We just got back from the NCL Star on 7/2. One thing that helped me in packing since you have to pack for two seasons was the new Ziploc Xl bags. I found them to work better than the space saver bags. You can get alot more clother in your suitcase when you can squeeze the air out of them. There were 3 of us that packed for the 10 days that we would be gone and we made it with 5 checked bags. One the way back the Ziploc bags held our dirty clothes. Getting laundry done on the ship is expensive. On thursday night they left a bag in the cabin and they would wash as much as you could stuff in the bag for $20 and have it back to you on saturday. It didn't hold enough for me to make it worth my while. On exucrsions, be sure to book early any excursion you want to make sure you don't miss as the most popular ones book up early. I booked 2 of mine through the ship as they were ones that were not offered elsewhere. Most independent tour operators work their schedules around the cruise ships. On the Orca Enterprises whale watching that we took in Juneau we were able to stay out alittle longer as everyone on the boat was from the star, but one of the other cruise ships was pulling out early and they had to make sure no one was on there from that boat as they would have had to accomadate their new departure. Be sure to attend the onboard talks about shopping in port. The first one that we went to about shopping in Juneau and Skagway they gave away prices. They also give you a map and tell you about some of the shops, free things that you can get from them etc. We like to look for the local artist and handmade items which were usually not on the map but it helped when finding you way around. In Ketchikan I just gave my son the map along with the list of "free" items. He made a scavenger hunt with it to pick up free items to give to his girlfriend. The freestyle dining was great. We liked not being tied down to eating at the same time each day. One day they served swordfish which was just incredible. Enjoy!