Totally AWESOME cruise

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 43

Overall rating:

5 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Pearl

21 Night Panama Canal Westbound (New Orleans To Seattle)

Sail date: April 08, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Pearl

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 8133

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

We were not sure how we would respond to being on a ship for 21 days but we absolutely loved it. It was long enough for us to find out that we just enjoy cruising and the days at sea were as good and maybe even better for us than the ports. It is just so nice to simply choose each day what you want to do or not do and there was so much to choose from. Will definitely do something like this again.


5 out of 5
Everything was so organized and efficient. The waiting area was a bit crowded but then, it was a very large ship. They got everyone on board in a very timely manner.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Summer Palace dining room was elegant, beautiful, and all the staff were so friendly and gracious. Food was a good variety, tasted great and looked appealing. Garden Cafe was always a popular place as food was always available and casual dress totally acceptable. Met a lot of fun people there. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants but there were several types available if we had been interested. There was just too much good food to be found elsewhere!

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
There were lots of fun activites available on the ship. Our favorite was the pool, walking track, and the casino. We didn't spend much money but we still enjoyed it.


5 out of 5
A good variety of shows to suit a multitude of tastes. Our favorite is the music/singing/dancing variety shows and we would have liked to see more of those. There were some very talented performers including Duo Quintessence (aerialists), Norweigian Pearl Show Band, a fabulous pianist, broadway singer, comedy magician, and so many others that I can't remember. The only thing that surprised me was that when they talked about the "oldies" music, it was from the 70's or 80's. That is not old to me--I think of the oldies as the 50's and 60's music and would have enjoyed hearing more of that music.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Excellent staff in all areas. There is not one person that I can say anything negative about (except maybe a couple of complaining travelers). Our cabin steward Greg was absolutely awesome--he remembered our names after one day--amazing--and always greeted us with a smile and of course left the cute towel animals in our room. The cruise director Vincent was superbly organized and seemed to be everywhere. He always had a smile and treated everyone with the utmost courtesy. I overheard him talking to someone who approached him while he was getting a meal in the Garden Cafe and he stood with a plate full of food, stopped and gave the lady his full attention. Whatever she asked about, he replied, "I am not sure but I will find out as soon as I finish here." There was no evidence of any kind of frustration at having his meal interrupted. And, we loved his entertaining suits.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
After initial orientation, it was easy to find things and people were always willing to help. They also had a diagram of the ship all over the place with a "you are here" direction. Although not a new ship, it has been very well maintained and every day could be seen someone painting, cleaning, etc. There was a problem at the beginning of the cruise with a water leak (I think on deck 5) and the water had to be temporarily shut off to repair the leak They must have done a good job because there were no further problems. About the same time the shower and sink in our bathroom had a slow drain but our cabin steward Greg had someone come and fix it very quickly. Would love to have had an adult lap pool for swimming.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
I know a lot of people like cabins with a balcony or window view but we have always liked inside cabins. When the light comes up, I wake up (we tried an oceanview before and I did not sleep nearly as well). When the lights go out in an inside cabin, there is total darkness and it is quiet. Add the gentle rocking of the ship and sleep is fantastic. In fact, I often feel like nap any time of the day because of the ship rocking. I love it! Our cabin was clean and Greg cleaned it every day. We used the signage outside our door and he timed his cleaning so that he never disturbed us in any way. Cabins are small but sufficient to meet our needs. I liked the ability to charge my phone and Kindle using the plug in the bedside light.

Ship tip

Bring your own hair conditioner if you need it. If you have a tendency to get nausea, get a patch from your doctor and put it on 48 hours prior to departure. Also, be sure to eat something rather than to get hungry--somehow having food in my stomach prevents my feeling nauseous.

Ports of call

New Orleans, Louisiana

5 out of 5
We live in Louisiana so New Orleans was not new to us. Lots to do and lots of good food. Unusually cold for Louisiana on our day of departure.

Cozumel, Mexico

4 out of 5
We had also been to Cozumel several times before. Shopping is good. I do get tired of people trying to get me into their shop.

Harvest Caye, Belize

5 out of 5
Have been to Belize before. Beautiful countryside. Lots to do. We did not do an excursion.

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
This was a new port to us. We were glad that there were not especially large crowds at the time we went ashore. Beautiful beach and interesting open air shopping stalls. Some of the artwork made from all natural local materials were pretty clever and beautiful. We did not go on an excursion.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
Totally, totally awesome day. This was our primary motivation for taking the cruise and it did not disappoint. Loved the entire process.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
This was our first time to Costa Rica. I have to admit that even though it was lovely in a quaint way, my favorite find was a cafe with free Wi FI. Communication on the ship is so expensive and 21 days is a long time to have limited communication with home.

Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua Did not visit port

We looked at the ship docking area and it was apparently a very poor and/or undeveloped area. We saw others who had gotten off the ship returning a short time later and decided to not go ashore. Although the shore excursions were interesting options, we did not go on one.

Acapulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
Beautiful port from the ship's view. We were again approached by numerous taxi drivers trying to get us to go with them. It is sometimes hard to continue being polite after you have heard dozens of time, "Would you like to buy this--it is almost free." I should be used to it by now. We walked the sidewalk along the beach and as in all tourist places, there is the very wealthy and the very poor. There were people selling raw fish apparently caught that morning alongside the sidewalk and the smell was not pleasant. After we got past that, we could see the posh resorts, magnificent beach, and enjoyed watching people enjoying the water and having a fun Saturday. It was very interesting and would be worth returning to see more of the area in the future.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

5 out of 5
This was the most developed port for tourists in my opinion. From the ship we could see many, many yachts, upscale shops as well as the typical packed touristy shops. We saw some people carrying iguanas and offering to take pictures with them--really not my thing. However, the sea lion in the harbor and watching a pelican swallow a fish whole was pretty interesting. Beautiful jewelry for an excellent price--so hard to resist. This port would also merit future exploration.

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California Did not visit port

We had been to Los Angeles before and there was nothing we really wanted to see again.

Seattle, Washington Did not visit port

We only had time to get to the airport for our flight--no time for a visit.


5 out of 5
Best disembarkation we have ever had. We signed up for the ship transfer and they not only got us our boarding passes but we never had to touch our luggage after we put it in the hallway the night before until we arrived at our home destination. We used the Norweigian bus transfer service and they got us to the airport in a very timely manner and we went straight to security. It was all so easy.
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