Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Fuzz0521: Alaska Scenic Cruise
Overall Member Rating
Alaska Scenic Cruise
This was a "family" cruise; husband, wife, and (adult) daughter. A great chance to "re-connect" with our daughter, who we see every few months. This was our second cruise with NCL and second time on the Jewel, so we knew what to expect. We live on the east coast, so flew to Seattle a couple of days ahead of embarkation; had a "studio suite" at the Seattle Downtown Sheraton; the extra room size was great for the three of us, at a good rate.
We booked a balcony cabin for "mom & dad"; daughter had her own, inside single cabin. The balcony cabin had plenty of room for the two of us, with a king bed and couch. We tried three (adults) in the same size cabin on a previous cruise, and don't recommend it. There is no room to maneuver with the couch pulled out for sleeping. Embarkation was efficient and friendly.
Ports were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, BC. In Ketchikan, my daughter and I did a salmon fishing trip, which we arranged privately. Great excursion More if you like to fish; six people on a 35 foot boat, experienced fisherman/captain, and we caught fish. You can have them processed and sent home... or not. "Mom" did a nice "trolley" tour, as an NCL-arranged shore excursion. In Juneau, Daughter and I took a shuttle bus to the Mendenhall Glacier, then hiked an easy two-mile path to a waterfall next to the glacier. You can book shore excursions through NCL, but there is no need. There are about 20 "excursion" booths at the Juneau visitor center, just waiting to help you. The shuttle to the glacier was $16 round trip. In Skagway, we rode on the scenic railway to the White Pass, where the miners crossed the mountains to the Yukon; fantastic scenery. You can book the railway privately, but we booked through NCL because it got a "private" train which picked up right on the cruise dock. "Mom" has a mobility problem, so the extra $4 was worth it. A trip "highlight" was cruising in Tracey Arm (fjord) to the Sawyer Glacier. It is amazing how the big cruise ships maneuver in the narrow fjord. Victoria, BC, is a really "pretty" place. Mom and Daughter did a "traditional" English tea at the Empress Hotel, arranged privately; pricey, but a fun mother/daughter experience. There are plenty of shore excursion opportunities, but I just walked around downtown, did some shopping, and enjoyed a "buskers" festival that was going on all over time.
Each of the Alaska towns have "fully embraced" the tourist trade, so many of the shops near the cruise terminals are "tie ins" to ship shopping promotions (jewelry, art, resort clothes, etc.) and have nothing to do with Alaska. Get beyond the first few blocks to get a more "local" experience.
I can't say enough good about the Jewel crew and staff; attentive, friendly, and efficient. Everyone, from cabin stewards to officers, were true professionals.
Embarkation was quick and painless. We had arranged shuttle service to the airport from the pier; we were "whisked away" without trouble.
Personally, I would have preferred more time at the Alaska ports. A one-week cruise to Alaska from Seattle only allows three days in Alaska. But, all things considered, a good trip. A good, clean ship, great crew, and fantastic scenery. Oh, by the way, we had wonderful weather for the entire week; sunny and warm. Less
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We had a balcony cabin, starboard mid-ship. Ok, for two adults; maybe one small child, but no more (we tried three adults on a previous cruise). We are both a bit heavy, so the bathroom was "tight", but otherwise the cabin was a good size. Very quite.
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