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17 Norwegian (NCL) Tokyo (Yokohama) Cruise Reviews

We certainly enjoyed the food in 'Le Bistro'. The trivia was very good. The itenery was why we chose to take our 1st Norwegian cruise. So much for the good. We bought an outside cabin, with an unobstructed window. That window ... Read More
We certainly enjoyed the food in 'Le Bistro'. The trivia was very good. The itenery was why we chose to take our 1st Norwegian cruise. So much for the good. We bought an outside cabin, with an unobstructed window. That window was so dirty that details we inaccessible. We asked, I begged(!), them to clean the window. They actually told me that those windows only get cleaned during drydock! Seriously? I watched the lady who relayed this to me, and even she could not believe what she was saying. Why buy an outside if you cannot use the window [and in Alaska even!]? She offered me an upscale dining as 'compensation' [we already had 4] and I offered in return to have our charges reduce to cost on Inside cabin, since THAT WAS ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE HAD!!!! Dumbest crap I ever dealt with on any ship. We have had 25+ cruises on other lines and NEVER have, or would have, been told they could not clean out window! The food in the buffet was LOW! No salmon, no steak, no shellfish of any sort. Cheap! And poorly prepared, every piece of beef or pork I had was simply tough. Incredibly, part of the problem was that meat slicers cut WITH the grain instead of ACROSS the grain. A little training needed. Food in Main dining was repetitive, but slightly better. As I said, the Bistro was very good, but the one with all that meat was giving us stuff clearly kept under a sunlamp and was dry and tough, i am sorry to say. As an aside, we both got sick with colds, very bad ones, after Russia, and we certainly do not hold Norwegian at culp for that. I will not say I will never be on Norwegian again. But it will take a truly great itenary at a great price to tempt us from other cruise lines like Princess, Holland, Celebrity, or RCC where service is SO MUCH better. Only our room steward, who did go out of his way to help, was an exception to the 'poor service' experience. I truly hope you reconsider the 'clean window' policy. Only an outside cabin has this problem, since folks with balconies can still see without going updeck. Seriously, this cannot be a rational policy in your mind. And I hope I never sail again on a ship where I cannot get my beloved smoked salmon for breakfast in the buffet. Doug Ralston Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, ... Read More
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, Sony, Panasonic. Japan taught the world " just-in-time " manufacturing, and that organizations should value their employees. This 21 day repositioning cruise from Tokyo to Seattle was our final cruise leg, and return home. The itinerary was 7 sea days, with visits to 4 Japanese ports, 1 Russian port, Hubbard Glacier, and Glacier Bay, and 5 ports in Alaska. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with so many new ports, and several countries. Actually general communication on the ship was rather poor with instructions often being contradictory. Embarkation process was swift and efficient. We very quickly hit our first bump when our very first Japanese port, Shimizu was eliminated, as they announced the ship would remain in Yokohama the following day for mechanical repairs. The remining port stops in Japan were very good: Aomori: Neputa summer festival featured enormous floats with painted screens depicting Japanese Gods, historical figures and mythological beings. Visited the magnificent grounds of Hirosaki Castle. Hakodate: Highlights of Hakodate from the Goryokaku Tower, a 350 foot high observation point, to the busy fish market to the Mount Hakodate Ropeway. Otaru the port city for Sapporo on Hokkaido island (Japan’s northernmost island) is known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries. It is a compact and delightful village for self exploration. Russia was a cold day, but memorable experience with our visit to Petropavlovsk ( St Peter & Paul ) A poor northern Russian city of about 200,000 surrounded by volcanoes. It is home to Russia's largest submarine base. The city proudly reflects its military significance. The gruelling hard winters, of which much snow still remains, toll on roads, pedestrian paths, and buildings is clearly evident. The pristine natural beauty of Alaska's high glacial mountains and tree lined shores. We saw many whales, dolphins, seals, and eagles throughout the passage. The ship's tour of both the Hubbard Glacier and the following day Glacier Bay, professionally narrated by Park naturalists, were very enjoyable. Initially the several public viewing locations were extremely crowded, and people quite rude in the crowds. We retreated to the viewing privacy of our balcony cabin and ventured into the public viewing areas later. Icy Straight Point was a unique cultural experience. Food was reasonable throughout the variety of ship restaurants. We now wonder whether it is a company strategy to have clientel pay more, and dine in the Specialty restaurants in an effort to find something of quality to eat. Cagney's was not the star restaurant on the Jewel with Le Bistro claiming that spot. Moderna & Chin Chin were also good albeit a very limited menu. Our experience with Teppanyaki was more show than food quality. There was a conspicuous absence of fresh salmon, king crab, or seafood of any sort, and much of the beef or pork served was rather tough, and often overcooked. Again we note most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe immediately upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local cuisines – caviar, perogies & sourkraut, smoked salmon & bannock ! Overall entertainment quality and variety was good - the highlight being the Russian gymnasts. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental, russian, or native cultures, " enrichment programs " cultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Two enrichment seminars were given to an absolutely packed Stardust theatre - showing strong client interest. Unfortunately neither expert had ever being to the destination they were presenting on, resulting in weak, internet researched presentations. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and many services had very limited hours. The focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions, and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. For example the library only opened for one hour most days, and although a quiet spot to read it smelled of smoke. Shore excursions desk was also only open briefly, and there were often significant lines. We guess they are trying to embrace the more cost effective electronic culture and encourage you to book that way. Most shore excursions were full bus loads and have become rather pricey. As all locations were new to us we booked primarily NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests successfully using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The assembly process of participants in the ship theatre, disembarkation & load the tour buses continued to be chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Frankly this waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. Using the walking or jogging track you also encounter “ smoking areas “ where your exercise and fresh air experience was dampened. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several encounters were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Disembarkation in Seattle was an unmitigated disaster ! We understand the ship docked on the opposite side than what was originally planned. As a consequence luggage had to be unloaded in the reverse order that it was organized. Multiple companies services are contracted by NCL to accomplish disembarkation of passengers and luggage quickly and efficiently. The lack of communication between the parties, the uncaring attitudes, and resulting chaos was a horrendous way to end the voyage. While our luggage was scheduled to be available in the first group at 8:00 am it was actually the dead last group some three hours later ! This placed passengers directly into mid-day “ long weekend “ rush hour traffic in downtown Seattle and created many subsequent problems with missed flights, and transportation connections. Not a single word of apology from NCL to its guests. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers ... Read More
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers and the beauty of Alaska is absolutely spectacular. Booking a massage on the cruise was easy and the massage was wonderful. However, the high pressure sales job after to buy all the products spoiled the experience. Word to the wise, don’t book spa services as this happens each time in spite of telling th no. Excursions were extremely pricey, even with a credit per port. The specialty restaurants were ok, with The Bistro top of my list. Carney’s was s disappointment both times we tried it. Moderno’s was okay. tepanyaki was fun and we went twice. Overall a good cruise. Weather was chilly but fine. Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We ... Read More
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We took a cab to the ship and the embarkation process was swift and efficient as we had a 2 bedroom (H4) Haven suite. Our suite, Cabin 14010 was filled with mold and mildew. We are allergic to mold and mildew. Mold was also present in the duvette, sheets, and pillows. Steward and butler were great as they changed out everything and brought a HEPA filter. Also A/C ducts blew in dust and mold. Unfortunately none of that helped. We were sick for 12 of the 21 day cruise and wife still has bronchitis 10 days after the cruise. We were finally able to track the problem down to black mold in a leaky drain trough going across the bathroom area. The carpet was also filled with mildew. The crew repaired the leaky drain area several days before the end of the cruise and brought in industrial blowers to dry the area out. The mold and mildew were so bad that I had to sleep on the couch in our living room area and my wife had to sleep in the second bedroom. As if that wasn't enough, disembarkation at the new Norwegian Seattle terminal was a disaster. We had to wait 60 minutes for our luggage (even though we had priority) and when it arrived there was no orderly process to get the luggage. Just one big free for all. We asked the Norwegian terminal what was going on and they just shrugged their shoulders told us to talk to the ship personnel. Lastly, during our Norwegian transfer to the Seattle airport, the luggage compartment door of the bus opened and our luggage went bouncing down the Interstate. Bottom line, Norwegian is a great value, but I have yet to have a cruise with them where everything has gone right. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska was perfect for us. All the port stops in Japan were wonderful - Yokohama, Aomori, Hakodate and Otaru. The ship docked very close to town, and there was plenty to do in each place. Our most treasured experience was finding an onsen (hot springs bath, all nude, segregated by gender) in Hakodate. We were not impressed with Petropavlovsk though. Access was by tender, which wastes a lot of time especially with old folks with bad knees struggling to get on and off. Prior to the cruise, we were told quite specifically that we needed visas just to roam around town, so the best thing to do was sign up for an NCL shore excursion. Turns out that the Russians will let cruisers with no visas into town, just can't go beyond the city limits. The many days at sea crossing the Pacific was a real treat. Even better was getting an extra Wednesday because we crossed the International Date Line. Conversation with the cabin steward was fun - "what is today?" "Wednesday" "what is tomorrow?" "Wednesday." We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. Of the free ones, we went to the Azura only once, and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Garden Café buffet the whole trip. Food was good, not great. The first top round roast in the carving station was so tough, however, it defied mastication. Our cabin steward, Aris, was the best. He was never intrusive, did a great job with the room, and answered all our questions. His towel art creations were ones I had never seen before. If it were not for the the ship being even more worn out, we would take her back to Japan in September. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chance to see northern Japan, Russian port- which I never could see while in the Navy because of clearances for almost 30 years. Alaska was exceptional, as always- fourth visit. Never stop being overwhelmed with the beauty of the ... Read More
Chance to see northern Japan, Russian port- which I never could see while in the Navy because of clearances for almost 30 years. Alaska was exceptional, as always- fourth visit. Never stop being overwhelmed with the beauty of the country. It truly was a whale bonanza this year- think we can rest easy about the future of the humpback for a while. They are real showmen I'm convinced. Saw some of the lack of crew prep for disembark evolutions that others have noticed. Whatever the reasons, they are non-excusable. Continue to be amazed that people can stare at their phones; difficult to call their phones smart, while viewing some of the most incredible glaciers, wildlife, and natural beauty literally 360 degrees around them. Enough of the negative. Shore excursions were enjoyable, but overpriced through the ship. In Alaska especially, there are many other more reasonable providers of whale watching and White Mountain trips just to name a couple. This really was a unique cruise for me anyway, in that involved northern Japan and Russia. It also was long enough to really make some friends and settle down to a routine of your own choosing- difficult things to accomplish in a week or less cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the ... Read More
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the restaurants or the Irish bar), and water, and gratuities. The itinerary was very good with stops in Japan, Russia and Alaska. Getting off the ship at our final destination in Seattle was very slow and some people missed their flights. We arranged our own shore excursions throughout the trip. The only problem was when we were trying to purchase an expensive bracelet in the Tradewinds shop on board and the staff were telling us it was an Effy product, but when we visited the Effy shops on shore they advised it was not an Effy product. The ship could not tell us who actually was the manufacturer. Luckily we did not buy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was the least favorite of my 4 NCL cruises (16 cruises total). This ship needs refurb. The carpets in the rooms are terrible. Some of the bad: -Food was cold or cool almost 50% of the time in the MDR. -How many times did the ... Read More
This was the least favorite of my 4 NCL cruises (16 cruises total). This ship needs refurb. The carpets in the rooms are terrible. Some of the bad: -Food was cold or cool almost 50% of the time in the MDR. -How many times did the matre d’ speak to us? Zero. In 21 days. But he visited the table next to us nightly. -JC Sanchez cruise director? Rarely left his office. Seen only at the show nightly -debarkation in Seattle took over 2 hours. My friends missed their noon NCL booked flight. -Internet was terrible. Out a solid 48 hours one time. They said they got a new satellite. It was worse after. -Volume of noice was so loud you couldn’t sleep till after midnight. In a “quiet”room -curtains had holes in them and Alaska sun shines 20 hours a day -Menus very repitative on 21 day cruise, and no fresh Alaska salmon?. -Chin Chin was really bad, and the food was half cold. Good: Fee dining was excellent Activities were lively and plentiful O’Sheehans was Great, and the staff and service excellent Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary - visiting Japan and Alaska. This was our 11th cruise, all previous cruises with Royal Carribbean and Princess Cruises. The embarkation process in Yokohama took over 2 hours, we had previously ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary - visiting Japan and Alaska. This was our 11th cruise, all previous cruises with Royal Carribbean and Princess Cruises. The embarkation process in Yokohama took over 2 hours, we had previously experienced 30 minutes maximum on other cruises. The same applied to disembarking we were left mid way on the gangway for 40 minutes with no explanation. The communication on the ship was very poor with instructions often contradictory. We finally met our cabin attendant on the 4th day which is not the usual practice on other cruise lines. The service in the dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner was non existent, orders were 80% of the time incorrectly prepared. The food was tasteless and uninteresting. Free style dining may have had something to do with this as we were not allocated with the same waiters at each meal and there appeared to be no personalised service provided. The customer service staff were sullen and quite grumpy given the nature of their job - to provide customer service. The Asian complimentary restaurant was also very tasteless, we had few meals there to get away from the dining room however we reverted to paying at the Specialty restaurants in a bid to find something of quality to eat. Entertainment in the theatre was just average, the two gymnastic performances were excellent. The plus was the music provided by the bands and guitar player/singer in the various bars each evening. We would definitely not travel with Norwegian again given there are a number of other cruise lines that offer a better experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first ... Read More
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first sailed NCL 5 years ago we have noticed a steady decline in quality and amenities. Their "chocolate night" is gone. The quality of the food is noticeably lower. Etc. From other cruisers I've spoken with this is not unique to NCL (HAL has been mentioned a few times by people I know). But we sailed NCL, and so that's what I will criticize. The crew was fine. That has been the one constant in all our NCL cruises. They are friendly, helpful, and just generally really nice. No complaints there at all. That said, there were significant organizational problems with disembarking in several ports. In Petropavlosk, for example, we missed our excursion because getting off the ship took over four hours. I knew someone who claims he saw what the problem was, but I won't resort to hearsay since I didn't witness it myself. I will just say there is no excuse for those sorts of delays, and the organizing of the disembarking was a mess. It wasn't as bad in most of the other ports, though Seattle was a nightmare. Again, poor organizing caused us to have a drastically shortened tour of Seattle. We were supposed to see Pike Street and some other locations, but all we had time to do was the Space Needle. No refund, or even partial refund or ship credit, was offered for either of those fiascoes which were THEIR FAULT. The food was very mediocre. Some of it was downright bad. Their eggs Benedict was raw. Not just once, but each of the three or four times we checked it out. A runny yoke is expected, but most of the white was runny too. That's not right. There was a variety of dishes available, but the seasoning was almost always very mild. Mild to the point that you couldn't really tell it was seasoned many times. Even in the premium restaurants (which we ate a few times). All in all, unacceptable. I can't pin this only on the Jewel, or this cruise. As I said, we've sailed NCL several times over the past five years, several different ships, and we've noted the steady decline in food quality with each successive cruise. Unless something changed we probably would not do this sort of itinerary on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
April 1, 2018 to April 16, 2018 from Tokyo to Shanghai. First night in La Bistro first choice wine is not available, second the same. Cabin has noise and we are not able to slip. Cabin phone is not working. Change a cabin 2 times. Most of ... Read More
April 1, 2018 to April 16, 2018 from Tokyo to Shanghai. First night in La Bistro first choice wine is not available, second the same. Cabin has noise and we are not able to slip. Cabin phone is not working. Change a cabin 2 times. Most of food OK, but beef and burgers are not eatable. In Tsar restaurant waiting for desert 25 min, waiters disappeared and after desert came melted. Pastries and ice cream are very good. Watermelon is tasteless. All ports are excellent. All shore excursions are good, but one. Entertainment below average. Only two good shows for 15 days. Use a same musicians for 2 times. Customer service is a big issue, we need contact hotel director for resolve cabin noise issue. Cabin was clean and we have no problem. Information from bridge came very late and not clear. NCL need to improve customer service and not sail cabin with noise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Chose this cruise because of the places visited Found the food and service on the ship to be poor the only "wow " meal we had was a paid meal in the French Bistro , even then this must be the only french bistro that did not ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the places visited Found the food and service on the ship to be poor the only "wow " meal we had was a paid meal in the French Bistro , even then this must be the only french bistro that did not have French wine available !!! Disembarking at ports was a shambles in particular in Hong Kong where hours were spent waiting to go ashore only to find only one half hourly shuttle bus ( to a shopping centre ) was available. Very little information was given as to transport etc on shore . The balcony cabin was excellent on deck 9 The nightly entertainment was also excellent the drinks prices would have been reasonable if not for the 20% surcharge on every drink The drinks packages were far too expensive considering how much time was spent onshore It was a pity that the ship overall wasn't as good Front of house staff seemed disinterested and were little help once you got to the front of the incessant queues Perhaps others will sail with NCL again but not me Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The food and the service was the worst I have ever experienced in comparing to the 19 cruises I had before. Menu in the complimentary restaurants were almost the same every day for 15 days. We chose to eat outside of the ship as many ... Read More
The food and the service was the worst I have ever experienced in comparing to the 19 cruises I had before. Menu in the complimentary restaurants were almost the same every day for 15 days. We chose to eat outside of the ship as many times as possible. Waiters and most of the crew members never greeted any guests, including sales personnel in the shops, they just ignored you. Shows were terrible, only the shows by Lisa Anna Ching and the acrobat show at the end of the cruise were good in a 15-night cruise. Shuttle bus for Kagoshima was $15 per person which was a ripoff and no shutter bus was arranged in Shanghai which was a distance from the nearest subway station. Due to the visa problem of a few guests, the ship was delayed to arrive in Hong Kong which had created problems in the shuttle bus service. I definitely will not take any NCL cruise again and use the same money to go for other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except ... Read More
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except for Hong Kong. The ship ported in HK at 11AM. Apparently. some passengers did not have visas for China so no one could disembark until that was sorted out. We got off the ship at 3PM and had to queue over an hour for the shuttle buses as there were only three. The entertainment on board was very good and varied. We did not do any excursions arranged by NCL as we manged to travel around easily on our own using local taxis and trains. We had a mid ship Oceanview stateroom which was an adequate size for two people. We were on the right hand side of the ship, avoid this side if you can, as it docks on this side and can be very noisy on port days. We received an excellent service from all staff especially in the restaurants and the reception desk. The standard of the food was average, Holland & America had better quality food and presentation. Please find attached some of the daily itineraries. Great cruise to see the Sakura blossom. I suggest you download the Travel Japan Wifi app before you travel on the Cruise if you want to use free WiFi in the ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Good things: Emerson – our cabin steward Waitresses in Azura Restaurant Food – only 1 bad meal (in LaCachina) Entertainment – very good Throughout the cruise – The windows all over the ship, both common areas and ... Read More
Good things: Emerson – our cabin steward Waitresses in Azura Restaurant Food – only 1 bad meal (in LaCachina) Entertainment – very good Throughout the cruise – The windows all over the ship, both common areas and rooms are filthy. I paid extra for a room with a larger window and could barely see out of it because it was sooo dirty. Most of the crew were from the Philippines. Most of the passengers were oriental. Those of us who weren’t, were ignored a lot of the time. This was one of the first cruises NCL has run with this itinerary and that's the excuse they used for every screw up. Why should this itinerary be any different than any other? Got on board the first day and even though I had ordered and thought I had paid for soda and water pkgs., I had the NCL payment confirmation pages to back me up, I was told by the surly customer service person that there was no 'total' on the page and that I should have known that the charge never went thru. But, that I could buy the pkgs. on board with a 20% up charge. No need to speak to the manager, he would tell you the same thing. 2nd day, notified by my credit card company that there was a large charge on my credit card. It was a hold placed by NCL for $2610. That charge went thru and the others didn't??? There weren't many good days after that and I was very glad to leave the ship! Never to return to NCL. We were platinum members with NCL, but never again. This was our 3rd bad cruise in a row. The only reason we were on it was for the itinerary. When I wrote to them about this cruise, I was offered a $100 onboard ship credit if we took another cruise in the next 12 months. REALLY!!! Talked to a lot of people on this cruise and we all came to the same conclusion, we would never sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We opted for this one as the price was a little bit down, it hit some new ports for us, and we were able to link up with our son at the Kobe port. While the ship is not new and shows its age here and there, we had a good cabin (standard ... Read More
We opted for this one as the price was a little bit down, it hit some new ports for us, and we were able to link up with our son at the Kobe port. While the ship is not new and shows its age here and there, we had a good cabin (standard outside, deck 4) and were happy with the general experience. We took the perks at sea package and had 4 dinners for two at the specialty restaurants plus $50 off each person's tour at all of the ports. Also we got 250 internet minutes and 2 hours of ship to USA calls. We used all of these perks, even made some doctor appointments back home. The food at the upgrade restaurants was very good, especially at Cagneys where the filet was great. We also used the French restaurant, but liked Cagneys better. As to the dining rooms and the Lido, we found them to be good, but not great. Like most cruises, some items were very good and others just so-so. Service was OK, and the buffet was clean and appetizing. I recall that there were 12 port days on the 15 day cruise. We naturally used the ship tours for about 9 ports, but at Kobe we made independent tours that included the castle at Hemiji and the Kobe city zoo or animal preserve. We rate both of these as top notch. Overall, we really enjoyed the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Yokohama Japan, and ended in Shanghai, China however we continued with the next two cruise segments through Alaska to disembark in Seattle. ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Yokohama Japan, and ended in Shanghai, China however we continued with the next two cruise segments through Alaska to disembark in Seattle. The Orient was new for us and it was a " port intensive " sailing visiting 6 port cities in Japan, 2 in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and 2 in China with only 2 sea days. In Kobe, and Hong Kong we enjoyed overnight stays and two days in each city. The cruise was enjoyable, and cabins and ship clean​,​ it is dated and wear is showing.... It is scheduled for a major drydock retrofit in October 2018. Food was reasonable throughout the varied ship restaurants. We noticed most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the Asian area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local Japanese cuisine in more depth. Entertainment was varied and of reasonably good quality. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental culture, " enrichment programs " c​ultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and the focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions,​ and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. Most shore excursions were full bus loads of 50 people with a single often untrained guide. The accent, and limited English language, of the guides were often a limiting factor to the full enjoyment of the tour. We found tour​ options were limited to very traditional tourist sightseeing,​ and they varied widely in quality and value. As all locations were new to us, and due to the language and cultural challenges, we booked mostly NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The process to assemble participants & load the tour buses was often chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Those guests were being rewarded with the best seats on the bus ! Frankly the waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with many new ports, and several foreign countries. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several examples were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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