It had been a number of years since I had last sailing with NCL, and was escorting a small group of eight people. We flew into Seattle the day before and spent the night at the very best hotel ever. If you ever need a hotel in Seattle, I highly recommend the Cedarbrook Lodge.
I had pre-arranged a shuttle service from Seattle Express to pick up our group at the hotel, but after waiting 40 minutes and having to call their office twice, finally two cars showed up to take us to the port. I had originally arranged for a 12 passenger van with trailer, but at this point we were going to take anything that showed up.
At the port, embarkation was very disorganized. NCL has a new program for travel agents to be recognized and receive special treatment, but no one apparently knows that they are supposed to be getting special treatment. Since I have had 2 knee replacements, I needed a wheel chair to get on board. This was done promptly, we were showed the way to the counter to check in, after checking in and the gentlemen going to get our keys, we were told we were in the wrong place and he could not give us our keys. We were then taken into to the VIP suite, not told anything except to wait and then someone else brought us our keys, That was all, and sorry you had to wait in the wrong place. All the other man had to do was to hand us our keys, and we would have been on our way, but no, we had to be taken to another room in order to get them. Then a very nice waiter push me up on board. At first he took us to Cagneys where he was told we were in the wrong place. After that we tried to go to the room, but NCL does not let anyone go to the rooms until they announce that the rooms are open at 2pm. So we were then taken to the Summer Palace dining room where we were finally treated great and offered a very nice lunch.
The handicap rooms on NCL were exceptional! Very large and the sliding doors out to the balcony were on push button and opened automatically. Loved them, You could open them a little or a lot. Beds were very comfortable and the bathrooms were very large and very well equipped with hand rails everywhere.
Our room steward was the worst I have ever had. There were no ships schedules in the room, I called the deck about getting a copy and they said they would bring it up, but it never did show. Our room steward do not show up to introduce himself until late in the evening and then we had to go looking for him ourself.
One evening, you have to change your clocks back one hour, and he put the wrong information sheet in our room, so in the morning our clocks did not agree with the ships time, so we had to call the desk to see what the real time was.
There were a lot of little things wrong with this steward that I have never experienced before, maybe he was just having a bad week?
NCL did treat us special throughout the week. First it was a $50 on board credit, which we used to go to Cagneys Steak house. It was just alright. Nothing special, and not worth the $25 per person. I don't mind paying extra if it is worth it, but I think the meal was as good as you normally get in the dining rooms years ago. We did receive special invitations throughout the week, but since we were with others, we did not go to a lot of the functions. Treats did appear during the week, and we were also invited to wait in a special location for disembarking, but since I was in a wheelchair we were taken directly off the ship.
I must say something about the service on this ship. It is the best we have ever experienced. Anything you wanted in the dining room was done for you. We had Macadamia Nut Ice cream in Cagneys, and happened to say to the waiter the next night in the Summer Palace how good it was, and that we would have loved to have more, and the waiter sent someone to Cagneys to get it for us. Another person in our group wanted dry prunes at dinner each night, and they appeared. This staff in this dining room is great! We never had to wait for tables, even though there were eight people sometimes.
All in all, this was an excellent cruise, and I will have no hesitation recommending NCL's Pearl to any of my clients!