Standard cabins are comfortable and well laid-out, and with adequate closets and drawer space for most families, they're cozy.
All have mini-fridges, flat-screen televisions, telephone, Internet connection, bathrooms with shower and twin beds that can be made up as queens. But, at an average size of 160 square ft. for the outsides and 145 for inside staterooms, they are among the industry's smallest -- especially for a newly built vessel -- and especially for a line aiming for families. Balcony cabins are 205 square ft., which includes the verandah. All but some inside cabins have a "split bathroom" configuration: glass-enclosed shower on one side, closeable toilet chamber on the other, sink in the middle. Balcony cabins also have a small sofa, many of which can be made into a third bunk.
Compared to some of the slab-like beds found elsewhere on NCL, the bedding has been upgraded on this ship, with thick, comfy Eurostyle mattresses. Instead of a bedspread, beds are made with white duvets and a small colorful "runner" placed across the foot.
Our absolute favorite attribute of any cabin on an NCL ship is the in-cabin coffee/tea makers thoughtfully provided to the guests, along with complementary coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cream.
Where Pearl really stands out is in its suites. The 134 mini-suites offer, at 284 square ft., a small amount of additional space and a larger balcony, have full bath tubs and the services of the concierge. Beyond those, though, guests who are booked into Romance Suites, Penthouse Suites, Courtyard Villas, Owners Suites or Garden Villas enter the stratosphere of cruisedom, with private restaurant privileges, butlers, individual espresso and cappuccino makers, preferred reservations for the alternate restaurants, VIP tender access, VIP boarding and disembarking, a DVD library and other perks and privileges that truly set them apart from the average guest on the same ship.
The Courtyard Villas share a private courtyard at the top of the ship, complete with a covered plunge pool and private hot tubs. Owners Suites, typically located beneath the bridge, face forward and, since they are at the corners of the bow, have private sundecks both at the front and along the side. The Garden Villas, smaller on this ship than on Dawn, Jewel or Star, where they come in at an astronomical 5,700 square ft., nonetheless still measure 4,390 square ft., have individual saunas, hot tubs, private sunbathing areas and three bedrooms, three baths, a powder room, living room, dining room, a grand piano, and exclusive elevator access to their quarters, shared only with the residents of the Courtyard Villas and two Deluxe Owner's Suites located at the very, very top of the ship.
Caveat: The Owners Suites and Penthouse Suites on Deck 10 have verandahs that are completely visible from the bridge above. Completely. Any indiscretion that takes place out there is subject to being viewed by a range of officers -- or any visitors to the bridge.
Some of the 24 Penthouse Suites, at up to 572 square ft., on Norwegian Pearl could also be called Family Suites since they have a small bunk-bedded room and bath that's perfect for kids.
Non-suite cabins (including mini-suites) have wall-mounted pumps for soap and shampoo, and while it's not ideal in terms of convenience, the rationale for their use is laudable: Just picture the amount of waste generated by 2,000+ plastic bottles each week, and imagine how much less waste is generated by the pumps. The product is actually quite nice … I am convinced that the shampoo/conditioner combo is a generic version of Herbal Essences.
Suite guests get large containers of upscale designer Frances Denney products, although almost everyone we spoke to who inhabited a suite preferred to go back to the more subtle scents of the L'Occitane en Provence products that had been used in the past.
Twenty-seven cabins, including suites, are fully wheel-chair accessible and ADA compliant.
The cabin I had, 11010, as well as the cabin in Hawaii need to be updated. Carpet, bedding, and upholstery were pretty worn and the pillows were like rocks. It was a quiet location, spacious, with plenty of storage.