Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

deb1835

Review of NCL Star Alaska 5-30-04

Recommended Posts

Saturday 5/29/04

We arrived in Seattle on Saturday evening and stayed at the Warwick Hotel. This hotel is conveniently located in downtown Seattle. After dropping off our bags in the room, we headed down to the pier to see if our ship was in! NCL Spirit was still docked and we got a good look at her. I heard that it didn't leave port until about 9:00 p.m.

 

We headed back to the hotel to grab a quick bite to eat and ran out of energy quick so we ended our day early!

 

Sunday 5/30/04

I woke up at the crack of dawn and needed a quick puff on the balcony. I stuck my head out the door and looked towards Puget Sound and what did I see at the end of the street, our ship coming in! After taking a pic, we quickly got showered, dressed and fed and walked down to the pier and got the up close view of our new home for the week!

 

We then walked over to Pike Place and took a look around. I wished I had our camera to take some pictures. I've never seen so many beautiful flowers in one place.

 

We headed back to the hotel and grabbed our luggage to head down to the pier. We used the Warwick's complimentary shuttle to the pier. We arrived at the terminal about 11:30, waited in a short line to drop off our luggage (only took 5 minutes), then waited in another line to board. I believe NCL started boarding about noon as that's when the line seemed to start moving.

 

We spent the afternoon unpacking and exploring the ship. The ship did not sail until approx. 6:00 p.m. We decided not to attend the Sail Away Deck BBQ, opting instead to eat in Versailles. I like being waited on! We had a delicious dinner in the dining room. We ate quite a few meals in this dining room as it is well laid out and the service was impeccable.

It was also quiter than the Aqua restaurant (more about that in Friday's review).

 

After dinner, it was time to start our cruise on the right note, so we headed to our appointments at the spa for a facial and massage. Great way to start relaxing!

 

We spent the rest of the evening going around to the different show areas on the ship.

 

Note: We missed the beginning of the Welcome Aboard show and wished we had gotten there earlier. The Cruise Director, Kieron Buffery, sings at the beginning of the show and we caught the end of it. He has a wonderful personality and voice and shouldn't be missed. We were not as impressed with the comic and walked out after 5 minutes.

 

Monday 5/31/04

 

Again went to Versailles for breakfast, couldn't get enough of this place! We went to the casino for the "Spin to Win" free pull on the slot machine but found out that it wasn't work. NCL was handing out free drink coupons to compensate. Nice touch.

 

We then headed to the Spinnaker Lounge for the free card bingo that was put in our room. Of course we didn't win but just being in that room is the best! We found ourselves in this room throughout the trip to take in the 180 degree view. This room was made for the Alaska intinerary!

 

The only problem was that we were out in the open ocean that day and this room is in front of the ship making it a little rocky. Well needless to say, there were quite a few people taking those little chewable pills, including myself! We went out in the open ocean only once more after this day and that was on Friday when we left Ketchikan. I also learned by then to stay out of the lounge if it was rocky.

 

We stopped for a quick bite for lunch at the Market Cafe. This area is very crowded almost all of the time and quite the nuthouse. The other side of the buffet is dedicated to La Trattoria so it makes it all the more cramped. We were not at all impressed with the food there and would only get something to eat if we were desperate. If you have the extar time, go to Versaille or Blue Lagoon for fish and chips or a burger.

 

Our Cruise Critic meeting was at 2:00 so we headed up to the Star Bar. This was the perfect place to meet as it is more intimate than the Spinnaker Lounge and few people.

 

I was greeted by NJR and her husband who knew exactly who I was when I came in. We were soon joined by kadcad and his wife, and ndficoop. We were also joined by some of the staff, Keiron Buffery (Cruise Director), Robert Brand (Food & Beverage Director) and Hotel Director (sorry can't remember his name). The woman that scheduled the meeting for NJR was also there but I did not catch her name.

 

We sat around and talked for quite a while and got a lot of insight into their jobs and what is involved in the running of a cruise ship. We also talked about ourselves and our experiences. We sat and talked for 2 hours but could have stayed there all night!

 

I am so grateful that I was able to attend to meet everyone! This is part of what makes cruising so fun, being able to meet so many wonderful people! Our family ran into NJR every day for the rest of the cruise and it was nice to be able to talk about the adventures of our day.

 

We ate dinner again in Versailles and went to the show in the Stardust Theater. The show was called Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music Of The Night featuring the Jean Ann Ryan Company. We enjoyed this show and then headed up to the Spinnaker Lounge for a performance by the Norwegian Star Showband and Kieron. The band was terrific and Kieron can really belt out a tune!

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
icon_cool.gifDeb1835: You are so nice to be posting a review already!!! Thanks so much. As you know there are many future Star cruisers waiting to hear about the first voyage to Alaska. We hope there are other installments coming our way! Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be on the Star July 4th. Its our first cruise with NCL. Other than the casino and Cagney's, Were there any other upgrades or improvements?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuesday 6/1/04

 

It was announced that we would be in port in Juneau from 12-10:00 p.m. so we were pretty excited that we would get to spend some extra time walking around Juneau. The staff said that we would be tendering from 12:00 to 2:30 and then would dock after the NCL Spirit left. We decided to take the tender off of the ship. We actually got into port a little later than was announced and we able to tender off about 1:30.

 

We walked around a few stores and then went to the Mt. Roberts tramway building to catch a shuttle back to the ship. This was about 2:30. The ship was not docked yet and there were people waiting for a shuttle, any shuttle! People said they were standing there since they tendered off, thinking that there tours scheduled for 2:15 would pick them up there. A shuttle showed up about 2:40 and we went back to the dock.

 

Once the ship was docked, everyone started to pour off of the ship. It was mass chaos! There were staff there holding about several floppy signs a piece and trying to direct people. Tours ended up running about an hour to an hour and a half behind schedule and everyone was quite frustrated. Of course then it started showering to add to the excitement.

 

We finally got our tour about 4:15 and we were off the Mendenhall Glacier. We enjoyed the Glacier and then went to the Rainforest Gardens. Do not waste your precious time in port on this part of the tour. There was a small area of gardens and then we were driven up into the woods on golf carts. Big deal! We should have just done the glacier, then we would have had time to walk around more in the quaint city of Juneau. Hopefully, some day we'll get back there.

 

Hopefully, NCL will have this port thing ironed out in time for future cruises. We did not complain when we got back on the ship as I think they probably had enough people telling them what they thought. It was not the best start for the shore excursion program but we made the best of what we had.

 

We decided to go back on the ship after the tour around 7:30 to eat dinner. We didn't want to take the chance and try to catch a shuttle as we didn't know if it was running any smoother than earlier in the afternoon. Plus we were tired and hungry! Again we ate in Versailles and were fed well.

 

Wednesday 6/2/04

 

I woke up early Wednesday morning at looked out our window to some beautiful scenery! We were sailing down the channel leading to Skagway and it was lined by waterfall clad mountains. This is the way to get up in the morning, sitting on the windowsill with a cup of fresh brewed coffee in my hand taking in the views!

 

We docked on time in this port and had the White Pass train tour scheduled for 8:20 a.m. We got off of the ship and with a short work, were boarded onto the train. Be prepared as it is extremely windy! We had a beautiful day for the train trip with sunshine and temps in the upper 50's. I took a lot of pictures on the trip and believe this is a must do!

 

When we got off of the train we fought the wind back to the ship. We wanted to get back on and have a nice lunch before heading back into town to shop. We ended up waiting in line for a half hour to get back on. There were so many people that came off of the train and for some reason it was taking the ship's staf some time to process people through. Then they decided to disembark some handicapped guests from the embarking staircase. I'm not sure why they did this as the disembarking staircase was just as tough to navigate plus there was a narrow gangway that also had to be crossed. More frustration after our fiasco yesterday in Juneau! Again we just tried to make the best of a bad situation.

 

Just a note here: as we were waiting to get back on board, we noticed that the where the stars and ribbons were painted on the ship, some of it got scraped off from the side of the pier. We had disembarked on an upper deck and as the tide rose the gangway changed to a lower deck. Thus part of the paint job was ruined. We noticed this on the other side of the ship also when we were in Victoria but are not sure where it happened.

 

We ate our lunch in Versailles. I was a little disappointed as my mother and her husband decided not to go back into town with us to shop. They are in there late 60's and did not want to stand out in the extreme wind again waiting to board. I tried to talk her into going as I only thought the line situation was complicated by the train letting off but there was no convincing her. My mother has cruised about a dozen times and has never seen these types of things happening on port days. Other cruise lines gather the tours in the theater then diembarks them in a more orderly fashion. Just a thought for NCL.

 

My husband and I went off into town to explore and really enjoyed our afternoon in Skagway. We decided that night to eat in La Trattoria. The food was delicious! I had Carpaccio, Minestrone, Caesar salad, chicken parmesan and tiramisu. My mother also ate their and Endless Summer on other nights and really enjoyed their meals. The only restaurant that none of us ate at was Ginza/SoHo so I'm not sure about those.

 

We also got to watch the helicopters fly in and out for tours.

 

We went to the theater that evening to see It's Fame featuring the Jean Ann Ryan Company. Good performances by this company. We then went off to the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed show. I love watching this and if you miss it is always replayed on the tv. Just a riot with the questions and answers. Plus as the show's happening you get to watch the scenery going by outside! It is great that it is lighter later up north and you can pack more into the day.

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is great - thanks for posting - several of us were anxiously awaiting to hear how things went! icon_biggrin.gif

Wondering about Cagney's Steak House - is there a charge for eating there, or is it one included with the regular restaurants?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
icon_biggrin.gif Deb1835: You said that you mother ate in endless summer. Was'nt this turned into a tex-mex tapas restaurant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IF You are on a ship tour where do you meet for we have a 5pm tour in juneau for gold panning and salmon bake. In SKAGWAY we have a tour thru lunch so I don't think we will go back aboard ship till after we look around town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cagney's Steakhouse has a $20 cover charge. We ate there Thursday night and it was excellent. I had marinated shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and filet mignon. Worth every penny.

 

It is still called Endless Summer but menu is now Tex-Mex.

 

Littleboy, as I said hopefully NCL will have some other system in place when going to Juneau. IMHO, they should not have tendered off anyone. That is where the confusion started. We were not given thorough info as to what we were supposed to do once we got ashore. The tours ultimately met in the parking lot just off of the dock but it is not a very big area when 2,000 plus people are getting off of a ship.

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really surprised that this happened as we have sailed NCL twice,with mostly tendering and tours did meet at different lounges throughout the ship. We sailed on the Norway and the Sun. I hope they do get the snags worked out. For the most part, I'm sure because this was the first time for the Star, there was so much chaos. Thanks, we've been axiously awaiting a report. My other question was did you not sail the inside passage the way the NCL map showed since you were in open ocean? It's too bad that they couldn't have worked out a way to not have two NCL ships in the same port the same day. Even though the Spirit leaves at 2, it makes a mess with the Star now arriving before 2.

Thanks, Luanne

 

Norwegian Star June 20,2004

 

[This message was edited by Luanne on 06-07-04 at 04:45 PM.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luanne, it showed on the little map that it was inside passage the whole trip but this was not to be. We were in open ocean all day Monday and from late afternoon Friday until late afternoon Saturday making for a rocky trip and some sea sickness.

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Deb. I normally don't get seasick but I might bring something this time just in case.

 

Luanne

 

Norwegian Star June 20,2004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't either but I think being in the lounge created mine!

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
icon_smile.gifDeb: thanks for scanning the daiilies for us. It's very thoughtful. I'm glad to hear you had a great time and the cruise was great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the Spirit the first week it sailed (May 15) and it's just "great" to see that they haven't gotten Juneau figured out yet! What is it with NCL and Juneau?

 

But I'm glad you had a nice cruise. I did too, despite all of the problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deb, Thankyou for taking the time to post your review so quickly. We really appreciate it!

 

NCL Star 6/27/04

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deb, thank you, thank you for the review. I'm printing it up now to read at my leisure. I can't wait to find out everything you did. Cathy

 

bandc.gif

 

 

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=2211ff&cdt=2004;06;27;11;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600

 

Until our **STAR** search

Seattle to Alaska on NCL Star

June 27, 2004

 

Fantasy 12/25/03

Inspiration 4/13/03

NCL Majesty 12/27/02

Jubilee 3/23/02

Norwegian Sea 11/23/01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like the web address also i am sure once I see the daily papers a lot of my questions will be answered. if you could email me them my address is dbel6872@aol.com

thankyou for posting so soon after you get home and I will be looking forwarding in reading your review of the rest of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What room were you in? It sounds like you were in a cabin w/ a window and not a balcony. Thanks for giving us your review thus far.

 

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=800080&cdt=2004;08;08;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

NCL Star 8/8/2004

NCL Norway 2002

Carnival Triumph 2000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in room 8168 with a picture window. I don't like heights so a balcony wasn't for me.

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your review.

 

Our family reunion will be sailing June 20th.

 

Can you email me your FreeStyle Daily and/or phot web pages? tschwab@aol.com

 

Thanks on behalf of our entire family. We appreciate your efforts. icon_cool.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your great review. We (our party of 16 people) will be sailing on the Star July 25. We have been waiting for the first review. Thank you again.

 

Questions: How was embarkation? Seems like it didn't take too long.

 

Where are your Freestyle Dailies posted?

 

Was Monday night the "formal Night"?

 

How was disembarkation?

 

Thank you so much for your great review. We really appreciate it. We have been waiting but certainly didn't expect somebody to be so kind as to post a review the very next day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are through Wednesday now and we need...More!! More!! More!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

 

Seriously, it's been a joy to read...thank you so much for posting so quickly upon your return. Can't wait to read the balance!! It sounds like me and the Spinnaker Lounge will probably become good friends!! Ha!!

 

12Cruise

 

Norwegian Star 06-27-04

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday 6/3/04

 

We awoke Thursday morning to a gorgeous day! Plenty of sunshine and very comfortable temps for glacier viewing. The park rangers boarded the ship before 8:00 a.m. They made announcements all morning long, giving us information on everything from the history of Glacier Bay to the sighting of brown bear mother and cub.

 

The captain took us into Johns Hopkins inlet to view the glacier there. We ran around the ship all morning long to take it all in. There is nothing more awe inspiring than going out on the top deck and having the mountains towering over the ship.

 

Make sure you go out on deck when you're in Glacier Bay so that you can have your picture taken against this beautiful backdrop. It is absolutely breathtaking. We had a picture taken against the Johns Hopkins Glacier. The picture is printed as is and also super-imposed on a Glacier Bay/NCL Star picture with a little history of glacier bay on the left. I felt bad for people that didn't go out on deck for this opportunity. I didn't hear any announcement made or see anything in the daily that they were taking pictures out there.

 

I must say that Glacier Bay was the absolute highlight of the trip and I am glad we picked the ship that includes it. You don't even have to pay for a tour and get to see Margerie Glacier calving. Priceless!

 

For dinner that evening we ate at Cagney's Steakhouse. This has a $20 cover charge but it is worth every penny. I had marinated shrimp cokctail, crab cakes with aoili mayonnaise, and filet mignon. I had sinful chocolate obsession for dessert and boy was I stuffed! I made the most of my $20 dollars though!

 

We skipped the show that night as we were starting to get tired from all the late evenings!

 

Just a note here (before I forget to mention it):

 

The crew of the Star were excellent and we were greeted everyday with a "Good Morning, Mum" or "Have a nice day in port". They would ask about our day and it was refreshing to know that they were genuinely interested. This intinerary was new for them too and you would see them gazing out of the windows or out on deck to get the close up.

 

In the dining rooms, the wait staff could not do enough to attend to our needs. I think they were even slightly offended when I ordered "lightly"!

 

From the dining rooms to the buffet to the room stewards: a big standing ovation and thunderous applause - you made our vacation one to remember! Thank you!

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying my best to post as much info as I can as I know the next crew sails on the 13th. I am just starting to scan the dailys in now and hope to have them complete by Wednesday night. Unfortunately I have to go back to work tomorrow!

 

Embarkation went very smoothly. Disembarkation went even quicker. We were scheduled to get off at 8:30 a.m. but it didn't happen until around 8:45. People who had flights before noon were getting nervous, including us (11:45)! Once we were let off of the ship it took less than 20 minutes to get through everything - showing id's, passports, customs and retrieving bags and we were off to the airport.

 

Monday night was formal night but people dressed anywhere from formal down to jeans every night of the cruise.

 

STAR gazing in Alaska

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=008080&cdt=2004;5;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

NCL Star 5/30/04

Carnival Destiny 4/02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...