Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by bg: The pearl is a pearl
Overall Member Rating
The pearl is a pearl
Destination: Western Caribbean
We are both 52 years old, this was our 8th NCL cruise, and our previous experiences aboard the Norwegian fleet gave us every confidence to recommend this cruise to our travelling companions, therefore we were a group of four.
Embarkation at Miami was quite efficient. What a beautiful port from which to set sail. The scenery , energy and sail-away cruise band was great ! Our luggage was delivered to our staterooms in a timely fashion, and it was nice to have our "cruise buddies" just three doors down on Deck 10. It was an interior cabin, standardly small, but very efficiently organized, with a fridge and a great shower. The bedding was heavenly and very comfortable. I didn't really care for the new soap and shampoo supplied now on NCL (Elemis, I think) but that is more of a personal preference as opposed to a complaint. As usual, the housekeeping staff was excellent.
Our first night, dining at The Summer Palace, one of the main restaurants, was quite disappointing. More Service was painfully slow, but once we did get our food, it was good. It was the only time we went there for dinner. Our preference was Indigo, the other main restaurant, where we dined twice, with excellent food and service.
We were somewhat surprised that the Italian specialty restaurant, La Cucina, charged a fee. On all of our previous NCL cruises, the Italian restaurant required reservations, but incurred no extra cost. However, for $10. per person, it was worth it, because the ambience and food were great, and portions quite generous.
Never tried the Blue Lagoon, but it looked to be an improvement over other ships' versions in terms of set-up and decor.
The atrium sports a big "Jumbotron" of a TV screen, where it was exciting to observe election results on Nov. 2nd. We shopped at the jewelry shop on board, where we got fantastic deals on good watches.
Our first stop was Roatan. Having been there in 2004, when we did an island excursion, we opted this time for a self-guided walk around. It is sad to see the poverty and filth, although seeing this is part of one's travel education. You have to watch your step, due to uneven pavement and litter. The usual tourist items are for sale and my sister bought some lovely hand-crafted wooden bowls. It pained me to see the state of most of the dogs that wandered along the streets. Belize was our next stop. In 2004, we had been there and toured the Altun Ha ruins, which was very interesting to us. Again, this time, we chose to strike out on our own. We had a good walk around, spoke to local people, some of whom were quite hyped about the previous night's election results . We ended up at a great bar/restaurant called The Smokey Mermaid. The guys enjoyed beer, the girls, iced tea. It was a lovely time spent there.
Next....Cozumel. What a shopping mecca ! Some merchants are somewhat aggressive, which you expect, but not overly persistent. We made a few great purchases, had an authentic Mexican lunch at a local restaurant, featuring Corona beer for only $1.
The last stop was the NCL owned island called Great Stirrup Cay, which was a wonderful change of pace to have a beach day. NCL carted over all they needed for a barbecue lunch, including pizza, and the cruise ship band supplied the live music. There are kiosks in which to shop, if you want to.
Our last dinner was at the Garden Cafe buffet restaurant, which I must say, is the best I have seen in terms of a dinner buffet. My husband accidentally left behind his video camera , and fortunately, the alert and honest staff turned it in.It would have been awful to have lost it and all our video vacation memories.
So, all in all, no complaints from start to finish. Go try for yourself and have a good time ! Less
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