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Jewel questions


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I'm looking to go on an Alaska cruise out of Seattle next summer. Pearl and Jewel are the choices. I've been on the Pearl and loved it! I know nothing about the Jewel. Any feedback? Preferences? Does Jewel have a spa/thermal suite similar to Pearl with heated thermal loungers and jetted spa pool? Look forward to hearing any thoughts. Thanks!

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You must also remember that AK is less about the ship and more about AK. The cruise is very port intensive and the ships go to different places. The Pearl goes to Glacier Bay while the Jewel visits Tracy Arm/Sawyer Glacier. IMHO both are must sees - but for different reasons. Tracy Arm is a deep and narrow fjord with a tidewater glacier at the end of it. Early and late in the season the fjord gets iced over and ships can't make the full transit (sometimes another fjord is used as a substitute). On other cruise lines, the amount of time they have to spend in the fjord is limited so they go as far as they can and turn back. The Jewel visits here just after Juneau and before Skagway - the only limiting factor is daylight. The Jewel also offers the Tracy Arm explorer add on tour- this is really the best way to see the fjord - you leave Juneau ahead of the Jewel in a smaller boat - transit the fjord stopping at several waterfalls along the way. Eventually the Jewel catches up and you re-board her in front of the glacier. This trip is worth every penny.


The Pearl goes to Glacier Bay - which very rarely ices over to the point where ships can't transit it. Here you will be able to see as many as five glaciers as well as learn about the geology of the area.


Both ships leave out of Seattle and spend their first full day at sea - the Jewell hits Ketchikan as it's first port then onto Juneau the next morning, Tracy Arm and then all day Wed in Skagway - from Skagway they spend the better part of the next day getting to Victoria BC on Fri afternoon and back to Seattle Sat AM.


The Pearl leaves Seattle on Sunday - spends all day Mon and half of Tues getting to Juneau (the Jewell is just pulling out as the Pearl arrives) That night you travel to Skagway (docking alongside the Jewell) and spend all day in port. Thursday is Glacier Bay day - you spend about 8 hrs crusing the bay along with one other cruise ship and perhaps some smaller boats. Leaving GB you cruise on down to Ketchikan and spend half a day on Fri. Leaving Ketchikan early PM on Friday you end up in Victoria Sat evening around 6:00 PM - around midnight you leave for Seattle.


I would look at each port and figure out what interests you most in each - then pick the ship that spends the most amount of time in each port. If all is equal I would pick the Pearl because of Glacier Bay.


For more port information see www.cruiseportinsider.com

Also don't be afraid to use the local tour companies - you will either spend less for the same tour or about the same for a better tour - would you rather have a 40 pax bus or a 12 pax bus - a boat that holds 100 people or one that holds 12 for whale watching. They will get you back to the ship before it leaves. You are also helping the local economy and not the cruise company.

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Loved doing a Glacier Bay cruise on the Pearl. Would do the Pearl again given the right opportunity.


Didn't care for the Jewel at all. Wouldn't consider the Jewel again. Didn't care for the food, didn't like the spa. The Jewel just seemed like the mutant experiment gone wrong between the Dawn and the Pearl. My two cents. Others are free to disagree.

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