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1,100 Norwegian (NCL) Tampa Cruise Reviews

This was my 4th year in a row sailing aboard this ship for a themed cruise run by Norwegians company sixthman. TERRIBLE IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT FOR THIS YEAR! The staff was rude and careless! Sewage issues on decks 4 and 10... lets start ... Read More
This was my 4th year in a row sailing aboard this ship for a themed cruise run by Norwegians company sixthman. TERRIBLE IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT FOR THIS YEAR! The staff was rude and careless! Sewage issues on decks 4 and 10... lets start there. Plastic bags being suspended from the ceilings filled with human waste!!! Pool towels on the floor to capture any spillage. As if that wasn’t bad enough there was no announcement to avoid the areas! And when we walked down the hall we were told to “walk around or duck under the bags”! How in the world is that sanitary?! What happened with those pool towels? Were they laundered or discarded?! Cause when it comes to issues where you’re dealing with BIOHAZARD MATERIAL there are saftey precautions that need to be followed! I have a picture of this posted on my Twitter @kco8586 We go to the Irish pub for food and I order a potato soup... the server brought out seafood gumbo and put it in front of me without saying a word. I’m HIGHLY ALLERGIC TO SEAFOOD! When I asked him where the potato soup I ordered was he told me “oh we switched to the dinner menu so the soup is this now”. How dangerous and careless to do! On top of that he was rude when I explained to him that I was allergic to seafood and would prefer a salad. After that we never saw him again. He had another server drop all of our entrees. Never checked on us. Then, we go to a very popular event on this particular cruise called “dirty bingo” and event security pushed my one friend into a seat and said “you’ll sit where I tell you” then the same guy lunged at my other friend as she was taking a picture. He grabbed her by the wrist and threw her arm down! This is completely and totally unacceptable behavior by any security team! Then to add insult to injury when speaking to another member of the security team at the night club we were informed that this wasn’t the mans first offense when it came to being physical with cruisers! To add insult to all the injury the very last night we leave the silent disco looking for food. To our astonishment we exited the elevator to see two of our celebrity guest standing in front of the closed buffet doors. Only to tel us they were hungry and there was no food. We proceeded down to the Irish pub as we knew they do a late night buffet and low and behold no food. When we asked the person mopping the floor they told us to leave. No explanation nothing! At this point frustrated, thirsty (all hydration stations were away), and hungry our group of about 10 went to the front desk. This was the final straw for me. When asking why there was no food or beverages being served we were told the entire ship was being shut down and sanitized for the guests boarding the next morning!! HELLO! What about the guests standing in front of you still aboard the ship that paid thousands to be there?! Then the rude and snide woman told us to order room service and take drinks from the mini fridge! How exactly do you order room service if all the kitchens are shut down?! And why should we have to acquire extra charges on our rooms when we have paid for the drink packages and the “freestyle dining and 24 hours buffet”? How ridiculous! After 2.5 hours of arguing and asking for a manager this very unhelpful woman got a a member of sixthman staff. This guys name was Matt. Matt was condescending and rude. He talked down to us. His was of rectifying the situation was to give us ring dings and chips. Thousands of dollars on a trip and I’m given ring dings and chips! Unreal! I have since reached out to sixthman and their staff continued to be rude and gave me the run around on everything! It was the blame game for them. Everything was NCL’s fault! Funny considering Sixthman is owned by NCL! Needless to say this is my last cruise with NCL and Sixthman! The last 3 years were amazing but this one was definitely enough to make me never ever go back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was highly dissatisfied by this cruise. I will never sail with nor recommend Norwegian again. The people on the ship were less than helpful and seemed to be miserable working there. The food was disgusting even in the dinner venues. I ... Read More
I was highly dissatisfied by this cruise. I will never sail with nor recommend Norwegian again. The people on the ship were less than helpful and seemed to be miserable working there. The food was disgusting even in the dinner venues. I could have paid extra to go to a specialty restaurant but shouldn’t be forced to by the less than great food in the included choices. The shore excursion folks had absolutely no knowledge on the excursions I had questions about. Not sure why they were even there. I could have just booked on the app. Stabilizers were broken making for an uneasy experience. I have never been sea sick before and still 5 days after being home feel like I am rocking with a queasy feeling. Cruise director was nearly absent the entire cruise. Other cruises keep you updated on the days events and where to go and when to get off the ship at ports. This was not the case on this cruise. The only thing good I can say is that the ports of call were amazing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Barrymore in Tampa. Other than the great bottle of wine from the bar, our meal at the restaurant we have nothing good to say about this old, run down hotel. We went on the Dawn last January 2018 and ... Read More
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Barrymore in Tampa. Other than the great bottle of wine from the bar, our meal at the restaurant we have nothing good to say about this old, run down hotel. We went on the Dawn last January 2018 and thought of doing the same time this year, just chose a different ship. We like the smaller ones so we stayed in the jewel class, choosing the eastern Caribbean this year. We absolutely loved NCL from our last trip, not so much this time. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, as well as disembarkation. It’s the in between we were disappointed by. Rude people, dirty pool deck and food were our issues, which pretty much sums up how our time was spent. Breakfasts at the cafe is where we went for an omelette every morning. We didn’t do lunch very often, just a snack wherever we were. We were going to try main dining-once being turned away because my husband was in shorts, other times because I heard Indigo was nothing special. Cagneys was very good as well as o’Sheehans. We mostly ate dinners at the buffet because we always had luck finding salad, soup, and whatever else looked good. There was entirely too much Indian and Mexican food, not enough variety and no comfort foods ie., mashed potatoes. One days entrees were made with last nights leftovers. I did not have one desert worth mentioning other than jello. Even the whip cream for the desert wasn’t real. If you weren’t on deck by 8 am, sea days by 6 am you didn’t get a lounge chair for sun bathing, which we enjoy doing a lot. lol. The issues continued out there as well. 2 beverage servers for the entire deck (we ended up standing in line at the bar because it was quicker), crap floating in the pool (straws, bandaids, dirt), dirty floors, overcrowded sitting areas-need I say more?! The entertainment was sub par. Legends in Concert was awful-including “Elton John” and “Tina Turner” who couldn’t carry a tune. But “Michael Jackson” stole the show. The so called “Cirque du Soleil” entertainer juggler was mind numbing. OMG, the 4 girls were so off tune my ears hurt. I had an opportunity to visit the spa for some pain management acupuncture with Dr Jin- she is amazing with a capital A! Our room steward Rosario was very attentive and greeted us every day. If you have the opportunity to go on NCL, just choose a different ship. Unfortunately after this trip my husband is considering other cruise lines. We do have a trip in the works on the Dawn next year, let’s hope they delight us as much as 2018!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Love NCL as a general rule. Did not want to go on large ship. Had sailed on Pearl previously .this cruise was not what we had hoped. Quality of food has significantly declined from previous cruises. Specialty restaurants are not up to par. ... Read More
Love NCL as a general rule. Did not want to go on large ship. Had sailed on Pearl previously .this cruise was not what we had hoped. Quality of food has significantly declined from previous cruises. Specialty restaurants are not up to par. Steakhouse was not equal to local chain, fillet was dry and tasteless. Took just shy of an hour to receive food with ghost of server who did not bother to appear or apologize. We tried to get change in order to tip above what was already included in our drink package. Was surprised to see small charge on tab for ordering what might have been specialty drink. They offer a Premium drink package, they must be attempting to upgrade for more bucks. Past cruises offered big sales on cruise merchandise, everyone loves a bargain. Lattitudss with gold standing offered discounts in NCL merchandise but guess what? They have taken pains to remove Norwegian from most merchandise. Now shirts say Sea something or other. Why tout this as big deal when there is not much to buy to take advantage of this perk. Daily itinerary stated hig sale including t-shirts but there weren't any, not a single shirt. Sale in gift shop was to include tshirts but once again, nine were on sale. Prices were inflated, $28 for ordinary shirt. Disembarking was a mess. Passengers ended up being traffic cops, telling passengers getting off elevators, go this way or that. One employee standing at dar end by door did not make for smooth exit. Sorry you see cut backs in quality, used to brag on food but can do so no longer. One couple traveling with us will not be back. Losing customers is never a good idea, especially if they've sailed with NCL 6 times. Smaller ship meant less entertainment. No real headline acts to draw people in. Entertainment was sub par. The ship has been refitted in last few years, we had no complaints as far as our cabin was concerned, mini-suite was perfect for two. Had a few small issues first day which were quickly resolved. I would prefer visiting foreign ports rather than Florida, Key West was nice but island would be better. I believe we will cruise again, on NCL, like the freestyle method, eat when anx where you want, no forced time of table assignments. If you have never cruised NCL dont be discouraged by this negative review, NCL offers lots of plans and freedom to choose, they actually do more right than wrong. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Sailed 8 times with NCL before. Garden Cafe( cafeteria), food variety less than seen before. Sitting design frustrating clogging felt squeezed all the time.They have to improve the availibility and accessibility of gluten free and soya ... Read More
Sailed 8 times with NCL before. Garden Cafe( cafeteria), food variety less than seen before. Sitting design frustrating clogging felt squeezed all the time.They have to improve the availibility and accessibility of gluten free and soya products. Coffee is better than ever. Dinning room, good but small portions, have to order 2 apetizer to be satisfied. Speciality restaurant booking: always no availability beetween 6 to 9 but in fact the restaurant is empty. The food quality equal the dinning room so, not worth the price. Good shows of different style. Miss a bit of classical or lounge music. Very easy to find a quiet space on decks because the music is almost everywhere and loud. Staff friendly and kind. The ship is very clean, cabins and public rooms too. The shore excursions are too expensives. We found very easily tour on shore for less than half price they asked! They have a lot of different promotions and doing a lot of sollicitation for it: spa, photos, duty free shop, cruise next. It is too much, feel harassing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Usually an RCCL cruiser but found a good deal on this cruise. Inside room was much better than my RCCL experiences. Not a fan of the Freestyle dining though. No reservations, different crew and table mates every night. No real chance to ... Read More
Usually an RCCL cruiser but found a good deal on this cruise. Inside room was much better than my RCCL experiences. Not a fan of the Freestyle dining though. No reservations, different crew and table mates every night. No real chance to make friends. JMO The food was very good and the service in dining was excellent. Service in the cabins was spotty as the room was ready in the evening about half of the time. Seemed like the crew got a late start or had too many to do to have everyone turned down at the appropriate time. The entertainment was as good as I have seen on any cruise, with some very good talent. This ship has had a recent face lift and it shows. All venues were clean and modernized. The bathrooms in the cabins were small but with shower doors instead of curtains. Much better planning. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had ages 18 - 81 in our group of 7. 81 y.o. on a travel scooter worked out perfect. All ports were at the pier so she was able to come with us at each stop. The staff and guests all helped her get ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had ages 18 - 81 in our group of 7. 81 y.o. on a travel scooter worked out perfect. All ports were at the pier so she was able to come with us at each stop. The staff and guests all helped her get around the ship with grace and ease. A couple minor medical mishaps along the way with 26 y.o. and 81 y.o. were well taken care of with special care by the medical staff. All the servers and stewards were wonderful, happy and attentive. My only complaint is the room lighting. It is very dark even in an ocean view room you definitely need a lighted makeup mirror to see. Perhaps LED bulbs in the staterooms or a makeup mirror in the bathroom would improve this. Food was good and always available. We did not go to any specialty dining on board unless it was included. We used all the main dining and buffet areas, Lotus Garden and O'Sheehans. Enough variety for everyone. We enjoyed the entertainment all over the ship everyday. Port stops were fabulous, on time arrivals and departures with expeditious disembarkation. Overall a great trip!! Thank you to the wonderful staff!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 3rd cruise with NCL, we chose a 10 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Pearl. It was my husband and I and another couple. My husband and I are 40, very laid back and just love the cruise life! Embarkation in Tampa went ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with NCL, we chose a 10 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Pearl. It was my husband and I and another couple. My husband and I are 40, very laid back and just love the cruise life! Embarkation in Tampa went smoothly, we arrived early (9:30-ish?) and were on the ship before noon with Mojitos in hand! Having sailed on the Dawn and the Epic, the Pearl is similar to the Dawn. So far we prefer the ease of navigating the smaller ships and think they feel less crowded. There were very few times we felt overwhelmed with people. Highlights of the ship for us were the Spinnaker Lounge with all the windows overlooking the sea, the promenade on deck 7, and the Great Outdoors located on deck 12 aft. The Pearl doesn't have a lot of the bells and whistles the newer larger ships have, but we don't need those things anyway. We like to rest and take it easy while on vacation. Our cabin, 4551, was a basic inside cabin located forward on deck 4. We liked the location of the cabin due to it's proximity to the gangway, easy and quick on and off at the ports! We had the specialty dining package for the first time and ate at La Cucina, Cagney's and Le Bistro. While we enjoyed our meals, we didn't feel they were worth the up charge even though they were a little higher in quality than the MDR. The food in the MDR is always enjoyable, because I don't have to cook it or clean up, so no complaints there! We love NCL freestyle dining being able to eat when we want. I particularly enjoyed appetizers and dessert, sometimes I would just eat appetizers instead of a main entree. My husband and I regularly shared 3 desserts because, well, we're on a cruise. I had one breakfast in Summer Palace, and I highly recommend eating breakfast there if you can get out of bed in time (we slept in a lot!). Buffet is perfectly fine, but I really enjoyed having breakfast served. There is salmon mousse on the buffet, but you can get sliced smoked salmon in the dining room, which I prefer for breakfast. Buffet in the Garden Cafe was good, we ate our lunch and snacks there. Sometimes we would fill a plate and head to the Great Outdoors to sit. The Great Outdoors also has food so you don't have to carry food from the Garden Cafe. (I particularly enjoyed the chilled fruit soups located at the end of the Great Outdoors, I think I ate a bowl almost every day with added watermelon chunks.) We enjoyed the comedian and the acrobat show, Duo Quintessence was amazing! We HIGHLY recommend Legends in Concert as well, the performers portraying Tina Turner and Michael Jackson were wonderful! We also frequented Peter James when he was performing with his piano, singing along with every song. The service was great, sure there were times it was a bit lacking, but it's better than the service I get at home, which is none of course. We didn't have to make too many trips to the bar, for the most part someone would come around and get drinks for us. Our room steward, Francis, was great. We are low-maintenance and only requested the fridge be emptied and extra pillows, both requests were met. All staff we encountered were friendly and kind and we truly appreciated each and every one of them. Ports: Key West - It was my first time here, we walked to the Southernmost Point, visited an art gallery, toured the Hemingway House (we're cat people so that was a highlight for us!) and had drinks at Sloppy Joe's. It was a great day! Tortola - We took an NCL excursion to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. It was beautiful! Be sure to wear good shoes or prepare to go barefoot.You will be climbing (watch your head!) and the rocks are slippery. It was quite an adventure we will never forget! Antigua - If you like to relax, I must recommend the Catamaran, Snorkel, and Beach excursion! (We went through NCL) My friend and I stayed on the boat and enjoyed the sun while our husbands snorkeled. After snorkeling was complete they offered alcohol (non alcoholic drinks as well) and a snack and we sailed to a beach. They served us a delicious lunch and we had some beach time before sailing back to the port. We all agreed it was one of the best days of our cruise. St. Maarten - Hopped off the ship and walked to the taxi dispatch, we chose the 3 hour island tour, they got 6 other people to join so the price was only $25 per person. My husband and I like tours like this, we circled the island and visited various spots. It was informational and I liked all the views we saw, it is a beautiful island. Puerto Rico - We walked through the streets of Old San Juan and visited Castillo San Felipe del Morro (one of the forts). Please note if you have mobility issues it may be challenging to get around Old San Juan with the the cobblestone streets and I think everything is uphill (lol) We had lunch at Punto de Vista Rooftop Restaurant, did some quick shopping and headed back to the ship. We hope to cruise out of Puerto Rico in the future, the picturesque streets were beautiful. We had a total of 4 sea days which were spent lounging around the ship and playing games with our friends. (FYI, Bliss Lounge has beds everywhere, during the day it's pretty quiet in there, maybe a foreign language lesson or something along that line. My friend and I actually crawled on one and took a nap, lol!) I guess the only complaints we had were that we wish there were more chairs on the promenade for lounging. Also we REALLY WISH they would ENFORCE the rules for saving chairs (chair hogs). The day I spent poolside, I went out on deck around 8 am, there were several chairs already saved with towels. In particular there was a whole row of at least 8 chairs with towels on them already when I got there, I never saw a single person use those chairs for over 3 HOURS. That was ridiculous.I saw an attendant go around and put stickers with the time on some of the chairs around the pool but he never came back, I think he was just doing it because people were complaining. We did walk-off disembarkation, there was a bit of a line to get off the ship but it moved along quick enough. I think we were off the ship and in an Uber on the way to the airport by 9:30 am. (This may not be typical but was our experience) Being that this was a longer cruise in the middle of January, it was an older crowd (someone said the average age was 75) but it made no difference to us, we had a wonderful time and met great people. We would do this cruise again and would definitely cruise on the Pearl again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Background Info: My girlfriend and I were on the January 17-26 Eastern Caribbean 10 Day sailing of the Norwegian Pearl out of Tampa. We are in our early fifties and are seasoned cruisers with well over 20 cruises between us. This was my ... Read More
Background Info: My girlfriend and I were on the January 17-26 Eastern Caribbean 10 Day sailing of the Norwegian Pearl out of Tampa. We are in our early fifties and are seasoned cruisers with well over 20 cruises between us. This was my 2nd cruise and GF’s 1st cruise on the Pearl. Other NCL ships include Escape, Sun and Dawn. We have also sailed on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our 1st cruise with Platinum status and we took advantage of all the perks. The itinerary was Thursday to Saturday with four sea days and five ports of call: Key West, Tortola, Antigua, St. Marten and San Juan in order. Pre-Cruise: We flew into Tampa Wednesday afternoon arriving around 3:30 p.m. We live in Michigan so flying in a day early is a must. We caught a taxi to the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Cost was $35 including tip. The Barrymore offers a free shuttle, but we opted for the taxi. The ride was about 25 minutes due to rush hour traffic. The Barrymore is located on West Fortune Street about 2 miles from the cruise port in the heart of downtown Tampa right next to the Riverwalk. You have access to several bars/restaurants as well as a CVS to pick up any last-minute needs (sunscreen, snacks, etc.…). The Barrymore is an older hotel that has been refurbished and is in good condition. The room was clean and the bed comfortable. Someone said it is an old Holiday Inn. There is a lobby restaurant in called the Waterworks Bar and Grill. We didn’t eat there but the cocktails were delicious. There is free coffee in the lobby for a morning wake up, but it is weak. There is a Starbucks nearby for your hardcore coffee drinkers. The price of the hotel was $143 including taxes. I booked directly with the hotel about 3 months in advance using a cruise special. I would absolutely stay there again. Lastly, a member of our roll call set a up a pre-cruise meet and greet at Taps Bar and Grill not far from the hotel. About 30 folks showed up and got the party started a day early. Embarkation: We caught the free hotel shuttle to the port about 10:00 am. There were many cruisers heading to the port, so the hotel brought out the large bus to accommodate everyone. It was a quick a 10-15 minute ride. We arrived at the port, gave our bags to the porter, flipped him a $10 bill and walked into the terminal. Check-in was a little slow but not too bad. Once you got through security the process was a breeze. Boarding started about 11:30 am. After the Haven folks boarded, we were next along with Platinum Plus and Ambassador levels. The waiting area was packed and there were way more butts than seats. A minor annoyance but nothing to get worked up about. We were eating lunch in the Summer Palace by Noon. The crew directs you to the Garden Café but we much prefer the dining room as the buffet is chaotic. In general, the Port of Tampa seems to be more chaotic than Miami or Ft. Lauderdale and is my least favorite to sail from on a cruise. Cabin: We stayed in cabin 10041 which is an inside forward cabin. We chose an inside for two reasons: 1)We don’t spend much time in our cabin 2)Inside cabins are so dark that we sleep very soundly. The 10th deck met our main requirement of being sandwiched between two other decks that are exclusively cabins to minimize any noise disruption. The bed was comfortable and the bathroom functional. We brought an over the door shoe rack, so the bathroom counter was free of clutter. We also brought magnetic clips that stuck to the walls. Perfect for hanging the NCL Dailies, belts, hats, etc.… The air conditioning worked great. Closet/drawer space was plentiful. It was cramped but more than manageable for two people. My girlfriend also utilized packing cubes for the 1st time and now swears by them. One tip for those that experience issues with cabin dryness due to the air conditioning (i.e., sinus issues, snoring) is to bring a travel humidifier. Bough it on Amazon for $25 and it worked great. We had no issues at all. Dining Our Platinum status allowed us two free meals. We had our choice of Cagney’s or LeBistro and Moderno or La Cucina. We chose Cagney’s and Moderno. The remaining dinners were at main dining restaurants (Summer Palace and Indigo), Lotus Garden (Asian Fusion) and O’Sheehan’s. Moderno – With all apologies to Arby’s, Moderno has the meats. Moderno is a traditional Brazilian steakhouse. Diners use two-sided color cards to communicate with their gauchos (waiters): Green indicates "keep it coming," and red tells them “enough”. First you start with a trip to the salad bar loaded with various types of lettuce, cold salads deli meats and cheeses. There also are a couple of soups: Seafood Chowder and Black Bean. I had the seafood chowder and it was terrific. Try not to fill up on salad and soup because you want to leave room for the meat. Next the gauchos start bringing the meats to your table. They carve the meat which is on a long skewer and you use tongs to put the meat on your plate. Here are the meats I remember being offered: filet mignon, garlic beef, chicken breast, marinated chicken leg, picanha (sirloin with Brazilian spices), chorizo and lamb. I’m sure I forgot a few. The meats come in no order. If you want more of a meat just ask and they will bring it back to your table. We asked for additional filet mignon. You also get four sides that are brought to your table on a tray: buttered rice, sautéed mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and deep fried yuca. A basket of Pao De Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) is also brought to your table. The deserts, as is generally the case, were disappointing. Cagney’s – As usual, Cagney’s did not disappoint. The food was amazing. I had the lobster bisque (I could have eaten a bucket of the stuff) and shrimp cocktail for starters. GF had the lump crab cakes and iceberg wedge. We each went with the filet mignon (5 oz.) for our main course. We both request medium but mine was medium rare. The sides are all good so you can’t go wrong. We tried the mac & cheese, onion rings, and au gratin potatoes. We also shared a couple of desserts, caramel butterscotch cheese cake (very good) and seven-layer cake (not worth the calories). Service was quite slow at the beginning as we sat for nearly 10 minutes before we were approached but was fine for the rest of the meal. We did get the old “you get one starter, one main course, one dessert with the platinum voucher” speech. We ordered all the sides and starters we wanted and when the bill came it was $0.00 Bottom line…Cagney’s is still #1. Lotus Garden – This is a complimentary Asian Fusion restaurant. We ate dinner there twice and had great experiences both times. They do not take reservations, it is first come, first served. The first time we waited about 15 minutes for a table while on our 2nd visit we were seated immediately. We both enjoyed the Harvest Spring Rolls and Pot Stickers for appetizers. Hint: They only bring you one spring roll with your order so be sure to order two. The main courses are your typical Asian fare in my opinion. I had the Combination Fried rice both times and GF had the Orange Peel Beef. All were very good. We skipped dessert. Main Dining - Of the two main dining rooms, we preferred Summer Palace. Indigo felt crowed and loud. The Summer Palace is also open for breakfast/lunch and was our preferred venue for the quality of food and relaxing atmosphere. The food was generally good in the main dining room. GF had fish just about every time and enjoyed them all. I had mostly chicken dishes…some were better than others. We really enjoyed the appetizers. Some of our favorites included: squash soup, French onion soup, spring rolls and shrimp louis. The desserts? Don’t bother...save your calories for booze. Garden Café – In general, we try to eat as few meals as possible in the Garden Cafe. Not that we don’t eat there, it’s just we prefer a more relaxing dining experience whenever possible. Finding a seat can be very challenging during peak breakfast and lunch times. We only ate breakfast there a few times and it had the usual items: scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, oatmeal, meats and cheeses, cold cereal, fruit, hash brown potato cakes (my personal favorite) and more. There also are stations where you can get omelets and fried eggs cooked to order. The line can get long so be patient. We had lunch at the Garden Cafe a couple of times and found the variety and quality somewhat disappointing. The food ranged from bad to good. Lunch included premade sandwiches, lasagna, hot dogs/burger bar, French fries, mac and cheese, salad bar, fish sticks, Asian station. Particularly bad is the pizza. It’s just not worth the calories. Salad bar and fish selections are high points. We did not have dinner at the Garden Café. O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill – I know O’Sheehan’s has its share of detractors but I’m just going to come out and say it “I LOVE O’SHEEHAN’S”. We ate there 6 times including a couple of late-night stops at 1:00 am for wings and nachos. The food was mostly good. Don’t get me wrong, they have some losers, but we enjoyed most of it. Here are some of our winners and losers: Winners Nachos with bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapenos Wings…duh! Caesar Salad with Salmon Chipotle Grilled Chicken Sandwich Losers Grilled Reuben on Rye (corned beef was chewy) Chicago Style Hot Dog (bun was so dry it literally fell apart when I bit into it– tried it twice) Desserts – all of them O’Sheehan’s also serves breakfast and is a great option. It is not crowded, and the service is quick. The menu is reduced but you can easily find something you like. So much better than standing in lines and battling the crowds in the Garden Cafe’. Room Service – We used it several times to have coffee, fruit, yogurt and pastries delivered to our stateroom. There is no charge unless you are having a hot meal delivered (i.e., eggs, sandwiches). You hang a tag on the cabin door before you go to bed with your selections checked. You also, select a time range (i.e. 8:00 am – 8:30 am, 8:30 am – 9:00 am, etc.…) Be forewarned, they will arrive at the front end of your chosen range (maybe be even 10 minutes early). A couple of times we were still in bed when they knocked on the door and announced, “Room Service”. That will wake you up better than coffee. And speaking of coffee, the room service coffee was inconsistent. Some mornings strong, some mornings very weak. Don’t forget to tip the delivery person a few bucks! Entertainment Cruise Director: Some guy named Ferdie was the CD for our sailing. I didn’t see much of him other than at the main shows in the Stardust Theatre. I can’t recall seeing him out and about at all. I’d give him a “meh minus”. Most of the shows in the Bliss Lounge were hosted by the Cruise Director staff and they did a good job for the most part. Comedian: The main comedian was Jay Reed. I liked his main show very much. He was funny but not offensive. I really wanted to see his adult show in the Spinnaker Lounge, but it was held the last night of the cruise at 10 pm. Production Shows Pure Variety – Like the name implies there was a little of everything…country, funk, disco, etc. It featured a wide range of artists including multiple songs by Abba and Billy Joel. A very good show that is sure to make your toes tap. Legends in Concert – This show featured tribute artists of Elton John, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson as well as the production cast. Each artist performed a 20-minute set of the artist’s hits. Each one was good, but the Michael Jackson performer was outstanding. Don’t miss this show! Miscellaneous Entertainment: Lady Luck – A trio of talented female vocalists who performed two shows during the cruise. The first show was Vegas standards by Frank Sinatra and the rest of the rat pack. This show was kind of Vegas cheesy but not terrible. Their 2nd show was far superior. It consisted of crowd-pleasing songs from artists such as Shania Twain and Abba. Matt Marcy – A unique act that mixes comedy and magic. He doesn’t do big illusions but is more of a traditional magician. There is lots of audience participation. Probably the best magic act I’ve seen on a cruise. Get there early and enjoy the preshow…it’s a hoot! We also enjoyed Sing Along with Peter in Magnums almost every night. His play list wasn’t deep but what he played was well done. I swear he played Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” twice every night. Duo Quintessence – This was an acrobat/gymnast show in the Stardust Theatre. We did not see their main show but did see them at the Welcome Aboard show. They are talented for sure……but once was enough for us. Ultimate Dance Clash – This is a takeoff on "Dancing with the Stars" type show featuring ship dancers and passengers held in the Spinnaker Lounge. This is always one of our favorite shows on any NCL cruise ship. It was a lot of fun. Surprisingly, it was not well attended. This show has been packed on other NCL cruise ships in which we have sailed. Innovation – A house band that put on several themed shows in the Bliss Lounge. The music was good, but I have never saw a such an unhappy group of performers. They rarely smiled while performing. There was just a weird vibe on stage. Chances are if you show up in the Bliss around 9 PM, Innovation will be playing. Roxy – She performed acoustic sets of various hit songs mostly in the Atrium. What a snore-fest! Every song sounded the same. Having trouble sleeping? No problem...just go to one of her shows for ten minutes. Overall, I felt the entertainment was below the standard I’ve become accustomed to on other NCL ships. I was never bored, not by a longshot. Just a little underwhelmed. I think the NCL mega ships have better entertainment. Fitness Center The fitness center is not large but does have a good variety of equipment. In terms of cardio equipment, there are treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and rowing machines. There are both free weights and machines. It is extremely warm in the fitness center with little air movement. A nice touch is the cold towels. There is no charge to use the fitness center. However, if you want to use the sauna/steam room/showers you must purchase the spa pass. Warning: Extreme caution should be used when using the treadmills on sea days. The rocking of the ship can easily throw you off-balance and result in injuries. I witnessed just such an occurrence on the last sea day. A middle-aged man was clipping along, the ship lurched, and he face planted right on the treadmill. In the blink of an eye he was thrown off the machine. He was not wearing the safety clip, so the belt continued to spin with his arm still on the belt. I ran over and hit the emergency stop button, but the damage was done. He had about a six-inch abrasion on this wrist/forearm that was darn near down to the bone. Not the way you want to end your cruise. So be careful and wear the safety clip on the treadmill. Ports of Call Key West, Florida – We have been to Key West several times, so we just walked up and down Duval Street to get in some steps. We did stop at Kermit’s on Greene Street for a slice of key lime pie on a stick. It is dipped in chocolate and worth every calorie. Treat yourself…you’ll be glad you did. Tortola, British Virgin Islands – CALLING ALL BEACH LOVERS! If you want to visit one of the greatest beaches in the world then take the NCL excursion “Escape to Jost Van Dyke”. It is a 45-minute catamaran ride aboard the Rebel Yell from the port in Tortola to the White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. They drop you off right by the Soggy Dollar Bar which has free beach chairs and serves the most delicious beach drink...the Painkiller. The sand is soft and fluffy. Pictures do not do this place justice. You must see it for yourself. We've been to many beaches in our travels, but this is #1 so far. The only downside is you are at the beach for just slightly over 2 hours. Rum punch is served on the ride back to port to put the exclamation point on a fantastic excursion. We were last in Jost Van Dyke in November 2016 and like others were saddened by the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma to this lovely island. We were absolutely amazed at the recovery. Don’t get me wrong, they have a long way to go but you couldn’t help but be impressed by their recovery to date. This excursion sells out very quickly. Book it as soon as it becomes available or you will miss out. Antigua - We spent the day at Valley Church Beach enjoying sand, sun and drinks. The Bar/Restaurant was called The Nest. A $20 bill gets you two chairs and an umbrella. A bucket of 6 beers was also $20. We did not eat there. One thing to note, there is a 1-2 foot drop off about 10 yards into the water. We saw more than a few people stumble on their way in and out of the water. There were 6 ships in port, so it was crowded but you still had room to move about. The interesting part of the trip was we took the bus to and from the beach. I’ve done it before, and it was easy. It is about a 10-15-minute walk to the bus station and completely safe. Cost is $1.50 pp each way. A taxi ride would have cost $25 each way. When you compare $50 vs. $6 it is an easy decision. I'd be happy to share the details on how to take the bus. Just send me an e-mail. Address is at the end of this review. St. Maarten – After much research we decided to visit the Karakter Beach Bar and Restaurant on Simpson Bay Beach (pronounced care-actor). We were not disappointed. Not only was the beach nice but the food, drinks and service were outstanding. Beach chairs and umbrella are no charge so long as you are buying food and/or drinks. We had 8 beers and an order of nachos and our bill was $31 excluding tip. The euro is the official currency of St. Maarten, but they accept US dollars at par value (1 euro = 1 dollar) so it is a great deal if you have US$. It is located right next to the runway of the airport. The planes do not take off and land over your head but rather to your side. The views are magnificent without the chance of death. They were more than happy to call us a taxi for the return trip to the port. San Juan, Puerto Rico – We did the San Juan City and Bacardi Factory Tour through NCL. The highlight of the city portion of the tour was a stop at Fort San Cristobal. This is part of the U.S National Park system and was open despite the partial government shutdown. We spent about an hour touring the fort and that was about all the time you needed. We re-boarded the tour bus and headed over to the Bacardi factory. They provide you with a welcome drink as well as a ticket that can be redeemed for another drink at the end of the tour. The factory tour was interesting and lasted about 1.5 hours. You learned about the history of the company and the process of making rum. It was a pleasant way to spend the day. Cruise Critic Meet & Greet I would estimate there was about 40-50 people at the Meet and Greet. It was held in the Bliss Lounge on the 1st sea day (Saturday). NCL served coffee, water, juices and as well as pastries. It was attended by the all the department heads including the Captain. They were all very nice and professional, but in all honesty, I’ve become bored with the meet and greets as it has become repetitive. We bolted for the door as soon as the officers were done speaking. The pool deck and UBP were calling. Random Thoughts • The bowling alleys in the Bliss are a waste of space. They didn’t seem to generate that much participation. That space could be better utilized for seating at it can be tough to get a seat in the Bliss. • The Great Outdoors is nice place to enjoy a sailaway drink with your Cruise Critic Group • This cruise had the oldest passenger base in which I’ve ever sailed. I’ve been on a few 10 day cruises before and it has always skewed older, but this was another level. It’s great seeing everyone out enjoying life no matter their age. I hope to do the same. • The new NCL app is much improved. Very easy to set up and use. Nicely done. • Chair hogs were not a problem. • Stardust Theatre Seat Hogs were a problem. We came in 15 minutes before a show and a gentlemen told us he was saving eight prime seats. We just sat down and when he protested, I just said there is no seat saving. Witnessed multiple instances of this behavior. • The pool decks were crowded but you could always find a chair. We just went up to the sundeck in the forward of the ship. It was a little windy a couple of days but not terrible. You did have to walk down one deck for drinks as there was not wait service up there. • The deserts in general are meh at best, regardless of dining venue. They are great on the eyes and disappointing in the mouth. • You should get late night snacks from O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill at least once.... you’re on vacation. • Mandatory lifeboat drill was quick and painless • Book your specialty dinner reservations early (pre-cruise if possible). The prime dining times book early.... unless you like dining at 9:15 pm. • This was one of the 1st cruises after the changes in the drink package. I’m happy to report everyone survived! • Since San Juan was our last port and therefore also our entry into the United States of America. All guests had to go through immigration inspection in the Terminal. Nobody could board the ship until EVERYBODY was accounted for. It started at 7:30 am and was complete by 10:00 am. It was very organized and efficient. • NCL should just stop serving pizza if it is going to be that bad. • The Officers were very visible and friendly. I saw them engaging passengers several times though out the cruise. • Significantly less photography intrusions on this cruise. Being interrupted at dinner is a pet peeve of mine. • Premium coffee is served in the Atrium for those needing a caffeine fix. • Casino……. who knows? We only walked through it on our way to someplace else. • Attend the Q&A session with the Captain and officers if you can. It was quite interesting. It was our last sea day. • Disembarkation was a little slow due to a medical emergency that occurred during the self-assist process. Overall it resulted in a 25-minute delay. Our flight was not until 2:30 pm so no worries. Summary The level of service was excellent for the most part. Nobody was rude. However, I sensed less enthusiasm for the work. Perhaps it is due to staffing levels. Perhaps it was an anomaly. Not a complaint, just an honest observation. No cruise is perfect......but overall it was another great cruise on NCL. We made many new friends. NCL continues to be our cruise line of choice. I’d be happy to answer any questions or elaborate on any of the above comments here or feel free to send me an e-mail at LD_Silver_Cruiser@Yahoo.com. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We try to cruise out of Tampa whenever we can because we live so close. We were on the Pearl before and chose it again because we enjoyed it so much. The crew is just the best,so friendly, so helpful, so much fun. We especially like ... Read More
We try to cruise out of Tampa whenever we can because we live so close. We were on the Pearl before and chose it again because we enjoyed it so much. The crew is just the best,so friendly, so helpful, so much fun. We especially like O'Sheehans, good food and great service. The ship is older, but in very good shape, very clean. The staterooms are nice with plenty of space for clothing and the showers are so much better and larger than other cruiselines that we have been on. I actually could enjoy the shower. The layout is easy to navigate and there is plenty of outside space to enjoy the views. We hope that they bring the Pearl back, so we can do it again soon. The only downfall was Le Bistro. We were so disappointed in the food. I had the scallops which were so rubbery that I couldn't eat them and my husbands duck was terrible...smelled awful and did not taste like duck. But, we don't expect everything to always be perfect and we won't be dining at Le Bistro again. All in all, a great cruise. I definitely would recommend The Pearl to anyone who enjoys cruising. ayaou won't be disappointed Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We took this cruise because of itinerary, perks and price. We travelled with a group of 13. It was a nice January getaway in the sun and a good value. Experienced cruiser and was expecting an average cruise. It exceeded my ... Read More
We took this cruise because of itinerary, perks and price. We travelled with a group of 13. It was a nice January getaway in the sun and a good value. Experienced cruiser and was expecting an average cruise. It exceeded my expectations. Nice ship, has been updated. Kept very clean. All staff are VERY FRIENDLY, kind and accommodating. Entertainment was excellent. Drinks were excellent. We had free drinks and took advantage of our perk. It was nice to have options for dining. Both of the main dining rooms were nice, food about a B, very good but not high end. Service in both dining rooms inconsistent. No organized protocol for service....waiter recommendations, ladies served first, courses served at the same time, needs some work. The pub was open 24/7 and was a nice change for a good pub meal or snack with good service. The Lotus Garden was exceptional with good food and service. Disappointed with specialty restaurants which is very unusual. Italian was a C, Brazilian was a D, French was an A. Could not get reservations at the Steakhouse, full. Make your specialty restaurant reservations b4 your cruise. This was our 4th on NCL. I think NCL has improved over time and has a niche in the marketplace. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 12th cruise with NCL and we had a great time. We spent a couple of days in Tampa ahead of our cruise and were able to check out the riverwalk, downtown and Ibor City. The ship was very clean and well maintained. Our room ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise with NCL and we had a great time. We spent a couple of days in Tampa ahead of our cruise and were able to check out the riverwalk, downtown and Ibor City. The ship was very clean and well maintained. Our room steward, Irwin, did a fabulous job and the room was always made up and ready for us. We breezed through embarkation and were on the ship in no time with drink in hand and relaxing. The weather in Tampa was a little on the cool side but once we got to Key West all was good. We did have bad weather (rain and cold) on the last sea day and when we disembarked in Tampa. I still noticed that people reserve pool loungers very early in the morning and if you aren't up there by 7:00 you may not get one, not right especially since they reserve the loungers and then don't show up until much later. I know that it says you can't but everyone does and noone enforces it. Enjoyed the entertainment especially Peter the Piano Man!!!! We had an excellent steak @ Cagney's and two fantastic meals at Teppenyaki along with all the other areas to eat on the ship. Most of the time we ate on the back of the ship having done the buffet. We enjoyed all the ports especially Key West which is my Wife's and my favorite. I already have cruises 13 & 14 booked and really looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This cruise was a last moment decision to get some sun in the middle of January Weather in Minnesota. This was our 18th cruise on NCL and our 2nd time taking the Pearl to sea. We are currently Platinum Plus members on NCL's ... Read More
This cruise was a last moment decision to get some sun in the middle of January Weather in Minnesota. This was our 18th cruise on NCL and our 2nd time taking the Pearl to sea. We are currently Platinum Plus members on NCL's Latitudes Reward system. Tampa & the Barrymore Hotel: We flew into Tampa Wednesday morning, from Minnesota. We requested a taxi in the baggage claim area of the Tampa airport and it picked us up immediately and took us to the Barrymore Hotel. I gave the cab driver a $10.00 tip as he was of Moroccan decent and was a true delight during the ride. The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk is a funky run down motel with an O.K room that served the purpose of being close to the cruise dock area cheaply. Restaurants are not in easy walking distance and the Hotel Restaurant breakfast service was very poor to non existent. So if you are walking challenged, staying at this Hotel may be a poor choice for you. The Hotel Shuttle to us to the Port at 11:00 AM on Thursday and we immediately checked in. *** People in the Embarkation waiting area need to understand that you will board the ship in a rotation determined by your Latitude level so it was chaos when individuals at lower levels were arguing with security about boarding first.*** The Pearl was: - Clean The Staff was; - Outgoing, - We had three favorite waiters/waitresses immediately. - Our Cabin Stewart (Rotessa), was very friendly, a hard worker and a delight to be around The Interior Cabin, 10105; - a Clean, Well Located, Regular sized inside cabin that made our routine on the Pearl convenient. Specialty Restaurants: - Cagney's 5 stars. (Service and food was impeccable). (2 evening meals) - La Cucina 4 Stars. (Service by "Francis", (our Waiter), is always the best). Menu is less desirable than Cagney's in my opinion. (1 Evening meal). - Le Bristro 5 Stars. Menu was extensive, Food was prepared and served flawlessly my Mary Jane and the meal was a delight. (1 evening meal) Regular Resturants: - Summer Palace. A great breakfast place. Sit and watch the sea go by and you wake up with a good cup of coffee. - Indigo was our choice in the evening. It was adequate. - O'Sheehan's; Needs a more extensive menu and add more waiters. The Menu is limited and it took over an hour to get served at lunch time. - Garden Cafe Buffet; I would recommend staying away from eating in the Buffet unless you are ready to be run over by a starving passenger that just needs to get to those french fries before you do. Food is adequate. Table cleaners are friendly, though seating capacity is limited so a table for two is at times hard to find. Casino: - Staff is very friendly and the machines, while not giving back large jackpots, kept my wife and her allotted limit in the game until Day 9. Shows: Entertainment was very limited on this cruise. Ports of Call: - Key West: Antigua: Tortola: ST Maartin: San Juan, Porto Rico: All of the ports were non eventful. No excursions were taken as I been there-Done That on [previous cruises. Did several long walks in the different Ports. Most of last years Hurricane damage has been fixed in the tourist areas. Disembarkation: - Orderly, Efficient and Well Managed. Used NCL to shuttle us back to the Tampa Airport and I was through security at the airport by 9:45 AM. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My husband and I decided to take a quick cruise to relax and defrost! We coined it the "Chill and Thaw Cruise". By the time we booked, there was limited room selection, so we opted to spring for the DOS. We've done Haven ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a quick cruise to relax and defrost! We coined it the "Chill and Thaw Cruise". By the time we booked, there was limited room selection, so we opted to spring for the DOS. We've done Haven and non Haven rooms in the past. Disappointment started when I contacted precruise concierge to order my 3 bottles of liquor. I was told because it was only a 5 day cruise, that "recently" 3 bottles had been reduced to 1. They also referred to them as complimentary bottles. Funny, I thought that was rolled into the HUGE price tag of the Haven rooms. Their website still states 3 (even as I write this). When we got to the room none of the other requests where there, so, useless waste of time. Embarkation went smoothly. Lunch as Cagney's was good. Same menu as always. Our room was very nice. Our butler, room steward and concierge were also very good. The deck is lovely and the private hot tub was great. Note: it was out of order for about 24 hours, which on a 5 day cruise is a lot. It also rendered the deck unusable during the day because they had it torn apart and men working on it. I know these things happen and they did give us a 200 OBC, but I mention it because I think it happens a lot and if it's going to bother you, consider it. First night headed down for a predinner drink and that is where we first learned of the new alcohol pricing from a bartender. Crazy prices. I'm fine with Tito's instead of Grey Goose, but really 20 for a drink with Grey Goose, not even in Vegas or NYC is that a thing. Wines are awful and equally crazy expensive. $15 dollars a glass for bad wine is robbery. I ordered a glass of champagne at LeBistro for 23.99 and was told it had recently changed to 37.00, even though the menu stated 23.99. When the table captain came over to see how things were I mentioned that and he said "blame Miami". Apparently, they had change the prices so fast they didn't have time to print up new menus. If you're sensing a trend at this point you are correct. We had the dining plan and are Platinum members so we were able to eat specialty dining all but one night. La Cuccina was awful, except for my risotto app. My husband and I each ordered the Cianti and the waiter opened a bottle and charged us for it. There was a language barrier, but I kept asking him why would I order a bottle and pay for it when I could have 20 glasses that I already paid for. Nothing was getting through. He told me I could go to Guest Services with my receipt. On a 5 day cruise the last thing I want to do is hangout with Guest Services over $30. We had a 7:30 reservation and there was only one other couple in the restaurant. Cagney's also awful on two visits. My steak was super tough. My husband couldn't even eat his grilled fisherman's platter. He couldn't even tell what type of fish it was. Dessert was good. On the second trip, my lamb chops were good. I didn't care for the sweet almost bbq sauce they were in, but they were cooked well. My husband's salmon was a strange lucid pink color, it looked under cooked, but it wasn't and he said the texture was off. He thought maybe it had been cooked, then frozen and recooked?? LeBistro was solid. We had great food one night at the buffet. Had them made to order crepes plain and then added chicken and vegetables. Hit up the pasta area and had them make some nice pasta dishes. By far the best dinner on the cruise. Entertainment was good. Dailies were pretty much the same old, same old. Ship is in good shape. Love the layout of this class of ships. No problem with the crew, they were attentive and pleasant. Disembarking was a breeze. I found this cruise to be a bit more formal than the Gem (NYC 1/18) and the Getaway (8/18). Not stuffy, but people were dressed nicely in the evenings, which was nice. I actually felt under dressed. I waffled between a 2 and 3 rating, this cruise has not turned me totally off to NCL, but it will have to check a lot of boxes for it to be a choice. I'm booked again on a 14 day out of Boston in March. I would have considered cancelling, if we were not passed final payment. Who knows, maybe it will be my turn around trip. Let's hope. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 3rd time on the Pearl, one of our favorite ships. Our last cruise on the Pearl was 8 years ago. We like the recent renovations as it made the ship seem roomier with the neutral, less busy color scheme. Our cabin (5608 ... Read More
This was our 3rd time on the Pearl, one of our favorite ships. Our last cruise on the Pearl was 8 years ago. We like the recent renovations as it made the ship seem roomier with the neutral, less busy color scheme. Our cabin (5608 picture window oceanview aft) was our first so low in the ship and we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin was small but adequate with very little motion felt in the cabin. We could get to just about everywhere on the ship we wanted to go to very quickly. So deck 5 was good EXCEPT the cabin steward was barely average. We suspect Yong was new as he seemed to be flustered often, non-responsive at times and argumentative once or twice. This is not what we have experienced on any other NCL cruise and it surprised us. Needless to say, no extra tip for Yong was left at the end of the cruise. We dined exclusively at the specialty restaurants, Cagney's, Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Moderno. Our first night at Cagney's was disappointing, my ribeye was way overcooked and tough. Service was VERY slow. Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Moderno were excellent, as usual. We noticed the Garden Cafe has pared down its number of lunch choices but what was offered was good. We did use room service for coffee and fruit in the morning BUT, did not get it one morning. Again, poor service.... We purchased the Thermal Suite package and that was amazing, as usual, well worth every penny. The thalassotherapy pool was heaven, the heated, tiled loungers melted away aches and pains and the view from the loungers was blissful. However, be careful when walking as the new tile is extremely slippery when wet which is always. The floor was not only "wet," it was soaked most of the time. Also, due to the limited number of heated, tiled loungers, signs were posted limiting usage time to 20 minutes. Those signs were ignored by cruisers and not enforced by staff, even when the staff was asked to enforce the time limit due to excess abuse. Staff seem uninterested in making sure the disposable cups for water were replenished or the dirty towel bin was removed. More questionable service.... We saw several shows, all were good. We spent a bit of time at the pool which is a fun location and made better since the renovation. The pool deck no longer gets so hot by mid-day that you cannot walk on it with bare feet. The new surface is a huge improvement. However, NCL specifically states that deck chairs cannot be saved. And again, this is not enforced. By 7:30 am on a sea day, you could not find a deck chair without a striped towel on it and only a handful of chairs were occupied. Either enforce the rule or remove it. As already stated above, we were somewhat disappointed with the service. The attention to detail such as getting to know you by the cabin steward, for example, was missing. Not by all, as there are always amazing staff who go out of their way on each cruise. It seemed like the staff, in general, was doing the minimum required rather than trying to go above and beyond. Usually we feel "spoiled" at the end of our cruise on an NCL ship. Not this time....sigh...maybe next time.... We did not get off in Grand Cayman as it was tendered port due to the construction at the port. We did our own thing in Cozumel and had a blast. We had an issue with our UDP caused by NCL that was could have been handled better. I requested to speak to the Hotel Director on the last full day of the cruise (which is when the issue was discovered) and was told that he was only available at 6 pm which was when we had dinner reservations. I asked if he could meet us at the restaurant but that never happened. It is very disappointing when a passenger cannot speak to an officer about an issue that was handled very poorly resulting in the passenger losing 3 hours of time on vacation due to a screw-up by NCL. Not only were we embarrassed but we were aggravated and stressed out on vacation which was definitely NOT our goal. All we can hope is that NCL reads this and learns from this type of review to consider reviewing and revamping their procedures to avoid this type of situation again. Would we go on another NCL cruise again? Yes because we know how awesome it can be. Unfortunately, this time NCL fell short. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We love cruising with NCL, this was our fourth NCL cruise and our third on a Jewel class ship. We chose this cruise because we like 5 day or shorter sailings and the stops were our two favorite ports in the Caribbean: Grand Cayman and ... Read More
We love cruising with NCL, this was our fourth NCL cruise and our third on a Jewel class ship. We chose this cruise because we like 5 day or shorter sailings and the stops were our two favorite ports in the Caribbean: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Our party had three different state rooms, an inside, an obstructed ocean view and a "Priva-Sea" balcony, so it was interesting to see the differences between the rooms (but more on that later.) Embarkation: We had never sailed from Tampa and I highly recommend this port for anyone driving from the Southeast. The drive was less than 7 hours from Atlanta and the parking is reasonably priced and right across the street from the terminal. Weather was nice when we embarked although I can see where bad weather could cause issues in Tampa since we had to stand in line outside for about 30 minutes before they collected our luggage and let us inside to the security line. We did the self-assist baggage carry off when we disembarked which went very smoothly, we left our rooms at 8AM and were through customs and back to our car by 8:30 and back in Atlanta before rush hour. The ship: We were on board by noon and went for an excellent lunch at Summer Palace. I recommend this for anyone wishing to decompress after a long trip, the views are excellent and the restaurant is all the way aft so most people don't discover it right away. We found the ship very clean although it was showing wear in public areas despite a recent refurb. The decor was very nice although I feel the decor in public areas was much nicer on the Jade and the Escape. The layout of the Atrium was the best I've seen though with a beautiful Chihouly sculpture under the staircase leading down from the port side of O'Sheehans. After lunch we got the call that our rooms were ready around 2PM. The Room(s) As I mentioned earlier, our party had three different room categories. My wife and I were in an obstructed ocean view on deck 8 forward, so I will focus on that. I would not book this room again. We were prepared for an obstructed view since we had seen photos of similar rooms on this class of ship, but the lights from the promenade deck were on constantly. We were also between the forward elevators and O'Sheehans so there was a lot of foot traffic on our hallway which combined with the constant light made it very difficult to sleep. The "Priva-Sea" balcony that my Mother-in-law had was much nicer and a great option if you like a balcony that has a little less sun. The room itself is roughly the same size besides the balcony ( as was my Aunt's inside across the hall from us) but there are a lot of little differences like a coffee maker and bath robes in the room plus it is ahead of the forward elevators so it was much quieter (except for her quarreling neighbors but that is another story which NCL security handled very well.) Plus her room steward was much better, we barely saw ours. He kept the room clean but was not nearly as out-going as stewards we've had on other NCL cruises, and he missed a few details like keeping our ice full despite a good tip and a request to do so on the first day. Having cruised on Jewel class ships three times now, I would actually recommend staying aft since most of the restaurants are closest to the mid and aft elevators. We found ourselves walking across the pool deck or through the atrium quite a lot which was ok for us but a little hard on my Aunt who has knee problems. Dining: The dining was excellent, standard NCL fare. We had the dining perk so we chose Cagney's, Le Bistro and Teppenyaki which were all top notch. The food in the main dining rooms and buffet was also very good and we loved the layout of the Garden Cafe with the round booths in the back facing the windows, our favorite NCL buffet so far in terms of seating arrangements although there was more variety in terms of food on the Escape. Activities: We found the activities somewhat lacking compared to other NCL cruises. We didn't see the cruise director as much as we did on other NCL cruises and there wasn't much we wanted to do activity-wise besides trivia. We like trivia but it seemed like there were fewer of them and the timing never worked for us. There was also a language barrier with some of the cruise directors staff making it hard to understand the questions. The staff were all very friendly and they gave us a good deal of free end of cruise SWAG so that made up for the less than stellar activities on two cold sea days. Entertainment: I thought this was the best main theater entertainment I've seen on any NCL ship besides the Brat Pack (which was the only one I liked on the Escape) but I didn't see a show I didn't like on the Pearl. Legends in concert was a lot of fun with tributes to Elton John, Tina Turner, and Michael Jackson, all by great performers. Pure Variety was also very good and Duo Quintessence put on an amazing show. Julie Barr also put on a very funny show although her second night was in the Spinnaker lounge which had limited seating. Thermal Spa: We have never got this package before but will definitely do it again, the spa was very nice with men’s and women’s sections and a common area in the middle. The common area had a heated therapy pool which was very nice on the cold days plus hot tubs, steam room and sauna and a cold plunge pool in the men’s and women’s side. The heated lounges were also nice as was the fresh fruit and tea. Service: Service was on par with our other cruises. Besides our less than outgoing room steward, everyone was friendly and helpful. Main dining room service was a bit slow at times but the ship was also very full. We had no issues with reservations or other items we booked and everything we pre-booked was delivered to our rooms in a timely manner. Ports: This was our second trip to both Grand Cayman and Cozumel so it was nice to do a little more exploring at both Ports. We rented a car in Cozumel and found a great little beach club on the eastern side with a pool and a nice restaurant. The weather was cool and windy but it didn't stop us from having a nice beach day in both ports. Excursions: We did the Turtle Farm excursion in Grand Cayman because we had excursion credits, but I did not feel it was worth what they charged. After a bus ride and a 15 minute tour of the facility we were told we would be on our own for nearly three hours until the bus came back or we could go to the restaurant or one of their other up-charge activities or take the public bus back to the pier. The bus is only $5.00 in Grand Cayman so the only benefit to the excursion was priority tendering which was not necessary since a lot of people opted to stay on the ship due to cool weather and because we had to depart by 2PM. The scuba diving excursion in Cozumel was canceled due to wind but probably a good call since it was very windy and somewhat cold. Value: Overall the cruise was an excellent value and we got great prices on the rooms and good perks. The ship was not the nicest we've seen in terms of decor or wear but was charming none the less. I would probably book an inside room before taking another obstructed ocean view on this type of ship although I will admit I am spoiled on balconies. The staff were all very nice and we had a lot of fun. I would definitely cruise on the Pearl again and would recommend to anyone who likes a smaller ship with a lot of character. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We did a good amount of research before booking our cruise, and we were pretty sure we wanted to go with Norwegian. When a great deal showed up in our email, we grabbed it. 5 night Western Caribbean with stops in Grand Cayman and ... Read More
We did a good amount of research before booking our cruise, and we were pretty sure we wanted to go with Norwegian. When a great deal showed up in our email, we grabbed it. 5 night Western Caribbean with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, for 299.00. We deliberately chose the second week of January in hopes of missing a lot of 'family vacations with children'. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, mostly mine. Ha ha. But for a relaxing romantic time, I was hoping there wouldn't be an abundance of children on board, and we were right! As first time cruisers we had no real expectations other that what we gleaned from our research on various sites. First of all we booked through Cruise Direct and I was more than satisfied with the customer service and follow through. Great people over there! Secondly, every interaction with Norwegian was superb. Things ran like clockwork. Smooth and easy. Though the line was long in the terminal on embarkation day, everything was handled like a well-run machine. I was also pleasantly surprised by our inside stateroom. It didn't feel too cramped at all. Every inch of space well thought out and we had more than enough room for all of our things. Shout out to our steward ( Louie) who was a doll. The ship ( newly renovated at the end of 2017) was lovely. Sparkling clean. But more importantly, the entire staff was friendly. Everyone seemed to be genuinely enjoying their jobs, smiling, singing and making it their mission that you enjoy your time on board There were plenty of fun activities to amuse oneself... but for us, this was a romantic cruise and we didn't really partake in the activities or shows. We sat in our lounge chairs either by the pool, or on the promenade deck and watched the ocean rolling by. That's all I needed to decompress from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. One of the biggest perks of cruising is the food. I was not impressed with the food in the Garden Cafe, buffet. It was cafeteria food, with all that that implies. I was disappointed because everything LOOKED so beautiful. But it was as if all the effort went into looks and not flavor. While I'm at it... let me mention the apple pie. I've never seen anything like it, it had a gelatinous center with a few apples thrown in for good measure. Heed my warning and skip it entirely. I was expecting the food to be a little better, actually. We quickly learned to eat in the dining rooms where the food was excellent and the service impeccable. We also ate at Le Bistro ( the French Restaurant) VERY GOOD! We ate at O'Sheehans a couple of times and found everything there to be good quality. Drinks: So glad we purchased the drink package. I think it more than pays for itself,plus you don't have to concern yourself with keeping track of spending. Because without the drink package you are being charged for every soda, juice, etc. By the way...one little annoyance ... there was no COKE on board. Pepsi only. That exclusivity stuff is annoying, give people a choice. Ha ha. We loved all the live music on board. A band played at the pool every afternoon, mixing up the playlist. Loved the White Hot party. Tunes of every sort to found in the various bars and lounges. Our day in Grand Cayman was too short. No complaints other than that. Then on to Cozumel. I LOVED it. The Mexican people were so nice and welcoming. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach where we were treated like kings. I don't think I've every had a more beautiful day. And the end of the day there were even rickshaw drivers waiting to drive you back down the long pier to the gangplank if so desired. And yes, I desired. I happily paid the young lad 10.00 to carry my exhausted body back to the ship. Disembarkation ran with military precision. We opted for the paid transfer from the ship. Set out bags by Midnight the night before and cruised out of there without lugging baggage along with us. Once in the terminal, pay a porter a small fee to retrieve your bags and take them to the bus for you. Why hassle with bags and stress when you can be stress free for 5.00? The bus delivered us in air conditioned comfort to the airport where the Airlines took over and promptly ruined the rest of the trip! Ha ha We are already making our plans to return to the seas, and return to Norwegian. I happily recommend this cruise line and this ship in particular. Can't wait to book another cruise. Sold!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted a winter getaway, to a destination that we've never visited. The Price was perfect and comfortable for a party of 4. The amount of days we sailed out was perfect as well 5 days is just the right amount of days, and for sure ... Read More
We wanted a winter getaway, to a destination that we've never visited. The Price was perfect and comfortable for a party of 4. The amount of days we sailed out was perfect as well 5 days is just the right amount of days, and for sure the destination was perfect, both the Cayman Island and Cozumel were beautiful. The embarking and disembarking was easy with fast services. The cabins were always clean, and the cabin stewards was always there quick and ready to make you happy with your request. The entire ship is updated and modern. You feel like you are in a modern environment and not in an outdated ship, where it smells funky. The activities were also just right. I definitely recommend the shows and games through the ship. he staff was so professional, very quick to attend to your needs. The food was excellent, the variety of food was just exactly what we expected. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I don't think I'll cruise with Norwegian again, and certainly not out of Tampa. There was not a lot that was better than other cruises I have been on in the past, and plenty that was much worse. First of all, we were affected ... Read More
I don't think I'll cruise with Norwegian again, and certainly not out of Tampa. There was not a lot that was better than other cruises I have been on in the past, and plenty that was much worse. First of all, we were affected by a fog delay. Obviously, that part is not controllable by the cruise line, but their handling of the issue was terrible. We had separate reservations for three different cabins and I was the only one to receive notifications about the delay (via text). If we had been coordinating with the others, they probably wouldn't have been notified at all. Additionally, as this cruise was departing on 12/30 (which I guess is considered a holiday by the company) they shut down their customer service line early, while there were literally thousands of people lined up outside with no guidance. I actually did speak with the a representative earlier that day, who was very pleasant and nice, but gave me very different information than everybody else gave me. The lady actually told me that because I was traveling with two small children (1 year-old and 2 year-old), as well as my 75-year old mother, that we would be able to join the priority boarding given how late the boarding was. We were slotted for a 10am boarding time (with scheduled 1pm departure) but we were told to arrive at 9pm (first, it was 6pm) due to the fog delay, which meant that we had nowhere to go (we ended up having to pay for a hotel room just so our kids could rest). We ended up waiting in line for 4-5 hours, which as you can imagine, was utter hell for our family. We had understandably tired, screaming and restless children, who were being kept in a line until 1am when they normally go to be at 8pm. At no point, were there any announcements made to the crowd. The only representatives we saw were only addressing people in Haven (premiere level) and suites to move them to priority boarding. The next day, we found out that we would be skipping one of the four ports of call and I don't ever remember getting any notification other than some paltry onboard credit that appeared on the account with no explanation. The cruise itself was hit or miss. Many of the staff were very pleasant, but I have found that to be the case on all of the cruises (Carnival, Royal Caribbean). There were also a handful of staff that didn't have the best attitude, but they were in the minority. We went into this trip knowing that Norwegian wasn't as toddler friendly (no drop-off care/activities for children under 3 years old, etc.), but it was still worse than expected. They planned all of the toddler activities (parent participation required, which was fine) at the most awkward times for toddlers (prime toddler meal times like noon and 5pm), and they located the smoking section of the deck right next to the kiddie pool area. They also seemed to have a systematic system for filling their dining rooms, with no regard for small children. They would start at one end of the restaurant and then fill tables back, but I thought this was weird because they were sticking us with our loud children next to people that wanted to enjoy a nice meal. This was less of an issue for us, but I felt bad for the people near us. At one point, an old lady yelled "QUIET!" in a nearby table when my 1 year-old started screaming (he's admittedly loud). Also worth noting is that about half of the high chairs had broken buckles, which was not the biggest deal but certainly not ideal. Our cabin was pretty standard for a cruise, but no big complaints. While we really like our room steward, I think they didn't do the normal level of initial cleaning due to the chaos with the fog delay (my mother's room had an old sippy cup under the bed filled with old yogurt). Our bathtub also leaked water from sides (maintenance took care of this). The biggest annoyance was the lack of beside power ports. The only ports within reach of the bed were single USB ports in the bottom of the beside lights. The main cafeteria (Garden Cafe) was ok, but the seating was very cramped. It would have been fine if everybody was between the ages of 5 and 60, but obviously that's not the case with a cruise. A very significant percentage of the people had walkers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters (along with the few people like us with strollers and high chairs). This was what made it tough to walk through the seating area. We enjoyed the specialty dining, particularly Cagny's (steakhouse) and Moderno (Brazilian grill). We had fun at Teppanyaki, but like all American hibachi grills, it was very salty. Two other quick negatives. First, this was the first cruise I've been on where they seemed to change the itinerary with no notification. We always try to plan out our vacation (dinners, activities, etc.) based on the schedule so it's a bit annoying when they move things around without telling us (although I recognize that this is clearly their right based on the disclosures). Second, we opted not to book excursions with the little kids, but my family did and they said Grand Cayman was poorly executed (they had booked the stingray city and snorkel tour through NCL). At the dock, there are lots of people so they were told to gather in a certain area. Apparently, a tour guide came by and quickly said to follow them and then took off at a brisk pace (which is tough given the demographics of the cruise ship). Many were left behind confused. I also heard the tour guide on the boat was all-around rude (stark contrast to the great service for the catamaran snorkel tour in Roatan). The next part is not NCL's fault, but to top it all off, there were so many ships in port that day, that there weren't many stingrays around by the time they got there (2-4). On the positive side, the drinks were pretty decent (nice variety around the boat) and the bartenders were generally friendly (especially Guillermo). And they didn't seem to nickel and dime you too much on the beverage package, which was nice. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our trip started out with a 12 delay, no fault of Norwegians, there was fog in the Tampa area and the ship could not come into port. We finally boarded the ship about midnight. I truly expected them to greet us in an over the top way, due ... Read More
Our trip started out with a 12 delay, no fault of Norwegians, there was fog in the Tampa area and the ship could not come into port. We finally boarded the ship about midnight. I truly expected them to greet us in an over the top way, due to us missing our entire first day on the ship, didn't happen, no music or any kind of special welcome. The food on this cruise was mediocre at best, sadly. We ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants, the steak house, the Italian restaurant and the Japanese restaurant. The Japanese one was probably the best out of the 3, however NONE of the we great, service was just was not good at the steak house or the Italian restaurant. Service at the bars on the pool decks was slow, one bar never opened the whole time on board and we were never greeted with a smile or friendly service. The cruise director "Jodie" who is supposed to make the entertainment on your ship amazing, did a very poor job of that. Music on the pool deck was nearly non-existent. There were a few hours a couple afternoons where a band did play for maybe an hour-play some piped in music for heavens sake, it's better than nothing! We ran into Jodie on 3 different occasions on our trip and not once did she acknowledge us!! Not even a "hello". Jodie, we rarely saw out and about or running any games or shows. Her assistant "Tara-Tiara", was friendly, fun and very visible through out the ship.The singers on board we ok, nothing fabulous except the Michael Jackson impersonator and the acrobats. Not all bars or buffets were always open and closed during annoying times. We were in port with Norwegians sister ship Jade once. When we arrived back after a day off the ship, the Jade staff was hosting an amazing dance party to welcome their guests back, singers, loud music dancer, drinks, towels etc. We turned the corner to board the Pearl, 2 attendants were there handing out towels, no music, no dancers, no party!!! Positives: we had problems with our AC unit, they did come to fix it twice and "Julie" in guest services sent us a bottle of champagne and some chocolate covered strawberries. The ship was clean as was our cabin, they were very diligent about keeping guests hands sanitized. We have cruised Carnival previously and they knocked the ball out of the park with service, food, friendliness, entertainment and music on pool decks. That cruise director was amazing, ALWAYS visible making things fun. My vote 1 Carnival ) Norwegian :( Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The Norwegian Pearl has recently been refurbished and is a beautiful ship. The food in all the specialty restaurants and the main dining room was very good. Some of the staff were fantastic. Will, the bartender in the mid-ship 8th floor ... Read More
