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NCL Pearl Alaskan Cruises


Warm Breezes

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We are looking a booking the NCL Pearl Alaskan cruise Summer 2013. This will be our 10th cruise (3rd on NCL after Jewel and Epic). First cruise without teens and first cruise to Alaska. We will be traveling with BIL and SIL (their 1st cruise) for their 30th Anniversary and our 25th Anniversary.

 

I would like to get your opinions on the cruise and any suggestions of what to see/do and not to miss? Your input is appreciated.

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We went to Alaska on the Pearl last summer and had a fabulous time. It was our second time on the Pearl and we like her so much we're booked on the Pearl again this fall.

Our favorite free thing to do was watching the glaciers. We had a helo trip scheduled for Juneau, but the weather didn't cooperate and it was cancelled. But we had a good time anyway. We ate crab at Tracy's crab shack, which was fabulous. Then my daughters and I went shopping while my husband read his Kindle while drinking beers in a bar.

In Skagway we did ziplining. The views were beautiful and we had a lot of fun

In Ketchikan we charted a fishing boat. I can't remember the captain's name, but he was terrific. My older daughter wasn't planning on fishing, but after she saw her younger sister bring in a salmon she decided to try it. She also reeled in a fish and a good time was had by all.

In Victoria we went to Butchart gardens. It was my second time there and I think it's not to be missed. The only thing that could have made the trip to the gardens better is if the bus driver had kept her mouth shut. She blathered on endlessly.

You'll have a great time!

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We went to Alaska on the Pearl last summer and had a fabulous time. It was our second time on the Pearl and we like her so much we're booked on the Pearl again this fall.

Our favorite free thing to do was watching the glaciers. We had a helo trip scheduled for Juneau, but the weather didn't cooperate and it was cancelled. But we had a good time anyway. We ate crab at Tracy's crab shack, which was fabulous. Then my daughters and I went shopping while my husband read his Kindle while drinking beers in a bar.

In Skagway we did ziplining. The views were beautiful and we had a lot of fun

In Ketchikan we charted a fishing boat. I can't remember the captain's name, but he was terrific. My older daughter wasn't planning on fishing, but after she saw her younger sister bring in a salmon she decided to try it. She also reeled in a fish and a good time was had by all.

In Victoria we went to Butchart gardens. It was my second time there and I think it's not to be missed. The only thing that could have made the trip to the gardens better is if the bus driver had kept her mouth shut. She blathered on endlessly.

You'll have a great time!

 

Did you book your excursions on your own or through the ship? I think my BIL and DH would love the fishing one and SIL is an avid gardener and would like the trip to the gardens. BIL and SIL have taken very few "vacations". They have a seasonal trailer set up for summer camping...which IMHO is not a "vacation". They have been saving up for this vacation for years and a cruise to Alaska is their dream vacation. They want us to go with them since we are seasoned cruisers (and they get along with us :D). DH and I would love to show them a good time. I think they are going to leave all the planing up to me so I'd like to gather as much info as possible to make some good suggestions.

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I booked independently. I had to go to the Alaska forum to get the name of the fishing charter. It was with Ken at Northern Lights. You would not be disappointed. If you can afford it i would recommend chartering the whole boat for your party. It makes for a better experience

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We did this cruise a few years back, booked a balcony, spent alot of time watching the beautiful sites!

We booked the whale watching and the train thru NCL but if we did it again we would book on our own, cheaper!

Juneau we had heavy rain, Skagway was sunny and warm and we hiked alot! Ketchican was light mist but we still walked around and beat the crowds to the shopping, the fish and eagle hacthery and the toteum poles.

 

Weather is the concern, it rained so hard for our whale watching we couldn't see a thing but we saw plenty of whales from our balcony!

 

The train in Skagway was very nice, my husband is a history buff so he really enjoyed it

 

The reason for this trip was Glaicer Bay and it was a perfect day, light clouds with no rain made for great picture taking! Cold but no wind.

 

Have a great time!

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Have done the Alaska cruise and been on the Pearl but not same time. Loved Alaska. If you can afford and weather permitting the helocopter ride/ landing on glacier- do it! Mom and I loved it. Alaska is beautiful. Just looking while cruising is a fabulous vacation. Victoria is fabulous. It wasnt a port for us but we did take the ferry over prior to cruising. Great people and weather (when we went). I'm sure you will love it.

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Love Alaska! We've been twice (once on the Pearl) and just booked again to go in May on the Jewel.

 

What sort of things are you interested in? Sightseeing or more active activities? There's lots of stuff to do in Alaska, with all different activity levels. Ziplining and hiking aren't my thing, but I love the chance to see wildlife up close, so we tend to focus on tours that provide that option.

