June 2014 - Norwegian Pearl to Alaska - Inside Passage
The cruise is one experience my family of 17 and I will not soon forget. We appreciated the Freestyle dining, however we did find that some staff were less than congenial - almost as if we as guests in the restaurant were an imposition. "Blue Lagoon" - staff were basically friendly without creating an air of akward dining experience. "Summer Palace" - the best food choices were found here, staff were very friendly and provided excellent service. "Garden Cafe" - decent food, however it was very disappointing to not see more seafood as the food available is food that we could get just about anywhere - nothing special.
"Indigo" - again, great food choices were found here, however, staff were very rude and provided poor service. One asia male service person in particular absolutely took the cake; permantly making us avoid Indigo due to his extreme rudeness and the poor service!! What we encounted was a person that clearly felt we were an absolute imposition for being there in the first place, he did not like answering any questions, refused to let us order in the manner we preferred (sharing appetizers), he removed things from our table without so much as one word to us - including the removal of one of our plates when she was not done with her meal, refused to let us share an entree`, refused to allow us to order several deserts to share among us - I am not sure what his culture teaches him or his expectations, as an American I do not expect to be treated as an imposition, not have choices in how we want to eat or share food - this was not a "Freestyle" dining experience in any way shape or form, we needed to eat and that meal was more torture and abuse than anything else.
Our early purchase provided a special dinner for two per cabin. We were given LaCucina as our one and only choice, which I guess is fine as we like Italian, however a choice would have been nice. A bottle of wine was included with dinner, which we choose from the list provided. The service was good as was the food. We unfortunately were told after our meal that we were responsible for the cost of the bottle of wine as a bottle was provided in our room. It was our understanding that wine was provided with the meal, which was redundant as we all had the "Ultimate Beverage" drink package, we would have ordered wine under this - yet we were still charged. I can understand that the cruise line needs to be accountable for overhead, cost of running the ship, etc., however, I cannot understand being charged for something that should have fallen under our UB package - this is double charging and felt very underhanded.
"Ultimate Beverage" drink package was a nice option, however we would have liked to have the option to not have this daily. In addition, the literature that we reviewed prior to our cruise indicated that we would also receive a 'souveiner cup' which we were then told on the ship at the time we were purchasing our package that this is not correct. When we showed the staff the literature from the internet, they completely disregarded it and said they were sorry. It ended there and they did not attempt to speak with anyone in authority to remedy this situation. Also, sadly this did not include wine coolers or drinks such as this as they were not available on the ship at all.
The entertainment was so-so and nothing really impressed us or wowed us as we expected that it would. The live entertainment not very entertaining and some of the 'game shows' were ran in a way that participants were not picked in a fair manner. The magician was great for a school program but a very disappointing waste of time for anyone other than younger school age children. Bud Anderson was fantastic and we would have gladly attended several more of his shows. Overall, a large majority of the entertainment did not seem geared for adults and was rather geared for families with younger children. We will definitely consider if there will be children as part of the cruise in the future as it clearly has an impact on the entertainment.
To have an option to allow announcements in your room would have been very helpful, perhaps throught the phone system or something!! There was not clear information about room service, not learning that we had this as a dining option until the last few days as we did not have the little folder that should have been in our room. We felt that as first time cruisers, we were somewhat floundering for a few days as options and information was not truly disseminated very well.
Alaska was beautiful, however the first and only cruise experience has left us a little undecided as well as wondering if our experience would have been better on a different cruise line.