Hello everyone, i just returned from an amazing cruise with my family for new years on the NCL Pearl. Great great great!! We are major cruisers ... we have been one one Princess cruise, one Carnival cruise, one Disney cruise and two Norwegian cruises. We love freestyle. Traveled with my hubby, and two kids 13 and 11.
We traveled here from Ontario, and we flew in to Bonita Springs (so much cheaper then flying into Miami!) and we drove two hours to the cruise port the next day.
EMBARKATION: Disaster!! This was probably the only bad thing about our cruise. Tons of people everywhere in mish-mash lines. They had specific lines (i.e. suite people here, latitudes members here etc) but that was completely ineffective. Took us almost 30 minutes to get through that line!
FOOD: The food was mostly amazing. We ate at the Summer Palace 5 nights (it was our favorite), Indigo one night, and Mambo's one night. Mambos was okay, but not worth the $10. I have heard that the other restaurants were good though. Summer Palace had amazing decor and friendly staff. Indigo was also nice, but it was a bit slower, and kind of dim and creepy. Each night they had a different menu, but with the "always order" selection (Caesar salad, steak, ice cream etc). My favorite was the gnocchi. It is amazing, if you see it order it. The buffet was pretty good, as far as cruise buffets go. Italian, Asian, Breads, Salads, Grill there's pretty much everything. There is hard ice cream and soft ice cream in the buffet, unlike other cruises that just have one or two flavors, NCL has 10+!
PUBLIC ROOMS: Bright, colorful and cool. The main lobby area is only two levels, but it is still really nice. Big screen, and funky furniture. Loved the decor! They had lots of fun areas and lounges, my personal favorite the Spinnaker Lounge. It was on the 13th deck at the front of the boat with floor to ceiling windows and fun furniture like funky beds. There is also a stage in the middle for lat night shows. The pool was nice, the slide moves a bit slowly, there is a family pool and an adult pool. There is also a bowling alley, which is $5 per person.
SHOWS: Only saw one, the comedian, he was very funny. They also have Second City, which we saw on our previous cruise, and they are funny aswell.
CABINS: Very nice. We had an inside for the kids and a balcony for us. Our balcony was a little small, but bright and fun. They had these wheels outside of your door, and you could turn it asking them to clean your room, or not to disturb you. We were surprised at how big our kid's inside cabin was! They also left towel animals each night. On our Spirit cruise last year they left pillow chocolates, but not on this cruise. Hmm ...
SPA: Busy busy busy! Our cruise was full, and when my daughter and i went to that spa at around 5pm on the first day and pedicures were COMPLETELY sold out for the whole week, except for 8am one day and 6:15 pm one day. They had a tranquility room: cold plunge pool, main pool, loungers, hot tubs etc. $15 a day, didn't get to try it but it looked good.
DISEMBARKATION: Just as hectic as embarkation. Huge masses of people coming off, packed at almost every hour! We had breakfast at the Summer Palace, it was nice and not many people, and we got off the boat at around 9pm, and it was insane. At the Miami port, getting a taxi is impossible. Many fights broke out trying to hail a cab, as 4-6 cruises are there at a time.
Overall, a lovely cruise. I definitely recommend it!