2,394 Norwegian Pearl Cruise Reviews

Cruise was horrible bad service. Vacation was wasted always waiting in a line for everything. Pool drained and closed 2nd & 3rd days. Also all hot tubs shut down. Shows cancelled after waiting for the show to start. Over 2 hrs to get ... Read More
Cruise was horrible bad service. Vacation was wasted always waiting in a line for everything. Pool drained and closed 2nd & 3rd days. Also all hot tubs shut down. Shows cancelled after waiting for the show to start. Over 2 hrs to get off ship. Activities not available that were listed. Reservations at Cagneys steak house we were 10 minutes late and refused to serve us. Elevators were so slow could not get on an elevator most of the time. Saw elderly having to use the stairs when they shouldn’t have been due to health. The cabin was very nice but any service for it was slow and unfriendly. Overall seemed understaffed. Things were dirty and not cleaned for the next day around the decks. Everyone was so unfriendly and gave no service it was truly a self serve cruise not what we paid for. Never got any service even in the casino would have to go to the bar for a drink and wait in line for sometimes 30 minutes. Many guest made their complaints on the ship but it made no difference. I was told by a crew member that’s what you get on a 3 day cruise this is unacceptable! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cruise itself was fairly good, but their hidden service fee that was $180 for a 2 1/2 day trip is excessive. They hide it up front, add it to your account bill which you only get at the last minute, and if you don't ask to get it ... Read More
The cruise itself was fairly good, but their hidden service fee that was $180 for a 2 1/2 day trip is excessive. They hide it up front, add it to your account bill which you only get at the last minute, and if you don't ask to get it adjusted before you leave the boat they won't refund it or adjust it. $180 amounts to a 15% increase in the cost of a ticket. I'm all for tipping, and would have left a generous one, but the deception and trickery used by cruise ships to force a tip amount is just wrong. In regard to the overall trip the ship had lots of dining options and the food was good. We traveled Royal Caribbean before and the ship was a bit less dated, but the difference was minimal. Almost all of the onboard staff was helpful and friendly. The only other issue I had is the keycards they gave us on entering didn't work, which meant we had to go to guest service as soon as we got on the ship to get them fixed. Guest services had long lines and it was a pain. Not a good start, and I'd suggest that when there is an error on their part they try to fix it in a customer friendly way instead of making the customer stand in a line for an hour because of their mistake. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Overall, I would do this ship again. My first cruise was the Dawn and it definitely brought back some memories. I think I am biased to the smaller ships! I think the food was pretty good. I've seen others complain about it and the ... Read More
Overall, I would do this ship again. My first cruise was the Dawn and it definitely brought back some memories. I think I am biased to the smaller ships! I think the food was pretty good. I've seen others complain about it and the only real complaint I have is that the food from the buffet was a bit bland which I think is to be expected. It is why they give you salt and pepper at your table. I loved, loved, loved the Great Outdoors buffet/bar area. It was awesome for late night snacks and even to sit outside when the buffet was a bit more crowded. Speaking of which, the buffet was tinier then the Dawn's, but the seating area was larger. We found seating whenever we went, even if it was busy. There are 2 pools which I think was great. Even on the busy sea days we were able to find chairs. They didn't host a single thing outside at night if you are into that. We did the Thermal package and spent an hour to 2 there every day. I loved the warm rock/ceramic chairs. I always ended up dozing off they made me so relaxed! They hosted a lot in the Spinnaker Lounge which I thought was really cool. It is in the front of the ship, so it can be a bit rockier, but there was a lot of room and the view was so neat! The shows in the Stardust were cool! The comedian was hilarious (we went to the adult show) and the Legends of Rock show was seriously so great I didn't want it to end! The acrobats/flyers were good, but not really our style. Our cruise director was Tiara. We weren't huge fans of her (we love Richard Matic, so we are spoiled lol). She didn't really host much. Left most of it to her Assistant CD and staff. The staff was so good and one of them was a phenomenal DJ! We bowled which was not easy, but a cool experience! We had an inside room near the front stairs and there was no noise at night at all. Would definitely do an inside room again, even if we did sleep a little later since it was like sleeping in a cave lol Everyone on the ship was super helpful and very nice to talk to, especially when you treated them with respect! We stopped at Harvest Caye and Costa Maya, Mexico. Harvest Caye was great and the pool was sooooo nice. You do have to pay out of pocket for stuff, but we went back to the ship and had lunch. I thought the Wildlife Experience was super cool! Costa Maya is definitely a tourist port, but it was still really neat to experience. The water is a beautiful blue!! Disembarking was a bit of a pain, but not NCLs fault. Customs seemed really slow. Took us maybe an hour to get off the ship and through customs. We did self-disembarkation as well (carried our own luggage). The ship is a bit older and not really made for kids. My husband is 30 and I'm 25. We both have a bit of older souls so I think we fit the crowd great! Would 100% do again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
AVOID this ship if you have any BREATHING/HEALTH ISSUES and if you want to avoid SECOND-HAND SMOKE. The Casino, where smoking is permitted, is not enclosed, but is part of a passageway necessary to move around the ship. The smoke ... Read More
AVOID this ship if you have any BREATHING/HEALTH ISSUES and if you want to avoid SECOND-HAND SMOKE. The Casino, where smoking is permitted, is not enclosed, but is part of a passageway necessary to move around the ship. The smoke emanating from the casino spreads freely to Deck 6 & Deck 7, including the lounge areas, Asian complimentary restaurant, Starlight theatre, Indigo dining hall, to name a few. Smoking is also permitted at the Sky-High Bar, even though Customer Service did not identify it as a smoking area. "Customer Service" is a misnomer - it should be called "Customer DIS-Service". Unfortunately the smoke situation detracted from every other part of the cruise. The food at the Summer Palace was excellent in both presentation and flavour. But inexplicably, the hostess tried to sit us next to the service area stacked with dirty dishes two of the four times we dined there. The indoor and outdoor buffets were excellent - lots of variety, but the desserts were just average. The entertainment was good in the venues we could attend (away from smoky areas) and Tiara the cruise director was hilarious. The cabin was a decent size (oceanview picture window) and all the cabin stewards we encountered in the hallways were very pleasant. This was our 9th cruise and our 3rd one with NCL. Due to the smoke situation and the Customer Dis-Service, it will very likely be our last NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My BF and I were short on time but desperate to get away so the 5-day Western Caribbean itinerary to Belize and Mexico was perfect for us. We booked just prior to Christmas and got a great price. Food: We generally ate in the buffet ... Read More
My BF and I were short on time but desperate to get away so the 5-day Western Caribbean itinerary to Belize and Mexico was perfect for us. We booked just prior to Christmas and got a great price. Food: We generally ate in the buffet in the morning because we wanted to control our portions and wanted lots of choice. The aft outdoor location (Great Outdoors) was perfect and since we were up and at it early, it generally wasn't busy. This opened at 7:30 but sometimes we would grab specific items on the inside location and just take our plates outside. Overall the food would get a 3.5 - 4 out of five. We are super fussy, however I always found something to enjoy and generally was very pleased. My only complaint is watching people feel the need to carry two stacked plates at a time. We ate in Le Bistro at additional charge and it was well worth it. It ran about $100 CDN for two, gratuities included for three good courses. Cagney's was fully booked so we didn't get a chance to experience it. Indigo was very good and the atmosphere was much nicer for us than the main dining room (Summer Palace). If you do the buffet for lunch, don't miss the Indian/Indonesian food station. Some of the better butter chicken I've had, made very well and super fresh. Entertainment: For me, I would give the entertainment 5/5. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the performers and shows. Big kudos to Orly Penate and Alex Ortiz as well as the NCL person responsible for booking them. Absolutely fabulous! The final evening we took in the Legends in Concert show in the Stardust Theater. Great acoustics and lovely set up, comfortable seats. This show also wowed me in the quality. Don't miss it! Staff: Overall, the staff was very good. I think when some people think they are poor quality, they don't understand that for some, there is a bit of a language barrier and their job is incredibly hard. Eight months on, two months off is a tough gig. I wonder if NCL should consider different options or opportunities if they can find a cost-effective way to manage. Activities: If you can't find something to do that interests you on this ship... it's you, not them. I was disappointed in some of the guests and their need to do nothing but sloth by the pool, drinking too much. However, we found a great location every day and very much enjoyed the sun. We also signed up (at extra cost) to have full access to all of the classes at the fitness centre. Big shout out to Jared and Suynesh (sp?) for their attention, professionalism and knowledge. We very much enjoyed our interactions with both and it was worth the extra cost. Shore Excursions: For me, this is the chink in the armor on this trip. I found both ports to be pretty much a waste of time because I like to experience the authentic side of a country. They are overly commercial and a bit of a money grab. We did enjoy both beaches however and in Costa Maya we took a taxi to Mahahual where we found a great stand for empanadas and sopas. We ended up going back to the ship early and very much enjoyed how quiet it was on board lol. Overall a very nice experience with great people. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I traveled with a group of 16 people on this cruise. It was an "Escape From Winter" cruise. I liked the size of the ship....not too large. Staff was friendly and the Captain was amazing, speaking 5 different languages to welcome ... Read More
I traveled with a group of 16 people on this cruise. It was an "Escape From Winter" cruise. I liked the size of the ship....not too large. Staff was friendly and the Captain was amazing, speaking 5 different languages to welcome everyone on the first night! Staff was courteous and kind. Activities Director was a hoot. However, after about 4 days on a 6 day cruise, I was ready to leave. Here's why: There seemed to be no space anywhere around the small pool area to sit or swim. There was no shrimp to be found anywhere. There were no towel animals. I know, I know first world problem.....but I missed them! Food on the menu had weird names like Walleye Cod. Well, is it a walleye or a cod? Main dining room menu was boring and uninspired. We ordered chicken wings 5 times in O'Sheehan's. They arrived cold every. single. time. In the Lotus Garden restaurant the food was cold, dry and pretty uneatable. The rice was ice cold and tasted like frozen rice that wasn't heated up properly. I was so excited for this restaurant and it was a big disappointment. I LOVE Chinese food. I really didn't like anything I ate there. Customer Service people extremely rude and not courteous. Amazingly bad. And then there was the Karaoke: The Pearl has a policy that everyone sings in the order that their slips of paper are filled out and handed in to the DJ. We had to endure some pretty bad singers every single night singing the same songs over and over and over. Sometimes they sang 7 times or more in one night! New policy would be easy: Once you've sung once you cannot sing for another half hour. End of problem! Also, I wanted to sing an Abba song. Because the main show had a five minute Abba number on the main stage once, all the Abba songs were pulled from the Karaoke playlist. Come on, we're all not THAT good. No threat to the cast on the ship as far as I could see! On a positive note, the Bliss Lounge was amazing, with fantastic decor. Speaking of Entertainment, I thought the cast and entertainers did a fantastic job on the main stage and in the nooks and crannies of the ship. All professional actors and musicians and all music was fantastic. I enjoyed the comedian at the FIRST show. At the second show he got, very, very rude and I really did not enjoy it. I am not a prude. Just did not appreciate how hard he tried to be rude. I didn't mind the swearing, it was his jokes. Next time, I'm going to bed!! I stayed away from the Buffet because there was just too many people there. However, there is a really nice place to sit in the back outside, very pleasant. However, all the people serving were just wonderful, caring and courteous people. They did wonderful! The people on board, both staff and cruisers seemed to be really nice.....all the time. I just wish it would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We sailed on the Pearl on Jan 12 to Belize and Costa Maya. The best part of the cruise for us was the private villa on Harvest Caye Belize. The overall experience of being on the private beach with a hammock, lounge chairs, air ... Read More
We sailed on the Pearl on Jan 12 to Belize and Costa Maya. The best part of the cruise for us was the private villa on Harvest Caye Belize. The overall experience of being on the private beach with a hammock, lounge chairs, air conditioned villa, private bathroom, and waitress service was perfect for our family, The service on the island was excellent- the waitress, concierge, and driver were attentive, friendly,and professional. I highly recommend this experience! Overall the ship is fun, not too large, not too many people, and our family of 5 (3 young 20’s) had a great time. The Norwegian app was great for keeping in contact with each other by text message, Other highlights for us were the 2 specialty dining restaurants Moderno and La Cucina.. Both had excellent food and service and we really enjoyed them. Cant remember his name, but the bartender at the whiskey bar at night was the best on the ship! Some negatives for us were the food at the buffets, main dining rooms and O’Sheehans, and overall lackluster/slow service from waiters and bartenders in the other venues. The free food was average and sadly the coffee was terrible. Leaving the ship on the last day took forever and our bus back to the airport was really late, which was disappointing. Not sure if we will cruise Norwegian again or try a different cruise line next time, Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I chose this cruise because it was a good deal on a 5 night western Caribbean cruise. I had only sailed on Royal Caribbean and Carnival prior to this cruise and was very excited for this new trip. Food was a major disappointment. Buffet ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a good deal on a 5 night western Caribbean cruise. I had only sailed on Royal Caribbean and Carnival prior to this cruise and was very excited for this new trip. Food was a major disappointment. Buffet food was lack luster and the sit down dining was not good. Appetizers were ranked highest at a 5/10 and main entrees probably 3/10. Entrees seemed to mainly consist of chicken or beef for every dish. Fish i ordered twice was mushy. Chicken was ALWAYS dry and beef lacked flavor. I was amazed when I found out there would be no lobster, shrimp, scallops, or other seafood that I always looked forward to on a cruise. Bottom line, food was a big disappointment. Room was fine. We had an interior room and it was enough room for both of us. Bathroom was nice and shower was spacious. Entertainment was another negative. I was not very impressed. The comedian, Alex, however was very funny. The staff was very friendly and helpful in every aspect. Our stateroom housekeeper was awesome and so was our waitress in the Indigo. While the food was not good she made our night and we kept making sure we got her each night for dinner. Pool space was too small. 2 small pools and 4 small hot tubs. No interior pools or hot tubs unless you want to pay an up charge. This was another negative of the cruise. It seems as if you have to pay extra for everything that normal cruise lines include. Destinations were great. No complaints. Almost the entire cruise the ship was rocking heavily. Not sure if this is normal but the ship is older so maybe it is. Unfortunately this cruise did not live up to my expectations. I will not be sailing on NCL again after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this itinerary because the timing was perfect to escape the cold weather and post holiday stress. And the price including the airfare was too good to pass up. Let me start by saying this was my 10th cruise but the first cruise I ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because the timing was perfect to escape the cold weather and post holiday stress. And the price including the airfare was too good to pass up. Let me start by saying this was my 10th cruise but the first cruise I had a cruise line book airline, hotel and transfers for me. I was very skeptical hearing of other cruisers experiences doing so but I was pleasantly surprised on my vacation. Once NCL emailed me with flight arrangements, I called the airline directly to seat my friend and I together. I expected issues at the airport since my friend’s name was not hyphenated on her airline ticket. However, check in went smoothly. The flight arrived on time to Miami. Finding the NCL staff at baggage claim to escort us to our transfer was easy. We did wait some time for our transfer bus but it was rush hour during the week. The hotel NCL selected, The Pullman Miami Airport Hotel, was stylish. Our room was large and well appointed. At check in, I asked for recommendations to get a taste of Miami in the few hours we had before our cruise disembarked the next day. As suggested, we arranged for an Uber and headed off to South Beach. It’s mainly a strip of restaurants with hosts trying to entice you in. We visited two restaurants, took in a quick show at Palace, watched Antilles dancers at another club and stepped onto the beach under the moonlight. The next morning at the hotel, my friend and I debated breakfast options. She wanted more than a pastry and I wanted only coffee. Overhearing our conversation, Leah at the check in desk, offered to give us two complimentary tickets to the buffet. After a few morsels, we had time to relax by the pool and waterfall in the sun which we had been missing living in the Northeast. Transport arrived after noon to drive us to the pier. The drop off at the pier and transfer of luggage to the porters was smooth and efficient. The line was a little longer than I’m used to but I usually arrive before check in begins and I was already an hour and a half after that start. Upon our turn to check in, we learned we were VIP and could have skipped waiting. NCL quickly rectified that and ushered us past the line and up a private elevator. We were escorted on board and brought to Moderno for a VIP reception area where we met our Concierge, Anoop Bhanu. Since this was my friend’s first cruise, she was beyond excited at all of this. I was so happy watching the cruise excitement unfold through her eyes. After a leisurely glass of wine, we were reminded to head over to Cagney’s for our first VIP lunch. The hot smoked salmon as an appetizer was good but the pan seared scallops and shrimp over artichoke and chive risotto with veal au jus was the star of this meal. Next stop, let's see our stateroom! I selected Cabin 8064, partially obstructed ocean view, when planning this cruise. The room was surprisingly spacious. I have always stayed in balcony or better state rooms but I would certainly book this stateroom again. The only noticeable difference besides the view was the lack of a couch which we wouldn't need for two of us. It had more than enough storage space for two people to keep the room clean and clutter free. And you can see the ocean and sky in between life boats. The next area we explored was the viewing room for the bridge. We spent some time watching the crew do their job. The captain walked past the window and waved to us. A few minutes later, Captain Giovanni was in our viewing room introducing himself and having a little Q&A session with the few people who had entered with us. This was actually an exciting thing for myself and my friend to have a moment to talk to the captain. Usually, he is just a voice on the intercom system on most cruises. The only complaint I can make about our vacation was the missing communication for a change in the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet date. Prior to flying out to Miami, I had posted on the board that we would meet the first day as was stated in an email to me from the events coordinator. After I was on the ship, we learned it had been changed to the following day through a letter placed in my stateroom. The mishandling of communication was between the office on land and the members on the ship and I was left out of the correspondence. Because of the logistics of sail away, I was advised that it was not possible to have the ship’s officers attend our meeting so that is why the change was made. Jana at NCL apologized and offered to contact the guests in attendance. I had not acquired stateroom numbers from the attendees to respect their privacy on vacation so I was not able to contact them. I waited 20 minutes after the scheduled start of the Meet and Greet near the meeting room to inform anyone of the change doubtful we would have the turn out of the members the following day. We went about exploring the ship and taking pictures until we sat down for dinner at Lotus. This was my first time at this restaurant despite being on a jewel class ship 4 times prior. Not being able to decide on a cocktail, our waiter surprised us with 4 selections. Two being different types of sake. I chose kung pao chicken for dinner but I’m still thinking about dessert a week later: red bean triangles with green tea ice cream. You must try them! The All Aboard Variety Show was good. Not the most memorable show I have seen on an NCL ship though. We even bought into the “scratch off”/ pull tab game tickets (a first for me) and won $14. So much for saying they are just a sucker’s bet. We went on to watch the Dance Battle in the Spinnaker Lounge which had us laughing. After that, we “had to” get a late night snack at O’Sheehan’s. This was the only restaurant where the wait was unusually long for food to arrive at our table. The excitement of eating so much wonderful food still trumped our impatience. But our stomachs and energy levels called it a night after that. We went to bed with hopes we would have an appetite and enthusiasm for more food and fun just a few hours later. Remember, this was late night/early morning Number 2 for us. Regardless of age, it’s still a lack of sleep. The alarm went off way too soon and we jumped out of bed ready for our first VIP breakfast. I had the crab cakes Benedict years ago so I had already planned on them if they were still on the menu. And they were! As well as indulgent French press coffee which we bragged to our friends that we “didn’t even have to press the coffee ourselves”. If you are a Disney fan, it has been said that there is a “life changing” chocolate croissant for purchase in France. The ones served on this ship are comparable. Make sure to get one. (You can even find them in the buffet.) It was at this meal my friend was starting to realize what I meant when I said cruise eating is a whole different level of feeling full and this was only the beginning. Before we left, we had already planned breakfast for the next day even in our bloated state. Our first port was Key West. Even though we had priority disembarkation, we walked off at a later time and had no wait. Our trolley tour was easy to find and our tour guide for the first leg of the trip, Pam, was entertaining and informative. Hemingway House was the first stop for us. I love cats but I also enjoy the history of a brawling, bar loving character with the ability to write a compelling story. Then it was back onto the trolley to see the remainder of the island and to make it back for the tasting portion of the excursion. Dessert first: key lime pie at Kermits... because life is short and that’s how I roll. Next, drinks, a sloppy joe sandwich and some conch fritters at Sloppy Joe’s. Though not at the same location from way back when, I tried to imagine Ernest sitting at the bar getting rowdy and flirting with the women. Last stop: Hemingway Rum Company to sample some Pilar rum. The tour was also very informative about the carousing Hemingway. Even if rum is not your thing, make sure to sample the mix of the two rums. Back on the ship we went to get ready an evening of back to back events. My friend, who once asked if there was enough things to do on a cruise ship, is starting to realize at this point just how little time you have on a cruise ship to do everything you want. The Meet and Greet starts with only 4 attendees and two of them voted as Best Dressed since we had dinner reservations that evening. The crew begins to make their introductions and cruise critic members start to fill the empty seats. Though not the number I had hoped, we shared stories and put faces to names we had talked to for months online. On our way to the VIP Cocktail Reception, we stopped to pose for professional pictures because selfies only go so far. While at the reception, my friend basked in the luxury of being served canapes and cocktails while sitting on the tufted velvet loungers in Bliss Lounge. Before rushing off to our dinner, we spoke briefly with the captain and requested a group photo with him which became one of my favorite vacation photos. A gentleman was performing in the lounge area of Maltings Whiskey Bar as we approached Le Bistro for dinner. Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman was the selection. It could not have been more perfectly timed for two well dressed women to walk through the lounge. But alas, dinner, escargot and veal, awaits. Ego, check yourself at the door. What was meant to be a brief stop before going to the Not So Newlywed Game ended up being Cruise Critic Meet and Greet Number 2 at the Cigar Lounge. One whiskey, one bourbon, one cigar and many stories later, I headed back to my stateroom only to say “want to see if the hot tubs are free?”. I wanted to check it off my “vacation to do list” but I also needed to soak the cigar smoke out from my pores. (Cue dramatic music) And it becomes another packed day of events that turns into a late night. Still excited for food, we head to Moderno for breakfast for Fruits de Mer, scallops and shrimp on toasted brioche with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. We lingered over breakfast as our port of call was changed from Grand Stirrup Cay to Nassau due to weather conditions and safety. We decided to get mimosas at another bar and make new plans for the day. Not interested in Nassau, I suggested we get massages, another first on a cruise for me. It was probably the only time we slowed down since the start of the trip. Not having a plan after that, we decide it must be time to eat again because what else do you do every two hours on a cruise? So a leisurely lunch of mixed greens salad with mandarin and coconut, sesame crusted fish and carrot cake commenced. The carrot cake was my least favorite dessert out of all the meals. Did I mention we had leisurely, yet strong, cocktails with lunch? Nassau started to sound like a good idea so we decided to explore. We were back on the ship within an hour. My friend was frightened by the aggressive sales tactics of the straw market vendors. Most shops were closing too. Unless I book an excursion to a resort for the day, I will remain on the ship if I return to Nassau. Night activities begin after dinner in the main dining room, Summer Palace, where we were greeted by name by our server. I was impressed. The first show of the night is Legends in Concert which we arrived to late for standing room only. I could feel the seas start to rock the ship. Personally, I like to feel like I’m on a ship on the ocean but I was afraid for my motion sickness prone friend. Walking to the next show, The Perfect Couple Game Show, felt like we were floating at times as the seas started to rock us a little more. I realized bringing my friend to the top deck of the front of the ship was a bad idea just a few minutes into the show. She valiantly tried to hang with me but I lost her to the stateroom and not to the Glow Party for a night of dancing like we had planned. Did we get to bed early? Of course not. We stayed up talking about staying up so late the past few nights. Do you see a reoccurring theme? Alas, we realize morning comes too soon and our last breakfast in Moderno is upon us. Oh why even try at this point? Unless I stop eating all together, my pants are not going to fit so just eat the good stuff! Steak and eggs it is. It’s a “low carb” choice so I’m feeling sort of good. Wait... I have to put on a bathing suit today to swim with the pigs in Freeport? (Groan). Suit up, get on a bus and get to a small beach: check, check, check. I wasn’t expecting much after reading reviews for this excursion but no other excursion jumped out at me... and pigs are really cute. I’m happy to say, the pigs were very interactive and much more entertaining than any posted review. We got to sit on the beach and get a little color to brag about when we got back home. One pina colada later, some time in the water, and a few hours in the sun, we were back on the bus. And that is when we couldn’t fight the exhaustion from the go go go lifestyle with late nights and early mornings. I think Freeport looked like a beautiful island but we were asleep for most of the ride to the Straw Market. We got our eagerly awaited conch salad made fresh at a stand in the market, bought a few cigars and waited to get back on the bus. I think the sadness of End of Vacation Blues was starting to set in. The last night is always a night to cash in winnings at the casino (her big win of 30 cents off the slots), buy professional photos, check your onboard account for discrepancies, and to pack. The true depression kicks in when you see the suitcases lined up in the halls. Could we really stay any longer? We love food and eating but could we do it any longer? Afterall, the clean clothes we had left didn’t fit. So THAT is how the cruise ship gets you to leave!?! It was time for denial to set in so we could enjoy the rest of the night and make it yet one more late night followed by early morning. First, dinner at a main dining room, Indigo for some lamb kofta and smoked pork. I even called in the big guns after dinner and said “coffee please” with cheesecake because we can sleep on the plane the next day. One more show: the variety show. One more dance night: the 80’s dance party. But we have one question for NCL about that: why would you plan an 80’s dance party at 10:45 when the people who remember the 80’s most are ready for bed at that time? A couple of dances and two cocktails later, I’m heading to my stateroom for one final towel animal photo shoot... and the last night of chocolate truffles, chocolate covered strawberries or canapes being delivered to our room nightly from the general manager, Cary Turecamo. Surely, re-entry to my normal life would be very difficult after this VIP treatment. I swear I slept the deepest that night. As we walked to the buffet for our first buffet breakfast but yet our last meal on the ship, I turn to my friend and say “we needed a few sea days to recharge”. She says “we needed a longer cruise because there is a lot we didn’t do.”. I said “there is never enough time to do everything. The cruise lines plan it that way so you will book another cruise.”. She says “well, you nailed planning this cruise. Let’s make it an annual thing for us.”. Rough seas and all, she was sold. She “gets” cruising now and is already planning sailings for the two of us "in old lady life". And yes, we both purchased CruiseNext deposits on this sailing. Debarkation was smooth until we reached the customs line which is always a long wait. The transfer took us to the airport. A word of caution: Miami airport has all the good eats and shops before you check in. Once you are on the other side, it is slim pickings. Our flight was delayed due to high winds back home. But we made up for it with a good tail wind but it was a bumpy ride. Believe it or not, we stayed awake. And then it was back to work the next morning, sleep deprived and depressed. I can say with certainty, it was another memorable cruise for the books. Well done, NCL. A word to the wise for any newer cruisers, if you have an issue, make sure to let the cruise staff know when it happens. VIP or not, they want to make your trip memorable and happy. Don’t wait until the last night or after you get off the ship to make a complaint. Many times, they will try to make it right so why wait? And yes, I asked for towel animals. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have been on many cruises but this was my first NCL, selected strictly for its availability date/time, and place. Our stateroom was adequate with more than expected storage for all of our belongings. Plenty of hangers, but they ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but this was my first NCL, selected strictly for its availability date/time, and place. Our stateroom was adequate with more than expected storage for all of our belongings. Plenty of hangers, but they “clanked” constantly while sleeping so I had to put a towel on the unused ones to prevent this clatter. The bed was large and comfortable. Electric outlets and USB ports were well placed. The bathroom was adequate except for legroom in the W/C-toilet. I am only 5’5 and the legroom was terrible…ouch. Good storage for all toiletries though. Also, nice hand soap, body wash, and shampoo. Our cabin attendant was very courteous and attentive to all needs. The staff on NCL Pearl is the WORST I have encountered for friendliness and courtesy, except for those providing hand washing “washie-washie” services, and our server Rowena at the Summer Palace. Summer Palace has EXACTLY the same menu as Indigo but servers at Indigo were zombies with no greeting or courtesy. Food was plentiful, when it was available at Garden Buffet. All the food choices are lacking in flavor/seasoning, though many had rich sauces and plenty of cheese, if that’s your thing. Otherwise, salad and fruit are plentiful. O’Sheehan’s is good for burgers ONLY and offered curt service with NO courtesy. Nachos there are laughable – NOT-chos. Avoid the Lotus Garden as the server’s costumes are more appealing than the fare. We also missed main dining room traditions of server crew celebration on the last night. “Freestyle” is a misnomer on this ship as there were times when there was only one choice of limited food – Great Outdoors Café and O’Sheehan’s. If “Freestyle” means you can eat at any time in the main dining rooms, that’s available on most ships on large lines now. The shows were not exceptional but “Legends” was quite entertaining and the comedian was fine. Several of the afternoon participatory entertainments in the Spinnaker Lounge seemed like “throw-away” events, and the staff who hosted them seemed less than enthusiastic to participate. Again, crew needs to be very much more inviting. The Cruise Director was one of the few who was always upbeat and courtesous. The fitness center could use some upgrading. One of two bikes were out of service and several machines were missing signs describing their usage. Funny smell there too – the first I’ve encountered in a cruise ship gym. Staff was pleasant at the fitness center and towels and cold face cloths were well available. As for drinks, this is hands down the worst place I’ve ever been to get a drink. Waiters were almost non-existent and when we saw a rare yellow shirted attendant on deck they were far away and never wandered outside of their small area. I was astounded that people waited in a long line for drinks at the Sky High Bar and Topsiders. I waited once for 20 minutes to get a drink at Sky High…ONCE. And then NCL has the nerve to add an automatic gratuity! I said NCL stands for Never-ending Customer Lines. The entertainment lounges were no better, with noticeably lacking wait staff who were completely unfriendly with no greetings or courtesy. The centrally located Atrium bar service was equally uninviting with unsmiling bartenders quick to dismiss. I am lucky to have passed on the drink package, which I usually get, as NCL deems it necessary for all people in a cabin to have the same package – preposterous. Can you say “upsell ripoff!” I’d have been furious with a drink package when it was SO hard to get a drink. Hats off to the navigation crew for diverting from the NCL private island due to high winds and rough seas. We were joined in the elevator on our last night by our gracious Italian Captain and told him we were grateful for the diversion, and he seemed pleased with the feedback and was quite gracious. Overall, this ship has too many passengers occupying too small a space with WAY too few service staff. What staff is there ought to be trained in courtesy and the art of a simple smile. I encountered several badged crew personnel in the long empty stateroom corridors who not only didn’t smile as we passed, but didn’t say hello, and didn’t reply after I said hello! I can’t speak for all NCL ships, but this is my feedback on NCL Pearl as of January, 2020. Hopefully NCL will address some simple courtesy and service availability concerns, sooner than later. Unlikely to be back to NCLsoon, until we get treated like a Celebrity or Royal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Everything about this cruise line stinks! Customer service is not in their vocabulary. The staff was rude, condescending and acted like they were doing me a favor even acknowledging me as a customer. The port in Nassau (where we ... Read More
Everything about this cruise line stinks! Customer service is not in their vocabulary. The staff was rude, condescending and acted like they were doing me a favor even acknowledging me as a customer. The port in Nassau (where we were diverted to due to bad weather) was disgusting and I felt unsafe. I chose to get excursion credits during booking but EVERY one of my excursions were canceled by Norwegian...but they didn't tell us that until AFTER we did the whole disembarking process. No offers to do anything else - simply, "You're out of luck". 4 night cruise and never got to set foot on a beach!! The spa...don't even get me started! They did not honor their daily special and WAY overcharged me. Then to top it off, they also charged me 25% gratuity that I did not agree to. $267 for a massage - you've GOT to be kidding me! I spoke with 3 different employees about the situation and each one gave me the "it's not my problem" excuse. I had to stop payment at my bank - that's how bad it was! The final straw that broke this camel's back was the communication afterwards. I submitted my complaints to Norwegian and got the same crap customer service. Basically telling me that they cannot and will not help me and that I am just out all of this money. I will NEVER, EVER cruise with Norwegian again. I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My husband and I sailed on Norwegian Pearl this past week and had an amazing time. I haven't been on a cruise in 10 years and this was my husband's first cruise. We stayed in an inside cabin and it was exactly what you would ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Norwegian Pearl this past week and had an amazing time. I haven't been on a cruise in 10 years and this was my husband's first cruise. We stayed in an inside cabin and it was exactly what you would expect from such. Our stateroom attendant was nice and our room was kept spotless during out stay. We did find the bed very uncomfortable and the giant gap in the middle bothered us a bit. We didn't realize until the last night that the zipper was broken that was supposed to hold this bed contraption together. The food on the ship was great! I'm a picky eater but everything I did put on my plate was good. My husband really liked the food as well. We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants but we did go to formal dining at Summer Palace one night. Our server, Janice, that told us she's been with Norwegian for 10 years, was absolutely fantastic! She made the experience even better. We both got the steak and it was the best steak I've ever had. The entertainment was excellent. We thought the dancers and singers in the shows were great and went to all of the comedy shows. The comedian, Alex Ortis, was very funny and we enjoyed the adult show. The ship was kept impressively clean and the crew was very nice. We did not enjoy the spinnaker lounge. It was always crowded and hard to find seating during events and the evening. We liked Bliss much better. We had very rough seas and 50 mph winds but the ship handled it well. We were supposed to go to Key West, Great Stirrup Cay, and Freeport. However, we were notified around 6pm that we would be unable to tender into Great Stirrup Cay the next day due to high winds, and were being rerouted to Nassau. We found this really cool since they could have just given us a day at sea. We had fun everywhere we went but would probably avoid an itinerary with Freeport and Nassau in the future. However, we would love to return to Key West in the future. Overall I would definitely recommend Pearl. I would give it 4 stars. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was a birthday gift from my daughters. This was the first cruise my husband and I went on alone. I was a bit disappointed that we were not traveling with family or friends as we have done in the past. But travelers and crew ... Read More
This cruise was a birthday gift from my daughters. This was the first cruise my husband and I went on alone. I was a bit disappointed that we were not traveling with family or friends as we have done in the past. But travelers and crew were all friendly and helpful. The Good-Amazing efficiency. We did not have a single Gltch in any part of the process. Embarking and Disembarking was a piece of cake even with ling lines and many different languages to maneuver. Booking excursions was a breeze with the Norwegian App. We booked and within 5 minutes our tickets were in our door slot. The same efficient process was true for excursions that were canceled or changed. Refunds were quickly made. Our bill at the end did not have any errors. As far as rooms go, our balcony room 10544 was spacious for a ship, clean and had lots of storage. The ship as a whole was clean. Try the Whisky tastings. The Average - the hot tubs were packed and a few hot tubs had broken knobs. The water was tepid. I thought they had plenty of deck chairs too. Lines to the bar where the standard drink package applied were long and some adults were pretty rude to other guests about whose turn it was to order. Staff saw the interactions and chose to ignore. Entertainment was fair. The male dancers were fantastic. The Michael Jackson impersonator was very good and the comedian was funny. The bad- the Norwegian app only worked occasionally, the internet was not at all consistent too. Both were very frustrating. Norwegian needs to do better. The food-specilty restaurants were average and better than the complimentary but not wonderful. The buffet was horrible. Often times cold and luke warm offerings were the special of the day. Golden Corral is much much better. The Summer Palace was better than the buffet. At least we were served warm food. But over cooked eggs, over cooked protein was served consistently. Wrongly marked restaurant items were also the norm. A Chopped Ham salad sandwich was labeled crabmeat. I ordered the pork loin dinner and got two slices of ham. I think Norwegian thinks pigs are more versatile than they are. Food was a 1star most times. I also found out cruising in January doesn't mean you will get the cruise you expect. Stops were changed, excursions canceled due to the whims of mother nature. We had a good Italian Captain and he made our misadventures as comfortable for all. In short, I would certainly cruise on NCL again, but just as a preference, I like the formal dining better than freestyle so I would chose another cruise line that offers that first. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I was told to go on a cruise, was super amazing experience got to try new foods and the service was outstanding! I am excited to come back and be with npcl! what an amazing week, I will definitely come back with ncl, pearl! thank you for ... Read More
I was told to go on a cruise, was super amazing experience got to try new foods and the service was outstanding! I am excited to come back and be with npcl! what an amazing week, I will definitely come back with ncl, pearl! thank you for the best week ever!!! I will definitely recommend this cruise line to everyone I know. And the food was amazing, super tasty and unique foods! I loved the beds, they’re so warm and comfortable and clean, the rooms were super spacious and clean sanitary + the bathroom was so cute and spacious. I loved the room! I loved the room service. they made our beds, cleaned the towels, replaced the towels, folded the blankets etc. it was amazing they always made sure to check in to make we’re okay and doing well! The cruise director, Tiara was super cool. she knew exactly what was doing and had fun with it! I’d definitely recommend this cruise line to anyone! Thank you for the best week ever!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My boyfriend and I were looking for a cruise last summer. We compared several and used his previous experiences with cruise lines and chose Norwegian, even though it was more expensive. I felt a little put off prior to even sailing by ... Read More
My boyfriend and I were looking for a cruise last summer. We compared several and used his previous experiences with cruise lines and chose Norwegian, even though it was more expensive. I felt a little put off prior to even sailing by the whole bidding on a Haven room. I thought that was a little shady. Cruise line staff at the airport was rude and the staff on board ship was overworked and not enough. Several of the crew members told us they were short staffed. The food was cold and two restaurants had the same menu, limiting variety. The entertainment was mediocre at best. The aerial team was great on the ropes, but the interpretive dance was poor. The crew variety show was like attending a high school production. Not to say they weren't good, but I was expecting actual shows. The night clubs also offered the same music in the two dance areas and some of the bands that played were fair. They constantly were pushing for more money whether that be to entertain you on the current cruise or to keep pestering you to sign up for the next one. Guest services couldn't resolve an issue or get in touch with you. It was so over crowded, you couldn't get near the pools or sundecks. The brochures didn't seem like it was the same ship. I will say, we did enjoy the ports of Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. They were beautiful. We had a balcony room and it was very clean and updated. We will cruise again, but NEVER with Norwegian. I hope this helps you when making your vacation choices. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The Pearl is clean and offers lots of options for food. We didn't try any of the specialty (extra cost) restaurants. But the regular free places offered a good selection, and generally the food was pretty good. The best tasting ... Read More
The Pearl is clean and offers lots of options for food. We didn't try any of the specialty (extra cost) restaurants. But the regular free places offered a good selection, and generally the food was pretty good. The best tasting food were the India dishes. The deserts were disappointingly mediocre. The coffee bar served great tasting espresso drinks, but ordering coffee there is a competitive art because you're competing with the folks at the coffee bar that are ordering liquor. Oh, by the way, all of the liquor offerings were excellent. Great mixed drinks. Generally fast service. The entertainment was ok. Well, the entertainers were all highly skilled. Top quality at their craft. But in aggregate, the shows were just time killers. Nothing memorable. The ship activities include little for active customers. The pool is too small to do laps. The lap track competes with people walking back to the court. We saw a soccer game on the court which was competing with two ongoing basketball games, and there was even a pair who were - at the same time - trying to volley over the net on the same court! The climbing wall was never open. The fitness center had a lot of machines and was active. But things like cleaning towels (to clean the equipment) were sometimes hidden and not often used. As always, it is disappointing that these large ship offer little enlightenment on their destinations. No literature. The briefings consist of sales pitches for shopping ideas or for excursions. River cruises differ markedly from ocean cruises in this area. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. Number one, it crossed off one of our bucket list items, the Panama Canal. Number two, we were cruising on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. Number one, it crossed off one of our bucket list items, the Panama Canal. Number two, we were cruising on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We had a mini-suite. We have learned from other cruises that we want to be mid-ship or a bit forward. Why? The smoke stack leaves soot on the balcony when your cabin is towards the back of the ship. Yes, you can get a bigger balcony, but the trade-off is you need to brush off the soot several times a day. The nice thing about the mini-suite is there is a large, deep tub that be used as either a soaker tub or a shower; we prefer the shower. The toilet is separated by a partial wall, so both of us could be in the bathroom at the same time. We had several freebies, including 5 specialty dining dinners, 250 free minutes of internet (but one device at a time), on-board credits, a shore excursion credit, and free adult beverages. Unlike some cruise lines, NCL does not limit the number of drinks per day. However, bottled water is not included in the beverage package. We were disappointed in most of the specialty dining restaurants. Teppanyaki's food was so-so. We know you go to Teppanyaki more for the show than the food, but the show was blah at best. We are used to the onion volcano and the fireman, neither of which we saw. Usually there is an egg tossing show, but there was none here. The food was nondescript at La Cucina and Moderno. We ended up at Cagney's twice, because we found the steaks to be awesome. The food at the free restaurants was, again, so-so. Breakfast at O'Sheehan's started out good, but we both agreed it went downhill as the trip continued. The waitstaff was somehow confused with my husband's request for both an apple and an orange juice. You can swap out sausage for the bacon for the express breakfast, but they did not always get that right either. We liked the Freestyle Dining. That means you don't have an assigned dining time or table if you want to dine in the main dining room. The Lotus Garden is considered part of the free dining. It is open for dinner only. We both enjoyed our appetizers (hot and sour soup that was not what we were used to but it was good plus vegetable egg rolls), but we thought our entrees were below par. The buffets were just not memorable (for breakfast, lunch, or dinner). We did not get off the ship at Harvest Caye, NCL's private island, for a couple of reasons. One, it started to rain as we were about to get off the ship. Number two, we heard it was very commercial. We've been on other private islands in the Caribbean, and they have a free BBQ on the island for lunch. Also, if you have the beverage plan your card works on the island. Not so for NCL. You must pay for everything on the island. Our first shore excursion (Exploring Magnificent Cartegena) was a bust. Our tour guide became disinterested during the tour. We almost always tip the tour guide, but we just could not; he did not deserve it. Also, the street vendors in Cartegena are EXTREMELY aggressive. That isn't NCL's fault, but be prepared to be approached every 1-2 minutes with someone trying to sell you cigars, magnets, hats, etc.. To say it was annoying would be an understatement. The Panama Canal was fantastic! We got up early so that we could see the ship entering the first lock. It is amazing how close the ships get to the sides of the locks. We didn't see or feel it during the passage, but apparently there is a lot of scraping of the ships during the movement. There is an 87 foot increase in height between the first full set of locks (there are 3 of them). You then get into the largest man-made lake in the world, where you either get off the ship for a shore excursion or stay onboard and go back the locks in the other direction. We opted to stay on board, and we did not regret our decision. Puerto Limon was fun. We took the Tortuguero Canal and River Cruise. Like many tours, it is all about the guide. We had a very good guide and driver, and we saw lots of sloths and monkeys. We also saw a boa constrictor and multiple bird and butterfly species. There was a change to the itinerary that we were alerted about when we checked into the ship. It wasn't a big change (2 destinations were reversed), but I liked the fact that NCL told us about this change before the ship left port. The casino is relatively small. It is very smokey. We were on another cruise line in August, and we really appreciated that they had a non-smoking section in the casino. NCL should consider this. For embarkation NCL asks you to select a 1/2 hour period to check in. We selected 11-11:30 AM. We arrived on time, and we were handed boarding card #10. We got on board about 12:30. We knew our room would not be available yet, so we headed to the buffet. FYI: while you are in a US port, you pay a small fee for every drink you order. In addition, you cannot order a drink on the day of disembarkation. We much prefer the embarkation process for Princess, where we pre-registered and got a medallion. We were onboard in 5 minutes. The other nice thing with Princess is that as we approached a bar the medallion was read, and we were greeted by the bartender with our names and our beverage preferences. NCL should consider using medallions. We did numerous trivia events. Some of them were very bizarre. We also did Jenga (it was fun) and bocce (watch out for the lip on the carpet). We were not very impressed with the entertainment. The fitness center was OK, but it was not set up logically (IMHO). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
1. Terrible food. 2. No vegetarian choices. 3. Limited food choices 4. Poor service. (Except for cabin steward ). 5. Didn’t show college football ... Read More
1. Terrible food. 2. No vegetarian choices. 3. Limited food choices 4. Poor service. (Except for cabin steward ). 5. Didn’t show college football championship games - all 30 TV’s were tuned to a Single meaningless European soccer game. !!! Other cruises, by comparison, broadcast these games in their theatres , with hundreds in attendance. These idiots didn’t even realize what they’d done. 6. Horrible and poorly planned excursions. Worst ever. Getting off the vessel every day took an hour and we felt like cattle. We took a 6 hour trip - over lunch - and all we got was a single bottle of water and a piece of bread. Prisoners get better treatment. 7. Worst cruise director I’ve ever seen. 8. They Nickel and dime you for everything. 9. Gratuities over $50 per day - were basically paying for staff - over above our $10K cost Avoid this cruise at all costs. There are So many other better options out there Never using Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The Haven room was terrific and the access to the separate pool and hot tub, as well as the breakfast/lunch space in Moderno, were very nice. Service for the room and the concierge was very good, too. We had a cabana in Harvest Caye and ... Read More
The Haven room was terrific and the access to the separate pool and hot tub, as well as the breakfast/lunch space in Moderno, were very nice. Service for the room and the concierge was very good, too. We had a cabana in Harvest Caye and that was great (and, frankly, important in that it rained much of the day so it was nice to have a spot to stay all day). The rest of the ship, though, was pretty good to so-so. It didn't help that it was cloudy/rainy the entire time. Restaurants were good but not great and we felt nickel'ed-and-dime'd despite having free drinks and dinner passes. Casino was fun. We avoided the shows based on the previews they shared on the in-room channel; what we saw looked very amateurish. The kids club was a bust...our kiddos wouldn't go (and I don't blame them). We got the kiddos passes for the arcade, and they played there for hours. Ironically, while my wife and I will likely do NCL again for the Haven, we preferred our Disney experiences BUT our kids really want to go back on NCL (probably because they had their own pool and we gave them a ton more freedom because the kids club was mediocre). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Where do I begin? NCL Pearl out of Miami---Embarkation was painful. We had to sit in a waiting area and be called by group to even be able to enter the ship...approximately 45 min. First time I have experienced that so let the cattle ... Read More
Where do I begin? NCL Pearl out of Miami---Embarkation was painful. We had to sit in a waiting area and be called by group to even be able to enter the ship...approximately 45 min. First time I have experienced that so let the cattle herding begin. This was my 4th cruise, my 2nd with NCL and I will NEVER cruise with them again. The entire trip left me feeling depressed. We booked a room with a deck and paid a premium because we wished to have side by side rooms as my daughter & grand daughter were also traveling with us....in order to request this you must pay more to get it otherwise you risk being randomly put on separate floors considerably away from each other so we paid an extra $200 per room or thereabouts for that privilege.The rooms were EXTREMELY small! Then we added the FREE at SEA....I'm here to tell you this is NOT free as they charge a premium gratuities fee upfront on both the Drink package and the Dining package then at the end of your trip after you have paid that they inform you that you must pay a $15. a day per person gratuity for your Steward!!! which added another $150. to the room price. They certainly made out on me as I probably had 5 drinks the entire trip so average that gratuity out and our servers got a whopping gratuity, at least from me, and that's what they are counting on. The weather was awful--no sun AT ALL (not NCL's fault) yet it did not help the experience. They nickle dime you to death in a big way. Now they are walking around and selling raffle tickets at every venue you attend. I guess they are not happy if they aren't getting enough people in the Casino that they must push this. If you play "Deal or No Deal" you must cough up $29. per card. The Dining was probably the best of all. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants and enjoyed both the food and the service. Cagneys Steakhouse and LaCucina were both very good. The main dining area was also very good. The buffet on level 12 not so much.......tooooooo many people. My understanding is that we were cruising with 2300 people. The outside pool deck area is ALWAYS occupied by people that have claimed the best seats and they stay all day long....just leaving their towels on the seats even if they are not there so if you want a seat you better get up at 6am to claim one, Same with the hot-tubs! Most individuals are not friendly....we did meet up with some that were but it was few and far between and I blame this on the fact that it is so over-crowded that people become greedy to get a drink or a seat or anything....I find it extremely uncomfortable. The entertainment was pretty good. I do believe that they have improved on that as the last time I cruised with NCL the entertainment was mediocre..this was an improvement. Our destinations were Harvest Caye, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Harvest Caye is NCL's private island yet you must pay for everything once off of the ship. I booked a Luxury Villa--a whopping $600. for the day.....Although expensive it was wonderful, the highlight of the cruise---the weather (dreary and drizzling all day) was disappointing which dampened the experience. The Villa did allow us to have some space to breathe with luxury surrounding us right on the water. The Costa Maya destination is baffling, It is actually a port town contrived for the cruise ships---to me this is not an authentic Mexican destination, on this day it was serving 3 or 4 cruise ships so once again very crowded! A place to spend more money as you fight your way through crowds and stand in line to eat. We traveled into Mayahaul (the nearest town) and it was kind of sad but the people were lovely and I'm happy that we took the time to see but there is little there. There are excursions that you can sign up for at this location. Disembarkation went very smoothly and we were off the ship by 7:30 flagging down our van to take us to our parking lot. We couldn't get there fast enough then the 4 1/2 hr drive home. I would absolutely NOT do again. I am still reeling from the experience that ended 5 days ago, however, that being said I believe I am simply not a cruise enthusiast. Feeling like cattle being herded is not my idea of a vacation. In the future my adventures will stay on land. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my second time on Norwegian Pearl and 9th cruise with Norwegian. I really like the size of Norwegian Pearl and the thermal suite.This trip I traveled with my two teens. We had two inside cabins on deck 8. Embarkation and ... Read More
This was my second time on Norwegian Pearl and 9th cruise with Norwegian. I really like the size of Norwegian Pearl and the thermal suite.This trip I traveled with my two teens. We had two inside cabins on deck 8. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We sailed on a Friday and came back on a Wednesday. We had very little port traffic. My previous trip on this ship was wonderful. Things have definitely changed since March. No towel animals, scented hand towels, or pool towels in your cabin. They ran out of salad after day 1. I struggled with finding foods that weren't fried, oily, or fatty. I don't normally eat in any of the pay venues. I've never needed to because I'm happy with a salad and a protein. The food quality in the buffet, and main dining I'd rate as poor. Our inside cabins were very clean and our steward, Arris was awesome. Very few of the crew appeared to be upbeat and some of them were downright rude. There's definitely a disconnect going on. We sailed Norwegian Sun in September and didn't encounter any issues. Back to the Pearl- entertainment was good, but the activities were hit or miss. They never opened the rock climbing wall for the entire cruise. I wouldn't book this ship again. We did all enjoy our day in Belize and Costa Maya was fine. We stayed at Homewood Suites in Brickell after sailing on the Norwegian Pearl and we all thought that the complimentary hotel food was better than the food on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
An extremely nice cruise with so many positives and just one negative (the slot pull) experience. We had a very smooth embarkation. I along with my husband were the people who arranged the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet Party and Slot ... Read More
An extremely nice cruise with so many positives and just one negative (the slot pull) experience. We had a very smooth embarkation. I along with my husband were the people who arranged the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet Party and Slot Pull for our cruise. It took a lot of work to make it all come together but it was well worth it. Everyone who took part in our Cruise Critic Roll Call had an excellent time. Anoop, our concierge, took us to a nice sit down lunch at Cagney's Steak House. After a delicious lunch we were able to go to our cabin and free ourselves of our carry on luggage. Soon to follow was our life boat (muster) drill in the Summer Palace Dining Room. Fortunately we were all able to sit down at a nice table with other cruisers who by chance came from my home town. Then, on to the sailaway party we first met up with our fellow roll call members. Our cabin was very spacious and of course it had the best accessible bathroom for anyone with a walking difficulty. We had a wonderful cabin steward Patricia. The bed was very comfortable. The TV had a sleep timer in the remote control which made it much easier to use. Often a special dish would arrive complimentary from either Cary Turecamo, the General Manager, Anoop, the concierge, or Maik Reichelt, the F&B Manager. The wake up service built into the phone was very helpful. Also the room service continental breakfast was complimentary. The hallways by the cabins were easy to use. Usually most cruise lines have wide steward carts making it difficult to pass if you are using a walker. The carts on the Pearl were much narrower than we have seen on other ships. Being handicapped my husband really appreciated this thoughtful idea. We