In May of this year, Travel Consultant Christine Hakenjos sailed to Alaska on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of The Seas. She, along with her fiancé and 14 of his family members, departed out of Seattle for an Alaskan Cruise they would never forget! Keep reading for her experiences in Alaska and her thoughts on the ship itself.
We boarded the ship on Friday, May 24th after spending the evening prior in Seattle. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal and boarded Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. The check in at the terminal was a breeze! We had completed our check in process before we even arrived in Seattle. I highly recommend doing this!
Our itinerary was absolutely wonderful! Although I will say, after this cruise I DEFINITELY want to see more of Alaska! This 7-night cruise featured stops to Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. We also had two days out at sea and one day cruising through Alaska’s Inside Passage as well as one day cruising through Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier.
I will be honest, I was a bit bummed at first that we were only going to have 3 days in port, but after experiencing the views from our balcony stateroom during our days cruising, I totally changed my mind! I swear we could have sat out on that balcony for HOURS.
With a group of 16, it was hard for us all to decide on the same shore excursions so some of us did different things while in port. All our excursions & tours were booked through a company called Shore Trips because we were wanting smaller group excursions. Everyone LOVED their shore excursions! We all thought our tour guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining. The tours were very well done and worth every penny!
On our 4th day of the cruise, we arrived in the small town of Juneau, Alaska. The town was absolutely adorable and has a lot to see and do just within walking distance of the pier.
The tour that 8 other members of our group and I went on was the “Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Combo Tour.” First, we were taken to Mendenhall Glacier where we were given an hour and half to do what we wanted. We decided to take the mile hike to the foot of Nugget Falls. The views from this point were just stunning! I have never seen a waterfall that big before. The waters of Mendenhall Lake were a mixture of blues and from where we were standing, we could actually see where the fresh water from the lake met the glacier’s run-off. This change in colors was beautiful to see! The glacier itself was unbelievable. I had seen many photos of it from all the research I had been doing prior to the trip but seeing it in person was a whole new perspective.
After our visit to Mendenhall Glacier, we were driven to Auke Bay where we boarded our boat and met our very knowledgeable captain and marine biologist tour guides. They were both very insightful and entertaining. They lead us directly to whales, sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, and other wildlife while teaching us all about life in Alaska and the habits and lives of these beautiful mammals.
Even though we had chances to see whales and dolphins from our ship, seeing them up close and personal like this was a whole other experience! We were all SO glad we took part in this tour!
Two members of our group did the “Mendenhall Lake Canoe Adventure.” They paddled their way across beautiful Mendenhall Lake leading them to the face of the living Mendenhall Glacier.
Three other members of our group decided on the “Helicopter and Dog Sled Tour” in Juneau. Their tour began with a 20-minute helicopter ride through glacier-carved mountains to the top of Herbert Glacier where they found about 80 huskies waiting to greet them. The mushers (tour guides/dog sled leaders) then took them on a 2-mile look through the mountains, even letting them drive the sleds!
"We loved our trip to Italy with our granddaughter. My husband and I had been previously been but this was special since we shared it as a graduation gift to our granddaughter. TFL [Tours] is fantastic. Everything is so well planned, the guides are friendly and so knowledgeable, and the drivers are always there to met you exactly as planned. Thanks again Brentwood for setting this up and making it such a memorable vacation. Thanks to Ashley who helped set the entire trip up for us. She is great and we want to let her know how much we appreciate her."
A strong desire to travel.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? From beautiful islands to rolling green hills, we want to see it all! We asked our staff and these are Brentwood Travel's current top destinations giving us wanderlust.
"I just had some clients get back from 14 days on Star Clippers in Greece! Ever since I heard of Star Clippers I’ve wanted to sail on one of their ships. I think the small ship experience would be so unique. Greece is moving higher on my bucket list after hearing my clients rave about the beauty of Mykonos and their ports in Turkey!"
- Stacey Hoehne, Leisure Supervisor & Senior Travel Consultant
"I have two places that are currently giving me wanderlust. The first being Ireland because Joe (fiance) and I have officially begun planning our honeymoon and we chose to self-drive all around Ireland! My extensive research is giving me the ULTIMATE wanderlust. Places like Galway, Ring of Kerry with the Skelling Ring are on our list as well as our future stay at the beautiful Ashford Castle..."
"...The other place I keep thinking back to is Grenada in the Caribbean. In the midst of planning our honeymoon and wedding I keep thinking back to our amazing stay on that beautiful island and the engagement itself. Plus, I could KILL for unlimited sushi and piña coladas by the beach right about now!"
- Christine Hakenjos, Travel Consultant
Give us a call at (314) 439-5700 or email us to make your dream getaway come to life
GETTING TO THE RESORT
They arrived at the resort around 1 P.M. They found out their room was not going to be available until 3 P.M., but the staff was accommodating. They held their luggage and suggested grabbing lunch and going to the poll while their room was being prepared. Christy suggests packing a change of clothes and a swimsuit in your carry-on bag so you can easily grab those items during your wait.
THE ROOM AND AMENITIES
The resort had four pools on the grounds. There was a pool for kids and families and a pool with music and a swim up bar. If you wanted to relax, there were options, such as a quieter pool as well as an adult only pool. You even had a beautiful ocean view from the pools!
Christy was impressed with the staff and service at the resort. The maintenance staff kept the grounds and even the beach, incredibly clean. Whenever she needed something, the resort staff would always eagerly assist her.
DINING AND ACTIVITIES
The resort offered kayaks and two-seater catamarans to their guests daily. They also hosted daily morning bike rides to a local shopping center about a 30-minute ride from the resort, which was right up avid bike rider Christy’s alley. Christy also tried the water aerobics class at the resort.
Besides the activities available on the resort, there were other options for a change of scenery. Christy went on a one-day catamaran ride with about 30 other guests to Isla Mujeres. She spent the day relaxing and snorkeling and felt it was worth the additional cost.
Every night around 9:30 P.M. there was entertainment for the guests. Christy enjoyed watching the different themed dance performances each night. Their themed shows included Grease, the Lion King, and Dancing with the Stars.
Contact Brentwood Travel to book your trip today!
(314) 439-5700 or email here
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES
MAGGIE AND RACHEL'S TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME CRUISERS
Opting for a drink package versus paying for drinks individually will save you money in the long run for your trip. These packages give you the option for unlimited soda, beer, wine, spirits, and more depending on the package you decide to purchase.
2. Book a balcony room
Balcony rooms give you the option to get fresh air and enjoy a view of the water without having to leave your room. Rachel felt that for her first time cruising, the balcony room was a great option that make her feel the most comfortable.
3. Download the Carnival Hub app
This was a game changer for Maggie and Rachel’s trip. If you plan on sailing with Carnival, make sure to download this app! They were able to view their daily itineraries, menus, entertainment and even get pizza delivered to them anywhere on the ship all from their phones! You can also use the app before your cruise to book shore excursions, schedule dining reservations and schedule spa treatments.
4. Pack for formal/themed nights
Make sure to check your itinerary while packing to make sure you bring the proper attire for any themed or formal nights.
5. Bring certain items to avoid heavy on-board costs
Be sure to pack items such as sunscreen, seasickness remedies (bands, pills, or patches), and the allotted number of approved beverages to keep in your room. These items can have high prices on board, so you can save money by picking up and packing these items before your trip.
Interested in sailing the Western Caribbean on Carnival Vista?
Contact Maggie Groene (314) 439-5700 ext. 120 or email her
to book your next cruise on Carnival Vista today!
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
In the 62 years since Brentwood Travel was founded in 1957, we've grown into the largest, full-service travel agency in the Greater St. Louis area. No matter what your travel needs may be, our consultants will be able to assist you.