You don't need a smaller ship for Alaska. Lots of rumors over smaller vs larger especially when getting close to Glaciers. On the NCL Pearl, we had a pilot that assisted the Captian when entering the ice flows and the Glaciers. The NCL Pearl navigated at about 1 1/2 knots very close to the Glacier. It was spectacular. The ice flows on John Hopkins Inlet was heavy, so we could not navigate the inlet fully nor could the Shappire Princess. We came within 100 yards of two Glaciers (Margerie Glaciers and Lar Plugh Glacier) that were spectacular. A larger ship will offer better choices and more for dining, NCL has about 10 restaurants. Great large theatre for shows, and lost of activities. The ship hold 2300 passengers and crew of 1100+. There will be days when the ship seems empty, and crowding was never problem We have now sailed the NCL Pearl twice within a 3 month period.
Enjoy, and suggest the larger ships. Especially the newer built ships.
P.S.- If you want to see a great view from the NCL Pearl....check out the webcam on the NCL Pearl on Thursday from 1:00 PM EST to 3:00 PM. You will have a great idea of what to expect.
Go to this great website: