Just returned from a five day on the Pearl - Cozumel and Belize. Boarding and disembarking were a snap. If you fly into Fort Lauderdale, book before you go or look for the bus transportation in the airport to Miami. It made boarding a breeze. Same for returning. We paid $40 for the round trip. We four female friends booked two rooms and were happy to find that we had adjoining rooms. We requested the connecting doors be opened which made our cruise more fun . We had no trouble bringing wine, soft drinks, and bottled water in our luggage.
We did not eat in any of the "additional charge" dining rooms but found the others adequate. Although it is freestyle cruising, you must make reservations each day, and not before, for the place and time you prefer for the following evening . If you don't, you will most probably have to wait in line. Instead of calling, I recommend going to Mambo's on deck 8 no later than 8 AM in order to get a better selection of times and dining rooms. The first morning we called, and after twenty minutes of a busy signal, only a few times were available at the restaurant of our choice. We had lobster night in the Summer Palace and it was great . We also tried Mambo's and did not care for it - not the service or the food . La Cucino Italian Restaurant food was good, but service was slow. Our favorite where we ate the last two nights (by choice) was the Indigo - food and service (Michael G.) was tops - we requested him the second night .
If you are a sun-worshipper, you need to get on deck early to find a chair. We liked Cozumel where three of us (two grandmothers!) swam with the dolphins in the Dolphin Swim Adventure. It was so much fun! Two were skeptical but afterwards were so glad they were talked into it! We heard the beaches were great, but we spent the rest of our time there shopping. In Belize - so much poverty - we took the wildlife raft ride and saw crocodiles, howler monkeys, and several types of birds. It was HOT but that was to be expected. I don't think we would go back to Belize. If you have many electrical items, you might consider taking a power strip. There were only a couple of outlets in our rooms. As for the shows, the dancers and singers were not as good as what I had seen on a Holland American Alaskan cruise, but the magician/comedian was good and the acrobats were FANTASTIC!