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NCL STAR to ALASKA - 7/3 sailing

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Just got back from our first cruise to Alaska (2nd time with NCL/ 5th time cruiser).

Overall I would highly recommend this itinerary and ship to anyone planning to go to Alaska.

 

I will provide details later - but my key ratings are:

 

 

EMBARKATION
- A++

 

PORTS
- B
(you must plan for excursions or you will be very disappointed in the towns themselves)

CABIN & SERVICE
- A++ ( we had balcony, starboard side, 11th fwd)

FOOD & SERVICE
- B to A++(only in speciality restaraunts)

ENTERTAINMENT
- B/B+

AT SEA DAYS
- B

ROUTE
- A

EXCURSIONS
- A++

TEEN PROGRAMS
- B-/C+

CRUISE DIRECTOR
- B (boring)

DISEMBARKATION
- A++

 

I will add more detail as I get unpacked and back into a routine here at home!!!

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Just got back from our first cruise to Alaska (2nd time with NCL/ 5th time cruiser).

Overall I would highly recommend this itinerary and ship to anyone planning to go to Alaska.

 

I will provide details later - but my key ratings are:

 

 

EMBARKATION
- A++

 

PORTS
- B
(you must plan for excursions or you will be very disappointed in the towns themselves)

CABIN & SERVICE
- A++ ( we had balcony, starboard side, 11th fwd)

FOOD & SERVICE
- B to A++(only in speciality restaraunts)

ENTERTAINMENT
- B/B+

AT SEA DAYS
- B

ROUTE
- A

EXCURSIONS
- A++

TEEN PROGRAMS
- B-/C+

CRUISE DIRECTOR
- B (boring)

DISEMBARKATION
- A++

 

I will add more detail as I get unpacked and back into a routine here at home!!!

Looks like you had a pretty good time! How did you rate the weather? The only one I would disagree with is "route" - i'd give it a "C" (only because we didn't cruise on the east side of vancouver island).

 

I'm anxiously awaiting more detail! But I understand how you're back to "reality" now and all that goes with it.

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I see that you gave the cruise director a "C". I sailed on the Star the week before, and the cruise director Simon took ill after the 3rd day. The Assist. CD took over (Candi), and did a fine job. Maybe if Simon was back on the job, he was still not feeling too well. Poor guy :(

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I was on the same sailing. I have to agree with the Kids Club - actually, I'd give it a C-. My daugther really had no interest in attending after the first day. She was in the 10-12 group and they 'shared' the teen area. When the 10-12 group was using it, the 13+'s could not. They would group around the entrance and taunt the kids when they left or when using the restrooms until it was their time in the center.

 

Simon was kinda boring.... Nice to hear I am not alone in that feeling.

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EMBARKATION - A++

This was the most seamless embarkation we have ever had.

Got there around 11:00, checked in our bags, waited on a short line to go upstairs to check into boat.

Waited briefly in a very nicely setup waiting area until they started letting guests on at 11:30

Got straight to our room, meet our stewards, went to lunch, walked around the boat

Bags arrived sometime between 3:30 - 4:30 at our room.

What a delightful way to start off our cruise!

NCL gets extermely hiugh marks for this process!!!!

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PORTS - B

 

The critical message to be passed along on ports is this:

YOU MUST PLAN TO DO SOMETHING WHEN IN PORT - either a purchased excursion or a private excursion you handle yourself.

The ports themselves, with the notable exception of Victoria, are small, mostly main street setups with lots of tourist gift shops and in one particular case, Juneau - pretty depressing.Skagway and Ketchikan were much more quaint, retained some of the 'historical' main street feel

The ports were generally well spaced out, I suppose if NCL wanted they could figure out how to stay in Victoria longer - -but then again it is an Alaska cruise, not a Canadian cruise - - but more time in Victoria would definitely be worth their time - lots to do there: orca watching trips , great museum, great places to eat, spectacular park, etc.....

 

CABIN & SERVICE- A++ ( we had balcony, starboard side, 11th fwd)

 

Cabin was well set up. Lots of room for luggage and clothes.

My son stayed in the room with us, and it had a great heavy curtain to pull over to give us all some privacy. Bathrooms were well appointed. Water pressure and temperature always met expectations.Rooms were well insulated for sound - I never did hear a peep from neighbors and could never hear anyone in the halls (including the announcements (arghhh) - TV had great reception - - if you are traveling with kids and you want to , the TV in our room could have accomodated a personal DVD player hookup - which my son readily brought to my attention as I told him he could not take one with us.

You will have to bring your own DVD's tho - since the onboard cinema only had adult movies - -on rainy days at sea, it might be useful for some families to note.

 

FOOD & SERVICE - B to A++(only in speciality restaraunts)

 

Well, the buffet in the Market Cafe was about what you would expect - average to below average fare - the breakfast items were ok if you were picky you could find something - -

The BBQ when set up by the pool was good, not great - but the ribs were passable. Burgers et al were ok as well.

 

Specialty restaraunts were very good - -I am not a steak lover (my family is) - but Cagney's was outstanding - Le Bistro was a close second, SOHO was good as well - - La Trattoria had standard italian fare, nothing exceptional, probably better than your local pizza or family joint, Endless Summer was not great, but the sangria was awesome! My family enjoyed the all you can eat SUSHI for $10 lunch one day

 

Desserts everywhere were very average - expecpt for Le Bistro - for you cholocate lovers they had a chocolate fondue setup - - frutis and pastires to be dipped - - very nice

 

Wine selections were actually not bad and decently priced - they do have a program where you can get one bottle free if you buy 5 - - youcan take your free bottle home with you.

 

Chocoholic Nite was nicely done. The ice sculptures and decorations set a great tone - and the staff were very attentive. The chocolate delights ranged all the way from heavenly to plain yuckky. We are not late eaters and after sitting down and nibbling a few things, went back to our room with a goodie plate & put in the refrig - we enjoyed the chocolate covered fruits and some small chocolate pastries the next day - they held up well and so I knew they had been made fresh !

 

ENTERTAINMENT - B/B+

 

I have to say the entertainment was not up to par with what I have experienced on other ships.

 

The juggler one night was very entertaining, the Cirque du Pacific they had on the last night at sea was average - sort of your travelling dance troupe quality.

The cruise director was just plain boring in every venue I encountered him in.

 

The cinema had some good movies, but they could have run them more often and had more variety - especially on days at sea

 

Great game room and reading room, lots of seats and windows!!!

 

Spa room had some of the best views on the boat - - while waiting for a massage - they let you sit in their spa relaxation room - - what a spectacular view and SOOOO quiet!!!!

Good menu of spa services and prices are not bad.

 

For those of you into karoke - they have a club set aside for a couple of hours each nite for karoke - -try to get to one - you will leave either thinking you landed on another planet or holding your sides - -either way - -worth a drop in

 

THAT's it for tonight - - will finish the rest this weekend!!!!Happy to answer any questions!!!!

 

AT SEA DAYS - B

ROUTE - A

EXCURSIONS - A++

TEEN PROGRAMS - B-/C+

CRUISE DIRECTOR - B (boring)

DISEMBARKATION - A++

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Weather was actually pretty good according to all the locals.

We did several excursions and felt the weather was ok but generally overcast most of the time

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Hi!

Which stateroom did you choose - B-class, or A-class? Did you have a glass-balustrade balkony, or a closed one?

Ahoy,

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we had a glass balcony - - which was really nice to have when you were sitting down watching the scenery go by

 

not sure if it was a class or b class - - my husband said they called it a mini suite if that helps - - was in 11066

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AT SEA DAYS - B

 

I don't think the ship itinerary for days at sea in Alaska was very good. Very few activities planned. I felt as if the cruise line were handling days at sea as if they were in the Caribbean or some other warm waters cruise. On a warm waters cruise , I always looked forward to hanging around the pool, reading a book, sleeping, listening to music.....

- On an Alaska cruise, that wasn't really an option - -there were some very hardy kids that did use the pool . I took and hour here and there to go to the spa or fitness center, but would have liked to have more choices other than trying to find some relaxing space on the ship other than my room to sit and read (reading and game rooms are packed on those days at sea!!!)

 

I will say that they did have a cinema on board - and should have, on at sea days, increased the frequency and variety of the movies.

 

ROUTE - A

 

As a first time cruiser to Alaska, the route seemed fine to me - -

 

I know before I left many people were noting that the STAR was not going to the Inside Passage all the way up. I suppose some scenery was missed, but where we did go by and stop seemed to make up for it for us.

 

The down side is that by going on the western side of Vancover Island northbound and southbound - - the ship hit some rough waves. I remember at one point being in the SOHO room eating and I would SWEAR that the top of the waves were just below that window (it is on the 6th floor) - all the outside decks were closed for safety reasons during the rough weather.

One time I was on a massage table and I know the room tilted enough for me to feel like I could slide off. The staff in the spa said that was the roughest sea they had hit since the spring sailings had begun. But we don't get seasick, so it was just another feature of travelling on the seas for us!

 

Will finish my other comments later.......

EXCURSIONS - A++

TEEN PROGRAMS - B-/C+

CRUISE DIRECTOR - B (boring)

DISEMBARKATION - A++

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