kbilleck

kbilleck
Third Mate

Hometown: Waukegan IL
Joined: 12/09/2014
6
Cruises
1
Review
12
Helpful Votes

About kbilleck


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Cruiseline: Norwegian Cruise Line

Cruiseline: Royal Caribbean

Cruiseline: MSC Cruises

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

kbilleck's Past Cruises

Norwegian Jewel

May 2016 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage

Great trip!

This was our 7th cruise - 2nd on NCL - 1st to Alaska.  The ship was beautifully maintained - the staff was helpful and friendly.  The only negative I can say is that the bar staff has gone almost the other way.  It was refreshing to not be bombarded for drinks every time we sat down, but it many cases, we couldn't find anyone to order a drink from.  There has to be a happy medium.  It's not really a complaint, just a comment.  Embarkation was the best I've ever down.  Organization at the ports was fabulous!  We will sail NCL again if the itinerary we are looking for is available.  Being able to eat where and when we want was terrific!  Buffet area needs more seating....each time we were there we wandered for a significant amount of time looking for someplace to sit.

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Carnival Inspiration

January 2015 - Carnival Inspiration to Caribbean

Carnival Miracle

January 2015 - Carnival Miracle to Caribbean - Southern

Explorer of the Seas

January 2015 - Explorer of the Seas to Bermuda

Norway (RETIRED)

January 2015 - Norway (RETIRED) to Caribbean - Western

MSC Divina

November 2014 - MSC Divina to Caribbean - Eastern

Excellent experience on MSC Divina

Loved this cruise!  This was our sixth and probably our best.

The ship was gorgeous and well maintained.   PROS:  The absolute best entertainment on board was the Amsterdam Trio and Luis in the Divina lounge.  Talented and fabulous. The shows were well done and well choreographed, and there was a wide variety of entertaiment - all very well done.  Organization in the ports of call was excellent.  It's nice to sit down and not have someone hawking for drinks every 10 seconds like on Carnival or RCCI.  Only important announcements were made - we didn't hear announcements every 15 minutes like other lines.  They weren't trying to sell something everywhere around the ship.  Yes, they had plenty for sale but it was well contained and not in main guest travel areas.  They didn't have silly games going on poolside everyday.  The food was delicious and plentiful.  I have seen in other reviews that the portions were small.... not true, the portions are normal portions, not Americanized portions.  You can always ask for more.  The choices on the buffet were abundant and there was something different every day.  Rico, Amsterdam Trio (violin, cello and piano) and Luis (piano) were absolutely wonderful with the exception of the "guest" singers that joined Luis - they were awful.  The Trio and Luis played everyday in the Divina lounge from 5:30-late - very entertaining, very relaxing.  We would definitely sail this ship again.

CONS:  Embarkation needs to be way more organized.  We never once say the Maitre'd.  Our waiters' assistant did not understand English.  If you wanted and adults only area it was an additional $10/day which was not spoken of until you were on board.  There was a show in the afternoon we wanted to see, but there was no organization and the show before that one was allowed to tun 15 minutes over which made everything else late.  They advertised a piano bar (LaLune) and while there was a beautiful piano, the performer(s) were karaoke singers with click tracks.  I was looking forward to the piano music in the piano bar, not karaoke.  There are many beautiful pianos around this ship - use them for what there were intended, not as a desk.   Guest services on embarkation day actually kept closing stations while the lines were incredibly long - this isn't really the time to give people breaks.  I found that the crew (officers included) that were walking around the ship did not go out of their way to greet people or say hello.  That could be European culture, but not at all what we're used to.  Sometime it was difficult to get the attention of a bar server, but I'd rather have that than someone asking me every 10 seconds if I want a drink.    Overall..... very will done MSC!

 

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kbilleck's Tips

Norwegian Jewel Norwegian Jewel - Garden Café almost never has enough seating - La Cucina is usually open but pretty far away especially for those with mobility issues. Usually too cold for the Great Outdoors in Alaska especially at breakfast.
Skagway, Alaska - Highly recommend the White Pass Train ride - it's like nothing else you will ever experience
MSC Divina MSC Divina - GO TO THE DIVINA LOUNGE AND LISTEN TO THE AMSTERDAM TRIO IN THE EVENINGS - THEY ARE FABULOUS!

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Recent Activity

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Excellent experience on MSC Divina

added May 7, 2016 cruise on Norwegian Jewel to their profile.

added Skagway, Alaska to their favorites on their profile.

added Explorer of the Seas to their favorites on their profile.

added MSC Cruises to their favorites on their profile.

added Norwegian Cruise Line to their favorites on their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - Great trip!

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - Great trip!

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Jewel"Garden Café almost never has enough seating - La Cucina is usually open but pretty far away especially for those with mobility issues. Usually too cold for the Great Outdoors in Alaska especially at breakfast."

replied to the discussion, Lesson Learned: Tight schedule + bad weather + United Airlines = missed embarkation on the cruiseline forum.