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We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal and found a deal with Norwegian (our favorite cruise line) from San Diego to Tampa. This was our 9th cruise, and we found the San Diego terminal to be the most chaotic. Once onboard, though, we were back with our Norwegian 'family'.....even ran into some crew members that we had met on a previous cruise on the Pearl..........The Cruise Director, Vincent, was hard-working and attentive to our needs. The Front Desk was very helpful. The Excursion Desk members were great. Our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, was cancelled because of Hurricane Willa. That was okay with us. We had other stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cartagena, and Georgetown. We had great excursions at all stops. We always book an Inside cabin---we are only there at night, so we're happy to save money for other things........like excursions. We eat most of our meals in the Garden Cafe. The food is great.......always a great variety. Staff members are great, so sweet and friendly. Entertainment was great. We 'followed' Peter James, in the Piano Bar! We attended most shows in the Stardust Theatre. My favorite was the Aerialists, Megan and her fiance. We don't do the spa, the casino, the bars, the shopping, the photos. We cruise to see the world, to meet people (passengers and crew) from all over, and to learn about new cultures and new countries. Plus, I love the Ocean! I could spend all day standing on the rail watching the waves and the endless sea!

Great two-week trip!

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by Just go!

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Trip Details
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal and found a deal with Norwegian (our favorite cruise line) from San Diego to Tampa. This was our 9th cruise, and we found the San Diego terminal to be the most chaotic. Once onboard, though, we were back with our Norwegian 'family'.....even ran into some crew members that we had met on a previous cruise on the Pearl..........The Cruise Director, Vincent, was hard-working and attentive to our needs. The Front Desk was very helpful. The Excursion Desk members were great.

Our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, was cancelled because of Hurricane Willa. That was okay with us. We had other stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cartagena, and Georgetown. We had great excursions at all stops.

We always book an Inside cabin---we are only there at night, so we're happy to save money for other things........like excursions. We eat most of our meals in the Garden Cafe. The food is great.......always a great variety. Staff members are great, so sweet and friendly.

Entertainment was great. We 'followed' Peter James, in the Piano Bar! We attended most shows in the Stardust Theatre. My favorite was the Aerialists, Megan and her fiance.

We don't do the spa, the casino, the bars, the shopping, the photos. We cruise to see the world, to meet people (passengers and crew) from all over, and to learn about new cultures and new countries. Plus, I love the Ocean! I could spend all day standing on the rail watching the waves and the endless sea!
Just go!’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IX
What can I say........it's an inside cabin. It's small. But it has everything we need. It's comfortable. We loved it because it was our home for 14 days. We go for the cruise/the ship.......not for the size of the cabin! Housekeeper, Helyn, treated us special! Deck 11: we were right below the Garden Cafe!
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Mangrove Eco Canoe Journey
    Bus ride through the city. Good tour guide, Adrian. Stopped at the Old Fort to walk around and take pictures. Toured another part of the city, then stopped at some park where we were escorted to dug-out canoes (holding 4-5 people). We didn't paddle.....a driver did (with a pole). We maneuvered through the mangrove jungle and saw birds, fish, and crabs. Watched a local guy casting his net to catch fish. It was so much fun and adventurous on the canoe ride! Back at the bus we each got to sample coconut milk from a coconut with the top chopped off. More tour of the city of Cartagena. Excellent day!
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  • Turtle Farm
    I highly recommend this! It was very interesting and educational. You take a short bus ride to the turtle farm and begin a guided tour. Lots and lots of turtles in tanks and lagoons. They give you the opportunity to get in a tank and hold a turtle! There's also a shark tank---you don't get in! After the guided tour, there is a big block of time to explore and choose what you want to do: swimming/snorkeling in the lagoon, swimming in the pool area with a giant slide, viewing birds in the bird sanctuary, eating in the restaurant, walking across the street to the Porpoise Sanctuary. Don't pass up this opportunity to see a second marvelous display of amazing creatures! This was well worth the cost of the ticket (which was reasonable).
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  • Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)
    We did the Safari bus ride. The ride was an hour long to get to the park. Helso was our guide and Luis, the bus driver. Inside the wildlife preserve, there are no cages. The animals roam free. The bus passes very slowly on a little, narrow road, and you see the animals up close: Hippos, lions, giraffes, monkeys, deer, antelope, birds. At the far side of the park, you get out of the bus and can swim, eat at the cafe, and walk through the zoo area. Again, no cages. We saw a HUGE python! It was a fun day!
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  • Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
    We drove through the countryside to the town of Esparza. A school had prepared a program for us. Seats were arranged on the plaza, and a group of children in native dress performed Costa Rican dances for us. The children were amazing. The performance was very emotional, very touching. Children invited members of the audience to participate. What fun! Afterwards we had time to stroll around the square, meet the locals, talk to the children, and shop. There was one more stop on the drive back to the port where we sampled free coffee and rum.........and more shopping!
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  • San Diego
    I had read good reviews about this terminal, but we found it crowded and disorganized. Two ships were boarding. No one knew where to go. Terminal staff didn't know what to do. It seemed like no one was in charge. No one was there to offer assistance to passengers who needed a wheelchair. Once we got to the actual Norwegian check-in, it was fine!
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  • San Juan del Sur
    The bus was on the pier waiting for us. We drove through the beautiful countryside in a brand new bus. First stop was at a wealthy hacienda where we were served fresh fruit and got to experience local dancers and musicians. You could walk down to the shoreline of Lake Nicaragua and see the two volcanoes. Next stop was the colonial town of Riva. We toured a beautiful, old historic Catholic church. There was free time to walk around the square and shop. Ray was our driver/guide. He gave a great talk about the history and culture of his country.
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