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Tracy Hames

Age: 35

Occupation:Marketing

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Wind

Sailing Date: April 29th, 2002

Itinerary: Inside Passage (Alaska)

We really went on the cruise for the excursions and ports—not the ship. We booked three excursions immediately because we were afraid they might sell-out. We initially selected the Pilot’s Choice Glacier Expedition in Juneau, the White Pass Railroad in Skagway, and the Saxman Native Village in Ketchikan. The day we were docking in Juneau, the Captain announced that we would be arriving 4 hours late due to rough seas the previous evening and, though he didn’t say it, I’m sure our late departure from Vancouver didn’t help matters. Of course, arriving 4 hours late wrecked havoc on the planned excursions. We missed our scheduled excursion time by 3 ½ hours. Most of the excursions that day were cancelled (ours being one of them) and the confusion that resulted was not handled very well by the excursion staff.

They had everyone who booked an excursion meet in the Stardust Lounge when we were getting ready to arrive in Juneau. The room was packed. In our particular case, they called us to the front of the room and said we would definitely be going, even though we were several hours late. In the meantime, they we canceling other excursions left and right. Then, after about 45 minutes, they canceled ours. They assured us our account would be credited or we could book for the following day in Skagway. We had already booked the railroad in Skagway so this option presented a conflict.

We ended up doing the following:

No excursion in Juneau because of late arrival. We walked around the city, took some pictures, and went to the Red Dog bar for drinks and music (that was fun—locals hangout there). It was cold and rainy that night, but we still enjoyed the city.

White Pass Railroad in Skagway. Skagway is a great little town with rich history. I really enjoyed it. The shops were more upscale than in Juneau and the store owners and staff were incredibly friendly. We did a fair amount of shopping here. The railroad was very beautiful with many photo opportunities and the narration provides a nice history of the town. We had great weather and loved the authenticity of the town.

Sea Kayaking in Haines. Again, we were late getting into port so the kayaking was cut a little bit short. There isn’t much to see or do in Haines, so I’m glad we booked the Kayaking. It was nice to do something active after being on the boat for a couple of days. It was wonderful (my favorite of the 3 excursions). We were entertained by a very large group of sea lions. One was so close to the kayak I could have reached out and touched him! The guides were expert, friendly and helpful.

Misty Fjords in Ketchikan. We took a floatplane through the fjords. This was very beautiful and my husband’s favorite excursion. My only caution would be that if you are prone to motion sickness this one is a little bit rough. The excursion was only 1 ½ hours so we had plenty of time to scour the city and shop. We had lunch at a wonderful little restaurant called The New York Hotel. Very friendly service and great food! We bought a pound of coffee called Raven’s Brew that they roast on site—excellent!

All of the ports and excursion were excellent and the people were wonderful.

We will most likely not take another cruise with NCL. Although we had a great time, it had more to do with Alaska than with being on the ship. I do think a cruise is a great way to see Alaska but wish we would have booked on a different cruise line.

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