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Old 08-06-2018, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ
2,757 posts, read 4,907,784 times
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Less than two weeks away now. On the Ruby Princess the 3rd week of August.
I found out that it's virtually impossible to determine if we have to use a tender to get ashore or not. I hope that as older people with some mobility problems we don't have a problem.
I see that Skagway, one of our ports, only has some 1000 people total. That must be one hell of an impact when a ship docks with 3000 passengers. Good income locally?
I don't know why in Victoria that the Butchart Gardens only has a dusk tour. I thought it would be nice to see during the daytime. I also understand this attraction gets crowed. Oh well, that's out and I really saw nothing we wanted to do there. Then again we lived on Whidbey Island in AZ state for several years in the 1990s chasing work for the wife.
At least we got into Victoria to look around while we were there in the area.
This may well be the only time we take a cruise. It's expensive unless you make reservations far in advance and with airfare, excursions and the many misc items we have paid for I am not sure I would put out that kind of money again for a 7 day trip.
Couple that with the large crowds on board the ship and it may be more than I care for.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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I bet you will enjoy it. We have taken many cruises, but not Alaska yet, because it is so expensive.
If you aren’t able to tolerate the tenders, you will still have a nice time having the ship to yourself. As I remember, getting on and off the tenders is pretty easy most of the time, unless the water is rough that day.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ
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For the price we hope so.
I did not understand in the beginning that Alaska was so expensive but that's OK as we wanted to see a little of it anyway.
I could never talk the wife into driving up when we had the many RVs.
I do worry about losing out on shore excursions if we have trouble getting off the ship.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:50 PM
 
326 posts, read 116,576 times
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I did Alaska last year on RCI's Explorer of the Seas (138,000 tons built in 2000 and updated a few years ago) ... 8-11 thru 8-18 and it was an amazing experience. Stops in Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord and Victoria, BC.

The weather wasn't all that different than Seattle... a mild 60's the whole trip. I did quite a few excursions and the best by far was the wilderness train ride. A close 2nd was seeing the glacier from the ship with the captain going up close in the narrow channel and then doing 360's with the bow thrusters so "all passengers can get a view from any place on the ship" he said. Just wow.

I totally get what you're saying about the costs OP... that's one of the reasons I'm glad I live here being 30 mins from the cruise terminal and saving airfare. I got an interior stateroom for 3 last year and with all expenses and tips I paid about $3300 for my Alaskan 7 night cruise. I didn't want to do Alaska 2 years in a row so next month on the same ship I'm doing a 7 night Pacific Coast cruise... and then next year will do Alaska again. RCI is relocating a new ship Ovation of the Seas (168,000 tons built in 2016) and it has all the new bells and whistles.

Gonna pay a little bit more than I did last year being it's a new ship but I'm not gonna miss it... and no airfare makes it a very affordable vacation. Getting a balcony next time!
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,360 posts, read 3,696,311 times
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For costs next time try an inside cabin.
Remember tips will be added to your bill but you can ask to have them removed.
Avoid the drinks they charge for to save a lot of money.

You will probably find the crew very helpful in getting you on and off the ship. You might discuss the procedure the night before each port with the travel desk or call the front office and see what info they can offer. Hopefully they will know where they will be docking by then. I would not expect any problems. If you stop at Juneau you could end up with a tender but if you can handle one step on the tender you are probably ok.

Remember the morning will start off a little cool so start with layers.

Good luck.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:48 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,881 posts, read 8,658,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
Less than two weeks away now. On the Ruby Princess the 3rd week of August.
I found out that it's virtually impossible to determine if we have to use a tender to get ashore or not. I hope that as older people with some mobility problems we don't have a problem.
It's typically not that difficult. I checked into Ruby Princess for an Alaska cruise this year, before deciding on Nieuw Amsterdam. For both, none of the ports were tender ports, so the only reason for tendering would be if there were too many ships in port to dock them all. Even that's still not likely to result in a tender for Ruby Princess since it is so large. At Skagway, it was the smaller Seabourn ship that docked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
I see that Skagway, one of our ports, only has some 1000 people total. That must be one hell of an impact when a ship docks with 3000 passengers. Good income locally?
Yes and no. They need to bring people in seasonally for the work, since the locals cannot cover all the need. I personally avoid "Oh let's just walk around town" in Alaska for that reason - if I'm going to spend the money to go all the way to Alaska, I want whatever I'm doing to be well planned and well resourced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
I don't know why in Victoria that the Butchart Gardens only has a dusk tour.
Answer: The Passenger Vessel Services Act. Ruby Princess is a Seattle roundtrip itinerary with all-US ports other than Victoria. US law prohibits foreign-flagged vessels from serving a domestic route without a stop at a foreign port. They could make Victoria a full day port call, but which of the other port calls would most people aboard ship be willing to give up for that? See how that works?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
This may well be the only time we take a cruise. It's expensive unless you make reservations far in advance and with airfare, excursions and the many misc items we have paid for I am not sure I would put out that kind of money again for a 7 day trip.
Cruises are worth it for what they offer. They are a mass market offering, benefiting from economies of scale allowing them to offer a great value for the price.

Alaska is especially expensive because of the high demand and limited supply of some of its offerings. The limited supply takes several forms, including what you noted. (How many passengers can such small towns legitimately serve, given that so many people who wish to see what is there?). In addition, on the day that Ruby Princess visits Glacier Bay, only Ruby Princess, Nieuw Amsterdam, and small pleasure yachts are allowed into the bay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
I could never talk the wife into driving up when we had the many RVs.
If I recall correctly, only one of the ports that Ruby Princess visits is accessible by road (Skagway). All the rest are best visited by boat, and Glacier Bay is, practically speaking (especially given that you're not a rigorous hiker) only accessible by boat.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:53 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,881 posts, read 8,658,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
Remember tips will be added to your bill but you can ask to have them removed.
Please don't do this. The cost of service is outlined in the FAQ on Princess' website and in promotional materials. As people have aggrandized themselves though removing the automatic tips and not paying the standard gratuities elsewise, the cruise lines have been forced to make things worse for the rest of us, making it harder to adjust the tips when there are problems with service, for example. If people continue to opt-out of gratuities, eventually they'll just make it a service charge, and our cruise fares will go up by that amount plus the tax advantage the cruise line gets from not including the gratuities in their taxable income.

Voluntary compliance with the standard gratuities is good for the cruise line, good for the crew, good for passengers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Cruises
During your cruise, regardless of which Princess ship you choose, you will meet staff who provide you with excellent service. Crew members often rotate to different vessels within the Princess fleet which helps to maintain our high standards on every ship. These dedicated workers reflect our philosophy that all crew on all ships are but one family who share in our success.

To simplify the tipping process for our guests, a discretionary gratuity of $15.50 per guest for suites, $14.50 per guest for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 per guest for interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms. This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet.

For your convenience, this gratuity can be pre-paid online via Cruise Personalizer. Alternatively, you may call us at 1-855-500-7690 and reference Special Services item number 0591. Pre-payment is available up to 2 days prior to departure.

A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, and Lotus Spaź services. This is shared amongst the beverage staff, their support staff and Lotus Spaź personnel.

Casino dealers and youth staff do not share in these gratuities. We know you will find these services onboard exemplary.

Please note gratuities will be deemed undisputed unless a request to modify is received prior to disembarking the ship.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:19 AM
 
326 posts, read 116,576 times
Reputation: 616
Quote:
Originally Posted by bUU View Post
Please don't do this. The cost of service is outlined in the FAQ on Princess' website and in promotional materials. As people have aggrandized themselves though removing the automatic tips and not paying the standard gratuities elsewise, the cruise lines have been forced to make things worse for the rest of us, making it harder to adjust the tips when there are problems with service, for example. If people continue to opt-out of gratuities, eventually they'll just make it a service charge, and our cruise fares will go up by that amount plus the tax advantage the cruise line gets from not including the gratuities in their taxable income.

Voluntary compliance with the standard gratuities is good for the cruise line, good for the crew, good for passengers.

Well said.

My upcoming 7 night Pacific Coast cruise next month on RCI's Explorer of the Seas was $2883 for 3... a spacious oceanview balcony cabin. Of that $2883... $283.50 was gratuity... ($94.50 each)

My 7 night Alaskan cruise last year on the same ship had a similar 10% charge. I didn't have anything additional charged to my onboard account either... but I did toss the maid an extra $100 at the end of the cruise.

Don't be cheap.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:29 PM
 
15,342 posts, read 27,534,547 times
Reputation: 18820
Loved our Alaskan cruise! Loved Skagway and Victoria, omgosh, so beautiful!

When we were in Skagway we had enough time that we had pre-arranged to rent a van from Avis (we had family with us) and we drove up the Yukon on the Klondike Highway, crossed over into Canada. We went to Carcross (Caribou Crossing) where we had lunch, went to Emeral Lake that was so beautiful. We went to a place that had actual sand like in the middle east.

In Skagway there is also the Red Onion Saloon. Look it up; it's a haunted, very old, saloon that is iconic.

Victoria is breathtaking. We went so many special places there as well. I can't tell you how much we loved that trip.

Enjoy it all! Alaska is very special.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,952 posts, read 83,597,281 times
Reputation: 41751
Quote:
Originally Posted by keninaz View Post
Less than two weeks away now. On the Ruby Princess the 3rd week of August.
I found out that it's virtually impossible to determine if we have to use a tender to get ashore or not. I hope that as older people with some mobility problems we don't have a problem.
I see that Skagway, one of our ports, only has some 1000 people total. That must be one hell of an impact when a ship docks with 3000 passengers. Good income locally?
I don't know why in Victoria that the Butchart Gardens only has a dusk tour. I thought it would be nice to see during the daytime. I also understand this attraction gets crowed. Oh well, that's out and I really saw nothing we wanted to do there. Then again we lived on Whidbey Island in AZ state for several years in the 1990s chasing work for the wife.
At least we got into Victoria to look around while we were there in the area.
This may well be the only time we take a cruise. It's expensive unless you make reservations far in advance and with airfare, excursions and the many misc items we have paid for I am not sure I would put out that kind of money again for a 7 day trip.
Couple that with the large crowds on board the ship and it may be more than I care for.
all I can say is we did Alaska and never had to tender. BTW, Skagway is probably our favorite or one of our favorite ports and we have cruised about 40 times. I know what you mean about mobility concerns. We are older as well; hubby uses a walker while cruising anymore, especially on the ship and we have limited our touring the last few years. As for Victoria, maybe it has to do with the time you are going to be in the port.I completely understand your comments about this might be your only cruise. We are taking one to the southern Caribbean in Feb and for all the reasons you mention this will be our last one we think. Yes,they are expensive, the air is going up plus just getting through the crowds at the airport is challenging, plus the additional costs once on the ship and yes, the excursions.
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