We are frequent cruisers. We got together with two other couples on this cruise - just to enjoy a new ship. We had all been to all the ports so we figured we would just enjoy each other's company. When we booked the cruise, it said that the ship would depart Vancouver at 3:30 PM. So we made our airfare and other travel arrangements accordingly. When we checked in on line, our boarding time came up as 7PM. They had accepted our 6:30 dinner reservations so we were confused. After several calls to our travel agent and NCL, we were told that the 7PM must have been a mistake and that we should go to the pier and would probably be on board after 12 noon. Two weeks before the cruise we get a letter from NCL that stated the ship would not be docked until 7PM and that we should not go to the pier before then. Our travel arrangements could not be altered so we got up at 4AM and travelled getting into Vancouver around 9:45. We purchased transportation to the pier and had to walk around Vancouver all day after turning in our luggage. We were tired so went to the pier at 4:00. No where to sit. The ship was in the harbor since 2:30 AM but couldn't get to the pier because 3 other ships were there. Boarding was terrible. Meals were cold and long waits - didn't go to Seattle as planned. Whole experience was terrible.
Restaurants were crowded and food came to the table slow and not hot. The dining rooms are decorated beautifully - very contemporary. French, Italian and Steak house food was excellent, but of course there was a hot food issue everywhere. As far as entertainment, the Jersey Boys show was wonderful, but on that size ship shows had to be done more than 1 night (each was two nights) so we didn't have a show to go to every night. One show, Prohibition, was a surcharge of $39 - never heard of that. The race track and laser tag on the top deck along with the slides were for the younger guest so we didn't frequent. At cocktail time before dinner, most of the bars we went to service was so poor that we went to the bar to get our own drinks. - Also never had that happen. We didn't use any shore excursions as they were VERY pricy and we had already been to these ports. Please note - they took away Seattle too.
Cabins are spacious and modern. Bathrooms and shower are beautiful - two sinks. Nicely furnished.
Loved Granville Island.
Buchart Gardens is beautiful. Make sure you have enough time to spend there. Also the downtown area is very nice.
They cancelled Seattle and they couldn't get service for customs. This would have been in violation of the Jones act. We left Vancouver and were supposed to go to Seattle where we would have cleared immigration and customs. However, the next day we would have gone back to Canada and then to San Francisco where we would have had to clear immigration and customs again. That was too short a period. Whoever did the itinerary made a BIG mistake.
Pier 39 is a lot of fun. Just walking the Embarcadero is good exercise and enjoyable. Alcatraz is a very worthwhile adventure. We didn't do this on this trip because we had seen Alcatraz in the past.
Didn't do anything in this port - Just took transportation to the airport and waited there for a flight home.