Pearl Review Nov 14 - Nov 21, 2010

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#1
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Pre-Cruise

My first cruise flights was booked by my insurance company’s travel department with the cruise line (Carnival) but my last three, I booked and made my own air transportation plans. I fly in at least a day early and book earlier flights in the event that the unforeseen happens (airline strike, cancellations or most likely bad weather) I have time to scramble for another flight to be there when the ship leaves. I remember my first cruise: I was up all night packing, had a 6am flight, then the hustle and bustle of travel. I was not able to enjoy the night life on the ship because I was so tired from the travel schedule. It is nice to get in a day early and rest before you have to be on the ship.

Insurance on most travel items (cruise, flight, etc) is a must. I never insured my flights until I read a thread on the Carnival board about the ship arriving 6 hours late and many passengers missed their flights (what a nightmare). For $18 it is worth the safety net.

I flew into Fort Lauderdale because I found cheaper flights then directly to Miami which was the port for the Pearl. I searched my handy book everything site and found a hotel that provided free shuttle to and from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International. It was a nice room to lay my head. Unfortunately, once again it was not near restaurants, without transportation, or stores to purchase personal items before getting on the ship. I like to get bottled water for my CPAP machine because the water on the ship like other things is over priced. I paid $4 for a bottle of water that lasted 2 or 3 days. I bought two large bottles (popular brand) in St. Thomas for the same price. Anyway, I could have walked the 5 blocks to a restaurant but I don’t feel comfortable doing that in an area that I am not familiar with and with camera looking like a tourist. So I had a pizza from a national chain delivered to my room.







Microwave and Frig





Pool in back.


My plans to get to Miami involved contacting a popular transportation company mentioned on many of the CC boards. I did the reservation online, left my hotel address, email and cell phone number but never heard from the company. Plan B, I had the hotel shuttle driver take me back to the airport where I had seen the same company’s vehicles drive by so I would get the number off the van and call them.

The ride back was an adventure, apparently this shuttle company contracts with the hotel and they pick up folks from different venues. At the hotel there was a group that scheduled the van for 10:30am (I was told that the van operated on the hour) and they were not ready to go. I had checked out and was ready. The driver told me that he needed to pick up some people from Port Everglades and transport them to the airport as well. So, we went to that port which was near by and I got a view of Royal Caribbean’s new Allure which was ported there. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera on ready and missed the shot but I attached the sign shot, oh well. We eventually got to Hollywood International and I saw one of those vans for the transportation company desired go by but he was moving too fast and I didn’t get the number. I went back into the terminal to see if I could find their number and met a lady with a NCL sign and asked if I could purchase the transfer ($25) to Miami. She took my name, cabin number, printed out the luggage tags and billed it to my account. Cool, I get to the ship and keep my cash. I think I will do this again in the future.


Allures Welcome



Transport to Miami


We took a twenty minute drive, all freeway, to the Port of Miami. When we arrived we were given the standard list your illnesses sheet and moved painlessly through to check in. The process took a very short time, I think less than 45 minutes and I was in the ship. I was dragging my CPAP and a small carry on bag. There was a room on the Pearl where could leave those items as long as you picked them up by 2:00pm but I leave my machine with no one.

First Sight of Pearl


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#2
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Straight to the Garden Café for some eats. I asked if the Main Dinning Room (MDR) was open and they said yes but I hate sit down and order service. I would rather get it myself and you have a larger variety. Well, I choose my eats and had to go to the Great Outdoors (rear of the ship connected to the Garden Café) and ate at the bar (all the tables were taken).



The potato salad is the best.





Great Outdoors
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#4
Pacific NW
419 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Great start and I love the photos. Can't wait to read more.
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#5
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
After eating, I wondered the ship to get a feel of things. I didn’t know that the Pearl had: a rock climbing wall, basketball court and a golf shooting cage, too cool. There is also a miniature golf course. I also found proof of the legends heard on the CC boards that service animals are permitted on the ships.

This was the first thing to catch my eye. A place for the grown folks.

Practice your swing.

This nice lady let me show you that service animals are on cruise ships including NCL.

Deck games too.
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#7
Roseville, CA USA
2,899 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Thanks for this great review and love seeing the food pics.

We're going on the Pearl in April so love to read reviews.
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#8
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
I also didn't realize that there was a bowling alley on the Pearl. It is inside the Bliss Lounge.

Bliss Lounge

The view around the ship, at POM, was great.

Miami


Carnival Glory Ported Behind the Pearl
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#9
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
I finally arrived at my cabin (11075) which is an interior cabin. I was very annoyed when my key (card) didn’t open my door and I had to travel down 4 floors to have Guest Services program it. They suggested that I had it near something magnetic and that was the problem, never happened. Well, I got in. I could not believe how small the room was. I had the twin beds put together to make a queen size. On one side of the room, there was a table at the foot of the bed and you could not walk on that side of the bed. The phone was at the head of the bed on that side. I brought a long extension cord for my CPAP and only needed a short one because the room was so short. It was smaller than my Ocean View on the Sky. Overall, the room was nice, only for changing and sleeping. No big whoop.

Cabin 11075

Desk and only 110v plug


You can see that with this table there, you are not walking on that side of the queen sized bed (two twins pushed together).

Bathroom - Towel rack above the toilet


Large sink and the faucet moves. I like that.



The shower door is glass and a towel rack on the door to the bathroom. There is also a string that pulls across the shower to hang things to dry.
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#10
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010

I spent a little time unpacking. Plenty of drawers and closet space and it was now time for Muster. We met in one of the lounges, I couldn’t tell you the name because I never returned to that lounge again. It wasn’t that the lounge was so bad; actually it was nice, it was just odd to get to. I just don’t usually frequent the lounges on the ships. Anyway, muster was painless. At least we didn’t have to go to our cabins, get the jacket, put it on and return it to the cabin. I met a nice couple to talk to, yes I paid attention. Don’t blow the whistle and play with the light on your life jacket. I couldn’t take pictures because it was top secret, no cameras.

We were on our way. This was the first time I was not on the top deck watching the ship leave port. The deck party was going good and on deck barbecue was tasty. I didn’t miss it this time as I did on the Sky.


Sail Away Deck Party






It's nice that NCl had these openings in the wind screen. It makes it easier to take photos of the sea.



Looks like an NCL sister ship (Jewel?)




I spent the evening enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the ocean. I could sit and watch the stars half the night. It is so breath taking. Really!
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
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#11
Peoria, Arizona
123 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Great review, especially love the pics. I leave for the Pearl in 7 short days! Keep it coming
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#12
philadelphia
843 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
What wonderful pictures and a great review. We left the Pearl the day you boarded and really enjoyed our cruise too.

Can't wait for your next installment.
#13
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
First stop, Samana

We anchored off the coast of Samana in the Dominican Republic. I chose to stay on the ship that day since I didn’t see any excursions that looked interesting and for the price. They seemed a little pricey to me.



Pearl Tenders Transporting Cruisers




Samana, Dominican Republic


Our Neighbor HAL (Noordam) Next Door

I took pictures of folks around the pool, the tenders traveling back and forth to the island. Did you know that the Pearl has two tenders on the ship. They do. My new found cruise buddies did venture on excursions, snorkeling and horseback riding. They met a small squid during their snorkel and affectionately named it, Inky.




Cruise Buddies Enjoying Their Excursions
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#14
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
There was doings on the ship. I looked at my Freestyle Daily and noted: Pearl Scavenger Hunt but I missed. I did take advantage of the Line Dance Class in Spinnaker’s. There is a lot of cool stuff happening on the ship, there was a Sleep meditation thingy in the Bliss Lounge at 9am but I’m still getting up and about at that time if I have nothing planned.






This lady got in the adult only pool with her child. I was wondering if she would take her to the other pool or if staff would ask her too. She left on her own.

Later we were on our way to St. Thomas and it was enjoy the view, eat, drink and be merry.
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#16
Columbus, OH
675 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Great review. Love the pics. Thanks for taking the time. Can't wait to sail her in Feb!
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#18
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Leaving Samana was really cool. I will tell you a secret. The best place to be on the ship when it leaves port or lifts anchor. Forward on the top deck, above Spinnakers. You are in a position to see right over the bow of the ship. There is a glass wind screen across the front as it is very windy up there. You can pull a deck chair right up to the glass. If you don’t, rude people will stand right in your view, trust me.


Secret Place

When we started out, the HAL ship was leading the way. Then the Captain decided to let them eat our spray. The Pearl rules, Yah! I love the view up there as the ship pushes throw the water and the sky provides a beautiful moon and many stars. I stayed up there until it was too dark to see the horizon.


HAL Out Front


Captain Making The Move


See Ya!

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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#19
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
As we got up to speed, 21 knots, the ship starts to rock. I was a little surprised because my last cruise was the Norwegian Sky, to the Bahamas. That is a good cruise for a first timer who is not sure if they will become ill from the motion of the ship. On the Sky you are moving at a crawl. Probably because Miami is so close to Freeport, Bahamas, your first stop. On the Pearl, you could noticeably feel the ship rocking side to side and up and down forward and back. The motion does not bother me so it was just a matter of getting use to your footing as you walked the ship and moved in close areas like the chairs in the theater. I'm sure it could get interesting after a couple drinks. I rarely have more than one.

I wanted to stay up that night because the Toga Party was scheduled at 11:00pm in the Bliss Lounge. I went around to see the crowd. I was amazed when I found that most of the group was over 50. Cool! I’m in the dinosaur club (over 50), so I felt right at home. After that it was bedtime and dreams of St Thomas.




Toga Party
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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656
#20
Detroit
2,887 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Navigating one area of the Pearl (actually any ship) can be a pain. Rarely does a path go directly through the ship. You usually have to change floors to get to certain areas. I found that going down to the 7th floor, moving forward or aft then up to the area desired was best. To determine whether you are forward or aft (pointed out by a steward) the fish on the floor is always heading forward.


The fish point forward on the Pearl

This is my third time in St Thomas and I never get enough. The scenery is so beautiful, the best shopping and I hate shopping. My favorite is Megan Bay. The Sky Ride in definitely on my bucket list. The Celebrity Solstice was in front of the Pearl lead by a MSC ship. I have seen the MSC lines name before but this is the first time that I have ever seen one of their ships





I had breakfast and headed out for some shopping. Walked around the port area for a while and returned to the ship for lunch. I then went down to the port to meet the taxi for the Megan Beach excursion



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Packing Vide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRl3dBGxRs
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Review:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1750107
Carnival Freedom 8 Day Western Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1479781
Norwegian Pearl November 2010 Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...184&highlight=

Belize Barrier Reef Review:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...6#post28758656