1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: June 2019
We had a blast don’t get me wrong. We made the best of it. However for what we paid we did not get our money’s worth. The go carts were booked the laser tag was booked the painting class was booked sometimes the kids club was booked. ... Read More
We had a blast don’t get me wrong. We made the best of it. However for what we paid we did not get our money’s worth. The go carts were booked the laser tag was booked the painting class was booked sometimes the kids club was booked. Thank goodness we booked our shows in advance. I think this ship would be better in a hotter climate where we could just sit on the deck and take in the sun but for an Alaskan cruise there were tons of fun things to do but not enough spaces for everyone that wanted to do it. People would make reservations and some wouldn’t go to their reservations which isn’t fair for this of us that wanted to go to these things as well. They said there was standby but no one could tell us where that was. The laser tag and go carts were open weird times lots of times it was while we were at port. We could tell our crew had been on for a while they were all very nice but looked very tired. The cruise director was AMAZING! The crew talent show was AMAZING too! I loved the observation deck but so many rude people would save seats and whoever they saved them for wouldn’t ever return. That was frustrating. We finally sat down with someone. He said this is reserved. We said you can’t reserve 12 spots with one person. We will sit her and enjoy the whales until your party gets here. They never showed up. The craft brewery was our favorite. The waiter was the best on the ship! The local restaurant was also our favorite amazing food every time! Our room was right below the pool we could hear them moving the chairs above all hours of the night and people running up there. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our second cruise on NCL, the first one was on the escape, which we loved. Again if you do your research and plan ahead NCL can be amazing. Things that were great: -stateroom: I love the balcony stateroom and the bathroom ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL, the first one was on the escape, which we loved. Again if you do your research and plan ahead NCL can be amazing. Things that were great: -stateroom: I love the balcony stateroom and the bathroom size. Get a balcony. -Ship: NCL does their ships right, clean, beautiful. Really amazing. -Activities on the ship: from adding the observation lounge (the escape doesn’t have it), to go karts, laser tag, water slides and all of the others. You can never be bored. -Speciality Restaurants- food and service: if you want good food and great to amazing service go to the speciality dining. They have the option to add an additional tip this leads the waiters to really go above and beyond to earn extra money. -alaska stops: I loved all three stops...still recommend finding off boat excursions for cheaper pricing. However the crab boat Tour In Ketchikan was worth it along with the train rides in Skagway. Victoria is also beautiful wish we had more time. Only so much you can do in 7 days though. -Jersey Boys and overall entertainment was spot on. (Just don’t go to Havana- waste of 45 minutes) Reading all of this you would think we should give 5 stars. However there were negatives. Minor -Food in main dining rooms have gone down hill, i remember better food on the escape. Also one breakfast took over two hours in taste and came out cold. However I did complain (hate to do it but two hours and the waiter being no where to be found leads you too it) however the service from then on was better but still not great. Except for Manhattan room, they always had great service. However we had 8 people so not that big of hit. Now the major negatives: -Cabin Steward: I usually love the stewards and loved ours on the escape. However our guy was the worse steward I have ever had on a ship. Never replaced towels, skipped out on cleaning our room making up an excuse (the steward next door through him under the bus, the only reason I knew). Walked in on my wife and I even with the do not disturb on after only knocking once giving us no time to get to the door...to check the mini bar...then kicking us out of our room an hour early on disembarkation. That was the final straw and complained to guest services and will be sending an email. I get they have hard jobs but why bother have the lights on if you ignore them. Disembarkation- an utter mess is all I’m going to say. Crew members not knowing what is going on. Passengers seemed to know more then the crew. However I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to go and we will most likely give NCL another go. Maybe with a detour back to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We arrived in Seattle and went directly to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation experience was very smooth and went very quick. The disembarkation was a little disorganized and timely, but not bad. The ship overall was ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle and went directly to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation experience was very smooth and went very quick. The disembarkation was a little disorganized and timely, but not bad. The ship overall was beautiful, clean, and new. The cabin was very nice and clean and sufficient for two people. The balcony was decent size and great for seeing all the wonderful Alaskan scenery. The dining experience was very poor and I am so disappointed. My two prior cruises with Norwegian left me thinking the food would be terrific. The food both times was excellent. So we were both disappointed. We did go to the specialty restaurants 5 times including Food Republic, Q, Ocean Blue, Cagneys, and La Cucina. Food Republic and La Cucina were both excellent. Q was okay for barbeque, but if you order the friend green tomatoes expecting what you would get in the South, you will be disappointed. Just don't order them. The Brisket was great. Ocean Blue was a joke. Don't go to this seafood restaurant expecting crab and Lobster. No crab on the menu and the Lobster costs extra on top of the surcharge you pay ABOVE the cost of the specialty dining package. The food we did get was just okay. Cagneys prior trips was amazing. This time the steak was mostly gristle and tough (Ribeye). My own petite filet was good. The side dishes were a little on the cold side. Don't expect to find food when you are hungry if it is not during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Late night food choices are extremely limited if at all. There was a lot of entertainment, but getting reservations at a decent hour for the shows is difficult. I couldn't gt into any of them before 10:30 at night. (I'm not a late night person). Service everywhere but dining was outstanding! The dining areas had a lot of what seemed like unhappy staff. The ports were great, just not enough time. We had plenty of time in Juneau to go on an excursion and see the town. (if you go - do the wildlife refuge excursion or fishing - both were great). Ketchikan may have been fun, but I only had enough time for the excursion and barely made it back to the ship In time to leave. Didn't get to see the town. We arrived in Victoria at around 8 PM and after we ate we didn't have time to get off the ship. All of our excursions were fun. In Ketchikan we went kayaking and saw a lot of wildlife to include a mink and lots of starfish. I would go again based on my two prior cruises and the overall experience with this one. I just hope the food improves. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on the NCL Bliss for several reasons. The Bliss was designed for Alaska with a huge observation deck with floor to ceiling windows affording a Panoramic view of Alaska. The Deck has its own buffet area and bar, with ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the NCL Bliss for several reasons. The Bliss was designed for Alaska with a huge observation deck with floor to ceiling windows affording a Panoramic view of Alaska. The Deck has its own buffet area and bar, with sofas, chairs and tables spread through out the 15th floor Lounge. It was open to all passengers all day from early morning to evening. The only drawback to this was some people would use it as their personal sleeping area..and zonk out all day on the sofas. We also had a Balcony stateroom where we could view the trip through Glacier Bay. With freestyle dining we never had a problem eating meals wherever we chose to have them. Their are several venues available for dining, which were not fee based. Service in all dining areas was very good and their were entertainment options every night such as Jersey Boys, the Cavern with the Beatles and the District Brew Pub. Embarkation and Disembarkation both went very smoothly. We arrived at the Pier at 11 and we were able to get on the ship very soon after that. Disembarkation was wonderful, due to the Port Valet service offered by the Port of Seattle. The ports were easy to access since we were anchored right at the Dock. We only took one Shore Excursion offered by NCL. We took a Juneau Tour whale watching and Glacier viewing tour booked on Trip Advisor. We also rode the Race Cars on the top deck. My husband’s favorite activity on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We traveled on the Norwegian Bliss from 6/2 - 6/9/2019 and had a wonderful trip. No regrets with paying the additional cost for the Aft facing balcony which provided us with awesome panoramic views of the ports and was great for Glacier ... Read More
We traveled on the Norwegian Bliss from 6/2 - 6/9/2019 and had a wonderful trip. No regrets with paying the additional cost for the Aft facing balcony which provided us with awesome panoramic views of the ports and was great for Glacier Bay as we didn't have to fight the crowds for photo opportunities or photograph through windows in the observation desk. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship including the band Silgo, the Beatles band in The Cavern (saw them twice and they were fantastic). Prohibition and Jersey Boys were also very good; however we did not enjoy Havana. The seating in the Bliss theater is not at all comfortable and seats feel like the tilt forward and the seating in the Atrium area can be improved as well. Had a lack luster dining experience in Cagney's - very disappointing as we've dined in Cagney's on other ships. The service was excellent; however the food was very disappointing - steaks were dry (even those cooked medium rare had no juices and lacked flavor and had almost a chalky consistency!). We enjoyed both Q and Teppanyaki. The service in the main dining rooms (Manhattan, Taste, and Savor) was fair; wait staff did not seem to be adequately trained, service was slow and food was mediocre. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I sailed on the Joy out of Seattle on June 1,2019. She is fresh out of her $50 million remodel for the US market and looked shiny and new. Really a beautiful ship. I sailed with my 13 year old grandson. Embarkation: Easiest and ... Read More
I sailed on the Joy out of Seattle on June 1,2019. She is fresh out of her $50 million remodel for the US market and looked shiny and new. Really a beautiful ship. I sailed with my 13 year old grandson. Embarkation: Easiest and smoothest ever. We dropped our bags off at 9:00 AM at the pier. This was prior to them opening for boarding but we stayed across the street at the Marriott so it was easy and NCL was accepting luggage. We went back at 11;30 AM and we were on the ship in 10 minutes. Absolutely no line and plenty of friendly staff available to assist. Stateroom: Clean and roomy balcony. Our steward Kleward was awesome. Always friendly and available. Food; No complaints. We ate in the no extra fee venues Savor and Taste as well as the Garden Buffet. The food was good and plentiful. I do wish they would serve the food (like HAL) in the buffet rather than allow self serve. Some passengers were seen by us just grabbing food with their hands YUK! I did notify staff and food was promptly removed and replaced. Entertainment: Did not really participate much so can't comment other than say the ship felt overcrowded in the entertainment areas. This is just a personal preference and I believe most did not mind the crowds. Ports: What can I say it was beautiful Alaska! Stunning. Weather was very nice so we really enjoyed our visits. Service: Really good most everywhere. One complaint hire and staff Guest Services better. Lines were consistently long even with staff trying to help people waiting in line. Disembarkation: Same great experience as embarkation! Love Port Valet! Final thoughts Our Meet and Greet had about 100+ people and all the officers (including the captain) were there. It was very impressive and they provided lots of snacks. Overall it was a wonderful week. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this ship for its touring of Glacier National Park and for the onboard amenities like race track, laser tag, etc. What strikes me is the utter lack of good service. Every restaurant we went too, the servers were not happy and ... Read More
We chose this ship for its touring of Glacier National Park and for the onboard amenities like race track, laser tag, etc. What strikes me is the utter lack of good service. Every restaurant we went too, the servers were not happy and provide only basic service. You had to ask multiple times for refills. They reached over people when serving, even spilled water down the back of some poor lady. Often they pressed themselves against me to reach across the table to fill coffee and water. The served our food in random orders, some getting soup while others got appetizers and then serving the others soup while the remaining got soup.It appears they have not been trained on proper serving techniques. Often, you have to flag them down to get items forgotten. We paid a surcharge and ate at all the upscale restaurants. Found 3 hairs in our food at Ocean Blue- one in salad, one in my son's drink and one on our steak. We pulled them out and let them see them. They apologized but we left...this is the restaurant that you pay for specialty fees and then pay another surge of 12 per person to eat and believe if or not, after essentially paying 3 different charges to eat here, if you order lobster or shrimp, you will be charged an additional fee. Once again, the service was slow, inattentive and ungracious. The food in all of these restaurants was just okay. We did not attend one bar or one restaurant where the wait staff was happy or civil. The noise on the ship is at a very high decibel. It is very unsettling. The cruise director screams in the microphone near the main areas , restaurant and coffees so you can't enjoy this areas unless you can stand the LOUD annoucements he makes as he plays games. The Buffett was pretty highly traffic and loud. Seats very hard to find. The observation deck is where most people went and camped out all day, sleeping and sitting on the floors. It was soothing and quite a beautiful area. Bartenders here are the happiest We are pretty laid back and don't expect a lot but the basics are lacking on this ship. This cruise line charges you for everything they can think of and its wearisome. You reach for you wallet every minute. All said and done, this ship costs a great deal more than others that offer a much better product. From what we heard from fellow passengers, this cruise was not a good one. I would rate this cruise below average in food, service and entertainment. Honestly, we regret going on NCL. Princess, Royal or Celebrity would have been same dollar wise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We have been on 14 cruises and this was our first with Norweigan, there will not be a second. Of course what you enjoy is very personal, but we were very disappointed with the options on board for our teen and under 10 yr old. Basically, ... Read More
We have been on 14 cruises and this was our first with Norweigan, there will not be a second. Of course what you enjoy is very personal, but we were very disappointed with the options on board for our teen and under 10 yr old. Basically, you have the kids club (one of which housed kids from 3-12 in one area) or you spend money for the race track, laser tag, or arcade. They did have a couple of ping pong tables - for over 4K passengers. My youngest was crying when we picked him up from the one time he would go to the camp; they had not reached out to us at all and just said, “Well there are a LOT of kids in here tonight”). The teen last 30 minutes and checked himself out, refusing to return. The ship had movies we could attend together.... at 11pm that were decades old like Field of Dreams or Sully. Two of the musicals were not kid-appropriate at all and note that even the Jersey Boys has cursing in it if that is a concern for you. The menu was extremely repetitive. The same every day in the non-buffet for breakfast and lunch, a couple changes for dinner. Kids menu was pizza, hot dog, burger or chicken strips for lunch and dinner, not a vegetable to be had. And really odd offerings for the adults like “loaded potato skins” loaded with just crabmeat. The servers seemed very new. We had the wrong items brought to us often, they seemed perplex by their own ordering system, they would forget to take one member’s order, they were arguing in front of the guests, and stacks of plates were dropped on a daily basis. When I asked for soy milk for my youngest, I was told to go to the top of the ship, because nowhere else had it - this was while I was in the restaurant. Nearly every time, we had to call the server over to ask for a refills, perhaps they spread them out too thinly. While on one of the excursions, it was almost all Norweigan passengers and the guide receive a loud “No!” from almost everyone when she asked if they were feeding us well. We saw our room steward once on the entire cruise. Most of the time, we had to go to Guest Services to get the daily paper that gives the details off events or required forms. They left the bunk beds down each day, so that our room felt smaller than it already was. This may not seem so bad, but you are charged $15 per person per day (little kids included), so that was $420 for really lousy service for us. Also, they broke the handle on our new luggage and left it outside of our door without a word - if this happens to you, take it to Guest Services because they have to fill out a report if you want to fill out a claim afterwards. Again, the group that attending the towel folding session responded “No!” when asked if they had seen the towel animals shown because the majority had no turndown service over the cruise. We did like the observation lounge and the embark/disembark processes went smoothly. Alaska, of course, was absolutely gorgeous. However this was certainly not the cruise line for us. The kids have begged us not to go back (never a reaction to a cruise previously) so it will be “No!” to NCL for us. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Cruised with family. We had a great time! Food in the Local and LeBistro were fantastic, other venues was sub-par. Cagney's was a total letdown on this cruise. We have had much better on other cruises from that venue. Haven ... Read More
Cruised with family. We had a great time! Food in the Local and LeBistro were fantastic, other venues was sub-par. Cagney's was a total letdown on this cruise. We have had much better on other cruises from that venue. Haven room, restaurant, and bar were heavenly. Service was fantastic and food was outstanding. Our Butler (little Cindy) made our grand-daughter's day when she showed up with peanut M&Ms and gummy bears. Our cabin steward (Magic Mike) was fantastic at making animals for the kids every night and went out of the way to make sure they were happy with them. Had the worst margarita in my life from the A-List bar. If you like lime juice and no alcohol it will be perfect for you. Weather held out for us and had fantastic views of glaciers, mountains and sea. Thoroughly enjoyed the Prohibition and Jersey Boys. Go for a pedicure - they definitely pamper you. Kids loved the go-carts and the kids club. Our grand-daughter couldn't get enough of the virtual roller coaster and arcade. Thought that the prices for the excursions were way overpriced. Will do this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I was a little afraid to go on this ship with so many people, but most of the time you do not feel more crowded than on a smaller ship! The Observation Window area in front was so amazing to have for Alaska... there is so much to see. I ... Read More
I was a little afraid to go on this ship with so many people, but most of the time you do not feel more crowded than on a smaller ship! The Observation Window area in front was so amazing to have for Alaska... there is so much to see. I loved the glaciers, whales, and all the seals I saw. The food quality was the best I have ever had on a cruise ship. We were especially impressed with the Maitre'D--- Daniel (from Serbia). He was in several of the restaurants we liked, and never just stood there. He was always busy directing his staff, and pointing things out that could be better. Even the slightest problem was taken care of immediately. He also found time to speak with everyone at some point during the meal, and is pleasant, charming, and informative if you have any questions. We loved the Jersey Boys show, but the rest of the entertainment was so-so or disappointing. Our room steward was adequate, but not great. The room was mostly clean but we always had to ask for more Kleenex (came the 6th day)… more lotion (never came-always "Sorry, out of lotion).. room service request cards (never came)… sheets were all bunched up at the bottom... and more. The coffee tray was dirty from the last people, and finally cleaned the last day. All little stuff--- but a good room steward anticipates your needs, or at least re-stocks things as needed. The bathroom layout has been improved. I liked this shower style better. The ship is pretty and I thought well laid out. I liked the location of things better than on other ships. It was nice to have the Garden Café buffet up front. You could sit there and look down through the big Observation Deck windows. The Awe of Alaska itinerary for this ship is perfect.... all the best stops. I would definitely recommend this ship and THIS itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this particular cruise based availability for the week we wanted to travel, then compared cabin rooms between the 2-3 different cruise lines/ships. Our departure and arrival ports were Seattle. Our stops included Juneau, Skagway, ... Read More
I chose this particular cruise based availability for the week we wanted to travel, then compared cabin rooms between the 2-3 different cruise lines/ships. Our departure and arrival ports were Seattle. Our stops included Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and finally Victoria, BC. We had a great experience and I would definitely recommend this cruise. We had two balcony rooms next to each other on Deck 12. We paid for the mid-ship location but did not pay extra for the larger room which just gives you a larger bathroom/larger shower. Depending on the room layout and if you have the beds put together for a king size, it can be a little tight to get around the bed. No big deal but worth mentioning. The onboard entertainment was fun. We typically don't do the shows or games. I did like the live music they had at most times during the afternoon and evening in different locations. All the staff we encountered were helpful and friendly. My biggest (but small) issue was the unlimited soda/water package we got for our two teenage kids. Unlike Royal Caribbean who gives you a refillable cup and self serve stations to refill, on NCL the kids had to go to one of the bars and ask for a glass of soda. Not very convenient at all. For the amount of times this actually happened, I should have skipped this package and just ordered the sodas when my wife and I went up for a cocktail. We had the adult unlimited drink package so it would have worked out and saved us some money. I hope NCL changes this in the future. The fitness center is smaller on this ship than the ones we experienced on Royal Caribbean. I was still able to get on a treadmill when needed. Spin class was ok. The fitness manager/instructor was nice but I don't think he had much training as a spin instructor. Anyone who tells you to pedal at 130 to 150 rpms is in need of some training. They overbooked the first spin class since passengers could sign up in person or on their onboard app. Shore excursions were spectacular. In Juneau we did Alaska's Whales, Glaciers & Rainforest Trails by Gastineau Guiding. Grace was our guide and she was great. We saw whales and actually saw one breach the water. Awesome. In Skagway we splurged and did the Glacier Discovery by Helicopter with Temsco. If you can swing the expense, this is truly one of the best things I've ever done. Great guides as well. After Skagway the ship went thru the Glacier Bay area. Absolutely spectacular scenery and should be part of any Alaskan cruise. In Ketchikan we did Backcountry Jeep & Canoe Safari with Alaska Travel Adventures. Another great excursion. If you don't like a little off-roading and bumpy roads you may want to skip this one, but my family thought it was a great time. We did not do any excursions in Victoria. The ship was only there for 3.5 hours so we just meandered around town and bought a few souvenirs. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I booked this cruise as a solo traveler. I flew into Seattle on May 24 and spent two nights at the Kimpton Alexis hotel on 1st Avenue. I would recommend this hotel as a great, comfortable hotel in downtown Seattle within walking distance ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a solo traveler. I flew into Seattle on May 24 and spent two nights at the Kimpton Alexis hotel on 1st Avenue. I would recommend this hotel as a great, comfortable hotel in downtown Seattle within walking distance to the waterfront, Pike Market and other places of interest. An Uber ride to port is available for $10 plus tip. The weather was great during my stay - sunny and pleasant most of the time, one big rain shower my second day and downright warm the day the cruise ship returned. After checking out my fabulous room, complete with fireplace, sofa, gorgeous bath and a huge window with a view of the waterfront, I took a walk in the direction of Pike Market. I have been through the market before so walked along the outside to stay out of the crowds. It was about a half mile from the hotel and not too much uphill walking. I'd planned to have my dinner during happy hour at Cutter's Crabhouse and was very "happy" with a dinner of Manila clams, lobster mac and cheese and wine. Having flown in from the Southeast that afternoon, I decided to retire back to my hotel immediately after dinner. I got back in time for the end of the hotel's complimentary wine reception and had some Washington wine before turning in for the night. The next day I woke up at 5 a.m. - I never acclimated to the time differences in Washington and Alaska so this became my regular wake up time for the duration of my trip. It was a nice morning so I decided to take a walk along the waterfront. I checked the menus at various restaurants and stopped to shop a little. I walked as far as the port authority offices and on my walk back scoped out the layout of the port and got information from the porters on where I would drop my bags the following day and where I would enter to get my key card. That was a big help the following day. That evening I had dinner in the Bookstore bar/restaurant inside the hotel. After dinner I sat at the bar and talked to a few other guests about their cruises and how they were enjoying the area. We closed down the bar about midnight and it was time for me to rest up for the Bliss. I woke up again at 5 a.m. and realized the ship might be sailing in to port at any moment so opened up the drapes. About 5:15, there was my ship! I had a great view of her coming in and doing the turn to glide into her dock. I had planned to go to the port via Uber about noon, but waking up so early ended up leaving the hotel around 10:45. My Uber driver made sure to get me to the proper area to drop off my bag and I proceeded to the door to check in. Since I knew where I was going and was by myself the process for going through security and getting my cabin key was a painless 15 minutes - super efficient embarkation. I walked directly onto the ship and started looking around my home for the week. Cabins were not projected to be ready until 1:00 so I explored the various decks checking out the casino (big), The Local (don't like the menu as well as O'Sheehan's), the Garden Cafe (busy), then headed to the spa to purchase the Thermal Spa for the week. I paid the extra $20 rather than booking ahead of time so that I could use my on board credit. I checked out the facilities and knew this was a good choice for my Alaska trip. The area spans the aft end of the ship. There are windows on three sides, about 20 thermal loungers (I may have counted wrong) and many padded loungers. There is a steam room, salt bath and ice room, along with a jetted pool and hot tub. Fruit infused and plain water are provided along with hot tea and oranges. There are separate women's and men's locker rooms with facilities to change, shower and use the toilet. The women's area had a dressing table with hair dryer. Robes and towels were provided. If I had any complaints regarding the spa it would be that the hot tub was not what I considered hot. I'm just guessing but would say it was about 90-95 degrees. The pool was just about the same temperature. I like a hot tub to be over 100. I never tried the outdoor hot tubs but spoke to others who said they were not hot either. After my purchase, I went to The Local for a vodka and soda. The bartender ordered guacamole and chips for me - I guess he thought I looked hungry - that wasn't happening this trip. After another adult beverage, I headed to my cabin. It was 5107, an inside cabin - something I'm not really used to. I generally stay in a balcony or at the least, an oceanview cabin but this trip the cost to upgrade was too much to be worthwhile. The Thermal Spa was a better bargain, available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day (except the last day when it closed at 8 p.m.) and where I would end up spending much of my on board time. The cabin was small. Efficient enough for one person and okay for two but can't imagine having a third or fourth. There are several cabins the same size that are marked for three or four. Yikes! The lifeboat drill was held about 3:30 and for me was in the Theater. I originally went to my area at the front of the theater but moved to the back not wanting to get stuck behind everyone when the drill was over. At the end of the drill I walked to The Local again to stay out of the crowds going back to their cabins, etc. This time, after another beverage or two at the bar, it was now about 5 p.m. so I checked in at the restaurant desk and was seated at a table for dinner. As I said, I don't like the Local menu as well as O'Sheehan's...I prefer a corned beef reuben to one made with poultry and love the Shepard's pie which is not available at the Local. But the food was okay and the meal sustained me for the rest of the evening. I'm not positive I have my times right, but I think it was about 7-7:30 before the casino opened. I spent a while there and then stopped at my cabin to grab a swimsuit and went to the Thermal Spa. It was fairly empty and I laid on one of the heated loungers and fell asleep. At 10, one of the ladies from the spa came to wake me and anyone else in there so they could close. It was a very relaxing ending to the day. The following morning was a sea day and I decided to use my Platinum benefit to do the Behind the Scenes tour. A group of about 16 of us was taken to the theatre and shown the men's dressing room holding the costumes for the male entertainers. We were then taken to the stage where it was