This was the 13th cruise for my husband and I. We have cruised on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America. I cruises include the western Caribbean, southern Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska. This was our third Alaska cruise. My two other Alaska cruises were in May/June. I love the longer daylight days of early summer. On the Alaska Pearl cruise we covered 1583 miles in 7 days.
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.
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.
The Pearl's singers and dancers were almost average as far as cruise ships goes. I missed a live band with the show that I have seen on some other cruise ships like Carnival. 'Oh What a Night' group was really good. Do not miss their shows. Juggler/Comedian Barry John was good as well. The Stardust Theater has all stadium seating. We really liked that.
The dress code for the evening main dining rooms was the most informal I have ever seen. Norwegian has been the least formal for years but blue jeans every night was the norm on the Pearl. I have to admit I dressed down on the two evenings that we were at port late but I dressed up on the two more formal nights.
The Indigo and Summers Palace restaurants were about average. I did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. There were several specialty restaurants that you could eat at for an addition fee of $10-$25 per person. Breakfast at the Garden Cafe restaurant was almost always crowded. It was difficult to find an open table. There were several buffet stations so getting food was relatively quick. The food for breakfast and lunch was nearly the same every day but there was a big variety.