We enjoyed a New Years cruise on the NCL Pearl. The ship was in good condition, the food was good and the cruise staff was friendly and helpful.
We took a shuttle from a hotel near Miami airport. Our bags were taken by pier baggage handler’s right out of the shuttle van. It was a short walk to the cruise check in area. It took about 20 minutes to complete the check in process and board the ship via the NCL Latitudes line. The regular line was much longer, but we checked in at the peak time around 12:30p. The cabin was ready upon boarding.
We had an obstructed oceanview room. It seemed a little smaller than other cabins I’ve had, but the bathroom seemed a little bigger than others. The cabin was clean, efficient with a small flat screen TV.
The public rooms were nicely decorated and clean. Plenty of bars inside and out. There is a large movie theater size screen in the atrium, which showed movies and sporting events. There are four bowling lanes, rock wall, sports areas, two pools and four hot tubs. I thought the fitness area was small for the ship size. It was almost always full. In general, the ship was kept clean with no mechanical or maintenance issues.
The Second City, Frankie Valli and Four Seasons (kind of like Jersey Boys) show and Donovan & Rebecca (amazing acrobatic show) were very good. The other entertainment was average. I was a little disappointed in the New Years Eve party arrangements, but still had fun.
Port of Calls
Great Stirrup Cay: Nice beach and clear warm water. The snorkeling was OK. A good relaxing day.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We’ve already done the Dunn River falls, so we joined an independent tour arranged at the pier. Went to waterfall, fern gulley, spice and fruit tasting, shopping and then 3 hours at a private beach near the RIU.
George Town, Grand Cayman: Arranged another independent tour at the pier. Get an early start due to tendering delays. Went to Stingray City (a must) and snorkeling at a nearby reef. Spent some time at the Royal Palms on Seven Mile Beach. It is a private beach with pool, bar, restaurant and covered area. Lot’s of water sport activity, but the beach is small and crowded. It is only $2/person. Met friend for lunch at Casanova, a good Italian restaurant near the tender pier.
Cozumel, Mexico: Hired another independent tour and went to San Gervasio (Mayan ruin), food and tequila tasting and private beach area for snorkeling. Finished in San Miguel shopping and a few drinks at Senor Frogs.
Organized and on time. We did the baggage program, so our bags were sent to the airport and checked in. We didn’t touch them until arriving at our final destination. A great deal for $20.