Guests Ashore: 9:30 am Guests Onboard: 6:30 pm
Another early morning wake up, but not for the gym this time around, or at least, not yet. It was signup day for runDisney’s Star Wars Rival Half Marathon. This went as well as you’d expect if you have any experience with signing up for a runDisney event.
Onboard, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Walt Disney World check-in websites are complimentary to use – as in you do not need a paid data plan to access the websites. Other Disney websites such as the runDisney website requires you to use your data plan to access.
The struggle is real, I know, but it is insult to injury when the race registration site fails to process the payment twice and you waste nearly and hour and 100 MB of your data package.
After throwing up the white flag with runDisney, Emily and I headed up to the gym, which was jam packed. Since I started to exclusively work out on cruises, I’ve never encountered the gym this busy. Today was not anyone’s off day, that’s for sure.
Cabanas was equally as busy by the time we arrived. This very well could be normal crowd levels considering we are normally at the gym when it opens. Anyway, good job everyone. Go ahead and order that second dessert tonight at dinner, y’all put in the work this morning.
We had a 9:30am meet up for our Port Adventure in Icy Strait Point. After not seeing any whales up close in 2017, we made it a point to book a whale watching tour this time around. I’m on record as saying Icy Strait Point is the Castaway Cay of Alaska. Oh, yeah, this statement is now being echoed by our cruise director. Basically, Icy Strait Point is a cruise port of call with a big gift shop, a few restaurants, a nature trail, and a museum of sorts telling the history of the cannery. Most of the activity is Port Adventure based or you can take a bus into Hoonah. The port was built up for cruise ships and you are the only ship docked on your port day.
Since we were in Icy Strait Point until 6:30, we figured this was the best day to book a whale watching excursion. We booked through Disney Cruise Line the IC01 Whale and something tour.
The Port Adventures you book on Disney website are the same you can book pending availability once ashore. Essentially, there are very little options for independent tours unless you go into Hoonah. In fact, we originally planned to join our friends on an independent whale watching tour, but they tour operator upped the price once they realized the Wonder was in port. No joke, with the price jump, Disney’s excursion was similarly priced and had a better time. Our friends even dropped the booking with the tour operation and joined ours after they wouldn’t add us on at the same prices as when our friends booked. AKA, before they realized Disney was in town.
Once assembled, our group departed the Walt Disney Theatre and headed ashore. Our excursion boat was literally on the other side of their pier front the Wonder, meaning it was a 30 second walk from the Wonder to the American Eagle, the name of our excursion vessel.
The tour lasted about 2 hours, which the bulk of the time was the bookended travel time.
The number one goal on this excursion was to see a whale and we saw a humpback and her calf. While we were there, the whales did not put on a National Geographic worthy performance, but it was still incredibly awesome to see these mammals as close as we did.
It is one thing to see whales on video and in photos, but to see them with your own eyes made the excursion a success. We also saw a few sea otters, which was awesome as well.
While we were happy with the whale viewing, we would have preferred to be on one of the smaller boats in the area. Basically, our excursion was a tour bus compared to other’s private van tours. I have no regrets; we were able to see whales in the wild and that my friends, was wonderful.
Plus, we were treated with a great opportunity to capture some photos of the Disney Wonder.
Our tour ended and we docked at the cannery dock at the opposite end of Icy Strait Point. Good for them, essentially making sure everyone exits through the gift shop. Just keep in mind, that it is about a 10 minute walk back to the ship if you are not dropped off at the pier next to the cruise ship.
Our first order of business once off the excursion boat was a stop at the donut shop. However, today’s, the donut shop was CLOSED. AHHHHH!!!!!
We’ve been talking up the donut shop to our friends and it was closed. We learned the shop was closed because they were out of provisions. Yesterday, it was Kechi Kandies that was closed, now the donut shop. Tough luck, however, the cruise lines that visit Icy Strait Point should pay it forward to guests arriving on the next ship and provide the donut shop with provisions.
We returned to the Wonder to drop off our backpacks and decided to have lunch. We considered a sit down lunch in Triton’s, but on the way we decided we wanted Shwarma. However, by the time we made it up to deck 9 we felt it was worth a walkthrough of Cabanas. Good decision, as it was Mexican day in Cabanas.
If you’ve paid attention to our Twitter feed or listened to previous podcast episode, you’ll know we crave Mexican food after a cruise and 99.9% of the time we have our first meal at home at Tijuana Flats.
After lunch, we returned to Icy Strait Point, we had some things we needed to take care of online. Two years ago, I enjoyed the local beer flight and WiFi in the Duck Smokehouse, but the powers that be moved the WiFi to the crab shack back near where the excursion returned. Not a big deal, just not the most relaxing area to sit and get some work done.
The other big change is that the WiFi is down from 2hrs to 1hr per device and it was severely throttled. When you log into the WiFi, there is an opinion for a voucher. I asked the bartender about purchasing a WiFi voucher, but I was informed that they do not offer any paid WiFi only the 1hr/device per day option.
In most ports of call, there is a still is more to see and do after a Port Adventure. Short of taking the shuttle to Hoonah, there isn’t much else to do at the port. Our itinerary had us in port until 6:30 so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some work done in the midst of a 9-night cruise.
I think next time we visit Icy Strait Point, I’d like to do the zip line and spend some time in Hoonah.
Isabelle spent time walking the beach looking for some rocks to paint and discovered the shoreline was sprinkled with various star fish.
We returned to the Wonder and cleaned up for dinner. Emily was still full from lunch and also had some work to do, so she skipped dinner and spent the time in the Promenade Lounge.
The rest of us met for dinner at Tiana’s Place for the variant of the Prince & Princess dinner menu. Service continued to improve and Rovy, our assistant server had the adults with tears in our eyes with his ‘magic’. Pro tip, when a magic trick goes awry, parents enjoy it more!
Emily secured a spot for us in Crown & Fin and we joined her for TV Tunes Trivia.
We spent some more time in Crown & Fin playing cards before retiring for the night. Tomorrow would be an early day.