We were a total of 11 travelers, in 4 cabins, coming from South Florida to Seattle for a friends and family cruise experience to Alaska. The cruise overall was ok, but not great like I had expected.
Issue 1: our cabin steward was non-existent. We were in a handicapped cabin (great if you want extra roominess) with a special type of shower. On the first day, I told him the shower leaked and that we needed extra towels to sop up the water. No towels, no one looking into the leaking problem. Second day, same thing. Every day, I had to go search out the cleaning cart and snag 3 or 4 towels from there. You would have thought that this would have been addressed by the crew immediately but it was in fact NEVER addressed.
Issue 2: I know we were a large party, but even when we were willing to split up into several tables, we were only able to eat at the buffet by sitting outside on the back of the ship. Buffet lines were long every meal I attended.
Issue 3: in the non-paid restaurants, the staff was indifferent at best, and in one instance in Summer Palace the waitress was down right rude. Never, in the 5 nights that we ate in the Summer Palace and/or Indigo, did anyone come to our table to take orders from the bar. My 19 year old daughter, who looks about 15, went to the Blue Lagoon restaurant by herself to get a snack. After 45 minutes, her food had not arrived and the waiter didn't even know what happened to her order. Our experience in Cagney's Steakhouse was awesome, but you should not have to pay a lot of money to get excellent service on a cruise. Also, I hate the fact that most of the restaurants carry an additional fee. I feel that 75% of the dining options on the ship should be included in the fare, not 25%.
Issue 4: We paid $20 per person for the Presumed Murdered Luncheon. What a disappointment! The show was ok, but nothing great. The food was lousy. There was only ONE option for the meal, and it wasn't even anything special. I would definitely skip this event. Issue 5: Our itinerary had us in Skagway for 13 hours. Trust me - it is a tiny little town with a bunch of shops, and there is not a whole lot to do. We were in Ketchikan for much less time, and didn't get to do everything we wanted. So - less time in Skagway, more time in Ketchikan. Issue 6: The gymnasium is small. Sure, it's not crowded most of the day, but the one time when everyone wants to go, first thing in the morning, it is a madhouse. I asked if there was a way to sign up for an elliptical machine, but they had no system for that so I literally had to stand behind someone whose machine showed that they only had a few minutes left in their workout, waiting for them to finish. A better organized system would make it much better.
In summary, I would rate this Alaskan cruise on the Norwegian Pearl as a mediocre trip, and would not recommend it to my friends