We were nervous about our first cruise. We're hooked! We had a great time on the Norwegian Pearl. We stayed at the Ritz-Calton Key Biscayne the night before. Great hotel and very easy drive over to the Port of Miami. When we got to the Port we were directed to curbside luggage check-in ( Very quick and easy). The kids and I tagged our luggage while my husband parked the car in the parking structure. Also very easy. (You do have to pay for parking when you enter the lot $20/day in cash only) We arrived at 10:30am and checked in quickly and then waited 2 hours to board the ship. We should have arrived alittle later.
We booked a mini-suite and inside cabin across the hall for the kids.(Deck 11). Never cruising before we were not sure what to expect, but the cabin were very nice and well designed. We never felt cramped. The mini-suite had a nice bathroom with tub and separate toilet area. The kids inside cabin was smaller but comfortable. I am a very picky when it comes to beds and linens ( I drive my husband crazy) but I have no complaints. The beds were surprisingly comfy as well as the pillows and comforter. No icky bedspreads, yeah! We also loved the coffee maker in our room and enjoyed coffee on the balcony every morning. Good hiardryers in every cabin, I didn't need to pack mine.
Everyone was very positive and helpful onboard. The dining was great. We ate mostly at the the Grand Cafe (buffet). It was quick and had plenty of options for everyone. The kids liked the Blue Lagoon (24hour restaurant) We ate at both the Summer Palace and Indigo, both were good. Same menu at both restaurants. We tried to book the Teppanyaki but was already sold outwe should have booked the first couple of days. We did eat at the Cagney's steak house. The service was outstanding, great crab cakes! The steak were good and we would go back, worth the upcharge ($20/pp).
The ports, we booked excursion at most ports. In Roatan, we did the dolphin swim-expensive but great time! We were a little taken back at the poverty there and if you didn't book an excursion there's not much there. In Belize, we did the Aerial trek/Cave Tubing. The kids are still talking about this, they loved it! In Cozumel, we booked the Jeep tour/snorkeling. We enjoyed the tour of the island, beautiful views and beaches. Our only complaint there, we snorkeled first and then had to tour wet. We should have brought clothes to change into. The private island-waste of time. They started tendering guests over at 9:30am, we waited in line and finally got there at 1pm. By the time we got there all beach chairs were gone, lunch was not great and they had run out of water. There are some small shops (straw market.) No deals and most the clothes they were selling smelled musty. We went back to ship at 1:30pm. We had the ship to ourselves. It was wonderful, we should have never went to the island.
The spa onboard was nice-but the $99/pp for the week, just to have access was expensive. The fitness center was great but crowded every morning. We were still able to get in a workout everyday. Overall, we had a great time, the ship was very well maintained. The drinks can add up quickly. We bought one soda card ($50) for week and shared it. We wish we would have taken advantage of the formal pictures taken most nights. They had a deal, all your pictures $89. They also had deals on laundry, stuff a bag for $25.
It was a true vacation-no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry. We will cruise again.