September 2016 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska
I'd been to Alaska many years ago (1990's) while a member of the Air Force Reserve. I mostly just saw Anchorage on that trip. My wife had never been there before. We'd planned to take a cruise for years...this was that cruise! We both enjoyed it. I had booked excursions at every port except the final stop in Vancouver. Some excursions were booked online but two were booked on the ship. We enjoyed all of them! The weather didn't always co-operate; but we expected that. Hoonah (Icy Point) was the worst and we now have colds from riding an open tram in a cold rain. They did supply us with an umbrella but this was only useful when the tram stopped. It was still interesting...though we were disappointed not to see any bears. Luck of the draw, as some might say. This was followed by an eye-popping day spent sailing through Glacier Bay National Park with weather as nice as it could get for viewing the main glaciers. You win some, you lose some. Other excursions were all interesting and sometimes educational regarding Alaska history. The ship was good at doing what a cruise ship does: shows, attentive crew members, polite officers, and timely processing on and off at the various ports. The food was not always great (especially the buffet) but we enjoyed the specialty restaurants. As my birthday fell on this cruise, I was given a cake; card; and some candies...mostly in our room. My wife and I agree that we'd sail on this cruise line again. I do have to offer one caution to others who might take such a cruise. My wife had a flare-up of her arthritis which left her unable to move about without extreme pain...so we went down to the on-board medical clinic. They gave her a cortisone shot and pills for the inflamation and pain. Good news: the treatment worked. Bad news: the cost was about $1000 with no insurance processing. They said we might submit the bills to our insurance once we returned...which I'll do. Not any choice...at the time. All in all, we still enjoyed the cruise and I think most people would say the same.