Wow what a wonderful trip! I booked this cruise almost a year ago so I could get it payed off by cruising day. As the date became closer, I was a nervous wreck because it was so far away and I started to believe that we should have flown into Seattle the day before. United later changed us to a later flight and we made it on the ship with all of 10 minutes to spare before they pulled the walk up. Fortunately, at the airport, we spotted a friendly group of folks holding up a Norwegian sign and we asked if there was room for us on the transfer bus. They said yes and we knew we were home free. Embarkation went fine except security confiscated my small fan that I use at night. I am 51 and up to my elbows in hot flashes so I was very bummed about this. Then when we arrived in the room our safe did not work. I was now worried that the whole cruise was going to be a disaster but alas, the nice lady at the service counter quickly gave me back my fan and the safe was fixed pronto. These were the only two glitches we encountered the whole trip.
I am always amazed at the folks who give a cruise review and all they write about is the food. Yes, the food was wonderful on this trip, especially the fresh fruit, but our main reason for going to Alaska was for the scenery. I knew that we were pushing it by going the last week of Sept., but the weather was wonderful and we visited every port. We went whale watching in Juneau, visited the Yukon in Skagway, went to Misty Fjords in Ketchikan, and did the highlights tour in Victoria. Victoria was a nice brief stop but I would have preferred an Alaskan stop, such as Sitka, instead. Among the animals we spotted were bald eagles, bears, orca and humpback whales, otters, and seals.
The visit to Glacier Bay was amazing! We had a very knowledgeable naturalist on board who explained it all and her love of nature and Alaska was evident. This cruise was very nature oriented and since that is the reason we went, we loved that important aspect of it.
As always, the NCL staff was wonderful and very visible. We often saw the staff and entertainers around the ship enjoying their cruise as well. We saw the captain, the cruise director and the very handsome Prem, the hotel director, many times. Our steward Alfredo was the best! When the prices dropped for this cruise in early Sept., I called the travel agent and asked if she could get us an upgrade to a suite with a balcony instead of our reserved ocean view. Well, this wonderful travel agent did just that and our room on the 11th floor was spectacular. How can I ever go back to the affordable ocean view room again?
We went to many shows and loved them. We also went to the Second City Murder luncheon and laughed a lot. This was $20 per person and very enjoyable. We did not make it to any late shows because all that scenery-viewing pretty much wiped us out by 9:00 pm.
About a year ago, I signed up to receive NCL emails and took advantage of a few offers to put down a deposit on a future cruise and receive cruise credit. I also took out the Bank of America NCL Master Card and used it for stuff I had to buy anyway, like insurance, utilities and groceries. I spent enough to receive $400 in cruise credit and then I placed a $250 deposit on a future cruise while on this cruise and altogether, I ended up with $500 in cruise credit. We used the credit to visit specialty restaurants, buy pictures and for stuff in the gift shop. What a deal!
Last year my friends and I did the New England Fall Foliage cruise on the Dawn and next year we plan to do the other half of it beginning in Quebec. Before, we did the one beginning in Boston.
We disembarked in Vancouver and had to stay a day because of a late flight. We stayed at the Quality Inn on Howe St.and it was wonderful. We did the Hop On Hop Off bus and toured this pretty city and especially loved Stanley Park. We also enjoyed seeing the Olympic venues. Customs went well at the airport and there is a spectacular Disney collection at the airport that you will love. A local man donated hundreds of Disney statues to the airport that he started collecting in 1928.
This Alaskan cruise was truly a once in a lifetime trip for us and my third on a Norwegian ship. I have no desire to cruise on any other cruise line. If you are thinking of booking this trip for 2014, keep in mind that the weather may be a bit unpredictable if you go so late in the season, but for us, it was an amazing trip.