Great experience ! Rdtrip Seattle to Juneau - Skagway - Ketchikan - Victoria bc Hubby, 3 older teens, 7 yr old and granny 70. Was worried there wouldn't be something for everyone and that proved not to be a concern at all! Hubby and I and the 7 yr old had 9567 interior we booked granny and the teens the balcony room-across hall- bless her she had to share with 3 boys 16-19! Unfortunately getting to the balcony was basically impossible unless sofa bed and the bunk were up- that was disappointing as i know she would've liked morning coffee there while the teens slept.
Kudos to ncl for lots of great comfy public viewing spots -- really you CAN have a great cruise with interior cabin!
Also worried fam of 7 would have fun in port without breaking the bank- wasn't bad here's what we did:
Juneau we had a van - cab reserved ahead to mendenhall -similar if not cheaper and easier with 7 - great driver Shane with taku taxi - gave us his cell and came back ASAP to pick us up to drop off in town at Tracy's crab shack. Approx 35$ each way and no waiting or herding with another group. Tracy's was great. $ but that's Alaska! Was worth it! Mendenhall glacier a must see - it's free!! Didn't go in visitor center. Nice outside restrooms and viewing spots. We walked to nugget falls-- was bit longer hike than expected - not hard but it turned out sunny and 80's and we were all a bit hot and overdressed. Cab w nice tip around 12$ person. Tracy's was closer to $20 a person but little one had a hot dog from next door - we split some combos- bisque and king legs memorable!! It's outside picnic seating.
Skagway-- do the train!!! Worth the 120$ each. Our big expenditure. Hands down!! We had crystal clear skies and another 80 degree day- stuffy in may in Alaska for us- go figure - trust the Advice from all - it's unpredictable weather !! Brewing company for a sampler flight- alas out of spruce tip :-( Teens and granny did red onion. A few red cheeks from some of the decor and double entendres from the " working girls" but was good fun they all said.
Glacier bay - phenomenal !!!!! Margorie glacier was active- that cracking sound incredible !! Highlight of trip!! Dress warm and get OUTSide!!! Gotta hear it! We did enjoy balcony that day but plenty of good viewing spots if we didn't have it
Ketchikan was more like Alaska weather we expected - cool and misty rain - we just strolled a few shops. Totem park could have been an inexpensive side trip on our own via bus or can but we didn't feel the need. View from docks and ship were picturesque and that was enough for us. Did most of our souvenir shopping at tongass trading - nice variety reasonable prices. Little one got cute alaska pjs as ship pajama kids party was coming up that night.
Victoria - hubby and I plus youngest stayed on board - I'm sure it was nice - older ones took some photos- 9$ cab ride each way to historic section they took pics of state building and some nice places- had dinner and enjoyed themselves - hubby and I started packing and had quiet dinner alone while little one went to the playroom one last time.
Aqua kids club did a great job- I Wondered ahead of time if many children would be on this late may cruise- there were plenty- probably 20 in her general age group were regulars and probably 60 or more total from 3-11 ages. The big surprise was how much fun my 16-year-old had in the teen lounge! He went allllll the time! Nice group of kids and they really did hang out there! Had scavenger hunts and organized activities like teen group seats at shows, Xbox etc
Granny and i bought 120 e spa pass - our ladies treat and it was worth it- I missed having an in room tub and lounging in personal whirlpool with mega views, plus heated stone loungers and all the other spa goodies was great. If we had more sea time or if I were traveling without kids I would've been there more
Food- better than expected!! Never went to pay places but was tempted last night or so. We ate most all meals in summer palace or indigo-- kids and granny went to buffet and enjoyed it. Other than a quick snack or ice cream etc i never went to buffet but it was much nicer than I envisioned. Summer palace had great breakfast - eggs Benedict - waffles- etc. I generally just had room serv coffee fruit and Danish but went a few times and hubby preferred it.
For mass cruise food I give a lot of credit to chefs - there was something for anyone - steaks - chicken - pasta- fish - I enjoyed Portobello mushroom topped with goat cheese app also the eggplant and olive spreads w pitas, calamari and soups always excellent.
Much is made over alcohol policies on cruises. I can say I thought prices were fair considering captive audience - reasonable really and lower than expected.
Easy embark and self disembark - a breeze we were very early on and very early off and was super easy -