WHAT an experience! It was my first time holidaying on board a cruise; and it
had to be wasn’t just any cruise — but an Alaska Cruise.
If I could sum it all up in one sentence, it was pretty sweet being able to Eat (all we want, whenever we want), Sleep, Play, and be Entertained… all while accompanied by a moving sea view and chilly weather.
Although it was July, summer time baby, it was still rather cold and hence I did not quite get a tan in Alaska.
Was trying to ‘tease’ with the picture above (before other pictures come on board later on) but clearly it ain’t working. IT WAS COLD.
I also did not get to go online throughout the time I was on the cruise. Internet fees were hefty! And thus, no instagram or twitter updates. Wifi was also scarce in parts of Alaska where we docked… Felt a little fidgety in the beginning because there was so much I wanted to upload and share… but, it was all good in the end.
We spent 7 days 7 nights on board the Norwegian Pearl. Minus the first day of checking in and checking the cruise out, we docked at 4 ports (3 in Alaska and 1 in Canada) and had 2 full sea days which means we got to spend all day in the cruise… yay!
Of course, nothing like them pictures to depict it all. For easy illustration purposes, I have organised the pictures to take you through a what we did from morning to night kinda journey.
My parents picked a room with balcony view and I have to say, it was lovely sleeping and waking up to a sea view. Almost like a chalet in Avillion PD or Pangkor Laut that can actually move.
Though, the room was kinda compact. The bathroom was also pretty tiny. But all these does not bother me as long as it’s clean, and I have a comfy bed to sleep on!
On our first full sea day, I wasted no time and woke up to a morning stretch class at the gym. It was a 7 am class, by the way, and unfortunately the only day I managed to wake up for it for.
Then it was time for breakfast! I picked Garden Cafe, and boy it’s a long cafe…
I would not have spotted that it has an outdoor space if I had not chosen to keep walking past the aisle of table, chairs, and people.
The buffet spread (which we have our own outdoors) was lovely! So many choices but I settled for scrambled eggs (with spinach, mushroom, cheese), some bacon, ham, muesli… The lunch spread at the cafe was even better — my very favourite pick was the grilled chicken breast (and I normally don’t even like the breasts part), I can still remember how tender it is till today. No picture of that, sadly.
True story. I can still remember, the oldest couple seen in the cruise has been married for 60 years. 60!! Say if you got married at 20, you’re probably 80 now. To keep healthy (to a desirable extent) and be able to still travel at age 80 is… pretty wow. The ‘longest marriage Q’ was asked during one of the performance shows and the couple was awarded with something.
And so, if you wanna party hard hard, Alaska Cruise’s probably not for you. Perhaps you could try hopping on a Miami or Bahamas Cruise or something…
DAY TIME ACTIVITIES
After breakfast, I took a walk around the cruise and started exploring more.
Some cruise lingo here: The front of the ship is referred to as ‘forward’, midship, and the back of the ship as ‘aft’. It’s pretty structured and restaurants, staterooms, activities rooms etc are labelled with that.
I then proceeded to another exercise class at the Spinnaker lounge on Deck 13, the highest deck!
This deck is amazing, it’s got the best view of the sea with many comfortable sofas, sofa beds, and stand-alone chairs surrounding the deck facing the sea (not the chairs you see in the pic below) for you to just sit on, read a book, have a drink, or even take a nap in.
Pictured above is Tim Karpinski, the cruise’s in-house comedian who hosted the welcome show on our first night, as well as a few other shows thereafter… His style of comedy was one that included the audience, bring them up the stage, and made fun of/ with them which somehow just gets the other audience laughing!
Other talks that are available throughout the days ahead included health talks, shore excursion talks, whatever rocks your boat…
We receive our ‘Freestyle Daily’ booklet in our stateroom daily, which lays out activities available for the day – from gym classes, to various talks, movies, what ‘special of the day’ are restaurants are serving – schedule listed from 6 am to midnight… all to keep you nothing short of being bored… it even tells you the weather…
But if you choose to do nothing, just sleep in, eat, and just do nothing… which sounds great too, by the way… Why not!
This was taken off the web as the few copies I brought home are left somewhere. So I’m blogging all of these by memory now!
There are also announcements made throughout the day (important ones la) to let you know of what’s ahead in an hour or two, etc… Mini TV screens in various parts of the ship also shows the activity schedule of the day… So, really, even kids as young as 5 year olds know how to get around.
My gung-ho cousin Yans made a few international friends from playing table tennis… I played a bit of that as well and took part in a mini competition among them passengers.
These pictures were taken on the Glacier Bay National Park (sea) day. We were anticipating it to be cold and hence I was wearing my USD 4.99 (discounted all the way from 59.95!) Gap sweater I got from Seattle. What a bargain! Multiply 4.3 for all you want for this one thing, hehe.
Deck 12 where all the above is: the pool, library, games room, garden cafe… is probably the most-used deck, as we went through it mostly to get to the other side of the ship. Not a good thing when it’s…
Of course, to fuel our energy, we had…
NEVER-ENDING & ABUNDANT MEALS
These are some of what we had/ memorable dishes at the complimentary restaurants.
We roam about ourselves throughout the day but we always try to gather during lunch and dinner time at least. Always nice to eat with good company and update each other on what we did 🙂
Oh, and we communicated through walkie talkies! Yes, we did 😉
Now there are also meals in restaurants (pictures below) which require cover charges (though not that pricy) which were even more awesome. Each stateroom is given some non-refundable credit which we can use for on-board stuff (alcohol, yoga classes, non-complimentary meals), shore excursions etc.
I like how in almost every restaurant we go to, we have our own warm pot of water with (unlimited) lemons on the side… to my father’s delight! Haha.
NIGHT TIME ENTERTAINMENT
There’s always a show at the Stardust Theatre at 7 30 pm, and another one at 9 30 pm. (Where comedian Tim and other stars perform).
Though my favourite was Mad Men from Mars, of how a man using just his body – language and action – to depict a story of how he courted his lady (which is his wife in real life, if I’m not mistaken).
We were not allowed to take pictures or videos of the performances, but here’s one below where we were more than allowed to:
It was pretty magical having got to witness so many of the crew come together — from all departments: F&B, housekeeping, entertainment, the Captain himself and his side-kicks etc etc…
There’s over 1,000 crew staff serving over 2,000 passengers on board, by the way! That’s the ratio of 1 staff to 2 passengers. And almost all of the staff is always smiling, greeting you with such joy.
Besides being entertained, well, we can also entertain ourselves and YOU. Hehehe.
There was a ‘White Party’ on our final night. And I’m here donning almost everything from the states: cardigan and pants from Gap (got it in the city — independence day sales!), heels and clutch from Nine West (outlet store).
And here’s some other photos to share…
Just a last couple of things. For those who are keen to try this cruise: It can be cold even during summer, so do bring a slightly thicker jacket, wind breaker, and a cardigan. And comfy slacks (I regret didn’t bringing any)!!. Bring also a small bag or pouch to put all your stuff (like sunglasses, phone, key card, maybe even your sports wear etc if you do not wish to walk back & fro to your stateroom to get it!).
Of course, this US trip and Alaska Cruise would not have been possible without my parents so THANK YOU PAPA AND MUMMY so so much 🙂