I have cruised with husband on honeymoon, with family, and with our kids. This time it was with 9 girlfriends for a while lot of fun.
I will start with the dining. Freestyle was very disappointing. The first night we went to the Indigo dining room and service was slow and not as friendly as on other cruise lines. Also, the food quality was just okay. The second night we tried Summer Palace dining room and that was terrible. We had to wait 40 mins for a table when the hostess found us as our pager was not working. When we were seated, the dining room was only about 1/3 full. The service was very slow. We missed the 9:30 show because it took so long to get our meals. We were very disappointed. On other cruises, by second night in the dining room waiters etc knew us by name and were having fun with us. We did not get this on the Pearl in Indigo or Summer Palace.
Third night we had Cagney's steak house booked and it was great. The staff was very attentive, food was amazing. Too bad we had to pay extra to get the service we have had in the dining rooms of other cruise lines. We later tried the italian and japanese steakhouse and they too were great. Food tasted so much better and service was wonderful. We were disappointed we had to pay to get that level of dining. A lot of our group said they would nopt try the freestyle dining again.
All that being said, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously on this cruise. In large part because we were 9 moms leaving our 25 kids home with our husbands for a week of fun and relaxation. The cruise director, Julie and her staff were a lot of fun. The night time activities were great and we all enjoyed it. My favourite was the reception we got when we returned to the ship in Cozumel. Staff and crew were on the pier welcoming us back with dance music playing, Julie and Fish were on stilts, lots of fun.
Our mini suite was nice but smaller than our balcony on Carnival Dream in August. Also we didn't see our cabin stewart until evening of day two and she never did tell us her name. On previous cruises, they knew our names too.
Four ports is probably one too many. Great Stirrup Cay was fun, we parasailed and hung out having a lot of fun. Jamaica was fun because we did the bobsled and Dunn's river Falls excursion, you need to book an excursion there or you are hasseled too much by locals. Grand Cayman was beautiful, Seven Mile beach was great and in Mexico, we shopped around and some did the beach. We ate at Woody's Bar and Grill and it was the best Mexican food I have ever had.
The Pearl ship was very nice, well laid out. Nice to be on a smaller ship, crowds are better.
Pearl dancers and singers were great. The Oh What a Night group were fantastic as well. However, the juggler, Mark Angelo and Marlo was not great. His show was very slow starting and did not get that good in the end. He was not up to same quality as all the other entertainment.
Overall, our group of 9 had a fantastic trip and I would love to do the Pearl again but not with freestyle dining. Set dining times with the same table and servers is way more personable a dining experience.