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John99

Members
  • Content Count

    390
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About John99

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sterling Heights MI
  • Interests
    Retirement, golf, travel, all sports - especially U of Mich, Notre Dame and Mich State University
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess in Mediterran, Baltic, British Isles
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Baltic and British Isles

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288 profile views
  1. I’ve been on all the ship mentioned. In order -- my preference for Alaska: Coral, Grand, Sapphire, Royal Coral Princess General Stats 2000 passengers 895 crew Refurbished January 2019 Decks 12 Promenade Deck Length 965 feet Tonnage 91,627 Draft 27 feet Star Princess General Stats 2600 passengers 1100 crew Refurbished December 2017 Decks 17 Promenade Deck continues on Emerald deck (deck front of ship) Length 951 feet Tonnage 108,977 Draft 27 feet Star will be transferred to P&O Australia Fleet in Oct. 2020 Grand Princess General Stats 2600 passengers 1150 crew Refurbished March 2019 Decks 17 Promenade Deck continues on Emerald deck (deck front of ship) Length 949 feet Tonnage 107,517 Draft 26 feet Sapphire Princess General Stats 2670 passengers 1100 crew Refurbished March 2018 Decks 18 Promenade Deck continues on Emerald deck (deck front of ship) Length 972 feet Tonnage 115,875 Draft 28 feet Royal Princess General Stats 3560 passengers 1346 crew Refurbished December 2018 Decks 19 Promenade Deck none Length 1083 feet Tonnage 141,000 Draft 28 feet Source: Princess.com and Vacationtogo.com
  2. Hi Pat, I see you’re new to Cruise Critic with only two posts. Welcome! It would be helpful to know what ship you’re on and the time of year. Is this a cruise & land tour? How many days? Are you travelling from north to south or south to north? Besides this Princess forum - I would also pose this question(s) on The Port Of Call – Alaska. This forum will provide a more robust functionality for your questions. Fellow cruisers often provide anecdotal information about their experiences. Many topics are covered like: Hotels suggestions, public & private transportation, private & ship excursions, currency, interesting things to do, etc. This forum will be specific to your travel destination. In this case – Alaska. In addition, you should check out your Roll Call for your ship and date. John
  3. National Park Service – DenaliNational Park – Pretty Rocks Rock Slide Planning your visit into Denali National Park this summer will be interesting at best. Rock slides and major road erosion around mile 43 (near PolychromePass) has made that section of the road increasingly unstable. The road may or may not be open past mile 43 for the 2020 season. This may affect the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Trip Advisor web-site has detailed commentary on this the situation. Also, the National Park Service provides an in depth account on what the problems are and possible solutions. If the problem is not resolved, I may postpone my cruise/tour for this year until next year. Plan B: The Natural History Tour. So, I will be following this situation closely. See the two web-sites listed below for additional info. The NPS web-site shows interesting pictures and diagrams. John https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143022-i1271-k13096505-Denali_NP_road_issues-Denali_National_Park_and_Preserve_Alaska.html https://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/nature/pretty-rocks.htm
  4. Besides this Princess forum - I would also pose this question(s) on The Port Of Call – Britain. This forum will provide a more robust functionality for your questions. Fellow cruisers often provide anecdotal information about their experiences. Many topics are covered like: Hotels suggestions, public & private transportation, excursions, currency, theater tickets, interesting things to do, etc. This forum will be specific to that travel destination. In this case -- Britain. John
  5. Hi Katies 12, I called Princess and changed over from the “Natural History Tour” to the “Tundra Wilderness Tour”. FYI – tour times were 6:00AM, 7:00AM, 8:00AM plus various times in the afternoon. The Tundra Wilderness Tour is now included in our promo package at no additional cost to us. I’m a happy camper!! Note: I had to wait over 40 minutes to talk to a customer servicer rep to make the change. The call was placed late in the afternoon. I would like to expand on bus trips into DenaliNational Park. Types of Bus Trips: Tour vs. Transit You should understand the nature of bus trips into Denali before booking anything. There are two main types of buses in Denali - narrated trips (tour buses) and non-narrated trips (transit buses). In addition, free buses travel routes around the park entrance, connecting visitor centers and points of interest in the same area where visitors may drive their own vehicles. Non-narrated transit buses Cheaper than tour buses, and more flexible in that you may disembark / re-board anywhere along the road, these are called transit buses. Transit bus drivers aim to help you experience the park on your own terms which some people prefer. These buses stop for wildlife viewing, restroom stops and beautiful scenery, just like tour buses. There are four choices of non-narrated trips, of varying length. Narrated tour buses Your driver is your narrator on the tour buses, and he or she will provide a detailed and captivating program to accompany your journey along the Denali Park Road. Tour buses make the same restroom stops as the non-narrated buses, and of course will pause for views of wildlife and scenery. All tours offer either a snack or full box lunch. There are three tour bus options, of varying length. Note: narrated tour bus departures vary a little bit day to day, so there is no master schedule for tour buses. Free buses Three types of free buses operate on the publicly-drivable portion of the Denali Park Road. These enable visitors without vehicles, or those who wish to leave their vehicle behind, to travel between various facilities, trails, campgrounds and day-use areas. All of these are free, and none require reservations. The National Park Service does not operate any of these tours. Questions concerning departure times, ticket refunds, etc., should be directed to Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, the concessionaire who operates these tours. Reservations for bus trips are made through the bus concessionaire, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture. You can buy bus tickets online or call 1-800-622-7275. John
  6. Hi mczarnecki94 I see you’re new to Cruise Critic with only one post. Welcome! I agree with JF – retired RRT-- The Port Of Call forum will provide a more robust functionality for your questions. Fellow cruisers often provide anecdotal information about their experiences. Many topics are covered like: Hotels suggestions, transportation, excursions, theater tickets, interesting things to do, etc. This forum will be specific to that travel destination. In this case The Baltic. The Roll Call forum could be helpful with ideas to your specific Princess cruise ship. What ship are you on? Fellow cruisers often make suggestion and/or ask interesting questions. We have been on many cruises with The Baltic cruise being one of are favorite . You’ll have a great time. Enjoy! John
  7. I see your fairly new to Cruise Critic with 38 posts. I agree. Start a Star Princess Roll Call.
  8. We will be on the Sky Princess in February. This will be our first time using Specialty Dinning vouchers provided by our TA. Questions: 1) I assume a voucher(s) will be given to us in our stateroom? 2) Do we present the voucher(s) to the head waiter upon arrival? 3) Does this affect the quality of service using the voucher(s)? 4) At the end of the meal, will we be presented a bill which should show the voucher(s) being used? Correct? 5) I would like to tip the waiter. I’m thinking of giving cash to the waiter instead of adding a tip to our bill. Is this a good idea? 6) How much is a good cash tip? Thanks, John
  9. We were on the Star Princess in October and they had fresh brewed coffee in the Horizon Court. I observed the crew putting 5 lbs bags of ground beans into those large coffee machines. No syrup.
  10. Frugaltravel gave some really good advice. Cancel the Natural History Tour and take the Tundra Wilderness tour (7/8 hours). Also, I agree with Caribill comments – you need two nights in Denali at a minimum. I would like to expand on bus trips into Denali National Park. Types of Bus Trips: Tour vs. Transit You should understand the nature of bus trips into Denali before booking anything. There are two main types of buses in Denali - narrated trips (tour buses) and non-narrated trips (transit buses). In addition, free buses travel routes around the park entrance, connecting visitor centers and points of interest in the same area where visitors may drive their own vehicles. Non-narrated transit buses Cheaper than tour buses, and more flexible in that you may disembark / re-board anywhere along the road, these are called transit buses. Transit bus drivers aim to help you experience the park on your own terms which some people prefer. These buses stop for wildlife viewing, restroom stops and beautiful scenery, just like tour buses. There are four choices of non-narrated trips, of varying length. Narrated tour buses Your driver is your narrator on the tour buses, and he or she will provide a detailed and captivating program to accompany your journey along the Denali Park Road Tour buses make the same restroom stops as the non-narrated buses, and of course will pause for views of wildlife and scenery. All tours offer either a snack or full box lunch. There are three tour bus options, of varying length. Note: narrated tour bus departures vary a little bit day to day, so there is no master schedule for tour buses. Free buses Three types of free buses operate on the publicly-drivable portion of the Denali Park Road These enable visitors without vehicles, or those who wish to leave their vehicle behind, to travel between various facilities, trails, campgrounds and day-use areas. All of these are free, and none require reservations. The National Park Service does not operate any of these tours. Questions concerning departure times, ticket refunds, etc., should be directed to Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, the concessionaire who operates these tours. Check out their web-site for detailed info. Reservations for bus trips are made through the bus concessionaire, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture. You can buy bus tickets online or call 1-800-622-7275. Regards, John
