"Until Alaska, my own serious nautical experience was crossing the Irish Sea on a car ferry," writes the Cork native best known for his BBC chat show.
But the remoteness of the Alaskan coastline - as seen from the decks of the Crystal Symphony - struck him with a special kind of awe.
"Enjoying Alaska's natural wonders It's hard not to be amazed as you cruise into wilderness areas such as Glacier Bay because they're so jaw-droppingly spectacular. It's absolutely beautiful," he says.
"The highlights were the glaciers and the whale-watching. The ship sails right up to the wall of the glacier and you sit there watching large blocks of ice breaking off calving, I think it's called, and it's just stunning."
Norton was especially surprised by his excitement at seeing the whales.
"They're brilliant. Watching them popping out of the sea was really, really, really good! So good, in fact, you kind of think I mustn't go whale-watching again because I'll only be disappointed next time. It was quite an emotional experience. You feel privileged to see these creatures."
Perhaps next time he takes a break in West Cork he might take a look out to sea and witness some of those magnificent creatures a lot closer to home!