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Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,374 Reviews

Worst cruise to date

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by jcornwell

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside

A bit of background. We have sailed (cruised) with at least 8 different lines over the past 24 years, have taken short 3 day and two trans-Atlantic trips, and stayed in insides to suites. I only offer this because I didn't believe this trans-Atlantic cruise could turn out so poorly. Pros were entertainment, cruise director and his activities, ship layout, venues for eating and/or drinking were numerous, food was usually very good, and the ports of call looked great on paper. How could this cruise be so bad?

Embarkation was normal, especially from the NYC port, the usual lines that slowly move forward.

For many decks the cabins were not ready when we boarded around 2pm, ours was supposed to be. We take our luggage on board as it was lost on one rock and roll cruise with Royal (but eventually turned up … it's only when that happens when you learn what the on board shops don't sell). Our key cards did not work so I went to have them fixed. When I returned I found my wife in the cabin. Turns out the steward locked himself in, who knows why as he didn't leave with anything or come back, which prevented our cards/keys from working.

A plus I forgot, which I really appreciated, the shower was much larger than usual.

The food was very good, but, could you get it? The main dining rooms were hit and miss for service. Either excellent, the usual on other ships, or you sat for 15 minutes until they brought you silverware or a water glass.

The fine dining, I paid for 6 of those, was very good as well with excellent service. Only issue was each of us got sick after eating at Terrayaki and the Brazilian place. My wife and the woman she sat next to from the Japanese venue and me from the Brazilian venue.

Cons so far, readiness of the ship for embarkation, service in the dining venues, and cleanliness of either the staff or the venues.

You see the AGE, as they called it, aka the Novo Virus, was prevalent after the second or third day of the cruise. Constant reminders over the PA system to washy washy, use the hand sanitizers, etc..

Things deteriorated from here.

Eventually you could not serve yourself at any dining venue (including the buffets), you pointed and the staff put food on your plate.

Eventually all of the public rest room doors were blocked open to discourage use I guess.

Eventually much of the spa area and the gym were closed, and no mention of reimbursement for those of us who paid extra for use of the spa facilities.

The staff was typically unfriendly, if you mentioned that you were sick (like we did) the doc and an assistant would show up, give you a shot of who knows what, provide pills, and quarantine you to your cabin for 48 hours.

Good timing for us as the first day of quarantine was the first day we reached land.

We did miss the screw up with the tenders that took almost 5 hours to get people ashore in Dublin, many never made it as it would have taken too long to get back on board.

My personal opinion is this ship was infected badly from the previous port prior to reaching NYC and NCL was well aware.

They had to save a fortune on food and drink as you could not even get yourself a cup of coffee, EVERYTHING was dolled out by the staff as you waited in line.

NO one seemed to care. No offers of compensation, oh wait !, they did offer some guests a free short glass of prosecco as they had to wait for their meal service on the last night … what about the breakfasts, lunches, and all the other dinners ??

2018 we crossed the Atlantic on Viking, 2019 we crossed the Atlantic on NCL Pearl, NO COMPARISON, and I even bought the drink package, the spa package, and the dining package to attempt to make it similar with NCL. Second cruise with NCL, may be my last.

jcornwell's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IB 9613

Sufficient. Great shower. Just needed a competent steward to make it excellent. 48 hours quarantine was not anticipated when I chose an INSIDE CABIN !

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Le Havre

Nice port and city. Walked about and viewed the city. Good day!

London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury)

Excellent guide and bus driver. Typical rainy London Spring weather. Well worth the trip to London and the Tower.

Brugge (Bruges)

Easy to find your own way to Brugge and take a canal ride, walk about, etc.. Plenty of time in port to get there and back.

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