First of all, if you get sea sick I highly recommend the inner passage cruise. The Inner passage is just that, a cruise along the coast of Canada and Alaska between a row of islands and the mainland. There are almost no waves. During our cruise there was just one day on the open ocean. We did experience a some sea sickness that day but we took Dramamine and we were back on our feet in no time.
The inner passage is beautiful. From the point we entered it you see land on both sides of the ship with small fishing villages along the way. The land is primitive, rugged, green and covered with trees. The cloud ceiling is lower that the peaks of the hills giving the whole area a mystic feel. Definitely spring for a balcony room on this one. It was AWESOME sitting on our own balcony watching the scenery float by.
NCL is a good cruise line and all the staff were very helpful and pleasant. The Norwegian Star is a freestyle cruise ship so you can eat when it best suits your plans. They also have a restaurant in the stern of the ship called the Versailles that is beautiful and has great views out the side and back of the ship. We found this restaurant to be our favorite and ate most meals there. It was also not a buffet which pleased my wife.
The Humpback Whales were amazing. We saw a few individual whales along the way and at the very end of the tour we found a group of Humpback Whales that were Bubble Net Feeding! I couldn't snap pictures fast enough it was incredible watching a group of whales all working together to feed on Crill. Absolutely unbelievable. Our tour guide explained that Bubble Net fishing is a learned trait and only found in Humpbacks in Alaska. There is a lead whale (always a female) that descends blowing bubbles and singing. The other whales follow blowing bubbles. They move in a ring around the crill. The crill become confused by the bubbles and don't cross the bubble line. the Crill follow each other in a circle and once they are in a circle the feeding begins. The whales come up gobbling mouthfuls of fish at a time. It was a tremendous experience.
One thing to note here. Do not choose the earliest excursion for Whale watching as they spend a significant amount of time finding groups of whales. The group that left after us went directly to the Humpbacks bubble net fishing and most likely had more time watching whales instead of trying to find them.
Beware the jewelers. Every port on this trip had the same jewelry stores and the ship even had a "Shopping Consultant" that would help you get the best price with his "VIP cards" for your purchase. I am sure there are plenty of people that enjoyed spending thousands of dollars on their jewelry but this came across as a thinly veiled attempt to part by wife from her money. Anyway, I recommend looking into the prices of of stones of what you want, before you go, so you know if you are getting a deal or not.
Skagway is home to the White Pass Rail Road, a Rail Road built in the 1890's that ascends close to 3000 feet over 20 miles into the Yukon territory in Canada. You do not need a passport here as you don't get off the train in Canada. The scenery going up the mountain in breathtaking. I rode almost the whole way outside between the rail cars so I could see the scenery and get some incredible pictures. It is a most enjoyable trip and I highly recommend it to everyone.
The town is small and full of Jewelry stores (Beware again), and other shops of all kinds of trinkets for tourists to buy. It definitely worth the train ride and the town was fun to walk around in. If you are a railroad buff this is the place for you.