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28 Norwegian (NCL) Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

The Jewel, four times aboard her now and this was the best trip yet. That isn’t saying much since I am attracted by her itineraries more so than by what it delivers. That being said, it really was the best of the four trips. The trip ... Read More
The Jewel, four times aboard her now and this was the best trip yet. That isn’t saying much since I am attracted by her itineraries more so than by what it delivers. That being said, it really was the best of the four trips. The trip was booked well in advance as it was our first time to be able to take advantage of a repositioning cruise. The trip went from Vancouver, to Victoria, to Astoria. Then there was a sea day before visiting San Francisco and Monterrey and finishing in Los Angeles. We flew up to Vancouver a couple of days early and stayed at the Accent Inn out near the airport. Nice place- fun “punny” signage and easy access. We rented a car out at the airport and spent Sunday seeing the sites in Vancouver. Stanley Park was very nice with the fall foliage adding some color. On Monday we took the AirTrain to the Cruiseport. It could not have been any easier. We checked in earlier than we had planned, and apparently many others did as well. There used to be special lines that NCL would use for repeat customers that were members of Latitudes, but this time the only ones able to skip the lines were Haven and Suites guests. We were in line for over an hour, though it was constantly moving. We carried our bags on ourselves, and the rooms were immediately available when we boarded about 2:00. Our friends hadn’t been on the ship before, so we toured and saw some of the newly improved areas from the last drydock. We were a little late setting sail, but not as late as the Norwegian Joy had been the day before. They missed low tide and had to sit in Vancouver overnight since they couldn’t fit under the bridge. The word from the unhappy customers was that they were losing their day in Victoria due to the problem. It was no problem for the Jewel and we were only about an hour late- and Victoria was plenty close. We dined in the main dining room that evening and I think we got the best seat in the house- at the very back of the ship with a tremendous view. This is where they used to place the Captain’s Table back in the days before Freestyle dining. Victoria was glorious. We have visited there before, but this was the first time we ventured out to Butchart Gardens. Simply said- they were magnificent. We will return there on future visits to Victoria. We had about 30 minutes of rain, but that was the only weather we had all trip long. Not bad for early October in the Pacific Northwest. Astoria didn’t have a car available to rent by the time I got around to shopping for one. We went on the ship’s tour out to Fort Stevens. There isn’t much to see, and having a car would have been cheaper, but it turned out well. We visited the “Tower” in town and had some beautiful views both from the base and after we went up the 164 step circular staircase to the top. Then we headed across the bridge to Ft. Stevens State Park. The waves crashing on the beach was something out of a movie. The actual Fort Stevens stop was not that interesting. Our tour guide, Dita, was funny so she made the trip better than it would have been. We took the local transit bus into town, but instead of being on the bus we were give a ride in a 1926 Dodge Brothers car. That was a blast. The drive pointed out a fish and chips place just across the street from the Maritime Museum that is a converted fishing boat- and we had a wonderful lunch there. We spent the sea day quietly. The hot tubs were not overly crowded so we were able to stay in for as long as we liked. Then just some reading and relaxing, along with a single visit to the nicely furnished fitness facility. San Francisco has become such a disaster that we decided to stay only in the touristy areas. We hadn’t ridden the trolley cars for years so we rode on up, then watched the Marine Band give a mini-concert and rode another back down. We then walked over to Fisherman’s Wharf and had a great lunch of Clam Chowder and Sourdough bowls at Boudin’s on the Wharf. We then returned back to the ship in anticipation of the air show that was being put on due to it being “Fleet Week” in the Bay Area. The Blue Angels did not disappoint and the fantail area up on Deck 12 was the perfect place to watch it. The ship even got buzzed at the start of the show- when no one was expecting it so we got off to a rousing start. Monterrey once again did not have a car available. The only car rental there was an Enterprise office that you could not pick up a car before 9, and had to return it by 12. We just decided to stay onboard ship and relax again. Getting off in Los Angeles was simple. Again we just carried our bags off and left when we wanted to. Since we live only about 30 miles away our son came over and picked us up about 8 AM. We had the Specialty Dining Package for three nights. The Teppanyaki Grill was fabulous, probably the best meat and meal available on the ship, and the presentation was done well. They have their shtick down to a science. We also dined at Le Bistro one night and had a very good meal. La Cucina- now that is a different story. This was the last time I let my friends choose which specialty restaurant to go to as it was really not good at all. To give you an idea the best tasting thing on the menu was the antipasti appetizer! We dined in the main dining room twice and thought the food and service was better than our last couple of trips on the Jewel. The other night we walked up to Chin Chin early without a reservation. The food was good, but the service was non-existent. Both times we ordered food different foods came out from what we had ordered. Geronimo just didn’t have a clue! The MDR was a better experience, contrary to our last visit on the Jewel. The buffet was where we ate breakfast each morning. The food is the same every day so it is a struggle to change things up a little. I do appreciate that you can order freshly cooked eggs at the Omelette station. I’ll have mine over easy please! Entertainment was pretty good, but not outstanding. We don’t do magic or comedy shows but enjoy the musical performances. Candice Glover, from American Idol Season 12, was the headliner the last couple of nights. She has an amazing voice, but has very little stage presence. She needed to have Dan the Man, the Cruise Director, up there cracking jokes to keep the audience entertained….but he wasn’t there…… The room, an Oceanview on Deck 5, was just fine. We got a guaranteed room last time and got stuck behind a support structure so we appreciated the big window in the room. The attendant never introduced himself but everything was cleaned up every time we came back to the room. They have a hard job so his efforts were appreciated. The safe in the room was not in working order, but we just dealt with it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I went on this cruise with my DD for a little getaway. Embarkation was very good on the ship in 15 min. Debarkation was also good. We didn't get to stop in Victoria, however we have been before so it was fine. We had customs ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my DD for a little getaway. Embarkation was very good on the ship in 15 min. Debarkation was also good. We didn't get to stop in Victoria, however we have been before so it was fine. We had customs in San Francisco, which was fairly long getting off the ship, so a shorter time in port. However we walked to Pier 39 and enjoyed the Aquarium, shopping and all that was there. The Ship was big and new and clean. The atrium had a beautiful chandelier and staircase, but the rest of the ship I wouldn't say was fancy. We enjoyed laser tag. The race cars were fun, but there was a long wait, even with reservations. The Galaxy Pavilion was too expensive for only a couple minutes, so we didn't do any of the VR games. There were 3 main dinning rooms , serving the same thing in all of them. I liked the smaller atmosphere of Taste & Savor restaurants, besides these there is the Local that has a small menu, breakfast was fine, but we tried the fish & chips and they were like fish sticks. Then there is the Buffet and the Observation Lounge with a smaller buffet that is complimentary. Everything else is A La Carte restaurants. We did not go to any of them. The Service was very good. Very friendly staff. The entertainment we saw, Elements was well done, kind of different, but good. We did not like Foot Loose. Our Cabin was a balcony. I found it to be small compared to other cruiselines, but it was fine. I might go again, but I'm not sure. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Recently returned from a repositioning cruise from Vancouver on 6th October and arriving in LA on 11th October. Originally the itinerary included two ports 1. Victoria, BC and 2. San Francisco. Sadly a few days prior to departing, we ... Read More
Recently returned from a repositioning cruise from Vancouver on 6th October and arriving in LA on 11th October. Originally the itinerary included two ports 1. Victoria, BC and 2. San Francisco. Sadly a few days prior to departing, we were informed Victoria had to be cancelled due to tidal issues and this resulted in a delay of departure from Vancouver due to passing under Lions Bridge. Naturally this was quite disappointing for such a short cruise however we were issued $50 onboard credit. We were not issued any refund of port fees though. Embarkation: Relatively straight forward and I was on the ship within 15 minutes. I had completed everything online so it was a matter of collecting my sea pass and signing paperwork. Cabin: I had 13162 which was on deck 13 (ironically the medical centre is also located on this deck) and this was a port side mid ship balcony. The cabin was fine with plenty of storage space and a nice (albeit small) balcony. I liked the location as I wasn't far from the stairs and just two levels up to the Observation Deck and close to the Garden Café. My attendant was friendly enough but I wouldn't say he went above and beyond. On one day close to the end, he didn't even bother removing the glasses from my room or wiping the coffee from the side table. Savour: I had breakfast here three times during the trip. I liked sitting by the window and watching the World go by. I found the service to be very good as was the food. I highly recommend the chocolate pancakes. Also try the cinnamon rolls - literally the best ever!! I had lunch here and the cheese burger was very disappointing however the philly steak sandwich was good. Personally I found The Local to be better for the fast food types such as hot dogs/burgers. I had dinner and it was very nice. The menu was the same each night though and the same in all restaurants (Savour/Taste/The Manhattan). Taste/The Manhattan: I had dinner in both and as mentioned above the menu is the same. The service was excellent in The Manhattan and fine in Taste. One point to note on the service in the restaurants, every time someone interacted with me they were shocked I was dining alone. In the end it was comical but also rather draining. Women are able to dine alone and it's not some sad affair. Garden café: The worse place ever! So chaotic. I only went once for breakfast and it was awful. The food was average but trying to get a table was awful. Walking around with your food and having to rush for a table is not enjoyable. American Diner: I decided to try breakfast here one day and it was fine, nothing special. Limited buffet available but nice service. La Cucina Italian: I had two specialist dinning available, sadly I regret dining here. The food was average at best. Pear salad was nice but on the main dining menu and I can't even remember my mine so it shows how uneventful that was. Ocean blue: This was the best meal of my cruise. Incredible sea food and lovely service. Try the scallops for starter (they are very small!) and the mixed seafood for main - perfect. Just a note with the specialist dining, they were very restrictive with when you could book. I was informed they were fully booked however both times I was seated, there were plenty of free tables. This is disappointing as I could've switched my reservation to Cagney's but they said they were full. The Local: I had lunch here on embarkment and it was bit manic but the nachos were good. I had another lunch here and whilst the line was long to be seated, it went fairly quickly and the hot dog was great. Again lovely service. The Observation Deck: Snacks were regularly available during the day here although I didn't eat any. They had soups and salad for lunch and a few other items. I would often fill up my water bottle here and grab a decaff coffee before heading to bed. I won't comment on each bar but all had a great selection of drinks. I do want to say how wonderful Jomar Parculos and Maxime Mathurin at the H20 spice bar were. Always so friendly and happy. H20 Spice: I loved coming here in the afternoon for a dip in the hot tub. It was great being adults only. Only suggestion would be to show a film or something on the big screen. Whilst the beach pictures were nice, it could have been put to better use. Pools/Slides: Great adults only pool, very deep. Sadly a little chilly for our cruise. The hot tubs on the pool deck were full of unaccompanied children - not good. Maximum capacity in the hot tubs were always over due to the amount of kids in there. I did the water slide with the ring. This was great fun with the lights however I whimpered out of the ocean loop. Although it was only a few seconds long, it looked so scary and some lighter people were getting stuck. Pulse fitness centre: The gym was average size but always pretty busy (surprisingly). People were often using equipment and had no clue how to do it safely. Wearing sandals and man bags on the cross trainer was ridiculous. They held a stretch class (7am) and abs class (7.30am) in The Cavan Club. I assume they held it there as there is no room in the gym. Go karting: Again this seemed to be fully booked all the time but I managed to secure a slot. It was worth the wait as it was fun but it was very difficult to overtake other drivers. Worth the $15. Footloose: An excellent show! I was so impressed with the singing and dancing. You must go watch the show. Elements: Unbelievably disappointing. Everything they did, I could have done (I'm intermediate aerialist). I expected the show to be a lot better. It was very colourful so I think that's what makes people think it's great when the actual acrobatics was pretty tame. Personally the issue I had was the lack of quality entertainment. It felt like there wasn't much going on, especially in the evenings. If you couldn't get a show booked then the other entertainment was in the Atrium. Sometimes it was good and other times not such much. There wasn't much going on during the day either. Hardly any activities. Overall I was impressed with my first NCL cruise. I personally prefer bigger ships so perhaps I should consider that in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Let's start at the beginning. Ist port victoria cancelled, received email 3 day before sailing tides too high to get under bridge. When you are only stopping at one other port on a five day cruise it seems almost like a cruise to ... Read More
Let's start at the beginning. Ist port victoria cancelled, received email 3 day before sailing tides too high to get under bridge. When you are only stopping at one other port on a five day cruise it seems almost like a cruise to nowhere. First day got right on ship and was in cabin by 11am. This was due to ship being deboarded the day before. Crew party that night, which left some of the staff hungover (things were not up to snuff on day 1, food and restaurant service) .Service and food were much better as the cruise went on. First night Manhattan room, then Savor or Taste the remainder. Did not experience the specialty restaurants. What was once the standard on cruise ships is now an extra priced option. Our cabin steward was great, Putu was his name. We played a lot of Video poker at the bar in the casino and the bartenders were all pretty good. Both shows ere excellent, footloose and elements, and Rob Little comedy was superb! I was disappointed that the ship did not have the thermal spa as I would have paid extra for that. We had the drink package , but had to pay an additional $20 for 6 one liter bottles of water (gratuity included). what a ripoff. The gym was large with a bunch of treadmills but only about 8 machines which I didn't care for. They would be better off with Cybex or Life Fitness than the ones they had. Buffet was good with a large variety of food, mostly tasty and fresh. Our cabin 10132 was towards the front port side of ship. It was quiet, had great view out of balcony, but was a bit extra walk from forward bank of elevators. Elevators almost always busy, I guess a fact of life with a near full ship? Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Original itinerary was 6-Nights Vancouver-Seattle-Victoria-at sea-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles, but we ended up staying in Vancouver for two nights, two days in Victoria, then at sea skipping Seattle-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles. ... Read More
Original itinerary was 6-Nights Vancouver-Seattle-Victoria-at sea-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles, but we ended up staying in Vancouver for two nights, two days in Victoria, then at sea skipping Seattle-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles. If we had known we couldn't even board the ship until after 7:00 pm on the embarkation, and would be staying in Vancouver for two nights, we could have saved three nights pre-boarding hotel bookings trying to adjust our flight for afternoon boarding. Embarkation at Vancouver Terminal went relatively smooth this time, compare to the last two times, because we didn't even get there until 8:30 pm, and there were no other ships boarding at the same time. First we were told to stand in a very long winding line in the terminal hallway, but when we asked for wheelchair assistance, we were told to go to wheelchair check-in line inside the door, which was very short. From there, check-in and boarding went very quickly and smoothly. We were traveling with 97-year old mother on wheelchair, but I also needed wheelchair assistance to board, because of my spinal stenosis-intermittent coasting problem. I can push mother on wheelchair on flat ground for a short distance eg., getting around the ship, but not on slopes. Stooped posture holding on to wheelchair, walker, shopping cart etc., lessens the pressure on my spine and makes easier for me to walk. All three of us have Latitude Platinum status, but that doesn't seem to help much getting extra help at check in no matter where we are. When we boarded NCL Jewel on September 17, 2018 for 19-Day Transpacific to Yokohama from the same terminal, a woman who was in charge of the terminal wheelchair service refused to assign us an additional wheelchair and assistance to push mother's wheelchair to board. We were finally able to board after running into a NCL wheelchair assistance crew member who recognized us from previous May 2018 Yokohama-Vancouver crossing. That was the most distressing embarkation experience for us in the last decade. Well, maybe another distressful and confusing embarkation at Long Beach/Los Angeles. We took NCL Sun's 5-Day Pacific Costal Vancouver to Los Angeles cruise in 2014, and visited Vancouver, Victoria, Astoria, and Seattle, so we did not do any sightseeing on this trip. We knew our friends in Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco couldn't meet us on the days of visits, so we didn't even go ashore. The highlights of our 2014 cruise were a visit to Astoria, a very charming town with welcoming town folks, lunch at a local restaurant and Colombia River Maritime Museum in town, and a tour of Fort Clatsop/Lewis & Clark National Park. On this cruise we had dinner at Le Bistro twice, Cagney's once, Los Lobos once and Food Republic once. We wanted to try Q Texas Smokehouse and Ocean Blue, but didn't have enough days. Le Bistro dining room is much smaller, probably 1/3 of the older ships', and too many tables are crammed in. We usually book and eat at Le Bistro on first and last night on board, but this time we had to wait for 1/2 hour the last night, even we had a reservation. Rack of Lamb, Asparagus Salad with Duck, creme brulee and cheese selection were excellent, much better than the last three cruises on Jewel. Porterhouse Steak at Cagney's was also excellent, but huge. Side dishes were very good as well. Actually this was the first time we liked the Cagney's food after a while. Guacamole made at the table was excellent at Los Lobos, but otherwise we can't remember how other items were. I am not sure if prices were justifiable for what were offered on the menu. In any case it's very difficult to get a table at most specialty restaurants, so it's better to plan ahead and make reservations. We wanted to try La Cucina, to see food and menu had been improved, but couldn't get in. Moderno had been one of our favorite restaurants on NCL, along with Le Bistro, but it has been removed from Bliss and other newer ships. We miss the menu and quality food offered at Moderno. Food Republic seems to be an update of Chin Chin, sushi and noodle bar, featuring ethnic fusion menu on tablet. First we went for lunch, and then went back for dinner, so we must have enjoyed what we ordered. We had potstickers, tempura shrimp roll of sort, "Yakisoba" (not what one would expect at all), bakalava with passion fruit sauce, and lemon tea. They ddid not have any green or jasmine tea on entire ship entire cruise. About Yakisoba, "Yaki" means grilled or fried, and "soba" means noodles in Japanese. it is supposed to be panfried, sometimes deep fried, noodles, never in deep sauce/broth/soup, but that of Food Republic was more of an Italian pasta with mushrooms, soaking in a cream sauce. It was good as was, but it WAS NOT anything like what we call Yakisoba. They had Ramen and Pat Thai, too, but we dared not try. Chin Chin never did/do Asian noodles right either. I wonder why it is so difficult to have some experts, for example, in Japanese, Chinese, Thai food etc., to start with, and now and then, to develop more or less authentic recipes, before offering such "experimental mock Asian" foods on board. After all, Indian curry dishes have been staples of maritime for centuries, and most cruise ships seem to do pretty decent jobs on them. We only had room service breakfast once on this trip, because the cabin is not set up for it, and had our breakfast and lunch at the Deck 15 Observation Lounge to avoid crowd and hustle. They only had limited menu eg., continental + some fruit, yogurt, oatmeal/porridge, granola for breakfast; salad, soup du jour, canapes/open face, and carrozza/pizza types for lunch, but it was more than enough for us. We didn't have the chance to eat at main dining rooms, Savor, Taste and Manhattan, or at Garden Cafe buffet on this trip, except for the last breakfast on the Disembarkation Day at Taste. We had our usual, half and half OJ and tomato juice, coffee, one hardboiled egg, wholewheat toast with peanut butter, hash brown and link sausage, and watermelon slices for mother; half and half OJ and tomato juice, yogurt, coffee, All Bran, two over-hard and link sausage for myself. Everything came out as we ordered, service was efficient, and we enjoyed our last meal aboard and relaxed before disembarkation. We went to see "Jersey Boys" and "Six", and were very pleased we did. Both performances were excellent, well produced and executed, and both troops were amazingly talented and skilled. Probably they were the best shows we've seen onboard. I don't know how they can stage such impressive productions at sea. Highly recommended. Over all service was good, but I believe smaller ships can offer more or less intimate and personal service we had in the past. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
not enough info given to guests --- we were told while traveling to Victoria that we would stay overnight in Victoria and not going to Seattle was not right. not enough to do in Victoria , could have stayed over night in San Francisco. ... Read More
not enough info given to guests --- we were told while traveling to Victoria that we would stay overnight in Victoria and not going to Seattle was not right. not enough to do in Victoria , could have stayed over night in San Francisco. Trying to get in a restaurant to eat was impossible tables open all over but told you need reservations, but none were avalilable.( We were in the Haven so we ate there alot,and the service and food was great.) Food was good when we able to get in to eat It was the same with the shows if you did not make reservations the day they were available,you didn't get them you could try and wait in standby line but you had to get in line at 6pm for a 7:30 show. We were on a BTOB cruise, over all not real happy with this part of the cruise. we usually like Norwegian and will probably sail with you again but not in near future and not on the Bliss. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo ... Read More
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo lounge is a great place to escape from noisy children and obnoxious people. The coffee in the solo lounge is the best on the ship. There are plenty of places to dine with The Local being one of my favourites, but Taste and Savour are also excellent The adult area on the aft deck has two hot tubs and a bar and is a wonderful place to enjoy the scenery. It was the perfect place to view the Golden Gate Bridge sailing out of San Francisco. The crew are attentive and the food was always good. Certainly heard no complaints. The port in Victoria was excellent although a long walk from the city, however again no complaints. The weather was perfect and there was plenty to see and the path to the city was well marked. Embarkation in Los Angeles was a breeze and went much better than I expected. Disembarkation in Vancouver was also quick and painless. I would recommend this ship, especially to solo travellers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, and after over 25 cruises with Celebrity and Princess we wanted a change and to see a brand new large ship. We were quite satisfied with most of the experiences we had on the ship, ... Read More
This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, and after over 25 cruises with Celebrity and Princess we wanted a change and to see a brand new large ship. We were quite satisfied with most of the experiences we had on the ship, weather is not their fault and it was cold and windy limiting outdoor experiences, but in all we were satisfied and will consider traveling with them again. Food quality was comparable if not better than other companies we have sailed with, and the specialty restaurants were excellent. Buffet was below standards of previous lines, with limited selections that we liked. Practically no seafood items for lunch. Entertainment on Jersey Boys well done, and band was fantastic. Cavern shows and comedy club really enjoyable. Negatives were: 1. Embarquation was disorganized, twenty minute line because some agents appeared to be there for the social experience. Actually overheard one talking to guest for nearly five minutes about the fact she used to live in their hometown and seeing if they knew her relatives!!! 2. Whoever thought that closets six inches from bed was a good idea should spend a week in that cabin. Had to get out of bed every time my spouse needed to go into the closet. Are shelves that much cheaper than drawers? No drawers for storage. 3, Never met the room steward during entire trip. 4, Although this was not a carribean cruise cannot imagine how 4000 guests can possibly use the pool area, probably less than 400 chairs for the single pool deck. Disembarquation was excellent. extremely organized and announcements were clear. Final comment, as others have mentioned NCL will try to nickel and dime every penny that they can get. Alcohol drinks were really light on booze. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship ... Read More
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship itself is really amazing But most importantly, the crew who truly made this trip one for the books. Not only they are courteous and friendly, but they to beyond to make you special. The entertainment is Broadway-class, amenities of the ship is top notch. The food, unforgettable with so much variety. Worth it, every penny spent. Had the chance to meet the Captain and the senior officers when we got invited to the Captain's cocktail party It was an eye opener and a humbling experience, plus you get free booze and canapes. Disembarkation in Vancouver BC is also hassle-free. We hope the future cruises will be like this, if not better. As mentioned earlier, we can't wait to get back to sea. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Having been on the Bliss for the transatlantic I was looking for a chance to sail her again before getting on the next new ship when I saw that the Pacific Coastal would fit in nicely to my plans. While I have been to the ports before on ... Read More
Having been on the Bliss for the transatlantic I was looking for a chance to sail her again before getting on the next new ship when I saw that the Pacific Coastal would fit in nicely to my plans. While I have been to the ports before on my first coastal cruise on the Jewel, there was still much to do and I liked the fact that there was an overnight in Vancouver. Embarkation at the Wold Cruise Center in San Pedro was easy with dropping the luggage off at the front with the porters, getting through security and then checking in at the counter for my key card. I had arrived at about 11:15am and was on the ship getting my reservations for Prohibition and dining by 11:30 with my first drink in hand by noon. Note that entertainment reservations (shows, go carts, laser tag) and Vibe were being taken in The Social on deck 6 while the restaurant reservations were right across the hall in Teppanyaki. One of our members in the CC Roll Call had set up a solo travelers lunch in Taste so we all met out there by 12:30 and our group of eight were seated by 1:00pm. Service and lunch were excellent and the rooms were ready close to 2:00pm. My mini-suite was ready when I went up there and my cabin steward introduced himself and made sure I had everything I needed. He was an excellent steward (and I wish I could remember his name but I didn't write it down except on the Vacation Hero Card) and while I didn't have a towel animal every night (and wasn't expecting them nor did I request them) the ones I had were the best. I did wind up upgrading to the Premium Plus Drink Package which gave a limit of $35/drink, bottled water, a bottle of wine with dinner from a set selection of wine, and Starbucks coffee. Since my TA had booked me under a group which covered both my daily service charge and my gratuities for the standard free drink package (now called the Premium Drink Package) I would say that I was happy with my upgrade choice but would not find it worth it if I had already paid the gratuities for the PDP and then upgraded at the additional cost. You tell a lot of people had not upgraded since many times I asked for something outside the basic plan I was told it would cost extra and I would then say "not for me" and show them the upgrade on my card. The buffet bartender at lunch knew me by the second time and would grab my small bottle of San Pellegrino when he saw me walking that way. By the way, that was the only bar I found who had the smaller bottles of water the other ones had the large ones. Still included in the upgraded PPP but not easy to carry around. While I never had an issue another person from our group who upgraded did have an issue with getting a more expensive glass of wine in the Cellars. I ate the first night at Le Bistro and got my Platinum bottle of wine unopened and got a bottle of Veuve Clicquot under the PPP as another free bottle. They kept it for me and I was able to use it at the MDR as well. I also dined in Food Republic, Los Lobos, Q, and at the included Local and Taste restaurants. Everything, except for the mac and cheese at Q, was delicious and the service was always spot on. The bars were also great with my two favorites, Bong & Clarence (aka the chocolate cowboy), being assigned to the Sugar Cane bar. The only issue I had with the bars was that once we got to Victoria and while in Vancouver the Canadian liqueur laws only allowed on bar per deck to be open. That meant that in the evening the bars that were open were pretty crowed but they tried to help with that by having more bartenders at each bar. While I normally avoid Fourbucks, since I had the PPP and didn't have access to the Studio Lounge this time I did get my morning coffee from there. They had what a regular land Charbucks has and were actually not that busy first thing in the morning. The only thing about them was that the charge appeared on the receipt and you had to sign it just like normal but the actual charge for the drink never hit my account. The only other thing to address was that while in all ports for this trip, there was tax collected for the drinks. It wasn't much, well except when I got that glass of wine at $20, but it did surprise some people. All in all this was a great cruise and I will probably do the same sailing again, next time on the Joy most likely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our second cruise and we were excited to be aboard the brand new Bliss. Overall we had a great time. The food was good but it was disappointing that the three complimentary dining rooms (Savor, Taste, and Manhattan) all have ... Read More
This was our second cruise and we were excited to be aboard the brand new Bliss. Overall we had a great time. The food was good but it was disappointing that the three complimentary dining rooms (Savor, Taste, and Manhattan) all have the exact same menu despite being represented as different restaurants. The food at the Local dining room was good most of the time but inconsistent in quality. Ie. one day my Rueben was perfect and the following day it was so full of fatty meat that it was inedible. Our cabin was clean and in good repair. The boat was spotless. The staff were Friendly and helpful. It was difficult to get a booking at the race track or laser tag as they close when raining. My only complaint about the cruise is the smoke stacks are too close to the upper decks and as a result the soot falls on the rear portions of the boat including the racetrack and H20 bar area. We had several instances of having soot on our hands or clothing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I wanted to go on this ship and see what i thought. PRE CRUISE I flew from london to vancover on direct flight on air canada got train to b&b nobody there but got a password to the keys,later went to canada place to see nieuw ... Read More
I wanted to go on this ship and see what i thought. PRE CRUISE I flew from london to vancover on direct flight on air canada got train to b&b nobody there but got a password to the keys,later went to canada place to see nieuw amsterdam sail. Then the owner was there no heating despite asklng and did not like me going outside to smoke. Check in. I left the b&b nobody around and got train to canada place. Check in was quick despite no going in the platinum queue. Then after the picture i went onboard to find my cabin which was ready. Cabin. I had a studio cabin on 12 deck 12517, tv, shower,virtual view. No drawers but ok for a short cruise. Lifeboat drill. At 3.30pm had lifeboat drill in show lounge no lifejacket required almost forgot to scan my card it was over quickly. My account. As i do not have a credit card and using a debit card charges it twice i was going to use the atm onboard until i find it is a $6.00 charge. So went ashore and got canadian money instead. Dinner. I had booked cagneys so went there i did try to share but sadly no good so sat alone. I had a voucher being a platimum member so got a free meal and a bottle of wine. Had a mini filet mignon a bit small a good dinner. No show booked so went to welcome aboard not what i expected then cigar room for a cigar then studio lounge for coffee and fruit. Shows. Havana and jersey boys were good and beatles tribute in the cavern and main lounge really good. Ports of call. Victoria i went to see butchart gardens already so got shuttle into town and did miniture wonderland. San francisco i booked trip to alcatraz myself at $30 at 12.00 despite the long delay getting off ship i made it ok. Other restaurants. As a platinum member i had 2 vouchers and a 3 dining deal. After cagneys i did los lobos(mexican) really enjoyed it there despite sitting on my own also did q prime rib with the other solos really good, never got to go to the main dining room. Service. My stateroom steward who i did not see much was ok mucked up my ice i wanted and one night had no interest in doing my cabin for the evening. Then on last day wanted me out and said i had to go now despite it being before the time,not impressed. Disembarkation. Pretty good i said 0930 as did not want to rush got off before that as was very well done. My thoughts. Enjoyed the ship but need to be able to share with others more and do not like the booking for shows much. Liked the meeting up with solos in studio lounge and jose was so good. Would go on ncl again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was my hubby and I's 9th cruise and 8th cruise with NCL. I would have to say, this was the best one yet! Our favorite ship was the "Pearl", but now....it the "Bliss"!!! This was so much better! The ship is ... Read More
This was my hubby and I's 9th cruise and 8th cruise with NCL. I would have to say, this was the best one yet! Our favorite ship was the "Pearl", but now....it the "Bliss"!!! This was so much better! The ship is beautiful and really spacious, we never felt crowded. In fact, I took a picture of my hubby in the "side" room of the Observation area and he was sitting all alone! Our favorite hang-out was in the Atrium....loved "Phil & Keysha" and ended up following the around from venue to venue like groupies....LOL! My hubby said that the Phil's guitar playing skills are awesome! We also saw "Jersey Boys"....it was spectacular! They vocals were spot-on and a wonderful theatre, loved the bar service in our seats! For eats...we ate at the Local (a few times) and Taste (once for dinner and twice for breakfast) and at the Speciality restaurants: Margaritaville, Food Republic, Teppanyaki, Los Lobos and Cagneys.....all great food, but Los Lobos was really slow. We think something most have happened in the kitchen because we never had any problems with any of the other restaurants. And finally, the Go-Karts.....awesome!!! It was so much fun! Wish we could have gone again, but ran out of time. Can't wait for our next NCL Cruise....wish it was tomorrow!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The embarkation was quick, partly because we were there early. Too bad it rained all day in Vancouver, so we were not able to enjoy Vancouver before we sail out in the middle of the night. We had a balcony on deck 9. The cabin is nice, ... Read More
The embarkation was quick, partly because we were there early. Too bad it rained all day in Vancouver, so we were not able to enjoy Vancouver before we sail out in the middle of the night. We had a balcony on deck 9. The cabin is nice, ok for the two of us. A little tight by the foot of the bed to the desk. The balcony was nice, it has 2 chairs and a little table. The bathroom is little bigger than other ships, and I like the additional shelf space next to the toilet and the trash can is under the sink behind a door. The closet is small, too small! Dining, we didn't even have a chance to eat in the main dining room. My husband was kinda disappointed. We had Le Bistro, La Cucina and Teppanyaki. He didn't enjoyed the dinners, because he was on a no beef, no seafood diet! I liked the dinners at each of the specialty dining. The entertainment was good. Jersey Boys is a must if you go. Havana was ok, didn't enjoy the story line, but love how they have couple performers were older and they were really good! The service was good at certain dept and bad at another. Service at all dining areas were always excellent. Reservation for specialty dining was bad, Why couldn't they just have one line? Of course, I was always in the slowest line! Reservation for GO Cart. That guy was just bad,no greeting, no smile, no hello, nothing! I was ready to go to another helper, and I told him, he was being very unprofessional! Go Cart was fun, especially I came in first! Too bad I made the reservation for later time during the cruise, my husband wanted a re-match.. he just have to wait until February! The games are always fun. but some of the games at night needs to tone down, there were kids in the atrium. LOVE the observation deck! But there are people hogging the lounge chair. They just put their hat or a jacket on the chair, then they disappear, then there are people go there to sleep! Getting off the ship was ok, since we waited to the last group, but there was still a long line to get off the ship! Going back on the Bliss in Feb 2019 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose the cruise for it's Itinerary- chose daring excursions, helicoptor ride over the glacier, glacial climbing, canoeing, off roading on the logging trails. Alaska landscape does not disapoint- enamored by Alaska's beauty !! ... Read More
Chose the cruise for it's Itinerary- chose daring excursions, helicoptor ride over the glacier, glacial climbing, canoeing, off roading on the logging trails. Alaska landscape does not disapoint- enamored by Alaska's beauty !! Had been to Alaska before, but this trip took the cake. Russia's Petropavlovsk was a small town people very friendly there surprised that there was lack of souvenirs. Japan was eye opening - took an excursion to Towana Lake & Gorge, what a way to see the beautiful greenery & streams - just stunning ! The tour included an authentic Japanese lunch which was so delicious. Never can get food like that back in the states. Entertainment: the boat had a good selection of entertainment Hypnotist Richard Barker was the best ! Barker put on a great show - went to both show times loved it that much. Barker then put on a late evening only adults show - and another slam dunk, just fun & fascinating. Hypnotist Richard Barker was a standout! He also did a seminar on Weight Loss which was very interesting and well attended. Other Entermaint standouts: The Russian Acrobatic Duo - just a wonderful pair wowing the audience, there was also an excellent Circ de Soliel thouroughly entertaining excellent quality and wow factor, too. There was even a group that did all Bee Gees songs and everyone stood for all the Saturday Night Fever tunes - loads of fun Restaurant Standout: Cagney's Steakhouse a premium restaurant if you take the dining package - did this one 2 times. Non Standouts: Basic food on the boat, disappointed with Garden Cafe, and even the grand dining rooms, seems if I order chicken it's anything but the breast meat, soups are cold, food lacks seasoning, service varied in terms of how long one had to wait for what they ordered, staff seem overworked since it appeared most seating were not staffed enough and therefore not all experiences were quality of any sort. Gettting a seat is another issue - most times ate outside on the deck - sometimes had to wear a jacket due to cold & wind, too :-) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This is part 1 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a ... Read More
This is part 1 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a 2 week gap while the Jewel was in dry dock in Singapore, so there were some changes in decor. Of course, there were also crew and entertainment changes along the way. The itinerary of the cruise was okay, but not the best. We enjoyed the slow Pacific crossing, but having been on 2 previous Alaska cruises, that part wasn't a highlight. Petropavlovsk was a great stop because of the great weather and the stops in Japan were interesting and surprisingly different from each other, making it a good introduction to Japan. The crew was by far the best feature of the Jewel. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines on different ships. The friendliness and cooperative attitude of the Jewel crew is the best we have experienced. When you are on a ship for as long as we were, there are bound to be issues that crop up. The attitude of the crew can make or break the experience. We were on-board with a number of Cruise Critic members and the ship's group services coordinator always made efforts to facilitate our gatherings and excursions. The Hotel Director (Steven) and his senior staff always made the effort to meet and welcome us. We know that the relationship is complicated as we do publicly review their cruises, but often organize excursions outside of the NCL offerings. We were never made to feel anything but welcome and supported. The cabin (inside) was well laid out and comfortable. The bathroom with a real sliding shower door was better than most. Unfortunately, the partial refurbishment in dry dock left them with a less attractive mix of decors. However, the added USB chargers and improved TV's were good. The dining was good. We mostly ate in Tsar's Palace and the Garden Cafe. Unfortunately, the food taste was not up to the excellent quality of the service in either location. Certainly, we were able to find meals that we liked, but there is just some missing richness to the flavour. There is an overabundance of Indian dishes in the Garden Cafe relative to the demographics of the passengers. Cagney's and Le Bistro are a step up in food quality, but at a premium cost. La Cuchina also demands an up-charge, but without the added quality. O'Sheehan's is convenient, but not very tasty pub grub. Sadly, our embarkation in Vancouver was a disaster due to slow processing blamed on inadequate numbers of staff. As a Vancouverite, I was embarrassed by both the slow service and the obnoxious cruise terminal staff directing traffic. Vancouver really needs to do better. There were the usual variety of enrichment activities (demonstrations, discussions and presentations), but the quality of the presentations was only average. The entertainment on NCL is always good and the Jewel was no exception. The singers and dancers in the production crew are a step up and the singers are capable dancers for the most part. The other entertainers were on a par with what you get in-between the production shows on any cruise line. There was a bounty of other musical performers in many other venues, such that there was choice and quality throughout most afternoons and evenings. There were a range of styles, so you had a choice based on location and most performers had different themes on occasion. The fitness center was replaced all the treadmills and ellipticals in dry dock, so they are all new now. For the most part, there are enough to meet the demands, but it did get busy at times. The staff/crew is/are the best thing about the cruise. Always smiling and friendly (except the security staff for reasons I don't understand), they make what could otherwise be an average experience great. The public rooms are certainly adequate for the size of the ship. Many were partially refurbished in dry dock. I think that they would have been better off completely refurbishing some of the areas rather than partially refurbishing many of the areas. It left some areas with a mismatch of the old and new decor. Both the cabin stewards and dining area staff tried to provide excellent service and were mostly successful. The flexible dining approach can leave you being passed between waiters if you arrive early, but they handle it well with good communication between the wait staff. The excursions were good, but always expensive relative to other cruise lines or independent arrangements. I think that this is because many NCL promotions provide excursion discounts, but even with the discounts they are more expensive than non-discounted fares from their competitors. Overall, we were satisfied with the value for the money, but that is because we know what we are looking for and know that our priorities are a good match for NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The itinerary was great! This was a repositioning cruise, and we thought was a great cruise for a great price. 19 nights sailing through Alaska, Russia, and ending in Japan. We stopped at 4 different stops in Alaska, one stop in Russia, ... Read More
The itinerary was great! This was a repositioning cruise, and we thought was a great cruise for a great price. 19 nights sailing through Alaska, Russia, and ending in Japan. We stopped at 4 different stops in Alaska, one stop in Russia, and 4 stops in Japan. This was everything we hoped it be. Great stops with fantastic tours. And the days at sea were just as enjoyable. The ships entertainment was top notch. We saw a show every night, and the shows were fantastic. There was a Cerque show that we saw that was as good as any major show you’d see in Vegas. The whole 19 nights seemed to just fly by. The staff was incredible, and the service was excellent. So friendly, and everyone worked so hard to make sure our journey was the best. The food was great, and all the different restaurants were fun to visit, and served delicious food. We will be doing another cruise with Norwegian very soon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east ... Read More
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east coast the day before arriving at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles airport well after 11:00 p.m. Good choice, we had points, so a freebie, but the location was great and the shuttle to airport in the morning to meet NCL shuttle was best way for us. We paid $25 each to have NCL shuttle us from LAX to San Pedro port. About half hour bus ride, but with all NCL folk. Could have gotten Super Shuttle for $18 or so, but they would have stopped at hotels along the way. Plus I felt more comfortable having NCL be in charge. Check in was fairly easy, we are Latitude and got through the line quick, but lines weren't bad for others not Latitude at about 11:30. We traveled light, carry on and backpack for the 7 days, so no experience with the luggage drop this time, although it looked pretty crowded and confusing for first timers. Our room was on the 11 deck and a mini suite. Always book balcony, so this was a first and OMG to have a big bathroom, with a full size tub and separate toilet area made all the difference. It will be hard to go back. We had more storage than we've ever had although the balcony was a bit smaller, but adequate. Grabbed lunch in Tsar's for a nice sit down lunch and avoided the buffet crowds. Met some nice folk in the line checking in and ended up having quite a few meals together. Couple sea days were much needed for us and we didn't mind. Lots of activities on board if you wanted to participate. First port was Puerta Vallarta, we usually don't book excursions, but a $50 credit enticed us. Glad for our choice of John Huston's property, Las Caletas. for $139 each. Nice 1/2 hour double decker boat ride to island, music on board. I would do this excursion again. We had a great time partaking in the cooking class with the chef. No crowds. Made seafood paella, guacamole, salsa and sea bass ceviche. Wandered around the property which wasn't crowded at all. Many little areas with hammocks overlooking and overhanging the water, nice walking paths, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkle, swimming etc, all included in the price. Lots of life guards everywhere watching. There are some huge rocks in the water, so be aware and wear water shoes. Also had about 4-5 little "islands" that you could swim out to, really a large float that had a palm tree, hammock, umbrella and deck chairs to sit on. Very tropical. Food was awesome at many little areas and open air restaurants, also included was food and mucho drinks. Please tip the guys tho, they worked so very hard the whole time we were there. Walked to the top where they had zip line, giant slide that spit you out in the water - was going to do it until I climbed to the top and asked a couple guys who had just finished. They were pretty macho, and said it was fun, but the force of hitting the water was pretty intense. That's all I needed to hear as I didn't want to end up in a Mexican hospital. Loved this excursion and loved that once we got there, we didn't have to pull out our wallets for anything! Mazatlan- winged it and probably should have planned better or stayed on board. Planned on going to Stone Island as I had read reviews on how to get there and planned on going to Lety's restaurant, but ended up wandering around like a tourist near port - not much there. Cabo San Lucas - was windy and cool. Excursions cancelled. Had planned on renting a catamaran, but it was a no go. Lots of long sleeve and sweatshirts sold there. Took a pedal bike for $8 to Old Town, which we thought would be a town, maybe church, historical stuff. Ended up being vendor market, with anything from meat, poultry to clothing. Stunk to high heaven. Grabbed a cab back and wandered around the Marina and shops near the port. You really need to get out of the port area or have a plan. Weather didn't cooperate for many. Another sea day and back to San Pedro. Entertainment - Ended up being picked for the Newly Wed game and that was fun as it always is. Husband always shy, but agreed this time - go figure. Good memories and a DVD to show at holidays with our kids! We love NCL's entertainment. The "kids" in the song/dance troupe were very good and we enjoyed each night something new and different. The comedian Sam's early shows were hysterical and his late night adult show even better. Don't come late unless you want to be made fun of. JP was a magic/comedian and was also very entertaining - no we couldn't figure out his tricks. Will be on Penn & Teller coming up. I think NCL had it's act together and the staff was spectacular. We met the Cruise Critic people and the Officers the second day, they arranged a private tour of the galley for us on the last sea day. I have NEVER seen such a clean "restaurant" their last score was 100% and I can see why. Latitude cocktail party always a nice touch as they try to make you feel special.Captain was very nice and seemed to take much time with each guest we saw him interacting with. He was hoping to dock and be there for the birth of his first grandchild, so I hope he made it. Good staff, all seemed happy and under control. We enjoyed the complimentary restaurants and ate mostly at Tsars and Chin Chin. Usually got breakfast at the back of the ship and ate it there. Very nice bartenders there and quieter. Went to every show available and enjoyed them all. Bought a couple "future cruise" deals they were promoting. Can use within 4 years, so that keeps us coming back. Probably do Pride of America again (#4) to Hawaii as we love that one and our special balcony room which I won't mention the number here! Or Greek Islands, depending on how the world situation is. The NCL staff was super friendly, accommodating. Pedro the cruise director was really good, restaurant staff, bartenders (First time for beverage package, and I will say it was worth it, but not in the calories). Can't really say we had any issues, but then again, we go on a cruise not trying to be picky and complaining. You're on a cruise people, things happen, roll with it or make yourself miserable. It's a floating hotel, you're not unpacking, or driving. Relax. P.S. Getting off the boat was another matter I almost forgot - if you have a flight - leave early because we were backed up quite a bit. When you leave gangway, don't wait for an elevator - find the escalators - I think to the far left as you leave gangway. We got shuttled into a line that was for elevators and we didn't know there was an option until too late. Every wheelchair, handicapped, elderly person got to the front of the line we were in and only so many could fit in 1 elevator. Also you will be in a long que to go through customs once you get off the elevator/escalator. Don't cut your flight close by staying on the boat too long. Good half hour plus in custom line, plus the elevator line, made for an hour plus after we left the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I've wanted to do a Pacific Coastal since I started cruising. When I look at the Jewel the time and schedule were right along with the cost so I went for it. I got the beverage package and enjoyed that with many good drinks, and a ... Read More
I've wanted to do a Pacific Coastal since I started cruising. When I look at the Jewel the time and schedule were right along with the cost so I went for it. I got the beverage package and enjoyed that with many good drinks, and a couple of not so good pre-mixed ones, ick. I do wish NCL would allow for coffee drinks on the package but I was able to get a regular coffee with Baileys on the package at the Atruim. I had originally purchased an interior room but it went directly to a guarantee instead of letting me choose my cabin. That was fine with me since I didn't have any location requirements. When it finally was assigned about 70 days out, they had put me in a porthole cabin which I wound up liking very much. I also purchased a spa pass and enjoyed the spa thermal suite at least once a day. Since I had gone over the 250 minutes on my last cruise I just purchased the unlimited internet and decided I would do a live thread on the Norwegian board. It's titled "Live from the Jewel - 4/30/17 Pacific Coastal" there and under my CC name CoffeeGoddess. We did a cabin crawl and most of the cabins were really nice, except for the balcony on the balcony cabin. the coating had peeled up in places and the people in there talked about sticking to the floor when it heated up. Actually the entire Deck 14 forward on the ship was just like that with the coating missing in many places. Food was good, I ate in Azure twice for dinner and it was excellent with great service both times. Tsar's once at embarkation and it was super slow service; Sushi once and took a bit for the chef to come since I was sat exactly as they opened but the sushi was worth the wait. I also ate in O'seehans once and service there was also slow and the Garden Buffet always had a crowd but the food was good and I could always find a seat. The only real issue on this cruise was when I was waiting for the Group Coordinator, Luis, for our CC M&G. He was late, hadn't put up any signage, and when he finally showed blamed me because I hadn't called him back. Turns out after hearing from a couple of other people who had set up M&Gs with him on other sailings this very typical of him. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my 2nd sailing on the NCL Sun. The last was 8 years ago in balcony 9235 and this time just a few doors down in 9244. Surprisingly, the ship is still in pretty good shape. While it does show some age here and there, it's ... Read More
This was my 2nd sailing on the NCL Sun. The last was 8 years ago in balcony 9235 and this time just a few doors down in 9244. Surprisingly, the ship is still in pretty good shape. While it does show some age here and there, it's well maintained and would seem to have further years of life if they continue to maintain it well. This was a 4 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver, so we hung out there for a couple of days and then returned to our hometown of San Diego. The price was quite reasonable and included an unlimited beverage package (UBP) and 3 nights in the specialty restaurants. In terms of the specialty restaurants, Cagney's was pretty unimpressive. It looks nothing like a steakhouse and most of the food was so-so. I will say that the filet mignon was nice and perfectly cooked. Le Bistro's food was excellent and the service and decor is very nice. Il Adagio is now La Cucina. In short, it was better than Cagney's but inferior to Le Bistro. Would I recommend spending the extra money to visit these restaurants? No, not on this ship, but if you get it included as a throw-in, they're worth checking out. In terms of the main dining rooms, Seven Seas and Four Seasons are similar, but I prefer the decor and location (more windows) of Seven Seas. Food is pretty good, but not awe inspiring. I'd classify it as "above average". NCL also threw in an unlimited beverage package. This was very nice and probably saved us hundreds of dollars. Any drink under $15 is free and there are plenty of good options at or under that price. If more expensive, just pay the overage. If you can get an NCL cruise with a "free" drink package, and you are a drinker, do it. Wine selections by the glass were also pretty good. Entertainment was limited. They had a somewhat funny comedienne, a hypnotist, and some musical dance numbers. Entertainment was average at best. This was a short cruise and so this time our experience was limited. But I did have a nice time and it's good to know that they are continuing to keep the Sun in good shape relative to its 2001 age. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my 12th cruise with NCL and I have 2 more planned, I will let each person make your own opinion, In my opinion NCL is changing they way in charging cruisers for things, Extra money for dinners, Extra money for drinks, $100 a day ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise with NCL and I have 2 more planned, I will let each person make your own opinion, In my opinion NCL is changing they way in charging cruisers for things, Extra money for dinners, Extra money for drinks, $100 a day per person for the UDP ultimate drink package and if you have 3 in a cabin and everybody is over 21 you'll have to pony up for 3 drink packages, Unless you have a letter from a doctor saying you can't drink alcohol. The current CEO makes $6,000 per ship per day, I think all the extra charges is so he can be paid. You can no longer bring water on the ship, Now you can get charged $4 for a bottle of water. I will cruise with NCL and other cruise lines, I just think that the price hikes will one day drive people away from cruising, The ship was clean, the food was good, and overall a nice cruise. We have fun no matter where we go. No latitudes party was on this cruise, I hope they don't end that program. Vancouver has the most horrible Embarkation process in all of our cruising, Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
After a thoroughly enjoyable Pacific Coastal Cruise on the NCL Pearl, my wife and I decided to return home from Vancouver BC to Seattle on the one night repositioning cruise of the NCL Jewel. We have never been on a ultra short cruise and ... Read More
After a thoroughly enjoyable Pacific Coastal Cruise on the NCL Pearl, my wife and I decided to return home from Vancouver BC to Seattle on the one night repositioning cruise of the NCL Jewel. We have never been on a ultra short cruise and I thought I would share some of my observations. As posted elsewhere on the NCL forum, the Vancouver embarkation was unbelievably frustrating. 3 ships were loading (although just a fraction of the passengers were boarding the Jewel). We arrived at 1pm and didn't get on to the Jewel until 5:30 pm due to the incredible lines of people needing to go thru US immigration - there was no priority line for Latitudes or Suites. You were in the lines with Celebrity and Princess passengers all equally frustrated by the delays. None of this was NCL's responsibility. Due to the long delays our scheduled 5pm departure turned into nearly 8pm. Once on the Jewel, everything was much better. Due to the very few customers, half of the buffet stations were empty and it seemed to me the selection of food was more limited. Had we been able to board earlier, lunch at the buffet and dinner in the MDR would have been better. The MDR had a typical dinner selection (we ended up just having Volcano desserts there). Many of the speciality restaurants were open including Teppanyaki and Cagney's so passengers had plenty of options. The Jewel had a nice selection of entertainment for one night - their main production show Band on the Run was played at a single sitting with perhaps 100 people in attendance. Randon (the Jewel Guitar/vocalist) did a great James Taylor show. The House band played a nice mix of music at the Spinnaker after the production show. Several other musical acts performed to very sparse (and sometimes nonexistent audiences). The casino was open for much of the evening (brief closure when I assume we were too close to the US or Washington State mainland) as were the shops. Beers of the World trivia took place. One definitely had plenty to do once onboard. If it wasn't for the nightmare that was embarkation, I would highly recommend this rare cruise for transportation to Seattle! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian. We've been on a few other cruise lines before (Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise lines) Initially we chose Norwegian due to the low cost, and as it was a repositioning cruise, it was ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian. We've been on a few other cruise lines before (Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise lines) Initially we chose Norwegian due to the low cost, and as it was a repositioning cruise, it was the perfect relaxing way to head back to Vancouver after a few busy and tiring days are Disneyland. We weren't sure what to expect, given mixed reviews of Norwegian, but we went in with an open mind. Boarding was seemless. We booked a check-in time online (10:30am), showed up at the scheduled time, were processed (issued cards, setup credit cards, etc) and within 30 minutes were already boarding the ship. Very few line ups and very efficient processing. Once on board we went straight to O'Sheehans, one of the dining halls, to avoid the buffet crowds. As not many knew they were open, there was plenty of seating. I believe Tsar's was open as well. The Freestyle cruising offered by Norwegian is somewhat unique. You can do what you want, when you want, where you want. Dining was great as there were always plenty of venues to choose from, each offering a different type of cuisine. The complimentary dining halls were more than enough, so it's not necessary to visit the cost based venues. We never had to wait to be seated, and always had a table to ourselves which was fantastic. Food wise, the food quality ranged from average, to good. The only exception was the one night we splurged for one of the paid restaurants, where the food was excellent. Service ranged from very good to excellent. Everyone was friendly and helpful. We had our 3 year old daughter with us, and the staff were very accommodating. They certainly work well with young children. This trip doubled as our 10 year anniversary trip, and as soon as the staff knew, we were treated to some complimentary chocolate covered strawberries in our stateroom, and given complimentary cake and serenaded at dinner. The complimentary "Splash Academy" youth centre was awesome. Trained childcare workers that can take care and entertain your children for a few hours at a time. Other than lunch and dinner times, they were open, and our daughter voluntarily wanted to go as there were other children her age to play games with. Every day they change the themes for the children like Superhero day, or Space day, or Jungle day, etc. They even had a "Royal parade" where the children could dress up as princes and princesses and were taken to the main stage to do a little dance for the parents. I can't say enough good things about the staff in the youth centres. Best of all it was free! Our stateroom was average. The room was tiny, but it was large enough for the 3 of us. 1 King sized bed, 1 pull down bunk bed, 2 small tables, and dressers to store stuff. Not much room to walk, but then we didn't spend much time in the room. The beds were very comfortable. Firm, but not hard. Not a saggy spring bed like we've encountered before. The room was designed for 3 people, so it was likely one of the smallest on the ship (you get what you pay for I suppose). The ship itself is showing it's age. Carpets are getting worn a bit, some of the lights on the elevators don't like up correctly, etc. Minor details. The crew did an excellent job of keeping everything clean though. The ship is quite small compared to more modern vessels, so we felt the rougher waters a lot more than in previous cruises. Nothing that bothered us too much. The entertainment was good. We only caught 3 shows, as it was hard to keep a 3 year old sitting for an hour at a time. The most enjoyable of all the shows was the crew talent show, where regular crew members showed off their skills in dance, singing, etc. There was also a casino on board, which we visited a few times, as well as a video arcade, which was rarely occupied. As for shore excursions, we didn't partake, as this repositioning cruise visited only 2 ports. Astoria, where there was almost nothing to see, and Victoria, which we've seen many times already. Overall we quite enjoyed our cruise with Norwegian, and liked the freestyle way of cruising. No set dining times, and no having to dine with random strangers. Perfect for those with young children where it's hard to stick to a schedule! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Cruise Virgin. Main Purpose for this was a pre-cruise to a Hawaii cruise on NCL in June 2016. Secondary purpose was the brief opportunity to see cousins in LA and SF. Third purpose was to scout Victoria and Vancouver. This trip was a ... Read More
Cruise Virgin. Main Purpose for this was a pre-cruise to a Hawaii cruise on NCL in June 2016. Secondary purpose was the brief opportunity to see cousins in LA and SF. Third purpose was to scout Victoria and Vancouver. This trip was a fly-cruise-train trip. We are PNW people so the ability to see other west coast cities via a different route is different. We used Spirit Air from PDX to LAX-inexpensive and resvn made just 9 days before departure. Spirit Air is OK since the flight is only 2.5hrs and we had just one carry-on plus personal. We had a nice time visiting cousins, although all too brief. We did not use any excursions. We did do walk around in Victoria and Vancouver plus a HopOn-HopOff purchased off ship. From VAC we Amtrak Cascade train #508 to SEA where we stay with son on his birthday. The 508 hugged Puget Sound's coastline and we got some nice views and is much better for comfort than either BoltBus or Amtrak bus service from VAC to SEA. The next day we took the #507 from SEA to PDX. We left PDX in the drizzle and arrived home in 80deg. Cruise: NCL Pearl. Repositioning from Miami via Panama Canal. About 500 passengers had started in Miami or Caribbean and continuing on to VAC or Alaska. A number were VAC residents. The ship holds 2300 but was 1300 passengers. The crew members were pleasant and had the time to converse. The crew that we spoke to, had extensive hotel/cruise experience and apparently moved to NCL/cruise service as a way to move up the career ladder. All genuinely liked NCL but this is of course subjective. We noticed that the crew were able to view the GoldenGate as we passed underneath and a few able to get off the ship at ports of call and make a checkoff on their bucket list. Last comment, I made some simple requests to the food staff and the staff (even the food manager in charge) easily made the requests happen. The room steward also made our special request happen. We gave the room steward a small advance gratuity. This was our first cruise and it was a repositioning. Rate as Average until we are able to make a comparison. Met and exceeded our expectations. Nice. Would do it again, We discovered what to eat, what to take advantage of, what to avoid, and what to take -leave behind. The Pearl is in need of refurbishment and is schedule for Feb 2017. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I sailed on the NCL Pearl during a "Pacific Coastal" aka repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC. This was our 7th NCL cruise and the 2nd on the Pearl (last being a 2014 cruise to Alaska). We chose this ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the NCL Pearl during a "Pacific Coastal" aka repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC. This was our 7th NCL cruise and the 2nd on the Pearl (last being a 2014 cruise to Alaska). We chose this cruise for some rest and relaxation on the ocean. We flew into LA from Seattle and took the NCL sponsored bus directly from the baggage claim to the Long Beach embarkation port. Boarding the Pearl was uneventful and our room was ready shortly after lunch. Compared with prior NCL cruises, we felt some improvements have been made mainly around the food. The Garden Cafe buffet had a rich variety of food include fresh fruits. The cruise was not full so the seating areas were rarely packed. The main dining room had a typical rotations of daily entree specials which ranged from very good to average. It did not appear that any meal had any wait to speak of. We ate at specialty restaurants La Cucina and Cagney's, both of which had some very good dishes. Of note, NCL deserves praise for upgrading their desert offerings which we felt were subpar in the past. Despite being a short 5 day cruise, NCL provided a rich assortment of entertainment options including the expected trivia contests (we were so bad at name that tune that the Pianist Jim awarded us prizes), Deal or No Deal, Bingo, Casino tournaments and sporting events. The highlight for us was the Legends in Concert show, part of the Las Vegas production bringing rotating cover artists on board - our show with an Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Madonna tribute artists was excellent. The Pearl Production cast also put on a great finale "Pure Variety" with a wide range of musical hits. The Pearl lived up to NCL's reputation of providing a wide selection of entertainment choices. The ports we visited (San Francisco and Victoria) were both cities we have traveled extensively in the past so we did not do any organized excursions. In San Francisco, we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (taking a public bus to the visitors center) and in Victoria we wandered around downtown for a bit. The Pearl appeared to be very well maintained and had great facilities such as a well equipped gym, nice walking and separate running tracks, and a variety of public areas although the chilly temperatures dissuaded many from enjoying the pool deck. The staff was very friendly and worked very hard to make everyone enjoy their time on board! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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