December 31, 2015 we boarded the Norwegian Pearl for an 11 night cruise that took us to Columbia, halfway through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. It was a bucket list trip and we were blessed to enjoy it with family and friends.
The Norwegian Pearl is a smaller ship, but we had excellent service while onboard. Keith, our waiter by the pool, never let us go without drinks in hand. He was by far the best waiter I have encountered in any of my travels (and even at home). He made it a point to call each of us by our names every time he saw us on the ship. He gave us advise on excursions, what nights are best to eat at certain restaurants on the ship and even made us special drinks in the morning as he was training to be a bartender as well.
We had a midship balcony and it was adequate for the trip. Our cabin steward was friendly and took care of our needs within the room. I liked the bathroom configuration on the Pearl. Within the bathroom, the left side had the enclosed shower, the sink area is in the middle and the right side is an enclosed toilet room. This makes it possible for 2 people to be in the bathroom at once if the need arises.
We purchased our excursions through Norwegian for this trip since some of our travel partners did not want to book using a private company. The excursions were priced higher of course, but they were well organized. The only thing I did not like about the excursions was in Panama. Passengers that did not book an excursion through Norwegian were not able to get off the ship that morning in the lake. They had to wait until the ship passed back through the canal before they could go ashore. My group had booked the cross-country train excursion so we were able to get off the ship that morning, but I totally empathized with those passengers that wanted to get off and get a better look at the canal without paying a lot of money to do so.
Everyone in my group loved Norwegian's freestyle way of cruising. There were nights we wanted to get dressed up a little, but most nights we were too tired from our excursions and enjoyed being able to attend dinner in a more casual atmosphere.
We took advantage of the spa and purchased the hydrotherapy package. It was nice to get away from the crowds at the pool and relax in the adult only area. The pool area on the Pearl is fairly small and it was crowded on this sailing. I would think on the Alaskan sailings that it is much more quiet.
If you are looking for a party ship, this is not the ship for you. While they do offer nightly entertainment, a disco and a few nightclubs; most activities start slowing down around 11pm. Keith told us this ship's average passenger is in their mid 50's so a much more quiet experience.
Our travel adventures and missteps. Sometimes on our own, sometimes with our kids, but always having fun!