Came back from my 5th cruise. Second with Norwegian, this one was on the Pearl. I primarily chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it fit into my schedule well. In the future, I've decided I will first pick a good ship, then the itinerary, and everything else is secondary.
I can't say that there were many things on the Pearl that were great. Most were just about average, I've seen better and worse. So for the price, I suppose it was ok.
If you cruised with them before, you can supposedly board 1 hour earlier than most, I could not tell the difference...
First thing I should have done when boarded is checked my carry-ons. But even though it was my 5th cruise I didn't know you can do that. They'll be happy to keep your carry-ons until you're ready to get them or till your room is ready.
Also, keep an eye out for any notes by your door, they didn't deliver one of my bags because they thought there was liquor in it, well there wasn't, but I did have a bunch of sodas and waters in there. And I didn't see the note till much after we got into the room and got the other bags.
First thing we did was go for lunch in the Summer Palace dining room. It is open, and lunch was very good. The NY Strip Steak was the best piece of meat I had on the cruise, I craved it again later in the week. Also the blueberry cheesecake was my favorite desert the whole cruise and came with some rare berries that aren't common in Florida. I loved it.
After lunch we went by the gallery and registered for the art auction (mainly for the free champagne and art pieces). After that we went to see if our room was ready, it was a little after 2PM and it was. Although I believe we were told that rooms won't be ready till about 4PM. So I suggest you venture to your room and see.
The safe was locked, had to get someone to come out and open it. Later found out why, it blocks the door if it's unlocked, so I left a note to the next person with a simple initial code...
Our room steward was amazing, but we didn't actually meet him till the second day, kinda unusual. He made great animals, noticed the friend I traveled with bought an elephant and made one that day. And the last one just made me go WOW, cause it was a monkey hanging from the ceiling, loved it.
I suggest you make friends with the photographers and people who work in the photo areas. They just might hook you up with a deal that's better than advertised ;) Though I wish the whole process was better. Why not scan the key cards and then let people review on an iPad or laptop to pick which ones they like. Offer just a digital package, would save a ton of paper and hopefully allow them to offer lower prices. Some of the pictures came out great, but so expensive...
If you participate in any of the game shows or other activities, most are not videotaped, so I suggest you have one of your travel companions videotape some of it for you. I wish I had.
The safety drills no longer have to go on decks, that was new to me, we were actually in the theater. Not a big deal really, but you do have to go there. The life vest is no longer necessary either.
I was disappointed with the actual theater, I recall Carnival and Princess seats being much more comfortable, and had either nearby tables for drinks or had tables that pulled out of the arm rests, I think. This one just had a cup holder by your feet, most were broken, chairs were uncomfortable, and Air Conditioning was blowing from every back of the chair. My friend was usually cold, and even I got cold sometimes.
The actual shows were average. I later found out that it was only about the second week on board for the dancers, so that would explain a few things. A couple of numbers in the shows were great, but overall I'd say barely average. I didn't like Oh What a Night at all, but most of the audience I think liked it a lot. I love improv comedy, but theirs was just so-so. The juggler on the first night was ok, but during the final show, WOW, his finale was unbelievable.