Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
7

2 out of 5

Disappointed.

Sail Date: December 01, 2007

Reviewed: 8 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

The ship itself was very large and clean. It was not easy to figure out the layout as there was no main promenade or thoroughfare. All roads lead to sales. To get to the theater, you need to walk through the shops, To get to the lounges, you need to walk more through the duty-free areas or the photographer station.
The rooms were nice. We stayed in a balcony room on the 10th deck and we enjoyed the room. The bathroom was nicely sized and the doors for privacy made it easy to have more than one person in the bathroom at a time.
Together, we paid $2400 to go on the cruise and we had drink choices of water or ice tea for lunch and orange juice or apple juice for breakfast. To get soda, you had to buy a package for $8.63 per person, per day - this includes an automatic 15% gratuity. This only gets you a soft drink at the bars... in the dining rooms and buffet, you are charged additionally for soft drinks. In addition, you have to buy the soda package for the entire cruise, even if you only wanted it for the day. We ended up paying for 5 days worth of soda at a charge of $85 dollars.
Alcohol was extremely expensive and the drinks tasted a little like they were lacking the liquor. Also, they gave us souvenir cups at an extra charge even though we only asked for regular drinks.
The days at sea were a bit chaotic, especially when looking to relax on one of the decks by the pool. By 10 am, there were no chairs available. There were no separations between the kids and adult areas, which made it difficult to find peace and quiet. There was one pool for kids and one for adults, though they were directly next to each other and the "no kids in the adult pool" rule was not enforced. The deck was always wet and slippery and the "no saving deck chairs" rule was NEVER enforced. There were signs everywhere saying that after 30 minutes, chairs would be cleaned off and this never happened. We walked around for an hour one morning to find chairs, and we ended up having to untie a stack of bundled chairs ourselves and carry them to a corner of the ship. Again, the service was lacking... though if you wanted a drink from the bar, there was always someone to help you (aka take your money).
We did have a great experience on a shore excursion in Cozumel. We chose the "mini jeep and snorkeling" trip and had a great time. The tour guide was friendly and worked hard to make sure we had fun.
Overall, we would not choose to go on another NCL cruise.

Pros: The balcony in the stateroom was well worth the extra money.

Cons: Food. Constant Salesmanship. Shows. Automatic gratuity.

Recommends Norwegian Pearl? No.

Food and Dining
The food was awful. Truly awful. From the cardboard-esque churros in Mambo's to the chewy pasta at Indigo, we were highly disappointed with the food on the ship. We ended up eating french fries and ice cream every day due to our lack of satisfaction from the choices. We paid extra for a meal one night in the Shabu Shabu area of the Lotus Garden. While it was fun and the presentation was relatively nice, we basically cooked our own food in boiling chicken stock. The dessert was the same thing that we would have eaten for free in the buffet. The only good things to eat were things that were pre-made and not prepared on the ship... i.e., ice cream, french fries, ice. Even the water smelled like dogs were swimming in the coolers.
Ship Quality
Service and Staff
The people were nice, though there was a significant language barrier most of the time. No one went the "extra mile"... ever. A silly complaint that we had was that the room steward never did anything above and beyond turning our blanket down for us at night. On other ships, you would have come back to your room with a towel-animal laying on your bed and there would have been more interaction with your steward. The automatic room gratuity seemed to have made the employees less than enthusiastic. There was no incentive for them to provide good service. I asked for extra towels on the first night of my cruise and I am now back at home and still waiting for them to arrive. Paul, our assistant cruise director, was especially intent on getting people to spend extra cash.
Entertainment
We found the activities to be fun once they started... though we had to listen to about 30 minutes of sales pitches where ever we went. We went to play bingo one afternoon and there was a long pitch to buy the most expensive bingo package. We went to a magic show one night and 3/4 of the way through, we were asked to buy a magic dvd. Prior to the shows starting, we were asked to buy raffle tickets and "win now" tickets. The loudspeakers were constantly going off regarding the casino, jewelry, duty-free stores, and bingo. Notice that all of these things carry a price.
Cabin / Stateroom
Comfortable bed. Nice balcony. Great bathroom. Excellent shower with temperature control and pressure control.


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