1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our 27th cruise, our 4th on Norwegian. Our cruise was a 9-day cruise, with 6 ports of call (Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, Guatemala, Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel.) Our cruise package included the Ultimate Beverage Package, 3 nights ... Read More
This was our 27th cruise, our 4th on Norwegian. Our cruise was a 9-day cruise, with 6 ports of call (Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, Guatemala, Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel.) Our cruise package included the Ultimate Beverage Package, 3 nights of upscale dining, and $200.00 shipboard credit, which we feel was a great deal! My husband and I traveled to New Orleans from Houston by car the day before. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Superdome who offered us a Stay and Park package that included parking for the length of the cruise which was fantastic. Overall we had an awesome trip. The port was a short cab ride from our hotel, and the Embarkation was one of the fastest we have ever experienced. Everyone was helpful, from the porters at the curbside to the staff inside. We arrived about 10:30 AM, quickly checked our bags, walked in and was through the line in no time. We sat in the terminal for about an hour waiting to board. We had fun trying to locate other members of the CC Board. We had a port side balcony cabin (10548). The rooms on NCL are tiny but efficient. Our cabin steward introduced himself immediately and was always available and helpful throughout our entire cruise. When we got to our cabin there was a complimentary bottle of champagne for us being Latitude Members, along with a 6 pack of 1-liter bottles of water that we pre-purchase. Although we had the Ultimate Beverage Package, had to pay the taxes on drinks while in the Port of New Orleans. Once at sea all cocktails and soft drinks were included. (This does not include fancy coffee or Water). For breakfast, we mostly ate at “The Great Outdoors”. Although we ate breakfast at O'Sheehan's and Summer Palace a couple of days. The breakfast food and atmosphere was good at all. For lunch, we ate at O’Sheehan’s, Garden Café, and Lotus Garden, where we could find things we like. Our biggest disappointment was dinner… there was no lobster to be found!!! Not even in the specialty dining rooms. We had dinner at Cagney’s Steakhouse and were told that Lobster was replaced with Shrimp (really?) Although the food there was good, I was still a little bummed. To my surprise when we ate at Le Bistro, no lobster! I ended up with the grilled salmon which I later found out was the same entre’ that was served in the main dining rooms that night. Since I was so disappointed with Cagney’s selection, we changed our 2nd reservation there to Moderno – bad decision. Unless you are a serious carnivore, Moderno is not for you. I had dined there before on the Jade and Jewel, and recall that the salad bar was awesome, not so much on the Pearl. None of the food was bad, just the selection was not that much better than the meals served in the Indigo Main Dining Room. The service everywhere was awesome. We had to tender into 3 ports (Grand Cayman, Roatan, and Belize). NCL REALLY needs to review their tendering process. You had to stand in line to get tender tickets, then stand in line to leave the ship. It was ridiculous. I suggest that you get tendering tickets when you get you room-key at registration. This would cut down on at least one line you had to stand in. In Costa Maya, we booked a private tour at Maya Chan. It was excellent! Although the ride was a rough one getting there (bad roads) we never felt we were in any danger. Once we got there the service was superb! It was an all-inclusive resort and everything was taken care of. The only excursion we booked through the ship was the Guatemala Highlights and Beach Tour. Although there really aren’t many highlights in San Tomas, our tour guide was very knowledgeable of Guatemalan History and our driver as excellent. The beach resort was very nice as well. I enjoyed meeting other Cruise Critic members at our planned activities, which included the official CC Meet and Greet with the officers. Overall, it was a great trip. I really wish NCL would return to Texas if so I am sure we would cruise with them more often. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
The itinerary was a determining factor. I am disabled and confined to a wheel chair and our cabin 10644 was a complete disaster for me and I did have an accessible room. As you opened the door to the cabin the was a steel pole right ... Read More
The itinerary was a determining factor. I am disabled and confined to a wheel chair and our cabin 10644 was a complete disaster for me and I did have an accessible room. As you opened the door to the cabin the was a steel pole right inside which was difficult to maneuver around. The access to the balcony was really messed up, the ramp going to the balcony was obstructed by the bed by about 6 inches which meant that I had to go up at an angle, thus causing my front wheels of my chair to get stuck in the door. My wife had to assist me every time I wanted to enjoy the balcony. Our room was great other than the items above, great room steward, we had to look for him to say hello!! He appeared when we were not in the cabin. As for excursions....NONE for handicap accessible and I was told of the one they did have that I had to exit and enter a bus with steps and at one of those stops I would have to remain on the bus! Was told to hire my own taxi! The food was excellent and we did utilize three of the specialty restaurants and we sure did enjoy Lotus garden. We did enjoy the cruise and booked on board for next December on the DAWN. I had not cruised with Norwegian for a few years but loved the itinerary This was my 29the cruise. Love the freestyle dining and the not so dressy attire. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
As this was our first cruise we didn't know what to expect. Norwegian had come highly recommended, especially the freestyle dining, which we really enjoyed. We tried all the complimentary restaurants and the Brazilian BBQ, Moderno. We ... Read More
As this was our first cruise we didn't know what to expect. Norwegian had come highly recommended, especially the freestyle dining, which we really enjoyed. We tried all the complimentary restaurants and the Brazilian BBQ, Moderno. We chose not to get any kind of beverage package, which turned out to be a mistake as a 12-ounce beer was about $9 and cocktails were close to $14, nevermind the $3+ for a pop. Embarkation/disembarkation -- Kind of chaotic. Had to stand in a long line and it was rather warm and stuffy inside. Have seen a lot of complaints about the NOLA port but as this was a first cruise we have nothing to compare to. One problem we did have was when we disembarked the Uber drivers had a hard time getting to us. Apparently the police block off roads randomly around NOLA and it can make it harder to get around. Cabin -- Cabin was small but we were only in there to sleep so it wasn't a big deal. The shower was horrible. The water changed randomly from warm to scalding hot. As a tall person, I found the toilet awkward due to its placement. Dining -- As stated, we tried all the complimentary dining. The buffet had a great variety but my girlfriend was underwhelmed by the actual food. She found the various meats she tried to be very overcooked and the food just mediocre in general. Her kids loved the buffet, however, and would have eaten every meal in there if they could have. I thought the food was fine, especially the deserts (key lime bars!!). For the restaurants, O'Sheehan's was definitely our least favorite. We tried it twice and were underwhelmed both times (though the spinach dip and wings appetizers were pretty good). The nachos were just chips with some cheese sauce on top, reminiscent of 7-11 nachos; the hot turkey sandwich seemed like pressed turkey breast smothered in beef? gravy (the same gravy they used on the prime rib, which was just okay); the fajitas were fine but nothing special. Lotus Garden was my girlfriend's favorite complimentary dining. The dumplings and char siu were delicious! Indigo was nice overall. The service was fantastic, the deserts were tasty, the mains were decent. The girlfriend and one of the kids had the steak both times they went and both times they were definitely overcooked. Moderno -- We paid the extra and took the kids to Moderno and we were not disappointed! This was hands down our favorite food. The ambiance was nice and aside from a small hiccup at the beginning with not giving us clean plates after our appetizers, the service was excellent. The food was very good. Finally we had meat that wasn't overcooked and the grilled pineapple was delicious! The pace of them bringing the various meats around was perfect. All four of us loved the meal here. Entertainment -- We saw 5 shows on the ship. The comedian Lucas Bohn was great (both the family friendly and adult only shows), Chris Pendelton the Funny Fiddle lady was excellent, and the acrobats were amazing. We would happily see any of them again. Our only disappointment with the shows was the Chris John show. He was billed as a perfect mix of music and comedy; we found this not to be the case. He wasn't funny and his impressions weren't very good. Would definitely not see him again. Service -- Overall the service was outstanding. The people at the Guest Services desk seemed to want to be anywhere but at the Guest Services desk, but everyone else was pleasant and friendly. Ports and excursions -- Overall the ports were great. Cozumel - We went to a local resort which was so/so. The kids loved it and it had a nice beach, but we would have preferred a snorkeling beach. Grand Cayman - Beautiful but expensive! We took a taxi to a private resort and did some amazing snorkeling. The sand was incredible here. It was also a lot of fun looking in the shops here. Roatan - This was the place we were most looking forward to, but unfortunately our excursion was cancelled due to the weather. We ended up taking a taxi around the island which was eye opening. We left the port on foot to shop at some local stores, which was a bit problematic Right outside the gate are a group of guys who start hassling you immediately. They want you to give them money for walking you down the street. It was uncomfortable and almost caused us to go back. Fortunately some of the shop keepers chased them away before we did so. We went into a little store called "Made in Roatan" which was amazing. It's a not for profit store that sells handmade goods by local artisans. All the proceeds go back to the artisans. They don't take credit cards, but they will let you pay by PayPal when you get internet access again. Very cool little store. Guatemala - Not a lot to see here, but the flea market was interesting and had a lot of beautiful handmade goods. Be prepared to barter here as the merchants will chase you offering better and better deals. It can be a little overwhelming and tiring. The people are very friendly and the welcome desk had all kinds of freebies for us - footbags for the kids, pins for all of us, and Guatemalan wish/friendship bracelets for all of us. Harvest Caye - We were looking forward to this place, but it was a disappointment for us. It would be great if you just want to lay on the beach or by a pool, but that just isn't for us. We'd rather snorkel. The kids did the rope course and had fun though. It was a little on the pricey side but it was clean and wasn't busy as we were the only ship in port. If we go here again we probably will just skip the port and stay on the ship for the day. Costa Maya -- Mixed feelings about this place. The way it's laid out you feel kind of trapped into doing what they offer right there. We were just hoping to take a taxi somewhere we could snorkel. People swarmed us trying to sell us expensive packages but we weren't interested. We asked a guy in the port if we could just take a taxi somewhere and snorkel and he flat out lied to us, telling us it was illegal for us to go to the reef without a guide and that you can't snorkel there unless you have the guide. This of course made us wary of going out alone. Fortunately another excursion vendor at the end of the port let us know that was not correct. We ended up taking a taxi to a local resort and snorkeled from the beach. It was beautiful here and the water was very shallow - waist deep hundreds of feet offshore - but there was a very strong current. Be prepared to drift snorkel here. Totally worth it though. Overall we have decided excursions aren't worth it for us. We'd rather just pay a local taxi and head to our destination. The excursions cost 3-4 times what we paid to do the exact same thing ourselves. Unexpected costs -- Everyone told us pack half as many clothes as you think you need and bring twice as much money. They were dead on about the money but way off on the clothes. They have laundry on the boat. Make sure you catch the $20 special. It was a real shock to pay $20 to wash some underwear and some shirts. Those bags don't hold much. If we hadn't had the coupon it would have cost over $100 for our laundry. Ridiculous. Somehow we had also missed the "mandatory gratuity" charge and didn't know about it until right before we left. That seemed very, very steep and added over $500 to our bill. We also didn't expect the drinks to be so expensive. We know for next time. The kids were looking forward to bowling, but we didn't realize it was going to cost $7 per person per game. That seemed steep and not surprisingly it was rare to see anyone actually bowling. Kids -- My girlfriend's 11-year-old sons were travelling with us. They had a blast. They loved the food and did the Splash Academy every day. Some of the other kids their age just checked out and didn't stick around for the activities, but our kids stayed and enjoyed themselves. There was always lots for them to do and each day had a different theme. Everyone had a great time and we will definitely be cruising again. We want to try out one of the other cruise lines so we have something to compare. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose this Norwegian Cruise because of the itinerary and the port of departure - New Orleans. The embarkation was very disorganized. We were herded in like cattle. Employees did not seem to be concerned with making any kind of positive ... Read More
I chose this Norwegian Cruise because of the itinerary and the port of departure - New Orleans. The embarkation was very disorganized. We were herded in like cattle. Employees did not seem to be concerned with making any kind of positive impression. We waited in one line only to be told to move to another line and then another line. I gave my credit card information during check-in and again when I was cut-off on the ship because the ship did not have my credit card information. The service on the ship was excellent. No complaints. Every crew member we came in contact with was friendly and very service orientated. This was the one redeeming factor on the cruise. The food in the specialty restaurants was excellent. The food in the buffet was terrible. The entertainment on the ship was so-so. In my opinion there were not enough activities on the ship. The cruise time on the ship was for the most part boring. The public areas on the ship were very clean. It made me sad to see so much poverty on our shore excursions. The disembarkation was a nightmare. The feeling we got was - the cruise is over and we've got your money so good luck getting out of here. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our 17th cruise and our first on Norwegian. When we first started cruising we were told there were issues with Norwegian and it wasn't recommended. We've cruised Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival (we weren't ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise and our first on Norwegian. When we first started cruising we were told there were issues with Norwegian and it wasn't recommended. We've cruised Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival (we weren't impressed with the latter). We took this cruise on Norwegian because of an excellent deal we received through our Total Rewards membership and we are so glad we did. While the stateroom was a little less than what we've come to expect on other cruise lines (size), we did like the layout of the bathroom (bigger shower). The ship was lovely with every amenity we needed. The service was excellent. Most of all we enjoyed the Freestyle dining. It was, by far, the best dining experience we've had. Loved that you have 5 choices of restaurants and can just walk in whenever you want. From the elegant Summer Palace to the great Asian Lotus Garden to the great food at the less formal Indigo, we enjoyed them all. We also went to the Japanese restaurant for lots of fun and scrumptious food. There were a couple of little things...like the horrible constant hot and cold streaming shower. Check in was also a bit of a zoo. Lines going every which way and no one to direct you to what line to get into. But all in all we give it really high marks and will definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
The food was good except the buffet cooks scorched the omelets and didn't fry crispy bacon. Our wait staff in the dining room were great! The room was too small. We like interior or ocean view rooms. We couldn't get out of bed without ... Read More
The food was good except the buffet cooks scorched the omelets and didn't fry crispy bacon. Our wait staff in the dining room were great! The room was too small. We like interior or ocean view rooms. We couldn't get out of bed without hurting ourselves. If there wasn't a bunk bed folded up against the wall it would have been better. The toilet was an odd angle so you couldn't use it properly. The shower was great! All other cruise lines have rooms starting at 175 sq.ft. which makes a big difference.The perks were good. The shows were not as good as our last NCL cruise. The casino allowed smoking so it drifted into the Auditorium in the evening shows. New Orleans embarkation is very confusing! The lady who was suppose to give us a boarding card didn't so we were one of the first to check in and one of the last to board. Disembarkation wasn't much better. We will know the system for our next cruise out of New Orleans. The ship was fine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
The itinerary looked good and included ports we'd never been to with only 2 full days at sea. Previously had cruised only on Princess. The Norwegian Pearl was nicely decorated for the holidays, clean and well-maintained. NEVER crowded ... Read More
The itinerary looked good and included ports we'd never been to with only 2 full days at sea. Previously had cruised only on Princess. The Norwegian Pearl was nicely decorated for the holidays, clean and well-maintained. NEVER crowded even though all cabins were sold out - amazing! One fellow remarked he'd been on 38 cruises and couldn't figure out where the people were! So many bars, lounges, restaurants to choose from. As expected - Only the area near the casino was disgusting as it reeked of cigarette smoke from the moment the elevator opened. YIKES that was gross - usually it just stinks inside the casino. New Orleans Port Authority could use some improvements - the port crew seemed lackadaisical when loading ship and baggage - left passenger bags uncovered during torrential evening rain - giving many passengers soaking wet luggage (it wasn't close enough to the ship to allow the ship's crew to touch it. Probably a union thing. We left hours late and I heard and felt it was due to poor management of the port at NOLA. The check in experience could be better, long lines and they need to realize people will always come earlier than they are supposed to (or agreed to online in advance!) We had a mini-suite/balcony and the cabin was very nice and comfortable.Loved the curtain between the sleeping area and TV/couch area to allow for nice dark cabin in the early mornings. Entertainment and activities were probably fine, we didn't do too many as it was windy a lot on deck and a bit cool for our taste to be by the pool. Bingo was fine (but expensive), latin dance lessons were fun (and FREE!), service by most all the staff was very good. Food wasn't quite what we'd hoped for. The shore excursions we picked were exactly as advertised and the staff/drivers were very good. Didn't travel with children as this was a 28th anniversary celebration cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
New Orleans and the itinerary. We stayed at the Embassy suites a great location and walked to the port. Not the best Port for embarking and disembarking. We had a mini-suite which was very nice and larger than expected. The ship was ... Read More
New Orleans and the itinerary. We stayed at the Embassy suites a great location and walked to the port. Not the best Port for embarking and disembarking. We had a mini-suite which was very nice and larger than expected. The ship was refurbished and looked very nice. Love the colors as very contemporary. The showroom very large and no problem getting seats for shows. We liked the food and service was mainly very good. Specialty restaurants Cagney’s, Le Bistro were good and we also like the complimentary restaurants Summer Palace and Indigo. Ports were good except Roatan we had rain so couldn’t snorkel and the drive around the island not great. Loved Grand Cayman as went on snorkel boat and sand bar with stingrays. Harvest Caye like a resort but Not all inclusive. We took ferry to Placentia island to see how natives live. Costa Maya went to Mayan ruins and 7 color lagoon for kayaking. My biggest complaint is the smoking allowed on the whole 7th deck and 1/2 pool area. Entertainment ok some good comedians, singers, and dancers. No stage backdrops only lighting. We are used to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean who have much better entertainment. Although I’m sure the bigger ships on NCL have better entertainment. We would go on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
The ship is beautiful, always clean and the food was fantastic. Believe it or not I found the buffet food to be better than the dining room this trip. Only thing better was Cagneys which is always awesome. As far as staff, very few ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, always clean and the food was fantastic. Believe it or not I found the buffet food to be better than the dining room this trip. Only thing better was Cagneys which is always awesome. As far as staff, very few talked or even smiled, could not tell if they were new or just unhappy to be there. Bartenders on deck 6 and 7 were terrible, rude, uncaring, walked away more than a few times and went to deck 8 to get a drink. Dealing with the attitudes was not worth it. We had a huge group of cruise critic people on the boat and I was not the only one that felt that way. It was elevated to the senior staff. Their answer was a fruit basket delivered to the room. But that did not fix the problem. After getting home from the cruise I did go and cancel my next cruise on the Pearl out of Tampa. I did reschedule for the Breakaway out of New Orleans. I would have given in a higher rating but cant because of the crew. Read Less
Norwegian Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
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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