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28 Seattle to British Columbia Cruise Reviews

We were 14 happy people on the Safari Quest Seattle to Seattle. Fabulous crew catered to our individual and collective interests. We had several rainy days, but the gear provided kept us warm and dry. Guides were very knowledgeable ... Read More
We were 14 happy people on the Safari Quest Seattle to Seattle. Fabulous crew catered to our individual and collective interests. We had several rainy days, but the gear provided kept us warm and dry. Guides were very knowledgeable about the places we visited. All were cheerful, helpful, and fun. Highly recommend the company, this ship, and the itinerary. We were invited along on this trip to celebrate a friend's birthday. Ten of us were part of the party. Two other couples booked independently, but we were all friends - like family - soon after we left Seattle. The crew made all of us feel welcome, and encouraged us to mix. Food was exceptional - quality, variety, presentation all memorable. Cook always provided a vegetarian option. We especially enjoyed the fish options for dinner, although pork and beef entrees were excellent too. A special shout out to the bartender and service staff - always mixing up new drinks. Wine selections impressive. A great time. Barbara and Chuck from Minnesota Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver. Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month ... Read More
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver. Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month and a half before the cruise, the prices dropped hard and I was able to kick us up to a balcony for the same price we had originally booked the inside for. Just before we left, the prices for an inside were around $70 CDN. I am happy with the costs of the cruise as I believe we got our money's worth for the trip. We live in Vancouver and had debated going down to Seattle the day before the cruise and stay in a Hotel, but with every decent Hotel costing in the market of $300-$400 for the night (Saturday), we decided to slum in it on a Greyhound during the early morning before the cruise. We hopped on a Greyhound in Vancouver at about 0530hrs and it had us in Downtown Seattle at around 1000hrs (we had gotten hung up at the border for an hour or so). We didn't realize until we saw almost everyone from the bus later on the ship that we were all coming down for the same thing. From the Greyhound station in Seattle, we walked through the baseball and football stadiums and caught a cab at the King Street Station (10-15 minute walk). We had caught an Amtrak train back to Vancouver on our last re-positioning one-day cruise in April so we were familiar with the area). Taxi from King's Street Station to Pier 91 was about $15 USD. We spoke with some others whom had arranged a transfer. They arrived at the Pier at around the same time as us and had spent $12.50 for the transfer. Worth it to spend $15 for the pair of us, and be able to work at our own schedule to get there. Anyways, we arrived at port around 1045hrs. Took a few pictures of the Ruby sitting there. We shared the port with Holland America's 'Amsterdam' that day. The Amsterdam looked to be an older vessel, one that we haven't seen much of in Vancouver in the last few years, though we do see the 'Nieuw Amsterdam' quite a bit and it is a beautiful ship. The Ruby looked very beautiful as we had seen it from a distance in the taxi and it looked very clean as we arrived at the port. We entered, traveled through Security and registration with the quickness and sat down in a large staging area. I am only a Gold status member and my fiance a Ruby, but we did not see a priority area for Platinums or Elites, not sure if they had one for this trip. I could see a special area for Holland America passengers (with uniformed waiters) but couldn't spot anything on the Princess side. After about 15-20 minutes of waiting, boarding began. We were in staging group 11, but the wait from group 1 to 11 was only about 5 minutes. We boarded the ship around 1130hrs, I would estimate. My fiance loves the embarkation photos and she was very concerned when they didn't have anything set up before we boarded. We found that they had a quick screen set up just on board for the photos. The area for embarkation photos was a bit rushed, as we would have like to prepare and pose for a good one, but I guess we were just glad to get one done. We had received a notice on check-in within the terminal that our rooms would not be ready until 1300hrs. Nuts to that, we went straight to the room at 1130hrs to drop off our bags at least. We found that the room was ready and no sign of a steward, so we dropped the bags and settled in. We were in C409, 'Caribe' Deck 10. The room was basic, I suspect the bottom rung of the balcony categories, but had a very large balcony. I did notice, however, that once I was out there that I could look right down on the balcony a level down and I suspect the people above us could look down and see us on the balcony. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to keep my pants on. We hit up the Horizon Court for Lunch. Since we boarded so quickly, we were able to beat most of the crowd to the buffet. On food, we did not try any of the specialty restaurants this time, just the buffet, Trident Grill and Pizza stand. Nothing was bad, but nothing really stood out as being that great either. I've rated dining as average but again, we did not visit any of the true dining venues. After napping from 1300-1500hrs, we took part in the Muster Drill. We were station D and attended a lounge on Deck 7. We showed up before the alarm so we could secure some seats. The drill was about 20 minutes and was painless. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the top decks. Hung around the sailaway party for a bit, played some basketball and hung out until the rain started. Was a beautiful day until, right on schedule at 1700hrs, the rain began and sent us back into the depths of the ship. At around 1730hrs, we bought a embarkation photo for $20. They worked at trying to get us to buy 2 for $40 but it was basically the same picture, the 2nd one merely being a smaller picture but with a display on sailing Seattle-Vancouver along the border, no deal. We listened in to Comedian Joe Yannetty for a few minutes. His act didn't strike us as that funny so we retreated to the Library to play board games for a bit. We broke off that at 1945hrs to snag a seat in Princess Theatre for the first seating of their stage show "Colour of the World". Really enjoyed it. Between myself and my fiance, we recognized all of the songs and the show appeared to be very polished. After that, we spent the rest of the night taking part in the Majority Rules gameshow (fun), the Yes/No game show (kinda bland) and the karoke in Club Fusion. Enjoyed Cruise Director Kelvin Joy's narration through the end of the stage show and the game shows afterward. While not particularly good-natured in his ribbing, he was very witty and fun throughout and definitely added to our enjoyment of the evening. Retired at around 2330hrs and caught a few movies on the television. The on-screen setup is one that I am disappointed with. On this, and our last cruise on the Crown Princess in the spring, the visual set up is pretty basic. My first cruise was on the Royal Princess last year and their On-Demand setup was quite good and one that the other ships have not caught up with. Slept like a baby on our mattress and woke up home in Vancouver. We were out of our cabin just before 0800hrs and headed up to Horizon Court for breakfast. So had everyone else. So we filled our plates and had to go back out onto the open deck to find a table to eat at. But the servers were out there as well and hit us right away for drinks, etc. Disembarkation occurred off of the promenade deck and after handing over our customs forms, were back into the city without any delays. A few issues that I had during the cruise: 1) I had booked the Soda and More package for both of us on my cruise personalizer months prior to boarding. We did not receive anything to state this on boarding. When I visited Guest Services, they said that did not see anything on my profile to confirm this and would not sell it now that I was on the ship. This was fine, but a recurring theme on this and our previous cruise on the Crown was that the Guest Services desk would never seem to put much effort into fixing problems or offering solutions. 2) While we were waiting for the stage show to start in Princess Theatre, we had ordered drinks on my cruise card. The waiter came back and said that the charge did not go through and he wasn't sure why. We used my fiance's cruise card and the charge when through fine. What is weird, is that both cruise cards were tied to my credit card. I didn't think anything more of it, just resigned to use her card for any further purchases. 3) As we tried to disembark the next day, we were stopped and told that we had to return to the Guest Services desk to resolve an issue. We did and found that it was the same credit issue as above. Once again, Guest Services couldn't do much of a job explaining it but it was found that a $15 charge (I assume the auto-grat) had bounced back. Did a manual payment and noticed that there were quite a few of this manual payments on her clipboard and at the other stations of the desk. Perhaps this was an ongoing issue. On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise. The only drawbacks are a mixed-bag of crew members who would sometimes go to the moon to get you what you needed and some that felt like you were bothering them to ask something. We had no interaction with our Room Steward, but had no issue with the cleanliness of the room or service times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 4th cruise from this port with this destination but the first on Royal Caribbean from this port, second on Royal Caribbean total. The embarkation was standard, but as we boarded we went to a bar to buy a couple of beers to ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise from this port with this destination but the first on Royal Caribbean from this port, second on Royal Caribbean total. The embarkation was standard, but as we boarded we went to a bar to buy a couple of beers to send us off, and we were told it was a "Specialty Bar". no beer. Interesting. We had a cabin on the 11th deck with balcony and we highly recommend it, the balcony dividers opened up to other s if you had a friend or family next door which we did which was very cool. We bought the drink pass for $184 @ person and definitely had it pay for itself. Right on our deck was the pool area and 3-4 bars. Since we had smokers with us we hung out at the upper level pool bar and played cards, drank, and watched all that was going on. This part was awesome. The food was less than average. The buffet(Windjammer) was average at best. We never went the the Main Dining rooms so I cant comment, the Cafe(only other free eats) was always busy for snack food because it was the only other eats. Johnny Rockets($6.95 per person) once was good, second time we walked out as the service wasnt even able to meet anyones needs, just downright awful, they screwed up everything and couldnt make it right, awful. So lack of food was an issue, and room service, if you could get them to answer the phone was no better, small portions and sometimes they would just leave an item out because they were to busy, so they said. The activities were good, we played mini-golf, shuffleboard,some trivia games, basketball, all good. The theater shows were great. Overall we enjoyed ourselves very much and because of convinence we will look at going again, but I would look at other cruise lines first. A fellow passenger commented to us that they had been on numerous Royal Caribbean cruises and this was by far the most unorganized one ever. That seemed to sum it up. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I agree with some of the other reviewers regarding this particular cruise. I felt like we were the "leftover" cruisers. This ship had come from the South Pacific/Australia, and was gearing up for the Alaska cruise season. RCI ... Read More
I agree with some of the other reviewers regarding this particular cruise. I felt like we were the "leftover" cruisers. This ship had come from the South Pacific/Australia, and was gearing up for the Alaska cruise season. RCI was trying to fill a five-day gap and so they created this special cruise. First the good stuff: dining in the dining room was great. We were fortunate enough to get a set dining time (late seating), so we didn't have to wait in the long lines that the other guests did who were unable to get assigned dining times. Our waiters were terrific - very friendly, personable, and got us everything we asked for. The odd thing was that there were five of us, but we were seated at a table for ten. We never learned whether there were five other guests assigned to that table, or if they just needed to use the larger table. The shows were good too. Good, clean entertainment - nothing we had to be concerned that our teenage kids were hearing. And the ice show was truly outstanding. On the negative side - as others have said, the Windjammer Cafe was way too crowded and the food selections were quite sparse. No fresh fish except once, and that was just a few pieces of cod. No matter what time of day we went, they were out of the good stuff. Lots of jello and not much for nice desserts. And there were way too many passengers for the size of the cafe. We always had to wait for a table. And we often had to get our own drinks because the attendants were overwhelmed trying to get the tables cleared for the guests who were waiting to sit down. Our cabins were nice and our cabin attendants were great. Very efficient and we never had to ask for anything. We had a balcony room, but we were on a lower deck where the balconies were sort of closed in. We didn't really like that too much. The beds weren't as comfortable as we would have liked - mattresses were wearing down and the pillow were flat. I think we were in a part of the ship that hadn't yet been renovated. As far as the itinerary goes - Victoria was nice and we enjoyed Butchart Gardens. Nanaimo did not have much to offer, but we hope they are able to build up their cruise guest amenities. They were very welcoming to the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was a girlfriend's cruise. We all live in or near Seattle and we're celebrating our friend's 70th birthday. What I liked about the cruise/cruise ship: *The public ship areas were pretty and well-maintained. ... Read More
This was a girlfriend's cruise. We all live in or near Seattle and we're celebrating our friend's 70th birthday. What I liked about the cruise/cruise ship: *The public ship areas were pretty and well-maintained. *We liked the disco dance party on the first night and watching Karaoke on the 2nd night. On the 3rd night we saw the magician--he was funny and entertaining. On the last day, we saw the ice show (well done!) and the headliner comedian/impressionist who was awesome! *My shower was awesome. Great water pressure. *I really liked the interactive ship screens that told you a) what was going on right then, and b) how to get where you were going. *Our main dining room waiter and helper were awesome. Shout out to Desmond & Ashook! *We also had a great bartender in the Viking Lounge. Sadly I didn't catch his name. *Archee the photographer was very engaging. He made us feel special and he really captured us having a fun time! Destinations were okay; we picked this cruise because it left out of SEATTLE and was only for four days. We did not pick it for the destinations or the excursions. That being said, the Canadians were lovely. Very warm and welcoming! What I didn't like about the cruise/cruise ship: **Our stateroom was at the end of a hallway (no problem there) but our room smelled like dirty linens. They were skimpy on the quantity of towels and the towel quality was reminiscent of a low end motel. The towels looked like like carwash towels; they were beat up. The drawers were dirty and needed to be wiped down or cleaned up. **The food quality was poor. I really don't know how so much food could be so bland and tasteless. The free cookies, pastries, sandwiches, and wraps (available mid ship) were horrible. The free lemonade was so watered down it was un-drinkable. **Main dining room food: bland, tasteless and so lacking in imagination. I felt like I was eating at an old folks home. We had better food and service on shore in town. **We had "anytime dining". It's a misnomer. You can only dine "anytime" if there is room available. **The crew, overall, was not very friendly. From the first waiter that took our drink order, to others we encountered, they seemed to be disinterested. We learned that they had just come from Australia on a 20+ day cruise. I think they were burnt out or something. There was no energy on the ship. A lot of the staff seemed robotic. Over all our cruise time, we only had 4 memorable crew members. That's pretty sad. Having just sailed (March 2016) on another cruise line, I was expecting equal treatment from RCL and was sadly disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My DD was turning 21 and she loves to cruise, so I decided to book a cruise to celebrate. I had only been on Royal once in 2000. I did not care for Royal then, but I kept hearing good things about Royal and I liked the Explorer’s ... Read More
My DD was turning 21 and she loves to cruise, so I decided to book a cruise to celebrate. I had only been on Royal once in 2000. I did not care for Royal then, but I kept hearing good things about Royal and I liked the Explorer’s itinerary, so I decided to book. We have only stayed in a suite once on NCL and we were spoiled. I decided to book a suite with Royal even though I knew the perks were nothing like NCL. We arrived at the Seattle port around 11 am and quickly went through security. We then found ourselves in a line for suite guest to check in. The line was not nearly as long as the other lines, but it was still long. Once it was our turn to check in and get our sea pass cards, there was a note attached to my sea pass card that stated we were invited to a “lite lunch” at Dizzy lounge to wait for our suite to become available. As soon as we got on the ship, we immediately went to Dizzy’s lounge for our “lite lunch” all to find an empty lounge. There was a staff member standing there and I asked her about it and she had no idea what I was talking about. I showed her the note and she tells me that it does not start until 1:30. We were hungry and decided to head to the Windjammer since nothing else was open. What we saw next, I never imagined would happen. The elevator arrived to deck 11 and the door open, to our surprise that is where the line ended to get into the Windjammer. We decided to go eat at the Café Promenade, but when we got there, it was closed. We went back to the Windjammer and waited in line. After waiting about 20 minutes, I sent my daughter back down to the Café to see if it were open and it was not. We waited an hour to get into the Windjammer. As if waiting an hour was not bad enough, once we finally got to the food, the only food they were serving were hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. There wasn’t even cheese. Dessert was JELLO! My daughter looked at me and asked if it was too late to get off the ship! It was very clear that they had run out of food. After our wonderful lunch….NOT, we went back to Dizzy lounge and inside the Diamond lounge and there still was no “lite lunch”. We then went to check out our suite. We ran into our cabin attendant Ravi and he introduced himself to us. We saw there was no fruit basket and we asked Ravi about it and he told us that yes, they had run out of food and were in the process of restocking and that our fruit should arrive later. The suite was nice and what I had expected. Lots of storage which was great. We had the 5:30 traditional dining and we enjoyed having the same wait staff nightly. We had Rosemarie and Charlston and they were wonderful. The food in the MDR was good and we felt was better than NCL. We did not try any specialty restaurants mainly because we wanted to see if we would enjoy the MDR food and for the most part we did. Being in a suite we were able to have breakfast in Chops and the food was typical cruise breakfast food. The biggest disappointment is that the only non paid food options for lunch is the buffet or Café Promenade. The buffet was not very appealing. The food choices were always the same and nothing looked good. They had pasta sitting out but it looked over cooked and soggy. Never tried it, so I don’t know if it was any good. The only day we ate lunch at Windjammer is on the first day. We always went to see if the choices got better, but never did. We ate lunch everyday at Café Promenade and the sandwiches were okay. We have cruised on NCL numerous times and have always enjoyed their shows. Every night we went to a show on Royal and only lasted 15 minutes before we would leave. I feel like the shows were for the older crowd and not our style. Other’s seemed to have enjoyed the shows, so I guess it just depends on what you like. I prepurchased voom for 1 device and it was not worth the price I paid. It rarely worked and we would lose connectivity more often than it worked. The staff on the Explorer were WONDERFUL and we never had to wait for drinks at the bar. We really wanted to love Royal, but we didn’t. I know I would never spend the money on a suite with Royal again. I may cruise on Royal again if it was a great deal, but I really doubt it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
As a resident of Southern California and a regular visitor to Seattle, I've spent time in the San Juan Islands and up and near Vancouver/Victoria. I had heard about the Princess Louisa Inlet and decided this was the year to explore. ... Read More
As a resident of Southern California and a regular visitor to Seattle, I've spent time in the San Juan Islands and up and near Vancouver/Victoria. I had heard about the Princess Louisa Inlet and decided this was the year to explore. This was my 3rd Un-Cruise, a company I love and remain very loyal to. I was skeptical about the small size of this vessel and the 22 guests onboard knowing I really enjoy 50 - 75 people on these small ships. I was in for a big surprise. I had a blast. The very small group allows you to really bond and jump from summer camp for adults (which has been my larger small ship experience ~ vessels under 100 guests) to bonding as a family of strangers. The group consisted of a varied age group from 50 to 80. Since it was September (and my favorite time to take off to avoid lots of kids), I knew the age group would be older. The great thing about these kinds of cruises if that you get to know everyone very quickly. Those of us who are high energy, very adventurous and want to exert energy found ourselves being cheered on by those who have either had their day in the sun or simply don't want an overly physical trip. It's all available here. Embarkation was a breeze. Be at the designed hotel is downtown Seattle by the assigned time, go to the hospitality suite, ditch your luggage and transfer to the ship. Easy-breezy. The hotel is located in the heart of all that can be found on foot downtown. A ten minute walk to Pike's Place Market, a three minute walk to the Nordstrom mothership and a 15 minute walk to the REI flagship store. Lots to do and see if you arrive early and have the full day to explore. The vessel is small but very clean and well assigned. The bar was stocked with high end spirits (Belvedere vodka thank you very much) and some very good wine. I would recommend the Bridge Deck. The cabins are spacious and have French balconies. The cabins on the main deck open directly into the dining room and the cabins on the cabin deck do not have any porthole or balcony only bridge lights. They are still worth it, believe me. I talked with everyone on board about their accommodations. You get to know everything in a group this small. Within a very short time after embarkation you realize you have found a jewel and the feeling is that you have your own privately chartered yacht. It is a spectacular experience. Meals are served in the dining room at set hours. Pick a table, order, enjoy. The one HUGE perk for me is that they are very conscious of waste and no meal is ever super-sized. For me, the ultimate cruise turn off are large buffet lines with plates piled to the ceiling being hauled by generously proportioned guests. With a focus on nature, nature lovers and outdoor sports, most of the guests on Un-Cruise are somewhat health conscious so the portion size of all meals encourages healthy eating. If you wish for a 2nd serving, it is yours for the asking. I never saw anyone go for it. As with all Un-Cruise itineraries, the day is set by wildlife. If you encounter a pod of humpbacks or orcas, you will stay with the pod to allow maximum viewing without encroaching on nature. Un-Cruise is VERY observant and respectful of proximity to these amazing creatures and respectful of their place in our oceans. We witnessed day boats following dangerously close to a pod but maintained our required distance and still had a spectacular viewing. I am an adrenaline junkie so getting out and about on a kayak is my favorite experience in the Pacific Northwest. We had 4 days of kayaking with ample time to get a great workout and then some. There were also hikes and a campfire with singing thrown in for good measure. Sounds cheesy? It wasn't at all. The success of any cruise is dependent on two things. Your perspective and ability to be flexible and the crew's ability to insure you have a great trip. Un-Cruise excels in this area. I booked late in the process but one of the onboard crew saw my name on the manifest (I sailed with her last year on the Endeavour) thought it could be me and remembered I love ruby red grapefruit juice and vodka. Voila, imagine my surprise when I was greeted with my favorite drink. Heaven on the high seas!! Our EL "Exploration Leader" was great. She knew her stuff about the area we were headed to and the flora and fauna we came across. She was also very savvy in quickly sizing up those of us that would require a little more adrenaline stimulation and insured that we got our time out in nature. It was a perfect blend of time spent burning calories and being one with nature. The crown jewel of the itinerary is the Princess Louisa Inlet. It is truly spectacular and not easy to access. It is also well worth the effort to get to. Since it is accessible through a very narrow channel and tide-dependent, large cruise ships cannot reach it. That's a huge plus. The pristine nature of the whole experience is a testament to its accessibility. You may have a few private yachts anchored but you are virtually in your own little world and it's beautiful. This is the place for west coasters who think they've seen it all, love nature and yachting. Again, the private yacht experience comes in to play here. The exclusivity of it makes it that much more enjoyable. In summary, this was a really great vacation. Lots to see, do and experience with some very cool new friends. Well worth the price to have the feeling of your own private yacht, to wake up at the base of Chatterbox Falls in the Princess Louisa inlet, to be in waters with some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures and to have them put on a private show all for you. Very few people will ever experience this honor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We chose this one-night cruise on the Westerdam in order to get from Seattle to Vancouver to board a longer cruise the next day. It was a fantastic experience. I had read some negative things about one-night cruises before, but none of ... Read More
We chose this one-night cruise on the Westerdam in order to get from Seattle to Vancouver to board a longer cruise the next day. It was a fantastic experience. I had read some negative things about one-night cruises before, but none of that applied here. The staff was friendly and attentive, the food was excellent, the ship was elegant and pristinely clean. The only unexpected thing was that they didn't do luggage check service since the cruise was so short. Most people only brought overnight bags, so I can certainly understand why. We had more luggage since we were continuing on in our travels, but we were able to manage just fine. I thought I would mention it so that others would know what to expect. We enjoyed every moment on board and hated to disembark the next morning! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!) All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and ... Read More
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!) All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and our friends agreed to join us for a one night cruise out of Seattle to Vancouver. It was so cheap - You could not get a hotel room and dinner for that cost and I thought how fun it would be. Usually it takes a few days just to learn the lay of the ship, so a one night cruise is a challenge! We boarded about 1:00 p.m. Sailed at 5:00. Dinner at 7:30. In bed by 10:30. In port when we awoke at 6:00 and were off the ship after breakfast by 10:00 am. Embarkation was easy: Don't try to board at the earliest possible time. Wait an hour and the crowds are gone! We were traveling with friends who needed a wheelchair due to a knee surgery recently. Princess was very accommodating and we all boarded together. The cabin was clean. Ample for a 1 night cruise. The bathroom had a shower and pump amenities (I prefer real amenities). No washcloths. 1 towel each. Queen bed, a little hard. The pillows were really hard. (I usually ask for feather on a longer cruise) TV had very little option and poor reception. Small balcony with 2 chairs and a drink table. We proceeded to the Vista Lounge since the men wanted to see the Seahawks game. I was surprised they weren't showing the game on the outdoor big screen, which would have been much more fun on a beautiful sunny hot day in Seattle. The vista lounge had ample seating. We had a drink there (beer) and were given salty snacks. There was guacamole and stale (very) chips available self serve by the bar. We went upstairs to the pool at the aft end of the ship and had cocktails and went into the buffet where there were ample choices of food to curb the appetite before dinner. Would have been nice to have an outdoor grill back there for burgers. There may have been elsewhere on the ship. I swam in the aft pool. To me it was great. Very warm. 4:00 pm. No towels for any of us available. Adult only pool - and as usual - no supervision to keep kids out. (this is so annoying to me). Crew was selling drink of the day. Bar service lacking a bit. Pet peeve is drinking from plastic. Miss the old days. Mid ship pool was covered, noisy, smelled of chlorine and sweat. Did not stop here to cocktail. We wanted to go inside and have a cocktail with proper barware and ended up in the atrium area. We found the One5 club aft but were told NO NO - not a "real" suite passenger or elite enough status. The class separation stuff is a REAL TURNOFF to me. That bar lost about $80 in drink sales due to that. Dinner at 7:30 with a reservation at Sabatini's. Dinner was pretty good. Service was good, not great. Did not enjoy sitting by the register by the door. Our waiter took our drink order and dessert order and only brought 1 of the 3 cocktails ordered. (another $30 loss for the ship.. they were cognacs) After dinner we meandered through the lounges trying to find something pleasurable to listen to. I do not exaggerate - there was no decent music to listen to. No talent anywhere on the ship. I usually have my likes and dislikes but perhaps this was an "auditioning" cruise or something.. I don't know. Went to the show (British Invasion) and it was pretty cheesy costumes and choreography. The mikes were super loud yet no one could really sing well. We left after 15 minutes to retire to our cabin. So as far as the ship goes... It was fine. Clean and I found all the amenities on board to be the same as nearly every other cruise I have taken. Decor.. Ok. By morning we found some lounges we would have gone to had we known about them. I won't take another 1 day cruise. As for Princess.. my last experience with the Sun Princess on a 3 day cruise was great. San Francisco to Vancouver. I remember being more impressed with the staff, lounges, entertainment and food. We thought we were big on Holland America and Celebrity, but in all honesty, unless you move into a luxury cruise, they are all about the same. My motto is "there is no such thing as a BAD cruise" and much of it depends on your expectations, the company you keep and your attitude. (IMHO) Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and two daughters just returned from a cruise on the Safari Quest beginning in Seattle and cruising North in the San Jauns, Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and all the way to Princess Louisa Inlet. We were very lucky as the ... Read More
My wife and two daughters just returned from a cruise on the Safari Quest beginning in Seattle and cruising North in the San Jauns, Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and all the way to Princess Louisa Inlet. We were very lucky as the weather was spectacular for the entire trip and the waters were calm. On the NEGATIVE side, the itinerary is nice but lacks substance and activity. Much of your day is spent steaming to the next port or attraction and that means a lot of down time. The sites and scenery are wonderful and mesmerizing but little time to look for mammals and sea creatures. The visit to Ganges Harbor is a waste of time. Friday Harbor is nice and we would have liked more time there. Princess Louisa Inlet in the highlight of the trip and yet we only spent one night and one morning there because it is so far North. The cabins on the first and second decks are small as you would expect but very nice and recommended. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms adequate and each has a very large double sliding glass door. The lower level (below the water line) cabins, four (4) of them, are not adequate and somewhat dangerous. There is really only one way out, a steep spiral stair, and no windows. They are hot and noisy. They put three handicap persons in three of the rooms which was very dumb. Because of the location of these rooms and the difficulty to exit them they should really canvas the possible guests and be sure to place them above the lower deck or not accept them at all. Also, the cruise line should greatly discount these rooms. On the plus side, the crew, the food and the service were wonderful. There were 18 passengers on board and a crew of 10, Captain, First Mate, Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Engineer, two cooks, and three stewards. We never wanted for anything and the food was plentiful. Drinks were included and always available. I can't say enough about the crew; they made the trip. The cook, SinGyn, was a character and served gourmet meals out of a very small galley kitchen. The Cruise Director, Lia, was very knowledgeable, professional, personable but not very accessible. She was always there when it was time to be there and always did her job very well but she did not mix with the passengers very well unlike Emily, Monica and Holly who were always talking with us and joking with us. Lia did a very good job, don't get me wrong, she just needs to loosen up a bit. Overall I would give the ship a 4.5 out of 5, the lower cabins a 2. I would give the crew a 5, the itinerary a 3.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I'm a yachtsman and was surprised and more than pleased that the captain, mate and engineer were willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. I was quite impressed with the state-of-the-art gear they have aboard and the ... Read More
