Twitter is such a fantastic thing, friends. One minute you are tweeting about cruises and the next you are making a new pal. I hope you will give Alexandria a very warm welcome to This Happy Place Blog. She is going to be sharing pictures and advice for Disney Cruisin to Alaska! (One of the locations on my must-see list.) In this month-long series, Alex is going to cool down our summers with details of her recent trip and hopefully get you in the mood for an Alaskan adventure. Enjoy! – estelle
I am fresh back from my first cruise to Alaska on the Disney Wonder. It was incredible!
While this was my fourth Disney Cruise Line experience, I found it the hardest to plan for because there definitely isn’t as much information out there for Alaskan Disney cruises as there is for other Disney Cruises, so I wanted to share some of my experiences for future cruisers. (That, and, I just love talking about this trip because it was so different than any other vacation I had been on!)
My husband and in-laws were my travel partners and we were celebrating my father-in-law’s upcoming retirement. This would be their first Disney Cruise Line experience and I’ll give you a spoiler — they loved every minute of it!
The cruise left from Canada Place in Vancouver. We spent the night before the cruise at The Fairmont Waterfront, directly across the street from the port. You really can’t get any closer than this! Embarkation morning had us up quite early (we’re from the East Coast and hadn’t quite adjusted to the time change) and couldn’t wait to get on the ship.
The boarding process was very similar to when leaving from Port Canaveral. From the minute they announce your name as you board the ship to the first time you see your stateroom, day one is just pure excitement. Our last two cruises had been on the Dream and the Fantasy, so we weren’t sure what to expect when going on a “classic” ship, but it felt just like coming home. While the atrium is a bit smaller and the technology isn’t as up-to-date, the general decor and feeling were the same. Everything was in perfect working condition and clean.
The seven-night cruise had three port days — Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan — and one day at Tracy Arm Fjord, where we had absolutely gorgeous vistas all day long. Sea days were packed with activities that we couldn’t miss, like a chocolate and beverage pairing, nature talks by Alaskan Naturalist Doug Jones, first-run movies, like Iron Man 3, and trivia. We definitely didn’t relax as much on this cruise as we have on others!
One of the coolest things about this cruise were the views. Unlike Caribbean cruises we had been on, where all you can see is endless ocean, we could constantly see land, typically mountains, glaciers and trees. The Inside Passage is pretty narrow, so the ship travels quite slowly, making for a very smooth a bump-free ride. This was by far the most calm cruise I’d ever been on. If you’re concerned at all about rocky waters, this is the cruise for you! We also saw bears, whales, seals, dolphins, eagles and mountain goats, all from our veranda. It was totally worth the extra money for a room with a view on this cruise because you never knew what was going to be right outside your door.
We wanted to make the most of the days in port so we booked Port Adventures for each day. The Best of Skagway took us for a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route, Liarsville Gold Rush and Salmon Bake where we panned for gold, and the Red Onion Saloon, and we still had time to explore the tiny town. Our day in Juneau was the only rainy day we ran into, and our helicopter adventure was cancelled due to the stormy weather. Luckily, we were able to arrange for the Deluxe Tour of Juneau last minute. On this Port Adventure, we visited the Mendenhall Glacier, Glacier Gardens and Rainforest Adventure, and the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. On our final port day in Ketchikan, we took a boat ride to Misty Fjords and explored the amazing sites. Every Port Adventure was well worth the money!
If you’re contemplating this cruise itinerary — stop. Just do it. We had never seen such amazing sites and couldn’t get over the scenery. Disney, as always, does an amazing job with the entertainment, food (did I mention we did Palo — twice!), and customer service. It truly was the vacation of a lifetime.
Come back next week to hear more about the Disney Cruise to Alaska!