This is our first trip report! Woot! We've found that sharing our stories and experiences from trips past can be very helpful for those planning a similar trip. Learn do's and don't's, money saving tips, tricks, etc.
Anywho, Park Savers just went on an Alaskan Cruise on the Disney Wonder ship and had a fantastic time! Out of all the Disney itineraries to cruise this one is by far the most scenic in North America. Alaska truly is the final frontier! From bears and whales to fjords and glaciers. You can see it all!
Our first day was in Vancouver BC where the Disney Wonder was docked. The terminal is called Canada Place or Canada 150. It's home to several ships for porting and refueling etc between trips. Summer is a busy time for cruise ships in Vancouver as it's the only time they can get up to through the fjords without running into ice trouble and very cold weather.
We flew into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and took a taxi from their straight to Canada Place. It was about $36 CAN which is roughly $27 USD. Uber and LYFT don't operate here and the taxi price was much cheaper than the bus transfer that Disney offered through the cruise booking.
You can pay with a credit card and be sure the driver hands you the payment terminal to process everything (saying okay to the amount and leaving a tip). Sometimes the driver does everything on their own to purposely skip the tip option for you so that you pay cash...and if you're tipping in USD you may tip much more than you were thinking. A $5 bill equals $6.60 CAN. You can pay in cash as well. We didn't exchange any monies because most places accept cards. We had no problems.
Once we got to Canada Place Cruise Terminal we got out of the cab who drops you off right where the terminal staff are picking up your luggage. We received luggage tags with our cruise documents but never used them because we carried on all our luggage onto the ship. We did this because we arrived during the open boarding period of the ship meaning, we arrived later and so we didn't have to wait in line or wait for our boarding number to be called.
We would suggest if you arrive early enough, before you can board, to use the luggage tags and have them take your luggage for you. This will save you from having to carry it around with you. Keep in mind though that once you give your luggage to the cruise terminal staff you won't have access to it until they deliver it to your room. This is typically a few hours after you've boarded the boat.
The whole process of boarding the boat here was interesting just because of customs. We went through customs at the airport to enter Canada but then we went through US customs at the cruise terminal because the ship was going to a US state...whatever. It all worked out. The Disney Cruise Line Staff is very helpful and someone is there every step of the way to guide you to where you need to go next. The whole process maybe took 30 or so minutes.
Once we got on the ship we headed right for our room and dropped off all of our luggage. We were greeted by our room host who introduced himself and told us to let him know if we needed anything. During our trip we became good friends with our stateroom host who gave us a lot of cool tips for ports and the ship.
After dropping off the stuff we headed to Cabanas, the only food place open. It was a buffet (Cabanas always is) and had lots to offer! They have inside and outside seating.
After eating we just explored the ship and got our bearing of where everything was. There are two things we always do during this time between boarding and dinner:
1. Head to Sense Spa on the ship and enter the raffle. They give aways some great stuff including $50-$100 spa credit. They typically give about 4-5 prizes away in total. We're glad we went because we won a $50 credit!! It was awesome.
2. Shutters also does a raffle for free photos taken on the ship. Put in your raffle ticket early and then show up to the raffle later that night.
We had first dining at 5:45pm and headed to Tiana's Place then. We had a shared table with another family who we got to know really well over the course of the next 7 days. Great people!
Our serving staff was amazing as they usually are. On Disney Cruise Line your serving staff follows you to every restaurant every night. This means you have the same staff every night. It's awesome! They get to know your likes and dislikes.
After eating dinner we headed to the welcome party at the Walt Disney Theater to get introduced to our cruise director and get a taste of things to come. We would highly recommend attending these.
Our 2nd day was at sea so we just browsed the decks enjoying the lovely scenery including islands of trees and some sea life.
Day 3 was when we made it to Endicott Glacier. Our itinerary said we were going to Tracy Arm but there was too much ice up there to navigate through so we went to Endicott instead. The experience is one-of-a-kind and the scenery breathtaking. An ice wall several miles long glistening blue to the sound of cracking ice. Seals and their pups laying out on broken ice pieces floating on the ocean. Pictures will never do it justice. You have to experience it for yourself.
Deck 10 and 9 are the best places to see the glacier although once you arrive the captain will do a slow 360 with the boat so you can see it from anywhere. Deck 10 Forward will get really crowded the closer you get. We enjoyed it from mid ship deck 10 and our balcony in private.
Day 4 we ported in Skagway Alaska for our first port adventures. We didn't book any beforehand via Disney Cruise Line. This was completely preference and we'll tell you why. In Skagway one of the most popular things to do outside of shopping is taking the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad from there to Fraser BC in Canada. It's incredible! The fare through Disney and another company was $335 (2 adults and 1 2-year old). When we got off the ship that morning we went to a tour booth on the dock called M & M Tours, they charged us $250 for the same port adventure. Pretty good savings.
We will say this. Some port adventures sell-out so it is a good idea to book them in advance. Mostly we would suggest booking directly with the source or another 3rd party. Disney typically charges more than anyone else does. Just our 2 cents.
In Skagway there is one shop that is a must-visit: Sugar Mama's. Easily the best cupcake in the world. Bakes fresh and made fresh upon order (topping it with their delicious cream cheese frosting and sprinkles). They offer many different flavors including fresh grown rhubarb.
Our 5th day we ported in Juneau Alaska and did a port adventure to Mendenhall Glacier. If you can, hike to nugget falls. It's as close as you can get to the glacier on land and the falls are incredible! Be sure to stop by visitors center too. They have telescopes looking at the glacier as well as fresh chunks of ice from the glacier for you to touch (some lucky forest service employee gets to fish them out of the lake everyday...).
After the glacier we did the Mount Roberts Tramway which is right off the docks by the cruise ship and up the mountain. Amazing view of Juneau from up there. Plus they have lots of cool things to look at and a nice warm visitors center. You can also eat at a restaurant there and see a Bald Eagle! Tons to do!
In Juneau, just down from the tram, it a little booth called Crepe Escape. Just pick anything on the board and you'll be in heaven. They serve both sweet and savory crepes. So good!
Our 6th day we ported in Ketchikan Alaska. This was our favorite port of them all. It's just a nice quaint fishing town, not too small, not too big. We had really great weather here too which I think helped. We didn't do any port adventures here. We just walked the town and enjoyed the weather.
We did find a nice little place to eat called Burger Queen. It's a local favorite and away from the cruise crowds. Freshly made burgers and fries. You can't beat it. We saw several of our cruise staff there so we knew it was a good place. They always know the ports super well..best places to eat etc. Service is awesome and food was even better.
That night was our last night at Animator's Palate for dinner. They do a really cool show where you a figure on some paper and then they animate them for a show later on. Check out our video from the cruise.