Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: November 11, 2007
Ship: Norwegian Pearl
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 8 years ago
My wife and I cruised on the Norwegian Pearl out of Miami from November 11 to November 16, 2007, we traditionally cruise on Princess and Royal Caribbean but decided to try NCLs Freestyle Cruising. Unfortunately, our experiences on the Pearl were sub par to the other cruise lines that we will not be cruising on NCL again. Pre-Cruise Excursions: We booked two excursions prior to the cruise. The cancellation policy clearly states that we could cancel 48 hours prior to reaching the port. What the policy doesnt talk about is the logistics of trying to cancel the excursion with 5 days of sailing. Apparently, the records are sent to the ship 5 days prior and your land side excursion team could not cancel the reservation. After three phone calls and massive confusion on NCL staffs part, one representative who identified herself as a supervisor said she would email the ship on our behalf. Fortunately, when we arrived on board the excursion had been canceled and we were not charged.
Boarding: We arrived early and found the doors open to our surprise. We processed quickly and were seated to wait for boarding to begin. While the process was smooth and efficient, the staff was rude and obnoxious. There were several staff members barking and yelling at guests. This was our first impression and it was not a good one. There is a fine line between being directive and being rude to provide orderly and efficient boarding, NCL staff was rude.
Stateroom: The stateroom was as we expected. The small refrigerator was a nice surprise. We did not receive the level of personal service found on Princess or Royal Caribbean. The stateroom attendants were friendly but there just wasnt that personal feel. On the other cruise lines we always feel like we are on a first name basis on other cruise lines, on NCL we felt like a one night stay hotel guest.
Dining: Food quality in all restaurants was not anywhere close to being as good as Princess or Royal Caribbean. Upscale Restaurants: We expected to find great food in the up charge restaurants and after eating at Cagneys Steak House we decided not to pay for any other food upgrades because the quality was just not that good. I found my T-Bone cut to be something Id find at an inexpensive steak chain restaurant when we fully expecting a higher quality. 24 Hour Dining: The 24 hour dining selection was terrible. There wasnt a midnight buffet just a small dining facility with a very limited menu. One evening we waited over 25 minutes for a burger and watched as 5 tables were served that arrived after us. We asked the waitress to check on our food and once again we experienced complete confusion, three different staff members asked us what we ordered and we finally just left without any food.
Main Dining: In the main dining rooms we found the staff to be friendly but there was not the personal service that we experienced on other Cruise Lines. I suspect this is a result of Freestyle Cruising. Again the food quality just wasnt up to the other cruise lines. There was a variety of food on the menu and the presentation was great. The taste left a lot to be desired.
Garden Caf: Breakfast in the Garden Caf was probably our best dining experience during the whole cruise. But once again there were shortcomings. On Princess and Royal Caribbean there were staff members bringing drinks to the tables. We found ourselves being trampled while trying to get water, milk, or tea. I found it nearly impossible to get a diet coke at breakfast. Entertainment: The cruise director and staff were excellent. In fact, without them I might have jumped overboard and swam back to Miami. The dance company was absolutely fantastic, the best show Ive seen on any cruise ship. We did not see much of the comedy routine but what we did see was good.
Bowling: Interesting concept on a ship we tried it once but thought this should be an included amenity and not $5 per game.
Ports of Call
Don't Miss: Sting Ray City
Don't Miss: Sting Ray City
Pros: Furnishings - lots of couches and nice pool lounge chairs
Cons: Everything Else - Food was terrible