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UpYonder

Back from Alaska! 07/03/05 Star Review

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Just returned from our first cruise – 07/03/05 Star to Alaska. What a trip!

It far exceeded our expectations. I want to thank everyone who had posted reviews/tips/etc. I read each one in planning our cruise and found the information to be very helpful.

 

THE SHIP - Its huge, but we never felt crowded – even though our cruise was sold out.

 

EMBARKATION – It was fast, easy and efficient! We arrived around 11:00 and were on the ship soon after. A+

 

CABIN – We had an AF port side 11th floor - forward. The only thing I can say is ...WOW... The cabin was very roomy for three and there was a place for everything! The best part was the balcony. We spent a lot of time out there. We even ate a late breakfast on the balcony while we cruised though Glacier Bay. Yes, it was cold! Cabin service was A+.

 

SEASICK - If anyone gets seasick – take Bonine. We hit some rather rough sea on the way back and I felt great! I took half a pill in the morning and the other half in the evening. Worked like a charm. I was really worried about getting sick on Capt Larry’s boat….NO PROBLEM. I spent 90% of the tour outside.

 

PORTS – We found the towns enjoyable - the people were friendly. The only problem was the Jewelry Stores – especially the ‘Caribbean’ stores. Very, very pushy.

 

EXCURSIONS – We did Capt. Larry in Juneau (self booked), it was okay. Guess we hit a bad day – we saw a couple of whales. His new boat was fun and even though we did not see many whales, the ride alone was worth it. We took the Ultimate Yukon/White Pass Rail excursion in Skagway. VERY enjoyable. I was impressed that bus part of the tour was not crowded – nice touch. The train ride was great! I highly recommend the Ultimate Yukon/White Pass Rail. My DH and DD took the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary in Ketchikan – they enjoyed this tour. Saw lots of eagles. They highly recommend this tour. We all took the Historic Graveyards & Ghost Tour in Victoria. DO NOT DO THIS TOUR. What a waste of money! We went to one graveyard and then the tourguide/bus driver dropped everyone off to shop. Waste waste waste of money,

 

FOOD - We found the food/service to be quite good. We did not get a chance to try any of the specialty resturants. Even the Market Café was good for a quick meal. There were two BBQ’s that were tasty.

 

KIDS CLUB – I posted this comment on another post, sorry for the repeat. My daughter really had no interest in attending after the first day. She was in the 10-12 group and they 'shared' the teen area with the 13+’s. When the 10-12 group was using it, the 13+'s could not. The 13+’s would group around the entrance and taunt the kids when they left or when using the restrooms until it was their time in the center.

 

DISEMBARKATION – Well, we had a bit of a problem. One the ship, it is very organized and quick, but once you leave and pick up luggage, the problems arise. People tend to just grab a suitcase that looks like theirs – without reading the tag. I had to stop a lady from walking off with my suitcase. I called to her, but she ignored me and I finally had to stop her. She started yelling at me that it was her suitcase. She made such a fuss that someone came over to see what was happening. It was then that she finally closed her mouth long enough for me to ask her to look at the label. Once she saw the name, she dropped the case and walked off in a huff. Lovely. My DH suitcase was missing and we feared some picked it up as well. Yep. Someone picked up the wrong suitcase and noticed while it was being loaded into their cab. It was returned and then we were on our way.

 

All in all, we LOVED this cruise and are now hooked! Again, thanks to everyone who posted – you helped make our trip! If anyone has any questions, I’ll be glad to answer.

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Great Review! Glad you enjoyed your cruise. We're booked next year in May on the Port side as well. Someone has recommended that we change to the Starboard side. Do you have a recommendation in regards to the side of the ship?

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thanks for the great review. we are on the star 8-14. we have pre-booked the ultimate yukon trip and i am happy to hear that you enjoyed it. if you get a moment, can you please tell me a bit more about the trip. how far did thre bus portion take you? did you have lunch? was the tour too long?

 

thanks in advance.

 

-andy

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Thanks Up Yonder. I heard that embarkation was the slowest, most disorganised part, I'm glad that is not the case. We will be on the Star begining on Sunday and can't wait. (second cruise on the Star, first to Alaska).

 

What night was the Chocoholic Buffet on? From what I understand, they alternate that between Friday and Monday each week. The night it was for you, should be the same for us. How about Lobster night? (Monday is what I have heard). How about the President's Menu night? (those are the two nights I don't want to miss.)

 

Glad you had a great cruise.

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On my recent RCCL cruise we were allowed to take our own luggage off ourselves rather than send it to the luggage corals (or conveyer belt).

 

Wondered if NCL allows the same thing?

 

Jacquelyn :D

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Hi,

 

Thank you for the great post. Glad that you enjoyed your trip.

 

My family and I will be taking our first cruise to Alaska on the Star next year. Did you happen to save your Freestyle Dailys? If you did, would you be willing to post it on the Internet somewhere or email me a copy? I’ve found some that were posted on the Internet but they were either for Hawaii, or for other ships. I’ve found one for the Star for Alaska this year, but only had the first page of each day’s Daily.

Thanks in advance.

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newcruiser99

I was told that the tour can either start with the train or the bus.... We started with the bus part which was good since it was foggy in the morning and cleared up for the train ride back. The tour is about 6 hours but time really flies! The bus part took us into the Yukon where we stopped for a nice chicken BBQ lunch (make sure you visit the museum in the back of the giftshop.... it is not to be missed). Then we continued on to Emerald Lake and then back to Frasier where we picked up the train. The train ride was great! If we had more time, I wanted to ride the train again.... I forgot to mention, the bus stopped several times for pictures - three or more, plus stopping in the yukon (caribu crossing) for people who wanted their passports stamped.

 

KeystoneCruiser

Chocoholic Buffet was on Friday. Lobster....well, not sure what night is was. Monday our roomstewart said it was that night, but we could not find it, but we live on the coast so missing lobster was not really a big deal. They did have King Crab legs on Saturday (I think), those were good! I'm sorry, I can't remember which night was President's Menu night.

 

KY Deb

When I booked our cruise, I had not idea which side to choose so I picked by room location. That said, I was glad I picked port side. While docked in port, we could see the towns/other ships from our balcony, plus you get first view of Glacier Bay. I was a little worried when I found out smoking was port side and we were one floor below the pool area, but I never smelled anything.

 

Jacquelyn11

Yes, NCL does have express disembarkation - but you have to be first off the ship at around 7am.

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The seven of us (wife and I, four grand children and daughter) booked two outside cabins on the Star for the 7//03/05 sailing to Alaska. My comments on the trip are as follows

 

:

 

 

  • We thought that we would be very cramped in the two cabins (eighth deck outside), especially the one my wife and I shared with our 11 year old twin grand daughters. We were surprised to find we had plenty of room for luggage and ample room to store our suitcases. The only time we felt a bit cramped in the cabin was when the middle trundle bed was down. But after we figured out how to stow it under the other bed every thing was fine. The cabin bathroom is nicely configured with sliding glass doors that separate the shower, the sink and the potty (or in navy lingo the head.)
  • As regards to the quality of the food, we found the main dinning room (Versailles) and the Agua food to be okay but nothing spectacular. The Market Café buffet had a nice variety of food but it was a typical buffet. The Blue Lagoon fish and chips were okay buy a bit oily I thought. Given there were seven of us we limited our eating in the specialty restaurants to the two that were free, the Endless Summer (Tex-Mex) and the La Trattoria (Italian.). We found both of them to be very good. I would advise getting reservations for these two very early in the cruise because they fill up fast. I especially enjoyed the barbecue ribs at the Endless Summer.
  • With regard to the entertainment the cruise had a wide variety in the main show theater (Stardust Lounge) but we had a problem with the volume of the background band music. My wife had to plug her ears and even though I am half deaf (at least in my wife’s opinion) I thought the back ground band music was very loud. One night they had Jane L. Powell singing (blues, etc.) and the band completely drowned out her voice even though she has a powerful voice. (We had heard her before on a Canada/New England cruise and really enjoyed her.) The same was true for the Jean Ryan Co. production of Music in the Night (Phantom of the Opera, etc.) Again the background band music tended to drown out the singers. (No we were not sitting down front but well back in the theater.)
  • The embarkation process went very smooth, as well as, the debarkation.
  • A couple of grips I had were that even though we had registered on line as Latitudes members we had to stand in line and go through the process again on ship. NCL should link the ships computers to their home base computers. We also had a problem because they had gotten pictures and birthdates screwed up on our room key cards which required a number of trips to the purser’s desk.
  • The itinerary was so, so. The Glacier Bay portion of the trip, in my opinion, does not stack up to the Hubbard or Tracy Arms or Misty Fjords but our kids enjoyed it. (My wife and I have been to Alaska too many times I guess.
  • The chocolate buffet was very nice and to see the eyes of our 11 year olds was about worth the price of the trip. One thing they should do is let people in a bit early to take pictures like other cruise lines do.

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Hi,

 

Thank you for the great post. Glad that you enjoyed your trip.

 

My family and I will be taking our first cruise to Alaska on the Star next year. Did you happen to save your Freestyle Dailys? If you did, would you be willing to post it on the Internet somewhere or email me a copy? I’ve found some that were posted on the Internet but they were either for Hawaii, or for other ships. I’ve found one for the Star for Alaska this year, but only had the first page of each day’s Daily.

Thanks in advance.

 

 

I have them all except for one day. I will scan them and then post a link - it might be a few days, but I promise not to forget! I know I like reading others before our cruise.

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I really enjoyed your review. We are sailing on the Star on 9-11.

 

Could you tell me a little more about the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary? I have booked this excursion as it sounds like something we would like, but I have not been able to find much info about it. My husband and I are nature lovers, we are very interested in seeing birds, especially eagles. Other wildlife would be great, but it wouldn't ruin the trip if we don't see any.

 

I'm glad you had such a good time. Thanks.

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I really enjoyed your review. We are sailing on the Star on 9-11.

 

Could you tell me a little more about the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary? I have booked this excursion as it sounds like something we would like, but I have not been able to find much info about it. My husband and I are nature lovers, we are very interested in seeing birds, especially eagles. Other wildlife would be great, but it wouldn't ruin the trip if we don't see any.

I'm glad you had such a good time. Thanks.

 

My DD loved it! According to her, it started with a bus ride and then a 1/2 mile walk though the forest (you are provided with a poncho - which is good because it rained a bit). They saw lots of bear markings in trees, TONS of eagles, and some 'jumping' salmon. There was one tree FILLED with eagles - DD quote - "just hanging out". The guide gave a great talk about the area and she thought it was interesting (important to note - she is 11 - so it must have been good, to keep her interested). They toured an old mill and watched a totem carver. All in all she gaves it 2 thumbs up.

 

I was on the balcony before going to breakfast and see 2 eagles sitting on the roof on a blue house, so I ran back inside and got my camera. They sat there for about 20 minutes. I wish they were facing me, but it was still quite a sight. I was using a 100-300mm lens.

 

http://www.upyonder.com/eagleA.jpg

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Thanks for the info on the Wildlife Sanct. We too are on the 9/11 Star and hadn't heard anything about this tour,which we are also booked on. Did you happen to hear anything about the Evening Orca tour in Victoria?

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Thanks for the info on the Wildlife Sanct. We too are on the 9/11 Star and hadn't heard anything about this tour,which we are also booked on. Did you happen to hear anything about the Evening Orca tour in Victoria?

 

Sorry, I did not talk with anyone who was on that tour. Most people were on the garden tour.

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Sorry, I did not talk with anyone who was on that tour. Most people were on the garden tour.

 

That's what I figured. I hear the gardens are beautiful, but I'd rather see whales than flowers:) and so would my son! Thank you for getting back to me.

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EXCURSIONS – We did Capt. Larry in Juneau (self booked), it was okay. Guess we hit a bad day – we saw a couple of whales. His new boat was fun and even though we did not see many whales, the ride alone was worth it. We took the Ultimate Yukon/White Pass Rail excursion in Skagway. VERY enjoyable. I was impressed that bus part of the tour was not crowded – nice touch. The train ride was great! I highly recommend the Ultimate Yukon/White Pass Rail. My DH and DD took the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary in Ketchikan – they enjoyed this tour. Saw lots of eagles. They highly recommend this tour. We all took the Historic Graveyards & Ghost Tour in Victoria. DO NOT DO THIS TOUR. What a waste of money! We went to one graveyard and then the tourguide/bus driver dropped everyone off to shop. Waste waste waste of money,

 

My wife and I have also planned to take the same excursions, except for the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary tour (we're just not into hiking.) Instead, we're planning on taking the lighthouse excursion tour. Glad to hear that you enjoyed most of your excursions.

 

DISEMBARKATION – Well, we had a bit of a problem. One the ship, it is very organized and quick, but once you leave and pick up luggage, the problems arise. People tend to just grab a suitcase that looks like theirs – without reading the tag. I had to stop a lady from walking off with my suitcase. I called to her, but she ignored me and I finally had to stop her. She started yelling at me that it was her suitcase. She made such a fuss that someone came over to see what was happening. It was then that she finally closed her mouth long enough for me to ask her to look at the label. Once she saw the name, she dropped the case and walked off in a huff. Lovely. My DH suitcase was missing and we feared some picked it up as well. Yep. Someone picked up the wrong suitcase and noticed while it was being loaded into their cab. It was returned and then we were on our way.

 

Is disembarkation usually as unorganized as it sounds in terms of picking up checked luggage? I've been on flights with a few hundred people, and picking up luggage can be disorganized sometimes. I'd hate to think what it would be like with a few thousand passengers...

 

So if your luggage was missing or picked up by the wrong people, is there anything that NCL can/will do?

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My DD loved it! According to her, it started with a bus ride and then a 1/2 mile walk though the forest (you are provided with a poncho - which is good because it rained a bit). They saw lots of bear markings in trees, TONS of eagles, and some 'jumping' salmon. There was one tree FILLED with eagles - DD quote - "just hanging out". The guide gave a great talk about the area and she thought it was interesting (important to note - she is 11 - so it must have been good, to keep her interested). They toured an old mill and watched a totem carver. All in all she gaves it 2 thumbs up.

 

I was on the balcony before going to breakfast and see 2 eagles sitting on the roof on a blue house, so I ran back inside and got my camera. They sat there for about 20 minutes. I wish they were facing me, but it was still quite a sight. I was using a 100-300mm lens.

 

http://www.upyonder.com/eagleA.jpg

I really enjoyed your picture of the eagles, upyonder! They look kind of wet and mad. Do you have any other pictures you can share with us?

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I really enjoyed your picture of the eagles, upyonder! They look kind of wet and mad. Do you have any other pictures you can share with us?

 

Thanks. They probably are mad because it was raining or maybe all the noise from 3 cruise ships!

 

I have 10 CD's worth of picures - yes 10. I shoot in RAW format, so I fill up cards quickly. I'll post a link when I get better organized. I've been working on the Glacier Bay shots today.

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Thanks. They probably are mad because it was raining or maybe all the noise from 3 cruise ships!

 

I have 10 CD's worth of picures - yes 10. I shoot in RAW format, so I fill up cards quickly. I'll post a link when I get better organized. I've been working on the Glacier Bay shots today.

Wow, and I thought I took a lot of pictures! I took almost 700 and have posted some of them but still have to finish labeling them. I know you've got a huge task ahead of you but a very enjoyable task reliving your cruise with each picture you see!

 

Looking forward to seeing your cruise pictures!

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Thanks. They probably are mad because it was raining or maybe all the noise from 3 cruise ships!

 

I have 10 CD's worth of picures - yes 10. I shoot in RAW format, so I fill up cards quickly. I'll post a link when I get better organized. I've been working on the Glacier Bay shots today.

 

Just saw your photos. They are absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!!

Where did you take photo 115 1544 (a cable car headed up the mountain)? My family would love to take that ride.

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Just saw your photos. They are absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!!

Where did you take photo 115 1544 (a cable car headed up the mountain)? My family would love to take that ride.

 

 

I think you were looking at brunolvr pictures. I have not posted mine yet - still wading through all the CD's.

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Thank you for the awesome review - we are on the Star 8-28-05, same category, same deck but starboard side. Quick question for you regarding your daughter's experience with the kid's club - except the problem with the older teens were there enough other kids that she had a good time/made friends? I have a 13 and 6 year old daughters that are anxious to hear feedback.

 

Thanks again!

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Thank you for the awesome review - we are on the Star 8-28-05, same category, same deck but starboard side. Quick question for you regarding your daughter's experience with the kid's club - except the problem with the older teens were there enough other kids that she had a good time/made friends? I have a 13 and 6 year old daughters that are anxious to hear feedback.

 

Thanks again!

 

The 13yr will be in the 'teen' group. On our sailing, the teens were not allowed to use the teen center while the 10-12yrs Kids Club was in session. But, it did seem that the teens got to know each other and seemed to have a good time. I rarely saw teens wandering the ship bored. Your 6yr will be upstairs in the kids center. It is well laid out and fun for younger kids.

 

My daughter did have a good time and she met a new friend that turned out to live just a few miles from us. Talk about small world!

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The 13yr will be in the 'teen' group. On our sailing, the teens were not allowed to use the teen center while the 10-12yrs Kids Club was in session. But, it did seem that the teens got to know each other and seemed to have a good time. I rarely saw teens wandering the ship bored. Your 6yr will be upstairs in the kids center. It is well laid out and fun for younger kids.

 

My daughter did have a good time and she met a new friend that turned out to live just a few miles from us. Talk about small world!

 

Do you know how strick they are on age? My daughter will be 13 in a couple of months and I know she will be bored silly with the 10-12 year olds.

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Do you know how strick they are on age? My daughter will be 13 in a couple of months and I know she will be bored silly with the 10-12 year olds.

 

I can't say since my daugther was fine in her age group (she turns 12 in August and there were more 12yrs than 10-11's).

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