Sail Date: September 2018
We were fortunate to be able to cruise with friends from Hawaii. It made the trip so much more fun. Loved having the added packages for alcohol and gratuities. The restaurants that were not part of the food package were reasonable and very ... Read More
We were fortunate to be able to cruise with friends from Hawaii. It made the trip so much more fun. Loved having the added packages for alcohol and gratuities. The restaurants that were not part of the food package were reasonable and very tasty. I was a little disappointed that the activities that really appealed to us weren't until much later in the evening. There's no way we could stay up for them. I also wish there had been a better way to communicate with friends on the ship. Texts didn't go through and we had to rely on running into people. We had a group photo taken, but found when it was time to pick up the photos that the photographer wanted several hundred dollars for them. Price never mentioned before the photos were taken, We opted not to buy any. If he had come down on the price all 20+ of us would have purchased one. The buffet food was good and the bartenders were amazing in the numerous bars around the ship. We would cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I had cruised Norwegian a long time ago and, having lived in Orlando for 8 years, done quite a few Carnival and Royal Caribbean trips out of Port Canaveral. My general understanding of Norwegian's quality was that it was better than ... Read More
I had cruised Norwegian a long time ago and, having lived in Orlando for 8 years, done quite a few Carnival and Royal Caribbean trips out of Port Canaveral. My general understanding of Norwegian's quality was that it was better than Carnival, but below Royal Caribbean (though their quality has not been what it once was). We picked this cruise as a backup solution. We had planned an Oregon (specifically Crater Lake) hiking trip but the smoke from the forest fires was making it a waste of time and money. About 10 days before I started looking for alternatives and found a 7 day Alaska Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. It seemed perfect. I could get a balcony at a reasonable price and we'd get the Free at Sea package (free drink package + 3 nights of dining at their specialty restaurants and $100 to spend onboard). By the time I called, 2 days later, I was told I could no longer have the free at sea package. They would still sell me the balcony room, but there would be no drink package, dining or on board spending. I probably should've realized something was up then, but I didn't think it would be such a big deal. We're not big drinkers and you don't HAVE to pay to dine, so I booked it. Of course, it became apparent once on board that we were part of a VERY small minority without such perks and therefore started to feel like second class cruisers. The cruise mostly went smoothly. The ship itself is a nice size, not so big that you feel lost in the masses but not so small that you find yourself bored. The bowling alley is cute though it was just one more thing that cost "just a little bit" extra and all those extras add up. The itinerary was amazing. Alaska is gorgeous. The staff were ok. The room steward did his job well if without ever actually bumping into us. Our ice bucket seemed to only get filled on nights we didn't want to use it, but that's a minor thing. The bar staff varied greatly. We had a really great bar tender up in the Sugar Cane Lounge (near the fancy restaurants) but bar tenders elsewhere would refuse to make my drink of choice because they hadn't made it before, or others would oblige and then charge it as a "premium" cocktail despite using house gin. I didn't feel like we really got to know any of them which is odd for a 7 day cruise. I will say that the food was better than on a Carnival or even Royal Caribbean cruise. It was only slightly better in the free dining options (the Main dining room, O'Sheehan's and the Lotus Garden) but MUCH better in the two restaurants we tried (Cagney's and Moderno). You clearly get a discount for being on the boat (neither night cost more than $100) so I'd say they're worth it. The entertainment was good, though I felt they had one too many solo singer shows and not enough full cast broadway style numbers. As far as I can tell, it was one full production and three solo singers which seemed an odd mix. A lot of their lounge/bar entertainment was really fantastic though. Lots of truly talented people. Last, and perhaps most importantly, is the spa. We booked a couples "Bath Ritual & Swedish Massage" for the first at sea day. First, the spa staff were not at all helpful or welcoming. It was clearly an imposition on them that we wished to book something. When we arrived for our service they weren't ready. We spent 30 minutes waiting in the lobby while the staff studiously ignored us. When we finally got in to the spa itself, we both had lockers that malfunctioned. Mine wouldn't lock and my husband's wouldn't unlock (there's irony there somewhere). Next, the bath was so hot it actually burned my husband. I don't know how the two staff members could have thought it was at a reasonable temperature. As soon as we made them actually test the water, they rushed to try and drain and then cool the bath, but even they couldn't stand to put their hand in to grab the drain so it was a slow arduous process involving bowls. We spent another 20 minutes sitting around awkwardly in our swimsuits while they struggled to adjust the bath. It was a bit late at that point. I was flustered and now hot, the bath was still HOT but at least not too hot to stand and the tub itself was terribly uncomfortable. Save your money and just get the massage. I thought they might offer us some sort of discount or credit as an apology, but no compensation was offered and I wasn't going to ask. The massages themselves were great and I had almost forgotten the fiasco until the end of the cruise when I discovered the spa manager had charged us a second time for the same ritual... for no apparent reason. This brings me to the front desk/debarkation. We decided to self-assist or easy walk off. So we had all our bags with us (thank god) when we stopped at the front desk around 8am to ask about the second charge. We talk to someone at the desk, explain we went to the spa ONCE and only once and were not inclined to go again, and would like them to void/refund the second nearly $400 charge. The woman listens and then disappears to the back room. Apparently the actual decision makers are there. She's just a go-between. Fifteen minutes later she returns and says she verified that we, indeed, only have one signed receipt from the spa, she has called the spa and they will refund the money, she will print us a new statement in 10 minutes if we just wait off to the side. So we go to wait off to the side, the line balloons to huge proportions... and 35 minutes go by. Now, our flight is at 11am and SeaTac is about 25-30 minutes away so we're now within the window during which we need to leave. I make my way back into line and 10 minutes later am approached by the manager to ask about my complaint (he was clearly triaging the line). I explain that I've already had a conversation with the lady at the desk, we've already verified the charges are incorrect, and I just need my bill actually fixed.He goes to the back room again and ten minutes later comes out with a phone and has me speak to the spa manager who I have to convince AGAIN that they have charged me incorrectly and need to refund the money. NOW, seeing as I'll be lucky to make it to the airport with an hour and a half before my flight and I need to check bags (for anyone who isn't familiar, most airlines shut down checking of bags 45 minutes before the flight). So to recap, the spa bungled the service, charged me twice and then the front desk crew took THREE tries and 55 minutes to finally correct the error. At this point I'm told to wait ANOTHER five minutes and he WILL get me a corrected statement. More like 10 minutes later we're finally handed a corrected statement and allowed to at least skip PART of the debarkation line. At this point it was 9:15 and we still had to get down the gangway, through customs, find a taxi and to the airport. We rolled up to the airport at 9:50 so with less than 25 minutes to spare with respect to checking bags and only 45 minutes before boarding began. The lines were huge. If I hadn't been a United Premiere member and both of us TSA precheck approved, I'm not sure we would have made it. So, yes, the cruise was fantastic, we had a great time. But I feel like I was cheated out of the "Free at Sea" and then charged at every possible turn (in some cases twice) and it made debarkation a nightmare. I'm honestly not sure if we'll use Norwegian again. It will really depend on whether we can get the right deal. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise was a surprise anniversary gift. So I was very surprised and happy with everything. Our room was decorated when we arrived. The flowers and cake was delivered on time. The chocolate covered strawberries were delivered on the ... Read More
This cruise was a surprise anniversary gift. So I was very surprised and happy with everything. Our room was decorated when we arrived. The flowers and cake was delivered on time. The chocolate covered strawberries were delivered on the day of our anniversary. Our anniversary dinner in the Summer Palace was just like a Five star restaurant. The service was wonderful as well as the food. The entertainment was good. The shore excursions were my favorite, everything ran smoothly. We ate mostly at the buffet, garden cafe and the great outdoors. The food was amazing and the selection was wonderful. The employees in every department were always friendly. The restaurants and buffet areas were always very clean and the employees always efficient. The rooms were always stocked with clean towels and cleaned everytime we left the room. Overall I would definitly come back again, and recommend to friends and family. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I had cruised to Alaska on the Jewel in the past, and had such a fabulous vacation. So I wanted to do it again. It was great! I wish we had seen a whale, but no one can control that. The food was very good - we had 3 upgraded ... Read More
I had cruised to Alaska on the Jewel in the past, and had such a fabulous vacation. So I wanted to do it again. It was great! I wish we had seen a whale, but no one can control that. The food was very good - we had 3 upgraded restaurants. My fav is LaBistro. The casino took my money, as usual! The entertainment was not as good as on other cruises, but I expect that on an Alaskan cruise. Usually there are combo/musical groups that are around the small bars, but live music seemed to be lacking for the most part. We took 2 excurions, the crab wilderness feast, and the White Mount Pass train. I recomment them both. I really don't have much else to say, because everything was good except the slot machines are very, very stingy. I tried all of them, believe me! My fault, for thinking that would be different! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We have always taken our cruises on NCL because they are the best! We had a midship balcony cabin which gave us the option of 2 promotions (we chose drink & dinner package) As usual the food was delicious.....especially ... Read More
We have always taken our cruises on NCL because they are the best! We had a midship balcony cabin which gave us the option of 2 promotions (we chose drink & dinner package) As usual the food was delicious.....especially Cagney’s.They go above & beyond to fullfil your every need. The variety of food onboard is never ending. The service was outstanding, from our room steward to the wait staff, everyone is professional yet friendly & helpful. The entertainment is just so-so (although Laura Wright was fantastic) as it’s a smaller ship so no big flashy productions like on the Mega ships. The ports are quaint little towns, with alot of shopping....especially jewelery stores. Excursions are plentiful & a little pricey but worth it. We did musher camp (lots of fun with the puppies) train ride (which was beautiful) & the duck ride (not worth it). I would recommend this trip to everyone as the scenery is breathtaking. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
My girlfriend took me and who wouldn’t go! Alaska wow! We enjoyed the spa area for relaxing but pretty noisy in large room The weather couldn’t have been better my friend had been on the same trip last year and commented ... Read More
My girlfriend took me and who wouldn’t go! Alaska wow! We enjoyed the spa area for relaxing but pretty noisy in large room The weather couldn’t have been better my friend had been on the same trip last year and commented on how she could see the top of the mountains. The Glaziers were spectacular with the glow of blue ice! The Dining room food and entertainment was not up to expectation. The staff were the best always on top with service, cleanliness and very knowledgeable! Would love to take my man next time! The Bliss lounge could be eliminated! Totally ! My favorite spot was the outdoor area behind the buffet early morning. That is where I got to see the whale I also saw a bear on the way to the crab feast. Saw sea otters and eagles on that tour also. This was a great excursion. The train also a nice chance to see more scenery Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This review will focus on traveling with a mixed-age group including four children (ages 6-13), two parents (including me, age 41), and two grandparents. This cruise felt to me a bit nostalgic, like cruises I took with my parents when ... Read More
This review will focus on traveling with a mixed-age group including four children (ages 6-13), two parents (including me, age 41), and two grandparents. This cruise felt to me a bit nostalgic, like cruises I took with my parents when I was a child. The activities and entertainment seem to be trapped in the 1980s, with somewhat geriatric tribute-type musical shows (nothing with a plot, just songs) and onboard activities like napkin-folding, trivia and Bingo. For cruises to warm destinations this might not matter much, since most people spend their time by the pool. (Note that there is no indoor or enclosed pool on the Pearl. There are about four small outdoor hot tubs which are nearly always full.) For an Alaska cruise, the lack of better entertainment is more of an issue. Even so, it might not have mattered, since I expected to check my kids into a kids' program and then be able to relax with a book or adult conversation. However, my children found the kids' program as unengaging as I found the entertainment for adults... and even if they had enjoyed it, THE CHILDREN'S PROGRAM CLOSES FROM 12-2PM AND FROM 5-7PM. I suppose if you want to spend four hours dining elegantly with your young children on a cold sea day, this works wonderfully. But dining with most children lasts about seven seconds, and with children who didn't want to go to the kids' program to begin with, having to take them in and out and constantly having to convince them to go back in was a real pain. Also, don't you dare be late for the pick-up at these closing hours, because they charge you by the minute for lateness... which incidentally means you need to get there at least ten minutes BEFORE the pickup since the line of parents will have already formed by then. Oh and by the way, they're closed other times too that they barely advertise (like when they do their show at the end of the cruise... I guess it is assumed that your kid is in the show). We tried to put our children in the Junior Ranger program on the day in Glacier Bay, but on that day you had to check your children in by 9:55 because they were walking with the ranger by 10am. We knew this (it was, after all, explained on page 3 of the cruise newsletter.... yes you better read that newsletter cover to cover, because important information is buried in there, but you need to make it past the nine pages of upsells and port store kickbacks to find it!) and left the amazing views on deck with plenty of time to get there despite our children's objections. I wish I were exaggerating when I say that we arrived to check our children in at 9:56 and they refused to admit them. The group had not yet left (we saw all the kids in the room!) and all the staffers were standing right there at the door, but "our system won't allow check-ins after 9:55." This was pathetic. Also, if you have older kids (10-12) who can theoretically come and go on their own, good luck with that, since the kid has to stay in the program for "at least" two hours before they can leave on their own (two hours that same day, not cumulatively)... which would be no big deal except that it's hard to get in two hours in a row due to frequent closings. So the kids' program was a big bust for us, which really changed the experience of the cruise from what we'd expected. Our children are very active and the grandparents can't quite keep up with them, which meant a lot of parents running in circles around the deck after children on cold sea days, instead of spending that time with the inlaws as we'd planned. We were also surprised that even the TV in the room did not have any children's channels. We did enjoy bowling, the stupidest possible game to play on a cruise ship (which required an extra charge), but it was indeed a fun family activity. We also enjoyed climbing the rock wall, which is just about the only activity onboard that doesn't involve an extra charge. (But get in line early! And in Alaska we only had two days where the weather was good enough that they didn't close it altogether.) And the outdoor giant chess and checkers were fun. Dining was also difficult with a large group, since the buffet is rather mobbed and finding a table that could fit the 8 of us always required multiple scouts and waiting for people to leave. When the main buffet area fills, they redirect you to another restaurant for extra buffet seating, but there is a big sign in front of it that says "Quiet Dining Zone!", which is another way of saying "No Children Zone!" So we were always fighting for seats. The sit-down restaurants had more seating, but they also had rather slow service, which made them less appealing for a mixed-age group like ours. In general, while the ship was physically refurbished last year and quite pretty, the entertainment onboard was sorely dated and uncreative for a cruise in a cold climate with a significant amount of time at sea, and there was far too much emphasis on upcharged activities and outside contractors looking to sell their own products. I'm no cruise newbie (I think I've been on about 15) so I am familiar with the constant upselling. But it was just a bit aggressive when they stick a flier on every person's door to make sure you know where to buy tanzanite in their cruise-owned temporary port-store, but then they DON'T TELL YOU WHEN THE SHIP IS ARRIVING IN GLACIER BAY. Yes, that's right. They tell you what day you're in Glacier Bay, but not what time you'll arrive or when you'll leave! It's not like this information is a secret, since the park service only allows two ships into the park a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so there was no reason to hide which hours we'd be there. We'd had a long day exploring the Yukon the day before and simply saw on the itinerary that we were in Glacier bay "for the day", and we were quite exhausted and figured we'd use the opportunity to sleep past 7:30am. Well, at 8am the park rangers came on over the loudspeakers to narrate the splendor. The main reason I booked this cruise was for the Glacier Bay stop, so we jumped into our clothes and ran out of our windowless cabin to see it all! THERE WAS NO REASON NOT TO TELL PEOPLE WHEN WE WERE ARRIVING IN GLACIER BAY, OR WHEN WE WERE LEAVING. Luckily we didn't miss anything, and maybe to most people this is a minor point, since you are in the Bay for several hours and are unlikely to sleep through it all. I was only bothered by this because of the ridiculous amount of information provided on all of their upcharge activities and port stores-- literally to the point of sticking fliers in everyone's doors. ("We're only in Ketchikan for a short time, so we want to make sure you have this important information...about where to shop in our company stores.") This cruise basically won't tell you anything unless it involves giving them money. Nor was the Glacier Bay snafu the only case like that. Another choice item that was buried deep within the cruise newsletter was on the day in Juneau, where we learned by making it to page 12 that people who were NOT on cruise-ship shore excursions could disembark two hours early via tender. That was us, and that was a nice surprise to have two extra hours in port. But why was it a surprise??? Answer: it didn't involve giving them money, so why should they tell you? For Alaska cruises, we were told to focus more on the itinerary and less on the ship itself, which for the most part is good advice. However, check your itinerary very carefully, no matter where you're going!! I saw that we were in port pretty much every day except the first sea day (and the day in Glacier Bay, which is a destination in itself), and thought, great, we're mostly in port. I hadn't appreciated that you need to look at HOW LONG you are in each port. We were in Juneau 2-10pm, Ketchikan 6am-1pm, Victoria 6pm-11pm (yes that means the Victoria day is basically a sea day), and only in Skagway for a full day. (And in Glacier for half a day... not that you would have learned that through their website or the itinerary you received!) This added up to a lot more time on board than I'd anticipated. I chose this particular Alaska cruise for the roundtrip itinerary from Seattle (we were using miles for the six of us to get there, so a three-way or non-domestic ticket wasn't a real option, and we only had a week), for the price, and for the stop in Glacier Bay, which during the weeks we were looking at narrowed our choices to Princess, Norwegian and Holland America (the smaller expedition-type ships were way beyond our budget). Holland America was significantly more expensive than Princess or Norwegian when multiplied by six, and I chose Norwegian because it had a newer fleet than Princess. In retrospect I would have made my decision based more on how many hours were spent in each port, though it's possible that they're all the same in that regard (hard to fit all those billion cruise ships into these tiny towns!). If the hours in port were the same, then I would have looked for a cruise with a children's program with more flexibility, because this one was ridiculous. All that said, I have zero regrets about taking this cruise. Glacier Bay was beyond amazing, we had a blast in Juneau hiking on Mt Roberts and on a canoeing trip to the Mendenhall glacier (Alaska Travel Adventures was the company we used for the canoe), enjoyed a wildlife tour (we saw bears, right in town!) and a Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan (we had booked a kayaking trip through Southeast Sea Kayaks that was canceled due to storms), and we had the best day ever by renting a van in Skagway (book way early!) and driving up into the spectacular Yukon using Murrays Klondike Guide (it's a paid download that takes you on an amazing daylong journey). We also had a ball in Seattle touring the Boeing Plant (get tickets early!!), Pike's Place market, the Space Needle and the Chihuly galleries and gardens. The grandparents appreciated the ship's programming that was more up their alley, and the destinations truly can't be beat. We squeezed everything we could out of every minute in port, enjoyed time together onboard as a family, and made some priceless memories. But if I were doing it again, I'd look a lot more carefully at the itinerary's hours in port, and also the nitty-gritty of what the children's program offers. This children's program was inadequate, and the ship's information on what you actually need to know in ports was sorely lacking. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We traveled with extended family (children, mother, sister) on Alaska Cruise from Seattle. This was our first cruise ever and I found the reviews helpful as well as Cruise Critic. We booked 2 mini suites (with balcony) with an ... Read More
We traveled with extended family (children, mother, sister) on Alaska Cruise from Seattle. This was our first cruise ever and I found the reviews helpful as well as Cruise Critic. We booked 2 mini suites (with balcony) with an adjoining door. My sister was across the hall in an inside room. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the rooms and bathroom. Location was perfect- mid ship and 1 floor down from the buffet and Splash Academy (kids club). Overall, we were impressed with the food and activities onboard. The main dining room was too slow for the kids so we mostly ate at the buffet. The variety and quality of the food was excellent, especially he desserts. We ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants as it was included as an extra perk when we booked While they were good, I am not sure I would have paid extra for them as the complimentary food was excellent. The Splash Academy staff and activities were fantastic! My kids begged to go every day. So this made for a relaxing trip for us. Main downside was the amount of time on the ship. Not sure I will cruise again- I didn't like being limited in the time spent at port or having so many people in one place. But this was the case for all the itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We wanted to do an Alaskan cruise and have cruised with Norwegian before and love it. Everything we needed was taken care of immediately. We took 3 excursions and enjoyed each of them. The sights in Alaska are breath taking. It is a ... Read More
We wanted to do an Alaskan cruise and have cruised with Norwegian before and love it. Everything we needed was taken care of immediately. We took 3 excursions and enjoyed each of them. The sights in Alaska are breath taking. It is a cruise I would highly recommend. It is also the most relaxing way to vacation. The restaurants are first class and love the buffet. It has such a variety that you always eat too much. Always had to have a little ice cream later in the eveing too. I recommend a balcony, especially for the Alaska cruise, to not miss any of the beautiful sights of Alaska. We also saw sea otters and whales from our balcony. The shows each evening were exceptional. And we also enjoyed just sitting in a lounge and listening to live music. There was piano, strings and ensembles. Very relaxing. We also looked forward every evening to the towel animals left on our bed when they turned the bed down. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Why choose an Alaskan cruise where seafood isn't a star on the menu and the entertainment is close to nil despite needing to be indoors most of the time. Ship was clean and fine. The cabin only had three small drawers for luggage for ... Read More
Why choose an Alaskan cruise where seafood isn't a star on the menu and the entertainment is close to nil despite needing to be indoors most of the time. Ship was clean and fine. The cabin only had three small drawers for luggage for two, but the balcony was great. If you have food allergies, do not plan to eat. Even with giving them the required 24 hours notice at each restaurant (6 months since I told them when I booked) they could not come up with interesting food for a dairy allergy except dry, unseasoned meat and a plain baked potato. The staff always works so hard, I will not find fault with them. The dining staff is not educated to deal with just the basic menu. If all you want to do is spend time in the spa, this is the place for you. Definitely would not take a cruise with Norwegian again. 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 4.0
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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