CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star Alaska July 31, 2005

I was with a group of 30, including my mom and 2 brothers who flew to Seatttle with me. I'm in a wheelchair and we hired a handicap accessible shuttle which we had a wait quite a while for.

We got to the dock and it was a madhouse. It took almost 2 hours just to check in. One nice touch was whenever a worker saw me in my chair they brought me and my family to the front of the line.

Once onboard, my mom and I went to our handicap accessible room with a balcony and I was instantly disappointed. I had asked someone at NCL if the sliding glass door had a lip and I was told that it did not. It DID - 5 inches high. Thank goodness my brothers were there to get me onto the balcony. Once I was there I had a great view through the glass walls.

We loved free-style dining! We could eat whenever we wanted. The 4 of us went immediately to the Blue Lagoon for Fish & Chips but I wasn't impressed. Everything was greasy and the room smelled the same. I never went back but my brothers did.

My party choose the eat together 4 nights. We 1st ate at the Versailles and it took over an hour to seat 1/2 of our group. Then it took forever to get our food but my Beef Wellington was excellent.

Another night we ate at La Trattoria. The food was hit and miss. Mine and my mom's wasn't that great but my brothers enjoyed their dinners.

Next, we ate at the Auqa. The food was wonderful and the service was excellent. We talked to our servers and they were fun. My brother flirted with one and she said her husband was a chef in the restaurant. He didn't believe her so she brought her husband out. He was very funny and we ended up talking to them as the restaurant was closing.

Then we went to Endless Summer and that was a disappointment. The service took forever and I had a chicken enchilada which had peppers and onions in it. I wish that they had mentioned it in the description of the food.

Most times, we ate at the Market Cafe. It was convenient but the food was hit and miss. The glass walls were very much appreciated so we could eat while looking at the ocean. I suggest getting a soda card. It was $40 which is steep but better than a lot of ice with soda in a very small glass.

Our 1st port was Juneau and disembarkment was crowded but fairly smooth. I was pleasantly surprised at the accessibility of the city. Mendenhall Glacier was a minor disappointment - prettier in pics. The Mt. Roberts Tramway, to me, was also a disappointment. Expensive for what's there. As I got back on the ship, there was a dropoff at the top of the ramp. The guy looked at me as if to say "What are you going to do?" I just looked at him (it was 'supposed' to be accessible, after all). He waved some guys over and they helped get the chair onboard.

Our 2nd port was Skagway. Disembarkment went smoothly again. We had an excursion on the White Pass Railway and that was fun. Totally accessible, the workers were pleasant and our tour guide was very funny. It was a little drizzly so parts of it were foggy. Overall a great experience.

That afternoon, the Captain announced that we weren't going to Glacier Bay the next day because of "mechanical difficulties". My brother heard later that there were 7 ships in the area so they held a lottery and we lost. Only 5 ships a day are allowed into Glacier Bay. The Captain said they'd reimburse each cabin $200 for the inconvienence. Not per person, per CABIN. Needless to say, there were a lot of angry people. I will NEVER be able to get back to Alaska so not being able to go to Glacier Bay REALLY pissed me off.

Instead, we went to Sitka. They used tenders which were useless to me, being in a wheelchair. I sat in the Market Cafe while my party went onshore. Luckily, there's nothing there so they were back fairly soon. We sat on our balcony and saw a couple whales surface. That was cool! That night, while at the Karaoke contest in the Carousel Nightclub, someone said, "Whales!" I went outside with several dozen people and was just in time to see at least 3 dozen swimming by. It was an awesome sight! I stayed out for over an hour and saw several stragglers.

Our last port was Victoria, B.C. Everyone tried to get off all at once. They should've staggered the departures. We didn't get off til after 7 and our tour to Butchart Gardens was to start at 6:30. I had to get on a handicap accessible bus but my mom couldn't accompany me. I met up with her at the Gardens but by then 10,000 people were there and it was getting dark. The lighting was a joke. They should've skipped S(h)itka and gotten to Victoria at 6 am instead of 6 pm. We had to be back by 11:30 so were only able to be see the gardens for an hour before we had to start back to the buses.

We docked in Seattle at 6 am the next morning and we had hoped to enjoy a leisurely breakfast but they had us off the ship at 8:45 am.

I went to 2 shows. The tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber's music was wonderful! The 2nd show was a tribute to Elton John. He was funny but sounded more like Rod Stewart than Elton John.

Don't get me wrong, I 'did' have a good time. Our balcony was wonderful to sit on and getting together with our group was fun. But not going to Glacier bay was a MAJOR disappointment.

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