September 2015 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage
This cruise was my seventh cruise to Alaska and the 50 year anniversary of my first cruise to Alaska. So I know something about the trip. But this was my first NCL cruise. I read other reviews regarding the Jewel before I left. Some people criticized the décor. Others, the kids. This was the last cruise of the season. We had maybe a dozen kids on board. The children's facilities were virtually ghost towns. The décor looked fine to me. The only issue that I had was with the bar staff. In the Stardust Theatre, just before a performance started, I ordered a Shirley Temple. 20 minutes later, the waiter arrived with some sort of strawberry concoction. Since I wanted to enjoy the show, I accepted it. The next night, I ordered the same drink from the same guy. And I received the same strange result. This time I told him that this was not a Shirley Temple and to go back to the bartender and get me one. 20 minutes later, one showed up. But without the Grenadine and the cherry. A few days later, in the Spinnaker Lounge, the guy next to my ordered a Harvey Wallbanger. They didn't know what that one was either. So he had to explain it to the waiter. He received, and was billed for, a screwdriver and a shot of Galliano. If these people have never heard of these simple, standard drinks, how can they make the more elaborate ones?
I did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants, so I cannot rate them. I tried Chin Chin and it was just OK. I liked O'Sheehans a little better, but they really don't know how to make a chicken pie.
The officers were great. In Glacier Bay, the Captain used his thrusters to do 360's in front of the glaciers so that everyone could see. He didn't have to do that. The Hotel Captain sent chocolate covered strawberries to people's staterooms twice, and a bottle of wine once. With a corkscrew. It was nice to feel appreciated.
The ships photographers were not at all obnoxious. This is high praise, considering some of my other cruises.
The weather was extremely unusual for the end of the season. We had some drizzle in Ketchikan and a little light rain at night in Juneau. Sitka was our only real rain day. Overall, the weather was clear, bright, sunny and warm.
The best thing about being the last ship of the season were the sales. All of the tourist shops were willing to deal to get rid of their merchandise. The Alaskan T-shirt Company had 50% off of most everything. Even the ship's store had 50%, or more, off of their Alaskan merchandise. I bought a NCL t-shirt for under $4.
My one real complaint goes beyond the power of NCL to correct. My complaint was with the passengers. We had some that looked like they just stepped off of the farm. Complete with overalls and cowboy hats. Another group looked like they just came from biker days at Sturgis. Then there were the sister wives all dressed in their homemade Prairie finest. Needless to say, my tuxedo did not fit in.
The cruise was a success. I accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish, even though NCL changed the arrival times at the last minute. But would I travel on NCL again? Probably not. I just didn't like the passengers.