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881 Vancouver to Alaska Cruise Reviews

This cruise had all the right stuff for a nice cruise to Alaska. The ship was beautiful and recently refurbished. The food was good, especially in the dining room. The crew and staff were excellent. But next time, we'll pick a suite. ... Read More
This cruise had all the right stuff for a nice cruise to Alaska. The ship was beautiful and recently refurbished. The food was good, especially in the dining room. The crew and staff were excellent. But next time, we'll pick a suite. The cabins were really small. Our cabin steward was excellent and very helpful. Unfortunately, we also got to use the medical services aboard ship. Absolutely amazing is all I can say! My husband got very very sick and needed to be airlifted to a larger port of call. The ship's customer service did everything we needed to have done. The housekeeping department and port agent were stellar. The time we did spend on the ship while he was healthy was very very good. The cruise itself, being on a Monday ensured a very relaxed itinerary with very few other ships in port. Norwegian is a good cruise line for all ages. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife ... Read More
My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife generously upgraded our balcony room to a Haven suite as a birthday gift. We've had suites before on RC and MSC, but this one was significantly larger including a separate second bedroom / bathroom for our seven year old. The Haven itself is fantastic. Haven areas are on the restricted decks (14 and 15) and include private dining for breakfast and lunch in Moderno, a covered pool/hot-tub that is nice and warm on the coldest/windiest of Alaskan days, a private area on top of the ship (on deck 15) where you can enjoy 360 degree views, butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority seating in the theater, priority embarkation and debarkation, etc. Truly awesome! We were very spoiled for the week! Overall, this is the way to see the coastline. There are some places where it just makes sense to go by ship. Norway (which we did on MSC after Norwegian canceled our cruise without explanation) and Alaska glacier areas are two examples. We spent innumerable hours watching gorgeous scenery out of our balcony with hours and hours going by with no sight of humans. Spectacular! OK, but onto the cruise stuff you guys might care to read about. First, service. We were pretty segregated the whole trip, so we didn't interact much in the public areas of the ship with the exception of listening to music in a bar or two. Our cabin steward, butler (Loy) and concierge (John) were all great. We asked a lot from John during the trip and he was intelligent, helpful and fully understood the context of what his guests would want. In our experience, not many crew members (especially non-native English speakers) are very good at getting the nuances of American culture even after a decade or more working on ships. John just "got it" and made our cruise much better that it would have been without his assistance. Such staff are worth attracting to the ship because they can accomplish more than a dozen 'newbs' can. We spent a bit of time chatting with the General Manager as well, who I think has one of the coolest jobs. OK, so all-in-all the service we received was great. Public service, I really can't say one way or the other albeit we ran into a couple service staff that would randomly bring up how they had toddlers at home that they only got to see every 8 months. We have run into this story many times before (always from SouthEast Asian staff) and I'm cool with it as long as it doesn't sound like a pity story in an effort to get additional gratuity. If we have been speaking with you frequently and we ask, fine, but don't bring it up out of the blue, please people. It's odd. Music: We had a Spanish guitarist that was quite talented and my daughter danced (mostly alone) for at least an hour. We didn't get much in the way of jazz which was surprising for a cruise full of retirees. The show band did a bit and were quite good. None of the other musicians did much for us. There was a Phillipino group singing pop tunes which was pretty awful, but there were enough people watching so at least some people thought it was OK. At least there wasn't a Calypso band on board. Entertainment: We thought it was surprisingly good. Generally the shows don't do much for us. We saw a hypnotist that we had seen before in the Canary Islands, a couple shows with the main dance/musicians, a smart comedian (geared to older age audiences) and a couple shows that were "Cirque" themed. The Cirque stuff was the best. The rest were quite good as well. Cabin: Mostly covered above, but overall it was excellent. Some of the tiles on the bathroom floor were loose and there was an odd frame thing around the master bath toilet flushing button, but the rest was in good shape and very clean. Specialty Dining: We didn't eat in any non-specialty restaurants this trip unless you count having sushi and other stuff at Chin Chin. Everything cost extra in the specialty dining, of course, but we were surprised by how much more expensive it was as compared to Norweigan's prior cover-charge approach. The prices were comparable to what I would expect to pay for a similar restaurant at home, which didn't take into account what we weren't eating at the main dining room / buffet, etc. I am fine with paying 'a la carte, but at least make the pricing reasonable, folks! Perhaps that was why many of the restaurants looked pretty empty at least at the early-ish times were were eating. OK, for the details; Chin Chin: the cheapest of the bunch as most of the food is free. The food was quite good quality and our service there was excellent. It was a bit loud and crowded, but that's fully understandable. We got the last available table which was by the entrance to Teppanyaki, so my daughter got to watch the show (again). The show band was playing for part of dinner downstairs, so that was pleasurable. The sushi from Sushi was excellent. In retrospect, I would have repeated this place more than once. La Cucina: Any Italian would lose their mind in this place. The food was 'meh', albeit the pasta dish we had was prepared perfectly. Italian cuisine must consist of the freshest seasonal ingredients, and the rule is to not screw up the great ingredients by overcooking or over-embellishing. I got the Osso Bucco and was sadly disappointed. It was of poor quality, not prepared well, not flavorful, and didn't even come with the marrow fork. I asked for one and the (Filipino) staff had no clue what I was talking about. Who serves Osso Bucco without a marrow fork?! Not anyone that has familiarity with Italian cuisine. Anyway, I viewed this as a symptom of not hiring more people that are familiar with the cuisines and service expected from a restaurant of that theme. C'mon Norwegian, stop hiring 90% of your staff from the Philippines just because they are cheap and can't sue foreign countries. We know what you are doing! Teppanyaki: This is a typical cheap Japanese steak house. Sit around the grill and get a little show. Service was poor, the food was fine, and the "Japanese chef" was almost as good as you'd find in a comparable place back home. Le Bistro: Good food, good service, somewhat limited menu, and a nice view out the windows (we were eating while passing whales which was really cool). Cagney's: This was the best restaurant in our opinion. The steaks and veal were excellent. The sides were priced separately and were quite expensive but tiny portions. What the heck? Very good service from our favorite server. The sommelier however was really irritating and had no clue what he was doing. He showed up at our table like Lenny and Squiggy arriving at Laverne and Shirley's apartment with a loud "Hello!". He then proceeded to open and pour our wine, but poured my glass and then my wife's. The rules are simple people: The one who orders the wine is asked to taste. Then you serve it to the oldest woman down to the youngest and then the men. Oh and he poured massive pours. What the heck? I was visibly irritated and made a comment to our server. I'm sure anyone server on the ship could have served the wine properly. Why this guy couldn't is a mystery, but I ran into him again at Moderno. This time he obnoxiously pretended to speak Spanish (he was Filipino) and was desperate to point me to a bottle. (I can choose my own wine, thank you very much!) I later complained about his boorish behavior to John, our concierge who relayed it to the head sommelier. Moderno: We ate here for breakfast and lunch every day as we were in the Haven. Service was excellent and the food quality was good, but the menu never changed over the seven days. We mentioned it to the General Manager, but he didn't think it was an issue except on longer cruises. For dinner it is a Brazilian steakhouse that gets its food from the kitchen in Cagney's. The food quality was good, but some of the staff didn't understand the whole 'red card means stop, green card means go' thing. Its basic rules for a Brazillian steakhouse people. The servers bringing the meat should know this. Beverages: Good, but overpriced. Oh, I forgot to mention that we selected a beverage package as one of our free incentives for booking the cruise in the first place, but when my wife upgraded to a Haven Suite, they took this benefit away without telling us. It became a whole two days of trying to sort it out through our concierge, who ended up losing that battle on our behalf. They charge a lot for drinks on this ship. A typical mixed drink was $11+ and a can of soda was $3.50. The drink packages are really expensive too. After a day or two we figured out that we'd never drink enough to make the package worthwhile even at the high prices, so we just paid for what we wanted. We bought bottles of wine every night (which were reasonably priced), so at least that was fine. Fitness Center: They have a whole room full of nice bikes that they only allow to be used when there is a spin class. The rest of the bikes were awful, my wife tells me. I used the treadmill once, which was fine, then I started running on the track on deck 13 instead which involves frequently asking people to move when they are blocking the track. Shore Excursions: We did our own for the most part. We took a helicopter flight and landed on a glacier, we took a cool train ride into Yukon territory (that one was cruise arranged), we kayaked with sea lions, seals and humpback whales, and we did a sled-dog training event. All were awesome and the ones we arranged were cheaper than the ship excursions, but they were still pricey. That said, all were worth it! Why This is Our Last Large Ship Cruise: We just learned how much these ships pollute the air. One cruise line in its European cruises pollutes MORE than every car in Europe combined. What the heck?! It turns out that they could "scrub" the exhaust, but then it just dumps sulfuric acid into the ocean directly. It appears that having your hotel / restaurants move around with you everywhere is wasteful. Who knew? Anyway, we'll just do more fly and drive trips which albeit bad, have much less of a carbon impact than a big ship. Time to go nuclear, folks! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was recommended to me by United Cruises once I told them I was interested in an Alaska cruise. i was given several choices, but I was interested in doing SE Alaska because years ago I had done a different Alaska cruise which ... Read More
This cruise was recommended to me by United Cruises once I told them I was interested in an Alaska cruise. i was given several choices, but I was interested in doing SE Alaska because years ago I had done a different Alaska cruise which took me to Sitka, Valdez and ended up in Anchorage where I got to see Delani National Park, which was quite a treat for the senses. Everything was really nice onboard except the food. I found it to be very average in every sense. I never ate anything that mesmerized me. I guess Norwegian has to cut corners somewhere. Otherwise, the cruise was very enjoyable. The entertainment was OK. The highlight of the entertainment for me was the winner of American idol 12 season, a lady whose last name was Glover. She was amazingly good and she performed flawlessly to the delight of the entire theater which gave her a standing ovation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We've always wanted to visit Alaska and I'm so glad we chose Celebrity to take us there! We embarked in Vancouver (lovely city) and went to Hubbard Glacier, Icy Straight, Juneau and Ketchikan. The Eclipse is a beautiful ship; ... Read More
We've always wanted to visit Alaska and I'm so glad we chose Celebrity to take us there! We embarked in Vancouver (lovely city) and went to Hubbard Glacier, Icy Straight, Juneau and Ketchikan. The Eclipse is a beautiful ship; very elegant and spotlessly clean. Service was exceptional all around. We ate at Moonlight Sonata (main dining room), Ocean View Cafe (buffet), and Cafe el Bacio all were great! We had mixed reviews at Tuscan Grill. I enjoyed my meal, but my husband ordered steak and he hated it. The steak was the only bad item we had all week. Our favorite was Sushi on 5, we ate there twice and loved every item we were served. We didn't go to any shows, but we were never bored. Plenty of bars with great drinks and lots of little places to meet people or just have a quiet moment alone. The ship only felt crowded in the Ocean View Cafe during peak hours. Embarkation and disembarking were tough, with long lines. We've had similar experiences on other cruises. Overall, it was an amazing cruise and we can't wait for our next Celebrity adventure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America ... Read More
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America because of their history cruising in Alaska.We also liked the idea of a smaller, quieter ship. While we are not seniors we tend to go to bed early and don't need the night life that some other ships provide. We booked 18 months in advance and selected an aft balcony and our friends chose a port-side signature suite. Just before final payment the prices dropped considerably so we contacted the travel agent. Because of the promo we booked under they wouldn't credit us with the difference but they offered to upgrade us to Neptune Suites which we happily accepted. We ended up on Deck 6 port side and our friends were on Deck 7 starboard. Embarkation - I had heard that embarkation can sometimes be long waits at Port of Vancouver. We arrived around 10:45 and we were on the ship by 11:20 with no wait at any point of the process. Very smooth. Cabin - we were in 6064 and our friends had 7051 and we were all happy with the accommodations. The room stewards were so friendly and attentive. Our friends were directly across from the Neptune Lounge and we were one floor below which I honestly didn't mind. Neptune Lounge - the concierges Carina and Kristine were both lovely, welcoming and helpful. We didn't really use their services much except to cancel a pre-paid dinner and make one dining reservation but they were always happy to answer questions. Having access to tea/coffee and snacks was a nice bonus. I would often wander up there early in the morning to grab a tea and a croissant to bring back to the room. Lido - We went to the Lido for only 3 meals the entire cruise, mainly because it was like feeding time at the zoo! I found it chaotic, crowded and only mediocre food. Don't get me wrong, no one was going to starve and the food wasn't bad, just not good enough to make up for the atmosphere. Main Dining Room - Despite booking super early we had open dining. While we liked the flexibility of the Open dining I think it also affected the service in the dining room. We only ate dinner there 3 times and while the experience got better each time it was still not up to the level of past cruise dining experiences. I found the main dining room crowded, noisy and rushed. I felt like our waiters made no effort to connect with us, nor did their service elevate the meal in any way. Tamarind - FANTASTIC!!! We loved the food and service here so we ended up going twice. The servers were so welcoming and they memorized your names. When you saw them later in the cruise in a different location they remembered your names. So personal and lovely. Food was delicious. They even brought me a special cake for my birthday. Pinnacle - As Neptune suite guests we had access to the Pinnacle for breakfast and I have to say that was the best suite perk that we had. Breakfast choices provided a lot of variety and it was delicious. Staff in the Pinnacle were so welcoming and always remembered your requests from the day before. We also had one lunch and one dinner in the Pinnacle and they were both delicious. Excursions - We booked two different excursions through Holland America and we were happy with both. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail to the Yukon which was a full day tour, including lunch. In Ketchikan we did the Wilderness Explorer Cruise and all-you-can-eat crab feast. Both excursions were well done. In Juneau we opted to rent a car and explore on our own. Entertainment - We visited Billboard one night. The female piano player had a beautiful voice but the man was not great. Mid-week we discovered BB Kings and we wish we had made the effort to check it out sooner because it was great. They do 3 sets every night and the place was packed! We didn't do any of the EXC talks in the main theatre as that's not our thing. We did watch the comedian Jim Short and the illusionist Leon Etienne. Both were great. They also did a variety show on the last night with both of them. We had planned to see the dancers one night but they were cancelled for their safety due to high waves and rocking ship. Disembarkation - We were in the first disembarkation group which was announced at about 7:45 am but since we didn't have a flight to catch until later in the day we had a leisurely breakfast before getting off the ship at about 8:30. From the time we scanned off the ship to when we were outside the terminal was less than 12 minutes. Super fast and efficient. Overall Impression - We found that the things people paid to upgrade (Neptune Suite, specialty dining, etc) were fantastic and provided the experience and level of service we expected of the cruise as a whole. Those things which were included (Lido, Main Dining Room, etc) were not up to par with what we were expecting. We didn't have a bad experience but our experience in the upgraded areas certainly made the cruise that much better. It's just unfortunate that we had to pay for the level of service that has been included on past cruises with other companies. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I wanted to go up the inside passage (The east side of Vancouver Island) All the cruises I have seen that leave from Seattle go in the open ocean west of Vancouver Island. We booked only two weeks before the cruise and balconies were sold ... Read More
I wanted to go up the inside passage (The east side of Vancouver Island) All the cruises I have seen that leave from Seattle go in the open ocean west of Vancouver Island. We booked only two weeks before the cruise and balconies were sold out. We had an oceanview (obstructed) cabin, it was fine. There is a small deck on the back of deck 8 that we spent a lot of time watching the scenery go by out of the rain. The deck has no chairs, I fortunately brought a couple of backpacking chairs that worked great, My traveling partner loves to swing dance so we spent most nights in the wheelhouse bar until the music stopped playing. I would have come back newer if I had got more sleep. There was also a great entertainer (Funch) at the piano bar, he is the best of the entertainers that play in bars that I have seen in the four cruises I have been on. I wish the ships band played with more heart, they sight read everything. I have an auto-immune condition that is treated mainly with a fairly restrictive diet, (no eggs, dairy, gluten, almonds, peanuts) I still found plenty to eat. I enjoy the atmosphere on Princess, not too stuffy, the wait staff is friendly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are from Vancouver, so this 5 day "Sampler" cruise was an easy get away for us. We have been to Alaska before, so did not go for the itinerary, which was a good thing as it turned out. We were 12 hours late leaving ... Read More
We are from Vancouver, so this 5 day "Sampler" cruise was an easy get away for us. We have been to Alaska before, so did not go for the itinerary, which was a good thing as it turned out. We were 12 hours late leaving Vancouver due to a mechanical issue. We did not make it to Juneau, but stopped in Prince Rupert instead. I have never been there so it was a new experience. There is a silver lining! Due to the change in itinerary, we passed through Johnstone Strait, a protected whale habitat area, during the day both on the way up & back. I understand that the ship generally passes through at night. We saw lots of whales - quite a treat. We had a mini-suite, the extra space in the cabin and in the bathroom is worth it. Food was generally very good both at the buffet & the dining room. The Horizon Court gets very busy & noisy, so we tried to avoid peak times. There is a good selection of salads and hot food. Labelling of the food could be better, many dishes were not labelled at all, so one had to guess. Dinner in The Provence Dining Room was very pleasant. There is something for everyone on the menu. The wait staff work hard but are friendly & helpful. The one negative comment I have is about dress code or lack of. We found many people wearing blue jeans, and not your expensive designer ones but good old Levis, often topped with a T-shirt. Several men wore baseball caps during dinner. The dining room is equal to a fine dining restaurant, and I found this disrespectful not only to the staff but to the other guests who made an effort to "clean up bit" for dinner. So is there a dress code or not; if so it should be adhered to. We enjoyed the entertainment, but found the Productions much too loud. I had to leave as I found it uncomfortable. We found there was a lot of "selling" on board - wine tasting, art auctions, beverage packages etc etc. If not careful, one could rack up a substantial bill. We did not use the fitness centre, spa or casino. All in all, a good cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 35th Anniversary and my wife's retirement. Inside Passage itinerary was on wife's bucket list. I Chose NCL because we had our honeymoon cruise with them in the Caribbean. I chose the mini ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 35th Anniversary and my wife's retirement. Inside Passage itinerary was on wife's bucket list. I Chose NCL because we had our honeymoon cruise with them in the Caribbean. I chose the mini balcony suite 11094 in the middle of the ship as an upgrade to our usual window room. Boarding was ok, not great. Line moved steadily, but no one was checking appointment times, it was just kind of a free for all. No issues getting on the ship. Our room was ready when we boarded. Cabin Steward was a sweetheart, kept things in great shape. Entertainment around ship was ok, not great. Production Cast in Stardust theater was excellent overall. The lounge acts were so- so. The comedian was hilarious. Casino Staff was totally excellent, I was addressed by name from day one, and they all were very pleasant to be around. Buffet was ok, only ate breakfast and 1 lunch there. Staff was nice, and washee washee crew had a blast Specialty Restaurants: Moderno was good, ate night one, plenty of food to choose from, and staff was friendly Le Bistro night 2, disappointing. Service had no sophistication at all, food was just ok, nothing special about it at all and extremely small portions. no name recognition, no celebration recognition... Teppanyaki- great company at the table, fun time. food had zero flavor, very typical of this type of restaurant. Our Chef was a novice....very friendly, but certainly needed to hone his show skills more before being turned loose. everything was rushed...deserts were terrible Cagneys- saved for last night, arrived half an hour early, got sat 40 minutes later. Waited 10 minutes and finally waitress came over and asked for dinner order before even seeing if we wanted a drink, when I said we wanted to get something to drink, she just left. 5 minutes later guy comes over to take order for decent bottle of wine (100$+) We wait 10 minutes and he comes back with wine....not a great presentation, and then wants to get paid for wine on the spot. Very weird. Waitress comes back and takes order..pretty much all she was was an order taker...never refilled wine glasses, or attempted to engage us in conversation. Ribeye Steak was of very poor quality, Filet was cooked correctly. cheesy grits were excellent. She brought us the wrong desert to start, correct desert was ok, again, not great. Spa- took the tour the first day and the hard sell was almost unbearable...we did get a couple massage the next day which was AWESOME! I did buy thermal spa passes before the cruise...an expensive mistake as we never found the time to use them at all used the fitness center once, it was more than adequate Shore Excursions: Most booked independently : Ketchikan:Misty Fjords Seaplane on Carlin Air thru Viator.com- Excellent! Crabfeast and Lumberjack Show thru AlaskaShoreexcursions.com- Excellent Juneau: Best of Juneau thru shoreexcursionsgroup.com- Excellent ( Whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier, and Salmon Feast) Skagway: Best of Skagway thru NCL ( Bus RIde, Train Ride Down White Pass, another Salmon Bake, Red Onion Tour) Excellent Cruise Director was good...The views were humbling, and with the exception of the specialty restaurants missing the service mark most of the time, and the food being probably no more special than what was served in the main dining rooms, we really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my birthday present to go to Alaska!!! A beautiful trip! To see the Glaciers up close was amazing. A must see State. Everyday was better than the last day! Definitely get a balcony for this trip... waking up to those views ... Read More
This was my birthday present to go to Alaska!!! A beautiful trip! To see the Glaciers up close was amazing. A must see State. Everyday was better than the last day! Definitely get a balcony for this trip... waking up to those views everyday are breathtaking!!! Even laying in bed bed looking out out the water is so relaxing and refreshing. The entertainment and activities on board were great... definitely something for everyone. I took advantage of the Spa and it was wonderful, to relax and get pampered. The ports and excursions were so fun! The train rain is a must! The staff was fantastic. The drinks and food were good. The higher end dining rooms were great, nice to dress up! The embarkation and disembarkation were extremely organized all the to the airport!!! Thank you Norwegian Jewel... hopefully I'll see you again soon for another cruise to another destination Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We did season end cruise twice in the past once with the Princess and the second time with the Celebrity. It was the right time for us to go since most young people would have gone back to their work and kids back to school. The ... Read More
We did season end cruise twice in the past once with the Princess and the second time with the Celebrity. It was the right time for us to go since most young people would have gone back to their work and kids back to school. The course itself was nothing new to us but we enjoyed the rather quiet cruise around this time of year and wanted to see the beauty of Alaska once again. In the end, I have to say that it was worth it and we had a great time but this would be our last cruise to Alaska unless there happens to be a very special reason to return. We heard some bad things about the ship Golden Princess from some of our friends who did the cruise right before we got on board. They all complained about some "Leaky ship" issue. It was quite concerning for us as we did not want to end up in a leaky stateroom. Luckily for us, we did not experience any of such bad experiences that our friends had. In fact, we had a rather good experience with the ship, the service staff and the entertainers. The room steward assigned to our cabin, the waiter, and the barmaid were all attentive and personable looking after every need of ours. The Sunset Quartet and the Bohemian Duo were exceptionally great providing danceable tunes as well as wonderful tunes to listen to respectively. The ship's production shows, solo guitarist and the Party Band, on the other hand, felt a bit short in terms of how to engage with the guests. They basically did what they do without much care. The food was pretty good overall. There were some days, I wished something better with quality but most days, they were satisfactory. The ship itself seemed fairly well maintained although I could easily spot various areas that had much-needed maintenance. I guess it was a good thing that they were doing partial upkeeps in the needed area during our cruise. The entertainment programs were good but I don't want to go to "Great" as I experienced in some ships such as Royal Caribbean ships. They appeared to work very hard but I personally felt that they needed a better program or talents in most programs. Some programs seemed ended in a rather unfinished state. What do I know, I am just a tourist. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted the land and sea combination, we also wanted to leave from Vancouver, and the timeframe was perfect. The cruise was fantastic. We flew into Vancouver a day early and we’re so glad we did. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted the land and sea combination, we also wanted to leave from Vancouver, and the timeframe was perfect. The cruise was fantastic. We flew into Vancouver a day early and we’re so glad we did. The food and service on the ship were good and the personnel was great. The ship is a little dated but still beautiful. The cruise director was the best. Great entertainment. The excursions were good. If you go into Skagway, I highly recommend you go on an all day excursion. There isn’t much to see or do there. Glacier Bay was gorgeous. A definite must see!! The glaciers are absolutely gorgeous. We loved Ketchikan & Juneau as well. I don’t recommend the land tour. It was nothing like we expected. The only plus was the train ride and that we were able to see Danali Peak. The cruise itself was fantastic!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Very standard cruise experience if you have been to other cruises. The highlight was the destination, which was AK for us. Ship had more older passenger than younger ones, which we liked. Food was decent, some nights where better ... Read More
Very standard cruise experience if you have been to other cruises. The highlight was the destination, which was AK for us. Ship had more older passenger than younger ones, which we liked. Food was decent, some nights where better than others. Of course with everything there are a few crew members that spoils it for everyone, but it didn’t ruin our trip. We experienced theft, which the cruise staff did their best to help resolve. We experienced some small level of discrimination, but didn’t let it bother me. A crew member didn’t want to give me ice, and another didn’t want to give me a frame stand after paying $60 for a photo set.... Overall we liked the cruise for the price we paid. It was a great value, and the destination was great! We would like to do another AK cruise again. Wouldn’t mind doing another princess cruse again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska was a bucket list destination for us, not just a cruise but also a land tour. Princess Cruises offers cruisetours incorporating a cruise with a land tour. We selected the Connoisseur Tour as it included most meals on the tour as ... Read More
Alaska was a bucket list destination for us, not just a cruise but also a land tour. Princess Cruises offers cruisetours incorporating a cruise with a land tour. We selected the Connoisseur Tour as it included most meals on the tour as well as the services of a tour director. The additional cost above their unescorted tour is approx $900.00 per person. The cruise part of out trip was very good, no problems and delivered what we expected. Rooms on the ship were a bit dated and could do with a refurbishment but the ship amenities and facilities were certainly up to scratch. we sailed Club Class and had no waiting times in the dining room or any specialty restaurants. Ports of call were all interesting, the towns quirky, Glacier Bay and College Fjord were spectacular. The land portion of the tour however didn't live up to expectations. First the tour director. Our director did not deliver any real value or insight during our tour. Her input included handing out check in information envelopes at each lodge and making dinner reservations at the lodge restaurant on the first night at 2 of the 3 lodges. All of this could have been easily managed direct by the lodge check in staff on our arrival. Apart from the 2 dinner reservations and a couple of pre-arranged tour group meals (not arranged by our director anyway), we were left to arrange our own meals direct with the eateries at each lodge which often meant putting our name on a list and waiting up to 1 hour for a table to become available. On one very cool night we were even placed at an outdoor table for dinner - not acceptable. Given that we had paid to be on a Connoisseur tour, we expected better service than that. We should have had pre-tour bookings for all meals rather than have to take our chances with all the other travellers at the lodge. Princess really need to review their staff numbers and facilities to make sure they can actually cater for the very high number of guests that they happily pile into their lodges. Regarding the lodges, they are all owned by Princess and staffed with seasonal workers from across the globe, some who do not have a very good grasp of the English language. In general, the service received at the lodges was below expectations. The cleanliness of the rooms left a bit to be desired - we even found hair and eyelashes on the pillows in one of our rooms - suggests the bedding was not changed! They are also located in relatively remote areas away from other shops/restaurants etc so there is no real alternative but to eat, drink and spend all your money at their lodges. My advice is to NOT take a Connoisseur tour but rather one of their unescorted tours which includes basically the same itinerary and you're not locked in to 3 course dinners each night (after waiting for a table) - buy and pay only for what you want. You'd save money. The tour direct too is not worth the additional cost, doesn't deliver any value or enhance your experience. Another word of advice, don't take the last cruisetour of the season. Pricess started closing down services in the Fairbanks lodge while we were still there for a couple of days post-tour. It was like we were the last house guests and were in their way of closing down for winter. In summary, cruise great, land tour average to below expectations. Maybe if you want to do a land tour of Alaska, do your homework of local tour operators that run land tours and book with one of them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
To saii with friends to a remote and réputés destination. Cruise was perfect and excusions were Nice, instructive, Skagway and mainly Ketchican have too much boutiques and jewel stores that kind of diminish the natural beauty of the ... Read More
To saii with friends to a remote and réputés destination. Cruise was perfect and excusions were Nice, instructive, Skagway and mainly Ketchican have too much boutiques and jewel stores that kind of diminish the natural beauty of the surroundings. Ship is not the youngest of the fleet and decoration is a little kitsch but clean, with good service every where on the ship. Food is good in buffets, uneven at Anytime Dinner. Naturalist and yes the captain are good communicators. Land portions was fine but food offer is ordinary, too salty, too rich, too abundant calories wise. The offer of senior portions, and "Healthy" food would better the offer. All motor coach or railway transportation are well organized...Princess is a leader in this aspect. A forgotten jacket at Fairbanks Princess Hotel was brought at the airport before departure flight...personal and quality of service of great quality. To be noted the quality of naturalist Rachel Cartwright as a speaker, writer and animator. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I did the Alaskan cruise followed by a land tour with stays at the Princess Denali Lodge and Fairbanks Lodge. We wanted to see the glaciers, but also see the northern lights and visit the arctic circle. We had hoped to learn ... Read More
My husband and I did the Alaskan cruise followed by a land tour with stays at the Princess Denali Lodge and Fairbanks Lodge. We wanted to see the glaciers, but also see the northern lights and visit the arctic circle. We had hoped to learn more about the Alaskan people and those that “live off the grid” as well as learn more about Alaska’s history. Our suite was beautiful and spacious and was best part of the cruise. The enrichment presentations were basic and repetitive. The talks were about mammals and sea life. Unfortunately, the lectures never focused on Alaska’s history, Aurora Borealis, or the glaciers and how global warming is causing most of the glaciers to recede. It was not until there was a surprise Northern Lights show during the early am hours through the College Fjord glaciers, that the Princess Cruise videographer spoke for a few minutes before a mammal talk, that there will be a dvd for sale with the nights light show along with pre-recorded Aurora Borealis events. We missed the Northern Lights that night as we were asleep. The Deadliest Catch excursion was great and I was pleasantly surprised. The Best of Juneau excursion was long and it was surprisingly warm. The glacier was sadly disappearing. The Yukon tour which included an extension bridge was also very long in duration. Again very warm which, of course, had nothing to do with Princess Cruises, but global warming. I forgot to add that the glacier viewing from the cruise ship was beautiful, but not as dramatic as one would think by viewing brochures. The Marjorie glacier I gather was grand at one time, but now it was just stagnant. I understand that it is one of the glaciers that is not receding. The College Fjord was far more spectacular with larger pieces of icebergs floating along side the ship. The land tour was very good. Weather remained quite warm, but overcast in the evening which prevented the Aurora Borealis from being viewed fully. We were only able to see a portion of Denali, but quite impressive. The highlight was the plane ride from Fairbanks into the Arctic Circle. Learned a lot about “living off the grid” and sustainable living in Alaska. I would of loved to have learned about the lifestyle of First Nation, Alaskans, and Indian tribes on the cruise before the land tour. Lastly, there are many fires that are still occurring in Alaska, so smoke may be present. In fact, we could smell the smoke in the plane on our flight to the Arctic Circle. We also could see the Rampart fire from the plane. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska is our "happy place" and we see something new every time and we love to go up there. Departing out of Vancouver is easy and we maximize our time in the Inside Passage (as opposed to departing from Seattle where we spend 36 ... Read More
Alaska is our "happy place" and we see something new every time and we love to go up there. Departing out of Vancouver is easy and we maximize our time in the Inside Passage (as opposed to departing from Seattle where we spend 36 hours in open water before getting to the calmer, inside passage views.) We take the train from downtown Seattle and enjoy the views of the Sound as we head north. We take this same train when we arrive in Vancouver. We experienced a long wait in Vancouver going through US immigration but after that our Platinum status got us on board quickly. The room was ready and the steward very helpful. We've been to the ports of call many times so we have favorite shops all along the way. This time we only did whale watching out of Juneau but we understand the Ketchican trip saw bubble-net-feeding. We also like the White Pass Railroad in Skagway and the bear expedition out of Haynes. We're "anytime" diners (far, far, easier than having a set dining time and the same faces at every meal), and we met lots of interesting people not to mention a lot of Aussies and first-time cruisers. Foodservice seemed to be an ongoing issue. It took two hours or more to get in and fed on several occasions. The food was as expected--good but a bit too "fancy" for our palates. The wait staff was usually quite friendly and helpful, but not always. When one diner complained her steak was too tough, the waiter pulled out a 6" switchblade and gave it to her. She didn't complain after that. Princess has lower priority with the Inside Passage ports so they always doc well away from town but don't always provide shuttles from the boat to town. Holland America parks right downtown in most ports. Our cabin was nice with a great view and two flat-screen TVs but no curtain or another divider between the sections which would have been essential if we had brought along another passenger. We were disappointed in the entertainment--only one full-ensemble show (which was great) and the comic wanted us old people dead. We got in his way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
As 2 couples we wanted to see Western Canada. Glaciers, Ice flows and Mountains so starting with an all inclusive cruise seemed a good idea, especially after the long haul flight from London UK. Cabin and Service Any photographers ... Read More
As 2 couples we wanted to see Western Canada. Glaciers, Ice flows and Mountains so starting with an all inclusive cruise seemed a good idea, especially after the long haul flight from London UK. Cabin and Service Any photographers will end up very frustrated though as the Room TV does not display any images nor video and asking for assistance is a waste of time. The Cabin attendant said that's technical. Sorry... The customer service desk said USB connection are not permitted as they could contain viruses. -They didn't listen though as i said HDMI connections. It took 5 days to get any sense from anyone and then i was given just 1 hour in a conference room using its TV as it did display jpeg images - and played mp4. jpeg is what's ion android phones and pretty much all camera. Celebrity Eclipse you actually offered Feeble service - P&O for me from now on. Entertainment and activities Why do i have to pay $99 to use the steam room? Why charge extra for Yoga lessons? There is this maddeningly silly game in the gym on the first day to get everyone excited about getting free training sessions. Then it turns out they are not free just a bit cheaper. Such an old fashioned naff idea. Why they treated us like children is beyond me! - As a group we laughed at the stupidity but actually its insulting. As for the Yoga, fortunately I've done enough Yoga to do my own sessions. The Ship. I could not fault the ship, quiet, smooth, stylish. i could see regular maintenance being carried out. All looked fine. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska is a beautiful place and getting there is more than half of the fun. The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship with many things to do, see or enjoy from early morning to late at night. Always book a balcony stateroom. We loved ... Read More
Alaska is a beautiful place and getting there is more than half of the fun. The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship with many things to do, see or enjoy from early morning to late at night. Always book a balcony stateroom. We loved seeing the world go by without having to get dressed. Balconies are private but you can hear your neighbors clearly when you’re all on your balconies. We enjoyed sleeping with the balcony door ajar or wide open. The Royal had “smart casual” and “formal” nights. Most women were in dressy slacks and something sparkly on formal nights in Anytime Dining and men wore dark slacks with nice long sleeved button up shirts. In Traditional Dining, it was tuxedos and ball gowns. Smart casual meant no jeans or shorts so khakis/ dress slacks with nice shirts or blouses/sweaters were common for both men and women. It is a floating global community so be aware that there can be curious cultural behaviors that are new to many passengers. English was the primary language on our ship. Hygiene signs translated into Chinese, German and French would have been helpful so all passengers would wash their hands before every meal when entering the buffets or dining rooms. We did catch colds near the end of the cruise and noticed that staff had stopped supervising dining room hygiene on the third day. We seldom saw other passengers at the handwash stations after that third day. We walked around Ketchikan on our own. We visited Mendenhall Glacier National Park and Mt Roberts Tramway in Juneau. 90 minutes at Mendenhall is not enough time to walk to Nugget Falls for a closer glacier view and see the visitors’ center. Stay longer. The Tramway is amazing with a good restaurant at the top and fun hiking trails where we saw bears in the distance. In Skagway, we took a motorcoach to the Yukon Territory then rode the Skagway-Yukon Railroad back to Juneau from Fraser. Getting acquainted with the sled dogs in CarCrossing was a highlight. Skagway was a ghost town by 7:00 pm and that’s why the ship leaves by 8:00pm. From the ship, we took the Princess train from Wittier to Denali, stayed in Denali Princess Lodge then went by motorcoach to Fairbanks from which we flew home. The train was a wonderful day of travel but the highlight was the next day on a flightseeing tour which was 200 miles though the National Park including coming within 1/2 mile of Mt Denali/McKinley. Denali Lodge was tired, dark and dank. Food choices were limited at the resort. Traveling near the end of season means places are emptying their inventories so several menu items were not available in different restaurants near the Denali Lodge. Stay at the Princess Mt. McKinley Lodge instead of the Denali Lodge unless it gets renovated. Skip Fairbanks completely (tourist trap) and return to Anchorage for your flight. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We sailed on the millennium 4 years ago from Vancouver to Seward on an 8 day cruise and returned back by air. We found it to be in need of refurbishment at that time and were disappointed. We have always enjoyed the Solstice ships and ... Read More
We sailed on the millennium 4 years ago from Vancouver to Seward on an 8 day cruise and returned back by air. We found it to be in need of refurbishment at that time and were disappointed. We have always enjoyed the Solstice ships and therefore remained with them instead and have enjoyed MANY wonderful cruises to many fabulous destinations. Since they refurbished the Millennium this spring we thought we would give it a try. We live 30 mins away from the cruise terminal and enjoy the Northwest. This was our 5th cruise to Alaska on Celebrity. We have sailed with Celebrity for 15 years now and always book the CS celebrity suite. All CS suites were booked when we found this cruise while on the Eclipse this May on an Alaska cruise, the Royal Suite was available so we booked it. Check in was a breeze with the new system! We arrived at 10:30 am and were escorted to the Retreat lounge at 11:15! We always take our bags with us and never check them, and were told we could place them in our suite! We walked thru the doors and saw the LOVELY new restored ROYAL suite! We were delighted! The suite guest which is now called the Retreat lounge was Michaels club before this restoration which had dark wood and warm Colours and we enjoyed it 4 years ago the bar area was very inviting. Now it’s very bright and airy and it is very pretty to look at, however most seats are not so comfortable and the bar is tucked away out of sight and very stark and has no character. On the top deck they have added the out door Retreat, and it is extraordinary! The suite guest dining room Luminae has not increased in size after this restoration however they have added sky suites, adding many more guests to this venue. Therefore it has become a little too small and if you wish to attend the 7:00 pm show you must come early as it gets very busy. We found that after 7:00 pm is was less hectic and you could enjoy a lovely leisurely dinner. The food is always outstanding! The service is top notch! Every evening is a joy to have dinner in this lovely dining room. It is the service from the wonderful staff in all departments that keeps us coming back to Celebrity Cruises. They are always friendly, helpful, gracious, and polite. We enjoy the GYM and were very happy with the restoration, they removed the carpet and now have a nice floor! Cafe al Bacio is a lovely spot! The Martini Bar is extra ordinary as always the servers make it special with their talent shows! Both are larger venues on the Solstice class ships. We enjoyed the beautiful towns by walking around on our own as we have seen them all many times before. We have taken many excursions in the past, and made this a relaxing holiday to enjoy on our own. Alaska is beautiful, very clean and very friendly. We are booked again for next spring on the Eclipse. As much as we enjoyed the wonderful Royal suite and all that comes it we do enjoy the Solstice class ships much more. For specialty dining the Murano is our all time favourite and they do not have it on this Millennium ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We enjoyed seeing the changes in the ship and for the most part they look good. The ship looks brighter and cleaner. What we missed was the library, the first place I went to get a book to read and no library. There are a few books I ... Read More
We enjoyed seeing the changes in the ship and for the most part they look good. The ship looks brighter and cleaner. What we missed was the library, the first place I went to get a book to read and no library. There are a few books I finally found by the Rendevous, but very few and the topics of the books were not chosen to excited cruises. I imagine more for decoration, but I borrowed one anyway and then returned it and picked up a second in port. I also love going to deck 12 forward where it is usually quiet. But, it is now the private sanctuary of Suite cruisers. Don't they already have balconies? Boohoo! The cabin is looking good. The storage was more than enough for us and we loved the soft close cupboards and drawers!. The new tv's and system look really good. DH was able to watch the tennis finals, Go Bianca Andreescu!!!!! Nice and clear when we got the signal. The new boarding system where we could take our own photos ahead of time was really seamless and we were on board in record time, picked up our keys from our room and left our bags. We had expected to be seated at a table for ten, but ended up at a table for two right at the stern window. Well that was really lovely and we decided to stay with it as i hated to give up the window. For the most part the meals were excellent, sometimes a little too much for me, but generally tasty. As always there is too much salt but I drank lots... of water. Despite being able to get our Captain's club drinks at most bars we visited the cosmos each afternoon as a nice way to end the busy day and then off to diner. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
After years of hearing from friends that an Alaskan cruise is THE cruise of a lifetime, we bit the bullet and pushed it to the top of our bucket list. Having cruised Princess once before (this would be our 25th cruise though only second ... Read More
After years of hearing from friends that an Alaskan cruise is THE cruise of a lifetime, we bit the bullet and pushed it to the top of our bucket list. Having cruised Princess once before (this would be our 25th cruise though only second on Princess), we had some expectations of quality of service and condition of equipment. Considering the Island Princess is one of it's oldest ships, for the most part, it met our expectations. Had we done the cruise only portion, would have rated this only "Good". However coupled with the add on land portion, the trip truly was a very good trip, nearing great. The land portion was excellent in almost all respects. Here's our impressions and tips. Embarkation: Best ever. Vancouver has it nailed. Stayed prior night near Canada Place and walked over to drop bags off at noon and just about walked on to the ship. Longest line was U.S. Customs but that went smoothly. Dining: Late dining in the Provence Dining Room. Food was ok, not great but then again, I'm not a gourmand so no complaints. Head waiter (Apollo) was attentive though at times a bit stretched. Great stablemates and conversation. Never felt rushed. Breakfast and Lunch always in Horizon for the buffet. Finding a place to sit can be a challenge during peak times. Selection was a bit limited (would have loved a real pasta bar). Cookies were overbaked. But we didn't starve. Pizza was pretty good. Burgers were not. Liked that someone was stationed at entrance to get people to wash their hands (unfortunately when they weren't around passengers wouldn't do it). Entertainment: Went to all but the last show. The dancers were very good. The singers were not. Magician (Trigg) was really good and did two shows. The comedian (also two shows) was average and second show was similar to the first, material just tweaked a bit. Guest Soprano was very good and just highlighted how much better her voice was than the regular singers. Tried to go to some of the onboard lectures but as space is limited on this ship for large audiences, if you don't get there well in advance you might as well skip it and grab another piece of pizza. Service: room attendant was efficient. Didn't see him much but when requested to leave extra towels each cleaning, he did. Though for some reason, never left any ice (no problem as I brought ice back from the buffet each morning). Room service was very good, timely and orders were always correct. Ports: Icy Strait Point (Hoonah): nothing there. Nice walk to Hoonah and back. That's about it. Juneau: Walked to chairlift and went up the mountain (on our own, no excursion). Great views, nice walking paths up top, pretty good shops. Well worth it. Then took city bus ($2 each from bus station) to Mendenhal (well as close as you can get on the city bus which is about 1.5 miles from entrance - easy flat walk on a paved path). Walk to the falls (another mile to/from) for best views. Note: no food available in park so plan accordingly. Bring water. Lunch at Red Dog Saloon - crowded of course, food was ok, entertainer was pretty profane. Skagway: best stop. Ship excursion to White Pass via railroad. Easy walk to train, nice scenic ride. Good commentary along the way. Dropped off in town, strolled around, grabbed a fantastic cinnamon roll (Sweet Tooth Cafe) and visit the NPS building and watch their show. A fun town to just stroll around and do a bit of souvenir shopping. Glacier Bay: TIP: best view is on Port side (at least it feels like the ship stayed on the port side the longest). Saw a few small calving. Very nice but the best glacier was just to come... College Fjord: Wow, so many glaciers (port side is the best). Spent a long time just in front of the largest. Peaceful and what Alaska is all about. Whittier: nothing there but hop off and on to the train (or busses). TIPs: Want better chance of seeing wildlife (whales and things): starboard on the northbound route. Better for glaciers: Port Best side on White Pass Train: Left side. If doing Denali Land portion and the Kantishna Experience excursion: sit on driver side of the bus. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL ... Read More
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL & received no perks, just their lowest price for a Large Ocean View stateroom for 2 adults, roundtrip airfare, transfer from/to airports, & travel insurance. We also "guaranteed" the type of stateroom desired, selected open dining & paid all at once on our credit card which gave us air miles for the purchase. Exactly 90 days before our cruise date we received the exact category of room assignment & confirmation of our airline tickets. We were directed to website called FlightEase to see the exact info about the tickets. Our airline confirmation number was listed there-- the "Airline Locator" number -- so we could also lookup the info on the airline's website. If you go to any cruise-related website &/or the HAL website you can search for the cabin category & find the location of the cabin category you are assigned. Our cabin was initially in the farthest back, lowest deck on the ship. Twenty days before sailing & up until the day before, the email offers started coming in -- "Club Orange" offer for $25/person/day (which apparently is included in the price of any HAL suite); 4 times we were offered an ever decreasing price to upgrade to a CA category, which if you look on the chart is a Lanai cabin with a sliding door to the ship's exterior deck and 2 reserved deck chairs. In the middle of all these offers we were automatically upgraded one floor up, & moved toward to middle of the ship to the DA category with out any action from us. Ten days prior to sailing we booked 2 shore excursions (Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer, White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad) thru the HAL website. Looking back, we should have booked thru a travel agent to see what free perks we could have received with our booking at the same price;we should have waited to book our excursions onboard the first day to receive the onboard spending credit which counts toward your "Mariner Society" loyalty program (every $300 converts to one bonus cruise day to help you move up the program levels); we also should have paid out the balance over time. If the price decreased, we could have called & asked for the lower price. Once you pay for it all, they wont make any adjustments. After the major walk thru "Canada Place" boarding dock to check in, the stateroom was underwhelming to say the least. Despite being very clean, one could not overlook the tired look of the furnishings. The drapery hung limply on the rods, obviously needing pressing; the upholstery was worn, showing obvious signs of wear. The TV was an 18' type from the the 1990s. The window needed exterior cleaning. We were amazed at the large amount of closet space for hanging. We didnt even use 2 of the 4 closets available. There are even drawer units under the bed. Each bedside table had 2 ample drawers. The bed was 2 twin mattresses pushed together -- very comfortable. With "Open Seating" dining, one can still call for a reservation. However they are available at only 530pm or 745pm. Nothing in between. If you tell them you will sit at a 4-8 person table you will have to wait till all are seated before you can order. We were 30 minutes late to our 515 reservation & had to wait in the long line with those lacking reservations. We tried our luck other nights, opting for walking up whenever we were ready to eat dinner & being led to a table having 2 available seats. Only once we opted to dine in the Lido Market on the 8th floor due to a 20min wait time for 2. In the main dining room, you order all your courses at once & you can order more than one item if you desire it. Alcohol orders are taken & served by servers different from food servers. The food is delicious, beautifully presented, with modest-sized portions. Dont expect very attentive service. The servers are quite concerned with taking orders quickly, clearing other tables away, bringing dishes to be washed & bringing out the food. They are literally rushing as fast as they can to perform those duties first. We found attentive service to the diners is LAST. It appeared wait staff was under-staffed: many websites state the Volendam crew number at about 675. The "Voyage Log" we received in our cabin on the last night stated they had only 567! It sure is felt in the dining room. The attentive service is felt in the bar areas. The ship has an abundance of areas to serve drinks. Wherever people gather, the ship takes the opportunity to sell drinks--even when lining up to disembark! Happy hour specials occur almost ever 2 hours: second drink for $2; 5 wine sampler $25; food wine pairing $7. You'll also feel in-room dining is well done. We had coffee delivered EVERY morning including the last morning. When thy didnt get something quite right, they called the next time to see if all was good with the order. The last morning on the ship we ordered full breakfast for 6am. Our attendant advised we take that delivery time & not gamble with the 7am delivery option (You fill out a card & hang it on your outer door knob before 2am). Feel free to write-in whatever else you would like if its not listed--they aim to please. At night we enjoyed the casino, the double piano bar & looking thru the shops occasionally. We seemed to be the only ones that didnt know the "Mainstage" theater has been renamed "BB King Blue Club", another live music venue. All the ship maps still have the old name, but the "Where & When" daily planner doesnt mention the name change. A large band with 2 singers would play there some nights. It was fun seeing the musicians stroll around the ship & speak to them. Same for the speakers who would lead nature talks during the day. By far the most enjoyable day on ship was the morning spent in Glacier Bay, narrated by a US Forest Ranger. Words cannot describe the other beautiful ports we saw: Juneau (& excursion to Tracy Arm), Skagway (& excursion on White Pass Railway); Ketchikan (we rented a car for the day, $100). We were pretty tuckered out after all this fun & sightseeing, the dinner, drinks & music afterward were just right. Sailing days were spent sleeping in, going to the spa (wait to book on board when the daily specials start arriving in your stateroom), in the "Crows Nest" looking at the scenery, going to nature talks, having a fancy coffee at the coffee bar, religious observation, taking afternoon tea, in addition to breakfast, lunch & dinner! The swimming pools were unremarkable & I didnt see many folks in them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as the itinerary included both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and I could not recommend it more wholeheartedly, especially if you can fit the cabin we had in your budget. This was a couple's trip and belated 25th ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the itinerary included both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and I could not recommend it more wholeheartedly, especially if you can fit the cabin we had in your budget. This was a couple's trip and belated 25th anniversary adventure. Our suite really made this cruise sensational, particularly as we were blessed with wonderful weather. We were in cabin 10500, right at the front, directly under the bridge. Taking breakfast in our suite on glacier days was absolutely wonderful. Embarkation in Vancouver was seamless and departing from this city was ideal for us. We flew in from Sydney a few days earlier and enjoyed many magical eating experiences traversing this very walkable city. Getting out into the fresh air, spending time in Stanley Park and a Gastronomic Gastown Tour on foot helped us adjust to the time difference. Once on board on embarkation day, we had lunch in Moderno which provides breakfast and lunch for suite guests for the duration of the cruise. We had breakfast here three times, and had the breakfast delivered from here to our suite on glacier days. Henry, our butler, brought the breakfast and set the table for us. He was wonderful, as was cabin attendant, Rene. We had a few lunches in Moderno as well and found the service and food selections really good. We had a three specialty dining package and chose Le Bistro, Cagney's and Teppanyaki. Teppenyaki was a lot of fun and highly recommended. Cagney's steak was perfectly cooked, and the meal generally was very good, although we waited far too long and our first waiter was quite disinterested. They use an iPad for wine selections and you can't narrow selections to the $15 limit of the beverage package, which was a bit dumb. Le Bistro didn't acquit the french onion soup as well as you'd expect. The crout was soggy to the point of dissolving and the cheese was overpoweringly plentiful and runny. It was difficult to eat. The rest of the meal was quite good though and the service, although patchy, was attentive. We also ate in Azura a couple of nights and found the service excellent and the meals very enjoyable - the rib eye was a standout. Most of our entertainment was our cabin balcony, although we attended Velvet (kitchy but fun) and Le Cirque Bijou (amazing, spectacular). We also happened upon one round of trivia and a married couple game, both had witty hosts and were good for a laugh. The bar staff were great and very accommodating. Special shout out to the Rum Cake cocktail in Magnums, tasted just like Christmas Pudding! All of our excursions were arranged through the ship - a little more expensive than private arrangements perhaps, but for simplicity, we were happy with our choices. Getting on and off the ship in each port was easy and uncomplicated. First stop was Ketchican, with the Aleutian Ballad our chosen tour. The guys on the boat were great and you didn't need to be a fan of World's Deadliest Catch to enjoy all the seadog stories and appreciate how tremendously dangerous crab fishing in the Bering Sea is. This was our first opportunity to see Bald Eagles and sea life of all kinds, including crabs, a variety of other crustacea and a very cranky octopus. Ketchican itself is quite interesting, but the highlight was the salmon struggling valiantly to climb waterfalls and ford fast flowing rapids to reach their spawning ground. In Juneau, we took the helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier and dog sledding. Spectacular!! The views from the helicopter were incredible, as the icefields came into view over the hills surrounding the port. The dogs were gorgeous (especially the puppies!) and just love running, with our musher (an Iditarod competitor) very interesting and sledding on the snow exhilarating. Well worth the money - but as previously mentioned, this was a special trip. Juneau day was rounded out with king crab legs at Tracy's Crab Shack (get the mixed plate but order the extra crab leg, you won't regret it) and a lost afternoon at the Red Dog Saloon with a hilarious old guy conducting singalongs and a superb barman. Our Skagway tour was Froschel Wildlife Centre, a ferry ride and bus trip away in Haines. This centre takes in injured and orphaned creatures, hosted by Steve who was a bit nuts but lots of fun. We saw a very well trained wolverine, fed a porcupine, kissed a moose, got charged by a bear and up close and personal with minks, reindeer and other beasties. The guide on the ferry and driver of the bus were very entertaining and educational. At the end of the cruise, we spent a further week in Alaska on a self directed trip. We were fortunate to see the northern lights at Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks, enjoyed two fabulous journeys on Alaska Rail (Seward end port to Anchorage and Fairbanks to Anchorage), and a remarkable 12 hour bus trip in Denali with lots of bears, moose, caribou and Dall Sheep as well as an arctic squirrel and geyrfalcon and chick. Apparently only 30% of Alaskan visitors see Denali and we were fortunate to see this spectacular mountain on the train trip back to Anchorage. We were also very lucky with timing to see beautiful fall colours. This really was a trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed every minute. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was ... Read More
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was giving out confusing info regarding leaving the theater. People were exiting the ship without any knowledge of the train. Upon disembarking, I turned over my voucher to the Train and received my seat assignment. Total misinformation from NCL. Inside Cabin 9673 was very quiet. Cabin Steward Muhammad Shalahuddin was very gracious, helpful and attentive. As a solo cruiser, when eating in the buffet-my table was cleared regardless of my iPad, book, or backpack being visible. I was hit, bumped, knocked, kicked and pushed by small Asian women moving in herds. Cruisers leaving food and dishes outside of their cabin. It’s rude, makes it difficult to pass the narrow hallways with others and cabin crew’s carts. Those leaving elevators all took the same idea that no one else was around and continued to block the exiting area to have a conversation. Casino’s Black Jack was seemingly not controlled by number of people at the table coupled with amount the person was playing/hand with the dealer pushing buttons at each hand. On the brand new ships: Epic, Breakaway, Getaway, Bliss and I’m guessing the upcoming Encore, the dealers are always pressing buttons before each hand is dealt. (Cruiselines don’t have State Gambling Laws to follow). CAGNEY’S STEAKHOUSE-enjoyable with great service LE BISTRO-located off a bar area with “live music” the hostess closed the outer doors which silenced the bad performer. The chocolate fondu is the best dessert. LA CUCINA- Why is the Caesar salad removed from this menu? This restaurant is directly under the basketball court. People at 8:00pm were playing basketball and the entire ceiling of La Cucina was shaking while being pounded. Cruisers all were questioning the wait staff. The answer was, “the court is closed but people climb around the closed ropes.” Why wasn’t security called to address this huge issue while people were paying extra for the specialty restaurant? AZURA RESTAURANT: very noisy Thermal Suite Spa- clean, quiet, single-sex areas, with a handful of people. Sam, the Spa Manager is delightful, sweet, and engaging. VELVET- very disappointing for NCL’s live entertainment. The (Lexi) female lead’s pitch was often off. The company dancers were poor. Feet, arm placement, hands of all the dancers were always off and never together. The extremely overweight male “dancer’ (Marc) that appeared on stage was simply outrageous, hideous and far from entertaining. He simply was laughable and horrifying. My 10th NCL Cruise- the sound techs continue to be clueless in sound production: Balance, treble, bass, and dynamic levels were all problematic. THE COMEDY OF ACE GUILLEN: This act should be re-named, ACE GUILLEN: HIS MUSICAL OUT-TAKES. There was no comedy to this performance. However, the last night on the ship, Ace did a show featuring his ‘adult comedy.’ He was quite funny. LE CIRQUE BIJOR: most entertaining featuring (Vlad & Anna) and (2 male gymnasts). The dancing was together. A NCL person said VELVET was a new production. POOL: has a lifeguard on duty. I was baffled by the Alaskan ports claiming ‘duty free’ when we are traveling in the US. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019

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