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Turnip

Previous Princess-only cruiser 7/24 Star Alaska review with Princess & NCL comparison

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This is a little later than I wanted to post but it’s so tough getting back on track after vacation. The following is a review of my NCL Star 7/24 Alaska Cruise with also a comparison to our previous cruising on Princess. Prior to this cruise, my husband and I had only cruised with Princess (3 times on the Grand and Golden) and this was our first NCL cruise. We did not dislike Princess but just wanted to try a different ship and cruise line to keep it fresh. We are not at all fans of the traditional dining concept so Princess and NCL are the only cruise lines that we will consider.

 

When I went to book my cruise, my travel agent did comment that Princess has a better reputation and is considered to do Alaska better. We were definitely happy we tried NCL and really enjoyed the cruise. In our opinion, Princess is better on some things while NCL is better on others and it pretty much evens out. Obviously these are just my observations and opinions based on only one NCL cruise, but hopefully this review will be helpful to others who may be comparing the two lines.

 

Embarkation

 

Very smooth. Arrived at 11 a.m. and was in my room in about 20 minutes-they had just started letting on passengers. Beautiful sunny weather in Seattle. Plenty of staff to direct us to the right place.

 

Comparison to Princess: Just as easy, perhaps even a bit quicker and less lines. The difference we noticed was that on Princess there were staff all over greeting and directing you once you were on the ship, whereas with NCL we were on our own to find our way (which was no problem for us). Also NCL assigns you a group number and calls your number for boarding whereas Princess just loads you on.

 

Room

Inside stateroom. We happened to have a room which had a bunk attached to the wall so I’m not sure if that affected our room layout, but it took up some space. We booked the lowest price room on a low deck and was upgraded to an inside room on Deck 10.

 

Comparison to Princess: Shower on NCL Star was much bigger which was great. There was definitely less storage space and closets in our NCL Star room. For example, Princess ships had nightstands with drawers while this had smaller end tables with a shelf. Didn’t especially like that the bathroom door swung out into the closet area where someone could be standing. Overall room size was about the same but I liked the Princess stateroom set up a little more. However, room met our expectations and was just fine.

 

Stewards

Good service. When we arrived our beds were not together. We requested that they be put together and they were by that evening. Also requested a bottle opener and our steward brought it.

 

Comparison to Princess: There were 2 stewards per room compared to 1 on Princess. We noticed our stewards were less personal on the NCL Star. This wasn’t a problem for us, we actually don’t want “super personal service”, just different from how Princess does it.

 

On Princess, when you arrive, the steward immediately greets himself/herself. We did not see our stewards until their night shift that first evening. We introduced ourselves with our names and they did not introduce themselves back. On NCL, the room stewards seem more inconspicuous. Generally, service on the NCL Star was more reserved compared to Princess.

 

Casino

Great casino with slots, tables, etc. Pretty much everything you could ask for. Somehow we also got addicted to Gold Rush which is the machine that you put a quarter token in and it pushes out other quarters. We won a bottle of champagne on this game.

 

Comparison to Princess: I liked the NCL Star Casino better than the casinos on Princess. It seemed a little bigger and I liked the setup and location. NCL also gave away more free things. For example, NCL had a Players card, a buy $10 get $15 in play promotion, an Ace that we got for blackjack for signing up for the Players card, and free spin promotions on a slot machine where you could win free dinners at the specialty restaurants or a free cruise. We saw someone win a free dinner.

 

Restaurants:

We did not eat in any of the pay specialty restaurants. We ate in the dining rooms, La Trattoria, Endless Summer, the Red Lion (fish and chips), the grill, Blue Lagoon, and the buffet. We made reservations for Endless Summer and La Trattoria right away.

 

The food in the dining rooms was ok-not bad but not great in our opinion. We liked La Trattoria and Endless Summer. We really liked the fish and chips. The burgers at the outside grill were ok but we preferred Blue Lagoon burgers because they cooked them fresh. Didn’t like the buffalo wings at Blue Lagoon-they didn’t have what tasted like buffalo wing sauce on them-but we did like the potato skins. Buffet was ok-always something you could find to eat that we liked. The desserts we had were always good. Cookies at the Java Café were great! I have read reviews about the food on the board and I think you can always find something to eat. We are not picky eaters but we did get some food on NCL that we did not like; however, we just got something else that we liked.

 

Comparison to Princess: Overall I do think food on Princess is better, especially their food in the dining rooms. They just have more selections in the dining rooms and the entrees tasted better. Also, Princess has a great grill with pizza where the pizza is just delicious and hamburgers cooked fresh. NCL Star’s pizza was a nice snack but just standard pizza, and burgers on the grill are put into a buffet tray. However, pluses for NCL were the fish and chips which were really good and free ice cream which Princess does not have. Also, the NCL Star had more dining choices. On both you can dine when and where you want which is why we have chosen to cruise these lines. Coffee on both is equally bad.

 

Bars

We really liked the bars on this cruise. They had a good selection of liquor and beer which was reasonably priced. We drink soda but we did not get a soda card since we do not drink enough of it to warrant it -we drank ice tea and water. The mixed drinks that we had were excellent. They do serve mixed drinks in a souvenir glass for $5.95 so if you don’t want to souvenir glass let them know because they will just serve it to you-I think it was a $1 less without the glass. The mixed drinks were excellent.

 

 

Beer was $3.25 domestic and $3.75 import with buckets of 6 for the price of 5 with a $5 deposit on the bucket. As a follow up to other conversations on this board on the helmet bucket, when we bought the bucket the first day from the Bier Garten we asked if we had to keep the receipt (he did not offer information about this). The bartender said no but we kept the receipt anyway because of information from this board. When we returned the helmet at the Spinnaker the bartender would not accept it without the receipt, so make sure you keep your receipt. The beer selection was excellent-Guinness, Bass, Amstel Light, Heineken, Dos Equis, Fosters, Corona, Bud, Miller, Michelob, etc. They had everything. Also, there were no 2 for 1 beer specials during our cruise at all.

 

Comparison to Princess: I liked the NCL Star bars better. The drinks and beer were reasonably priced and they mixed a good drink. They also had better beer selections.

 

Entertainment

Entertainment was fine, pretty much what you expect on a cruise. Dancing/singing shows, comedian, comedy juggler, entertainers in lounge areas, games etc. They also showed movies in a cinema.

 

Comparison to Princess: Really about the same, although I think Princess has a bit more entertainment choices within a night. But, NCL has a cinema and shows more movies-Princess shows movies in one of the main rooms, not a room built for movies. One thing I noticed that I liked on this cruise-on all of our Princess cruises, people arrive very early to get seats (at least 15 minutes beforehand). This was not the case on our NCL Star cruise-you could get there 5 minutes beforehand and get a good seat. We liked this so that you didn’t waste time waiting for the show to start.

 

Bingo

We are not serious bingo players in our “real life”, but we play, enjoy and understand bingo on a cruise. That said, we both found the Bingo to be very annoying. First, I thought it was expensive-$29-$39 for punch-through cards for anywhere from 1-4 games, and $39-$149 for an electronic board from anywhere from 1-4 games. Some of the callers were horrible-there was one caller in particular, Iris, who was difficult to understand and definitely miscalled numbers at least twice when we played. Also, staff is constantly running around helping people who are having problems with their electronic boards. There was one game which gave away $500, but typical jackpots were $100-$250 with the big jackpot at the end around $2,400.

 

Comparison to Princess: Hands down goes to Princess-callers are more entertaining and more organized. The game starts at the time listed in the newsletter whereas on NCL that is when they start selling cards and you have to wait around. Less expensive on Princess and jackpots are bigger with more games-last time we cruised with them it was about $20 for five games with jackpots from $100-$500 with the big jackpot in the $2-$3K range.

 

Pools

We did not go in the pools, just the jacuzzis. We did lie out in Seattle the first day and it was warm. The pool seemed very nice and kids were enjoying the slides even on the cold Glacier Bay day! The kid’s area also had a nice pool and slide/jacuzzi that kids were always in. There was also the pool in the Spa that looked very nice.

 

Comparison to Princess: There are more pools on Princess (4 major ones) and they are fresh water. NCL Star had slides and Princess pools do not so that’s great for kids. NCL Star also wins in my opinion on the lounge chair setup-it is just a more organized setup whereas on Princess chairs are everywhere and in every direction around the outside pools.

 

Tendering

We tendered into Juneau, and both ways in Ketchikan. It was very slow. In Ketchikan there was a huge line back on the boat. We waited over an hour to get back on and we left Ketchikan about 2 hours late. Because of this we lost about a ½ hour in Victoria which didn’t impact the quality of our visit there in my opinion.

 

Comparison to Princess: Not sure if these tendering problems we experienced on the NCL Star were unusual, but based on this experience Princess does tendering much better. We have not experienced that kind of slowness on Princess tenders.

 

Other miscellaneous items:

 

Shore excursions: Expensive in Alaska but really good. We had a problem booking one of our shore excursions pre-cruise. We went to the Shore Excursion desk on embarkation day and we were able to book it.

 

Alaska ports and weather: It rained in Juneau and Skagway-however we had wonderful times in both places and just wore our rain jackets. Beautiful sunny weather in Seattle, nice weather in Ketchikan (brief shower and cleared up), beautiful sunny weather in Victoria. Did the Guides Choice Adventure Hike in Juneau, the White Pass Railroad in Skagway, and Sea Kayaking in Ketchikan. I know there have been great reviews about the White Pass, but we really didn’t think it was that great, just ok. The Adventure Hike and Sea Kayaking were great. We did not do a tour in Victoria but instead walked around-we thought it was a fantastic city. We walked down the long jetty near the pier, and then along a park area near the ocean, and then down a historic street to the city, and the all around the city. We very much enjoyed Victoria.

 

Art auctions: There are art auctions on both although Princess keeps their art on display in an area where you can view it anytime. NCL Star only had a few pieces shown all the time. Art auctions were about the same with free champagne and raffle giveaways.

 

Fun stuff: One thing that we liked about NCL was the fun little stuff that Princess didn’t have-for example, a raffle to win a free cruise and little prize giveaways, free drinks in the Casino one night, etc.

 

Exercise room: NCL has TV’s on their fitness equipment, Princess does not. If you want to watch tv when working out bring a set of head phones; otherwise you can buy them. I worked out this cruise and the fitness center was very busy. It had all of the good equipment you would expect in a fitness center and Princess and NCL’s fitness centers were about the same-maybe slightly less equipment on the NCL Star but the same variety.

 

Dress: NCL was definitely much more casual. It was so nice to have to not bring any formal wear on the cruise. We dressed resort casual every night. I would guess that about 40-50% of people dressed up on formal night. We definitely liked NCL’s dress code better with the one optional formal night. On Princess, although there are 2 “optional” formal nights, there is definitely a pressure to dress up on those nights since a majority of people are dressed up.

 

What we wish we would have brought:

-Bar soap-we didn’t like liquid dispenser soap in the bathrooms

-A bottle opener to open import beers when we had a bucket –we did get one from our steward

-An alarm clock-we don’t trust wake up calls

 

In summary, we definitely enjoyed this NCL Star cruise to Alaska and will most likely cruise NCL again, primarily because we really enjoy the freestyle concept and more casual environment. Thanks to everyone on the NCL board for providing helpful information for this cruise.

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Very nice review, thank you. We've not sailed Princess yet, could you give me your opinion of the difference between "Freestyle" dining and whatever Princess calls their more open dining option? It's always been rather confusing when people try to explain it who haven't cruised NCL.

 

Thanks!

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excellent review. We are princess cruisers who are trying NCL for the first time this fall - you have us some good heads up. Thank you.

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Very nice review, thank you. We've not sailed Princess yet, could you give me your opinion of the difference between "Freestyle" dining and whatever Princess calls their more open dining option? It's always been rather confusing when people try to explain it who haven't cruised NCL.

 

Thanks!

 

Freestyle dining on NCL is really very similar to “Personal Choice” dining on Princess. The major difference between NCL and Princess is that Princess additionally offers a “Traditional” seating option, while NCL has more dining options for dinner.

