Sail Date: December 2018
Timing was good for this 2 week cruise, schools not out yet, Christmas holidays not started. I enjoyed the exercise we were able to get while walking the decks, climbing the stairs. There was so much food available all the time, instead of ... Read More
Timing was good for this 2 week cruise, schools not out yet, Christmas holidays not started. I enjoyed the exercise we were able to get while walking the decks, climbing the stairs. There was so much food available all the time, instead of pigging out we elected to eat at the Indigo Restaurant every night. Small Portions of delicious food were served to us by friendly waiters. It was a better experience than eating in the busy Garden cafe. The gym was very nice, I had a new experience while running on the treadmill in choppy seas, swaying side to side, recruits a lot more muscles! Every morning we had fresh coffee and continental breakfast delivered to our cabin, this is complimentary and was much appreciated.As long as one places the order card outside the cabin before 4am. Our main focus was to see the Panama Canal and visit Cartagena and Santa Marta in Colombia. We were blown away by the cruise ship passage through the Panama canal. So happy we had our own balcony to watch it all. Grand Cayman was cancelled due to bad weather, we were not bothered, we found the other ports in Ochos Rios, Puerto Limon and especially Costa Maya in Mexico to be tourist traps. One had to dodge a lot of touts and taxis, which we did, we had to walk quite far to try to find authentic areas. Costa Maya was a total tourist trap, so we chilled at a cafe in sight of the ship and enjoyed decent wifi for a change. We didn't do any of the shore excursions, preferring to explore on our own. Harvest Caye in Belize, is a man made island constructed by Norwegian cruise lines, for their exclusive use. So we never saw anything of the real Belize, but actually enjoyed a lovely day on a very nice beach with lots of comfortable beach chairs. It was good to escape from the ship for a while and get away from an abundance of mobility scooters on board. We enjoyed the Jacuzzi on the pool deck, we went in the evenings when everyone else was having dinner. Very relaxing for sore muscles. I appreciated that we had beach towels put in our cabin. The room stewardess was outstanding. Fresh towels and sheets and the place was spick and span every day. The wifi on board is terrible. Even though we bought the package. It is well worth it to buy the in house texting app they offer on board NCL for around $9.95. As you can communicate with all friends or family on board the ship, Texting and sending pix and also scroll through daily event calendar. We did not enjoy the ships entertainment much, except for an exceptional Latin band called Avalon, they were terrific. Everyone danced when they performed.We found a lot of the organized activities on offer a bit childish and uninteresting for us. Others may enjoy them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
From a 6 time Norwegian cruiser, who will probably be looking more elsewhere. Biggest problems were getting on and especially getting off. Getting on, the boarding process was very unclear, and few knew. A sign explaining the order ... Read More
From a 6 time Norwegian cruiser, who will probably be looking more elsewhere. Biggest problems were getting on and especially getting off. Getting on, the boarding process was very unclear, and few knew. A sign explaining the order would have helped. Also put some bakery items, and drinks in the waiting area. Getting off was a total zoo, as wife not a US citizen. Told everyone to go ot the 13th and a huge line of hundreds, then told everyone immigration was on shore. Norwegian personnel in the area knew little, and a very bossy type form St. Lucia was handling most. Jodie needed to have this organized by time called. Some organization was needed. Food decently prepared but now many headliners on the menu (lobster, lamb, duck, prime rib, etc. were scarce or nonexistent). Service general very good. Would help if they would publish buffet headliners in advance so you can choose where to go. Rolls need help too. Did miss the special occasion cake that was asked for in preboarding. Room nice for the money, good service from housekeeping. Recreational activities (ahem cruise director) spotty, nice tennis court, but one day nets not up, second no tennis racquets, one day doing scaffolding, always no spare tennis balls. Also canceled a golf activity and a nightly movie without much explanation. Casino seemed to have few winners and little activity. Often about 10 tables open with fewer then 5 total players. TV sports generally lousy other than a bit of NFL, unless you like 24 hour a day soccer from a cheap international sports station. Norwegian also needs to have a few drink specials. No happy hour, killed the beer pitchers and wine carafe sales, as well as the O'Sheehan's special dinner of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Always wanted to go on the Pearl and to the Panama Canal. It was a great cruise other than the weather got kind of rough . The food was good but after the first week started looking all the same. Loved O'Sheehens Bar. Our ... Read More
Always wanted to go on the Pearl and to the Panama Canal. It was a great cruise other than the weather got kind of rough . The food was good but after the first week started looking all the same. Loved O'Sheehens Bar. Our bartender Will from China was the greatest and made the best drinks. There was a waitress there that was also great. I just can't remember her name Our cabin steward was always willing to help and was really good . Entertainment was also good just wish they had more of the shows with the dancers. Cabin was small but great for 2 people not anymore than that. We didn't get to go to Grand Cayman because of rough weather and in Cartegena the tour bus drivers went on strike so we missed that excursion, the others were really good. Even with some of the not so good things that happened I would go again on the Pearl , she is a very pretty ship. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
“‘Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through the Pearl; The seas were so rough that it made the CREW hurl…. The Shoppies & Steiners were snug in their beds, While visions of Revenue danced in their heads….” ... Read More
“‘Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through the Pearl; The seas were so rough that it made the CREW hurl…. The Shoppies & Steiners were snug in their beds, While visions of Revenue danced in their heads….” We sailed on the Pearl on the Dec. 9th sailing out of Tampa on a 2-week ‘Panama Canal’ cruise. This was our ‘retirement’ present to ourselves, having just sold our business (Restaurant/Bar) of 13 years and finally able to get away for more than a few days without the anticipation of a phone call from an employee or customer. First off, some background.. I am 53, live with my Wife (49) in Pennsylvania. This was my 33rd cruise. The last 17 have been on NCL, the first 16 were on RCCL, Carnival and Celebrity. We switched to NCL when they started the Freestyle concept and have stayed in Outside cabins, Balconies, Two-Bedroom suites, Owner’s Deluxe, and for the last 2, the Garden Villa. So this review may seem like it is coming from a spoiled, privileged cruiser, but since we have had very little ability to get away for the last 13 years, we spoiled ourselves when we could. Plus – the Casino has given us substantial discounts for the last 5 cruises. I have also been a (very small) part-time travel agent for 10 years, for family and friends as well as the small discount we get in commissions when booking our own trips. Even so, the Garden Villa cost the three of us (Myself, Wife and 23 year-old Daughter) about $25K. Hey, you only live once, right? Anyway, this review is from the perspective of a GV suite, 14500, so some of the experience will only relate to the Haven ‘class’ of cruising, although most of it will be the Pearl in general. The Garden Villa Experience The GV on the Port side of the ship was about 2/3 the size of the larger ones on the earlier-built class like the Dawn, where they have no Haven and you get the entire upper deck 15 to yourselves. Made not a whit of difference since the GV is HUGE on any ship, especially for just 3 people. Private hot tub (when it had water in it, they were working on the hot tubs for a few days and had it drained) was perfect in temperature and great to soak in during sea days and at night. Amenities were first class, from the bathrooms to the wet bar to the espresso machine to the SERVICE. OH, the service. The Butler, Peter Silva, was great. Any wish was his command. Snackies every day, continental breakfast laid out every morning by 7am, along with my favorite Laugen Rolls (Those pretzel things. I just LOVE ‘em) Gummies, M&Ms, cookies, etc. You get the picture. Chocolate Strawberries for my Daughter every afternoon was a big hit. Our Stateroom Attendant, Jeffrey and the Pool attendant were great as well, always smiling and greeting us by name, they kept things spotless and neat, despite rough weather and high winds that blew all kinds of debris around our deck for most of the trip. We had a couple of specialty restaurant deliveries/setups in the room, mostly from Lotus Garden, Breakfast from Moderno/Cagneys and the MDR menu. Food was always hot when delivered and it got there quickly. The best part of the Haven experience for us on this trip was, without a doubt, the Concierge. Anoop Bhanu had just signed on from his vacation after being on the (Getaway, maybe?) and despite the fact that he was as newly embarked as we were, got right into the swing of things. He became to us, the ‘Silent Ghost’. It almost became scary how whenever one of us mentioned his name, he appeared like magic. I kid you not. With almost 50 Haven cabins to handle (Can’t imagine how they do it with almost 100 on the bigger ships) Anoop was, without a doubt, the most attentive, friendly and professional individual I have ever known on an NCL ship (Sorry, Adrian Bica, love ya, man, but, wow…) We learned about Anoop, he learned about US, he really cared and became a friend to all 3 of us. He just could not do enough for us, whether making dinner plans, spa stuff for the girls, entertainment in the main showroom with reserved seats on the upper level, port debark, etc… Anoop was just amazing, 24/7. Despite being under the weather for the last day of the cruise, he made sure that we and the other Haven guests were taken care of at all times. We could not have asked for a better Concierge, he is our Cruise Hero. Well, that is the Good. Now, the other side of the Pearl Equation. (This is cruise CRITIC, after all) Time to be critical… The Good, The Not so Good, and the Kinda Ugly… The following experiences and/or critiques are based entirely on MY personal experience. Your mileage may vary. First off, what I did NOT utilize, nor shall I comment on them: Kids program. Sports. Deck Parties/Cruise staff events. Shore Excursions (we did our own). Art Auctions. Napkin Folding. Dance Classes. Not-So-Newlywed. Deal or No Deal. Hairy Legs competition. Many folks seem to have enjoyed them, some not so much. Entertainment- We went to the Piano Player show (although I forgot his name) He was quite talented, and the show was enjoyable. The Magician was very good, although being almost directly above him gave away a couple of his secrets. The Aerialist couple was very good as well. Their show was a mix of acrobatics, new-age trapeze and contortionism, with several video presentations thrown in about their