My wife and I did quite a bit of research and ended up thinking we would get the most for our money and different ports of call when we chose NCL Pearl Eastern Caribbean Itinerary. Boy were we in for a rude awakening. We had not been on cruises for a few years but were very surprised at how much cruising has changed. Some things good but mostly bad and now we are still trying to figure out how so many people could be so pleased with this ship that has limited FREE activities, stone cold bland food, horrible customer service, and disappointing ports of call.
Embarkation - Embarkation was pretty smooth. We thought we would beat the crowd by arriving an hour prior 12:00 PM to get on board but it seemed like everyone else had the same idea so were stuck in a pretty long line wrapped around the building but it moved very quickly so no complaints there. One thing that didn't sit well with me was the fact that NCL will put a $300.00 hold on your credit card for the whole week if you choose not to pay cash up-front for the $12.00 per person, per day service charge ( room stewards and dining gratuity) so if you are planning on cruising please go ahead and pay the service charges up front to keep better track of what you are spending on board. Some people were not informed and it was a mad house of people at the credit/ reception desk towards the end of the trip.
Service - I have so much to say that i don't know where to start. Let's start with the arrogant Captain Lars. I'm starting with him because he set the tone of the whole cruise and how the crew members interacted with the customers as well as each other. I recalled the first morning when we were at sea after we were running late due to a accident where a Helicopter had to come and pickup a passenger that was injured. We had a pretty rough ride and was steered a little off coarse. So while Lars explained what went on that night with the injured passenger and the ships location he decided to call out one of his crew members over the intercom for allowing the ship to go off coarse rather then just apologizing for being behind schedule. The Blue Lagoon Cafe was another sore spot. We liked the food because it was simple but it took forever to be waited on. It seemed like all the servers were Zombies. None of them smiled and they all dragged their feet. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and went back a couple days later to find it got worse. On one occasion we both ordered cheese sticks as an appetizer. After about 45 minutes the server comes back to tell us that a lot of people ordered cheese sticks so they are far behind. We were a little disappointed but was fine because he let us know what was going on. A few minutes later the server comes back with some spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips, I looked at him and asked what is this? We did not ask for this. So he explained he knows its not what we ordered but there is nothing he can do because they are behind in the kitchen and he left our table. After that incident he came back one more time with only one plate of cheese sticks that were all smashed up and he dropped the plate in front of me and left before I had the chance ask why he only brought one plate and why they looked so disgusting. By this time I was at my boiling point and decided to leave cafe' without eating anything. We also noticed a lack of service at he indigo dining room as well as in the summer palace. I'm guessing the service is so bad because these restaurants do not charge a "small fee". On the other hand drink servers will go out of their way to make sure you get a $7.00 plus gratuity drink from the bar. There were times when they would visit our tables during diner more than the food servers.
The room it self was pretty small which was to be expected since we chose an inside cabin. We loved all the drawers and compartments that helped us organize our clothes very well. The bathroom was cramped so if you are tall or pleasantly plump you will have to get very creative when using the bathroom. If you like watching TV then please be prepared to be disappointed. They will run the same semi new released movies over and over for the duration of the cruise. Most channels were stuck with no signal and the other 7 or 8 channels had NCL brain washing seminars and infomercials about spa treatments and shore excursions.