Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glacier Cruises, Episode #3: Embarkation, Stateroom Tour, Princess Patter, & More

Okay, where did I leave off, ahhhhh, yes, it was finally time for Embarkation! Trust me y’all, I had been planning, waiting, planning, dreaming, planning, planning, and planning some more for this trip for over a year.  One of Chris’ nicknames for me is “The Planner”, Not.Even.Kidding…he chuckles at me all of the time for my planning ways. 😉  So as we traveled via motor coach from the airport to Canada Place I was getting more and more excited as each second passed, and when I laid eyes on that beautiful Coral Princess, I just about hopped out of my seat with excitement…like I mentioned before, I felt like a little child on Christmas Eve…a-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n of the memories that I knew were getting ready to be made.


So our bus barreled down underneath of Canada Place and pulled into a parking space, we sat there for a second and then a Princess Representative came onto the bus and gave us instructions as to what would be happening next.  He told us that we were to head on into the cruise terminal and straight on over to check-in–there were plenty of Princess/Canada Place employees directing our route.


First, as you read that sign, Chris and I didn’t have to worry about our baggage because if y’all remember, we had dropped our luggage off with the Princess Rep at the airport and it was most likely transported separately and already on board or in a holding area waiting at the ship. Now, moving on along, because Chris and I are at the “Platinum” level in the Captain’s Circle program (which just means that we’ve spent a copious amount of money with Princess and have cruised a lot) we were sent directly to a Princess “Preferred” Check-In representative. Normally, we would have been directed to a “Priority Boarding” waiting room, but, because they had started the Embarkation process, we were whisked straight over to the check-in.  Before I go further, here is an explanation of what one receives when they reach the Platinum level in the Captain’s Circle:

“Complimentary Cruise Atlas^
Every year you will automatically receive a copy of our Princess Cruise Atlas. It includes details on all itineraries and sailings for that year, making it easy for you to plan ahead.

Preferred Check-In
When you arrive at the port, don’t wait in line. You, along with your family or guests that are traveling with you in the same stateroom will be invited to use the Preferred Check-In desk to help expedite your embarkation.

Platinum Disembarkation Lounge
In recognition of your loyalty, and to make your last morning with us more enjoyable, we invite Platinum Members to use the Platinum Disembarkation Lounge, offering light refreshments and peace while you await disembarkation.

Complimentary Internet Credit
Each Platinum Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle member will receive a complimentary Internet credit to be used either on the computers in our Internet Cafés or wireless Internet on the passenger’s personal wireless device. The amount of complimentary Internet is determined by the length of the sailing.

  • Voyages 7 days or less, 150 minutes
  • Voyages 8-20 days, 250 minutes
  • Voyages 21+ days, 500 minutes

As a Platinum Captain’s Circle Member you will be recognized as such when you initially log on to the Internet onboard. Upon the initial log on you will see a screen which shows you how many complimentary minutes you are eligible to receive. In addition, you will have the opportunity to select more minutes at the available rates. This offer is only available at the time of the initial log on.

Only usage exceeding the allotted amounts will be charged to your onboard folio. The Internet activation fee of $3.95 is waived for Platinum and Elite Princess Captain’s Circle Members.

*Members are eligible for a higher tier on the next cruise following completion of necessary cruises and/or cruise days. Land portion of cruisetour does not apply.
^For UK and AU/NZ Members, your Cruise Atlas is mailed out upon request. UK Members please call 0845 355 0065, AU Members please call 13 24 88, NZ Members please call 0800 780 717. #Subject to availability. Not combinable with any other Internet offer.”


And here is what our cruise card looks like…These cards are going to go away (I’m betting) pretty soon as Princess is rolling out the Ocean Medallion across the fleet in the coming months.  If you’d like to read about the Ocean Medallion, here is a little LINK for you.

Anyway, here is what my card looked like:

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The sticker that you see on the card is one that shows the waiters/waitresses/bar folks that I got the “Soda & More” Package.  Here is a blurb about what I was able to get because I had the “Unlimited Soda & More Package”:

“Indulge yourself with this premium Unlimited Soda & More Package, entitling you to unlimited fountain soft drinks, plus mocktails, juices, and complimentary hot chocolate throughout your cruise. Price includes service charge. Package must be purchased for full length of voyage, cannot be shared, is non-transferable, and is non-refundable within 3 days of sailing.”

ANYhoot…We also filled out our health questionnaire as well…we were moving so fast through this process that I did not have one second to click off a picture of that… <sigh>. It in effect asks you whether or not you’ve been sick in the last so many days and such.

