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C Cruise Dude

Pearl Review Nov 14 - Nov 21, 2010

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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.

 

 

 

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DSCF1472.jpgMicrowave and Frig

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel5.jpgPool 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.

 

 

DSCF1485.jpgAllures Welcome

 

 

 

BusMiami.jpgTransport 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.

 

FirstSighting.jpg First Sight of Pearl

 

 

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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).

 

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Garden2.jpgThe potato salad is the best.

 

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Outland.jpgGreat Outdoors

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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.

 

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

 

DRange.jpgPractice your swing.

 

Service2.jpgThis nice lady let me show you that service animals are on cruise ships including NCL.

 

DSCF1533.jpgDeck games too.

Edited by C Cruise Dude

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I also didn't realize that there was a bowling alley on the Pearl. It is inside the Bliss Lounge.

 

DSCF1563.jpgBliss Lounge

 

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

 

DSCF1526.jpgMiami

 

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Carnival Glory Ported Behind the Pearl

Edited by C Cruise Dude
misspell

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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.

 

DSCF1584.jpgCabin 11075

 

DSCF1588.jpgDesk and only 110v plug

 

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

 

BR1.jpgBathroom - Towel rack above the toilet

 

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Large sink and the faucet moves. I like that.

 

 

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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.

Edited by C Cruise Dude
move line

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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.

 

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Sail Away Deck Party

 

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

 

 

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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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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.

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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.

 

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Pearl Tenders Transporting Cruisers

 

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Samana, Dominican Republic

 

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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.

 

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Cruise Buddies Enjoying Their Excursions

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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.

 

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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.

Edited by C Cruise Dude
add words

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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.

 

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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.

 

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HAL Out Front

 

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Captain Making The Move

 

SeeYa.jpg

See Ya!

 

Moon.jpg

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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.

 

TogaII.jpg

 

TogaI.jpg

Toga Party

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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.

 

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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

 

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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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The Taxi ride is through steep hills that present wonderful scenery for photographs.

 

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Road to Megan Bay

 

 

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The visit to beach ended a little early with a rain storm. As we were leaving, we heard that someone from one of the other ships fell on the beach. A unpleasant reminder to make sure that you have insurance. I'm sure that person (woman) did not make it back before her ship sailed. She likely had to be transported to the next stop.

 

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Ride back to the ship

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After the return to the port in St. Thomas, I took a shower to get the salt water off and had some dinner. Then it was to my secret (now not so secret) place on the Sun Deck to watch the ship leave port.

 

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Watching the cruisers on the Celebrity ship watch us.

 

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Ships lined up

 

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St Thomas from Sun Deck

 

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Pearl Cruisers Enjoy The Hot Tubs

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Great Report! I feel like Im on a cruise right now! ts making me more excited about my January cruise on the Jewel! Im looking forward to more. OH great pictures too!:D

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Thanks for taking the time to post your review and with pictures!! Sailing on the Pearl 1/2 and loving every minute of your report!!

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Great Report! I feel like Im on a cruise right now! ts making me more excited about my January cruise on the Jewel! Im looking forward to more. OH great pictures too!:D

 

Enjoying your review and loving the pictures. Only 6 more monthes. :D

 

This is great C Cruise Dude. Keep it coming!!

 

Thank you! Glad to do it. Next stop, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.:)

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Do you mind if I ask where the mini-golf is located? I didn't remember that being on the Pearl. We are sailing on her March 27th and are excited about the rock climbing and bowling, which are features the Jewel did not have.

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Do you mind if I ask where the mini-golf is located? I didn't remember that being on the Pearl. We are sailing on her March 27th and are excited about the rock climbing and bowling, which are features the Jewel did not have.

 

Good question. After seeing your question, I looked for deck plans and even found a site that said that there is no mini golf course. I'm sure that after I passed the gentleman in the golf cage, I passed a senior lady and two very young kids in a small course. I remember asking where she got the clubs and she said at one of the bars (near the pool, I think). It was not far from the cage.

 

DRange.jpg

 

I'm sure that the golf cage was near the rock wall which was above the Great Outdoors which was on deck 12 (so maybe 13 aft).

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Thanks!

 

I follow the Pearl on a couple of different webcams, so I was probably watching your ship while in Miami and at these different ports. We are headed out on a Western in March (did a Western last year as well) but I L-O-V-E St. Thomas just like you do. I told hubby next time we definitely need to do an Eastern.

 

Thanks for the pics. I can't wait!!!

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Thanks!

 

I follow the Pearl on a couple of different webcams, so I was probably watching your ship while in Miami and at these different ports. We are headed out on a Western in March (did a Western last year as well) but I L-O-V-E St. Thomas just like you do. I told hubby next time we definitely need to do an Eastern.

 

Thanks for the pics. I can't wait!!!

 

 

I have never been on a Western Itinerary. I'm planning on sailing the Sun in March, my first Western. :D:D

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This is a FANTASTIC report and your efforts are greatly appreciated!

 

The efforts of a golf pro might be greatly appeciated by that poor gentleman at the driving net. The set up exactly matches a composite of the pictures of what "not to do" from 30 years of Golf Digest.:p

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This is a FANTASTIC report and your efforts are greatly appreciated!

 

The efforts of a golf pro might be greatly appeciated by that poor gentleman at the driving net. The set up exactly matches a composite of the pictures of what "not to do" from 30 years of Golf Digest.:p

 

Funny you should mention that. There was a PGA golf pro on the Pearl who gave, if I recall correctly, a free workshop on that cruise. And thanks. :)

Edited by C Cruise Dude

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Thank you for your review...we are taking a family cruise Thanksgiving 2011 and are debating between Royal Caribbean Freedom and Norwegian Pearl. None of us has ever cruised on NCL, but we have done RCL and most recently Crown Princess. Prices are much less on NCL than other cruises, especially on a holiday week. Look forward to reading more to help us make our decision.

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Thank you for your review...we are taking a family cruise Thanksgiving 2011 and are debating between Royal Caribbean Freedom and Norwegian Pearl. None of us has ever cruised on NCL, but we have done RCL and most recently Crown Princess. Prices are much less on NCL than other cruises, especially on a holiday week. Look forward to reading more to help us make our decision.

 

Your welcome. That would be a difficult decision. The Flow Rider on the Freedom is on my bucket list. The lower cost of the Pearl would likely win out for me. Either way you win. You get a great cruise. I was and still am a great Carnival fan but NCL is winning be over. I love the latitudes rewards program. It you purchase a reward while on cruise for $250, NCl gives you $100 back to use immediately. The certificate is still valued at $250 for a down payment (per cabin) when you book within 4 years. They are transferable so you can give them as gifts. I used one that I purchased on my last NCL cruise for this one which I booked 3 days before sailing. I keep buying these things so they keep me coming back. You can't beat that. :D

Edited by C Cruise Dude
added more

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It was exciting to visit Tortola which is in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). On each of my cruises I have returned to some familiar places and added one new to my travels. My cruise on the Carnival Dream, I returned to Nassau and St. Thomas but added St. Maarten. On the NCL Sky cruise I returned to Nassau and added Freeport and Great Stirrup Cay. We were ported next to the P&O Azura which carried UK cruisers. Tortola was very much like St. Thomas in that they have narrow roads that climb high into the mountains and back down to the beach.

 

I could not believe how beautiful the water and landscape was, talk about paradise. I was approached by a guy on the beach trying to sell me the use of a deck chair for the day and the security of my goods while I was in the water. I think it was $5. I turned him down and just chose to sit on the sand after a dip in water. I had a chat with my British neighbors about their homes and sailing. I also met more people from the Pearl. It’s interesting how you can be confined with so many on the ship but don’t get aquainted until you’re on excursion. I have experienced that on other sailings.

 

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Beach Excursion on the Pearl

 

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Video3500112-24.jpg

 

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Video of Beach on Tortola

 

The only drawback to the experience was with the transportation. The excursion provided a transport to the beach and you were given a ticket for a bottle of water and a ride back. When I returned at the appointed time, the driver had a full vehicle and said that he would return to pick up myself and some other people from the ship. I waited for some time with a few others but it was getting close to the time required to be back on the ship (2:30pm) so I and others paid the $6 to another taxi to take us back. I found that very annoying.

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DSCF2011.jpg

 

 

 

There were some tents outside the cruise port with many items for purchase. Unfortunately I brought little cash with me. The currency that is accepted in Tortola is American dollars. I was told by the vender at the beach that this was the only currency that he would accept. When I arrived I asked a woman what currency was accepted and she said that she didn’t know. I didn’t realize until she spoke that she was British. She was not pleased to hear my findings.

 

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You know how you get ambushed by the photographers when you leave the ship. I like to surprise them. I was the one with the surprise, I thought that she was with NCL but she was with P&O. Still fun!

 

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The Azura and the Pearl side by side in Tortola

 

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The end of a great visit. I hope to return someday.

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Ive never done the beach at Tortola! We always do our souvenir shopping there. We will be there in January-maybe I have to book a beach excursion! Was it worth it? If it was, what was the name of the excursion if you dont mind?:)

Edited by boopsahoy

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