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This was our sixth and longest cruise. We had used NCL twice b/4 and have been pleased with the results. We did not partake in any of the on board activities accept a couple of lectures on the excursions (we had already booked our excursions but went anyway). If you don't book excursions prior to embarkation, this is very informative. The service on board has never been a problem for us with NCL or Carnival and was great this time as well. The embarkation however was not so great. We had arranged to use the NCL shuttle service and when I mentioned our flight arrival was 3 hours before we were supposed to arrive at the port, I was told that the NCL representatives would be at the airport and would not be a problem. Maybe they meant not a problem for them. After we went through the usual lines and security it was still over an hour before boarding time so we all were directed to a huge waiting area with one bathroom that didn't work. We sat there well after boarding should have begun. Due to someone being ambulanced away and mechanical problems the ship left port almost 2 hours late. The airport would have been a much better place to wait until boarding time. Lesson learned – Do not arrive at the port early, even if it’s through the cruise line. Once we left port things went fine. This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. I liked the larger balcony that you get on deck 11. Our balcony roof did not extend all the way out like most balconies which gave it a more open feel. The tub/shower gives you a little more room to shower. The TV was a very small flat screen. Our cabin was under the kitchen service area and was a bit noisy at 3am. It wasn't much of a problem for us until the last night of the cruise. The location did give us easy access to the garden café buffet. We may go back to just a balcony next time to use the extra $$ for other things. The ports of call are usually what dictate the cruise we take. The first port was Cartagena, Colombia. We chose the “CITY VIEWS WITH CARRIAGE RIDE” tour. The carriage was not covered but the tall buildings kept us in the shade most of the time. This place gets hot fast so be prepared. The next stop was the Panama Canal. We went through the Atlantic side locks and tendered ashore from lake Gatun to our excursion "ECO CRUISE & GATUN LOCKS" We watched other ships go through the locks we had just passed through then took a boat ride on the lake and saw a 3 toed sloth and a few birds. We were then dropped off in Colon Panama where we ate lunch and did a little shopping. The ship has to wait on Lake Gatun until ship traffic goes back to the ocean where the Pearl docks in Colon, usually after you get there. (You go through the locks just once if you book an excursion.) On the 3rd stop - Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, we took the “VERAGUA RAINFOREST & TORTUGUERO CANALS” tour. Our tour started at the Canals where we saw several sloths, birds and lizards. The tour description mentioned “fresh fruits, juice and coffee” after the river cruise but all we saw was juice. It was raining when we arrived at the rainforest, but most of us were prepared. We were divided into two groups depending on if you wanted to do the 350 steps to see the waterfall or not. We chose the not group. In the frog habitat and the butterfly habitat, some of the frogs and butterflies are free to roam about with you which made for great photo ops. The aerial tram gives you a perfect view of the canopy where we saw and heard howler monkeys. There was a Lot to see on this long but worth it tour. On the fourth stop – Roatan, Honduras, we took the “GUMBALIMBA PRESERVE & ANIMAL SANCTUARY” tour. If you want to see and interact with birds and monkeys this tour is for you. You can just watch or have the monkeys and/or birds on your shoulder while the guides take your picture. The tour also takes you through the pirates COXEN CAVE and an insectarium full of mounted insects and spiders. On the fifth stop Belize City, Belize, we took the “AIRBOAT ADVENTURE & BELIZE CITY” Tour. I didn’t care for the city part of the tour but the airboat was fun (25-35 mph?) and saw several species of birds. Our last port was Costa Maya, Mexico. We took the “SEGWAY ADVENTURE & BEACH” tour. After walking about ¼ mile to a parking lot, the guides show a video and go over safety instruction. You have about 10-15 minutes of practice before starting the approximately 2 mile trek. You then take a free taxi back to the dock area. None of us had any major problems with using the SEGWAYS. The guides did an excellent job and I would recommend this tour if you ever want to try the SEGWAY

Expensive but worth it

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by GWSUBARU

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our sixth and longest cruise. We had used NCL twice b/4 and have been pleased with the results. We did not partake in any of the on board activities accept a couple of lectures on the excursions (we had already booked our excursions but went anyway). If you don't book excursions prior to embarkation, this is very informative.

The service on board has never been a problem for us with NCL or Carnival and was great this time as well. The embarkation however was not so great. We had arranged to use the NCL shuttle service and when I mentioned our flight arrival was 3 hours before we were supposed to arrive at the port, I was told that the NCL representatives would be at the airport and would not be a problem. Maybe they meant not a problem for them. After we went through the usual lines and security it was still over an hour before boarding time so we all were directed to a huge waiting area with one bathroom that didn't work. We sat there well after boarding should have begun. Due to someone being ambulanced away and mechanical problems the ship left port almost 2 hours late. The airport would have been a much better place to wait until boarding time. Lesson learned – Do not arrive at the port early, even if it’s through the cruise line. Once we left port things went fine.

This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. I liked the larger balcony that you get on deck 11. Our balcony roof did not extend all the way out like most balconies which gave it a more open feel. The tub/shower gives you a little more room to shower. The TV was a very small flat screen. Our cabin was under the kitchen service area and was a bit noisy at 3am. It wasn't much of a problem for us until the last night of the cruise. The location did give us easy access to the garden café buffet. We may go back to just a balcony next time to use the extra $$ for other things.

The ports of call are usually what dictate the cruise we take. The first port was Cartagena, Colombia. We chose the “CITY VIEWS WITH CARRIAGE RIDE” tour. The carriage was not covered but the tall buildings kept us in the shade most of the time. This place gets hot fast so be prepared.

The next stop was the Panama Canal. We went through the Atlantic side locks and tendered ashore from lake Gatun to our excursion "ECO CRUISE & GATUN LOCKS" We watched other ships go through the locks we had just passed through then took a boat ride on the lake and saw a 3 toed sloth and a few birds. We were then dropped off in Colon Panama where we ate lunch and did a little shopping. The ship has to wait on Lake Gatun until ship traffic goes back to the ocean where the Pearl docks in Colon, usually after you get there. (You go through the locks just once if you book an excursion.)

On the 3rd stop - Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, we took the “VERAGUA RAINFOREST & TORTUGUERO CANALS” tour. Our tour started at the Canals where we saw several sloths, birds and lizards. The tour description mentioned “fresh fruits, juice and coffee” after the river cruise but all we saw was juice. It was raining when we arrived at the rainforest, but most of us were prepared. We were divided into two groups depending on if you wanted to do the 350 steps to see the waterfall or not. We chose the not group. In the frog habitat and the butterfly habitat, some of the frogs and butterflies are free to roam about with you which made for great photo ops. The aerial tram gives you a perfect view of the canopy where we saw and heard howler monkeys. There was a Lot to see on this long but worth it tour.

On the fourth stop – Roatan, Honduras, we took the “GUMBALIMBA PRESERVE & ANIMAL SANCTUARY” tour. If you want to see and interact with birds and monkeys this tour is for you. You can just watch or have the monkeys and/or birds on your shoulder while the guides take your picture. The tour also takes you through the pirates COXEN CAVE and an insectarium full of mounted insects and spiders.

On the fifth stop Belize City, Belize, we took the “AIRBOAT ADVENTURE & BELIZE CITY” Tour. I didn’t care for the city part of the tour but the airboat was fun (25-35 mph?) and saw several species of birds.

Our last port was Costa Maya, Mexico. We took the “SEGWAY ADVENTURE & BEACH” tour. After walking about ¼ mile to a parking lot, the guides show a video and go over safety instruction. You have about 10-15 minutes of practice before starting the approximately 2 mile trek. You then take a free taxi back to the dock area. None of us had any major problems with using the SEGWAYS. The guides did an excellent job and I would recommend this tour if you ever want to try the SEGWAY
GWSUBARU’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MB 11608
Our first time in a Mini-Suite. I liked the larger balcony that you get on deck 11. Our balcony roof did not extend all the way out like most balconies which gave it a more open feel and allowed my GPS to get a signal. I was able keep a track of most of the cruise by leaving my GPS on the balcony. The tub/shower gives you a little more room to shower but the tub wasn't used. The TV was a very small flat screen. We may go back to just a balcony next time to use $$ for other things.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews