17 January 2010

My opinion on the Norwegian Pearl...we sailed her in June 0f 2008
NCL Pearl

Upon glancing at the vessel, you can tell it is very artsy. There are murals all over the outside of the ship and even down the hull. The hull is what attracted me first to the vessel. Let me tell you that the artsy feel from there carries over to the inside of the ship, but more on that in a second.
First as we approached gangway there were crew members that were armed with sanitizing spray. They made you sanitize before you could enter the vessel, strange…never done that before in all my sailings.
When we got to the elevator again a “germ star” was in the elevator, disinfect you hands…kill germs and the like was what we were told. More on this so remember about the germ star.
I loved the décor when we entered on the lobby floor. Rich blue, Royal purple, calming orange, with a hint of teal green and white all combined in a plush carpet, velvet furniture (with some awesome lines), and PILLOWS (talk about a germ magnet this is what they should get rid of). Oh, and to boot there was a GIANT big screen…we knew from the online reviews that they would play the wii here.
As we entered they told us that our room was ready so to the 10th floor we went. Our room was tiny…much tinier than Carnival (I really think they have the largest afloat –at least in my experience). There was as much storage as I expected and about the same décor I was looking for. My problem was the hallway leading to the room. It is almost impossible to pass 2 x 2 in this hall. I am still trying to figure out how the motor scooter and wheelchair set navigated these passageways.
The public areas were so nice. My favorite lounge was the Spinnaker. I do believe I spent part of every day there. I attended lectures here, and just generally hung out and sketched. One day I was there ALL day long (Glacier Bay day---I had a front row seat to the ocean---this room is all the way forward). It was done in BLUES…all types of blues. I will recreate this room on paper. I have sketched out the background all ready and can’t wait until I can paint it. Next public room that I loved was the Stardust Theater. It was done in Art Nouveu décor, with dragonflies, yellow (gaudy) flowers, peacocks, birds of paradise, swirls, Asian influenced lanterns (sometimes), gold gilt, turquoise carpet, chairs, and some parts of the ceiling. The seats had air vents on the back of them too! We attended lectures in here too.
Garden Café was pretty but hard to navigate…being a buffet room it was ALWAYS crowded. The Indigo dining room was nice. It was done in Americana things…route 66, white house, capital, Mississippi queen, Hollywood sign, Abe Lincoln, Mt Rushmore, Ocean Ave, St Louis Arch, and street signs. I loved the look of this room. The other main dining room was done in a Russian theme featuring things for the Romanov period. There were even painting of Nicholas and his family, Faberge eggs, and the symbol of the imperial Russians. It was very sophisticated.
The Shops were not nearly as nice as Carnival. Not as many and not as stocked and NO room to move. Jewelry selection was not as nice either, I did not buy much. I bought mainly photos. 70 dollars worth and 50 worth of scrapbook stuff (just on the ship I got more on land). I did buy a Pearl album and pages to go with it for the 50 dollars. I do believe it is worth it because I cannot find Alaska paper at home for some reason. The only thing I did not find was Canadian paper, but then our selection of goods was poor there too.
The internet library was so-so and service was terrible and expensive so I did not blog everyday like I wanted to. I did miss blogging or being able to blog that is. I did take my laptop and got all 817 photos that I took enhanced and fixed ready to print. I took some photos in Seattle and I have not done them yet. I got Mt Rainier; I looked all over that airport until I could find a decent spot to capture it. I took probably 20 shots and hopefully I will get a good one. Now I just need to decide which ones to print in what sizes. I have made some Photoshop backgrounds and added some on top of the backgrounds that will make printing easier. I even did a college of Glacier Bay because I took well over 100 pictures there (probably close to 200).
Overall rating of the ship A+
Food B-
Décor A+++
Shopping B
Casino (not that I wanted it, but it was not open and very smoking) D
Service B (Carnival is better)
Room B
Captain being around A
Cruise Director not being pushy A++
Internet guy D
Art Guy A
Mexican Restaurant AAAA+++
Would I go again…Heck yeah
Would I do NCL…yes
Who is better…Carnival (no contest)
Favorite port of call…Juneau for whales, Skagway for town, Ketchikan for shopping, Victoria for its beauty, Glacier Bay for it’s beauty and the Rangers coming on board to explain stuff all day. Overall I can’t pick a port at this moment….it was all just too cold, but I got to see whales!!!
Would I like to do Alaska again? Yes, but I might have to sell a kid to do it

Sunday, June 8, 2008

day 1 and 2

Day 2...Day at sea…
We were traveling to Juneau. Today was a day where we found things to do. The cool thing was most days that I have spent at sea you could see no land but Cuba…today there was land/mountains all around us. You could see the distant mountains and as the day progressed they got larger and larger. Occasionally you could see snow peaks.
We ate lunch at the Blue Lagoon. John and I had fish and chips and Hannah had chicken strips (duh). We bought Hannah a coke card and I do believe that between the 3 of us we have had about 20 cokes in 2 days.
Today was formal day. We all dressed up in our finest and headed to dinner. I had the lobster and beef wellington, John had a steak, and Hannah had pizza. After dinner we headed to the formal portrait settings. We had pictures taken at 4 different stations. We actually ended up buying 3 different backgrounds….more on that later. We retired around 10:00pm and NEVER saw the night time because the sun had not yet set.

Today we did:
Photo lecture (me)
Wii on the big screen (Hannah and John)
Shopping lecture (me)
Trivia (I played everyone went with me)
EAT (all)
Take pictures (all)

Posted by Michelle, 11:05 PM, Permalink

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Day 3 Juneau
When we woke up we were still traveling to Juneau. Hannah and I got up early so we could eat and then we went to a shopping lecture. John ended up coming to the shopping lecture so I jumped off to day 2 of the photo lecture (I am LOVING this). After the lecture we ATE. Yummy. We had jerk chicken, a big salad (best salad bar I have ever had on a ship), cheese burger, fresh pasta, pizza, and desert. Then it was time to watch the ship dock in Juneau. Hannah and I had a tour as soon as the ship docked so we hurried down to the pier. Our tour was late, but it was okay…you will see why later. John’s tour did not start until 3:30 So he had plenty of time to get to his.
Our tour took us to Auke Bay where we boarded a boat and began the search for whales. We spotted our first one in about 10 min. I was sad because I had not seen it and knew we were not getting our money back. That feeling did not last long, because soon I saw my first WILD whale. OMG, it was exactly as exhilarating as I had imagined. WOW…we saw the spray and then his back curving around and his fluke. It was amazing!!!!! We got very close to sea lions, eagles, and more humpbacks.

John went water rafting in a river. The mendelhal river. He had 10 people in his boat and the guide did all the rowing. He saw one eagle and rapids. Not to mention the icebergs and the glacier. The glacier is the only one in America that you can drive up to. He also took tons of video. I forgot to do that with the whales, I was just scouting out for more.


Day 4
Well here we are in Skagway. I did NOT have high expectations for a town that was only 10 blocks long. I expected terrible shopping and views. Was I wrong! Upon viewing the town you can see that it looks like a very old mining town (maybe from Colorado). The town’s buildings are old like the gold rush days and the sidewalks are wood planks. The train we took for our excursion was equally as wonderful. We boarded the train LATE but the train’s people made up for it in both information and sights. Our train was to travel up the mount to an elevation of 2,000 (I must get exact number) feet above sea level. The views were out of this world. We saw tons of waterfalls, granite rocks that weighed hundreds of tons, rivers, streams, cemetery, bridges, other trains, tunnels, our ship, glaciers, mountains, snow, and CANADA. Actually we were in Canada for a bit, but not allowed to vacate our train. The border is only marked by a tiny monument with flags from each nation. John was so excited to be in Can…he has always wanted to go there.

After the train, we went back into town for some shopping. I had found a coupon book in the room and just happened to go through it this morning. Yeah for me, bad for john cause I was about to spend him money. I got ammolite earrings (I have always wanted these), northern lights pendent and earrings (mystic topaz), sterling silver pendent of a forget-me-not, and a couple of charms for my Diamonds International bracelet (you get free charms at every DI around the world…I have lots from the Caribbean). We also went to this great store called Alaska T-shirt Company. (Hannah and I were there yesterday but did not realize the buys we could get). I got a t-shirt for 1.99, salad tongs (made Alaskan style) for 1.49, 10 postcards for 1.00 (I collect postcards you know), huckleberry gummies for 5.00, Hannah a tshirt for 4.99, and Trevor some pressed pennies. I love this store. We do not go to another of these stores…only have Ketchikan and Victoria left. Ketchikan has lots of totem poles I have read.

For supper I had a pork chop, Hannah has grilled chicken, and John had turkey. We ate in an American theme restaurant called Indigo (our first time here). It was good, but slow service, maybe because we were pulling out of port as we ate.

See you tomorrow as we cruise glacier bay.

glacier bay

Day 5 cruising glacier bay

There are No words to describe the region of the world where we are right now. We are surround by a vast ice field and mountains. The glaciers look blue, white, grey, and even black. The colors vary because of what the glaciers are made from. They are blue if they reflect a lot of light. They are black when they are mixed with rocks. You can see where they have melted and where they are now. Some are even expanding in size!!! And that is an amazing feat. We saw the Grand Pacific glacier and the Margeri glacier both of which are just massive. The Lamplugh glacier as you will see in my pictures was bluish in tint. Oh, I forgot about the ice field….the ice field was scattered all over the ocean…I love the bergs that we saw. I was however disappointed in how small the bergs were. I am still looking out for whales. I have been sitting in the front window of the ship all day (since about 9am). I am not giving up this spot for anything! I am hoping to see orcas…and that is why I even had John bring me my lunch because I was not getting up at all.
Maybe you will get more later as it is only 2pm my time. Right now I am going to call Trevor (if Granny will answer the phone). Bye

Posted by Michelle, 11:11 PM, Permalink

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