We were supposed to go to Alaska in April on the Norwegian Joy. They cancelled our trip and offered us the same rate on another cruise. On our re-booked trip on the Norwegian Bliss, they cancelled our third port at Ketchikan, saying it was ... Read More
We were supposed to go to Alaska in April on the Norwegian Joy. They cancelled our trip and offered us the same rate on another cruise. On our re-booked trip on the Norwegian Bliss, they cancelled our third port at Ketchikan, saying it was poor weather. This meant that we were at sea for 72 hours straight including the day in Glacier Bay. It was my first cruise, so I had a lot to learn, but in talking to others who have cruised to Alaska on other cruise lines, I'm not sure Norwegian was a good choice. If we were to do it over, I would have spent more on the shore excursions, maybe less on the room. I would also look for a one-way itinerary to minimize time at sea. I used a prescription sea sick patch, but had a number of bad moments and by the last two days at Sea in the 72 hours stretch, they were taping "sea sickness" bags to the stairs for people to take.
Our room and cabin steward were top notch. Plenty of room to put items in the bathroom. In the room, there was room in the closet, on shelves in the closet and in small cupboards near fridge. Our steward helped us tape down an extension cord and got me distilled water for my CPAP machine. He was on top of everything. Loved having the balcony.
Entertainment/Things to Do:
The big shows were great- Jersey Boys, the musical Six – so glad we booked in advance. The Beatles band and the Comedy show were seen in the big auditorium, We couldn’t get tickets until we were on board and the small “club” venues sold out super fast. The music in the Atrium and Observation Lounge were good, but the entertainer, Beau Tahana, in the District Brew house showed incredible musicality. Beau Tahana was listed as providing comedy and music in the District Brew house. He was so much more… he played music of Elton John, Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Orbison and many more. He would morph from one song or style to another seamlessly. He might be singing Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets, and segue into the Lion King Circle of Life song by Elton John, and come back to the original. Or a song might go from pop to sounding like Johnny Cash was now signing the same song. He incorporated funny comments like the “Washy-Washy” we heard from the staff to sanitize our hands as we entered the Garden Café Buffet. When asked where he was from, we got a slice of life on Deck 4 as he talked about living at the waterline.
We liked the printed daily event info, it helped us figure out what/where events were.
Rangers talk during Glacier Bay, and ranger station set up on Observation deck was great. The observation deck itself was wonderful.
I was very disappointed that we did not go to one of our three ports - Ketchikan. I think if the ship was smaller we might have gone - the weather did not seem that bad. I thought Norwegian would add some fun activities to make up for it, very little was added.
The times in port were too short, and poorly timed. You could pick one shore excursion and maybe have a little more time to walk around the town. No info provided about what to do in town, but we could go to a shore excursion talk and a separate shopping planning talk before each port. It seemed very commercial, geared to making money for NCL, not to benefit the NCL customers.
Going to Victoria cost $15 each way to go into town, and we were arriving at 8pm and leaving at midnight. Heard they are required to stop at an international location before returning to US.
Elevator wait was consistently long – 2 banks of elevators, about 14 levels used by 4000 passengers, many with mobility issues, so stairs were not a good option.
Every "fun" activity was preceded by an annoying shore excursions sales pitch. Nothing was ever provided about what to do in a port unless it was going to result in money for Norwegian. We thought there would be talks on Alaska nature and history and port information, heard that Princess does this in Alaska. Other than the ranger's talk on Glacier Bay (which was great), there was nothing like that.
We had "free" but horribly inconvenient airfare. Flight out of SFO at 7 am on a Sunday meant no opportunity to take public transportation there, adding a significant cost with either private airport transportation or a hotel the night before. Same on the return - booked us on a 9:50 am flight which meant we had to carry all bags off the ship at 7am.
Dinner at specialty French restaurant, Le Bistro, was fabulous! Crab "cake" to start, sauteed prawns for my main and the chocolate fondue dessert for two was incredible.
The server in La Cucina (specialty restaurant) spilled olive oil on my one good blouse I planned to wear to our other specialty dinners. The manager offered to launder it, but I did not trust sending a delicate top to the ship's laundry. She comped us with a free bottle of wine. My steak at Cagney's (specialty restaurant), was ordered medium and was so under cooked it looked like sushi. I should have sent it back, but then all of the timing with my husband's meal would be off.
Seating in the garden cafe (main buffet) was a joke, we circled and circled to find seats each time. We finally figured out there was a mini buffet in the morning at Jimmy Buffet's. We ate in several regular restaurants (The Local, Taste, the Manhattan Room). Overall, food was usually presented beautifully (especially desserts), but the taste wasn't that great. At the buffet, the Indian dishes were great, and I had a Chinese peppercorn stir fry that was wonderful. You could stand in line for a custom omelette. They served both self-serve soft serve ice cream and scooped ice cream with toppings. You could request cookies at the dessert areas.
Could not get coffee at bars unless it had alcohol in it. Wish there had been more places to get coffee and soft drinks other than the garden cafe and observation lounge.
We had the drinks package as part of our "free at sea" options and my husband loved trying different drinks. We also had a limited amount of free Wi-Fi in our package. I forgot to log out once and burned up all my minutes and they reinstated them for me after looking up my account.. It took a while to be able to track our overall spending and charges, but found we could see them on both TV in our cabin on the NCL app on our phone, which was also a way to look up entertainment. Read Less