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rusafee1183
10-23-2010, 07:23 AM
I really wanted to do DCL to Alaska, and the price is fine - but I would really rather do Seattle RT.

I found amazing deals with NCL, but I am reading not so great reviews of the 2 ships sailing there - The Star and The Pearl.


Can anyone chime in? I would appreaciate it so much. :flower3:

GreatDaneMom
10-23-2010, 07:47 AM
We did the RT from Seattle on the NCL Pearl and had a wonderful time. But then we aren't "Disney or Nothing" cruisers because we enjoy variety.

Alaska for us was really about the locations and not the ship. We spent very little time doing things on the ship and focused our energies on the awesomeness that is Alaska!! Since the cost was so good we booked an aft verandah on the Pearl and enjoyed our own little world back there, especially the day we spent going though Glacier Bay.

I'm sure Alaska on DCL would be fun but it wasn't exactly torture to see it on the Pearl. ;) Whatever you decide you are bound to have a memorable trip.

momof2minnies
10-23-2010, 07:53 AM
I have not but my brother has sailed them all including Disney.He said NCL was the worst and never again.

Linda

edith76
10-23-2010, 08:00 AM
Most of our cruises have been on Disney but we do cruise on NCL about once a year. I've been on the Pearl and it is a lovely ship but not to
alaska so I can't help you there. Overall we like NCL. The crew has always been and warm and friendly as have the fellow passengers. You should check the cruise critic boards for specific information about those cruises ... and info about the ports in Alaska.

Almagetty
10-23-2010, 09:04 AM
Disney and NCL are our two favorite cruise lines. The Pearl, which we've sailed on twice, is a wonderful ship with a happy and friendly crew. I wouldn't hesitate to sail on the Pearl again. NCL isn't Disney, but neither is Disney NCL. They each have their strong points. We love Freestyle on the newer NCL ships!

crazybones27
10-23-2010, 09:56 AM
I have only cruised twice and both times were on NCL. Once on the Dawn and on one of the last voyages for the Pride of Hawaii. My husband and I enjoyed NCL and will definitely cruise with them again. Since this is the only cruise line we have been on I cannot compare. We have not been disappointed at all.

hopelea
10-23-2010, 10:04 AM
We did NCL Star to Alaska. I enjoyed it because we were going to Alaska. The ship was pretty, the staff was great! But, the food was awful. The kids club left a lot to be desired. My kids were bored with the kid clubs. But we knew going into the cruise that we were going to see ALASKA. It was a great trip to spend family time together. Would I cruise NCL again? Yes. Does it compare to DCL....NO. Just go into it knowing that it is different and don't compare....it will be fun

mdvlprof
10-23-2010, 10:15 AM
I have not but my brother has sailed them all including Disney.He said NCL was the worst and never again.

Linda

Not never again [they might have a great deal], but definitely at bottom of list. We like to stay busy, and NCL just didn't do it. Esp with the anytime dining...

IndianaPrincess
10-23-2010, 10:26 AM
We did the Star in Alaska and had the vacation of a lifetime! It was just DH and me though... we did the MR on the Star with the kids and they had a great time, but I'm sure the kids club is nothing compared to DCL.

In all these Alaska cruise posts, I always tell people that I wouldn't do one of the current DCL cruises - you really are missing out on the glacier viewing... it was so awesome!

Suz725
10-23-2010, 10:40 AM
I sailed NCL Boston to Bermuda and NEVER again. i wrote a very detailed complaint letter when I got home and never even got a response.

Calrissian13
10-23-2010, 10:48 AM
So far the only line I've cruise is NCL, and I've loved both cruises. The first was a Hawaiian cruise on the Pride of Aloha (which is now the Sky), and the second was our wedding cruise to Bermuda on the Majesty.

It's a more laid back line, which doesn't appeal to everybody. There are no set dining times, and when we sailed there were only semi-formal nights, and they were optional. But the staff were great, the food was always plentiful and tasty. I've heard people say otherwise, but food is very subjective, and everyone's tastes are different.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

jilljill
10-23-2010, 10:51 AM
There are a couple more threads on here on this same subject and there's always cruisecritic.com for more info on other cruiselines.



ETA: OP, I did a search for you and found this thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=32651982&highlight=sailed+with+ncl#post32651982
You can also so a search and find many more threads.

dato63
10-23-2010, 10:52 AM
I really wanted to do DCL to Alaska, and the price is fine - but I would really rather do Seattle RT.

I found amazing deals with NCL, but I am reading not so great reviews of the 2 ships sailing there - The Star and The Pearl.


Can anyone chime in? I would appreaciate it so much. :flower3:

I bought Frommer's book on cruise ships to Alaska (as well as two other Alaska cruise books). It rated the kids clubs, food, crew, etc. After reading it I chose the NCL Pearl. The Pearl scored high in most areas, and even got 5 out of 5 stars for the kids club. And, we wanted to see Seattle as well as Glacier Bay. So it fit what we were looking for - and we are looking forward to this cruise.

DCL may offer better food/entertainment. .and no one can match their magical touch. But the majority of the reviews on the NCL Pearl on cruise critic are positive - and in the end, our priority here was Alaska.

Good luck deciding.

Rogillio
10-23-2010, 11:40 AM
I think it's all about managing your expectations. We sailed DCL several times and then sailed NCL and were constantly making comparisons between the two and DCL beat NCL hands down. We did NOT like the 'freestyle' dinning as we'd wait from 20 minutes to an hour to be seated for dinner.

I recently booked a HAL cruise and my expection are pretty low....I hope to be pleasantly suprised but we are focusing on the ports and shore excursions and not expecting to do much on the ship except eat, sleep and hang out at the pool.

~Mike

WDWDeb
10-23-2010, 12:05 PM
I have done both the Pearl (2010) and the Star (2009) to Alaska. We prefered the Pearl for multiple reasons including Glacier Bay. It is also newer with improvements over the Star. I would absolutely recommend NCL over DCL. Don't get me wrong....we have sailed DCL 8 times with the 9th coming up, and we LOVE Disney, but for Alaska, NCL is MUCH better equipped. Some notes:
- freestyle dining is wonderful. You eat when you want where you want. With kids, that is a wonderful option for us and not having a set schedule was great. It is also neat having a 24 hour restaurant for those late night cravings. :)
- has a neat bowling alley and rock climbing wall.
- there are so many more scheduled activities on board than DCL. There is a neat game room (cards and board games) too with floor to ceiling windows.
- Spinnaker's lounge on the front of the ship is WONDERFUL for watching for wildlife and enjoying the scenery. It has a 180 degree view and is HUGE with wall to ceiling windows with tons of very comfy plush seating. Alaska cruising is so different from other cruises because you really want to be able to look out a lot. The NCL is much better for that and Spinnakers is one huge reason. A lot of the activities that we wanted to participate in was in that lounge so we didn't feel like we were missing anything by playing trivia or bingo. Plus, it was so big that line dancing or other actitivities could be going on and you had enough space to get away and enjoy your own part of the lounge without being involved in the activity. On DCL, there just isn't that viewing opportunity. One of the largest dining rooms (buffet) on the Pearl was floor to ceiling windows with semi circle booths that face the window so you have a beautiful view all the time. That is one big thing that people need to consider and why I wouldn't do DCL to Alaska...the views from the ship. Think about on DCL where you eat and do activities. Unless you find a large porthole in one of the lounges, or at Topsiders or Beach Blanket it is hard to have a good view when doing actitivites/eating. There is so much BEAUTIFUL scenery all the time and whales were everywhere on our last cruise so especially with the kids, being able to look out and watch for things is important.
- The shore excursions are basically the same for the ships. Glacier Bay is BEAUTIFUL and shouldn't be missed. When we did the Star we didn't go there and after seeing Glacier Bay, we agreed that that was the best itinerary. We are booked on the Pearl again next year for Alaska.
- The staff are nice. No, it isn't Disney, but our cabin stewards were just as friendly as DCL. The wait staff wasn't the same but that didn't matter to us. They were nice and did their jobs and that is what we expected.
- Our kids commented that there was a lot more to do on the ship and we all agreed. A lot more activities for games and things to do.
- We had a mini-suite (AF) and it was wonderful. It was almost identical to a cat 4 but I thought it seemed a little larger. I liked the drawer layout better and it seemed we had more room to put our clothes away. The bathrooms are not separate like DCL but the toilet does have a sliding glass door. Seemed a little roomier since it was a larger room versus 2 separate rooms.
- When we booked for next year (booked in Sept for Aug next year), our fare is $5475. DCL during the same week is $7507 for the same type of veranda cabin. For all of the above mentioned pluses of the Pearl and especially Glacier Bay, it wasn't hard to decide to go with NCL.
One last note, yes, it does get tiring to hear on NCL the constant push for jewerly demos, etc, but you just ignore it. When you passed by the demos, there were a lot of people there (usually drawn in by the free drawings) but they will continue to do it as long as people go. You don't get that on DCL..but it wasn't something that made us not enjoy our cruise.
I hear that the Star was removed Spinnakers lounge and replaced it with Suites.The Star doesn't do Glacier Bay. They also don't have the rock climbing wall, bowling and the restaurants have been improved on the Pearl so I wouldn't do the Star again to Alaska.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.
Have a great cruise no matter which you choose. Alaska is AWESOME!!!!!

mattmommy
10-23-2010, 12:16 PM
We did NCL's Pride of America (ha!) in Hawaii.

I know it's more of a "destination" cruise, but if you ever wanted to stay on board, you're bored. One day there was a hula lesson and one day they had a kukui lei making lesson. That's about it.

The food was fine--if you could get it. There wasn't an all day or even an almost all day place to get food. I think we had to wait until 11 to have a snack bar open. All I wanted was some fresh fruit and when it opened, there was a stampede of hungry people.

Freestyle dining--my @$$. You go for dinner at 6:30. They give you a pager because there's "no room" in the main dining room. You get in at 7. There's about 100+ people still waiting. You go in the room and only 40% of the room is filled. They didn't have enough staff to serve you.

You never get to know the servers because

Server 1: Takes your drink order
Server 2: Delivers your drink order
Server 3: Brings bread
Server 4: Takes your appetizer order
Server 5: Brings your appetizer order
Server 6: Takes your dinner order.....etc., etc. etc.

There was ONE photographer for the entire ship. One person taking pictures in the main lobby with two very nice backdrops and a staircase. ONE person.

Which means only ONE person selling on the last day. I'm assuming they lose thousands of dollars on photos alone.

Rogillio
10-23-2010, 12:37 PM
We did NCL's Pride of America (ha!) in Hawaii.

I know it's more of a "destination" cruise, but if you ever wanted to stay on board, you're bored. One day there was a hula lesson and one day they had a kukui lei making lesson. That's about it.

The food was fine--if you could get it. There wasn't an all day or even an almost all day place to get food. I think we had to wait until 11 to have a snack bar open. All I wanted was some fresh fruit and when it opened, there was a stampede of hungry people.

Freestyle dining--my @$$. You go for dinner at 6:30. They give you a pager because there's "no room" in the main dining room. You get in at 7. There's about 100+ people still waiting. You go in the room and only 40% of the room is filled. They didn't have enough staff to serve you.

You never get to know the servers because

Server 1: Takes your drink order
Server 2: Delivers your drink order
Server 3: Brings bread
Server 4: Takes your appetizer order
Server 5: Brings your appetizer order
Server 6: Takes your dinner order.....etc., etc. etc.

There was ONE photographer for the entire ship. One person taking pictures in the main lobby with two very nice backdrops and a staircase. ONE person.

Which means only ONE person selling on the last day. I'm assuming they lose thousands of dollars on photos alone.

x2

This cruise was nothing more than inter-island transportation and a place to sleep and eat breakfast and dinner, nothing more. Having said that, it is pretty good bargin becuase if you were to fly to the various islands and then got a hotel you'd waste a lot of time in airports and checking in/out of hotels. So financially, I'd recommend this cruise. But just don't expect much.

~Mike

DenverVal
10-23-2010, 01:45 PM
I have sailed the Pride of America in Hawaii. The ship was pretty, the staff was mostly pleasant. I say mostly, because when things were going right, they were pleasant. When I had an issue, they really treated me as if I were causing them inconvenience to have to straighten things out.

