Rise and shine! Or not. You’re freestyle cruising so you can do whatever you like. Take a moment to enjoy the view of nothing but ocean. Let the gentle movement of the ship rock you back to sleep or step outside into the invigorating ocean spray. It’s an “@ sea day” and you have all day to explore the Norwegian Jewel.
Beginning your @ sea day in the gym doesn’t sound like much fun, but it actually is. On deck 12 forward, you really feel the ship’s movement so jump on the treadmill and try running. If your sea legs haven’t kicked in, it’s quite a laugh. The gym is fully equipped for serious gym goers, though, not just for a giggle fest on the treadmill.
Mandara Spa is where to go for your Freestyle Daily “pamper packages”. They also present complimentary seminars; Detox for Health & Weight Loss, An Introduction to Acupuncture and How to Increase Metabolism to name a few. If treatments are more your style take advantage of the 10/20/30 discount offer by booking 3 at once. Everyone loves a bargain.
And bargains you shall have. Shopping is shopping, right? Well, not when it’s port shopping. Paul, the port shopping consultant, presents inside info to make the most of your shopping dollar. Tanzanite in Ketchikan, diamonds in Juneau or gold in Skagway, Paul will advise where to get the best deals.
Shop on the ship at Tradewinds Duty-Free store for special prices on binoculars and cameras to make the most of Alaska’s scenery. An art auction with complimentary champagne may have you bidding when you normally wouldn’t, but they’ll give you a piece of art just for showing up.
Find slot machines, blackjack tables, roulette wheels and Texas hold ’em tournaments in the casino. Yes, there’s a casino!
You’ve seen the pool, spas and water-slide on the top deck but a jogging track, table tennis, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts are up there too. The kids are kept amused in Splash Academy and the Video Arcade. They have their own pool and cruise staff arranged activities so it’s unlikely you’ll see much of them, leaving you free to explore the bars and restaurants.
O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, your local Irish bar mid ship deck 8, is open from 6am to 4am for pub food and booths with ocean views. One level down, Java Café supplies your caffeine fix from 6am to 11pm and helps you along with a daily caffeinated cocktail. Try a Mississipi Mud Slide with Bacardi, Frangelico, Kahlua and a hit of coffee, it’s bound to add a spring to your step.
Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar, Malting’s Beer & Whiskey Bar and Shaker’s Martini & Cocktail Bar are all adjacent on Deck 6 mid-ship offering flights, mixologist classes, and tastings.
Fyzz Lounge and the Sake Bar on deck 7 both open at 5pm but the 2 outdoor bars on deck 12, Topsiders and The Great Outdoors have you covered all day. Meet the 2 most pleasant and efficient bartenders on the ship, Richie, and Rudy. They’ll prepare your Mojito Flight in Sugarcane Mojito Bar on 13, then you can dance the night away at Spinnakers, on the same deck. If that’s not enough bars for you, all the restaurants are licensed too so it’s unlikely you’ll be short of a cocktail.
Now, what to eat with that drink? Your complimentary dining options are Azura and Tsar’s Palace dining rooms with set menus. Garden Café has an international buffet. Noodle Bar for lunch and Chin Chin for dinner cover your Asian craving, while O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill and Topsider’s Grill have everything you need, well, from the grill!
A cover charge applies to Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki, Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina Italian, Le Bistro French and Moderno Brazilian. These restaurants (minus the Sushi Bar) are included in the Specialty Dining Package. Reserve your table for earlier sittings but it’s generally not necessary after 8pm.
So, now you’ve covered the ship, there’s more than enough to entertain, feed and water you on your @ sea day. If you don’t get to everything you’ll have another @ sea day on the return. Maybe that’s when you’ll satisfy your penchant for Karaoke.
Of course, you can simply kick back in a deck chair and gaze at the ocean. Bird life, whales, and seals are common sights so keep your eyes peeled for nature’s bounty.
Shore excursions are up next and the first port of call is Ketchikan, “the salmon capital of the world”. Have you been? Is it on your list? Let us know in the comments below. Freestyle cruising: it is a thing we love….