Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: December 14, 2007
Ship: Norwegian Pearl
Cabin Type: Inside
Reviewed: 10 years ago
This is our seventh cruise. We have previously booked with Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival.
This ship has 10 real restaurants (Garden Cafe (buffet), Indigo/Summer Palace (same menu), Lotus Garden, Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki Room, Le Bistro, Cagney Steakhouse, La Cucina, Mambos, and Blue Lagoon). This sounded great to us, however WHAT A MISTAKE!
-Reservations: You have to make reservations for every restaurant besides the Garden Cafe and Indigo/Summer Palace or you will never get in. You can only make a reservation for the day you call and the following day, however with 2700 passengers you better wake up before 8am to make your reservations the day before, or you will be out of luck. This process is more work than it's worth and takes away the whole idea of freestyle dining (pick where and when you want to eat) because you have to plan the day before and we never got the desired time we wanted.
-Extra Fees: Realistically theres only 5 restaurants to choose from (Garden Caf, Indigo/Summer Palace, La Cucina, Mambos, Blue Lagoon) because the others charge between $10 to $20 per person! We heard that Cagneys Steakhouse was worth the extra charge ($80 in total for us), but as we read the menu, the good stuff was another $10 charge per person! We could have had a better meal back home if we spent this much and because this is a cruise, it should have been inclusive.
-Food/Service: The food quality and selection was the worst weve experienced on any cruise! Typically, dinner is what we look forward to the most; however it was the opposite on this cruise. The menu at the main dining rooms (Indigo/Summer Palace) consisted of pork chops and turkey! The bread was cold and the same each night. Because it is freestyle dining you dont have an assigned server and tip is automatic, we received no personal attention, unlike past cruises. The servers were assigned too many tables, which made service agonizingly slow. I could go on and tell you some of our stories of just waiting 20 minutes for our server and finally had to get up and ask a bar server to find out server and she was unable to and ended up taking care of us. Speaking about bar servers, theyre everywhere and have nothing to do because drinks are so overpriced. This is the first cruise we didnt purchase drinks regularly. If you want decent quality food and service, you have to go to one of the restaurants that charge.
This cruise was designed to maximize profits. There were no ice carvings, no midnight buffets, nothing at all. Princess had the Champagne Fountain, Carnival had the midnight Buffets Royal Caribbean had the ice carvings, and Norwegian hadnothing! Sauna and Steam Room normally free cost $20 per person/per day! At the end of the cruise we asked some servers if other people complained and they were quite honestthe answer was YES! Some justification for the poor service is that Norwegian has the longest contract than any other cruise line (10 months, 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, thats borderline slave labor lol), its no wonder service is poor, one server told us many burn out before the end of their contract. This cruise makes Carnival seem like Radisson Seven Seas! The only people that we talked to who were satisfied with the cruise were first time cruisers, but we didnt meet a single experienced cruiser who thought anything good about Norwegian.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: Ports of Call and Stateroom
Cons: Freestyle Dining, Poor Food Quality, Poor Service, Poor Menu Selection, Too Many Extra Fees