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We took this cruise following my daughter’s wedding in Positano. We were a group of 10, and thought the ports of call looked interesting—and many were. My husband and I love to cruise, and are pretty faithful to Celebrity, so I can’t help but compare this NCL experience to those of our Celebrity cruises to Europe. The ship itself is in pretty good shape—clean and well-maintained. The interesting thing about it is that, although there are fewer passengers aboard the Pearl than there are on celebrity’s millennium-class ships, it felt so very crowded! The pool deck and the bar area on deck 13 were continuously packed, with people searching for seats (and ashtrays, in the smoking area). The cabin was small, but functional. Our dining experiences aboard the Pearl were generally poor. Even in the steakhouse, the chefs seemed unable to cook a steak to-order. We also had a dinner in la Cucina. It was less than memorable. The food was edible, though not terribly tasty. We had breakfast in the cafe most days. It was routine (i.e. the same thing every day). I think the specialty restaurant reservation system needs a total overhaul: We had made a reservation for 4 at the steakhouse, and tried to change to 5 prior to our seating. We were told by the staff that, if we wanted to make that change, we would have to change our reservation from 7:00 to 10:00. When we did sit down for dinner (after abandoning the idea of adding another person), they seated the four of us at a table for six!! Needless to say, we were not at all happy about that. We tried to get reservations at the teppanyaki restaurant for days, but the staff was unable to accommodate us. We didn’t see any shows, so I can’t comment on the quality of them. We did enjoy Dave, the piano player, and the string quartet. Service overall was not great. Grumpy bartenders (especially at the bar on 13) and the restaurants seem to be short-staffed. We frequently waited for quite a long time to order, and at one meal, we ordered desserts that never came. If you need help with the WiFi package, be aware that their IT guy only works with passengers three hours a day. Some of the ports were absolutely stunning: Dubrovnik is a favorite of ours, and it is as beautiful as ever. We hadn’t been to Montenegro before, but we will surely make it a point to return. (We wouldn’t, however, take NCL’s catamaran cruise again. $189 for a three hour, one-way cruise to a bar?? No thanks.) All things considered, I’ll stick with Celebrity.

No thanks

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by Tbott

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We took this cruise following my daughter’s wedding in Positano. We were a group of 10, and thought the ports of call looked interesting—and many were. My husband and I love to cruise, and are pretty faithful to Celebrity, so I can’t help but compare this NCL experience to those of our Celebrity cruises to Europe.

The ship itself is in pretty good shape—clean and well-maintained. The interesting thing about it is that, although there are fewer passengers aboard the Pearl than there are on celebrity’s millennium-class ships, it felt so very crowded! The pool deck and the bar area on deck 13 were continuously packed, with people searching for seats (and ashtrays, in the smoking area).

The cabin was small, but functional.

Our dining experiences aboard the Pearl were generally poor. Even in the steakhouse, the chefs seemed unable to cook a steak to-order. We also had a dinner in la Cucina. It was less than memorable. The food was edible, though not terribly tasty. We had breakfast in the cafe most days. It was routine (i.e. the same thing every day).

I think the specialty restaurant reservation system needs a total overhaul: We had made a reservation for 4 at the steakhouse, and tried to change to 5 prior to our seating. We were told by the staff that, if we wanted to make that change, we would have to change our reservation from 7:00 to 10:00. When we did sit down for dinner (after abandoning the idea of adding another person), they seated the four of us at a table for six!! Needless to say, we were not at all happy about that. We tried to get reservations at the teppanyaki restaurant for days, but the staff was unable to accommodate us.

We didn’t see any shows, so I can’t comment on the quality of them. We did enjoy Dave, the piano player, and the string quartet.

Service overall was not great. Grumpy bartenders (especially at the bar on 13) and the restaurants seem to be short-staffed. We frequently waited for quite a long time to order, and at one meal, we ordered desserts that never came. If you need help with the WiFi package, be aware that their IT guy only works with passengers three hours a day.

Some of the ports were absolutely stunning: Dubrovnik is a favorite of ours, and it is as beautiful as ever. We hadn’t been to Montenegro before, but we will surely make it a point to return. (We wouldn’t, however, take NCL’s catamaran cruise again. $189 for a three hour, one-way cruise to a bar?? No thanks.)

All things considered, I’ll stick with Celebrity.
Tbott’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 10606
Cabin was quite small, but functional. Toilet stall was so tiny that one needed to sit sideways to fit in the space. I would suspect that the toilet paper used in the cabins is similar to what is used in federal penitentiaries...single-ply, one square at a time. Cabin steward, Michael, was pleasant and efficient.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews