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firebuck

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Everything posted by firebuck

  1. Enjoy your cruise, Joe! Have a Kummelweck for me!
  2. Hey Sabrina - please put me in for September 20th, 2020 on Oasis! Thanks!
  3. You've definitely got to do it at least once, and cruising is an easy and affordable way to see it!
  4. Day 5 Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier Waking up early, I quickly got dressed and headed for the Solarium wings to capture our approach into Endicott Arm. And I'm glad I did - what an amazing sunrise! Did I happen to mention yet that Alaska is beautiful?? Looking through my binoculars, I spotted the first bit of calved glacial ice floating As we were pulling in, ever so slowly you could begin to see the fog rolling in Soon after, you couldn't even see the glacial ice any longer due to the fog At this point, the captain made the decision to not enter due to seeing lots of ice on the radar. He said that it was too unsafe to proceed due to the low visibility, so we would turn around and look for whales instead. Hearing the news, I along with most people were pretty bummed, but that's the nature of cruising! You can't help the weather. I decided to drown my sorrow in an Alaskan Amber (I love that this ship offered some local beer selections!) One last look back at the fog and some floating glacial ice as we turned around: The captain announced that some whales were spotted on both port and starboard sides, so I took a stroll around to hopefully catch some whale sightings A look back across the pool deck There were definitely whales around! Caught the tail end of a splash again Scenery from our balcony as I was getting ready for dinner Tonight's dinner was in Wonderland. Everyone was eager to try it, and I decided I would be brave and attempt to try everything - I'm glad I did! It was really good! Tomato water and crab cones: Smoked eggs and some sort of prawns? The garden - the "soil" was made of bread and squid ink This appetizer was some sort of cold tuna tartare with a.... lemon ice sorbet?? It's the only one I didn't try. I am NOT that adventurous 😛 Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the main courses, but they were really good, especially the terrior beef, and surprisingly the halibut! Dessert was amazing. I've heard good things about "The World" so I was really looking forward to it. It did not disappoint! After dinner, we went to a name that tune style competition in Two70 hosted by the cruise director, Joff. It was pretty entertaining. A few of us hit up the casino later and tried our luck (I'm never lucky). Tomorrow would be a sea day and Polly and Sheri realized that they had a sushi making class that overlapped with their All Access tour - they reeeeaaally wanted to the the sushi class, so they offered to let us go on the All Access Tour in their place - such nice friends!
  5. Ok, so major props to anyone who can pull off a truly live Alaskan Cruise blog. There's always something to do or see and you don't want to miss anything! I don't want to leave this blog unfinished so I'll attempt to wrap it up. Let's see.... I think we're on: Day 4: Skagway We knew going in that today was going to be a chillier, dreary day, but such is weather in a temperate rain forrest. At risk of sounding like a broken record, the scenery coming in this morning was just amazing. Looking down at the dock, I realized that the ship must have been cleared as there are people now walking off. Our excursion didn't start until a little later, so we lingered so that there would be less of a crowd when we were ready to get off. There's a lot of artwork (mostly cruise ship related) painted on the rocks on the side of the mountain near the dock. I thought the skull was particularly cool Our excursion today was the White Pass Railway that we had booked through the cruise planner. You board the train right at the end of the dock, so it couldn't be easier. The White Pass Railroad was built during the Alaskan Gold Rush as a means to get to the Yukon Territory. During the train ride, the conductor goes into the history of the railroad and the harsh conditions that those who built it had to endure. It's quite a feat if you think about it - the height of the railway has you going up over 3,000 feet. With such amazing scenery, this train ride comes highly recommended One of my favorite parts was looking back at the rail bridge... through the fog, it was quite ominous. Since it was cold and a bit rainy for most of the ride, not many people wanted to stand on the platform for pictures. I took advantage and stood out there for quite awhile taking in the amazing scenery and breathing in the cold, fresh mountain