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Review: Norwegian Pearl

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

Holiday in Canada and Alaska -4- Alaskan Cruise

  • By SilverTraveller granh

    60 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • May 2013
  • Husband
  • Special occasion
  • Outside
  • Seatle

11 people found this review helpful

From Vancouver, we travelled to Seattle, setting off early as our tour leader was twitchy about how long it would take to cross the border into the USA. We got through relatively quickly, so had time for a tour of Seatle before going to the cruise ship for the next part of the holiday. It took ages to check in ourselves and luggage and get on board, which was understandable with the huge numbers of passengers joining the ship.

The cruise ship was the Norwegian Pearl, part of the Norwegian Line. It was a large, white vessel with playful artwork on the side – making it look a fun place! It was built in 2006, and had an impressive facilities, which included:- a vast array of dining facilities, with 16 restaurants, a choice of 13 bars, library/internet room, 2 swimming pools, a theatre, and a casino.

We had a spacious cabin, with a window instead of a porthole. We settled in, had lunch and explored. We had difficulty getting our heads round the different staircases and levels and kept getting lost! We set sail at 4pm, and our tour leader arranged for us to have a meal together on one of the restaurants. Meals were “free style” which meant no seating plan as on other cruises we had been on. The choice was self-service, restaurant, or special restaurant which required an extra charge. It was nice to go to one of the restaurants, but they got a bit busy before and after the theatre times. We mainly went to self -service, which had a good choice of food. I was a bit disappointed that there was not more fish (I think it was geared to Americans who preferred meat). I mentioned this to some senior personnel person who was getting feedback from passengers, and next day – more fish dishes! Don’t know whether that was coincidence!

There was plenty of entertainment for those who wanted it. The evening shows in the theatre were good, and we went to most. We avoided the garish casino, in favour of the quiet library. There was a large observation area with comfortable seats at the front of the boat. A daily newspaper bulletin was delivered to the cabin each evening, to inform us about the next day, which was helpful.

Day 1 was getting aboard, day 2 was at sea. We went to a film about the cruise and places we would be visiting, which was useful for booking excursions. We had arranged some excursions when we booked, but were able to change our mind on some.

On day 3 we arrived at Juneau in the early afternoon, and left late evening. We went on a whale watching and wildlife trip and saw orcas and humpback whales, but none very close up and no mention of other wildlife, so a bit disappointing.

On day 4 our stop was Skagway, arriving at 7am and departing 7-45pm, so a full day. We wondered if the shops would be open so early, but opening hours depend whether a cruise ship is in! Our excursion today was the White Pass and Yukon Route railway. There was a delay starting, and we were given the option of aborting trip, but decided to stay on, despite an hour delay. It was worth it for the spectacular ride up into the snowy mountains, right up to the Canadian border. It turned out a free trip too, it was assumed everyone had given up on the trip and we got a refund to spend on board, as well as a free cap and video. You have to deposit money to spend on board when you get on the trip also, so we had too much credit, as we didn’t frequent the bars or casino. We ended up spending in the gift shops at the end of the trip, buying things we really didn’t want!

Day 5 was spent in glacier bay. We got up early for a 7am talk by a ranger on the bay, which is a national park. We sailed up to a glacier and paused for a while to see if any ice would break off, then slowly returned through the bay, seeing whales, a walrus and sea otters. It was a lovely clear, sunny day which we were told was unusual for the area at this time of year!

Day 6 was our Ketchikan visit. We looked round the shops, and found one selling local crafts, so bought a wooden carving of an eagle. Next was the Lumberjack Show, a slick presentation of wood cutting, pole climbing, log rolling by two teams of rugged, good looking young men. They must put their performance on countless times, they knew how to play to the crowd! In the afternoon we had a coach trip to Totem Bight park. We walked through an area of rain forest with fantastic tree roots and undergrowth, and strange birds flitting around – I would have loved to linger, but we moved on to a tribal house, where we had a talk on totem poles, and what they were for. Visiting first peoples could look at the poles and read who they belonged to, before paying a visit – or quickly moving on. It was quite wet and cold, so we were pleased to go to the tourist shop where we were given free hot chocolate and biscuits cooked by the tour guide.

Day 7 was a visit to Victoria, arriving at 6pm and leaving at 11pm. We had a highlight tour, along the coast and round the suburbs. The coast looked especially interesting, with little bays – saw a glimpse of harlequin ducks in one. We stopped at the top of Towie Mountain, and admired a panoramic view of the city.

I have rather skimmed over the trips, there really was too much to include. I hope the photos will complete the experience

Our cruise ended the next day, Sunday May 26th. We embarked quite early, to give crew time to get the ship ready for the next trip. This meant we had time to spare before arriving at the airport, so our leader negotiated for us to be dropped off either at the market, an air museum or the Space needle. I was the only one opting for this stop, so had a solo end to the trip -which deserves another entry.

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