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About disneyochem

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  1. Hello, I would like some feedback on which ship to take on a first-time Panama Canal trip. Both leave from Ft Launderdale: Island (14-day Cruise) ends in LA, HAL (16-day cruise) in San Diego. Price differential is only $86. We live in Northern California so getting home is about the same to us from either port. We have sailed Princess before (which we loved) but not HAL. We are pretty active in our late 50’s who like to DIY at ports, like ships with promenades, enjoy fine wine with traditional dining (not buffet folks) and not into the shows (like to listen to music though). Always book an inside room (though we do enjoy balconys when upgraded!)—hubby has to complete darkness at night for a good sleep! We want to go through the old locks on our first transit—that’s a must. Also, we have to go during my semester break in December/January 2021 (college professor). Thank you in advance! And, what a great topic to post—either way, we get to go on a fantastic cruise!
  2. I also bring $1 and $5 on a trip --tips for the porters, housekeeping staff at hotels, bell porters, front door staff, etc. AND I do tip bartenders on board ships on occasion. I always tip the staff when watching a sports game. The venue is usually crowded so it is worth it to me to tip a dollar a drink to make sure I get one! And, on my last cruise (not NCL), I tipped the barista. He always had my triple shot coconut milk latte ready for me in the morning!
  3. WE each had a rolling suitcase and one bag (backpack, etc). They let us on because it was early in the morning and not crowded. We asked if it was okay before getting on. It was great—got off at a stop that was two blocks from the hotel. Saved a little bit of money b not having to get a taxi.
  4. I check everyday as well online. I have six cruises booked and have saved hundreds of dollars by checking. Prices go up and down almost daily it seems. I only call the TA when it is obvious that I can save money.
  5. We did the HOHO last May (2018) and enjoyed it. We have been to Vancouver many times, but we saw and experienced new areas! Loved the convenience and found that it wasn’t too crowded. Bought tickets at the cruise port and then rode it with our luggage to a stop near our hotel which was close to English Bay. Also got both the city and park ticket. Enjoy!
  6. Thanks for this perspective! I think we will be eating at the Crown Grille on NYE.
  7. Different strokes..... I think it’s nice to find good ethnic food after eating ship food. Have been on a number of different cruise lines—have yet to be impressed with ethnic cuisine offerings on board. We live in a very diverse community and are used to eating ethnic food (Mexican, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern) on a regular basis. So when we’re on a week or longer cruise, we crave a little spice in our foods and are thrilled when we find a good restaurant.
  8. Good point. We always book ahead. If we decide not to go on the tour, it’s easy to give the tickets away!
  9. NPS walking tours as mentioned above are great! Also visiting the cemetery is a nice little excursion. Stop by Skagway Brewery after your tour and try Spruce Tip beer. Don't eat there--not impressed.....just regular bar food. Then go next door for a good Thai food dinner at Starfire Restaurant.
  10. On Princess, if you let them know, your stateroom is decorated for the special occasion—birthday, anniversary, retirement, etc. Decorations consists of a sign and balloons, and are left up until you take them down. No cost. Added as just a FYI.
  11. If you don’t want to rent a car, I would recommend taking the shuttle. With the shuttle, you can take as long as you want at the glacier. ( My first visit to Mendenhall ten years ago was with a tour—we were allowed 45 minutes!). The shuttle departs/arrives pretty close to the ships. Then after you return, depending on weather, you can take the tram up to Mt Roberts and do some hiking or walk around town (shops, state capital, etc).
  12. We usually stay between 2 to 3 hours based on how crowded it is ! At the bare minimum, you should allow 90 minutes—hike to Nugget Falls and take a quick turn in the visitor center. It will be very pleasant if you are there before the crowds. When we rent a car, Mendenhall is always our first stop in order to beat the rush.
  13. Welcome! I took my first Princess cruise this past May (new to Princess, not new to cruising!) and now we are booked on three more cruises! We are booked on the same cruise as well—Island Princess through the Panama Canal—so will be following!
  14. We had a morning arrival—picked the car up around 9. The drive to Eagle Beach is only about 30 minutes. Everything is pretty close. We did hit some traffic around the airport. By traffic, I mean we had to sit through 2 stoplight cycles! You can probably do it in 5 hours. We hiked quite a bit at Mendenhall and Eagle Beach. It was nice to stretch our legs after being on the ship. We also spent a long time at the brewery talking to people. Hubby brews his own beer so we had a very nice chat with the brewers. The shrine is beautiful but can be done quickly. There is a little walk but going to the chapel is pretty close to the parking lot.
  15. Earlier is always better I find in renting cars. And then I price watch for a better deal. That being said, I rented from Juneau Car Rentals about a month before our May trip. Website showed nothing available but was able to get a car when I phoned the office directly. This company was great to work with but be aware that the cars are older and not like the big rental companies! Dirtier, dinged up a bit (we didn’t have to do an inspection of the car’s condition), etc. Lovely and very friendly staff.
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