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Thoughts on our 1st Alaska Cruise


Steve in Omaha
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This was our 3rd cruise ever so we are far from veterans. But if any of these random thoughts helps someone with their planning, then great!

 

  • Norwegian Jewel - great choice. We didn't need a go cart track, a water slide, or a rock climbing wall. Food & entertainment were excellent.  Crew was even better!
  • The Jewel had an outdoor seating area directly behind the buffet.  Use this any time the weather allows!
  • 7-day One Way Route - Vancouver/Ketchikan/Juneau/Skagway/Glacier Bay/Hubbard Glacier/Seward.
  • Inside Passage - We left on a Monday and I never felt that we were on a moving ship until Saturday afternoon!
  • We splurged on a balcony. We traveled north so I specifically got a room on the right-hand side.  Sit outside and watch amazing scenery from your own room!
  • We brought our own (Disney) travel mugs. Use NCL's coffee mugs in the buffet to fill our own, then take it anywhere on the ship. Especially our balcony.
  • No fancy clothing was required.  No jackets, no dresses. We wore "country club casual" and never felt underdressed.
  • Bring magnet hooks (like on your refrigerator). VERY helpful to hang things on the all-metal stateroom walls.
  • One of the "what to bring" youtube videos said to bring a folding hamper. If your room was twice the size of ours then this might be a good idea. In our room it would have been a huge annoyance. Solution? Put an empty suitcase under the bed and that was our hamper.
  • Booked our own excursions.  Saved hundreds and no issues at all.  Your mileage may vary.
  • Orca Cove Kayak Excursion thru Southeast Sea Kayaks in Ketchikan. Great guide, perfect amount of time on the water.
  • Helicopter Glacier Walkabout thru Northstar Trekking in Juneau. This was our 2nd splurge and IT WAS SO WORTH IT! This literally became a bucket-list item for me as we were doing it.  Side-note: due to a medical emergency on the ship, we only saw one of the 2 scheduled glaciers in Glacier Bay. Our Hubbard Glacier day was rainy with poor visibility and we could not get very close due to ice in the water.  We would have been very disappointed because glaciers were high on our requirements for this cruise.  But since we literally walked on and drank from a glacier on our excursion, we were sad but didn't feel our trip was ruined.
  • In Skagway we did an easy 1-hour hike to Yakutania Point and Smugglers Cove.  Drop.Dead.Gorgeous. 
  • Our flight home was 11:50pm. NCL stored (and had people sit with) our bags in Anchorage while we explored the city. Then NCL had a bus take us and luggage to the airport.  Although this was a wonderful service, it was very poorly communicated thru NCL.
  • Bring a journal. At the end of every day, write down what you did, what you ate, etc.  You WILL forget, and days will run into each other.

 

I'd be glad to answer any questions.  And huge thanks to all on these boards who answered the many questions I asked!

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2 hours ago, laudergayle said:

We will be doing this route in mid-May next year.  Where inside the Jewel were good viewing spots?

 

Did you get to go on the bow of the boat for glacier bay?  Where would suggest for that day?

 

glad you had a spectacular cruise.

Yes, in Glacier Bay we went out thru Deck 8.  It was stunning (and raining!).

 

The best indoor viewing is the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13. The prime seats do fill up early.  Due to the bad weather, we used it as our "staging" area.  We'd watch from Spinnaker for a while, then we'd go outside, then we'd come back to Spinnaker.

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3 minutes ago, Steve in Omaha said:

Yes, in Glacier Bay we went out thru Deck 8.  It was stunning (and raining!).

 

The best indoor viewing is the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13. The prime seats do fill up early.  Due to the bad weather, we used it as our "staging" area.  We'd watch from Spinnaker for a while, then we'd go outside, then we'd come back to Spinnaker.

What time of day were you able yo get into Glacier Bay?  I’ve read elsewhere it was like 6 am.

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