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Review of the Norwegian Pearl
Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruise Date: January 2008
NCL Pearl Jan.11-20,2008
This will take multiple postings to get it all in...ALL I CAN SAY_ this was the WORST cruise in existence.
Ok, here goes our experience--We embarked on time and with no wait in line to get on ship at 12:30 pm...of course cabin was not ready , so we went exploring and went to see our friends cabins , who were staying in a Penthouse Suite..( Our cabin was too small for their LIVING ROOM).....We had a normal deluxe ( HA!!!) Balcony cabin..Now, I have to digress and tell you that I am a travel agent and have beren on cruises for the last 33 yrs...NCL has the SMALLEST Balcony cabins in the industry-- I am not with sq footage so I booked it..Well, to say you had to walk in single file sideways was an understatement.
The cabin had only 1 nitestand 10"x 10" ( on my side) and the sofa ( like a 1 person loveseat) was next to hubs bed with a table in front of it....I was freaking trying to figure out where I was going to put my pills and makeup ( which is normally in my nitestand)--well. the floor sufficed for 9 days...Now , we are not petite people--I weigh a lot more than you, but I felt that I needed 2 yrs at weight watchers to walk around the cabin...lol....
Our friends penthouse suite had a huge living room with sofa and 2 chairs, a dinette set with 4 chairs, an espresso machine- a bathroom with 2 sinks and more counter space than my own master bath- plus a tub with a window overlooking the ocean and a shower overlooking the ocean- the bedroom was off to the side in a vignette with curtains and was gorgeous...PLUS there was a 2nd bedroom and bath ) which did not show up on the floor plan!!!! Hell, for what they paid, the room should have looked that good. BUT the best thing was their butler and concierge service which did ALL the dinner reservations- thank the lord, as I would have been frazzled to death trying to make the reservations on a daily basis...I have done ANYTIME dining on PRINCESS and it is SUPER easy and you can do a week's woprth of reservations on day 1--but NOT NCL from hell.
So that is getting ahead of things- we and my clients were supposed to get on board ship credits( no, not a travel agent perk but an offer from NCL when I booked in May.)...Of course, nothing there when I checked in..so I went to the head of the ship who handles this and pulled the " I am a travel agent and have VIP clients with me " ( which I did)...Now, I get NO BREAKS cost wise from any cruise ship as a T.A.-- I pay the SAME As you...So I was royally pissed. The reception desk, before I met the head of the ship, told me if I could prove it in writing that we were supposed to get the credits, they would call Miami and get it done...Well, since we were still in port, I went to the internet cafe and was able via email to pull up my clients reservations sheet from NCL and print a copy---So I brought it to the head of the ship...And there began an hour and 1/2 discussion and phone calls to NCL from hell...After the hour and 1/2, NCL agreed to give us the credits---took a lot of arguing for $75 friggin dollars but by now I was pissed...( Clients got $150 credit due to suite)...so at least it would pay for part of the spa...and that is all I wanted. All I can say is major thanks to Marivac at the Pearl- she was WONDERFUL...
OK-- friends butler made ALL our dinner reservations....First nite -Lotus Garden $15 pp-I had duck that was GREAT-- HUBS had fish over tofu ( he hates tofu and it was not on the menu)..Friend ordered shrimp ( got 3 shrimp!!)----I told him to order more , that he could get it at no extra charge but he wouldn't................
Day 2---Day at the pool again- NO beach chairs unless you got up at 7:30 am to reserve them...There were almost fist fights between people trying to get chairs.
Had caesar salad with rotisserie chicken - ok salad- caesar dressing not the real thing..not fun eating a salad on the pool deck in 85 degree weather...
Oh...........by the way- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOo trays on the buffet- We had to ask a little man in red shirt every day for a tray when we wanted to bring food onto the pool deck..I guess they feel you will pile your tray too high and eat too much....We did NOT take no for an answer.
I did have room service breakfast- 1 muffin, 1 croissant, raisin bran and juice. THE ONLY PEOPLE who get HOT BREAKFAST delivered to their cabins are those in the SUITES with a butler...
Our friends in the suites got breakfast and lunch in Cagney;s daily Free AND got HOT FOOD delivered to their cabin.
GIVE ME Princess any day where I can get an omlet delivered to my cabin....
Dinner that nite was Le Bistro- We ordered 2 appetizers each, soup, salad, entree...2 couples shared rack of lamb- 2 shared Chatubriand--The Lamb arrived under silver dome 15 min BEFORE the beef.
