Showing posts with label Royal Princess May 18-25. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Princess May 18-25. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Disembarking the Royal Princess in Vancouver

We were surprised last night at the number of passengers we talked to who just couldn't wait to get off the ship. (Or, as some called it, the "boat".) Unfortunately in many cases it was first time cruisers making those comments. I know cruising isn't for everyone, and this ship isn't for everyone, but it's unfortunate so many felt this cruise didn't meet their expectations. 

There were several things we heard. They:
  • couldn't find anything because the ship was too big.
  • didn't get the amazing Alaskan seafood onboard they were expecting.
  • thought the excursions were too expensive.
  • didn't see whales jumping all around the ship like they thought they would.
  • didn't see bears or moose.
  • found they pools weren't warm enough to swim in.
  • felt the land tours were too rushed.
  • thought the lines were too long to get on and off the ship.
  • were hurried from the train to the ship in Whittier.
  • said the seas were too rough. 
  • couldn't find food 24 hours a day.

Some of the concerns were valid ones, but with some of the others a little research could have gone a long way.

Is Alaska amazing? Absolutely! 
Is cruising amazing? Absolutely! 
Will you be able to see and do everything you wanted - and everything you heard about - in just one week's time? Absolutely not! 

If you're planning on a cruise to Alaska, keep those expectations in check. And talk to people who have been again and again and again and again. Trust the experienced Alaskan cruisers, not the one or two time Caribbean cruisers. Not that those who cruise elsewhere aren't full of useful knowledge, but Alaska is just a different beast - and that's what makes it unique. For us, uniqueness is good (at least when in comes to Alaska). For others it isn't.

Lucky for us today that the disembarkation schedule was pretty generous with time. We didn't have to be off the ship until 11:20 am. Gave us time to get through the super-fast Canadian customs...
We had a new question this year on the Canadian customs form.
Gave us a much appreciate couple of extra hours to enjoy the ship. Then we had plenty of time to stand in that 45 minute taxi line...
and plenty of time to have one last drink once at the Seattle airport before our last flight home.

Thanks for joining me as we cruised these two weeks on the Royal. Like I said yesterday, I have lots more cruising content coming up, including some more cruises. For those not familiar with my blogging schedule when I'm home, it goes like this:
*Tutorial Tuesdays are the days I post the sewing, crafting, and food tutorials.
*The Friday 15s are my downsizing days. For the past year and a half I've been donating or discarding at least 15 items every Friday and I'm still finding stuff to send out the door.
*Cruise Ship Saturdays are when you'll find all my cruising related posts, well, posted.
*Sewing for Good Sundays are when I share the projects I'm working on for charity.

If you have any interest in any of those things, feel free to stop by and check them out. Otherwise, I hope to see you on a ship soon.

If you want to take a look at the disembarkation times from today you can find them here. You can also find the Patters from the full two cruises there as well.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Royal Princess Alaska: Last Sea Day

Well, here we are on the last sea day of our two weeks sailing on the Royal Princess to Alaska and it's a bit of a choppy one.

Today I had the opportunity to ask the Captain and 3rd Officer several questions about the route this ship has taken as we've navigated our way to and from Alaska. If you remember, when we left Vancouver we took the green route
 instead of the much more scenic red route. It was quite disappointing.
Today as we're heading back to Vancouver we are again taking the non-scenic route. As I found out in my questioning today, the issue is with the length of the Royal Princess and the British Columbia marine pilot rules. Currently there is a limit on the length a ship can be when passing through the area. While right now the Royal cannot sail those narrower, more scenic waterways they are working to get clearance at some point during the summer. So sailings later in the season may get the scenic route. Lucky ducks.

I also asked about the Ketchikan approach. Usually when coming into Ketchikan from the south ships take the red route but we came in on the brown route. Another less scenic route.
Alaska marine pilots had concerns about the maneuverability of the Royal Princess, particularly at lower speeds. So as the ship was needing to slow down to dock in Ketchikan it required a different approach - one that would bring her in from the north. Which now makes sense to why when we left Ketchikan on our way back to Vancouver we we were able to leave from the south. I was told today since we weren't trying to slow down the issue wasn't an issue and we could maneuver on out through the scenic south.
I found the conversation (and information) very interesting.

This trip has gone way too fast, and despite my initial misgivings that I wrote about here I am glad we came. I wouldn't hesitate sailing the Royal to Alaska again and again. I wish we weren't spending the day packing and saying our goodbyes to crew. Knowing there is always a next time is what makes it all okay.

My last day of this particular "live from" will be tomorrow as I cover disembarkation in Vancouver, but I'm not done writing about the Royal yet! I'm working on a wrap-up of the trip and on some other things, too. Most of the posts, pictures, and information will be posted once I get home so do keep an eye out on the blog for updates. 

Some of the cruising things coming in the next several weeks:
  • A wrap-up of both the Northbound and Southbound voyages.
  • A review of Sabatini's on the Royal.
  • A write-up of the Royal's Concierge Lounge.
  • Medallion, Medallion, and Medallion. I have both written information and videos of the Medallion operations on the ship. I know everyone is looking for factual, first-hand accounts so I'll work on providing that here and on YouTube. My YouTube channel is here. And if you're looking for the Medallion accessories available on the Royal this month, check out vickieandbernietravel's Ocean Medallion Accessories post here.
  • A review of Share on the Ruby.
  • Updated information on the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, including their Club Level Lounge.
  • The opportunity to get my Cruising with Confidence eBook for free for three days in June. Check back for the exact dates.
  • Another round of "live froms" in Alaska will be coming up at the end of the Alaskan cruise season. We'll be on both the Grand and the Golden in September. We may also add in more dates on the Royal. 
  • I wanted to get some time to interview Matt O' this trip but that man is crazy busy. (For those interested, he's heading home tomorrow but will be back later in the summer.) If I do make it back on the Royal again I'll definitely have an interview with him right here on the blog for you.
As always, if you have any specific questions you'd like answered or things you'd like to see featured on the blog, let me know. I'm always on the look out for ideas for new content.

Want to know more about cruising Alaska? You can search using key words and come up with a slew of posts, but you can also check out my Cruising Alaska resources section here where you'll find the most recent posts.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Ketchikan, Alaska with the Royal Princess

Before I start with today, I need to finish up last night's activities. We had the Captain's Circle Party. Being I was recognized for 500 days with Princess we were able to bypass the long line and use a different entrance, have special seats allocated just for us, and get drinks right away.
It wasn't long after this picture was taken when I told hubby we needed to promise each other something - if we ever got to those 2,000+ days like the others in the front row we would not be dismissive of someone at just 500 days. It was clear by the folks around us that we weren't at their "level". That they were better than us. I've written about this one-upness issue back in November. Although I don't know if the guy sitting on the other side of me was any better. He was a passenger looking for a seat, looked at my place card, wanted to know how many days I was celebrating, and told me he wanted to sit by me because then maybe everyone else would think he was a VIP, too. I guess we all need to feel special in front of other people.

After the party we went and sat outside for a bit. It was a beautiful night on the Horizon Terrace.
We even saw whales out there!

Now back to Ketchikan...
Our crew member gal still didn't have a workable schedule for us all to go out together so we headed out by ourselves. We knew we wanted Burger Queen like we did last week. We also knew from last week's hour wait they deliver to the Arctic Bar across the street.

I knew the bar would be interesting when we saw this t-shirt for sale inside. If I wasn't so full of joy and kindness and spreading love everywhere I go I would be pretty tempted to buy it. (Not really, but it did give me a giggle contemplating how it would go over if I wore it on the ship.)
When we found a table that had just been vacated by crew members I had yet another giggle when I looked at the cup left behind. The bloody Mary and Long Island Iced Tea were ours; the mug wasn't. The Arctic Bar is quite the cheeky place.
We drank for a while, then called up Burger Queen for lunch. They run the food on over to the bar when it's ready. I again forgot to take a pic of the burger as we ate it too fast. It was just so darn tasty. Here's their menu:
and their delivery guy...

Check out my 5 Things to do in Ketchikan if you want to know what to do in town that doesn't involve salty language.

All aboard isn't until 5:30 but we needed to head back a bit earlier to get a nap in before tonight's Most Traveled Guest party. We came back to more treats in our cabin for my 500th day with Princess celebration. We've had something arrive every single day. Wow.

