CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by Dr johnny Gayton Alaska April 25, 2009

I purchased an Alaskan cruise from L.A. to Vancouver through Delta. We arrived for the cruise around 2:30. All of the porters had left. Despite having a 9 year old and a 12 year old handicapped daughter, we had to take all of our luggage on board ourselves. No one offered to help. There were plenty of cruise ship employees watching our struggle, but none offering to help us out.

The next disappointment was to learn that there were no programs for tweens and our children would have to be with the toddlers. The youth counselors also told us that the Nintendo Wii was reserved for the teens, so my children were crushed. Of course, the ad about the two-story video screen did not apply to the Norwegian Star. The kids had brought their laptop to spend time on the internet. Of course we found out that the nominal fee for WiFi was rather outrageous, which prevented them from using their laptop.

BTW, our car was broken into in downtown Vancouver and all of their electronics, including the laptop, were stolen. NCL should warn its passengers about downtown Vancouver and theft. It turns out that it is the number one area in North America for burglarizing cars.

The 3 days at sea were uneventful, but we had to be with the kids the entire time due to the lack of tween programs.

We kept hearing announcements about booking your excursion through NCL due to the guarantee and protection. We booked the Juneau Salmon Bake and glacier tour through NCL. Here is a recap of our experience:

  1. The bus left late.
  2. It was hot on the bus, but the air conditioning did not work. Numerous people complained to the driver.
  3. We sat on the bus for over 20 minutes after the glacier departure time. Again, no air conditioning. BTW, when my children went to get on the correct bus, the driver would not let them on. She proclaimed that she did not have any children on the bus. When we assured her that they were indeed with us, she said they must have been so quiet that she did not know they were there.
  4. The trip to the salmon bake was without air conditioning.
  5. The salmon bake was a disappointment. There was a line to get a container containing a paltry amount of clam chowder. The buffet food quality was poor. The promised ribs never materialized. After a long wait, the salmon was dry and had a crunchy sugar sauce. None of us ate the food. The water in the bathroom was so cold that it was painful.
  6. Nancy complained to the staff and a nice young man named Chris took us to McDonald's, where I fed the kids. He took our cabin numbers and said that they would reimburse us for the bake.
  7. When no reimbursement arrived, Nancy complained to the front desk staff. They told her to return the next morning and speak to the excursion director. When she arrived he was not there. She gave the details to one of the ladies who said that we would hear something that day. When we had not heard anything by the next morning, Nancy again complained and was told that she would hear by noon. I knew then that the excursion department was not going to do anything. Sure enough, when the letter arrived it basically said that we were not entitled to any reimbursement because we left the excursion early. Of course, I was dealing with three hungry people, two of which were children who were not going to eat the food at the salmon bake.

Ketchikan went fine, as did most of the rest of the cruise. The service in the main restaurant was pretty slow, but the service in the specialty restaurants was excellent.

Our steward was very helpful and pleasant. Sarah in the fitness facility was very knowledgeable and as nice as could be. The fitness juice bar person was also responsible for the ice cream bar, and that created some long lines. The cruise staff and director could not have been nicer on the cruise. The entertainment was outstanding.

In conclusion, an overall nice cruise that gave us a bad taste in our mouth because of the excursion.

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