P & H
Age: over 60
Number of Cruises: 20
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sky
Sailing Date: May 6th, 2001
P & H Blackmoor
We chose NCL and the Sky for the itinerary and the ship leaving from Seattle. It was the cruise to end all cruises - on NCL!
Alaska is breathtaking beautiful even during this time of the year. Expect cool, some snow, rain and wind. But we found that not to be a problem. We took rain poncho's and dressed in layers and were quite comfortable. As NCL's shore excursions are pricey, we booked our own on www.portpromotions.com and found them to be excellent and 1/3 of the cost on NCL. We would highly recommend them.
We did know this was free-style cruising and we have done this type of cruise in Europe and had no problems. NCL is another story! They do not have their act together.
From the beginning we encountered problems with our transfers, their "creative pricing" on cabins and their less than customer friendly staff.
The transfer from Sea/Tac airport to the ship was utter chaos and totally disoraganized. We waited after going thru the maze of lines to get "checked in" over 35 minutes for the bus that no one seemed to know where it was.
When we finally arrived at the pier, our carry-on luggage, with our cameras, binoculars (a must) medicine, etc. was taken out and thrown into a bin and we hastily got off the bus to retrieve it, along with the rest of the passengers who were dismayed. Inside the pier, the lines were long and slow. Being "Latitude" members we finally were "ushered" to the front of the line. The only benefit of this membership!
We had an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. Miniscule in size; storage space is nil and the bed......they must have received a good deal from a high security penal institution or the Army. The mattress (?) is no more than 3" filled with who knows what and placed on a metal ripple slab. Comfort level....zip! If you ask on arrival, you may be one of the lucky people to get a piece of foam to put on this thing. This put new meaning to "Sleepless in Seattle"!
The food - or dining experience -was just that. An experience! We tried the 4 Seasons first....don't know which was the worst - the service or the food. Toss up. Next, 7 Seas. Our only salvation there was we met a waiter we had on a previous transatlantic cruise who knows what service and friendless mean, despite the terrible food. The selection is very limited. Then.....the Cafe'....words fail me here. Undoubtedly all the leftovers are combined into some sort of goulosh they give some strange name; pale hot dogs float in water; greasy cheeseburgers are stacked like pancakes....and no help or assistance from "staff" while you try to juggle your tray and get a beverage and find a table which has been cleared from the past person(s). Then on to The Horizon. The service, selection, atmosphere was excellent. The presentation was better than the food. The $10 per person "tip" we thought was way out of line. Then LeBistro.....food, service.....on a scale of 1 to 10 would be a 3 at best. Again, another $10 per person tip.
Room service is very basic and limited. OK for a pot of coffee and some rolls to get you going after a sleepless night on a marble slab.
The entertainment was very good. We have always enjoyed the Jean-Ann Ryan productions and were not disappointed. Jane L. Powell should not be missed. The theatre however, leaves a lot to be desired. The sofa type rows are impossible to sit comfortably in and the barrel chairs are not much better. We did not try the balcony as looking thru grill work didn't seem feasible. Watch out for the seating behind the posts.
There are 3 gift shops on board....rather limited in selection and very pricey.
As we had a late flight departure we did sign-up for the Seattle tour to the airport. The tour was well done. However.....we weren't told until we arrived at the far end of the airport that the bus would let us out there! There were no porters, skycaps, NCL people or anything that resembled help in getting us and our luggage to the opposite end where our airline was. So, like mule trains, we pulled, lugged, and balanced luggage for this trek.
In conclusion, on all our previous cruises we were saddend that it was over.......not the case in this one. We couldn't wait to get off that ship and come home.
We definitely intend on cruising Alaska again........it warrants more than one trip. However, none of our future cruises will be on NCL......and that's the truth!