Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Wind
Sailing Date: June 1st, 2003
Itinerary: Alaska/Sawyer Glacier
Here we are again! Our second cruise to Alaska in a year with NCL! The same ship too! We had such a great time last year, that we decided at the last minute to take advantage of a GREAT sale, and go again! We love the idea of Freestyle Cruising, which is only offered by Norwegian, so any future cruises will be with them.
This year we left from Canada Place in Vancouver, rather than Ballantyne Pier, as we had last year. We found departing from Canada Place a bit more "mixed up" than Ballantyne Pier, but I suppose it was the extra bit of security that was in place. Make sure to a get coupon book just before boarding, great deals in it! We were an hour late leaving Vancouver because 2 people were late.
We were so thrilled with our cabin! We had been upgraded to an outside cabin from an inside one! I was thinking that it would just have a small port hole, but to our surprise, we had 2 LARGE port holes! Our cabin was on the bottom deck, so there was no obstructions of any kind. And very little movement. That gravity thing is great! We were also close to the water line, so any wildlife was just "feet" from the port holes.
The weather was the best! Sunny and warm everyday! The cruise ship was able to have their outdoor BBQ every day we were not in port. Delicious lamb chops! All the restaurants we ate at were great. Especially The 4 Seasons, with their roast duck! ALL the staff and crew were the best. Helpful, friendly, courteous. One crew member remember us from last year! With all the people he meets, we were impressed he remembered us!
The first port we visited was Ketchikan. There were 4 cruise ships traveling together, so in this port, we had to "tender" and take small boats into shore. We had no problems getting on and off those tenders, but I was wondering how a person in a wheelchair got on and off them. Depending on the tide, the stairs can be quite steep I'm sure. Since we had been there just a year ago, we didn't need souvenirs, so we grabbed a taxi ($15) out to Wal-Mart. As we left, we found a city bus for $1.25 ea! If you decide to go to Wal-Mart, take the bus from the pier, it's allot cheaper, and only takes about 20 minutes! Left Ketchikan late because 2 people were late, and the ship had to send a "tender" back to get them.
Juneau was next, and as we found last year, the shops were a little on the expensive side. We took a shore excursion to Mendenhall Glacier. The Glacier was a beautiful site! The weather was just perfect too! The ranger told us that it was the best day they had had since last year! It is worth seeing! There is a big blue school bus for only $5.00 that leaves from the piers, that will take you out there too. We were late leaving Juneau because the SAME 2 people missed the ship again! A "tender" had to go back to get them.
That afternoon we sailed into Sawyer Glacier. The weather couldn't have been better! Last year it was freezing cold, but this year, it was warm and calm. Icebergs every where with seals laying around on them with their pups. It was so cute! The glacier was "calving" allot too. Our room was on the bottom deck, as I said, so what a site it was looking out there and seeing the icebergs and seals floating by!
The next stop was Skagway. We walked around town and found a small diner called "Sweet Tooth Cafe" and had breakfast. Very good! Look for it!
The last port was Wrangell. I believe this was the first year for cruise ship traffic, so the town really needs to "spruce" up a bit and "cash" in on this money making opportunity. A few interesting shops and stands, and as you walk along the dock, there are kids with tables selling their wares, which I found cute. A real fisherman's town. There is a mall being built, which should help. It's worth making the small walk up to the museum too. Weather was HOT in Wrangell!
The next two days were cruising back to Vancouver through the Inside Passage. It was beautiful, clear and sunny. We went into the hot tub on board and sat around in the many deck chairs. There was never a shortage of deck chairs. Even though the ship was filled to capacity, there was always enough room in the lounges for the great entertainment, always room in the casino, and always enough things to do, for every bodies tastes!
Speaking of tastes, the Chocoholic Buffet was my favorite! This year the buffet was from 3-5pm rather than midnight as it was last year. I could eat more! No dinner that night, that's for sure!
My husband did some of the fitness programs available, and found the instructor, Brandon, excellent. Unfortunately, he also had to visit the on-board medical center for a migraine, and found the treatment quick and professional.
Once again we had a great time with NCL, and the staff, crew and everybody, were great! Thanks!