Another great day with the Royal Princess in Alaska.

Tomorrow we have our last sea day of our cruise. Sad.

Want to know more about cruising Alaska? You can search using key words and come up with a slew of posts, but you can also check out my Cruising Alaska resources section here where you'll find the most recent posts.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Royal Princess in Juneau, Alaska

Sometimes I feel guilty when we're cruising and I decide not to get off the ship in port. It's like I feel this obligation to get out there and do something productive. I had contemplated going whale watching last week, but with me writing about the incident in Ketchikan the day prior I wasn't in the mood. I contemplated going whale watching today but I again didn't feel in the mood. I already had an amazing whale watching day in Cabo San Lucas this year anyway. (You can read about that day here.) Our crew member had a limited time to get off the ship today so we didn't go out to eat with her, either. 

Looking for ideas for Juneau? Check out my 5 Things to do in Juneau list right here.

There are a myriad of things we could have done today but we did absolutely nothing and I'm good with it. I figured it's my vacation and I can do however much or little as I'd like. This is our 17th trip to Juneau. I think it's just fine and dandy to stay on the ship. So what did I do with my time on board?

I sat by the Retreat Pool in the beautiful Alaska sunshine.
I looked at the trees from my lounge chair.
I watched the Mt. Roberts Tram go up and down the mountain.
I took a photo of my personal yacht for the day.

Had Alfredo's again. Wrote the blog. Will go to the Captain's Circle Party tonight. (We never, ever go to those things but since it's a milestone cruise I'll be recognized so we'll need to be there. Since it's formal night and we didn't bring formal clothes we'll do the best we can.)

A nice, relaxing, vacation day in Alaska. Tomorrow we're off to our last port of the cruise, Ketchikan.

Want to know more about cruising Alaska? You can search using key words and come up with a slew of posts, but you can also check out my Cruising Alaska resources section here where you'll find the most recent posts.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Royal Princess in Skagway, Alaska

Welcome to Skagway!

Today was about food, drink, crew, and amazing weather. We started our day with taking the crew member we came on this ship to see out to lunch at the Sweet Tooth Cafe. After a lengthy lunch we moved onto Starfire to get takeout for her hubby who was still on duty. I've written about Sweet Tooth Cafe and Starfire several times over, this last week included. (You can find last week's Skagway post here.)

When she had to go back to the ship we moved onto a new restaurant, The Skagway Brewing Company. While the restaurant itself isn't new, their location is. So new that some of the online maps still show their old location down at the end of town. But now they have a brand new large building right next to Starfire on 4th Avenue.

We sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Skagway day. Look one way and see trees and blue sky. And beer flights and Long Island Iced Tea.
Look another way and see snow-capped mountains through the windows.
Head to the bathroom to find this unique sign of beer-holding people pointing the right way.
Here's the menu, if you're interested. They have an extended menu in their restaurant upstairs but we stayed downstairs in the outside area.
We spent a significant amount of time there. All aboard wasn't until 8 pm so why not, right? We visited with a nice couple from our ship who were first time cruisers. I enjoy listening to new cruiser perspectives and in Alaska am reminded of how tough the first day of a cruise can be when embarking in Whittier. You may be coming off a land tour which can be oh-so-exhausting. It's not unusual to barely make it in time for the Muster Drill (around 7:45 pm in Whittier). Whether you just flew into Anchorage that same day or were in Denali beforehand you will most likely arrive at the ship physically and mentally tired. You're then rushed on the ship, hurried to Muster Drill, and may be too tired for dinner afterwards. It's just a tough day all around. It should be easier, but it just isn't.

We left the Brewing Company after 5 pm and headed to the Popcorn Emporium around the corner and munched on some of the samples as we sat outside on a bench. We finally headed back to the ship close to six.
And went right to a couch near the Princess Live theater. We found a bar steward we hadn't seen in a couple years on this ship (didn't even know he was here - what a great surprise!) and had more drinks.

And then moved on to Alfredo's for our favorite pizza. Pepperoni, garlic, and extra cheese. Hubby opted for red onions, too. Crazy that the pizza is free here. It is so darn good.
Then we finally, finally, headed back to the cabin so I could type up this blog. Found more food here, too. More goodies for my 500 day celebration. Got a certificate to boot.
It was an amazing day in Skagway. I say this every year, but I think I could live here.  

Want to know more about cruising Alaska? You can search using key words and come up with a slew of posts, but you can also check out my Cruising Alaska resources section here where you'll find the most recent posts.

Off to Juneau tomorrow.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Royal Princess in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Welcome back to Glacier Bay, the best day on an Alaskan cruise. I could repeat some of the same things I've said about Glacier Bay, but I've already done that several times over. Instead, I'll provide some links to some of my past blog posts in case you'd like to learn more.
Instead of saying anything new about Glacier Bay let me spend today catching up on some of things about the Royal Princess. I was planning on doing a trip wrap-up from last week, but just realized we'll be losing our internet today. That's one thing I've forgotten to mention about Glacier Bay. In my experience, the internet will be out for the day. So I'll hold the wrap-up until later and I'll instead get out some random info I haven't shared yet.

*Like I said yesterday, the OceanCompass app has done a great job of locating hubby around the ship. There is also another app we are using, OceanNow. This app lets us order things around the ship. Last night I used it to order room service. My cheeseburger made it to the cabin in record time, 20 minutes. Usually if you call room service on formal night you're on hold that long. While the menu is very limited, it did the job. At 2 am this morning while hubby was snoring and I couldn't sleep (probably because I slept most of yesterday away) I was looking through the app and found room service wasn't an option. So it seems the hours are limited, too. 

We've also been able to order fries while sitting out on the Lido deck, and attempted to order a drink with the app in Crooners on the last day of last week's cruise. (Your first drink through the app is free!) Crooners was open but it wouldn't register on the app. It gave me other options of places around the ship I could go to get a drink, but not Crooners. The server said he could still get my drink for free anyway, but when we checked the bill we were still charged. The Passenger Services desk was a zoo because it was the last day so I didn't even bother with standing in the huge line. The app is still showing a free drink so I'll try it again this week.

Other things you can order with OceanNow are pizza on deck, spa products, Ocean Medallion accessories, and even a robe, hangers, and ice for your cabin.
I'll post new Medallion videos once I get home. The MedallionNet here is better than the Ruby but worse than the Caribbean Princess. It's not fast enough to watch any videos, let alone upload them.

*The library was stocked with new board games last cruise. Like boxes and boxes of brand new games all nicely arranged and ready to be played.

*Also at the library, I left my Cruising with Confidence book in the library (this one right here, but the paperback version) like I've been doing on ships lately. I put a book label on the inside cover stating it is donated by the author (me) and asking them to return it the ship's library when they are finished reading it. But like has happened before, it wasn't returned at the end of last cruise. I know that's the chance I take, but I'm paying full price for my own book (no freebies or discounts for this author here) so that many others can read the book - not just so one passenger can take it home and keep it. 

*I've been leaving Encouraging Word Money Pockets all around the ship and also in the Wake Show Box. Cruise Director Matt O reads the Wake Show ones every single morning. After months of cruising where they were only read four times in total, it is exciting to see someone embrace their purpose and believe in the power of positive and supportive ideas, thoughts, words and actions. Way to go, Matt O for helping send those good vibes out into the world! 

*We went to Sabatini's the other night for dinner for the first time. Since I don't like Italian food we've always skipped the place. As I found out, it's not all pasta. 
A couple weeks back on the Ruby we tried Share for the first time and said it was going to replace our Crown Grill visits. Now we're in a quandary. We might want Sabatini's to be the Crown Grill replacement. It was really, really good. After so many mediocre visits to Crown Grill on so many ships across the fleet, eating at Sabatini's and Share have been like a breath of fresh air. I'll do a write-up on Sabatini's at a later date so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, if you get a chance to try Sabatini's on the Royal Princess, do it.

It's almost 7 pm and the internet is back so let's get back to Glacier Bay...We had spectacular weather today and we even got much closer to Margerie Glacier today than last week. Double score! Pictures? Oh yeah, I've got 'em.

Want to know more about cruising Alaska? You can search using key words and come up with a slew of posts, but you can also check out my Cruising Alaska resources section here where you'll find the most recent posts.

Off to Skagway tomorrow.