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3,206 Alaska Family Cruise Reviews

I chose the cruise because it departs from Vancouver from our home town, cost is extremely high for what's it's worth. Wifi is expensive and unreliable, dining room and buffet menu selection is poor and limited and almost all ... Read More
I chose the cruise because it departs from Vancouver from our home town, cost is extremely high for what's it's worth. Wifi is expensive and unreliable, dining room and buffet menu selection is poor and limited and almost all meat is overcooked, sitting area is also limited and spread out, only one section of buffet, if you can't find a table close by (which most likely is occupied), you have to walked three blocks to get to the food station, very poor design, should at least put the buffet in the center, only a few items of food with displayed with limited selection and quantity. Hot noodles was served with three to four string of noodles (why bother) almost all customers asks for 3-4 portions Salad varieties is so terrible and only couple of bottle thousand island and French dressing Fruit varieties is poor and limited. mostly not quite ready, maybe worry they would go bad? I lost weight at the cruise by doing and eating nothing. I feel totally ripped off and no one anywhere to complain We were denied access to the theatre because I was pushing a stroller, claimed that the hall is full and yet they allowed someone else to walk in and invite them to stand at the back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our first Norwegian cruise but it will not be the last. the refitted Jewel was a pleasure, the sky lounge, multiple bars and sitting areas allowed us to view Alaska as we sailed by and hang out as a multi-generational family. The ... Read More
Our first Norwegian cruise but it will not be the last. the refitted Jewel was a pleasure, the sky lounge, multiple bars and sitting areas allowed us to view Alaska as we sailed by and hang out as a multi-generational family. The entertainment was outstanding, especially Ana and Vlad and the Circus Bijou. The food was great, plenty f choice in the buffet, the Irish bar had a great selection as did the Chin Chin Asian restaurant but e mainly ate in the Tsar's main dining room where Alex and team, the special diets co-ordinator made my cruise. Eating out with severe allergies and food restrictions can be a nerve-racking operation with limited choices and constant fears of cross-contamination. Not so on the Jewel. Every day Alex and team brought menus, from whichever restaurant I wanted for me to pre-select, then they and the chef created my food, brought special items (the gluten-free breads were the best I've ever had), the smoked salmon benedict and cinnamon french toast for breakfast were outstanding and every dining experience a delight. Thank you so much. PS Alaska was amazing too. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife ... Read More
My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife generously upgraded our balcony room to a Haven suite as a birthday gift. We've had suites before on RC and MSC, but this one was significantly larger including a separate second bedroom / bathroom for our seven year old. The Haven itself is fantastic. Haven areas are on the restricted decks (14 and 15) and include private dining for breakfast and lunch in Moderno, a covered pool/hot-tub that is nice and warm on the coldest/windiest of Alaskan days, a private area on top of the ship (on deck 15) where you can enjoy 360 degree views, butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority seating in the theater, priority embarkation and debarkation, etc. Truly awesome! We were very spoiled for the week! Overall, this is the way to see the coastline. There are some places where it just makes sense to go by ship. Norway (which we did on MSC after Norwegian canceled our cruise without explanation) and Alaska glacier areas are two examples. We spent innumerable hours watching gorgeous scenery out of our balcony with hours and hours going by with no sight of humans. Spectacular! OK, but onto the cruise stuff you guys might care to read about. First, service. We were pretty segregated the whole trip, so we didn't interact much in the public areas of the ship with the exception of listening to music in a bar or two. Our cabin steward, butler (Loy) and concierge (John) were all great. We asked a lot from John during the trip and he was intelligent, helpful and fully understood the context of what his guests would want. In our experience, not many crew members (especially non-native English speakers) are very good at getting the nuances of American culture even after a decade or more working on ships. John just "got it" and made our cruise much better that it would have been without his assistance. Such staff are worth attracting to the ship because they can accomplish more than a dozen 'newbs' can. We spent a bit of time chatting with the General Manager as well, who I think has one of the coolest jobs. OK, so all-in-all the service we received was great. Public service, I really can't say one way or the other albeit we ran into a couple service staff that would randomly bring up how they had toddlers at home that they only got to see every 8 months. We have run into this story many times before (always from SouthEast Asian staff) and I'm cool with it as long as it doesn't sound like a pity story in an effort to get additional gratuity. If we have been speaking with you frequently and we ask, fine, but don't bring it up out of the blue, please people. It's odd. Music: We had a Spanish guitarist that was quite talented and my daughter danced (mostly alone) for at least an hour. We didn't get much in the way of jazz which was surprising for a cruise full of retirees. The show band did a bit and were quite good. None of the other musicians did much for us. There was a Phillipino group singing pop tunes which was pretty awful, but there were enough people watching so at least some people thought it was OK. At least there wasn't a Calypso band on board. Entertainment: We thought it was surprisingly good. Generally the shows don't do much for us. We saw a hypnotist that we had seen before in the Canary Islands, a couple shows with the main dance/musicians, a smart comedian (geared to older age audiences) and a couple shows that were "Cirque" themed. The Cirque stuff was the best. The rest were quite good as well. Cabin: Mostly covered above, but overall it was excellent. Some of the tiles on the bathroom floor were loose and there was an odd frame thing around the master bath toilet flushing button, but the rest was in good shape and very clean. Specialty Dining: We didn't eat in any non-specialty restaurants this trip unless you count having sushi and other stuff at Chin Chin. Everything cost extra in the specialty dining, of course, but we were surprised by how much more expensive it was as compared to Norweigan's prior cover-charge approach. The prices were comparable to what I would expect to pay for a similar restaurant at home, which didn't take into account what we weren't eating at the main dining room / buffet, etc. I am fine with paying 'a la carte, but at least make the pricing reasonable, folks! Perhaps that was why many of the restaurants looked pretty empty at least at the early-ish times were were eating. OK, for the details; Chin Chin: the cheapest of the bunch as most of the food is free. The food was quite good quality and our service there was excellent. It was a bit loud and crowded, but that's fully understandable. We got the last available table which was by the entrance to Teppanyaki, so my daughter got to watch the show (again). The show band was playing for part of dinner downstairs, so that was pleasurable. The sushi from Sushi was excellent. In retrospect, I would have repeated this place more than once. La Cucina: Any Italian would lose their mind in this place. The food was 'meh', albeit the pasta dish we had was prepared perfectly. Italian cuisine must consist of the freshest seasonal ingredients, and the rule is to not screw up the great ingredients by overcooking or over-embellishing. I got the Osso Bucco and was sadly disappointed. It was of poor quality, not prepared well, not flavorful, and didn't even come with the marrow fork. I asked for one and the (Filipino) staff had no clue what I was talking about. Who serves Osso Bucco without a marrow fork?! Not anyone that has familiarity with Italian cuisine. Anyway, I viewed this as a symptom of not hiring more people that are familiar with the cuisines and service expected from a restaurant of that theme. C'mon Norwegian, stop hiring 90% of your staff from the Philippines just because they are cheap and can't sue foreign countries. We know what you are doing! Teppanyaki: This is a typical cheap Japanese steak house. Sit around the grill and get a little show. Service was poor, the food was fine, and the "Japanese chef" was almost as good as you'd find in a comparable place back home. Le Bistro: Good food, good service, somewhat limited menu, and a nice view out the windows (we were eating while passing whales which was really cool). Cagney's: This was the best restaurant in our opinion. The steaks and veal were excellent. The sides were priced separately and were quite expensive but tiny portions. What the heck? Very good service from our favorite server. The sommelier however was really irritating and had no clue what he was doing. He showed up at our table like Lenny and Squiggy arriving at Laverne and Shirley's apartment with a loud "Hello!". He then proceeded to open and pour our wine, but poured my glass and then my wife's. The rules are simple people: The one who orders the wine is asked to taste. Then you serve it to the oldest woman down to the youngest and then the men. Oh and he poured massive pours. What the heck? I was visibly irritated and made a comment to our server. I'm sure anyone server on the ship could have served the wine properly. Why this guy couldn't is a mystery, but I ran into him again at Moderno. This time he obnoxiously pretended to speak Spanish (he was Filipino) and was desperate to point me to a bottle. (I can choose my own wine, thank you very much!) I later complained about his boorish behavior to John, our concierge who relayed it to the head sommelier. Moderno: We ate here for breakfast and lunch every day as we were in the Haven. Service was excellent and the food quality was good, but the menu never changed over the seven days. We mentioned it to the General Manager, but he didn't think it was an issue except on longer cruises. For dinner it is a Brazilian steakhouse that gets its food from the kitchen in Cagney's. The food quality was good, but some of the staff didn't understand the whole 'red card means stop, green card means go' thing. Its basic rules for a Brazillian steakhouse people. The servers bringing the meat should know this. Beverages: Good, but overpriced. Oh, I forgot to mention that we selected a beverage package as one of our free incentives for booking the cruise in the first place, but when my wife upgraded to a Haven Suite, they took this benefit away without telling us. It became a whole two days of trying to sort it out through our concierge, who ended up losing that battle on our behalf. They charge a lot for drinks on this ship. A typical mixed drink was $11+ and a can of soda was $3.50. The drink packages are really expensive too. After a day or two we figured out that we'd never drink enough to make the package worthwhile even at the high prices, so we just paid for what we wanted. We bought bottles of wine every night (which were reasonably priced), so at least that was fine. Fitness Center: They have a whole room full of nice bikes that they only allow to be used when there is a spin class. The rest of the bikes were awful, my wife tells me. I used the treadmill once, which was fine, then I started running on the track on deck 13 instead which involves frequently asking people to move when they are blocking the track. Shore Excursions: We did our own for the most part. We took a helicopter flight and landed on a glacier, we took a cool train ride into Yukon territory (that one was cruise arranged), we kayaked with sea lions, seals and humpback whales, and we did a sled-dog training event. All were awesome and the ones we arranged were cheaper than the ship excursions, but they were still pricey. That said, all were worth it! Why This is Our Last Large Ship Cruise: We just learned how much these ships pollute the air. One cruise line in its European cruises pollutes MORE than every car in Europe combined. What the heck?! It turns out that they could "scrub" the exhaust, but then it just dumps sulfuric acid into the ocean directly. It appears that having your hotel / restaurants move around with you everywhere is wasteful. Who knew? Anyway, we'll just do more fly and drive trips which albeit bad, have much less of a carbon impact than a big ship. Time to go nuclear, folks! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I went on this cruise to see the glaciers in Juno. It was absolutely breathtaking! The services in general on the cruise was wonderful. And the food at the restaurants were very tasty. The shows were spectacular. I also met some sweet and ... Read More
I went on this cruise to see the glaciers in Juno. It was absolutely breathtaking! The services in general on the cruise was wonderful. And the food at the restaurants were very tasty. The shows were spectacular. I also met some sweet and friendly people on board, including a couple of Australian sisters named Robyn and Jennifer, a nurse name Warren and his wife Shannon, an Irish couple named Dominic and Yvonne. My only regret is that I did not exchange my contact information with them. I don’t know how, But I hope to get in touch with them again. Maybe one of them will give me, Harry Potter, a shout. Overall, this was a fun cruise with lots of activities for our ages. I Will go on this cruise again because Norwegian was so good to guests with vision and mobility disabilities. This is important because my father has two bad knees and I have low vision. Clin729@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was a cruise in memory of a good friend and a bucket list kind if thing. This was also my family's first cruise. We went on this cruise With a group of friends that have cruised before and told us this was the most ... Read More
This cruise was a cruise in memory of a good friend and a bucket list kind if thing. This was also my family's first cruise. We went on this cruise With a group of friends that have cruised before and told us this was the most incredible ship that they have been on. The food was amazing in every restaurant we went to: The buffet was our favorite we also went to the Manhattan for an adult dinner and it was amazing. When joyed the local and Taste and Savory. The one restaurant we didnt enjoy was Los Lobos, The service was slow and the food was not that great. Other than that the water slides were open every day the race track was open every day as was laser tag. I can't say enough about the people that they have working on the ship always very friendly got to know us and made our trip feel like we were at home. I am already getting ready to book my 2nd cruise with Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most convenient cruise to take from our home, and because we can afford it”. The Alaska cruise is always a lovely cruise, the scenery cannot be beat, and yes you may encounter some rain, but it still can be a marvelous experience. Why Holland America? Well there aren’t too many surprises on their ships, we have traveled on three different ones, and comments about aging vessels really don’t make a lot of sense, they are all well maintained. For the doubters, every ship will have occasional problems, toilets, and a/c malfunctions, but you will get those on any ship in any fleet. We found that Holland America prides itself on service. On the three ships, we’ve sailed the crews seem to be a happy crew. A smile and a greeting will always get a positive result on a Holland America ship. Something we’d been told and found out for ourselves, once the crew gets to know you, they always call you by your name. When they only know you for a seven-day cruise, I find this amazing. You can be way down the hall, and they’ll call out to you. Thank you Holland America for your hiring system. The dining facilities aboard ship, from the Main Dining Room to the buffet and even the Dive-In, are exceptional and there’s always something to please the palate. Now in fairness, I must admit I haven’t sailed on any other cruise line, yet, so my submission may be tainted. We have found the food service to be well above par, regardless of the venue. We have found a home in the Ocean Bar, and it’s not surprising as do many of our fellow cruisers. The bartenders and wait staff can’t seem to do enough for you. Happy Hour is always packed. And again the crew call you by name, which is even more surprising due to the number of passengers they deal with. Each cruise for us has been different, different ships, different cabins, but the service has always been exceptional. On this trip, we were offered a paid upgrade to a suite. It is larger than the oceanview and balcony that we have had in the past. There is plenty of storage space and the bathrooms had two sinks, a jet tub, and a shower stall. The suite was furnished with a most comfortable queen-sized bed, sofa and two chairs. A large widescreen TV had a multitude of options from ship activities, dining options, live TV and movies. There is little to want for in these cabins, they provide a very relaxed comfort zone. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, the design is marvelous, there is so much to see and do on the ship. In reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic I sometimes wonder at some of the negative comments from cruisers that were on the ship I was on, where we actually on the same ship? Throughout the ship is works of art, it's like being in a floating museum. On Deck 1, below the atrium, there are even picture frames that you can use to make your own photo portrait. The ship has plenty of elevators but there are also stairs, to wear off the pounds collected in the dining venues, plus the Promenade deck which is covered and allows you to walk around the outside of the ship. When I hear that there is little to do onboard I wonder where these folks may be. Entertainment abounds, music from classical to blues and jazz to modern pop, plus shows in the main theater nightly. There is a small casino. During the day the ship’s activities are for everyone, take your choice - it seems endless. There is lots to do aboard ship. And when we dock, there is a myriad of shore excursions. The highlight of any Alaska cruise is the time spent looking at glaciers. Usually, this includes several hours in Glacier Bay. On this trip, we encountered a different and most marvelous glacier experience. We traveled up Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. What makes this cruise so special is getting to the Glacier requires sailing up a narrow passageway, through ice flows. Streams flow down the mountainsides making the whole trip an exciting passage. The ice flows are not large, but much larger than those we’ve experienced in Glacier Bay. It is said if you’ve never cruised to Alaska, you need to see Glacier Bay. Once you’ve seen Glacier Bay, you need to see Tracy Arm, you will never experience a more wonderful site. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first Cruise, it was great to see Alaska. I would like to say that Jake the cruise director was lots of fun and did a great job in keeping everyone happy and laughing all the time. Being our first cruise I would like to say ... Read More
This was our first Cruise, it was great to see Alaska. I would like to say that Jake the cruise director was lots of fun and did a great job in keeping everyone happy and laughing all the time. Being our first cruise I would like to say that the food was fair, went to a few of the show and they were great. Some of the special dinning were fair to middle. The store were lots of fun to shop at. The service of the cabin was great. leaving the ship was nice but the trip to the towns were a little stuff in the trams. But I would like to say the over view of the total cruise was great. Great staff and Entertainment. The ports were lots of fun. Really enjoyed Skagway Alaska. I would recommend this cruise line to everyone who wants to take an cruise. The Bliss was very beautiful and very clean. Great crew and really enjoy the ships talent show and entertainment on board the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We left from Seattle, and arrived the day before ship departure. We stayed at Hotel Ändra, highly recommended and great location. We were pleasantly surprised and had a great time exploring Pike Market, Space Needle etc. We actually ... Read More
We left from Seattle, and arrived the day before ship departure. We stayed at Hotel Ändra, highly recommended and great location. We were pleasantly surprised and had a great time exploring Pike Market, Space Needle etc. We actually would have spent more time here! But we came for a cruise, and it sure delivered. This ship is absolutely fantastic, but what makes it even more of a spectacular experience is the multi cultural staff and the personality of the staff. ALL of the staff was amazing, smiling, pleasant, eager to help and just happy! Embarking was so smooth, came at allotted time and we were literally never waiting for more than a few minutes in a line. Very well organized. Same with disembarking, we never new they set up the paths or anything and it was smooth sailing. We used the shuttle service to the airport and had our bags shipped to our destination and that as well went without any problems. We had a stateroom with a balcony and it was roomy, clean and beautiful views at all time. I’m so happy we did this because I enjoyed sun out on that balcony more than once and enjoyed grabbing fresh air in privat. We chose 250 WIFI minutes and I have to say I checked in w my adult kids daily and never used up the minutes. We also had the beverage package and high end beer/wine and liquor was part of that so we could vacation “properly”. For us it was well worth it! We also chose to do the upgraded dining package for 4 days. We chose this because we wanted to try out some of the restaurants and wanted to be able to have reservation...we realized after you could still make reservation at the main dining room but we were blown away with the Mexican Los Lobos and Cagneys....food was to die for!!! Elizabeth at Los Lobos was the best waitress we’ve ever had!!! The food is so good everywhere though and you will never go hungry, never. For excursions we had chosen to do a whale watch in Juneau followed by a quick tour to the Mendenhall Glacier. We saw plenty of whales and the tour was awesome, they even provided binoculars! We saw the glacier right before it got dark so we were happy! The second excursion was in Skagway where we did the train ride, goldpanning and dog sledding. We learned so much this day we’re still in awe. The train ride was spectacular and our guide, Klondike Mike, was incredible at telling the history! We’ll definitely be following the Iditarod race in March! So overall, the excursions where absolutely worth the money. We did our own thing in Ketchikan, which worked out perfect for us. We travelled with another group of 3 other couples but had already decided we were doing our own thing. It was easy communicating with our company through the app so we could meet up whenever. There were always some activity going on if you were up for it. I ended up splurging and got the spa pass for the week and enjoyed the time in there immensely. If there was something I would “suggest” changing it would be the Beatles show, we never got to see that show because you had to stand in line for at least 45 min everyday, how about reservations for that? And the Observatory Lounge is such beautiful space to take in all the views,how about a child free section? There were times when groups of 10-15 people with their young children took over whole areas for a full day. We absolutely recommend this trip and are already thinking about where our next cruise will bring us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were on the last cruise of the Alaska season for the NCL Bliss. The people where excellent even for the last cruise. The food was great. The ship was beautiful with lots of activities. The race track was a lot of fun. We really ... Read More
We were on the last cruise of the Alaska season for the NCL Bliss. The people where excellent even for the last cruise. The food was great. The ship was beautiful with lots of activities. The race track was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed the comedians. Saving the best for last - the casino was non smoking. They have a glassed in Casino for the smokers. We ate dinner at 3 specialty places - Teppanyaki, Cagney steakhouse, and the Le Bistro. Teppanyaki was the best. We also ate in all three free restaurants and they was all good. The only issue that I had was the price of the shore excursion to the craft brewery and whiskey tasting. The price charged by the cruise line was $89. When we arrived they were advertising the tour for $24.95. So we paid the difference of $64 for a bus ride. Price was too much for excursion. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
20 cruises over 25 years and it certainly isn’t getting better. Every other activity on the daily schedule was either pay for it or they’re trying to sell something. Food quality is way down activities are almost nil unless you pay ... Read More
20 cruises over 25 years and it certainly isn’t getting better. Every other activity on the daily schedule was either pay for it or they’re trying to sell something. Food quality is way down activities are almost nil unless you pay for them. Norwegian joy to Alaska is booked as a one day at sea when it was actually three days. So much for truth in advertising. One stop in Victoria BC is from 8 PM to 12 midnight that’s one of the days at sea in my opinion. I would suggest buying the dining package because the food on deck is fair at best. No more 24 hour pizza at one end and burgers at the other no more midnight chocolate buffets. The ship was built in 2017 and was quite elegant but lacked in any sports activities. Race track for kids and adults but quite expensive huge arcade also very expensive. Service overall was very good especially in the dining room and cabin. Shore excursions when booked through the cruise line are outrageously priced although Alaska tends to be more expensive. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska was a bucket list trip for my mother and father. Unfortunately, my mother passed away and my father is starting to lose mobility. So, this was a very important trip for my sister and I to take with my father, and Alaska did not ... Read More
Alaska was a bucket list trip for my mother and father. Unfortunately, my mother passed away and my father is starting to lose mobility. So, this was a very important trip for my sister and I to take with my father, and Alaska did not disappoint. The embarkation went smoothly, we were on the ship by 11:30 am which is a very impressive turnaround time. The ship is amazing as always. NCL ships tend to have a very similar layout, so I already knew my way around the 19 deck (20 if you include laser tag) floating luxury hotel. On the Joy they also have Galaxy Pavilion which is a virtual reality arcade. I walked around it with my sister and it seemed really interesting and an unique idea for a cruise ship. Spice H20 has a huge hot top much bigger than their other ships. Of course, I was most impressed by being able to sit in a hot top while staring at glaciers. The dinning I have mixed views on: Buffet: Convenient, easy to grab something quick, great for an easy breakfast, the omelette station is good for getting fresh eggs, but the food did not really stand out. Observation Lounge: Great place for getting a snack! The first day I had a spinach focaccia bread that was delicious, I kept going back hoping they would have more, but it was only there the first day. Surprisingly, the deserts they had there were different than the ones at the buffet and better! If you like carrot cake look for it at the observation lounge! Local: Their appetizers are great; they have a Greek watermelon feta salad that's good. Their burgers are burgers and a bit over-cooked to my taste (I was surprised that they did not ask me how I wanted it) Taste/Savor/Manhattan Room: Their main dinning is good. Their steak/beef menu options are nothing to write home about. (Granted I have to take into account that I may have been a bit spoiled by my first two nights at specialty restaurants) I was however impressed by their appetizers in fact one night I order 3 apps instead of getting an entree. Their deserts were fabulous! NCL knows how to do desserts across every restaurant that they have on board. Temppanyaki: Was spectacular! The show was good, the fried rice and vegetables were good, but most importantly the filet mignon melted in your mouth. This restaurant is a must! I love hibachi and NCL out does most if not all of the hibachi places I have been to. Cagney's: The service here was beyond compare. You can tell NCL takes pride in this restaurant! The steak was great and do not even get me started on how amazing the truffle mash potatoes were. La Cucina: This was my least favorite out of the specialty restaurants. It was good and better than main dinning (though the service was not anything special, and I had some great waiter in the main dining rooms that were more attentive) The burrata was my favorite part and the pesto gnocchi was also very good. Entertainment was pretty good. I really enjoyed elements it was different, engaging, and had amazing special effects, it is a must see! The performers were also friendly and fun! The game shows were always nice to stop and watch in the atrium, I love the shows that include guests, they are always funny, and a good time. There were some days that not much in the itinerary seemed interesting, but I grabbed some friends I met on board and started a game of cards in the observation lounge which was just as fun. Dan Dan the cruise director was great, and I really enjoyed him in late night entertainment. If you like dancing the social is the place to go however, I do have some mixed feelings there. For the most part the service was spectacular. However, I did have an unfortunate incident (which happened to be on my birthday) where a crew member yelled at me, then my sister and it caused my sister to get upset because she is shy and quiet. (Which made me more upset) The next day my sister ran the cruise critic and I met the officers. Martin Ivanov the general manager said to come with him to with any concerns, and without much detail I told him it was my Birthday and this crew member was a jerk and provided him with a picture of the crew members badge. I have to say both him and Ana Maria Malata really took care of me and helped make my birthday special, I was blown away. My cabin Steward was amazing I some how do not have a picture of his badge but I his name was Joevi (I probably misspelled that) He decorated my cabin and hand wrote a birthday card for me. I felt bad about making a compliant and was so impressed by the crew that I thought “whatever everyone has bad days.” Unfortunately, the second to last night at the 80’s party in the social. The crew member that I said was a “jerk” confronted me saying that I got him in trouble. (I am not using his name because I really do not want anyone to be in trouble) He might have meant well, but he was in no way apologizing and, even kind of threatened me, so awkward. I work in corporate management and it made me cringe to think of employee confronting a complaint/ threatening a client. It is a bit sad that I had to avoid a crew member on the ship, but at that point the cruise was almost over and I really did not want to be involved, I just wanted to enjoy my vacation. The rest of the crew was amazing, and I really hope if I go on another NCL cruise that I will not have to deal with an angry crew member, and that no other future passenger does either. Excursions: Juno: Canoeing/Glaciers Fun but there was no wildlife, they did provide rain gear which was a bonus Skagway: Kayaking Cold, but beautiful. I saw bald eagles, a bear, and tons of salmon! Ketchikan: Lumberjack Show/ Totem Park Lumberjack show was a bit cheesy but fun and learning the history of clans in Alaska through Totem stories was a cool experience. Glacier Bay: Not an excursion but still an amazing day on the boat. NCL opened the bow of the boat for close viewing, provided blankets, and even had an expert on board to talk about the glaciers. Disembarkation was well organized even though there was a line/wait to get off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
First time cruising with Norwegian.. I would go again but I would not let them book my flights again. Getting off the airplane and to the ship was no problem for us. For our connecting flight in Atlanta we had to run so we wouldn’t miss ... Read More
First time cruising with Norwegian.. I would go again but I would not let them book my flights again. Getting off the airplane and to the ship was no problem for us. For our connecting flight in Atlanta we had to run so we wouldn’t miss our flight we literally got on board and they shut the door. My dad’s experience was not so great at 79 years old everyone at the airport for Norwegian was gone so he had to lug his own suitcase to the bus pick up area. He almost didn’t make it to the ship. He was so stressed. Going home our flights weren’t any better we had to sit in the airport for over 12 hours and having to stay awake for more than 24 hours not the best way to end the vacation. Onto food.. The buffet was good but in my opinion they could have switched up the food better and had more options. When we did get food from there it was cold. The free fancy restaurants were amazing and the food was great. While I liked the “freestyle” dining I did miss seeing everyone dressed up. They need better photographers on board most of our pictures were not taken well. While on board my card was de-activated this was due to the girl at the check in counter using my pass port to identify me which has my maiden name. This threw off all my information I had entered months ago when I booked the cruise. Then I had to prove who I was. The guest services lines were very long. My dad who is a smoker only had one place to go smoke all the way in the back of the ship on the 17th floor. Long walk for all the elderly smokers on board. Getting off the ship at each port was a breeze and each port was amazing… Our excursions was amazing as well. Getting off the ship was a nightmare a lot of mad people being told different things as to which line to be in. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My second cruise on the Coral, this time in a balcony A610. A great location with covered balcony allowing us to step out even in the rain and not get our feet wet! This cabin was on the port side, a fantastic location to view the ... Read More
My second cruise on the Coral, this time in a balcony A610. A great location with covered balcony allowing us to step out even in the rain and not get our feet wet! This cabin was on the port side, a fantastic location to view the glaciers. Embankment was smooth and efficient. Sailaway was under sunny skies for a 7 day Alaska cruise-last of the season. We had the beverage package, gratuity and OBC as perks for this sailing. Very convenient for all drinks including specialty coffees and bottled water. Was very wet and stormy in Juneau, Skagway was phenomenal as was Glacier Bay. We were unable to dock in Ketchikan which was very disappointing. Activities on board were great but many overlapping so had to choose. Could have had more variety in entertainment comedian twice ventriloquist twice and on show was the Piano bar Don Juan show. Great show. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I have done seven cruises and six of them with NCL. This was such a mixed cruise. One one hand, Alaska was amazing and the ship was great. It was nice, clean and the layout was great. The observation deck was really comfortable ... Read More
My wife and I have done seven cruises and six of them with NCL. This was such a mixed cruise. One one hand, Alaska was amazing and the ship was great. It was nice, clean and the layout was great. The observation deck was really comfortable and even the Garden Cafe seemed to be upgraded and comfortable. Glacier Bay (which is the primary reason for going) was well organized and the captain slowed the ship down to a crawl and spun the ship around so everyone can have time seeing the glaciers and get their photos at a comfortable pace. It created a very relaxing time in which we gathered in our families state room and spent the time together on the balcony. The reason for the 3 stars was because it felt disorganized and at times poor service and food. For example: Our checked wine took four requests and two trips to the service desk to get, laundry took three requests, Ice sometimes took multiple calls and food timing was way off (I was served beffore my wife several times). The food was probably the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. We are not foodies but I have always considered NCL as having above-average food and occasionally amazing food. This trip I had a couple good meals, many average meals and a couple poor meals (dry chicken, overcooked fish, tiny portions etc). Overall it was a good cruise because of the destination and the company we brought with us. However we may not do NCL, it seems like they lost many of the personal touches that we have had in past cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Princess makes you feel important the entire time your on board.You feel safe and secure knowing that they have your best interests in mind on and off the ship. 5 star service. Huge assortment of food and drink and it’s GOOD food made ... Read More
Princess makes you feel important the entire time your on board.You feel safe and secure knowing that they have your best interests in mind on and off the ship. 5 star service. Huge assortment of food and drink and it’s GOOD food made from someone who cares not from a frozen box. Lobster, great steaks, seafood galore something for everyone guaranteed. Cleanliness is impeccable!! The staterooms were amazing the beds and pillows are straight from heaven you don’t want to leave them in the mornings. You come home rested and feel good, no other accommodation or vacation does that. You feel your money spent on the cruise was a fair trade and and of full value for your experience. I guess the most important vacation for us is knowing your money was well spent.The embarking and disembarking at every stop was smooth and speedy no standing and waiting, ones with children went well and enjoyed all the options available for them on board. Princess covers all the bases, it has the entertainment choices food choices drink choices and they cater to all different age groups and personalities. All the Alaska port of calls were unique and had tons of options for excursions and shopping so everyone had something to do.What’s really special is when the Captain mingles with the passengers throughout the cruise. Great job princess! I always say go Princess or don’t go!!! Thanks again for an amazing cruise... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The ship was very clean and the staff were very friendly and helpful overall. The food in the buffet was usually cold and bland, sometimes inedible. It was incredibly busy up there and difficult to find seating. Other complementary dining ... Read More
The ship was very clean and the staff were very friendly and helpful overall. The food in the buffet was usually cold and bland, sometimes inedible. It was incredibly busy up there and difficult to find seating. Other complementary dining was fairly bland as well. The speciality restaurants were much better and if I cruised with NCL again I would only dine there. However, I don’t think that you should be forced to pay extra for a decent meal, the food that is included should be edible as well. The temperature on-board was too warm. Entertainment was very good. Jersey Boys was high quality and the female comedian was excellent. I avoided most of the “activities” on-board because they were just an excuse for staff to try to sell things. I often felt that I was on a week long timeshare info session being bombarded with up selling. Nothing is free on NCL. The spa was the worst and I knew what to expect going in but I was even surprised. I went to a “hair show” where they were supposed to talk about hair health, the best cut for your face shape, etc., and give away a free cut and style to one of the attendees. They jammed 8 of us into a corner and a very rude salon worker came out and said he specialized in hair loss and they scheduled the wrong time for the hair show so he’d be talking about that instead. We were trapped in the corner for 40 minutes as he tried to sell his special $3600 hat to us. None of us struggled with hair loss. He said he would give us a free consultation but told us repeatedly not to waste his time. He was rude to one 17 year old girl who seemed disinterested during his lengthy presentation and asked her to repeat what he had said and clapped in front of her face. I was so mad when we were finished because he wasted 40 minutes of my time. I felt that I couldn’t leave because I was physically squished into the corner and because I find confrontation uncomfortable. Also, there was no giveaway for the cut and style and I wanted to see a hair show. It was a complete scam. I complained to the manager on the phone afterward and she said there was confusion about scheduling. I explained that the employee was aware that wasn’t what we were there for but he went on with his high pressure sales pitch anyway. She said she could offer me a consultation for my hair but after that experience and having now complained I was not comfortable going back. Also, someone who went to the session was entitled to a free cut and no one got one. I wouldn’t have even cared if I didn’t get it, but if you promise something like that you should follow through. Other activities like bingo were extremely overpriced for the amount of prizes given away. One package was $60 and the bingo jackpot was just over $100. That’s outrageous. You have at least 200 people buying tickets between $30 and $60, that’s a minimum of $6000-$12000 and your total prizes are $600? Not to mention that the cruise staff took forever calling the numbers so that they could sell you more stuff in between. It was painful, not fun. The atrium being where most activities were held seemed like a poor design to me. There wasn’t enough seating there and it was very loud. Again, most of the “activities” were cheesy or a way to sell stuff, but even if it was something I was interested in I would avoid it because the space was uncomfortable. Also, the service counter and other desks were in the same area and it was impossible to hear them when you needed help. Overall the cruise was good. The new ship was still in very good condition which was a huge plus and it seemed clean and well maintained. I just wish that I didn’t feel like I was being nickelled and dimed every step of the way. I knew that about NCL going in but I was worse than I anticipated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had never done a cruise to Alaska before and this one seemed to fit the bill for our needs. As we had been to Seattle before, we elected to arrive and sail in the same day. We had a party of 4 so we ubered fro the airport to the ... Read More
We had never done a cruise to Alaska before and this one seemed to fit the bill for our needs. As we had been to Seattle before, we elected to arrive and sail in the same day. We had a party of 4 so we ubered fro the airport to the harbor but the NCL staff were all over the terminal to help those who took the NCL transfer. We arrived at the cruise ship terminal about 30 minutes later and walked about 10 steps to the baggage drop off. Very smooth and efficient. We were in the Haven for this cruise, so we then proceeded to the Haven checkin desk and within 10 minutes we were on the ship and in the Haven Bar for a drink. Our rooms were then ready so we went to the rooms and dropped our carryons. We then ate lunch in the Haven restaurant and explored the ship before sailing. The rooms were outstanding and our butler and stewards knew our names by 1700! We wondered the ship and then watched sail away from the Horizon lounge on 17 forward reserved for Haven guests only. We spent a lot of time here. They had coffee and snacks all day long and continental breakfast stuff early in the AM. My only comment here is the drink service was slow and spotty but we walked 50 meters/150 feet aft to the Haven bar for drinks if we couldn’t wait. Awesome ship, super clean and fresh, outstanding staff and awesome service. The dining in all areas was impeccable with the one caveat that bars are slow to make drinks, the restaurants are slow to fill water and get you alcoholic beverages. Slow but impeccable drink service. I would say the restaurants need more drink runners and busboys to keep the servers free to serve. We did not have a bad dish or meal. This crew has it down. The shows were really good and interesting with talented performers and decide to show topics/material. As Haven guests you are escorted to private reserved seating in a private elevator so no crowds. Same for excursions and leaving the ship. The shore excursions were really good, well priced for value and well run. We are definitely going again on another NCL cruise and have 2 future ones booked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
On board: the room, balcony, was adequate; food also adequate, however, if pastry is your thing you will not find a decent croissant on Princess; flour to fat ratio all wrong. The room attendant was very friendly and helpful. In fact the ... Read More
On board: the room, balcony, was adequate; food also adequate, however, if pastry is your thing you will not find a decent croissant on Princess; flour to fat ratio all wrong. The room attendant was very friendly and helpful. In fact the entire staff was very well trained, helpful and friendly, with the exclusion of one surly female at the spa reception desk. On board lectures limited. Entertainment was enjoyable. Cruise entertainment director energetic, personable, funny and enthusiastic. Ports of Call: time spent in each port was sufficient. However, the ports of call were all geared towards retail sales with tee shirt shops and jewelry stores three to a block. Excursions offered were what one would expect. We choose a rafting trip. However, the waterproof gear given to us was wet and dirty on the INSIDE, even the boots were wet with sand and pebbles inside Not a pleasant experience. This was our second Princess cruise and probably our last. Not because of one bad excursion experience, rather a culmination of the entire Princess Cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose to cruise Alaska on this ship to experience a 'big' ship with all it had to offer: go carts, laser tag, water slides, broadway style shows. We are all experienced cruisers but had never sailed on a ship this size. ... Read More
We chose to cruise Alaska on this ship to experience a 'big' ship with all it had to offer: go carts, laser tag, water slides, broadway style shows. We are all experienced cruisers but had never sailed on a ship this size. There are positives about this ship but more negatives. First and foremost, there are not enough public spaces. As there were six of us, we were always looking for a place to have drinks before dinner or, just to get together somewhere during the day for a a visit. This was a most difficult task on this ship. All the lounges were full before dinner and often during the day as well. The Observation Deck is spectacular but you have to get there early in the day to secure a spot as so many people stake their spot for the entire day! This becomes very obvious when you see staff bringing in hundreds of folding chairs into the Observation Deck. The lounges are mostly full. And, even if you do find a lounge with seating for six, it's nothing to write home about. The lounges on this ship rarely offer an outside view and are mostly very noisy. Nothing like the quiet spacious lounges with views that we're used to. Additionally, the Maltings Whiskey Bar on Deck 8 has a cigar smoking lounge beside it but because of inadequate ventilation you can often smell the smoke from this lounge. The same with the Casino on Deck 7. Smoke smells from their smoke room permeate throughout most of the public areas of Deck 7. We weren't always looking for room for six as often there were just two or four of us looking for a lounge. There was space in the outside lounges like Margaritaville, and the Pool bars and the Waterfront (which is lovely when the weather is nice) but it's cold up there in Alaska and, like the Waterfront spaces, these are weather dependent. In a nutshell, there just aren't enough nice quiet lounges or public spaces. Now for the food. We did not like the food on this ship. It's not a bad thing, but it's probably the only cruise we have ever been on that we either didn't gain and probably lost weight on! The food was plentiful, but not tasty. We ate in the specialty restaurants and were disappointed. We were also disappointed with the Garden Cafe buffet. To be fair to the ship, we never experienced breakfast and maybe that was their best offering! Overall, however, we would have to say it was the worst tasting food we have ever had on a cruise ship. By the end of our week we were looking forward to Q Smokehouse thinking that they couldn't really mess up ribs! Right? Wrong! The ribs themselves were OK (if you put enough sauce on them) but the sides were actually inedible. Why would any restaurant present you with four ribs on a huge platter and then place four tiny little sides in tiny little metal dishes on this huge platter? The platter looked absolutely bare! But worse, the sides were so bad! The coleslaw was flavourless, the beans so bland, the pickles awful and I can't remember the last side because I couldn't bear to try it! It seems the Executive Chef does not oversee the food or taste it. There is absolutely no food quality control on this ship! And if there is, they need a new taster! The best meal we had on this trip was at the Seattle airport! The internet. We took the internet package but should have received a refund. It didn't work for a day or two because of bad weather (we think) and when it did work it was soooooooo slow! It took an hour to download our (small) local newspaper. We had to buy more internet time just to have a paper to read. No game playing, no responding to emails (just reading them) and still we were out of time on our package. The ship did offer a Superior Package with a quicker download speed but having spent what we had already, we felt it should be more than enough for just simple email and newspaper downloads. We've never run out of Internet minutes before, even on much longer cruises from just as remote places. This ship stands alone! Guest Services was not really a service, and NCL should be well aware of this given the lines in front of Guest Services snaked down the corridor! Once you got to Guest Services, you were lucky if you got someone who actually understood what you were saying or cared about what you were there to discuss. We didn't get lucky! The Spa area floor is extremely slippery in spite of the fact that a staff member is constantly 'squeeging' it! This is around the Thermal Pool and Sauna area so beware. Also the Sauna is coed, you may prefer it, but we didn't. We did like our cabin, which surprised us as it was the smallest cabin we have ever cruised in but it was so well planned that there was room for everything, plenty of storage, nice vanity/desk layout, great washroom, and the TV was well situated and one was able to swivel it. Also, the ventilation was good and the bed was comfortable. We had a Mini Suite on Deck 8 and it was nice. The Lectures by the Park Rangers while cruising Glacier Bay were excellent. We appreciated the decisions the Captain had to make in regards to missing a port because of bad weather however, when we missed our port stop in Ketchikan, we fully expected to either sail into Victoria early (as there was a berth open at 2PM) or at the every least, be right on time. As it was, we were allowed off the ship at 8:30 PM and asked to be back on the ship by 11:30! Three hours in the nicest port of the cruise! All the other ships that we saw were there for at least 5 hours and often more. This ship spends far too little time in Victoria! Even their original schedule of arriving at 7:30 (which was adjusted to 8:00 PM prior to sailing) is too little time in this port. One should look closely at their port stop schedule, particularly in Victoria before choosing this ship. We were very disappointed. As a group, we enjoyed our time together and it was interesting to discover what a mega ship offers as we have always sailed on smaller ships but, having tried it once, we will not be trying it again as there was nothing that would entice us back such as good food or nice public spaces or an Observation Deck we could actually find a seat in. Having said this, if the weather is good so that you can enjoy the pool areas, waterslides, go carts and other outdoor areas and you have young children, it's probably a good ship for you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We primarily chose Princess because of the ease of sailing with them and the knowledge that we would at least have decent food. Last year we sailed on a competitor's line and my bed was hard and the food was not good. We came back to ... Read More
We primarily chose Princess because of the ease of sailing with them and the knowledge that we would at least have decent food. Last year we sailed on a competitor's line and my bed was hard and the food was not good. We came back to Princess knowing it might not be one of those huge ships with all the activities but maybe we didn't need all that. It turns out good food and a comfortable bed made me very happy. The Star is not a new ship by any means but the crew on her is just amazing. We just had such a nice time. I can't express how well they took care of us this time. It was above and beyond. We splurged and got a mini-suite and it was such a treat!!! I would highly recommend it if you have the opportunity. It was very, very comfortable. The MDR was very, very good. I only had one dinner that was just ok all week. The food was good. I especially enjoyed all the seafood options. My only bad meal was at the Crown Grill and it was more of a service issue versus the food. We had a 2 1/2 hour dinner that just drug on and on for no reason. I definitely will sail with Princess again many times but I just don't know if I will go back to the Crown Grill. The crew show was a really fun!!!! My grandkids enjoyed the kids club and the pool a lot. All in all it was a lot of fun and we had a great time!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I truly chose this cruise for my parents, myself & sister because of the great deal. We were able to stay in a beautiful suite at a great discount. But we loved the huge balcony and appreciated the size of the suite and would have paid ... Read More
I truly chose this cruise for my parents, myself & sister because of the great deal. We were able to stay in a beautiful suite at a great discount. But we loved the huge balcony and appreciated the size of the suite and would have paid more for the wonderful week we experienced. Our only complaint was the lack of seating at the Horizons buffet (Dad is a buffet fan, but the crowd was a nightmare, so we only ate 2 lunches there) We appreciated the special attention received at the Da Vinci Dining room. The service was wonderful! We enjoyed two nights at the Crown Grill (our first night there was complimentary) Great steaks, as expected. We also enjoyed SHARE. And the Salty Dog Gastropub was a fun lunch (normally only open for dinner, but opened at noon the last day since we were in Victoria during dinner hours) I was told on the cruise that I would not have to sign for a bar bill under $50. I wish I did. The prices of wine seemed to vary from night to night. ??? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is a gorgeous ship! The layout is very unlike most of the other RCCL ships because it was made for a different type of itinerary. We did Alaska in mid-September. The outdoor pool was heated, and we had no issue swimming in it. But ... Read More
This is a gorgeous ship! The layout is very unlike most of the other RCCL ships because it was made for a different type of itinerary. We did Alaska in mid-September. The outdoor pool was heated, and we had no issue swimming in it. But there is also a covered pool and an adults-only solarium with some smaller soaking-type pools. It's all very comfortable with plenty of space to watch the scenery go by. If the sun is shining, don't hesitate to try the walking/jogging track above the pool level. We saw so many whales, and all we needed was a light jacket and/or sweatshirt and we were perfectly comfortable. The food was excellent and pretty much on par with food on most RCCL ships; so if you generally like the food on RCCL cruises, the Ovation will be mostly the same. The cafe@Two70 was a welcome addition with some nice sandwiches. Pixels is the one show you need reservations for. It's an impressive show with talented performers, but it wasn't really our taste (kind of modern and weird). Plus, we sat toward the back, which made it near impossible to see anything. If you go to the show, get there early so you can find a seat up close to the action. The rest of the entertainment (production shows, singers, a magician, etc.) all seemed to be a notch above what I've seen on other cruises. The Music Hall, Boleros, and the Schooner Bar also always had wonderful musicians. The casino has the nicest layout I've seen on any cruise ship. It is very spacious, and you can walk around without bumping into a bunch of people. I would sail the Ovation of the Seas again in a heartbeat. The staff of course was wonderful, but more than that, the ship is simply spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just came back from final Alaska run before it re-positioned to Australia and pretty much loved it all. Our group booked the ultimate drinks and dining packages before the cruise to have freedom on board and we're all glad we did. ... Read More
Just came back from final Alaska run before it re-positioned to Australia and pretty much loved it all. Our group booked the ultimate drinks and dining packages before the cruise to have freedom on board and we're all glad we did. Drink package was definitely a deal if you drink water, coffee, juice, soda and 4+ drinks over the course of a day. All the restaurants very good but standouts were Wonderland and Chopt. Absolutely delicious. Tip: when you get on the ship, book all your dinners for the week with Guest Services or Restaurant Services. Lunches are pretty easy to nab there when you want to. Windjammer buffet is fine but pretty crazy, so we opted for sit down breakfast in dining room after day 3. We never ate in dining room but hear it was good. Overall, thumbs up on food and drinks, with lots of options. Our cabin with large balcony (11690) was very clean and well organized for storage. More than enough for two people and plenty of hangars. Glad we brought a power strip and our own shampoo/conditioner, lotion etc., since that wasn't supplied (although someone said you could ask for it). The bathroom is really small but not surprising and always clean. Lots to do on the ship or lots of places to chill and do nothing. We loved the adult solarium and used the warm pools and hot tubs several times. We enjoyed Bingo, which was fun and very popular. The Disco dance party was a lot of fun, thanks to the Cruise Director and team kicking it off, and the bar trivia and musicians kept us all entertained. Of special note is the Spa. We all gave it five stars. Our massages and facials were absolutely terrific and the staff backed off quickly after their obligatory product sell. Highly recommend. Since we had our cards on file, we never had to "check out," and all tips were handled for us. For disembarking, we opted to carry the bags off ourselves and were completely off the ship and in a taxi in 20 minutes. DO THIS. Finally, every staff member we met was friendly and professional and helped make the trip extra special. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the departure port and itinerary, but I wouldn’t change anything. The ship is older and doesn’t have all the wizz bang features of the new ships, but that’s not why you cruise to Alaska. I didn’t notice any ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the departure port and itinerary, but I wouldn’t change anything. The ship is older and doesn’t have all the wizz bang features of the new ships, but that’s not why you cruise to Alaska. I didn’t notice any maintenance issues or problems with cleanliness. No funny sewerage smells or problems with air conditioning. Our stateroom was always clean and very comfortable. The size was not massive, but more than enough considering the amount of time we spent outside our cabin. Overall the crew were very friendly and efficient. I agree with some of the comments about the buffet, but if you choose carefully you can still have a good meal every time. If you time your meals correctly there are virtually no queues and we always found a table. Remember there is another seating area towards the back of the ship on both sides. We chose traditional dining for dinner and were able to get a table for two after requesting it on the embarkation day. We had to share for the first night, but had our own table for the rest of the cruise. The menu is adequate and again with careful choices you can have a lovely meal every night. The Crown Grill was excellent. Great food and service. Alaska was amazing! We even saw the Northern Lights (on the departure out of Haines and only for about fifteen minutes). I would happily cruise on the Grand Princess again. We’re already planning to repeat this cruise with our kids in a couple of years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Prior to sailing: We purchased "The Key" which was a very good investment for us both. I also pre-scheduled our excursions (2 directly from Royal Caribbean International and 2 from other vendors) and activities such as IFly and ... Read More
Prior to sailing: We purchased "The Key" which was a very good investment for us both. I also pre-scheduled our excursions (2 directly from Royal Caribbean International and 2 from other vendors) and activities such as IFly and the North Star along with pre-booking our night to see Pixels and the Escape Room. I drafted a calendar of events, activities, and dinner times and places we wanted to do from prior cruise compasses with lots of time to add more while on the ship. Months prior to cruising, I signed us up for the Meet and Mingle Roll Call, and participated on the review boards for our particular cruise and met many nice and funny people. This is a great way to meet others prior to sailing. Thursday: Seattle, Washington - We flew into Seattle a day before the cruise and arrived early and dropped our bags off at "The State Hotel" just steps away from Pike Place Market. It was our first stop and we watched the fishing sailing through the air. The booths are endless - we saw crab legs as long as our arms, an abundance of flowers and many local crafts. Prior to returning to our hotel, we enjoyed dinner at "Pike Place Bar & Grill." The Steamed Manilla Clams and the Cod Fish and Chips dinner were delicious. Best fresh cod ever! Embarkation and Day of Sailing - Seattle, Washington: Due to the time change and going to bed early, my husband and I had morning coffee at the "The State Hotel" and explore more of the area. Our Lyft picked us up at the hotel and we arrived at the ship minutes later at the Port terminal (before 10:00 a.m.). As I was a disabled veteran he made sure we were dropped off close to the entry doors - the cost $16. Upon showing our Sea Passes - we were quickly ushered in the line for "Key" members and sat in the area to await a wheelchair for me. Time quickly flew and before we knew it - the activity director took us aboard the largest ship we have ever seen. This was the fastest and easiest embarkation we have ever experienced. Ovation of the Seas - She is a very beautiful ship with plenty to do and see. It would take weeks to accomplish all on her. Our balcony cabin was mid-ship on the 11th floor - 11180. Knowing it would not be ready until 1:00 p.m.; we went to Guest Relations and purchased the Wow Bands for $4.99. These bands are surely worth it as I used it often for unlocking our cabin door throughout the cruise saving time for searching for my Sea Pass which I left often in the light switch. Not only did Glen, our room attendant, kept our cabin neat and clean each day, he left multiple towel animals for us to enjoy. I took Traveler's Ginger Candy (Gin Gin Company) with me and only had to savor two of them during the cruise. I share most of the bag with others who were experiencing seasickness even wearing the patch. Friday: Day 1 - At noon, we went to the Main Dining to eat with other Key Members and enjoyed a Chops Grille luncheon. Hubby had the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, Everything Crusted Tuna and the New York Cheesecake. I had the Caesars Salad with their signature dressing, Petite Filet Mignon with three dipping sauces and the New York Cheesecake. This meal was scrumptious! After eating lunch, we explore the ship unto our way to the cabin. The large towel I pre-purchased was in the room, but the Polar Bear Alaska Blanket for two was missing. I spoke to the attendant and he did not know if one could be found. This was distressing for me, as I had purchased it months ago. A few days later the Deck Supervisor found a brand new blanket and gave it to me - it surely made my day that the personnel on the ship took extra lengths to ensure our cruise would be delightful. We saw our Key envelopes and entered our passwords for the VOOM and notice that we had a letter stating our special departure times for each port. Our next stop was at the Sky Bar where we met our Cruisers from our Roll Call. It was great seeing who I had been conversing with online prior to sailing. Muster was at 3:15 and we made our way down to the Schooner Bar. Go a tad bit early for Muster to obtain a seat. Muster went flawlessly. At 6:00 p.m. while hubby was relaxing and watching out our balcony, I went to see and purchase the Alaska Survival Kit. Many store vendors had their selections out and I was able to purchase gifts for our kids. I preselected our "My Time Dining" for 7:00 p.m. and we went to eat at the Silk. This dinner was disappointing after having a fantastic luncheon with Chops Grille. Although we were seated quickly, it took a while to take our orders. Hubby and I ordered the Escargot that was swimming in butter and parsley. I love eating escargot but the Silk's mostly tasted like butter and was bland. Maybe Silk could try cooking the escargot with less butter, add garlic and mushrooms to it like they used to do in the early 2000s. The rest of the meal was neither remarkable nor memorable as the prime rib was overcooked. The service was sporadic and we miss the old days of the traditional MDR days with the greeting from the Head Waiter, Waiter and Assistant Waiter all of whom worked together. I believe the seating arrangement made it more difficult and all of these restaurant venues with "My Time Dining" made it more difficult for the wait staff and guests. I highly suggest two of the venues return to the traditional MDR. After dinner, we went to Comedy Night on Decks 4/5. The show was average and was disrupted many times by guests leaving. We sat in the handicap area and the attendant was a tad bit annoyed with us sitting there. I guess she did not see my cane nor my leg brace. Her sour demeanor was quickly forgotten. After the show, we stopped in the Royal Casino and the host gave us our gold coins to try our luck at the special slot machine. While hubby played Blackjack, I tried my hand at Roulette. We both had a good night and won some. We strolled Deck 5 and found the smoking area. We made friends there that we would see often throughout the cruise. By the time we got to our room our luggage had arrived and morning came fast. Thanks to other cruise reviews, I had most of our important items in our carry-on. Saturday: Day 2 - Cruising: After having morning coffee, hubby and I went up to Deck 16 and were excited to experience the North Star. Even though I do not like heights, this was an awesome experience. Hubby took many pictures and we were able to see far off in the distance including the entire ship. Upon standing in line, the attendant escorted to the elevator to take me to the doors of the North Star so I can experience it without struggling the stairs. Just a FYI there are many times in which the North Star does not cost the guest any extra monies and as a "Key" guest we were able to experience it without lines a 2nd time. Port Shopping Show - I went to the Port Shopping Show and learned the best places to visit for shopping form multiple beautiful gems to see and possibly buy. Bingo and Blackjack Qualifying Round - Oh my - had so much fun playing bingo and won an extra bingo shirt. I came so close to winning cash. Hubby went to the Blackjack Qualifying Round and placed for the tournament. Balcony and Deck 5: - Spent the afternoon relaxing and watching for whales and Orcas and saw many. It truly was an awesome experience. Formal Night - Hubby and I dressed to the max and it was such a delight. We went to the second seating at Silk. If we thought the first dinner was disappointing, this dinner was worse. I decided to try the Seafood with Linguini. It was terrible, the shrimp tasted old, clams cold and the bay scallops were still frozen. I pushed my plate aside and the waiter came and was told I was done. Another waiter stopped and asked if I wanted to try something else. Once again I stated I was no longer hungry and this time described the meal quietly as to not disturb the other guests. We saw him walk quickly to the Supervisor as we were leaving. Hubby told me to keep going as the Chef was now running behind us. We left the area, went to Sorrento's and ate pizza. Needlessly to say we miss MDR dining. After dinner, we went to the Comedy Show and it was great! So glad to try to see another comedy show. Afterwards we strolled the deck in the moonlight then changed clothes for the Casino and played a few rounds. Sunday: Day 3 - Alaska Inside Passage/Juneau - Once again we enjoyed a light breakfast at Two70 (Deck 5) of coffee, juice and Panini. We went to our Meet and Mingle in Vintages and were greeted by others who posted prior to cruising. Tony and his wife were experienced cruisers and were very friendly. Tony gave each us beautiful bracelets. Thanks Tony! We met families with children who were bored and suggested the Adventure Ocean program. Two families sought us out later and told us they had a hard time getting their children to leave. Juneau, Alaska - Due to the Key, we went to the Music Hall (Deck 3) at noon to await our departure for Juneau. Within minutes, we were off the ship and going down the gangway. Upon hitting the boardwalk, a Pedicab took us to the Mount Roberts Tramway in which we purchased our tickets to the Tram and to AJ Mine/Gastineau Mining Tour. We took the tram to the top and we were able to see Eagles and view the authentic Alaska Native Arts and purchased items in their gift shop. We took the Tram down and were met by our guide for our mining excursion. This was a quaint excursion as it was shared with one other couple. We saw this same mining company on the Discovery Channel. Our guide was a retired miner and kept us entertain while exploring the inside of the mine. We learned the history of the mine and it was quite an experience. Once outside the mine, two young guides taught us how to pan for gold and garnets of which we each found almost entire vial worth of both. This is a must see excursion which I found online. Upon returning to Port, hubby and I went shopping and I was able to collect my charms to add to my bracelet while looking at Gold Quartz jewelry, Korite (Ammolite), Tanzanite, an array of Northern Lights jewelry the rare Alexandrite collection and the Crown of Lite jewelry collection. If you are a coffee lover like us - visit the Heritage Coffee Roasting Company. The aromas are intoxicating. While most people were eating at Tracy's Crabshack and eating arm length crab legs, hubby and I had a delicious dinner at the Twisted Fish Company. Their clams in wine sauce, crab cakes and calamari were scrumptious! We went back to the ship by 8:00 p.m. and took our purchases to our room. Upon leaving our cabin, we saw the telephone message light blinking and quickly learned how our Klukwan Native Culture Excursion was canceled due to "lack of participation." Although the Shore Excursion Desk stated for us to come by and book another excursion I took time to look at the Royal IQ app and saw there were none that interest us. I searched Google and learned this excursion had closed for the season the week prior. This left a bad taste as you would think the Shore Excursion would verify all excursion to ensure none closed early for the season prior to the sailing. Needless to say, we went to Deck 5, met up with friends and were invited to join them for the Jeep excursion to the Yukon. Shortly there afterwards we went up to the top deck to take photos of the ever changing sculptures on the pier and watched the sail away at 9:00 p.m. A while later we stopped in at Schooners and listen to piano music, visit the Casino, ate late night pizza at Sorrento's, met more friends on Deck 5 and had an enjoyable night. Monday: Day 4 - Skagway, Alaska - Morning came quickly and we picked up breakfast at Two70 and sat in the Deck 5 lounge. Shortly thereafter, the four of us left the ship (with our passports) and we walked to town (take the tram and ride it as it is 1/2 mile hike). Before you know it, we were in the jeep driving towards the Yukon. Our GPS (jokingly our landmark book) did not take us directly to the Yukon, as it did not account for the road closure and detour. Before we knew it, we arrived at the Yukon Suspension Bridge. We took our time, crossed the bridge and saw its beauty. Afterwards we had lunch at their cafe of bison chili that was mouthwatering. I purchase bison chips, crackers and cheese to enjoy later. After an hour out we turned around and the road was already paved, and we were on our way to Carcass and saw the smallest desert. We stopped in Carcross for drinks, snacks, and some shopping (a nice small town with plenty to see and buy including readers). The ice cream was delicious. Within minutes, we saw a bear by the side of the road and took pictures. We saw so much wildlife on our way to Emerald Lake. So cool to see and many photo ops there too. Soon we arrived at Emerald Lake and the view was spectacular. We took our time traveling back to Skagway and came upon another bear - this one was very large standing in the middle of the road. After taking a few pictures, the bear retreated into the woods nearby. The four of us went shopping and picked up trinkets, postcards and the train charms for our bracelets. We were back on the ship by 5:00 p.m. in time to relax for dinner. Tonight we had reservations for the Solarium. This is a quaint dinner spot that is included in your cruise to partake if one so desired. Many people just ate from their buffet, but Hubby and I chose from their menu and their buffet. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very relaxing. The tables were nicely spaced and the wait staff made sure each guest was enjoying oneself. After dinner, I went to the Rossalite Gems show - these gems are beautiful!! Hubby and I watch the sunset and off to play at the Casino. Tuesday: Day 5 - Endicott Arm/Dawes Glacier - hubby and woke up early and went to Two70 for coffee and carried our breakfast to the Deck 5 lounge where we could Glacier Watch. This did not occur ,as the Captain of the Ship was wise to turn us around when he saw how big the icebergs under the water were and was smart enough to put our safety first. Many understood but there were others who were angry until other guests explain that small iceberg on top of the water is much smaller than what is not seen under the water. The Captain took his time and the entire ship went whale watching with many to see. Prior to lunch, I went to the room to pick up my bingo shirts and daubers and purchase my bingo cards. I was awarded extra free bingo cards for each shirt and dauber and was given the B3 Blue Bingo Fish (which gave me an extra bingo card on day 3 - win a cruise bingo). No wins for me but came close and had an enjoyable time. After bingo, we went and saw the Love and Marriage Show - this show is a must to see and everyone seem to enjoy themselves. Afterwards I dropped off my bingo gear and was met by the 11th Deck Supervisor who surprised me with the Polar Bear Winter Blanket! Yeah!! Escape Room - this activity was pre-booked prior to cruising. Hubby and I never experienced and it was quite intriguing. There were 12 of us working together in which you collect clues, solve puzzles to escape and only had 1 hour to do so. Hubby found most of the locked boxes and we helped solved many of the puzzles to collect clues and were able to escape. This was a very fun activity and everyone should try it. I do know not all the ships have this activity but they should as it is a very enjoyable experience and does not take up much room to play it. Windjammer - Hubby and I went exploring another part of the ship and dropped our Custom Form off at Guest Relations. Unbelievable as there is still so much to see and experienced. Dinner was upon us and we decided to try the Windjammer. We were met with "Washy Washy" which sounded delightful in her singsong manner. A table was easily found and we went to look at the array of foods. Chad made me a delicious plate of my own ingredients for Lo Mein. I thought I was full until the dumped a fresh batch of French fries at a station nearby and off I went to get a small plate of them with Malt Vinegar. Oh my - I was in heaven!! The array of desserts will make your mouth water once again. Another familiar feature was seen in the Windjammer was see fruit carvings - the fish in the watermelon was totally spectacular! After dinner, we strolled the deck to walk off dinner prior to an evening out with hubby. I missed out as I fell asleep while waiting for hubby taking a shower. He went to the Casino with friends. So nice that I was able to catch up on my sleep which is hard to do on such a fun cruise. Wednesday: Day 6 - Cruising - Yep we had coffee from Two70 and taking breakfast away to Deck 5 lounge and relaxed watching the waves. Fab Abs class - OH MY! That was surely a work out! Off to the room to shower so I can enjoy the day. It was not long until it was our time to experience the IFly on Deck 16. IFly - The crew here are very safety conscious and thoroughly enjoys assisting guests with having a fun experience. First, you are asked if you have had any neck and upper back injuries as one cannot safely participate. Next, you are weighed in - thank goodness, they do not say one's weight aloud. Hubby could not participate, as he was a few pounds too heavy for his height, which he was fine with as I think he was more excited to see if I would go through with it. Lol. We watch a short safety video, learned our four hand signals and then suited up. Soon it was our turn to go to the gravity chamber. Since all of us listened and followed their instructions, we were able to fly higher with our instructor in which we spun upward. Such an exhilarating experience!! Bingo for a free cruise - Went to the room, picked up all my bingo gear and given 21 cards to play. So close with 1 number but did not win - maybe next time. It was so nice to see the young gentleman jump up, yell bingo, and win a cruise for 2 while on his honeymoon. Dog House - even with all the variety of food - a good beef hot dog and/or bratwurst with sauerkraut fits the lunch bill easily. Relaxing afternoon - hubby took a much needed nap and I went exploring the shops (be wise and leave your sea pass in the light switch like me - it saves you money - lol). I purchase a few small items and went to relax with friends. I woke hubby for dinner and dressed for our second formal dinner. American Icon Grill - this was chosen as Hubby refused to go back to Silk and he knew I wanted to eat lobster. Dinner service was extraordinary and so unlike what we experienced in the Silk. The Wait Staff were friendly and interactive with the guests. The waiter made dinner suggestions and knew the ingredients for the dishes. Our appetizers were delicious (hubby had the Caesar Salad and I tried the Escargot again - their style of cooking grows on you). Hubby selected the beef tenderloins and asked for rare and was super shocked it was cooked the way he wanted AND very tender. He was enjoying this dinner outing. The Waiter brought me two lobster tails and brought heated butter to the table. Oh my! The lobster melted in your mouth. After dinner, the Waiter cleared the table and knife scraped the tablecloth prior to dessert (an old MDR table method this was the only time seen done). Since this was the 50th year, a special cake with swirled lollipop stick came out with the desserts we selected. Hubby had apple pie ala mode nicely heated with a side of vanilla ice cream. I had the Molten Chocolate Cake that was quite delicious. Hubby and I had another stroll on deck and met up with our friends who had a very enjoyable experience too while dining in Wonderland. We share our dining experiences and discussed what we were going to do in Victoria. We all went to the Casino and knew bed was early as the time change went forward 1 hour - morning would arrive sooner. Thursday: Day 7 - Victoria, British Columbia including the Hop On Hop Off Tour - Hubby and I took the double decker bus to Victoria ($15 roundtrip per person) and saw many sights on our way and was dropped off at the Empress Hotel in time to purchase our tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus which had a 90 minute tour if you stayed on it. My leg was sore so we chose the tour. The tour guide, Norm was very interesting and we learned about the Gold Rush, the history of Victoria, saw the tiniest through way that Mel Gibson took for Bird on the Wire, Craigdarroch Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, etc. We even saw peacocks and many deer throughout the tour. Once back to the Empress Hotel, we walk towards Irish Pub called the "Irish Times" for lunch. I advise you to be extra hungry as we ordered the O'Hagan's Platter. This platter is huge and contained Chicken wings, loaded fries, sweet potato fries and dry ribs. Hubby and I barely put a dent into it. This platter covered almost the entire table with barely any room for our drinks. We explored some of the shops and purchased a few items to take home. We took the Double Decker bus back to the cruise ship by 4:00 p.m. Both of us took showers and went to meet up with friends to share our Victoria experiences. Later that evening we ate dinner at Windjammer which was quite filling. We took our nightly stroll, headed back to our rooms to pack our luggage, and left it in the hallway for pick up. We went to the Casino, played a few rounds and turned in our remaining Chips and Tokens. Our last stop for the evening was a quick late night pizza at Sorrento's and I went to the library and printed out our plane tickets home. Friday - Day 8 - Vancouver, British Columbia - it is a sad day that this fantastic cruise was coming to an end. Since we had the "Key," hubby and I were treated to breakfast in the American Icon on Deck 4 prior to leaving on Deck 5 near Wonderland. We disembarked in easy and quick manner and our luggage was quickly secured. Our porter took our luggage throughout the terminal and escorted us outside the terminal by the Pacific Hotel where we would meet for the Sear to Air Post Tour Excursion with Landsea Tours. This is a 6-hour tour that included a drop off to the airport. Our tour guide was very interesting and we knew it had changes to it as the Gondola to the Suspension Bridge had been sabotaged a few weeks prior to the tour. Landsea Tours emailed us 2 days after the sabotaged to verify whether we want to continue with the tour as the Suspension Bridge was exchanged for a visit to Grouse Mountain Resort. We first crossed the Lions Gate Bridge and saw the massive entry lions. We took a brief trip to Shannon Falls and it was a breathtaking sight. Next, we went to the Britannia Mine Museum and this was exciting as we had the opportunity to learn how the rocks were broken down until fine sand and then sent to San Francisco to cultivate it for gold, silver, copper. We toured the underground mine and then toured the ground floor of the building learning about the different stages, how hard mining was, and the harsh life of the miners. We panned for a bit and found more gold and copper nuggets. We then took a brief trip to Horseshoe Bay for lunch and saw Howe Sound fjord. People were so friendly throughout the tour. Lastly, we traveled to Grouse Mountain. We took the Skyride Gondola up the mountain and arrived in time to witness the Lumberjack Show that was quite funny and impressive showcasing their skills. The lumberjacks interacted with the audience throughout the show. Vancouver Airport - Once the tour was complete we were dropped at the Airport doors for Westjet and assisted with our luggage. Our flight home late that evening was uneventful except how the Canadians can teach Americans a thing or two about the ease of flying international while disabled. As I was seen struggling trying to obtain luggage tags, a gentleman with Westjet quickly assisted us. Upon seeing me struggling with walking, he secured a wheelchair with a Westjet attendant for me. She took us through security. The Canadians operation for going through security is easily done as is how one travels throughout their airport. First, they swapped out my cane for one of theirs so I can go through scanner without the fear of falling. Next, security was already ready to scan my knee brace quickly and I was whisked away by the Westjet attendant to the appropriate gate. She made sure we reached our gate in a timely manner with time to spare. Unknowingly she reserved future wheel chairs for me for the remaining two connecting flights. Our first flight went from Vancouver to Toronto. Upon arrival, a Westjet attendant whisked me away in a wheelchair and took all the shortcuts to customs. We were there within minutes and a few questions later on our way to our next flight. We were quickly through security and once again, the cane swapping occurs. This was so cool as the disabled were treated with respect and not a hindrance as what I had incurred on the flights with American Air to Seattle. Each airline took care of their own passengers while the airport staff drove the trams to the multiple terminals. Upon our arrival at La Guardia airport, the wheelchair was there and we were quickly taken to the terminal for our last flight with Delta Air. We quickly obtained our luggage and hubby had us on our way home. We had an awesome time celebrating our 34th anniversary on the Ovation of the Seas (such a romantic setting for 2) and now must go back to the real world, but already planning our next cruise for 2. Or maybe with all our adult children to enjoy too OR just plan 2 more cruises??. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019

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