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Sail Date: July 2018
We selected the cruise for the time available and for the destination. We spent three days in Seward prior to embarking. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward after a quick evening in Anchorage. We highly recommend the train as a ... Read More
We selected the cruise for the time available and for the destination. We spent three days in Seward prior to embarking. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward after a quick evening in Anchorage. We highly recommend the train as a means to travel! We were able to do some things in Seward that were also available in the ports like whale watching. We stayed outside of Seward and didn’t rent a car as there are some travel options in the town. Food in Seward was good and the locals were very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and easy. We were traveling as a couple and left the kids at home as we were celebrating our 25th anniversary. We have never been on a cruise before and overall we enjoyed it. The cabin was small as expected, but very functional. We were able to move around easily and all of our “stuff” fit well in the spaces provided. My preference is for a soft bed, but this bed, as could be expected, was hard and difficult for me to sleep on. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We ate at multiple restaurants, but the Azura was our favorite and never disappointed. Overall we found the food to be satisfactory. I didn’t want to do the dress up every night option although some people did. Either way worked out fine as some people dressed up and others didn’t. We had read that Alaska cruises are a little laid back. The scenery during the trip was amazing. My wife’s only regret was that we didn’t get a cabin with the balcony which she highly recommends. We spent more time on the ship looking at the views of the inside passage than we did at the shows although my wife caught a few and said they were excellent. There is a casino feel to the cruise. There is more than enough for anyone that has different interests on the ship to be entertained. We didn’t sign up for excursions through the cruise. We did get off the ship and find things to do. Sometimes we explored the port city, other times we found an excursion and still other times we explored and went back to the ship (Icy Straight). We did get a couples massage which was a positive experience as I had never had a massage, but the bed was killing me! The negatives were the time we spent in each port. We were in Icy Straight all day and only for a few hours in Juneau. If we cruise again we will examine that a little more. Overall we loved Alaska and we enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise through American Airlines Vacations. We chose an aft facing mini-suite on the advice of a friend. He was correct; it was great. Embarkation was crazy and far too slow. We found the dining only average with the ... Read More
We chose this cruise through American Airlines Vacations. We chose an aft facing mini-suite on the advice of a friend. He was correct; it was great. Embarkation was crazy and far too slow. We found the dining only average with the exception of the French dining. The food was very good and Ian Palmer was outstanding. He was very professional and made our evening one to remember. Other dining experiences were simply average. The food was average and the service was tired. Many staff were simply rude and seemed like they wished they were elsewhere. General dining was average, but NCL needs to get another way to say sanitize your hands at entrances better than "Washy-Washy". That's just annoying and stupid. In the bars, most servers were rude and unhelpful. At the same bar, they range from extremely rude (Dragan) to extremely good (Alonzo Mateo). Our dealings navigated to Mateo but he was sick the last day. Our Cabin Steward was excellent. Our shore excursions (Tram in Juneau) (Train in Skagway) (Rainforest & Raptor Center in Ketchikan) were memorable and without an issues. A blast! Debarkation was simple and pleasant. Chose the early time and take your own luggage. Lines were short, speed through processing rapid and people were helpful. There is no Uber in Vancouver so take the cab. All in all, this was a great vacation and we have great pictures. Most of that "great" vacation was spent on excursions or on deck looking at scenery. If I were to do it again, I would find another cruise line to hopefully find friendlier staff in general. Yes, there were exceptions. But, in reality, if you are exposed to over 100 and can only enjoy the experience with three, something is amiss. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this one because the buffet was available for all meals. We did not want formal dining with young children. My main disappointment was the excursion Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching. We were not told that we would have ... Read More
We chose this one because the buffet was available for all meals. We did not want formal dining with young children. My main disappointment was the excursion Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching. We were not told that we would have to buy food on the whale boat. And there were no healthy choices on that boat. Fruit would have been a good thing. I brought no money with me, and I was pretty hungry by the time we got back to the ship. One grandson refused to go back to splash academy because another kid called him a name, but they loved the basketball court and the tennis court. The first day the pool was very cold. The service was excellent all over the ship. The crew was helpful and friendly. Our cabin steward, Dennis, was excellent. One could not have asked for a better attendant. I would recommend Norwegian for families. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Norewgian because of the dates we had in mind. They seemed to work the best. Since we were also going to be hiking in Oregon and Washington the idea of the Freestyle cruising seemed suited for us. We didn't have space to pack ... Read More
We chose Norewgian because of the dates we had in mind. They seemed to work the best. Since we were also going to be hiking in Oregon and Washington the idea of the Freestyle cruising seemed suited for us. We didn't have space to pack for formal nights as well as hiking clothes and casual clothes. What we didn't realize was HOW freestyle is was. Many people looked like the were wearing their PJs around the ship. Although there were spaces that were reserved for fancier dressing, the main parts of the ship weren't. The biggest issue for us was the kids. Our oldest is 15 and our youngest is 12, turning 13 in less that a month after our cruise. They separated the kids by age and 12 and under in one group and 13 and over in another. That meant that they couldn't be with their sister. We asked for an exception, as if we had known we would have booked later in August after the youngest turned 13. Not only were they unwilling to budge, the manager was downright rude about it. Not having them together mean that neither wanted to do any of the youth activities and meant that they were left to play are hockey or bowling in the lounge, or other places in the ship where alcohol was served. Meaning that these areas are really meant for adults, but the kids still wanted their parent free time. There were any activities for them with out the kids activities - the pool, shuffleboard, golf, rock wall, etc - but not having them join the activities cost us extra money as the air hockey was $1.65 each game and the bowling was $6 per person each game. As much as my husband and I enjoyed the cruise, we just couldn't get past this issue. The cruise is for family bonding, not to separate them. We would have understood more if our youngest wasn't turning 13 so soon. Really we were talking a 3 week span. I'd also add that there was always a long line for customer service. Aside from that we loved our porter, most of the staff and especially the man singing with his guitar every day in the Garden Cafe. It was very smooth sailing, clean and fun. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first cruise and it was amazing. The entire staff of ship provided excellent service. Food and entertainment were great. Our room steward was tops, he knew our names from first day. Loved the bingo!! We really enjoyed the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was amazing. The entire staff of ship provided excellent service. Food and entertainment were great. Our room steward was tops, he knew our names from first day. Loved the bingo!! We really enjoyed the different ports visited. Lots of different shore excursions to choose from. Embarkation and disembarkation went very fast and smooth. Enjoyed eating at the different restaurants. Really liked the different pictures that were taken when getting off at the ports and around the ship. Enjoyed having special pictures taken in the atrium. All the pictures turned out great. We enjoyed meeting Captain Paul and having our picture taken with him. Our cabin was very comfortable, really enjoyed sitting on the balcony and enjoying the peace and quiet. This was our first cruise on the Norwegian Pearl but it definitely won’t be our last. This ship is updated, clean and modern. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We loved cruising Alaska a few years ago on the Norwegian Star and wanted to go back again on NCL's newest ship. This ship was absolutely beautiful and offered lots of things to do for our various age groups in our party. The ... Read More
We loved cruising Alaska a few years ago on the Norwegian Star and wanted to go back again on NCL's newest ship. This ship was absolutely beautiful and offered lots of things to do for our various age groups in our party. The Savor/Taste dining rooms offered wonderful meals that didn't seem redundant and no one had any complaints of meals served except for one snafu at breakfast which was remedied pretty quickly. The reservation system for the specialty restaurants and shows was not user friendly and unfortunately a lot of other cruisers would book multiple reservations and take up the space so that others couldn't get a reservation. I'm hoping that NCL will do something with the software that will prevent the same group to book several restaurants for the same night and then of course just go to one of them. We tried walking into two restaurants where there were plenty of tables open but they were unable to even seat two of us because of reservations that no one showed up to. They have a policy of holding for 30 minutes after the reservation. We were able to eat at Ocean Blue and that was fantastic as well as the Sushi restaurant which we found out was not part of the upgrade package but the food was very tasty. The observation lounge is amazing! It was unfortunate that some cruisers thought it was their own personal sleeping lounge and also it was very sad to see how some people would leave their plates/glasses and leftover food just sitting on the furniture. I think NCL will have their work cut out for them keeping it as beautiful as it was on the first day. We had a mid-ship balcony room and boy have they gotten smaller!! There is considerably less storage and it's definitely a dance to get past each other in the room. The non-smoking casino was fun, my Mom and Aunt really had fun playing the penny slots and it has the fastest bar service if you're in need of a drink. The race track looked like fun, a few of our party were able to get a reservation for that and they had a good time. Kind of a once and done thing though. The slides were fun to watch and again a few of our party enjoyed them on the warmer days. The show Jersey Boys is a must! The reservations were another stickler but we were all finally able to see the show few of us on one night and a few on another. Actually all the shows were great, from our group someone saw each one of them and all gave good reviews. There is an adult area with a hot tub and lounge on the aft deck which was nice but some still tried to bring along their children. I went to the buffet twice, it's not really my thing but it offered many varieties and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Please stop at the mojito bar and let the "chocolate cowboy" (check out his face book page) make you a drink. He's a great bartender and has the gift of gab with everyone. We did get a couple's massage which was nice and although I thought the automatic gratuity a little excessive it was a very nice spa. The put-put game behind the race track is fun although a little awkward to get to since the starting area is near the "haven" entrance only so you have to walk through the course to get to the start. The shops are pretty small and offer the standard items wasn't really wowed by anything. The photo shop needs more staff, we always had at least a 10-15 minute wait even though they have all these computers that you can log into to order your prints. Our group did several cruise excursions and they were very nice and provided good information about the areas we visited. We did private tours in Skagway and Ketchikan that were a lot of fun also. Our cabin service was okay, again I think they need more staff for such a large ship. Others in our group had fantastic service some had just okay service. We had a mixture of cabins from deck 10/12 and 15 inside, window, balcony and mini suite. All were decorated very nice and except for window cabin (12700) everyone thought they were much smaller than other ships. So pack efficiently! We were very fortunate to have perfect sunny weather everyday so all those cold weather clothes stayed in the luggage under the bed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Great ship, new and beautiful Now the bad news Unlimited drinks,not so much No water or OJ included,reallllllly Bought specialty restaurant pkg but were sold out every night and they were still selling them in the ship.Pretty ... Read More
Great ship, new and beautiful Now the bad news Unlimited drinks,not so much No water or OJ included,reallllllly Bought specialty restaurant pkg but were sold out every night and they were still selling them in the ship.Pretty sure that is theft. Asked for a refund and they looked at me like I was a third grader All shows were sold out so never got to see one. All of this was within in 30 mins of getting on the ship at 11am Our rear facing balcony was unusable as it was covered in diesel crap every morning.So much for a nice breakfast on the Balcony.Reallllllllllly NCl The one highlight was we met three wonderful crew. Orest in the Observation lounge was a delight.Since we ate in Savor every night we were Blessed to meet Jose’ as our server and asked for him every meal.NCL should have him train others.And not least was Rowena in the Mixx bar between Savor and Taste was very nice and always had a smile no matter how busy she was. We have benn very fortunate to cruise more the 30 times and this was mostly very sad. Come on NCL I know you can do better. Larry F Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We just returned from our 7 Day Alaskan Cruise that departed from Seattle.(June 30th-July 7th) This was our 1st cruise & we were excited to be on this new huge ship! Did I mention the ship is HUGE - 17 total decks, 4000+ passengers ... Read More
We just returned from our 7 Day Alaskan Cruise that departed from Seattle.(June 30th-July 7th) This was our 1st cruise & we were excited to be on this new huge ship! Did I mention the ship is HUGE - 17 total decks, 4000+ passengers & 1700 crew. The ship was nice & clean but there were more downsides than up. We booked a family ocean view cabin & we were actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of room. 1 Queen size bed, 1 roll-away bed & 1 "sofa" that converted to a bed, as well as 2 large closets & a decent size bathroom. Good for 2 adults & 2 teenagers. As far as the dining options go - the Garden Cafe was terrible. Same food served for every meal, with "special themed dinners some evenings". It was all cafeteria/mass produced food & good luck finding a table. We also ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants - Teppanyaki - entertainment was good, food ok. Ocean Blue - seafood. This was a cruise to Alaska so we expected Alaskan Crab legs, lobster, anything but the normal seafood you could get anywhere. None on the menu. 3rd Dinner - Cagney's steakhouse. My husband loves his filet mignon - he said it was good but not memorable. I got the seafood platter & it was just a ton of breading & no seafood. We were excited for the Go Cart race track & Laser tag only to find out that it is an extra charge & if you didn't make reservations before the cruise, you could get in a standby line to see if anything opened up! Seriously - after what we paid for the cruise itself & to spend more time in a line - no thanks! Pool/Hot Tubs - There is 1 small salt-water pool for 4000 passengers. The water is so salty that my husband & kids went in once & said their eyes stung so bad they wouldn't go in again. There are 4 tiny hot tubs in the main pool area & 2 in the adult area. The days that were really cold (most of them while in Alaska) the little kids (Ages 4-12) used it as a swimming pool, goggles & all. If you enjoy sitting butt to butt with a complete stranger than you will enjoy it. The sign clearly states no one under the age of 16, without an accompanying adult, & no more than 10 people in at a time. It was never monitored & parents would drop their kid, go to the bar & check back in an hour! The entertainment shows were also completely booked, & again you could show up 10 minutes early, stand in line at stand-by and you might get a seat. The ports were great but no where near enough time in each one. Could have skipped Victoria - over-priced & nothing to see. Whale Watching in Juneau (Juneau Whale Watching) was the highlight of our trip! The best part of our time on the cruise ship was getting to know our Room Steward Ven! He always had a friendly smile, would pop out of another room when you went by just to say hello & ask how your day was & we came back to a different fun towel animal every night. This man works 8 months straight on the ship, away from his wife & 3 kids and cleans up after passenger after passenger & I never once saw him not smiling. Bottom line if you like cafeteria food, waiting in line for EVERYTHING - elevators, food, getting on the ship, getting off the ship, playing bingo, hanging out in noisy crowded bars, and playing weird game shows then this is for you & it will be money well spent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Ship: Was absolutely beautiful and huge. Decor is attractive, and the large windows everywhere maximize Alaskan views. That being said, I feel like they crammed too many people onto this ship. Everything was WAY TOO CROWDED all the time - ... Read More
Ship: Was absolutely beautiful and huge. Decor is attractive, and the large windows everywhere maximize Alaskan views. That being said, I feel like they crammed too many people onto this ship. Everything was WAY TOO CROWDED all the time - made you feel like you were trapped in an insane asylum with 3999 other crazy people after a week. There was never enough seating in the buffet, the atrium, or the observation lounge, there weren't enough elevators and even the stairways were crowded, it's impossible to get reservations to anything, and in general, it just felt like there were way too many people on board. Really wrecked the whole experience, honestly. Also, the passengers on this ship were some of the rudest, most self-entitled people I ever met in my life - letting their small children run all over the ship alone (stepping on and tripping people, pressing all the buttons before getting off elevators, screaming and yelling); crowding and bullying other passengers on shore excursions; saving much-needed seats in crowded areas for hours for people who never showed up; sleeping in the observation lounges so other people didn't have a chance to see the beautiful Alaskan views; refusing to let handicapped people on elevators, etc etc. And the crew never said a word about any of it. Just awful. Rating: 2/10 Cabin: I had a studio cabin, and it was great - just enough room for all my stuff, the video porthole was a lot cooler than I thought it would be (and had the added bonus of being able to go completely dark at night), and the lounge with water and snacks was such a great added bonus at the end of the day. Norwegian is really leading the pack in terms of catering to solo travelers, and I really, really appreciate that effort. That being said, our solo director was not very enthusiastic or engaged with the job and didn't do much for us. Instead of meeting for an hour every night in the lounge just to make boring small talk, how about scheduling a dinner for us at Manhattan so we know we always have someone to eat with at night? Rating: 8/10 Dining: I liked the food in the Garden Cafe buffet and in Manhattan/Taste/Savor (although the service was slow in Manhattan). It was also nice to have snacks/soup/salad in the Observation Lounge at lunch. However, due to overcrowding, it was often impossible to get a seat at the buffet, especially on port days. One day I couldn't get breakfast at all and was starving on my tour, which really undermined the experience. How about removing some of the extraneous stuff on the ship (like the watch shops) to add another buffet? Also impossible to get specialty restaurant reservations, because of, once again, too many people on board! Rating: 6/10 Entertainment and Activities: Jersey Boys was fantastic - highly recommend! Beatles show was the weakest of the 4 shows. Other activities too crowded and/or required extra cost. Bingo was kind of fun but too expensive. Rating: 5/10 Service: Cabin service was perfect, no complaints there. Was lovely coming back to a turned-down bed and a cute towel animal every night. As I mentioned, would have appreciated more enthusiasm from the solo traveler concierge. Loved the "washy-washy" girls in the buffets - so cute and sweet! Rating: 8/10 Ports and Shore Excursions: Loved the ports, and Alaska is fantastic, but again, too many people involved in everything. We often had to share ports and excursions with 3-4 other ships, which doubled or tripled the size of the actual town we were in. Skagway was the best port (super beautiful), and the White Pass train was the best excursion I took (excluding a really trashy, entitled family who made loud stupid jokes the entire ride, hogged both platforms of my train car, and then behaved rudely when they were asked nicely by another passenger to give other people a chance to see). Would have been nice to get into ports a later than 7 am, and stay a little later as well. I didn't get to see anything in Juneau other than my shore excursion because of the limited call time. To give Norwegian some credit, I had no issues with embarkation at any port even despite the massive amount of people they had to get off and on the ship in just a few hours. Rating 6/10 Would I go again? Honestly, probably not. It's just too much money to spend the entire week fighting with 3999 other badly-behaved people over lounge seats, shore excursions, meals, and elevators. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this ship for our family of 10 because it was new and it offered an itinerary that we wanted. It came down to Princess vs NCL and the appeal of a new ship won out. This was our 1st NCL cruise. Getting on and off the ship was easy ... Read More
We chose this ship for our family of 10 because it was new and it offered an itinerary that we wanted. It came down to Princess vs NCL and the appeal of a new ship won out. This was our 1st NCL cruise. Getting on and off the ship was easy and quick. The "freestyle" cruising that NCL advertise's was accurate only if you planned to eat at the complementary restaurants for every meal which pretty much had the exact same menu every day for the entire cruise. Anything else (shows, go carts, laser tag, specialty dining etc) all needed to be reserved well in advance or risk not getting to experience them at all. Our group never did get to do the go carts or lazer tag despite trying to book them starting at 1pm on the day we boarded...they book up fast as do the shows and specialty restaurants). I'll add that the promotion of up to 5 amenities "for free" is a little deceptive. For example, we selected the $50/cabin/port discount but found most all of the tours booked directly with the tour company or through Costco were much more than $50 cheaper than the same exact tours booked through NCL so we did not get much value out of this one. Food and service in the specialty restaurants Cagney's, Tappi & Los Lobos was great...of course for an extra cost even though we also selected the specialty dining package as one of our free perks we had to still pay a service fee. Guest services was great and our balcony cabins worked well for us...really appreciated the large showers in the cabins! We saw two shows, Havanna (mixed reviews) and Jersey Boys (really well done but could have skipped the "F" bombs that added nothing and the cigaret smoke that made its way from the stage to the front rows). Laundry special for $19.95 was a great offering that we took advantage of. Read Less
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