 

When you book on Princess, you have the option of choosing either “Personal Choice” dining or “Traditional” dining-one or the other. You can’t switch back and forth during a cruise, you choose one or the other for the entire cruise, prior to the cruise, when you book.

 

1. “Personal Choice” dining rooms are the equivalent to the NCL Freestyle main dining rooms (like Aqua and Versailles on the Star), where you can come anytime you want in the evening. You can choose to dine by yourself or with a group of people, just like on NCL. On the Grand Class ships on Princess, there were 2 “Personal Choice” dining rooms. However, these personal choice dining rooms were the only non pay options you have on Princess, while on NCL, we additionally had 2 non pay options-La Trattoria and Endless Summer.

 

NCL has more dining options for dinner. Princess had the dining rooms and two pay specialty restaurants (Italian and Southwestern). The NCL Star had the dining room, La Trattoria & Endless Summer which are non pay, plus the pay specialty restaurants like Cagney’s steak house, Soho (Fusion), Ginza (Japanese), Le Bistro (French).

 

2. Unlike NCL, Princess also offers a “Traditional” dining room on their ships. This is a separate dining room that is dedicated to traditional seating, where there is an early and late seating and you sit at the same table every day with the same people and same waiter. The menu is exactly the same as in the personal choice dining rooms.

 

3. Princess also is the same as NCL in that it has the buffet and grill.

 

4. Princess does not have a “fast food” restaurant like the Blue Lagoon on the Star or free ice cream. Sometimes Princess offers ice cream for free at lunch and in the dining rooms, but not all the time like on the NCL Star.

 

If you like Freestyle Dining on NCL, I think you may also like Personal Choice on Princess. They are really very much the same with subtle differences. NCL has more choices under this concept, but Princess has better quality and variety of food in their main dining rooms (in my opinion).

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I've not sailed Princess. From previous reviews and "professional" reviews elsewhere I've read that the median age of passengers on a Princess Cruise is somewhat older than on NCL. I'm in my mid 30's and enjoy the fact that there are quite a few younger folk on NCL.

 

Just wondering on your observation regarding the age difference between Lines.

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I have sailed on both, but have not noticed a marked difference in the age groups. I *think* this may be slightly influenced by the port of departure of a specific cruise, and not the cruise line specifically.

 

Great review - I am looking froward to a Baltics cruise on the NCL Jewel later this month, will be interesting to compare it to my most recent cruise, which was on the Royal Princess.

 

Re the freestyle cruising - when my hubby and I travel alone, we love the flexibility of being able to eat where we want, when we want, and sit on our own. (On the Norwegian Sky we had a lovely 2-seat table at a window that we sat at most of the time, so usually had the same serving staff.). Our cruise on the Royal Princess was a family affair - with my in-laws and son accompanying us, so we tended to stick to more regimented meal times to suit the oldest and youngest in the party, but at least WE got to choose the time, and NOT have the decision made for us!!

 

Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean, and I did NOT enjoy the formal sitting and early mealtimes. As we were travelling with my son, who was 11, we were automatically placed in the early sitting, and were with another family who had much younger children. I would NOT choose this sort of dining arrangements again!!

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Havings sailed both cruise lines, I thought your comments and comparisons were right on the mark. We would have no hesitation to sail either line in the future but would definitely select personal choice dining on Princess.

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Turnip- Thanks for the review! We have also had to narrow our cruise choices to Princess and NCL. I don't want to be told when and where to eat:)

 

I was expecting Princess to be so much more fabulous than NCL because NCL is so often put down on these boards- it's nice to hear from others who found them comparable. There was a much older demographic on our Princess cruise but it was a repositioning which may have made a difference. There was also 600 kids on the Star which lowered the age dramatically!

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I'm another in the stage of "trying out" other cruise lines. I've been on Disney, Carnival, RCCL, NCL. We cruise about every 2 yrs as a family. I was thinking of trying Celebrity or Princess for our next cruise. I also like the NCL dining concept much better than the traditional times. I'm glad to know Princess also employs this concept.

 

I will definately try them in the future!

 

Jacquelyn :D

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Great review. We were on the Star the week before you and were on Deck 10. Most of us had balconies, but a couple of our group had inside cabins on Deck 10 Forward. I have been considering Princess due to its Personal Choice option and you have helped me greatly in that area. Since I like Freestyle so much I doubt I will ever sail RCCL, Carnival or Holland America. Some differences between our cruises. (We had sunny warm weather in all of our ports, no rain the whole week>

 

 

Embarkation

Comparison to Princess: Just as easy, perhaps even a bit quicker and less lines. The difference we noticed was that on Princess there were staff all over greeting and directing you once you were on the ship, whereas with NCL we were on our own to find our way (which was no problem for us). Also NCL assigns you a group number and calls your number for boarding whereas Princess just loads you on.

Now I have heard of this number calling system, but we did not experience it. When we arrived at 11:30, we went right through the line and right on the ship. No numbers given or called and no wait. On my cruise, I was actually surprised by the number of staff members scattered around the ship directing people. That was something that had been missing on my previous cruises. There were staff stationed at each elevator bank on each deck as well as most outside doors giving direction and helping lost souls.

 

Room

Comparison to Princess: Shower on NCL Star was much bigger which was great. There was definitely less storage space and closets in our NCL Star room. For example, Princess ships had nightstands with drawers while this had smaller end tables with a shelf. Didn’t especially like that the bathroom door swung out into the closet area where someone could be standing. Overall room size was about the same but I liked the Princess stateroom set up a little more. However, room met our expectations and was just fine.

I am so glad someone else had trouble with the bathroom door/closet door configuration. We banged the bathroom door into the closet door several times! Another bad configuration is the safe area behind the closet. One time, I was getting in the safe, my wife had the closet door and bathroom door open trapping me between the closet/bathroom doors and the hallway door. Then my daughter tried to come in the room from the hallway...there was no place for me to go!!! (lol)

Stewards

Good service. When we arrived our beds were not together. We requested that they be put together and they were by that evening. Also requested a bottle opener and our steward brought it.

 

Comparison to Princess: There were 2 stewards per room compared to 1 on Princess. We noticed our stewards were less personal on the NCL Star. This wasn’t a problem for us, we actually don’t want “super personal service”, just different from how Princess does it.

 

On Princess, when you arrive, the steward immediately greets himself/herself. We did not see our stewards until their night shift that first evening. We introduced ourselves with our names and they did not introduce themselves back. On NCL, the room stewards seem more inconspicuous. Generally, service on the NCL Star was more reserved compared to Princess.

I have found this hit and miss. On our first cruise on the Star, our room steward was great. He introduced himself right away, always had what we needed. Asked lots of questions as to our schedule so that he could clean and turn down the room when it was conveinent for us, etc. He took a great interest in entertaining my then 5 year old daughter with towel animals and other little goodies. He was great.

 

This year our stewards were all but invisible. They didn't introduce themselves to us and it always seemed that they were coming into our room to clean it at strange times. We too were on Deck 10, could they have been the same?

Bingo

We are not serious bingo players in our “real life”, but we play, enjoy and understand bingo on a cruise. That said, we both found the Bingo to be very annoying. First, I thought it was expensive-$29-$39 for punch-through cards for anywhere from 1-4 games, and $39-$149 for an electronic board from anywhere from 1-4 games. Some of the callers were horrible-there was one caller in particular, Iris, who was difficult to understand and definitely miscalled numbers at least twice when we played. Also, staff is constantly running around helping people who are having problems with their electronic boards. There was one game which gave away $500, but typical jackpots were $100-$250 with the big jackpot at the end around $2,400.

 

Comparison to Princess: Hands down goes to Princess-callers are more entertaining and more organized. The game starts at the time listed in the newsletter whereas on NCL that is when they start selling cards and you have to wait around. Less expensive on Princess and jackpots are bigger with more games-last time we cruised with them it was about $20 for five games with jackpots from $100-$500 with the big jackpot in the $2-$3K range.

