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Anita Latte

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  1. I sat on the aft bar on Millennium for hours for the sailing out of Skagway. OMG...I couldn't leave. It was so gorgeous. I advise taking a look at a map...there are hanging glaciers, Eldred Rock Lighthouse, etc. It was misty...saw beautiful double rainbow. I was tired, as our whole group was, and they all left for nap time before dinner but I just couldn't leave the view. The passage is narrow enough, you can easily see both sides for a long time. I would never miss the sailaway from Skagway. It naturally follows that if the sailaway is great...the sailing into could be as well. I would go for that as well now because the angle of the sun should alter the appearance of the whole landscape...however...IDK if it is practical to do both, especially if there isn't a comfy place to sit and observe on the bow. If aft on your ship has a nice place...then I would go for the sailaway viewing for sure.
  2. I have two pairs of leggings...one I love...one I hate. I should have just returned the ones I dislike but circumstances got crazy and I missed the return window. The Stella leggings are great. And those are the ones I like. But I also got the McKenna style...I got that fun olive color...but for whatever reason...unlike my black Stellas...those olive McKenna's have serious camel toe. I wanted to get slimmer fit joggers to get away from the whole leggings look...I think joggers are more flattering on my curves...but as I said...too much polyester...I should have paid more attention to fabric content. I'll report on the Icebreaker. One main reason I wear the one top I have so much is that it has a scoop neck and the crew neck doesn't seem quite as close fitting on the neck in the photos...I really dislike a crew neck and I feel like so many of the Woolx styles are crew neck...
  3. I definitely will! We’re going in July so it’ll be a while. There’s actually 3 different locations in London. I want to rewatch the episode to see which one was the filming location. I feel like when I first looked it up to share with DS, there was only one.
  4. Ladies...I always enjoy lurking over here...I rarely feel like I have much to add to the conversation but today, I was speaking with DS, who is enrolled in Uni in London and graduating in July. Our travel plans for graduation are now set and DS and I were talking about places to go, things to do. The one specific place that I know I want to eat is La Mia Mamma! If you remember that's the restaurant in London that brings in mammas from Italy to come and cook their regional homemade cuisine...featured on the Stanley Tucci show. I'm excited! Edited to add...I ordered some sale items from Icebreaker. Kat, Melody...anyone else...have you tried them for merino wool? I was recently disappointed in the joggers I got from Woolx. I love them but they are more polyester than wool...they have a bit of a shine to them...and they aren't as stink proof as I would like for lounging clothes that I can wear on repeat. I realized my current fave lightweight shirt is Icebreaker, so I'm giving a lightweight long sleeve, another short sleeve, and a pair of joggers a go...I only have the one Icebreaker item so...fingers crossed. I hate dealing with returns but they have a nice return policy.
  5. Harmony was the last ship I sailed on. DH and I took a week long cruise out of Port Canaveral on her in Feb 2020. I enjoy the Oasis class ships...when we get in the mood to sail on them. I think it is helpful to have been on them before so you know what to expect. I like all the dining options, of course there's the specialty restaurants, but there are also so many free options. I have no idea how they are handling all that these days. We got a specialty dining package and ate in specialty dining every dinner. We didn't try to max out that package too hard...I got a good deal on it IIRC and we might have had one specialty lunch. There are so many options and for real, sometimes DH and I just get in the mood for hot dogs and so we definitely hit that up once for lunch... Harmony's solarium doesn't have a pool... It has a Wonderland restaurant. That was a fun dining experience, but our fave was actually the 150 Central Park, in part because the main guy running it was so good to us and I like the atmosphere in there...so quiet, I thought all the food at the specialty restaurants was good, so one didn't stand out as being so much better in that department. Today I purchased our airfare for London for DS's graduation...heart stopping price tag OMG. I also found an AirBnB near where his flat is. We'll be about a quarter mile away so that will be super convenient. July in London though...I didn't bother worrying about whether or not our rental has A/C but man, I hope it does. DS said that it would be around 100 degrees in his flat in the summer...this crazy weather... Speaking of, DH is traveling to CO tomorrow...which is having the complete OPPOSITE of our expected record breaking heat this week. LOL.
