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ThatLever

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  • Content Count

    28
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About ThatLever

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boston
  • Interests
    boardgames, comic books, science fiction
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Disney, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Still Deciding

Recent Profile Visitors

65 profile views
  1. To be fair, the Black Label prints (or digital files) are pretty expensive, certainly when compared to the photo sessions at a local Target or a mall photo shop, so I can see some people getting put off by that. But the resulting photos were really far better than anything we've had done elsewhere - particularly the photos of our daughter, which are truly spectacular. Given how much the cruise lines constantly promote expensive jewelry and watches at us, which I have zero interest in, I'm much happier with splurging on this purchase. This is something we've encountered on previous cruises. DW & I like to buy art when we travel -- not the "fine art" from the ship, but craft objects or prints/paintings from local artists at small galleries. There was one cruise I remember, when we were talking about a painting we bought from an artist in Key West for something like $500, and the couple were were talking to were shocked that we would spend that much for something to put on the wall. My unspoken thoughts were: 1) "Don't tell them that that was just one of the things we bought, and not the most expensive one either." and 2) "Didn't you just tell me that you spent more than that on drinks at the martini bar on the ship last night?" To each their own, I guess.
  2. I haven't been on that specific excursion, but it's my understanding that the helicopter excursions to dog sled camps are on top of the glaciers while the bus ride ones are on dry land in wheeled sleds at the training camp. Note: As mentioned above, the glacier dog sled camps have been closing earlier and earlier in the season as the warmer weather makes it impossible to operate the camp on top of the glaciers. This year the glacier-based dog sled camps closed for the season in mid-July. Our planned excursion to the glacier camp outside of Skagway got cancelled and we ended up booking a trip to the summer, dry-land camp in Dyea instead. While it wasn't what we had planned, I will say that the Dyea dog sled trip was a blast and the whole family had a great time.
  3. Just got back from the Aug 24 Nieuw Amsterdam 7-day Inside Passage and wanted to give a shout out to our portrait photographer, Melinda. Melinda is one of the two "Black Label" portrait experts on the Nieuw Amsterdam and we (DW, DD, and myself) decided to sit for a session with her. Melinda was a delight to work with and captured some of the best portrait photographs we've ever had taken of us. Even DD, who was convinced that B&W photos are dumb and has the normal body issues of a 15yo, loved the results. Yes, the prints and/or digital files are expensive, but we were so pleased with the results that we ordered the digital files for nine of the images. It added up to a lot, but now we have plans for holiday presents for the grandparents, so that's good . So, if you're on the Nieuw Amsterdam and thinking about getting a portrait done, ask for Melinda!
  4. We just did a Musher Camp / Dog Sled excursion in Skagway with out 15yo daughter and it was a blast. There were also some younger boys on out trip (8 or 9?) that seemed to be having a great time. This was at the summer camp in Dyea where you ride on a wheeled sled through a forest, not up on the glacier in the snow (which costs 3x as much due to the helicopter flight and is much more weather dependent). All of us had a great time on this excursion. The views were beautiful, the dogs were a lot of fun, and we learned a bunch about the Iditarod. I'd definitely recommend it.
  5. FYI - I was just on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam and learned that you can go to Guest Services and ask them to call your room to wake you up if the Northern Lights become visible. They asked if they could call anytime at night and I said yes. Now, as it turns out I never got a call because the conditions weren't great for Aurora spotting, but this is something you might want to check into on your own cruises.
  6. Here's a good site for checking the likelihood of spotting the Aurora / Northern Lights: Aurora Forecast | Geophysical Institute
  7. Does HAL show movies in the theater during the cruise on only through the cabin TV screens? Does anyone have any recent reports on what movies they've been showing? Recent Alaska reports for the Nieuw Amsterdam would be appreciated.
  8. I'm packing a number of travel-sized board games for just this purpose. Planning for quiet fun with the family, rather than shows on the stage. Although I'm hopeful that there will be some good movies aboard the ship.
  9. After the big shows on DCL, I'm expecting more of a quiet evening on my upcoming HAL Alaska cruise, but that's fine. I'm also paying less for my HAL Signature Suite than I would for a cabin with no veranda on DCL. So it's all a matter of trade-offs and priorities.
  10. I had also been planning to go on a helicopter dog sledding excursion in Skagway as part of an upcoming cruise. Like the OP, I've discovered that the Skagway dog sled camp on the glacier has suspended operations for the rest of the season due to the warm weather (hard to camp on melting snow). I've looked through various 3rd party sites and none of them were booking this tour anymore. In Juneau, it looks like the dog sled camp on top of Mendenhall Glacier is still be open and helicopter tour are running there (as of this writing). That doesn't help me as we've got other plans for Juneau, but might be good for others. In Skagway, it appears that there are still some helicopter tours available to walk on the glacier, it's just the dog sled camp on the glacier that's closed. So if you were more interested in the glacier part of that excursion than the dogs, that's an option. Also in Skagway, the Summer Musher's Camp which runs dogs on tracks with wheeled carts (instead of snow with sleds), is still available but seems to be filling up quickly. One other option for folks who really want to see the sled dogs, is that some of the Skagway Yukon Excursions also include a stop at a summer musher camp in Carcross/Caribou Crossing. You can look at skagwayshoretours . com for one such excursion that we were thinking about as an alternative to the canceled helicopter trip.
  11. Jumping into the game conversation! Some of my travel faves are Sushi Go, Dungeon Mayhem, Roll For It, various editions of Fluxx, and I just picked up Time Breakers and Lost Cities Rivals -- All easily portable games that don't take up too much table space. I think One Deck Dungeon is great, but it's not the rest of my family's cup of tea, so I tend to play the ipad version solo.
  12. Good thought! I'm on T-Mobile as well and will check how my plan treats Canada. But if she can pick up local cell signal in AK, then that might make her happy. Regardless, it'll be easier than when we went to Japan and had to rent a mobile hotspot for the trip (although I have no regrets over doing that as it allowed us to use Google Maps everywhere which was the only way we could navigate Tokyo).
  13. Thanks for all the details! Luckily, I've got a great kid. DD isn't on her phone 24/7, she understands the value of putting it down and appreciating the world around her. She spends much of the summer at girl scout camp and isn't allowed to have her phone there. She's excited for the excursions and will definitely check out Club HAL, but she'll also appreciate getting some time to herself (especially in the evening after spending much of the day with us) and decompressing by watching her favorite YouTube channels is her equivalent of our watching TV shows or movies (plus, I know she's not going to be interested in going to most of the shipboard evening activities). All of us like some down time and her preferred quiet activity is YouTube. That being said, if the connections are as spotty as people are saying and it'll cost $100+ just to access a streaming site, it's probably not worth the cost. Heck, she'd probably rather have me put that $100 towards annual access to premium channels she can watch the other 51 weeks of the year. Happy sailing!
  14. I have three questions about the WiFi/Data plan: 1) What's the most affordable way to get this, in advance or onboard? I've got some OBC to burn, so onboard might be better even if a bit pricier. 2) Do you pay per device or once for multiple devices in the cabin? 3) How's the shipboard WiFi quality? Is it even worth it? If it was just for DW and I, we'd skip it an go internet free for the week. However my 15yo DD might go insane without access to her favorite YouTube channels, so I figured I'd check for the peace of all of us. For ref: we'll be sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam Inside Passage in August
  15. According to this post, the Nieuw Amsterdam had an Orange Part at their BB King's Club on a Thursday night (post has photo of the program).
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