Long sunny days, fantastic scenery, and a lovely ship. "Captain Lars" showed us forested islands, endless snowcapped mountains and whale feeding grounds. He docked at charming Inside Passage ports and took us up narrow Endicott Arm to the massive Dawes Glacier. He treated us to an exceptional cruise, but said not to expect such fine weather next time!
The Norweigan Star:
Seattle's Pier 66 is in the middle of the downtown waterfront so my sister, brother-in-law and I enjoyed a great view from the minute we stepped aboard the Star. We tried to upgrade to a balcony cabin but the ship was sold out. It turned out that our "outside with picture window" was perfect. The glass was clear and being on deck 5 meant that we were close to the water for viewing whatever passed our way.
This ship provided excellent value. "Free Style" dining was a pleasure and will bring me back to NCL. A small negative: some dishes were too salty. However, the lobster served on Thursday night was tender and sweet. The beef at the carving station in the Market Cafe was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Lots of variety.
I bought a week-long spa pass, but with the warm weather and whale-watching topside, it was hard to find time to use it. I learned a lot about Alaska from the wonderful naturalist onboard, and about whales from "budget queen" who was on this cruise - thank you.
Watch the Chinese Acrobats when they perform at the Spinnaker Lounge, and go to the last night performance at the Stardust Theater - if just to applaud the captain, crew and staff when they file on stage.
Ports of Call:
There is a lot of information posted on Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, so I'll report on Prince Rupert. This small Canadian city is surrounded by water and mountains. There are tourist shops at Cow Bay near the dock, but for a chance to meet local artisans and gardeners go up to Third Avenue for Thursday's street market. Butze rapids and the cannery museum are a cab ride away, but the impressive Museum of Northern British Columbia is just up the hill from the ship. That evening, a group of First Nation drummers and dancers performed in the nearby Pacific Mariner's Memorial Park. Thank you, Prince Rupert.
Mt. Rainier sinking into the sea as we sailed northward from Seattle.
Whales in the evening at Snow Pass north of Ketchikan.
The first glimpse of Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau.
Inspiration at Yakutania Point, Skagway.
When my sister, brother-in-law and I each gave this cruise a "10."