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Age: 32


Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pearl

Sailing Date: 2010-06-21

Itinerary: Alaskan

Overall, I was disappointed with the cruise line, not the destination. The ports in Alaska are amazing and I highly recommend the experience, however compared to other curises I felt this was lacking. The main complaints:

1. Quality of service
2. Dining choices/Food ($25 pay restaurants)
3. Service charges ($12/person per day charge)

Actually, I believe these all tie together. NCL has taken the position that each passenger is going to be charged a fixed fee for gratuities. This includes a $12/person/day "service charge" as well as an automatic 15% gratuity to every bar bill. We were aware of the alcohol gratuity charge prior to embarkation, but not aware of the $12/person/day charge that ended up costing my wife and I an additional $168 for our 7 day cruise.

On other cruises we have typically left tips that are near this amount, however the tips were dispensed based on the level of service, with NCL you do not have that choice nor do you direct tips to specific staff members. As a result, I thought the staff was detached and not concerned with passenger experience especially at dinner. Since you eat at different locations, you never make a connection to your serving staff and vice versa they never make a connection with you; since there is no vested interest (i.e. via tips) for them to provide exceptional service - they don't. Additionally, for the finer dining you may have to pay a $25/person charge as well. We never met our room attendant during the entire 7 days.

The food was average at the main dining areas - we did not eat in any pay restaurants.

Stateroom was fine, on par with other cruise lines.

On-board activities all driven toward revenue generators for the cruise line, specifically Bingo and the casino. There was a raffel at the end of the cruise for a free trip, but in order to listen for the drawing you had to sit through 3 rounds of Bingo; NCL wanted the people waiting to buy Bingo tickets, not just listen for the drawing (in my opinion).

Excursions were great, and we found the cost fair in comparison to outside agencies not affiliated with NCL.

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