Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sky
Sailing Date: July 19th, 2003
This was our first cruise. We went with another couple, and a father and 10 year old girl. We started in Seattle, arriving a day early and docked at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria. There was plenty to do for everyone, in fact, not enough hours in the day to get all accomplished! The ship is beautiful, the crew and staff wonderful. I enjoyed meeting the crewmembers and learning how they got to be part of the crew. They were very friendly and fun to talk to. The side excursions were excellent. I didn't hear anyone mention any trip they wouldn't recommend. We did the whale watch (humpback's) trip in Juneau and had a wonderful guide and boat driver. (this was a jet boat, and a heck of alot of fun). We saw 40 to 50 whales and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Even the older passengers enjoyed the "jet boat". The bus driver that took us to the harbor was a lot of fun, too. She pointed out various sites and we saw about 200 juvenile bald eages!
In Skagway we took the train ride, but after the whale watch trip it wasn't quite as exciting, but I know the other passengers loved it.
The glacier was beautiful but not quite what I expected. There was no "calving" the day we were there, but the scenery was great. The weather was great the entire trip, with just a little rain in Ketchikan, but the shopping made up for that! I thought it was the best shopping area of all ports. Skagway, the worst.
In Victoria we signed up for another whale watch excursion (the Orca's) and this was entirely different. The boat was not covered, the seas were very choppy and everyone got very, very wet. They handed out ski jackets to everyone as they boarded along with stocking caps. Those that didn't put them on initially, even though they were warned, had them on quickly after starting out. Again we saw many whales, but the captain paled in comparison to the narration to the guide in Juneau.
It was definitly an experience, I haven't decided if it was good or just so/so.
In regard to the ship, the only suggestions I would make is some sort of weather channel or weather update as to what was predicted. Also, there are no smoking areas of the ship, but they are discreetly marked so the smokers either didn't notice or chose not to care. The non smoking area was not enforced as far as I could tell. The food was OK. Not great. Expect a 2 hour dinner if you go to one of the restaurants. Since we had a 10 year old with us, she got a little restless.
The Observations Bar was wonderful with a great view of the upcoming scenery. The entertainment was also wonderful. I especially enjoyed Sealegs Cirque in the Stardust Lounge! If I could buy a video of that production, I would! The dancers were marvelous and they really outdid themselves in all that they did. I think most of them were involved in multiple productions and I know that two of them gave dance lessons during the day that were a joy to watch!
Boarding and debarking were absolutely painless. There was plenty of staff to make it a pleasurable experience, unlike an airport. One warning however. the airport in Seattle is a disaster. We were off the ship and in a cab on the way to the airport at 10:30 on Sat. am. We stood in 2 lines, one to check baggage, (30 minutes) and the other was the security line (1 hour). The line snaked on and on for what looked like forever. I heard several people say this was the only bad part of the trip.
I would recommend this trip, this ship. We had an outside cabin and I would recommend spending the extra dollars. There was adequate storage and room despite what I had heard and the Freestyle Dining is great!