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5 Norwegian (NCL) Anchorage Cruise Reviews

I have never been on a cruise before so needless to say, we were very excited with high expectations. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in Norwegian. We started our tour on land in Fairbanks. We started our land tour with several ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise before so needless to say, we were very excited with high expectations. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in Norwegian. We started our tour on land in Fairbanks. We started our land tour with several stops that were very enjoyable. It was pouring rain and a lot of tourists did not want to go on the River Boat so our tour guide Grace, set up an excursion to the North Pole. We had been there the day before on our own time so we didnt want to go back. We were in downtown Fairbanks at the time when Grace told us that we would have to get our own ride back to the hotel if we didnt want to do the excursion. You dont drop off someone in a strange town then tell them this. No way professional, no way ethical. Shame on you Grace! This is the only problem we had with this guide. We did the Denali trip with a guide by the name of River and it was beyond my expectations. Very wonderful excursion. Very memarkable tour. Got back around 8 PM and got to the cabin and it was freezing. Outside temps around 40's. Very uncomfortable until room heated up. This was unacceptable. The train rides thru the back country and tundra were awesome and I plan to do this again but not associated with Norwegian. Got to Anchorage and hotel room was just that, a hotel room but the next morning, no one had hot water. Unacceptable! Got on the Norwegian Sun. Not knowing what to expect, our room was very small but what irritated me the most was the settee was dirty. You could physically see dirty arm rests on settee. The room was very dated and needed revamped. Actually, the whole boat needed revamped. Very old and certainly not impressive. Very disappointed in this plus the fact that the glass/plexi-glass was dirty on the deck. This was when we boarded not after the boat had set sail, apparently it was not cleaned after the last cruise but it was also dirty on the inside of the glass. Picture taking on deck was a crap shoot because of the dirty, spotted up glass. Unacceptable! The food on the buffet was a total disaster. Same items in buffet the whole trip except for a few things. Food was not all that good so we ate hamburgs most of the whole week. I didnt pay all this money to eat hamburg's. I am not a picky eater but the desserts looked good but tasted bad and I could not eat them. We did eat at the Venezuelan restaurant and it was awesome however we had to pay extra for this. The entertainment was so-so. Some of the singers were very good but the comedians were not funny and the cruise director that came on stage acted foolish and silly, in my opinion. Activities while we were cruising were bingo and towel sculpting, not to mention fruit sculpting, not what I expected for what I paid. The reason I wanted to take this cruise was for the glaciers. After our tour started, we were notified that one out of the 2 glaciers tours was cancelled. Again, unacceptable. The reason was something about they did not meet Alaskan regulations for water treatment. We paid to see these glaciers but Norwegian did not live up to this obligation. From the rumors I heard, the same thing happened two weeks prior to our cruise so apparently Norwegian did not remedy the problem at that time, but again, this is just rumors we heard. What alarms me more than anything is that approx. 24-48 hours after the ship departed, probably 60-80% of the folks on board were sick with an upper respiratory infection of sorts. HMMMMMMM Also another thing that concerns me is that in our cabin, we had an odor of sewage. The first time I smelled it, it lasted about 10 minutes then went away. The second time...OMG....it was putrid and lasted about 30 minutes. We were on deck 7. Other people on the cruse also smelled this but I dont know what deck they were staying on. For the sake of accuracy, some people did not have this problem. Getting off the ship was a ridiculous set up. You walk into this area where there are 100's of suit cases and start the hunt for yours. Maybe this is the only way it can be done, I dont know but it was very challenging for the elders. Needless to say, the cruise was disappointing beyond words. I will never entertain using Norwegian for any of my vacation needs and from what I have said above, please think hard before you do Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
on the 27th of July my family and i (all grownups) went on the Alaska cruise of the Norwegian sun. as we entered the ship we were very disappointed and shocked from the (very) old fashioned decor of the atrium. afterward we discovered that ... Read More
on the 27th of July my family and i (all grownups) went on the Alaska cruise of the Norwegian sun. as we entered the ship we were very disappointed and shocked from the (very) old fashioned decor of the atrium. afterward we discovered that it's like that all around. we went to have late lunch on the buffet at the 11th floor and discovered big selection of very bad quality food and a soup kitchen atmosphere. during the cruise we discovered that the food was almost terrible everywhere. even in the restaurants. food taken from a very bad 80's restaurant or coffee house. the weather during most of the cruise was cloudy, cold and wet so we couldn't use the outdoor pool (no indoor one). on the last day - all day at sea, finally we had a sunny day and 73 degrees. on this day from all (last day of the cruise!!! on sea!!!) the Maintainers colored the pool from the inside so... no water, no pool, no fun and smelly deck. the good things: nice cabins (had picture window cabin on the 8th floor) and the stuff is good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We have only sailed once before on Royal Caribbean. We chose the NCL for its free style dining option. The Sun was a very nice boat. Our cabin and its cleanliness was fine. the entertainment that we enjoyed the most was the music in the ... Read More
We have only sailed once before on Royal Caribbean. We chose the NCL for its free style dining option. The Sun was a very nice boat. Our cabin and its cleanliness was fine. the entertainment that we enjoyed the most was the music in the windjammer bars. Riley Haupt was great and we went every time he played. We went to three specialty restaurants. The Brazilian restaurant was outstanding. the French restaurant was our second favorite. The Teppanyaki was a disappointment. It was the most booked of all the restaurants, but that is because there is only 12 or so seats. Our chefs were in training and were humorous, but not skilled in the manipulation of the food to entertain. The food at the buffets were cafeteria quality. There was a salmon cookout around the pool on the last on ship day. The salmon was about 1/4 inch thick and so dried out as to be a waste of time. We were disappointed to learn we could not bring a bottle of wine on board for our personal in-room use without paying a hefty "corking" fee. They scan the luggage and tag those that contain bottles. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
In reading other reviews written by "veteran" cruisers, I'm surprised to find so many high ratings for this ship. Oh, where do I begin? We boarded in Anchorage. The weather was terrible, with torrential rains. The ship ... Read More
In reading other reviews written by "veteran" cruisers, I'm surprised to find so many high ratings for this ship. Oh, where do I begin? We boarded in Anchorage. The weather was terrible, with torrential rains. The ship wasn't due to sail for several hours. But NCL decided to do an early break down of the covered walkway that protects passengers on the long, long walk from the check in area to where you board the ship. By the time we boarded, we were soaked to the skin. By comparison, we've been greeted by staff on other lines, where they've assisted us in boarding - not left us to the elements. Not a good start. Then we got to our cabin. Compared to the typical balcony cabin, storage was extremely lacking. Not a single drawer! There's lots of stuff that doesn't store easily on a shelf, although those were limited, too. And there wasn't much storage in the bathroom. Usually there are shelves under the sink or on the floor below. The Sun only gives you room for toiletries on the little shelves above the countertop. That's it. Had it been a longer cruise (we have a month long cruise coming up), I don't know where we would have stored everything and still been have been able to accessed our stuff when we needed it. NCL ships have a lovely exterior, so we expected a lot. We also read that the Sun had been renovated a few years prior to our sailing. But it was obvious that the décor was terribly dated. It appeared that it had never been attractive. Not a great looking interior, when you compare it to Princess, RCL, or others. Our biggest gripe with NCL is with the food. The menu in the dining room is EXACTLY THE SAME every single day for breakfast and lunch. Really?? Would it be that hard for them to change the regular pancakes to banana pancakes? Even the same flavor ice cream every day. I've sailed on many cruise lines, but this was a first. So we tried the buffet. They offered, without question, the worst buffet sailing. Very few options, not much flavor, lukewarm food. The only thing we really liked on the buffet was the pretzel bread. At dinner, they give you 4 entrees that may vary, but the other entrees and the appetizers are the same every night. And the food is only mediocre. If it was good, I might not have minded so much. So we tried some of the specialty restaurants. The teppaniaki place was good, but the Brazilian one could have been better, and certainly wasn't worth $25 each additional. One of the things a cruise should give you is great food. There wasn't one thing I ate onboard that made it past the okay category. There also doesn't seen to be a lot to do aboard, at least when compared to other lines we've sailed. What I will say is that the staff (for the most part) was quite good. Our cabin stewardess was terrific. And so were most of the staff we encountered throughout our voyage. But good service isn't enough. I absolutely wouldn't recommend the Sun and probably not NCL. I won't sail them again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I went as a solo traveler on a one-week cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver after taking a one-week, guided group camping trip in Alaska. My open-jaw air ticket from Asia allowed me to land in Anchorage and return from Seattle, so this ... Read More
I went as a solo traveler on a one-week cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver after taking a one-week, guided group camping trip in Alaska. My open-jaw air ticket from Asia allowed me to land in Anchorage and return from Seattle, so this seemed like a fun way to get between the two places. My only other time on a liner was in the early '90s aboard a postal steam along the coast of Norway, which was also fun. At any rate, this trip on NCL far exceeded my expectations. I chose NCL after learning of its "free-style" dining. I didn't want to lug a dinner jacket with me and have to sit at the same table with the same people day after day. Moreover, NCL has a reputation for fitness and entertainment--two activities I enjoy. I got a partial ("obstructed") seaview cabin on the same deck (5 or 7?) as the jogging/promenade track, but it turned out to be the perfect choice. The "partial view" meant only that their was a roof over the deck, but I had a clear view and could see what the weather was like and whether we were passing some spectacular scenery. Then in 15 seconds, I could be outside on the deck, snapping photos or enjoying the fresh air. The ship also closed off the jogging area past cabins from 8pm to 8am so the sound of "hoofs" was never an issue. In fact the ride was extremely quiet and I noticed a barely perceptible rocking of the ship only for part of one night. I chose my cabin on the port side to maximize viewing of the shore, and it was near the bow. The 141 ft2 space was very well designed to maximize closet space, and the circular shape of the bathroom and shower were fine for all but the most obese of passengers. I had one potential concern after having read in a guide book that NCL has a penchant for frequent and loud announcements. However, these were not as common as feared (perhaps because the liner has since then reacted to feedback), and the announcements from cruise director and captain were not at all loud, especially when heard in the room. I was concerned about over-eating, so made a point of taking most of my meals in one of the two dining areas, rather than at the buffets. The food and selection were very good, and I never had to wait for a table or to be seated with others. The southeast and southern Asian wait staff were very attentive and friendly, as was my room attendant, a gal from China. They seemed much friendlier than some of the Western staff on board. I thought the entertainment was super and went to a show every night. I particularly liked the stand-up comic, a guy from New Jersey, whose name I forget, and the dance and musical numbers in the main Stardust lounge. However, the cruise also had terrific singers and musicians performing at all hours in the central Atrium as well. One disappointment was the small size of the pool because I swim regularly, so I took a dip just once. However, the gym was excellent, with free weights, machines, and ellipticals etc with little or no wait to use the equipment. I also shot some hoops for the first time in decades. I didn't book any of the excursions but went off on my own for day hikes or individually arranged visits during the time in port. Having a LonelyPlanet guidebook to Alaska was indispensable for this since it described almost all the ports in detail. I would highly recommend this trip for either solo or group travelers. In fact, I met a number of people who were doing the exact same cruise in both directions because they said it was "cheaper to fly" and so much more enjoyable. I don't like soft drinks and am indifferent to alcohol so the fact that NCL charges for those was fine with me as it meant an exceptionally low base rate for the cruise itself. My deal also included about $100 of on-board credits, so I tried the Teppanyaki and Italian restaurants, which were both fine. The cruise ship also had a nice library and I managed to read half a book on board, Halberstam's "The Fifties", which I finished later on my own. There were, however, so many activities each day from 7am to 11pm that I didn't turn on the TV. A list of the various choices for the following day, along with port description, arrived each night via an easy-to-understand brochure. Alaska last June was unusually warm and sunny, but even so, you should bring a hat, warm gloves, and multiple layers, preferably with a windbreaker and hood. Those enabled me to stay outside on deck when most retreated indoors. Living in a polluted Asian city, I found the fresh air exhilarating, along with Alaska's amazing natural beauty of glaciers, icebergs, mountains, 20+ hour days, occasional whales, and clean water. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
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