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Heather

Age: 39

Occupation:Engineer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Star

Sailing Date: 05-17-2009

Itinerary: Alaska

The overall cruise experience was disappointing. We made the best of it focusing on the beauty of the area and the excursions. On board felt like one big hard sell to buy their jewelry... advertisements lined the hallways, constant announcements pitched the great shopping deals, and color brochures were left at your door twice a day. In addition, Ian, the shopping consultant, had his very own channel on TV and also gave live seminars about where buy the "quality" gemstones in port. I was told by the locals in various ports that most of the jewelery stores in town, and there were a lot of them, were owned by the cruise companies. This ruined the ambiance of the small towns... it felt like you were in Disney World.

I've had better food in a hospital. Really mediocre at best. Let's put it this way... I lost weight on this cruise, need I say more.

The room scored points... well laid out with lots of storage and hooks to hang jackets etc. The only other cruise I have been on was Carnival and I thought NCL did a better job with the rooms. The bed was very comfortable and the variety of pillows was great.

Saw the magician, the comedian, and went to their version of Family Feud... all pretty weak. I did like the variety of independent activities such as ping pong, driving range, shuffle board and the game room. I heard good things about the spa from a couple friends but I personally did not go.

We did a great 2 person zodiac tour in Ketchikan, loved it... family run business, wonderful people, we had a great time. Also, we did a Coastal Eco Kayak excursion in Prince Rupert, which was really great too... again tour operators were good down-to-earth people. We also took the train ride in Skagway, bought the ticket at the train station, it was a beautiful ride. We booked all our excursions off the boat and direct through the companies when possible. Even if you choose to book through the ship I would recommend waiting until the day of because the weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, and you can't get your money back through the ship. The people at the excursion desk had almost no knowledge about the tours they were selling. We arrived at Prince Rupert and it was very windy and we wanted to the know if the kayaking excursion was in a sheltered area before we booked... they had no idea where it was... we had to track down someone from the tour company to get the answer... no help from the excursion desk at all.

The other real complaint I had was that they charge you $12 per day per person which is supposedly a gratuity. My problem with that is it's charged after the fact. If it's a known factor include it upfront where everyone is aware of it. There were also other built in gratuities for drink orders. I'm good tipper but really it's not a tip if it's mandatory, it's just part of the price. I do think the people on board deserve it. Service was great most of the time.

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