September 2016 - Norwegian Pearl to Alaska - Inside Passage
Alaska and the Inside Passage was the best part and the reason for the trip but we specifically chose Norwegian because of our experience with their ship out of Honolulu that sails to 4 of the Islands. The Pearl was disappointing in several ways. We were STRONGLY steered to order a wine that was one of the priciest, condescended to when we discussed alternatives. Neither were we offered the wine package. We found out about the wine package by accident when talking with a bartender in the Garden Cafe and was very pleased with the variety offered, with the Zabaco Zinfindel, though highly marked up in price, was an excellent, tasty wine. Wake-up calls were not by phone. One was not done and the second was a soft knock at the door that had we still been asleep, would not have heard and in both instances could've missed our tour. In fact, we were late for one tour because there was no overhead announcement that the ship had been cleared and we could disembark and this affected many people. I had called the Operator to see when we could disembark and was told we could not as the ship had not yet been cleared and it would be announced. The Operator was rude.Thankfully; the tour operator , SOUTHEAST TOURS,in Skagway was able to accommodate us several hours later and they were wonderful. The food in general was good but the real star in the buffet and other eating venues is the staff, except the wine steward in the Indigo.The wait and bus staff are simply wonderful. Friendly, accommodating and efficient. Eugene B. and Mary Grace C. were stand-outs.
We disembarked (ended our trip) in Victoria instead of Seattle and had discussed this with Norwegian before our trip and received a letter (not e-mail) stating this was allowed and what steps to take. When I checked with Guest services 2 days before Victoria to make sure all was in order the problems really began and I was given FOUR different sets of instructions but not before the first Guest Rep said they had no record of this. Then although the LETTER of Disembarkation STATED staff would assist us getting to the gangway, TWICE, I was told that they did not do that and it wasn't until I told them that I was reading from the letter, they GRUDGINGLY accommodated us. This sort of going back and forth on the phone; down at Guest Services , was very time consuming and frustrating .We were not the only passengers to disembark at Victoria and their experience seemed very similar to ours. Was this rudeness and run-around because we were in one of the least expensive cabins or lack of consistent protocol and poor implementation/ education on the staff's and their managers' part? And BTW; the inside cabin, though small, was perfectly fine. Because the weather can be cold and rainy this time of year we felt no need to have a Balcony or ocean view like in Hawaii and the Mediterranean. So, Alaska was wonderful. The wait and bus staff wonderful. Inside cabin perfectly fine. Guest services~ pretty poor. It was very surprising to see how dirty the back cushions in the booths were in the Garden Cafe. Last but not least; nightly entertainment was excellent . Heads and shoulders above Celebrity Cruise Line.