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Sail Date: September 2011
We have always enjoyed cruising with Princess and this last little mini-cruise really topped the list. We decided that to get even closer to reaching the Elite level, we would take this cruise. We booked 2 insides and we were very luckily ... Read More
We have always enjoyed cruising with Princess and this last little mini-cruise really topped the list. We decided that to get even closer to reaching the Elite level, we would take this cruise. We booked 2 insides and we were very luckily upgraded to Caribe 752, an aft penthouse category. We were astonished at the size of the suite of course but to be able to stand on the balcony and to see the Seattle skyline was amazing On the balcony, we had a teak circular table, 4 chairs, and 2 teak loungers, each with its own red plaid blanket. The huge bathroom was in 2 sections, connected by a teak lined door. The single sink had ample space around it, the toiletries were prettily displayed in a metal container, and the upgraded towels were hung on gold-trimmed racks. The other section of the bathroom had the clear glass shower stall (good size) and the jacuzzi tub,again with a container of bath salts nearby, plus 4 plush extra large bath towels. Beautiful marble walls and floor. The makeup area was indeed spacious, lots of mirrors, hairdryer attached nearby. The number of pull out drawers in this area is greatly appreciated, especially for a longer cruise. The queen size (king size?) bed was truly comfortable, topped with 6 pillows. In a suite you can ask for and exchange pillows (ie feather, etc.) Lots of lighting options throughout the suite. From the bed you can look out the balcony windows. There are 2 balcony doors, one in the bedroom section and one in the sitting area. The 2 areas are separated by a curtain. The sitting area comprises of a chair and a sofa, both comfy, and an oval glass topped coffee table. When we entered the suite, we saw the beautiful flower arrangement (roses, tiger lilies, greenery) on one of the side tables by the couch. There is also another smaller flower display in the bathroom. (orchids) The walls are tastefully decorated with pictures; the entire suite is very peaceful feeling. The suite also has a wet bar and a mini-bar set. The mini-fridge located under the flat screen TV/DVD also has additional drinks such as Perrier water, soft drinks and beer. The second TV is located in the bedroom section. Ample closet space is provided with 2 rows of closet rods, wooden hangers, and shelves. As in all cabins, there is a safe. Embarkation Process: we departed Vancouver using a bus service that took us to Pier 91, Seattle. We arrived at the Terminal before 11:30 and by 12:30, we were in our cabin/suite. So we were pleased with the Seattle embarkation system. Lunch: International Restaurant is open on embarkation day so we partook of the excellent services of our waiter, Fernando and his assistant. Broiled salmon was one of the choices and it was excellent. Dinner: Santa Fe Restaurant, table 352: good service. We found the area a bit noisy (we had a table by the window) Prime rib was tasty as was the shrimp cocktail. Evening performances: We were fortunate to hear the Korean Drum Band, a group of young ladies who entertained us well with their talented drumming. This was followed by the Princess dancers and singers who performed "Piano Man"--excellent costuming, good singing, and as usual, fabulous dance steps! Fellow Passengers: for this one night cruise, filled with mainly Canadians, we saw all age groups, from children to seniors into their eighties. Noise level, overall: the atmosphere was very positive throughout the areas of the ship that we visited. We did not get a chance to visit the pool areas. Overall look of the Ship: I personally could not find fault with any area of the ship. The flooring was clean, tidy, polished; the staircase areas were well maintained. The public washroom were all clean and well kept up. I did not see any areas needing painting, carpets in distress, etc. Of course, I was only on this ship for one night. I was very impressed with the layout of the present Sapphire. I like the new change of having the International Cafe and Vines, but it is unfortunate they are reducing the size of the Internet Cafe (it will lose the windows it presently has) and the Writing Room area, which is perfect for sitting and reading. Disembarkation in Vancouver: we were lucky to be in the Platinum Waiting area (Wheelhouse Bar) and we managed to be off the ship by 9:15. We could have arranged for an earlier time but chose not to. The only glitch in the system is not with Princess or its procedures, but with the Canada Customs (lack of staff) to process over 2700 passengers in a timely manner. Summary: The Sapphire is a gorgeous ship. We experienced wonderful staff, very friendly and helpful. The staff in the Boutiques were all wonderful too. We have a number of cruises under our belt (not all Princess) and we walked away with a very positive feeling about this one day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We flew from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA took "Already There Town Car" to the pier. I would highly recommend Already There Town car for transportation. We took an early flight and arrived at the pier at 9:15am, had to wait ... Read More
We flew from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA took "Already There Town Car" to the pier. I would highly recommend Already There Town car for transportation. We took an early flight and arrived at the pier at 9:15am, had to wait until 10:30am to go inside the port. The ships pier (91) is too far from Downtown Seattle to walk as the pier is not near anything. There is not an embarkation lounge or place for Suite, Elite, Platinum to wait prior to boarding. Once inside everyone checking us in was friendly and it went fast. Met another CC'er standing in line with us. Had a Baja deck (B247) starboard forward balcony. We could see the space needle and downtown Seattle from our balcony. This is a nice room and good location, found shower to have enough room. Wish they had another "nice" chair in the room though. Requested a mattress topper and it was on the bed when we arrived. Had smokers on both sides of us, this was very disappointing as we hardly used our balcony. Our floor did not smell of smoke, but after about 4pm the smell of smoke filled the ship and could really smell it when going up & down the stairs. They really need to move the Sports Bar lounge on all ships as you smell smoke and of smoke just walking by going to the theatre. At the "Muster Drill" they now have scanners and they scan your card to keep track of you, to know if you were missing in case of an emergency. Room numbers are no longer on room cards (key). We heard the buffet was packed so we went to International Cafe for lunch and it was great, music was playing in the atrium, so it was a very relaxing way to start our cruise and no was there. We ate pizza (of course), good as always and later, DH had a hamburger and ice cream cone for desert (no charge). We walked around the ship and took photos. Skywalkers was a surprise and really neat, especially the walk to get there. Ate dinner in Crown Grill and they even ordered in ""and a "Love Boat Dream" desert from the dining room for me. Crown Grill is always good and a very nice ambiance and service. The pools were packed with people. I got a pedicure and it was very good. The ship was nice, we liked the layout, never found mini-golf. The Golden does not have a complete Lotus Spa, they are lacking the heated loungers. The saunas and steam room are outside forward of the Lotus pool, gender specific. Found lots of surprises on the decks where you could go lounge or hot tubs that are tucked away. Good weather when embarked, heavy misting rain upon disembarkation. 7am breakfast buffet line was long we knew we could not get through by 8am (time they want you off the ship), stopped by International Cafe and they have fresh donuts! Disembarkation had to wait in a long line and left the ship at 8am, however moved very quickly. We rented a car and drove back to Portland. It was nice being able to keep your luggage with you as you boarded and disembarked. We hope to be able to do another one-day cruise next year as it was so relaxing for a one day get away. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
I was on a 1-night cruise on the Pearl Sept 20th. I went with my mom and sister and two of my mom's friends. I stayed the night in Seattle at my sister's house. It was my other's sister's birthday, so we went out to ... Read More
I was on a 1-night cruise on the Pearl Sept 20th. I went with my mom and sister and two of my mom's friends. I stayed the night in Seattle at my sister's house. It was my other's sister's birthday, so we went out to dinner the night before, and make a fun weekend with the cruise. We went down to Pier 66 the next morning about 10:30. We had to park our car across the street at the Bell St. Pier parking garage and walk over to the pier. There is a Sky-bridge over to the pier. By the time we got over there, it was probably around 11:00, as we stopped to take pictures. We went right in and checked in. Was easily and fast. We got our room cards and went to find my mom's friends. We probably only waited 10 to 15 minutes before we boarded. We got numbers that they called when we could board. The Pearl is beautiful. It is colorful! We looked around for a few minutes and then went to the Garden Cafe buffet for lunch. We ended up sitting outside the Great Outdoor Cafe area for lunch and got a few things to eat there also. It was great weather to be sitting outside eating. At about 1:45, our rooms were ready, so we found our cabin. We upgraded to a balcony and we were glad we did. The balcony was wonderful and the room was bigger than the inside cabin we originally had. We had three in our cabin. It was just fine with three for the 1-night cruise. I would not even mine having three in a cabin for a little longer cruise. The third bed was in the sofa. We also had a fourth bed in our room,I believe which we did not use. It was in the ceiling it looked like. I also loved the shower. It was the biggest shower I have had on a cruise. The toilet was a little cramped though. We ate dinner in the MDR Summer Palace. It was good. Was totally too full by the time the entree came, as we had gone to the Blue Lagoon only a couple hours before to have a snack, We ordered buffalo wings, chicken strips, and a cheese dip. I was told these buffalo wings were really good and they are right. They are wonderful! I can't wait until my next Pearl cruise to eat these again - by the way which is next May! We went up to Bliss and it is a really colorful lounge with beds and a bowling alley. We went to the show at night which was Sea Legs. It was good. Other things I enjoyed on the cruise - the water slide, the pools, which were warm water on the day we were there, all the different restaurants to choice from, sitting at night by the big screen and watching a movie in the Crystal Atrium, shopping, bowling alley in Bliss and the sail away party, among many other things. I can't wait until my next cruise on the Pearl which is booked for May. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
I took my 21-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter on Norwegian Pearl's weekend cruise to nowhere from Seattle. We were in a Courtyard Villa. EMBARKATION For embarkation we theoretically had VIP status, but it took three people to ... Read More
I took my 21-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter on Norwegian Pearl's weekend cruise to nowhere from Seattle. We were in a Courtyard Villa. EMBARKATION For embarkation we theoretically had VIP status, but it took three people to discover that we were meant to be in the VIP lounge after we had already checked in at the main desk area. Norwegian needs to upgrade their signage and provide more assistance for embarkation at Seattle. Once checked in, actual embarkation was fine. COURTYARD VILLA The Courtyard Villa has an alcove off the main bathroom (!) with a comfortable almost-king-size bed and nice linens. There is a small flat-screen TV and DVD player installed in the wall cabinet. A curtain separates the bed from the bathroom, which felt like the biggest part of the suite - modern fixtures, two sinks, vanity area, separate toilet compartment, and both the shower and bathtub had big windows looking out to sea. The bathroom area was a bit open for us, you'd want to be on intimate terms with whomever you share it with! The bed/bath area can be separated from the living area by a sliding glass door. The living area had a large flat screen TV, a settee and chairs (and I say settee because it was firm and upright with wooden arms - no lounging there!), and access to a small balcony area with two chairs and small table. There is a very small dining table and a minibar/counter area with an espresso machine in the living area as well. When you see the photo on the internet and say to yourself "It can't be as small as it looks!" - yeah, it is as small as it looks. My daughter watched TV lying in the dry bathtub, because it was more comfortable there and really the bathroom was the nicest part of the suite. The children's bedroom was very small, with an armless couch that slides out to become a bed with a second bunk stored in the wall, and a small TV. There was a small bathroom with shower in the second bedroom, more what you would expect on board ship - very space efficient if you take my meaning. I wouldn't put two kids in that room unless they were under about 10 years old. It was fine for my 21 year old son - he doesn't need much light! The courtyard area was very nice, with a small, old fashioned style shipboard pool (you climb down a ladder to get in and the sides are very high), a hot tub and steam rooms. The VIP fitness area consisted of a treadmill and an exercise bike. There are lounge beds and chairs, a conversation pit, and the area has a retractable roof. There is also access to a sundeck above. THE SHIP IN GENERAL The ship is lovely - everything is very clean. We tried line-dancing, participated in a game show, went bowling, played games in the card room, etc. We didn't try the video arcade and on such a short trip, there was no teen club that we were aware of. The show was laughable - we didn't stay. Things got expensive: every soda or drink, except coffee and tea, etc. at meals, is a purchase with automatic gratuity. We stuck to the water we brought with us... The shops were of minimal interest, with the only deals to be found on the duty free liquor. The casino was well attended by the hopeful (smoking allowed), but there was no blackjack table under $10, so that limited our participation. The kids had massages at the Spa - it was overpriced and the automatic gratuity on that was 18%, but they enjoyed themselves. BAD FOOD It is clear that Norwegian is making money on the food they aren't serving. It was disappointing from start to finish. The menus at the main dining rooms were so uninspiring that we never even went in. My son went to the Sushi Bar ($20 extra) and said it was middling. I ate at the 24-hour Blue Lagoon and it was pretty horrid. As theoretical VIPs we had access to a special breakfast and lunch dining room, which we tried for breakfast one morning. When our eggs benedict came, it was clear that they had been made in some far-away kitchen because they were ice cold. We left our VIP breakfast and went down to the buffet to eat! In fact, we ate every other meal at the buffet, along with 2,000 of our closest friends and neighbors, and were only able to get a table once - I took my plate on to the freezing deck once, and ate in the kid dining area sitting on little stools a couple of times. The buffet at breakfast was decent enough (hot poached eggs!). The other times of day it was pedestrian - with an emphasis on pasta dishes and many kinds of rice. I didn't see any salmon, shrimp, crab legs, or the selection you'd find at any decent buffet in Vegas or on other ships. Are fresh green beans rare? They served up frozen green beans in various guises every day...It felt like they were being awfully cheap, maybe to force the customers to book the pay-dinners in order to get a decent meal. One thing that happened on two different occasions - once at the grill by the pool and once at the buffet - was that service in these areas is not continuous, so when I arrived at an odd hour to get something to eat and the staff was busy putting food away, I literally had to race down the line grabbing something to eat while the staff was trying to snatch it away at the same time...an odd manner in which to serve the customer! THEORETICAL VIPS We didn't pay an impossible sum to get a Courtyard Villa for a two night cruise, but on a regular cruise these rooms go for an exorbitant fee. Maybe the staff was having a mini-vacay on the two days we were there, but I am not aware of any special level of service or attentiveness that would make the Villa worth $9,000 or more for a seven day cruise for two. CONCLUSION I won't book again with Norwegian. I felt nickel-and-dimed, overcharged, and disappointed. The value just wasn't there. Read Less

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