explained how the various backdrops were stored and used for the shows. Next was the kitchen where it seemed hundreds of workers were preparing food and collecting it for delivery to the various dining areas. On to the laundry where thousands of towels and sheets as well as crew and passenger clothing are laundered every day. The tour took approximately one hour. I thought the tour was interesting although I would not say it was worth the $79 someone told me it cost. After having a bite to eat in the Garden Cafe I went to the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. This was a nice affair in the District Brewery with warm appetizers and mimosas. Several of the ship's officers came and were introduced. I met a few people there then went to Q for the Latitudes party. There was no invitation other than what was printed in the daily paper. The captain spoke and told us how he would be able to get us very close to the glaciers when the ship toured Glacier Bay National Park. I found it hard to believe he could get that huge ship that close to the glaciers. I was wrong - more about that later. Dinner was at LeBistro that night using the dining package. I had the crab salad, tenderloin and (goodbye diet) the profiteroles. Everything as usual was delicious and the tenderloin was cooked to medium rare perfection. I had excellent service also. I then went to the casino until bed time. Tuesday was Juneau day. I planned to stay on the ship that day and had a great time with the spa basically to myself. That evening I went to my first solo traveler gathering this trip held in the Studio lounge. This place was hard for me to find but actually I walked right by the sign and just didn't see it. I ran into two other people, one of whom also did not see the Studio Lounge sign. Luckily the second of the two was able to show us the location. Our host was JoJo from the Cruise Director's staff. He was an excellent host - best of any I've had on any ship. He met with a group that fluctuated between about 8 and 20 people each night. He set up dinner for the group if you chose to go and arranged other things to do as a group. Great job JoJo! After the solo meeting was dinner at Cagney's. I used my Platinum Latitudes benefit there that includes dinner, appetizer, desert and a bottle of wine. I chose the Spellbound Petite Syrah since there was an upcharge for it by the glass even with the beverage package. I ordered the veal and had Creme brulee for dessert. Dinner was good and so was service but LeBistro is still my favorite on board restaurant. After dinner I went back to my cabin and fell sound asleep until 11:45 p.m. I was now wide awake so dressed again and went to the casino. This night I won a nice hand pay jackpot but this was the only big win this trip for me. After going back to the cabin to grab my driver's license (necessary to show when receiving a hand pay), the attendant paid me and I went back to bed for the night. Another nice day came to an end. Wednesday we were in Skagway. I booked the White Pass Scenic Railway trip through NCL. I had never been on a train before so for this reason it was worthwhile. Although the staff did a nice narration of the area we were seeing, I would not do this trip again. I found fewer scenic views than I have while touring by car through South Dakota and Utah. It was good to do once in a lifetime. I never got to the spa this day since the solo meeting was shortly after returning from my excursion. I went to dinner with the group to Taste. This was fun and at the end of our meal, before dessert one of the solos said a friend of his had seats for several of us to see the comedy show in the Social so off we went. The comedian whose name I don't recall was very funny. Afterward, some people branched off and I went to the casino to spend my son's inheritance. Thursday brought us to Glacier Bay National Park. The ship had two park rangers on board providing commentary beginning at 7 a.m. or so. I'm not great at hopping out of bed and getting going but forced myself to do so this day. I remembered what the Captain said and followed his advice to head to Deck 8 where the helicopter pad was open for the day for viewing of all that Glacier Bay has to offer. This was the best day for just standing at the railing, taking in all of the scenery. The Captain was absolutely correct - he did get us VERY close to the glaciers then did a 180 to get us out of the bay. It was quite a feat! The weather for the day started out very cold and windy but by about 9:30 had warmed up significantly. I stayed until about 10 a.m. then decided I could admire the views from the spa. I spent a lot of the day there and got my now daily nap on a thermal lounger. That evening I went to the solo group meeting and asked one of the women if she would like to join me for dinner at LaCucina. I had my dinner for two and hated not sharing it. Rebekah and I had our meal there. Unfortunately, although the dinner was ok the service was lacking. She and I ordered our appetizers, then chatted while eating. About half way through the appetizers, the waiter came over and asked me if he could serve our entrees. I said no, we would like to finish our appetizers first. He then left the table but came back immediately with our entrees. We were sitting at a small table for two and had an appetizer each, an entree each, the dinner rolls, butter, water glasses and our other beverages all at once. I ended up sending my half eaten appetizer away so we could have some room on the table. The Maitre'd came by toward the end of the meal and I expressed to her that I wasn't happy with the way the food was served and explained why. This fell on deaf ears. I don't normally complain about any of the hard working crew but really when fine dining, the waiter should not put the entree order in until the appetizer is nearly finished. I've found LaCucina on Pearl and Bliss to be subpar also and I won't be going there for my Latitudes meal again. Friday was Ketchikan and again I stayed on the ship enjoying the views from the spa until about an hour after sail away. Dinner this night was LeBistro again. I planned to go by myself and did. After sitting only a few minutes another solo named Karen walked in and was seated at the table next to me. I invited her to join me at my table and she did. It's nice to chat with someone while enjoying a leisurely meal. I had the shrimp and escargot for dinner as well as the wine that was saved for me. It was all very yummy! Karen was going to see Jersey Boys after dinner but before we finished, yet another solo named Monique came in and was seated at the same table next to us. We ended up having a good conversation, Karen went on to Jersey Boys and I stayed back and had dessert (profiteroles again) with Monique. I love the way it all worked out...very fun! Saturday was the first day in the Thermal Spa that was very busy. We wouldn't arrive in Victoria, BC until 7:30 p.m. I still was able eventually to get my nap on a heated lounger and stayed saying goodbye to the spa staff at about 3:30. The solo meeting was early that day - 4:00 - but I wanted to be sure to get there to say goodbye to everyone I met this cruise. It was a nice final meeting and we exchanged full names, email addresses and phone numbers with each other. JoJo gave each of us an NCL heavy keychain. He was a joy to be around. I unfortunately had dinner that night at Teppenyaki at 6:45 and because of the way the seating is could not invite anyone to join me. Dinner at Teppenyaki was great as usual. The food, cooked fresh was delicious. I had the filet and shrimp. They were out of Japanese beer and had the Chinese beer so I tried that instead. I actually think I liked that better than the Japanese beer anyway. I also finished my bottle of wine that night. The casino had closed at 3:30 that day so I went to Sugarcane bar since the duo was playing there. I enjoyed them but unfortunately we were in Victoria and Canadian law only allows for one bar to be open per deck...and this was not the bar. I asked what bar on this deck was open and told it was the A-list bar. I went there and tried the Mister Worldwide there which was surprisingly good. I'm not a sweet drinks lover but this was just enough of a change to satisfy me and wasn't too sweet for me. I bumped into another of the solo group, Bonnie and she invited me to the silent disco so I went with her to that. It was some fun, silly and probably geared more for younger people. I stayed about an hour and a half then left to get some sleep before the stressful day Sunday. It turned out Sunday was not as stressful as I thought - well, except at the airport. I had done the Port Valet - a free service where you put your suitcase(s) out the last night of the cruise as usual. Instead of going to the cruise terminal the following morning to pick up your checked bag to lug to the airport, they take your bag directly to the airport for you. It was a great service! You need to apply in advance and I did early in the cruise so didn't need to wait in the long line on the deadline day. I was thrilled to receive my bag tags and boarding passes before 3:30 of the last day - no stress wondering if I qualified. As for the airport, I was pointed to an extremely long line of people (say 250) waiting to go through security. I had TSA pre-check but signs indicated security for all gates and TSA pre-check were ahead and the person directing me where to go did not see it on my boarding pass. Luckily, I spoke to someone in line who said her daughter had just flown out of SEA-TAC the previous week and she was sure there was a special line. When I got to a point where an airport staff member was available, I asked him about it and he told me to skip the line and that there was a special pre-check line. This saved me all kinds of time. BTW, I briefly worried whether my bag truly would be at my home airport when I got there and indeed it was! This was the busiest I've been on a cruise in a long time. Since I don't remember which days I did certain things, I'll close by saying I went to the Observation Lounge one day and had drinks at the bar. There were no other seats available so this was fine but glad I didn't depend on this venue to view too much scenery. I caught Siglo playing in the Atrium one day and made sure to see them again when they played in the Cavern one night late in the cruise. I LOVED their music. I found the crew to be friendly mostly. I never had a problem getting an adult beverage at any of the bars. The entire trip was very satisfying. Hints: I asked at the reception desk whether the customs form for Canada (due in the day before arriving in Canada) could be handed in early. Yes, the reception staff can help you complete your form correctly and take it from you so you can avoid any lines when the deadline for that came along. Be sure to use Port Valet and turn it in early in the cruise to avoid lines. If you have access to any of the airline clubs or are eligible to buy a pass, this is a great place to spend your time while waiting for your flight out of Seattle. I flew Delta but was able to use my United pass to enjoy a quiet area, some food and drinks. Be sure if you have TSA Pre-check to ask where the line is for that. Do not wait in the general line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Juneau: I guess there are so many FAKE reviews for WHALE WATCHING. So i purchased Whale Watching with the Mendenhall Glacier and it was a waste of money! We paid $137.00 per person ( a deal compared to some of the other companies). ... Read More
Juneau: I guess there are so many FAKE reviews for WHALE WATCHING. So i purchased Whale Watching with the Mendenhall Glacier and it was a waste of money! We paid $137.00 per person ( a deal compared to some of the other companies). However, we saw a few whales so far away that it was stupid. You guys wanna see whales? Go to a decent aquarium like the one in Seattle instead!! Whale Watching is a total waste of time. Me and my hubby had a joke "you missed it" the entire trip. So you're on a boat and someone spots a whale; everyone goes running to that view and within seconds the whale is gone. You only see a slight of the whale and they consider seeing a whale if you see it snort and then see the tail. Again, this is 200 yards out (by law they have to maintain a 100-200 foot distance) and the view is nothing really. Skagaway: We did a glassblowing excursion. Cost was around $125 a person or so. Another disappointment! You don't get to pick which item you'll make. We were given ornaments: a round ball. It was cool to see how THEY make it. You kinda just get to point and say which 2 colors and which shape you want the round tiny ball to be. Ketchikan: Hovercraft. $299 a person (what a HUGEEEE dissapointment!) This was another WHALE WATCHING nonsense. You missed it!!!! oh look a wahle? SAW IT? NO? SORRY you missed it!! Hovercraft was not smooth and not fast. Oh the highlight was that it was 1 of the only 2 commercially operated hovercrafts in the USA. i paid $300 per person for that crap. THe good: Bliss was quite blissful. Great service great balcony rooms. I read reviews that you shoudln't book balcony rooms. DUMB! IT WAS THE best thing i did!!!! the balcony rooms were sooooo awesome. I loved waking up to that view. Overall, the best of Alaska tour was GLASIER BAY. Stunning views. awesome!. Food: Bliss has the most amazing buffet!! It was 6 out of a 5! No need to pay for extra restaurants. Complaint: Norwegian is not very nice when it comes to $$$. THe price of the balcony dropped 2-3 weeks after we booked to $200 per person ($200 * 4 = $800 LOSS) and we were 4 traveling (including the infant who was charged fully). They said they can give us $75per cabin ( we had 2) and when i got on the ship they said what credit? What are you talking about? I couldn't fight this on the ship. They said you have to wait for cruise to be over. The cruise is over and now they say write a letter. Very disappointing!!! Just for that I won't be taking Norwegian ever again. Principle of the matter and they're getting written up for it!!! DUMB OVER $150 BUCKS!!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I looked forward to seeing Alaska, like a kid before Christmas. We have cruised before, but not utilizing NCL. The boarding process was relatively easy. That is where the excitement ended. You expect this grand welcome, ... Read More
My husband and I looked forward to seeing Alaska, like a kid before Christmas. We have cruised before, but not utilizing NCL. The boarding process was relatively easy. That is where the excitement ended. You expect this grand welcome, however, the most thrilling response was "washy washy" as you received germ killer boarding the ship. I echo other reviewers as we received zero interaction of where to go, etc. After we found our room, we noticed empty coffee creamer packages and towels obviously used. Our steward rushed in to state our rooms was not ready. By the way, set your DND when you enter your room, they knock once and enter. Our room was average but a tiny little TV. Your announcements are not loud, so you are forced to open your door to hear. Slow elevators, crowded buffet area lead to grouchy passengers. The food was simply not good. The Manhattan was the better of the three complementary restaurants. Taste and Savor was so slow. We had to leave a dinner early to make a show and we were already there an hour and 15 minutes. The onboard activities were maddening. The shows were ok...but we saw one of the magic trick "tricks" during Elements. The rotating branch holding up the floating lady malfunctioned. You could clearly see what was holding her up. The cruise director was delightful which was a plus. Lack of staff though lead to frustration daily. Long lines for bingo cards, shows, food, etc., lead to more time waiting than having fun. I agree with fellow reviewers, the resetting air is annoying. Overall, we got to see Alaska and it did not disappoint. But, we felt we drove in an RV on a bad road trip to get there. I will cruise again but not with NCL. I appreciate my money more than they do. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The destinations and timing were the primary reason for the selection of the ship after my family narrowed our choice of cruise line to NCL. My teenager selected the Joy because of its VR and go-kart track. This was our first time on the ... Read More
The destinations and timing were the primary reason for the selection of the ship after my family narrowed our choice of cruise line to NCL. My teenager selected the Joy because of its VR and go-kart track. This was our first time on the NCL line, so I spent many hours researching excursions and additional charges prior to leaving. However, some items are not obviously a good or poor value until you experience the cruise. More on additional costs later. My family arrived in Seattle early to visit local sites of interest to use prior to the cruise. The day and a half in Seattle ahead of the cruise was completely worthwhile. Pike Street Market, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Microsoft Visitor's Center (pretty far afield but of great interest to techies), the Space Needle, and trying local foods were all worthwhile. We used Uber to get to the ship from our hotel. Drop off and pick up at Pier 66 in Seattle is a rather scary and dangerous proposition. My family observed one fender bender and several near misses during drop off and pick up. The lanes for pick up and drop off have three minute limits with no clear enforcement and many drivers making their own lanes. I liked the staggered embarkation and debarkation. Although the lines were still quite long during both events, I suspect a less structured handling would have led to much worse lines. Getting on and off the ship at each port throughout the cruise was probably one of the best experiences I could imagine. The ship card for all services is another useful aspect of the cruise. Other than getting back on in some ports, the ship card was all anyone needed to get off or on the ship, to eat or drink, or to take advantage of any amenities. Unfortunately, the amenities often cam at an extra cost. If you wanted really amazing food, you pretty much had to go to one of the specialty restaurants, which cost extra. NCL offers the ability to prepay for these restaurants allegedly. It seemed like a good deal at ~$26 per person for each meal. Unfortunately, we found out that the prepaid meals were not honored by Food Republic, American Diner, or Teppanyaki. It turns out that American Diner SHOULD have been accepted but good luck getting that money back. I spent 30 minutes waiting in line a guest services to get the $42 spent credited back to my account only to find out the restaurant has to handle the refund. The restaurant staff never bothered to answer the call from guest services. So my ~$300 prepaid meals for four meals got me exactly one meal at Le Bistro that even with the choices my family made would have set us back a whopping ~$25 per person. Every place we had complimentary food was mediocre at best. The foods that were best were pastries and any Asian style foods. Eggs and Southern or Southwestern US foods were generally terrible. Another huge disappointment was the onboard activities. The ship offered game show after game show every day and the occasional dance party. The comedy shows were good and the Elements show was okay if you like modern dance mixed with magic. Footloose was a terrible movie and story, so we skipped that show. The various musicians were good but you can only listen to so many Rat Pack songs before those get old, too. The activities that were most enjoyable...cost extra. Go-kart, VR and Laser Tag all received high marks but were costly. Nearly everything extra also needed a reservation. We ended up spending at least a thousand dollars above the cost of the cruise for the meals, soda package, and onboard activities that were extra, The shore excursions were a mixed bag. I was happy with my decisions to manage my own excursions in Ketchikan and Victoria. We did a self-guided walking tour in Ketchikan and had a great time doing that but it was a significant physical effort even if the walk is only a couple of miles. We did a tour in Juneau to see the gold mine. It was informative but too short. Thankfully, when we ended up at the Alaska equivalent of the cruise line private island, we had a whaling excursion. This was probably the most valuable and enjoyable excursion we could have selected and at the right stop -- the stop designed to make more money for the cruise lines. Finally, in Victoria, we took the $10 CAD Victoria cab to downtown then walked around ourselves. For $20 CAD plus tip you can see the old hotels, the legislative buildings, an amazing park, and even set up a high tea (extra cost). Unlike the expensive trip to the Butchart Gardens, Beacon Hill is 55 acres of free beautiful park with flora and fauna to enjoy two blocks from the parliamentary building. The cruise staff and officers were all very nice and helpful. The ship was kept very clean and the crew took cleanliness seriously unlike some of the passengers who needed to learn proper buffet etiquette. Some of the highlights of the trip: Beautiful vistas at every stop Clean, well-kept ship Spacious cabins with good storage and steward service Excellent ship service Negatives outweighed the positives: Many extra costs Terrible value for meal packages Pepsi products for mixers (Rum and Pepsi, Bourbon and Pepsi, 7 and Sierra Mist?? These do not make sense) Terrible free activities onboard Limited shopping Mediocre free foods Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The Joy is a beautiful ship....every cruise line should take note and copy deck 15 and the front observation area. What an incredible way to experience Alaska while relaxing in wonderful seats with a bar, Starbucks, and a mini buffet ... Read More
The Joy is a beautiful ship....every cruise line should take note and copy deck 15 and the front observation area. What an incredible way to experience Alaska while relaxing in wonderful seats with a bar, Starbucks, and a mini buffet available. The rooms were nice, I love the color palette of blue's and creams....and love the sliding door in the balcony room. The slider made for no slamming door noise from the neighbors and we were able to keep it open every night for fresh air and falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean. The big let downs were: no candy shop for kids....duty free was small...and only one other place to buy stuff was so small it didn't have a lot of variety. The layout of the pool deck was weird, a lot of empty space for nothing. Dining: The service in Manhattan room was slow...always waiting on something. The down side is if your looking for 24 hour food you can only get it in the atrium, middle of the ship, deck 7 , and you have to sit down and be waited on. At 2am I'm not looking for sit down....I just want to be able to go to a buffet, grab and go. That being said, the buffet does not serve food at all times. They actually take ropes and block off each entrance to the buffet, off the elevator and won't let ANYONE go down until they switch out the food. Most other cruise lines have the buffet open and serving something at all times. They were very rude about roping things off when food needed to be changed from breakfast/lunch, lunch/dinner...they would corral people with ropes and wouldn't serve anyone that was behind the ropes. Take dishes, silver ware, and handles off the ice cream machines to deter you from anything. I'm used to Guy's burgers on Carnival...their version of a hamburger is something that resembles a perfect round, hard, hockey puck. No flavor and not worth the effort. No deli sandwiches made fresh to your desire....everything is made and put on the buffet. I found it funny when we asked about what kind of Salmon they had....they said it was from New Jersey. Are you kidding me....we were in Alaska. I saw on the L.A cruise with just the travel agents they had crab legs on the buffet.....don't wait for that....cuz that never happened either. No food served in the pool area , had to go to the buffet and bring it out. And make sure your not enjoying your only sunny day on deck at 5pm...because they come and kick you out of the chairs and stack them up only leaving the ones on the outer perimeter, under the covered deck available to sit on. Entertainment: Was awesome, shows were vegas quality. Activities: This is another area they got all wrong. You have to PAY for everything but the pool. The go carts are $15 a person to ride for 15 min, Laser Tag was $9 a person, and the VR/4D room was $30 for 90 minutes. Families with children could go broke because literally....there was nothing for them to do. The pool was only open 2 days that we cruised....and the drop slide was NEVER open. The hot tubs are a joke, it was like warm bath water....asked every time for them to increase the temp and they wouldn't. And don't you dare get a drink in the hot tub, they won't let you drink it or place it on the edge anywhere. They have someone that watches and monitors that. The teen club was the size of a 30 x 30 room...with 3 TV's or so for video games and not much else. No dance floor, no real room to hang out. The main pool deck had the biggest TV screen I've seen on a cruise ship....absolutely beautiful...and all they did was flip through slides of Alaska. No movies at night, nothing. The movies were shown in the tiny atrium area on 6 that can only sit about 100 people. (not good for a ship of 4,200 passengers). Service: The staff was nice, greeted me wherever I was with smiles, and never had any issues there. Ports/Excursions: Every excursion we took was incredible....Misty Fjords, Crabbing on the Allucian Ballad, Whale watching, plane ride over the glaciers, to a Rickshaw ride in Victoria B.C. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I decided to go to Alaska again when NCL was offering the free airfare promo for sailings on the Joy. Later, NCL extended that offering to all their ships but we were happy with the dates and itinerary we had booked so we ... Read More
My husband and I decided to go to Alaska again when NCL was offering the free airfare promo for sailings on the Joy. Later, NCL extended that offering to all their ships but we were happy with the dates and itinerary we had booked so we stayed with the Joy. We love cruising and only have sailed on NCL. We like the bigger ships and had sailed on the Bliss last year and found the Joy to be similar but not exactly the same. Since my husband started a new job, we flew into Seattle the day of the cruise and flew home the day of disembarkation. I was a bit nervous since NCL arranged our flights but everything went very smoothly. We also used NCL for transfers to and from the airport and that was easy as well. Another great thing we took advantage of was the Port Valet service where you leave your checked bags outside of your room with the Port Valet tags and they are transported from the ship to the airport for you and you get them at your final destination. It was awesome not having to drag your luggage around when you leave the ship and it's a free service provided by the airport. You sign up for it at guest services and we received our luggage tags and airline boarding passes in our rooms on the last night. Our room was a large balcony room. We usually book spa rooms but since the Joy doesn't have a thermal spa, we chose this room instead. Room was a good size, balcony was awesome. Bed was hard so we requested an egg crate topper from our room steward and he re-made the bed with it on the 2nd day which made sleeping a lot more comfortable. Our room steward was awesome. NCL doesn't do ice buckets in the room anymore unless requested - we asked for it and he filled it twice a day for us and kept the room super clean. We slept with the balcony open each night as we had really good weather and we like the ocean breeze while sleeping. Bathroom a little smaller than what we're used to but it was okay. Plenty of storage and we had the couch next to the closet which makes it much easier to get stuff out of the closet and off the shelves. Food in specialty dining, MDR and the Local was really good. Ocean Blue was to die for - the best meal we've ever had on a ship. Disappointed in the buffet - food was lukewarm the two times we tried it so we never went back. Buffet on the Bliss was awesome so we were disappointed in this one. I did 2 wine events (the black glass tasting and the wine and cheese pairing) and they were really fun and the sommelier was really knowledgeable. Also enjoyed the observation lounge but missed the nice bar that the Bliss has in their lounge. But, hubby enjoyed the Starbucks that the Joy has in it's lounge. We always found a lot to do while on the ship. My husband enjoys old school rock so we went to most of the shows where Albatross Air was performing - awesome band and lots of fun. We did several trivia games and watched some of the other events that were happening in the Atrium. Most were funny - some kind of goofy but it was sometimes really hilarious to watch. We went to several of the comedy shows and those guys were funny. I also went to Footloose - awesome! and my husband joined me to see Elements. That was a cool show - a bit of magic, dancing, etc. all about the elements air, fire, water, earth. We both liked it. He also went to the Beatles tribute band and said they were ok. Disappointed that there was no thermal spa but I did find a few other things to do to pass the time. I went on the go-karts and it was really fun. The race before us had to stop a few times because there was a kid who was messing around and he got kicked off the ride but our group did great and we never got stopped. My husband and I also did the laser tag and our team won - it was fun. It doesn't get dark until really late in Alaska and I didn't know if it would be fun doing this while it was light out but we enjoyed it. My husband also enjoyed his time in the casino....love that they have a separate smoking section. He won several hundred $ so he was happy. The only other thing that was a disappointment is that we didn't get to cruise by any glaciers. We were doing the inside passage and there was too much ice so the captain had to turn the boat around. In port the next day I was on an excursion with some people from the Jewel and they made it through that same day and saw the glaciers calving. I got to see the pictures on their phones but it would have been great to have experienced the glaciers in person. Ports were awesome - we typically do excursions on our own because the ship's are too expensive. The only one I booked through NCL was the zip and ATV in Icy Strait because it's not available separately. Juneau - whale watching with Alaska Galore tours. Saw lots of humpbacks and 3 moms with babies! It was awesome with a smaller enclosed boat. Ketchikan - Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's tour. Wasn't sure what to expect but this was a lot of fun. It was on a boat that had been on the Deadliest Catch show and was retrofitted for tours. Fishermen on the boat were really knowledgeable and we saw how they pull up crabs and the viewing of the bald eagles was so cool. Icy Strait - I did the ziplining and ATV excursion and that was so fun. My husband did a halibut fishing trip with Hooked Adventures. He caught halibut and arranged for it to be shipped home when we got back from the cruise. Victoria - husband stayed on the ship and I took a public bus to a garden that I'd visited before - Abkahazi Garden - and had afternoon tea. Then I took the bus back to town and walked through the museum and the downtown area. We had a long day in port - 12 to 10 p.m. - so I took advantage and did some shopping! So we had a really good time but probably would prefer cruising on the Bliss - the Joy's sister ship - because we missed the thermal spa. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Family cruise to Alaska with family of seven with ages ranging from 20 to 80. We are the type of travelers that go with the flow and are going to make the best of any situation. That being said, we experienced both excellent and very ... Read More
Family cruise to Alaska with family of seven with ages ranging from 20 to 80. We are the type of travelers that go with the flow and are going to make the best of any situation. That being said, we experienced both excellent and very bad. We were unable to travel a day ahead which I prefer because it makes the day less stressful. Our day began at 3am with a two hour drive to the airport and a 7:20 boarding time to Dallas then another flight to Seattle. Checking luggage was a nightmare but the security was a breeze. (TSA Pre=approved). We were on a tight schedule but all went well and we arrived in Seattle a little early with all bags! We had NCL transfers and that went easy. Staff on hand at baggage claim to point you in the right direction to find buses. Quick bus ride to port. Then we encountered the worst check-in in over 25 cruises. Our luggage was supposed to be taken off the bus by NCL staff and sent to the cabins. Instead we had to unload the bus ourselves and the luggage handlers turned us away. Said they were done for the day. This was around 3pm. Our family could handle this but I saw families with small children and multiple bags and elderly and disabled struggling with luggage. NCL staff would not even look you in the eye. After all us helping where we could get bags lifted to go through security (keep in mind this is not small bags) we made it upstairs for check-in. The only passengers in the room were the people of our bus and the bus in front of us. Maybe a hundred passengers at most. I don't really understand why they were having so many issues with check-in. When I got to the front the NCL staff member directed me to a certain check=in desk. The girl at the desk looked at me and said "I can't help you...I'm done for the day" I was so shocked I just turned around and went back to the line. Of course that irritated the lady at the line-up. I overheard one of the staff say "Why are they all dragging all their luggage with them...Don't they know to check the large stuff." That's when another guest literally lost it and shouted "The luggage crew said they were done for day and would not help us." One of the guys in charge was clearly irritated, told everyone they could leave their luggage to the side and he would take care of it for us. Needless to say we took him up on it. Finally checked in..no boarding picture..and all food was shutting down for life-boat drill. By this time we were functioning on 3 hours of sleep, a breakfast bar, and inches away from starring in our own "Snickers" commercial. My DH made a mad dash for the food and brought plates back so at least we all got a small snack before the drill. With time change we were operating on a 16 hour day on a breakfast bar. Airlines make even the worst cruise seem like a huge bargain. Early dinner at Savor (which I honestly will not review because I probably would not be fair) early show then BED! The ship is beautiful. I would not like it for warm climates though because limited outdoor space is available. The observation lounge was beautiful but always packed and loud. Not for me. Hated the buffet. We often eat buffet for meals instead of dining room but not this trip. Set up is awful, food was NOT good, and never anywhere to sit. We resorted to the Local. Everything I got there was good but the area is chaos too. Set up around atrium so always crowded and loud but at least the food was good. We ate at Cagney's (a disappointment) Le Bistro (excellent) Q (excellent) and Teppanyaki (excellent) and two nights at Savor and Manhatten (Just OK but better than buffet). Biggest disappointment was lack of crablegs or decent salmon the entire cruise and we were in Alaska!!! The night of the seafood buffet we went but after looking around and the overcooked, mash up of not good food we went to the Manhatten. We did "Wine Lovers, the Musical" and loved it. They served the best meal we had the entire week and even our non=wine drinkers enjoyed to lunch and play. Well worth the charge for this. The entertainment was excellent. We saw Footloose two nights, Elements, Comedy, Beatles Band, and comedians. NCL does the best with entertainment! We looked at the Go-Karts and determined this to be a waste. They go VERY slow and kids who could not drive would run into the wall and everyone would have to stop while they dislodged the Kart. This happened continuously so we decided to not waste our $$$ on this. Same with games and laser tag. My young adult children (20 & 23) would have done the activities if they had appeared worth the $$$. We were fortunate to only have one day of bad weather but it fell on Juneau so all our tours were canceled and the ship had to turn around before reaching glacier so we missed that too. Ketchikan we just walked around on our own. Junea...unable to do our helicopter ride to glacier and dogsledding so very disappointed, Icy Strait we did a private whale watch tour and saw many whales but the rest of the day just a waste. Nothing to do in Icy Strait. Skagway is a much better destination. Victoria was pretty and we easily walked to the downtown area, chinatown, and fisherman's wharf. Bottom line, Alaska is beautiful and worth a visit. The cruise did NOT give adequate time in ports of Ketchikan and Juneau and too much time in Icy Strait and Victoria. I will probably NOT go back on the Joy. I won't be going back to Alaska and this ship would not work well in the caribbean market. Will I cruise NCL again...yes for entertainment alone. For the most part, the food was excellent too. Not much to do on the ship unless you want to gamble or like game shows so the two days at sea were not that great because too cold to be outside. Of all the cruises we have taken it was the most expensive and had the most problems. But we had a great time visiting as a family and had no major missteps so all in all I would say this was a successful vacation. I hope Joy can work out the kinks because she is a beautiful ship and deserves better from NCL! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I am the basic economy cruiser. When I cruise solo, I choose Norwegian for a number of reasons. First, they have an excellent solo program, with an assigned solo cruise director. Second, their single supplement is generally less than 100%, ... Read More
I am the basic economy cruiser. When I cruise solo, I choose Norwegian for a number of reasons. First, they have an excellent solo program, with an assigned solo cruise director. Second, their single supplement is generally less than 100%, especially if you are able to book at the last minute. Third, they let me take a bicycle on board, keep it in my room, and use it in every port if I wish. For this cruise, I flew economy with a carry-on and a backpack. From the Seattle airport, I took the light rail ($1.00 for seniors) to downtown and walked to Port 66, about 30 minutes. I arrived at the port at my scheduled arrival time and experienced no difficulty in embarkation. My room was almost ready, I dropped off backpack, and set off to explore Seattle. I seemed to be going in the wrong direction in leaving the ship, but there was no problem. Pike Market was really crowded (it was Saturday), but I found a wine shop there and was able to sample a flight of Washington wines. I found the production quality of the two main shows, Footloose and Elements, to be excellent and enjoyed both of them. I took most of my meals at Taste and Savour, because I enjoy being waited on and sitting at a table with a tablecloth and I eat less when ordering from a menu. When my dining partners had a scheduled excursion, the breakfast staff was accommodating and they made it to their point of departure on time. The food was good, pretty much as expected from previous cruises, and the deserts were generally exceptional. I avoided the Café as much as possible, finding it difficult to find a seat and with people everywhere. However, the crepes and ice cream at the Café were a major draw after the shows. Being an economy cruiser, I didn’t have any additional expenses on board except for the bundled laundry service and tips. I don’t gamble (the expected value is less than zero), drink alcohol on board, take ship excursions, or partake of any other add-ons. I find the value of Norwegian cruises to be exceptional. The work-out facilities on Norwegian ships are fairly small and tucked away in an upper corner of the ship. When I wanted, I was able to find machines and space for a work-out, however. I must admit that I greatly enjoyed the ropes course on the Breakaway and wished it had been duplicated on the Joy. Disembarkation wasn’t a problem. Customs just waved me through. I rented a bicycle from a shop in Seattle rather than using one of the many sitting around. I was able to store my suitcase for a couple of hours and got good advice on where to bike in the two hours I had available before I had to catch my flight back. Personally, I find the bike trails and weather in Denver to be preferable to those in Seattle, but the rental agency assured me that if I had more time, they could direct me to a better path. I took the light rail from downtown back to the Seattle airport with no problem. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Joy. The ship was recently refurbished so everything was basically brand new. We had a balcony cabin and really enjoyed it. We were able to watch whales as we sailed north ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Joy. The ship was recently refurbished so everything was basically brand new. We had a balcony cabin and really enjoyed it. We were able to watch whales as we sailed north and south. Storage was a little tight for 2 adults & 2 children, it we managed. The bathroom actually had more storage than most ships with numerous shelves & under sink cabinet. We ate at all 3 of the main dining rooms as well as buffet & were pleased with all of them. The food was good & staff very friendly & efficient. We saw no reason to eat in any of the specialty restaurants because the food in the complimentary areas was so good. Our 9 year old granddaughters loved Splash Academy. They went there almost everyday. They provided interesting activities for their age. We felt this was a very secure area because they were very strict about using a code proper ID to sign them in & out. We attended 2 shows offered in the ship. Foot Loose & Elements. Both were very entertaining, especially Elements. I liked the fact that you could reserve tickets online. I booked one excursion through the ship, Panning for Gold in Juneau. This was very enjoyable for the granddaughters and everyone is assured to find a few flakes of gold. I recommend seeing “The Great American Lumberjack Show” in Ketchikan. It’s a short walk down the street and very entertaining. We booked a private whale watching tour in Hoonah and it was fantastic. We saw many whales,otters, sea lions and eagles. I highly recommend the Joy. All of the crew was very friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because it was a new and large ship. The ship was very nice but that was all I can say positive about this cruise. The food at Savor, Taste, Manhatten and Buffet was awful! The menu at the three main dining rooms was ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a new and large ship. The ship was very nice but that was all I can say positive about this cruise. The food at Savor, Taste, Manhatten and Buffet was awful! The menu at the three main dining rooms was the same every night except for their specials. The food was like cafeteria food, cold,tasteless and very little variety. No steak night. No lobster night. Very disappointed in the food because I had heard they were supposed to be one of the best. Not true! The entertainment was very limited. Nothing going on in the day time. Very poor demonstrations and game shows, very boring! The Jersey Boys was the highlight of the cruise but that was only one night. Theater should have had something going on both day and night every day. Sick of high priced push of jewelry and art. The excursions were not planned well at all. We arrived at Buchart Gardens at 9:40 at night for one hour. You couldn't see anything, too dark. Pathways not lit, too dark to read map, pictures did not turn out well at all, no time to visit all areas or gift shops. Big disappointment! Many went to guest services afterward for refunds. In visiting with other guests while aboard, we heard the same complaints that we were experiencing. Makes me want to never cruise again. Glad this was not my first, I know there are better choices available. Never again Norwegian! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I planned an Alaskan Cruise for a year before my husbands birthday, I chose the Bliss because it was said to be an awesome ship. While the ship was very nice, we were really disappointed with the food quality. The dining rooms had ... Read More
I planned an Alaskan Cruise for a year before my husbands birthday, I chose the Bliss because it was said to be an awesome ship. While the ship was very nice, we were really disappointed with the food quality. The dining rooms had limited selections and the quality of the food was poor. I've had better food in a cafeteria. Normally food on cruises we've been on was great. We couldn't even eat any of the desserts the entire week, they were dry and awful. The other issue was how many people were on the ship, the elevators were a nightmare and everyone felt packed in everywhere we went. Way too many people. I wish we had gone on a smaller ship with better food! We stayed in a mini suite, which was very nice, the bathroom shower was great. The bed was like a board though, we were happy to get off the ship and sleep in a normal bed again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The ship was beautiful, new & the service was good. My first time on NCL previously cruised on Carnival(would never sail again) and Princess(was excellent). Heard so much about Alaska unfortunately it was such a letdown. The ports ... Read More
The ship was beautiful, new & the service was good. My first time on NCL previously cruised on Carnival(would never sail again) and Princess(was excellent). Heard so much about Alaska unfortunately it was such a letdown. The ports were terrible Juno, Skagway and Ketchikan are tiny, depressed/little towns with a few blocks and the same shops that are probably owned by the cruise companies themselves, Diamond international, Tanzanite international etc. Here you could be at each from 8-11 hours at these ports. Trust me you could walk around each of these towns and be back on the ship within an hour. Glacier Bay was OK sad to see how global warming has really had an effect on glaciers there really isn’t much to see. The nicest port was Victoria British Columbia. Where we had only 3 hours, you arrive at 8:30 pm-11:30 pm! Ridiculous The nicest town & we arrive at Night!! At night most of the shops and restaurants are closed. Disappointing how this was done logistically. At Victoria BC make note it takes 25min to get to town by shuttle bus(long wait line) majority of shops/restaurants are closed. When onshore at all ports expect to pay $74.99 for 1 Alaskan King crab LEG!! The food on the Bliss was awful I give it a 4. Breakfast was good, desserts were ok (6) but lunch and dinner was just awful (2). Majority of all options were very ethnic and spicy if that’s your preference. For a cruise to Alaska I would expect to have an abundant option of seafood dishes. The Seafood dishes were awful very hard to get a simple fish dish that wasn’t spicy, over cooked or full of sauce! The complementary restaurants are basically Buffet but being served by a waiter. You could only substitute sides but you can’t ask for a dish like the Thai spiced Tilapia dinner cooked plain...very disappointing not many different options each nite! I was told I’d have to go to the alternate restaurants and pay especially for any Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise due to the Free at Sea perks, which included the free drink package, 3 free specialty dining restaurants and some free Internet minutes. The Garden Cafe was extremely crowded most days to the point it was difficult ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the Free at Sea perks, which included the free drink package, 3 free specialty dining restaurants and some free Internet minutes. The Garden Cafe was extremely crowded most days to the point it was difficult to find a place to sit without circling a few times. The breakfast and lunch selections were the same every day, but the dinner menu changed daily, although we didn’t eat at the buffet for dinner. It was too hectic to be enjoyable and we had some specialty dining options with the free perks. We ate at Teppanyaki, which was the hibachi grill. The food was good and the chefs were definitely entertaining. We also ate at Los Lobos. This was Mexican cuisine and was also very good. A couple of the highlights were the guacamole prepared table side and the queso. The last specialty restaurant we dined at was the Ocean Blue. I think this was a little disappointing due to all the upcharges. There was an additional fee to eat at the restaurant as well as an additional charge for some of the menu options such as the lobster tail. The food was good, but not exceptional. The remaining dinners were either in the Taste or Savor main dining rooms or at The Local. These options were good. The Local had the best raspberry cheesecake! The burgers were also delicious! I did feel a shortchanged at the Victoria, BC port of call. The highlight of this stop was most definitely the Buchart gardens. However, since the ship came into port so late by the time we made it to the gardens it was dark. This was one of the most amazing gardens I’ve ever seen and it was disappointing we could only see a small portion of the gardens in the dark. It would be well worth it to find an itinerary that arrives earlier to this port. The balcony room was well worth the money. The scenery was so amazing and being able to enjoy it from your private balcony was so nice. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I are from Seattle and we took this trip as a belated honeymoon. Our overall experience was very good. However, as Haven guests, I'm aware that we had benefits (like priority embarkation) that not everyone had. So this ... Read More
My wife and I are from Seattle and we took this trip as a belated honeymoon. Our overall experience was very good. However, as Haven guests, I'm aware that we had benefits (like priority embarkation) that not everyone had. So this review is targeted to folks that will be sailing as Haven guests to align expectations. EMBARKATION: Once we arrived to the terminal, we dropped our bags and headed to security. There is a line for Haven guests, however, the lady directing passengers through security didn't know what the Haven was and tried to send us through the general line. We went to the Haven check in and were promptly checked in. One minor (but annoying) thing was, our cabin information was printed incorrectly on the checklist being used by the agents. All week long we got letters, notes, etc., with the wrong info on it. Our room keys worked and we got the cabin we booked but details matter and this seemed like a dumb thing to screw up. Priority embarkation was awesome. We were quickly escorted to the Haven Lounge where we got a brief overview and then went to lunch at Margaritaville. (It was OK.) THE SHIP: ....is beautiful. It is clean, but there are a lot of people on board. We accidentally stumbled into the buffet area while exploring the ship and holy cow, it was a madhouse! As expected, the elevators are a nightmare, especially after a show, muster drill, etc. We found it was easier to go in the opposite direction as everyone else just so we could get on an elevator. DINING: We mostly utilized the Haven Restaurant but did venture out to Q, Los Lobos, and Tepenyaki. For MDR, we tried Manhattan Room and it was nice. The Haven Restaurant's menu doesn't change but we were able to try multiple entrees. During one lunch, I just wanted a plain grilled cheese sandwich and they were happy to accommodate. All of our speciality dining experiences were good. However, Tepenyaki is LOUD. We are bringing our moms on our next cruise and we have already decided that we'll have to skip that restaurant. Food is pretty good and they are entertaining but the constant banging got old pretty quickly. ENTERTAINMENT: Favorite show was Prohibition. Jersey Boys was pretty good. I would skip Havana in the future and the comedy show was awful. Live bands sounded pretty good as we walked by; we never sat through a whole set. The country band in Q was really good - we heard about 30 minutes of their acoustic set. SERVICE: Service was outstanding throughout the entire ship. Everyone was so kind and helpful and our room steward, Ven, was remarkable!! PORTS: We enjoyed all of our excursions; it was a bit depressing to see how cheap the same tours are when you step off the ship so we will likely book on our own next time. Would have loved more time in Ketchikan, it was our favorite port. We stayed on the ship in Victoria, not a ton to do between 8pm and midnight in a town where most of the shops close by 6pm. Instead, we made the most of our last night on the ship. Would I book NCL again? Probably. Being a Haven guest is pretty amazing so I'm not sure we'll sail anything else on NCL again. Alaska is amazing, I love that they brought on a park ranger during our day in Glacier Bay. Hearing from the experts really enriched the experience. It was the highlight of our trip!! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise