Norwegen Pearl Not Recommended: Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by livingbythesea

Norwegian Pearl 3
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

Norwegen Pearl Not Recommended

Sail Date: January 2011
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
This may be a little long, but hopefully it will help someone.Hope you enjoy!

First, let's just preface up front what we WANTED in our cruise. As a family, we were looking forward to the simple things: 1-The incredible soft, plush, yet firm beds that we experienced on our last cruise (with Carnival) ~Didn't happen~. 2- The absolute BEST lemonade available 24/7 at poolside -FREE! (Again, Carnival, had this and also juice and water 24/7).~Didn't happen~ 3- TOWEL animals and mints each night (come on -for the kids!!) ~Didn't happen~ 4- A cartoon channel on T.V. just because (Only cartoons in the A.M. for an hour or two) ~Didn't happen~. 5- A coin-operated laundry! (Carnival had this)~Didn't happen. 6- Conditioner and hand lotion free ~Didn't happen~. 7-Robes to use in the rooms ~Didn't happen~

O.K. now before it sounds like I am complaining, I just wanted to set the stage as to where we were coming from as far as expectations. We just want to RELAX!

Here's what More we found.

Getting on the ship went smoothly, quickly, although I must say I prefer the port out of Tampa a bit better. The people seem more friendly, less serious/all business. But it was fine and once you got talking to the people they were friendly enough.

We got on the Pearl around 12:00. Our room was not ready. We checked our bags in a restaurant that had been assigned as a temporary baggage drop-off spot until the rooms were done. I don't think everyone knew about this option. We just found out about it by asking. Compared to the number of people on the ship and the little number of bags in this area, either a.) most rooms were ready, which did not seem likely according the ship's announcements or b.) not many knew about this baggage drop off spot or c.) there was another baggage drop-off spot at another location (Which seemed unlikely given how things were laid out) So tip: If your room is not done when you embark, ask where you can put your luggage. We retrieved it without a problem at 2:00 when all the rooms were ready.

We ate at the grill by the back of the ship. A PLUS: The food was better on the Pearl than on the Carnival. More variety and foods that took a lot of time to prepare.

We got out bags and went to the cabin. We met our two cabin stewards right away. They briefly said "hi" and were on their way. They seemed not as happy as the workers on the Carnival, seemed overworked, maybe tired. We got in our room-noticed that the double beds were not pushed together to make a large single (Carnival had this done already). We asked the steward if he would do this and he said tomorrow. Our remote quite working at one point, we called down and asked for it to be repaired (needed new batteries, I think) and it was taken and never returned. We had to call back down (to the steward, I think? We called the front desk who would connect us). It was returned about 3 hours later. Just a bit odd. Not that we watch so much T.V. on a cruise, but it's great to have as you get ready for dinner and the kids can sit and watch for just a bit.Also, we only had 2 beach towels and took us 2 days to get the 3rd.

Also~ NO TOWEL ANIMALS and NO MINTS at night! What? The young ones REALLY look forward to this! It's sort of a highlight of the cruise. We had two animals the whole time and no mints. And the stewards knew our room had kids in it! DISAPPOINTING.

Front Desk staff: Hit and Miss. At one point we needed an ice pack. The lady at the front desk literally asked 8 times for one to the person at the other end of the phone. I am not sure WHO she called but from our side of the conversation it sounded like this: "An ice pack. Ice pack> Yes, you have one. Can I talk to your supervisor. A pack to put ice in..." This went on and on. This same lady from the front desk called our room later to see if we had received one yet. We said no. In about two minutes the cabin steward came down with one.

Helpfulness of these staff: Sometimes my husband said that he felt that they would try to use a language barrier to their advantage, like they did not understand you fully or, more often, not answer your question clearly.

That was another thing. POOR COMMUNICATION.

We never know if housekeeping or the room steward was in charge of getting things to us. What category did "ice pack" and "T.V. remote" fall under? We often just called the front desk and let them get us the right people.

Another example, the night before the last night, there was some sort of farewell to the staff going on in the main theater. We looked at our (the Freestlye Daily) and nothing had been posted.

Shows: Poor. NOT child friendly nor family friendly. One night some guys were juggling bowling pins. Yes, sort of neat. Then they started to have them hit the other guy in the crotch. I mean, come on! Is this the best talent a cruise ship can provide? It's just juvenile humor. One of the shows was called "Sharkbait". We were not impressed.

Music poolside: Ragae band was great by poolside. The band with the lady in it not quite as good.

Accomodations: Beds: HARD. Pull down bed unbearably hard. No soft fuzzy bath robes to use like Carnival had. No conditioner or hand lotion like Carnival had (I am pretty sure they had hand lotion...); here we had shampoo and body wash only. Short on towels to start. No Laundry bag or laundry form in the room. We had to call down and ask for this as well.

We were on deck 10 and there was a smell sometimes when we got off the elevator. It was not a pleasant smell~sort of like toilet, but not as strong as to say it was sewer if that makes sense.

Laundry: Overpriced. No self serve laundry. Hard to figure out drop off and return times. We needed some clothing done and paid $17 for a few things. Later, we were charged $25 for a bag. It seemed like there were two bag sizes as well. One in the hall looked like a large military bag size. The bag we got was more like a flat paper bag from a department store. Carnival cost $2 a load, I believe. Here, we spent almost $45 for just a few things. Thinking back, it seemed like our room was not really ready for us: lacking towel, no laundry bags.

What was good? "Washy-Washy!!He is the guy (or gal) by the door of the main buffet with a hand sanitizer sprayer, who sprays your hands before you eat! It's so great! He says "Washy washy! Happy happy! Smiley smiley!" Great variety of foods. If you go to eat, you'll be pleased.

Liquor? Wouldn't have a clue.

Food Service: Beverages? Who would pay that extra fee for a week's worth of soda? (appx $50) Carnival had FREE lemonade and juice and water poolside 24/7. Here, only juices available at breakfast. And other meals in the little kiddie eating part. We didn't eat there but would bring our kids there to get juices for all because these juices were just for kids. Go figure. I heard rumor that Carnival may have given up its free juice. Please, Carnival, don't take the lemonade away, too! Food service staff were hard working. Some more fun than others. Did not seem to be laid out 100% as some of the walkways were also cart zones.

Activities:I rock-climbed. Great guy (the shorter one)doing this! Positive and encouraging. I line-danced~Fun! I learned Salsa~Fun, but too short of a class! Jogging track I thought was badly placed right above the pool area. A lot of people just walking and not really noticing this was for joggers. Bingo was fun. Liked the quiet card playing rooms.

Kids club: We go on a family vacation to be together as a family so we don't can't report about these. I was a little disappointed again, when we saw it advertised that the Pearl had a Wii game to use, but that area was a "Non-parent Zone" and we could not enter. So IF we had utilized these services, parents would not be allowed in at all. Always, a day care provider should have an open door policy and not a prohibitive one. This was also a little warning flag to us.

Bowling Alley: Another event we looked forward to. Thought it was free. (Two for one at times) I thought it was cool to bowl~ a unique experience.

Water slide: Kids said hard to go down as the salt water made it "sticky" and not really slippery. I did not try. The hot tubs were wonderful (and freshwater).

Other cruisers: Met some great people. Most were very heavy-set and loved to eat so much as to be pushy about it! At one point, my husband had someone bump him over to take the cookie tongs out of his hand so he could get cookies! A lot of older people. A lot from the Midwest or North.

Staff: Seemed overworked. Not as happy and fun-loving as Carnival, overall. (Except for "Washy Washy"!!) Oh, and the guy in the gift shop from Romania! Wonderful! And that lady who got us the ice pack at the front desk.

Tip: Don't let Norwegian charge the tipping back end- on the last day of the cruise. Instead, hand the tip over to your servers directly.Some say that they don't really receive that money. I don't know if Norwegian takes it and distributes it or not, but I think prudence says to pay them directly. We did not have enough cash on hand to tip them directly, but I think that would be a great idea!

Norwegian seemed to nickel and dime everything.

Rating out of 10? I'd say a 3.5 to 4. Disappointing.

Hope this was helpful!

~Living By The Sea Less

Published 02/14/11

Cabin review: IE Mid-Ship Inside

Pretty typical in size Beds HARD, Esp. bunk bed No laundry bag/laundry list in room TV remote quit No hair conditioner No hand lotion Room had laundry behind it: Heard machines kick in at night when sleeping Smelled cigarette smoke in bathroom Carnival had better ventilation

Read All Mid-Ship Inside (IE) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Belize was more clean and commercialized. Fun. A lot of shops. KNOW THIS~ Absolutely NO BEACHES here. (We wanted to go snorkeling) You have to get on a boat which takes you to an island maybe 30 minutes away. If you do this, ask for BERNIE! He was sooo good. He is from We found out about him from the tourism information desk inside the shopping mall. He ended up rescuing 5 people from someone else's little boat service who were in trouble. I am not sure how he even saw them, but in no time our boat was racing to that little island (not our little island we were going to) and Bernie was in the water with life preservers. IT was amazing. All of Bernie's people on the boat are certified and don't just leave you to snorkel on your own. But don't expect much on these little islands. Pretty rustic. If you have lunch there, it'll cost extra. I think we paid $40 to go to this island per person and $30 for kids. We did not do as much shopping as we went to the island, but there are pharmacies and all kinds of shops here. I wish I could tell you the name of the cute but small shop we ran into at the end of the day. All I remember is that it is right across from the little bridge that goes in between a grassy area between the mall. Again, you'll know it when you see it:) Recommendation: Shop here instead of spending the time and money to go snorkeling to an island. Save the snorkeling for the city where that is possible closer to shore, I'd recommend Key West. But, if you are a sporting snorkeler, then yes, Belize would be worth the time and money.

Here's what I'm talking about! Fun-loving! This place was great. Clean and neat. Beautiful pool area in the middle of the shopping center. Here is where you want to lay out! We saw that they had a swim-up bar in the shade in the pool. We just went to the shops and restaurant, but another couple went took a bus tour and this really sounds like a fun way to see and hear about the Mayans. At the restaurant the waiter was so fun! He made balloon shapes for hats for us. They had a great spot here to swim with dolphins. The dolphins looked real small and the area to swim with them was small as well. It looked well-run and clean and safe. Our family had sunburns at this point and wanted to go back to the ship earlier. We got a great ring with a name engraved in it while we waited for $12.00. It is just so unique and beautiful. He was a very talented jeweler located inside one of the jewelery shops. Great deals. I got an $8 t-shirt of great quality. There was a guy using nothing but spray paint to paint beautiful pictures in the center of this mall area. Drew a crowd and amazing to watch him work. From the ship you could see the area beyond the inner port shopping part, but you could not get to it, unless you were with a tour. I wanted to just go walking but as far as I know, you couldn't. Saw security here walking around but felt very safe, unlike Honduras were you also saw security but felt less safe. YES~ would return!

Read 1767 Costa Maya Reviews

What can I say? About perfect! Parrothead zone!!Walked around, shopped, went to the southern most point and hired a guy to bike our family back! Here, look for the $5 stores~you can here them yelling out. They are down by the Ripley's Museum. Cheap and reasonably priced here~I thought it would be very pricey given the cost of living here. One person we talked to said it was like living in Manhattan! Then how can prices be so low? Mallory Square was fun. DuVal street (Did I spell get that name right?) was fun; I can see how the atmosphere at night would change here into a big party zone.

Read 1393 Key West Reviews

This really is a 3rd world country. We walked into town and made it almost to the first bend. You'll know what we mean when you go there. There is only one way out of the port when you walk. There is a road that goes to the left that sort of goes into the countryside. The other road goes more straight ahead and you can see stores on each side of the road. It goes perhaps 2 city blocks and then gently turns to the right. It seemed to get less and less safe the further we walked. Found a really nice market right when you get into the main street on the left hand side. Found great wooden things here (bowl and such)and a scarf. I probably would be O.K.not returning unless for a humanitarian effort. One guy followed us around talking and talking to my husband. We ignored him. He then asked my husband for a dollar. We did not give him one. Later, on the way out, I couldn't find my camera and panicked. As I frantically searched my backpack, two little children eyed us expectantly. I just felt for them. I did find my camera in the group of bags I handed to my husband earlier. I was glad to get out of there and back to the ship. The people at that little market on the left as we walked was nice and the people in here were really nice and we felt safe here. Several other people were in here buying items as well. My husband noticed the armed policemen as we walked the street. Did not feel 100% safe here, not like the other ports.Yet, the people at the shops were nice and you had to feel for the kids.

Read 2447 Roatan Reviews

Compare Prices on Norwegian Pearl Western Caribbean Cruises

Read more Norwegian Pearl cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Norwegian Pearl Review >>

Compare Prices on Norwegian Pearl Western Caribbean Cruises

Member Since 2011
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Skip X

See Norwegian Pearl deals up to 82% off:

October Deals
Norwegian Pearl 73% Loved It

14-day Panama Canal From Los Angeles
See all Norwegian Pearl Deals >>