My husband and I flew from L.A. to Seattle via Alaska Air. From SeaTac we took a cab which cost us only $30. Prior to embarking, NCL had guests wash their hands with a hand sanitizer set up nearby. Very nice touch. Embarkation was smooth, quick (25 mins.), and painless. Tip: make sure to bring birth certificate along w/ ID or passport. We were so early that our stateroom was not even ready which was not a problem. Stashed our one luggage and one carry-on in the closet and we were ready for lunch. My Mom and her friend (both from Hawaii) were even earlier and their ocean-view stateroom was already ready.
Our stateroom was on the N deck. Very satisfied with our room; very spacious and comfy. (My Mom and her friend were green with envy) I just couldn't get used to the shower, but it was fine. Best of all, it was conveniently located to the elevators and eateries. TV was small, but the fridge more than made up for it. Very handy.
My mom's stateroom on the 8th deck was tiny and cramp. However their oceanview window more than made up for it. Their bathroom was tiny as well, but I think they had a tub, we didn't.
By noon, we were in Versailles having lunch. We were seated next to the windows with the view of Seattle to our right. Versailles was beautiful and elegant. Unfortunately, the food was only okay that day, nothing memorable. After lunch, we explored the ship. Loved the library, theater, and Spinnaker Lounge the most. The ship was beautiful and best of all, immaculate! It stayed spotless the whole week!
Entertainment was alright. A new comedian just came onboard in place(?) of the magician who I heard was just excellent. His material was okay, but his oldies medley was excellent! The other entertainer that we had seen was Chuck, the juggler. Now, he was funny. We're not into juggling, clowns, and the like, but he was naturally funny. We liked him alot. Also saw the J. Ryan Show and their act was very good. The Stardust Theater was elegant. So was the Spinnaker Lounge. The only bad experience we had was with the servers at the lounge. They were so pushy that they almost spoiled the place for us. Tip: if you're in a tight budget, just order free coffee/tea. We also tried the Casino, it was okay. My Mom won $2700 her first time, $60 the next day and the rest, broke even. Needless to say, that was favorite part of the cruise.
Also dined at the Aqua which was not as grand, just a welcomed change of pace for us. If we were in a hurry, we would eat at the Market Cafe and if not in a hurry, we liked Blue Lagoon. Food overall was sometimes very good or just okay. Java Cafe also served free cookies and they were decent.
Juneau: secured four tickets early at the front desk the night before. We tendered 2 1/2 hours before the ship docked at AJ Dock. We took the $10 trip to Mendenhall Glacier. Tip: when getting off the boat, go right till you see the kiosks. Better deals than the ship's. On the way back from the Glacier, we got off the second stop near the Mt. Roberts Tramway. Explored the town till we got to the Red Dog Saloon. Had real crab cakes and crab cocktails and sang along with the crowd. Good ambiance! Weather in Juneau was drizzly and cold and overcast. Still enjoyed it! The shuttle back for the cruise ships are located near the tramway. You'll see tourbuses parked there. It's not the same place where the tender boats let you off.
Skagway: Cold and windy and rainy early. Cleared up later, but still chilly. Booked the White Rail Pass excursion thru NCL and it was worth it. After the tour, most passengers got off the first stop to see the town, but we went back to the ship to get our raingear and had lunch at the Market Cafe. Went back out and walked to town to shop and meet the locals if we could find them.
Ketchikan: Beautiful sunny day! Went off the beaten path and just explored the town. We also went up the funicular tram and walked down the pathway that turned out to be the Married Man's Trail. We passed the salmon ladder, but they were not running yet of course. We were also in search of a restaurant that served Copper River king salmon, but got sidetrack. This town was better shopping for me than Skagway and Juneau. Tip: look up to see eagles flying above.
Glacier Bay: Very cold in the morning, but got warmer later. I knew the Glacier would be active, calving-wise, because it got really warm. My husband was pessimistic but he was proven wrong, thank goodness. Everyone got an excellent footage of a huge iceberg breaking away. It broke away so slowly and instead of crumbling like the other ones, it toppled and crashed instead. It was an incredible sight to see.
Victoria, BC: Major complaint with NCL! All the reviews and correspondence I had read of NCL had complained about the same mad rush out to Victoria that we experienced on this cruise. We were already late to begin with since we detoured for a sick guest that needed immediate attention which was not a problem, but all the more reason that NCL should have thought of an orderly and organized way of letting people off. We were among the crowd at the 6th deck waiting to get off at the 4th deck and the line did not move for 20 mins and when it did we got down two steps and then dead stopped. It was awful! Our excursion was for 6:30, but we didn't get out till 8pm. We toured Victoria mostly in the dark. Tip: this is when booking thru the ship paid off! We got back on board around 11:40 and my Mom's group at 11:50pm. Boarding was supposed to be by 11:30 pm. Ship sailed away at midnight.
Disembarkation in Seattle was very smooth and easy. Freestyle dining and their disembarkation system were stress free and the best! Wished I could say the same about our Victoria experience.