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Norwegian Pearl Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2374 reviews
6 Awards

Panama Canal, South America, and Flying Fish

Review for Norwegian Pearl to the Panama Canal & Central America
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6-10 Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2016
Cabin: Inside

My wife and I have had a trip to the Panama Canal on our 'bucket list' for a number of years. When a low cost ten day cruise showed up at Costco we jumped on it. We like Norwegian but they no longer leave from a Texas port and we weren't crazy about driving all the way to Miami but decided to do it anyway. Florida isn't my favorite state and Miami isn't my favorite city in Florida but both turned out ok. The weather out was spectacular and we drove through an area of Florida that neither of us had seen before. The weather back was, unfortunately, typical Florida (rainy).

The cruise was, for us, fairly typical Norwegian. We enjoy the freestyle dining and mix up the buffet, two dining rooms, and little (free) grills. I typically pigged out on the Indian food and fresh custom omlets on the buffet but was disappointed that the quality of the food in the dining rooms was no better and in some respects less than that of the buffet. The service there also seemed a bit less personal than previous cruises. We 'discovered' the Pearl's Irish bar and grill and ate there a few times as well. It didn't seem to be very busy at the times we were there and we were able to get a seat by a window every time. The menu there was the smallest of all but ok for a quick bite.

The ports of call were all new to us and really made the trip. Bonair was a delightful place to walk and that's what we did. We took a cab around Cartagena with two other passengers that we had met onboard since the walk would have been too far over completely unfamiliar territory. That was a great experience and we'll go back in a heartbeat. Cabs were very plentiful and the drivers were eager to strike a bargain. Our driver was quite talkative and gave us a good tour of the sights we wanted to see. Panama was anticlimactic. I have watched ships pass through other canals and this wasn't really all THAT different. I wouldn't call Port Limon in Costa Rica delightful or charming but it WAS an experience! We're still talking about our trip to the postoffice there and our walk through the park to see the wildlife and visit with some locals was fun. Costa Rica is another place I would like to see more of. We are both avid geocachers and were able to snag a few caches in each port so that was a plus as always.

Cabin Review


We spend very little time in the cabin other than sleeping so usually prefer an inside. I was concerned that this cabin was vary far forward and might pitch more than normal but I could feel little or no motion. The room was much larger than our little 17' camper that we live in during the summer so that was nice! It was on deck 10 and very convenient.

Port Reviews


We spent little time here. We drove in, spent the night, and departed the next day. Upon arrival we left as soon as possible and headed south to Key West. Our excursion time was mainly on the west coast, the everglades, and Key West. That part was all great!


I recommend GC4TPCA Playa to other cruising geocachers.

Cartagena (Colombia)

I recommend GC6A0FZ to other cruising geocachers. This is a good way to see some of the major sights in the city. Four of us hired a cab to take us around town and it was well worth it.

Colon (Cristobal)

I recommend GC4VHWZ to other geocachers. We weren't in port very long but this one is close to the dock and we were able to snag it before dark.

Puerto Limon

I recommend GC6CCA which is a virtual in Vargas Park, only a short walk from the dock. The park is a memorial to Columbus' 4th and final voyage to the New World. Ice Cream in Limon is a physical cache a bit further from the ship but makes for an interesting walk through town.

10 Helpful Vote

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