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Spring Break Cruise on the Pearl

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I have to admit we were a little worried about starting our cruise; our vacation did not get off to a good start. We had trouble with Southwest Airlines with my wife’s ticket and when we were in Fort Lauderdale, I had an accident with the rental car. But once we got on board, we had a nice trip. Just some back ground on us, this was DW and mine seventh cruise (American Hawaiian Cruise, Disney, and NCL Pride of Aloha and EPIC) and second aboard the Pearl. This was our children’s (DD 11 and DS 8) fifth cruise (first time on the Pearl). My in-laws also joined us (cruised before on Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and NCL POA and EPIC) and their first time on the Pearl too. Here are some random thoughts about our trip.

Check-in: My only complaint about check-in was the line to get into the terminal started under a canopy, but then they looped around to the other side of the building under the hot sun, but NCL probably did not have control over that. Since we were latitude members we used that line, but I don’t think that made the process quicker, but we did move through pretty well.

Room: We had a category OF stateroom with a port hole that slept 4 (three beds in a row on the floor and 1 upper berth). Outside of Disney, this was the nicest room we’ve had on a cruise. The only complaint was the size of the bathroom made it hard to sit on the toilet or shower. We were on the 4th floor mid ship, easy to get to everything, but hard to get to our room on port days because that was where people disembarked and boarded the ship.

Food: Buffet food was ok, came across some exceptional dishes like grilled salmon and chicken on the pool deck, chilled banana soup, and boiled corned beef :). The running joke on the cruise was the lady that sprayed your hands with cleaner and said “washy-washy, happy-happy, smiley-smiley” as you walked into the Garden Buffet. At times another crewmember would play his guitar and sing. For dinner we ate mostly in the Summer Palace Main Dining Room and once in Indigo Main Dining Room and Blue Lagoon, all were three were good.

Pools: To be honest, the pools on the Pearl are lacking, they are small, crowded, deep, and the music was loud (DS is autistic and has problem with loud noises). My son reports that the waterslide was slow and he would get stuck half was down and have to crawl out. The hot tubs were always crowed and I wouldn’t put my toe in them :eek:.

Mandara Spa and Body Waves: During our Alaska cruise, DW and I got a spa pass for the week and loved it. I got one for this trip. It was nice to get away from the crowds and relax in the Thermal pool and hot tub, plus it made a nice place to take a shower and shave in a normal size bathroom. Body Waves is comparable to our fitness club back home, I was able to do my normal fitness routine (cardio and weight machines). The jogging track on the sports deck was too small, but walking on the promaide deck was nice and I was able to get a 5k walk in. However, I stilled gained three pounds during the cruise :(.

Entertainment: By far the best entertainment on the cruise was Oh What a Night, a musical to tribute Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, they were excellent and I would go see them again. The comedians were ok, except their family friendly shows did not seem family friendly to us. Even though we are from Chicago, we didn’t care much for Second City Comedy group, but they did do a good set of improve games in the Spinnaker lounge the last night. The Norwegian Production Cast also did two good shows (One Vegas style and one Broadway style). DW and I also did the Presumed Murdered Luncheon, which was nice. The only thing I did not like was the only choice for salad has shrimp and I don’t eat shell fish :mad:. They also had a man that played the tuned steel drums and he was always nice to listen too.

More to come later. But I will answer questions!

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Hello! Grew up in the Windy City!


What was the cost of the spa pass and can you elaborate on what it included? Was the thermal pool outside or indoors? alternatively, is there an adults only pool area/sun deck (read: free option!)?


Since you went to the shows, what time did you do dinner? We are used to set dining times...what's a good time to dine to avoid crowds but still make the show...we typically do late seatings.


Did you do any of the specialty restaurants? Can you talk more of the quality and selection in the MDRs? Any wait staff you recommend we request?


Thanks much, we sail 15 Aprill!!

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I paid $116 for the week. The thermal pool was indoors in a common area along with a round hot tub, heated lounge chairs, and showers. In the locker rooms were two bathtub type hot tubs, cold plung pool, sauna, and steam room. On the pool deck, one pool is adult only and one for families. There is also a freestyle deck where people may sunbath topless.


We usually ate at 5:30pm and saw the 7:15p shows and did not have problems getting a table. Didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants.

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I was on this cruise and I have opposing opinions to those of this poster. I've been on many cruises and I thought the buffet on this ship was fantastic and way better than okay. There was an enormous selection of good food to choose from.

I saw people sliding down the waterslide all week and didn't see anyone have to crawl out of it.

I heard loud laughter throughout the comedian shows and thought they were also way better than okay.

Oh well, different people are allowed different opinions.

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We are planning a trip next spring 2013 with children, grand kids and great grand children. Thank you for the all the comments we are reading on this thread as we are contemplating taking them all on NCL due to itinerary for our time frame.


We have sailed with a few different cruise lines but HAL is usually our line of choice as it has the destinations we generally look for plus excellent dining room food and the perks with being a 'four star' member is wonderful.


From all I've read so far...NCL it sounds pretty casual and good for children albiet a bit worried about only having 2 pools for appr. 2400 people...but pools aside there does seem to be many other things for children, parents and grandparents to do together whilst onboard.


Love CC and a variety of views of each cruise line.

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