the crab legs purchase from street/pier vendors or from a store/restaurant?

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[Today]

Theme Nights: Disco Party, 80’s Night, Black and White Night, etc.

 

Random thought:  As long as I can remember RCI and other cruise lines have these Disco Parties, White Nights, etc. but they never promote them to guests prior to the cruise. Although we have more than enough to pack, why not put these into a packing suggestion email so a future passenger may bring that 70’s stylish shirt they have in the back of their closet that they been dying to wear, but have not had anywhere to wear it to. Or maybe someone might pack that white pair of shorts or shirt instead of another color.  But then again, I know about these things, and even look at past Daily Planners, and have never packed for any of them (well, except for Formal Night). Thinking back, every passenger on the Love Boat always seemed to have the right clothing for whatever theme night they had – how is that possible?

 

I will be expressing my thoughts on Formal Night when I eventually publish my journal entry from last July (a few more days before I post that one) that deals with this topic. But to give you the direction of where I am going to lean, a few days ago my DW and I had a very brief discussion on whether (due to packing larger clothing for the cold) we will have room for me to pack a suit – or more likely a pair of slacks and matching jacket (of course I will wear a different tie and button-down shirt for each of the nights).

 

Really busy, so that’s all for me today.

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July 14, 2021

This Week’s Research: Deck Plans, Ketchikan, and Clothing

 

When I have had time, I have tried to research various aspects of this cruise.  To keep up my own interest I do jump from topic to topic, but in the end it all gets done.

 

Deck Plans

  • I have performed a little more research. All of the venues on the ship have been listed, and I have begun populating them with data.  Basic items such as location are already entered, and now I am beginning to enter the times they are open (based on past cruises), and any notes I may discover while reading old posts and reviews.

Ketchikan

  • My approach to the ports will be to list all of the different activities and places of interest, list them with descriptions (and possible costs), and then let the family decide [I also provide links for additional about each activity/place.]. I think it is more logical to decide what you want to see/do first, then find the excursion that best fits your decisions. I believe that it is counterintuitive to look at the excursions first – how do you know what you may be missing? Of course, I will provide my recommendation to my family – but they also have all the other data that I have presented to come to derive own conclusions.  I have begun with Ketchikan and what it has to offer within and without each port.  I will begin to add the descriptions for each listing this week (if/when I get a chance). [The list is available here.]

Clothing to Pack for Alaska

  • Our trip to the Baltics was probably a lot like what we will be experiencing in Alaska – cold (in fact it was unseasonably cold for that time of year; mornings in the low 40s and lucky if it reached the 70s in the afternoon (with the sun being shy and not wanting to show its face); it also rained half of the days we were there, not to mention the snowfall when we first arrived (pre-cruise) in Iceland.). So, I am expecting this trip to be the same, although expecting to see more sun. And yes, they had the same white nights as I will also be experiencing in Alaska. Even with Mother Nature not being kind to us, we still had a great adventure!
  • The trick, of course to packing, is layers – with lighter inner layers, and a heavier wind/rain proof outer “coating” or a heavier jacket and a light rain-proof outer covering (which is what I usually do so when it stops raining and still cold, I can take off the wet outer layer. The heavier outer coat should not be too heavy or else it becomes burdensome and makes it harder to wear your inner layers. We have vacationed in all types of climates, and pretty much know what we need to pack, and I used to backpack/camp in all types of weather as well. [Yes, I know, climate and weather are two different things.]
  • I happen to have a very comprehensive packing list for cruises which I have perfected over the years and modified for each specific cruise.  Once I finish my current research, I will share the list on this thread for all to see.

Cruise Critic Boards

  • As part of my morning routine, I log into Cruise Critic to see if there are any posts in the threads I am following or have commented in. If I have time, I will also go to the Royal Caribbean boards and the Alaska boards to see if there are any new comments or threads that may be of interest.
  • If there was a board for cruising with older teenagers (or young adults), I probably would read that daily as well. In my experience, the difference between cruising with a pre-teen or young teen and an older teen (let’s use 15 or 16 as the cutoff).  So when I see questions about teens and cruising, I always wonder how old the “teen” is. This especially holds true for general statements such as “my teenage granddaughter likes XYZ.” This is why I have always made sure to specify the age of my DDs – it does make a difference.

I know, a boring post, but I plan on something more interesting next time . . . .

