Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Wind
Sailing Date: June 15th, 2003
Terrible Honeymoon thanks to Norwegian!
We booked everything through NCL including airfare. NCL screwed up the airline tickets with the wrong departure time listed for our flight from Memphis to Vancouver. Due to this, we missed our flight. We were unable to find another flight which would get us to Vancouver in time to meet the boat as (according to NCL) the boat would not wait for “just two people.” We later found out the boat was “delayed” an hour and a half leaving Vancouver for some unknown reason. Had we known this, we could have gotten there in plenty of time to embark and begin enjoying our honeymoon.
We ended up making arrangements to meet the boat in Ketchikan, Alaska at its first port of call. Due to NCL’s incompetence, we almost weren’t able to do this. It took over 12 hours for them to correctly make the air arrangements. Too stupid to realize they had double booked our connecting flight with Alaska Airline and had not booked the airfare with Northwest.
A very kind lady at Alaska Airlines finally realized NCL’s error and was able to get it corrected. By the way, Northwest Airlines were great! Even though the missed flight and other problems were not their fault, Northwest still perked us to first class on the flight out and changed our return to a non stop.
Arriving at Ketchikan we found that our luggage had not made the connection and we had to wait for it to come in on the next flight. Unfortunately, it was raining and the temperature was in the low sixties and falling. Not very enjoyable weather for walking and sightseeing.
We went to “meet” the boat the following morning. The boat however was at anchor and we had to wait in the rain on the dock for over an hour waiting for a “tender boat” to take us out to the ship. By the time we got on the ship and got registered, we had missed our first shore excursion. We then went to our cabin to find our luggage in the hallway. After all this trouble, we had to return to the reception desk because our key cards did not work.
We really enjoyed the “freestyle cruising!” the food was pretty good. However, we did have a problem with the fact that the restaurants served the same menu except for one each night. This was the restaurant in which you had to wear formal attire and make reservations. Room service was an available option. Although the “service” itself was great, the menu was very limited.
Juneau was the next port of call. The ship was docked at this port of call and disembarking went smoothly. We really enjoyed our shore excursion and the outdoor salmon bake was very tasty. After the excursion, we had time to do some sight seeing and shopping. Lovely town with very nice shops and really nice people. Very friendly and helpful.
Leaving Juneau we cruised the Tracy Ford to the Sawyer Glacier. I must commend the Captain on this portion of the cruise. He navigated the ship to within feet of the glacier and even turned the boat completely around pausing to allow everyone to enjoy the views. We also saw lots of wildlife.
Arriving in Skagway, we were greeted by more rainy and cool weather. The shore excursion was absolutely fabulous as we went across the mountains into Canada to go horseback riding and canoeing. Upon entering the Yukon Territory, we found that it was not raining on that side of the mountains.
The next stop was Wrangell, Alaska. We found this to be a very small yet quaint community. We also learned that NCL is the only cruise line that makes this stop. This town needs to make some major improvements if they wish to call themselves a tourist destination. The highlight of this stop was that it had finally quit raining and the weather was beautiful!
Cruising the Inside Passage on the way to Vancouver was really nice. Beautiful sunshine and surroundings made this truly enjoyable.
Once at Vancouver, we found the disembarkation process very slow and un-organized. We then proceeded by bus to the airport where we waited another 20 to 30 minutes before proceeding to the airport building and exiting the bus. Vancouver airport was very busy and also very confusing. Add to this the $7.50 (American) per person “airport improvement fee” and you get the feeling that the Canadians don’t appreciate visitors very much.
Overall, once we actually got on the ship, we did enjoy our honeymoon cruise. As this was my first cruise, I have nothing to compare freestyle cruising with. However, I don’t think I will ever trust NCL with any future vacation plans. Too many problems and not enough effort by NCL to correct them.