I sailed the Norwegian Pearl with my husband and three boys, ages 7, 11 and 13, and Mom for Spring Break. This was our first time sailing Norwegian--having sailed Princess a couple of times.
Embarkation wasn't too bad--we only waited about 30-45 minutes. There was some confusion because one of the NCL crew allowing customers on board held us up another few minutes, with a group of other passengers because our number was called but he had not heard it. Oh well, no biggie.
We had to explore the ship and find our way to the buffet since we weren't quite sure what food venues were open. There was adequate seating and the buffet area was busy, but food was very good. I did not realize that we had to get our own beverages, since Princess would serve once seated. Service was interesting at the buffet, because some NCL crew members were nice and friendly and others who appeared to look as if they hated their jobs and didn't care much for the passengers.
Our first night for the sit down dinner at the Summer Palace was awful--service was slow, workers were cool and the food was gross. My steak, cooked medium, was overcooked and tasted like it came from Dennys; the lobster was disappointing. Luckily, we ate dinner at Indigo for the other nights and interesting that service was much better along with the food.
Service was a hit or miss with the dining workers, and same with the food. I think we were spoiled because we found the service and food on Princess to be consistently superb.Loved the Indian food at the buffet, buffalo wings at Blue Lagoon and tiramisu at Indigo.
Bingo games, WII on the super screen, rock climbing, swimming with slides meant lots of fun for the kids. My husband had fun in the fitness center and I was able to relax in the Spa (I paid for the VIP Thermal Pass), enjoyed a couple of massages and managed to have some reading time in the library. The ship also had a lifestyles/game room where the kids could play cards, and chutes and ladders. My youngest LOVED the kids program.
Highlights of the trip was Great Stirrup Cay and Ocho Rios Jamaica. We liked Great Stirrup Cay because the buffet was so delicious (star fruit, passionfruit, tasty ribs) and weather was awesome. May want to bring your water shoes w/soles because the beaches had some jagged rocks or coral or something.
Jamaica was soo inspiring--we made the trek up Dunns River Falls and visited SHaw Botanical Park. Loved the scenery although the vendors were pretty aggressive. I only wish we had more time at port to visit the local restaurants.
We visited the Casino a couple of times but was too smoky for us to stay. The rooms an bathroom were fairly spacious with a nice decor. We were also lucky because my son forgot his digital camera in the restaurant and was so pleased that one of the hostesses (Jinky) quickly placed it in lost and found.
Overall, while the food wasn't always superb, and the service wasn't always great---the remaining workers who did try their best to make our experience wonderful made up for any gaps. I would go back again! To Red at the buffet--keep smiling!