Amen! Everyone who I have talked to who goes to Bingo regularly on cruise ships say NCL's bingo is by far the worst. The organization is terrible, they are late starting, the callers are dull and can't speak clearly. (I remember Iris, she can't speak clearly enough to be a caller. When I heard her, I thought to myself, "they don't have anyone who can speak English better?") Most importantly, their prize allocation is horrible. They also lie about their prizes. All week on our cruise they kept talking about this huge jackpot that had to be given away the last bingo session. They plugged it at the evening show the night before and on their Rising Star morning TV show: "$12,000 jackpot to be given away tommarrow, don't miss it." They even put it in Saturday's Freestyle Daily: "The huge jackpot has accumulated and ALL the money must go! Don't let someone else take your money!" Then when they had the final bingo, no one met the requirement and only like $500 was given away. Yeah, all the money had to go, right into NCL's coffers! I lost all respect for the Asst. Cruise Director at that point because she is a flat out liar just to sell bingo cards.

 

Glad you had a great cruise and thanks for the advice and GREAT comparision to Princess!

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Thank you so much for your great comparison review. I have always thought that Princess was the best for Alaska. Now I know I won't be disapointed if we go with NCL.

 

Thank you

Jeanne

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NW 2: The NCL Star Alaska definitely had a good mix of families, couples, older people. Overall it was a younger crowd than Princess. But, Princess does seem to be attracting a younger crowd now. I cruised Princess in winters of 2002, 2003, and 2004 (always when kids are in school). From the 2002 to 2004 cruise, there was definitely a difference in age, much more people in there 20's and 30's on the last cruise which was out of Ft. Lauderdale going to the Caribbean.

 

KeystoneCruiser: Our stateroom was on the right side of the ship at the front. We also noticed that the stewards down in the next section were also very reserved-often I would walk down to the back of the ship down the Deck 10 hallway to get the the fitness center, and many stewards would turn away. It wasn't as if they were being rude-just seemed like they don't want to be noticed. And we also got trapped in our stateroom in the closet area-a couple of bumps and we learned to open the bathroom door slowly!

 

I am so glad you also felt that way about the bingo and mentioned the prizes. I was there the week after you, and same thing-our progressive bingo was $13,000 and they made it seem like it was to be given away that day. It was only when we got up to the 48th number that they really mentioned it-and said, oh well, that will roll over to next week. Many people were confused. Also, sometimes I wondered where all the money was going? One of the games we played was $100, $130, and $250. With people buying $29 and $39 cards and the room fairly full, why can't the prizes be a little higher? I understand they feed the Progressive and Jackpot games with some of that money, but still.... Also, anytime Iris called out a number that ended in 0, it was confused with another number-50 sounded like 15, 40 sounded like 14, etc. Well, I guess if Bingo was one of the only things I have to complain about it was a pretty good cruise!

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Thanks for the review. I liked the comparisons. I have not been on Princess but judging from your comparisons to NCL I think I would enjoy a cruise with them.

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Great review. Like you, Princess and NCL have become our favorites and the only lines we really consider at this point. I thoroughly enjoy both lines immensely.

 

Thanks!

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Thank you for your excellent review! I too am a Princess preferee, but we have decided to take NCL this November for a change of pace. After reading your review, I feel very satisfied with our choice to do so.

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I've not sailed Princess. From previous reviews and "professional" reviews elsewhere I've read that the median age of passengers on a Princess Cruise is somewhat older than on NCL. I'm in my mid 30's and enjoy the fact that there are quite a few younger folk on NCL.

 

Just wondering on your observation regarding the age difference between Lines.

My experience on Princess is that the age of the cruisers is influenced by itinerary, length of cruise, and time of year.

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Turnip,

I cruised a northbound Princess out of Vancouver earlier this summer on the Coral Princess. We had an excellent naturalist onboard who gave frequent informative lectures. Did your NCL cruise offer something similar? To me, that was a highlight of our cruise, and I wouldn't consider an Alaskan cruise without it.

Thanks again for the info!

