Trip log, day ocho. A b-e-a-utiful day at sea with a visit to Endicott Arm to see Dawes Glacier!
9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver
July 31, 2017
Personal Navigator – Day 8
This was one of those days that led to disappointment for a good number of folks on board who did not pay close attention to the Personal Navigator left in their stateroom last night. The Disney Wonder was scheduled to visit Tracy Arm Fjord, but in reality we traversed Endicott Arm. Regardless, this deviation was expected and not the problem. The Wonder’s time slot for Endicott Arm was between 5 AM and 10 AM and for those that slept in missed some of the amazing views.
We woke up early as usual and enjoyed the views of Endicott from gym. The exercise equipment such as the treadmills and ellipticals have the same TV channels as the stateroom. Most mornings I’ve been tuned into the Marvel channel, but this morning I tuned into Bridge Cam to listen to Doug Jones talk about Endicott Arm and point out various points of interest along the way toward Dawes Glacier. From the gym, we could see Doug standing on the starboard bridge wing.
We quickly made our way to Cabanas to have breakfast with Isabelle and raced to deck 10 as we were quickly approaching Dawes Glacier.
We found a nice spot on deck 10 aft to enjoy the view of the Dawes Glacier and Emily found the mimosa/Bloody Mary/spiked coffee beverage cart which was making the rounds on the top deck.
The early morning special featured a mimosa for $4.25 and Emily was only game if it was even served with barely a splash of orange juice. The bartender happily obliged and her glass was mostly prosecco 🙂
As the Disney Wonder completed the turn and ready to move away from the Glacier, the Celebrity Solstice sailed past. This was something completely new to me. Except for cruise ports, I’ve never experienced being on a cruise ship sailing this close to another cruise ship.
After taking these photos, I sorta wished we could have been on the Solstice to get similar photos of the Disney Wonder against Dawes Glacier. I was nice to have another cruise ship in the shot to give Endicott Arm and more specifically Dawes Glacier some perspective.
I really wish there was another ship during our time at Hubbard Glacier to amplify the awesomeness of the glacier and to give you an better idea at the size of glacier.
I barely see them in the photo above, but passengers and crew alike swear those are goats in this picture. Emily saw them as well – a mama goat with her baby. I’m just going to agree and say that is the white blob on the ridge. This is the point I regret not borrowing a 200-500mm lens from from Ben, a fellow Disney and cruise photography buddy.
Not enough pictures you say. Ok, here is some video of Dawes Glacier and the Celebrity Solstice.
Dawes Glacier was no match from Hubbard Glacier, but Endicott Arm was a treat in and of itself. Both quasi sea days seeing Hubbard and sailing Endicott were unique and easily in the top 3 highlights of the trip.
Once again, the crew pulled a hunk of glacier ice from the water and placed it near the Goofy pool for everyone to enjoy. This chunk of ice was much larger than the 3 smaller pieces collected near Hubbard Glacier a few days earlier.
The Wonder was sailing away from Dawes Glacier and just as it went out of view we left the upper decks.
Isabelle had a Marvel event in the Oceaneer Club and Emily and I took the opportunity to sit out on deck 4 to enjoy the view of Endicott Arm.
Before we made it to deck 4, we stopped at the Promenade Lounge for some espresso. We have long been part of the seedy underworld of Cove Cafe reward card members who often bring back partially stamped Café Fanatic cards. The mere thought of getting running start on a free $3 doppio ruffles Uncle Scrooge’s tail feathers to no ends. We’ve never encountered a problem and didn’t on this cruise either. We used our card from February and the only thing that was said was ‘we are no longer using this card anymore, let me switch you over to the current card.’ The cards are no longer blank on the back side and they now include the following statement “Non-transferable between Guests or cruises”.
Now, in practice, they’ve fixed the glitch, but in reality they are not solving their problem. At no point are they marking the cards with your name or most importantly the voyage ID or ship and sail date. All I can say your (nautical) mileage will vary and until DCL date stamps the cards or utilize their POS system to track Cove Café purchases at the individual guest level, we will all continue to play this game.
Around 10 o’clock, we met back up with Isabelle for Doug Jone’s talk on Killer and Humpback Whales in the Walt Disney Theater. I’ve this already, but it bears repeating – Doug’s talks and narrations at various points in the cruise are not to be missed. Even if your schedule conflicts with his live Walt Disney Theater presentations, you have no excuse to miss them as they replayed on the stateroom TVs.
You can find some of Doug’s amazing videos on Vimeo and photos at PBase. Most of the content is Alaska and Alaskan wildlife with some gems featuring the Disney Wonder. My favorite is the Tracy Arm time-lapse Doug recorded from the bridge a couple years back.
Today was one of those days were it seemed like we wanted to back to back to back to back to back … events. Some of the events required us to skip out early to make the beginning of the next activity. We heard about this next activity from guests aboard the Disney Fantasy’s Southern Caribbean voyages earlier this summer and Isabelle was all over it.
The Steering Committee played Hide & Seek across the ship. This was such a fun event. The officers on the steering committee, including Captain Zvonimir, participated. The activity began in Azure where each person was introduced. Then, they left to go change into different clothes while we signed up our teams. Once all the teams were signed in, we were allowed to search the ship. The rules were fairly simple; you must travel around the ship as a complete team – divide and conquer was not allowed (but also not policed). The officers would only be in public areas accessible to all ages which ruled out Quiet Cove. You would think it would be easy to spot the 6 officers, but this turned out to be challenging because it really relied on facial recognition for the most part as they all changed (and in once instance, wore a wig).
We were given 15-20 minutes to scour the ship. When you found an officer, you had to confront them and they would give you a card with their role such as staff captain or cruise director. For each person that you found you earned 50 points & the Captain was worth 100 points. To add to the challenge, they did not stay in the same spot & they moved around a general area. For example, the chief engineer was a lifeguard and move between the Aqua Lab and the Goofy pool – he was an easy find because he stuck out like a sore thumb as he was the only lifeguard wearing white officer shoes.
We were only able to get two cards for a total of 100 points. However, once we all returned to Azure and they revealed themselves and their hiding places, we realized we spotted everyone except Lloyd the hotel director.
This was really a great activity; we just wish we had maybe 10 more minutes to look around.
The next activity we considered was a ship wide scavenger hunt, but we decided to take a break and check out Daisy’s de lites for a quick lunch since there was only 15 minutes in between activities.
In addition to the sandwiches at Daisy’s, they had a build-your-own bowl station with a variety items to mix and match.
After lunch, Isabelle took off to the Oceaneer Club for another activity, while Emily and I attended a free cheese tasting seminar in D-Lounge. Disney Cruise Line’s Cheese Seminar featured muenster, brie, gorgonzola and smoked gouda.
The selection was not all that exciting, but I guess you get what you pay for. We were not the only people muttering about the cheese selection so this isn’t a case of Scott just wants to complain about something subjective. The best thing I can say about the cheese seminar was that it was free. I was very surprised that they did not try to monetize the event by offering a house rose wine that would accompany the cheeses. I know two people that looked over at the D-Lounge bar to see if they were offering something, anything (including a glass of water).
During the presentation, one of the presenters mention they were selected to host the event after no one else volunteered. Not the best thing to tell your guests, but what do I know.
There is potential for a well conceived cheese and wine event on the ships. Pull from some of the offerings from Plateau de Fromages at Remy and the Palo Brunch buffet with some carefully selected wines and perhaps a cracker or bread & you have the makings for a great upcharge tasting experience. Still, it was nice to see something like this offered for free on what was now a day at sea.
We reconvened in Azure for Michael Harrison’s ventriloquism workshop.
These smaller venue shows are great, especially for the kids as they are typically invited to sit on the floor near the stage and are often included as volunteers in the performance.
The next, new to us event, was Nautical Knot Tying back in D-Lounge. This is where things started getting tricky, as Michael Harrison’s show ran a bit over, and we joined this even already in progress.
I’m just guessing that this was a newer offering as the handout was knot Disneyfied yet. Isabelle enjoyed this one a lot and is still practicing her knot tying.
We left knot tying a bit early and attempted to go to Disney Tunes trivia in the Promenade Lounge, but it was packed – standing room only. We decided since it was after 3pm to just head back to the room.
Our dinner rotation had us back in Triton’s for the Captains Gala menu featuring the regional inspirations.
From the looks of the Alaskan King Crab Legs appetizer, I question the claim they get fresh seafood in Alaska for use on board. These look nothing like the monsters from Tracy’s King Crab Shack, and according to Emily & Isabelle, they were overcooked and rubbery.
The Aged Prosciutto appetizer with sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and roasted garlic was a pleasant surprise.
I returned to my ‘when in Rome,’ or in this case, my Alaska eating plan, by ordering the Roasted Bearing Sea Halibut Filet.
The halibut itself was delicious, but the smashed green peas and shredded potato cake were fairly bland and the chive cream sauce was not robust enough to bring it all together. Since food is subjective, I will add that Isabelle enjoyed her entire meal and liked the mint flavor in the smashed peas. In fact, she decided to order this over the lobster tail because the sides sounded more interesting to her & was not disappointed.
Emily ordered the Over-Baked Lobster Tail, which like the crab legs, was over cooked.
I cannot believe Isabelle waited until night eight to order a Mickey Bar. Emily selected the Apricot Trio & out of the two, she really enjoyed the apricot tatin. You might be thinking – wait, of the two? This is a trio – where is the third? The third apricot dessert it the swipe in between the two desserts.
I ordered the Black Widow Bread Pudding (Alaskan Strawberry Romanoff Bread Pudding) and it was delightful.
DCL, if you are taking notes, this would be a great dessert to throw on a Marvel Day at Sea menu.
We managed to get out of Triton’s in time to go to Officer Pin trading near Preludes outside the Walt Disney Theatre. This event continues to draw a crowd in the survival of the fittest kinda way.
Officer Pin Trading was the lead into the evening show in the Walt Disney Theatre. Tonight’s featured guest entertainer was Susan Egan, the Belle of Broadway and the voice of Meg from Hercules. I’ve long hoped to be on a cruise featuring her show and have been waiting since late June when it seemed like it just might happen.
Isabelle was also looking forward to the show, as Hercules was one of her favorite films that was in heavy rotation in our house when she was younger.
Susan’s show is not a concert of Disney music, rather it is a biographical tale of her career from high school to Broadway to Greece (that’s a reference to the the animated feature Hercules) to being a mom. I need to say something serious now, no joking, no sarcasm, straight talk… Susan Egan The Belle of Broadway was the best thing I’ve ever seen in the Walt Disney Theatre in all my cruises across the fleet. If you are on a cruise and she is performing DO NOT MISS IT. In fact, skip your dinner seating and attend both shows.
After the show, I looked outside and saw an amazing sunset. Trust me on this, it looked incredible with my eyes, but not so much in this picture.
Tomorrow’s sea day is the final day of this 9-night Alaskan cruise.
I can hardly think of a better situation for a treadmill workout. How cool!
Do you think next year they’ll start advertising it as Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm as they’ve only done Tracy what like 2 times in two years? Were there any excursions available that left from the ship in a small boat to go right up to the glacier? Looked awesome the sun was out though!
They cannot advertise Endicott as the plan is always to visit Tracy until they are told Tracy is a no go. There are environmental politics involved in Alaska. DCL does offer the small boat tours, but they were not available our sailing. The ones you saw were on an excursion from the Solstice.
I got the Apricot Trio on the 8/8/16 Alaskan Wonder cruise–there was a 3rd Apricot dessert in the middle of that apricot swipe–it was called ‘apricot cream’.
Thanks for writing up your trip reports! I enjoyed reliving our cruise from last summer and seeing what extra stuff they offered for a 9 vs. our 7 day cruise.
I love that you were able to get the Solstice in the pictures up next to the glacier. I truly had no idea the glacier was THAT large until you showed those pictures. It makes the ship look like a toy. Great perspective.
Amazing photos! What kind of camera and lens did you use for the glacier shots?
Nothing special. I was shooting a D300 with the 18-200mm.
Thank you. I’m looking at telephotos for our Canon body. Helpful to know the focal length you used for these.
Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are two different Fjords (Tracey Arm goes to the Northeast, Endicott Arm goes to the Southeast. If you went up Tracy Arm you would have seen Sawyer Glaciier, if you went up Endicott you would have seen Dawes Glacier. Did they give you any reason they didn’t take you up Tracy Arm?
We are well aware of the different fjords. We continue to list Tracy along with Endicott on the site because that is the way DCL continues to refer to this day even when they go to Endicott. The reason has been too much ice in Tracy Arm.
Thanks Scott for bringing us with you and your family on your Alaskan cruise. It was a beautiful experience since we refuse to do one on our own due to we do not like cold weather, since we live close to the Canadian border. Even now our temperatures are on the cool side. Once we become Floridians, we will try to do one since we will be returning to the warmth of Florida. That video is truly beautiful. Reminds me of the mountains in the northern part of California. Thanks again and have a safe trip back home.
I have a photo taken of the Disney Wonder from the Celebrity Solstice as you sailed by. It was taken by a relative who was on the Solstice. It does not have the glacier in the photo but is nonetheless a great picture of the Wonder in Endicott Arm. Let me know if you would like this photo and how to share it with you. You will have my email when I submit this reply.
I have thoroughly enjoyed your trip reports on this 9 night Alaskan Cruise. We are signed up for the 9 night Alaskan Cruise next year. This year we did back-to-back Baltic, Norwegian/Icelandic cruises on the Magic.
We got to see Susan Egan on the Baltic repositioning cruise in June. We skipped our dinner seating to see her a second time and made sure our daughters came along as well. She mentioned going on the Alaskan cruise later in the summer. So glad you were able to see her, too!
If the Wonder goes to Endicott instead of Tracy, does the time window always change? On other trip reports, I have noticed the time window to be afternoon. We are on a 7 day in June 2018 and was considering booking either a Character breakfast or Palo brunch for the morning, however, if there is a chance we will be at Endicott or Tracy in the morning, I will try to book breakfasts/brunch for another day.
Since this was the 9-night we were on a different schedule based on the day of the week we were scheduled in the Arm. Ships have scheduled times and since this was not the normal 7n day, I guess we got the “appointment” slot that was open.
Thanks. That makes sense. I have also read that the naturalist talk the morning of the Tracy Arm day really adds to the experience as well so I may want to plan for that the morning of over brunch as well.
We passed you on the Celebrity Solstice!!! We were in the hot tub heading to see the Dawes Glacier, but I KNOW I took pictures of your ship because I was surprised that there was another ship in the arm … let me look through my camera and I’ll post them!
That would be great to see the Wonder from the Solstice!