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Let me begin by saying that this will be a rather long review. It is, because it encompasses 11 days, almost all filled with something worthwhile. So, let me start by saying the the NCL Alyeska Land and Inside Passage was above and beyond anything we could have imagined. From the moment that we arrived in Anchorage, it was truly great! One more point, some writers may be, I am not, able to express the history, sights and sounds in prose, but nothing compares to being there, seeing, and feeling it. Upon our arrival at the Anchorage Airport, we were met by a number of NCL representatives, all making sure we got our luggage, and then ushering us on to waiting transportation to our downtown Hilton Hotel. We registered and met Jesse, our guide to be for the next 3 1/2 days. We spoke with Jesse for about 20 minutes where he gave us meeting times and a quick synopsis of our land tour. We were off to to stroll the streets of Anchorage and enjoy a restaurant of our choosing. The next morning we met Jesse, with everyone being on time, and we were off on what was to be our great adventure. DENALI -- a bus ride out of Anchorage through the countryside and on up to Talkeetna where we were to catch our train up to Denali. Jesse was terrific while we were on the bus. He proffered the history of the area and pointed out the most beautiful and interesting sites. Off the bus and onto our 4-hour train ride from Talkeetna to Denali on the NCL 'private' car. It was the shortest 4-hours ride ever. While on the train, we were kept informed by guides who were steeped in the history and beauty of the area. I can tell you that I took at least 150 pictures. A side note - the train has a dining car - the prices are very reasonable and the food was very good. After a great ride, we arrived in Denali National Park and we were escorted to our accommodations. The accommodations were what you might expect in the wilderness - 'cabin in the woods' - well not exactly in the woods - they were lean but comfortable. The next day our trip through Denali (the Park itself is larger then the State of Vermont) began at about 1PM and took us 56 miles into the Park. The sites and sounds were fantastic, so much more than we thought it would be. We could tell you all about it but that wouldn't be fair; it would be depriving you of your own eye opening experience. Thank you to Dan, our driver and guide. We returned to our cabins at around 9:30, washed up and got a bite to eat. After eating and walking around, we realized that it was past 11 PM and it was as light as 7 PM on a mid-summers evening at home - sunrise was to be in 4 i/2 hours. Up and at'em at 6 AM for our ride to the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The trip was over 9 hours with a number of great stops along the way. The highlight, by far, was at Martin Buser's (4-time winner of the Iditarod) ranch where he trains and raises his mushers. It was phenomenal! We watched Martin on a short training run - we interacted with the dogs and had an opportunity to hold 6 to 8 week old pups. No one in our group left without big smiles and great memories. From there, more interesting sights and history, again ,all the while, commentary provided by Jesse. When there was a lull in either vistas or noteworthy history or both, Jesse was there to provide us with a couple of 20 minute videos. We arrived at the Alyeska Resort, a beautiful Hotel nestled in mountains on all sides. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, Jesse was handing out our room keys. In another few minutes our luggage was off the bus and we could either retrieve it ourselves or have it delivered to our room. We washed up and took the Gondola up the 2300 foot mountain to the Seven Glaciers Restaurant. (Ed. If you want to eat at the Seven Glaciers, your best bet is to make your reservation as soon as you book your land/cruise). The next day, on to Seward and the NCL Jewel. But first a stop at a wild life preserve where you really got up close, if not personal, with the wildlife. Just another great highlight of the tour. At right around 3PM we arrived in Seward and said our reluctant goodbyes to Jesse. He was great, professional, informed and affable. Did I say that he helped make this portion of our tour? Thanks Jesse!!! On to the ship - let our next portion of our adventure begin. Short and Sweet, we were on the ship and in our rooms within 20 minutes of exiting the bus - not bad, not bad at all. Let me say upfront, our Steward Miguel, Concierge John, and Butler Sayit were excellent in every way. They intuitively knew when you wanted them or needed something or when to be invisible. We couldn't have asked for better - Thanks Gentlemen. As to eating, we had 6 speciality restaurants penciled in; 2 in La Cucina, 2 in Le Bistro, and 2 in Cagney's and one in either Chinese/Sushi (Chin Chin) or O'Sheehen's depending on our mood. We opted for Chin Chin which was a small disappointment. However, La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney's exceeded expectations. Simply, the food is very good with enough choices in each to satisfy varying palettes. With our gastronomic considerations out of the way, let us concentrate on our trip from Seward to Vancouver. FIRST STOP - CRUISING HUBBARD GLACIER HUBBARD GLACIER - We spent a little over an hour cruising and getting close to the Glacier and truly neither words nor pictures do this wonder justice. "We got as close as we have ever gotten to the Glacier", was one person's observation. We happened to arrive later in the day and we were able to see a fair amount of calving (ice breaking off the Glacier), though we were told that there is a like amount of calving in the morning as well. It was worth the price of admission, by itself. Another life experience, in our estimation. ICY POINT STRAIT - We opted for a Jeep caravan, as it turned out 7 in all, with the lead Jeep providing commentary (over the radio) by the guide. Each Jeep had one driver and three passengers. We made a number of stops to take in the views and change drivers if you wanted. Commentry: Some good views and some good off-road driving fun. Somewhat disappointing. JUNEAU - In the morning off to Whale watching. A short ride to our boat and off we go. Be aware that these boats, for ecological reasons cannot get within, I believe, 100 yards of these mammals. However, and it is a big however, you cannot stop the whales from swimming much closer to your boat - so very often you do get closeup views of these monsters of the sea. We also saw Bald Eagles, Seals and Sea Lions. All in all, a very worthwhile excursion. SKAGWAY - A short bus ride around Skagway and on to our search for gold. We learned a little history and the process of how to pan for gold - we of course would find a few flakes which we placed in a vial and had the 'town' accessor's office weigh it and give us the value based on the spot price of gold. Next, actually next door, another ranch where we had the opportunity to again interact with the mushers and it was great. Had we not had the experience with Martin Buser's ranch, we might have really appreciated the opportunity to see and hold these dogs. Next a train trip, in a restored parlor car, through some of the most rugged landscape we have ever seen. Climbing about 2400 feet in 14 miles, the tracks were cut into the the mountain, one side hugging the mountain and the other looking down sheer cliffs. There were trestles spanning gorges allowing for spectacular views, all this among the snow-covered peaks around every turn. Up to the US - Canadian border where we turned around. Actually we flipped our seats and down we went. The views were as good on the way down as they were on the way up. Comment - We would have liked some time to walk through Skagway. From what little we did see, we would have been interested in exploring. The time we spent panning for gold might have been better spent walking around - in our opinion. KETCHIKAN - We did not choose a tour, just walked around did some shopping. Embarkation in Vancouver was as smooth as silk - on to the airport. Sorry it was over. We have been on over a dozen cruises, some with land packages but nothing compared to this. THANK YOU NCL, Jesse, Miguel, John, Sayit and ALL those behind to scenes that made this adventure possible and incredibly enjoyable.

