May 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage
I wish I was able to give two and a half stars but the system will not let me.
This was our second cruise with NCL, the first being the S.S. Norway in 2001. Since then we have always cruised with Carnival. We were disappointed with NCL on this cruise mainly because of the service and the food. Our cabin steward was great but with few exceptions the rest of the crew was certainly not what I expected. Very few would even acknowledge you with the “good morning” or “good afternoon”. On numerous occasions, while walking in the Garden Café, I would be cut off by a bus boy pushing a cart or just walking in front of me. It is as if the passenger did not exist. I don’t know if this was a crew of new hires or what but they certainly lacked in customer service skills.
Food in the buffet was about the quality you would get at a Golden Corral or similar buffet restaurants. We generally ate breakfast and lunch there. Most nights we ate dinner in Tsar’s dining room. Food was alright but service was slow and the wait staff overworked, our server acted as waiter, bus boy, and drink waiter. We ate the last night in Azur dining room, service was much better and the food was better. Although both are listed as main dining rooms they have different menus so check both before you make a decision on where to eat. It seems that NCL is trying to force you to buy its speciality dinners.
The Alaska and the ship were great. Only had one day of rain in Juneau otherwise temps in the 60s and sunny skies.
Did shore excursions to Mendenhall Glacier, the train in Skagway and Buchart Gardens. We liked the fact that we were to have 7 hours in Victoria however the disembarking was a night mare coordinated by the NCL cruise staff. People holding shore excursion tickets where directed to meet in the theater on deck 7 with the gangplanks on deck 4 amidships. NCL then shut off all but one elevator to Deck 4 rerserving it for people with disabilities. There were a number of people in wheel chairs and scooters already on Deck 7. As shore excursions were called, everyone was directed into one stairwell and one hallway to get off with all the other non shore excursion passengers. Took us almost 45 minutes to get off and half way though the cruise director comes on the PA and says the rush is over and disembarking is going great, this was received with a great number of responses from all of us still stuck in the stair well. Our three and half hour excursion stretched in almost 6 hours. At Skagway, NCL removed one of the gangplanks and we had to wait 45 minutes in line to reboard the ship.
All of the other passengers that we spoke with had the same complaints about the service