We have sailed on over 60 cruises on a number of cruise lines and are sensitive to the quality of sevice,food,facilities,entertainment and the overall cruise experience. Although most of our cruises have been with Royal Caribbean stating in the 1970s we have become unhappy recently with a dramatic slippage in food quality and staff service and attitude on Royal Caribbean. NCL was recommended to us, and we were very pleased with our experience on the Norwegian Pearl. The Freestyle concept of wear what you wish and dine when you want has, quite frankly, become the standard on most mainstream cruise lines in practice if not policy. Our last Royal Caribbean cruise was filled with diners wearing jeans and tees on formal nights in the dinnig room. For their honesty we applaud NCL The embarkation process was fast, painless and welcoming. A space was provided to check carry-on luggage until the cabins were ready (they were at the time promised) and the main dining room provided a delicious sitdown lunch. The buffet was available for those who preferred it. Information was provided for the day's activities as well as a summary of the week's events. We were able to make advance reservations on board for Le Bistro(French) Cagney's(steakhouse) and La Cucina(Italian) specialty restaurants for later in the week and each had our table available and setup on arrival. We also ate two dinners in the main dining rooms and two in the buffet. The food was Outstanding in the moderately extra charge restaurants and very good in the dinning rooms and buffet. There were eight additional specialty restaurants available serving a full array of cuisine types from casual to exotic Entertainment throughout the cruise was top notch and varied and seats in the theater were always available. Reviews and solo entertainers were all excellent. Our inside cabin was comfortable well designed and impeccably maintained, The public spaces throughout the ship were always clean and attractive. Activities were varied and plentiful from several music venues, sports, trivia and several enjoyable parties and presentations.
The most striking and satisfying feature of the Pearl was a helpful and always smiling and eager staff and crew. They exhibited good humor in all circumstaces. The port excursion desk and reception desk were well staffed an lines were short and manageable. The ship's facilities were spacious and varied due in part to the absence of a 12 story soaring cental atrium which we did nt miss for a moment.
Port calls at NCLs Bahama island, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico provided a broad range of excursions, beaches, shopping and activities. On- board passengers had several dining and activity choices if the chose to forgo ports. Disembarkation was a pleasure. there was no pressure to leave the ship early and the main dining room and buffet were both open with full breakfasts served. An express debakation was available for passengers who carried thir luggage with them. We have already booke two additional cruises on NCl using cruise reward certificates which are sold on board and offer an additioal $100 dicount per booking on any fare.