August 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage
i'll start with the good as it won't take long.
STATEROOM - first time I've had one so I can't really compare but it seemed very roomy and comfortable. Friends we traveled with who had previous experience liked them too.
CABIN ATTENDANT - Good.
FOOD - Good to excellent.
Now the rest!
SERVICE - Fair to terrible! Free lancing is bogus. You never get the same server and that leads to them not caring how well they do. When you are seated at the same table every night the servers are very conscientious cause they know they are personally responsible for you and your review (AND TIP). Also, almost none of the servers throughout the ship speak any English so communication is near impossible.
BARS - Terrible except for one that is supposed to be off limits unless you pay extra to be in the dining room where the bar is located.
ORGANIZATION - Terrible. Trip started with an NCL shuttle bus driving us around for 45 minutes cause there were too many of their buses at the dock to let us in. That resulted in us being shoved into an extremely overcrowded room where we had to stand in line for nearly an hour before we could get admittance to our stateroom. Finally, we got on the ship and had to wait nearly 20 minutes in line to get an elevator cause access to only one set of 4 or 5 sets of elevators was available for use. To top matters off, when we got to our stateroom, someone had urinated in the bathroom around the toilet and the floor was wet and reeked of urine. It was promptly cleaned after we complained but still didn't speak well for the ship.
OVERALL TRIP - ONE OF THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS I HAVE EVER HAD!!!! i was led to believe we were going to Alaska proper, not just to the Alaskan panhandle which is closer to Seattle than it is to Fairbanks, Anchorage, etc. We were also supposed to see glaciers, not just one measly glacier just outside of Juneau, which is really more a frozen river than what most people expect when an Alaskan glacier is mention. It appeared to be about 20-25 feet thick and had occasional small chunks of ice about twice the size of shopping carts breaking off. I could be a little off on m sizes cause the closest we got to the "glacier" was over 5 miles away! When I asked about getting closer I was told we could take an excursion boat (for $200 each!!!) that would take us closer. What a ripoff! The final blow was the free, so-called "land excursions." They were nothing more than glorified sales pitches for Alaskan diamonds. The streets of each of the three small towns we visited were literally lined with jewelry stores, primarily diamonds. When I say "lined," I'm not exaggerating. I would say that well over half, and probably 2 of 3, buildings were jewelry stores where we were practically ushered in by hawkers telling us of the great deals they had. NOTHING resembling the life style one expects when going to Alaska. By-the-way, the ship was just as bad. The whole main center deck area was one big jewelry store and the television constantly barraged you with jewelry sales pitches. This trip cost over $4000 in total. I have talked to others who took Alaskan cruises (not on NCL) who, for the same price or less, went up into the main part of the Gulf of Alaska and saw real Glaciers and, in some cases, had helicopter excursions to the tops of the glaciers where they could walk on them.
I've said enough. I could probably go on with lesser disappointments but I think you get the idea. Would I go on another Alaskan cruise? Yes, in a heartbeat, but definitely not on NCL! If you are thinking of taking one, carefully check out the itinerary and what's included and STAY AWAY FROM NCL!