  6. Oh...you could also find a local drive by coffee hut type place. We found one in Juneau...IDK if there as many there as in other AK towns (Fairbanks in particular has SO MANY), but it feels like an Alaska "thing" as I haven't seen many, if any, in the lower 48.
  7. On Douglas Island, you could visit Fish Creek Park. You can hike around there, including walking to the shore where you can get a distant view of Mendenhall Glacier. You can also experience how crazy the difference between low tide and high tide is there...be sure to bring bug repellent or even better a head net to ward off the attack by the shore. It wasn't so bad closer to the park entrance and across the bridge and around the pond. When we were there, we saw eagles nesting around that pond and many fisherman.
  8. A second welcome to Cruise Critic. Icy Strait Point is like a resort port, meaning...it's like the ship pulls up to the dock and basically functions like a high rise hotel building with lodging by the common grounds of a typical resort, THAT's ISP. And like any typical, well appointed and somewhat sprawling but highly walkable resort, where you would never, ever think to rent a vehicle to walk from your hotel room to the main building...if you decide to power walk, you can get from one end to the other in a matter of minutes. Here's a map: https://icystraitpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Icy-Strait-Point-Map.pdf Notice the map says 1.5 miles to the town of Hoonah. It's a trail that is along the coastline, following the one and only road that connects ISP to town. The town of Hoonah has a population of under 1000 people...when we went there and spoke with our local tour provider for whale watching, IIRC we're talking about something like a graduating class of 11 from the local high school? If you go to the tourism website for Hoonah, you will see that many things are "coming soon" because quite frankly there's just not much there that is aimed at tourists...what is there is very much geared toward local needs. It's one of the reasons why ISP is so very charming to go to, because it is the LEAST touristy town on most cruise itineraries. http://visithoonah.com https://www.alaska.org/destination/hoonah-icy-strait If you frame your ISP day more as the Alaska equivalent of going to a private Caribbean Island, where you can choose to do any number of additional add on activities, then you will have a better approach to ISP. As Northern Aurora brings up, whale watching is an extremely popular tour in ISP. The resort is waterfront with gorgeous mountain views all around and the ease of smaller boat excursions is second to no other port, first because the port is so small, getting to your small boat involves little time or effort, and second, the waters where you will be touring are also RIGHT THERE...you are not having much, if any, tour time on the boat traveling to where you really want to be for the majority of your excursion time. However, that said, you can have a completely leisurely day in ISP. It's not necessarily a beach where you can more easily be at your leisure to just hang out, find a lounge chair, and soak up the atmosphere and relax...but that attitude is the kind of day that you could easily have in ISP. Though some will argue that that approach to ISP, without getting out on the water or deeper into the wilderness on the island, is something of a missed opportunity.
  9. Yeah...I was very tempted by a weekend Allure cruise in November... I was on the Allure TA with my parents so I haven't seen it since that dry dock. DH and I did the Harmony...but I think I like the solarium on the Allure better since it has the pool in there, I think...if I remember right...OMG... Mariner is still here too...and we did that one for a quick weekend in 2019... But then I realized that there's the possibility that DS will be in the house and I'm not sure how I feel about cruising without him and leaving him behind. I'm very aware of the preciousness of time with him...and while I think that'd be super convenient in terms of letting him have time alone and/ore also being with Grace kitty...I think I should just continue to wait on cruising again... I just finalized a week-long vacation in North Carolina. DH and I will be backpacking for 2 nights in Grandfather Mountain State Park. The plan is to drive up on day 1, overnight in a fun little mountain town, backpack 2 nights, then back to our old stomping grounds in Winston Salem for a night, then Raleigh for a night, and an overnight stay with my childhood friend who recently moved from California to North Carolina...recently being a year or so ago? I'm working on the London details for graduation...airfare is INSANE...sigh. I really like the vanity we ordered from Wayfair. We needed a double sink 55" vanity...and I wanted maximum storage so it has all drawer space. I'm very happy with the quality. I've slept on various forms of couch conversion beds. I do prefer that type of sleeping situation to a pull out couch. In addition to the normal futons, there are many styles out there. I think they are way more comfortable than the normal pull out.
  10. If your DH mentioned camping... We took a cruise in 2018 and did a DIY land tour around the Kenai Peninsula following our northbound cruise that ended in Seward. We were probably the only cruisers onboard with backpacks full of camping gear...because we stayed 2 nights in a public use cabin in the Kenai Wilderness. https://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspcabins/index.htm We chose one that was just under a one mile hike in on Engineer Lake...but there was at least one in the Kenai Wilderness that was accessible by car, with no hiking...many are NOT and are hike in, snowmobile in, fly in, boat in... If you are into the outdoors though...the cabin was wonderful. We are the type that love the outdoors and couldn't stand the idea of going to Alaska without going camping...but I didn't want to worry about shelter in potential inclement weather...didn't want to be relying on a tent...so the public use cabin was the perfect compromise for us. They are very affordable compared to hotel lodging...and if you like that sort of thing...just a wonderful experience. Ours had a wood burning stove which we didn't need at all...also a boat and all needed accessories for getting out onto Engineer Lake...but we didn't take advantage of that. Public Use Cabins can be popular and I was waited at the time of release to secure ours...I think the reservation dates open in December? We took showers at Wildman's in Cooper Creek. Also...if you are at all fishing enthusiasts...early May could be the early spring run of King Salmon...we also did a fishing excursion and that was also just mind blowing fun. The Kenai River is gorgeous. The turquoise color of the glacier fed river is unlike anything you typically see in the lower 48. It's like a child's coloring of a river in a coloring book. If you go the route of RV/van though...there are SO MANY campgrounds that are first come, first serve and free to camp at. We were going late June, early July and I didn't want to chance not finding a spot, but I would think that wouldn't be quite as much of an issue in May. Just more food for thought...
  11. I can only give insight to Kenai Fjords. We didn't do the marine tour because we opted for a kayak tour instead. We went to Bear Glacier and did the shorter kayak tour that stayed in the bay among the ice bergs, but it was absolutely mind blowing. We did our tour through Liquid Adventures and it seems that their season begins Memorial Day weekend, but they have a contact us on dates prior to that, so if that was of interest to you, you could see how that would be. https://www.liquid-adventures.com/content/bear-glacier-kayaking Logistics could be challenging if you didn't rent a car...but if you could rent a car, then the drive from Anchorage down the Turnagain Arm is stunning, as is the drive into Seward. The difference in between high tide and low tide is something else. If you timed it well, you could visit Exit Glacier on this travel day down to Seward. This area, I believe, is the only road accessible area in Kenai Fjords NP. I don't know when the Nature Center there opens for the season...but there is no cost to go into that Nature Center unlike the one at Mendenhall in Juneau. There are ranger-led walks, etc...ALSO...IDK how adventurous you are, but there IS a campground there as well...first come, first served, with no charges for camping. If you were to rent a van or some such, you could use that for driving down and also stay with no added expense there...provided that it is open for the season... There are likely many other options for van/rv camping/boondocking. One thing about Alaska that I was unaware of until researching our own trip...there are several laundry/shower businesses because so many places in AK don't have normal water service...so it's like go to town and take your laundry and have a shower...so if you are the type that is into such things... Regardless, stay the night in/around Seward. You could then do what you mentioned and take a marine tour (or the kayaking if that could work out) and then you could probably drive back to Anchorage afterwards, if you were looking to be able to use points to cover the cost of lodging. You should have plenty of daylight for such a 2-day adventure as May 15 has an average sunrise/sunset of 5:14am/10:41pm. Also, since you don't mention any specific dates, learn about the bore tide possibility at Turnagain Arm, just to see if it might happen while you are there. That's a sight that I personally would like to see...
  12. Those look like great pool shoes! Very fun. Ellipticals are tall...I'm not surprised you're close to the ceiling Laurie...especially if your bedroom ceiling is a standard 8' one. Repurposing the bedroom as an exercise room...definitely want to move the bed or at least change the style of the bed. If you need it on occasion maybe you could get a Murphy bed frame? I'm thinking along these lines...we'll see what happens with our home depending on what happens with DS. He's applied to grad school, ONE grad school...it's such a great program that it changed his original projection of a gap year between undergrad and grad school. He's on the wait list. Among other policies that affect admission, one is that if you complete your undergrad at this school, you are automatically admitted to the grad school, if you apply. So this would be a "safe" school for many, I believe...and in all likelihood, many of those may go to a different school. Other similar rules of admission exist so we do have high hopes of DS ultimately being accepted...he was wait listed for the high school program at UNCSA also...so... So maybe we'll be moving some things into a new living situation for DS to start grad school in August. And maybe we won't and he will be living that gap year here at home. So his bedroom here at home may suddenly become available...OR the guest room (fourth bedroom) may become his studio if he is here...because he needs his own work space and we need our own work space. When he comes home for visits currently, he uses one of two desks in our office...it's fine for such a temporary arrangement but definitely not long term. Time will tell what will happen...meanwhile...I'm back on that pantry project. We had gotten the pantry finished to the point of needing texture, prime and paint and then whatever shelves, etc., would be in there. In the hospital, I'd come to the conclusion that that project wasn't going to progress and we needed to just put some temporary shelves in there and start using it to figure out how best to actually use it. I had purchased garage shelving which is strong and sturdy and ultimately could be used in the garage when we got the permanent solution installed. The pantry is all emptied out now...it's contents spread around and accessible so that the kitchen isn't stalled by me not knowing where all our stuff is. Next week, I'll be mixing hot mud and cleaning up the installation of the vinyl corner bead and then moving on to the skim coat and texture. I can't express how amazing it will be to have this feature in our main living area be finished. I did take a look at some cruises...Celebrity has some amazing deals going on right now...some are crazy low priced and others look like what used to be "normal" prices. Nothing that really works for our schedule though. I might check out the lines that sail out of Port Canaveral and the other FL ports...looking for a quick weekend getaway type cruise that wouldn't eat too much DH vacation time. There's some President's Day sails going on.
  13. Melody...I thought about letting you know but I was only in town from Friday to Monday for Christmas. DH and DS were there for about a week but I stayed behind with our Gracie kitty...also giving the cousins some time to have time on their own while SIL and DH actually put in some work hours during the day... But thinking that if I can get to CO again, I'd really enjoy meeting up. I LOVE that.
