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RSF Cruiser

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About RSF Cruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

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    San Diego

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  1. We always fly in and out of Oakland - a much easier airport to navigate and fewer delayed/cancelled planes. We take Uber/Lyft and give ourselves an hour for traveling. Our flights are generally between 1:00 and 2:00, and we sometimes get there before we can even check our bags (four hours)!!! Traffic varies, but there's always a delay somewhere... Depending on our pre-cruise plans, we often take an evening flight to Oakland the night before the cruise, stay in one of the Oakland airport hotels, and then take Uber/Lyft to the port in the morning. Again, it seems to take about one hour. The biggest traffic jam the last time was waiting in line to get into the port area. We arrived around 1:00 like I guess most other people did!!!
  2. RSF Cruiser

    hubbard glacier

    I've been to many glaciers on cruises, and they all are spectacular in their own way. Look at these boards and you will see some people have strong feelings about which one is "best". Many say Glacier Bay is a must/the best. Although I love the sailing up to the Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, and the spires on the glacier are beautiful, other glaciers are also spectacular, but in different ways. I love the huge icebergs in Tracy Arm. College Fjord has so many glaciers to see. And Hubbard Glacier is massive! I do think if you pick a cruise for Hubbard Glacier, be sure they offer the small boat experience like the pictures above. I've done small boats to Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm, and now Hubbard Glacier, and prefer the small boat experience to the cruise ship - I like being closer to the water and looking up to the glacier. If you stay on the ship, the experience will be probably be the same no matter what cruise line you are on.
  3. RSF Cruiser

    hubbard glacier

    This is the boat we were on... yes, we got within a half mile of the glacier - this shot is from before we got on the boat.
  4. I've done the drive alone in a rental car and had no issues with the road. Using Murray's guide is wonderful and I would not hesitate doing the trip. The views are spectacular and since you are doing the driving, you can determine where you stop and for how long...
  5. I LOVED the snorkeling excursion. The wet suits they provided kept me almost too warm! There are lots of pictures online of snorkeling in Ketchikan - I thought it was fascinating and totally different from warm water ports. Lots of star fish and kelp.
  6. For the Hawaii ports get the Revealed books (Oahu Revealed, Maui Revealed etc.). Libraries generally have them, and there are many used ones available online. We go to Hawaii often, and always bring our Revealed books - lots of editorialized reviews on everything!
  7. RSF Cruiser

    hubbard glacier

    We were on the Hubbard Glacier small boat excursion a few weeks ago. We were told the Coast Guard allows boats/ships to get up to a half mile from the face of the glacier. so the small boat and ship generally get to the same distance from the glacier's face. The advantage of the small boat is you are closer to the water, so it's a different glacier view from a large ship; there are fewer people with more space for viewing/pictures; and you encircle Haenke Island where the wiwiwakes (white birds) live. We literally saw thousands of birds. Although the small boat excursion is expensive, we thought it was worth every penny. We've been to numerous calving glaciers over the years, and find the experience in a small boat superior to a ship. That said, I think it's a personal decision as to whether paying for the small boat is "worth it". The experience on a ship is different, although it is still spectacular!
  8. If you place your bags on the scanner, you have to take them to your cabin. The only way not to take them to your cabin is to give the bags to a porter when you are dropped off.
  9. If you want to carry all of your bags on, you certainly can (we do it all of the time in San Francisco). Cruise ship staff will repeatedly tell you they will not help - you have to be able to manage the bags yourself, including lifting them up onto the scanner. We cruised from San Francisco a few weeks ago, and a porter told me we were not permitted to carry our bags on (we had two 24 inch and one 21 inch bags). I knew he was wrong and was trying to intimidate me to give him the bags. The only limit to carrying bags on is you need to be able to handle them yourself. We like having all of our things with us when we get to our room.
  10. I've cancelled and rebooked when the lower fare is for new reservations only or I booked the cabin I wanted but didn't have a future cruise credit, so had to rebook once I got the future cruise credit. I've been told there is a slight risk when you cancel and then rebook, someone might grab "my" cabin in those few seconds/minutes between the cancellation and rebooking. Although that is a risk, it has never happened to me. When I simply refare because of a lower price or better incentives, there's never been a risk with losing the cabin.
  11. I agree. We once went to Crown Grill on a formal night, and we were sorry we missed a great dinner in the MDR. The food in the MDR seems to be a bit better on formal nights. Now we go to the specialty restaurants on a regular night when we don't care if we miss a MDR menu. I love being on board for the holidays, especially New Years. The ship is festive and hopping. We did the OP's itinerary last year and loved the cruise so much we are doing it again!!!
  12. Buy or check out from your library Maui Revealed. There are "Revealed" books for each of the islands, and although we've been to Hawaii many times, mainly on land tours, we always take our Revealed books with us. Not only do the authors give opinionated reviews of sights, restaurants, activities, tours/excursions, and hotels, they explain why they like or dislike something, so you can evaluate if you might agree with them or not.
  13. Like everything, it depends on your priority/what's important to you. We always book an aft Vista suite. We used to book the one on the Emerald deck since I like to be as close to the water as possible and near the promenade deck. Then we saw the larger balconies on the Dolphin deck, and started booking those (my favorite Vista suite). Although the balcony on Dolphin is great, the sitting room is slightly smaller, so there is no second desk or end table next to the sofa in the sitting room (my husband doesn't like the interior of the Dolphin deck Vista suites). Now we book the Vista aft suites on the Caribe deck - the balcony is the worst of the three levels, but the sitting room is a bit larger and has a desk and end table next to the sofa (my husband's favorite). So, my husband would say the Caribe deck is the best, and I would say the Dolphin deck - you just can't please all of the people all of the time!!! We generally stay on the even number side, since sometimes there is a smoking section on the promenade deck on the odd number side and if you are sensitive to smoke, you may notice the smell (I don't and my husband does...). We could satisfy both my husband (larger sitting room) and me (larger balcony) by booking an aft premium suite, but I don't want to spend the extra money!!! There always seem to be trade-offs...
  14. We just got off the Grand and did not buy the package. I paid $25 for an 8*10 and $15 for each of the two 6*8s. I brought a ship thumb drive from a previous cruise, and they willingly gave me the digital images. In other words, when you buy a print, there is no extra charge for the digital image. If you don’t have a ship thumb drive, they will be happy to sell you one. I do not know for sure, but I think to get the digital file, you have to have a Princess ship thumb drive, although, the thumb drive can be from a previous cruise.
  15. We were on a holiday cruise a few years ago (Island Panama Canal) that was over both Christmas and Chanukah. The staff was very accommodating - we had the chapel every night for a short passenger led Chanukah service with an electric menorrah, latkes, and all the trimmings. The staff really doesn't know much about Chanukah traditions (e.g they brought us a challah), but they are more than willing to get you what you ask for. We requested jelly donuts, and the next night we had them. They even created little Chanukah bags for us with different Chanukah themed decorations and stuff. The photography staff went out of their way to create Chanukah themed backgrounds for the photos. This past year we did a holiday cruise to Hawaii and Chanukah was over by the time we got on the ship, so there wasn't any type of Chanukah celebration.
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