1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Pearl
Just returned home from this 7-day western Caribbean itinerary on Norwegian Pearl. It was just my boyfriend and I (both in our early-mid 30s). I have previously been on 2 Princess cruises, on Norwegian Escape twice and the Dawn last year. My boyfriend has also been on the Epic. Used NCL arranged airfare and transfers and flew into Miami from Maine on day of the cruise. This is the first time I have used NCL airfare and transfers and all went as expected without any issues. We usually fly in the day before but due to prior commitments we were unable to do this. Very pleased with the flight arrangements made by NCL. We arrived in Miami around 1:15 pm and there were NCL staff at baggage claim directing their cruisers to the transfer shuttle. We arrived to the port within 30 minutes of landing and made it through check-in at the port pretty quickly without any long waits. Our luggage was at our room by 5pm even though we checked in on the later side. The Ship Smaller ship but still has plenty of dining and bar options. Very clean and updated. Does have digital tough screens in a few areas like some of the newer NCL ships, but most of them weren't working properly. You don't need to prebook shows so we didn't really need to use these much. Cabin We had a 10th floor midship balcony cabin (10612) and were very pleased with our room. We don't spend much time in our room other than for sleeping and getting ready, but it is really great to have a balcony to sit and have a drink or room service breakfast. Bathroom was very similar to the Dawn but has a door to the toilet area. Shower also has a door. Bed was comfortable. Room was clean and our cabin steward was great. He was very attentive. I had him clear out the mini bar and put a mattress pad on the bed on the first day and otherwise we didn't need to have him do anything else other than the basic tidying up. Dining We had a specialty dining package for 3 meals. We tried Cagneys Steakhouse (filet mignon and cheesecake were amazing), La Cucina (Italian) and all our dishes were great. We went to Tepanyaki (hibachi) for our last meal and this was also very good. Typical hibachi experience but the steak and shrimp were so delicious. Main buffet was typical for NCL ships. Food was ok. It was even smaller than the Garden Cafe on the Dawn with fewer options. Always crowded. We have learned to avoid the buffet at all costs except for afternoon snacks. There was another buffet in the Great Outdoors area on the back of the ship which had the basic food items. Again, we only stopped for snacks. O'Sheehans: Same menu as on other NCL ships. We like the wings, nachos and Caesar salads for a quick snack or lunch once returning from port. We usually stop here for a sit down breakfast most mornings to avoid the buffet lines. They have decent omelets and some other basic breakfast options. Can usually get in and out quickly. They also agree to fill our water bottles which is nice so we don't have to make a stop in the cafe to do this. Main Dining Rooms: We only ate at Indigo as their dress code isn't as strict as Summer Palace. They allowed men to wear shorts and I saw a lot of casual outfits on both men and women. We had 3-4 dinners at Indigo and all were very good. Can usually get through the meal in about an hour for 2 people and be on your way to a show. We discovered that you can order room service (preorder the night before) and have pastries/fruit/coffee/juice delivered to your room so we did this twice. Was great to sit out on the balcony and enjoy a coffee and not have to worry about going anywhere. We did this on sea days as we don't usually need to get an early start. Bars Best drinks came from Maltings Whiskey Bar and Sugarcane Mojito bar. The service was quite slow, however. Happy to find out they have Bon & Viv and Truly seltzers at the main bars now. Entertainment Not as many options as other NCL ships. Duo Contessance was awesome (couple that does aerial acrobatics). Legends was good but geared toward older crowd. A lot of 60-70s themed music, again geared toward older crowd. Pool band was ok. The DJ was overall fine. We didn't listen to any of the lounge music. Pedro, the cruise director was pretty absent throughout the day compared to the cruise directors I've seen on the Dawn and Escape. He was never by the pool or getting the crowd pumped up. Usually the cruise directors communicate the daily/weekly shows or activities and give details. None of that from Pedro aside from at the main evening show. I never saw the assistant CD, Guido, at all. We happened to wander into some shows that turned out to be pretty good but would not have otherwise known what they were about unless we showed up. We spent an hour or so in the Casino. Pretty typical for a cruise ship casino. Lots of smoking. Not overly crowded. Rock wall had very limited hours and was closed due to wind at times. Service Overall very good. Our cabin steward was great. Wait staff were all pretty average throughout the ship. No one really stood out to me as being exceptional. Pool bar staff were doing their jobs but didn't appear to be having much fun doing it. Usually we have one that we get along with and call our own for the week, but they were all pretty stoic. Guest services staff were all pretty good. Pool 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs in the main pool area. We did discover a water feature on one of the sun decks but no other pools or hot tubs. One of the main pools and 2 hot tubs were adult only which was nice. No issues with kids playing or splashing. Last day was super windy so 1 pool was drained and they were doing pool maintenance. Not much of an issue getting a lounger on the pool deck on this cruise. A little more so on sea days but there was a pool attendant actually watching empty chairs and moving stuff if people were away for >30min which I appreciated as they never seem to do this. Fitness Center We did go to the gym on our first sea day and it was packed. Was able to get a treadmill pretty quickly and ran a few miles but it was difficult as you are looking out at the waves. Was also very hot and humid in the gym which made it hard to get a good workout in. Has all the basics for cardio and weightlifting. Ports Overall a good itinerary. Enjoyed all ports. Roatan, Honduras: Booked Jolly Roger Catamaran and Snorkel through NCL. This was a great excursion. Good food and rum punch included. Not much instruction or education as far as explaining what fish or coral we were looking at. Harvest Caye, Belize: My least favorite port. Very commercialized. Waited in line for nearly 2 hours for tender to shore. I guess they were doing maintenance on the pier and we were unable to dock as initially planned. Several ships in that day and there were not enough tenders to keep up with everyone trying to get to shore. Once there, everything was fine. Beach was ok. Water was not clear and couldn't do much snorkeling. HUGE pool with swim up bar. We spent most of the day at the pool. They have restaurants and bar stands throughout the area. There are also shops. Good and affordable coconut drinks. Costa Maya, Mexico: I liked this stop the best. Very cultural area. People were friendly and helpful. Took a shuttle to YaYa Beach in Mahahual and had a wonderful beach day. Booked this through shoreexcursioneer.com without any issues. Beach was calm and beautiful. Drinks and food included. Cab/shuttle fare was $4 each per person one way and I felt safe using these services. Cozumel, Mexico: Been here before and rented scooters and rode around the island. This time wanted to do something different. Booked an all inclusive package at Mr. Sanchos and had a great day! All food and drinks included and it was all delicious. My glass was never empty as Julio the bartender kept it topped off at all times. They have a beach, pools and other activities. Booked through shoreexcursioneer.com beforehand as they tend to sell out months in advance. 100% would go here again. More of a party atmosphere but people of all ages there. Took a cab to and from the port for $20 each way. Cab drivers were trying to charge more and I believe the typical cab rate is $17 but we didn't argue. We did not travel with children and can't comment on any of the kid's activities. We did not visit the spa, purchase photos/art/other items.

Overall Great Cruise with a Few Minor Downfalls

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by kmorin2

Trip Details
Just returned home from this 7-day western Caribbean itinerary on Norwegian Pearl. It was just my boyfriend and I (both in our early-mid 30s). I have previously been on 2 Princess cruises, on Norwegian Escape twice and the Dawn last year. My boyfriend has also been on the Epic.

Used NCL arranged airfare and transfers and flew into Miami from Maine on day of the cruise. This is the first time I have used NCL airfare and transfers and all went as expected without any issues. We usually fly in the day before but due to prior commitments we were unable to do this. Very pleased with the flight arrangements made by NCL. We arrived in Miami around 1:15 pm and there were NCL staff at baggage claim directing their cruisers to the transfer shuttle. We arrived to the port within 30 minutes of landing and made it through check-in at the port pretty quickly without any long waits. Our luggage was at our room by 5pm even though we checked in on the later side.

The Ship

Smaller ship but still has plenty of dining and bar options. Very clean and updated. Does have digital tough screens in a few areas like some of the newer NCL ships, but most of them weren't working properly. You don't need to prebook shows so we didn't really need to use these much.

Cabin

We had a 10th floor midship balcony cabin (10612) and were very pleased with our room. We don't spend much time in our room other than for sleeping and getting ready, but it is really great to have a balcony to sit and have a drink or room service breakfast. Bathroom was very similar to the Dawn but has a door to the toilet area. Shower also has a door. Bed was comfortable. Room was clean and our cabin steward was great. He was very attentive. I had him clear out the mini bar and put a mattress pad on the bed on the first day and otherwise we didn't need to have him do anything else other than the basic tidying up.

Dining

We had a specialty dining package for 3 meals. We tried Cagneys Steakhouse (filet mignon and cheesecake were amazing), La Cucina (Italian) and all our dishes were great. We went to Tepanyaki (hibachi) for our last meal and this was also very good. Typical hibachi experience but the steak and shrimp were so delicious.

Main buffet was typical for NCL ships. Food was ok. It was even smaller than the Garden Cafe on the Dawn with fewer options. Always crowded. We have learned to avoid the buffet at all costs except for afternoon snacks. There was another buffet in the Great Outdoors area on the back of the ship which had the basic food items. Again, we only stopped for snacks.

O'Sheehans: Same menu as on other NCL ships. We like the wings, nachos and Caesar salads for a quick snack or lunch once returning from port. We usually stop here for a sit down breakfast most mornings to avoid the buffet lines. They have decent omelets and some other basic breakfast options. Can usually get in and out quickly. They also agree to fill our water bottles which is nice so we don't have to make a stop in the cafe to do this.

Main Dining Rooms: We only ate at Indigo as their dress code isn't as strict as Summer Palace. They allowed men to wear shorts and I saw a lot of casual outfits on both men and women. We had 3-4 dinners at Indigo and all were very good. Can usually get through the meal in about an hour for 2 people and be on your way to a show.

We discovered that you can order room service (preorder the night before) and have pastries/fruit/coffee/juice delivered to your room so we did this twice. Was great to sit out on the balcony and enjoy a coffee and not have to worry about going anywhere. We did this on sea days as we don't usually need to get an early start.

Bars

Best drinks came from Maltings Whiskey Bar and Sugarcane Mojito bar. The service was quite slow, however. Happy to find out they have Bon & Viv and Truly seltzers at the main bars now.

Entertainment

Not as many options as other NCL ships. Duo Contessance was awesome (couple that does aerial acrobatics). Legends was good but geared toward older crowd. A lot of 60-70s themed music, again geared toward older crowd. Pool band was ok. The DJ was overall fine. We didn't listen to any of the lounge music.

Pedro, the cruise director was pretty absent throughout the day compared to the cruise directors I've seen on the Dawn and Escape. He was never by the pool or getting the crowd pumped up. Usually the cruise directors communicate the daily/weekly shows or activities and give details. None of that from Pedro aside from at the main evening show. I never saw the assistant CD, Guido, at all. We happened to wander into some shows that turned out to be pretty good but would not have otherwise known what they were about unless we showed up.

We spent an hour or so in the Casino. Pretty typical for a cruise ship casino. Lots of smoking. Not overly crowded.

Rock wall had very limited hours and was closed due to wind at times.

Service

Overall very good. Our cabin steward was great. Wait staff were all pretty average throughout the ship. No one really stood out to me as being exceptional. Pool bar staff were doing their jobs but didn't appear to be having much fun doing it. Usually we have one that we get along with and call our own for the week, but they were all pretty stoic. Guest services staff were all pretty good.

Pool

2 main pools and 4 hot tubs in the main pool area. We did discover a water feature on one of the sun decks but no other pools or hot tubs. One of the main pools and 2 hot tubs were adult only which was nice. No issues with kids playing or splashing. Last day was super windy so 1 pool was drained and they were doing pool maintenance. Not much of an issue getting a lounger on the pool deck on this cruise. A little more so on sea days but there was a pool attendant actually watching empty chairs and moving stuff if people were away for >30min which I appreciated as they never seem to do this.

Fitness Center

We did go to the gym on our first sea day and it was packed. Was able to get a treadmill pretty quickly and ran a few miles but it was difficult as you are looking out at the waves. Was also very hot and humid in the gym which made it hard to get a good workout in. Has all the basics for cardio and weightlifting.

Ports

Overall a good itinerary. Enjoyed all ports.

Roatan, Honduras: Booked Jolly Roger Catamaran and Snorkel through NCL. This was a great excursion. Good food and rum punch included. Not much instruction or education as far as explaining what fish or coral we were looking at.

Harvest Caye, Belize: My least favorite port. Very commercialized. Waited in line for nearly 2 hours for tender to shore. I guess they were doing maintenance on the pier and we were unable to dock as initially planned. Several ships in that day and there were not enough tenders to keep up with everyone trying to get to shore. Once there, everything was fine. Beach was ok. Water was not clear and couldn't do much snorkeling. HUGE pool with swim up bar. We spent most of the day at the pool. They have restaurants and bar stands throughout the area. There are also shops. Good and affordable coconut drinks.

Costa Maya, Mexico: I liked this stop the best. Very cultural area. People were friendly and helpful. Took a shuttle to YaYa Beach in Mahahual and had a wonderful beach day. Booked this through shoreexcursioneer.com without any issues. Beach was calm and beautiful. Drinks and food included. Cab/shuttle fare was $4 each per person one way and I felt safe using these services.

Cozumel, Mexico: Been here before and rented scooters and rode around the island. This time wanted to do something different. Booked an all inclusive package at Mr. Sanchos and had a great day! All food and drinks included and it was all delicious. My glass was never empty as Julio the bartender kept it topped off at all times. They have a beach, pools and other activities. Booked through shoreexcursioneer.com beforehand as they tend to sell out months in advance. 100% would go here again. More of a party atmosphere but people of all ages there. Took a cab to and from the port for $20 each way. Cab drivers were trying to charge more and I believe the typical cab rate is $17 but we didn't argue.

We did not travel with children and can't comment on any of the kid's activities. We did not visit the spa, purchase photos/art/other items.
kmorin2’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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 Balcony
Cabin BA
See above.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins