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

Great smaller ship with a nice atmosphere

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by The Ridge

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Inside

My BF and I were short on time but desperate to get away so the 5-day Western Caribbean itinerary to Belize and Mexico was perfect for us. We booked just prior to Christmas and got a great price.


We generally ate in the buffet in the morning because we wanted to control our portions and wanted lots of choice. The aft outdoor location (Great Outdoors) was perfect and since we were up and at it early, it generally wasn't busy. This opened at 7:30 but sometimes we would grab specific items on the inside location and just take our plates outside. Overall the food would get a 3.5 - 4 out of five. We are super fussy, however I always found something to enjoy and generally was very pleased. My only complaint is watching people feel the need to carry two stacked plates at a time. We ate in Le Bistro at additional charge and it was well worth it. It ran about $100 CDN for two, gratuities included for three good courses. Cagney's was fully booked so we didn't get a chance to experience it. Indigo was very good and the atmosphere was much nicer for us than the main dining room (Summer Palace). If you do the buffet for lunch, don't miss the Indian/Indonesian food station. Some of the better butter chicken I've had, made very well and super fresh.


For me, I would give the entertainment 5/5. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the performers and shows. Big kudos to Orly Penate and Alex Ortiz as well as the NCL person responsible for booking them. Absolutely fabulous! The final evening we took in the Legends in Concert show in the Stardust Theater. Great acoustics and lovely set up, comfortable seats. This show also wowed me in the quality. Don't miss it!


Overall, the staff was very good. I think when some people think they are poor quality, they don't understand that for some, there is a bit of a language barrier and their job is incredibly hard. Eight months on, two months off is a tough gig. I wonder if NCL should consider different options or opportunities if they can find a cost-effective way to manage.


If you can't find something to do that interests you on this ship... it's you, not them. I was disappointed in some of the guests and their need to do nothing but sloth by the pool, drinking too much. However, we found a great location every day and very much enjoyed the sun. We also signed up (at extra cost) to have full access to all of the classes at the fitness centre. Big shout out to Jared and Suynesh (sp?) for their attention, professionalism and knowledge. We very much enjoyed our interactions with both and it was worth the extra cost.

Shore Excursions:

For me, this is the chink in the armor on this trip. I found both ports to be pretty much a waste of time because I like to experience the authentic side of a country. They are overly commercial and a bit of a money grab. We did enjoy both beaches however and in Costa Maya we took a taxi to Mahahual where we found a great stand for empanadas and sopas. We ended up going back to the ship early and very much enjoyed how quiet it was on board lol.

Overall a very nice experience with great people.

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

Family Inside

Cabin was compact but well laid out and tons of smart storage options. I overheard some people complaining about how small they were, however, not being totally PC here, I will state that these people were on the very large side. Two of us fit comfortably in the shower ;) NCL provides full notice of inside cabin size (138 - 144 sq ft) so do the math and see if you'll be comfortable in a 10 x 14 area for the duration. If you don't like the size, spend more and upgrade to something larger. Our steward Randy kept it extremely clean on our behalf.

The aft location was perfect for us. Some minor vibration from the engines however this actually helped me to sleep so an added bonus. Location was close to aft buffet, easy access to elevators and you could walk to the very front of the ship without going through public spaces... a big time saver on sea days!

I would completely sail on this particular ship again - but perhaps a different itinerary.

PS: Thank you NCL for the cabin upgrade! Nice perk for being a Latitudes member!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Miami is very easy to depart from. The port could use some better signage at to what ship/cruise line is supported by each Terminal. Will be excellent once the new NCL main terminal is complete.

Harvest Caye

Too commercial but lovely beach and we still enjoyed it.

Costa Maya

Same as Harvest Caye... too commercial but decent beach. Found a great roadside stand for empanadas and sopas.

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The Ridge
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