The Norwegian Pearl is beautiful on the outside and the decor is in the inside. This was going to be a great cruise as i first entered the ship on 3/20. I was wrong, because the cruise was good, not great.
I am 25 years old and this was a great time of year to cruise, mostly because spring breakers were on the cruise (even a whole sorority from West Virginia U!)and there were many people in my general age group.
Instead of bore you with all the mundane details (like half of these reviews do, i read many of them). I am just going to point out things that made the trip better or worse.
The Stateroom- I don't spend much time in my room (why would you?) so we opted for the inside cabin. Our steward was great and was very friendly. The inside is pitch black and you need to watch your time if you need to wake up early. Happy with our state room.
The Food- I like having many options for lunch and dinner. The problem is the best cover charge restaurants cost too much. a $57 bill for Tappenyaki is just too much for something i can pay $28 total at home. Le Bistro was great too, but also just too much for the experience. The Lu Cucinia(sp?) was good and was much more fair $10, but of course, not as good. The food at the Buffet is just mediocre for all three meals. Overall, i would say the food is a strong point if you shell out the cash and don't mind about shelling it out.
The Ship- From the start of my review, you would guess i would rate this positively, but i cannot. The most important aspect of any structure is the interior architecture. There were simply not enough common rooms and not enough space within those common rooms. Want to take a beautiful picture in the ship? well, they do that in the medium-sized common room with two restaurants upstairs and a shop, bar, projection screen and reservation desk downstairs. Simply put, there was not enough room is the supposed "big" room. The decor is very nice and i like the overall look to the ship, but the functionality is lacking. The stateroom hallways are too narrow, you will likely not be able to walk next to anyone. The sundeck is too small, if you want to tan and you don't wake up early, you will have to go lay out where there is no pool or jacuzzi somewhere on the upper deck sides. I also thought the ceilings were too low in between decks. Maybe one less deck and adding some inches from the floor would make me feel less claustrophobic.
The Entertainment- I would have given this the most scathing review i could if it wasn't from Second City, the improv comedy group. The entertainment was terrible. How they got the best entertainment award in 2008 is beyond me. Our cruise director did her job, but Jill was not funny at all, something that should be a prerequisite of a CD. The singing and dancing was very odd, they stole other broad way shows acts and of course, would not let you tape or photograph it. They were good i guess, but singing and dancing is not my thing. Oh what a night! did the same three songs the three times i saw them (different days too). The hypnotist was EXACTLY THE SAME during her stardust theater show and "adult" night show at the spinnaker lounge. She finally said or did something different a half hour in when she was giving the recipients suggestions. Brenda Kaye really needs to switch things up in her setup and execution. But what made me more angry than anything else was the comedian. Divid Naster was just plain awful. He did say some funny stuff, but jokes were few and far between. He cared more about the details of his stories than the actual jokes. His pacing was terrible. I have heard his jokes from elsewhere before. I made the choice to see him several times, so it is partially on me. But what else am i supposed to do at 7:30? His shows got progressively worse through out the cruise. I walked out twice. Thank God for Second City, they were hilarious, witty, and were very clever. I had to miss their first show to eat at Tappenyaki (which was good, but i would have not gone then if i knew i could see Second City)
Nickle and Dime- Just way too much on this cruise. I am on vacation, i don't want to have to worry about this type of thing (yes i knew it was going to happen to an extent, but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things). Excursions were too expensive, Drinks are too expensive(the $31 total with tip bucket of 5 beers is the best deal!), No toothpaste in the bathroom, overpriced mini-bar, and the annoying "additional tip" on every receipt got to me after 5 days. Of course, NCL is the only line that does not let you bring on your own alcohol, so it makes things worse.
Samana- Received a free tender (uncomfortable, btw) to Cayo Levetando. We had to get a ticket and wait for the tender. The island was packed because NCL made it free. We could not find chairs for 2 hours. We walked around, had a coconut drink and swam. Then we finally got a seat and laid out. I would not go to Samana again, just not enjoyable enough. Maybe an excursion that wasn't free would be better.
St. Thomas- Great Port. We went to Coral World without the excursion. It cost the exact same amount of money (cab, entrance fee), so you may as well just do the excursion. I fed a stingray and had a great time with all the wild life. Very interesting. We then did all of our souvenir shopping and got that done.
Tortola- meh, we walked around to figure out what to do. We ended up taking one of the island tours ($20 pp). The sights were very nice, but they get you to a beach for a half hour where you have to pay to sit, lol. I didn't like any of the excursions listed, so i would not come back to Tortola, the island just seems limited for tourists.
Great Stirrup Cay- Another Tender(ugh)and you go to NCL's private island. The island is small with not many things to do, but it does its job of giving you another port on the way back to Miami. We went snorkeling and had fun doing that. The free BBQ was nice. We laid out and i would say that this was the second best port.
This itinerary is just OK, i would strive to find a better one in the future. Less tenders is a good thing and excursions are your friend.
Overall, i had fun on my vacation and the cruise was good, not great. I will probably not be back on an NCL ship in the near future. But minor to medium flaws for me may not be the same for you. I don't let things like this ruin my vacation, i just keep them in mind when picking out my next vacation.