  11. Greetings gb88, We (retirees) booked an Alaska Cruise/Tour for July 2020 on the Grand Princess. This will be our 3rd cruise/tour in Alaska. We’re looking forward to taking the train because we really enjoy the ride. Plus, the train coaches have been greatly upgraded since we last travelled. This would be for our 50th wedding anniversary gift. In the past Alaska trips, we used the train exclusively for the land portion. Things have changed since the last time we were here (2004 & 2008). Currently, our cruise/tour is a combination of both motor coach and train travel. North bound (out of Anchorage) by motor coach. Then south bound by train. Thrak has many good suggestions. I would second the idea (by Thrak) of taking the Tundra Wilderness in Denali. We have 2 nights at the Denali Princess Lodge for our 3rd Cruise/Tour next summer. Princess includes the “Natural History Tour” (3 hours) in our package. A $115 value per person. We are not interested in this tour and will switch to the “Tundra Wilderness Tour”. Princess web site does not offer the Tundra Wilderness Tour (8/9 hours) – “not available schedule conflict”. You will have to call or have your TA make the change. Again, plan on two nights at Denali Lodge if interested. In the past, we have taken this tour (twice) and really like nature, beautiful mountain vistas, wild animals and more. Outstanding tour! Grand Princess recently had a dry dock 2019 in Portland, Oregon Below is a list of some of the upgrades and/or repairs: Re upholster lounge chairs in Explorer's, Crooner's, Wheelhouse, Crown Grill, Library, and Snookers. New information screens throughout elevator lobbies New bathtubs in staterooms New sofas for Explorer's and Crooner's Replace Mini-suite sleeper sofas Replace astro turf deck covering on upper decks Replace Horizon Court carpeting and tiles Replace Wheelhouse Dance floor Refurbish elevator interiors Repair/Refinish beverage station cabinets in Horizon Court New carpeting in the dining rooms and Crooner's. New carpeting in hallways Refurbish swimming pools General maintenance and upkeep Painted hull of ship New propellers New hot tub tiling around both Calypso and Neptune pools Ocean Medallion wiring install (not active until subsequent dry-dock in 2021/2022) SHIP SYSTEMS: Inspection and repair of propellers, exchangers, propulsion as well as hot and cold water lines. Hope this helps, John
  12. Types of Bus Trips: Tour vs. Transit You should understand the nature of bus trips in Denali before booking anything. There are two main types of buses in Denali - narrated trips (tour buses) and non-narrated trips (transit buses). In addition, a few free buses travel routes around the park entrance, connecting visitor centers and points of interest in the same area where visitors may drive their own vehicles. Non-narrated transit buses Cheaper than tour buses, and more flexible in that you may disembark / re-board anywhere along the road, these are called transit buses. Transit bus drivers aim to help you experience the park on your own terms. These buses stop for wildlife viewing, restroom stops and beautiful scenery, just like tour buses. There are four choices of non-narrated trips, of varying length. Narrated tour buses Your driver is your narrator on the tour buses, and he or she will provide a detailed and captivating program to accompany your journey along the Denali Park Road. Tour buses make the same restroom stops as the non-narrated buses, and of course will pause for views of wildlife and scenery. All tours offer either a snack or full lunch. There are three tour bus options, of varying length. Note: narrated tour bus departures vary a little bit day to day, so there is no master schedule for tour buses. Free buses Three types of free buses operate on the publicly-drivable portion of the Denali Park Road. These enable visitors without vehicles, or those who wish to leave their vehicle behind, to travel between various facilities, trails, campgrounds and day-use areas. All of these are free, and none require reservations. The National Park Service does not operate any of these tours. Questions concerning departure times, ticket refunds, etc., should be directed to Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, the concessionaire who operates these tours. Reservations for bus trips are made through our bus concessionaire, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture. You can buy bus tickets online or call 1-800-622-7275. AKStanford (post #3) -- provided a useful web site on the use of shuttle buses going into the park: https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm If you have 2 days in Denali I would recommend the Tundra Wilderness tour into the heart of the DenaliNational Park. No cars are allowed passed the Savage River Check Station (mile marker 15). The US Park Service uses concessioners which offer several types of bus services into the park – again they are -- free buses, narrated buses and non-narrated transit buses. Remember, no cars are allowed past mile marker 15. It should be noted the park road extends 92 miles from the park entrance to its terminus in the old mining community of Kantishna, this mostly-gravel road traverses boreal forests and sub-arctic tundra. Crossing rolling mountainsides and sheer cliffs, the road meanders through scenic vistas and prime wildlife viewing areas. We have been to Denali twice and plan a third next July. In the past, we travelled to the Eielson Visitor Center (mile marker 66) and have always seen multi sightings of wildlife. Hope this helps, John
  13. I agree with ChattTen -- The British/Western Europe forum will provide a more robust functionality for your questions. Many topics like hotels suggestions, transportation (how to get to Southampton), theater tickets, interesting things to do, etc. Also, please be aware there is a difference between Victoria Station and Victoria Coach Station. John
  14. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. The Google map shows many eating places near the hotel. The two restaurants mentioned all look interesting plus they are within walking distance of the hotel. It’s good to know there are options available for eating. Thanks.
  15. SeattleAirport (Sea Tac) We are staying at the Double Tree Hotel for one night prior to a cruise. Looking for suggestions on restaurants within walking of the hotel. Nothing fancy maybe something like Denny’s. Also, how safe is it to cross the main street in front of the hotel (if the restaurant is on the other side of the street)? John
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