My boyfriend and I just returned from a 7 day Alaskan Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. I surprised him for his 50th birthday, as an Alaskan trip was a dream of his. We were not disappointed! I chose a mini suite and added the romance package for some extra perks. It was simply awesome.
We left from Seattle, and embarkation was a breeze. We were impressed with the size of the cabin and the balconey. I must say, you really need a balaconey to get the most enjoyment from the trip. We spent so much time out there,looking at the beautiful scenery and the various wildlife. Bring binoculars.
It was chilly (50's) except for the last excursion in Victoria. Bring layers. We had 3 way jackets and I wore all the layers several times. It rained a bit here and there, but we had some sun.
The kids were the only ones I saw in the pool, but, I didn't expect tropical weather, so I didn't care. If it's important to you, I'd recommend investing in a spa pass. All indoors. A very nice spa. We had a couple massage which was included with the romance package.
We took the helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau(awesome). In Skagway we took the White Rail Pass Train ride (beautiful scenery). Glacier Bay was gorgeous. We stayed on our balconey the entire day from 7am-3pm (bundled up). We had a lavish breakfast brought to the room, and afternoon tea (also in romance package). We say whales, seals, otters and assorted birds. We even were lucky enough to see the glacier calving!
In Ketchikan we took the Coastal Expedition. It is a raft ride with an outboard motor. For about 90 mins you drive the raft, with the guide in a separate raft. He took us to quite coves and we saw Humpback whales, harbor seals sunning themselves on an island, and bald eagles. It was loads of fun.
In Victoria we went to Butchart Garden. Thousands of gorgeous flowers.
We ate at Cagney's steakhouse, Le Bistro, Lotus Garden, the Brazilian Restaurant, and La Cucina. They are all specialty restaurants and have an extra charge, which is well worth it in all cases. The staff will offer you as many entrees, appetizers, desserts, etc. that you want for the cover price. All the food was wonderful. We had breakfast and one lunch at the buffet. Crowded, but good food, no cover. We had dinner at Indigo twice, no cover, great food.
The staff on the whole ship was friendly and went out of their way at all times to make you happy and comfortable.
We really weren't into the entertainment or activities on the ship. The Second City was fair, but the art auction was fun and interesting even if you don't buy anything. We did end getting some pieces at a great price.
On the whole, I would highly recommend this trip. The freestyle aspect is huge. We went to dinner whenever we wanted, and never had to eat with others. We were obviously, looking to spend quality time alone. It's really up to you, and that is the beauty of it.