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We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. Nightly entertainment was excellent. The bed gave backaches to my wife and I. Even though we saw many new mattresses loaded onto the ship and saw them in storage while waiting in line for an hour to get off the ship, we were only provided a foam egg crate mattress topper, which helped, but did not fully satisfy. When I again requested a new mattress, our request was ignored. I reported some maintenance issues, such as several loose safety handrails in the hallways, paint fume odors 3 times in our stateroom, welding fumes on our stateroom, extremely loose steps in the hydro therapy pool, and jets not working in the spa hot tub. It makes me wonder what maintenance issues are lacking in areas not frequented by passengers. We had to miss the first port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico due to a hurricane; but the ship provided entertainment and activities to pass the time. On the day we arrived in Guatemala, our first stop, no coffee cups or bowls were available for breakfast and plates were hard to find. We were docked, so we were able to get off the ship in good time. Our tour of Antigua, Guatemala was interesting and informative. the tour guide was very good. The next day, we arrived in Nicaragua, where the ship had to anchor and use tenders to get us ashore. We were supposed to leave the ship at 10:15 for our tour but, allegedly due to rough water, the tender service was not in full operation, so we did not leave the ship until after 11:30. It appeared that the crew had not used tenders before or they should have been able to get people off the ship in a timely manner. When working at water's edge, personnel should be required to wear life jackets, in case they fall in. This was standard practice on other cruise lines (and a US requirement) but only about half of the crew were wearing life vests or safety belts while working at the ship/tender departure points. Due to a late departure for our tour, we traveled 3-1/2 hours for a 45 minute tour and a 15 minute grocery store break to obtain snacks for lunch. We returned at 4:35 and the last tender was supposed to return to the ship at 4:30. However, after we returned, we saw a sign showing that the last departure was changed to 6:00; so we could have had a more leisurely tour if that had that decision been made before we departed. At least we were not on the one tender that was stranded in the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes due to engine failure. Another example about inadequate maintenance and poor management. We saw the tender sitting still in the water when we went ashore but at the time, did not know the problem. At my request, my wife and I received a 20% discount on the tour, after losing at least 1/2 of the scheduled time in town on the tour. We enjoyed Peter James singing and playing the piano, which helped smooth things over.Our tour in Costa Rica was a well run tour of a Botanical Garden. The tour guide was excellent and he gave us a good run down about life in Costa Rica. He knew the plants in the garden and aptly answered all questions and gave good discussions. Comedian Tim Kaminski put on a very good show. I had never heard of him, even though he is in the Comedy Hall of Fame. In Cartegena, Columbia, we took a guided tour in rough native canoes operated by boatmen using poles to push the boats. The bus tour guide had such a heavy accent that he was difficult to understand and it was hard to follow his narration. The boatmen did not speak English, which made it difficult for us to get much out of the mangrove boat tour, except on rare occasions when the tour guide was audible. When we arrived at the Grand Cayman Island, we tendered into town in boats provided by the Cayman Islands. The tenders were well organized and got us off the ship in a timely manner, even though we used the same number of ship departure points as we did during the mass confusion of tendering in Nicaragua. We had a nice self guided walk around George Town, Grand Cayman and a leisurely lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. We had a very good meal at the Grand Palace Restaurant aboard ship. The next night, we had an excellent dinner in the Moderno Restaurant on board ship. When we arrived in Tampa, I was happy to easily find our luggage and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everyone went through Customs. Then came the Tampa Hell tour. We were supposed to have a tour of the city and arrive at the airport in a timely manner. Two people on our bus were concerned about making it to their flight in time, as guaranteed when they made their tour reservation. To make matters worse, after departing the airport, the bus driver pulled over and parked at the curb, with no explanation given. We ended up losing a total of 1-1/2 hours getting away from the cruise terminal. Then the bus finally continued on the way. No narration was provided - a very strange way to take a tour. We finally figured out that we did not have a tour guide and the bus driver did not say a word. After a 10 to 15 minute ride, the bus driver made a u-turn. A few minutes later, he made another U-turn. Since there was no tour guide, or other narration, we presumed that he was lost. We eventually arrived at the University of Tampa, where the bus driver ran over a curb and ran into a signpost. Someone came on board the bus to explain that we were to take a tour of part of the University campus. I asked if we were going to have a tour guide for the rest of our tour. She was just as surprised as us, to find out that we did not have a tour guide. We had a tour of a building that was originally a hotel, although we could not hear much of the tour guide's narration due to the large crowd of attendees. When we got back on the bus, the confusion continued with the bus driver again running over a curb on the way out of the campus. However, we at last had a tour guide on board. Apparently, the bus P.A. system did not work because the tour guide used a small speaker attached to his left hip. When turned toward us, we could hear him. When he turned away we could not. As we followed some other tour buses in our group, one the buses ahead of us was making a u-turn when the bus driver ran up onto the curb and got the bus stuck in the grass and on the curb. We went further down, made a successful u-turn and went past the stranded bus, listing toward its right side, with passengers standing outside and the driver on the other side of the road speaking on a cell phone. The guide said we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. At that time, I said to the guide that we should just head to the airport, while we were still alive! We then proceeded back, passing the cruise terminal and continued on the city semi-tour. Our window was defectively foggy, so that it was difficult for us to clearly see out. We finally made it to the airport where the luggage was eventually off loaded for a rental truck; another mass confusion arrangement that took several minutes to locate all our luggage. Once inside the terminal, our trip continued as planned. trip

Disorganized. All prior cruises on other lines were better.

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by DoctorRyobi

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. Nightly entertainment was excellent. The bed gave backaches to my wife and I. Even though we saw many new mattresses loaded onto the ship and saw them in storage while waiting in line for an hour to get off the ship, we were only provided a foam egg crate mattress topper, which helped, but did not fully satisfy. When I again requested a new mattress, our request was ignored. I reported some maintenance issues, such as several loose safety handrails in the hallways, paint fume odors 3 times in our stateroom, welding fumes on our stateroom, extremely loose steps in the hydro therapy pool, and jets not working in the spa hot tub. It makes me wonder what maintenance issues are lacking in areas not frequented by passengers. We had to miss the first port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico due to a hurricane; but the ship provided entertainment and activities to pass the time. On the day we arrived in Guatemala, our first stop, no coffee cups or bowls were available for breakfast and plates were hard to find. We were docked, so we were able to get off the ship in good time. Our tour of Antigua, Guatemala was interesting and informative. the tour guide was very good. The next day, we arrived in Nicaragua, where the ship had to anchor and use tenders to get us ashore. We were supposed to leave the ship at 10:15 for our tour but, allegedly due to rough water, the tender service was not in full operation, so we did not leave the ship until after 11:30. It appeared that the crew had not used tenders before or they should have been able to get people off the ship in a timely manner. When working at water's edge, personnel should be required to wear life jackets, in case they fall in. This was standard practice on other cruise lines (and a US requirement) but only about half of the crew were wearing life vests or safety belts while working at the ship/tender departure points. Due to a late departure for our tour, we traveled 3-1/2 hours for a 45 minute tour and a 15 minute grocery store break to obtain snacks for lunch. We returned at 4:35 and the last tender was supposed to return to the ship at 4:30. However, after we returned, we saw a sign showing that the last departure was changed to 6:00; so we could have had a more leisurely tour if that had that decision been made before we departed. At least we were not on the one tender that was stranded in the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes due to engine failure. Another example about inadequate maintenance and poor management. We saw the tender sitting still in the water when we went ashore but at the time, did not know the problem. At my request, my wife and I received a 20% discount on the tour, after losing at least 1/2 of the scheduled time in town on the tour. We enjoyed Peter James singing and playing the piano, which helped smooth things over.Our tour in Costa Rica was a well run tour of a Botanical Garden. The tour guide was excellent and he gave us a good run down about life in Costa Rica. He knew the plants in the garden and aptly answered all questions and gave good discussions. Comedian Tim Kaminski put on a very good show. I had never heard of him, even though he is in the Comedy Hall of Fame. In Cartegena, Columbia, we took a guided tour in rough native canoes operated by boatmen using poles to push the boats. The bus tour guide had such a heavy accent that he was difficult to understand and it was hard to follow his narration. The boatmen did not speak English, which made it difficult for us to get much out of the mangrove boat tour, except on rare occasions when the tour guide was audible. When we arrived at the Grand Cayman Island, we tendered into town in boats provided by the Cayman Islands. The tenders were well organized and got us off the ship in a timely manner, even though we used the same number of ship departure points as we did during the mass confusion of tendering in Nicaragua. We had a nice self guided walk around George Town, Grand Cayman and a leisurely lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. We had a very good meal at the Grand Palace Restaurant aboard ship. The next night, we had an excellent dinner in the Moderno Restaurant on board ship. When we arrived in Tampa, I was happy to easily find our luggage and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everyone went through Customs. Then came the Tampa Hell tour. We were supposed to have a tour of the city and arrive at the airport in a timely manner. Two people on our bus were concerned about making it to their flight in time, as guaranteed when they made their tour reservation. To make matters worse, after departing the airport, the bus driver pulled over and parked at the curb, with no explanation given. We ended up losing a total of 1-1/2 hours getting away from the cruise terminal. Then the bus finally continued on the way. No narration was provided - a very strange way to take a tour. We finally figured out that we did not have a tour guide and the bus driver did not say a word. After a 10 to 15 minute ride, the bus driver made a u-turn. A few minutes later, he made another U-turn. Since there was no tour guide, or other narration, we presumed that he was lost. We eventually arrived at the University of Tampa, where the bus driver ran over a curb and ran into a signpost. Someone came on board the bus to explain that we were to take a tour of part of the University campus. I asked if we were going to have a tour guide for the rest of our tour. She was just as surprised as us, to find out that we did not have a tour guide. We had a tour of a building that was originally a hotel, although we could not hear much of the tour guide's narration due to the large crowd of attendees. When we got back on the bus, the confusion continued with the bus driver again running over a curb on the way out of the campus. However, we at last had a tour guide on board. Apparently, the bus P.A. system did not work because the tour guide used a small speaker attached to his left hip. When turned toward us, we could hear him. When he turned away we could not. As we followed some other tour buses in our group, one the buses ahead of us was making a u-turn when the bus driver ran up onto the curb and got the bus stuck in the grass and on the curb. We went further down, made a successful u-turn and went past the stranded bus, listing toward its right side, with passengers standing outside and the driver on the other side of the road speaking on a cell phone. The guide said we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. At that time, I said to the guide that we should just head to the airport, while we were still alive! We then proceeded back, passing the cruise terminal and continued on the city semi-tour. Our window was defectively foggy, so that it was difficult for us to clearly see out. We finally made it to the airport where the luggage was eventually off loaded for a rental truck; another mass confusion arrangement that took several minutes to locate all our luggage. Once inside the terminal, our trip continued as planned. trip
DoctorRyobi’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9618
Backache bed. Otherwise, it was well accommodated and the steward did an excellent job of keeping it well stocked and organized.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Mangrove Eco Canoe Journey
    In Cartegena, Columbia, we took a guided tour in rough native canoes operated by boatmen using poles to push the boats. The bus tour guide had such a heavy accent that he was difficult to understand and it was hard to follow his narration. The boatmen did not speak English, which made it difficult for us to get much out of the mangrove boat tour, except on rare occasions when the tour guide was audible.
    View All 12 Mangrove Eco Canoe Journey Reviews
  • Grand Cayman (Georgetown)
    When we arrived at the Grand Cayman Island, we tendered into town in boats provided by the Cayman Islands. The tenders were well organized and got us off the ship in a timely manner, even though we used the same number of ship departure points as we did during the mass confusion of tendering in Nicaragua. Since we had been in George Town on a previous trip, we took a nice self guided walk around George Town, Grand Cayman and a leisurely lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.
    View All 3,388 Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Review
  • Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)
    See narrative.
    View All 299 Puerto Quetzal (Antigua) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Puerto Quetzal (Antigua) Cruise Port Review
  • Pura Vida Botanical Garden
    Our tour in Costa Rica was a well run tour of a Botanical Garden. The tour guide was excellent and he gave us a good run down about life in Costa Rica. He knew the plants in the garden and aptly answered all questions and gave good discussions.
    View All 19 Pura Vida Botanical Garden Reviews
  • San Juan del Sur
    We were supposed to leave the ship at 10:15 for our tour but, allegedly due to rough water, the tender service was not in full operation, so we did not leave the ship until after 11:30. It appeared that the crew had not used tenders before or they should have been able to get people off the ship in a timely manner. When working at water's edge, personnel should be required to wear life jackets, in case they fall in. This was standard practice on other cruise lines (and a US requirement) but only about half of the crew were wearing life vests or safety belts while working at the ship/tender departure points. Due to a late departure for our tour, we traveled 3-1/2 hours for a 45 minute tour and a 15 minute grocery store break to obtain snacks for lunch. We returned at 4:35 and the last tender was supposed to return to the ship at 4:30. However, after we returned, we saw a sign showing that the last departure was changed to 6:00; so we could have had a more leisurely tour if that had that decision been made before we departed. At least we were not on the one tender that was stranded in the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes due to engine failure. Another example about inadequate maintenance and poor management. We saw the tender sitting still in the water when we went ashore but at the time, did not know the problem. At my request, my wife and I received a 20% discount on the tour, after losing at least 1/2 of the scheduled time in town on the tour.
    View All 90 San Juan del Sur Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan del Sur Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    This was the Tampa Hell tour. We were supposed to have a tour of the city and arrive at the airport in a timely manner. Two people on our bus were concerned about making it to their flight in time, as guaranteed when they made their tour reservation. To make matters worse, after departing the airport, the bus driver pulled over and parked at the curb, with no explanation given. We ended up losing a total of 1-1/2 hours getting away from the cruise terminal. Then the bus finally continued on the way. No narration was provided - a very strange way to take a tour. We finally figured out that we did not have a tour guide and the bus driver did not say a word. After a 10 to 15 minute ride, the bus driver made a u-turn. A few minutes later, he made another U-turn. Since there was no tour guide, or other narration, we presumed that he was lost. We eventually arrived at the University of Tampa, where the bus driver ran over a curb and ran into a signpost. Someone came on board the bus to explain that we were to take a tour of part of the University campus. I asked if we were going to have a tour guide for the rest of our tour. She was just as surprised as us, to find out that we did not have a tour guide. We had a tour of a building that was originally a hotel, although we could not hear much of the tour guide's narration due to the large crowd of attendees. When we got back on the bus, the confusion continued with the bus driver again running over a curb on the way out of the campus. However, we at last had a tour guide on board. Apparently, the bus P.A. system did not work because the tour guide used a small speaker attached to his left hip. When turned toward us, we could hear him. When he turned away we could not. As we followed some other tour buses in our group, one the buses ahead of us was making a u-turn when the bus driver ran up onto the curb and got the bus stuck in the grass and on the curb. We went further down, made a successful u-turn and went past the stranded bus, listing toward its right side, with passengers standing outside and the driver on the other side of the road speaking on a cell phone. The guide said we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. At that time, I said to the guide that we should just head to the airport, while we were still alive! We then proceeded back, passing the cruise terminal and continued on the city semi-tour. Our window was defectively foggy, so that it was difficult for us to clearly see out. We finally made it to the airport where the luggage was eventually off loaded for a rental truck; another mass confusion arrangement that took several minutes to locate all our luggage.
    View All 7 City Tour Reviews