After a long flight from London Heathrow (9 1/2 hours) we finally arrived in Miami - a short transfer took us to the Marriott Hotel in Miami which was very nice, clean and included breakfast the folllowing morning. The following day we were transferred to the Pearl - our first impressions were great - we could not fault the cleanliness of the ship nor the balcony staterooms which were ample for 2 people. Everything in the staterooms was there - shampoo and bodywash in the shower, coffee and tea making facilities etc.
After leaving Miami we were on our way and after a day's cruising reached the Dominican Republic - very poor island (probably the poorest in the Caribbean)- not a nice place at all. My advice to anyone else don't bother getting off the ship!! the excursion we took was a joke - a delapidated English church which was held up with scaffolding!! a whale museum which took well about 10 seconds to wander round and then a beach area where we were continually harrassed by people wanting to sell us things. We took refuge in a bar area for peace and quiet away from the sellers!!
The next island was St Thomas - a vast difference to Dominican Republic...shopping area was excellent. Our trip was Best of St Thomas - interesting especially the Botanical Gardens and House but rushed - we only had half an hour to wander round this place and whilst we had booked a 3 hour trip, this only lasted 2!! (felt very ripped off!!!!)
Our balcony cabin was ample for 2 people - area was exceptionally clean and tidy and kept that way by our stewards who were always happy and eager to please ie extra teabags, milk etc. The balcony area was bigger than on Ocean Village and was glass fronted so you always had a great view. Could not fault either Balcony or Cabin itself.
Really good shopping area - nice port area. NCL's excursion a bit rushed...
Great island - good shopping areas - NCL only gave us 1/2 a day which is not long enough