Anyone sailed with NCL?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by rusafee1183, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. rusafee1183

    rusafee1183 DVC Owner Since 2012!

    Mar 11, 2008
    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:
  2. GreatDaneMom

    GreatDaneMom DIS Veteran

    May 20, 2005
    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.
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  4. momof2minnies

    momof2minnies DIS Veteran

    Feb 7, 2004
    I have not but my brother has sailed them all including Disney.He said NCL was the worst and never again.

  5. edith76

    edith76 Mouseketeer

    Jan 29, 2001
    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.
  6. Almagetty

    Almagetty Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2006
    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!
  7. crazybones27

    crazybones27 DVC Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    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.
  8. hopelea

    hopelea I love everything DISNEY!!

    Sep 17, 2001
    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 will be fun
  9. mdvlprof

    mdvlprof DIS Veteran

    Feb 7, 2010
    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...
  10. IndianaPrincess

    IndianaPrincess Mouseketeer

    Aug 18, 2008
    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!
  11. Suz725

    Suz725 Mouseketeer

    Jul 11, 2010
    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.
  12. Calrissian13

    Calrissian13 A wedding! I love weddings!

    Jul 8, 2008
    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!
  13. jilljill

    jilljill <font color=blue>Collects Disney men!<br><font col

    Jan 21, 2003
  14. dato63

    dato63 DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2008
    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.
  15. Rogillio

    Rogillio DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2006
    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.

  16. WDWDeb

    WDWDeb Cue the DCL horn!

    Oct 23, 2004
    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!!!!!
  17. mattmommy

    mattmommy Mouseketeer<br><font color=green>My DS loves rice.

    Aug 11, 2003
    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.
  18. Rogillio

    Rogillio DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2006

    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.

  19. DenverVal

    DenverVal DIS Veteran

    Feb 15, 2004
    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.
  20. Page4

    Page4 Mouseketeer

    Jun 19, 2010
    Is "anytime dining" an option or is that just the way everyone has it?
  21. DenverVal

    DenverVal DIS Veteran

    Feb 15, 2004
    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.

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