Showing posts with label Golden Princess May '18. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golden Princess May '18. Show all posts

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Golden Princess to Alaska - Disembarkation Day

In the past we’ve gotten to and from Vancouver a variety of ways. Some years we drive our own car, sometimes we fly, sometimes we take Amtrak, and just a few weeks back we used a rental car. While we don’t necessarily like riding a bus for a few hours, today it should have worked out best to use the Princess transfer from Vancouver to the Seattle airport.

Since we were making no stops in Canada before crossing the US border we were able to be on the coach that collected our luggage and sealed it in the compartment under the bus. It was nice not to have to pick it up in the cruise terminal. We also didn’t have to go through Canadian customs at the port because as part of this program (I think it is called Direct to Bus or Direct to US?) we had already filled out our customs form and turned it into Princess a few days prior.

Here is a copy of the disembarkation times for the different groups in case you’re interested. And if you’d like to see the log of the cruise, you can find that here.

Boy, I'm thankful we weren't flying out today. In the past the bus ride always has had us in Seattle by 1:00 in the afternoon, even on a bad day. On a good day we could be there by noon. Neither one of those things would even come close to what we experienced today. While we disembarked the ship close to our scheduled time of 8:30 am, we were taken into the terminal to wait in a line. For a full hour. Only six or seven chairs available for more than 60 people. Did I mention we had to wait at least an hour?

If that was our only delay we still could have made good time to Seattle. But we ran into an even bigger delay at the border. How big of a delay? We're talking a good two and a half hours. Just waiting for our turn. Here's something to know if you're taking the cruise line transportation to the US - scheduled bus services, like Greyhound or the Bolt Bus or Quick Shuttle get priority. So even though you might be the second bus in line you might wind up being the seventh bus to get processed. Yeah, so there was that. 1:00 in Seattle? Nope. How about 2:00 or 3:00? Nope and nope. Let's try closer to 4:00. That's seven and a half hours from the time we walked off the ship instead of the four hours we are used to. Ugh. Next time no more bus. We're going back to Amtrak.

Actually, we would have done Amtrak today but hubby has a Mariner’s baseball game tonight. He’s a big baseball guy and he likes it when he can get a game in when we go to Alaska. So if we have to move mountains to make it happen, we will. Just wish we could have moved the bus faster!

So goodbye to Alaska for the year (or at least for now) and hello to Seattle. Mariners, that is.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Golden Princess to Alaska - Last Sea Day

We had a nice visit with some folks at last night's Most Traveled Passenger Party. We also had some nice new food items.


pretty little slider


some fancy desserts
After the party we headed back to the cabin where hubby proceeded to fall asleep. And snore. He was loud enough I couldn't hear over the TV so I decided to take a jaunt to the casino. Good thing as I got myself a hand pay on a penny machine.
Big enough to pay for a couple more cruises

Today was our last sea day and it was another stormy one. The Captain said we are back to those 70 mph winds we had earlier in the week.
Another stormy day outside the Piazza windows

Usually the last day of a cruise isn't too sad for us because we are usually doing another one and another one and another one (and even sometimes another one). But this is our third in a row already and it's our last for a while. We'll be arriving in Vancouver tomorrow then off to Seattle to see the Mariners play a couple times before we head back home.

We already have more cruises planned but we will have a stretch of time at home. Which means hubby loses his independence. Which means I lose my independence. I have several books in the works so I have plenty of writing to keep me busy through the summer and hubby will have local baseball games.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you know my husband has cerebral palsy. He's not wheelchair bound, but he does have physical limitations. If you were to watch him walk and interact you might think he was someone who had a stroke, with the right side of his body pretty much immobile.

His limitations have impacted our lives and we are pretty much glued at the hip. He doesn't drive and so every time he wants/needs to go somewhere - when he went to work, the doctor's office, the store - I have to drive him. He can't tie his own shoes or the ties he wore to work every single day. He has trouble using a can opener, putting on a belt, and can't cut his own steak. He now has difficulty in processing what he's reading and hearing and gets easily frustrated so I need to be always available for him.

