My husband and I, and two friends booked cabins with an obstructed ocean view guarantee. I did not get a bump up in category and was assigned cabin 8529. We had a big window that was partially obstructed but we still had a great view. My friends got a two category bump up and were assigned a cabin with a port hole on deck 4 in the front of the ship. I was glad I did not get a bump up to that cabin. My room was relatively quiet. It was close to the Crystal Atrium so we heard the solo act Tino until 10:00 pm.
Saturday 9/3/2001. Travel to Seattle. My husband, two friends and I arrived in Seattle at SeaTac at 4:00pm. We had a good flight on Frontier Airlines. We took the Central Link light rail from the airport to the Westlake station. That cost $2.75 per person. We stayed at the Westin hotel about 1 block from the Westlake station. After checking in, we walked 6 blocks to Pike’s Market. Most vendors were closed for the day but there were many open restaurants. We had a nice dinner at Sound View Cafe.
Sunday 9/4/2011. Embarkation. We walked to Pike’s Market and found a nice restaurant to eat breakfast. We walked through the market and enjoyed seeing all the flowers, seafood and other items. It is a really neat market and less than a half mile from Pier 66 where the Norwegian Pearl docks. We walked back to the hotel and got our luggage then walked about 12 blocks to Pier 66. During embarkation, there was only one scanner x-ray machine to check the luggage going on the Pearl so the line was quite long, most of the staff at pier 66 was rude and cruisers got in a bad mood. Not a good way to start a cruise. Once past that, the line went smooth. We ate a nice lunch in the Garden Cafe (on deck 12) on the Pearl. My husband enjoyed climbing the rock wall and a swim in the main pool after lunch. Our luggage arrived at our cabin around 3:00 pm. The Pearl left pier 66 at 4:00pm and we watch from the outside deck of the Garden Cafe. The weather and scenery was beautiful. The seas were 3-4 feet. We went to the Indigo restaurant at 5:00 pm and were seated by the window. During dinner, we saw two whales. It was my husband’s 53th birthday and the waiters sang to him. The evening show gave of us a sampling of the shows we would see during the cruise. The ship’s singers and dancers, the comedy/joggling of Barry John and ‘Oh What a Night’ group performed.
Monday 9/5/2011. Day at Sea. We spend our first day at sea. The Garden Cafe restaurant was extremely crowded at breakfast. After walking back and forth through the seating area a couple times, we finally found an open table. There was quite a bit of rushing and pushing by cruisers to get a table. We attended gaming lessons in the casino after breakfast. The dealers were very nice and eager to show cruisers how to play games. The views from the ship were gorgeous even though it was cloudy most of the day. The seas were 8-12 feet. We attended the Latitudes party for past NCL cruisers. The unlimited food and drinks were very limited and the entertainment was boring. NCL should take some notes from Carnival for this party. Do not be cheap and make it fun. In the daily program, a ‘Juneau and Skagway Talk’ was listed. Skip that unless you want to hear about where NCL wants you to shop at port. Boring. I was hoping to hear about the tours, culture and/or history. We asked about ship tours and they cost $55 these days. Gees. The Pearl is the first ship I have sailed on with a bowling alley so we had to play a game. Are scores were extremely low but we had a great time. The cost was $5 per game per person and that includes shoes. After bowling, we saw the ‘Newlywed and not so newlywed game’ in the Stardust Theater and it was funny. During dinner in the Indigo Restaurant, the ship’s motors halted and we turned sharply to the left. It was a little frightening, then a small boat pulled along the side of us. I could not see what happened after that. ‘Oh What a Night’ group (a Tribute to Frankie Valli) performed that night and they were funny and sounded great. We danced into the night in the Bliss Night club. The live band played and sang songs from the 60’s and 70’s. They were really good.
Tuesday 9/6/2011. Juneau 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Again, the Garden Cafe restaurant was extremely crowded at breakfast. After walking back and forth through the seating area a couple times, we finally found an open table. We did a little shopping in the stores on the Pearl. After lunch, we exited the ship and took the ship’s free bus to the downtown area of Juneau. The downtown area is a short walk. There were many vendors’ offering tours. We signed up for a whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour. The tour cost was $115 each. NCL charges $165 for the same tour. We went shopping for about 30 minutes before our tour. This port has the best prices. The tour started at 3:30 and lasted until 7:00. We saw several humpback whales and eagles. Mendenhall Glacier was beautiful. We arrived back at the ship at 7:30 and ate dinner in the Summers Palace restaurant. We missed the evening show but enjoyed dancing night in the Bliss Night club. On our past cruises to Juneau, we took a float plane tour that was great and a self-guided walk on the town. Juneau is beautiful.
Wednesday 9/7/2011. Skagway 7:00 am – 8:00 pm. After breakfast, we went shopping. Some seals were swimming along the Pearl. One seal had a large salmon in his mouth. The seal looked so funny and cute. The salmon was about one third the seal’s size. At lunch, there was a mad rush in Garden Cafe. The cafe opened for lunch at 11:30 and lots of people were in hurry because they signed up for the 12:30 White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad train ride. NCL should have opened early for lunch on that day. We booked the train ride directly with the railroad before our cruise and paid $112 instead of NCL’s price of $119. This was our 2nd time on the train and it was beautiful. The top of the pass is covered with snow in May/June but not in September. At 4:00 pm, my husband and I hiked the trail to Yakutania Point. The trail is about 1.5 miles round trip. We saw seals swimming around the point. We missed the evening show, had dinner in the Indigo Restaurant and enjoyed dancing in the Crystal Atrium to the solo act Tino.
Thursday 9/8/2011. Glacier Bay 8:30 am -1:00 pm. We picked up some park rangers at 6:00 am. Around 9:00 am the rangers started talking over the intercom. The bay’s water was extremely smooth. There were some very small icebergs. In May/June, there are more and large icebergs, and they were covered with hundreds of seals. We passed many glaciers in the bay. The ship parked by one large glacier during lunch. We saw large chunk of glacier fall and splash in the water. That was cool. As we were leaving Glacier Bay, we saw many seals on Sea Lion Island. The weather was perfect for our bay experience. By 2:00 pm, fog rolled in and it started the drizzle. After dinner in the Indigo restaurant, we watched the comedy and joggling of Barry John. He was entertaining and funny. Next, we enjoyed dancing in the Crystal Atrium to the solo act Tino.
Friday 9/9/2011. Ketchikan, AK 6:00 am – 1:30 am. This was our third trip to Ketchikan. We left the ship at 7:30. If you have not been to Ketchikan, I suggest a trip to Totem Bright Park (10 miles to the North) or Saxman Native Village (3 miles to the South). Both have lots of totem poles. Ketchikan is home to the world's largest collection of totem poles. This time we did the 2 mile self-walking tour. We took lots of short breaks to enjoy the scenery and town totem poles. We did a little shopping then returned to the ship at 11:30. The weather was sunny with a little breeze and the temperature got up the 65 degrees. We ate lunch on the outside deck of the Garden Cafe on the ship. We enjoyed watching float planes, boats and the shoreline as the Pearl left port. We went to the Indigo restaurant at 5:00 and were seated by the window. I am so glad we sat by the window because we saw hundreds of Dolphins swimming by the Pearl. The seas were only 18 inches which made for a very smooth ride. We watched the ship’s singers and dancers that night.
Saturday 9/10/2011. Victoria, BC 6:00 pm – 11:59 pm. We had a nice restful day at sea. When we arrived at port, we caught a taxi and went downtown. The downtown area is about 2 miles from the port. The taxi fare cost $10 plus a tip. We roamed around the Parliament building and Empress Hotel. The Empress Hotel does not have a ‘High Tea’ in the evenings so we missed that. Many vendors were setup and saleing goods at the water’s edge near the Empress Hotel. We shopped a bit and enjoyed watching float planes, Washington ferries, sailboats and river taxis in the Inner Harbour. We took a horse drawn carriage ride around the downtown area before returning to the ship. We stayed in Victoria a few days on another trip. There are many fun things to do in Victoria. Butchart Gardens and Craigdarrough Castle are just two of the very nice activities.
Sunday 9/11/2011. Debarkation. After breakfast, leaving the ship was easy. We signed up for the BAGS program that takes your bags from the ship to the airport. Not all airlines participant. The charge was $20 per bag for the service. Our flight did not leave Seattle until 4:00 pm so we were able to do some more sightseeing before our flight. We had a good flight home on Continental Airlines.