personal origins as a couple and the development of their act. The lounge/bar/atrium/pool deck soloists and bands were all good, if not memorable. No big deal, as they change all the time and are pretty much standard fare on most of the fleet. Ports of Call – TAMPA- Embarkation was late due to Customs issues, supposedly only 2 CBP agents for the whole ship to get off. The ‘VIP’ Haven lounge was just a roped off segment of the main room with very lax checking for access. People that were not Haven guests were coming in and out, thinking it was a ‘snack bar’ for everyone. The port people seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all. Got on the ship around 12:30 Grand Cayman – The weather and seas were rough, so we could not tender in, as there are 2 ports in GC, one that accepts 2 ships and the other one that was closed. We were the 3rd ship to get there, so we could not get to that port and had an extra sea day. Ocho Rios – Grabbed a taxi outside the gates and did a 2 hour tour. Jack In the Bush, Fern Gully, etc… The usual local folks trying to sell weed. Hit the Taj Mahal shopping center to get Cuban Cigars before returning to the ship. Cigar store there had really good prices after haggling a bit. If you like Cigars, they have a great selection. Santa Marta & Cartagena Columbia – Seemed like the entire population tried to sell us something. Within 3 minutes of exiting the ship, I was offered weed, coke, ecstasy, hats, linens and magnets. When we took a taxi and asked to be brought to ‘Mr. Emerald’ , a ship-recommended store, the driver took us instead to one of ‘his’ stores which was ¼ mile away from the one we asked for. When I told him that we wanted Mr. Emerald, he pretended not to speak English and insisted in Spanish that we were where we had asked to go. Rather than argue in Spanish, we walked the rest of the way followed by persistant locals. Panama Canal & Colon, Panama – The ship went through the Gatun lock about 1.5 hours early so that half the ship was still in bed when we went through. The narrator did a fine job telling the history of the canal and describing the various stages of the passage. Once in Lake Gatun, the tenders took of shore-excursion booked guests and we anchored for a couple of hours before going back through the lock and docking in Colon, where there were a few shops & restaurants, a casino or two and a really neat ‘locals’ grocery store that had just about everything a scaled-down Walmart SuperCenter would offer. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica – Really beautiful country with few hard-sell approaches. All ship-sponsored shore excursions were cancelled due to a local tour operator work stoppage. (pretty sure it was THIS port, I might be incorrect) Negotiated with a local driver for a 3 hour tour. $60 got us a great driven tour around the area with a few stops, and he waited while we took a river boat rain forest ride that the ship was selling for $80 pp, we got it for $20 pp. He took us shopping, a Banana plantation (Del Monte) the HUGE container port that handles Dole, DelMonte & Chiquita fruit and a bunch (no pun intended) of other places. We were going to grab lunch at a locals place, but opted for the ship buffet instead. Harvest Caye – Wife & Daughter went to the beach and had lunch at the restaurant, they said that it was wonderful all around. I have read many mixed reviews of the island. Last cruise we took 2 years ago, they had just opened the island and it was quite rough around the edges. Apparently, they have gotten it together and it is quite enjoyable now. Santo Thomas De Castilla, Guatemala – We were supposed to tender here, but were able to dock. Nothing by the port except a huge warehouse with about 100 local vendors selling the usual stuff, as well as a ‘Jade Museum’ which was just an air-conditioned version of a usual stuff shop. Costa Maya, Mx – Best port of all, in my opinion. Over the last few years they have been developing this port into an almost ‘Disneyesque’ experience. Many shops, restaurants, pools, Dolphins and a really neat Aviary walkthrough with rope bridges and many tropical birds that you can feed and have them land all over you. We have 2 parrots at home, so this was particularly neat for us and well worth the $12 pp price. Restaurant was excellent as well. Safe, clean and friendly. Great merch to be had if you are able to haggle prices with the shopkeepers. Tampa, redux – We were late getting into the port, so disembarkation was a nightmare for most people, but we were lucky in that our Butler escorted us past all the lines right down to our luggage area and through to CBP and our waiting car to take us to the Airport. The Food - Here’s where it gets a bit dicey. I know that NCL is not Renaissance 7 Seas, Crystal or even HAL or Princess, so I don’t really expect 5-star cuisine. Having been in the restaurant biz for a long time, I believe I am qualified to review this part with some knowledge. The quality of the food, the portion size, the variety and the service has dropped dramatically in the last couple of years. I could write an entire review of just the food, but I will sum it up. No more lobster on the ship. Anywhere. No more smoked Salmon at the buffet. No more Tomahawk Chop in Cagney’s. Only 6 fish available at the Sushi Bar. Le Bistro and Cucina have improved dramatically. Basically, for the most part, the specialty restaurants were good to very good, nice presentations, good service (see caveat below). The free options, not so much. Pushing, shoving, arguing and rudeness were the order of the day at the buffet. Washy Washy, yes… Happy Happy, nope. Every meal began by someone telling us ‘You know, that is not included’ or ‘That is not part of the meal plan/beverage plan’ or ‘Water will be $6 a bottle extra’. It got to the point where I wanted to wear a button that said ‘I KNOW everything is extra, stop reminding me every 10 seconds’ One night we went to Teppanyaki and were not welcomed, but were immediately told (for the 5th time) that our Daughter was not included in the dining plan and would have to pay full price. I actually saw the Teppanyaki hostess, in front of the Concierge, ROLL HER EYES at us when I told her we KNOW she is not on the plan, we don’t need to be constantly reminded every meal of how everything is ‘not included’ or ‘extra’. I know it sounds like I am being a spoiled, petty, whining guest, but I tell you honestly, we were CONSTANTLY being made to feel like the proverbial ‘trailer trash’ by the staff on the ship. They used to welcome you FIRST, now they have been trained to tell you how much extra you will need to pay to prevent folks from complaining later. Which apparently some people do. It was just amazing how many slips you need to sign at each meal. For water bottles? Really? Casino – I ain’t gonna go there.. LOL Suffice to say it was verrrrry quiet for most of this 2 week cruise. But from G., the Manager, on down to the Pit Sups and Dealers, they were a great and friendly bunch of people. It was a true pleasure making my usual Donation. Service – I know that as a Garden Villa guest I was treated, on THAT end, extremely well and spoiled beyond compare, as I am sure the other Haven guests were/are. However, as far as the rest of the ship experience, from the Shoppies to the Spa to the Specialty dining it seemed like it was a constant push to generate revenue rather than enhance the guest experience. Apart from being nickel and dimed at every opportunity there was a constant feeling of the ‘hard sell’ going on. In the shops, if you stopped to look at something of high value, you were POUNCED upon and followed around the shop by someone trying to upsell something. In the spa, you could get a $40 service and then endure a 20 minute hard sell on $250 worth of products to take home. The Spa & Shop people were very dismissive of my 23-year-old Daughter, I believe because they did not see her as a ‘mark’ for potential revenue. She made one spa appointment herself, but when she showed up, they told her ‘someone’ called and cancelled it. No more, no less, no apology. So she did not GET that spa appointment. Until my WIFE called. THEN and ONLY then did they grant her the appointment. She was looking at a piece of jewelry in the shop one night in a virtually empty store and was not approached by a salesperson for 10 minutes, until I walked over to her and asked what she was looking at. 5 seconds later I had TWO shoppies practically run over to us and ask ME what I wanted to see or buy. Now, I am a realist. I understand that the ships departments must generate revenue as a whole in order to sustain a lower overall cruise cost for the consumer and be able to offer the ‘5 for free’ promotions, i.e. Unlimited drinks, Dining Packages, Internet, Friends and Family sail Free, and now Airfare. There is a great deal of competition out there for customers to choose from. But IMHO, NCL used to combine the lower price point with less focus on onboard revenue and more focus on guest satisfaction. It seems that is no longer the case. To sum it all up – While our experience was kind of unique as a Garden Villa group, while the Suite service was Sweet, the Itinerary, Food and other services were So-So. Ship Life, I suppose. Now that we have actual free time, we might give one of the Mega ships a try. Maybe Celebrity or HAL on one of the Nieuw ships, just to get a better perspective from a different brand standpoint. We still believe Cruising is the best way to Vacation. After all, there WAS a Christmas tree in our Garden Villa… And it wasn’t extra… Hope this review was helpful. Happy Holidays!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Staff and servers were wonderful. Staterooms were very nice with plenty of room for 2 people. Attendant was very good. Ports were fun as long as we did our own thing. My biggest complaint is the pool deck ambience. Many patrons asked ... Read More
Staff and servers were wonderful. Staterooms were very nice with plenty of room for 2 people. Attendant was very good. Ports were fun as long as we did our own thing. My biggest complaint is the pool deck ambience. Many patrons asked for music but were refused over and over. Don't understand why a pool deck can't have music playing. Lots of cancelations of live music and activities. Food not good. Didnt realize all the dining rooms serve the same thing. Food never was changed up. Same entres over and over for 14 days. Desserts were awful. Only thing eatable was ice cream. Excursion desk was never open. When it was lines we extremely long. Agents new nothing about excurions except what they could read from the computer. Entertai ment was very poor. Not many activities worth doing. Many cancelled or just not happening. Embarking and disembarking was lines around the buildings and ships. Poor planning. We still had the trip of a lifetime and we made the best of it, but I didn't think the food and entertainment were going to be so disappointing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise by the Ports that I have not seen yet. The price was good so I did some research of the ship and just winged it at the ports, all worked out well as it could possibly be. The ship is kept clean, as there are ... Read More
