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Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 11 - Juneau

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Ahhh...another quiet restful night in our stateroom. Beci was
telling us at dinner that she recommends Alaska Inside Passage
cruises to her clients that are afraid they'll be seasick, and I can
understand why. It's so smooth that a lot of the time I can't even
tell that we're moving!

I'm sorry that I haven't had a chance to respond to comments, but
I've been able to read most of them, so here's answers to some
questions:

Our dining rotation is Parrot Cay, Triton's, Animator's Palate. And
then lather, rinse, repeat. :-) Here's the menus and themes for
the Alaskan cruises:

Day 1: The restaurant menu (Island Dinner for Parrot Cay, French
Dinner for Triton's and Show Dinner for Animator's Palate). Dress
is Cruise Casual.

Day 2: (At Sea) Formal Night, with the Golden Mickeys menu.

Day 3: (Tracy Arm) The restaurant menu, Cruise Casual.

Day 4: (Skagway) The new Taste of Alaska Menu, Cruise Casual.

Day 5: (Juneau) Restaurant menu, Pirate Attire or Cruise Casual.

Day 6: (Ketchikan) Captain's Gala menu, Semi-Formal attire.

Day 7: (At Sea) 'Til we Meet Again menu, Cruise Casual.

The temperature inside the ship is pretty comfortable - I get cold
very easily, but I've been ok in the restaurants and public spaces
in just long pants and a shirt - usually long sleeve, but I've been
ok in short sleeves, too.

The show schedule is:

Day 1: Let the Magic Begin
Day 2: Golden Mickeys
Day 3: One of the cruise entertainers
Day 4: Movie (for us it was African Cats)
Day 5: Toy Story The Musical
Day 6: One of the cruise entertainers
Day 7: Remember the Magic

I've seen whales a couple of times - saw humpbacks from the gym on
our first at sea day, and orcas last night after we sailed out of
Juneau. The captain said we might see some very early this morning
(as we were approaching Ketchikan) but I wasn't getting up that
early. :-)

Yes, there are special Alaska pins available. Open edition pins, as
well as a limited edition set on our cruise - I don't know if there
will be other limited edition sets available on future cruises,
though.

Once we got into the Inside Passage (on day 3) there's
several changes they've made due to Alaskan maritime laws. This is
the paragraph that was in the Navigator:

"Disney Cruise Line recognizes the importance of quiet and solitude
to preserve wilderness values and marine ecology, and will minimize
vessel announcements, Funnel Vision audio and music on the open deck
while we are in our ports of call and sailing thru Tracy Arm.
Narration is at maximum levels permitted by local regulations and
may seem quiet."

What that means is that when we were in Tracy Arm the other day we
could hardly hear the narration from our naturalist. They also are
not showing very many movies on the Funnel Vision, though they did
show Pirates of the Caribbean on Pirate Night. (Of course, that
could also be because it's pretty chilly on deck, and no one is up
there watching them!)

I haven't heard them blowing the ship's horn very much since we left
Vancouver, though that might be because they reduced the volume and
we can't hear it from our stateroom. They did sound it just before
we pulled into the dock in Ketchikan this morning, though.


So back to yesterday...we arrived in Juneau pretty early - we were
docked by the time we got up about 7:00. We were really happy when
we looked outside and saw some blue sky! And it just got better as
the day went on.

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The last time I was in Juneau was in 1983, and we had to take
tenders to the port - things have changed since then and we docked
at a pier - though it's the furthest one from downtown, even though
we were the only ship in port.

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Our excursion was the Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Hike.
There were 20 of us and they put us in a converted school bus. The
bus driver, Scott, was one of our guides, and Dirk was the other.
Both very knowledgeable and nice. They also had butt bags for us,
with snacks, water, and a poncho (which they hoped we wouldn't
need!). I think just about everyone on the tour had brought their
own packs so we just swapped the supplies into them.

We drove about 20 minutes to the West Glacier trail head, on the
shore of Mendenhall Lake. The day had turned absolutely gorgeous -
sunshine, blue sky, puffy clouds, as you can see in this photo. We
were so lucky to have a day like that - especially since they told
us it had been raining the day before.

These photos were taken about 1/4 mile up the trail; the best
view we had all day even though we got closer to the glacier. The
trees blocked most of our view the rest of the time. Where's a
chainsaw when you need it?

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They had split us into two groups of 10, and we were with Dirk's
group. Really interesting guy - a native Alaskan with lots of
stories and information on the plants and animals. For example, he
pointed out this furrow in the moss, and said it was probably made
by a bear looking for food.

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And this is shelf fungus...

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And this is lettuce lung lichen.

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The trail was very nice - through the forest largely on a carpet of
moss and evergreen needles. Though in a couple of places we went up
some fairly steep rocky sections. They had cable handrails on one
of them, but the other one we had to scramble up - not too hard, and
Dirk was there to lend a hand to those who needed it.

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By the time we reached our turnaround point (about 2.25 miles in) we
had a few more clouds in the sky and not quite as much sun. Both
Lee and I were hiking in just a single layer, which I certainly had
not expected at all!

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This was the closest view we had of the Mendenhall Glacier. It's
receding - about 300' a year on average. The trees in the area we
were in were probably about 80 years old, so the glacier was there
100 or so years before.

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The sky was a bit clearer over Juneau, and back the way we came
from.

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We returned as one big group (though spread out a ways), and took a
rather steep side trail down next to a stream.

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Here's the view from the lake about 3 hours after the one I took
above - I'm glad I have the earlier photo!

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It was a fun hike, and again, a little more challenging than I was
expecting. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE challenging, and I'm very
happy to see that Disney has added some more active and interesting
choices like these last two we did to their itineraries. Our
guides were again excellent and helped us enjoy the experience even
more.

Over half of us chose to get off the bus in town rather than taking
it back to the ship. Dirk passed out maps to us and gave us a few
suggestions of places to check out. Here's the state capitol
building.

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And a totem pole outside the museum. This is a 4 story totem, and
depicts 4 Haida clan stories. It was carved in 1940 out of western
red cedar.

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And the World Famous Red Dog Saloon. We went inside - there's
sawdust on the floor! (It really hadn't changed much since I was there almost 28 years ago - though it has two gift shops now. :-) )

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Down by the waterfront was the statue of Patsy Ann. She was a white
bull terrier, and in the 1930s she was the unofficial greeter of
Juneau. She was deaf, but despite that she always knew when a ship
was coming into port and met it at the dock.

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It was "Clean Up Juneau Day", and we saw a lot of residents out with
big trash bags picking up trash. So Lee did his part, too. All of
the trashcans in Juneau are bear-resistant (I won't say bear-proof,
because bears are smart, and I don't think there's anything that's
bear-proof!), and have a latch on the lid to make it more difficult
for the bears.

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There were shuttle buses from the tram station to the ship, but we
walked back (and so did some other people - including some with
little kids - we were impressed by that). It was a longer walk than
it looked - over a half mile since we had to go around the far side
of the ship.

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We pulled out of port about 5:00 - it was still a beautiful day with
quite a bit of sunshine! Oh, that reminds me - when we were walking
downtown one of the local residents saw Lee's hat and recognized him
as being from the Disney ship and thanked him for the sunshine. :-)

They were setting up for the Pirate Night party on deck.

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We had dinner at Palo in the private dining room with 10 other
members of our group (thank you Mouse Fan Travel!). As if that
wasn't enough of a treat, we ALSO saw a pod of orcas go by, followed
by some dolphins that were following them! We forgot all about
eating for a while. It was really awesome.

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We continued to have terrific scenery throughout dinner, as we
sailed by all of those snow-capped mountains. Just beautiful - I
can't believe what a beautiful day it was for us!

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Another new towel animal tonight that I hadn't seen before - a
donkey. We still have over half of them placed around our stateroom -
I'll have to do a group photo before we leave. :-)

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It was Pirate Night. Lee actually dressed up and went on deck to
check it out. (Note the earring - one of the goodies in our fish
extender today, though he didn't wear the eyepatch that went with
it. Finding goodies in our fish extender every day has been a lot
of fun! Thank you Mouse Fan Travel, and thank you Sandy, our table
mate on the repo cruise, who made the fish extenders!)

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Lee said it wasn't as cold as during the pirate party as it was
during the repo cruise, though there weren't too many people up
there. No fireworks while we are in Alaska - that doesn't surprise
me. They now set up the pirate buffet in Beach Blanket - he said
there was food in the normal line. Where they have the omelet bar
was a crepe and ice cream sundae bar. And they had other desserts in the usual dessert place. Neither of us was interested in food after our dinner in Palo, though.

I can't believe we only have two more nights left on board - it's gone so fast!




The previous post in this blog was Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 10 - Skagway.

The next post in this blog is Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 12 - Ketchikan.

Comments (2)

Megan:

I went to Juneau in 2005. My grandpa treated the whole family to a cruise (NCL) and we went to the same glacier. :).

We went in August 2005 and actually met Hilary Clinton and John McCain at the Glacier. Pretty cool.

Shane:

Thank you so much for your blogs, they've really helped us get through the last couple of weeks before our trip to Alaska! If you have a minute, and you know, can you let us know whether they did the animator's palate show on night 2 when it was the Golden Mickey's and not their rotation menu? Thanks again.

Laura replies: The ship-wide menu on the second night is Golden Mickeys. If you're in Animator's Palate that night, you will have the show dinner the second time you're in Animator's.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 9, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 10 - Skagway.

The next post in this blog is Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 12 - Ketchikan.

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