  14. I haven't been posting...but I keep reading along... Melody, so glad to hear that your surgery went well. You have such a wonderful attitude...it's like, what can you do? If there's nothing you can do about it, you just deal with it and move on and don't let circumstances dictate your feelings and emotions. Whether that's how you feel ALL the time...well...keep it up! Does seem like a good time of year to have to be off your feet...so glad you aren't in too much discomfort. I was in your neck of the woods around Christmas having a small family Christmas with my SIL and her to kids. DH has 3 sisters, but this is the one that went to college with DH and I. We're all of an age and so are our offspring with the other 2 being much younger and my youngest nephew just turning 4. All our kids are in college so we had the older sibling/grandkid Christmas where we woke when we felt like it on Christmas day... We hiked in Garden of the Gods on Christmas Eve...it was gorgeous that day as you know, being the first warmer day after that major cold front. DH changed jobs over the summer and now he travels on and off to CO where the "mother ship" is in Louisville. Hoping that I can join him on a few trips this year. It was lovely being back there...remember we lived in Loveland while DH was in grad school at CSU. I'm still dealing with some after affects of having had COVID late summer 2021. I don't think I shared then, but I had been in the hospital for 5 nights. I don't have long covid necessarily but having recovered from having the pulmonary embolism, I am in need of daily moderate cardio to help deal with what they are calling Isolated Diastolic Hypertension. Yay. It's all recoverable if I am consistent and do what I'm supposed to do. Meanwhile...I stopped buzzing my hair in August. I liked it for the summer months, but with DS graduating this July, I decided I didn't want that look in the photos...so I've been growing it out. It's gone from about a quarter inch long to over 3 inches since then. I've got a professional hair appointment tomorrow for the first time in about 4-5 years! Laurie and Margaret...I've been enjoying cruising vicariously. I've been debating a getaway cruise if I could find a cheap cheap fare but with the airfare prices to get to London and be there for DS's graduation...thinking my budget isn't up to it.
  15. A quick google search: https://alaskashoretours.com/excursions/juneau/mendenhall-lake-kayaking-adventure/ The thing about the glacier conditions...I wonder who decides what is deemed "safe" because that is what it is all about. I can't imagine that each independent tour company is the one responsible for that evaluation. I would think that since these tour companies have to have the special license to operate their tours on Federal property that somehow, the management of the land is the one responsible for letting the tour operators know conditions and what is permissible. So, I don't know that one company would be able to do something that another company would not be able to do. But you'd have to get some good communication to figure out how those decisions are being made. I saw on the Liquid Alaska site that they are just now hiring for the 2023 operating season. You might have better luck tackling this from another POV and try talking to the management at Mendenhall to see what the deal is there.
  16. We did not do the railroad and I have no regrets for not doing it. Like you, I didn't see the appeal of sitting on a train and watching scenery go by. Maybe on a different trip...but not this one. We went into the park office and looked all around. There's an excellent relief map in there and the story of the gold rush is there on display to read about at your own pace. We did not do the historic ranger tour, I wasn't as interested in the theme of the talk for the ones that would work best with our schedule. We then headed over to the Dewey Lake trail system and hiked around. It was fabulous to get INTO the forest that we had been cruising all around and just see what we could see. We were a multi-generation trip with my parents, DH, DS and myself. It was the kind of day where we rotated pairing up on the trail and had great conversation and just enjoyed being IN Alaska. It felt great to get out and stretch our legs and do something active. We also spent time wandering in Skagway itself. We had plenty of time to do whatever we wanted there. Plan the trip that makes you happy.
  17. Planning Alaska is EXHAUSTING... When I planned for our 2018 cruise, I was very wary of each day sort of blending into the next and not having more distinct memories of the different things that we did. I was very wary of any of the activities that were purely sight seeing without some sort of participation to distinguish each tour...because if all you do is sit and look here, sit and look there, then how do you really remember the days of the cruise? Whether or not we were doing the absolute BEST tour each day became secondary to my thoughts on what our vacation was going to be as a whole. The small boat excursion does look amazing but I am concerned over the stories of lack of seating, the length of the trip, the difficulty in hearing about what you are seeing if you weren't inside, the lack of food, etc. If you are already going to be doing a smaller boat in ISP for whale watching...and you are going into Glacier Bay...then I would definitely be going for the canoe. If you read the FAQ on Liquid Alaska, and have a general understanding about possible daily changes in glacier ice conditions, then you go into the tour with eye wide open. The ice caves and even walking on the ice is something that is assessed daily and it's possible that you could see/do both. It all depends on conditions. If it were raining, I would much rather be in the canoe than stuck on a possibly crowded boat. The canoe is a great story...at it's best, you will be in a boat full of people all hoping to have a great day. The camaraderie there is an entirely different spirit than the possible jockeying for position on the small boat to get the best photo op. In Juneau, among other things, we did visit the Mendenhall glacier. From the distance, it is true that it doesn't seem that impressive, but the view from across the lake is far and just shows a fraction of that glacier. But I would have loved to be on the other side of the lake walking along the morraine and getting a closer look at it. Again, if you already have the smaller boat excursion in ISP for whale watching...I would let that be the small boat excursion for your trip and pick this one for a more adventuring kind of a day. You family will have such a great story at the end of the canoe trip...regardless of the perfection of the weather, etc.
  18. So you also have a 4-hour window like we did. If your experience is similar, then you may be headed out of Disenchantment Bay around 1pm...but this is all speculation. It may not be out of the realm of possibility for a 1:30 lunch, but I wouldn't chance it. There are many reasons why people need to eat on a regular schedule...this viewing around lunch time is not so convenient. I would highly recommend that you bring along something that will tide you over for the glacier view! whether that's a granola bar, fruit, protein bar...or all of the above!
  19. So...judging from your other post on this board, you're on the Eurodam? After my one and only Alaska cruise (so far), what you are planning is very similar to what I said I wouldn't mind doing. I would spend more time just watching the scenery go by and less time doing anything else on board. I hope you have a balcony...that will make what you are planning that much more enjoyable IMO. Sharing from my own experience...Ketchikan is very walkable. I had arranged for a personal tour through tours by locals and sadly, our tour guide was a no show. So we had no plan there and all we did was walk around. IDK how your mobility is...we ended up walking through the shopping area at Creek Street and climbing up the stairs to the resort at the top of the hill. Cape Fox Lodge. Very nice view. It could possibly be a very lovely place to have a meal and/or a drink at a restaurant there. I'd check it out. We actually ate at the Fish House with so many other cruisers in port where I had the best salmon chowder I've ever eaten and DS waxed eloquent about the salmon fish and chips...they have choices on the fish. It was a struggle to find a place to sit...think group sitting at picnic like tables, so don't think that's the atmosphere you're going for. They did have alcohol...we had local brew there. I would try the lodge for better atmosphere and the view. In Juneau, we rented a car. We needed to take a taxi to and from and it wasn't super expensive OR cheap. We ate at a place called the Sand Lot, I think...one local called it the Sand Box...which is a bit of a dive atmosphere...pool tables, tvs, something of a sports bar atmosphere a la Alaska...but the food was excellent and we could have local brew there. Craft beer is more our thing. In Icy Strait Point you will have the most enjoyable version of what you are planning. The port is absolutely stunning. I recall that there is a place there with an outside patio and a fire pit going...they served food and drinks. Looks like you will be there in the evening and with the late sunsets, you will have plenty of daylight before the sunsets and should get a spectacular view there. Can't speak for Sitka or Victoria. Enjoy your cruise! If I didn't live on the opposite coast with airfare so outrageous...I would book a last minute deal in a heartbeat and do exactly what you are doing.
  20. I'm that crazy person that has all their cruise literature from all the cruises that they have taken. So I went back to look at the one for our Hubbard day and also the time stamps on my photographs to see how the morning went. First off...there's not a single ship that I could find that has listed such a small window for seeing Hubbard. I feel like there's a disconnect there. You may be getting a more narrow window for when you are actually going to be close and in Disenchantment Bay and not just entering/departing at Yakutat Bay. Go here and check out your ship's actual allocated time at Hubbard, choosing Hubbard as the port, so you can get more perspective on timing: https://akcruise.org/port-schedule/?port=HUBBARD GLACIER&ship=0&date_from&date_to&search_schedule=Get Port Schedules We were scheduled for 7am - 11am. My cruise program says: "At approx. 6:30am we will be entering Yakutat Bay and arrive to the most permissible point possible off the Hubbard Glacier at approx 8:00am. We will stay for approx. 30 minutes....will exit Yakutat Bay at approx. 11:00 am. Note: Times are approximate and subject to change due to weather conditions, visibility and ice concentration." We were out on the forward deck early, because I wanted to watch the approach. The first pictures I took were right around 7am. We were in Yakutat Bay and still very far away. The last pictures I took of the ice floating on the surface waters in Disenchantment Bay as we were leaving there were at 9:30am. That's when the ship really started picking up speed as we were leaving Hubbard behind. Please note...the program said leaving YAKUTAT Bay at approx. 11am. Yakutat Bay is quite a ways away from the glacier. As you can imagine...almost everyone on board that ship was there to see the glacier...it was like when a concert lets out and everyone is up and now deciding what they are going to do...and many will go eat. Having a specialty lunch planned for post glacier is a great idea to avoid the crowds at the buffet. Definitely plan it for as late as you can, provided the specialty restaurants are still open for lunch.
  21. Wanting to talk about seasickness... My DH is subject to motion sicknes; He is such that if he is not in the front seat of the vehicle, able to see the twists and turns in mountain roads, he suffers. Even so, I booked us in the most forward cabin on Celebrity Millennium back in late June 2018, deck 9. It was a 3-person cabin, oversized, and I thought it would be perfect for our family of 3. We sailed out of Vancouver and had protected waters for almost the entirety of the cruise, until we went into the Gulf of Alaska waters on approach to Hubbard Glacier, and from the Glacier on to Seward. Outside the inside passage, we hit major sea motion. The ship was definitely rocking. DH was unable to be in our cabin for the remainder of that day. DS and I packed up the family while DH took refuge on a lower deck midship. This was my experimental cruise to see how we dealt with a forward cabin, and I will say that never again will I book one for a cruise that DH is on. As I understand it, sailing from Seattle, the ship's path is around the Pacific side of Vancouver Island, outside the protected inner passage waters. You will be subject to sea conditions, similar to how we were in the Gulf of Alaska. This area and any other area where you are outside the inner passage has the potential to be problematic. The inner passage should be fine. I would advise that you figure out your plan in the event of...if you do NOT get that other inside cabin midship. If there is no additional cost to the midship cabin, then I would definitely have that cabin in your tool box if you have someone who regularly experiences sea sickness. Especially as this could hit you right at the beginning of your sailing...would not be a fun way to start the cruise.
  22. I can’t recommend one over the other as I haven’t taken either. My family did a shorter flight/landing in Seward and it was unforgettable. Generally, I would consider your time in each port and what else you might like to do when deciding between the two. We sat and watched the helicopters take off in Skagway while eating breakfast on the ship. The logistics of getting to/from the launch pads in Skagway are right by the ship. Skagway itself is pretty pedestrian friendly as it is a very small town…so ultimately the total time for that excursion would be shorter than the one in Juneau, while the ride/landing times appears to be slightly longer at 40/40 minutes. Whereas for Juneau, the talk of the bus ride to the airport reminds me that Juneau is a much larger city and the travel time to/from the airport will eat into your port time, while the ride/landing times read to be slightly shorter at 30/20-25 minutes. Usually there’s a long port time in Juneau so might not be a big deal but I tend to think of the overall experience when considering such things. Juneau requires ground transportation to see/do many activities so coordinating what you do there in addition to the helicopter is definitely something to consider in your decision. Also, I would advise that air tours are among the most canceled excursions in Alaska due to inclement weather so definitely have a fall back plan whatever you decide.
  23. No one has addressed this yet soooo, assuming you haven’t already made the big announcement, I would definitely suggest telling her well in advance of the sailing. My dad and I planned a surprise trip for my mom when I was a teenager and my mom enjoyed it but we hadn’t planned on everything she would want for such a trip. I would recommend sharing the ship, the dates of the sailing, and an itinerary that would have your excursions described in generic detail, and these maybe not tied to a specific port. Something along the lines of…be prepared to: Sail on a small boat excursion. Ride a historic railway through mountainous terrain. You get the idea. Remember that part of the fun of any vacation is looking forward to it. And women can be particular about things like hair cuts and/or coloring, etc, and there could be appointments and things she’ll want to plan for prior to your vacation.
  24. Well…the month of September did not go as planned AT. ALL. First, DH tweaked his back doing a weird reaching in the shower. He has dealt with bulging discs around L4, L5, S1 for years and this tweak sent him to the days when he was dealing with serious pain. We were doing everything we could so he could be prepared for our Glacier trip…but the thought of having to endure the plane ride alone, let alone all the activities we had planned…well… Then there were weather advisories for the area. Unhealthy air because of the wildfires. We looked at the live cams around Glacier and you couldn’t even see the mountains because of the smoke and haze. I am considered a sensitive person so it was not feeling like a good idea to go on our trip. 😞 So we didn’t go. Our airfare had been purchased with miles and Delta was awesome…got all our miles back as well as the $21 or so in fees. Got back some other money we had to spend minus some admin fees. The one thing that would have been a total loss was the Outdoorsy van rental. Fortunately, the owner let us reschedule…the only thing is that the owner is moving to Eugene, OR and so our rental will be out of Eugene, OR next year. So that’s what happened there. Mom and Dad had come to see DS during his last week here. He went back to school on 9/7…so they didn’t get their time alone here to play “What would it be like to live in Florida?” They had planned to leave on 9/30 but then Ian was on his way and they decided to wait it out with us and not get caught on the road in the middle of a potential disaster zone, as early on Ian had a wide range landfall including the Florida panhandle…which is their way home along I10. We were well positioned for Ian. The eye of the storm basically went right over us but the eye was wide and most of the storm activity was on the north side and we skirted that outer eye wall a bit. Our yard flooded in the expected areas, and then it flooded in the unsuspected areas…and now we know where all the low parts in the yard are (we got 13.24” of rain)…but thankfully, our home was high and dry. We had no real damage…just a LOT of yard debris. Today most of the puddles are gone except for the actual drainage retention swales across the front of our property…we’re on septic so we don’t have storm drains…our entire neighborhood has those drainage swales along the fronts of all the properties with most properties having a culvert at the beginning of the driveways. And to top it all off, I managed to severely hurt myself with all the hurricane prep. I still don’t know exactly what I did to myself. I ended up in urgent care to get some medicine relief and have a CT scan to look at my neck to see if I had damage there…they said I didn’t…so I still need to figure out what exactly is messed up with my lower neck/upper back, shoulder, arm, and numb thumb. I’m sure I’ve got a nerve entrapment somewhere along the path…looks like the radial and median nerves if my own research into how I’m feeling is accurate, but I’ll get the dr’s opinion Wednesday. The hardest thing is sleep… Anyway… It’s wonderful to read about other trips and trip preparation! DH made me a new vegetable bed yesterday. Our growing season is kicking off into high gear here and I’m just hoping that I’ll be up to the task soon.
  25. Lois. I believe the shingles vax is covered under a part D plan for Medicare but not part A or B, so you have to have a part D plan for coverage. Otherwise, it’s something that is usually covered by most employer sponsored health plans. I THINK…Shingles is something that you may end up getting if you have ever had the chicken pox earlier in life, then that virus can manifest again later in life and cause the shingles. The vaccine is one of those that is supposed to have a long effective time but immunity will fade so it’s a bit of a dilemma to sort when you get one to maximize the effective years of the vaccine’s immunity. Eligibility begins at age 50 but some MDs will recommend waiting until later to have the effective years stretch longer on your life, but then if you don’t get the vax under employer insurance coverage, it won’t be covered unless you have plan D past age 65 or whenever you are forced into Medicare. It’s an expensive vax if you have to pay OOP.
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