Where do I begin? NCL Pearl out of Miami---Embarkation was painful. We had to sit in a waiting area and be called by group to even be able to enter the ship...approximately 45 min. First time I have experienced that so let the cattle herding begin. This was my 4th cruise, my 2nd with NCL and I will NEVER cruise with them again. The entire trip left me feeling depressed. We booked a room with a deck and paid a premium because we wished to have side by side rooms as my daughter & grand daughter were also traveling with us....in order to request this you must pay more to get it otherwise you risk being randomly put on separate floors considerably away from each other so we paid an extra $200 per room or thereabouts for that privilege.The rooms were EXTREMELY small! Then we added the FREE at SEA....I'm here to tell you this is NOT free as they charge a premium gratuities fee upfront on both the Drink package and the Dining package then at the end of your trip after you have paid that they inform you that you must pay a $15. a day per person gratuity for your Steward!!! which added another $150. to the room price. They certainly made out on me as I probably had 5 drinks the entire trip so average that gratuity out and our servers got a whopping gratuity, at least from me, and that's what they are counting on. The weather was awful--no sun AT ALL (not NCL's fault) yet it did not help the experience. They nickle dime you to death in a big way. Now they are walking around and selling raffle tickets at every venue you attend. I guess they are not happy if they aren't getting enough people in the Casino that they must push this. If you play "Deal or No Deal" you must cough up $29. per card.
The Dining was probably the best of all. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants and enjoyed both the food and the service. Cagneys Steakhouse and LaCucina were both very good. The main dining area was also very good. The buffet on level 12 not so much.......tooooooo many people. My understanding is that we were cruising with 2300 people. The outside pool deck area is ALWAYS occupied by people that have claimed the best seats and they stay all day long....just leaving their towels on the seats even if they are not there so if you want a seat you better get up at 6am to claim one, Same with the hot-tubs! Most individuals are not friendly....we did meet up with some that were but it was few and far between and I blame this on the fact that it is so over-crowded that people become greedy to get a drink or a seat or anything....I find it extremely uncomfortable. The entertainment was pretty good. I do believe that they have improved on that as the last time I cruised with NCL the entertainment was mediocre..this was an improvement.
Our destinations were Harvest Caye, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Harvest Caye is NCL's private island yet you must pay for everything once off of the ship. I booked a Luxury Villa--a whopping $600. for the day.....Although expensive it was wonderful, the highlight of the cruise---the weather (dreary and drizzling all day) was disappointing which dampened the experience. The Villa did allow us to have some space to breathe with luxury surrounding us right on the water. The Costa Maya destination is baffling, It is actually a port town contrived for the cruise ships---to me this is not an authentic Mexican destination, on this day it was serving 3 or 4 cruise ships so once again very crowded! A place to spend more money as you fight your way through crowds and stand in line to eat. We traveled into Mayahaul (the nearest town) and it was kind of sad but the people were lovely and I'm happy that we took the time to see but there is little there. There are excursions that you can sign up for at this location.
Too small even with the outside deck. This was by far the smallest room I have experienced on a cruise...you are on top of each other the entire time.
I have covered this port in my review. The weather was less than desirable --cool and drizzling all day but we did have the Luxury Villa that was wonderful.
Not an authentic Mexican destination. It is a port town specifically for Cruise ships so that was disappointing.