We chose this itinerary to experience a repositioning cruise. For that reason, I found the entire cruise enjoyable because we had several sea days in which to relax. Can't say that I would do this again because Petropavlovsk and Hoonah were big disappointments. The Japan ports were the best!
5 out of 5
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The facilities are holding up well. However the quality of food seems to have diminished from past cruises. I would rate Moderno as mediocre. The one big attraction used to be a side dish of fried plantain bananas, but those have been replaced by fried yucca. Might as well have been spelled "yuck-a" because they were tasteless. After 20 days at sea, our occasional buffet indulgence reminded me of a school cafeteria. The staff working in the buffet have a thankless job, but interaction with them made the food tolerable.
3 out of 5
Our group likes to participate in activities. The cruise director and staff did their best to provide enjoyable activities. It was too cold to have any activities in the pool area.
5 out of 5
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Service rendered by "most" of the staff was top-notch. The hotel director and secretary were always mingling with the crowd, a good way to get feedback which, if improvement was warranted, we would see it immediately. The Executive Housekeeper and Assistant Executive Housekeeper went above and beyond to ensure we were treated like royalty. I'm quite certain other guests were treated well, but those two gentlemen made sure we'll remember them for setting the hospitality bar very high.
4 out of 5
I'm a stickler for cleanliness, and when I see something that needs attention (like lack of paper towels in the restroom) I don't hesitate to make it known to somebody. Immediately, a phone call is made to remedy the situation. Since the passengers are the eyes and ears of management, they appreciate our constructive comments. I'm told the Jewel is going in for refurbishing in September or October... it's time to replace the carpets in the staterooms.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Go around and learn what's available on the ship. Engage crewmembers in conversation -- most of them enjoy that, and they appreciate being recognized for their efforts. As for specialty restaurants, those are worth a one-time try, but I'm not a big fan anymore because the quality of food has gone down over the years. I think NCL's cost-cutting measures have gone too far!!!
If left up to me, I would avoid this port altogether, but the ship had to refuel. There was nothing attractive about this stop: the pavements are uneven and the area immediately outside the port looked haggard, tired, and unwelcoming. There was a building next to the port gate that had a big "INFORMATION" sign, but there was no one to be found. Inside this big barn of an ugly building, there was one merchant selling his expensive wares. Unfortunately, some people we talked to who had purchased excursions were somewhat disappointed.
The port was very nice, but the gravel streets are hard on the feet. We took a $5 round-trip shuttle to downtown, and all we can show for that is pictures of two churches and a big laundromat which was bigger in size than the churches. I think that this town will eventually grow and be developed like the other major cities.
We were glad to come home to a sunny day! However, the port traffic is still as atrocius as before. Police try to keep the traffic moving in the pick-up area, but it was obvious that congestion is going to be a steady problem.
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