There were 9 in our group for the Sep. 13, 2006 Glacier Bay Carnival Spirit cruise. In January 2006 we book our room by phoning Carnival. I booked two 4a-gty rooms with Hubby, 2 kids and me in one room and Grandpa and our other 2 kids in the other room. My sister booked her 4a-gty room 2 days later by phoning Carnival and had her reservation linked to mine so we could be seated together for supper. Our air line tickets we bought online right through WestJet's website. All 3 cabins were upgraded to 6a (1105, 1109 and 1121 they were quite rooms and we did not hear any noises from outside the rooms). My sister booked her Vancouver hotel room for her, her daughter and our dad through hotels.ca. They stayed at The Days Inn Vancouver Airport. Which had a complimentary continental breakfast, and shuttle service from the airport. I had a harder time finding a hotel for the 6 of us but after searches on hotels.ca, travelocity.ca and expedia.ca I finally found a hotel at a good rate for 6 through expedia.ca. It was Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel for $149 plus tax Canadian.
Sep. 12: Parked our cars at Park and Fly who shuttled us to the airport. At 4pm we flew from Edmonton to Vancouver. My sister and her bunch went to their shuttle to go to their hotel. The 6 for us had to take a Limousine, as Vancouver does not have taxis big enough for 6 passengers. Limojet is the Official Limousine Company of the Vancouver International Airport and is also the cheapest company. So we hopped into the Limousine and had them take us to our hotel, which is about 11 blocks from Canada Place. This is a $39 + tax Canadian ride much cheaper than two taxis at $25 each Canadian. We had supper in the restaurant that is in the hotel. The restaurant is about average price. There was a McDonald's across the street but we did not see that until the next day.
Sep. 13: We had muffins and coffee free at the hotel then at 10:30am walked the 11 blocks to Canada Place. This was an easy walk mostly down hill. We checked our bags onto the cruise ship and waited for the other 3 to get there. At about 11am they showed up checked their bags and then all of us were off to security and customs. Customs was a breeze then from there we had to sit and wait to be boarded onto the ship. They said they were behind schedule and they don't normal have people sit for this but I much preferred to sit until it was time to go through boarding in stead of standing. Our line was called and the 6 of us and my dad went to one person to get our room keys. Here my dad put his S&S on his credit card and everyone else was put onto mine. That went very easily. Then it was through the picture taking, onto the ship and eating by 1pm. Our muster station was on deck 3 so it was only 2 flights of stairs and straight to you right. We did not get to see the spirit leave Vancouver as our suppertime was at 5:45pm and this is when the ship leaves port. (If you want to see the ship leave the port take the late night seating on this cruise.) . I did not care for the Las Vegas shows that the cruise put on but the comedian Mrs. Hugges was great! I prefer the Broadway shows that Disney Wonder had. This was also my dad's 73 birthday and Bill and my 20th anniversary. Our waiting team Nadia and Attila sang for us. My dad was the model for the spa's Shave and my husband was the model for the Teeth Whitening lucky them. So they got these treatments for free. I book my 2 girls to get their hair done for formal night. My 4 kids ages 17, 15, 13 and 12 checked out the kids programs but being there were not many kids on the cruise the programs were not set up for this. The teens 12-14 (4 kids in this group and 2 were mine) and the co2 club 15-18 (5 in this group and 2 were mine) should have been put together (to make a group of about 9 in total) since there were every few kids on this cruise. Carnival should rethink their kids programs for Alaska cruises and set them up according. Since the programs were not set up for such small groups all the kids just went on their own around the ship. Most of the kids did not hook up until about the 4th or 5th day. They would have been a lot happier if Carnival would have went out of their way and invited them to a special get together being there were so few of them. When my kids went to the kids programs there were no other kids there so they left after about 15 to 20 minutes. When I spoke to some of the parents days into the cruise they said their kids went to the programs and no other kids were there so they left too. When Carnival see that there are so few kids booked on board they should make special invites to the kids to make sure they all get to the programs at the same time. Maybe have the invites in the rooms the night before for the next day. Then put the 2 older groups together and invite them to come to the CO2 club between 11:00am and 11:30am. That way they are not missing each other.
September 14: Inside Passage. When the line at the Purser's desk as small I went to the desk told them we had two room and I wanted keys to both rooms so we go get into each room. At first they did not want to give me a key to the room I was not staying in, because they wanted the other adult there to sign for the other key. Then after seeing I had paid for both rooms they allowed me to get keys for both rooms. So we kept the keys for the opposite room in a draw then if we needed into the opposite room all we need to do was get the key easy as one, two, three. This works if you have to book one adult in each room with kids then you want to switch to both adults in one room and all kids in the other. We got to see humpback wales spouting. The environmentalist lady told us that even though the spouts looked small maybe 5 feet that they were about 20 to 30 feet high. It was also our formal night this day. My 2 girls got their hair put up for $45 + tax. This was the first time for some of the group to have lobster. The 6 for us got family pictures done and the kids got their school pictures done that night too.
September 15: Juneau Alaska. We did not have any tours booked for this town. We just walked around town and shopped. The Great Alaskan Shirt Com. had great sales on at this time of year; almost everything was 50% off or more. This was Nadia's first night at making ketchup faces for the kids. This night was a hypnotist show, which was good. All 9 of us enjoyed his show.
September 16: Glacier Bay. This was a beautiful place and Carnival is only allowed in here 3 times a year. The cruise ships have to reserve times to come into the Bay. We saw many Glaciers and some seals on ice floats. Three of the Glaciers are growing and they calculate that 2 of them will join up to make one in about 5 years. Some of the group even got to see the last and biggest of the glaciers caving. This is a must see for anyone going to Alaska. Words just do not do it justice. This night was the juggler who all 9 of us also enjoyed.
September 17: Skagway. The 6 of us did the train and gold mine tour bought through Carnival. The train is another must do when in Alaska. When on the train you can see some of the stuff left behind by the prospectors on their way to the Yukon. I saw pails, a shovel, barrels and a record. The gold mine (Liarsville) was not that great but was funny, they act out a Robert Service poem for you and then you get to pan for gold. There are only about 4 tents there, so not much to see. It is a, been there done that, won't do it again thing. If I am ever in Skagway again I want to go to the graveyard and see the old graves. We road by it on the bus and it looked real interesting. Dad and my sister went on a tour bus (booked off of the ship) and they got to go to the gravesite and liked it. The ship had a guy come on from Skagway to do an afternoon show (Mr. Skagway) he was very entertaining. Skagway also had many end of season sales. The Great Alaskan Shirt Com. is in Skagway too and had their stuff for 50% off or more. If you want anything from this store buy it in Skagway or Juneau, as they are not in Ketchikan, I wish I had known this, I would have bought more when in those towns.
September 18: Ketchikan. Tony and I went to The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Which we almost lost our voices while cheering for our team. Bill, Alex, Cathy and Cindy went to the Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition. There you go on a zipline from treetop to treetop, 7 ziplines and 3 rope bridges. They would do this again in a heartbeat. This was the most expensive town for shopping in and there was not many sales on if any. All our tours I booked through Carnival about 2 weeks before our cruise.
September 19: Inside Passage. We saw Killer Whales this day. I did not get a very good picture of them because the sun was so bright and glaring off the water. There were lots of them swimming not far from the ship. There were mammas swimming with their babies too. This was our last night with Nadia and Attila. They were the best waiting team I have had and we tipped them very good for this. I hope all the best for their futures. This night was a show where some of the passengers were in the show. My Bill and I enjoyed the show, as these were the people who were in the Karaoke Lounge all during the cruise and that is where we spent most of our nights
September 20: Departure off the ship was easy and finding our bags went smoothly. My daughter's bag had the tag ripped off but finding it was still easy, but then again we were close to the last to leave the ship. Which is the way we wanted in hopes we would find our bags easier. From Canada Place the 3 took a cab to the airport at the cost of $35 Canadian. The 6 of us had to take a limousine again at a cost of $47 + tax Canadian. The plane ride home seemed very short.
September 22, 2006: Well the world is still rocking for me not sure when it will stop. I must have been born for the sea. The ship did not rock this much for me. Is there such a thing as landsick? . My father is planning on going back next year to do one of the one way cruises or do a back to back cruise up and down he has not decided yet. The 6 of us are looking at going to Hawaii. When planning this trip I had planned $150 spending money for each person but with this being the end of the cruise season for Alaska much of the stores had sales on. You could pick up stuff for 50% to 75% off. So we did not come close to spending our allotted money. Even the ship had their Alaskan stuff for 50% off.
Glacier Bay was my favorite part of the whole trip. I just loved it. Being from Canada it was nice out side for me. All I needed was a fall jacket on and I was set for staying outside the whole time. The weather the whole time was the best Alaska had for the whole season, sunny and warm.
Our dinning room team, Nadia (Peru) and Attila (Hungary) were the best I have had so far. Our Cabin Steward was terrible and we did not leave him a tip from any of us instead we had it all switched to our dinning room team which more than deserved it. When we first got to our rooms they were not cleaned. The person who had took the cruise before us, all their papers, cruise tickets and other junk was left all over the room which should have been spotless at 3pm. The Cabin Steward knows what papers belong in the room, and what does not. All the stuff should have been cleaned up by the time we got to our cabin at 3pm. There was much more but I will not get into it. We loved Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Skagway. We did not like the other comedian they had on the ship. The hypnotist was entertaining but we have seen lot better. We also did not care for the Las Vegas style entertainment. We would rather have Broadway shows like the ones Disney put on during the cruise we took with them. My husband and I went to the Karaoke almost every night even though we did not get up and sing. The host there was great and should be commended on how he handled the people.
If you want to see some pictures go to http://vandervoorts.spaces.live.com/