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As my first cruise experience, this was amazing. To cruise in a location with stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and great people was a lifetime highlight. The cruise was a round trip from Seattle, stopping at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria (British Columbia) and as I booked from the UK was based on an All Inclusive booking (bottled water, drinks, and gratuities were included) and I was a single traveller travelling in an Inside Sailaway stateroom (8633) Pro's: Location - Alaska is amazing and cruising it is unique, there's not many places you can cruise up next to a Glacier or through Fjords whilst sipping a cocktail Shore excursions - getting to see wildlife and scenery up close Cruise - The Jewel provides a relaxed and easy going environment and the cruise staff make the holiday that little bit better. Con's: Cost of the cruise - Cruising is expensive and as a single traveller it was even more so. As I booked from the UK I also had to take the All-Inclusive option which whilst good for some did not represent value for me. The cruise cost also dropped 2 weeks before I left, with an ocean view room now being at a price lower than I paid Cost of shore excursions - I had expected that the cruise lines buying power and volume of cruisers taking the excursions from the ship would mean shore excursions would be cheaper than going direct to local travel operators and they weren't. Next time I'll look to book direct with shore based tour providers - There was no ship organised aurora borealis call tree - one thing I had hoped to see was the aurora and I had thought that there would have been a ship based call tree (where you could register your interest and if there was an aroura sighted they would initiate calls to all registered parties) and there wasn't. - Speciality restaurant prices felt expensive when you including cover charge and tips - smoking on board the ship especially in the casino Overall I'd give the NCL Alaskan cruise on the Jewel a 4* rating - as a first cruise it was a great place to experience the scenery and the wildlife (Humpbacks, Orcas, Bears, Bald Eagles, Salmon, Seals and all kinds of sea birds). The relaxed atmosphere on the cruise was a bonus as I was concerned about how to dress and from day one I felt the NCL "cruise casual" theme made me feel comfortable - from bars to restaurants, at shows and roaming the ship. First port was Ketchikan and I had booked the Neats Bay Bear watch by floatplane. It does what it says on the tin, we took a float plane to Neats Bay and saw some bears (well one 3 year old bear cub actually). The floatplane experience was great (pilot did an amazing take off and landing - smooth as silk) and the flight gave a unique view of the landscape. At Neats Bay we saw a bear near the pier, and then we walked to the salmon hatchery where there was to be more bears, but there were none to be seen. We did see a couple of bald eagles and some seals, so a little compensation for not seeing any more bears. Overall 8 out of 10 (would have been 9 with more bears and 10 if the cost was lower) Next was a morning visit to Glacier Bay by the Jewel. There were fog and ice issues so we had to go to an alternate Glacier (can't remember the name), however the fog cleared and the Fjords and Glacier were amazing. I spent 3 hours walking the decks taking photos and being awed by the views. Crystal green reflective waters gave stunning views. Overall 9 out of 10 (would have been 10 out of 10 if we did the Tracy Arm Glacier as I was advised it was bigger and better) We docked in Juneau after lunch and I had booked the Wildlife and whale watching tour. We were shuttled to another boat dock for 3 hours of whale watching. The boat was great, 2 decks (one indoors and one outdoors) and we saw loads of Humpback whales, blowing mist and vapour and then diving with a tail flick. They were some distance away however easily seen by the eye or close up with binoculars or camera zoom lens. Overall 8 out of 10 (would have been 9 out of 10 if very close up or 10 out of 10 if we saw whales jumping and breaching) Next port was Skagway and I had booked the White Pass and Yukon Railway trip. I'll start by saying it was a 10 out of 10. We met the train at the dock right next to the ship. The train journey was exceptional - to experience the journey that the gold rush miners took and to see the route they had to traverse showed how hard it must have been just to get to the mining areas. The scenery was stunning, amazing, awe inspiring - I could go on, however you get the picture. A trip not to be missed and deserves its 10 out of 10 rating. After the train I did another excursion - the Liarsville Salmon bake. Overall I was disappointed with this trip. We were bused out of town to a half dozen wooden structures and couple of tents aged to look like a mining village. Whilst there, we were given some salmon, salad, lemonade/coffee and cake - which was good, but not worth the £45 price tag. I would give it a 5 out of 10 and would not recommend it at the price I paid. I'd value it at half the price (which would give it a maximum of 7 out of 10) Last port of call was Victoria British Columbia and I opted for the Whale and wildlife tour. The main objective here was to see Orcas and boy did we. A small walk from the cruise ship to a dock where we boarded a 2 deck boat. We cruised to the other side of the harbour and then were very close (no more than 50 meters at times) to a pod of 6 Orca, we saw them swimming for a good 20 minutes and we also saw them breach. After a good Orca watch we powered out to see a humpback that had been spotted. We saw one whale dive a couple of times and visited a sea lion colony (hundreds of large and active sea lions. Again a great tour and I would give it 10 out of 10. Aside from the shore excursions the cruise was good. Food, food and more food. Drink, drink and more drink. A good selection of on ship evening entertainment - with the 3 shows I saw rated 9 out of 10 - Band on the run (the ships dance troupe doing an amazing 50 minute tribute to 70's music), Jocka and Maria (Aerial flying, acrobatics and dance) and Circ de bijou (a show which combined Jocka and Maria wth the entire dance troupe in a spectacular of dance, song and acrobatics) As a first cruise it was a great and a I consider it one of my lifetime experiences. The wildlife and sights of Alaska, from a floating hotel with westend shows, bars and casino to boot. Overall the cruise rates a 9 out of 10 (would have been a 10 out of 10 if I didn't have to pay extra as a single traveller and if the cost of the tours were better)

Amazing Alaska by cruise ship

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by PGammage

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Family Inside
As my first cruise experience, this was amazing. To cruise in a location with stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and great people was a lifetime highlight.

The cruise was a round trip from Seattle, stopping at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria (British Columbia) and as I booked from the UK was based on an All Inclusive booking (bottled water, drinks, and gratuities were included) and I was a single traveller travelling in an Inside Sailaway stateroom (8633)

Pro's:

Location - Alaska is amazing and cruising it is unique, there's not many places you can cruise up next to a Glacier or through Fjords whilst sipping a cocktail

Shore excursions - getting to see wildlife and scenery up close

Cruise - The Jewel provides a relaxed and easy going environment and the cruise staff make the holiday that little bit better.

Con's:

Cost of the cruise - Cruising is expensive and as a single traveller it was even more so. As I booked from the UK I also had to take the All-Inclusive option which whilst good for some did not represent value for me. The cruise cost also dropped 2 weeks before I left, with an ocean view room now being at a price lower than I paid

Cost of shore excursions - I had expected that the cruise lines buying power and volume of cruisers taking the excursions from the ship would mean shore excursions would be cheaper than going direct to local travel operators and they weren't. Next time I'll look to book direct with shore based tour providers

- There was no ship organised aurora borealis call tree - one thing I had hoped to see was the aurora and I had thought that there would have been a ship based call tree (where you could register your interest and if there was an aroura sighted they would initiate calls to all registered parties) and there wasn't.

- Speciality restaurant prices felt expensive when you including cover charge and tips

- smoking on board the ship especially in the casino

Overall I'd give the NCL Alaskan cruise on the Jewel a 4* rating - as a first cruise it was a great place to experience the scenery and the wildlife (Humpbacks, Orcas, Bears, Bald Eagles, Salmon, Seals and all kinds of sea birds). The relaxed atmosphere on the cruise was a bonus as I was concerned about how to dress and from day one I felt the NCL "cruise casual" theme made me feel comfortable - from bars to restaurants, at shows and roaming the ship.

First port was Ketchikan and I had booked the Neats Bay Bear watch by floatplane. It does what it says on the tin, we took a float plane to Neats Bay and saw some bears (well one 3 year old bear cub actually). The floatplane experience was great (pilot did an amazing take off and landing - smooth as silk) and the flight gave a unique view of the landscape. At Neats Bay we saw a bear near the pier, and then we walked to the salmon hatchery where there was to be more bears, but there were none to be seen. We did see a couple of bald eagles and some seals, so a little compensation for not seeing any more bears. Overall 8 out of 10 (would have been 9 with more bears and 10 if the cost was lower)

Next was a morning visit to Glacier Bay by the Jewel. There were fog and ice issues so we had to go to an alternate Glacier (can't remember the name), however the fog cleared and the Fjords and Glacier were amazing. I spent 3 hours walking the decks taking photos and being awed by the views. Crystal green reflective waters gave stunning views. Overall 9 out of 10 (would have been 10 out of 10 if we did the Tracy Arm Glacier as I was advised it was bigger and better)

We docked in Juneau after lunch and I had booked the Wildlife and whale watching tour. We were shuttled to another boat dock for 3 hours of whale watching. The boat was great, 2 decks (one indoors and one outdoors) and we saw loads of Humpback whales, blowing mist and vapour and then diving with a tail flick. They were some distance away however easily seen by the eye or close up with binoculars or camera zoom lens. Overall 8 out of 10 (would have been 9 out of 10 if very close up or 10 out of 10 if we saw whales jumping and breaching)

Next port was Skagway and I had booked the White Pass and Yukon Railway trip. I'll start by saying it was a 10 out of 10. We met the train at the dock right next to the ship. The train journey was exceptional - to experience the journey that the gold rush miners took and to see the route they had to traverse showed how hard it must have been just to get to the mining areas. The scenery was stunning, amazing, awe inspiring - I could go on, however you get the picture. A trip not to be missed and deserves its 10 out of 10 rating.

After the train I did another excursion - the Liarsville Salmon bake. Overall I was disappointed with this trip. We were bused out of town to a half dozen wooden structures and couple of tents aged to look like a mining village. Whilst there, we were given some salmon, salad, lemonade/coffee and cake - which was good, but not worth the £45 price tag. I would give it a 5 out of 10 and would not recommend it at the price I paid. I'd value it at half the price (which would give it a maximum of 7 out of 10)

Last port of call was Victoria British Columbia and I opted for the Whale and wildlife tour. The main objective here was to see Orcas and boy did we. A small walk from the cruise ship to a dock where we boarded a 2 deck boat. We cruised to the other side of the harbour and then were very close (no more than 50 meters at times) to a pod of 6 Orca, we saw them swimming for a good 20 minutes and we also saw them breach. After a good Orca watch we powered out to see a humpback that had been spotted. We saw one whale dive a couple of times and visited a sea lion colony (hundreds of large and active sea lions. Again a great tour and I would give it 10 out of 10.

Aside from the shore excursions the cruise was good. Food, food and more food. Drink, drink and more drink. A good selection of on ship evening entertainment - with the 3 shows I saw rated 9 out of 10 - Band on the run (the ships dance troupe doing an amazing 50 minute tribute to 70's music), Jocka and Maria (Aerial flying, acrobatics and dance) and Circ de bijou (a show which combined Jocka and Maria wth the entire dance troupe in a spectacular of dance, song and acrobatics)

As a first cruise it was a great and a I consider it one of my lifetime experiences. The wildlife and sights of Alaska, from a floating hotel with westend shows, bars and casino to boot. Overall the cruise rates a 9 out of 10 (would have been a 10 out of 10 if I didn't have to pay extra as a single traveller and if the cost of the tours were better)
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Cabin Review

Family Inside
Cabin I1 8633
Cabin was a little small, although it was what I expected. As a single traveller it was ok for me as a left my bag on the bed (nowhere else to put it). I don't know how a couple (or a family as it had a fold down bunk bed) would fit in the room.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins