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Norwegian Pearl Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2311 reviews
6 Awards

Poor food, service, and communication

Review for Norwegian Pearl to the Panama Canal & Central America
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2-5 Cruises • Age 40s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Oct 2018
Cabin: Mid-Ship Balcony

There was a lack of information provided prior to embarkation. Shortly after making the reservation, it was changed from a 15 day cruise to a 14 day and the embarkation port was moved from Los Angeles to San Diego because the Acapulco stop was cancelled. We understand that was for safety reasons, but there was no explanation for why we had to lose a day of vacation or had to alter plans to accommodate moving from LA to SD to leave. At embarkation, we were handed a flier that stated we would not be stopping in Cabo San Lucas because of weather. We had all been watching the weather down there for a week and knew what it looked like. This decision could have been made much earlier and notifications could have been sent well before the last minute. We have now lost 1 full day of travel and 2 port stops before even leaving and since this was booked. No other compensation was offered for losing the Cabo stop and there was no mention of attempting to add a different destination to make up for it. We then did not actually set out from SD until several hours after we were supposed to leave and there was no explanation given.

As we were told many times from different crew members, the ship had been loaded with new employees for this trip as training experience. It was obvious in multiple ways. Many of the staff members at bars would actually roll their eyes at you for asking for a glass of water as though it was a waste of their time. The wait staff in the main dining rooms was horrible. Our standard time in the Indigo room was running nearly 2 hours for a meal because staff was so slow. We had one night with a 7:15 reservation and we did not get out of there until 9:45. Multiple times we did not even order dessert because it was taking so long to get our food. We also left one night after ordering coffee with dessert and getting everything for the coffee (cups, sugar, and cream) and getting our dessert without ever actually getting any coffee in the cups.

On the other side, there were some excellent standout employees. Specifically, our room steward was excellent. Also, there was the waiter at O’Sheehan’s Pub, Ankit (sp), who was always friendly and helpful. Also, the bartender Mo (Mohammed D.) who worked most often in the Casino bar was a major highlight who always greeted us by name, remembered our drinks, and was an overall great guy. All of the staff we interacted with in the specialty dining restaurants were very professional and helpful.

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony

Cabin BA

Room was clean and comfortable, Great service from our steward. Balcony was nearly unusable because of the paint chips.

Port Reviews

Grand Cayman (Georgetown)

Absolutely beutiful. The friendliest people around and an amazing location. Be prepared that this was by far the most expensive place we went. While it was great, 4 beers/2 sodas/chips & salsa/chips & civeche cost $72. Great people though.

San Diego

We left from here. Not much to really talk about.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Guatamala was nice, but the cruise dock was under repair. We had to dock nearby at an industrial pier facility (not that we were informed of this by NCL). The area is nice, but everything is a long way from the dock. It would be better if the stay was longer. Antigua was over 90 minutes away so after getting off the ship and getting there (with the round-trip time) you were very lucky if you got even 3 hours in town.

San Juan del Sur

Surprisingly nice. Good food and reasonable prices. The souvenir sales were a little pushy, but not that bad. This was a tender port and NCL failed miserable here so we only had a few hours in port.


It is a city. Got a cab to the airport.

Cabo San Lucas

They cancelled this stop at the last minute.

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