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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ours came three days before departure.
  5. 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!
  6. There was no conditioner in the bag of goodies, either. Based on the results, sounds like getting conditioner is a thing of the past... At least I now know! Thanks everyone for your information.
  7. Does Princess provide suite passengers with hair conditioner? We just got back from a cruise on the Royal. We stay in a suite and have sailed on many of the Princess ships (we're elite), although this was our first time on the Royal. When we got to our cabin, we saw we had the usual shampoo, shower gel, and lotion tubes; a new kind of cake soap (smaller); but no hair conditioner. I asked the steward, and he said they no longer provide hair conditioner, just the conditioning shampoo. Ugh, I have long hair and need conditioner! Fortunately, we had a small bottle from our hotel stay, but it wasn't enough to last the week, so we were going to buy some at our first stop in Cabo. I also went to the suite concierge, and he couldn't find any, either, so he gave us a tube from the spa. Our room steward did find one of the regular tubes of conditioner on another steward's cart, but evidently, the Royal doesn't stock hair conditioner, except for in the spa. Do the non-suite cabins have conditioner in the showers? Or do they have only the conditioning shampoo? I know the non-suites have the "jugs" of shampoo and not individual tubes, so I'm wondering if they also have a "jug" of conditioner. When did Princess stop providing hair conditioner? Or is the lack of conditioner only on the Royal? We were on the Grand in April/May, and we had the usual tubes of hair conditioner. Thanks!
  8. We always park at Aladdin. If you use Groupon, you can buy a slightly discounted price. I think the cost is $21 for two days, then the other days you end up paying full price which I think is now $18 or $19 a day for inside self parking. There are many parking lots in the cruise port vicinity, since it's also the area for the airport. Some of the outside lots are less expensive, and also have Groupon deals. Over the years we've found Aladdin to be the most reliable with their shuttle service. You have a choice of inside, outside, or valet parking there.
  9. Done both: The helicopter ride on both is spectacular. For the dog sled ride you land on a snow field; for the other glacier landing, you land in an area where you can walk up to a crevasse - also an incredible experience. I'd do option 2 if you aren't sure if you'll be going back to Alaska.
  10. I, too, often take walking sticks onboard for hiking. If I fly to port, I have the walking sticks in my carry on - usually attached in an external side pocket of my backback. TSA asks what the sticks are for, and when I respond I need them for walking, they have to let me take them as carryon - I guess the sticks are viewed the same as a cane.
  11. D736 doesn't have a desk in the sitting area if that is important to you. I prefer D736 because of the balcony, my husband prefers C748 because of the extra space in the sitting room...
  12. I am not near the salmon runs! I've been hiking in Alaska for about 10-15 years. When I was at Katmai National Park, we had to attend "bear school", and the most important thing they instructed us about was how not to surprise the bears. At Katmai the bears rule - humans are "taught" how not to disturb them by avoiding direct eye contact and making noise.
  13. I often hike in Alaska by myself and do not take bear spray. You should only take bear spray if you feel comfortable and are experienced using it. Often people panic and end up spraying themselves. I have never seen a bear on the trail - I use hiking sticks and "bang" them onto the ground so the bears know I am coming. I also have a whistle on my day pack, so if I hear a bear is in the area, or see bear scat, I stick the whistle in my mouth and "blow" the whistle every time I exhale. Generally speaking, if you make noise, the bears keep away from you.
  14. Don’t forget to mark the ticket for same day. If you get the laundry in by 8-9:00am it will be delivered that night. We generally set out the laundry at night after getting ready for dinner, and it’s back in our cabin the next evening while we are at dinner. Same day has no extra charge for suite passengers. We have had some problems, but find the convenience worth the risk! They once shrunk a new sweater of my husband’s - must have been laundered instead of cleaned as marked, and we were reimbursed with no problem.
  15. If you like hiking you can hike to the Harding Icefields at Exit Glacier.
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