Just a quick review for those anxious to hear about Alaska in 2013.
Embarkation went very smooth. We waited just a little longer than normal at the pier but they quickly made up for it by having the main dining room open for our first meal almost as soon as we boarded. Our rooms were ready before we were finished with our second course. That was very nice.
We have been on the Pearl twice, the Star twice and this our first time on the Jewel. All were to Alaska in May. We live close to the port so it is very convenient and so beautiful in Alaska.
The staff were all very nice and helpful. We are pretty low maintenance but any request we had was quickly handled and with a smile.
Since we have experienced this itinerary on NCL to Alaska before we were aware of a couple changes we would have wished they kept. The dining experience is not what it has been in the past. Not big things but they no longer offer the chilled soups. We always have greatly enjoyed the chilled banana soup on embarkation day. It was a definite letdown they no longer offer them. Also, the menu choices in the main dining room seemed to be much more limited. We rarely ate there anyways so that was not a big deal for us but I am sure others that were aware may have felt it more than us. They also no longer offer the DELICIOUS focaccia bread in Mama's Italian restaurant. The bread they served was very good but just not the same. The portions also seemed smaller at Mama's but I don't think that was a very bad things as they give you so much food anyways. Also, I recall them serving bread pudding pretty regularly in the past and we only saw it a few times this cruise. None of these are disastrous to us but a couple of them were disappointing.
Another negative, also not a huge one, was the fact there was not a coffeemaker in our balcony room. We were in a balcony on the Star in 2010 and we had a coffeemaker. They had some electric pot to keep water hot. We never used it. We have always enjoyed waking up and making a pot of coffee in our room. Also, if we wanted some coffee while sitting on our balcony it was so convenient. We can order coffee through room service or go to the buffet to get it but just not as convenient.
We did not go to the shows so we cannot give a review from our experience but from what others said they really enjoyed the entertainment.
The weather was beautiful the whole week in Alaska. Our first day at sea we must have seen 30 whales (most of them while we were enjoying the spa). Speaking of the spa, we used the heck out of it and we really liked the layout. The heated loungers facing the front of the ship are great. We also enjoyed the steam room, sauna and hot tub. Those 3 things are in the men's and women's sections so you cannot hang out with members of the opposite sex in those areas but it worked fine with us. My bf would go steam, cool plunge & hot tub while I did similar things on my side. Then we would meet in the main relaxation area to enjoy the hydrotherapy pool and heated loungers. No price break for couples which was a bummer. It may have scared some people away because we had the whole place to ourselves many times.
Overall we really enjoyed it and met several very nice people. We finally did our first meet and greet as well as our first slot pull. We are glad we did both and plan on doing them again on our next cruise.
Oh I almost forgot, we know of at least 3 times they had a cool lunch in the pool area where they cooked on a very large wok like thing. We didn't care much for the flavor (not bad food just not for us) but it was very fun watching them cook it up.