We were also given a little map of the Coral Princess that was folded up to be the same size as our cruise card…Here is what it looked like:

Okie dokie, next stop was U.S. Customs…We literally just walked to where they collected this green card that the check-in person had given to us, a U.S. Customs employee collected our green card and we were then free to board the ship.  It was NO big deal…Not sure how it is for others who aren’t Americans…truly, I do not know.  I was not allowed to take pictures in this area, so therefore this is the only picture that I have of that time.IMG_7978

Next stop was Security where we had to take out our laptops and put everything through scanners (like you do at the airport…didn’t have to take off our shoes though).  And after we cleared that, we were walking up the gangway and boarding the Coral Princess:

Right after we stepped on board our pictures were taken so that they’d have a picture that would go hand in hand with our cruise cards.  To clarify, cards are scanned every time you disembark and when you reembark they compare your card with *that* picture. 🙂 Then we stepped over to have our Embarkation picture taken—Y’all won’t get to see that picture because Chris and I looked awful…yes, just awful in that pic…haha.  We had been told that our Stateroom – Mini Suite D407 was ready and that we could head strait to it, and that is exactly what we did. 🙂

Here is my YouTube video from my Arlynn’s Travels Channel where I give a very detailed video tour of our Mini Suite D407…I’ll post pictures below as well so that y’all can get a closer look at things. 🙂



That was a very, very nice Stateroom. 🙂 We found our Princess Patter for that day on the desk…Here it is:


In addition, we had ordered a couple of things from our Cruise Personalizer and both things were sitting there waiting for us when we entered the room.  One thing was a “Water Package”…12 bottles of water for a little over $6.  NOTE: Please know that if you would like bottled water like this, you *must* order it via your Personalizer ***before*** your cruise…this package is not available for purchase once on board. 🙂


And yes, we did “purchase the water”, I’m not sure why they call it a “gift”…although it was a gift to ourselves..haha. 🙂 IMG_7989

There was also this Welcome Aboard letter:


And this lovely gift that we did NOT purchase for ourselves:


And there was this spiffy cup that I received because is comes along with the Soda and More Package:


We were so happy to be on board and I could feel the stresses of travel start to lift.  Chris went off to purchase a Coffee Card from the International Cafe…Here is an explanation of what a coffee card is:

“Savor the rich offerings of our New Grounds coffee program. We’ve partnered with the American Barista & Coffee School to ensure our baristas are trained in the fine art of handcrafting freshly brewed specialty coffees. Featuring premium beans sourced from Caffe Boasi in Italy, you can choose from espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and even hand-crafted iced tea fusions and more. And be sure to purchase a New Grounds Coffee Card on board for great savings. Of course, complimentary hot coffee is available in our dining rooms, bars and the Horizon Court.”

I hung out in the room doing that room tour that you saw up there and unpacked as much as I could.  We found out later from our Stateroom Steward Kurt that there was some kind of Coastguard drill earlier and that is why our luggage wasn’t delivered until later in the afternoon. I also walked out onto the balcony every now and again to just take a peek out there and see what was happening:


It was almost time for our Muster Drill which is a maritime ship can set sail unless the passengers know where they are to Muster (gather) if they hear a certain tone come over the PA system.  Chris and I always go about 1/2 hour early so that we can get a seat. And yes, on Princess you carry your life jacket with you and they do allow you to practice how to put it on. One very special thing that happened at our Muster drill was that I met a sweet lady that I had met in the Facebook Group “Alaska Cruises on Princess” (I’m one of the admins in that group).  Phyllis and her hubby Ken walked by us at the muster and we stopped and hugged and Chris grabbed a picture of us.  Here we are standing in our Muster Station, the Wheelhouse Bar. 🙂


It was so good to meet her in person!!! ❤

Chris and I headed back to our Stateroom after that and low and behold, there were our suitcases, so we started unpacking. 🙂 We didn’t head up for the sail-away party, instead we hung out on our balcony and I caught this video. 🙂

Here are some shots that Chris caught with his camera as I was taking video:


After we passed the Lion’s Gate Bridge, we headed for the Horizon Court (the buffet), I did not catch any pictures of what we ate that evening, but, I can tell you that we were quite impressed with the buffet on this trip.  Everything always tasted good, was freshly cooked, and it was always clean as a whistle.  I’ll expound more in future blogs about the buffet and the Coral Princess and my impressions…I’ll just say here that up to this point, the Coral had always been our favorite, and our opinion hasn’t changed after this trip.  We love the Coral Princess!

On our way back to our Stateroom, we walked through the indoor pool area and I clicked off a few pictures…because y’all know, I always had a camera around my neck just in case any photo opportunity presented itself.  You’ll see below that I also took a picture of the roof…apparently it has the ability to retract…neat!!!


