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Norwegian Pearl Review

75% of cruisers loved it
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Why Choose Norwegian Pearl?

  • Mega-ship amenities like rock climbing and bowling
  • Multiple dining options include steak, French and Asian
  • Cabins range from small insides to huge villas with private hot tubs

Norwegian Pearl Overview

By Jana Jones, Cruise Critic contributor; updated by Anthony Cave, Cruise Critic contributor
Editor Rating
The Murder Mystery Lunch on bright, brassy Norwegian Pearl is just one of the many sea day activities available to its passengers, activities which not only include the usual rituals of poolside lounging, bingo and art auctions, but also some truly innovative and unique options. You could box, virtually, on the Crystal Atrium's gigantic two-story LED screen using Nintendo's Wii U, or bowl in style with two neon-lit bowling lanes on either side of the Marrakech-inspired Bliss Ultra Lounge. The ship also features a lavish "Bar City," a long, dazzling space that can appeal to both the martini drinker and the cigar aficionado. Pearl launched in 2006 as the third in Norwegian Cruise Line's Jewel Class, which also includes Norwegian Jade, Gem and Jewel. These affordable, large ships are known for their ample public space, great passenger flow and a plethora of dining and lounge options.

Norwegian Pearl is loaded with jewel-toned designs (mauve and teal, turquoise and magenta, purple and blue, all with the occasional splash of fuchsia and orange) and original art. (A Dale Chihuly sculpture anchors the atrium, a small Van Gogh reproduction hangs behind the reception desk.) Its two pools and upper sun decks offer upscale seating (faux wicker chairs and padded chaises, some double loungers with pillows). In addition, the ship boasts 12 "Freestyle" restaurants (meaning no set dining times or tablemates), 11 bars and lounges, a bowling alley, a five-level rock climbing wall (with easy, medium and hard degrees of difficulty) and a contemporary kids club.

Is Norwegian Pearl perfect? No. Extra charges can quickly rack up, from $5 bowling to $12 yoga; even the multiple specialty restaurants outnumber complimentary dining options almost two to one. Only the dining rooms Indigo and Summer Palace, Blue Lagoon and the pool deck buffet are fee-free. We also do not like the tacky plastic flowers that show up in places where there should be real ones or none at all. Despite our quips about the fees, the Pearl is all encompassing, yet not overwhelming.

Pair that with an attentive, helpful staff, and the Pearl experience is like a finished Tetris puzzle -- everything fits without any major pieces sticking out.

Norwegian Pearl Fellow Passengers

There is something for everyone to enjoy on Norwegian Pearl, and as a result, ages are all over the board. It's designed for families, so of course there are plenty of kids; it has a super teen center, so that age group is well represented, too. But the range of cabin types, dining, entertainment and relaxation options has appeal for seniors, boomers, millennials, families, singles, honeymooners, grandparents and grandkids, and everyone in between. We saw them all on our Caribbean cruise.

Norwegian Pearl Dress Code

Freestyle cruising allows you to dress casually all the time. Depending on your voyage, there is one optional formal night in which you can dress up if you wish, without anyone raising an eyebrow. The only general caveat is that, after 5 p.m., no shorts, tank-tops, flip-flops (or any open-toed shoes for men only) or jeans are allowed in the Summer Palace dining room. However, waitstaff are usually lenient; we saw quite a few guys in sandals after a long day at port. As Norwegian's advertising advises, "Wear ... something."

Norwegian Pearl Gratuity

Norwegian adds $13.50 per person, per day in all cabin categories up to and including a mini suite. Suite guests will be charged $15.50 per person, per day. This charge is added to onboard accounts, which serves as a "service charge" and not a tip. Passengers are encouraged to "tip" for exceptional service, but we're also assured that the service charge does go to the crew. However, some passengers tip their room stewards extra; suite-holders also tip their butlers and the concierge, who are not in the "service charge" pool, and because of Freestyle dining, where you don't have the same waitstaff every night, some cruisers bring cash to tip their servers if they've done an excellent job. On Pearl, an 18 percent gratuity is also added to bar bills. An 18 percent gratuity is also added to spa bills and all specialty and entertainment dining.
Next: Norwegian Pearl Cabins
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Norwegian Pearl Member Reviews

About Me: I’m a 34 year old male who sailed solo on the Groove Cruise (GC) on Norwegian Pearl from January 22 – 26, 2016. I’m an avid cruiser and lover of House and Trance music but I do not attend the land-based festivals such as ... Read more
We liked it! brothermac1
We had read numerous reviews about this ship, and were frankly a bit apprehensive before boarding. The embarkation process was painfully slow, but once we finally got on board, here's what we have heard, and our response to it: The food is ... Read more
My wife and I were looking forward to this trip and were very disappointed in the quality of experience on the NCL pearl. We have taken 5 cruises in the last 9 years, the last three with Norwegian. I expect to continue to cruise frequently in the ... Read more
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Norwegian Pearl Ratings

Editor Rating 4.0 Member Rating
Public Rooms
Spa & Fitness
Family & Children
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