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Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. The Lido restaurant offered a large choice for breakfast. I really enjoyed the Filipino bread for breakfast which was more like a donut with a buttery spread served beside the Miso soup pot. I had one each morning. The Vista dining lounge was also a big hit. The food was tasty, presented beautifully, and the service was friendly and professional. We were always certain to receive well-timed service - if we ordered baked potatoes, the sour cream and fixings were always offered right away, if you ordered lobster, the waiter was right there to help shell it for you, etc. Exceptional food service, variety, and presentation. The entertainment also exceeded our expectations. There was a comedian and a magician on board and both were very entertaining. The singers/dancers were typical of a cruise ship. The sets and costumes were colourful, well-maintained, and artistic. We really enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Band. The band played all kinds of music despite the name (which would have kept us away except we walked by one evening and was drawn to the music and energy of the room). It was extremely entertaining - the brass of the saxophone and horn really made the room come alive. The singers were incredible and had an amazing repertoire of several kinds of music from the oldies to Bruno Mars. The female sang a Whitney Houston classic and everyone had to stand it was so amazing and the male singer could sing the pages of a dictionary and be entertaining. You could always get snacks at the café but unfortunately if you just wanted a regular coffee or tea you didn't need to pay extra or you still had to go up to the Lido. Not much is offered during the day to do though when at sea and we would have liked to see much more activities or interesting venues offered (although you could go to a presentation on how to use your binoculars!) We did not take part in any of the ship's excursions but did take shuttles offered on land. In Juneau we took the shuttle to Mendenhaul Glacier which is highly recommended. We also walked to the waterfalls which is only an easy 30 min walk. Make sure you take the walk off of the parking lot by the creek where you may be lucky enough to see bear. We saw a mom and her 2 cubs. We enjoyed a beer at the Red Dog Saloon. Worth a stop as you feel like you are back in the Gold Rush era with costumed servers, sawdust on the floor, and lively, era music from a gentleman on a keyboard. In Skagway we hiked up to the lower Dewey lake. This is a beautiful hike up a mountain path to a mountain lake. It is about 1 1/2 hour return and is well-marked and groomed. It offers a fairly strenuous hike through a pretty forest and offers a viewpoint over the ships docked and a pretty lake. You can also walk around the lake but we felt that would take quite a long time. After lunch we took a Smart bus to a historical cemetery. The walk from the bus stop was still over a mile but the cemetery is worth a look. There is a board with stories of some of the people buried there and is very interesting. There is a very short walk to a waterfall which is beautiful. We walked back to the ship from the cemetery which took about an hour. In Ketchikan we walked up to the fish hatchery. At this time it was the pink salmon that were running. Turns out there were no bears or eagles as they find this type of salmon to be unappetizing. Bears and eagles are salmon snobs - who knew? This was disappointing but we did see lots of fish and seals by Creek Street. The hatchery didn't offer a lot but the girl working there was a fountain of knowledge and readily shared her insights and passion for the fish. We finished by walking back to town along Creek Street. We stopped at the Fish House for chowder and a beer sampler. We saw lots of dolphins on the cruise, some otters, and we did see some whales but unfortunately the whales weren't very close and really just saw the blowholes or a flash of black. I think if we went earlier in the month we would have seen more wildlife. We unfortunately had to turn back in Glacier Bay due to a medical emergency so we didn't get to go see the glaciers. Will definitely have to return there is so much we didn't get to see. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a last minute trip and I felt lucky to get on the cruise. Our balcony room seemed smaller than ones we had in the past but the location , deck 9, aft, was perfect. We were disappointed in Icy Point Strait and were missing ... Read More
This was a last minute trip and I felt lucky to get on the cruise. Our balcony room seemed smaller than ones we had in the past but the location , deck 9, aft, was perfect. We were disappointed in Icy Point Strait and were missing Juneau, The route was different too so there was less scenery on the way. We had been on the Pearl previously and it was marvelous. The crew was fresh and seemed exceptional. The bartenders, Elaine and Will knew our names right off and were extremely attentive. The food was also good. We ate in 3 speciality restaurants, Sheehan’s pub and the Great Outdoors cafe for breakfast. All was great. One thing that was a little odd was that even though we had the drink card, we had to pay for coffee when we had, say a Bailey’s Irish Cream and Coffee. We heard a lot of people complain about that. We did not do any shore excursions as we had been to Alaska multiple times. We did enjoy the shopping in Skagway and had lunch at the Cape Fox Lodge in Ketchikan. I would go again but make sure the route was the Inside Passage and that it went to Juneau. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Alaska was our destination of choice. The cruise line offered an array of activities and site enjoyable to our party or 17. We loved the staff, the ship's director Vincent, and the drinks, of course. We enjoyed the entertainment and the ... Read More
Alaska was our destination of choice. The cruise line offered an array of activities and site enjoyable to our party or 17. We loved the staff, the ship's director Vincent, and the drinks, of course. We enjoyed the entertainment and the food. Our family and friends were just as thrilled as us. We enjoyed the sites, however, we would have enjoyed more time at Ketchikan and perhaps another port to add to the itinerary. We played games and engaged in public activities to include giant connect four, dancing, and dodgeball with complete strangers. I met people from all over the globe who share a common interest, a genuine love for Alaska. Posted are pictures of both the ship and a few of the excursions we were able to enjoy while spending time in Alaska. I encourage all people to take a cruise at some point in their life, whether it is to Alaska or a warmer destination. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done ... Read More
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done something slightly different: change in port Skagway to Sitka, change in glacier, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm/Endicott. Embarkation took about an hour, there were only 2 ships departing on the 23rd (Westerdam and Noordam). We have experienced longer. They had more lines moving and sorted out passengers better than on previous trips. Luggage was in the cabin when we boarded. Disembarkation was quick. Since our last trip HAL has changed the way things are done. We chose our timing to go with the pick up time for our bus back to the island. We waited in the cabin until our color was called and then headed for the gangway. We took all of our luggage with us this time. Customs took about 30 seconds as I had the form fully completed. The ship: Well maintained. The crew: Excellent. We are still trying to figure out how the cabin stewart knows we are out, we have only caught him in the cabin once and that was because we came back for something. The entertainment and activities: Very good, this trip we had a comedian and a magician. The HAL dance crew were fun to watch. We love to play trivia (music and other), there were several times available and we hit most of them. The ECO talks that we got to were informative, wish they could have done them more than once on the trip as we found there were conflicts with other activities. Captain Mark did a talk about his duties and how the ship runs, very interesting. It was also his birthday that day so the entire audience sang to him, then the cruise director and some of the officers presented him with a gift. His slide show of the bridge was hijacked by the CD and pictures of Capt Mark were inserted into the show. Lots of fun and he took it well. He is very well liked by the crew. Dining: The main diningroom was excellent, we chose anytime dining so we didn't sit at the same table twice so didn't get the same waiters. I booked each morning once we had looked at the daily activities and the menu and was successful in getting a table for 2 each time. The Lido was a bit of a disappointment. The menu was varied, lots of choices and the servers were very nice and helpful. The downfall was the temperature of the food. We found the entrees lukewarm at best. So to get hot food we ordered made to order omelettes or other made or order items for breakfast. Lunches we did the same. The Dive-In was excellent as usual. Love the dive-in sauce for the fries. Really like the taco bar. Ports and excursions: Juneau was wet, only rainy day tho; not bad for the end of September. We did the Alaska Brewing Company tour on our own, always a good time. Went to the library to get the wifi to check email. Skagway was fairly warm. We did the HAL excursion to Dredge Town. It is a little cheesy but the PUPPIES were fun; they made the excursion worth while. Tracy Arm/Endicott. We couldn't get as close to the glacier as we wanted as there was a lot of ice in the way; some of the ice was as large as a semi trailer. We were still able to see the glacier with binos. The trip in and out was beautiful. First time we had seen Endicott. Ketchikan. It WASN'T raining!! :). We didn't get to go up the funicular as it was down for repairs. We did go on a non-HAL excursion just a quick city highlight with a trip out to the fish spawning grounds. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall the Cruise was excellent value and my partner realised a life time ambition to visit Alaska. Although we did see a number of whales in their natural habitat, that was our main goal, this was generally at a distance, particularly ... Read More
Overall the Cruise was excellent value and my partner realised a life time ambition to visit Alaska. Although we did see a number of whales in their natural habitat, that was our main goal, this was generally at a distance, particularly on the whale watching excursion, and overall we were very disappointed. Food and service overall was excellent, staff very friendly and attentive. Although the entertainment staff were very enthusiastic and helpful the actual entertainment, with the exception of Nicola Ward, who was fabulous, was very average at best. We booked a whale watching and zip lining excursion with the cruise but we're very disappointed with them. The communication from the excursion staff was poor and offered very little value add. The excursion providers were very helpful but we were appalled to find out we could have booked the excursions directly at the port for approximately 50% less than NCL. There is no way NCL can justify the extortionate price they charged for the excursion and we would recommend to anyone going forward to book direct. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We really enjoyed our cruise to Alaska and the ship was awesome. It was recently refurbished so everything was nice and clean. I would recommend the ship to anyone wanting to see parts of Alaska without being on a huge ship. I really ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise to Alaska and the ship was awesome. It was recently refurbished so everything was nice and clean. I would recommend the ship to anyone wanting to see parts of Alaska without being on a huge ship. I really wanted to go on the Bliss but was glad to be on the Pearl due to price being cheaper. The pro's far outweigh the cons on this ship. The major things that bothered us was that the pull out sofa bed in the cabin was very hard and difficult to sleep on. It needs a topper of some kind to make it an easy sleeping choice when you are sharing a room with others. Secondly the internet was horrible! I paid over 30 dollars for internet to be able to check in on our return flights and the service was so slow. We had dial up service in the 80's that was faster and better than the ship internet. The employees and staff of the ship was excellent except one female employee in the O'Sheehans dining that was not very friendly and very slow! She was the greater and seater so your first impression of the place was with her and she failed miserably. They should move her to the kitchen or something. We thought maybe she was just having a bad day but went in there 3 other times and she was this same sulky and slow demeanor each time. The drinks in the cabin fridges is a terrible idea. If I want drinks in there, I should go get them myself and put them in there from the gift store. We noticed that someone had opened a bottle of the whiskey and replaced it with water so reported it immediately and they didn't charge us with it but had be not noticed it, I am sure we would have been charged that 9.00 or more for the bottle. The area where the coffee pot is located is very hard to plug in because the cord is too short on the coffee pot. There should be something else done to make that a little better and easier to use. With 4 people in a room, they only gave us 2 coffee cups. We brought 2 more coffee cups to the room from the dining area and they removed them from our room when they cleaned our room and did not replace them. All in all these are very small things and all in all the cruise was great. We were on the 9th deck in room 9534. I would highly recommend this location to anyone as it was a beautiful view of everything and was the port side for 2 of the stops. The balcony was terrific. Highly recommend it to anyone taking a cruise to Alaska. It was the best place to view everything and it was right there were we were sleeping. We never closed the patio door, even while we were sleeping. The sound of the waves and the beautiful scenery 24 hours a day was awesome. We didn't miss a minute of it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I gave it a poor review because originally we were to go to Juneau and instead went to Icy Strait. Then the last stop was to be Victoria 6pm to 12 pm. There was a medical emergency on the boat and our stay in Victoria was from 10:45 to ... Read More
I gave it a poor review because originally we were to go to Juneau and instead went to Icy Strait. Then the last stop was to be Victoria 6pm to 12 pm. There was a medical emergency on the boat and our stay in Victoria was from 10:45 to 12:15. By the time you get off and then back on you have no time. Also it was so late everything was closed. The entertainment was very poor on the trip also. When we think if cruise entertainment we think Vegas. It was nothing of Vegas quality. Alaska was absolutely amazing. The staff was very friendly and did a wonderful job. Our room was spacious enough and comfortable. The food was good. We only ate at the complimentary restaurants. We did do excursions and they were great. Like I said before, Alaska is amazing. The views are breathtaking. We just thought for the amount we pay for a cruise it should be amazing all around. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise for our 20th anniversary trip and were quite excited to go to Alaska. However, when all was said and done, it was an average experience at best. The best part of the experience was the room - we selected a mid-ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 20th anniversary trip and were quite excited to go to Alaska. However, when all was said and done, it was an average experience at best. The best part of the experience was the room - we selected a mid-ship mini suite. It was large and had many storage options. The only criticism there would be that the closet doors wouldn't fully open because they kept banging into the bed. Our cabin steward, Raymond, was fantastic. He was so personable and friendly and wanted to know more about us as a couple. Our cruise was his last cruise before he got his 2 months off to go home to the Philippines to visit his family. The shore excursions were very pricey, though we'd cruised about 5 times prior to this trip, so we knew they would be expensive, but the cost doesn't seem to match the quality of the tours. Two of our excursions were great, the other one was okay. Full disclosure, my husband and I are not joiners, tending to be on the introverted side, and we were bored most of the time. I wasn't into playing very overpriced bingo (we played once and it was $50 for 3 games! Yikes!) You can only play so much trivia, especially when drunk people keep shouting out the answers to the questions. We had the unlimited beverage package, which we got through a promotion and was nice, but you have to pay 20% gratuity on each drink. Yes, it only adds up to about $2 a drink, but it'd be nice if free meant free - not that you had to pay a mandatory gratuity on a free package. If the workers are so underpaid that there are required gratuities, perhaps consider paying them more. We had a couple really good bartenders, but the majority were kinda cranky - not sure if they were close to the end of their contracts, but they seemed to need a break. They work 7 days a week for 8 months straight...perhaps if I had that schedule, I'd be cranky too. In Icy Strait Point, it was cold and rainy, which I actually like...it was the only weather that felt like we were really in Alaska. We did a whale watching and wilderness hike (very short hike - only about 1000 yards), and saw humpback whales, Alaskan brown bears, and bald eagles. This was a great tour, and I highly recommend it, though again, very expensive. We were in port from 1pm - 7pm, which was plenty of time. The port itself is very small, with not much to do. It was such an ideal amount of time that we actually left about 20 minutes early, as everyone was back on board. In Skagway, we did the Mushers Camp and Dog Sled adventure or something like that. It was fantastic if you have a love for dogs like my husband and I do. We drove about 25 minutes away from port in a fairly nice shuttle bus. When we got there, we walked just a bit into the camp area and got into a large jeep-type vehicle for the trek up the mountain. When we got close, you could hear the dogs barking and barking - they were so excited to see us! We went on a little sled ride, where the dogs pulled us on a summer cart (with wheels), which was great fun. When we were done with that, back on the jeep-thing and back down the mountain where we got a very informative session about sled dogs and the Iditarod race. Then - the best part... we got to hold some sled dog puppies!! They were so sweet and happy to see us. When we were done with the tour, we went to a local restaurant and had lunch, then shopped a bunch, then went back to the ship. We were back on the ship at 2ish. We were in port from 7am - 7pm, which in all honesty was too long. There just isn't enough to do there, unless you book two excursions - and I'm too cheap for that. Ketchican was by far our favorite port. It was a quaint little town, and we wish we had had more time to explore that port. We did a wildlife and all you can eat crab tour. It was okay. Basically, you get put on a boat (after just getting off a boat), taken into an inlet of the ocean and they pull up a crab pot so you can see the crab and hold it, if you want. It was fine, but underwhelming. When we got back to the shop, we were excited to get to the crab feast. Only problem, they stuff about 110 people into a room that holds about 50. You have to sit with folks you don't know if you didn't go as a group, which was annoying. Also, the all you can eat crab is literally only crab. No potatoes, corn, or anything - just crab. And, not Alaska King Crab, which I thought it was going to be, but Dungeness crab which was still good. I can only eat one flavor for so long though - so that was too much just crab - oh, and a piece of cheesecake at the end. We were in port from 7am - 1pm, which just wasn't long enough. If I hadn't done a little shopping before the excursion - Sockeye Sam's will hold your purchases for when you get back from your excursion! - we wouldn't have had any time at all to look around. The general consensus from people I heard was the same - this port needs more time. Glacier Bay was beautiful! There isn't a whole lot to be said for the day, since you're at sea some more, but it was beautiful country when the fog lifts - it's magical. We were able to go into the bay and see Johns Hopkins glacier up close and personal, and the captain did a couple circles, so you could see it no matter where you were on the ship. I would say that this day seemed long - we had the rangers on board until right around 1pm, so we could have been on our way to Ketchican sooner, I think. Would like to say how awesome Victoria, BC was, but I wasn't able to get off the ship. There was a medical emergency on board early that morning, which caused us to be almost 5 hours late into port. When you don't get there until 6pm anyway, getting in at almost 11pm, when you have to be up early to disembark seemed silly. They let folks off the ship at around 11:15pm, and they had to be back on board at 12:15am. Seriously - 1 hour??!! That seemed stupid to me. There were no excursions, obviously, so we just stayed on the ship. This was a huge disappointment to me. I would never complain about it being because of a medical emergency, and actually, the lifeboat that took the person off the ship was directly beneath our room, so we watched the whole procedure - it was fascinating. I hope the person is ok and that they made it. However, I wish we hadn't even bothered to stop in Victoria - an hour just seemed silly. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We made the mistake of Carnival twice (first and last) then we took a cruise on the Spirit. We were amazed and had the greatest experience. Next cruise ~ Alaska. Only obvious we would try the Norwegian experience once again, aboard the ... Read More
We made the mistake of Carnival twice (first and last) then we took a cruise on the Spirit. We were amazed and had the greatest experience. Next cruise ~ Alaska. Only obvious we would try the Norwegian experience once again, aboard the Pearl. From the moment we entered until we left, the ship, the staff and the ports made for one dynamic vacation. There was a medical emergency that hindered our duration in Victoria but the way that the Captain and crew handled the situation made me feel even more confident that passengers come first. What a team they had aboard the ship. The care they gave to the individual and the response to the guests thereafter made me realize the professional, personal care they give to each and every one. The Captain could not apologize enough for the inconvenience he did not create nor anyone else on the ship could be accountable. So many were so reassured that if something should ever happen, Norwegian would take care of you, good or bad! The food, the ports, the activities and the consideration make this ship, Captain and crew one experience that should not be missed! THANK YOU NORWEGIAN - SEE YOU NEXT TRIP! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Anniversary and Birthday trip-we both turned fifty and it is our thirtieth wedding Anniversary. We had decided to treat ourselves to something special a we have always Wanted to see Alaska and see something “once in a ... Read More
Anniversary and Birthday trip-we both turned fifty and it is our thirtieth wedding Anniversary. We had decided to treat ourselves to something special a we have always Wanted to see Alaska and see something “once in a lifetime”. Alaska Which was absolutely fabulous, provided that experience. We were blessed to see pods of whales migranting south from the ship as we sat on our baloncy. Arriving in Ketchikan, the beauty of God’s was everywhere. Our excursion was the Eagles,Lighthouses and Totems, we saw several eagles and could spot them on our own after a brief lesson from the captain. Next stop was Tracey Arms Fjord, we took the tender boat into the Fjord and it was simply beautiful that I do not possess the vocabulary to do it justice-but a word of advice is to spend the money and do it. Juneau at the Hangar, we had the best crab legs ever. Unfortunately, our Captain was unable to port the ship in Victoria due to “high winds” but the two ships that came in following ours were able to dock so we missed that stop. The only complaint is the the food was substandard compared to previous cruises. The quick service pizza and burgers were just lacking. The burgers would be defeated in a head to head competition with a rec league concession stand. Service by the dining room were polite and knowledge of the diner menu but slow. The dining room food was average at best. Entertainment-we enjoyed the outdoor movies. We attended one comedy performance in the theater, it was a fun time. Weather was perfect Ship was clean and decor was up to date. Go and enjoy yourself!! Read Less

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