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An Alaskan Family Cruise On The Norwegian Pearl

Do you have a travel bucket list?  Headlining Jordi’s mum’s list was a cruise around Alaska.  So last July they set off on a week long jaunt on the Norwegian Pearl and I was lucky enough to sit down with Jordi to hear all about it (and simultaneously plot how I was going to save up to go on a cruise myself!)

Alaska - Sheard Family

Who:
Jordi & husband with their kids aged 5 & 7 + Jordi’s mum

What:
1 week Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Pearl

When:
28th July – 4th August 2013.  We had beautiful weather!

How did you book the cruise?
We booked our cruise through Interline and Sharon was fantastic in helping us.  Each ship has a different focus e.g. Carnival is a bit more ‘party’ whilst Norwegian and Disney are more family oriented. Disney would have been double the price of Norwegian so we decided to go with the Norwegian Pearl.

Chose adjoining rooms with balconies.  The balconies had a door between them so it meant we didn’t have to keep going through the hallway.

We prebooked all our ‘experiences’ in advance e.g. flying in a helicopter over a glacier. I would definitely advise doing this as they get booked up and you don’t want to miss out.

Be warned – this is not a cheap trip!  The cruise cost our family approx. USD 9,000 + the excursions.

How did you book the flights?
As my husband is a pilot we booked flights through staff travel.  We flew Air Canada from Hong Kong to Vancouver which I wouldn’t recommend. They were unhelpful and everything on the plane was basic (think cup noodles as on of the meals).  

We then flew Air Alaska from Vancouver to Seattle who were awesome and I highly recommend.

Alaska - Norwegian Pearl

The Cruise
The cruise departs and finishes in Seattle. We spent a few days there at the beginning of the trip and had a great time.

It’s amazingly organised, for example you check in at different times depending on where you are on the ship.

A full day and overnight is spent on the water before arriving at the first stop, Juneau.  Here we had booked a helicopter ride over two glaciers which was absolutely amazing!  My kids had never seen snow before and had a great time playing around on the glaciers.

Alaska - Glacier Adventure

The cruise then goes from Juneau to Skagway. Skagway is a fascinating town with a population of 1000 people.  There is no road to or from Skagway so everything arrives by boat.   We had paid for a tour around Skagway and a glassblowing workshop which was brilliant.

That afternoon we went dogsledding using our guide’s personal dogs (trained for the Iterod, the annual trail sled dog race). Our kids weren’t old enough to dogsledding in the snow but we still had lots of fun going through the forest.

Alaska - Dog sledding

We then had a day of cruising through glacier bay. The rangers would climb onboard for talks for both adults and also at the Kids Club so the kids could learn about the glaciers.

Alaska - cruising

We then stopped at Ketchikan, ‘the salmon capital of the world’!  We got decked out in waterproofs and took a private Zodiac boat around the bay.  

Ketchikan

Our final stop was Victoria in British Columbia. My husband has friends here so it was great for him to be back and enjoy the city.  

Victoria, British Columbia

The final voyage is the journey back to our starting point of Seattle.

*Jordi and her family then set off on a road trip taking in San Francisco, LA, Grand Canyon and Vegas!  But we’ll save that one for another time….

Facilities onboard
There is food available 24/7 and most of it is all-inclusive although there are some restaurants that you can pay extra for.  The food is of excellent quality.

There are all kinds of facilities onboard from a gym and jogging track to bowling and a climbing wall  The Kids Club is open all day and our kids had a great time there with all the activities and facilities inside.

Jordi’s Top Tips For Cruising Alaska!

  • Prebook your excursions as you don’t want to miss out
  • Rooms onboard a cruise are notoriously small.  Having the balcony was a nice way to extend the room and also good for us as we had two interconnecting rooms and there was a door between both balconies.
  • This is an expensive trip so wait until your kids are a bit older (minimum 6) so that they can enjoy all the activities

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