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2,931 Norwegian (NCL) Alaska Cruise Reviews

We selected this cruise ship because it had good reviews for teenagers & we were bringing 2 teenage granddaughters. Our biggest problem on this cruise was related to our youngest granddaughter who is 12, & suffers from Cebral ... Read More
We selected this cruise ship because it had good reviews for teenagers & we were bringing 2 teenage granddaughters. Our biggest problem on this cruise was related to our youngest granddaughter who is 12, & suffers from Cebral Palsy which has effected her ability to speak clearly. Three different occasions on this cruise, twice in the kids area, & once in the bowling alley the NCL employee mocked my challenged granddaughter, even after being told of her situation. This kind of thing is absolutely not acceptable. We found the food to be generally good. The stateroom was very small, smaller than other cruise lines. Entertainment was above average. Other than the incidents with my granddaughter, all other employees were actually very nice & helpful. We thought that arriving in Victoria BC at 6 pm was on the late side. Arriving earlier would have pridided a fuller day during daylight hours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Excellent experience for our family, but it must be said: this line scrapes every nickel it can from your pockets. Excursions, expensive on all cruises, were utterly outrageous: $199 for a ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and and two hours ... Read More
Excellent experience for our family, but it must be said: this line scrapes every nickel it can from your pockets. Excursions, expensive on all cruises, were utterly outrageous: $199 for a ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and and two hours on a very old whale watch ship, for instance. Daily charge of $6.59 for soda package. $69 for each session of bingo. After paying for the children's Cokes we were charged once in error for the two of them, and they refused to remove the charge unless we called when we returned. We booked the White Pass and Yukon train trip from Skagway on our own, for $99 or adults and $50 for kids. The ship's price was more than double that. Most egregious error: we had plane reservations at 11:15 am, and when we called the NCL office we were told that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would there be enough time from debarkation to make it to the Seattle airport. We spent over $1100 to rebook our flights. The entire ship was empty by 8 am and there was a "walk off" feature starting at 7 am. They cost us a great deal of money. Beautiful scenery, but in the 18 years between seeing Glacier Bay in 1998 and now, the enormous walls of ice have receded to what looks like small snow fields. Global warming! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Let me begin by saying this was my 6th cruise with NCL, so you can obviously tell me enjoy sailing with them. Below is a recap of our trip by bullet so it is easier to learn more about the cruise/ship depending on what you are looking for. ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was my 6th cruise with NCL, so you can obviously tell me enjoy sailing with them. Below is a recap of our trip by bullet so it is easier to learn more about the cruise/ship depending on what you are looking for. Travel to embarkation port & Check In Very easy from anywhere in Seattle, but when you arrive it is extremely disorganized with people everywhere, no lines and check in process. Get there early as the room isn't to big and they ran out of chairs for people to sit and people had to either stand or sit on the floor. Ship information Very clean and taken care of very well. Activities Could have more, but as you are exploring Alaska it is enough to keep you occupied. Should have nightly shows at a more convenient time. Most people are eating dinner at 8P and cannot make a show at that time. Service SLOW. VERY VERY SLOW. Probably the slowest I have ever encountered. Be prepared to wait for your drinks at every bar and wait for your food for at least 30 minutes at every restuarant. Also, many waiters did not understand english and missed our orders multiple times. Cabin VERY CLEAN. Always a great job of the stateroom steward on any ship. Dining Even though the service was slow the food was delicious the best we have had from all the ships. Only complaint is, Alaska is known for their salmon and the salmon on the ship was either too salty or over cooked. Such a shame. Entertainment Repetitive if you have sailed NCL before, no news shows. Chip Romero is a wonderful magician and comedian. Highly recommend his show. Jim the Piano Man is the best entertainer I have seen in a long time. He is hysterical, plays amazing songs on the piano and keeps you entertained the entire time you are watching him. Bravo Jim! Disembarkation Easy. Off the ship in 10 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The overall experience beat our expectations. Point by point Pros, than Cons - - Arrival and departure were easy. We checked in with the Suites table and they moved us along. On departure, our flight left at 11:30am, but we ended up ... Read More
The overall experience beat our expectations. Point by point Pros, than Cons - - Arrival and departure were easy. We checked in with the Suites table and they moved us along. On departure, our flight left at 11:30am, but we ended up taking the transfer to the airport. They charged us for the 2 adults and let the 3 kids go free. - Ship was crowded but nice. Very clean and well maintained. The passage ways were congested at times, but nothing that soured the experience. - The cabin was larger and nicer than expected - family suite on 11th floor. Beds were good, shower was terrific, balcony is now a requirement. - Dining was predictably fine. The premium restaurants had a few items that were better than the included options. Nothing was extravagant or "best meal ever" level, but enjoyable. The buffet was plentiful and met expectations. Fruit was the standout. Vegetarian options were limited. - Entertainment was OK. The Splash Academy was really just bb sitting with an occasional theme. It did NOT work for the 12 year old/tweens. There were too few and if they stayed they had to hangout with the little kids. Our 6 & 8 year olds had fun most days, but happily ran out if they could go to the pool instead. - Serviarce was great. Disney level support/attitude from all staff throughout the ship and experience. - Ports were enjoyable and the excursions were enjoyable. I'll add more in the Cons. Cons - Tech was outdated. The iConcierge app was useless unless you bought one of the expensive wifi packages. Wifi was so slow that you burned through minutes waiting for pages to load. - The excursions were generally good. The dogsled, gold-panning and White pass train ride was the worst of the experiences. And only because neither the Norwegian concierge nor the excursions set expectations. We had hungry kids (and adults) in our group and food consisted of a slice of cheese and 2 crackers. The content of the excursions were outstanding - Dogsled team was interesting and enjoyable - but had to abandon the trip due to hungry kids before the train ride we paid for. - Buffet food was generally good and plentiful. The only downside was that it was like eating at a packed ball game - every day and every meal. The food line experience was rarely relaxing. - Quiet space was hard to find if you don't have a balcony. The premium restaurants were relaxing, but there was rarely a quiet window to eat a meal at the included restaurants. Quiet spaces outside of your cabin were equally hard to find if you want to read a book, and not be overwhelmed by loud groups or groups of teens. Kids and grandparents had an overall positive experience. We'd go again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Background info: I’m 31 and DH is 32, no kids. This was our 3rd cruise together (first on NCL together), and my 10th cruise overall (5th on NCL). I had not sailed on NCL since 2005 on the Dawn. We traveled in a group of 10 (me and DH, ... Read More
Background info: I’m 31 and DH is 32, no kids. This was our 3rd cruise together (first on NCL together), and my 10th cruise overall (5th on NCL). I had not sailed on NCL since 2005 on the Dawn. We traveled in a group of 10 (me and DH, MIL, FIL, SIL, DH’s aunt and uncle, and their 2 married friends). I was the only one who had been to Alaska previously (this was my fourth trip!). Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 10:30 am on Sunday July 3 and found the Haven/Suite check in table. We had to wait a while to get escorted to the lounge due to a broken escalator. Going through security was a bit messy, as the rep had a large group of suite guests to get through. I think maybe this could have been handled better. Anyway, once in the lounge, it was very quick to check us in, get our photo taken, and get onboard the ship. We met our two concierges, Susana and Yahira (more on them below). We were then escorted directly to lunch in Cagney’s for suite guests. Lunch was delicious- I had the shrimp and scallops over risotto, and DH had the swordfish burger. Then we were on our own to find our room! Stateroom: 10664, Category SF, Aft Penthouse Suite, Deck 10. This was a wonderful suite! It was a corner aft suite, so we only had neighbors on one side, and a crew stair on the other. It was a super quiet location; the only time there was noise was once on a day with an early docking time, for about 5 minutes, and then again on debarkation day, but that’s to be expected as the crew bustles about for the next group of guests. Otherwise, very quiet! Loved the soft hum of the engines and loved watching our wake from the balcony, it was very soothing! And of course, great views of everything. The balcony was always wet from washing down the Great Outdoors on Deck 12 (also, it’s Alaska, so definitely from rain and mist too), but we only found a few rogue coffee stirrers on the balcony once. This did not bother us at all. The room was well-appointed and the bed was super comfy! Our butler was Lazaro and our room steward was Danilo (we called him Dan). Lazaro was quick to address our needs, which we didn’t have many except for the espresso machine, which broke twice! He replaced it twice, right away, and was always friendly. Dan kept our room spotless, made the best towel animals, and was so friendly and personable. I highly recommend this room for anyone looking into an aft suite. Concierges: Our concierges for the week were Susana (who departed on Day 6) and Yahira. Both were excellent, especially in shuffling some of our dining reservations for our group of 10, which can be difficult for larger parties. They answered all our questions about everything and escorted us for the priority debarkation/embarkation at all the ports (which was a great thing to have!). Food: What would a cruise be without food?! The food was anywhere from good to excellent. DH and I had the Ultimate Dining Package, so we were able to try it all! Here’s where we ate: Moderno: This was our favorite specialty restaurant; we ate here twice for dinner, once as a group of 10 and once as a couple. The food and staff were absolutely outstanding. The maitre’d, Sachin, was so funny and personable. During the day, Moderno is used for breakfast and lunch for suite guests, so we ate here often. The menu is always the same, but always delicious. Cagney’s: We ate here as a group of 10. I had the bison steak and DH had the filet; both were excellent and cooked correctly. As with Moderno, the staff was attentive and friendly. We enjoyed the experience here. Le Bistro: This one was just okay, at least for me. DH and I ate here as a couple. I had the lobster. I wanted to like it, but I found that it didn’t taste up to par, and the potatoes that came with it were a bit undercooked. It wasn’t bad; just not as good as the other specialty restaurants. DH liked his meal but I forget what he had. The service was good, but not as good as Moderno and Cagney’s. Teppanyaki: DH and I ate here as a couple and we loved it! It was so fun to watch the chef make the food in front of you, and everything was absolutely delicious! I had the seafood platter, which consisted of calamari, scallops, and lobster. I forget what DH had but he loved his too (it may have been “land & sea” which is filet and shrimp). The service was great and the chef was very amusing. Summer Palace (MDR): We went here for lunch one day as a smaller group and for dinner one evening as a group of 10. Lunch service was SLOW. Like, glacial pace. I think we were in there for 2 hours! The food was good for lunch and the servers were friendly enough though. For dinner, the food was very good, and the service was a little faster but nothing to write home about. DH and I have sailed with Royal Caribbean twice in the past few years, and they have NCL beat on the MDR for sure. Maybe it’s because NCL is “freestyle” and Royal still has somewhat of a “formal” approach to MDR dining. No idea, but we weren’t super impressed by it. Garden Cafe/Great Outdoors: We got breakfast, lunch, and dinner here a few times throughout the trip. It’s your basic buffet food, what can I say? They had alot of choices, and it was mostly good. The one day they had a Bavarian buffet with some tasty sausages and pretzels. Seating was a bit hard to come by once or twice, but it didn’t take too long to find a table. But let’s just say I did enjoy having private dining in Moderno as a suite guest! Bars: We had drinks at several of the bars with our Ultimate Beverage Package. The drinks were good and they had a nice selection. We never had a problem using the UBP; the bartender just takes your card and hands it back to you, no receipt or anything. Service was extremely slow at one of the outdoor bars on embarkation day, and the lines were really long; I don’t recall that happening on Royal Caribbean. Entertainment: We saw a few of the shows, but since Alaska is port intensive, we did miss some, and didn’t do any trivia (which we love). We saw both the regular comedy show and the late night adult comedy show with Tim Kaminski; he is absolutely hilarious. We saw him around the ship frequently and he would talk and engage with us. What a nice guy! We also saw him at the comedian vs. piano player (named Jim) cake decorating bake-off (I forget the exact name). That was hysterical too. We saw the duo acrobatics show which was fantastic, as well as Legends in Concert with “Tina Turner,” “Madonna,” and “Elvis.” This was also their farewell show. The cruise director, Drew, seemed to be a nice guy and seemed to enjoy his job and interacting with guests. Overall, we enjoyed the entertainment even though we didn’t get to see much of it. Crew and staff: The crew and staff of the Norwegian Pearl are among the best. While the captain was a bit long-winded (a running joke onboard the ship), he was pretty good about keeping us updated on what was going on as far as weather, the seas, etc. We also had a medical emergency 2 hours into the cruise (and it happened 2 doors down from us!) and he let us know we had to make a detour to Port Angeles to drop off the passenger so he/she could get to a hospital. The housekeeping staff (who ALWAYS said hi to you in the halls) and specialty restaurant staff were superb. The MDR staff was good. We visited the CruiseNext desk a couple times and Andrew was very quick to answer all of our questions and take our future cruise deposits! :) We didn’t see any crew members that were “bad”; even the “okay” ones were friendly enough. Great crew for a great ship! Atmosphere and Ship: With a Royal Caribbean megaship experience (Oasis of the Seas) still somewhat fresh in my mind, I will say that I greatly prefer this size ship to a megaship as far as atmosphere. It just feels a bit more personal. Now, the “freestyle” experience on NCL, compared with what we experienced in 2013 on the Serenade of the Seas, is something to get used to. On the Serenade, we were used to dining near the same people and having the same waiters every night, and even seeing some of the same people around the ship. Because of NCL’s freestyle experience, you don’t really get this (but I suppose you can if you want to, like in the MDR). I guess I am a more traditionalist cruiser, but going to different dining venues was still nice. In any case, we liked the feel of the ship and would definitely cruise on her again. The Pearl and its venues are nicely appointed, and the “vibe” is one that we enjoyed and felt at ease with. She does need some updating and is going into drydock next year I believe, so I’d like to see what they do to her! However, we never once felt like she was in bad shape. She’s a beautiful ship inside and out! Other: I was a gold latitudes member (I’m platinum now after this cruise!) so DH and I were invited to a Latitudes cocktail party. This was fun although we didn’t win anything. We were also invited to a VIP cocktail party for suite guests, as well as a Cruise Critic meet & greet. I was VERY impressed with the CC one. We all met in Le Bistro, and many of the senior staff including the captain were there to greet us. Then, we had a “wrap up” CC meet at the end of the cruise in Bliss Lounge, where again, the senior staff attended and asked us for our feedback on the cruise. I felt that it was a big deal for the senior staff to take time out of their busy schedules to meet with us TWICE on this cruise. They were receptive to our feedback and really seemed to care about what we had to say. Ports: We chose this itinerary because of Glacier Bay and overall really enjoyed the ports. Here’s the breakdown: Seattle: We stayed one night in Seattle on both ends of the cruise. Before going to the pier on Sunday, we walked over to the Space Needle from our hotel. Then off to the pier! It was convenient to get to from the hotel with an UberXL. The day we returned, we dropped our bags off at the hotel (same one as before) and took the monorail downtown. We went to Pike Place Market and Pike Brewing Company, and then headed up to Kerry Park for some photos. For dinner, we went to Elliott’s Oyster House on the waterfront for delicious seafood and good times! Juneau: The time in port was from 2-10 pm, and our party of 10 had booked the Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest excursion through NCL. Unfortunately, this left no time to explore town, which we would have liked. However, the excursion was great. We had enough time at Mendenhall to make the hike to Nugget Falls, although it was slightly rushed. Our bus driver, Terry from Idaho, was friendly and funny. Then we headed over to Auke Bay for whale watching with Allen Marine Tours. We saw plenty of humpback whales and some sea lions, and a few eagles. Skagway: We booked the Yukon Rail & Bus with Dogcart Experience through Chilkoot Charters for our party of 10. We chose this instead of the similar NCL one only because it was cheaper and included the dogcart ride. We got off the ship and walked around town a bit before our 10 am departure. Our tour guide, Bruce, was excellent and very informative. He safely drove us up into British Columbia and into the Yukon, where we stopped at several locations including Caribou Crossing for a dog cart ride. They gave us a decent barbecue lunch there, too. On the way back, we saw a black bear on the side of the road, and Bruce pulled over for us to see it and take photos, even though we were running late to get to the train. In Fraser, BC, the White Pass Railroad train was waiting for us, and we took it back down through the mountains to Skagway. This was an excellent excursion and I would highly recommend it to anyone. After departing the train, we went to the Skagway Brewing Company (DH really liked the beer here), and shopped in town. Some of the shops were closed by 7 pm, but many remained open. We really enjoyed our time in this port, but I definitely recommend an excursion here; the town is small and you’re docked for about 13 hours, so there’s plenty of time to kill. Glacier Bay: There are no words to describe this beautiful place. I had been here before in 1999 and 2003. Unfortunately, the glaciers aren’t in such good shape; there isn’t nearly as much ice as there once had been. But it still looks like you’re on another planet. We saw some wildlife, including sea otters, sea lions, and mountain goats. The ship stopped at Grand Pacific Glacier and Margerie Glacier, as well as John Hopkins Glacier and Lamplugh Glacier. The ship does a couple 360 degree rotations so that everyone can see. The National Park rangers came onboard and did commentary over the loudspeakers in public areas, and over the tv in the staterooms. It was very informative. The weather was absolutely fantastic; at one point in the afternoon sun, DH put on shorts and a t-shirt! (which may be sad, if you think about it, because of climate change). But in the morning, it was cold and we were wearing coats and gloves. It was a great day and we were very lucky weather-wise! Ketchikan: I’ll admit that I was disappointed in the NCL excursions (and non-NCL excursions) in this port. DH and I chose the Nature Walk, Totems, & Eagle Center excursion in the hopes of possibly seeing bears. The bus took us to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary where we did a guided walk through the Tongass National Forest, the second largest rainforest in the world. We saw a TON of eagles there, but no other wildlife. It was a very pretty area though and we learned a lot from our guide, Chris. Then we saw totem pole making, although this was very underwhelming because the native gentleman was just getting started on one, so he was only measuring at the time. Then we walked into the raptor center, where they rehabilitate eagles. After this, we had time in the gift shop, and then it was back to the port. We ate “breakfast” at Crab Cracker in Ketchikan, which consisted of fish (halibut) & chips and Alaskan beer. Then we walked around and shopped for a couple hours before getting back onboard. Victoria, BC: I think this stop is included only to hit a foreign port before coming back to the US, which is a law. It’s a late docking at 6 pm. DH and I chose the Ocean Wildlife & Orca Exploration excursion. The tour operator, Orca Spirit Adventures, met us right at the dock and walked us over to the whale watching boat. Victoria is known for its resident and transient pods of orcas. Well, we saw no orcas, however, we DID see 15-20 humpback whales, and many of them were lunge feeding. Their mouths were coming out of the water. It was incredible! We got very close to them, and there were so many that they basically surrounded our boat. The staff of Orca Spirit were awesome, they were so knowledgeable (I think they are all marine biologists) and friendly. They also got very excited by what we were seeing, just the same as their passengers. We really enjoyed this excursion. By the time we got back, we had a few minutes to peruse the gift shop at the port before boarding. Debarkation: We did the express walk-off, but since we were suite guests, we met our concierge on Deck 7 and she escorted us off privately. So I can’t really comment on the regular process! Overall: This cruise was absolutely fantastic. I think our entire party of 10 enjoyed it greatly. I would sail on the Pearl again in a heartbeat, and in the same stateroom, and on the same itinerary. There are some points that NCL should fix (like the MDR), but otherwise I will give this cruise a 9/10. Thank you, NCL! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with our adult children and granddaughter by going on a cruise. This was our first experience with Norwegian and IT WILL BE OUR LAST!! We flew into Seattle and had no ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with our adult children and granddaughter by going on a cruise. This was our first experience with Norwegian and IT WILL BE OUR LAST!! We flew into Seattle and had no problem meeting with the NCL representative and being transported to the ship. Embarkation was smooth. Our luggage was delivered timely. Our cabin was very nice and the bathroom was large with a walk-in shower. The staff was friendly and helpful. It went downhill from there! The food was awful. The choices didn't change much from day-to-day. Nothing tasted fresh; nothing was served hot; basically everything was bland, boring and tasteless as institutional food. We ate at the buffet quite often - not because the food was better, but we at least had more of a selection of lousy food to choose from. The entertainment and/or activities were sub-par! Four out of five things listed involved a charge or were barely disguised sales pitches for jewelry, cameras, teeth whitening, etc. The only thing we could find to do in the evening was listen to music in one of the lounges. The only time a movie was offered was on shore excursion days when we were off the ship. My daughter and I tried to go to "Play Bingo with our fellow passengers". The card room was overrun with unsupervised children as it was most of the time. No one from NCL was there to organize the game - probably too busy selling Bingo or Deal or No Deal tickets! Our granddaughter (age 7) was probably the happiest one as she absolutely loved Splash Academy. The ports and shore excursions were interesting. We went on a whale watching tour in Juneau, took a three hour train ride in Skagway, watched a lumberjack show in Ketchikan and enjoyed Victoria. We celebrated with our family which was the purpose of the cruise. But we will definitely return to Princess the next time we cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Dining: I will start by saying the Dining was great, and what little entertainment they had, was also pretty good (Wasn't much of it). Enjoyed the buffet, and dined at a few of the specialty restaurants. I would do that part again. ... Read More
Dining: I will start by saying the Dining was great, and what little entertainment they had, was also pretty good (Wasn't much of it). Enjoyed the buffet, and dined at a few of the specialty restaurants. I would do that part again. Ports: I thoroughly enjoyed every port in Alaska, breath taking views and the excursions were affordable and worth the money. The only port I wasn't satisfied with was British Columbia. Wasn't much to see or do that interested me or anyone in my group at least. Embarking and disembarking was smooth overall, but I will never understand they none of the employees allowed people to cut in line constantly. This was a huge issue for me and my group. One instance was on the last day of leaving the ship they actually opened the doors on deck 7, where we had been in line for maybe 20-25 minutes and let a group of 15 people cut in front of us without any explanation... Activities.. well here is where one of my bigger problems were. I went with a group of people in late 20's and 30's, we had a hard time finding activities for our age group. Bingo was really expensive and short lived, so we tried that 1 time, not worth it. Tried getting a ball for the basketball court.. was never successful due to it closing at 5 pm and always having planned activities during the day. Tried using the hot tubs at night, but they close before it gets dark too... Freestyle what??? Cabin: It was a small interior cabin that got the job done. My main complaint was the bathroom being that you had to sit sideways on the toilet. Water pressure was good, water was warm, bed was alright. Sidenote: Watch out for the minibar inside your stateroom. We got charged $3.00 PLUS 18% restocking fee for each can of pop we took from the fridge. We were unaware that this wasn't covered by the ultimate drink package, I even looked over the fine print that was on the paper attached to the fridge. Sneaky sneaky, they got us but they wont get us again. All my complaints about this fell on deaf ears. It should just simply be on the fridge even if its in fine print. Would I cruise with NCL again? Probably not. Overall my experience at the ports were great, but i found myself being bored on the boat more than i would have liked. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I had always wanted to do the Alaska cruise and so we decided to go with NCL. This was a 7 night cruise starting from and terminating at Seattle. The embarkation was pretty smooth and the ship was sparkling, it is 10 years old but ... Read More
I had always wanted to do the Alaska cruise and so we decided to go with NCL. This was a 7 night cruise starting from and terminating at Seattle. The embarkation was pretty smooth and the ship was sparkling, it is 10 years old but seemed to be brand new. The cabin was somewhat cramped but that was to be expected. There were more than enough activities to keep all on board occupied 24x7. They have a theater where there were a mix of shows Vegas style, poolside BBQ and parties, a great variety of all kinds of restaurants with eclectic menus. The staff were all extremely courteous and efficient and the service was generally of a high standard. They have a lot of activities for children.We had three shore excursions which were well planned and covered interesting sites. All in all a good trip except for a major billing problem wherein they erroneously charged me upwards of $4200. this was a major inconvenience and as of writing this charge though accepted by them as an oversight has still to be reversed. The entire trip was soured by one accounting clerk's slip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise on the Jewel. We weren't able to cruise through Tracy Arm, so the sights were not quite as spectacular. We did pass a pod of whales and that was great! Ketchikan and Skaggway are always great for ... Read More
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise on the Jewel. We weren't able to cruise through Tracy Arm, so the sights were not quite as spectacular. We did pass a pod of whales and that was great! Ketchikan and Skaggway are always great for shopping. We like Skaggway better for what shops have to offer. Embarkation was much better this time than last year. It went much quicker and NCL is starting to enter the computer age. Instead of copying credit card information they now have a card reader at the check in counter. Don't expect much in the way of priority check in. Even if you book a suite, you stand in the same priority line as any returning customer until you finish check in. Surprisingly, our room was ready when we boarded around 12:30. More surprising, our luggage arrived before the muster drill was called. That's really impressive! The Jewel's furnishings are past due for replacement. The chairs in Magnum's should have been left by the curb months ago. Our mini-suite was clean and, except for the closet which is awkwardly close to the bed, actually preferred to the penthouse suite we had on a Mexican Riviera cruise. Avoid anything less than the mini-suite if you can. The balcony cabins and below have impossibly small toilet areas. We had the 3 meal dining package and used it at Cagney's. With the change to a la carte we were unsure what our package covered, but our waiter assured us that anything on the menu was included, even the lobster! Wait staff and hostess for Cagney's were a pleasure to deal with and went out of their way to seat us at requested times. Reservations were a must for Cagney's! We were disappointed to see surcharges on the MDR menu. Those wanting lobster and more expensive steak cuts should be directed to the a la carte restaurants. Beyond that, we were well taken care of in Tsars MDR. Always friendly staff, who often remember travelers from previous trips, make dining that much nicer. Try the New York strip with Frites! It's a delicious steak with fries! The chicken breast is also a good choice! We didn't attend any of the shows because of hearing problems. We enjoyed Radon in Magnum's and got in a few dances. NCL always does an excellent meet and greet for cruise critic members. It's very nice for the senior officers, including the captain, to take time to do this. What really makes a good cruise is the room sreward. We had a very good one this time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Had a great time on this cruise, much better than I had anticipated. It gave me a newfound appreciation and fondness of Alaska, and is definitely a trip that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime! We arrived in Seattle ... Read More
Had a great time on this cruise, much better than I had anticipated. It gave me a newfound appreciation and fondness of Alaska, and is definitely a trip that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime! We arrived in Seattle that morning and at the airport were NCL reps offering assistance. They were offering bus transportation with luggage handling at about $30/per but we opted to take Uber and our ride cost us $25. Upon arrival to the cruise port, embarkation was quick and easy. The Jewel was typical to that of our past NCL voyages. I actually liked this ship because it didn’t have endless corridors and was easy to navigate. One slight disappointment was that it didn’t have a grand atrium, it was no big deal, just something we noticed. (See below regarding the stateroom review) Dining is very typical for NCL, maybe a little too redundant (same dinner menu offered as the past two NCL cruises we’ve been on) therefore we opted for the specialty dining promo when we purchased our cruise. It was definitely a nice change for our palate. Our favorite was Moderno Brazillian steakhouse. Although the cuts of meat weren’t up to par to that of other Brazilian steakhouses we’ve been to, it fixed our craving. Cagney’s was also very good, same comment though about the cuts of meat. Le Bistro and La Cucina were our least favorite, food was near mediocre. We had dinner at one of their regular restaurants, Chin Chin, and it was really good, even though the portions were small. We ate breakfast at O’Sheehans which was the least crowded and most relaxing. They served the croissants warm and they are seriously one of the best croissants we’ve had! We had breakfast at the main dining room a couple times and they don’t serve the croissants warm, which makes a huge difference. We had lunch at the Garden Café which can truly be a madhouse, with kids running amuck, adults piling up their plates as if it’s the last supper, and the pain of trying to find a place to sit. Twice, we had to sit in the kids section with the low chairs/tables. I was disappointed that the entertainment on this cruise was near boring. The variety show on the first night was a snooze fest, the one comedian we saw, Jim something was awful, and their main show Le Cirque was mostly interpretive dancing. The only highlight was the hypnotist which was quite funny. Otherwise, the other activities on the ship were your typical bingo games, art auction, or presentation about “precious gems you can’t buy anywhere else in the world.” If I had to make two recommendations for anyone thinking about taking an Alaskan cruise would be one, to suck it up and get a balcony room. The scenery of Alaska is so beautiful and like no other. This is especially true when we cruised Sawyer Glacier, we had a front row view of the glacier in the privacy of our own space, it was amazing! Two, don’t book any of the ship’s excursions, we’ve learned from past cruises, they are super over-priced and you can get a better deal at the port. Debarkation was so easy, we did the express option where you bring your own luggage. Granted, people were lined up to leave when we got down at 7:30am but as soon as they let us out at 8:00am, we were on the sidewalk waiting for our Uber at 8:05am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
positives... chose this cruise because of the free style no dressing up etc.liked the itinery.which did not disappoint. Our cabin with a balcony was clean if a little tired looking ( the whole ship needs a refurbishment) .Our room ... Read More
positives... chose this cruise because of the free style no dressing up etc.liked the itinery.which did not disappoint. Our cabin with a balcony was clean if a little tired looking ( the whole ship needs a refurbishment) .Our room steward Noel was excellent and made up for all the negatives. Unfortunately there were not many other positives. Food was reasonable good selection in buffet, we ate mostly in the Tzars Palace restaurant in the evenings where on the whole the food was not to bad lacked a little variety as did Sheenans bar where we ate most lunchtimes. We only had one meal at Le Bistro speciality restaurant the food was good but I would have liked the choice of smaller portions maybe small plates as well as large ones I had to leave half of a very good steak! I did think that it was very over priced for what I would call americanised french food. I have to comment on the dress code in the restaurants & bars in the evenings, although it was not formal attire some of the guests looked as if they had come straight of the farm in well worn clothes and had not bothered to even wash !! this has put me of cruising with NCL again. The cocktail and champagne bars needed a wider selection of cocktails, and there definetely needed to be more speciality coffee bars, I spent 20 minutes waiting for coffee every time and they were not included in the beverage package. The entertainment was mixed the comedian was awful I nearly fell asleep the magician on the other hand was good. The cruise band good & singers & dancers okay have seen better could have done with more mixed variety. Daytime entertainment was non existent except for bingo & trivia could do with decent talks about the ports you were to visit and also a cinema why wasn't there stardust theatre used for films in the day ? More demonstrations needed not art shows or emerald shows all there to get you to ppart with your money. Did not use fitness centre or spa. Took a train tour which was excellent The Alaskan scenery and the visit to the ports including Victoria on Vancouver Island made up for all the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
There were 9 people in my traveling party. We chose Norwegian because they offered a decent price for the cruise that we were interested in taking. We also liked the idea of not having a formal night as we knew that we were already going ... Read More
There were 9 people in my traveling party. We chose Norwegian because they offered a decent price for the cruise that we were interested in taking. We also liked the idea of not having a formal night as we knew that we were already going to have to pack heavy for Alaska. We had four cabins all together, three of which were mini suites. Although I had never sailed with Norwegian before, I was under the assumption that they were comparable to Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland America, all of which we have sailed with in the past. Unfortunately, we were sadly mistaken. The food quality and choices offered by NCL were very disappointing. Chicken parmesan and pot roast were some of the choices offered for dinner in the main dining room. My son ordered the NY Strip steak one night and asked for it to be cooked medium rare. When the steak arrived, it was cooked properly but it was so tough that you could not cut through it. It looked, tasted and felt like a Select cut of meat. Every fish entree that was ordered during our cruise was way overcooked and dried out. The food offered on the buffet was not much better. It was often cold and was not replenished in a timely fashion, if at all. In addition, every other cruise that we have ever taken offered a captain's dinner in the main dining room in which the diners could chose a fancier entree like lobster tail, filet mignon or crab legs. Norwegian cruise line does not. You can order a lobster tail, but it is an upcharge of $25. The maintenance of the ship was not much better. The bathrooms in the mini suites were missing grout and had rusty, mildewed caulk lining the floors. There was a bucket of dirty water and a mop that stayed in the same place in the hallway outside of our staterooms for several days. Dishes that were put outside the staterooms for pickup were often left for more than 12 hours. In summary, I will continue to cruise but it just will not be with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Not sure why I chose Norwegian. I had only sailed on Carnival and really wanted to try another one. The views from our cabin AFT 9278 were spectacular. Whales, iceburgs, otters, eagles. You could not ask for better. BUT - the food ... Read More
Not sure why I chose Norwegian. I had only sailed on Carnival and really wanted to try another one. The views from our cabin AFT 9278 were spectacular. Whales, iceburgs, otters, eagles. You could not ask for better. BUT - the food was nothing special. Yes, there is a lot of it. There was nothing that I could rave about. They had several specialty restaurants, that we didn't try. After paying over $5000 for our cabin we didn't feel as if we had to pay extra for food. Even in the main dining room they offered 3 dinners that cost. One was lobster. I know on Carnival, they have one night with lobster and it comes with your dinner plan. The Garden café (buffet) was always crowded during meal times. Sometimes hard to find a place to sit. We ate in the main dining room several times to avoid the crowd. The entertainment on board was okay. Again nothing wonderful. There were a one show that was good. A hypnotist. His show was very funny. We laughed until we cried. Our steward for the week was Tedi. He was great. A joy. He kept our room clean and helped us with anything we asked of him. The ports were the normal ones and we enjoyed all of them - Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway. We deported in Seward. Boarded in Vancouver. This ship is a smaller one, which I liked. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We spent our time on board stumbling over kids which made up about 30% of the passengers. Paid up for an outside balcony stateroom and every time we tried to enjoy it, we were chased inside do to the noisy family next door. The staff was ... Read More
We spent our time on board stumbling over kids which made up about 30% of the passengers. Paid up for an outside balcony stateroom and every time we tried to enjoy it, we were chased inside do to the noisy family next door. The staff was excellent as is the ship. Food was about average with the buffet being about the same as your local Golden Coral. Thank god for the premium drink package. The town of Skagway is nothing more than 4 blocks of jewelry and junk shops with Ketchikan being just a bigger version. Would have been nice to have had more time to explore Victoria. Our highlight was the helicopter excursion out of Skagway to land on and explore a glacier, but rather than take a cruise, we could have flown to Juneau and accomplished that for a lot less money while avoiding the kiddie circus. What next, people on board with their pets? My advice is to take this trip when the kids are back in school. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Too many bratty kids on the boat! We chose this line because of the price. We got a very good discount. Well, i guess we got we paid for. The best time of the cruise was when we were off of the boat. However, the last stop in ... Read More
Too many bratty kids on the boat! We chose this line because of the price. We got a very good discount. Well, i guess we got we paid for. The best time of the cruise was when we were off of the boat. However, the last stop in vicoria was very short. Just enough time to grab some better local food off the boat and take a brief look around...same thing with ketchican, barely enough time to walk around. Juneau was great, i could have spent two days there. The food was denny's calibur at best. I figured 7 days, 3 meals a day, that's 21 meals. We enjoyed 3 of them. The rest were mass prouduced put together meals that had fancy names and nice presentaion but were loaded with salt or bland or dry. Nothing suculent or juicy except one day of short ribs. desert was lack luster, no pie! Free room service is not free anymore! 7.50 PER ORDER Plus a 29.00 per room gratuity daily! nobody on that cruise worked that hard for us to earn 29.00 per day. The cabins walls were thin. average size of what you expect on a cruise. the staff was nice Tooooooo many rude kids! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We went on this cruise because we wanted to see alaska. The embarkation and disembarkation went pretty smoothly. The ship was very nice, clean, good directions on the walls to get about the ship. Our cabin was very clean and well ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we wanted to see alaska. The embarkation and disembarkation went pretty smoothly. The ship was very nice, clean, good directions on the walls to get about the ship. Our cabin was very clean and well stocked, our cabin stewart was amazing. We would have liked more stores or a larger staff in each store, we purchased 3- 24 inch chains at the galleria gift shop that you were suppose to get a free bracelet with each chain purcased over 21 inches and due to lack of help they forgot to give us our free bracelets in the bag and we had to pick them up after the shop was closed at guest services, so no one to speak to about this also it was the last day of cruise. Shore excursions, dining & entertainment, spa were great. No children, and yes we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We came into Seattle three days early...super clean and interesting city with much to do. Embarkation was very fast and efficient.... 1/2 hour tops... It pays to have the luggage tags and paperwork all ready. Disembarkation... Just ... Read More
We came into Seattle three days early...super clean and interesting city with much to do. Embarkation was very fast and efficient.... 1/2 hour tops... It pays to have the luggage tags and paperwork all ready. Disembarkation... Just as fast and efficient.... Within 1/2 hour of getting off the ship, we had taken a taxi to the airport, changed our flights while in the taxi and made it thru checking luggage and security....(didn't hurt that we were TSA pre-check haha) This was our first NCL cruise. The ship was very clean and our room was clean and room steward was kind and friendly and did an excellent job of helping us enjoy ourselves. The dining was sufficient and we did not go hungry but was disappointed that each restaurant mostly had same menu with one or two changes. I'm guessing that encourages you to spend even more money at specialty restaurants. We didn't fall for it. We used our extra vacation funds for great excursions. The buffet was clean but can't say I was at all impressed except for the "washy washy" dude. He's very funny and always smiling. We went to Spinnaker Lounge on the 70's disco music night. Meh! There was a nice crowd but the band always seemed to play music a little to fast (compared to the original). After a while everything sounded the same. We also used extra vacation funds to buy the spa package for the entire cruise. We surprised ourselves. It's not normally our style but I must say it probably saved us from going stir crazy on the sea days (or freezing up on deck). Most days we showered in the spa before heading back to our cabin (made it easy for the steward I'm sure). Most of the crew were very nice but perhaps a little stiff and formal. We tried a couple of times to hit golf balls but they seemed to only have left hand clubs; really, what gives? Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there ... Read More
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there was no lifejacket I could find (someone had stowed under the bed) and no robe unless you ask and that is for a mini suite? Food was simply horrid, with very few exceptions. The best food of course was in the specialty restaurants Le Bistro was very good, Cagney's was average, and Teppenyaki could take it or leave it. The normal food, was at times disgusting. Corned beef sandwich in O'Sheehans was simply cold rye toast with fatty corned beef - no sauce, cheese, toppings of any kind. Gross. Fries that came with anything were always cold, in fact nothing I ate was ever hot as most meals should be, lukewarm food at best, even eggs and soup. Again, gross. One night I was tired so ordered room service. I tried a cheeseburger, who can make a bad burger? NCL. Cold bun, mayo, thin beef patty and a totally unmelted slice of cheese. No cold fries this time, stale potato chips in a bowl. Really really bad. That was just a couple of examples I could go on. So if you want a nice cruise, pretty scenery (weather was gorgeous and sunny) and are on a DIET, sail NCL cause I actually think I lost a few pounds on that food. The other disturbing observation was a sewer smell that permeated the stateroom corridors much of the time, especially as you approached mid ship, and not just on one floor. Someone has a sewer leak? I asked a steward in passing if he smelled that? He either did not understand me or did not want to talk about it and brushed me off. Sewer fumes, again gross. Too bad too, everyone is asking about how my cruise was, knowing it was my first. and NCL blew it,and yes I am telling everyone who asks just how....... next time based on the feedback from others in the ports will try Princess, everyone on the Coral and Crown I met loved it. Sigh. Good to be home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Definitely wanted to see Alaska and the amazing glaciers so this was a cruise from the bucket list. Nice ship but packed in the buffet section every breakfast time and if you don't want a cooked breakfast then this is really where you ... Read More
Definitely wanted to see Alaska and the amazing glaciers so this was a cruise from the bucket list. Nice ship but packed in the buffet section every breakfast time and if you don't want a cooked breakfast then this is really where you have to go for the choice. Doesn't seem to matter when you go, it's packed and seating can be difficult to find. A pre-paid drinks card, be warned, will not cover you for water or even a cup of coffee during the day. It is provided after a meal however otherwise you pay extra which seems a bit mean to be honest. The optional excursions are very pricey so you really have to think carefully what you want to achieve on your holiday or try to fix up a trip from the travel kiosks on the quay side which does work out a lot cheaper. Ports we visited had other options available off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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