by Kevin Bentley
My family and I have taken two Alaskan Cruises with Mickey. Both were end of May sailings, over Memorial Day. The first one was in 2011, which was also the first year that Disney sailed to Alaska. The second was in 2013. Both left from Vancouver, British Colombia. (Disney sailed from Seattle in 2012). The 2011 sailing was also our first Disney cruise. We live north of Seattle, so it was a natural choice for us as transportation to and from Vancouver was easy.
Our first stop was Vancouver. In 2011 we took AMTRAK up from Everett, WA, as the station is only a little ways from our house. We stayed two nights before the cruise in Vancouver at the Fairmont Waterfront. The first night we got in a little late, as we had taken the afternoon train up. The border crossing was easy, as we stopped at the border and Customs came on the train and walked down the aisle and looked at everyone’s papers. We went to the hotel and got settled and had dinner. The next day we explored the waterfront and Gastown area where we did some shopping and had dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. One of the places we went was Canada Place, where the ship docks, and saw the Olympic Torch from the Calgary Winter Olympics. The next morning, my son and I went down to Canada Place and watched the Wonder arrive and dock. Then we walked back and got the rest of the family and boarded to start our cruise. In 2013, we drove up the night before and stayed at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites. We were able to park at the hotel for the duration of the cruise and the hotel provided a limo to the Wonder. We walked around the shopping center that was attached to the hotel and had dinner at a lovely restaurant.
Both times, after we were aboard, we ate lunch at Parrot Cay. Then we enjoyed the Sail Away Party and the first night’s show – “All Aboard! Let the Music Began!” Attire for the night was Cruise Casual, and the menu in the main dining rooms was Standard Rotational. That means that each restaurant had its own unique menu: Animator’s Palate-Show dinner, Parrot Cay-Island Dinner and Triton’s-French Dinner. At 2:30 p.m. there was a guided walking ship tour and at 10:30 p.m. there was Family Superstar Karaoke. There were also movies playing in the Buena Vista Theatre thoughout the week.
The next day was a Sea Day, as we sailed up the Inside Passage. One of the unique things about an Alaska cruise is that you have land on both sides of the ship for the most part as you sail along.