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We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year by cruising Alaska. Only been on Carnival before, can't say I was over-impressed with Norwegian but had absolutely no complaints. Totally personal preference but I'm not sure I liked the freestyle dining, thought way too much emphasis was placed on the specialty restaurants. Also did not get the feeling that we were "special/remembered" like when the staff remembers your names or your drink orders. Again, still received quality service with no complaints. Room was always taken care of, never had to wait in line really at a restaurant. The ship was pretty full and only had slight issues with finding a table near the buffet. One thing I thought Norwegian did very well was embarkation and disembarkation. Practically walked right on at the beginning. No problems with getting or finding luggage on either end of the trip. Staff were all pleasant and helpful. Regarding the specialty restaurants we thought Cagney's Steakhouse was great. Teppanyaki was fun and good food. Didn't go to any others due to availability/reservation scheduling but was pleased with the main dining room - good food, good service. The entertainment was good. Loved the comedian (former Pip with Gladys Knight!). We're not much for bingo but enjoyed the Deal or No Deal games. Regarding excursions: Spent a couple of days in Anchorage prior to the cruise. Was impressed with the city - lots of shopping and eating all in walking distance. Was not that impressed with the Alaska Zoo. Although it was a free shuttle ride out there, the zoo was just not laid out very well, we seemed to walk in circles and double back on ourselves often. If it were just me I would blame it on my being "directionally challenged" but husband never has trouble with that stuff and still had a hard time figuring it out. Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward was excellent. Seemed like we stood in line quite a while to get on but didn't have any trouble finding seat/car/etc. Did not get the Gold Star service and did not feel that I missed out on anything. Still had marvelous views with lots of picture taking time. We did visit the lounge with the overhead windows and it did offer a better view - but my husband suffers from vertigo and the motion and view were a bit much. We did have breakfast in the dining car - food was good and reasonably priced, service was ok. In Icy Strait Point/Hoonah we did not have anything planned ahead of time but booked a whale watching boat tour. Saw a couple of groups of 4-5 humpback whales circling. There was actually a whale circling in the bay there by the boardwalk which was really cool. Did some shopping and nature walks. In Juneau we had booked the helicopter/dog sled excursion. However, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that the dog sledding camps on the glaciers were closing early due to the warm weather this summer. We still did the helicopter tour with Coastal Helicopters - excellent! Our pilot Jessie was amazing and from our home state! In Ketchikan we did the Crab Fishermen's boat tour. This was great. I got the impression that these were just a bunch of old fishermen that retired and now just spend their days showing off the work they love to do. Laid back, made sure everyone had chances to observe and hold the sea life. Fed the bald eagles off the side of the ship so we got some great views and pictures. No one at the end with a hand out for a tip - again, just as if your ole Uncle Joe took you out on the boat for the afternoon (with a hundred or so others). Glacier watching on board we did mostly on Deck 8 that was the crew area they opened up for the glaciers. We spent our money on excursions instead of a balcony and did not regret it, although we did enjoy watching a bit from our ocean view window.

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Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by ddmcruiser

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year by cruising Alaska.

Only been on Carnival before, can't say I was over-impressed with Norwegian but had absolutely no complaints. Totally personal preference but I'm not sure I liked the freestyle dining, thought way too much emphasis was placed on the specialty restaurants.

Also did not get the feeling that we were "special/remembered" like when the staff remembers your names or your drink orders. Again, still received quality service with no complaints. Room was always taken care of, never had to wait in line really at a restaurant. The ship was pretty full and only had slight issues with finding a table near the buffet.

One thing I thought Norwegian did very well was embarkation and disembarkation. Practically walked right on at the beginning. No problems with getting or finding luggage on either end of the trip. Staff were all pleasant and helpful.

Regarding the specialty restaurants we thought Cagney's Steakhouse was great. Teppanyaki was fun and good food. Didn't go to any others due to availability/reservation scheduling but was pleased with the main dining room - good food, good service.

The entertainment was good. Loved the comedian (former Pip with Gladys Knight!). We're not much for bingo but enjoyed the Deal or No Deal games.

Regarding excursions:

Spent a couple of days in Anchorage prior to the cruise. Was impressed with the city - lots of shopping and eating all in walking distance. Was not that impressed with the Alaska Zoo. Although it was a free shuttle ride out there, the zoo was just not laid out very well, we seemed to walk in circles and double back on ourselves often. If it were just me I would blame it on my being "directionally challenged" but husband never has trouble with that stuff and still had a hard time figuring it out.

Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward was excellent. Seemed like we stood in line quite a while to get on but didn't have any trouble finding seat/car/etc. Did not get the Gold Star service and did not feel that I missed out on anything. Still had marvelous views with lots of picture taking time. We did visit the lounge with the overhead windows and it did offer a better view - but my husband suffers from vertigo and the motion and view were a bit much. We did have breakfast in the dining car - food was good and reasonably priced, service was ok.

In Icy Strait Point/Hoonah we did not have anything planned ahead of time but booked a whale watching boat tour. Saw a couple of groups of 4-5 humpback whales circling. There was actually a whale circling in the bay there by the boardwalk which was really cool. Did some shopping and nature walks.

In Juneau we had booked the helicopter/dog sled excursion. However, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that the dog sledding camps on the glaciers were closing early due to the warm weather this summer. We still did the helicopter tour with Coastal Helicopters - excellent! Our pilot Jessie was amazing and from our home state!

In Ketchikan we did the Crab Fishermen's boat tour. This was great. I got the impression that these were just a bunch of old fishermen that retired and now just spend their days showing off the work they love to do. Laid back, made sure everyone had chances to observe and hold the sea life. Fed the bald eagles off the side of the ship so we got some great views and pictures. No one at the end with a hand out for a tip - again, just as if your ole Uncle Joe took you out on the boat for the afternoon (with a hundred or so others).

Glacier watching on board we did mostly on Deck 8 that was the crew area they opened up for the glaciers. We spent our money on excursions instead of a balcony and did not regret it, although we did enjoy watching a bit from our ocean view window.
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OA 8016
Pretty standard ocean view cabin. Small but enough room for just the two of us. We decided to forego the advice to get a balcony and spend the money on excursions instead and we did not regret it.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins