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Cathyg
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2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7
      #1704751 - 08/07/16 10:44 PM (67.142.162.24)

2016 July 30-Aug 7 Alaskan cruise

We booked this cruise in July 2015 with Bonnie Buchanan at CruiseOne. We have used Bonnie to book several cruises for us and she always does a great job. We got a balcony room…and in doing so we got the liquor package free. I prepaid the gratuities, preordered all of our excursions, preordered the photo package, preordered the internet package, and preordered the specialty dinner package. So everything was paid for ahead of time.

Saturday-We boarded Alaska Airlines and flew direct to Seattle. We took a taxi from the airport to the Waterfront Marriot…. cost was $47 plus tip. We checked in and our room was ready…654. We had a beautiful view of the water and a king bed.

We walked down to Ivar’s for crab cakes and a bowl of clam chowder. It was delicious.
Then we took a ride on the Ferris wheel…amazing views of the city.

Sunday-We had breakfast at the hotel… Steve had an American breakfast and I had dungenous crab eggs Benedict. We then had a bellhop take our luggage across the street to the Norwegian Pearl. We checked in and had lunch at O’Sheehans. We both had the chicken pot pie. It was delicious.

We got our room at 1:00…11630. We are VERY pleased. The room is exactly what we wanted. There is lots of storage…a king bed…a full sofa. We have a wonderful balcony.
We did the safety drill…then went to a bar for some wine during the bon voyage party. Even though we have the liquor package…. we have to pay the port tax on every drink until we get in international waters.

We had dinner at Summer Palace. We both had a salad and lasagna.

After dinner we went to the show at the Stardust Theater.
We came back to the room and Steve processed pictures while I sat on the balcony. I saw a whale blow several times and then I saw his tail. Needless to say I was excited.

Monday…. today is a day at sea. We are now three hours behind home. We had breakfast at O’Sheehans. While eating we saw a sea turtle, a whale and a school of porpoises. We had lunch at Summer palace…chicken salad sandwiches. I bought an Alaskan scrapbook kit and a crossover purse. We got our pictures taken in the Crystal Atrium. Dinner was a Cagney Steak house. We both had the lettuce wedge, filet mignon and baked potato…. I had raspberry crème Brule and Steve had Apple crisp. At dinner tonight...there was a group of 20 people sitting nearby...Bubba...ordered the 36-ounce porterhouse steak...and as I watched him devour it.... he then picked up the bone and gnawed on it like a dog for at least 15 minutes.... this is a first for me...his wife...got a lobster tail...which she picked up with her hands and ate the meat out of...she also picked up her baked potato and ate it with her hands. They were loud and obnoxious….and we were offended and laughed at the same time.

After dinner, we listened to a wonderful stringed trio while we had a martini…mine was chocolate...Steve’s was dirty vodka. We toasted memories of past trips…and those we shared them with.

Tuesday…We had breakfast at O’Sheehans. I had French toast…Steve had an omelet. We are in the inside passage…. mountains on both sides. As we are sailing, we have seen no less than 15 whales…Steve got some wonderful shots.
We had lunch at o’sheehans…I had fish and chips…steve had tuna fish.

We arrived Juneau 2:00…and got on a bus to take us to the whale watching boat. We saw Bald eagles, sea lions and seals and WHALES. We saw a waterfall, and point retreat lighthouse and the Mendenhall Glacier. We arrived in port and the Sun princess, Radiance of the seas, the Star princess and the NCL jewel were already there.

We had dinner at summer palace. We both had chicken cordon blue.

Wednesday…. we pulled into Skagway about 6 am. It is raining…for the first time on this trip. Ah yes…memories of Adak come flooding back…gray dreary days…back in 1973 and 74...when we lived in the Aleutian Islands. Skagway does have trees…The same ships we saw yesterday are in port here in Skagway.

We had breakfast at O’sheehans…. then headed ashore. We got on a bus that took us to Fraser British Columbia. We then boarded the White pass railway back to Skagway. Upon arrival to Skagway we got back on the bus and went to liarsville…where we had a baked salmon lunch….and a show…and panned for gold. (we actually skipped the panning for gold…. Then we got back on the bus to the red onion saloon and brothel. We took a tour of the brothel. We then walked back to the ship.

We saw two otters but no bears….and that’s still on my wish list. I am not sorry we did this today but once is enough.

We had dinner at Indigo…we had escargot and beef chateaubriand. Not crazy about this restaurant.
Thursday…We had breakfast at summer palace. we went to Glacier bay today. The water is like glass…small icebergs everywhere…mountain goats…. a tufted puffin… harbor seals… otters and Glaciers! Reid Glacier, Margerie Glacier….1-mile-wide 250 feet tall….and the mother of all glaciers…Grand Pacific Glacier…. johns Hopkins glacier…lamplugh glacier…. rendu glacier…. Carroll glacier.
Dinner tonight le Bistro…an upgrade. We had escargot…Steve had lamb and I had lobster. It was excellent.

Friday…we pulled into Ketchikan about 6 am. WE had breakfast at o’Sheehans…. then headed to the pier. We walked a few blocks to the lumberjack show. It was very funny. Then we took a bus to the Saxman Native American Village. We watched a film…. watched some dancers…. heard stories about Totem poles…and went to a carving demonstration…but the carver was not there.

We stopped at a store called Tongess trading company. I got some things for the kids.

We left Ketchikan at 1:00…. I saw an orca swimming...but Steve did not get a picture. Then we saw an orca breach! Steve missed the breach but got the splash.

We had lunch at o’sheehans…meatloaf…and it was pretty good! Dinner tonight was at Teppanyaki…an upgrade Japanese restaurant. The cook…Warren …was very entertaining.

Saturday…we headed for Victoria….it was foggy and rainy and cloudy most of the day…so our plan to watch from the balcony was not realistic. Instead we skipped breakfast…had lunch at o’sheehans…. took a nap…shopped and drank.

We had dinner at summer palace…both had chicken parmigiana. we arrived Victoria at 6pm. We boarded a bus for the butchart gardens. They plant a million flowers every year. It was beautiful. There were fireworks at 9:30.

We arrived back on the ship and settled our photo account. I had purchased the 35 picture package but upgraded to the 55 and got the usb.

We arrived Seattle at 6am. Showered…packed and disembarked. We caught a shuttle to the airport. We flew home on Alaska…no issues. We got home about 7:30pm.

One of the things that is very different about NCL….is that they don’t blow the horn…. they seldom make announcements….and the shore excursions are not very organized. We did find on our last day…it was very rainy and foggy…and they did frequently blow the horn.

Another observation…. there are 912 children on this ship…. if you are adults bothered by the noise of children…this is not the time to cruise to Alaska…perhaps June?

We have had the trip of a lifetime…and are very pleased with NCL. We would absolutely cruise with NCL again. The things we would do differently…a bigger photo package...a bigger specialty dinner package.


Next cruise…European River Cruise in September 2017 on TAUCK…stay tuned!


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1704755 - 08/08/16 07:55 AM (70.193.211.186)

thanks for the report. I would love to cruise to Alaska again. It's been a long time since we've been on NCL. On purpose, since the last time we sailed them, we got to the port and they said they didn't have a cabin for us!! Anyway, glad you had a great cruise. Back then, they used to make announcements all the time--usually for the drink of the day! Looking forward to seeing some pictures!

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sphotovacations
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1704759 - 08/08/16 09:30 AM (130.76.96.149)

Here are the pictures:

http://www.pbase.com/cands_vacations/2016_alaskan_cruise_july_30aug_7_


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o2bnsxm
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: sphotovacations]
      #1704783 - 08/08/16 05:02 PM (65.13.175.190)

Thanks for the trip report and the pictures! We want to try an Alaska Cruise again, and will certainly do NCL. Just a comment on O'Sheehans, we think that it is the best kept secret on the Ship!! We would go all hours of the day and night, and never have to fight any crowds. It was nice and quiet, and the food really good. It is cooked fresh to order, and served quickly. It sure beat the buffet madness on the upper deck.

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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: o2bnsxm]
      #1704788 - 08/08/16 05:54 PM (67.142.162.23)

We ate at O"sheehans the most....we found it when we first came on the ship....we ate breakfast and lunch there most days. The view was great....

We NEVER ate at the buffet on deck 12....we hate those buffets and avoid them like the plague.

We did like summer palace...the decor was simply beautiful.


