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Extensive review (with pictures) of NCL Pearl to Alaska July 28, 2013


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"Ok, here it is folks..my review of our Amazing cruise on the Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. First I need to say that we had GREAT weather, all the research I did trying to figure out what to pack, or how cold it was going to be was for NOT. It was Sunny Blue sky's everyday except one, and that was Ketchikan. But..it didn't rain, it was just cloudy, so that's ok.


Let me start from the beginning. My DH & I flew to Seattle from Pittsburgh, our flights couldn't have been any smoother. We arrived in Seattle a little early I called our Car service "Seattles Best Car Service" and they were there at the curb in literally 5 minutes. Enos (driver's name) was hard to understand, but he was very friendly. The Town Car was older, but well kept. So we were more than happy with their service. Before we knew it, we were at the busy streets of Pike Market. Enos wiggled the car into the drop off area at The Inn at the Market, we tipped him and he said he would pick us up the next morning to take us to pier 66. Seattles Best Car Service has what I think is a pretty good deal. You can be picked up at Seatac & taken to your Hotel, then picked up at your hotel and taken to the pier and again picked up at the pier and taken to Seatac for $90. I thought that was a pretty good deal, so I booked them. So far so good.


The Inn at the Market...what a nice hotel. Yes the building is old, but once your inside you can tell it is very well kept. The check in girls were friendly and helpful, and there was always someone asking if we needed anything. We had a City View room, which was ok for us. We didn't need a room with views of the Puget Sound. Ya, it would have been nice, but not necessary. I feel the need to point out that with a city view room, you also get a lot of noise from the streets below. It really didn't bother us to much, but I know for some this would be a big distraction. The Patio roof top sitting area was a very nice touch. The view of Seattle both day and night was a sight to see from the patio, and it was very relaxing.


That night DH and I walked around the Market, then we decided to walk down the the "Great Wheel".


Again like I said we had GREAT weather, so riding the Wheel was a must do with such sunny and blue skies. We ended up doubling up with another couple that was from Akron OH. We talked about living in the Eastern part of the country and how it was both our Anniversaries. They also said, that there were very few days in Seattle that you can see Mt. Rainier so clearly. So we were happy to get some good pictures.


After the Great Wheel, we road the Ferry to Bainbridge Island because my DH wanted to check out the Clearwater Casino. It was a nice way to view the Puget Sound. It only cost $7 roundtrip, and the casino offered a free shuttle to and from the Ferry. We were there a few hours, DH won $250, the sun was starting to set, so I wanted to head back. I figured from the Ferry I could get some really good pictures of the sunset and Seattle at Dusk and I was right.



The Ferry ride back was nice and a little chilly. But as you can see we had wonderful views. The Ferry's themselves, we also very nice, clean and BIG.

I am happy we choose to do this. Even though I didn't win a dime at the Casino.

Now before I take a break, I feel I should add that DH and I walked back to The Inn at the Market. It was about 10pm and when we started out the streets had lots of patrons walking to and fro. But by the time we got to the Hotel, we were a single couple walking among some scary looking people. We should have taken a cab from the Ferry, and next time we'll know better. But just thought I should mention this for people that are thinking of doing the same as we did. It was a great idea, we enjoyed it and got to see a lot of Seattle..but Def taking a cab next time. Be back later with more :)

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Enjoyed your photos, even though we live across the Sound from Seattle and see Mt Rainier almost every day -- if it isn't raining, that is!:cool:


That night shot of Seattle was great. It makes me wonder why we are excited about going to New York, when we have a skyline like that!:)

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Enjoyed your photos, even though we live across the Sound from Seattle and see Mt Rainier almost every day -- if it isn't raining, that is!:cool:


That night shot of Seattle was great. It makes me wonder why we are excited about going to New York, when we have a skyline like that!:)


I have to agree with you..the skyline view of Seattle from the Ferry was amazing! Here's another one :eek:


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So after a really good night sleep, my DH and went and visited the Pike Market again. We ate a Yummy nut roll (can't remember the name of the place we bought it?) There are plenty of places to grab either a large breakfast or a quick bite. We walked the couple blocks up to the Monorail. On the way we were approached by a young man that wanted a donation to be able to continue his poetry writing. DH gave him $5 and he scurried away. If you get to the Space Needle before 9am it's a little cheaper to go up and we just made it, 8:50am. It was a little cloudy in the morning, but the views were still very nice.




Since we live on a Large Farm, DH spied the large ship loading Grain bin's. He was impressed with the size.



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I had told Enos (Seattles Best Car Service) to pick us up at 11am to take us to the pier. But since we went to the Space Needle in did some extra sight seeing, I called them in the am in requested them to pick us up at noon, "not a problem" they said. Like the woman that I am...we got back to the Inn earlier that expected, so again I called "Seattles Best Car Service" and requested another time chance, pick up at 11:30 am instead of noon. Again no problem, Enos picked us up promptly at 11:28 am. We made the short drive to pier 66, and it was already packed.

Since this is our 1st time sailing with NCL, we were solely going by reviews that I read here on CC on what Suite Guest do once they arrive at the pier. The lines were already long, so I approached a NCL representative and stated we were VIP. She claimed we were in the correct line, I was like "NO WAY"! So I pointed at my luggage tags and repeated that we were VIP, and she directed us to another NCL Rep, that Rep checked to see it our names were on the Suite list, and since they were..we were quickly wisked away to the priority line. MY, my, my was I impressed with NCL VIP priority embarkation. We were introduced to our Concierge Patrick, and Butler Dilip, which were very good through out the whole cruise. I think that I need to mention that this was DH 1st cruise, and I have sailed Carnival 4X prior. DH was so impressed asked me who I knew that we got to skip the lines and get personally escorted onto the ship straight to Cagneys lol. Anyway, we ate a very nice meal at Cagney's, walked around a bit and around 1:00 pm went to see if our cabin, Aft Penthouse SF 9670 was ready. Low and behold it was.




I loved the Flowers! The room was very nice and spacious, with lots of closet space. The bed was SO COMFY, and I fell in love with the pillows. The Balcony was also nice and spacious, but it had 2 loungers, 2 wicker chairs and a small table. I felt the 2 loungers were a little much so I called Patrick and before I knew it, one was gone :). So that's where DH and I sat for the Sail away.


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Our muster drill was in the Lotus Garden, which I thought was odd, but it lasted a quick 10 minutes and we were off.

DH needed a nap, which would be one of his many many naps lol. I don't know how a man that can work 12 hrs a day, couldn't go without his daily 2-3 naps :confused:, anyway..while he napped I checked out the ship.IMG_2227_zpsefa9e901.jpgIMG_2218_zps508fbdba.jpgIMG_2508_zps807bcfde.jpg



The Pearl is a nice ship and the Staff takes Very good care of her.

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I feel the need to point out that there were a lot of activities that we didn't make it too. Some we just forgot about, but most it was because of our bad scheduling. These were...Deal or No Deal and Bingo. Never made it to either to play, even had raffle tickets I needed to hand in at bingo for a free cruise, and we still didn't make it. Trivia games in the Bliss Lounge..never made it. Karaoke in the Bliss Lounge..never made it. The Bowling Alley..didn't try it.


The first night was the Welcome Aboard Show and we went to the 7:00 pm show. It was good and entertaining. This is when you get your first introduction to Pedro the Cruise Director. He was very funny and fit his title well. He was quick with a joke, and accessible throughout the whole cruise. I like how NCL introduces their officers and tidbits of the entertainment you have a chance to see for the rest of the cruise. I thought that was a nice touch.


We walked around some more, trying to get the feel of the ship. Up on Deck we got a nice picture of the Sunsetting.




We were very tired. Jet lag was starting to set in, so we called it a night.

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Monday was a Sea Day. DH is an early riser, so we were up and ready for breakfast at 7am. We ate in Cagney's and of course it was Yummy and the coffee was delicious! Found out the ship offered Zumba at 9am and wished I had known :( because I didn't have the attire or shoe's to participate. I love Zumba..since January of this yr I have lost 50lbs doing Zumba :eek:..but oh well it's vacation so I will relax!


I need to correct myself. I said we had great weather and we did, but this sea day was VERY FOGGY! I mean..I don't know how these ships navigate threw such thick fog. So most of the day, we couldn't even see land.


Again, we just walked around. Went and checked out the Spinnaker Lounge and loved the way it's laid out and the funky seating.


We checked out the Casino and then went to the top deck and watched a 16 & under basketball tournament. I was glad to see so many young kids participating. Then back to the room for one of my DH many naps.

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Did I mention the Lavazza Cofffee in our suite? LOVED IT! Whenever DH had to take a nap, I would make myself a nice cup of coffee and sit on our aft balcony watching the wake and the beautiful scenery go by. (When it wasn't foggy that is)



Later we got dressed up, got our picture taken..(I took a picture of our picture lol)


Then went to the "Oh What a Night" show in the Stardust. WOW, can those guys sing! They were very good. After the show, we had a late reservation at Moderno Restaurant. And again WOW, the food was really good!


As you are probably getting the idea by now, DH is not a night owl. So after dinner, we called it a night. Here is one of the many little guys that greeted us every night.


And here is a picture of our Room Steward Roy. Again, like every other member of the staff we had met so far, he was great!


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Tuesday morning..again up early. DH wanted to try breakfast in the Garden Cafe. Oh boy, I am not a Golden Corral type person. If I even think about the breakfast food from my last cruise on the Carnival Freedom, I get the willies. I try not to be a fussy person, really I am NOT! So I went into the Garden Cafe expecting the worst. First, I kinda like the Washy Washy girls..they were always smiling and upbeat. Now for the food..DRUM ROLL PLEASE..it wasn't bad. Actually, I would say it was pretty good :eek: I know right!? I am also shocked! The Buffet get's such bad press all the time. The eggs were actual eggs, and the bacon was crisp. Coffee was also good. So two thumbs up NCL for a job well done. (at 7am it wasn't to crowded yet, so that helped)


Me and DH went to the Casino and entered the Slot Tournament for $15 each. At 10:30 am we picked our machines and came in 3rd & 4th. It was fun, and we plan to enter it again.


We arrived in Juneau around 2:00 pm and had an excursion planned for 2:45pm. I booked all our excursions thru the ship, because I liked the idea of having our tickets in hand and I felt less stress that way. All excursions booked with NCL met in the Stardust, and one by one they would be called and escorted out.


Our excursion for Juneau was the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake. Our bus driver looked like she was 14 yrs old, but she assured us she was old enough to drive. She was very friendly and gave nice info throughout the tour. Our 1st stop was at a Salmon Fish Hatchery. It was just ok. I felt like it was waisted time, and would have rather spent it at the glacier. But I guess it's good to inform tourist how important the Salmon are to Alaska. Then on to Mendenhall Glacier..which was amazing!


My only complaint...the amount of time we got to spend at the glacier. Let me explain...we had roughly an hour & 15 min to spend at the glacier. Anyone knows that if you are at Mendenhall Glacier, you HAVE to walk the path to Nugget Fall's...YOU HAVE TOO!! The ranger on duty pointed out the trail for us and explained that one way takes at least 20 minutes, we did the math and DH & I decided to go for it. WHAT A HIKE! But way worth it!


I am so glad that we made the trek, start to finish it only took us 60 minutes. It was all down hill on the way to the fall, but then uphill on the way back. Add that it was sunny and 80 degrees, equals to very sweaty people and DH needing a nap lol. Here is a picture of the falls from where the bus dropped us off. The falls we walked to is the small white speck on the right side of the picture. Still worth it though!


After the Glacier and Nugget Fall's, off to the Salmon Bake.


The food was Delicious and Yummy! We stayed about an hour then headed back into town. We were going to ride the Tram up Mt. Roberts, but I felt $33 a person was kinda steep, so we skipped it. We did some shopping and headed back to the ship.

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So we get back to the ship around 7:30 pm and DH had to take a nap :eek: I know this prob surprises everyone by now lol. I make my usual cup of delicious coffee and head for the balcony to watch the sail away from Juneau. The Jewel was in Juneau ahead of us today, and we got to watch her sail away.



This is Def one of my favorite pictures, I sent this to my kids at home and they said it was so pretty it looked fake. I have to agree, and I witnessed it in person.


More Balcony Time!



DH was super exhausted after the long hike to Nugget Falls. That left me to either miss the shows for the night or go by myself. So I got spiffed up, and went alone. There were two show's for the night, "That's Entertainment at 9:00 and Ventriloquist Michael Ziegfeld at 10:15 pm. I stayed for them both and glad I did. That's Entertainment was a tribute to all the classics, singers and dancers were excellent. Comedian Michael Ziegfeld was also extremely funny. His little puppets reminded me of Jeff Dunham, and yes he was that good. I debated on whether to go to the Casino after, because I really wasn't tired, but figured I better go check on DH. He was snoring away when I got back, so I sat on the balcony and relaxed...you guessed it, with a coffee in hand.

