Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Good and Bad

Sail Date: December 10, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

First, the good:

-We LOVE the NCL free-style concept.

-There were a great team of folks taking care of us. They became our little cruise family.

-The bed was incredibly comfortable.

-Going through the Panama Canal was a spectacular experience. So worth a balcony cabin.

Now the bad:

-We absolutely froze, and no one was responsive to our requests. We ended up spending a lot of our time in our cabin, with the balcony door open, just to try to warm up.

-NCL is cutting too many corners when it comes to dining. Lobster night is gone. Chocolate buffet is gone. Cheese plate dessert option is gone. It's like they're trying to coerce cruisers to pay for specialty dining, although even then lobster is an additional upgrade. (So $50 for a lobster when we've already paid for the cruise. Really?!)

-Belize shore excursions are too expensive for what you get, as are ship photos.

-Itinerary said "cruise Gatun Lake," which caused us to forego a Panama Canal excursion (thinking we'd get to see the scenery from the ship). In reality, the Pearl made it in to the lake and dropped anchor. Didn't budge until it was time to go back. Also, comedian Tim Kominsky's (sp?) third show was billed as "all new," but it was the same show we saw in March.


Next cruise? Want the free-style approach but don't care to freeze--or pay extra for things that have been included in the past. We did not participate in their Cruise Next program for these reasons.

Cabin / Stateroom
It would be a big smile if we hadn't frozen.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Ship Quality
Destinations and Excursions
Overall, not a good value for the price. Too much bus time.
Onboard Activities
Service and Staff
Food and Dining
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena not so much, although it was a thrill to get to South America. Really appreciate our visit to an indigenous community, however.
Cruise Gatun Lake And Panama Canal
Going through the Panama Canal was great, but there was no cruising of the lake, which was a great disappointment.
Colon, Panama
Nothing there, really.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
We're familiar with Costa Rica and knew this was not the best spot, but it's the port.
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
For $30 we booked a beach package with Bananarama. Best "shore excursion" of the cruise.
Belize City, Belize
Shore excursions all too $$$$ for what you get.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico


Forego it, or bring winter clothes!

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