Alaska Cruise on the Northern ToaD

We have just returned from an amazing cruise vacation with several Travel On A Dream clients to Alaska on the Celebrity Millennium!  What a fantastic trip!

Celebrity MillenniumWe enjoyed a couple beautiful days in Vancouver before heading to the ship.  If you have time before your Alaska cruise, you should definitely visit this city for a few days.  We thoroughly enjoyed walking along the shoreline path from Canada Place to Stanley Park.  We took the shuttle around the park.

The Celebrity Millennium is a bit smaller than other ships we have been on but this really didn’t take away from the ship.  It was a comfortable size for us.  Sailaway was made more special because our group was invited to the Helipad to experience it.  Here are some views of the city and the Lion’s Gate Bridge from the ship.

DSC_5035Lion's GateThe hardest part of an Alaska cruise, or should I say the most disorienting part, is the daylight.  The further north we sailed, the longer the days.  Towards the end of the trip, we never saw true darkness, which made it difficult for me to sleep.  Because of this, I was usually up very early each morning.

Our weather was exceptional as well.  The temperatures were warmer than we expected, plus the rain was much less than expected.  We had a bit of rain in Juneau towards the end of the day and half of the time in Skagway, but otherwise, it was beautiful!

We saw a lot of wildlife.  We only saw one whale but saw many other animals and birds.  All in all a very memorable trip.  A big part of the memories though does have to be credited to the company that we cruised with.  We had such a good time with everyone!  And since we had been to Alaska before, it made it so much more special to share it with everyone.  Here are some photos from our ports of call and Hubbard Glacier.

DSC_5160DSC_5217DSC_5218DSC_5755DSC_5518DSC_6105DSC_9719DSC_9665DSC_6159DSC_6688DSC_6815DSC_6888DSC_6928See the hidden Mickey?  Stay tuned for our post cruise report coming soon!

It’s not too late to join us on the Southern ToaD, October 4, 2014 on the Disney Magic out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Contact us for details.

2015 Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort and Aulani Available July 30

Disney has announced that its 2015 packages for Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Aulani will be available to reserve beginning July 30, 2014.  Dates available to book at that time will include all dates where travel ends no more than 499 from the date booked.  This means that nearly all of 2015 will be available when the packages are available.

Put in your request today and our agents will get you a quote just as soon as they are available.  Click on Request A Quote to submit your request today.


2014 Candlelight Processional Packages Now Available

Effective today, Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are now on sale.  A Disney holiday tradition, the Candlelight Processional combines a full orchestra, choir and special guest narrator to tell the audience the story of the babe in a manager.  Each night the guest narrator tells the story of Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.  The orchestra and choir provide the accompanying songs and music.

Celebrity Narrators announced today include:

  • Jodi Benson – November 28 and 29, 2014
  • TBD – November 30 to December 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 and 6, 2014
  • TBD – December 7 to 14, 2014
  • Sharon Stone – December 15 to 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer – December 18 to 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 to 23, 2014
  • TBD – December 24 to 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 to 30, 2014

Show times are at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:15 pm all nights except December 7, which only will have the two latter times.  Celebrity narrators are subject to change without notice.

Candlelight Processional is included with your admission to Epcot.  General admission is on a first come, first served basis.  Disney does, however, offer a Candlelight Processional Dining Package.  With the package, you are guaranteed a seat.

Dining packages include a 3-course meal or full buffet for lunch and/or dinner, depending on location.  For those on a Disney Dining Plan, the package will take two table credits.  Participating restaurants include:

  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Chefs de France
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • The Garden Grill
  • La Hacienda de San Angel
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant
  • Restaurant Marrakesh
  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante
  • Teppan Edo
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

We recommend making your dining reservations today.  Please note if you do already have dining reservations for these restaurants, you will need to switch them to the package if you want to attend the show.  The early show will include lunch for dinner, while the later shows will include dinner.  Let your agent know which restaurant location and which show you are interested in for us to book for you.  With your Disney World package booked with Travel On A Dream, we are happy to handle all of your dining reservations, including booking the Candlelight Processional Package with no additional cost to you.

We’re Down To Four

Just a few more selections and we will be down to announcing the favorite cruise itinerary on Friday. Here is how the draw is looking so far.

Cruise Itinerary Challenge(1)I have been lucky enough to do two of the four itineraries.  Today, I’ll give you information on the Southern Caribbean and Hawaii sailings and you can decide which is best.

1 (2)

St. Lucia photo taken by Tracy Whipple.  Maui photo courtesy of

There are two types of cruises to experience Hawaii – Inter-island cruising or cruises from the mainland of North America.

Sailings that originate in Hawaii have two requirements by law.  They must either be operated by a US flagged ship or they must sail in specific foreign ports. If the sailing starts and ends at the same US port (closed loop cruise), the requirement is that a nearby foreign port be visited on the cruise.  This could be any port outside of the United States.  If the sailing starts or ends in a foreign port, there is no other requirement to stop in another foreign port.  You aren’t likely going to see a cruise starting and ending in a different US port as this requires the cruise to stop in a distant foreign port which is defined as a port outside of North America.

Most common cruises are the Norwegian Pride of America, which is a US flagged ship with 7 night Hawaiian sailings from Honolulu, sailings to or from Vancouver one way or roundtrip from San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Advantages to starting from the mainland include the many sea days in each direction (though this can also be a disadvantage to those not looking for this).  One of the disadvantages though is that you will spend a bit less time in the ports in Hawaii.  If you only have time for a seven night cruise, you are not going to get there from the mainland.  Most cruises to or around Hawaii do stop at four islands at least.

Southern Caribbean itineraries are among my favorites.  So much so that we will be doing a group cruise on the Disney Magic this October going to the Southern Caribbean.


Southern Caribbean sailings also offer a challenge.  To get there from Florida, you either have very few ports of call or at least a 10 night itinerary.  You can have a seven night itinerary, but most of those sailings start from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This may mean increased cost of airfare, no driving to the port option and longer flights, which may lead to the need for a pre-night.  I find though that the added benefits of what the Southern Caribbean offers to be worth it.

Islands considered to be Southern Caribbean can start as far north as Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and go as far south as Barbados, Curaçao and Aruba.  There is so much variety of things to do in the Southern Caribbean.  Snorkeling and diving are some of the highlights, but there is also a lot of history on the islands with many forts to explore.  On many of the islands you can tour various liquor factories, spice factories and other local goods.  When we go to Grenada this fall, we’ll take in a chocolate factory as well as a rum manufacturer.

Here are some photos from other trips to the Southern Caribbean.

Which one do you pick for today to meet up in the finals?