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As newly retired folks we were able to jump on the Norwegian Jewel at the last minute for a cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. Alaska was a "bucket list" destination for us and did not disappoint. We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean and had concluded that we were just not cruise people due to the constant pounding music, intrusive sales tactics, and crowds. Our NCL cruise to Alaska totally changed our minds. The ship never felt crowded. The dress code was quite casual due to the destination, think puffy coats and warm hats. We started the cruise with a quick view of the Northern Lights in Anchorage on our way to the train station at 4:30am (yes, take the train instead of the bus, well worth it!). You are given assigned times for boarding and the process went smoothly. We only had carry on luggage so were able to check in, unpack, and start enjoying the cruise immediately. And what does that mean? Food of course. We ate exclusively in the complimentary dining rooms and didn't feel like we lacked anything. The main buffet, the Garden Cafe, has something for everybody. There were options for fresh cooked turkey and veggie burgers or fresh fish daily. One of the hot lines was primarily vegetarian and included an array of different Indian cuisine which we tended to eat most of the time since it was so good. Fear not though, also plenty of fried chicken, prime rib, and the usual buffet food. Overall the food was fresh, constantly replenished, and delicious. As a lifetime Weight Watchers member I was able to make healthy choices without feeling denied and did not gain the 7 pounds that our cruise director said is the average. The food choices in all of the dining venues were adequate and the servers were happy to make substitutions (more veggies please). The ship includes a library with a no talking sign, nice for quiet time looking out the window from a comfy chair. Also a card room, spa, duty free shop, photo studio, casino, and gym. Onboard activities includes bingo, trivia, cooking demonstrations, "about the ship" talks with the crew, dancing, music, etc. The nightly entertainment included musical productions, comedy, and a magic show. All were well attended and fun so get there early. Did I mention we had perfect weather? No rain at all so we were able to get really close to the glaciers. Spectacular. We planned no shore excursions since we were uncertain about the weather but ended up following a similar plan in every port:find the local brewery or at least a good local beer, talk to the natives and find out what they think is special, and go do it. We started at Seward Brewery with lunch and a pint, and a lovely waterfront walk of about 1.5 miles on the Iditarod Trail back to the ship. Our first stop was Icy Strait Point in Hoonah. This stop was low on my list pre-cruise but turned out to be a high point. The destination is Alaska native owned and includes beautiful nature trails, a museum in an old cannery, a bit of shopping, restaurants, zip lining, wildlife and bear searching. It was stunningly beautiful, the people were friendly, and the food was good. We hiked, found good beer (Skagway brewing Spruce Tip Ale) and enjoyed a smoked salmon pizza at the Duck Point Smokehouse. When we go back we will plan ahead and rent kayaks for a paddle around the inlet, weather permitting. We had a short stop in Juneau so took a bus tour, saw Mendenhall Glacier, found the local brewery (Devil's Club Brewery). Next time: more time at the Glacier visitors center. Next top was Skagway. We headed to the National Park Service center and took a guided tour of Skagway with Kellie. Very interesting and informative talk about the women of Skagway during the Gold Rush. Did you know that women hiked to the Klondike with 35 pounds of wet clothes on their bodies including hats, gloves, full corsetry, and ridulous shoes? We walked to the Klondike cemetary north of town and then hiked up to Reid Falls. Great day, beautiful place and of course more Spruce Tip Ale and the brewery. Last stop was Ketchikan. Meh. A working town, a bit touristy. The walk along Cross Creek to the fish hatchery is pleasant though. Overall a great trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better shipboard experience. It gave us a taste of Alaska and some ideas about where we will return to.

