This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, ... Read More
This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, which I booked through hotwire for 135 per night. The hotel was located in the Bellevue city district. I feel the hotel would be better suited for business meetings. We were all hungry when we arrived and decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. The waitstaff was kind, but the food was overpriced and not great. When we awoke in the morning we anticipated a continental breakfast, they did not offer one. Bellevue was a very clean and beautiful city, but expensive. The hotel did not offer a shuttle to the airport or the dock. We took an uber ride to the dock, our driver was very nice and told us a lot about the city and living in Washington.
We arrived at the pier around 0800. We were able to check our bags at that time, but we could not check-in until 1000. I liked that we didn't have to drag our suitcases around until check-in. We dined at a small coffee shop on the corner of the street across from the ship that offered Korean inspired breakfast dishes. It was good and the only restaurant I saw open close enough to walk with a 5 and 8 year old. We walked around the pier and looked at the ship from the outside. We were able to get some great pictures in front of the artwork of the Bliss. When we were getting ready to embark an elderly woman tripped and fell face down on the cement while on her way to check her bag. Norwegian staff was quick to help her and a medic came to address her needs. Embarkation went smoothly. We are all balcony rooms and still got in at around 1030. We explored the decks. 6,7,8 are the main ones for activities. On all the walls are screens for ordering or directions, and in the bottom right hand corner of the screen also has the time, which is important because clocks are scarce. This was also helpful, as the time zones changed twice while we aboard the ship. We ordered a game of laser tag. Later in our room we ordered race track for my husband and grandson. They had a double go kart ride for kids and adults from 5-6. I ordered the specialty dining, spa and shows before the cruise. The Garden cafe had a good mix of food choices. Indian, Asian, American, seafood, etc... unique desserts were included with each dining time in the Garden Cafe. We got to our cabin around 1330. Our luggage didn't arrive until around 1800. The cabin had the bathroom to the right, couch, and then bed by the sliding glass door. The bathroom had one sink and a glass shower stall. We had plenty of room to move. My husband is 6'2" and I'm 5'3". I put my clothes in the drawer under the couch and hung dresses in the closet. There is room underneath the bed to slide the suitcases. My husband lived out of his suitcase and closet. The other drawer had pillows and blanket for the couch. Our room was clean and comfortable. Our room steward was excellent. We ate dinner at Teppanyaki. Good show and large portions of Japanese food. They take a photo while you are eating and have it ready at the end of service. We checked out the observation lounge. Nice, large viewing windows, lounge chairs and seating throughout the area. A small buffet is offered. Soup sandwiches, some desserts and drinks. The ship is crowded, but there are places to be alone.
The second day at sea we used the spa. My husband would workout and use the spa. I loved the relaxation pool with the jets. I liked the heated tile loungers too.I did some of the organized classes when I could. I would get sweets at the bake shop from time to time. The grand kids went to the kids club and loved it. The morning time for kids club is free play time, but each evening there was a different theme. They had a pajama party, superheros, pirates, and jungle circus practice for the big performance. They also had a white themed dance party for the kids, they could wear all white or florescent and glow under the black lights. The circus performance for the kids took place in the main theater and was the highlight of their time. My grandchildren were a tiger (five years) and a plate spinner (eight years). We had a cruise critic meet and mingle in the District brew house at noon. NCL provided champagne, mimosas, snacks of spring rolls, chicken, puff pastries with assorted toppings. The cruise director Silas Cook and other officers met us. They provided entertainment and a good time. After the meeting we did a slot pull at 1400. It was fun! 14 of us put money in one slot machine and took turns playing it. Kristie was the most lucky and we were able to break even. We had dinner at the Manhattan room, there isn't dancing in this one. Good food and great service. I saw Havana, it was interesting. The actors and dancers were good and professional, but the script seemed off and pieced together oddly. It was difficult to follow.
On the 3rd day we arrived in Ketchican. We went off the ship two hours before our excursion and had a chance to explore the city. The town shops were quaint and had the best prices of all the excursion stops. We did the canoe ride and rain forest in Ketchikan. The views were spectacular. We got a history of the area and were able to enjoy a relaxed canoe ride. We stopped at a small cooking hut and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of home made jam with bread, salmon spread on bread, and a delicious clam chowder. They even gave us coffee and hot chocolate, all cooked over an open fire. Our guide took us on a nature walk through the Ketchikan rain forest where we learned about the native plants and their medicinal properties. On the way back we all had a blast racing the other canoe, and experienced some of Ketchikan's famous rainy weather as we docked. The grand kids had a ball paddling.We did laser tag that evening when we returned. It was a workout and fun. You could recharge if someone killed you to play some more. We ate at Le Bistro. Good food, but small portions, good service. We snacked at the garden cafe too.
On the 4th day, we did whale watching through Juneau Whale Watch. It was my husbands favorite excursion. Our naturalist and ship captain were Alaska natives and offered us interesting facts about the area and were very knowledgeable about the whales and the glaciers. We saw four whales, sea lions, pilot dolphins, and bald eagles. Just the views were worth the trip. It was truly breathtaking and the boat ride was exhilarating. We cruised the glacier that night and ate at the Manhattan.
On our 5th day, Skagway, Alaska, we did Mushers camp. It was a 1/2 hour ride in a bus and then 1/2 in a jeep to get to the dog carts. The ride was short. One loop around the camp. Then we had a talk on the races that happened. A short time to play with the dogs and pups. The guides were great and informative. The mushers were all professional racers and had participated in either the Jr. Iditarod or the actual race and the dogs were also professional racers. We wished we could have had more time to interact with the dogs and puppies. Then back on the jeep to the bus. That night we ate at Cagney's. My son got the Porterhouse and ate it all. It is a huge steak! Nice dinner and service.
6th day, more spa, arcade room, casino, and eating. We ate at the Local sometimes for lunch and had the chicken wings, and sandwiches. At noon, there was a past guess party at the District brew house. They gave us different beers and finger foods. It was a nice selection and the staff came and spoke to us from the different departments of the ship. I saw the "Beatles", fun show and good singing. Dinner was at the Manhattan. Food at the Manhattan room was always good and there was a good selection. We saw the Jersey boys. Excellent show! Good story line and singing. 7th day, Victoria we didn't book anything and walked to the pier, nice playground and food shops around pier. Good music and acts throughout the ship. I saw Camille Rae sing, she was good. Jim Badger was good. Tatiana was good. Duo Rika was good. The guy sang Elvis great, but had an accent when speaking. My family said they liked the comedy show. They had movies in the Atrium and game shows there. We would get yummy snacks in our room from the hotel director Mark Maeling and Jovo Sekulovic. We would get invites to various things happening aboard the ship. Something for everyone.
We had a Seattle excursion on disembarkation day. They had us check our luggage the night before and we went to the theater the day of at 0800. We went through customs and the luggage was separate waiting for us on the other side of the custom building. The bus for the tour was the next stop. Disembarkation went smoothly. The Seattle tour took us to the Space Needle. We all had to pee waiting in line to go up and there are no bathrooms until you get to the top, so go before you go up! We were a bit disappointed that the space needle seemed to be under construction, but the views were still spectacular. Next stop was Pike Place market. This was a fun touristy stop, but it was so crowded and crazy that it was hard to take it all in. We did get some really fun souvenirs to take back with us. The tour guide was funny and informative. We were dropped off at the airport from the Seattle Tour. We were in staterooms 11210, 11214, 11222. Somethings that could be improved are the times in port and NCL's texting app. I would like to go again. Best cruise ever! Read Less