Bad to Good: Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by Bohnsman

Norwegian Pearl 4

Overall Member Rating

Bad to Good

Sail Date: March 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
My husband and I were very excited about our Norwegian cruise and had heard a lot of great things about the company. With all the emails they sent us and how many hours I was on their website we were really hyped up about this vacation more so than usual.

When we arrived in Miami the embarkation seemed a bit disorganized compared to Royal Carribean (which we had taken last year). Once you get through all the paperwork and lines you are greated by music and dancers to get you excited about your trip. You walk in and you are on Deck 7 but the food is up on Deck 12. No one told us that, so we are walking around trying to find the food because we were hungry. It was disorganized and frusterating. We finally found the buffet and since everyone embarked at the same time there was no where to sit and eat, you had to pratically stand by someone's table until they got up and than sit down real quick before anyone else claimed it. The buffet should have larger signs of what the food is, More because people would crowd around to see what there was to offer at each station. The only complimentary beverages are water, tea, coffee and juices in the morning. I was disappointed that you couldn't have juices in the afternoon.

Finally we got to our room and the room was beautifully decorated and very modern looking. The rooms although typical cruise size had a lot of shelves and drawers for storage. It didn't feel crammed in there at all. It was a nice living space for a week. Our bed was two twin beds instead of one queen. We just called to front desk to let them know we would like one bed. They said they would take care of it at turn down service... never did. So we called again and they sent the housekeeping manager. He took care of the problem.. but when we returned there was someone else's shirt under our bed. I'm not sure how he missed that.

All of our alcoholic blended beverages tasted like watered down alcohol, there was no additonal flavors. On a pina coloda that I paid $10.75 for I should taste the coconut and pineapple flavors as well as rum. Not ice and rum. I was very disappointed in the beverages. We just started ordering regular martinis instead of blended drinks which is a shame because when your in the Carribean what kind of drink do you usually want?

Dinner the first night was disappointing as well.. the staff was rude, we were shoved in this little corner because they were so busy and the food was adequate. We went to Summer Palace the rest of the nights instead of Indigo and the service and food was a lot better. I know they have the same menu but maybe because the service was better the food got better. The service was fantastic in Summer Palace and the atmosphere is great. They try and sell you on the speciality restaurants a lot. They get really pushy about that and that got really annoying. Why would I pay for food when I paid for a cruise that includes food? Not only that but the prices seemed a little steep in my opinion. So we just stuck with the complimentary food. The buffets had a good selection of food. I was disappointed that the food wasn't 24 hours long or kept open longer. If you wanted a midnight snack (lets face it thats what you do when you go cruising is you eat all day long) you have to go upstairs to deck 8 and its a 3 course meal. We didn't want 2 3-course meals, we would just want like a slice of pizza or some french fries. Something to cure the munchies not another meal. So that was annoying. The ice cream stations seemed to be closed at strange times too... it would be hot outside and craving an ice cream but the station would be closed.

When we went to their private island we were kind of disappointed as well. We had been on Royal Carribean's island and had high expectations of Norwegians. Their beach chairs look kind of cheap, and there didn't seem to be sufficent amounts so get early. If you walk along the beach you can find more private seating. If you wanted covered seating there will be an additional charge. Royal Carribean had beautiful canopies and a lot of covered seating for no charge. We were bummed about that. The food on the island was fantastic, great variety. But the island is under construction so right now its not very pretty to look at, and there's not a lot to do.

The entertainment was fantastic each night. We loved going to all the shows. The cruise dancers performed typical cruise like shows but we enjoyed the variety of shows they offered. They also offered several other events you could watch/participate in which were fun to go to. Although the location of Spinaker Lounge was not really pratical since these seats are more for larger groups and not so much individuals or small groups. The events in Spinaker lounge get there early so you can get a good seat.

The rest of the service throughout the week was great, and the food got increasingly better as well. The ship is goregous and very well deocrated. We liked all the additional activies like chess, checkers, shuffleboard, rock climbing etc. Also all the planned events like martini tasting but beaware they like to charge for additional events as well.

Overall a beautiful ship and we would go again. In fact we are planning on goin to Europe using Norwegian. Once we understood more about the free style cruising and what to expect from Norwegian we really enjoyed our time. Less

Published 04/11/12

Cabin review:

I thought our cabin was very spacious and a lot of storage room. There was plenty of walking space. We had an oceanview room which is great to use as a way to wake up-waking up with the sun. The rooms are colorful and vibrant. There are a lot of shelves and drawers. Abundance of storage room. The vanity was nice. The bathroom was nice as well, I liked the seperate door for the toilet area. That way more than one person could be in the bathroom if need be. The shower at first was confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it works great.

Port and Shore Excursions

Cozumel was great! The people in Cozumel are so nice. They are not pushy at all. You have to walk through a shopping mall to get down to the streets of Cozumel and back to the port so that was kind of annoying. I wish you could just skip the mall and go straight to the streets. We got some great souviners from Cozumel at very reasonable prices. If you do your shopping here, walk a little ways from when you first get off the ship. There are other shops and even another shopping center a little walk down the street. For lunch we went to Wet Wendys Thirsty Cougar. BEST FOOD! Their margaritias are huge and tasty, and the food was fantastic. Our waitress was so friendly. A lot of things show up in pasos price but they do accept USD you may just have to do some exchange conversions in your head. Which the exchange rate changes among stores so find out the rate first. I would visit Cozumel again!
Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

Turtle Farm

The turtle farm in the Grand Caymans is fantastic. It was so much fun to get to touch the turtles and play with them. The best part of the whole park. The park was very beautiful and clean. We really enjoyed the swimming pool as well. Staff very friendly. My only concern is that there was only one sign on how to handle the turtles properly and once the area got congested people would mishandle the turtles which made me very concerned. There wasn't a whole lot to do in Grand Cayman. They got hit by a hurricane not too long ago so there are a lot of buildings shut down or blocked from public access.

Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegians private island. You can only get there through tendering. Tendering is where the boat anchors off shore and a small boat comes to pick you up to take you to the island. Becareful tender boats feel the waves more so than bigger boats. Get there early if you want a chair. There are not a whole lot of chairs and there's really not a whole lot of private areas. We wanted to do a massage on the beach but it was $80 per person and it was right in the middle of everyone's chairs -not private at all so we decided not to. If you walk a bit you can find more private areas. If you want any covered seating it will cost you more. The buffet they provide from like 11:30-1 was delicious. Great variety and loved all the beach food. You could get freash coconut, star fish, jerked chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, etc. Yummy food. The island is going under construction so really right now there is not a whole lot to see or do. It was kind of a bummer. We didn't spend a whole lot of time on the island. The beach was beautiful and we got some beautiful pictures but that was about it.

Horseback Riding

The horseback riding in Jamiaca was FANTASTIC! The staff was so friendly and helpful and they were willing to take pictures for the customers. The horses seemed a bit skinny but very well behaved and used to the situation. You do ride very close to each other on the trail ride but you get to see beautiful scenery. The horseback riding through the ocean was exhilirating. So fun! I would do it again in a heartbeat. Got fun and beautiful pictures from the whole experience. Jamaica is a beautiful country-very green. Fell in love with it right away. Be careful of the people of Jamaica because you can find yourself in dangerous situations very easily. Don't let anyone escort you to a place- they will want money at the very least. We had a gentleman offer to take us to Margaritaville but we quickly noticed that he was passing the entrance to the restaurant and taking us to a shady area. I've heard this from others as well. So becareful! The straw market people are very pushy so make sure if you want something you offer the price you want to pay and stand your ground. They will try and trade items with you. We had one man agressively try and trade my husbands watch for some souviners... Scary (it wasn't even a nice watch.)The people are very rude and pushy here. There are only like two restaurants close to port that we could find. We really enjoyed Margaritaville-its a fun party restaurant but the food was good too.

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