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333 British Columbia Cruise Reviews

We just returned from an exhilarating adventure along the British Columbia coastline with Maple Leaf Adventures. Exploring “Whales & Wild Isles” on their newest ship, the Cascadia, was comfortable and luxurious with 5-star cuisine ... Read More
We just returned from an exhilarating adventure along the British Columbia coastline with Maple Leaf Adventures. Exploring “Whales & Wild Isles” on their newest ship, the Cascadia, was comfortable and luxurious with 5-star cuisine courtesy of Chef Jo! We had been considering travel with Maple Leaf for several years but were hesitant as senior travellers to join adventures on the smaller Maple Leaf schooner or their tugboat, the Swell. When they added the 138ft Cascadia to their ship roster this Spring, we jumped at the chance to try one of their several adventures exploring the BC coast and were delighted by the roominess of the ship. Each of the 12 cabins on Cascadia has their own 3-piece bath with plenty of storage (ours also had a king size bed!). The main salon is a beautiful space for lounging and eating meals and we loved visiting with Captain Corey on the bridge as he patiently explained about navigating in BC waters. Comfortable expedition tenders are used for daily exploring away from the ship and allow you to get closer to marine wildlife or explore isolated beaches. We were thrilled to be able to experience humpback and fin whales, sea otters, sea lions, marine birds, and even three elusive sea wolves along the shore. What an honour to view these animals in their own natural environment and leave no footprint behind. Travelling by ship with Maple Leaf Adventures afforded us with an unparalleled opportunity to see parts of the BC coastline that are only accessible by water. Our crew was incredibly professional and made us few welcome and well cared for during the entire journey. Shout-outs to Deckhand Bryan who was willing to show a couple of beginners how to fish for salmon and to Engineer Lance who cheerfully answered all our many questions about how boats work. Indeed, travelling with such a great crew on the Cascadia felt like travelling with family as we had the opportunity to share conversation at meals and other times throughout the day. We give special kudos to Phil, our Exhibition leader and naturalist, who carefully planned our daily excursions in the tenders to explore wildlife and scenery. He listened keenly to our interests and fine-tuned our adventures to allow us opportunity to view our favourites such as intertidal life, whales, and birds. He even helped us find humpback whales bubble-feeding which fulfilled a significant dream on our wish list. His knowledge of BC history and culture, the environment, and wildlife was extensive, and we learned a great deal from his thoughtful explanations. We highly recommend anyone interested in exploring the scenery, culture, and wildlife of the BC coast to consider a cruise on Cascadia. We would rate it highly for anyone desiring an opportunity to get out on the water and especially for seniors who are looking for comfortable boat travel. The sights, smells, and sounds of the ocean are breath-taking and will definitely make you want to come back again for more! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The gravy and other sauces were watery. The noon-time pizza in Sabatinis left much to be desired. The matre d in Sabinitins need a class on being a congenial host. However the Crab Shack evening was very nice and the food was exceptional. Congratulations to the captain and crew who got us through a terrible storm safely. The other area for improvement would be to train the port crew on what the Bon Voyage package is. We had purchased this package for our daughter and every crew member we mentioned it to at the port looked at us like we had two heads. We embarked at Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation was extremely well organized and ran like clockwork. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were 14 happy people on the Safari Quest Seattle to Seattle. Fabulous crew catered to our individual and collective interests. We had several rainy days, but the gear provided kept us warm and dry. Guides were very knowledgeable ... Read More
We were 14 happy people on the Safari Quest Seattle to Seattle. Fabulous crew catered to our individual and collective interests. We had several rainy days, but the gear provided kept us warm and dry. Guides were very knowledgeable about the places we visited. All were cheerful, helpful, and fun. Highly recommend the company, this ship, and the itinerary. We were invited along on this trip to celebrate a friend's birthday. Ten of us were part of the party. Two other couples booked independently, but we were all friends - like family - soon after we left Seattle. The crew made all of us feel welcome, and encouraged us to mix. Food was exceptional - quality, variety, presentation all memorable. Cook always provided a vegetarian option. We especially enjoyed the fish options for dinner, although pork and beef entrees were excellent too. A special shout out to the bartender and service staff - always mixing up new drinks. Wine selections impressive. A great time. Barbara and Chuck from Minnesota Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver. Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month ... Read More
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver. Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month and a half before the cruise, the prices dropped hard and I was able to kick us up to a balcony for the same price we had originally booked the inside for. Just before we left, the prices for an inside were around $70 CDN. I am happy with the costs of the cruise as I believe we got our money's worth for the trip. We live in Vancouver and had debated going down to Seattle the day before the cruise and stay in a Hotel, but with every decent Hotel costing in the market of $300-$400 for the night (Saturday), we decided to slum in it on a Greyhound during the early morning before the cruise. We hopped on a Greyhound in Vancouver at about 0530hrs and it had us in Downtown Seattle at around 1000hrs (we had gotten hung up at the border for an hour or so). We didn't realize until we saw almost everyone from the bus later on the ship that we were all coming down for the same thing. From the Greyhound station in Seattle, we walked through the baseball and football stadiums and caught a cab at the King Street Station (10-15 minute walk). We had caught an Amtrak train back to Vancouver on our last re-positioning one-day cruise in April so we were familiar with the area). Taxi from King's Street Station to Pier 91 was about $15 USD. We spoke with some others whom had arranged a transfer. They arrived at the Pier at around the same time as us and had spent $12.50 for the transfer. Worth it to spend $15 for the pair of us, and be able to work at our own schedule to get there. Anyways, we arrived at port around 1045hrs. Took a few pictures of the Ruby sitting there. We shared the port with Holland America's 'Amsterdam' that day. The Amsterdam looked to be an older vessel, one that we haven't seen much of in Vancouver in the last few years, though we do see the 'Nieuw Amsterdam' quite a bit and it is a beautiful ship. The Ruby looked very beautiful as we had seen it from a distance in the taxi and it looked very clean as we arrived at the port. We entered, traveled through Security and registration with the quickness and sat down in a large staging area. I am only a Gold status member and my fiance a Ruby, but we did not see a priority area for Platinums or Elites, not sure if they had one for this trip. I could see a special area for Holland America passengers (with uniformed waiters) but couldn't spot anything on the Princess side. After about 15-20 minutes of waiting, boarding began. We were in staging group 11, but the wait from group 1 to 11 was only about 5 minutes. We boarded the ship around 1130hrs, I would estimate. My fiance loves the embarkation photos and she was very concerned when they didn't have anything set up before we boarded. We found that they had a quick screen set up just on board for the photos. The area for embarkation photos was a bit rushed, as we would have like to prepare and pose for a good one, but I guess we were just glad to get one done. We had received a notice on check-in within the terminal that our rooms would not be ready until 1300hrs. Nuts to that, we went straight to the room at 1130hrs to drop off our bags at least. We found that the room was ready and no sign of a steward, so we dropped the bags and settled in. We were in C409, 'Caribe' Deck 10. The room was basic, I suspect the bottom rung of the balcony categories, but had a very large balcony. I did notice, however, that once I was out there that I could look right down on the balcony a level down and I suspect the people above us could look down and see us on the balcony. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to keep my pants on. We hit up the Horizon Court for Lunch. Since we boarded so quickly, we were able to beat most of the crowd to the buffet. On food, we did not try any of the specialty restaurants this time, just the buffet, Trident Grill and Pizza stand. Nothing was bad, but nothing really stood out as being that great either. I've rated dining as average but again, we did not visit any of the true dining venues. After napping from 1300-1500hrs, we took part in the Muster Drill. We were station D and attended a lounge on Deck 7. We showed up before the alarm so we could secure some seats. The drill was about 20 minutes and was painless. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the top decks. Hung around the sailaway party for a bit, played some basketball and hung out until the rain started. Was a beautiful day until, right on schedule at 1700hrs, the rain began and sent us back into the depths of the ship. At around 1730hrs, we bought a embarkation photo for $20. They worked at trying to get us to buy 2 for $40 but it was basically the same picture, the 2nd one merely being a smaller picture but with a display on sailing Seattle-Vancouver along the border, no deal. We listened in to Comedian Joe Yannetty for a few minutes. His act didn't strike us as that funny so we retreated to the Library to play board games for a bit. We broke off that at 1945hrs to snag a seat in Princess Theatre for the first seating of their stage show "Colour of the World". Really enjoyed it. Between myself and my fiance, we recognized all of the songs and the show appeared to be very polished. After that, we spent the rest of the night taking part in the Majority Rules gameshow (fun), the Yes/No game show (kinda bland) and the karoke in Club Fusion. Enjoyed Cruise Director Kelvin Joy's narration through the end of the stage show and the game shows afterward. While not particularly good-natured in his ribbing, he was very witty and fun throughout and definitely added to our enjoyment of the evening. Retired at around 2330hrs and caught a few movies on the television. The on-screen setup is one that I am disappointed with. On this, and our last cruise on the Crown Princess in the spring, the visual set up is pretty basic. My first cruise was on the Royal Princess last year and their On-Demand setup was quite good and one that the other ships have not caught up with. Slept like a baby on our mattress and woke up home in Vancouver. We were out of our cabin just before 0800hrs and headed up to Horizon Court for breakfast. So had everyone else. So we filled our plates and had to go back out onto the open deck to find a table to eat at. But the servers were out there as well and hit us right away for drinks, etc. Disembarkation occurred off of the promenade deck and after handing over our customs forms, were back into the city without any delays. A few issues that I had during the cruise: 1) I had booked the Soda and More package for both of us on my cruise personalizer months prior to boarding. We did not receive anything to state this on boarding. When I visited Guest Services, they said that did not see anything on my profile to confirm this and would not sell it now that I was on the ship. This was fine, but a recurring theme on this and our previous cruise on the Crown was that the Guest Services desk would never seem to put much effort into fixing problems or offering solutions. 2) While we were waiting for the stage show to start in Princess Theatre, we had ordered drinks on my cruise card. The waiter came back and said that the charge did not go through and he wasn't sure why. We used my fiance's cruise card and the charge when through fine. What is weird, is that both cruise cards were tied to my credit card. I didn't think anything more of it, just resigned to use her card for any further purchases. 3) As we tried to disembark the next day, we were stopped and told that we had to return to the Guest Services desk to resolve an issue. We did and found that it was the same credit issue as above. Once again, Guest Services couldn't do much of a job explaining it but it was found that a $15 charge (I assume the auto-grat) had bounced back. Did a manual payment and noticed that there were quite a few of this manual payments on her clipboard and at the other stations of the desk. Perhaps this was an ongoing issue. On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise. The only drawbacks are a mixed-bag of crew members who would sometimes go to the moon to get you what you needed and some that felt like you were bothering them to ask something. We had no interaction with our Room Steward, but had no issue with the cleanliness of the room or service times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Eviactive put together a ballroom dance program on Crystal Serenity. Her pros were outstanding and we took lessons every morning before touring. In the evening we danced the night away to the superb band provided by Crystal on their dance ... Read More
Eviactive put together a ballroom dance program on Crystal Serenity. Her pros were outstanding and we took lessons every morning before touring. In the evening we danced the night away to the superb band provided by Crystal on their dance floor. The pros from Eviactive partied and danced with us each night until 11 p.m. On the last night we dance until midnight and then some of the younger ones in our group headed for the pulse lounge for more dancing. What an amazing week we had. The ship provided a band for nightly dancing. I must say, the band was exceptional. Eviactive provided dance lessons every day with award-winning professionals. They were available for private lessons in the afternoon which turned out to be a treat, given how good they were. We took lessons every day and danced every night. Food was gourmet. Rooms were lovely. Nothing could have been better except skipping the port stop in Astoria. Can't wait to go to Buenos Aires with Eviactive and her dance pros. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our 4th cruise from this port with this destination but the first on Royal Caribbean from this port, second on Royal Caribbean total. The embarkation was standard, but as we boarded we went to a bar to buy a couple of beers to ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise from this port with this destination but the first on Royal Caribbean from this port, second on Royal Caribbean total. The embarkation was standard, but as we boarded we went to a bar to buy a couple of beers to send us off, and we were told it was a "Specialty Bar". no beer. Interesting. We had a cabin on the 11th deck with balcony and we highly recommend it, the balcony dividers opened up to other s if you had a friend or family next door which we did which was very cool. We bought the drink pass for $184 @ person and definitely had it pay for itself. Right on our deck was the pool area and 3-4 bars. Since we had smokers with us we hung out at the upper level pool bar and played cards, drank, and watched all that was going on. This part was awesome. The food was less than average. The buffet(Windjammer) was average at best. We never went the the Main Dining rooms so I cant comment, the Cafe(only other free eats) was always busy for snack food because it was the only other eats. Johnny Rockets($6.95 per person) once was good, second time we walked out as the service wasnt even able to meet anyones needs, just downright awful, they screwed up everything and couldnt make it right, awful. So lack of food was an issue, and room service, if you could get them to answer the phone was no better, small portions and sometimes they would just leave an item out because they were to busy, so they said. The activities were good, we played mini-golf, shuffleboard,some trivia games, basketball, all good. The theater shows were great. Overall we enjoyed ourselves very much and because of convinence we will look at going again, but I would look at other cruise lines first. A fellow passenger commented to us that they had been on numerous Royal Caribbean cruises and this was by far the most unorganized one ever. That seemed to sum it up. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I agree with some of the other reviewers regarding this particular cruise. I felt like we were the "leftover" cruisers. This ship had come from the South Pacific/Australia, and was gearing up for the Alaska cruise season. RCI ... Read More
I agree with some of the other reviewers regarding this particular cruise. I felt like we were the "leftover" cruisers. This ship had come from the South Pacific/Australia, and was gearing up for the Alaska cruise season. RCI was trying to fill a five-day gap and so they created this special cruise. First the good stuff: dining in the dining room was great. We were fortunate enough to get a set dining time (late seating), so we didn't have to wait in the long lines that the other guests did who were unable to get assigned dining times. Our waiters were terrific - very friendly, personable, and got us everything we asked for. The odd thing was that there were five of us, but we were seated at a table for ten. We never learned whether there were five other guests assigned to that table, or if they just needed to use the larger table. The shows were good too. Good, clean entertainment - nothing we had to be concerned that our teenage kids were hearing. And the ice show was truly outstanding. On the negative side - as others have said, the Windjammer Cafe was way too crowded and the food selections were quite sparse. No fresh fish except once, and that was just a few pieces of cod. No matter what time of day we went, they were out of the good stuff. Lots of jello and not much for nice desserts. And there were way too many passengers for the size of the cafe. We always had to wait for a table. And we often had to get our own drinks because the attendants were overwhelmed trying to get the tables cleared for the guests who were waiting to sit down. Our cabins were nice and our cabin attendants were great. Very efficient and we never had to ask for anything. We had a balcony room, but we were on a lower deck where the balconies were sort of closed in. We didn't really like that too much. The beds weren't as comfortable as we would have liked - mattresses were wearing down and the pillow were flat. I think we were in a part of the ship that hadn't yet been renovated. As far as the itinerary goes - Victoria was nice and we enjoyed Butchart Gardens. Nanaimo did not have much to offer, but we hope they are able to build up their cruise guest amenities. They were very welcoming to the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was a girlfriend's cruise. We all live in or near Seattle and we're celebrating our friend's 70th birthday. What I liked about the cruise/cruise ship: *The public ship areas were pretty and well-maintained. ... Read More
This was a girlfriend's cruise. We all live in or near Seattle and we're celebrating our friend's 70th birthday. What I liked about the cruise/cruise ship: *The public ship areas were pretty and well-maintained. *We liked the disco dance party on the first night and watching Karaoke on the 2nd night. On the 3rd night we saw the magician--he was funny and entertaining. On the last day, we saw the ice show (well done!) and the headliner comedian/impressionist who was awesome! *My shower was awesome. Great water pressure. *I really liked the interactive ship screens that told you a) what was going on right then, and b) how to get where you were going. *Our main dining room waiter and helper were awesome. Shout out to Desmond & Ashook! *We also had a great bartender in the Viking Lounge. Sadly I didn't catch his name. *Archee the photographer was very engaging. He made us feel special and he really captured us having a fun time! Destinations were okay; we picked this cruise because it left out of SEATTLE and was only for four days. We did not pick it for the destinations or the excursions. That being said, the Canadians were lovely. Very warm and welcoming! What I didn't like about the cruise/cruise ship: **Our stateroom was at the end of a hallway (no problem there) but our room smelled like dirty linens. They were skimpy on the quantity of towels and the towel quality was reminiscent of a low end motel. The towels looked like like carwash towels; they were beat up. The drawers were dirty and needed to be wiped down or cleaned up. **The food quality was poor. I really don't know how so much food could be so bland and tasteless. The free cookies, pastries, sandwiches, and wraps (available mid ship) were horrible. The free lemonade was so watered down it was un-drinkable. **Main dining room food: bland, tasteless and so lacking in imagination. I felt like I was eating at an old folks home. We had better food and service on shore in town. **We had "anytime dining". It's a misnomer. You can only dine "anytime" if there is room available. **The crew, overall, was not very friendly. From the first waiter that took our drink order, to others we encountered, they seemed to be disinterested. We learned that they had just come from Australia on a 20+ day cruise. I think they were burnt out or something. There was no energy on the ship. A lot of the staff seemed robotic. Over all our cruise time, we only had 4 memorable crew members. That's pretty sad. Having just sailed (March 2016) on another cruise line, I was expecting equal treatment from RCL and was sadly disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My DD was turning 21 and she loves to cruise, so I decided to book a cruise to celebrate. I had only been on Royal once in 2000. I did not care for Royal then, but I kept hearing good things about Royal and I liked the Explorer’s ... Read More
My DD was turning 21 and she loves to cruise, so I decided to book a cruise to celebrate. I had only been on Royal once in 2000. I did not care for Royal then, but I kept hearing good things about Royal and I liked the Explorer’s itinerary, so I decided to book. We have only stayed in a suite once on NCL and we were spoiled. I decided to book a suite with Royal even though I knew the perks were nothing like NCL. We arrived at the Seattle port around 11 am and quickly went through security. We then found ourselves in a line for suite guest to check in. The line was not nearly as long as the other lines, but it was still long. Once it was our turn to check in and get our sea pass cards, there was a note attached to my sea pass card that stated we were invited to a “lite lunch” at Dizzy lounge to wait for our suite to become available. As soon as we got on the ship, we immediately went to Dizzy’s lounge for our “lite lunch” all to find an empty lounge. There was a staff member standing there and I asked her about it and she had no idea what I was talking about. I showed her the note and she tells me that it does not start until 1:30. We were hungry and decided to head to the Windjammer since nothing else was open. What we saw next, I never imagined would happen. The elevator arrived to deck 11 and the door open, to our surprise that is where the line ended to get into the Windjammer. We decided to go eat at the Café Promenade, but when we got there, it was closed. We went back to the Windjammer and waited in line. After waiting about 20 minutes, I sent my daughter back down to the Café to see if it were open and it was not. We waited an hour to get into the Windjammer. As if waiting an hour was not bad enough, once we finally got to the food, the only food they were serving were hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. There wasn’t even cheese. Dessert was JELLO! My daughter looked at me and asked if it was too late to get off the ship! It was very clear that they had run out of food. After our wonderful lunch….NOT, we went back to Dizzy lounge and inside the Diamond lounge and there still was no “lite lunch”. We then went to check out our suite. We ran into our cabin attendant Ravi and he introduced himself to us. We saw there was no fruit basket and we asked Ravi about it and he told us that yes, they had run out of food and were in the process of restocking and that our fruit should arrive later. The suite was nice and what I had expected. Lots of storage which was great. We had the 5:30 traditional dining and we enjoyed having the same wait staff nightly. We had Rosemarie and Charlston and they were wonderful. The food in the MDR was good and we felt was better than NCL. We did not try any specialty restaurants mainly because we wanted to see if we would enjoy the MDR food and for the most part we did. Being in a suite we were able to have breakfast in Chops and the food was typical cruise breakfast food. The biggest disappointment is that the only non paid food options for lunch is the buffet or Café Promenade. The buffet was not very appealing. The food choices were always the same and nothing looked good. They had pasta sitting out but it looked over cooked and soggy. Never tried it, so I don’t know if it was any good. The only day we ate lunch at Windjammer is on the first day. We always went to see if the choices got better, but never did. We ate lunch everyday at Café Promenade and the sandwiches were okay. We have cruised on NCL numerous times and have always enjoyed their shows. Every night we went to a show on Royal and only lasted 15 minutes before we would leave. I feel like the shows were for the older crowd and not our style. Other’s seemed to have enjoyed the shows, so I guess it just depends on what you like. I prepurchased voom for 1 device and it was not worth the price I paid. It rarely worked and we would lose connectivity more often than it worked. The staff on the Explorer were WONDERFUL and we never had to wait for drinks at the bar. We really wanted to love Royal, but we didn’t. I know I would never spend the money on a suite with Royal again. I may cruise on Royal again if it was a great deal, but I really doubt it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Absolutely fantastic!! We love HAL. Everything was exceptional - organized embarkation was very fast, ports of call were great, service was exceptional, all activities and meals were all fantastic, and we can't say enough great ... Read More
Absolutely fantastic!! We love HAL. Everything was exceptional - organized embarkation was very fast, ports of call were great, service was exceptional, all activities and meals were all fantastic, and we can't say enough great things about the exceptional staff. Can't think of enough stellar words to describe all the great things about HAL. Just booked our next cruise on HAL!! The staff on any HAL ship makes your cruise experience absolutely wonderful. No request is too small, no issue is too big to be handled immediately, The staff are always smiling and sometimes singing! The whole vibe of being on a HAL ship makes one feel relaxed and happy in one's soul. And THAT is what cruising is all about. Highly recommend anyone thinking about cruising to book on HAL. You'll be hooked! Have taken other cruises and all HAL cruises are comparable to the one Cunard voyage I took years ago. Truly can't think of another cruise line that offers the fantastic experience that HAL does. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
As a resident of Southern California and a regular visitor to Seattle, I've spent time in the San Juan Islands and up and near Vancouver/Victoria. I had heard about the Princess Louisa Inlet and decided this was the year to explore. ... Read More
As a resident of Southern California and a regular visitor to Seattle, I've spent time in the San Juan Islands and up and near Vancouver/Victoria. I had heard about the Princess Louisa Inlet and decided this was the year to explore. This was my 3rd Un-Cruise, a company I love and remain very loyal to. I was skeptical about the small size of this vessel and the 22 guests onboard knowing I really enjoy 50 - 75 people on these small ships. I was in for a big surprise. I had a blast. The very small group allows you to really bond and jump from summer camp for adults (which has been my larger small ship experience ~ vessels under 100 guests) to bonding as a family of strangers. The group consisted of a varied age group from 50 to 80. Since it was September (and my favorite time to take off to avoid lots of kids), I knew the age group would be older. The great thing about these kinds of cruises if that you get to know everyone very quickly. Those of us who are high energy, very adventurous and want to exert energy found ourselves being cheered on by those who have either had their day in the sun or simply don't want an overly physical trip. It's all available here. Embarkation was a breeze. Be at the designed hotel is downtown Seattle by the assigned time, go to the hospitality suite, ditch your luggage and transfer to the ship. Easy-breezy. The hotel is located in the heart of all that can be found on foot downtown. A ten minute walk to Pike's Place Market, a three minute walk to the Nordstrom mothership and a 15 minute walk to the REI flagship store. Lots to do and see if you arrive early and have the full day to explore. The vessel is small but very clean and well assigned. The bar was stocked with high end spirits (Belvedere vodka thank you very much) and some very good wine. I would recommend the Bridge Deck. The cabins are spacious and have French balconies. The cabins on the main deck open directly into the dining room and the cabins on the cabin deck do not have any porthole or balcony only bridge lights. They are still worth it, believe me. I talked with everyone on board about their accommodations. You get to know everything in a group this small. Within a very short time after embarkation you realize you have found a jewel and the feeling is that you have your own privately chartered yacht. It is a spectacular experience. Meals are served in the dining room at set hours. Pick a table, order, enjoy. The one HUGE perk for me is that they are very conscious of waste and no meal is ever super-sized. For me, the ultimate cruise turn off are large buffet lines with plates piled to the ceiling being hauled by generously proportioned guests. With a focus on nature, nature lovers and outdoor sports, most of the guests on Un-Cruise are somewhat health conscious so the portion size of all meals encourages healthy eating. If you wish for a 2nd serving, it is yours for the asking. I never saw anyone go for it. As with all Un-Cruise itineraries, the day is set by wildlife. If you encounter a pod of humpbacks or orcas, you will stay with the pod to allow maximum viewing without encroaching on nature. Un-Cruise is VERY observant and respectful of proximity to these amazing creatures and respectful of their place in our oceans. We witnessed day boats following dangerously close to a pod but maintained our required distance and still had a spectacular viewing. I am an adrenaline junkie so getting out and about on a kayak is my favorite experience in the Pacific Northwest. We had 4 days of kayaking with ample time to get a great workout and then some. There were also hikes and a campfire with singing thrown in for good measure. Sounds cheesy? It wasn't at all. The success of any cruise is dependent on two things. Your perspective and ability to be flexible and the crew's ability to insure you have a great trip. Un-Cruise excels in this area. I booked late in the process but one of the onboard crew saw my name on the manifest (I sailed with her last year on the Endeavour) thought it could be me and remembered I love ruby red grapefruit juice and vodka. Voila, imagine my surprise when I was greeted with my favorite drink. Heaven on the high seas!! Our EL "Exploration Leader" was great. She knew her stuff about the area we were headed to and the flora and fauna we came across. She was also very savvy in quickly sizing up those of us that would require a little more adrenaline stimulation and insured that we got our time out in nature. It was a perfect blend of time spent burning calories and being one with nature. The crown jewel of the itinerary is the Princess Louisa Inlet. It is truly spectacular and not easy to access. It is also well worth the effort to get to. Since it is accessible through a very narrow channel and tide-dependent, large cruise ships cannot reach it. That's a huge plus. The pristine nature of the whole experience is a testament to its accessibility. You may have a few private yachts anchored but you are virtually in your own little world and it's beautiful. This is the place for west coasters who think they've seen it all, love nature and yachting. Again, the private yacht experience comes in to play here. The exclusivity of it makes it that much more enjoyable. In summary, this was a really great vacation. Lots to see, do and experience with some very cool new friends. Well worth the price to have the feeling of your own private yacht, to wake up at the base of Chatterbox Falls in the Princess Louisa inlet, to be in waters with some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures and to have them put on a private show all for you. Very few people will ever experience this honor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was the third cruise on NCL for my husband and me. Previously we've cruised aboard the Pearl (our first-ever cruise, in 2010) and the Jewel (in 2011). We would've rated both of those ships excellent. We are a bit ... Read More
This was the third cruise on NCL for my husband and me. Previously we've cruised aboard the Pearl (our first-ever cruise, in 2010) and the Jewel (in 2011). We would've rated both of those ships excellent. We are a bit concerned that either the Sun has not been maintained to the level of those other two ships, or the entire maintenance of NCL has slipped in the intervening four years. The Sun shows some obvious "wear and tear" and a lack of some good thorough cleaning in the public areas (like around the gorgeous panoramic lifts on deck 8, where the carpet was very dusty and the hallway was used as a staging area for housekeeping's linen carts and cleaning supplies). The observation lounge on deck 12 shows some serious damage at the very forward set of seating, looking out over the bow, where the wood at foot level is broken and chipped in several spots. All that said, we LOVE the freestyle cruising and all the options aboard any NCL ship. The food is really excellent, whether in the main dining rooms or the Garden Cafe. (We don't use the specialty restaurants because of the cover charge.) The staff in every area and venue is friendly, always smiling and greeting us (the cabin steward called us by name from the first day, and recognized us in the halls!) The spa is great, and I enjoyed my exotic hand ritual from Mandy. The entertainment choices were awesome. We especially enjoyed Amber Strings, a trio from Poland who played several times a day in the Atrium on Deck 5 - an amazing range in their repertoire, and all of it just excellent. We submitted a commendation on them, and purchased a CD. We also enjoyed Into the Drift, playing in the Observation Lounge. Our shore excursion to Icy Point Strait, Hoonah, AK, was just simply awesome. We took a whale watching tour on the American Eagle, and saw a pod of whales. Incredible. They also had a Tlinget cultural historian on board, Kevin, who gave an excellent talk on his people and the history of Hoonah, Icy Point, and how the Native corporation that owns Hoonah achieved a place on the cruise ship ports of call. Our opinion: this is the BEST port of call in all of Alaska, with a Zipline, ATV and wilderness cruises, boat cruises, excellent shopping (all Alaska products and local artisans), delicious food, nature trails in the rainforest and on the beach, Tlinget history and culture -- just can't say enough about this port of call. We spent more money here than in any other port on any other cruise, getting our holiday shopping done 6 months early with good value for our money and nothing "made in China." This cruise was coupled with a land tour of Denali National Park first, and that 4-day excursion was also excellent. We had a great NCL tour guide for the entire four days, Michael Krudwig; were housed at three very nice lodgings in Anchorage, Denali, and Girdwood; and had several great excursions associated with this (an 8-hour wilderness tundra tour with an Alaska resident, Lisa Frederic, who was full of interesting facts, history, and knowledge, including having run the Iditarod once; a visit to an Iditarod kennel owned and operated by Martin Buser, an Iditarod champion; a visit to the Wildlife Conservation Center; a tram ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska.) Altogether, this would have been an excellent cruise rating were it not for the maintenance issues we observed on the Sun, and they did not markedly detract from our enjoyment of "cruising like a Norwegian." Of two cruise lines with which we're familiar (Princess and NCL), we will choose NCL again without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. ... Read More
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. Indonesian and Filipino staff have poor English comprehension - a big problem in the case of an emergency (Costa Concordia). They try hard, but lack English language skill. 2. Customer service at the front desk is very poor. The worst of any cruise ship we have seen. 3. Overall Poor maintenance - the ship is WAY overdue for a major refurbishment Below are my comments on the HAL follow up survey: As an experienced cruiser (35+ cruises) , I can say this Volendam cruise was absolutely the worst cruise that we have ever been on. My wife and I are NOT chronic complainers, we are not demanding - but we expect a decent cruise experience. The experience started on Saturday 6/27 when (dead tired) we flopped down in our cabin at 2:00 to take a nap. The room was cold (62.4F to be exact 16C). I awoke at 4:30PM with the sniffles (had a cough for the rest of the cruise) and tried to turn the temperature up. It did not respond. We called the hotel desk at 5:00PM and they said that they would "send a technician to our cabin' - #1939. No response - at 5:25 I called again. This time the hotel sent a clerk to check the temp which he confirmed at 16C. Then we went to dinner and the show. Back in the room at 9:45 and still cold at 16C. This time we went to the desk and asked to be shifted to another room. The staff person refused. Told us to sit and wait a while while the same desk clerk rechecked the temperature. Sick of waiting, we went down to the room. Finally a tech came at about 10:30 and reset the control unit. It continued to operate imperfectly for the next three days. Day two - no water was running in the sink or toilet from 6:00-7:00AM - the toilet packed up after a BM at 8:00AM. Afraid to use the room toilet for the next three days, my wife and I did all of our necessities in the public rest rooms which were also operating imperfectly. After a terrific (yes, I said terrific) land tour (8 days) we were of a mindset for a good sea experience. If the staff had given us another room, all would have probably been fine and the cold room would have been forgotten. Lord forgive them if they had needed to upgrade us to a higher level (sic). Might have cost HAL $20. But with the bad temperature controller, and the defective toilet, we were set up for a negative experience. The food was so so and the entertainment was ok, but our room experience was terrible. We also also became much more critical of the ship. After an 11:00PM general emergency alarm due to a bad pulley in a cabinet that was emitting smoke, it became evident to us that the Volendam needs to be taken from service and gone over with a fine tooth comb. The systems are in desperate need of proper maintenance and a good deep cleaning program. The sewer system, the mechanical systems, and the guest ventilation systems. Somebody threw up in the aft promenade deck vestibule early on in the cruise and the vomit smell was there till we left the ship. Poor maintenance in general. It is VERY doubtful that we will cruise with HAL for a third cruise. Princess and Celebrity have much higher standards and do not cost that much more. Many of the staff are great and went out of their way to serve us. These include the cabin steward, the bar staff, and the waiters. The front office delivers very poor customer service despite the phalanx of awards on the board. The English proficiency of the staff is a big problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My second cruise with Norwegian, I love the freestyle dining idea. The food was very good at the beginning of the trip. Towards the end they changed the menu for the Alaskan run, I did not like that menu much. Seemed to be mostly fish ... Read More
My second cruise with Norwegian, I love the freestyle dining idea. The food was very good at the beginning of the trip. Towards the end they changed the menu for the Alaskan run, I did not like that menu much. Seemed to be mostly fish and seafood, very little choice if you are not into things from the sea. I ate mostly in the buffet after that. Cagneys Steak house was excellent, but I thought a little to pricy. We had a complimentary dinner there, we never would have eaten there if we had to pay the cover charge. We did eat in the Bistro as well, for a Jazz Brunch. Excellent food, and the music was exceptional. My score is reflective of an issue we had with our room. We did not know when we booked the cruise, but our fourth floor room was right over the engine room (4256 I think). The noise was deafening, and it was impossible to sleep. When we complained we were given ear plugs and a promise it would quit once we hit the canal. We had 3 days at sea before the canal. As promised, it did stop for that leg of the journey, but when we hit the Pacific Ocean it was back! We did not have smooth sailing on this trip, (from San Fransisco on it was very rough), the noise seemed to worsen as the seas were rougher.We complained a few times, the hotel sent wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and various staff members to have a listen each time we complained. Finally on day 10 they changed our room, and gave us the complimentary dinner. We then found out our neighbours had also complained and because they were first they moved first. 10 nights of restlessness spoiled what should have been a great holiday. What really irritates me is that nowhere did Norwegian warn travelers about the noise! We paid for what should have been a good stateroom where we could sleep. Next time we will check what is above and below us, and for anyone travelling on the Sun do not book rooms on the fourth floor aft end of the ship! The Sun is a smaller ship and swimming pool deck chairs were hard to come by. People would "save" their chairs all day, leaving pool towels to hold their spot while they ate or attended functions. We didn't manage to get a poolside chair for most of the trip until evening, and then staff would put the chairs away so there was no enjoying an evening under the stars! I found this irritatingl, especially since we could enjoy quiet in our rooms we would have loved to sit outside later in the evening. I could understand during the rough seas, but while we were in the Carribean it would have made sense to leave chairs out later into the evening for people to enjoy. Some days into the cruise deck chairs began appearing on deck 6 where the walking track is, and we were able to grab a couple of those. The entertainment was good, probably not as elaborate as Celebrity or Princess, but enjoyable! We attended most shows, skipping the magician, and the "adult comedy" show. Bingo is stupidly expensive, we would have enjoyed a few games if it wasn't so pricey. There is loads of nightly dancing, some sing alongs, lots of different styles of bands, and entertaining game shows. Something for everyone! I do like Norwegian, we really had great times and not so great on this cruise...a bit of a mixture. Will we do Norwegian again?? Well probably, but with caution. I guess this will apply to any cruise lines, I will ask questions about room locations for sure. For the Panama I would really recommend a larger ship, there is only one outside forward deck where the view is really good, The other forward outside deck has plexiglass which makes it difficult to see through. The ship behind us had about 4 decks at the front, making it really nice for the Panama transition. We got up early to secure a spot (5:00 am), but by 7 there were so many people crowding in we went down to deck 6 and watched from the sides of the ship. The staff are great, very friendly and helpful. Professional. The ship is comfortable and easy to find your way around. Most of the tours we did were very informative and fun, except for LA. Again we booked onboard for Beaches, rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills. Once on the bus we were told buses could no longer stop on Rodeo Drive and drive through Beverly Hills. We let the cruise staff know about this, and were given a comp bottle of wine. Our travel companions did the same tour except they were downtown La and Rodeo Drive, they were refunded their money when they complained. These tours should be cancelled, they are not what they say they are! Book smart....and your trip with Norwegian will be awesome! Oh, the spa, they are great, but heavy on the sales of oils etc. I let them know up front I wasn't buying anything but a message..it was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had such a good time on the Grand. Went from Los Angeles to Vancouver on a reposition itinerary. Read many reviews saying the Grand wasn't so grand, however we thought it was just great. We always look for the best in a cruise. ... Read More
We had such a good time on the Grand. Went from Los Angeles to Vancouver on a reposition itinerary. Read many reviews saying the Grand wasn't so grand, however we thought it was just great. We always look for the best in a cruise. The ship was nice, we met some super fine people, had too much delicious food, and some superb entertainment. Service was first-rate in the dining room, in our cabin, and all over the ship. The Grand, for being 16 years old looks pretty admirable. That means in people years (assuming a ship lasts 20 years) the Grand is about say 80 years old. Wow, I hope I look that good when I'm 80. Embarkation and disembarking was better that any of the 15 cruises we have taken. Got there at about 11:00 and we were all by ourselves checking in. We waited about 1/2 hour and were on the ship. Got off the ship at about 10:00 and again were by ourselves. Princess does a great job in making sure you have a grand time if it is a grand time that you are looking for on the Grand.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
A retired friend told us that even if we had to mortgage the house, take the Great Bear Rainforest Tour with Maple Leaf Adventures. He was right. This is a trip of a lifetime that took us up the coast of BC and around Princess Royal Island ... Read More
A retired friend told us that even if we had to mortgage the house, take the Great Bear Rainforest Tour with Maple Leaf Adventures. He was right. This is a trip of a lifetime that took us up the coast of BC and around Princess Royal Island to see humpback whales, black and grizzly bears and many other impressive wildlife examples up close and personal. With 9 guests and 5 crew members, this is an intimate trip on a 92-foot schooner that is over a century old and still in its prime. Given that one of the crew is a full-time chef who uses what we catch along the way in many creative ways you can understand that one of my souvenirs was several extra pounds. While we went to see the white spirit bears but missed them by a day or two, we were not disappointed as we had an up close and personal experience with two very friendly and curious humpback whales who kept us entertained for almost an hour. Then, a day later we visited a remote whale research station and had the pleasure of sharing our photos and getting to name the two whales Maple Leaf, after our ship, and Canadian, to reflect the 100% makeup of our crew and passenger compliment, which is unusual. We had looked forward to meeting world travelers but thoroughly enjoyed our fellow Canadians on this spectacular trip. This is not a cheap trip but we will save up and do it again. Maple Leaf is a true Eco Adventure group that treats you as someone special and who go out of their way to see that this is an unforgettable experience. They enjoy what they do and are good at it. Part of our enjoyment was seeing how truly thrilled that they were to see what we were all seeing and making new discoveries themselves. Quarters are tight and physical effort is required but we felt safe and secure with like-minded travelers who enjoyed sharing an intimate experience aboard a magnificent ship with a wonderful crew. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We chose this one-night cruise on the Westerdam in order to get from Seattle to Vancouver to board a longer cruise the next day. It was a fantastic experience. I had read some negative things about one-night cruises before, but none of ... Read More
We chose this one-night cruise on the Westerdam in order to get from Seattle to Vancouver to board a longer cruise the next day. It was a fantastic experience. I had read some negative things about one-night cruises before, but none of that applied here. The staff was friendly and attentive, the food was excellent, the ship was elegant and pristinely clean. The only unexpected thing was that they didn't do luggage check service since the cruise was so short. Most people only brought overnight bags, so I can certainly understand why. We had more luggage since we were continuing on in our travels, but we were able to manage just fine. I thought I would mention it so that others would know what to expect. We enjoyed every moment on board and hated to disembark the next morning! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Wonderful re-positioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, stopping at San Fran and Catalina Island. First cruise for me, although my traveling companion had made several cruises on HAL with her late mother. Best thing overall was that ... Read More
Wonderful re-positioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, stopping at San Fran and Catalina Island. First cruise for me, although my traveling companion had made several cruises on HAL with her late mother. Best thing overall was that we were extremely lucky with the weather. Sail out day from Vancouver was glorious, had a bit of rain overnight but the rest of the trip was incredible. Thanks to the cruise gods! Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge without a cloud in the sky was quite an experience. Even the crew members who weren't on duty, were on deck enjoying the experience. Embarkation was interesting - there were 3 HAL ships docked all leaving the same afternoon. The logistics to dock 3 ships, discharge passengers and luggage, restock everything and load up the new travelers in one day is mind boggling. It did take a while to get onboard, perhaps almost 90 minutes but HAL had hired a lot of older, presumably retired people who were along at every step of the way. They were all helpful and pleasant; HAL had organized chairs along the way to allow people to sit rather than stand (very helpful given the general age of the travelers.) We boarded relatively early; it's certainly possible that with 6000 people boarding onto 3 ships, wait times might have been longer for those who came later. I thought the food and service in the MDL was quite good with lots of interesting choices. Other than breakfast, we never ate at the Lido. Since we didn't eat there, perhaps we are not being fair but the lunch and dinners there looked a bit pathetic. Sort of looked like a high school cafeteria. Before the cruise, we had booked at the premium restaurant, the Pinnacle, and we started rethinking that, wondering why pay a premium when the MDL was very good. Well, it was worth it, the dinner at the Pinnacle was excellent. Reading other reviews, especially on Princess ships, I thought we were going to be bombarded with tacky sales pitches, kind of like time shares. In fact, this was never a problem. They announced each morning things like the art auction, talks about upcoming cruises, jewelery shows and that was it. If you were interested (and it looked like a lot of people enjoyed the art auctions), you could go. If you didn't no pressure at all. Staff was very pleasant; didn't see our room steward very much although he was exceptionally nice when we did. We rather felt like we had a cabin elf - we would leave the room and it would magically be cleaned upon our return. Cabin was very nice with a very comfortable bed. I have seen some complaints that the shower stall is small, and it is but given there also is a full sized tub, it wasn't an issue for us. I realize that cruises are pitched to different age groups and HAL tends to be an older crowd. We're in our late 50's and we brought down the average age. There were lots of older people, many with walkers or wheelchairs and almost no kids at all. Not a problem for us; it seems that the staff were very attentive to the senior citizens and were very accommodating. Good to know if you are in the senior citizen bracket and worry about getting around on the ship. One bit of strangeness: you are allowed to bring on one bottle of wine per person. Not being experienced, we thought that wine and drinks would be very expensive on the ship so we brought our two wine bottles. It was very strange when embarking. They asked you if you had any liquor and if so, to show it to them. I guess they must believe in the honor system. They diligently wrote down the kind of wine, the maker, the year, etc. And then nothing was ever heard about it again. I'm sure there was some reason for doing this but I have no clue. But then it turns out that the wine and drink prices on board are actually pretty reasonable and given the tax in Vancouver on liquor and wine, you really didn't save much money anyway. Disembarkation in San Diego was also easy. We docked at 7am but fortunately you could pick your time to depart. Some people, perhaps catching early flights wanted to get off first but others, like us, were in no hurry and could stay as late as 9:30, It only took a little while to leave the ship, collect the luggage and clear customs. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!) All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and ... Read More
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!) All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and our friends agreed to join us for a one night cruise out of Seattle to Vancouver. It was so cheap - You could not get a hotel room and dinner for that cost and I thought how fun it would be. Usually it takes a few days just to learn the lay of the ship, so a one night cruise is a challenge! We boarded about 1:00 p.m. Sailed at 5:00. Dinner at 7:30. In bed by 10:30. In port when we awoke at 6:00 and were off the ship after breakfast by 10:00 am. Embarkation was easy: Don't try to board at the earliest possible time. Wait an hour and the crowds are gone! We were traveling with friends who needed a wheelchair due to a knee surgery recently. Princess was very accommodating and we all boarded together. The cabin was clean. Ample for a 1 night cruise. The bathroom had a shower and pump amenities (I prefer real amenities). No washcloths. 1 towel each. Queen bed, a little hard. The pillows were really hard. (I usually ask for feather on a longer cruise) TV had very little option and poor reception. Small balcony with 2 chairs and a drink table. We proceeded to the Vista Lounge since the men wanted to see the Seahawks game. I was surprised they weren't showing the game on the outdoor big screen, which would have been much more fun on a beautiful sunny hot day in Seattle. The vista lounge had ample seating. We had a drink there (beer) and were given salty snacks. There was guacamole and stale (very) chips available self serve by the bar. We went upstairs to the pool at the aft end of the ship and had cocktails and went into the buffet where there were ample choices of food to curb the appetite before dinner. Would have been nice to have an outdoor grill back there for burgers. There may have been elsewhere on the ship. I swam in the aft pool. To me it was great. Very warm. 4:00 pm. No towels for any of us available. Adult only pool - and as usual - no supervision to keep kids out. (this is so annoying to me). Crew was selling drink of the day. Bar service lacking a bit. Pet peeve is drinking from plastic. Miss the old days. Mid ship pool was covered, noisy, smelled of chlorine and sweat. Did not stop here to cocktail. We wanted to go inside and have a cocktail with proper barware and ended up in the atrium area. We found the One5 club aft but were told NO NO - not a "real" suite passenger or elite enough status. The class separation stuff is a REAL TURNOFF to me. That bar lost about $80 in drink sales due to that. Dinner at 7:30 with a reservation at Sabatini's. Dinner was pretty good. Service was good, not great. Did not enjoy sitting by the register by the door. Our waiter took our drink order and dessert order and only brought 1 of the 3 cocktails ordered. (another $30 loss for the ship.. they were cognacs) After dinner we meandered through the lounges trying to find something pleasurable to listen to. I do not exaggerate - there was no decent music to listen to. No talent anywhere on the ship. I usually have my likes and dislikes but perhaps this was an "auditioning" cruise or something.. I don't know. Went to the show (British Invasion) and it was pretty cheesy costumes and choreography. The mikes were super loud yet no one could really sing well. We left after 15 minutes to retire to our cabin. So as far as the ship goes... It was fine. Clean and I found all the amenities on board to be the same as nearly every other cruise I have taken. Decor.. Ok. By morning we found some lounges we would have gone to had we known about them. I won't take another 1 day cruise. As for Princess.. my last experience with the Sun Princess on a 3 day cruise was great. San Francisco to Vancouver. I remember being more impressed with the staff, lounges, entertainment and food. We thought we were big on Holland America and Celebrity, but in all honesty, unless you move into a luxury cruise, they are all about the same. My motto is "there is no such thing as a BAD cruise" and much of it depends on your expectations, the company you keep and your attitude. (IMHO) Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and two daughters just returned from a cruise on the Safari Quest beginning in Seattle and cruising North in the San Jauns, Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and all the way to Princess Louisa Inlet. We were very lucky as the ... Read More
My wife and two daughters just returned from a cruise on the Safari Quest beginning in Seattle and cruising North in the San Jauns, Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and all the way to Princess Louisa Inlet. We were very lucky as the weather was spectacular for the entire trip and the waters were calm. On the NEGATIVE side, the itinerary is nice but lacks substance and activity. Much of your day is spent steaming to the next port or attraction and that means a lot of down time. The sites and scenery are wonderful and mesmerizing but little time to look for mammals and sea creatures. The visit to Ganges Harbor is a waste of time. Friday Harbor is nice and we would have liked more time there. Princess Louisa Inlet in the highlight of the trip and yet we only spent one night and one morning there because it is so far North. The cabins on the first and second decks are small as you would expect but very nice and recommended. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms adequate and each has a very large double sliding glass door. The lower level (below the water line) cabins, four (4) of them, are not adequate and somewhat dangerous. There is really only one way out, a steep spiral stair, and no windows. They are hot and noisy. They put three handicap persons in three of the rooms which was very dumb. Because of the location of these rooms and the difficulty to exit them they should really canvas the possible guests and be sure to place them above the lower deck or not accept them at all. Also, the cruise line should greatly discount these rooms. On the plus side, the crew, the food and the service were wonderful. There were 18 passengers on board and a crew of 10, Captain, First Mate, Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Engineer, two cooks, and three stewards. We never wanted for anything and the food was plentiful. Drinks were included and always available. I can't say enough about the crew; they made the trip. The cook, SinGyn, was a character and served gourmet meals out of a very small galley kitchen. The Cruise Director, Lia, was very knowledgeable, professional, personable but not very accessible. She was always there when it was time to be there and always did her job very well but she did not mix with the passengers very well unlike Emily, Monica and Holly who were always talking with us and joking with us. Lia did a very good job, don't get me wrong, she just needs to loosen up a bit. Overall I would give the ship a 4.5 out of 5, the lower cabins a 2. I would give the crew a 5, the itinerary a 3.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant. We had booked 4 excursions with ... Read More
Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant. We had booked 4 excursions with Princess - we had problems with them all, we will think twice about wasting our money next time. Los Angelos: The bus was 1 hour late turning up at the pier for our excursion to Long Beach - think before doing this one, it's a waste of time and money, very little to see and do, you get the bus to the aquarium and then you have to get the free bus downtown - which has about 7 shops! There was no information or maps to guide us, We were fortunate to speak to a local girl on the bus who told us when to get off and walked into the town with us, Walmart and Ross is the main shops! San Francisco: was beautiful but again we were 4 hours late docking supposedly due to our weather the previous night, but we heard that pier 27 was being 'officially opened' that morning a lot of men in suits around even although we were 4 hours late! Would we have spoilt the party Berthing on time I wonder?? We did the city tour for 4.5 hours which was really good and very informative. We then got off at pier 39 which was buzzing and had a lovely atmosphere, we had an overnight stay so enjoyed being relaxed and eating out. Vancouver: we did the excursion which did the airport drop off, we then realised they take your cases from the pier to the airport which was good, but you were given hop on hop off bus tickets and a train ticket to the airport which you have to find yourself! We had the most awful coach driver who said he was having a bad day and wished he had stayed at home!! We complained about the intense heat on the bus he said the air conditioning wasn't working! He left the door open to allow fresh air in but it kept closing going round corners! We got off at Robson Street and never went back onto the tour. The excursion team need to get there act together as it was very poorly managed. Overall we enjoyed the cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was my third and final cruise aboard Century which has been sold and will end its run with Celebrity next year. Century is my favorite ship. I had not cruised for 12 years when I first boarded Century with DH, DD, and DS in 2006. We ... Read More
This was my third and final cruise aboard Century which has been sold and will end its run with Celebrity next year. Century is my favorite ship. I had not cruised for 12 years when I first boarded Century with DH, DD, and DS in 2006. We had gone on two Baja California cruises when DS and DD were young, but did not sail while they were growing up. Finally, in 2006, when they were in high school, we sailed again- this time on the “beautiful Century” (as the crew calls her). Century re-introduced us to cruising again, for which I am grateful. (Can you tell this good-bye cruise was seeped in sediment?). We sailed with her to the Caribbean, to Hawaii, and now to Canada. I was on Century last February when it was announced during our Cruise Critic get-together by the cruise director that Century would undergo a major overhaul. This led to several cruises to Hawaii and the Panama Canal to be canceled. Then, Celebrity changed course and decided to do only a minor facelift in order to sell the ship. Many people whose cruises were canceled were livid. Don’t blame them. After all of that drama, Century ended up having very little done to her. Perhaps new carpets, and a few other cosmetic additions, but little else. In fact, some things had been removed (perhaps in anticipation of the sale). In the Islands Cafe, an object d’ art had been removed, however, the placard stating the artist and title of the piece was still displayed and the metal brackets which had held it up were still there. A tile was missing from an otherwise attractive tile art display in Islands as well. It had obviously fallen off and was just left like that. At our Cruise Critic get-together, many people expressed their disappointment that Century had been sold. One lady called her a “jewel” and stated at length how upset she was with Century’s retirement to Europe. In fact, cruise director, John Grantham, had to finally cut her off and segue onto another topic. As he said, “They don’t fly 707s anymore”. Unfortunately, the reality is that Century, in cruise terms, is old. She just can’t compete with the mega-ships of today. This was an eight night trip from L.A. to Vancouver- Century’s new summer home while going on a series of Alaska runs. We had requested a table for two (DD and DS did not join us). We had been told “Of course” when booking the cruise, however, upon arriving prior to dinner to check out the table, we found ourselves assigned to a table for eight. We spoke with the gentleman in charge of solving all of the dining problems (good luck to him!) and we offered to switch to late seating (for the first time ever). He was able to get us a nice table for two. We enjoyed our dinners- nothing outstanding, but nothing terrible either. As always, more vegetarian choices would be appreciated. Islands Cafe always had something to offer, as well as the burger and sandwich stations near the pool. The Aqua Spa Cafe offered healthy choices. Our inside cabin was kept clean and neat by Dee. We didn’t see any of the shows- two of them sounded like the same ones we had seen in 2007 onboard Mercury and last year onboard Century. There was a guitarist/singer who performed in the Cova Cafe and Rendez-Vous, other performers were also featured in the Rendez-Vous. The ship’s band performed at the Captain’s Club party. A band played as we sailed out of Victoria (they seemed to be practicing for the next cruise), otherwise there was no music by the pool. Also missing was the string quartet or trio. The ports were great. One disclaimer, however. Be advised that some ports require the use of tendering boats. On this trip, as well as last year in Hawaii, I saw people struggle to get out of wheelchairs to be helped onto the tendering boats, with the boats rocking back and forth in the choppy water. Scary sight. Please consider your agility before booking a cruise which involves tendering. Even those of us who are nimble are forced to almost jump into the boat at times when boat really gets to rocking. Not something I would want to be doing when I am 70- 'nuff said. Catalina Island proved to be a nice port with different activities to choose from. We stopped at the Sandtrap for Happy Hour. Can’t say enough good things about it! Great drinks, $1 tacos, other food items as well. Wished I lived nearby, I would go every week! San Fran was an overnighter and a great experience. DH and I went to an Oakland game. They won 11-0, great game! Victoria is a nice place to visit, but as with some cities, bathrooms are limited. Even customers making purchases in some establishments aren’t allowed to use the restroom (such as Craigdarroch Castle- although there are restrooms for the castle tour guests, however. Gift shop customers are told to go to a nearby gas station- you get the idea). The Empress is an option for more than just a restroom break- don’t miss the afternoon tea! The gardens are a must-do. Seattle has many options, including three observation decks: the Space Needle, Smith Tower, and Columbia Center (don’t miss the world’s tallest Starbucks on the 40th floor). Seattle is also home to the original Starbucks located at the famous market at Pike Place. The Underground tour is a must-do. We went on a tour of the ballpark and loved it (if you are a baseball fan, go). EMP is great for music fans. We disembarked in Vancouver and walked around before taking the subway to the airport- a quick and easy half hour ride. We will miss Century, but it is time to choose a new favorite ship. She can remain our sentimental favorite. In sum: Pros: Food- lots of choices. Liked the ice cream and pizza in the Islands Cafe. (We liked the pizza so much we wanted to enjoy one last slice in the Hemisphere during the 80s party on the last night, but were refused admittance, being told “No, no, no”. Would have liked to have gone to the party, but thanks to the Hemisphere’s bouncer, we got an early start on packing instead. Funny, we had just been told at dinner to think of Celebrity as our “Home away from home”. I guess that’s true if you have a mother we doesn’t let you eat pizza in the living room because you might make a mess). Aqua Spa- love the Turkish bath and aromatherapy steam room. Aqua Spa Cafe- healthy eating. Workout room- great views from the front of the ship. Hemisphere Room- great views for the Alaska passengers who don’t want to get cold while enjoying the sights. (Just don’t bring in any food or drinks). Cons: Theater: Could use more variety in the production shows. They are repeated year after year it seems. Aqua Spa Cafe: No longer serves salmon or chicken as they did last year. Very limited menu. Michael’s Club: The club is now a “private” club. Last year we enjoyed listening to a musical performance there, not so this year. Class system, anyone? If you have yet to sail on Century, don’t be afraid to do so- she is a classic. If you don’t mind the lack of bells and whistles which accompany the modern mega-ships, you can look forward to an enjoyable cruise on a ship which will be missed by her many fans. Just hurry and book before it’s too late! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
THE SHIP:  My wife and I and 2 friends of ours cruised on the Pearl from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC....stopping in San Francisco and Victoria, BC along the way. We got on the ship about 1.5 hours before it sailed, so we were literally ... Read More
THE SHIP:  My wife and I and 2 friends of ours cruised on the Pearl from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC....stopping in San Francisco and Victoria, BC along the way. We got on the ship about 1.5 hours before it sailed, so we were literally the only people in line. So obviously, that all went fast. When we got on, we immediately noticed this ship was SO much nicer than any of the Carnival ships we had been on in the past. I have cruised Celebrity and Carnival, but my wife had only been on Carnival. She was extremely happy about the obvious difference. The ship itself was EXTREMELY clean and we did not meet a rude employee the entire cruise. The layout of the decks were great. We did not need a ship map and never got lost. All of the elevators had informative deck plan placards, and there were occasional placards posted on the walls throughout the ship. The pool area had 4 hot tubs and 2 pools. 1 pool was for kids and 1 was for adults. They were both labeled and enforced. Each pool had 2 hot tubs connected to them. The pools were small, but no smaller than other ships. Who really swims in cruise ship pools anyway? CABIN: Our cabin (9132) was a balcony room which had plenty of space, a couch and a good sized balcony. The only complaint about the room was the limited drawer space. A nice surprise was a pay mini bar in the room and the selections were the same prices as up on deck. Our Room Steward (Cristian) was attentive and friendly. SPA: The spa had everything you need; hot tubs, sauna, steam bath, heated loungers, relaxation area and locker rooms. The spa employees were very nice. My wife gets cold easily, so she spent a lot of time in the warm spa. DINING: The food in all of the restaurants was amazing, except the sushi which was dry and obviously not freshly made. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants; La Cucina (Italian), Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse) and Lotus Garden (Teppanyaki). All were add charge restaurants, but Lotus Garden had additional charges for certain items. I did not realize this until our bill of $80 was presented at the end. My wife saw the additional charges on the menu, but I did not....so my bad there. La Cucina was the best of the three. We ate in the regular dining rooms as well, which had as good or better food than the specialty restaurants. When we cruise NCL again, we will probably just eat in the regular dining rooms. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on Pearl was focused at an older crowd. Most of the cruisers appeared to be in their 60's, 70's and 80's. We are in our mid 40's, so the music was not to our liking. However, there was a very entertaining juggler in the main auditorium (Stardust). One night we went to the Spinnaker Lounge to watch a comedian who was horrible beyond belief. Even though the crowd was older, we enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. Everyone was having such a great time that the age gap was not always noticeable. The casino was awesome! Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps and plenty of slot machines. My wife actually hit the jackpot on a quarter slot and took home $600. I enjoyed hours of $5 Craps and $5 Blackjack on just $40. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Prior to cruising, we booked Alcatraz tours directly through the Alcatraz people. We paid $35 per person instead of the higher rate through NCL Shore Excursions. This turned out great because the Alcatraz tours left from the dock right beside where Pearl docked. I would recommend this for future cruisers. As for Victoria, the four of us couldn't agree on a shore excursion so we took a cab into town ($5.50) and walked around the Legislative Building, Empress Hotel and the adjacent shopping district. The Canadian people were so nice. From the shop employees, to the food servers and bartenders. It was such a breath of fresh air to talk to nice people. Not Los Angeles people (aka: Angelenos) who are so bitter and nasty. Unfortunately, the nastiness becomes normal when you live there and nice people stand out when traveling. We stopped for a couple drinks in a little place called "The Local" and highly recommend the bar to anyone looking to relax and enjoy a few drinks with friendly bartenders. The experience was so nice that we gave a 100% tip. CLOSING: We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise! The Freestyle Cruising concept fit us well, the ship was immaculate and the employees were top notch. The tipping system was a bit of a confusion for us because you have no set waiter and such, except your Room Steward. We were unsure of what cut Cristian got of the $12 per day, so we left a little in the room for him. I almost wish NCL would go to a percentage tip for each meal as you eat, and a set amount for the Room Steward. This would be more clear for cruisers who want to make sure their Room Steward is taken care of. I have seen bad reviews of NCL, but we did not experience any problems and look forward to our next cruise with them. We have a Caribbean cruise planned on RCCL, but had so much fun on Pearl that we are thinking of switching it to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We had a very fantastic and enjoyable trip crossing the Pacific -- the entertainment was outstanding, the lecturers knowledgeable and witty, the service top notch, the food delicious (especially the Olympic) and the crew entirely ... Read More
We had a very fantastic and enjoyable trip crossing the Pacific -- the entertainment was outstanding, the lecturers knowledgeable and witty, the service top notch, the food delicious (especially the Olympic) and the crew entirely approachable with excellence in the forefront. I have read other reviews about this trip and although I agree with some of the points raised I wholeheartedly disagree with complaints about the ship and crew. First to mention, our upgrade from 'suite guarantee' to a Royal Suite was fantastic and made for a very incredible trip! Hence, I imagine part of our experiences enjoyed on the voyage may not be comparable to others. Embarkation in Yokohama was confusing and if we had not taken matters into our own hands it could have been a long and drawn out process (i.e. waiting in line to get a number to wait in line to get processed). But, that was the port’s process, not the ship. Since we were in a suite we by-passed that process, although we had to convince security to let us through; however, once we got into the ship's processing area we were treated like royalty. There, we were met by Maritza (Michael’s Club concierge) and personally escorted on board to Michael’s Club -- where we waited comfortably while our room was readied, which needless to say, was fantastic -- and our butler, Richard, was outstanding! This was the inauguration of Michael’s Club on the Millennium and I want to say we were totally spoiled by the service. Maritza did an outstanding job of making everyone feel welcome and helping to connect everyone in the club; also, kudos go out to Helen and Tipi for providing great service. The port stops were in Hakodate, Muroran (Sapporo) and Petropavlovsk. These are not the most exciting ports, but a chance to see something different. Hakodate’s port was quite far from the city. Buses were provided to the central market area (school children were at the port to assist with information and giving themselves a chance to practice their English which was a nice touch). Muroran was also a port far from the city. Here we opted for the one hour bus to Sapporo and explored on our own. We just missed the peek of the cherry blossoms, although there were still many in bloom. As an added delight, a very beautiful send off came from the locals as the ship was preparing to leave. The next port, Petropavlovsk, was a running joke by Steve, the cruise director, on the inefficiencies of the Russian customs which surprisingly enough did not present any problem to us in getting off the ship; we took a cruise tour to avoid the visa issue (the U.S. embargo was a problem with purchasing though, charge cards were denied and dollars were not accepted at the places we were trying to buy). The delay came, however, as the ship was trying to leave because of passport issues (5 hours delay) -- partly due to Russian immigration and partly due to the ship needing a better system on making it known about the re-collection of passports upon re-boarding. We almost walked through without turning ours in and we could see how others could have gotten by. One of the other complaints of reviewers had to do with the norovirus outbreak and the constant announcements on washing hands. I think the crew did a very good job of cleaning all parts of the ship during the initial week when this was identified as a problem, and even afterwards when it was contained. Actually, one precaution that was practiced when we first boarded that I believe should have been continued was having attendants serve all buffet items to keep the guests hands out of the food areas including beverage dispensers. Steve, the cruise director, did a fantastic job of providing top-notch entertainment, considering having to get a new act on the spur of the moment when one group was denied entrance into Japan. The concert pianist was a magnificent showman, especially with the addition of the young violinist. The other outstanding addition to this cruise was the Celebrity Corporate Executive Chef Rufino joining the cruise to give cooking demonstrations and classes (a favorite with my wife). The last treat was the captain took the inside passage on the way into Vancouver. Overall this trip set a high bar for service and enjoyment for all of our cruises going forward.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014

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