We had never cruised with NCL before so we decided to give the Norwegian Pearl a try. The itinerary and the time of year worked for us so we took a 5 night cruise to Belize and Costa Maya out of Miami on January 12, 2020. A little warm weather getaway before the real cold set in up north. We were traveling with a relative who had her own interior cabin across the hall from our mini-suite. We used a travel agent to help with the actual reservations but i had done all the research myself using then NCL website. I found the website very easy to use and negotiate. Our travel agent got a little better deal saving us a few hundred dollars which covered the gratuities.
We chose the reduced airfare offer that was being offered. $99 round trip was too good to turn down. The flights to Miami were good and got us to the port at noon. The return flights were horrible. 5:40p flight to Charlotte and then a 10:30p flight to Providence. We did not get home till after 1am. There were better flights on American Airlines (checked their website) but since it was booked through NCL we had to go to them to adjust. They told our travel agent that it would cost $50 per person just to look and see if anything was available with no guarantee the basic economy flights could be changed. $150 just to punch a few keystrokes into a computer. Not good customer service. I wish we would have spent the extra and booked the air ourselves. Live and learn.
I knew from other reviews that the ships layout was very confusing. The only way to get from front to the back was on either deck 7 or 12. Didn't think it would be a major problem but it was very annoying. To get from one restaurant to the other, which are right next to each other, you had to go up a flight of stairs then go down a corridor and back down a different set of stairs. It seemed that everywhere you went you kept walking into dead ends. On every other ship I've cruised on you were able to figure out the layout by the second or third day. I never figured it out on the Pearl.
For a mini suite I would have expected a little more room. It was difficult to walk around due to the layout. The bed is very close to the wall. The bathroom is a good size and it is great to have a full sized tub. We were able to get a third chair to put on the balcony. The sliding door to the balcony was difficult to open as it required two hands and a lot of force to open.
Monkey River Eco Tour. Very informative really enjoyed it.