Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by NWLACruiser: Ready to explore Alaska again!!
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Ready to explore Alaska again!!
Gorgeous, spectacular and breathtaking only begin to describe the sights and sounds from this cruise. My husband and I, along with two others, chose the Alaskan cruise after having so many people tell us it was the best cruise they had ever taken and we would love it. They were right! By the time we returned to Seattle we were planning for our next Alaskan cruise.
We enjoyed just about every aspect throughout the cruise. Embarkation was quick and easy. The staterooms were ready within 20 minutes of our arrival on board ship and our luggage arrived less than two hours later. The stateroom was clean and welcoming and it was difficult to decide if we wanted to enjoy the view from the balcony or explore the ship.
For this cruise we chose to purchase the ultimate dining package and enjoyed each of our meals. The restaurants were never crowded and the food was prepared to our specifications. Cagney's became our favorite spot for dinner.
The staff were all friendly More and we did not feel like it was an inconvenience if we needed to ask for help or directions.
During the trip we experienced only one issue which was not resolved during our cruise and it was with the water in the bathtub. When running water to fill the tub portion, the water stayed warm. However, when it was switched to the shower, the water turned cold within a minute and it required switching the shower off and then back on. It was very inconvenient and frustrating to continue this process throughout the shower. Maintenance did take a look at it but was unable to address or fix the problem for the last three nights of our cruise.
With this one exception, the ship was well maintained for its age and we enjoyed the cruise immensely. Less
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Cabin review: 11564
The room was spacious and well maintained while we were on board. Although the decor was a little out of date, the room itself showed very little wear and tear and the bed was very comfortable. Sitting on the sofa did present a challenge as it was very uncomfortable, the seat was hard with little to no padding and the back very straight. We chose a mini-suite rather than a balcony after being told of the small size of the bathrooms in the balcony staterooms. The larger bathroom provides ease of movement when dressing. Storage space in the bathroom is very limited. You might want to consider bringing some type of over the door storage for this cruise.
Port and Shore Excursions
Mendenhall Glacier is breathtaking. There are trails you can take to get closer to the glacier rather than staying at the main observation area but time is very limited and it would not be a leisurely hike.
Bathrooms tend to stay busy and there was always a line for both of the ladies restrooms. With the exception of water, food and drink are not allowed in the park area due to bears so you will need to leave them on the bus.
We could not have asked for a better weather day for this excursion. It was sunny and cool but not cold. The naturalist on board provided interesting information about the different species and we were always on the lookout for whales.
There is a small area of land in the middle of the water where an eagle has made its home and he/she quietly sat on a stump ignoring us as we snapped pictures and commented on his/her beauty.
At one point we witnessed a large group of seals sunning themselves on the rocky embankment and with binoculars you could see several of the female seals were still nursing their young.
Whales were a little harder to spot but we did encounter a few. Or, we saw the same one several times. It never breached the water but we were able to watch as it surfaced before diving on three occasions.
These two excursions are at the top of the list for enjoyment.
Saxman Native Village
Following a short bus ride from the pier, we arrived at the Saxman Native Village for our tour. The main attraction for this stop is the totem poles and our guide provided interesting background and history on several of them.
Upon arrival to the village, you enter a small auditorium and watch a 15 minute presentation regarding the history of the Indian tribe and the development of the village. Following the presentation, there is a short walk to the heart of the village. For those unable to walk or those in wheel chairs, carts are available for transportation.
At the heart of the village, guests are treated to a brief introduction of the songs and dances of the tribe and then escorted to the building where totem poles are undergoing restoration. Afterwards, there is a small gift shop which you can visit.
This is not a large village but it has some interesting history.
Because of time constraints there it felt we were being pushed quickly from area to area to make room for the next group. If you plan to do any shopping in the gift shop, you will feel rushed. We were allowed about 20 minutes to browse, shop and purchase before our bus departed for the cruise port.
White Pass Scenic Railway
Get ready for a long day but the sights absolutely are worth the trip!
Leaving from the port, we headed up the mountain toward the Yukon and Carcross in a tour bus with our driver stopping a few times along the way to allow us to take pictures. When we arrived in Carcross, there were several choices of activities, from small museums to a small petting zoo. Of course the main attraction was the sled dogs and we were in luck. Not only were we able to see the adult sled dogs but there were two 32 day old puppies which we were able to hold. Lunch is provided at this stop but it is a one size fits all meal consisting of chicken, small baked potato, and a couple of other items. There are all you can eat donuts for dessert. Again, as with the other excursions, time is very limited. We had an hour and twenty minutes to eat and visit the different areas before boarding the bus for another stop.
There is a brief stop in another section of Carcross that consists of a few stores and small museums before heading to the US-Canadian border where you board the train for Skagway. Have your camera ready because you will not want to stop taking pictures on the ride down. And your guide on the train will help you find some of the not so obvious historical points as you travel down the mountain.
My husband and I highly recommend this excursion for those who may have limited mobility but wish to experience the beauty of the area.
We had an afternoon arrival in Victoria following the all day excursion in Skagway and decided to visit Victoria at our own pace. Taxi cabs were lined up at the port and the organization by the local authorities made the experience a pleasant one.
Once we had a taxi, it was a short $7.00 cab ride to the area near the Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel. After walking around the waterfront area where you will find vendors of all kinds, we chose The Flying Otter for dinner, a small restaurant and bar overlooking the water where you can watch the seal planes landing and taking off. The food was very good, the service excellent and the people very friendly. They have souvenir hats and shirts if you would like to purchase one (yes, we did).
Following dinner we took a carriage ride through one of the parks in Victoria. It was a windy day and a little cool on the ride, but beautiful nonetheless. Our driver was a native of the area and able to provide much information as we rode along.
Overall we found the city to be clean, friendly and one we would like to explore again on our next trip.