May 26th 2012 Jewel to Alaska was fabulous: Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by deschoolie

Norwegian Jewel 5
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May 26th 2012 Jewel to Alaska was fabulous

Sail Date: May 2012
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
DW and I were extremely pleased with both the Jewel and the cruise. We flew in two days early and stayed at the Hilton Airport. The hotel is next to the light rail station and offers cheap and efficient transportation down town. We took a town car from the hotel ($40) to the port fore embarkation. We would definitely take this cruise again. There was nothing negative other than minor stuff that simply isn't worth mentioning. No issues with our balcony cabin(9050). Embarkation was truly a breeze,food choices were overwhelming and the food quality was IMHO outstanding. We were on board at 1200 (non) and luggage was starting to show up at the cabins before 1400. Buffet was open (and quite good) upon embarkation. We headed straight for the SPA and purchased two week long SPA access passes. The cost was $146 (higher than DW remembers from her Alaska cruise in Sept 09) but well worth it. The SPA area offers fantastic views, especially on Glacier Bay Day. The heated loungers were More extremely comfortable. There is are separate male and female sections. Both are equipped with hot tubs, steam, sauna and cold plunges. The center section is co-ed with heated loungers, chairs and a hot tub.
We ate breakfast daily in the Garden Cafe (awesome buffet with a huge variety of food choices and excellent made to order omelets) and consistently ate dinner in Tsars (main dining room at the back of the ship). Never tried the Azure MDR as we were totally happy with Tsar's. There was always at least two entrees every night that I had difficulty in choosing from.
Entertainment was top notch and I believe their was something for everyone. We enjoy Fire and Ice who did a Michael Jackson tribute, Tina Turner review and a soul train review. The variety shows were very good. JP, the magician/comedian was hilarious. There were several shows/entertainers that we did not see. The main purpose of this trip for me was to take in the scenery and wildlife and relaxation. As such, we did less on board this time than in the past. In perusing the dailies, there was always something going on somewhere on the ship.
I found the pool area to be quite nice. Besides for the heated hot tubs and two pools (both heated, one of which is for adults only) there was a separate children's area in the vicinity. Did not try out the casino but did play Bingo once up in the Spinnaker Lounge.
The latitudes member cocktail party and separate Silver and above cocktail party (occurred on sea days) were very well run and the beverages were flowing freely. Ship officers were in attendance and mingled with the passengers. Overall, crew was friendly and helpful.
I found the Chocolate Buffet on Thursday night to be delicious and much better quality than my past NCL cruises. Sanitation was spotless and the ship was well maintained. Be prepared for the "washy-washy" girls anytime you go to a restaurant! Finally, disembarkation was flawless. As we were staying in Seattle an additional day, we walked off with our luggage around 10 am. Cab to the Hilton airport was $37. We finished the day by going back down town on the light rail train ($5.50 round trip) for more exploring at Pikes Market). Less

Published 06/07/12
2 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: BC9050 Balcony

cabin 9050 is a balcony located on the starboard side and forward. Cabin is quiet and offered easy access to the forward stairs and elevator. We didn't hear any noise above, below or outside the stateroom. Being on the starboard side offered great views of the ship arriving in Ketchikan and Juneau. No issues with the room.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Mendenhall Glacier

We enjoyed the Glacier and hiked down to the waterfall. This is at least a 45 minute hike, depending on how long you spend taking pictures and sightseeing. Visitor center is informative. After the Glacier, we did the MT Roberts tram. The views are spectacular. Besides for the tram/visitor center on the top, there is a restaurant, nature center and 3.1 miles of trails. There was still considerable snow on top so we only ventured maybe 200 yards past the nature center to see the scenery from the wooden overlook platforms.

Mount Roberts Tramway

Very satisfied with the tours at both the Glacier and the tram.

We did a self guided excursion. We did the walking tour of Ketchikan (maps are available in the port once you get off the ship) then caught the city bus ($2 round trip) out to Totem Bight State park. The park is free and worth the 30 minute bus ride. For those who forgot to pack something or didn't link up with their luggage, Wal Mart is one of the bus stops. We caught the bus in front of the museum/library. Directly behind the library is a walkway that parallels the stream and offers excellent scenery to see and numerous photo ops. Despite the light rain all day, this was a good day in port.
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City Tour

Great tour for the money. Small bus makes several photo stops as you go up the pass and follow the Rail line. Several stops in BC and the Yukon as well. Made stops at No Shy Lake and had several wildlife viewings. Saw Mountain goats, black bears and Bald Eagles. Be sure to bring binoculars and camera! Driver narration was exccellent. Driver drops you off at the ship or in town, based on your desires. After the tour, DW and I did some hiking next to the pier. There are excellent trails next to the pier across the walking bridge.

This was one port I didn't really check out in advance. I noticed on the homepage for the local Gardens attraction that the extended hours for closing didn't start until June 14th. Due to arriving at the port at 2 PM, decided against the garden tour as it was due to close at 5 PM and didn't want to be rushed. For those not doing excursions, there are shuttle buses to downtown for a cost of $8 round trip. If you are feeling energetic, you can walk to the downtown area in about 30 minutes. The buses drop you off on Government St and run every 20 minutes. We spent our time in Victoria walking through China Town and window shopping. We enjoyed Victoria. There is also a few museums if you choose not to book an excursion. The port itself is fine with easy access to/from the ship. No need to exchange US $ as they as they are excepted. Change though will be returned in Canadian $.
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