The Norwegian Pearl has recently been refurbished and is a beautiful ship. The food in all the specialty restaurants and the main dining room was very good. Some of the staff were fantastic. Will, the bartender in the mid-ship 8th floor lounge was the best; friendly, pleasant and fun! Most of the staff were polite, friendly and service-driven. One of the female excursion desk people was rude and sarcastic but she was the only person we encountered that wasn't pleasant. The spa staff were a bit disorganized but were mostly friendly. The Spinnaker Lounge was our favorite place because the band Innovation played great jazz and very danceable music which is important to us because we are ballroom dancers. So what should have been a great vacation was nearly ruined by a poorly managed embarkation process. Tampa Bay had been shut down by the Coast Guard due to fog and the Pearl had been stranded 10 miles off the coast waiting to come into port. At first, NCL seemed to be on top of it. We got text messages telling us that the boarding process would be delayed and not to come until 3pm, and then 6pm and finally 9pm. That's where communication stopped. We arrived at 9pm along with 2000 others who waited in a very long line for several hours. In fact, we finally boarded the Pearl at 1 AM! That's right, FOUR HOURS later...no communication by NCL, no one to direct people, no attempt to accommodate all these people waiting on the streets of Tampa. Further, the lanes to even drop of luggage were blocked off meaning that all those people waiting were crating along luggage for a seven day trip. I am a seasoned traveler. I've been to 48 of our states. I've been to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia. I've also taken SEVENTEEN cruises! I don't expect everything to go smoothly. Cruise lines CANNOT control the weather BUT they CAN control the way they respond to the weather. Whoever is responsible for managing embarkation should be fired. This was an unacceptable inconvenience for hundreds of passengers. So what should NCL have done? 1) communicated to passengers NOT to come to the terminal until after 11pm 2) NOT blocked off drop off lanes for luggage 3) provided water for those standing in line 4) provided staff to direct the queues and to keep people informed of what was going on 5) apologized immediately and profusely for their incompetence 6) provided financial compensation 7) taken the elderly, the handicapped and families with small children to a safe and comfortable environment to wait 8) provided a projected sailing time for local residents and allowed them to wait at home I know all of this takes time and resources. BUT this is NOT NCL's first year in the cruising business! Are we to assume that in all of their years of operation, they have never encountered fog before? Now, all that said...the cruise was STILL very special and a great experience EXCEPT for embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Tampa is a great town, I live there but I would suggest anyone who has time to take extra time to enjoy the city, you could stay for weeks and not do close to everything the city has to offer. Lots to do at or near the port if you just ... Read More
Tampa is a great town, I live there but I would suggest anyone who has time to take extra time to enjoy the city, you could stay for weeks and not do close to everything the city has to offer. Lots to do at or near the port if you just have hours to kill. We got off to a late start due to the fog. We did not get out until around 2am. As a result our first port, harvest caye was cancelled. This brings up my one and only complaint. Communication. This is always an issue with cruise ships and I don't know why they have not fixed it yet. Still in the stone age when it comes to this. Like airlines were 30 years ago. There is no where to check the status of the cruise on the internet and many got no texts as they like us had their home phone number listed. Once on the ship we did not find out we were not going to harvest caye until late in the day the day after. The captain did make his daily announcement each day so I know we are at 28 degrees, 47 min and 30 seconds north which of course I can do nothing with, without a chart and most couldn't do anything with it with one. Never any mention of upcoming weather or seas. As an ex airline captain, this really bothers me. Its so easy to just make a quick announcement but they never do on any line. Ok, so you don't want to upset the boat with bad news, fine then have an area on the app or a text banner on the channel that shows where you are. Why there is no status on the website I will never know. So easy to do. The worst thing you can do is not communicate and the amount of business they lose by not doing it can't be counted. That's the negative. The positive was as follows: Ship This ship and cruise line is great for the money. I think it is the perfect size ship. Big enough to have a lot to offer but not too big where there are too many people. Cabins The cabins were very nice, We were on Deck 8 so easy to go up or down to 6 or 7 promenade decks without using the dreaded elevator. Or down from Deck 12 the pool deck. We pretty much just rode up. Casino There are tons of bars everywhere, Casino was good, although we lost our shirts. I suggest the quarter pusher. Hours of entertainment for $50. You won't win a dime though. Entertainment The entertainment venues are great, the bliss has the bowling and karaoke and the like and has a bar so does the spinnaker and is great as well. The main theater never sold out as it does with most cruises. The lobby area is great and the piano bar is well designed and can be enjoyed easily for a quick visit so you can just get up and leave when sweet caroline comes on. The shows were just ok. If you are doing one in the spinnaker get there early as they have a bar and comfy seats that will all be gone or be being saved if you get there on time. We managed obstructed view seats at the main shows each time getting there on time. Pool Just the one pool for common folks, but lots of decks and enough lounges for all. Not on the pool deck of course those all had a towel and bottle of suntan lotion on them and 10% occupied like every other cruise. I wish they would rent the premium chairs by the hour and solve this problem and make some money doing it. Dining Get the specialty dining package. Moderno and Le Bistro was great, La Cucina was just ok. I would recommend the Teppanyaki, which we couldn't get into weeks before the cruise. Make sure you book before the cruise or they will all sell out. O'sheehans is great for everything. Lotus Garden is great too for lunch and Dinner. The main dining is ok too, but no big deal. Lunch is the same everyday in both dining rooms. Dinner seemed to be mostly the same but not sure. Buffet is enormous and offers some good seating out back with its own buffet. Bars There are bars everywhere, lots to choose from. Good selections to be had. Guiness on tap in o sheehans and newcastle at the lobby bar. I would highly suggest this ship for value. I have been on 12 cruises. Scott Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise based on dates available, visiting the Western Caribbean and flight prices. We ported out of Tampa, FL. Our ship got stuck out at sea due to fog and could not come in on time. We were supposed to board at noon and ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on dates available, visiting the Western Caribbean and flight prices. We ported out of Tampa, FL. Our ship got stuck out at sea due to fog and could not come in on time. We were supposed to board at noon and didn’t board until about 11pm. Stuck in Tampa, never received text messages/update from Norwegian (others did) and had to get into line around 2pm. Sat on concrete sidewalk, with luggage (they didn’t take it until around 5pm) for about 8 hours, taking shifts with the family to walk around. Tough, tough day. Had to eat lunch and dinner on our own dime (although I am hearing that NCL might be reimbursing). Thankfully it was a beautiful day. Could have been raining. Ship arrived around 6:30pm and disembarking the current passengers took just over 3 hours. Got on board around 11pm, had the safety meeting at midnight, we were falling asleep at the table and we got our luggage around 1am. It was just awful. The saddest part was the lack of NCL presence. Passengers were showing up around 9pm and trying to cut in line when people had waited over 8 hours. Things got a little dicey and many passengers (including teenagers) patrolled and attempted to keep order. They had to cancel our first port visit as we did not depart until about 4am (gave each room a $100 NCL credit to use onboard for food, drink or excursions). The good news, we eventually got on the ship, our room was ready and comfortable and our overall first time on NCL was positive. Entertainment was phenomenal. Staff was great and food was quite good (all regular dining). We loved Roatan and enjoyed the other ports as well. Weather was fantastic too. Tip for Roatan - you DO NOT have to pay to go to Tabyana Beach - just take a cab to West End and get dropped off. I repeat - you do not have to pay! We got sold - paid. $20 a person - live and learn. That was one expensive chair for a few hours. Roatan - visited Tabyana Beach. Paid $10 for snorkel gear and it came with a guide who swam us out to the reef and drop - pure awesome.... regret not visiting a place to hold a monkey. Costa Maya - visited Krazy Lobster Beach Club in Mahahual - free beach. Don’t pay for the beach. Excellent guacamole and chips for $4. If i could do it again - I would have gotten a massage $10 for 30 minutes... Grand Cayman - walked to Smith’s Cove from the port. It took about 20 minutes. Beautiful beach. Then we took a cab to 7 mile beach. In hindsight, whole fam wished we had stayed at cove. True natural beauty and not crowded. This was our 2nd cruise. The 1st one was with RC down the Adriatic Sea. Phenomenal experience!! NCL had big shoes to fill. Will we cruise NCL again? I think we would. I will be curious to see if NCL follows through with making their customers whole. We essentially lost two days and the experience was terrible. I have faith they will do the right thing. Will we ever port out of Tampa again? Nope. Apparently it is the bridge that is the issue, not the fog. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having only cruised Carnival in the past, for this trip we wanted to upgrade to another line. This cruise fit our needs... date, embarkment and ports visited. It was at the lower end of ship size we were looking for, but reviews were ... Read More
Having only cruised Carnival in the past, for this trip we wanted to upgrade to another line. This cruise fit our needs... date, embarkment and ports visited. It was at the lower end of ship size we were looking for, but reviews were good Due to fog in the port we left Tampa 10 hours late and missed our first port. We were given several small credits. We loved the ship. The speciality resturants were great. Even the main dining and buffets were better than we were used to. Entertainment was good. The cruise director did not seem to have an outgoing personality, but neither was she a over the top clown, as we have sometimes experienced on another cruise line. The staff did a good job. Our Cruise Critic meet and greet was fun. Thank you. We will most likely cruise NCL again. Especially if the continue the "free" perks. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our family had s great time. The ship is well appointed with plenty of spaces not inside and outside to sit and relax. The ship felt very clean and well taken care of. Our cabin was comfortable and the food was good. Only a few minor ... Read More
Our family had s great time. The ship is well appointed with plenty of spaces not inside and outside to sit and relax. The ship felt very clean and well taken care of. Our cabin was comfortable and the food was good. Only a few minor complaints- While the staff wasn’t rude, they were not pleasant and friendly either. We really only encountered one waiter who seemed genuinely happy and interested in being there. Also, it was very hard to go to one of the many bars on the ship to get a drink. It didn’t matter if the place was packed or empty. On three or four occasions we sat in chairs for ten minutes without getting served. We walked out. On another occasion we sat for ten minutes while the waitress watched the show. We went to the bar to get our own drinks. This was disappointing and certainly different from any other cruise experience we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot. While there were lots of great places to sit and relax, it was hard to find anywhere that was peaceful, particularly inside. Something was always going on and it was always really loud. There was a delay in our departure which set off many passengers. While it was a slight inconvenience and we had to change the itinerary, we felt it was handled appropriately and in the best interest of the safety of the ship/passengers. Despite some of the downfalls, we are considering trying NCL again. If you’ve tried the giant ships and miss the more traditional cruise experience, this would be a great ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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