|The beautiful Mendenhall Glacier|
We had not been on a cruise for 10 years. Things have changed a bit. Cruising is a lot more casual than it used to be - at least on NCL. Here are some things you need to know.
Food - When you are feeding 2500 people, expect mediocrity. NCL delivered on that. I have to believe that a much smaller ship, while it might be pricier, would be well worth it from a dining standpoint.
|On the dock, it is like feeding an army - no fresh seafood here|
As for the restaurants on board, even the ones that add a $10 to $30 per person upcharge, think of quality as being something between Denny's and CoCo's - where they have steak and it is good, but you won't be taking pictures of it to post on facebook. No fresh fish, no fresh sushi, but plenty of good salad bar options and delicious grilled chicken. More desserts than you will ever need.
There were a lot of Indian employees on the ship, which might explain why the Indian food was
excellent (at the buffet). The buffet actually inspired us. Looking at some of the folks who were bulking up at the buffet, we realized we needed to walk about 3 miles around the deck as many times as possible during the trip.
Spa - Get the a package. The head to toe massage was world class and the spa itself was a wonderful
|The dramatic Tormented Valley|
Booze Package - If you drink, it is a good idea to sign up for the unlimited booze package. Call liquor and about 15 wines by the glass - $350 for seven days. If you have a few glasses of wine at dinner and enjoy the late night entertainment, it is very east to blow past that number. Also - the gratuity is built in. You do not need a designated driver on a cruise ship.
Casino - Beware. Personally, I am more comfortable gambling under the rules of the Nevada Gaming Commission, as opposed to the swashbuckling, no rules atmosphere on a cruise ship.
Big Black Bear snacks on salmon - a common Alaskan sight
Plenty of Glacier floating down the bay
We loved the raft trip in the shadow of the Mendenhall Glacier, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway and traversing the Yukon Suspension Bridge. Best of all, watching black bears from suspension bridges in a Ketchikan rain forest was spectacular.
Worth the price of admission: Glacier Bay. spending several hours among spectacular glaciers - that was priceless. The sight of a glacier calving, thunderously breaking apart (see photo below) is unbelievable.
Amazing Glacier Bay