Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by MDcruiser07: Worse Cruise Ever
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Worse Cruise Ever
My family and I just completed a 7 day trip to Alaska (8/23-8/30) on the Norwegian Pearl. While this was our 14th cruise, it was the first time to experience NCL and their "freestyle" cruising. This was intended to be a special 75th birthday celebration for my mother-in-law's birthday.
In all the cruises we have taken, we have never encountered such a rude and lazy staff as we did last week. With tips pooled among the wait staff and the stateroom staff, there is no incentive to smile, ask us how our meal is going, refresh our beverages, provide a clean stateroom, with clean bath towels, change the sheets on a regular basis, etc. The food in the main dining rooms was cold (I suspect it came from a "central" kitchen and sat under the heating lamps too long). The food was dry and over cooked. We were sailing in Alaska and were served Atlantic Salmon. We asked where the "Bay Scallops" were from and our server couldn't tell us. Lobster night consisted of 1/2 a tough lobster tail on More top of a pile of plain white rice with a small slab of Grouper (which was dry and way over cooked). The menus were the same in The Summer Palace and Indigo as well as what was being served at the Garden Cafe on Deck 12 (buffet). Breakfast menus were identical day after day. Where were the regional foods on this cruise - they must have missed the boat. There was no provisioning of the ship in any of our port cites which meant the food was frozen then warmed up for dinner. If you wanted a "decent" meal, you had to pay the extra $15 - $25 upcharge and make a reservation at one of the speciality restaurants. For a party of 6, that's an additional $90 - $150 per meal before beverages and tips. We splurged one night an had dinner in Cagney's Steakhouse. In the middle of our dining experience, three men were shampooing the carpets in the vestibule outside the doors during our entire dinner. With a reservation at 6:00 PM, I would think they would save their maintenance until after the dining room closes. They offered Oysters Rockafeller on the appetizer menu. I asked if they could just bring them to be on the half instead of cooking them. The waiter informed me that they were already pre-done and then frozen. They couldn't change the way they were offered. So here we are in a restaurant that is charging us $25 per person and we can't get our meals made to order. One morning at breakfast in the Garden Cafe, I observed one of the cooks opening a pillow sized plastic bag full of scrambled eggs that had just come from the microwave. He was pouring them in the pan below the heating lamp to be served for breakfast. It's not that hard to scramble eggs fresh and to find they have been cooked, stored and heated in a plastic bag before being served was a huge turn off. The food on a cruise ship should be EXCEPTIONAL - not so on NCL. Even at Denny's you get your eggs fresh. One night we went to Mambo's for dinner. We discovered that there are staterooms beyond (through) the restaurant. All during our dining experience, 2 little unaccompanied girls were running back and forth through the restaurant in their sloshing wet bathing suits. Made for a nice family meal! The Blue Lagoon and Mambo's are at the top of the stairs from the Crystal Atrium which means that when the music starts up in the Crystal Atrium, the ambient noise gets so loud you can't have a conversation with your dinner partner.
We had problems getting straight answers from anyone at the reception desk regarding the disembarkation process only to have the agent tell us this was his very first cruise and didn't really know how to help us. My sister-in-law was having some billing issues and asked for help from reception. They told her she would have to come back in the morning and talk with the Finance people. So she asked to speak with a manager and was told they wouldn't get one for her. She asked for some comment cards so she would note the problems she was having and was told they wouldn't give her any. Our last night on the ship, our stateroom attendant removed all the bath towels and just left wash clothes and hand towels. The next morning we had to dry off from our shower with hand towels. At every turn it seemed to get worse and worse.
I know that NCL cannot control the weather but when decks are slippery and wet, they should either squeegie them off or close them off. My son slipped and fell flat on his face. He was soaked all the way through, including his shoes! While he was unhurt, had that been an older passenger, someone could have been seriously hurt. I can honestly say that I would not recommend NCL to anyone nor will our family be sailing with them again. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Pearl 9174
Closet and storage space was OK. Tiny bathroom and the smallest staterooms in the Fleet. Our room was across from the art auction storage closet - noise in the hallway at all hours. Tripped over ice chests in the halls and small buckets of cleaning water the entire week. Disembarkation in port was routed through stateroom hallways making it difficult to get into or out of your room if you were unlucky enough to be on deck 4. Balcony railings in need of varnish, windows weren't washed, deck wasn't mopped for excess water.
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