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21 Norwegian (NCL) Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We took advantage of Ncl free flight, that was a mistake. We landed at 8pm and had to be checked in by 10. When we arrived at cruiseport they treated us as if we were a huge inconvenience. They gave us our cards and told us to checkin ... Read More
We took advantage of Ncl free flight, that was a mistake. We landed at 8pm and had to be checked in by 10. When we arrived at cruiseport they treated us as if we were a huge inconvenience. They gave us our cards and told us to checkin onboard deck 6. The crew would not let us onboard said to go back and check in, after several minutes of arguing we were escorted to guest service. Our escort spoke with a guest service agent who clearly wanted nothing to do with us. After 10 minutes it was clear he had no idea how to check us in and went to get someone else. She took our cards never acknowledged us, smiled, or made any eye contact. At least she knew how to check in. The ship is beautiful but our experience with crew continued. They did not smile, make eye contact and quite frequently made you feel like you were an inconvenience. I think I heard washee washee twice the whole cruise. We were unable to stop at Victoria, so only San Francisco port. It took 1 1/2 hours to get off., and we were one of first groups called. One person taking key cards for entire ship. Customs not well organized. No one was allowed back on until almost 2pm, apparently they had a few passengers that they could not find. Food is good, plentiful of course. Cagney's is excellent. Never saw cruise director. Enjoyed Footloose and Elements. Racetrack has increased price. Laser tag is now 1 game for 9.95. Enjoyed the 7d and indy car. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruise only 30 days before sailing. Reading the reviews, many people had booked this 6 day cruise well over a year ago. This was billed as a 6 day cruise, and everyone paid tips for a 6 day cruise. It was really 5 days. ... Read More
We booked this cruise only 30 days before sailing. Reading the reviews, many people had booked this 6 day cruise well over a year ago. This was billed as a 6 day cruise, and everyone paid tips for a 6 day cruise. It was really 5 days. The ship arrived at the pier in Vancouver at about 6:30PM and check in was slated to start at 7PM. Guess what happened at boarding? Most people started lining up at 4PM and by 7 there were several thousand people standing in a line that wound around Canada place. This is part of the ugly. We had done 2 other late departure NCL repositioning cruises from Vancouver before. The first was really bad and a woman waiting actually had to be taken away by ambulance due to a panic attack it was so bad. Well this time we did not even show up to check in until 9:40pm! We still waited about 10 minutes in line and we were just about the last 2 passengers to board the ship. We tried to eat as soon as we boarded but we had our drill and everything was shut down. Still the ugly! When we arrived in our room, we found a letter letting us know our itinerary had changed. Since the cruise was announced it had its first day in Seattle. Now it was changed to eliminate Seattle and we had an overnight in Victoria. This was OK for us but many passengers were disappointed. The excuse was not having enough time to notify the US authorities for immigration purposes. Now, all 4,000+ pax had to go through US customs in San Francisco! We did the drill and enjoyed the ship. The next morning we arrived in Victoria. This would be the good for us. Victoria is a beautiful place to visit and we had a beautiful day there. We took a nice walk to Craigdarroch Castle (about 3 miles) as we had never visited there. Well worth the visit. Then we headed back to town and enjoyed happy hour! Swan's was our first stop then we visited Canoe. Both fun places for adult beverages! We had enough energy left and walked back to the ship. The Liverpool Beatles did a show at 7:30 in the showroom and it was standing room only. They did early Beatles in this show and everyone enjoyed it. The next day we were to leave at 2PM so we just walked into town and back. Again it was a beautiful day. Sail away was nice and we just explored the ship. We had dinner at the Q which was good. DW stayed and to watch the CW band (ok but not great). I went to the Cavern club and got there early enough to get one of the last seats there. The 9PM Beatles show was the early years. This was great for me as a Beatles fan to see these guys performing in a small club environment and I could imagine what it was like to see them in Liverpool in 62/63! Now for our first sea day. We received a notice that we would be refunded our port charges for Seattle and they gave each cabin $100 OBC. This was a positive move as NCL knew full well the immigration situation long before our cruise but did not tell the passengers until we were onboard and could do nothing about it! Our Cruise Critic M&G was at noon. This was also the time the ship scheduled the Veterans get together at Maltings. I went to the Veterans and DW went to the M&G at the District Brewhouse. I visited with the one other Vet at the bar for a few minutes and then wet off to join in the M&G. NO SHIPS OFFICERS attended the M&G but they did have champagne for us (nice touch). There were 30-40 cruisers there. Great to meet those we were chatting with on the roll call. The schedule said there would be an Alaskan Beer tasting at 2PM at the District Brewhouse. I was in a group of 10-20 standing outside the closed doors to the District at 2 pm. I just left and came back about 10 minutes later figuring I could join in the tasting a little late. When I got to the District, it was empty. They had kept the doors closed and then the bartender said nobody was there at 2 so he just cancelled the tasting! Poor management! Dinner was at the buffet and it was fine. Then we went to Six. DW liked it, she was listening to each of the "wives" as they sang about their life with King Henry. I was a well done show but not up my alley! Overall, the sea day was good. Now for San Francisco. Since we now needed to clear customs in SF (which was originally going to be handled in Seattle) it meant that EVERYONE would be getting off the ship when we arrived. We had booked a trip to Alcatraz on our own for 10:30AM. I had gone to the front desk on the sea day and managed to get with the correct person to assist us in getting off the ship in the first group to go through customs. This did work fine and we were walking around in SF by 8:30AM. I heard the ship was cleared by around 11AM. We had a good day and BEAUTIFUL weather in SF. On Alcatraz, they were saying how unusually beautiful and clear the day was. Parts of the island were opened to the public that normally are off limits. We spent the remainder of our day walking in the Fisherman's Wharf area. We would have ridden the cable cars but it was way expensive and a long line just to get on. Not for us. Back to the ship and the buffet for dinner. We finished dinner and it was about 7 so we wandered by the theater. There was no line so instead of sail away we went into the Jersey Boys show. Mistake missing sail away! Jersey Boys was an excellent show right up until the point in the show where they dropped the first "F" bomb! There was an audible gasp in the theater. To be fair NCL does have a sentence to warn passengers in the Daily and a piece of paper size sign at the theater when you walk in. We never saw either of these. That just tainted our enjoyment of what otherwise was a great show. It is just sad that NCL feels like this language is necessary in their primary entertainment show for a ship that is marketed to families! The language could be changed without damaging the performance. Another example for us of the BAD! We did eat breakfast and lunch at the local. They did an outstanding job and the food was fresh and hot. Dinner on our last sea day was at La Cuchina and it was good food and the service was good. We just wandered a bit and packed. The ship is new. It is well maintained and the crew were all happy. We did not care for the size of the ship. You have 3 levels of shops, shows and places to eat (6,7 and *8). Then you have 7 levels of hotel and 15 and 16 for food and pools. The only place they used for games, trivia, presentations etc was the atrium. This is typical of NCL in that they really do not pay attention to those types of activities. The atrium in big and impersonal and when we cruise, we typically make friendships at trivia and other small group activities. Not so much on NCL. Disembarkation went great. We walked off with our bags. That started at 7:30 and we left at 8 with NO LINES! this was a good! We have continued to try NCL but sometimes it is just not a good fit. I tried to add photos but the review would not allow it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have taken several Pacific Coastal cruises. We really like the itinerary since we live in the LA area. The embarkation is the worst I have ever seen. We spent several hours in the Canada Place terminal. We arrived 30 minutes before ... Read More
We have taken several Pacific Coastal cruises. We really like the itinerary since we live in the LA area. The embarkation is the worst I have ever seen. We spent several hours in the Canada Place terminal. We arrived 30 minutes before the start of check-in (18:30). It was 20:45 when we finally got on board. We spent most of the time standing on our feet in a line to be admitted to the check-in area. The Bliss is a really nice new ship. The layout is very similar to the Escape. It is very easy to find the dining and entertainment venues as most of them are concentrated on decks 6-8. Food quality was good. We ate in the Steak House, Italian Restaurant, as well as the dining rooms. Food service varied widely. We encountered several enthusiastic efficient food servers as well as a few that were disinterested. The biggest surprise was the poor service we received in the Steak House. This was very unusual compared to previous experiences. The entertainment was very good. We especially liked the Six, Jersey Boys, and the Cavern Club. It didn't seem like there was enough to do on sea days. The service was generally good. Our cabin steward was very attentive. I'm not sure why NCL corporate decided to eliminate our planned stop in Seattle. They sited expected customs delays. We arrived at Victoria a day early and stayed there overnight. We were compensated $100 on board credit to make up for any inconvenience caused by the change. What I found interesting is the amount of time it took us to clear customs in San Francisco (our first stop in the US). The ship arrived in SF at 8:00 AM. it was 12:00 before we cleared customs. Passengers were allowed to proceed to customs by deck starting from the top. There were several decks that got off after us. As for shore excursions, we skipped the NCL excursions as we were very familiar with the scheduled ports. The schedule in Android NCL app is still not updating properly when reservations are changed. I would have hoped this would have been corrected by now. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had high hopes for this cruise since some friends of ours took it just a few months ago. Unfortunately, my husband and I were a bit disappointed. I have cruised many times on different liners and have always been in awe of the friendly ... Read More
I had high hopes for this cruise since some friends of ours took it just a few months ago. Unfortunately, my husband and I were a bit disappointed. I have cruised many times on different liners and have always been in awe of the friendly smiling crew. This cruise was very limited on that. We were not greeted with smiles, some of the bar staff were rude, some of the servers in the restaurants were rude and not many staff members had smiles on their faces and were ready to help if you were "lost". One night our group of 9 wanted to take some pictures since we were all celebrating our 55th birthdays. We got dressed up and went in search of some of the ships photographers. the very first photographer we saw stated that he would take the pictures yet we had to do exactly what he said, when he said it and a few of us would have to "LAY" on the ground. He saw we were all dressed in dresses and suits. We left there immediately and moved on. The photographer at the Atrium stairs was wonderful and help us and also let us do some "fun and cute" pictures. Another photographer we went to would not let us do a "fun" picture. She also kept telling someone in our group to smile and she was waiting to take the picture until she smiled. The woman in our group DOES NOT smile (for personal reasons) and we kept telling her to just take the picture. It was uncomfortable. The bartender and wait staff (Antonio) in the Mojito bar was FABULOUS! The specialty dining was amazing yet the food in some of the other dining areas was dry and not that good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Celebrating a special anniversary. Embarkation nightmare. Supposed to board ship at 7P.M. which is a late boarding to begin with. At 11P.M. finally made it without any explanation as to the delay. Ate dinner at midnight. Company not ... Read More
Celebrating a special anniversary. Embarkation nightmare. Supposed to board ship at 7P.M. which is a late boarding to begin with. At 11P.M. finally made it without any explanation as to the delay. Ate dinner at midnight. Company not terribly concerned about inconveniencing passengers. Due to the extraordinary delay Seattle was eliminated from our itinerary. Instead of three stops on our 6 day cruise we ended up with 2 stops and the rest at sea. Aside from the specialty restaurants the service was poor and the food fair at best. I waited two hours for an omelette in one of them.Even the excursions were poorly run.Lines everywhere you went very long.Balcony cabin very small.Trip seemed very disorganized from the get go. I wrote to the executives regarding my concerns almost two weeks ago but haven't gotten a response yet. If your looking for a good cruise I suggest you try a company other than NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back ... Read More
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back into pingpong was an unexpected bonus. All of the good stuff had a terrible downside. Poor communication of key information such as boarding/disembarkation was only surpassed by the pain of actually enduring the process used. Instead of a staggered boarding process, there was only an extremely long line that snaked through a very large building, plus around it outside. This took about 3 hours to complete. At one point, the line snaked around a big room only to end up seating people near the door that they entered. An entire port visit was cancelled completely. At San Francisco, every passenger was required to exit with none allowed to return until everyone was off. We felt lucky to take only 2 hours on this, although others took much longer. Since we had no knowledge of what was involved until the night before, we thus missed an onshore appointment. Whereas I suspect that the port authorities have certain requirements, it almost appeared that the cruise line had not actually gone through these activities before. Of course, because the line in fact regularly enters ports of multiple nations, there is no excuse apparent for the long lines, waits and significant (un-communicated) reduction in shore time. We did not take any cruise-line arranged shore excursions, so I cannot comment on them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a repositioning cruise from LA to Vancouver with our 2 grandkids 3 & 7. First off, under three year olds have a room to play in with some toys but no supervision until they hit 3 years old. Kids did like the program for the ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise from LA to Vancouver with our 2 grandkids 3 & 7. First off, under three year olds have a room to play in with some toys but no supervision until they hit 3 years old. Kids did like the program for the few times they went, it was closed at lunch and dinner and cost money after 10:30pm. Arcade pass was $175 for a week, we found that expensive and they do not honor the day pass as advertised on their website. Go karts we thought were going to be the highlight, it was unsafe for my seven year old after doing a double ride to test. We cancelled future single rides, however they did end up on our final bill which resulted in a trip to guest services on debarkation day (it did show refunded on our account in our cabin on tv). The family pool was deep but warm and in cooler weather not crowded. The big blue slide was so much fun! We didnt find any entertainment that would capture childrens attention but did enjoy Jersey Boys for ourselves. We have never minded ship buffets but this was very challenging with small children as tables were scarce or non existant and we were offered a suggestion of carrying our food down one floor...well not a possibility with small kids. Food was fine, we really loved the Q for specialty dining. Some weirdness were noted with the drinks, I had the drink package included so just paid the grats on it. However when ship is in port ( in our Pacific Coastal this was 75% of our cruise) we are charged an additional port tax ranging from $1.06 to $3.97 ...I couldn't figure out the varying amounts on the same priced drink?! I asked about this when booking when reading a review and the NCL rep told me there was no such charge!! ( insert confused emojii). Hubby is a smoker and has now after several wonderful years of cruising...he vowed he would never return. There is 1 area at the back of the ship dedicated for smoking (casino when opened and your if your gambling) and it closed for: refueling ( hours), special events and random closures. There was some grumpy passengers right from getting on the ship and I don't usually have sympathy...but they are people too! Every drink was yummy but the best was found in the mojito bar. Enjoy your cruise friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 7th cruise overall and our 3rd with Norwegian. Overall not very blissful....I would rate it was average at best. What surprised me the most is that none of the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional customer ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise overall and our 3rd with Norwegian. Overall not very blissful....I would rate it was average at best. What surprised me the most is that none of the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional customer service. Perhaps with this being their newest ship, they have yet to work all of the kinks out. At the end of the cruise you are Aurora given “ cruise hero” comment cards and I was unable to think of one single employee to nominate.The main dining rooms are entirely way too small for the ship. We had a specialty Dining package so we had 4 meals that were specialty restaurants. Unfortunately, the specialty restaurants fell short on this ship as well. That being said, I would NOT recommended strictly going with the “include restaurants” unless you like to order the same menu items. The Taste and Flavor had the same menus the entire cruise and look to seat abut 50ppl. We did eat at Taste once and only once. After I found a huge black hair (I’m a blonde) in my food, we never went back. The cabins are a huge miss on this ship as well. My husband is 5’11” and of average build...his suits were too wide to fit in the already awkward closet. Go Carts were a waste. We were on the track with 3 kids that couldn’t move their cars and the attendants wouldn’t pull them off of the course or apologize. Only to say...“go to guest services”!! That seemed too be the answer for everyone until you wait in line for an hour. Our past 2 cruises have bee with Norwegian but we will most likely be finding a different company that values service and repeat customers. I was not impressed with the Bliss!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some ... Read More
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some cities we've never been before, namely Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. In the past, we cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. These were standard size ships (2,500 to 3,000 passengers). The Bliss is a new (almost 1 year old) "Mega" vessel with a capacity of over 6,000 passengers (although the ship lists it at 4,000 passengers). And despite its immense size, no matter where you go, you were always jammed in with a huge crowd of people. On this ship, be prepared to do a lot of walking. From the back end of the ship to the front (or other way around). Or going up or down stairs from one deck to the next. The elevators on the ship were always jammed with passengers all day and night long. My wife found it very difficult to get around, having had knee replacement surgery recently. • I'll list all the "pros" of my experience first: • Entertainment: "Jersey Boys" was the best show on the ship. Standing ovation. Get your seat a 1/2 hour before the show starts, because it fills up fast. "Havana" was a good latin song and dance review. Elaborate costumes and stage decor. The stand-up comedians were terrific, hosted by Tim and featuring Jay Black and Larry Omaha. Book your seats on your first day on the cruise at the theater asap. I did not go to the Cavern Club shows. Way too late for us. However, "Siglo", their resident rock band that played at functions around the ship (the atrium and the pool) throughout the day were awesome. Be sure to go to the functions at the atrium, there's a lot games and shows with lots of audience participation. If you can find an empty seat, grab it fast. • Food: The best specialty restaurant for us was Cagney's steakhouse by far. Great Prime Rib (16 oz). La Cucina was good, not great. But "Q" was very disappointing and hardly anyone besides us were in the restaurant. I guess they got the word of mouth on it. The main dining rooms are good, The Manhattan room is the best of the mains, be sure to book a dinner reservation (even in the main dining rooms) or else you will wait in a long line before you are seated. Beware the breakfast and lunch service in the main dining rooms are slow, but sometimes a better alternative than the buffet. The Garden Cafe (the buffet, on deck 16) is a mad house. It's the largest buffet restaurant we have ever experienced anywhere and you can have ANY kind of food that you can imagine (asian, italian, mexican, deli, salads, on and on). But you have to scramble to find an empty table and you have to dodge and weave around the other passengers getting their food. Overall, the food at the buffet is standard in quality. Our cabin: see my separate review • The observation lounge: what could be bad about lying on a long lounge chair with a pillow behind your head and overlooking the ocean along with a drink and a snack, This is the observation lounge, a quiet area one deck below the buffet. • The Cons: • The elevators were always jam packed! I would have taken the stairs if my wife wasn't with me. • Excursions: because of scheduling problems, our time at the cities were very limited to a short quick afternoon. Plus, because of the number of passengers, we were very slow in disembarking the ship. Very frustrating. Overall, the cruise had some great aspects with a few not so great aspects. If you come in with a positive attitude and are not annoyed by the bad aspects, you'll have a great time. If you read this review you will know what to expect and figure out how to avoid the bad and indulge in the good. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was ... Read More
Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was on the Breakaway out of New York. This was a repositioning Coastal Cruise; LA to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco and Victoria. We took it for a quick and close getaway and the two stops are favorites of ours. We flew to Los Angeles from Phoenix the same day and reserved a Supershuttle to take us to the pier. Easy, peasy, and cheaper than taxis or transfers. There were no other stops, since all passengers were going to the port. The Bliss is a beautiful ship with a sophisticated vibe. There are certainly plenty of places to go and things to do, with go-karts and laser tag as NCL’s latest entertainment venture. We tried the go-Karts - $9.95 for a double (two person) kart – 4 laps. Singles are the same price, but you get 8 laps. Caution: the seats are VERY tight and anyone with flexibility issues may want to reconsider. They were lots of fun and certainly a first on a cruise ship. There are lots of bars, restaurants and specialty shops (Ice Cream, Starbucks, etc.). The Bliss has a rather large selection of Specialty Restaurants as well, all with an up charge. So let’s talk about food. The food in any of the three main dining rooms was good, but not exceptional. Free style dining works for many, but we like having the same waiter and fellow diners, especially for dinner. There was rarely a feeling of care that we have received on other cruise lines. The buffet is huge, but the selections were not memorable. Trying to find a table during peak times is a challenge. We tried three specialty restaurants; Le Bistro, which is a favorite, La Cucina, the Italian Restaurant and Q, the bar-be-que place. Le Bistro never disappoints; the food was excellent, servers friendly and efficient and the décor soft and sophisticated. The only strange thing was the location; on Deck 16 close to the go-kart entrance. Access was through an outside deck near the elevators and on a chilling evening, could make you walk faster. La Cucina was very nice, the food was very good and they accommodated us when we arrived a bit early. Q is more casual and pricing a la carte. They have a country band playing there, so the atmosphere is appropriate; also very good food and friendly servers. The Atrium is an area on deck 5 where most of the passenger activities take place; trivia, game shows, cooking demonstrations, etc. This was a major disappointment. The area is ringed by a bar, customer service desk, future cruise desk and Internet café, so there is lots of traffic, with most of it not engaged with what’s happening on stage. The area is open above and the Local (Pub style restaurant) has a bar where passengers can eat lunch and view (and comment on) what’s happening below. Children would run around the stage – chaos ensued. Noise level was through the roof. We had a balcony cabin(13300) located on deck thirteen. It was a good nice location, aft and close enough to a bank of elevators, but far enough away to avoid noise. Beds were comfortable; two different types of pillows and wonderful top quilts. Storage was somewhat different. Nightstands were about 9 inches wide with one shelf (no drawers). There were two storage cabinets adjacent to the desk, again no drawers. The closet was RIGHT NEXT to the couch, so accessing hanging clothes was a challenge. The bathroom was roomy and had glass shower doors and enough shelf space for everything we had. There were more shelves in the closet, as well as the safe. Workable, but not my favorite configuration. As far as entertainment on board, there were lots to choose from. Jersey Boys was excellent, Havana was good, but about average for a production show, but the music and costumes were very good. My advice is to book pre-cruise for these shows. They are complimentary, but if you want to see the earlier shows, book in advance. There seemed to be enough duos and bands, but they played in restaurants and/or small bars, so dancing was difficult. The guest entertainers were diverse and a hit or miss, depending on your personal expectations. In general, while the ship is beautiful, it seemed more like a hotel/resort than a cruise ship. There is a center aisle along most decks and very few windows, so you might not know you were at sea. Good for some, not for others. This is a ship more for families and young adults. Prepare to pay for many things above and beyond your fare. Also be aware with so many passengers (Over 4500) the noise level and traffic will be above average. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This is a nice ship with lots of things to do if you want to pay extra for them. NCLs free at sea program is anything but. It cost more to book with free at sea than with a sail away rate, you are charged tips on the drinks you could ... Read More
This is a nice ship with lots of things to do if you want to pay extra for them. NCLs free at sea program is anything but. It cost more to book with free at sea than with a sail away rate, you are charged tips on the drinks you could have not the drinks you do have. Most of the fun extras on the ship like the race track and laser tag cost extra. There were 1/2 empty drink glasses and beer bottles sitting aroun all the time, probably because drink were free if you choose that package. Bartenders were kept very busy. They repeated the main stage shows for 2 nights which left limited options on the other nights for something to do. Waste baskets are built in to the walls by the elevators but are not labeled and basicly hidden. I loved that the smoking area in the casino was glassed off. Lunch menu was the same every day. Because of the free at sea program we never ate dinner in the main dining rooms. Specialty dining was ok, but not excellant. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and ... Read More
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and entertainment options. The ship and, for the most part, the crew did not disappoint. This review is primarily centered on the itinerary itself, as there were many drawbacks that were not disclosed by NCL at the time we reserved our cabin. For us, the coastal or "repositioning" cruise is a great way to just enjoy the ship and not worry about needing to reserve a bunch of shore excursions. With the Bliss being so new, we felt we could just enjoy the ship for this quick, 6-day cruise. The issues that we encountered deal primarily with both Canadian and US regulations and are not the result of any policies adopted by NCL. However, I think all potential cruisers for this itinerary should be aware of its limitations. First off, be aware that the ship will leave Vancouver in the middle of the night - there is no traditional sail-away party. My wife and I have found this is a great way to set the tone for the cruise - music, dancing, and tropical beverages. Secondly, and I'm not going to be able to quote the exact regulation, but when a ship is in a Canadian port, there is a limit to the number of bars that can be open on the ship (I believe that the regulation is one bar per deck). For anyone who has sailed on a mega ship, you understand that there are multiple bars and lounges on various decks. I realize that this may not be a big deal for many people, but when you reserve a cruise on a ship like the Bliss, you do not expect there to be limitations on where and what you can drink. Beverages that would be available in the District Brew House or the Mojito Bar are not available for two days. In some restaurants (Food Republic and Margaritaville in our instance), the wait staff had to go fill our beverage order at another location, slowing down the service and limiting the choices. Secondly, US Immigration. We were not aware that we would lose half a day in San Francisco because all of the passengers and crew needed to exit the ship in San Francisco to pass through US Immigration. The process started at approximately 9 AM, and we were allowed back on the ship at approximately 1:30 or 2:00 PM. However, once we re-boarded at 2 PM, most venues and services were shut down as the crew was still going through immigration. Services and venues began to open up around 4 PM. Again, this may not matter to most people, especially if you wanted to spend the day in San Francisco and/or go on an excursion, but if you planned to stay and enjoy the ship, it makes a big difference. Lastly, we did observe some reluctance of the crew to enforce rules. Examples include children being in bar areas of certain lounges (and including H2O Spice, and including children actually sitting at the Mondavi wine bar) and tours that included children and babies in strollers going through the Thermal Suite (not on embarkation day, which is normal, but on day 4). Anyway, I would go on the Bliss again but would not choose this itinerary - just too many drawbacks and not enough of an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ship. I'm sure many people had better or different experiences, but thought I'd share mine as someone who has been on a number of NCL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I'm a platinum member of NCL and been over 12 cruises with the line. I'm a supporter and was looking forward to the Bliss and booked the year before it came out. Four thousand people is a lot to tackle and per the previous ... Read More
I'm a platinum member of NCL and been over 12 cruises with the line. I'm a supporter and was looking forward to the Bliss and booked the year before it came out. Four thousand people is a lot to tackle and per the previous reviews the elevators especially forward take a long time usually a 5 minute or 10 minute wait. Specialty restaurants where i ate every nite are very good maybe not as good as others I've been on but the biggest problem is the lack of training as well as communication regarding wheelchair accessibility. I walk with a cane and when we got off the ship in San Francisco I got off with the last group since I was told to do so and yet there was an hour and a quarter wait in a circular line to get off the ship and no mention of where wheelchairs would be and embarkation was fine with the wheelchair but disembarkation was an issue as when I arrived to the theater with 45 minutes before the time I needed to get off the ship and there were 9 wheelchairs before mine- was a lot of disorganization .I decided to walk off the ship on my own as I knew I would miss the bus to the airport Etc. A lot of training needs to be done with the staff as I met a lot of blank stares when I ask ed questions as well as their inability to master the iPad which was used to order for the menu. Seems like many staff members boarded the ship right before embarkation in Vancouver. Usually an awesome experience with NCL but Bliss is a work in progress. It's a beautiful new appointed ship but more attention needs to be paid to the details and training and the cruise director plus the assistant dynamic is a little weird and you never saw them on board the ship just on the TV Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Embarkation was terrible: we waited for 1 hour in line. On-board time was 2 p.m. but the ship did not depart until midnight- all that time we could have spent in Vancouver. Cabin was comparable to other crusielines but the furniture has ... Read More
Embarkation was terrible: we waited for 1 hour in line. On-board time was 2 p.m. but the ship did not depart until midnight- all that time we could have spent in Vancouver. Cabin was comparable to other crusielines but the furniture has begun to show its age. Room and food service were excellent Food was less sophisticated than say Holland Cruiselines but selection was broader to accomodate more nationalities. Entertainment was above average as were the enrichment activities- very iportant on a repositioning cruise. Disembarkation was orderly. Shuttle buses to connect city transportation were welcome. Excursions were much more expensive than what one could buy on shore. In Petropavlovsk thtat was not a choice but the excursion to Kaytak village was worth the money. The seamanship was excellent particularly how the crew managed to avoid a typhoon and yet to make every schediuled port with enough on-shore time. USD14.50 per-day charge is much larger than what we paid elsewhere just a year ago. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Original cruise booking process was poor because of repeated incorrect information given by numerous NCL booking staff members. I should have taken this as a leading indicator of things to come. The itinerary was great and the weather ... Read More
Original cruise booking process was poor because of repeated incorrect information given by numerous NCL booking staff members. I should have taken this as a leading indicator of things to come. The itinerary was great and the weather was fantastic, NCL however was a very mixed bag. But don’t get me wrong, even a mediocre day on a cruise is pretty damn good. Internet Service - we paid for the unlimited streaming service advertised / offered. NCL should not advertise and collect large sums of money for services when it can’t come anywhere clise to delivering them. Yes I’m aware of the technical challenges of providing internet service at sea, but I believed NCL’s advertising because their competition also advertises this service. Unlike NCL however their competition actually privides it (and charges less). Main dining restaurant service was suprisingly bad. It got very old missing the evening shows because dinner service was soooo slow. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was the least favorite of my 4 NCL cruises (16 cruises total). This ship needs refurb. The carpets in the rooms are terrible. Some of the bad: -Food was cold or cool almost 50% of the time in the MDR. -How many times did the ... Read More
This was the least favorite of my 4 NCL cruises (16 cruises total). This ship needs refurb. The carpets in the rooms are terrible. Some of the bad: -Food was cold or cool almost 50% of the time in the MDR. -How many times did the matre d’ speak to us? Zero. In 21 days. But he visited the table next to us nightly. -JC Sanchez cruise director? Rarely left his office. Seen only at the show nightly -debarkation in Seattle took over 2 hours. My friends missed their noon NCL booked flight. -Internet was terrible. Out a solid 48 hours one time. They said they got a new satellite. It was worse after. -Volume of noice was so loud you couldn’t sleep till after midnight. In a “quiet”room -curtains had holes in them and Alaska sun shines 20 hours a day -Menus very repitative on 21 day cruise, and no fresh Alaska salmon?. -Chin Chin was really bad, and the food was half cold. Good: Fee dining was excellent Activities were lively and plentiful O’Sheehans was Great, and the staff and service excellent Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first ... Read More
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first sailed NCL 5 years ago we have noticed a steady decline in quality and amenities. Their "chocolate night" is gone. The quality of the food is noticeably lower. Etc. From other cruisers I've spoken with this is not unique to NCL (HAL has been mentioned a few times by people I know). But we sailed NCL, and so that's what I will criticize. The crew was fine. That has been the one constant in all our NCL cruises. They are friendly, helpful, and just generally really nice. No complaints there at all. That said, there were significant organizational problems with disembarking in several ports. In Petropavlosk, for example, we missed our excursion because getting off the ship took over four hours. I knew someone who claims he saw what the problem was, but I won't resort to hearsay since I didn't witness it myself. I will just say there is no excuse for those sorts of delays, and the organizing of the disembarking was a mess. It wasn't as bad in most of the other ports, though Seattle was a nightmare. Again, poor organizing caused us to have a drastically shortened tour of Seattle. We were supposed to see Pike Street and some other locations, but all we had time to do was the Space Needle. No refund, or even partial refund or ship credit, was offered for either of those fiascoes which were THEIR FAULT. The food was very mediocre. Some of it was downright bad. Their eggs Benedict was raw. Not just once, but each of the three or four times we checked it out. A runny yoke is expected, but most of the white was runny too. That's not right. There was a variety of dishes available, but the seasoning was almost always very mild. Mild to the point that you couldn't really tell it was seasoned many times. Even in the premium restaurants (which we ate a few times). All in all, unacceptable. I can't pin this only on the Jewel, or this cruise. As I said, we've sailed NCL several times over the past five years, several different ships, and we've noted the steady decline in food quality with each successive cruise. Unless something changed we probably would not do this sort of itinerary on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Needed a short refresher cruise from a home port. We have sailed on several NCL ships including the Sky, Sun, Gem, Jade, Epic, Star, POA, and this last cruise on the Jewel. NCL has been consistent in their delivery of a nice lower cost ... Read More
Needed a short refresher cruise from a home port. We have sailed on several NCL ships including the Sky, Sun, Gem, Jade, Epic, Star, POA, and this last cruise on the Jewel. NCL has been consistent in their delivery of a nice lower cost product with a casual atmosphere, a little too casual in some venues....We have also sailed Princess, Disney and will be trying Celebrity in September 2017. The entertainment was adequate. The comedians Sam Fedele and Bob Brizendine, were FANTASTIC! Could have watched these Comedians all cruise. Luminescence was very good. The NCL group Souled Out was Fantastic! The Alambres trio were very good. The production show Band on the Run was TERRIBLE, Hokey and the Choreography of these talented kids was insulting to their talents. Le Cirque Bijou wasn't much better and we left after the Hokiness of Band on the Run. The food was typical, very good and ate too much of it. I do wish they did have a basic dress code, the tight tank tops on Men that looked dirty (also go by another name) should not be allowed in main dining rooms, very tacky. The service was pretty good in most venues with a few hiccups at O'Sheehans. The bar service was good, bought drinks individually and thought the $$ was fair. The food and dining experience was MUCH better in the Pay for Play venues. I liked Teppanyaki and Cagney's the best. Overall we had a great time, I make my own fun so really didn't have a big agenda. I wouldn't chose this ship until after a major refurbishment, I would chose another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my 3rd sailing on the Pearl (chosen only for the stop in San Francisco) and 7th overall on NCL. Pre-cruise customer service was disappointing and left me not wanting to sail. I called multiple times pre-cruise to request a ... Read More
This was my 3rd sailing on the Pearl (chosen only for the stop in San Francisco) and 7th overall on NCL. Pre-cruise customer service was disappointing and left me not wanting to sail. I called multiple times pre-cruise to request a balcony cabin change but was thoroughly rebuffed. I guess I expected better having reached Gold on last sailing 8 months prior. NCL just feels different than in years past, and not a good different. There were many balcony cabins available up to the day before sailing. I was travelling with someone in another balcony cabin. Upon embarking in Los Angeles I went to guest services to ask if there was any possibility of a change (there was a sign saying full capacity, no changes possible). I got a call after 8PM that night offering a different cabin but declined after having already unpacked. Cabin 8542. Carpet seemed clean or new. No bathrobe (requested one from steward). Disgustingly dirty balcony table. No room service menu. Used Ziplock bags under sink left me wondering how well this cabin was cleaned. Slept in this cabin the first night then called the next morning to see if a change was still available. A friendly girl at Guest Services moved me to 9028. This room was no improvement. The shampoo dispenser was broken (button was missing) so a small bottle was provided. Still no bathrobe. Dirty carpet and sofa cover. Coffee table needs replacement. No room service menu here either. Steward either lacked attention to detail or didn't like having an unexpected cabin to service. Bath towels would be picked up off floor but bathmat left. Just simple little things. Travelling companion in 9008 had overall better service from a different steward. I'd not be too happy with these little things on an Alaska cruise at those high prices. 9028 may just be a cabin that's kept vacant as a back up in case something happens in another cabin. The rest of the ship needs a good cleaning. Dingy. There was maintenance going on. The Promenade Deck was roped off more than once. Other than that, same old Pearl. Activities seemed to be lacking for this 5-day sailing. Casino was closed the morning we sailed towards Victoria (2PM arrival) and for the rest of the trip. Positive notes: Got to see the Golden Gate Bridge sailing in and out of San Francisco after heavy fog prevented that on the Jewel a few years prior. Priority embarkation in Los Angeles was a nice surprise after finally reaching Gold on prior cruise. Disembarkation at Vancouver's Canada Place was painless (no immigration having stopped in Victoria the day before) and a short walk to the Skytrain to YVR airport. Overall, just not very exciting but then I didn't go in thinking it would be. Not a trip of a lifetime type of itinerary. It appeared to be mostly an older crowd as expected on an early May sailing. Lots of passengers had been onboard from Miami. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Norwegian Jewel cruise, reposition from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles, Sept. 29, 2015. Cabin 5052 This was our second cruise on the Jewel, in addition to cruises on the Mississippi and Columbia Rivers, with other cruise lines (plus ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel cruise, reposition from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles, Sept. 29, 2015. Cabin 5052 This was our second cruise on the Jewel, in addition to cruises on the Mississippi and Columbia Rivers, with other cruise lines (plus several less-pleasant ones on Navy ships). For comparison with our first cruise experience on the Jewel, see http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1920121 . Generally, those comments still apply, except where noted otherwise. I provided courtesy copies of that review twice to NCL management. They did not reply. Considering the extremely competitive nature of the cruise ship industry, that is both surprising and disappointing. I learned that NCL management is interested in hearing from their customers only when it involves additional income. Our cruise documents were more helpful than before. The departure pier was specified, along with its address, but the destination was listed only as “Los Angeles”. In actuality, the Pier is in San Pedro, which is within Los Angeles, but considered a separate area by some. The Long Beach airport is closer than the Los Angeles airport. It could be a better choice for some passengers, who might not consider it, because no specific information was provided about our arrival location. With no help from NCL, I located our destination pier, which was important to us, because of travel plans following the NCL cruise. Our cruise documents now made a distinction between “boarding” and “departure” times, which was helpful. The documents for our previous cruise had used the terms interchangeably, which led to considerable confusion as to when we should actually appear for the check-in process. The cruise documents now said that boarding would be at noon, and that we should not arrive more than an hour earlier. Based on our previous experience, we arrived at 10:30, and found 100-150 people ahead of us. As before, there were many staff members to guide and assist passengers. We boarded a bit before noon. A printed guide to the ship was available in the check-in area. This was a change from our previous cruise, and very helpful. Some passengers received one-sided copies. Be sure to grab a double-sided one, as it has helpful information, and a rudimentary map of the ship. NCL’s website now has better maps of each deck on their website. They can be downloaded, if you know how. However, they’re in the PNG format, rather than the more-common JPG format. I downloaded and converted the deck plans for each deck, then transferred them to my smart phone, for easy access. Look here, if interested: https://www.ncl.com/cruise-ship/jewel/deck-plans. From our previous NCL cruise, we knew that most passengers would head immediately to the Garden Café buffet for lunch. We had lunch at O’Sheehan’s, which was nearly vacant, though almost full when we finished our lunch. The place has an Irish bar theme, and good menu of “pub grub”. No draft beers were available during the cruise, nor were advertised drinks that required draft beer. Luggage was delivered to our cabin by 3:00. An orientation tour of the ship was offered at 1:30. We’d taken the tour on our previous cruise, and found it very helpful. The tour on this cruise included only a visit to the assembly stations for abandon ship drills and a lengthy tour of the spa, where spa staff members explained the wonderful services (additional cost) available to us. The tour was disappointing, and seemed to be largely an excuse for marketing the ship’s spa. Even worse, the tour was led by a person with a very thick accent, who was difficult to understand. After the mandatory abandon ship drill (life jackets not necessary), many passengers headed for the bar. The scene there was very dis-organized, with the bartender making no effort to serve passengers in their arrival order. Rather, he served the persons who yelled loudest. With many passengers having taken advantage of a promotional beverage package, this was totally foreseeable, but apparently not a concern for NCL food and beverage managers. A better system wouldn’t have been difficult to devise. During the cruise, we observed other situations where it became apparent that “crowd management” is not one of NCL’s core competencies. I understand that the Jewel spent some time in a shipyard in 2014. I noticed some improvements in our cabin, which was near the one for our previous cruise, and of a similar class. Our previous room was 5068. I remember noticing only one single 110-volt electrical outlet previously. Now, I found three single outlets, plus a “razor only” outlet in the bathroom, above the mirror. I still recommend bringing a multiple-outlet tap and/or extension cord, as you may have more electronic devices, or want to use only one location for powering them. The bed was very comfortable (the beds were joined, per our request), with firm mattresses and soft pillows. As before, no guest guide was provided, leaving us to discover everything on our own. The shower controls are a clever, but unconventional arrangement, where the left knob controls the water flow and the right one controls the temperature. After an airline career that included both international and domestic layovers, I do not recall seeing a similar arrangement in any hotel. An explanation in a guest guide would have been thoughtful. The actual water temperature varied significantly and unpredictably during showers, providing an incentive to keep them brief. The room was compact, but very adequate, with lots of storage and two small desks. Our room category was “OB” (Ocean View, Midship, Deck 5). Several television channels are available, though there is no channel guide or information about them. The movie and cartoon channels are not identified. Three news channels are available: MSNBC (very liberal), Fox News Channel (very conservative), and BBC (very British, and with a lot of sports programming), plus a few that seemed to show movies and cartoons. CNBC is also provided, though it lost credibility with most investors after the 2008 recession (I watch Bloomberg at home). Several shipboard channels are available. Interestingly, most of these are very grainy and snowy. One is from a webcam mounted near the bridge. Another channel shows the ship’s position on various maps, along with interesting information about the ship’s course and speed, plus weather-related information. It includes the current time, which is otherwise displayed only on the room’s phone (very difficult to read), the pool deck, and the sun deck. You may wish to bring an alarm clock, unless you want to rely on the phone’s wake-up call. Other channels tout shopping and shore excursions, and one shows videos of entertainment from previous days. Individual reading lights are located above the beds. Sadly, they are flood-type lights with frosted covers, and not very effective. If you want to read in bed, you should consider bringing a battery-powered reading light, as there are no electrical outlets near the head of the beds. Another change from our previous cruise was a small refrigerator with an “honor bar” inside. No pricing information was provided until Day 3, when a list was tucked into the refrigerator’s door. “If you have to ask the price….” As before, the carpeting for passageways in the stateroom areas is different from that in public areas. An easy way to remember your orientation is that the fish images on the carpet are swimming toward the bow. Also, stateroom numbers increase as you move aft. Food is plentiful on the ship, though the quality seemed to vary more than we remembered from the previous cruise. While most of it ranged from pretty good to excellent, some was nasty. Coffee had not improved from our previous cruise. It retains the honor of being the worst coffee I have experienced – even after careers in the Navy and the airlines. I used the espresso machines in the Garden Café buffet, which were okay. I’m not a coffee snob – I buy my beans from Costco. With only a couple of exceptions, all of the ship’s staff were very friendly and competent. Most were from developing countries, and appreciate this employment opportunity. The ship has almost 1100 crewmembers, from sixty countries, to serve about 2500 passengers. Entertainment on the ship is plentiful and very high caliber. We enjoyed all of the performances. Of special note is the Jewel’s “Show Band” (house band), led by Larry Lockwood. He is a gifted trumpet player. Another favorite was the “Awesome Twosome”. A welcome improvement from our previous cruise was the placement of deck plans on each deck, for guidance in finding your destination. They are located in the passageways on either side of the elevators/stairs at most locations, and on most decks. These are in addition to the profile views of the various decks on the ship. At the forward end of the port (left) passageway on Deck 11 is the Bridge Viewing Area, which provides a daytime-only view of the ship’s bridge, along with repeaters of electronic chart display information used by bridge officers. Unfortunately, no explanation of the information is provided, and passengers are not allowed to hear radio conversations. Instead, there is a repeating video of the ship’s construction process. Based on my career as an airline pilot, I know that many passengers are interested both in understanding the technology and in listening to radio conversations, especially in congested waters. While impressive and current, maritime chart display technology is many years behind that used by commercial airliners. Some information provided by NCL is incorrect, mis-leading, or contradictory. We learned to verify everything. One is the issue of reservations in the complimentary dining rooms. Guidance clearly states that reservations should be made only for large groups. In fact, the Restaurant Reservations desk will accept reservations for smaller groups. We learned this the hard way, after appearing at Tsar’s Palace without a reservation. We were told to expect a fifteen-minute wait, and were given a buzzer. Twenty minutes later, we inquired about our status. We were told that the hostess had just buzzed us (either she hadn’t, or the buzzer had failed), and were seated immediately. We watched several couples with reservation arrive and be seated immediately while we waited. Another is the issue of onboard shopping discounts for Latitudes members (NCL’s frequent traveler program) in the duty-free shop. Our Latitudes letter stated that the discount did not apply to “watches, alcohol, tobacco, and sale items”, implying that it would apply to other items. Our traveling companions learned that it actually applied only to NCL logo items. Depending on where you look, a $7.95 service charge applies to all room service orders, only those outside of 6:30 to 10:00 am, or to everything except beverages and baked goods ordered for breakfast. Take your pick…. The last day’s newsletter explained the procedures for disembarking in Los Angeles, and how to clear U.S. customs and immigration screening. That was of only academic interest, since we’d already cleared immigration and customs during a port visit to Astoria, Oregon. Since that stop, we were considered to be in the U.S. I suspect that this was standard protocol for the Los Angeles-based cruises to Mexico, and no one thought to change the information. The same incorrect information was repeated on an internal television channel. The PA announcements on the morning of arrival made no effort to correct the error. It didn’t cause specific problems, but probably left some passengers confused. In Astoria, the entry process for U.S. citizens was efficient and much quicker than advertised. For non-citizens, it was pretty much a disaster. The Cruise Director continued calling more groups to join the line, even though it already contained a few hundred persons. NCL must bear most, if not all, responsibility for that mess. On a positive note, there was considerably less presence of the very annoying photographers. I appreciated that. NCL is very proud of their “Norwegian Concierge” smartphone app, which is said to work only aboard ship. Most likely, it is intended to work with the ship’s Wi-Fi system. Presumably, it will offer information about the schedule for shipboard activities. Attempts to launch it in the embarkation area resulted in an invitation to launch it after boarding the ship. It didn’t work there, either. Ship’s staff said that the company was still working to implement it. It’s a great idea, as it might be used to publish the daily menus for the various restaurants on the ship, which were otherwise impossible to find, short of actually visiting each restaurant, and then only for that day. Compared to our 2013 Alaska cruise, the Jewel experience was better in some areas, and worse in others. It’s very disappointing that NCL is uninterested in comments from customers, unless it involves additional revenue. I won’t bother with sending them a courtesy copy of this review. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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