Our vacation started off with a night's stay at the Marriott Waterfront which is just across the street from the Pier where the Pearl comes in. It was exciting to look out our hotel room early Sunday morning and see the ship in port. The hotel is lovely and since it is right across the street the hotel offers to take your bags over for you and drop them at the loading dock.We of course tipped the guy who was so sweet. This was a wonderful and reasonably priced way to start the cruise and they even offer parking for the whole length of your cruise at the same rate as the Bell Station Cruise lot.
No real headaches getting on the ship and we were in the first round of entries and were up in the buffet line within 45 minutes. Since it was so nice outside we ate out on the deck and had great soup and salads.
Went up to the Spinnaker Lounge to wait for our rooms and chatted with others. Room was ready at 2 PM and ours was fine. Met Marlon our steward and seemed to be off to a great start.
Sail away was fine and we had a nice meal at Indigo......lobster/steak. We watched Orcas from Spinnakers frolic as the ship made it's way out through the Straight of Juan De Fuca.
Next day back up to the Spinnaker and read/slept on the giant loungers as we watched dolphins and fog close in. Last we saw of the sun for the rest of the trip.
Never had much issue with elevators and only felt crammed in twice...both on excursion days.
Two times our floor (4) was used for getting off the ship so this was very handy for us. Only at Skagway right before our train trip at noon was there a line.
If you shop in Juneau just know most other ports have the exact same thing. Although in Ketchikan we did find the Alaska Geographic shop which has really cool things from books/maps/hat pins to ranger type staff. It is down to the far end of the street running parallel to the ships and then a left turn and one block up.
In Juneau we did whale watching on our own with Harv & Marvs-great. In Skagway and Ketchikan we booked thru the ship. I looked at doing the train on our own and it was only $7 cheaper so why risk getting left behind. Same with the Misty Fjords cruise.
Ship was just okay.......nothing to rave about whether design or food. Ate Breakfast and Lunch at buffet and always found something good to eat. The salad offerings was always fresh and plentiful; soups hearty and hot; meats eatable; they had many vegetarian offerings.
Summer Place and Indigo did not offer any better food in fact I would say just the opposite. Only one time did I say the food was good and that was fish and chips. Staff seemed hurried but our water was always quickly refilled and coffee served hot and replenished.
Too cold for swimming but the hot tubs were always filled. Never saw the children's pool with water. Deck 13 had plenty of seating and Glacier Bay viewing was crowded but did have room for taking pictures.
Overall I was satisfied with the cruise but doubt I will use NCL again. Too many corners cut especially with MDRs and little amenities in the room. I was told we could not get a coffee maker in the room because we didn't pay enough to NCL for our cruise even though the NCL rep who booked our cruise told us about the in room coffee makers and I had brought creamer to use for my morning coffee. Not a big thing for sure but made me feel cheap.
Also we came home without our video camera and don't know exactly when on the cruise it went missing. The safe is so small I could not fit my flip video (so it was small) in the safe with all of our other stuff so I had buried it inside my luggage under the bed.
I would prefer the Princess line for my next Alaskan cruise which I will do summer after next.