120 Norwegian Pearl First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was my 1st cruise ever. I received a voucher for an inside cabin from the casino where I am a rewards member. A friend recommended NCL so I decided to accept the offer. I paid additional to upgrade to a balcony cabin. I also ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise ever. I received a voucher for an inside cabin from the casino where I am a rewards member. A friend recommended NCL so I decided to accept the offer. I paid additional to upgrade to a balcony cabin. I also purchased a soda package and three shore excursions through the cruise line. To begin with, the embarkation in NOLA was a complete mess. No one to assist you with questions, extremely long lines and wait time. Our check-in was between 12 & 12:30 PM. We finally got checked in and were able to board around 3:30 PM. Due to the extremely long wait to embark, I was unable to eat lunch. After boarding the ship I began to have a diabetic low. I went straight to the 24 hour O'Shea's to get something to eat but was told they would not serve me because the muster drill was about to start. I could not get any of the NCL staff to assist me in providing either juice, soda with sugar, or something with sugar or high carbs (such as candy or crackers) because the muster drill was starting. I asked at least 15 staff members to assist me and was told instead that I had to attend the muster drill. Finally, when I was shaking so bad that I had to sit down in the floor, one crew member realized what was happening and brought me a glass of orange juice to drink. Due to a medical condition I requested additional pillows and egg crate foam mattress cover for bed in cabin from special services in February after booking. Was assured that my request would be fulfilled. When we arrived at our cabin, there were no extra pillows or foam mattress cover. Went to Guest Services 3 times and asked for my request to be fulfilled. Nothing! We finally met our Cabin Steward and he was able to fulfill our request for the extra pillows, but we never received the foam mattress covers. I asked to speak with then Guest Services Manager to discuss the service issues and was told by the Guest Services desk rep that the manager was on the way to my cabin. The Manager never showed up to speak with me throughout the entire cruise. Service from the wait staff was terrible. Spent a lot of time either waiting on our food to be served, or trying to get a soda refill. Staff was more interested in selling you additional stuff than in providing you with what you had already purchased. In fact, service was so poor for the entire cruise that I requested that my prepaid gratuities be refunded. Dining was not a pleasant experience. Food was bland and unseasoned, either over cooked or under-cooked, and choices were limited. Bread was completely inedible. Had the consistency and taste of hard tack. Service was terrible. There were some tasteful deserts. Ship elevators were slow for the entire cruise. Ended up taking the stairs 90% of the time while on the cruise. Shore excursions were good and well worth the money spent. Enjoyed shopping in each of the scheduled ports. Entertainment in the Stardust Theater was also good. We enjoyed a variety of different shows. Over all, for a vacation that I planned and looked forward to for so long, the cruise left much to be desired. I will be cruising again, but definitely not on NCL. Nor will I recommend NCL to my friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Did a last minute booking on NCL Pearl to Alaska. This was my first time cruising and enjoyed most parts of the experience. -- I had booked a balcony cabin, which was fairly good size. Even though they claim it can accommodate 4 people, ... Read More
Did a last minute booking on NCL Pearl to Alaska. This was my first time cruising and enjoyed most parts of the experience. -- I had booked a balcony cabin, which was fairly good size. Even though they claim it can accommodate 4 people, I found it appropriate for 2 adults and 2 kids (definitely not 4 adults). Room amenities were standard and nothing is included the prepaid packages, Enough luggage and drawer space. -- Dining was bit of a challenge for me (believe it or not!). I did not try any speciality restaurants. They have two dining halls which serve exactly same dinner menu, so doesn't matter where you eat. Food options were rather limited if you have special dietary requirements. The buffet got old real soon, as only one or two counters had meatless options. -- Entertainment shows were DEFINITELY dated !! They had some singer going ga-ga over 50s and 60s songs, the angels provided mellow / calm performance instead of high energy performance they had shown during opening night. All in all, you may not enjoy these shows if you are under 50 -- Plenty of options for Shore Excursions, though admittedly pricy. I decided to take one at each port of call and only one was bust. The shore excursion staff was always helpful, and mostly smiling (depending on who you talk to). Missed behind the scenes tour, but at $80 I heard it wasn't that good Overall, I may consider going on Pearl again ... but definitely want to explore more options with other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
lorifl2 reviewed this same cruise taken the week before ours. I will only write about different experiences, so read hers too. This was our first cruise, so we can't compare to other lines. Scroll to the end for details on ... Read More
lorifl2 reviewed this same cruise taken the week before ours. I will only write about different experiences, so read hers too. This was our first cruise, so we can't compare to other lines. Scroll to the end for details on accessibility and gluten free info. We chose this cruise based on price, destination, and accessibility. We had the economical inside cabin and my disabled Father had an ocean view accessible room. We opted for the large bed option where they combine the small bed frames and slap on a larger mattress. They call it a queen, but it seemed larger than our queen at home. This removed any floor space, so if you prefer walking to cuddling, stick with separate bunks. The bathroom is tiny, but the shower was roomier than expected. Hot water was always available, and the pressure was good too. The steward cleans every day and brings fresh towels, including an adorable animal sculpture made out of towels. The ship and cabin are immaculate. They are constantly cleaning. Germs don't have a prayer surviving on this ship. We were located on the 8th deck near O'Sheehan's Pub, a complimentary venue. We loved this and ate breakfast there every morning. We ate dinner there when prime rib was the special. Wonderful meal! We also enjoyed the two nights we ate at the Summer Palace, one of the two complimentary main dining rooms. Indigo was the other main dining room. My meal there was just ok. Our favorite dining experience was Moderno's Brazillian steakhouse. This was an upcharge, $26.00 per person, but sooooo worth it. I agree with everything lorifl2 said about this place. We mostly ate lunch at the Garden Buffet on deck 12. This was often crowded and difficult to navigate, but there was plenty to choose from and it was an easy way to stay healthy for at least one meal in the day. My 25 year old son found he was hungry at different times than we were, and loved to pop up there on his own. One day they had a salmon bake by the pool. YUMMY!. Another day they had a Bavarian Buffet. We had a pretzel because we had already eaten. We had the Ultimate Beverage Package. I really enjoyed splurging on a second glass of wine, or trying a new cocktail guilt free. One thing we didn't get with that was coffee or hot chocolate. You can have that in the dining rooms, but not the bars. I wanted a Baily's hot chocolate, but that was a no go. So frustrating! My brother needs to have constant water due to medications he takes. The bottled water was not included either. Those bottles were $5.50! He just refilled the ones he had. The entertainment is fabulous. Don't miss Tim Kaminsky, the comedian. Jimmy, can't remember his last name, sang a wonderful tribute concert to Tony Bennett. The NCL dance troupe was great and did a nice job on the variety show. There were other singers that joined them for various tributes, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Elton John. Madonna was amazing!!!! We did several excursions. The one I want to mention is one we did not book through NCL. You won't find it on their list. It was in Ketchikan, and was a hike through the rainforest and Bight Totem Park. This is not accessible. Wild Wolf Tours offers this excursion. The maximum number of people she takes is 12, but we three had her to ourselves! She grew up there and was very knowledgeable. The hike was beautiful and interesting. The trainride in Skagway is a must, and accessible as well. In Juneau we took the Bike and Brew tour. We rode 8 miles to see two sides of the Mendenhall Glacier, then had a beer tasting in town. I am not overly fit and don't ride, but I managed this tour. In Victoria we didn't do an excursion. The bus to town had a nice lift for the chair, so we all went in to town for a delicious dinner at Cactus Cafe. Ok, now for the accessible and Gluten free info... GLUTEN FREE I give NCL an A for effort but a B for execution. My keycard was tied to my profile so anytime I used it, they knew I was GF. My son is also GF. We started referring to the waiters and hosts as the gluten nazi's. lol They wouldn't let us order any dish with sauces because they had soy. I am not that strict, but I have to admit, the ever present hives on my neck and face cleared up. Here is how NCL prefer's to handle GF passengers. We are asked to give them 24 hours notice which dining room we plan to eat at, and what we would like to have made GF. Seriously, who plans meals a day in advance on vacation, especially with 6 in our party? However, right when they were telling me this, we already knew we were eating at the pub for my son's birthday the next night. They made us au jus for the prime rib without soy. I was so pleased, but then they ruined it by bringing him a birthday cake that wasn't GF. Why didn't they just bring a dish of ice cream or a GF blueberry muffin we later learned they keep on hand? But wait! They made it right later. We happened to attend a Q&A session with the chef, so my son mentioned that incident. He spoke with us afterwards and made him a flourless GF chocolate cake the next day at my sister's birthday dinner. It was to die for! We nibbled on that the rest of the week. At O'Sheehans, since we ate breakfast there every morning, they knew us and brought me gf toast and muffins. The oatmeal on the buffet there was the best, creamy and hot. I am not that strict about GF oatmeal. At Moderno's, there were several items on the salad bar we could not have, and out of the 11 meats you get, we could only eat 5. Only, 5 lol. Who cares. It was still my favorite meal. The salad bar was amazing too! When we didn't preorder, the waiters were very good to help us find something we could eat. I had the pork roast, and they brought me cranberries and mint jelly instead of the sauce it came with. The roast was dry, so not my favorite meal, but still, they tried. The Garden buffet has pizza, and I'm told you can have GF pizza, but I never tried. I was happy with the cold cuts, cheese, and fruit I ate every day. I would say the worst thing about being GF on the cruise was the conflicting info I was given. For instance, I know I could have GF pizza, but was unclear if I had to preorder the day before or not. I didn't have to preoder my toast and muffins, but thought I did. That waitress was wonderful to offer those to me. You can't bring any food onboard that isn't sealed, so don't bake your own bread or cookies. I hope this helps you GF peeps. ACCESSIBILITY My father is partially mobile. He gets by at home with a walker and still does his own grocery shopping, however, he really balks at walking any further than the mailbox. We decided to rent a transport chair. We did this through Bellevue Healthcare in Seattle. They delivered the chair to our hotel and picked it up there as well. The cost was $45.00 for the whole time including the delivery. You have to rent for a month to get free delivery, but it only costs $10.00 more than renting for week. This was the best money we spent. That chair was a godsend. We used it both on and off the ship. A transport chair has to be pushed by someone, but there were 5 of us, so we took turns. It worked better on some surfaces than others. We had to travel over carpet, wood, and tile. They all worked well, but there were these raised spots where the security doors were located about every 30 feet. These really made getting from one end of the ship to the other very difficult. The chair would go over these things better if we turned Dad around and pulled him over them backwards, but there were so many of these, that was a pain too. The buffet had some tables labels handicapped which was nice. These were slightly easier to get to. The theater had a nice raised area for wheelchairs, and a row of seats for people that can get to them after setting their walkers aside. The elevators were nice and large, but we often had to wait for an empty one to land on our floor. Once I went down a level using the stairs and took the elevator back up to my Father empty. lol His accessible room was very nice. He had room to store both the walker and the chair, which folded up easily by the way. The bathroom was much roomier than ours. His oceanview room had what they called an obstructed view which means the life boat is in the way. We found the view quite adequate. The life boat was actually below the window. My Father and sister did some accessible excursions we didn't do, but they enjoyed them. They did Saxman Village and logging show in Ketchikan. The Best of Seattle Tour was really rough for him. The tour bus did not have a lift and made two stops. He had a heck of a time getting on and off that bus. The Skagway train had a nice lift. Hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my very first cruise so I don't have anything compare it to. I can only tell what what surprised me, what I liked and didn't like. I traveled with my daughter and granddaughter. Since our cruise was stopping in Canada we ... Read More
This was my very first cruise so I don't have anything compare it to. I can only tell what what surprised me, what I liked and didn't like. I traveled with my daughter and granddaughter. Since our cruise was stopping in Canada we had to have either a birth certificate or passport with us at embarkation. This was a surprise since we had decided not to disembark at Victoria we were told when we called the cruise line we didn't need passports. They didn't tell us we needed birth certificates or passport to board the ship! Luckily it was worked out. On our first day aboard. our room steward didn't explain much of the information needed, such as laundry, ice, etc., the kind of info you usually find in a hotel guest services book. So I was constantly calling him with questions. I didn't know until three days into the cruise that to have the room made up you had to switch the sign on the outside of the cabin door. I was surprised at how much the cruise line tries to sell you things--pushing their products and services. Every day there were several "seminars" on the activity list designed to sell something--spa services, teeth whitening, good feet, etc. I had hoped there would be more onboard activities.Even the "port shopping" specialist dealt mainly with jewelry stores that the cruise line obviously had some of kick back going on. There is no self-service laundry and to have it done on the ship is very expensive, so pack accordingly. Service onboard was excellent, all the crew were very pleasant. My granddaughter loved the Splash Academy! That was the hit of the cruise. We only used the pool a few times since it was cool weather most of the cruise. The photo of the pool shows a slide, but there was no slide on this ship. Kids really loved the pool and the hot tubs were hot enough to keep you warm in the cold weather! We had a mid-aft balcony cabin and it was nice, the shower was larger than I thought it would be and water pressure/temp. was fine. Mid-aft had the best views and on deck 10 we had cabins in the floor above and below, so we didn't have noise from discos and bars. We had a three speciality restaurant package but were unaware that reservations were needed, even with the package. So book your restaurant reservations the first day of the cruise. The Garden Cafe buffet was the busiest and most crowded of the free restaurants. Unfortunately my granddaughter also loved that and we ended up eating there quite of bit. I would recommend trying the other free restaurants as the Garden Cafe gets boring after a while, plus it is crowded during the usual eating time periods. Reason being it is quick, most of the other free restaurants are sit-down, order from menu places. I figured out cruises are not for exploring the port stops, as we didn't get much time at the ports. In Juneau our excursion took most of the day, no time for shopping. We went on the Mendenhall Glacier/Whale Quest. The Glacier stop was uneventful, you don't get that close to it. There is a very nice Visitor Center. There is a waterfall you can hike to but as soon as you get there you have to turn around and hike back in order to make the bus in time. The Whale watching was great; definitely a highlight. Very comfortable boat and they provide binoculars for the passengers. We saw several whales and the crew was awesome. Also our bus driver was excellent, informative and funny. At Skagway I went on the White Pass Scenic Railway tour. It's good for adults, kids would be bored. You don't get off the train, but you see sights you would never get to see anywhere else. Sit on the left side going up; it's the best for viewing. The train takes the exact same route going back so passengers on the right side get to see the views as well; but I think the train travels a little faster going back. Good narration and it's great for people who like to take photos and have good photo equipment. I saw a lot of people with big lenses, but regular camera phones are good too. My daughter and granddaughter went on the Rainforest hike with the river float back and they loved it. At Ketchikan we didn't take an excursion, just shopped. I found a great store, "Blasphemous Bill's". Everything in it is made in Alaska and they have a variety of items, something for everyone. I got a lot of shopping done there. Disembarkation went smoothly. We chose "easy-off" since we were driving home, not taking a plane. Also, we used long-term parking at the Bell Street Pier Garage directly across from the ship. It was convenient, walk to the ship from there and safe. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I received a Total Rewards voucher for a cruise for two and chose the Alaska cruise because we lived in Alaska for 20 years and have been away from it for the last three. We knew in advance what the scenery and climate would be like, and ... Read More
I received a Total Rewards voucher for a cruise for two and chose the Alaska cruise because we lived in Alaska for 20 years and have been away from it for the last three. We knew in advance what the scenery and climate would be like, and we were looking forward to it. I chose the Norwegian Pearl because the itinerary had the sea days first and the Inside Passage second for the dates we chose (May 29-Jun 5), and I thought the sea days would go by faster at the beginning while we were still busy exploring the ship and learning the ropes as first time cruisers. We had a forward deck inside cabin on the 10th floor, and the lack of windows was perfect for a sound sleep each night. We spent little time in the room otherwise, so the size and storage space we found quite adequate for my husband and I, and in our room noise was not a problem. We found the crew to be kind, hardworking, and very eager to please, and we felt welcome everywhere we went. Our cabin was clean, and our cabin attendant was very responsive to any requests. We ate four dinners in specialty restaurants: Moderno, Cagney's, Teppanyaki, and a repeat for Cagney's. We had reserved La Cucina as our 4th, but Cagney's was so good we decided to go twice. We also ate in the Summer Palace, Indigo, Topsiders, twice at the outdoor barbecues, and in the Garden Cafe, both inside and out. We were pleased with all the food and with the service. I've seen some complaints about the food in these reviews, but I think considering the fact that the ship was providing non-stop food to around 2000 passengers and another 1000 crew members for 7 days, in addition to cooking and cleaning up after each of those people, that they did a remarkable job and are to be highly commended. We never had trouble finding a seat in the buffet, but that may be because we tried to sensibly avoid the "rush hours" for our meals, just as we do when we are dining out at home. Because we were already familiar with Alaska, we did not do any of the excursions. Instead, we walked around each town, talked with some of the locals, and visited the shops, and made sure to pick up the free jewelry items from each port that were announced in the ship's newsletter for the day as well as a few that were offered as we walked around. I ended up with a bracelet full of charms (each port had its own free charm to add to the bracelet), three necklaces, a bear charm, a forget-me-not pendant, a whale tail pendant, and some earrings. I didn't go ashore in Victoria, so there may have been giveaways there as well. I always love the idea of free gifts! We did ride the tram to the top of Mount Roberts in Juneau, and the views from up there made it worth the price. We ate in the restaurant at the top, and the food was good. We knew from reading cruise critic that many of the ship presentations were designed around selling things to passengers, so we skipped most of them. We did see most of the shows in the Stardust Theater each evening, and we enjoyed the ones we saw. I loved the towel animals left in the room, and went to the class near the end of the cruise that showed how to make them. The instruction was good, and I can now surprise friends and family with animals of my own. I played slots in the casino pretty hard almost daily, and was fortunate enough to jackpot near the end of my cruise and win back what I had spent. That was an unexpected surprise! I would recommend the Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Pearl to friends and family, and we are very glad we got to experience it. Kudos to the staff for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first and last cruise. I cruised on the NCL Pearl to the Panama Canal. I prefer paying for my vacation and vacationing without the worry of penny pinching. Unfortunately, for this vacation I felt like I was watching my nickels ... Read More
This was my first and last cruise. I cruised on the NCL Pearl to the Panama Canal. I prefer paying for my vacation and vacationing without the worry of penny pinching. Unfortunately, for this vacation I felt like I was watching my nickels and dimes slip out of my hands. The first to note is that you have to pay for your tips before you are even allowed on the ship. I went on this cruise with my mother, and we had to pay with credit card for tips weeks before boarding. The price for tips is $250. Also, you pay for tips while on the ship every time you buy a drink. It’s 18% gratuity, plus there is in added hand for additional tips. I brought booze on the trip and had to pay for $15 corking fee. My booze consisted of wine with the twist tops. I still had to pay for a corking fee even though the poured my own drink from the bottles. Before boarding, right before we got on the ship my mother and I had to open up credit in order to be issued the little cruise cards that are given to all guests. This is so then if you want to go to a fancy restaurant you get billed for the food you ordered. Just to let you know if you stick to the open restaurants, the ones where you don’t have to pay for your meal, you get a sample of what the specialty restaurants offer. My mother and I stuck to the open restaurants. You get billed if you pay for a drink. Sometimes the drink of the day was without alcohol. If you pay for the unlimited $90 a day drink ticket you have to factor in your loss of drinks when you leave the ship for excursions. The ship excursions are far more expensive and limited than just leaving the ship and paying for a tour offered by the locals which is just as safe. I left the ship at Curacao and Costa Rica and paid $100 total for both trips. If I had paid through the ship I would have paid close to $300 and not seen as much of the countries. Stay on the ship during the Panama Canal, you get more out of it. If you leave the ship while the ship goes through the Panama Canal you miss the experience. By the way, if you decide to leave the ship during the Panama Canal, you have to leave in the middle of Gatun Lake on a tender. I stayed on the ship. I discovered that cruises are not for me. You get a taste, a tease, of what other countries offer. You pay through the nose for everything, especially tips. You feel like a drunk walking around on the ship while it moves. I’m sticking to all-inclusive. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
After hearing many good comments about a cruise, me and my husband decide to go for the first on a cruise, the Norwegian Pearl. The ship is beautiful, outside and inside, big enough for the amount of people travelling on it. The ... Read More
After hearing many good comments about a cruise, me and my husband decide to go for the first on a cruise, the Norwegian Pearl. The ship is beautiful, outside and inside, big enough for the amount of people travelling on it. The statement rooms are well shared and good isolated, perfect beds and covers, twice a day service, clean towels, etc. The interior of the ship were wonderful, clean, coloured, various bars and restaurants, shows, musicals, good and less good bands and people playing around, including in the swimming pool area, action and books space, internet and many others activities. They were also very organised at the entrance and exit of the ship, considering the amount of people being part of if. Of course I had, unfortunately to say there negative critics about it. First af all, the Norwegian Cruise monopolise the excursions at the Panama Canal, not letting any other kind of private excursions taking care of it. The excursions they organised were interesting but in very precaire and poor conditions.. the boat belonging to it was very small, having a very small area with air condition inside, the food was very poor and little, letting people hungry in those 8 hours passing the Panama Canal. What a pity! The second serious problem was the 'missing drinking water' that people had to pay ($$$$) inside the ship or carry their own water, like us. I took 14 liters water in our luggage. I made me having the impression I was camping somewhere. The third and worst problem was the FOOD. I wrote them a medical form 2 months before getting on the ship, presenting my diet intolerances. Even though I had to pre-order even single day my meals. I could have 2 properly meals, during my 11 days onboard, and I was 8 days sick. Fortunately I had my medicines to control my health situation, that was not according with my exceptions. Actually they don't give a damn about your diets or healthy needs, they didn't even have 'becel' and 'milk without fat' at the breakfast, anywhere ! These are basic products in any hotels. The Chef cook for special diet food didn't not even know what a 'wagyu meat' is... It was very disappointing and I don't recommend people with diet problems going on a Norwegian Cruise Line. The last negative critic is about stopping in BELIZE. There is nothing to see there, no beaches and everything there is fake; they rip you off in every place! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed my first cruise on the Norwegian Pearl in November 2015. The variety and amount of food was never ending and very good. My favorite dessert was their vanilla bread pudding with the caramel sauce. It was to die for! ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed my first cruise on the Norwegian Pearl in November 2015. The variety and amount of food was never ending and very good. My favorite dessert was their vanilla bread pudding with the caramel sauce. It was to die for! They could have served it every night for me anyway. The entertainment was good for the most part and the entertainment director was excellent. Two of my sisters and my eldest daughter were with me and we had two adjoining cabins with a door in between which was very convenient. We also each had a balcony and you could find me there early in the morning just sitting and listening to the sea. It was so relaxing to read a book or just contemplate life. We didn't go on many excursions as they were quite expensive but we enjoyed the ports and shopping there. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. I would definitely go on another cruise again any time! They placed a little too much emphasis on diamonds however. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
One would think that even if one is staying in a regular stateroom, that NCL would offer at least decent conditions. The hallways on level four always stank of feces, like every toilet on that floor was backing up. Food was fairly ... Read More
One would think that even if one is staying in a regular stateroom, that NCL would offer at least decent conditions. The hallways on level four always stank of feces, like every toilet on that floor was backing up. Food was fairly good at the buffets, but the "sit-down" ding rooms were not well-staffed and we had to wait 20-30 minutes to place an order, another 30 minutes for the food to come. We were told incorrect times of the entertainment by all staff. And by one lounge area, they had not even listed some musicians and comedians (that ended up being the best entertainment - glad I accidently happened upon them). The spa treatments are way over-priced. Last, they certainly take their time getting us settled into our cabins, but boy are they in a rush to get rid of you. The morning we left, it was unclear what time we had to be out, until at 08:00 they were telling us we had 1 hour to vacate. One of my friends was in the middle of his workout, and when he rushed back to his room, he found the cleaning lady packing his stuff up to throw him out. Not a great lasting impression. I would advise NCL to "get their act together", even for non-elite customers. I am looking for a cruise company that is worth the money I'll put into it. NCL flunked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We stayed in room 11524. A two bedroom family villa. One nice thing about being in a suite is priority embarkation in Seattle. We where on the boat in 30 minutes. Nice room but located under the gym. Can you imagine what we heard every 6 ... Read More
We stayed in room 11524. A two bedroom family villa. One nice thing about being in a suite is priority embarkation in Seattle. We where on the boat in 30 minutes. Nice room but located under the gym. Can you imagine what we heard every 6 am when it opened up. Staff and ultimate dining package where top notch. You should eat at Cagneys at least once. I wish we could have stayed longer. The entertainment was nothing spectacular but was entertaining. We loved the helicopter ride to the top of mendenhall glacier, Bering sea crab experience and the zip line in Victoria. We could have done without the train ride to Klondike and back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The Norwegian Pearl was my first cruising experience, which I really enjoyed. The crew did a wonderful job and their service was excellent. There were many activities offered on board, and the ship information was always available and ... Read More
The Norwegian Pearl was my first cruising experience, which I really enjoyed. The crew did a wonderful job and their service was excellent. There were many activities offered on board, and the ship information was always available and informative. The buffet was good but not overwhelming the best food; however, we enjoyed the complimentary dining areas much more. Our shore excursions were great and so much fun!! Getting on and off the ship was a breeze and the crew was very helpful. We really enjoyed the entertainment provided in the evenings. Great shows! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Although this was my first cruise, I was blown away by all of the fantastic staff and services provided by NCL Pearl. We (8) women had the time of our lives. There aren't enough words to describe how wonderful it was. Since being ... Read More
Although this was my first cruise, I was blown away by all of the fantastic staff and services provided by NCL Pearl. We (8) women had the time of our lives. There aren't enough words to describe how wonderful it was. Since being home I have told everyone that I talk to that this was the best cruise line ever. I have had others tell me the same thing and they have done other cruise lines before. The food was fantastic and the service aboard the ship was amazing. I loved all of the activities that were available and participated in most of them. Just meeting all of the amazing passengers and staff was worth the trip itself. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This cruise was all i had expected and more. My husband uses a wheelchair and not only did the staff do a lot to make him comfortable, they helped him whenever they saw the need. I cannot say enough about the crew and their cheerfulness ... Read More
This cruise was all i had expected and more. My husband uses a wheelchair and not only did the staff do a lot to make him comfortable, they helped him whenever they saw the need. I cannot say enough about the crew and their cheerfulness and helpfulness. Also our fellow passengers were amazing and so thoughtful. Our cruise was fantastic and i would tell anyone considering a cruise that they need to consider norwegian.n I would also like to say that the ship was extremely clean, I never saw a dirty bathroom or any other place for that matter. The food was excellent and gave us an opportunity to try new things . Thank you all for making our trip special. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our Family (of 4 - 3 Adults 1 chikd) just traveled to Alaska by NCL Pearl. We are from India. Except me, all the other (3) family members are vegetarians (Pure Vegetarians) ..We were worried about the food on-board before our trip...Let ... Read More
Our Family (of 4 - 3 Adults 1 chikd) just traveled to Alaska by NCL Pearl. We are from India. Except me, all the other (3) family members are vegetarians (Pure Vegetarians) ..We were worried about the food on-board before our trip...Let me say, we are very very happy after the the trip...The food was excellent..just for the Indian pure vegetarian friends , I will list the veg items....and also non-veg Indian foods (Since I am a non-vegetarian I will list non-veg items also)... Served on Garden Cafe (deck 12)...We had a option to go and eat in other (Complimentary places too)..but we didn't go anywhere else ... By the way, there were 3 south Indian cooks and couple of cooks from Goa..Many of the crew members (garden cafe) are from India (Bombay and Goa) and Philippines.. They provided great service.. On board Aug-30 - 2015 (Starting day ..cruise Departure time 4 pm).. We boarded the cruise @ 12.00pm..and guess, the lunch was ready..but little bit crowded on that day..try to board as early as possible..11 to 12.00.. Vegetarian list (I don't remember the list by day..but will go over all the items) 2 Items served for Breakfast (Coconut Chutney and Tomato Chutney was there all days). Lunch..dinner - one curry and one sabji (Poryal), Variety Rice and Naan (Raita , white rice and pickle Served all days) Sunday Lunch: Jeera rice, dal, roti, okra, aloo Dinner: lemon rice, dal, roti, aloo gobi Monday Breakfast: upma, chutney Lunch, pulav, dal maharani, aloo mutter, Naan Dinner: dhania rice, dal makhni, cabbage, naan Tuesday Breakfast: uttappam, sambar, chutney Lunch: rice, dal, naan, mutter paneer Dinner: rice, dal maharani, Naan, jeera aloo Wednesday Breakfast: idly, sambar, chutney Lunch: khichadi, kadi pakodi, naan, aloo mutter Dinner: dhania rice, dal rajastani, nan, alo gobi Thursday Breakfast: poori, channa Lunch: rice, dal makhni, nan, okra Dinner: jeera rice, dal, naan, aloo eggplant Friday Breakfast: pav bhaji, aloo bonda, sambar Lunch: rice, dal, nan, Beans poryal Dinner: saffron rice, dal, nan, aloo mutter Saturday Breakfast: vegetable uttappam, chutney, sambar Lunch: rice, dal, naan, eggplant and aloo Dinner: kuska rice, dal, naan, aloo jeera Sunday Breakfast: poori, sabzi Noodles and fried rice almost every day ..indo-chineese style Non - Veg items -- lunch and dinner ( 2 items ...one curry and some Variety Rice ) Chicken Noodles and fried rice almost every day ..indo-chineese style Fish Bajji.. Palak chicken, butter chicken, tikka chicken, chicken kurma and chicken Biryani Lamb curry, pork Vindaloo and beef curry Fish cury (Goan style) -- 3 days Fish fry (one day) chicken wings (one day) Plus Thai items like chicken green curry and more.. And lots of food from different regions. like, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Pizza, American and chineese.... PLus Best coffe, lemonade and Orange juice...Lots of Cakes..plus othe desserts... Other than food...casino, theater events were good... For Kids, SPlash acadamy Was excellent..Different activities (Theme) every day..My son (4yr old) enjoyed a lot and made lots of friend on board... As for as the port trips... We enjoyed the Helicopter ride in Juneau. little pricy..but it was Awsome.. Skagway..Train ride...was good.. Ketchikan..Widerness boat ride...didn't see anything..i would say it was below average. Victoria.. Butchart Gardens and downtown... Butchart Gardens was good..but the issue was, the cruise arrives the port @6pm.by the time you reach the Butchart Gardens, it gets dark..and it is very hard to see anything..We were lucky, they had fire works on the day we visited the garden..the fire works was excellent..but, I couldn't see much in the Butchart Gardens... Overall, excellent trip...I would highly recommend this Cruise to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We had a wonderful time on our 7 day Alskan Cruise. The service on the ship was amazing. Everything from the the room, dining rooms, bartenders and the entire staff of the ship went out of their way to ensure that everyone had a great ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on our 7 day Alskan Cruise. The service on the ship was amazing. Everything from the the room, dining rooms, bartenders and the entire staff of the ship went out of their way to ensure that everyone had a great time! There were many activities available for a wide variety of fun. The ship was beautiful with many areas designated for walking, running, shuffleboard, checkers or just simply relaxing. I would recommend this cruise to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
If you are reading this, chances are that you: (1) recently sailed this ship and itinerary and want to know how others felt about the cruise or (2) you are thinking about sailing this ship and/or itinerary. Before you read any further, ... Read More
If you are reading this, chances are that you: (1) recently sailed this ship and itinerary and want to know how others felt about the cruise or (2) you are thinking about sailing this ship and/or itinerary. Before you read any further, if you are not already a member of Cruise Critic, please sign up so that you can add yourself to the Roll Call boards AND include yourself into the Meet & Mingle event on board the ship! More in a sec... Embarkation: NCL's online check in was a bit buggy and not the best user friendly experience. For our party of four, we had four different boarding times because of said web site quirks, but fortunately we were able to all enter based upon the earliest time of one in our party. Check in was pretty quick and after processing our documents, we waited less than 30 minutes before we were allowed to board the ship (but first, the obligatory boarding photo!). Cabin: small for four, probably fine for two. Based on past cruises, I thought that there would be two fold out beds on the wall. However, there was only one fold out bed. The fourth bed was hidden underneath one of the regular beds. So basically, if you are sharing 4 to a room, one will have to climb the ladder to sleep on the upper bunk bed, one will sleep on the lower "floor" bed in the middle of the room, and the other two passengers will sleep in the single beds that are in the standard cabin configuration. Since one of the regular beds housed the hidden floor bed, there was only space underneath one of the beds to store your luggage in but we managed okay. We were able to divide up the storage spaces and surprisingly, despite the cramped space, we made it work. Food: generally good, but nothing outstanding. We did try Cagney's and it was a better food experience, but with a steep cover charge. For those on a budget it may seem worth it for the extra splurge, or you can try any one of the other alternative restaurants with the cover charge. Buffet had a good variety and we noticed that staff did a good job of replenishing and not letting food sit out for too long. Public areas: very clean and used often by fellow passengers. Entertainment & Activities: Met expectations - Four Strings Trio was always well received as was the piano entertainer -- he probably did more bantering and talking than actual playing, but that's what passengers seem to love about him and his sets were always well attended. There was also a solo vocal guitarist, a steel drums player and various activities that the staff organized like the trivia, napkin and towel folding, etc. Main Shows: 1st night: Opening 'variety' show was fine.. 2nd night "Man From Mars" was enjoyable for the theatrics and comedy. 3rd night "Magic & Mayhem" show (featuring the performer from previous night's show) was well received and executed. 4th night Singers and Dancers Production Show "Pure Variety" was pretty awful, disjointed and poorly performed. 5th night Comedy of Michael Somerville was a great time with comedy for everyone. 6th night Singers and Dancers Production Show "Legends in Concert" was much better than their earlier week's attempt. Last night didn't really have anything since most people were out in Victoria. Service: a few issues here and there but nothing dramatic. Overall, the staff seemed on their game and they were pleasant and professional, though we also sensed that they were short-staffed and a little stressed with being overwhelmed. Ports: Juneau - we hiked up to the Last Chance Mining Museum, about 45 minutes uphill. On the way you will pass the trailhead for the Mt. Roberts hike if you don't want to shell out the $33 to take the tram up. From the museum, we continued up the Perseverance Trail to the Glory Hole Lookout. There is quite a bit of uphill hiking; it took us another 75 minutes to reach the lookout. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time you can just get a taxi to the trailhead and hike up from there. We returned via the Gold Creek Flume Trail, down to the cemetery and then it was a 30 minute walk back to the ship shuttle stop (adjacent to the Mt Roberts Tram) Skagway: rented a tandem bicycle from Sockeye Bicycles, located on 5th street. They provide helmets. Hint: bring a pair of padded cycling gloves, padded shorts and a hip pack or day pack and plenty of water! We rode to Dyea and it took us about 90 minutes to go the ten miles. There are a couple of uphill grinds, but more downhills getting to Dyea. In Dyea, we visited the Slide cemetery, checked out the Chilkoot trailhead, rode down to the 'Flats' and did a 30 minute self guided walking tour of the Dyea townsite (tip- bring a cable lock for the bikes or rent one from the shop). We rode back around 2pm and returned to the shop by 3:30pm. Fair warning though -- coming back was much more difficult because the uphills were longer and we were fighting a headwind. But overall this is a doable ride for people with bicycling experience and the views are great! The road itself is fine and you'll be sharing it with tour vans and passenger cars. We spotting a bald eagle and a harbor seal during our ride. Ketchikan: rainy afternoon (as per usual), we just did some shopping and walked the historic Creek Street. Be sure to bring a poncho or shell out $2 to buy a disposal one from the stores. Victoria: just did the Harborwalk to the wharf and back to the ship. Overall this was a great week up in Alaska. The weather cooperated in Juneau and Skagway, but the sunny skies and mild temperatures gave way to rain and clouds. Ship was a bit rocky and there were a few people using the barf bags. Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle: This is where I was most impressed. Though our Meet & Mingle was small (less than 20 attending), we had the pleasure of meeting key members of the Pearl including the Captain and the Director of Hotel Operations. They made it a point that they wanted Cruise Critic member feedback about our cruise experience, and invited us back on the last day of the cruise to listen to and respond to us. That showed me that Cruise Critic does have value because we share so much information through our reviews and message boards that NCL has taken notice and they want to make a positive impression on us. So kudos to NCL for recognizing this great web site and its members! TIPS AND TRICKS - No indoor pools, Two outdoor pools. Both salt water. One heated, one not so much. They were open every day for souls brave enough to swim. Six hot tubs surrounding the pools, open every day 7am - midnight. - Bring magnetic clips or dry erase boards to hang on your stateroom door or bathroom door -- we used them to clip papers, our key cards and more. - Don't plan on enjoying in-cabin TV and movies because they have a tiny TV and just a handful of channels - Sharing a cabin between 4 people can get pretty crowded, especially with using the bathroom. For showers, two members of our party used the free shower in the fitness center. There are also spa showers but you'll need to buy the $149 weekly thermal suite pass for those. So just use the free shower inside the gym changing room -- pump shampoo and gel are installed inside and there is a good shower head. There is no hairdryer though, so you'll need to blow dry your hair in your stateroom. - Crepe station located in the buffet every night with your choice of fruits and sauces. But there are no nuts. Ice Cream case had 6-8 different varieties, in addition to a self-serve soft ice cream machine next to it. - The buffet can get super duper crowded and crazy during lunch, so go early or go later or have one member of your party scope out and save a table first. - Main Show seating - get there early, seats fill up fast. Doors open 30 minutes before posted show time. - There is no midnight buffet, but O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill is open 24 hours. The late snacks buffet is from 10pm - 11pm. If you want to snack after 11pm, just go down to the Casino. They will have sliced fruits, some desserts, cubed cheeses and one hot finger food -- might be chicken skewer or egg rolls or something like that. Oh, and they always had chocolate chip cookies available down there. - Fitness center opens up at 6am -- use the aerobics studio to do your own yoga, body weight exercises or stretching. They have a punching bag with gloves that I used every morning. They also have balance balls, jump ropes, resistance bands, hand weights, aerobic steppers and much more. - The gym also had a small fridge with cool face towels to help you cool off. - Want to fill your water bottle? Good luck -- every station (including the gym) with a water stream had signs to "Please Do Not Fill Water Bottle" - Shuffleboard is on deck 7 and deck 13. - No photo specials at the end of the week. But you can collect all your photos throughout the week and have the staff save them in a folder, then at the end of the week you can go through them and pick out the ones you want. Prices range from $14.95 - $24.95. - They had karaoke in the Bliss Ultra Lounge for 4 of the 7 nights -- system is a little dated, but it is a great venue to sing and a safe place to do it if you can't sing a note because there weren't a lot of people doing it and there was great support from the audience. So, pick out five songs beforehand and hopefully a few of them will be in the song book when you are ready to sing! - If you've enjoyed or learned anything about my review, please come back after your cruise and post your own review or visit the message boards and help ask questions that other cruisers post -- this is our community to help one another!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
All of the staff are excellent, smiling whenever you have eyes contact with them. Not just your room, everywhere is clean. The entertainment is great. I skipped some keys entertainment such as casino, dancing, wine drinking because I ... Read More
All of the staff are excellent, smiling whenever you have eyes contact with them. Not just your room, everywhere is clean. The entertainment is great. I skipped some keys entertainment such as casino, dancing, wine drinking because I never do it for my whole life: just don't like them. But you will be happy with others like every-night comedy shows or music shows at theaters. sports programs (bowling, basketball, soccer, gym, jogging trail) are great too. Meals are always excellent. I had read many reviews before getting on the ship that it was so hard to find a seat for eating, food were not enough...Those reviews made me had to bring some snacks for my your children (under 5). Lol. Those people were so picky, they just wanted to be served like kings. My family always enjoyed eating at Garden cafe buffet 3 times a day. Tones of food choices out there. We went to Summer Palace restaurant once. The food is the same at the buffet but you have to wait longer (20 minutes). It was to long for children under 5! In sort, you can't complain about food on the ship. Complimentary food and drinks were more than I expected. Warming on activities off the ship: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Glacier bay stops will be good for travelers from states others than northwest states will be great. If you live in Oregon or Washington and if you've ever gone to Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker or Mt. Saint Helen and done hiking. All of those stops are just average, everyday views. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was a fabulous experience! The ship is gorgeous and the staff is incredible. They work so hard and are running around doing multiple assignments, yet they never forget to be kind and treat you like royalty. The rooms are clean and ... Read More
This was a fabulous experience! The ship is gorgeous and the staff is incredible. They work so hard and are running around doing multiple assignments, yet they never forget to be kind and treat you like royalty. The rooms are clean and comfy, I highly recommend a balcony suite! We often sat on the balcony and saw the water and sights without fighting for a spot on deck. There are so many fun things to do on the ship, it makes you hesitant to get off at ports! We played Bingo and went bowling an saw comedy shows and music shows. My 10 year old and 6 year old loved Splash Aademy, the kids program and they did a sweet final program on the last day. The food is outstanding and there are a variety of choices, catering to all nationalities. There are several bars and they can make any drink you wish. Going to Alaska was such a great choice, it was breathtakingly beautiful and crisp and fresh with unbelievable views. Overall I feel like I just spent a week in heaven! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I had never cruised before and heard so many great things about taking a cruise, especially how amazing the food was on board. My father recently passed and we decided to book a cruise to Alaska to take my mother who had not enjoyed a real ... Read More
I had never cruised before and heard so many great things about taking a cruise, especially how amazing the food was on board. My father recently passed and we decided to book a cruise to Alaska to take my mother who had not enjoyed a real vacation in over 30 years. I will start with the "positive" experiences we had on the NCL Pearl. The ship was spotless, and our steward kept our room very well maintained. We were blessed with incredible weather during our trip which allowed for calm seas and provided breathtaking views of the Alaska coast, mountains, and best of all spotting the whales. In my opinion there is no better way to capture the Alaska experience than by cruising. The view at "Glacier Bay" was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had. Now for the "negative" experiences. First, the food on board the NCL Pearl was not what we expected, in fact it fell well below a cheap buffet. 80% of the meals I was served in the main dining rooms "Indigo" were served cold, and the portions were very small. The breakfast buffet was good, but the lunch and dinner buffet offerings were quite bad, and after the second day we never returned to the buffet for lunch or dinner. Another challenge we experienced was locating a table. The buffet's were always so busy that we had to first search for a table before visiting the buffet line. On two occasions our table was taken by rude passengers who decided to take our table while we were getting our food. This experience alone has me not wanting to book another cruise. Another thing we did not expect was how much we were "nickle and dimed" by NCL on board the ship. Just about every on board activity/entertainment required an additional fee, and drink prices at the bar were outragiously high. The average price of a basic cocktail was $11-$15 dollars! There was (4) family members on this cruise and as I mentioned the scenery alone was worth the trip. The port visits were fun, however seeing the exact same jewelry and souvenior stores at each port got old. However eating lunch at "Tracy's" in Juneau for the King Crab was amazing and I cannot recommend it Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Handicapp accessibility especially embarking and debarking was non existent. The elevator was never staffed leading to a total free for all with only 1 elevator assigned to all 14 floors for those with special assistance. This lead to ... Read More
Handicapp accessibility especially embarking and debarking was non existent. The elevator was never staffed leading to a total free for all with only 1 elevator assigned to all 14 floors for those with special assistance. This lead to unnecessary confrontation with other vacationers. The food was horrid!!! I can count on one hand what was edible. French Toast, pretzel roll, coconut soufflé, and fruit. Then there is the nickel and dimming. A well drink cost $12.41 on average with an 18% gratuity added. A beer was $7.02 on average . If you wanted to participate in games aboard ship there was a cost of a minimum of $20 per person. I recommend you take your own water bottles and sodas or be prepared to cut off an arm and leg. All the stores at ports are owned by the cruise lines so look for locally owned and support the people who live there. Now the cabin was nice and our steward kept it stocked and clean. The scenery was breathtaking like a sliver of heaven. I recommend paying the extra money to get a balcony room. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was the first cruise for our family. My mother wanted to cruise Alaska and my wife and daughter and my sister, her husband and two boys came along. Think of my review score as 3 out of 5 rather than "average" because I do ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our family. My mother wanted to cruise Alaska and my wife and daughter and my sister, her husband and two boys came along. Think of my review score as 3 out of 5 rather than "average" because I do not know what is "average" in the industry. If the dining was better, my score would have been 4 out of 5 and I would recommend an NCL Alaska cruise without hesitation. I'm a foodie and that probably makes cruising outside the luxury lines a bad choice for me. The high points on the ship. First, service is excellent. Everyone on board is friendly and helpful. No one is rude. They all go out of their way to make people comfortable. Second, for kids ages 10-12 it is a boon. Only once did my daughter say she was bored, as she declined to go swimming with me, do the climbing wall, or play deck-chess (she might have been bored, but I think those are really good options). She found a few of the "Splash Academy" activities goofy, but she and her cousins kept going back. Third, the tour of Glacier Bay is top-notch. A park ranger came aboard and narrated the trip of the glaciers. Great views because the ship uses its thrusters to rotate, so you could even stay in your balcony cabin and get good views. We were in luck because after an initial fog on the approach, we had clear skies. It was beautiful. Four, just cruising along watching the shoreline and the whales is fun and relaxing. A private balcony makes this even more enjoyable. Embarkation and disembarkation at arrivals and departures was relatively painless. We never had to wait in a line more than a few people long at the excursion ports. The shuttle NCL provided from the Crowne Plaza Downtown got us to pierside and our luggage was whisked away. My sister's family was not given a boarding number at check-in and waited for an hour to actually board. They asked for help but were told they would be called. We received a piece of paper with a number on it and were told when it was called we should board. They did not get one. We were called almost immediately; they boarded with us. At the start, it was not clear that cabins were not yet ready after boarding. We arrived on the deck 7 lounge area, but announcements that cabins were not yet reading were infrequent. Staff should have warned people getting on elevators that cabins were not ready yet. But luggage arrived within two hours of getting to our cabin. The entertainment is very good considering the limits. Yes, a few shows are hokey but my family reported that "Legends" was excellent, and I thought Jim at the Magnum's lounge was good. I only saw some repeat jokes the second time I listened. There was a classical guitarist who was good as well. For Glacier Bay, enrichment was outstanding and there was a great talk by a magician about deception. Really top-notch. However, for other talks, like about ports, it was mostly a "here's where to shop" pitch. If there was a good wildlife talk, we missed it. Shore excursions depend on how much you want to spend to arrange it. Many are expensive. The greatest problem is trying to decide which one to do when faced with multiple options in a single port. I would recommend the Davidson Glacier Adventure Safari. You get to walk up and touch a glacier, and even drink from it. As for others, there is nothing particularly bad about them. But keep in mind that because of rain storms, helicopter and plane excursions may be cancelled, and it is difficult to arrange for an alternate activity at the last minute. NCL needs to work on a better back-up system when this occurs, or be more forthcoming about the cancellation rate. Wildlife viewing: if you like to see humpback whales going by and love birds, all is well. If you want closer connections, well, the Skagway harbor had a few seals eating salmon. That was the most intimate we got. Maybe so kayak journeys will do that. But for close-encounters, your odds on an excursion are low and there are restrictions on how close most vessels can come to wildlife, especially whales. If you want to see bears and eagles, a land-based trip is a much better idea. Take note that most waters by glaciers have no aquatic life because of the silt created by the glacier grinding rock and the melt carrying it to the water. The silt blocks sunlight and so little plant-life can grow in the water, reducing oxygen levels too low for fish to live. Think scenery: mountains, glaciers, rainforest. The buffet dining is actually quite good. Some nights they had prime rib, and they had it at lunch once. There were Indian/South Asian dishes that were good. There was always roasted chicken that was being cut off the whole bird. The salad bar selections were usually good. On the soup side, meh. They had several seafood soups that seemed to be absent the seafood. The downside: the speciality dining. We were disappointed with the specialty restaurants. We got the "ultimate dining package" complimentary as part of our booking. In retrospect, I should have taken the drinks package. Aside from the 1st night at Cagney's, we found service to be very slow at specialty restaurants. However, the steaks were perfectly cooked. And that was true other nights at Il Bistro and Cagney's. The Italian restaurant was a bust: just so-so dishes, and my one nephew's lasagna took over 30 minutes to arrive after we received other entrees. In Il Bistro, it was 1:31 (I timed it) after we were seated for our entrees to arrive. Most were flavorful but we were famished by then. Service was also slow on a second night at Cagney's and another night at Il Bistro. And none of the restaurants were full when we dined. The appetizer selections on the specialty menus are so-so and somewhat repetitive among Cagney's, Il Bistro, and La Cucina. There was also a whole roasted pig at one lunch, but the meat was bland -- I don't think the ship can carry the equipment needed to slow-roast a pig over the right wood/coals. Given the so-so salad bar at Moderno's -- if you have eaten at a real churrascaria, you know that the "salads" are actually equal to the meats in delectability -- and my puzzlement over how they could keep multiple meats "just cooked" with such a small number of tables, we passed. Seafood is limited, which is odd since you are at sea. There was grilled salmon the one night but it was only served in O'Shannon's, which I thought was odd. Il Bistro has Atlantic salmon on the menu and swordfish but no halibut. If you want raw oysters or crab in the shell, you are out of look, aside from a paltry crab-salad at Cagney's. The raw-oyster absence surprises me. It might be a meat-to-weight ratio issue along with too high a spoilage rate for the weight. The focus then is on seafood that freezes well. My swordfish "loin" -- I have no idea what they meant -- at Il Bistro was good. The complimentary restaurants tend to have fried fish. So what's going on with the dining? First, it is not that the staff is too slow. Rather, there are not enough of them at the specialty restaurants. This is about the _level_ of staffing, and not quality of staff. This is a management decision -- at buffets, you can have multiple table clearers but don't have to assign people to take orders, deliver drinks and dishes, and go back and forth among tables. At a 50+ seat sit-down restaurant, you need an extensive staff to keep service at its peak. That cannot be done on the cheap, and to do it at five places at once, well, something has to give if you want to turn a profit. Even at the reception table, there was only one receptionist per restaurant (Cagney's and Moderno share a desk so there are two present, but only one works each venue). At Cagney's we waited 4:31 for the greeter/seater to return after seating another party; only to be told we needed to wait a few minutes for our table to be ready -- again, at restaurant than was 1/3rd empty at the time. Second, I can't imagine how they can maintain five separate specialty galleys of sufficient size to work quickly enough, and it shows even for a party of two or three (which we were at Cagney's & Il Bistro two nights) or a party of eight (at Cucina & Il Bistro). Third, you are on a boat that gets most of its supplies once -- at embarkation in Seattle. They take on salmon in Alaska but all other provisions are loaded at the start (thank you to the talk about how the boat works). No real, high-end restaurant works this way; food is delivered daily. Given the number of passengers (almost 3,000), there is no profitable way to keep up a high level of quality & diversity both at the buffets, that serve most people, and at specialty restaurants, that serve a few. Or you need to charge a lot more than the market will bear to keep it profitable. If you really like beef most nights, then you are in luck with the specialty dining. But otherwise it's not as special as it claims to be. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was my first time on a cruise and I had a wonderful time! It's amazing how much goes in to running a ship! I enjoyed the food and the activities! Here are a few things we did! Rock climbing--so fun and worth a try! ... Read More
This was my first time on a cruise and I had a wonderful time! It's amazing how much goes in to running a ship! I enjoyed the food and the activities! Here are a few things we did! Rock climbing--so fun and worth a try! Yoga--cost $12 but our instructor was great and it was my first yoga class ever. I wanted to give it a try. I had a great time! Bowling-- there is an additional fee for this but my family had a great time! Moderno's-- this was a specialty restraunt that cost more money but the food was phenomenal and the service was great. La Cucina--another specialty restaurant, Italian, was also delicious! Indigo and Summer Palace-- both are main dining halls. Both were good but I preferred indigo more. White hot party-- we had heard about the white hot party and was interested to see what it was like. We stayed for about two hours. We danced and brought some glow stick necklaces and had a good time. Entertainment--- I saw the magic show and legends in concert. It was entertaining. At least see 2'or 3 shows. It's worth it. Java cafe---as silly as this may sound, this is the biggest disappointment. I love my fancy coffee (I'm from Seattle) so my mom and I would to the Java Cafe and get a mocha and chat each day. The coffee was good, but the problem was that Java Cafe was also a bar so everything we went we waited for a long time. This was the only place that served lattes and mochas. Cabin room--cozy but plenty of room and storage. Bed was comfy and I took naps daily :) Shopping-- I actually didn't do any shopping on the ship. There was expensive jewelry stores, liquor, and pricy souvenirs. Save your shopping for the port stops! Overall we had a great time and Alaska was gorgeous! We enjoyed getting off at the ports to explore or do an excursion. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Excellent staff! Clean ship, great accommodations, good food, good entertainment, love the tax & duty free shops on board & the most beautiful scenery you can imagine! Again the staff from the buffet to customer service to our room ... Read More
Excellent staff! Clean ship, great accommodations, good food, good entertainment, love the tax & duty free shops on board & the most beautiful scenery you can imagine! Again the staff from the buffet to customer service to our room steward were the most exceptional people to note, will never forget those smiles, professionalism & personalities. There truelly were a few people whom will be just as memorable as the trip itself! Thank you Christine Dicano, Gerhard Hendricks, Angelo-our room steward, and Rauol our guest services gentleman who helped us with all our questions! If I had 1 bad thing to say it may have to be the cost of excursions which could get alittle pricey for a family of 6 which we were (though they were great & enjoyable) and maybe the cost of a drink. A $7 soda or $10 mixed drink is a little hard to swallow but again they r served to you by the best of people so I would just say come prepared with a little extra cash. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
When I embarked I arrived at the dock at 1:00 pm. I did not realize that they would be serving food in the cafeteria when I got on the boat. If I would have known that food was available just as I arrived I would not have spent $29.00 for ... Read More
When I embarked I arrived at the dock at 1:00 pm. I did not realize that they would be serving food in the cafeteria when I got on the boat. If I would have known that food was available just as I arrived I would not have spent $29.00 for LUNCH at McDonalds. I have never seen so much food available on the boat. I was very impressed. All food was great. I also liked the fact we had someone spraying our hands before entering the cafeteria. There were LOTS of help on the boat, and this helped a lot. I also liked the daily boat activity plans that were posted on the wall near the elevator. I am thankful for the people who helped plan the shore excursions. It helped to know that there were independent people at the dock to help us learn about the city and take their tour guides. It would be wonderful if you would have a history book of the boat available for the engine room was "off limits" to visit, and the walking tour did not have an interpreter, or have the tour available on the cabin TV with closed caption. We would love to see the engine and how the boat was built. The entertainment was great. My husband is Deaf, and he would have liked an interpreter, or Closed Caption on the TV in our room. The activities on the cruse was great. The biggest problem was to register the children in their activity. I went in several times to register my two grand children, and the place was closed, and when open, only two people to register. I waited a long time, for the two people to finish with other people and I gave up. I saw the other children having fun, but my two grand children were just as happy with swimming. The only problem was some kids did NOT read the pool rules for no running, pushing, and diving. The towel attendant was the ONLY person available to enforce the pool rules. He did not see the kids breaking the rules. As a responsible parent, I notified the attendant and he quickly responded to the problem. The swimming pool was very salty. Fairly cold. Once you got used to it the water was fine. The Shore activities could have been explained a little more to do with the seasons. I found out that animals are easier to see just as they are getting out of hibernation and in June. You might add on the brochure it will be hard to see animals in Aug, and to bring your own binoculars. The embarkation was very well organized, the disembarkation was more difficult. We were only told that the boat would arrive in Seattle at 8 am and if we wanted to bring our own suitcases off we could get in line by 7:30 am. It took longer to get off, waiting for the shore people to be ready for us, and the dock deck to be ready. We had a tag for the suitcases to be delivered at 8:15 or 9:00 or 9:30 but I was planning to be met by a private party at 8:00. He was at the pick up place at 7:30 but we missed each other. It was closer to 9: am when we found each other. We could have picked up our luggage at 8:15 wen we finally were allowed to get off the boat. The 7:30 line up was quite long. I do NOT see why we need to show our passports to get OFF the boat. We have to show them to get ON, so there is no place to change anything once we get back on from our last excursion. The crew that cleaned the cabins were top notch. The BEST that I have ever seen. Everyone was very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We just returned from the 7-day glacier bay roundtrip on the Norwegian Pearl. This was the first cruise for my husband and daughters (ages 8 and 10), and first real cruise for me (I'd been on a short Ensenada cruise out of Long Beach ... Read More
We just returned from the 7-day glacier bay roundtrip on the Norwegian Pearl. This was the first cruise for my husband and daughters (ages 8 and 10), and first real cruise for me (I'd been on a short Ensenada cruise out of Long Beach as a teenager). We were nervous about the cabin size and about whether we would be bored on the ship, but we were thrilled with the trip and none of us wanted it to end. Embarkation in Seattle was fine - a Port employee whisked our bags away as soon as we were dropped at the curb, and the various lines all moved quickly to get us on the ship. We went to the Garden Café, which was quite a zoo for lunch on embarkation day. We found a table back at the Great Outdoors and enjoyed a sunny Seattle day. Throughout the cruise, staff were friendly, happy, and helpful. Every crew member we passed in the hallways greeted us with a smile, and the "happy happy washy washy" crew at the buffet were always smiling. We traveled with several children, and we had a couple of minor injuries/mishaps, and the staff always rushed to help/comfort the child at issue. We had some issues communicating with the various family members that were traveling together. We had brought walkie talkies and this helped, but they didn't reliably cover the whole length of the ship. We learned about the ncl iconcierge app halfway through the week, and this was worth the $7.95 a person for messaging and calls. Cabin - Our cabin, 5030, was a family oceanview picture window. The girls loved sitting in the window to look out, and we had plenty of room to unpack everything we brought. The beds and pillows were comfortable and we all slept well. We didn't hear any noise from nearby cabins. Light comes in early in the morning, so bring an eye mask to get a little more sleep in the morning. Food - We ate primarily in the buffet, and because we were traveling with children, this was perfect for us. The burgers, pizza, and pasta that are always available were great, and the rotating entrees were also good. There were definitely times that the buffet got too chaotic. We always had one person find and save a table while others got food. My preference whenever the weather allowed was to sit at the Great Outdoors. We had two dinners at the Summer Palace. Everyone else enjoyed it, but my entrees weren't great - the Steak Diane was tough, and the spaghetti Bolognese might as well have come from a can. I ate two bites of the spaghetti, and went later to the buffet for a burger :) Kids Activities - the Splash Academy was almost too good! The kids always wanted to go, and we spent less time together than I expected! We also enjoyed the shuffleboard courts, soccer courts, and several of the planned activities like origami, dodge ball, and family cupcake decorating. Entertainment - Jim at the piano bar is great, but the third night we went back to hear him he did repeat some jokes. We went to several of the shows and enjoyed them. Ports - In Juneau, we walked from the AJ dock to the main part of town, then took one of the shuttles to Mendenhall Glacier. This was a good way to spend the time. We hiked to the waterfall and some members of the group also went for a longer hike. Others returned to town for the Tramway, which they thought was overpriced. The glacier and falls were stunning and the visitor center was very informative. In Skagway we saw the local production "Days of '98" which was fun for the whole family. We also reserved a three-hour tour from "Beyond Skagway" and our guide Jay took us up the Klondike Highway for a scenic tour with stops at several waterfalls. In Ketchikan, we docked at 6am. I'm an early riser so I got up and took a peaceful walk around town - get a walking tour map in the visitor center right off the ship. I came back for the others and we all went to the Lumberjack show, which we booked through NCL and it was a hoot. The kids got VERY into rooting for Dawsons Creek Mill! We also visited the Southeast Alaska museum right across the street, and this is a nicely set up museum. The times in Victoria are odd, but members of our group loved both the orca watching and the ziplining that we booked through NCL. Glacier Bay alone was worth the price of the cruise! I got up early to hear the rangers' first presentation in the Spinnaker Lounge, and this was worthwhile. We had a cloudy, misty day that day, but it was still spectacular. The rangers' commentary was informative, and the captain turned the ship several times in front of the Margerie Glacier, and we got to experience it calving several times. I will remember this for the rest of my life! Disembarkation - it couldn't have been smoother. We opted to carry our own luggage off. We were out of the ship within minutes of leaving our cabin. All in all, we were thrilled with this trip!! I can imagine doing it again when our kids are teenagers so we can do some different excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Norwegian Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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