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Posted (edited)

Since I was discussing packing, here's my Land and Sea Packing List.

 

This list has evolved over many years. It was meant to be over inclusive, so that one may cross an unneeded item off the list, as opposed to not including it and forgetting to add it back in later.

 

Note that this a cumulative list for all seasons/climates, so items may not be needed on various vacation locations and times of the year.

 

Note, however, due to my family's growth over the years, I have removed all of the items that may be required for parents of younger children or even young teens (e.g., braces repair kit).

 

Of course,items like medicinals are also unique to everyone.

 

Let me know if anyone has any questions or possible additions.

PACKING LIST FOR LAND.pdf

Edited by Travel R
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I looked at your packing list, and my suggestion would be to substitute a fleece jacket and maybe a fleece vest for your hooded sweatshirt and your regular sweatshirt.  Folks in the PNW use fleece as our preferred method of layering.

If your sweatshirt get wet, it will offer you no warmth or insulation, and it will take forever to dry. You should be more concerned about rain rather than the cold, especially as you plan to do a lot of walking and outdoor activities.  Fleece is better, and it will take up less space in your luggage.   You should be able to find fleece jackets/vests now marked down, or on an end-of-the-season sale. A thrift store might be another option.

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1 hour ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

I looked at your packing list, and my suggestion would be to substitute a fleece jacket and maybe a fleece vest for your hooded sweatshirt and your regular sweatshirt.  Folks in the PNW use fleece as our preferred method of layering.

If your sweatshirt get wet, it will offer you no warmth or insulation, and it will take forever to dry. You should be more concerned about rain rather than the cold, especially as you plan to do a lot of walking and outdoor activities.  Fleece is better, and it will take up less space in your luggage.   You should be able to find fleece jackets/vests now marked down, or on an end-of-the-season sale. A thrift store might be another option.

A good suggestion - thank you!

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1 hour ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

@Travel R, I also noticed "Whips and Chains" under the Entertainment category.  Just so you know, they won't make it thru the security screening.  LOL

 

 

 

I added that for the packing list I shared with another couple we were going on vacation with list year - to get a smile out of them. Along the years I have also included a few other things on the list such as romance, sense, of humor, etc. throughout the years). I guess I should have taken these items off the list, I hope I brings a few smiles and laughs to all who read it.  As you mentioned, it may not be wise to take those through security!

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July 15, 2021 [13]

Random Thoughts on Cruising

 

1. Someone recently asked me the question – why do you like to cruise?  Everyone has their own reason why they enjoy cruising, and none are wrong. Although my family enjoys cruising, if we were to choose only one or two main reasons, each of us would probably answer differently:

  • Myself: It’s an enjoyable means of transportation between one place/city and the next
  • DW: It’s a place for R&R while seeing the world
  • DDs: A great place to socialize while vacationing

 

We like to travel, and cruising is only one of several ways for us to do so.  As a history buff, a cruise is an amazing way to travel between and learn about new and exciting places (while only unpacking once). Unfortunately, visiting a port via cruise for only a few hours or even two days is a teaser, it only provides the traveler with a very small taste of what there is to offer; which is why I have re-visited the places we like (non-cruise). 

 

The desire to see and experience new places is also a reason why we have (so far) never repeated an itinerary (further, all of our cruises as of yet have departed from different ports, and have been aboard different ships). [The interesting thing is that we live fairly close to several ports (Bayonne, NYC, and Brooklyn), and have only been out of these ports a total of two times. We have cruised out of Port Liberty (RCI) and NYC (Carnival) so maybe a QE2 transatlantic will be in our future so we can also depart from Brooklyn).]  For those that have cruised the same itinerary or ship, please do not get me wrong, that is amazing, this has just been our focus (for now).

 

Question for readers of this thread: What is your main reason for cruising?

 

2. Ketchikan: I am slowly researching the various excursion options for Ketchikan. It’s taking a lot longer than expected.. MY DD16 is rejecting the suggestion to kayak; it is not the water, everyone is onboard with Whale Watching in Juneau, she thinks it will be too cold she may get wet.  The entire family seems okay (so far) with a DIY day in Sitka, but would like to first see all the options for that day, including all of the DIY and paid excursions (although those that are not afraid of heights are already unhappy that we are not going to spend the $ to go husky sleigh-riding on top of a glacier).

 

I did find out that we will be in port the same time as one of the Celebrity Eclipse and will overlap for a few hours with Nieuw Amsterdam (they arrive and depart 3 hours before us).

 

In the research I have performed, the big issue I have found with taking an excursion in Ketchikan is that because we arrive at 2 PM, by the time we return many of the museums and totem areas would be closed (at 5 PM). I am sure that restaurants and bars will be open and happy to take our money, but I would like to get a balance of nature and history/ culture.  There is still a bit of research left, so I will see what I can figure out.

 

3. Videos for Research: Besides doing a ton of reading, I have been watching videos on the internet for my research; in addition to recording and watching whatever I could find on cable.  There are a lot more (and better) videos out there than when I last did research for a cruise (which, sadly, was too long ago). Most of the videos so far have not been about the glaciers or the ports, but about the wildlife and whales in-particular. I have been focusing on humpback whales, since this will be the primary viewing season. I have also been watching a few videos on orcas. Although late in the season for killer whales (yes, I know they are dolphins), there is still a good chance to see a few, especially the “residential” pods.

 

4. Finding time to research: I have been really busy at work along, which has slowed down my research so far (yes, I know, I still have 11+ months), and due to vacation and travelling to get my DD’s apartment ready for school (which is kind-of like a working vacation) be travelling most weekends through early September (I’ll be in every states in New England, plus a few other mid-Atlantic states (and even a few little further west, such as Tennessee).  Part of me is thinking about taking my laptop with me to perform cruise research while away, while the other part says “leave it home, if you want to do any research, you can read or watch videos on your phone.”

 

Yes, today is a Sunday. Because I have so much work, and I am not travelling today, I am doing work (for work). As mentioned, I need to fit research in when I can. But took some time to procrastinate and write today’s journal post.

 

5. Clothing shopping: As to clothing, I have explained what type of clothing we will need for this trip, so the family is going to be on the lookout for when they begin to go on sale at the end of the summer/beginning of fall (shopping is one aspect of vacationing that is not one of my strengths).

 

6. Binoculars: I also told my family to be on the lookout for binoculars.  Although not a strength of the other members of my family, one of my DDs may have a connection, so wanted to make sure she had this in mind. I have one very good pair, and another semi-good. I also have a very good scope for a .22, which is good, but probably not conducive for this trip. I would like for us all to have a decent pair of binoculars for this trip, as one person mentioned in a post (I paraphrase) – by the time you pass your binoculars to someone else, the whale, bear, eagle, etc. is probably already gone.

 

7. Camera: I am looking to pick up a better digital camera.  I get points at work, and have accumulated enough for a decent camera, not a $1500 semi-pro level camera, but one that retails for about $500.  But still better than what I currently have. Most importantly, it would be free (although there are other items I could choose). Nature is the highlight of this vacation, and the better the camera, the better the photos, and perhaps the better the memories. Although I have taken some very nice photos in the past with other low-level options, including my phone, smaller point-and-shoot digitals (which I currently have), disposables, and cheap 35 millimeter.

 

8. Concurrently researching other vacations. Even further out than this cruise (another year further) is a vacation pushed off due to COVID to Italy (driving), with a possible cruise to Greece.  That vacation is still on (with another couple). Yes, I am still doing research for it, although have put it aside to concentrate on this one. Aruba with some other friends is also a possibility – but I did research the last time we were there, and to tell you the truth, if we stay at the same hotel again, except to go grocery shopping and out to dinner, I will probably just chill out and forego any “excursions.”  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful island, but unlike a cruise or other vacations, in Aruba (since I have already been there, so no FOMO) I would be okay spending a week doing almost nothing by the pool (except for the cooking, which I enjoy; although note, we go with a number of people, so the cooking is for a large group). Although I would like to visit other islands, a trip back to Aruba would preclude me from needing to do any research as well.

 

9. Cruise Critic Signatures. Just an observation that people provide different information in their signatures as to their past cruises.  Most do not show anything (and there is nothing wrong with that), but for those that do show something may only show their upcoming cruises (I am amazed (and a bit jealous) that I have seen at least two members with 15 or more cruises books in the next two years – WOW!!!), some show both upcoming and past cruises, and only a few that show past do not show upcoming cruises. 

 

The format people use varies.  Some will include the number of nights for a particular cruise (including overall nights), most have the dates they sailed, some only list the ships (without dates, but the number of times on each ship, some may show the cruise line, and some will display the basic itineraries. For me, the most important part of the cruise info is the itinerary, which I include first in my signature (and highlighted).  I also include the name of the ships and cruise line, along with the dates of these cruises which are as not important to me, but provide a reference as well, the dates provide a quick reference when on CC. This will be cruise #9, and compared to other members on CC, I am still a greenhorn – but the list will continue to grow. Where there is a gap in dates does not mean I did not go on vacation, it just means that I did not cruise (except for the current gap due to COVID, although we did sneak away to Vegas and have driven through multiple surrounding states. When I look at other member’s signatures, I very rarely look at the ships they have been on, or even the number of cruises they have been on; what I want to see are the places that they have been.

 

A member’s signatures could provide a glimpse into their (general) cruising psyche [as per my opinion only - this is all written in fun]:

  1. Lists the ships and not itineraries = prefers ship over itinerary
  2. Cruises 2 or more times a year = prefers cruise over land vacations
  3. Lists only up-scale ships = higher income cruiser or someone that cannot stand crowds, waiting, lines, and queues.
  4. Lists significantly more cruises in recent years = retired, and you know about when
  5. A lot of cruises out of same port = probably living in a hometown/stage which most likely is near cruise port, or has children/grandchildren near that port (a double excuse to both see the kids and cruise)
  6. Dozens of cruises listed (past and future), and lists multiple cruises on the same ship and/or same itinerary = cruising for these members is like heaven
  7. Adds “Haven” or “Large Suite” (etc.) next to each cruise = after struggling their whole life, they finally are able to afford it (or likes to show off)
  8. Does not have any cruises listed in their signature = it could be due to multiple reasons such as: doesn’t care if they display their cruises or not (which is probably most), can’t figure out how to add a signature, too new and embarrassed to show a few or only one cruise, has not cruised very often but wants to sound like an expert based on the # of posts they have.
  9. No ships listed in their signature = too many cruises to list, embarrassed by the small amount they have been on, or just don't care

The above are just generalizations, and there are, of course, many exceptions, such as members that has over 350+ days at sea and live in the Midwest, hundreds of miles from any Ocean and need the land-sea balance.

 

Y'all can see my signature and what I include. For me it is more of a personal choice, it gives me all the info I need to remember the cruise and jots my memory for the specifics.  Luckily we are all different and provide different signatures - if we all did the same thing it would be a very boring world.

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[Today]

 

Sorry I have not posted anything the past few days, but my mom passed away.  Although she did not have money to cruise until late in her life, cruise ships became one of her happy places. I think her initial cruise was on the first Royal Caribbean ship in the mid or late 90s, the Song of Norway (not all of the RCL ships were "XXXXX of the Seas")

 

I have to say that my upcoming cruise has, in some ways, been a comfort to me.  I will probably have a private little ceremony for my mom onboard (don't worry, no ashes will be involved) and trying to plan it in my head brings me solace since I know it is something that she would want us to do. I have had many, many people over my house during the last few days and eventually many of the conversations turn to the summer and our plans, turning my attention to something other than mourning.  As one person said to me, when talking about the Alaskan cruise my face did a 180 - turning upside down from a frown to a smile.

 

Although not cruise related, because my mom was an avid cruiser, I am going to share part of the eulogy I had given at the funeral (note that some personal info has been redacted from the original, nor does it include anything I had ad-libbed) . . . . .

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

You know, the one that tucked me into bed at night.  The one that fed me chicken noodle soup and took care of me when I was ill.  The one that protected me from the monsters in the closet and the malevolent things lurking in the shadows.

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

She first taught me to read, then fostered that love through feeding me books that were beyond my years.  She served Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction and I consumed the words of Asimov, Rice, King, Bradbury, and many more.  There was rarely a night where we did not have our evening meals over Star Trek on WPIX 11 followed by “Wheel of Fortune” . . . . or was it “Jeopardy?” And here’s a little secret, it was her that fostered my cinematic love affair with Star Wars.

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

She looked over me from afar once I left the nest. She would always call to ensure I was okay, and she would also call to ask why I have not called her lately. She always enjoyed coming out to visit me and my family in Jersey. And still, when I was sick, she would make me chicken noodle soup.

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

She would make the most beautiful things. She made . . .. Breathtaking bouquets of flowers with twine and colorful beads.  Exquisite blankets and clothing to ward off the cold. Envelopes that came alive with her calligraphy. And chocolate confectionaries that looked so good that each one was a magnificent piece of art in its own right.

 

Have any of you ever received one of these precious treasures?

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

Her greatest pleasure was spending time with friends and family.  She loved entertaining all who’s shadow crossed our entranceway, but she also enjoyed embarking on journeys, both long and short, that brought her to the many ports, being the homes to those she called friends. To her, the more the merrier, like the time over 50 people slept over C and S’s house for Thanksgiving. [Okay, it may have been a few less, but that’s how I remember it.]

 

She had so many friends.  Many, many friends. From XYZ and ABC to the friends she retained from High School to friends from the Scouts, friends from work, friends from the neighborhood, friends from the Lodge, friends she met on her travels, friends from the Baths, friends that were also doubly lucky to also be family, and so many others.

 

She was such a lucky person to have loved and been loved by so many people throughout her entire life, such as all of you.

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

She was the one that was a master chef. She was the one that would make amazing dishes like chicken noodle soup, stuffed cabbage, sweet potato casserole, blintze soufflé, ambrosia, London broil on garlic bread (which was my personal favorite), and the list goes on and on. She was the one that felt a personal satisfaction seeing the smiles on people’s faces after they had devoured her tasty morsels.

 

Do any of you remember the tastes and the smells of the food she made? What was your favorite?

 

Has anyone seen my mom?

She loved the man she walked down the aisle with over five decades ago. She built a family with him. She built a life with him.

 

I don’t know, but maybe she is with him now?

 

Have you seen my mom?

 

[Point to the crowd while raising voice]  Have you, or you, or you?

 

Why is she no longer here to comfort me? 

 

Why is she no longer here to teach me?

 

Why is she no longer here to cook for us or make us beautiful objects?

 

Why is she no longer here to reach out and . . .and just hold my hand one last time?

 

I love you mom.

 

[I'll get back to posting about the upcoming cruise (final payment is due in less than two weeks) in a few days. If I am not back by this weekend, I wish everyone happy holiday(s).]

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Posted (edited)

First, condolences on your mom.

 

I'll admit I haven't read your entire thread but fwiw, the 18-day Alaskan land/sea vacation my wife and I took in 2018 was amazing.

 

Most of the highlights came from the 10 days we spent traveling from Fairbanks down to Seward before the actual cruise (co-planned by my wife and an outside company over nearly a year). That said, if you're interested, there's a link to my incredibly long trip review in my signature. If not, feel free to ignore.

 

I'm sure you'll have a great time no matter what you do! We will definitely return someday.

Edited by OCSC Mike
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My condolences on the loss of your dear mother. The eulogy you shared was beautiful. I’m sure she’s smiling down on you from heaven. ❤️
 

Although we’re aft cabin fans, I think you’ll enjoy your chosen location with it’s large balcony. If I can’t be in an aft cabin, it’s one that I might choose for both the view and the extended balcony space.

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On 4/14/2022 at 9:37 AM, OCSC Mike said:

if you're interested, there's a link to my incredibly long trip review in my signature. If not, feel free to ignore.

Thank you for the condolences.

 

Yes, once I get my head screwed back on and into place I pan on reading your review (thank you for providing the link).

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Posted (edited)
On 4/14/2022 at 8:33 PM, Ferry_Watcher said:

Condolences on the loss of your beloved Mother.  No doubt she was instrumental in developing your sense of wanderlust.  And now you share that same wanderlust with your own family. 

 

Thank you for your condolences.

 

Although my parents were unable to afford cruises or the like while I was younger, my parents wanderlust took us by car and staying in tents on campgrounds to save money, to every state from Florida up to Maine (and into Canada) with a few more between the Atlantic and the Mississippi. That same wanderlust was given to me and from me to my children.  Both of my daughters love travelling, and my older DD has fortunately already travelled to four different continents (and multiple countries), and she just turned 22. She has found ways of doing so - for one she won an essay contest, another was a low-cost volunteer expedition, etc. She almost made it back to South America as a counselor for a travel group this coming summer (and would have even been paid for doing so), but they wanted her to leave while we will be in Alaska so she turned down the offer.

Edited by Travel R
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On 4/15/2022 at 3:10 AM, perfect match said:

My condolences on the loss of your dear mother. The eulogy you shared was beautiful. I’m sure she’s smiling down on you from heaven. ❤️
 

Although we’re aft cabin fans, I think you’ll enjoy your chosen location with it’s large balcony. If I can’t be in an aft cabin, it’s one that I might choose for both the view and the extended balcony space.

 

Thank you for your condolences.

 

I have been reading for years about how people love their aft cabins. I keep going back and forth as to whether I would like it or not. Although the balconies are usually much larger, will I enjoy seeing the landscape as it flows behind us we cruise forward?  I have never been able to take part in a cabin crawl, maybe if we arrange one and there is an aft cabin to visit, I can see what it is like.  We usually book our cruises a year out, and the 2024 cruise will probably be the same - maybe I might just say "what the heck" and book one (with my DW's approval, of course).

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July 21, 2021 Part I

Are Alaskan Cruises Port Intensive?

 

In someone’s comments on one of the CC threads, a member wrote that it is the itinerary that counts and not the ship. Yes, there is some truth to that, but it cannot be the only criteria.  In addition, they followed up in saying that the ships do not matter because it is a “port-intensive” cruise. I have to also disagree with that opinion.

I looked at the itineraries for a bunch of different lines to see how many ports they stopped at.  For the most part, on average there are three ports for a 7-day cruise and four ports  if on cruises longer than 7 days.  Having been on two European cruises, I can, from experience state that Alaskan cruises are far from port-intensive, and we will be spending a greater amount of time on the ships than off.  There is so-so much to do in those large ancient cities. I believe that the Baltic cruise was 6 or 7 ports in 9 days (but one of those ports was a 2-day stop in St. Pete).

Out of the approximately 158 hours we will be on the cruise ship on our Alaska itinerary, there are only 25 hours where the ship is in port (~16%) – and 33 hours (~20%) if you want to count looking at the glaciers/fjords (which we will still be aboard the ship). So, I argue that where you spend the approximately 125 hours aboard a ship is important. If you sleep a full 8 hours a night (which I do not) there are 77 hours of free time (~49%) in which to enjoy on the cruise ship while awake.  One must access how one spends those hours when awake while onboard the ship to see how consequential they are to you as an individual traveler.

Remember, these are all just numbers, and can be manipulated in many ways.  It is finding the right balance of itinerary and ship which is of most importance. I think the itinerary on this ship was a good choice for me and my family; and understand that it may not be the correct choice for anyone else or their family. [In Hindsight 4/19/22: Once again, it seems to be a recurring theme - I keep on defending my choice.]

 

Serenade First Cruise Ship Back to Alaska since 2019

 

Since I booked this cruise, I have been intently watching a thread about the movements of Serenade from its docking through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast. Then continued to watch while it circled around the bay outside of Seattle, perormed its test run, circled around some more, then finally, yesterday, it made “history” by becoming the first cruise ship out of the US to sail for Alaska.  It only sailed at 25% capacity and masks are mandated in public areas, but it is still pretty cool to see that the (shortened) 2021 Alaskan cruise season has begun, and the ship we are going on will be the first one to sail there. Note that since Canada is not allowing US ships into their ports, this is a “closed-loop” itinerary, and will only visit US ports.

Within that same thread members have posted links to two travel authors that are on the ship, so I am also reading their articles. The main foci for each of the articles were almost identical: Serenade the first ship out, the COVID protocols, and how empty it is on the ship.

Ketchikan Sights and Things to Do

 

FYI – I finished creating the list of everything to do or see in or around Ketchikan. I posted it early this morning, and while going over it during lunch, I had already modified it a little bit. I guess it will always be a work in progress until I actually go and see things for myself.

One of my DD’s is not very keen on kayaking in Alaska (“it will be too cold”), so I will have something ready for alternative ideas.

 

What’s next . . . my thoughts on Formal Night, Tipping, Chair Hogs, and Smoking onboard ships.  Although admission is free, please remember to bring your popcorn. . . .

 

 

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, Travel R said:

Although the balconies are usually much larger, will I enjoy seeing the landscape as it flows behind us we cruise forward?

Have you enjoyed the view from the public part of aft of the ship? The view won't be that much diff from a balcony back there. A more important consideration might be - is that view worth the long walk back there every time you need access to your cabin?

Edited by Biker19
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