Any opinions as to the two or are they basically the same?
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Thanks for the comments. The first cruise my husband and I ever went on was Alaska on the Sky. We didn't do any excursions, just walked around the port towns where the ship stopped. Even without excursions, it's still my favorite cruise ever. I enjoyed just sitting and seeing the scenery go by and watching the weather change.Onour first AK cruise (on the Sky as well) we did one tour in Juneau - Mendenhall & Whale watching combo, two in Skagway - a horseback ride and the iron horse ride , none in Ketchican and Beauchart Gardens in Victoria. On the second trip we had our teenage kids with us and did similar excursions. Next June we will have my mother-in-law with us - first time crusier who has seen most of the AK interior but not the SW. My wife plans on simply relaxing and/or walking around the towns shopping. I have one tour planned in Skagway - riding the train to Carcross and taking the bus back. When things get closer, and NCL publishes the excursions for 2012 I will bring my MIL up to speed. She is not a hard core web surfer, but she knows her way around in cyberspace.
I enjoy the whole shipboard experience, booking a suite and being spoiled, dining in the specialty restaurants, taking advantage of activities... so that's why I wondered if there was any difference shipwise. But it sounds as though there isn't (a climbing wall isn't a selling point for me ).
Glacier Bay was fantastic on our last trip though, so I think I am probably going to choose the Pearl.
We are going on the Jewel the last weekend in May, and while Prince Rupert may have been a stop for the Star is is most definiitely not a port we will be visiting on the Jewel it is replacing...Yeah, the Pearl's itinerary without much daylight time in Victoria is a negative, and the Jewel's fewer hours in Skagway is its downside. But then again I think Jewel has a better port day for Ketchican. Arghhh! I think Sawyer vs. Glacier Bay is going to have to be the deciding factor though I guess I'd better study the excursions to be sure and that $800 less for Jewel surely is significant.
The Jewel will have much nicer hours (read: mostly daylight) in Victoria, but less hours than the Pearl in Skagway. And of course you have the Sawyer Glacier (decent, not great) with the Jewel and Glacier Bay (can be very nice, 5 glaciers all together) on the Pearl.
Tracy Arm, of course, is another nice perk you will want to factor in for your planning...