Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by texas_sunshine: First Cruise - Wonder why we waited so long?
Overall Member Rating
First Cruise - Wonder why we waited so long?
This was my husband and my first cruise. It was our gift to ourselves for our 10th wedding anniversary. I had been reluctant to try a cruise because I tend to like to be independent when I travel and avoid tourist places and I thought for sure a cruise is just endless touristy stuff. I was wrong! We went to Alaska and at 2 of the ports we were able to get off the ship and go hiking in relatively remote areas with no one else around just a mile or so away from the docks! The "cities" we stopped at were all relatively small so it is not far to the edge of town where the crowds are few and there were nice hiking trails (steep!). It would've been nice to have had a map though.
As far as the ship goes; The room was comfortable and clean. I liked the mini couch. I loved having a balcony! This cruise had endless beautiful scenery and being able to look at it in privacy was wonderful. Plus it was nice to have fresh air in the room. We left the door ajar most of the time we were in More the room unless it was really chilly out. My only complaint about the balcony is that the cleaning staff did not clean it. It was sprayed down at a couple of the ports, but there were gobs of hair left out there from previous occupants. I didn't bother to complain and picked it up myself, so no comments on responsiveness of staff.
Speaking of staff, we had nothing but pleasant experiences with every staff member we dealt with. From waiters to cleaning staff all were pleasant and kind. Our room stewards even thanked us personally and sincerely for the extra tips we left them. Many of the staff sang as they worked and were a pleasure to have around. I know they work hard and long hours away from their families so it is refreshing to see such a positive outlook.
Public areas were kept clean. Public restrooms were very clean too. They were a little militant about getting everyone to use hand sanitizer (you would get called out if you did not use it going in to buffet), but all in all I would rather have everyone be clean.
As far as food goes: It was good. Not the best ever, but tasty and not too salty (as a lot of restaurants nowadays seem to do). Honestly, the food at the buffet was often better than in the restaurants with the exception being the fresh, hot bread at the restaurants. I really liked the Indian food at the buffet. However, the atmosphere in the buffet was usually a little choatic (think mall food court around Christmas). Dining rooms were pleasant and much quieter. We went to one of the upcharge restaurants (Italian). It was good and service was a little more attentive. Not sure if it would've been worth the money except for these spicy olives they brought out as an appetizer that were the best olives I have ever eaten anywhere! Don't bother with room service. Food selection is limited and portions are tiny. I only had a few alcholic drinks. They were all good and did not skimp on alcohol. Their long island iced tea was the best mixed drink I tried (very refreshing).
As far as entertainment goes: We didn't attend very many shows. Comedians were good, singing/dancing shows were not really our style. Our favorite onboard activities were shuffleboard, ping pong, and golf practice cages. Watched one movie in theater, but it was distracting with people coming and going constantly.
As far as leaving and coming back goes: Embarkation was smooth and painless. Airports could learn a lot from these guys! We stayed across the street at a hotel in Seattle. It was wonderful to walk across the street to the terminal! Leaving the ship was a breeze. We carried our own luggage so there were no hassles. Only bothersome thing is they advertise that you can get off at your leisure, but they are rushing everyone as soon as they are cleared by the port. I know they have a tight turn around, so honestly they just need to tell people to plan on getting up and getting out instead of saying to relax but acting like there is a rush. Less
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