I did NOT like freestyle dining - waiting for a table or eating at an off time to avoid a wait was soooooo not special.

Hawaii is a destination-oriented cruise and we spent most of the day off the ship and exploring our destinations, and were too worn out to attend any of the onboard entertainment. My 13-yo DD enjoyed the teen club. I enjoyed those hula lessons.

Long story short - NCL = floating hotel, restaurant, & transportation, no more or less magical than any other non-disney destination I've been to.

Page4
10-23-2010, 01:57 PM
Is "anytime dining" an option or is that just the way everyone has it?

DenverVal
10-23-2010, 02:39 PM
There were no assigned dining times. You could do a reservation at a specialty restaurant for a surcharge. One thing I did like better was that I could book my excursions any time I wanted, unlike the DCL ressie rush at 90 days out.

macm525
10-23-2010, 03:02 PM
:eek: My son and his wife sailed with NCL for their honeymoon, and they didn't like it at all. They said the service was poor and the quality of food was just okay. They felt that the entertainment could have been better and said that the overall experience with NCL was very disappointing. My son and his wife aren't the fussiest people in the world, so for them to complain, it had to be just ok.

:love::love: My husband and I and other son are booked with DCL for Alaska next year. I would have preferred going out of Seattle, but DCL is really the best way to cruise. :cheer2:

Rogillio
10-23-2010, 04:25 PM
There were no assigned dining times. You could do a reservation at a specialty restaurant for a surcharge. One thing I did like better was that I could book my excursions any time I wanted, unlike the DCL ressie rush at 90 days out.

Yeah, $15 pp. I could not see paying $60 for a 'speciality restaurant' for a family of four....even if it did mean waiting 45 minutes to be seated for dinner at the main dining rooms.

~Mike

Almagetty
10-23-2010, 04:35 PM
We've never had to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated at any of the main dining rooms on NCL. The only exception to this was on the Norwegian Dream, which was a smaller ship not built for Freestyle. It's also no longer in the NCL fleet. If you take care not to show up to be seated at the peak dining room times, there usually shouldn't be a long wait. Also, if you are traveling with 8 people or more in your party, you can make reservations for the main dining rooms.

We also sailed on Princess with their Anytime Dining and had no problems being seated.

justmestace
10-23-2010, 04:42 PM
I have done both the Pearl (2010) and the Star (2009) to Alaska. We prefered the Pearl for multiple reasons including Glacier Bay. It is also newer with improvements over the Star. I would absolutely recommend NCL over DCL. Don't get me wrong....we have sailed DCL 8 times with the 9th coming up, and we LOVE Disney, but for Alaska, NCL is MUCH better equipped. Some notes:
- freestyle dining is wonderful. You eat when you want where you want. With kids, that is a wonderful option for us and not having a set schedule was great. It is also neat having a 24 hour restaurant for those late night cravings. :)
- has a neat bowling alley and rock climbing wall.
- there are so many more scheduled activities on board than DCL. There is a neat game room (cards and board games) too with floor to ceiling windows.
- Spinnaker's lounge on the front of the ship is WONDERFUL for watching for wildlife and enjoying the scenery. It has a 180 degree view and is HUGE with wall to ceiling windows with tons of very comfy plush seating. Alaska cruising is so different from other cruises because you really want to be able to look out a lot. The NCL is much better for that and Spinnakers is one huge reason. A lot of the activities that we wanted to participate in was in that lounge so we didn't feel like we were missing anything by playing trivia or bingo. Plus, it was so big that line dancing or other actitivities could be going on and you had enough space to get away and enjoy your own part of the lounge without being involved in the activity. On DCL, there just isn't that viewing opportunity. One of the largest dining rooms (buffet) on the Pearl was floor to ceiling windows with semi circle booths that face the window so you have a beautiful view all the time. That is one big thing that people need to consider and why I wouldn't do DCL to Alaska...the views from the ship. Think about on DCL where you eat and do activities. Unless you find a large porthole in one of the lounges, or at Topsiders or Beach Blanket it is hard to have a good view when doing actitivites/eating. There is so much BEAUTIFUL scenery all the time and whales were everywhere on our last cruise so especially with the kids, being able to look out and watch for things is important.
- The shore excursions are basically the same for the ships. Glacier Bay is BEAUTIFUL and shouldn't be missed. When we did the Star we didn't go there and after seeing Glacier Bay, we agreed that that was the best itinerary. We are booked on the Pearl again next year for Alaska.
- The staff are nice. No, it isn't Disney, but our cabin stewards were just as friendly as DCL. The wait staff wasn't the same but that didn't matter to us. They were nice and did their jobs and that is what we expected.
- Our kids commented that there was a lot more to do on the ship and we all agreed. A lot more activities for games and things to do.
- We had a mini-suite (AF) and it was wonderful. It was almost identical to a cat 4 but I thought it seemed a little larger. I liked the drawer layout better and it seemed we had more room to put our clothes away. The bathrooms are not separate like DCL but the toilet does have a sliding glass door. Seemed a little roomier since it was a larger room versus 2 separate rooms.
- When we booked for next year (booked in Sept for Aug next year), our fare is $5475. DCL during the same week is $7507 for the same type of veranda cabin. For all of the above mentioned pluses of the Pearl and especially Glacier Bay, it wasn't hard to decide to go with NCL.
One last note, yes, it does get tiring to hear on NCL the constant push for jewerly demos, etc, but you just ignore it. When you passed by the demos, there were a lot of people there (usually drawn in by the free drawings) but they will continue to do it as long as people go. You don't get that on DCL..but it wasn't something that made us not enjoy our cruise.
I hear that the Star was removed Spinnakers lounge and replaced it with Suites.The Star doesn't do Glacier Bay. They also don't have the rock climbing wall, bowling and the restaurants have been improved on the Pearl so I wouldn't do the Star again to Alaska.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.
Have a great cruise no matter which you choose. Alaska is AWESOME!!!!!



I'm going to say DITTO DITTO DITTO on everything she said.

We cruised the Pearl to Alaska this past summer and LOVED it. ALL of it.
We did have the advantage of being in a suite, so we didn't experience the "wait time" for dining, but honestly, every time we walked up, there was never more than one couple waiting. EVER.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, my son loved it, my husband loved it, and the smaller kids in our group had a great time in the clubs. I don't think any of them missed the characters, and we've all cruised DCL up to 10 times.
And you can't beat saving a couple of thousand dollars.


PLEASE REMEMBER, DIE-HARD DCL FANS....THE OP ASKED ABOUT NCL. I'm not bashing DCL, I love it too. But they did ask for opinions from people who have gone NCL.

Almagetty
10-23-2010, 04:47 PM
Justmestace: The suite perks on NCL are awesome! Breakfasts and lunches at Cagney's ... Wow!!! :thumbsup2

dragonfly08
10-23-2010, 06:35 PM
I haven't sailed on the Star or Pearl, or to Alaska for that matter, but I have sailed with NCL and would do so again.

The staff were just as polite and helpful as any I encountered on my DCL cruise. I'll admit that we saw more of our cabin steward on DCL, but still got everything I needed on NCL so that wasn't a problem. The cabin was a bit smaller on NCL, but unless you're planning to spend a huge amount of time in it that's not a big deal. I can't compare the kids programming since I didn't have my girls with me on NCL, but the kids I did see were having a great time. DCL does do a fantastic job of that, but even so it's no guarantee...my youngest hated the kids club! One thing that NCL has over DCL, for me, is the Freestyle concept. I MUCH prefer being able to eat when/where I want. And I never waited more than 5 or 10 minutes to be seated, even during some peak dining times. Traditional seating on DCL didn't work for my family (we actually went the entire cruise without having a single dinner in the dining rooms because of it). And as for servers getting to know you, that's not something I'm interested in. Just because I order a specific drink or appetizer tonight doesn't mean I automatically want it tomorrow...I was just fine with having to ask for what I wanted/needed.

nikkistevej
10-23-2010, 06:50 PM
I am definitely interested in NCL too, we are doing a "family reunion" cruise to Alaska next July- and we are going to do the Norwegian Pearl. We wanted to leave from Seattle and it has pretty good reviews on cruise critic. We also really wanted to see Glacier Bay- so that narrowed our choices down to the Pearl. I hope we enjoy it.:goodvibes

tvguy
10-23-2010, 08:13 PM
We've never had to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated at any of the main dining rooms on NCL. The only exception to this was on the Norwegian Dream, which was a smaller ship not built for Freestyle. It's also no longer in the NCL fleet. If you take care not to show up to be seated at the peak dining room times, there usually shouldn't be a long wait. Also, if you are traveling with 8 people or more in your party, you can make reservations for the main dining rooms.

We also sailed on Princess with their Anytime Dining and had no problems being seated.

You were lucky, our first night the wait was 2 hours. But there is a trick to Freestyle if you want to eat in the regular dining room. When you finish dinner, stop as you exit and make a reservation for the next night. They won't let you make a reservation more than 24 hours in advance for the free dining room but they HAD to start taking reservations. The extra cost dining rooms you can make reservations 7 days in advance, but there never was a wait in those restaurants. NCL grossly over estimated how many folks would eat in the extra cost dining rooms, and just didn't build the free dining rooms big enough.

We cruised NCL in 1983 and 1984 on the Norway when they were still a top flight cruise line. Great shows with name entertainers, singers, comedians, and other acts you would see perform on the Tonight show were on board to do shows, and they hung out with the passengers for the week too.
Now a days, NCL has gone more mass market than they were. You will get your money's worth, but don't expect Disney or HAL levels of service, or the old NCL level of service.

iloverags2
10-23-2010, 09:11 PM
I recently booked a HAL cruise and my expection are pretty low....I hope to be pleasantly suprised but we are focusing on the ports and shore excursions and not expecting to do much on the ship except eat, sleep and hang out at the pool.

~Mike

My mom just did HAL to Alaska this past summer and loved it. Her first DCL cruise was Oct 2009, which she fell in love with DCL after going in with reservations and low expectations. So, when she went on HAL she was hesitant it wouldn't live up to Disney standards. She still gives the edge to DCL, but she was pleasantly surprised with HAL and quite happy with them.

Off-topic, I noticed in your signature a trip to Door County! I spent most of my life in Chicago and we often took weekend trips up there. In fact, my husband and I honeymooned there (since we had our wedding in Chicago and not Florida, where we now live)!

justmestace
10-23-2010, 09:19 PM
I am definitely interested in NCL too, we are doing a "family reunion" cruise to Alaska next July- and we are going to do the Norwegian Pearl. We wanted to leave from Seattle and it has pretty good reviews on cruise critic. We also really wanted to see Glacier Bay- so that narrowed our choices down to the Pearl. I hope we enjoy it.:goodvibes


If you can swing it, spend an extra day or two in Seattle. We did, as we'd never been there before, and had a great time. We also stayed at the Waterfront Marriott, nearly across the street from the pier, so the morning we boarded, we just pulled our luggage across the street. It was SO easy!

justmestace
10-23-2010, 09:20 PM
Justmestace: The suite perks on NCL are awesome! Breakfasts and lunches at Cagney's ... Wow!!! :thumbsup2


Their concierge and suite perks are so far and above DCL's it isn't even funny. I could go on and on about it. It was a special treat for my husband's birthday, and I'm so glad we did it.

dato63
10-23-2010, 10:46 PM
If you can swing it, spend an extra day or two in Seattle. We did, as we'd never been there before, and had a great time. We also stayed at the Waterfront Marriott, nearly across the street from the pier, so the morning we boarded, we just pulled our luggage across the street. It was SO easy!

I like reading your post. We are booked at the Marriott for 2 days pre cruise, as we have never been to Seattle. Looking forward to seeing the city. Then we are NCL Pearl bound for Alaska. :) Very happy to read more positive feedback.

justmestace
10-24-2010, 03:32 AM
I like reading your post. We are booked at the Marriott for 2 days pre cruise, as we have never been to Seattle. Looking forward to seeing the city. Then we are NCL Pearl bound for Alaska. :) Very happy to read more positive feedback.

Please feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions!

crazybones27
10-24-2010, 09:40 AM
Their concierge and suite perks are so far and above DCL's it isn't even funny. I could go on and on about it. It was a special treat for my husband's birthday, and I'm so glad we did it.

On our trip in 2007 on the Pride of Hawaii we were in a suite. I agree the perks in the suite were definitely worth the price we paid for them. My hubby and I were on our honeymoon and when the travel agent called and said would you like to upgrade we thought about it and decided to go with it. I have SUCH a hard time now looking at rooms below a suite level on ANY cruise line. I will definitely cruise NCL again in the future and most likely it will only be in the suites LOL.

Page4
10-24-2010, 10:00 AM
The anytime dining as you guys explain it sounds pretty interesting. I love DCL but going to dinner when they assign it to you felt almost cafeteria style. Not to mention, we ate lunch at different times around excursions or whatever and that pushed meals too close together sometimes. That being said, I wouldn't want DCL to change their way of doing dinner because that would mess things up, I think.

justmestace
10-24-2010, 12:35 PM
On our trip in 2007 on the Pride of Hawaii we were in a suite. I agree the perks in the suite were definitely worth the price we paid for them. My hubby and I were on our honeymoon and when the travel agent called and said would you like to upgrade we thought about it and decided to go with it. I have SUCH a hard time now looking at rooms below a suite level on ANY cruise line. I will definitely cruise NCL again in the future and most likely it will only be in the suites LOL.


I've had no problem at all going from being in NCL's courtyard suite, to a Cat 6 on DCL. I just really love to be cruising, and also....no offense DCL, but once you've had the concierge service on NCL (especially the Pearl!) there's no comparison, so I don't mind not having it on DCL.

justmestace
10-24-2010, 12:37 PM
The anytime dining as you guys explain it sounds pretty interesting. I love DCL but going to dinner when they assign it to you felt almost cafeteria style. Not to mention, we ate lunch at different times around excursions or whatever and that pushed meals too close together sometimes. That being said, I wouldn't want DCL to change their way of doing dinner because that would mess things up, I think.


I think the biggest difference is that dining on DCL is a show in itself. You get to have the same waitstaff, and getting to know them can be a lot of fun. Plus the atmosphere is amazing. I hope DCL doesn't ever change the way they handle dinners.

But since the other cruise lines are basically just like a nice restaurant in any city, it's great to be able to get ready to go to dinner without the rushed feeling of being "late" and holding up the whole table.

rusafee1183
10-24-2010, 01:56 PM
Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond and for the honest input. I think we are going to go for it and do the Pearl this spring. :goodvibes

I have done both the Pearl (2010) and the Star (2009) to Alaska. We prefered the Pearl for multiple reasons including Glacier Bay. It is also newer with improvements over the Star. I would absolutely recommend NCL over DCL. Don't get me wrong....we have sailed DCL 8 times with the 9th coming up, and we LOVE Disney, but for Alaska, NCL is MUCH better equipped. Some notes:
- freestyle dining is wonderful. You eat when you want where you want. With kids, that is a wonderful option for us and not having a set schedule was great. It is also neat having a 24 hour restaurant for those late night cravings. :)
- has a neat bowling alley and rock climbing wall.
- there are so many more scheduled activities on board than DCL. There is a neat game room (cards and board games) too with floor to ceiling windows.
- Spinnaker's lounge on the front of the ship is WONDERFUL for watching for wildlife and enjoying the scenery. It has a 180 degree view and is HUGE with wall to ceiling windows with tons of very comfy plush seating. Alaska cruising is so different from other cruises because you really want to be able to look out a lot. The NCL is much better for that and Spinnakers is one huge reason. A lot of the activities that we wanted to participate in was in that lounge so we didn't feel like we were missing anything by playing trivia or bingo. Plus, it was so big that line dancing or other actitivities could be going on and you had enough space to get away and enjoy your own part of the lounge without being involved in the activity. On DCL, there just isn't that viewing opportunity. One of the largest dining rooms (buffet) on the Pearl was floor to ceiling windows with semi circle booths that face the window so you have a beautiful view all the time. That is one big thing that people need to consider and why I wouldn't do DCL to Alaska...the views from the ship. Think about on DCL where you eat and do activities. Unless you find a large porthole in one of the lounges, or at Topsiders or Beach Blanket it is hard to have a good view when doing actitivites/eating. There is so much BEAUTIFUL scenery all the time and whales were everywhere on our last cruise so especially with the kids, being able to look out and watch for things is important.
- The shore excursions are basically the same for the ships. Glacier Bay is BEAUTIFUL and shouldn't be missed. When we did the Star we didn't go there and after seeing Glacier Bay, we agreed that that was the best itinerary. We are booked on the Pearl again next year for Alaska.
- The staff are nice. No, it isn't Disney, but our cabin stewards were just as friendly as DCL. The wait staff wasn't the same but that didn't matter to us. They were nice and did their jobs and that is what we expected.
- Our kids commented that there was a lot more to do on the ship and we all agreed. A lot more activities for games and things to do.
- We had a mini-suite (AF) and it was wonderful. It was almost identical to a cat 4 but I thought it seemed a little larger. I liked the drawer layout better and it seemed we had more room to put our clothes away. The bathrooms are not separate like DCL but the toilet does have a sliding glass door. Seemed a little roomier since it was a larger room versus 2 separate rooms.
- When we booked for next year (booked in Sept for Aug next year), our fare is $5475. DCL during the same week is $7507 for the same type of veranda cabin. For all of the above mentioned pluses of the Pearl and especially Glacier Bay, it wasn't hard to decide to go with NCL.
One last note, yes, it does get tiring to hear on NCL the constant push for jewerly demos, etc, but you just ignore it. When you passed by the demos, there were a lot of people there (usually drawn in by the free drawings) but they will continue to do it as long as people go. You don't get that on DCL..but it wasn't something that made us not enjoy our cruise.
I hear that the Star was removed Spinnakers lounge and replaced it with Suites.The Star doesn't do Glacier Bay. They also don't have the rock climbing wall, bowling and the restaurants have been improved on the Pearl so I wouldn't do the Star again to Alaska.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.
Have a great cruise no matter which you choose. Alaska is AWESOME!!!!!

Thank you for taking the time for such a detailed response. It's very appreciated. We haven't cruised with DCL before, I have been on 1 cruise that was SO long ago I can't count it because I didn't plan any of it and my DH has never cruised before. So, we aren't die hard DCL fans and we are open to try any cruise line as long as there is enough to entertain us on board or give us a nice pool or a quiet spot to read. :goodvibes I'm very much looking forward to going on the Pearl now and thanks again for taking the time to give such great details.

LKFan
10-24-2010, 04:16 PM
We cruised the Pearl to Alaska before we cruise Disney. The service on the Pearl was adequate. There were many staff (servers, hand sanitizing people, etc) with very strong accents which made it difficult for the kids. I don't know if it is a cultural difference but there just weren't as many smiles as there are on Disney.

We cruised in August and it was wet and cold the entire time. The rock wall, pools and outdoor restaurants were closed until the final day of the cruise. I assume it would be the same risk on any cruise you take to Alaska.

We bought the week pass for the spa and loved it. They have several hot tubs, saunas, warm tiled chairs, etc. all with beautiful views (floor to ceiling windows). After a day in the Alaskan cold, my husband and I enjoyed kicking back and relaxing in the spa while watching for whales.

As far as food goes, to us, it was mass produced cafeteria style food. And the coffee was horrid! We waited a decent amount of time to be seated for dinner. What we started to do was to get to the restaurants as soon as they opened. That way, we didn't have to wait for the first round of diners to finish before we were seated. Other nights, we just ate in the buffet.

NCL has a better Alaskan itinery than Disney does and I think that matters more when you are travelling to a place as scenic as Alaska. I've read that there are other ships (HAL, Princess, etc) that have better schedules than NCL. :wizard:

WDWDeb
10-24-2010, 05:02 PM
We stayed at the Marriott Waterfront too in Seattle. We highly recommend it like others have mentioned above. You literally walk across the street to the ship. It is so neat to wake up and there is the ship right out your window! It is also walking distance to Pike's Place Market and the Space Needle.

Also, weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Someone posted that it rained most of their cruise in August, yet for our week in August, it only rained the night we left Seattle. Just be prepared for anything because it can change quickly. Dress in layers and have rain gear. The coldest part of the cruise tends to be Glacier Bay.