I was so excited when we were able to up grade from an aft mini suite to the penthouse for only $219 more that our original booking. The big question was it worth it?
To us it was- we weren't looking for the luxury but the location on ship! And good thing we weren't expecting to be "WOWED", like we were on the Spirit, I had read some reviews that lead me to expect a few issues- but.....
I know we are different than most, because we spend a lot of time in our cabin, because we are on vacation and because of some health issues I have. This is why we are willing to spend more on our cabin.
Embarkation in Vancouver was horrible. We got there around 1:00 and were supposed to have priority embarkation... instead we stuck in a heard of people, screaming kids, and others like me with canes, wheel chairs and walkers. We get thru the 1st screening with no less than 8 NCL workers looking at our reservation ticket but were still made to wait in the check in line with general cruisers. After our pictures are taken and credit card given the lady working with us went to get our room key- she came back and said follow me-- she takes us over to the area we should have been taken to originally and admonishes us for being in the wrong line. We went where we were told. The workers need to pay closer attention to passengers- I tried several times to point out that we were to have VIP check in- no one would pay any attention. The next portion of this review may seem negative but it is only to give you my perspective. We enjoyed our cabin very much, it just needs some TLC.
Once we get to the right spot getting on ship was a breeze. We were taken to Il Adagio for lunch. The food in this specialty area is a dream. We had breakfast and lunch in here almost everyday. We had supper here one night and loved it! We purchased the 3 specialty restaurant deal and it was worth it. East meets West was our all time favorite! The beef melted in your mouth, it was so tender. Il Adagio offered great Italian food choices. My least favorite - Le Bistro- slow service, un-inviting atmosphere, COLD- be sure to dress warm in here, the food was only so so. I hate to say it but every ship we've been on the Le Bistro has always struck me as uninviting and I always hope it will change. People would walk thru here to get to the back of the ship and I find that wrong! There are other ways to get to the back! The main dining rooms had good service at the evening meals, except the night they served prime rib- we were given our food and were almost done eating before they brought us the sour cream for our potatoes and the cranberry horseradish sauce for the prime rib. Other dislike- the food in this venue always seemed to be served luke-warm. Very disappointing! Only used the buffet twice and didn't care for it at all! Luke warm food, over cooked and flavorless!
Due the fact I blew my knee out just before going on the cruise, we truly lived in our cabin most of the time, which brings me to some of the main disappointments. Living area: at 1st glance it looks very nice but, the couch had NO cushion what so ever! It was like sitting on fabric covered bricks... and the 2 chairs sat so low and the cushions would slide out of the chair - it just wasn't comfortable. There was a nice desk to sit and write at and drawers for storage as well as a larger flat screen TV and DVD player. The saddest part was a cheap ($10) coffee maker when I was expecting a cappicino machine. The fridge had a selection of drinks for purchase- PRICEY!!!!
We were brought different snacks around 4:00 each day. Most of them were gluten based even though I told my butler that I could have gluten. They were nothing I would go out of my way to eat any way. Very unappealing!! The best part of the room was the art work on the walls.
The bedroom offered a queen size bed that was very very firm. Too firm for my liking(2 nights before the end of the cruise they put a foam pad on the bed and that helped a lot). There was a nice size closet and drawers with a small TV but no DVD player which would have been nice. We rarely used the bedroom balcony doors.
The bathroom had some serious issues! #1 being if you used the bathroom in the night all the bathroom lights would have to be turned on waking the other person in bed. We ended up pulling out the flashlights we had packed for Denali and used them to find our way to the toilet at night. If your larger the doorways to the bathroom are a tight squeeze. The bathrobes provided are made for small people and not nice feeling at all- the plush slippers- what a joke- are cheap one size fits all, sad, sad, SAD!!! The closet in the 1st area of the long bathroom offers a vanity and small closet and generous cupboard. Then we move to the next section- very nice large whirlpool tub that I would love to have in my house- there was a shower in the tub area as well. There was a separate shower that was so small there was no way to reach to wash your feet! The toilet had it's own little room- the door opened so weird that we left it open most of the time and the toilet was so low to the ground it really hurt my knees to use it. We enjoyed our balcony the most ( it could fit 20 people easily) yes some ash fell but not enough to chase us off the balcony. Great view, and we saw tons of whales and dolphins- and for glacier viewing- AWESOME!!! Glacier Bay was great and we liked it very much but after seeing Hubbard Glacier- Glacier Bay pales in comparison. Hubbard Glacier simply took my breath away! I could have stayed there all day listening to snap crackle pop and gun fire sounds! I never realized all the noise that a glacier could make. All in all it was a great cruise and the weather cooperated up until leaving Hubbard Glacier when the rains came. Disembarkation went well. There are a few shops in Wittier but the rain and cold made it hard to enjoy them.