The beef was ordered medium rare to medium and came WELL DONE-- by the time IT came, the lamb was cold. My hubs flipped out as the waitress said it would take 20 more minutes to make another chatuabriand..We told her we had 20 min to make a show- she could have cared less and repeated the same thing..Thought I was talking to a robot. Hubs demanded to see maitre de who didn't want to do a thing We demanded he not charge us for dinner as we would NOT pay it..It was not charged to us...But we had to almost scream and beg to get this done..POOR attitude- AWFUL service and HOW hard is it to coook a filet...
Day 3-- We did NOT get off in Samana after hearing how unsafe the port was---and since the whales were not there at that time, it was a no brainer to stay on the ship and veg out...
I bought a week pass to the Thallisotherapy Pool and room for $129.......It was wonderful BUT ON CELEBRITY this is FREE to the public PLUS they have a spa menu ,so IF you are dieting, you can watch lunch calories...Give me Celebrity ANY DAY....BUT THIS PASS that I got on NCL was good and a wonderful respite from the 85 degree sun...
Day 4- Tortola- We just walked into town as we had been there before.
Dinner that nite in Cagneys ( are you getting the jist that all we are eating in is the pay for dining rooms as we already heard the food in the main dining rooms was not that good.
Cagneys was great- the ribeye was cooked perfectly- the veal chop was out of this world..the service was spotty at best and we were seated right NEXT to the kitchen.
Day 5.- Antigua-- I got sick and cancelled my excursion and slept til noon- then went to spa and to the pool
Dinner that nite was Teppanyaki-- Now ,the show and food was OUT OF THIS WORLD--like a floating Benihana..Not knowing the size of the portions and seeing it was part of Lotus Garden, our original first nite 3 shrimp dinner for our friends, we ordered One entree each and ONE to share to try some different things..HELL, we were paying a fortune for food...
BEFORE we got done with the entree, the waitress came around and rushed us with dessert orders and then delivered them while we STILL had our entrees in front of us.
We found out that there were 3 seating for Teppanyaki- 5:30- 7:30- 9:30...and they only give you 1 1/2 hrs to watch the food show and eat...and you are paying a lot of money for this hour and half.
Day 5- Barbados-- We did a private sail and snorkel with the turtles and a shipwreck= complete with gourment lunch, all the booze you could drink, soft drinks, dessert, snorkeling equipment and a guide in the water with you...It was AMAZING..we did this 2 yrs ago when we were in Barbados. It is called the Silver Queen and only takes 12 people out..Next time you are in Barbados, do it..It is NOT a ship excursion- they pick you up at the ship and return you to the ship...
Dinner that nite was Mambos--we had the Ill pollo-a sort of vertical hanging shish kebab which was great--we wanted to order Tapas but were told the adjoining Tapas restaurant was a walk up. sit at bar,order drinks and tapas and that;s it...We never got a straight answer ( since we were ordering drinks at the table) why we could not have the Tapas delivered...Tapas was a $15 pp charge but we were going to pay it in order to try it...No go-- never got em..
Oh- something you will NOT hear about- 2 girls hired a cab to go to a beach in Barbados and were robbed....Fun, eh?
Day 6- St Lucia-- We had passes to Sandals so we went there and had a great time with their swim up bar and wonderful pool...
Dinner that nite was in Summer Palace- and this is where it gets good-- On the menu was cioppino ( a fish stew with shrimp,mussels,scallops, fish etc) NORMALLY cooked in a seafood stock and served in a bowl with the broth it was cooked in..........NOT on this ship--the waiter said it was seafood over linguine with a red sauce- I said that is " diablo"- he said no, it's cioppino..He called over a female maitre de who was nice enough to call the chef to see how it was cooked...Are you ready for this? !! Seafood is sauteed in pan, put on top of linguine and marinara sauce is over it..I told the lady that was NOT cioppino and that they needed a chef who knew how to cook correctly. I ordered it anyway with the red sauce on the side- the seafood was great-but SMALL amount.
We ordered soup as starter- Only my hubs and myself...Our friends did not want any...Soup arrived and way put in front of both ladies ( remember, my friend did not order it).. She told the waiter that she did not order it nor want it..HIS ANSWER- EAT IT- it's good for you.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What happened was he gave me my hub's soup- and my friend , my soup-= so we played musical soups==no problem but the elusive waiter was RUDE...When wine was ordered, our friend ordered a bottle for themselves with 2 glasses- since we were not drinking wine that nite..What arrived was 2 GLASSES of wine...Her hubs returned to the table to ask where the wine was..Wife said-this is it.
Wine stewardess ( who was low on brain cells or the english language) said he only ordered 2 glasses of wine..which they had already drank as it was so hard to track down the wine stewardess..
Friend wanted his bottle of wine..Wine stewardess , after lots of talking back and forth to explain everything, said she would bring the full bottle of wine BUT pour off the 2 glasses of wine that they had already drunk.
Talk about poor customer relations and CHEAPNESS....We were floored..Service in the SUMMER PALACE sucked BIG TIME....
Oh forgot to mention what happened on the SHIP's Excursion on the island of St Lucia...There was a large bus and I guess they had an overflow , so they added a MINI VAN.
Well, the MINI VAN got HELD UP at gunpoint and machete-- the driver was beaten up and all the people were made to lay on the floor, remove all watches, jewelry and money- GONE in 2 mins.
Ship's capt sends a letter apologizing for what happened..THEY should have gotten comped cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Next day- cant remember where we were - all the days ran together and I might be off on day and port- but we ate in Cagneys again- had double lamb chops ( thinking they were only going to give 2 dble chops, we ordered ONE extra order to split if we were hungry)..Well, the order is for 3 dbl chops--- so we ended up taking the leftover to the cabin to have for lunch. Friends had prime rib and filet--steak was OVERCOOKED.
Service was GREAT this nite- but food quality for our friends was not up to par...There is no eveness in either the service , nor quality of food..How hard is it to cook a filet?
Next day- we had dinner with 18 people at Teppanyaki- again, the rushed service...and the time between when we were rushed out and the next mass was to be rushed in was 45 min....Grill was already clean- All they had to do was clear plates and wipe table down...NO reason to rush people thru dinner.
Final nite- we ate at mambos-- I had shrimp fajitas--Nothing like our mexican restaurants here in FL.........the tortilla were cut in half ( hard to roll up without having your food fall out the other end).
Got a total of 6 shrimp...that was it..NOT jumbo-= just small shrimp...Dessert was good- Cream puff with coffee ice cream surrounded by chocolate sauce.
By the way, Most desserts were so bad, that we had ice cream...
Now for the shows...The Jane Ryan Broadway shows were FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WISH they were on every nite...The lady who swung like Cirque Du Soliel was awesome...and so was everyone else in the team.
The magician the 2nd nite was the pits.............
2nd City Comedy Improv from Chicago was good- but not great.
Didn't do anymore shows til the last nite when the Jane Ryan Revue was back again...as nothing sounded good..although the soap star we were told was terrifice , but that was the nite from hell in Summer Palance...
I think there was NOT enough seating on the pool decks- they need to get rid of the gorgeous rattan sit up straight furniture and add more lounge chairs. and Get rid of the lounges for 2 or put them up on the top sun deck...so those who want to stay out of the sun have place to sit.
People were bitching all over the place about how hard it was to get reservations and they were royally pissed to pay top dollar for a low-to-middle type cruise and then have to pay even more to eat decent food.
The buffet was boring....as someone else said.
I have traveled on Sitmar( now merged with Princess) Princess, RCL, Celebrity and Windstar and NCL ( 3O years ago)..NCL was bad then, it is still bad and I told hubs it would be another 30 yrs before we would ever go back again.. I will NOT sell this cruise to my clients ever............................TOO many people squeezed into a ship not built for that many of them.............
By the way , PRINCESS has ANYTIME DINING and 4 extra paying restaurants-- But YOU CAN eat in the same main dining room each nite, with the same waitstaff...and if you want to try something different one nite, it is no big thing- you just make a reservation elsewhere..Princess's staff was college educated kids from the Chech republic and Romania..wonderful kids-We took off the ADVISED TIPPING on Princess and tipped direct since our service was so good..AND you can do the same on NCL...............what NCL charged per day was less than we normally tipped so we left it at that - we did not want to NOT tip since we did get good service from some...and our stewards were wonderful.....This ADDED TIPPING leaves NO INCENTIVE for anyone to give good service anymore--It is a sorry state that has happened to cruising.
Why not just add it into the price of the cruise up front and say NO TIPPING as this is what it really is.
Can you tell that I am mad...................??? Hell yes! and it is too bad as the ship is gorgeous..........and the spa is great.
Oh well, NCL lost another one....
In spite of all this, we managed to have a good vacation with our friends- and that was the reason we went..
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