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A semi-live trip report on 8/10/18 Solstice to Alaska that was almost a golf trip to

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Just a quick "anything else". We'll be in Seattle for a couple of days also. Told that the Chihuly Gardens are fabulous. Located right near the Space Needle. The Purple Cafe was also recommended as a thing to do in Seattle by our local paper. Also, found this http://seattlefreewalkingtours.org/

 

We did the Chihuly Gardens the night before our cruise in July. You can see a lot in the outdoor (free) gardens. The verdict on our visit to the museum was divided by sex. We went right after 6pm when the admission was reduced by $10 (I think we paid $19 each instead of $29). The indoor part isn't that big and it doesn't take very long (I bet you can guess which side I voted on).

 

Since it wasn't my first trip to Seattle, I did the Seattle Underground tour which was more weird than anything but requires walking and a lot of stairs. The rest of our group did the Duck tour and came back with those stinking quackers.

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So amenities from the TA showed up last night when we returned from dinner, a nice bottle of wine, beautiful flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, and two very nice Alaska themed tote bags. 19eb4caf19d31a874a563b0136039c6d.jpg

Breakfast in Luminae was great- I love their huevos rancheros. The ship is spotless, and the crew are all really friendly. No real plans for the day other than shipboard talks about Alaska.

 

 

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Glad things have settled down positively for you. Question...last year we did a Mediterranean cruise on the Silhouette and although not suit and tie, people dressed up a bit for dinner as if going to a nicer restaurant. I've heard that Alaska is more casual...how are people dressing for the MDR? Thanks

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Glad things have settled down positively for you. Question...last year we did a Mediterranean cruise on the Silhouette and although not suit and tie, people dressed up a bit for dinner as if going to a nicer restaurant. I've heard that Alaska is more casual...how are people dressing for the MDR? Thanks

 

 

 

My mom is having the time of her life ❤️. We’re in Luminae, and tonight, which is the first evening chic night, we dined in Murano. I saw exactly one tux tonight. My husband wore a white dinner jacket. I do think this is a much more casual cruise as far as dress is concerned.

A few things of note about today- the talks by Brent Nixon and Miss Amanda were amazing, Murano was one of the best meals we have had on a cruise ship, the staff continue to be friendly and very accommodating.

We did the food and wine pairing seminar this afternoon, which was just so-so. The glasses at our table were filthy, and when we pointed this out staff just kind of shrugged their shoulders. Water spots on glasses I can maybe overlook. Lipstick stains on wine glasses during a wine tasting seminar, not so much.

Our suite is perfect for three adults, but we would not bother to pay more if it were just the two of us. The CS is perfectly fine, and so far we haven’t seen much difference in the level of service. Having a stocked mini-bar is not a deal breaker as we haven’t really used it that much. The expedited luggage program on embarkation did not turn out to be expedited at all. Having an additional bathroom is convenient, but not really necessary if there are only two people. We haven’t used the dining area at all.

Tomorrow is Ketchikan, and we have no tour planned, so just walking around Creek Street.

 

 

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Good morning from Ketchikan! 3617ac652724d8836e69982072bb86eb.jpg

It’s a beautiful sunny day, and we’re just pulling into the pier. RCI Radiance as well as a Carnival ship are with us in port. Fashion report as follows: despite a number of people we know telling us there’s no need to bring sweaters and jackets, I’m glad we did. For you fellow New Englanders, I’d compare it to an early spring day.

We received this form last night:

8215c69acd62e989db91c3705925f6bf.jpg

We’ve used the luggage valet on other ships and will be using it this sailing as well.

 

 

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Thanks for the copy of the Port Valet. I was planning on using this and have a Southwest flight at 4:40 PM so have to figure out what to do now.

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Thanks for the copy of the port valet and the stunning pic! Hope you guys had a great day in Ketchikan! Can't wait for your next post.

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Current situation, in the jacuzzi on the balcony sipping a drink, and listening to the Allman Brothers as we sail away from Ketchikan. Ketchikan was perfect. We toured on our own, walking along Creek Street as well as the Ketchikan Discovery Center. There were a ton of salmon as well as seals feeding on them. Most of the shops sell the same things, but I was able to find a book by a local author/artist to donate to my school library. The weather is gorgeous. Tonight we’ll be back to Luminae and will probably skip late night activities due to early wake up.

 

 

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"

We had a great morning touring Pike Market doing a food tour- highly recommend because we beat the crowds and did not have to wait in any lines. We finished the afternoon at the Purple Cafe, a nice wine bar walking distance from our hotel, which I also highly recommend.

 

 

Could you share the company you booked the Pike Market food tour with?

Thanks

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My mom is having the time of her life ❤️. We’re in Luminae, and tonight, which is the first evening chic night, we dined in Murano. I saw exactly one tux tonight. My husband wore a white dinner jacket. I do think this is a much more casual cruise as far as dress is concerned.

A few things of note about today- the talks by Brent Nixon and Miss Amanda were amazing, Murano was one of the best meals we have had on a cruise ship, the staff continue to be friendly and very accommodating.

We did the food and wine pairing seminar this afternoon, which was just so-so. The glasses at our table were filthy, and when we pointed this out staff just kind of shrugged their shoulders. Water spots on glasses I can maybe overlook. Lipstick stains on wine glasses during a wine tasting seminar, not so much.

Our suite is perfect for three adults, but we would not bother to pay more if it were just the two of us. The CS is perfectly fine, and so far we haven’t seen much difference in the level of service. Having a stocked mini-bar is not a deal breaker as we haven’t really used it that much. The expedited luggage program on embarkation did not turn out to be expedited at all. Having an additional bathroom is convenient, but not really necessary if there are only two people. We haven’t used the dining area at all.

Tomorrow is Ketchikan, and we have no tour planned, so just walking around Creek Street.

 

 

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Enjoying your review. We sailed the Tahitian Treasures cruise in April on the Solstice from Sydney to Honolulu. We agree that the talks by Brent Nixon and Miss Amanda were amazing on that 18 day cruise too! They both are such engaging presenters and the knowledge they share is priceless! We are booked on this same ship and itinerary next June.

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Could you share the company you booked the Pike Market food tour with?

 

Thanks

 

 

 

Savor Seattle. They have a number of different tours available.

 

 

 

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We just returned from our tour, the Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Explorer. This was well worth the high cost we paid. You board a catamaran directly off the ship in Tracy Arm. The catamaran gets as close to the Dawes Glacier as possible. We saw smaller pieces drop off, and knew from listening to the naturalist on board that these would lead to larger chunks calving. Truly amazing. We then got right next to a very large iceberg and a crew member hacked off a chunk and brought it onboard. Next was a stop at Wedding Cake Falls. The crew onboard were as in awe as we were when we came upon a pod of orcas, and shortly after three humpback whales.

 

 

 

 

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I was wondering how cold it was on the Tracy Fjord Arm Excursion. We have that one booked for next week and was thinking I would need winter type clothing for that one as my wife gets cold easily.

Did you do anything once you returned to the ship in Juneau? We are thinking of maybe taking a taxi to Mendenhall Glacier or one of the Glacier Floatplane Tours.

 

For Skagway, we have the early train thru Chilkoot Charters booked.

 

Also, has the temperature on the ship been warm inside. Will I be comfortable wearing short sleeve polo type shirts if I am usually warm.

 

Thanks

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I was wondering how cold it was on the Tracy Fjord Arm Excursion. We have that one booked for next week and was thinking I would need winter type clothing for that one as my wife gets cold easily.

 

Did you do anything once you returned to the ship in Juneau? We are thinking of maybe taking a taxi to Mendenhall Glacier or one of the Glacier Floatplane Tours.

 

 

 

For Skagway, we have the early train thru Chilkoot Charters booked.

 

 

 

Also, has the temperature on the ship been warm inside. Will I be comfortable wearing short sleeve polo type shirts if I am usually warm.

 

 

 

Thanks

 

 

 

Here’s what I wore on the tour this morning: t-shirt with micro fleece pullover, light weight parka (squishable kind), long pants (for you fashionistas-Betabrand yoga dress pants, love these!), and waterproof Keen sneakers.In my backpack I had a knit cap, knit gloves, and a lightweight scarf. I needed my hat out on the deck, but never used the scarf or the gloves.

As this was an early day and a long tour, and while my mom is an energetic 85, she’s still 85. After the tour we came onto the ship and had a light lunch at around 2:00 in the buffet. She’s happily reading a book right now. She is always cold, so the temp in the living room area of the cabin is turned up for her. We have the bedroom temp much lower. You should be fine around the ship in shorts and short sleeves, but may want something a little warmer to go out on deck.

It sounds like we’re doing the same tour as you tomorrow in Skagway [emoji106].

 

 

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Great to learn about the cat. Experience! Ty! We are on it next week as well so this is helpful!!!

 

How smooth is the sailing? I understand the ship goes outside the inside passage at Seattle and am a bit concerned about the motion in our far-forward family veranda.

 

Whats the off ship temps been like?

 

Thanks for your insight!

 

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We’ve experienced almost no motion the entire trip. Seattle was warm, mid eighties. Ketchikan started out cool in the morning, but sunny and warm later in the day. I had jeans and a t shirt on and was warm by mid afternoon. Juneau is cool and rainy today. As people say, pack for anything! It’s definitely different than packing for a Caribbean or a Mediterranean cruise.

 

 

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Really appreciate your updates...so helpful.

 

Question re the day in Juneau. We're also doing the Tracy Fjord Arm excursion which I think is supposed to end by 1:00? We then have a Juneau tour scheduled for 2:15 (so we'll have to be out there around 2). Now worried that I may have booked us too tightly, but we're only going to be there once so wanted to take advantage of our time there. When you say your mom ate around 2, could she have eaten earlier? Does it sound like I've overdone it? Thinking I may have to arrange for room service to be delivered around 1:30 so we have time to change, sit for a minute and eat before going back out.

 

Thanks for indulging my mini panic-attack!

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There was food for purchase on the Tracy Arm Excursion. It looked like a lot of people were doing b2b excursions. I think if it were just me and my husband we would have scheduled something for the afternoon. You should be fine. We got back on board the ship around 1:30, and by the time we got upstairs she decided she wanted something to eat so we went to the buffet.

 

 

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fingers crossed we get that same smooth sailing! and decent weather! Thank you so much for posting your semi-live report. It helps a lot!

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There was food for purchase on the Tracy Arm Excursion. It looked like a lot of people were doing b2b excursions. I think if it were just me and my husband we would have scheduled something for the afternoon. You should be fine. We got back on board the ship around 1:30, and by the time we got upstairs she decided she wanted something to eat so we went to the buffet.

 

 

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Thank-you so much for the response!

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We can't thank you enough for all the info! What cabin are you in? Any recommendations for servers in any of the restaurants? How was the train today? Hope you guys had a great day in Skagway!

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WiFi has been spotty, and I won’t be able to upload photos from my phone right now unfortunately. The weather in Skagway started out rainy and very windy, but cleared off as the day went by. I booked the Bennett Train Journey through Chilkoot Charters. One word-amazing. It’s a long day, but well worth it. We took the White Pass train all the way up past Bennett Station, then a small bus back down with stops along the way for photos (Carcross Desert, Emerald Lake, Welcome to Yukon and Alaska signs, Bridal Veil Falls). The guides were knowledgeable and really entertaining. The meeting time was 7:15 and we were brought back to the ship close to 3:30, so if you wanted time in town you could get dropped off there instead of going right to the ship.

All the servers we’ve had so far have been great. The venues we’ve been to: Luminae, Murano, Tuscan Grille, Cafe Bacio, Michael’s Club. There are a few crew members we know from other ships, and it’s been nice seeing them again.

 

 

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For a specialty restaurant did you prefer Murano or Tuscan Grill? Celebrating my birthday on the ship next Tuesday and thinking of going to one of the specialty restaurants unless the main dining room menu is great that night.

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This probably won’t be helpful, but we enjoyed both. Murano is a little more elegant, so if you want something a little more special for your birthday I guess I would suggest Murano. The limoncello cheesecake in Tuscan was incredible.

I will admit I’m looking forward to a more relaxing day at sea tomorrow. The back to back excursions yesterday and today wore my mom (and me ;)) out a little.

 

 

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My wife is not too happy about the 2 early mornings in a row. I have not planned anything for the afternoon in Juneau yet, so will see how we feel. If we do anything probably just taxi to Mendenhall in the late afternoon since the ship does not leave till late at night.

 

I was wondering what you brought for jackets? I am thinking of a medium weight fleece jacket and then a thin rain jacket to wear over or alone. Wondering if I need anything heavier? Also, have you been wearing shorts at all- Deciding on whether to pack 1 or 2 pairs.

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I have not worn shorts, but my husband has around the ship. He will also wear them off the ship on Friday. We packed layers- t shirts, micro fleece pullovers, squishable light weight jackets, knit gloves, and knit hats. We have worn all of them. We also packed light weight rain jackets which we have not worn.

WiFi has been going in and out, but I have this shot off our balcony taken as we were pulling out of Skagway:

33fd0a8ee861f786034c29602842b0fa.jpg

 

 

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I have a question about the Tracy Arm Fjord. Does the ship actually dock so that you can get on the excursions? Then does it reposition to dock in Juneau? Since it goes to both places in the same day, I do not understand the locations.

 

 

Thanks

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Thanks for all the info. One quick question. Two more days to go.

Any bar area you recommend over others?

Dont know if you have been to gym but if you have did you notice any foam rollers

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To answer the last two questions- the ship sails up the Tracy Arm Fjord early in the morning and does a 360 turn. Anyone booked on the small boat excursion boards right off the ship. The ship sails back down Tracy Arm and docks in Juneau around 1:30 pm.

We have the premium package with the RS, have a bar set up in the cabin, and frequent Michael’s , so can’t really comment on other bars on the ship. I haven’t been to the gym, so can’t answer the question about the foam rollers, sorry.

 

 

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Thanks for all your help with this. Starting to pack for my flight tomorrow. BY any chance are you doing the Butchart Gardens excursion in Victoria?

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Thanks for all your help with this. Starting to pack for my flight tomorrow. BY any chance are you doing the Butchart Gardens excursion in Victoria?

 

 

 

Yes, we are [emoji106]. I’ll put up a review while waiting at the airport. Btw, we have dealt with our end of cruise sadness by booking another cruise. We decided to book the Edge for next August leaving out of Barcelona ❤️.

 

 

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Thanks. Looks like I am following in your footsteps 1 week later. have the Tracy Arm Excursion booked, the Chilkoot Rail and Bus Yukon Excursion, and Butchart Gardens. Have not decided yet if we will do something in the afternoon in Juneau. We just have a Concierge Balcony Cabin booked so no suite perks. I would like to know how much time you actually got to spend at the gardens and if it was light enough for the visit to be worthwhile.

 

Will be staying at a hotel near the airport and plan on taking an Uber to the dock around 10:30 AM. Do you think that is good timing or should we leave earlier or later?

 

Our last cruise was a couple years ago on the Equinox from Barcelona to Venice. Picked the specific itinerary for an overnight in Istanbul, since a friend of ours lives there part-time and was our tour guide. Would not visit there now.

 

Thanks so much for letting us follow along on your trip.

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Thanks. Looks like I am following in your footsteps 1 week later. have the Tracy Arm Excursion booked, the Chilkoot Rail and Bus Yukon Excursion, and Butchart Gardens. Have not decided yet if we will do something in the afternoon in Juneau. We just have a Concierge Balcony Cabin booked so no suite perks. I would like to know how much time you actually got to spend at the gardens and if it was light enough for the visit to be worthwhile.

 

Will be staying at a hotel near the airport and plan on taking an Uber to the dock around 10:30 AM. Do you think that is good timing or should we leave earlier or later?

 

Our last cruise was a couple years ago on the Equinox from Barcelona to Venice. Picked the specific itinerary for an overnight in Istanbul, since a friend of ours lives there part-time and was our tour guide. Would not visit there now.

 

Thanks so much for letting us follow along on your trip.

 

 

 

We arrived around 11:30 I think, and the lines were fairly long at check in. Having a suite helped as we were literally taken from outside right to the check in desk and then right on board. The expedited luggage program I mentioned earlier for RS and PH needs some work as our luggage didn’t arrive until right before dinner.

 

 

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To answer the last two questions- the ship sails up the Tracy Arm Fjord early in the morning and does a 360 turn. Anyone booked on the small boat excursion boards right off the ship. The ship sails back down Tracy Arm and docks in Juneau around 1:30 pm.

 

Thanks again. Do I understand that from the small boat excursion you met the ship in the port of Juneau and did not return to the ship while it sailed out of Tracy Arm Fjord to Juneau? I believe the small boat was a 5 hour tour.

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Thanks again. Do I understand that from the small boat excursion you met the ship in the port of Juneau and did not return to the ship while it sailed out of Tracy Arm Fjord to Juneau? I believe the small boat was a 5 hour tour.

 

 

 

Yes, we rejoined the ship In Juneau. The ship is in port until 9:30, so there is plenty of time to get back off the ship and do some exploring on your own.

 

 

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Yes, we rejoined the ship In Juneau. The ship is in port until 9:30, so there is plenty of time to get back off the ship and do some exploring on your own.

 

 

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Thanks. Will definitely book this ship tour for our June 21st sailing.

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We are planning to do Alaska in 2020 with our grandchildren and their parents ( see who really matters?) to mark a special anniversary for us. The Tracy's Arm tour sounds great but any feeling on how it would be for/with a 3 year old and an almost 6 year old? I don't want to be chasing my little guy overboard. Thanks for sharing so much about this trip. Helps me with the debate between this one and and a one way.

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