This is my 5th cruise though I had not cruised for 8 years. I have been on Carnival and Holland America. On Holland America, we had a suite and decided to choose a suite on NCL. We had already booked a cruise to Europe on the NCL GEM, but it was a long wait. So we booked a last minute cruise on the Pearl in August for the September Coastal Cruise. We booked the Deluxe Penthouse Suite.
We arrived early and there was a special lane to register for suites and no line. There was a line for latitudes and everyone else. But one we got past the registration, the ship was not ready for boarding, so we had to wait for customs. We were supposed to be escorted to our room, but that didn't happen. I'm not sure why. One of our bags was delayed because they hold any bag they think has alcohol in it. That was annoying as I had to wait in long line to retrieve my bag. It wasn't alcohol.
The room was really nice. It was the same as the courtyard suites on deck 14 but at a fraction of the cost. I thought I had access to the courtyard deck and in fact, my key card worked giving me access. When I saw the courtyard, I was disappointed. The pool was too small for swim and the courtyard was small and humid. There were kids running around the place and they were noisy. Now I was happy that I did not get the courtyard. So we went back to our room which had a living room, dining area, and balcony on one side, and the bedroom and bath on the other side. There was a larger bath with a TV over it, a separate shower with 6 body sprays, hand held spray, and rain shower head. The bath and shower both had large windows with a direct view of the ocean. Who needed the courtyard.
On our next NCL cruise, we booked the Owners Suite which includes the courtyard. But the owners suite will be worth it where I don't care if I use the courtyard or not.
We used room service Cagney's for breakfast and lunch. For lunch, we found the shrimp cocktail (appetiser) and berry desert to sufficient. We skipped the main dish. We used the freestyle restaurants for dinner each day. We went to Cagney's twice and enjoyed the Asian restaurants including sushi twice. My first prime rib was overdone, so they brought me another one that was perfect. I teased about how a I was ready to order another meal or my $25 fee and they were ready to bring me another. One I paid the fee, I could eat as much as I wanted. The food was great. I was surprised to find they charged for bottled water and juice. The brochure only said alcohol soda's. I drink ice tea and was not charged extra for that.
I was surprised to find the butler did not receive a portion of the tip that was automatically paid. So be prepared. I misread the special at the SPA for a massage. By the time I paid for my massage, facial, and the manicure and pedicure my wife and I had, I had spent a lot at the Spa. They got me. But I had a good time.
I found some great 14KT gold earrings for my wife that were overpriced. I suspect I paid about the right price at the 50% off sale the first full day on the ship. I can't believe anyone would buy it after the sale ended.
I enjoyed the cruise experience. I wasn't surprised by the sales tactics. I enjoyed the suite and never felt like there were too many people on the ship. I look forward to taking another cruise on NCL, though I will avoid the Spa because it was overpriced.