This was the second time on the Norwegian Pearl for me and my daughter. My husband and our friends were new to cruising. After reading some of the reviews for the Alaska cruises that preceded ours, I was concerned that the Pearl may have gone down hill since we cruised the Caribbean in February. There was no need to worry!
Boarding in Seattle was incredibly easy. We were on board by 11:30 a.m. and headed right for the delightful Great Outdoors for lunch with full view of the Seattle skyline. My daughter took my husband on a tour of the ship while I relaxed and waited for our friends to board. They were very pleased with the food and the view. Cabins were available right at 2:30 and our balcony cabins were really nice.
We enrolled our 10 year olds in the kid's program, but they felt that the programming wasn't all that great for them so they only went once. The little kids and teenagers seemed to have more going on. The kids did enjoy the sports court, the arcade and especially the bowling alley and the water slide. The ship is well designed for kids!
The entertainment was really good. We enjoyed Sharkbait, the juggling act, Oh What a Night, the Frankie Vallie cover group, and of course Second City (we are from Chicago afterall).
We ate at the Teppanyaki Grill the first night - well worth the extra charge. The chef is really fun to watch and the kids had a great time.
Monday was a sea day and we really enjoyed the lovely views and plenty of fresh and good food in the Garden Cafe. We also ate at Le Bistro - very nice and great food and La Cucina - my daughter's favorite Italian restaurant. The food in the "free restaurants" Indigo and Summer Palace was also very good and the services was excellent. I can not imagine how anyone could not find something they liked to eat - my husband if vegetarian and he was happy!
The shore visits really blew us away. In Juneau, we booked a hike to the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching - the latter had to be the highlight of the whole trip. In fact, we sighted whales many times from the Pearl itself. Be sure to bring binoculars! We took the White Pass Railway in Skagway and we were lucky to be there on a day when it didn't rain - the views were spectacular.
Nothing can compare to the day we spent on Glacier Bay - we picked up a US Parks Ranger who took us on a very informative guide of the park. It was like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Most the glaciers are disappearing, so I was happy that my daughter had a chance to see them as well.
Ketchikan is quaint and interesting - we were also lucky to not have rain there. Enjoyed seeing all the totem poles. We had a nice dinner in Victoria to round out our absolutely perfect trip.
This is my third trip on Norwegian, and I cannot imagine why I would want to look elsewhere.