air. Here's a quick video I shot from the platform After the ride, the train drops you off into town where there are some shops and restaurants. I found this building's exterior to be quite unique Ever a fan of craft brews, I had to make it a point to stop at at least one brewery per port. We stopped at Klondike Brewing Co. and I've got to say, it was one of the best. It's a shame that there's probably way too much overhead for them to distribute their beer - you can only get it here. Their Whipsaw Spruce Ale (one of their flagship beers) is not to be missed if you come to Skagway. For lunch, we decided to stop at the Red Onion Saloon. It was a Bordello that was built during the Gold Rush in 1897. They now specialize in making amazing pizzas. After dining, it was time to head back to the ship. The Ovation looked so majestic docked in Skagway. On the first day in the MDR, I had made a request for savory bites (having never tried them, but heard of their goodness from this blog). The head waiter promised that the next time we were in the dining room, I would have them. Today, we were actually in a different dining room, so I asked if the savory bites were available - a short while later, the waiter appeared with these: They were indeed good and worth the ask! After dinner we all decided to wind down and relax in the Schooner bar with some after dinner drinks. From there, it was on to bed. Tomorrow would be our visit to the Endicott Arm and Dawes glacier and we'll need to be awake early for the approach. Some extra scenery pics from the train ride:
  6. Royal IQ was suuuper buggy when I was on. The cruise compass hardly ever loaded and you couldn't reserve anything in the app at all. Dinner reservations never showed on the calendar either. I'm guessing that they were concentrating on porting over to the new app during my cruise.
  7. Darn you, @twangster! Enjoy your cruise! Also, I’m not sure if @Matt‘s influence has spread fleet-wide, but the spaghetti bolognese was an option every night in the MDR.
  8. Never did get a concrete answer, but someone in our party was up at 4 am, and we were already docked by then. At any rate, I was still asleep with visions of sugar plums (or Chop’s filet) dancing in my head.
  9. No salmon this time! Or perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right place.
  10. Haven't heard anything as of yet - we depart Victoria at 6 PM tonight, so I'd imagine it would be sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning. I'll let you know if I find out a concrete time.
  11. Day 3 Juneau Alaska We weren't scheduled to arrive into port until around noon, but I wanted to be up early to catch the sunrise, and I'm glad I did - it was amazing! One thing I'd found that is really important on an Alaskan cruise is to move around to all sides to take in all of the scenery as it can be drastically different depending on where you are - for example, here's one side of the ship: And here's the view from the other: As we were eating breakfast in the Windjammer, we were lucky enough to see some whales spouting and then breaching - I couldn't really get my phone out in time to capture it fully, but I did get the splash. As we got closer to Juneau, I went to the front of the ship to take in more amazing views The only other ship in port during our visit was the Coral Princess. After docking, we headed down to the port to look around since our excursion didn't start for a few hours. This shop had some very interesting wares... I guess some parts of you won't be cold wearing these? Once we had reached our appointed excursion time, we met up with our bus driver and headed for the Mendenhall Glacier visitors center. This excursion offered us transportation to the visitors center for about an hour and a half followed up with a salmon bake in the woods. The views of the glacier were absolutely amazing. The air was just as you would expect it to be as well, extremely clean, crisp and fresh. Once our time was up at the glacier, the bus came back to pick us up for the salmon bake. This was wooded area that had picnic tables set up with a buffet style spread of food along with fire grilled salmon. The food received mixed reviews from our group - I think there was a higher expectation for some amazing fresh Alaskan salmon, so the bar was pretty high. After dinner, there was a little trail that you could take that lead to a waterfall and an old mine. After enjoying the scenery a bit, we headed back to the food area and hopped a shuttle back to the port area. We stopped by a restaurant along the port for some Alaskan brewery beer and met a dog who was patiently waiting for the staff to give him a bite to eat. Soon after, we boarded the ship and prepared ourselves for dinner in the MDR.
  12. Couldn’t make my reservation on day 2... Too many windjammer days later, I’m not getting anywhere near that scale 😂
  13. So unfortunately our cruise suffered the same fate as that of @RatedPG's - there was too much fog on the approach to the Dawes glacier, so the Captain turned us around in search of whales instead. Now that today's more of an extra sea day, I'm sitting on my balcony looking for whales and catching up on my blog. Let's rewind all the way back to": Day 2: Sea Day We woke up early to catch the first sunrise of the cruise and it did not disappoint - I didn't have my phone at the time, so there are unfortunately no pictures. Much of the morning was spent viewing the Canadian coastline from different vantage points. I was even able to catch a bit of a rainbow If you sail on Ovation or any other Royal Caribbean ship for that matter, make sure to take time to look at the amazing art all around. There are plenty of paintings, sculptures and other forms of media around pretty much everywhere you look. This is one of my favorite pieces in the Via on the way to Two70 And of course, the pandas are not to be missed! Today was a mix of watching the scenery go by on the starboard side and exploring different venues around the ship including my favorite, The Schooner Bar Jamie's Italian One thing I noticed on this ship that I didn't realize, or maybe it wasn't offered on my Anthem sailing last year, but Vintages onboard the Ovation offers Coffee Since Vintages is next door to Jamie's Italian, they offer some small appetizers from Jamie's around dinner time. These appetizers range anywhere from 3 to 5 dollars and include a miniature version of their meat plank, garlic bread, music bread, Italian bread basket, squid and bruschetta. I had reservations for the North Star at noon, but we were in an intense game of bingo and I lost all track of time. Luckily, since it was a sea day I found a time slot that didn't require reservations so I arrived early and stood in line. The day was drawing to a close which meant that it was time to experience another sunset. I don't think I'll ever get tired of these types of views. We had reservations tonight in Jamie's Italian and it did not disappoint - they bring out so much food. Meat Plank: Dessert plank: After dinner we went to the headliner show in the Royal Theatre. The performer, Nate Thompson did a tribute to some old school rock 'n roll classics. He was very energetic and really got the crowd into it. After the headliner show, I went to the other end of the ship to Two70 for the 70's disco party. As it was getting late, I didn't stay very long - had to be up early tomorrow to catch our approach into our first stop, Juneau!
  14. Apologies for the lack of updates - I’m finding that an Alaskan cruise is not your typical laid back Caribbean cruise. Up early, out late. You definitely don’t want to miss anything! Stay tuned for more pictures and updates later. Now it’s off to Skagway and the White Pass railway. Here’s a taste of yesterday’s Mendenhall visit.
  15. Good morning from Alaska’s inside passage! Pictures do not do it justice (at least mine anyway). But what an amazing sunrise this morning! Will catch up on the blog later tonight after a visit to the Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier.
  16. Good morning from.... somewhere in the Pacific! If It weren't so chilly, I'd swear we were on our way to some tropical island! So let me go back in time a bit here and talk about boarding. Pier 91 seemed very organized and efficient. We hailed a Lyft from our hotel around 9:30 and were at the port in about 10 minutes. We passed the throngs of sad-that-their-cruise-ended passengers, dropped our bags off with the porter and waited for Polly and Sheri to arrive. We followed the signs for the key priority check-in where we showed our passports as well as our seapasses to the attendants. They scanned everything in with Ipads, took our picture and put a check in complete sticker on our seapasses. We were then sent upstairs and bypassed the larger check-in line where we were ushered to our priority seating area which was a combined space for Pinnacles, Diamond Plus, Suites and Key members. At around 10:45, the ship was cleared for new passengers. They called the suites first, and I think maybe a few people got up, then right after they called for everyone else in the priority area to board. We weren't the first people on the ship, but it was close! After boarding, we immediately went to a specialty restaurant to make our reservations for the 3 night package. We chose Jamie's Italian, Wonderland and Chops, starting with Jamies on night 2. Having been onboard Ovation's sister ship, the Anthem last year, we already had the lay of the land, and she felt really familiar. I also realized that I wasn't taking as many pictures as usual due to the familiarity, so I need to step up my picture game starting today! We went up to the Solarium where I had my first drink of the day, the Kraken lava flow! After a bit, we headed down to deck 3 where key members were able to drop their carry-ons and get their key letters which contained the wifi access codes. Right after, they welcomed us to lunch in The Grande dining room where they served a special Chops lunch menu for key members only. No pictures, unfortunately, but I ordered the filet, Polly ordered the Branzino, and everyone else ordered burgers. You really can't beat that Chops filet (although I know @Lovetocruise2002 would beg to differ). Next, we went to the opposite side of the ship to show Polly and Sheri Two70. I think the Solarium and Two70 have to be my favorite spots on Quantum class ships. We got the call that our rooms were ready at around 1:30 PM, so we headed up shortly after to take a look. Our luggage wasn't there when we arrived, but as we were leaving to do some more exploring I spotted it down the hall clustered with a lot of other bags, so I went down and grabbed them. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the ship, experiencing the different venues complete with a visit to my friends, the robotic bartenders Mix and Mingle After a few more drinks and a visit to Sorrentos for a pre-dinner slice of pizza, we headed up to the rooms to unpack before dinner. Here's a view from our balcony of the coastline: Dinner tonight was in the MDR, and of course they offered the standard night one menu: I can't recall what everyone else got, but I went with @Matt's suggestion from our last cruise and got the spaghetti bolognese! It did not disappoint. After dinner, more exploring. Hearing a live cover band in the music hall (didn't catch the name) we stopped in for a listen. They were pretty good! At 10 PM, there was an Adults only comedy show featured in the Royal Theatre, so we decided to go, hoping to further acclimate to the time difference. No offense to the comedian, (he was actually pretty good) but I was nodding off during the show, so clearly, it was time for bed. Today is a sea day so there should be lots of good activities around the ship.
  17. It was a little chilly sitting in port LOL. This one was tough to pack for!
  18. Onboard! Dining reservations made, Kraken Lava Flow ordered. Watching the latecomers trickle in. Vacation has begun!
  19. I ordered the nutty bitch, the wife got a sausage egg and cheese. Not sure what everyone else has. Lots of people in here, so it must be good stuff! *edit It was good!
  20. It’s cruise day!! We arrived in Seattle yesterday around 10 AM and hopped the link light rail ($3.00 per person) from the airport to the University Street stop which was about a half of a mile walk to our hotel which is very near the Public Market area. Arriving prior to check-in, our room understandably wasn’t ready but we were able to drop our bags off at the hotel, and were given several restaurant recommendations for lunch. We settled on The Virginia Inn for some comfort food and a decent local draft beer list as well. After lunch we walked around the Pike Place area. Some really good people watching down by the water... As a frequent customer of their franchise locations, of course I had to visit the original Starbucks location. There was a line to get in and when I arrived it was about 15 people deep, but it went fairly quickly. After a bit more walking around and exploring we met up with Polly and Sheri at the Edgewater Hotel for happy hour in the lounge which had great views of the sunset last night. Yesterday was a lonnng day, having woken up at 3:30 AM to catch our flight and losing 3 hours to the time change, we were completely zonked our by 8:30PM local time. Now it’s time to get ready, grab a bite to eat at a place near us called “The Biscuit Bitch” (How we not try that?) and Uber over to the Port! We’re aiming for a 10 AM arrival. Will update more from Pier 91!
  21. They need one more range for those of us 6'5" and above lol. It's all good, as long as the weigh-in is before the briefing, it'll save me some time. Fingers crossed that their scales are off in my favor 🤣 The land-based locations are a bit more forgiving. If it doesn't work out on the ship, I'll hit one up afterwards.
  22. Piggybacking on this thread - I'm skating all around the ship's IFly weight limit... Are they pretty firm or will they let, say 4 pounds or so over get on? I've booked it on the morning of day 2, so if I have to avoid the windjammer/alcohol on day 1 and take some water pills, by gosh I will get on this darn thing 😂
  23. Yes - as long as you have both cards, they'll let you get two!
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