My summer of travel has arrived; what I’m dubbing the “Summer of Spence”, in true Seinfeld fashion. It kicked off last weekend with my first of many boat rides of the summer, a ferry ride across the San Francisco Bay to spend the next few weeks in Sonoma wine country. However, that ferry doesn’t have anything on my biggest boat ride of the summer. It’s now just weeks away until I’ll be boarding my first cruise, an Alaskan cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on behalf of Expedia. Not only is this my first cruise, but also my first trip to Alaska, one of five U.S. states I haven’t visited. In between shopping for long johns and deciding between Gore-Tex or synthetic leather boots, I wanted to wet your appetite with an interview with a couple Norwegian Cruise Line crew members. The following questions come both from me and a few different people on Twitter.
Q. The Traveling Philosopher: How many nationalities are represented among crew members on board Norwegian Jewel?
Ruth, Concierge, Norwegian Jewel: More than 60 nationalities are represented on board Norwegian Jewel.
Q. The Traveling Philosopher: What is the funniest question that you have ever been asked by a guest on board?
Joao, Guest Services Manager, Norwegian Jewel: Do the crew members sleep on board?
Q. The Traveling Philosopher: What is your most memorable experience from working on board a cruise ship?
Ruth, Concierge, Norwegian Jewel: Working on board a ship gives me the opportunity to get to know and become friends with people from many different cultures – I also get to see the world and discover incredible new places – like Alaska!
Joao, Guest Services Manager, Norwegian Jewel: Having the opportunity to enjoy lunch on a different island, port, or country almost every day of the week!
Q. The Traveling Philosopher: When cruising through Alaska, which shore excursion or experience should not be missed?
Ruth, Concierge, Norwegian Jewel: Every experience in Alaska is once-in-a-lifetime, but my top recommendations to guests are always glacier trekking, bear watching, dogsledding, and kayaking!
Joao, Guest Services Manager, Norwegian Jewel: I always tell my guests to visit Taku Lodge. You fly over several glaciers and then have lunch at a remote lodge; and if you are lucky, a few curious bears usually pay a visit.
Q. The Traveling Philosopher: When you first visited Alaska as a crew member what experience or sight most blew you away?
Ruth, Concierge, Norwegian Jewel: Honestly, when I was first asked to cruise on a ship out of Alaska, I was hesitant. I am from Austria and I assumed the climate and environment would be very similar (except the ocean). But upon arrival I was proven wrong. Alaska is unlike any other place on Earth and I love every minute of cruising here – I just love the mountains, sailing through the breathtaking Inside Passage, close to the spectacular glacier areas, and spotting wildlife while sailing! It is just AWESOME! Aaahh!
Joao, Guest Services Manager, Norwegian Jewel: Being able to see a variety of wildlife from the ship (not a bad office view) and the amazing whale sightings always takes my breath away!
Q. From the Midlife Road Trip: What is the Best Cruise for Foodies?
Jenny, Food & Beverage Director, Norwegian Jewel: All Norwegian Cruise Line ships are perfect for foodies. Some ships have up to 21 dining options on board! From our signature French, Le Bistro, and upscale steakhouse, Cagney’s, Restaurants to sushi, and Japanese teppanyaki to Italian and Contemporary fare– all Norwegian ships have dining options that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds. And, guests should make sure to try our new “Chef’s Table.” Available once per cruise, this dining experience is an incredible culinary adventure – perfect for the ultimate foodie! Food lovers can feast on a nine-course, upscale menu consisting of unique and contemporary creations using the highest quality ingredients, sophisticated cooking techniques, flavor compositions and captivating presentations.
Q. From Stephiie: Do you ever get to take a break and enjoy the cruise?
Ruth, Concierge, Norwegian Jewel: As a Norwegian team member, we work hard, but when we are fortunate to have time off in ports of call, we take advantage and explore as much as possible – that way we are able to give guests great advice on what they should not miss in each of our incredible destinations!
Q. From Jenna: Why should families opt for a cruise instead of other types of travel?
Brian, Youth Programs Coordinator, Norwegian Jewel: A Norwegian Cruise is the ultimate family vacation! Cruising offers Value because a cruise includes the cost of accommodations, a variety of dining options, Broadway-style entertainment, supervised kids’ activities, visits to multiple destinations, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, dancing at our nightclubs or teen clubs for the kids, plunging down water slides, the opportunity to just relax by the pool and more; and Convenience, families can enjoy peace of mind knowing the whole family will be in a common place, visit multiple destinations while only unpacking once and sail from one of Norwegian’s 15 conveniently located departure ports within driving distance or just a short flight away. Finally, for Nickelodeon fans, Norwegian Gem, Jewel, Epic and coming soon, Norwegian Breakaway, all offer Nickelodeon programming that the whole family will enjoy!
What questions about cruising or Alaska would you like me to answer on my cruise? Find out on Expedia.com about how you can even join me in July.