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LUMINOSA - Alaska Return Review

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Sadly my cruise to Alaska has ended...amazing how time crawls waiting to head out however the time flys by so quickly when on the voyage. 

In this post I will break it down in sections i.e. Ship, Crew, Food, Ports and overall conclusion with a few pictures.


The Luminosa is on the smaller size at it technically falls under the Spirt Class and holds max. capacity of 2500 passengers. CCL bills it out as a new ship, but in reality it's not. It was recently acquired from Costa Cruiseline and had a minor quick refit. I did discover this information some time after my booking and was a bit concerned as some reports stated it to look tired and worn. No it is not a brand new ship with everything being perfect. I did see a few things on deck 10 that did show its age a bit some window latches coming loose and few roofing panels with major rust, however as a whole the ship was in pretty decent shape and not an eye sore. I did NOT find myself thinking it was terrible and asking myself what had I done. Compared to larger ships like the Panorama the Luminosa seemed to have nicer and more open spaces for people to sit to relax or meet with others. The main theater had the long rows of comfy couches with tables throughout vs. Panorama had uncomfortable individual chairs like you might find at a conference in the entire main center of the theater. Additionally as on most spirt class ships it was easy to navigate the floors as most went from bow to stern vs the newer Panorama was a nightmare to get from one end to the other. Another notable item was when boarding on the Luminosa you entire directly into the main atrium and get the oh wow...honey I'm home factor vs. The Panorama you enter from the bow area which has no wow factor. This ship is suppose to have an Italian flare,  but really I'm not sure I saw or really felt that. I had a balcony cabin and it was pretty much standard fare with 2 exceptions the interior room counter was actually larger than the Panorama s which I liked and the deck was doubled the depth which was great.


The crew on this ship was by far much better and more friendly than my last ship. Everyone said hello asked how you are doing and wanted to take care of you. I even had some remembering my name and greeting me with it, most notably in the Casino and my cabin steward who would be way at the other end of the hall and yell out hello to me..needless to say thew me off guard the 1st few times...lolol. all the food servers where friendly and accommodated any requests made. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the head waiter for my MDR table. He was disinterested, lacking in personality, slow, did bare minimum not friendly, and anything said came acrossed as forced. It was not just me everyone at the table mentioned it.


Yes my prickly spot. 😂 the lido buffett food so so it was hit or miss and the way way its ayed out is horrible you have 3 stations on each side of the ship and people line up for it but the problem is it over fliws into the walkway so can be a bit jammed up and difficult to get around/through. I did read post that people had went to the burrito bar and request some items to be added or subtracted and given a "no" for an answer so I had to give that a try. I went twice once I requested additional al items and once less items, I'm happy to report I had no issues and the cooks did exactly what I requested without the slightest thought or pushback. The coffee and juice machines worked perfectly everytime, un like the Luminosa that constantly broke down or couldn't get to work... nothing worst than needing that 1st cup of Joe in the a.m. and the machine is malfunctioning and everyone around you is pissed off because of it. I was greatful for this positive. 😁 MDR I will say was bit better cooked but it still was lacking. Unfortunately the new menu has not reached the Luminosa yet. With that said being how bad the food was on the Panorama in April I was a little on guard and better prepared this go around. I did spend $23 for the Filet which was 9oz and cooked to perfection and advertised as prime usda. It was very good. The pasta shrimp carbonara was bland no flavor and seriously lacking which is sad as it's suck an easy dish to make (Alfredo sauce, peas, bacon bits, and little roasted tomatoes.) CCL version shrimp cream sauce bacon pieces, create sauce had zero flavor and missing ingredients. The spaghetti with Italian sausage was decent. The lasagna was horrible... mushy ground hamburger that tasted like canned chef bordee. On pork chop night I warned table mate across from me to stay away as it will be as hard as rock...she did, however two others didn't hear me and order them. Yep they both complained about how hard it was as the tried to saw through them... myself and lady across from me tried to refrain from laughing as we looked away chuckling. The casino was nice enough to comp me $50 for wine and another meal from the menu special order. I ordered the lamp chop which to my surprise really isn't a lamb chop but a 6 rib bone rack of lamb and when cut individually they become lamb lolly pops. Cooked perfectly and best meal of the trip. If I had to pay the normal fee of $23 I would do it in a heart beat. The sadest part about the MDR food is I have proven by having the Felit and lamb from the $23 upcharge menu that they can produce good to great food and for a slight increase of cost on each menu item that's included for free could be so much better. For you CELEBRITY CRUISERS, CCL now offer free chocolate Chip Cookies until midnight... no upcharge of $2 each 🤣


I will start this off by saying I'm pretty disappointed as to how commercialized each are... juneau the worst, has to be over 50 yes 50 jewelry stores one next to the other all ran by people from India. No I'm not prejudice but merely stating facts. I didnt see one retailer that was locally owned with the exception of the tshirt and souvenir shop directly across from the tram. The town is know for its whales... try and find something unique for a whale... good luck all you find is whale tail jewelry...yep you guessed it from the jewelry shops. No scremshaws of whales on bone or ivory or whale carvings just jewelry  or cheap item from souvenir shop. I was really hoping to buy something hand crafted from alaskan natives. The tram costs a staggering $50 for a 6 minute ride to the top of the mtn. I did go on a whale watching trip which is what I expected but did see some whales so not all was lost...thankfully.


I rented a car at this port which was waiting for me at the pier. I drove about 70 miles into Canada. I saw some amazing scenery, waterfalls, lakes, mountain ranges and peaks,  walked on the suspension bridge had bison chili, works smallest desert that is 1 square mile, emerald lake...all things that make Alaska and Canada worth seeing. Started at 8 a.m. and returned at 3:30pm found so many things that just take in. Plenty of time left for the town it's self. Not a lot to see in the town more jewelry stores but only a handful...thankfully. did have some decent shop to visit which was nice and picked up a scremshaw of a bear on 600 year old walrus tooth about 3 inches long. Amazingly all the stores here had whale items but its know for its bears with very little bear items to purchase lolol go figure. Sadly I learned from a local that skagway has no real industry as the depth. of tourism will not allow any fast food or development and no commercial fisheries exist as well. The town felt rich with history and could invision days gone by as the gold rush boomed.


I was suppose to ride helicopter to top of a mtn and to a remote waterfall however weather caused a problem and ended up on a remote beach via helicopter and the fly over the city and cruise ships. It was ok but wish could have dine what was planned but can't control the weather. Again very commercialized lots of jewelry stores but a couple unique shops with real alaskan natives items but I really had to search for them as they are not located in the main stream. I ended up finding a small hand carved and painted totem pole and carved out of bone a salmon breaking water and underneath carved Alaska.. this town is known as the salmon capital of the world and only 1 shop had anything unique for salmon. 


I saw probably 4 kids on the ship, the majority of people where much older and super low key so not much of a "fun ship" don't get me wrong people where nice but by 930-10 the ship was pretty quite with the exception of the casino, yes I spent a fair amount of time in it ...of course I did !!!!! Lol

Would I do it again probably not to the same ports. I might consider one of the 1 way trips that goes from alaska to seattle to different towns that are less traveled as not many ships do the 1 way  trips. I suspect they would be less commercialized. I would love to see and experience more of the real Alaska.  I can go jewelry shopping here at hope for better pricing 






Edited by Kendall James-Vargas
title correction
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@FJB thanks ... I know it was a lot of info but really think people should know what to expect and get real and true picture of what the trip offers. I love cruising and what i had invisioned for a Alaska cruise was much different than what was. 

When I travel I love to see the real parts of those locations and history if possible. Yes do a little shopping but it's not my primary reason for travel. Additionally I felt like the reports about the ship that I read prior to my departure was a bit of a Debbie downer and made me a bit concerned but figured I would make the best of it regardless. I was really pleased to see that what elreported was not accurate as a whole. Yes I suppose if you look for facts flaws you will find them which I did a few minor items but really nothing to make me regret traveling on the luminosa. If I had one real complaint it would be the lacking of specialty dining but in reality I'm not sure how much it really effected me. 

As for the overall itinerary I think it would have been nice to cut the skagway port time from 13 hours to 10 hours and add the 3 additional hours to Ketchikan as 7a to 1p is just to short. I heard some people say they only had 30 min. To get back on ship after their excursions. I had 1.5 hours and frankly I was racing to see things felt like my feet were on fire and constantly watching the time. The extra time would have been nice so could have seen few more items. Same for Victoria an earlier arrival would have been nice as more would have been open and during day light.

Edited by euroguy
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@euroguy Thanks for this great review. Based on your comment in the other forum, did you want to change the title of your review? 

I think your observation of adding the 3 additional hours to the Ketchikan stop makes a lot of sense. Although it sounds like you utilized your time really wonderfully during your Skagway port time really efficiently, the time could be better dispersed between those two stops. 

Your food review sounds very relatable! I have heard many recent complaints about food quality throughout the lines. 

The photos are breathtaking! The ice chunk in the middle of this photo is so majestic. I'm surprised to hear about the lack of children and families onboard. I bet it's due to a combination of the school year being in full swing, the type of ship Carnival Luminosa is, and the itinerary. The 2,260-passenger Carnival Luminosa happens to be one of the older, smaller fleet members, which helps weed out the party scene crowd. I personally love the more intimate ships. The mega-ships get overly crowded pretty quickly.

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@Kendall James-Vargas yes I would like the title corrected as i originally had it i.e. Luninosa - Alaska Return Review. Not sure why it was changed when I posted.

Yes the floating iceberg was gorgeous and so happy I was able to capture the beauty it held.

Regarding the people on board I think that the type of cruise and timing is the primary reason for who was on the ship. 

Food was cooked better than on the Panorama but still not the best unless you spend a little then it dramatically gets so much better.

I certainly ly tried to maximize my time at each port and was more fortunate than othe shipmates to see and experience more but I could have been better for all had the port times been slightly adjusted.

I still saw some increadible and amazing things, which I'm greatful for.

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@euroguy The title has been corrected! The iceberg doesn't even look real. Those are just things you don't see every day unless you live in Alaska of course. I agree about the reason for fewer families being on board. I think this sort of itinerary is geared towards a more sophisticated crowd. Alaska isn't a place you get to see every day. I still haven't been able to swing a cruise out that way! 

I hope your personal assistant gets you some better dining options included in the price for your next CCL cruise. Now that the cruise line has taken notice of your casino skills, It's fair to say you deserve better dining experiences! 

Now tell me, when is your next CCL cruise slated?

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@euroguy Yes, I don't think I have seen a photo like that before. Considering the climate and time of year, I find it bizarre that it was just floating around like that. Wasn't it pretty warm out to see a random iceberg? That's a great time of year to cruise. I have my next one slated in February that visits Mexico. Since I just did an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, I'm excited to go back to Mexico and stop at some new spots. 

Did you see this update on the Half Moon Cay cabanas? They won't have air conditioning anymore!

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@Kendall James-Vargas the weather was a balmy 60 degrees, but you need to keep in mind that the waters is fed partly by the glacier so the water is really cold so the bergs last.

The changes to Half moon cay don't excite me. I'm fare ski d and blond so I would be melting and die in excessive heat, thanks but no thanks, I will skip that stop.

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@euroguy That makes great sense. If the weather sustains temps in the 60s, I can see how the water stays very brisk. You visited the area in the warmest time of year, possibly even the warmest month, and yet you were still able to see an iceberg! That's pretty awesome.

I totally agree. The air-conditioned cabanas are perfect for those who don't tolerate the heat well. I definitely need access to shade and water if the temps are anywhere in the 90s plus. 

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@euroguy Yes, suntanning is also short-lived for me. Another guest posted about sun decks and it was so true. Sun decks aren't as popular as they once were. People are more aware of the long-term effects of extended suntanning. I wouldn't be surprised if those decks start transforming into something more practical for the modern-day cruise guest. I avoid those areas unless I'm taking a quick jog on the track, but even then I prefer the indoor gym due to the fierce sun exposure during the midday hours. 

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