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Jim Smith

Age: 56

Occupation:Executive

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: June 9th, 2005

Itinerary: Alaska


Because my wife and I were first-time cruisers, we agonized over our decision about which cruise line to contract with. We settled on NCL because of schedule and price.

Pre-Arranged Transportation
Our trip started out with NCL-arranged air transportation to Seattle and then a bus transfer to the port. Aside from a delay in our takeoff, the pre-arranged transportation was excellent. We had several bags and were heartened to see NCL representatives in the baggage area of the airport to collect our bags (NCL-provided bag tags attached) and transport them to the Norwegian Dream, and ultimately to our suite.

Embarkation
We were concerned about our early arrival at the port in Seattle, which was scheduled for several hours before the Dream was supposed to leave port. We had even explored the possibility of touring Seattle to while away the time, but decided against touring. Much to our delight, NCL was ready to board us as soon as we got to the port. Embarkation was a breeze. We had purchased an Owner’s Suite on the Dream and were afforded expeditious handling during embarkation. We were in our suite within 20 minutes of our arrival at the port.

Suite
We were assigned Suite #1106, located forward on the starboard side. While the Dream is not a new ship, the accommodations are expertly maintained and serviced. On arrival to our suite, we were greeted with a written welcome from the Captain and our Concierge along with a bottle of champagne, fresh flowers, and a bowl of fresh fruit. Shortly after arrival, our Concierge, Butler, and Stewardess came to meet us and to ensure that everything was to our liking. Our choice of soft drinks and bottled water were replenished every day.

Suite #1106 had 4 separate rooms. The main living area had a sofa bed, two chairs, a coffee table, two other smaller end tables, an entertainment center with refrigerator, TV and radio/CD player, a desk area with chair, and storage shelves. The master bedroom made up of a queen-sized bed, two bedside tables with drawers, a small closet, a television, and an independently lighted dressing table with chair. Both the living area and the master bedroom had sliding doors leading to the spacious private balcony. The bathroom was well appointed with a normal sized tub and shower, commode, and sink. Our Stewardess ensured an abundant supply of soaps, lotions, etc. There was a second smaller inside bedroom with an upper bunk that we never used as a sleeping area. That room became our baggage storage. It also had drawer and shelf space, a safe, and a closet area for hanging clothes. This is also where our life vests were stored.

We could not have been happier with our suite and the delightful people who served us. The staff that served our suite were some of the nicest and most considerate people we’ve ever encountered. In addition to normal cabin services, we were visited daily by our Concierge who ensured that each day of our trip was planned just as we had hoped.

Staff

We were delighted with the staff and crew of the Dream. From our Captain and Cruise Director to bartenders and restaurant wait staff, we were given every courtesy. Fifty nations were represented in our staff and crew, and everyone we met greeted us and treated us with special kindness and consideration.

Freestyle Dining
We enjoyed this feature, which allows you to dine casually in any of the Dream’s restaurants anytime you wish during operating hours. We found the food to be excellent in all dining rooms, and the service everywhere was exceptional. Freestyle dining affords you the opportunity to have formal evenings at your choice, and we especially enjoyed our formal gourmet meals at Le Bistro.

Ports and Excursions

This cruise visited ports at Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines, Seward/Anchorage, Sitka, and Prince Rupert. We enjoyed the most spectacular weather at all ports. Daytime temperatures were in the 60s and 70s. We had no rain or fog during the cruise so we were able to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of Alaska and Canada.

The ports offer numerous shopping opportunities, great dining, and wonderful sight seeing. NCL offers a large selection of excursions that fill up fast. We booked ours early so we had no trouble getting what we wanted. We enjoyed excursions at most ports. In Ketchikan, we boated to the Misty Fjords to see beautiful waterfalls and wildlife surrounded by snow capped mountains. In Juneau we took the four glacier helicopter tour with dog sledding on the Norris glacier. This was our favorite excursion and we will recommend it to anyone who plans to cruise to Alaska. In Sitka we elected to go sport fishing and were rewarded with two great fish; one king and one silver salmon. Reaching shore with our catch, representatives from packing companies met us and we were given the opportunity to have our catch cleaned, flash frozen, and shipped home. At Haines we took a jet boat wildlife trip where we saw numerous bald eagles, moose, and a host of other birds and wildlife. Wanting to see as much of Alaska as we could, we took the bus and Grandview Railroad trip from Seward to Anchorage and back. This was our least favorite trip as it took several hours, most spent on the road or rail. We would have enjoyed more time in Seward which is beautiful and historic.

On Board Entertainment
While we didn’t go to every show and every lounge, those that we did visit provided excellent entertainment and fun. The stage shows in the Stardust Lounge were great and a wonderful way to end evenings on the ship. We were very impressed with the quality of these shows.

The Dream’s shopping area, the Galleria, was also entertaining with a variety of products that were well presented.

Summary
We were delighted with NCL, the Dream, its crew, and our cruise in general. We spent many hours researching cruises and cruise lines, and reading cruise reviews for months before our cruise. Having done so, we were very well prepared. For instance, we knew to dress in layers. So when the temperatures rose, we were still able to enjoy outside activities.

Passengers represented many cultures and ages. There were young families with children and the Dream’s crew always seemed to have something planned for kids. Predominantly, most passengers were couples in their 30s to 60s.

I highly recommend this cruise experience.

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