You're wrong about Pearl being an "old" ship. There are three classes of NCL ships older than the "Gem" class, a total of five ships. Pearl's sisters were refurbished in 2011 and 2014, and she's next. You're right about one thing: interior cabins are smaller generally on the Pearl than on Carnival. As for "rocking," there are factors that affect ship motion that have nothing to do with apparent wave height. Certain types of movement can be mitigated by stabilizers, others can't. Some ships are more top heavy and roll more than others. The Pearl isn't one of those. I agree that the food is more "good" than "excellent" in the Summer Palace and buffet. Did you try any of the pay-more restaurants like the steakhouse or the Japanese?
Review by yrobert
In response to review, MrChocoholic says ...
I always opt for Freestyle dining when available.