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We are both in our 60's and sailed for the second time this year on the Pearl, this time in a balcony cabin on the 10th Deck. Our previous cabin was an oceanview on the 8th Deck. I have sailed 16 times on various NCL ships and enjoy the benefits that come with Platinum status. Embarkation at the Tampa pier was quite an ordeal this time. In January, we basically walked directly through security to the Platinum desk, got our keys and were onboard within about 15 minutes. This time we arrived at the pier as directed - boarding began at noon, the ship was scheduled to sail at 3 and our documents stated we needed to be on board 2 hours before departure. The line at noon was approximately 3 city blocks long. We used a parking service and were dropped off in the area relegated to parking shuttles across from the port area. There were no porters available to take our luggage. We were forced to drag our bags the 6 city blocks (3 to get to the end of the line and 3 more to get back to the port doorway) before a porter was close enough for us to run our bags over without losing our place in line. Another couple who had taken the same shuttle told us a porter came into the shuttle area just after we left it to get in line. It took us approximately one hour from the time we arrived until we were onboard. There was no Platinum advantage until we passed Security. Once in the building, there was only a minor wait. It was not a happy beginning. Our cabin was 10566, very nice although somewhat small. The layout was more difficult to maneuver with 2 people than our outside cabin had been because of the location of the bed. It seemed the closet was smaller in the balcony cabin also. We had a small coffee maker that was not provided in the outside cabin. While this was great, there was very little counter top space for it, the phone, etc. Our cabin steward was very efficient. We rarely saw him except for a minute or two in the morning but our cabin was kept very clean. I'm a coffee-aholic and very picky about the coffee I drink because I normally take it black and don't hide the taste with cream and sugar. Surprisingly, the coffee in the cabin was fairly good. Also, the coffee in the various areas of the buffet was very good - one nice change. We did note that actual coffee was used at least in the back seating area of the buffet. It was not the coffee syrup product we've seen elsewhere. Thumbs up for that! Our cruise included 3 package choices. We took the beverage package, 3-dinner dining package and internet. NCL changed the prices for various alcoholic beverages so that Belvedere vodka and Glenmorangie scotch were included in the beverage package this time, unlike in January. Another thumbs up! Dinners were at Teppenyaki twice, LeBistro twice, Moderno once, Jade Garden once and Indigo once. Unfortunately, our experience in Moderno was unlike the experience we had in January. While the salad bar was very good, especially the soup, the meat was terribly tough - actually unchewable. Even the filet was not as good as it had previously been. Our waiter was good and can't be blamed for the quality of the meats. Dinner in Jade Garden was very good. The hot and sour soup was spicy but tasty. We tried the spring rolls, dumplings and chicken dishes. Everything was tasty and good and service was exceptional. Dinners in Teppanyaki were every bit as good as in January. The filet mignon prepared by the chef was melt in your mouth delicious and the show he put on both times was fun. Service there was also very good. The food in LeBistro was fabulous! I had filet for one of my dinners and veal once. Both were excellent. Our waiter in LeBistro was Erly. She was the nicest young woman and was so efficient. Right through to dessert she took care of our every want/need. I hope to see her again on a future cruise. We ate the majority of our breakfasts in Summer Palace. The breakfast there is awesome. The service was spotty on debarkation day but even then, the food was good. A couple of days breakfast was served in Indigo. We tried it there once and much preferred the ambience and food in Summer Palace. I think they use the same kitchen so possibly that was an off day. We only ate breakfast at the buffet twice. The hustle and bustle and search for a table while carrying your food was not fun. I always in the past just ate breakfast at the buffet but the last few cruises have convinced me that the dining room is a far more relaxing place to start your day. We are not theatre goers and only attended the comedian's show there. He was funny and we had a few laughs. Other nights we mostly went to the martini bar and listened to Peter the pianist play. He engaged members of the audience and made it a really good time for all. I believe he said he was leaving the ship after our cruise. Our other activities were casino play time and listening to Roxy in the Atrium. The casino slot machines were not good but the hosts were very nice. Because I have a Sapphire card with the casino, they treated me to $200 on board credit and free premium drinks in the casino - this included water, Perrier, San Pellegrino, red bull and cappucino drinks as well as alcoholic beverages. I hope NCL is listening: One huge improvement this cruise compared to our cruise in January was that smoking was no longer permitted on the pool deck. Last cruise, the entire port side allowed smoking. It was a major complaint of mine and I very much appreciated that it was no longer allowed. Thumbs up again! Another huge improvement was the enforcement of the no chair saving rule. We watched as towels were removed from chairs by the deck attendants. They only took them if the seats were vacant for more than an hour. What an improvement! The process was kind of hit or miss but hopefully they will begin to enforce the rules 100% of the time in the future. Yet another thumbs up for this effort! We remained on the ship the entire cruise. We had planned to get off in Roatan but it was pouring rain when we got there and took a couple of hours to clear up. By then, we had lost interest. Maybe next time. All in all we had a great time. The staff was excellent as always. Food except as mentioned was very good, drinks were made as requested and service was great. I'll be on the Bliss in May and can't wait. I hope the staff, food, entertainment is as good as on the Pearl.

Second time around on the Pearl

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by NRWPA

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We are both in our 60's and sailed for the second time this year on the Pearl, this time in a balcony cabin on the 10th Deck. Our previous cabin was an oceanview on the 8th Deck. I have sailed 16 times on various NCL ships and enjoy the benefits that come with Platinum status.

Embarkation at the Tampa pier was quite an ordeal this time. In January, we basically walked directly through security to the Platinum desk, got our keys and were onboard within about 15 minutes. This time we arrived at the pier as directed - boarding began at noon, the ship was scheduled to sail at 3 and our documents stated we needed to be on board 2 hours before departure. The line at noon was approximately 3 city blocks long. We used a parking service and were dropped off in the area relegated to parking shuttles across from the port area. There were no porters available to take our luggage. We were forced to drag our bags the 6 city blocks (3 to get to the end of the line and 3 more to get back to the port doorway) before a porter was close enough for us to run our bags over without losing our place in line. Another couple who had taken the same shuttle told us a porter came into the shuttle area just after we left it to get in line. It took us approximately one hour from the time we arrived until we were onboard. There was no Platinum advantage until we passed Security. Once in the building, there was only a minor wait. It was not a happy beginning.

Our cabin was 10566, very nice although somewhat small. The layout was more difficult to maneuver with 2 people than our outside cabin had been because of the location of the bed. It seemed the closet was smaller in the balcony cabin also. We had a small coffee maker that was not provided in the outside cabin. While this was great, there was very little counter top space for it, the phone, etc. Our cabin steward was very efficient. We rarely saw him except for a minute or two in the morning but our cabin was kept very clean.

I'm a coffee-aholic and very picky about the coffee I drink because I normally take it black and don't hide the taste with cream and sugar. Surprisingly, the coffee in the cabin was fairly good. Also, the coffee in the various areas of the buffet was very good - one nice change. We did note that actual coffee was used at least in the back seating area of the buffet. It was not the coffee syrup product we've seen elsewhere. Thumbs up for that!

Our cruise included 3 package choices. We took the beverage package, 3-dinner dining package and internet. NCL changed the prices for various alcoholic beverages so that Belvedere vodka and Glenmorangie scotch were included in the beverage package this time, unlike in January. Another thumbs up!

Dinners were at Teppenyaki twice, LeBistro twice, Moderno once, Jade Garden once and Indigo once. Unfortunately, our experience in Moderno was unlike the experience we had in January. While the salad bar was very good, especially the soup, the meat was terribly tough - actually unchewable. Even the filet was not as good as it had previously been. Our waiter was good and can't be blamed for the quality of the meats.

Dinner in Jade Garden was very good. The hot and sour soup was spicy but tasty. We tried the spring rolls, dumplings and chicken dishes. Everything was tasty and good and service was exceptional.

Dinners in Teppanyaki were every bit as good as in January. The filet mignon prepared by the chef was melt in your mouth delicious and the show he put on both times was fun. Service there was also very good.

The food in LeBistro was fabulous! I had filet for one of my dinners and veal once. Both were excellent. Our waiter in LeBistro was Erly. She was the nicest young woman and was so efficient. Right through to dessert she took care of our every want/need. I hope to see her again on a future cruise.

We ate the majority of our breakfasts in Summer Palace. The breakfast there is awesome. The service was spotty on debarkation day but even then, the food was good. A couple of days breakfast was served in Indigo. We tried it there once and much preferred the ambience and food in Summer Palace. I think they use the same kitchen so possibly that was an off day. We only ate breakfast at the buffet twice. The hustle and bustle and search for a table while carrying your food was not fun. I always in the past just ate breakfast at the buffet but the last few cruises have convinced me that the dining room is a far more relaxing place to start your day.

We are not theatre goers and only attended the comedian's show there. He was funny and we had a few laughs. Other nights we mostly went to the martini bar and listened to Peter the pianist play. He engaged members of the audience and made it a really good time for all. I believe he said he was leaving the ship after our cruise. Our other activities were casino play time and listening to Roxy in the Atrium. The casino slot machines were not good but the hosts were very nice. Because I have a Sapphire card with the casino, they treated me to $200 on board credit and free premium drinks in the casino - this included water, Perrier, San Pellegrino, red bull and cappucino drinks as well as alcoholic beverages.

I hope NCL is listening:

One huge improvement this cruise compared to our cruise in January was that smoking was no longer permitted on the pool deck. Last cruise, the entire port side allowed smoking. It was a major complaint of mine and I very much appreciated that it was no longer allowed. Thumbs up again!

Another huge improvement was the enforcement of the no chair saving rule. We watched as towels were removed from chairs by the deck attendants. They only took them if the seats were vacant for more than an hour. What an improvement! The process was kind of hit or miss but hopefully they will begin to enforce the rules 100% of the time in the future. Yet another thumbs up for this effort!

We remained on the ship the entire cruise. We had planned to get off in Roatan but it was pouring rain when we got there and took a couple of hours to clear up. By then, we had lost interest. Maybe next time.

All in all we had a great time. The staff was excellent as always. Food except as mentioned was very good, drinks were made as requested and service was great. I'll be on the Bliss in May and can't wait. I hope the staff, food, entertainment is as good as on the Pearl.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 10566
Our cabin was slightly forward of mid ship elevators and was handy to everything. It was very quiet with no hallway noise or noise from our neighbors unless we were on the balcony at the same time. The balcony was small compared to our last cruise ship balcony but a good place to sit in the morning and late at night before bed. Everything in the cabin was in good repair except the shower door which was difficult to slide open and closed.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins