Stayed one night in Seattle prior to departure and enjoyed a beautiful day. Took an Uber to the dock and was quickly brought in for check-in. Embarkation was extremely easy and everyone made you feel welcomed. Stayed mid-ship, in a mini-suite, adjoining cabins on deck 9. The location seemed great for most everywhere we wanted to go.
As for the dining, there was something for everyone. The usual spread of international selections, pizza and burger bars were available in the Garden Cafe. Seating seemed ample and seemed busy at the front of the ship which overlooked the Observation Lounge below. Wall to wall windows made this a popular spot. They put actual sinks at the entrances to the cafe, but unfortunately, most people opted for simply using hand sanitizer. (Aside: I never understood this--take 30 seconds and actually clean your hands. If you put your hands in bird poop, would you want to CLEAN them, or just move it around and hope to sanitize hands with some gel?)
The specialty restaurants were a bit of a disappointment. Not only was the service not up to par with other NCL trips I've made, but it just didn't have the "Specialty" feel. Perhaps it was the places we booked--Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Los Lobos, the food was ok, but just didn't have that POP. The regular restaurants were just ok as well. Seemed like Garden Cafe food, marketed with cute menu-speak to make it sound more elegant.
The activities and entertainment were outstanding. The cruise director was very welcoming and had a remarkable memory. The normal trivia games were fun and some newer games had a modern twist with the use of computers to make some feel like a real game show. The family enjoyed "Escape the Bigtop", which pitted several teams against each other in order to solve the final puzzle. If you're a sleuth, check this out for a great hour of fun.
The go-karts were pretty cool, however I don't recommend buying the cruise-long unlimited offering ($99). I believe the per-race cost is around $10. Although I probably could've raced at least ten times to break even, the process and safety briefings become so long and tedious that you just don't want to wait in line again to re-ride more than once, maybe twice a day. We didn't get a chance to play laser tag, so no review of it. The Video arcade had a few, not so cheap games to play. Parents, be aware that your kid can simply tap or swipe and play. It can add up quickly. Tickets are dispensed similar to Peter Piper Pizza, but the cash spent/prize value ration is not very good. My teen really enjoyed Entourage, the parent free entertainment area. She made lots of new friends and had a great time. My 11 year old went into Splash Academy, but after seeing Entourage, she was too cool for the Academy.
Jersey Boys was a little slow at the beginning, but got fun 45 minutes into the show. A mix of classic hits made it a favorite among the Boomers on the cruise. The comedians were very funny for a cruise ship gig and were even able to keep it together during the "family friendly" shows. We enjoyed the art auction a couple of times, just for the showmanship.
I lost my butt in the casino, even after hitting a royal flush on video poker for $8k. That didn't take away from the fact that everyone in the casino was super friendly and proficient at what they did. Probably the best crew I've seen on a cruise.
As for the ports, we caught incredible weather during our cruise. This had its positives and negatives. Mid 70s in Alaska can be dynamite, but it took away from the true Alaskan feel we had hoped for. Our favorite excursion by far, was ATV/Glacier tour in Skagway by Southeast Tours (through Costco). It was absolutely breathtaking and a fun ride (30-45 minutes) up rugged terrain to see a glacier and Lake Bennett. There's decent shopping at all stops, but I think Ketchican had the best value for souvenirs dockside.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I had hoped to see more wildlife from the ship, but aside from a few whales at a distance, we really didn't see much. There was however, plenty of mountains with waterfalls and other beautiful scenery. If wildlife is what you're after, be sure to book excursions that cater to that.
The cabin was really nice. Since the entire boat had that "new-ship smell", we felt very comfortable in our cabin. The bathrooms had plenty of space, including a step-in tub, hand-held shower sprayer, a dual-sink vanity, the throne and room to actually walk around. It just didn't feel like a cruise ship bathroom. The balcony was of decent size and the stateroom itself was well appointed. One disappointment was there was only one section, in the middle of the room that had power outlets. There were wall-mounted up-lights on each side of the bed, as well as a nice bright reading lamp what articulated in many directions. The fixture also accommodated a USB plug to charge your device. The sliding door to the balcony was durable, but easy to maneuver.