 

My "don't miss" excursion is whale watching in Juneau. We prefer going with Harv & Marv, who use small boats that only hold 6 passengers, but there are lots of other independent options as well as the one you can book through the ship. In Skagway we enjoyed the train ride (did the longest one that goes by Lake Bennett), and have also driven to Emerald Lake. In Ketchikan we did a boat ride to Misty Fjords, as I haven't found enough courage or money to do a small plane or helicopter excursion, and also did a tour of the totem pole parks.

 

Glacier Bay is beautiful. Make sure you take plenty of clothes to layer with, including a waterproof top layer in case of rain -- and have a wonderful time!

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We were on the Star last year R/T Seattle. Had a blast. So much so that we have booked the Sun for 2013.

 

In Ketchikan we just walked around. Went to some of the local artist shops, walked down Creek Street and ate lunch at the Pirate place.

 

In Juneau we took the Helicopter Glacier Walkabout. It was wonderful. We walked on the glacier for about 45-1 hr.

 

In Skagway we took the Yukon Jeep excursion that went to Carcross in Canada. Beautiful views and lots of great photo ops.

 

The Star stopped in Prince Rupert, which is no longer an option but we just walked around the quaint town.

 

Hope you have fun. We booked our excursions through NCL last time, but im planning to do independent this time around

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We are looking a booking the NCL Pearl Alaskan cruise Summer 2013. This will be our 10th cruise (3rd on NCL after Jewel and Epic). First cruise without teens and first cruise to Alaska. We will be traveling with BIL and SIL (their 1st cruise) for their 30th Anniversary and our 25th Anniversary.

 

I would like to get your opinions on the cruise and any suggestions of what to see/do and not to miss? Your input is appreciated.

 

Congratulations on your dual anniversaries, what a wonderful way to celebrate! The Pearl is a wonderful ship and I hope you enjoy her as much as DH and I do.

 

If you get the opportunity, book at least a balcony or a Haven suite. The Havens are not to be missed (with all the perks). Either one is great for viewing the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay or Sawyer Glacier.

 

In Juneau, if you get the chance, head over to Mendenhall Glacier. It is absolutely beautiful and it is humbling to hear how fast it is receiding.

 

I'm sure you will get great ideas on what to see and do, but regardless, enjoy your cruise to Alaska. You won't be sorry!

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We are looking a booking the NCL Pearl Alaskan cruise Summer 2013. This will be our 10th cruise (3rd on NCL after Jewel and Epic). First cruise without teens and first cruise to Alaska. We will be traveling with BIL and SIL (their 1st cruise) for their 30th Anniversary and our 25th Anniversary.

 

I would like to get your opinions on the cruise and any suggestions of what to see/do and not to miss? Your input is appreciated.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip last September... here's a link to my review, http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=89510

 

Enjoy your trip!

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My family and I went to Alaska on the Pearl in August of 2010 - it was our first cruise and we loved it! I wrote a mini review of our trip - we were on a budget, so it may seem a bit different than the usual "suite life" /Cagney's type of reviews but we had a fabulous time just the same.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1264553

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We've done Alaska twice, once on the Pearl, and I LOVED the Pearl. Was the trip that I really fell in love with cruising.

 

We had whale watching canceled on both trips in Juneau - bad weather both times. We went in September both times so bad weather wasn't much of a surprise, it being one of the last cruises of the season. So we just walked around town, did a little shopping, stopped and had a hot mocha, bought some REALLY good fudge.

 

Ketchikan - loved walking up Creek Street, and following the stream up to where the Salmon spawn. That was so interesting. Very much like it was back in the day.

 

Skagway - for us the Gold Coast Train was SO interesting. The guides just did an excellent job. I didn't know much of the real history of that before, so I was fascinated.

 

And the glaciers are always just amazing.

 

Have a wonderful time. We didn't have a balcony on either trip, I would love to do it with a balcony.

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For me, May/June over September any time. We've been once in May and once in June,and are going again in May. The weather tends to be drier earlier in the season, but for me, the biggest advantage is the longer daylight hours. There's also the added advantage of still having snow on the tops of the mountains.

 

My only reason for going later in the season -- and it would probably be late July or early August, is to be there when the salmon are spawning so we can see the bears.

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Thanks everyone for sharing experiences and giving me some great ideas. It looks like I will have a lot research to do. This sounds like it will be a great adventure. I told DH that I wouldn't look at anything less than a balcony for this type of cruise. I would love more information on the helicopter tours. That would be one I would love to do. I know DH and BIL would like the Fishing Tours. Are the whale watching tours worth it or will we see a lot of whales from our balconies? We did the whale watching tour on our cruise to Halifax and didn't see a thing.

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You may see some whales from your balcony -- but there's a big difference in seeing them from 10+ decks up, and being in a small boat where you're close to the water. I know Harv & Marv's advertises that they've had 100% success in seeing whales for the last several years, and I think it's similar for the other whale watching operators in Juneau.

 

When we went out whale watching in May, 2007, we had one breech right by our boat -- before anyone even had their cameras out. We saw several others, including a mom and baby, and could even hear the sound of them blowing. It honestly is my favorite shore excursion from any of our cruises.

 

PS -- We also went whale watching in Halifax, and were lucky enough to see a couple of whales, but they're not as big as the humpbacks in Alaska.

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Here is a spot where I got loads of information about the various AK ports

http://cruiseportinsider.com/index.html

 

They include temp, rainfall, and sunlight averages for each month.

 

I have been to AK twice (9 and 10 yrs ago on the Sky) both times in mid-late June had real nice weather in all ports - going again in late June - keeping my fingers crossed about the weather.

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I suggest, before you get focused on a ship, find out about Alaska, the areas, glaciers, ports. Round trip Seattle is the least scenic sailing itinerary, also has the roughest potential. Take a look at port times, some itineraries are better than others. Be certain- you have the time to do your activities of interest, so, also- look at how you wish to occupy your time in port. Budget fully for touring, it is over half your trip. :) Do NOT expect big savings booking independent.

 

Next year, NCL is finally entering the one way market. They have, what I consider a top choice itinerary on their northbound sailing. Just superb port times, and Glacier Bay and Hubbard scenic sailing. If there is any interest in extending time, another week seeing the interior is excellent.

 

I have sailed all the regular cruiselines now sailing Alaska, except Disney. You can find some point, good, about all of them. Key is to find the entire itinerary that is right for you.

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Thanks everyone for sharing experiences and giving me some great ideas. It looks like I will have a lot research to do. This sounds like it will be a great adventure. I told DH that I wouldn't look at anything less than a balcony for this type of cruise. I would love more information on the helicopter tours. That would be one I would love to do. I know DH and BIL would like the Fishing Tours. Are the whale watching tours worth it or will we see a lot of whales from our balconies? We did the whale watching tour on our cruise to Halifax and didn't see a thing.

 

My family sailed on the Pearl in May 2010 the week before Memorial day. It was beautiful weather all week:) Temps were hitting 80 degrees while we were in port, not normal for Alaska we were told, but I guess we hit the right week! This was by far our most favorite cruise we have taken! Loved the beautiful sights that you see everywhere.

 

We toured Mendenhal Glacier which was breathtaking & well worth the visit.

 

I too would highly recommend Ken at Northern Lights for a fishing trip in Ketchikan. My whole family loved our day wih Ken. He picked us up right at the pier we were docked. You'll love it & save money over trying to book fishing thru the ship:D

 

In Skagway I would highly recommend the White Pass & Yukon railway trip. We booked this thru the ship & did panning for gold after the train ride. Truly spectacular views on the ride up into the mountains. If you keep your eyes peeled you might even see some bears.

 

Whatever you decide to do, you are going to love Alaska. Enjoy your cruise. BTW don't miss your chance to buy an Alaskan Ulu knife. My DW loves hers & uses it to cut up everything I the kitchen.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our trip last September... here's a link to my review, http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=89510

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

Thanks for the great review. We always grab water before we go so your Seattle "walk to" information was great. It's been years since we traveled to Seattle but we only plan to spend the night before the cruise.

 

Warm Breezes --Hope you enjoy your anniversary cruise! We already booked the Pearl for May 2013. I wanted to take advantage of some of the discounts.

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I booked independently. I had to go to the Alaska forum to get the name of the fishing charter. It was with Ken at Northern Lights. You would not be disappointed. If you can afford it i would recommend chartering the whole boat for your party. It makes for a better experience

 

What did you do with the fish you caught? I know they will process and ship the fish for you, but I'd hate for fish to show up at my house before I got home. :)

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We cruised Alaska on the Pearl in June last year and have booked the same cabin for September 2013.

 

Our favorite place on the ship was the Spinikar Lounge on sea days. Relaxing on the wonderful lounges, drink in hand and looking for whales. Could not beat it.

 

In Ketchinkan we took a Duck Tour which was a lot of fun and we got to see the main part of toen and the harbour. Privately booked.

 

In Juneau we did Mendinhall Glacier and then a Salmon Bake and this was a great day that made us feel a part of the Alaskan culture. Privately booked.

 

In Skaway (my favorite place) we took a tour with Dawson Dolly Wildlife Tours. I would highly recommend this tour for some fun where you go out looking for wildlife. Privately booked. We then had lunch of Alaskan King Crab at the Fish Company.

 

In Victoria we went for a walk around the harbour. Lots of street entertainers and food stalls. We purchased hop on hop off bus tickets from the ship for this.

 

Glacier Bay was the best day, Glaciers calving, gliding through ice and a commentary by the ranger. I recommend ordering a hot chocolate, with or without additives, as the cup is great and you can keep it as a wonderful souvenir.

 

Enjoy your cruise as I am sure you will. Before I cruised Alaska I could not understand people wanting to go a second time but once you had Alaska you have to go back. lol

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