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).
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.
We did not regret changing at the last minute, at all.
To be continued…