Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Wind
Sailing Date: July 6th, 2003
Itinerary: Inside Passage - Alaska
This was our most enjoyable cruise ever. Our family consists of (3) my husband, myself and our son (13 years of age). I can't say enough about how wonderful every single member of this crew was.
The Ship itself, the accommodations (we had a balcony and thoroughly enjoyed that particular feature), the activities shipboard, the excursions (we went to the Saxman Totem Pole village in Ketchikan, the Medenhall Glacier/Salmon Bake in Juneau, the Skagway Streetcar Tour in Skagway and simply walked around and shopped in Wrangell, all the tours were well worth the cost and effort).
The activities available for the "Teen Crew" were great. My son had a terrific time. We got him a "smoothie book" and he was able to get a smoothie at any and every single bar on the ship and I think he did, it was $35 for the week but it was well worth it!
My husband took part in the $20 Soda Cup feature which gave you a thermos-like cup that was refillable at each and every bar and by any waiter/waitress on the ship anytime, anywhere. That worked out beautifully for him too!
Nothing was a problem for any of the crew members that you came into contact with on the Wind. The cruise director, "Steve" was most entertaining and he was positively everywhere all the time! Talk about having your finger on the pulse, this guy was amazing. If you didn't see him, you heard him. I don't know when these people sleep. You go to bed and you pass them in the hall, you get up and you pass them in the hall, always perfectly dressed, smiling, inquiring about your vacation, on their way somewhere.
The entertainment was also excellent. There was a troup of singer/dancers, the "Jean Ryan Group." These were the most talented, beautiful kids that I have seen anywhere. Broadway has nothing on them. They did three completely different shows during the week and each and every one was better than the last! The costumes, dancing, singing, acrobatics, lighting, was just amazing.
The comedian was "JJ Walker" remember him? He had his moments, but was entertaining too.
I was also very impressed with the speed and efficiency and thoroughness as far as security was concerned. You and your belongings were very thoroughly examined each and every time you got on and off the ship and you never felt "put out" at all, it was a very speedy process and you usually didn't even realize you were being checked out. These people have it down to a science. I've done my share of airport, immigration, custom, etc. in and out of countries and airports, etc. and the process on this ship was the most inoffensive that I've ever experienced.
I love the "free style." We ate in "The Bistro" an upscale smaller dining room three times during our cruise and it was wonderful each and every time. We didn't mind the extra cover charge, it was well worth it. The other dining rooms were very nice too (we did not, however, like the Tratorria, the crew there was very nice but the whole experience there was not the same as at the others, lacking) and as I said, absolutely everyone bent over backwards to make sure your every wish was met.
I also loved the fact that tips were assessed per person, per day and on each bar bill, etc. I have always hated that last night envelope stuffing thing you had to do on cruises.
As far as keeping busy, there was something going on every minute of every day, everywhere on that ship. You couldn't ever be at a loss for something to do! You couldn't even get to everything you wanted to do because you'd be afraid you'd miss something! We're already looking at NCL's trip to the Baltic's for next year.
I sailed with NCL when it was Norwegian Caribbean Lines many years ago and I loved it then and I've loved what it has evolved into. This week went by way too fast and my little family unit had the time of their lives and we aren't all that easily impressed. We take what we call "one serious vacation" each and every year, and even though this was only one week in length, we were positively delighted.
The only thing that I found a little wanting was the shopping. You didn't really feel like you got a "value" in my book. It was good to know, however, that they would match the prices that you got in the ports and that they would be sure you were satisfied if you shopped in the stores on the "NCL" list while you were in port and ended up having a problem with your purchase. Purchases of "Alaska stuff" cost what you would expect it to cost, (a little pricey) but its a memory, right?
Anyway, on the whole, this was a wonderful experience, wonderful memories, and I would absolutely, without reservation, recommend the Norwegian Wind, Inside Passage, Vancouver to Vancouver, to everyone!