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Eileen G

Alaska--Coral-- WOW--5/24/14

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We just boarded the Coral Princess yesterday in Whittier after 3 wonderful days near Anchorage. The weather has been pretty good. My DH and I are in our early 60s and this is my 4th cruise to Alaska. We have also done two RV trips around the interior.

 

We arrived in Anchorage on Tuesday at 8:30 PM, rented a car and spent the night at the Microtel near the airport. On Wednesday we drove to Independence Mine. We took the old Glen Highway to Palmer which follows the Knik River. The Mine was not open for the season yet but the drive and views are beautiful. We walked up the Hatcher pass road about a mile until the road was completely covered in snow. There was blue sky and the views were incredible. On the way down we took the road to Wasilla. Wasilla has grown so much since we were last there. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at the fish hatchery.

 

Thursday we headed to Seward. First we stopped at the new Cabellas in Anchorage. This is a huge sporting goods store that has over 300 mounted animals from Alaska. The displays are spectacular. We continued down the Turnagain Arm Highway. We saw two moose near Potter Marsh. Unfortunately even though the sun was out there was a forest fire in Soldotna that caused a thick haze over the mountains. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. We took the road to Portage Glacier and hiked to Byron Glacier. The Portage Glacier visitors center was not yet open for the season during the week. After our hike we continued to Seward being surrounded by mountains the whole way. In Seward we stayed at the Breeze Inn which is right across the street from the harbor. Seward is my favorite Alaska town. It has a quaint harbor and old historic downtown.

 

Friday we went to Exit Glacier. We were shocked to see how it had retreated since we were last there in 2006. In 2006 you could easily walk up to the front of the glacier which stood about 20 feet high. Today you could not get to the front but had to hike up a trail to overlook it. It has receded up the glacial valley and now slopes down to the floor. After visiting Exit Glacier we drove back to Anchorage. The haze was mostly gone and the views were beautiful. We saw 5 Dahl sheep on the mountain side. When we got back to Anchorage we drove up to the overlook at the Flat Top Mountain parking lot. It was clear enough for a great view of Anchorage. We spent the night at Moose Garden B&B.

 

Saturday after a nice breakfast at the B&B we drove to the Saturday Market in downtown Anchorage. I bought some neat jewelry and enjoyed walking around. We also stopped at the Ulu Factory. I spent a lot of time deciding how we were going to get to Whittier; train, private transfer or ship transfer. In the end I decided on a ship transfer so we had a choice of times to take the transfer. I didn’t have to worry about timing the day to catch a transfer at a specific time. With the Princess transfer we could take any shuttle between 12 and 4. The shuttles left on the hour. We were very happy with the Princess transfer. My DH dropped me off at the transfer meeting point with the luggage and then returned the car. The bus left promptly at 2 and we were able to make the 3:30 tunnel opening. We also had time to stop at Portage Glacier overlook for pictures right before the tunnel.

 

It only took a few minutes to reach the ship after we left the tunnel. We were at our room by 4. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and went into Whittier to look around. It was cloudy and cool and we were told it rains 300 days a year. There a few neat gift shops and a nice harbor. After taking many pictures of the town and the Coral we returned to the ship. So far we really love the Coral. The Horizon Court was redone and it’s a great setup . It’s so much better than the Grand class of ships. There are so many places to sit inside and look out a window. We sailed out at 8 and our naturalist Sue gave a commentary on the way out. There were many very tired passengers so I don’t many people heard her.

 

Sunday morning we went to the nondenominational service in the Wheelhouse Bar which was well attended. Our M&G was at 11:30 and we had several ship officers show up and the CD. We went to the Glacier talk by Sue at 1. At about 3 we started into Hubbard Glacier. It was a bit cloudy but the sun came out once in a while. The ship only sailed about 5 miles from the glacier. We did not get close enough to see any calving or hear any of the ice popping. They said there was too much ice but there wasn’t near as much as the last time we sailed to Hubbard on HAL and we went right up to the glacier that time. Sue did mention at the glacier talk that since the Costa Concordia they are much more careful. We saw lots of seals on the little ice burgs. We viewed the glacier from the front of deck 10 and there were very few people there. Right now deck 11 front is blocked off and you can’t get out there. Tonight is formal night with the champagne waterfall. Tomorrow is Glacier Bay so we will see how close we get to the glacier.

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Thanks for the Live reporting from the Coral! I will read carefully as we board for a B2B on Aug 9th. Looking forward to seeing Alaska again and re- aquainting ourselves with the beautiful Coral Princess! Enjoy your cruise.

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Right now deck 11 front is blocked off and you can’t get out there.

 

Do you know if the closure is temporary? We are on the Coral next week and chose our cabins at the front of the ship on deck 11 specifically to be close to the outside deck at the bow.

Edited by AryMay

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I took the Coral through the canal and will be on the Grand later this summer to Alaska for our second time. I look forward to going along with you and remembering both my favorite ship and the area of Alaska!

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We just finished breakfast in the Horizon Court. It is a beautiful sunny day here as we enter Glacier Bay. We were able to get a table right at the front windows. Sue was narrating a whale watch but we didn’t see anything. The front tables in the Horizon Court is a great warm place to look out at the scenery. We have moved to the rear deck on the Carib deck since the Horizon was getting very crowded and noisy. It is 8:45 and we are the only ones here. We are scheduled to pick up the rangers at 9:15 and they will be on board until 7:30.

 

So far the internet has been working very well. I am platinum so I have 150 free minutes. I will try to post when I get a chance. I will check on the front of the Baja deck.

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Going to Alaska on the Golden with my teenage son, and reading your posts right from the actual cruise just tickles me! I so appreciate your posts and look forward to more...be safe!

 

Marieze

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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It has been a beautiful day in Glacier bay today. The sun was out all day but the sky remained a bit hazy. We spent the day on the rear deck of deck 10. This worked our very well for us. We even just got pizza and a sandwich for lunch and ate it here. The sun was warm enough that we took off our jackets for a while. It got cold when we were watching the glacier for an hour. We stopped at two glaciers. We saw some calving at the first but none at the second. It was very cold on the top deck. Many people kept warm at the indoor pool. We saw some seals, otters and mountain goats but no whales yet. Some people have seen one for a second but then it disappears beneath the water. We will keep looking and hopefully we will see some as we go through Icy Strait. Tomorrow is Skagway where we will rent a car for the day.

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Thanks so much for posting a "live" report from the Coral. We were on her in March for the Panama Canal. What a nice ship and great crew.

 

Question when you have time: You mention on your road trip portion before boarding the ship, the different stops along the way - but some were not open for the season. When do they open? Is there a specific date?

 

This is on our to-do list and I would much prefer renting a car to see some sights instead of being with the "pack". Looking forward to your next post :)

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Thanks you for taking the time and using your minutes. We did this cruise four years ago and I'm ready to return. We also went to Anchorage two days before our cruise, rented a car and did some touring on our own. We took the train to Whittier, which we enjoyed very much!

Edited by Momma Mojito

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Cruising vicariously along with you - thanks for taking the time to do this. I hope the sun continues to shine down on you for the rest of your trip!

 

How's the state of the ship, the food, the service? I ask because another CC member, who I think is on board with you now, posted some rather negative comments and I'm curious if you are finding the same.

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Sounds like you had a nice day! I am looking forward to hearing about your day in Skagway...we are also renting a car next week to drive up to Emerald Lake. I read the ice just melted last week.

 

Were you able to check to see if the viewing area at the front of deck 11 was (or will be) open? Just curious why it was closed...

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Lovely to hear about your cruise as it happens. Sounds like you've been fairly lucky with the weather and wow! A calving - how fantastic. Hope you have a wonderful time. :)

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I love that ship (My first Princess) and that itinerary (my first) so am checking in frequently and enjoying sailing along with you.

 

Norris

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I miss the many crew friends we made on the Coral just a couple of weeks ago.. I wonder how Chinzah (sweet little Indian girl) from the Explorer Lounge is liking her first trip to Alaska.. If you see her, give regards from Marcia and Marilyn..blonde sisters from Seattle.. Everyone was so looking forward to cooler weather after months in the canal.. We loved the Coral and spent many happy hours on the back of Deck 11.

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Thanks so much for the day by day, we will be on the Coral in July, I have one question, do you happen to know what day the do vow renewals??:confused:

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"In the end I decided on a ship transfer so we had a choice of times to take the transfer. I didn’t have to worry about timing the day to catch a transfer at a specific time. With the Princess transfer we could take any shuttle between 12 and 4. The shuttles left on the hour. We were very happy with the Princess transfer. My DH dropped me off at the transfer meeting point with the luggage and then returned the car. The bus left promptly at 2 and we were able to make the 3:30 tunnel opening. We also had time to stop at Portage Glacier overlook for pictures right before the tunnel."

 

EileenG - when you checked in, did you drop off all your luggage with Princess? Did they issue your cruise cards there, or at the cruise terminal? We are doing the same Princess transfer from the Egan Ctr. I didn't know you could just catch a bus at your convenience. I thought you were assigned a bus/time departure. We are leaving on June 11th.

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It is nice to read your review, looking forward to hear more.

We will be on Coral to Alaska on June 7 next.

 

Enjoy

Esmee

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Thanks for the postings we will be on the island sailing out of Whittier on June 11th can you tell me if you saw any stores to buy soda or wine, we want to purchase our 2 bottles before we get on the cruise, thanks:D

Edited by pameshalaska
spelling

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Thanks for the postings we will be on the island sailing out of Whittier on June 11th can you tell me if you saw any stores to buy soda or wine, we want to purchase our 2 bottles before we get on the cruise, thanks:D

 

I know there are grocery stores in Anchorage but I really can't remember seeing any in Whittier. Don't forget nothing is cheap including soda's in Alaska. I think its cheaper to just do the soda package on the ship.:)

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Thanks for the postings we will be on the island sailing out of Whittier on June 11th can you tell me if you saw any stores to buy soda or wine, we want to purchase our 2 bottles before we get on the cruise, thanks:D

 

I was thinking of doing the same thing until I remembered what miniwheat wrote - everything is so much more expensive in AK, that it might be more cost-effective to buy at least soda & water on the ship.

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I was thinking of doing the same thing until I remembered what miniwheat wrote - everything is so much more expensive in AK, that it might be more cost-effective to buy at least soda & water on the ship.

 

Unlimited soda package is about 5.00 a day per person and they have one for around 8 that has virgin drinks and such.:)

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We just boarded the Coral Princess yesterday in Whittier after 3 wonderful days near Anchorage. The weather has been pretty good. My DH and I are in our early 60s and this is my 4th cruise to Alaska. We have also done two RV trips around the interior.

 

We arrived in Anchorage on Tuesday at 8:30 PM, rented a car and spent the night at the Microtel near the airport. On Wednesday we drove to Independence Mine. We took the old Glen Highway to Palmer which follows the Knik River. The Mine was not open for the season yet but the drive and views are beautiful. We walked up the Hatcher pass road about a mile until the road was completely covered in snow. There was blue sky and the views were incredible. On the way down we took the road to Wasilla. Wasilla has grown so much since we were last there. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at the fish hatchery.

 

Thursday we headed to Seward. First we stopped at the new Cabellas in Anchorage. This is a huge sporting goods store that has over 300 mounted animals from Alaska. The displays are spectacular. We continued down the Turnagain Arm Highway. We saw two moose near Potter Marsh. Unfortunately even though the sun was out there was a forest fire in Soldotna that caused a thick haze over the mountains. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. We took the road to Portage Glacier and hiked to Byron Glacier. The Portage Glacier visitors center was not yet open for the season during the week. After our hike we continued to Seward being surrounded by mountains the whole way. In Seward we stayed at the Breeze Inn which is right across the street from the harbor. Seward is my favorite Alaska town. It has a quaint harbor and old historic downtown.

 

Friday we went to Exit Glacier. We were shocked to see how it had retreated since we were last there in 2006. In 2006 you could easily walk up to the front of the glacier which stood about 20 feet high. Today you could not get to the front but had to hike up a trail to overlook it. It has receded up the glacial valley and now slopes down to the floor. After visiting Exit Glacier we drove back to Anchorage. The haze was mostly gone and the views were beautiful. We saw 5 Dahl sheep on the mountain side. When we got back to Anchorage we drove up to the overlook at the Flat Top Mountain parking lot. It was clear enough for a great view of Anchorage. We spent the night at Moose Garden B&B.

 

Saturday after a nice breakfast at the B&B we drove to the Saturday Market in downtown Anchorage. I bought some neat jewelry and enjoyed walking around. We also stopped at the Ulu Factory. I spent a lot of time deciding how we were going to get to Whittier; train, private transfer or ship transfer. In the end I decided on a ship transfer so we had a choice of times to take the transfer. I didn’t have to worry about timing the day to catch a transfer at a specific time. With the Princess transfer we could take any shuttle between 12 and 4. The shuttles left on the hour. We were very happy with the Princess transfer. My DH dropped me off at the transfer meeting point with the luggage and then returned the car. The bus left promptly at 2 and we were able to make the 3:30 tunnel opening. We also had time to stop at Portage Glacier overlook for pictures right before the tunnel.

 

It only took a few minutes to reach the ship after we left the tunnel. We were at our room by 4. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and went into Whittier to look around. It was cloudy and cool and we were told it rains 300 days a year. There a few neat gift shops and a nice harbor. After taking many pictures of the town and the Coral we returned to the ship. So far we really love the Coral. The Horizon Court was redone and it’s a great setup . It’s so much better than the Grand class of ships. There are so many places to sit inside and look out a window. We sailed out at 8 and our naturalist Sue gave a commentary on the way out. There were many very tired passengers so I don’t many people heard her.

 

Sunday morning we went to the nondenominational service in the Wheelhouse Bar which was well attended. Our M&G was at 11:30 and we had several ship officers show up and the CD. We went to the Glacier talk by Sue at 1. At about 3 we started into Hubbard Glacier. It was a bit cloudy but the sun came out once in a while. The ship only sailed about 5 miles from the glacier. We did not get close enough to see any calving or hear any of the ice popping. They said there was too much ice but there wasn’t near as much as the last time we sailed to Hubbard on HAL and we went right up to the glacier that time. Sue did mention at the glacier talk that since the Costa Concordia they are much more careful. We saw lots of seals on the little ice burgs. We viewed the glacier from the front of deck 10 and there were very few people there. Right now deck 11 front is blocked off and you can’t get out there. Tonight is formal night with the champagne waterfall. Tomorrow is Glacier Bay so we will see how close we get to the glacier.

 

Did you get to get on the ship and off again in Whittier? I was wondering about that since the ship leaves so late.

 

We were on the Coral in March. We loved the ship. We are doing an Alaska cruise next July - can't wait. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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