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Trip log, day one. Embarkation day in Vancouver.
9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver
July 8, 2019
Guests Onboard: 3:30 pm
Personal Navigator – Day 1 (will up load eventually)
Our captain for this cruise is Daniele Aschero. As for our onboard entertainment, Natalie Bailey is our Cruise Director. During this 9-night Alaskan cruise we will be visiting the ports of , Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, and Victoria.
The early bird gets the worm and in this case, the early bird gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning to start a time lapse to record the Disney Wonder arriving and maneuvering into her berth at the Port of Vancouver.
Emily was up and headed down to the gym. The gym just so happens to be on the cruise ship level, so we had a practice run to the terminal. The gym looked out over the harbor and Emily spotted her first interesting wildlife of the trip, an otter swimming around.
The view from our hotel room at the Pan Pacific was incredible. Around half past 6, the Disney Wonder sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge and maneuvered into her spot at the port.
I still haven’t looked at the time lapse footage – I’m worried the camera shifted overnight and the effort I put into eliminating the glare from the windows was for not. For now, there is this live stream video to watch.
Oh yes we CAN-ADA. For second time this trip, we hit up Tim Horton’s. It was a much shorter walk this time. Tim Horton’s is in the food court area in the hotel compound, and ate in the hotel lounge featuring view of the Disney Wonder.
It was still well before checkout time. We decided to see if we could find the other Roots store in Vancouver that carried kids clothes. We quickly returned to the room to pack up so we’d be ready to check-out once we returned.
It turns out, we were half a block away from a Roots store the day before while we were walking around Vancouver. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is, but this location just had a few kids sized clothes. It is almost like, this area of Vancouver is predominantly adults so the stores are not stocking kids stuff. Isabelle did manage to find a t-shirt.
After recently discovering the joys of causally showing up at the terminal and not waiting for boarding to begin, we decided we were in no hurry to board the Wonder. Since Vancouver is still relatively a new area, we wanted to squeeze out some more time walking around the area near Canada Place.
Nearing 11 o’clock,, we set a course back to the Pan Pacific to gather our luggage and check-out. A full review of our time at the Pan Pacific will follow, but the biggest takeaway is this hotel’s location, location, location! It really cannot be beat. I think a timeline is the best tool to illustrate the beauty of the hotel’s location, as well as the efficiency of the Port of Vancouver, and Disney Cruise Line teams.
- 11:24 Left our room on the 20th floor
- 11:28 Checked-out at the front desk in the lobby.
- 11:31 Boarded the lobby elevator to Cruise Ship level
- 11:36 Entered the Embarkation check in area and dropped off our luggage
- 11:40 Started the check-in process and received our KTTW cards and the day 1 Personal Navigator
- 11:45 Entered the US Customs screening area
- 11:50 Entered the Port of Vancouver security check
- 11:53 Wine bottles were checked (thankfully this time the Bourbon Barrel aged Cab didn’t cause a confusion)
- 11:57 Arrived in the waiting area to board, and boarding was already well underway so we didn’t have to wait!
- 11:59 First step onto the gangway
- 12:04 The Sanders Family was announced in the Disney Wonder’s atrium
- 12:11 We were seated outside Cabanas for lunch
That was roughly 12 minutes go from our room to the cruise ship area. It could have been quicker if we used express checkout. Then, 23 minutes to go through the various check points in the terminal before boarding the ship.
If we were focused on a new land speed record, we could have shaved off another minute. The Pan Pacific offered a service to transfer luggage from room to ship, but we felt that wasn’t necessary because the luggage drop off at the terminal is literally under the hotel. All you need to do is take an elevator from the lobby and push the CS button as in Cruise Ship level. Roll your bags about 200 yards and that’s it.
We did not inquire if this was a service fee associated, but at the very least you’d need to tip accordingly when they come to your room to pick up your bags. This would be a great option if you have require assistance with your luggage, especially families with little ones who are not yet capable of lugging a suitcase packed for a 9-night Alaskan Cruise. I think there is another advantage of taking your own luggage, but more on this in a bit.
A bloggers got to blog. While enjoying lunch in Cabanas, we were still able to connect to the Pan Pacific’s in room WiFi and I received a copy of the letter regarding the Disney Fantasy’s technical issue that arose over the weekend that I posted about on Monday. It was getting a bit chilly sitting outside on the aft deck in Cabanas so we moved to the covered area of the pool deck near Daisy’s D-lites which by the way offering the make your own bowls along with the typical sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Oh, while I’m sidetracked on food, the shawarma station was also open for embarkation lunch! Anyway, back on course, as I worked on the Fantasy article, Emily and Isabelle set off to EDGE to get her sticker, and the Oceaneer Club/Lab to complete the check-in process. I say complete, because even though Isabelle received her Oceaneer Band in the terminal, and we selected self-checkout online, you must still go to the Oceaneer Club/Lab to confirm all this and get the lock put on the band.
It was approaching 1:30 in the afternoon, the time when the staterooms become available. We planned to drop off our luggage and go window shopping, but as soon as we had our carry on luggage unpacked, our actual luggage started to arrive. For me, my Disney Cruise vacation does not begin, until all our luggage arrives and we are unpacked. This may sound really silly, but that’s how I roll.
By 1:55 PM, all of our luggage was delivered to our stateroom and by 2:30 we were unpacked with the suitcases stowed under the bed! Vacation mode activated! Taking a step back in time, when we left the hotel, we saw so much luggage being staged. We suspected, by taking our own luggage we somehow beat the luggage rush from the hotel. Alternatively, the Port of Vancouver and Disney Cruise Line are just incredible when it comes to luggage delivery. Oh, there is also the fact we are sailing on the Wonder, the best class of Disney cruise ship (don’t @ me) with much less area to cover making it easier to deliver luggage. Bottom line, our luggage arrived in our room in record time. I honestly will be amazed if we experience this level of perfection again.
Now that vacay mode is full steam ahead, we had a full stop… The muster drill. Na, it isn’t that bad, I was just going for the dramatics. After the muster drill, we casually made our way to the pool deck stopping by the shops to take a closer look at the Alaska merchandise which is set up in Sea Treasures tucked in the back of After Hours on deck 3 forward between the entrance to Crown & Fin and the back door to Azure.
This was our first time experiencing the new Sail a Wave sail away deck party. If you are still reading this trip log, I share my opinion… Well, when I first saw a recording of the show from my good friend Eric’s live stream, I was left with a meh reaction. I wanted to wait to experience the show in person before making an opinion. Drumroll please… I still found it meh in person, although I love the concept of waving to everyone watching the ship departing akin to the old steamship days when people would flock to the docks to watch the ships depart.
In a way, it was a blessing as we focused on the scenery as we left the harbor and sailed pasted Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s funny, boating under a bridge, no big deal. However, put me on a ship, and sail under the bridge, sign me up! Plus, there were people on the bridge waving at us.
I went to get some wine glasses from the Promenade Lounge, which will soon be transformed into a New Orleans themed area with a gazebo, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn the price of Blanton’s has not gone up!
Tonight’s dinner was in arguably one of the best Disney Cruise rotational restaurants, Tiana’s Place.
Since this is a 9-night cruise, we will dine in each of the restaurants, three times. With the extra nights, we are treated to a 2 additional menus this cruise with the first night Let the Magic Begin with regional inspirations being served in each restaurant.
We are seating with our friends this cruise, so we are not subjected to odd conversations for 9-nights. Well, I’m sure I’ll make their experience odd. Although, they are well seasoned and they know that the camera eats first.
Something was severely off and it wasn’t with Stefen and Rovy, our serving team. The service was slow slow slow across our area of the dining room. There were a few tables that seemed to be getting served, but overall the evening seemed really slow. So much, in fact, we shared this with Robert, our head server. He tried to play it off as there were a lot of allergy issues tonight, as well as it being the first night, but this seemed to be 100% a galley issue, not a serving issue. Since the feedback form continues to only focus on the excellence level of the serving team, we as guests have no way to provide feedback on the quality and efficiency of the galley, which was abysmally slow, and since the gloves are off, the salmon was dry as could be and not even the sauce was enough to combat the overdone fish. Two others ordered the Alaskan salmon at our table and their salmon was also dry.
The final shot over the bow that Robert couldn’t handle; we all skipped dessert to get over to Azure to trivia.
We started out in Crown & Fin, but we quickly realized we were in the wrong venue, thankfully we were just a steps away from Azure.
Kids vs Adults in Disney tunes trivia tonight, not officially, but we split our group up into kids versus adults for trivia. Neither of us managed to win overall trivia, but we did beat the kids.
After trivia we headed straight to the Walt Disney Theatre to see Michael Harrison’s comedy and ventriloquism show. Once again, a great show and Mr Tennis Ball is a star. Plus tonight’s guest puppet was fantastic.
Well, after getting up at at 4 o’clock, it was time to call it a night so we could enjoy our first day aboard the Disney Wonder sailing the Inside Passage.
Complete Trip Log Index
- Pre-Cruise Day 1 – Orlando to Vancouver
- Pre-Cruise Day 2 – Vancouver
- Day 1 – Vancouver
- Day 2 – At Sea
- Day 3 – Ketchikan
- Day 4 – Icy Strait Point
- Day 5 – Juneau
- Day 6 – Hubbard Glacier
- Day 7 – Sitka
- Day 8 – At Sea
- Day 9 – Victoria
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