Trip Log Day 1: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver – Vancouver

Trip log, day one. Embarkation day in Vancouver.
9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver
July 8, 2019
Guests Onboard: 3:30 pm

Our captain for this cruise is Daniele Aschero. As for our onboard entertainment, Natalie Bailey is our Cruise Director. During this 9-night Alaskan cruise we will be visiting the ports of , Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, and Victoria.

Stateroom Map Wonder Day 1 Vancouver 20190708

The early bird gets the worm and in this case, the early bird gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning to start a time lapse to record the Disney Wonder arriving and maneuvering into her berth at the Port of Vancouver.

Emily was up and headed down to the gym. The gym just so happens to be on the cruise ship level, so we had a practice run to the terminal. The gym looked out over the harbor and Emily spotted her first interesting wildlife of the trip, an otter swimming around.

The view from our hotel room at the Pan Pacific was incredible. Around half past 6, the Disney Wonder sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge and maneuvered into her spot at the port.

I still haven’t looked at the time lapse footage – I’m worried the camera shifted overnight and the effort I put into eliminating the glare from the windows was for not. For now, there is this live stream video to watch.

Pan Pacific Disney Wonder GoPro

Oh yes we CAN-ADA. For second time this trip, we hit up Tim Horton’s. It was a much shorter walk this time. Tim Horton’s is in the food court area in the hotel compound, and ate in the hotel lounge featuring view of the Disney Wonder.

It was still well before checkout time. We decided to see if we could find the other Roots store in Vancouver that carried kids clothes. We quickly returned to the room to pack up so we’d be ready to check-out once we returned.

It turns out, we were half a block away from a Roots store the day before while we were walking around Vancouver. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is, but this location just had a few kids sized clothes. It is almost like, this area of Vancouver is predominantly adults so the stores are not stocking kids stuff. Isabelle did manage to find a t-shirt.

After recently discovering the joys of causally showing up at the terminal and not waiting for boarding to begin, we decided we were in no hurry to board the Wonder. Since Vancouver is still relatively a new area, we wanted to squeeze out some more time walking around the area near Canada Place.

Pan Pacific Disney Wonder

Nearing 11 o’clock,, we set a course back to the Pan Pacific to gather our luggage and check-out. A full review of our time at the Pan Pacific will follow, but the biggest takeaway is this hotel’s location, location, location! It really cannot be beat. I think a timeline is the best tool to illustrate the beauty of the hotel’s location, as well as the efficiency of the Port of Vancouver, and Disney Cruise Line teams.

  • 11:24 Left our room on the 20th floor
  • 11:28 Checked-out at the front desk in the lobby.
  • 11:31 Boarded the lobby elevator to Cruise Ship level
  • 11:36 Entered the Embarkation check in area and dropped off our luggage
  • 11:40 Started the check-in process and received our KTTW cards and the day 1 Personal Navigator
  • 11:45 Entered the US Customs screening area
  • 11:50 Entered the Port of Vancouver security check
  • 11:53 Wine bottles were checked (thankfully this time the Bourbon Barrel aged Cab didn’t cause a confusion)
  • 11:57 Arrived in the waiting area to board, and boarding was already well underway so we didn’t have to wait! 
  • 11:59 First step onto the gangway
  • 12:04 The Sanders Family was announced in the Disney Wonder’s atrium
  • 12:11 We were seated outside Cabanas for lunch

That was roughly 12 minutes go from our room to the cruise ship area. It could have been quicker if we used express checkout. Then, 23 minutes to go through the various check points in the terminal before boarding the ship.

If we were focused on a new land speed record, we could have shaved off another minute. The Pan Pacific offered a service to transfer luggage from room to ship, but we felt that wasn’t necessary because the luggage drop off at the terminal is literally under the hotel. All you need to do is take an elevator from the lobby and push the CS button as in Cruise Ship level. Roll your bags about 200 yards and that’s it.

We did not inquire if this was a service fee associated, but at the very least you’d need to tip accordingly when they come to your room to pick up your bags. This would be a great option if you have require assistance with your luggage, especially families with little ones who are not yet capable of lugging a suitcase packed for a 9-night Alaskan Cruise. I think there is another advantage of taking your own luggage, but more on this in a bit.

Vancouver Cabanas Embarkation Lunch View

A bloggers got to blog. While enjoying lunch in Cabanas, we were still able to connect to the Pan Pacific’s in room WiFi and I received a copy of the letter regarding the Disney Fantasy’s technical issue that arose over the weekend that I posted about on Monday. It was getting a bit chilly sitting outside on the aft deck in Cabanas so we moved to the covered area of the pool deck near Daisy’s D-lites which by the way offering the make your own bowls along with the typical sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Oh, while I’m sidetracked on food, the shawarma station was also open for embarkation lunch! Anyway, back on course, as I worked on the Fantasy article, Emily and Isabelle set off to EDGE to get her sticker, and the Oceaneer Club/Lab to complete the check-in process. I say complete, because even though Isabelle received her Oceaneer Band in the terminal, and we selected self-checkout online, you must still go to the Oceaneer Club/Lab to confirm all this and get the lock put on the band.

It was approaching 1:30 in the afternoon, the time when the staterooms become available. We planned to drop off our luggage and go window shopping, but as soon as we had our carry on luggage unpacked, our actual luggage started to arrive. For me, my Disney Cruise vacation does not begin, until all our luggage arrives and we are unpacked. This may sound really silly, but that’s how I roll.

By 1:55 PM, all of our luggage was delivered to our stateroom and by 2:30 we were unpacked with the suitcases stowed under the bed! Vacation mode activated! Taking a step back in time, when we left the hotel, we saw so much luggage being staged. We suspected, by taking our own luggage we somehow beat the luggage rush from the hotel. Alternatively, the Port of Vancouver and Disney Cruise Line are just incredible when it comes to luggage delivery. Oh, there is also the fact we are sailing on the Wonder, the best class of Disney cruise ship (don’t @ me) with much less area to cover making it easier to deliver luggage. Bottom line, our luggage arrived in our room in record time. I honestly will be amazed if we experience this level of perfection again.

Now that vacay mode is full steam ahead, we had a full stop… The muster drill. Na, it isn’t that bad, I was just going for the dramatics. After the muster drill, we casually made our way to the pool deck stopping by the shops to take a closer look at the Alaska merchandise which is set up in Sea Treasures tucked in the back of After Hours on deck 3 forward between the entrance to Crown & Fin and the back door to Azure.

This was our first time experiencing the new Sail a Wave sail away deck party. If you are still reading this trip log, I share my opinion… Well, when I first saw a recording of the show from my good friend Eric’s live stream, I was left with a meh reaction. I wanted to wait to experience the show in person before making an opinion. Drumroll please… I still found it meh in person, although I love the concept of waving to everyone watching the ship departing akin to the old steamship days when people would flock to the docks to watch the ships depart. 

In a way, it was a blessing as we focused on the scenery as we left the harbor and sailed pasted Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s funny, boating under a bridge, no big deal. However, put me on a ship, and sail under the bridge, sign me up! Plus, there were people on the bridge waving at us.

I went to get some wine glasses from the Promenade Lounge, which will soon be transformed into a New Orleans themed area with a gazebo, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn the price of Blanton’s has not gone up!

Promenade Lounge Blanton's

Tonight’s dinner was in arguably one of the best Disney Cruise rotational restaurants, Tiana’s Place.

Let The Magic Begins

Since this is a 9-night cruise, we will dine in each of the restaurants, three times. With the extra nights, we are treated to a 2 additional menus this cruise with the first night Let the Magic Begin with regional inspirations being served in each restaurant.

We are seating with our friends this cruise, so we are not subjected to odd conversations for 9-nights. Well, I’m sure I’ll make their experience odd. Although, they are well seasoned and they know that the camera eats first.

Something was severely off and it wasn’t with Stefen and Rovy, our serving team. The service was slow slow slow across our area of the dining room. There were a few tables that seemed to be getting served, but overall the evening seemed really slow. So much, in fact, we shared this with Robert, our head server. He tried to play it off as there were a lot of allergy issues tonight, as well as it being the first night, but this seemed to be 100% a galley issue, not a serving issue. Since the feedback form continues to only focus on the excellence level of the serving team, we as guests have no way to provide feedback on the quality and efficiency of the galley, which was abysmally slow, and since the gloves are off, the salmon was dry as could be and not even the sauce was enough to combat the overdone fish. Two others ordered the Alaskan salmon at our table and their salmon was also dry.

The final shot over the bow that Robert couldn’t handle; we all skipped dessert to get over to Azure to trivia.

Disney Tunes Trivia

We started out in Crown & Fin, but we quickly realized we were in the wrong venue, thankfully we were just a steps away from Azure.

Azure Elderbubble

Kids vs Adults in Disney tunes trivia tonight, not officially, but we split our group up into kids versus adults for trivia. Neither of us managed to win overall trivia, but we did beat the kids.

After trivia we headed straight to the Walt Disney Theatre to see Michael Harrison’s comedy and ventriloquism show. Once again, a great show and Mr Tennis Ball is a star. Plus tonight’s guest puppet was fantastic.

Michael Harrison Comedy Show

Well, after getting up at at 4 o’clock, it was time to call it a night so we could enjoy our first day aboard the Disney Wonder sailing the Inside Passage.

Complete Trip Log Index

9 thoughts on “Trip Log Day 1: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver – Vancouver

  1. JFB

    Interesting to read your comments on the speed of service and the food being overdone on the Wonder. I somewhat had a similar experience on the Wonder out of San Juan earlier this year where the food was way overcooked – both in MDR and buffet at Cabana’s at least for the first 2-3 days. I even got a burned beef tenderloin on one of those nights – and they had the “executive chef” come talk to me the next evening. Things significantly improved afterward – even at Cabana’s. I know that that specific cruise featured a good amount of new staff… and it just happened to be the cruise before the change to Sail-A-Wave as well…

    That said, Alaska on the Wonder is on the bucket list and even with the food issue experienced last time, the Wonder is one of my favorite ship and I have always had excellent experiences with staff

    Reply
    1. Ryan Harris

      We also had a similar experience with speed of service on the Wonder out of San Diego. It got progressively worse until our Head Server asked for feedback on the third night. It was well timed because on that particular night, there was a table next to us with 8 people who were finishing dessert before our entrees were served. As you mentioned, cast member intervention improved our experience, but I hate to imagine first time Disney cruisers thinking this is the norm.

      Reply
  2. Deann fromTexas

    We agree with you on staying at the Pan Pacific. Location is everything. Really like the underground walk way to the food court. Besides the great exhibits on the walls you stay out of the rain, which is very common. We used the Pan Pacific luggage transfer. It had no fee (at least not on our visit) and was a perk with the room. We received our luggage on ship approximately. 20 minutes after the rope drop. So I guess our luggage was in the right stack. Yes we tipped the valet but worth it not to lug the bags downstairs to luggage drop off. We went straight to the check in area (up the escalator on the ship side of the building) and enjoyed an interactive port history museum right next to the Disney check in location as we waited for the check-in desks to open. We also agree with you that the Wonder is our favorite ship as is the Alaska cruise.

    Reply
  3. Jenni

    We just did the June 24th Alaskan sailing. The service was super slow as well. Each meal took an hour and a half minimum. By the time dessert came each night we were ready to go. The food was really good though and our service team was great. We just noticed dinners taking much longer this time as well. This was our first time on the Wonder and just figured it was the ship as a whole VS The Dream and Fantasy that we are used to. Sounds like it might have been an ongoing issue. Our servers were really good, and they seemed extra stressed. We wondered if they were short staffed and servicing additional tables? Maybe it’s the kitchen though. Hope you have a wonderful cruise. We had amazing weather (record highs and not a drop of rain). I hope your week is as amazing as ours was!!!

    Reply
  4. Dave

    “the best class of Disney cruise ship”…FACT. Also the best of the two ships in that class IMO.

    And a shout out to Robert who in February on the Wonder proved himself to be probably the best head server we’ve ever had (too bad it was just a 3 night cruise…) Hope he proves that for you as well!

    Reply
  5. Ryan Harris

    I love these Trip Logs, so thanks for sharing! Couldn’t agree more about how great Tiana’s Place is. I wish all of the restaurants had some sort of show element to them. I think DCL is missing out on an opportunity to make every dinner memorable. Triton’s is forgettable in every sense of the word, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Reply
  6. RNJ

    Can you post the menu from the Promenade Lounge? We did a tasting on the Magic and wonder if they have it on the Wonder as well. I don’t see the Promenade Lounge drink menu for this ship or the Magic on this site but I may be missing it. Any updated bar menus would be welcome too, curious on changes in both offerings and prices.

    Reply
  7. Sabrina Mittermeier

    Would you mind checking what the current price of a weeklong Rainforest Pass is? Since they increased one day prices so much…thank you!

    Reply

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