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 More
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. Less
A nice town for shopping and walking around. A must do for us is to go to the Arctic Bar which is close to the cruise ships. They have a website so you can check them out. Paula the owner/bartender is a character. She has been doing this a long time and she is very entertaining. If you are offended by profanity then it is not for you. But if you like watching a foul mouthed bartender that makes a top notch bloody mary and tells you how it is, then you will have a great time. We don't like tomato juice so we have a couple Alaska White beers, talk with Paula and other patrons and just enjoy the ambiance.
A cute little town that you can see without knocking yourself out. If you want to go to the Yukon and have a wonderful personal tour up to Emerald Lake then we recommend Dyea Dave. He took 5 of us on a tour in 2009 and we really enjoyed it. If you stay in town or when you get back into town here are a couple recommendations. For a great pastry or what we REALLY enjoy, the sausage cheese biscuit from Bites on Broadway...YUMMMMM! They are attached to another very neat locally owned and operated business, Art Glass Alaska. The Metcalf family makes all the items sold in the store. Very affordable and unique pieces of jewelry, plates, lampshades, ect.
I would give it a zero if I could. What a pain to get anywhere. We were lucky enough to have done Prince Rupert a couple times. SOOOOOO MUCH BETTTER than Victoria. You can walk to everything you want to see in Prince Rupert. If you want to see bald eagles up close you have a much better chance in Prince Rupert. We cannot figure out why they would want to take you to Victoria over Prince Rupert except that Victoria must have paid them more money. No free shuttle into town like they have in Juneau. Victoria a great port to stay on the ship in our eyes. We may even try another cruise line if we research and find one that goes to Prince Rupert instead of Victoria. It's not that Prince Rupert is so amazing, it is cute, but it is the fact it is not miles away from the ship like Victoria is. If there was a free shuttle into town in Victoria I think we would change the port rank to a 2. Good luck seeing wildlife in Victoria. Lots of eagles in Prince Rupert. We live just north of Seattle so maybe the fact it is so close may be partially why we are so down on it. If you love Victoria then you are happy they go there. We miss Prince Rupert compared to Victoria.