Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Wind
Sailing Date: May 27th, 2002
My husband and I were first time cruisers, and we loved the idea of free style cruising. We are not "dress up for everything" type of people, so that is one thing that attracted us to Norwegian Cruise Lines. There was the option to dress up for dinner in a few restaurants, which we did, but going casual was great too! The only thing we did not agree with, as did a lot of others was the mandatory tipping. We felt that we should be able to tip the people who deserved it the most. But hey, if we really disagreed with this we would have chosen another cruise line right?
Well, starting at the beginning: the check in at Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver, B.C. was smooth, quick and efficient. We are from Victoria, so we did not have far to travel. (A tip: They take your picture as you pass through the curtain, so be ready!)First impression of the ship and our inside stateroom was great. Very small inside stateroom, but bigger than expected. (Another tip: Pay a bit more and get a room with a window! VERY dark otherwise.)
As you are going through the lines at Ballantyne Pier, pick up the Alaska coupon book. (one for each of you!) Great discounts and souvenirs in there!
The weather was not too good most of the week we were away, but there was so many on board activities for every age, that you were never bored. Great evening entertainment in the Stardust Lounge. And the casino was fun too! (I could be prejudice because I won $1,310 playing a 25cent slot machine! "Regular" people DO win!)
The crew and staff were awesome and our room steward/ess were very good. (Tip: take your own bottled water and "munchies" as these items are quite pricey)Or buy them in ports.
We found the ports wonderful with the exception of Juneau. A bit on the pricey side in Juneau, but I suppose it is because everything has to come in by boat or plane so they need too "jack" up the prices a bit. Our favorite ports were Ketchikan and Skagway.
We found the shore excursions very expensive for what you got. We only took one excursion, and that was the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway. Beautiful scenery, but not worth the $92 U.S. each. A lot of the different shore excursions are offered right at the piers as you disembark at each port.
As for the food, the best place we liked to "dress up" and eat, was at the Four Seasons. Awesome Baby Duck! Food at all the different places was awesome. My husband loved the Sushi bar and I liked the midnight Chocoholic Buffet! Although I would have preferred it a little earlier in the evening. How much chocolate can one eat at midnight!?
We were a bit disappointed with Sawyer Glacier. We were expecting it to be much bigger with big icebergs. There wasn't. If we go again, (which we will!) we will take the cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. I'm told there is BIG icebergs there!
De-embarkation in Vancouver, was smooth and efficient. Very well organized.
All and all we would rate this cruise, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, we would have to say an 8! We will definitely sail with Norwegian Cruise Lines again!!