August 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage
First cruise ever, was a great experience. Alaska is amazing! Norwegian Jewel is a beautiful ship, was clean, well-maintained, and staff was very attentive. Food was good, some was great. How nice to wake up and not cook, clean up, just enjoy fresh, bountiful healthy dishes and lots of variety. Entertainment was good--musicians were very good (jazz, pop, vocalists). Staff seemed to really care about serving and greeting us. Nightly entertainment was enjoyable, but the humor was more crude than my taste, so left the show and caught some great music instead. Enjoyed the relaxing time, did not feel crowded, could always take a walk on deck and find a quiet place to sit and watch the water and horizon or read. Saw several whales in distance, blowing their water up and flipping. Never had motion sickness, although I brought med., didn't need it.
The ports we visited were very commercialized with lots of tourist shops for jewelry, souvenirs, etc., but beyond all that was the beauty of the scenery. The mountains, trees, water, flowers all were so pretty and natural. I love the outdoors, so just being there seeing it was wonderful. We splurged on a seaplane ride in Ketchikan that took us over the Misty Forjd wilderness, it was awesome. He flew us over miles and miles of pristine beautiful nature, saw giant rocky cliffs, multiple mountains with gorgeous greenery and beautiful calm waters ---even landed on a lake area for few minutes to take it all in. Saw eagles, but missed the bears. If you're a nature lover, you'd love this. Very peaceful.
We also went to see Mendenhall Glacier park out of Juneau, which was beautiful too. Saw salman swimming everywhere in streams on the trails ( my son even attempted catching one in his hands, then let it go). The glacier was beautiful, the lake, the whole park, very pretty. We just wish there had been hours to explore it all. That's my regret, to get there and just wish we had had more time to really experience more of the awesome beauty of Alaska. Alaska is amazing. Then seeing Victoria, British Columbia was neat too - a large city with interesting architecture -buildings had lots of detail and the downtown area had lots of neat shops, scenic harbor and boats, flowers, tourist shops, restaurants, nice to spend a few hours just walking, have a drink in outdoor cafe and enjoying the scenery and the street musicians.
As for our room on the ship, we took the least expensive route with inside staterooms. Our room was nice, though very small (smaller than college dorm room) but it was adequate. The beds were firm, comfortable. Had great built-in storage, nice bathroom with shower, all very clean. We didn't spend much time there except bedtime, so that was fine. Our attendant was always cheerful and friendly, called me by name each day! We appreciated the caring service. Twice we had little folded towel animals left for us on the bed.
For a first cruise, we enjoyed it a lot. Was better than I'd expected. Fellow cruisers were friendly, all of us enjoying a vacation, was not rowdy. There were places to go to dance, relax, work out, read, be entertained, drink, eat, listen to music, swim, play, whatever. There were many good places to eat. I liked that there were lots of couples, some families, and a variety of ages, not just all retirees. My son met other college aged young people & had fun with them dancing, games & shows. Norwegian seems to be know what people like and try to make it enjoyable for all.