We planned this cruise for three years. We wanted to go on a cruise for our twenty-fifth anniversary. We had the date set and were counting the days. August 30, 2008 was the day.
We drove about five hours to Seattle. We had prepaid to park the car in the parking structure that is for cruising with NCL. My travel agent told me that it was best to prepay and then you just drive in and they are there to help you with your bags. And thats how it happened. It costs $114 to park for the week. And it is in a secure parking structure. They told us that our luggage would be at our stateroom after 6pm. We walked across the skybridge and got in line to be begin the process to go onboard. It didn't take that long. After you are through that process they take your picture. (This is your Embarkation Picture that you can purchase later).
We walked onboard and was very pleased with the way it looked. We walked on deck 7 and into the Grand Atrium. Lots of rich colors, glass elevators, brass and chrome and the music playing. It was beautiful. We walked around the different decks. There was a Embarkation BBQ on deck 12. Hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, fries, drinks. This is also the deck with the pool and four hot tubs.
After awhile we went to our room to see what it was like. We had an inside cabin. Category II Cabin #11119. It was nice, plenty of room. We didn't feel like it was too small at all. The beds were comfortable, and the rooms are climate controlled. We had decided that we would be out of the cabin most of the time. We wanted to be as close to midship as possible and the higher the better. It was a great room. The only complaint we have is we were under the Market Cafe and at night they clean and you could hear the dishwashers running and moving things around. It didn't keep us up at night though.
We had decided that we were going to eat at the places that did not have a cover charge except for three nights. The first night we wanted to celebrate so we ate at "LaTrattoria" (Italian Seafood & Meat Delicacies Pasta & Pizza) It was great. My husband had Pollo Parmigiana (Breaded Chicken Breast, Marinara Sauce, Mozzarella cheese, Vegetable Manicotti)and Insalata Caesar Salad. I had Fettuccini with Frutti di Mare and Insalata Caesar Salad. Both were very good. One of the best meals we had. We didn't have dessert because we were so full. For breakfast we ate at the buffet at Market Cafe. We had scrambled eggs, hash, sausage, bacon, fruit, milk, juice, hot chocolate, cereal, cinnamon rolls. It was all very good. As far as lunches we ate at Blue Lagoon, (Fish and Chips, comes with fries, coleslaw, tarter sauce). Was good and very large pieces of fish. We also had hamburger and a hot dog there also. They were all good. Blue Lagoon is open 24 hours. We went to Aqua and had grouper and Lobster with Asparagus, it was very good. We also ate at Versailles and had steak sandwich and Lobster & grouper, both very good. We at dinner at Versailles and had Pork Loin and Scallop & Calamarri with pasta. Didn't think much of the Pork Loin but the Scallop/Calamarri with pasta was good. And the last night we ate at Cagney's Steak House. It was the best. We both had Shrimp Cocktail and then clam chowder and then a 12 oz Rib Eye Steak with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. It was probably the best steaks we have ever had. For desert we had Kahlua Coffee Creme' Brulee' and Baked Apple Crisp with ice cream. Both were very good. Cagney's does have a cover charge of $20pp. Very well worth it. We also ate at Endless Summer, with a cover charge of $10pp. We had Nachos Grandes, we will pass on them next time, and II Popo ( Grilled Chicken, Grilled Skirt Steak, peppers, onions, tomatoes, pineapple, jalapeno pepper, served with mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. It was pretty good. The steak was a little tuff. The chicken was very good. The last day at sea there was a movie that we both wanted to watch so we ordered room service and watched a movie. We had a tuna melt on rye and a BLT. Very good.
I found out after we were onboard that there was a group of people that were on the ship for a quilting class with the teacher that has written lots of books. I feel so terrible that I can't remember her name right now. I just wish that I could of been in that class. Next time I will check and see if there is a class like that again. It looked like they were having so much fun.
There was a room that you could go into and watch for whales. It was very quite and only a couple of people there when we were there. We did see some.
The service was very good. We were always ask if we needed anything. And our beds were made up and we had a different animal made out of towels everyday.
We went to all of the shows. There was one show the first night. And then every night there was a show at 7pm and 9pm. There were set times every night that you could dress up and they would take professional portraits if you wanted. We had ours done and they really turned out nice. In the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 12 FWD they had games that they played with the passengers. They had a comedy show one night. A game show "The Liar's Club"
In the Stardust Theater there was "Music of the Night" "Band on the Run" (very very good), Magician Murray, Tribute, Variety Showtime with Murray and Tribute (one show only), and the International Star Crew Show and a hilarious finale.
As far as Shore Excursions there are alot to pick from. We decided that we would go on two excursions. In Ketchikan we wanted to walk around the town and see it. We went shopping and had lots of fun. In Juneau we went on the Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Garden Excursion. It was GREAT. It cost $63 pp. We got on a greyhound type bus and they drove us to Mendenhall Glacier. On the way the driver that we had was very informative about the town and history and she was funny too. When we got there we had one hour and fifteen minutes to look around, take pictures then back on the bus. On the way out a black bear walked across the road in front of the bus. Too fast to get a picture. Then we went to Glacier Garden. What a wonderful place. If you like flowers, waterfalls, ponds, forest, this is the place to go. You learn alittle about the history also. And very funny guides here also. Very Good Excursion. Then we went back to town and walked alittle bit and back to the ship. Next stop, Skagway. We walked around the town here. A smaller then Ketchikan. All of the towns have about the same stores. Each town does have a few special shops. Then back to the ship. Then the ship went up to see the glacier. We were suppose to go to Sawyer Glacier. We couldn't go there so we went to Dawes Glacier. It was beautiful. We stayed on Deck 7 the whole time taking pictures and drinking hot chocolate. It was Great. And we have WONDERFUL PICTURES to remember it. Now we are heading for Prince Rupert. Here we went on the Whale and Marine Life Discovery Cruise. We got on a 70' boat. (part enclosed and heated), There were about 40 of us on this boat. There was the guide, the captain and a co-captain. They take you out about 50 miles into the ocean and you see whales. They come up next to the boat and the camera's start clicking. It was GREAT. I didn't want to go back into the ship it was so much fun. When we did go back into shore it was close to 9:30pm and I got some great pictures of the ship with all the lights on.
The Disembarkment was very smooth. We were set to leave the ship at about 8;20am. We were off the ship and getting our ride to the parking lot, got our car and on the freeway by 9:15am. And we drove home.
In Summary: This was our first cruise. It was our first Big Vacation. And we are already trying to figure out where we want to go next. We love cruising.
The seas were good. I didn't know how I would do with the movement of the ship because I don't do well on a dock that moves. And I don't like heights. I did alot of things I didn't think I would do. I didn't get sea sick. One day the ship was rocking alot and I told my husband I didn't like it much, but when I saw that everyone was walking like I was and I realized that it was partly caused by the wind going across the ship. It didn't stop us from doing anything.
I would tell everyone that if you are worried about going on a cruise you should go and have fun. It is our first but, it wont be our last. We can't wait for the next cruise.
The Crew was great. The Director of Entertainment and Assistant Director of Entertainment were really great.
We looked at the spa but didn't use any of their services. We didn't have any children with us, but it looked like the children that were on the ship were having fun.
Does anyone have ideas on what would be a great second cruise?