Alaska Archives: Cruising with Mickey Part 1

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On Deck with Donald

Cruising through Southeast Alaska has long been a bucket list trip for me and Ran. Last year, after putting in long hours and extra days at work, we finally made it happen. For the past four summers, we have been booking and cancelling our Alaska cruises. It just never seemed financially possible at the time. I have read trip reports saying that excursions at the Alaskan ports are not cheap. And then, there’s also the issue of booking a balcony vs. an inside stateroom.

Originally we were booked with Holland America, embarking and disembarking at Seattle, Washington. A mini-suite sounded like the perfect room to book. It had Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria as its Ports of Call and also a scenic cruise through Sawyer Glacier. Then with almost 90 days before embarkation, I decided to check out Disney Cruise Lines Alaska sailings. Everything that I had planned with Holland America went crumbling down. I just had to do it with Disney. So, I booked it.

So, what made us change our minds?

1. Before going on this one, we’ve already been on FOUR Disney cruises. We know who to book with. We know the process. And, we know what to expect. This cruise made us in to Gold Castaway Club members, which, I will discuss in a future post.

2. The port times are longer than the cruise we booked with Holland America. The Jones Act prevents a non-U.S. registered ship from traveling between two U.S. ports unless they stop at a foreign port. The Holland America ship embarks and disembarks in Seattle, Washington. Hence, a stop at Victoria, British Columbia is necessary. On the other hand, the Disney Wonder leaves from Vancouver. So, there was no need for an extra stop.

3. We could not pass up on the chance of having brunch and dinner at our favorite: Palo Restaurant. Just thinking about the amazing food (and Chocolate Souffle’) is enough to make me think about booking another Disney cruise.

4. I really love taking pictures with the Disney characters. It is so much different from the parks. The lines are not as bad and you’re not under the heat of the sun. They even have a ticketed system on the more famous ones (Frozen characters, Princesses).

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Ravin’ good time with Rapunzel

 

We had to downgrade to an inside stateroom. But, we didn’t mind that at all because that was what we usually book from our past cruises. And even though we booked past the penalty date, we were still able to secure the excursions we really wanted. We were booked for the White Pass Scenic Railway with Liarsville Salmon bake at Skagway, Helicopter ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and a high school classmate of mine gave us a private tour of Ketchikan.

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On our way to Mendenhall Glacier

We did not regret changing at the last minute, at all.

To be continued…

Travel Plans For 2016

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” -Dalai Lama

We live by this quote. Ran and I believe that traveling to a different place every year makes us richer. And just imagine the stories you tell when you get back from your vacation. Travel is that something that you spend money on and yet you come back even wealthier than before you started.

This year, we are planning for our longest vacation so far. I will be away from home for 28 days. On the other hand, Ran is away for about 22 days. Now, don’t think we will be vacationing separately. I will simply be getting a head start. As a nurse (or at least where I work), it’s easier to ask for vacation days. I work 12-hour shifts 3 days a week, while Ran has weekends off.

We are tagging this year’s grand vacation as #AsiaEurope2016. We are hitting 2 Asian countries (South Korea, Philippines) and 6 European countries (Hungary, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, France and UK). Originally, we were only going to Europe for a Christmas Market river cruise. Then, Ran’s cousin invited us to her wedding in the Philippines. And, we just have to go to South Korea while we’re at it because we love Korean food and culture. And by culture, I mean Korean dramas and music. Vacation starts the week before Thanksgiving holiday.

We are both anxious and excited about this vacation. I love Christmas season. And, to experience this in different countries with the love of my life will be amazing.

This June, though, I will be flying to Florida with my friends and their families for a week. We will be in Orlando for 4 days and 2 days in Key West. I have been to Key West once as a port of call for a Caribbean cruise and to Orlando, 4 times. I know. Some people gasp at the idea of an adult being excited to go back to Walt Disney World. But, believe it or not, there’s always something new to experience there. We don’t have kids. But Ran and I enjoy it a lot. This time will be a little different though as Ran won’t be able to go because of work. I will be with friends and their kids.

Occasionally, we will do road trips for a weekend (Las Vegas for Ran’s Bowling league) and tour local areas (family and friends visiting So. Cal.). Join us in planning and seeing our travels through.

We hope you enjoy our future posts and please feel free to comment. We would like to get to know other travelers!