Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sky
Sailing Date: June 21st, 2003
I had a great time on the Norwegian Sky on June 21 & have some good info for all of you lucky enough to also be going! I went with my Mom & we had a great time. We had a balcony cabin (#1011 - port side foreword), which was really nice since the scenery is spectacular the minute you leave Seattle & sail between Vancouver Island & the mainland. You can't always be on the deck, so I highly recommend a balcony so you can get ready for dinner & not miss the dramatic forested islands & snow covered mountains everywhere. Also we saw dolphins & whales from our balcony, as well as incredible sunrises & sunsets. The cabin itself is pretty small, though, probably the smallest I've been in! Maybe a few inches bigger than a regular cabin w/o a balcony, but maybe even the same size. There is one regular closet where you could hang long dresses, but the other closet has the ONLY dresser in the cabin. It has a measly 3 small drawers, with the safe on top of it & a little space above to hang some tops & skirts, but not much else. We had read about the small cabins before going, so we did cut back on what we brought. We still brought a lot & we did okay, since we planned ahead. We brought one of those closet organizers to give us some extra shelves, which really came in handy. Also, there is only one outlet in the whole cabin & it's only a 2 pronged one. So, if you need to plug in something w/ 3 prongs, or more than one outlet, bring a converter. The ship is really not very formal, except on the one formal night when men wore suits or tuxedo's (which was at the Captain's Cocktail Party on Sunday). The other nights, people were wearing everything from skirts, pants, & even jeans in the dining room.
I'll start with some shopping advice for those going to Skagway. All the shops have the same sort of stuff, but they are much more expensive. There was a
store in Skagway called the Skagway Outlet Store (S.O.S.) & they had the absolute best prices on all kinds of souvenirs. $1.00 for a regular sized calendar with awesome pictures of Alaska! Plus it has a little map of the Inside Passage on the inside cover. Also they had lots of magnets for $1.00, including really cute totem poles. You could get a pack of 6 key chains from all the different cities for $2.99. Postcards were 10 for a dollar!! We had already shopped in the other ports, so I only spent about $30.00, but I came away with tons of stuff!! I only wish I bought more! The Alaska chocolate bars were $2.00 each (same price as the other places I went to) & boy are they good! A great gift would be: a magnet, chocolate bar & calendar ($4.00 total!). For kids, a chocolate bar & a teddy bear with the Alaska star pattern on it ($3.00 total). You could also get great jewelry, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, photo albums (including one really neat one with a leather type cover with a map of Alaska on the outside cover. I bought this in a different city for $10.00, but I bet it was allot less at S.O.S.! Pick up a free local color ad if you see one while walking through town. They have coupons in the back where they give you a free wooden train whistle; a fun souvenir after visiting Skagway! Also those teddy bears were buy one get one free, so they turn out to be $1.00 each! You go to the back of the store to redeem the train whistle. I didn't have a coupon, but the guy gave me one anyway and one of the ads with coupons for other stores too. They were really nice there. Everyone in town (90% of the people, seriously!) is carrying around these yellow & black bags from the store. That's how we discovered it & I wish it was the only shopping I did!
My favorite excursion was the Orca by Jet Boat for $69.00 in Victoria. The ship offers two different trips & we did the jet boats with the hydrophones, so you can hear the Orcas noises over the boat's speakers. The boat went pretty fast, which was really fun! They give you a nice warm jacket & a hat, since it does get super windy. The Orcas got within about 10 feet of some of the other boats out there! There were so many in all different directions; it was really spectacular!
Also in Victoria is a really neat place called Crystal Gardens. It's only about a 20 minute walk from the ship, or you can take the bus ($5.00 Round trip). Lots of endangered animals, exotic birds, plants, flowers, butterflies, etc. All inside a really neat glass domed building. It's $14.00 to get in, but well worth it. We paid with a credit card, because they can't give American currency as change. So, if you don't want Canadian money as a souvenir, bring exact change or a credit card!
In Seattle, go to the Gold Rush Museum, in the Pioneer Square district. It's run by the National Park Service, so it's free to get in & they have very knowledgeable Park Rangers that gave us a great summary of the history. They have a few different short films they play and also lots of artifacts & pictures of the Klondike Gold Rush.
The Chocoholics Buffet was Thursday at 3:00. They give you a tiny plate & you go through the line. Then they ask you if you want to sit in the dining room or else they'll put your goodies on a paper plate to take back to your cabin. That's what we did, because we had a big lunch that day. The chocolate covered strawberries were heaven, even the next day! They made a great snack in between our 2 excursions (Orca trip & Crystal Gardens).
Don't miss the magician - Monday night & Friday morning. In the dining rooms, request a table by the window. Also if you find a waiter you like, request his station! Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Happy Cruising!