1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Pearl
I have been on many cruises but this was my first NCL, selected strictly for its availability date/time, and place. Our stateroom was adequate with more than expected storage for all of our belongings. Plenty of hangers, but they “clanked” constantly while sleeping so I had to put a towel on the unused ones to prevent this clatter. The bed was large and comfortable. Electric outlets and USB ports were well placed. The bathroom was adequate except for legroom in the W/C-toilet. I am only 5’5 and the legroom was terrible…ouch. Good storage for all toiletries though. Also, nice hand soap, body wash, and shampoo. Our cabin attendant was very courteous and attentive to all needs. The staff on NCL Pearl is the WORST I have encountered for friendliness and courtesy, except for those providing hand washing “washie-washie” services, and our server Rowena at the Summer Palace. Summer Palace has EXACTLY the same menu as Indigo but servers at Indigo were zombies with no greeting or courtesy. Food was plentiful, when it was available at Garden Buffet. All the food choices are lacking in flavor/seasoning, though many had rich sauces and plenty of cheese, if that’s your thing. Otherwise, salad and fruit are plentiful. O’Sheehan’s is good for burgers ONLY and offered curt service with NO courtesy. Nachos there are laughable – NOT-chos. Avoid the Lotus Garden as the server’s costumes are more appealing than the fare. We also missed main dining room traditions of server crew celebration on the last night. “Freestyle” is a misnomer on this ship as there were times when there was only one choice of limited food – Great Outdoors Café and O’Sheehan’s. If “Freestyle” means you can eat at any time in the main dining rooms, that’s available on most ships on large lines now. The shows were not exceptional but “Legends” was quite entertaining and the comedian was fine. Several of the afternoon participatory entertainments in the Spinnaker Lounge seemed like “throw-away” events, and the staff who hosted them seemed less than enthusiastic to participate. Again, crew needs to be very much more inviting. The Cruise Director was one of the few who was always upbeat and courtesous. The fitness center could use some upgrading. One of two bikes were out of service and several machines were missing signs describing their usage. Funny smell there too – the first I’ve encountered in a cruise ship gym. Staff was pleasant at the fitness center and towels and cold face cloths were well available. As for drinks, this is hands down the worst place I’ve ever been to get a drink. Waiters were almost non-existent and when we saw a rare yellow shirted attendant on deck they were far away and never wandered outside of their small area. I was astounded that people waited in a long line for drinks at the Sky High Bar and Topsiders. I waited once for 20 minutes to get a drink at Sky High…ONCE. And then NCL has the nerve to add an automatic gratuity! I said NCL stands for Never-ending Customer Lines. The entertainment lounges were no better, with noticeably lacking wait staff who were completely unfriendly with no greetings or courtesy. The centrally located Atrium bar service was equally uninviting with unsmiling bartenders quick to dismiss. I am lucky to have passed on the drink package, which I usually get, as NCL deems it necessary for all people in a cabin to have the same package – preposterous. Can you say “upsell ripoff!” I’d have been furious with a drink package when it was SO hard to get a drink. Hats off to the navigation crew for diverting from the NCL private island due to high winds and rough seas. We were joined in the elevator on our last night by our gracious Italian Captain and told him we were grateful for the diversion, and he seemed pleased with the feedback and was quite gracious. Overall, this ship has too many passengers occupying too small a space with WAY too few service staff. What staff is there ought to be trained in courtesy and the art of a simple smile. I encountered several badged crew personnel in the long empty stateroom corridors who not only didn’t smile as we passed, but didn’t say hello, and didn’t reply after I said hello! I can’t speak for all NCL ships, but this is my feedback on NCL Pearl as of January, 2020. Hopefully NCL will address some simple courtesy and service availability concerns, sooner than later. Unlikely to be back to NCLsoon, until we get treated like a Celebrity or Royal.

Freestyle Schmeestyle

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by AlRayCruise

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
I have been on many cruises but this was my first NCL, selected strictly for its availability date/time, and place.

Our stateroom was adequate with more than expected storage for all of our belongings. Plenty of hangers, but they “clanked” constantly while sleeping so I had to put a towel on the unused ones to prevent this clatter. The bed was large and comfortable. Electric outlets and USB ports were well placed.

