A tech enthusiast, former Microsoft engineer looking for a new career adventure. In my spare time I train/foster service dogs for Summit Assistance Dogs, enjoy wine tasting, cooking, hiking, cruising, organizing my life, and walking my favorite dog, Dexter.
Hello! It’s Shivani from Two Sided Cruising writing a blog after a looooong time. Life got busy after our first born arrived in 2019 and we dropped the ball on blogging. Well, it’s time to get back to blogging and cruising.
Today, May 4th, we’ll board our first ever Royal Carribbean cruise to Alaska. We will be sailing on the Quantum of the Seas with our two boys (3 years and 6 months old). This is our first cruise with the baby, Nate and second with our preschooler, Max.
Royal is known to appeal to families with young kids. It feels a little weird to be not traveling on our beloved NCL cruise ships, but we couldn’t beat the deal that Royal was offering for a 5 night cruise and now that Max is old enough to utilize the kids club, we are looking forward to cruising with Royal and seeing how it compares to our past NCL experiences.
This is our first cruise with the Saini family. Josh and I have been on 11 cruises by now and it’s the first time for my parents and my brother’s family. It’s 8 of us all together and we are off to the Bahamas to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. Dad didn’t want a party so we figured we will spend time together with him instead as a family (wife, 4 kids (including Josh and Upasana), and two grandkids).
Josh and I usually spend a few days together with the parents when we go back home for a family vacation so this will be a nice change. We are hoping for good weather so the Saini family’s first cruise is a good experience and we do this again.
Cruising Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
This is our 5th cruise on NCL and based on the number of days we have spent onboard a NCL ship (28 days) that makes us a silver member going to gold upon completion of this cruise. Silver membership comes with some perks like free champagne in our room, discounts in the shops onboard, free WiFi minutes with purchase etc.
We have been on the following ships before: Sun, Pearl, Jewel (2 times). All the past ships were similar class ships and had similar accommodations. Pearl and Jewel seemed more alike than the Sun so come to think of it that might be a different class. Breakaway is bigger and falls under the same class as Getaway.
Cruising a Big Ship
This is our first time on a big ship including all the non-NCL ships we have been on. We usually cruise on a ship half the size of Norwegian Breakaway and they usually have about 2000 passengers and about 1000 crew. Our ship this week will have about 4000 passengers and about 2000 crew. Bigger ship hopefully will mean more activities for the entire family including the 3 and 5 year old grandkids who we are hoping will enjoy the free onboard splash academy so their parents can relax.
Josh and I are looking forward to experiencing some new restaurants and bars along with new quiet spaces to read and just RELAX without connectivity to the real world. I will do a follow up blog post with all the fun activities we do after the cruise with a link to our Instagram photo gallery so check back later for more and let us know if you have any cruise questions by leaving a comment.
What a gorgeous day in Seattle for our sail away. Its 80 degrees at the moment and we have 2 hours till the sail away party begins.
We got onboard around 11:30 and are already done with lunch and have downed a few beers/cocktails. Our room is ready, but the luggage isn’t yet there.
So glad we are already in our shorts! Josh has been wanting to spend his winnings from vegas so we signed up for the thermal spa for the entire cruise duration; it should be super fun when we are in Glacier Bay.
Josh and I decided to cruise to Alaska again this Summer. Josh has been working really hard and needs a vacation. We decided to take a cruise out of Seattle because it is super easy to just pack our bags and get an Uber to the cruise terminal, which is about 20 minutes away from our home in Bellevue, WA.
I booked the cruise about 3 weeks before the departure date. We had purchased future cruise credits on our last NCL cruise and chose to use one of those for our trip. Just like I always do, I decided to shop on Costco Travel for our cruise. Costco offered the same price as NCL with an extra perk of a Costco Cash card and allowed me to use our future cruise credits. To apply the future cruise credits towards our purchase, I couldn’t use the Costco Travel website and had to call their customer service. I had the customer service rep on the phone within a couple minutes of my call and the rep had all the information about the cruise I was intending to purchase based on my activity on their website the day before.
Watching the price drop..
Even though the cruise is in September, which is the last month for cruise travel to Alaska, the cruise wasn’t cheap. We have cruised the Inside Passage to Alaska before in a balcony cabin on the beautiful Holland America’s Westerdam so we decided to purchase an ocean view cabin for our cruise this time.
We thought we was getting a good deal when we purchased the cruise 3 weeks before disembarkation day, but to our surprise the price has been dropping since the day the day we bought it. 3 days after our purchase, the total price for our cabin category dropped by $200, a week later, the price was down by $250 and today (1.5 weeks before disembarkation day), it’s down by $700. There’s nothing we can do about the price drop than to watch it and learn from it for next time (I am sure this isn’t the last time we will cruise to Alaska from Seattle).
Update: 10 days before disembarkation
Today, all the ocean view rooms are sold out. The cheapest inside cabin is less than a $100 cheaper and the cheapest balcony cabin is about $500 more. So, I guess you take your chances if you book last minute.