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Old June 6th, 2007, 11:10 PM
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FormulaRacer FormulaRacer is offline
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Default Extensive NCL Pearl Alaska Review May 20-27th, 2007

Name: Richard & Mary
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Occupation: Vice President Investments
Itinerary: 7 Day Alaska Cruise
Ship: NCL Pearl
Date: May 20-27th, 2007


NCL Pearl Cruise to Alaska, May 20th, 2007 Sunday to Sunday

This NCL itinerary was a 7 day voyage of the Inside Passage with ports of call in Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay Cruising, Ketchikan and Victoria B.C. The cruise originated out of Seattle, Washington, and returned to the port terminal in Seattle.

Transportation to the Port from Sea-TacAirport:

There are several ways to get to the pier. NCL has a bus transport system priced at $30.00 per person for the round trip. Taxis are available from Sea-Tac Airport with an average price of $30.00 for the one way trip. Seattle Taxis have a flat rate return from the pier to Sea-Tac for $28.00 plus a current fuel surcharge of $1.50. A taxi will hold 3 people comfortably. Since we stayed overnight in Seattle, before sailing on Sunday we rented a mini van at the Airport via Thrifty Rent a Car between two couples and the cost was $40.00 per couple. The van came in handy for trips to a local restaurant and a stop at the local Safeway to secure some beverages for the cruise. Transportation from the airport to pier and return is plentiful and should not impose any problems for the traveler.

Check-In:

As NCL Platinum Latitudes members, check-in was a breeze and took about 5-7 minutes. Our other traveling couple who was a first time cruiser took about 10-12 minutes to complete. We arrived at the dock early and were cleared for boarding and on the ship by 12:00 PM. Check-in should pose no problem for travelers as NCL has this very well organized.

Saturday May 19th, 2007: We decided to fly into the Seattle area Saturday for a relaxing evening. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near Sea-Tac and dined at a local restaurant called ‘Roasters’ which was very good. Had a great night’s sleep and a leisurely drive to pier on Sunday morning. We arrived at the pier at 11:30 and were on board the Pearl by 12:00 PM.

Sunday: Port of Seattle…..After checking in and boarding the ship, many passengers head for a lunch in the Garden Café ( a large buffet with several food stations were cooks prepare the hot food entrées fresh for each passenger) or Outdoor Café (back on Deck 12). Getting organized in the stateroom after lunch, unpacking, storing clothes and getting to know the ship is the goal for the afternoon. The Muster drill takes place at 3:30PM and the sail away is scheduled for 4:00 PM on the cruise. With weather permitting, passenger gather on the deck for a dramatic view of the Seattle skyline, and the cruising out of Puget Sound. With a party atmosphere and the passengers already enjoying themselves, many try deciding what restaurant they will head off to for the evening dinner. Restaurants open at 5:30 PM, and our choice this night was the Lotus Garden for some Asian Fusion style dining. The Lotus Garden is considered a “specialty restaurant” and the cover charge is $10.00 each. This night our friends who traveled with us joined us, we used our NCL dining coupon for the first night out for a 2 for 1 dinner. The food and service was excellent and we enjoyed watching the table next to us, enjoy their Shaba-Shaba dining experience was the Mongolian hot-pot for cooking their own foods.

After dining, we walked around the ship and settled in for the first welcome aboard show in the massive and beautiful Stardust Theatre for the 9:30 PM show. The show was short (one hour) but fun. After the show most passengers headed for the staterooms or bars for a nightcap and a night of rest.

We suggest to book dinner reservations early, for prime dining times. Otherwise you should have no problems in restaurant seating. Dial 050 for reservations from your stateroom. Be sure to watch the electronic Restaurant Seating Guides that are posted on Deck 6 & 7 to see availability for dining in all restaurants.

Day 1- Monday: Cruising the Pacific Ocean past VancouverIsland…This is a day of cruising the Pacific Ocean on the west side of Vancouver Island. The scenery is awesome and there were plenty of snow covered mountains. The weather was cool with average temps of 55 with some sunshine and smooth waters. After a breakfast in the Garden Café, we went to meet our Concierge Alexander Forbes. Alex was dressed very professional and was very kind with an outstanding personality. He made arrangements for our VIP cruise, starting with an open invitation to Cagney’s Steakhouse for the VIP breakfasts and lunches. All VIP guests can dine in this fine restaurant at no additional costs with VIP status. The hostess checks in each couple on the VIP List and escorts them to a table for a fabulous dining experience. We relaxed and enjoyed the day. About 1:30 PM Alex Forbes the concierge contacted our stateroom with a private call inviting Mary and me to a private dinner with the Captain of the NCL Pearl Sverre Svodsnes. He also kindly extended the invitation to our traveling companions who were on their first cruise. We were instructed to meet in the Spinnaker Lounge for drinks with the other VIP guests and the executive staff then was personally escorted to Le Bistro for dinner. Alex had arranged a ship photographer to take photos of our group with the Captain. We had a table for eight with Mary, myself, our two traveling guests John & Meredith, a travel writer from About.com Angela, a lead dancer from the Jean Ann Ryan Company, Keeva and of course the Captain. We sat at his designated table and had the best of service with our choice of red, or white wines, and excellent food. We found the conversation with the Captain to be very enjoyable. Captain Svodsnes is a well spoken and very intelligent man, we discussed social topics, geopolitics, NCL financials as this was my occupation as a Vice President of Investments with a major Wall Street firm, and he really enjoyed discussing American politics. We all blended together very well and after 2 hours with the Captain we all retreated for the evening. It was truly a special dinner with a special and very fine man, Captain Sverre Svodsnes.

Day 2- Tuesday: Port of call Juneau Alaska …..This day you are cruising to the state capital of Juneau, Alaska. Arrival is about 2:00 PM, and you are docked at a pier. No tenders. Disembarking the ship is a breeze and plenty of buses and vans are waiting at the pier to pick up passenger for scheduled shore excursions or transporting passengers into town. The drop off point is about one mile from the ship at the Mt. Roberts Tramway, and then you can walk the town for a shopping experience. This day we arranged our own excursion for whale watching with Orca Enterprises and Captain Larry of whale watching fame. The group was escorted via a van to the point of launching for the whale watching. It was about a 15 minute ride and we had some great views of the huge Mendenall Glacier. Off to the dock for about three hours on the whale watching boat. I learned quickly that whale watching requires lot of patience. You see the whale blow, then usually surfaces a few times and curl down, tale flips up, then for another 7-8 minutes under water for feeding. We saw several whales and calves next to mothers and it was a grand experience. We returned back to the ship about 7:00 PM. We dined in La Cucina, the Italian restaurant with our guests. La Cucina is very Italian decor, and colorful with a 5 course dinner with an excellent choice for food and service. We all ordered individual brick fired oven pizzas. We also had a complimentary bottle of wine. We then planned for the late show in Stardust at 9:30 PM. There are two shows daily at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM. After the show off to bed and the ship leaves for Skagway our second port of call.

Day 3-Wednesday: port of call Skagway, Alaska……We sailed to Skagway overnight after high winds and some rough seas of 10-12 foot waves. We arrived in Skagway at 8:00 AM. We ate breakfast in Cagney’s and then got ready to leave the ship for some early shopping and then our scheduled train ride on the White Summit Pass Railway at 12:30 PM. The town of Skagway is a historic town with wooden sidewalks styled from the 1890’s. The town main street is about 1 mile long with lots of shops. There were many jewelry stores, and as the Captain stated there is more gold in Skagway now then back in the gold rush days. We highly suggest stopping in those stores owned by Alaskans that offer Alaskan products. Skagway is a city of only 500 people, during the cruise season from May to September over 800,000 passengers stop on cruise ships to the city. We talked to allot of shop owners and were told after the ships leave in September the stores are emptied of their goods and the town becomes isolated with the 500 residents. Skagway has one small grocery store and the Alaskan Shirt Company right off the ship is great place to buy sodas and some snacks for returning to the ship. We boarded the White Pass RR Train at 12:30 PM, but with the NCL Pearl having so many passengers for departure on the train, we were delayed one hour. 16 passenger cars were connected with three diesel locomotives. The train trip was absolutely spectacular with so many snow covered mountains and scenic vistas. The train trip is a photographer’s paradise. The trip 20 miles up and 20 miles back goes slow, and travels up mountain sides, over step drop offs and thru several tunnels.
Once you arrive at the USA/Canada border the engines are reversed for the trip back down the mountain sides. Travelers sit on one side going up, then at the top seats are reversed and the passengers move to the other side of the train car so everyone gets a scenic view. Rail guides speak over the intercom and provide a narration of the trip. Bathrooms are available in each rail car. This is an excursion that you don’t want to miss. We highly recommend the White Summit Railroad. We arrived back at the ship at 7:00PM and got ready for a relaxing dinner in Mamba’s for some Tex-Mex food. When we entered our stateroom, we had a very special invitation from Captain Svodsnes, to join himself and his crew on the Bridge while approaching the Glaciers in Glacier Bay. We were to be on the Bridge at 9:30 AM. This was a very special invitation for 10 passengers. We were very excited about this. Then off to Mambo’s. We had appetizers then we choose the II Popo, selection for two people. It is large skewer with grilled chicken, beef, mushrooms, peppers and lamb. It was very good, and the presentation was very enjoyable. Mamba’s is a no cost restaurant. We highly recommend Mambo’s if you have a desire from some spicy Tex-Mex style foods. This night the main show was Sea Legs by the professional dancers, singers of the Jean Ann Ryan Company. I enjoyed the show, while Mary hit the casino for some slot action. The show was a repeat from our NCL Pearl 9-day Southern Caribbean cruise, but I enjoyed the show anyway.

Day 4- Thursday: Cruising Glacier Bay…..We were up early to get the spectacular views cruising Glacier Bay. We had a pilot and park Ranger board at 6:00 AM for the trip up into Glacier Bay. We had breakfast in Cagney’s once again, and back to the stateroom for the Nikon. We met Alex Forbes our Concierge and the other 8 guests that were invited into the Bridge with Captain Svodsnes and his crew. Up to deck 11, and thru several secure doors, past the cruise director’s stateroom, the hotel director and Captains. Then thru several other highly secure doors into the Bridge. It was awesome. The crew was very serious and the Captain and pilot was busy discussing and navigating the ice flows. We were free to walk about the Bridge, and the views were spectacular over the bow and the sides of ship. The only way to describe the Bridge was ultra high tech. It was like being on the starship Enterprise from a Star Trek movie. All of my photos in the photoshow of Margerie Glacier were taken from the Bridge. We spent 1 ½ hours on the Bridge, navigating close to Margerie Glacier and back out towards John Hopkins Inlet. We felt very special to have the opportunity to be special guests of the Captain as it gave us a great idea of what goes on in the Bridge room and the high tech data and controls for the ships operations. It was simply awesome. The entire day was spent cruising Glacier Bay and the water was like smooth glass. As he headed back down the inlet towards John Hopkins Inlet the Sapphire Princess was slowly making its way towards Margerie Glacier as it had just been in John Hopkins Inlet. The Captain of the Sapphire Princess alerted our Captain of the Pearl that massive ice flows were in the inlet and navigation to John Hopkins Glacier was prohibited. So we went up John Hopkins to the heavy ice flows, and had a dramatic view of Lar plugh Glacier. The ship slowly cruised up to the Glacier and made its 1 ½ knot turn back out into Glacier Bay. For the rest of the day, we cruised back down Glacier Bay heading for Ketchikan our next port of call. As we sailed south out to Glacier Bay dense fog began to cloud the ship, and with no breeze and cold air it was a very weary feeling. As night approached we passed several fishing vessels and late at night we could easily hear the Pearls fog horn blowing. Thursday night we joined in for the Murder Mystery that takes place on Wednesday and Thursday. We all meet in Bliss Lounge where we were handed booklets for the plot, introduced to other passengers and divided into groups of eight each. There were 17 groups split between Summers Palace and Indigo main dining rooms. Once we got to our tables the mystery began and took about 2 hours. Each passenger was assigned the name of a character and each passenger played the role thru out the mystery. If you have the chance to sign up for the murder mystery dinner, I highly suggest doing it. This was our first time dinner in Summers Palace one of the main dining rooms which is beautiful and they offer a 5 course dinner. The food and service was simply outstanding. We did not attend the show in the Stardust that night which was a magician and his wife which we had seen before on our February cruise. We did some gaming until about 11:00 PM and retired for the night as we were scheduled to be in Ketchikan at 6:00 AM.

Day 5- Friday: port of call Ketchikan Alaska……We were docked directly in Ketchikan, Alaska at 6:00 AM…..the ship docks directly at the main pier just 100 feet from the main shopping areas. We were up for breakfast at Cagney’s then off the shop at 8:00 AM for some shopping. The shops in Ketchikan are opened at 7:00 AM to accommodate the cruise ships arriving. We visited several shops that we saw items we would like to get. Since we had an excursion planned for 9:45 AM we did selective shopping and walked back to the main pier by the Pearl where we were picked up by the Island Wings van. We choose to hire a private float plane to take us deep into the mountainous areas and into Misty Fjords. We pre-selected Island Wings. After a 15 minute ride to the airplane we arrived at the docking point for the plane. We waited a short time for the pilot to arrive and pick us up. Once the plane arrived a very attractive blonde pilot emerged and began to load up the party of six passengers. Michelle the owner and pilot of her own company had over 25 years of flying experience. She stated at that she had come to Ketchikan 25 years ago, stayed for 3 months and decided to stay. Some 25 years later she is very successful pilot with her own company. The plane a De Havilland aircraft was pristine and very capable of taking our group. We loaded into the plane and went for one of the best excursions of the cruise. Over waterways, over the Pacific Ocean inlets, over ice covered lakes and snow covered mountains. The scenery was breathtaking and Michelle graciously flew us over mountain peaks and then landed the plane about an hour later into Punch Bowl Lake. The water was smooth as glass. She pulled the plane up to a tiny island about 100’ in diameter, We all got out to stretch the legs and take photos and group photos. It was awesome. I don’t know of any other float planes that would make a stop over. All passengers were provided state of the art headphones with pleasant music and narration of the terrain by Michelle our pilot. Michelle knew every waterway, mountain range and mountain peak, and her expertise made a real difference on this excursion. The float plane trip was about 2 hours total and the highlight of the cruise next to the being on the Bridge with the Captain. Once we arrived back to the City of Ketchikan, we finalized our shopping and back to the ship. All passengers were required to be back on board by 1:30 PM for a 2:00 PM departure. We had lunch in the Garden Café and then relaxed for the rest of the day. Dinner has planned for Indigo another main dining room. The diner for two was excellent with outstanding service and another 5 course dinner. Friday night was the last main show in the Stardust Theatre by the Jean Ann Ryan dancers. The show Garden of the Geisha was spectacular with very colorful oriental costumes, and spectacular aerobatics. The show was the best of the week, and you do not want to miss this performance. We attended the 9:30 PM showing, out at 10:45 PM, back for some gaming action in Bliss and then off to bed.

Day 6-Saturday: Cruising to Victoria, B.C. …..This day we head for Vancouver Island with a late stop at 6:00 PM in Victoria B.C. We ate in Cagney’s for the VIP breakfast and then did some laundering of clothes, since the Pearl has three laundries aboard at no cost to the passenger. You just buy the soaps. The machines were easy to use and very nice. For us the launderette was just down the hall from our stateroom so it made it very convenient for us. We went back to the stateroom and relaxed while the clothes were washing and did some final shopping on board. We invited a couple whom we meet from Salt Lake City to eat a VIP lunch with us in Cagney’s which they really liked the décor and royal treatment provided for the VIP guests. We had a 2:00 PM appointment in Bliss lounge and the bowling alley as Michael Kleverick the Hotel Director made arrangement for complimentary bowling and drinks for a group from Cruisecritic.com. We had 20 people in our group and had a great time bowling and enjoying a complimentary drink. It was a lot of fun to be bowling after so many years. By the afternoon and after bowling it was time to start packing the suitcases as they are required to be out in the hallway by 12:00 AM for ships pickup. So we packed our bags. The ship arrived in Victoria B.C. at 6:00PM and many passengers debarked from the ship for an evening in Victoria. Victoria has a real British flair with a real Parliament Building and the famed Empress Hotel. Many passengers choose to hit the bars and restaurants in Victoria, or make the trip to the beautiful Buchart Gardens to see the flowers. Mary and me, choose to have a last night private dinner for two in Le Bistro compliments of the Latitudes coordinator. We had a complimentary bottle of wine. Since we had dinner with the Captain on Monday and the hostess and Maitre De knew us, the service was impeccable, and the short ribs and beef tenderloin was simply perfect. We had a nice visit with our Butler Amit from our previous cruise and enjoyed the conversation. We ended the dinner with the famed chocolate fondue for two and it was a wonderful evening. With so many passengers off the ship, we felt like the ship was our own, with very few passengers aboard. It was a very pleasant relaxing night. During the day we attended the crew talent show which was very nice. Many members of the crew had some interesting talent either singing, dancing, or comedy routines.

Day 7-Sunday: back to Seattle, Washington…..We arrived back and docked at the pier in Seattle by 6:00 AM. We were given VIP disembarkation, so our bags were off the ship in a special spot in the terminal for pickup, We ate our final VIP breakfast in Cagney’s then meet Michael Kleverick the Hotel Director and he took a small group of 8 up to the Garden Villa Deck 14 for a private showing of the $25,000 per week 3 bedroom suite, the executive suites, private pool areas. The Garden Villa’s are the most expensive suites on the ship and all amenities of VIP passengers are complimentary. Past guests include the a Sheik from Saudi Arabia, Ron Popiel from television fame, Cindy Lauper and Rosie O’Donnell the God-mother of the NCL Pearl. We then left the Garden Villa and disembarked the ship were our bags were placed in the VIP area for pickup. We hailed a cab back to Sea-Tac airport at a flat rate of $28.00 for 2 passengers. NCL offers bus service back to Sea-Tac from the pier for $15.00 each. We boarded our plane for our flight back to New Mexico

Summary: NCL continues to deliver a quality cruise at economical pricing. The food selection and restaurant choices were excellent. Staff service continues to be OUTSTANDING. The ship was always clean, and ship maintenance is ongoing. Staterooms are ample, and cruisers considering this cruise should consult the NCL website on deck plans for square footage of staterooms. While we choose to cruise early in the season, the early booking gave the cruiser the opportunity to see spectacular scenery with snow capped mountains along the way, and into Alaska. As the Alaska cruise season extends into June, July and August, with warmer temperatures much of the snow pack will have melted, so booking early in the season is highly recommended. This was a spectacular cruise with the ultimate of VIP treatment. The executive staff and Captain personally went out of their way to provide us VIP service. They even extended our VIP service to our guests that we invited to take the cruise, even though it was there first cruise. They could have not been treated better, and most likely will not get this royal treatment on future cruises as they had the best of the best. The ships staff was excellent, food was fantastic. Our concierge Alexander Forbes was the best of best and really knows how to please and take care of their special guests and passengers.

There are plenty of activities on board during the day, from bowling, bingo, art auctions, trivia games, Martini and Margarita clinics and wine tasting seminars. There is always the Promenade Deck 7 for just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. The pools are filled with water, and there are several hot tubs available on Deck 12 for your comfort. The Fitness Center on Deck 11 has lots of state of the art equipment and dynamic views. The SPA is the outstanding and offer daily specials, for the ladies. The Sport Deck 13 has a large basketball/tennis court area, and rock climbing is located at the rear of the ship on Deck 14. The library and card rooms are large and offer some very quiet space for the guests. The Crystal Atrium houses the largest big screen television in the world and is awesome to view. The Java Café serves fresh hot coffee selections, fruit smoothies and of course drinks like sodas, and alcoholic beverages. On board shops are well designed and offer a wide variety of merchandise from high end jewelry to basic sundry items and gift selections. There are several areas for lounging, with the Bliss Lounge being the finest in atmosphere and décor. The Stardust Theatre is large and seats about 1000 passengers and is well designed with two levels Deck 6 and Deck 7 for entry points. The Casino offers slots, table games, and many card games. The Casino offers several types of gaming tournaments and there is plenty of action for the gamer. The restaurants offer a wide selection from causal service to 5 star services. You will never go hungry on this cruise. Room service is also available. Be sure to call ahead and plan your delivery times.

Whether you travel as a VIP guest or just a regular passenger, I am convinced the NCL staff and executive staff will do everything possible to make your cruise experience the best. The new slogan S.T.Y.L.E. is a motto that they stand by 100%. As Platinum members we have built an unprecedented loyalty to NCL. We will sail on their ships whenever we can. To us there is nothing that compares to NCL.

The new dress code “dress up or not” was extremely popular with the passengers. The addition of “freestyle dining” was also very popular as NCL gives you the passenger the opportunity to dine when you want, were you want. The selections for dining go a long way for choices. The selection of excursions are plentiful, but be sure to sign up early. I can’t see how any cruiser can have a bad time on this cruise. This cruise is highly recommended.

An extensive photoshow of our Alaskan cruise via the NCL Pearl can be viewed at:

www.photoshow.com/members/dziak2

We enjoyed the cruise, hope you enjoyed the review and be sure to view the photoshow.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 06:49 AM
snorklin'barb snorklin'barb is offline
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Hi Richard,
Loved reading your review after reading Mary's. Nice to see your vantage points but it seems you both agree that it was one outstanding cruise. I can only imagine that with so many people remembering you from the Feb. cruise, it was even better than before!

Pls let us NCL cruisers know how your Princess cruise goes, and, of course, we look forward to hearing about your future NCL adventures.

We took the Sun a couple of years ago on the very last voyage of the season - very cold, rainy and not possible to go to Tracy Arm. We haven't yet done Glacier Bay but that would be our preference next time. Only good thing about Sept. is everything in those stores is on sale big time!
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Old June 7th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Thumbs up thanks!

Extensive, is right! Thanks for all the great info! You've made us even more excited about our upcoming cruise on the Pearl only 10 days away!

And as soon as I have some time, I'll be viewing your slide show of pictures!
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Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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Old June 7th, 2007, 12:49 PM
SweetpeaOne SweetpeaOne is offline
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Very nice review. Sounds like you had a great time.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Hey Rick! Thanks so much for posting this fabulous review! I have a question for you, as we are on the 6/24 sailing.

We're in an AD cabin, and I know you were in an AE. How did they go about with weekly reservations? Was there a form to fill out in your penthouse? Or did the concierge just ask for any reservations?

I'll keep reading this long review, and I'm sure I may have more questions.

Thanks again for putting so much time, energy and thought into this review. I can't wait to check out your slideshow when I get home from work tonight!
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Old June 7th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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Star7228:

I would take advantage of the concierge service. Your concierge will be Alexander Forbes, who is a young man, and EXTREMELY professional. I must say he was terrific to me and Mary. He can get you "what you want" and "when you want" for dining reservations. He will be up in the Star Bar at his private desk from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM daily Deck 13, next to Cagneys. He is your link to excellent service and a great cruise experience. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself, and keep in touch with him. We were very impressed with his "go out of the way" attitude, that on the last day we took care of him very well, with a very handsome gratutity. I just added his gratuity to my on board bill. In addition, he extended the VIP treatment to our neighbors, who were our guests and never cruised before. They had the experience of a lifetime. I was very thankful to Alex for that gesture.

He will be your main link for your dining reservations. If you can decide what times, what days, and what venue (restaurant), Alex will make the reservations for you in advance.

I am sure that you will have a great trip, just by starting with the AD cabin. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. This was our second voyage on the NCL Pearl in three months and I feel like I know the ship very well.

Richard
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Old June 8th, 2007, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaRacer View Post
Star7228:

I would take advantage of the concierge service. Your concierge will be Alexander Forbes, who is a young man, and EXTREMELY professional. I must say he was terrific to me and Mary. He can get you "what you want" and "when you want" for dining reservations. He will be up in the Star Bar at his private desk from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM daily Deck 13, next to Cagneys. He is your link to excellent service and a great cruise experience. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself, and keep in touch with him. We were very impressed with his "go out of the way" attitude, that on the last day we took care of him very well, with a very handsome gratutity. I just added his gratuity to my on board bill. In addition, he extended the VIP treatment to our neighbors, who were our guests and never cruised before. They had the experience of a lifetime. I was very thankful to Alex for that gesture.

He will be your main link for your dining reservations. If you can decide what times, what days, and what venue (restaurant), Alex will make the reservations for you in advance.

I am sure that you will have a great trip, just by starting with the AD cabin. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. This was our second voyage on the NCL Pearl in three months and I feel like I know the ship very well.

Richard
Thanks so much for the tips, Richard! I'll make sure to touch base with him right away. He sounds like a great person to work with!
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Old June 8th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by star7228 View Post
Hey Rick! Thanks so much for posting this fabulous review! I have a question for you, as we are on the 6/24 sailing.

We're in an AD cabin, and I know you were in an AE. How did they go about with weekly reservations? Was there a form to fill out in your penthouse? Or did the concierge just ask for any reservations?
Hello, star7228! Last year we had a letter in our penthouse asking us if we'd like to make reservations at any of the speciality restaurants with a form at the bottom of the letter to fill out or it said we could call the concierge with our requests. Of course, they could be doing it differently this year.

Can you believe it's almost time (FINALLY) for our cruises to Alaska?!?!! -Sandy-
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #9  
Old June 8th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Default Question for Richard

We met Alex last year on our cruise to Alaska on the Star while in an AE Penthouse, although we didn't use his services very much. He did get us in early to the Chocoholic Buffet so we could take pictures of the "masterpieces" before being consumed by the passengers and also into one of the speciality restaurants on short notice. Alex is a very personable person and kept in touch with us to see if we needed anything.

We'll be on the June 17th cruise to Alaska and are looking forward to seeing Alex once again. We just got an upsell to a Deluxe Owner's Suite and are eagerly anticipating the VIP treatment once again!

My question for you, Richard, is do you know how they select who gets to tour the Bridge? My husband would love to do this!

Thanks again for your great review and fabulous slide show!
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #10  
Old June 8th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Brunolvr:

I think we got invited from our private dinner with the Captain. Our group really got along well with him. We had some great conversations with him, on many topics. Especially politics, and I think he was impressed with my knowledge on Star Cruise Lines the parent of NCL and I knew the financials very well as I studied the quarterly an annual reports before going on the Pearl. We discussed NCLA and the Hawaiian operations, and he really likes discussing American politics. After 2 hours, he remarked that he truely enjoyed the dinner and the vast conversation. We saw him several other times during the cruise, always saying hello to each other. We also got a personal thank you card from him, asking us to join him on the repositioning cruise back to Miami via the Panama Canal. Plus several cards for complimentary wines, that he signed personally.

Your most important contact will be Alex, and since you are in the Owners Suite, that may pull alot of weight. I am sure that your husband would enjoy the being on the bridge very much. It was awesome to see the controls, where the captain and pilot direct the ship, and watch just how serious the Bridge crew is. It was awesome and certainly one the best highlights of the cruise.

Richard
Las Cruces, New Mexico
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  #11  
Old June 8th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Brunolvr:

Just another thought ....Mary just stated, we are also Platinum Latitudes members and I do believe that there were only 2 couples on the ship as Platinum which is NCL's highest honors passenger. So that may have helped us also. All I know is, if hubby can get the private Bridge tour, he will be smiling ear to ear, and have memories forever. And really it wasn't a tour, was a 1 1/2 hours to watch, listen and see what goes on in the environment. We walked from one side of the Bridge to other with total freedom. There was plenty of TRUST from the Captain with our select group. I am glad I took the photos, because many would not have believed that we were actually on the Bridge with the Captain and his very special group of Officers.
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  #12  
Old June 8th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Default Thanks, Richard!

Thanks for the advice, Richard. We'll put the "bug" in Alex's ear of hubby's interest.

It sure would make for an unforgettable cruise with a visit to the Bridge! Each cruise with NCL that we go on we think it can't get any better, but that hasn't been the case!

Last year on the Star we splurged with an AE overlooking the wake thinking we'd have spectacular views of Glacier Bay, but a cruise critic friend had upsold to the Garden Villa at the last minute and invited us up there for Glacier Bay viewing. Fantastic views! Also, one evening we were invited to a fabulous dinner with the Food & Beverage Director, Andre Paez. We had the VIP treatment all the way! It's easy to get spoiled!

This year we thought once again we'd enjoy views of Glacier Bay from our AE aft penthouse only to get offered an upsell to the Deluxe Owner's Suite with the huge private balcony and hot-tub! We are so excited! Only 9 more days!

Thanks again, Richard! You've been most helpful!
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #13  
Old June 8th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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Brunolvr:

Looks like to me you and your hubby may be headed for the best cruise ever. On the Pearl in Feb 2007, the 9 Day So Caribbean, we had the AE #9500 Penthouse at the front of ship, and we thought we were in heaven. This last trip to Alaska with the VIP treatment was even better, even though we had #9020 balcony. It was awesome, and can't see why your cruise won't be any different.
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  #14  
Old June 8th, 2007, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaRacer View Post
Brunolvr:

Looks like to me you and your hubby may be headed for the best cruise ever. On the Pearl in Feb 2007, the 9 Day So Caribbean, we had the AE #9500 Penthouse at the front of ship, and we thought we were in heaven. This last trip to Alaska with the VIP treatment was even better, even though we had #9020 balcony. It was awesome, and can't see why your cruise won't be any different.
Oh, I'm sure we'll have a great cruise, Richard! We're great Alaskan fans and love the peace and tranquility and beauty that we encounter when cruising there.

So, did you take up the Captain's offer for the repositioning cruise back to Miami via the Panama Canal? Sounds delightful to me!!

Have a good weekend and thanks again for all the help & info! -Sandy-
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #15  
Old June 9th, 2007, 12:03 AM
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Brunolvr:

We are not sure about the Panama Canal repositioning cruise. We did recieve a personal email from Captain Svodsnes this afternoon and he will leave the Pearl this coming Sunday for vacation time then return on August 19th, 2007. So when you sail in June you will have a different Captain of the Pearl.

We have booked a cruise for 14 days to Hawaii from L.A. and back on Dec 3rd, 2007, so if we can fit in the Panama Canal cruise that would be great, BUT the date conflicts with my racing schedule, and racing my Formula car comes first.

Richard
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  #16  
Old June 9th, 2007, 01:43 AM
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whatawonderfulworld whatawonderfulworld is offline
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Talking Terrific review and followup posts!

We are booked on the repositioning Panama Canal cruise this September. It will be our first cruise on the Pearl.

Thank you for taking the time to write such a concise review...I know it takes alot of time to put the words down to "paper." I cannot read enough reviews on this ship!Not one bad review comes to mind. I still go back and read shoreguy's blog from the Pearl's inaugural across the Pond last December.

Again, thank you for sharing your experiences.


Ciao all!

W A W W
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  #17  
Old June 9th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaRacer View Post
Brunolvr:

We are not sure about the Panama Canal repositioning cruise. We did recieve a personal email from Captain Svodsnes this afternoon and he will leave the Pearl this coming Sunday for vacation time then return on August 19th, 2007. So when you sail in June you will have a different Captain of the Pearl.

We have booked a cruise for 14 days to Hawaii from L.A. and back on Dec 3rd, 2007, so if we can fit in the Panama Canal cruise that would be great, BUT the date conflicts with my racing schedule, and racing my Formula car comes first.

Richard
Richard, we were sorry to hear that we'll be having a different Captain for our cruise on June 17th. I wonder who it will be? We had Captain Sovdsnes last year on the Star to Alaska.
__________________
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #18  
Old June 10th, 2007, 12:55 PM
avalanche2 avalanche2 is offline
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Default Vip Services

What is the minimum cabin which I need to get all of the VIP services?
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  #19  
Old June 10th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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What is the minimum cabin which I need to get all of the VIP services?
On the Pearl it would be an AE
__________________
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"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."





Jewel to Alaska 5/31/2014 (H4 14512)
Pearl to Alaska 9/15/2013 (S4 14006)
Pride of America, Hawaii 9/10/2011 (SB 12502)
Pearl to Alaska 5/30/2010 (A3 14006)
Star to Alaska 5/30/2009 (AB 11030)
Pearl to Alaska 5/25/2008 (AA 9004)
Pearl to Alaska 6/17/2007 (A2 15500)
Star to Alaska 5/28/2006 (AE 8170)
Star to Alaska 6/05/2005 (AF 11556)
Spirit to Alaska 7/03/2004 (BD 9032)
Sky to Alaska 9/13/2003 (BD 9215)
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  #20  
Old June 10th, 2007, 11:08 PM
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Default VIP Treatment vs regular treatment

Vip service depends on a multiple of different factors. When we were on the Dream in Oct 2007, we got the VIP service as Platinum members. We had a standard ocean view room. Private dinner with Captain Mogic. Special treats delivered daily to our stateroom and lots of complimentary wines at all dinners.

On the NCL Pearl on Feb 2nd, 2007 we were in a Penthouse Suite #9500 as NCL Platinum members the highest NCL Latitudes honors. We got the royal treatment with butler and concierge service. It was great. Never paid for any wines at dinner, super service from cabin stewards, and special treats delivered daily to our stateroom.

On the NCL Pearl to Alaska May 20th, 2007 we were in stateroom 9020 a standard balcony suite. We were once again on board as Platinum Lattitude members, their highest honors. We introduced ourselves to the concierge Alex Forbes on day one, and asked for the VIP service as we had email from NCL ship executives stating that they would once again treat us royally for the vast number of cruises and frequent cruises on NCL. The NCL Pearl May 20th was our third in 9 months. Alex took care of us in great detail, with the invitation on Monday to dine privately with Captain Sverre Svodsnes. It was a great dinner, very friendly conversation on many topics, including social, American politics, (which he loves) and the financials of Star Cruise Lines and the NCL divisions. We discussed the Hawaiian operations and he was pleasently surprised at my vast knowledge on the financial structure of NCL and NCLA. That was my expertise. We got along so well, that when seeing the Captain during the week, he always remembered us and stopped to converse. On Wednesday the day before Glacier Bay, we recieved a very special invitation to accompnay the Captain and his Officers and pilot on the Bridge while entering the ice flows and glaciers. There were about 8 people invited. It was very special, lasted about 1 1/2 hours and he stated that he wanted a very select group to see the behind the scenes of the Bridge. It was awesome and very special considering it was the Bridge open to us to walk freely about. We had the VIP treatment for breakfast and lunch in Cagney's, wines every night complimentary, treats delivered daily to our cabin. A personal note written by the Captain directly to us thanking us for the good times and an invitation to join him once again on the repositioning cruise from Seattle to Miami via the Panama Canal.

So the VIP treatment certainly varies on the passengers, the staterooms, and the conditions that you are personally under. I have a very outgoing personallity, remember names and faces very well, and will converse with anyone and made a lot of friends reference the executive staff. In addition we made it our goal to converse and say hello to the staff members that we met in Feb 2007 on the 9 day So Caribbean cruise. We asked for specific waiters and Maitre De's, who also remembered us and remembered special conversations. When we ate in Indigo in Feb, I meet a Maitre De who overheard a conversation about my auto racing. He jumped into the conversation and when we ate in La Cucina on the May 20th cruise, Peter from Jamacia was the Maitre de and as soon as I saw him we I mentioned the autoracing and it was instant friendship. So alot of variables effect VIP treatment vs non VIP treatment and being a regular passenger.

It just proves that patronizing a cruise company for mulitple cruises, being a good and respectful passenger to the crew and being friendly, businesslike and professional to all the staff is very important. I strongly feel it was all of those factors that awarded us the super VIP treatment on our Alaska cruise. It was simply awesome and as the Captain would say "smashing". The Captain, gave us his business card with private email address. We recently wrote to him. He replied within one hour and stated that he was off the ship today June 10th and would return on August 19th, as he takes his vacation. It's communication like that, that really is VIP treatment.

Have fun. VIP treatment or not. The cruise experience is what you make it. Be friendly, shake the excutives hands and say hello when you see them. Treat them like VIP's and sooner or later you will become your own VIP. To us NCL is the greatest. They are professional and we have NEVER had a bad cruise experience.
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