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Wednesday- Skagway....This was definitely our favorite stop. Again we were up early. We ate breakfast at the Garden Cafe, and yes, again it was good. We had two excursions today. The first one was a 3.5 hr White Pass Train ride.

Again we met in the Stardust Theatre and were called when our excursion was ready. The Train was right outside where we disembarked the ship. I am guessing that there were probably 15 rail cars that held at least 30 people each. Ours wasn't full, but almost. A young lady over a loud speaker narrated our ride the whole way up the mountain.


As you can see we had another Glorious Sunny Day, and the views were FANTASTIC!


My only complaint for the White Pass Train ride isn't the railway's fault. There is a little open area outside each rail car that has a railing around it, so you could easily go outside and take pictures. Well there were some people that wouldn't move and take turns. I mean..wouldn't move AT ALL! Literally had to lean over these people to get any good pictures :mad: COME ON PEOPLE WE PAID JUST LIKE YOU! Anyway...after awhile I figured if your not going to move, you better plan on me leaning on you and practically being in your face..which believe me, I was :D. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the amazing pictures I got, HEY..you might only have the chance to see this once and I wasn't missing it!! AM I RIGHT PEOPLE..THANK YOU!!


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Later we walked around town and got more really good pictures. Plus I need to add..we are glad we did the 3.5 hr White Pass Train ride. To us, any longer would have been monotonous I think. 8 hrs on a train seems to be a very long time. Ok, back to the town of Skagway... IMG_2311_zpse814e6c4.jpg


I found a REALLY nice gift for my daughter in one of the souvenir shops, it was Owl Nesting Dolls. They were GORGEOUS! I had them in my hand, DH told me to buy them..but I didn't, thinking I might find them cheaper in one of our other ports. DUMB DUMB DUMB ME!!! Should have bought them, because they were nowhere to be found again :( More to come on our second and by far the BEST excursion I have EVER been on :eek:

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We were on the Pearl for our very 1st cruise which was to Alaska, since then we have the Star and Jewel to Alaska too, with #4 booked for next year. Your reviews are making me think about maybe a last minute cruise this summer. LOL The train trip was one of our favorites and I have to agree more that 3.5 hours would have been too much, I'm dying to hear what you second trip was, we took 2 that day too.

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Ok, this is our 2nd tour in Skagway. I want you to view the next 2 pictures, it is a picture of same mountain, one is just a little closer shot.




GRIZZLY FALLS ZIPLINE...remember that name and write it down! If you ever go back to Skagway, you HAVE to do this excursion. It was FANTASTIC!!! I'm showing you a picture of the mountain because that is the mountain that our driver pointed out, and said we were zipling down :eek: WHAT!? Both DH and I were like "NO WAY" ummmm "YES WAY"! So we had a nice bumpy ride up the mountain, with great scenery and narration, and we thought, oh this isn't so bad. The driver stopped, let us off, and we continued up the MOUNTAIN in a Unimog-all wheel drive vehicle. Now at this point, when this Unimog started going what felt like straight up the mountain, DH & I looked at each other and mouthed "I think we're going to die" lol. After about 15 minutes, we are at the top of this Mountain..literally at the top. We meet our guides Ross and Jeff (Awesome Guides!) Do a couple small zips to get the feel of the lines, and off we go.


There were 12 ziplines all together and it was the MOST THRILLING excursion I have EVER done.




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I LOVED GRIZZLY FALLS!! We had 7 people in our group (all on the Pearl) Every one of us had a really good time. Ross and Jeff were fun, but also very professional. For you young girls out there..go on this excursion...lot's of guy candy (if you know what I mean lol)





I am 100% positive I will be back to Alaska someday, and I am 100% positive I will do the Zipline at Grizzly Falls AGAIN! Thanks Guys for a FANTASTIC TIME!

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BACK TO THE SHIP...IMG_2318_zps0e678f96.jpgIMG_2316_zps2a2ba24b.jpg


After our long BUT THRILLING day, we got back to the ship. You guessed it, DH needed a NAP lol. I made my coffee, and sat on the balcony watching the scenery.



Then we said good bye to Skagway..



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