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65 Norwegian (NCL) USA Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we wanted to spend time with our children and their spouses. We all work very hard and live in the same city but thought it was time to spend liesure time together. This cruise was a terrible disappointment as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to spend time with our children and their spouses. We all work very hard and live in the same city but thought it was time to spend liesure time together. This cruise was a terrible disappointment as far as service and what we paid for. NCL never again! The entertainment was never available if you didnt "book a reservation " the first day. jThis was impossible to do . We didnt get to our cabin until after 6 pm. We were pretty well contained in the buffet dining area for the afternoon and then had no suitcases to freshen up before dinner. Even the freestyle dining was only attained by reservation! We had most of our meals buffet style because of this. On the last evenig of the cruise we were finally able to see a show the Burning the floor, .Hard to enjoy for the late hour, started at 9:30. We were a party of 10 adults and 2 young adult grandchildren and we were just glad to be able to get an elavator to debark in port. Like I said before never with NCL again!! I would certainly support a class action suit with any other passengers! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco on the NCL Sun We chose this cruise because it left and arrived at 2 cities of which we are very fond. We had planned a day flight north over the Andes but it was the wrong time of the year, dry ... Read More
Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco on the NCL Sun We chose this cruise because it left and arrived at 2 cities of which we are very fond. We had planned a day flight north over the Andes but it was the wrong time of the year, dry and dusty pollution covering the gorgeous mountains. A small disappointment, nothing can spoil your time in this city when you can eat beef of that quality and cooked with such skill. A note re the trip to Valparaiso – for the 1st time we took the bus – we had been warned by the locals on previous visits that the bus station is too dangerous. We found this to be incorrect, we paid a pittance, the locals helped us to be at the correct counter, the passengers kept their eyes on us, in fact the bus driver even dropped us off right at the port. It was a great trip – don’t be afraid, just do it. We sailed with NCL for the 1st time in August 2015, aboard Jade and really enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of Free Cruising. We are retired, but we both worked pressure jobs, and now we are just not interested in schedules, so the freedom was a blessing. This cruise on the Sun was a shocker in many ways – for that reason I have analysed 14 reviews including those that embarked in Buenos Aires. Seems they had a great sail up to Santiago, experiencing the wild weather and high seas round The Horn, just like sailors of yore. Of the 14 reviews, 1 rated 1, 4 rated 2, 5 rated 3 and 5 rated 4. The contractors and sewerage smell were criticised by 6 and 6 said NOT AGAIN. Pros: - our suite in the bow was really lovely – plenty of room, the bathroom in 8202 was huge and very lux, comfy sofa, large balcony with table and chairs plus 2 x lounges and a coffee table. We moon baked out there, we are living in the Northern Hemisphere (Aussies) and we so miss the Big Dipper, The Southern Cross and all the beautiful stars we have down under. - Great value for money if you disregard the Cons - The hotel staff are wonderful – cheerful, helpful, caring and efficient - Our Concierge and cabin steward were very dedicated - We were treated to an Indian Buffet lunch and the flavours were very original and lovely. - The deep pool is fabulous – when the shallower one is flopping water all over, the water in the deeper pool is still so you can still do your laps Cons: I will begin with a qualification – the line gave us a $400 compensatory payment for the experience we had. On embarkation, when I walked through the aft door of the buffet café there was a strong and odd smell – 2 x days later, as this turned into a stench, my bronchials swelled, I developed a hacking cough and spent several days in bed. An allergic reaction from that smell I believe. - the smell developed on a daily basis, originally only aft on 11, then all the way down to 8 (our f’wrd cabin was a blessing) - all the hotel staff pretended they couldn’t smell it, poor loves - the Hotel Manager was polite but useless, completely under the Captain’s thumb - the Captain, at a meeting called for the purpose, was very irresponsible and disrespectful to a lady who had this smell in her cabin for days – I believe one of the reviews was hers - and his comment was “I thought this was going to be a carefree meeting” – laughing uproariously! - Very few at that meeting felt satisfied or believed the explanations. I will say no more – it has been covered in other reviews. - Then the contractors embarked – they actually began the dry dock work for the last week of the cruise. I had already lost ½ the days due to my reaction to the smell, and now we have a floating construction site. WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA WAS THAT? What total disdain for the paying passengers! Again, other reviews have covered the detail. - The NCL website states “Main dining room menu changes every day” – FALSE. The food standard was abysmal, almost everywhere. Cold food, poorly prepared, boring breakfasts the exact same every day, a chilli con carne dish that was frothing in the bain marie, a sure sign of trouble. I hope no-one ate it - The exception was La Cucina and Le Bistro, in particular the former. Tough flavourless old steak and dry overcooked lobster tail in Cagneys, what a disappointment. - A champagne bar that does not sell by the glass! What’s the point of that? Jade sells by the glass. - Art auction announcements very loud, exuberant and very annoying We rarely go to shows or take company shore excursions but this time we did, in Costa Rica and Guatemala and enjoyed both. My last comment – we are still waiting for the refund of our “discretionary” service charge. The application was submitted 29th April at guest relations on board, and I am in contact with the line after receiving 2 x advices that the refund will be processed in 15 business days – 6 weeks later. Some reviews state that this charge is compulsory – our cruise contract states “discretionary” so ensure that you read your contract. That’s it for me – will we sale with NCL again? Maybe, but not the Sun and not soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Be aware, what NCL advertises is not what you get on your cruise with the Pearl. Some rather surprising mess-ups included: 1. Tendering back to the ship in Astoria was a 2 hour wait, as only 4 boats were in service to transport the ~2,000 ... Read More
Be aware, what NCL advertises is not what you get on your cruise with the Pearl. Some rather surprising mess-ups included: 1. Tendering back to the ship in Astoria was a 2 hour wait, as only 4 boats were in service to transport the ~2,000 passengers waiting in line to return to the vessel. Later the captain would announce the "distance" from the ship to the shore was "out of their control", but the number of boats they opted to deploy for tendering certainly was a decision they failed to make correctly. 2. A 5:15am ship-wide (i.e. direct-to-cabin) announcement of "code bravo", repeated three times, which we later learnt was code for fire (albeit a small one quickly put out). Again the captain deflected fault (time time to an over-eager crew member), but it was the captain who announced this un-welcomed wake-up call. 3. Specialty dining in the Bistro restaurant, at a $20 per person charge, was an absolute disaster. We watched at least three other tables receive a starter "compliments of the chef" that never arrived at our table. While in the middle of taking our order, another waiter came up to our table and began a conversation with our waiter. The main course, the Fruits de Mer, contained exactly two small cubes of lobster (for which they charged an additional $10), and not much else. Definitely not recommended. 4. All pictures and descriptions of the Pearl note the pool-side waterslide. There is no waterslide on this ship. 5. The daily activity guide referred to the buffet's hours of operation as open until midnight. The buffet closed at 10:00pm. While we certainly had no need to eat between 10:00pm and midnight, don't tell your guests something will be open if it is not. 6. On the first day you can sign up for a spa tour and enter to win a $500 gift certificate for spa services. Even if you don't win, they also give away a number of other $75 gift certificates. Don't be fooled - these certificates only apply to their "specialty" services - which are not defined anywhere. In order to use these certificates, you'll be required to sign-up for a $150+ treatment. If you want a $50 treatment? Too bad, can't use it. To add insult to injury, if your name is drawn for such a certificate they make you dance for it in front of a room full of fellow passengers. I'm not your monkey, NCL. 7. Hot food in the inclusive restaurant was twice served cold and had to be sent back. 8. Drink servers operate like vultures, constantly asking you if you want to order a drink. On one occasion drinks had been ordered from a server and between the time of ordering and the time the drinks arrived, *four other servers* had approached the table inquiring about bar service. Beyond the screw-up in item 1. and the disappointing experience of 3., all of the others were relatively minor and didn't detract from our overall cruising experience. On the whole, though, it does leave me wondering if NCL is the best choice for future cruises and we'd likely select a different cruise line as a result. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My husband and I took our first cruise in about 20 years on the Pacific Coastal Cruise, 9/ 20-25/2014). Since we were from the Los Angeles Area, and the cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, it was almost embarrassing at first to answer the ... Read More
My husband and I took our first cruise in about 20 years on the Pacific Coastal Cruise, 9/ 20-25/2014). Since we were from the Los Angeles Area, and the cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, it was almost embarrassing at first to answer the question "Where are you sailing to?" But we learned right away not to say Los Angeles, but that it was a Pacific Coastal Cruise. Embarkation was a breeze, in that our Vancouver City Tour shuttle delivered our luggage directly to the cruise line and it was waiting for us just outside the cabin. The food was marvelous, especially in the specialty restaurants. The buffet was good, but not great. Teppanyaki was a marvelous restaurant, even though it cost a little more, because the food was delicious, plentiful and the chef put on a great show. Cagney's, was good, the steak humungous, we couldn't finish. The star restaurant of the ship was Tzar's Palace. Situated on the stern, if you can get a seat by the windows you get a great view. We ate there as we departed San Francisco, and got great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge. It was exciting to see the Golden Gate bridge come into our view over our heads, I have always wanted to sail under it. The entertainment was good. Especially the first and second nights. The comedian, Russ Rivas was a stitch, and his "naughty" show late night was also hysterical (with no four-letter words, thank you very much!). Fabio Dini was great as well, although I was not too keen on the 70's shows, I guess I'm too old for that! The tour from Astoria, Oregon entitled Ultimate Oregon Coast was great as well, although there weren't too many airplanes in the Air Museum any more. The service was remarkable, the crew very congenial. The cute young man at the Java Café asked me every day about the name of the color of my outfit each day, and said he was tickled to be learning about new colors. (Boysenberry, Turquoise, etc.) What a great memory this will be. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
The cruise was a blast! I've never gone on a cruise before, so I figured this was a great way to get my feet wet. The Norwegian Jewel had just been renovated earlier this year, and I was looking forward to the cruise. The cruise was ... Read More
The cruise was a blast! I've never gone on a cruise before, so I figured this was a great way to get my feet wet. The Norwegian Jewel had just been renovated earlier this year, and I was looking forward to the cruise. The cruise was from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, CA with stops in Astoria, OR and San Francisco, CA. The entire cruise was marked with excellent weather. I traveled to Vancouver the day before and got a small hotel room within walking distance of the ship at Ballantyne Pier. The hotel was an older one in a part of Vancouver where you did not want to be out at night, but it was okay as a transit room. The day of the cruise was uncommonly sunny for Vancouver, so I walked to the ship. My first view of the ship was incredible. I was one of the first people to queue up to check in at the pier and had to wait about a half an hour, but the check-in started right on schedule. Security wasn't as onerous as I was anticipating, so check-in went smoothly. The crew of the Jewel were still getting setup for embarkation, so there was not much going on. The Garden Buffet was open and I had some time to kill before my interior stateroom was ready so I went up to get some lunch. The amount of food was incredible, and it was good quality. The staff was attentive but went about their duties unless called for. I probably ate more than I had intended, but after walking about exploring the ship my stateroom was ready. The view of cruising under the Lionsgate Bridge leaving Vancouver was incredible. The next day, our luck with the weather held crossing the Columbia River Bar and the sea was calm. Astoria is an interesting port; I took the Historic Astoria and Fort Clatsop tour that went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum (a great stop if you're interested in history), the Astor Column (not for those afraid of heights) and Fort Clatsop (where the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered over in 1805-1806 until leaving that spring to return to Missouri). The departure from Astoria was just as calm. After Astoria was the first full day at sea. The first somewhat noticeable waves started today, but the Jewel easily kept steady. There was plenty to do, even if all you wanted to do was walk about the ship and see what was going on. The ship's schedule was provided to each cabin the previous evening, so it was easy to mark out what you wanted to do. I participated in the trivia challenges and attended a display of the cooks form the main premium restaurants. That evening was the Formal Evening for those who wanted to dress up. I did so and had an excellent roast beef dinner in the main dining room. We pulled in to San Francisco early in the morning, but there was no fog so the view of the Golden Gate Bridge still lit up at night was incredible, as was the San Francisco waterfront early in the morning. On our way in we passed the fishing vessels that provide the fresh seafood San Francisco is known for. I had spent more money than I had allowed for getting to Vancouver, so I spent the day on board ship. Even being in port there was still plenty to do. I had made a reservation for La Cucina, the Italian restaurant on board, and had the best Chicken Parmesan while the ship passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. A moment to remember, always. The fourth day was spent cruising off the coast of Southern California. I attended an art lecture given by the senior auctioneer who was the head of the art auction later that afternoon. I kept my hands in place and admired the art I liked. The auction house, Park West, gave free prints for attending the auction. The Jewel pulled into Los Angeles in the Port of San Pedro early the next morning. We woke up to find ourselves moored right behind the USS Iowa museum. Very cool. I would have toured the old battleship if I didn't have a reservation for the bus from the pier to LAX that morning. Disembarkation was simple; my bags were waiting for me on the pier, and clearing US Customs took only a few moments. I found my bus and was soon on my way home. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
The Pearl is a good sized ship with enough lounges and other seating areas in around that it never felt too crowded. We were really glad that we purchased the Thermal Spa package as they only sell 84 of them and we felt with the unlimited ... Read More
The Pearl is a good sized ship with enough lounges and other seating areas in around that it never felt too crowded. We were really glad that we purchased the Thermal Spa package as they only sell 84 of them and we felt with the unlimited times you could go, it was well worth the $119 for the five days. There never were more than 6 other people there anytime we went. With the variety of the heated beds, spa pools, sauna & steam room, it was much better bang for our buck than a couple of massages would have been. Overall, the food was decent but not great. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants, La Cuchina, Le Bistro & Teppinyaki. We enjoyed the French & Japanese, but thought the Italian was just horrible. The pork scallopini marsela was worse than a frozen microwave dinner with a little dry piece of pork covered in salt, which explained why it was always empty. We really enjoyed the curries on the lunch buffet in the Garden Cafe, mild and very tasty. We found the great outdoors or the tables by the pool much quieter than eating right in the always busy Garden Cafe. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 9 and the very last one on the starboard side. We found it to be very quiet and though a bit of a hike to get to the front of the ship, it was a good deck for taking the stairs up to 12 or down to 7 which were the main two decks where everything was located. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First off, I have to mention how disappointed we were when NCL cancelled the advertised port city of San Francisco shortly after we made our final payment and could no longer cancel. That port was the whole reason we chose this cruise. ... Read More
First off, I have to mention how disappointed we were when NCL cancelled the advertised port city of San Francisco shortly after we made our final payment and could no longer cancel. That port was the whole reason we chose this cruise. They substituted Seattle instead, which meant that we ended up in Seattle twice within a couple of days, since we also flew into Seattle. This was a really big deal to us, very upsetting, and we still believe it was handled poorly. However, because of this change, the prices dropped a lot, and we were able to upgrade to a balcony cabin for what we originally paid for an inside. So that helped a little. With that said, we did enjoy the cruise. Our cabin and cabin steward were nice. The bed was very comfortable. We loved having a balcony. We were able to watch the ship being docked early in the mornings from our balcony, and that was interesting to see. We were able to go on a bridge tour with our Cruise Critic roll-call group, and found that extremely informative. The officer giving us the tour was really great and didn't seem to mind the intrusion. We ate only in the buffet and the MDR's; we did not feel the need to try any of the premium restaurants. We thought the food was good. I think the food is a little better on Holland America line than NCL, but we still found plenty of things to enjoy on the Pearl. I had heard horror stories about terrible service and/or food in the MDR, but that was not our experience. Most of our meals were timely and we thought the service was fine. The only meal that took 2 hours was the time we were seated with some friends as a party of six in Indigo, and we understand that it takes longer for a larger group. Service was faster in the Summer Palace than in Indigo overall. We ate breakfasts in the Garden Cafe buffet and in the MDR's for lunch and dinner. The buffet was great for breakfast. There was always plenty of bacon. :-) I most enjoyed the French toast that I paired with the yummy banana compote. As far as ice cream, the soft serve was not good at all, but the hand-dipped ice cream was good and there seemed to always be someone there available to serve it. Seating was a challenge in the buffet, but there was always room outside in the Great Outdoors. This cruise ended in Los Angeles, and we took an NCL excursion that included an overview of the city, ending at the airport. It was a good idea, but the tour guide was terrible. I guess that's a hit-or-miss kind of thing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My very first cruise was a 5 day repositioning from Vancouver to Los Angeles, with my sister who has been on several cruises. My impressions of the Norwegian Pearl: It was bright and airy. Our room (with a balcony) was bright, and clean. ... Read More
My very first cruise was a 5 day repositioning from Vancouver to Los Angeles, with my sister who has been on several cruises. My impressions of the Norwegian Pearl: It was bright and airy. Our room (with a balcony) was bright, and clean. I found it very comfortable; there was enough room to relax and the balcony was a real plus. The food was pretty decent with only one exception: La Cucina, the specialty Italian restaurant. I had ordered a pork loin and it was a salty, tough piece of shoe leather. The accompanying gnocchi was pretty chewy too, and not in a good way. However, I felt I ate very well at the buffet and in the Indigo, Teppanyaki and the russian-themed restaurant. I realized I had to pick and choose; for example, the scrambled eggs were obviously reconstituted dried eggs (yech) BUT the omelettes were freshly made and very good. I really enjoyed the Indian dishes served each day in the buffet; they were very tasty. My sister and I bought the thermo spa package for 119.00 USD which gave us unlimited access to the thermo spa (hot tups, sauna, steam room, heated tile beds) but no massages or treatments. I'm glad we did - it was the most relaxing part of the cruise and well worth the fee. The people looking after rooms, restaurants, bars and the rest of the ship were generally polite, pleasant and helpful. Almost too helpful sometimes - you can't sit still without being asked if you'd like to order a drink. Courtesy of Cruise Critic, we got a tour of the bridge - it was fascinating and one of the highlights of the cruise for me. I was also impressed with how easily we embarked on Sunday, and disembarked in Los Angeles. That process was very well managed. I did disembark in Astoria, but returned to the ship after a couple of hours, a quick wait for a tender and a 30 minute ride to the ship. Lucky timing, as I missed the long waits that occurred a couple of hours later. Low points? Not many. The carpet in our room should probably be replaced. That's about it. The cruise itself was nice - relaxing and problem free. I had a good time - it was a good introduction to cruising for this "cruise virgin". Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We cruised on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Los Angeles with stops in Astoria, Oregon and San Francisco and it was a TERRIFIC experience from beginning to end! We chose NCL because we had sailed with them before and because of the ... Read More
We cruised on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Los Angeles with stops in Astoria, Oregon and San Francisco and it was a TERRIFIC experience from beginning to end! We chose NCL because we had sailed with them before and because of the itinerary. Our cabin was just as expected- we had a mini-suite and really enjoyed the private balcony. Our Cabin Steward, Barrington was excellent! He anticipated our needs and our room was always serviced timely in our absence. Our experience with the dining options was excellent as well! We dined in each of the complimentary venues and were very pleased with the food and the service. The Garden Café buffet was massive and offered something for everyone. I'd like to note that NCL has really gotten a handle on the norovirus issue and provided hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship so that passengers can be more hygiene conscious. I took along a purse pack of hand wipes to use after each visit to the buffet bar. We also ate in La Cucina, the Italian venue as well as Cagney's steakhouse. There I had the best steak I have ever had in my life! Truly exceptional and well worth the additional cover charge. Some mornings we had breakfast at O'Sheehans because it is just a smaller and quieter area. One of the great things about this itinerary is that we were able to do some sightseeing at each port of call and then the next day we were at sea and had the opportunity to just relax and enjoy some down time. We did not take advantage of any of the shore excursions but booked our own, usually a Hop-on/Hop-off tour bus, just because we prefer to do our own thing rather than being part of a group. We did not see any of the shipboard entertainment either, so I can't comment on the quality of those performances. Again, we can only rave about our experience but there were a couple of glitches: * The boarding process in Vancouver was brutal! This was not the fault of NCL, but rather the US Customs service. They were so painfully slow and the staging area was not at all pleasant or comfortable. That process really made us feel like cattle. * There were a couple of instances of misinformation. At check-in, we opted to establish a CASH onboard account. They would not accept cash payment from us and we were told, "No problem, we will set you up with a $500 account". The next day when we presented our card at the bar, we were told that our account was closed. THEN we had to go to the Service Desk to give them cash. The last day of the cruise, the newsletter stated that if you had a balance due on your onboard account, a check would be mailed to you. Not True! We went to the Service Desk and were given a Cash refund on the spot... more misinformation. * Mid-cruise, the newsletter noted that "taxis in Long Beach are limited. If you need a taxi from the port, you can make a reservation at the Service Desk". Wrong! We went to the desk and the representative we spoke with knew nothing about it. All in all, NCL is a great line with great service. All the staff were exceeding friendly and courteous. We would highly recommend the cruise line, the ship as well as the Pacific coast itinerary   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My husband and I needed a break so decided to fly to Vancouver and cruise back down the coast on the Norwegian Sun. This was out 5th cruise with Norwegian. The embarkation process was efficient with no problems. The ship is well laid-out ... Read More
My husband and I needed a break so decided to fly to Vancouver and cruise back down the coast on the Norwegian Sun. This was out 5th cruise with Norwegian. The embarkation process was efficient with no problems. The ship is well laid-out but it showing signs of wear. It was spotlessly clean for which I was grateful. Having said that, the continuing problem was the smell of "sewage" in public areas and sometimes emitting from our bathroom drain. It really was disgusting and no one could explain it. However, having cruised as many times as we have, we knew exactly what it was: their sewage treatment wasn't quite doing its job. Our stateroom, 10046, was a balcony and had plenty of room for storage and spreading out. Our room steward, Lorenzo, was terrific and very attentive to our needs (although, we are not demanding travelers but he was there if we needed him). The bathroom is small but adequate. It had plenty of "cubby" space but no drawers or cabinets which I would have preferred for my bathroom toiletries. One word of caution: while a soap dispenser is provided for the sink, and same type of dispensers with shampoo and body wash in the shower, they are not the best products and were very drying to my skin and hair. No conditioner or body lotion is provided. Be sure to bring your own. The bedding was terrific . . smooth and comfy. The beds are quite hard so be sure to ask for a foam topper, which they gladly provided. The food in the Four Seasons dining room was good . . .portions just right for us although, they would be happy to bring you more of anything you want. The service there was good: especially Caeser King (yes, that's really his name). The food and service in the Seven Seas dining room was not acceptable to us. The buffet had many choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But, all in all, the roast beef, steaks, and other beef dishes were substandard. Although I am not a beef-eater, my husband is and ordered the ribeye steak, the roast beef and the New York steak and they were all tough. Perhaps you could get a better steak at their "for fee" steak house, Cagney's. We just didn't think it was necessary. The entertainment was quite good, from the Broadway-type of musical variety show to "El Gaucho", a musician, comedian. There always was plenty to do, like games including "Name that Tune" which my husband and our traveling companions won, to the "Beatles Name that Tune". All-in-all, the staff were all very accommodating and cordial. There was a bit of a glitch: the reservation agent at NCL told us we would have 2 certificates for "fine dining" awaiting us on check-in as an added "bonus". NOT. So, we went to Guest Services to inquire. We were advised that we would have to "take it up with the agent" whom I phoned but, he was on vacation and out of the office that very week we were cruising. Good customer service should have prevailed and the Guest Services should have honored that promise. They didn't. We enjoyed the ports: Seattle and Astoria, OR. They were both lovely towns to walk around and enjoy the local sights, scents, and FOOD! Then, there were two relaxing days at sea and back home to Los Angeles. The disembarkation process was a bit problematic. As usual, we tagged our bags and set them out in the hallway the last night of the cruise. The departures were to have started about 8:00 a.m. Our tags were for 9:45 a.m. departure. However, by 10:00 a.m., they were still off-loading the luggage and there was a huge back-up of passengers trying to leave and make tours or plane connections. It didn't matter to us as we live in L.A. We had a great time for 2 reasons: we went with another couple AND, we got a much-needed rest. Remember, though, this is NOT Celebrity quality or pampering but is adequate for a nice get-away and good value for the money.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
In the last 24 months we have cruised on the Sun, Star and Pearl. In my opinion, the Pearl is the best, closely followed by the Sun and the Star is last. Embarkation: I arrived at the dock too early! People were still disembarking so the ... Read More
In the last 24 months we have cruised on the Sun, Star and Pearl. In my opinion, the Pearl is the best, closely followed by the Sun and the Star is last. Embarkation: I arrived at the dock too early! People were still disembarking so the embarkation process was not open. At 11 AM the embarkation process began and we were on the Pearl by 11:15. Cabin: We chose 9008, an enclosed balcony, as our cabin. The room was exactly as represented on the NCL web pages. Our suitcases easily stored under the bed. We never heard any noises during the night. The a/c worked perfectly, even during some very hot days. Dining: We ate every breakfast in the Summer Palace, lunches were split between Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon and evening meals were Summer Palace, Indigo, Cagney's, Bistro, Moderno or the Lotus Garden. All of the food was very good and all the service was excellent. We found that if the Summer Palace had a line we could just go to Indigo and get right in. We did eat more meals at speciality restaurants on this cruise than usual. In hindsight, I think the difference in food was not really worth paying extra. Entertainment: There was less variety of entertainment on this cruise than I have experienced on previous cruises. The entertainment on this cruise was heavily focused on comedy. I would , personally, prefer more variety but all the acts were of a good quality. Tendering: Pretty much a disaster! For some reason, the Pearl failed to deploy enough tenders to do the job in an efficiet manner. A 2 hour wait in Astoria to get a tender back to the ship is not satisfactory. Service: I'm always amazed at the excellent service on cruise ships. All service was rendered to us in an excellent manner. I love "freestyle!". Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I am a relatively seasoned cruiser who has never been on a NCL trip before. I have been on the more luxiourous Princess and the family friendly Carnival and Disney. What an absolutely wonderful trip. We went without kids on the Norwegian ... Read More
I am a relatively seasoned cruiser who has never been on a NCL trip before. I have been on the more luxiourous Princess and the family friendly Carnival and Disney. What an absolutely wonderful trip. We went without kids on the Norwegian Breakaway to nowhere. The boarding process was chaos and the only real negative. There was a delay in getting aboard and clearly they port staff didn't know how to accomodate the flow. Once we got on board it was amazing. We stayed in an ocean view 9th floor forward room which was large, clean and spacious. The food was plentiful and good. The service at all the bars was excellent. The ship was HUGE!! Hot tubs were open for swimming, 15 degrees outside and the water slides were open...The best and most surprising thing for our group were the shows. TOP quality even to compare to the Disney. ESP shocked at how much we loved the Circus Jungle, dinner included as $39 per person, which was a cirque du soleil/lion king mix. The costumes breathtaking and the contourshonist left us squealing with amazement. I also do recommend the ice bar, a $20 surcharge but it included two drinks so was not overpriced. We had dinner at the Churasscaria $20 additional per person. WOW. Our waiter doted on us, elegant, classy, food was divine. Yes service was slow a 2hour plus dinner but we were not rushing and wanted to go slow. Disappointment was the comedy show The Second City. Don't bother. The Casino, while a lot of fun, was a big focus of the boat and if you are a nonsmokers like us, after walking through it several times to get to and from our activities, the unpleasant cigarette smoke smell lingered even back to our cabins hours later. Our group has reserved it again for next year and I would HIGHLY recommend it to any cruiser!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Pre-cruise hotel was the Pan Pacific Concierge Floor Harborside Room - everything was excellent - especially that the bell service took our bags from the hotel and the next time we saw them was in our stateroom. Highlights of the NCL ... Read More
Pre-cruise hotel was the Pan Pacific Concierge Floor Harborside Room - everything was excellent - especially that the bell service took our bags from the hotel and the next time we saw them was in our stateroom. Highlights of the NCL Cruise: 1. Cabin 4249: NCL relocated our room to the aft as requested so we had easy access to aft outdoor deck and Seven Seas dining. Even though it was small (cozy) it had room for our belongings, had a big port hole window, was quiet, and very convenient. Max the attendant was really excellent. 2. Itinerary: A highlight of the cruise was that Captain Goran took the ship on a special tour of nearby islands in the Straits of Georgia - it was like a mini-cruise of the inside passage. Absolutely wonderful. The NCL Sun is particularly well-suited to viewing the scenery with huge windows on the 11th floor - terrific views on both sides as well as the glorious outdoor deck up there. Another highlight was docking right in front of the America's cup race course - what a wonderful location! 3. Food: We used the Seven Seas dining room for most meals. The first night was surf N turf and each meal after that was just as excellent. The fresh baked breads were a treat. The chicken dishes were cooked perfectly. We had the Brazilian specialty restaurant as the full moon rose over the Oregon Coast. Superb. 4. Restful and quiet - the NCL Sun was quiet because NCL limits overhead announcements throughout the day. Thank you, NCL! 5. Tours - Astoria was really fun with their trolley along the waterfront and their excellent Maritime Museum. In Los Angeles we took the "Beaches" tour bus instead of sitting for 8 hours at LAX. It was very informative and the last stop for lunch at Santa Monica was sunny and beautiful. We highly recommend the "beaches" tour. Virgin America non-stop to Seattle for $74 one way was a bargain and an enjoyable flight. 6. Casino - just an observation - I never saw new decks of cards being publicly counted and then added to the automatic shufflers as required by the Nevada Gaming Commission. But of course we were not in Nevada. 7. Overview - NCL delivered the vacation we wanted. We love that "have it your way" really works well.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Just completed the repositioning cruise from Vancouver to L.A. with my Wife and Daughter (age 20). We have been on three previous cruises, all with Carnival, but liked the itinerary and thought we should give Norwegian a try. Not because ... Read More
Just completed the repositioning cruise from Vancouver to L.A. with my Wife and Daughter (age 20). We have been on three previous cruises, all with Carnival, but liked the itinerary and thought we should give Norwegian a try. Not because we were disappointed with Carnival, on the contrary we were very pleased with those cruises, just though we should try another to have something to compare to. We really enjoyed to ports, but found NCL to disappoint us. I will tell you the good and bad about NCL, and then talk about our shore excursions. First, the items we liked about NCL: Embarkation went very smoothly. We were concerned that it might take longer because we were not using the normal port in Vancouver (Canada Place), we were instead leaving from Ballantyne. No problems. Debarkation went smoothly as well. We carried our own luggage and were off the ship by 8am. Now for the items we were disappointed in: We were used to being able to view our on-board account status on our TV with Carnival. No such thing on NCL. If we wanted to stay on top off our account, we had to go to the registration desk and request a copy. Not a big issue since our daughter is 20 yrs. old, but this could be an issue if you have smaller kids playing video games and maybe not keeping track of their spending. This may seem like nothing, but we also liked on Carnival how they had one channel on the TV that showed the ships position, direction of travel, speed, etc. Again, no such thing on NCL. Not a big thing, but disappointing. While there were a few crew members who were very friendly (our cabin steward, the casino staff), overall the crew were not very friendly, at times seeming bothered to interact with us. Freestyle Dinning: I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on this, but we found we enjoyed set dinning times better then freestyle dinning. With a set time and venue, the staff on Carnival would learn who you were and what we liked and didn’t like. We never had that on NCL. No consistency night to night and you had to be prepared for a long wait for a table. Also, the food at the free dining options was nothing special. I heard someone say they believed that with the number of dining options with a fee, they lowered their standards of food in the free venues to encourage people to go to the venues that charge a fee. For us, that backfired on them. We intended to try the steakhouse but, after we tried the food in the free venues and saw how difficult it was to get a table, we decided not to give NCL any more of our money that necessary. Food availability: It seemed that whenever we were hungry outside of the normal dinner times, we would find the buffet closed. And one thing we enjoyed on Carnival was the 24/7 soft serve ice cream. We could make our own whenever we wanted and a big as we liked, not with NCL. You could only have ice cream when someone was there to operate the machine for you!!! Room Size: We have had balcony cabins on every cruise we have gone on. The one on NCL was by far the smallest cabin we have been in. We had a choice of a fold out bed for our daughter which made it impossible to go on the balcony without climbing over the bed, or use the drop-down bed which caused you to hunch down and virtually crawl to make it to the balcony. She opted for the drop-down bed but said both were much less comfortable than Carnival’s. Also, there was much less closet and drawer space on NCL Showroom: The showroom on the Jewel has theater type seating, making it very difficult to move past people to get to seats. On Carnival, at least on the ships we have been on, there was bench style seating with a small table in front of you for your drinks and room for people to move past easily….much better design. Now for the ports…. Vancouver,BC….We arrived in Vancouver the day before the cruise. We went to Granville Island to check out the farmers market. We thought it would be similar to the market in Seattle, but found it to be lacking. In all honesty, we did not walk the entire area, but what we found was very few homemade craft booths and way too many pricey galleries. Victoria,BC….We booked a tour to see the Craigdarroch Castel and City Highlights. There was a bike race through the city on that day that limited our sightseeing in the city. To their credit, NCL refunded $10 back for the part of the tour we would miss. We enjoyed the castle very much and after the tour took the shuttle back into downtown for some shopping. Astoria, OR……We booked the Cannon Beach and Seaside Village Tour. The Cannon Beach portion was very disappointing. We only had 10 minutes to walk along the beach and take pictures of Haystack Rock…just 10 minutes. We then stopped in Seaside Village for shopping. The shops were very nice and we enjoyed the town very much, just couldn’t get over the short time at the beach. San Francisco, CA…….We booked the Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour. We enjoyed the time at Muir Wood very much. The giant redwoods are very impressive. We then stopped in Sausalito for shopping. Again, we enjoyed our time in town looking through the various shops. Overall, while the cruise did not live up to the level of our Carnival cruises; we still had more fun than a week at work. We have decided that as long as both Carnival and NCL are going to the same itinerary we want on our next cruise we would chose Carnival. The only way we are going on NCL again is if they are the only cruise line going where we want to go.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Have just returned from our trip.  Joined ship and was greeted by a waiter with a tray of cocktails. Very nice until we realised that we had to pay for them. We thought it was a welcome on board free drink instead another ruse to get some ... Read More
Have just returned from our trip.  Joined ship and was greeted by a waiter with a tray of cocktails. Very nice until we realised that we had to pay for them. We thought it was a welcome on board free drink instead another ruse to get some money out of us. What a welcome!!!! The pool area was shabby and tacky and the cabins were rather small even with a balcony. The dining was of a high standard and the main restaurant was very spacious and elegant. However there were other restaurants where you had to pay extra which seems very miserly. We found all the staff to be very nice on board the ship. We were required to pay $12 per person per day towards tips for the crew, however each receipt had a space for an extra tip, this put you on the spot and made you feel mean if you didn't give something. If you are going to charge $12 then leave it at that, that's the whole point not to put you in the awkward position of not knowing whether to tip or not. My partner was very disappointed by some of the attire worn by fellow passengers, although to be fair it was advertised as casual, but this needs to be emphasised more, because a dinner suit or evening dress would appear to be out of place. We spoke to other passengers who agreed with this point of view. This is not the first cruise I have been on the last being the Sapphire Princess which was a totally different experience being far superior in every way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Freestyle cruising is definitely not for everyone and we are two. The ship itself is OK with a few problem areas. There is no cover for the pool area so the pool went mostly unused on our cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. There are a ... Read More
Freestyle cruising is definitely not for everyone and we are two. The ship itself is OK with a few problem areas. There is no cover for the pool area so the pool went mostly unused on our cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. There are a number of dead ends on the ship and no deck map is provided. A great deal of space is devoted to the specialty restaurants. Most important to us was that Freestyle does not allow you to make acquaintances over dinner because you cannot make reservations and you have a different table every night - nothing is assigned. Then, too, the food in the main restaurants is very average. We believe it is an effort to drive passengers to the specialty restaurants that charge a fee. We did not give in to that. There is a good variety. Food at the buffets for breakfast and lunch is pretty good but do not try the eggs Benedict. The ship itself is well maintained (though it needs another bank of elevators) and the room was clean - though a bit small. The shower is very, very small. But avoid the aft balcony cabins because the smokestacks sometimes deposit a good deal of ash. Getting on and off was quick and easy. Entertainment on our cruise was excellent and the tours we took were great, though, as usual, overpriced. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Boarded at Balyntine Pier in Vancouver - wonderful and what an improvement over Canada Place. From the taxi dropping us off to boarding the ship 15 miutes. Our first impression, happy and festive. Lots of music everywhere. Our cabin was a ... Read More
Boarded at Balyntine Pier in Vancouver - wonderful and what an improvement over Canada Place. From the taxi dropping us off to boarding the ship 15 miutes. Our first impression, happy and festive. Lots of music everywhere. Our cabin was a mini-suite 11514, great room and the drape that separated the bed and sofa was great. New flat screen tv. two chairs a nice touch. Bed and linen very nice. Hated the tub. Real high to step into, for older people could be dangerous. Would have rather had a shower that big. Coffee maker in room - GREAT. Refrigerator actually kept things cold. Had four nice deep drawers for clothes and plenty of hanging area. Ship was very nice and showed no wear we noticed. Did not see any smoking in the clubs, that was good. However our neighbors who were ahead of us on the ship smoked all the time on their balcony, make it impossible to use our balcony, nasty. Never waited long for any dinner in any of the free venues, and if we did wait they offered us a free glass of champain or a soda for the inconvience. The food was wonderful, best lamp shank I have ever had. I had read the beef wasn't all that but my DH had the ribeye and said it was good. Fresh bread at every meal. Great soup and salad choices. The buffet was amazing and I had eggs benedict 5 mornings in a row. YUMMY, NO COMPLAINTS about the food, and we are foodies. Didn't go to the shows, but heard good reviews from other passengers. The weather was pretty awful out of Victoria into Astoria but the crew did their best to keep everyone safe and happy. Astoria is a wonderful little town with a treasure of vintage shops. Then off we went to San Fransciso, we had been there many times so didn't have anything planned but getting off and on the ship was quick and easy. Then another wonderful day at sea and our final stop at LA. We went to the guest services to inquire about debarking and they gave us our choice of time. We debarked within 10 minutes of the scheduled time. Walked off the ship and were in a taxi in 5 minutes. Amazing. This is only our second Norweign cruise out of 30 cruises we have taken - we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I was on the 6 day reposition cruise from Vanvouver to Los Angeles, celebrating my 10-year anniversary with my wife. A friend's family also joined us. Booked about 6 months before sailing and paid 1100 for two for an inside cabin. ... Read More
I was on the 6 day reposition cruise from Vanvouver to Los Angeles, celebrating my 10-year anniversary with my wife. A friend's family also joined us. Booked about 6 months before sailing and paid 1100 for two for an inside cabin. One week prior sailing the pricing has gone down to $800 for two, so I called Costco travel. No you will not get a refund for the difference (unless you got a "lowest price guaranteed package), but Costco is nice enough to get NCL to upgrade my cabin to oceanview for free. (At the time the ocean view cabins were about 1000 for two, so I guess you can "exchange" to anything that's under the price you paid originally.) I arrived 3 days early to Vancouver to do some sightseeing, with a rental car that I picked up from Avis @ airport. The return location is Hornby Street that's fairly close to Canada Place. However, this time NCL was assigned to use this "Ballantyne Pier", and I've heard bad thing about that neighborhood, so my original plan of "dropoff -> return car -> walk" was changed to "dropoff -> return car -> taxi". Taxi was $13 from Hornby Street to Ballantyne Street, and $15 including tip was all I paid. Pretty reasonable. Btw, the Port's website is misleading on the directions. You simply take Heatley north and it will drop you in front of the cruise terminal. Don't take Clark unless you're coming from the east. The embarkation was smooth. I love the facilities of Ballantyne Pier. Easy curb-side drop off and less traffic. The entire process from the point the taxi drops me off, to myself reunite with wife and friends, to actually set foot on the ship, was about 35 minutes. Once aboard, we proceed to Tsar main dining room for lunch. It's just much nicer than the buffet. It is very hard to get seats for buffet and pool side since most of the passengers are there, and we have a few carry-on luggages and young children. Many don't realize some ships do have the main dining room open for lunch, and they don't publicize that, so you need to ask. Room Cleaning/Organizing: Great. Rick was the staff. He's just great. Room Maintenance: Our shower door fell off the first day. It was not fixed until the third day. For me it is on the slower side. I do have spa pass so this causes only little trouble, but what if I didn't have a spa pass? Shower doors are pretty much standard, so get one from an empty cabin, or get one from a staff's room, is a better approach. Dining: This is the fourth time I'm on an NCL cruise. This time the food is salty. The first day I thought it's just a rare occasion that the head chef overlooked, but throughout the entire cruise, doesn't matter which dining room we go, the food is consistently salty. Think NCL did that on purpose to push you to try specialty restaurants? Well, the paid restaurants also have the same problem. Buffet is the only exception, so every night after my main dining, after taking just a few bites because too salty, I will proceed to buffet to continue my meals. One thing to point out, desserts are still great. Good varieties and flavors, and even have sugar free version. Spa: The spa pass was $119 because it's only 6 days. It's money well spent. Most of the trip is cold, so spa provided an indoor and quiet place. Male and demale have their own area so if getting completely naked is your thing, then you have a place to go. Of course there also has a co-ed area that you get to relax side by side with your spouse, families and friends. OJ and tea is served all day inthe co-ed area so that's great. On a sea-day I spend the entire afternoon here, staring at sea and listen to the music. Main dining crew: I tink the crew are a little not as friendly as before. My 6 dinners there, only one night I'd say it has the NCL standard I used to get. Very little interactions. Is it because it's reposition cruise? Buffet: For me the buffet scored high this time. Good food, and they have a guy singing the "washing-washing hands" song all day. He's great! Kids loved him. That song still stuck with me. Shore Excursions: I walked all ports. See below: Victoria: 30 minutes walking from pier to down town. (if you want, cab is about $15 including tip, but walking along shore and nice houese are great!) Astoria: the city is selling $7 ticket that gives you all day trolley ride (Runs from just ourside the pier and goes east for a few miles. Not too far. Only one car, runs back and forth. If you can't board at the beginning, you will never be able to board along the way. Most of the people board at pier, and rides all the way, and then rides all the way back.) , all day shuttle bus rides (Pier -> Commercial/10th ->Maritime Museum -> Marine/9th -> Pier. they have 5-6 busses running this route and average wait is about 15-20 minutes), and the transfer bus to Astoria Column (The staff will tell you to be at Commercial/10th at 1PM sharp, but you can pretty much arrive any time after 1PM. The bus stop is on Commercial/10th and on the north east corner, on 10th. They have 2-3 busses running this route and the wait is about 20 minutes) I rode the bus to Maritime Musem, Do some sightseeing, then had to try really hard to board the east bound trolley. When the trolley comes to the stop, our group of six are the only ones getting off. We continue walking east-ward on the river-front walk and visited Pier 39 (has a small bumblebee museum teling you the history of Bumblebee in Astoria). Then we walk back and took 45 minutes (in rain) to get back to Commercial/10th to ride transfer shuttle to Column. Column is great, you get climb all the way up and get some really good pictures. It also has a clean bathroom facilities in the parking lot. SF: We opt to walk from Pier 35 to the beginning of Taylor St cable car, so we can purchase the all day ticket ($14). With cable car $6 one way and $12 round trip, all-day ticket is the way to go. You can ride cable car all day, ride bus 30 to Palace of Fine Art, ride bus 28 to Golden Gate bridge, 39 to Coit Tower, and ride Street Car "F" from Fisherman's back to the cruise terminal. Debarkation: The day before debark you should proceed to excursion desk, and there you can see the luggage tags up for grab. You take the ones that match your schedule. I live in OC so there's no rush, and I pisked the 10AM debark time (and actually get called at 9:30AM the day of debark, so it runs pretty smooth) I had a PrimeTime shuttle picking us up. Pretty easy to find the shuttle stop. Conclusion: Very nice trip. Everything went the way it should, except the food. Food is salty, especially the seafood. I've chat with a few people I met on the ship, and pretty much the same feeling, so it's not just me.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We are experienced cruisers, having sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Princess and Regent Seven Seas. We booked this with friends. They chose the cruise and we joined them. Embarkation was smooth and fast. We arrived at the port at 11:40 ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, having sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Princess and Regent Seven Seas. We booked this with friends. They chose the cruise and we joined them. Embarkation was smooth and fast. We arrived at the port at 11:40 and we were on the ship at 12:15. Cabins were available at 1:30. We had a mini suite, which was comfortable and spacious. Only complaint about the room: the water backed up from the floor drain in the bathroom when the tub drained. The food was disappointing in every venue we tried: buffet, MDR, Azura, Cucina and the Brazilian BBQ. Canned peas and carrots as the vegetable in the MDR! Food cold, overcooked, flavorless. Most cruise ship coffee is bad, but this was undrinkable. Its tasted like how a stable smells. I was not tempted by the desserts, and stuck with sorbet. The chocolate buffet was mostly just the regular chocolate desserts, plus a couple of ice sculptures. We did not see the cruise director one time on the entire cruise. Not once did a crew member offer to take a drink order while in a public space. I had to go to the bar myself for drinks. I usually find lots of things to keep me busy, and I was bored silly on the two sea days. We rarely saw our steward, and he did not introduce himself to us until the 3rd day, although he did a perfectly adequate job keeping our room made up. There were no port talks. The single "enrichment" sort of event we could find on the entire cruise was a video about the Panama Canal, which was very good, and which we appreciated, as we are going on a 15-day Panama cruise in January. On the last night we met a couple from Australia who had boarded in Seattle,gone to Alaska, and were on thru New Orleans. They said there had been no lectures, narration or naturalists for the Alaska cruise and they were extremely disappointed. The two pluses were a relatively small number of PA announcements and no dancing waiters. I will not book with NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to L.A. Embarkation was a nightmare, it took three hours to board, clearly Norwegian was understaffed. The first two days we had rough seas and missed the port of Astoria. The weather is a variable ... Read More
Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to L.A. Embarkation was a nightmare, it took three hours to board, clearly Norwegian was understaffed. The first two days we had rough seas and missed the port of Astoria. The weather is a variable thing so it`s just the luck of the draw but I`m rating this cruise poorly for two chief reasons. It was boring, the ship had no vibe or excitement and there was really no scenery. You are too far from the coast to be a `coastal cruise`. You could not see land for most of the trip. The ship arrived at San Francisco early and left in the dark. We had to wait for an hour and half for a missing crew member so we missed the golden gate bridge at sunset. The Captain reported that the authorities would not let him leave without determining the whereabouts of the crew member. Having been on carnival and Royal Caribbean I found the entertainment to be the worst of the three. The impressionist was doing Jack Benny and Johnny Carson. The Singing and dancing show was well below RC quality. The SC comedy show was great but they only had two shows, one of which was late on the last night. The Main Dining Room and buffet food was fine, same as Carnival but not as good a RC. The Dining room was dull and dreary but the buffet was bright and open. We ate at the specialty restaurants a lot and the food and service was on par with RC’s MDR. The ship was full but it didn’t feel crowded there were many buffet stations serving the same food. You could always get a deck chair but perhaps not at the pool. There were no organized activities on deck it was all very sedentary which may have been what a lot of people were expecting. The ship itself is in good shape the cabin space was sufficient although smaller than Carnival or RC balcony cabins. I liked the bathroom layout in three pods, toilet, sink, shower all with dividing pocket doors. It allowed the use of the toilet or shower separately. I liked having a coffee maker in the room but actually only used it once. The public areas seemed well designed for the size of ship. The casino was drab and smoky however. The plus for this ship was the crew; they were very friendly and seemed happy to work there. I got more greetings from this crew than any other ship, even the maintenance guy in his engineering overalls said hello. So in summary I would not recommend a pacific coastal route. I might consider NCL for a Caribbean cruise on one of their newer ships.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We felt that we were well prepared for this cruise, thanks from the reviews that we had read. The process of boarding did seem a little overwhelming for first time cruisers. It was as if we were in college registration lines. It was a good ... Read More
We felt that we were well prepared for this cruise, thanks from the reviews that we had read. The process of boarding did seem a little overwhelming for first time cruisers. It was as if we were in college registration lines. It was a good place to meet fellow cruisers as we moved slowly through the line. We were very pleased with our cabin, located on the 9th level, center ship with a balcony. We have heard people complain about the small showers, they were fine. The HOT water in the shower was great. I've never been anywhere that had such hot water. We loved it. We enjoyed the anytime dining and causal dress for meals. We ate most of our meals at the Seven Seas Main dining room. By the second evening the hostess knew who we were and we never had to give her our key card. We chose to eat our meals with other guests at tables of six or eight. This was a positive experience dining with people from allover the world. Only one meal did we wish that we had dined by ourselves. On the first night my wife ask for a replacement for her soup because it was cold. They quickly returned with a "hot" bowl of soup. The next afternoon when we returned our room there was a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries in our room with a nice note stating that they were sorry for our inconvenience at dinner the night before. We didn't expect this, my wife just likes her soup warm to hot. The first few day we ate breakfast in either the Seven Seas or the Four Seasons. We found out that the Deluxe Continental Breakfast in the Moderno (the pizza - pasta room) was a full service buffet with eggs cooked to your liking. It was a much quieter and relaxing place to eat breakfast. If there were things that you wanted that were not there you could walk over to the Garden Café and get it there and bring it back. Towards the end of the cruise people discovered the Moderno for breakfast and if the seating area was full you could move into the Sports Bars with the floor to ceiling windows that was next door for a great view and relaxing meal. There was a couple of times that we went into the Sports Bar and had chicken wings and other comfort food that they serve there for dinner instead of going to one of the main dinning rooms. The food was above average, but you have to remember that it is institutional food where they cook for over 2,000 people. We never ate at the Garden Café, it reminded me of a school lunch room with a lot of noise and was not a relaxing place to be. We did go there to get items from the buffet line and go over to the Sports Bar to eat. The entertainment was very enjoyable. Being an oldies fan, the "Oh What A Night" the Four Seasons show was great. They preformed two nights and then there was a one man show by "George" that was great also. The Karaoke each night was at the Las Ramblas. Their selection was "very" limited. It's pretty tough when you can only find one or two songs that you know on their play list. The negative of the trip was the casino. The poker and blackjack tournaments the house takes 25% off the top. The blackjack tournament only lasts seven hands. They also have continuous shuffle machines at all blackjack tables which gives the house a really big advantage. You could only get a shoe at the $25 table. The $5 tables were 6 to 5 on blackjack. Unless you are willing to throw your money away, I suggest that you stay out of the casino. All the people working on the ship went out of their way to make you feel special and to make your cruise the best that it could be. When we take another cruise it will probably be with NCL. This was a repositioning cruise and the value was great. Under $800 for a top level cabin with a balcony. I would recommend a repositioning cruise to anyone that wants to get a great value. Also, being a retired teacher I enjoyed being on a ship without very many children. Early September is a great to cruise without children. I hope that this wasn't too long and that it was helpful to those who will be cruising on the Sun. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I see how many people love the Pearl, so I wonder if we just had bad luck, in part due to terrible weather. I've traveled on the Oosterdam and the Epic, and both were superior to the Pearl. The Pearl seemed pretty middle of the road ... Read More
I see how many people love the Pearl, so I wonder if we just had bad luck, in part due to terrible weather. I've traveled on the Oosterdam and the Epic, and both were superior to the Pearl. The Pearl seemed pretty middle of the road to me. It started with a terrible line-up in Vancouver to board. We got in line at 12;05 and reached our cabins at 2:45. We were very hungry, but couldn't eat because dining had been closed down in anticipation of a 3:15 lifeboat drill. Not a good start! [Our Cabin Was] Very comfortable, lots of storage, roomy safe, lots of hangers, only shampoo and shower gel in the washrooms, good hairdryer. Lovely bed (my sister and her daughter were not so lucky, despite being in a more expensive stateroom.) Kept very clean and tidy. We were the last ship to leave Vancouver port due to a huge storm in the Pacific. Our Astoria stop was cancelled as well, so we only stopped in San Francisco and then disembarked in LA. Food was OK but not great; same with the service. Pools were closed first two days due to rough weather. Was impressed at the crew and entertainers who kept going despite very rough seas and gale force winds. Found the Garden Cafe buffet the best food in the "included" category. My brother ate at La Cucina and found it excellent, but the portions were way too big (and he's 6 foot 3!) The kids' program was too babyish for my 11 year old niece, and other activities, such as sports, were either shut down or you couldn't access them because they were first-come-first serve and couldn't book ahead. The wave pool was her favourite thing - still not sure if it WAS a wave pool or if it was just the movement of the ship. :-) I enjoyed the adventure of sailing through a storm, but most did not. The library is a lovely space - nice chairs and tables and a good selection of books. The bowling lanes are fun ($5 per person). The Spinnaker Lounge is an interesting venue, with canopy beds and cushy lounges as well as bar seating. The entertainment was hit and miss. Hit - the Frankie Valli tribute. Miss - impressionist. Hit - Second City. Miss - crew talent show. Hit - late night piano man. Miss - mangling Abba in the "Encore" presentation.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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