64 Los Angeles Norwegian Pearl Cruise Reviews

I hadn't sailed with Norwegian before and liked the itinerary, which originally sailed from Los Angeles to Miami through the Panama canal. I liked the choice of ports as well. This disappeared from the schedule, so I checked other ... Read More
I hadn't sailed with Norwegian before and liked the itinerary, which originally sailed from Los Angeles to Miami through the Panama canal. I liked the choice of ports as well. This disappeared from the schedule, so I checked other sailings and chose one that was similar- sailing from Los Angeles, but ending up in Tampa. This had Acapulco as one of the ports and I wanted to visit there again. I booked a mini-suite on this cruise I booked flights from the UK to match this booking when they came available. A week or so afterwards I received an email from Norwegian stating that the cruise was changing and now would depart from San Diego, rather than LA and would be a day shorter. Acapulco was a port that was dropped. Having booked the flights and some other items, I decided to stick with the reservation and hire a car and drive from LA to San Diego to catch the cruise. Annoying, but the flights were expensive I was offered a choice of boarding time, which mentioned that should I arrive early, I might have to wait until my allotted time before boarding. 11.30 was the time I chose and arrived a little before 11. The lines upon arriving at the port seemed endless. Moving from one different one to another. Everything seemed so slow and chaotic. It was about 13:30 when we got on the ship in the end, still having to wait for the room to be prepared Because of a dangerous storm approaching Mexico, the port of Los Cabos was dropped (which would have meant Acapulco as well). Nothing can be done about the weather. We have to stay safe The ship was meant to depart around 4pm, but this was put back until after 8. I thought due to the change of itinerary, but was told there was an equipment malfunction at the port, which was stopping luggage being loaded. My last case was delivered about 8:30pm, which was late, but ok The ship was clean and fine. No issues there. Staff were friendly. Food was ok. Not very hot, but that seems normal on ships The staff member looking after the internet cafe seemed very dismissive of peoples concerns though. Quite patronizing to the older members Guest services were quite unhelpful on the couple of occasions I had to attend. I feel this was an issue with the level of training received My room was kept quite well. I did feel that it was often left until quite late in the day to be made up. On one occasion after 3 pm, which, when he came back just over 2 hours later to turn it down, just made me wonder what was going on! The real issue was getting on and off the ship in port. It was quite the most chaotic operation I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Everyone on the organised tours was asked to assemble in the theatre at a particular time. Just the theatre. None of the other areas was used for people to gather. As everything was delayed, the number of people trying to get into the theatre just grew and grew. When you were called for your tour, you ended up standing in a seemingly static line for an age. On two occasions, these took you through crew areas. The worst was the tendering operation in Nicaragua. Due to a swell, they were only able to use one departure point. They were using the ship's lifeboats, which were basic. My instruction was to meet in the theatre for 10:45. We got on the bus at 12:15, with others still to come. We waited in a line going through crew quarters, in quite some heat, for close to an hour. Several people left the line, abandoning their tours altogether. One guest just had to lie down on the floor as she couldn't cope any longer. The tour guide apologised and said that the tour would have to be shortened due to the delay in us joining. He mentioned that they had been at the port from 7am waiting. In the event, the ship delayed departing by an extra hour Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was another nightmare. We were given times to attend immigration in a particular lounge. We got there at the appointed hour, to find the line stretching down most of the length of the vessel. At various times, the cruise director or assistant gave instructions that a certain group should now move for immigration. Well, everyone was in line already. What this announcement did was cause people to break out of line and move forward, me included- well, we'd been told to. This caused quite a lot of ill feeling in the line with shouting and cursing, which would have been unnecessary if the whole affair had been managed with a degree of professionalism Shortly before leaving the ship I had a brief conversation with a German traveller who was saying how disappointing he had found this cruise. His words were that "it seems the crew are still learning". He said he had been on 5 Norwegian cruises and they'd all been fine, apart from this one The most telling comments came from a Canadian couple I was chatting with in the immigration line. The lady said that she'd attended the end of cruise raffle on the last night, where the prize was a cruise. She said her husband was praying out loud that they didn't win, so they didn't have to come back! Harsh but fair Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The price was competitive, but I guess you get what you pay for! The cabin and food were good. We used wheelchairs and they definitely need more of them! It added more than an hour to embarkation and even more time for disembarkation. ... Read More
The price was competitive, but I guess you get what you pay for! The cabin and food were good. We used wheelchairs and they definitely need more of them! It added more than an hour to embarkation and even more time for disembarkation. The guest services sold us the bus shuttle to the airport in New Orleans which was non-existent! (We ended up using a taxi), The cabin steward made up the room 2 or 3 times during 14 days as his schedule rarely matched ours.) The theatre was not barrier-free, and the main dining room was difficult to enter. The second dining room was easier to enter, but the decor was off-putting. The cafeteria food was excellent. Soft drinks were Pepsi, which is not a favorite! We found the entertainment was poor, especially the "Legends" part. The shore excursions were well organized but mistitled. The cruise itself was OK, and the Panama Canal part was well done. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We wanted to go to Acapulco to see the cliff divers and then to go through the canal. so we picked Norwegian Pearl as it went to both places. We did not know it was a reposition cruise. We flew into LA from DFW, spent the night near ... Read More
We wanted to go to Acapulco to see the cliff divers and then to go through the canal. so we picked Norwegian Pearl as it went to both places. We did not know it was a reposition cruise. We flew into LA from DFW, spent the night near the port, and got over to the ship at 11:30 am. We got onboard fairly easily and headed up to the buffet for lunch. We were surprised to get to go to our room so quickly, the room seemed quite small, and there was no table to lay anything down on. Our luggage arrived quickly. We wandered around the ship and got ready for dinner. We went to the main dining room for our first meal. After waiting for about 20 minutes someone finally brought us some bread and eventually our dinner and then our food was cold! We were informed after the first night we would have to wear long pants and shoes to eat there again. We didn't care for the any time dining so much, never waiting for very long to get seated, but no connection with the waiters, and not seated with the same people. We did this cruise for a birthday celebration for my 65th. There was a package and on the 2 nd day, we went back to the cabin and our room was decorated and there was a cake on the bed, with a Happy Birthday Myrna, don't know who that was, as my name is Sue! Took some time to get that sorted out! Our first excursion was in Cabo, total disaster trying to anchor, and to get on the tender, getting off the ship took over an hour, tour was a waste of time and money. We took the tour to see the Arch, that we could see from the cruise ship, recommended by the tour desk! Acapulco was amazing, loved the divers, very cool. The next port was Huatulco, pretty island, enjoyed the beach. Then we went to Punta Arenas in Costa Rico. Disorganization was the word for this port. We had to wait to even get off the ship until another ship had disembarked, although, the pier was huge. We picked another tour recommended by the tour desk, a bus, train and boat tour. We went our on the pier and were told to walk to the end for our tour, it was a long way and it was very hot. Walked there and looked around, waiting for the bus, then we were told we had to go back to the ship and get on there, so, we walked back and then waited over an hour to get on the bus that was sitting there. The tour operator was very knowledge, it was too bad the tour was lousy. Panama Canal was amazing, except for the boring monologue that went on all day on our ship. Last port was Cartagena, Columbia. We decided not to do a tour, but hired a taxi to take us around a bit. We enjoyed that very much. The last few days we were on the ship heading back to New Orleans. We were disappointed with the food and service in both of the main dining rooms. The singer, George, was terrible, the juggler they brought on board was ridiculous. The Pearl ensemble however was awesome.Also, Jim, the piano player was fun and good. Don't know if the staff in the buffet were new, but offering coffee and juices would have been a nice addition. Getting off the ship was unreal, it was hot and we waited in lines that were horrendous and not moving, and no one seemed to know what the hold up was. All in all a disappointing end to our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because we had done all the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexico cruises and had been wanting to see the Panama Canal. We used to use Norwegian but got off onto other line about 10 years ago. From the moment we saw our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had done all the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexico cruises and had been wanting to see the Panama Canal. We used to use Norwegian but got off onto other line about 10 years ago. From the moment we saw our room I was impressed, it seems they have addressed every need. The room was lovely the colors bright yet soothing. love the clothes line in the shower. All the built ins (hair dryer shampoo, cond, body wash ) Even the hallways were attractive having all the fish swimming toward the front of the boat I needed that more than once. Dining was lovely it was not the best food I've had on board but I'd say having so many options makes up for it. We had 4 specialty dinners and all were great. The one improvement I'd make would be to have a concierge in the buffet to help you find empty tables. They greet you at the entrance with hand sanitizer and song! My husband and I did not miss a show and loved everyone of them, especially George Soloman. The theater is gorgeous. While on board I did cardio in the morning took spanish lessons, 3 classes in hypnosis wonderful port lectures especially on the canal, that made the experience so much better. Everyday I was going to do the rock wall and ran out of time, I finally made time on the last day. The service was incredible, everyone so helpful and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was my 23rd cruise, 1st with Norwegian Cruise Line. Really liked freestyle dining, this would be the main reason I would sail Norwegian again. Food was good in buffet and main dining restaurants. The steaks at Cagneys were very tender ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise, 1st with Norwegian Cruise Line. Really liked freestyle dining, this would be the main reason I would sail Norwegian again. Food was good in buffet and main dining restaurants. The steaks at Cagneys were very tender and the service was great. Frenh Restaurant was ok but did not care for items offered. O Sheehans was good for the fish & chips and the rueben sandwich. I ate there a number of times to get away from the buffet traffic. Entertainment could have been better. The music was ok , but seemed like they were always on break. Went to Veterans gathering and the they only played one song! Liked the music trivia in the atrium during the days at sea .Entertainment could have been more upbeat, Service was good for the most part Bar service was variable sometimes having to wait in line for a drink, but most were friendly. As with most cruises, room steward did a great job, tipped extra. Restaurant personnel were.on top of things most of the time. Embarking and debarking were terrible, Took 1.5 hours to get on the ship and the same to get off. Dont know if this was due to it being a re positioning cruise, but could have been alot better. There was no direction and much confusion debarking. Overall I really enjoyed the panama canal and ports of call. For the price I paid I thought it was well worth the money and I enjoyed what Norwegian had to offer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Truly enjoyed this cruise. Ship was clean and the washy washy crew did a great job. We had an informational speaker who gave a variety of seminars on Central and South America as well as giving us the history and operational facts about ... Read More
Truly enjoyed this cruise. Ship was clean and the washy washy crew did a great job. We had an informational speaker who gave a variety of seminars on Central and South America as well as giving us the history and operational facts about the three Locks we passed through. We had a fairly new group of Pearl staff entertainers, but they did a great job. They also brought in well known entertainers for magic, hypnotism and juggling as well as three impersonators from Legends in Concert. The ports were hot and humid but lots to do. We went to the glass blowing shop and were somewhat disappointed, they made a turtle with a sombrero holding a bottle. I watched a video on youtube that showed the same but more. I did a private excursion with Pilo Vazquez at Huatulco where we had a tour of the bays, snorkeled and did some deep sea fishing. Didn't catch a big one but did get 6 black tuna's of good size and a small restaurant cooked one for us (which was delicious). We fully recommend doing this. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Panama Canal is an engineering masterpiece. The cruise is an experience that is worth doing any time. I was told that it is different going west to east rather than east to west. I really didn't see the difference. If you have the ... Read More
The Panama Canal is an engineering masterpiece. The cruise is an experience that is worth doing any time. I was told that it is different going west to east rather than east to west. I really didn't see the difference. If you have the opportunity to go do, I don't see how anyone would regret it. The ports are Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas and Cartagena as well as the transit. New Orleans was the final port. If you have the time a fun place to stay for a few days after the cruise. On the ship the restaurant at the rear, the stern, on the fan tail is often uncrowded and has different food that is offered in the Garden Cafe. The view is great and unless the weather is not good a great place to eat. The speciality restaurants are good. The Service in La Cucina was the best. Cagney's steaks are good but the service varies. If you are in the Haven you can have breakfast and lunch in the Moderno Restaurant. The food is good, it is uncrowded and the service is A+. Try the beef dip sandwich. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
There were many things I enjoyed about the cruise. The NORWEGIAN PEARL had been in dry-dock earlier in 2017 and everything was clean and freshly painted. Every member of the crew that I encountered, without fail, was pleasant, courteous ... Read More
There were many things I enjoyed about the cruise. The NORWEGIAN PEARL had been in dry-dock earlier in 2017 and everything was clean and freshly painted. Every member of the crew that I encountered, without fail, was pleasant, courteous and very helpful. The food was good. I particularly liked the Summer Palace dining room. My cabin was small, but nothing that I wasn’t aware of well in advance. It would have been nice to have a chair to sit on in the cabin instead of the little round stool. The entertainment was good. The stops en route were interesting. NCL had arranged for a man from Panama to come aboard when we transited the canal and give a nice, informative commentary over the PA system for the entire length of the canal. That was very enjoyable. There were several things about the trip that I found disappointing. I am a single traveler, so I had to pay double for my cabin. For this reason I chose to watch very carefully any expenditures for extra things during the trip. I avoided having my picture taken, but that was easy. The shore excursions were priced more than I thought was reasonable. The drinks onboard the ship were just too expensive. I would have enjoyed an occasional drink, but $10 to $13 each plus an 18% charge added to that was just too much. I ended up having just one bottle of cider during the entire two weeks. The ship has no self-serve laundry room for passengers to use. Had I used their laundry service it would have cost me about $20 per day. Keep in mind that’s for only one person. Some might think this extreme, but I ended up doing laundry each evening in my cabin. Not fun. Wet laundry hanging in a small cabin does not add to the charm. I had signed up for a ship-sponsored bus to the airport after the cruise. They got so far behind schedule that I had to give up on the bus and take a taxi. NCL would not refund what I had been charged for the bus. There was a $14 per day charge for tips. I can only hope that it actually gets to the crew members. All in all, I enjoyed the cruise. In making future plans I would avoid any ship without a self-serve laundry room. I have friends who said drinks on their cruises weren’t nearly as expensive. I’ll have to consider those cruise lines when I make plans. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
There were several restrooms for either handicapped people or baby Changing station on every public floor. The facility was much larger than hospital’s. There were sanitizers, plastic hand gloves and baby wipes and very well maintained. ... Read More
There were several restrooms for either handicapped people or baby Changing station on every public floor. The facility was much larger than hospital’s. There were sanitizers, plastic hand gloves and baby wipes and very well maintained. The theatre had entire row reserved for handicapped people. Also it had a stage like platform to park wheelchairs and its attendants reserved seats were located behind it. Garden Cafe (buffet ) had 2 tables reserved for wheelchairs. I was told the ship was carrying 2500 passengers, but it looked more like 5000 passengers. It was extremely difficult to find a table at Garde Cafe anytime, 2 restaurants( Indigo and Summer Palace)were always full. This sailing was offering 3RD Person free so I suspect there were full and did not disclose the true passengers count. OR the design of public rooms were not as efficient and accommodating as other ships.There were people every where and it was the most crowded ship I have ever experienced.every pool chair was taken all the time and some people were sleeping on a wicker sofa most of the time. Pool deck resembled more like a refugee station. We ended up dining at the Cagney Steak House often .Two restaurants food was very bad, Beef did not taste like US Beef.lump crab meat described in the menu was like threaded crab meat. Everything was so bad I could not described it. The worst food, indeed. IHOP. Applebee’s, and Shoney’s could be gourmet food compared to NCL. Sad. Concierge assigned to my penthouse suite did not like her job and spoke very little English. I ended up going to the 7th floor reception for restaurant reservations and shore tours as I found out it was quicker and more pleasanter.h Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We wanted to enjoy a cruise and meet new friends. We sailed NCL previously and had credits to use on this cruise. Service desk, Cruise Director, photography, and entertainment staff were fabulous! Jim, the piano man, the Pearl Shipboard ... Read More
We wanted to enjoy a cruise and meet new friends. We sailed NCL previously and had credits to use on this cruise. Service desk, Cruise Director, photography, and entertainment staff were fabulous! Jim, the piano man, the Pearl Shipboard Band, and particularly Energy Plus, were more than any other cruise we have been on, they were absolutely THE BEST!!!!!!!! Be careful of the food, there is so much salt in the food that you will retain water. Oh, and water is not free; you can not even bring it on board! To us that was a health hazard as my spouse is on a salt restricted diet due to heart and kidney conditions. The resulet was swollen ankles and legs, if we went more than two weeks we would have had severe problems. When we told the waiters to stop the salt the answer was, "That is how the chef makes it'. One time the soup came watered down when we sent it back as "salt water". Several of the ships officers would walk through the ship and stop and talk to the guests, which is not normal on many other ships. They showed actual concern to discuss any problems. A very good feeling that you are not just a ticket to the next stop. The worst part of the entire cruise was the debarkation in New Orleans terminal. The whole terminal process is just one big mess!!! This is our second time through that terminal and it will be our last, we will never sail from or to that terminal again!!!!!!!!!! Even the staff does not know what is going on to direct anyone. Good luck if you go through NOLA terminal. Upon debarking, we had to go to the Quick Care Center as we had sore throats and colds, as did many others on the cruise. We were given medications and told many people have come in experiencing the same and with pneumonia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Panama Canal was the highlight of the tour. Other than that, everything was average. The food was the same every day....boring and mundane. The onshore excursions offered by NCL were pricey and not interesting. The worst part is ... Read More
The Panama Canal was the highlight of the tour. Other than that, everything was average. The food was the same every day....boring and mundane. The onshore excursions offered by NCL were pricey and not interesting. The worst part is the embarkation, which seems to take forever...as compare to some recent cruises that we took. And to top this off, we were told that the Pearl is one of the smaller boat with 2300 passengers; other NCL boats may exceed 4000 passengers...not what we are looking for. Free style dining may be suited for others, but we were used to set time dining and meeting people to talk about our experience and their experience. The waiters and other servers were nice, but the boring food kind of destroy this atmosphere. Even with extra cost for lobster was not what we expected. It was not even close to the type and cost of the same food we get at home. The music was mediocre, so was the shows. So overall, I gave an average rating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had gone through the Canal in 2014 and we wanted to do it again. Last time we had an Aft facing cabin and this time we did a forward facing. Two entirely different perspectives of the Canal. We had been on the Pearl before for an ... Read More
We had gone through the Canal in 2014 and we wanted to do it again. Last time we had an Aft facing cabin and this time we did a forward facing. Two entirely different perspectives of the Canal. We had been on the Pearl before for an Eastern Caribbean and we really liked it then and, if anything, this time was better. Then entire crew were absolutely terrific. From the cabin steward to the bartenders to the wait staff, everyone was so friendly that it seemed like a big, happy family. We met some of the most terrific people on this cruise and everyone, and I mean everyone was having a good time and it was infectious. We found the food to be delicious and presented well whether in the main or specialty dining venues. The buffet was very good, too. The entertainment was good, some better than others. We had dinner with the Hotel Director and the Cruise Director and really enjoyed that. Our Butler and Concierge were both super. We simply cannot say enough good things about this cruise. We have already booked another cruise on the Pearl for next year to Alaska. It will be our second there, as well. We can't wait!~ Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Panama Canal cruise... Cruise was great. The Pearl is due for an update this February which it needs. But overall the shows were great, with exception of the Elvis, Madonna, and Tina Turner look alikes. WE LOVE TIM KOMINSKY and have ... Read More
Panama Canal cruise... Cruise was great. The Pearl is due for an update this February which it needs. But overall the shows were great, with exception of the Elvis, Madonna, and Tina Turner look alikes. WE LOVE TIM KOMINSKY and have seen him before and would book a cruise to see him again. So many activities to do. Cruise Director staff was always around, except the Cruise Director was never seen except at the shows. Anique Smith should get promoted to the Cruise Director... she was truley the most outgoing person on their staff. Jewelry Store needs to get rid of Bruce, since he is rude to his staff and only wanting to show you Zultanite. He refused to listen to what you like and want to see. The ports were all nice with a variety of options for tours. Peurto Chiapas was a wasted stop though, since there wasn't much to do there or on tours. So we stayed on board, and again there was plenty of things to keep us busy. Our ship had a small out brake off illnesses, so the staff hurried and secured the ship with many sanitizing stations and free medical care. The buffet was addressed extremely well with the staff serving you instead of you helping yourself. Customer service needs to work on their communication skills. They were the most frustrating part of the entire 15 day cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This is our 4th NCL cruise totaling 75 days. The quality of the Pearl is definitely not up to the standards of the other ships that we have been on. For instance, our refrigerator in cabin didn't work, the safe was broken, our door ... Read More
This is our 4th NCL cruise totaling 75 days. The quality of the Pearl is definitely not up to the standards of the other ships that we have been on. For instance, our refrigerator in cabin didn't work, the safe was broken, our door keys had to be rekeyed, the food was a real disappointment compared to other cruises (example meatloaf 3 times.) Staff was great. Excursion in Puerto Chiapas- watch for the bus you get on. We paid over $100 each for this excursion and our seats were in the 3rd row from the back. The smell on the bus was horrible, and they sprayed but the odor was still there. All we could see out of our window were stripes. The last 2 big observation windows had stripes across it and when our guide would point out something we could see very little. Those types of buses should not be used for excursions. We talked with a young man in charge of the buses. We showed him pictures of the window that we had to look through. Questioned him of why he would hire a bus of that design and after several times of repeating my question he had nothing to say so my next question was "you really don't care, do you" and his answer was "no". Gave the same information to the shore excursion desk and their reply was "Wow that's not good". They didn't care either. Someone should do something about this situation not only for us but for future passengers. Looking forward to my Princess cruise this winter. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Overall impressions – Generally, the ship was clean and well maintained and the staff were generally upbeat and friendly. The special 15-day dining room menu had good variety but the buffet offerings were average. There were only two ... Read More
Overall impressions – Generally, the ship was clean and well maintained and the staff were generally upbeat and friendly. The special 15-day dining room menu had good variety but the buffet offerings were average. There were only two theater production shows during the whole 15-day cruise. The other shows varied from very good (the comedian, 4 Season tribute) to poor. Assistant cruise directors were very good with lots of trivia contests, dance classes and other activities during the long cruise. The special narrator brought on board for Panama Canal transit was excellent. Cons - Embarkation in LA was extremely slow and debarkation in Miami took 1 ½ hours, both due to terminal personnel problems. NCL needs to put pressure on these ports to improve service. NCL’s new “iConcierge” app has potential but was very disappointing with many texts not send or delivered. NCL has increased prices on drinks and excursions. Some menu items are now priced ala carte. Details – This cruise was a 15-day cruise leaving LA, visiting six ports on the western Central America coast, transiting the Panama Canal and visiting Cartagena before arriving in Miami. The NCL Pearl was being repositioned from Vancouver-Alaska cruises to Caribbean cruises. About half of the 2200 passengers were from the US and many of the rest were from Germany, Australia, Europe and Asia. The ship – The NCL Pearl is due for major dry dock renovation in early 2017 but we found the ship to be clean and well maintained with very little rust and only minimal wear and tear. The interior was very enjoyable with a lot of spaces for activities but also many nooks and crannies for quiet time. For some reason, the water slide had been taken down. Many people were enjoying the salt water pools with the warmer Pacific water in them. It was hot and humid on this cruise - more deck chairs should have been set up in the