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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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FWIW, we had a random balcony on Radiance in 2018 (not aft, don't remember which side). When there was truly something special to see (like Hubbard Glacier), we wanted to be somewhere on deck anyway, not on our balcony.

 

Everyone's preferences differ of course, but for us, the location wasn't super important.

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10 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

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?

 

Very good points for us to consider.

 

As to your first point - although I do enjoy the view while in the aft public areas, would I enjoy it over a long period of time?

 

As to the second - That would be something to think about. I guess a huge factor would depend on if I am on an Oasis class vs. one of the smaller class ships (but would definitely get in my steps each day).

 

Would you also include the itinerary/geography?

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Travel R said:

As to your first point - although I do enjoy the view while in the aft public areas, would I enjoy it over a long period of time?

 

Would you also include the itinerary/geography?

Only you can answer that.

 

Along with the answer above, 95+% of the time it's just the sea you are looking at on most itineraries.

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7 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

Only you can answer that.

 

Along with the answer above, 95+% of the time it's just the sea you are looking at on most itineraries.

I guess I already have - two of my last three cruises were in locations where I had cabins facing land most of the cruise (Baltics & Med). I think the side cabins worked out well for us vs. an aft. The Canada trip to Halifax & St. John was too far from land most of the sea days to really get a good view so location would have not made much of a difference. Thinking out loud - location would not mattered as as much for something like a Caribbean cruise where it is mostly water when travelling from island to island.

 

But I'll never really know till I try it.

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[Today]

 

Although final payment date is about a week away, I have paid in full, so no turning back.

 

Still focusing on work (which I am back) and other things, so have placed any planning for Alaska on hold. However, there may be a cruise in 2023 with a very large multi-generational family cruise. Although the death of my parents over the past few months was devastating, some good did come out of it - I had strongly re-connected with family I had rarely spoken to in years.  Although there are already two big family get-togethers already being scheduled for this year, we have begun to talk about a possible cruise for the extended family for next year (and early indications look like there may already be almost 20 of us that would like to go - we will be discussing it at length during at our first big get-together).

 

Three cruises in a three year period is not my usual MO, so this is pretty exciting, if it does happen (however, I am hoping that our drive through the Western National Parks will not be in jeopardy; although I do love cruising, I do also enjoy land vacations). If we do go, it will most likely be out of NY/NJ, and limited to 5 or 7 days, so the choices are fairly limited, and have been to all of them - so I will try to treat it as a fully R&R vacation where I will not perform any planning [which will not be easy] beyond the venues I am going to eat, at what time I am going to eat, and possibly reserve a show or two.

 

Not much more development currently on the Alaska cruise, so let's go back to my Alaska cruise planning journal from last July . . . .

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July 21, 2021 Part II

CRUISE CONTROVERSIES: FORMAL NIGHT, TIPPING, AND OTHER STUFF CRUISE CRITIC MEMBERS LOVE TO ARGUE ABOUT

Tipping on Cruise Ships

 

Every time I use Cruise Critic for research there is always a thread about tipping.  Although the cruise corporations generate a lot of profit from passengers (from all the extras and upcharges), the workers make very little.  They, the workers, count on the tips.  I believe it all goes into a pool and divided (by proportion) to all the workers based on their roles.  If we do not pay the tips, they get paid less – the cruise company does not compensate them if we (the passengers) tip less.  I usually pre-pay my gratuities so I know it is done, and do not have to worry about it on the ship (and never have enough various bills).

 

As a former restaurant worker, and had worked as a waiter occasionally, I am a good tipper in general.  However, you need to at least give me a minimal amount of effort.  If you continue to disappear for a while when someone at my table wants something – especially when it is not busy and I can see you talking and laughing with your co-employees in the corner, then you do should expect a full tip.  If I ask for milk instead of cream at the time you serve my coffee, I except the server to bring it to me at least within 2-3 minutes of asking (and without having to ask again while they are walking by empty handed).

 

On a cruise ship, I expect the steward to come to me (or someone in my party) at some point early in the cruise to ask if we have any requests, and I usually only have two – (1) make sure the ice bin is filled, and (2) when possible, to make origami designs for my kids. [The second I do not care about as much since my kids are now older.] I also do expect them to throw out an obviously old and dirty coffee cup that is sitting in the middle of the room for days. If I have the same waiter night after night, I do expect them to know I am going to order a diet coke at the beginning of each meal. I have never been bothered by the slower pace of waiters on cruise ships (it is usually not their fault, but I do expect the food to be warm (which I blame on the kitchen and whoever is coordinating the logistics).

 

If someone goes above and beyond, make sure they get something extra.  Cash is king, so leave them an extra tip.  When you fill out your end of cruise survey, mention them by name and how good they were.  People on these boards also talk about bringing them some "chachkas" from their home city – I personally do not see the point, however, if you are going to shore and will be in a a shopping area, asking them if they need any personal effects, it might help them out and save them some time from going ashore themselves or alleviate them from having to go to the ship’s commissary to purchase these items. If I do happen to have brought a book or magazine aboard and finished it (I still sometimes read books that are not digital), I will leave it in the cabin. Although most likely the steward will be ESL and not read it, they could always give to someone else (maybe in trade).

 

Formal Night Dress Code

 

Another recurring topic for discussion is Formal Nights and the Dress Code.  If you happen to search my old posts on the topic from 2008, I was adamantly against relaxing the dress code for the formal nights.  I enjoyed the dressing up and the excitement of the night. It was a highlight of cruising for me.  Skip forward a few years and my own stance had relaxed. 

 

My response to a current thread was as follows:

 

   The traditional "cruising experience" included formal nights with most people wearing tuxes or suites, lobster night, and a chocolate on your pillow when you got back to your room at the end of the night, and a whole lot of other things.  Everyone on the ship "dressing up" (at least for me) on formal nights enhanced and charged the atmosphere for the evening. On the other hand, reading some of these threads through the years (and there is always a formal night type thread popping up on here every so often), formal night and wearing a suit/tux was akin to torture worse than waterboarding to some passengers and I am sorry that I had been insensitive to your pain.

 

   The "cruising experience" in recent times is not the same (for better or for worse). Cruising has transformed since I first cruised in the 90s. [Has it really been that long?]  Although I admit that I do miss the ole' time formal nights (yes, I do like to dress up), let's be realistic, times are a changing. Whereas formal night used to be one of the highlights of a cruise, it has become just another cruise dinner. 

 

   In addition, I will also admit that it is a lot easier and much more convenient to pack and travel without a full suit in-tow. Another factor which has changed the course of formal night for me and as well as others is the travel “restrictions” on luggage and all the additional charges.  Although when you think about it, after spending several thousand dollars on a cruise vacation, the $60/pp additional fee [each way] does not seem like much, but when I am paying for four people round trip, that becomes an additional charge of $480. With the limited luggage space my DW and DDs will pack some nice dresses, although be limited to their selection of shoes and accessories, and I will bring some button-down shirts and ties. [Note: This paragraph was modified from the original for clarity.]

 

   Honestly, for the most part I am really not going to notice what you are going to wear. If I do notice someone wearing a suit or occasional tux, I will be a little envious. On the other hand, if you are dressed at the bare minimum to meet the dress code, you are okay in my book. In the long run, as long as what you do does not interfere with what I do, I don't really care. The one exception is that if you are wearing something very form fitting and revealing I will notice.

 

The anti-formalnightists (anti-formalists for short) have in all intents and purposes won the battle.  I will miss the real formal nights, but one day hope to have the ability to sail on a QE2-type ship to experience it again. In the meantime, I shall continue to go with the flow.  Maybe if we go on another NY/NJ based cruise, I will take a suit or two with me (since I can drive to the port). Pre-COVID there were many times during the year where I go to formal events where I need to wear a suit, but almost never a tux. Since I do not go cruising enough, I cannot justify purchasing a tux (I currently do not own one), but who knows what the future will hold.

 

One thing I really dislike about the vocal anti-formalists is that even though formal night has become dumbed-down, they still want it to become even more casual.  You will recognize them on the formal night threads when a new cruiser is asking for suggestions.  They are the one that writes about  how most people regularly wear shorts and get away with it, or will say that there is no longer any real formal night and “you” should just wear anything, or that they (RCI) does not enforce the rules, so anything goes.

 

Since I am discussing some of the “controversial” cruising discussions, I might as well provide my thoughts on two more, smoking and chair hogs.  I am guessing that due to of all the Alcohol Package options I am not sure if alcohol smuggling is still an issue – at least I have not seen any post on this topic in a long while. Obviously COVID is a hot topic, but can’t mention it here.

Smoking on Cruise Ships

 

I’ll put it out there first that neither myself, my DW, or my DDs are smokers (or at least I hope my DDs are not). However, the smoke on board a cruise ship has never affected me, and I do not believe I have ever noticed it.  Even since being aware that it is an issue for people when I joined CC over a decade ago, I have tried to be more aware of it, but  it still has never been an issue for me or those I have travelled with.

 

Chair Hogs

 

Oh those darn those infamous Cruise Ship Chair Hogs (CSCHs) – on every cruise ship I have sailed.  One thing I love about cruising is going up on deck and taking a run early in the morning with a cool breeze in the air looking out at a beautiful ocean or an amazing sight of land with the sun rising above the horizon. Many times, it is just me a few crew members cleaning or doing maintenance, and maybe another runner or two that were also crazy enough to also get up early in the morning on their vacation. [Note: very early mornings are usually the ONLY times you can practically run on the deck. It gets very crowded making it difficult to run nonetheless walk.]

 

What does this have to do chair hogs?  I’ll tell ya.  As you know most running decks are on the deck above the pool, so runners can see everything poolside. Even though the sun has barely encroached the new day’s sky and it is still too cold to reasonably sit on the lounge chairs, I always get to see a few people stealthily creeping out onto the pool area (sometimes still in their pajamas) to reserve their chairs for later that day. I write “chairs” and not chair, since they usually reserve more than one.

 

If you want to put something onto a chair to “reserve” it so you can go back to your room because you forgot something, or you want to take a dip into the pool – no problem, I can totally understand that.  But putting stuff out onto a chair to reserve it for hours later – not cool. I will also add, going up to the café to get something quick to eat to bring back to your chair is okay (IMHO), but if you are going to eat it somewhere else or going to one of the venues to eat, then take your “junk” off the chair so someone else can use it.

 

Buffet Etiquette

 

This is an area that I do not usually have a horse in, since I do prefer a sit-down (slow) meal in the MDR or other venues as opposed to the Buffet. But there should be at least some sort of etiquette when eating at that venue. However, I do not think this topic is very controversial.  Most people know how to use the buffet, but there always seems to be those one or two that are always on the line in front of you. Below are some of my etiquette ideas:

 

  • Dress is not an issue for me at the buffet – wear whatever you want, even if you come down in your pajamas, robe, and fluffy slippers for breakfast, however, at least lose the PJs for lunch or dinner. Although I know that bathing suits are prohibited – personally, I have no issue, unless they are wet because people will wet the seats and floors and not give a darn and people will fall or sit on wet chairs.
  • People when you take food at a buffet on land or sea, use the tongs/serving utensils. 
  • If you do not like the broccoli in the pasta, either don’t take that dish or take a serving and then separate it at your table – I do not want to wait for you.  Hopefully someone else at your table will eat that broccoli so it does not go to waste.
  • Speaking of waste, if you take something, eat it. If you are not sure about a dish, take a very small serving the first time up (enough for a taste) and if you like it go back for a larger portion.
  • When I mean take a small amount to taste above, it does not mean use your dirty hands to take and consume the item. No, no, no.  That is to be done at the table, with the proper utensils.
  • There are people online behind you, so take what you want quickly and move on to the next item.  If you are the person that needs to look and evaluate everything on the table – do so from behind the line, then when you know what you want, go to the back of the queue, and take those items.
  • The order of the food you eat should not matter while on a cruise.  If you want to begin with dessert, then go ahead and do so (I had done so with my daughters on a past cruise, and it was fun). Go for the desserts three or more times - enjoy. As long as you eat whatever you take.
  • Wash your hands/ use sanitizer BEFORE you enter the buffet area.
  • Some may disagree with the following. Sorry, but the buffet area is not a place to sit down and drink your coffee slowly.  Especially during the rush hours when pax have to hunt down seats. If it is not busy and many seats are available, take as much time as you need – otherwise, get up and get out so I can sit down (if I happened to use the buffet, it is usually because I am in a rush (or MDR is unavailable due to port day)). If you want a meal at a leisurely pace, go to the MDR or other venue.

I am sure I am missing a few, but I think the above covers most of it.

 

Next we shall talk about cruising with your family and whether a child or young adult can be too young or too old to cruise . . . .

Edited by Travel R
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Posted (edited)

[Today]

 

One thing I forgot to add to the Today post was the news about the CDC dropping the mandates for masks on airplanes (and airports).

 

This brings us another step closer to normalcy.  There are still two months left, so hopefully the testing requirements will also be dropped (via Cruise and via return trip back to the US) - but trying to monitor that carefully.

 

From a planning perspective, I need to find (and reserve, if possible) a testing site for myself and my family both going and coming. [Question: Anyone know of a testing site in downtown Vancouver?  It will need to be added to my DIY walking tour for the day we disembark at the end of the cruise.

Edited by Travel R
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[Today]

 

Activity on my Roll Call thread is heating up. M&M planning is underway. I have finally begun to get around to reading recent reviews of Alaskan itineraries, and reviews of those that have recently arrived back from RCI cruises.  I have the following observations (which due to lack of time these days,  I will admit is a copy and paste from what I had already written on my RC thread) . . . 

 

Royal News

 

I got up at 4 AM this morning and did not want to do any work that early, which I began at 7.  I figured I would do some reading on CC. I am now taking a short break, so figured I would post what I had written earlier.

 

Update on numbers - I have begun to read the shorter reviews of other members that have returned from recent cruisers.  Someone returning a few days ago on Allure wrote that there were 4112 (they must be a fan of Rush to remember that exact number (2112 - great album))  passengers aboard, which is at about 76% capacity. I know RCI will not like it, but as I have stated before, I am okay with less than full capacity.

 

Performers & Productions - Just another small item of news I picked up - staff (I am not sure if it is specific to performers) are going back to wearing double masks. The info came out during a discussion of Cats being cancelled on one of the ships. Funny is that some people are happy about this, they dislike the show, but have seen it multiple times. I know that there are no big productions aboard the mighty Serenade, but just something to think about. It will be interesting to see what the shows/attractions will be for our cruise. However, I wish RCI had Dueling Pianos. Also one of the best big-little productions I've seen on a cruise was also on NCL - Million Dollar Quartet, which could be performed on a smaller stage. [Am I allowed to write that on a Royal focused thread?]  I am not usually the person that enjoys many of the shows on the cruise ships (especially the variety show on the first night), and I hate taking up a seat when others may not be able to find one, but I will go if my DW wants to see it.

 

A few more weeks and will try to get some Compass' from our itinerary from someone on an earlier voyage (if someone is willing to do so, and if hard copies are available - everything may be on the app)

 

Boosters - There is also a discussion on the RCI boards about a booster being required.  There is a requirement in some countries in Europe, but we are good for this cruise.  The official RCI website does suggest them, but so far not required, and IMHO not going to be required for this cruise.  However, cruise lines will be on the cautious side - they do not want to re-live the past two years.  Personally, we will be getting our boosters within the next few weeks. I don't care what the bureaucrats say, don't care what all of the Facebook experts say, don't care what the conflicting medical doctors say -- I have not cruised for a few years, and even if the booster will only provide a 0.00001% chance to avoid getting it (I have already had it at the very beginning of the pandemic), myself and my family will receive the injection.

 

Alaska News

 

 

 

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July 29, 2021

Family

Still waiting for my in-laws to make a decision on whether they are joining us on this cruise or not. I want to get the whale watching tour on a small boat booked now before they are sold out (the boat fits 6, we would be a party of 8). I do understand their hesitancy, it is a lot of money (they will also be four people) to spend on a 1-week vacation.

However, although sometimes it is great to go on a cruise with the immediate family or just my DW, it is also nice to go on cruises with friends and family. I’ve fortunately have had the pleasure of experiencing cruises in each of these ways. The couple cruise with spouse or partner is romantic, the immediate family cruise provides immeasurable bonding time together with your children (of any age), and the extended family and friend cruise helps provide memorable memories to be shared by all. I have not yet experienced a solo cruise which provide enjoyment and friendship with others.

Too Young to Cruise?

 

A member on another threads on CC asked “how young is too young to cruise.”  I know a number of people have taken their kids on cruises as young as a one-year-old (as well as multiple people on CC have written about such experiences).  However, the OP of the thread stated that they were taking their 3yo to celebrate the kid’s birthday.  IMHO the OP is not taking a 3yo on a cruise for the kid, they are going on the cruise for themselves and taking the 3yo along with them. My kids (when they were younger) attended a full-day day care at an early age. If we were to go on cruises with them at such an early age, it would just be replacing one day care with another – the kids really would not care if their vacation was on land or sea (curiously, my kid’s day care was literally on the beach, so they had a view of the ocean at all times, but that is besides the point). Maybe a Disney cruise would be a little different, but I have never been on DCL, so cannot comment. Although someone can use their 3yo as an excuse to go on a cruise, it will make absolutely no difference to the kid.

 

When my kids were younger we took many family vacations, but they were all to kid-centric places. Luckily, living in the Northeast, I was only a few hours’ drive to Dutch Wonderland, Grey Wolf Lounge, Sesame Place, multiple kids/hand-on museums, etc., etc. We lived close to the beach and multiple parks as well, so that was a regular weekend thing. Of course, when they got a little older, we had full-week trips to Florida and Disney and Universal or trips closer to home such as to Great Adventure, Hershey, etc.. [I am fortunate to have been able to do this for my children; as a kid I went to Disney once when I was ten, by car, and only visited the park for one day.]

 

It’s a personal choice as to when and why you would take a young kid on a cruise. For us. we felt that these other non-cruise types of vacations would be more conducive to what a kid would enjoy. But that is us, every family is different, and it depends on what is good for you.

When my children were very young, we took two cruises without them.  When my older DD was a little older than 3, we took a cruise from LA to Mexico, which included a few days in LA in which we visited Disney Land. My daughter stayed with GM and GP in upstate NY and enjoyed herself – but so did we, it was our first vacation together in 4 years and we wanted to just get away. We told my DD that she was going on vacation, and thought we were staying home (of course we called her multiple times a day). 

 

The second time was a late-season cruise to Bermuda a few years later which we “won.” Both of my daughters stayed with GM and GP. It was late October, and we sailed through the middle of a Hurricane, but it was still a great time.  Interesting thing about that cruise was that we were placed at a top-8 table for dinner and all three of the other couples were parents (around our age) that had also left their children ashore. The topic of children became a frequent source of conversation. We all loved and missed our kids, but a few days apart (every now and then) is not such a bad thing.

 

My daughter’s first cruise did not occur until they reached the ages of 8 and 13 respectively.  We took a Mediterranean cruise with them (a heck of a way to introduce a youngster into cruising).  In some respects, for that cruise, 8 was a little young when it came to the historical sites, but luckily for them I am a history buff and was able to explain a lot of the things at her level. My DD13 enjoyed it (to a point).  Socially, they were both perfect for the kid’s clubs.  It took a day or two for DD8 to get acclimated, but after that, it has a great experience for her ever since.

Looking back, I think 8 (or maybe even 7) is the perfect time to bring kids on a cruise.  It is a time where they are beginning to become independent enough to go to the kids clubs, eat on their own, and sometimes even clean up on their own. They also have the cognitive abilities to enjoy and even remember It allows the parent enough time to enjoy themselves. My DW and I shared the responsibility of taking care of our children. 

 

Too Old to Cruise? (Young Adults)

 

No, I am not talking about me and the over-50 crowd.  I am talking about that over-21 to 25 crowd that are usually single, not on a college cruise with friends, and travelling with their parents. My older DD will be 22 for the upcoming cruise.  We are going on an Alaskan cruise, which demographically does not traditionally have a lot of young adults that fit into this category.  She loves cruising and is looking forward to the vacation. She has travelled a few times without the family with other organizations/groups to Europe, Asia, and South America (and even throughout the USA), but always with other people her age. [She’s a smart kid that loves travelling and has found ways of going on these trips either free or low-cost by winning contests or through volunteer efforts, etc.]

 

[It is interesting to note that the minimum age to gable on Alaskan cruises differs by line. Carnival, NCL, & Princess is 18, while RCI, Holland, and Celebrity are 21. The minimum age to drink alcohol is 21 (and there is no waiver to drink at 18 like on many non-North American sailings).]

 

She is usually personable and outgoing, but hopefully there will be a few other young adults her age to hang out with on sea days or in the evenings. If there are, I am sure that they will find each other – and hoping that there will be some sort of 21-25 or even a 18-25 meet up the first night of the cruise.

 

Interesting – if you try to conduct any internet queries about college and cruises, you wind up with results about College Fjord (located in Alaska), which makes research difficult.

Yeah, I know, I am probably worrying about nothing.

 

Sitka Research

 

I am still performing my research for Sitka, and yes, it is taking a lot longer than expect.  I also seem to have less motivation to work on it – but then again, I have been working a lot and have been very tired lately.

In the News: Delta Variant on the Rise / New Protocols

 

The Delta Variant (and unfortunately the Epsilon and Gamma variants to come) have me worried about my cruise next year.  After a brief respite from wearing masks indoors at public places, the mandate is back in effect.  I have been taking note of the Serenade’s first trip back to Alaska, and wondering if they will cancel cruises again by the end of the Summer.

 

FYI – later today RCI announced that vaccinated passengers on 5-day sailings or more (for most ports) need to be tested for COVID three days prior to sailing.

 

 

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[Today]

 

I am not receiving many responses to this thread. Either everyone agrees with what I am writing (which has happened never number of times on CC), or I am just boring y'all to tears making it hard to write a response.

 

Life has been busy which has put a damper on my research, which has recently delved into the wildlife of Alaska.

 

We are ramping up our plans for an unofficial Meet & Mingle. I will be MC'ing a few games to play.  A cabin crawl and slot pull are also being organized.

 

There are only a few more retro posts remaining from my journal.  Besides becoming incredibly busy with work and family, my parents health began to degenerate and I had spent a lot of time driving back and forth to see them (at home and hospital). So soon these posts will get less confusing to read going back and forth between today and last year.  But 61 days remaining until we sail, so getting excited.

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[Today]

 

Here's something that this crowd might find helpful  It is a Checklist for things to do prior to the cruise (6 months before, 3 months, 2 months, 1 week, etc.).

 

Note, this is a list I have evolved over the years and includes a few non-cruise items.

 

Enjoy . . . .

 

 

Vacation To Do Checklist.pdf

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Hi - I am doing this cruise in July. just booked so need to read through more of your thread. I am looking for do it yourself or do it economically things to do in Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. It will just be my husband and me this trip. I normally plan things two years in advance.

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20 hours ago, familycruzinnewbie said:

Hi - I am doing this cruise in July. just booked so need to read through more of your thread. I am looking for do it yourself or do it economically things to do in Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. It will just be my husband and me this trip. I normally plan things two years in advance.

 

Attached is a spreadsheet with ideas for each of the ports (the one in Juneau is not very long since we were really only planning on whale watching there).

 

Hopefully this will also be of help to you and other planning for some of these ports . . .

Alaska Research Activities Excursions.xlsx

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[Today]

 

Reservation Snag

 

I tried to make reservations online for my family.  We had decided to go with the MyTime so that we can determine what time is best for us based on the day's (and evening's) activities.  For most nights I put in for the earliest sitting (6:45), but for the two days where our excursions arrived late, I reserved for the 8 PM time slot.

 

The first annoying (mildly annoying) part of this system is that you have to reserve each meal separately. Which I had to go through for each of the meals.

 

Each time it asks you to include other passengers (with different Res #s), which I did each time.

 

Instead of also having to "check out" for each meal, I waited until all 7 were entered, then checked them all out at once.

 

When my daughter went into her reservation/account page, none of the meals had appeared on her calendar. We waited a little while (I was hoping that there could be a delay). But the reservations still have not appeared and I have submitted my issue to RCI.  Hopefully they will respond quickly and resolve the issue.

 

Side Note:  the reservation system only has you allotted for 15 minutes on their calendar, which is not really useful when using their system for planning purposes.

 

Nope, not a big problem, but figured I would post my experience in case any of you are having the same issues.

 

Also note:  When I reserved one of the excursions, and included my daughters (in the same manner), the reservation showed up on their account very quickly.  Yes, the excursion was $ and this is "complementary" - but don't want to spew conspiracy theories just yet.

 

No Time, But . . .

 

I have little time to myself these days, but when I do take a rest every hour or so my head drifts to cruise mode.  Not only am I planning this cruise, but I have begun discussing a big family cruise next year, and the 2021 Anniversary vacation in 2024 with friends has again morphed to flying to Rome (and spending a few days there), then fly west for a 7-8 day river cruise (the current discussion being the Rhine vs. Danube). 

 

Although I have read about River Cruises in the past, this looks more like a reality, so have been doing some deeper research. I think that there are a lot of things that I think I am going to like about a river cruise, but it will be an adjustment from the main stream cruising. There is a lot of information out there, although most of the voices are from those that have river cruised multiple times, and have the money to do so.  Not as much written by rabble like me that want to try to slum aboard a luxury liner.  However, I have found most of the information I want to know, and as of now the only answer I am not finding on river boat cruising is (and some may find this humorous) "Are you allowed to order two entree's during dinner?"

 

 

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On 4/26/2022 at 7:58 AM, Travel R said:

[Today]

 

I am not receiving many responses to this thread. Either everyone agrees with what I am writing (which has happened never number of times on CC), or I am just boring y'all to tears making it hard to write a response.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this thread - so much so that I’m also reading your old ones! Thank you 🙂

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I'm also enjoying reading along, though I admit I haven't commented often. We're on Serenade to Alaska in July (with extended family) and I've enjoyed reading your musings about the various excursion options, taking the considerations of teens into account (since my kids fall into that age group), etc. Please keep it up and know that you have faithful readers even if we're not contributing regularly.

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6 hours ago, LarryCruiser said:

I’m thoroughly enjoying this thread - so much so that I’m also reading your old ones! Thank you 🙂

 

Thank you, I appreciate it!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, tallgirl97 said:

I'm also enjoying reading along, though I admit I haven't commented often. We're on Serenade to Alaska in July (with extended family) and I've enjoyed reading your musings about the various excursion options, taking the considerations of teens into account (since my kids fall into that age group), etc. Please keep it up and know that you have faithful readers even if we're not contributing regularly.

 

As I have repeated a few times, if you are going on a family vacation, it should be something the entire family enjoys. A cruise with kids and teens is not the same cruise as when it is just yourself and your partner. I will find out in a few weeks how different (or not) it will be when one of the teens is now no longer a teen.  But the kids were involved in much of the planning that we have performed on all of our vacations since they were young. [Obviously, the financial decisions are mine, well really my DW's, but you get the idea.] My parents, to a certain extent, were the same way with me (although we really did not go very many places that needed much planning). 

 

Even when travelling as a couple we have to make compromises. My wife always chides me about taking her to too many museums, crypts, and castles when we travelled in Europe pre-kids.  However, truth be told, I would have spent double the time (or maybe even triple) if I was travelling solo.

 

For everyone reading this thread, and you are the planner of a group travelling with teens, kids, or anyone else. Please take a step back and look at what you have planned so far and ask yourself, will everyone in your party enjoy what has been planned?  As I have mentioned, we actually have discussions where we vote on some of the activities. Or even ask the members of our party what they feel about it.

 

For those sailing solo -- rock on and follow your dreams.

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6 minutes ago, Travel R said:

A cruise with kids and teens is not the same cruise as when it is just yourself and your partner.

 

Understatement for us. My wife's parents are kind enough to take the immediate family (which includes my 2 young nieces) every 5 years. Those cruises are very different than when my wife and I cruise alone... but still enjoyable. We go with the flow and just inject some stuff that we do differently...

 

then we book a 2nd cruise for later in the summer to do it our way. 🤣

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Amen!

 

We just booked a zodiac excursion in Sitka. If it were just 3 of us going, we would have booked kayaking instead. But our 4th would have been miserable kayaking, so the zodiac seemed like a reasonable compromise.

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3 hours ago, retrieverdad said:

Enjoyed your thread.  It was nice to find out that I am not the only planner out there.  We are a sailing Serenade on 5/29

 

 

Fortunately there are a number of us out there.

 

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3 hours ago, tallgirl97 said:

Amen!

 

We just booked a zodiac excursion in Sitka. If it were just 3 of us going, we would have booked kayaking instead. But our 4th would have been miserable kayaking, so the zodiac seemed like a reasonable compromise.

 

That excursion looks pretty cool - and definitely a solid replacement for kayaking and looks like fun!

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