Category Archives: Vancouver

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.

Join ToaD For An Alaska Adventure!

When we first decided to have a group cruise, we asked ourselves, why.  There are many reasons to have a group cruise.  Some are theme cruises where everyone has a common interest – I have clients that have been on Precious Moments cruises.  Some have real celebrities onboard which is supposed to be the draw – maybe sports figures, musicians or authors.  For both of these types of groups the destination is not as important as the activities offered onboard.  For us, we decided that the destination was the most important aspect of the group.  Many of our clients have on cruises to the Bahamas or Caribbean so they wanted something different.

Sometimes it’s hard to check out something new with so much uncertainty.  On my first cruise, I wasn’t sure if I would like cruising so we selected Disney Cruise line because I knew I would like Disney, even if I didn’t like cruising.  29 cruises later, we are preparing for another first on Oasis of the Seas next month.  We have taken time to get to know other cruisers on our sailings in advance so even new destinations were a little less intimidating.

One of the most popular cruise destinations is Alaska and it’s no surprise why.  I am not a fan of the cold and snow.  Never have been, even though I’ve lived in Wisconsin all of my life.  I went on the first Disney Cruise to Alaska for a couple reasons.  First, I really wanted to be on the first Alaska cruise with the repositioning up from LA.  Of course the second reason is that I had a lot of clients looking at Alaska or booked and I wanted to get to know the itinerary better for them.

When we left Juneau, I told my husband that I could move up to Alaska.  Yes, the girl who curses the first and every snowfall of the season was volunteering to move up North!  Wouldn’t you with this scenery?

I quickly selected Alaska as my favorite cruise itinerary and gave up the notion of moving there.

So many folks have told us they want to go to Alaska so we decided we needed to have a group trip up there.  We selected Celebrity Cruises because I find their service to be equal to Disney Cruise Line’s service and the food was great as well.  I found with Alaska we were so busy watching the world go by that the entertainment really did not matter.  Additionally, we wanted a cruise that would allow us a few extra days on one end to tour Alaska itself and Disney does not offer that.

On August 1, 2014, we will embark on the Celebrity Millennium for a 7 night sailing from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seward, Alaska.  We will be looking into optional post cruise activities as well for those that want to stay on and see Denali or maybe Mount McKinley.  Some may choose to go to Fairbanks as well then fly home from there while others will fly home from Anchorage.

This cruise will start in Vancouver and sail through the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, followed by stops at Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway before cruising to the Hubbard Glacier and finally arrive in Seward.  From Seward, we will have options for the train or bus to Anchorage where some will choose to head home and others will continue on to explore Alaska.

Group space is available on this date, which is currently pricing lower than opening pricing.  Here is the pricing for the group space we have held:

Category 11 – Inside – $869 per person

Category 08 – Ocean View – $1149 per person

Category 2C – Balcony – $1674 per person

Not included are taxes of $157.45 per person.  Other categories are available for group pricing, subject to availability at the time we book it.  Deposits are $500 per cabin.  We can hold space for you without a deposit, but you won’t be guaranteed a room number until the deposit is received.  We only have a select number of rooms in the group so I recommend reserving yours as soon as possible to get the best choice of cabins.

Regardless of how you book, we are part of a group, however, being in the group rooms will get you some extra bonuses in addition to our onboard credit offer.  If you want to book a room that is not in the group space, we can bring you into the group once you have paid the full deposit of $500, subject to availability.  In addition to the room types held, there are concierge class, Aqua class and several suites available.  Your deposit amount, regardless of whether you are in the group space or not, is fully refundable up until May 18, 2014.

Previous Celebrity cruisers may be entitled to an additional discount based on the date of booking.  Be sure to let me know if you have cruised with Celebrity before (or if you are Platinum or above with Royal Caribbean).  Contact Tracy at Tracy@travelonadream.com for more information or your quote today.

Customs for Alaskan Cruises From Vancouver

This was a little different than we are used to so I decided to give some detailed information about cruising from Vancouver.

When you arrive in Canada, you will have to fill out a Canadian Immigration form. We arrived by cruise, but were considered to be “in transit” so we did not have to fill out a form, however, everyone leaving the cruise that day was required to fill out a form. Whether or not you have to fill out a form, you do still have to go through Immigration and present your passport. The authorities will inspect your passport and your customs form if necessary.

Because the first port of call (and actually all ports of call) were in the United States, we had to go through US Immigration before boarding the cruise. Even though we were “in transit” we still needed to go to US Immigration. At the terminal in Vancouver (we were at Canada Place), we needed to first go through security and then go through US Immigration. We did not have to have a US Customs form filled out for this. Finally we checked in with the cruise line.

When we left Canada for the US on the way home, we did have to fill out a US Customs form. Below is the information we received from the cruise line along with the two customs forms.

Welcome to Vancouver
Canada Customs
US Customs

We did back to back cruises and first were going to need to change rooms. We received the this document in our room about the change and procedure in Vancouver.  That same day we were told DCL was able to keep us in the same room so they gave us this document.  The back side of this form gave us information about Vancouver.

