218 Vancouver First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise, i was a bit sceptic of this experience, as we have always done our own travel arrangements , this trip we could not complain about anything it was excellent. The staff, were first class, the entertainment was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, i was a bit sceptic of this experience, as we have always done our own travel arrangements , this trip we could not complain about anything it was excellent. The staff, were first class, the entertainment was very good. also there was a well equipped gym at the front of the ship with beautiful views whilst you worked off all the wonderful food that served up each & everyday ,also The golf putting championship was well organised The food was 5 star, the variety was amazing, & also the service of the drink waiters. Our cabin was serviced by Dennis who I may say done a wonderful job keeping our cabin clean & tidy. Port & shore excursions , we did do whale watching at Juneau that was very well organised. At Ketchikan we got ripped off, doing a journey by tractor/golf buggy onto a beach to look at some pebbles, then to a local hall for a tribal dance by some teenagers who had no idea what the hell they were supposed to be doing ,which I may say it spoilt our day, But you learn from these experiences. Boarding & Disembarkation is done like a military operation it is quick & easy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We decided that the best way to see Alaska was on a cruise ship doing a one way trip that included a stop at Hubbard Glacier. That led us to Royal Caribbean, and the price seemed acceptable even though we had heard warnings about the ... Read More
We decided that the best way to see Alaska was on a cruise ship doing a one way trip that included a stop at Hubbard Glacier. That led us to Royal Caribbean, and the price seemed acceptable even though we had heard warnings about the Radiance of the Seas. We loved Alaska, but after this trip we will probably never take another cruise, and if we do it won't be on Royal Caribbean. To start with, the staff on the ship were uniformly great. All very friendly, especially in the concierge lounge. We went there pretty much every day, because there was not much else to do on the ship. The Radiance had just gotten out of a dry dock refurb a couple of weeks before but it still did not seem like the ship was in very good shape. Our balcony flaked paint all over us and our cabin the entire week, but at least ours was painted. The ship seemed like it was half closed most of the time. Bars were closed, recreation places were closed, food places were closed, it was often a struggle just to find a place to refill the soda mugs. Embarkation was something of a nightmare, as the crowds were intense and nothing was ready that first day. Every bar was out of everything and the buffet was overcrowded. That first day left a bad taste in our mouths that somewhat tainted the rest of the trip. As for other stuff to do on the ship, it was pretty awful. We had no interest in the cheesy cruise ship activities, such as formal night or 70s dance party night. We might have seen a movie but the tiny theater was always packed and the movies were no good anyway. All we really did was a couple of lectures, which were fairly poorly attended. The My Time dining was a complete disaster. The main dining room was so cramped and hectic, I cannot even imagine how people could sit there pretending to enjoy their meal or wine. We went to the main dining room once and hated it, decided to give it another try, still hated it, so we never went back. Turns out the buffet was the only enjoyable place to eat on the entire ship (though we did not try the extra cost restaurants, which always seemed totally empty when we looked at them). People who say that dining is the best part of the cruise must be on other ships, or must have very low standards when it comes to dining. I generally don't like dinner to be bright, noisy, cramped, and full of constant server traffic jams. And "My Time" means "within half an hour or so of when we tell you to arrive." What is the point of a reservation if walk-ins are accommodated first? Cannot emphasize this enough: hated the main dining room. The shore excursions were the one true highlight of the cruise, but the good ones were the ones we booked separately. The only one we booked through the cruise line was a great trip (plane ride over glaciers in Juneau) but it had a very industrial feel to it, like we were all cattle being herded through. Felt more like being at a theme park than somewhere real. If you do this trip, definitely do your research and set up for shore excursions that are not offered by RCI. The ports were mostly good as jumping off points to elsewhere. Ketchikan was pleasant, but Juneau was a disgusting tourist trap down by the docks and Skagway was simply overwhelmed with people. I don't know why they think dumping 6000 cruise passengers from four ships onto a town of less than 1000 is a good idea. Best thing to do in Skagway is rent a car and get out of Skagway. Icy Strait Point was a custom built tourist trap but it was very pleasant because it was not as crowded. Hoonah is a sad little town, though, try not to think about it too much. Best stop by far was Hubbard Glacier, but unfortunately it was too short; we could have stared at that thing for another two hours easy. Now that we are no longer trapped on the ship it is easier to look back on the trip fondly, but at the time it seemed like a giant series of frustrations. Try not to think about the cost! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My wife and I are both senior citizens although both are active for our age. This was my first cruise and my wife's second. Throughout the cruise to Alaska, every employee on the ship proved to be friendly and helpful. The young ... Read More
My wife and I are both senior citizens although both are active for our age. This was my first cruise and my wife's second. Throughout the cruise to Alaska, every employee on the ship proved to be friendly and helpful. The young man who took care of our small but comfortable stateroom did an excellent job. Our stateroom was quite distant from the main dining areas. But that was more a function of the type of stateroom that we purchased than any negative to do with the ship. Embarkation and Disembarkation both went smoothly with no delays whatsoever. We arrived and departed every port exactly on time. When we sailed the glaciers, we got closer than I ever imagined we would come to them. The food was good throughout the cruise. We didn't try any of the themed restaurants but the buffet and the two more formal dining rooms provided excellent choices. Activities were too numerous to mention. At times it was difficult to choose which, if any, to attend. Our shore excursions were all very good, albeit a bit pricey. We found that we could have arranged the same excursions on our own for much less expense. My wife and I also did a land tour to Denali at the end of the cruise that was part of the cruise package that we purchased. Norwegian did an excellent job with the tour company in Anchorage and with our accommodations in Anchorage and Denali. When we first planned a cruise to Alaska, we explored several other cruise lines in addition to Norwegian. All in all, we have no regrets by choosing Norwegian and we would do the same again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
...at least if you look at the level of service! Need to say that we were first-time cuisers, and after this experience will go again on a cruise and again will choose Celebrity. Also must say that we had a Celebrity suite which goes ... Read More
...at least if you look at the level of service! Need to say that we were first-time cuisers, and after this experience will go again on a cruise and again will choose Celebrity. Also must say that we had a Celebrity suite which goes along with several advantages such as the private Luminae restaurant or the Michaels club. First of all and most impressing I must point out the excellent service on bord. The butler, Ramir, was very helpful and friendly, and so were the 2 stewarts, Bartholomae and Fran! One of the most impressing experiences was dining in the Luminae restaurant: I have been to many excellent restaurants, many of them Michelin-star-rewarded, so I think I know very well what good service is all about...but the guys in the Luminae were outstanding: Rav, Jelena, and all the other peoples were acting constantly perfect! This is a tough job and hard work every day, but they made it look nice&easy! Chapeau!! Food was very good to excellent, still there is a gap between the 4 star food and the 5 star service... Also most other peoples of the crew we met were friendly, smiling and had a gentle word for us. Also would like to mention our Concierge in the Michaels' club Erik and his team for excellent service. Another person to mention is Sara, the cruise director: Very funny and friendly, and you always had the impression that she's loving what she's doing. The ship is not the newest generation but kept in good shape.You could see lots of crew members cleaning all day (and night!) long. Generally we liked the stateroom, but although the stewarts kept it clean the furniture was old and outdated and for sure needs a general makeover. The shows in the theatre were very good and professional - enjoyed it and did not expect such good quality on a cruise ship. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and fast, and so was the organisation during our port days (except the day with the accident in Ketchikan). Finally the day with the crash at the pier in Ketchikan caused some trouble, but our fishing trip was cancelled anyway due to the bad weather. During this accident we didn't feel unsafe at any time, we always had the impression to be "in good hands" by Captain Bardos and would bord a ship under his command again at any time. As a summary: We enjoyed our stay on the Infinity, and will come back! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise as part of a Newmarket holiday - Rockies/ Alaska cruise and Vancouver, on the recommendation of a friend who travelled last year. I struggle to recognise our trip from some of the negative reviews posted. From start to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a Newmarket holiday - Rockies/ Alaska cruise and Vancouver, on the recommendation of a friend who travelled last year. I struggle to recognise our trip from some of the negative reviews posted. From start to finish we had an amazing trip. As a first time cruiser and an optimist perhaps I am not the best judge but my friend who I travelled with is a seasoned cruiser and a realist and agrees whole heartedly that it was a great trip. The ship was excellent and very smooth. there was plenty of space for it not to feel crowded . There were a variety of environments to choose from depending on your mood. The cabin ( an outside standard twin cabin) was excellent ; clean, well furnished and with plenty of space. The cabin attendants were friendly, attentive and efficient. the shower was very large and very powerful. We took 3 trips - Tracy arm ( although we went to Endicott arm as ice in the way) was a fantastic day and worth the cost. The scenery was spectacular and we saw whales and eagles aswell as a close up and leisurely stop in front of the glacier - stunning. We also did the brothels tour of Skagway - not as sleazy as it sounds - great history walk with a delightful actress being our guide - and went kayaking to eagle island, seeing the promised eagles. There was a vast number of trips but all optional and easy to select or not as you choose. The food was plentiful and excellent with a variety of dining options. we used the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch and the Rotterdam dining room for evening dinner. We chose to share a table each night which meant we met a variety of other travellers and this only enhanced the trip. there was a choice of entertainment each night and we attended several of the shows, listened to the music and also just stood on deck drinking in the scenery at sunset. all were of very good standard. Every single member of staff we encountered was friendly, greeting us whenever they passed. All staff were helpful - front desk staff answered all queries, however trivial, shore excursion staff were very helpful in choosing trips, dining room staff were efficient and friendly and smoothly did their job very unobtrusively. the staff in the bar we used ( crows nest for a pre dinner drink with the best view|)were delightful. we were also happy to join in the 5k fundraising walk which has over the past 10 years as a company raised millions of dollars for cancer charities in the 6 main countries used by the cruiseline - this suggests a great company ethos. My only complaint about the trip is it was over all too soon but I have fantastic memories and would thoroughly recommend it Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We really wanted to do the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise. We booked Princess as they seem to fit our needs the best. We booked a mini-suite, as we preferred a certain side. If you are considering an Alaska cruise, a balcony is a must, as ... Read More
We really wanted to do the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise. We booked Princess as they seem to fit our needs the best. We booked a mini-suite, as we preferred a certain side. If you are considering an Alaska cruise, a balcony is a must, as with the Alaska Cruise, you miss pool-lounging time around the pool, due to cold temperatures. We enjoyed whale-watching from our balcony. With the exception of the excellent food and service at Sabbattinis, we found the anytime dining a bit underwhelming. We often chose the buffet so we could pick and choose our needs. The buffet at breakfast was my favorite. In reading reviews leading up to our cruise, Princess shows were not highly regarded, however, we thought they were most excellent. They do a rendition of the Voice which was very fun. For the most part, staff was also a bit stuffy. Our steward was fine, but some diner staff and customer service staff missed the mark, as it appeared they would rather be doing something else. This included a little 'exchange' with a customer service deskperson about adding an addition water pkg to our room. When we requested to see a Supervisor because his unwillingness to offer a solution, he accused us of making him feel like a cockroach. All in all we really enjoyed the Cruise. The beauty of Alaska added to that. This was our first cruise and perhaps it's a lesson in expectations. We look forward to cruising again, perhaps on a warm weather cruise that offers more things to do on the ship. There were times at sea where I was a bit bored. I also wish the gym opened earlier - 7am is late for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My 1st experience cruise with NCL to Alaska from Vancouver 7 days with my family in May 2016. I guess its gonna be the first and the last. CHECK IN: It was extremely crowded and a little bit messy and the lady who served us is very ... Read More
My 1st experience cruise with NCL to Alaska from Vancouver 7 days with my family in May 2016. I guess its gonna be the first and the last. CHECK IN: It was extremely crowded and a little bit messy and the lady who served us is very slow, others spent like 10 mins, she need to spend around 30 mins for check us in. She said because our passport is from Asia (not US or Canada) so will take longer process. There were no sign at all where to put our luggage, we need to ask around many times to people. ON BOARD: We went into the room (balcony type) and was ok with it. Its pretty small but I guess it’s the standard for cruise. Our luggage was delivered in 2 hours later which fine for us. We were told to go to receptionist lobby once we are on board by the check in lady. With no freaking idea, we went to report to receptionist and turn out they need to HOLD OUR PASSPORTS for the rest of 7 days. I don’t feel right and I asked for many reasons and they can’t give me solid one. They keep saying this is the rule, then I replied, show me the rule or at least the name of the rule. They cant give me an answer and keep talking nonsense. We are holding Indonesian passport by the way. We have valid visa for both US and Canada and we never have issue with immigration ever. I knew that the reason they hold is they scared if we get out from the boat and never come back become illegal workers, but come on, you can do due diligence right? My parents didn’t bring any IS as for us passport is the only one legal document when we are in overseas. My brother lives in US so he has driving license. So after long argument, they still insist to hold our passport (the lady was from Russia, I forgot her name) she didn’t even try to let us hold our passports anymore as she keep holding it.. So she agree to make a copy of our passports for us. I feel totally ridiculous by this stupid thing and here we are holding a photocopy of passport. On Day 5, we reached Skagway and we wanted to take the tour which need a passport. So we went to the receptionist again , this time a guy named JUAN assist us….He seems didn’t understand that we need our original passport to go for the tour. Juan made us another photocopy, I said we don’t need it as we need original. He rejected and declined to give us our passports (can you imagine, someone hold our passport and when we need it, they refused to give back to us?) At this point, I reached my limit and I scold this guy back, I asked again show me the rules, he said the name of the rules, but when I took a piece of paper wanted to take down the name, he refused to say again. What a joke.. He said to us that its not only us, other nationality also must do the same.. I replied clear and loud to him, I don’t care about others as we are talking about mine. He went in to the office and his manager named, ROSA assist us.. At least she can explain better to us and she will give us the passport while we’re at Skagway but with a condition, we need to return again the passport to them after the tour finished. The management must at least inform us once we paid the cruise, that for certain country they will hold the passport due to some reason, so at least we will not be surprised. They never even put on their website or whatsoever. By this time, I feel disgusted by NCL, how can you treat people like this? Racist because we’re Asian? ROOM: TV in the room is quite small and its not a good one. We cant watch the TV from side as its still the old model type. So we had problem to keep turn the TV upside down. Movies are new release but for 7 days they keep playing the same movies for at least 5 times. We have problem with the toilet for almost 2 days. Toilet cant flush. We called the housekeeping more than 10x but it still cant flush. They said almost all floors had the same problem. We used outside toilet a lot and so others, after awhile, public toilet was spoiled and cant flush as well. What a joke. They managed to fix it after 1.5 days.. We make complained as we paid so much and we cant even flush the toilet in the room? They did send us complimentary of 1 bottle red wine and strawberry dipped with chocolate. FOOD: Overall food at the garden café is good and the selection is great from western, Asian and Indian. My favorite was Phad Tai..They only have it for 1 night. Other food at the restaurant was great as well. So I guess food is not a problem for NCL. CRUISE FACILITIES: Casino is normal, Café and Bar are normal and the band looks ok, they have different kind of music every night and some comedy, Shop is standard and the price is consider ok, Gym was fabulous and the staff are very good. STAFF: Generally staff at the restaurant and housekeeping are very nice. We even met some of Indonesian staff and we had a long talk everyday and it was fun. Only there was 1 girl from the restaurant, she is from the Philippines, she served us with sour face, cant even bothered to look at us when took order and wasn’t happy at all when I ask for chili, water etc. I have no idea what is her problem, if you have a bad day, please report that you’re sick and just stay in your room compare you make guests feel angry. SHORE EXCURSION: Not all of the tours are good. You need to do your own research before buy. But generally, if you to local tours. Its much cheaper and it was exactly the same tour. We took 2 days tour from the cruise and after that there was one day we decided to take the local tour and it was even better and we were happy with the service more than the cruise given. On the last day of the cruise, we were told only can collect our passports at certain time. To my horror, everybody who got their passport hold, must collect at the same time and there were only 2 people at the receptionist. People were queueing , angry, anxious and start to scream. What a very nice plan huh NCL? It will be the first and the last I took cruise with NCL, after paid thousands of dollars I cant even hold on my own passport and was treated like I never pay for the cruise maybe? Nah, that’s it..For Asians who would want to take NCL cruise, just be careful and get ready for this kind of treatment. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked single ocean view rooms aft on deck adjacent to terrace pool. Cruise cost double however having this great location and our own space was great. The crew gets an A+. The most friendly and accommodating of any Cruiseline ... Read More
We booked single ocean view rooms aft on deck adjacent to terrace pool. Cruise cost double however having this great location and our own space was great. The crew gets an A+. The most friendly and accommodating of any Cruiseline experienced. Dining was a big disappointment. All hot food was mostly cold and soggy surprisingly in all dining rooms. Be aware that main dining room seatings are just two times. Our request for 6:00pm and a table for two was not honored. In fact we were pre assigned to a table for ten. Unlike many of our friends who have cruised before, we are not cruising to make new friends and experience "what's your major, what's your minor conversations. Call me a snob , but it is my trip, too. The Star Princess is not the newest ship, however, the decor is beautiful and the ship's interior is meticulusly maintained. Surprisingly, there were 285 out of about 2600 cruisers who were children. We never saw them except perhaps at the Horizon Court. Princess really took care of the little ones. Or, perhaps their wonderful parents have brought them up respecting adults. This little get-a-way is delightful. Cheaper than a one-way flight from Vancouver to LA. Appreciated the Princess organization culture throughout ship and especially during embarkation and disembarkation. I would love to have given the Star a "5" however, the cold and soggy food even in the specialty dining rooms is unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met ... Read More
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met our expectations and pleasantly so. We knew the average age would be senior and often less mobile, but that was ok. This was our first retirement getaway and we were under no time pressure. The cabin was prefect #6047. Midway between the main decks of #3 (dining and entertainment) and #9 (cafe, spa/gym, sun decks and pools). Not only did we get into the routine of using the gym and spa everyday, but we rarely used the elevators (only 6x's I remember). Cabin was as per our expectations. Lots of storage, a nice balcony, and a very comfortable bed as were the pillows. The cabin stewards, Rudi & Lee, were excellent and accommodating. The TV screen was small (14"+/-) and could have been larger as the 4 movies shown each day were well selected. Not that you couldn't choose from a large selections from the CD catalogue (free!). This is not to say we watched a lot of TV, but for what we did watch, the TV could have been larger. Food offerings were very good. The Lido cafeteria has nearly everything you would want for breakfast lunch and dinner. The more formal (mostly Smart Casual and once weekly Formal) Vista dining room was very good for dinner. Portions were smartly presented and were small in size, but a simple request for a larger portion when ordering was always pleasantly accepted. And second helpings are not an issue. Basically I saw this as a way to keep food waste to a minimum. We didn't try either of the "specialty" restaurants. We couldn't justify the added surcharge. But I did hear from many others that they very much like those offerings. We did take advantage of room service breakfast nearly everyday. Very effective way of starting each day. Overall we were very happy with this first cruise. Entertainment was very entertaining, and different every night over 25 nights. A very professionally run theatre program. We took full advance of the health club facilities and paid the surcharge for use of the hydro-thermal pool, steam rooms and thermal-beds (Love these!!!). For the 25 day cruise, these were well worth the surcharge. The administration and execution of activities, events and embarkation/disembarkation at the start, end and each port was well organized. If we have any criticism of the cruise, it was the background music and the age of the musical entertainment offerings. Yes, the average age of the guests were closer to 70+/-, but even a 70yr old was listening and concerting to Rock and Roll in the 60's and 70's. I am sure some entertainment playing music from the early Rolling Stone's, the Beatle's, CSNY I am confident would have been appreciated. I am only 55, but if I am on a ship when I'm 70, they better be playing music from "the Lost 80's". Hope this helps the next passenger. Ahoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was ... Read More
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was a disappointment and while I may take another cruise someday I do not plan to go with NCL again. Readers should note that I’m not a typical traveler, and some/all my complaints may be non-issues to many others. I went with my mom on this trip. It was her seventh cruise, first (and probably last) with NCL as well. Trip: 09/29/2015 to 10/04/2015 Itinerary: Vancouver, BC > Victoria, BC > Astoria, OR > Los Angeles, CA Trip Type: Pacific Coastal Re-positioning Who I am: In my mind it is important to explain who the reviewer is, so that readers can put what they’re reading in perspective to their own lives and lifestyles to see if it is relevant to them. I’m a 32-year-old male business professional from Minnesota without children—and doesn’t particularly care for them, either. While there weren’t a lot of kids on the trip, what they lacked in numbers many made up for in verbosity. I also don’t care for crowds, so that this was a sold-out ship didn’t help. Why I Travel: Photography. This cruise was part of a larger, 11-day trip we took, spending four nights in Seattle and a fifth in Vancouver, before I flew home from Los Angeles. In that time I took over 9,000 photographs. Unless doing portrait work, people are the enemy to most photographers, and most people are utterly oblivious to the shots they’re ruining on a ship. I also understand this is a non-issue for most people. I’m used to getting up at 5:00 a.m. (or earlier) just to beat the crowds whenever possible. Nickeled and Dimed: This trip was a five night/six day sales pitch, trying to drive my bill higher and higher at every turn. I felt like if they could have flipped me over by my ankles and shaken the money out of my pockets they would have. While I understand this is standard operating procedure for a cruise ship it is still disappointing. The Most Frustrating Part: The day before we were supposed to disembark the ship we received an envelope placed above our room number (between 10:00 a.m. and noon) with information inside stating that our shore excursion (and ride to the airport) was canceled. We went to the Shore Excursion desk to discover our options. The Shore Excursion desk was closed until 5:00 p.m., which led us to the Customer Service counter. We felt put off, and a gentleman at the desk was supposed to contact the Shore Excursion staff. We didn’t feel good about this. After talking with another guest, she recommended we go back to the Customer Service desk and talk to the lady with the three stars on her blazer. This person contacted the Shore Excursion staff. As we were returning to our stateroom the phone rang. We were able to choose a new shore excursion in Los Angeles with airport drop-off. Prior to talking to the lady with the three stars we had been stonewalled, let down, misdirected, or lied to by several other employees. There is a lot of “pass the buck” and broken communication on this ship, which is so frustrating. The Ship: Vividly decorated and while sometimes confusing in its layout it is a beautiful vessel. It is regrettable that passengers have to walk through the casino or shops to get from one end of the ship to the other on Decks 6 and 7, but I’ve been assured that this cash grab attempt is an industry standard and not endemic to NCL. I got many beautiful pictures from Deck 14, the Sun Deck. It was also a nice place to run away to when the crowds got to be too much. The Stateroom: We stayed in room 11042 (mini-suite), on the Starboard side of the ship. The staff split the bed for us after we arrived. This room was a lifesaver. The Garden Café on Deck 13 was often too busy to even get a table at, and we ate at least three meals in the stateroom, using the desk, coffee table, and sofa to accommodate food trays. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly, accommodating, but we always felt that our room was being taken care of last. I’m not sure if NCL gives priority to previous guests, if there’s a “tip culture” we’re not aware of that happens on the first day, or exactly why we were always the last served—and it could be as simple as a sick colleague that he was filling in for—but it was strange. He did do an excellent job. Tsar Dining Room: Gorgeous, but arrive 30+ minutes early to get a table anywhere close to a window. The food was generally delicious, but (and maybe this is a Minnesota thing) I had to beg to get coffee before dessert—and even then it sometimes fell on deaf ears. There is a rigidly-enforced order to which meals are served and deviation is strongly resisted. The wait staff was sometimes curt when a request was made. That said, the room was truly gorgeous, and the food was 20 times better than what was in the Garden Café. It was spoiled at times by screaming children, but this is a failure in parenting (remove your children when they’re awful!) and not NCL’s fault. Ship Amenities: I don’t swim, but prospective passengers should know that the pools are small. They have two hot tubs, which were heavily-used. The art is expensive but much of it beautiful at the auctions. Shows: I loved almost every show I went to (show up early! There’s fierce competition for good seats!), especially Band on the Run and Cirque Bijou. Both of these shows were in the Stardust Theatre on Deck 7 at the bow—the Tsar Dining Room is all the way at the stern on the same deck. Fred Bevill (comedian) in the Spinnaker Lounge (Deck 13) was terrific! Magnum Wine Bar: The ship is full of restaurants, bars, and other places to spend lots of money, but the best place on the ship—for me—was the Magnum Wine Bar on Deck 6. Fabrizio (piano player) regaled a healthy crowd every night while the fantastic Filipino bar staff bantered, mixed, smiled, shook, stirred, and delighted nearly everyone—these guys were awesome. From Elton John to Italian pop, Fabrizio has incredible range. The bartenders possessed all of the pizzazz that was missing from the restaurant staff, and embodied the spirit of customer service that was utterly missing from the Shore Excursion workers. Cruise Director: We flat out despised his persona. His voice was grating and he reeked of false smarminess. We’d even go out on our balcony to avoid hearing his voice during his daily briefings over the PA. We avoided him at all costs. Restaurant Staff: The serving staff in the Tsar Dining Room performed their tasks adequately. For non-managerial employees there was no joy, showmanship, or indication that they enjoyed their jobs. Mr. Messiah (in charge of the ship’s restaurants) was instrumental in helping me when no one else did—thank you to him. I don’t know if the staff was burned out from a long tour of duty, but morale is lacking and customer service was uninspired. Getting help was very difficult in the Garden Café. English barriers were a frequent problem for many of the staff. When I asked (begged?) for a tray, a worker cleaning up the counters by the beverage dispensers took his rag, cleaned off a spill tray, and offered it to me. I was (and still am) appalled that the tray wasn’t first sanitized through a dishwasher. Shore Excursions: We went to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. While I did get a few good photographs the trip was an anguished frustration for me. There were many people when we arrived, and it was a full-on, Disney-worthy crowd by the time we left: people are the enemy for a photographer trying to capture delicate flowers, sweeping vistas, and lovely waterways. Astoria greeted us with thick fog that lifted as the day wore on. From what we saw it is a lovely town. I didn’t realize we’d be taking school buses from the Knapp school district or that our trip to Cannon Beach would be shortened so the buses could go back and pick kids up. I also twisted my ankle badly, but powered through the pain so I could get the pictures I wanted—though I’m still using photo-editing software to crop out the people I couldn’t work around. Los Angeles wasn’t what I expected. It is pretty, though. The tour guide on our bus was grating and obnoxious, but we got to the TCL (Grauman’s Chinese) Theatre and then the airport—the most important parts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our first cruise from Vancouver to San Diego overall was very enjoyable. However, we boarded the ship two hours later than expected due to a malfunction of their computer system for check-in while at the terminal. What a nightmare! There ... Read More
Our first cruise from Vancouver to San Diego overall was very enjoyable. However, we boarded the ship two hours later than expected due to a malfunction of their computer system for check-in while at the terminal. What a nightmare! There had to be 4,000 people being manually processed for two cruise ships. Due to a late board we missed the "mustering" session for safety and received a letter that night stating it was mandatory and we must attend the next morning. We were there for the class at 10 am along with 30 other people as requested but the crew was a no show. This caused us to miss our only opportunity to explore a port in Victoria BC Canada. We watched the safety presentation on TV but weren't happy that not once but twice we weren't given the instructions in person. Glad we didn't buy the drink option. Our friends did and found there was no consistency in the quality of mixed drinks....a little watered down. Other than that, entertainment and main dining room food and service were great. The Café buffet for breakfast and lunch not so great. However we would sail Norwegian again. Kudos to the wait staff and ship's director for making our trip relaxing and enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I am not a usual contributor to review forums but I am struggling to reconcile the wonderful cruise just experienced on Volendam with these recent negative reviews on Cruise Critic. A strong influence on the enjoyment of any cruise will be ... Read More
I am not a usual contributor to review forums but I am struggling to reconcile the wonderful cruise just experienced on Volendam with these recent negative reviews on Cruise Critic. A strong influence on the enjoyment of any cruise will be the availability, cheerfulness and helpfulness of the ship’s crew and on Volendam from Vancouver to Sydney I thought it was outstanding. The embarkation at Canada Place was very smooth (I have experienced more frustration in an airport departure lounge for only 200 passengers). The ship is not one of the modern two to three thousand passenger types, we had 1100 passengers which is an ideal size, large enough for always a full program of activities, yet small enough to frequently encounter acquaintances and friends made during the voyage. Although not a large modern cruise ship the design of public places, the fixtures and the furnishings are all very tastefully done, in fact a real pleasure to perambulate. Restaurant/buffet fare was very gluttony tempting and again excellent service (fancy a second entree - you can ask). Theatre shows with a couple of exceptions were very entertaining and this passenger was surprised at the quality of the resident entertainer performances. Interesting lectures but sometimes the enrichment talks led into a persuasion to depleting ones wallet.There were six ports of call and three anchorages across the Pacific. Myself and friends went independently for shore excursions so cannot comment on organised excursions. I did hear some passengers complain that there were too many sea days but I suspect the same passengers may complain of too frequent ports of call on a different cruise. Very impressed with the efficiency of tender transport from anchor to uninhabited Mystery Island and to Iles De Pins. I would definitely recommend this relocation cruise from Northern summer to Australasian summer. One thing that HAL has to improve is the quality and price of internet access. If airlines can offer good WiFi why can a ship not pick up good satellite internet service? In contrast Microsoft software workshops were very instructive and helpful, and librarian equally helpful. More exercycles in the gymnasium would have avoided waiting for me but that is a minor quibble. I really appreciated how the cruise director, Tamryn, created an inclusive sense between crew and passengers. Bringing all the staff to the theatre stage and to the main restaurant was a nice touch to see appreciation flowing both ways. I also appreciated the humour (at times alarmingly sexist) of Barbara and her fellow judges at the Talent and Dancing with the Stars competitions. With these principal staff members and wider cheerful helpful crew I fail to see how anyone would not enjoy a cruise on Volendam. All in all a wonderful cruise on a very enjoyable ship. Cabin 6133 Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Had a wonderful time on our first ever Cruise to Alaska! I traveled with my elderly Mother and everyone was so helpful and attentive, embarking onto the ship was a breeze as my Mom used a walker and we were wisked through the long line ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our first ever Cruise to Alaska! I traveled with my elderly Mother and everyone was so helpful and attentive, embarking onto the ship was a breeze as my Mom used a walker and we were wisked through the long line ups so she wasn't on her feet so long. We had a balcony cabin, although it was more expensive than I thought when I first considered the cruise it was well worth the extra to be able to step out on the deck every morning and enjoy the view. Not a big fan of the buffet though, it was always crowded and by the time you made your way through the buffet your food was luke warm and then by the time you were able to find a seat your food was cold. After I discovered the dining room I avoided the buffet for dinner completely! The entertainment during the cruise was great, but by far our favorite was the staff talent show! Our excursions were: In Juneau, the 4 glacier helicopter trip: Was amazing to get out on the glacier and have a walk around, even my Mom was able to get out with help from the pilot which made her experience even better! Highly worth the price for this once in a lifetime experience! In Skagway we took the Yukon Rail and Bus with Chilkoot Charters and Tours: Our driver Kevin was amazing, he had so much knowledge about the area I don't know how he remembered everything he had to share. He was also very gracious in making many stops along the way for those perfect photo opportunities! I would highly recommend this 5 star excursion! Glacier Bay was another highlight of the cruise, the scenery was spectacular and we had park rangers aboard the ship as we sailed through this amazing park. Our captain was able to take us right up to both John Hopkins and the Grand Pacific Glacier, make two complete turns with the ship so we take in the breathtaking scenery! On the ship during sail days there were always plenty of activities going on so you could do as much or as little in a day at your own leisure. All of the staff are so upbeat and energetic which makes the trip that much more fun and that seems to be the theme of the Norwegian Cruise Line. All in all this was a trip of a lifetime and I have come home with so many wonderful memories to share with my Mother, something everyone should take time to do with their parents! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Enjoyed the cruise & the staff were just great--food was good not as great as expected, dining rooms were much better than the Buffet--food was hot & service was wonderful. As a first time cruise I found the time on board a little ... Read More
Enjoyed the cruise & the staff were just great--food was good not as great as expected, dining rooms were much better than the Buffet--food was hot & service was wonderful. As a first time cruise I found the time on board a little long & a few excursions that were not long enough.. The last morning of the cruise I was so sick that could only eat dry toast for breakfast --have been sick for a full week and still not recovered 100% --I was not Motion sick but more like food poison or maybe a case of Norovirus. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We are frequent cruisers...usually on Princess but have also cruised with Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Windstar. We were apprehensive about this cruise due to some very negative reviews particularly regarding ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers...usually on Princess but have also cruised with Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Windstar. We were apprehensive about this cruise due to some very negative reviews particularly regarding the age of the ship. We chose it because Vancouver is our home port and it required no flying...Hawaii is also a favorite land stay destination for us. We got a VERY pleasant surprise as soon as we boarded the ship. She is in very good shape. All public area carpet has been replaced, windows were washed, tables and chairs clean and none broken, cabin spotless. There were a few areas around the ship that were leaking from the ceiling but engineering was on top of it all right away and buckets soon disappeared. Some public toilets didnt work for a few days but after educating the public about the type of toilet they were using and what NOT to do, all toilets were wroking fine. There was continual varnishing, paint touchups, window washing etc. going on all throughout the cruise. Can not say enough about the staff. Cabin steward went above and beyond her duties and no request was too small to fulfill. All service staff were friendly and we were greeted by everyone who passed us in the hallway. We were asked to purchase coffee and bar packages on the first and second day only...no one approached us after that. We have found that Princess has made great improvements in this area. The bar server in the bar we most frequented remembered our names and drinks daily. Dining room staff pleasant and efficient though our waitier had limited English making conversation and asking questions difficult. Service in buffet area plentiful, sometimes a bit gruff but they have been up since early in the morning and they work very long hours. Food in dining room became a bit repetative...only so many ways to cook pork and chicken. It was well presented and usually hot. No problen substituting items if you wanted. Buffet became very tiresome and we really only used it for the salad and fruit bar. Pizza...fair. Burgers and hotdogs...awesome. Ice cream really ice milk and we didnt enjoy it...except the real stuff which was served in the dining room only. Room serive prompt and correct. Would have like to have tried the added Crab Shack (for a fee) but it was always full. Entertainment was the best we have had on a cruise. 2 different shows everyday for 15 days. Only glitch was trying to get to the second show on time after dining late. Music, singers, comediens, dancers, crew show, passenger talent show...all great. LOTS of avtivities (some Hawaiin themed) to keep anyone busy as there were many sea days on this cruises. Had only 4 ports on this cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. All went smoothly, even the tender in Lahiana. Did not use Princess excursions...prices are just too expensive. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on the Lido deck and about as far forward as it could get. We would not do this again, particularly if there are lot of sea days. There is lots of movement when that far forward and extra noise from the bow as it sails though the large swells. It was of average size. Could always use a bigger shower. We used our balcony everyday and only sail in balcony cabins. We had a respiratory illness spread throughout the ship as well as a small outbreak of noro virus. Princess was on top of things medically and in stepping up cleaning proceedures. We were at sea 11 out of 15 days so it seemed inevitable that there would be some kind of illness set in. No complaints about how things were handled. Embarkation was awesome. 18 minutes from the time we were called to exit our holding area to the time we were on the street hailing a cab home. In summary, I just dont know why people have to find something to complain about. Its almost like we have to question whether or not we were on the same ship as some of the other reviewers. No sailing/ship is ever perfect. Princess is fairly priced and offers a great product for the price. There are more superior lines out there (some we have sailed on) but in our opinion, they are usually not worth the extra money. Happy sailing everyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My first time cruise review, just because I was so impressed. By background, traveling on this cruise were me, my husband and four friends, all of us on the “other side” of 50. My husband and I have taken over 20 cruises and our ... Read More
My first time cruise review, just because I was so impressed. By background, traveling on this cruise were me, my husband and four friends, all of us on the “other side” of 50. My husband and I have taken over 20 cruises and our friends have taken a few themselves. For all of us, though, it was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We have sailed with Celebrity a lot so as such had Diamond status. Okay, first off, Royal Caribbean just seems to get some things so right, like the way some things just flow so easily. Check-in at Canada Place was a breeze. We got there about 11 in the morning and it was like a ghost town. Curbside at Canada Place to tableside in the Schooner Bar with a glass of bubbly, about 20 minutes. We had two tender stops which can often be tortuous with a mad scramble for tender tickets. This was so easy. I don't know, maybe nobody else got off. Because we went through U.S. immigration on the ship in Astoria - which also only took about 40 minutes - we didn't have to go through that in L.A. which was a huge bonus. Very easy getting off the ship. Plus I loved that where we waited in the Safari Club they had a big screen with a movie playing and pastries and coffee, etc. for everyone, any tier. Nice touch. I am also used to receiving tons of debarkation material and questionnaires about two minutes after I have gotten on a ship. I kept waiting for it but four, five days into the cruise I still hadn’t received anything. I phoned guest relations because I was getting nervous and thought we would have to stay on the ship forever; I wish. But it seems Royal Caribbean must actually pay attention to everything you fill out online pre-cruise, because I can only guess that is how they assigned luggage tags and debark info. Which we didn't receive until the last day. Very refreshing! Okay, so the ship itself is beautiful. It doesn’t have all the glitzy bells and whistles or contemporary sophistication of some ships, but has a warmth to it which cannot be denied. We all felt that. Spacious, never felt crowded, lots of glass, windows, ocean wherever you looked. But most of the warmth is due not to the ship itself but the crew. They are all the jewels of Jewel of the Seas. Hands down the friendliest of any ship we have ever sailed on. I can’t say enough about them, and have already said lots in the online survey. Our Cabin: we had an aft balcony - really nice, in great shape and, yes, with a flat screen TV! Amazing views of course from the balcony, fitted out nicely with two chairs and table and two reclining loungers, which unfortunately we didn't really use much. Tons of storage, comfy bed, itsy, bitsy shower. Ports of Call - Great Itinerary, all places we had been to before Victoria - because we’re from the area we treated it as a sea day and stayed onboard. Astoria - We walked along the boardwalk, passing all the squawking sea lions by Buoy brewery, hit Wet Dog brewery where we stopped in for a tasting flight. Made our way from there to Fort George brewery for more tasting flights and some appetizers. Both are great places and highly recommended! On the way back we found North Coast Distilling, a craft distillery in town where we sampled some of their mighty fine craft spirits. And then on the way back along the boardwalk we found a wine tasting room right on the wharf. So we had to stop there too and try some wine flights. A fantastic day in Astoria! San Francisco - we were lucky enough to overnight here. The first day there we went on a private tour with a tour operator that we had used earlier in the year. He took us into Sonoma where we stopped at a few wineries and had time to have lunch in Sonoma Square. A great day! The next day we all treated as free days, and went our separate ways. We went to Union Square for some shopping. Used public transport and had no problem getting around. I should mention, too, that we all bought wine in Sonoma, but when we came back to the ship it was not taken away from us. We weren’t expecting that at all, but had no plans to open it anyway until post-cruise in San Diego. Monterey - just kind of walked around the town some, a bit of shopping, lunch downtown. Santa Barbara - we walked from the ship to the downtown area and then walked some more. It was exceptionally hot and humid so we became quite thirsty and decided it was time for the Wine Trail in the Urban Funk Zone. We took in 4 wineries there, one that left no particular impression, and then Santa Barbara Winery, Lafond and Pali which were are all very nice. We went to Metropolitan Deli just down the street and brought sandwiches back to Pali where we bought a bottle of pinot noir and sat outside and ate and drank. Okay, more about the cruise itself. I’m going to admit I went in with lowered expectations and was pleasantantly surprised over and over again. I won’t say we’re foodies but we pretty much are. We weren’t disappointed in the food at all, certainly not in the MDR or Chops or Portofino. The Windjammer we only ate in a couple of times. It was okay. We had breakfast in the MDR as it was much better and I liked the little buffet they had there too that you could choose from. What a great idea. Specialty restaurants, especially Chops, was very good and a bargain compared to some lines. Portofino was also very good but my preference was Chops. Others with us saw it the other way around. We also enjoyed a few lunches in the Seaview Café. Cute little place. Exceptional service everywhere we ate, particularly in the MDR. Drinks - we had the ultimate drinks package and had some great craft-style cocktails in the Schooner Bar. We love our wine and for some reason the Schooner Bar, not the MDR, had the best selection of wine by the glass. The Champagne Bar also had some nice wine and was a fabulous place to sit and relax, day or evening. Entertainment - we like to have fun and this ship did not disappoint! I mean, dancing in a nightclub while wearing individual headphones, all listening to different music? A big 70’s disco party in the centrum? Even the trivia, which we usually don’t play on ships, and name that tune were fun on this ship. I hear the cruise director we had, Dennis, is one of the best. We only saw a couple of the shows, but they were pretty good. There was a female impersonator/singer from Ontario who was very, very good. And there was a piano player in the Schooner Bar who, I am sorry, was very, very bad. But some of our best times were lazy afternoons entertaining ourselves with a deck of cards and Manhattans in the Schooner Bar. I’m going to leave it at that. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. Yes, I booked two more cruises for my husband and I onboard. Yes, my friends and I just yesterday booked another cruise we’re taking together next year with RCL in the Caribbean. Thank you, Royal Caribbean for a fabulous vacation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We enjoyed our first cruise and would recommend seeing Alaska with NCL. The destination was the most important element of our trip and it's unlikely we would cruise again. however we would recommend this NCL Sun cruise itinerary to ... Read More
We enjoyed our first cruise and would recommend seeing Alaska with NCL. The destination was the most important element of our trip and it's unlikely we would cruise again. however we would recommend this NCL Sun cruise itinerary to Alaska. Check In Check in was chaotic to say the least. Luckily we had priority check in so avoided a lot of the queues, but the guy checking us in did not have a clue, and a 5 minute task took nearly half an hour. The VIP waiting area was a nice touch, and being escorted onboard was also a plus, and avoided the queues and the crowds. Even though our luggage was tagged as priority, it took a long time to arrive. Ship/General The ship itself seems to be in a good condition, with no noticeable problems. It's a small ship and fairly easy to get from one place to another. On the whole the staff are helpful and friendly, although some of the bar staff we encountered were not! During the day there are staff doing ongoing maintenance such as painting and varnishing. There is an unlimited WIFI deal of $24.99 per day, and although slow, it worked ok. This was the most cost effective package for us, the 'pay as you go' option was 95c per minute, so would work out exceptionally expensive. We found the WIFI worked best in the Sports Bar at the back of the ship. We did not participate in any of the onboard activities nor did we watch any of the shows. We did do the 'Behind The Seas' tour which was very interesting and informative. Dining The dress code is very relaxed with one main dining room and one speciality restaurant per evening stating 'We ask that you wear jeans or slacks. For men, collared shirts & closed toe shoes. For women a dress/skirt and top'. For the other main dining room and speciality restaurants it's casual attire so 'For women, casual dresses/skirts, dress shorts or jeans and for men, khakis, jeans, dress shorts and casual shirts' We opted to book the Ultimate Dining Package for our cruise, so never ate in either of the main dining rooms. Cagney's Steakhouse We visited Cagney's 3 times over the course of the week. The service was good. The food was very good and there was a varied choice of menu. They cooked my steak to perfection, and the ribs were so tender they just fell off the bone. The lobster was not worth the additional 'premium item' fee. Service seemed to drop off as the week progressed. Teppanyaki Situated in a small room in the Sushi restaurant, it can seat a maximum of 12 diners who sit in around the cooking area. The chefs are very friendly and talk throughout the experience. You are offered a set starter, and a choice of 2 desserts. There were about 8 different choices for the main course which is cooked in front of you and served with vegetables and rice. The food was very good, and it was a fun way to dine. The whole experience lasts approximately 75 minutes. As seating is limited to 12 it's worth making a reservation. La Moderno This Brazilian restaurant sounded very good, but in reality it wasn't. Staff were indifferent, or dithering about making everything take twice as long. The food was ok, but nothing special. The worst part, is that during the day the restaurant is used as a shortcut, and despite a few warning signs, there were lots of people still using it as a short cut, with the staff doing nothing about it. I do not recommend this restaurant. La Cucina Breakfast is very good with a good selection of hot dishes and a cold/cereal buffet. The lunch menu also has a good variety of dishes. In the evening La Cucina is an Italian restaurant with a varied choice of pastas, pizzas, and other entrees. The restaurant is nicely decorated with both tables and semi-circle booths, and large picture windows. Service is very good. Le Bistro Service was either too much or not enough, there was no happy medium. The decor was good. The food was ok, although it was trying a little too hard to be a fine dining restaurant. There's nothing really wrong with it, but it's not one we'd return to. Ports of Call Juneau We did not go into Juneau so I do not know what the town is like, however we were told that a good percentage of the shops on the main road leading from the dock are owned by the cruise companies (selling jewellery, t-shirts, and 'tourist tat' We booked our whale watching excursion independently through Harv & Marv's. The were waiting for us on the dock when we disembarked and drove us to Auke Bay, which is about 30 minutes from Juneau. We were lucky that we were the only 2 guests on our tour. The boat is small and only takes 6 guests. We headed north and saw humpbacks, and Orca's, which was amazing! On the drive back we stopped at Mendenhall Glacier for a short while. The staff were very good, and we really enjoyed this trip, just a shame it rained the entire time! Skagway The town is full of jewellery shops, t-shirt shops and tourist shops. It was difficult to find a shop selling authentic Alaskan goods. We booked the White Pass & Yukon Railway trip through NCL. The train pulled up right next to our ship, so boarding was very convenient. We sat on the left travelling up, and the right travelling back for the best views. The commentary was very informative, and it was good that you could stand on the platform at the front/back of the carriage, which is ideal for photographers. The scenery is amazing, we ended up travelling through the low clouds, but our views weren't overly obscured. We travelled over trestle bridges, through tunnels, passed waterfalls, and landmarks from the gold rush era. We enjoyed this tour, and would recommend it. Glacier Bay An awesome trip with some amazing scenery. As we cruised up the bay, the sun was shining, the clouds lifted, and the captain said it was the best day for 2 seasons. As our suite was directly at the front of the ship we viewed the bay from our balcony, and listened to the commentary through our TV. The National Park rangers that came on board were very informative. We stopped at Marjory Glacier, where the captain did 2 complete turns so all angles were covered, & at John Hopkins Glacier, which also involved 1 whole revolution. Apparently the Rangers were on hand for questions, and gift sales. Ketchikan There are a lot of the standard tourist, jewellery & t-shirt shops, in amongst a few local shops. Creek Street was good for a walk through, luckily we beat the crowds and the rain! We booked our tour independently with Island Wings, and did the Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing Tour. Our pilot was very informative, and every seat in her aircraft was a window seat. The tour included landing at a mountain lake for about 20 minutes. The scenery was amazing, and we saw areas that would be inaccessible by boat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Norwegian Cruise Lines know how to treat their guests! The rooms are very well laid out, making excellent use of the little space available on ships. The bed was two single beds pushed together, which left a canyon between us, but they ... Read More
Norwegian Cruise Lines know how to treat their guests! The rooms are very well laid out, making excellent use of the little space available on ships. The bed was two single beds pushed together, which left a canyon between us, but they were otherwise comfortable. The shower was a little tight for my 6'2" tall husband, but let's put this in to perspective people. It's a personal shower on a boat! The room attendant was fantastic, keeping the room clean, tidy and an endless supply of exotic towel animals. The bathroom light blew out during our visit and maintenance replaced it immediately and without fuss. Daily activities on board were tailored for all interests. We took advantage of the wine tasting, art auction and evening performances, which were all hugely entertaining and led by passionate, informative staff. We took advantage of the hiking excursions in Juneau and Skagway, which, although expensive, were exactly what the doctor ordered! We really enjoyed touring Ketchikan on our own and chatted with the locals. We really lucked out with the weather, especially during the tour of Glacier Bay. That day alone was worth the entire trip. Thank you to the Captain for making it an experience that will stay with us forever. All in all, the only complaint we had was that the ship allows smoking in the Casino, which infiltrated into the main atrium. But if that's the worst complaint, I'd say NCL did an outstanding job in giving us a trip to remember! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Overall it was a great trip. Boarding was a pain - took a few hours but after that getting on and off was a breeze. Staff throughout were amazing! Loved the daily newsletter. It was full of info and a great resource. We had an inside room ... Read More
Overall it was a great trip. Boarding was a pain - took a few hours but after that getting on and off was a breeze. Staff throughout were amazing! Loved the daily newsletter. It was full of info and a great resource. We had an inside room and I was afraid it would be a bit claustrophobic but it wasn't at all. Perfect size for two people. We didn't partake of a lot of daily activities, but really enjoyed the evening entertainment and especially the lounge for dancing late into the night. We enjoyed excursions at two ports and they were very good. The ship itself was immaculate all over. The only downside was the food. Buffet was just OK and lots of time cold. Daily poolside BBQs were great. The (free) restaurants were quite nice with a set menu plus daily specials. I thought that there were too many restaurants that required payment and that the payment amount was excessive. But, as I said, overall it was a great trip/experience. The 'drive-by' at Glacier Bay was amaaaazing. And again, staff were nothing but wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first time on a cruise of any kind and it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. We did a 5 week holiday around Canada and decided to book the cruise to Alaska too. To get on board there were queues getting to the ... Read More
This was our first time on a cruise of any kind and it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. We did a 5 week holiday around Canada and decided to book the cruise to Alaska too. To get on board there were queues getting to the booking stations but they were dealt with quickly and efficiently. We were through and boarded in half an hour. Once on board it was like carnival time while we waited to go to our rooms. There was live music, barbeque and a brilliant atmosphere. We stayed in room 6020 which was on deck 6A. There was no lift to this deck but you went to the floor above and walked down about 8 steps. It was lovely and quiet in our room and there was a nice bottle of wine on arrival which we wern't expectiong. The room was small but we didn't spend much time in it to be honest and the bed was comfy and clean. Plenty of room to put our clothes and room under the beds for the suitcases. The shower was great and water always hot, there was also a little pull out clothes line in the shower for drying bits and bobs. Food was excellent and plentiful. I didn't like the evening dining rooms which were waiter service and much prefered the informal dining room on deck 11. Deck 11 is where we had breakfast, lunch and evening meal by the end. Much more relaxed atmosphere and it was only later on, after about 5 days, that we found out that there was a pizza station on deck 11 too. We were very well fed on board and the staff were all so friendly and pleasant. My only gripe is that we paid gratuities up front with our travel company, to tip the staff, but for every drink we had, even from the mini bar there was an 18% extra charge on top. We questioned this as it was called a gratuity but it is the norm. Made drinks rather expensive . We didn't do any trips as we had had a hectic couple of weeks before and preffered to stroll around while on the stop offs. All the places we went were nice little coastal towns. The highlight was Glacier Bay as we got close up to the glacier which was fabulous. On this trip we saw whales, dolphins, sea otters, and a pod if killer whales. We wanted early disembalkment as we had to catch a plane on to Toronto, and just kept our luggage with us and had a fast get off. No problems at all. I hope to do this cruise again in the future and would not hesitate to go with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first cruise and we flew from Heathrow, England, to join the ship in Vancouver. We had a delay in England and arrived in Vancouver 5 hours late although we were staying in a hotel overnight so we were ok. We joined Radiance ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we flew from Heathrow, England, to join the ship in Vancouver. We had a delay in England and arrived in Vancouver 5 hours late although we were staying in a hotel overnight so we were ok. We joined Radiance of the seas the following day and our initial experience was good. The interior suite was bigger than we thought it would be and was perfect. Plenty of room and comfortable. The ship was easy to find our way around as there were lifts and each floor had a plan . The staff were always happy and helpful. Our room was cleaned every day and the cleaner always asked if we needed anything or how everything was, after a couple of days he even knew our names. We had 6 days at sea and made lots of friends who we sat with every evening for our meals. Apart from the first day when we went to the Windjammer buffet restaurant we ate at Cascades for all our meals. It was waiter service and easier to watch what we ate. There was always a full program of activities or you can do your own thing. We thought the prices of drinks were steep at $10 a cocktail plus tax and $5 for decent coffee at Latitudes Starbucks. We were disappointed with the fact that there were no overnight stops in Hawaii as we sailed 6 pm every night out of the 5 days in Hawaii. We would have liked to have gone to a Luau and because Honolulu was our final stop and we had to fly home we weren't able to visit Pearl Harbor, 2 of the main things to visit Hawaii for. As for the ship it was amazing and we would definitely cruise again . The cleanliness and the food plus the facilities were second to none, and the staff amazing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. ... Read More
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. food was exceptional and the nightly shows were a good mix to make everyone happy. our favorite part was the sea days. just miles of blue water, sitting on deck, napping. forced relaxation. would definitely do this trip again. we are a lesbian couple and were concerned about how we would be treated, especially when i dressed in a tux for formal night. at all times we were treated with the best service and respect. highly recommend this cruise line for gay and lesbian travelers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My daughter and I were on the holiday of a lifetime and it included the cruise on the Volendam to Alaska. Our room was surprisingly spacious and had everything in that we needed. The roll call for safety instruction was a long faff but ... Read More
My daughter and I were on the holiday of a lifetime and it included the cruise on the Volendam to Alaska. Our room was surprisingly spacious and had everything in that we needed. The roll call for safety instruction was a long faff but necessary for the trip. The ship was easy to navigate with plans near all the lifts and stairs. We soon found our way around and knew the best places to be. With Irwin and Andreas in the bar on deck 5 who looked after us so well, with Matt, the singer guitarist, who kept us entertained every night after Phil did is quiz. It was our first cruise and so we had nothing to conpare it to but we were taking everything in our holiday stride and loving it. Even the upset of the wifi bill was not going to spoil things for us but luckily it did get sorted for us by the librarian. I must admit that the front desk were quite rude about this but did phone our room later to apologise for comments made and as Iv'e already said nothing was going to spoil this holiday. Holland America do need to look at the Wifi situation - Most places now have free Wifi so come on get your act together. Back to the cruise - we loved the ports of call tho' it's definately best to let the mad rush off first, we had plenty of time to look round each place and enjoyed meeting the locals, Todd in Ketchican was a character. Boarding again was easy and hassle free. We saw humpback and orcas, dolphins and porpoise, sea otters and seals all from the ship. My personal highlight was Glacier Bay, truly a beautiful place and the weather was just as good so set it off beautifully. All our meals were lovely on the Lido deck with all the staff giving us first class service. We did dress up for one evening but decided to stay smart casual for the rest and most people did this. Nobody was out of place and nobody went the other way by being underdressed. Yes there were a few niggles but most were with Holland America themselves and not the ship or crew. Would I go again - You bet I would and I know that my daughter would too. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
After booking the 14-day round-trip cruise (first cruise, first time in Alaska) I became a little nervous after reading reviews on Cruise Critic and wondered if we'd made a mistake. Happily, we did not and will take HAL again for ... Read More
After booking the 14-day round-trip cruise (first cruise, first time in Alaska) I became a little nervous after reading reviews on Cruise Critic and wondered if we'd made a mistake. Happily, we did not and will take HAL again for another cruise. Our stateroom (Verandah deck with balcony) was much more spacious than some reviews had led me to believe--certainly larger than some "boutique" hotel rooms we've stayed in in NYC. Although I've heard that some of the bathrooms need remodeling, ours did not. It was in very good shape, clean and roomy, with countertop and a a shelf below the sink. The in-bathroom hairdryer was old, and I'd brought my own, but a newer model portable hairdryer was in a drawer in the sitting area desk. The sitting area was big enough for my husband and me to sit and read or watch closed-circuit tv without any discomfort. There is only one real outlet, located in the sitting area, but I'd brought a small extension cord and that suited us fine--could charge electronics and use hair dryer all at the same time if necessary. The service was excellent. Our cabin steward was attentive and available. On the first day, we'd asked for fresh fruit which was delivered quickly and everyday thereafter until we asked for deliveries to stop. Ketut was concerned that we would not get enough fruit and so we compromised with every other day deliveries. We alternated between the Rotterdam dining room, where we selected open seating, and the Lido deck, which we used for occasional breakfasts and lunches. We never had trouble being seated, even though we rarely reserved ahead of time, and usually were able to dine alone. Only once did we have to share a table (although we chose to do that some nights) rather than wait for twenty minutes or so. The food was excellent as was the service. Many choices on the MDR menu and we thought as good as the Pinnacle Grill (also excellent) where we ate only once. The waiters were attentive and friendly and we enjoyed talking with them about Indonesia, where most of them were from--even learning some Indonesian words. We alternated between HAL shore excursions and making out own way. Dave's DYEA in Skagway was a private tour that was excellent and, because the weather was not so good, Dave took us further into Canada than we'd originally planned. The HAL excursions were a little pricy, but fine. Whale watching in Haines was particularly exciting and the boat was comfortable and not too rocky. The trip to the Mendenhall Glacier was also fine, although the bus driver left without us to return to the ship, much to our dismay. We were at the stop on time, or a minute or two later--no more--and we saw the bus pulling away, with my wallet and purse on it. A second bus, also from a HAL sponsored tour was leaving a few minutes later and we were able to get on it and the driver radioed so that my purse was at the ship when we arrived. This was the only real down spot on the whole cruise. We loved playing trivia every night, met some great people to team up with and brought home lots of lapel pins to give our grandchildren. Although we had a beverage plan, we did add a little on to it, since my husband loves lemonade which, free in the Lido, had a charge in the dining room and in the bars. Things we weren't so happy with: lots of selling--diamonds, watches, jewelry, perfume. No announcements were made in our cabins and we could have had a lot of free champagne if we'd wanted to sit through a sales pitch. We didn't, but we still had enough free champagne in other venues (the Captain's meeting, for example). We weren't thrilled with the art and, once seeing it, we decided to forego the auction (even though champagne was available there) and buy native art one we were in port and out of the jewelry store/schlock shop atmosphere on the main streets of most towns. By walking a little, we found stores run by locals with much less of the "Made in China/Philippines" tags and were thus able to by souvenirs made by local artists, our preference when traveling. The entertainers were energetic, but I confess to being a little snobbish about entertainment, living near some of the best professionals in the world. So after the first introductory night, introducing us to all the entertainers on the ship, we didn't do the evening performances, preferring instead to sit in the bar. The average age of passengers was well above "senior" level, although there were younger people and a handful of children, but it's not a "party" boat by any means. We were planning to stay in Vancouver for a few days and chose a late disembarkation, which worked out fine, although I gather there was a little delay in Vancouver, which might have inconvenienced some passengers. The disembarkation was smooth--our luggage was waiting for us when we got off the ship and a porter came immediately to help us get our several suitcases through customs and to a cab. No problems there--although next time, I will take the advice of other cruisers and pack a lot less. Finally, in early September, the weather is bound to be wet--we were prepared for it and knew that it would be that way, but couldn't choose another date. So c'est la vie. Layers of clothing with rainproof light coats kept us reasonably dry and warm enough, and I'd recommend the same, no matter what the date. Alaska--beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent--is also wet. In short, it's a trip I'd recommend. We were thoroughly satisfied and will take another cruise (not something we'd planned) and will travel again with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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