The bathroom was adequate except for legroom in the W/C-toilet. I am only 5’5 and the legroom was terrible…ouch. Good storage for all toiletries though. Also, nice hand soap, body wash, and shampoo.

Our cabin attendant was very courteous and attentive to all needs.

The staff on NCL Pearl is the WORST I have encountered for friendliness and courtesy, except for those providing hand washing “washie-washie” services, and our server Rowena at the Summer Palace. Summer Palace has EXACTLY the same menu as Indigo but servers at Indigo were zombies with no greeting or courtesy.

Food was plentiful, when it was available at Garden Buffet. All the food choices are lacking in flavor/seasoning, though many had rich sauces and plenty of cheese, if that’s your thing. Otherwise, salad and fruit are plentiful. O’Sheehan’s is good for burgers ONLY and offered curt service with NO courtesy. Nachos there are laughable – NOT-chos. Avoid the Lotus Garden as the server’s costumes are more appealing than the fare. We also missed main dining room traditions of server crew celebration on the last night. “Freestyle” is a misnomer on this ship as there were times when there was only one choice of limited food – Great Outdoors Café and O’Sheehan’s. If “Freestyle” means you can eat at any time in the main dining rooms, that’s available on most ships on large lines now.

The shows were not exceptional but “Legends” was quite entertaining and the comedian was fine. Several of the afternoon participatory entertainments in the Spinnaker Lounge seemed like “throw-away” events, and the staff who hosted them seemed less than enthusiastic to participate. Again, crew needs to be very much more inviting. The Cruise Director was one of the few who was always upbeat and courtesous.

The fitness center could use some upgrading. One of two bikes were out of service and several machines were missing signs describing their usage. Funny smell there too – the first I’ve encountered in a cruise ship gym. Staff was pleasant at the fitness center and towels and cold face cloths were well available.

As for drinks, this is hands down the worst place I’ve ever been to get a drink. Waiters were almost non-existent and when we saw a rare yellow shirted attendant on deck they were far away and never wandered outside of their small area. I was astounded that people waited in a long line for drinks at the Sky High Bar and Topsiders. I waited once for 20 minutes to get a drink at Sky High…ONCE. And then NCL has the nerve to add an automatic gratuity! I said NCL stands for Never-ending Customer Lines. The entertainment lounges were no better, with noticeably lacking wait staff who were completely unfriendly with no greetings or courtesy. The centrally located Atrium bar service was equally uninviting with unsmiling bartenders quick to dismiss. I am lucky to have passed on the drink package, which I usually get, as NCL deems it necessary for all people in a cabin to have the same package – preposterous. Can you say “upsell ripoff!” I’d have been furious with a drink package when it was SO hard to get a drink.

Hats off to the navigation crew for diverting from the NCL private island due to high winds and rough seas. We were joined in the elevator on our last night by our gracious Italian Captain and told him we were grateful for the diversion, and he seemed pleased with the feedback and was quite gracious.

Overall, this ship has too many passengers occupying too small a space with WAY too few service staff. What staff is there ought to be trained in courtesy and the art of a simple smile. I encountered several badged crew personnel in the long empty stateroom corridors who not only didn’t smile as we passed, but didn’t say hello, and didn’t reply after I said hello!

I can’t speak for all NCL ships, but this is my feedback on NCL Pearl as of January, 2020. Hopefully NCL will address some simple courtesy and service availability concerns, sooner than later. Unlikely to be back to NCLsoon, until we get treated like a Celebrity or Royal.
AlRayCruise’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Pearl price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OB
Our stateroom was adequate with more than expected storage for all of our belongings. Plenty of hangers, but they “clanked” constantly while sleeping so I had to put a towel on the unused ones to prevent this clatter. The bed was large and comfortable. Electric outlets and USB ports were well placed.

The bathroom was adequate except for legroom in the W/C-toilet. I am only 5’5 and the legroom was terrible…ouch. Good storage for all toiletries though. Also, nice hand soap, body wash, and shampoo.

Our cabin attendant was very courteous and attentive to all needs.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins