Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by live2vayk: Well done NCL, well done.


live2vayk
6 Reviews
Member Since 2012
187 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities 4.0
Entertainment 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates Not Rated
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 5.0
Value for Money 5.0

Compare Prices on Norwegian Pearl Alaska Cruises

Well done NCL, well done.

Sail Date: August 2014
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle

I will try to complete this review in sections to make it reader friendly and hopefully helpful!

Some background:

I took this cruise with my husband and our two teenage daughters, 13 and 16. While this was our first cruise on NCL, we have all cruised before: 5 on RCI, 2 on Carnival and 1 on Disney. Because I wanted to cruise Glacier Bay, my choices were somewhat limited. My TA recommended giving NCL a try.

Embarkation:

We flew from the East Coast to Seattle, and stayed at the SeaTac Inn. For the price it was a good option for us. We would stay there again pre cruise. We organized a ride to the port with Seattle Express, also a good option. They were prompt and efficient. We got to the terminal around 10:45 and we were on the ship having lunch by 11:45. The process was smooth. We did have to wait for a bit in a lounge area, but not long. During lunch in the buffet they announced that our cabins were ready. PERFECT.

Stateroom:

LOVED More our stateroom! We have sailed on prior sailings in a mixed bag of rooms. Depending on price I sometimes will book and inside vs. a balcony. But I decided with Alaska, I was going to book a balcony. We booked a mini suite on deck 11. #11098. I loved everything about the mini suite. The bathroom was the biggest we have ever had on a ship, including Disney, and it had a full tub/shower. The room itself had enough elbow room for the four of us, it had plenty of drawer and storage space, and the décor was lovely. I will note here that I peeked into other mini suites, and the décor in other rooms I saw was tacky. I have no idea why our room was different, but we had a soft beige carpet with a light green ivy pattern, and maroon accents in the room. The closet/desk and drawers were a nice walnut color. As long as the room is clean I don’t really care what it looks like, but I did really appreciate our room color scheme when I saw the other rooms! And I can’t understand why ours was different. At any rate, doesn’t matter… moving on…. There was a hairdryer in the room that was one of the best “away from home” hair dryers I have ever used, good power. Our balcony was very clean and I am pretty sure it must have been recently painted, it was pristine white. We had two chairs and a small table. And we had a WONDERFUL week of sunny mild weather, so I used our balcony a lot! There was a stocked mini fridge in the room, with ample room for us to put in our water/soda that we brought on board.

Dining/Food:

I was concerned about the quality/selection of food based on other reviews. My fears were needless. The food was fine. We were always able to find selections we enjoyed, and we had some really wonderful meals! We did pay to dine at three specialty restaurants and enjoyed them all. I didn’t mind paying an upcharge for those options at all since the overall price of this cruise including the upcharges was still reasonable. We also found that we never had to wait. We had reservations at the specialty dining venues, and got right in, and the nights we ate at the MDRs we got right in and the service was perfect. We usually were in and out in about an hour and a half. So it was a pleasurable experience for us. And can I just say I LOVE the concept of Freestyle dining? I have to dress professionally for work every day, and I often have to attend cocktail receptions for work related functions. My husband also on occasion has to wear a suit to work (when he isn’t working from home), so for us a true vacation is one where we can live in jeans! Not having to dress up for dinner was wonderful. We did bring resort wear as we didn’t want to stand out, but I have to say we would have been fine in jeans every night. Love it. ( I could have done without seeing people at the buffet in their PJs, but whatever, they are on vacation too, and if that is what they want to do it is none of my concern.) A word about the buffet, it needs more seating. I have never been on a cruise were finding a table at the buffet was easy, but this particular cruise it was really hard. You really had to scout out people who were finishing up and then be lurking nearby and pounce. And the area is pretty small so the tables are pretty close together, so lurking was obvious. Not sure what they can do to change this, but they absolutely need more seating in there.

Entertainment/shows:

My husband and I donated to the casino a few times, there is a section that is nonsmoking, BIG plus in my book! We played bingo and went bowling. We went to some shows, the production cast was OK. We enjoyed Second City very much, and LOVED “Oh What a Night”.

Ports:

We booked Harv and Marv’s whale watch in Juneau, that was excellent. We booked a rental for Skagway and drove at our own pace up to the Yukon, that was also enjoyable. In Ketchikan we took the duck boat tour via NCL and then walked around town. The duck boat was a good experience, I don’t think I would do it again, but it is one of those things that is fun to do once.

Ship:

The Pearl was clean and well maintained. It did have an open area called the atrium, but lacked any real grandness, and was difficult to navigate at times. We often found ourselves in the “you can’t get there from here” situation. I carried around the paper deck plan they gave us at embarkation for the first few days until we got the hang of it, but it always felt clunky to get around. If I had to rate it from 1-10 I would probably give it a solid 5.

Staff:

This is an area that shined for NCL. Most of the staff were engaging, and helpful. And the management of the ship attended our Meet and Greet, and then went one step further to invite us back to a meeting at the end of the cruise so they could get feedback from us. Now I have no idea if they really cared about the feedback or not, but they made the effort, and seemed to be interested. So I give them credit for that. No other cruise that I have ever been on (granted I am still a relative newbie) have I ever seen the management of the ship go to this extent. And I saw them around the ship all week, so they really do make an effort to engage with their guests. Kudos to them.

Disembarkation:

This process was smooth for us because WE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! It is pretty simple, but if you DON’T READ THE INSTRUCTIONS you will be frustrated. They do not deliver luggage tags to you like other lines, you pick your own based on the time you want to leave. Which I preferred. We picked the latest color so we could take our time. We had to leave our room by 9, so we went to the buffet and had breakfast and hung out until they called our color. Then we were off the ship within about 20 minutes. Easy.

In summary, I will certainly choose NCL again for a future cruise. Right now I have 4 future sailings booked with RCI, but I probably will change one or two of them. NCL met or exceeded all of our expectations at a price point that worked for us. Less


Read more Norwegian Pearl cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Norwegian Pearl Review >>

Cabin review: Norwegian Pearl 11098

LOVED our stateroom! We have sailed on prior sailings in a mixed bag of rooms. Depending on price I sometimes will book and inside vs. a balcony. But I decided with Alaska, I was going to book a balcony. We booked a mini suite on deck 11. #11098. I loved everything about the mini suite. The bathroom was the biggest we have ever had on a ship, including Disney, and it had a full tub/shower. The room itself had enough elbow room for the four of us, it had plenty of drawer and storage space, and the décor was lovely. I will note here that I peeked into other mini suites, and the décor in other rooms I saw was tacky. I have no idea why our room was different, but we had a soft beige carpet with a light green ivy pattern, and maroon accents in the room. The closet/desk and drawers were a nice walnut color. As long as the room is clean I don’t really care what it looks like, but I did really appreciate our room color scheme when I saw the other rooms! And I can’t understand why ours was different. At any rate, doesn’t matter… moving on…. There was a hairdryer in the room that was one of the best “away from home” hair dryers I have ever used, good power. Our balcony was very clean and I am pretty sure it must have been recently painted, it was pristine white. We had two chairs and a small table. And we had a WONDERFUL week of sunny mild weather, so I used our balcony a lot! There was a stocked mini fridge in the room, with ample room for us to put in our water/soda that we brought on board.

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.