My husband and I got married in June 2009 and decided to take a late honeymoon. We researched a lot of places in the Carribean, but couldn't decide on a spot that was within our price range, so we decided to book a cruise with NCL Pearl to the Eastern Carribean so we could see many different places!
We are a younger couple (26 & 29) so we were not sure what to expect. I have heard many times that cruises are for "old" people. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a lot to do for all ages on this cruise. There were not many children, which was fine with me. I didn't see a lot to do for kids either. It was mostly young adults and up.
The ship itself was very clean and colorful. Every public area you entered, you were greeted with a hand sanitizer "bubble" or a worker spraying your hands. I felt very clean on this ship and felt they did a nice job to make sure no one got sick. One area that was not as clean to me was the windows around the ship. There were many glass windows around the sun decks that you look out while laying out. They were very dirty and hard to see through. I think these could have been cleaned. They never were.
There were many sun chairs on the boat and we never found ourselves not able to find two chairs next to each other on the sun decks, no matter what time we got out there. You might not get your "ideal" spot on the deck to lay out, but there were plenty in the sun and shade available everday. And yes, there were still those people who put towels on chairs to reserve them and never come back to them til the end of the day.
The entertainment was ok. The dance shows that they had on the ship did not seem very professional to me. Maybe it's because I watch Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance and I'm used to those performances. They were very below those standards and we were quite bored with them. The comedy shows were ok. Shark Bait was entertaining. A lot of the "adult only" shows they had, were in the Spinaker Lounge which was not a great place for these. If you didn't arrive 30 - 45 min early, you did not get a seat. There was very limited seating and this was very disapointing.
The food was great, I thought.
The buffet area(Garden Cafe) was good for breakfast and dinner. Although, we did get kind of sick of the food towards the end of the week. There wasn't much variation from day to day. Also, it becomes very annoying waiting in a crowded buffet area trying to get food when people are standing around and not watching where they are going, but this could happen at any buffet!
The Summer Palace and Indigo were the "free" main dining rooms. These were very good each night. The wait staff was very accomodating. We ate at one "pay" restaurant (La Cucina) and it was also very good, but you could easily enjoy eating at just the "free" restaurants and not miss anything special.
The bar wait staff was VERY annoying. You could not lay out and not be bothered unless your eyes were closed and you appeared to be sleeping without being asked every 5 minutes if you'd like a drink. They were very pushy with there service. You could say no and then 5 minutes later they'd be back again asking you if you want something to drink.
They charge you $12 a day for a "service charge" so you don't have to tip your wait staff if you don't want to. I wish this charge applied to the bar staff as well. They automatically enter a 15% gratutity into your bill with EACH drink. The prices of drinks were very high, but you chould find some ok deals. My husband found that Coors Light was the cheapest beer at $4.25 a bottle. I like wine, and I found there prices rediculous on some kinds of wine they had. For instance, a normal sized bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel sells at my local grocery store for between $3.99-$5.99. Theis bottle of wine on the ship was selling for $22! Oh well....
We chose to get an inside cabin because we figured we'd only be in the cabin to sleep and shower. It worked just fine for us. The only complaint I have was that our room smelled strongly of smoke and it was disgusting. I complained and they "sanitized" the room for us, and it basically then smelled like they Febreze'd the room. After a few days the smell faded, or we got used to it. :)
I did feel like because we did not have a more expensive room, we weren't treated as good as the other guests with balcony or suite rooms. An example of this is: We got a note at the end of the week saying we could buy a video on how to make the towel animals that we saw in our room nightly made by our steward. We never once saw one of these "towel animals" in our room. But we were on our honeymoon and I didn't much care about anything accept being in a beautiful location with my husband, so it didn't bother me.
Embarkation and Disembarkation was very smooth both ways.
That's all I can really think of!