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LIVE - Coral Princess - Circle the Pacific - 09-19-2018

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09-24-2018 Headed to Juneau

 

Actually clear sky as of 15 minutes ago at 0530, but no guarantees in the next 30 minutes. We dock at 0900 this morning. Anything we do is weather dependent. If its clear, then it’s the tram first, nugget falls 2nd and shopping 3rd. If its not clear we shop first hoping for clear skies or lack of rain later. Lunch will be at twisted fish regardless.

 

ROLL CALL ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Icy Strait Point – Meet in Patisserie at 0630 to decide what to do.

 

Vickie has a tour in Taipei, all day, that she would like another couple to join. 8 hours, 4 people total. Cost is TBD, but about $130 each. Contact me via my email and I will give you her cabin number to contact her about it.

 

END OF ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

In the Ketchikan it was rain with periods of less rain, alternating with mist, alternating with no rain and one period of seeing a piece of blue sky! But we pretty much expected this. We did the lumberjack show. A staple for us and highly recommended. All the newbies though it was great too and had a lot of fun. Felt sorry for the lumberjacks standing in a pouring rain handling those sharp axes.

 

We did do creek street. It was sad in a way to see all those magnificent salmon that had died after spawning. But cycle of life. The seagulls were not even fighting over the remains they were so full.

 

After the show it was one of our favorite shopping activities – getting all the freeby handouts as Christmas gifts for the grandkids. Charms, bracelets, pendants, all kinds of cool and free stuff. And since this was the end of the season they were handing them out, one per coupon, and not limiting it to one per family. And we found saltwater taffy. The crew loves salt water taffy. It was also on sale at $3 per pound instead of $12 per pound.

 

Lots of sale items of all types imaginable. Coats especially. Not quite everything on sale. But enough to make others happy. We stuck with the free stuff.

 

We did a nice relaxing and delicious lunch at Annabelles, just across the street from Tongas. Smoke salmon chowder, in a bread bowl of course, Kung Pao Calamari, halibut fish and chips with a 5 piece flight of Alaskan Amber Ale. Now we’re talking some really good food! Getting out of the rain, sitting down and enjoying a hot and scrumptious meal, and beer, was the perfect topper for the day.

 

BTW – Docked beside the Coral was the Time Bandit of deadliest catch fame. Probably getting ready to head out for Red Crab in the Bering Sea.

 

Sailaway was cool, but dry and heading up the channel was very calm and beautiful. Didn’t see any whales.

 

Off the to Koffee Klatch!

 

Later!

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Hi Ccrain

 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to post your wonderful experiences on this trip.

 

 

 

Can you please post who the Captain Circle hostess/host is? And, who the #1 most passenger is and how many days?

 

 

 

Thanks

 

 

 

#1 MTGs have 1862 days. The cutoff for the MTG lunch for this segment is 909 and for the 2nd segment it’s 998. There are over 1000 elites which is more than 50% of the total passengers!!

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So with that many Elites on board, how is the club class dining area? Must be stuffed to the gills.

 

Club Class is only for those in full suites and a few CC mini-suites. Being Elite has nothing to do with Club Class, so Club Class has as many eligible passengers as every other itinerary on this ship.

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With 1000 ELITES, the Laundry will take 3 to 7 days at least to come back to your room.

 

Laundry processes the PAID laundry first, ship laundry second and then they do the ELITE laundry last and in order the bags come in. People sending in tons of laundry will slow the laundry down more. If elites have a lot of OBC they can use it to pay for the laundry and get their clothes back the next day.

 

Hope you have enough clothes for the laundry to return.

 

John and Charles should have a months supply of clothes for the many suitcases and boxes they brought aboard.

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Club Class is only for those in full suites and a few CC mini-suites. Being Elite has nothing to do with Club Class, so Club Class has as many eligible passengers as every other itinerary on this ship.

 

 

Oh ok being a newbie I didn't know that. Thanks for explaining.

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With 1000 ELITES, the Laundry will take 3 to 7 days at least to come back to your room.

 

Laundry processes the PAID laundry first, ship laundry second and then they do the ELITE laundry last and in order the bags come in. People sending in tons of laundry will slow the laundry down more. If elites have a lot of OBC they can use it to pay for the laundry and get their clothes back the next day.

 

Hope you have enough clothes for the laundry to return.

 

John and Charles should have a months supply of clothes for the many suitcases and boxes they brought aboard.

 

Laundry is taking 4-6 days for Elites. And yes the 4 packed suitcases are paying off!

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Club class is creating major issues in ATD.

 

It is very underutilized on this cruise so far. The allocation of space and wait staff to that venue is causing a major jam in ATD service. Jean-Paul is trying his best by moving ATD people to fixed seating to relive the ATD crunch, but with corporate dictating Club Class amenities, his actions are very limited.

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09-25-2018 – Glacier Bay

 

ROLL CALL ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

I heard that the CC luncheon organized by Jane was a great success. Rave reviews on how the crew, and Jean-Paul (a really great matre de), even had a special dish prepared for the group. A lobster risotto. Jane’s coordination with corporate prior to sailing and giving Jean-Paul plenty of warning made even a 90+ group feel special. Thanks Jane!

 

Icy Strait Point – Meet in Patisserie at 0630 to decide what to do. Which highly depends on the weather.

 

Vickie’s tour in Taipei is now full.

 

END OF ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Juneau was both familiar, fun and disappointing yesterday. It was a great day ashore with lots of stuff to see and do, good food, great shopping bargains, but the price inflation over the years is getting ridiculous!

 

The weather was good. No rain. Clouds were high so the tram vistas should have been pretty good, but fog shrouded the mountain tops so Glacier viewing on fixed and rotary aircraft was most likely suboptimal. One of the many risks of Alaska weather.

 

The sales in town were phenomenal. A $4k piece of jewelry for $1k. Probably could have gotten him lower if I really wanted it, but it had “chocolate” diamonds in it. Not interested. But I did find Judy a Whale’s Tail with a “Dancing Diamond”. How about a $1k skinning knife with a mammoth bone handle for $500. Very tempting. Had it been forged Damascus I would have grabbed it in a second. (Shipping to the states would have been $15.) Fleece at 50% off. Desperate vendors closing their doors for good trying to get rid of inventory. Some vendors were packing stuff to ship to the Caribbean and Mexico. Of course Alaska labeled stuff was the cheapest. It just wouldn’t sell well on St. Thomas.

 

First of all the Coral docks in the AJ dock. That’s the one the furthest away and about 1.5 miles from the tram. The shuttle was $5 for all day – BUT it was FREE after the first couple of hours. So we had a nice walk into town and free rides from then on.

 

Bought fudge at the Alaskan Fudge Company. 15# of fudge in 30 boxes. Already gave away 3 boxes. One to the front deck, one to the room steward and one to our morning barista. More to follow. It’s really, really good! Then we came back for dessert. Their ice cream was 50% off, so we sat in front of the store eating ice cream and attracting a crowd. Probably should have charged them for advertising!

 

Price inflation. OMG! I did not realize how much prices have gone up since we were here in 2015. $45 EACH roundtrip to Mendenhall on the Glacier Express. The public bus is like $2. No wonder the line was so long to catch the public bus. The tram is now $38 each for the daily pass. That’s $83 each for two of the more DIY choices in this port. Good grief!

 

So instead of spending that kind of money on busses or trams, we went to lunch at Twisted Fish. The blackened halibut was fantastic. The halibut fish and chips, nearly perfect. Add to that a white Alaskan Ale and an Amber, perfect lunch. Now we have had our halibut and clam chowder fixes in Alaska and are ready for Japanese food.

 

When we first started cruising we always wondered why people ate off the ship. Afterall, food cost money on-shore. Well, we have since changed our tune as we have cruised more and more and the food on the ships has become standard and safe – read pretty much the same ole same ole. Ketchikan and Juneau are good examples. Smoked salmon chowder. That was a very interesting and tasty treat. So is perfectly cooked halibut fish and chips – with fresh, never frozen halibut. And hot and cold smoked salmon. Taste treats you just can’t get on the ship. Asia will present even better opportunities for WOW food. Dim Sum in Hong Kong, Pho in Vietnam, Sushi and Sashimi in Japan, those stuffed steamed buns in China. Can’t wait to try real Philippino food.

 

That’s it for the morning.

 

Later!

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We have been to Alaska many times and have done everything. I think the next time we might go to the restaurants you mentioned. Sure does sound good!!:cool:

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Laundry is taking 4-6 days for Elites. And yes the 4 packed suitcases are paying off!

 

On 1 cruise earlier this year I was told I would need to stay on for the next leg in order to get the laundry back. :rolleyes:

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08-26-2018 – At Sea to Kodiak

 

Internet access in Glacier Bay was apparently so bad, they posted in the patter that no refunds would be offered if you connected. Probably the explosion of live streaming from the ship would just eat all the bandwidth available.

 

The rain held off in Glacier Bay long enough to see the Marjorie Glacier up close. High clouds and some cloud fog around the area on the way in. One lone seal on a bergy bit. Pretty cold too. The cloud cover does allow the blue striations to show more prominently on the ice. I’m always awed by looking at geology – the bulldozing of entire mountains into rubble by the glaciers. Lots more trees in the area than our first trip in 2001. Some mountain goats on the way in. No bears. But then, no salmon either.

 

So pretty much the same Glacier Bay. A nice day to relax and watch the world go by.

 

Icy Strait Point was a lot of fun for all of us. Four of us rented vehicles from Icy Strait Lodge on the east side of Hoonah. A jeep, an astro van, a crossover and a sienna. We all convoyed together in case of flat tires or meet and greets with a ditch.

 

It was pouring down rain when we docked at 0600, but by the time myself and the drivers took the shuttle to Hoonah and walked to the Lodge, it was not raining. We drove back to Icy Strait and picked up all the passengers. Based on extensive satellite photo review and google photos, I had a couple of places marked as top prospects for bear sighting and wouldn’t you know it – found a bear at the first spot. (Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then!) A huge black bear (350-400#), which we later found out was a coastal brown bear, just black in color. About 100 yards away across a small creek and digging away at something. He would look over at us, yawn, dig a while, rest, look over, lay down, yawn – whatever he was digging up he wanted it. We continued to the second area, sticking close to the coast and the tidal flats, and saw a mother and two cubs about a mile away across a small bay.

 

Just as we were about to leave a bald eagle lighted in a tree right next to us and decided to put on a display of his wings. Beautiful sight. (I paid him extra for that display – he was not cheap.)

 

In all we saw several bald eagles, those two bears, a deer, couple of squirrels, seals, lots of beautiful country and several dozen blue bag carrying tourists.

 

The rain held off for most of the trip. We did run back into Hoonah to grab some sandwich makings and drinks for an impromptu picnic in the woods. And we found out what “Marine Access Facility” meant on a map – access point to the water! That’s it!

 

We dropped the people back off at the entry point to Icy Strait and returned the vehicles. Barbara Phillips, owner of the lodge, gave us a guided tour of Hoonah on the way back to the ship. Really great little town to visit. Rustic, no 4 or 5 star resorts here, but a really quiet, peaceful and small town. Great place to visit for a few days with lots of things to do in the area with fishing, hunting, hiking and lots of roads to travel in the area as well.

 

But as far as a ship destination, DIY’ers should rent a car to get out. There is not much in town to see at all. All of the interesting stuff and food is in Icy Strait point itself. Oh BTW, the Zip Line is simply incredible. It has to be the tallest, fastest and scariest looking zip line I have ever seen. It has to be a 1500 foot drop from the top to the bottom. The area around the dock is really cool to at least wander through the shops. There was a shuttle to Hoonah for $5 unlimited daily rides. The shuttle drops off in the middle of Hoonah proper, near the cultural center, quite a ways from Icy Strait Lodge. There is a nice walking path along the shoreline from Icy Strait Point to Hoonah. Very clear water, gravel beaches, lots of seals.

 

The roads out of town are well marked on maps of the area. Downloadable PDFs from the forest service. The bear viewing area to the east of town is on private property, so not anyone can use the paths. We saw bears to the south along the coast near the old logging camp and near Long Island. The roads are all very well maintained and pretty good gravel. Not heavily rutted or muddy. No problems with passenger vehicles at all.

 

The Marine Access Facilities on the maps are just roads that go to the waters edge. Probably for launching kayaks and portable boats. I wouldn’t try launching trailered boats there. Too rocky and steep into the water with no boat launch ramps.

 

The forest areas are heavily overgrown. With bears prevalent on the Island I would not be hiking through the woods without bear protection as you can only see a few feet into most of the areas. You could easily walk up on a bear and wake them up into a very uncomfortable situation for all.

 

At sea and a little rolly this morning. Not a lot of rockin. Cloudy and rainy with periods of mist. Pretty miserable outside.

 

So that’s the update for this morning. Tomorrow – Kodiak and a drive around the Island looking for bears…

 

Later!

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Quikie Update -

 

Just got back from Kodiak where four of us rented cars and headed out. Saw momma bear and cub tracks up north, but got to see a sow and 2 cubs (live) down south before we headed back. Great day, scattered rain, low clouds. Shower, shave and Chef's Table night!

 

Will do a detailed update tomorrow. Off to Kushiro Japan!

 

Later!

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08-29-2018 – At Sea to Kushiro Japan

 

A lot rocky and rolly this morning. Wave height tracking from a marine website yesterday while leaving Kodiak showed a large circulation across the entire Aleutian chain from the south east to the northwest across the upper half and the reverse down the other half, along with a cyclone in the Rukyu’s, will make for a rough crossing to Japan. Batten down the hatches! Judy will spend her time on Deck 5 or in bed.

 

Kodiak was great. A sow and 2 cubs within 150 yards was the highlight. Along with spectacular scenery, eagles, swans, deer, seals, gorgeous black sand beaches and scary sized bear tracks. Funniest moment was the sign on the bridge telling everyone that the bears were present stealing fish from fisherman! Pretty cool. It would have been better in clear weather, but it didn’t pour down rain.

 

We rented cars at Budget on Marine Way just up from the ship. All of us walked up to the office to rent 4 cars, all passenger cars with passenger car tires – more about that later. Based on reports of bear sightings north at Abercrombie, we headed to the end of the highway to the north. There we found fisherman fishing a late salmon run in the river with the sign warning about bears stealing fish! After debating walking out to the beach we all went out on the gorgeous black sand beach and found the tracks for the momma and 2 cubs on the beach. Huge bear tracks.

 

We loaded up and headed south checking various salmon creeks and rivers as the crossed the Chiniak highway. At the Y to the south we headed to Chiniak rather than the Pacific Space Port and stopped to have lunch alongside the road overlooking the tidal flats. Still no rain, but it was overcast and foggy. On a clear day, this would have been a spectacular drive. Just before the Chiniak post office we found a sow and two cubs. The momma got within 120 yards of us and we decided to retreat to the vehicles. She wasn’t aggressive, but definitely wanted to be between us and her cubs.

 

It was about 1300 when we saw her and went down a few more miles to another gorgeous black sand beach before turning around and heading back to town. All aboard was 1630 and we wanted to drop off the cars by 1530, but most wanted to do a Walmart run and we needed to fill up with gas. Everything worked out well as we got back to the ship about 1530.

 

Chef’s table last night was fantastic. New dishes, a really, really good chef, and excellent service. The Ahi tuna appetizer, instead of the crab ceviche, was different. The stars were the pumpkin risotto and the mango-orange sorbet with the Grey Goose vodka. Jean-Paul really came through for the Cruise Critic people as the first 10 signups were at the first Chef’s table, and they held it to 10 rather than the typical 12 they would run through.

 

Kodiak as a port is very interesting, but you are going to have to rent cars or take a tour to see more than just the immediate town area. There is limited sites in town and Walmart is about 3 miles away from the dock. Some people were walking it, but the crew was walking to Walmart and taxiing back to the ship. There is also a large Safeway next to Walmart, the Walmart is pretty much a basic Walmart, not a Super Walmart, no groceries, bakery or garden center. The Safeway has all the groceries and deli supplies you will need. There is also a Safeway liquor store next to the Budget office on Marine way in easy walking distance from the ship.

 

I really recommend car rental at this port. Especially if the weather is clear. There are a couple of options. The Budget office is about ¾ of a mile from the ship dock – easy walking distance. You won’t have the variety of cars that are at the airport or at Avis at the airport. There were lots of taxis available at the dock and at various locations around town. The main reason I rented from the downtown location was the return. I was pretty sure that we could get to the airport, but I was concerned about the return trip back to the ship. I was not sure if the ship in port would detract from the number of taxis at the airport. I did hear that Avis actually ran a shuttle to the ship, but I have not confirmed that. I will continue to check on it.

 

Besides bear watching, the rugged coastline of the island is incredible. Very dramatic sea cliffs – similar to the northern California and Oregon coastlines. The temperate rain forest has dramatic tree shapes from the moss coatings. Ferns and sedge grasses abound in the tidal areas. The area around Abercrombie looks phenomenal for hiking and picnicking. Clear weather and/or longer port times would have made this an even better port.

 

In fact, Kodiak has now risen to the top of my list as a place I would like to visit on a land tour one of these days. Probably in July or August to try and catch clearer weather, do some fishing and more extensive bear watching and sight seeing.

 

So back to more rocky and rolly. E’ya all later!

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We rented a car from Avis. We called about 8 am as we got off the ship, and they picked us up about 10 minutes later. We were able to leave the car at the dock. We called them to tell them know the car was there so they could pick it up.

 

In the past, we have rented from Budget in town, but found that some cars left something to be desired.

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We rented a car from Avis. We called about 8 am as we got off the ship, and they picked us up about 10 minutes later. We were able to leave the car at the dock. We called them to tell them know the car was there so they could pick it up.

 

In the past, we have rented from Budget in town, but found that some cars left something to be desired.

 

If you could post some details of how you made the arrangements to be picked up and where you parked the car, that would be great for future cruisers to Kodiak.

 

Thanks!

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Charles, do you know, or would you be able to find out, if you can still buy the wine packages? Thanks.

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If you could post some details of how you made the arrangements to be picked up and where you parked the car, that would be great for future cruisers to Kodiak.

 

Thanks!

We reserved the car on line with Avis at the airport in Kodiak. Before leaving home, we called the Avis office to check on whether or not they could pick us up at the pier. They said they could during daylight hours and to call when we were ready. There might be a few busy times when they could not or we might need a taxi to get to the airport quicker.

 

As I said, we called the Avis office in Kodiak as we got off the ship to see if they could pick us up, and they were at the dock in about ten minutes.

 

We left the car parked just inside the fence at the dock, and called Avis to tell them they could pick up the car and where it was. The keys and paper work were locked in the glove compartment and the car was locked.

Edited by Quartzsite Cruiser
Additional Information

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Charles, do you know, or would you be able to find out, if you can still buy the wine packages? Thanks.

 

Yes, there are wine packages available, but they won't give me the paper to be able to reproduce the T's and C's. And there are several different packages!

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09-30-2018 – At Sea To Kushiro

 

Rough water, gale force winds, no sun to speak of, that’s about the long and short of it. Good thing we are on the Coral. You can still find seats here and there on Deck 5, along Deck 6, around Deck 6, upper part of Universe, etc. Not like the Diamond during rough weather – standing room only!

 

Some lectures, dance lessons, trivia, game shows, movies, football. Everything is being utilized and lots of things to do, but as usual in rough weather, Judy is flat on her back. Doesn’t seem to bother me that much. Went up on Deck 14 and had pizza and beer. So cold up there, the pizza guy is hugging the oven space to keep warm. Not a lot of chair hogging going on for sure.

 

Probably not much to update for the next few days. Will really start back hot and heavy after Kushiro as we will be doing a pretty intensive port schedule with late departures.

 

Later!

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