Thursday, January 18

NCL Norwegian Pearl Ship Review

Wow! That's the first thing i have to say! What a magnificent ship the Norwegian Pearl really is.
I have been on the Norwegian Jewel and although a great ship, it didn't really 'float my boat' (excuse the pun).
I kind of expected the NCL Pearl to be the same but i was pleasantly surprised. The ship decor was very classy and i was lucky enough to be on board whilst all the Christmas decorations were up so it was pretty magical.
The main feature that did it for me was the bowling alley on board the ship, it was situated in the extravagantly decorated Bliss Bar which featured a bar, lots of chaise lounges, plenty of sumptuous velvet and a dance floor - then either side on this were 2 bowling alley lanes. We had such fun in there! (I lost of course)

The second thing to really impress me were the TV screens dotted around the ship, along corridors or by the lifts - they showed each restaurant on the ship and how much seating was available in 'real time'. This meant that at a glance you could see whether there was room to eat in your selected restaurant and saved a lot of walking backwards and forwards!
I stayed in the romance suite which was beautiful although a little smaller than i had expected. The bed was amazingly comfy and our balcony looked out to the back of the ship - had it not been raining I'm sure it would've been a perfect sun-trap.

The Stardust theatre on board the Norwegian Pearl is pretty impressive, a spectacular view from wherever you chose to sit and the seats were very comfortable.
My favourite restaurant was the Summer Palace which was very regal, reminded me of the Ritz only less tired looking! There are 8 speaciality restyaurants onboard to choose from -
  • Le Bistro French Restaurant
  • Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant (including Sushi)
  • Cagney's Steakhouse
  • Mambo's Tapas and Latin Restaurant
  • The Great Outdoors
  • La Cucino Italian Restaurant (just like mama used to make!)
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Garden Cafe

There are also 15 bars and lounges onboard so its very difficult to get bored and feel like you've seen everything on board in the first day!
The shopping area is quite inpressive and reminded me of an airport lounge as it had so much choice. If you fancy a flutter, the casino is of a decent size, although i only play roulette so i couldn't tell you what other games were being played!

We were also lucky enough to get a look round the Garden Villas which were very impressive. The bathrooms were enormous, the beds were huge and soft and there was even a piano - they have their own hot tubs too!
If you have children, whether they're toddlers or teenagers, there is something just for them. Great play areas, their own cinema with beanbag seats, video arcade - there's even a teenagers nightclub.(alcohol free of course)
The Norwegian Pearl wedding chapel was very classy and i would guess seated about 15 peaopl though don't quote me. Thats something i'd love to see - a wedding on board a ship so if any of my single friends are reading this, take heed!

All in all a great ship and a great time had by all.


Anonymous said...

This was the worst cruise we have ever been on, the service and food was so bad that I could not wait to get home. We were comped dinner three out of 5 nights because the food was so poor in their high end dining options. If you did not opt for a high end option, as bad as it was, the buffet was worse. It was like a cattle call for breakfast and lunch will no organization in the dining room. HORRIBLE. The cabin steward was never seen and the one day we did see him, first day on board, we asked for an ice bucket for a special bottle of champange we had to celebrate our special occassiona and he told me he did not have one. My boyfriend went to the bar and brought one back to the cabin. We were hardly the only one's complaining. On the last day there were no less then 50people in line to request that the service fees be removed. Oh by the way, the "freestyle" cruising is a farse. We sat down at the sushi bar for dinner and my boyfriend was dressed in nice bermuda shorts and a botton down and we were asked to leave as we were violating the "dress code" on the "freestyle" cruise. There was nothing free or freestyle on this ship, Never again!

Anonymous said...

Freestyle is anything but "Free"! Everywhere you go on the ship they are asking for more money. My husband loves to sit in the steam room but he couldn’t do it or go to anything in the spa without paying an extra fee ($15 per day or $75 each per cruise).
We did back-to-back 5 & 9 day cruises from Feb, 3-17, our first NCL cruises, and felt the food in the "free" dining rooms was just o.k. Sort of like going to Applebees - maybe not as good as Applebees. We went to Teppanyaki one night with the whole juggling salt & pepper show ($20 each) and it wasn’t as good as other comparable restaurants I have been to. Even the desert menus were not up to par as I was looking forward to crème brulee and on our second to last night we finally asked if they had it. I had noticed it was on the menu for the French restaurant ($20 each) so we asked in the main dining room if we could get it. The Asst. Maître D' said he would have to talk to the chef. After about 10 minutes we did get my favorite desert, kind of hush-hush. I think they didn’t want everyone to know you could get food that wasn’t on the menu.
When we left the ship after 14 days, our total ship bill was almost $900. We did 3 ship excursions which are way too expensive but that’s just the way it is. Other than that, we paid extra for our one meal at Teppanyaki, we ordered 1 drink and purchased a mug at the gift shop. We didn't leave the ship feeling that we had 14 days of pampering like we have on our past cruises. And most of our other cruises (4) were on Carnival, which I have heard others say is a "lower end". I'll take a Carnival cruise any day over Norwegian Freestyle. Last year we sailed MSC Opera to the Southern Caribbean. This is a totally Italian cruise line and the food there was probably better than NCL. I just have to say – for our first & last (unless we get a free one) cruise on Norwegian– we weren’t impressed!

Lisette said...

I can't be as harsh as the previous writer. However, if you want to feel pampered, this is not the cruise line to choose. The only other line I've sailed, Holland America, makes you feel truly special and pampered. They are amazing! NCL (from my experience) is more a self-serve experience. Help yourself and choose your own fun. Good for families I would think. The ship I sailed on, Norwegian Pearl, is truly beautiful. Room stewards are great but the rest of the staff definitely have attitude and make you feel like you wished you hadn't asked! A nice cruise and a few good entertainment experiences. Good for a do-it-yourself vacation experience but not a pampered, luxury experience. Still, it was enjoyable.