Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by Riddler1970
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
We joined Pearl in Civitavecchia for 11 days. Embarkation was smooth and trouble for even in a Thunder storm! We found the Staterooms and facilities onboard to our liking. Everywhere was spotlessly clean which may have been down to the fact that the entire crew had spent hours cleaning and repairing the ship during the cancelled cruise a week before ours. The Crew were all excellent - cabin steward, bar waiters, Garden Cafe Chefs, Entertainers all of an extremely high standard. In fact the entire crew were attentive and welcoming. The Cruise Director, Tiara is the best we've ever encountered on a numerous cruises and she and her staff worked tirelessly to engaged and entertain the guests.
Our kids are teenagers and we never saw them apart from when we were off the ship or at dinner. The Teen club was a 100% hit - unlike our experience on Royal Caribbean last year where the Youth councillor just couldn't be bothered and they subsequently hung onto our 'Coat tails' for the entire trip!! They met kids of similar ages from various countries around the world and had an absolute blast making friends.
We are from the UK so our package included Gratuities, Drinks, bottled water, a $50 excursion credit per port and internet. We could not have asked for more. It does seem expensive when you pay for the entire trip before you depart but subsequently when onboard we seemed to spend very little. As people have mentioned in the past you do have to pay tax on onboard spend in some ports even though you are 'all inclusive' but this is not a Norwegian or European thing it happened to us last year on RCI in Rome and Barcelona and we've also had it in Miami before departure on NCL. It's tax and you just can't escape it!!
The food onboard was typical cruise fare. The Buffet was exactly that, 'the free all you can eat buffet (that you've already paid for!). We paid to eat in 3 speciality restaurants whilst onboard - Teppanyaki, Cagney's and Moderno. The quality of food in these was a cut above the rest of the ships dinning. We were not overly impressed with Cagney's it was just far too much food. We enjoyed the other 2 speciality restaurants very much and would choose to visit these again.
We tendered in Kotor and Santorini.We had no issues in either port. Word of warning in Santorini. There is basically an entry tax of €12 per person. The ships tenders (if you are not on a coach excursion) drop you at the dock below Fira. The only way to ascend into the Capital Town is via cable car or donkey (€6.00 per person each way). You can choose to walk the 600 steps but you share the steps with the donkeys - believe me when it hot this is not a peasant experience for the nostrils! NCL advise you not to use the donkey's to ascend the hill as it is considered very dangerous which leaves you with a 90 minute wait for the cable car (which incidentally takes less that 1 minute) or the hot smelly walk with the donkeys.
Before I finish just a quick word about the Fitness staff onboard. We signed up for the 'all you can exercise' pass on day 1 at $99. We had 2 South African crew members who made these classes an absolute blast. I have never worked so hard on my fitness on holiday. 1 gym and 16 all you can eat restaurants!
If I were to critique anything it would be the entertainment. The theatre shows that we attended we very professional but the music offering after 11 days became a bit repaetative. The Caribbean themed band, Funky Roots were very good but we met have heard their entire repetoir 5 or 6 times over the 11 days. We had a guitarist from Brazil, a string quartet from Poland and a Pianist/singer from the US again they did a good job but we could have done with 1 or two more options just to break it up a bit.
We would recommend NCL above any of the other cruise lines we have tried, Carnival, MSC and Royal Caribbean. The ship was full to capacity so yes it was busy onboard especially on Sea days but we never waited to be seated in a Restaurant, we always found a seat in the bars and there were always plenty of crew onhand to help.
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