The journey through the Alaska panhandle was great. The ship experience was only mediocre overall. Problem areas were the Sanctuary, Lotus Pool, arcade room, library, International Café, the naturalist, and the food. I also have minor ... Read More
The journey through the Alaska panhandle was great. The ship experience was only mediocre overall. Problem areas were the Sanctuary, Lotus Pool, arcade room, library, International Café, the naturalist, and the food. I also have minor complaints about the outdoor movie experience and stargazing.
The Sanctuary cost $40/day and charged $3 to get drinks delivered, which already have gratuity added. Thus, it was no surprise that it was always empty. It proved to be a wasted use of space on top of the ship. It also doesn’t help that the Sanctuary is located by the ship’s horn, which blasted loudly every couple minutes when it was foggy (presumably as a safety precaution to avoid ship collisions).
The Lotus was roped off for 6 of the 7 days. Apparently it was going to be repainted, but that never happened despite decent weather for 5 of the 7 days. It’s a shame, but at least I did enjoy the pool briefly on the first day before we departed when it was open.
The arcade room was apparently closed in 2012, but it still appears on the ship’s directory. The space is closed off and needs to be transformed into something useful. I suggest a lounge or recreational area. It’s understandable that video games were prone to breaking, so perhaps foosball or billiard tables could work. Anything is better than an empty closed-off room.
The library offered few board games, and a fairly limited selection of books. The chess set had 2 or 3 missing pieces. I recommend keeping extra game pieces on the ship, with a sign in the library notifying passengers how they can obtain those extra pieces if a game is missing any. Extra game pieces should be easy for the ship to afford and store somewhere.
The International Café’s sandwiches and desserts needed improvement. I suggest offering a variety of croissants (particularly almond and chocolate) and a few more options for deli meat sandwiches.
The naturalist, who spoke for at least an hour, was informative at first but became a nuisance as time continued to drag. I was on a ship that was sending many ounces worth of paper advertisements to every cabin every day. The clear purpose of the cruise is relaxation and recreation, not environmental activism. I support some educational and environmentally active events, but it should not be carried throughout many of the ship’s speakers for an hour. For a talk that long, keep it contained to a section of the ship. If it’s going to be broadcast to the whole ship, keep it to 20 minutes.
The dining food was pretty good. But the in-room dining, buffet, and casual food was very lacking. For in-room dining, I want to see muffins and donuts as options for breakfast. I want to see pretzels, chips, and candy as options for the rest of the day. The rice at the buffet needs improvement. Peas and carrots are not great additions. Try a rice pilaf recipe that incorporates oil/butter and onions. The buffet could also use more finger food – pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks, and Buffalo wings. The hamburger grill nearby would do well with chicken tenders added to the menu, as well as better portions of sauerkraut with the hot dogs.
The outdoor movie experience was a good idea. I appreciated that popcorn bags were offered, even granting that the popcorn wasn’t hot. But the blanket situation was a mess. I was supposed to sign my name to take a red blanket, but no one was there when the movie ended to check that I returned my blanket.
Finally, apparently there was a stargazing event. But it was not advertised and didn’t appear on my calendar, so I missed the event. In addition, I am wondering how good the event could’ve been, given there is a lot of light coming off the top of the ship that interferes with a lot of stars. It would be nice if at least a certain section of the top of the ship could be dimmed at night for at least a short time each night to view the stars better. Read Less