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R A Mork

Age: 57


Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pearl

Sailing Date: 2012-03-25

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

The cruise was a wedding cruise with friends. The Pearl had all the usual amenities you would expect. Lots of different specialty restaurants in addition to the standard dining rooms and the buffets. Getting on the ship was supposed to be expedited for the wedding party and guests but it still took a very long time. The check in desks were short staffed with a computer terminal failure on one or two. The wedding guide staff were unable to get us all thru much faster than the rest of the people checking in. I understand that it takes some amount of time to turn over close to a thousand cabins but if the cruise company does this a regular part of their business I would have expected a more efficient process particularly if the ceremony was to take place @ 1:30PM, (before departure). The staff that handled the ceremony were very good. The post ceremony reception held in the Bliss bar was also nicely presented with attentive service for the food and drinks. The remainder of the cruise was very nice with good ports of call.

The food was good. The selection at the buffet was typical to that on any other cruise I have been on, (perhaps a little predictable or somewhat uninspired). We went to several of the specialty restaurants and found them to be generally of a somewhat higher standard than the regular dining rooms. Cagneys steakhouse served me one of the best steaks I have had in many many years and my wife's prime rib also ranked highly. The first day discount on purchasing wine for the cruise was a great idea for wine drinkers like us. The selection was fairly varied with some very good wines for the price considering you were on a ship that makes much of its profit from alcohol sales. Food service staff were very good and not intrusive during the meal. They knew when to offer assistance or to just chat and be friendly when things were slow in the room. The staff at the bars or the cappacino bar was great. They have the skill to remember what you like after just one visit, particulary the cappacino bar lady! That is a really nice bit of service to be greeted by your name after one visit.

The stateroom was what I would call a standard type and size with a full bathtub and plenty of storage in the closet and lots of drawer space as well as the suitcase storage area under the bed. The cabin attendant was very good. He also greeted you whenever you went by and as usual nothing was too much for him to take care of for you. The cabin was kept spotless and towels were plentiful everyday. Here is where I make note of the very large problem I had on the cruise, specifically with the cabin. We were near midships and the balcony is something we ALWAYS get when on a cruise. We like to sit out on it for breakfast and afternoon drinks and in the evening when the ship is underway. On this cruise our balcony was not usable. The cabin next to us towards the bow had smoker(s) in it as did several more to the fore of the ship. Well we all know which way the air flows when a ship is sailing - to the rear! It is a shame Norwegian is not aware of this law of nature. We were continually being choked out and off of our balcony all hours of the day AND night. If we left our balcony doors open our cabin filled with the stink of cigarettes. When I complained to the desk staff they checked and confirmed there were a number of smokers to the fore of the ship from us. We were advised that smokers have the right to pursue their habit on THEIR balcony. Sadly my right to have fresh air does not carry the same weight as that of the smokers! We were offered a different cabin in the interior of the ship with no window or balcony. REALLY!? I go on a cruise to enjoy the sea air and weather. The ship may have been fully booked with no other cabins available but I found the offer to be a hollow gesture. We were offered a free cover charge at one of the specialty restaurants which I reluctantly accepted. Did that cover the loss of pleasure for not having a balcony to use? Not at all. Upon returning home I contacted the customer relations department and after they looked into the situation they offered me a credit on our next cruise with Norwegian in the amount of $285- for each of us. Unless I have something in writing from them saying there will be no smoking on balconies I will never cruise with them again. Get with the program people the world is going non-smoking!

I found the pool was far too small for the size of the ship and number of passengers. I had hoped to do some swimming to burn off the food but that was not possible with a very shallow and crowded pool.

The Great Stirrup Cay day stop was nice but the site still needs lots of work.

At this point I would have to say my favorite cruise line is Princess followed by Royal Caribbean. The Pearl was a very nice ship with lots to do if you chose to be active.

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