Having cruised many times, this was our first cruise with Norwegian. And since it was our anniversary, we splurged a bit. We stayed in a mini suite, and got the ultimate dining package, along with having nice excursions in each port.
The room was great. I'm pretty big, 6'3" 270lbs, and the bathrooms are always a bit tight, but that is the case on other cruise lines I've sailed as well. I do wish the room was a bit wider, I would have gladly sacrificed depth for an extra foot of width on the room, the space between the bed and the side wall was narrow. That being said, the balcony was spacious, the sitting area was big, and we had plenty of space to spread out.
We ate at all the specialty dining venues except La Cucina. The Teppanyaki restaurant was fun, and the food was great. All the chefs seemed to put on a nice show. Le Bistro was our favorite, everything we had was great, and you have to have the crème brule. Cagneys was good, but didn't measure up to high end steak houses I've been to on land, my steak came out a bit over done, I'm sure they would have cooked me a new one, but to save time, I didn't complain. Chin Chin seemed to be the least attended of the specialty dining venues, but we enjoyed it. Moderno is a fun choice, the salad bar had some great choices, and the selections of meat came out quickly. I think overall things were a bit under seasoned, but it's easy to add a bit of salt to taste. The hostess that sat us at our table at Moderno, even remembered us by name the next day when we went to O'Sheehans, but apologized that she didn't remember our room number.
PORTS OF CALL
Ketchikan was gorgeous. We did the Bering sea crab fishermans tour that was great, lots of great scenery and stories and information from the seasoned fishermen tour guides, then we went into town and rented a Harley for a few hours so we could head out to see the sights. I would highly recommend Panhandle Motorcycle adventures, a self guided tour took us off the beaten "touristy" path a bit, but was a great time. In Juneau, we did a float plane 5 glacier tour and Taku Lodge salmon feast. The scenery was breathtaking, and we even had a bear show up right as lunch was ending. This was the only place on our whole trip, however, where we had a bug problem, the woods around the lodge had some great short hikes, but the mosquitos were thick. We had bug spray with us, but the lodge also had it available. In Skagway we did the Adventure Park and Zip Line, and it was a lot of fun, even my wife who is afraid of heights loved it, then we went on the White Pass Railway and enjoyed the scenery. The train was a relaxing way to unwind after the zip line tour.
The entertainment on the boat was good. The Cirque Bijoux show was pretty amazing, the other shows were OK, but nothing spectacular. I liked that the comedian was clean, and all of his shows were appropriate for all audiences. We also enjoyed hitting different trivia games throughout the week. There was always something to do.
SHIP AND CREW
Due to the layout of the boat, I never felt crowed. We did have an issue with our paperwork from our travel agent, some on board perks we were supposed to have didn't show up on Norwegians paperwork, but they honored the paperwork I brought with me till they could confirm with our agent that we were supposed to get those perks. Since our cruise left on a Saturday, they couldn't confirm till Tuesday, but it didn't hold us back from enjoying the perks in the mean time.
The staff was very friendly, we met ships officers several times, and everyone was smiling and making sure we were happy. Twice, we had chocolate dipped strawberries sent to our room, once as an apology that our paperwork was wrong, and once as a thank you for chatting with one of the officers. Our room was always ready for us which is an compliment to our steward, who we never saw. Everyone takes the health of passengers very serious. If you don't know the washy washy song yet, you will by day 2 of your cruise.
No trip is perfect, but 90% of your enjoyment is going to be based on your own attitude. If you want to nit-pick something, you can always find flaws, and exaggerate them in your mind. Go to Alaska on the Jewel expecting the trip of a lifetime, and you won't be disappointed