so we got back from our alaska cruise last week. thanks again to all of you who gave advice regarding excursions. bottom line, you dont have to book ahead if you dont want to.
we went to juneau, skagway, ketchikan and victoria. in none of them did we book an excursion with ncl and we got the tours we wanted in every port. whale watching is too much hype. we live in l.a. and so we can see that anytime. not gonna pay 100 bucks a pop- forget about it! that was a big attraction in juneau though. it was raining-which sucked, and so juneau wasnt as good as it could've been- you could hardly see mendenhall glacier! the other ports made up for this though the weather was lame in all of them when we went. seattle was still the most exciting place though (where we picked the cruise up from)!anyway, just do your own thing. you save a little (surprising not a lot) but the nice thing is you're not pressured to meet groups (several ncl bookings were canceled) and you can go at your own pace.
now the ship. sucked compared to the star. we were on the star last year to mexico and it was our first cruise. maybe because we has "stars" in our eyes we were real seduced by the ship. second time around its like, "ok, been there, done that." problem was the ships are basically the same. they make a big deal out of the pearl cuz its bigger and newer, but the star had a place to get free popcorn and a movie theater. also the cruise director, an aussie named simon, was a character. our guy clint was a whitebread game show host. anyone know how much these guys get paid and if their jobs are real?
also, why are the ships the same? they even have the same names for some of the spaces (the spinnaker lounge, blue lagoon, etc.)? another way the star beats the pearl is that the pearl's atrium was screwed up by whoever the fools were who decided to put a giant video screen in it. the star has a beautiful glass elevator and curving steps surrounding by flowers. whats up with that? also blue lagoon was fancier and sitdown style on pearl, but the one on star allows you to literally take food from the counter 24/7 w/out having to wait for a server.
pearl brags that its got a bowling alley. so what? its 5 bucks a game. should be free if i'm paying so much dough for the cruise. lastly, the entertainment on star was better. unfortunately both ships and probably all of ncl depends on this jean ann ryan dance group things which is a family-oriented cheezy showtune group. at least this time they had a sexy chick doing a cirque du soleil knock off trapeze act!
you reviewers for that trip who were on ship with us please speak up. cant find a way on this thing to respond to your reviews!
lastly, how the heck do these people come on these cruises with like, 50 people, or 3 other couples or whatever? dudes, its hard enough coordinating a trip for your own family. how do these yahoos coordinate something expensive and hard to do with 10-50 people with conflicting interests, schedules and financial options?