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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
After 70 cruises I may be a little biased. However after a week on the Legend I feel I am more then qualified to say the food and service was way below par for any cruise ship. Our servers were extremely nice but lacked in the skills ... Read More
After 70 cruises I may be a little biased. However after a week on the Legend I feel I am more then qualified to say the food and service was way below par for any cruise ship. Our servers were extremely nice but lacked in the skills required to maintain a table of 7, much less four more tables. Our food was always cold and usually served all at once, yes starters, salads, soups and mains all at the same time. Table was one crowded mess. Our room steward came by once a day at his convenience and usually didn't do more then exchange towels. Our cabin 6227 was like a 25 cent vibrating bed, constant vibrations 24/7. Whole ship was showing wear, paint peeling and a lot of rust on balconies. Ports were as they were the last 5 times we have been there, crowded but new to our grandsons who enjoyed off ship excursions in each port. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We just got off the Legend yesterday. Wanted to write a quick review before I forget details. We had an aft balcony on Deck 5. Our room was nice, but the balcony was sooty and you could not see through the glass on the balcony at all. ... Read More
We just got off the Legend yesterday. Wanted to write a quick review before I forget details. We had an aft balcony on Deck 5. Our room was nice, but the balcony was sooty and you could not see through the glass on the balcony at all. That being said, we did spend time on the balcony and would just stand and watch the ocean... If I had to do over again, I would not have gotten an aft balcony on this ship. Reason being is the soot... guessing there is not that problem on the sides? One other thing to mention, the trip was rough. I am not and have never been prone to seasickness but had to take something the first night. The waters were rougher than I remembered from our last Alaska venture. There were times when you could not walk a straight line (and no it wasn't alcohol! )We thoroughly enjoyed the ship itself and the layout of the ship. As far as the itinerary, I was disappointed in Tracy Arm Fjord - The ship itself did not get down to see any glaciers, you only saw the glacier if you took the excursion off the ship. Last Alaska cruise we took, we went to Glacier Bay and saw the glacier from the ship (one of the reasons I really wanted an aft balcony) but not on this cruise. We did take the excursion to the glacier and it was awesome. We did the White Summit Train in Skagway and while the reviews on this are high, I would say we could have skipped it and saved the money. Really didn't see anything we hadn't already seen or extraordinary. In Juneau we did the Whale Watch and Rainforest excursion - the whale watching was awesome and the rainforest excursion took us on a trail to the Mendenhall Glacier - Well worth the price! We took the Crab Boat excursion in Ketchikan and it was okay - better than staying on the boat - the guys on the boat had crabbing stories and showed how the things worked on the boat. They let people hold crabs if you wanted to. The best part was the area where they chum the water for eagles and there is a hoard of eagles that was magnificent (highlight of the tour for me.) Back to the ship - Buffet got really old by day 5! There is not a lot of variety - only in one area where they change it out each night - the deli was unimpressive and I didn't want to eat Guys burgers everyday! MDR takes way too long and we could only get late dining - so we only went one night for the whole cruise. We did the steakhouse for two nights and the Chef's table for one night. All in All a great time and I would sail the Carnival Legend again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because it was a ten day round trip itinerary that left and returned to Vancouver. It didn't' go to Glacier Bay, but the times in port were good and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit extra ports. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a ten day round trip itinerary that left and returned to Vancouver. It didn't' go to Glacier Bay, but the times in port were good and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit extra ports. We were also hoping to get some dancing in because we'd found the dance floor on our previous cruise was far too small. The cruise more than met our expectations. We had some lovely table mates in the main dining room and the food was excellent. We usually ate in the Lido for lunch and tea and very much enjoyed the food there as well. It had some great views . The tea in the Queen's Ballroom was also fantastic. The ports were great. We did a private tour with Wild Wolf Tours in Ketchikan and very much enjoyed it. In Juno, we took the shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier and were glad we'd chosen the tour that gave us the most time there. In Skagway, we took the train to Bennett Lake and the bus back. It was a great experience, but next time I might go for a smaller tour so that we'd have more flexibility. In Icy Strait, I went whale watching while my husband stayed on shore and watched the whales breaching behind our boat. Luckily we some some on the boat as well as eagles, sea otters, and sea lions. Our Captain and crew showed their true colours at the Hubbard Glacier because they were able to manouver us very close to the glacier. We had a great view of the glacier calving and the small boat tour didn't get that much closer to the glacier (maybe 200 metres) than we did. The naturalist on board was very impressed with how close we got. In Sitka, we walked around the port by ourselves and found it very easy to do and I particularly enjoyed the walk in the Natural Park with the huge trees. In Vancouver, we took the ships tour to Butchart Gardens, but I found it very rushed and would have preferred longer in the gardens. A private excursion that would let you take as long as you want would have been nicer. There were a few dance groups on this cruise, so there were some high level dancers. This lead to a packed and intimidating dance floor in the Queen's Ballroom, so we often went up to the yacht club and danced there because it was less intimidating. However, I was able to hold my own during the line dance lessons and we eventually got up the nerve to dance on the floor in the Queen's Ball room and we did fine. We also enjoyed the shows in the theatre. They had a new one every night and we always managed to find a seat if we left our cabin about 15 minutes before the show started. My biggest disappointment with the cruise was the fact that they cancelled the line dance and ball room lessons on the last sea day because the dance classes are the favourite part of my sea days. But all in all, it was an excellent cruise. They staff seemed happy and pleasant and we really enjoyed our waiters in the Britannia and the dance couple that taught the lessons. We plan to go on another Cunard cruse again because it seems to do the three things we like to do on a cruise very well (dance, read a book (their library was fantastic), and promenade around the deck). We were the only ship disembarking in Vancouver and I found the process fairly well organized. We waited in the theatre until they called our deck and then proceeded to the gangway where I picked up the ulu knife that had been confiscated after I went shopping in Ketchikan. They showed us to the deck five luggage area and we picked up our bags and got into the taxi lineup. It took us about an hour to get through that lineup, but it was an organized process where we snaked through the lineup corral until we were given a taxi stand to stand at. Anyone needing a handicapped vehicle was sent through a different lineup and I noticed that they did allow someone who I suspect had issues standing jump the taxi lineup corral and go straight to the assigned taxi station just before ours. Our disembark time was 9:10 and I think we got off the ship at 9:25 and we made it to the airport by 11. If a lot of ships were disembarking at once, I would probably consider the ships shuttle instead of the taxi even though it was more expensive. I our case, I knew we'd have time to do the taxi lineup because our flight wasn't due to leave until 1pm. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband, my sister, her husband and I were on Norwegian Alaska Land/Sea Tour. We had an awesome time. Norwegian did a great job with the itinerary. The tour guide was very nice and knowledgeable. The Norwegian Jewel was a great ship. We ... Read More
My husband, my sister, her husband and I were on Norwegian Alaska Land/Sea Tour. We had an awesome time. Norwegian did a great job with the itinerary. The tour guide was very nice and knowledgeable. The Norwegian Jewel was a great ship. We had an inside cabin 9569 and it was perfect for us since there is 21 hours of daylight in June. There was plenty of room for the two of us to get around the side of the bed and to use the desk at the bottom of the bed. There is plenty of storage for luggage once we unpacked. The lighting was easy to find and the temperature in the room worked great. The bathroom shower was a nice size. But the way the toilet is placed it is hard to have enough leg room if you are very tall. Our room steward was very friendly and kept the room cleaned. We received towel animals each night which was a nice gesture. We saw the comedian twice on the cruise. He was better the first time. The second time he did an adult version which wasn't as good as his family show. We also saw the show where they sang 70-80 songs. That was a little corny and the singers were not that good. We didn't get to any of the other shows. The food in the buffet was always good and plenty to choose from. We did eat often at O'Sheeans and always enjoyed what we got. The service was always fast and friendly. The only specialty restaurant we ate at was Moderno. The service there was very good and the food was very good. I tried their specialty drink and did not like that at all. We had the land portion of our trip first then got the ship in Seward and finished in Vancouver. Embankment and Disembarkation went very smoothly with no issues. We loved everything about this cruise. We did a Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour in Juneau. We did see some whales, seals and Eagles. In Seward we did the Ghosts & Good Time Girls Walking Tour and it was very informative and lots of fun. In Ketchican we did the All you can eat Crab Feast and Lumberjack show. This was a great meal and the Lumberjack show was very entertaining. We would definitely cruise with Norwegian again. Since this was our second time on the Jewel we would probably pick another ship next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Alaska is one of the prettiest places I have ever cruised but not the best cruise. The cabin was great. Had an ocean view room, saw the interior rooms and had friends with a balcony. I think our room was laid out the best. Lots of room for ... Read More
Alaska is one of the prettiest places I have ever cruised but not the best cruise. The cabin was great. Had an ocean view room, saw the interior rooms and had friends with a balcony. I think our room was laid out the best. Lots of room for hanging and shelves. The bed was very uncomfortable and I heard the same from others. Service in the main dining room was very good but was disappointed in the service in the specialty dining rooms. Anyone can cook a steak or Italian meal so the service should have been exceptional. Casino dealers were very friendly and helpful. Players club wasn’t even worth signing up for. Very little to do onboard. Bring playing cards because the card room was busy and the ship ran out of playing cards. I did use the treadmills in the fitness center. There were plenty of them so there was no wait. Ports were great. Definitely do the White Pass railroad trip and the whale watching in Hoonah was great. Going into Glacier Bay was really exciting and it was great that the boat did a full turn in the bay so everyone could see. I would do the cruise again, just not on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My first cruise was a success. Alaska was breathtaking. NCL Bliss wasn’t a disappointment. Loved being in the solo cabin. Mandara Spa took me over budget but it was well worth it. I travel a lot but this was the first time I actually ... Read More
My first cruise was a success. Alaska was breathtaking. NCL Bliss wasn’t a disappointment. Loved being in the solo cabin. Mandara Spa took me over budget but it was well worth it. I travel a lot but this was the first time I actually let go and relaxed during a vacation. So I took great advantage of the week spa, enjoying every room in the spa. The food was up to par though I was disappointed with the food at the Teppanyaki restaurant. It was the worse hibachi food I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t get the drink package because there was no way I would be able to drink half of the daily allowance. I was pleased to see that the provided flavor water which wasn’t too bad considering. Onboard shows - Levity Comedy, Jersey Boys, Havana and Prohibition. Prohibition and Levity Comedy were my favorite show. All the staff were warm and welcoming. They were extremely accommodating and would spoke so highly of their duties onboard the ship as well as their lives back home. As far as the different ports - Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria BC. Ketchikan was my favorite. Collectively, it’s amazing how simple folks live. Everyone was so laid back and easy going. Nothing like life in Atlanta. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to try NCL’s new ship The Bliss for awhile. Last minute decision to go after seeing it in Seattle. Beautiful ship. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy at each port we went to. Very well organized for excursions. ... Read More
We wanted to try NCL’s new ship The Bliss for awhile. Last minute decision to go after seeing it in Seattle. Beautiful ship. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy at each port we went to. Very well organized for excursions. We stayed in a Haven Suite on the 10th floor. Room 10706 It had a separate living and dining area. King size pillow top bed was amazing! Huge bathroom with tub and shower. Double sinks. Vanity table and seat. So much closet and drawer space that my husband and I could jot fill it all up. We had 2 large and 2 small suitcases. Multiple backpacks. Hiking gear and 5 or 6 coats. Still had a closet, shelves and 2 or 3 large drawers left open in bedroom. Multiple drawers in living room. Multiple specialty restaurants to choose from. We had the choice of 3 included with our dining plan. The Teppanyaki grill was our favorite. Awesome steak and shrimp. The chef was so entertaining with jokes and tricks. We have been on 5 other ships and their’s does not even compare to this one. Would recommend Cagney’s Steakhouse. The Italian one was just ok. They also have a BBQ restaurant that was really good and has a country band that plays nightly. Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita Ville was great. It cost extra. Chocolate shop and gelato shop was awesome. They also cost extra. Starbucks on board as well. Several shows to choose from. Highly recommend The Jersey Boys and Havana. These are free. There is one called Prohibition that cost $35.00 each but you get multiple alcoholic beverages included throughout the show. Definitely an adult show. Great entertainers. Several comedy shows that were good. One show that covers the Beatles. We didn’t go to this one but heard it was great. The ship has go carts, laser tag, putt putt golf and ping pong. I did the go carts. What a blast. They go 35 mph which felt like a 100. The track is 2 levels. Employees running it were amazing and very concerned that everyone has a safe and fun experience. This was free but make sure you book when you get in the ship. We lucked up and were able to get in the very last day of the cruise. They do run out of reservations for this, laser tag and some of the shows very fast. Spa was beautiful. Even has a snow room. Massage was just ok but I heard other people really bragging on their’s. Would definitely plan a cruise just to be in this ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We've been on quite a few cruises over the years mostly in the Caribbean so we figured Alaska has been on our list and began planning last year to do it. We're out of Atlanta so we planned an extra day to see Seattle. The locals ... Read More
We've been on quite a few cruises over the years mostly in the Caribbean so we figured Alaska has been on our list and began planning last year to do it. We're out of Atlanta so we planned an extra day to see Seattle. The locals folks us not to say this but..it is a really cool city. We walked 12.5 miles Saturday before and saw most everything...had the best Copper River Salmon for lunch...So back to the cruise, all of our research we knew that when Alaska cruise season opens up, prices and people counts do as well. Our Delta flight was over booked as were all flights they had to and from Seattle to ATL. We found a Holiday Inn Express in City Center, a nice $90 a night room for $300 during the season. After our marathon day of walking around we ended up at the Space Needle for sunset and a glass of wine. After that we hit McDonalds for a quick bite before bed, 2 Big Macs and 2 Medium fries was $19... We took advantage of some of the packages NCL was giving away, Ultimate Beverage and Specialty Dinners. As soon as we could book reservations we mapped out our excursion days and filled in the dining schedule. We'll get into the excursion pieces a bit later. So, we've been on the Getaway and Escape, they are all pretty similar. The Bliss layout takes it to a new level with the Observation Lounge, spectacular views with quite a bit of space. As we encountered some choppy seas heading out the patches and Dramamine was in abundance. People were passed out all over the Lounge sleeping. The service levels throughout by the NCL staffers was excellent, always a smile and "hello" from everyone. As mentioned in another review on the same cruise the cabin steward was pretty invisible. Ours did not show until Thursday and was slow in cleaning the room, most of the time waited until we left for dinner then took care of it..The ship was fully booked which at times made it crowded. There were large groups of international families that had a tendency to be very loud, particularly in the Garden Cafe and on excursions took the word "selfie" to a new level with little or no regard to the other passengers, 9 or 10 on the Rude meter, but like I mentioned it was crowded. Our guess on the availability of some of the activities was weather related. Many of the younger folks braved the pool and water slides. The pool water was heated but the air and breeze were cold so there weren't many places to go. Our stateroom was OK and held all of our long underwear, coats, and boots we could pack and keep us under 50lbs..The Entertainment was just ok, we had reservations for Havana, the dancers were good, one of the big guys wiped out and almost landed in the front row. Jersey Boys was really good, maybe a bit too harsh on the language but they got their point across.The Beatles show was awesome, they pulled together some very talented and visually compelling musicians. They were all spot on with the sound and mannerisms...We could not get into Prohibition it was available when we went on the 8 hr tour in Juneau be we weren't then it was booked solid..The dining was excellent, the Garden Cafe is one of my favorites as well as the Local (O'Sheehans) with Prime Rib first night out and then offered again later. We did La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, and Ocean Blue service and food was all good, the only negative was not being able to eat out side, too cold and sometimes rainy. Overall, we really had no expectations having never been through the drill before but if we do this one again we;ll be back on the Bliss, have a better idea of clothes to pack, and probably aim for later in June or early July to schedule it but we really enjoyed this one. We can get into the excursion later on but Glacier Bay paid for the trip.. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Wanting an Alaskan cruise for a family with two six year olds, I chose the Norwegian Bliss sailing from Seattle on June 9, 2019. This was my first cruise on a mega ship and my third cruise to Alaska. The experience was more like living ... Read More
Wanting an Alaskan cruise for a family with two six year olds, I chose the Norwegian Bliss sailing from Seattle on June 9, 2019. This was my first cruise on a mega ship and my third cruise to Alaska. The experience was more like living in a budget hotel attached to a shopping mall. There were plenty of activities but most were impossible to book and we had difficulty making restaurant reservations for a party of six. The staff were efficient but indifferent. The itinerary was strange because of the short stays that were either early morning or late in the day except for Skagway. Though no one has confirmed it, I suspect that the sheer number of cruise ships in these ports in the summer has led to assigned time slots preventing several thousand people at a time from overwhelming them. There were high spots and some good shore excursions. The day cruising Glacier Bay with park rangers aboard narrating was exceptional. We saw whales and glaciers and enjoyed lots of excellent Alaska seafood. There were plenty of opportunities for quality family time. Alaska is still magnificent. All in all, though, the shipboard experience did not enhance this trip and I would opt for a smaller ship with less whistles and bells were I to do it again. The Ship: The ship itself is newer and very large. It has a two story atrium that has a huge screen and seating on the first floor and a restaurant with bar seating around the edge of the atrium above. It is used for movies, trivia, music and any number of other activities. We found this to be an unpleasant area and avoided it whenever possible. It was very loud and folding chairs were added to the stationary seating for large events. Unfortunately, there are only two elevator banks so that elevators were difficult to get on more often than not and were usually crowded. There were parts of the ship we never saw until debarkation, so take a ship tour if you opt for this ship. We thought the exterior walkway on deck eight with outdoor seating for the many restaurants and bars was a real plus - just not good enough weather to use it most of the time. Our Cabin: Our cabin is discussed at length below. It was below average in size and storage and required us to move furniture to access the closet and obtain drawer space. The nightstands are literally six inches wide. Dining: As a party of six, we opted for free dining whenever possible and made reservations in advance when we could. Wait times did not seem long, food was fine, and service was excellent in both Manhattan and Taste dining rooms. We ate one night in the Mexican specialty restaurant and the bill for the six of us was over $150, excluding drinks. Most of the bars are in high traffic areas and the only one we really liked was in the Explorer's Lounge. The buffet was spacious with lots of seating and a variety of choices and the food was good quality. We had room service continental breakfast daily and it was always on time and exactly what we ordered. Entertainment and Activities: We largely avoided the group activities because of the crowds and cost. Our six year old boy absolutely loved Kids Club and we could barely drag him away. Both children loved the water slides and pool and used them often. The Glacier Bay cruise was exceptionally good with narration by a ranger who boarded the ship. We were grateful for a balcony cabin for that. Service: Service was efficient but largely indifferent. This is the first cruise ever for me (of 30+) where the stateroom attendant never introduced herself. According to the TV display, her name was "Larry." She did as good a job as she could but it is hard to tuck in flat sheets when the space you have to work in is less than six inches. Ports and Shore Excursions: Were it not for the ports and shore excursions, I would have rated this experience as below average. We did whale watching and a glacier experience in Juneau, the Lumberjack show and crab feast in Ketchikan and spent a day wandering in Skagway. Alaska is stunning. There were plenty of things for kids to do and good dining and shopping. Of my three Alaska cruises, I would rate this one the lowest because of the shipboard experience and limited time in ports. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked this cruise 3 days before the trip because prices were too good. The ship is very large with 3600 passengers but fairly new and everything worked nicely. Surprisingly no lines for buffets in Horizon food court. Few times ... Read More
We booked this cruise 3 days before the trip because prices were too good. The ship is very large with 3600 passengers but fairly new and everything worked nicely. Surprisingly no lines for buffets in Horizon food court. Few times it was hard to find the table. For made to order eggs they take the order and give you slip of paper which you give to waiter. This cuts down lines. Wait staff was very helpful and brought tea/water/lemonade quickly to the table. Our cabin was C108, CARIB deck balcony. We enjoyed the scenery but didn't stay in the balcony too long (due to cold). I would say we used balcony much less than warmer climates. Also best views are found on top decks for glaciers, the ship actually makes multiple 360 degree turns to give everyone a good view. I would seriously consider not purchasing balcony on Alaska cruise. You don't see much wildlife anyways. Better save the money for excursions. The bedding on this ship was the best, very comfortable. Our room steward took good care of us. Unlike Carnival on Princess they still do room cleanup twice a day. This cabin location was ideal for Princess lounge and Symphony dining room (mid ship). Due to airline mistake we didn't get luggage till 3rd day on the cruise and Princess customer service was very good to us. They provided us free express laundry and tuxedo rental for me. Ports Ketchikan - It was raining so not much to do. We took the multiple stop tour from the pier and it was OK, didn't see any wildlife or Salmons (probably not the season yet). Juneau - Took the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching tour from the pier. It was good and we got to see whales few times. Skagway - Nice shopping town. Took the White Pass Yukon junction train ride. It was very scenic and nice but I am not sure it's worth the $138 they charge per person. Glacier Bay and College Fjord - Both are very scenic, wish it was sunny but we enjoyed it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is very clean and beautiful. We booked 10 cabins. Overall we had a great time but our biggest complaint was the constant wrong information from the Princess employees. An example: a passenger in the buffet wanted a to go cups of ... Read More
The ship is very clean and beautiful. We booked 10 cabins. Overall we had a great time but our biggest complaint was the constant wrong information from the Princess employees. An example: a passenger in the buffet wanted a to go cups of coffee. The staff told her there’s a cafe on deck 5. That’s true but how about the cafe that’s located right in the buffet. Almost every cabin had 1 person with a medallion issue. Most were resolved with a short phone call prior to the cruise. I contacted Princess at least 7 times to resolve my issue. Everyone was very nice and said they would notified Tech support, most issues are resolved in a day and don’t worry when you get to the port everything will work. WRONG!!! No one ever called me back, I never received my medallion at home, my group was told they could not wait for me at the port, when I got my medallion at the port it did not work (delayed at security, I could not get in my cabin, I could not get a drink!!!). Result: I used an access card until the evening on day 3 of the cruise when they delivered a working medallion. They notified us to try and get to the port from 10am to noon to help with the boarding proses. We did unfortunately no one outside the port is ready for passengers. We dragged our luggage though a maze of ramps, elevator, garage, etc so we could sit and wait for the ship to allow passengers. Our friends got there at noon and walked right on with no wait and no maze to follow. Everyone, I mean everyone, was very very nice but Princess is definitely lacking in efficiency. Last, I tried to contact Princess after our cruise to tell them about our experience directly, they informed my that they don’t take complaints over the phone and it has to be in writing. I don’t like writing reviews, but if you want it in writing...., Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My hubby and I have wanted to do this cruisetour for 25 years and I have always dreamed of seeing Alaska! The Ports were all perfect as were the College of the Fjords and Glacier National Park! We booked excursions with Princess and they ... Read More
My hubby and I have wanted to do this cruisetour for 25 years and I have always dreamed of seeing Alaska! The Ports were all perfect as were the College of the Fjords and Glacier National Park! We booked excursions with Princess and they were all perfect with excellent guides and naturalists! We loved the room (a balcony which we paid a lot for), the coffee at the Coffee Shop (which we paid for), and the amount of time in Alaska(which we also paid for)! Do NOT go for the food! The food was overcooked with no flavor! The food was obviously frozen and made in advance of the cruise. Unseasoned and very bland! For example, in one of the main dining rooms, I ordered crab quiche as an appetizer. It was served barely warm and had real crab as well as fake crab in it! (Fake crab is that stuff you buy that is make out of Pollak fish and is reshaped to look like a crab leg but is this awful red color!). We were in Alaska so we thought that they might have at least used 100% crab! The COFFEE was terrible unless you purchased it from the coffee shop and was made by a Barista! $3 to $7 for a good cup of coffee! We prepurchased the coffee cards prior to the cruise because I had read that Princess uses a coffee concentrate instead of brewing coffee!!!!!!!!!! The Pizzeria did serve wonderful pizza but how much pizza do you really want to eat on a $7-10,000 cruise for 2? Please be very careful when using the buffet! Many people used the Purell and handwashing stations but there were twice as many who did not use good hand hygiene! Make your reservations for dinner prior to boarding the ship! We wanted to use our shipboard credit to pay for our specialty dinners but once we were on board, we were told that all the reservations were full for the steak house, Italian restaurant, and Crab Shack! Maybe that is where they hide the good food? We certainly didn't get any! We were so looking forward to all of the Naturalists and Alaska speakers that we would be able to hear from! We saw every presentation on Alaska that we could but there were 1,000 times more opportunities to listen to EFFY DIAMOND personnel! Yes you could actually purchase diamonds on this trip and LOTS OF THEM! I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO ALASKA AND DIDN'T BRING MY DIAMOND MONEY WITH ME!!!!! I was truly disappointed with all of the above but not with Alaska! It was beautiful, majestic, and so awe inspiring! We had incredible moments seeing Bald Eagles in their nests and hunting! We loved the Glaciers and learning how the land was formed! We loved Denali National Park and the caribou, moose, eagles, and wildlife that we saw! We loved sitting on our balcony and watching whales in the distance surface and slap their tales! Go to Alaska and breath in every second and just admire how wonderful this place is! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Booked this cruise months ago, and was very apprehensive about it when the reviews started being posted. Embarkation: took taxi from SeaTac to pier 66. Was a 20 minute ride. Walked into terminal at 11am, and was shocked! NO one ... Read More
Booked this cruise months ago, and was very apprehensive about it when the reviews started being posted. Embarkation: took taxi from SeaTac to pier 66. Was a 20 minute ride. Walked into terminal at 11am, and was shocked! NO one except employees were there. Walked up to check in got Platinum/Concierge cards and were on ship at 11:15am. Cabin: Booked balcony thru CAS got a great deal so bid on an upgrade to concierge balcony. Was BIG, clean, walk in closet. Table 2 chairs, small couch, king size bed. Nice size balcony 2 chairs :small table, one lounger. NEVER saw concierge, Called to have him change dinner reservation from 8:30 to 6:30 , he said Q was totally booked. Went down to restaurant and talked to hostess, She said we could reserve for anytime the night we wanted to eat there. Had a lot of open tables. You could go to La Cucina for breakfast and lunch. Menus were same every day and very limited. IMHO concierge cabin was not worth the extra money we paid for it. Dining: Only ate at specialty restaurants for dinner. Q was delicious, ate there 2 nights.. Le Bistro was very good also. La Cucina was good, Best bread! Cagney's was good. steaks were cooked perfect. We had great service in all restaurants. Ate breakfast in buffet, typical buffet food. Always found a place to sit right away. Entertainment; We like to play trivia, so that was fun. Had to get there early to get a seat, as all games were in small atrium. Wanted to play Deal or No deal, but it was packed upstairs by the Local and downstairs in Atrium. Had some fun games too. Newlyweds, etc. Saw the Beatles tribute band in the Cavern. The guy who was Paul was sick, so were only 3 of them, but were very good. Had to get there very early. was SRO, and packed to the walls. Very small venue for such a popular band. Also saw Albatross Air in the Cavern. They were very good, Also played in atrium. Went to Footloose in theater, walked out. Wasn't our type of show. saw Elements, was good effects, a few magic tricks included. Casino: Didn't have our favorite slot machines, finally found a couple we liked. Smoking was in an enclosed area. seemed very small. way too many penny machines. Ports: rained very hard in Juneau and Ketchikan. Hadn't planned any excursions, walked around a very short while, in raincoats and with umbrellas. Icy Strait Point went on whale watching tour booked thru NCL, Saw a bunch of humpbacks, was a great excursion Disembarkation: off ship at 7am, in a cab at 7:10 at Sea tac at 7:30am.. Boarded our flight at 9:45am. Liked the Joy, had a great time. All the venues seemed to be compressed and small to me. Even the safe in our cabin seemed smaller. Like the Bliss, Breakaway, and even the older small Pearl better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Since my husband and I have never taken a vacation in 10 years together, and since we are Puget Sound residents, we decided an Alaska cruise would be a relaxing and easy getaway. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We parked at the ... Read More
Since my husband and I have never taken a vacation in 10 years together, and since we are Puget Sound residents, we decided an Alaska cruise would be a relaxing and easy getaway. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We parked at the SeattleCruisePark lot within the confines of the Armory. Took about 10 minutes to shuttle to the terminal. Once we got our bags inside, time from check in to onboard was about 20 minutes. If we hadn't have been able to use the Neptune Suite check in line, it probably would have been significantly longer; the regular check in was a verrrrryyy long line. Once on board we were impressed with the ship. The furnishings are tasteful and the art is interesting. There are many little nooks you can sit at and not be bothered. The ship was at full capacity but it never felt crowded other than at the Lido during peak times. Our room was 7132, an aft corner Neptune. We booked specifically for the balcony which we used extensively. We were very happy with the room and our steward, Aan, was great. We used the Neptune Lounge a few times and the concierge, Inge, managed to track down my husband's suit bag when it went missing from his returned dry cleaning. I found there to be a lack of daytime activites that weren't centered on shopping. Too many jewelry auctions, shopping presentations, shopping guides, ect. There was also a lack of any kind of live music or anything; there was an empty piano in the Ocean Bar where we went frequently. Why not have someone there playing? The shops on the 3rd deck also were lackluster. When an "end of cruise sale" is supposedly happening, why is none of the merchandise actually on sale? We got a couples deep tissue massage, which was worth every penny. No hard upsell for the products afterwards. Nighttime entertainment was good. The BB King band was awesome. We stayed for the whole 3 hour set. The comedian was funny as well. I was a little disappointed with the BBC Planet Earth "Alaska" show. I was under the impression that the Lincoln Center Stage performers would actually play live with the Planet Earth footage. It was just a screen with the music. It was good, just not what I had anticipated. Food was excellent. Cannot say enough good things about the Pinnacle Grill. Lido food surprisingly good, however VERY busy there. Loved having breakfast in the PG where it was nice and quiet. We only ate in the MDR once and found that the food was good and so was the service, however, it was absolute chaos in there and WAY too noisy from the engines. Dive In makes a great burger but the wait is too long, sometimes it was over 20 minutes. The pizza by the aft pool is some of the best I've had. We did not do any shore excursions. Lots of them were "walking through a rainforest" type things, which, since we live in Washington, we see all the time. We opted to do self guided walking tours: In Juneau we saw the Governor's Mansion and St. Nicholas' Orthodox Church. We were given a tour by the clergyman inside. In Sitka we went to the Russian Bishop's House and took the upstairs tour, which was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. We also went to St. Michael's church and saw the New Archangel dancers. Tip: eat at "Agave". Very good food. In Ketchikan we just walked around. Kinda tourist trapy. We were there on a rare sunny day. Got some coffee. Didn't even get off the ship in Victoria. Disembarking was very easy. When they called our group we were off the ship in about 5 minutes. No one was blocking any hallways or elevators so it was quick and painless. All in all, there were just some minor things that certainly didn't make our trip any less special and we would consider HAL again for our next cruise. We had a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The beautiful NCL Joy exceeded my past 72 cruise ships and the service was excellent. The staff was courteous, helpful and friendly. From the price to all the feee offers and the new ship I would highly recommend the Joy. The ship decor, ... Read More
The beautiful NCL Joy exceeded my past 72 cruise ships and the service was excellent. The staff was courteous, helpful and friendly. From the price to all the feee offers and the new ship I would highly recommend the Joy. The ship decor, was spectacular. You will not disappointed. Every staff member went beyond their duties for type passengers. No wait or lines from embarkation, shore excursions, restaurants to getting office the ship. The most organized of any of my past 72 cruises. The balcony size compares to a suite size in some ships. The Footloose & Beatles show was fantastic. The food was excellent with so many dining options. The Taste and Manhattsm dining room, staff and food was yummy. So nice to cruise freestyle and not drag dress clothes on your vacation. The ship casual is an enjoyable way to cruise. The Garden Cafe has many choices and was huge. This ship is well designed and awesome, The free at sea offers are so helpful to save and enjoy your cruise. The staff could not do enough for you. I have never had such great service on any ship. It was a Joy to be on the Joy. So much to enjoy fur all ages, My husband enjoyed the go karts at sea. The American diner offered complimentary breakfast and the 60’s style diner with good food. Can’t wait for my next NCL cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
DH and I took 16 of our closest friends and family on the Norwegian Joy last week for our wedding ceremony. The itinerary was Seattle - Ketchikan - Juneau - Icy Strait Point - Victoria - Seattle. We had an absolutely wonderful time. ... Read More
DH and I took 16 of our closest friends and family on the Norwegian Joy last week for our wedding ceremony. The itinerary was Seattle - Ketchikan - Juneau - Icy Strait Point - Victoria - Seattle. We had an absolutely wonderful time. I'll preface this with the fact that I'm a first time cruiser, so I admittedly have nothing to compare it to. However, I felt that the ship was quite spectacular, the food options plentiful, and the staff really excellent. Food and Beverages: For specialty dining, we ate at Cagney's for our wedding reception dinner. Many in our group (quite a few of whom are foodies) said that their steaks were some of the best they have ever had. The portions at Q were enormous, and the meal was delicious. I think if one were from a state that had world renowned BBQ it might be old-hat, but for this Canadian it was fabulous. Between the group, we had most of the sides on offer and all were really well done. The meal at Ocean Blue was exceptional (the jumbo shrimp cocktail is a must, worth the upcharge imo), and the service was very attentive. I did not eat at La Cucina, but those in our group who did raved about it. Teppanyaki was amazing. The steak was absolutely mouth watering, and our chef was very entertaining. The Garden Cafe buffet is certainly a busy spot (if you're the kind of person that can eat at off peak times, you should consider that for the buffet), and at times it was difficult to find a table. However, as others have mentioned, it's very easy to grab a plate and head down to the Observation Lounge one floor down to find a spot to eat. Much more relaxing. The food is all adequate and satisfying, and what one would expect from buffet fare. And yes, there was a seafood buffet on night two, although we did not get to attend because we were at Cagney's. I thought the food in the main dining rooms was all very well prepared, and it was not difficult to get a seat without a reservation, even in peak times. We bought the Premium Plus Drinks Package, and for us it was good value (top shelf liquors, higher end wines, specialty beers as District Brew House, etc). However, if you are to get one of these packages, do keep an eye on your on board account. I had to have them reverse charges three times, and that was even with purchases where we had told our server we had the PPB. This requires a trip to guest services each time, which is a bit of an inconvenience to be sure. We found out later that the computer in the District Brew House wasn't registering PPB purchases properly, and I wonder if that wasn't the case with a couple of other places too. Also, not all servers were well versed in what was covered under the package, so it is worth ensuring each time that they know what should be keyed in. I'm not sure if I had the option that I would do it again, I'd probably stick with the regular drinks package. Entertainment I really enjoyed the production of Footloose. It was certainly not the apocalyptic marathon that it had previously been described as... The leads had amazing voices, and there was an enthusiastic cast. I ran into more than a few people who went to see it multiple times. I didn't get to Elements, so cannot offer an opinion there. My brother and I went to karaoke with Alvin a couple of times at the Cavern Club, always packed, and always a supportive crowd! Although I will note there was a fair bit of turnover, so not difficult to get a seat if one waited at the bar fro a bit. Our group did line dancing at Q one night, which was a bit of fun, and the country band was very good. We steered clear from the Atrium activities because that area can be quite loud and busy, not really our scene. But there is so much going on it is easy to find something outside of the Atrium, or a quiet spot if needed! I was impressed with the varied range of activities, though. Really something for everyone, from vegetable carving to trivia, to dancing lessons. Amenities The go-karts were closed for the majority of the week due to the rain and high winds. We did get on at the end of the week and it was a lot of fun. Do be aware to budget at least an hour for this activity. The "heats" are usually running a bit behind, and it take a while to get everyone kitted out. Don't do what we did and wedge it next to a dinner reservation that we were then worried about missing... Laser tag was similarly closed for a lot of the time, as it's open air. We managed to get in on the last night, and while it is only 10 mins, that was enough for us! I imagine smaller, more energetic children would find it not enough time and want to have several goes on it. It was fun for all ages, though, and they do make safety a priority so little ones are (hopefully) not being bowled over by larger kids (or adults living out a Stormship Troopers fantasy). I did not go to the Galaxy Pavilion, but DH took his niece. He described it as a place designed to separate parents from their money at an alarming pace. The Virtual Reality games are $10 a go, so it adds up quickly. The other games are about $1.60 a play. Our group really enjoyed the hot tub at Spice H20. The first evening it was a little lukewarm, but they had turned up the temperature by the following day. I appreciated that the staff enforced the "adults-only" rule, not because I dislike children, but because it meant that the hot tub was never packed, whereas the hot tubs in the main swimming area got quite busy with young ones. Port Stops Ketchikan is a fabulous, quirky, frontier town. I highly recommend strolling down Creek Street. I would say that if you are looking for Alaska souvenirs, this is the place to get them (for this itinerary). Sam McGees had by far the best and most interesting selection (that wasn't just a sea of similar looking tchotchkes). The Totem Pole museum is worth a visit, and if you're interested in doing some hiking, I recommend grabbing a cab and asking to go to the head of the Rainbird Trail at the University of Alaska parking lot. It's a 45 min hike of moderate intensity with a couple of stunning vistas, and huge old growth trees. Well worth it. You can arrange for a cab to come and grab you at the other end. About $8 each way and a 5 minute drive. The Joy's itinerary has it in Juneau from 7:00am - 12:30pm or so. Most things in Juneau don't open before 9:00am or 10:00am, be forewarned. There is a free shuttle into town, or you can walk it in about 20 mins. If you want to skip the excursion costs, it is possible to arrange a taxi cab to the Mendenhall Glacier to walk around on your own (more economical if you're in a group). There's a great interpretive centre and a number of short walking trails. There is a $17 per person park fee to get in which will be collected by your taxi driver, so don't think it's a scam. The afternoon that we left Juneau, the ship traveled up Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier. This is absolutely a time to be near a window. We were in the observation deck for much of the afternoon because of the high winds and the rain (along with most of the ship), but the visibility was still good and the views were spectacular. There were also a number of small icebergs and a few whale sightings. Once we were near the glacier, we went out onto the "Waterfront" on Deck 8 to get a better look. There was staff there with bonebroth and ginger to warm us up, which was a lovely touch! The captain turned the ship around 360 degrees so everyone could take in the views. It was really something. It's also no small task for a ship the size of the Joy to navigate those waters, the crew really should be commended. Icy Strait Point is a privately owned cruise ship port owned and operated by a native Alaskan owned company. There is a small museum about the history of the area interspersed between the gift shops on the main boardwalk, which I found quite informative, along with the exhibits of fish canning machinery. Most of the excursions at this port will sell out beforehand because there is no competition, and the costs will be at a premium. It is home to the longest zipline in the world, which looked terrifying to me, but may be other's cup of tea. Bring your binoculars because there are many bald eagles flying around. There is a nice beach walk along the shore for those who want a leisurely pace. The Jewel is docked here at the same time, albeit with tenders, which means that it gets VERY busy. We disembarked first thing in the morning and had a nice, leisurely walk around, with a reasonable amount of space between bodies, but by the time we were headed back to the ship at around noon, it was unbearably busy. There is a shuttle into Hoonah, a town about 1.5 miles away, for $5 per person. Unfortunately, when we were there they were only running two school buses back and forth, which was not enough to keep up with demand, and there was at least an hour wait. If you're mobile, it's worth either walking into Hoonah (along a very nice trail), or renting a bike for $15 for the hour and heading in that way. Both DH and I have lived in Victoria before, so we chose that day to stay on the ship. High tea at the Empress Hotel is always lovely, and Victoria is home to some great craft breweries near the downtown, if that's your thing. There are also many whale watching tours about. As others have mentioned, when in Victoria the rule is only one bar per deck can be open, so be aware of that for planning purposes if you're planning to stay on the ship. Overall, I really enjoyed our time on the Joy. The front line staff were all more than eager to assist, and bend over backwards to be friendly and kind. The ship was kept very clean, the food was amazing and plentiful (too plentiful, says my jeans...), there were definitely parts of the ship that were busier than others, but always a place to get a drink, and to get away from the crowds if necessary. And the views of the Alaskan landscape could not be beat. A fabulous cruise to be sure! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked a Haven suite on the Norwegian Joy to Alaska. The itinerary for this ship is awesome we loved all the ports! The ship is clean and staff very friendly! The Haven dining room has the same menu every night so make sure you visit ... Read More
We booked a Haven suite on the Norwegian Joy to Alaska. The itinerary for this ship is awesome we loved all the ports! The ship is clean and staff very friendly! The Haven dining room has the same menu every night so make sure you visit the specialty restaurants on the ship too! Although we loved this ship, she is not made for an Alaskan adventure as the activities are mostly geared to outside and the temp during the cruise was 50 degrees. The pool slides were shut down and no one used the pool on the main part of the ship. One good thing about being in the Haven is that you have your own indoor heated pool and 3 other hot tubs! There are 3 Haven suite rooms TO BE AWARE AND NOT BOOK! Rooms 15734, 15736 and 15738 are all BELOW the Garden Cafe outside seating area. The noise starts at 4:00 am when the staff starts to clean and set up the area. It continues from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm when the guests are pulling out and pushing in their chairs the dragging noise is so loud in the cabins it's like nails on a coffin. The Haven concierge was made aware of this on the 1st day of the cruise and did nothing. She admitted it was a problem and would speak to the restaurant. Day 2 I went to Gues services Manager who also said she would look in to the situation. Day 3 I had to threaten the restaurant Maitre D that I would physically move the chairs and tables myself if nothing was done. Day 4 I went to the Cruise ship manager and the area was finally roped off so no one could use the area. Mind you now 4 nights of HELL in the Haven of no sleep and hearing scraping chairs all day. I know I am on a cruise and I don't expect 100% quiet but I am 100% positive that that area should not be above any kind of room on the ship. Yes I cried a lot, complained a lot and was sad, frustrated that the staff would not do anything about it for those 4 days. I am hoping this helps someone not to make the same mistake. The area that was roped off for the 3 suites is in full use again. Just so you don't think I am a complainer, the guests in the other 2 rooms joined in my complaints to management. We even had the manager in our rooms listening to the noise and agreed we were justified in our complaints. We were offered so graciously an $800 shipboard credit and $1000 credit for a future booking made within 24 months. NOT HAPPY. I just hope the next cruisers don't have to ever suffer like we did in this room. Overall we enjoyed our cruise/trip sans the location of the room! We would do this cruise again. I definitely recommend the helicopter tour with sled dogs, whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier. There is a cool hiking place called Yakutania point in Skagway which is about 10 minutes walking distance from the ship and it's free and absolutely gorgeous! Take lots of pictures and stay off social media!!! Enjoy all the beautiful scenery and everything Alaska has to offer! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We just got back from the Vancouver to Seward Cruise and were disappointed in the cruise and the land portion of the tour. The food was just okay--portions were small for seafood selections and shrimp dishes were rubbery. The cakes ... Read More
We just got back from the Vancouver to Seward Cruise and were disappointed in the cruise and the land portion of the tour. The food was just okay--portions were small for seafood selections and shrimp dishes were rubbery. The cakes were dry and tasteless. We were constantly harassed by hawkers selling specialty dining. One day they were offering a Crab Dinner for 55% off but had increased the initial price before the discount so it wasn't a deal at all. WiFi sucked--had a hard time getting app to sync with WiFi and then every time we closed the app, the WiFi would knock us off. When trying to communicate with our group, messages weren't delivered in real time and were often missed. Concierge Class rooms were tiny and there's no plug for a hair dryer in the bathroom. Excursion times were changed without a notification about the change. This caused an overlap of two of our excursions which had to be changed at the last minute. Had I not looked at my calendar for that day on the app, I would not have known about the time change and would have missed an excursion without the chance to cancel and get reimbursed. FYI--excursions are more expensive if you don't book them ahead of time. Land Tour: BE AWARE that you will sit on a bus for nearly 8 hours going to Denali. Bathroom was disgusting on the bus without running water--only hand sanitizer was available. No meals are included in the land portion. Excursions are available once you get to Denali, but when you get there at 5 pm, there's not much time to do anything. We just didn't feel like we got our money's worth out of this cruise. Celebrity touts themselves as the Premier Cruise Line so we expected a lot and came away disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Pros: Almost everything Cons: (listed below...) luggage handling, and a couple of technical issues. We were EXTREMELY happy with our recent Alaska cruise on Radiance of the seas. We did the 3 day Denali land tour before the ... Read More
Pros: Almost everything Cons: (listed below...) luggage handling, and a couple of technical issues. We were EXTREMELY happy with our recent Alaska cruise on Radiance of the seas. We did the 3 day Denali land tour before the cruise, which was absolutely amazing with the scenery. The hotels picked for us were amazing and very comfortable. Our tour guide was very friendly, informative, and helpful. Once we got on the ship, things went overal very well, too. We had an ocean view cabin, and a week before the cruise, we were emailed a chance to bid for a balcony. We made the minimum bid, and even with an extremely low chance of getting it, we got the upgrade. The balcony was amazing, especially when we cruised past Hubbard Glacier. The cabin was small but had enough room for both of us. Jaya, our steward was amazing. Anything we needed, he was there. The ship itself is a midsize ship. It doesn't have an ice skating rink, or a wave pool, but it doesn't need it. it has plenty of activities that kept us busy for the week. The trivia was fun, the shows were good, lots of places to get something to drink, and my friend had a blast in the casino. We only ate in the buffet one time for breakfast, and the food was hot, tasty, and varied. Most breakfasts, we had in the dining room, and while fewer choices than the buffet, obviously, the choices of omlettes, fruit, breakfast meats, eggs, was plenty to choose from. For dinner, we purchased the premium restaraunt pass. We ate at Chops and Giovanni's multiple times, Samba Grill Once, and Izumi once. My friend was having mobility issues, so Izumi actually delivered room service for us. All the food was amazing. Ports were great. We did a whale watching dinner cruise in Juneau, and a sled dog ride on wheels in Skagway. I did the duck boat in ketchikan, but wasn't really that impressed with it. it did a quick lap of the city, and didn't go very far once it got into the water. Shopping and dining in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan are good. if you get a chance, take the brothel tour in Skagway. it's a fun tour that doesn't glamorize it, but tells the history. On the whale watch in Juneau, our excursion was the last one back, and my friend and I were literally the last two people on the ship. They closed the doors behind us. That's why we ALWAYS purchase the shore excursions from the ship. The few cons we had were in the way they handled things. The first day, they accidentally sent my main bag with all my clothes to the cabin we had BEFORE we got the upgrade, and I didn't get it until almost 11:30 at night. Debarkation day, we had an excursion in vanciouver. They didn't give us luggage tags for the excursion group, and we almost missed the bus. The bus was getting ready to leave, and our luggage still hadn't come out. Somehow, it came out at the last minute, and we made the bus by 1 minute, having to dash through the terminal, my friend being pushed in a wheelchair. As for technichal, my friend's internet worked fine, but mine didn't work at all over half the time. They tied to reconfigure my device, and it worked a BIT better, but overall not good. I had purchased the streaming speed internet, but they gave only the surfing speed internet. The other problem was our TV set. Sometimes our remote wouldn't work at all, other times the TV would just come back on at random. They said they fixed the problem, but they never did. We just ended up turning down the volume and using the TV as a night light. Other than the minor mis-steps, the cruise was awesome!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I was looking for a cruise out of San Francisco and Princess fit the bill. The cruise terminal is easy to reach and Princess was well organized to board 3,000 passengers. My advice to cruisers is to exit your vehicle (taxi, Uber or ... Read More
I was looking for a cruise out of San Francisco and Princess fit the bill. The cruise terminal is easy to reach and Princess was well organized to board 3,000 passengers. My advice to cruisers is to exit your vehicle (taxi, Uber or personal transportation) at the curb before turning in and wheel your luggage to the ship's porters the last one hundred yards. The cab ride from the hotel to the cruise port took 10 minutes--the ride from the cruise port's turn-in to the ship took another 20 minutes because it takes time to off-load luggage and once you are in the queue you're stuck. Disembarkation was also well organized. I purchased the airport transfer service and got there in record time. The ship was very nice with subdued decor (my previous cruises were on Carnival--enough said.) I stayed in a balcony cabin, towards the front of the ship. The elevators were slow and sometimes very crowded with scooters, wheelchairs, and a generally older crowd that can't negotiate the stairs too well, but most people took it in stride. The excursions I took were interesting but too short for the money. A naturalist gave talks about Alaska's wildlife, botany, etc. and that helped make the whole experience more interesting. The food was good (lots of fresh fish) and varied although sometimes a bit bland. Service was friendly and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Five travelers ages 58,57,56,22,21. Enjoyed the ports in Alaska and the accommodations were perfect (balcony/suite). There were few activities during the day (unless you like trivia) and the evening entertainment did not meet our ... Read More
Five travelers ages 58,57,56,22,21. Enjoyed the ports in Alaska and the accommodations were perfect (balcony/suite). There were few activities during the day (unless you like trivia) and the evening entertainment did not meet our expectations; no karoke, no dance club, productions were less than average and the comedy shows are not offered nightly and not very good either. Cruise ship seemed like a ghost town after 10pm. No late night dining or snack options. Somewhat disappointing for our young adult daughters. Poor service every night in dining room; took on average 20 minutes to get drinks and another 20 minutes to be served. The food was tastier at the buffet than at dinner. Our 21 and 22 year old daughters were disappointed in the age of the crowd cruising on the Coral Princess. Not sure if this is the case on every Alaska cruise line, but if you're looking for entertainment for the young adults, you might consider another cruise line. If you want to see Salmon, wait until July or August. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first cruise, and coming off a cruisetour (Y4L) we had four days on the ship. We had an opportunity to upgrade to a Signature Suite from a Veranda and glad we did. This put us in room 6072 in the middle of the ship. We had a ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and coming off a cruisetour (Y4L) we had four days on the ship. We had an opportunity to upgrade to a Signature Suite from a Veranda and glad we did. This put us in room 6072 in the middle of the ship. We had a larger bathroom and room to spread out. The veranda was a wonderful place to view the glaciers on our day in Glacier Bay. We ate at the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch all days. It was easy to go at any time and there was a huge variety of food choices. I particularly liked the omelet station for breakfast. Easy to be healthy and easy to indulge for all meals. We had dinner at the Dining Room. We had open seating and for 3 of our 4 nights were seated with other people. Again, we found the food to be delicious with plenty of choices. One evening my husband asked for extra steak when he ordered and they were more than happy to oblige. We were there for a Gala Night and we dressed up and enjoyed a special dinner. Service was great. Entertainment on the boat was outstanding. We went to BB Kings every night, the Billboard pianists were fabulous, and we went to an afternoon performance at Lincoln Center Stage. Very talented musicians who worked hard to entertain the crowd. We did not see any of the stage shows in the evening. We were too busy enjoying the music! We also used the health club. Plenty of treadmills, bikes, ergs and machines. Some free weights too. It was not crowded and we were able to use the equipment we wanted. The treadmills were placed at the windows in the bow which my husband enjoyed. I liked working out without looking out to sea so something for everyone. Our third day on the boat we stopped at Ketchican. We planned to hike Deer Mountain at this stop and since the weather was good we stuck with our plan. We grabbed a cab when we came off the ship that took us to the trailhead. Glad we did. It was an uphill walk and the cab knew exactly where we were going. We walked back into town after the hike and had some time to poke into the shops before boarding the ship. By our last day we felt we knew our way around. There is a daily schedule of activities so always something going on if you were looking for something to do. A little sad to say goodbye but the four days on the ship were a great way to relax after the busier pace on land. It was an older crowd for the most part on land and on the ship. We had a couple on their honeymoon on the land tour and there were some young families on the ship. If you are looking for the big shows and non-stop entertainment this might not be your cruise/cruisetour but it was just perfect for us. Already thinking about going back to Alaska! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this because it was "all inclusive" and small. We assumed that due to its size it would cruise up an Alaska fiord but instead it headed out into the open ocean to dump its holding tanks. We did circles for a day doing ... Read More
We chose this because it was "all inclusive" and small. We assumed that due to its size it would cruise up an Alaska fiord but instead it headed out into the open ocean to dump its holding tanks. We did circles for a day doing this. The cabins are small but still very functional. Dining in the main restaurant was excellent with great food and wine and fairly attentive staff. The buffet food was good but service terrible. The wait staff have no assigned tables so you can be finished breakfast before you get served water and tea. Entertainment is not up to big ship class but the six regular performers were good and most enjoyed the basic shows. Azamara is new to Alaska and have yet to figure out that it is not the tropics. They held their "dinner in white" around the pool deck in very cold temperatures and howling wind. The poor staff worked very hard to make it happen but many gave it a pass or ate and ran. Ports of call were the standard Alaskan fare but because the ship is so small we had to tender in twice as the dock was well above the gangway deck. They figured out how to make deck five an egress point. This ship is not good for children. We will not travel Azamara again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska ... Read More
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska Itinerary that included many ports to which we had not been on our previous Alaska cruises. This was our 4th Alaska cruise and first time on Holland America. We have also cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity and Viking Ocean. By reading all the previous reviews, we knew that HAL caters to an older crowd; however, "older" is a relative term which in this case means "floating nursing home." I myself am 70 but I felt young and spry on this ship of canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Don't expect to move anywhere quickly, but do expect to meet educated, well traveled shipmates with much good information to share. One of our shipmates reported going to the Lido late-night buffet, when an elderly man wandered in completely naked. Yes, that happened. Holland America knows their target market well, and have staff to help the frail get food at the buffet, enter and exit the ship, and even have the day of the week printed on the rugs in the elevators to help with orientation. This ship still has the great viewing room with floor to ceiling windows that many newer ships have replaced with fee restaurants. There is also a big library/gameroom/computer room with large windows, which is a great place for hanging out. We flew in a day early and had arranged for a car to pick us up at the airport through Seattle Town Cars. Their service was prompt and friendly. They delivered us to The Inn at the Market, which has a good location near Pike Place Market. We did the Savour Seattle food tour, which I recommend. We got to taste many of Pike Place Market's highlight foods including crab cakes, chowder, doughnuts, chocolates, dried cherries, Beecher's cheese and mac'n'cheese, to name a few items. My favorite was the salmon pate piroshky and rhubarb piroshky from "Piroshky, Piroshky." Absolutely delicious! We Uber'd to port, arrived later than most, so there was very little wait in line. We boarded and were able to go straight to our cabin, which I will review in the appropriate section. Dining: I would describe it as hit or miss. It is sometimes hard to find a clean table in the Lido Buffet. Or the table would be clean but the chair greasy or the wide carpeted window bases next to the table would be littered with food crumbs, etc. The bread baker is awesome, the assortment of breads varied and all delicious. And the pastries! You won't find better in Paris--flaky, light and baked to a golden brown perfection. Bravo! We found the Japanese, Chinese and Thai selections to be very good overall. Some soups were very tasty and well-seasoned, others were bland. The gravies on this ship are all deep rich and hearty. I wish I could make gravy that well! If you order filet in the main dining room you will receive a slice of baked tenderloin, good but lacking the crisp sear of a good filet. For that, you would need to eat in Pinnacle Grill, which currently has a $35. per person up charge. It is a bargain at lunch though--only a $10 per person. Make reservations early and know that the Pinnacle has no view and Cannaletto is a closed off section of the buffet (and serves many of the same foods). The Italian foods on this ship are in general just OK. Some dishes (rigatoni) were dried out, some sauces bland or watery. Avoid anything with spinach in it--the veggie lasagna consists of noodles, alfredo sauce and a blob of boiled spinach. Spinach omelettes are similarly yucky. Some foods that would have been delicious had they been served hot, suffered by being served lukewarm or cold. The Dive-Inn burgers fell into the lukewarm category (congealed cheese), but were served with tasty hot fries. Avoid anything with guacamole. It is a blackish-green color. My kids enjoyed the sushi choices and we all liked the salad bar, with many fresh choices, and some excellent house made dressings. I highly recommend the Asian Sesame. The ice cream was a lower quality that I have experienced on any ship, with some choices (chocolate) tasting more like ice milk. My DIL loved the sorbet choices. The Lido has some serve yourself sections, but most hot sections were served by behind the counter servers. This, along with limited hours, led to lines. It was not unusual to wait in a line for your eggs, then wait in another line for your toast. If you do the egg line first, your eggs will be lukewarm, if you do the toast first, it will be cold by the time you get your eggs. The main dining room is beautiful, but has problems. Service varies from very good to glacial, depending on the wait staff in your section and the time of day. We quickly learned where the best wait staff worked and requested their section. (Kudos to waiter Anas at dinner time--- ask for table #177 folks). Be advised that the MDR fills the worst seats first-- the ones that back up to a service station, face a wall, have a view blocked by a large column or surprisingly, are on the side so sunny that you have to pull the curtains and miss the view, while the shady side goes unoccupied. I avoided breakfast in the MDR after two tries. Are they deliberately trying to funnel people to the buffet by making them wait 45 minutes to order and another 45 minutes to receive the order? And then you receive lukewarm eggs, cold toast and cold pancakes. What a disappointment. The room service folks try very hard to get your food to you on time, as ordered and still warm. It is just a long way from the kitchen to the cabins. Toast will be cold (order pastry instead), eggs lukewarm. Do not order the scrambled eggs unless you write in "use fresh eggs," or you will receive tasteless, weird-textured pre-fab eggs. Hint to Holland America: please get some lighter-weight dishes for your hard working servers. Those trays are heavy! And they need a heated cart to keep the food hot. A napkin wrapped around toast is not going to hold in the heat. I only used room service at breakfast--my son and DIL used it once for dinner and commented that it wasn't good. Staff: There were many friendly staff members, but some who seemed stressed, unhappy or unfocused. At breakfast one morning as I waited for my eggs, I watched a (novice?) server mix up the orders, break the over easy eggs, walk away to wipe his nose and then walk back to wipe the edges of the fry pan with the same paper towel. I asked him if he realized what he had just done and he presented a blank stare. After that, I avoided any station where I saw him working. (I did report that to a supervisor.) The room stewards were all very personable and friendly, and there were always smiling folks to wish you a great day as you entered or left the ship. Download the Holland America Navigator App for easy reservations at any of the extra fee dining venues. It has a free chat service with fellow travelers which we found helpful and which was operational most days of our cruise. It also has a list of the days activities, although some days it was not a complete listing and we found it safer to carry our daily newsletter. There was less entertainment on this ship than on any of the other lines on which we have traveled. There were some mediocre to very good singers and dancers, a very funny ventriloquist, an amusing comedian. We liked the violin and piano duo "Adagio." Some evenings the highlight entertainment was a not so current movie or a BBC documentary accompanied by music. Small 1/2-filled bags of cold popcorn were available at the movies. There were also the usual Trivia and Bingo. The Test Kitchen presentations were well attended. If you don't want to stand, you need to arrive 1/2 hour early. They need a mirror over the work surface of the chef, as even if you sit in front, you can't really see what the chef is doing unless you watch the two TV screens at the sides. Might as well skip it, and watch it later in your room. My DIL attended a stretching class which she enjoyed. Each day there is a tea offered at 3 PM. We attended once and it was enjoyable to share a table with new friends, but the bread on the little sandwiches was stale. If you are a swimmer or hot tub lover, this is your ship. They were sparkling clean, the pool is also heated and they were often empty. No problem ever getting a lounge chair and the roof closes whenever the weather is cool/cold. We avoided the casino area because it was so smoky. Unfortunately, the ship's shops are across from the casino and also smoky. I usually enjoy on shop browsing, but not this time. Ketchikan: We booked the George Inlet Crab Feast privately. We have done this before and loved it. I must say that there has been some erosion in quality. Gone was the tasty potato that used to accompany the crab. The dressing on the salad, which was delicious in the past, was not as tangy. In the past, all the crab was fresh and delicious. This time, about one in three tasted watery and not fresh. The fresh ones though were awesome and the cheesecake is creamy and delicious. Be aware that there are many steps to climb to reach the Inn whether you arrive by bus or boat. You can request a ride if you need it. That afternoon, our son and DIL did the Lumberjack show (we just walked up and bought tickets) and they loved it. Juneau: We have done Taku Lodge excursion in the past and it stands out in our memories as one of the best tours we have taken. This time, our son and DIL did it and also loved it. It is expensive, but so worth it. Anchorage: We rented a car from Avis (the "B" street location). We took the free shuttle from port to the drop off point and walked the approximate 5 blocks to Avis. We arrived at around 8:30 AM and there was no line. We drove south along Turnagin Arm which is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. We stopped at Potters' Marsh and watched a pair of geese herd their brood of goslings. We drove on to Girdwood and had a yummy lunch of fried fish and chips at the 5 Chairs Restaurant. It has a charming log cabin feel and a beautiful mountain view. We also stopped at a quirky little coffee shop called "The Grind." We moved on to the Mt. Alyeska Lodge where our son and DIL met their tour for the "Summer Sled Dog Adventure." Both really enjoyed it. Meanwhile my husband and I took the hike through the beautiful woods behind the Inn. There is also a tram up the Mountain for scenic views. We then re-united and finished our day at the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center. If I go back, I will rent a car again and do the Portage Glacier Boat ride, which you can book privately. Homer: We loved this port. We took the free bus out onto the Spit. Word of advice--if you plan on shopping, there is no need to arrive before 10AM. We shopped, stopped at the Memorial, walked on the beach and had lunch at The Little Mermaid Restaurant, which I highly recommend. Everything we ordered was top quality and perfectly seasoned and prepared. Service was excellent and friendly and the atmosphere is wonderful. They play great upbeat music and you can hear the happy cooks singing along. Our kids took the Katchemak Bay tour offered by the ship and said it was good. Sitka: We did the Wildlife Quest and Finn Island Lodge tour offered by the ship and enjoyed it. The boat was large, comfortable, with plenty of indoor and outdoor viewing space. We saw one whale blow about 3 times and then dive. We saw many otters and eagles. We then proceeded to the lodge. The room where they serve you is a calm and pleasant banquet hall with a vaulted ceiling and wall of windows overlooking the expansive deck and water view. Everything seems new, fresh and meticulously clean. The food was wonderful--everything fresh, perfectly seasoned, piping hot. It was one of the best meals we had on the entire voyage. After eating, we went out by the bonfire where they had all the ingredients for s'mores, including Reese's cups, which make a surprisingly delicious addition. Sitka is almost always under cloud cover--dress for the likely misty rain. I can only imagine how beautiful this lodge/setting must be on the very rare sunny days they get. Icy Strait Point: We have been before and enjoy this made-for-cruisers stop. This is one of my favorite places for souvenir shopping. There is a nice shoreline walk, and a free exhibition of old canning equipment. Don't miss the trail through the woods behind the main buildings. It is an easy walk that evokes the Frost poem, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep." Seriously, it is the kind of old growth, mossy woods where fairies and hobbits would be right at home. Too bad they are building a ropes course in the center. Kodiak: Next time I will take a flight plane to see the bears. Folks who did that highly recommend it. We did the ship's tour that included a Russian Tea. Our bus arrived a little late. Our guide introduced herself and said that both she and the bus were old but still had good engines. I would add that the bus also had good brakes--more on this later. Every two seats had a washcloth hung over the back, presumably to use on the windows, which had to be closed due to the misty rain. With the windows closed, they quickly misted over and between that and the pea-soup fog, our sight-seeing drive was a bust. We could see absolutely nothing. If you have allergies, avoid this bus, there was mold/algae growing on a panel over the door and around the seals of the windows. At one pint, we drove around a corner and traffic was at a standstill due to some construction. Our driver slammed on the brakes and we hydroplaned sideways into the oncoming lane. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic, but it gave us all a scare. Our guide was also our driver and seemed unable to focus on both her driving and delivering her spiel at the same time. We stopped at a chapel of a Russian Orthodox Seminary and learned some history and went into a Russian Orthodox Church where the Pastor gave a presentation. We almost missed this second stop as our guide said the church was not open, until someone commented that they could see people going in and out, so we did stop. The tea part of the tour was held in a large room at at an Episcopal church. The tables were laid out nicely with cloths, china and Russian knick-knacks. The tea was a delicious citrus blend. The borscht was bland, the piroshky had very little filling and paled in comparison to what we had in Seattle. We each had one cookie, which was very good. The best part of this tour was the music, played by a large group with unique stringed instruments and dressed in Russian costumes. It was obvious that they enjoyed playing together and they were excellent musicians. Victoria: We took a taxi from port to our meeting point for the 5 Star Whale Watching Tour. We booked early and were able to get the smaller boat, the "Sailish Shadow." It was just us 4 and the captain and only cost a little more than the other large-group boat. The small boat does have a bathroom, but it is tiny and you literally have to crawl in and out. The hour long boat ride out to find whales is not recommended for anyone pregnant or with back problems. Heed that advice--the ride is jolting, at times my bottom and the boat's were air-borne. Still, I found the ride exciting and kind of like being on a thrill ride at a a fair. We saw only one whale, a transient male orca but were able to follow him along a coast-line, watching him blow, surface and dive. He even rolled once and showed us his pectoral fin. Our driver was excellent at maneuvering to get the best view. After our tour, we walked down to see the floating houses on the wharf, then took the harbor taxi boat back, had delicious lobster rolls at Nautical Nellie's Restaurant, and caught a taxi back to port. The two taxis to and from port were 1/3 the cost of using the ship's shuttle. We also cruised to Sawyer and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing. We luckily had sunny days for both. Hubbard Glacier is magnificent, reminds me of the great ice wall in Game of Thrones and is backed by snow capped mountains. The glacier talks to you with loud creaks and thundering cracks and we were lucky so see an active day of calving. Sawyer itself is smaller and less impressive, but the scenery as we cruised toward it was beautiful and the sun on the glacial water turned the water to jade. It looked like it was lit from under the water. Mesmerizing. We Uber'd from our final port to the airport. Easy peasy. So, final judgement... would I cruise with Holland America again? Yes, but... only if it offered a unique itinerary that my favorite cruise line (Viking Ocean!) doesn't offer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
If you have not done Alaska, put it at the very top of your bucket list. We did the Northbound on the Jewel plus the five day land tour from Seward to Fairbanks via Denali. All things being equal I would have preferred to do the land ... Read More
If you have not done Alaska, put it at the very top of your bucket list. We did the Northbound on the Jewel plus the five day land tour from Seward to Fairbanks via Denali. All things being equal I would have preferred to do the land portion first, but only Northbound goes to Glacier Bay. The number one reason for best cruise ever was out of NCL's hands, as it was the spectacular weather. The Cruise Next agent we talked to said she has been doing the Alaska routes for 3 years on 3 different ships, and never saw weather this good. The excellent weather continued on the land tour as well. Due to the good weather, the ship was able to get right up to the half mile limit to Hubbard glacier. Glacier bay was fogged in when we first arrived, but it slowly lifted. The demographics on this ship were significantly different from the Jade to Norway the year before. The average age of passengers dropped from 60 to about 40, and there were far more families and under 18s. The restaurants we went to were Teppanyaki, Le Bistro (twice) and Cagney's. Service was a bit slow the first time we went to Le Bistro, but otherwise all three restaurants were excellent. We went to the Tsar's palace and Azura once each, this time Azura was the better of the two, which was a reversal from the Jade (Grand Pacific and Alizar) the year before. We also did room service once for dinner after a long shore excursion. In most cases we had a party of 6, which presented few problems. For shore excursions, in Ketchikan we split up 3 and 3, I went went on a third party crab fishing excursion, the other 3 went on the Misty Fjords and Wilderness adventure. In Juneau, mom and I went on the Mendenhall glacier and Salmon bake, and in Skagway took the White Pass and Yukon Explorer. All three were a lot of fun and saw great scenery and quite a bit of wildlife. One warning on the Salmon, Alaskan's seem to like their sauces/glazes sweet, which is not to my taste, but is easy to ask that it be left off. Can't say much on the shows as we did not attend many. The comedian was pretty good at the PG show, did not attend the adult show. The three principle performers for the rock music show were quite good. The one lady does a killer Tina Turner, one of the guys a killer Bon Jovi, the third guy was overall quite good, but not for a specific performance. The remaining entertainment at the various lounges were pretty good by cruise standards. The land tour is contracted by NCL through Alaskan Tours. Our guide and bus driver were absolutely tops. Alaskan's seem to be well qualified, our guide held a masters degree and our bus driver in Denali (Separate from Alaskan Tours) was a degreed archaeologist. Tough to catch either one in something they did not know. Fair warning, you will likely get a dose of global warming propaganda from the narration when sailing to the glaciers and in Denali. But if that is the worst thing that happens, it is going pretty well. :) Stateroom review and such below. Read Less

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