85 Seattle Fitness Cruise Reviews

I decided to take vacations the last moment (needed a break from a stressful work assignment) so once I decided on the destination, an Alaska cruise, I got what was still available so it wasn't really a thorough choice. Some other ... Read More
I decided to take vacations the last moment (needed a break from a stressful work assignment) so once I decided on the destination, an Alaska cruise, I got what was still available so it wasn't really a thorough choice. Some other lines were selling out fast, the Norwegian Bliss still had a mini-suite (better accommodations were sold out) so I took it. This was my first cruise so I didn't know what to expect, but I was overall pleasantly surprised, with many ups, but also, there were a few downs. The good: the Norwegian Bliss is a very new ship, and it is tastefully decorated, with everything in top shape and working order. The service is unbelievable, with extremely friendly and helpful staff everywhere. We didn't have a single negative experience with the staff. We were impressed with how they were always willing to help, with a smile, and were very efficient, knowledgeable, and professional. The Norwegian Cruise Line must have an excellent training center for the staff! We felt pampered! Some of the food was surprisingly good. The La Cucina restaurant served one of the best Italian meals I've ever had, and I'm half-Italian (I'm a dual citizen of Italy and the United States), I know Italian cuisine very well. Food Republic was delicious with original items, very well-presented. Los Lobos was very tasty too, with Mexican food that benefits from a modern touch. The one meal we had at the complimentary Manhattan was excellent and almost as good as what we had in the paid specialty venues above. Breakfast at The Local was tasty and peaceful. The swimming pool area and the hot tubs were clean and pleasant, and never too crowded. The Observation Lounge is a very cool and relaxing space, and they have tasty snacks and a nice piano bar. I really enjoyed the cast of the musical Six (the other musical, Jersey Boys, I didn't attend because I had seen it already), and the Beatles cover band at The Cavern. A duo of Phillipino male pianist and female singer were excellent. The silent disco with earphones at the Social was cool. The bar that specializes in Mojitos was good too. The wine bar The Cellar was excellent, with very good tasting events, including lectures by a very knowledgeable sommelier. I've been studying and tasting wine for decades and still, he surprised me with some information that I didn't know. The stand-up comedians were very, very funny! My wife very much enjoyed the Spa. She had several treatments there, and found the staff to be competent, and with prices similar to what she pays elsewhere. I didn't frequent it. She also liked the Gym with Yoga and Aerobic classes. Gift shops were good; my wife gave me a beautiful Scuderia Ferrari watch and I gave her a nice necklace. These were both well-priced. Other guests were friendly, polite, and we had some nice conversations. Embarkation was easy and fast. Disembarkation, however, was rather slow, with long lines and long waiting times. The bad: The Norwegian Bliss, together with the similar Norwegian Joy, are two of the biggest ships in the business, and the elevators, 16 in total, were overwhelmed. Often, the elevators were full when they reached our deck, and we had to wait and wait for an opportunity to get in. This ship should have the double of the number of elevators they offer. It's a pity that obviously, this can't be changed. The architects should have planned it better: for a ship this size, add more elevators! Some of the food was rather mediocre. The two restaurants with the best reputation, Ocean Blue and Le Bistro, were paradoxically very weak. For example, I had a steak with five peppers at Le Bistro, and I had to abundantly add more pepper to get any flavor at all, and the meat was overcooked although I asked for medium rare. Again, I lived in Paris, France, for 5 years and I know French cuisine very well. Everything we had at Le Bistro was bland and a pale imitation of good French cooking. Ocean Blue was also rather unremarkable. We had better seafood in the other venues, as compared to this one that specializes in seafood. Weird. Two of the three main complimentary restaurants, Taste and Savor, were also very mediocre. The Garden Cafe serves a buffet, and the food there was rather unappealing as well, not to forget, it was very crowded and chaotic. A particular breakfast at Savor was almost disgusting, with a croissant with scrambled eggs that looked like it was microwaved, so mushy the croissant was, and Eggs Benedict that were pretty dry and chewy. Some of the live music was atrocious. First of all, the selection is geared towards Country and Pop, two genres I don't care for. There was absolutely no venue that played jazz. For a cruise line that is registered in the United States (as well as the Bahamas) and sails to and from mostly American cities (with the exception of Victoria, BC) with most guests being American, it is weird that they don't present at all the most quintessential American genre, jazz. I also enjoy classical music and there was none to be found. The blonde female pianist was terrible, often botching the musical lines. The rock band Blue 4, oh my God, they must be the worst I've ever heard! Slow, low energy, poor playing, and mediocre voices. I can't believe the cruise line can't find better musicians. As a matter of fact, in the talent show featuring members of the crew, there were two waiters who sang much better than most singers who were hired for the live music! It would be nice to have an indoor swimming pool for the cold weather. Apparently they do have one in The Haven, the upscale section of the ship, but it's only for the guests of that section, which was sold out when I booked my cruise. The shore excursions in general were expensive and not a good value. Some were enjoyable but others were rushed and confusing, including, it was hard to find the correct buses outside. Maybe it's the luck of the draw since there are so many options, but unfortunately some of the ones we picked weren't that great. We bought them from the cruise line website and later realized that the same excursions are offered elsewhere for much cheaper prices. Oh well, I guess next cruise I'll be smarter. A couple of them were good, though. The art auctions weren't good. We found most of the art being sold, to be very tacky. Funny enough, the one piece we liked inside the art venue, wasn't for sale; it was part of the permanent ship decor. So, overall, I'm pleased with the Norwegian Bliss, but I do think they need to hire better musicians, be a bit more even in terms of food quality, and it would be lovely to have more elevators and an indoor swimming pool, although these structural issues are set in stone and can't be changed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is a newer ship with new technology and it has some of the best features with updated state rooms, or show rooms. Because it is a bigger ship with more passengers, they have better shows. The talent is the best I have seen on a ... Read More
This is a newer ship with new technology and it has some of the best features with updated state rooms, or show rooms. Because it is a bigger ship with more passengers, they have better shows. The talent is the best I have seen on a cruise ship. The showroom in the back of the ship has stages that go up and down and holes open in the ceiling where people come down on a wire to put on a great show. There are more lounge acts with more entertainment. But those are the good things. The bad part is the music is way too loud and they think that people like it that way. But I saw people leaving the show because they didn’t like it. I wore my ear plugs and was ok. The ship is set up for all ages and they do a good job at keeping young folks on deck 15 and gamblers in the casino on deck 3 that is away from everything else. But the folks that like to go on this ship are people that like bumper cars, rock climbing, the flow rider, etc.... I have never seen so many people with tattoos and people wearing old T-shirt’s on a cruise ship. Formal night is a joke. Only 20 percent of the people put on a jacket or wore a tie. The rest of the folks were comfortable in T-shirt’s or whatever they were wearing that day. Most of the people in the lounge or walking around the deck look like they just came from Walmart. Maybe this is what some folks like, but it is not for me. The food and service is much better on Celebrity and Princess. The people working on this ship do a great job or the best they can. But there are about 3 passengers for 1 crew member on this ship while Princess has 2.5 and Celebrity has 2 and Crystal might have 1.3. The difference can really be seen in the dining room with long delays and having to wait on your waiter. We have no regrets taking this cruise, but I think others ships in this price range are better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it can be blissful. There were things I really like about this cruise that lift it to an overall rating of 3 stars. There were things that were poor, which brought the overall experience down. We stayed in a Neptune Suite -- 6109. There were 3 of us, and we needed the space. Let me begin by saying embarkation and disembarkation were flawless -- probably the best I ever experienced. Our Suite. The room and verandah are wonderful. The room was clean. We had space to roam and enjoy the sights from inside the suite or out on the balcony. Our room attendants, Heru and Tri were excellent. They represent HAL so well and did a great job for us all week. The suite, however, was tired. The carpet and couch were tattered and worn. The furniture was old and in need of replacement. . Some of the wood was chipped or scraped. At the price of a suite, I did not expect that.Despite that, Heru and Tri were great and keeping our room feeling fresh and tidy. One major complaint was the sofa bed. On the first night, after the bed was open, I sat on it. The mattress was completely worn and you felt springs on your bottom, on your back, every where. No one could reasonably be expected to sleep or even rest on that uncomfortable mess.If you are going to charge for a suite you should deliver a suite. Fortunately, that night I ran into Heru and asked for a mattress pad. fortunately, he installed it when we were at dinner. Meals. As suite customers we were able to eat breakfast at the Pinacle. The staff there was awesome and we had the best service there and the best dining experience there bar none. We ate there 6 mornings. They were fantastic. We felt special. Dining in the Main Dining Room and in the Lido Buffet are another story. The MDR is noisy, chaotic, rushed, and the food is not that great. They seemed under staffed.The portions are smaller than I would like. Salads were scarce. They rushed around. They some times rushed us. Every dinner we had there was not served hot. Every meal was warm or cool. They are disorganized and it should be better. Even though we purchased three drink packages, we struggled to get a wine steward to get us a glass of wine or even a drink from the bar before we were being hawked by the waiters to give our order -- and this was before we got to examine the menu. This happened every night. it made me feel they wanted us in and out of the MDR as fast as possible We took a shore excursion in Juneau that was outstanding. We got back late, dropped our belongings in the room, went to the rest room and got to the MDR at 9:05 pm. The maitre'd would not seat us. He said it was closed. There were plenty of diners still eating. We explained we just got back from the excursion (it was a HAL excursion) and could they please seat us. He told us they close at 9 PM We were denied and told to go to the Lido. The stations in the Lido were mostly closed. The one small portion that was still open had a line of about 50 people and it was moving slowly. Very frustrating. I noticed a few items in the Lido market. I put 4 pieces of cold poached salmon on my plate and went to the back deck to eat it. My wife joined me and our adult daughter went back to the room and went to bed with no dinner. When I sat to eat, I discovered that all 4 pieces of salmon were RAW, disgusting and inedible.I had no choice but to push them away. My wife and I then waited 45 minutes to be served a pizza. This was such a bad experience -- to be denied seating -- then to be directed to an over crowded understocked location that served RAW fish was just incredible on a premium cruise line. nothing like this ever happened on my other cruises where it seems the staff cannot do enough for you. One more note on the Lido. It is jammed packed all the time. The lines are long and the aisles are not clear. It is bumper cars with your fellow passengers. We never once found seating all week in the Lido. When chairs were empty, the tables were not been bussed and were messy and probably full of germs. we occasionally bussed and wiped our own table after 2 PM when things calmed a bit -- all while carrying our plates. One time they ran out of an item I wanted at that time. Lido is chaotic and messy. I felt like cattle Two nights after we were denied service in the MDR, the maitre'd in the Club Orange (not the one who would not seat us) just happened to ask us how the cruise was going. I told him how disappointing the night in Juneau was. He was great. Highly professional and apologetic. For me, dining is such a big part of a cruise and HAL fell way short of my expectations. The concierge in the Neptune room as great Glacier Bay was fantastic and the park ranger(s) were amazing. The comedian and magician were good too, I really liked the Lincoln Center and BB King rooms at night although there was very little variety -- same stuff every night -- but they were good. Dueling pianos were boring and the first dance show was disjointed so I walked out after 15 minutes. The gym was well equipped and clean. Used it 5 times. The kayak excursion in Ketchikan from the ship was good. I would have loved another hour in the water. I am not sure I would give HAL another try given the experience this time and the experiences I have had elsewhere Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship ... Read More
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship offering too many on-board activities as I wanted him to be interested in the excursions of the port cities and not want to stay on board. I also wanted to fly in/out of Seattle and wanted four ports. Embarkation and disembarkation were both smooth. Crew members were helpful. We booked Concierge class. It would have been helpful to receive a list of perks. We did not have robes or binoculars in the room when we arrived although our wonderful steward brought them to us when asked. We also had a welcome lunch on embarkation, a concierge dedicated to just this class and a couple of special events we were invited to. When we booked, our fare was not much different than a regular balcony room but I'm not sure how much this class was actually worth. My grandson enjoyed the Fun Factory. There were many children on board as this was summer and Alaska. He particularly liked being able to check in and out on his own. He made friends to pal around with and there were many activities that engaged the tweeners. The entertainment was great. We went to both musicals as well as the magician and comedian. The only one lacking was the impressionist. We also attended talks by the naturalist and historian that were quite interesting. We also enjoyed the live music which was in many locations on the ship. As for activities, we participated in many of the nightly games. My husband loved the gym and yoga classes. I did daily line dancing and meditation. We also took a swing dance class. We did excursions in all ports. The Skagway mushers' camp was a real highlight. We also enjoyed the White Pass train, the Wildlife Safari and Beach Bonfire, and the Lumberjack Show. We were a bit disappointed with the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake as you only see the glacier at a distance. In retrospect I wish we had explored Victoria on our own. The O Canada bus tour wasn't that great and was pricey for what it was. All these tours were booked on the website or on the ship. Note that the prices increase the closer to embarkation date. We did the Mt. Roberts Tram on our own. We usually had room service breakfast as the buffet gets quite crowded. We ate at both the buffet and main dining room for dinners, preferring the main dining room. Both venues offered a lot of choices. We had one meal in the Tuscan Grille that was excellent. My grandson loved the trip and did not want to come home. We all wished we had more days. I am already planning another trip. Interesting note--Capt. Tasos announced on our last day that it was his last day on the Solstice and that he would be moving to the Equinox. He is a captain who gets involved with the passengers, playing sports and games, and making the rounds. He has a great sense of humor and added to the enjoyment of this cruise. If this cruise is representative of Celebrity I cannot recommend it enough! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two ... Read More
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two couples we had traveled with previously) invited us to join them on this cruise, and I am so happy we did. I would happily go on another Alaskan cruise, and I hope I get to one day. The scenery is so beautiful, and must be experienced in person. Words and pictures do not capture it. I have only been on one other cruise ship, RCI Symphony of the Seas, so in comparison the Solstice is much smaller. I definitely felt the ship movement more on this ship, but it did not affect me. I did, however, wear sea bands as a preventative measure. The ship is very clean and very pretty. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and enjoyed the privileges of unlimited Persian Garden use in the Spa, and eating in the Blu restaurant. The captain was very engaged with the passengers, and his sense of humor was a delight. We were very lucky to have a gorgeous sunrise over Mendenhall Glacier, and the captain spun the ship 540 degrees so all could view the majestic glacier up close. The crew were all very friendly, work very hard, and are all eager to provide a great experience to every guest. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational talks offered on the ship about the wildlife, history of the port towns, and gold rush history. And the captain's powerpoint of the building of Solstice. If you can take time to hear these talks you won't be disappointed. We went to one show called Broken Strings. They did a great job dancing, but it was not easy to follow the story line through the songs. I could not hear the lyrics of the songs at all. I only knew what was going on by the dancing and acting (in love, cheating, breakup, make up). We saw both comedians, and they were just ok. I'd pass next time. My friends did the glass blowing, and enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but ended up with cool souvenirs. Canyon Ranch Spa: I had a deep tissue massage and also a paraffin wax treatment, and both were great. Beware of the emphasis by all the spa staff to upsell everything. They were very insistent that I buy a small tube of hand lotion for $33 (I declined). As aqua class, we were allowed to use the Persian Garden anytime. It has heated tile loungers with a floor to ceiling widow view of the ocean. I used this frequently, and it really warmed me up after the Juneau tour in the rain. DINING: We ate at Blu most of the time, which was the best option for Aqua Class. It is not crowded, you do not need reservations, they remember your name, and there is a great view from most tables. Blu is open for breakfast and dinner, which was fine since we were off the ship on port days. I ate at Grand Epernay (main dining room) three times. The dining room is very pretty, but the food was just ok. Nothing spectacular. The service was friendly and fast. The Oceanview Cafe is the buffet, and typically very crowded at meal times. Some dishes were very good, and others were very cafeteria bland. I did like that the cafe attendants were very attentive and offered to bring drinks from the bar to your table (if you could find a table!) Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Murano and at Silk Harvest. Murano was just ok. I had the lasagna that was oddly all meat and noodles, with very little cheese; not my favorite. Silk Harvest was the best experience. We had family style meal with all 3 couples and tried most of the menu items. I did not care for the shrimp pad tai but all the rest was really good. Drinks package: We had the premium package, and while it was nice to have the option to drink anything, we did not drink enough to make it worth the cost. It came with our package on this cruise, but I would not pay for it as an add on. Our friends had the classic package. Initially, it was not explained that there is a charge for drinks that cost over $9, and figuring out what drinks were part of their plan was confusing. I really liked getting specialty coffee or tea at Cafe al Bacio. It was comfortable seating with a view and treats. KETCHIKAN: We toured the town and Creek Street on our own, and went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was cheesy show - but was also entertaining and showed off the amazing skills of the lumberjacks. In town, my husband ate a reindeer chili dog. Not my thing, but he liked it. JUNEAU: Mt Roberts Tramway: We docked at 1:30 and went on the tram before our 3:00 pm excursion. There were many cruisers in line for the tram, with long lines both ways. Be sure to allow enough time to do this if you have an excursion. The view would have been amazing, but was obstructed by fog. I did not think it was worth the price of $29 each. We did not plan to do a hike at the top, the resident eagle was not there, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the top because we had to return to the dock for our excursion tour at 3:00. Photo Safari Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier: This is a misnomer. No one on the tour was interested in photography, and the focus of the tour guide's information was on glacier conservation efforts, not cameras or photo opportunities. The nature trail to the glacier was through a dense forest, and it rained the entire time. The guide stopped frequently to talk about plants and glaciers, and the scenery lacked any real photo ops and only one viewpoint. Just before we finally got to the glacier visitor center and view, he told us that he had run out of time and we had to run to the bus to make it to the whale watching part of the tour. We basically missed the main destination! We were not allowed to go into the glacier visitor center. I snapped two pictures and ran to the bus. The next part of the tour was on a small boat guaranteed to see whales or we get $100 back. We did see whales, and photo ops were in abundance on the boat, but we were so cold from walking in the rain for two hours, the wind chill on the boat ride added more discomfort to our cold and wet bodies. They really should do the tour in the opposite direction. Boat tour first, then glacier visitor center, and then nature walk for those interested while allowing others to roam free in the glacier area. SKAGWAY: White Pass Summit and Beyond: (booked off cruise - Frontier Excursions and Adventures). This was a bus tour to White Pass and the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The tour guide, Brooke, was very funny and knowledgeable, and she stopped the bus frequently for photo ops when wildlife was spotted. She even backed up the bus and did u turns to allow us to view the animals, which would not be possible if we had taken the more popular White Pass train ride. We stopped to observe three different bears, and a mama moose and her calf. This was the best tour of the trip, and I got some spectacular photos. The scenery of the tundra-like arctic landscape and majestic mountains and glacial lakes was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Going to the Yukon is a must do for sure! VICTORIA: Buchart Gardens tour. We docked at 5:30, and took a bus to Buchart Gardens. This was barely enough time to see the garden. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and to really enjoy it you need time to just sit and experience the beauty. This tour was expensive and way too fast. I am glad I live in Seattle and can go again at a more leisurely pace. The tour guide on the bus talked non-stop about uninteresting random things. I would have preferred a quiet ride to his personal jabber, "beyond those trees is a lake, and I have memories of taking the children there when they were small", which did not add to my experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Having done quite a few princess cruises, the Ruby is one of our favorite ships. The size is perfect; the large theatre can hold everyone if they do two shows ( which they typically do). The shows were spectacular-from the dancers and ... Read More
Having done quite a few princess cruises, the Ruby is one of our favorite ships. The size is perfect; the large theatre can hold everyone if they do two shows ( which they typically do). The shows were spectacular-from the dancers and singer to the comedian and Magician. Amazing employees that act like they really like their jobs. The food was excellent in the dining room. We never felt rushed. There are spots all over the ship that you can be alone outside your cabin. We love the grill topside. We run thru the buffet at lunch a load up greens; then have them grill a chicken breast for on top (resisting the fries of course). International cafe was a little crowded this cruise ( I think it was because of their new coffee card system). There seemed to be a line often and I don’t do lines! Love love love this ship. We already have booked another in February. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Royal Caribbean Explorer I might have originally put this under “you get what you pay for”, but on reflection it’s more complicated. My wife and I have sailed Princess four times and Regent Seven Seas Explorer most recently. ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Explorer I might have originally put this under “you get what you pay for”, but on reflection it’s more complicated. My wife and I have sailed Princess four times and Regent Seven Seas Explorer most recently. That said, we left our last spoiled. A two week all inclusive on one of their newest boats can do that to someone. Yes... we paid for it. But in fairness it was our 25th wedding anniversary and THAT should date us for those younger readers whom may be checking my/our compass. We found an amazing deal via email for a four day three night Seattle to Victoria B.C. on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer mid September (‘18). Basically $200 (x2). You can’t find a hotel in Seattle for two nights for that price. I got the ok from “management” and we booked a month before. Doing the usual specialty restaurant reservations and single excursion to Butchart Gardens. Really, how could it go wrong?. Well, like it sometimes does in the Northwest (we live in Oregon), fall came in all at once. Our record number of ninety degree days dropped to our first rain filled fifty degree week. We took the train to Seattle the night before, and bought umbrellas the day of departure. Getting to the port (pier 91) was painless. Boarding was easy and we were very surprised that we could carry our luggage onboard ourselves. No matter the ship, I just LOVE boarding. Ships are just amazing and mysterious (initially) to me and always inspire a feeling of awe. However once onboard Explorer, I felt a bit more of a feeling of “oh dear”. In a word, old. Though her last referb was 2015, she looks a bit tired. Faded pink pastels and tired carpets. We grabbed a late lunch up at the buffet and I must say - which using Princess as a comparison - was horrible. But again, for what I paid.. ok fine. I felt like I was at a cheap all you can eat American buffet: limp French fries, well done sausage size burgers, pasta pasta pasta and of course all the sweets you can stuff your plate with. For September, the fruit looked more like March - pale and flavorless. Like most chow wagons, the mood was “get and go people... get and go!”. I would be in trouble with “management” at this point if I didn’t mention the awful “stink” the linen napkins all seem to have (to be fair, I don’t smell my napkins much, but full disclosure at this point will make future sailing... um happier). There are “chow” lines on both sides of the dining area as you enter - but - the “different” food is all the way in the back. Go there first. Less crowded and an over all better mix of food. And expect some diversity.. imagine what appears to be a sweet little old lady (85ish?) turning and growling at you as she cuts in and grabs the last piece of ham. Back girl back!. Inspired to look beyond, I decided to round up a couple drinks after lunch and before we sailed. The pool side bar (but not the recently rained on pool) was full. The hot tubs looked like large “tail gater cocktail cups – filled with drink package warriors loudly arguing about upcoming football games. I ponied up to an available spot and ordered two drinks of the day (no idea what they were, but knew they had vodka and allot more of other stuff – per the menu - aka weak cocktail. What came back was two three inch narrow clear plastic cups and a bill for $34. OMG!!!!!. “Where’s your gun?!”. $34 for a combined total of 6oz of liquid?! No, the only thing pointed at my face was a nice kids smile (from Uganda) and a very genuine “thank you sir”. I pointed my invisible gun to my own head and shot a “buyer beware” bullet into my brain. Remember, the server is only the messenger. This may also be another consequence of sailing all inclusive last time... but still, COME ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN.. REALLY??!!. Those that know need no further explanation of why some cruise lines do this.. it (and the casinos) feed the beast. But, you could buy - as was heavily pushed by the bar staff - a $200 drink package. Four days (which really is three since you arrive at 6am on the fourth) to drink as much as you can.. hmmm, maybe the food improves?.. Moving on. The balcony room really wasn’t too bad. Dated yes (no USB ports and old cabinetry etc..) but not bad. Bed was stiff, but linens clean (no napkin stink per management.. sleep was allowed .. The shower is more like a “beam me up Scotty” Star Trek transporter - but the water pressure and volume of nice hot water was amazing. Cabin steward was warm and attentive. Balcony on this class of ship is very old school. Alcove style with half steel wall with a small glass lip in front. If it were sunny (god forbid) we’d never feel it on our balcony until mid morning or afternoon depending on the position of the ship. Neither a positive or a negative, just an observation compared to other ships. Television had a few stations, but nothing to hang out for. Decent over all room storage. The mini fridge was barely below room temp and clearly was part of the original “mini bar” era it was built for. Two power outlets and a small vanity had barely enough room to charge our electronics and still have room for managements hair “tools”. A small hair dryer was provided as well as a small room safe. Management & I like an early gym workout. Here we were not disappointed. Nice space, good equipment. We did not get to use the steam or sauna, but they looked great. Being such a short cruise no spa for “management” was attempted either.. but they looked ok. In an environment like this (unlike the slightly snootier class ships) we have no problem walking through the morning buffet in our workout clothes. In fact, at no time was “dress code” an issue. I would say as long as you had clothes on in the morning, the general meal areas were open to what ever you choose to wear. The specialty restaurants had some breakfast options that had a few more restrictions, but not many. No change here on food quality (general dining -= never did a specialty breakfast other than the kitchen tour brunch), but so be it. If we were bringing young kids along (as we did once on Princess) it would be just fine. We took the galley/brunch tour as well. Again, tour documents say closed toes shoes required, but upon arrival a few had flip flops and were told “no problem” (really!? Why print it?!). Here again, a tad disappointing. We’ve done one on every ship and while the actual galley tour was great, here the food was a total let down. Hard boiled eggs benedict and runny bland “something sauce”. The table was graced with nacho chips and guacamole (but no salsa), sushi (but no soy sauce or ginger/wasabi), charcuterie meats, cheese but just sliced bread, Oh well. Fun company at our table and champagne flowed freely (about $40 each I think). Ok - the MAJOR bummer spoiler alert - the smoking sections are basically wide open and flow everywhere. Up on the pool deck it’s on one side, in the casino it’s on one side. Basically all the smoke wafts freely all over the place. HEY ROYAL CARIBBEAN!! STOP IT!!!. STOP THE POISON!. STOP THE STINK!. Put those that can’t quit in a boxed off area to stink peacefully and get cancer to themselves. Really, they don’t care where they smoke, just that they can. We air lovers however DO care that our air not give us cancer or stink. DO YOU HEAR ME?!. Go ahead smokers.. dig in if you must, but really you shouldn’t. This addiction affects all those around you as well... and second hand smoke is just not fair. And I guess in this case that’s not really enough said.. but that’s for you all to realize and enough for me to have said. No No... move on smokers!. We wish it were warm and dry enough for us to try out the many outdoor activities available on this ship. Flow rider surfing, wall climbing were out of our reach -because of weather-. But when the weather allowed we got in some putting on the golf greens and almost got some shuffle board in. Indoors the video arcade was great (had to pay :( ) but it was a nice option during the rain. The ping pong tables (three) were a great diversion. The casino has lots of options, but as I mentioned you’d better like the STINK and have a change of clothes available afterwards. By accident while waiting to get a table on our first night we stumbled into the ice rink and watched part of the show going on there. AMAZING!. Likewise after dinner that night we stood in the back and watched part of the comedy show in the main theater. But we’re not night folks anymore, so I’ll leave reviews of the night life to those that partook. We watched a great match of dodge ball and heard fun stories of the ping pong tourney. In these areas the ship crew were (and actually have been through out) GREAT!. Asian theme restaurant Izumi was ok. But ala-carte adds up quick. But over all nice food. Did Chops steak house last night on board. GREAT views and really decent food. Service was over the top wonderful. We never had time to try the burger place, though it seemed at least themed nicely. Never got to try the pub fair on deck 5 but heard ok things. On the whole, food for 3800 guests is surely a task. The overall size of your ship will obviously dictate the quality of your food - at least if this cruise showed us anything. And actually, this is one of their smaller ships. AND... AND please understand as a culinary school instructor I realize what makes food “good” is subjective to each individual. I preach only to those who find some common ground in what I’ve laid down here. Some of my best friends find equal happiness in a bag of Doritos and a cheap beer just as equally with a perfectly cooked steak. Neither is better than the other in their eyes. It often revolves around those they share the meal with. I get that, I truly do. And I also am very versed in the economics of large production meals. But the truly best apples are often highest up on the tree. Those that take the challenge to reach those deserve my finest critiques. Little bits: coffee- free if you look for it (deck 5) behind the pay for espresso coffee shop - bring a large insulated cup. Coffee itself is really never been great on any cruise so far. For gods sake don’t pay for it - because they will let you. Water- bring your own bottles... fill at buffet restaurant or in gym. All tips are by default added to your bill...add or not accordingly but look at your tab!. Bring a usb hub or plug bar... there are two (maybe) plugs U.S. . There are a million YouTube videos giving suggestions on “what to bring on a cruise”... many have great ideas and therefore worth checking out. Bringing booze on the cruise.. hmmm, well we’ve done it in the past and I will say there is a comfort knowing you’re not paying $11 for a Dixie cup worth of watered down liquor. A two inch pour of wine for $14 leaves me grumpy. That said, ethically NO, don’t “rob” the cruise line of their margin. They make their money back (after all the other costs of running a ship) on booze and the casino. In most cases you’re allowed to bring one unopened bottle of wine on board. However, if you feel a tad righteous about being ripped off related to your ROI (return on investment) on adult beverages, than I say it’s probably worth the risk. But you must be sneaky and you don’t want to be obvious... just pretend you’re a teenager again and don’t want to get grounded. “ No car for a week!”. The bottom line on a 4 day 3 night Royal Caribbean Explorer cruise from Seattle to Victoria B.C.: A long weekend in a hotel that moves to different locations and feeds you for (in our case) far cheaper than a two night stay in a hotel in Seattle without food or entertainment is by itself a reason to go for it. There is most likely no one reading this that is in a class of folks that wouldn’t consider it in the first place (those guys are over on the Regent or Silver Seas boards). There are issues to be sure, but overall our “long weekend” was great. In and out of Seattle was easy and worth an extra day on either side… so much to do. Would I want to be on this ship for a week or more, sadly probably no. However to be fair, we never got to experience her on a sunny fully functional cruise (meaning all the outdoor amenities were useable). Nor have we ever not been on a warm sunny cruise. If choosing Alaska or a cruise like this, look for the interior reviews. There ARE ships that do it right. There are obviously thousands more critiques on this ship out there. Please Please Please look at least a few more before making a decision one way or the other. Getting off the ship was a piece of cake. As when we boarded, they allowed us to carry off our own luggage allowing for an immediate and crowd free departure, and almost no slowing or questions at customs. Probably because of it being Canada and such a short cruise. We found 13 Coins restaurant (newly built under a Embassy Suites next to the train station and stadium) was (is) open 24/7. GREAT FOOD !..GREAT PRICES!. Just say’n. I love cruising. I take each new cruise (never have done the same ship or cruise twice) as an adventure and an investment. I use this venue as a way to express to myself what I think or thought of it as I went. I hope all that read along found it useful or at least.... Not Boring. Thanks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 pm at the same time that stateroom was ready! 5 Stars - Cruise amenities, activities, public area, Aqua class experience, Stateroom, Cabin Steward, Food quality, Spa experience, Fitness classes Blu restaurant - very good dining experience each night. 4 Stars - Excursions - We selected all of our excursions directly from Celebrity pre-cruise which is a lot cheaper than purchasing on board. All the tours arranged smoothly. Minus one star because one of our excursion was cancelled without any offer for replacement. Oceanview Cafe - Good variety of food and dessert! Minus one start because of overcrowded and competitively seating by the window! They should break up more tables into two so that all the seats are occupied. Most of the time table for 4-6 would have been occupied by two people. We really enjoy daily dessert selection, Lavazza coffee, indian food, stir-fry bar, ice-cream station, and daily fair. Breakfast is good, you can come and leave quickly without hassle. Should have more lunch spots and "grab & go" or quick lunch for people that don't eat much and want to do something else while on cruise. Oceanview is always busy at lunch time, you will have to spend at least 1 hour for lunch. It felt a bit uncomfortable to bring plate to your room, so many people at the entrance of the restaurant. Entertainments and Lectures - Every nights and on the sea day, it is packed with several things to do. We purchased fitness class package ($55/5 classes + $50 spa credit). We took zumba, yoga, spinning, and pilates classes. The spa credit is a joke since it can only be used on sea day and cannot be combined with other sea day discount. So, you end up paying almost the same price for already reduced price for sea day spa service (e.g. massage = $150/$115 on sea day, if using $50 credit, you will pay $150-50 = $100). 3 Stars - Itinerary, we arrived at Tracy Arm Fjords very early in the morning, followed by another port of call, Juneau which you barely spend half-day at most in the capital city of Alaska. There are many things to see and we were not able to fit all into our calendar. We almost missed Sawyer's Glacier, they only stopped for less than 15 min and left quickly. We were at the restaurant and did not know that we have arrived! Ketchikan - nothing much to see at this port, would rather spend only half day and preserve more times at Tracy Arm Fjords or Juneau. Victoria - arrived late, nothing much to see as our excursion was cancelled (whale watching tour). Almost three-day at sea (Day 2, Day 6 and Day 7 as we arrived late in Victoria) which could have been improved compared to other cruiseline itinerary. The Solstice did not visit Hubbard Glaciers, which should have been included in the itinerary, unlike the Millennium. 2 Stars - Service at Blu restaurant. On one night, we have to wait for > 30 min until someone can take our order. Constantly, we have to ask to refill water on our empty glasses. They were either disappeared or busy chit-chat with other tables. Constantly, they keep asking us to give them 10/10 on post-cruise surveys. The quality of food and daily selection deserved 5 start, but minus 3 stars for the very poor service. The hostess did not do well in fitting people on the table. At one point, we have to wait for more than 15 min to seat despite several empty tables. In my opinion, the set up, service type and resource management at Blu cannot accommodate too many large group dining. We have one table of 15, several tables of 8+ people every night. They need to allocate enough waitress to allow for this type of service and not shared with other "small" tables. In-room dining. No paper menu, limited selection on smart TV. Breakfast was poor but delivered on time. No water, again? 1 Stars On board payment and up selling. We paid over $1K despite some $250 credit we received from the travel agency. No coffee, no water without buying a package. They do not allow you to refill water from oceanview cafe to your individual container. We ended up paying in-room minibar daily for water (which is also not included in basic drinking package). A 1L bottle of Evian costs $6.50. We don't need Evian, just to be fair, spring water is good enough but that is $2/500 mL bottle and you have to walk to the cafe to purchase one (plus tax + service charge). To promote healthy and prevent certain compromised infection, they shouldn't have been so difficult about water. We don't want to purchase a package because we have to walk to cafe to get bottle water daily or multiple times a day. We ended up asking our cabin steward to bring two Evian bottles daily to our room and pay for the mini-bar service. Overall, despite some "flaws", I almost gave 5 stars to our wonderful travel with Celebrity Solstice on Aqua class. We will definitely book our next cruise with Celebrity, but may upgrade to suite class for better service overall. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first ever cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, the itinerary, the crew and the meals. After reading the somewhat mixed reviews of the ship and trip, I was slightly concerned about our booking. While there were some ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, the itinerary, the crew and the meals. After reading the somewhat mixed reviews of the ship and trip, I was slightly concerned about our booking. While there were some small items that could be improved, it was a really great trip. As others have noted, it’s a large ship and thus you need to plan ahead to carve out the optimal vacation. Service was consistently friendly and thoughtful. The room steward was fantastic and the dining staff great. (For context, we dine out often and typically stay at 4 and 5-star hotels so have a high expectation for service). Below are some more specific thoughts to help plan your trip: • We were in a mid-ship mini-suite – 12824. Cabin was very nice, bed was super comfortable (billed as a queen but felt more spacious). Sheets were so-so soft and the pillows we’re ok (I brought one of my own). Plenty of storage, spacious bath room. Balcony was perfectly fine/spacious. Given how much there was to do and the fact that you’re in Alaska, we didn’t use it a ton but left the slider door open every night to get a fresh breeze while sleeping. • Plan ahead. This is perhaps the most important thing to do. We book all our specialty restaurants and entertainment the day it became available to do so (120 days prior to sailing, I believe). This allowed us to ensure we got in the restaurants we wanted at the time we wanted. We also booked the Thermal Spa Pass ahead of time. Also, we planned to board early so that we’d be able to secure passes to the Vibe Beach Club, which is super important. We didn’t have any issues booking excursions but did plan these a few weeks in advance. • Thermal Spa Pass: For a fee ($129?), you can get a full week pass to the spa which was important for us. I provided a great place to get away from crowds and offered a beautiful viewing area. I’d highly recommend this. • Vibe Beach Club. I’d also highly recommend this. This area provided a sanctuary from the crowds as well. For ~$139/week, you get access to a “private” deck with its own bar, cabanas, loungers and hot tub. Was amongst the best part of the ship. The crew here (Ruby and Randy) were soooo friendly and helpful, ensuring our every need was met. Again, we’re in Alaska so it can get cold up there; however, there are blankets to use to keep warm. While I believe they sell ~75 passes (not certain about the number, but limited), we never saw more than 10 people at a time on the deck. Run to the guest services to get these passes. • Spa services: This was the one area where service was not great - - there was constant upsell throughout the process to book a massage; and post massage, also an attempt to sell you products. The massage itself was great – I asked for deep tissue and was almost crying because of the pressure - - a good thing for me. • Restaurants: Our favorite was La Cucina – dined there twice. Delicious food, tasty wines and great service. Ocean Blue was also great - - both food and service. Cagney’s food was very good – service was perfunctory at best. Teppanyaki was really fun – with good food/service. Q was so-so, food was OK as was the service. We ate at Taste/Savor for lunch and both of these were perfectly good – busy but the staff is accommodating. Coco’s for crepes was delicious. • Cellars Wine Bar: Would highly recommend. Great wine selection and very helpful staff. Throughout the cruise, they have wine-classes you can take (for a fee). Was really fun and informative. • Common Areas: The Observation Lounge and the Garden Café can get crowded. The Café was often a zoo – with so many people for breakfast. We grabbed breakfast there but then took it to the Observation Lounge which worked must better. Also, some of the crown can be a challenge – e.g. kids running around, bare feet on loungers, poor manners. Overall not an issue, but at times a distraction. • The overall ship furnishings and décor are really beautiful – first rate and very nicely done. In sum, would highly recommend this ship and the Alaska trip. We’d definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this boat because it is a brand new ship, started sailing just two months prior, and we loved the itinerary. The stops were great, we loved the excursions chosen, food was good, service was great, and we took full advantage of ... Read More
We chose this boat because it is a brand new ship, started sailing just two months prior, and we loved the itinerary. The stops were great, we loved the excursions chosen, food was good, service was great, and we took full advantage of the drink package. We enjoyed the shows, bands, live music, trivia, and hot tubs. I was surprised there was no lobster served in the dining room - first cruise I have been on where this was not on the menu. However, the food was food, and we would sail on this boat again. Our first stop was Ketchikan where we did off road vehicles through the woods. This was a great tour. We wish it would have been longer. It was about twenty minutes out and twenty minutes back, but it was so nice to be outside. We spotted a mother bear and two cubs which is a rarity. We felt really blessed to have seen them out in the woods. The tour guides were kind, and informative. Our second stop was Juneau where we decided to go whale watching. We chose Alaska Galore Tours because they had small boats. We were on a boat that held 15 or so along with a boat captain and tour guide. We learned so much, and saw 5-6 whales turning in the water about 15-20 times. Unfortunately, it was raining, but we still would have chosen this tour again. We were supposed to go by Sawyer Glacier, but the weather was too bad as it was very cloudy and icy. We still saw some beautiful scenery from the boat, and it was a lovely evening on the balcony. Finally, our last day was in Skagway. My husband and father-in-law went on a helicopter to walk around on the glacier. it was short, 20 minute ride out and 20 minutes back with about half an hours walking around and learning about the glacier. We would recommend. We also did the train ride up the mountain. It was informative, beautiful, and again, we would do this same tour all over again. The bands at night were great, especially the guy in the piano bar. He was funny and incredibly entertaining. My in-laws loved Jersey Boys, the broadway show. We would absolutely sail on Norwegian and on this same boat again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We just returned from our cruise on the Bliss for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. This trip had been planned for almost a year and all of us were looking forward to the cruise but were getting nervous after reading numerous reviews ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on the Bliss for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. This trip had been planned for almost a year and all of us were looking forward to the cruise but were getting nervous after reading numerous reviews before going. We had 7 adults and 4 children with us (ages 6-10). The boarding process went very smooth I think we were on the ship within less than 30 minutes, but once we boarded that's when the chaos started. Once on the ship we went straight to reservations for the go carts and the lazer tag, four of us were in different lines trying to make reservations. This took about an hour and half to get tot the front just to be told that everything was booked. We did actually get reservations for both by complaining throughout the cruise but both attractions weren't even really worth it. But, if you or your kids really want to take advantage of the go carts my sister heard someone talking about a week long unlimited pass for $99, not sure it you would just wait standby to use the pass. I felt like you could probably just wait by the line whenever you want and get on. If you like the idea of waterslides think again. The slides are only open a few hours of the day and they only have two of them. One of the slides is a drop slide that they won't even let you go on unless you are over 100lb, which left our kids to only be able to use the one slide. The hours of the slide are a joke, I think it was open from 11:30 - 2;30 and again for another hour or so. It was hard to see them close the slide on a beautiful day with nothing else to really do on the ship. If you are taking kids I would really think twice there is very little for kids to do on this ship. They do have an arcade but the games are anywhere from $2 - $5 each. This ship is constantly trying to nickel and dime you for everything. As for the food it was pretty lousy even the bigger restaurants. We did go to the Manhattan Room, Savor, and Taste and they all have the same menu, I guess they just try to make them look different. The buffet is not very good just okay. We finally broke down and went to the steak house on the last night and they told us they were full but would squeeze us in, the place was empty. The food was okay nothing crazy, but not worth the $300 we had to spend. LIke I said earlier there really isn't a lot to do on the ship. The highlight of the trip was the "Jersey Boys" show, Havannah wasn't very good. But really, only two shows for a seven night cruise! Also, the drinks were excellent! I highly recommend the drink package, pretty much all we did was drink since there wasn't much else to do. And yes the elevators are horrible, stick to the stairs. I hope this helps some of you guys I could write all night about this cruise but I'm tired. And just remember this cruise is a good chunk of change for most of us that is why I took the time to right this, there are many other ships out there with a lot more to do than the Bliss. Unless you don't want to do anything but sleep and eat, and spend as little time in the ports as possible this is the cruise for you. Good Luck Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We sent out laundry and it came back missing several pieces. Tried to get reimbursed at guest services but were told nothing they could do and gave me a card to contact ncl insurance claims. Called them to find out they couldn't see ... Read More
We sent out laundry and it came back missing several pieces. Tried to get reimbursed at guest services but were told nothing they could do and gave me a card to contact ncl insurance claims. Called them to find out they couldn't see my booking because the number I got through travelocity wasn't in their system. Not sure what to do about it now, $300 worth of clothes are gone. The room we paid for cost twice as much as a single because we had 2 small kids with us, all we got was a fold down bunk bed. Ports of call were a joke, only shopping to do if we didn't want to pay extravagant prices for an excursion. Felt like a tourist trap everywhere we went. We were told when we booked the trip that the price included $300 of onboard credit. When our final bill was presented, no credit was shown. Guest services knew nothing about it. When I checked my confirmation email at the very bottom of a long paragraph of fine print I see a link to fill out a form for the credit that must be submitted 21 days in advance. Why??? Nobody said a thing about this while booking and why would that be necessary anyway? We paid the price assuming we would have that credit, we were told we would have the credit, we got no credit whatsoever. Overall very unsatisfied with the trip and feel like we were scammed. The food was good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, ... Read More
