Trip Report: Disney Cruise Line Sailing To Alaska (Part 1)
An Alaskan vacation is always going to be amazing, but make it a Disney Cruise to Alaska and you are going to be blown away. My family recently returned home from sailing aboard the Disney Wonder and I wanted to share all of the fantastic details from our journey.
There is so much to tell that I’m needing to split this up into two parts! For this article I wanted to cover everything leading up to the cruise itself.
Our journey really began 2 days prior to sailing with an at home COVID Test. At the time I’m writing this Disney Cruise Line requires all guests (ages 5 and older) to be fully vaccinated and also to complete pre-trip COVID-19 testing. 15 Days prior to our sail date I created our Safe Passage accounts and uploaded images of our COVID-19 Vaccination Cards.
I also decided to streamline things and purchased our pre-trip, at-home observed antigen test directly from the Safe Passage website by Inspire Diagnostics. The cost was $46.58 per test and the box arrived just a few days after ordering it.
The single box includes all the supplies you need and the instructions. We just set it aside until 2 days prior to sailing.
When purchasing the tests you also schedule an online appointment where the proctor will monitor your family taking the test and confirm the results. It was basically a Zoom session and the proctor was extremely nice as she made sure we completed the tests correctly. Once she visually confirmed the test results she took care of updating the Safe Passage website and marked us Clear to Sail! As you can imagine, there is a lot of stress up until that point.
The next morning we flew out to Vancouver (by way of Seattle) for our Disney Cruise to Alaska. I am a big proponent of arriving at least a day early for cruises. I have seen and heard too many sad stories of missed and delayed flights that cause families to not make it to their ship on time!
Small Tip: Our flights to and from Vancouver were with Delta and included a small layover in Seattle. Delta currently charges $30 for your first checked bag and $40 for your second. With a 7-night sailing plus an additional night in Vancouver we had a lot of luggage. We actually found it was less expensive to upgrade to first class for the super short Seattle/Vancouver leg than have to pay to check our bags. Having part of our flights upgraded meant that we could each check 2 bags (if we wanted) without any baggage fees. This ended up being a savings for us plus we enjoyed all the additional perks like boarding first and having our luggage show up to the Baggage Claim carousel first too. The perks were included even for the flights where we were in Coach.
I will add that in our layover in Seattle we did have to show our Delta Boarding Passes, Passports, and the ArriveCan E-Receipt (see more details below) to the Delta gate agent before boarding our flight from Seattle to Vancouver.
Once we arrived in Vancouver we made our way down to Level 2 and went through Canada Border Services & Immigration which was a very quick and easy process because we took care of a few things ahead of time.
- You must have completed all of your information in the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada. In this app you submit your proof of vaccination, passport information, and travel details.
- Once this is completed you’ll also be able to use the Advance Declaration optional feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs declaration.
After debarking the airplane in Vancouver we used one of the Canadian Border Security kiosks to scan the QR Code from Arrive Can app, scanned each of our passports, and the kiosk took our photos. The kiosk printed out a small receipt that we then showed the Canada Border Services & Immigration officer before heading out.
Once we picked up our luggage we made our way out of the Baggage Claim area to a greeting area where a Disney Cruise Line representative was waiting. We had booked a pre-night hotel stay at The Vancouver Fairmont Waterfront with our Disney Cruise Line reservation and also added on airport transfers.
The driver helped us with our bags out to the van that took us to the hotel. Our driver was extremely nice and gave us lots of interesting info about what we were seeing as we drove through Vancouver.
The Vancouver Fairmont Waterfront is extremely beautiful and located literally across the street from the port where we boarded the ship. The only thing I might mention is that this hotel (and most in Vancouver from what I’m told) does not offer rooms with 2 Queen Beds. The rooms come with either one King, one Queen, or two Double beds. So just keep that in mind. My husband and I aren’t accustomed to sharing a Double Bed but it ended up being fine.
When checking into hotel I also made sure to mention that I would be sailing with Disney Cruise Line in the morning to Alaska. I was then handed the below letter with the additional information:
After dropping off our luggage in our room we headed down to the Disney Cruise Line Hospitality Desk. We had purchased the luggage transfers from the hotel to the port and were told to leave our luggage inside our hotel room the next morning and a Disney Cruise Line representative would come by and collect it beginning at 9am.
We also were invited to meet in front of the Disney Cruise Line Hospitality Desk starting at 10:15am and then at 10:30am a Disney Cruise Line representative would escort the group over to the port. This sounds like a great option to us as our Boarding Group wasn’t technically until 11am so this would get us in the line sooner.
The Disney Cruise Line representative was also very kind and walked me through the second round of the ArriveCAN app needed before boarding the ship. Technically, this app is needed to be completed twice, the first is done within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada. Once you have arrived in Canada you can delete the original ArriveCAN E-Receipt and start a new one for when you arrive in Canada again after the ship has returned after visiting Alaska. This needs to be done before boarding the ship.
Afterwards we left the hotel and explored the beautiful port area which included lots of shops and dining options along the water.
The next morning we left our luggage as instructed in our hotel room, making sure our Disney Cruise Line luggage tags were attached. We then headed down to the food court located under the hotel and tried out the donuts from Tim Horton’s.
As a side note, there is also a convenience store located underneath the hotel as well. It was a great place to pick up last minute items before boarding the ship.
We still had some time to kill so we made our way over to the Starbucks across the street and then walked over to the port ourselves to take a peek the Disney Wonder who had made it to Vancouver earlier that morning.
It felt silly but we walked back across the street and met up with the Disney Cruise Line representative who lead us back to the port. But I’m glad we did as she breezed us through and put us right into the line to check-in.
Stay tuned for my part 2 article that covers the rest of our Disney Cruise Line journey to Alaska!
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