Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by DonSolo96: Alaska Will Amaze You
Overall Member Rating
Alaska Will Amaze You
First-time cruisers here. Five of us on this trip. Me, DW, DD (13), DD (12), and DS (7). My quick points:
- Embarkation was smooth as silk. It was almost disorienting how quickly we went from standing outside the pier to starting our vacation aboard the Pearl. If your kids have an interest in doing the rock-climbing wall, Seattle is a good place to do it. Windy conditions often shut down any available windows at sea.
- Food was very good. The few times I had something at Garden Cafe (the main buffet) that I didn't like, I just went back and got something that I DID like. The Indigo Main Dining room was great for the two dinners we had there. Cagney's was a treat we all did together on my wife's birthday. Great steak, great service. The two lunches we had at Summer Palace were so-so. I definitely gained weight on this cruise!
- Plenty of fun things to do for kids while aboard. The kids were never bored, although the Splash Academy proved to be too "kiddie" More for our 12yo, who went once and never went back again. Our DS(7) really enjoyed his 6-9 age group though. Entourage was so-so for our teen, but she had so much fun doing everything else, there were no complaints. All the kids enjoyed the comedian Bud Anderson and Second City's improv show in Spinnaker Lounge. The wife and I also had a good time at their adults-only shows. The "Best of Broadway" show was highly enjoyable for the entire family, too.
- Staff was excellent. Always willing to go the extra mile. Is the service in the restaurants a bit slow? Sure. But we were having too much fun to rush through a meal anyway. The longest we ever had to wait for a table was ~10 minutes for Indigo one night. I think we waited for < 5 minutes for Summer Palace for lunch one day, too.
- The absolute highlight of this cruise is Glacier Bay. Don't feel the need to be rude when trying to get pictures, folks! The ship took 4-5 (maybe more?) sloooooooow rotations in front of Margerie and you WILL get the shot you are wanting. My suggestion: Outside on either Deck 12 or 13, NOT behind the glass of Spinnaker (which is my favorite indoor space in the entire ship). Feel (and HEAR) the sound of the glaciers from deck.
- You WILL be cold at some point during this cruise. But who cares? A good windbreaker will be your best friend. Less
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Cabin review: 5550
Midship, Port side. Being midship really made a difference, especially during the Sea Day, which was pretty choppy. We had adjoining cabins (also had 5548). We out the three kids in one cabin and had one to ourselves. When you have the doors closed, it blocks out the sound really well. ;)When the doors are open, it turns these small staterooms into something that feels like a much bigger space. Between the two cabins, there was plenty of space for our (considerable) luggage to be unpacked and put into all the various drawers, shelves, etc. The suitcases fit nicely under the beds. My son loved the fold-down bed the kids had in 5548. Plenty of room for all three kids in that cabin. The window is quite large. You can get some decent pictures from there. My kids loved sitting on the windowsill and enjoying the view while reading a book.The bathroom is small, but there is still enough room to take care of business in there. I also very much enjoyed being midship. Noise was NOT an issue and we were a very short walk up the stairs to Deck 7, both midship and forward. You also don't feel bad about taking the elevator up to 12/13 since you are so many floors down from there.
Port and Shore Excursions
Mendenhall Glacier & Hatchery Tour. It also included a salmon bake. Food was fabulous, the glacier was amazing. Take the time to make the 20 minute walk down to the glacier and Nugget Falls.
The salmon were running, which made the hatchery surprisingly entertaining. More salmon than you will ever see in your life.
Cheesy, but a great time was had by all.
Klondike Family Experience
This was a trip to the Klondike Gold Fields. Included a brewery tour, beer (and root beer) tasting, a delicious buffet, gold-panning, a dredge tour, a sled-dog presentation from a guy that has run the Iditarod seven times, a chance to pet the sled dogs, holding some three-week old PUPPIES (cute!), the 40 Below chamber (brrr). Kids LOVED it (and so did we). A fabulous day.
Scenic Victoria City Tour
Trapped on a bus for two hours. Skip it and experience Victoria on your own instead (or go to the Gardens if that's your thing).
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Small and casual ship