This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, which I booked through hotwire for 135 per night. The hotel was located in the Bellevue city district. I feel the hotel would be better suited for business meetings. We were all hungry when we arrived and decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. The waitstaff was kind, but the food was overpriced and not great. When we awoke in the morning we anticipated a continental breakfast, they did not offer one. Bellevue was a very clean and beautiful city, but expensive. The hotel did not offer a shuttle to the airport or the dock. We took an uber ride to the dock, our driver was very nice and told us a lot about the city and living in Washington. We arrived at the pier around 0800. We were able to check our bags at that time, but we could not check-in until 1000. I liked that we didn't have to drag our suitcases around until check-in. We dined at a small coffee shop on the corner of the street across from the ship that offered Korean inspired breakfast dishes. It was good and the only restaurant I saw open close enough to walk with a 5 and 8 year old. We walked around the pier and looked at the ship from the outside. We were able to get some great pictures in front of the artwork of the Bliss. When we were getting ready to embark an elderly woman tripped and fell face down on the cement while on her way to check her bag. Norwegian staff was quick to help her and a medic came to address her needs. Embarkation went smoothly. We are all balcony rooms and still got in at around 1030. We explored the decks. 6,7,8 are the main ones for activities. On all the walls are screens for ordering or directions, and in the bottom right hand corner of the screen also has the time, which is important because clocks are scarce. This was also helpful, as the time zones changed twice while we aboard the ship. We ordered a game of laser tag. Later in our room we ordered race track for my husband and grandson. They had a double go kart ride for kids and adults from 5-6. I ordered the specialty dining, spa and shows before the cruise. The Garden cafe had a good mix of food choices. Indian, Asian, American, seafood, etc... unique desserts were included with each dining time in the Garden Cafe. We got to our cabin around 1330. Our luggage didn't arrive until around 1800. The cabin had the bathroom to the right, couch, and then bed by the sliding glass door. The bathroom had one sink and a glass shower stall. We had plenty of room to move. My husband is 6'2" and I'm 5'3". I put my clothes in the drawer under the couch and hung dresses in the closet. There is room underneath the bed to slide the suitcases. My husband lived out of his suitcase and closet. The other drawer had pillows and blanket for the couch. Our room was clean and comfortable. Our room steward was excellent. We ate dinner at Teppanyaki. Good show and large portions of Japanese food. They take a photo while you are eating and have it ready at the end of service. We checked out the observation lounge. Nice, large viewing windows, lounge chairs and seating throughout the area. A small buffet is offered. Soup sandwiches, some desserts and drinks. The ship is crowded, but there are places to be alone. The second day at sea we used the spa. My husband would workout and use the spa. I loved the relaxation pool with the jets. I liked the heated tile loungers too.I did some of the organized classes when I could. I would get sweets at the bake shop from time to time. The grand kids went to the kids club and loved it. The morning time for kids club is free play time, but each evening there was a different theme. They had a pajama party, superheros, pirates, and jungle circus practice for the big performance. They also had a white themed dance party for the kids, they could wear all white or florescent and glow under the black lights. The circus performance for the kids took place in the main theater and was the highlight of their time. My grandchildren were a tiger (five years) and a plate spinner (eight years). We had a cruise critic meet and mingle in the District brew house at noon. NCL provided champagne, mimosas, snacks of spring rolls, chicken, puff pastries with assorted toppings. The cruise director Silas Cook and other officers met us. They provided entertainment and a good time. After the meeting we did a slot pull at 1400. It was fun! 14 of us put money in one slot machine and took turns playing it. Kristie was the most lucky and we were able to break even. We had dinner at the Manhattan room, there isn't dancing in this one. Good food and great service. I saw Havana, it was interesting. The actors and dancers were good and professional, but the script seemed off and pieced together oddly. It was difficult to follow. On the 3rd day we arrived in Ketchican. We went off the ship two hours before our excursion and had a chance to explore the city. The town shops were quaint and had the best prices of all the excursion stops. We did the canoe ride and rain forest in Ketchikan. The views were spectacular. We got a history of the area and were able to enjoy a relaxed canoe ride. We stopped at a small cooking hut and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of home made jam with bread, salmon spread on bread, and a delicious clam chowder. They even gave us coffee and hot chocolate, all cooked over an open fire. Our guide took us on a nature walk through the Ketchikan rain forest where we learned about the native plants and their medicinal properties. On the way back we all had a blast racing the other canoe, and experienced some of Ketchikan's famous rainy weather as we docked. The grand kids had a ball paddling.We did laser tag that evening when we returned. It was a workout and fun. You could recharge if someone killed you to play some more. We ate at Le Bistro. Good food, but small portions, good service. We snacked at the garden cafe too. On the 4th day, we did whale watching through Juneau Whale Watch. It was my husbands favorite excursion. Our naturalist and ship captain were Alaska natives and offered us interesting facts about the area and were very knowledgeable about the whales and the glaciers. We saw four whales, sea lions, pilot dolphins, and bald eagles. Just the views were worth the trip. It was truly breathtaking and the boat ride was exhilarating. We cruised the glacier that night and ate at the Manhattan. On our 5th day, Skagway, Alaska, we did Mushers camp. It was a 1/2 hour ride in a bus and then 1/2 in a jeep to get to the dog carts. The ride was short. One loop around the camp. Then we had a talk on the races that happened. A short time to play with the dogs and pups. The guides were great and informative. The mushers were all professional racers and had participated in either the Jr. Iditarod or the actual race and the dogs were also professional racers. We wished we could have had more time to interact with the dogs and puppies. Then back on the jeep to the bus. That night we ate at Cagney's. My son got the Porterhouse and ate it all. It is a huge steak! Nice dinner and service. 6th day, more spa, arcade room, casino, and eating. We ate at the Local sometimes for lunch and had the chicken wings, and sandwiches. At noon, there was a past guess party at the District brew house. They gave us different beers and finger foods. It was a nice selection and the staff came and spoke to us from the different departments of the ship. I saw the "Beatles", fun show and good singing. Dinner was at the Manhattan. Food at the Manhattan room was always good and there was a good selection. We saw the Jersey boys. Excellent show! Good story line and singing. 7th day, Victoria we didn't book anything and walked to the pier, nice playground and food shops around pier. Good music and acts throughout the ship. I saw Camille Rae sing, she was good. Jim Badger was good. Tatiana was good. Duo Rika was good. The guy sang Elvis great, but had an accent when speaking. My family said they liked the comedy show. They had movies in the Atrium and game shows there. We would get yummy snacks in our room from the hotel director Mark Maeling and Jovo Sekulovic. We would get invites to various things happening aboard the ship. Something for everyone. We had a Seattle excursion on disembarkation day. They had us check our luggage the night before and we went to the theater the day of at 0800. We went through customs and the luggage was separate waiting for us on the other side of the custom building. The bus for the tour was the next stop. Disembarkation went smoothly. The Seattle tour took us to the Space Needle. We all had to pee waiting in line to go up and there are no bathrooms until you get to the top, so go before you go up! We were a bit disappointed that the space needle seemed to be under construction, but the views were still spectacular. Next stop was Pike Place market. This was a fun touristy stop, but it was so crowded and crazy that it was hard to take it all in. We did get some really fun souvenirs to take back with us. The tour guide was funny and informative. We were dropped off at the airport from the Seattle Tour. We were in staterooms 11210, 11214, 11222. Somethings that could be improved are the times in port and NCL's texting app. I would like to go again. Best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This is the best boat I have ever been on. I have always traveled in luxary in Celebruty cruises but this beat all of them. There sanitary in the is boat is ten times best. The do not let you eat unless u put hand sanitizer or was your ... Read More
This is the best boat I have ever been on. I have always traveled in luxary in Celebruty cruises but this beat all of them. There sanitary in the is boat is ten times best. The do not let you eat unless u put hand sanitizer or was your hands. The staff is very kind and is the best. They are very kind. This cruise also have a lot of kids things to go cart racing and laser tag. This boat also is very nice. The only thing is the boat does not have great entertainment in the theater but the game shows are first class. All of the game shows are all in the atrium and I reccomend all of you that are interested on this cruise to look at one of the game shows. Best cruise ever!!! Everbody come join the happy family here in the norwegian bliss. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I had the greatest experience on my first cruise, this was a Mother’s Day gift and I enjoyed every second of it with my mother. I would do it again and again and again :) Service, entertainment, quality of food, professionalism, ... Read More
I had the greatest experience on my first cruise, this was a Mother’s Day gift and I enjoyed every second of it with my mother. I would do it again and again and again :) Service, entertainment, quality of food, professionalism, cleanliness, everything was amazing, I would probably suggest to add WiFi as part of the package and not for a price.. WiFi now days is free everywhere we go :) , also transportation from ship to airport should be a courtesy service that would eliminate worries and would allow more time to enjoy the time on the cruise rather than stressing over it, the same way the ship offers to deliver luggage to the airline of choice, transportation should be included. This was a major concern right at the end of the cruise, getting in to a cab or Uber and are we going to make it to the airport on time? Also shire excursions are a little too expensive. Thank you Norwegian for an amazing time!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
For older individuals and easier cruising. Not as many children on board quieter and easier on me. Enjoyed the food and towns we visited. Picked up gifts for all family at stops along the way. Due to Sept travel had end of year ... Read More
For older individuals and easier cruising. Not as many children on board quieter and easier on me. Enjoyed the food and towns we visited. Picked up gifts for all family at stops along the way. Due to Sept travel had end of year clearances everywhere. Had breakfast, lunch, English tea, dinner we seemed to be eating all day. When I wanted pizza there was a shop open making pizza. Dive in served great hamburgers, fries in many varieties. Bring a water bottle and fill up in the buffet area for your use and you won't have to pay for water on the cruise. Cola and liquor is costly but you can bring one bottle of wine each adult person and cola in carry on bag just remember to bring a wine opener since uncorking is expensive. The crew is so helpful you get used to it and when is over you will miss them. Your steward will leave you animals made of towels each night. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise to do an Adult only cruise with 3 other couples. We planned this cruise about 2 years ago and wanted to on a cruise without the kids to enjoy some adult time. We wanted to go to place that we all have never been ... Read More
We chose this cruise to do an Adult only cruise with 3 other couples. We planned this cruise about 2 years ago and wanted to on a cruise without the kids to enjoy some adult time. We wanted to go to place that we all have never been before. We wanted to stay out late and enjoy some adult entertainment including dancing. Enjoyed the entertainment show (Ventriloquist, Angles and Legends). Didn't care for the comedian. Enjoyed the dance classes by the entertainment staff and the night time DJ dancing. We got the package with the specialty dining included. All the restaurants were very good. My favorite was the steakhouse and the teppanyaki. If we didn't get the specialty dining package included, I would have probably not gone to any of these restaurants. The food in main dining was just as good. Enjoyed the gym and took some classes. The fitness instructor was very good. Took the total body condition class (wish they offered this class more than 1 time during the cruise) and TRX (same wish they offered this more than 1 time). Pilates was good too. Enjoyed the spa. Bought the day spa package (which I think should be free with an order of a spa service, wasn't worth buying). No one was there and didn't use it. I got the hot therapy stone massage package and enjoyed it very much. Rose did a great job. We wanted to be able to do excursions that usually we wouldn't been able to do without the kids. The excursions we did were amazing and highly recommended. We did Sea Kaying in Juneau, Ziplining in Skagway, Fishing in Ketchikan, and the Gardens Tour in Victoria. The excursion teams offsite were great! Overall good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We went to Alaska on the Jewel. I was so impressed with how well the ship was maintained and kept clean. The staff was so nice and friendly. The officers and crew were awesome. We had the pleasure to meet the Captain several times and ... Read More
We went to Alaska on the Jewel. I was so impressed with how well the ship was maintained and kept clean. The staff was so nice and friendly. The officers and crew were awesome. We had the pleasure to meet the Captain several times and it was obvious he cares about his ship. I enjoyed looking at all the plaques from the ports of call that the Jewel has been to, she's been all over the world. I really enjoyed the cruise into the Endicott Arm and Dawes glacier. It was so peaceful and magical and i appreciated the Captain navigating us through the chunks of ice so quietly and slowly. It was truly magical. I was nervous after i booked this cruise because of the bad reviews about the food being barely edible. But i found that to be the complete opposite. They had such a wide selection of fresh and delicious foods to appeal to everyone! I am a picky eater, i mostly eat whole fresh foods , and the Jewel had everything i needed at the buffet to make delicious meals . A fresh salad bar, low cal dressing options, fresh fruit that was chilled and delicious, yogurt, cereals, lots of lean meat options, cheeses, whole grains, fresh breads, etc. They also had the typical casino style buffet dishes which i never find appetizing and are not edible regardless of where i go. I didn't eat any of those dishes so i can't give a review of them. If someone served themselves a gross looking buffet dish and complains its gross, that's on them. My meals were delicious. I wouldn't expect everyone to find every buffet dish to their liking. I was really happy with the selection of foods, there was something for everyone. We also had a meal at Cagneys, it was a nice meal. And we had a meal at Teppanyaki's and it was just ok, the food is too heavy for me, i prefer lighter meals. At the two free dining rooms, i was able to order salads and an appetizer for my meals and they came fresh and tasted just fine. The entertainment was awesome, there are some wonderfully talented people on this ship, from the choreographers to the set designers to the actors to the musicians. I really enjoyed the shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Carnival Legend is, on the whole, a pretty average ship. Although the ship is not the newest of sea vessels, it is still far from outdated. This being said, however, the ship is not the newest and differently not offer up ... Read More
The Carnival Legend is, on the whole, a pretty average ship. Although the ship is not the newest of sea vessels, it is still far from outdated. This being said, however, the ship is not the newest and differently not offer up ground-breaking amenities, similarly to the rest of her Spirt-Class sisters. If you're looking for newer, more adventurous amenities try booking your cruise on a newer ship (Carnival Vista Class, Royal Carribean Oasis/Quantum Class, Norwegen Breakaway/Breakaway + class, MSC Seaside, etc) (New as of 2018). Although the ship is not old, there are some moderate to strong vibrations that can be felt on-board towards the aft of the ship due to the azipod propellers driving the ship. One such area in which these vibrations are prevalent in the main dining room. However, speaking of the main dining room, if you are lucky enough to be seated next to a window, you will see that the view is breathtaking, especially on Alaskan sailing (more on that later). Seeing the ships wake with the Alaskan mountains, glaciers, and/or forests in the background is something that you definitely do not want to miss. However, going back to dining, the food on the Legend is generally pretty good, similar to other Carnival cuisines. That being said, however, the vegetarian choices onboard was pretty limited. This was especially prevalent during dinner times in the main dining room, in which the vegetraran options was usually just salad, soup, and Carnivals by Indian Food, which is trash BTW, at least to someone of Indian descent. The buffet area generally had pretty good food which more options, but it was prone to overcrowding, especially during breakfast and lunch hours. During these times, I would advise to either come early or late, as it is nearly imposable to get your own seat quickly during the main hours. The buffet, however, was kept largely stocked throughout the day and late into the night (1:00-3:00 AM). Past these ours, all you were left with was Carnival's nasty ass pizza. But you can't really complain since TBH, most people be sleep past 3:00 AM. Moving on past dinning, we come to the crew, who were generally helpful, kind and curtius, just like most other Carnival crew. Getting past the actual ship itself, which is pretty average, in my opinion, we find ourselves in the ship's itinerary, which, unlike the ship, is truly groundbreaking, and realty is the selling point of the cruise. The summer sailings to Alaska is what Carnival is trying to push throughout the Cruise. This Alaskan Itinerary finds itself onto the ship, mainly in the ship's entertainment. Carnival has incorporated some truly informative and educational seminars into the normal entertainment routine. It seems crazy to think that Carnival is putting this level of enrichment into a cruise, and although it isn't on the level of something like National Geographic Cruises, it sure comes close. The excursions and ports are also a high point of the cruise. They are wide-ranging and generally fun. They are curated to be adventurous while being informative and showing off the true beauty of Alaska at the same time. Something that you notice while on the ship moving from port to port is that the ship never strays far away from shore. Throughout at least 95% of the cruise, you are able to see at least see the shoreline. This proximity to the shore means that for a majority of the cruise, you receive data. (If you time it just right, you can keep up your snapchat streaks, but honestly, rather than worrying about them, you should just hand them over to a trusted Friend for the Duration of the cruise. Still, it is a true luxury to have data on a cruise. If you run out of Data, however, don't worry, as you can still buy a riduculsly overpriced and slow Carnival internet package. Also, Alaska, despite what you may think, is actually pretty mild in weather, at least during the summer months, although it is still not pool weather. It is generally 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, or Spring weather if you live on the East Coast. (No Californians, you not bout to catch frostbite.) This means that all you really need to bring in terms of clothing are windbreakers, long-sleeve t-shirts, joggers, sweatpants, jeans, and an old pair of Tims or something for the shore excursions. One thing to be prepared for, however, is rain. There seemed to be a continual drizzle throughout the entirety of the cruise, but you will get used to it by the second or third day of sailing. On a real note, however, when booking on the ship, you are not really being sold for the ship itself, but for Alaska. Alsaka be Crazzzy bra. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was my 5th and my wife's 6th cruise. We have done 3 with Celebrity and never been disappointed. We spent 2 days in Seattle before the cruise and it is a great place to visit. Pike Place Market is wonderful spot and there are lots ... Read More
This was my 5th and my wife's 6th cruise. We have done 3 with Celebrity and never been disappointed. We spent 2 days in Seattle before the cruise and it is a great place to visit. Pike Place Market is wonderful spot and there are lots of interesting places on the adjoining streets. We had brunch at Cafe Champagne, a charming French Bistro. Don't miss the Chihuly Glass Museum at the Needle. We had an excellent dinner at Elliot's on the water. The embark and disembark were flawless. We had to wait for our town car because I expected delays getting off. They have a new program where if you are flying, you can check your bags on the ship (and get boarding passes) and never see them until baggage claim at your final destination (select airlines). WOW! Our cabin was pretty standard. My wife thought the storage was excellent and the bathroom was bigger than last cruise. We had a nice little veranda, comfortable, reclining mesh chairs, and a cocktail table. We also had a small fridge, but don't eat/drink the stuff in it. No one does. It's not free like room service by your steward. The ship was about as big a ship as I am interested in ~ 2800 passengers. There were parts of the ship we never got to. Our cabin was near the aft elevator bank and it was an easy trip to dining (both the large open dining and the dinner seatings). The specialty restaurants were back there too and we celebrated a friend's birthday on the 4th of July in the Tuscan Grill. Excellent food, and superb service. I had a 9 oz. filet and a terrific short rib ragout pasta dish. i went down to deck 5 in the mornings for Lattes and Americanos for the wife and I. Open at 6:30 AM. Who gets up before that on a ship? The entertainment was a step above prior trips. Very talented performers and very high energy. Great choreography. My only criticism of the musical shows would be that despite the talent level, the energy, and the choreography, the show lacked cohesion or maybe vision woould be a better word. Lots of singing and dancing but no story. However, both comedians, Robbie Printz and Phil Tag were fantastic! Service was excellent and sooooo friendly. The bartenders remember what you drink. the barristas remember your coffee order. Our steward was terrific. I want to specially mention the Captain and the Cruise Director. Captain Tazos was wonderful. He is Greek and he makes sure you know he is Greek. He is a very funny guy, and very accessible. It's not easy to be funny in a non-native language, but he is. I seldom listened to Captain's announcements on prior cruises, but I listened to every one of his. Cruise Director Steve was everywhere and he told us every day to stop and say Hi. You couldn't miss him or his constant enthusiasm. We had great weather in Seattle prior to the cruise and in Victoria on the last leg. Alaska was cold and wet the whole time but that is the chance you take. A friend took the same cruise last year and had 80 degrees and sun all day, every day. You pay your money and take your chance. Ketchikan is small, but has a part of town (to the right of the berth) that we didn't have time to see because we had to prepare for our excursion. We took the Seafeast and Alaska Lodge tour. Good tour. We bussed about 15 miles and caught small boat. Before the boat left, the operator threw some fish in the water and a half dozen or so bald eagles swooped down from the trees to pluck them about 20 feet from you. Then we saw a seal rookery on a small island. Then we went to the island Silver Salmon lodge where we had a nature walk on a boardwalk into the rainforest and saw the small black tail deer that swim to the island to fawn because there are no bears of wolves on the island. They will pose for pictures for you. Than we had a sea feast of fresh clams, mussels, crab, corn and potatoes. What a pig out! So fresh! Next was the Tracy Arm of the fjord to the Sawyer Glacier. Fortunately/unfortunately there was so much ice due to an earthquake, rain or other natural event that 15 miles away we had to turn around due to the sheer ice volume. There was no danger. We could have gone 1/2 knot and gotten to the glacier after 30 hours but that would have destroyed the trip timeline. I was beautiful but disappointing. Juneau (same day) was OK but the featured historic place, the Red Dog, was so crowded we didn't bother. Of the Alaskan ports, we liked Skagway the best. They had the most charming 4th of July Parade with Pipers, RCMP marchers, pick up trucks, fire engines, vintage cars, and a kazoo band. The instant the parade ended, I ran to the "featured' historic spot, the Red Onion Saloon, and got a table. Good food, limited menu due to fire regulations - no open flames and no deep fryer - because the town is so old, a fire would destroy it in minutes. Victoria, BC is the bomb. This was our second visit here and we are in love. Butchart Gardens is one of the premier gardens in the world. Let me just say that my wife loved the shopping and let it go at that. We went to the Bard and Banker Pub and I think that may be the most beautiful pub I have ever been in. The Empress Hotel has High Tea. Do not miss Victoria! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The whole boat was clean and very good looking. I couldn't walk 15 feet without a crew member smiling and politely greeting me. I loved the activities and shows. There is enough food onboard to feed an army, and the best part is that ... Read More
The whole boat was clean and very good looking. I couldn't walk 15 feet without a crew member smiling and politely greeting me. I loved the activities and shows. There is enough food onboard to feed an army, and the best part is that most of it is free of charge. There is so much onboard entertainment, you name it, from movies to comedy shows, they have it. I didn't participate in any, but there were numerous activities for the homosexual individuals. I loved the diversity on the ship, there were so many crew members from so many different countries. In the Ocean View buffet, there were so many different types of food from so many different countries. The cruise had an X-Club for the teens. Although it sounds lame, it was actually an amazing experience for my daughter. She went for the first few days and made friends. After making friends, they hung out everywhere on the ship. They could choose what activities they wanted to go to. The Ocean View cafe had amazing food choices, and the sky lounge had amazing views and an aesthetic appearance. The entire ship was so big and luxurious. I felt like royalty. The crew were all respectful and friendly. They lived to serve you. I would love to live on this cruise until I die. Everyone was so friendly. This was an amazing experience. I loved it!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My husband and I wanted to travel someplace new and go all out since we were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. When on a Royal Caribbean cruise in July 2016, we booked this 7 night Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to travel someplace new and go all out since we were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. When on a Royal Caribbean cruise in July 2016, we booked this 7 night Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We originally chose this ship because we knew that it was a more contemporary ship and we were drawn to the spa amenities and the wine bar (among other things). The night before the cruise, we stayed at the Hyatt House on 5th Avenue N in downtown Seattle. It was the PERFECT choice as the hotel itself was in a great location with a complimentary hot breakfast, and it was only a $12 cab ride to the pier for 3 people with a ton of luggage. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying one, or several, nights in Seattle before or after a cruise! We arrived at Pier 91 at 10:30 AM. The pier was quite crowded as there were two ships in port (Celebrity and Royal Caribbean) and many previous cruise guests were still waiting for transportation while new guests were arriving. We were a little confused as to where we should drop off luggage as the area was not clearly labeled. We asked one pier employee for help and he took us straight to the man who was loading luggage for the Solstice. We double checked that the luggage was indeed going to the Solstice and not the Royal Caribbean ship and when he eased our fears, we left our luggage with him and walked right into the main building. Everything was clearly labeled from here on out and it took us less than 10 minutes to travel through very short lines to receive our Sea Pass card (we took advantage of online check-in a few weeks prior) and walk onto the ship. We were on the ship by 10:45 AM. The ship itself is BEAUTIFUL; very contemporary furnishings and everything was well maintained and kept very clean. We were welcomed onto the ship with a glass of Champagne and proceeded to explore every bit. The layout of each floor was great as all restaurants were located at the aft of the ship; most shopping, the casino, and some bars were located in the middle of the ship; the theater, fitness center and spa, and most bars were located at the front of the ship. There were elevators at numerous points throughout the ship that helped to decrease wait time. We had some drinks and walked all around the ship before going to the Oceanview Café for lunch and it was still quite crowded at 1 PM. Soon after lunch, our stateroom was ready, so we were able to check that out as well! We chose to book an Aqua Class room on the starboard side of the ship, room 1558. Our room was very large for a cruise ship cabin with PLENTY of storage in both the room itself and the bathroom so that we were easily able to store the contents of 2 large suitcases and a suit bag (including toiletries and shoes). All of our suitcases fit neatly under the bed so we had no clutter in the room, allowing us to maneuver with ease. Our bathroom had 1 sink and a large vanity area, as well as a shower with one large shower head and about 4 or 5 small, massaging shower heads that were at different points below the main showerhead. We figured out that we could have all showerheads turned on at once or we could have only the main showerhead turned on (which was most helpful for shaving in the shower!). Our bed was SO comfortable and there was not one night that we had a bad night's sleep! Our balcony was rather large with enough room for a small table with 2 chairs and 2 footrests, while still leaving some room to easily enter and leave the balcony. Our room attendant was Wiji and he was OUTSTANDING!! The service that he provided was second to none and he always met our requests quickly and with a smile! We purposely chose the starboard side of the ship because the itinerary has this side facing land for the first 4 days of the cruise and the views were spectacular! The location of our Aqua Class room allowed for a private staircase to enter the spa and fitness center areas (which we used daily) so that was a perk for us. The only disappointment about the Aqua Class room was that there was no pillow menu as advertised (although Wiji did bring cotton pillows upon request) and the daily snack left a lot to be desired. We are not tea drinkers so we did not drink the tea on a daily basis, but we did enjoy the fresh fruit provided every day. However, there was also a second snack provided mid-day which always consisted of olives (YUCK!) and usually some dip or cheese snack that was not quite appetizing. If this is your only motivation for an Aqua Class room, you may want to choose another room instead. Overall, we felt that dining and service were fantastic! We ate at Blu (another Aqua Class perk that was WELL worth it!) almost daily for breakfast and 4 times for dinner. The food portions were small, which was good in my opinion as I always had room for dessert, but I was never disappointed in a meal. Like the main dining room, the menu changes daily, but there are three "classic" items on the menu each day that can be ordered. The service in Blu was wonderful and we got to know and love the same server and assistant server (Paul and Vikktoriia) as if we were in the main dining room, as well as the hostess (Maria) and the manager (Ante). Every day, the sommelier would approach our table and ask if we would like wine. We learned on the first day that if we said no to wine, we had to order another drink immediately; otherwise, he would collect the wine glasses, walk away, and never return. Even if he provided the first drink, the only time that he would return is if we requested his presence through our server. But that was the only semi-issue that we had in Blu, which wasn't really a big deal in the end. We never made reservations for breakfast or lunch and walked right in on most days, with the exception of the evening that we were in Victoria, which we had to wait a whopping 5 to 7 minutes. Before cruising, we ordered the 3 dinner specialty package and we were SO happy that we did! Our first meal was in Tuscan Grill, where we fell in love with the marinara sauce, but not necessarily the service. It was our least favorite of the specialty restaurants. However, Murano and Silk Harvest did not disappoint and both restaurants were surprising to us for different reasons. We couldn't understand the menu at Murano and most of the items were not foods that we would regularly choose to eat. However, our waiter was super helpful in explaining the food items and helping us to make our choices, and his service surpassed outstanding. The food was delicious and we had a very romantic meal. There were several items that were cooked tableside, which added a nice touch! Silk Harvest was surprising to us because it was restaurant that most reviewers complained about so we weren't expecting much. However, the food is served family style so we had a TON of food and it was all delicious! The family style serving allowed us to try several dishes on the menu and our server would consistently ask if we wanted to try more. The drink service was great as well! It was the only restaurant that we did not have room for dessert and we walked away very pleasantly surprised and pleased! We tried to avoid the Oceanview Café at all costs as it was ALWAYS crowded and tough to find a table. We tried to go when we thought it would not be a "peak" time, and the only time that it was not crowded was at midnight when we went for a late night snack. However, we did like that there was a bar located inside of the buffet, as well as outside seating. We also ate at Mast Grill one afternoon for lunch and had a very tasty burger and fries, as well as the Aqua Spa Café for afternoon snacks; both were a MUCH better alternative to the Oceanview Café. We LOVED Café al Bacio and frequented it in the afternoons for a caramel macchiato and hot chocolate, as well as whatever delectable treats were being offered that day (it changed daily). The service was always amazing as everyone was so happy to help you at all times. The treats are complimentary to all, and since we had the Premium drink package, our coffee and hot chocolate were included. We did not eat at Sushi on 5 since I am pregnant and cannot have raw fish. Otherwise, we probably would have tried it out, even though we only saw a handful of people in there daily; perhaps because it is a la carte. We tried most of the bars onsite and found that the Passport Bar, the Sky Observation Lounge, and the Sunset Bar were hardly ever crowded. Service at all 3 bars was great and the Passport Bar always had a server walking around taking drink orders. There was a server in the Sky Observation Lounge as well, but we must have never sat in a popular area, because my husband would always have to get up to get a drink and then was intercepted by a server on his way to the bar, who would then get his drink. The Sunset Bar was hardly ever crowded because it was so cold for outside for most of the cruise, so we would grab blankets while my husband smoked a cigar and I would chat with Vlad and Barretta at the bar (who were always sure to keep my pina coladas non-alcoholic!). They were our favorite bartenders on the ship as they would go out of their way for both my husband and I, getting us blankets if there were none available or searching for my husband's favorite Alaskan beer if they did not have any at the bar. And finally, in the evenings, we would sometimes go to the Martini Bar, which was typically crowded because the bartenders were so entertaining. We always had fun watching them put on a show and interacting with one another and the guests. There were a lot of activities going on for adults, but it seemed like there wasn't a lot for children. They had a children's club and a teen's club on the ship, but we hardly ever saw or heard of any children's activities. We have no interest in jewelry or art so we did not attend the NUMEROUS activities centered on shopping sales and art presentations, nor did we attend any presentations by Bret Nixon or Miss Amanda. We listened to both of them on the TV one evening and they weren't as interesting to us as other reviewers have made them out to be. We would attend the evening shows quite regularly and were pleased with the comedians, but not so much with the shows. Rock was an incredible disappointment. While the dancing was decent and most of the performers had decent voices, to be incredibly blunt and honest, I have seen better high school musicals before. The apparent talent of the performers was masked by a terrible show. There were SO MANY excellent, well-known songs that could have been performed and instead there were too many songs that were unknown. There was one singer who performed a Red Hot Chili Peppers song as if it were a ballad (which is a huge no-no for my generation). I almost walked out at that point because why anyone, producers or talent, would find that even remotely entertaining is beyond me. Same thing with Euphoria. The acrobats were incredible, but the music mixed in with the acrobatics was not. Moonlighting to Adele, one of the greatest voices of this time, should not be done by anyone and while the girl who sang her song put forth a good effort, it was almost as though I was sitting through karaoke. The song "A Thousand Years" should have been solely instrumental as the performers playing the cello and violin were OUTSTANDING; they brought tears to my ears. Then, the singing began, and it was a duet no less with my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers cover singer who absolutely butchered the song. I hate to be so incredibly harsh, but this was a HUGE disappointment and those who create and produce these shows should really put thought into what will bring out the best in their performers. As mentioned earlier, we frequented the spa and fitness center area on a daily basis. Although we had complimentary access to the Persian Garden as Aqua Class guests, we did not visit it once since my pregnancy would not allow for me to take advantage of their (mostly) heat-based treatments. The fitness center was crowded during the first sea day, and then afterwards, we had no trouble getting a machine after 11 AM. I wanted to take a yoga class or two, but was actually surprised that there was very little education on prenatal exercises and treatments. I had asked a trainer if the yoga instructor offers guidance on alternate poses that may not be safe for pregnant women and he provided me with an answer that made it clear that he had absolutely no idea that certain poses were not for pregnant women. The same thing occurred with my massage therapist and esthetician. At first, I almost wasn't even able to have a massage because the therapists thought that 16 weeks was still in the first trimester of pregnancy, which it is not. Then, I was given a completely inaccurate reason why a massage MAY be dangerous for pregnant women in the first trimester (I did my research and discussed this with my doctor ahead of time). My esthetician was much more educated on products that can and cannot be used during pregnancy, but both my massage therapist and my esthetician had me lying flat on my back for an extended period of time, which is NOT good during the second trimester. Perhaps a little more prenatal education is needed, even if I was likely in the minority. As for port excursions, we only had 1 planned through the ship. We decided to explore on our own in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria. In Juneau, we purchased a $60 (for 2 people) round-trip bus ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and were able to hike and see both the glacier and Nugget Falls without any time constraints. My husband did the Klondike Bike Ride in Skagway, which was an excursion through the ship. He loved the excursion since there were only 4 people and they made numerous stops as they biked down the mountain. Luckily, we're ok with being independent explorers because we didn't want to pay the exaggerated prices offered through the cruise ship and the daily planner provided information about each port that was completely useless to us. I understand that this is a luxury cruise line and that it caters to those who are a little more well-to-do and likely have no qualms about spending money on material things. However, having that said, there are some of us average people who are looking for a great experience and some awesome advice on ports, and deals as well. PAGES of information on jewelry sales, where to buy jewelry in ports, etc. does not necessarily appeal to the masses. I had heard in Juneau that the cruise companies own the numerous jewelry stores that line the streets of each port, which is why they are advertised so heavily. Whether this is true or not, I'm unsure, but we found that the further we would travel from the port, the better shops, food stops, and deals we would find. One last thing that surprised us about the ship were the photographers. They were much more pushy than any other ship that we have been on before and this was the biggest disappointment. I understand that they have a job to do, but I absolutely do not care to be TOLD to do something. For example, when I'm having a quiet dinner with my husband, I don't want a photographer approaching my table, interrupting our conversation, and TELLING me to pose a certain way without ever asking if I wanted a picture in the first place. We ended up turning down all photography on the ship because being posed is not our idea of a nice picture; it's rather cheesy in our humble opinion. Sessions and packages are offered for those who enjoy that type of thing. Finally, when the cruise was (sadly) over, disembarkation was extremely simple. In fact, the most difficult part was catching an elevator because most guests did not listen to directions (or just didn't care) and started to head towards their debarkation areas well before it was their time. We chose self-assist so we walked off with our luggage and once we were actually able to get on an elevator, we walked right off the ship and right through customs with no issues. There was a short line for taxis and one that moved very quickly, so we were able to catch a taxi by 7:45 AM and were at the airport by 8:30 AM, in plenty of time for our flight. I would suggest planning wisely for debarkation because due to the massive number of people who were just standing around waiting, I can only imagine that it would become tougher to leave the ship as time went on (not to mention catching a cab, traffic at the port, etc.). In the end, we're definitely happy that we chose the Celebrity Solstice to see Alaska. We had a great time and met a lot of wonderful, hard-working people who simply wanted to please on a daily basis. We would highly recommend this ship for singles, couples, groups of adults, or families with adults. We would not bring our child on this cruise as we did not feel that it was as family friendly as Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We had 5 families joined at this cruise. Most of it was kind of disappointing. There were too little shows, especially when our dinning was at 8pm. All the shows were either at 7pm or 9pm, so we couldn't watch any shows. Also, ... Read More
We had 5 families joined at this cruise. Most of it was kind of disappointing. There were too little shows, especially when our dinning was at 8pm. All the shows were either at 7pm or 9pm, so we couldn't watch any shows. Also, because of the cold weather, all the movies played outside was bad idea. Most of all, our group chose Kayak and due to the bad weather, one of our boat flipped and others had to call for help to go back. All the kayaking after us were cancelled. But they wouldn't give us any refund!!! Terrible after service too!!!! But the only thing we would rate above Excellent were the 2 employees worked at "Vines". Mike and Olivia were excellent with service, so kind, and made us feel so welcomed. They definitely took all our stress away. We would definetly, go back just because of these 2 employees. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost ... Read More
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost everyone on the ship and the seamless way our cruise was handled. Our roundtrip out of Seattle pier 91 was very simple. My first Princess cruise, we arrived at the port around 11:15 and were on the ship by 12:15. Embarkation was handled smoothly in groups. People who had gotten to the pier earlier were called earlier, but they didn't start boarding until around 11:45. We received our bags in our cabin around 6:30PM. My only other cruising experience has been with Carnival multiple times, and I would say overall this is a step up in many ways, especially staff to passenger ratio and service. As Carnival is my only previous experience, most of my observations compare the two experiences. There weren't many children visible on the ship; passengers were mostly couples in their early forties and older. Food The room service and main dining room experience was excellent from a service standpoint. Food quality was pretty good and the breakfast room service menu is better than Carnival, but the MDR food selection was definitely more limited than Carnival. It helps to know that with AnyTime dining, you can make a reservation in advance and not have to wait. Although the MDR opens at 5PM for dinner, we arrived at 5:30 one night and were given a pager and told it would be 30-45 minutes to wait in the DaVinci dining room. Ultimately, we only waited about 20 minutes and enjoyed a drink from Vines wine café across the Piazza. Bartender Mark Anthony in Vines remembered us after the first night and would always offer our glass of Chandon before dinner. Also Vines offers a modest sushi plate or cheese plate in the afternoon if you order a glass of wine. I also loved the quality and selection at the included International Café in the Piazza. From pastries to sandwiches, salads, and desserts, these options were good. As for the specialty dining, we tried the Salty Dog gastropub in the Wheelhouse Bar on the first night for $12 and were impressed with the quality of the pub fare. The umami burger was fantastic, as was the crab cake. On our first elegant night, we opted for the Crown Grill which everybody raves about, but I was underwhelmed. The service was fantastic. The food quality paled in comparison to the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses on Carnival. For a $29 upcharge per person, we had a nice selection from the menu, and you can order as many things as you want. However, we started with a "special off the menu" appetizer of oysters on the half shell which weren't that fresh. They seemed slightly dehydrated. The scallop appetizer was excellent. Soups and salads were all right. My chop porterhouse steak was too fatty. They served the sides family style in the middle of the table which seemed a little sloppy. There were no amuse bouches served nor specialty breads and butters like on Carnival. We also tried the Crab Shack one night which operates in a special corner of Café Caribe on certain nights. Overall this was better. While the salmon rillettes and clam chowder were fine, the crab and shrimp and royal mixed steamer were very good and an excellent value, the dessert tray was a real let down: just four cakes under plastic domes already partially cut up and not particularly appetizing looking, so we skipped it. The highlight of the specialty restaurants is Curtis Stone's Share at 16 aft. We really enjoyed the ambiance, excellent service by hostess ZaZa, and the food quality was certainly a significant notch higher than on the rest of the ship at $39 per person. This 6 course restaurant aspires to Michelin star territory, and with the exception of slightly under-salted pasta courses, was superb. We didn't use the buffet too often. One night it was just after 10PM and the last pizzas were going into the oven as we approached, so it was our only option. The area can get a little crowded and the selection is okay. Because there were so many Asian passengers on board, I was surprised to find that at least 30% of the dishes on the buffet were Asian. It's wouldn't be my first choice for dining on the ship. I'd rather have a more limited menu with table service than search for a table after the buffet. However, in contrast to Carnival, the buffet dining room tables are set with cloth napkins and silverware and the service staff were quick to come to us after sitting down to ask if we needed anything else like drinks. I regret that the Café Caribe was not open as often, because for food selections, the atmosphere was newer and the choices were healthier. Bar Service I enjoyed the coffee shop in the mornings for our iced espressos and chai lattes. It was only late in the cruise that I discovered the coffee shop also offered spiked frozen chocolate mint milkshakes. Those frozen Polar Bears were awesome! We had booked our cruise with a Sip and Sail promotion, so all of our beverages and drinks were included. With the exception of a few wines by the glass, room service drinks, and wines by the bottle, unlimited beverages are included with the package-- which I loved. I will also note that one major difference between Carnival and Princess with the drink packages is that on Princess, they may ask you to show your card to order a drink, but they never have you sign a slip with the option to tip on each drink. This was very nice, and it kept our overall tipping tab down. Overall bartending was excellent across the ship. My only nits were that the same drink wasn't always served the same from bar to bar. I had an excellent signature bloody mary from the bar next to the Trident Grill on the first night and it was never recreated exactly the same way again. I loved that there were roving servers in the dining rooms and on decks to ask us if we wanted anything, which was a far cry from the Carnival experience where it's rare to have someone on deck ask you for a drink order. We loved the Adagio bar in the back on 16, it was nearly always empty and very private. Our bartender Rosie was special, asking about us and serving us our favorite drinks every time we visited. Entertainment Until the quite fun balloon drop on the second to the last night and it's excellent accompanying Magic To Do stage show, entertainment on the ship was mediocre. It seemed to be focused on an older crowd. The magic show was tired and lame, the singer was good but the shows were basically just singing song after song. One night, there was a pub review sing along with a bunch of old songs our group in our forties and fifties didn't even recognize. The comedian was pretty funny. Otherwise, I found the tone of the entertainment to be several notches below Carnival. We enjoyed the few trivia challenges we entered, and we won two of the four we played. I wish Princess offered a keepsake collectible from winning a trivia challenge like Carnival's ship on a stick. We got some dollar store bargain DVDs for one prize and princess wine stoppers for another. The de rigueur British-accented Cruise Director was fine. Ship Design Most of the ship's dining rooms and bars were nice, but indistinguishable from one another. The interiors were very suburban McMansion styled from the '90s, with a strange mishmash of Sixties clocks and Italian styles. It's not modern with the exception of the Café Caribe and Share restaurant. It's nice to have so many hot tubs and pools on the ship which were unfortunately not really used for the Alaska cruise. There were usually a few people in the hot tubs while on ship. Enrichment I loved the naturalist on board for the Glacier Bay viewing. We also had another naturalist who offered lectures and tips about what to do in port throughout the cruise. These were very good. I wasn't much interested in dancing lessons, but there were many of these. I didn't go to champagne art auctions, of which there were many. I also didn't go to the many "parties" they threw in the shops to sell jewelry. Sanctuary and Gym We booked the Sanctuary first thing for Glacier Bay viewing at $60 per person. From 6:30AM until about 4PM, this included excellent service with unlimited bloody maries and mimosas, our own padded lounger with blankets, a thermal mug, ear warmers, special food service at a private buffet for breakfast, lunch and tea service, and a keepsake picture. In order to see the glaciers without the blue glass of the Sanctuary, I had to move to another part of the ship which was close, but overall, this experience was fantastic. It was cold! I jumped down and stood fully-clothed the sauna for about five minutes when I needed to take the chill off. The gym below the Sanctuary was fine with jogging machines and elliptical trainers. We went to a spin class for a fee one morning, and really broke a sweat! Itinerary and Excursions I don't think I'll go on an Alaska cruise again any time soon, but if I did, I'd be happy to do it again with Princess. This seems like a once in a lifetime experience, and overall Princess didn't disappoint. I wish we had more time in Ketchikan (8AM-noon) and Victoria (6PM to Midnight), but otherwise we had plenty of time in Juneau and Skagway. We booked a dog sled on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau which was cancelled because of the weather. Instead, my group of 4 booked a float plane to view 5 glaciers. This was considerably less expensive ($215 per person vs. the $600 per person for the dog sled through Princess.) I loved the gorgeous views, but if you're prone to motion sickness, beware of float planes! I white knuckled this for a part of the ride. One nit with the cancellation of the dog sled excursion was that Princess showed that I had a $1300 credit on my bill after we had cancelled the prepaid trip, but still charged my credit card (which dropped off the card), and then they told me that I would have to wait 10-15 days after the cruise to get the refund by mailed check from corporate. That's bogus. They could easily refund the card I used to pay for the excursion. We also booked the luxury car train for the White Pass Scenic Railway. This was SUPERB! If you can afford it, I highly recommend this upgraded experience with unlimited snacks, beers, wines, and champagne for the 2.5 hour train ride. Only 14 people in the car for the experience are allowed. The views are breathtaking! Our final planned excursion was the 4 hour boat ride in Ketchikan to Misty Fjords. This was a long excursion that precluded us from any other activity in Ketchikan. The bulk of the ride in either direction was taken up with talks from the naturalist and native American speaker. However, the cruise through Rudyerd Bay was worth the trip! So beautiful! It was like no place I've ever seen. So green with ribbon waterfalls, seals, bald eagles, and puffins, we were fortunate enough this rainy day to have this part of the ride without precipitation. I loved it. Final Thoughts I went on this cruise with my husband and we've been together for 34 years. We were hoping to experience a vow renewal. It had shown on our itinerary under the payments and schedules section that we had this included, however, there was some sort of miscommunication between me, my travel agent, and Princess, because we were told no service package was included for our cruise without us paying a minimal addition of $229 for a vow package. I had called Princess in advance of the cruise to confirm that our package was included and spoke with someone who said it was. No one at the customer service desk including the manager would consent, and we weren't prepared to pay more for this, despite the fact that we both wrote new vows. We tried multiple times with confirmations, but were ultimately left disappointed in this omission. It didn't ruin our cruise, but we felt sad that we couldn't have our renewal ceremony. This leads me to another point about LGBT meetings on the cruise. Every night at 6:30PM there was an LGBT gathering in the Adagio bar. We'd go with our traveling couple companions nightly, and we were almost the only people in the place. Twice there was just one other couple who weren't particularly friendly. This was inconsistent with our experience on Carnival. Once again, this didn't disappoint or ruin the cruise, but we were surprised that nobody else on this full ship of 3100 passengers would come to a gathering. Princess is an upgraded experience over Carnival, with superior service and a very laid back, mature vibe. It's calm, serene, and a good value overall. The atmosphere is like an upscale suburban traditional wedding reception. It's not a fun ship party atmosphere. It's genteel, refined, and quietly luxurious. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They ... Read More
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They were friendly. We appreciated a crew member who was always nice and kind to us every time we ate. He was professional, always smiling and would say hi to us every time we saw him while we were eating. I was amazed on how many people worked on the cruise and how they all work really hard to make our vacation special for my family. We were lucky to be able to have this opportunity to do this. The excursions were a lot of fun which there were many excursions to meet all of our families wants and need. It was fabulous Thank you to the Crew - The Norwegian Jewel for the trip to Alaska on June 10th 2017 Read Less
Sail Date June 2017

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