My wife and I recently completed the 11-Day Denali Express - Southbound Cruisetour that included a four day Anchorage & Denali Land Tour and a seven day cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on the Norwegian Sun.
Friday was our arrival in Anchorage. Our cruise documents said we were to spend the night at the Clarion Suites Downtown. We arrived at the Clarion Suites and were told that we did not have reservations for Friday, June 13th. The staff informed us (after several phone calls) that we were at the Millennium Resort and Hotel.
We checked into the Millennium and were given room 4063. The outstanding points of the Millennium are the restaurant, the bar and grill and the lake view.
The problems we encountered in our room were:
• desk chair that was unsafe and in very poor condition
• Closet door not attached to the folding track, because it was broken
• Window screen cut, falling out of the window
• Loud air blower noise
• Tub plug was broken and sitting on the edge of the tub.
• Dirty laundry room with a broken soap dispenser. I went down to the desk and they gave me soap.
• The hallway and room carpet is dirty, well worn and rolls in the hallway.
We were told by the hotel staff that a representative of NCL and our tour guide from Premier Alaska Tours would be in the lobby area at 5 p.m. There was no one from NCL was present but Michael H. of Premier Alaska Tours was present. (Michael our tour guide was outstanding. He can only work with what he has.) There were 4 other tours also in the hotel so finding our guide was like hide and go seek. Michael had a piece of paper with NCL on it lying on a table. We located him by listen to what the tour guides were informing guests. He gave us the needed information about the tour.
On Saturday we left the hotel at 7 a.m. and took our bus to Talkeetna and boarded the Alaska Railroad Wilderness Express for our 4 hour trip to Denali. (See Trip Advisor for my review.)
In Denali our tour guide informed us we would be staying at the Grizzly Bear Cabins and Campgrounds instead of the Denali Bluffs Hotel as our cruise documents stated. Our tour guide, Michael H. told us that NCL makes the hotel choices.
The rooms at the Grizzly Bear were outstanding with a great view of the river. The problem is that it is 6 miles from Denali with no restaurant with only a connivance store / gift shop.
Michael H. told us that there was a restaurant “across the street” at the McKinley Village and Chalet Resort where we could go for breakfast and food.
Luckily, our bus driver volunteered to shuttle us to Denali on Saturday night for food and shopping on Saturday otherwise we would have had no dinner.
On Sunday morning my wife and I with others on the tour found out what “across the street” to the McKinley Village and Chalet Resort meant. “Across the street” entails crossing a very busy 3 lane highway and a half mile walk. WE WERE STRANDED!!!!!!!
I know of at least 9 guests (including myself) that have disabling conditions that prevented such a walk. Our Denali Park Tundra Tour (see my Trip Advisor review) left at 7 a.m. and the Grizzly Bear store did not open until 9 a.m., thus there was no opportunity for breakfast provided by Premier Alaska Tours (PAT) or NCL!!!!!!! UNEXCEPTABLE! This was prior to our 8 hour tour including a box lunch that consisted of snacks, no sandwich.
When we returned from the Denali Park tour I met with Michael H. about this problem. He informed me that he would “do his best” to get us a shuttle the next morning for breakfast if it was possible. I informed him that his best was not good enough as NCL nor PAT were not providing breakfast for their disabled guests.
I was very upset by his answer and told him that by not providing a shuttle for breakfast NCL and PAT was discriminating against those of us with disabilities.
Fortunately, Michael arranged for a shuttle the next morning at 5 a.m. providing us the opportunity to eat breakfast. It should be noted that 9 of our group got up at 4 a.m. to have breakfast and have our luggage at the door to be ready for a 7 a.m. departure from Denali.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Premier Alaska Tours need to assume there are clients with disabilities since most of their clientele are senior citizens.
On Sunday evening we went to the Denali Cabin Nite Dinner Theater for a very enjoyable dinner and show. (See my Trip Advisor review)
Monday we went by motor coach to Whittier with a stop for lunch in Anchorage. We had lunch at the Snow City Café which was outstanding. (See my Trip Advisor review)
We embarked at Whittier in a driving rain storm. Be advised that you are not undercover from the terminal to the ship.
Our first day we cruised but did not see much of the glacier because of rain, low clouds, and fog.
On Wednesday were visited Icy Strait Point and tenders were available to visit the city. We did not go ashore due to rain and wind.
On Thursday we ported in Juneau and took Dogsled Adventure by Helicopter excursion. Outstanding excursion. (See my Trip Advisor review)
On Friday we ported in Skagway. We had signed up for White Pass Scenic Railway excursion but due to the wind and rain we decided to stay on the ship.
On Saturday we ported in Ketchikan and took the Exclusive Flightseeing & Crab Feast excursion. Worth every penny. (See my Trip Advisor review.) On this excursion we met two NCL staff members who were reviewing this excursion. Lee, from Shore Excursions, and Natalie, a cruise consultant, were great to talk with about the cruise business. They are excellent representatives of NCL.
On Sunday we sailed to Vancouver and disembarked on Monday morning. Everything was well organized, on time and handled very well.
The food on the buffet was average for a cruise ship. The food in the Four Seasons and Seven Seas Dining room was very good. We did dine in the IL Adagio restaurant, the Le Bistro restaurant and the Steakhouse restaurant and the food was outstanding.
The entertainment was ok, not wonderful.
Our cabin steward Antonio was great and did a super job.