shade. The staff – Most everyone was upbeat and friendly. They took time to say hello and talk to you. Perhaps a 15-day cruise is a bit more relaxing for them. We had a very nice Cruise Critic Meet and Greet with the senior staff on day 2 and a recap meeting with them at the end of the cruise. (Thanks Ralph.) The room – Our mid-ship balcony 10558 was clean and neat but became crowded with our 15-day supply of clothes and collected memorabilia. Our efficient steward was an excellent towel animal maker with a different one every day. We heard that the old TVs will be replaced during the 2017 renovation. The dining - The special 15-day dining room menu for this cruise had good variety, but steak and lobster meals typically available on dress up nights now cost extra. Our food was served at the right temperature by a very capable staff in the aft dining room with huge windows looking aft. The Specialty Restaurants now have ala-carte pricing instead of flat rates. The buffet offerings were average. We repeatedly found there was not enough seating for 2 in the buffet area at breakfast time. Many of the larger tables only had 1 or 2 people seated. The buffet floor was extremely slippery with the high humidity, a safety issue. (The same was true with bathroom floors.) Entertainment – We were disappointed by the theater entertainment. Surprisingly, there were only two theater “production shows” during the whole 15-day cruise. Luckily there were a few very good shows by comedian Tim Kaminsky, and a 4 Season tribute group, and the Madonna and Tina Turner impersonators. The other shows were just typical fill-ins. The three assistant cruise directors were very good with lots of trivia contests, dance classes (Michael Jackson, John Travolta, line dancing, etc) and other activities during the long cruise. The deck/party band and the stage show band were good. There were a number of interesting events in the Atrium. Panama Canal Transit – The high point of the cruise was a day-long transit of the Panama Canal. From a number of locations on the ship, we could view our passage through the five old locks while viewing the bigger ships using the new locks. A special narrator was brought on board during the transit to provide tons of information about the canal over the loudspeakers. Even the normally closed deck 8 bow of the ship was opened up to passengers for a special view but sadly the speakers did not work there. Also, passengers in the aft cabins could not hear him either. Embarkation/Debarkation - Embarkation in LA was extremely slow due to very few registration staff. The lady said some of their staff had been taken away to help register passengers on a second ship in port. In addition, a tour bus arrived and, for some reason, those passengers were given priority for registration. Our ship had to leave 1 hour late because the luggage was still being loaded at our expected sailing time. Debarkation in Miami took over 1 ½ hours, again due to terminal staffing problems. NCL needs to put pressure on these ports to improve their service. Special comments - NCL’s new “iConcierge” app has potential to be a useful tool but one feature allowing on ship texting and calling was very disappointing, with many our texts not send or delivered. We were told that it will be updated next year. A major respiratory outbreak was slow to be addressed but was eventually handled fairly well with extra staff assigned and additional precautions put in place. We wondered if this type of outbreak is typical on a longer 15-day cruise with many international travelers. Ports – It was very hot and humid at these ports. Bring water. Cabo San Lucas – Everyone had to tender into the port. We snorkeled on an NCL excursion. The water was warm. Overall, the snorkeling was not great due to windy and silt conditions. Puerto Vallarta – The port area itself was not interesting. We took a taxi to the Malecon Boardwalk where we visited a number of shops and restaurants and had a few cheap beers on the beach. Huatulco, Mexico – This was a pleasant surprise. The water was warm and the snorkeling was good. Afterwards, we visited the beach area right next to the pier. Everything was clean and relatively new. Once you got past all the usual hawkers, it was quite enjoyable. Puerto Chiapas, Mexico – There were two large palapas with thatched roofs immediately adjacent to the pier. One had a few commercial souvenir stores and the other had a bar and a nice pool out front. You can take a shuttle into the local town, but it was dirty, busy and not very interesting. We left after an hour. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Due to the great distance from the port, we took the NCL excursion “Antigua on Your Own” to this very interesting, picturesque UNESCO town. We felt quite safe walking around and seeing the Arch of Santa Catalina, lots of churches, ruins, plazas, courtyards and museums. Puntarenas, Costa Rica – We went on an independent "8 in 1" tour that we joined using contacts on Cruise Critic. The tour took us to see white faced monkeys up close and personal and then on a jungle river boat to see big crocodiles and birds. The tour was good but the river was polluted and the port village looked poor and dirty. Cartagena, Columbia – We went on another independent Marelvy tour that we joined using CC contacts to visit highlights of this picturesque city. We got a very early start and saw the 17th century Santa Cruz Monastery at the top of La Popa, the Castillo San Felipe and part of the old walled town. The city squares were colorful with lots of shops. The port facility has a nice area where you can see exotic birds like peacocks, parrots, macaws and flamingos. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had cruised Norwegian before & loved it, this one not so. We thought the crew were not so friendly (excepting cabin stewards), particularly bar staff! Stardust theatre shows were mostly average.....except for Duo Balskatt ... Read More
We had cruised Norwegian before & loved it, this one not so. We thought the crew were not so friendly (excepting cabin stewards), particularly bar staff! Stardust theatre shows were mostly average.....except for Duo Balskatt & Oh What a Night Tribute both of those shows Excellent. Entertainers in bars 2shaye great but, same songs most nights...... Avalon-Dreadful singer to the point we had to avoid where they were singing. The ship was nice though the gift shop quite 'disjointed?' Ports of call were ok & apart from Huatulco excursions should be considered. Avoid the Hop On/ Hop Off bus from Cartagena....you will be charged $45.00 USD...... & somehow NCL allow them to charge it back to your cabin even though you have not booked it onboard..... our commentary didn't work & the only credit we got was 25% off, NOT HAPPY. NCL are willing to allow this billing practice, it left me feeling extremely disappointed with NCL, & I am a Gold Latitudes member....whatever that is supposed to mean. This cruise was average, we plan on looking elsewhere now to cruise...perhaps Princess or Celebrity as we really were disappointed with the overall cruise. Very surprised & again disappointed at 'extra charges' in the Main dining room & some speciality restaurants now gone a la carte. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our 19th cruise, 8 with NCL. Not good from the start. We had priority check in, but so did everybody else. Waited over 30 minutes to do so. Sailed 2 hours late because NCL couldn't get bags loaded efficiently. They were ... Read More
This was our 19th cruise, 8 with NCL. Not good from the start. We had priority check in, but so did everybody else. Waited over 30 minutes to do so. Sailed 2 hours late because NCL couldn't get bags loaded efficiently. They were obviously not prepared at the port of departure. Our room had drawer that would not close completely. The room steward obviously had seen this as she prepared the room. i waited a day for it to be fixed. It wasn't. I had to ask. Room steward was quite unpleasant. The freestyle daily contained numerous bits of misinformation: incorrect prices, conflicting times, etc. Shore excursions were a nightmare. Tours never started on time and thus returned late sometimes past all aboard time. The cruise director staff seemed lazy. Trivia quizzes and questions were often repeated. At least one event never happened. Eric seemed bored at times. Cruise director Dan was full of fake enthusiasm. The wait staff at dinner seemed impersonal at times. Seldom were we asked if we wanted coffee with dessert. Food was average at best. This includes the buffet. 15 days, 2 production shows. Both were poor. Nadeen the hypnotist is still doing her same boring show. on the plus side, Tim Kaminski and the Four Seasons tribute were both good. debarkation was smooth. We did easy walk off. One glaring issue stands out, however. All passengers were given a certificate for transit of the panama canal. this included latitude and longitude info and the captain's signature(scribble). However, the latitude and longitude numbers were transposed! Some of us recognized this and asked for corrected certificates. They complied. Most passengers were clueless and a mass replacement was not done. On the plus side, the itinerary was good except for Cartegena. If you are ever in Puerto Vallarta you must do the Vallarta Outdoor Adventure. A thrill a minute! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We initially chose the cruise for the trip through the Panama Canal, but enjoyed all the ports as well. All the restaurants were excellent though spoiled by a Cruise Critic member who was in the same vicinity as us a couple of times by ... Read More
We initially chose the cruise for the trip through the Panama Canal, but enjoyed all the ports as well. All the restaurants were excellent though spoiled by a Cruise Critic member who was in the same vicinity as us a couple of times by chance, and all he did was tell everyone he was the moderator for Cruise Critic meeting on board and chat room online very vocally, don't know if he wanted special service from the dining rooms we met him in or as I thought just full of his own importance. We do not need people like this aboard cruises everyone should be able to be treated the same and the staff not pressurised by these people. Cabins are needing updating but very clean, comfortable and well looked after by stewards. All staff onboard very amenable and willing to help at all times. I'm sure in the near future comments will be made on this site and others regarding the perceived noro-virus outbreak. My take on it is that it wasn't necessarily anything to do with Norwegian Cruses but more to do with the hygiene of some of the passengers on board which sometimes beggared belief. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was a great Panama Canal cruise. The itinerary was interesting and varied with just the right number of sea days. Staff was excellent, entertainment was varied and fun. Our only problem was our room placement. Our problem, not ... Read More
This was a great Panama Canal cruise. The itinerary was interesting and varied with just the right number of sea days. Staff was excellent, entertainment was varied and fun. Our only problem was our room placement. Our problem, not NCL's. Cabin 5052 was right under the Magnum's Champaign Bar with Jazz music until midnight every night. So double-check your cabin placement if this would bother you. Otherwise, we had a great time! Our excursions though the ship were: Discover Costa Rica. Long drive, big bus, very narrow roads. Make sure you take snacks, if you get hungry before 1:00. Saw a volcano spewing smoke. Very cool. Nice lunch at the coffee plantation. Don't buy the coffee there; get the discount card and order it online. It will ship to your house, so your don't have to carry it Very much worth the money to go through the ship. It's a Very long drive anywhere away from the port. Exploring Magnificient Cartagena. Great tour for a first time visit. Walking required. Wished we took a snack, since there was no time or place to grap one. Really saw the city. Husband was happy, because there was very little shopping time. Unfortunately, tour guide ushered everyone into the Diamond International store for emerald shopping, Actually blocking the other stores. Store next door was totally empty and had better prices. Great place to buy hats. $5.00 each. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife and I sailed on the NCL Pearl during a "Pacific Coastal" aka repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC. This was our 7th NCL cruise and the 2nd on the Pearl (last being a 2014 cruise to Alaska). We chose this ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the NCL Pearl during a "Pacific Coastal" aka repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC. This was our 7th NCL cruise and the 2nd on the Pearl (last being a 2014 cruise to Alaska). We chose this cruise for some rest and relaxation on the ocean. We flew into LA from Seattle and took the NCL sponsored bus directly from the baggage claim to the Long Beach embarkation port. Boarding the Pearl was uneventful and our room was ready shortly after lunch. Compared with prior NCL cruises, we felt some improvements have been made mainly around the food. The Garden Cafe buffet had a rich variety of food include fresh fruits. The cruise was not full so the seating areas were rarely packed. The main dining room had a typical rotations of daily entree specials which ranged from very good to average. It did not appear that any meal had any wait to speak of. We ate at specialty restaurants La Cucina and Cagney's, both of which had some very good dishes. Of note, NCL deserves praise for upgrading their desert offerings which we felt were subpar in the past. Despite being a short 5 day cruise, NCL provided a rich assortment of entertainment options including the expected trivia contests (we were so bad at name that tune that the Pianist Jim awarded us prizes), Deal or No Deal, Bingo, Casino tournaments and sporting events. The highlight for us was the Legends in Concert show, part of the Las Vegas production bringing rotating cover artists on board - our show with an Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Madonna tribute artists was excellent. The Pearl Production cast also put on a great finale "Pure Variety" with a wide range of musical hits. The Pearl lived up to NCL's reputation of providing a wide selection of entertainment choices. The ports we visited (San Francisco and Victoria) were both cities we have traveled extensively in the past so we did not do any organized excursions. In San Francisco, we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (taking a public bus to the visitors center) and in Victoria we wandered around downtown for a bit. The Pearl appeared to be very well maintained and had great facilities such as a well equipped gym, nice walking and separate running tracks, and a variety of public areas although the chilly temperatures dissuaded many from enjoying the pool deck. The staff was very friendly and worked very hard to make everyone enjoy their time on board! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Cruise Virgin. Main Purpose for this was a pre-cruise to a Hawaii cruise on NCL in June 2016. Secondary purpose was the brief opportunity to see cousins in LA and SF. Third purpose was to scout Victoria and Vancouver. This trip was a ... Read More
Cruise Virgin. Main Purpose for this was a pre-cruise to a Hawaii cruise on NCL in June 2016. Secondary purpose was the brief opportunity to see cousins in LA and SF. Third purpose was to scout Victoria and Vancouver. This trip was a fly-cruise-train trip. We are PNW people so the ability to see other west coast cities via a different route is different. We used Spirit Air from PDX to LAX-inexpensive and resvn made just 9 days before departure. Spirit Air is OK since the flight is only 2.5hrs and we had just one carry-on plus personal. We had a nice time visiting cousins, although all too brief. We did not use any excursions. We did do walk around in Victoria and Vancouver plus a HopOn-HopOff purchased off ship. From VAC we Amtrak Cascade train #508 to SEA where we stay with son on his birthday. The 508 hugged Puget Sound's coastline and we got some nice views and is much better for comfort than either BoltBus or Amtrak bus service from VAC to SEA. The next day we took the #507 from SEA to PDX. We left PDX in the drizzle and arrived home in 80deg. Cruise: NCL Pearl. Repositioning from Miami via Panama Canal. About 500 passengers had started in Miami or Caribbean and continuing on to VAC or Alaska. A number were VAC residents. The ship holds 2300 but was 1300 passengers. The crew members were pleasant and had the time to converse. The crew that we spoke to, had extensive hotel/cruise experience and apparently moved to NCL/cruise service as a way to move up the career ladder. All genuinely liked NCL but this is of course subjective. We noticed that the crew were able to view the GoldenGate as we passed underneath and a few able to get off the ship at ports of call and make a checkoff on their bucket list. Last comment, I made some simple requests to the food staff and the staff (even the food manager in charge) easily made the requests happen. The room steward also made our special request happen. We gave the room steward a small advance gratuity. This was our first cruise and it was a repositioning. Rate as Average until we are able to make a comparison. Met and exceeded our expectations. Nice. Would do it again, We discovered what to eat, what to take advantage of, what to avoid, and what to take -leave behind. The Pearl is in need of refurbishment and is schedule for Feb 2017. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We took the NCL Pearl from LAX on April 30 to Vancouver, then continued on the 10 Alaska ending in Seattle. Total of 15 days. The Pearl and staff were a disappointment. When selecting the free Unlimited drink package, we ... Read More
We took the NCL Pearl from LAX on April 30 to Vancouver, then continued on the 10 Alaska ending in Seattle. Total of 15 days. The Pearl and staff were a disappointment. When selecting the free Unlimited drink package, we discovered they added a Beverage service charge to out bill. $124.20 for the first segment and $230.40 for the second segment. So much for free unlimited drinks. Also discovered two weeks before the cruise NCL lowered the fair, but tough tootsie for us, no change in our rate. When entering our Mini-suite we discovered there were NO outlets for our CPAP’s at the head side of the cabin. While searching for an outlet, I moved the nightstand and discovered dirty plastic bags on the floor behind the stand. Go to Guest services and Given 2 extension cords, which I had to sign for, to give to the cabin steward. He in turn, taped them to the floor to reach across the cabin. Taped to the floor in the middle of the cabin for the next 15 days. Luggage arrives and the suitcase has one of the wheels totally sheared off. Called Guest services and was told to bring the suitcase to the front desk to see if they can have it repaired. Discover the safe in the cabin is already locked. Need to wait to someone available to unlock it. Now is time for discovery of the ship. Here is what we learned: They now charge for room service. About $8 a trip. Speciality restaurants are A la Carte instead of a flat fee. Seating in the garden cafe is inadequate Many guest just settle in and read books or play games in the Cafe limiting the number of seats available. Indian Head Chef, lots of too spicy food in every venue. Service charge of $27 a day added to our cabin charge NCL no longer traveled with a priest on board. By the way, every Holland America ship has one. Unlike “friends of Bill” which use a meeting room for their gatherings, LGBT socials are held every day in an open bar area. Went to a presentation for on shore shopping. The presenter was almost giddy selling Diamonds International and 4 other NCL favorites. No mention of local shops and speciality stores. Give me a break, every stop you need to go to Diamonds international as your first stop. Daily maps provided show the five stores and little else. No mention of shuttles to downtowns, instead they push their overpriced shore excursions. Internet package, Bought 250 minutes, but on the last 2 days, purchased unlimited internet for 2 days for About $60. Unlimited package only sold from for all days remaining on the cruise. Don't understand why they won't sell unlimited internet for one day at a time. Main dining service was ok but slow and staff failed to notice empty water glasses or coffee cups. 3 days into the cruise, we were given a replacement piece of cloth type luggage. Large enough to hold our clothes getting off the ship, but not nearly the same quality as the hard case they destroyed. Back to Unlimited beverages, Not everyone on the cruise has the beverage card, so once you order a drink and the server sees you have the beverage package, you need to track them down to order a second beverage. They focus on guests who do not have the package, because those folks still are tipping whereas, you prepaid the tips whether you drink or not. Also NCL benefits by serving less to those with packages. and more to those without. We are Platinum members, so we receive a gift of a dinner in Le Bistro speciality restaurant. This gift is an Appetizer, a main dish, and a desert. Except, not the lobster main dish. So in the Restaurant, I notice the Lobster is $24 and the next most expensive item is $18. Can I order the Lobster and pay the $ 6 difference . NO, $24 more. OK. Time for Desert. I order their speciality desert. Profiterole’s - filled with cream and covered with chocolate sauce. What I get is 3 small, solid pastry balls covered with orange, lemon and caramel sauces. Asked the server what did she bring and she states Profiterole’s. Asked for the menu back to read description. Server takes item back to kitchen and returns with 3 small, solid pastry balls covered with orange, lemon and caramel sauces and now covered with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Asked for manager. I tell her that I can’t be the only one noticing this. She tells me the menus are different than what the kitchen is serving. Other also have noticed. But they don’t have the server explain that when ordering. Excuse, Not able to train all the severs yet, ???? This is the 7th day of the second cruise. The great side of the trip is we had an outstanding cabin steward. All of the items listed above are, in my opinion, moves to increase revenue for NCL by lowering the quality of the experience. I, for one, rather know the total cost upfront rather then being hit it fees and additional charges for service charges, room service, and moving restaurants to A LA Carte pricing. We have traveled on11 cruises, this trip being the latest, so I do not know if other cruise lines are lowering their brand and cheapening the product, but I will travel on other brands many times before I consider NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my 3rd sailing on the Pearl (chosen only for the stop in San Francisco) and 7th overall on NCL. Pre-cruise customer service was disappointing and left me not wanting to sail. I called multiple times pre-cruise to request a ... Read More
This was my 3rd sailing on the Pearl (chosen only for the stop in San Francisco) and 7th overall on NCL. Pre-cruise customer service was disappointing and left me not wanting to sail. I called multiple times pre-cruise to request a balcony cabin change but was thoroughly rebuffed. I guess I expected better having reached Gold on last sailing 8 months prior. NCL just feels different than in years past, and not a good different. There were many balcony cabins available up to the day before sailing. I was travelling with someone in another balcony cabin. Upon embarking in Los Angeles I went to guest services to ask if there was any possibility of a change (there was a sign saying full capacity, no changes possible). I got a call after 8PM that night offering a different cabin but declined after having already unpacked. Cabin 8542. Carpet seemed clean or new. No bathrobe (requested one from steward). Disgustingly dirty balcony table. No room service menu. Used Ziplock bags under sink left me wondering how well this cabin was cleaned. Slept in this cabin the first night then called the next morning to see if a change was still available. A friendly girl at Guest Services moved me to 9028. This room was no improvement. The shampoo dispenser was broken (button was missing) so a small bottle was provided. Still no bathrobe. Dirty carpet and sofa cover. Coffee table needs replacement. No room service menu here either. Steward either lacked attention to detail or didn't like having an unexpected cabin to service. Bath towels would be picked up off floor but bathmat left. Just simple little things. Travelling companion in 9008 had overall better service from a different steward. I'd not be too happy with these little things on an Alaska cruise at those high prices. 9028 may just be a cabin that's kept vacant as a back up in case something happens in another cabin. The rest of the ship needs a good cleaning. Dingy. There was maintenance going on. The Promenade Deck was roped off more than once. Other than that, same old Pearl. Activities seemed to be lacking for this 5-day sailing. Casino was closed the morning we sailed towards Victoria (2PM arrival) and for the rest of the trip. Positive notes: Got to see the Golden Gate Bridge sailing in and out of San Francisco after heavy fog prevented that on the Jewel a few years prior. Priority embarkation in Los Angeles was a nice surprise after finally reaching Gold on prior cruise. Disembarkation at Vancouver's Canada Place was painless (no immigration having stopped in Victoria the day before) and a short walk to the Skytrain to YVR airport. Overall, just not very exciting but then I didn't go in thinking it would be. Not a trip of a lifetime type of itinerary. It appeared to be mostly an older crowd as expected on an early May sailing. Lots of passengers had been onboard from Miami. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I have always sailed RCCL in the past - have done the Vision, Voyager, and Oasis class ships. Recently, I decided to sail NCL and choose the Pearl (Jewel class). I prefer this size ship and now am only sailing NCL due to butler/concierge ... Read More
I have always sailed RCCL in the past - have done the Vision, Voyager, and Oasis class ships. Recently, I decided to sail NCL and choose the Pearl (Jewel class). I prefer this size ship and now am only sailing NCL due to butler/concierge in the suites. The mega ships are beautiful but due to size, I do not find enjoyable. I understand and I am amazed at the operation of the mega ships. On RCCL Allure: embarkation was very long process, long lines, and reservations were not available for shows or specialty dining. At times there were very long lines to enter the comp dining facilities so it was not the relaxing cruise experience I desired. Imagine moving 5,000+ passengers (amazing feat) but those same people that want to eat at the same time, travel elevators, see shows can be overwhelming...However, it is mitigated if you upgrade to suite level cabins. I have to say that if you are willing to splurge suites make the difference. I sailed on NCL Pearl (Garden Villa) and it was a 5 star experience for me. The service was stellar. The ship is dated but it will get a refurbish soon. The complimentary dining was very good and the specialty restaurants were also very good. All staff we encountered were great and always had a smile. I also liked that there was not a photographer pressing constantly to take pictures. I find that annoying since we all have cameras today and they still charge a lot of money for pictures that we might buy if the prices came down a lot. I also enjoyed NCL free style cruising because some days I may want to eat early and some days late. I prefer to be more spontaneous and not tied to a dining schedule. I like the perks of a suite - priority embarkation/debarkation; daily snacks, personal requests, great dining reservations, assistance and guidance on shore excursions without waiting in lines to discuss. Left messages for concierge if busy and they followed up immediately. Celebrating birthday, anniversary, or special occasion? Your butler/concierge will make it special. We celebrated last minute birthday and they arranged all the food and decorations in the suite and that was such a special touch. They all made us feel special and welcomed and now I am hooked on the "suite life"!!! I have to say the ports were nice but I enjoy the aspect of cruising, dining, relaxing just as important. I never felt cramped on the ship and no overwhelming crowds. Many restaurants, bars, library, entertainment and decent fitness area to keep me busy. Just booked the same ship for 12 day trip in October. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Took this trip (the latest of over 50 cruises) to take the Panama Canal off our "bucket list". NCL got just about everything right . . . from a great variety of food to a pleasant "right size" ship to a fantastic ... Read More
Took this trip (the latest of over 50 cruises) to take the Panama Canal off our "bucket list". NCL got just about everything right . . . from a great variety of food to a pleasant "right size" ship to a fantastic crew. I have a mobility issue and help was there all the time . . .without ever asking. This is the sister ship of the Jade and Gem. The Russian Palace theme works great to make the dining areas light, relaxed, and yet elegant. The cruise was well set up as to ports and NCL has gotten better at their sightseeing options and operations. The food choices include two main dining rooms with varied and tasteful choices plus a 24 hour on-board "diner" and an Asian restaurant . . . all complimentary with a long hours buffet. There are also four premium restaurants if the included variety is not enough, and NCL does things like German fests and barbeques to mix it up even more. What we like about NCL ships is that them tend to break up the public areas and stay away for the mall approach of ships like Royal Caribbean or casino approach of Carnival. It makes the locations and entertainment more varied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Norwegian Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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