We sailed our first cruise ever to Alaska. The weather was beautiful, we had all sunny days for our total vacation. The embarkment & disembarkment went smoothly for us. I understand the computers had gone down for some during the embarkment. Our ship left 10 minutes late due to the computer issues. We carried out our own luggage during the disembarkment and met our ride at 8 am.
We managed to squeeze in an inside cabin, which included my husband & myself, 2 boys ages 18 & 16. We set up our room by moving our 2 twin beds down and placing our trundle bed & table at the head of the twin beds. So we had a path between the twin beds. The cabin stewart took out our chair. We had great cabin stewarts who were friendly and met all of our needs. Roger and Grace always were smiling and addressed us by our first names. Make sure you turn your dial at the door to turn down your beds at night so you get your towel animals.
The food was good. They had stated that they had gotten a new head chef from the Netherlands that had started this particular week. We mostly dined at the Market Cafe for breakfast and lunch. The buffet included all different ethnics foods including sushi at lunch time. We enjoyed eating at the Aqua for supper. They had the better and faster service there compared to the Versailles. We ate one night at the specialized restaurant Asian Fusion. It was good, but I don't think it was worth the extra $60. The Market Cafe had good selection of Asian dishes. The Special Chocolate night was Wednesday evening. The chefs came out to watch our reactions. There was various ice sculptures, chocolate fountain, and all kinds of chocolate desserts sitting at all the Market Cafe food lines. There were mobs of people at this event.
Since we had an inside cabin, we were concerned about finding a place to sit along the window. There were always plenty of seats around the ship.
We took excursions at each port. We took a sightseeing excursion at Ketchikan and saw a black bear cub and numerous salmon and eagles. We took a whale watching excusion in Juneau and saw numerous gray whales. We had wanted to go to Mendenhall Glacier, but they had closed the road down. So we went up the tram and saw a beautiful view of Juneau. Our ship travelled to Tracy Arm and we saw Sawyer Glacier. Captain Lars stated this was the furthest he has gotten back to Tracy Arm in 5 years. We rented a car in Skagway and drove up to Emerald Lake. The trip was breathtaking. They are always better excursion deals outside the ship; except Prince Rupert. The NCL cruise will not allow you to book anything outside of them at this port. This was probably our most disappointing port. We went walking around for about an hour and returned back to our ship. We ate supper and then took a Crab Discovery Excursion. It was informational and good for small children, but definitely not worth the $130 per person. You also received a crab dish and complementary drink. Make sure you get back to your ship by the designated time or your ship will leave you. Many people were left behind.
The shows were good, some better than others. My favorites were: the crew talent show (especially the fountain), Frankie Valli tribute band, band on the run 70's tribute show, and juggler.
My boys enjoyed themselves too. They stayed up later and went to Spinnakers at night to the shows, and hung out at the exercise room and hottubs.
Be sure and check your bill before disembarkment, there were some double charges on our bill that had to be removed. FYI: lemonade is no longer offered free on the ship. I used the internet to print out our boarding passes for our return flight, it adds minutes without you knowing it. It cost me $22 to use it for 30 minutes.
Things I didn't like on the ship: the smoke smell in the Stardust Theater. I finally realized it was coming from the casinos. High priced photos taken on the ship. They never did come down in price.
It was a good first time cruise for our family. We enjoyed being waited on, and the delicious food.