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Norwegian Pearl Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2329 reviews
6 Awards

10 Day Summer Summer Camp for Adults

Review for Norwegian Pearl to the Eastern Caribbean
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LD Silver
10+ Cruises • Age 50s

Rating by category

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Additional details

Sail Date: Jan 2019
Cabin: Inside

Background Info: My girlfriend and I were on the January 17-26 Eastern Caribbean 10 Day sailing of the Norwegian Pearl out of Tampa. We are in our early fifties and are seasoned cruisers with well over 20 cruises between us. This was my 2nd cruise and GF’s 1st cruise on the Pearl. Other NCL ships include Escape, Sun and Dawn. We have also sailed on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our 1st cruise with Platinum status and we took advantage of all the perks.

The itinerary was Thursday to Saturday with four sea days and five ports of call: Key West, Tortola, Antigua, St. Marten and San Juan in order.

Pre-Cruise: We flew into Tampa Wednesday afternoon arriving around 3:30 p.m. We live in Michigan so flying in a day early is a must. We caught a taxi to the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Cost was $35 including tip. The Barrymore offers a free shuttle, but we opted for the taxi. The ride was about 25 minutes due to rush hour traffic.

Cabin Review

Inside

Cabin IC

We stayed in cabin 10041 which is an inside forward cabin. We chose an inside for two reasons:

1)We don’t spend much time in our cabin

2)Inside cabins are so dark that we sleep very soundly.

The 10th deck met our main requirement of being sandwiched between two other decks that are exclusively cabins to minimize any noise disruption. The bed was comfortable and the bathroom functional. We brought an over the door shoe rack, so the bathroom counter was free of clutter. We also brought magnetic clips that stuck to the walls. Perfect for hanging the NCL Dailies, belts, hats, etc.… The air conditioning worked great. Closet/drawer space was plentiful. It was cramped but more than manageable for two people. My girlfriend also utilized packing cubes for the 1st time and now swears by them.

One tip for those that experience issues with cabin dryness due to the air conditioning (i.e., sinus issues, snoring) is to bring a travel humidifier. Bough it on Amazon for $25 and it worked great. We had no issues at all.

Port Reviews

Tampa

Pre-Cruise: We flew into Tampa Wednesday afternoon arriving around 3:30 p.m. We live in Michigan so flying in a day early is a must. We caught a taxi to the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Cost was $35 including tip. The Barrymore offers a free shuttle, but we opted for the taxi. The ride was about 25 minutes due to rush hour traffic.

The Barrymore is located on West Fortune Street about 2 miles from the cruise port in the heart of downtown Tampa right next to the Riverwalk. You have access to several bars/restaurants as well as a CVS to pick up any last-minute needs (sunscreen, snacks, etc.…).

The Barrymore is an older hotel that has been refurbished and is in good condition. The room was clean and the bed comfortable. Someone said it is an old Holiday Inn. There is a lobby restaurant in called the Waterworks Bar and Grill. We didn’t eat there but the cocktails were delicious. There is free coffee in the lobby for a morning wake up, but it is weak. There is a Starbucks nearby for your hardcore coffee drinkers. The price of the hotel was $143 including taxes. I booked directly with the hotel about 3 months in advance using a cruise special. I would absolutely stay there again.

Lastly, a member of our roll call set a up a pre-cruise meet and greet at Taps Bar and Grill not far from the hotel. About 30 folks showed up and got the party started a day early.

Key West

We have been to Key West several times, so we just walked up and down Duval Street to get in some steps. We did stop at Kermit’s on Greene Street for a slice of key lime pie on a stick. It is dipped in chocolate and worth every calorie. Treat yourself…you’ll be glad you did.

St. Maarten

After much research we decided to visit the Karakter Beach Bar and Restaurant on Simpson Bay Beach (pronounced care-actor). We were not disappointed. Not only was the beach nice but the food, drinks and service were outstanding. Beach chairs and umbrella are no charge so long as you are buying food and/or drinks. We had 8 beers and an order of nachos and our bill was $31 excluding tip. The euro is the official currency of St. Maarten, but they accept US dollars at par value (1 euro = 1 dollar) so it is a great deal if you have US$.

It is located right next to the runway of the airport. The planes do not take off and land over your head but rather to your side. The views are magnificent without the chance of death. They were more than happy to call us a taxi for the return trip to the port.

Antigua

We spent the day at Valley Church Beach enjoying sand, sun and drinks. The Bar/Restaurant was called The Nest. A $20 bill gets you two chairs and an umbrella. A bucket of 6 beers was also $20. We did not eat there.

One thing to note, there is a 1-2 foot drop off about 10 yards into the water. We saw more than a few people stumble on their way in and out of the water. There were 6 ships in port, so it was crowded but you still had room to move about.

The interesting part of the trip was we took the bus to and from the beach. I’ve done it before, and it was easy. It is about a 10-15-minute walk to the bus station and completely safe. Cost is $1.50 pp each way. A taxi ride would have cost $25 each way. When you compare $50 vs. $6 it is an easy decision. I'd be happy to share the details on how to take the bus. Just send me an e-mail. Address is at the end of this review.

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