First trip to Alaska. 31st cruise overall.
Arrived in Anchorage: June 21 @ 1:15 AM (a day early) and stayed at Inlet Hotel that included 24 hr shuttle and breakfast in the morning. Good hotel for a brief stayover. Great breakfast in restaurant instead of doing included con't breakfast. They offered us $10 p/person off for sit-down leisurely paced meal. Do it.
After some rest checked out of Inlet to go to NCL assigned hotel Hilton Anchorage via Uber (which was only 1 mile away but we had lot's of luggage). We were on the Anchorage Denali Express Pre Cruise Tour and then to embark on the Jewel Monday June 24. Our luggage was held by their Hotel Porter while we explored Anchorage. Did some trails nearby and enjoyed the hotel area.
After dinner we were exhausted but decided to check at front desk (7:30 pm ish) if they knew anything about NCL land tour we were starting tomorrow. On our PDF in cruise doc's it said to "Meet your Tour Director" in lobby Saturday morning. This information is INCORRECT. The NCL Tour Directors were at the hotel from 3-8 pm in the lobby on Friday. If I didn't be nosy and check out happenings at Front Desk - we would have been in trouble with the scheduling the following morning -as luggage with special tags (2 kinds of tags) and Luggage Pull was at 6 AM on Saturday. I had 19 people in my group so it was hectic for me locating everyone with correct information- luggage tags & new schedule.
A side note: We saw a banner and table in lobby for RCCL but nothing for NCL
NCL was located in a side room off the lobby that nobody could see with NO SIGNAGE.
Happy to report that this was our only big hiccup with tour and cruise. One minor issue is that one of our bags going to Denali was left behind but Tour Director tried hard to make it up. She was very nice and gave us excellent information. NCL Accommodations were all nice locations and properties.
If I were to do over: one more day in Denali. The hotel was great Grizzly Bear Resort. Too much to see in short time.
Embarkation was a breeze at 4-4:30 pm in Seward.
I had a Balcony Stateroom 9044 - and with this itinerary- I don't feel that starboard side of ship made a difference.
We had 4 Specialty Dinners included: we did Cagney's 2X, La Cucina, and Moderno. I have a shellfish allergy so some restaurants I had to eliminate and some items on menu's I cannot have because of contaminated oil in fryers or on cutting surfaces. They always asked before taking orders if there are allergies. All my meals onboard were very good to excellent. All our servers were also great. We had no complaints.
The shows at night that we saw were excellent. NCL does SHINE on entertainment.
Seward from the bus. Next time we would spend a day here. Impressive driving to the Port from Anchorage
At Sea with Hubbard Glacier: magnificent viewing from several area's on the ship.
Icy Strait Point: walked to Hoonah and saw totem pole carvers, brew house, and then walked back around ISP shops and restaurants.
Juneau: We did Whale watching with Juneau Tours
Skagway: White Pass Scenic Railway, Red Dog Saloon, walking thru town.
Ketchikan: Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
It was too early for the Salmon to be running so I wish we could have seen that. I am sure we might have seen more bears also with the fish. Did alot of walking around in Ketchikan -Married Man's Trail, Totem Heritage Center, Hatchery & Eagle Center, Creek Street, Funicular Tram to the Lodge.
Vancouver: Got off the ship at 9 AM. Plan A -Was going to find CDS in Canada Place to hold and deliver our luggage to airport so that we could tour -however they are no longer there according to Gray Line tours. I checked online a week prior and it did not tell me otherwise so we did Plan B. Gray Line had a luggage holding area until 5 pm but no airport delivery. Since it was Canada Day, a national Holiday, it was CRAZY around port and around all tourist area's. We settled for Hop on Hop off bus to tour Vancouver which was fine. Just the crowds were huge. Picked up luggage at 3:40 pm and walked 1.5 blocks with luggage and crowds to train station- destination going to airport. It was easy once we got there. Ate dinner in airport and waited 3 hours before airline check in. Didn't want to chance getting to airport with luggage hold and crowds. Many of my group stayed 1-2 extra nights which they were able to enjoy Vancouver more.....but it was pricey because of the Holiday.
Great trip but need a vacation to rest. LOL
Great Cabin Steward. Showers and sink had plenty of hot water. Bathrooms tight but we managed with holders that hung from hooks back of bathroom door.
Ice buckets, towels, glasses replenished daily. Very clean.
Plenty of hangers and drawer space. Luggage fit under bed. Balcony was used everyday for Alaska views.