Not the cruise I expected.....
Norwegian Star Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Sail Date: August 13, 2011
Ship: Norwegian Star
Cabin Type: Suite
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Our trip started with a few days in Seattle - you should do this if you have the time - Buy the City Pass which saves you money and gets you up in the Spaceneedle twice day/night, museums, the zoo, the Aquarium etc... We also took in a Mariner game. Getting on and off the boat was pretty smooth and organized. They even have a service that they wil store your bags ($3 a bag until 3:30 pm) so you can sight see if you have a late flight upon your return.
As for the cruise, the Star is an older ship not as well laid out as some other ships we have been on. Didn't have as many ammenities / activities as other ships. We had a mini suite that was to sleep 4 - our two teenage kids slept on a rock hard couch that was provided with dirty linens. Not sure I would have been able to sleep on it for a week! I brought an extension cord and a power strip which was a great suggestion I got from someone else on-line and they were right there was one outlet that everyone needed. Also don't forget an umbrella and some binoculors! We were not happy with our cabin steward. He did next to nothing in our room. We thought this was terrible especially since it was a suite.
NCL's Freestyle dining may sound good if you just wat to eat buffets or so-so food all week. I think it is just another way to get more money out of you because if you want to eat how you expect to eat on a cruise you have to pay more. The only night lobster was an option in the Dining room was the first night and we missed it because we were checking out the boat , we were in shorts and the kids were starving so we just ate at the buffet. The Cruise Directors were fun and amusing. We loved the Second City Comedy and the rest of the shows were pretty good except the hypnotist show. Weather not so good in August. apparently end of May, June or July would be best for Alaska and after Labor Day great if you are looking for great price markdowns on merchandise while you are in port. The cruise lines own most of the stores they are sending you to at the ports. Local guides reminded us that Alaska has no natural gemstones - the only thing from there would be precious metals.
Excursions were expensive but we enjoyed the Deadliest Catch excursion even though it was raining. My husband and son were all excited about the helicopter/glacier trek, it was going to be the highlight of their trip....until it was cancelled. My daughter and I did the Glacier Float - Can't believe I paid money for this - wet / frozen / no wildlife / far from view of the glacier/ nothing to see / happy when it was over!!! We ziplined in Skagway because the kids liked it so much in Mexico - it was adventurous and fun but if you are looking for wildlife / culture / scenic tour choose something else. Actually in Skagway you can go on some nice hikes right from the town to a beautiful lake and a river with thousands of fish spawnning. I liked this little town the best - shopping was good, a lot of people enjoyed the train ride, there were things to explore right there if you didn't want to spend money on an excursion. A local even directed us to a pub where they brew a beer using the tips of Spruce trees...very unique. On the flip side, if you don't do an excursion in Prince Rupert you might as well stay on the boat. I don't know why they chose this as a port but I would have rather spent more time in other ports or even have another day at sea between ports. Bingo payouts were small considering what they charged and how many people were playing.My 15 year old daughter had a blast with the kids in the teen center - I am sure she would rate this cruise a 10 on a scale of 1-5.
My 18 year old son played basketball (when it wasn't raining) Ping Pong, Dodge ball, Shuffleboard and anything else they offered. He enjoyed the tournaments and won lots of souveniers. He was even allowed to gamble in the casino which was fun, All and all it was not the Alaska trip we had envisioned but it was a nice vacation.
Ports of Call
Don't Miss: Do the lake loop hike on your own from town. Also try the Spruce Tip Beer at the local Pub brewry.
Don't Miss: Local pub with awesome chowder
Don't Miss: Do an excursion or stay on the boat - nothing in this town
Pros: whales swimming by