Sail Date: October 2018
After cruising on the ncl pride of America in Hawaii I said I would never use nick again. On that cruise I felt the staff thought we were doing them a favor. I only took this cruise because if fit our time frame and iternary. Glad we gave ... Read More
After cruising on the ncl pride of America in Hawaii I said I would never use nick again. On that cruise I felt the staff thought we were doing them a favor. I only took this cruise because if fit our time frame and iternary. Glad we gave nick another chance because this crew and staff we fantastic. We spent our 50 anniversary on this cruise and loved every minute. The only complaints we have is our kids gave us a dining package and we were never notified about it. We found out by accident. And one other thing. We got no advanced notice about the Halloween party or the white hot night so we were not prepared. But overall we loved the cruise and will never forget it. Loved the complacently drink package Althing if I had to buy it I think it is to expensive. I would purchase the dining package again Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my 23rd cruise (mostly on NCL) and my 2nd cruise on the Pearl, and my background as a former Flight Attendant with American Airlines during the 70’s-90’s (back when it was Fun to fly and I had hair…) when I ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise (mostly on NCL) and my 2nd cruise on the Pearl, and my background as a former Flight Attendant with American Airlines during the 70’s-90’s (back when it was Fun to fly and I had hair…) when I worked First Class, it provides a unique perspective. Our 1st cruise on the Pearl was to Alaska Labor Day week 2017. We booked this cruise shortly thereafter. I was also the CC Coordinator on both Pearl cruises, we had over 70+ couples who joined us on this San Diego - Tampa cruise via the Panama Canal. Staff Officer/Hotel Director Cary (previous experience was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Director in NYC) is the only NCL Hotel Director that hosts an end of cruise meeting with myself and other CC members that would like to speak to the senior staff. I interacted with many passengers during this 2 week cruise regarding their experiences which enabled me to share some comments/feedback to the Pearl Staff - in addition to my own observations. I won’t be commenting on the day to day of what we did/eat/excursions, etc., but rather comment on our overall experience. I must say that NCL has improved greatly over the past few years and their FreeStyle is refreshing from some of the other cruise lines offerings. The main dining rooms to the specialty restaurants are indeed a treat. Never did we find a menu that was boring or repetitive during our 2 weeks on board, nor were we served anything that wasn’t fresh and tasty. I can’t say that about some of the finer restaurants in America. Even if NCL didn’t have any specialty restaurants, the Main Dining rooms would be superb. But, the specialty restaurants do add a unique experience in ambiance and taste, so if you would like a special evening, you can’t go wrong with whichever one(s) you chose to try. The Pearls staff are top notch, to say the least. The Captain (airplane or ship) sets the tone for the crew and it shows. I observed Officers picking up garbage on the pool deck, and other Officers rearranging lounge chairs in the clubs. The crew observes this so they in turn go the extra mile to serve us. Like I mentioned previously, NCL has risen in the ranks these past few years in my book and I can’t say enough good things about their staff. From the Cabin Stewards/Stewardess’, Pool Bar Servers to our Wait Staff and Bus Boys to the crew that we never see. As the CC Coordinator for this particular cruise, we organized a Halloween Costume Pub Crawl after we left Cartagena, Columbia. We had a lot of CC participants and as a bonus, the Pearl hosted a Haunted House in the Bliss Lounge. That was a fun memorable evening for all. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise! The Cruise Director and staff did a marvelous job of keeping us entertained for many sea days. NCL’s entertainment was top notch, plus a seasoned speaker/expert on the Panama Canal. Yes, we are booking with NCL again and the Pearl in particular. To me, that is the best write up/endorsement that I can make. Thank you NCL Pearl for being the ultimate Vacation Hero! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. Nightly entertainment was excellent. The bed gave backaches to my wife and I. Even though we saw many new mattresses loaded onto the ship and saw them in storage while waiting in line for an hour to get off the ship, we were only provided a foam egg crate mattress topper, which helped, but did not fully satisfy. When I again requested a new mattress, our request was ignored. I reported some maintenance issues, such as several loose safety handrails in the hallways, paint fume odors 3 times in our stateroom, welding fumes on our stateroom, extremely loose steps in the hydro therapy pool, and jets not working in the spa hot tub. It makes me wonder what maintenance issues are lacking in areas not frequented by passengers. We had to miss the first port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico due to a hurricane; but the ship provided entertainment and activities to pass the time. On the day we arrived in Guatemala, our first stop, no coffee cups or bowls were available for breakfast and plates were hard to find. We were docked, so we were able to get off the ship in good time. Our tour of Antigua, Guatemala was interesting and informative. the tour guide was very good. The next day, we arrived in Nicaragua, where the ship had to anchor and use tenders to get us ashore. We were supposed to leave the ship at 10:15 for our tour but, allegedly due to rough water, the tender service was not in full operation, so we did not leave the ship until after 11:30. It appeared that the crew had not used tenders before or they should have been able to get people off the ship in a timely manner. When working at water's edge, personnel should be required to wear life jackets, in case they fall in. This was standard practice on other cruise lines (and a US requirement) but only about half of the crew were wearing life vests or safety belts while working at the ship/tender departure points. Due to a late departure for our tour, we traveled 3-1/2 hours for a 45 minute tour and a 15 minute grocery store break to obtain snacks for lunch. We returned at 4:35 and the last tender was supposed to return to the ship at 4:30. However, after we returned, we saw a sign showing that the last departure was changed to 6:00; so we could have had a more leisurely tour if that had that decision been made before we departed. At least we were not on the one tender that was stranded in the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes due to engine failure. Another example about inadequate maintenance and poor management. We saw the tender sitting still in the water when we went ashore but at the time, did not know the problem. At my request, my wife and I received a 20% discount on the tour, after losing at least 1/2 of the scheduled time in town on the tour. We enjoyed Peter James singing and playing the piano, which helped smooth things over.Our tour in Costa Rica was a well run tour of a Botanical Garden. The tour guide was excellent and he gave us a good run down about life in Costa Rica. He knew the plants in the garden and aptly answered all questions and gave good discussions. Comedian Tim Kaminski put on a very good show. I had never heard of him, even though he is in the Comedy Hall of Fame. In Cartegena, Columbia, we took a guided tour in rough native canoes operated by boatmen using poles to push the boats. The bus tour guide had such a heavy accent that he was difficult to understand and it was hard to follow his narration. The boatmen did not speak English, which made it difficult for us to get much out of the mangrove boat tour, except on rare occasions when the tour guide was audible. When we arrived at the Grand Cayman Island, we tendered into town in boats provided by the Cayman Islands. The tenders were well organized and got us off the ship in a timely manner, even though we used the same number of ship departure points as we did during the mass confusion of tendering in Nicaragua. We had a nice self guided walk around George Town, Grand Cayman and a leisurely lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. We had a very good meal at the Grand Palace Restaurant aboard ship. The next night, we had an excellent dinner in the Moderno Restaurant on board ship. When we arrived in Tampa, I was happy to easily find our luggage and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everyone went through Customs. Then came the Tampa Hell tour. We were supposed to have a tour of the city and arrive at the airport in a timely manner. Two people on our bus were concerned about making it to their flight in time, as guaranteed when they made their tour reservation. To make matters worse, after departing the airport, the bus driver pulled over and parked at the curb, with no explanation given. We ended up losing a total of 1-1/2 hours getting away from the cruise terminal. Then the bus finally continued on the way. No narration was provided - a very strange way to take a tour. We finally figured out that we did not have a tour guide and the bus driver did not say a word. After a 10 to 15 minute ride, the bus driver made a u-turn. A few minutes later, he made another U-turn. Since there was no tour guide, or other narration, we presumed that he was lost. We eventually arrived at the University of Tampa, where the bus driver ran over a curb and ran into a signpost. Someone came on board the bus to explain that we were to take a tour of part of the University campus. I asked if we were going to have a tour guide for the rest of our tour. She was just as surprised as us, to find out that we did not have a tour guide. We had a tour of a building that was originally a hotel, although we could not hear much of the tour guide's narration due to the large crowd of attendees. When we got back on the bus, the confusion continued with the bus driver again running over a curb on the way out of the campus. However, we at last had a tour guide on board. Apparently, the bus P.A. system did not work because the tour guide used a small speaker attached to his left hip. When turned toward us, we could hear him. When he turned away we could not. As we followed some other tour buses in our group, one the buses ahead of us was making a u-turn when the bus driver ran up onto the curb and got the bus stuck in the grass and on the curb. We went further down, made a successful u-turn and went past the stranded bus, listing toward its right side, with passengers standing outside and the driver on the other side of the road speaking on a cell phone. The guide said we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. At that time, I said to the guide that we should just head to the airport, while we were still alive! We then proceeded back, passing the cruise terminal and continued on the city semi-tour. Our window was defectively foggy, so that it was difficult for us to clearly see out. We finally made it to the airport where the luggage was eventually off loaded for a rental truck; another mass confusion arrangement that took several minutes to locate all our luggage. Once inside the terminal, our trip continued as planned. trip Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Amazing opportunity to cruise through the Panama Canal. Great job by everyone on board. The bartenders were oustanding as well as the waiters and maitredee. From the time we placed our feet on the deck until we left the crew made sure to ... Read More
Amazing opportunity to cruise through the Panama Canal. Great job by everyone on board. The bartenders were oustanding as well as the waiters and maitredee. From the time we placed our feet on the deck until we left the crew made sure to create a wnderful experience. The loss of one of our shore excursions was made up by the great service from the staff. The entertainment was first class from Peter at the piano to the many great shows in the theatre. We were kept well informed with a daily handout that kept us busy for the day. Once in the canal, we were provided with commentary that was very informative. My wife enjoyed the shopping experiences especially the opportunity to win great prizes. The transfer to shore was also handled in a safe yet curteous manner. Too bad both the entry and exit from the ship was horrible. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I have cruised with Norwegian in the past. I like their "Freestyle" format. There is no set dining time, but you may make reservations for most of the restaurants. The buffets are more than enough to keep you satisfied, but ... Read More
I have cruised with Norwegian in the past. I like their "Freestyle" format. There is no set dining time, but you may make reservations for most of the restaurants. The buffets are more than enough to keep you satisfied, but the "Pub" and dining halls are complementary and a nice change. This cruise was more sea days than port days due to a storm, 5 ports for a 14 day cruise, we had to miss Cabo, but of all the ports we were scheduled for, it was the one I was least likely to get much from. Public area seating was generally good, a couple of activities underestimated the passenger response, but they made adjustments for later activities. I took an inside cabin of the smaller size, mid ship on deck 8. It was just about right for me and my wife, a third person (in the bunk) would have been too much for the size of the cabin. It IS possible to take the cruise and not spend any money on board, if you don't drink alcohol or soda. But you are likely to want to at least get laundry done ($20 for a bag full) and maybe get a souvenir mug with an alcoholic beverage. If you do drink, do the math and figure if the beverage pass is really worth it for you, you have to buy the package for all of the people in your party even if only one of you intends on using it. I, for one, couldn't consume enough liquor to justify the full price of the pass, but YMMV. Hotel staff are great, my cabin attendant was friendly and called me by name every time we met. Room maintenance was prompt and unobtrusive when needed. Entertainment staff was attentive and made it a point to remember you and greet you with a smile.The free activities I attended were craft oriented and included origami, napkin folding, and paper crafts.They also had a couple of liquor "Classes" that you could purchase and listen to a discussion of whisky or bourbon while sampling the wares. I only took one shore excursion but was very happy with it. There was some kind of delay in departure, it didn't affect our port calls, but it did seem to upset some of the passengers, our rooms were available when expected. When boarding in San Diego, the terminal was serving 2 ships at the same time and apparently a bag ended up on the wrong ship and the queues were long. Due to rough seas (4-6 foot swells) at a tendering port, our shore time was delayed from 10 AM until 1 PM, the captain made arrangements to delay departure to allow for more time on shore and for the excursions to have enough time to fulfill their expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
There was a lack of information provided prior to embarkation. Shortly after making the reservation, it was changed from a 15 day cruise to a 14 day and the embarkation port was moved from Los Angeles to San Diego because the Acapulco stop ... Read More
There was a lack of information provided prior to embarkation. Shortly after making the reservation, it was changed from a 15 day cruise to a 14 day and the embarkation port was moved from Los Angeles to San Diego because the Acapulco stop was cancelled. We understand that was for safety reasons, but there was no explanation for why we had to lose a day of vacation or had to alter plans to accommodate moving from LA to SD to leave. At embarkation, we were handed a flier that stated we would not be stopping in Cabo San Lucas because of weather. We had all been watching the weather down there for a week and knew what it looked like. This decision could have been made much earlier and notifications could have been sent well before the last minute. We have now lost 1 full day of travel and 2 port stops before even leaving and since this was booked. No other compensation was offered for losing the Cabo stop and there was no mention of attempting to add a different destination to make up for it. We then did not actually set out from SD until several hours after we were supposed to leave and there was no explanation given. As we were told many times from different crew members, the ship had been loaded with new employees for this trip as training experience. It was obvious in multiple ways. Many of the staff members at bars would actually roll their eyes at you for asking for a glass of water as though it was a waste of their time. The wait staff in the main dining rooms was horrible. Our standard time in the Indigo room was running nearly 2 hours for a meal because staff was so slow. We had one night with a 7:15 reservation and we did not get out of there until 9:45. Multiple times we did not even order dessert because it was taking so long to get our food. We also left one night after ordering coffee with dessert and getting everything for the coffee (cups, sugar, and cream) and getting our dessert without ever actually getting any coffee in the cups. On the other side, there were some excellent standout employees. Specifically, our room steward was excellent. Also, there was the waiter at O’Sheehan’s Pub, Ankit (sp), who was always friendly and helpful. Also, the bartender Mo (Mohammed D.) who worked most often in the Casino bar was a major highlight who always greeted us by name, remembered our drinks, and was an overall great guy. All of the staff we interacted with in the specialty dining restaurants were very professional and helpful. We found the buffet to be very boring and lacking in options during the dinner hours and the food quality was average. The main dining room dinner menus were horrible. The options each night were very poor and repetitive. There was always a dish of overcooked beef slices prepared a litle different, there was always a basic white fish that was grilled or broiled, and always a vegetarian dish. The only thing that stood out was the one night for the standard white fish entrée was Tilapia. That is not a compliment. Tilapia should never show up on the menu of any decent restaurant. It is a completely worthless fish with absolutely no flavor or nutritional value. It is primarily used as a base because the only flavor is from the other ingredients it is prepared with. On other cruises I have always looked forward to eating in the main dining room for the quality and variety of the dishes offered. This trip left me disappointed every night. All of our group felt as though the poor menu options and horrible service was a backhanded way to push us into going to the specialty restaurants and paying for a meal. When we boarded the ship our group met for a celebration drink. The bartender informed us that they were required to charge tax while in port. Totally understandable and not an issue at all. What was an issue, or more of an annoyance, was that the ship was scheduled to leave at 4 PM and we didn’t actually leave port until several hours later. We were charged tax on drinks the entire time. While that couple of dollars makes no real difference to us, no announcements were made to explain why we were still in port for hours after we should have left and NCL should have paid those taxes just for the inconvenience. It was another example of poor hospitality. The tender service in Nicaragua was a disaster. Yes, the water was rough and choppy, but that did not explain why only one tender was being used while 5 others were sitting in the water off to the side. We were supposed to be able to leave starting at 10 AM. No announcement was even made until after 11:30 AM to explain that only 1 tender could be used because of the rough seas. That explanation made no sense because the other tenders were clearly visible sitting off to the side of the ship and the water was just as rough when they did finally commence service just before 1:00PM. Also, when they did start service, they only assigned a few people to assist with the transfer of people from the ship to tender. It was dangerous without more employees to help guide people over the step. So we were unable to get off the ship until 3 hours after we made port, but the cruise director made an announcement that they had permission to extend our port stay 1.5 hours. That does not make up for anything and he shouldn’t have made it sound like we owed them a debt of gratitude for getting part of the time back. The biggest complaint we have is in regard to the large amount of money we paid for a balcony stateroom that had a barely usable balcony. The reason for this is because they pressure washed the balcony while we were in port. They blew paint chips all of the deck and furniture on our balcony. They did not clean up the paint chips at all and they were stuck to the chairs. The chairs could only be used if we draped a towel over them to sit on. Also, the pipes above our balcony continued to flake paint chips for the rest of the cruise so even sitting on the balcony was difficult because chips would land on you and any drink/food you had out there. We paid over $2500 extra dollars for that upgrade and it was a waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, its history fascinates me. I also wanted an extended cruise for a bit of "R&R". The price point was good but the on-board costs were disappointing. I feel NCL was in my ... Read More
I always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, its history fascinates me. I also wanted an extended cruise for a bit of "R&R". The price point was good but the on-board costs were disappointing. I feel NCL was in my pocket for every little thing.... a 1 liter bottle of Dasani was $6.60!!! Yes, $6.60 - outrageous. Kids video arcade games are $1.30 per game. Food was okay in the complimentary restaurants and buffets but don't bother with the complimentary steak dinner - the meat quality is less than average which I think is done to encourage cruisers to use their "specialty" (for a charge) Cagney's Steakhouse. The entertainment was merely average. However, the staff couldn't have been nicer - pleasant, friendly, courteous... excellent all around. My major complaint is the embarkation/disembarkation process. Really this needs major attention. The boat left San Diego 2 hours late. I delivered my luggage at 11:15 BUT it was not delivered to my cabin until 8:15. NCL tenders were terrible and have too little capacity to handle excursions. First day, excursions were delayed two hours because of various NCL issues. Cruisers were truly annoyed. It got worse when disembarking at final port. The instructions from staff were contradictory; the bridge communications from Vincent, the cruise director, were just terrible. Very poor communication resulted in delays, misdirection and anger. I am unsure if I will cruise NCL again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are returning customers. Our previous experiences help us deciding to take this trip also. Are we disappointed this time or what. Room is clean. Shows are ok. The restaurants are not what they promoted. There's no free style. No ... Read More
We are returning customers. Our previous experiences help us deciding to take this trip also. Are we disappointed this time or what. Room is clean. Shows are ok. The restaurants are not what they promoted. There's no free style. No shorts. No caps, no sleeveless shirts for man but ok for women. Food is unacceptable. Some of the crew members are great. Some look down to you if you order coffee or water. We traveled with Celebrity, MSC, Holland, Princess, Carnival and Norwegian. An advise for the entertainers, stay away from political jocks. Not nowadays. The people are already divided politically as never before. We're on the cruise to get away from this issues. Please, don't build up tension anymore than it already is. Buffett has a large selection of culinary cuisines but the quality is absent. Sugar free sweets are not offered. We hope that the rest of this trip will be fine. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Cons -old cruise ship; framework inside hasn't changed -resulting from old design, passengers cannot navigate as easily as on modern ships - traveling portside corridors will not land you at the same places starboard. -soda ... Read More
Cons -old cruise ship; framework inside hasn't changed -resulting from old design, passengers cannot navigate as easily as on modern ships - traveling portside corridors will not land you at the same places starboard. -soda package is a rip off. Soda will come from the bar fountain and at stations without a fountain, cans are used. However, you often get an old can (flat soda) because only slightly half a can pours into one of their cups. So, if the person in front of you orders a Pepsi and then, you're the next guest 15 minutes later to order a Pepsi, you get whatever was leftover in the can from the prior guest. Pathetic policy. -Stardust Auditorium (theatre on the ship) is extremely outdated. The seats are fold down and low to the ground. Very uncomfortable. -Thermal Spa chairs are positioned inside the center of the spa; they should be ideally facing out to the front forward the ships windows. Pros -This is a classic cruise ship; which makes it easily convertible to what an affinity group customizes it to be. This ship is one of the most chartered ships in the US today. -the Filipino staff will cater to your every ask -food is slightly above average; good spread Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Wanted to visit Alaska - on my 'bucket list!' This cruise was the best for the price I could afford. Embarkation went very smoothly. I booked with NCL for transportation to & from the ship. The driver on the arrival day made the ... Read More
Wanted to visit Alaska - on my 'bucket list!' This cruise was the best for the price I could afford. Embarkation went very smoothly. I booked with NCL for transportation to & from the ship. The driver on the arrival day made the ride to the ship like an excursion with interesting details about the area we passed through. Disembarkation was made easier with the free valet service which enabled me to get my boarding pass & airline tag for my luggage the night before. Luggage was put out for the crew to collect as usual. Did not see it again until I arrived at my destination! Did wonder whether it would be there. It was! Excellent! Unfortunately, I missed two activities I would have enjoyed on the daily list. Most were of no interest to me. Entertainment, again, I missed the first performance which I would have enjoyed. Did attend the final event which was well done. The food was O.K. but not as good as on prior cruises with another line. Shore excursions were excellent except for that in Victoria. The one I had booked was cancelled due to time/lack of daylight. The one I took should have been cancelled for the same reason. The driver was knowledgeable, but being unable to see what he was talking about made it boring - a waste of time & money - any chance of a refund? Over all, I enjoyed the cruise. The scenery is beautiful. The whale sightings were not as good as hoped for, so may be I'll have to go again!! The crew were all friendly and helpful. I appreciated the time spent in Glacier Bay with the captain ensuring that we were close enough for good views. Read Less
Norwegian Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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