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I booked this cruise almost a year in advance when other recommended cruise lines were already 'wait listing' balcony rooms. I definitely wanted to leave and return to same port. NCL filled the bill so I booked with my local travel agent who was somewhat skeptical. She does not like the concept of a surcharge for 'specialty dining.' AFTER booking, I started reading reviews and alot were very negative. The wait was too long for main dining rooms, hard to get a drink, and more. I must say I got a little nervous, but decided to live with my decision. Our cruise was wonderful. Norwegian Pearl is a lovely, clean ship with activities for all. The staff is very friendly and so well groomed. My daughter's family came with us including an 8 and 10 year old. The KIDS CLUB is fantastic! The care givers there clearly LOVED children and the kids put on a really cute show the last day. We had trouble getting our grandkids out of there to even eat! We did use the specialty restaurants a fair amount(cost ranging from $10 to 25 pp, children half price,) but never had much of a wait for main dining room if we chose to eat there. The larger one, Summer Palace, is quite lovely and for lunch had the best Cobb salad I've ever tasted. There are so many bars/cocktail lounges on this ship, if someone couldn't get a drink, they must have had blinders on. I would recommend this 7 day cruise to anyone, especially a family with children.

Pleasant Surprise

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by Blazergirl1960

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2012
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
I booked this cruise almost a year in advance when other recommended cruise lines were already 'wait listing' balcony rooms. I definitely wanted to leave and return to same port. NCL filled the bill so I booked with my local travel agent who was somewhat skeptical. She does not like the concept of a surcharge for 'specialty dining.' AFTER booking, I started reading reviews and alot were very negative. The wait was too long for main dining rooms, hard to get a drink, and more. I must say I got a little nervous, but decided to live with my decision.

Our cruise was wonderful. Norwegian Pearl is a lovely, clean ship with activities for all. The staff is very friendly and so well groomed. My daughter's family came with us including an 8 and 10 year old. The KIDS CLUB is fantastic! The care givers there clearly LOVED children and the kids put on a really cute show the last day. We had trouble getting our grandkids out of there to even eat!

We did use the specialty restaurants a fair amount(cost ranging from $10 to 25 pp, children half price,) but never had much of a wait for main dining room if we chose to eat there. The larger one, Summer Palace, is quite lovely and for lunch had the best Cobb salad I've ever tasted. There are so many bars/cocktail lounges on this ship, if someone couldn't get a drink, they must have had blinders on.

I would recommend this 7 day cruise to anyone, especially a family with children.
Blazergirl1960’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11066
Nice cabin and great location close to elevators and stairs. Bed was really comfortable and bathroom had lots of nice shelves for toiletries. The cover on coach looked like it could be replaced, but all in all the cabin suited our needs. We were happy they had a coffee pot in the room, but need to upgrade the quality of coffee. How about some packets of Starbucks? After all, you are leaving from Seattle : )
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Whale Watching
    All female crew boat which was novel and very pleasant. I felt the actual 'big' whale siting was staged. We spent an hour looking for whales (spotted a few) and then they took us to a MAJOR spot, where about 10 to 15 boats were already patrolling. Oh, well, we did get to see alot of whales and it was a beautiful day.
    View All 609 Whale Watching Reviews
  • Ketchikan
    The best shopping port of our cruise. There were lots of good shops and wonderful 'fish and chip' stands. So glad I didn't waste time on a shore excursion here.
    View All 1,428 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ketchikan Cruise Port Review
  • Hiking
    This is a VERY difficult hike which is described as 'uneven terrain' and does recommend good physical health. I am 70 and my husband 73 (3 years post total knee replacement.) We went to Amsterdam last year and had no problem walking 4 or 5 miles a day. This hike was unbelievable...straight up at times with tree roots all different sizes and shapes as steps, nothing to hold on to. If it hadn't been for the wonderful tour guide, John Harmon, I would have never made it. However, it was a fabulous experience and another beautiful day but they need to upgrade the difficulty of this hike. Was I happy went we floated down the river on the raft! Spectacular scenery too.
    View All 26 Hiking Reviews
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour
    We did get overview of a small part of city, but it was slow and wasted a good hour when we could have been walking to these places. There was a big festival in Victoria that night and all the streets and restaurants were mobbed. My impression of this town would have probably been alot different at another time. Sorry I didn't do the Butchart Gardens tour. Very easy to get a cab to and from the ship and they will take American money.
    View All 22 Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour Reviews