Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Experience
1 cruise (first)

Review
1

Helpful Votes
2

2 out of 5

Alaska cruise for our 50th Wedding Anniversary

Sail Date: May 14, 2016

Reviewed: 6 months ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Inside

My favorite part of the cruise was the up close look at the glacier in the fjord. The ship moved slowly and got close enough to see all the beauty of the magnificent glacier and surrounding terrain. I also enjoyed the Sudoku challenge, which I won!

 

My wife and I had a lot of fun playing the Newly Wed/Not so Newly Wed game, after which, hundreds of people throughout the entire week (it seemed) recognized us and commented on our participation in that game. The video of it played many times on the TV in our cabin (and for everyone on the cruise to watch), but when we asked to buy a DVD copy of it to take home, we were told it was not available for purchase. This was discouraging, as it was one of the highlights of our cruise and we had hoped to take it home to share with family and friends

 

My least favorite parts of the cruise were:

When they announced the name/s of passengers who they wanted to call the front desk (perhaps to verify if they had not boarded the ship after a port of call), the announcer was not speaking clear English, and the passenger/s names were very hard to understand. This happened not once or twice, but many, many times throughout the cruise on several occasions. Each time the announcement was made for the same passenger/s name/s, the same announcer with a strong European accent, made the announcement. Obviously, if the passenger/s weren't responding, it could have been that their names were so distorted by the announcer's accent, that a different announcer without an accent might have made a successful attempt to alert the passenger/s in question. 

 

Additionally, the Karaoke system and process was very unprofessional. No song books were provided. The singers were expected to suggest a song they wanted to sing, and it was looked up in the computer to see if it was available. It is hard to pick a song out of the air, and this hindered many people from singing. We heard a lot of grumbling about it among many passengers that we were seated nearby in the Karaoke room. Plus the last night Karaoke "Challenge Championship" was a crock, people put in names for family and friends to sing who did not even desire to sing. They drew out 5 names to be the "champion singers" and 4 of them hadn't put their own names in. This resulted in the people who wanted to sing, not even having an opportunity to sing. The so called "Championship Contest" was a total joke, and left a lot of singers really frustrated. 

 

Also, the Karaoke (which was supposed to be the highlight of our family's cruise, because another friend told us that Norwegian Cruises are really great at Karaoke systems) segments were only one hour, sometimes one and a half hours long. Just when the singers were getting warmed up and a large crowd of audience settled in, they announced that the Karaoke segment was over then brought up a scheduled singing group, and most of the Karaoke crowd left. I would suggest that when passengers are having a great time singing Karaoke AND there is a large crowd enjoying it and buying drinks and having a great time, that the activity director make a judgement decision to cancel the scheduled music group, and keep the Karaoke event up and running for at least another hour. Karaoke is all about the passengers' opportunity to be the star on stage. Some of us rarely get that opportunity. My daughter cruised last year on Carnival and they offered Karaoke in one of their clubs from 8 pm to 0100 am, as long as there were at least 3 or 4 singers. Even when there was very little audience, it gave the singers a chance to gain confidence and get used to the sound system. Our daughter got us all excited for a great Karaoke experience on the cruise, then it turned out to be a big let down. I hope you will take this into consideration for your future cruises. We are looking at booking our Caribbean cruise this fall with Carnival Cruise line, because we know we can count on a very wonderful Karaoke experience. We do not gamble and we do not drink alcohol, so much of what the cruise offers, we don't participate in. But Karaoke was one thing we looked forward to, and Norwegian Cruise line really let us down. Thank you for your consideration. I would love to be alerted if Norwegian decides to make positive changes to your Karaoke events in the future. Everything else was wonderful. Our dining service and cabin service was superb. The food was excellent and all the staff were friendly except the Karaoke hosts and hostesses who were a bit rude about our struggle to "think of a song to sing" and when they cut us off after just a short time of singing. 

 

We really loved and appreciated the hand sanitizing staff in the buffet areas "Washy Washy makes you happy!" \

 

We have some great memories. Thank you.

Cabin / Stateroom
Everything was wonderful, and Eddy Spaghetti took great care of us! The towel animals were so cute! And a new one every night!
Embarkation and Disembarkation
I have to mention an incident that we had during disembarkation that isn't at all the fault of Norwegian Cruise line, but perhaps NCL could work toward preventing it from happening in the future. Our luggage was taken off the ship at the pier 66 as planned. We had Orange tags, so we went to the section where the orange tag luggage was placed. There were four of us in our family all looking for our luggage, with the Pier "helper guy" ready with the cart to take it all out to our car (picking us up) for us. In our weariness and anxiety to get out quickly, we accidentally grabbed one suitcase that was identical to one of ours, but which did not belong to us. The helper guy didn't not suggest double checking names on the luggage tags, but just stacked every piece of luggage that we pointed to, and took our word for it that those were ours. He carted them out to our awaiting ride, stacked them in the back of the car for us, accepted our tip of a few dollars, and off we went. Being that we live 250 miles East of Seattle, we headed out on our drive home, and did not even notice that we had a wrong piece of luggage until we got home and saw the name on the tag which was not ours. We immediately tried calling NCL to get help in contacting the owner of the luggage, but customer service was closed until the following Monday (this was on a Saturday). Through facebook and our daughter's help, we finally located the owner, and drove the luggage 250 miles back over the mountains to Seattle and returned it to him before he flew to his home in New York. I am merely suggesting an implemented system perhaps of luggage tag tickets or some sort of verification at a check point where luggage is distributed to passengers at the end of disembarkation. I realize again that NCL did not participate in any of the process that failed us, but perhaps NCL could create a system that could help prevent this sort of issue. If someone wanted to, it appears, they could point out 10 pieces of luggage and have them loaded onto a cart and taken to their car and just drive away with them. This seems to be a very flawed system, and I'm suggesting careful review of this procedure for passengers in the future. Thank you for your consideration.
Ship Quality
This was our first cruise. Everything was spotless and clean, and the crew were cleaning something every minute. Though some of the carpets looked a little bit faded, it did not matter to us. We didn't really know what to expect except for what our friends and family told us about a cruise, but we felt like we were living in a King's Palace the entire time.
Destinations and Excursions
Onboard Activities
Karaoke was unorganized. No song books to look at, had to pick songs out of our head to ask to sing, Karaoke time was cut short or only scheduled for one hour to one and a half hour slots, and shut down just as soon as singers got warmed up, even when a large audience was there watching. Last night "Karaoke Championship event" was a joke, they drew out 5 names from a bucket to sing, and most names were put in by friends and family, for people who didn't even want to sing. This was supposed to be the highlight of the cruise for us, since our family does not gamble or drink alcohol. Also we couldn't get bath robes when we asked for them, to wear to and from the swimming pool, so we never did go swimming or in the hot tubs.
Children's Programs
We did not bring any children with us on this cruise, but from time to time we talked with families who were with their children, and when we asked them if they were having fun, the answer was always "YES!" so I want to give a good review, because obviously the Children's programs are very good.
Entertainment
The Circus acrobat show (can't remember the name exactly) was absolutely amazing! All of the participants were so talented and the music and lights and special effects were just mind blowing, we actually forgot that we were even on a ship! We saw this show on an evening when we were sailing in very rough waters, the boat was rocking back and forth very hard, but the show went on as if the boat was on calm seas. We are very impressed with the talent and skill of all the dancers and singers and performers!
Service and Staff
Food and Dining
I was blown away by the wonderful food choices every night in the main dining room and the other dining places. Excellent service every single moment! Budi and Rodwin were our favorites, we will never forget them and how special they made us feel as we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the ship. They served us as if we were royalty, and we are just ordinary people who hardly ever even go to restaurants during our every day lives. We loved that we could go to one of the restaurants 24/7 to get food. Nice at 0400 am when I couldn't sleep!
Seattle, Washington
Ketchikan, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
This was a very short amount of time that we were docked in Juneau, we would have liked to have spent more time there, but what we saw was wonderful to see.
Cruise Sawyer Glacier
The rough water conditions prevented us from seeing the Sawyer Glacier, we went another route and the alternate glacier we saw was wonderful. It was really nice that the NCL captain and crew had a back up plan in this situation.
Skagway, Alaska
This was our favorite! We bought nearly all our souvenirs in Skagway, at a place that offered everything we wanted, and really steep discounted prices. We got all our t shirts for family members for just $4.99 each. I can't remember the name of the store, but it was great and very organized with lots to choose from.
Victoria, British Columbia
Beautiful to see from the ship, we chose not to get off at this port since we live in WA and we have been to Victoria many times before. But it was a nice view from the deck where we ate our lunch.

Tip

If you plan to sing Karaoke, bring a prepared list of songs with you that you'd like to sing, because they do not provide any song lists or song books during their Karaoke events. They also have limited song selections in their computer system to choose from, so have your long list with you.



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