After a long search for our next cruise, we picked Alaska on Norwegian Cruise Line, a Repositioning Cruise (which I am particularly fond of) from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco in Mid-September, that sounded pretty great.
The age limit for childcare was 2 years and the minimum passenger age 6 months (which Sarah hit right that day). The cruise came at a reasonable price with good online reviews. Almost every cruise line has different policies for their kids programs and minimum age. It took some time to figure this out.
At September 14 we took an early cab to the terminal to take the bus at 6 am to go to Vancouver. Around 12 pm we arrived at the Canadian Place Pier and only had a short waiting time before we were checked in to our cabin 8227 with balcony.
The cabin was, as expected, indeed very small, but still comfortable with mini bar and many amentities.
There were tons of drawers, shelves and a safe, which was big enough for a computer, expensive camera equipment, various iPods, passports and documents. The queen bed (1.60 m) seemed more as a king bed (1.80 m) and was very comfortable.
The bathroom was all one piece, but the shower was still big enough and had a great, functional shower curtain (Marco was thrilled). There was also a mini bar (tray in the cupboard and fridge) but we had no use for. There were several possibilities for lighting (bright, dim) and lots of light switches on all kinds of places, 1 phone, 1 swivel TV, 1 desk, 2 large mirrors and a large closet with its own inner light. We were certainly very happy.
- a lock from the inside - Timmy always wanted to get out of the door
- a switch to turn off the air conditioning
With the sofa bed for Timmy and the cot for Sarah we had to experiment a bit on the first day, because of the limited space. We wanted the cot next to our bed and pushed the pullout in front of the window. Once Timmy's bed was made for the night we could not open the balcony door anymore, but that was totally fine for us.
As followed the advice in the reviews and immediately made some reservations for specialty restaurant for dinner and went for the served Seven Seas restaurant for lunch while most passengers went to the buffet at the Garden Cafe. You clearly have some advantages if you read up on reviews before you go on a cruise.
We registered Tim for the Kids program (got a beeper), took an afternoon nap, followed by a drill to find our designated Life Boat, then we unpack and stowed our luggage, ready for our first time in Alaska.
Day 1 Vancouver BC, Le Bistro Cote De Boeuf for two, Timmy Kids Program
Day 2 Sea Day, Inside Passage, All you can eat sushi at Ginza Restaurant, Timmy Kids Program
Day 3 Ketchikan, Alaska, shore excursion, salmon Bridge, Drinks, Pacific Heights m. Tim
Day 4 Juneau, Alaska, excursion to the Hall Mendel Glacier, Fish Hatchery, City Tour,
Endicott & XY? Fjord, show "Que Noche", Motown Music in the Dazzle Lounge
Day 5 Day Sea, Whiskey and Bourbon Tasting, Family Pizza Making
Day 6 Victoria BC, Massage, Playground, Empress Tea, Pacific Heights (sleeping children), Cirque Pan
Day 7 Sea Day, Oktoberfest BBQ, Casino, Guest Talent Show
Day 8 San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park with picnic, Hotel Coventry Inn, takeout
Day 9 San Francisco, Dt. Embassy f. Kids Passport, Cable Car, Downtown, Fishermen's Wharf, Beach Walk, Diner
Day 10 San Francisco, iHOP, library, playground, airport, flight home
Except for Sarah's first tooth and the nightly lamentations related to that, in room air conditioner way to cold for the whole family (it's Alaska, it's already cold) and Tim's aversion from day 3 to the kids program, we couldn't figure out what happened, but he really didn't want to stay there, so except for all that we had a very enjoyable vacation and would do it again any time (perhaps not immediately Alaska again, but cruising).
Optimistic, curious, human bee.