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Brian

Age: 60

Occupation:Teacher

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sun

Sailing Date: July 10th, 2005

Itinerary: Alaska

NCL
Sun
7 Day Alaska

Brian

We departed NY for Seattle Thursday, 7/8 and stayed two nights at "The Inn at Harbor Steps", a great hotel- large room, view of Puget Sound, located 2 blocks from the water front and Pikes Market and staffed by young people who want you to enjoy their city and priced moderately. Had an extensive tour of all the neighborhoods of the city with "Show Me Seattle" tours booked through the hotel and ate seafood at "Ivars" on the pier. Next day we did Pikes Market and Pioneer Square, the Underground Tour, and enjoyed walking the city- ate at "Pichet", an authentic French Bistro close to the hotel. Saturday morning we picked up a car at Hertz and drove to Vancouver( three hours ride) - stayed at "Pacific Pallisades Hotel" on Robeson St, top class service, location , rooms and amenities. Took a city tour that was outstanding booked at the hotel and ate dim sum at at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Both Seattle and Vancouver were cities where we could have spent more time. Next morning we boarded the Sun at Canada Place. Boarding was quick and efficient, our concierge meet us at the check in line after the paper work was finished, and we were in our AC suite in 45 minutes (skip the line for photos and save ten minutes). 9276 aft was spacious and well kept . The cabin opened to an mirrored entry hall with access to the bathroom. The hall lead to a living room with a couch (sleeper), two arm chairs, a large coffee table, large TV, stereo system and DVD player. There were flowers, champagne, and chocolate covered strawberries on the table

Along one wall was a built in desk and glass toped cabinet that held glasses and stemware, a mini- bar/fridge and storage space. Floor to ceiling sliders opened to an expansive balcony that was aprox 20 ft long and held two loungers, two chairs and a small table. There was another set of these sliders in the adjacent bedroom that opened to the balcony and we spent many hours on the balcony viewing the splendor of Alaska. The bedroom had a large closet and two tables, and a queen bed . It opened to a dressing room with a closet, draw storage and a make up table and mirror. The adjacent bathroom had a jetted tub, separate shower, sink, lots of storage and a separate WC room. Our butlers and stewards were professional and took great care of the room and us. Each afternoon they brought some treat from the galley to go with our cocktails. The room was made up and turned down with care and many personal touches. Room service was quick and accurate. We have cruised on many other lines and ships but the Sun to Alaska was the best overall experience from service to entertainment . You can eat where and when you like. We ate at French food at Le Bistro, steak at East meets West, escargot and veal at the Seven Seasons, crab legs at the Garden Cafe. We always found something good and interesting for lunch from the curry station, pizzeria, grill or the buffet line and often carried it aft to the Great Outdoor Cafe and ate alfresco (dress warm for this) . Meal times did not dictate our schedule. The Broadway Review was excellent and we spent many hours at the Windjammer Lounge listening to Gershwin, Porter, show tunes, sing alongs and sipping scotch. There was an excellent guitarist in Las Tapas. This was a boat for adults of a certain age and there were people from all over the world to talk to, sing with, dine with, and enjoy. There were lingering sunsets that stretched across the sky untill midnight and one night a clear star filled sky and orange moon low on the horizon. The Inside Passage is a magnificent ride. We saw locals in small boats reeling in 40 lb salmon. We saw Orcas, eagles, seals ice flows, two glaciers, but cruising the Tracy Arm was the most dramatic. This was six hours of visual poetry. Activities were always available. We had lectures on how to write a novel and why Alaska looks the way it does. The ports and excursions were interesting and expensive . But we drank Alaska Ale at The Red Onion in Skagway and ate home made meatloaf sandwiches at the Red Dog in Juno or vice versa and we hit all the local museums and craft shops in Ketchikan. We took the White Pass Railway Trip in Skagway purchased through NCL for 100 dollars each. Worth the money. We sat on the left side going up in the middle of the car for great vistas. In Juno we purchased bus fare to the Mendenhall Glacier on the dock from a local company for 10 dollars each (round trip). There are many tour operators selling various tours. (Ask how long you will have to wait for pickup/return.) At the glacier we paid 3 dollars each admission to the visitor's center. This was a great way to see the glacier at our pace for much less than the boat was asking. We had friends who took the more expensive float plane tours and enjoyed them. I would book expensive trips through NCL but you can go online and find tour operators and check their prices. The small boat tour of Tracy Arm is a good choice if you want to get closer to the Sawyer Glacier. Perhaps Wrangall was the most unique port. The local people come to meet you at the dock and cook fresh crab, salmon, chowder and serve you on picnic tables-all for a reasonable price. You will never eat fresher seafood. They will even take you to play golf and it is all mom and pop stuff. Small town America undecorated by large corporations is still to be experienced. The staff and officers of the Sun are a group of hard working dedicated professionals who make you feel like welcome guests. There was a Latitudes party, Captain Welcome party, Suite passengers party, many sail away parties. People smile and greet you and it all is relaxed and without affectation. Getting off the ship was as smooth as getting on. You can stay in your cabin until called. We left knowing we would sail again on this boat. Hertz picked us up at Canada Place and we took the scenic roads back to Seattle and flew home the next day. It was a great vacation.

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