17 Seattle Spa Cruise Reviews

Top 5 BEST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Alaska -- WOW! Amazing views of Glacier Bay, snow-capped mountains, temperate rain forests, and a little bit of tundra along the White Pass railway. Glimpsed a few whales, ... Read More
Top 5 BEST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Alaska -- WOW! Amazing views of Glacier Bay, snow-capped mountains, temperate rain forests, and a little bit of tundra along the White Pass railway. Glimpsed a few whales, porpoises and seals from the ship. Then during port excursions we saw orcas and humpbacks up close, sea lions and dozens of eagles. 2. Bayardo the room steward was awesome! He greeted us by name every day, kept our cabin clean and well stocked, surprised us with a variety of adorable animal towel sculptures, and was consistently the most friendly and polite crew member on board. He truly made us feel special and well taken care of. 3. The thermal suite was our haven 6 out of 7 days. For about the cost of one spa treatment we each purchased a pass for access to hot tubs, steam bath, sauna, and heated tile loungers. No more than 84 passes were sold during the cruise and people came and went so the spa was thankfully never crowded. The views from the spa were incredible, perhaps the best on the ship. No kids allowed. Pure bliss. 4. The variety of activities listed in the daily newsletter offered something for every type of traveler… art auctions, bowling, dance parties, comedy shows, dining and beverage specials, fitness classes, internet access, karaoke, kids clubs, library loans, live musical entertainment, magic shows, port shopping tips, spa services, trivia games, and more. The four string trio and Second City comedy shows were among my favorites. Anyone who says they get bored during an ocean cruise has probably never cruised like a Norwegian aboard a Freestyle NCL ship. I managed to sample about half the activities of interest to me. Would have done others but opted for a more relaxed, less scheduled vacation experience. 5. The quality of the food was consistently above average in terms of flavor, freshness, presentation and taste. Service was excellent most of the time, though not always. Summer Palace and Indigo complimentary restaurants were equally enjoyable in different ways. Preferred Le Bistro over Cagney’s; didn’t try any of the other cover charge specialty restaurants. Garden Café buffet was yummy though crowds of grabby passengers led us to choose table service restaurants for most of our meals. The few times we went to the buffet, we enjoyed dining in the Great Outdoors and La Cucina seating areas. The Blue Lagoon 24 hour café came in handy for an early breakfast one morning, as did room service. However, the scrambled eggs smelled odd and didn’t taste quite right, perhaps powdered instead of fresh, so we ate them only once. Genuinely appreciated the smiling crew with bottles of hand sanitizer greeting passengers as we boarded the ship and/or entered dining areas. Would definitely have purchased a “happy happy, washy washy” T-shirt or tote bag in the gift shop if those items had been available. Top 5 WORST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Too many people; Most of the fellow travelers we met were pleasant, truly. But more than a few were unbelievably rude and self-entitled. Some pushed their way through crowded areas of the ship, talked loudly in otherwise quiet spaces, and allowed their offspring to run wild. With NCL Freestyle cruising, there’s no dress code. Even in the specialty restaurants where smart casual is suggested, some folks wore T-shirts, sweat pants and ball caps. Can’t imagine cruising on a larger ship with even more passengers. 2. Tiny stateroom was a challenge for 2 people to share. The balcony and mirrors helped open up the space visually yet 200 square feet still felt confining. Except for occasional hallway noise the room was quiet. Bedding was crisp, clean and comfortable. Artwork was ideal for a Caribbean cruise but didn’t fit the Alaska itinerary. The design of the bathroom supposedly allowed for concurrent uses though we took turns because it would have been difficult for two people to get in and out of the lavatory at the same time. Though I applaud the efficient cabin design with a place for everything and everything in its place, I would have appreciated a little more square footage as well as an updated neutral décor. 3. NCL boasts the newest fleet of ships sailing to Alaska. The Pearl, which launched in 2006, appeared a bit dated and worn in some areas which made me wonder how other ships compare. Overall the vessel seemed well maintained; no major concerns. Noticed minor repairs were taken care of quickly with minimal down time. Still, NCL should consider scheduling a renovation, or at least strategic aesthetic updates. 4. I would have preferred a more tranquil environment instead of the cruise director’s failed attempt to cultivate a party atmosphere. Based on noticeably lackluster passenger participation in certain activities, apparently other travelers felt the same way. Perhaps part of the reason was interest in the World Cup which was projected on the big screen in the crystal atrium. Another factor could have been the sheer number of programs offered because it was impossible to do everything since multiple activities overlapped. Timing was rarely sensible. Karaoke was scheduled sporadically but only for an hour at a time so not everyone who signed up to sing had the opportunity. Library hours were frustratingly limited. And productions usually had only one showing so acts were easily missed. 5. The little things, lots of little things. No robes in the cabin; only in the spa. No afternoon tea. Shopping guides and a few videotaped activities looped endlessly on the tv but none of the entertainment acts were broadcast so there was no opportunity to watch a show in your cabin if you didn’t go into the Stardust Theatre. Art auctioneer Eugene was likeable but beware of his staff’s upsell pitches which are relentless. Although gratuities were pre-paid, we happily tipped extra when service was impressive. While 80% of the crew was fantastic, 20% were condescending and contemptuous toward passengers, including cruise director Archie and his assistant Richard (Rick). Jefferson (Jeff) and others were much nicer. The Trade Winds gift shop staff lacked customer service skills, especially the blonde woman who spoke with a European accent. When we saw the weather forecast for Glacier Bay listed as 80 degrees, it was clear the newsletter editor mistakenly Googled Glacier National Park in Montana, not Alaska. Bless his/her heart. Overall it was an enjoyable vacation. No regrets. One lesson learned is that 7 days is a long time to spend on a floating resort with other travelers and their children. Next time we’ll likely cruise for a shorter duration on a smaller ship with fewer passengers and hopefully fewer young families. Willing to cruise NCL again. Also want to try other cruise lines to see how they compare.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ... Read More
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ship! LOTUS SPA....I visited the spa the first day at sea for a Thai Poultice massage. But an odd thing happened, the person who started my massage was not the person who finished my massage! Ariana started my massage and Martha finished!! I was not told about this either and when the massage was over, someone else was standing there! Just a little strange. This has never happened to me before!! But the massage was good. I did NOT like the hard sell of products after the massage either! It took away from the blissful feeling! How many times do you have to say NO! I booked a second hot stone massage for another day and also got the same hard sell for products again! Whatever..... I also had a haircut and style from a delightful girl from South Africa. RJ gave me a wonderful cut that I'm so very pleased with! FOOD.... The food on the ship was ok. Better than Carnival by far, but just ok. I got all the pizza I ever wanted. The Horizon Court had good salad bar. The lettuce could have been drier. The desserts were good there also. The service was here was prompt, my iced tea glass never went empty. We went to The Crown Grill one night and the food was devine! The waiters seemed to speak better english here and the service was quick and very courteous. Next time I will eat here every night!! CANCELLED PORTS OF CALL....of course I realize that you can not control Mother Nature! I commend Captain Perrin for getting us safely back to shore. He and his crew did a perfect job of keeping us up to date on the foul weather conditions in store for us. However, I am as guilty as most. I never dreamed it would have gotten THAT BAD! But it did, right at dinner time! We had the good presence of mind to get back to our room and scratch our dinner plans for that night. My husband and I could stand to miss a meal anyway! No biggie! Safety was more important. Glad we did. The next day I heard about windows breaking on the ship and ladies breaking their legs in the storm. So due to this freaky weather, we missed out on Ketchikan and Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I booked this cruise about a year ago as a way to celebrate my wife's 35th birthday this September. She had always said that she "wanted to see the ice before it melts", so a trip to Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl seemed like ... Read More
I booked this cruise about a year ago as a way to celebrate my wife's 35th birthday this September. She had always said that she "wanted to see the ice before it melts", so a trip to Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl seemed like a great idea at the time. Flash forward to this year, and I'm sitting here a week and a couple days after returning from this cruise, wishing we were still on it. Sure, there were unbelievably rough seas on day 6 causing us to miss our Port of Call in Ketchikan, but this truly was the trip of a lifetime! The Suite: We had a forward facing port-side corner Owner's Suite on Deck 10. The suite itself was amazing: large bedroom with the forward balcony; one full double-vanity bathroom; a half-bathroom; living area; mini-bar area with a espresso machine and 3 bottles of liquor; dining area; and large side balcony. We had the usual suite perks with a butler, concierge, etc. The suite perfectly suited this trip. Half the awesomeness of cruising Alaska is seeing the views from the ship, and this suite gave us the best vantage points as we pulled into each port and particularly on the day we cruised Glacier Bay. The Itinerary: As we had never been to Alaska before, we were very pleased with the itinerary - although, I suspect, we would've been pleased with any Alaskan itinerary. The key was in the excursions we booked in each port. Missing Ketchikan gives us another reason to go back sooner rather than later; but, with the dangerous weather conditions we encountered, I think NCL made the right call skipping the port. The itinerary included stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria BC in addition to a cruise through Glacier Bay. I will write reviews of each excursion later; however, we booked the Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion in Juneau and the White Pass Railway and Laughton Glacier in Skagway. We hiked onto a glacier, and it was awesome. Can't recommend these two excursions enough! The Food: As with most NCL cruises, the food was decent. We skipped the Chef's table yet again because silly NCL has the same menu on each ship for Chef's table. This being our third NCL cruise in 13 months, it just wouldn't have been worth the almost $90 per head to do the same menu again. We ate at Cagney's for breakfast most days (a suite perk) and ate their for dinner, which was quite good. We really enjoyed our dinners at Le Bistro and La Cucina. The meals in the regular dining rooms and buffet were certainly reasonable. But, with the buffets and main dining rooms being so overly crowded, it was worth it to us to spend the extra dollars on the specialty restaurants just to have a more intimate setting. The Service: Overall, the service was excellent. We were fortunate enough to have Monica as our concierge again. She is fantastic, always checking on us and seeing how we were doing. I wish we had been able to see her on our last day to thank her again; but for some reason, we did not. The Entertainment: We love The Second City...just love them! As a treat, we did the Presumed Murdered Luncheon Theater and had a great time. The meal was so-so, but the entertainment made it worth it. The rest of the entertainment was high-quality but just didn't appeal to us. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons? Not. For. Us. While the ship was fantastic, the reason you go to Alaska ''" and what makes this trip ''" is Alaska! What an overwhelmingly gorgeous state! The air quality; the landscapes; the glaciers; it was all unbelievable. My wife and I made so many new and wonderful memories in Alaska. I can't recommend the Norwegian Pearl enough to get you to this beautiful state. This is a trip everyone should do :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We had priority boarding via Aquaclass, so I don't think it took more than ten minutes to board the ship after we dropped off our bags. We arrived early to the ship so our balcony stateroom was still being made ready. We headed up to ... Read More
We had priority boarding via Aquaclass, so I don't think it took more than ten minutes to board the ship after we dropped off our bags. We arrived early to the ship so our balcony stateroom was still being made ready. We headed up to the Oceanview cafe for an awesome buffet lunch. We sat outside on the patio in the sunshine and enjoyed our first meal overlooking the water and the Seattle skyline in the distance. This was the beginning of a week long cruise that was nearly perfect. The scenery in Alaska is amazing. Brent Nixon is a naturalist on the ship who did several wildlife presentations that were very educational and entertaining. The Ghost-lite Broadway show was my favorite of the cruise. Hiking in Alaska is free, if I cruise AK again I will skip the high $$ excursions.Aquaclass allows for breakfast and dinner in a restaurant called Blu, I would pay for Aqua just to dine in Blu. Aquaclass offers several more perks too. Liquor on board the ship is incredibly expensive and so are the drink packages. I would compare Celebrity pretty closely to Royal Caribbean, both exceptional. That said, neither is a a luxury cruise line but both work very hard to provide an amazing cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Let me start by saying this site provided most of the research material on selecting a cruise line and itinerary for our first cruise experience. Many thanks to Members who gave honest and accurate feedback, making it an easy descision. ... Read More
Let me start by saying this site provided most of the research material on selecting a cruise line and itinerary for our first cruise experience. Many thanks to Members who gave honest and accurate feedback, making it an easy descision. We booked this thru Costco Travel and was part of the "Costco Wine Cruise" sponsored by Jordan Winery. They teamed-up to make this an over-the-top event. Wine tastings, wine pairing seminars, 4-course wine-paired private luncheon, etc for the lucky 100 to sign up for this. Definitely done first-class all the way by our host Chris Avery (Jordan's Nat'l Sales Director). Amazing ship, crew, and accommodations. Booked Aqua Class and was not disappointed. Definitely worth the upgrade. The staff and cuisine at our exclusive BLU restaurant made it worth the cost alone. Made you feel like you were at your own private club, serving breakfast and dinner. No seating issues, come when you want and get a table. Only ate at one other specialty restaurant the entire cruise (Murano French Classic), because they offered Aqua Class guests a 2 for 1 special the first night of the cruise ($45 add-on). Having their signature Lobster Murano flambed in congnac tableside was a real treat. Perfect weather with 75-85 degree days made us feel like we never left Southern California. Every shore excusion, venue, and guide made us feel like family and could not have worked out better. From Salmon fishing in Ketchikan, to Glacier Expeditions in Juneau, to Ziplining in Skagway (Grizzly Falls Zipline was a blast!), to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, this was simply the best vacation we have even been on....period. I will say that we met numerous "veteran" cruisers who had been on upwards of 10 cruises on 5 or 6 different cruise lines, and all commented that Celebrity was far and away the best ship with the best food...no question. If you ever get the chance to sail the Solstice, do yourself a favor and book it. Anyone making a negative comment about this cruise needs to get a life! Thanks Celebrity for the trip of a lifetime!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Alaska is Beautiful! First Time on The Jewel by a veteran cruiser: NCL Jewel Review (Jun 22-29) Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. On ... Read More
Alaska is Beautiful! First Time on The Jewel by a veteran cruiser: NCL Jewel Review (Jun 22-29) Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. On this cruise, we booked a penthouse suite on deck 8 aft, Room 8132. We enjoy the extra amenities of eating breakfast and lunch in Cagney’s restaurant, the services of the concierge, and especially using the Mandara Spa (cost is $119 for the week and well worth it). Not that everything on the NCL Jewel was the best in the cruise industry, but the combination of the ship, the crew, the entertainment(outstanding), the excursions, the food, the friends we met, and of course the SPA, made for a great week. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) • Our suite was very comfortable with a great view (first time in an AFT suite) • Food quality was superb everywhere, not just in the specialty dining areas like on other ships. We ate three nights in Tsar’s, 2 nights in Le Bistro (highly recommend….not crowded, excellent food and service), 1 night in Cagney’s, and one night in the Café. • General dining room (Tsar’s) offered a good variety, with excellent quality, but sometimes the service was inconsistent. • Entertainment was excellent. Probably the best dance group I have seen on any cruise line. Do NOT miss Le Cirque Bijou…..OUTSTANDING. • Thermal Spa was great. The heated tile chairs looking out over the front of the ship were relaxing and provided a great view. • The staff was friendly and helpful and our Concierge, Leah Rodriquez, was outstanding. SUITE: I booked a Penthouse Suite on deck 8 at the back of the ship at the recommendation of the NCL representative. He was correct about the great views we had in Alaska. A perk for suites owners is access to Cagney’s restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Service is exceptional and the food is superb. DINING: Some people criticize anytime dining but I prefer it. It allows me to control when and where I eat based upon the day’s activities. Other people may prefer traditional dining because they are able to meet other cruisers and develop a relationship with them. Besides breakfast and lunch in Cagney’s, we ate at the buffet in Garden Café, Cagney’s, Tsar’s, Le Bistro, and the Blue Lagoon. I have absolutely NO complaints about the food at any venue. I could have eaten at the buffet every night and been happy; it was that good. Le Bistro was outstanding. It was NOT crowded and provided a great dining atmosphere with great food and service. Do NOT miss the “Chocoholic Buffet” held in the Café. The entire café has various types of deserts and sculptures made of various kinds of chocolate. I can summarize the dining experience by saying “The food was EXCELLENT everywhere.” MANDARA SPA: OUTSTANDING and worth the $119 for the week if you are looking to relax, get away from the crowds, and just enjoy the great views from the heated tile chairs. This is one area of the ship I frequent often. The exercise room has the typical equipment. Access to the Thermal Spa costs $119 per person but it is SO WORTH it. You get access all week from 8:00 am till 10:00 pm. The Thermal Spa has: • Relaxation areas for men only, women only and a unisex relaxation area. All areas overlook the front of the ship and have a great view through the large glass windows on deck 12. • The unisex room has a hydrotherapy pool and heated tile lounge chairs that will put you to sleep…..these alone are worth the extra money. They also provide juice, water and assorted types of hot tea. • Large male and female locker rooms with ample lockers, shower, hair dryers, steam room, sauna, hot tubs, and a flat screen TV. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the Stardust theater were OUTSTANDING. Two shows are definitely labeled as “DO NOT MISS”: Band on the Run and Le Cirque Bijou. Do not miss the final Farewell Variety Showtime on Day 7. It provides a great emotional high and a fitting tribute to a great cruise. PORTS: Ketchikan: Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Some other reviews talked about long lines but I did not experience this. Two gangways were used and the ship docks right in town. Easy access to all shops. Great little port. We did not do any excursions here but shopped and ate in a local tavern. Juneau: Where the Jewel docked is quite a walk to town. Make sure you take the SHUTTLE. It looks close but you have to go up, around and down a hill to the town. That is the only way and it is not easy if you are not fit. We rented a car from Juneau Rental which is one-half mile from the ship. We were able to disembark, get the car and beat all the buses and traffic to the Mendenhall Glacier. We then drove up to Auke Bay Harbor to see the whales. We did not take the Tram up Mt. Roberts because my wife does not like heights but it is the first thing you come to in town. Skagway: Easy walk to downtown. We also took the White Pass Railroad Train. Well worth the money. We booked the 12:55 train hoping the weather in the afternoon might be better than in the morning. Worked our perfect since it was foggy in the morning and the people did not have a great view. We had an excellent view. Our waiter told us to make sure we sat in the FIRST car behind the engines on the left side of the train going up. On the way back, the engines moved to the other end of the train and we had a wonderful view standing on the back platform of the last train car. Victoria: GREAT, CLEAN CITY. We walked from the ship to the waterfront. Easy 20 minute walk (just follow Oswego street) through beautiful neighborhoods to the waterfront and the Empress Hotel. DISEMBARKATION: Could not have been easier. Also, there are plenty of $12 shuttles to the airport. We took the Shuttle Express from the airport to the ship and from the ship to the airport.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Our luxury yacht cruise on the Safari Quest through the islands of British Columbia with Un-Cruise Adventures was truly an incomparable cruise experience. The yacht is relatively small, holding only about 22 passengers along with crew, but ... Read More
Our luxury yacht cruise on the Safari Quest through the islands of British Columbia with Un-Cruise Adventures was truly an incomparable cruise experience. The yacht is relatively small, holding only about 22 passengers along with crew, but was very comfortable and roomy inside. The crew was one of the best we have ever had and provided great service, seeming to really enjoy their jobs and the cruise experience. We did have one night of really rough water when we left Seattle and there was some seasickness aboard, so be sure to take motion sickness medication if you are prone to this. The rest of the cruise was completely smooth and the weather was beautiful in the area in early April. Our cabin was very small compared to those we had experienced on large cruise ships but it was comfortable and well-designed so everything we brought was easily put away. The food was good and plentiful with three meals a day and plenty of snacks available. There was an open bar with a variety of drinks and you were welcome to get yourself a soft drink, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at any time. The best part of the cruise was the locations as the areas were visited were just gorgeous. Every day, a variety of activities were offered; everything from kayaking on your own to group hikes and tours of the area by skiff. We had a local expert on the ship and she was wonderful about sharing information about the local flora and fauna, even plucking starfish from the rocks to show us in the skiff. We absolutely recommend this cruise to anyone who is interested in a small ship adventure in this area. It's the best way to see the beautiful islands of British Columbia. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We have enjoyed tours on board Princess line in Mexico and the Caribbean, so we decided to try Holland America for our Alaskan cruise. The Westerdam sailed out of Seattle towards Glacier Bay and back for a 7 day vacation. Though it is a ... Read More
We have enjoyed tours on board Princess line in Mexico and the Caribbean, so we decided to try Holland America for our Alaskan cruise. The Westerdam sailed out of Seattle towards Glacier Bay and back for a 7 day vacation. Though it is a smaller ship by 30% compared to Princess Line, it was just right for us. We didn't have to spend a long time walking from one part of the ship to the other. It actually is the right size for a voyage; you may have more venues on a bigger ship, but really, how many more bars or restaurants or swimming pools did you need? Traditionally, we use on board laundry facilities by paying with coins. But they only offered daily laundry for $49 total. We used it every day to our delight. (I've never had my underwear pressed !) We paid extra to dine in the Pinnacle Grill which offers good food and personal service. The Vista Dining room, either open or fixed dining, offers very good food too, but the service is more hurried and cookie cutter. My bride pondered why we spent extra money on the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian restaurant when the Vista offered equally good food. The difference is a smaller venue and more personal service. They offered some musical shows, funny comedians and a magician in the Vista Lounge. One show that is peculiar to Holland America but we enjoyed is a "crew Show". One week the Philippino crew performs songs and dances and the next week an Indonesian crew offers their version. The crew seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to showcase their culture and their talents. An Alaskan cruise, even in August, found the weather to be overcast and chilly with rain each day. So bring a windbreaker, sweater and hat. Most of the guests were from parts of America in the 90 degrees so they enjoyed the weather. We also discovered that we could have breakfast room service at no added cost. On other vessels they might offer a limited breakfast, but this was most a big menu. All in all, I would take Holland America cruise over Princess any day. On the last afternoon good bye show, it was secreted that only 3 ships on the seas have escaped broad sickness and Westerdam is one. They keep it clean and to notch. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We wanted to cruise Alaska. Shopped all sorts of options and decided to try Norwegian. Loved every single step of the way. Arrived in Seattle a day ahead. Didn't want to chance an airline gaffe. Morning of the cruise, walked from ... Read More
We wanted to cruise Alaska. Shopped all sorts of options and decided to try Norwegian. Loved every single step of the way. Arrived in Seattle a day ahead. Didn't want to chance an airline gaffe. Morning of the cruise, walked from our hotel to Pike Place and had time to shop. Around noon we headed to the Pier. Embarkation was EASY. The lines were a little long to drop off baggage but it moved at a good pace. We were greeted repeatedly along the process by land and sea staff. Once onboard, we checked out our room. Was terrific! Just below and down 4 windows from the bridge. Headed to Garden Cafe to have a bite to eat. Watched the Navy families on the shore visiting their enlisted members while we had lunch. We also bought spa memberships the first day. This allowed us to go to the spa each day for the co-ed area to sit in the thermal pool and then lounge on the heated chairs while viewing the scenery from a bank of windows along the front of the ship. No kids allowed - and quiet rules. Also there is a poolside cookout the night the ships leaves Seattle. Burgers, steaks, chicken on large open grills. All the trimmings. We never ate at a specialty restaurant. Didn't need to. Plenty of choices without them. We had laundry done 2x but waited for the cruise special. It was $24.99 for all we could cram into the bag. The magician is a great entertainer though his jokes might not resonate with younger viewers. But they were good and not offensive. The hypnotist was hysterical - you MUST go to the adult show. We also went to her session on weight loss for kicks. Managed to both be hypnotized with others in the audience. We took in a workshop on detoxing the body as well. The ship was clean and in good repair. The staff NOTHING BUT HELPFUL. We loved our room steward "Maria" and our favorite waitress "Jenele" who works in Azura. We found both dining rooms to be nice. The view at Tzar's are better but Azura had a more comfy feel. Be sure to have your camera with you in the dining rooms because you might see something you want to photograph. One night a pod (?) of humpback whales passed us. It was just .. well.. incredible. As is typical, drinks can add up. We aren't soda drinks just libations or tea or water. Water from the tap is fine to drink. Rooms are tight but that's how it goes on a cruise. We had plenty of space for the 2 of us (closet, drawers, shelfs) but I don't think any more than 2 could be comfortable in the balcony room we had. I said before that I'd never use an inside cabin again. Well now I don't think I can ever go without a balcony again. Very nice to be able to stand or sit outside and feel the air. We did this frequently in our flannel pj's. The absolutely only downer was our neighbors smoking on their balcony. Going through Glacier Bay it dampened our ability to sit outside and watch the scenery. Smoking is only allowed on balconies and I think on deck 7 outside midship. So NCL does about all it can to keep both smokers and non-smokers appeased. Getting off the ship was easy. Figure out the time you want off the ship and then get the tags to go on your luggage. Then when its your time to leave, you get off the ship, grab your bags and get a cab. We chose the 8:30 slot since we had flights at 12:45. We didn't go with a group bus trip back to the airport. We just grabbed a taxi. Worked fine and was easy. We arrived at the airport well in advance of our flight. When we do this trip again, we'll probably book a flight that leaves late morning instead. As I said, we want a do over. But it's not because we didn't enjoy it. It was the best time ever. We met a number of other couples on this cruise who had taken the same cruise a number of times. We get it now. It's so terrific, the ports have so much to offer, and the scenery changes from one area to another. Beats the Carib cruises where you see the same type of islands over and over... and drink rum that's a tad different but yet the same. Favorite port? ALL. Probably it was bear watching at Ketchikan or Taku Lodge in Juneau. But that's only if we're forced to make a choice. Pick this cruise... I can't imagine not being happy with it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Sailed Celebrity Infinity round trip Seattle - Tracy Arm Fjord - June 15 - 22, 2012. When we boarded (which seemed pretty organized) and finally were on board the ship, we passed a couple of crew members standing next to some Mimosas. ... Read More
Sailed Celebrity Infinity round trip Seattle - Tracy Arm Fjord - June 15 - 22, 2012. When we boarded (which seemed pretty organized) and finally were on board the ship, we passed a couple of crew members standing next to some Mimosas. They never offered any to us. I went up and asked if those were for us and then we were given some. What a send off! That should have been the tip off for me that this trip was not customer oriented. My biggest complaint was that they did not advertise their grand brunch, buffet, or whatever you want to call it. After being on 6 cruises, this is the first time I have ever missed this special event. It was never mentioned in any of the entertainment evenings or in any of the literature that was given to us. We would get special invitations to sales events for whatever they were pushing that day, but nothing about the buffet. As Aqua Class, we ate in the Blu Restaurant instead of the Trellis where the brunch was. Blu was much less hectic. We did eat in the Trellis one day for lunch, and I don't think I would have enjoyed that huge dining room for dinners. The Blu Restaurant which was part of Aqua Class was much more intimate. However, they never told us about the grand buffet. I fell and injured myself on a tour, or I probably would have been asking when it was, but normally you don't have to ask because they are so well advertised. We found out that we had missed it when we went to lunch in the Trellis Restaurant just to see what it was like. The people said that the brunch had been outstanding - lobster, crab legs, ice carvings, chocolate bar. They showed us pictures with carved watermelons. They also said they didn't know about it either, they actually stumbled across it when they went to see what the "brunch" was (since this was the restaurant that they always ate in). They were not Aqua Class so they were eating dinner in the Trellis every night and nobody told them either! Another couple at the table was also Aqua Class and was completely,as she said, "devastated" when they found out that they, too, had missed the brunch. There is a whole column in the paper every day devoted to eating times in all the different restaurants and the only indication of this special event was the word "brunch" 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. listed under Trellis. Not even highlighted or capitalized! Why would you have two dress-up evenings and then have the brunch/buffet in the middle of the day!!! Since most of the cruises I have been on recently refer to it as a "buffet" I didn't even realize this was the big event, plus it was listed under a restaurant that we weren't eating in because we were Aqua Class. We didn't eat in the Trellis so would have no reason to view their hours. I complained to the Guest Relations Supv and she said that it was printed in the newsletter. I said surely you don't expect everyone to recognize this event simply by the word brunch. She kept saying the same thing and finally I got to talk to the Guest Relations Manager who could have cared less. He said it was basically water under the bridge since it was already passed - too late to do anything. He also said it was printed in the newsletter: brunch. He said the waiters should have told us. I wish I had asked them to prepare me a lobster/crab dinner and send it to my room as I never got to have any on my Alaskan cruise! We did have lobster one night in Blu, but it was fixed in some sauce, so it wasn't that good. They all seem to think the word brunch lets everyone know this is the gala event. At least this is their pathetic excuse. It wasn't even highlighted. I was starting to get bored with his cruise and this event would really have helped liven things up. Especially since it's always the highlight of any cruise. I asked some people in the elevator if they had attended the brunch, and they also said they didn't know about it. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT CELEBRITY INFINITY INTENTIONALLY DOES NOT ADVERTISE THIS EVENT. I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS FOR COST REASONS OR OVERCROWDING. Someone suggested that maybe they don't have enough room for everyone. I repeated that to the Guest Relations Manager, but he said that was not the case. I have never seen a ship that was so disinterested in the satisfaction of their cruisers. IT JUST FLOORS ME THAT THEY DIDN'T CARE THAT WE MISSED THAT BRUNCH...IT'S REALLY HARD TO BELIEVE. I was so dissatisfied with the response from Guest Relations, that I contacted the Cruise Director. He was nicer (said it was printed in the newsletter - brunch), but said it wasn't his area, he would have the Food Manager call me. The Food Manager never called me. Needless to say, this is the worst customer service I have ever seen. As Aqua Class we got to use the Persian Gardens. These were amazing - steam and dry saunas, some herbal. This was a nice perk in Aqua Class but doesn't make up for no notification about the brunch. The food on Infinity was good - not excellent. We ate at Blu (nice atmosphere), the Oceanview Cafe - buffet style, Aqua Spa Cafe (health conscious, very limited choices) and Cafe al Bacio Gelateria. Our Room was Aqua Class 9093 veranda. There is an overhang from the floor above which I didn't know about until the last minute. As someone said, it is a curse or a benefit depending upon how you look at it. It did take effort to keep the overhang and side rails out of pictures. However, in poor weather it did keep our chairs from getting wet. We thought our bathroom had a distinct smell of urine. We asked to have it cleaned again, but it didn't change much. We just tried to ignore it. I don't know if it's just the smell of the bathrooms or if there was a problem. I really didn't feel comfortable asking any other cruisers if their bathrooms smelled of urine. The couple who also missed the brunch, said their shower was actually flooding badly on the Deck above us - don't know if that was 10 or 11. They were Aqua Class. All of the tours we selected were top notch. I was injured on one tour at the Suspension Bridge in the Yukon. The floorboards were uneven in the restaurant causing me to trip into the steel counter-top and smash my rib cage. I went to the clinic on the boat when we returned 3 or 4 hours later and had an x-ray. They didn't charge me because it was on a sponsored tour. The doctor said it didn't look like a fracture but I should see my doctor when I get back if it still hurts. She said their X-ray machine was good, but not great. I wanted a copy of the medical report for my traveller's insurance, but they said I would have to pay $25. I didn't think that was right and ended up not getting one. I put a call in to the nurse on the last day because I thought I better spend the $25 for it, but again no one called me back. The naturalist on the ship was outstanding - Brent Nixon. He was very animated and even acted out some of his presentations. Some people thought this was too much, but we found him extremely interesting. The comedian also was exceptional and I'm sorry I can't remember his name. The musical numbers were very good, but with about three shows like that produced by the same people it became a little boring. I started to feel bored on this cruise, and that's another reason the brunch would have livened things up. We did go to some Karaoke in one lounge and dancing in the Constellation. I had expected so much from Celebrity and was sorely disappointed. Customer service was lacking. I don't fell like they cared about their cruisers. Our last cruise was a Viking River Cruise in Europe and from the food, to the staff there is no comparison. We still gave everyone their full tips because we didn't want to penalize them, but the service just wasn't up to par. So now I'm back at home with extremely sore ribs, getting ready to go to my doctor, and wishing I could be more excited about the trip I was just on considering how much money we spent. Our vacations have always been outstanding - I guess every one can't be that way. Somewhere along the line you have a not-so-good one, and for me it was Celebrity Infinity. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My husband and I are loyal RCCL cruisers and in our early 50's. This was our 30th Wedding Anniversay and our friend who is a travel agent recommended we try Celebrity. So off we went to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity. What a great ... Read More
My husband and I are loyal RCCL cruisers and in our early 50's. This was our 30th Wedding Anniversay and our friend who is a travel agent recommended we try Celebrity. So off we went to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity. What a great decision we made. We sailed at the end of June out of Seattle and booked an Aqua Class cabin. We arrived in Seattle the Wednesday evening before the cruise. We stayed at the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle. It was a lovely hotel and right in the center of things. We were able to do a Savor Seattle tour the next day which I highly recommend. Saw all the tourist stuff. Seattle is a great city. We arrived at the pier around 11am by cab and were able to check in right away. The line for Aqua Class passengers moved very quickly and efficiently. We were onboard in under half an hour. Mimosa in tow we went up to Bistro on Five for lunch. I want to thank my fellow cruisecritic members for this tip on the first day. The food was great and the service excellent. We had lunch there several times during the trip. Our cabin was ready before 1pm and our luggage came quickly after that. We met Norma our Aqua Class cabin steward who was wonderful. Anything you needed she was there. Let me tell you these people work hard and always have a smile on their faces. Every staff member we saw from the people wiping down the staircases to the Captain always had a hello with a smile on their face. The cabin was very nice and had lovely amenities such as a shower with a waterfall shower head and spa jets. Let me tell you I loved this shower. I could actually move in it. The cabin was very clean and the bed was extremely comfortable. We had Aqua Class dining in Blu which was a five star dining experience every night. We did not have dinner in the speciality restaurants during the week. Service during all of our meals was exceptional. A shout out to Donovan, Billy, Enrique, Gabrial, Svetlana and many others. We were able to dine around 6:30pm every evening which worked well for us. The first night we had a window seat and were seated next to a lovely couple celebrating their 55th Wedding Anniversary. Great conversation. The next night they asked to sit next to us and we ended up eating together every night after that. Great company, great food, and even greater wine. The breakfasts in Blu were alway excellent. The muesli made to order was delicious. The smoothies were varied and delicious. The entertainment on this ship was phenomenal in my opinion. Having sailed on the larger RCCL ships with larger productions the Celebrity Infinity entertainment was superb. These people put their heart and soul into every show. The entertainment throughout the other areas of the ship were also great. They had a comedian who was very funny. The illusionist, Jason Bishop was phenomenal. If you have a chance to see him please do. They also had arielists who were artists in the true sense of the word. The cruise director, Ian did a fabulous job the entire week. The speaker, Brent Nixon was not to be missed. His passion for Alaska is unparrelled. Everyone should hear him speak. The ports of call for this cruise were Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and Victoria, B.C. In Ketchikan we did a seaplane tour through the Misty Fjords with Seawind Aviation which I booked directly with the company. The scenery was spectacular. We flew through the fjord and landed on a lake and were able to get out of the plane to view the majestic landscape. After this we walked through the town down to Creek Street. There are a lot of great shops down there. Bought some Alaskan art. In Skagway we booked a White Pass summit tour with Discover Skagway tours. This was amazing. In Juneau we took the blue bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and walked to Nugget Falls to see the glacier and the waterfall. Let me tell you this gives you an appreciation for mother nature. In Victoria, B.C. we did a classic car tour of the city in a 1965 Pontiac Parisienne. I felt like a movie star. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was so organized. We had an early flight so we were in one of the first groupings to get off the shop. We were off the ship in half an hour and on our way to SeaTac for the flight home. I know that everyone has a different cruise experience but I hope that everyone can see Alaska once in their lifetime. It is an amazing place and the people who live there are very passionate and friendly. Would I sail Celebrity again? In a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I really wanted to write a rave review, but can't even come close. I will be honest about my personal bias in some matters for which Celebrity has little or no responsibility, so that readers can sort out what's relevant to them. ... Read More
I really wanted to write a rave review, but can't even come close. I will be honest about my personal bias in some matters for which Celebrity has little or no responsibility, so that readers can sort out what's relevant to them. We arrived the day before departure, and stayed at the Inn at the Market in Seattle. Lovely inn with helpful staff, across the street from the Pike Place Market, and within easy walking distance of several restaurants and shops. Took a cab to the pier at about 1PM, where the Very Long Check In began. Got in the first line to have our bags scanned and dropped off (15 minutes), got in the next line to go up the escalator (about 30 minutes), got in another line to go through security (10 minutes), and were sorted into yet another line to be checked into our cabin. Fortunately for us, the concierge class had a very short line and we had to wait just a few minutes to see an agent for our cabin. The non-concierge passengers were herded into a zig-zagging queue that had to be several-hundred-persons long, and reminded me of Ellis Island. Even the Captains Club line had several dozen people I felt profoundly lucky. Once checked in, we ordered into another line to get our picture taken, which we quickly dodged, to get into another line to the gangway to get on the ship. The ship had a nice layout, with several unique places to enjoy a drink, hot beverage, ice cream, or just a book or a nap. It seemed well-maintained and clean. We rarely saw the officers, but didn't look for them, either. Our cabin was on the 11th floor, aft, and overlooked the bar and restaurant on the 10th deck. The balcony was not as quiet as I would have preferred, but it wasn't noisy. Smoke odor was not a problem. The problem for me was 195 SF, the room was too small. The closet and bathroom doors could not be open at the same time. Space between the foot of the bed and the mirror was about 18 inches. My DH and I couldn't dress by the closet at the same time, and since that's where the bathroom is, this required a strategic plan if one needed to shower and dress for dinner. I am fussy about hotel rooms on vacation. I originally wanted a Celebrity Suite, but when the Aqua Class staterooms were priced less than a regular balcony cabin, it seemed like a great deal. We saved money, but at the expense of enjoying our cabin. The room was attractively decorated and well appointed. Our cabin steward truly understood customer service, and intuited our preferences with incredible speed. The best cabin steward we had ever had. FTR, we left him a nice extra tip. The other problem with the cabin was our neighbors, who were traveling with friends and considered every cruise a booze cruise. The more drunk they got the louder they got, and they were loud to begin with. At one point, somebody was yodeling. I wish I was making this up, and I know it's not the cruise line's fault. By the time the cruise had come to an end, I wanted to toss live crabs on their balcony. Dining became an ordeal that I didn't look forward to. We were assigned to Blu, and appeared as scheduled the first night. We waited about 15 minutes to be seated when about half of the space was empty. Once seated, water was promptly poured, and we waited for a waiter. Our food came out in good time, but I had to ask for wine and my husband for iced tea after our food was served. This required the sommelier. My wine came, and my husband ate his meal without his tea. I asked for a wine refill, which the waiter brought, and nobody asked my husband if he would like another beverage. Our waiter was looking around the dining room while serving us, to see what was going on, I suppose. This entire scene repeated itself the next night, and at the main dining room days later. The buffet was, well, a buffet. Nothing to write home about. Plenty of food, not a lot of flavor. Again, beverages created bafflement; a coke or an iced tea apparently had to be delivered by tugboat from a cache on a nearby island. Dinner needed a Benny Hill soundtrack to make it complete. The SS United States was the exception to our dinnertime debacles. It was the fine dining experience in food and service that we expected (and paid extra for) from beginning to end. We loved it. My DH doesn't drink at all, but I do. I purchased the premium non-alcoholic beverage package for him, and the premium alcohol package for me. He didn't mind accompanying me to check out a couple of the lounges. We went to the Constellation lounge in the front of the ship, which is a good place to nap in the daytime. He accompanied me for an after-dinner drink at Michael's Club. We both enjoyed the bartenders' acrobatics at the Martini Bar. I enjoyed the Sunset Martini, and wish we would have gone to the Martini Bar earlier in the trip. We both enjoyed the Naturalist, Brent Nixon, and his discussions about Alaskan wildlife and sea life were packed for good reason. He had plentiful information presented in a funny and memorable style. After the first lecture we attended, we would plan around his talks! DH and I looked forward to the spa. We have had outstanding spa experiences on another cruise line, had heard good things about the Infinity, and were hoping for a similar experience. This was not going to happen. The spa was understaffed and ill-equipped. The Infinity has a nice Persian garden facility with multiple steam rooms and showers located behind the desk, but you need to figure it out for yourself. Tours were not offered. No spa shoes. Water not available for spa patrons. Robes checked in and out at the front desk with the locker key. The desk staff was not friendly, and insisted on booking the least desirable appointment times first. There was a locker room attendant, but she read her magazine and did not offer help. The locker room offered the same shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that was in the stateroom, but that was it. I asked for a hairdryer at the front desk, and the attendant told me that they don't have them "because electricity and water don't mix." Better not tell her about the electric Azipod propulsion units submerged as we speak. The cherry on top of this cruise of disappointment was the offensive treatment that we received at Guest Relations. I do not use "offensive" lightly. I recognize mistakes, I expect inexperience and a certain amount of incompetence. All of this is manageable and forgivable if addressed. You allow your employees to deliberately offend me and you've lost me as a customer for life. The first sea day, I checked our account on the television service, and found that drinks were incorrectly charged to us. I went to Guest Relations, explained the mistake, and was told that it would be taken care of. A few days later, I looked, and the charges were still there. I went back down to Guest Relations and was again told that the charges would be removed. After receiving our invoice the night before departure, we reviewed the charges, and the incorrect drink charges will still there. Now, I was irritated. I waited in yet another Celebrity line at Guest Relations (last night on the cruise). When I got to the desk, I asked to see a manager. The desk agent asked if she could help me, and for the third time, I explained the problem. She said she would take care of it. I said that I was not leaving until I had received a credit or spoken to a manager. I asked for her manager's name. She refused to give it to me. The Guest Relations agent then accused me of lying, buying drinks for friends and trying to get out of the bill, and argued and argued with me. In front of employees and customers. I was beyond livid at this point, but was so insulted, that I was not going to leave until justice was served. I don't even like writing about this; it makes me upset. Lesson learned. I don't ever want to be a "Celebrity" again. When people ask about our cruise, I tell them about Alaska. Alaska was beautiful, Alaskans were friendly, there was so much to see and do! It was a great experience, and I want to go back. But I don't tell them about the cruise. I don't care to remember it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out ... Read More
Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out there regarding the region you are going to be traveling in. Hello!!! There are 3 things you have to keep in mind when going on a cruise to Alaska. #1) Possibility of rough seas #2) Possibility of rain #3) Cold weather! I bring this up because, YES! There were passengers on board who were unprepared for this cruise. Because of this, they were miserable. I am a first time cruiser. However, my wife isn't. She told me to make all the arrangements for our cruise. This way I would learn all the in's and Out's. I had so many questions and so much to learn. Learn I did. I was completely prepared for our cruise and had a wonderful time. Here is some tips that I picked up by reading so many wonderful reviews here on Cruise Critic as well as joining the Roll Call for our particular cruise. Check the average weather forecast for the region you are traveling. As well as each port! Be prepared to dress in layers of clothes and bring a light jacket that is water proof. having gloves and a warm hat are nice to have especially in Glacier Bay. Bring a travel size umbrella. It rained five out of the seven days we were on vacation. If you get sea sick. Start taking your medications before you start your cruise and keep taking them throughout. Drink ginger ale, Eat green apples as well as crackers (Yes, they serve both items on-board the ship). Also, spend most of your time in the middle of the ship. If you can, try and select a room that is as close to the middle of the ship as possible and as low to the water as well. Less rocking and rolling there. Embarkation: As many of you have read. Princess cruises knows how to get people on-board there ships in an extremely efficient manner. I can say this without any reservations that I agree. We had arrived early at the terminal at Pier 91 in Seattle around 9:30 am. I knew we would have to wait. No Big Deal! I guess you can call it First time cruiser anticipation! My wife was laughing at me the whole time. Hey we weren't the only ones waiting! LOL...As soon as Princess opened the terminal around 10:00 am. We checked our luggage with customs. Then went to the check in counter, were we received our room keys after handing over the appropriate documents. Than it was more waiting til they started to load the ship in groups of about 200 passengers starting at 11:00 am. We were unfortunately not part of the first group. Because we were not preferred passengers. However, we were next. as soon as yo get on-board you have you r picture taken for security reasons and than your picture is taken again for your embarkation photo. After that it is party time your cruise has pretty much begun. We went straight to our cabin to check it out. It was wonderful. Than we called the Dine line at noon and made our request to eat at the chefs table (by the way the price to dine at the chefs table went up from $75 to $95 per person. But still worth it in my opinion). As passengers are boarding the ship they are told to go to the Horizon court for lunch. We learned from other cruise critic members that one of the main dining room is open at this time. So we went there and had a nice relaxing and great tasting lunch and watched from the window all the activity of getting the ship ready for leaving. At 3:30 pm we had our life boat muster drill. that didn't take to long. Than it was party time. By the way! for the first day and a half. expect all the offers to buy soda, coffee, and ultimate kid package drink stickers. We put our room keys on a lanyard around our neck so we weren't bothered that much because the stickers are placed on your room key and visible to the serving staff. first day at sea: We had rough seas (Swells approximately 17 feet tall)that lasted about a day and a half. We had a couples massage planned for 9:15 am. We still enjoyed the treatment and commend the therapists for the great job under the conditions. Items that were on the shelves and counter ended up on the floor and the wooden sliding shutters that covered the windows were slamming back and forth against the wall. That is my only complaint about the spa. Not very practical for a ship at sea. Dining: We chose Traditional dining 2nd seating (8:15 PM). Food was wonderful and the service was superb! We had great table mates. The only thing we would do different next time is do the first seating next time. Second seating didn't allow us the freedom to see the shows we wanted to see. we were so busy during the day that we were to tired to see the late shows. 10:30 Pm and on... Special thank you to our server Svetlana. She indulged my desire to try so many things I have never tried before. We ate at the Chefs Table on our 3rd day of the cruise. Well worth the money paid. It was a pleasure from start to finish. My wine glass was never empty and the food just kept coming. The Horizon court buffet, The food there was pretty darn good. I was pleasantly surprised. My only complaint is that the serving lines as stated before have no rime or reason to them. Yes you go in one way and out another. But while you are in, it can be a mad house at the popular times. also, when you sit down to eat. it can take a long time for a server to come and ask you what you would like to drink. The Trident grill was fantastic. We didn't try out either of the Specialty restaurants on-board Entertainment: We love to gamble. The casino was great, However, we did have to wait on a few occasions for some of the tables to be opened. There were always tournaments going on at one time or another. The slots are very tight. However, I did manage to hit one Big Jackpot! Woo Hoo!!! As for the shows on-board. Well, we weren't to impressed. especially with the aerialist and the illusionist. They were pretty bad. The Motown show was like something out of a collage production. (there were only a couple of cast members that could really sing) Wished we had a chance to see the British Invasion. I had heard great things about that. Glacier Bay was Beautiful! What an amazing site. It was very cold and of course it was raining. But we were prepared once again. We actually went to the top of the ship and enjoyed the sites from under the radar installation. Hint Hint... Great place to view. LOL... If you want to take pictures from out side. go to the prominade deck. it is covered. Our port of call in Ketchikan was cancelled due to rough seas. Oh well. we didn't get to go zip lining like we wanted but we went straight to Victoria B.C, Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was my second sailing on the Pearl and she was as lovely as before, with a very attentive crew. It was definitely a different type of cruise than the Carib. This cruise was more relaxed and laid back. Even the crew seemed more laid ... Read More
This was my second sailing on the Pearl and she was as lovely as before, with a very attentive crew. It was definitely a different type of cruise than the Carib. This cruise was more relaxed and laid back. Even the crew seemed more laid back. As usual, our every need was met and our every expectation was exceeded. This trip was with 5 dear friends that were brave enough to take me to cold weather!! Yes indeed it was cold and wet, but how could you really notice with the amazing scenery and things that we saw! To experience the Inside Passage with American Eagles flying by leaves me without words to express. The ships high standard of cleanliness was as evident as ever. Everywhere you go are crew members diligently attending to every detail. We arrived at the pier in Seattle about 12:30 and with our pre-registration in hand we sailed so quickly thru check-in I hardly remember stopping for the picture! As I've said before in my reviews, the key really is to come as early as you can. The lines are shorter and things move quickly. As the day passes and more people arrive, it will require a bit of a wait, but not a long one. Suite and above folks have a private check-in, and Latitudes members can process quickly as well. Be sure to PRE REGISTER online and that will save you some time at the counter. Our room was ready and spotless. We chose a mini-suite to be able to take in the Alaskan vistas right from our cabin. Even the lifeboat drill seemed relaxed this time, especially since the new rule of not having to tote those bulky life preservers with you! Making dinner reservations are very easy. In cruises past I could only book a day or two in advance, but this cruise allowed me to book my entire weeks worth of reservations in on shot! That is a dream when you are making dinner plans for a group of 6. Reservations were available most everywhere with the exception of Le Bistro and Teppenyaki. Those two places filled up fast. So make your selections for those early. Sometimes we had to juggle our times here and there, but the crew bends over backwards to accommodate you. I can't say enough about the food. We did the Garden Cafe for breakfast (free) and some lunches (free) but most dinners we dined at the specialty restaurants. WELL worth the added fee. Don't let those fees scare you off, it's TOTALLY worth it. I will say this, since this is an Alaskan cruise most folks won't venture out to the poolside buffet or the Grill Buffet in the back as they are outside. This fact makes the inside Garden Cafe Buffet PACKED. So plan on a bit more time to eat if you are dining there, and be patient for a table. The crew is vigilant about cleaning tables quickly and finding you a seat. Things you MUST eat: BBQ Pork Ribs, Dirty Noodles, Lamb Medallions - Lotus Garden Restaurant Escargo, and anything on the menu - Le Bistro Lobster, monster shrimp cocktail - Cagney's Chocolate Buffet - Watch your FreeStyle Daily The spa prices are pricey as always. But watch your Freestyle Daily for specials. Also physically GO to the spa and talk to the spa crew. They will work special combo deals for you that are listed on the menu of services. Best Spa Deals: the 10/20/30 plan - 10% off first treatment, 20% of 2nd, 30% off third...combine those with bartering at the counter for a freebie. The other thing I would HIGHLY recommend is the Spa Pass. You pay a flat rate (was $119 per person for the 7 day cruise) and you have access to the mineral baths, hydrotherapy pools, sauna, steam room, stone therapy lounges, cold plunge and the private locker area for the entire cruise. You also have access to the very restful lounge area that sits at the very FRONT of the ship with full glass panoramic views out the bow. Likely my only complaint this cruise was that there was some paint peeling in the hydrotherapy pool. The entertainment was fun, but I sure miss the Jean Ann Ryan Company. It seems the Pearl is handling it's own "stage show" performances now and they simply don't have the edge that the JARCo did. This is not to say its a bad show...it was enjoyable, but just not the Vegas quality that I've enjoyed in the past. SharkBait Duo was outstanding! The Bliss Ultra Lounge is amazing, be sure to see it. Not to mention you can go bowling ($5 per person, per game). I have to say I'm not thrilled now that the Spinnaker Lounge is "family" til all hours now. Before underage kids were allowed til 10pm then asked to leave the club to the adults. Now they are allowed until closing at midnight. From there the party would move to Bliss until their closing at 2am. However, since the Spinnaker is at the front of the ship and the Bliss is at the back, most folks seem to simply call it a night and find their cabins. Watch your Freestyle Daily for specials in the Duty Free Shop. Great deals on liquor on certain days, plus free tastings! Always, always, ALWAYS mention you are a Latitudes member and get an additional 10-20% off anything you purchase in the shopping area. Just cuz it says Latitudes on your card, doesn't mean you'll get the discount. So ASK for it! Most favorite crew members: Annalissa in the Lotus Garden and Gede in the Java City Cafe (ask to see the 7 ball juggling act). Another all time favorite is Carlos the Concierge. Even though we weren't in suites, he always took the time to say hello. The highlight had to be the cruise of Glacier Bay National Park. The captain gave us plenty of time on both sides of the ship to view the Glaciers. We saw otters, seals, porpoises and WHALES! We even saw a large chunk of glacier fall into the bay with a thunderous crash!! One thing we did this cruise that I've never done before was to take advantage of the BAGS program. It is AWESOME! You pay $20 per person to enroll in BAGS. The night before, just like everyone else you put your luggage outside your cabin. Now, in the morning as you are leaving, everyone else will have to wait their turn in line to get off the ship, go wait in line at customs, and fetch their luggage. Then drag them to a cab, drag them to check-in at the airport ,and FINALLY your hours as a pack mule are over! BUT if you enrolled in BAGS you can get off the ship anytime you want, walk past the customs line and right out to the taxi stand. You simply walk to your gate at the airport and get on the plane. For your $20 the BAGS folks will automatically take your luggage to the airport, check it for you, and you won't see it again until you arrive home. They will even print your boarding passes off for you, and deliver them to your cabin the night before. Well worth the $20 and made NCL's usual disembarkation day even more care free! I had been saying before this cruise that it was a "once in a lifetime" cruise for me. A "bucket list" item so to speak, as it was something I wished to experience but would never choose to do a second time. How wrong I was! I would cruise to Alaska again! The whole experience was awesome. If you want to know anything specific, I'm happy to answer questions! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was not my first cruise with NCL and not my first to Alaska, my most favorite destination. But it was my first cruise with mobility issues. Several months before the cruise, arthritis started in my left knee and then on to my right ... Read More
This was not my first cruise with NCL and not my first to Alaska, my most favorite destination. But it was my first cruise with mobility issues. Several months before the cruise, arthritis started in my left knee and then on to my right knee. Never had this much trouble with arthritis before, but this time it came with a vengeance. Got a shot of Cortisone in the left knee prior to the cruise, but I thought the right knee was due to favoring it too much, so I didn't get a shot for that knee. So I knew I was going to have problems getting around mostly because of the right knee. With this, the thought of a getting a week's pass for the thermal suite on the ship was sounding really good but I wondered if we could board early enough to get a couple of those coveted passes. Luckily, I had my cane with me because both knees were wobbly and when they announced that people with mobility problems could board first, I grabbed my sister EL and daughter AD and we headed for the ship. We were the first group of people to board and the first thing we did was sign up for the thermal suite! Our "girls" cruise was off to a good start. We had our first lunch at the Summer Palace by the large window with a glorious view of the Seattle skyline in front of us on a lovely, Sunday morning. Couldn't ask for anything better. By the time we finished our lunch our cabin was ready. Our balcony cabin seemed smaller than I remember, but then the last cabin we had was a mini-suite, so in comparison, the space seemed very small. And with a third person in the room, it seemed even smaller. But we found plenty of storage and closet space. Then it was time for the emergency drill. I was afraid about standing for a long time during the drill because of my bad knees. But it was different this time, we didn't have to put on our life jackets and our drill station was at the Summer Palace. That was way too easy but what a relief. We relaxed for a while and then stepped out on our balcony as the ship left the pier. We had our first dinner at Le Bistro. It's half-price on the first night of the cruise. We then saw the "Oh What a Night" Frankie Valley tribute show which was very entertaining. After that we decided to go to bed early so that we could try out the thermal suite first thing in the morning. The thermal suite was wonderful. It's definitely well worth the extra $99 for an opportunity to just relax and pamper oneself. However, for short people take caution entering the large thermal pool. Your feet won't touch the bottom and the bubbling current can easily make it seem like your in the rapids with your body bobbing around like a cork. Hold on to a bar and don't let go! Plus - there are two personal whirlpool baths but unfortunately one was out of order. But there were so few people there it didn't take very long for it to be available again. Now going back to the fact that my knees were in bad shape, this is what I experienced for the first time as someone with mobility problems. The Summer Palace entrance is on the 7th floor and you have to go down the stairs to the 6th floor to the dining hall. Anyone having trouble with stairs can take the elevator that goes down to the 6th floor and only one of 4 elevators in front of the Summer Palace goes there. Once you're down on the 6th floor, there is no access to the rest of the ship other than by that one elevator or the stairs. When we got down to the 7th floor for dinner at the Summer Palace, I stood there in front of the elevator that goes down to the 6th floor while EL and AD checked in for a table. I waited forever, but no 6th floor elevator arrived. Since EL and AD were already below waiting for me, I decided to try the stairs. I made it down, but almost lost my balance on the way down. Then after dinner, I waited at the 6th floor elevator, this time with EL and AD. No elevator arrived. There was another lady with a cane also waiting. The elevator never came. So we all made our way up the stairs, which was painful for me but even more painful for the other lady. By the time we made it up to the 7th floor, the gal at the restaurant registration desk said, "Sorry that you had to walk up the stairs, the elevator's not working." These things happen I suppose - but why weren't we informed before going down to the 6th floor? Why wasn't there a sign saying the elevator was out of order? Why did they allow us to go downstairs to the dining hall without a word of warning about a broken elevator? It was a puzzle. I wondered what might have happened for someone in a wheelchair. Perhaps they were informed, but I guess they thought people with canes could handle the stairs just fine. It could be there was another elevator that could be used, but no one bothered to tell us. We reserved tickets to see the Lumberjack show at Ketchikan. Our ship was closer to where the show was located the first time I was in Ketchikan but this time it was much further away. I asked someone at the excursion desk if there was a shuttle that would take us to the show. I was told that when I got to the meeting place outside of the ship they would have a shuttle there for folks with mobility problems. We got off the ship early and I asked about the shuttle and the person guiding people to where the show was didn't know what we were talking about. So she called the excursion desk and she was told the show would have a taxi take us there at their expense. Good. However, when the show was over, there were no arrangements made to pick us up after the show. So we walked slowly back to the ship. It was uncomfortable, but I made it. So, back on the ship we had lunch and I soaked my achy knees in one of the thermal suite's personal whirlpool bath. Ahhh.... I would suggest to anyone having trouble getting around, don't be afraid to tell crewmembers that you'll need special accommodations for boarding or de-boarding. Being new at this, I wasn't proactive and I paid dearly for it. In previous cruises with NCL, disembarking was always so smooth and usually didn't take very long at all. The only time it took longer was in New York, which is a very busy port. I didn't realize Vancouver is also a very busy port and we stood in line forever going through customs and then it was another lengthy wait just to get in a taxi. I could have kicked myself when I saw a row of people in wheelchairs being wheeled directly to where they needed to go. So don't be proud, ask for assistance. My poor knees ached for days after waiting in all those long lines. All in all, it was another great Alaskan cruise and I intend to get my knees replaced before taking another trip. P.S. - Another suggestion -- Try the chicken wings at the Blue Lagoon. I've never seen so many peopleat one time chomping on wings. Chicken bones were flying everywhere! There hot like they just came out of the fryer! They're super-crispy on the outside and juicy and tender inside. They're delicious and you can get them hot or mild. If you get it mild, you can just dip the wings in as much hot sauce as you want rather than having the wings smothered in sauce. It's not as messy to eat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my husband's 50th. birthday. It was why we paid to upgrade to the Deluxe Verandah Suites, and it was wise that we did. That was the only place the service even remotely met the expectations ... Read More
The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my husband's 50th. birthday. It was why we paid to upgrade to the Deluxe Verandah Suites, and it was wise that we did. That was the only place the service even remotely met the expectations we had been led to believe were the standard that HAL claims to set.Embarkation went very smoothly compared to the two other cruises we have done. Check in was a breeze! We were immediately directed to the LaFontaine dining room for a liesurely lunch awaiting our cabin to be ready. When we entered our cabin, we did find it to be lovely and roomy, beautiful verandah. Our bags were waiting on the bed. We quickly unpacked and set about to explore the ship. We visited the Sea View & Crow's Nest bars,the Spa & workout facilities as my husband wanted to keep exercising on the cruise. I wanted to check out the hands-on culinary opportunities. The party planner greeting people interested in learning more about that was cold and unfriendly. I opted NOT to sign up for any of those events, and I had really looked forward to them! We opted for room service for coffee and juice for the following morning.A grilled dinner was served on the Lido deck as we set sail. Food was fair, Lido area very crowded. (We never did try the Lido pool or hot tubs. Always full of noisy jumping splashing kids and babies) .We caught the end of the comic's show and off to bed.First day was ok. The only day my husband worked out as he was unimpressed with the workout facilities. Lines for the treadmills and elipticals was discouraging.The next night was the first formal night, and the only one we participated in. They were very accomodating in getting my husband fitted and delivered of a tuxedo the same day! We hoped for & expected great things,but it was not forthcoming. We had opted for open seating, & waited some time with a pager. Once seated, we  had to wait to place our order. One of the guests at our table had to ask for the wine steward twice, and I think he was the only one taking care of 500+ diners, and not very good at it. Once the food was served, it was disappointing, and we waited 20 to 30 minutes between courses, and that was once we had finished eating them. We witnessed a 10 minute tantrum by a mad & unhappy drunk  passenger who was unaware it was formal night and mad he did not meet dress code and could not eat. He never should have been allowed in the dining room. Most people at our table ordered the Alaskan King Crab, which took forever!!! Our server said they "ran out of crab". It arrived in and inch of lukewarm water, no drawn butter or lemon!! Three people sent their's back & got something else, which took forever as well.One of the perks was having personal concierge service on our floor, and we took advantage to book our Juneau & other excursions. Whale watching was fun. Not many whales, but lots of bald eagles and sea lions, and our naturalist was friendly and informative. Our next stop was the Mendenhall glacier, the perfect warmup for the Hubbard glacier. Juneau was beautiful. We picked the Lido buffet for dinner & were not impressed. For health reasons, you could not serve yourself most things, and the staff was slow slow slow!!! Soup had "skin" on top!The next day was my husband's birthday. We had a good roomservice breakfast. He played in the Casino and I relaxed. He again opted for the buffet for lunch, limited selection, bland & uninspired. We ran into the two couples we met at first day lunch, and invited them to join us for champagne on our verandah to witness the spectacular Hubbard glacier. They were all full of stories already of lackluster service & argumentative staff. One couple shared that their bags were not put in their room, but sitting in the hallway. They had just that morning met their steward for the first time!! This was day 3!! Our assistant steward was apparently their dining room waiter one evening, and while pleasant & trying, was obviously inexperienced and inept at serving. It became apparent that the staff are expected to wear too many hats, are not effectively trained. We heard of several people who when they needed something or had an issue, were argued with by staff!! But I digress!! I had arranged a celebration package a few weeks before, which included dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. Our server was congenial and tried, but was obviously inexperienced at what was supposed to be fine dining service. The food was good, but not superior. We then went to the Crow's Nest, where we had been very well taken care of by Gani and Leo. As we walked in the door, Gani immediately began to prepare our favorite cocktails. THIS was the service we heard was standard on HAL, but it was the only place we ever really got it! The next day my husband had booked fishing in Sitka, which he really enjoyed. I opted to pamper myself with a spa day.I chose a massage and facial. The massage was good, but expensive, and their opportunity to push expensive spa products. The facial was ok. Relaxing. But the facial product line was hugely expensive, and one I have never heard of. My esthetician was obviously disappointed that I did not want to spend her recommended $300.00 on my face, after the cost of the facial!! I had a coupon they had delivered to our cabin for 30% off any spa treatment. The manager seemed aloof and none too happy that I wanted to apply it to my most expensive service. We opted for room service for dinner, the salmon. Adequate but I expected better being in Alaska.Ketchikan was our best port day by far. We booked the Rainforest Canopy Zipline, and I highly recommend it. Stunning views, the adrenalin rush, fun people. We found it the best for souvenir shopping. We also had to do some drugstore shopping as the shipboard sundries store was tiny, cramped, and poorly stocked. Our dining experiences ranged from awful to good. Silverware was usually hard to come by, no matter where you ate. My husband waited 30 minutes for oil & vinegar for his salad at lunch, (yes the buffet again.) We would ask for simple things like toothpicks, or silverware, and the person we asked would just disappear.The Terrace Grill was horrible. Soupy & or dried out taco fillings, unfresh toppings, soggy shells & chips. Turkey burger looked like mystery meat, & was chewy & cold.  Breakfast room service was good, snacks not so much. Got our orders wrong twice in one night. No crackers with the cheese & cracker plate. Ordered 2 apple tarts, got 2 chocolate cakes instead.My husband and many others we talked to were not happy with the casino. He saw many people spend a lot of money early on, but no one won much at all. By the last half of the cruise, it was virtually empty. We had issues with our toilet for one day, but that "funky" smell lingered thru the rest of the cruise. We did not go into Victoria. It was a very short port call, and my husband was tired and not feeling well. I convinced him to eat in the dining room, and it was the best dining room experience we had. We realxed in our room, packed, and chilled on the verandah for our last night aboard ship.As Verandah Suite passengers, we were told we could disembark anytime between 8 and 9:30am. We ordered room service breakfast for 8am. At 8:30 we got the bum's rush from our steward saying we needed to get off the ship sooner! We hurried through breakfast, grabbed our carryons and got off the ship. We loved seeing Alaska & Seattle. And we chose cruising for the opportunity to see several places, and for the most popular reasons, service, pampering, and stellar food. Our HAL experience was sketchy at best. Inconsistent and haphazard. When it was good, it was very good, but when it was bad, it was awful!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
My first cruise was on Carnival to Mexico 10 years ago. We switched to Celebrity because we heard it had more upscale food and better attitude of the staff. When I boarded I noticed immediately a difference in the staff on Celebrity ... Read More
My first cruise was on Carnival to Mexico 10 years ago. We switched to Celebrity because we heard it had more upscale food and better attitude of the staff. When I boarded I noticed immediately a difference in the staff on Celebrity compared to Carnival. Everyone always said hello to you and if you looked lost they would stop to give you directions. I constantly felt catered tomeaning almost all crew members would always ask if I wanted a drink, how was my cruise, anything they can do to make it better before the cruise ends. I mean these people were always smiling and aiming to please. I was impressed it was much better than Carnival's staff.The median age was 40 years old or older going to Alaska. Unlike Carnival to Mexico it was a older crowd. Also, there were tons of Asian people on the boat atleast 30%.  I was disappointed that their really wasn't any pop or rock music played in the evenings. It was very seldom and you had to stay up till midnight to hear it in the lounges. Mostly, it was either latin music, 50's to the 70's-but nothing you hear on the radio station.The music and bands were very good-it was nice to hear different music. But would have been better if I go to hear Nickleback or some band on the top 40 pop stations.I was disappointed that Celebrity did not make those cute little animal creatures out of the towels like Carnival does. Also, Carnival would have you do the cha cha line in the dinner room and they seemed more fun. Are waiter were very good but it was not a party atmosphere like Carnival is-it really catered to sophistication and the older clientel. If your in your 20-30's you want to go on Carnival for your generation of music and games.Overall, I did enjoy my cruise-one big reason is because of the Therlassopool (salt water pool) which is very therapeautic and the Persian Spa which is a combination of four different sauna rooms (1 is aromatherapysmells like mint steam, the other is a mild hot sauna, one is a really hot steam room and the other is a very hot dry sauna. They also have warm benches you sit on and they keep all the rooms dimmly lit so you are relaxed. The positive side was that the cruise only allows 50 people on board to access the persian Spa during the entire cruise. It costs $100 per person to use the saunas for 1 week. When we went there would be only one other couple in the sauna. It was nice that they limited the sales to the Persian Spa to only 50 people or it would have been miserable and crowded.I felt ripped off by the Spa when it came time for a massage. One lady said that the cost of a massage for that day was $39 so I said I would be back tomorrow to sign up. When I signed up I found out it cost $75 for a 25 minute back massage. That was so ridiculously high. When they added the gratiuty it came up to $84. I told them I wasn't going to have it done. They said my appointment was less than 30 minutes away and they couldn't cancel and give me a full refund only half my money back. So I went and had it done. If I would have waited till the last day I could have gotten a 60 minute full body massage for $99. Which would have still been high but a better deal. The massage was good but I have to warn you. They tell you to drink 2 liters or more of water when your done with your massage or you might get sick. I thought that was a load of crap. So I ignored the suggestion. The last day of the cruise I was so ill. I was running a 104 fever and this continued for a week after the cruise. I was never so sick. My doctors at first thought it was the flu but tests confirmed it wasn't...They later said it could be sinusitis...but I didn't have a runny nose. They gave me antibiotics anyways...and I felt it didn't make a dent. I was sick for 2 weeks after the cruise. I trully believe she released a lot of toxins into my body with the deep tissue massage I got. Being a Physical Therapist I have to kick myself for going against what I learned in school about massage doing that to some people. I just thought I had a better immune system...Found out I didn't.I absolutely hated the fitness instructors on board. They had quite a few detox seminars that I went to. Hoping to find out some new information. Actually, they would give you only a little information then reel you in with a sales pitch. If you signed up for a body fat analysis for $30 they would give you a nutrition plan that would help you lose weight. I bought it and was hooked up to this analysis machine that measures water wieght in your body and body fat. After the analysis the fitness instructor laid it on really thick. She stated that I was in poor health and recommended to me and my friend that we purchased $900 of Elemis Detox pills-which she stated was the best detox system in the world. I declined and she made me feel like crap because I had wasted her time and trully didn't want to be healthy.  When I got home I looked up Elemis and found you could get the same amount of pills on Ebay for $150.  Also, I found the fitness instructors to be too faced. They told everyone at the seminar to read Kevin Trudeau's book called Natural Cures they don't want you to know about. Of course, they didn't know that I had already read it and Kevin Trudeau says that anyone that believes in pedaling pills or detox pills at you is a quack. So it seemed hypocritical that they would be pushing Elemis at me. In fact all the facial products and massage products were Elemis. And of course after my massage they tried to get me to buy a $40 bottle of massage cream. It was annoying.  If your looking for health information on this cruise....skip the seminars...they are just attempts to get you to buy stuff.The Aqua spa did have healthy meals but it was like two choices and always-salmon or pasta with a little olive oil on it. You did have to fight for a chair to lay on by the indoor pool but not the outdoor pool.The food was excellent but if you like chocolate-you won't find it on this cruise line. They made a lot of cakes that looked like chocolate but they didn't taste like it-can't describe it. Also after 8:00 there was no places open for food. If you were looking for 24 hour food...your wrong. You can only get room service after 8:00. Even the bars and dance places had no food. not even pretzels for your drinks. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009

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