NCL Land Cruise Package

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Bobhank

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
Let me begin by saying that this will be a rather long review. It is, because it encompasses 11 days, almost all filled with something worthwhile.

So, let me start by saying the the NCL Alyeska Land and Inside Passage was above and beyond anything we could have imagined. From the moment that we arrived in Anchorage, it was truly great!

One more point, some writers may be, I am not, able to express the history, sights and sounds in prose, but nothing compares to being there, seeing, and feeling it.

Upon our arrival at the Anchorage Airport, we were met by a number of NCL representatives, all making sure we got our luggage, and then ushering us on to waiting transportation to our downtown Hilton Hotel.

We registered and met Jesse, our guide to be for the next 3 1/2 days. We spoke with Jesse for about 20 minutes where he gave us meeting times and a quick synopsis of our land tour. We were off to to stroll the streets of Anchorage and enjoy a restaurant of our choosing.

The next morning we met Jesse, with everyone being on time, and we were off on what was to be our great adventure.

DENALI -- a bus ride out of Anchorage through the countryside and on up to Talkeetna where we were to catch our train up to Denali. Jesse was terrific while we were on the bus. He proffered the history of the area and pointed out the most beautiful and interesting sites.

Off the bus and onto our 4-hour train ride from Talkeetna to Denali on the NCL 'private' car. It was the shortest 4-hours ride ever. While on the train, we were kept informed by guides who were steeped in the history and beauty of the area. I can tell you that I took at least 150 pictures. A side note - the train has a dining car - the prices are very reasonable and the food was very good.

After a great ride, we arrived in Denali National Park and we were escorted to our accommodations. The accommodations were what you might expect in the wilderness - 'cabin in the woods' - well not exactly in the woods - they were lean but comfortable.

The next day our trip through Denali (the Park itself is larger then the State of Vermont) began at about 1PM and took us 56 miles into the Park. The sites and sounds were fantastic, so much more than we thought it would be. We could tell you all about it but that wouldn't be fair; it would be depriving you of your own eye opening experience. Thank you to Dan, our driver and guide.

We returned to our cabins at around 9:30, washed up and got a bite to eat. After eating and walking around, we realized that it was past 11 PM and it was as light as 7 PM on a mid-summers evening at home - sunrise was to be in 4 i/2 hours.

Up and at'em at 6 AM for our ride to the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The trip was over 9 hours with a number of great stops along the way. The highlight, by far, was at Martin Buser's (4-time winner of the Iditarod) ranch where he trains and raises his mushers. It was phenomenal! We watched Martin on a short training run - we interacted with the dogs and had an opportunity to hold 6 to 8 week old pups. No one in our group left without big smiles and great memories.

From there, more interesting sights and history, again ,all the while, commentary provided by Jesse. When there was a lull in either vistas or noteworthy history or both, Jesse was there to provide us with a couple of 20 minute videos.

We arrived at the Alyeska Resort, a beautiful Hotel nestled in mountains on all sides. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, Jesse was handing out our room keys. In another few minutes our luggage was off the bus and we could either retrieve it ourselves or have it delivered to our room.

We washed up and took the Gondola up the 2300 foot mountain to the Seven Glaciers Restaurant. (Ed. If you want to eat at the Seven Glaciers, your best bet is to make your reservation as soon as you book your land/cruise).

The next day, on to Seward and the NCL Jewel. But first a stop at a wild life preserve where you really got up close, if not personal, with the wildlife. Just another great highlight of the tour.

At right around 3PM we arrived in Seward and said our reluctant goodbyes to Jesse. He was great, professional, informed and affable. Did I say that he helped make this portion of our tour? Thanks Jesse!!!

On to the ship - let our next portion of our adventure begin. Short and Sweet, we were on the ship and in our rooms within 20 minutes of exiting the bus - not bad, not bad at all.

Let me say upfront, our Steward Miguel, Concierge John, and Butler Sayit were excellent in every way. They intuitively knew when you wanted them or needed something or when to be invisible. We couldn't have asked for better - Thanks Gentlemen.

As to eating, we had 6 speciality restaurants penciled in; 2 in La Cucina, 2 in Le Bistro, and 2 in Cagney's and one in either Chinese/Sushi (Chin Chin) or O'Sheehen's depending on our mood. We opted for Chin Chin which was a small disappointment.

However, La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney's exceeded expectations. Simply, the food is very good with enough choices in each to satisfy varying palettes.

With our gastronomic considerations out of the way, let us concentrate on our trip from Seward to Vancouver.

FIRST STOP - CRUISING HUBBARD GLACIER

HUBBARD GLACIER - We spent a little over an hour cruising and getting close to the Glacier and truly neither words nor pictures do this wonder justice. "We got as close as we have ever gotten to the Glacier", was one person's observation. We happened to arrive later in the day and we were able to see a fair amount of calving (ice breaking off the Glacier), though we were told that there is a like amount of calving in the morning as well. It was worth the price of admission, by itself. Another life experience, in our estimation.

ICY POINT STRAIT - We opted for a Jeep caravan, as it turned out 7 in all, with the lead Jeep providing commentary (over the radio) by the guide. Each Jeep had one driver and three passengers. We made a number of stops to take in the views and change drivers if you wanted.

Commentry: Some good views and some good off-road driving fun. Somewhat disappointing.

JUNEAU - In the morning off to Whale watching. A short ride to our boat and off we go. Be aware that these boats, for ecological reasons cannot get within, I believe, 100 yards of these mammals. However, and it is a big however, you cannot stop the whales from swimming much closer to your boat - so very often you do get closeup views of these monsters of the sea.

We also saw Bald Eagles, Seals and Sea Lions. All in all, a very worthwhile excursion.

SKAGWAY - A short bus ride around Skagway and on to our search for gold. We learned a little history and the process of how to pan for gold - we of course would find a few flakes which we placed in a vial and had the 'town' accessor's office weigh it and give us the value based on the spot price of gold.

Next, actually next door, another ranch where we had the opportunity to again interact with the mushers and it was great. Had we not had the experience with Martin Buser's ranch, we might have really appreciated the opportunity to see and hold these dogs.

Next a train trip, in a restored parlor car, through some of the most rugged landscape we have ever seen. Climbing about 2400 feet in 14 miles, the tracks were cut into the the mountain, one side hugging the mountain and the other looking down sheer cliffs. There were trestles spanning gorges allowing for spectacular views, all this among the snow-covered peaks around every turn. Up to the US - Canadian border where we turned around. Actually we flipped our seats and down we went. The views were as good on the way down as they were on the way up.

Comment - We would have liked some time to walk through Skagway. From what little we did see, we would have been interested in exploring. The time we spent panning for gold might have been better spent walking around - in our opinion.

KETCHIKAN - We did not choose a tour, just walked around did some shopping.

Embarkation in Vancouver was as smooth as silk - on to the airport. Sorry it was over.

We have been on over a dozen cruises, some with land packages but nothing compared to this. THANK YOU NCL, Jesse, Miguel, John, Sayit and ALL those behind to scenes that made this adventure possible and incredibly enjoyable.
Bobhank’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Penthouse with Large Balcony
Cabin SF 10164
Clean, neat, roomy and Miguel our room steward, John our Concierge and Sayit our Butler were better the excellent. Only small negative - the room on the right (facing the bed) is a little narrow. But it is more then livable. Great views all along the inland passage and especially in Ketchikan we were able to watch seaplanes land and takeoff.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins