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303 Norwegian (NCL) Tampa Cruise Reviews

After a heinous embarkation that is still unexplained by NCL or the port of Tampa, it was a great cruise. The outside cabin(8130)was very roomy. A comfortable bed and huge amount of storage. The bathroom had the best shower I’ve ever had ... Read More
After a heinous embarkation that is still unexplained by NCL or the port of Tampa, it was a great cruise. The outside cabin(8130)was very roomy. A comfortable bed and huge amount of storage. The bathroom had the best shower I’ve ever had and the worst toilet! The shower was amazing. A large rectangular space. The toilet felt smaller than standard and you’re forced into this walled cubbyhole that anyone of a larger size is going to be very unhappy with. Friends traveling with us had an inside room that lacked the walled in toilet but still had the nice shower. The AC worked well. We’re usually too hot in most ship cabins. Not on Dawn. The bars were varied with lots of interesting cocktails to sample. You could also order two drinks per cabin which was so convenient. NCL doesn’t hand you a receipt with every order either. Take note other cruise lines! Food was very good. Not as good as HAL but better than RCCL. I really enjoyed the buffet. Tasty and never crowded. I easily found a table every time. O’Sheehans food was really good but needs to improve their service. Every order was usually missing something and getting refills on beverages seemed to be a big problem for the staff. The specialty restaurants were good but not elevated enough to justify the cost. Some of the food came right from the buffet. The included coffee wasn’t too bad. We saw it was ground coffee and not those atrocious bags of liquid swill. We never ate in the main dining rooms but friends did and they said it was very good as well. Not all that impressed with the entertainment but the band Sonata was fun. We booked the thermal suite and it was worth every penny. Wish these were on every cruise ship. Dawn only has one main pool and it was very crowded and noisy. Not a fan of that. Anywhere near the casino or the cigar lounge reeked of cigarettes. Nonsmokers beware! We really like these older midsized ships. I wouldn’t hesitate to sail on Dawn again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. It's a nice sized ship (2400 passengers) which is manageable - and our preference over the huge ships. It was easy to find your way around, although the only small challenge is that the 6th deck doesn't run straight through. So if you want to access the Summer Palace main dining on the 6th, you have to go up to 7, to go back down to 6. It's a beautiful dining room, and worth finding! Our balcony cabin was perfect for 2 people - lots of storage, a small couch and decent sized balcony for a cruise ship. We unpacked for our 11-day cruise easily finding space for everything, and stowed our luggage under the bed. The only small issue was that the lighting was not great after the sun goes down, so for women getting ready for dinner, it was a bit of a challenge to see in mirrors. A big thank you to Rommel, our awesome Cabin Steward, for doing an excellent job! We found the main dining rooms (Summer Palace and Indigo), and specialty dining were wonderful - we experienced great service and delicious food! Le Bistro and Teppanyaki were our favourite specialty dining venues, and Cagney's and Moderno were really good as well. The Lotus Garden, which is NOT a specialty dining venue, was great - don't miss out! However, we were less than impressed with the quality of food at the buffet, and at O'Sheehan's Pub...yuck. We ended up going to the main dining rooms for breakfast/lunch instead. We spent some time at the casino and experienced the best service from all staff: special mention - Eka, Carlver and Hong Wang were amazing, we really appreciate their hard work. The casino has a good variety of slots machines and tables, it got busy after the shows finished, but was always well-managed. We never had to wait for drink service, and the staff was always friendly and accommodating. Embarkation was quite easy and much faster than anticipated - the lines were very long, but we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the port in Tampa. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 or 2pm, and luggage was promptly delivered to the cabin that afternoon. Disembarkation in NYC was not quite as smooth, but overall not bad. We only docked at 10am to even begin the disembarkation process, but had to be out of our cabins by 9am. The only food option available at that time was the buffet - so 2400 people waiting in public spaces for hours to depart, and food/coffee on only one deck. We booked shore excursions only after we got on the ship - and managed to get every excursions we wanted except for one - but there was another decent option available and we took that one instead. I would recommend however that you book excursions (and speciality dining reservations) before getting on the ship to be sure you are not disappointed. The excursions were very well-run and organized, we enjoyed all of them. Overall, this was a very good cruise experience. What made it extra enjoyable were the staff who work on the ship - they all work so hard and such long hours, we truly appreciate them! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise EVER with any cruise line. Our expectation when we purchased the cruise from Costco was that everything was included. Clearly not the case. Little things kept on adding up. For instance the fees and gratuities ... Read More
This was our first cruise EVER with any cruise line. Our expectation when we purchased the cruise from Costco was that everything was included. Clearly not the case. Little things kept on adding up. For instance the fees and gratuities added to the "FREE" drink package and "FREE" specialty restaurants that we chose. That is the first extras on top of our rate, and then the surprise daily rate of gratuities and whatever which happened to be a per person and that was another $421 added to our cruise price. NCL excursions are way higher priced then any of the companies that you can get at ports, several of excursions through NCL were more then double of what could be found at port. We did 2 NCL excursions and 3 private. Entertainment was a bit of a disappointment. Chris Burke, the Legends Show and Patricia Watson were excellent, I was expecting more though..... I always hear that there are Cirque shows and really good entertainment on board ships but I didnt find anything more then what I could find at a Caribbean Resort. I didnt like the fact that we got the daily notifications of the events not prior to boarding, it would be nice to prep for some of these parties like the White Party. The food: Tappanaki was awesome. I ordered sake on the first night, we were well out of port, and I was charged port taxes which came as a surprise. We had Teppanaki a second time a couple days later and had the exact same dishes and Sake and no tax on the the Sake. The entertainment was good, the food was tasty. I wish there was a lobster option even if its pay more, but we all know lobster is dirt cheap in caribbean so if you are putting crab in Seafood Jumbalya in the buffet, there is no reason that you cant serve lobster at the Teppanaki. Indigo was not good. My wifes pasta dish was flavourless, and my beef could have walked off my plate it was so rare (I usually order Medium Rare, but this was really rare) and so we went to the buffet after we ate there and had a proper meal. After our shore excursion at the Grand Caymans we came back and went to the Lotus Room; We ordered several orders of dumplings, and spring rolls, and I ordered a Spyder Roll from the Sushi Bar. So I am not a stranger to Spyder Rolls, I order this roll on a regular basis. The fried soft shell crab is usually delicious. My wife ate a dumpling and spat it out, saying there was something rotten in it, and I ate a similar one and there was a taste of ginger but also something rotten in it. We called the waitress and told them, and they brought it back to the kitchen and brought us back some other dumplings which my wife didnt want to touch another one so i ate all the orders of dumplings. I loved the presentation of the Spyder Roll, but after about four pieces the crab started to taste off, it was mushy and fishy I looked down at it and took a picture of the crab meat being brown, green and very discoloured nothing I had ever seen before. I though I was fine because I left the pieces that were bad on the side of my plate. My wife ordered a dish that didnt come so we cancelled that dish. I did enjoy the dessert though, but we still went up to the buffet afterwards to get my wife some food. I usually have a stomach of steel and can eat anything. Within two hours I was super ill from both ends, and I had a major fever. I was up all night long. I had to take immodium to control my diarrhea the next day while we were in Aruba. Right when we got back on the ship I went directly to my room and my wife tended to me by bringing me broth and crackers until we could get everything out of my system. She then went and complained because Aruba was a pretty big disaster for us, we also werent able to utilize our drink package or even our food package due to this illness. This went on for 2 days, and both days were when we had excursions planned. It sucked. I think it was a nice gesture that the Executive Chef sent us chocolate covered strawberries, and a dinner at La Cuccinna but honestly for the price of our cruise, and all the extras that we paid for dinner and strawberries is a very small gesture, nice but not worth me changing how dissatisfied i was, or how many people I tell I got food poisoning. So that was Sushi / Lotus. Cagneys was awesome, the beef tenderloin was to die for. I am a huge fan. I also had Beef Tenderloin at La Cuccina twice. I feel there should be more then two pieces of ravioli however I wont complain about the tenderloin. My wifes Chicken Cacchitore was disappointing, the chicken was tough and over cooked. The Tiramisu was delicious on both nights we were there. When we were in St Kitts we ran into a doctor that we previously talked to when I had a food poisoning, she was a doctor by profession on holidays and she explained to us that her daughter also got food poisoning from the Sushi Bar several days back...... If you are still reading I will explaining more about this later. Moderno was disappointing. I felt the salad bar was mainly preservatives, and the meat, not really my thing. The beef was tough. I tried a little lamb, but I found it tough and flavourless also. My wife and I are foodies, so we do know what to expect. We rode the elevator down with another couple that have ate at Moderno on different ships and they did say this was not the best Moderno's. I dont know what to compare it to, but I hope next time is better. The buffet was great. However some of the desserts were bland. I loved the soft serve and could eat that any time. Its better the Dairy Queen and that makes me happy. The bars made great drinks although, I dont understand how I can get a Glen Morange single malt Scotch, but cant get a Hendricks Gin and Tonic; it makes no sense to me at all because where I am from 750ml of Glenmorange is $84, and 750ml of Hendricks is $38, so how does the scotch fall under the drink package while the gin doesn't? I wish there was a better selection of single malts under the drink package. Roger at O'Sheehans is the best bartender on the boat. He was brilliant and he kept our drinks full all the time. The cigar room should only be for cigars. Its disgusting when you are smoking a fine cigar and someone comes in a smokes a cigarette. Its even more disgusting when someone brings their food in there. It should be for cigars only. Bottom line. Front Desk / Customer Service - On the first day, you need more people up there. It took close to 90 min standing in line waiting to ask simple questions. Even on the second day it was busy. And my last concern was CruiseNext. We did enjoy the cruise and we put money down for a future cruise. The Manager that signed us up clearly told us that he would give us 2 coupons for 2 cruises. Not 4 coupons for 4 cruises, only to discover when we got home we received 4 coupons. I just wish some things were more organized so we wouldnt have all these surprises and extra costs. We had a good time, but surprise after surprise is not what we want. Tell us what the full price is. We stay at resorts all the time, the full price is right in our face with no extras. Thats what i want to know. I dont want surprises. Lastly, on our last night leaving La Cuccina we spoke to the Director of Food and Beverage, and it was almost like he didnt believe I was sick. He tells us that after he got the report, they went to the infirmary to check if there was a report of food poisoning. First, off; unless I am dying or contagious with something; I am not checking into see your doctor. Second, he tells us about all the specific regulations that cruise ships have to follow for their food.... Again, all restaurants have to follow these regulations at least where I live in Canada. Plain and simple the food was rotten, I have a picture of it, soft shell crab is not supposed to look like a raw oyster. I am not new to soft shell crab, this is one of the only rolls I have eaten consistently for the last 15 years at Sushi restaurants. So regulations or not, the dumplings and sushi that night were not good. Bottom line, something was wrong and it wasnt only me getting sick because on the last day at Bingo the lady in front of me told me that she got food poisoning from the Lotus Garden the night we were in Bonaire, I asked if she reported it to anyone and she said no, but she was going to. All in all, I answered the questions honestly, and we will come back on a Norwegian Cruise on day. It was a great break from our kids, and maybe one day we can take them to. Maybe on a boat that has bigger swimming pools. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary (Aruba, St. Lucia) and the fact that it ended in NYC so we could visit there as well when we got off the ship. We had a wonderful time, found the service to be excellent (in particular the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary (Aruba, St. Lucia) and the fact that it ended in NYC so we could visit there as well when we got off the ship. We had a wonderful time, found the service to be excellent (in particular the bartenders), and always found there was something to keep up occupied. We often dined at the buffet for breakfast and lunch, we found their to be a great selection, only downside was the limited seating at peak meal times. Most dinners we dined at Indigo and for the most part really enjoyed the food and service. We booked our own shore excursions (not through NCL) and found that worked fine for us. Tough to get a deck chair on the main pool deck but never had a problem finding one on the second or third decks. All in all we had a great experience and have recommended NCL to our friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We decided to book this trip as we had never spent any extended time in the Caribbean. This cruise worked because it coincided with my spring break. Having traveled previously with Norwegian we knew what to basically expect. Embarkment ... Read More
We decided to book this trip as we had never spent any extended time in the Caribbean. This cruise worked because it coincided with my spring break. Having traveled previously with Norwegian we knew what to basically expect. Embarkment was a disaster, never have experienced such confusion, or long lines in our previous four cruises. We arranged for the shuttle from the airport to the dock, via Norwegian, that part of the experience was fine, easy and moved smoothly. The bus dropped us off in front of the line that was wrapped around the street...but we still waited about an hour to get on the ship. During this extended time porters kept coming up to us asking us for tips....it was crazy, as the porters hadn't moved any of our luggage. The porters kept asking their supervisor to tell us to tip them. We are generous tippers but this was outrageous. Thankfully the weather was beautiful but I can only imagine how troublesome this would be if it was raining or cold. For those of you who have cruised with Norwegian before you may want to rethink cruising out of TAMPA. Also Haven members have to wait in this long line as well...as do people who have "priority embarkment privileges". Your priority starts once you get upstairs in the port building. The rest of the trip was fine, and we enjoyed ourselves. We enjoyed our speciality meals at Teppanyaki, and Cagney's. Moderno's was a disappointment but because we weren't paying for it didn't bother us to much. Lunch at Summer Palace was great and not crowded at all, and we also enjoyed lunch at Lotus Garden. As stated earlier we spent a lot of time in OSheehan's watching the NCCA basketball tournament. This was fun but the menu never changed. I never tried the breakfast buffet, lunches at the Great Outdoors was better than those offered at the pool. The pool deck was always packed and some days it was difficult to find a lounge chair. People would get up very early to grab a chair. Tip, put a few personal items on the chair and the pool people cant remove them. There is suppose to be a two hour rule, but it was not enforced. My one complaint was there was always a line at the pool bars and there didn't seem to be enough crew to handle the crowds. On previous cruises with NCL I don't recall this being the case. Internet was spotty, that was to be expected. Shout out to Mark at OSheehan's great bar tender and enjoyed our conversations with him. Shows were OK and musical performers were hit or miss. The comedian was a hoot. Enjoy a cocktail in the Spinnaker's lounge before dinner, such a great spot. This might be out last NCL cruise as I think we enjoy the River Cruises more, better attention, service, decor and food. It is true you get what you pay for...having said that it was still a wonderful vacation and nice to get away from the cold. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
1st time on the Pearl. We have been on several NCL ships, so it looked a lot like other NCL ships. We had to go bowling, something you can't do on many ships. We did not see the rock wall open, but lots of kids playing basketball. ... Read More
1st time on the Pearl. We have been on several NCL ships, so it looked a lot like other NCL ships. We had to go bowling, something you can't do on many ships. We did not see the rock wall open, but lots of kids playing basketball. The entertainment was all very good. We enjoyed it all; from the groups out by the pool, to individual preformers, to larger productions. Though sometimes a singer was very good, but she was in the atrium, which seemed the wrong accustical venue for them. The food in the dining rooms was good, but not amazing. If you want something special, go to one of the specialty restaurant. We missed that they no longer serve Caribbean lobster as they did in years past. Liked Teppanyaki, but no flaming volcano. Met a couple from CruiseCritic & had a great time touring Roatan on our own. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The Pearl was it very first cruise 10 years ago and w still love it. But we noticed one thing, the drink lines were very long and it seemed like there were less staff. We still had a wonderful time and we got our credit to cruise again. I ... Read More
The Pearl was it very first cruise 10 years ago and w still love it. But we noticed one thing, the drink lines were very long and it seemed like there were less staff. We still had a wonderful time and we got our credit to cruise again. I tried the accupunture this time, it was okay but I don't think it's a long enough time to get good results. We absolutely love the thermal spa for adults only. It was great to go relax every night and relax in the hot tub that was not filled with kids. We loved the excursions, we always try to do something that's we cannot do where we live. There monkeys and the turtles were definitely the highlight for us. The guides are always informative and interesting to talk to. We feel safer to book with the cruise so we know they will wait if the excursion gets delayed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are both in our 60's and sailed for the second time this year on the Pearl, this time in a balcony cabin on the 10th Deck. Our previous cabin was an oceanview on the 8th Deck. I have sailed 16 times on various NCL ships and enjoy ... Read More
We are both in our 60's and sailed for the second time this year on the Pearl, this time in a balcony cabin on the 10th Deck. Our previous cabin was an oceanview on the 8th Deck. I have sailed 16 times on various NCL ships and enjoy the benefits that come with Platinum status. Embarkation at the Tampa pier was quite an ordeal this time. In January, we basically walked directly through security to the Platinum desk, got our keys and were onboard within about 15 minutes. This time we arrived at the pier as directed - boarding began at noon, the ship was scheduled to sail at 3 and our documents stated we needed to be on board 2 hours before departure. The line at noon was approximately 3 city blocks long. We used a parking service and were dropped off in the area relegated to parking shuttles across from the port area. There were no porters available to take our luggage. We were forced to drag our bags the 6 city blocks (3 to get to the end of the line and 3 more to get back to the port doorway) before a porter was close enough for us to run our bags over without losing our place in line. Another couple who had taken the same shuttle told us a porter came into the shuttle area just after we left it to get in line. It took us approximately one hour from the time we arrived until we were onboard. There was no Platinum advantage until we passed Security. Once in the building, there was only a minor wait. It was not a happy beginning. Our cabin was 10566, very nice although somewhat small. The layout was more difficult to maneuver with 2 people than our outside cabin had been because of the location of the bed. It seemed the closet was smaller in the balcony cabin also. We had a small coffee maker that was not provided in the outside cabin. While this was great, there was very little counter top space for it, the phone, etc. Our cabin steward was very efficient. We rarely saw him except for a minute or two in the morning but our cabin was kept very clean. I'm a coffee-aholic and very picky about the coffee I drink because I normally take it black and don't hide the taste with cream and sugar. Surprisingly, the coffee in the cabin was fairly good. Also, the coffee in the various areas of the buffet was very good - one nice change. We did note that actual coffee was used at least in the back seating area of the buffet. It was not the coffee syrup product we've seen elsewhere. Thumbs up for that! Our cruise included 3 package choices. We took the beverage package, 3-dinner dining package and internet. NCL changed the prices for various alcoholic beverages so that Belvedere vodka and Glenmorangie scotch were included in the beverage package this time, unlike in January. Another thumbs up! Dinners were at Teppenyaki twice, LeBistro twice, Moderno once, Jade Garden once and Indigo once. Unfortunately, our experience in Moderno was unlike the experience we had in January. While the salad bar was very good, especially the soup, the meat was terribly tough - actually unchewable. Even the filet was not as good as it had previously been. Our waiter was good and can't be blamed for the quality of the meats. Dinner in Jade Garden was very good. The hot and sour soup was spicy but tasty. We tried the spring rolls, dumplings and chicken dishes. Everything was tasty and good and service was exceptional. Dinners in Teppanyaki were every bit as good as in January. The filet mignon prepared by the chef was melt in your mouth delicious and the show he put on both times was fun. Service there was also very good. The food in LeBistro was fabulous! I had filet for one of my dinners and veal once. Both were excellent. Our waiter in LeBistro was Erly. She was the nicest young woman and was so efficient. Right through to dessert she took care of our every want/need. I hope to see her again on a future cruise. We ate the majority of our breakfasts in Summer Palace. The breakfast there is awesome. The service was spotty on debarkation day but even then, the food was good. A couple of days breakfast was served in Indigo. We tried it there once and much preferred the ambience and food in Summer Palace. I think they use the same kitchen so possibly that was an off day. We only ate breakfast at the buffet twice. The hustle and bustle and search for a table while carrying your food was not fun. I always in the past just ate breakfast at the buffet but the last few cruises have convinced me that the dining room is a far more relaxing place to start your day. We are not theatre goers and only attended the comedian's show there. He was funny and we had a few laughs. Other nights we mostly went to the martini bar and listened to Peter the pianist play. He engaged members of the audience and made it a really good time for all. I believe he said he was leaving the ship after our cruise. Our other activities were casino play time and listening to Roxy in the Atrium. The casino slot machines were not good but the hosts were very nice. Because I have a Sapphire card with the casino, they treated me to $200 on board credit and free premium drinks in the casino - this included water, Perrier, San Pellegrino, red bull and cappucino drinks as well as alcoholic beverages. I hope NCL is listening: One huge improvement this cruise compared to our cruise in January was that smoking was no longer permitted on the pool deck. Last cruise, the entire port side allowed smoking. It was a major complaint of mine and I very much appreciated that it was no longer allowed. Thumbs up again! Another huge improvement was the enforcement of the no chair saving rule. We watched as towels were removed from chairs by the deck attendants. They only took them if the seats were vacant for more than an hour. What an improvement! The process was kind of hit or miss but hopefully they will begin to enforce the rules 100% of the time in the future. Yet another thumbs up for this effort! We remained on the ship the entire cruise. We had planned to get off in Roatan but it was pouring rain when we got there and took a couple of hours to clear up. By then, we had lost interest. Maybe next time. All in all we had a great time. The staff was excellent as always. Food except as mentioned was very good, drinks were made as requested and service was great. I'll be on the Bliss in May and can't wait. I hope the staff, food, entertainment is as good as on the Pearl. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I traveled with my fiance March 24th to the 30th aboard the Norwegian Pearl, a smaller but fully refurbished ship. Getting onto the ship did take some time, but it was well worth the wait! Once getting on to the ship we were greeted ... Read More
I traveled with my fiance March 24th to the 30th aboard the Norwegian Pearl, a smaller but fully refurbished ship. Getting onto the ship did take some time, but it was well worth the wait! Once getting on to the ship we were greeted instantly by the friendly staff, and given a map of the ship. Our stateroom was 8113, an inside room with an additional third bed. We were happy to see that the two smaller beds when put together make a king-size bed. The stateroom had plenty of room for the two of us. Additionally, the hard working staff had our rooms ready for occupancy with in an hour of arriving on the ship. The cruise we selected left out of Tampa and sailed to Harvest Caye (Norwegian's private island) in Belize. The island was clean and perfect! From there we stopped in Costa Maya Mexico. The port was very clean and inviting, but didn't feel very authentic. My fiance and I did an excursion to Chacchoben, one of the Mayan Ruins! This really made the stop worth it! From there we sailed to Roatan Bay in Honduras. The port was small and was undergoing major construction while we were there. We didn't book any excursions and wanted to explore by foot. That was a mistake! As soon as we walked out of the port we were instantly inundated with locals trying to sell us this, that, and everything else. We managed to walk past the large group, but, we were followed by locals. While we never felt unsafe, something just didn't feel right. We went back to the port and enjoyed the many bars they had to offer, and let the bartender fill us in on the area. Finally, we had our last stop in George Town on Grand Cayman. This was by far the best stop we had. The island was clean, and the locals were amazing. We were able to walk all around and explore the many beaches, shops, and local watering holes! As for the quality of the on-board experience, we didn't have a bad meal or cocktail! We dined in the main dinning rooms (Indigo & Summer Palace), the staff were top-notch and so was the food. Overall, we were impressed by NCL and plan to take another cruise before the end of the year! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is our 4th NCL cruise and by far the decline in everything was noticed. We were in a Penthouse Suite so that made a great difference in our service and we tip well after all of the extra service charges NCL adds,so the staff we ... Read More
This is our 4th NCL cruise and by far the decline in everything was noticed. We were in a Penthouse Suite so that made a great difference in our service and we tip well after all of the extra service charges NCL adds,so the staff we worked with were super. A few extra dollars goes a long way. We chose a suite due to wheel chair and space needs. Our suite 9672 was wonderful and accessible for seniors or people who need a walk in shower and not a tub. Location: Overall it is nice to see the area and the beautiful blue waters. NCL keeps you in their areas IE Harvest Caye so you dont always see the real culture. They are really building their own areas so they can keep the $$ you spend in house. Cabin: Very Nice and well worth the upgrade. Big Balcony only downfall were those smoking around us. It is now all NON smoking in rooms and balconies and if caught they will fine you. Dining: Most of our meals were in specialty locations so most of it was good. Our servers were beyond wonderful. The specialty dinners were not as good as in years past. Meat was a bit tough I had a ribeye one night and could not chew any of it. Stick with the Filet. The buffets looked sad. The salmon is now a salmon spread, mixed fruit a blob of fruit mushed I could go on but wont. Do not go on NCL for the food unless you are in a suite/haven. The basic food keeps getting downgraded. Staff: German Escobar our NCL consultant highly recommend. Book through NCL and they will tell you everything you need. Including that the 7 day cruise only is only 3 add on meals not 7 as people assume. Online bookings do not explain things like the meals or drinks. Anoop Concierge went out of his way to assist. Highly recommend him and Vergil our Butler as well as our Steward were all great. The crew in Cagneys and Moderno for the meals were top notch. Embarkation: Tampa Port should be ashamed of the mess they have there. So much confusion on where to go as there was construction. Signage was horrible. The officers directing traffic were super and helped everyone. Once we made it to the NCL controlled area (inside) everything was great. Outside a nice woman named Deb helped and made the day. Enrichment Activities: Most of the activities were a pay to play which has changed from years past. Another nickle and dime of NCL. Entertainment: Ledgends was ok but the rest was pretty poor. NCL really needs to invest in their entertainers. This was one of the lamest of all cruises. The crew singing in the morning were better than the entertainment at night. Spa: Well worth the addition. Not crowded and well kept up. Public Rooms: Everything was cleaned each night. I watched the staff clean at all hours and they worked hard. The ship was just rehabed so everything was still in pretty good shape. Service: The servers overall were great we were in specialty so taken care of well and those extra tips go a long way. Mary Anne and the crew that assisted us were super. The crew in the buffet worked hard but hardly smiled. They look overworked and underpaid. Shore Excursions: I would not recommend the Black Swan boat tour in Belize it was a waste of money. We went out in the water and drove around. Did not see much and the guide was filling in so was in a rush to get us back. It was nice hearing about life on the island but not something to do again. The swim with the Dolphin in Costa Maya is a small area of dirty water where dolphins take you about 1/2 block in the water back and forth. Wait to do this in Honduras it was better. NCL offers a $50 credit per port but then you add on those in your party and it adds up. We went away from the port and found tours of 1/3 of the price. Be aware that you are guided to NCL activities but if you leave the port you will see many options. Just pick and choose because they are pretty aggressive. The swim with the dolphin Value for the Money: It was ok but a lot of those in the suites said they would go on other cruise lines in the future because NCL was downgrading everything and up- charging for so much that they did not in the past. Be prepared to pay $4.99 for shrimp in Cagneys they just added this. Also if having a drink before the ship leaves port you will be charged local taxes. Keep an eye on your bill and check it daily. There were a few things that were added here and there that made no sense. Overall we enjoyed the cruise because of the staff and the people. We have been loyal NCL cruisers however are going to try a different cruise line in the future to compare. It seems like NCL is going in the super economy direction with less quality and add ons for everything. Disembarking was great as we had priority and this went well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have not been on a vacation in three years and my son has never been on a cruise so my go to cruise ship is NCL as I have been on four other cruises with them. As always, I have never been disappointed. There is always something to do ... Read More
I have not been on a vacation in three years and my son has never been on a cruise so my go to cruise ship is NCL as I have been on four other cruises with them. As always, I have never been disappointed. There is always something to do for everyone. The Norwegian Pearl is one of the smaller ships with around 2500 guests thus there is less entertainment venues but I was not disappointed with what was provided. The food, service and shore excursions were fantastic especially the Salsa, Guacamole and Tequila excursion. The tour guides were over the top with entertainment, laughter and just down right funny. Afterwards, you could stay at the beach and the massages were great and just for 20 dollars!! The ship was friendly with a positive atmosphere. I didn't want my vacation to end. I can't wait to return. See you soon NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I always take this cruise line because it is freestyle ... You can wear what you want to at dinner no dressing up to eat and eat at anytime you like to. The cabin was nice the entertainment was real good, housekeeping was the best. The ... Read More
I always take this cruise line because it is freestyle ... You can wear what you want to at dinner no dressing up to eat and eat at anytime you like to. The cabin was nice the entertainment was real good, housekeeping was the best. The service was very good . If you need something they was right there . The ship it itself was very clean and I would go on this cruise line again. The ports was nice but a couple of them I would change and they should go to other ones just because of the poor shape they were in. I would rate the dinnering very good you can go and eat when you wanted to and no dressing up . Why should people tell you when to eat and what to wear. The ship was kept clean ever day always saw crew cleaning it night and day . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based on advice from navy travel agent for quiet crowd and excellent facilities. We have never been on a cruise (pleasure) I have been on several Navy Cruises for extended deployments so my wife and I were looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on advice from navy travel agent for quiet crowd and excellent facilities. We have never been on a cruise (pleasure) I have been on several Navy Cruises for extended deployments so my wife and I were looking forward to enjoying a relaxing cruise. The cabin was beautiful and staff was incredible. There was much we didn't know however we were able to chat with lots of other cruisers and gain some important knowledge. It took 2-3 days to "calm down" from our busy lives and responsibilities at home however we began to settle in at the very end just enjoying the time for recharging. My wife and I do not drink so we were a little apprehensive that the overall onboard activities that we experienced involved alcohol. This was not problematic just different from where we are used to relaxing (on the beach) where alcohol is not a priority. The ports of call were incredible. we were able to sample some of the western caribbean and find where we would like to spend additional time. Food was delicious and enjoyed being able to eat on our schedule. The buffet was more than enough for us. we sampled some of the restaurants however were satisfied more with the convenience of the buffet. We both purchased the soda package and were disappointed we had to wait in the long lines of the various bars to get club soda or a diet coke. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I loved the boat, the free style dinning and the food was great. The staff was friendly and helpful and tried their best to go above and beyond for us even when we were a bit demanding. The announcements were kept to a minimum which is ... Read More
I loved the boat, the free style dinning and the food was great. The staff was friendly and helpful and tried their best to go above and beyond for us even when we were a bit demanding. The announcements were kept to a minimum which is good but the first day at sea on the boat it was really confusing as to what time it was; the clocks in the elevator had the wrong time. The entertainment was good. I especially enjoyed The Funky Roots band. I felt that their was a lot of activities early in the day and on days at port but at days at sea there was not much to do, would have loved if more of the activities repeated in the evening between 3 -5. The really popular activities like the comedian, game shows and performances were always packed so often if you didn't get there early it was standing room only so I missed some things or had to sit where there was not a good view of the activities. They did show some of the popular games shows on the tv so you can see it. The only other thing I disliked was the DJ he would often play a lot of old music or repeat the same songs the live band had just sung. Often the dance floor would get packed with the line dances but after those were over the DJ would play some weird stuff that would just clear the dance floor. So definitely not for heavy party-ers in my opinion. We did an excursion at each port and overall they were good but not necessary if you just want to go to beach. Despite that we had a great time and would definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a good itinerary (Harvest Caye Belize, Costa Maya Mexico, Roatan Honduras, George Town Grand Cayman) on a nice sized ship for a first cruise. This trip worked well into our schedule as it was during our school March Break so my ... Read More
This was a good itinerary (Harvest Caye Belize, Costa Maya Mexico, Roatan Honduras, George Town Grand Cayman) on a nice sized ship for a first cruise. This trip worked well into our schedule as it was during our school March Break so my wife was able to take a break without having to book vacation time (very difficult when you work in a school). Lots of activities on board, lots to see and do if wanted, good shore excursions offered and the chance to get away for a week with no worries. Embarkation was a cattle call. I have not experienced something quite so painful in many years, however given the number of guests trying to get on board in such a short time, I guess I should have expected it. The queues for getting through security were way over the top - the terminal in Tampa is not well configured or equipped to handle the number of people going through security. Checking in was a breeze compared to 45 minutes getting through security. Once on board, getting to our cabin was fairly easy, however the maps for the cabin decks have the floorplans reversed which caused us to go the wrong way (this happened frequently when going to a new part of the ship). Accurate / more signage would have been helpful for us first timers, or something sent to us prior to embarkation advising us where we would be getting on the ship and the embarkation process so that we know what to expect. Once we had made it to our cabin, the trip seemed to get better. After the muster call, we toured the ship to orient ourselves and found most of the maps helpful, even though they are sometimes reversed. The weather cooperated well and we had generally calm weather with smooth seas. Entertainment was good, lots of food choice, very few lines and really not much waiting for activities or service. Overall, a very pleasant vacation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My buddies and I chose this cruise as our annual Spring Break vacation. We're all in our mid-20s and enjoy trips with plenty of action mixed with some relaxation time. This cruise was perfect for our vacation needs. Even though the ... Read More
My buddies and I chose this cruise as our annual Spring Break vacation. We're all in our mid-20s and enjoy trips with plenty of action mixed with some relaxation time. This cruise was perfect for our vacation needs. Even though the ports of call were touristy, we still made the most out of our trip. Excursions we chose included the Maya Lost Mayan Kingdom waterpark in Costa Maya (an awesome experience), kayaking in Harvest Caye (not worth it), and A Taste of Cayman in Georgetown, Grand Cayman (well worth the price). We rented motor scooters from Captain Van's and explored West End in Roatan. We snagged the 3 free-at-sea offers during one of NCL's promotional periods - free unlimited WiFi, 3 free specialty dining nights, and of course the unlimited open bar. The beverage package alone made the trip worthwhile. Any drink up to and including $15/drink is the BEST drink package on the cruise market. Top shelf liquor (Grey Goose, Patron, Jameson Caskmates, etc.) were all included in the package. Unlimited drinks, and you could order two at a time. You can't beat that! Our cruise agent threw in an extra free-at-sea offer, so we chose the $50 per cabin per port excursion credit. The ship's entertainment was fair, but the comedian was outrageously funny. Avalon, the ship's band, was super talented, but we quickly realized that they kept playing the same songs over and over again. The food in Indigo, O'Sheehan's, Lotus Garden, Moderno, Cagney's, and Le Bistro was outstanding. They even had matzoh ball soup on the menu in Indigo! We did, however, eat in Russian Palace one evening and I was disappointed with the taste of the Italian dishes. Everything else was great. Service from the staff was top notch. Every staff member wanted to make sure you had the best cruise experience possible. Our cabin steward, Sharon, was a delight. The main reason I didn't give this cruise 5 stars was the issue with O'Sheehan's bar. O'Sheehan's is an Irish-themed bar with a 24 hour restaurant located on deck 8 right above the Atrium. We stayed on deck 8 mid-ship, so we were happy with the convenience of a bar close by to our staterooms. We made friends with the bartenders and other deck 8 neighbors. O'Sheehan's quickly became our favorite hangout spot. On day 3 of our cruise, maintenance had hung white sheets all around the bar and proceeded to produce an enormous amount of noise that sounded like taking a chainsaw to sheet metal throughout the whole day. The bar was closed for the entire rest of the cruise. No warning, no explanation. I made a point to note this inconvenience in my review to NCL, but still have not yet heard a response or an apology. I would absolutely cruise with Norwegian again, but on a different ship. The Pearl is a smaller ship, so she didn't have as many bells and whistles as her newer counterparts. Plus she's starting to show her age. Norwegian's service is outstanding, and their drink package is the best at sea. I'll be back on Norwegian soon! Cruising on Celebrity Infinity in August, so it'll be interesting to compare these two above-average cruise lines. P.S. a note to cruisers over the age of 60: if you plan to travel on a cruise during Spring Break dates, expect a little rowdiness from some of the younger travelers! I was astounded by the amount of "experienced" cruisers on a Caribbean cruise in the heart of Spring Break season who were unhappy with the number of Spring Breakers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise (day at sea-Norwegian private island- day at sea) because it’s close to our home and the prices were reasonable especially for spring break! The cruise was hosting Trailer Park Boys and their fan base which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise (day at sea-Norwegian private island- day at sea) because it’s close to our home and the prices were reasonable especially for spring break! The cruise was hosting Trailer Park Boys and their fan base which was honestly fine except that some areas were closed off for private events etc. the only real issue we had was that we had to move rooms (9505 to 8619) at 1am the second night of the cruise because TPB was hosting a rock concert two floors below us until 2 in the morning. Poor planning on Norwegian’s part in my opinion....it was so loud it hurt our ears two floors up. Most events in the Stardust theater are done by like 10 so this was definitely weird....however they were quick to help and get us moved! As far as the ship goes this is probably my favorite Norwegian ship! We enjoyed the specialty dining (Cagneys and Japanese) very much! We also enjoyed the Irish pub and the grouping of bars at the middle of the ship! Nothing ever felt crowded and the service was impeccable. I’ve only ever been on the Norwegian open bar cruises and honestly this one had a whole different vibe. Even though we still had the bar “perk” the bartenders were attentive and really took pride in their work! The pools were also great and never really overcrowded. In conclusion I want to say that this was probably the smoothest cruise I’ve ever been on....sounds weird I know, but it really felt like the the captain took great care to avoid bad weather and rough seas. In fact, we did not make port at stirrup cay because they felt the seas were too rough and they still took us the Freeport! All in all just a good time....we will definitely book again!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 7th cruise (DIsney, Celebrity, Holland, Royal Caribbean), but our first time with NCL. We are a married couple in our late 50s. We enjoyed the more casual, laid - back, freestyle experience. The Pearl, although not as ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise (DIsney, Celebrity, Holland, Royal Caribbean), but our first time with NCL. We are a married couple in our late 50s. We enjoyed the more casual, laid - back, freestyle experience. The Pearl, although not as "elegant" as some other ships, still is in good shape, clean and modern. The Pearl staff was very friendly and attentive, especially our cabin attendant, Daniella. The restaurants and food variety was good, but not as good as Celebrity or Disney. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants, Cagneys and Moderno. Cagneys was excellent, Modernos not as much (although a great salad bar). We loved the musical entertainment (Avalon, Roxie the guitarist, sing-a-long with Peter, DJ Tazz) and pool entertainment more than other cruise ships. The pool water was a nice temperature, not too cold. We could not go to the only scheduled port, Great Stirrup Cay, due to high winds/weather, but went to Freeport, Bahamas instead. Our time in port was much shorter due to the diversion to Freeport. We had a very negative experience with the excursion desk staff and lack of announcements regarding the port of call change. This cruise had many spring breakers and cruisers that were part of the "Trailer Park Boys" theme cruise, so the atmosphere was younger and more energetic which we enjoyed, but some cruisers could not handle their alcohol. We smelled the strong, persistent odor of marijuana emanating from some of the rooms, hallways and common areas, although we did actually witness any cruisers smoking marijuana. For people with sensitivity to smoke or asthma, it may have presented a problem. We took advantage of the free perk unlimited beverage package (alcohol, soda and juices) although it is not totally free since you are charged a service fee (approximately $160 for 2 adults). The service fee, though, was well worth the package. The theater entertainment was very average (husband and wife magician and a solo singer). There were no big production shows, maybe because the shorter length of the cruise and the "Trailer Park Boys" theme cruise using the theater for special events. If you are looking for a casual, lively and energetic cruise, please consider NCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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
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