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PelicanPirate
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705026 - 08/11/16 08:15 PM (98.29.235.208)

CathyG,
Thanks for the report. Our early experience with NCL in the Caribbean led us to favor Princess but the fares on our NCL Med cruise last year were too low to pass up so we set our expectations low for food and service and we were pleasantly surprised-no complaints.

So, many Alaskan itineraries do Inside Passage but not Glacier Park and vice versa or Sawyer and Hubbard. IF you had to pick, which was more important --Inside Passage or Glacier National Park?

Also, if one didn't want to spend big bucks on adventure excursions but rather just hop off the boat and enjoy something near port--- which ports, if any, offered something nearby other than tourist/souvenir shops?
Thanks


--------------------
Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people.
Jack Dawson - Movie Titanic


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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: PelicanPirate]
      #1705044 - 08/11/16 11:36 PM (67.142.162.20)

When i booked this cruise...my husband insisted we do Glacier park....so it was at the top of the list.

We did a med cruise on Princess...honestly...we liked NCL better.

I always book our excursions through the ship....and excursions are important to us.

But to answer your question...Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria all had lots of shopping near the ship....the furthest away was probably juneau...but you could catch a bus.

Our favorite place was definitely Glacier bay...but we did enjoy whale watching in Juneau.

I would probably have enjoyed whale watching in Victoria better than the gardens...but since we had already taken one whale watching adventure...I did not book the second one.


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: PelicanPirate]
      #1705052 - 08/12/16 08:26 AM (70.193.253.41)

I personally found the Inside Passage boring. Not much to see. Glacier Bay is one of the premo places in Alaska and probably my favorite part of our cruise, other than perhaps the helicopter ride to the glacier. That was pretty fabulous!

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o2bnsxm
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705098 - 08/12/16 01:42 PM (65.13.175.190)

I found it boring,too. Only an occasional seal pup on a piece of ice. The turn-around at the end was kind of exciting, but that's about it.

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PelicanPirate
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705107 - 08/12/16 03:51 PM (98.29.235.208)

Ok, thx. I had always thought inside passage was no way as good as glacier park but. Thought your early report said you saw a bunch of whales I now re read that part and see that was on a boat in Juneau.

Does anyone know if Icy Point Straight and Hubbard Glacier at all compare or make up for not getting Glacier National Park on an itinerary. There is a cruise next year that has other reasons for us looking at it and unfortunately it starts in Vancouver, inside passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard glacier, icy point straight, ends in Seward.


What were the temps Lang the way and does it ever get warm enough not to need a jacket?

Edited by PelicanPirate (08/12/16 04:20 PM)


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Eric_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: PelicanPirate]
      #1705137 - 08/13/16 07:45 AM (70.193.240.52)

Quote:

does it ever get warm enough not to need a jacket?




Yes it does/can be warm enough without a jacket. Depends on weather, but bright sun and no wind absolutely. But most times when we were off ship we would always take a light jacket. Not that we always needed it, but depending on what we did and the weather. For example you are walking around, did not really need it at times, but then we would grab a taxi tour to a glacier. You are on ICE so a jacket was nice!

Also do not forget to pack the swim suit ... why you ask? Back of the ship hot tub with drinks watching the scenery go by!

--------------------
Eric Hill
TTOL Shop


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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Eric_Hill]
      #1705238 - 08/14/16 11:36 AM (67.142.162.27)

We wore our jackets every day except one. The temps were in the 40's 50's and 60's except in Victoria...it was in the 70's.

Eric...we packed our swim suits and never used them one single time.

With 912 kids on board...the hot tubs were ALWAYS occupied by children.

My suggestion is take your cruise early June....before the kids get out of school....or in Late August or early september....when they are back in school.

I had always heard that norwegian was the old peoples cruise ship.....not true on this cruise. It was full of families.

Edited by Cathyg (08/14/16 11:38 AM)


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705244 - 08/14/16 12:35 PM (70.193.243.248)

We went at the very end of May. As far as children in hot tubs, don't most ships have rules that children are not supposed to be in hot tubs?? I swear that was the rule on Princess..

As far as the "old people's" cruise ship in Alaska, that is definitely NOT NCL, but Holland America..


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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705246 - 08/14/16 12:43 PM (67.142.162.27)

Carol...I do not know the rules...bu there were more kids in the hot tubs than were in the pool. I think there were 6 hot tubs...CRAWLING with kids.

We looked at each other and said...uh....NOPE

We had every intention of doing just what eric said....we did not even stick our toe in the pool or hot tubs.

We have not cruised on Holland America.....would like to some time.


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705248 - 08/14/16 12:46 PM (70.193.243.248)

We went the end of May on Princess, and there were a couple of times that we literally had a hot tub to ourselves, aft of the ship.. Not many kids on that trip at all. I don't think I would have dealt well with all those kids on your trip.

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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705252 - 08/14/16 01:53 PM (67.142.162.27)

We have been on two disney cruises...one on the dream and one on the wonder, The wonder and the NCL pearl are the same size.....and I swear...there were as many kids on this cruise as there were on the Wonder.

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705254 - 08/14/16 02:10 PM (70.193.243.248)

Disney deliberately has a lot of 'kids' spaces and 'adults only' spaces, so they deal with a lot of kids better than other cruise lines...

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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705257 - 08/14/16 02:23 PM (67.142.162.27)

I agree....there were places for the kids on the pearl...but nothing like Disney. I saw nothing that was labeled adult only. We did three upgraded dinners and there were kids at each one...and if you book upgraded restaurants on Disney...they are adult only....as well as adult only pools and hot tubs.

one night at dinner at teppanyaki...we were talking about it with others at the table. We were certainly not the only ones surprised by all of the kids.

We were told that many families from japan and china etc...take off the full month of August to come to America for vacation. I can believe it!


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705259 - 08/14/16 03:32 PM (70.193.243.248)

Personally, I have no desire to do a Disney cruise, but they do know how to provide separate facilities for kids and adults.

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Cathyg
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705261 - 08/14/16 04:08 PM (67.142.162.27)

I would rate Disney first ....but I have to say this NCL....comes mighty darn close.

and part of that is because we are more knowledgeable as well.

The more you cruise...the more you know what to prebook...the more you know what is important to you.

Each cruise more defines what it is you expect.

If I had known on prior cruises what i know now...I may be able to rate them higher.

For example....We did not book the alcohol package on Princess....It was our second cruise...we did not know to do that....and Disney was our first cruise and they only let you book wine packages.

Drinking is important to us...now we know...prebook the liquor package....drink and don't worry about the cost of each drink.

Another thing important to us is internet. We have always bought a package on the ship...usually a smaller one....and then we sit and watch the time tick away because it is so slow. This time...we bought the unlimited package....it was faster...and freeing...because we did not worry about the minutes ticking away.

We have also learned more about the room categories....we know what we want...and what to ask for.

So with experience come knowledge. It doesn't mean what is important to us...will be important to others....but it certainly makes it more enjoyable for us.

We did this cruise right....we knew what was important to us...and booked it accordingly.

So to say NCL is better than princess might not be Princess fault...because we did not book the things on Princess that we booked on ncl.

I guess the way to truly compare...is to book the exact same things on each cruise line.

I would still highly recommend Disney for families....they have something for everyone.


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705270 - 08/14/16 06:14 PM (70.193.243.248)

Agreed, knowing what is important to you and having some prior cruises under your belt makes a big difference on how well you enjoy something..

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SXMWendell
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Cathyg]
      #1705884 - 08/20/16 06:50 PM (75.11.157.75)

Reads like a fun cruise. Glad you had a great time.
I miss the smaller boats that didn't have the buffet. I did the Starward,Seaward and the Norway many times.

Wendell

Actually won alot of campaign for the most times traveled.

Edited by SXMWendell (08/20/16 06:52 PM)


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: SXMWendell]
      #1705889 - 08/20/16 07:28 PM (70.193.210.89)

Didn't have a buffet?? We started cruising in 1987, and every ship had a buffet on it!!

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SXMWendell
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1705892 - 08/20/16 08:10 PM (75.11.157.75)

The only Buffet was the mid night buffet.. And i miss the Thursday night Chocolate mid night buffet. Nobody slept for 2 days after eating that much caffeine.

Wendell


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: 2016 NCL Alaskan cruise July 30 August 7 [Re: SXMWendell]
      #1705897 - 08/20/16 09:07 PM (70.193.210.89)

Ok, I don't really think so, think there was buffet for breakfast.. Chocolate midnight buffet, yes, definitely do remember that!!!

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