A Cruise is the time of the year when I want to just leave the hustle and bustle and be FREE … Now Norwegian certainly did not lemme do that at all.
The Pearl is a Beautiful Ship but the Food on Board along with Service team at Restaurants is really pathetic which is a complete dampener to the entire experience …
Our overall experience began with our room 9070 allocated at time of reservations was also allocated to another guest as well – only for Norwegian to blame it on the reservation system even though we planned and booked almost 6 months in advance.
Ill go straight to my first dinner at Blue Lagoon (the so-called 24 hour food court, what a laugh?) We had on our table a group of 4 and ordered a Fish n Chips (smaller than a kids meal at some food courts) a hot dog (the bread roll was crumbling on 1st day itself) I had the won ton soup (a dehydrated wonton floating in hot water with no time even for the wonton to hydrate?) and the fourth guest had buffalo wings (which im surprised they managed to get right)
The next morning I wake up to the Beautiful Pacific Ocean sipping my coffee on my balcony while the kids got ready for breakfast which I was looking forward to until here is what happened once again. The Eggs Benedict (chef Ranhofer would never rest in his grave to have 2 half fully boiled eggs served with a dribble of hollandaise on bed – not sure how such a classic was taken so lightly) My lunch began with Crispy Fried Calamari (Soaked in Oil and Overcooked like rubber) with Roast Chicken (was the best dish I ever had on this cruise ship) then at the dinner table I specifically requested for a table at the window with a view but with no hesitation, I was whisked away to spot which even did not have enough light (no one hears you on Norwegian) I then called for the Executive Chef as I just could not take this non-sense anymore and wanted him to know what I was enduring from the time I embarked this rather beautiful ship, Chef arrives at my table a few minutes later and Lo and Behold – he feels nothing was wrong even after describing to him all about what I wrote ending our chat with an attitude that I should complain to higher management or wherever I pleased – OMG, the last thing I wanted to hear from the Chef himself … I never heard from anyone responsible after this except receive a few chocolate topped strawberries as a token of what I dunno from their Restaurant Manager who never felt it important to make a courtesy call – so much for premium cruise hospitality experience?
Also, we hated the free seating. We had a party of 20. We could never be seated at the same table unless we chose to utilize one of the pay restaurants. We never had the same waiter, and they never introduced themselves. Meals in the dining room took forever and were often missing orders or had extras. Garden Café was always over crowded with long lines at their buffet and absolutely poor menu choice (not worth the wait in line or long walk to your table if you found one) An Alaskan Cruise with “NO ALASKAN SALMON OR CRAB OR SEAFOOD” except for some tit bits thrown in to probably have the name on their menu’s – Sad but True! I had heard the food surpassed Royal Carribean and Carnival. It certainly did not.
We went to one of the pay restaurants “Moderno” on the occasion of my nephew 18th birthday, would you believe if I said that we were refused seating together as a large family on an occasion where most of us have flown across the world to celebrate – this is the hospitality of Norwegian? After a lot of higgle-haggle they finally accommodated us together and I could see no reason why this could not have been done earlier without all the fuss? I could have eaten at a similar churasscaria restaurant at home and the food and choices would have been better for the same price. What is up with the 7specialty pay to eat restaurants anyway. Most of the time, they were 3/4 empty. Those spaces could have been used to make the ship seem less crowded.
There didn't seem to be enough room for all the passengers. On other cruise ships, there are lots of rooms and halls to just hang out. This cruise had deck 6-7 which were both crowded all the time. Deck 12 always crowded. A few areas we found to escape, but my opinion was it was crowded.
On a brighter side, the entertainment was very good. We attended shows and entertainers every night, and they were very professional. The “Frankie Valle” group, “Oh What a Night” was excellent. Also, the Broadway show very good, as was the band “Future Perfect” – Kudos to the “Tina Turner Tribute”.
I must also not forget our Room Steward Mariano from Goa was the most hospitable member of staff (represented his brand with passion) Always greeted us by name as he went that extra step to make us comfortable and could feel the pain of our experience – Cruise Director Archie and his Asst: Nicky deserve a pat of their backs too …
Overall, I felt “nickel and dimed” during the trip there were too many extra charges to make our cruise enjoyable. So, I guess it will be on to the next cruise line for us. Okay, that is about it. Cruising is always good, but I will look other places next time while never recommending a Norwegian Experience to any one.