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12Cruise

NCL Star Review (Part 2)

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Excursions - Juneau Whale watching with Captain Larry was Great! We saw lots of whales and saw them bubble feeding. We also saw seal lions and eagles.

 

In Juneau we went to Mendenhall Glacier and did a 3 mile hike up the side of a mountain overlooking the glacier and the waterfall. The view was stunning!! However, Bruce and I were not prepared with how strenuous the hike would be and did not

bring enough water. We were hot, sweaty and thirsty by the time we returned to the visitor center.

 

Mendenhall Glacier - Beautiful and Peaceful.

 

Skagway - White pass railroad and bus to Gold mining town. The show was hilarious. The view from the train was beautiful. I recommend you do the bus as well since you could see the beautiful waterfalls and green lakes better than on the train.

 

In Skagway we walked around town with another couple and took photos of the

different quaint houses and other interesting landscaping, tons of flowers, and just

fun stuff. We also shopped and bought toothpaste (I had expected NCL to provide that,

but they didn't) and a bottle of wine (we usually bring one on board but forgot and had to buy an expensive bottle on board as well).

 

We rented cars in Skagway and drove to Emerald Lake stopping at Cinnamon Cache in Carcross to eat. We stopped at several sights along the way. It’s a pleasant drive. Be sure to take passports or birth certificates since you will be going into Canada. If you drive, be sure and print out Murray’s Mile Markers from http://www.explorenorth.com

 

Ketchikan - Floatplane with Island Wings (Michelle) She is the best! A beautiful, wonderful trip. We landed on the water in the rain forest and got to get out and walk around.

 

In Ketchikan we did our shopping on Creek Street with still another couple. Wonderful

little town with lots to see. Bruce had many more photo opportunities. I bought a darling little Russian doll and other fun souvenirs.

 

We tendered off here, which went smoothly but was slightly difficult for a few in our group due to the steep ramp. Some of us went on a fishing excursion with Ken Tuene of Northern Lights Charters. Most caught fish, except for my 2 guys! The rest of our family shopped and went to the Lumberjack Show. It was somewhat corny but cute and overall a fun one-time see.

 

Did fishing in Ketchikan. Ken of Northern Lights. He gave a lot of tips about fishing. They will get your "catch" home for you, ours already arrived and we are drooling!

 

Victoria - I do not recommend the City tour. It was a waste of money. Buchart Gardens and fireworks were very nice though. You saw just as much on the bus as the city tour and it cost less money. On Victoria day you can eat at Aqua at 5 or Blue Lagoon before you get off the ship. If you are hungry when you return there is a BBQ out on deck.

 

The fireworks show is really great!

 

In Victoria we didn't have much time (only two hours total after getting

through customs and using a shuttle bus), but a group of six of us made the

most of it by finding a little pub (The Swan) where we enjoyed on-site

brewed root beer and other beers.

 

 

Glacier Bay - Was breath taking. We got up at 5 am and sat in the Spinnaker where the view was fantastic. We ate breakfast and had coffee in there. (Brought our food in from the Market Café) so we wouldn’t miss a second. Once we got to the Glaciers we

Went out on deck. Deck 7 is a great place to view from if you are short, you can see better.

 

 

The sounds of the glacier are awesome as well as the calving we were fortunate to witness.

 

The captain brought the Star in close to Margerie Glacier in order that all

aboard could view the calving. He actually turned the ship on a 180 degree

turn in place so that all the folks on all decks and both sides could see.

Finally he paused the ship broadside directly in front of the glacier. One

of the ship's photographers commented to Bruce that she had been on board

the last two trips and had yet to see any really active calving. For the

next thirty minutes or so, we could hear the "cannon" booms and creaking,

but nothing too spectacular happened.

 

About that time Bruce decided to use the video option of his camera and just

make a nice sweeping movie across the glacier. He set his arms on the rail

as a tripod, focused the camera and pressed the shutter (start). At that very

instant an enormous chunk of glacier ice dropped away, accompanied by

booming, splashing and cheering. He continued to record and within seconds

another even larger chunk dropped away from the side. He managed to contain

his excitement and continued videotaping the resulting wave pattern which,

when it reached the ship, gently rocked us.

 

Seeing the calving and recording that minute of video was the photographic

highlight of his trip. It was awe-inspiring. After witnessing that event,

some passengers commented that they were moved to tears, others felt chills,

and most were cheering.

 

Without much further ado, the captain engaged the engine and we continued

our cruise through Glacier Bay.

 

Wildlife- We saw lots of humpback whales from the ship every day. We only saw one Orca. It was the first time I saw one so it was very exciting. It was only a few yards

from the ship. We also saw the most adorable otters floating on their backs and some

sea lions. Others saw dolphins.

 

We had 2 kids participate in the Kid's Crew program and they both had a great time.

The 13 yrs old could come and go as she please but found a few friends to hang out with. She participated in many of the organized activities and really enjoyed the scavenger hunt type game they did. My 6 yr old loved the program as well as her

counselors. When a counselor would see her outside of group times they always

remembered her name and acted like they were thrilled to see her. Overall, we were

extremely happy with the program. I went to a couple of the craft demonstrations in

the mornings held in Java cafe. They were a little corny, very easy, but I met

some nice people and visited with them both days. One day we made beaded bandanas and another day, balloon flowers. Don’t go and expect to learn a new,

unusual craft technique. One afternoon I took my daughter to do the scavenger hunt

and we were the only ones to show up. After 15 minutes, we visited with the instructor

(who was very nice) answered his questions so he could show that someone actually

played, and won all the prizes!

 

We did not do excursions as we wanted to enjoy the ship and do our own thing. You can talk to locals in any town and learn lots! In Juneau we did go to the glacier..$10.00 round trip on a bus from town. Talked to rangers there..they are locals and tell you so much. Also did the tram..did some hiking and had some fantastic views. There is shopping everywhere from next to nothing to big money. I was looking for a mask and found them to be out of my price range. One was $6,000.00..I kid you not. There are jewelry stores everywhere.

 

You can be busy with things all day. Do as much as you want or as little.

 

Embarkation - Very smooth. We arrived at ship at 11:15 and was on board

at 11:45, eating lunch in Aqua at 12:00.

 

Debarkation - Also, very smooth. We had a shore excursion and was off the ship at 8:30. Dropped off at the airport for free after the excursion.

 

The best part of the cruise was meeting our CC friends we had chatted with for months. Some of us met and had dinner in Seattle before the cruise. The rest met at the CC meeting in the Star bar. We all had dinner together in Versailles on Ved night where they were nice enough to reserve tables for all of us. There were over 40 of us on the ship and we met everyone except for one family. Some of us ate breakfast, lunch or dinner together. Some of us did

excursions together and other forms of entertainment on the ship. We were all like family. Seeing a familiar face on the ship was so nice. I know we will all remain good friends.

 

Me, too!!!

 

Me, three!!!

 

Then to top it off when you meet lots of nice people that you have been talking to for months and enjoy them all....well, it just can't get any better!

 

We thought it was a wonderful trip and everything that I imagined. Glacier Bay topped it all. Except for meeting all of our new friends that we have talked to for many months.

 

This entire trip was incredible. From the moment we left Seattle until our

return it only rained about 1 hour in Ketchikan. Other than that, beautiful

sunshine and vistas to die for. The view of snow-capped mountains was

breathtaking. We watched Margerie Glacier calving and Bruce was able to

take a video of an entire section falling away. That was spectacular. It made

me shiver. Image 1500 people standing on one side of the ship all waiting,

holding their collective breaths, for the falling of ice and snow. Wow!!

Now here's the best part: We had been conversing with other families via

CruiseCritic for about 10 months. We had all met up either in Seattle or by

Monday on board. Needless to say, the next 7 days sharing the cruise

experience with these families made the whole trip twice the fun. We got

together with some for meals and others for walking excursions. We met in

the cabins more than once to share stories and pictures. The CC ladies in

this group plan to stay in contact over time. Hoping that at some point we

can visit each other on land or ocean again.

 

The End.

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12cruise - The review looks wonderful. As I read it takes me back to last week and how very much fun we all had. What memories!! Thanks for compiling all our thoughts and posting for us on CC.

Cathy

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Thanks 12cruise for such a great review. I know this took a lot of time on your part to compile all the information. It was a great cruise and we made lots of memories.

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Glad you folks had a great time. Welcome back I think LOL :)

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I was so happy to read your review and am glad that you had a great time like the JUNE 20 cruise group did. Some of the things you said were the same I wrote in my review. I loved the ship and would sail on her again in a minute. I have gotten all our pictures on the computer and would love to post them on c.c.board but I can't find out how to do it. I have posted some on http://www.cruise@addict. com. in the picture gallery if anyone wants to see them I keep adding soom every day.

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Thanks y'all.....what a great way to do a review. I devoured every word as we are thinking of the STAR to Alaska in 2005. Sounds like fun....!!!!

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Thanks again to all of you. I'm glad you had a marvelous cruise!! It makes me really look forward to my own. I do have one questionm though. How was the cruise director? Were the activities well planned? Was tendering smooth? Well actually that was more than one question wasn't it? I appreciate your response.

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I loved the cruise director. He had a great personality. I thought the activities were very well planned. As far as tendering, we were expecting some problems but ended up not having any. It went really smooth. The only problems we saw was there was a steep incline getting off the ship in Ketchican because of low tide. It was not a problem for us, but I can see it beeing hard for an elderly person to have to walk up such a steep walkway.

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Sorry to have missed out on the review, but I had to be out of town when we got back. You all described everything perfectly.

I would add that in Skagway we took the Fast Ferry to Haines. There were only 4 of us from the whole ship! We met up with others from the other ships in port that day. A total of 17. It was very nice to spend the day in a small town that is not so crowded with tourists. Very different from the other towns.

I have to say Alaska is getting so much more busy than the first time we went several years ago. We were the only ship in port, or there was only one other. This trip we had approx. 4 or 5 others. Everything was more relaxed then and you could actually walk into any place and eat or shop without being elbow to elbow.

But that is my only complaint. We had a great time, the scenery breathtaking, and the company of my new friends I would not trade for anything. My sister is thinking about doing a last minute cruise to Alaska in Aug and I'm encouraging her all the way.

By the way, breakfast is so much better in Versailles than the buffet,that we managed to work it into our schdule. Lunch was also excellent when we were around.

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Finally found this thanks to Pazooter's e-mail. Another thank's to 12 Cruise for the great review. You have a flair for that.

 

I wanted to add that at the Market Cafe if you don't like all that is on the buffett you can also have eggs, omelets etc. made to order so check that out .... They also made toast there add a little fruit and it was excellent.

 

For new crusiers try to read the daily's it really helps...we missed out on some things because we didn't read about them soon enough.

 

All in all it was a great time and hopefully we will do another cruise. But not sure if we are ready for the big ol' expansive ocean yet !

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Thanks so much for this great review! I absolutely cannot wait for our cruise!

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I just wanted to say hello to Jandj and Wicked Witch! We really enjoyed your company on the cruise too! We also ate at Versaille every breakfast or lunch we could. We had great food and service. I love to be waited on!

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kapoho....would love to see your pictures but I coldn't bring that page up. is it still available?

 

alonzo14...I was worried about tendering too and it went pretty good. The one I didn't expect was Victoria, which took the longest and be prepared you can't walk to town you have to take a bus so that is a line also.

 

curlstravel....i got your picture thanks i will send

a few to you....I am sorry we missed you the last day.

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