Alaska - a beer and a hike in every port

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by carrotbug

19 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Family Inside
As newly retired folks we were able to jump on the Norwegian Jewel at the last minute for a cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. Alaska was a "bucket list" destination for us and did not disappoint. We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean and had concluded that we were just not cruise people due to the constant pounding music, intrusive sales tactics, and crowds. Our NCL cruise to Alaska totally changed our minds. The ship never felt crowded. The dress code was quite casual due to the destination, think puffy coats and warm hats. We started the cruise with a quick view of the Northern Lights in Anchorage on our way to the train station at 4:30am (yes, take the train instead of the bus, well worth it!). You are given assigned times for boarding and the process went smoothly. We only had carry on luggage so were able to check in, unpack, and start enjoying the cruise immediately. And what does that mean? Food of course. We ate exclusively in the complimentary dining rooms and didn't feel like we lacked anything. The main buffet, the Garden Cafe, has something for everybody. There were options for fresh cooked turkey and veggie burgers or fresh fish daily. One of the hot lines was primarily vegetarian and included an array of different Indian cuisine which we tended to eat most of the time since it was so good. Fear not though, also plenty of fried chicken, prime rib, and the usual buffet food. Overall the food was fresh, constantly replenished, and delicious. As a lifetime Weight Watchers member I was able to make healthy choices without feeling denied and did not gain the 7 pounds that our cruise director said is the average. The food choices in all of the dining venues were adequate and the servers were happy to make substitutions (more veggies please). The ship includes a library with a no talking sign, nice for quiet time looking out the window from a comfy chair. Also a card room, spa, duty free shop, photo studio, casino, and gym. Onboard activities includes bingo, trivia, cooking demonstrations, "about the ship" talks with the crew, dancing, music, etc. The nightly entertainment included musical productions, comedy, and a magic show. All were well attended and fun so get there early. Did I mention we had perfect weather? No rain at all so we were able to get really close to the glaciers. Spectacular. We planned no shore excursions since we were uncertain about the weather but ended up following a similar plan in every port:find the local brewery or at least a good local beer, talk to the natives and find out what they think is special, and go do it. We started at Seward Brewery with lunch and a pint, and a lovely waterfront walk of about 1.5 miles on the Iditarod Trail back to the ship. Our first stop was Icy Strait Point in Hoonah. This stop was low on my list pre-cruise but turned out to be a high point. The destination is Alaska native owned and includes beautiful nature trails, a museum in an old cannery, a bit of shopping, restaurants, zip lining, wildlife and bear searching. It was stunningly beautiful, the people were friendly, and the food was good. We hiked, found good beer (Skagway brewing Spruce Tip Ale) and enjoyed a smoked salmon pizza at the Duck Point Smokehouse. When we go back we will plan ahead and rent kayaks for a paddle around the inlet, weather permitting. We had a short stop in Juneau so took a bus tour, saw Mendenhall Glacier, found the local brewery (Devil's Club Brewery). Next time: more time at the Glacier visitors center. Next top was Skagway. We headed to the National Park Service center and took a guided tour of Skagway with Kellie. Very interesting and informative talk about the women of Skagway during the Gold Rush. Did you know that women hiked to the Klondike with 35 pounds of wet clothes on their bodies including hats, gloves, full corsetry, and ridulous shoes? We walked to the Klondike cemetary north of town and then hiked up to Reid Falls. Great day, beautiful place and of course more Spruce Tip Ale and the brewery. Last stop was Ketchikan. Meh. A working town, a bit touristy. The walk along Cross Creek to the fish hatchery is pleasant though. Overall a great trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better shipboard experience. It gave us a taste of Alaska and some ideas about where we will return to.
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Cabin Review

Family Inside
Cabin I1 9021
The cabin is adjacent to two utility areas so no noisy neighbors. It is listed as sleeping 3-4 and included two twin beds pushed together, one fold up bunk on the left wall that overhangs the bed with about 18" of headroom, and a mysterious trundle under one of the beds with about 2" of headroom. Since there is no room for this bed not sure why it is even there. That being said, there were just the two of us and it was fine. The bathroom is typical cruise ship bathroom but had a nice spacious shower with a big shower head. Plenty of towels, shampoo and soap. The closet was wells stocked with hangers and was roomy enough to store our empty luggage. Two wall hooks were handy for hanging coats, room key cards, and purses although I still needed the two extra magnetic hooks that I brought.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins