2,409 Norwegian Pearl Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We needed to get away. We have cruised in the Haven before but this was half the price. We knew to expect less, just not this much less. Disorganized from the time we left the waiting room. no priority boarding like the Getaway, just ... Read More
We needed to get away. We have cruised in the Haven before but this was half the price. We knew to expect less, just not this much less. Disorganized from the time we left the waiting room. no priority boarding like the Getaway, just left you at the security line.Food was so salty on board you couldn't eat most of it. Cagney's wasn't this way. Of course, this was the last night and we had figured out how to avoid the most salty items. Service and staff on this ship is the worst i have experienced. I loved the Getaway by the way! This ship is a low to mid level Carnival cruise unfortunately. Entertainment was pitiful. We made several requests a month prior to sailing based on the warnings and suggestions of previous passengers. Only the pillows were provided. Spare bedroom had a prison mattress. We requested no sweets, only chocolate was provided. This was not the Haven that we have enjoyed in the past. Haven was a joke as compared to our previous sailing. We knew to expect less, just not this much less. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I do not know how people say the food was not good. Ever meal we had was great especially the Italian resturant and Cagneys Steak house. The staff were very friendly and always available. Christina in the Casino was the most ... Read More
I do not know how people say the food was not good. Ever meal we had was great especially the Italian resturant and Cagneys Steak house. The staff were very friendly and always available. Christina in the Casino was the most memorable for me. Every night when my sister and I entered the Casino, she greeted us by name. When ever she heard us laughing and yelling that our slot machine paid off she would come over and congratulate us on our win. SHe said she got to recognize us by our laughter. Adonis the bartender in the Casino was slammed every night but was always able to keep up. The only disappointment was that the Casino machines seemed pretty out dated. They need to purchase some of the new interactive machines. Also they need to have at least one $5.00 roulette, poker, black jack table. On a 5 day cruise its hard to play a $10.00 hand . I would definitly cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The worst experience ever! Staff was rude and unfriendly, possibly tired and overworked. From embarkation to disembarkation day and customs...they all just seemed unhappy, except our stateroom stewards! Food was bland, subpar and had ... Read More
The worst experience ever! Staff was rude and unfriendly, possibly tired and overworked. From embarkation to disembarkation day and customs...they all just seemed unhappy, except our stateroom stewards! Food was bland, subpar and had limited options throught the ship during certain times of the day...so it was the same food offered every day! Late night restaurant was always understaffed so, food was slow to table and overcooked in some cases. Entertainment was boring and catered to a "certain" crowd. Everything closed early, not leaving us many late night entertainment options. Ship was old inside and out and just lacked any excitement. Norwegian is very unorganized, from the directions given to the cruise terminal, to majority of the information we received on the boat. The ports in Mexico lacked any excitement as well. Same souvenir shops and borderline harrassed and bombarded to make purchases. Definitely was overpriced, even the shops on the boat. Was not worth it...I would never cruise with Norwegian again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
They don't have a big dining areas like on Royal Caribbean were every night you have a assigned table where you eat with the same people plus they have a lobster night. And you guys done away with it The girl told us you did it as a ... Read More
They don't have a big dining areas like on Royal Caribbean were every night you have a assigned table where you eat with the same people plus they have a lobster night. And you guys done away with it The girl told us you did it as a cost thing. I thought your buffet was like the same stuff. I did like their eggs benedict when they didn't run out of it . Also when to their steak house which it was not that great we were told that it was packed an we could not get in until 8.45 but II kept checking back and we got in at 7..pm and the place was half empty. Same thing happened at the Italian restaurant and we got in early an it was not full and there antipasto salad was a joke go to New York and they would laugh at it had no lettuce plus only one cheese. The lobster ravioli appetizer was great. Drink program was good and the bartenders on deck 13 were good. Plus no college football on Saturday. And our room guy was good. Very disappointing was the Belize trip you pull in to Norwegian mall not the town and the same thing in Mexico I never heard so many people say that they would never use this company again its something you don't want to hear. And this was on the Pearl Dec. 4th thru Dec 9th 2019 was not a good birthday present that wife worked hard to pay for. Also your management people for the biggest part were very rude to people. For the right amount money I would be glad to show them how to make the customer happy. I have been in management 39 years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The price was great for a solo cruise. Only paid for single occupancy. Travel from Houston to Miami was also at a bargain rate. I llike the layout of the ship. Especially enjoyed the Cigar room. (No cigarettes allowed!) The cigar ... Read More
The price was great for a solo cruise. Only paid for single occupancy. Travel from Houston to Miami was also at a bargain rate. I llike the layout of the ship. Especially enjoyed the Cigar room. (No cigarettes allowed!) The cigar room Steward (Aurturo) learned my name and drink preferences the first night and did not have to ask again. Also my room steward learned my name and never failed to greet me. I gave each of them extra tips. upgrade your WIFI package to unlimited. (without streaming unless streaming is very important to you. I was disappointed in the Meal Package I was happy with the Steakhouse and the French Bistro. Disappointed with the Brazilian & Italian venues. I also had the unlimited drink package. It was part of my "Free at Sea" package and I was quite satisfied. The embarkation was a little disorganized. I wound up carrying my luggage on board. Never did find out where I could have turned it over to the ship crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We booked this 5 day cruise to celebrate my husband’s birthday as well as our friends birthday. The dates covered both & the ports were ones we had not before been to. Embarkation took only minutes, & then we had about a half ... Read More
We booked this 5 day cruise to celebrate my husband’s birthday as well as our friends birthday. The dates covered both & the ports were ones we had not before been to. Embarkation took only minutes, & then we had about a half hour wait in the holding area before boarding. For an older ship, the Pearl seems in good shape & appeared clean. Rooms were fine with plenty of storage for a 5 day cruise. The shower was one of the nicest I’ve seen. However the toilet is in a tiny space, with little leg room. Strangely there was also an ashtray above the toilet paper holder (though our room steward told us the ship refers to it as a soap holder...haha). Another quirky thing on the Pearl is the uncomfortable chairs (either too low or too deep) throughout the entire ship. Our room steward, Sheryl, always had a smile & chat with us. The other staff would acknowledge you if passing in the hallway, but often wouldn’t initiate a “hello” or “good morning”. We saw the Captain only once.....on the last day during the Battle of the Cake Masters. We did enjoy mojitos at the Sugarcane Bar twice. It was disappointing that it didn’t open until 5:30 though. Our major disappointment came from the food. It was mediocre at best. We only ate at the buffet for breakfast. The first morning 2 of us had the made to order omelettes with some fried potatoes. Both items left a nasty aftertaste ...due we think to the oil they used. From then on we opted for the warm hard boiled eggs. Lunches were usually in O’Sheehan’s...there were some hits (burgers & quesadilla) & misses (Rueben sandwich & chicken sandwich where the chicken breast was the size of a chicken nugget). We ate one meal in Indigo (low ceilings & felt very closed in) & 3 in Summer Palace which both have the same menu. This was our 11th cruise but the first time in memory that there was never shrimp cocktail or escargot on the MDR menu, or prime rib or lobster either. We always found something to eat, but none of us ever raved about our meal. On the night of my husbands birthday we did go to LeBistro & had a fabulous meal....at a cost of course! Their French Onion soup was amazing (whereas the same soup in the MDR’s was horrendous). On board, my husband bought the $129 spa package which allowed him the use of the sauna, steam room thelosatherapy pool. He visited the spa about 3 times a day & really enjoyed it. We attended a couple of shows in the Spinnaker lounge but never any in the Stardust theater. In Belize, we took the Spice Farm & Botanical Garden excursion that was very interesting. Harvest Caye looked nice, if you just want to lie in the sun all day. But any food or drink purchases here have to be paid out of pocket. Our friends appreciated the golf cart ride from the ship to the marina. Costa Maya seemed like a waste of a Port day. We disembarked at 7:30, taking our own luggage with us & walked right off of the ship. This was our 2nd NCL Cruise...the first being a cruise to Cuba. But going forward we will stick with Celebrity, where the food is definitely better & the crew is friendlier. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Overall we had a fantastic time. Really enjoyed the Peal everything was beyond our expectations; service, food, cabin steward and excursions. The best restaurant was Le Bistro we were delighted when the coffee came it was a French Press! ... Read More
Overall we had a fantastic time. Really enjoyed the Peal everything was beyond our expectations; service, food, cabin steward and excursions. The best restaurant was Le Bistro we were delighted when the coffee came it was a French Press! Best dessert the tiramisu in La Cucina. The only thing I have to say about La Cucina it looks more like a Mexican restaurant that Italian. We had Thanksgiving dinner in Summer Place which was very good. Both MDRs were great. For coffee lovers there is one coffee machine right before you go out to the great outdoors that grinds actual coffee beans. We called it “the machine”. The great outdoors was the best place to eat breakfast or afternoon snack or oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip or my personal favorite banana bread cake! It would have been very nice to have a map included in the Freestyle for Grand Stirrup Cay took a little bit to find where to get the umbrellas and taco restaurant. I have to say that it is difficult to bowl while you are on a ship. The entertainment was great nothing was repeated. Really enjoyed each show. Will for sure cruise again on NCL Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
In the opinion of this experienced cruiser (10+), it is very difficult to not have a good time on a cruise unless something unusual happens- so with the itinerary of Panama Canal and Costa Rica, along with the standard western Caribbean ... Read More
In the opinion of this experienced cruiser (10+), it is very difficult to not have a good time on a cruise unless something unusual happens- so with the itinerary of Panama Canal and Costa Rica, along with the standard western Caribbean port swing through Harvest Caye, Roatan, and Costa Maya, good times were expected- and NCL met expectations. Those who cruise a lot may note that exceeding expectations is what distinguishes different cruises from others - I will try to tailor my comments for those new to cruising and for the more seasoned. The food is often the focus of many reviews- and I side with those who find the food ranges from "good" to "great" in all venues - and my wife and I ate in them all on this 12 day itinerary (although we did find somewhat repetitive menus). Service and attitudes were also accommodating from almost all crew – they certainly are a highlight. If you want to ensure a high-end experience, the special venue for breakfast and lunch for Haven and suite guests - the Moderno restaurant on this ship - was definitely that in terms of flavors and service – especially breakfast. In fact, the best filet I have had in any venue on NCL ever, including any Cagney's, was the Steak and egg breakfast I had in that venue - several other cruisers mentioned the same thing – a perfectly cooked and seasoned filet mignon. This was a Thanksgiving cruise, and the main dining room had a standard turkey entree and a ham holiday entree on the menu that evening that met my expectations. Desserts sometimes exceeded expectations- from the macerated berries with Grand Marnier sabayon in the main dining room, to the OMG cheesecake in several specialty venues on the ship, the raspberry crème brulee, a perfectly cooked apple tart, to a cassava cake on the buffet and even a sugar-free coconut pudding on the buffet. Snack time at the back of the ship had fresh baked goods that were a highlight. O’Sheehans was good for junk food and watching football, and you can find tasty hamburgers and hot dogs on the buffet and at the outdoor grill. Obtaining drinks were never an issue, as waiters seemed ready and able to serve (thanks Gede in the Sky High Bar!). I can recall only once in the Spinnaker lounge where the bartender could not make a drink because it was unfamiliar (although it really isn't difficult to figure out the ingredients for a dirty monkey – I went somewhere else to get it). Additionally, our concierge has now set a high bar in terms of service - she was truly outstanding. We only saw a few shows, and while talent is usually a standout on NCL, the theater experience was so-so. Legends in Concert was worth attending, but some comedians were not. I must say Dennis Veator, the guitarist in the main atrium, was outstanding. The woman scheduled for the last night, as a singer, was actually pretty good – even though that slot is going to play to a less than half-empty theatre with passengers starting to pack, she did her best to fire us up. Additionally, the guitarist and singing at the entrance to the buffet, not by pros, but by food staff (also named Gede), always put a smile on my face as well. I had a great time and new cruisers should certainly consider this ship. As far as the ports, the Maya Key resort in Roatan was enjoyable, had great food, great wildlife rescue center - and luckily, not too crowded (this could alter the experience). I would describe the Costa Rica excursion exploring their rainforests and canals/rivers as enjoyable as well, but the Maya Chan resort in Costa Maya - booked privately outside of NCL - is the best value as drinks are included, massages are available for a price that is more than fair, and the food is wonderful. So, for the more seasoned, where were the areas that needed improvement? Well, the initial itinerary of this cruise had the port of Cartegena, Columbia, but was switched to Grand Cayman - announced two days AFTER final payment was due. My suspicion is that NCL may have known about the changes a bit before the deadline, but cannot be sure. There were no towel animals- even after telling the steward we missed them. The "sky high bar and grill" is supposed to be a complimentary eating venue, but was only open for lunch on sea days, and even then had only hot dogs and burgers (although they were tasty in other places on the ship) - this still seemed a bit like false advertising. “Problematic” is the term I would use to describe the Panama Canal shore excursion. Although I can now check off my bucket list “traversing the entire Panama Canal”, the last three locks of the canal was done on a shore excursion tour ship that held 500 passengers (approximately 200 were on our ship) – not small, but by no means large. You have to wait for other ships to join you inside the locks before they will operate them, and a Princess tour ship of the same size, and a large sailboat, and a huge tanker, all had to enter the lock before it could operate and we could move forward. At first, it is somewhat interesting, but the next two locks were the same experience, and it takes just under an hour for all of that shipping volume to arrange itself inside the lock – each time. Coupled with a lunch that I would classify as “edible” and nothing more (bland pasta, badly seasoned chicken kabobs – NOBODY went back for seconds even though there was plenty available) and then having to wait for the Princess boat to dock and let off their passengers before we could disembark and finally take the 70 minute bus ride home, made for an extremely long, sometimes boring day, and had me feeling a bit “second class.” We were off the boat at 9:15am, back on at 7:55pm – the last ones to arrive. I am glad I did it, as one small benefit was seeing the entire cityscape of Panama City lighting up at night. Nevertheless, I certainly wish I got a LOT more for my money, and got back to the boat sooner. Also concerning was some of the experiences in the specialty restaurants- most of the main courses, especially the proteins, were outstanding. For example, Cagney’s veal chop with Morel mushroom sauce is a new fave– ordered it twice – and the wife’s steak was perfectly cooked. Half of our dining experience in Moderno was spent waiting for lamb to be properly cooked, which, initially, it absolutely was not – way, way overdone – we were happy that the restaurant manager acknowledged the issue and gave us a an estimated time for the new lamb without sugarcoating. We waited for better lamb, and when we eventually got it, we were more than pleased. The show in Teppanyaki and the food combines, still, for a worthwhile experience in my opinion. However, the appetizers and sides have declined a bit in taste and quality in some venues - both Cagneys and Moderno had issues. I can remember issues with both the bisque, the Mac and Cheese and the truffle fires in Cagneys, and the beans and rice in Moderno, among other items. La Cucina, outside of pasta, is just “OK” on this ship. While some desserts are great in these venues, some others tasted as if NCL bought them at the local supermarket (once again, please update your apple pie, NCL). The chairs in Cagney's and the Summer Palace MDR definitely need improvement - some were just darn uncomfortable to sit on. In addition, why the constant "hunt for Splenda" (or their brand “Wee-Cal”)? It was not always easy to find in certain places on the ship - impossible in others. They even ran out of it in the Haven breakfast on the last day. Really, what's up with that? The bottom line is that the dining experiences at complimentary venues are quite good- and I am beginning to think that the "free at sea" benefits that come with the purchase of the cruise at certain prices may not be worth it. If I can convince my wife of of a cabin where NCL assigns the location, (usually the lowest priced or "teaser" deal - because you don't get the free at sea deals with this category) I might consider that. If things keep going this way, even though I have platinum status on NCL, I may have to start comparing costs dollar for dollar with other cruise lines for what NCL claims is “included” in the cost of my cruise. Cruising is still a great value, and this cruise in particular was as well, but this cruise has made me really think carefully. I am well on my way to “platinum plus” with NCL and I have 4 cruisenext deposits on hand, but I think I can be lured away – I guess we shall see… Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We went on this cruise because we were joining my brother & sister-in-law for their anniversary. We are in our 50's and traveling without children. We were not really impressed with this cruise. We've been on others that were ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were joining my brother & sister-in-law for their anniversary. We are in our 50's and traveling without children. We were not really impressed with this cruise. We've been on others that were larger ships and they had so much more to offer. The staff were very good, friendly, and hard working. We didn't read the fine print that there'd be a corkage fee of US$15 for a bottle of wine brought onboard at embarkation, even if you were just going to drink it in your room. Most other cruise lines allow you to bring some wine onboard without a fee as long as you drink it in your room. Of course there'd be a corkage fee if brought to a dining room. So this was very annoying as we're not heavy drinkers and the drinks onboard were very pricey, plus an automatic 20% gratuity added. We arranged our own excursions instead of using the ship's because they were so much cheaper. Roatan was awesome! We hired a private driver (roatanadventuretours.net) to tour us around the island and this was the highlight of the cruise. In Puetro Limon (Costa Rica, we did the ziplane & canal cruise and that was very good as well. We did the Hop on Hop off tour through TripAdvisor in Caragena. It was ok but we've been on other Hop On tours that were much better. Because we booked it through TripAdvisor, we couldn't start the tour right from off the ship but had to first take a taxi into town (US$20 for 4 people) but there was a shuttle back to the ship at the end of the tour. We ordered the internet before we got on board so that we received a discount. It was pathetically slow. On other ships, we were offered a personal hotspot for when we were in port but NCL doesn't offer that so we had roaming charges when we were touring. The food was ok but seemed very redundant and many times wasn't hot but barely warm, which is basically what you expect from the buffet, but this was even the case with the fine dining restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We joined this cruise with friends that had already booked. A surprising 1st time adventure in a cruise ship. We were concerned about sea-sickness, turned out to be not an issue at all. The cruise was 11 days and it was hardly enough ... Read More
We joined this cruise with friends that had already booked. A surprising 1st time adventure in a cruise ship. We were concerned about sea-sickness, turned out to be not an issue at all. The cruise was 11 days and it was hardly enough time to experience all that the ship has to offer. Getting on and off the ship was sometimes a challenging experience, I think there must be something they could do to expedite the process. The food was excellent. We ate in ALL the restaurants. I would recommend the inclusive drink package - makes things so much easier. The NCL casual dress policy is a real incentive for us, who wants to put a jacket and tie on vacation every day? I would recommend NCL to everyone. We found the initial booking a negative experience, rushed by the NCL agent, felt pressured to complete "Right now", without clear details. Followup calls to the agent had to be placed multiple times and had no additional info. Their goal is clear: " Make The Sale! " I would not book directly with NCL again. Rather use a travel agent I think. Read Less
Sail Date November 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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