Embarked Seattle - 6/5/2004 - Boarded about 2:30 pm with very little wait. The computers were down so we had to visit the purser's desk within 24 hours to setup our credit card and get our pictures taken. We had given our luggage to the Norwegian representative at the airport and were surprised to see it in our room when we entered. We had upgraded to a stateroom with a balcony on the port side of deck 9. I strongly suggest a balcony for this very scenic cruise. The portside balconies offer a great view of each of the towns where the ship docked. The cabin was a comfortable size especially the bath with separate sections for the sink, shower, and toilet with sliding doors between each section.
The Ship - Overall it was very clean and well maintained. There was very little vibration. There was some swaying in open water but after all we were at sea. Moving throughout the ship was confusing at first, by the end of the second day we had figured it out.
The Crew - We seldom saw our room stewards but our room was cleaned each time we returned ... as many as three times a day. We always had ice in the bucket. The waiters and waitresses were very good and most remembered our name after just one day. No problem with understanding what was said by us or them. Casino staff was friendly and helpful.
Food - The main restaurants, Windows and Garden Room, have excellent food and service to match. The Buffet at Raffles offered limited selection but overall the food was pretty good. Grilled items were available at Raffles Terrace on the rear deck behind the buffet at certain times. Breakfast was good at the buffet except the Omelet Station was on the outside terrace and there was usually a long wait ... suggestion.... Get your omelet before your other breakfast items or the rest of your breakfast will be cold before you sit down including your coffee.
Shows - The ship's singers and dancers worked very hard to put on good shows. Jane Powell was the show you don't want to miss ... she was great. Also, make sure you catch the talent search show near the end of the cruise.
Excursions - Ketchikan - we took the Wilderness Adventure and Crab Feast. It consisted of a bus ride to an old lodge, now a crab restaurant. At the restaurant we boarded a small boat to the crab traps and experienced first hand the harvesting of crabs. Those crabs were released and upon returning to the old lodge we had a great meal ... crab, of course. Juneau - a short bus ride to the Salmon Bake. Good food in a relaxed atmosphere complete with a guitar soloist, a babbling brook, and a beautiful waterfall. Sawyer Glacier - (not really an excursion) since we viewed it from our cabin. The Captain did a great job maneuvering as close to Sawyer Glacier as possible and allowing both sides of the ship great viewing. Skagway - The Eagle Preserve Float Trip, this was GREAT ... no rapids, no long walks and no climbing, just a couple of bus rides, a water taxi to Haines, and scenic float down the Chilkat River. Our guides' names were "CP" & Becky and I highly recommend them ... CP met us at Skagway and provided info and enjoyment until saying goodbye as we headed back to Skagway from Haines. Prince Rupert - we just walked through the town. The Spirit started docking here in May. The ship has brought new prosperity to a town that has suffered a decline in their industries (lumber and fishing). The townspeople bring the kids to the city park that overlooks the dock where they can see the Spirit up close. This is a refreshing change from the other ports. There are few souvenir shops and jewelry stores. The first thing we saw as we went ashore was a real fully uniformed "Canadian Mountie". My wife and a few friends found a Canadian Legion club and enjoyed some drinks with the locals.
Disembarking Seattle 6/12/2004 - We were off the ship by 10am and at the airport with time to spare. Immigration and Custom checks went smooth with no delays. The porters at the cruise terminal did a good job getting our luggage to the airport shuttles. There was a problem at the airport because a conveyor that moved the luggage from inside the terminal to the planes was not functioning. As a result our baggage arrived at our home about 22 hours after our arrival ... it was all there!
Highlights - The Scenery - gets better and better as you head north. The Jane Powell Show. The Steak & Lobster Meal is delicious in the Main Dining rooms. The Sawyer Glacier & the Eagle Preserve Float Trip in Skagway (remember to ask for CP).
Special Thanks to Elena - our waitress in the casino, Rex - our waiter in the Galaxy of the Stars, Brent - the casino supervisor who brought me luck, and CP & Becky- our guides on the float trip.