Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trains, the Klondike and Soapy Smith - Day 5

Todays Blog post is brought to you by the Letter S.... for Skagway

I am writing up the post for the day so far, sitting on our balcony overlooking the port/pier in Skagway. A town with the population of just over 800... and there are 3 cruise ships in port today... our ship has 1300 passengers. The cashier in one of the shops in town (which is 3 blocks wide by 5 blocks long) said 3 ships is really manageable, 4 plus and it gets crazy. Okay!
The weather is amazing and our early morning excursion on the White Pass Yukon Railroad was amazing as well. All the times we have seen the DVD of this train don't do the ride itself justice. We booked a ride that included "Disney exclusive youth activities". Which means on the return trip down the mountain, all the young'ns went into another passenger car with 4 dedicated staff/cast/angels, to keep them happy and all the adults (and our train loving boy) stayed in the main cabin for quiet and and sparkling cider (or champagne if you were so inclined). The trip which departed from the dock, then returned to the depot in town... a minute walk from the dock. But we took advantage and did our shopping.

This is the only port we will have time and opportunity to shop in, so took a little while to acquire the needed memorabilia :)
Back on board, we got lunch and now I sit, enjoying the weather and the view. At 3 the young man and I will go see the Disney Nature movie Bears, while hubby relaxes a bit and the little lady plays in the kids clubs.
I am back from the movie, and what's that saying about things not going as planned? Oh well. The young man really struggled with the movie and he connected with Hubby who decided not to relax. So they did some laundry... I got the better end of that deal.
We all met back up for dinner in Parrot Cay.
After dinner, we skipped the evening show, which was actually a movie (Maleficent). The little lady hit the clubs and the rest of the family watched our departure from Skagway and enjoyed the ship.
We aimed to get to sleep early... tee hee, that only worked for 1 of the 4 of us.

Tomorrow Juneau!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting cold up here - Day 4

Amazing Ice (lots of pictures today)

Today was amazing.... the views, the vistas, the windchill.... wow!
We started our day with a character breakfast - which was just going to be me and my little lady, but the young man decided to join us last minute.. so hubby came along too. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy--in their finest nautical attire--stopped by while we dined and posed for pictures. It was nice to have a sit-down breakfast (our first of the trip) and it worked out well, even for the young man, who tolerated the characters.

head wear created by our amazing serving team 
rocking a peter pan hat
Then we (the parents/grow-ups/adults) went to see a short talk on Disney's innovations in theme parks, while the kids went to the club. One kid was having so much fun she wanted to stay longer... the other seemed to be waiting to be picked up when hubby arrived.
Now the bulk of today was to be spent cruising through the Tracy Arm Fjord and seeing the Sawyer Glacier - OOooooo Aahhhhhhh (truly, no joke).

Looks cold
wrapped up in Mom's new cruiseline blanket
Sun is starting to come out
"Welcome to Alaska"
We wouldn't enter it for another few hours, but the scenery was already changing. Hubby had a spa appointment mid-day, so the kids and I were on our own. We decided to enjoy our balcony and order room service for lunch. We ate.. and I watched as we got closer and closer to the fjord.
The temp also started to drop.
The fjord was amazing. The water color is a green blue, apparently from glacier sediment. We spent the bulk of the rest of the day watching from our balcony or up on the upper decks as the ice, water and trees went by. The ship stopped quite a while at the end of the fjord and turned around, giving everyone on board a great view of the glacier.
I mentioned before it was windy... It was WINDY. I think my cheeks got a bit red from the wind more than the sun.

Coming into the Fjord
Seriously, kids in the pool? (note what the lifeguard is wearing)
You can see the live feed from the front of the ship on the big screen
"Base Camp" set up on the sports deck for the kids
It was soo windy taking this pic.... I only took one!
A smaller ship in the fjord doing some sort of excursion
The Glacier
more glacier
more ice
View from our balcony
tents on the mountain side - surveying the glacier
they dropped a boat with photographers
Boys watching the boat drop 
With all the amazing nature about, we almost forgot about our appointment time to see the princesses from Frozen! But we didn't and our little lady had a very sweet meeting with them. Followed by more time in the club before dinner.

Tonight after dinner she and I decided to try our hand at Bingo... it was fun, and interesting to see how modern day bingo tournaments are held, but not something either of us wanted to spend much more time doing. We finished our round and went to the evening show. The entertainer/juggler was great! Funny, great timing, and very skilled juggler, we all enjoyed it.
Tonight is early to bed, because tomorrow is EARLY to rise.
Skagway! See ya soon.

More pictures :)

They picked up a piece of ice floating our in the fjord... 
posing with the ice ;) 
one of the crew gave him a small piece of the ice... it was cold 
Kyakers from that smaller boat 
Glacier Selfie
End of the day, balcony picture.... amazing day

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day at Sea - Day 3

I woke this morning to a fair amount of movement from the ship. Yes, I know we are on a cruise, but I assumed that since we don't really get that far from land it would be smooth... what was I thinking?
But I enjoy it, it reminds me of the adventure we are on and that is fun!
The little lady is sleeping in today - and the young man and hubby are going to a morning movie. So I have a little time to blog :)

Assorted Views from our balcony :)  

