I took the 1st flight with US Airways on sailing date morning from Charlotte to Los Angeles and had 6 hours of the worst First Class flying experience ever! What is wrong with those flight attendants...they should work on a ship and see how wonderful everything works there!
After arrival in LAX my good friend Laurel (flyingpirate) who lives in L.A. had organized a Limo and we drove together to the Pier in San Pedro, which was a quick & comfortable ride down.
There she was...this absolutely wonderful ship...my favorite in the whole wide world...The Norwegian Pearl!
The luggage was unloaded quickly and porters took care of the rest. The check-in facilities are actually very nice at the San Pedro Pier and it was a breeze to check in.
I got one of the PINK Concierge slips and was shortly greeted by the Concierge in the Concierge Lounge, where refreshments have been waiting for us. The Concierge (more to him later) apologized for a delay in boarding, since US Customs (it had nothing to do with NCL) had not cleared the ship. It was not too bad waiting there, since I saw many familiar faces and chatted my way through the hours of wait.
It was a big "HELLO and Welcome Home, again!" when the whole brigade of Butlers arrived (it was already my 5th cruise on the Pearl and many, many others on all the rest of the fleet) and everybody offered me their services, especially since I only was in a Mini Suite, since it was a last minute thing and all the Courtyard Suites had been already taken.
Simon the Cruise Director came out and took Laurel, me and her friend 1st through Security screening and on to the ship, before even the Villas and Suites! That is what I call NCL Super VIP Service!!!
On board I went to my Mini Suite and it was actually a nice room for myself and had nothing to complain about, especially since I got granted the same amenities as the Villa Guests.
Afterwards I went straight to the pool and had to have a stiff drink! For sure the whole brigade of Bartenders have knowing me as well and asked me if I would like to have my usual. Many drinks, laughs and familiar faces later, we left Los Angeles in to the blue Pacific Ocean and a magic Sunset!That night I had prearranged before already, a table for us in Le Bistro and we indulged ourselves for hours over the Chef's Menu and good wine with excellent company! Even the waitresses remembered me and just said the "Chateaubriand" would have been excellent again and not as it was the last time you had it. Unbelievable, how they can remember just so small things!
After dinner I went to Bliss Ultralounge to do the usual…have wonderful drinks and dance the night away.
Next day I went for lunch to "Cagney's" with a slightly headache and made it then to the pool! After I had returned to my Suite I found an invitation for the VIP Party and afterwards to dine with the Captain and Hotel Director.
The VIP Party (I do not normally even go there anymore) was the usual…flirting with the Hotel Director, Handshake with the Captain and Cocktails and Canapes and more flirting.
Captains Table was held in Le Bistro and was as wonderful as usual! We actually had quiet interesting table mates…The Captain, Hotel Director, a VP of NCL in Miami, The Empress (flyingpirate), The King (me), a very high Officer from the US Navy and "Who are you" a friend of Laurel. After many laughs and great food I felt like dancing again in Bliss (to burn down the calories), where I met some wonderful people, who I met the night before. We made it until almost 4am until we sailed under the "Golden Gate" Bride watching it from the Courtyard Sun Deck 15! By the way the weather could have not been better the whole cruise!
In San Francisco I laid lazy in the sun and swam in the wonderful Pool, had lunch in the Courtyard and went in the late afternoon to the Sauna, what a great day that was, just to do nothing! I had dinner in Indigo, which was superb (also the following night).
On sea day up to Canada, The Hotel Director invited the whole Cruise Critic Gang to bowling and free drinks, which was very generous of him. Everybody had a great time.
In Victoria I celebrated my 26 (again) Birthday and just indulged myself on the ship. In the evening the Concierge invited me for drinks to the Star Bar. There was where the nonsense begun! Shortly after me, the ships Doctor arrived as well with his nurses for a drink. The Concierge told us both, that the Cruise Critic Members had organized a meeting to congratulate me for my Birthday and if he would like to join in. I was like "OH MY GOD"…since I hate situations like that! There we went down, a door opened and a room was filled with people and 2 wonderful Birthday cakes, one for "King Marcus" and the other one for "Queen (?) Pieter"!!! Everybody I have seen or met on the ship/trip was there (except CC members), open bar and wonderful cake. What a great surprise party for the doctor and me!!! We both had no clue and have been surprised to the maximum! We both have been as well invited from the Hotel Director to invite people to our liking for dinner at "Cagney's" on his compliments!
I hard core dining and drinking experience occurred that night in Cagney's and at Bliss!The next morning it was time to say “Good bye” in Vancouver! The Concierge met the Empress and me at 10:15a to be escorted privately off the ship, he even took care of the long lines at Vancouver pier and we just cut them all. There it was, a said good bye to my loved ship, it’s phenomenal crew and home away from home.
We took from there the Quick Shuttle to Seattle (never again), where I stayed overnight at the Seattle Marriott Airport Hotel (wonderful) and took the next morning a horrible First Class flight on Useless Air back to Charlotte.
Verdict: I had a brilliant cruise, better then excellent food and service!
I need to thank again Michael the Hotel Director for his going over and beyond to please two of NCL’s most valued Guests and Friends (flyingpiate and me). Now to the Concierge Alexander Forbes: He is the most stylish, wonderful, great, simply gorgeous, distinguished and magic Concierge in the fleet, him and Lisa (NCL Spirit) are really the best Concierges NCL has to offer, where no request is too much and everything is dealt in a timely manner with a maximum in professionalism! It must be an Australian thing!
I can not wait to be on a NCL ship again (god thanks 3 more are already booked for this year!!!