Lynn

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nice and honest review, it is apprecaited. I agree about the stewards not being terribly friendly, but, again like you, we do not cruise to make friends with the crew. We have usually found our room stewards to be very attentive and our cabins always clean and shiney, but in one case, we never even met our steward. You mentioned your TA advising you that Princess has a better reputation and does Alaska better. They are considered the best at doing Alaska. As a TA I understand her reaction. I always try to keep my opinions pretty much quiet unless my clients ask for advise. What I like and what someone else will like are 2 different things. I did recently give my opinon, but I thought for good reason. A cliant that has cruised once on Princess, the rest of the time on Radisson was looking for something during Thanksgiving week that was nice, but within a certain price range. She wanted 3 cabins for 10 people including 2 babies and she was paying the bill. NCL had the best to offer as allow kids under 2 to travel free. I was concerned that NCL was not for her. She booked it anyway, it is on the Sun, which is my favorite ship and I pray everything works out for her. Again I am glad you tried something new. It is the only way we can experience differest things. NMNita

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NCL and Princess are the only cruise lines we would currently consider because they meet our two criteria: flexible dining and round-trip cruises out of New York longer than 7 days. Princess has now followed in NCL's wake in those areas and I expect other cruise lines will follow in the near future.

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Turnip,

I cruised a northbound Princess out of Vancouver earlier this summer on the Coral Princess. We had an excellent naturalist onboard who gave frequent informative lectures. Did your NCL cruise offer something similar? To me, that was a highlight of our cruise, and I wouldn't consider an Alaskan cruise without it.

Thanks again for the info!

Lynn

 

Hello Lynn,

On our NCL Star cruise, two park rangers from Glacier Bay boarded the morning that we entered the Glacier Bay. One of them gave frequent narrations over the PA system while the other was stationed in the lounge to answer questions and give information-they had brochures, pictures, etc. set up there. The narrations could also be heard on TV for people who were viewing from their room balconies. The rangers also gave an informational lecture during the early afternoon as we started to leave Glacier Bay. They both left the ship about 3 p.m. I thought that the narrations were very informative but not sure how it compares to Princess. Was your naturalist on board during the entire cruise?

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Hello Lynn,

On our NCL Star cruise, two park rangers from Glacier Bay boarded the morning that we entered the Glacier Bay. One of them gave frequent narrations over the PA system while the other was stationed in the lounge to answer questions and give information-they had brochures, pictures, etc. set up there. The narrations could also be heard on TV for people who were viewing from their room balconies. The rangers also gave an informational lecture during the early afternoon as we started to leave Glacier Bay. They both left the ship about 3 p.m. I thought that the narrations were very informative but not sure how it compares to Princess. Was your naturalist on board during the entire cruise?

Turnip,

We had the naturalist onboard the entire cruise. She gave 3 lectures in the lounge, as well as narration daily as we sailed out of each port and Glacier Bay and College Fjord. We did have rangers onboard for Glacier Bay as well. The narrations could be heard on the open decks and on the TV.

Lynn

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Thanks Turnip, We are also Princess cruisers who are trying out NCL next month when we take the Dawn to the Bahamas. I want to go there and enjoy myself and not say "well this is better on Princess" and now I know what to expect. We are usually traditional diners so this will certainly be a little different for us but we are willing to try it out and see.

One question from anyone who can answer; If we ask at any of the resturants to be seated with 4 or more people at a table would it be possible to be able to do it? We like to make friends on our cruises. We like to make meet new people and make new friends and with the way Princess does their ding we have made many over the year that we continue to keep in touch with.

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Thanks Turnip, We are also Princess cruisers who are trying out NCL next month when we take the Dawn to the Bahamas. I want to go there and enjoy myself and not say "well this is better on Princess" and now I know what to expect. We are usually traditional diners so this will certainly be a little different for us but we are willing to try it out and see.

One question from anyone who can answer; If we ask at any of the resturants to be seated with 4 or more people at a table would it be possible to be able to do it? We like to make friends on our cruises. We like to make meet new people and make new friends and with the way Princess does their ding we have made many over the year that we continue to keep in touch with.

 

Yes you can. You will probably have no waiting time when you do this.

 

Enjoy.

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Excellent review. We've done 4 Disney cruises and 2 Princess cruises, just returned from sailing aboard The Golden Princess again in Europe in July. I just booked us in March 06 aboard the Star Princess and have started having 2nd thoughts that maybe it's time to try NCL as they have a sailing at the same time. I really enjoyed reading your comparisons and will probably just stick with PRincess since it sounds like they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

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