enjoyed having breakfast and lunch in Moderna. The service and food was excellent. The food and service in Cagney's was also good. The food in the buffet was a bit disappointing. However, the guitar playing and singer welcoming you into the buffet were enjoyable, and was a good way to remind passengers to wash their hands. Washy Washy. The Cruise Directors Staff was excellent led by Tiara Gordon. She can be very funny, All the trivia and game shows were always enjoyable. Our favorite show was "Where are we going"? We told Tiara how glad we were that she changed up the questions on the Newlywed Game. It made it much more enjoyable. The comedian Sean Felipe was excellent. The 2 best shows were Pure Variety and Throwback to 1969. Legends in Concert was also enjoyable. We noticed that a lot of cruisers arrived very late for the shows and it was very distracting with so many people walking in during the show. One rude person came in actually having a phone conversation and sat down and continued to talk. We would suggest that the doors be closed after the show starts and advise people to turn their phones off during the performance. We were looking forward to seeing Jim Badger, the piano player, we so enjoyed in the past but found out once on board he is no longer on the Pearl. His replacement was disappointing. They have a huge screen for watching movies in the Atrium but unfortunately it is difficult to hear the sound because of the noise from the bar and front desk area. They should consider adding subtitles on the screen. This would be helpful for those sitting a distance from the screen. All the public rooms are excellent. The pool was very cold but the natives from Canada enjoyed it. They also offer a mechanical lift for the pool for the handicapped. SLOT PULL: The only really negative experience We went to meet the Casino Manager to setup a Slot Pull for our Roll Call. Usually the managers of the casino bend over backwards to make this an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately once we explained to the manger of our plans for the slot pull, it did not go smoothly. First we were told we would have to get approval for the time we wanted to use the one slot machine we picked out and we would have to return later to find out if they got approval. We also asked if the members could have comp drinks for our CC group while we played the slot machine. Other ships usually do this. The manager said that was not possible. We also asked if the participants could receive an NCL souvenir from the casino as a reminder of our fun at the slot pull. Usually other ships offer a few things such things as key chains, sipper cups, tee shirts or caps with the cruise line logo. The manager said the best they could do was to offer 2 bottles of wine for the 2 cruisers who had the highest wins. No NCL logo souvenirs for the Cruise critic slot players. You know this would be good advertising for the ship and the cruise line. At the conclusion the casino cashier refused to give us dollar bills in the denomination we needed so we could evenly split the remainder of the money with the participants. I had to go to Guest Services to break the bills to return money to the slot pull players. We are not talking about large bills but I needed singles to evenly divide the money. Boo, after how well our group was treated by every other staffer on the cruise this really was an anomaly, a real negative. Well we still had a good time with everyone cheering each other on. Debarkation went very smoothly. We had very little time to wait. In conclusion we feel we were warmly welcomed on the Pearl (This our 4th time on this ship and are platinum latitude cruisers.) We would definitely recommend and travel on the NCL Pearl again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My girlfriend and I booked the cruise because we were interested in trying NCL after sailing with RCI twice and because it seemed like a decent deal. Very disappointing experience, they were performed well below RCI. The food was a ... Read More
My girlfriend and I booked the cruise because we were interested in trying NCL after sailing with RCI twice and because it seemed like a decent deal. Very disappointing experience, they were performed well below RCI. The food was a huge let down, the one asian dining spot Lotus Garden had some of the worst asian food I've ever tried. The buffet did not have as many options as the RCI cruise ships and the dining room food was down right bad at times. Many of the entrees were not cooked well and I was particularly disappointed at the fried chicken entree that I ordered. It sounded like a safe choice and yet it seemed like it neither the chicken or the batter they used had any seasoning whatsoever. I did not try any of their paid dining areas. The service was not up to par either in the dining areas. We were not given explanations of what many dishes were, it seemed as though we were a nuisance when asking about what certain dishes were, asking for recommendations and asking to add on to our order. Many of the waiting staff did not seem interested in serving and providing good service. The one redeeming aspect of this ship is the cheap drink package. Cocktails were good, bartenders were good. Beware that bottled water for a non upgraded drink package is 4 to 5 dollars and on their private island your drink package is invalid... seems like they're penny pinching. The entertainment on board was quite mediocore overall. The musical and dance performances we attended were below average, reading the bio of the performances they seem to hire new graduates in the arts and it is reflected in their performance. They had one person do stand up comedy which was great and the acrobatics performance we saw was not up to par with what RCI has to offer and in the middle of the performance cut to a projector screen for a maybe 480p video for 3 mins while the performers changed outfits.. completely ridiculous. Otherwise their lounge and fitness areas were average. We only did one shore excursion with NCL and that was for a ship to take us to the local area of Belieze for 25 bucks. They overbook the speed boat and it was a tight squeeze. It seemed quite unsafe to me and on top of that you only go for 3 hours and need to pay more if you would like to stay longer and take a later boat. Dissapointing on NCL side. Our room was not up to standard either. It was mostly clean when we came but the cupboards were sticky and seemed to have something spilled in it that just was not checked. Our housekeeper seemed nice, but did not seem to respect the do not disturb sign we had outside. He knocked on our door to give us the itinerary and when we told him to leave it outside he stood there. I don't know if he had heard us or not, but he shouldn't have knocked anyways. On the last day he also came into our room when we had the do not disturb sign on and I think it was to cover up for not checking the minibar prior to us, which he then billed to us after cleaning up our room when we had do not disturb up. We had a horrific time dealing with guest services trying to dispute the charges from the minibar. We had gone late in the evening close to 10 after realizing that he had put the receipt on our table and the gentleman from guest services assured us that the 30 dollar charge would be refunded. It was not, he clearly had made a mistake and we went back at 2 in the morning to be told the housekeeping department that was in charge of minibars was not open and we needed to come back at 7... on the morning of disembarkment. The morning of, the gentleman we spoke to called the housekeeping manager who eventually asked us to go up to the room to discuss with him because "the charge was a large amount". We refused and refunded our service charges because we were furious at this point. I would have just left this very lengthy and negative review for NCL, however they don't even have an area for me to leave them a review... clearly they don't care about what their customers think. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
When and where: We sailed on the Norwegian Pearl on a 4 night cruise out of Miami on December 9th. We made one stop at Costa Maya and had two days at sea. Who: This was my 11th cruise, 8 of which have been on Norwegian Cruise ... Read More
When and where: We sailed on the Norwegian Pearl on a 4 night cruise out of Miami on December 9th. We made one stop at Costa Maya and had two days at sea. Who: This was my 11th cruise, 8 of which have been on Norwegian Cruise Lines. This was actually my third cruise on the Pearl. I sailed with my Mom (68), who is retired with my dad and takes 1-2 to cruises a year, mostly on Princess. I also sailed with my sister-in-law (45), who has only cruised a few times, this being her second time on Norwegian. The fourth member of our party was my cousin (33) who is an avid cruiser who has no allegiance to any cruise line and goes with the best deal whether it be NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. We had two connecting mini-suites. This cruise happened pretty much because I found an amazing deal and mentioned it to my mom who in turned told these other ladies in my family. We hadn't been looking for a trip but we couldn't resist this deal and went for it. The package included airfare, beverage package, dining package, 100 minutes of internet, and $50 shore excursion credit. The deal truly was amazing. We originally booked balconies but the price kept dropping so we were upgraded to mini-suites. NCL Air program: I know a lot of people wonder about this so I wanted to mention that we were very happy with the flights NCL put us on. We flew on American Airlines from Chicago to Miami the morning of the cruise, with a flight leaving at 5am. While that was stupid early, we knew it meant we shouldn't have a problem getting to the ship on time. Our return flight was from Fort Lauderdale and departed at 11:54am. Absolutely perfect times, no complaints. Embarkation: Thanks to our very early flight, we were at the pier before security even opened. We only had to wait about 5 minutes before they started letting people through, I think it was 10am. Check in was a breeze and we were in the waiting area before they even set up the photo backdrop. It was very hot so we all changed our of our Chicago winter clothes in the bathrooms while waiting. We were boarding group 1 and we were allowed to board at 11:30. The sheet we had been given told us that the dining room would be open for lunch so we headed there after dropping off our luggage in the Bliss. Unfortunately the dining room didn't open until noon and we hadn't eaten anything all day so we went to the buffet instead. Besides that, embarkation was a breeze. Our rooms were ready at 2pm and our luggage arrived by 3pm. The Cabin: My mom and I were in room 11050 while the rest of our group was in 11052, which was a connecting stateroom. We found it interesting that the connecting doors are locked and you have to have the steward unlock them. Once we did, those doors stayed open the entire trip so it was like we had a two bedroom/two bathroom suite. I had sailed on a regular balcony suite last time and I think the balconies on the mini suites were larger. After sailing the Getaway last time, I was so happy to see these balconies where you can actually stretch out. Our balcony had a lounge chair on it, like one of the ones you find pool side. I don't think it was supposed to be there as that and the two chairs and table made it crowded out there. We still used it. The other balcony did not have the lounge chair. The suite was very spacious, plenty of room for me and my Mom. We didn't use all the drawers or hangers. The bathroom is that split style that I love and it had a tub. The sides of the tub were VERY high. I'm in my 40s but I still had to us the handle to get in and out. I did have knee surgery last year and I was kinda worried about re-injury getting in and out of the tub. The handle was a huge help. Our steward was fine, we only met him once. My only complaint is that I actually like to use the cabin and prefer the balcony to the pool side but he didn't make up the room until very late in the day. Once it was 3pm and he still hadn't come by. I thought that was kinda weird. I would sit on the balcony so he could see me and not accidentally lock me out while cleaning. The Ship: Obviously I like this ship, or I wouldn't have booked a 3rd trip on her. She had had an refresh since I last sailed in 2016 and it was all positive. Everything was clean and looked great. My only complaint was that they got rid of the ridiculous colorful sofas in Spinnaker and replaced them with sensible tables and chairs. I loved to read on those silly couches during the day so I missed them but I get why they were replaced. Moderno had been moved and O'Sheenan's added since my last cruise. Besides that, she still was the same great ship. I love her layout and find her very easy to navigate. The crew is all amazing. Absolutely no complaints about any of the crew. The bartenders and wait staff were friendly and had no issues with the beverage package. I think it helps that they no longer have to have us sign the receipts. They also had figured out the system and would often bring us two drinks when we ordered just one so they could mark it as two and get double the gratuity. I had no problem with that. Or if you ordered a drink, they'd give you a double which technically is over the $15 limit but they would enter it into the system as two separate drinks so there'd be no charge. We never had a problem getting drinks. All the waiters in the restaurants were wonderful. Everyone greeted us with a smile and was always very happy to help. Wonderful crew on the Pearl. Food and Drink: We ate two breakfasts in the dining room and two in the buffet. Food was great both places. We ate 2 lunches in the buffet and 1 in O'Sheenans. All great (love the fajitas in O'Sheenans.) For dinner, we ate twice in the Summer Palace dining room, once in Lotus Garden and once in Le Bistro. For some reason, the other dining room, Indigo, always had a 30 minute wait while Summer Palace was always instant seating. There seemed to be a lot of new-to-cruising passengers and I can only guess they thought Summer Palace was too fancy or was a charge restaurant. One dinner we ate in Summer Palace was amazing while the other was downright horrible. The appetizers were always good (mmmm, bruchetta) but the main dish on second night was overcooked and inedible (three of us ordered it and it was the same for all of us). That was the only bad meal. Our food in Lotus Garden was so good. And Le Bistro was absolutely amazing. The mushroom soup was to die for and the steak I had literally melted in my mouth. Absolutely perfect. I really like that if you ordered a glass of wine, they would leave the bottle nearby and fill it as often as needed. So we still were only billed by the glass so it cost us nothing with the beverage package. The Norwegian Red Blend is a really good wine. It's obvious the mixed drinks are watered down but still tasty. I'm a big fan of the Miami Vice or the Mango Meltdown. The drink called Grass Clippings is great too, though one of my bartenders had to pull out a guide sheet on how to make it. Some bars pour wine glasses heavier than others but the serving was never too little. Overall, the beverage package was great for us and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Fellow Passengers: It was clear that a lot of the people on this cruise were newbies. That wasn't a problem, just something I noticed. There were barely any kids and I didn't see any college aged people either. It seemed to be mostly older people, like my age and up. And everyone was incredibly friendly. I never talked to so many random people on a cruise before. It was really nice and fun to meet so many people. There were for sure some people who had enjoyed their drink too much but nothing crazy happened. Overall my fellow passengers were all great. The sign at the front desk said the ship was sold out but it never seemed crowded anywhere to me. Finding a seat by the pool was never hard to do. Costa Maya: For our one stop at Costa Maya, we had booked a excursion on our own through Native Choice. We had to walk to the bus which was a bit of a hike but nothing bad. The tour was to a Mayan ruin and then to a Mayan house for lunch. The tour was amazing and everything we hoped for. There were 4 ships in port so the ruins were very crowded but it was still well managed. The lunch we were served was incredible as well. Our tour guide Enrique and our driver Edgar were great. After the tour, we tried to shop in the port but it was just too crowded. One of the ships in port was the second largest cruise ship in the world so that made it even harder. Days at Sea: It was kinda weird having 2 days at sea for a 4 night cruise but it was part of the appeal to us. We just wanted to relax and these days at sea made that more possible. The second day was an adventure as it was super windy. Deck chairs were blowing over, as well as drinks. It rained and hailed for a bit and they closed the upper decks after that. The wind was insane but that didn't ruin the day for us. We did the wine and chocolate pairing as well as the wine and cheese pairing (both had an extra cost but were well worth it). As I stated above, the ship never felt crazy crowded even on the days at sea so that was nice. We didn't do any of the other activities (bingo, art shows, etc). Entertainment: The live music by the pool was very good, better than I've heard on other ships. The Not-So-Newlywed show was hilarious as always. We did see the comedian and I hate to say but he was really bad. Made some off color jokes that had people walking out of the theater. I actually fell asleep during the show too. Disembarkation: Things seemed a little crazy for getting off the ship. We were doing self walk off and started our trek around 8:30. By then, they hadn't called any colors yet which was kinda odd. I saw a few people complaining that they had a flight to catch, why weren't any colors being called? I still don't really know what happened with that but we got in the line full of people doing self walk off. The line was long but moving...until suddenly it wasn't. We were standing on the deck with a full view of the terminal and I could see the fire alarms flashing. I mentioned this to my family but they all thought I was wrong because we could see people still slowing walking through it. After about 15 minutes, they announced that in fact the terminal's fire alarm had gone off and they were stopping disembarkation until the fire department could check the building. Our flight was at noon out of Ft. Lauderdale so this had us in a bit of a panic. People were cutting in line and demanding special treatment to get off the ship as soon as possible. I felt like the crew could have pushed back on these people more but instead were sticking with their friendly dispositions. It was probably 45 minutes before they opened the terminal back up and we were quickly sent through customs and on our bus and at the airport in plenty of time. The fire alarm was obviously not NCL's fault so I have no complaint. I'm glad we hadn't left our luggage for NCL to take care of as that seemed to not be going well but I really don't know. Overall: We had a great time. We relaxed, we drank, we ate, we had fun. We never felt nickel and dimed for anything, I still don't understand why people complain about that. The only charges on my bill were for things I bought in the gift shop and taxes for the drinks I ordered while we were docked in Miami and the daily service charge. Was never pushed to pay for anything else. I still love NCL and would love to sail them again but with all the price increases going on, I'm not sure I'll actually be able to. We'll see. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise for the dates as a holiday cruise. The food on this cruise was absolutely the worst I’ve ever had on a cruise. Totally tasteless, bland, poor presentation, impossible to find some of the ingredients that are ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the dates as a holiday cruise. The food on this cruise was absolutely the worst I’ve ever had on a cruise. Totally tasteless, bland, poor presentation, impossible to find some of the ingredients that are mentioned in the description. Example: strip steak with peppercorn sauce had absolutely no peppercorns or taste of them in the bland sauce that it sat on and served with shoestring French fries, extremely poor choice of side. Service in restaurants is extremely slow. With a premium beverage package we were not able to get bottled water at a bar without an up charge, absolutely absurd! We could get espresso or cappuccino in the restaurant without an up charge but not at the Java Cafe, this makes absolutely no sense! The buffet restaurant had few choices and also terrible food. The omelette stations in the morning had choices of ingredients that looked like they were cut up and left out for at least a day. Everything in the “specialty restaurants” used to be main dining room menu options on theme nights prior to the change to “free style” cruise and specialty restaurant options. As a Latitudes member I will never sail Norwegian again! The last cruise on Norwegian prior to this on the Sky had slightly better food but the food and service on Norwegian has definitely declined tremendously over the years. The entertainment was decent but nothing to get excited about, fairly typical of most cruise ship entertainment. We chose not to do any shore excursions in the only port, Costa Maya, and got The ship just to explore the port shopping and entertainment area. Many of the public rest rooms were dirty and The men's rooms often smelled of urine. Disembarkation in Miami was horrible! Totally unorganized and due to a fire alarm going off in the terminal was delayed to make the situation far worse than it already had been. Both of the queue lines had stretched all the way to the now and stern prior to the delay and it took far too long for them to make an announcement regarding the delay due to the alarm asking passengers to remain in lounges, etc. Total disorganization! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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