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ladybugpug

Just off the Pearl Short Review

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My family of 6 ( husband, 19 year old daughter, 21 year old daughter, 25 year old son, son's fiance, and I) cruised from December 18th through the 23rd. I chose this particular cruise due to time constraints with my son's graduate school schedule. We sailed on the Gem years ago and enjoyed it very much. Next two cruises were RC Oasis and RC Freedom. I have to admit from the start that I prefer RC to NCL. We liked the set dining and having the same waitstaff. I also have to admit that our weather during the trip was cloudy and rainy and not very pleasant so I'm sure that colored our experience. I found the cruise as a whole just very average. The positives: loved the bathtub in the mini suite and the bathroom in general. Loved the Summer Palace MDR. So pretty and we all thought the food was good. Service there was good also. We ate at Teppanyaki and Moderno and enjoyed both. A huge positive to NCL's credit is that my one daughter is gluten free and they went above and beyond to accommodate her in the MDR and specialty dining (buffet not at all sadly). We enjoyed the variety show and comedian. Not so positives: the ship was just not impressive. Much of it looked old and drab. I thought the decor was pretty ugly and dated. And when you're stuck inside due to lousy weather you really feel the size of the ship. There was very little to occupy yourself with during the day.  I watched It's a Wonderful Life, The Lion King, and EIf and took a lot of naps lol. I doubt I would sail a Pearl sized ship again no matter what the cruise line. Our room steward was just ok. Nothing above and beyond. No towel animals. We sat our by the pool one afternoon and not one server came around to take drink orders and the pool area seemed small and dingy.  Another less than positive was the food in the buffet. Nothing was very appealing or tasty. In all I would say we had an enjoyable time. But there was just no "wow" factor in the Pearl. 

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Need to ask for cabin steward for towel animals.  Did you bring a book?

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 That's too bad, we've been on the Pearl twice and loved it. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to go on it again. Who was the General Manager, that tends to affect the experience quite a bit. I loved the crepes and the hot soup station on the buffet.

 

 You might not be aware, but you have to request towel animals on most ships now. 

Edited by KSSS2013

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I have not been on the pearl, but I have been on two other ships in her class (jade & jewel) and I will be on the gem for three weeks in 29 days.

 

you are right the ship(s) was just not impressive. they are not show pieces but they are solid traditional cruise ships, and I enjoyed them much more than the floating resort style getaway. the jewel class imho had more daytime activities that I enjoyed such as trivia and other social games. the "small ship format" I found that I could get to know the crew better and the small ship format is MUCH easier for my 80 year old father (with whom I normally sail) to get around on & the towel animals do nothing for us. all in all the cumulative benefits make me interested in sailing on the smaller sun. 

 

that being said we all have our personal preferences and I am still very much a cruise novice ( this next cruise will bring me to four ncl trips, plus one carnival).  

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13 hours ago, MSUjohn said:

 

 

you are right the ship(s) was just not impressive. they are not show pieces but they are solid traditional cruise ships, and I enjoyed them much more than the floating resort style getaway.

 

I agree, I like the smaller ships better a well.  The more I read reviews on different cruise lines, ship size, etc, I notice everyone has their preference based on past cruises.  After the our Breakaway Cruise I decided to go back to a smaller ship. 

 

Thank you for Ladybugpug for your review!  Nicely done!

 

Dave

 

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Seems the trend on NCL buffets these days is to just slap out basic food like an army chow hall.  The buffet used to have so much more variety and specials day to day. I guess NCL figured out another way to save a nickel and a dime.  Cut the buffet budget.  For your convenience of course....

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19 hours ago, mugtech said:

You enjoyed the Gem, how was the Pearl, a sister ship, different?

The Gem was my first cruise so I had nothing to compare it to most likely has something to do with it. Also my Gem experience was years ago so the ship would have been newer and in better condition. On the Gem I liked the over the top decor colors. Even the "hated" purple that passengers complained about. I remember a more upbeat and friendly crew on the Gem as well. On the Pearl there was none of the cheerfulness that I associate with a cruise experience. I think for me that bigger is better. I like the more over the top ships with the shops, shows, etc. I would sail NCL again if the itinerary and dates were a match for us but only of it were on one of the bigger ships. 

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Thanks for your review. We will be on the Pearl in the Spring. We love the Gem so I'm hoping we will like the Pearl.

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On 12/26/2019 at 2:03 PM, ladybugpug said:

Not so positives: the ship was just not impressive. Much of it looked old and drab. I thought the decor was pretty ugly and dated. And when you're stuck inside due to lousy weather you really feel the size of the ship. There was very little to occupy yourself with during the day.  I watched It's a Wonderful Life, The Lion King, and EIf and took a lot of naps lol. I doubt I would sail a Pearl sized ship again no matter what the cruise line. Our room steward was just ok. Nothing above and beyond. No towel animals. We sat our by the pool one afternoon and not one server came around to take drink orders and the pool area seemed small and dingy.  Another less than positive was the food in the buffet. Nothing was very appealing or tasty. In all I would say we had an enjoyable time. But there was just no "wow" factor in the Pearl. 

I'm worried about this for our next cruise because we've been enjoying the new ships so much. We also got bored by the smaller ships in the past, so not sure if going backwards is a great idea for us. But we've never sailed a jewel class ship, so I was hopeful. Now you are making me consider a different sailing (similar itinerary) that has a less-ideal port situation (repositioning going out of NYC in January), but is on the Getaway.

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