A dream vacation turned nighmare!

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 24

Overall rating:

2.4 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Pearl

11 Night Greek Isles & Italy (Venice To Rome)

Sail date: September 09, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Pearl

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 11656

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We thought this cruise was a perfect fit for us and looked forward to it for over a year. It just wasn’t. This was our 3rd cruise with NCL and it gives us pause on taking future cruises.


1 out of 5
They may have people mover to get you a short distance, but there is one heck of a long walk to get to your ship. No transportation is available.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
I’m still trying to figure out why we pay gratuities on the drink package when you do all or most of the work! You will have to track someone down to get a drink. Or they don’t make eye contact so they don’t have to work. Or you may have to interrupt their personal conversations to get anything. Or better yet, when you go to the bar yourself and put in an order…you don’t get something and then they argue that you didn’t order it. There is a big different between apologizing for not hearing, forgetting, etc. compared to flat out arguing. I got to the place where I thought I would have to start videotaping my order…wish I would have! As for the food, it’s the same as the other cruises…too much curry! And they put curry in about 75% or more of the food in my opinion. Good thing I don’t have an allergy. But good food can be found in the Irish Bar and the buffet has cheese and salad. The dining room offers some good choices, but still…curry when you don’t expect it. I really wish they’d have more options that are completely curry spice free.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
The hot tubs are warm tubs. I wish this ship had a slide like the Jewel. The fitness center was ample.


2 out of 5
The game shows were fun to watch. The best bands were in the atrium, but alas…little to no seating.

Service and Staff

1 out of 5
It is completely unfair to lump the waiters, room stewards, and other ship personnel in together. Our room steward was fine, but we are low maintenance anyway. I give him a 5! The waiters in the dining rooms were amazing…like watching a dance. They are by far the hardest working people on the ship and I give them a 5. But since you insist on lumping all these together I have to say the customer service staff at the desk was rude. The shore excursions staff is lackadaisical, incompetent and disrespectful. So, I have no choice but to leave a 1 star because of the horrible experiences we had with excursions. I don’t want a high star rating in this area to be ignored…hopefully someone will read and decipher.

Ship Quality

2 out of 5
There were areas in the buffet area that were absolutely filthy from food and drinks being spilled, etc. Oh, there would be a staff member nearby with a towel…but that’s it…they’d just be nearby with a towel, that doesn’t mean they used it. In the pool area there would be areas filthy as well. We actually kept tabs on a glass for a few days that was never removed by the so-called cleaning staff. While we’re at it, the washy/washy staff was not very aggressive. On past cruises they practically wouldn’t let you in to eat unless you washed/cleaned your hands…not the case on this cruise. We watched way too many people pass the washy/washy people by without cleaning their hands. This affects us all. We got sick on about the 5th day of the cruise, we’ve never gotten sick on a cruise before. But under the conditions on this ship it was bound to happen. However, the main dining rooms seem to be immaculate.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
When I first booked this cruise I wanted the handicapped room and it was available. I was told I’d have to show proof of needing that room with the proper handicapped documentation. Of course, I didn’t have that…I just wanted the bigger room. In talking with the nice couple who ended up with that room I asked them about showing the proof and they looked at me like I had 3-horns. They didn’t have to show anything, they just booked it. This seems rather unfair to me. I do get showing proof, but they booked early, just like me and didn’t have to show a thing. Yes, I’m jealous because I could have had that room. But it seems to me that you need to have everyone on the same page and playing by the same rules to make it fair. Our room was ok, lots of paint chipping on a daily basis. I miss having ice in our cabin in the evening like on other cruises with the same type of cabin…actually, I think this cabin was even better than the last 2 cruises with NCL, which really surprises us that we didn’t get ice. The closest seemed to be tighter on this cruise and couldn’t open the doors as much. Hared kept it clean and tidy for us and kept us supplied with everything we needed…good guy!

Ship tip

The current staff doesn’t have their act together like on other cruises. The upper echelon really needs to make some adjustments because everything starts at the top and trickles down. Definitely bring your patience! I would not recommend for first time cruisers.

Ports of call

Venice, Italy Did not visit port

This is where we started our cruise and we visit for 4 days in advance of the cruise. We loved Venice! Whether you choose to see something, go on a tour or just hang out...it's awesome. But getting to the port is quite the haul. If you have mobility issues, rethink starting or ending at this port...or hire someone to take care of your bags at a minimum.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

4 out of 5
We did the Game of Thrones tour and it was wonderful and very informative. The person that did our tour was so excited to share her city with us and the different sets from the series. Her attitude was contagious. I marked it as a 4 because the tour needs a little more time and everyone felt rushed…and even she was talking fast to try to get through everything. Plus, it should include the throne replica…and a little more free time. An extra hour would have been perfect for her to have additional time, for us to have a little more free time and to get to the meeting point. Way too rushed!

Kotor, Montenegro

5 out of 5
Loved it! We did the Perast & Our Lady of the Rock tour and it was amazing! Plus, we had ample free time in town to enjoy a little food, drink and the atmosphere afterwards since the ship is literally right there.

Corfu, Greece

3 out of 5
We did the Best of Corfu. Visiting the palace was very nice. But they pack so many people on these tours that it makes it uncomfortable. And of course, they rush you through. At the end you only get a few minutes of free time to hopefully get a good pic and heaven help you if you have to go to the restroom…do this before pics! We also enjoyed a nice traditional meal with dancing…it was a lot of fun, but again…they pack so many people in there that it’s uncomfortable. Plus, other ships were in port which makes it extra interesting. They don’t like all the cruise ships coming at once and neither do we as passengers…it was crazy! And super crazy trying to get back through customs to get on your ship…quite the unbelievable experience.

Santorini, Greece

3 out of 5
The excursions staff on the Pearl didn’t really have their act together. We were called for our tour 20 minutes late for our tour to the Charming Oia Village and you know how long it takes people to get downstairs, on and off buses, etc. So, we got started late, were rushed and then rushed back to the ship. There certainly wasn’t enough time to see a lot of blue domes, but you can see a few to be satisfied. I must say, it’s a beautiful place and just wish it wasn’t so rushed. Definitely need extra time and this tour would definitely allow for it time wise compared to all aboard time.

Mykonos, Greece

1 out of 5
Our tour was set up to go to Delos: Birthplace of Artemis & Apollo. However, due to the winds the tour was cancelled for safety reasons. I am giving this a 1-star because the excursions staff chose to only inform a few select passengers that their tour was cancelled. We were not one of those select few, nor a ton of other people. Nor did they leave message on our cabin phone, leave a message in our cabin, nor on our door. Plus, our meeting time was at 0800 and failed to mention it from to the time they stepped on stage a few minutes before 0800. If it weren’t for an angry passenger yelling that it was cancelled in the Stardust Theater we wouldn’t have known and that was at 0835…and yes, this is how we found out. We asked for answers and were basically ignored and told to choose between the two remaining tours available. The incompetence of the excursions staff was simply deplorable. Since we were put on the spot, we had to choose…and we chose Scenic Views of Mykonos. There isn’t anything scenic there that they took us to…you stop at a beach for 10 minutes and then you stop to eat some cheese…all for $105 per person! Pathetic! I’d recommend to skip any excursion unless you can actually go to Delos and just do Mykonos on your own. We didn’t know we could just do Mykonos on our own until after the awful tour was over. Learn from me and take my advise.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

1 out of 5
We signed up for the Athens & the Acropolis tour. What a joke! Of course we were late being called for our tour since the shore excursions staff was so incompetent. But mix that with a lackadaisical, incompetent tour guide and it’s bad juju. We didn’t make it to all of the stops described in the overview. We did stop at some meaningless stadium. The tour guide had to get drinks so she was late getting back to the bus. When someone mentioned it, she blew them off. Yes, you are reading this right…we, the paying passengers, were waiting on the tour guide. We drove around in a circle 3 times before finally going to the Acropolis. She didn’t have her times right for all aboard, so we never got the tour we paid for…we literally had to go as fast as we could up the hill, try to see the sites, take a few pictures and get back down in like 30 minutes. If you’ve been there, then you know what a task that is on slick marble steps at an incline. We complained and got “some” money back, but still…we took this cruise for a reason and this wasn’t it! Hire a private tour company away from the ship if you wish to see anything here or have a quality tour.

Taormina, Sicily

2 out of 5
We did The Land of the Godfather tour. Again, they have a lot of people that go on these tours. You stop to get a biscuit and lemon refreshment and use the restroom. What the tour guide fails to tell you is that another 50-100 people are about to show up for the same thing. Your chances of using the restroom, getting a table or just trying to enjoy the treat is slim to none. Recommend that no matter what they tell you...if you have to go to the restroom then stand in line right away. Then take your refreshment and biscuit and enjoy it on the walking tour. Hind sight is 20/20...we didn't have that option, but learning occurred. If you don’t do this, then as soon as you see the church up the hill...you're done...move as quickly as you can back down the hill and pay a fee at the coffee shop across from the restaurant you were at to use the facilities. Seriously, either of these will make a different since they don't tell you all these other people will be showing up. But they will tell you that they will leave you if you aren't ready to go on the tour.

Naples, Italy

2 out of 5
We chose to do the Pompeii Excavations. The tour was excellent!!! The gentleman was extremely informative and loves it and loves to talk about it. He was amazing!!! I give him a 5, and only wish there would have been more free time after the tour. But I want you to take note of the rest concerning this port…because it’s a 1…or 0: When we showed up in the Stardust Theater that shore excursions staff started threatening us…that if we didn’t take a seat then he wouldn’t call numbers and we’d be late or miss our tours. Only after the reaction from the crowd did he change it to lining up the buses, it takes time, the aisles need to stay clear for safety, etc. We get that…but he chose to threaten everyone first. I feel lucky that we had seats, because for those that couldn’t find seats he threatened to call security. Thank goodness tours finally started leaving. Horrible, terrible, appalling excursions staff.

Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy

4 out of 5
We did the Pisa Tower Climb. Since the tower itself is limited to how many can climb it, in-turn the tour was limited to how many were on it. Therefore, I think only 26 were on the tour and it was perfect. I do wish we would have had more time in Pisa. But the climb was worth it.

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy Did not visit port

We did not take an excursion with the ship, but chose to stay in Rome for 4 days afterwards and arranged things on our own.


4 out of 5
Getting off that ship was the best part of the entire cruise. But the area you are dumped/walk into off the ship is a little chaotic and there definitely isn’t enough space for all passengers. I’d recommend if you are leaving the ship on your own to wait as late as you can for people to clear out.
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