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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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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2022 at 7:09 AM, Travel R said:

Sitka Socking Situation pt. II


In further investigation of the Sitka docking situation, I looked back at my notes; we are due to dock at the same time as Cunard's Queen Elizabeth.


I wonder which ship will have priority to dock at the port?


We both have about the same number of passengers - 2547 (QE) to 2490 (SOS). I wonder if that matters?


QE is obviously a more expensive ship to travel. I wonder if that matters?


Does anyone reading this thread know how they would determine priority for docking?






I have no fact-based information, but my intuition tells me that since Royal is responsible for the damage, the priority to dock would go to any other cruise line that will be in port on the same day.  It wasn't that line's fault so their itinerary shouldn't have to be modified.

Edited by texasweather
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Sitka dock - I read on another report that I think the royal ship to dock in the morning to allow people off but said you had to be back by 1:50 to walk back on board as they had to switch to tendering when the other ship arrived.  So I guess it depends on the times the others are supposed to dock.


my time dining wasn’t available when we booked so based on the port schedule I went for late dining.

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4 hours ago, texasweather said:

I have no fact-based information, but my intuition tells me that since Royal is responsible for the damage, the priority to dock would go to any other cruise line that will be in port on the same day.  It wasn't that line's fault so their itinerary shouldn't have to be modified.


I don't want to, but I agree with that logic.


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5 hours ago, Travel R said:

Reports (from many different ships) is that MyTime is more of a walk up anytime to the venue hand wait for a half hour our even forty-five minutes. Some pax even describing the area outside the venue to become upset/angry even at people merely walking to get onto the elevator because they were expected of maybe trying to cut the line.

You usually can't and shouldn't generalize from a few anecdotal reports from some ship at sometime during the sailing during some week on some itinerary. 

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3 hours ago, familycruzinnewbie said:

Sitka dock - I read on another report that I think the royal ship to dock in the morning to allow people off but said you had to be back by 1:50 to walk back on board as they had to switch to tendering when the other ship arrived.  So I guess it depends on the times the others are supposed to dock.



I also read that on one of the reviews. The issue with my sailing is that we are in port for the same exact time period with the QE. Unless one tenders when they arrive and the other tenders when pax come back aboard. I think I am going to have two free boat rides to and from the port.


3 hours ago, familycruzinnewbie said:

my time dining wasn’t available when we booked so based on the port schedule I went for late dining.


From what I have described above, not having MTD my work out better for you with less waiting. Also a consistent wait staff that will remember your drink order.  With all the late ports of call, I agree, the late seating is the better option. 


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Scheduling a Proctored COVID-19 Test


After looking at all of the various options available for testing prior to going back to the US, I determined based upon our needs that a self-test with a video proctor is our best bet.


If Flying Back to the US the Day o We Disembark:


Fortunately, I am in a better boat than those returning back to the US after the cruise trying to figure out how to get a test so they can go home.  The test with a negative result must be taken within 24 hours [of getting onto US bound airplane (not needed for driving across the border]. For many on similar itineraries this is an issue, especially since the day prior to disembarking is a sea day. As I see it, here are the options for those going back to the US on the day we disembark:


  • If you have a WiFi plan, it is doable to perform the proctored test even with the poor connection (pax were seen in the lounges doing so).
  • If you do not have a WiFi/Zoom package, a one-day WiFi (faster speed option) is ~$33, so you do not have to purchase a full-week option.  Some mentioned that the WiFi from shore was not bad when about 10 miles (or less) from the Vancouver Port (which is an option, but you are playing against the odds of a viable connection (which you also have to pre-schedule with a proctor)).
  • There is an in-person facility within the Vancouver port (Canada Place). It costs CAN 79, and if your cruise is coming up soon, most appointments are probably gone.  It was noted by one reviewer that the place looked like it had a long line when they passed by.
  • There are other in-person facilities within Vancouver itself (although would need to walk a distance (looks like one within 3/4 - 1 mile of the port), and a few options further away
  • You could schedule a proctored test for when you arrive in port. There will be time between the time the ship docks and the time you can actually get off. Or schedule something for later that morning (go to a café, McDonalds, or other place to sit and test - if not too loud and crowded). 
  • Anyone have other options to share??
  • CAVEAT - if you have a flight that leaves in the morning or even early afternoon, make sure you have enough time to take the test and get back the results.  Not sure how true it is, but one person says that they saw people missing their flights since their test had not yet come back.  Could I see a scenario where the ship docks late, passengers do not get off the boat until much later than anticipated, then take the test late and due to a snafu the results are not available when you try to board - yes I can. Especially for flights booked in the morning which under normal circumstances would be tight.


Flying back to the US the next day:


Due to the graduation of my DD17 literally 36 hours prior to us flying out of the US for this cruise, we had decided to stay in port post-cruise, which is not our usual MO. We decided to stay an additional day in Vancouver before heading home.  This has alleviated some of the issues described above about taking the test before heading back, but there are still other issues to be considered.


One of the drags about this is that an inherent inconvenience is finding the time to perform the test.  After discussing the options, we determined that the best time would be in the morning after we had arrived at the hotel.  This was if anything goes wrong with the tests or the connection with proctors, etc., we have enough time to rectify any issues. I did chose a beginning time period where I was sure that we would be off the ship and in the hotel (or vicinity) without issue - it alleviates the pressure of having to rush to find a place to take the test, but it is also taking a chunk of time out of our day where we could be spending time exploring. If you know me, I like to get an early start on things, and being in a city since early AM and not being able to explore any of it until the afternoon is going to be frustrating - but I am sure I will endure (third world problems).


I have spoken to the hotel and they will hold our luggage since rooms will not be available until the afternoon.  So we do not have a hotel to administer the tests.  The hotel has a pretty large lobby and a lounge - the question is whether they will mind us taking the tests in their facility?


Scheduling Online


I ordered the tests a few days ago via Rapid Tests and Trace USA after recommendations on CC. Within minutes they sent confirmation emails and an email to schedule the tests.  I then discussed with my family the best time to do so.  I originally thought that something after 3-4 o'clock or even at about 5 so we can come back to the hotel, get into our room - take the tests, then go out for the evening would work best (from a planners perspective).  I was outvoted by the family that (as mentioned above) wanted to get the tests done early in case there were any issues with the testing. Although I see their point of view, it takes up a big part of the late morning, early afternoon and we either cut our exploring early to check into our rooms, or do not check back in until much later in the evening.


Now that the time of day was chosen, I went into the email, which brought me to the scheduling page and entered all of the necessary information.  Note that this included either a drivers license # or passport # [either have the cards/passports and/or their numbers handy - or you can also access it from the profiles on the RCI website which we entered for the check-in.] The scheduling process (once the information is gathered) was fairly easy.


Important: Before entering your time slot ensure that you are set for the proper time zone. Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone (just want to make sure that everyone is clear on this). Even though there is a textual warning on the site itself (although I would have figured it would be larger or more emphasized with maybe a pop-up).  If someone is just trying to input the info and get it done quickly, I can easily imagine them mis-scheduling.  As someone that has had many calls with the West Coast over the years, the time-zone scheduling has become second nature and looked for it even before I saw the warning - but others may not really ever have to consider it unless calling a relative cross country.  I wonder how many times it does occur (and according to the website, if you miss your scheduled meeting you are still responsible for paying for it - and paying for the makeup).


The website provides you with time options to chose from, and you can only enter the appointment for one person at a time.  Although I was able to get the first two people during the same time slot (btw is 15 minutes), the next time slot was not until 30 minutes later, and there was only one available, so the fourth test is scheduled for 15 minutes after that. So it will take about an hour for all four of us to take the tests. The first three to take the test should have our results by the time the fourth person has completed theirs.  The site states that results are sent in 30 minutes (although the test strip may show negative, unless you get the email from the proctor stating that you are negative, "it won't amount to a hill of beans").


As soon as the fourth test is over, we will be off and on our merry way - most likely for lunch in Chinatown (and maybe a Japadog on the way or afterwards).


Of course, I will provide details of administering the test itself during my review (I am sure you cannot wait).


Any questions?

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On 5/25/2022 at 8:57 AM, Travel R said:

I have put some more thought towards this.  I will be creating a separate thread for the review itself.

IMO, this is the best thing to do. 

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Tough loss for the Rangers last night - but tough for anyone to win at the PNC.  Obviously critical for the Blueshirts to win back at the Garden, but it's going to be a tough one when they head back to North Carolina.  But I digress . . .


Guarantee Cabin Assignments


In cruise news - those that booked guarantee were given their cabin #s today - good luck to all on your assignments!


Memorial Day Weekend


We are within the one-month window.  It's going to be a long weekend which I intend to enjoy, along with  a bit of bike riding in the early mornings, and intend to do some yard work (gotta make it look good for people coming over to the BBQs). But when I can find a chance, I want to go through my to-do list and try to check off what I can now (although most items are already done). I am sure there will a mention by my DW or DD to go to the mall for the Memorial Day Sales.


Remember what this holiday is about - remembering those that made the final sacrifice for this country.


Long Sleeve Shirts


My DD22, while looking at the packing list noticed that I did not have any long-sleeve shirts on the list. This same list has been used (although evolving) for many years and no one had noticed it until now.  I am someone that almost never wears long-sleeve shirts (and usually wear shorts, except when going outside during the winter), so I unconsciously I left it off the list. I will be adding this to the list (which is available in a prior post).  I will add it to my list and re-publish it when I write the review just in case there are other modification I make between then and now.


Some of you may have read the above and may be confused.  I wrote that I tend to wear short sleeves and shorts (I live in NJ).  However, I am one of "those" people that continuously defend formal attire during formal night - suit, long-sleeve button down, tie, and all and NO SHORTS in the MDR during dinner. Is there some type of internal contradiction going on?  Nope.  I am going to wear the attire I feel most comfortable in or feel to be the most appropriate for the situation/setting (which is not the same for everyone).




It was reported that there were cases of BOTH COVID and Noro on last week's sailing of the Ovation (in Alaska).  The thing that is most interesting to me is that while the OP made it sound like both of high concern, another pax on the same cruise posted that they did not hear much about either during the week. The only thing they could agree upon is seeing a pax leave in an ambulance  who was purported to have had both.


Noro has always been a risk factor when it comes to cruising (for as long as I can remember) and it is something that will most likely never go away.  COVID is a current risk factor when it comes to cruising, and it also a risk that may never disappear.  For any of us that have cruises booked, we are going into it with our heads raised high and aware of the risks.  However, when lady luck turns its gaze upon us and we are stricken by Noro or this plague, I think it is okay to be mad, upset, frustrated and any similar feeling. However, it should be mitigated by the fact that we did take our chances and knew that there were odds that this may happen. As the saying goes, "don't ante-up if you ain't willin' to lose your dough."


As Kenny Roger's sang "Never count your money while your sittin' at the table. There will be time enough for counting when the dealin's done."  As it pertains to us. this stuff will be there, but most likely it will not affect us, so don't worry about it while cruising. Then after the cruise ("when the dealin's done")  you can look back (the "countin") and remember how much of a great time you had (the "money"). [I have never understood the line "the best you could hope for is to die in your sleep . . . but I digress again. Another performer I was luck to see - it was year's ago (mid-90s) in Las Vegas at Texas Station.] [PS - correction from an earlier post - I wrote that I had seen Gordon Lightfoot at Fox Theater (Detroit) and Auburn Hills, I did not see him at the Hills, it was at Pine Knob] The music in the background today is not Gordy or even Kenny, but early classic Rhythm and Blues.










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Not much to report right this weekend.  Been really busy - but good kind of busy.


Spend literally the entire day Saturday shopping  - two huge shopping malls in NJ (no, not the American Dream), then met with family that evening. The plan was to pick up a few things on the Packing list.  At the chagrin of my DD, we did go over the full list of items to ensure that we all know what was still needed and it would be fresh in our minds while walking around (I easily got my steps in for the day).  No, did not pick up a single thing for the trip - either they did not exactly what we wanted, they did not have the items at all, or they were not priced to our liking.  Not that we left the malls empty handed, but just did not accomplish anything for this upcoming trip.


Yesterday we did a nice bike ride early in the morning (weather was perfect), then performed some straitening of of the garage, then spend most of the afternoon and early evening at a Food Truck Festival at a Racetrack (then stayed for a few races -- no, did not win anything, but some of the food I had at the festival was awesome; to me the highlight was Bacon wrapped Scallops (deep fried) - luckily I saw it on a side "special for the day menu" or I would have missed something special - the lobster rolls were not bad either.)


I was out of the house by 6:30 AM this morning to go shopping for meats and other stuff for the Grill later this afternoon. It was already getting hot by the time I returned from shopping. Just taking it easy now for an hour till I have to get up and start prepping before people start showing up. So figured I would spend a few moments updating this thread.


Just found out that the luggage tags are available.  So, one more thing to add to the things I can knock off the To-Do list. However, looks like my plan on getting all of this stuff done this weekend is looking unrealistic.  There are just so many hours in the day. I'll squeeze in the tasks in the evenings' this week after work.


Today, take a few minutes to remember those that paid the ultimate price.





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22 hours ago, ButterflyGirly said:

Just wanted you to know that I am not going on an Alaskan cruise but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the pages of this thread!


Thank you!  Glad you enjoyed it, and hopefully found some useful information to help with your own cruises.


A really busy weekend followed by a really busy return to work (hard at work and hard at play).  I have also returned to my normal workout regimen, which is also taking up a bit of time.  But tonight after exercising, I have all of the immunization records to upload to RCI and ArriveCan, and also see what else is on my To-Do list that can be taken care of now.


I have been slowly pre-packing items.  Well, actually not packing, but putting items aside so I already have them ready when the actual packing occurs.


Airport Testing (Scheduling a COID test a the Airport via on-site clinic)


Just a quick note, as related by one of the members on my roll call:


There is a COVID testing facility at the airport.


The clinic is located prior to getting onto the queue for security/screening and not inside the terminal (they will not check your bags unless you have proof of a negative test result).


They mentioned that scheduling (and rescheduling) the appointments were very easy.



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18 hours ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

@Travel R 5 days without a post - hope all is okay.  

I am good, just been busy with work, family, & training. [Thanks for asking]


I work in publishing and had to get out 2 products by last Friday, then took advantage of the great weather in the Northeast spending time with family and bike riding (I did a quick 12 1/2 mile rile on Saturday, followed up with a 35-miler with some buddies on Sunday).


I will post a cruise-related update later today.

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Been a bit busy last few days.  Last week I was fighting to make deadlines, which did not occur until late Friday, so took the night off to relax.  I Saturday with the family (and got in both a short bike ride 12.5). My DW went off with my DD17 for a college orientation on Sunday, and my DD22 went to the beach with some friends, which left my day to myself.  Although sitting on the deck reading, eating, and drinking with some music in the background would have been ideal (especially with the gorgeous weather we were having), I am in training for the big ride in September, so I went out for a 35-mile ride with a friend. [That’s nothing, the big ride will be 120 miles over 2 days – but it is all for a good cause, to fight Alzheimer’s. We have already raised a bunch of money (and I have not even been trying), and hope to raise more over the next three months.] For your viewing pleasure, a few photos have been included . . . .


Last night since my DW and DD17 were still away, I went shopping, had dinner with, and then watched a movie with my DD22. Wasn't a great movie - some Adam Sandler flick with the Actress from "Friends."  It was not great (at least not good enough for me to remember its title), but entertaining and nice to spend time with my older daughter.


Vaccination Form on the Royal App


I’ve been slacking. It’s been over two months since we got our booster shots, and I just got around to putting in the information.


I made the entries through the Royal App on my phone since I had photos of all of our cards already saved.  For the most part, it was very easy, and I was able to enter the information for each member of my family (since I have both reservation #s connected).


The form asks for the brand, the date of the last shot, and then to upload a photo of your immunization card.  You can also enter the booster information, which asks for the same information.  Since we had the booster information already on the card, I literally used the same card twice – once for each. I am not sure if that is ideal, but you cannot enter your booster information until you have entered the preliminary immunization information.


My only frustration with the system is that several times it hung-up and would not load the info.  I would receive a message that said that “they are frustrated too,” which was cute the first time, but for my DW, I had to re-submit 5 times after it was accepted. I am not sure if it helped or not, but after the 4th time I edited the photo of her card and cropped it which reduced the size of the file, which may have helped (or 5th time was the charm).


Once each person’s information is submitted, there is a message that states that the information is being validated.


Royal App is Populated – Where’s the Entertainment?


As per earlier notifications of the lack of entertainment on previous sailings, it is of no surprise that there is a lack of bigger productions/shows on this cruise.  There is one welcome show on the first night (and only one showing – for 45 minutes), then there is another show on day 4 (“Stage to Screen Production Show,” but there are at least two showings. I am sure my wife will drag me there.). There are a bunch of movies listed – to be shown in the Tropical Theater.


Fortunately, I have not seen any of them. Unfortunately, there are only two I would like to see is “Spider-Man No Way Home.” At one time I was an avid collector of comic books, however, I have never loved any of the Marvel or DC movie adaptations. Yes, great special effects, but the medium loses something in translation – the comics were better. The only superhero movie I think came close was “Watchmen” – which does not have the fancy filmography, but was true to its pulp origins. They are entertaining but have not gone out of my way to see them.  There are some first-run movies, which is cool, but most of these movies have been panned by critics.  Not a critic’s favorite, but as a fan of the original “Ghostbuster’s movie,” I will make a point of seeing “Ghostbuster’s Afterlife” while on the cruise.


However, from what I understand (I have not been able to confirm), the cinema has only about 50 seats – and on a cruise ship of over 2400 passengers, without the evening entertainment, I am not sure if I will be able to see any of these movies.  There are a few movies being shown the Tropical Theater (which BTW holds 915), so I will at least get to see one or two – if I decide to go.




However, there are plenty of smaller venue musical entertainment options available throughout the ship – which (if they are good), I do sometimes prefer.  Yes, there  are nightclub/disco-type entertainment options in the evenings.  I may be getting older, but myself and my DW do like to dance when we have the opportunity.


And another however . . . . we are in the beginning stages of planning a river cruise in 2024.  On a river cruise there will be no big off-off-Broadway style musicals with large ensembles.  So maybe this will give me a taste of what I will have in store on a much, much larger ship with 2000+ more passengers.  Or, maybe not.


A NOTICE DIRECTLY FOR RCI – if you are reading this . . . .we are paying for entertainment, and movies is not it.  We understand that this is a result of the pandemic, staff shortages, etc. – but we want live entertainment. Don’t get used to this, and as things go back to normal your clientele want and expect more.


One thing I like about the Royal App is that it negates my need to create a Serenade of the Seas cheat sheet that lists exactly where everything is on the ship, and their times. On the other hand, will I be walking around the ship with my cell phone?


Art Auction


I have never been to an art auction on a cruise ship.  I have been to antique auctions, farm auctions, bigger fancy-shmany auction houses, but never to an auction on a cruise ship.  I do not proclaim to know about works of art, but I know enough to distinguish between an original and a lithograph – and know the difference between the two. Most people I know that have attended describe them as being cheesy and good enough to get a free glass of cheap wine before leaving. However, they are frequently held on cruise ships and obviously get a large enough crowd (and do enough business) that there are people that must enjoy them.  I want to see for myself before I pass any judgement.

I have already gone onto the Park West website and pre-registered for this cruise so I can get a “free” prize and $100 off of any artwork I purchase.


As those that have frequented cruise vacations, these auctions are usually held by Park West.  They tout art from famous painters from Rembrandt to Picasso.  Of course, much of the artwork is in the form of lithographs and not original art.  I did a little research on this topic, and the auctions seem part showmaship and part art sales with games and raffles (maybe this will make up for the lack of live entertainment on this sailing).  Sarah Cascone, writing for Artnet.com described her experience in an article entitled “We Went to an Art Auction on a Cruise Ship. It Was… Unusual,” in which she described the various gimmicks to get people to purchase the pieces they have for sale by salespeople that have no background in art. Vernon Silver’s article “Ever Bought Art on a Cruise? Prepare to Be Seasick” on Bloomberg.com paints an even foggier portrait of these auctions.  The BBB is also full of complaints about this company, as both articles stated, there have been multiple lawsuits against the company by customers.


When one purchases a lithograph, you have to realize that they are not original works of art.  Some may be personally numbered and signed by the artist, but the artwork itself is a copy, even when embellished with stage of the art printing techniques called giclee or enhanced with real strokes to emulate actual paint strokes of a human artist (called serigraphs).  In fact, as the articles also point out, you are not going to receive the exact work of art you have bid on – a copy will be shipped to you from their warehouse in Detroit.


I am that person that will stop at yard sales and garage sales (or tag sales) when I see them – I am always looking for a bargain or that tiffany lamp worth $25,000 that I spent $3 on (nope, has not happened yet).  Over the years you get to know what is worth something and what is not.  For instance, the other day I was looking at a Harley Davidson tin – it said “Collector’s Tin” on the box.  I was looking at it because I liked it, not for its’s collectability.  The woman selling the items, said “it was a collector’s item and she saw it listed on eBay for $27.”  The tin, copyright 1999, was no collector’s item – between 1985 and 2000 everything had “collector’s item” or “limited edition” printed on it – even if tens of thousands were produced.  Secondly, the $27 was probably the “asking price.”  If you look for those that had actually sold, they probably would not have sold for $5-$7 tops, is my guess.


But at least I am going in with my eyes wide open without any intent to purchase anything and with the purpose of being entertained by this spectacle.  I hope to be entertained not only by the auctioneer and their staff, but also by the attendees. My DW had gone to one on a previous cruise and did not last very long – it was not for her. Which means I will be taking on this experience most likely by myself.  Too bad I do not drink alcohol.


On NCL the Peter Max works seemed to have been highlighted outside the gallery, most likely due to the connection between the artist and cruise line.  I wonder if his works will be downplayed on RCI for the same reason?


I am not writing all of this to dissuade anyone from going or purchasing the art (if there is something you like for a price you are willing to spend, then go for it) – I just want to put the warning out there.


RCI TV Guide for Television


One thing I do want to share with you is the TV Guide while onboard. Although there should be a card with the information inside your stateroom, here’s an advance listing.  Interestingly, it is not listed on the Royal App.


TV Channel Guide

Channel 1: Cruise Director & Activities Manager [not 24/7]

Channel 14: Royal Caribbean TV

Channel 15: Shore Excursions (Excursion Info)

Channel 16: Cruise Compass/Pop Music

Channel 17: Channel Guide

Channel 18: Royal Caribbean TV2

Channel 19: NextCruise

Channel 20: MSNBC

Channel 21: Fox News

Channel 22: Port Shopping Guide

Channel 23: Toddlers Programming

Channel 24: Kids Programming

Channel 25: Teens Programming

Channel 26: Port Shopping Network

Channel 27: BBC World News

Channel 28: Sky Sports News

Channel 29: Sport 24

Channel 30: ESPN 1 Caribbean

Channel 31: ESPN 2 Caribbean

Channel 32: ESPN U

Channel 33: ESPN SEC Network

Channel 34: REDBULL TV

Channel 35: Movies

Channel 36: BBC HD

Channel 37: Prime 1

Channel 38: Prime Favorites

Channel 39: Cinco Mas

Channel 40: XYTV

Channel 41: Safety/Departure

Channel 42: The Autism Channel


Phone Extentions on the Serenade


These are on your Royal App, but here’s a list of all the “important” phone extensions on the Sereande”

Phone #s

0            Guest Services

51          Medical Services / Facility

3334      Reflections (MDR)

3340      Chef’s Table

3341      Giovani’s Table

3342      Izumi’s

3887      Spa, Vitality

3388      Room Service




Tonight I plan on getting out the passports and entering everyone’s information into the ArriveCan system. Does not sound like fun.


We'll see you tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat station . . . .


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My checkin is Thursday, I guess I get to see what I have t provide them with. Also hoping I find out my GTY cabin - might affect if I want to raise my Royalup bids or bit on other cabin types. 
Curious if Royal and arrivecan will behave with my vaxpass app.  Though I haven’t even uploaded my booster to mine as it wasn’t needed, just the two shots for restaurants, bars, gyms (not needed anymore), and planes (still needed) 

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19 hours ago, familycruzinnewbie said:

My checkin is Thursday, I guess I get to see what I have t provide them with. Also hoping I find out my GTY cabin - might affect if I want to raise my Royalup bids or bit on other cabin types. 
Curious if Royal and arrivecan will behave with my vaxpass app.  Though I haven’t even uploaded my booster to mine as it wasn’t needed, just the two shots for restaurants, bars, gyms (not needed anymore), and planes (still needed) 

Myself and DW never set up the vaxpass (or equivalent app).  I think one of my daughter's is set up on the Excelsior app (for New York), and the other one is set up for whatever they have in VA.  As mentioned above, once you have access to a photo of your card, it's really easy.


I did not get everyone registered on the ArriveCAN last night - got sidelined by a few other errands.  But will do so tonight - need to get the passports back out (looks like we will need a copy (photo) of the IDs we are using to download.  I should hopefully have this also checked off tonight. [For those playing at home (not living in Canada) . . . remember you have to go back into the app again after you arrive in Canada and before we get onto the ship.


Not much more to report on the cruise front since yesterday, but slowly putting things aside to eventually pack. I think we will be home most of the weekend, and with about two weeks to go, this is where we will be going through the packing list again and going out to purchase all those needed items we do not have - especially the travel size items.  Between work, family, exercising, etc. it is better if I get everything together beforehand since I may not have time to fully pack the day of (or even the day before) we depart. It also allows me to go over the list and check it twice. If I do pack last minute, I know I will forget something.  


There are almost 100 people on the FB page for my cruise.  Most are not very active - only a very small (very, very small) percentage of the members there are posting.  There are good questions posted by newbies, and the OP has bee posting articles about Alaskan Cruises and the ports, but it is not very active over there.  In fact, my Roll Call has also considerably slowed down. I guess at this point we have asked all the questions we are going to ask, made the arrangements we are going to arrange, and just sitting back awaiting the cruise!


All I can say is that I am ready for a week of vacation.  Honestly, I probably need a vacation more this year than I have ever needed one in the past.

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1 hour ago, John&LaLa said:

Confused, when do you sail?


We are due to set sail upon the chilly western Canadian waters in a fortnight and four days (18 days).


Our journey soon approaches. The day of departure cannot come but too soon; we long for the majestic waters and points northward.

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Posted (edited)

The Brochure That Began It All


It is interesting when discovering why people go on a specific vacation - the where's and the why's.


Sometimes it comes down to a bucket list (either at the top of your list, somewhere near the top, or maybe you have been fortunate enough to have knocked off a few items, and this is the next prize you have in store.


Sometimes it is for a milestone - birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc.


Sometimes it is because of money - or you come upon a great deal.


Alaska, for me, is really a combination of all three.  It is on my bucket list (and somewhere near the top). It is for the celebration of milestones (HS and College graduations of my DDs, and a belated 25th Anniversary for myself and my beautiful DW; although the 2024 cruise will technically be the anniversary celebration cruise [stupid COVID]).


It will also be partly for the celebration of my mom and dad, both of whom I will honor on this cruise.  As I had mentioned before, one of my mom's favorite happy places was being on a cruise.


If you go back 200 or so posts, the reason this whole thing started, that is, the booking a trip to Alaska, was due to a flyer my DW received in the mail. She saw it, walked down to where I was working and said "book em' Danno" - okay, maybe she left out the "Danno," but you get the idea.


Yes, it was from NCL, but it was their flyer that put everything into motion. I cannot believe that I had actually saved it (see attached). Although much of my ravings and rantings on this thread did not justify the collaboration of photos, I think they add something to a discussion.  The review of this adventure will include many.


[I know I make a lot of pop-culture references, hopefully all you youngin's are hip to what I refer to." Although this show did have a successful re-boot which ended not long ago.]


Edited by Travel R
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Posted (edited)

Sitka Walking Tour


During my lunch break yesterday, then after I logged off from work (as well as the previous evening), I had spent a good bit of time working on the Sitka walking tour.  There is a fantastic walking tour map on visitsitka.com [see map] that I am going to use to plot out my tour. However, I first performed my own research on the locations I want to visit, then transposed my tour onto the map. All of the major sites are listed, for my tour I have included some minor points (e.g., George Washington Tree) and food venues we will be stopping at for pizza and Ice Cream. The mapping itself is the easy part, in addition I have created a step-by-step guide with information on each of the sites (address, entry fees, hours), basic information about the site, and any notes relative to the walk. Of course, I will share all the info when it is completed (hopefully soon).


Sitka Dock


Speaking of Sitka . . . I am still wondering what the situation will be in Sitka - will we dock or will we tender?


ArriveCAN - Probably Tomorrow Night


Was feeling good on the stationary bike, so stayed on longer than I had originally scheduled.  Dinner was pushed back since both my daughters were out and about (Blintzes (fruit-filled) and Perogies (potato-filled w/ side of fried onions) and assorted fruit on the side). By the time we finished dinner, I was just in no mood to do anything mental, so I worked on the 2000-piece puzzle taking up a large piece of real estate on our dinning room table.


I will probably not have time tonight to get it together either.  After work I need to exercise, take a shower and then meeting up with some buddies before heading to a board meeting (for a local charity that I volunteer).


How Far Is Hubbard?


Reviews of RCI ships travelling to see Hubbard have been disheartening.  Although I have not ready any recently (one should be coming up on a website/blog I cannot name here), but reports are that the passage towards the glacier are filled with small icebergs making it dangerous to travel closer than 7 miles.  They have posted photos, and although it looks magnificent, I was expecting something closer this "late" into the season.


I don't want to hear all of the GNP cheerleaders saying "I told you so."


Hopefully by the time we travel more of the lane will be clear and we can get closer.


Good News


It is being reported that COVID cases are back on a decline (for now). Good news for my cruise, and a trip overseas very soon thereafter.


It alleviates some of my stress on taking the tests - not all of the stress, but at least to some small proportion.


I will still be very cautious over the next few weeks - although I am supposed to attend a very large 60th birthday party of a good friend the weekend before we ship out, and a graduation 36 hours before we get on the airplane.


Food History


One positive about having the Royal App is that I am able to see the menu for the upcoming trip in advance.  Besides being able to review the menu and pre-choosing my potential choices, it allows me to figure out the food history/origins of some of the dishes found on the menu that I will discuss in my review of this adventure. 




Edited by Travel R
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Awesome news. The US is dropping COVID testing for inbound International customers!




Now I have to see if I can cancel those proctored tests (I believe that they were nonrefundable).


There is not much to really comment on, except this means I do not have to bring my work computer, nor do we have to waste time taking these tests instead of enjoying Vancouver.


In a few moments I am going to post my walking tour of Sitka. I had been creating the tour of Vancouver, and although this does not affect what I had already written, it does add a few additional possibilities in regards to lunch due to the additional time.


But next up, the DIY Walking Tour of Sitka . . . .


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Walking Tour of Sitka (DIY - Do It Yourself)


Sitka, Alaska is a very walkable town, and almost all of the highlights can be seen in a matter of hours.


I have designed the attached tour taking into consideration all of the highlights that one can both visit or just admire. I have also included a few stops that are of particular interest to my family, such as an ice ice cream parlor.


The detail sheet includes all of the stops (in order) with information about each site such as the address, website, entry fees, hours of operation, etc. as well as a brief summary of the site/attraction. I also included a note for the distance and approximate time it would take to walk between each location.


During past tours I have usually provided different readings at some of the stopping points, and still intend to do so - most likely stories of Tlingit legends and mythology.


I was originally going to use Google Maps to show the walk visually, but I found a map on the Raptor Center website (to VisitSitka.com - see map] which included over 90% of the sites on my own list (which I created independently), then with the power of the PC, I modified their map to suit my own needs.  I renumbered it based on my list, and added the few sites that were missing. [Disclosure: This modified map is being used for educational and personal entertainment purposes only and is not intended for resale.]


If anyone has any questions, please feel free to let me know.


Note - IF I have the time, I will try to create a textual version of the walking tour, but it will most likely not be until after I return from this trip, which I do not need to test for COVID in order to return.]


Enjoy . . .





Sitka Walking Map.pdf SitkaWalkingTourDetails.pdf

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We still need to test to board the ship. The problem is the less things you need to test for, the less available the testing options. But I can look at some US vacation destinations now without testing. We have a few Westjet companion vouchers the expire this month ( hubby gets 1 per year with his credit card, but they moved expiry with pandemic) so I have to decide I want to book anything. 

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