Of all the cruises we have taken, this is the one we enjoyed the most. We were able to go to 4 meals in the premium restaurants and thought they were very good. The buffets were very complete and my daughter (who is a picky eater) loved the food and actually gained weight! (For her a good thing).
Room was small, but was fine for us. We liked the walking track and the daycare was excellent.
For a first trip in Alaska, the ports were fine, but I feel no need to visit any of the towns again (with the exception of Victoria).
Exceptional vacation - wonderful ship, customer service, itinerary and options. I was a little worried on the climate with Alaska, but the weather was great and beauty of the landscape would have drowned any remaining anxiety. Definitely will be using Norwegian for cruising in the future and do anticipate another Alaskan adventure.
Beautiful scenery! Easy on/off every day. I also enjoyed the ability to disembark on your own instead of waiting for your color to be called...
All that being said, most cruise lines do the same route and you'll see them in the same port every day (seems like they follow each other, so there are other options).
My only real con is that NCL now has meals for a charge in their complimentary dining rooms. Even Carnival offered lobster tails free of an extra charge. The food on NCL was good (seemed not as good as 2 summers ago on our Mediterranean trip), but not nearly as good as Princess (6 month prior to this trip). The food on Princess was exceptional. I will be choosing Princess for my next one.
Pros: Alaska was beautiful. The people who work on the ship are exceptionally friendly, and there is a lot to do on board.
Cons: Employees working with credit cards and billing need to be informed of policies (especially around using two different credit cards for payment) I spent a couple hours trying to get information and get the proper credit cards used.
As far as the food, I was very disappointed. I had heard that Norwegian was a good cruise for vegans. That's not true. They do take the time to come and place an order with you for food everyday, but you have little to no options to choose from. They don't seem to understand what a vegan is or how to cater to them. We are people who like flavor and variety like any other passenger. We just don't like our food made with animal products. There are numerous options that exist to make a pleasant experience for vegans, and a lot of the food we eat, other passengers would eat as well. Making the choice not to cook corn or oatmeal in milk are just two examples of ways to help us have more variety. Pasta dishes can be vegan, and there are many tofu dishes that you can find recipes for by just googling vegan recipes. Falafels and hummus can also be used. I travel the world and never have a problem finding restaurants that either are vegan or vegetarian or have vegan options. Norwegian and the cruise business in general needs to find its way tot he 21st century. The amount of vegetarians/ vegans in the world is growing quite rapidly. The unpleasant experience I have with the food on board will definitely make me think twice about taking another cruise. We pay as much as anyone else, and we should be given adequate food options. There should be a vegetarian/ vegan section at the buffet for every meal as well as a vegetarian menu with numerous options like the meat one with at least half of those options that can be made vegan. It was clear that Norwegian was taking the time to try and help, but it's not very helpful if they will not take the time to try and understand. I would suggest consulting directly with a vegan chef to assist in creating adequate options on board.
I loved the cruise itself and the beautiful scenery but the staff on the ship could have been much more friendly. I was very shocked by the lack of service from the staff. The specialty dining, exception of Moderno, was slow and very unfriendly. We even had to get up and refill our drinks ourselves on multiple occasions. We did speak the the supervisor and they didn't seem to care any more than the waiters.
Our favorite part of the cruise were the views, and the weather.
Food was pretty good overall, a couple of the specialty places to dine were not worth the money.
Cleanliness of the ship was poor. Our room was full of dust, and our balcony had dirt, debris, and hair on it. Didn't appear to have been cleaned in a few trips.
The worst part was our toilet was broken 5 out of the 7 days we were on the ship. And when we called the first couple days they acted as if we were not using it properly. I had to go get our room attendant and have him come try to flush it so he could call someone and get it resolved. I ended up doing this same thing about 6 times over the next several days. We had 4 people staying in this cabin so not having a toilet, or having to go use one of the public bathroom was very frustrating.
Alaska is beautiful. Scenery was gorgeous. Booked Kayak, and Nature hike/Whale watching excursions. Both were fun and well put together. Food on the Jewel left a lot to be desired. If you are used to eating tv dinners then the food will be fantastic for you. I ate at every non paying restaurant on the ship and was usually given lukewarm, improperly cooked, and under seasoned entrees. I sent a number of them back after ordering medium rare and receiving medium well.
I worked in the service industry for 12 years waiting tables, as a bartender and managing. I understand how difficult the job is and what it takes. While on board the Jewel, I was very specific on food and drink requests. On several occasions, I asked specific questions regarding temperature of meats, ingredients in food and drinks, or accompaniments that were not listed which i would have appreciated. The servers usually responded with an affirmative answer and then proceed to bring me the same luke warm plate that everyone else got, without extra ingredients I had requested, or with ingredients I had asked to be removed. When I asked them about the mistake, they often acted as if this was the first time they had heard the request. For me, there were far too many of these instances over the course of the week.
When I booked this trip I spoke w/ NCL beforehand and priced the trip for myself, my brother, sister in law, and mother. I then spoke to who offered the same deal , + an additional $100. on board credit. When I got to the cruise, the $100. on board credit was nowhere to be found. I called from the ship and they told me they had no record of such an offering. They offered to give me $100. towards my next CRUISE purchase. I told them I would never use to book any travel, especially a cruise, and asked if there was anything else they could do. They said "No". Moral of the story, don't book your trip w/ . You can get the same deal by booking directly w/ NCL.
So this was our first cruise, wasnt sure what ti expect as we heatd good and bad reviews (more good than bad) but i have to say, the whole experience of the cruise from the beginning to the end was awesome! The service from the crew, the amenities the ship offered, the restaurants, the shows and everything in between has been great! I would highly recommend the Alaska cruise and highly recommend this ship. We choose it more so for the free style dining, and the unlimited beverage package that we were offered. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
My agent Brian was extremely helpful and attentive.
The cruise itself was a great experience, the crew was nice and helpful. Food was good. My excursion at Ketchikan was not all that great, I booked it somewhere else but our tour guide was not good at all. So I felt like we wasted our money on that excursion.
The 2 person musical duo "Cover Story" was very entertaining. The female vocalist was very good; the male musician played both piano and guitar. They did popular songs. Our 4 year old granddaughter danced to every number, to the amusement of the audience.
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