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  1. As Royal Caribbean kicks off the 2022 Alaska cruise season it's time to look North, all the way North... to the Southeast coast. The Southeast coast of Alaska that is. Serenade of the Seas sails from the Canadian port city of Vancouver, British Columbia heading North to Alaska and back, round trip to Vancouver. Itinerary Sun 01May2022 Vancouver, British Columbia - 5:00 PM Boarding Mon 02May2022 Inside Passage - - Cruising Tue 03May2022 Sitka, Alaska 8:00 AM 5:00 PM Docked Wed 04May2022 Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska 5:00 AM 9:00 AM Cruising Wed 04May2022 Juneau, Alaska 12:00 PM 8:00 PM Docked Thu 05May2022 Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) 11:00 AM 2:00 PM Cruising Fri 06May2022 Ketchikan, Alaska 2:00 PM 10:00 PM Docked Sat 07May2022 Cruising - - Cruising Sun 08May2022 Vancouver, British Columbia 7:00 AM - Departure This is an unusual opportunity for Royal Caribbean International in a number of ways. First of all Vancouver roundtrip hasn't always been a Royal Caribbean International offering. Secondly an itinerary that includes sailing by two glaciers on Royal is not common. Thirdly, visiting Hubbard Glacier, the premiere tidewater glacier of Alaska, has traditionally meant sailing a one-way North or South itinerary on Royal. Lastly, sailing into Tracy Arm Fjord has not been offered by Royal in some time, even before the industry shutdown. Admittedly this thread may not be live at all times since the internet when sailing this far North can leave a lot to be desired. This year brings some additional requirements introduced since this cruise departs from another country (Canada) and that means satisfying both CDC requirements since we visit US ports and Canadian requirements since we sail from Canada. Despite the anticipated internet challenges as the cruise sails North I thought it would be helpful to discuss the additional requirements introduced by Canada this year due to the pandemic.
  2. Hi Sailors, Looking forward to our cruise next year! Thread for questions and meet-n-greets.....
  3. This is the cruise my wife and I booked for ... 2020, then 2021, and now (knock on wood) 2022. Who's with us??
  4. what is wrong with this picture? got an extra day in there. Day Port 1 Vancouver, British Columbia Departs At 5:00 PM 2 Inside Passage (Cruising), Canada Day At Sea 3 Sitka, Alaska From 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 4 Tracy Arm Fjord (Cruising), Alaska Day At Sea 5:00 AM - 9:00 AM 4 Juneau, Alaska From 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM 5 Haines, Alaska From 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM 6 Ketchikan, Alaska From 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM 7 Cruising Day At Sea
  5. I’m going to start by saying that I have excursion anxiety after a member of our travel party made us nearly miss the ship years ago. So many times I book through the ship because this circumstance really shook me up. However as we are sailing to Alaska this year I’m feeling like if there is anywhere to trust a 3rd party it’s Alaska. No language barriers, easy to contact them etc. Would you agree with this? I’m ready to book outside RC and my husband is still worried. also if anyone has amazing suggestions for Juneau or Skagway I’m all ears! 2 adults and our 7 year old.
  6. We are taking a post-cruise excursion in Vancouver on the Serenade of the Seas in June 2022. Since we are staying overnight in Vancouver to fly out the next day, we decided to take a post-cruise excursion. Specifically, the Sea to Sky Experience and Shannon Falls with Airport Transfer excursion. We chose this excursion because it was on the list of places we wanted to see and since we are staying at the Fairmont Airport Hotel it is where we will be dropped off. We also chose this hotel because we have a morning US flight and the wanted convenience of being right their to catch our flight. I've searched around but couldn't find the answer to my question. If we leave our bags out the night before the end of the cruise, what happens to our bags? Do we claim them then lug them over to the excursion bus? Or do they load them on the tour bus? The tour leaves at 8:30 and ends at the airport. Thank you all for your great advice!
  7. We are sailing on ML in a few weeks from Seward. Prior to joining the ship, we are doing a Celebrity Cruise Tour. I know we need a COVID test no more than two days before the land portion starts, which we will do before we leave home. Then we also need one no more than two days before the cruise starts. On boarding day (Friday) we take a bus from Denali to Seward to join the ship. I've read somewhere that they will stop somewhere in Anchorage where people can get COVID testing done. But, then I've also read that isn't true, that we need to either bring a self-test with us and do the testing (via tele-health monitoring) on our own, or arrange testing on our own. When I called Celebrity they said they will stop in Anchorage for testing, but I don't know if the person understood my question. Would anyone happen to know if they will be stopping somewhere for testing? I am sure it will be more expensive, but it would probably be more convenient. And I've also read that if you do the monitored at home test, that you can't use a cell phone or tablet for that, it has to either be a desktop or laptop computer. Which would be really inconvenient to have to bring a desktop computer!
  8. Anyone brave enough to join us on the LAST sailing of the Alaska Season?
  9. RC cruise planner for our May 23-30, 2022 Alaska cruise on Quantum states, "Two70 and Theater capacity restrictions are allowing us to only offer one show reservation per guest for this voyage." Yikes! Can anyone tell me more about this? We enjoy the various shows on the RC cruises. Thanks for any info you can provide.
  10. I have the opportunity to sail Alaska sept 23rd of this year. Would be my husband, myself and our cruise loving 7 year old. Im worried about weather etc that late in the Alaska season. Anyone sail around then and have opinions? Good and bad welcome!
  11. Hi Cruise Friends- We’re sailing out on Serenade on 9/6/21 with ports of call in Sitka, Icy Straight Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. This will be our first time experiencing Alaska. We’d really like to go whale watching, but was wondering if the experience would be better in Juneau or Icy Strait Point. It appears Juneau has a greater variety of whale watching adventures compared to Icy Strait. Are the whales more plentiful in Juneau? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thank you
  12. Are there any off the beaten path things to see/do in either of these towns? We’re already whale watching in Icy Strait and kayaking in Juneau and was hoping to find some unique experiences here. Decided not to do any organized excursions in either place. Thanks in advance!
  13. Hello ? from Arlington, Virginia, We’re headed out on Serenade from Seattle on September 6th, 2021. Curious to see what others have planned for their Alaskan holiday! What excursions have you booked? What are you looking forward to most? Have you been to Alaska before? Hope to hear from fellow cruisers soon!
  14. We decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot. I am taking a positive view on the progress made with the CDC so far. I think it will happen.
  15. The wife and I along with some friends are thinking of going on an Alaskan Cruise in June 2022. I was wondering if anyone has a preference on which ship they liked and why? I also would like to know if June is the best time to go or should be move the dates (we would like to see the northern lights if possible)? Also one itinerary goes through Ketchikan and the other through Skagway. I would like to hear some opinions on which one you liked more and why. Any help would be great! This is only our second cruise so we are still kind of new to this but loved our other Royal Caribbean cruise so we thought we would try another!
  16. We've been Royal Loyal and have not ventured to other cruise lines. We are booked for an 2022 Alaskan cruise on the Solstice [Sky Suite]. We've done the Radiance AK Cruise before and I've lived in Alaska for several years. So, most of my questions are about Celebrity benefits and ship questions. 1. What should I not miss on the ship? 2. Thoughts of The Retreat versus Royal's Sky Class? 3. Restaurant recommendations? 4. Seattle Port tips for embarkation and debarkation. 5. Thoughts on Celebrity's Captains Club Elite level. 6. Daily routine recommendations? 7. Define Chic dress code? Thanks!
  17. Very excited about this news! So excited that we changed our Serenade July 2021 sailing to the Quantum out of Seattle! This change leads me to wonder if QOS will receive a refurb/update besides the laser tag to appeal to the American market. Since this ship has been in the Asian market for quite some time, it has a noodle shop among other Asian specialties and interests. Does anyone have any idea? Heard anything? Granted, we will still be in the #teamCK crew as we will be Sky Class, but just wondering about some of the other offerings. So Psyched! Now, if we could get that intern to show up again! Thanks Sharla at MEI for making this happen!!
  18. Finally the 2019 Alaska cruise season is beginning and so has the single digit dance! Looking back I always put off an Alaska cruise despite all the good things I heard over and again. Now I can't get enough. This will be my fourth cruise to Alaska and hopefully it will not be my last. Why did I wait so long to cruise to Alaska? Itinerary Day Port of Call Arrive Depart 1 Vancouver 5pm 2 At Sea 3 At Sea 4 Icy Strait Point (ISP) 9am 8pm 5 Sitka 7am 6pm 6 Hubbard Glacier 8am 11am 7 Juneau 7am 9pm 8 Skagway 7am 8:30pm 9 Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier 7am 12pm 10 At Sea 11 At Sea 12 Seattle 6am source: CruiseCharts.com The Ship This is a special cruise in many ways. This will be Ovation's first cruise to Alaska and the first time a Quantum class ship visits Alaska. It will be the largest cruise ship ever to visit Alaska edging out the NCL Bliss by a small margin. It's a repositioning itinerary unique for this season, starting in Vancouver and ending in Seattle. There are two glaciers on the itinerary, Hubbard and Dawes. The itinerary includes two ports not normally on Royal itineraries from the South - Sitka and Icy Straight Point. It's eleven nights compared to the normal 7 night Alaska cruise. This will be the earliest in the Alaska cruise season for me, beating out my previous early Alaska season cruise by several weeks. Hubbard Glacier is pretty far North and it's not normally on Seattle based itineraries. Sitka is infrequently on Royal itineraries. Icy Strait Point is a favorite port for me and usually only found on Royal's North or South one-way Alaska itineraries. When considering any Alaska cruise paying attention to the times in port is important and Royal has planned some awesome times in each port on this itinerary. Ovation is a "cold weather" ship which should pair very well with Alaska. The ample sized indoor pool will be great for families leaving the beautiful Solarium for adults to enjoy the sweeping views forward as we sail the Alaskan inside passages. Combined with the sweeping views aft from Two70° and this is shaping up to be a fantastic Alaska cruise experience. Pre-Cruise Plans I fly to Vancouver with a connection in Salt Lake City arriving noon the day before the cruise departs Vancouver. I found a nice but inexpensive hotel near the airport with a free airport shuttle. Vancouver features a train system that will allow me to reach downtown pretty easily while saving substantially by not staying downtown. Once settled I plan to visit downtown and may even head out to the Lion's Gate Bridge Sunday evening to watch Ovation arrive being the largest cruise ship ever to visit Vancouver harbor. Cabin I normally scale back my cabin to Alaska so I can splurge on excursions but Ovation changes the math. Quantum class ships have a much higher balcony cabin count relative to interior or ocean view cabins. Because of the balcony cabin ratio on Ovation the marginal price difference to book a balcony was small enough to motivate me to spend a few extra hundred dollars and book a balcony plus it's eleven nights. In years past an interior cabin was less than half the price of a balcony so the savings basically paid for the excursions. Consequently this year I am in a 2D ocean view balcony on deck 11 forward port side. On these ships I like being close to the pool deck so I can take the stairs and my cabin is a few steps to the elevator lobby. Specialty Dining None planned. My travel agent did throw in one specialty dinner so I'll probably visit Jamie's based on an Anthem cruise where I really enjoyed Jamie's over all the other options. Excursions To experience Alaska you need to get out of the ports and see Alaska. To this end I always plan a healthy Alaska excursion budget and this year's excursion budget approaches $900 per person. When I booked this cruise I grabbed a bunch of Royal excursions as place holders while I looked at all options. Several cruise planner sales occurred and I was able to save hundreds by cancelling and rebooking my excursions. With those price drops I couldn't find many cheaper options and all things being equal I always prefer booking excursion through Royal in case of itinerary changes. I did find one Viator excursion in Sitka that looked interesting so I booked it outside of Royal. Icy Strait Point (ISP) With Royal gaining access to Glacier Bay in future years I thought a fly over Glacier Bay National Park would be a great way to look forward to a future visit by ship. Going on a bear hunt to shoot pictures has always appealed to me in ISP so these are my two excursions for this day leaving lots of time to explore ISP on my own. Sitka The raptor center in Sitka sounded like a great way to see some birds including (hopefully) some Eagles. Throw in a nature walk and it sounded like a winner. Having hopefully seen bears by this point, I thought beers and bears sounded pretty good so I found this Viator option in Sitka. Juneau Visiting Juneau I have always watched the float planes coming and going but always found something else to do. So this year I am going to continue my small plane obsession and see some glaciers from the air in a SeaPlane. Skagway Glass blowing has always fascinated me and having done many of the other must do Skagway activities this year is going to blow. I figure what better way to find a keepsake memento from an Alaska cruise than on a glassblowing activity leaving me a lot of daylight to explore Skagway on my own. Internet I bought Voom Surf and Stream on sale for $11.99 per day. Given the 11 night duration this was more economical compared to buying it on board with my Crown and Anchor discount and waiting until day two. While Ovation uses the newest O3b satellite platform I'm not sure that is going to help North in Alaska where O3b has "limited services". source: www.ses.com/our-coverage A Royal O3b enabled ship has never ventured this far North into the limited services area so I'm not sure what to expect from Voom. If the ship switches to conventional satellite internet I know from past experiences that can be hit or miss at times while cruising Alaska. Consequently this may not be a live blog and I might have to finish and post pictures once home. With that the count down continues... more to come.
  19. Today is day 4 of our cruise and I purposely delayed starting this blog. Voom suffers in Alaska being so far North and knowing I would take a bunch of photos I will be writing the bulk of thread after I return home and can go through thousands of photos to select the best ones. Consequently keep any eye out for updates next week, but in the interim if anyone has any questions they would like to ask while I am on board feel free to add those now. Itinerary Day 1 - Embark in Seward Day 2 - Hubbard Glacier Day 3 - Juneau Day 4 - Skagway Day 5 - Icy Strait Point Day 6 - Ketchikan Day 7 - Inside Passage Day 8 - Disembark in Vancouver So far every port has been awesome and weather has been great. Our time at Hubbard Glacier was incredible and very different from Explorer's trip to the Dawes Glacier in June. That's just a tease, I'll get into that in more detail once I go through the pictures and videos of calving I have. We've just arrived in Skagway and I am heading out for my day of self exploring. Later...
  20. Hey fellows and learned cruisers. I am just about to sail on Ovation of the Seas for a 7 night journey to Alaska .... set to depart on 31st May, 2019. I was just curious, is there any chance I can get to see Northern Lights from aboard the ship ????? Royal Caribbean does mention on the Ovation of the Seas webpage ... "See the Northern Lights in Juneau" Its hard to believe..... any experiences / thoughts ? See the Northern Lights in Juneau
  21. The Alaskan Cruise Experience Last year while on Symphony, we used NextCruise to book a vacation for this summer and decided on skipping the beach again and enjoying the cold temperatures (oh, and the views) of Alaska. There's also dog sledding and puppies in Alaska so that's a big plus too! I plan to get lots of pictures and videos of the Alaskan scenery, and will also be live streaming parts of my adventure on Periscope (if possible, Alaska is too far north for VOOM). I will be traveling with my parents again and we are all excited for our fourth cruise together. This cruise will be a Back-to-Back like the past two cruises have been, but with one small twist... I'll mention that later. This cruise will have many firsts for us, one of which includes a new class of ship! We have never sailed on a Quantum Class ship and I am excited to explore the new class, and use the different activities and spaces that Quantum Class offers. I will go more in depth about the ship later as well. The Itinerary Like I stated before, this cruise has many firsts for me. One first includes that we will be doing our origin port activities after the cruise, and will arrive in Seattle the day before the cruise. We don't have as much on board activities planned like we have on previous cruises, and will be going more day-by-day and booking things once on board. [ I find it ironic that for July 4th, we are in British Columbia! It will be a busy but fun few weeks for vacation in Alaska. The Ship This will be the first time for all of us to cruise on a Quantum Class ship, and I am excited to explore Ovation of the Seas. I'm especially excited to use the North Star and 270, which will hopefully give great views of glaciers and the Alaskan views. I am also excited to use the activities offered at the Sea Plex. We were lucky to sail on Ovation during its inaugural season sailing to Alaska. This is the first time a Quantum Class ship is sailing in Alaska, making it the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Alaska. This is also the farthest north that Ovation has gone, making this a first time season for Ovation. We are excited to be apart of this special season for Ovation! The Cabin We will again be staying in a Grand Suite (GS) for this cruise, but the twist is that we will be switching cabins between weeks. This will be a little annoying, but hopefully Royal Caribbean will make the process smooth and easy. If anyone has any insight on how this works, please post below! Being in a suite, this will give us access to the Sky Class exclusive features, amenities, and experiences. We have enjoyed these perks on our last two cruises (especially Coastal Kitchen) and hope that our experience will be the same as on other Royal ships! For the first week, we have a cabin on the 8th deck port side, while the second week is a cabin on the 11th deck starboard side. This will give us different views for each week while on our balcony. It will also be interesting to compare the deck levels, as we usually stay on a lower deck than we will be on the second week. I will provide a room tour on both Periscope and a tour on this blog. Shore Excursions, Dining, and Entertainment Because of Alaska being so scenic and beautiful, we have booked many shore excursions for the two weeks. We hope to experience and see many different things while in Alaska, and have booked excursions for every port that are different than the last. You can see the excursions we have booked above. We do plan to do self exploration while in Victoria the second week, as we couldn't find another excursion that peaked our interest. I hope that on the ship we can book the North Star Alaskan Experience, as I couldn't find that on my pre cruise planner anywhere. Since the excursions are plentiful and expensive, we plan to limit our onboard expenditures. This includes specialty dining. We plan to optimise our suite perks, and use the included dining offered to suite guests at the Coastal Kitchen. We find that the food is delicious at Coastal Kitchen on the Oasis Class, and hope that this will continue on Ovation of the Seas. We have planned to eat at Chops and Jamies, because we have previously eaten at and enjoyed the food at both of these restaurants. I'm excited to enjoy the Grilled Bacon at Chops and the Planks at Jamies again! There is only one show that requires reservations on Ovation: Pixels. Because of our Sky Class status, we don't need to book reservations for shows (at least on our last two sailings) so we hope we can just show up, or book on the Royal iQ app. It does seem like the shows on Allure and Symphony were longer and more robust, but this shouldn't matter as Alaska is our entertainment! Technology I am a major tech nerd, and this continues while on a cruise. Ovation doesn't use the new Royal app, but uses the older Royal iQ system. This should provide some of the same features, but the app hasn't been updated since 2016, so it might not be accurate and buggy. Ovation does WOW Bands though, and we found these useful while on Symphony, limiting the amount of pocket shuffling needed with our Sea Pass. Reading Twangster's blog, I imagine the internet will be slow and spotty being north in Alaska. This might lead to gaps in blog posts and make things harder for me. Luckily, I won't have to pay to post this blog, as we get complimentary VOOM because of our Sky Class status. I'm excited to see and use the tech that is built into Ovation, and compare it to Symphony and Allure. Pre and Post Cruise Plans We will fly into Seattle on Thursday, leaving a day for any flight or baggage screw-ups. We found a nice but semi-budget friendly hotel close to Terminal 91 for the night near downtown Seattle. We plan to use the hotel shuttle to the terminal, but if that doesn't work out we will use Uber or a taxi. When we get back we will spend 4 nights in Seattle to see things such as the Boeing factory, Pikes Market, and the Space Needle. We haven't booked anything yet, and that's the plan after I post this blog. On the 16th, we will fly back home and enjoy the rest of the summer at home! Miscellaneous Periscope: CraftyCat05 Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157709255492608 We didn't get any drink, specialty dining, or spa packages, as we find we never get our money's worth on these. Unlike last year, I plan to bring my DSLR to take pictures of glaciers, wildlife, and Alaska in general! This is only my second blog, so hopefully this will be more polished than last years... Hopefully I'll finish it too! The days of cruising will hopefully make it easier to blog than it was last year. There was only one sea day in the Mediterranean! I will be leaving my 21 pound Schnoodle at the Pet Resort in town. He will also be staying in 5 paw accommodations, which include a webcam for us to view him while traveling. After the cruise I will post the cruise planner and other documents that we received throughout the week. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Hope you enjoy the SemiLive blog! More to come....
  22. Has anyone stayed in the Ocean view cabins on deck 4? We will be booking 2 connecting ocean view rooms but we are curious about noise level from promenade above? Thanks ?
  23. For any Alaska cruisers who have Icy Strait Point (ISP) as a port of call here is a handout that was provided by Royal during a recent cruise that called on ISP. ISP.PDF
  24. Hello All. RCCL, in all it's wonderful glory, has removed our scheduled shore excursions from the CP offerings. As has been a hot topic several times in the last few weeks, I suspect that the current CP sale possibly may have them at a lower cost but doesn't want me to cancel and rebook at the new lower price (although, I did purchase most of our excursion on the BF Sale, so they needn't worry, but I digress). So, I'm wondering if any of you Alaska cruisers could shoot me the price of these excursions, that is if you're seeing them in your CP: Fly-out Fly Fishing in Juneau, Icy Strait Point Stream Fishing in ISP, and Knudson Cove Salmon Fishing in Ketchikan. Many thanks! aisle=grocery isle=RCCL
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