Then we walked past the outdoor pool and saw the MUTS screen (Movies Under the Stars):


We went ahead back to our Stateroom, I took a quick shower and we spent the rest of the daylight hours out on our balcony watching the world go by and gazing upon some beautiful sights.  I was calm, I was content, I felt very blessed to be right there at that moment in time, and I was excited for the adventures that were ahead of us. 🙂  It wasn’t long after I had those thoughts that we climbed in bed and were asleep before our heads hit the pillows…stupid jet lag! 😉

Coming next, Episode #4 where I’ll tell you about the first day of our cruise, it was a sea day, but, we still kept busy doing this and that and the other thing. 😉 Here is a sneak peek of that sea day’s sunrise:


And here is a link to Episode #4!


***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤



Voyage of the Glaciers-Juneau (Day 6)

Hi All,

I remember waking up on the morning that we pulled into Juneau (the State capital that is only reachable by plane or boat) with butterflies in my stomach because I was excited for our planned excursion.  We were going to be taking the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Quest Tour.  Again, this was our 4th Voyage of the Glaciers cruise and yes, this would be our 4th time doing this very same excursion…*that’s* how much I love it.  So we disembarked the Coral Princess and found our motor coach for this day’s excursion–we had a lady bus driver who thought she was “all that and a bag of chips”…okay, okay, she was slightly entertaining…slightly. 😉 She could sing nicely though and she directed in a sing-along…okay, so you had to be there…haha. 😉

Yes, I love to see glaciers and on this excursion, our first stop was at the very pretty Mendenhall Glacier; there is also a lovely nature trail that you can follow that winds around a stream and shows you some of prettiest foliage in the State. My hubby and I always take a leisurely stroll on that trail first, there are signs along the way to tell you about the wildlife and salmon, etc…For this geeky girl, Heaven! 😉 🙂

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I believe this flower is called “Jacobs Ladder”:

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And one year (2010), we got to see a Mama bear and her two cubs munching on a salmon…now *that* got my heart pumping. 🙂  IMG_1219

I took a video of this encounter too, here it is:

Mendenhall Glacier is a glacier about 12 miles long located in Mendenhall Valley, about 12 miles from downtown Juneau. It is one of two glaciers that can be seen from Juneau’s road system.  Mendenhall flows from the massive Juneau Ice Fields and is a retreating glacier.  If you’re interested in knowing more about Mendenhall Glacier and other glaciers in and around Juneau, click here.


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IMG_1154Check out Nugget Falls…My hubby took a quick video…It is pretty impressive!

Okie dokie, as always, we enjoyed our time at Mendenhall Glacier, but, it was now time to go to my favorite part of the excursion, whale watching! So back onto our motor coach we climbed and off we went taking the scenic route (because we were early and the whale watching catamaran wasn’t quite ready for us) with Ms “All that and a bag of chips” chattering the entire way. 😉  Again, she wasn’t *that* bad, but I think these motor coach drivers think that need to entertain you every second that you are on their buses when in reality, all you need to do is look out the window and you can be completely entertained by the breathtaking scenery in Alaska.  Regardless, we finally arrived at the dock and climbed aboard our boat and off we went…it didn’t take us long to find our first humpback whale–you are guaranteed to see whales on this excursion or you get $100 cash returned to you.


OH wait, we also saw some steller sea lions, one in particular came right up to our catamaran, curious little dude:



This is a coastguard buoy and the steller sea lions are lounging on top if it sunning themselves.  They are too cute and they are quite entertaining to watch.  There is definitely some jockeying for position happening, but all in all they share the space well. 🙂

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But, the stars of the show were the humpbacks, they are amazing!

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One year we even got to witness Bubble Net Feeding <~~Great link from National Geographic…



This is a sign that they had hanging in the catamaran, it shows all of the humpback whales that routinely come back to this same body of water every year to feed and to raise their calfs.  The humpbacks split their time between Hawaii and Alaska,  calfs are born in the warmer waters of Hawaii and then mama, who hasn’t eaten since she left Alaska, and baby make the harrowing journey (about 2800 miles) back here to Alaska so that they can feed…amazing!


Once again, we were not disappointed with this excursion, seeing those humpbacks had made my day, I was once again contented and reminded about just how small we are and how big our world is and how wondrous it can be.

We were almost finished with our cruise, day 6 (of the cruise, day 7 of our adventure) would find us in Ketchikan and on the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour–A fantastic experience!

***Update***  I’ve now completed all of my installments in the Voyage of the Glaciers Series and have included links to the next post in line (so to speak) at the end of each posting.  So, here is a link to the next post and it covers our time in Ketchikan… 🙂


Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤


I’ve also written two other blog posts that go hand in hand with these blog entries.  Here is a link to my Alaska Cruise Wardrobe entry. And here is a link to my What’s In My Carry On, My Must Haves, & Packing Tips and Tricks entry.

Voyage of the Glaciers-Skagway (Day 5)

Hi Everyone!

Skagway, Alaska was our first port of call on our Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with Princess.  As I’ve mentioned before, this was our 4th time taking this exact same cruise; in years past, we had done a couple of wonderful excursions out of Skagway.  Two of our favorites were, one, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad trip; talk about some amazing scenery! Wow, that was a great experience!  And two, the “Discovery and Animal Planet Recommended”  Musher’s Camp and Sled Dog Experience through Princess (sometimes we’ll book our excursions through Princess and sometimes we book them on our own).  As y’all know, I am a dog lover, so this excursion was right up my alley, I had such a wonderful time meeting all of the dogs, hearing the stories about the Iditarod, riding in a cart and being pulled by these awesomely trained dogs, and best of all, meeting all of the new puppies.

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On this last trip, we decided to go with another one of the Animal Planet recommended excursions. Once docked in Skagway, we disembarked the Coral Princess and went to meet the Haines Skagway Fast Ferry that would take us to that day’s excursion at the Kroschel Wildlife Center (voted the best tour in Southeast Alaska).  The ferry ride was lovely and a naturalist was aboard and narrating the entire trip.  We spied an eagle perched high atop a tree:


It took us about 45 minutes to get to Haines on the Ferry and once we arrived, we met up with our next mode of transportation…an old charter bus and its very eccentric driver, “Bob”.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of that charter bus or Bob, but, I can tell you that he had some interesting stories to tell while traversing up mountains on our way to Kroschel’s.  He was a hoot and quite entertaining; he told us one story of how he dressed up in a bear costume and went to Skagway to try and scare the people! And I don’t doubt for one second that he did do just that, but, I think he is pretty well known in those parts, so my thoughts were that he provided entertainment and wasn’t all that scary. 😉

ANYway, we finally arrived at our destination and were greeted by our guide for the day, Mario, and he was holding a Hawk; this was just a small glimpse of the wonder that was yet to come.  The Kroschel Wildlife Center shelters rescued, abandoned and injured animals.  Steve Kroschel is one very special individual and has devoted his life to educating people and bringing awareness to the dwindling wildlife population through his documentaries and his wildlife center (unfortunately, Steve wasn’t there on this day, but Mario was wonderful).


And then we met the red-tailed Hawk…IMG_8299

From the moment we climbed off of that school bus I was mesmerized by Mario’s stories as he led us around this very special place.

After we met the Hawks, we met a gorgeous wolf named Isis–We were howling with her in this picture…haha:


And then it was time to meet a fox:


Then Lennox the Lynx and her cub:

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Then this little weasel…talk about fast, that little thing zooms around like crazy! (He was tiny too, I don’t know why I thought weasels were much bigger, but this fella was the size of a large mouse)


I believe this was a mink, it wasn’t the friendliest little creature, but it sure was pretty. 🙂


And then there was the Porcupine…Pretty, very gentle, little lady. 🙂


Below is Sue the Moose and I couldn’t believe that I got to kiss her sweet muzzle! (That older gentleman in the picture is Rocky, he is a staple at the Center, he was an integral part of the tour, he didn’t say much, but you could tell that all of the animals just adored him).


Next, we got to feed the reindeer…those antlers are as soft as can be and they were h-u-n-g-r-y, but oh so gentle when they took the dry oatmeal from my hand!

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And finally, we got to meet Kitty the Grizzly bear!  Unfortunately, Kitty’s is a sad story, her Mama was killed by a hunter who didn’t realize that she had a cub, so Kitty who needed shelter and care was delivered to the Center in a 5-gallon bucket and has obviously thrived since then.  They were not able to release her in the wild because her Mama was killed before she could teach Kitty survival skills.  So she will live out her life at the Center being lovingly cared for and sufficiently spoon fed with quite the sweet concoction of honey and oatmeal (among other things).

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ALL of these animals are so very well treated and loved so much; this is an amazing place with which to get an up close and personal view of some of Alaska’s wildlife.  They also give you ample opportunities to get some great pictures and they take their time and tell wonderful stories as you travel around the Center.  What an awesome experience! I would totally go back again if we ever find ourselves in Haines, Alaska. 🙂

Sadly, it was time to debark and head back to the Ferry

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And we were headed back to our awaiting cruise ship…


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Here is a video that I took of our Kroschel’s Excursion:

As always, Skagway didn’t disappoint and as we were pulling away from this port I again got a little misty-eyed because I might not ever get to see those majestic mountains that hold some very fascinating, very special folks.

***Update***  I’ve now completed all of my installments in the Voyage of the Glaciers Series and have included links to the next post in line (so to speak) at the end of each posting.  So, here is a link to the next post and it covers our time in Juneau… 🙂

Next stop, Juneau! Sneak peek:


Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤


I’ve also written two other blog posts that go hand in hand with these blog entries.  Here is a link to my Alaskan Cruise Wardrobe entry. And my What’s In My Carry On, My Must Haves, and Packing Tips & Tricks entry.