Soo close to the shore... great views all day! 
Today is a sea day and tomorrow we go through Tracy Arm Fjord (technically a sea day also, but the Fjord is very cool) so too many pictures of ice coming tomorrow :)
It was a rather busy day. We had kid's club events, returning cruiser parties and nature talks to attend. Also a trip to the spa and more exploring of the ship - no wonder I am tired.
The weather started out grey and misty and turned absolutely beautiful. In my opinion, we haven't spent enough time outside on deck yet. I think that will all change tomorrow.  I am enjoying being on a smaller ship, compared to last summer. Both ships are good at absorbing the masses, except for a few times each day, when you seem to run into EVERYONE! The evening show was the thing today.  I hope tomorrow we can all spread out nicely along the assorted decks to see the fjord... but my guess is everyone will want to be front and center on deck 10.
We are still having more movement of the ship than I would expect, but I everyone seems to be used to it :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Setting Sail - Day 2

Our ship has come in ;)

Coming around the edge of Stanley Park! 
Turning around at the dock of Canada Place
All settled into its parking spot! 

I was restless last night.. I think it was excitement!
I was up early enough to see the Disney Wonder pull into port... and took a lot of pictures, I will spare you the bulk of them.
We all seemed to rise early today and with very little on our agenda it allowed us to be relaxed in our getting ready and packed. Hubby ran out and got some breakfast for the family and we dined on a yummy assortment of breakfastables when he returned.
We planned to see/ride the new Fly Over Canada experience at Canada Place this morning and we were in the second group.

Blue skies at Canada Place 
Ready for our ride! 
I highly recommend this experience. The pre-show was unique, but a bit outside my taste, and I had a very nervous young man so I was just wanting to get on with the ride.
If you have ridden Soarin' or Soarin' over California at a Disney park, this ride will feel very, very familiar. Its the same concept (even the same seats) but over Canada. And it's about 3 minutes longer than Soarin' - Canada vs California... seems like 3 minutes isn't enough to cover the difference. But it was great. Even the nervous young man said it was good by the end.
Going on this also allowed us to see the Wonder from the dockside and get that much more excited about boarding time.

Enjoying the displays out on the pier
Aww, Mom... put the camera away, already!
The proximity of all that we needed for this first night was amazing. Kudos to hubby for getting that planned - the hotel, parking, Fly Over Canada and the ship, all in the same place -- perfect.
We finished up in the room and it was time to check in for the cruise. Our room check out was at noon and our ship check in time was 11:30 to Noon... perfect!
Having only sailed on Disney out of Port Canaveral, this was a bit different. A lot more looking around to see where to go next, but it went smoothly. And not too long after our little lady had her picture taken with Minnie, we were boarding the Wonder!

With Minnie!
So Excited... well, most of us :) 
We had lunch in Beach Blanket Buffet and then popped down to Studio Sea to pick up tickets to meet Elsa and Anna (princesses from Frozen), in a few days. This is new and they are soooo popular, they are doing it as a ticketed event... tickets are free, so it's just crowd control. Fine by me.
We also took a few minutes to register the kiddos for the kid's clubs and to check those out.
So the Wonder is the second ship built by Disney (younger sister to the Magic if you ask our young man) and smaller than the Fantasy that we sailed on last summer.  Hubby and I have sailed on her once, before we had kids, for a 3 day cruise. But we have been on the Magic 3 times (one - 14 day cruise and two - 7 day cruises; nearly a month). So in some ways we feel right at home on the Wonder and in other ways nothing is where I expect it to be, if that makes sense :)  Give me a day or two and I will have it all down.
Staterooms are open by 1:30 and we were ready to get to ours. And the stateroom was exactly as exepected. Our luggage began arriving shortly after we did and I was able to unpack one bag at a time, then check the front door and grab the next one... good timing. Hubby ran out and grabbed some passes, along with confirming a shore excurion and getting our internet package all squared away. The kids enjoyed the room and balcony, and watched some Mickey cartoons.
The muster drill (lifevest drill) was at 4 and all went as planned, then we split up... Little lady and Dad hit the sail away party and the young man and I went to the front of the ship to watch our departure.
I have sailed out of Port Canaveral five times in my life; out of Seattle once and today out of Vancouver BC - I have to say sailing out of a port you know is more fun! I LOVED sailing past Stanley park and under the Lions Gate Bridge... It was soo much fun.  It also seems that the speed/wake limits aren't as strong up here in Canada... once we past the bridge we really took off!

Sights and sounds of our departure......
.... hmmm, y'all can't hear anything...  
... but it's a bit loud for some of us :) 
Stanley Park with Canada Place in the background
Lions Gate Bridge
The other side of Lions Gate Bridge!

Dinner was next up and we dined in Triton's tonight. Triton being the father of the little mermaid (in Disney lore). We have a table for four, and we met our serving team: Sam from the Philippines and Allwyn from India. They will get to know our crazy food preferences quickly, I can tell.

Ready to eat! 
Following dinner, our little lady hit the kids club for an hour and I hit the shops. Hubby and the young man explored a bit. The show tonight was the Welcome Aboard Variety show, the staged part, involving the talented cast is fairly standard from what we have seen in the past. The guest variety act was great, and we look forward to seeing him again in a few evenings.
The little lady had a solid argument for why she should go back to the kids club after the show - "Science". They were going to make a volcano and really, who can resist that? It was going to be a late night for some of us.. but tomorrow we can sleep in.
Tomorrow we have a sea day!

The first of 7 amazing towel animals from our stateroom host.