My wife and I are in our 30's and were traveling with her parents who are in their mid/late 50's. This was their 1st cruise and our 4th. We have only been on NCL and keep coming back for the same reason, we like it.
Sunday 6/10 we flew into SEATAC on Southwest Airlines from MSP. This was my first time on them and it was a typical flight. I would use them again based upon price. I had pre-booked a town-car with ALREADY THERE TOWN CAR. Price was $60 + $10 tip one way ($140 round trip). They picked us up and drove all 4 of us to the port which is about 15 minutes away depending on traffic. Dropped off our bags and through security in about 10 minutes. Checked in and then sat and waited for 45 minutes before we could get on the ship. NCL needs to expand the seating area as there were no open chairs when we arrived. On the ship and we were able to get to our cabins right away. We were on deck 5 forward with a picture window. **NOTE the sun rises at 3-4am some days, and More
sets close to or after 11pm but doest seem to really get dark**
We walked around and watched the ship push away from the dock. Went for a bite to eat at pool side because the buffet seemed like people had never seen food before in their life. This is one of the things that gets me every time... a person with such a pile of food on their plate like they will never get back for a second plate ever. This continued the entire trip.
Monday 6/11 had us at sea all day. We did breakfast at the buffet each day and always ate in the "great outdoors" which is on the back of the ship. We passed on thing like bingo and those great insta-win strips. We did opt for a soda card and drank it when we could just to get our money worth out of it. I mixed mine with some adult beverage that I happened to sneak on board in a rum runner bag. Which leads me to this $28+ for a 6-pack of beer.... and they wonder why I won't buy it and sneak it in my suit case? I'd buy beer if it were a normal price beer.
We really passed on the shows because after being on the same ship two other times in 2010 nothing had changed. I'm starting to think that NCL needs to do and find something else... Oh what a night? come on... We did listen to the port talks which were all for the cruise line owned/sponsored stores. We did that only to kill time out of our day(s).
Tuesday 6/12 had us in Juneau. The place to go is the Red Dog Saloon. If and when I ever go back this is where you will find me. The beer tasted good, was a good price, and the ladies were good looking too. I just hope the old guy playing the piano is still alive and singing when I get back there in 10 years. I made a stop at the Harley store for a T-shirt.
Wednesday 6/13 had us in Skagway. I had booked a fishing trip with Fat Salmon Fishing that day and was pissed to find out that he wasn't going out because of high winds. I understand that he has to keep himself safe but was pissed to learn that others were able to get out with other guides and go fishing that day. The winds in my opinion were not that bad but again I haven't ever fished for king salmon either. Oh well I found the Harley store and got another T-shirt.
Thursday 6/14 we cruised Glacier Bay. Don't forget your binoculars like I did. The one day I wished I had them. The best view is up on deck 13 aft. I really wish we could have spent 4-5 hours there but it as a short visit. I think they should plan for more time in the bay on this day.
Friday 6/15 was Kitchikan. I got off the boat right away and found a place to take me fishing. Too bad the fish didn't bite for us. We had 5 on the boat and only hooked 3 fish. Which meant that 2 of us paid for an expensive boat ride. The fishing place is right in front of the dock, we walked all of 1 minute to it and were able to get on right away, with no reservation.
This is again one of the places that needs to have it's port time extended. Frankly our next stop at Victoria Canada is one that we passed on.. We never left the boat.
Highlights were meeting Alex in the main dining room. Alex is the Assistant MaterD'. We also met Akim who is one of the best waiters we ever had. Picture "Mr. Chow" for the movie THE HANGOVER and you have Akim right down to the laugh. Anyway, we told Akim that my wife is gluten free for health reasons, he brought over Alex and explained that they can adjust almost anything for her dietary needs. She was able to pre-order breakfast each night, and pre-order each supper meal as well. Alex send her gluten free cookies each day to our room (not just a cookie but like a dozen mini cookies). He also had special gluten free deserts made each day for her at supper. She had gluten free bread for each meal. By far this guy Alex and Akim became our Cruise Hero's.
We did trivia each day we could on the boat, sometimes more than once in a day. It earned us a free NCL coffee mug! We didn't try and of the special restaurants because the food is already free and the steak was like butter each time I had it. And with a gluten free person it's kinda hard for them to eat anyway. We hit the hot tubs each night at about 10-11. Even if it's cold it's a must do. Just get your great green/white towel before the window closes. Also if the sign says adult pool/hot tubs that's what it means... I don't want your kid trying to swim in this little tub with me because you think it's cute. Try the other hot tubs with the kids in them.
The other thing that gets me is that while I'm not there to watch TV it is something that I like to do just before going to sleep at night. I think NCL really needs to work on this. It's the same shows playing over and over with the same junk. It's okay to promote your product and tell us about the ship but for crying out loud why do I have to watch a show about the University of Miami about their football back in the 80-90's for 6 days straight? Go out and buy some DVD's of current movies/TV shows etc and just play them. Make sure to buy enough to play for 7 days. By day 3 there was nothing new being played. We watched BBC and MSNBC when they would tune in... again something that I find hard to believe this day and age that you cant get a good picture on a TV. I can pay an arm and a leg for your internet but you can't even get mee good TV.
Over all I give the staff a 5 out of 5 for friendliness and politeness. The ports are the same old junk that you see everywhere else. I mean how does a town of 800 people (Skagway) need 52 places to shop for jewelry? Ports I would rate at a 3 out of 5. The trip it's self was a 3.5 out of 5.
The staff on the ships are the main reason we keep choosing NCL. Less