Where Do You Want To Go in 2011?

With a new year and a new decade just a couple days away, I thought I would pose this question to all of you.  Where do you want to go in 2011?

2011 will bring new opportunities for us at Travel On A Dream.  We will be one of the first to experience Disney’s newest ship, the Disney Dream on the Christening Cruise in just a few weeks.  From everything we have seen from this new ship, we know it is going to become a fast favorite!  The Disney Fantasy will be the same basic layout so this will also give us the opportunity to start making plans for the ToaD Fantasy sailing in Fall of 2012.

We will also be making our first trip up to Alaska, along with Disney!  From Los Angeles to Vancouver and then Vancouver roundtrip to see Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan Alaska, this will be an amazing trip!

We are looking to put together a day trip to Sonoma or Napa Valley while in San Francisco for cruisers and folks in the area that just want to join us.  It should be a great time!

We are also hoping to experience one or two more cruise lines in 2011.  Maybe Princess, Holland America or MSC in the fall, we shall see.

With a little more encouragement, we are also hoping to get a guest blogger to do trip reports.  Would you like to see more of this?

We are also looking forward to planning trips with many of you!  Where do you want to go in 2011?  We can help get you there, just drop us a line or give us a call!

DCL and ABD in Alaska and Europe

As we mentioned yesterday, Adventures by Disney would be offering an add on the Alaskan cruises in 2011, much like they did in 2010 with the Mediterranean cruises.  Today we have the itineraries at least.  Hopefully later today we will get the pricing and update this blog with that information.  We weren’t able to get all of the pricing, just some based on reservations we currently have booked.

Alaskan Sailings

Through Disney Cruise Lines you can do the Best of Both Escape to Vancouver and Whistler – Pre-Cruise Package by Rocky Mountaineer.  Information on this tour can be found here http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cruises-destinations/packages/best-of-both-escape-rocky-mountaineer/.  More specific information is updated from yesterday’s blog.  All transfers prior to the cruise are included in this package along with two nights at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel and 2 nights at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.  Pricing initially reported was incorrect and start from $1049 per person double occupancy.  When we priced this out with DCL however, the pricing came in at $1344 per person, including tax for the May 31, 2011 sailing.

Adventures by Disney will also offer a pre-cruise stay in Vancouver called the Vancouver Escape Family Vacation.  You can find more specific information on this tour here http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=VancouverLandingPage.  Highlights of the tour include breakfast “Under the Sea” at the Vancouver Aquarium, a walking tour of Stanley Park, the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain Ziplining.

This tour includes your accommodations at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and 7 meals.  The minimum age for this tour is 4 years old, but it is recommended that the youngest should be 6 years old.  After the tour, you will board the Disney Wonder for your cruise to Alaska.

Once onboard the Disney Wonder, you can participate in the Alaskan Wonders Family Cruise Vacation with Adventures by Disney.

From private receptions with the Ship’s Naturalist and a Palo Dinner with Wine Experience onboard to trains, private helicopters and dog sleds on land, this package is your key to all things Alaskan.

For more details on this package, click here http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=AlaskaCruiseLandingPage.  Pricing starts at approximately $1799 for the first and second in a room.

Mediterranean Sailings

In addition to the add on offered in 2010, Adventures by Disney will also offer a pre-cruise tour in Barcelona.

Called the Barcelona Escape, this three night tour gives you a glimpse of Barcelona before your 7, 10 or 11 night Mediterranean sailing.  Tours of La Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, the Gothic Quarter, Montserrat and Pueblo Espanol are included in this tour.  Your base hotel is the El Palace Barcelona.  For more details, click here http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=BarcelonaLandingPage.  This also priced at $1799 per person for the first two in a room.  The big problem with this tour is that you can only have two people in the hotel room.  If you are a couple with three kids, you cannot do this tour as you must have three adults.

In 2011, Disney Cruise Line will also offer a 7 night Mediterranean cruise from the end of July through the beginning of September.  There will now be two different Mediterranean Magic tours.  For the 7 night tour, details are here http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=MedCruise7NTLandingPage.  For the 10 or 11 night tour, information is here http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=MedCruiseLandingPage.

In Naples, Italy, guests will prepare pizza before traveling to the isle of Capri.  In La Spezia, Italy, you’ll take a trip to Florence and even have a behind-the-scene tour of a gelato factory.  Visit the Monte Carlo Casino and enjoy a fabulous lunch in Villefranche.  Enjoy a private tour of Palma and Soller in Palma de Mallorca.  You’ll also visit the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Guests on the 10 and 11 night cruises will also see glass blowing in Ta’Dbiegi (port of Valetta, Malta), make bread in Sidi Jedid (port of Tunis, Tunisia) and sample local food delicacies in Bastileca (port of Ajaccio, Corsica).

We were able to get pricing on an 11 night Mediterranean sailing at $2699 per person for the first and second people in each room.

These tours are great ways to get the most of your short visit to these Mediterranean cities.