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Mary Ellen1

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  1. But wait. Hold on a minute. You still dance. Print out your boarding pass, wear your sunglasses, blast some Jimmy Buffett, and dance around the room! It's as much fun as you make it. Have a blast!
  2. We're just back from this cruise. Very glad we kept our unobstructed balcony, as we saw lots (& LOTS) of whales, and a few bears and either Dall sheep or mountain goats (not sure) from our balcony. Thanks, all, for the comments. First time I'd ever received a last-minute offer from Princess, but it wasn't an attractive offer at all (to me).
  3. OP here. Thanks, all, for the replies. JF - retired RRT: you should go for it! Sounds like the offer would work for you. For us, it didn't. For Alaska cruises, I want an unobstructed balcony. And yes, the OBC they were offering was refundable. Italy52: the caller ID didn't say Princess. It was a 661 area code, and said it was coming in from California. Jeter02: I didn't want to take the chance that a balcony they described as "partially obstructed" wouldn't actually be "partially obstructed. Nor did I ask which specific cabin # they were offering, so I could research it. I just passed on the offer, because it didn't sound that great. satxdiver: Downgrade Devil! ha ha! Totally agree. Definitely the naughty little brother of the Upgrade Fairy... You're probably right that they oversold their Guarantee Balcony cabins. That's what we booked, and we'd received our cabin assignment this past Monday. I agree with you that Alaska cruising is all about the (unobstructed) balconies... geocruiser: agree it was a pretty paltry offer. I don't know what they were selling that category for, originally (because I wasn't interested in an obstructed balcony, right?) richmke: totally agree. If they're going to downgrade me, they're going to have to offer something better than $300/pp. Coral: Completely agree with you. "Maybe for a free cruise but not $300." RE: your 2nd comment, yes, some of the offers I've read about are reasonable. Compelling, even. Not this one (for me...). BarbinMich: I'd read about the Downgrade Fairy on here, but only in regards to a much better offer! Also, as Satxdiver said, they probably oversold their regular Balconies, and had leftover Obstructed Balconies that they were putting on a clearance sale. RE: your 2nd comment, an Obstructed Balcony would probably be just fine for a Trans-Atlantic cruise. But in my opinion, not for Alaska. voljeep: ha ha! yeah, their offer was pretty lame! mcrcruiser: yes, Alaska definitely calls for unobstructed views!!! cougaraz: to me, this was definitely a Downgrade... A worse cabin on the same sailing. No thanks! And I didn't counter their offer, because I didn't want the Obstructed Balcony they were discussing. A move-over offer, to a different sailing, with lots of perks and OBC and upgrades, would have been sweet! But difficult to coordinate, in this case, because we had 4 other family members in 2 other cabins. If it was just the DH & me, a move-over offer would have been accepted on the spot! hydrodriver831: did you hear back? 100% of your cruise fare in OBC is a great offer! Happy cruising!
  4. Well, when my phone rings, with a California area code, at 8:30am on day-before-cruise day, I instantly wonder, "Is it Princess?" Why yes! But I didn't think the offer was very good. We sail tomorrow (July 27) on the Royal out of Whittier, southbound to Vancouver. Princess offered a downgrade from a Balcony (BB category on the Dolphin deck) to a partially-obstructed balcony, one deck lower, on Emerald deck. And $300/person in refundable OBC. They made the same offer to the other 2 cabins (DH's brothers) who are sailing with us. We turned it down. To me, sailing Alaska is all about the scenery, the wildlife, and THE BALCONY! Anyway, just thought I'd report in on this. First time I've received a last-minute offer like this from Princess. If they'd offered a move-over offer, to a completely different sailing, with all kinds of refunds, upgrades, airfare credits, etc... AND if we weren't sailing with 4 other family members, we would have jumped on that kind of an offer. This one, not so much. Happy cruising, y'all!
  5. We sail on Saturday, on the Royal. 3 guarantee balcony cabins. We got our cabin assignments on Monday, 5 days before sailing.
  6. We're taking this -- the option w/o the conservation center -- this coming Saturday. Six of us, so we got a group rate of around $40.50. The only disadvantage is that it only runs in the afternoons on Saturday. We'll get to Whittier around 4:30pm. Last year, we had a huge family group cruise, and about 23 folks took this tour with the wildlife stops. They loved it!
  7. klfrodo: Thanks for the advice. I didn't know that $499 was a good price point to use. I'll look into that. Thanks GC!
  8. Hi. We're cruising Alaska in 2 weeks. 7 days on the Royal Princess, Whittier to Vancouver. Please help me decide what kind of policy we need? I don't need/want Cancellation Insurance (having *not* purchased it ever in 30+ cruises, I figure we're self-insured against having to cancel at the last minute). We're flying up to ANC the night before. And there are no pre-existing conditions to worry about. For Caribbean cruises, I normally get a Med-Evac and Emergency Medical policy. Do I need that for Alaska, since we're mostly staying in the USA? (We may drive into Canada on a day-trip out of Skagway, and we'll debark the cruise in Vancouver.) I think what I'm mostly worried about is some kind of injury that might require hospitalization, or surgery, or being medically required to leave the cruise and fly home early. On our first Alaska cruise, we watched the Coast Guard med-evac a patient off a cruise ship in Glacier Bay. Yikes! But in the USA, is a USA citizen billed for that? (I don't think so?) A little bit of Trip Interruption/Trip Delay insurance would be nice... Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer, or specific policies to look at.
  9. My TA doesn't purchase the OBC from Princess until the last minute, in case you cancel your cruise. So we can't use it for any pre-cruise expenses.
  10. The Princess transfer from Anchorage to Whittier is $74/each. We just booked with Alaska Cruise Transportation, mentioned in the previous post. We're doing their Anchorage-to-Whittier afternoon transfer for $40/each (we got a group rate with 6 cruisers). Last summer, I had 22 family members take their cruise transfer with Wildlife Park option -- they all loved it (except for 1 cousin-in-law who complained that he paid good money to be taken to a "zoo" and see so-called Alaska wildlife. Whatever.). Good luck with your planning! Enjoy your cruise.
  11. Are you going to Glacier Bay National Park? In my past experience, the Nat'l. Park Rangers board the ship, and set up a ranger station where, among other things, you can get a Junior Ranger badge while on the ship.
  12. Momto3girlsintheCarolinas, I've had good luck with emailing the Maitre-d' and asking for whatever table arrangement we prefer (table for two, table by the window, table on the upper level... etc.). As others have mentioned, send your email about a week before your cruise, when they start to tackle the seating arrangements for your sailing. I've done this 5-6 times. They don't always respond to the email, but I've always gotten what I'd (politely) requested. Good luck with this! And enjoy your cruise.
  13. Hi. I've been meaning to post this for awhile. Ever since it happened, in fact (last August). Even though it's last year's info, it's still worth knowing. My sister (and 36!! other family members) were joining us for a cruise last August. 10 of us were taking a Princess 4-day land tour, prior to the 7-day cruise. Being "wicked smaht," (as they say in Boston), we made travel arrangements to arrive in Fairbanks (starting point for the cruise-tour) one day early. The tour started on Sunday morning, with Saturday as the arrival day. We flew in on Friday. Or tried to... My sis & her party of four were flying Boston/Minneapolis/Fairbanks, on Princess EZAir. Things went bad when there were thunderstorms in BOS that delayed their departure. Things went from bad to WORSE when there were thunderstorm delays in Minneapolis as well. They missed their connecting flight, and were re-routed to Seattle. Then: They slept on the floor in Seattle (2am arrival; 7am-ish flight the next morning -- no time to get to a hotel) They were put on an early flight from Seattle (airport #3) to Anchorage (airport #4) Then another flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks (airport #5). THEY MADE IT TO FAIRBANKS!!!! By 11am or so local time (2pm Boston time). Amazingly, their luggage made it onto the same flight. Me, the lovely sister (and my hero husband), met them at the airport in our rental car, and provided "taxi service" to the Princess lodge. Which took two trips because the rental car was small (and we unexpectedly had all their luggage, despite being told it hadn't made the flight). I had asked the Princess lodge to please have rooms ready early for my sis & the others -- they obliged. All four of the hardy travelers slept the afternoon away (in comfy hotel beds), then joined us for dinner that night. The land tour was fantastic, and the cruise was even better! The original plan involved 2 flights, 3 airports and 18 hours of travel. What actually happened involved 4 flights, 5 airports and 30 hours of travel. No amount of planning can account for weather situations like this, but a well-packed carry-on bag is something to keep in mind as you're planning your trip. Good luck, intrepid Alaska travelers! 😎
  14. Another vote in favor of Anytime Dining. For a different reason. What if wildlife shows up right when it's time to go in & sit down for Early Seating??? For us, last summer, it was the orcas. I missed them! I was already inside! Wondering why DH & SIL & a few others weren't there! And I missed the orcas. So now I have to go to Alaska again... 😁
  15. Thanks TravelingEA! Just what I needed to know.
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