Background: I cruised with my husband. We are in our 40’s. We like good quality food and a variety of choices but are not gourmets or foodies. We like to party but not like spring break twenty-somethings This cruise should have worked for us. The disorganization and poor service ruined it.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 11:30 and got in line outside the terminal at 11:45. We didn’t get on the ship until 1:30. This was my 5th cruise and the longest wait ever for embarkation. It continued all afternoon and was so bad our safety drill didn’t take place until 15 minutes before we left the dock because people were still getting on the ship. It was so rushed some people didn’t even make it to the drill. We live in Orlando by the way so we drove to the port. That was the easiest part of this awful journey.
The water slide in the pictures on Norwegians site was missing the whole cruise?. Also the main pool was drained on the first day and most of the pool area was also roped off because there had been some event on the previous cruise and there was equipment and stages everywhere. We were very disappointed with the atmosphere on the pool deck. Employees were running all around trying to disassemble things. It was disorganization not a “festive” send off. There was hardly any seating and everyone wanted to get lunch and drinks but we all had to sit on the few pool loungers available. It is difficult to eat steak and chicken off of a plate without a table. There were no waiters servicing anyone at the pool area for drinks so the bars were packed and the service was painfully slow.
Dining: We ate breakfast two days at the Great Outdoors and got freshly made omelettes. The omelette maker was friendly and efficient. They were very tasty and fresh as was the hash. We also had snacks out there a couple times in the afternoon. If you want a drink with your meal get it first. The Great Outdoors bar is also painfully slow and there are no waiters out there – ever! I went to get a bloody mary one day and my eggs were nearly cold by the time I got back and I was the only one ordering. We didn’t eat at the buffet except for taking pretzel bread sticks and oatmeal raisin cookies for snacks.
Teppanyaki: We had dinner here one night. It was just OK in both the entertainment component and the food. The chef didn’t interact with us very much at all and he seemed rushed. The tea cake dessert was horrible. On the Dawn they have green tea ice cream which is much better.
Indigo: We had dinner here two times. The first night was OK – we had good service and the food was average. We were disappointed because Norwegian usually has steak and lobster on the first night but on this cruise we got shrimp instead.
Room Service: We used this several times more out of convenience than because it was good. I will say they are always on time. However you may want to order two of some items. The BLT was tiny more like two finger sandwiches LOL. One morning they forgot our cereal but brought bowls and milk. The next morning they actually delivered an EMPTY carafe of coffee…. Really ?? These were promptly corrected with a call or me waving the steward down in the hall way but I shouldn’t have to.
Service/Lines: It seemed our embarkation debaucle continued every day. When we docked in Cozumel the captain announced at 7:15 we could disembark. We had gotten up very early and showered, packed and had breakfast room service as we had an early excursion. Two minutes after the announcement we arrived at the gangway. It was closed and we were re-directed to another gangway which was also closed. Passengers kept coming down and we ended up shoulder to shoulder blocking the hallways, stairs and elevators. We had to wait until almost 8:00 to get off after being told to come down at 7:15! This was very irritating.
In Key West a similar occurrence. For no reason ever given we were told that every passenger whether going ashore or not had to present in person for a customs check. US citizens in the Spinnaker lounge. Times were announced by deck but of course they were way behind immediately. We were supposed to go at 12:30 but they hadn’t even called the first group yet and we were group 2. We finally got in line at 1: 15 and finished at about 2:15. We were supposed to be able to go ashore at 12:00 but it was 2:30 before we got off the ship. Mind you, we STILL had to go through customs again the next day in Miami. And while waiting to get into Spinnakers we were all outside in the hot sun.
Service at all the bars was poor the whole time. At the martini bar we were ignored for over five minutes while two employees chatted and ran register tapes. We finally left as did another patron. Everywhere you went the employees would take your order and then talk to each other and then go get your beer and talk to someone else and then slowly meander back with your now nearly warm beer and expect an extra tip. They would never make it on Carnival.
Service in Indigo our first night was OK. The last night it was awful. Slow slow slow. The couple next to us brought some wine. The waiter put their wine in a bucket and disappeared. I was eating my salad. Someone came back to them and they asked for wine glasses and water. Someone came back with wine glasses and no water and no wine opener. When I finished my dessert and were leaving they were just getting their wine opened and still had no water. Our service was nearly as bad and the food was awful on this night too.
On the last night we were told via the newsletter that we were not arriving at the same terminal we departed from but the port of Miami would provide us a free shuttle. There was no instruction or direction or guidance of where to catch it or anything. I hoped there might be someone at the port but of course upon arriving there was no NCL employee to tell us where to get the shuttle or anything. I had to ask a port employee. The change was not NCL’s fault, but they made the situation much worse by not looking out for us or ensuring everyone understood where to go. The bus was not clearly marked and the port of Miami there are buses everywhere. This was really annoying after all the waiting and awful service.
Cruise director was non-existent the whole cruise. There were two lame pool games on the sea day and the prize was a bottle of champagne for like 5 people to split. Also lame. No fun dancing or anything. The band didn’t even seem excited to be there and they started over an hour late from the schedule in the newsletter. Seemed Pearl couldn’t do anything on time or well.
We took the catamaran tour to Passion Island. I loved everything about this except it was too short. The island is beautiful and has great service. We enjoyed the grilled fish and chicken. The chips were fresh and the salsa and guacamole were awesome. We had margaritas and very cold beer and amazing service everywhere we went - the restaurant hut, the bar, and even in the water. Another couple in our party got pretty far out and tipped their kayak over. They were struggling but an employee was watching and paddled out quickly to help them. We were not bothered by anyone to buy anything or for tips. Tips were only mentioned at the end and very clear to tip based on the service which we did. This one should be longer but it was the best thing about our otherwise HORRIBLE cruse on the Pearl on 2/3/2014 - 2/7/2014 !