Norwegian Good, But Not As Good As Royal or Princess: Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by thebelf

Norwegian Pearl 3
Member Since 2009
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Norwegian Good, But Not As Good As Royal or Princess

Sail Date: February 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
Now, although the cruise was nice it just isn't as nice as Royal or Princess. Almost in every way Royal or Princess is just one notch better. We tried a NCL back in 2002 and at the time we thought the same thing but we decided to give NCL another try. We won't be doing that again--unless for some reason NCL is the only line with a particular port.

We get on the ship and notice that the ship is very beautiful. If you are only interested in the beauty of the common areas of the ship then NCL might be for you. We head up to the buffet and find the crowds hard to fight through--we try to find the other buffet and find that there is only one (besides a small area on the back of the ship which acts like a mini-buffet). The other lines we have been on always seem to have another place to go if one side is too busy--this just wasn't the same on Norwegian. We found the place on the back of the ship but it was limited in it's selection and the problem is that the selection in More the larger buffet area was already lacking. The food was sometimes good but sometimes just fair. Overall food was one notch better on the many Royal and Princess cruises on which we have been.

The anytime dining doesn't accept reservations unless you are a very large party and we only had 5 people. We wanted to make reservations since my daughter is 5 and keeping her entertained in line isn't an easy task and coming to eat at 8 p.m. is also difficult because she is needing to sleep and gets crabby. The first couple of nights were painful since they kept recommending we come at the time the dining room opened but there was always a very long line and they just couldn't get the people through as fast as Royal or Princess. We did learn, however, that if you arrive about 45 min after they open the wait isn't nearly as bad. The food in the dining room seemed to be overall one step below what we have had on Royal or Princess.

We considered Norwegian this time because they seem to be one of the lines that caters to children. The kids center did seem to entertain our daughter very well but when she was 4 she never would let us drop her off. So, we can't really compare the kids center to any of the other ships since this is the first time we really used it. But it was nice.

The pool area, however, was less than spectacular. The 2 pools are crammed together on one deck and there really is not much of an area to sit by the pool. The stage is between the pools, they grill on one side of the other pool. There is just no area close to the pool. There are chairs a little further away from the pools but it just was a step below what we have had on Royal or Princess (do you see a pattern here yet?)

It's not like we are Royal only people--we have tried several lines but would probably not use Norwegian again because it just doesn't measure up.

The day we came on the boat from Cozumel the security line was packed (like always) but they didn't keep it organized. Some other guests were in front of me and they were waiting to put their stuff on the scanner. Then they rush in front of me--so my stuff comes out first and I can't get to my stuff. I grab my three bags I always carry--I thought my wife grabbed the bags we just purchased. We walk about 20 feet away around a corner and realize we don't have our newly purchased t-shirts and bag of 31 necklaces for my daughter's class at preschool. My wife goes back (1 or 2 min later at the most) and they are gone. Security comes to our room and says we see you entered the boat at 4:21 and 37 seconds and we will check the video. But still even though my wife gave a perfect description of the bags and the contents and they know who exactly got on the ship right before us and right after us they were unable to find our missing items. The security officer was nice to stop by our room to take the report but it didn't appear like they really cared to find the stuff and were just hoping that someone would realize they accidentally took it and bring it back. The way the people acted by the scanner make us believe that it was on purpose--but looking back it's easier to see that now. I just wish security would have worked it as a intentional act.

One week after our cruise is over there is a 12.06 charge on our credit card from NCL. We did not use any of the items in the refrigerator. But they claim that must have been it--but it didn't appear the next day it was 1 week later. On the ship my credit card was charged on the day we left and posted the next day. So, if I HAD used any of the items on board it should have showed quicker than that--it makes me feel like NCL is trying to sneak more money out of people. Less

Published 02/28/13

Cabin review: MB11128 Mini-Suite with Balcony

Cabin was very nice. Good layout--nice to have the toilet to have the door shut--so I could go without stinking out my wife while she was fixing her hair. They allowed us to have our balcony door opened to the balcony of the other couple we were traveling with which was very nice. The room (11128) was right below one of the food areas and we heard every night a worker's shoes clomping around. But it never was too late and we didn't hear it too early--so it never kept us awake. We loved being right below the buffet in the morning--walk one flight up and we were there. And it wasn't too bad of a walk to go to dinner just a couple of flights down. We were close to the elevators but didn't hear any noise from them and funny thing is we didn't use them because of the perfect location.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We booked our own one day all-inclusive resort. It was very close to the port and had a nice beach and the waiter that "took care of us" was very good. But we didn't get any bottled beer--only from a larger bottle that was poured into several glasses. It would have been nice to hold my own bottle or my own can or even have a beer out of the tap. But the beer was cold and o.k. The mixed drinks were ok and the pool was nice--including the kid's pool. The snorkeling was better than expected but there was really no beach and they claim there to be one. It could have fit like 5 beach chairs on it--but there were none. We did very much enjoy our day here--but it could have been nicer.
Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

We booked a boat on our own and it was great that we were the first ones to the Sting Ray City and we had some awesome snorkeling and Star Fish Beach was really neat too. We booked a larger boat but got put on a smaller boat because of the lack of other people--and several in our group got nauseous. Don't think they would have happened on the larger ship. But the locations were all top notch.

NCL's private island. Not as good as the private islands owned by Royal or Princess (sorry to say).

We did an excursion to Dunns River Falls on our own. We happened to find out about a guy we could trust from one of the workers on the boat. And when we said we were looking for Cool Jeff (aka Old Man Jeff) the other tour operators found him for us. And he was very good. Didn't try to screw with us--just took us where we wanted for the price we expected (since we did some homework). And, like always, we discussed pricing before we left. We DEFINITELY RECOMMEND Dunn's River Falls--even with an almost to be 5 year old (her birthday was the week after we returned).

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