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RSF Cruiser

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  1. We always get aft balconies. The view when leaving the glacier or port is beautiful. While at a glacier or coming into port, we like to be on deck and see the views from all angles, but when leaving, it's so relaxing to sit on the balcony, have a snack/drink, and enjoy the views. Plus, with an aft balcony, you get protection from the wind. Although the air might be cool to cold, there is little to no wind.
  2. Yes, that's the view!!! I love eating on the balcony with what you see in this picture as the backdrop!!!
  3. We always have an aft cabin and love it for Glacier Bay. We stay on deck traveling into the bay and for while we are at Marjorie Glacier. My favorite spot in completely forward. It's windy and cold, but that's where I like to be. Once we get to the glacier, I walk to various spots, nut I mainly stay at the very front of the ship. Once we start to leave the glacier, we go done to our cabin, order breakfast, and eat on out balcony while gawking over the incredible views. If you have a clear day, the backdrop of the glacier covered mountains in the distance is wonderful. Yes, it can be cold on the balcony - we just wear a jacket, hat, and cloves. Because the aft balconies are protected from the wind, sometimes it's warm enough to just have on a sweater.
  4. I'm sure what people give varies - at least a dollar or two.
  5. They dive for tips. There isn't a restaurant with a view of the divers - you stand on the malecon to watch.
  6. I don’t remember any rough seas, but then they would have to be really rough for me to notice, so I’m not a reliable judge. As for the weather, we were one if the first ships to get to Alaska. Alaska was colder that the later months, but not a problem for me. I’d say the weather going up the coast was the normal spring weather. Since you’re going in the summer, it should be warmer. I find the best attitude regarding weather is to expect it to be bad - then you are generally happy with what ever happens. The coldest day will be a whatever glacier you are going to - from the ice radiating out, but you’re o ly there for an hour or so. I don’t generally go in the pool, but I always go in the hot tub. That was delightful.
  7. Yes, ship excursions do fill up, especially the popular ones. I always book as soon as I think I might want to go an excursion. They are fully refundable until a day or so before. Often the price goes up, and if the excursion isn't selling well, it might go on sale - in which case you can rebook. We booked a glacier landing in Denali, but weather prohibited the landing - we had the option of not going on the flight for a full refund, but we decided to do the flight, too, and it was spectacular. We've also done dog sledding in Juneau. They both are incredible experiences. Google these excursions and look at the online photos and videos - that might help you decide between the two. The scenery in Denali was probably more spectacular - I thought it looked like what Yosemite must have looked like when there were glaciers there. The dog sledding experience was fantastic - wonderful scenery, and then being at the dog camp and riding on the sleds was a Wow! experience. We've also taken a helicopter ride in Juneau where we landed and walked around on the glacier. Another incredible excursion. Maybe you'll be like many people on thses boards and go back to Alaska multiple times, so eventually you'll get to do all of the excursions 🙂
  8. We did the round trip from LA in April/May 2019 and have it booked again in July 2021. We loved it because we could cruise to Alaska without flying. We've cruised to Alaska from LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. Like anything else, each has its advantages and disadvantages - it really depends on your priorities. If spending the maximum amount of time in Alaska is your priority, this cruise may not be for you. On the LA round trip you will spend most of your time traveling to and from Alaska, so be sure you enjoy sea days! We're aren't sensitive to the ship's rocking, so I'm not a good one to ask about rough seas. One of the things I like about the 2021 itinerary, is the number of stops in Alaska - it's been a long time since we've been in Sitka.
  9. We often fly into Oakland for a cruise and take Uber or Lyft. The airport is well marked for where you go to get your Uber/Lyft - when you walk out of the terminal, you go to the second or third "pick-up" island. It's fast, easy, reasonably priced, and we don't have to deal with the San Francisco Airport and worry about fog closing things up.
  10. When Princess introduced the photo package, and for the first few years, as long as one person who had the photo package was in the photo, that person got a hard copy and the digital file. We've had the package many times, and it worked wonderfully - my husband and I bought the package, and as long as one of us was in the photo we got the hard copy and the digital file. Fourteen months ago, aboard the Grand to Hawaii, we were told the policy changed - if there is even one person in the photo who did not buy the package, you have to pay the per photo fee to get the hard copy or digital file. I'm hoping that policy was short lived! We purchased the package again on the Star for this summer to Alaska, and will ask for our money back if we can't have others in the photos. Does anyone have recent experience with the photo package? My experience is
  11. We did the Napali Coast through Princess. Most of the time was cruising along the Napali coastline and cliffs. The boat ride was spectacular. We saw a school of spinner dolphins, and the captain stopped the boat so we could watch them. We also went into a few caves and then stopped for snorkeling. Lunch was served during the snorkel time, and there were people who did not go in the water. Even if you stay on the boat, you can see fish and maybe turtles from the boat.
  12. If you are sensitive to vibrations, you might not like an aft cabin. We always stay in aft suites - we love the wake view, vibrations, and rocking. Vibrations don't bother us, so it's not an issue. The boat also rocks more in the front or back. I observed an interesting physics lessons once on the ship's swimming pool. The boat was rocking quite a bit, so in the center of the pool, the water stayed pretty stable (think teeter totter here), the ends of the pool rose and fell a few feet. If you are sensitive to movement, the best place to stay is a center level in the center of the ship.
  13. There's a posting on this board about the Blue Line in Mazatlan. When you get off the ship there are American expats along the route and offering maps (see photo). They can be identified by their blue shirts. There's a blue line in the street directing you to the Old Town where there are restaurants, shops, a historic theater with guided tours, and a nice plaza that generally has street entertainers. We walked to Old Town, the Cathedral (where there is another plaza), the Municipal Market (a fun experience), and then over to the Malecon and back to the ship. Our route was probably around five leisurely miles in total and we spent most of the day doing it. Going just to Old Town and back to the ship is a round trip of about a mile and a half. Most of the route is flat. The only hill we had was the route we took from the Malecon to the ship, although we could have traveled a flatter route if we wanted to. We felt perfectly safe walking through the neighborhoods. Plus, the neighborhoods were beautiful. Although most people go to the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, this past time we went I decided to explore the immediate port area, and was pleasantly surprised. There's a small open market area near the beach, and then a string of all inclusive resorts. If you like walking on the beach, and have been to Puerto Vallarta before, this area is a nice alternative that doesn't require a cab or bus ride. I certainly recommend taking a cab to the Malecon and beach for first time visitors, but I did enjoy walking around the area near the port. If you are walkers, in Cabo I walked the entire perimeter of the harbor to Medano Beach and back. Again, totally safe.
  14. Ours came three days before departure.
  15. We did a family land trip to Alaska for my milestone birthday in 2007. One of our daughters (in her early 20s then) really didn't want to go. When we told her about the boat ride in Glacier Bay (we stayed two nights there), she said it sounded boring. I won't go into the other comments she made about the trip, but she was not at all enthralled about an expense paid trip to Alaska. She did come since it was my birthday celebration. Since it was a land trip, we told her she could leave after my birthday and didn't have to continue on the trip (she joined us in Juneau and Glacier Bay, that's it). She's now in her late 30s, and although the Alaska trip wasn't one of her favorites, she does say she now realizes how fortunate she was to go on a trip like that. Obviously, every family is different. I am glad she came on the trip. She saw and did things that widened her horizons and challenged her. FYI - one of the rules in our family is you do not have to have a good time on family vacations or excursions, but you are not allowed to interfere with anyone else's good time. Meaning no complaining or whining. We started that rule when the kids were little, enforced it, and it really worked. There's something to be said about getting out of your comfort zone, although the cost of Alaska may or may not be the place to teach that lesson!
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