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20 Norwegian (NCL) Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

Ship was extremely crowded, the size of the ship is not large enough for the number of cabins. Use the stairs the get around, elevators were always crowded and slow. Getting on and off the ship was very crowded, so be ready to wait in ... Read More
Ship was extremely crowded, the size of the ship is not large enough for the number of cabins. Use the stairs the get around, elevators were always crowded and slow. Getting on and off the ship was very crowded, so be ready to wait in line Buffet food was at best sub standard, think of it as a notch below golden corral and was always crowded. At times we walked around searching for an open table for 5+ minutes. For the restaurants that you did not need to pay extra to dine, make a reservation so you do not wait in the longest line to get to a table. Food in the restaurants was average to good. Servers ranged from great to poor. Cabin was fine, nothing extrodinary, small closet and the balcony was adequate. There are a few nice outside deck areas with chairs to enjoy the scenery. Many of the common areas were pretty when the vendors were not trying to sell you cheap merchandise. Several of the stores on board were nice. The shows were great but get there early for a seat. Heads up, Norwegian will nickle and dime you to death every way possible, including overpriced drinks with automatic 20% tip added. Excursions are overpriced when purchased through Norwegian. We thought we would be safe booking through Norwegian then several of our booked excursions were cancelled, which we understand can happen but then there was no one to help us re book another excursion. We winged it, found a local vendor and bought bus tickets to a local site. When we told the crew members about the issues, they just shrugged and walked off. Two out of our three excursions were cancelled. The excursions were the biggest part of getting to see Alaska, instead we saw very little of what we expected. When we compared the total pricing of NCL cruise with a more luxury line which included all the extras, we found they came out to almost the same price. Beware of Norwegian, if you do not read all the fine print and follow their rules without exception, Norwegian will not make any exceptions to help you. They are a volume business that pulls customers in with low advertised prices. Never say never, but we will never sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Ship was great but It’s been really frustrating. Couldn’t book dinner and activities prior to cruise. Can’t get reservations onboard. Go karts completely booked the entire cruise, my kids can’t go. Only able to have dinner in main ... Read More
Ship was great but It’s been really frustrating. Couldn’t book dinner and activities prior to cruise. Can’t get reservations onboard. Go karts completely booked the entire cruise, my kids can’t go. Only able to have dinner in main dining room twice on 5 night cruise. Missed port in Vancouver. Currently been in line for 1 hour 20 minutes to get off boat in San Francisco. Every time we call concierge, it goes to front desk. Room is great, concierge service is non existent and total waste of money. Credit card went missing from our account, couldn’t play in casino last night. Onboard credits were t correct on our account. I can’t tell you how much time was wasted calling about reservations, accounts, credits etc. not relaxing! Inside family cabin was awesome! Lots of space and storage. Loved having two bathrooms. Best cabin we’ve stayed in! Never again. We’ll stick with land vacations or RCI. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We can’t wait to get off this cruise ship. This is the last day of our cruise on the Norwegian Bliss from Vancouver to LA. We stayed in a balcony room in 10246. The room is spacious and modern, but it’s not sound proof enough so we ... Read More
We can’t wait to get off this cruise ship. This is the last day of our cruise on the Norwegian Bliss from Vancouver to LA. We stayed in a balcony room in 10246. The room is spacious and modern, but it’s not sound proof enough so we constantly hear the TV from the next room at night when we’re trying to sleep, people “doing it” at night, and just general stomping noises and people slamming their doors. The worst part is the food. It’s terrible. The teppanyaki served really salty food, and the Q Texas had the worst food we’ve had all year. The buffet and main dining rooms also had either really salty or bad food. It’s worse than a mall food court sometimes. The only good meal we had was at Cagneys, but you pay extra for that. Also, the gym was very good with excellent weight machines. The onboard process was long and terrible, and it pissed off a lot of people. We were supposed to board at 7:30pm, and we didn’t board until 10pm because they were disorganized and boarded late. We had 30 minutes to grab something to eat at the extremely crowded buffet (we were not offered food or drinks in the 3-4 hour wait to board the ship) before we were told to go to the muster station. After our Seattle port was cancelled, they offered each stateroom a $100 onboard credit. Nothing we could do about that. However, when we got to SF and had to clear customs, they called floor by floor to try and be efficient, but everyone still had to stand in line for almost an hour. They could have organized it to minimize the wait time. I’ve done customs clearing on another ship and it was done within ten minutes! Just very thoughtless and inconsiderate. The last straw was that we spent $50 to purchase a couple of photos, and the photographer said I could download the digital copy from the Norwegian app. I could not find the photos so I went to the photo station. The guy then told me that if I wanted the digital copies, I’d have to pay another $50 for the two photos. I asked if I could exchange the physical prints for the digital copies, he said no, you have to buy the prints first, then you can buy the digital copies. That would cost $100 for two photos! We will not cruise with Norwegian again. Going to try Celebrity next based on other equally unhappy cruisers’ suggestion! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The Good - Beautiful ship, great colors & decoration - Explorer lounge on deck 15 very nice - Loved the shows. Jersey Boys, Six & The Liverpool Beatles. Clinton Jackson is an entertaining comedian. The bands around the ... Read More
The Good - Beautiful ship, great colors & decoration - Explorer lounge on deck 15 very nice - Loved the shows. Jersey Boys, Six & The Liverpool Beatles. Clinton Jackson is an entertaining comedian. The bands around the ship were pleasant. - The cabin steward did a decent job. - Disembarkation was good since we did not have to clear customs. It started early. The Bad - Most of the employees did not seem that friendly and excited serving the passengers. - Lines in the Garden Café were long. Tables were hard to find. The buffet is too small for the number of passengers on the ship. Food was comparable to most cruise lines. - It was hard to get a reservation for any of the shows mid cruise. You can stand-by and it looked like every stand-by got into each show I attended. Don’t be reluctant to stand-by for shows. - I did not hear the Captain address the ship. I am used to a once a day update from the bridge. - If you like lines and a crowded cruise, then this is the cruise for you. - We had a good location for our cabin but it was noisy. Many slamming doors and you can hear your neighbor’s TV since it is right against your wall. - We were supposed to board at 7pm and didn’t get on the ship until 9:30pm. NCL still charged us for 6 days of gratuities even though we lost the 1st day of the cruise. It was advertised as a 6-day cruise with boarding at 7pm. - Muster drill at 11pm the 1st day. Many passengers sleeping through the drill after waiting hours in line to board. The Ugly - Embarkation was a disaster. We signed up for a 7pm check-in. There were at least 3000 people in line when we arrived. The line snaked all around the cruise terminal and outside into the cold. Some water was provided. No food. The ship docked at 5:30pm after sitting all day out in the harbor waiting for 3 other ships to sail. For some reason boarding was delayed. Very bad way to start a cruise. - As we boarded the ship, we were given a notice that our 1st stop in Seattle was cancelled due to an expected excessive time to clear customs. We got an extra day in Victoria instead. NCL gave a $100 non-refundable credit per cabin to our account to compensate. The cruise was poorly planned by NCL. Vancouver-Seattle-Victoria-San Francisco-Los Angeles. Two times to clear US customs. - Clearing customs in San Francisco was a disaster. We started at 08:00am but did not get off the ship until 11:45am. Long snaking lines through the ship. There were still two decks to clear behind us. We lost almost half of our port call in San Francisco. - I have never been on a cruise with so many unhappy passengers. The ship is beautiful but just too big for the infrastructure. I will avoid NCL and the mega ships in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise to explore Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco with a total of 4 couples. We arrived several days early to Vancouver to explore the beautiful city. It was a great day. Already we had been told within the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco with a total of 4 couples. We arrived several days early to Vancouver to explore the beautiful city. It was a great day. Already we had been told within the week prior that boarding would not be at 12 noon as sold Finally the day to embark arrived. We saw the ship sitting in the harbor long after all other ships left their berth. Decided to go to a restaurant to eat since it was so late. Our 7:30 pm boarding time came and left. We stood in line until 10:15pm when we finally picked up our cabin card. Finally making it into the cabin we discover a letter that all our specialty restaurants reservations were worthless. The tickets for the Jersey Boys was changed to another night -conflicting with the 2 hr minimums the restaurants required. We were in a balcony room and had adjoining rooms which was fun. Didn’t notice the noise through the walls. DAY 1 of the cruise was over about 11:30 pm as we were just sitting on the bed! I think the ship pulled out about 2:30 am. DAY 2. Notice was given that our next stop Seattle was CANCELLED. yup. All the plans and reservations were done for - no harbor cruise, hop on/off bus tour, Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. We were less than 24 hours notice so NO Refunds!! About $250 for each couple. Viator is an outside company that have great tours and prices but they need 24 hours advance notice to cancel. We were in Victoria BC. Beautiful city with lovely gardens. We had scheduled a 2.5 PediCab ride around the town. The owner sent a text early on that stated,” it seems your ship is in port, want to go today?” We did and had a delightful personal tour of the city. Ryan our pedal driver was quick witted and knew Victoria history. We visited parks and heard some tantalizing stories of old government with the hanging alley. Ate at the Garden Cafe for dinner. It was jammed, with mediocre cafeteria food. People didn’t know what to do. No scheduled entertainment. Seems the JB didn’t get picked up in Seattle!! Listened to a couple of singers in the atrium area that were good. DAY 3. Still in Victoria. Almost every thing, place or activity on the ship is closed. We are in port. Limited bars, no racetrack, lazer tag, casino, stores. What do 4400 people do for another 24 hours. Nothing to do. Dinner at the Q Smokehouse- hard to go wrong with a chicken breast and baked beans! At 10:30 pm We enjoyed the production of SIX-Louis VIII six wives. Action paced and very cleverly done. We are now underway to San Francisco.. DAY4. Cruise in under the Golden Gate Bridge. That was amazing so quiet at 6:30 am. Dressed and ready to go. Hop on/ off bus tour, get some sourdough bread and have clam chowder in the City. We are all excited to go @ 8 am. We have all day until 6:30 pm in town. Wait, it’s Noon and we are still on board! Seems NCL didn’t pick up the Immigration official in Seattle. So 4400 people wait. We were off by 1 pm. So we did the bus tour. Went out to Sausalito, crossed the GGB 4 times due to bus route, saw a jumper and made it back at 5 ish. No clam chowder, no sourdough to take home. Specialty dinner in Ocean Blue was fantastic. Giant scallops, shrimp and blue fish were plated well and the dinner was a success. Finally got to see Jersey Boys at 10:30 and it was fantastic. The songs were easy to listen to and enjoy. The cast of both shows are outstanding. Day 5 at sea so headed out to some activities. Alaskan beer tasting. The District. Double doors closed before 2 pm. Showed up with about 30 others. After 15 minutes waiting, I went around to the wine event and got an employee to go inside to see if there was a problem. Barman stated no one was there so he cancelled it. Guess he should have opened the door!! Not an apology to anyone. Nothing available for the racetrack, or laser tag, casino, did our bit to give back to the ship. . Ate dinner at the Manhattan Room. Was pleasant and complimentary. Not hurried like the Cafe. Day 6. Pull into LA. Cruise is over. Disembarking and getting luggage was easy. Was looking forward to fun time doing things with friends and family. It was uneventful. Can’t say I would recommend NCL after this fiasco. We have enjoyed Royal Caribbean and carnival over the years. Carl our room steward was delightful. The room was tidy each day. Loved the continental breakfast each morning. Didn’t have to fight the elevator masses for coffee. The Observation Deck was very pleasant. Light food and drinks available with wonderful views. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been on 25 cruises, 3 so far this year. We have been on multiple NCL cruises and we were excited to try out the Bliss! The cruise did not start out well and was lacking through out the entire cruise. The Good: 1. We loved ... Read More
We have been on 25 cruises, 3 so far this year. We have been on multiple NCL cruises and we were excited to try out the Bliss! The cruise did not start out well and was lacking through out the entire cruise. The Good: 1. We loved the observation lounge. 2. The entertainment was good. We loved SIX and the Beatles. The bands were good. 3. We enjoyed the Laser Tag. 4. The ship was extremely clean. 5. We liked our balcony stateroom, especially the shower size! The Okay: 1. Food was hit or miss, with not much variety. 2. Raceway cars were pretty slow, overpriced, and you had a hard time passing people. The Bad: 1. Embarkation was delayed due to NCL issues, which meant one less day onboard that we paid for. The process was 2 1/2 hours. We finally got on board around 9 pm. The only dinner that was offered to us was an overcrowded buffet for 1st night. 2. The first port, Seattle, was cancelled due to NCL problems. After guests complaints the compensated guests $50pp, which is about the cost of the port fee we paid for Seatle. They let us know about the cancellation only 10 hours before we were supposed to arrive. 3. Customs/immigration in San Francisco was done very poorly, causing 3-4 hours delay in getting off the ship. They only had one extremely, long, slow line that snaked throughout the ship. There was lots of misinformation with the process. 4. The service was poor through out the ship. It seemed like there were lots of new or improperly trained staff. The service in the dining rooms was slow. We were directed many times to certain areas, only to be re-directed somewhere else. Several times when we returned to our room in the evening for a brief moment our steward who ask: "If we needed service for that night." We have never experienced this on any other cruise. We are pretty flexible and know that there might be some problems or mishaps on a cruise. The negatives far outweighed the positives on this cruise. The attitude of NCL has been extremely disappointing. It seems like everyone has downplayed any and all problems and dismissed the guests’ concerns as unimportant and irrelevant. When problems arise you find out quickly who values their customers and acts with integrity. Norwegian has shown that they do not value their customers. There are many good choices in cruising industry and unfortunately, we can no longer count Norwegian Cruise Line as a good choice. It will be a very long time, if ever, if we choose to cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are frequent cruisers. We got together with two other couples on this cruise - just to enjoy a new ship. We had all been to all the ports so we figured we would just enjoy each other's company. When we booked the cruise, it said ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers. We got together with two other couples on this cruise - just to enjoy a new ship. We had all been to all the ports so we figured we would just enjoy each other's company. When we booked the cruise, it said that the ship would depart Vancouver at 3:30 PM. So we made our airfare and other travel arrangements accordingly. When we checked in on line, our boarding time came up as 7PM. They had accepted our 6:30 dinner reservations so we were confused. After several calls to our travel agent and NCL, we were told that the 7PM must have been a mistake and that we should go to the pier and would probably be on board after 12 noon. Two weeks before the cruise we get a letter from NCL that stated the ship would not be docked until 7PM and that we should not go to the pier before then. Our travel arrangements could not be altered so we got up at 4AM and travelled getting into Vancouver around 9:45. We purchased transportation to the pier and had to walk around Vancouver all day after turning in our luggage. We were tired so went to the pier at 4:00. No where to sit. The ship was in the harbor since 2:30 AM but couldn't get to the pier because 3 other ships were there. Boarding was terrible. Meals were cold and long waits - didn't go to Seattle as planned. Whole experience was terrible. Restaurants were crowded and food came to the table slow and not hot. The dining rooms are decorated beautifully - very contemporary. French, Italian and Steak house food was excellent, but of course there was a hot food issue everywhere. As far as entertainment, the Jersey Boys show was wonderful, but on that size ship shows had to be done more than 1 night (each was two nights) so we didn't have a show to go to every night. One show, Prohibition, was a surcharge of $39 - never heard of that. The race track and laser tag on the top deck along with the slides were for the younger guest so we didn't frequent. At cocktail time before dinner, most of the bars we went to service was so poor that we went to the bar to get our own drinks. - Also never had that happen. We didn't use any shore excursions as they were VERY pricy and we had already been to these ports. Please note - they took away Seattle too. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I took the Pacific Coast re-positioning cruise on 9/30 which was supposed to stop in Victoria, Seattle, and San Francisco. As others have pointed out, boarding was a nightmare. When we booked the cruise many months before, boarding was ... Read More
I took the Pacific Coast re-positioning cruise on 9/30 which was supposed to stop in Victoria, Seattle, and San Francisco. As others have pointed out, boarding was a nightmare. When we booked the cruise many months before, boarding was supposed to be at 3:30 PM. Then when we received our luggage tags in the mail, the boarding time had magically changed to 7:30 PM. Then, due to the ridiculous line on the departure day, we didn't actually get on the ship until at least 10:00 PM. This was particularly crappy, because we have have a 6-year-old and had to return our rental car before 6:00 PM. And obviously we had to check out of our hotel much earlier in the day. So we ended up hanging out at a food court across the street from the cruise terminal for hours after 6:00 PM. Pretty awful. Once on board, we read that the itinerary had changed such that we were no longer stopping in Seattle. Of course, there was no legitimate or concrete reason provided for this, nor did the Captain or anyone else bother to explain or apologize for ripping us off. I was eating at the buffet one day, and one of the head dudes on the ship (not the captain, but the second or third in command) was going around talking to people. When he approached me, I asked him why we didn't stop in Seattle. He made up some excuse about not being able to coordinate enough Customs workers to process passengers. As if this was all new to them and the ship didn't spend all summer going in and out of Seattle. Ridiculous. I suspect the real reason we didn't go is because of extreme disorganization/incompetence on the part of the crew/ Cruise line which was a common theme throughout the trip. We eventually got a $100 credit to our cabin for the missed port. How generous. Just as others experienced, getting off in San Francisco was also a nightmare. It took 45 minutes to get off the ship, and this was with a few line cuts (thanks to some of the crew) because we had an excursion that we were late for. This was not our fault, as we were initially told that we had to disembark the ship floor-by-floor, and were supposed to wait for our floor to be called before disembarking. Regarding the ship, it was reasonably nice, but I felt that there was not enough common space for the number of passengers aboard, and this was consistently evident based on virtually everywhere being overcrowded when at sea. I think they should have designed the ship with fewer cabins and more common areas, but of course, this would yield a few less dollars, so I guess it may not have been tenable. Even though the weather was starting to cool down, I went on the water slides. There weren't even that many people in line for either of the slides, but the wait was still extremely long to use them. I can't imagine how miserable it must be waiting for the slides in a more temperate climate such as the Caribbean. Our balcony cabin was very average, nothing special. It was a bit loud and we could hear toilets flushing and some voices from other rooms. The toilets were also unreasonably loud. The free TV choices were extremely limited, and movies cost $10 each. Total rip off. Also a ripoff was the "free" internet package we received. It was a hassle to log on and off (this is undoubtedly intentional so that people don't use it as much), and we weren't even able to access YouTube or other streaming sites unless we paid for upgraded internet. Also, we were limited to using one device at a time. Again, a total ripoff. Regarding the food, I felt it was very average. Not amazing, not terrible. All in all, this was probably one of the the worst cruises I've been on all things considered. I actually think that Disney is worse than NCL (bad food, no casino, too expensive for what you get), but the wife and kid like Disney at least. None of us liked NCL much, and for this reason, we probably wont be back on an NCL ship for a very long time. They really blew it with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Embarkation in vancouver was a disaster! embarkation staff was incompetent and overwhelmed by the number of passengers. there was no special line for handicap or platinum members. Lifeboat drill was at 1100 p.m.-stupid time to have ... Read More
