accessibility, Cruise, Disney, Travel, Trip Report

Trip Report: Disney Alaskan Cruise Embarkation




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Welcome to my first post for my detailed Trip Report Cruising to Alaska on the Disney Wonder.

Embarkation day beings with the family packing everything up from our three-day trip in Vancouver, and walking over to Canada Place. When packing, we made sure that our carry-ons had all of the essentials including but not limited to: passports, medications, 24 bottles of water, two bottles of wine per person (six for our family), cameras and lenses, and binoculars.

In hindsight, our family had over packed, so we took a taxi from Delta Vancouver Hotels and Suites to Canada Place. We told our taxi that we were going on a Cruise, but there was some confusion on where we needed to be dropped off. Finally, with some clarification, we were able to get our taxi to drop us off in the Passenger drop-off zone, which is down a ramp off the foot of Howe Street. There is a Sign that says “Cruise Ship Terminal Ramp Access” – this is where you want the taxi to turn.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Disney – Have A Magical Cruise

Once the taxi dropped us, and all the bags off, the Disney cast and crew started taking over, and the magic began. Our luggage already had our Disney stateroom identification on it, so the attendant was able to take the luggage (we would later see it around 5 pm).Once the crew collected our luggage, we went on our merry way to continue with the check-in process.

Canada Place was very well organized when it comes to finding your way around to get on the proper cruise ship. Luckily, the port was not too busy because only the Disney Wonder and Norwegian Sun and everyone had signs directing you to which holding area one needed to go to for check-in.

We were supposed to board between 12-12:30 pm, but my sister had a snafu with her luggage, so we didn’t board until closer to 2:30-3:00 pm. The only good thing about boarding so late is that there was barely anyone in line! We then took an elevator up so we could continue on with the check-in process.

Since this was our first cruise, we, of course, didn’t know what we were expecting to do. We had read online that the process could take between 1-2 hours so we were nervous about waiting in long lines since we came so late. in the day We entered the Disney check-in area and went straight to booth 12. There weren’t any lines, but Disney was prepared with long queues and chairs for those waiting to sit. During check-in, our cast member had us smoosh our faces together to take one big selfie. Now I thought this was strange (why wouldn’t we take individual photos?). But I guess if something happened to someone in our party they would be able to identify us easily as a group.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Guest Check-in

We then received a card with our booking number 23, room number 7120, and a note saying that our room would be ready at 1:30 pm. We were also given our Keys to the World and the Welcome Aboard Navigator.

The only area that had a line was the Youth Activities. We didn’t need to sign anyone up for these activities (I’m the youngest of our crew at 30). If you are traveling with children, you should sign them up for their activities before boarding the ship because there are even longer lines to combat with once onboard.



Security

After the check-in process, we were ushered to go through customs and security. Mom was given a little green rectangle since she was in the transport chair and we didn’t have to wait in all of the lines until it was time to actually. Since they prefer for people of the same party to stay together while going through customs, we were not able to go through the fast lane, but the wait wasn’t extremely long.

Our last stop before we could board the ship was hoisting up our luggage to show a cast member the six bottles of wine we were bringing on board. He just needed to inspect the wine label and that each bottle was sealed.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

But first, let me take a selfie

After about an hour or so of checking in, customs, and security we were ready to board the ship! There were multiple areas where we could have had our photos taken by cast members, but we quickly declined. We are more of a “let’s take photos of our trips” instead of “having photos taken of us” type of family. All three of us took our Key to the World and buzzed into the ship. We walked down a long gangway where we then boarded on the fourth deck where a cast member asked me what our last name was.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Stepping onto the ship, a cast member said into a microphone “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Lindsly family!” as we walked into the atrium. It felt like we were movie stars!

Since we boarded behind schedule, Mom and Ally’s job was to go straight to the room and hang the door hanger while mine was to go to guest services to figure out a couple of things.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Many people add door decorations to spruce up the hallway and to find their room!

Guest Services

How do I get the free 50 MB of Internet?

a. The Back of the Navigator tells you! You log onto the DCL-Guest WiFi network, go to www.dclguest.com and create an account, and get your free 50 MB package per person in your stateroom! Each person must sign up for his or her own accounts.

What Beverage Seminars can I sign up for?

a. By the time we signed up, many of the sessions were already filled, so we signed up for a Mojito tasting, a whiskey tasting, and a cognac tasting. We ended up canceling the cognac tasting later in the week.

A couple of other things that I could have taken care of but they were all taken care of before I even got on the ship. But here are some things you may need to do when boarding the ship:

  1. Changing a dining assignment.
  2. Getting Palo Reservations
  3. Signing up children for Youth Activities.
  4. Getting Meet & Greet Tickets for character greetings.
  5. Reserving Excursions.
  6. Booking Spa & Salon services.

Lunch and Safety Drill

After running up to our room to lighten up my purse, my family headed to Cabanas for a buffet style lunch before we had to do the Mandatory Guest Assembly Drill. We were very overwhelmed with the number of food choices that we all opted to grab some fried chicken, put it on a salad, and grabbed some random odds and ends – French fries, ice cream, egg rolls, etc. Our plans were to go to Triton’s, but it was only open from 11:45-1:30 pm. If you dined at Triton’s, you would have more of a sit-down dinner, instead of a buffet style lunch.

From 3:45-4:15 pm all ship activities and services were suspended, and we reported to Animator’s Palate as our designated disaster drill. Luckily we were inside because some people were outside for the drill! During this time we shared a table with another family, and they told us all of their past stories on other Disney Cruises, we ran into them a couple of times on the ship later in the week. Once the drill started, the cast members instructed us what we needed to do in case of an emergency and then we were allowed to leave to enjoy the rest of the evening!

Sail Away Deck Party

Mom and Ally went to the Deck 9 Stage Party to get a good seat, while I ran down to Port Excursions. The Port Excursions Desk sent me a note asking about the accessibility issues of our cabin since I had pre-registered mom’s transport chair and cane. The note was to make sure that mom was able to board the Tracy Arm Excursion.

After meeting the family on Deck 9, my mom and sister greeted me with a Sail away Cocktail! My first cocktail of the trip was a strawberry daiquiri and pina colada blend that tasted like it had minimal alcohol. Once the show started, the ship took off from Canada Place, and all cast members and characters started dancing and joining in on the fun. The Sail Away Show is quite fun to watch, and if you can, grab a spot on Deck 10 to get an overlook of the entire party. During the show, the ship sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge.

After the Sail Away Party, we went to our room to open our first two bottles of wine – See Ya Later Sparkling Brut with See Ya Later Vidal Ice Wine – so we could make a Canadian Mimosa. We sat on the balcony to enjoy the scenery and plan out the rest of our evening and the week by looking at the digital navigator.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Mallory with her Sail Away Drink.

Evening Activities

We were supposed to go to Animator’s Palace the first night for dinner but decided that we were full from lunch and just wanted to relax. Skipping dinner apparently made our host Winston very nervous because when he entered our room, he asked us “Why didn’t you go to dinner!” We assured him that we were fine (I had ordered a cheese plate and some salads from room service) and that we would be promptly out of our stateroom for the 8:30 pm showing of Be Our Guest.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Cheese Plate from room service

We ended our first day by watching the Broadway style show – Be Our Guest! On the way into the theater, one can buy drinks, candy, or popcorn – but honestly, with all the free food on the boat, I don’t see why one would need to buy additional snacks.

Be Our Guest was the Welcome Aboard show, which showcased a little snippet of every each show for the rest of the cruise. We saw pieces of Peter Pan, Frozen, Magic of Kalin & Jinger, Music & Comedy of John Charles. The funny thing about this later show is that all the children come in their pajamas and one by one their parents had to take them out of the theater and back to their the stateroom. I did notice that most of the kids either paid super attention to the show or were wiggling around in their seats. One fun fact – if you wanted to skip the show you can always catch the show four different times on your stateroom’s television screen.

Disney Alaskan Cruise review of the boarding process at Canada Place and Embarkation day from Vancouver to the Inside passage of Alaska. #Tripreport #plaidshirtyogapants #travelblog

Swan – our first towel animal

After the show, my family did some exploring while walking back to our stateroom. Since we were forward and close to the gym, my sister and I ran up to see if we could join the spin class for the next morning. We were numbers nine and ten on the waiting list of only ten bikes, so we didn’t even attempt to go to spin class for that second day. Once we entered back into our room, we received our first towel animal – a swan!

The next day – May 30 – was our first full day at Sea. We spent most of the evening sitting on the balcony and comparing the digital navigator to the paper navigator trying to figure out everything we wanted to do on our first full sea day.

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25 Comments

  1. Nicole

    June 16, 2017 at 7:29 am

    This sounds amazing! An Alaskan cruise and a Disney cruise are both on my bucket list. Sounds like a perfect way to accomplish both!

    1. mlindsly

      June 16, 2017 at 7:31 am

      It really is! I have never been on a cruise before and usually do more budget travel but my family and I saved for three years for this cruise! We really wanted a balcony because it was Alaska. I will have another post on all the ways to save money soon so keep checking back!

  2. Jasmine Jonas

    June 16, 2017 at 8:19 am

    What an informative post!!! I love a cruise and this sounds soooo much fun xx

    1. mlindsly

      June 16, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Which cruise lines have you been on?

  3. Girl-in-Chief

    June 16, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Very informative! I’m going on an Alaska cruise this September, not on Disney though. A Disney cruise will be on my bucket list for sure. 🙂

    1. mlindsly

      June 16, 2017 at 9:42 am

      I would love to hear about your experience! I went at the beginning at the of the season so I would love to hear about the end of the season.

  4. Larissa

    June 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    A Disney cruise to Alaska?! That must have been a blast! I’ve been on two cruises, but both have been to the tropical Caribbean, and neither have been on Disney. I think it’s so cool that they announce each family as they board. And it’s convenient that the shows play on the televisions, that way you won’t have to feel like you’re missing out if for some reason you can’t make it to the actual show! I hope one day I’m able to take a Disney cruise. I’ve only heard great things!

    1. mlindsly

      June 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Start saving now! I posted some tips last month about the Disney cruise – I will post more money saving tips soon!

  5. Laura

    June 17, 2017 at 7:18 am

    We were on the same sailing. First DCL cruise for us too. Looking forward to reading your report. Thanks for sharing!

    1. mlindsly

      June 17, 2017 at 9:46 am

      That’s amazing! I wonder if we bumped into each other ha ha!

  6. Magiep

    June 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

    We will be taking this cruise in June of 2018, it will be our 2nd Disney cruise to Alaska, the first was in September of 2013. Although it was expensive we felt it was worth every penny. Iam looking forward to reading more.

    1. mlindsly

      June 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      I agree! I was telling my friend that comparing the cruise ships is like going to a Holiday Inn Express (Don’t get me wrong I love Holiday Inn Express) to an Intercontinental room! The hotel does the same thing, but you get more if you pay more, if that is what you want!

      Make sure you look into buying gift cards & the Disney Vacation account to save some money! Check out my tips from my previous post (I’ll be posting more tips later).

  7. Kerry

    June 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Looking forward to reading more about your trip. My wife and I love cruising! We’ve cruised with several companies over the years and are partial to Disney (of course!) and NCL. We live in Alaska actually and will be taking an Alaskan cruise in the next several years. We live in the south-central part of the state and have yet to see the southeast region. Thanks for sharing.

    1. mlindsly

      June 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you for commenting Kerry! I couldn’t imagine living in Alaska! There is so much nature. I would love to hear more of your time on NCL. This cruise was my first cruise ever.

      1. Kerry

        June 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Yes, there is a lot of nature and the wildlife that comes with that. Originally from Georgia, so it took some time to acclimate to the different climate. We have been here 10+ years now so we are “Alaskan” now. We enjoy NCL for the freestyle type of cruising they offer. We have cruised with them to the Carribean several times, the Bahamas once and the Baltic once. There’s not much bad I can say about our experiences with them. While we enjoy meeting new people it is nice to have a table for two from time to time when cruising. That’s when the freestyle cruising is most appealing to us. The decor of their ships, the service (all-around), the entertainment, the itineraries and the price all suit us well. It’s hard to pinpoint anything particular about why we continue to sail with them. If you would like to know anything specific about our experiences with them feel free to let me know. I’ll share what information I may have.

        1. mlindsly

          June 25, 2017 at 11:04 am

          Sounds good! We never had to share a table with another family on our cruise (we are a family o three adults). If I have any questions I will shoot you a message

  8. Brenton

    June 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

    We just went on this cruise as well (May 29th), and absolutely loved it! It was our second Disney cruise and we’ve never used the digital navigator. I like carrying around the paper navigator and we also enjoy locking our phones away for the vacation to keep our minds away from work. But I am curious about your comment about comparing the differences between the digital and paper navigators. Were there big differences? Are we missing out on anything by not using the digital version?

    1. mlindsly

      June 20, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      We were on the same cruise!!! The only real difference I found on the digital navigators and the paper one was the ability to see the ‘nominal fee’ items and that the digital navigator gave more description that they can’t fit on the paper one. We liked being able to message the family (but mom’s app rest on the last sea day for some reason). Come back to read more! I have about 6 more Thursdays of Trip reports and some other fun tips on Tuesdays to discuss!

  9. Francesca Dave

    June 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    My family and I are leaving on July 9 for the 7 day cruise to Alaska. I am working on an autograph book for my niece and daughter and I am looking for a list of characters that will be on board. Just wondering if you have a list of all the characters you guys saw or on board when you sailed? I appreciate the help. Thank you!

    1. mlindsly

      June 20, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I can see if I can pull up my navigators but I know disboards.com posts navigators. I saw: donald, daisy, Minnie, Mickey, princess tiana, but there were so many characters meet and greets that there are plenty more! On Endicott (Tracy) arm day I saw Mickey and Minnie in their Alabama gear and the 30 year old geek in me got some excited (https://instagram.com/p/BU2HCIDlh1p/) I also took a selfie with Donald in the hallway because we had matching plaid shirts (https://instagram.com/p/BU71eHeFicY/)

      1. Francesca Dave

        June 20, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        Great pictures! I’ll check out disboards.com. For navigators. Also during the Pixar pj party did the characters stay for a bit to take pictures with guests? And who were the characters during the princess gathering? Sorry if I’m asking too many questions.😁

        1. mlindsly

          June 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

          Not too many questions at all. Unfortunately we missed the Pixar party but I think the whole point of the party is to take photos after. Same with the princess gathering. I met princess tiana during dinner so that was fun :). If I see anything on the blogs or message boards I’ll let you know!

          1. Francesca Dave

            June 20, 2017 at 8:55 pm

            Great!! Thank you!

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