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My wife and I & our two girls (12 / 8) sailed on the Star the week of July 10, 2010. We stayed in room 11066 AF mini suite. We were joined by my brother, his wife, and their son (10). They also stayed in an adjoining AF mini suite. Day 1: Embarkation was a breeze. We showed our e-docs, had our picture taken and room card created, and waited for approximately 20 minutes before they allowed us to board the ship. We had a lot of bottled soda in the carry-on and I thought they would open the baggage after it went through the x-ray machine to verify if it was alcohol, but they didn't bother and we continued onto the ship. After boarding the ship we went to the front of the ship on deck 12 (poolside) to enjoy a few drinks of the day along with a bucket of beer. After building an appetite, we went to the Versailles dining room for lunch. 80% of the Versailles tables were open and we had a nice quiet lunch as compared to those who went elsewhere on the boat to eat their first meal. After going to the room and unpacking, we were able to meet our room steward. I immediately handed him a $20 and told him the girls were looking forward to towel animals each night. I also mentioned that I needed extra ice every day. He saw my football helmet bucket of beer and told me to leave the helmet in the room when I was done and he would fill it with extra ice each day. Needless to say, we always had a ton of ice in the room. By about the 4th day he was filling two helmets and a standard ice bucket twice each day. The extra ice was used to make mixed drinks on the balcony at our leisure along with cold sodas for the girls. Nothing beats lounging in your room or on your balcony with a cocktail in your hand, watching the Alaskan scenery go by. By the way, excluding the 1st night, we received towel animals every evening of the trip (monkey, swan, elephant, mouse, and two bunnies). It was always nice to come back to the room after an evening of fun to find some silly animal sitting on your bed or hanging from the ceiling. After unpacking on day 1, we took the kids up to the main pool where they could swim. The adults enjoyed the live poolside music and more drinks as the ship sailed away from port. Dinner the 1st night was at the Versailles main dining room. The food was good and we all found things we enjoyed. While the main dining rooms do not offer 5 star meals, you can order as much of everything you want and there is a wide variety of selections. We had 7 members in our party and we never had to make reservations in the main dining rooms. The longest we waited was maybe three minutes to be seated. However, we did make reservations for the evenings we ate in the specialty restaurants (cagneys, le bistro, teppanyaki, and la cucina). The casino opened around 8:30pm on day 1 and we played cards until about midnight. TIP #1: Eat in the main dining room for lunch the first day to avoid the congestion on deck. DAY 2: We ate at the buffet for breakfast. The buffet breakfast food did not excite us too much. Eating food that is mass produced, and then placed under a heat lamp where it sometimes sits for extended periods, results in a mediocre tasting experience. The buffet breakfast is OK for a quick bite if you need to eat fast. But you will receive a far better experience and food quality by eating breakfast in one of the main dining rooms. After breakfast we signed up for the Poker tournament as well as the blackjack tournament. I didn't win either one but had fun. In the afternoon we again went poolside and enjoyed some drinks while the kids played on the slides and swam. We tried the buffet for lunch with better results than breakfast. Although, the only buffet desert we all agreed was good were the cookies (and we tried many desserts). The kids liked the ice cream from the ice cream machine. Before dinner, the ladies went to the margarita tasting. They were feeling pretty groovy before dinner started. Dinner the 2nd night was at the Aqua main dining room. It has the same menu as Versailles, but is a little more laid back (not as fancy). Dinner was good. We ended the night in the casino playing more cards before retiring back to the room a little after midnight for a nightcap on the balcony where we watched the faint glow (sunset) on the horizon. Gotta love those Alaskan summer nights. TIP # 2: You can find the famous NCL pretzel rolls in the buffet during lunch. On the Star, you can find the small round pretzel rolls near the front of the buffet. But if you go to the rear right portion of the buffet (starboard side) you'll find the bun sized pretzel rolls. These oversized rolls are perfect for making sandwiches or for hot dogs. They were a hit with our entire group and can only be found on NCL. DAY 3: We woke up in Ketchikan. We shopped in town and then went to the lumberjack show. It was entertaining and a good family value. Getting back onto the ship was quick. After getting back onto the ship we sat on our room balcony and enjoyed multiple afternoon cocktails while looking at the marina and people watching. For dinner we ate at our first specialty restaurant (Cagneys). The entire meal from appetizer to desert was absolutely outstanding. The steaks were perfect, the Alaskan king crab was killer, and everything else was mouth watering. The kids (& adults too) loved the Cagneys Fries. A nice variation to the traditional French fry. The 3 kids were only charged ½ price in all of the specialty restaurants which was nice as they all ordered multiple things off the main menus. TIP#3: Kids can order off a kids menu at any of the dining venues (instead of the main menu). Our youngest daughter (8) rarely found something from the adult menu and instead was allowed to order mac-n-cheese, pizza, chicken fingers, etc. Since they didn't give us kids menus, we had to ask. DAY 4: Today we woke up in Juneau. The wife went shopping in port. The Star was the 3rd cruise ship in port and because of this, if you went to town you had to take a short bus ride. I stayed on board and played ping pong while the kids swam. We all (7 of us) booked the catamaran tour of the glacier. If you can only book one trip on the Star to Alaska, this is the one to do! The catamaran departed at 12:30 and we spent the next 6 hours getting up close & personal to icebergs, whales, seals, waterfalls, eagles, and glaciers. The catamaran has two inside levels for warmth and a 3rd level for outside viewing which is used while the boat is stopped or slowly moving. You can also order cooked food and drinks on board. We literally got to within 20 feet of two huge whales and watched them for a long time as they swam just under the surface right next to the boat. This area is one of the most beautiful, alluring places on Earth and being able to get up close to this beauty is something that can only be done on a smaller vessel. If you want to feel the true depth of beauty, the rawness of Mother Nature, you will be overwhelmed. We saw people tear up from the beauty. Words can not do justice for the catamaran experience. We felt sorry for everyone on the cruise ship. Also, we got right up to the glacier and watched it for about 90 minutes as pieces fell into the water. The cruise ship was sitting like a mile from the glacier, behind us, as it could not navigate through the ice to get up close. We also got to go into Fords Terror on the catamaran. According to the speaker, it was the first time they had gone into that area. We arrived to the Fords Terror right at high tide and were able to get over the sandbar and navigated through a small waterway with huge mountains on either side. Stunning scenery to say the least. The catamaran also provided binoculars to everyone on board. The catamaran cruised back to the cruise ship about 6:30pm and tied off to it in the middle of the bay to let the passengers back on the Star. Tracy Arm is one of the Dinner on day 4 was at Le Bistro which was outstanding. I ordered the lobster tail and it was a large portion that was to die for. The chocolate fondue for dessert at Le Bistro is a must order item as they carve out a pineapple, fill it with various pieces of fruit (banana, pineapple, strawberries, melon, etc.), and then place a cast iron bucket on the table filled full of molten chocolate to dip the fruit into. TIP #4: Spend the extra money and take the catamaran tour to the glacier! It was the highlight of our trip to Alaska. TIP #5: Get the Pineapple fondue for two if you go to Le Bistro. Day 5: Today we woke up to Skagway. We booked the White Pass excursion (round trip). The train leaves right from the dock which is nice. If you are only doing a train trip to the top of the mountain, and a bus trip back down, then sit on the left side of the train for the best views. If you are doing the round trip on the train, it does a loop at the top of the mountain and the right side will have the best views on the way back to the ship. The train trip was a good value and there were plenty of great sites to see along the way. I forgot my video camera on board the ship and this put my attitude in the gutter during the train trip as this was the only port I did not take video. It was windy and rainy when the train arrived back at the ship and we didn't feel like walking through the elements back into town so we headed back to the ship, ate a good lunch in the blue lagoon, and had more cocktails on the balcony of our room. I had numerous double cocktails to take away my 'forgetting the video camera in port blues' and the strong drinks seemed to put me back into my happy place. We ate dinner at Teppanyaki (think Benihana style). The dinner entertainment by the cooks was excellent and the kids had a wonderful time watching the antics. After dinner my brother and I played 3 card poker and had a great time in the casino. The ladies and kids went to the chocoholic buffet and were disappointed with what they tasted. They said most of it was worthless