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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date: June 2019
We had a blast don’t get me wrong. We made the best of it. However for what we paid we did not get our money’s worth. The go carts were booked the laser tag was booked the painting class was booked sometimes the kids club was booked. ... Read More
We had a blast don’t get me wrong. We made the best of it. However for what we paid we did not get our money’s worth. The go carts were booked the laser tag was booked the painting class was booked sometimes the kids club was booked. Thank goodness we booked our shows in advance. I think this ship would be better in a hotter climate where we could just sit on the deck and take in the sun but for an Alaskan cruise there were tons of fun things to do but not enough spaces for everyone that wanted to do it. People would make reservations and some wouldn’t go to their reservations which isn’t fair for this of us that wanted to go to these things as well. They said there was standby but no one could tell us where that was. The laser tag and go carts were open weird times lots of times it was while we were at port. We could tell our crew had been on for a while they were all very nice but looked very tired. The cruise director was AMAZING! The crew talent show was AMAZING too! I loved the observation deck but so many rude people would save seats and whoever they saved them for wouldn’t ever return. That was frustrating. We finally sat down with someone. He said this is reserved. We said you can’t reserve 12 spots with one person. We will sit her and enjoy the whales until your party gets here. They never showed up. The craft brewery was our favorite. The waiter was the best on the ship! The local restaurant was also our favorite amazing food every time! Our room was right below the pool we could hear them moving the chairs above all hours of the night and people running up there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our second cruise on NCL, the first one was on the escape, which we loved. Again if you do your research and plan ahead NCL can be amazing. Things that were great: -stateroom: I love the balcony stateroom and the bathroom ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL, the first one was on the escape, which we loved. Again if you do your research and plan ahead NCL can be amazing. Things that were great: -stateroom: I love the balcony stateroom and the bathroom size. Get a balcony. -Ship: NCL does their ships right, clean, beautiful. Really amazing. -Activities on the ship: from adding the observation lounge (the escape doesn’t have it), to go karts, laser tag, water slides and all of the others. You can never be bored. -Speciality Restaurants- food and service: if you want good food and great to amazing service go to the speciality dining. They have the option to add an additional tip this leads the waiters to really go above and beyond to earn extra money. -alaska stops: I loved all three stops...still recommend finding off boat excursions for cheaper pricing. However the crab boat Tour In Ketchikan was worth it along with the train rides in Skagway. Victoria is also beautiful wish we had more time. Only so much you can do in 7 days though. -Jersey Boys and overall entertainment was spot on. (Just don’t go to Havana- waste of 45 minutes) Reading all of this you would think we should give 5 stars. However there were negatives. Minor -Food in main dining rooms have gone down hill, i remember better food on the escape. Also one breakfast took over two hours in taste and came out cold. However I did complain (hate to do it but two hours and the waiter being no where to be found leads you too it) however the service from then on was better but still not great. Except for Manhattan room, they always had great service. However we had 8 people so not that big of hit. Now the major negatives: -Cabin Steward: I usually love the stewards and loved ours on the escape. However our guy was the worse steward I have ever had on a ship. Never replaced towels, skipped out on cleaning our room making up an excuse (the steward next door through him under the bus, the only reason I knew). Walked in on my wife and I even with the do not disturb on after only knocking once giving us no time to get to the door...to check the mini bar...then kicking us out of our room an hour early on disembarkation. That was the final straw and complained to guest services and will be sending an email. I get they have hard jobs but why bother have the lights on if you ignore them. Disembarkation- an utter mess is all I’m going to say. Crew members not knowing what is going on. Passengers seemed to know more then the crew. However I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to go and we will most likely give NCL another go. Maybe with a detour back to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We arrived in Seattle and went directly to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation experience was very smooth and went very quick. The disembarkation was a little disorganized and timely, but not bad. The ship overall was ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle and went directly to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation experience was very smooth and went very quick. The disembarkation was a little disorganized and timely, but not bad. The ship overall was beautiful, clean, and new. The cabin was very nice and clean and sufficient for two people. The balcony was decent size and great for seeing all the wonderful Alaskan scenery. The dining experience was very poor and I am so disappointed. My two prior cruises with Norwegian left me thinking the food would be terrific. The food both times was excellent. So we were both disappointed. We did go to the specialty restaurants 5 times including Food Republic, Q, Ocean Blue, Cagneys, and La Cucina. Food Republic and La Cucina were both excellent. Q was okay for barbeque, but if you order the friend green tomatoes expecting what you would get in the South, you will be disappointed. Just don't order them. The Brisket was great. Ocean Blue was a joke. Don't go to this seafood restaurant expecting crab and Lobster. No crab on the menu and the Lobster costs extra on top of the surcharge you pay ABOVE the cost of the specialty dining package. The food we did get was just okay. Cagneys prior trips was amazing. This time the steak was mostly gristle and tough (Ribeye). My own petite filet was good. The side dishes were a little on the cold side. Don't expect to find food when you are hungry if it is not during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Late night food choices are extremely limited if at all. There was a lot of entertainment, but getting reservations at a decent hour for the shows is difficult. I couldn't gt into any of them before 10:30 at night. (I'm not a late night person). Service everywhere but dining was outstanding! The dining areas had a lot of what seemed like unhappy staff. The ports were great, just not enough time. We had plenty of time in Juneau to go on an excursion and see the town. (if you go - do the wildlife refuge excursion or fishing - both were great). Ketchikan may have been fun, but I only had enough time for the excursion and barely made it back to the ship In time to leave. Didn't get to see the town. We arrived in Victoria at around 8 PM and after we ate we didn't have time to get off the ship. All of our excursions were fun. In Ketchikan we went kayaking and saw a lot of wildlife to include a mink and lots of starfish. I would go again based on my two prior cruises and the overall experience with this one. I just hope the food improves. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on the NCL Bliss for several reasons. The Bliss was designed for Alaska with a huge observation deck with floor to ceiling windows affording a Panoramic view of Alaska. The Deck has its own buffet area and bar, with ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the NCL Bliss for several reasons. The Bliss was designed for Alaska with a huge observation deck with floor to ceiling windows affording a Panoramic view of Alaska. The Deck has its own buffet area and bar, with sofas, chairs and tables spread through out the 15th floor Lounge. It was open to all passengers all day from early morning to evening. The only drawback to this was some people would use it as their personal sleeping area..and zonk out all day on the sofas. We also had a Balcony stateroom where we could view the trip through Glacier Bay. With freestyle dining we never had a problem eating meals wherever we chose to have them. Their are several venues available for dining, which were not fee based. Service in all dining areas was very good and their were entertainment options every night such as Jersey Boys, the Cavern with the Beatles and the District Brew Pub. Embarkation and Disembarkation both went very smoothly. We arrived at the Pier at 11 and we were able to get on the ship very soon after that. Disembarkation was wonderful, due to the Port Valet service offered by the Port of Seattle. The ports were easy to access since we were anchored right at the Dock. We only took one Shore Excursion offered by NCL. We took a Juneau Tour whale watching and Glacier viewing tour booked on Trip Advisor. We also rode the Race Cars on the top deck. My husband’s favorite activity on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We traveled on the Norwegian Bliss from 6/2 - 6/9/2019 and had a wonderful trip. No regrets with paying the additional cost for the Aft facing balcony which provided us with awesome panoramic views of the ports and was great for Glacier ... Read More
We traveled on the Norwegian Bliss from 6/2 - 6/9/2019 and had a wonderful trip. No regrets with paying the additional cost for the Aft facing balcony which provided us with awesome panoramic views of the ports and was great for Glacier Bay as we didn't have to fight the crowds for photo opportunities or photograph through windows in the observation desk. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship including the band Silgo, the Beatles band in The Cavern (saw them twice and they were fantastic). Prohibition and Jersey Boys were also very good; however we did not enjoy Havana. The seating in the Bliss theater is not at all comfortable and seats feel like the tilt forward and the seating in the Atrium area can be improved as well. Had a lack luster dining experience in Cagney's - very disappointing as we've dined in Cagney's on other ships. The service was excellent; however the food was very disappointing - steaks were dry (even those cooked medium rare had no juices and lacked flavor and had almost a chalky consistency!). We enjoyed both Q and Teppanyaki. The service in the main dining rooms (Manhattan, Taste, and Savor) was fair; wait staff did not seem to be adequately trained, service was slow and food was mediocre. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the Norwegian Bliss at the last minute to cruise Alaska. We were granted two weeks off unexpectedly and had always wanted to see Alaska. We got a great last minute deal on a balcony and flight to Seattle. the ship was amazing! She ... Read More
We chose the Norwegian Bliss at the last minute to cruise Alaska. We were granted two weeks off unexpectedly and had always wanted to see Alaska. We got a great last minute deal on a balcony and flight to Seattle. the ship was amazing! She is so clean and well planned out. The first two nights at sea were a little rough as the seas were angry and the ship was quite rocky. When we entered the inside passage to Juneau, the seas calmed and we could no longer feel any movement. The food was fantastic and always available. We dined in the main dining room, the garden cafe buffet, and at the Local pub. Almost every meal was spectacular. We went to Jersey Boys, Havana, an art auction, and two comedy shows.All of the entertainment was exceptional. Glacier Bay was the highlight of our trip. The captain got very close to all of the glaciers and maneuvered the ship so that everyone could have a great view. Embarkation and Disembarkation were fast and easy. We have cruised on other lines, but we are now loyal to NCL. Can't wait to go again!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was one of best cruise I have been on. I ship was well designed with plenty of space. I crew was well trained in passengers needs. The food was very good and did not have a bad meal while I was on board. The entertainment on board was ... Read More
This was one of best cruise I have been on. I ship was well designed with plenty of space. I crew was well trained in passengers needs. The food was very good and did not have a bad meal while I was on board. The entertainment on board was very good. My 13 year old daughter enjoyed the teen activity’s. My wife love going bar to bar every bar she went to the bartenders where friendly. The pools where heated and enjoyed them every day while onboard. Every port the ship got everyone off in a timely manner and everyone enjoyed the ports. The go carts cost $15.00 per a person. My daughter and I tried cocos and it was a very nice experience and my daughter enjoyed it. When the cruise was over the cruise line got everyone off the ship in a timely matter and my wife did not want to go home. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first time going to Alaska. It was also my first time on Norwegian. The Bliss exceeded my expectations and then some. There was plenty to do on the ship itself, and given the cooler weather in Alaska, I enjoyed spending time in ... Read More
This was my first time going to Alaska. It was also my first time on Norwegian. The Bliss exceeded my expectations and then some. There was plenty to do on the ship itself, and given the cooler weather in Alaska, I enjoyed spending time in the indoor observation lounge. I am a craft beer fan, so I really liked The District Brew House, it had a great selection of craft beers. I had never been on a cruise ship before that had any amount of craft beer selection. The service throughout the ship was great, the staff was attentive and polite. I stayed in a studio cabin, which was a nice feature as well, since it costs less than paying double the regular fare. The embarkation/disembarkation was a little bit disorganized, but then again the cruise left from Seattle which was one of the more chaotic ports that I've been to. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I sailed on the Joy out of Seattle on June 1,2019. She is fresh out of her $50 million remodel for the US market and looked shiny and new. Really a beautiful ship. I sailed with my 13 year old grandson. Embarkation: Easiest and ... Read More
I sailed on the Joy out of Seattle on June 1,2019. She is fresh out of her $50 million remodel for the US market and looked shiny and new. Really a beautiful ship. I sailed with my 13 year old grandson. Embarkation: Easiest and smoothest ever. We dropped our bags off at 9:00 AM at the pier. This was prior to them opening for boarding but we stayed across the street at the Marriott so it was easy and NCL was accepting luggage. We went back at 11;30 AM and we were on the ship in 10 minutes. Absolutely no line and plenty of friendly staff available to assist. Stateroom: Clean and roomy balcony. Our steward Kleward was awesome. Always friendly and available. Food; No complaints. We ate in the no extra fee venues Savor and Taste as well as the Garden Buffet. The food was good and plentiful. I do wish they would serve the food (like HAL) in the buffet rather than allow self serve. Some passengers were seen by us just grabbing food with their hands YUK! I did notify staff and food was promptly removed and replaced. Entertainment: Did not really participate much so can't comment other than say the ship felt overcrowded in the entertainment areas. This is just a personal preference and I believe most did not mind the crowds. Ports: What can I say it was beautiful Alaska! Stunning. Weather was very nice so we really enjoyed our visits. Service: Really good most everywhere. One complaint hire and staff Guest Services better. Lines were consistently long even with staff trying to help people waiting in line. Disembarkation: Same great experience as embarkation! Love Port Valet! Final thoughts Our Meet and Greet had about 100+ people and all the officers (including the captain) were there. It was very impressive and they provided lots of snacks. Overall it was a wonderful week. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
It's always been on our bucket list to check out Alaska. Our three previous cruises had been on NCL to the Carribean, Transatlantic, and Mediterranean, so we booked this one with NCL a year in advance. Embarkation & ... Read More
It's always been on our bucket list to check out Alaska. Our three previous cruises had been on NCL to the Carribean, Transatlantic, and Mediterranean, so we booked this one with NCL a year in advance. Embarkation & Disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was clean but you can tell it was older and a little tired. It was a lot smaller than the others I had been on, and I think I do prefer the larger ones. Our cabin was fine, the ports were fine, the two excursions we went on were fine.The service was fine and all the help were very friendly. They did not have a "Broadway" style show, but did have a nice circus type show. We very much enjoyed their comedian. What was VERY disappointing was the food. From the buffet to the specialty dining, it all seemed to fall short. The exception was the French Restaurant, it was the only really nice meal we had. Cagney's had been my favorite on other cruises and I could not wait to order my steak and the best fries I had ever had, Parmesian Truffle Fries. After it was served, it tasted like regular fries so I asked the waiter and he grinned at me and said they were out of the truffle oil. I would think I should have been told that at the time I placed my order so I had the choice to change my order. I could not seem to get anyone that knew how to cook eggs over medium. In truth, I was so over the no taste food on that ship. It seems like every time we take a cruise on NCL we find new things that are no longer available. When they first came out with the UBP, they had a really great selection of Whiskeys & Bourbons. On our next cruise they had cut the selection in half, and the next cut it to barely any choice, which really did not make my hubby happy. I had a drink I always liked, a Mudslide. Imagine my surprise when I ordered it on this cruise and they forgot the whip cream on top. When I questioned the bartender, he said they cut out having whip cream since they returned from Asia. I know for us, the food and drinks are a great part of feeling we are on vacation. I think it is time for us to revisit other cruise lines. I liked NCL's free styling dining and casual dress, but it seems they are making free with cutting the quality of food and drinks and that don't work for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The trip itself was fantastic, Alaska is an exceptionally beautiful state, but when you go on a trip to a destination that prides itself on being the crab, salmon and halibut capital of the world, wouldn’t you think there would be some ... Read More
The trip itself was fantastic, Alaska is an exceptionally beautiful state, but when you go on a trip to a destination that prides itself on being the crab, salmon and halibut capital of the world, wouldn’t you think there would be some of any of those served on the ship? Well no there wasn’t, and the the food in all restaurants, because we tried every single one, was the blandest food we’ve ever had. If you closed your eyes and took a bite of food, most the time it was hard to tell what you were eating. As far as the service goes, it was great! Entertainment was good. Our cabin was very nice, we had a balcony room and our personal attendant was awesome. Every day there would be a new, adorable animal on our bed made of towels. Embankment and disembarkment went smooth. Ketchikan was our favorite, we went into town and bought a lunch of King crab legs and halibut. Shore excursions were to Icey Strait, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan and all were nice. We would probably go again, but not with Norwegian. We did a land cruise tour before the actual ship cruise, which started in Fairbanks and ended in Seward where we caught the ship and it was fantastic, we had an awesome tour director, she was extremely knowledgeable about Alaska, she really takes pride in her beautiful state and our bus/coach driver was also excellent. Denali was great and the glass domed train to Talkeetna was fantastic, the food on the train was excellent, as was the train narrator, she was very knowledgeable too. All in all an awesome trip other than the not so great food on the ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time! Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too. Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable. We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good. The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good. O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner. The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT. We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad. At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos. Service at the fee based dining was wonderful. I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again. The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days. The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou. On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather. We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth. The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar). The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun. Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth. Luggage management was efficient and fast. The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there. Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since ... Read More
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since we were cruising on a budget, we did not book any excursions and found we enjoyed everything else just fine. It is amazing what you can find! We cruised with two teens (16 years old) and our adult daughter. All were able to find something they enjoyed. The teens, however, were disappointed in the "Entourage" (the teen lounge). I think it just wasn't their speed. They enjoyed the pool, the "Card Room" and especially the karaoke nights. Everyone we came into contact with were very professional and pleasant to work with. All were very responsive to questions and requests. After boarding, we had to request that our room steward reconfigure our cabins (our needs changed after booking). They were very prompt and accommodating. The buffet was HUGE and quite tasty. I will have to admit, though, the mousse was anything but mousse. It was more like pudding with too much gelatin. Oh, well. There was plenty of other goodies! Really, the only less than optimal dining experience we had was at Cagney's. I ordered the salmon (typically very good). Unfortunately, I found it lukewarm on the edges and cold and raw in the middle. The wait staff were quick to correct the issue and bring me another plate. However, what I was brought was still the same - lukewarm, cold and raw. The waiter tried to tell me that this was the usual way it was served????? After I sent it back yet again, requesting that it be cooked longer than "usual," I received a well-done piece of salmon - hot/crispy on the outside, hot in the middle and generally dry (now not the best salmon I've had). I decided that I would eat it anyway as service was rather slow and we had already been there almost an hour, but the waiter really seemed to be trying. We were comped the plate and three desserts. Otherwise, in the food department.... if you ever went hungry on the Jewel, it was your own fault! The shows in the Stardust Theater were good, especially the comedian. He had a packed house every show. Even his "Q&A" session in the Spinnaker Lounge was standing room only and that was packed 4 and 5 rows deep! This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and we will do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you ... Read More
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you could tell it was an older ship, it was stylish and up to date. We loved that the ship was a smaller one, and I've decided I like that better than the new larger ships. We were very impressed with how close the Captain was able to get us to the glaciers. He was very good at maneuvering the ship through the ice to the glaciers and positioning the ship so everyone could see everything. The views were breathtaking and we were very pleased with this aspect of the cruise. The ship was easy to get on and off at ports. The lines always moved quickly. There was always staff to help you find where you needed to go. We were very pleased that we could keep our luggage with us the last night and take it ourselves on the final day. The one thing we did not care for was the smoking policy. Smoking was allowed in the casino, which smelled up the theatre and the lounges on either side of the casino. Smoking was also allowed at the Pit Stop on deck 13, which meant you could smell smoke all over the pool deck. I also observed people smoking on the open decks while we were docking. - For a small inside cabin, there was ample storage for two people who had severely overpacked. We did bring an extension cord (used for a CPAP) and multi-outlet adapters (didn't use.) The lamps over the beds had USB ports. Our steward, Mark, was fabulous. He made sure to say hello and chat a little every time he saw us in the hallway, was constantly asking what else we needed, and straightened our room several times a day. Our room was very clean before we got there and stayed that way throughout our trip. Our room (8531) was also VERY quiet. - We very much enjoyed the freestyle dining and the fact that food was always available somewhere on board. The food on the ship was good, not great, but good. I had expected it to be better, but it is institutional, rather bland food. The choices were ample, and we found some restaurants to be better than others. Azura was our favorite for dinner. We found the service to be lacking in O'Sheehan's. We never had to wait long in line to be seated, though seating could be tricky to find for breakfast in the Garden Cafe. We had hoped to have more regional food choices, but they did serve a delicious smoked salmon chowder on the pool deck one day, and they did bring on fresh salmon for dinner in Ketchikan. My dad was very happy with the steaks he had in the dining room. We did not try the specialty dining. That said, limited gluten-free choices were there, but not as common as I had been lead to believe by the NCL customer service staff I talked with prior to the cruise. Although the signs said gluten-free muffins were available for breakfast, the staff could never find anything but gluten-free white bread when I asked. There were no gluten-free buns for sandwiches or burgers, no gluten-free breads in the main dining rooms, and no gluten-free desserts other than ice cream or fruit. Other guests with food sensitivities were having issues with dining as well. We also found it very odd that coffee and tea were seemingly only available in the Garden Cafe during the evening, none of the lounges had it. I had been told by NCL customer service that I would get a card for a birthday cake on the last night of my cruise, but that never happened. Even if it had, I doubt that I would have been able to eat it. We had the UBP package and were happy with most of the drinks. We loved the martinis at Shakers and were very happy with the drinks out of the Spinnaker. My dad tried a bottled beer a couple of times and thought it was skunky, but he was happy drinking martinis after that. The bartenders were willing to make changes to the drinks if you asked, and I felt the drinks ran a little strong most days. - Entertainment and activities were plentiful except for the last full day at sea. The main productions were fantastic each night. We were very lucky to have the hilarious Tim Kominski as our comic. We enjoyed most of the evening lounge singers and bands. Most of the "game shows" the cruise staff did were fun. There were many options for trivia, bingo, pictionary, painting, etc... Several of them came with an extra charge. The Q & A's with the staff were all interesting. Unfortunately there weren't many enrichment activities. It would have been nice to have a few more opportunities to hear about the history of Alaska, the gold rush, and all the glaciers/wildlife we were seeing. - We did not do any excursions sponsored by the ship, as we had arranged our own. The port towns were small, but were easy to walk and felt safe, had ample shopping, and had some good restaurants. Maps were available at the visitor centers. The ports were very crowded when there were 4 or 5 ships docked at the same time. - We found the service on the ship to be phenomenal. From our wonderful steward, to serving staff who remembered us in different venues, to the effervescent cruise staff running games, to the bartenders who learned our names and the drinks we liked by day two. Everyone was friendly and willing to chat. The staff of this ship really made our trip very special. - The NCL app was very helpful. You could connect to it without purchasing the wifi package. It would allow you to see your account, book excursions, and see the activities available that day. Thank you NCL. We will definitely be back. Read Less
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