Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by pjb6735: Norwegian First
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My wife & I have cruised several times & on a few different lines, but had never cruised with Norwegian. We wanted a new experience, so we picked a re-positioning cruise from Vancouver to LA. We had cruised to Alaska several years before from Vancouver out of Canada Place. The city is beautiful, as is Canada Place. This trip we would be cruising out of Ballantyne. Ballantyne is basically an overflow port & is used only a handful of times a year. We were told that we should wait to go down to the pier until the afternoon & the disembarking passengers had time to leave as the port is not large. We later learned that this was a mistake. A disemabarking passenger got hurt & lost, leading to a delay. Then the computers crashed leading to an additional delay. In all it took 4 hours (no exaggeration) to board the ship. By the time we had, the muster drill was complete & we were starving. I was surprised to find that the buffets were not open. We had to wait an More
additional half hour to eat.
We left port about an hour late & soon learned that our first port of call (Astoria, Oregon) was cancelled due to high seas. this was disappointing, but no ones fault. The seas were indeed rough, approximately 18 foot & 2 additional ships in port the day before, stayed to weather the storm.
Our next port of call was San Francisco. The weather cleared up, but the government shut down closed the National Parks. Therefore, a lot of passengers were scrambling to find a new excursion. We got on a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour & truly enjoyed ourselves. Once again the ship was delayed leaving port because a crew member "jumped" ship. U.S. Customs & Border patrol delayed us over an hour to sort the matter out. By this time it was very dark out & we were not able to see the Golden Gate very well.
I would like to say that through this Norwegian was accommodating, but they really weren't. We had booked our excursions ahead of time & when we asked the staff how these credits were handled, we were basically dismissed. We had to ask a couple of times & finally were told a check would be mailed to us. We found that our excursion we had booked to disembark & take us to the airport was screwed up. The excursion showed a bus tour & drop off at LAX. Our tickets showed us returning to the ship. When we tried to straighten this out, we learned that the excursion we wanted was now sold out. We booked a similar trip. When we checked in to our disembarkation excursion, we learned that once again we were booked to return to the ship.
All in all, we found the Norwegian staff to be quite disorganized. The ship is gorgeous, but has a somewhat confusing layout. Our room steward was exceptional & our cabin was great. This was a good thing, as the rough seas kept you indoors a lot. The food in the dining rooms was fantastic, as was the service. It seemed like the cruise staff was always running late with activities. I do not like to "nit-pick", but a lot of simple things added up with the large out of control issues left us disappointed. I think I would use Norwegian again, but not my first choice. Less
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