I'm a yachtsman and was surprised and more than pleased that the captain, mate and engineer were willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. I was quite impressed with the state-of-the-art gear they have aboard and the bridge team's very close attention to the task at hand. You experience professionalism at every level on Safari Quest - the hotel staff made us feel right at home. Better than at home, I have to get up and get my own drinks at home and I never offer myself a cookie. Their job looks exhausting, but they never let a passenger think that they're working at all. The fact that my wife and I are on extreme diets tells the whole story on the excellence of the chef and the pastry chef. OMG - I have no self-control when confronted with delicacies like they prepared. The meals were right-sized, too. That's pretty unusual in American restaurants. The naturalist-guide-tour-director-boat-driver-kayak-coach is a star. If I could remember half of the important stuff she taught us, my head would explode. And she's a standout at customer service, fulfilling the "mother duck" mission as well as her many other roles with style and grace. If she were your daughter, you'd be very proud. We experienced some of the most beautiful country that BC and the San Juans have to offer in comfort and style. If it weren't for the requirement to work, I'd sign up for another cruise next week.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was my first cruise of any kind and I'm afraid I'll have to stay with Un-Cruise for my future trips. I was on their smallest ship, the 22 passenger Quest. We were not full so there were fewer than 2 passengers for each crew ... Read More
This was my first cruise of any kind and I'm afraid I'll have to stay with Un-Cruise for my future trips. I was on their smallest ship, the 22 passenger Quest. We were not full so there were fewer than 2 passengers for each crew member. The crew was friendly, welcoming and helpful. Cabin was very comfortable; memory foam mattresses, heated floors in the bathrooms. Common areas were very spacious and homey. Activities were varied and plentiful. With a group so small, there is no need for sign-up sheets for activities. We could all kayak together if we wanted. The crew brought provisions on shore and we had happy hour at the base of Chatterbox falls with a bonfire while Monica serenaded us with Irish tunes on her fiddle. A terrific end to a most wonderful day. The food was plentiful and well prepared. You can't go hungry. Freshly baked cookies in the afternoon. Desserts with lunch as well as dinner. There was a choice of both a meat and seafood entrée at dinner, or you could have some of both. The chef had no problem satisfying special orders, whether it was for food allergies or personal preferences, he'd make it just for you. I can highly recommend Un-Cruise and can say without doubt that I will be sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I love Holland America. Embarkation - I rate this a C. Honestly, I felt they got us on the ship late, (12:00p) and it was really disorganized. No one knew the boarding was numbered and everyone rushed up to try and get in. The lady ... Read More
I love Holland America. Embarkation - I rate this a C. Honestly, I felt they got us on the ship late, (12:00p) and it was really disorganized. No one knew the boarding was numbered and everyone rushed up to try and get in. The lady who was organizing it was doing her best and keeping everyone informed, but it seemed like it could have been done a lot better. Once I was on the ship, I had the pool all to myself for the first hour, even after eating a quick lunch. The food in the Lido was great and the fruit was excellent. The music was pretty good and it was a good feeling to be in the pool on a beautiful Seattle sunny day. The emergency drill was easy, took about 20 minutes. the Casino didn't open till about midnight, Texas Hold em tounry started right after that. I didn't like the electronic style. I felt the breakfast pancakes were not very good, but the rest of the food was great. The Staff was amazing, I had open dining and sat with 7 other wonderful people. After dinner, did Kareokee in the Queens Lounge, then on to the piano bar for a few drinks. A double Rum and coke was 15 dollars and it seemed a bit watered down even though it seemed like he filled the whole glass full of rum. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We had taken a flight into Seattle that arrived around 11 AM, and took the light rail to the Westlake Center - easy, and about 30 minutes. It is a longish walk from the baggage carousels but level, and well sign posted. We left our ... Read More
We had taken a flight into Seattle that arrived around 11 AM, and took the light rail to the Westlake Center - easy, and about 30 minutes. It is a longish walk from the baggage carousels but level, and well sign posted. We left our suitcases at the Mayflower Park Hotel (with some discussion - we had e-mailed but they couldn't find it) since we were staying there on the return from Vancouver - and went off to Serious Pie for lunch & a little shopping. The cab dropped us off close to 2:45 PM which I guess was cutting it a bit close - there was no line & we ended up dragging our suitcases the whole time, since as others have posted, there is apparently no baggage drop off on one nighters. We dodged the photo line just inside the gangway, and were directed to the atrium elevators. Arriving at our cabin we discovered twin beds despite our cruise personalizer clearly stating "queen". The room steward was adamant that we had specified twin, until we showed him the print out. Once that was taken care of, we read in the Patter that Muster was scheduled for 3:15PM, not 3:30 as we had guessed....so really not much time to unpack if we had wanted to. After Muster, we dropped off the life jackets and headed topside, since the weather was great and we had never done a Sail Away from Seattle with sun. The Sail Away Party was going great guns with drinks, music and line dancing around the central pool area. We decided to explore the ship and ran into DS-in-law who was taking the one nighter in an interior cabin as an inexpensive way to get to Vancouver. While topside DH grabbed an ice cream cone - a favorite Princess amenity - and we got some food from the Horizon Court. The food was ok - not particularly outstanding, but not terribly awful also. Later we found out the menu was essentially the same in the Dining Room, so we passed on dinner. The entertainment didn't appeal, and we were tired from the pre-trip & pre-cruise preparations & travel, so we just enjoyed our cabin with a little music, reading & knitting. We didn't feel the need to try everything although I did check out the shops & found the Princess Sea Witch bead & spend my remaining on board credit (from being a CCL shareholder). Embarkation was delayed due to Canadian customs & the fact that there were several other ships in port. One big snafu was holding us on 6, and then having us disembark on 7.....not good planning. You either relayed your bags up one flight, or waited for the jammed elevators. Once off, there was another line up just to get to the Customs desk, but once past that you were out. We took a taxi to the rental car company & headed out to Whistler, via the Sea to Sky highway with a detour to Grouse Mountain. The weather was sunny, but turned cloudy on the way. Final Sapphire grade - ok as transportation to Vancouver. Nothing really outstanding - service, food or entertainment-wise. Ship-wise - smaller than the Crown & Star but still very nice. No International Cafe which we missed. Passengers were a mix of Canadians & US citizens, with quite a few families, and a few bachelor, girlfriend weekend parties. Despite the party atmosphere, there was minimal noise in the hallways late at night. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We took this cruise as a quick weekend getaway to, well, get away from the teenagers. We took the Amtrak Cascades train down to Seattle from Vancouver the evening before which I found to be a very enjoyable way to get down there. We left ... Read More
We took this cruise as a quick weekend getaway to, well, get away from the teenagers. We took the Amtrak Cascades train down to Seattle from Vancouver the evening before which I found to be a very enjoyable way to get down there. We left at 545 pm and arrived in Seattle right around 10 pm. We had a Doubletree hotel room booked through Priceline near the airport for a very good price so all in all it was going to be a fairly cheap trip. We decided to be adventurous and we took the light rail out to the airport from the King St. station. The light rail station was just around the corner from the train station so it was quick and easy to get to. We then took the shuttle from the airport to the hotel with out any problems. The next day we took the light rail back into the city then the transit bus out to Pier 91 for the cruise. It was certainly an interesting ride through the downtown core - a little too interesting - next time we'll take a cab. The walk from the bus stop to the pier was longer than I initially thought (as it's a long walk from the port entrance to the check-in) which wasn't helped by the luggage pull handle having just broken meaning the small but increasingly heavy suitcase had to be carried all the way. We arrived at approximately 1pm for a 4pm sailing. Upon arrival we were directed to stand in a very long line-up - out the door and almost to the end of the drop-off zone. Once allowed through the doors you stayed in another long zig-zagging line to wait to get to the escalator. Once allowed up the escalator the process ran fairly smoothly through security and check in at the counter. Another line-up on the gangway to get on the ship and we finally made it. I asked one of the staff on land why the line up was so long (with no line up to speak of for the Holland America ship right next door) and he stated that with normal cruises people arrive in a staggered fashion but with one day cruises everyone tends to arrive all at once. All in all not a very pleasant process. I had expected that we would be able to drop off our bags and have them taken on board but it seems that we were expected to carry on our bags as I never saw any signs or areas where bags could be dropped nor was it ever mentioned to us. After dropping our bags in our room (all cabins were available upon boarding) we headed up to the lido deck and the buffet for some lunch. Another disappointment in that I thought I had read that the anytime dining restaurants would be open for lunch but it turns out the buffet was the only dining option available. Well you can imagine almost 2700 people arriving fairly close together with only one dining option. The lines were long, food ran out with people waiting in more lines for the stations to be refilled and the entire room stifling hot. Staff as can be expected were extremely busy and overrun but stayed affable and courteous. Unfortunately the food was not nearly as good as we expected and we were very disappointed with it. It filled us up but we got no real satisfaction with the meal. Shortly after the muster drill was held and was well organized and efficient. After the drill we set sail for Vancouver. The crowd on board was definitely in the mood to party and overall everyone was friendly and having a good time. We managed to explore most of the ship and though decent I thought the layout felt a little crowded. For dinner we attended the main dining room for what I thought was assigned seating. According the maitre d on one night cruises it is faster for them to seat on a first come first serve basis so the table number on our card meant nothing - though there was another line up to get into the dining room. I am not a dress slob but I did expect people who wanted to dine in the main dining room to at least wear a collar shirt - if not then more casual options were available. We were a little dismayed to see men in t-shirts and jeans and women in tank tops and sweats entering the room. We were initially directed to a table with several women in sweats but the maitre d, perhaps sensing our apprehension sat us at a different table. We ended up sitting with two women from Vancouver and a man from L.A. who were very enjoyable table mates. The dinner was much better than lunch though my wife did not like the Lobster and shrimp (I think) pate - it was tasteless and had a horrible consistency. The rest of the food was very good - not excellent but very good. After dinner we attended the show which we both liked. The ship ended up going under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver shortly after midnight so we stood on the top deck, wondered how it would fit under the bridge along with several others, and smiled as the bridge passed seemingly mere feet above us. We watched as the captain maneuvered the ship into the Canada Place Pier on the East side. Now it doesn't look that small an area from the land but standing on deck as the ship was maneuvered into position and you get a very different perspective. We docked shortly after 1 am so off to bed for us. We heard from another friend who happened to take the same cruise that her group ended up partying to 5 in the morning in the sky-view bar. The cabin was fine, well laid out and everything where it should be. The cabin attendant was great - he called us by name every time after meeting us for the first time. Disembarkation was held up by our Customs and Border Services Agency which is beyond the ships control but upon releasing our group we left the ship only to stand in another long line up. I think it would have been better to have the guests wait in the holding areas (normally the restaurants) a bit longer to avoid the long line ups - it certainly would have been more comfortable sitting and chatting than standing in the line up. Overall a nice getaway marred slightly by the poor embarkation and lunch experience. I had taken an RCC cruise some years ago and this cruise did not match my memory of our first cruise - perhaps I romanticize that one more as I did get engaged on it but I definitely remember the food being better. We have our next cruise booked on Celebrity so will have another line to compare to. I think many people take a one nighter to see how they like cruising but I don't think it's very representative of the whole experience. If Princess wants to interest people in cruising more effort needs to be placed on these short cruises to encourage people to return. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I was determined to try a Holland America ship after our cruise to Alaska last year on Princess. Princess has always treated us very well, but when we docked in Victoria next to HAL's Amsterdam, the ship just looked so elegant. ... Read More
I was determined to try a Holland America ship after our cruise to Alaska last year on Princess. Princess has always treated us very well, but when we docked in Victoria next to HAL's Amsterdam, the ship just looked so elegant. Reviews of the fleet, the service, and the food confirmed my impressions, so we booked a test run on a 1 day sail from Seattle to Vancouver. Pre-board: Documents and luggage tags arrived via email as expected, but what was missing was information about boarding time. Because I routinely visit cruise forums, I had heard that boarding would be late on this sailing due to maritime testing. Unfortunately for MANY passengers, this message was not conveyed. Even a call to HAL on the day of sailing produced incorrect information. The CSA said that boarding would begin at 11:30. When I mentioned I had heard there would be a delay, she then took my information and said boarding would be at 4 PM, but we might be able to board as early as 1 PM. I believe they called the first group of passengers at 3:30 to begin boarding. Room: We were in 1883 (ocean view - Dolphin). The room felt spacious compared to a comparable room on Princess and the tub was wonderful! However, this was probably the only area where I felt like HAL outdid Princess. Decor: Oh boy. From the exterior, HAL's Zaandam looks elegant, classic, and timeless. The inside told a different story. Faded fuchsia and yellow paint spatter carpets, beveled smoked mirrored walls, gaudy stone statues and masks that looked like they came from one of those yard art roadside stands, and that inexplicable three story silver-toned organ that completely overwhelmed the atrium... it was all very tacky. On the positive side, I thought the dining room was lovely, the library/Internet area was beautiful, the Lido was nicely done, and the cabin was very tasteful. Food: It wasn't awful, it wasn't amazing. We ate dinner in the main dining room and breakfast at the Lido. We also sampled some snacks at the coffee bar. For desert, I had ordered something called "The Big Blitz". While it was tasty, the presentation was not thrilling - a lone piece of pie (broken crust) on a plate minimally drizzled with caramel sauce. No topping, no flair. Princess seems to always go the extra mile with presentation, so this was a disappointment. The Lido was just odd! I've never not been able to serve myself in a buffet before unless someone was prepping an omelette for me or cutting meat. They wouldn't even let you pour your own coffee or grab a blueberry muffin. That said, there was good variety and the french toast was quite good. Service: Service seemed really poor. No one was terribly friendly, unfortunately. Our room steward would quietly knock and then immediately walk in the room without pause. The morning of debarkation, he told me that we should be off the ship even though they had not yet called our group and our scheduled time was still more than an hour away. When I told him what group we were in, he seemed confused and muttered something about having to go check. He never returned. Service in the dining room was polite at best. Not friendly and fairly abrupt. Receiving a drink in the Crow's Nest was slow. From order to delivery was a 20 minute process and I later heard other passengers complaining. I think HAL missed a really good opportunity with this sailing to gain future cruisers. However, all of the passengers we spoke with had a similar experience to ours and were also using this as a way to see if HAL was a good fit for them for future cruises. Unfortunately, I didn't talk to one person who said they would sail on HAL again. I am not sure if this was typical of a HAL cruise or if things were off because of the odd 1 night sail. That said, there is never an excuse for poor customer service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We decided to take a quick 1 night cruise to Vancouver BC as part of an anniversary celebration. After checking with the HAL office in Seattle, we found we could board early, eat lunch and then relax on board before we set sail. Alas, it ... Read More
We decided to take a quick 1 night cruise to Vancouver BC as part of an anniversary celebration. After checking with the HAL office in Seattle, we found we could board early, eat lunch and then relax on board before we set sail. Alas, it was not to be. After scrambling to catch an early morning flight as planned, we were met by security officials at the terminal who said that boarding the ship had been postponed by the Coast Guard. After entering the terminal around 11am, we had to pay to have our luggage stored (adding more insult to injury). We were then directed to check in. As we checked in, we were told that we had been notified about this delay (we had not). A one page written explanation was provided to us. Apparently the ship had "gained weight" (don't we all in middle age?). This had been noted during the last time the ship was in dry dock. As part of licensing procedures, additional testing was needed. The incline test requires that there be no additional weight on board (translation - passengers, food and most of the crew). Engineering crew remained on board along with a few others, we were told. Some informal networking while enduring the 5 hour wait with fellow passengers (and some HAL employees) revealed that this indeed was known fairly well in advance, but was never disclosed to us during the booking phase. With all the information the cruise lines have for each passenger (cell phone, email, etc), the bigger question remains of why they couldn't send a text or email advising of the delay as the airlines will often do. Embarking procedures eventually occurred. The waiting was long and uncomfortable. Many people had to sit on the floor. The terminal reminded me and my husband of Ellis Island (but in reverse). HAL provided water and sympathy, as well as a free bus ride into/out of downtown Seattle to help pass the time. We were told to go get lunch (on our own), which we did. Once on board, the rest of the evening was rushed, with many services missing or incomplete. This experience was not what we had hoped for. During our wait to disembark, we counted at least 5 different groups of staff who came into our room to check on various things (mini-bar, water, linens, bed, etc.). The room stewards came in and asked if they could make up the bed (no problem!), but instead left bundled linens on the bed,towels in the bathtub and left without further discussion. Our check out assignment time had been assigned the prior evening, so we were a little surprised (and annoyed) with all of the interruptions. We just gave up and left the ship early. We guess that is what they wanted, anyway. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We just got off of the one night party cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. The weather for departure couldn't have been better. Loading was fast and smooth. We arrived at 11:15 (had to get the rental car back) and were on the ship by ... Read More
We just got off of the one night party cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. The weather for departure couldn't have been better. Loading was fast and smooth. We arrived at 11:15 (had to get the rental car back) and were on the ship by noon. The room was ready and our upgrade from a BD balcony guarantee to a BA was perfect - the balcony was huge. Lunch and dinner were great. The comedian was a little disappointing so we emptied our pockets into the casino - no surprize there - but we stayed up very late had fun, just like everyone else. Therein lies the problem. Since it was only a one-nighter EVERYONE made the most of it, staying up late and sleeping in until 8am when we had to be out of our rooms. THEN EVERYONE went for breakfast. The lineups for the buffet were literally out the doors and into the pool area. To make things worse, we had to have our luggage with us and couldn't carry food and luggage, so I stayed at the table and waited - over 1/2 an hour - while DH got breakfast. And then it was my turn to wait in line - still over 1/2 hour to make it into the buffet. So MOST people missed their early call times to be off the ship. Which lead to the next nightmare - customs. I was talking to one of the princess staff while waiting in line and she said that when they started departures at 7:30 almost no one showed up but by 9am the line up was so long that they had to send people away. Normally departures are controlled by the departure time you are assigned, but there was no controlling this sleepy crowd. We were all late for breakfast and late off the ship. Someone on last week's one nighter reported the same thing. There were a lot of first time cruisers on board, and they certainly DIDN'T get a good impression at the end to what could have been a great trip. Suggestion to Princess for future one nighters - ACCEPT the fact that on a one night party cruise, people will NOT be up early. You obviously have no control over that fact, so WORK WITH IT and make everyone's trip more pleasant. If you are going to have a one nighter: 1. plan for late risers from all aspects 2. suggest that passengers need to be fully packed up so that the rooms can be cleaned, but allow them to leave their luggage in the rooms to be picked up after breakfast and clean around them - some passengers did that and their attendants were fine with it. 3. Plan for a later embarkation of the following cruise. I know that some early risers will read this and say it is all our own faults. Well, yes, but you can expect people to make the most of a one night cruise, and Princess can either work with human nature and make it work, or they can expect discipline and have nightmare departures. By the way, on our last princess cruise - a 12 nighter - departure was perfect - the smoothest ever. One nighters are a whole different game. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Pacific Northwest ms Amsterdam September 20-24, 2010 Background Information: Last year I won $3,000 on a state lottery scratch off ticket, and immediately began searching for a cruise to spend it on. Normally I cruise by myself in an ... Read More
Pacific Northwest ms Amsterdam September 20-24, 2010 Background Information: Last year I won $3,000 on a state lottery scratch off ticket, and immediately began searching for a cruise to spend it on. Normally I cruise by myself in an interior cabin, but this time I thought I'd treat my sister to a much deserved vacation and splurge a bit on the accommodations. Imagine my surprise when I realized that for just a few hundred dollars more than I'm used to paying for a solo inside or outside cabin, I was able to book an SB Deluxe Suite for the two of us on a 4-day Pacific Northwest itinerary on the Amsterdam out of Seattle. Seattle Pre- and Post-Cruise: Neither of us had ever been to Seattle, so we got to play tourist. I was able to gather a lot of useful information from the West Coast Departures board here at Cruise Critic. Using Hilton Honors points, I booked a room for one night before and one night after the cruise at the Hilton Hotel at 6th and University. The Hilton was within walking distance of most of the downtown attractions and transit stations. The morning of the cruise, we strolled through Pike Place Market and bought postcards for family and friends back home. On the way back to the hotel, we spotted the IGA Kress grocery store and each of us purchased a bottle of wine to take onboard with us. The IGA is less expensive than the specialty wine stores you find in the downtown area. The day we returned from the cruise, we checked back into the Hilton and got rid of our suitcases, then walked down to Westlake Center to catch the Monorail to the Space Needle. After coming back to Westlake, we walked to the Transit Tunnel on Pine and caught a bus to Pioneer Square. Taxi rides to and from Pier 91 ran us about $15 each way. If you're flying into Sea-Tac and staying at one of the downtown hotels, I recommend using the Grey Line Downtown Airporter. The shuttle costs about $25 round trip compared to $32 each way for a taxi. Embarkation: Embarkation at Pier 91 was easy and organized. This is where we experienced our first Deluxe Suite perk - priority embarkation. Deluxe Suite passengers had their own check-in window, and we were able to bypass the lines waiting to board the ship. Ship: This was my first time on the Amsterdam, but having previously sailed on some of HAL's R and S class ships, I was familiar with the overall layout and deck plan. Everything appeared to be spotless and in good working order. Cabin: The first words out of my sister's mouth when we opened the door of the suite were "I can't believe how big it is"! Our SB suite was probably twice the size of our hotel room in Seattle. The bathroom was huge by cruise ship standards, with a spacious shower. We made full use of the veranda, as well as the desk, sofa, coffee table, and bar area. There was more than enough drawer and closet space for even a 7 or 10 day cruise. Having the separate dressing room was helpful when we were getting ready to go out in the morning or before dinner. One of us could be in the bathroom while the other one was getting dressed or putting on make-up. Our cabin stewards were Dudi and Harris, and both of them were friendly, helpful, and efficient. Deluxe Suite Amenities: The concierges in the Neptune Lounge (Daphnae and Sienna) helped us with a shorex change, as well as ordering pre-dinner appetizers one night. It was nice walking down there for an early morning coffee and croissant or a quick mid-afternoon snack. Because of the short length of our cruise, we didn't take advantage of the free laundry service. The binoculars in the room were handy when we spotted a pod of whales one day within viewing distance of the ship. Deluxe Suite passengers are supposed to get breakfast served to them in the Pinnacle Grille. I knew from a another regular poster on the Cruise Critic HAL board that on the Amsterdam, breakfast for suite passengers is in the King's Room. I called the concierge to confirm this, and she said we had our own section in the main dining room. I was confused. So, the first morning, we went to the main dining room (Deck 5) where we could see passengers being seated. The waiter told us to go down to the lower level (Deck 4). The waiter on the lower level asked us our cabin #. He said since we were in a deluxe suite, we needed to go to the upper level! So back up the stairs we went. I think the original waiter was a bit chagrined at having banished us to the lower level. Anyway, it was very odd that our private dining area turned out to be the upper level of the main dining room. I really don't know why they even bothered. The Pinnacle Grille (or even the King's Room) would have been a bit special, but on our sailing that particular suite perk turned out to be very ordinary. Ports and Shore Excursions: Our itinerary consisted of a day at sea, Astoria, OR, Victoria, BC, and then back to Seattle. In both Astoria and Victoria, we took HAL shore excursions. The Historic Astoria & Fort Clatsop tour included stops at the Astoria Column, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and Lewis & Clark's winter camp. I was very surprised at how interesting the Maritime Museum was. I had no idea how dangerous the area is where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. In Victoria we took the Short City Drive and Butchart Gardens tour. The Gardens were spectacular. Originally I had booked the Victoria Walking Tour because HAL wasn't offering any excursions to Butchart Gardens, and neither was Grey Line. When we boarded the ship, I happened to glance at the shorex order form in our cabin and noticed that tours had been added, so I had the concierge exchange the tickets for me. I highly recommend both tours. They were interesting and informative, and it was a lot easier having someone else drive us around rather than trying to figure out on our own how to get to the various points of interest. Activities and Entertainment: It was a good thing I brought my sister with me and we had the veranda, because there was a real lack of onboard activities and entertainment on this cruise. We spent 3 afternoons sitting on the veranda drinking wine and watching the go by. The sea day was the only day there was a good mix of onboard activities to choose from. In Astoria and Victoria, it would have been nice to have something to do on the ship when we got back from our shore excursions. There was a lot of time to kill before getting ready for dinner at 8 pm. The first night's entertainment in the Queen's Lounge featured a ventriloquist. We didn't attend because it started before we were done with dinner. The second night was a Broadway production show with the HAL singers and dancers wearing Bob Mackie designed costumes. The costumes were gorgeous and definitely a cut above what you normally see in this type of show. Third night was another production show with the same group of singers and dancers that showcased songs from different rock eras. The last night's entertainment was a movie, which I thought was rather poor on HAL's part. With Seattle and Vancouver so close, I would have thought they could have brought in a comedian, or a piano player, or a singer to fill the bill. Rather than watch the movie, we went up to the Crow's Nest where a young woman playing a guitar was attempting to sing, but was not being very successful at it. Service: This ship had some service issues, which I attribute to the staff not being fully engaged in what they were doing. The cruise after ours was a 69-day Asia and Australia cruise, followed by the World Voyage. It seemed as though their mental energy was directed towards preparing for what was ahead of them rather than focusing on the task at hand, which was us. As an example, on the next to the last night, our wine steward announced that someone else would be filling in for him on the last night. The reason he gave was that he had to start working on the alcoholic beverage order for the World Cruise. His replacement on the last night told my sister he could no longer honor her wine card. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. My sister insisted that since she had purchased the wine card for this specific cruise and the cruise didn't end until the next day, he needed to bring her a glass a wine. In fairness to the wine steward, he said he would check with his supervisor and ended back up at our table with a glass of merlot in hand. An incident like the one I just related has never happened to me on any my previous HAL cruises. It can be very off putting to someone new to HAL and can leave a bad first impression. There were other instances where service just wasn't up to the usual HAL standards. Taken individually they may seem insignificant, but they add up and detract from the overall cruise experience. Food and Dining: We had late fixed seating in the upper level of the dining room and were seated at a 6-top with two married couples. They were a lot of fun and made dinnertime enjoyable and something to look forward to. I found the food to be average to good. The biggest drawback was a lack of appealing entrees on the dinner menu. With the exception of one night, when there were four entrees I was interested in, there just wasn't anything that jumped out at me. Our waiter was Aziz, who was unobtrusive with a dry sense of humor. We ate one lunch in the Lido, which I find to be madness and mayhem since HAL did away with the trays and organized everything into individual stations. I don't like having to forage for my food. Disembarkation: Since we weren't flying home the same day we disembarked, there was no rush to get off the ship. We hung around our cabin until a little after 9:00 am, and then walked off and picked up our luggage. My sister commented on how nice it was not to have to sit in one of the public areas for hours waiting for our luggage tag color to be called. Just like embarkation, the process was smooth and organized. Things we didn't have/didn't get on this cruise - Master Chef's Dinner (thank God for small favors!), formal night, commemorative tiles, postcards of ship, Baked Alaska, and lobster (not even a prawn in lieu of a lobster tail). I didn't realize until I returned home that I didn't get a postcard. I keep a cruise book where I put a picture postcard of each ship along with my room key. I'm sure one of the cabin stewards or the concierge could have found one for me if I had asked. Summary: Overall a nice, short, relaxing cruise with an interesting itinerary. You can't beat a Deluxe Suite, which, along with the ports, was the highlight of this cruise for me. Food, activities and entertainment, and the staff's full engagement were somewhat lacking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The Golden Princess is a lovely ship. To us, it was huge. By the next morning we felt we were doing pretty good in learning our way around the ship. There is a certain amount of having to go up and down to get to the dining room, for ... Read More
The Golden Princess is a lovely ship. To us, it was huge. By the next morning we felt we were doing pretty good in learning our way around the ship. There is a certain amount of having to go up and down to get to the dining room, for example. Embarkation was quick and easy. The buffet lunch on the Lido was welcome. Sadly we were delayed about 2 hours waiting for several hundred Canadians coming from Vancouver. We got a bang out of "Sail Away" by Enya being played. The Seattle skyline was impressive, even with all the clouds around. We had dinner in the dining room with a private party. I don't recall which of the 2 dining rooms it was. The food was okay. We thoroughly enjoyed the stage show. For the first time ever, my husband and I had a cabin with a balcony. We enjoyed watching the passing scene. We were disappointed it was dark when we got to Whidbey Island, because we were looking forward to seeing it from the sea. Many times we have watched cruise ships passing. We loved being on our balcony to see the arrival in Vancouver, and watching the sun come up. We have been to Vancouver many times, had not seen it from this vantage point of our own balcony. Many years ago we had stood on deck arriving from an Alaskan cruise. The breakfast buffet on the Lido was great. Disembarkation went smoothly. Directions were a little hazy for getting to our motorcoach for the transfer back to Seattle, but we got there easily enough. The driver and other staff gave us welcoming smiles. All the staff we met were friendly and helpful. Our only regret about taking this cruise was that it was not long enough! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Background: This is DH's and my 11th sail with NCL and we combined this little overnighter after taking Norwegian Star on her 7-day Sawyer Glacier cruise. We stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn at Sea-Tac as we were flying back in ... Read More
Background: This is DH's and my 11th sail with NCL and we combined this little overnighter after taking Norwegian Star on her 7-day Sawyer Glacier cruise. We stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn at Sea-Tac as we were flying back in from Vancouver (they allow up to 4 days parking with a one night stay and have a shuttle from the airport). We took a town car from the hotel to the pier ($45). We have sailed the Norwegian Pearl 3 other times: Glacier Bay, 5-day Coastal and 19-day Panama Canal reposition. So far Norwegian Star and Norwegian Pearl are our favorite ships and crews. Embarkation: Even though we were in a mini-suite, so no VIP check-in, we were whisked right to the Latitudes desk, checked in and were on board within 20 minutes. (We arrived about 11:00.) Our first course of action was to book dinner reservations and leave notes for friends at the front desk. Of course the 'drink of the day' was in order by the pool, but it was still chilly outside so we went to the buffet for lunch and sat in La Cuchina to eat where only a couple of officers were dining. Nice and quiet. Then we had another 'drink of the day' for a matching set of glasses (I'm kidding), on the aft deck where the sun was now shinging. It was then announced we could go to our cabins and we made our way aft to our mini-suite on deck 11, port corner. We met our Cabin Stewards and they fulfilled a small request and then said they'd be back about 8:00 for cabin turn-down. I like to shower before dinner, which I did, but the turn-down never happened and our calls were not answered, so downside is that I dried the next morning with a hand towel (more on that about the cabin). Cabin: We were in a cabin for the handicapped as DH has some physical limitations and we thought we'd give it a try. The cabin is extra large, has emergency call buttons everywhere (even on the headboard of the bed), has a ramp up to the deck which also has an extra railing to securely grasp. The deck door is operated by push button both inside and out; it's a little slow, so if it's windy it could be a problem. The closet has a pull down handle, so if you are wheelchair bound, you can still get to your clothing. There are 3 large drawers and lots of open storage. There is ample room to move a wheelchair or walker around and probably a Little Jazzy (or other brand) as well. Electrical outlets were everywhere to accommodate breathing machines, etc., so that was really nice for all of our electronics. Now the down side if you are not handicapped (that would be me): The bathroom is spacious, the mirror over the sink can be adjusted up or down and the toilet is extra high (I'm short). The real downside for me was the shower; I could never get water hot enough and even with towels around the drains the entire floor gets soaked. That's how I came to dry myself the next morning with a hand towel. Needless to say we did not leave a tip, but did leave an explanation as to why. Photos: So far Norwegian Pearl has the best photographers and we decided to dress for dinner and take advantage of the opportunity. We were not disappointed. On the way to photos we ran into Dave Lange, Safety Officer, whom we had dined with on our Panama trip last fall. He did remember us and we chatted for a few minutes. It was nice to see him again and I reminded him to 'mind his English' or he'd be in the naughty room (if you ever meet me, I'll tell you the story). He laughed and said he'd try! Dining: We were hungry for Cagney's and this is the nicest Cagney's on any of the ships yet. I had Oysters Rockefeller, a small salad and lobster, which was just delicious. DH had the salmon and King crab and said his was delicious too. The sun was just setting and the water was like glass; I believe we were sailing about 5 knots, so the view of the sunset over the Olympic Mountains was wonderful. After dinner we stopped by the Star Bar but nothing was going on, so I called one of my friends on board and we met in Star Bar for a drink while DH went back to the cabin. My friend arranged for us to have breakfast in Cagney's in the morning, which is always a treat. You know who you are and we thank you. Entertainment: By the time we made it for some jazz, it was all over, so we ordered a glass of wine and listened to Karaoke and I even gave it a try (big mistake—the guy that sang with me didn't know the song!)...which made it hilarious, to say the least. And then it was back to a cabin that had not been turned down. No fresh towels, nothing...and no one would answer their phone, including the front desk. Ah well...at least we slept well, listening to the beautiful wake of the ship. After a quick shower and packing we headed to Cagney's for breakfast. It was then about 8:00, when we were to disembark, but for some reason we were not cleared until almost 9:00. I stood in the lobby of Cagney's for a while and a waiter from the night before came up to talk to me and we danced a little mambo before he twirled me to the elevators with the promise to dance in February. Before disembarking I called my friend to say good-bye until our next meeting. Disembarkation was a breeze and we passed our past Concierge (Karan) on our way out. Now picture trying to hug as one is going down the elevator while the other is running up the steps! He finally gave up and came back down the stairs! We told him of our February plans and that fits with his schedule too. So...Karan, Denis and Captain Lars (we missed seeing you—that old jet lag again!), we'll see you in February! Getting home: DH is now a retired airline employee and all flights were booked or oversold until at least 8 p.m., so Budget needed a car driven to Seattle, which we did. Arrived SEA about 5:30 (long border wait) and then grabbed our car, a quick dinner and a big coffee for me (the driver) and headed to Portland, arriving 9:30 p.m. A long day, but good to be back home (even if the cat did yell at us all night!). All in all it was a nice little sail and moved us up a level in Latitudes before we sail again next month. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Embarkation - This was my first time EVER using the Bell Street Pier (#66) in Seattle and I actually thought it was okay, although parts of it were strangely laid out. We got our luggage dropped off and got inside. We were about 40 minutes ... Read More
Embarkation - This was my first time EVER using the Bell Street Pier (#66) in Seattle and I actually thought it was okay, although parts of it were strangely laid out. We got our luggage dropped off and got inside. We were about 40 minutes early for boarding, but lots of chairs and they had juice and water if I saw right. On the way in, we had to go through the photographers (we just said no thanks) but they wouldn't let us pass those that wanted to stop and have theirs done because "that would be cutting in line"... Only a minor annoyance though... No biggie. Got on and started exploring. One of my friends we went with had been on the Star before and knew the layout pretty well. GOOD LUCK finding the Aqua restaurant if you're new to the ship though... we were right in front of it, and it still took a minute to see it. (The entrance is wedged into the middle of a bank of elevators) Decor - I love the metal art deco style pieces over the elevator banks, and the wood paneling along the corridors (even if it's faux, it still made the ship look classy.) I've never seen a ship with an atrium more than 3 decks tall so this was kind of cool too. The public rooms were all quite elegant and inviting. However, once NCL got the ceilings, walls, lights, linens, etc I think they remembered they were on a budget, because even from a Vegas or cruise ship approach, most of the carpet was just horrendous. Lifeboat Drill - Yeah, they had one on the 1-day (funny as most predicted NCL wouldn't and the Volendam would the next day... they didn't...) but in doing so I got to see a different line go through their motions. I think the life jackets are MUCH better designed. More compact, easier to figure out (not that they're difficult, but compare the 2 and HAL's lifejackets are borderline logic puzzles) The requested quiet on deck with no talking, drinking or smoking and everyone complied. They stand you all in rows of 4 and it was much easier for everyone to get by as this was going on. Not once did they have to remind everyone to be quiet (it happens EVERY drill I've done...), then before anyone left, they requested that everyone take their lifejacket off, fold it back and wrap the strap on it so it was compact again and then proceed back to the rooms to return them. Public rooms are open again, wash your hands, report gastro illness please... no charges for exams or medicine in these instances (HAL does the same, but doesn't mention no charges for it which I think freaks people out... not knowing how much it might be, they stay quiet about it and possibly spread it inadvertently) Ship Layout - Simply put, it wasn't HAL, and HAL is what I know... so it took a little while, but by the end I had it down. Dinner - La Trattoria is one of the optional restaurants with a charge, but only $10, and the food was GREAT. I got the beef carpaccio which was decent, and the salmon scalloppini which was amazing. It was over a white bean ragout with ham, carrots and some other vegetables. I could do that dinner every night of the cruise on a longer one. No room for dessert by the end, but the choices sounded pretty good. Entertainment - The show was called "Band on the Run" and it was fantastic. It was a throwback to the 70s and while I enjoy the majority of the shows I've seen on HAL, and while "enjoyed" is a good thing, this show absolutely blew the mind of every single one of us in the group. The music variety was great, lots of costume changes, great singers, the level of energy and precision was right on and they got the audience involved. Simply amazing! The White Party - While it seemed a little gimmicky when I read about it on the website about 3 days before the cruise, and had NO clue it was actually going to BE ON this cruise, I had a phenomenal time. It was held in the Spinnaker Lounge which is directly above the bridge and forward at the top of the ship (like the Crow's Nest, all the way forward, lots of windows all around) During the day it seemed a little more mellow but was also the impromptu sailaway party location since the weather was crap. At the White Party they obviously encourage you to wear white... I could have planned better had I known it was happening, but I got by alright with what I brought for 2 1-day cruises. Lots of varying music, but mostly modern songs currently on the radio (some throwbacks to 70s 80s 90s and current) Ice sculptures all over, a SNOW BLOWER right above the dance floor. The atmosphere was amazing and we all had such a good time. We ended around 1:30 but I heard it went until after 4am... Blue Lagoon - Afterhours food available in the middle of the night. While by no means the best food I have had on a cruise ship, the fact I was able to order a spinach and artichoke dip and fish and chips and with my friend getting a grilled chicken sandwich and the food tasted pretty good and was up in less than 5 minutes, this was a great destination to round out the night. Souvenir Glasses (A CONSTANT annoyance) - Is it typical for NCL to basically tell you they "don't HAVE any glasses that aren't souvenir glasses"?? We got our first drinks off to the side of the waterslides under the covered area and they came in the tall plastic neon glasses and ran about $10. None of us wanted the glasses but we just took the "oh well, lesson learned approach" then we went up to the Bier Garten (I don't remember what time, sorry I missed everyone) and ordered my drink. He held up the same kind of glass as I didn't even keep the first time and said "8.95?" to which I replied "No thanks. A regular glass is fine." I get the drink in a little glass that couldn't have been more than 8-10 ounces and find out when I go to sign the receipt, this was a different souvenir glass with the Star's hull paint on it that is SEVEN ninety five... Feeling totally taken again I realized everything must be a souvenir glass unless it's just clear and steered away from the cocktails for a while and had Bud Light. Later after getting wine at the Star Bar right before our dinner at La Trattoria and enjoying a couple bottles with dinner with our group we went to the show. We ordered our drinks, specified REGULAR PLAIN GLASSES, NOT THE SOUVENIR KIND before the show started and waited quite a while. The guy came back JUST as the show was starting and they asked for no talking and handed us our drinks... in the tall, neon plastic glasses. Not in a position to argue during the show, we sucked it up once again. After some shopping we went to the SPinnaker Lounge until about 1:30 and my friends had a few run-ins with these glasses too. He would specify a plain clear glass and they'd put it in a souvenir glass. He'd call them on it and they'd put it in a plain glass, but then tried to charge him a higher price (by $1.50) for the exact same thing he'd been drinking all night and paid the same price for each time up til then. He called them on that, and I saw the guy give him an incredibly dirty look, then find someone to fix it. After seeing that display, I kept it to buckets of Bud Light the rest of the night between a few of us. There was absolutely no way they could try to do anything with that, and the wandering drink order guys in Spinnakers were AWESOME about making sure the aluminum bottles (which I found out the hard way aren't twist top like every other Bud Light in the world) were getting opened just as we needed them. To be continued, because we took this issue to the... Front Office: and they actually initiated contact with us as we went about $20 over our cash deposit we made the next morning. We told them we were finishing getting ready and would be there in 10-15 minutes. "Well, we're closing NOW" was the reply. My friend grabbed some more cash and ran down there since he WAS ready at the time. He mentioned he was happy to pay any overages (but explained the entire souvenir glass ordeal and that it was ridiculous) "Well we can't go around and talk to all the different servers and bartenders you had to see what happened, so you need to pay this. We're not adjusting it" He proceeded to explain he was happy to pay for every cocktail, beer, etc... but the extra couple dollars on every drink for stuff we weren't even keeping was ridiculous. He even said "and we didn't know the first time, as this is our first cruise on NCL... you can keep the charge on for that one... whatever..." to which the Supervisor type guy at the desk just repeated the amount we were over from our deposit... It was a messy, VERY awkward situation which could have put a damper on the whole night if the entertainment, White Hot Party and food in La Trattoria hadn't made up for it. The balcony room (10596) was also great, except the closet door came off the hinges the first time we opened it, and the deck chair was ripped to the point I was scared of sitting on it (Stuff happens though, no biggie with that, and the closet was fixed within a couple hours while we were gone) Disembarkation - It was a free for all, or so it seemed. We woke up, didn't get breakfast (not so hungry) and it seemed like there was no organization to it. The lines were HUGE and stretched all through the Grand Atrium. We just sat for a while until it mellowed out some then got in line once it was shorter and worked our way to the Canada Place Pier, to walk in a big circle and get right back on... the Volendam this time... More on that one later... Like I said... 1-10 scale this cruise would be an 8 or 8.5 and had SO much more potential for even better scores if not for the souvenir glass "BS" and the way the Front Office chose to handle it. A great time overall. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My wife and I along with two friends decided to take a weekend cruise to nowhere out of Seattle. The other couple we were with were completely new to cruising and my wife and I have only previously cruised on Disney. We thought it would be ... Read More
My wife and I along with two friends decided to take a weekend cruise to nowhere out of Seattle. The other couple we were with were completely new to cruising and my wife and I have only previously cruised on Disney. We thought it would be a great short get away to see what another line was like. When we boarded the ship I made a joke with wife that she needed to slap her wrist every time she started a sentence with "Well on Disney we did..." However, as the cruise progressed I realized just how superior service was on DCL. Overall I felt the ship was immaculate, the food was on par with other cruise lines, and the cabin was well appointed. The two major flaws with NCL were: 1.) Lack of information and abundance of misinformation. 2.) Freestyle cruising, while unique, lead to a lower level of overall quality service. The Website: A total waste of internet space. I find that the NCL website is completely unhelpful. At DCL you can check in for your cruise online, book shore excursions, reserve specialty restaurants, and even reserve kayaks at the private island. NCL only lets you print your edocs and reserve shore excursions. Embarkation: It was a complete nightmare. We arrived at port at 11:30 and started waiting in line. We eventually reached a sign that told us we were in the wrong line to check luggage and had to start our wait over again. After roughly two hours of waiting we were ready to board. The Cabin: We booked an oceanview knowing that it would most likely be far too cold to enjoy a balcony. The cabin was clean and well laid out. We had plenty of room and closet space for the two of us. The bathroom has a toilet that is separate from the shower, which makes it easier when multiple people that are getting ready in the morning. Our cabin steward was fantastic...but no towel animals? Really!? The Ship: The ship was extremely new, clean, and well constructed. Though I did not notice nearly as much maintenance going on as when I was on the Disney ship. at 93,000 tons, it was plenty big for us. Though, with cooler temperatures (more people below deck) and no ports of call, it felt very crowded at times. Bottom line, the Pearl was Beautiful. Dining: Some people love Freestyle and some don't. It's official - you can put me in the don't category. NCL makes Freestyle seem great. If I'm hungry, why not eat at the restaurant of your choice, perhaps with a minimal wait. How it actually goes - run around in the early morning to decide where you want to eat later and pray that you can make a reservation because the restaurants fill up to the point where you can't even wait for a table. I will say that some of the food we had was great and some...not so much. Cagney's fantastic and Mambo's was also very good. We felt like out visits to the buffet offered the same food every time and our lunch at the Blue Lagoon....terrible. Here is the biggest issue with Dining on Freestyle: tipping. On a non-freestyle cruise your server hitches their wagon to you and their tip depends on the level of service they give. Aboard the pearl we had some of the worst dining service on land OR sea. They were incapable of putting the right dish down in front of the right person. At one meal two of people in our party received their food around 10 minutes after the other. Ridiculous. I also was agitated that we had to hunt out where we had to make reservations for dinner. It changed every day. Why can't I make reservations at any kiosk? Summary: I am glad I got a chance to try another cruise line, but I most likely won't try NCL again unless we do an interisland Hawaiian. We'll stick with Disney when possible. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Some people refer to these coastals as 1-3 day "Booze Cruises" and I'm here to debunk that. Here's my recap (long overdue) of my Westerdam 1 day and if you have any Q's, PLEASE email me. I'll be happy to ... Read More
Some people refer to these coastals as 1-3 day "Booze Cruises" and I'm here to debunk that. Here's my recap (long overdue) of my Westerdam 1 day and if you have any Q's, PLEASE email me. I'll be happy to answer. ***** I've been on 2 1-Day coastals and have a 1 day and 2 3-day cruises set for this year. I not only think they're a blast but would hope that the fact I'm going on 5 within 2 years gives you some kind of idea. -Did they memorize my name? Actually they did. And we had a WONDERFUL conversation and ship tour with the Westerdam's Hotel manager, Ron Bontenbal. AMAZING guy by the way... -Did the bartenders remember my favorite cocktail? Yes they did. George in the Lido Bar on the Volendam and BJ at the Atrium Bar in the Westerdam were AMAZING friendly guys. They also knew every drink I ordered. Even some that I thought were totally abstract and maybe specific to the place I first had it... Not the case! -Was there anything going on in the Culinary Arts Center? No... but it was a ONE DAY CRUISE so I didn't expect anything to. (Plus I got a tour of the galley, the Pinnacle Grill, the main dining room and some other behind the scenes areas so I didn't even notice.) -Were the shows good? We missed the show on the Volendam, but the show "Grand Tour" on the Westerdam was phenomenal and because of some particular emotional ties to one of the songs, I even got a little emotional DURING it... Definitely brilliant! -The menu/dining room? Amazing as always. I've NEVER had a bad meal on these ships and only wish the previous sailings I've been on were more than one day to SEE if they remembered. (I'm sorta picky ) But our tablemates were great (and a GREAT cross section of America at our table of 10) -Was I completely and totally depressed I had to get off the following morning? OF COURSE! But it totally had me drooling and waiting to take another cruise. Due to the fact I work literally ALMOST EVERY DAY and it's at times hard to get time off work, I appreciate these cruises as they're affordable, easier to get time off and I can manage a 7 day cruise each year... even if over the course of a 6 month period... Plus, my mom has had some medical issues, didn't want to go super far from home or for a long time, but desperately wants to see a HAL ship. So that explains the return to the Oosterdam in September! It'll celebrate Her 60th, my 26th, my best friend's 26th and her friend's XXth (I don't know her ) The quality of service and entertainment is just as good as I've heard on every other person's 7-114 day cruise mentioned on here and consistent with Holland America experiences I'm had previously. I look forward to many more sailing with HAL and have 3 planned throughout 07 and am already planning something for the Eurodam's inaugural season once she comes across to North America! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006

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