I previously mentioned my family taking an Alaskan cruise to celebrate my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.
Well… We’re back!!
We had an absolutely fantastic time.
You might remember, I worried about 1,000 things. As in most cases, my worries were for nothing. However, I do think some good comes from worrying. For example, because I worried, I did a lot of research and found out:
- Don’t pack shorts. Alaska summers aren’t hot.
- Bring rain gear. It may rain, a lot.
- Pack a hat and gloves. Surprisingly, glaciers tend to be on the cold side.
Okay, enough about worry…let’s get to the good stuff!
We left from Vancouver. Our hotel was really close to the port. The cruise information suggested to arrive between 12n and 2pm. The ship was leaving at 4pm.
I like to be early.
Although many other family members are not so early, they humored me and we got there by 12n.
There were long lines because the Disney Alaskan cruise was also boarding at the same time as our Norwegian cruise. I take the hit for this one. I think (although it’s not proven) we could have gone a little later and maybe avoided a bit of the lines.
The wait from the start of the line until we officially boarded the ship was 1 hr 9 min.
Once on board, we went right to our room. Some thought we couldn’t do this but it was fine. Our luggage wasn’t there yet but it came pretty quickly.
ROOM TIP: Our room was 9264. If you can book THAT exact room on the Northbound Alaska Sun Cruise, I’d do it. It was perfect. The balcony was amazing. It was the perfect side for viewing glaciers and scenery.
It was extremely close to the elevators/steps but without noise. There restaurants are on the 11th and 12th floors so it’s quick to get to them at any time! The show lounge and another restaurant are on lower floors but they are close to the elevator/stairs too. Perfection!
The first thing I did after looking at the view from our balcony, which I HIGHLY recommend getting, was unpack our stuff.
UNPACKING TIP: Unpack immediately. Stow your empty luggage under the bed. The rooms are small every bit helps save space.
Of course there was a restaurant open (there is always a restaurant open) so we went out on deck for a bite to eat. There were no lines. The food was okay but there was plenty of it (plan on reading that line again and again).
We sat outside and waited to sail. It was cloudy but warm and the small drips of rain didn’t bother us.
The first night, we had dinner at The Seven Seas. This restaurant is included in the Freestyle dining offering. The food was good and it was nice to have full service instead of buffet available when we were ready to eat. No reservation needed even for our large party of 10.
Although the sun does not go down until after 10pm, we called our first evening early. Before turning in though, we were able to see a sunset rainbow.
As early as the sun sets, it’s just as early to rise. Alaska summer! It was a beautiful morning.
We chose the buffet breakfast for our first morning and it was crowded. Let me just say, that buffet restaurant was always crowded! I think some people never actually left that part of the boat!
MORNING TIP: Be sure to bring some presentable sleep/casual clothes and shoes. This way you can wake up, get something to eat and then get ready later. I so wish I would have done this.
After breakfast, we hung out on our balcony and enjoyed the amazing scenery (get ready to read that again and again).
Each room had a flat screen TV and one channel had a map constantly showing our route, which was actually cool and we checked it often. Another channel had a camera view from the front of the ship. That was neat too but our view from the balcony was so much better it was pointless.
We had lunch outside, again at the buffet restaurant. The day was beautiful. Cool but sunny.
Even though the sea was calm, you could feel movement. If you get at all motion sick, I recommend bringing something with you just in case. I brought SeaBands, which a few members of our party used (and they are washable and reusable, which is cool).
The younger kids did go to the Splash Academy, which they loved.
Later in the day, we went to the Observation Lounge. Loved this place. It’s at the front of the ship and they have huge windows so you can see everything. We were able to see whales that first day.
While we were there, the counselors from the Splash Academy taught the kids how to do circus tricks. I have to say, they weren’t very good but the kids loved trying the tricks.
The pool and hot tubs stayed open the entire cruise, even when it was chilly and rainy. It was funny to see kids swimming while people are on lounge chairs bundled up in hats and jackets with towels wrapped around their legs.
One activity we did do was watching a glacier documentary. I thought it would be good to learn about the glaciers we were going to see. Ah, no.
Again, I take the hit on this one. Skip the glacier documentary. It’s from 1999 and was so boring. I almost fell asleep, let alone the kids.
They do have a sport court, which my kids (and husband) loved.
That night we had dinner at Moderno. It’s the Brazilian-style steakhouse and it’s an extra expense restaurant. It was okay, not fabulous but not bad. The views were amazing from our seats and the service was prompt and friendly, which made it worth it.
I stayed with Leah that night and my husband, oldest son (who is over 21) and my brother-in-law went to the casino. They didn’t win but had a great time.
Coming up next…Our first port day:
Ketchikan and the Lumberjack Show