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.
Fun but there was no wildlife, they did provide rain gear which was a bonus
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.
The cabin was spacious for a cruise and the balcony had spectacular views. The steward was amazing! He was friendly, new my name, and the name of everyone I was traveling with in the first couple hours we were on board.
It was fun but we did not see any wild life and did not get close to the Mendenhall GlacierView All 15 Canoeing Reviews
Very cold, but got to see bald eagle, salmon, and even a bear! Amazing views!View All 19 Kayaking Reviews
Amazing views from the bow and observation lounge
The show was a bit corny but funView All 333 Lumberjack Show Reviews
The stories behind the Totems were interesting and entertainingView All 114 Totem Bight State Park Reviews