Embarkation in vancouver was a disaster! embarkation staff was incompetent and overwhelmed by the number of passengers. there was no special line for handicap or platinum members. Lifeboat drill was at 1100 p.m.-stupid time to have it. passengers were tired after being up all day then waiting for the embarkation process. Our seattle stop was cancelled-we were not informed of this until later that night. had we have known in advance that we were not going to seattle then we would have changed our booking. overheard several passengers saying they had friends/family meetings in seattle. a big disappointment for a lot of people. Ncl's excuse was that it would take too long to disembark and embark at the seattle port. bs: they should have known from experience how much time was involved and planned accordingly. Main dining staff was "lost". they were getting orders messed up and appeared as though this was the first cruise ship they had ever been on. besides being incompetent, most were not friendly. The first day of using the spa facility, there was a constant flow of perspective clients being toured through-so much for peace and quiet! Last year we were on the bliss for a 7 day cruise and it was fantastic. this time it was not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband purchased this cruise for me as a holiday gift - we love cruising, and have cruised several times with NCL. The fact that Jersey Boys (one of my favorite musicals) was on-board was the proverbial icing on the cake! We were ... Read More
My husband purchased this cruise for me as a holiday gift - we love cruising, and have cruised several times with NCL. The fact that Jersey Boys (one of my favorite musicals) was on-board was the proverbial icing on the cake! We were excited! We flew into Vancouver late the night before, with the expectation of boarding the boat in the late afternoon. We enjoyed the sites, ate a really good lunch, and proceeded to the cruise terminal. At this point (after receiving an email) we knew that the embarkation process was delayed, and that boarding would begin at 7pm. There was a line 3,800 strong. Luckily, we were seated in a holding room due to the fact that my husband is a disabled veteran. But it went down hill from here. The check-in process did NOT go smoothly. I had entered my CC information online prior to leaving home, but the agent at the desk failed to notify me that it didn't save. Once we stepped on the ship we found out that one of the ports had been cancelled (Seattle). (This was especially disturbing as I had forgotten some medication and had arranged and paid my neighbor to overnight it the port for pick up - except, now.... ). Then, by the time the agents make it through the line, we have the mandatory safety drill at 11PM - no one is "feeling it" at this point and tempers are flaring, including the lady doing the demonstration who actually yelled at passengers to SHUT UP! at one point. Nice. We awake the next morning to a letter that a cash deposit is required, since there is no credit card on file and we proceed down to the guest services desk and wait another hour or so in line. (they tired to close the line just in front of me, but I wasn't having anything to do with that. I made them listen. I am not a rude nor normally pushy person by nature, but I was already pretty dissatisfied.) My husband and I decided to schedule a spa day. We arrive for our appointment in the spa (couples massage) and are taken to a "pre-massage" relaxation room... that has 10 warmed beds, music, curtains in between for privacy, except 9 of the 10 bed are full and there are two of us - hence the couples massage. We offer to reschedule, however they WILL NOT let us leave (obviously fearing missing out on the up-charges) and throw my husband and I into the spa haven place where others have paid to enjoy private saunas and jacuzzis. Whatever. The massage was decent. Thank goodness! I'm not sure if it was the sheer size of this ship - now the largest in Norwegian's fleet - or the way this vacation started, but it really felt like one huge disappointment. Like when you're excited because you're going to Disneyland and you know you're going to have a fun filled day - except you spend all day waiting in line! That's this cruise to a "T"! LOWLIGHTS that make me say skip it: *Staff was not as welcoming or friendly as other NCL trips we have been on *Ship is SO large that you wait to dine anywhere or even to see a show *Don't dare ask for a non-alcoholic cocktail *Buffet food could be fresher at times *No where to sit - again, too many people, not enough planning *Lack of options for food during non peak meal times *No fun towel animals on the bed - c'mon, this makes you feel special! *Feeling like numbered cattle HIGHLIGHTS that make me say consider it: *The entertainment was PHENOMENAL!!!! *99% of the food we had - outside of the buffet - was out of this world! *Hey, you're on a boat! All in all, two thumbs down on this one. And this previously hard-core loyal NCL sailor is seriously reconsidering if they earned my loyalty on this one. This ship itself is beautiful, but I would not sail on this vessel again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and to cruise again after serious health problems/recovery from during 2016 and 2017. We enjoyed a similar cruise in 2010 aboard the Pearl so we thought let's try it ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and to cruise again after serious health problems/recovery from during 2016 and 2017. We enjoyed a similar cruise in 2010 aboard the Pearl so we thought let's try it again. We changed to this cruise from another one during June, 2018 and got a couple of notifications from Ncl regarding later boarding times( due to low tides and getting under Lion's Gate bridge) by January, 2019. However on our roll call group, people were still being told normal boarding times. 30 days prior to the cruise Ncl sends a letter stating 7pm check-in/boarding for passengers. We arrived in Vancouver on the 28th of September to sightsee so it was like a port day for us. We had late checkout at the Pan Pacific hotel and watched 3 other ships leave before the Bliss could dock. The "fun" was only beginning little did we know! We went down to get n the line and OMG it was unbelievably long and snaked around outside the building and down along side the pier. It was now after 7pm and getting dark and colder. We stood in line for over 2&1/2 hours til we finally got to Hall C and we heard someone ask about priority boarding. We were platinum level plus in the Haven area so we mentioned that to a gentleman, who motioned us to a different line to check-in, and from that point we were about 15 minutes until we were escorted to the Haven area. We got seated in the Haven restaurant about 10 pm and had 30 minutes to order and eat our food! We then had to go to the 11 pm muster drill. I think there were passengers still boarding the ship just prior to the muster drill. We got a letter saying we were skipping Seattle the next day and going to Victoria instead and staying there for 1 &1/2 days. We did get some OBC but that didn't begin to make up things. The casino, several bars and shops were also closed during all this time and what do you do with 4,000 unhappy passengers? And there were lot's of them. We upgraded from a side balcony cabin to a Haven aft balcony cabin in celebration of our anniversary and my serious health problems. While we did enjoy our cabin and large balcony, there were too many negatives on this cruise and we came away very disappointed. Late and confusing embarcation, last minute change regarding ports, getting the wrong foods in restaurants from what you ordered, lack of communication and inaccurate info pre-cruise were some of the issues. Never really felt like we were on vacation because of the problems. For what we paid for the Haven experience and to disembark feeling deflated! We dined in the Haven restaurant, Cagney's, LaCucina, Los Lobos, Teppanyaki ( wife and daughter only), the Local, the buffet and Q. My favorite was LaCucina ( outside on the waterfront) and the other family members enjoyed Teppanyaki the most. Food was good everywhere (even when we got food that was different from what we ordered). We went to Jersey Boys and the new show Sixx. We enjoyed JB and my wife liked Sixx much better than I. Wife and daughter donated their $$ playing bingo. We didn't t really get to play in the casino as much as normal due to it being closed half of the cruise and trying to work everything in the the other half of the cruise. Really like the Bliss having the separate non-smoking area in the casino. Our Cruise Critic group had a M&G, a Group Slot pull and a small sailaway party on our large balcony leaving Victoria. We then proceeded on a cabin crawl (about 10 people) and we're allowed by the concierge to show them the Haven area quickly Things were so much out of whack that we couldn't ever seem to get into a rhythm or flow and enjoy our cruise. With our celebrations, we wanted this to be an unforgettable cruise. I will always remember this cruise but for the wrong reasons! Did we have a good cruise.....maybe Did we have a great cruise.....not even close!!! This was our 7th cruise with Ncl but time will tell if there will be more. I couldn't even justify buying more cruise rewards to use towards future cruises. Sent emails to customer service and CEO Andy Stuart but they haven't responded so far. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
NCL staff and management have no clue how to travel with 4,000 passengers. We are still trying to decide if the ports just are not ready for the mega ships - or if NCL just doesn't care whether they get repeat customers. Nothing ... Read More
NCL staff and management have no clue how to travel with 4,000 passengers. We are still trying to decide if the ports just are not ready for the mega ships - or if NCL just doesn't care whether they get repeat customers. Nothing about this cruise would make guests feel welcome. (1) NCL knew in advance that the docks were full on Sept 30th so embarkation would not begin until after 7pm. They chose NOT to share this info with guests. (2) NCL knew that customs and immigration officials would not work later than 5pm so that the Seattle stop would have to be cancelled. They chose not to share this info with guests. (3) They knew the number of customs officers available in San Francisco - so that passengers would lose 1/2 of their shore time waiting in a three hour line to exit. But they chose not to share this info with guests. This ship added extra decks full of cabins. But the common venues such as garden cafe, showroom, pool area are the same size as on smaller ships. So guests feel like cattle being herded to the slaughter house. They did add a lot of activities that guests can pay extra charges to get some privacy and service. Guest services staff on board would answer guests with "We have no control over this problem or that problem. When you get off the ship, talk to corporate offices in Miami." But corporate sent the same form letter to each passenger who sent a complaint. The form letter could best be summarized as "tell someone who cares". If NCL is your choice - stick with the smaller ships. This cruise was better than the Titanic's maiden voyage - but not by much. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been on many cruises usually 2 or 3 a year and we looked forward to trying out NCL and their newest ship the Bliss. Right from the beginning it was frustrating. The drink packages are way over priced. $99 a Day is crazy compared to ... Read More
We have been on many cruises usually 2 or 3 a year and we looked forward to trying out NCL and their newest ship the Bliss. Right from the beginning it was frustrating. The drink packages are way over priced. $99 a Day is crazy compared to other cruise lines. Most of the Shore Excursions were way over priced. I rented a car for the day and drove all over San Francisco and Victoria. It was far cheaper and a much better value for the money. Then we finally get to the day of departure and I had been speaking to NCL by phone asking to get instructions for getting to handicap and elderly parents aboard. And was told to ask at the pier. We dropped luggage very early in the day and asked at the pier...to no avail. They said it will be set up when we embark later that evening. We stood on line with two elderly handicap parents for 2 1/2 hours to board the ship. It was a disaster. Not only for us but many people with elderly parents or young children. I have been on 20 cruises and this was the worst process I have ever seen. Not a single NCL person around. Only people employed by the pier. I have not experienced a more chaotic departure. We were doing our safety meeting at 11:30pm ... that’s tough on the elderly and young kids. Not to mention anyone. Then many of us were surprised to find out the next morning that NCL decided not to got to Seattle like scheduled ... and just go directly to Victoria. We saw the piece of paper at 11pm the night before but a vast majority of the people had no idea. You would think NCL would make arrangements for the arrival into Victoria and it was a ghost town at the pier for transportation. Again, No NCL people on the pier. 70 people waiting to get a cab into downtown ... not one cab. We started calling all of the cab companies and they had no idea the ship was there. Peoples book shore excursions were a mess. I could not make this up if I tried. The NCL staff on board the ship are very good. The dinning was great. The Beatles shows were amazing... but there were so many organization issues on this cruise. We will stick with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
A beautiful ship with excellent people serving the guests. The overall trip was ruined by in competent senior staff on board, and incompetent senior management at Norwegian Cruise Lines. The trip started out as a disaster from Vancouver. ... Read More
A beautiful ship with excellent people serving the guests. The overall trip was ruined by in competent senior staff on board, and incompetent senior management at Norwegian Cruise Lines. The trip started out as a disaster from Vancouver. The ship was originally scheduled to board at 7PM. The original cruise documents said boarding could begin an hour earlier (6PM). However, this changed the day of departure, and no one was allowed to board until 7PM. You can imagine what it was like when 4,000 passengers all showed up at 7PM to board the ship. There was one line that twisted and turned the full length of the terminal and wound around and doubled back outside the terminal. We stood in line from 7PM until 9:30 when we finally boarded. We paid the extra fare to stay in the Haven, because of the additional perks included. One of those perks was supposed to be expedited boarding. After two hours and 15 minutes in line, a guy finally came down the line with a Haven sign and led us to the Haven check-in line. Never once while in line, nor after we boarded did anyone explain what had gone wrong. No announcement over the loudspeakers apologizing for the disastrous start. Instead, to add insult to injury, they came over the loudspeaker and announced that everyone had to go through the lifeboat drill at 11:00 at night. Even after they covered all of the information on how to put on your life vest in case of an emergency, the Captain didn’t bother to come on the speaker, explain what had caused the horrible delays, and apologize for the disastrous start to the cruise. Next morning we wake up to find out that our scheduled port of call in Seattle had been cancelled. Instead we spent two days tied up at the first port of call in Victoria, B.C. On our next port of call, after a day at sea, was San Francisco. The night before arriving there a note is left on our bed telling us to meet the concierge in the Haven Lounge the next day at 7:45AM to get off of the ship because everyone on board had to get off the ship and go through customs, since this was the first stop at a US port. Furthermore, no one would be allowed to get back on the ship until everyone on board had exited and gone though customs. So, regardless of what you may have wanted to do that day, you had to hang out in the terminal for about two hours before getting back on board. I fully understand that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Glitches occur. However, great companies develop contingency plans to handle unforeseen circumstances. And the very best o take extra seps to see to it their customers either never know a problem existed, or that they far exceed their customers expectations when addressing the problem. From my perspective after this Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Lines hasn’t got a clue about how to deal with uncertainties when they occur. That’s actually scary when you think about being in a boat on the open seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cruise was spoiled by problems with embarking, disembarking, cancellation of Port of Seattle, very late night safety drill and lack of half day on ship in Vancouver. Cruise also spent too long in Port of Victoria, where we live. Management ... Read More
Cruise was spoiled by problems with embarking, disembarking, cancellation of Port of Seattle, very late night safety drill and lack of half day on ship in Vancouver. Cruise also spent too long in Port of Victoria, where we live. Management blamed the tides on our loading problems, which was ridiculous because tide conditions are posted months in advance. Our ship came up empty from Seattle and had plenty of time to dock and let passengers on to enjoy the ship before we embarked. Maybe they forgot to reserve a spot on the jetty? Two meals, lunch and supper were missed. Getting on the ship (3 1/2 hours plus) was a nightmare with too long lines, being kept in holding rooms where no refreshments were served. Not enough crew were hired to assist, as they knew they had to process 4000 plus people. Passengers who had sailed with Norwegian before said this had not happened before. Why this time? Why not do the safety drill when we were held in holding rooms? I realize the drill is mandatory, but 10:45 is ridiculous. Why couldn’t people with small children, send one parent and let the kids sleep? We were not shown where the life jackets were, which is foolish in an emergency. Why wait until we were boarding to inform us by letter that Port of Seattle was cancelled. What was the real reason? Many people were meeting loved ones in Seattle or had their day planned. Others chose this cruise because it was the only one going to Seattle. We were lucky to get off the ship quickly in San Franscico, but many were not. Floor 9 didn’t get off until after 1:00 which ruined their days’ plans. When did the lower decks finally get off? We heard the crew didn’t get any shore leave. Customer service lineups seemed to at least twenty people deep whenever we went. We were also charged for 6 days gratuities when we didn’t get our day in Vancouver. Disembarking in Los Angeles was smooth because management hired some Princess cruise staff to assist. Finally. Staff on ship were very good. Loved the observation lounge for reading and light lunches. Jersey Boys were excellent. Food in Cafe was good but maybe a bit bland without spices. Loved the food choices. Great weather. Hop on and off in San Francisco was excellent and visiting Pier 39 for outstanding clam chowder in a sourdough bowl was yummy. Unfortunately, the Management planning was terrible and needs to be vastly improved Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It was kind of stressful being on this cruise from LA to Vancouver, right from the start till the end. Embarkation: It started with embarkation, long lines, no directions for people arriving by public transport and worst for ... Read More
It was kind of stressful being on this cruise from LA to Vancouver, right from the start till the end. Embarkation: It started with embarkation, long lines, no directions for people arriving by public transport and worst for Platinum NCL customers: no skip the lines possible. Food/restaurants: The speciality restaurants were the only places where we could find a quiet atmosphere to enjoy our meals. The complimentary dining rooms, as well as the buffet, were always crowded and often offered mediocre food. Items like the evening Nutella crepes that used to be complimentary on cruises I did with NCL before are now sold for 5 bucks plus gratitudes. Pools: It's kind of odd, that there is no indoor pool for non-suite guests on this ship, that was particular build for Alaska. On most days of this cruise, it was too cold to use the pool area. Guest services: When visiting the cruise next team I had an unpleasant encounter with one of their team members. She was very pressing to sell at least two or more cruise rewards. After telling her three times I don't want to change my purchase, she was still in her pushing mode, so I had to leave this unpleasant person. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and to see if we might like to start cruising with NCL. Took about 30 minutes to decide once was enough. We had the ultimate beverage package which included nothing but alcoholic drinks. Had to ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and to see if we might like to start cruising with NCL. Took about 30 minutes to decide once was enough. We had the ultimate beverage package which included nothing but alcoholic drinks. Had to purchase specialty coffee and bottled water. The poor servers spent as much time apologizing to the guests as they did serving. We ate in the specialty restaurants each night (part of our package). It was good, service was fairly good in most places. Our only main dining room experience was for breakfast our server was very sweet and nice, but slowwwww. Cabin attendant was also nice and efficient, we are used to getting to know and converse with our stewards. He said hello to us twice in 5 days. No communication about anything from start to finish. Cabin was small but lots...LOTS of storage, the shower was one of the best on any ship. We purchased the thermal spa pass and used it a lot. As always there were chair hogs and people that couldn't understand the concept of quiet and serenity. When it was good it was very very good, glad we spent the money for the most part. We didn't watch any of the evening shows so no comment on that. We have been on older refurbished ships with other cruise lines, in our opinion the Jewel showed her age. Not a very elegant ship, but this is very subjective, other guests found her beautiful. Final day was completely disorganized and poorly managed. It's like management on this shop missed Cruise Organization 101. Bottom line NCL is not for us, but we are quiet, non-party people. We have busy social work lives and prefer to just enjoy each other's company when cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a ... Read More
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a real cruise. Overall, the ship was an odd ghost town. Most bars were closed. When we got to the pool finally (around 7pm) there was just one other family up on deck. We didn't see entertainment people the whole time. The one live music we saw, in the lounge at 10pm, was sparsely attended and odd. The staff said there were two shows in the theatre but there was just one, which we missed due to a slow dinner. Everything seemed picked up and like our time onboard was a hiccup before the real cruise started. First, due to a six-hour Amtrak delay, we weren't even sure we'd make the boat. More than an hour on hold with NCL and they said 'someone from the port will call you,' though nobody ever did. We weren't sure if we were going to Vancouver just to miss the ship, and nobody could tell us whether the ship could/would hold. Second, we didn't arrive at the port till 5:45pm. And STILL we waited 45 min for customs. We were told that people who arrived earlier waited hours. (It was a good thing there was a long line, since that's what kept the ship from leaving.) We completely missed our 6:30pm dinner reservations. Third, we chose this ship because our 5-year-old was psyched about the waterslide and the climbing area in the kids club. When we boarded, our "Freestyle Daily" told us the waterslide was only open till 6pm-- so we missed it entirely. It wasn't open at all the next day. Despite my pleas, and the fact it was still sunny and 70+ degrees, there was no opening the slide. Fourth, the kids club didn't actually have the play gym as in the photos - the staff said they had taken it out for the night. The kids area had just a bunch of tumbling mats. Another hard loss for our kiddo. Fifth, despite the empty restaurant, it took more than an hour to get our dinners at the 'Tsar's Palace' free restaurant. Sixth - and I'd say worst - the next morning was a real 'get off the ship NOW!' experience, despite the 'disembark by 9:30am.' Our room was made up with our luggage in it while we were at breakfast at 7am. Around 8am, a worker came by the outside of the ship and sprayed down our balcony - asking us to step off it and inside - leaving the seating wet and the ceiling dripping. There were no balls for the sports court and the pool was never opened. It was a complete waste. This is pretty much the opposite of the experience we had on Princess last fall, where the boat was packed, it was fun, it felt like a real getaway. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We just finished our trip on the NCL Jewel. I learned one thing I can state with absolute certainty. When a person on the staff uses the phrase, "I will look into it.", they are really telling you to go away because they ... Read More
We just finished our trip on the NCL Jewel. I learned one thing I can state with absolute certainty. When a person on the staff uses the phrase, "I will look into it.", they are really telling you to go away because they don't care enough to help! This canned phrase, used by most of the upper staff, is simply a polite way they use to say I will do the bare minimum to make you go away! The primary reason for my lack of satisfaction in from three events. One involving my 15 month old son getting sick, one involving people smoking on the balcony two rooms toward the bow of the ship in front of ours and the third being terrible service in the Tsar's Palace restaurant. The biggest problem was the horrible, rude incomprehensibly poor behavior and judgement of the staff when my son threw up in his stroller directly next to the registration desk. Let me paint the picture. We were headed to dinner at Azura with me, my wife our 4 year old and the baby. The baby erupted and threw up all over himself and his stroller. Nightmare! It was terrible and we didn't know what to do. We wanted to clean up our son, but to move him without a towel would have spread the puke everywhere. Had we pushed him back to the room in the stroller we would have spread vomit through the whole of the ship. We didn't want to do that. We used all the wipes we had and were begging for something to help clean up our son and stroller. We were literally next to the desk and we asked for help three times! The lady who we talked to treated us horribly and did not communicate the situation properly to housekeeping. We literally were stranded next to the desk for 20 minutes before help arrived. We asked three times for help during this time! All we wanted was a towel to pick up our son and clean the vomit from his whole body and stop the pooling vomit from spilling. She responded with a curt, I have called housekeeping twice when we pleaded for help. She then went back to helping other guests in line despite our mini crisis. No less than three members of the staff walked by us and did nothing! After 15 minutes and having asked twice for help and being treated rudely, we got help from the desk supervisor who called housekeeping again to let them know it was an urgent matter after I stepped into the front of the line and loudly demanded help for the third time. After that they were there in 5 minutes. No parent should ever have to sit in a high traffic area of the ship, next to the registration desk and be treated in a similar fashion. Shame on the front desk for being so poorly trained and so incredibly rude. This was gross negligence on the part of the staff. It was embarrassing as a parent to have to sit there and wait so ling for help with people walking by us the whole time, not to mention the helpless feeling of not being able to pick up and comfort our crying son as we didn't want to spread the vomit everywhere. I complained about the treatment at the front desk and I got the standard, "Let me look into it"! The first person I spoke to said, this does not meet the criteria for compensation, what do you want me to do. At that [point in time I had asked for nothing and was simply registering a complaint about the behavior and the indifference of the front desk as a whole. The assistant hotel director, a nice man but his response was "I'll look into it" We also got the same from Hotel Director after leaving a note in his box... Ill look into it! They sent an empty gesture of a bottle of wine and some chocolate covered strawberries. They should have been more attentive to the baby and us as parents. They should have offered some compensation for the incompetence! The second problem was they were essentially non responsive to the passengers smoking on the balcony. The lady in the room in front of ours took pictures of the people in both of the next two rooms smoking cigarettes and also, what smelled like pot on the balcony. Again, we were traveling with a 4 year old and a baby and could not open our door because of the smell of the two different kinds of smoke wafting into our cabin at all hours of the day and night for most of the cruise. I spent over $500 to upgrade to a balcony room we could not use. It was terrible. They should have fined the people in the other rooms and credited the upgrade in full back to my account! The third problem was that the service staff in Tsars Palace was rude and did some really gross things. The biggest problem outside of the disinterested service and lackluster meal was when the server put her entire hand into my older son's ice cream, wiped it on her leg and then served it to my son hoping we didn't see her stumble and put her hand in the ice cream. After she dropped it at the table and asked if we needed anything else we asked her for a different ice cream as we saw what she had done. She lied to us and said she was already going to get a different one, but her actions of putting it on the table and starting to walk away was not what had actually happened. Other than these problems, the ship was nice, but dated. The elevator third to the right in the aft of the ship was broken and made several people get stuck. Besides that, the staff was cordial and nice for the most part. The service was generally lacking, but it was a full ship. Our room steward, Hilary, was awesome! He made the trip for us and was a real pro at his job! He was wonderful! Chin Chin was really good, with the appetizers being better then the main courses. Azura was fantastic with great service and really attentive waitstaff. The buffet was really great and we enjoyed our times when we ate there. The Great Outdoors on the back of deck 12 was an amazing place to have breakfast and we did so everyday! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was ... Read More
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was a disappointment and while I may take another cruise someday I do not plan to go with NCL again. Readers should note that I’m not a typical traveler, and some/all my complaints may be non-issues to many others. I went with my mom on this trip. It was her seventh cruise, first (and probably last) with NCL as well. Trip: 09/29/2015 to 10/04/2015 Itinerary: Vancouver, BC > Victoria, BC > Astoria, OR > Los Angeles, CA Trip Type: Pacific Coastal Re-positioning Who I am: In my mind it is important to explain who the reviewer is, so that readers can put what they’re reading in perspective to their own lives and lifestyles to see if it is relevant to them. I’m a 32-year-old male business professional from Minnesota without children—and doesn’t particularly care for them, either. While there weren’t a lot of kids on the trip, what they lacked in numbers many made up for in verbosity. I also don’t care for crowds, so that this was a sold-out ship didn’t help. Why I Travel: Photography. This cruise was part of a larger, 11-day trip we took, spending four nights in Seattle and a fifth in Vancouver, before I flew home from Los Angeles. In that time I took over 9,000 photographs. Unless doing portrait work, people are the enemy to most photographers, and most people are utterly oblivious to the shots they’re ruining on a ship. I also understand this is a non-issue for most people. I’m used to getting up at 5:00 a.m. (or earlier) just to beat the crowds whenever possible. Nickeled and Dimed: This trip was a five night/six day sales pitch, trying to drive my bill higher and higher at every turn. I felt like if they could have flipped me over by my ankles and shaken the money out of my pockets they would have. While I understand this is standard operating procedure for a cruise ship it is still disappointing. The Most Frustrating Part: The day before we were supposed to disembark the ship we received an envelope placed above our room number (between 10:00 a.m. and noon) with information inside stating that our shore excursion (and ride to the airport) was canceled. We went to the Shore Excursion desk to discover our options. The Shore Excursion desk was closed until 5:00 p.m., which led us to the Customer Service counter. We felt put off, and a gentleman at the desk was supposed to contact the Shore Excursion staff. We didn’t feel good about this. After talking with another guest, she recommended we go back to the Customer Service desk and talk to the lady with the three stars on her blazer. This person contacted the Shore Excursion staff. As we were returning to our stateroom the phone rang. We were able to choose a new shore excursion in Los Angeles with airport drop-off. Prior to talking to the lady with the three stars we had been stonewalled, let down, misdirected, or lied to by several other employees. There is a lot of “pass the buck” and broken communication on this ship, which is so frustrating. The Ship: Vividly decorated and while sometimes confusing in its layout it is a beautiful vessel. It is regrettable that passengers have to walk through the casino or shops to get from one end of the ship to the other on Decks 6 and 7, but I’ve been assured that this cash grab attempt is an industry standard and not endemic to NCL. I got many beautiful pictures from Deck 14, the Sun Deck. It was also a nice place to run away to when the crowds got to be too much. The Stateroom: We stayed in room 11042 (mini-suite), on the Starboard side of the ship. The staff split the bed for us after we arrived. This room was a lifesaver. The Garden Café on Deck 13 was often too busy to even get a table at, and we ate at least three meals in the stateroom, using the desk, coffee table, and sofa to accommodate food trays. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly, accommodating, but we always felt that our room was being taken care of last. I’m not sure if NCL gives priority to previous guests, if there’s a “tip culture” we’re not aware of that happens on the first day, or exactly why we were always the last served—and it could be as simple as a sick colleague that he was filling in for—but it was strange. He did do an excellent job. Tsar Dining Room: Gorgeous, but arrive 30+ minutes early to get a table anywhere close to a window. The food was generally delicious, but (and maybe this is a Minnesota thing) I had to beg to get coffee before dessert—and even then it sometimes fell on deaf ears. There is a rigidly-enforced order to which meals are served and deviation is strongly resisted. The wait staff was sometimes curt when a request was made. That said, the room was truly gorgeous, and the food was 20 times better than what was in the Garden Café. It was spoiled at times by screaming children, but this is a failure in parenting (remove your children when they’re awful!) and not NCL’s fault. Ship Amenities: I don’t swim, but prospective passengers should know that the pools are small. They have two hot tubs, which were heavily-used. The art is expensive but much of it beautiful at the auctions. Shows: I loved almost every show I went to (show up early! There’s fierce competition for good seats!), especially Band on the Run and Cirque Bijou. Both of these shows were in the Stardust Theatre on Deck 7 at the bow—the Tsar Dining Room is all the way at the stern on the same deck. Fred Bevill (comedian) in the Spinnaker Lounge (Deck 13) was terrific! Magnum Wine Bar: The ship is full of restaurants, bars, and other places to spend lots of money, but the best place on the ship—for me—was the Magnum Wine Bar on Deck 6. Fabrizio (piano player) regaled a healthy crowd every night while the fantastic Filipino bar staff bantered, mixed, smiled, shook, stirred, and delighted nearly everyone—these guys were awesome. From Elton John to Italian pop, Fabrizio has incredible range. The bartenders possessed all of the pizzazz that was missing from the restaurant staff, and embodied the spirit of customer service that was utterly missing from the Shore Excursion workers. Cruise Director: We flat out despised his persona. His voice was grating and he reeked of false smarminess. We’d even go out on our balcony to avoid hearing his voice during his daily briefings over the PA. We avoided him at all costs. Restaurant Staff: The serving staff in the Tsar Dining Room performed their tasks adequately. For non-managerial employees there was no joy, showmanship, or indication that they enjoyed their jobs. Mr. Messiah (in charge of the ship’s restaurants) was instrumental in helping me when no one else did—thank you to him. I don’t know if the staff was burned out from a long tour of duty, but morale is lacking and customer service was uninspired. Getting help was very difficult in the Garden Café. English barriers were a frequent problem for many of the staff. When I asked (begged?) for a tray, a worker cleaning up the counters by the beverage dispensers took his rag, cleaned off a spill tray, and offered it to me. I was (and still am) appalled that the tray wasn’t first sanitized through a dishwasher. Shore Excursions: We went to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. While I did get a few good photographs the trip was an anguished frustration for me. There were many people when we arrived, and it was a full-on, Disney-worthy crowd by the time we left: people are the enemy for a photographer trying to capture delicate flowers, sweeping vistas, and lovely waterways. Astoria greeted us with thick fog that lifted as the day wore on. From what we saw it is a lovely town. I didn’t realize we’d be taking school buses from the Knapp school district or that our trip to Cannon Beach would be shortened so the buses could go back and pick kids up. I also twisted my ankle badly, but powered through the pain so I could get the pictures I wanted—though I’m still using photo-editing software to crop out the people I couldn’t work around. Los Angeles wasn’t what I expected. It is pretty, though. The tour guide on our bus was grating and obnoxious, but we got to the TCL (Grauman’s Chinese) Theatre and then the airport—the most important parts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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