taste wise. The sights were beautiful and they made some cool sculptures from chocolate, but I was told most of the items they tasted were not very good. I did not attend. TIP #6: If you take the roundtrip white pass train excursion, the best views on the way up are on the left, and the best views on the way back are on the right side. Since the train does a loop & turns around at the top of the mountain, the back of the train (closest to the ship in the morning) will be the furthest from the ship when you return. This is good if you plan on shopping after the train ride as the walk is much shorter to town. However, we boarded late and all the rail cars closest to the ship were full. We had to walk a distance to get a seat near the front of the train (2nd rail car out of like 30). This actually turned out to be a blessing when we returned back to the ship because it was raining and our long morning walk to board the train meant that we ended up being closest to the ship on the afternoon return. This made for an easy & quick walk back to the ship through the rain. Day 6: We woke up to beautiful views outside our balcony (again) and just lounged around since we did not dock in Prince Rupert until late afternoon. After eating a yummy breakfast in the main dining room, we hung out and played a little bingo. Once we docked in Prince Rupert, we left the ship and made the mistake of going up the hill where the shopping consisted of a mall. If I wanted to go to a regular mall, I can do that at home. So we walked back down to the ship and shopped in the 4 or 5 small shops right next to the Star at the bottom of the town. Prince Rupert is relatively small and we did not find a lot to do. Our excursion was cancelled because of a lack of participation so we just shopped. The ladies found a craft fair and enjoyed that while the guys briefly shopped and then returned to the ship. I did get some great video of an eagle that was sitting on a roof top (about 30 feet away) eating a pigeon. That was really cool. There were several eagle nests nearby and 4 or 5 eagles were always close to us at the bottom of town. After boarding the ship we got a table at La Cucina and ate a wonderful Italian meal. The kids loved the pizza and lasagna and the adults enjoyed the various pastas. My wife said the tira misu at La Cucina was the best she's ever had. This says a lot since it is her favorite dessert. After dinner the ladies & kids went to the ventriloquist show while the men went to the casino for more cards & roulette. The ladies said the show was great and the kids liked it too. TIP#7: Prince Rupert has a few touristy souvenir type shops near the boat at the waters edge of the marina. Make sure you don't make the uphill walk away from the marina unless you want to shop at a typical mall, the likes of which you can find at home. DAY 7: Today was a sea day as we return back to Seattle tomorrow. We ate in the main dining room for breakfast again as to avoid the morning buffet (which is disappointing). After a yummy breakfast we simply hung out all day (swimming, gambling, drinking, and bingo). We did room service again for lunch. Cagneys was our favorite speciality restaurant and we ate there for a 2nd time on the last night of the cruise. As usual, the dinner was fabulous. TIP#8: Room service is free. You can place a call and have food delivered to your cabin within 45 minutes (average for us was about 20 minutes). However, the only warm breakfast food you can get with room service is an egg omelet but it is far superior to the eggs / omelet found in the buffet. The lunch/dinner fare is more extensive on the room service menu. The hamburgers, BLT, and omelets served by room service are great! Remember to tip a few dollars to the staff member who brings food to your room. They appreciate the tip. DAY 8: Disembarkation is a breeze if you either carry your luggage off manually, or have the ship send your luggage to the airport (for a $20 charge per person). We chose this last option and on the last day of the cruise our boarding passes were delivered to our room along with the proper luggage tags to send our luggage from the ship, directly back to our hometown airport. This was very simple and worth every penny in my opinion as we were able to disembark from the ship at any time we wanted, we didn't have to wait in the luggage lines at the ship, we didn't have to stand in line at the airport to check in our luggage, and we were able to just walk through the airport security, with our pre-printed boarding passes, directly to our flight terminal. TIP # 9: The scenery along the inside passage of Alaska is amazing. Bring binoculars. We used them daily from our balcony. TIP #10: Buckets of beer were buy 5 & get 1 free. Most of the time they came in a football helmet filled with ice. A bottle opener was included which you can keep. Budweiser products came in 16 ounce bottles which was nice. In reality, we paid for 5 beers and got 3 free due to the extra 4 ounces in each bottle. Getting buckets of beer, instead of individual beers, will save you some $$$ in the long run. TIP #11: Bring a pack of sticky notes in your luggage. You'll be able to communicate with your room steward if you want anything (towels, pillows, ice, etc.) by hanging a sticky note on the mirror. Negatives of the trip: The safe in our room malfunctioned on 4 of the 7 days. We would have to call and have someone come up to reset it so that it could be opened again. By comparison, the safe in my brother's room worked fine the entire trip. I'm speculating ours had a faulty battery which frequently caused an error message. Another negative was the foul smell in almost all of the elevators in the mid and rear banks of the ship. Thankfully, the ride in the elevators is typically quick and fresh air is just around the corner. Other Thoughts: The children went to the kids crew facility once during the cruise (1st sea day). The girls liked it. However, my brother's son didn't have as much fun. Thankfully, the kids (12, 10, & 8) agreed that they would rather stay in the state room while the parents played on board (casino, bars, etc.). The kids were able to watch movies (avatar, harry potter, percy Jackson, the princess & the frog, the mall cop, etc.). They also had fun ordering free room service while the parents were away. The service in all the dining facilities was excellent. Same goes for our room steward. He made sure to call us by name each time we crossed paths. Also, as you cross paths with other workers in the halls, they always made sure to make eye contact and say hello or some other nice gesture. I was worried that the construction on deck 12 would be within earshot of our room on deck 11. Thankfully, we didn't hear any construction sounds. We were able to take afternoon naps and didn't experience any troubles with sounds coming through the walls / ceilings. Overall we had an excellent time and we enjoyed the flexibility of freestyle dining. We are looking forward to future trips with NCL.

STAR to Alaska for Group of 7 - Lengthy

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by knotgillty

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2010
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
My wife and I & our two girls (12 / 8) sailed on the Star the week of July 10, 2010. We stayed in room 11066 AF mini suite. We were joined by my brother, his wife, and their son (10). They also stayed in an adjoining AF mini suite.
Day 1: Embarkation was a breeze. We showed our e-docs, had our picture taken and room card created, and waited for approximately 20 minutes before they allowed us to board the ship. We had a lot of bottled soda in the carry-on and I thought they would open the baggage after it went through the x-ray machine to verify if it was alcohol, but they didn't bother and we continued onto the ship. After boarding the ship we went to the front of the ship on deck 12 (poolside) to enjoy a few drinks of the day along with a bucket of beer. After building an appetite, we went to the Versailles dining room for lunch. 80% of the Versailles tables were open and we had a nice quiet lunch as compared to those who went elsewhere on the boat to eat their first meal.
After going to the room and unpacking, we were able to meet our room steward. I immediately handed him a $20 and told him the girls were looking forward to towel animals each night. I also mentioned that I needed extra ice every day. He saw my football helmet bucket of beer and told me to leave the helmet in the room when I was done and he would fill it with extra ice each day. Needless to say, we always had a ton of ice in the room. By about the 4th day he was filling two helmets and a standard ice bucket twice each day. The extra ice was used to make mixed drinks on the balcony at our leisure along with cold sodas for the girls. Nothing beats lounging in your room or on your balcony with a cocktail in your hand, watching the Alaskan scenery go by. By the way, excluding the 1st night, we received towel animals every evening of the trip (monkey, swan, elephant, mouse, and two bunnies). It was always nice to come back to the room after an evening of fun to find some silly animal sitting on your bed or hanging from the ceiling.
After unpacking on day 1, we took the kids up to the main pool where they could swim. The adults enjoyed the live poolside music and more drinks as the ship sailed away from port.
Dinner the 1st night was at the Versailles main dining room. The food was good and we all found things we enjoyed. While the main dining rooms do not offer 5 star meals, you can order as much of everything you want and there is a wide variety of selections. We had 7 members in our party and we never had to make reservations in the main dining rooms. The longest we waited was maybe three minutes to be seated. However, we did make reservations for the evenings we ate in the specialty restaurants (cagneys, le bistro, teppanyaki, and la cucina).
