Norwegian Pearl Review
- Pro: Plenty of dining, nightlife and family options to easily accommodate short sailings
- Con: Unless you're onboard for a theme charter, evening entertainment might feel a bit dated
- Bottom Line: Whether you're just taking a long weekend or sailing with superstars, Norwegian Pearl is a cheerful ship to call home
Norwegian Pearl Overview
Norwegian Pearl is a fantastically fun ship from its imaginative decor (blown-up photos of wild animals or foreign landmarks in stairwells, jewel-tone carpeting, a Victorian/steampunk-style vibe in the nightclub ) to the variety of onboard activities. There's even more fun to be had if you're on one of the wild and wacky charters the ship sails (Kiss Kruise, Mad Decent Boat Party, Walker Stalker Cruise). All the surprising decor make Norwegian Pearl a good ship to get lost on (which you might do until you discover that the only way to get from one end of the ship to the other is on decks 7 and 12). During your explorations you might chance upon the colorful paintings that cover the outside promenade on Deck 7 (think cherry blossoms, dragonflies and giant clip art-esque paintings of paintbrushes and lipsticks). Bars, restaurants, the pool deck, live music and even an arcade keep cruisers occupied. Some public areas on the ship feel a little dated, but the vessel is due for a refurbishment in 2017, which will address updates to lounges, restaurants and some cabins.
Pearl is a social ship, and half the fun is getting to know your fellow travelers. Norwegian Pearl's atrium is one of the most happening spots on the ship, functioning primarily as a place to commune. Nightlife is vibrant with Bar City (a stretch of four bars along a single corridor), the place to hang out. During the day, kids and teen spaces keep the under-18s busy, while the outdoor sports court and pool deck give families and friends the chance to get together for a game of hoops or a dip in the pool.
Pearl offers more than a dozen dining venues, quite literally accommodating all tastes. It's a ship that brings people together -- whether through bands or pop culture on a charter, or for a short vacation -- and it does it well, with cabins across a number of categories (many keeping families in mind) that aren't on the edge of modern, but feel just roomy and comfortable enough.
Overall, Norwegian Pearl doesn't strike us as the kind of ship where people spend a ton of time in their room. If you're not singing karaoke, dancing at a silent disco (headphones only), snacking at O'Sheehan's or enjoying life at sea (sometimes with the top names in music or television), you're probably asleep.
Norwegian Pearl Fellow Passengers
Pearl is a ship for all ages, which works well since it attracts people from across all generations and demographics. It's hard to nail down who wouldn't be on a Pearl cruise; the crowd runs young and old, from all states (and countries, for that matter) -- you name it. These diverse demographics are largely influenced by the many theme cruises the ship hosts. Fans of bands, celebrities and special groups featured onboard span interests and generations. The ship mostly sails shorter, Caribbean itineraries, opening it up to vacationers looking to squeeze in a warm long weekend.
Norwegian Pearl Dress Code
Norwegian's carefree attitude carries over to its dress code, which basically allows for anything. During the day, it's all casual, with swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts poolside and in ports. At night, there's generally no formal dress code, though there's a no-shorts rule at some of the more upscale restaurants (Cagney's and Le Bistro, for example). Otherwise, khakis and Polo shirts are the norm for men in the evening, while women wear sundresses or blouses with capris, slacks or skirts. Norwegian doesn't have a true formal night, though passengers are encouraged to dress up for Norwegian's Night Out once per cruise. Few people actually don their fancy duds, but those who do wear suits (for men) or cocktail dresses (for women).
Keep in mind that on theme cruises, there might not be a single formal night. Instead, most nights are themed -- don't forget to pack gear for your theme cruise, whether it's band T-shirts or zombie makeup. Check to see if your sailing hosts a costume contest -- you won't want to miss out because you didn't pack the right supplies. Also, be sure to pack something white or neon for Norwegian's signature White Hot Party.
Norwegian Pearl Gratuity
Norwegian charges a "service fee" of $13.99 per person, per day, for passengers booked in standard cabins and mini-suites. Those in suites are charged $16.99 per person, per day. Cruisers wishing to adjust or remove the charges must fill out a form post-cruise to request a refund.
Norwegian recommends that suite passengers who use butler and concierge services tip according to the level of service rendered.
An 18 percent gratuity will be added to all bar purchases and services in the spa and salon.