Day 3:June 13, 2012
If you look at the itinerary really fast you might miss that the day labeled Tracy Arm is not actually a port but another very scenic day at sea. This is one of the most amazing nature experiences that I have ever had.
We kick started this day with a character breakfast. Everyone gets one of these on one of the cruise days. They give you a ticket with your scheduled time on the first day.
At the breakfast four different characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, & Pluto) stopped by our table to say hi and took pictures with us.
The waiters also entertain by folding dinner napkins into fun hats for everyone at the table. People all over the dining room were being transformed into characters like Dumbo, Rapunzel, Minnie mouse, and goofy.
After the breakfast we headed back down to our rooms and bundled up in layers of clothing. A little tip: bring a scarf, hat and gloves… you will thank me later. We layered with a hoodie under a wind breaker jacket. It gets very windy if you stand at the front of the ship and very cold when you get close to the glacier. They do have free blankets to use on deck, these are located in bins on deck 9 and 10.
If you head up early on this day it is a great time for whale watching before heading down Tracy Arm. My mom and I are really into photography so we staked out a spot at the front of the ship on deck 10 to get a prime view. This is really not necessary! We ended up leaving our awesome spot when we needed to eat lunch, the trip down Tracy Arm takes around 5 hours.
What people don’t realize (or at least we didn’t think this through at first) is that the boat has to turn around after it reaches Sawyer glacier. This makes it so you will get an amazing view from the port side of the ship. I am not the tallest of people too, so I ran into the ship rail being too high in most places to be able to take pictures over it.
The best places my family found to take pictures of the glacier when the boat turned (less crowded and low rails) was this little nook on deck 9. You access this spot form a staircase at front aft on deck 10 (I circled it in red on the map below). You get an obstructed view of the front of the ship but have a wonderful view when the ship turns.
Another spot that we found to be empty was deck 4, this is also a great spot when the boat turns.
If you are not looking to take amazing pictures, I would recommend just wandering. It is almost surreal seeing the Wonder float down this pass with huge cliffs on both sides.
They have the view from the front of the ship projected on the movie screen over the Goofy pool, so you can see where the ship is headed. If I were to do it again, I would have gone and hung out in the hot tubs for a while!
I have to say one of my sister and I’s favorite parts of this trip was watching the hundreds of seals down by the glacier. We were told they live there because whales don’t travel that far down for food (aka they don’t become fish food). Many of the seals had just given birth; we were concerned after seeing blood on a few of the icebergs, but then put it together. Katie even watched one of the seals give birth! It was the highlight of her whole trip. A gross little fact, the birds eat the afterbirth… we saw some of that happening too.
The seal pups were so cute and could swim seconds after being born. This is a good thing because our ship was sailing right in their path
Lunch on this day they do a special grill out, outside of Beach Blanket. According to my family, they had the best grilled salmon they had ever tasted (I am not a seafood person). They also had steak and chicken to choose from along with the full buffet line open.
They also have hot chocolate and cookies behind the wind breaking glass. Adding some Baily’s to the hot chocolate helps you warm up even more… its 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
They do have commentary during this trip up Tracy Arm but is only playing inside dew to Alaska noise pollution laws. I caught parts of it during lunch and after going back down to my room to warm up.
My biggest tips for this day of the trip are:
- Bring binoculars, this are great the whole tip! We used them all the time in our stateroom window looking for whales.
- Relax! It is a long day; there is no need to be in the optimal spot all the time. Nature is all around the boat, not just in the front.
- Dress warm and in layers! We found out a scarf in the gift shop will cost you $20.
- Make sure to stop and take a few minutes to soak in all the beauty that is around you!
After a nice nap we got ready and headed up for dinner. I didn’t mention this before but every night before dinner they have both professional backdrops and characters to take family picture with. Our personal favorite is to take pictures on the white backdrop, they always turn out so cool. You don’t have to pay anything to take the pictures, just if you want to buy them.
Dinner this night was in Tritons and we were eating off the Tritons’ menu.
After dinner they had a family hypnotist show. They had the adult version the night before. Both were really funny! My cousin, April, actually got chosen to go up on stage! She fell out of the trance only after a couple of minutes in, because the show started the same as the night before so she figured out what was going on.
My mom and I ended the night by going and seeing the movie “The Help” playing in the theater. The rest of our group when to Radio Wave to see the adult showing of Side Show Bert. They all said it was not very good. This was the only show we were disappointed by the whole cruise.
I feel like I have to continue the tradition of showing you our towel animal, so here it is. We all have mixed feels to what kind of animal it is… cat mixed with bear?