The casino opened around 8:30pm on day 1 and we played cards until about midnight.
TIP #1: Eat in the main dining room for lunch the first day to avoid the congestion on deck.
DAY 2: We ate at the buffet for breakfast. The buffet breakfast food did not excite us too much. Eating food that is mass produced, and then placed under a heat lamp where it sometimes sits for extended periods, results in a mediocre tasting experience. The buffet breakfast is OK for a quick bite if you need to eat fast. But you will receive a far better experience and food quality by eating breakfast in one of the main dining rooms.
After breakfast we signed up for the Poker tournament as well as the blackjack tournament. I didn't win either one but had fun.
In the afternoon we again went poolside and enjoyed some drinks while the kids played on the slides and swam. We tried the buffet for lunch with better results than breakfast. Although, the only buffet desert we all agreed was good were the cookies (and we tried many desserts). The kids liked the ice cream from the ice cream machine.
Before dinner, the ladies went to the margarita tasting. They were feeling pretty groovy before dinner started. Dinner the 2nd night was at the Aqua main dining room. It has the same menu as Versailles, but is a little more laid back (not as fancy). Dinner was good. We ended the night in the casino playing more cards before retiring back to the room a little after midnight for a nightcap on the balcony where we watched the faint glow (sunset) on the horizon. Gotta love those Alaskan summer nights.
TIP # 2: You can find the famous NCL pretzel rolls in the buffet during lunch. On the Star, you can find the small round pretzel rolls near the front of the buffet. But if you go to the rear right portion of the buffet (starboard side) you'll find the bun sized pretzel rolls. These oversized rolls are perfect for making sandwiches or for hot dogs. They were a hit with our entire group and can only be found on NCL.
DAY 3: We woke up in Ketchikan. We shopped in town and then went to the lumberjack show. It was entertaining and a good family value. Getting back onto the ship was quick. After getting back onto the ship we sat on our room balcony and enjoyed multiple afternoon cocktails while looking at the marina and people watching.
For dinner we ate at our first specialty restaurant (Cagneys). The entire meal from appetizer to desert was absolutely outstanding. The steaks were perfect, the Alaskan king crab was killer, and everything else was mouth watering. The kids (& adults too) loved the Cagneys Fries. A nice variation to the traditional French fry. The 3 kids were only charged ½ price in all of the specialty restaurants which was nice as they all ordered multiple things off the main menus.
TIP#3: Kids can order off a kids menu at any of the dining venues (instead of the main menu). Our youngest daughter (8) rarely found something from the adult menu and instead was allowed to order mac-n-cheese, pizza, chicken fingers, etc. Since they didn't give us kids menus, we had to ask.
DAY 4: Today we woke up in Juneau. The wife went shopping in port. The Star was the 3rd cruise ship in port and because of this, if you went to town you had to take a short bus ride. I stayed on board and played ping pong while the kids swam.
We all (7 of us) booked the catamaran tour of the glacier. If you can only book one trip on the Star to Alaska, this is the one to do! The catamaran departed at 12:30 and we spent the next 6 hours getting up close & personal to icebergs, whales, seals, waterfalls, eagles, and glaciers. The catamaran has two inside levels for warmth and a 3rd level for outside viewing which is used while the boat is stopped or slowly moving. You can also order cooked food and drinks on board. We literally got to within 20 feet of two huge whales and watched them for a long time as they swam just under the surface right next to the boat. This area is one of the most beautiful, alluring places on Earth and being able to get up close to this beauty is something that can only be done on a smaller vessel. If you want to feel the true depth of beauty, the rawness of Mother Nature, you will be overwhelmed. We saw people tear up from the beauty. Words can not do justice for the catamaran experience. We felt sorry for everyone on the cruise ship. Also, we got right up to the glacier and watched it for about 90 minutes as pieces fell into the water. The cruise ship was sitting like a mile from the glacier, behind us, as it could not navigate through the ice to get up close. We also got to go into Fords Terror on the catamaran. According to the speaker, it was the first time they had gone into that area. We arrived to the Fords Terror right at high tide and were able to get over the sandbar and navigated through a small waterway with huge mountains on either side. Stunning scenery to say the least. The catamaran also provided binoculars to everyone on board. The catamaran cruised back to the cruise ship about 6:30pm and tied off to it in the middle of the bay to let the passengers back on the Star. Tracy Arm is one of the
Dinner on day 4 was at Le Bistro which was outstanding. I ordered the lobster tail and it was a large portion that was to die for. The chocolate fondue for dessert at Le Bistro is a must order item as they carve out a pineapple, fill it with various pieces of fruit (banana, pineapple, strawberries, melon, etc.), and then place a cast iron bucket on the table filled full of molten chocolate to dip the fruit into.
TIP #4: Spend the extra money and take the catamaran tour to the glacier! It was the highlight of our trip to Alaska.
TIP #5: Get the Pineapple fondue for two if you go to Le Bistro.
Day 5: Today we woke up to Skagway. We booked the White Pass excursion (round trip). The train leaves right from the dock which is nice. If you are only doing a train trip to the top of the mountain, and a bus trip back down, then sit on the left side of the train for the best views. If you are doing the round trip on the train, it does a loop at the top of the mountain and the right side will have the best views on the way back to the ship. The train trip was a good value and there were plenty of great sites to see along the way. I forgot my video camera on board the ship and this put my attitude in the gutter during the train trip as this was the only port I did not take video.
It was windy and rainy when the train arrived back at the ship and we didn't feel like walking through the elements back into town so we headed back to the ship, ate a good lunch in the blue lagoon, and had more cocktails on the balcony of our room. I had numerous double cocktails to take away my 'forgetting the video camera in port blues' and the strong drinks seemed to put me back into my happy place. We ate dinner at Teppanyaki (think Benihana style). The dinner entertainment by the cooks was excellent and the kids had a wonderful time watching the antics. After dinner my brother and I played 3 card poker and had a great time in the casino. The ladies and kids went to the chocoholic buffet and were disappointed with what they tasted. They said most of it was worthless taste wise. The sights were beautiful and they made some cool sculptures from chocolate, but I was told most of the items they tasted were not very good. I did not attend.
TIP #6: If you take the roundtrip white pass train excursion, the best views on the way up are on the left, and the best views on the way back are on the right side. Since the train does a loop & turns around at the top of the mountain, the back of the train (closest to the ship in the morning) will be the furthest from the ship when you return. This is good if you plan on shopping after the train ride as the walk is much shorter to town. However, we boarded late and all the rail cars closest to the ship were full. We had to walk a distance to get a seat near the front of the train (2nd rail car out of like 30). This actually turned out to be a blessing when we returned back to the ship because it was raining and our long morning walk to board the train meant that we ended up being closest to the ship on the afternoon return. This made for an easy & quick walk back to the ship through the rain.
Day 6: We woke up to beautiful views outside our balcony (again) and just lounged around since we did not dock in Prince Rupert until late afternoon. After eating a yummy breakfast in the main dining room, we hung out and played a little bingo. Once we docked in Prince Rupert, we left the ship and made the mistake of going up the hill where the shopping consisted of a mall. If I wanted to go to a regular mall, I can do that at home. So we walked back down to the ship and shopped in the 4 or 5 small shops right next to the Star at the bottom of the town. Prince Rupert is relatively small and we did not find a lot to do. Our excursion was cancelled because of a lack of participation so we just shopped. The ladies found a craft fair and enjoyed that while the guys briefly shopped and then returned to the ship. I did get some great video of an eagle that was sitting on a roof top (about 30 feet away) eating a pigeon. That was really cool. There were several eagle nests nearby and 4 or 5 eagles were always close to us at the bottom of town. After boarding the ship we got a table at La Cucina and ate a wonderful Italian meal. The kids loved the pizza and lasagna and the adults enjoyed the various pastas. My wife said the tira misu at La Cucina was the best she's ever had. This says a lot since it is her favorite dessert. After dinner the ladies & kids went to the ventriloquist show while the men went to the casino for more cards & roulette. The ladies said the show was great and the kids liked it too.
TIP#7: Prince Rupert has a few touristy souvenir type shops near the boat at the waters edge of the marina. Make sure you don't make the uphill walk away from the marina unless you want to shop at a typical mall, the likes of which you can find at home.
DAY 7: Today was a sea day as we return back to Seattle tomorrow. We ate in the main dining room for breakfast again as to avoid the morning buffet (which is disappointing). After a yummy breakfast we simply hung out all day (swimming, gambling, drinking, and bingo). We did room service again for lunch. Cagneys was our favorite speciality restaurant and we ate there for a 2nd time on the last night of the cruise. As usual, the dinner was fabulous.
TIP#8: Room service is free. You can place a call and have food delivered to your cabin within 45 minutes (average for us was about 20 minutes). However, the only warm breakfast food you can get with room service is an egg omelet but it is far superior to the eggs / omelet found in the buffet. The lunch/dinner fare is more extensive on the room service menu. The hamburgers, BLT, and omelets served by room service are great! Remember to tip a few dollars to the staff member who brings food to your room. They appreciate the tip. DAY 8: Disembarkation is a breeze if you either carry your luggage off manually, or have the ship send your luggage to the airport (for a $20 charge per person). We chose this last option and on the last day of the cruise our boarding passes were delivered to our room along with the proper luggage tags to send our luggage from the ship, directly back to our hometown airport. This was very simple and worth every penny in my opinion as we were able to disembark from the ship at any time we wanted, we didn't have to wait in the luggage lines at the ship, we didn't have to stand in line at the airport to check in our luggage, and we were able to just walk through the airport security, with our pre-printed boarding passes, directly to our flight terminal.
TIP # 9: The scenery along the inside passage of Alaska is amazing. Bring binoculars. We used them daily from our balcony.
TIP #10: Buckets of beer were buy 5 & get 1 free. Most of the time they came in a football helmet filled with ice. A bottle opener was included which you can keep. Budweiser products came in 16 ounce bottles which was nice. In reality, we paid for 5 beers and got 3 free due to the extra 4 ounces in each bottle. Getting buckets of beer, instead of individual beers, will save you some $$$ in the long run.
TIP #11: Bring a pack of sticky notes in your luggage. You'll be able to communicate with your room steward if you want anything (towels, pillows, ice, etc.) by hanging a sticky note on the mirror. Negatives of the trip: The safe in our room malfunctioned on 4 of the 7 days. We would have to call and have someone come up to reset it so that it could be opened again. By comparison, the safe in my brother's room worked fine the entire trip. I'm speculating ours had a faulty battery which frequently caused an error message.
Another negative was the foul smell in almost all of the elevators in the mid and rear banks of the ship. Thankfully, the ride in the elevators is typically quick and fresh air is just around the corner.
Other Thoughts: The children went to the kids crew facility once during the cruise (1st sea day). The girls liked it. However, my brother's son didn't have as much fun. Thankfully, the kids (12, 10, & 8) agreed that they would rather stay in the state room while the parents played on board (casino, bars, etc.). The kids were able to watch movies (avatar, harry potter, percy Jackson, the princess & the frog, the mall cop, etc.). They also had fun ordering free room service while the parents were away.
The service in all the dining facilities was excellent. Same goes for our room steward. He made sure to call us by name each time we crossed paths. Also, as you cross paths with other workers in the halls, they always made sure to make eye contact and say hello or some other nice gesture.
I was worried that the construction on deck 12 would be within earshot of our room on deck 11. Thankfully, we didn't hear any construction sounds. We were able to take afternoon naps and didn't experience any troubles with sounds coming through the walls / ceilings. Overall we had an excellent time and we enjoyed the flexibility of freestyle dining. We are looking forward to future trips with NCL.
knotgillty’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
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Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11066
Our 11th floor AF mini suite was great. The bathroom had a shower / tub along with a separate door you could close for the toilet. The balcony was a little larger that a regular balcony and we even sat 4 adults out there on several occasions for cigars and drinks. Plenty of closet space, drawers next to the bed, and drawers in the desk in the hallway. Entertainment center with a smallish TV, mini bar fridge, safe, and phone. Couch also folded out into a bed and both our girls (12 / 8) slept there comfortably each night.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins