September 2013 cruise to Alaska on the NCL Jewel
Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Sail Date: September 14, 2013
Ship: Norwegian Jewel
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 4 years ago
We entirely enjoyed our September 2013 cruise to Alaska on the NCL Jewel. The check in process was quick and easy and the staff very was friendly.
We boarded the ship in Seattle, Wa on a raining afternoon, but that didn't dampen our excitement for our first cruise to Alaska. First thing we did was explore the ship and ended up in Spinnaker Lounge which is an observation lounge by day and a dance club by night. We relaxed on over sized chairs and took some great pictures until our cabin was ready.
Our cabin was a balcony stateroom #10660 aft on deck 10 . The location was quiet, and the room was spacious for two people. It was a bit of a walk to most things around the ship. I cannot imagine going to Alaska without a balcony to view the incredible views. We loved ordering hot chocolate and cookies from room serice and just sitting on the balcony snuggled up watching the beautiful scenery.
As far as the destinations, we just wish we had a little more time. We just loved Alaska! In Ketchikan, we explored Alaska's wilderness by boat and had a crab feast at George Inlet Lodge – just amazing! We took a motor coach pass an old sawmill, totem poles and scenic waterfalls. We finally arrived at the lodge and met our Captain and crew as we boarded the boat. We then toured the inlet and saw an old fish cannery. The beauty of Alaska is just beyond words. One of my husband's favorite shows is Deadliest Catch, so he was happy to volunteer to help pull a crab pot. We saw the crabs up close, learned about their anatomy and life cycle before returning them to the ocean. We then returned to the lodge for a Dungeness crab feast and amazing cheesecake! Wow, so good!!
In Juneau, we traveled to downtown and Mendenhall Glacier and visitor center. Then we were off to Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, which had several exotic aquariums full of local area sea life. Then we were off for a short drive to the Gold Creek Salmon Bake where... we had wild Alaskan salmon grilled over an open alder wood fire. The Salmon in Alaska is not like any Salmon you have ever had – it is truly amazing! As we ate, we sat beside Salmon Creek, which is nestled in the lush foliage of Southeast Alaska's rainforest – just breathtaking. Afterwards, we roasted marshmallows over a campfire and the beautiful Salmon Creek waterfall; remnants of the historic Wagner Mine. What an amazing day!
In Skagway, we were told that no trip to Alaska is complete without a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad. So, we took the journey aboard the "Scenic Railway of the World" and traveled from tidewater to the summit of White Pass, a 2,865 foot elevation. We rode 40 miles round-trip in a vintage rail car and retraced the original route to White Pass Summit passing Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch. It proved to be an amazing trip, which featured panoramic views of mountains, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles and historic sites. We saw the original Klondike Trail of '98 worn into the rocks, a tribute to the thousands that took this route to seek their fortune. The narrow gauge railroad is a designated International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, shared with the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
We thoroughly enjoyed having a balcony for Glacier Bay. It got very crowded on the main decks, and it was a pleasure to enjoy the scenery in quiet, with the ship's bridge channel broadcasting the narration by the park ranger. We also took advantage of the balcony for early morning dolphin and whale watching.
The food overall was ok. We ate at Cagney's, which was fantastic. We also ate at each main dining room, the Garden Buffet, and the Great Outdoors Buffet. For better quality food, you really need to go to a specialty restaurant. However, we are frequent cruisers, so we know what to expect where and adjust our expectations accordingly. It's all about attitude.
We experienced some but not all of the onboard entertainment. From what I did see, I was somewhat disappointed, it was less than theme park quality.
On the second to last night, at the end of the farewell show, the officers, crew and captain lined the hallway of the exit to the Stardust theater and applauded the guests as they left. Now, that is how you make passengers feel appreciated! We will book NCL again.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Book at least one speciality restaurant - it's worth it. Cagney's was amazing!