But things are easier on a cruise. I can trust him to get to deck 5 to get his coffee in the morning, and the gals there take good care of him. I know he won't get lost, and if he does, he eventually finds his way. It's a lot of work to get him here, but once on the ship he can manage. I think that's why we like cruising so much. He's familiar with the layout of the Princess ships and knows many of the crew. He's able to have some structure and unlike at home, some independence. I can occasionally go into port and leave him on the ship and know he'll be just fine.

We've had a good trip and I wish it could continue. But it can't, so our lives will turn back to boring ones where I write all day and he watches TV all day.

Before we leave, here are just a few wrap-up things about this particular cruise...

The new hallway carpet still has the color coding for port and starboard side but it's just not as noticeable. Can you see the green v. red dots?
starboard side carpet
port side carpet
Last week on the Island Princess my Diet Coke was leftover from their South America itinerary. This cruise hubby's regular Coke on the Golden was leftover from their Asia itinerary.
another batch of non-US Coca Cola
And one more thing – I’ll let you in a little secret that only a couple people know about. For the last several years I’ve been giving away dollar bills with notes of encouragement. I used to hand write notes on packs of Post-It notes but I found the adhesive wasn’t sticking in high-humid climates we were traveling to. A couple years back I switched to making my own little money pockets and printing labels for them. I’ve left them in restrooms and airplane magazines and sugar containers. I’ve left them in windowsills and tip jars and hotel room drawers. I’ve left them on buses and taxis and trains. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times. Where did I leave one today? Somewhere in the Piazza. If you ever run into one of these on a Princess ship, you'll know where they came from.
Shh...don't tell
Thanks for tagging along on our trip. I'll continue to keep up on the blog for both crafting and cruising content, but the next "live from"? Fingers crossed, I'm hoping to come live from Rome this fall.

Here's the link to today's Patter.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Ketchikan

Hello from Ketchikan!

We've done a lot in Ketchikan in the last 14 visits.

Totem Poles? Been to both Totem Bight Saxman Native Village.
Visit Creek Street? Yep. Totem Bight Park and Creek Street photos are here.
Salmon fishing? Yep. Salmon fishing photos can be found here.
See the salmon run? Yep. You can see the salmon run photos here.
Duck tour? Yep.
Take a photo of the rain gauge? Yep.
this one is from five years ago
 Take the Deadliest Catch tour? Yep.
 Watch bald eagles at work and at rest? Yep.

Lumberjack Show and sightseeing? Yep. You can see some of those photos here.
And even more views of the area can be found here.

Obviously Ketchikan is another port we've hit multiple times, so it became another port with no particular plans. While our gal from the Ruby did get her treats we took to her ship when we were docked Skagway (whew!) we decided not try that again (the word fiasco comes to mind), even though her ship is in port with us again today.

Since we're docked in one of the prime spots - we're in berth 2 - I took a little jaunt to the quilt shop in Salmon Landing. In Alaska I typically hit up the quilt shop in Skagway and the one in Ketchikan. I usually don't buy anything (have you seen my quilt stash here?) but I like to look. But when I got there I was totally bummed. The big shop with all the beautiful quilts hanging on the second floor of Salmon Landing is no more. Just the super small secondary store remains. With no beautiful quilts.

Usually Ketchikan is either the first stop or last stop on an Alaskan cruise, and with four ships in town everything is packed with people today. I don't need to buy anything, I don't need to eat, and clearly I don't need any additional pictures. So I left the empty space where the quilt shop used to be, did a quick walk around the block, and headed back to the ship. It's a beautiful day for sitting in the sunshine out by the pool.

It's also a nice day to write up in Skywalkers. I've been up here every day and it's almost always quiet. The window washing guy is cleaning the windows at this very moment making the view even prettier.

We'll also be up here later tonight as we have the Most Traveled Guest Cocktail Party. Depending on the food, I may or not take pictures. No matter the ship, the cocktail party food items typically seem not to change too much. If we do try something new I'll take a photo.

Tomorrow is our last sea day and packing day. Boo hoo.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Juneau

We had no particular plans for this port today, either. Other than trying to meet up with a crew member from yet another ship, the Grand Princess, who was is port with us today. Unfortunately, he too couldn't go out.

There are several reasons crew members can't leave the ship when in port. The most obvious one is that they are on duty during the port hours. Or if they do have a break, there might be a crew drill scheduled during their break time.

There are also a couple other reasons, like the gal from yesterday. The company assigns crew members to a ship for a contract of several months. Those contracts aren't always on the same ship. Our gal just joined the Ruby Princess this month. She's been on several other Princess ships over the course of her career, but since she is on a new ship she is given limited privileges for a while. One of those privileges is the ability to go out in port. Crew members are issued laminated ID badges that allow them to go on and off the ship. (Kind of like a passenger getting scanned on and off with their cruise card.) Without the laminex card they can't leave the ship. And she hasn't been on the ship long enough to get her card. She can't even step outside the ship without it.

Another reason crew members might not be able to leave the ship is because of IPM (In Port Manning) duty. Even when docked in port, the cruise ship is required to have enough crew onboard in case of emergency situations. Crew members rotate IPM days so some days they can't leave the ship.

Which leads us back to today. It was another day of so close, yet so far.
The Grand is ever-so-close

And since we slept away half the morning (late night with a crew member on this ship + inside cabin = sleeping in) we opted to stay on the ship. The weather was actually quite nice and we camped out by the outdoor pool that is still closed.

I watched the clouds rolls in.
Watched people ride up and down on the Mt. Roberts Tramway. I still can't believe I didn't realize it hung over the mountain when I rode it.
You can also see the view from Mt. Roberts Tramway here and see the tram from below here from my previous blog posts.

And I watched a crazy bird stealing french fries over and over again. He'd sometimes take them above the MUTS screen to eat them but mostly would drop them in the Jacuzzi and then retrieve them and eat them. Yuck, right? He was almost too fast for me to catch him on camera.

All aboard is a bit earlier today at 3:30. I still see quite a few folks walking this way so I'm guessing a 4:00 pm departure might not happen.
The view from Skywalkers, one of my go-to writing spots for this cruise.

Most of our Juneau adventures happened years ago so we weren't too worried about not going into town. Just last week we walked to Nugget Falls up at Mendenhall Glacier. You can find out about that beautiful walk here.  And here you can see some food and flowers.

It was  nice having a lazy day today. Tonight is formal night and the Captain's Circle Party (which we will again skip). Tomorrow is our last port, Ketchikan. And tomorrow night is the Most Traveled Guest Cocktail Party. Which we will not skip.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Skagway

Today's plan in Skagway was to meet up with a crew member from another ship. We blocked out our whole day to make sure we could make it happen. She's on the Ruby Princess and they are in port with us today. We were looking forward to treating her to lunch and delivering some of her favorite snacks to her. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to go off the ship today. We even tried to arrange for someone to take them to her but security frowns a bit upon that. Neither of us have sailed yet, so until one of our ships pulls away from the dock I'm still holding out hope we can get them to her.
(Update: After much waiting and patience and convincing, we were able to get a security supervisor to take it from us. Hope she gets it.)
The Ruby is so close yet so far

We've been to Skagway a lot so we weren't too worried about missing out on an excursion.

We've done the train ride.
We've done the Streetcar tour.
And just take a look at what we've done in Skagway since I started the blog:

While we were waiting to find out if our gal could join us, we stopped at the place with the best darn patty melt ever, The Sweet Tooth Cafe.
Just look at how the onions and meat and bread and cheese are all melted together. Oh, my.

And look at dessert!

Of course I stopped in at the the quilt shop. I always spy quilts I'd love to make but the price tag of the kits always gives me sticker shock. I liked these quilts the best.

We meandered back to the ship mid-afternoon and I'm hanging in Skywalkers doing some writing.
Nice view from up here.

On the way up I did see another leak on the ship. Technically, they aren't leaks I guess. They are drips from the ceiling. (I don't want you to think the ship has a hole in the hull and is leaking!)

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Off to Juneau tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay day is always special. And always spectacular. Rain or fog or sun, there is nothing like it. It is what I consider pretty much the best day of any Alaskan cruise.

There are some things to know when scenic cruising in Glacier Bay:
*Park rangers join the ship for the entire time. For us today, that was from around 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
*Shops are closed for most of the day.
*The casino is closed until after the rangers leave the ship.
*Limited activities are happening around the ship during the day – the focus is on the park.
*No paper cups, straws, or napkins are allowed in any of the venues.
*Since it’s a National Park you can go to the makeshift ranger station onboard and get a National Park passport stamp. They also have a Junior Ranger program for the kiddos.

*Rangers give presentations during the day and also do commentary from the Bridge.
*There is a limit on how many ships can be in Glacier Bay on the same day. We were lucky enough to see the Coral sailing by us. We waved hello to our crew member buddy on the ship. (Not really, but I did send him the picture of his ship.) 

Today turned out to be a nice day for calving and a nice day for the sun.

Want more Glacier Bay pictures? I've done many posts about Glacier Bay over the last seven years of the blog.

A few other random thoughts about today…
Hubby had rock fish chowder from International Café for lunch. He said it was delicious.

For those wanting to know about the Escape Room, signups were this afternoon. When I mentioned it to hubby he gave me the no way look so I didn’t try and find out any more.

The laundry rooms here use a machine to dispense tokens. The only way to pay for them is through your cruise card.

Leak update – I ran across two more leaks today. And I’m not even purposely looking for them! One was on the starboard side between the entrance to the Princess Theater and the elevators. The other one was on outside the port side glass elevator on our deck (Caribe). That’s four leaks I’ve seen in three days. Some have towels and some have buckets collecting the water. Again, I’m not actively looking for them so I’m guessing yes, there looks to be a leaking water problem on the Golden.

Tomorrow is our first port, Skagway.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier

Today was the day of the:
  • Drunk Walk. Hardly anyone could walk straight.
  • Privacy Sign City. Cabin after cabin on our deck had their privacy signs out a good chunk of the day. 
  • Ginger Ale Cafe. The most requested drink at the Piazza bar was ginger ale. 
  • Clothes Hanger Symphony. The clothes hangers, empty and full, danced and made music as they bounced along the clothes rod.
All the open decks were closed and seasickness bags placed in the restrooms. The waves were high and the winds strong. Last night the Captain had told us we would see a bit more chop in the seas, but at the noontime update he told us the storm was worse than expected. How much worse? We’ve been experiencing 70 mph winds.

My plan was to hang out in Skywalkers today to do some writing, but even I, the iron stomach girl, felt a little queasy. Our cabin at the back of the ship is not fun, so I imagine up on deck 17 to be even worse. So the Piazza it is. We snagged the coveted corner spot tucked behind the bar but next to the window. Out of everyone’s way and a great place to look at the wild waves.

Being down here gave me the opportunity to take a look at the coffee menu. Here is the link to the menu.

I also noticed the sugar/cream/stirrer station is not at the bar like usual, but in a separate spot away from the beverage line. Pretty smart.

I was able to be around for the fruit and vegetable carving. Look at that bald eagle.

Crab Shack was today – during the day. Other ships have it happening in one half of the Horizon Court in the evening, but here on this ship it is held in the Crown Grill from 12:00-1:30. Even though it is happening at lunch time it is still $29 each. We didn’t go.

Today was also Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier scenic cruising day. We were delayed getting into the bay because of the weather, but once we got there the seas calmed down. We've had some amazing weather when cruising Yakutat Bay in the past and this afternoon wound up being okay after all. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure, all taken through the windows of the Piazza.

The most exciting part of our viewing came as the ship was turning to leave. A huge, top to bottom face of the glacier dropped into the water. Unfortunately my camera was turned off when it happened. But it was huge.

Want more photos of Yakuata Bay? Check out the great views from a few years ago here.

Tonight is formal night and the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party. The champagne waterfall is set up and they are serving champagne, mimosas, and orange juice. We didn’t make it to the show last night and won’t make it tonight. We’re turning into boring cruisers.

Tomorrow is Glacier Bay. Crossing fingers for great weather.

Here is the link to today's Patter.