Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by marinersam
- Sail Date: October 2019
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
When we got on the ship we were taken to the suite Dining area where we enjoyed lunch. As suite passengers we were told we could use that restaurant for lunch and breakfast throughout the cruise. We never used it for breakfast instead getting coffee and pastries delivered to the room. The lunch menu never changed throughout the 16 day trip. It was good, a couple of choices excellent but tired after a week or so. The soups were fantastic.
After we saw the suite restaurant we went to our room and we were in a forward small suite with a large balcony. It was super and all we needed, the balcony being great. We were settling in when the loud speaker screamed out directions for the Coast Guard required life boat drill. The screaming actually hurt my ears and I could barely understand. I had to go outside on the balcony and tightly hold my ears closed to allay the pain. A terrible experience. NCL needs to change this.
We met our butler and steward and they remained terrific throughout the voyage. We met our neighbor on the starboard side who had an owner’s suite. They were good friends throughout the trip. We are not much for the entertainment so I cannot report on that but the room TV choices were meager for the 16 days. Maybe four movies that played over and over. Foreign language movies were awesome but only once in a while did they have subtitles. The US movies were bland. The provided DVD’s were old and the selection meager. We chose three and one was unavailable. So much for that. We selected unlimited internet for one device and that worked out well.
Food on cruise ships obviously is important. We normally like the buffets for the ability to have a range of selections and time to either take our meal to our room or eat when we want. The Pearl executive buffet chef is terrible. Selections were same old, same old throughout the trip with pork over and over in the beginning of the trip and very little good stuff. Our package had five speciality selections and we chose the Japanese restaurant first. It was not very good maybe 4 out of 10. The Italian not much better. My wife got a cheese pizza and it was akin to a frozen one we get at home. My meal was not memorable. The mater de for the Italian restaurant was great and he took care of some friends who were having a birthday. But the food was not what we expected. The French restaurant also was a disappointment. My lamb chops were maybe what I might expect at a neighborhood chain. A previous Pearl trip had great French food. This trip not so much. The steak house a bit better but only an OK. Maybe a six out of ten. We used it for our fifth time, a meal our butler brought to our room and served us.
We used one cruise shore excursion. That was from Cadiz to Seville. It was terrible. The bus stopped near Seville at a gas station for folks to use the facilities. Several buses were there and the ladies room only had two working toilets, sometimes a third worked. There was no toilet paper and the men got some paper that they gave to the women in line. The women started to use the men’s room, the men not complaining until the management posted a person to keep the women out. So the long line kept us at this stop almost an hour.
We then got to Seville maybe 20 minutes later. We visited some places in Seville, but the beautiful city I remembered was not shown. My wife says it was the worst excursion we have ever had. Our other stops we did our own trips and had great experiences. One is notable mainly for NCL’s failure to tell us about it. The ship was docked right next to an amazing museum and dolphin program in Bermuda but never told anyone about it. We found it on our own and the $12 entry fee per person was well worth it. The Commissioners House was fantastic and Dolphin Quest part of the fee. Hardly any ship passengers were there. On San Miguel in the Azores we got a private tour that was fantastic. It was 40 Euros per person and well worth it.
Being in the forward part of the ship we could see weather in the distance and how the captain avoided it. He was terrific. We had one rough night that I actually enjoyed. It was a little rough another but the Captain kept us in smooth seas most of the voyage. I trusted him fully. Our butler was super, the concierge ok even though misleading and poorly informed about a couple of things. Our purchased itinerary did not include a stop at Port Canaveral on the trip to Miami. But we did stop there. Having been there a couple of times before we decided to stay on the ship. Well the ship underwent several crew exercises necessitating our leaving the ship with no place to go other than a costly bus ride to shopping that we did not need or want to do. We sat on a curb where we were almost run over by a servicing delivery truck for the ship until we could get back on board. There was no place to go and many folks sat on steps leading up to locked NCL areas. We then went to our suite lunch place and found our we could not get our meal for a while because of crew exercises. We did get a couple of free glasses of wine but that did not allay this wasted day that we had paid for. Very poorly done by NCL. In Port Canaveral we were required to enter passport control. In Miami we did not have to go through customs. Our bus to the airport was great with an ability to check bags just as we got off the bus. We did not know about this. Our stop and half the bus were flying American. This was great.
Overall the trip was great and we would do another but hope NCL gets it act together on food and it’s management.
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