148 Seattle Norwegian Pearl Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for our 20th anniversary trip and were quite excited to go to Alaska. However, when all was said and done, it was an average experience at best. The best part of the experience was the room - we selected a mid-ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 20th anniversary trip and were quite excited to go to Alaska. However, when all was said and done, it was an average experience at best. The best part of the experience was the room - we selected a mid-ship mini suite. It was large and had many storage options. The only criticism there would be that the closet doors wouldn't fully open because they kept banging into the bed. Our cabin steward, Raymond, was fantastic. He was so personable and friendly and wanted to know more about us as a couple. Our cruise was his last cruise before he got his 2 months off to go home to the Philippines to visit his family. The shore excursions were very pricey, though we'd cruised about 5 times prior to this trip, so we knew they would be expensive, but the cost doesn't seem to match the quality of the tours. Two of our excursions were great, the other one was okay. Full disclosure, my husband and I are not joiners, tending to be on the introverted side, and we were bored most of the time. I wasn't into playing very overpriced bingo (we played once and it was $50 for 3 games! Yikes!) You can only play so much trivia, especially when drunk people keep shouting out the answers to the questions. We had the unlimited beverage package, which we got through a promotion and was nice, but you have to pay 20% gratuity on each drink. Yes, it only adds up to about $2 a drink, but it'd be nice if free meant free - not that you had to pay a mandatory gratuity on a free package. If the workers are so underpaid that there are required gratuities, perhaps consider paying them more. We had a couple really good bartenders, but the majority were kinda cranky - not sure if they were close to the end of their contracts, but they seemed to need a break. They work 7 days a week for 8 months straight...perhaps if I had that schedule, I'd be cranky too. In Icy Strait Point, it was cold and rainy, which I actually like...it was the only weather that felt like we were really in Alaska. We did a whale watching and wilderness hike (very short hike - only about 1000 yards), and saw humpback whales, Alaskan brown bears, and bald eagles. This was a great tour, and I highly recommend it, though again, very expensive. We were in port from 1pm - 7pm, which was plenty of time. The port itself is very small, with not much to do. It was such an ideal amount of time that we actually left about 20 minutes early, as everyone was back on board. In Skagway, we did the Mushers Camp and Dog Sled adventure or something like that. It was fantastic if you have a love for dogs like my husband and I do. We drove about 25 minutes away from port in a fairly nice shuttle bus. When we got there, we walked just a bit into the camp area and got into a large jeep-type vehicle for the trek up the mountain. When we got close, you could hear the dogs barking and barking - they were so excited to see us! We went on a little sled ride, where the dogs pulled us on a summer cart (with wheels), which was great fun. When we were done with that, back on the jeep-thing and back down the mountain where we got a very informative session about sled dogs and the Iditarod race. Then - the best part... we got to hold some sled dog puppies!! They were so sweet and happy to see us. When we were done with the tour, we went to a local restaurant and had lunch, then shopped a bunch, then went back to the ship. We were back on the ship at 2ish. We were in port from 7am - 7pm, which in all honesty was too long. There just isn't enough to do there, unless you book two excursions - and I'm too cheap for that. Ketchican was by far our favorite port. It was a quaint little town, and we wish we had had more time to explore that port. We did a wildlife and all you can eat crab tour. It was okay. Basically, you get put on a boat (after just getting off a boat), taken into an inlet of the ocean and they pull up a crab pot so you can see the crab and hold it, if you want. It was fine, but underwhelming. When we got back to the shop, we were excited to get to the crab feast. Only problem, they stuff about 110 people into a room that holds about 50. You have to sit with folks you don't know if you didn't go as a group, which was annoying. Also, the all you can eat crab is literally only crab. No potatoes, corn, or anything - just crab. And, not Alaska King Crab, which I thought it was going to be, but Dungeness crab which was still good. I can only eat one flavor for so long though - so that was too much just crab - oh, and a piece of cheesecake at the end. We were in port from 7am - 1pm, which just wasn't long enough. If I hadn't done a little shopping before the excursion - Sockeye Sam's will hold your purchases for when you get back from your excursion! - we wouldn't have had any time at all to look around. The general consensus from people I heard was the same - this port needs more time. Glacier Bay was beautiful! There isn't a whole lot to be said for the day, since you're at sea some more, but it was beautiful country when the fog lifts - it's magical. We were able to go into the bay and see Johns Hopkins glacier up close and personal, and the captain did a couple circles, so you could see it no matter where you were on the ship. I would say that this day seemed long - we had the rangers on board until right around 1pm, so we could have been on our way to Ketchican sooner, I think. Would like to say how awesome Victoria, BC was, but I wasn't able to get off the ship. There was a medical emergency on board early that morning, which caused us to be almost 5 hours late into port. When you don't get there until 6pm anyway, getting in at almost 11pm, when you have to be up early to disembark seemed silly. They let folks off the ship at around 11:15pm, and they had to be back on board at 12:15am. Seriously - 1 hour??!! That seemed stupid to me. There were no excursions, obviously, so we just stayed on the ship. This was a huge disappointment to me. I would never complain about it being because of a medical emergency, and actually, the lifeboat that took the person off the ship was directly beneath our room, so we watched the whole procedure - it was fascinating. I hope the person is ok and that they made it. However, I wish we hadn't even bothered to stop in Victoria - an hour just seemed silly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I have a dairy allergy and this cruiseline only accommodates if you pre-order your food the day before and you must eat at the summer palace only for every meal. This really isn’t fair to the people you are with. Isn’t the point of ... Read More
I have a dairy allergy and this cruiseline only accommodates if you pre-order your food the day before and you must eat at the summer palace only for every meal. This really isn’t fair to the people you are with. Isn’t the point of being on a cruise to be able to get variety and try all the restaurants? I tried eating at other places and told the waiters I had a dairy allergy and they wouldn’t let me eat much except for chicken fajitas without the fajitas, burgers without buns, no noodles at the noodle bar, etc. I basically lived off of French fries for the whole week. My next complaint was disembarkment. My husband and I took advantage of the port valet service. When we got our boarding passes in our cabin they separated us on our long flight home! I don’t love flying and I certainly didn’t want to sit far away from my husband. When I called the airline I had to pay an extra $108.00 to upgrade our tickets to at least be in the same row! After all the money I spent on this cruise, that was disappointing. Otherwise the cruise entertainment was a blast! I had a memorable vacation. Alaska was so beautiful, it must be on everyone’s bucket list! The shore excursions were the best!!! I really felt like I got into Alaska. We stayed away from shops and got to see Alaska! It was beautiful! The balcony room is a must! It was clean and beautiful. We got to see humpbacks, seals, sea otters from our room! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We haven't been on a cruise in 15 years mostly because I didn't have fond memories of the last one we went on (also a Norwegian cruise), but we wanted to see Alaska and couldn't think of a better way to see it. This has ... Read More
We haven't been on a cruise in 15 years mostly because I didn't have fond memories of the last one we went on (also a Norwegian cruise), but we wanted to see Alaska and couldn't think of a better way to see it. This has cured me of wanted to go on a cruise again. And, this was not an inexpensive vacation, so it was overall disappointing. First, I will say the staff and crew work incredibly hard to make sure you are comfortable and entertained. It's just that the entertainment was mostly designed for an older crowd and centered around selling, selling, selling you Norwegian products. I felt like I was in a 7-day time-share sales pitch. Or, an episode of Golden Corral R Us. You are stuck on the boat for 1 and a half days to start out with activities like shuffleboard, bingo (for a cost), knitting/crocheting, learning the foxtrot, a casino, and tips on booking your next cruise. Then again, at the end of the cruise, you are stuck for another day with more of the same. We had a mid-ship mini-suite with a balcony, and the room was the best part of the cruise. It was not super-spacious, but didn't make us feel claustrophobic. Plenty of storage. The bed was horrifically firm, so my back was not happy about that. But, our cabin steward was wonderful and did a great job cleaning up the room.. So, there were a lot of older people on this cruise, which is fine and expected, but most of them, it seems, had purchased the ultimate drink package, and they fully intended to get their money's worth. Seriously, some of these people started drinking the minute they boarded and proceeded to say soused the entire time - some got meaner and more aggressive the more they drank. Dining was an experience. Most people chose the Garden Café for breakfast and lunch as it had a buffet and was the easiest choice. While they had plenty of options on the buffet, it seemed to be leftovers from the previous night's dining choices. I realized they were feeding over 3000 people on the ship, but the food wasn't great in the complimentary dining venues. And the decorum of some of the passengers left a lot to be desired - people were up there in house slippers and onesies. Plus. there was never enough seating in the Garden Café for all the people who were in there at a time, so we mainly opted to carry our food back to our room to eat. We tried 3 of the specialty restaurants - Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and Moderno. They were actually quite good and much better than the main dining rooms. Moderno was probably the busiest, so I'd suggest making a reservation before you embark. We would have like to have had more time in a couple of the ports. Seems like we had the longest amount of time in Skagway, which was the least impressive as far as the actual town. Ketchican and Victoria, BC, were both more interesting, but we had half a day in Ketchican and didn't arrive in Victoria until 6:00 at night. For shore excursions, we chose the Whale Watch and Glacier tour in Juneau. The whale watch was good, but I don't think you need the glacier part since you see lots of glaciers when the ship goes into glacier bay. In Skagway, we chose the 4x4 mountain driving that was the highlight of our trip. However, keep in mind that you have to take a 45-minute ferry to a small town, then a 25-minute bus trip, to where you do this excursion. So, you are only driving the 4x4 for about an hour. They do feed you an excellent lunch, though. In Ketchican, we chose the Lumberjack Show - it was like a Disney version of lumberjacks, and you should save your money. In Victoria, we paid a taxi driver to show us the island (not cruise-sponsored), and he did an excellent job of hitting the highlights and suggesting a wonderful dinner restaurant. THat was well-worth the $180 he charged and enabled us to see lots of the island before it got dark at 8:30 or so. We were glad we got to see Alaska and Victoria, BC, and we enjoyed our short stay in Seattle prior to the cruise. However, we would not go on this cruise again, and probably not any cruise in the foreseeable future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I had cruised Norwegian a long time ago and, having lived in Orlando for 8 years, done quite a few Carnival and Royal Caribbean trips out of Port Canaveral. My general understanding of Norwegian's quality was that it was better than ... Read More
I had cruised Norwegian a long time ago and, having lived in Orlando for 8 years, done quite a few Carnival and Royal Caribbean trips out of Port Canaveral. My general understanding of Norwegian's quality was that it was better than Carnival, but below Royal Caribbean (though their quality has not been what it once was). We picked this cruise as a backup solution. We had planned an Oregon (specifically Crater Lake) hiking trip but the smoke from the forest fires was making it a waste of time and money. About 10 days before I started looking for alternatives and found a 7 day Alaska Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. It seemed perfect. I could get a balcony at a reasonable price and we'd get the Free at Sea package (free drink package + 3 nights of dining at their specialty restaurants and $100 to spend onboard). By the time I called, 2 days later, I was told I could no longer have the free at sea package. They would still sell me the balcony room, but there would be no drink package, dining or on board spending. I probably should've realized something was up then, but I didn't think it would be such a big deal. We're not big drinkers and you don't HAVE to pay to dine, so I booked it. Of course, it became apparent once on board that we were part of a VERY small minority without such perks and therefore started to feel like second class cruisers. The cruise mostly went smoothly. The ship itself is a nice size, not so big that you feel lost in the masses but not so small that you find yourself bored. The bowling alley is cute though it was just one more thing that cost "just a little bit" extra and all those extras add up. The itinerary was amazing. Alaska is gorgeous. The staff were ok. The room steward did his job well if without ever actually bumping into us. Our ice bucket seemed to only get filled on nights we didn't want to use it, but that's a minor thing. The bar staff varied greatly. We had a really great bar tender up in the Sugar Cane Lounge (near the fancy restaurants) but bar tenders elsewhere would refuse to make my drink of choice because they hadn't made it before, or others would oblige and then charge it as a "premium" cocktail despite using house gin. I didn't feel like we really got to know any of them which is odd for a 7 day cruise. I will say that the food was better than on a Carnival or even Royal Caribbean cruise. It was only slightly better in the free dining options (the Main dining room, O'Sheehan's and the Lotus Garden) but MUCH better in the two restaurants we tried (Cagney's and Moderno). You clearly get a discount for being on the boat (neither night cost more than $100) so I'd say they're worth it. The entertainment was good, though I felt they had one too many solo singer shows and not enough full cast broadway style numbers. As far as I can tell, it was one full production and three solo singers which seemed an odd mix. A lot of their lounge/bar entertainment was really fantastic though. Lots of truly talented people. Last, and perhaps most importantly, is the spa. We booked a couples "Bath Ritual & Swedish Massage" for the first at sea day. First, the spa staff were not at all helpful or welcoming. It was clearly an imposition on them that we wished to book something. When we arrived for our service they weren't ready. We spent 30 minutes waiting in the lobby while the staff studiously ignored us. When we finally got in to the spa itself, we both had lockers that malfunctioned. Mine wouldn't lock and my husband's wouldn't unlock (there's irony there somewhere). Next, the bath was so hot it actually burned my husband. I don't know how the two staff members could have thought it was at a reasonable temperature. As soon as we made them actually test the water, they rushed to try and drain and then cool the bath, but even they couldn't stand to put their hand in to grab the drain so it was a slow arduous process involving bowls. We spent another 20 minutes sitting around awkwardly in our swimsuits while they struggled to adjust the bath. It was a bit late at that point. I was flustered and now hot, the bath was still HOT but at least not too hot to stand and the tub itself was terribly uncomfortable. Save your money and just get the massage. I thought they might offer us some sort of discount or credit as an apology, but no compensation was offered and I wasn't going to ask. The massages themselves were great and I had almost forgotten the fiasco until the end of the cruise when I discovered the spa manager had charged us a second time for the same ritual... for no apparent reason. This brings me to the front desk/debarkation. We decided to self-assist or easy walk off. So we had all our bags with us (thank god) when we stopped at the front desk around 8am to ask about the second charge. We talk to someone at the desk, explain we went to the spa ONCE and only once and were not inclined to go again, and would like them to void/refund the second nearly $400 charge. The woman listens and then disappears to the back room. Apparently the actual decision makers are there. She's just a go-between. Fifteen minutes later she returns and says she verified that we, indeed, only have one signed receipt from the spa, she has called the spa and they will refund the money, she will print us a new statement in 10 minutes if we just wait off to the side. So we go to wait off to the side, the line balloons to huge proportions... and 35 minutes go by. Now, our flight is at 11am and SeaTac is about 25-30 minutes away so we're now within the window during which we need to leave. I make my way back into line and 10 minutes later am approached by the manager to ask about my complaint (he was clearly triaging the line). I explain that I've already had a conversation with the lady at the desk, we've already verified the charges are incorrect, and I just need my bill actually fixed.He goes to the back room again and ten minutes later comes out with a phone and has me speak to the spa manager who I have to convince AGAIN that they have charged me incorrectly and need to refund the money. NOW, seeing as I'll be lucky to make it to the airport with an hour and a half before my flight and I need to check bags (for anyone who isn't familiar, most airlines shut down checking of bags 45 minutes before the flight). So to recap, the spa bungled the service, charged me twice and then the front desk crew took THREE tries and 55 minutes to finally correct the error. At this point I'm told to wait ANOTHER five minutes and he WILL get me a corrected statement. More like 10 minutes later we're finally handed a corrected statement and allowed to at least skip PART of the debarkation line. At this point it was 9:15 and we still had to get down the gangway, through customs, find a taxi and to the airport. We rolled up to the airport at 9:50 so with less than 25 minutes to spare with respect to checking bags and only 45 minutes before boarding began. The lines were huge. If I hadn't been a United Premiere member and both of us TSA precheck approved, I'm not sure we would have made it. So, yes, the cruise was fantastic, we had a great time. But I feel like I was cheated out of the "Free at Sea" and then charged at every possible turn (in some cases twice) and it made debarkation a nightmare. I'm honestly not sure if we'll use Norwegian again. It will really depend on whether we can get the right deal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This review will focus on traveling with a mixed-age group including four children (ages 6-13), two parents (including me, age 41), and two grandparents. This cruise felt to me a bit nostalgic, like cruises I took with my parents when ... Read More
This review will focus on traveling with a mixed-age group including four children (ages 6-13), two parents (including me, age 41), and two grandparents. This cruise felt to me a bit nostalgic, like cruises I took with my parents when I was a child. The activities and entertainment seem to be trapped in the 1980s, with somewhat geriatric tribute-type musical shows (nothing with a plot, just songs) and onboard activities like napkin-folding, trivia and Bingo. For cruises to warm destinations this might not matter much, since most people spend their time by the pool. (Note that there is no indoor or enclosed pool on the Pearl. There are about four small outdoor hot tubs which are nearly always full.) For an Alaska cruise, the lack of better entertainment is more of an issue. Even so, it might not have mattered, since I expected to check my kids into a kids' program and then be able to relax with a book or adult conversation. However, my children found the kids' program as unengaging as I found the entertainment for adults... and even if they had enjoyed it, THE CHILDREN'S PROGRAM CLOSES FROM 12-2PM AND FROM 5-7PM. I suppose if you want to spend four hours dining elegantly with your young children on a cold sea day, this works wonderfully. But dining with most children lasts about seven seconds, and with children who didn't want to go to the kids' program to begin with, having to take them in and out and constantly having to convince them to go back in was a real pain. Also, don't you dare be late for the pick-up at these closing hours, because they charge you by the minute for lateness... which incidentally means you need to get there at least ten minutes BEFORE the pickup since the line of parents will have already formed by then. Oh and by the way, they're closed other times too that they barely advertise (like when they do their show at the end of the cruise... I guess it is assumed that your kid is in the show). We tried to put our children in the Junior Ranger program on the day in Glacier Bay, but on that day you had to check your children in by 9:55 because they were walking with the ranger by 10am. We knew this (it was, after all, explained on page 3 of the cruise newsletter.... yes you better read that newsletter cover to cover, because important information is buried in there, but you need to make it past the nine pages of upsells and port store kickbacks to find it!) and left the amazing views on deck with plenty of time to get there despite our children's objections. I wish I were exaggerating when I say that we arrived to check our children in at 9:56 and they refused to admit them. The group had not yet left (we saw all the kids in the room!) and all the staffers were standing right there at the door, but "our system won't allow check-ins after 9:55." This was pathetic. Also, if you have older kids (10-12) who can theoretically come and go on their own, good luck with that, since the kid has to stay in the program for "at least" two hours before they can leave on their own (two hours that same day, not cumulatively)... which would be no big deal except that it's hard to get in two hours in a row due to frequent closings. So the kids' program was a big bust for us, which really changed the experience of the cruise from what we'd expected. Our children are very active and the grandparents can't quite keep up with them, which meant a lot of parents running in circles around the deck after children on cold sea days, instead of spending that time with the inlaws as we'd planned. We were also surprised that even the TV in the room did not have any children's channels. We did enjoy bowling, the stupidest possible game to play on a cruise ship (which required an extra charge), but it was indeed a fun family activity. We also enjoyed climbing the rock wall, which is just about the only activity onboard that doesn't involve an extra charge. (But get in line early! And in Alaska we only had two days where the weather was good enough that they didn't close it altogether.) And the outdoor giant chess and checkers were fun. Dining was also difficult with a large group, since the buffet is rather mobbed and finding a table that could fit the 8 of us always required multiple scouts and waiting for people to leave. When the main buffet area fills, they redirect you to another restaurant for extra buffet seating, but there is a big sign in front of it that says "Quiet Dining Zone!", which is another way of saying "No Children Zone!" So we were always fighting for seats. The sit-down restaurants had more seating, but they also had rather slow service, which made them less appealing for a mixed-age group like ours. In general, while the ship was physically refurbished last year and quite pretty, the entertainment onboard was sorely dated and uncreative for a cruise in a cold climate with a significant amount of time at sea, and there was far too much emphasis on upcharged activities and outside contractors looking to sell their own products. I'm no cruise newbie (I think I've been on about 15) so I am familiar with the constant upselling. But it was just a bit aggressive when they stick a flier on every person's door to make sure you know where to buy tanzanite in their cruise-owned temporary port-store, but then they DON'T TELL YOU WHEN THE SHIP IS ARRIVING IN GLACIER BAY. Yes, that's right. They tell you what day you're in Glacier Bay, but not what time you'll arrive or when you'll leave! It's not like this information is a secret, since the park service only allows two ships into the park a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so there was no reason to hide which hours we'd be there. We'd had a long day exploring the Yukon the day before and simply saw on the itinerary that we were in Glacier bay "for the day", and we were quite exhausted and figured we'd use the opportunity to sleep past 7:30am. Well, at 8am the park rangers came on over the loudspeakers to narrate the splendor. The main reason I booked this cruise was for the Glacier Bay stop, so we jumped into our clothes and ran out of our windowless cabin to see it all! THERE WAS NO REASON NOT TO TELL PEOPLE WHEN WE WERE ARRIVING IN GLACIER BAY, OR WHEN WE WERE LEAVING. Luckily we didn't miss anything, and maybe to most people this is a minor point, since you are in the Bay for several hours and are unlikely to sleep through it all. I was only bothered by this because of the ridiculous amount of information provided on all of their upcharge activities and port stores-- literally to the point of sticking fliers in everyone's doors. ("We're only in Ketchikan for a short time, so we want to make sure you have this important information...about where to shop in our company stores.") This cruise basically won't tell you anything unless it involves giving them money. Nor was the Glacier Bay snafu the only case like that. Another choice item that was buried deep within the cruise newsletter was on the day in Juneau, where we learned by making it to page 12 that people who were NOT on cruise-ship shore excursions could disembark two hours early via tender. That was us, and that was a nice surprise to have two extra hours in port. But why was it a surprise??? Answer: it didn't involve giving them money, so why should they tell you? For Alaska cruises, we were told to focus more on the itinerary and less on the ship itself, which for the most part is good advice. However, check your itinerary very carefully, no matter where you're going!! I saw that we were in port pretty much every day except the first sea day (and the day in Glacier Bay, which is a destination in itself), and thought, great, we're mostly in port. I hadn't appreciated that you need to look at HOW LONG you are in each port. We were in Juneau 2-10pm, Ketchikan 6am-1pm, Victoria 6pm-11pm (yes that means the Victoria day is basically a sea day), and only in Skagway for a full day. (And in Glacier for half a day... not that you would have learned that through their website or the itinerary you received!) This added up to a lot more time on board than I'd anticipated. I chose this particular Alaska cruise for the roundtrip itinerary from Seattle (we were using miles for the six of us to get there, so a three-way or non-domestic ticket wasn't a real option, and we only had a week), for the price, and for the stop in Glacier Bay, which during the weeks we were looking at narrowed our choices to Princess, Norwegian and Holland America (the smaller expedition-type ships were way beyond our budget). Holland America was significantly more expensive than Princess or Norwegian when multiplied by six, and I chose Norwegian because it had a newer fleet than Princess. In retrospect I would have made my decision based more on how many hours were spent in each port, though it's possible that they're all the same in that regard (hard to fit all those billion cruise ships into these tiny towns!). If the hours in port were the same, then I would have looked for a cruise with a children's program with more flexibility, because this one was ridiculous. All that said, I have zero regrets about taking this cruise. Glacier Bay was beyond amazing, we had a blast in Juneau hiking on Mt Roberts and on a canoeing trip to the Mendenhall glacier (Alaska Travel Adventures was the company we used for the canoe), enjoyed a wildlife tour (we saw bears, right in town!) and a Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan (we had booked a kayaking trip through Southeast Sea Kayaks that was canceled due to storms), and we had the best day ever by renting a van in Skagway (book way early!) and driving up into the spectacular Yukon using Murrays Klondike Guide (it's a paid download that takes you on an amazing daylong journey). We also had a ball in Seattle touring the Boeing Plant (get tickets early!!), Pike's Place market, the Space Needle and the Chihuly galleries and gardens. The grandparents appreciated the ship's programming that was more up their alley, and the destinations truly can't be beat. We squeezed everything we could out of every minute in port, enjoyed time together onboard as a family, and made some priceless memories. But if I were doing it again, I'd look a lot more carefully at the itinerary's hours in port, and also the nitty-gritty of what the children's program offers. This children's program was inadequate, and the ship's information on what you actually need to know in ports was sorely lacking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I went on this cruise with a group who enjoy Irish music and dance. That was great. The worst part of the cruise was the air quality. We were going to get a balcony cabin but decided to get a cabin with a window. Big mistake. The air ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a group who enjoy Irish music and dance. That was great. The worst part of the cruise was the air quality. We were going to get a balcony cabin but decided to get a cabin with a window. Big mistake. The air quality was poor. There are double doors going from a corridor to the theatre or the salon; if they are closed the air is bad. I came home with a cold despite washing and sanitising my hands many times as requested. Staff were helpful for the most part. Because we were on the fifth deck, we were prevented from going to our cabin when disembarking. Because of the staff's language difficulties, my friend who is handicapped and must use the elevators, was sent up in the elevator instead of down a couple of times. I don't like music played at top volume. The atrium is particularly uncomfortable because of noise from talking and loud music. The spa experience was excellent. I had appointments for hair and skin in the spa and the staff were experts and did an excellent job. Food and staff in the Moderna Restaurant were wonderful and the view was lovely. The Teppanyang was very good. Food in the Lotus Garden was average. Food in the Garden Cafe was good but often cold. Same in the Summer Palace, although it had lovely views as well. However, I was somewhat uncomfortable staring at paintings of the executed Tsar Nicholas II and his family. I would only take another NCL cruise for the Irish music or similar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
First and probably the last time on a Norwegian Cruise. The cabin was so small for the price we paid! We had a hard time walking past the bed to our balcony. We could not fit our one piece of luggage under the bed nor in the closet so ... Read More
First and probably the last time on a Norwegian Cruise. The cabin was so small for the price we paid! We had a hard time walking past the bed to our balcony. We could not fit our one piece of luggage under the bed nor in the closet so we had to take up Valuable floor space with it. I had to call the first day to have our bathroom cleaned as you could write your name in the dust. Really made you wonder what else was not cleaned. The food was like a school cafeteria. The desserts were like the ones you find at cheap China buffets. No lobster night! No special chocolate night. Nothing special. Cancelled excursions were the norm, with not much advance notice. The excursion to Butchart gardens cost $149. for a bus ride to the gardens so you can sit not on a chair or a bench but on the wet grass to view the fireworks. Not impressed with Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise as a maybe once in a lifetime trip to see the scenery and wildlife. We heard so many stories about how beautiful it is. The excursions were rather good and we saw plenty of wildlife during our trip. We did whale ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a maybe once in a lifetime trip to see the scenery and wildlife. We heard so many stories about how beautiful it is. The excursions were rather good and we saw plenty of wildlife during our trip. We did whale watching in Juneau, with closeups of 6 different humpback whales. We did the river float thru the eagles preserve that was assume with too many bald eagles to count. This was in Skagway. The only drawback was the transportation time it took to get there and back, which was approximately 2 hrs each way bye high speed ferry and slow bus. We also did the rainforest tour, and eagle rescue center in Ketchikan and was scarily surprised by a big black bear walking past our group in the rainforest. Probably the highlight of our excursions in Alaska. Glacier Bay was something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime, awesome glaciers and even saw some small ice calving while there. The staff onboard was ok, and seemed to meet all the usual standards of cruising. The Norwegian specialty restaurant package you can choose to get when booking seems to have gone down in quality since it was 1st offered years ago. What used to be a high quality meal and service had just become on this cruise worst than there regular dining rooms. In fact we choose to go to the regular dining rooms more than usual since the service and food quality was much better. # Special Note Norwegian unbeknownst to use at time of booking had also booked a group of 1600 people who were of India culture who were on a spiritual, meditation, and religious trip. The group was completely overwhelmingly in most public areas of the ship. It made for a very uncomfortable cruise. There was no intermingled with this group and they had many areas of the ship closed off to other people to use while they held their spiritual lessons and session. They completely took over the outside areas of the ship each morning for meditation and chanting and shaking loose. If we had any idea this would be like this we would have booked another time to cruise. The group was cordial and expressed to us several times how this must be a tremendous obstacle to our cruise. We pleasantly agreed. I don’t know how you can prevent this from happening to you, but there should be some type of policy change by Norwegian to let you know in advance or not book these huge events on regular schedule cruises. We have cruised with Norwegian 6 times and are already considering a change to another cruise line because of this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We enjoyed Alaska and none of the shore excursions disappointed. We saw lots of whales, the mendenhal glacier, took the white pass train ride, panned for gold, toured a dredge, enjoyed glacier bay ( except for the park ranger who droned on ... Read More
We enjoyed Alaska and none of the shore excursions disappointed. We saw lots of whales, the mendenhal glacier, took the white pass train ride, panned for gold, toured a dredge, enjoyed glacier bay ( except for the park ranger who droned on and on ) saw the lumberjack show and totem pole park, Butchart gardens was incredible. The food was disappointing. We only ate in the complementary restaurants. Breakfast buffet was always good. My husband was uncomfortable with the size of our room and the bathroom. All were small but standard for a cruise ship. I thought I had driven that point home but apparently not. The water pressure was good and our cabin steward was amazing. I did not really like the freestyle eating. It seemed a little chaotic. Our 13 yo loved the Entourage club and participated in all the activities. It was very restful for us and we enjoyed all the movies that played in our cabin. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I worked a summer in the print shop aboard the QE2 back in college and while we didn’t get to experience the passenger food much, we got to see the shows and bars. Then some 13 years ago, I did a photography cruise to Alaska on HA which ... Read More
I worked a summer in the print shop aboard the QE2 back in college and while we didn’t get to experience the passenger food much, we got to see the shows and bars. Then some 13 years ago, I did a photography cruise to Alaska on HA which was very nice. There were classes during sea days, a group to eat with at dinner, the food was spectacular in their MDR. It was scheduled dining and by the 2nd day, our server knew what I wanted to drink. There was a bit of fanfare surrounding the initial departure, one night was an amazing dessert offering where the chefs got to show off with ice sculptures and sugar art we normally only see on cooking shows, and the final night they served baked Alaska in the MDR complete with staff presentation. So perhaps I went into my NCL cruise with unreasonable expectations that all cruises were like this. I knew some lines had a reputation for being party cruises, and I'm definitely not a partier, but this seemed a good option. It was a similar itinerary to my last cruise, but I was going with friends, so liked the idea of going again. Embarkation was surprisingly smooth. We arrived around 1pm. Unlike my last cruise that provided physical luggage tags in advance, we were somehow expected to print our own. Not that printing is a problem, but protecting those tags through the abuse of bag handling seemed tricky. We didn't print our tags mostly due to oversight, but the porter grabbed our bags from the car, took them to a tent where they gave us proper tags, wrote our room number on it and added them to a truck. Then it was a long walk through the building to a short line before the check in desk. Once on the ship, we were able to go to our room right away and leave our carry on bags. From there, we went to O'Sheehans. I had researched menus online and had expected to spend a lot of time there as many things looked good. One review specifically raved about the wings, so we got some wings as a snack. Buffalo style, with the requisite blue cheese (I live in Texas where they prefer Ranch on them for some reason!) The wings were ok, but were oddly sweet and a bit spindly. That evening, we went to Summer Palace. They went through the motions of a higher end restaurant, but the food was disappointing. I got the Pappardelle pasta with tender duck, shiitake mushrooms, green peas, and duck jus. Presentation was decent, but the dish was bland, with the duck being bit dry and stringy. The noodles were blistered, probably from being reheated in a pan rather than par cooked and boiled as needed as is normal. I got the chocolate lava cake for dessert, but it had no lava and was a bit dry, suggesting it was overcooked. Unfortunately, these turned out not to be isolated cases. The next day we went to O’Sheehans for lunch and I got Shepards pie, a favorite at home. This version had maybe 1/4” of minced filler consisting of indistinguishable ingredients (think a dryer sloppy Joe mix), with an equal amount of mashed potatoes that were toasted. And while you want toasted potatoes, you would expect to have enough for them to be moist inside. This dish required a significant amount of salt and pepper to make it edible. We went to Moderno that night and this was actually decent. It wasn’t Fogo de Chao, the chain we have in Dallas that actually has a location in Brazil and all the staff are from there, but it was good for the price. The best part was the grilled pineapple, though once it had come by once, it was hard to get more. We asked, and while the table next to us had been to Moderno previously and expressed their love for the pineapple and actually got a plate of it brought to them, we had to ask several times to get another visit from the pineapple guy. It was early in the evening, but it was clear the number of people bringing the meat around were limited and so it wasn’t a matter of sending the right person over, if you wanted more of something specific, they might have to go get it from the kitchen instead of what they were currently offering. One day, we ate at the free asian place for lunch, it was ok, the lunch entree options were really limited (3 options I think) so what I got wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. In Skagway, we went to a seafood place near the ship and had king crab. Later that evening, we wanted a snack, so went to Indigo and got salads and dessert. The waiter thought it was funny when we told him we were skipping the entree. I don’t remember the salad, I think it was just ok, the ranch dressing was weirdly thick. For dessert, I got the apple pie, which I believe was grocery store grade, not really even apple slices, more of a gel. I could press on the top crust and it would balloon out and then retract when released. It seemed that everything was from mixes or pre-made. A friend wanted a frozen rum runner like they had on an NCL cruise in the Caribbean, but were told they couldn’t get it because they didn’t have the mix. Is it really so hard to stock and use base ingredients? Cagneys was decent, probably the best food we had on the ship, but not better than a middle-grade steakhouse on shore. Even discounted, steaks were still in the $20 range. Sides were cheap, and ultimately they didn’t charge for the sides or desserts. This became a trend. We are with friends at Cucina later and they did the same thing, not charging for the appetizers. It’s probably an effort to increase tip, but since the tip is pre-applied to the bill, I don’t think it works for them. If we had to write it in, I’d be more likely to do that. On later visits to O’Sheehans (for convenience, mostly) we tried the spinach artichoke dip, which was pleasantly creamy and perfectly edible, but lacked any seasoning beyond the cheeses. Same with the nachos. We got them without the jalapeños and it consisted of chips with a thin cheese sauce poured over. It was better than Velveeta and was also edible, but on par with ballpark fare, maybe. We went to describing the food as inoffensive. One visit we were greeted by the manager and sat by the window which was nice. But then spent a really long time waiting for our waiter. I began staring at the manager who wandered around, made a call, but otherwise seemed oblivious to this. Finally, he noticed and got us water at about the time our server came by. The person who turned out to be our server did walk by a few times previously, but was bringing stuff to other tables, so I can’t really fault him. One thing that I found really offensive was the menu at O’Sheehans was not edited at all. Under the Irish Classics heading, was the description for hamburgers, followed by the Irish dishes. On the following page, was From The Grill, followed by the description for hotdogs, under which, was the three hot dog options, but this was followed with no line break by fajitas, and them immediately with the three hamburger options. It was super awkward to read and make sense of. If this were like the QE2 and menus were printed daily, then I would have expected it would be fixed. But I left a comment card about this and nothing changed. The menus had little date codes in the corners suggesting they were a corporate approved thing, which means they’re really not paying attention to even basic details. Ironically, the burger I had, was the best of everything I ate there, though the fries were soggy and limp. We went to the late night snack buffet one night and were really disappointed that the extent of the sweets consisted of a couple hotel continental breakfast grade pastries, and a couple store-bought cookies. There were some soups, cereal and a few other things, but not at all what I expected. We did happen upon an afternoon snack at the Great Outdoors that was a bit better, but still nothing baked on the ship. We went to the buffet for breakfast a couple times too. It was similarly disappointing, one day there was a 4” slab of solid scrambled eggs, the next day that was broken into granules of egg. The bacon was not rubbery but wasn’t crispy either. There were two omelet stations but only one cook manning each so not exactly efficient. There was a fresh juice station which seemed like a hint of quality until I saw that it was $3.25/glass. In contrast to the food, I thought the room was very nice. It was an inside room, nothing special. I had read that they had shrunk the cabins, but it still seemed fine. There was plenty of storage space for 2 people. The bathroom was surprisingly large. The shower had a shower head I could stand under at 6’1” which is rare. The sink had what appeared to be a kitchen faucet but that made it easy to fill water bottles. There was lots of shelf space for medications and toiletries. The only real flaw was the toilet, though at an angle, still ended 10” from the wall (I measured) which is less leg room than coach class airline seats. I found I had to sit with my legs spread apart and could easily lean my head against the wall in front of me. Definitely awkward. I later discovered it was possible to sit on it sideways and have a normal stance, still awkward. There was a card that was supposed to have our steward’s name, and maybe it did, but it was written as “name, name name name” which was confusing, as it was unclear whether one person had 4 names, or it was a team. I’m not good with faces, but believe I generally saw only one person around our room who greeted us. Service in the room was impressive, and probably the best part of the experience, not that it was super elaborate. He anticipated some specific needs and adjusted accordingly. The room was made up in what seemed like record time each day, complete with accent pillows. Then in the evening, the pillows were cleared and the beds were turned down, plus the daily program and a cute towel animal was left. Although we never made use of it, I was surprised that they actually filled the ice buckets. Fit and finish of the ship wasn’t bad, but I was surprised that the windows were filthy even the day we embarked. I realize they’re likely to get splashed, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t have cleaner jets like the airport, or treat them with a rain-x type product. The QE2 seemed to have people out on the side of the ship re-painting or cleaning at every stop. The elevators were extremely slow. We only used them if going more than 4 floors. They seemed to stop on every floor regardless of what button was pressed and whether people were on those floors when we arrived. One elevator was labeled as being limited to 4-7 due to a specific guest’s needs. Despite being freshly remodeled a year earlier, the video projector in the atrium where they did lots of presentations was horrible. Or maybe it was the camera, but they did a chef presentation and the video was really washed out with all sorts of defects. In the bars, they had flatscreens showing sports and the video there was pretty poor quality, but at least that appeared to be video compression artifacts which suggests it was poor signal, probably due to satellite transmission (though their dishes are huge compared to my direcTV dish and I get great picture.) I and most of the people on the ship were on the ultimate drink package. Despite that, bottled water wasn’t included. Not that they were against bottled water, they would happily sell you some for $6 or something crazy. Per advice I read, I brought a metal bottle and refilled it myself. They would refill at bars, but if you asked a waiter, they would just bring you a glass of water instead. Sometimes the bar would fill from the soda gun, sometimes from the sink faucet, it tasted the same to me. I realize there are limits, but the entertainment options during the day were really lacking. Unless it was something lame like a board game with the cruise staff, they were mostly either paid things like Deal or No Deal, wine or whiskey tasting (not included in beverage package), or presentations/consultations which were really sales pitches for services (health, wellness, exercise.) We didn’t try to attend the “shopping in town” presentations, but walked by the theater during one and it was a sales pitch for a particular diamond seller, going on and on about how great they are, how they have 40 locations (they were at every stop), etc. The bowling alley seemed cool, but hours were really limited, there were only 4 lanes, and there was no waiting list, so unless you stood and waited for someone to finish, you couldn’t get a lane. Oh, and it was $7/game! In the evenings, there was live music at various lounges which was nice. And the shows in the theater were decent. Their stage was fairly high tech with all motion lighting, lifts and even a turntable in the stage, and rigging for aerial acts. The house performers were reasonable. We also had a juggler that was quite good, a comedian that somehow turned the audience interaction that comedians do at the beginning of an show, into his whole act, but did it well, and a husband and wife aerial act from Russia that was pretty good. I’m told the show on the last day was good, but the late show was cancelled due to technical problems. They did pull in the comedian to stall for a while and did have their Elvis impersonator come out and play with the band for a while in lieu of that. Then they did a cheesy “you’re part of the NCL family now” show with staff carrying glow sticks. I didn’t stay for all of that as it was already pretty drawn out and had only just begun. I’m not really a casino person, the only casino with appeal was the one in Niagara Falls because they use tokens and there is a nice tactile quality to it. The friends we were with were big on some of the table games and it was good until people started smoking. I realize they want to keep people there and not put any roadblocks in the way, but it seems like there must be a ventilation system that can remove that more effectively. One day, the AC wasn’t working in the casino but that didn’t seem to stop anyone. I did spend a fair amount of money ($10-20/day) on the quarter pusher game because at least that felt like a game with some required skill, plus it had the tactile quality of coins. Some of the table games were interesting, but while there were tiny LCD screens listing the payouts, there seemed to be no instructions for the games anywhere. Most curious to my analytical mind was the fact that the cards were fed out by machine, and shuffled by machine. On the one game, it would feed out three cards per person all at once, then when the dealer pressed a button to indicate all are dealt, it spit the rest of the deck out into the tray. When the hand was over, all the cards were collected, the extra cards added to it, and set in a second tray. That put a lever over the stack and dealt the next hand using a different color cards. So there were only two decks in play. One of the people playing said that she got a royal flush on a prior cruise and happened to see one of the admin screens and it showed all the hands at the table, plus how much each person had spent. So this suggests that it’s working like the slot machines do now… there are a set of odds for each hand, it randomly generates each hand against those odds, and dispenses that hand. It’s not a true shuffled deck with true card shuffling odds. On the flip side, depending on the odds they’re using, some, such as a royal flush, may actually have a better chance of appearing than it might by true card shuffle chance. Still, it means they can do the things they do on slots, and offer “near misses” where you almost had the perfect hand and keep playing. This is apparently legal as long as the actual wins/losses correspond to the stated odds. Overall, for having a captive audience on sea days, and the potential exposure to people who don’t normally go to casinos, it seems like they’d try harder to teach newbies, and to offer more accessible buy-ins. On the games I watched most, though it was listed at $10 minimum, there were multiple spots you had to populate with chips each hand, some were required, some were optional, and it was $10 per spot. So it could be $25-35 per hand. While the wins could be fairly large, the losses could add up pretty quickly as well. Slots started at a penny, but were all electronic, and there was no actual skill required, just push a button repeatedly, sometimes your balance would go up, sometimes it would go down, didn’t carry much appeal to me. I know ships, and vacation resorts/destinations in general are all about selling you more stuff. The QE2 had the same art auction, bingo, casino, etc. But I felt like the selling on NCL was intense. As I mentioned, most of the daytime entertainment was selling. Announcements were often reminders to attend certain sales seminars. But what stood out was the absolutely relentless selling of their cruise-next program. It’s normal for ships to have people on board who can help you schedule your next cruise, and offering a promo to book on board makes sense. But from the time we set foot on the ship until the time we left, it was constant. You could put down money in increments of $250 up to $1,000 toward a future cruise. They would give you roughly half of that money back today in the form of ship-board credit to use now. You had 4 years to pick what that cruise is and use it. But of course, you could only use that money $250 per room booked. So unless you book multiple rooms or multiple cruises, that’s a bit limitation. Ultimately, I felt like if they were the cruise experience I expected, they wouldn’t have to work so hard to sell future cruises. A podcast I listen to on an unrelated subject talks regularly about Disney Cruises and how they were never given anything by Disney, but were blown away by their first one and happily book one yearly at full out of pocket cost. The friends we went with want to book another cruise next year, and I’m all for it, but I don’t want to go on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
All around great cruise, great staff. Beware to anyone getting a massage. We ordered a couples massage and were double billef $235 each. We were billed each. Total of $470. The spa refused to deduct second charge. I heard from others ... Read More
All around great cruise, great staff. Beware to anyone getting a massage. We ordered a couples massage and were double billef $235 each. We were billed each. Total of $470. The spa refused to deduct second charge. I heard from others that this was a common practice to sting you after you leave. The spa company is separate from Norwegian cl, so Norwegian really doesn't care and won't offer to help. I do believe it says Norwegian on the side of the ship. The rest of the cruise was fine. So easy to get on and off. The staff was awesome, Ida took great care of us on the back deck bar, a lot of laughs. Stephan was also great. Its hard to knock a whole ship by the dishonest actions of a few, but one word of advice to make your trip better, not worse, is to skip being robbed by the spa. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had heard great things about Norwegian; however, unfortunately ended up a bit disappointed. Entertainment was just okay. Food was just okay and the same menu was served over and over again. O'Sheehan's restaurant was ... Read More
We had heard great things about Norwegian; however, unfortunately ended up a bit disappointed. Entertainment was just okay. Food was just okay and the same menu was served over and over again. O'Sheehan's restaurant was outstanding! Customer Service Department tended not to know what they were doing and their first response was always why they couldn't give you what you needed. Towards the end of the trip, they were just flat out rude. Ship is clean and the majority of staff working on the ship are fun and welcoming. We never got to know our cabin person, which is very unusual. We never had a "towel animal" waiting for us -- however, others in our party did have them. The Skagway Train excursion was fantastic! My brother and sister-in-law signed up to see bears eat salmon, and unfortunately, no bears ever showed. They paid good money to do this, and were told that it was too early for the bears to appear. When they spoke with the Excursion rep, they basically told them too bad, and again, they were rude. The baby changing stations on the ship are great! I definitely would recommend a cruise to Alaska but would look at another cruise line. We took a cruise to Alaska two years ago, and we should have stayed with that cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise was a gift from my parents. My whole family (parents, siblings and their kids, me and my husband) went together. There were some great things about this cruise, but several negative things that made it less than excellent. The ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my parents. My whole family (parents, siblings and their kids, me and my husband) went together. There were some great things about this cruise, but several negative things that made it less than excellent. The positive: ship was beautiful and well maintained, drinks were great, wine tastings were fun, shore excursions were great, and deck chairs were more available than I’ve seen on other cruises. The negative: 1. I have a food allergy (gluten free). Other cruise lines are SO great when it comes to my allergy. In the dining room, the accommodations for my allergy were okay. They did have the allergy saved in the computer system, so when I arrived, everyone was aware. However, more than once I received food that contained gluten (I did not consume it – I noticed it before eating). Instead of making modifications to dishes, they would simply leave out things from the dish to make it allergen free. One example was just leaving off barbeque sauce rather than finding/making an alternative sauce. There were hardly any gluten free desserts (or at least that my waiter could identify as gluten free), which other cruise lines have in plenty. I think part of the problem is the “freestyle dining.” On other cruise lines, I have a set time with the same waiters every night. They get to know me and my needs and they always take care of me. I understand the appeal of freestyle dining, but it’s not for me. Other cruise lines label everything in their buffet with allergen information. I couldn’t eat in the buffet other than ice cream, which was very unfortunate when I wanted to have a quick breakfast or lunch rather than have a long meal in the dining room. I suppose I could’ve asked the employees working in the buffet, but it was incredibly loud and crowded. I didn’t want to be the person yelling so someone could hear me and holding up the line. 2. The food in general was just okay. A few nights, my dinner was great. The other nights, my meat or fish was very dry. The overall service was fine, but I’ve received better service on other cruise lines. 3. There was some confusion about shore excursion payment and guest services and shore excursion desks were both very confused and kept passing me back and forth between them to get it resolved. I wanted to pay for an excursion for another member of my party in another room, and it was very difficult to do so. We did eventually work it out. 4. I traveled in a group of 10 and we were told they couldn’t take our picture all together. We would have to pay a sitting fee of $70. We ended up asking another guest to take a couple pictures with a cell phone. 5. The only quiet space on the ship was my room. I like to find a quiet place on deck to read and I couldn’t find one. I had a great vacation with my family. I truly enjoyed being with them. I also had a LOT of fun on my excursions. But to be very honest, I don’t think I’ll ever go on Norwegian again. Royal Caribbean and Princess are worth the additional cost. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were expecting more from Norwegian. They apparently are saving money by cutting food costs. And entertainment was second rate. Good folks, but not up to par compared with competitors. The magician did close-up but no stage magic. ... Read More
We were expecting more from Norwegian. They apparently are saving money by cutting food costs. And entertainment was second rate. Good folks, but not up to par compared with competitors. The magician did close-up but no stage magic. Disappointed. The signage was skimpy. It took a couple of days to learn to navigate about. The staff provided excellent service, all over the ship. One couldn’t expect better service in the dining areas. Prime rib is one of the best dinners on a cruise. Unfortunately, Norwegian serves the lowest grade beef available, apparently. Sad. And then there’s the lobster and crab legs. Wait. There’s none of either on the menu. Not even available in the premium dining room at extra cost! Why not at least offer crab legs from the icy Alaskan waters we were sailing through? Shrimp was available in the buffet on occasion, so give credit for that. And the desserts were outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My husband and I are latitude members, and in the past, we found Norwegian a cut above many other cruise lines. It was always one of our top choices, until recently. (We've cruised with Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
My husband and I are latitude members, and in the past, we found Norwegian a cut above many other cruise lines. It was always one of our top choices, until recently. (We've cruised with Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival.) For this cruise, we booked three mini-suites to treat our entire family, and contrary to our past experiences with Norwegian, the ship seemed very short-staffed, most of the workers seemed stressed or blasé, rarely smiled or said good morning/evening, and in all of our cruises, we've never experienced such rude passengers. The cabins were nice, but the beds were only average as far as comfort. The food was also only average. One day at the buffet, we saw a server with sniffles cough into his gloved hand, wiped it on his pants, wipe his nose on his sleeve, and go back to serving food. Then, there was a bartender we saw take a bottle of Kahlua off the shelf, pour a cup of tap water in it, and put it back on the shelf, and the cocktails I ordered had very little if any alcohol in them. That was very disappointing at $10 a pop! In addition, one evening, we ordered nachos at O'Sheehan's Bar, and the cheese was so watered down that it was more like a cheese broth. In the dining room, bar servers were in very short supply, and by time one took our drink order and brought the drinks to our table, dinner was already being served. This was our third cruise to Alaska, and of course, we enjoyed all the ports of call, scenery, and excursions! When we are exploring our next cruise adventure, Norwegian will no longer be one of our top choices. I sent this review to Norwegian customer service, and they never responded. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I had friends going on this cruise so my husband and I joined them, and it was fun sharing the experience with them. The location (Alaska) was wonderful and the base price was relatively inexpensive. However, every thing on the ship was ... Read More
I had friends going on this cruise so my husband and I joined them, and it was fun sharing the experience with them. The location (Alaska) was wonderful and the base price was relatively inexpensive. However, every thing on the ship was an up-sell. There was constant pressure to buy this, upgrade that, shop here, purchase that. It was really irritating. We paid for "unlimited live-streaming internet" but it often didn't work, especially the live-streaming part. Having paid a lot for the live-streaming internet, we were pretty upset about this and got little to no sympathy from the internet support staff. The World Cup was going on, the biggest event in soccer in the world every 4 years and we were unhappy to discover that the ship wouldn't be showing it, either on one of the tv stations or on a screen. Staff gave us various excuses, mostly saying it was a "corporate decision". Imagine how upset we were when another Norwegian ship pulled up next to us, showing one of the games on a huge screen on their deck! We felt that we had been lied to. On the positive side, most of the staff were great. We really liked our mini-suite cabin. The extra little bit of space made a big difference to our comfort. Everything was clean and in good condition. The fitness center was really good, which was important to me. Our trip started and ended in Seattle, which meant a lot more "at sea" time than trips that go one-way. We didn't have a lot of time on land. We had limited dates but if you want to maximize land time, I would suggest a one-way itinerary. Our group mostly did our own activities when on land. Booking through the ship was a lot more expensive than doing it through an independent operator. However, my husband and I did book one trip through the ship, the Misty Fjords boat tour out of Ketchikan. The time frame was limited and we didn't want to risk not being back at the ship in time. We figured that we were essentially paying for "insurance" that the ship wouldn't leave without us. This was well worth it, since the boat tour got back a little late, so keep this in mind when booking shore activities. In ports where we had more time it was a better value to book on our own directly with land operators. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our friends always sail Norwegian and since this was our first....and last cruise.....we agreed. The main complaint with the cruise was too much time spent on the ship. Out of seven days, we were on the ship at least two full days. I ... Read More
Our friends always sail Norwegian and since this was our first....and last cruise.....we agreed. The main complaint with the cruise was too much time spent on the ship. Out of seven days, we were on the ship at least two full days. I felt captive. I enjoy flying to an area, visiting sights, mingling with the residents and returning to my hotel on my schedule. Seemed to be too much sales on booking future cruises, buying jewelry. The tours selected were fine. The tour to glacier bay and the train ride home was just too much down time. The day was spent either on a bus or train. Although, the scenery was beautiful. The time spent in Seattle beforehand and a few hours in Victoria were outstanding. This was our friend's third cruise on Norwegian to Alaska, they want to return to visit another area and have cruised Norwegian to many areas. Our room was roomy, had a porthole and was pleasant...no complains. Cruise staff were all pleasant and did everything to make your experience pleasant. Both the comedy show and Legends performance were great. Adding to the cost of the cruise and the excursions, I concluded cruising is not really economical. The weather was cold and gray for the week, except the day we board and went to Victoria. I came home with pneumonia. Cruising just confirmed that this is not my chosen way to travel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Wanted to try Norwegian, sorry we did. Everything was either great or awful. Great omelette, inedible dinner in the dining rooms. Room steward great, bar staff cheated with drink ingredients and/or gave you something different from what ... Read More
Wanted to try Norwegian, sorry we did. Everything was either great or awful. Great omelette, inedible dinner in the dining rooms. Room steward great, bar staff cheated with drink ingredients and/or gave you something different from what you ordered. Song and dance shows were high school production level, aerialists and comedian were great! ultimate drink package does not include black coffee at the bar?!? Seriously?!? The speciality dining in Moderno, teppenyaki, and Cagney’s are worth it. Ended up with hair in my noodles at the Lotus Garden. Room was smaller than other balcony rooms we’ve had, hallways were always full of housekeeping carts and three ft tall brown bags for garbage. The excursions were very good but overpriced to compensate for the “Free at Sea” promotion credit. The Norwegian app for onboard is a joke. Does not even include deck plans! My onboard acct shown on the app, never registered any transactions. Carnival, we are coming back! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We enjoyed the excursions on this cruise, but the ship travel was crowded and noisy. Food was average. Cabin was OK, but our room attendant was excellent. We have done lots of traveling and have avoided cruises because we love to get away ... Read More
We enjoyed the excursions on this cruise, but the ship travel was crowded and noisy. Food was average. Cabin was OK, but our room attendant was excellent. We have done lots of traveling and have avoided cruises because we love to get away from the crowds as much as possible. We avoid cities and noisy “entertainment” type vacations. Mountains are our favorite destinations; thus, cruising is basically only an option in Alaska, Norway, Patagonia, or New Zealand. Alaska is by far the best option of all of these destinations. Yes, we know that Hawaii, Mediterranean coasts, and some of the Caribbean islands have mountains, but we prefer cool weather sites that have fir and spruce forests. If we ever go on another cruise, it will be one with the smallest vessel available. We cannot imagine being on a ship with 4000-5000 people (including passengers and crew). How depressing! Embarkation and disembarkation went very well. The ship’s staff were very helpful answering questions and giving suggestions regarding making contacts with the excursion groups that were not booked through the cruise line. The food was fair. It was very hard to find a table in the Garden Buffet, but the main dining rooms were normally very accessible. The servers were excellent. The entertainment was varied. The musicians were very good, but the singers were disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose Norwegian because a friend recommended NCL. Excursions, staff, and food were excellent. However, I would certainly NOT recommend selecting a cabin beneath the Splash Academy because of noise lasting until almost midnight every ... Read More
We chose Norwegian because a friend recommended NCL. Excursions, staff, and food were excellent. However, I would certainly NOT recommend selecting a cabin beneath the Splash Academy because of noise lasting until almost midnight every night of the cruise. Staff at the Academy told us that the hours of operation could last until 1:30 a.m. We were told that there were no other rooms available for us to transfer to since the ship was at full capacity. We particularly enjoyed the White Pass Railway and Yukon expedition. The sights were breath taking. The guide provided us with information about the sights and history of various stops. All excursions we selected were fun and enjoyable. The Garden Cafe always provided the guests with an excellent variety of foods. The individual restaurants such as the Summer Palace, and Cagney’s steakhouse were also excellent. Other than the cabin problems and not being able to sleep at night, we enjoyed the trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have sailed on Norwegian Pearl and her sister ship Norwegian Jewel in the past. This was a disappointing cruise at the least. The food was mediocre in the main dining rooms and the buffet was in my opinion poor regarding choices. The 24 ... Read More
I have sailed on Norwegian Pearl and her sister ship Norwegian Jewel in the past. This was a disappointing cruise at the least. The food was mediocre in the main dining rooms and the buffet was in my opinion poor regarding choices. The 24 hour venue, O'Sheehan's in the past was our favorite but not any longer. Limited choices for breakfast and you can't get anything but toast, not even a bagel with smoked salmon or as in the past Eggs Benedict. We dined at three specialty restaurants and the best of the three was Moderno with Tepannyaki second and La Cucina third. Regarding the entertainment it is obvious that NCL has chosen to cut back this feature. There was only one show put on by the production cast where in the past on a 7 day there was 2. NCL was a leader in cruise entertainment but I don't think that is the case today. Overall a disappointing cruise when compared to other times we have been on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Took adult son on same cruise last year and enjoyed it. Took GF this year, still trying to explain why I liked it. Embarkation was smooth. No one saw us off, unlike RCI Vision last December where the Captain was thanking folk for ... Read More
Took adult son on same cruise last year and enjoyed it. Took GF this year, still trying to explain why I liked it. Embarkation was smooth. No one saw us off, unlike RCI Vision last December where the Captain was thanking folk for sailing. Port stays were shortened to accomodate big crowds from the Bliss. No time to see shops in Juneau or Skagway if you took an excursion. Ship restaurants closed before we got back. So no dinner ashore - AND only 3 choices at the one open restaurant on board. Tepenyaki chefs were just shouting and way too loud, walked out. Juneau crab fest was good, other excursions were rushed and not as good as last year. Drink prices are high, mixed cocktail may say 10.95, but after automatic gratuity and tax, they were 14.25.. As usual, arrive 6pm in Victoria, get off shuttle downtown at 6:45 and you better run to see Victoria before the rest of the stores close. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
First, let me explain a little about myself. I booked this cruise in April without doing any research. I received an email advertising Alaskan cruises and realized I had two weeks in June that I could go and I could afford to take my ... Read More
First, let me explain a little about myself. I booked this cruise in April without doing any research. I received an email advertising Alaskan cruises and realized I had two weeks in June that I could go and I could afford to take my mother along for the trip. So I went to a travel agent and the Pearl was the cheapest option. Neither of us had cruised before or even really thought of cruising. However, Alaska was on my bucket list and it seemed like a good way to do it. We flew into Seattle the day before and enjoyed a beautiful day exploring the city. We boarded the Pearl on June 3rd. Embarking and disembarking in Seattle were both a breeze. We had an inside stateroom since I didn’t win my bids. We were midship on deck 11. I read a lot of negative things about inside cabins after I booked my trip. However. I was pleasantly surprised by the room! There was more than enough storage space and we didn’t even utilize all the cabinet space. The bathroom and shower were large enough and the beds were comfortable. Shower pressure and temperature were great too. I probably got the best sleep I’ve ever gotten on vacation inside that room. The Stewards on the whole floor were amazingly nice and hard working. I have absolutely no complaints about the boarding. My only suggestion if you have an inside cabin is that the spa pass is necessary. No windows means you can miss a lot of the scenery and the spa is a great place to make up for it. We saw tons of whales on sea days from the comfort of the spa. Also, prebook online and save 40 to 50 dollars. We ate at Moderno steak house for specialty dining and it was excellent. Highly recommend if you want to treat yourself during the cruise. I was happy with all the other fee free dining. I enjoyed the buffet. I never had any problems with servers and everybody was pleasant. Alaska was amazing. We did whale watching, nugget falls, zip lining, and St. George Inlet wildlife and crab lunch for excursions. Highly recommend all of those except zip lining. We did it in Skagway and I felt like it was a waste of time when we could have been on a tour. It wasn’t my pick though. Port days were an absolute blast. Glacier Bay was amazing. We saw mountain goats, seals, and even a brown bear swimming in the ocean in front of the ship! 95% of the staff on board was outstanding. Guest services staff was really as bad as people have said. Employees there were rude and not helpful. It was like there was no communication within that department. On the last sea day there was an announcement about transportation sign up to the airport. We went down to see what it was about and were met with attitude from a guest services employee who didn’t know what we were talking about. She was demeaning and made us feel stupid... even though there had just been an announcement for the very thing we were asking about. We had other bad experiences with guest services but that one really stood out. I would not recommend the Pearl just based on that experience honestly. It sucks when you pay so much money to do something and to be treated like that. The night entertainment was very good. The day entertainment was not. Every program they have during the day seems to be a ploy to get you to buy something. We went to one program the first day about the ports and it turned out to be a jewel buying seminar. Bingo was way too expensive for us to play. It was disappointing. Overall, I would not suggest the Pearl to take for an Alaskan cruise. For a ship that was recently remodeled it doesn’t take a lot to see that they aren’t keeping up with it. I burst out laughing when I looked under the table cloth at Summer Palace and realized they were cheap card playing tables. They were the same tables in the Bistro. Furniture was faded and paint was chipping. I just wasn’t very impressed with the details. The Bliss lounge was laughable. I’m not sure if it’s tradition to have a completely velvet bar lounge with public beds but it came off as creepy and straight out of the 80s. Some of the design concepts of the ship went right over my head. It’s hard for me to compare though because this was my first cruise. Sea days were long. I talked with a couple who were also on their first cruise who did not enjoy the Pearl’s activities and decided cruising was not for them. So maybe since there are so many sea days this isn’t the best cruise to take as a first cruise. If you are researching I would suggest doing an Alaskan cruise with more ports. Or a newer ship with better entertainment during the day. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Unfortunately, I got seasick on this cruise. I got seasick on a Carnival Cruise 35 years ago and tried it again. This is my last cruise ever. I detest walking down the hallway bouncing off the walls. We had a penthouse suite and I ... Read More
Unfortunately, I got seasick on this cruise. I got seasick on a Carnival Cruise 35 years ago and tried it again. This is my last cruise ever. I detest walking down the hallway bouncing off the walls. We had a penthouse suite and I guess we wasted our money because I did not enjoy this trip one bit. Nothing was on TV. Internet horrible and sucked. Everything ws so expensive and not worth it at all. The activities were lame and the entire cruise was very boring. I enjoyed the dinners, excursions (even though some were cheezy). I just enjoyed getting off the boat. So much down time that I feel like we wasted our money. I was so very disappointed. I do not recommend this trip unless you like to gamble, drink or just sit around. The ship was nice and well maintained, but overall I did not like it one bit. I am so sorry, but save your money and go on a river cruise or a road trip. You will get much more out of it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Past Cruises on NCL were great, Alaska and Hawaii (2 times). Our expections had influnced our selection for this trip. This ship had recently been renovated and the cabins got smaller and more expensive. The prices on all sodas ... Read More
Past Cruises on NCL were great, Alaska and Hawaii (2 times). Our expections had influnced our selection for this trip. This ship had recently been renovated and the cabins got smaller and more expensive. The prices on all sodas and booz had an extra charge for service on each drink, even if service was bad. The price for non-alc. beer (neer beer) was as expensive as a mixed drink. The Cagney steakhouse, a specialty restaurant, was overpriced for the service, as it was slow. The food was not cooked as requested and the potatoes were very cold. The broccolli was very good. Enterainment was good but theater filled up fast for most performances. So get a seat early. Cabin service was excellent ! Shore excursiions were expensive but entertaining. The kids clubs for pre teen was mostly lackluster according to the children. For the teens it was semi enteraining, according to the teens. The hours of operation were a disappointment. The photography was also lacking for the price and quality. I didn't try the pool (it was Alaska after all). We have booked another cruise on NCL for next year, but I may reconsider this and book with a different cruise line instead. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Norwegian Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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