- Photo Tours
- Carnival Breeze – Exotic Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean
- Carnival Miracle – Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Pride – Bahamas from Baltimore
- Coral Princess – Ultimate Alaska with Cruise Experts Travel
- Cuba Cruise Louis Cristal – Cuba
- MSC Divina – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Pearl – Alaska RT Seattle
- Quantum of the Seas – Preview Cruise
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Hurtigruten FRAM – Antarctica
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Passing Cloud – BC’s Gulf Islands
- Passing Cloud – Haida Gwaii
- S.S. Legacy – Columbia & Snake Rivers
- Safari Endeavour – Alaska’s Glacier Country
- Safari Voyager – Mexico’s Sea of Cortes
- Schooner Zodiac – Brew Cruise 2013
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Discoverer – Australia to Indonesia
- Silver Explorer – Arctic Svalbard
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Galapagos – Galapagos Islands
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Wind Star – Rome to Nice
- EUROPA 2 – Greece & Turkey
- Queen Mary 2 – Eastbound Transatlantic 2012
- Queen Mary 2 – Westbound Transatlantic 2015
- Seabourn Sojourn – Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
- Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska
- Silver Shadow – Southeast Asia & Myanmar
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – Mediterranean
- Silver Wind – Middle East
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- AmaLotus – Cambodia & Vietnam
- AmaLyra- Danube Christmas Markets
- American Empress on the Columbia
- Emerald Waterways Emerald Star – Danube Delights
- G Adventures – India’s Ganges
- S.S. Maria Theresa – Christening
- Tauck ms Inspire – Maiden Voyage
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Baldur – Danube Christmas
- Viking Baldur – Rhine Christmas
- Viking Forseti – Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Viking Longships Christening 2014
- Viking Longships Christening 2015
- Viking Vidar – Grand European Tour
- Upcoming Cruises
- About FTDC
Cruising Like A Norwegian, en-route to Juneau
Today, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl sailed along the western coast of Vancouver Island under sunny skies and calm seas as she made her way to our first port of call on this weeklong Alaskan run, Juneau.
The first thing I did this morning was make my way down to the Java Café on Deck 7, adjacent to the Crystal Atrium, for a Chai Latte and an internet connection. In order to file last night’s post, I discovered I needed to update my photo software – with a 200 megabyte fix. Amazingly, the file downloaded in just 15 minutes, making Norwegian Pearl’s internet the fastest I’ve ever utilised aboard a mainstream ship.
Now, I don’t advocate downloading large files on a ship at any time, but if you’re in a pinch – as I was – you’ll likely find the internet onboard to be faster than average.
When I arrived at the Java Café around 7:30am, my Chai Latte and I had the entire atrium to ourselves. By 8:30am, though, the ship had awoken as sleepy passengers made their way into and around the Crystal Atrium.
Considering her size – some 965 feet in length, spread across 14 decks – there are plenty of intimate spaces here onboard the Norwegian Pearl, and the Java Café tends to be overlooked during the morning hours. At night, when this becomes a venue for live music, the opposite holds true: it can be standing-room only.
With a lazy day sailing the Pacific Ocean ahead of us, I did what most guests opted to do: relatively little. Another visit was paid to the Thermal Suite inside the South Pacific Spa forward on Deck 12. Fortunately, even on a sea day the Thermal Suite was still spacious enough that finding a lounger, thermal bed or spot in the hydrotherapy pool was never an issue.
I also took the time to enjoy breakfast and lunch outside at the Great Outdoors, located behind the Garden Café all the way aft on Deck 12. Not only is there every kind of casual fare you could want out there – plus the numerous varieties of food just inside in the Garden Café – but the seating (and views) can’t be beat on a nice, sunny day. The area even has an awning to protect guests from the heat of the sun or the rain.
I ordered an “adult beverage”, dug into my lunch, and generally enjoyed myself.
One comment I overheard, though, got me thinking. A couple seated near me were complaining about the cost of, well, almost everything onboard. They are, to this point, the only unhappy people I’ve seen onboard, and they were discussing how they were going to fight each and every charge on their bill on the last day.
Now, this got me thinking. Yes, there are a lot of extra things you can pay for onboard, but this isn’t unique to Norwegian Cruise Line and should – if you have done your homework – come as no surprise. Indeed, it is characteristic of mainstream cruising. But even then, no one is twisting your arm to, say, purchase a soda package or partake in the $15 Wine Tasting this afternoon. Instead, you can choose what you want to do, and if you want to pay for it.
Frankly, as far as bar prices go, Norwegian could actually be charging more. I had a “Rum Runner” this afternoon that barely set me back $7; a restaurant on land – at least, in Vancouver – would charge me $12.
The same goes for the eight pay restaurants aboard Norwegian Pearl. At $15, the line is practically giving away dinner in the Asian-fusion restaurant Lotus Garden, located amidships on Deck 7. And in reading the dinner reservations screens (one of which is conveniently mounted in the Spa’s Thermal Suite), I see no one has qualms about forking over $25 per person to experience the Japanese cuisine and showmanship at Teppanyaki; the restaurant is sold out from 7pm until nearly 10pm tonight!
For every activity that carries a surcharge, there are plenty that are provided gratis. Really, if you’re not into drinking or gambling, you’ll find it quite easy to keep spending under control if you are on a budget.
But speaking of extra charges, tonight, I dined in La Cucina, which has been a favorite of mine since I sampled it aboard the Norwegian Epic last year. Decorated like a quaint Italian dining venue, La Cucina is located on the port side of Deck 12, adjacent to the entrance for the Garden Café. It cost $10 per person to reserve dinner here online, which I see is now listed as $15 in the daily program.
I had the Minestrone soup with Italian sausage to start; the Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto as an entrée; and vanilla ice cream with Lavazza Espresso for dessert. With fewer guests to serve than the larger main dining rooms, service was attentive and gracious. Emily, the restaurant manager at La Cucina was fantastically helpful, as was waiter Keith. In fact, the Norwegian Pearl should be in the running for friendliest crew in the fleet.
But the real draw of dining here is the intimate ambiance that is cultivated within this tucked-away specialty restaurant. Actually, it’s a good idea to make reservations for any restaurant you want to visit aboard the Norwegian Pearl, as it will limit the amount of time you spend waiting and maximize your time enjoying the ship itself.
Tonight aboard the Norwegian Pearl, the entertainment staff are rolling out what has been dubbed “Norwegian’s Night Out” by the Freestyle Daily program. Essentially, it’s an evening of events, fine dining and “formal” portraits, Norwegian-style, as we come within sight of land en-route to Juneau.
The night of entertainment begins at 5pm with events that range from live music to name that tune to Deal or No Deal and the always-popular “Newlywed-Not-So-Newlywed” game show. In fact, there are so many events scheduled concurrently that there’s no way I – or any other guest – could take in everything.
The party continues on past 12:30am, when the Night Out After Party kicks off in Bliss. It sounds enticing, but the wonderfully comfortable bed in my category BB Balcony Stateroom will likely win out! Incidentally, on the subject – Norwegian’s beds are the most comfortable I’ve slept on outside of ultra-luxury line Silversea.
When I was at the Norwegian Breakaway launch last month, CEO Kevin Sheehan stated his intention to take Norwegian Cruise Line into the “premium” cruising category. It was an assertion that a few journalists in the room scoffed at, but I think he has a real shot at it.
Throughout Norwegian Pearl, numerous little touches have brought her in line with her newer fleetmates. Bar and restaurant menus have been standardised, and entertainment has been kicked up a notch. While Norwegian Pearl may not have the Blue Man Group or the Rockettes, it does have The Second City comedy troupe and the kids haven known as the Splash Academy.
Tonight, as the sun finally goes down just after 10pm and the Norwegian Pearl begins to make her way toward land, I’m struck by how many families are onboard. There are far more than I would have expected for an early June sailing when most kids would still be in school. But no one seems to mind; everyone is focused on having fun and enjoying themselves. A handful of guests even had t-shirts made up that said “This is my First NCL Cruise” on them, along with the date.
I like that, because I still remember when my very first cruise, 15 years ago next month, was also an “NCL” cruise.
Our Live Voyage Report continues tomorrow, as the Norwegian Pearl spends the afternoon docked in Juneau, Alaska! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009