I chose this cruise by the Ports that I have not seen yet. The price was good so I did some research of the ship and just winged it at the ports, all worked out well as it could possibly be. The ship is kept clean, as there are always crew members working around the ship wiping, vacuuming and shining. the cabin was small but livable for the 2 week cruise. Cabin steward was good at keeping us happy and there was always a towel animal at nights turn down. Dining was good at both main dining rooms and the buffet as well. I have no complaints of the service there. There is an abundance of musical entertainment thought-out the ship going everyday. The latin band, Avalon, was great, but were mostly in the Atrium where there is rug, so dancing was a laborious effort. We found that we could dance on the deck above, deck 8 in front of the O'Sheehans restaurant on a Vinyl floor with no trouble to anyone. There is a dance floor on deck 13 in the Spinnaker lounge where bands are rotated in daily, so that was a nice change from the rug in the Atrium. The productions shows in the Theater were all good, as well as guest entertainers and the crew productions. The crew on NCL are a happy crew, always greeting you and respectful. The ports were interesting, with shuttles to get out of the container area of the port in Columbia then easy walk or taxi to see the city. Most of the other ports like Colon, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, you could walk in to town or catch a taxi right in port. I was never wowed on this cruise, I have been wowed before with NCL but not this time. It was good but not a "wow"! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Panama Canal was on our bucket list and a dream. It was an amazing experience and a very humbling Embarkation was very unorganized and a nightmare. But finally was on the ship. Meet & Greet was nice even though not too many ... Read More
Panama Canal was on our bucket list and a dream. It was an amazing experience and a very humbling Embarkation was very unorganized and a nightmare. But finally was on the ship. Meet & Greet was nice even though not too many people showed up also had a follow up at the end of the cruise. Which was actually nice. Our reasonable Feed back was listened. Only thing I did not appreciate by our fellow cruiser was that staff should not free time and George Town Grand Cayman - Discover Cayman- Tender Port, it was pretty hot nice informative tour. Loved the turtle farm. Trip to hell and back was little spooky Overall view was nice. Felt safe walking around. Crossing street might have been the only challenge Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Ocho Rios Highlights- Visit to rain forest was very informative. Tally was really knowledgable. Rest was a waste of time. We were told that we do go to Dunn River Fallls - not true. Drove past infact most of the trip was just driving around. Coffee & banana bread was nice. Better not to shop at the place they take you. I was able to find the same thing cheaper near the port of Ocho Rios which was walking distance from the port and was safe. Santa Marta, Columbia - Highlights of Santa Marta- $99 is too much for this excursion. If I am ever here again, I would not leave the ship. As expected Hot hot hot. Very industrial port. In fact ship is docked next to all the Shipping containers. Vendors do not take no for an answer. Even a mom had an infant trying to sell something. Loved the trip to the Church. Beach was nice, Dancers beautiful. Cartagena, Columbia - Old City & Spanish Fortress- Beautiful and had an amazing place. Would love to visit again. Again as expected hot hot hot. Walk up to the fort was challenging. View was breath taking Cartagena had their great wall of 11 miles. Shopping was ok. Going thru the inquisition museum was so sad. Panama Canal / Gatun Lake/ Colon - The shape of Panama-Tender Amazing.Going thru the locks is a once in a life time (May Be) Experience every penny was worth this experience.Was not hot as expected. However rain jacket, came handy. Went to old city new city. Did a walking tour Jorge was a very informative guide. Ship did not go thru the locks till after 8:30 tour started 2 + hours later due to Ship not getting clearance and NCL was awesome about giving us extra time at Colon. Bravo. At Colon did some last minute shopping. Lots of ruins of churches and convents. Awesome Tour guide. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica - Banana Plantation : Scenic Drive & Shopping -waste of time. Except for seeing Banana plantation from the bus, all we saw was the cleaning and packing of Bananas. Appreciated the effort of guide trying to speak English. Shopping was like 1 overpriced store & 1 street vendor. Beef Patty for $1 was actually very good. Should have stayed on the ship Santo Tomas de castilla, Guatemala - Guatemala Highlights & Beach Resort - Highlight means taking you from the pier to this resort which had this pool and cheap watered bar & some overpriced Americanized food . Nachos were like $13 and waiter said he prefers the tip in cash. Tour guide is like what do you want to know. Pretty much everybody was in the bus before the set 3 hours. Bus hardly had air condition either. Once he started talking about caravan, bus was quiet . Guide was apparently a very educated person. He is a lawyer, accountant and a tour guide Harvest Cayes, Belize - Glass Bottom Reef Explorer - Disappointed. I was so looking forward however due to rain, Boat Captain recommended that it may be a rough ride so we ended up cancelling. Refunded the $ Costa Maya, Mexico - Salsa cooking & dancing w beach break. - Had an Awesometime. Got 2 blue margarita; learned to make 2 different salsa & Gaucamole. OMG those margaritas were strong… got totally drunk. Nice would like to do it again. Had fun Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I went on this cruise with my 8 year old daughter. I choose this cruise because it was port intensive, 9 ports in 14 nights. This was our first time on a 14 night cruise and our first time on NCL. We took this cruise in late November so ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my 8 year old daughter. I choose this cruise because it was port intensive, 9 ports in 14 nights. This was our first time on a 14 night cruise and our first time on NCL. We took this cruise in late November so unfortunately there were not a lot of kids on the ship maybe 10-15 total out of 2300 people. SHIP This is an older ship and well-kept up. All the common areas are nice. The ship was decorated for Christmas while we were on the ship so that was nice. The lighting on the ship is poor except in the elevators. The mirrors and lighting are great in the elevators. This is where i had to constantly check my makeup :). The one thing that i was disappointed about was the pools. There were 2 swimming pools. One was adults only and the other one was for everyone. The issue was that they were 4.8 feet deep. Im only 5 feet and my daughter is 8 years old. So even though she can swim, she had to wear a life vest in the pool because she could not reach the bottom and she would tire out. These are also salt water pools which i do not like. The layout of the ship is dumb! There are restaurants everywhere in strange places that take forever to find. There are not ship maps on every floor so we would have to go to random floors to find a ship map to find things. However we were on the ship for 14 nights so by the 5th night we new how to get to the main places fairly easily. There were some restaurants that we never found. Jodi the cruise director was great and so was the entertainment host. The were both beautiful, young, vibrant, full of energy, funny, super sweet and very approachable!!! CABIN We had an interior room and it was tiny!!! I am used to Royal Caribbean rooms that have a sitting area and table. This room did not have that. However the bathroom was great. I loved the shower. The room worked for what we needed it for. DINING I will start by saying that I am vegetarian and my daughter eats like a typical 8 year old. We did not visit any of the speciality restaurants. People that i spoke with really enjoyed the speciality restaurants. The main dining was OK! We mainly ate in the buffet and that was great. The Indian food was always excellent. There was always a great variety of food. The deserts were great also. They even made fresh crepes every night. My daughters favorite was the ice cream. They had an impressive selection of about 8 flavors of ice cream that they will scoop for you. My daughters favorite flavor was lemon. They also had self serve soft serve from the machine. We did not get the drink package as I do not drink alcohol and neither me nor my daughter drink soda. The water tea and juice that they provided was good. No complaints on the food. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment on this ship was exceptional!!! Every show was amazing!!!! However and this is a huge however. NCL did a poor job of promoting the entertainment. Prior to the cruise you only know that you will have a "variety" of entertainment. The shows are at 7pm and 7pm. Additionally, you only find out the entertainment for that night when you get your newsletter the previous evening. This was problematic with scheduling dinner, downtime after ports and getting to the theater. This upset me a bit because the entertainment was so good and I missed a few. I would rather have known all the entertainment and been able to schedule it out. They should really do a better job promoting the entertainers on the site or their app because they were truly exceptional. ACTIVITIES Origami was my favorite. The girl that taught it was so sweet, helpful and patient. She would show a couple folds then go around to EVERYONE to make sure they were getting it correctly. And we all needed so much help. :) I think i participated in origami about 4 times. We also did towel folding, napkin folding and trivia. They were great also. My daughter did the rock climbing a few times and enjoyed it. This cruise was port intensive so were off the ship a lot and exhausted when we got on. So our activities were limited. KIDS CLUB My daughter loved it. There weren't a lot of kids on this cruise so sometimes they were completely empty and my daughter would just opt to go to the pool instead. However this was not their fault. They were a great group of staff there. They did pirate parades, circus shows, arts and crafts, video games and education during the transit through the panama canal. SERVICE hmmm...So There were some very exceptional staff on the ship and then were were others. No one was rude but some just could care less. The staff that were great were really really great. They work very hard and i will leave it at that. EMBARKATION This was appalling. DO NOT SHOW UP BEFORE NOON to get on the ship. Holy cow. So first they board all of their VIPs and Haven Suites. I kind of understand this but it seemed like it took longer to get them together and onto the ship. Then they board by floor. We were on the 8th floor so it took forever. There was about 100-200 people in the port and it took about an hour for them to let me and my daughter start boarding. This makes no sense. We are not animals, we are not going to trample each other. Im fine with them letting the VIPs on first but then just let everyone free board. There was no point to that. I will say that by time we got on the ship our room was open and ready. This was nice because we had flown all night. So that is the soonest I had ever been able to get into my stateroom on any ship. DISEMBARKATION I do not have many nice things to say about this. Me and my daughter did a walk off the ship. As soon as you walked onto the ship deck you were in a looooooong line. Apparently there were only 3 customs agents and 1 was doing VIPs only. It took 2 hours to get out!!!!! Did i mention it was raining!!!!!!! A good portion of the time we were standing outside in the rain. When we got in we were SITTING in line. We were not moving. This was the worst disembarkation that i had ever experienced. I was told that there was 2 reasons. One was the VIP line that NCL does. It slows everything down for everyone. They don't move any faster so its pointless. And the fact that there were not enough customs agents. HONORABLE MENTION The TV channels and movies shown on tv were great! We watched The Meg, Ant man and the wasp, Mamma Mia, here we go again, Mission Impossible fallout, Skyscraper, Pick of the litter, Teen titans go to the movies, Pacific Rim Uprising, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, Oceans 8, Rampage, Ready Player One. Those are just the ones I could remember. We are making videos of our cruise and if you want to see them please view here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjyVKAz32N4-1Ere4B3GROw Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be fun and interesting. Traveling with four other people, two of which were in our suite. The suite was smaller than suites on other cruise lines but our cabin guy was very helpful and fun. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be fun and interesting. Traveling with four other people, two of which were in our suite. The suite was smaller than suites on other cruise lines but our cabin guy was very helpful and fun. Embarkation seemed slow but manageable, but disembarkation was ridiculous. It took us 2 1/2 to 3 hrs to clear customs. After all that a piece of our luggage was loaded into another vehicle and sent to Bradenton, Fl (we live in Ohio but were staying another two days nearby). It took another day to get a hold of someone to find what happened to our missing bag. They had to ship it to Ohio, we were not able to pick it up before we left. The food on the ship was adequate. The food in O'Sheehans was the best, while the main dining room had no exceptional food (very little seafood at all). Also had our best service there (O'Sheehans). Most all of the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We ate in the buffet several times and most of the food was good. The entertainment was adequate but nothing spectacular. Two pools, four hot tubs and bowling you had to pay for. There was an exercise room and the girls at the spa were very nice and helpful. of course, the casino. The ports were shipyards, in at least 3 instances, not what we expected. We thought the beaches would be beautiful but the Grand Caymans beach was very rocky and on the beach in Jamaica you could go so far out before you ran into seaweed. The beach in Costa Rica was very nice and we loved Harvest Caye. Most people were upset that you had to pay for everything there but the beach and pool were beautiful We made our own fun and overall had a good time, but would not cruise on the Pearl. We did not realize that this cruise was a senior cruise but it seemed that it was. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Loved there were 3 combinable promo's which made this cruise very cost effective. The NCL staff and entertainment was phenomenal and the food was generally very good with a few exceptions. Some excursions were not worth the time or ... Read More
Loved there were 3 combinable promo's which made this cruise very cost effective. The NCL staff and entertainment was phenomenal and the food was generally very good with a few exceptions. Some excursions were not worth the time or money but some were fantastic so it was a mix. It's always good to experience other countries and cultures so I'm glad we took this trip but we'd skip going back to a few. NCL's island, Harvest Caye, in Belize had an amazing beach and pool, as well as many shops and even a small zipline. The only down side was that you had no ship privileges even though NCL owns the island so food and drinks are on your own. We had an obstructed OV room and, although a bit small, it was laid out to make use of space very well. In fact, it had more drawer space than we needed and this was a 14 day cruise! The only complaint would be that there is absolutely no soundproofing and you can hear everything being said in the adjacent cabins. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
It seemed obvious early in the cruise that there were a lot of people interested in trivia. It seemed that they adjusted the schedule to add more trivia and moved it to a bigger venue to accommodate the crowds. Well done! Our cabin ... Read More
It seemed obvious early in the cruise that there were a lot of people interested in trivia. It seemed that they adjusted the schedule to add more trivia and moved it to a bigger venue to accommodate the crowds. Well done! Our cabin was very comfortable and well suited for our needs. We tried many of the dining options and found them quite to our liking. The Brazilian Steak House was much improved over our previous experience there. We will return. We took part in many of the activities and enjoyed them all. The shows we saw were wonderful. The adult oriented shows were particularly crowded and overwhelmed the venue. They should be afforded more room. The Cruise Director, Assistant Cruise Director as well as our Cabin Steward and most of the Wait Staff were terrific. We really enjoyed the cruise. We were more relaxed than usual and found it to enhance the experience. We ate when we were hungry instead of trying to stick to a schedule. Forget the Trolley Town tour in Santo Tomas. It wasn't worth the cheap price we paid to go. It ran through pot holes the size of wash tubs, showed us little and finally at the end passed out the one can of warm beer. Panama Canal was really a grand sight to see. Disappointed that with all of the Millions of $$$ taken in each day that they had folks very nearby that lived in what looked like bombed out apartments with no electricity. Sad to see the little kids running around in that. We met a couple that we had been friends with for a couple of years that we didn't know would be there. Nice addition. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The Panama Canal cruise was on our bucket list. We are into our 70s and both have some chronic health issues, so we wanted to get this off of our list. We chose the aft facing cabin so we had a 180 degree view when going through the ... Read More
The Panama Canal cruise was on our bucket list. We are into our 70s and both have some chronic health issues, so we wanted to get this off of our list. We chose the aft facing cabin so we had a 180 degree view when going through the canal. This was a great choice and we loved sitting on our balcony and enjoying the view. Even was nice in some of the ports. Embarkation had some issues. The lady who was keeping track of those who required wheel chairs overlooked my name and I was one of the last wheelchairs on board. The gentleman who took me on board whizzed us through the ship and down to lunch in the Summer Palace, dropped us off, and our lunch was great. We had easy access to our daily dining there. However, there was a "burp" on the second night of dining. I was wearing shorts (everyday on board) and we took the elevator from deck 11 down to deck 6, which is the handicapped entrance to the restaurant. Deck 7 is the regular entrance with two flights of stairs required to get in. Well, on this night, we walked in on the handicapped ramp and were met by the Maitre' D who pointed to my shorts and said I couldn't come in, since I wasn't wearing long pants. He was very adamant about it and immediately called The Indigo Dining Room and said he was bringing us down there (no dress code there) and he escorted us (very quickly) through the Atrium and down another elevator to the Indigo, taking us right in (ahead of about 30 people in line) and seated us and with a "sorry", he disappeared. Then, about 5 minutes or so later, in comes the ships Restaurant Manager shows up with (I believe) the Hotel Manager and they both were very apologetic about what had happened and offered us a complimentary bottle of wine. They were classy in the way they handled the apology and they made sure to speak to us whenever they saw us on board. They did point out that there was signage at the entry to the restaurant regarding dinner dress codes. But, I pointed out that we never entered the restaurant on Deck 7 and there was no signage on Deck 6 (the handicapped entrance) They apologized for that, later, and said signage would be put on that entrance too. They also pointed out that the dress codes were printed in the daily Freeystyle newsletter. It was in there, but buried. Anyway, I screwed up and they screwed up and we were happy during the cruise. Another incident occurred during the Cruise Critic Roll Call Meet and Greet which was held in the Bliss Nightclub at about 11am. We arrived and were sitting with some others near the entrance of the club. The Norwegian Captain and Management team arrived and suggested we all move to the stage area. Well, the lighting was dim to dark and I nailed my shin on one of those small bolted down cocktail tables. It hurt, I almost fell, but we moved on up with the others and sat through the meet and greet. When we left, we went back to our cabin to asses the damage and I had quite the abrasion to my left shin and had bled through my compression sock. We bandaged it up (since I had those supplies with us for another issue) and continued on with our day. We went to the service desk to see if a report needed to be made. The gentleman there said no. However, later on we met with the Customer Relations Manager and she said she saw me hit the table and was looking for me later. She said to go to Medical and they would do a report and take care of the injury. Well, Medical is open from 7:30am to 9am and 7:30pm to 9pm. We filled our a medical report and while waiting to see the doctor, two security officers came in and it was like the "Norwegian CSI" They took another report, took pictures of my leg, what shoes and braces I was wearing, and my cane. Then, one of the took my wife back to the Bliss (3 decks up and on the other end of the ship and going through the Atrium crowd on the ship while he carried my wife's purse, we guess so she wouldn't run away?) He looked at what my wife thought was the right area (in the dark) and then came back to Medical. By then I had seen the good doctor and one of the nurses was bandaging my leg. I was already on an antibiotic and they said to monitor it. The next day we had a bottle of wine and a cheese plate waiting for us in our cabin. This did not include a bottle of wine that the Restaurant Manager gave us earlier. By the way, we did see the Summer Palace Maitre' D on numerous occasions and I think he tried to avoid us. All in all, it was a memorable cruise (in more ways than one) and one we'd highly recommend to anyone wanting to transverse the Eastern Locks of the Panama Canal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Overall, the cruise was pretty much nice. Most of the shore excursions, not so much. The package price and "Five for Free" and all that foofraw was intriguing until analyzed, and then not so much. Entertainment on ship was great, ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was pretty much nice. Most of the shore excursions, not so much. The package price and "Five for Free" and all that foofraw was intriguing until analyzed, and then not so much. Entertainment on ship was great, it was clean and well-maintained and had a smiling crew. The "suite" cabin was marginally better than a standard and nowhere close to my experience with other suites. Our reasons for choosing this particular cruise were that it was a two-week cruise, out of our home port Tampa, and visited some faraway places we can't see on a one-week from home. For the price, considering even the "Free at Sea", "Distinctive Voyages" and other so-called freebies, there were equivalent options, but not from our home port. So, we overpaid a bit for that advantage. I'm bothering to review mostly because the shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The cruise itself - on shipboard - was fine and certainly up to par. The shore excursions and package deals, not so much.If you book a similar cruise, be careful of those to items. The mini-suite, not so much. Details: Marketing Spin – We first signed on for this cruise based on the nearly all-inclusive nature of the offering, what with “Free at Sea” freebies and “Distinctive Voyages” and such. 120 days before departure, NCL requires final full payment (… ya gotta love how cruise lines have us over a barrel). It was after that – and this is on us – that we finally looked at the total package and compared this NCL trip with similar trips from HAL and RC. Theirs were a la carte for shore excursions subsidies, wifi, phone, beverage packs and such. We found out the other cruise prices were similar to lower, but selectable instead of a fixed package. An example: the beverage package, one of an oft-chosen (including us) “free” option in NCL’s marketing package. Turned out that NCL charges for the tips for the BevPak, though the drinks are included. If you calculate out the tips, it turns out to be about the equivalent of spending $88/day on drinks. Heavy drinkers – probably a deal. Casual drinks/sodas, not so much. We also got subsidies on NCL shore excursions – thereby encouraging us to book everything through the ship. Which we did – to mixed results. Some of them turned out to be net-$0 to us. However, as noted above, that subsidy seemed to be built in to the overall cruise cost. Moral: No matter how enticing the marketing freebies seem, NCL – and other lines, for that matter – don’t give nothin’ away. Embarkation - A disaster. Worst embark in my home port of Tampa that I've ever seen. An entry line at noon that wound around and down the block. People couldn't figure out how reiieve themselfves of bags and get in line too. Once into reception, it was quick. I’ve seen people take their own 24-packs of water onto their cruises. Not here. NCL security confiscated all my Bai flavored waters. We mused over where they went after we were at sea. Debarkation - Also a disaster. We had 2 1/4 bags each and had planned/rehearsed how to do a “walk-off” departure with the required one hand free (for the escalator, I guess). In spite of this my partner and I were shunted onto an elevator-only line along with all people with canes or wheelchairs. And additional wheelchairs always went to the front of the line. It took us an hour from the time we hit shore until we got down the one floor to passport and luggage. Activities: On board the Norwegian Pearl, we happily found that there indeed was a tennis court. And we played with new tennis friends on every sea day to our great enjoyment. Crew help getting the nets/equipment available to play was spotty. They also have two pairs of bowling lanes. Before you get visions of keeping your average up, the “house” balls were limited. More important, as a 40-year bowler, I was told that I couldn’t do anything to the surface or the left shoe so that one could slide on release of the ball. A bowler could get badly hurt expecting to be able to slide on the final step - and suddenly stopping like on a rubber mat. And $7/game – not a free activity. We enjoyed the trivia contests, except for the fact that there were no real prizes for winning – not even an NCL pin (like HAL does). We did a ring toss context in a lounge. Problem there was that there were no rules and the crewman seemed to make them up as we went along in an elimination competition. Again, no real prize, so I guess it didn’t matter. Food: Garden Café (equivalent of HAL’s Lido) – Wide selection, ready at hand. Often tepid to cool by the time you gather it all up and find an empty table somewhere within range of walking back multiple times to the service lines. Made me long for the old days when you could use a cafeteria tray instead of multiple trips. I made us stop eating breakfast here because of always having cold toast, muffins, pancakes, and eggs off of the serving lines. Instead, we went to O’Sheehan’s Irish pub restaurant, no extra charge, for most breakfasts and many lunches. Very convenient, uncrowded, generally warm and tasty food. Lotus Garden, no charge, oriental foods. Very good, very tasty. My favorite although my partner doesn’t have my taste for all foods oriental. Both main dining rooms – generally good service, fine restaurant style and atmosphere. What was wanting was tasty, interesting dishes. Everything was pleasant enough, just not eye-widening at all. We were doing a two-week cruise and there never was lobster! Are ships giving up on this? It used to be a highlight. We did get a record-setting prime rib on our last night! It was the thinnest-sliced prime rib dinner I’ve ever seen. I can say this, it was thicker than bologna. Maybe. Dress code of long pants for men and no tank-tops, tees, was mentioned in the Summer Palace MDR the first night, then, judging from what I saw, never brought up again subsequently. The Indigo MDR apparently did not have the same code. In later nights, I saw lots of “Drink Beer” type tees in both MDRs. Shore Excursions, all booked through NCL and with $50/person subsidy, part of our package: Grand Cayman – Reef & Wreck Snorkel. Large roomy boat, but few places to sit down to put gear on. (We brought our own snorkel packs.) As a long-time diver in younger years, Caymans were nirvana. Unfortunately, our boat stayed nearby in the harbor. The wreck was large and interesting, with few fish. The “reef” spot was all black and gray dead reef. A quarter mile away were a number of spots with living reefs and more fish, but I guess we were saving fuel cost. Without the shorex subsidy, we’d’ve booked on our own with a smaller boat that would go out to “real” reef. Conclusion: Mediocre. Jamaica – Bobsled Jamaica and Zipline. Only a mile from the dock and in the hills. The Good and the Bad. We took a high sit-on tram to the top of the mountain. Then got in line for the zip line. All five traverses of it. They had twelve, but were only using five on our day. It was pleasant, but with long lines at switchovers. Then on to the dry-track bobsled run. Except the wait was two hours. So we had the highlight of this shorex by buying our own lunch in the mountaintop and building-top restaurant. Fantastic views down the mountain and toward our cruise liner harbor. Even better with the view tower above the lunch spot. Once back to the bobsled run, the wait was now three hours. So, we bailed. Conclusion: Being worth it is being generous. Glad we didn’t pay the full $139 each. Santa Marta, Colombia – Quebrada Valencia Eco-Expedition. You understand when a shorex is described as “expedition” or “adventure” that it’s not the literal use of the term? The online description showed a beautiful view down a mountain valley. Not so much. Never did see that. Did get our shoes soaked by unexpectedly having to walk through a half-foot deep, 15-foot wide creek, SIX times on the way to seeing a little mountain waterfall. Where one could swim, if so inclined. Or wade, since our shoes were already water-logged. Conclusion: Full of water. Cartagena, Colombia – Exclusive Hop-on, Hop-off Bus. Took us around town and to the entry into old Cartagena. And back to the ship. Had no need to on-off since there was only one stop for old town. Got an including staring tour upon walk into old town district. Fifty bucks list price; zero with our subsidy. Worth the $50. Old Cartagena was one of the highlights of our shore diversions. Conclusion: One way or another, get into old town. Panama Canal – on-board viewing A second highlight of the trip. The Pearl goes into the first locks of the canal and then allows tenders to go ashore. Shore visitors re-connect with the Pearl later in the day when it’s gone back out of the canal and docked in Colon, Panama. Before that, seeing the locks in action, with another huge ship 100 feet away, is truly fascinating. No cost benefit and entertainment for this cruise. (Actually, based on info given us, we each probably paid about $200 of our cruise cost to Panama Canal Authority.) Panama – Shape of Panama bus tour We took advantage of the shore access tender and caught a shorex bus which took us from the Caribbean side locks down a super-highway to the Pacific shore in Panama City. Another highlight of the trip. A bus tour of 2mil-person PCity; tons of skyscrapers, lots to see; the Pacific Ocean; and then a walking tour of Old Panama City. A comfortable major highway trip back to the ship in Colon. Another highlight and worthwhile shorex. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica – Aerial Tram & Rainforest Adventure. There it is again, an “adventure.” Well, not so much. Two hours down a two-lane highway and then into a for-profit eco park “adjacent to a national park.” A lot of hoopla for flora and fauna. The tram ride was about an hour with a “naturalist” on board with a green laser point to show us the forest and animals. We did not see the grand mountain view and closed gondola that was in the shorex marketing materials online. We did see a lot of leaves. We saw one mountain far off on the horizon. We saw one spider. (Checkmark: fauna?) The included meal in the restaurant was tasty and nice. The two-plus hour ride back down the highway was cluttered with construction stops and pauses. We got to the ship a few minutes before departure. Conclusion: If you pay the whole $149, I hope you’re an optimist. We paid $99, and I’d like to time travel that decision. Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala – Livingston Explorer Fortunately, our subsidized cost for this was $0 (instead of $50). You ride an open “panga” outboard up the coast for an hour to Livingston, a land-locked town. Apparently part of the fun is to sit in open sitting and get beat up by the pounding bow as it races through the waves. I feared for my fillings. The town itself is an interesting view of lives and neighborhood in a remote city. I don’t know what our 45-minute guided perambulation through town was supposed to show us. We almost missed the boat back to the Pearl when our panga was inexplicably ready to go from a different dock and time then our guide told us. But as our guide said at the start when he “lost” two of us, “I guess it’s going to be one of those kinds of days.” Conclusion: Visit Livingston, but not in a panga. Harvest Caye, Belize – Private Island for NCL. Monkey River Eco tour I think I’ve figured this one out. Other cruise lines do this, it’s not just NCL. Buy an island and make it a playground for just your ship for the day. Declare that it’s on shore, so even though it’s all NCL and you can use your passcard to pay for things, it’s all separate charges. If you have the BevPak, you have to pay for drinks on the island. NCL recreation there, you pay. Equipment, you rent. We took a shorex that went down a river. Another panga-type boat beating on top of the waves for an hour to get us down to the Monkey River entrance. Our guide then pointed out lots of bird species – I think, because his Belizean English was almost incomprehensible to me and others – and a couple of monkeys. Half the boat was open and presented excellent sunburn options. On the return, he also took us to his house which, unsurprisingly, had items and food for sale. (Most of these kinds of trips have some souvenir/rest stop side trip that will result in compensation to the guide.) Then, a wave-pounding trip back to the ship. Conclusion: Our subsidized net of $49 would have been too much. Costa Maya, Mexico – Beach Power Snorkel. Well, not really. Not the provider’s fault, the weather did not cooperate. We were offered a conversion to a “beach recline and stare” with the same provider, since he wanted to hold on to at least some of our money. It was an enjoyable couple of hours lazing around, mostly because we had free drinks and no crowds. So, a ship’s excursion in all nine ports with mixed-to-mediocre results. Altogether, an average cruise. We had good times and good days, but much of that was due to our deciding to roll with (sorry) things. We won't buy again based on freebies and marketing. And as far as this cruise and "wouldn't change a thing" thoughts? Not so much! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The ncl pearl has many varieties of activities for any age including bowling. At times multiple activities have been booked in the same venue at the same time. But the staff sorted it out and made applicable changes. The garden cafe has ... Read More
The ncl pearl has many varieties of activities for any age including bowling. At times multiple activities have been booked in the same venue at the same time. But the staff sorted it out and made applicable changes. The garden cafe has plenty of seating, however at peak times you may choose the italian restaurant for additional seating or choose the great outdoors. There seemed to be 6 hot tubs advertised, but 2 of the hot tubs are in the heaven suite area only and not accessible. However, for sun bathers there is plenty of room and many lounge chairs to choose from on deck 12, 13 or 14. The service is good, find your server in the main dining room you are happy with. We are thankful, that the main dining room (summer palace) had always the option available to have a table for two. We would have liked to find out more about this summer palace dining room "theme" as it resembled a touch of russia in 1905? We could not find details or missed that info on it. We have taken a fair amount of shore excursion and made ourself to mistakes. We do not drink, but booked the tour " a taste of caymen" which you will get many samples of beer and rum and some rum cake. Another excursion which we experienced was the "discover rio dulce" in santo tomas. If you like speed boating on the ocean sitting on a fibreglas bench than that tour would be for you. But than again a sore bum and some back pain come free. Our tour guide was a little bit to pushy as we came of the ship after lunch and he brought us within the hour to a restaurant in livingston were we supposed to have lunch; we guess he does not know some main features of taken a cruise. Again it still has been a positive experience, no complaints, but make sure you are in a fair physical shape to take the rio dulce excursion. we would almost say that the excursion in panama city " the shaping of panama" has been an eye opener. First you see all the very special architectural high rise buildings, but just around almost every corner you see the run down buildings or metal sheds which are inhabited by misfortunate panamanians either by choice or by the own outlook. However, they may be happy in their own way of life. So much for the differences we have in our lives. Coming back to the ncl pearl, as said before all was very well and we would go again on any regular sized ncl ship (we skip the very large once). Please one improvement needs to be done and should not be blamed on the hardworking custom officers at the disembarkation. It would have been appreciated, if jodie the cruise director would have come on the intercom to say that there is a delay of one hour or whatever applies. But instead we heard only around 11am the information that now all colours can disembark. As the fact stands: our time to get of the ship was 9.30am and we actual came off the ship almost at noon, just before the new boarding started. HAPPY CRUISING Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I took this cruise with his grandparents with the intent of having a lot of quality family time together. This was our fourth cruise, second with Norwegian. We had previously sailed on Norwegian Jade and actually came ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise with his grandparents with the intent of having a lot of quality family time together. This was our fourth cruise, second with Norwegian. We had previously sailed on Norwegian Jade and actually came away quite disappointed, but we were willing to give NCL a second chance, and we are VERY happy that we did! This has been our favourite cruise of the four we've taken (two now with NCL, one with RCI and one with Celebrity), and our favourite ship, as well. Knowing that Jade and Pearl are sister ships, we knew what to expect size-wise from Pearl. We were very happy with the size of the ship (we were told that all rooms were sold and we were at about 2300 guests on board). It's not too big that it feels daunting if you need to get from fore to aft Very rarely did we feel crowded or have to wait at a bar or restaurant. The refurb to the Pearl (in comparison to our experience on the non-refurbed Jade) is GORGEOUS. The room decor is beautiful, clean and modern, and the public spaces are generally stunning. Service across the board was generally excellent. Drinks were the best we've been served on a cruise line -- very high quality bar-tending! Loved the bar area at Magnums/Shakers/Maltings, great atmosphere and a lot of fun. We also spent a lot of late afternoons at the bar in The Great Outdoors, nice to be in the shade but still enjoy the weather! It was rarely busy at all up there, and my husband enjoyed watching football and soccer on their TVs. Overall the food and service in the MDRs, Specialty Dining, and O'Sheehan's was very good (with the exception of the spinach dip at O'Sheehan's.... just don't bother). We are not very much buffet people, but we did grab a plate of snacks now and then to eat at the Great Outdoors bar. Buffet food looked varied and quite tasty. We had one poor wait staff experience in Moderno, where we felt very ignored by our waitress, but we didn't let that ruin the evening. Wait staff in O'Sheehan's seem the least well-trained -- any time you go off-menu or make special requests, it seems like it is very difficult for them to process. For example: I prefer milk over cream or half-n-half for my coffee. Twice when I asked for milk, I was brought warm milk, which is.... weird? I learned to clarify after that! We also visited Teppanyaki (delicious and fun, definitely get the steak!), Cagney's (SO GOOD, an the giant chocolate cake is 100% worth saving room for!) and Le Bistro (very tasty, with excellent service!). I definitely wish there was some kind of "Brunch" option on sea days. I'm on vacation, I don't want to be up and dressed for breakfast before 9am, but a 10am-12pm sit-down brunch in one of the MDRs would be just perfect! We purchased the Thermal Suite pass for the two week cruise, and it was just WONDERFUL. Beautiful space to relax, rarely crowded. We especially loved the heated loungers and the Thalassotherapy pool, but I felt the sauna and steam room temperatures were a bit high. Really well located at the front of the ship, it was a great space to view our Panama Canal transit with it's panoramic windows and tons of loungers. We got mani-pedis at the spa, the nail technicians were great and we had a lot of fun. Embarkation in Tampa was a mess. Huge lines of traffic to get into the port. Lines everywhere with no clear signage or direction as to what the line was for. Not enough porters so huge mobs of people with baggage milling about trying to check their bags... Once we finally handed over our bags and got through the first round of security, things went more smoothly. Husband and I, being returning NCL cruisers, were able to check in to the Latitudes line, and were allowed to bring the grandparents with us, even though they didn't have Latitudes status, which was quite nice. Arrived at the port around 11am, were on board at around 1:30pm. Debarkation in Tampa was a total disaster. We had train tickets for 12:30pm departure (the train station is a 5 minute drive from the port) so we chose the latest debarkation time, 10:00am thinking we'd have plenty of time to collect our bags and get to the station. THIS WAS A HUGE MISTAKE. We spent over 1 hour in line ON THE SHIP before we could even swipe off the ship!!!. Poor grandma can't stand for this long, so at about the 45-minute mark we managed to flag down an NCL employee with a wheelchair for her. At this point, seeing the status of the lines, I spoke with several NCL and port employees about our train departure time, and asked could we be escorted through the lines quicker (as we had seen several other groups go!) but to no avail. We were told there were only two customs officials clearing our ship, which explained the long delays. Luckily the wheelchair got us into ADA lines which were shorter, and the gentleman pushing it for us just kept on pushing through! Another hour in line and we had cleared customs and were flagging a cab, and so made it to the train station with a few minutes to spare. I would allow a LARGE buffer of time for Embarkation and Debarkation in Tampa port, and pack your patience. It is a disorganized mess. Ports of call were generally wonderful. 1. George Town, Grand Cayman: We booked a beach cabana at Royal Palms beach club. Great beach, wonderful service. Did some jewellry shopping in the port and came away happy with the service and prices. 2. Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We took a private cab who drove us through Fern Gully, to a few local merchant malls, and to some scenic lookouts, then to a beach for a few hours. Very friendly cab driver, beautiful scenery. 3. Santa Marta, Colombia: Again, we took a private cab who drove us to a scenic overlook and through the old town for shopping and to view the local architecture. VERY hot, we elected to return to the ship quite early. 4. Cartagena, Colombia: Another private cab day, with obligatory stop at an emerald shop. Merchants in Cartagena are VERY aggressive, you couldn't walk 5 feet without jewelry, tablecloths and knock-off sunglasses being waved in your face. The aggression really took away from our visit, it was hard to enjoy the beautiful city. 5. Panama Canal: We elected to remain on board for the day. Spent time relaxing and enjoying the view of the passage through the canal. 6. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica: We booked a tour through NCL: Aerial Tram & Rainforest Adventure. It was PERFECT! 2h bus ride with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide teaching us all about life in Costa Rica. The tram ride through the rain forest was stunning, beautiful and wild and peaceful all at the same time. Lunch was delicious local fare, beans and rice and meats, with beer and desserts available to purchase. Bus ride home went WAY longer than expected due to construction and multiple accidents, but the ship waited about 30 minutes extra for our return. Would recommend this tour to anyone, and also recommend to take through the ship due to the distance to travel. 7. Santo Tomas, Guatemala: We had booked a tour through NCL: Discover Rio Dulce, but ended up cancelling it. Our excursion ticket came with a note describing the panga boats which we would travel in as being hard to get in and out of and not recommended for anyone with difficulty walking. Well... grandma can't handle that, so we cancelled. The description when we booked it called the difficulty level "1", but obviously this was inaccurate to the actual reality of the tour. All but one other excursion offered through the ship used these panga boats, so we elected to remain on board for the day. Watching other guests board the boats for their tours confirmed our decision, they looked very difficult to maneouver in and out of. Disappointing, but it was nice to have an extra day to relax! 8. Harvest Caye, Belize: BEAUTIFUL beach, great place to spend the day hopping in-and-out of the water. Obviously over-commercialized and expensive, but we expected that going in and just enjoyed relaxing in the sun for the day. 9. Costa Maya, Mexico: We booked a tour through NCL: Chacchoben Mayan Ruins & All Inclusive Blue Lagoon. Ruins are INCREDIBLE, but at all wheelchair-friendly. We struggled pushing grandma around. Unfortunately it poured rain the entire time we were at the Blue Lagoon; luckily there was a covered picnic area for lunch. The trip to the ruins was wonderful and worthwhile, but even in better weather I'm not sure how much value the Blue Lagoon added. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Wife and I had previously sailed on Pearl about 8 years ago and loved the ship. Found it just as nice now, if not better. Ten ports in 14 nights and sailing into Lake Gatun through the Panama Canal was a wonderful experience. Our balcony ... Read More
Wife and I had previously sailed on Pearl about 8 years ago and loved the ship. Found it just as nice now, if not better. Ten ports in 14 nights and sailing into Lake Gatun through the Panama Canal was a wonderful experience. Our balcony stateroom (Deck 9) was clean and comfortable but lacked a little in storage for a 14 night cruise. We had the Ultimate Booze Package and a 4 meal Ultimate Dining Package. Drinks were excellent. We ate 3 times in Cagney's (Outstanding) and once in Le Bistro (Excellent.) The entire shipboard experience was beyond expectations. Some ports, especially Columbia, had too many locals in your face to buy something or to give them money. We succumbed several times! There were very few young adults or children, which was fine. Average age possibly 50 to 60. Many singles and lots of planned activities in the Freestyle Daily newspaper. Great value for the money and we would definitely do it all over again! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
14-Day Panama Canal Round-trip from Tampa November 25-December 9  Norwegian Pearl Embarkation We stayed just outside Tampa the night before and drove in Sunday morning. We parked just across from the terminal and ... Read More
14-Day Panama Canal Round-trip from Tampa November 25-December 9  Norwegian Pearl Embarkation We stayed just outside Tampa the night before and drove in Sunday morning. We parked just across from the terminal and got to the check in point around 10:30. These steps were all painless. We did wait a while with a terminal full of people to board the ship. When we did board with our carryons with the first group we went straight to Summer Palace for lunch. We checked our cabin right after and it was ready so we dropped the bags there and went up top. Cabin Our cabin was 9610, a balcony cabin. We were glad to have upgraded to the balcony with such a long trip. Our room steward was fine. He was friendly the first couple of days then very cool after that. I have no idea if we offended him in some way. We had zero special requests and I always tidy up on my own as much as I can. We always had clean towels, a perfectly made bed and towel animals every night. We usually have a relationship with our steward so this was different. Internet I bought 250 minutes which I thought was a crazy amount of internet time. Latitudes Gold added 30 minutes so I thought I’d be online plenty. The WiFi is insanely slow and some days I couldn’t accomplish anything at all while the minutes burned. We have 2 kids and I thought 2 weeks was way too long to be out of touch. If I did this cruise again I would buy unlimited or none at all. Live and learn, I guess. App Communication Package I hadn’t given the app communication much thought. We ended up getting it at 9.95 each for two weeks and it was well worth the money. My husband and I are rarely in the same place during the day so this was most helpful. You can call or text, even send pictures. That’s what I did when I got the where are you message. I’d take a shot of what I was looking at and it worked. If you were on this trip I was the one who always had a book with me. I sat in the window seats down the hall, in the library, even before the show in Stardust. Laundry We sent out a very full bag around the halfway point to be washed and folded for 19.99. We got half off with Latitudes so it was around 10 dollars. Well worth the money in my opinion. Ports This was a port heavy cruise. Most ports we walked around if there was an area close by. We did the trolley tour in Cartagena. Our favorite day was in Harvest Caye. It was a beautiful and relaxing day. Dining In the interest of full disclosure I am the pickiest eater I’ve ever known. That being said we both thought the food was very good. We had breakfast mostly in Summer Palace. One morning we went to O’Sheehan’s and three mornings we went to the Garden Cafe. Lunch was where I ran into trouble and it wasn’t the food but variety. We had ten port days out of fourteen so those days we had a choice of the buffet or O’Sheehan’s. I really liked the open faced turkey sandwich but not every day. Buffets are always tricky. I like only a handful of things so I usually had pizza and salad. The chicken salad was excellent. We ate in Summer Palace every evening except one. That night we went to indigo. It was fine. It had the exact same menu but we much preferred the atmosphere in Summer Palace. As a side note, I called the Garden Cafe ‘Survival of the fittest’ because people acted like NCL was going to run out of food. I hate the pushing and shoving and line jumping. A couple of mornings we went up early and very much enjoyed being able to choose food items in a calm environment. I’m not built for wrestling for food. Spa/Fitness We got the thermal spa pass for my husband and he thought it was the best money we spent. He especially enjoyed the view as we went through the Panama Canal locks. I had three spa treatments and they were very helpful. I used the treadmill in the fitness center a few days but mostly I walked on 7. I did Latin Fitness with Yvette by the pool on three mornings and the class was great. Entertainment This area is subjective so I understand not everyone will agree with this assessment. My favorite show was the Legends concert with Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Elvis impersonators. We also really enjoyed the acrobatic duo. I can’t for the life of me remember their names. We thought the entertainment overall was good. I understand why young people wouldn’t be crazy about some of it. Staff We thought the staff was top notch. We especially appreciated the Summer Palace staff since we spent so much time there. Debarkation We carried our luggage off and were called around 8:00 am. The line to get off was long but all things come to an end. We finally cleared the terminal after 9:00 am. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I've been on 10 cruises and loved every one of them, mainly because of the ports and all you can see and learn in 2 weeks, give or take. The Pearl is a gorgeous ship. We stayed in the Haven which should be called the Heaven. Our ... Read More
I've been on 10 cruises and loved every one of them, mainly because of the ports and all you can see and learn in 2 weeks, give or take. The Pearl is a gorgeous ship. We stayed in the Haven which should be called the Heaven. Our steward, concierge, butler - everyone we came in contact with, were delightful people. The Haven itself was luxurious and comfortable and we felt like we had the ship to ourselves. Not a complaint about the room, room service, crew, food, everything was perfect. Worth the $8,000+ per person. The ports were another story. It was our first Caribbean cruise so maybe we were naive. Every other cruise has had wonderful ports that gave you a true taste of the country and city you were visiting. You are free to take a ship tour, get off the boat and roam, or take your own taxi and explore. We generally go off on our own. On this cruise, unless you took a ship tour - expensive, most of the ports were "fake". A few small newish buildings selling things that were for the most part inauthentic, no local food, no local people or culture. We were absolutely shocked by this. The only places where we could get off the ship and wander were the 2 stops in Colombia, Santa Marta and Cartegna. We got a good feel for the culture, people, music, food and crafts. In Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, even Mexico, we disembarked and saw only the market that appeared to be owned by Norwegian. Very upsetting. These small countries need and depend on tourism. It is clear that Norwegian gets a cut of all the goods sold. There was no town, in facat, if you wanted to take a car to a nearby town there was nothing nearby. In Mexico our port was called "Costa Maya" which means to most people the beautiful coast south of Cancun on the Yucatan Pennisula. Norwegian's "Costa Maya" was a silly made up village with Mexicans dressed in outrageous costumes posing with people, horrible crafts not at all representative of the beautiful things the Mexican people are famous for making. Lots of gold, diamond, jewelry stores, Starbucks, no good restaurants. It was disappointing to say the least. Perhaps some people who are not interested in seeing actual cultures in other countries felt comfortable, but for people who love to travel and learn, it was a nightmare. Also, we embarked from Tampa and it took all day to get on board - people were waiting so long someone had to be taken away in an ambulance. Horrible experience after being promised priority boarding because of our Haven status - which did not kick in till we were on board 4 hours after waiting in Florida heat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The staff were very friendly and helpful. I understand that many of my fellow cruisers were delayed in the terminal before they were allowed to board. I arrived to the terminal at my assigned time of 2:30 and spent less than twenty minutes ... Read More
The staff were very friendly and helpful. I understand that many of my fellow cruisers were delayed in the terminal before they were allowed to board. I arrived to the terminal at my assigned time of 2:30 and spent less than twenty minutes in line before being checked in. Once on board I found the staff to be cheerful and helpful. My cabin steward was extraordinary and made my stay much more comfortable than some previous cruises. I would like to complement the kitchen and wait staff, especially in the main dining room. The ability to insure a gluten free menu and offering pre-ordering expanded the gluten free options available. The mix of passengers were interesting and pleasant. There were the general variety of entertainment options, however I felt the lack of a production show to be somewhat surprising. The ship's singers and dancers normally provide one or two production shows on a two week cruise. The traffic flow was never a problem, and transiting the ship from top to bottom and end to end was mostly without congestion. I was pleased with several of the ports, but was disappointed with the stops in Columbia and Costa Rico. I have visited Costa Rico previously, but from a different port and enjoyed it very much. The Panama Canal was interesting and enjoyable. The casino staff were friendly and I enjoyed seeing PaiGow poker offered along with craps and a nice variety of slots. The TV's in the casino bar could be upgraded for those wanting to watch sporting events. I would definitely sail on this lovely ship again without hesitation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
First of all the embarkation was a disaster and could have been handled much better. We understand that some things are beyond control but with a two hour wait in line without the offer of water and to observe people passing out and in ... Read More
First of all the embarkation was a disaster and could have been handled much better. We understand that some things are beyond control but with a two hour wait in line without the offer of water and to observe people passing out and in distress was disturbing. No explanation or apology was forthcoming. We do appreciate the offer of sparkling wine, however the option to choose something more palatable would be appreciated. Trying to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in O'Sheehan's was disrupted by the excessively loud and enthusiastic commentary of the cruise staff during activities in the Atrium. However, overall, we had an enjoyable cruise, the cuisine where we dined was delicious and the staff in all venues were professional, friendly and helpful. Special mention to our cabin steward, the washy, washy greeters at the buffet and the entertainment. The Shore excursions we participated in were great except for the Canoe trip in Cartagena to which we have already given feedback. Looking forward to our next trip on NCL Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
First had to wait 3 hours to board ship due to Coast Guard inspection of ship.Second,NCL put me on a cash only basis on the ship. This was due to a NCL foul up with my credit card at the pier at check in.Third there a NCL foul up with my ... Read More
First had to wait 3 hours to board ship due to Coast Guard inspection of ship.Second,NCL put me on a cash only basis on the ship. This was due to a NCL foul up with my credit card at the pier at check in.Third there a NCL foul up with my shore excursions and it took 6 people to straighten it out. This really got my wife upset, The fifth day of the cruise she got a severe nose bleed and went to the ships medical facility. The doctor said it was caused by high blood pressure caused by these problems. The ships doctor could not completely stop the bleeding and said we will be sent to a local hospital for treatment and return to the ship.This did not happen. Briefly what happened my wife spent over 2 days in a hospital where no one spoke English and had to stay in a hotel where no one spoke English. An interperter was assigned to use to translate.They kept running all sorts of tests on my wife and she had no idea what they were. We had no contact with the outside world where we were which was Santa Marta, Columbia.This made for a very uncomfortable feeling, NCL had not given us any info as hoe to catch up with the cruise, We had to fly home from Santa Marta to Bogota to Miami to Charlotte to Greensboro,NC, 15 hours in transit. Bottom line is $3,000 medical bill from NCL and $9,000 for hospital, hotel, taxi, ambulance and air fare in Santa Marta. After 14 cruises with NCL I expected some more help than what I received. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We always wanted to go on a Panama Canal cruise, and the Nov 4-18 Pearl cruise provided the opportunity. We originally booked a mini suite, then we successfully bid on a 2 bedroom Haven suite. We absolutely enjoyed our Haven cabin ... Read More
We always wanted to go on a Panama Canal cruise, and the Nov 4-18 Pearl cruise provided the opportunity. We originally booked a mini suite, then we successfully bid on a 2 bedroom Haven suite. We absolutely enjoyed our Haven cabin (14008). It will be hard to enjoy cruising again after that experience. We loved our suite. We want to commend and recognize our Haven concierge, Bruno. He was wonderful in getting us through the lines (on and off the ship) as quickly as possible, and making sure we made it to our excursions. We also appreciated his assistant Anthony who was the first Norwegian staff member to acknowledge and assist us during that disastrous embarkation experience (more on that later). We want to recognize our steward Jerome Encontro. He was friendly and professional, and it seemed as if he worked 24 hours per day, and we loved all of his towel animals that he left during the turn down service. We also want to acknowledge our Haven Butler, Virgil Buduan. We enjoyed all of the bars that we visited on the cruise. However, all bars should be able to make all of the drinks at any time. We enjoyed the Maltings bar when we wanted to relax. However, the best time was had at O’Sheehan’s. The food was mediocre at best, but they had the best bartenders on the cruise - Will and Mark. They went out of their way to make sure everyone was having a good time. We also enjoyed the Great Outdoor Bar during the last few days of the cruise (the weather was finally cool and pleasant). Disastrous Embarkation in Tampa By far, this was the absolutely the worst embarkation experience that we ever, ever, ever had. Regardless of the alleged Coast Guard inspection, Norwegian Cruise Line completely dropped the ball on the whole process. Given the excessive heat and humidity, lack of water and shade, and given the average age of passengers waiting in line for two plus hours, NCL should be ashamed of how they handled this completely preventable experience. Lack of Haven Access As we noted earlier, we upgraded to a 2 bedroom Haven suite. When we say “upgraded” we mean we paid a lot for it. With that price, comes the expectation of certain perks and services. Before the cruise, we watched NCL videos, and other videos, regarding the Haven experience – from the time you arrive at the cruise terminal until the end of your cruise. Our experience was nothing like the experience in the videos. Here again, NCL failed miserably. First of all, Terminal 2 in Tampa is an antiquated joke. Not only did we wait outside for two hours, then we had to wait inside for an hour or more. Much to our surprise and disappointment, there was no Haven express line…anywhere, until after we finally made it through security. After security, we were met by Anthony, and things finally started to change for the better. Haven Restaurant and Lounge Unlike other NCL ships, the Pearl did not have a dedicated Haven restaurant. Although the Moderno restaurant is nice, the breakfast and lunch menus were very limited, especially for a 14 day cruise. Some days we had to go to the Buffet for breakfast and lunch just to try something else. Excursions Our overall excursion experience was OK. Before and during our cruise, we had heard that Norwegian often stretched the truth about their excursions; unfortunately, that policy did not change. Please avoid the Bamboo Beach excursion in Jamaica and the City Walking tour in Cartagena, and the Turtle excursion in Grand Cayman was a disappointment. We did enjoy our Panama Canal train ride. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I was disappointed on the countries we visited because the ship only took us to CARGO PORTS. We could no get to the city because it was too far. And the ports they stopped were surrounded by forest Trees it looked like the jungle. This ... Read More
I was disappointed on the countries we visited because the ship only took us to CARGO PORTS. We could no get to the city because it was too far. And the ports they stopped were surrounded by forest Trees it looked like the jungle. This is the worst NCL Cruise out of the 10 NCL Cruises I have taken in the past years. What I really enjoyed Was the Restaurants and the food they served. Also the entertainment they had on the Bliss lounge and the group that performed daily on the 13th floor lounge were wonderful. also the Summer Palace had the best food and service on this ship. The Guest Service department has the best personel. They work hard to please the guest and correct the problem. Also the best Restaurant on the ship is Summer Palace their staff are very professional. They serve a variety of delicious foods and the. Waitress and waiters are very professional. Also the Host and Managing staff go the extra mile to assist their customers. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Hours in line in the hot sun waiting to get on the ship without any communication from NCL was an unacceptable condition. Total confusion and chaos with 2300 people attempting to disembark based upon meanless time slots. Being directed to ... Read More
Hours in line in the hot sun waiting to get on the ship without any communication from NCL was an unacceptable condition. Total confusion and chaos with 2300 people attempting to disembark based upon meanless time slots. Being directed to lines that go nowhere. We went home with a bad taste in our mouth. The on and off process is difficult but this cruise had no communication and control of the process. After the fact we learned that boarding of the ship was delayed due to a cost guard inspection. When herded into a very long line to board the only people who would talk to us were the local baggage handlers. We never heard an apology or an explanation from a NCL official. This was our third cruise so we do not have the vast experience of the "professional" cruisers but my opinion of the food was there was not enough variations offered during the 14 day cruise. This was especially true in the main dining room. There we specials each day but the basics, 3/4 of the menu did not change. desserts were too exotic for my tastes. I link old favorites and these were few and far between. There was pie on the main dining room menus only 2 of the 6 dinners we had there. I was able to get ice cream in the buffet cafe but for the last 7 days they did not have vanilla. (I don't consider sugar free vanilla as ice cream.) These may be picky but they were on my person list. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose this cruise because of the Norwegian reputation and the promotion offered. This cruise was one step above the worst ever!. The embarkation process was horrible as we sat an hour and a half AFTER the supposed boarding time with ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the Norwegian reputation and the promotion offered. This cruise was one step above the worst ever!. The embarkation process was horrible as we sat an hour and a half AFTER the supposed boarding time with people lines up outside and around the block. This was only made worse by the 3+ hours standing in line to disembark. Our cabin was OK, but for the money we paid for a Junior Suite it was not up to the standards of other lines we traveled on. Tee dining was OK, but the choices were not all that great, we ended up with the Classic Favorites over half the time. The entertainment was boorish, the service was so so; if it weren't for a cople of waitresses it would have been horrible. As to Ports - WOW, several were a waste of time and money. In Santa Marta we were parked in a huge coal, yes black coal, dock. We were told before shipping out we would be stopping in Belize CIty and made plans, while at sea change to the biggest waste, Norweigans own island, HA! nothing there to do. Colon, stores all closed when we arrived, opened for a couple of hours AFTER dark. Only good excusion was the Chocolate Excursion in Guatemala. We will cruise again, but I highly doubt it will EVER be on Norweigian again. Read Less
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 3.9
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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