2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Having only cruised Carnival in the past, for this trip we wanted to upgrade to another line. This cruise fit our needs... date, embarkment and ports visited. It was at the lower end of ship size we were looking for, but reviews were ... Read More
Having only cruised Carnival in the past, for this trip we wanted to upgrade to another line. This cruise fit our needs... date, embarkment and ports visited. It was at the lower end of ship size we were looking for, but reviews were good Due to fog in the port we left Tampa 10 hours late and missed our first port. We were given several small credits. We loved the ship. The speciality resturants were great. Even the main dining and buffets were better than we were used to. Entertainment was good. The cruise director did not seem to have an outgoing personality, but neither was she a over the top clown, as we have sometimes experienced on another cruise line. The staff did a good job. Our Cruise Critic meet and greet was fun. Thank you. We will most likely cruise NCL again. Especially if the continue the "free" perks. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I don't think I'll cruise with Norwegian again, and certainly not out of Tampa. There was not a lot that was better than other cruises I have been on in the past, and plenty that was much worse. First of all, we were ... Read More
I don't think I'll cruise with Norwegian again, and certainly not out of Tampa. There was not a lot that was better than other cruises I have been on in the past, and plenty that was much worse. First of all, we were affected by a fog delay. Obviously, that part is not controllable by the cruise line, but their handling of the issue was terrible. We had separate reservations for three different cabins and I was the only one to receive notifications about the delay (via text). If we had been coordinating with the others, they probably wouldn't have been notified at all. Additionally, as this cruise was departing on 12/30 (which I guess is considered a holiday by the company) they shut down their customer service line early, while there were literally thousands of people lined up outside with no guidance. I actually did speak with the a representative earlier that day, who was very pleasant and nice, but gave me very different information than everybody else gave me. The lady actually told me that because I was traveling with two small children (1 year-old and 2 year-old), as well as my 75-year old mother, that we would be able to join the priority boarding given how late the boarding was. We were slotted for a 10am boarding time (with scheduled 1pm departure) but we were told to arrive at 9pm (first, it was 6pm) due to the fog delay, which meant that we had nowhere to go (we ended up having to pay for a hotel room just so our kids could rest). We ended up waiting in line for 4-5 hours, which as you can imagine, was utter hell for our family. We had understandably tired, screaming and restless children, who were being kept in a line until 1am when they normally go to be at 8pm. At no point, were there any announcements made to the crowd. The only representatives we saw were only addressing people in Haven (premiere level) and suites to move them to priority boarding. The next day, we found out that we would be skipping one of the four ports of call and I don't ever remember getting any notification other than some paltry onboard credit that appeared on the account with no explanation. The cruise itself was hit or miss. Many of the staff were very pleasant, but I have found that to be the case on all of the cruises (Carnival, Royal Caribbean). There were also a handful of staff that didn't have the best attitude, but they were in the minority. We went into this trip knowing that Norwegian wasn't as toddler friendly (no drop-off care/activities for children under 3 years old, etc.), but it was still worse than expected. They planned all of the toddler activities (parent participation required, which was fine) at the most awkward times for toddlers (prime toddler meal times like noon and 5pm), and they located the smoking section of the deck right next to the kiddie pool area. They also seemed to have a systematic system for filling their dining rooms, with no regard for small children. They would start at one end of the restaurant and then fill tables back, but I thought this was weird because they were sticking us with our loud children next to people that wanted to enjoy a nice meal. This was less of an issue for us, but I felt bad for the people near us. At one point, an old lady yelled "QUIET!" in a nearby table when my 1 year-old started screaming (he's admittedly loud). Also worth noting is that about half of the high chairs had broken buckles, which was not the biggest deal but certainly not ideal. Our cabin was pretty standard for a cruise, but no big complaints. While we really like our room steward, I think they didn't do the normal level of initial cleaning due to the chaos with the fog delay (my mother's room had an old sippy cup under the bed filled with old yogurt). Our bathtub also leaked water from sides (maintenance took care of this). The biggest annoyance was the lack of beside power ports. The only ports within reach of the bed were single USB ports in the bottom of the beside lights. The main cafeteria (Garden Cafe) was ok, but the seating was very cramped. It would have been fine if everybody was between the ages of 5 and 60, but obviously that's not the case with a cruise. A very significant percentage of the people had walkers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters (along with the few people like us with strollers and high chairs). This was what made it tough to walk through the seating area. We enjoyed the specialty dining, particularly Cagny's (steakhouse) and Moderno (Brazilian grill). We had fun at Teppanyaki, but like all American hibachi grills, it was very salty. Two other quick negatives. First, this was the first cruise I've been on where they seemed to change the itinerary with no notification. We always try to plan out our vacation (dinners, activities, etc.) based on the schedule so it's a bit annoying when they move things around without telling us (although I recognize that this is clearly their right based on the disclosures). Second, we opted not to book excursions with the little kids, but my family did and they said Grand Cayman was poorly executed (they had booked the stingray city and snorkel tour through NCL). At the dock, there are lots of people so they were told to gather in a certain area. Apparently, a tour guide came by and quickly said to follow them and then took off at a brisk pace (which is tough given the demographics of the cruise ship). Many were left behind confused. I also heard the tour guide on the boat was all-around rude (stark contrast to the great service for the catamaran snorkel tour in Roatan). The next part is not NCL's fault, but to top it all off, there were so many ships in port that day, that there weren't many stingrays around by the time they got there (2-4). On the positive side, the drinks were pretty decent (nice variety around the boat) and the bartenders were generally friendly (especially Guillermo). And they didn't seem to nickel and dime you too much on the beverage package, which was nice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise based on dates available, visiting the Western Caribbean and flight prices. We ported out of Tampa, FL. Our ship got stuck out at sea due to fog and could not come in on time. We were supposed to board at noon and ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on dates available, visiting the Western Caribbean and flight prices. We ported out of Tampa, FL. Our ship got stuck out at sea due to fog and could not come in on time. We were supposed to board at noon and didn’t board until about 11pm. Stuck in Tampa, never received text messages/update from Norwegian (others did) and had to get into line around 2pm. Sat on concrete sidewalk, with luggage (they didn’t take it until around 5pm) for about 8 hours, taking shifts with the family to walk around. Tough, tough day. Had to eat lunch and dinner on our own dime (although I am hearing that NCL might be reimbursing). Thankfully it was a beautiful day. Could have been raining. Ship arrived around 6:30pm and disembarking the current passengers took just over 3 hours. Got on board around 11pm, had the safety meeting at midnight, we were falling asleep at the table and we got our luggage around 1am. It was just awful. The saddest part was the lack of NCL presence. Passengers were showing up around 9pm and trying to cut in line when people had waited over 8 hours. Things got a little dicey and many passengers (including teenagers) patrolled and attempted to keep order. They had to cancel our first port visit as we did not depart until about 4am (gave each room a $100 NCL credit to use onboard for food, drink or excursions). The good news, we eventually got on the ship, our room was ready and comfortable and our overall first time on NCL was positive. Entertainment was phenomenal. Staff was great and food was quite good (all regular dining). We loved Roatan and enjoyed the other ports as well. Weather was fantastic too. Tip for Roatan - you DO NOT have to pay to go to Tabyana Beach - just take a cab to West End and get dropped off. I repeat - you do not have to pay! We got sold - paid. $20 a person - live and learn. That was one expensive chair for a few hours. Roatan - visited Tabyana Beach. Paid $10 for snorkel gear and it came with a guide who swam us out to the reef and drop - pure awesome.... regret not visiting a place to hold a monkey. Costa Maya - visited Krazy Lobster Beach Club in Mahahual - free beach. Don’t pay for the beach. Excellent guacamole and chips for $4. If i could do it again - I would have gotten a massage $10 for 30 minutes... Grand Cayman - walked to Smith’s Cove from the port. It took about 20 minutes. Beautiful beach. Then we took a cab to 7 mile beach. In hindsight, whole fam wished we had stayed at cove. True natural beauty and not crowded. This was our 2nd cruise. The 1st one was with RC down the Adriatic Sea. Phenomenal experience!! NCL had big shoes to fill. Will we cruise NCL again? I think we would. I will be curious to see if NCL follows through with making their customers whole. We essentially lost two days and the experience was terrible. I have faith they will do the right thing. Will we ever port out of Tampa again? Nope. Apparently it is the bridge that is the issue, not the fog. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Tampa is a great town, I live there but I would suggest anyone who has time to take extra time to enjoy the city, you could stay for weeks and not do close to everything the city has to offer. Lots to do at or near the port if you just ... Read More
Tampa is a great town, I live there but I would suggest anyone who has time to take extra time to enjoy the city, you could stay for weeks and not do close to everything the city has to offer. Lots to do at or near the port if you just have hours to kill. We got off to a late start due to the fog. We did not get out until around 2am. As a result our first port, harvest caye was cancelled. This brings up my one and only complaint. Communication. This is always an issue with cruise ships and I don't know why they have not fixed it yet. Still in the stone age when it comes to this. Like airlines were 30 years ago. There is no where to check the status of the cruise on the internet and many got no texts as they like us had their home phone number listed. Once on the ship we did not find out we were not going to harvest caye until late in the day the day after. The captain did make his daily announcement each day so I know we are at 28 degrees, 47 min and 30 seconds north which of course I can do nothing with, without a chart and most couldn't do anything with it with one. Never any mention of upcoming weather or seas. As an ex airline captain, this really bothers me. Its so easy to just make a quick announcement but they never do on any line. Ok, so you don't want to upset the boat with bad news, fine then have an area on the app or a text banner on the channel that shows where you are. Why there is no status on the website I will never know. So easy to do. The worst thing you can do is not communicate and the amount of business they lose by not doing it can't be counted. That's the negative. The positive was as follows: Ship This ship and cruise line is great for the money. I think it is the perfect size ship. Big enough to have a lot to offer but not too big where there are too many people. Cabins The cabins were very nice, We were on Deck 8 so easy to go up or down to 6 or 7 promenade decks without using the dreaded elevator. Or down from Deck 12 the pool deck. We pretty much just rode up. Casino There are tons of bars everywhere, Casino was good, although we lost our shirts. I suggest the quarter pusher. Hours of entertainment for $50. You won't win a dime though. Entertainment The entertainment venues are great, the bliss has the bowling and karaoke and the like and has a bar so does the spinnaker and is great as well. The main theater never sold out as it does with most cruises. The lobby area is great and the piano bar is well designed and can be enjoyed easily for a quick visit so you can just get up and leave when sweet caroline comes on. The shows were just ok. If you are doing one in the spinnaker get there early as they have a bar and comfy seats that will all be gone or be being saved if you get there on time. We managed obstructed view seats at the main shows each time getting there on time. Pool Just the one pool for common folks, but lots of decks and enough lounges for all. Not on the pool deck of course those all had a towel and bottle of suntan lotion on them and 10% occupied like every other cruise. I wish they would rent the premium chairs by the hour and solve this problem and make some money doing it. Dining Get the specialty dining package. Moderno and Le Bistro was great, La Cucina was just ok. I would recommend the Teppanyaki, which we couldn't get into weeks before the cruise. Make sure you book before the cruise or they will all sell out. O'sheehans is great for everything. Lotus Garden is great too for lunch and Dinner. The main dining is ok too, but no big deal. Lunch is the same everyday in both dining rooms. Dinner seemed to be mostly the same but not sure. Buffet is enormous and offers some good seating out back with its own buffet. Bars There are bars everywhere, lots to choose from. Good selections to be had. Guiness on tap in o sheehans and newcastle at the lobby bar. I would highly suggest this ship for value. I have been on 12 cruises. Scott Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Family of five (parents and young adult kids) traveled over Christmas holiday. Inside cabins were better than expected, itinerary was great and lots of bars to sample with the included beverage package. Found the main dining room service ... Read More
Family of five (parents and young adult kids) traveled over Christmas holiday. Inside cabins were better than expected, itinerary was great and lots of bars to sample with the included beverage package. Found the main dining room service to be slow and a bit impersonal; food was on par with other lines we have cruised (Princess, Celebrity). Enjoyed speciality dining at Cagney’s (steakhouse) and Moderno (churrascaria); also enjoyed O’Sheehan’s and Lotus Garden, which were included. Thought the buffet was just OK — seemed to be the same every day, but we only ate breakfast and a couple of lunches there. Enjoyed the music and evening entertainment by Peter the piano player. By far the biggest letdown was the boarding and tendering process: Very disorganized and fraught with delays. It took us more than four hours to tender off the ship in Roatan, and we were not close to the last group. Even disembarking on the pier in Costa Maya involved an enormous line. Last but not least, we were more than 12 hours late returning to Tampa due to fog in the port. Not NCL’s fault by any means, but the WiFi was shut down and there were very limited phone connections for anyone who needed to rebook onward arrangements. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and met some very nice people, but the lack of organization was trying at times. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Getting on to the ship was difficult. No real sense of order in the process. The ship itself was ok. The staff were generally nice and friendly. The food was generally decent. The rooms are regular cruise ship rooms, small and tight ... Read More
Getting on to the ship was difficult. No real sense of order in the process. The ship itself was ok. The staff were generally nice and friendly. The food was generally decent. The rooms are regular cruise ship rooms, small and tight but ok. There were never enough places to sit at the pool. My father in law took a spill and was taken to the medical bay. After a nearly $2000 bill for the ship "icu", he was sent back to his room. This occurred while rest of the family was gone on an excursion. When we returned, we were told that he would have to leave the ship because they did feel he was medically stable to continue. Most of our family was disembarked in Grand Cayman with very little time to prepare and no assistance with transportation or lodging. The ship then went on it's way back to Tampa and sat outside the bay for hours waiting for it to open. Very little communication was given to the people on board. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian. The free at sea offers stand out to us and we decided to try the Norwegian Pearl Christmas cruise to the western Caribbean from Tampa. My favorite part about this experience was the staff - ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian. The free at sea offers stand out to us and we decided to try the Norwegian Pearl Christmas cruise to the western Caribbean from Tampa. My favorite part about this experience was the staff - particularly, room steward, pool and bar staff. Great service, always friendly and going above and beyond to exceed our expectations. The embarkation/disembarkation process was a bummer, though. Very disorganized, no communication, unclear instructions, crew seemed lost, the worst I've ever seen. Entertainment at the pool was also a bit under average based on our previous experience. In terms of food - although dinner was great at the main dininning rooms, the buffet was disapointing. Breakfast was the same thing every single day. And it was quite a challenge to find non-chicken options for lunch. And I am not a hard person to please at all in terms of food. The Pearl is also a smaller ship (around 2.3k guests, I think). We've only sailed bigger ships before this. We might give it another chance saliling a bigger ship next time because the free at sea is a very good deal for us. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise as a means of bringing together our group of 26 family members from around the world for a week of relaxed family fun. Bottom line: this cruise delivered. Our part of the family (six adults) arrived a day early in ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a means of bringing together our group of 26 family members from around the world for a week of relaxed family fun. Bottom line: this cruise delivered. Our part of the family (six adults) arrived a day early in Tampa to insure against any winter weather delays from up north. We had a couple of fun meals and walked around a lot, but Tampa is not a pedestrian-friendly city. Embarkation was chaotic and uncivilized - there has to be a better way to board the ship. Disembarkation at the end was not much better and the tender process at Roatan was just awful, with no reasonable attempt to prioritize guests with trip deadlines - most of us ended up with compromised shore trips. The Cruise Director's announcements for all these periods were poor and lacking empathy. But the rest of the experience was very enjoyable.The ship and cabins were fine, the dining was surprisingly good and the itinerary was excellent. Our group spanned the ages from 10 to 76 and all had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I had a good time on the cruise. The rooms and the restaurants (including the buffets and other restaurants) are very clean, and the people on the cruise were very nice. Food on ship was super great, especially the desserts. The ... Read More
I had a good time on the cruise. The rooms and the restaurants (including the buffets and other restaurants) are very clean, and the people on the cruise were very nice. Food on ship was super great, especially the desserts. The housekeeping services were very helpful and great. The islands we visited had great views, and we enjoyed the sunshine ashore as well as the nice weather. The bicycle tour we ordered on Grand Cayman Island was one of our best journey and memory throughout the cruise. Harvest Caye was our second most memorable tourist destination. The beaches had soft white sands and the wind was comfortable. Onboard theater provided us with impressive shows, and Guitar with Roxy was unforgettable. We also loved the camera machine which allowed us to take a picture everyday and received it in my email. Online Internet service was toooo slow, probably because we were on sea, not on land. However, there are no buildings or other construction sites as on land, and the satellites signals should arrive directly onto the ship, so the problem shouldn't have existed. Also, the Internet is too expensive so that we couldn't afford it. We just used the 250 min free and slow Wifi, which was not quite a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The Christmas cruise was fantastic. The ship was decorated with hundreds of Ginger Bread houses throughout the ship along with other decorations. The food, as always was above par in every restaurant we ate in and the crew seemed to be ... Read More
The Christmas cruise was fantastic. The ship was decorated with hundreds of Ginger Bread houses throughout the ship along with other decorations. The food, as always was above par in every restaurant we ate in and the crew seemed to be enjoying the season as much as the guest were. Not once did I see a crew member that was not smiling or interacting with the passengers in a positive way. The captain on this ship sets a high standard and the crew follow his lead. We have sailed on the Pearl five times and have never been disappointed in the ship, the food or the crew members. We have already booked our next cruise on the Pearl for the trans Atlantic passage in April/May of 2019 and are looking forward to seeing England, France and Ireland. We would recommend sailing on the Pearl this summer since it is the first time the ship has been in Europe. 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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