First let me say I was really worried reading the reviews on this website prior to my cruise with NCL, frankly pretty harsh for most cruises. It seems folks are pretty serious about complaining and I was preparing for a difficult time. However, I must complement NCL for making our cruise a stress-free and enjoyable family jaunt.
Since there were three of us, Mom, sister and I, we chose the Pearl Suite in the AB category. It provided two separate sleeping areas and two separate bathrooms. There was plenty of storage, a refrigerator we could use for Mom's insulin and even a sharps container was supplied to us for the used syringes. The master bathroom was magnificent with a ceiling to floor window over the tub and in the shower, two sinks and separate vanity table. This was critical with 3 women!
My mother, who is a full time user of 02 and travels with a Sequel Eclipse POC, had no problem getting around the ship and our embarkation was very smooth. We were provided a steward who pushed my mother around in wheelchair until we were safely checked in and in our room, as process that took about 45 mins. A wheelchair and steward was also provided at the end of our cruise.
Every morning our breakfast was delivered by our wonderful Butler John and our room steward Johnny provided help when we needed it, and a smile every day. In fact, every one of the crew members greeted us, and smiled as we made our way down the corridors of the ship. These folks work very hard, 7 days a week, and yet they were professional and helpful. When we were waiting for a table at one of the restaurants (we only ate at the non-cover charge venues), the host noticed my mom struggling a bit to stand and he found a table for us immediately. It was this kind of care that we really appreciated and was available to us.
We were invited to a cocktail hour with Capt Lars (for all suites) and he actually came to our table and spent some time with us, signing our card. Truly a thrill for Mom!
My thrill came one morning alone in the spa when a bald eagle soared past the windows. We purchased a spa pass for 2 (150 dollars) at the beginning of the cruise and had access to the hot tubs, steam rooms and the lap pool. Truly worth the extra money. I would not recommend a massage as it was quite expensive and then is followed by the therapist recommending some product to purchase. Not a relaxing ending, but I'm sure encouraged by the NCL marketing dept.
The food in the sit-down restaurants was adequate and for the most part fine for the average American pallette. The environs in the Market Cafe was a bit too much to tolerate, not really NCL's fault with the exception of the food temperature being too cold. The place was like a 'feeding trough' and other cruisers were at times rude, pushing into line. We ended up on one night, asking Mom what she would like to eat and just bringing it back to her. Very helpful staff who covered our food to keep it warm on our way back to the room.
All in all, the trip was a wonderful success, the one shore excursion to Mendenhall Glacier with a trip to the hatchery (very informative) and Salmon bake truly enjoyable (don't miss the waterfall behind the picnic tables at the Salmon bake). The other stops we just walked around on our own and had a great time (don't miss the rock shop in Skagway).
The true highlight of this cruise was the trip through the Tracy Arm Fjord. My mother could cuddle up on the sofa with a comforter and watch the most amazing natural scenery. Sis and I out on the balcony videotaping this magnificent place. I recommend the Norwegian Star to Alaska for a family vacation no matter what the abilities of the vacationers!