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The Norwegian Pearl has recently been refurbished and is a beautiful ship. The food in all the specialty restaurants and the main dining room was very good. Some of the staff were fantastic. Will, the bartender in the mid-ship 8th floor lounge was the best; friendly, pleasant and fun! Most of the staff were polite, friendly and service-driven. One of the female excursion desk people was rude and sarcastic but she was the only person we encountered that wasn't pleasant. The spa staff were a bit disorganized but were mostly friendly. The Spinnaker Lounge was our favorite place because the band Innovation played great jazz and very danceable music which is important to us because we are ballroom dancers. So what should have been a great vacation was nearly ruined by a poorly managed embarkation process. Tampa Bay had been shut down by the Coast Guard due to fog and the Pearl had been stranded 10 miles off the coast waiting to come into port. At first, NCL seemed to be on top of it. We got text messages telling us that the boarding process would be delayed and not to come until 3pm, and then 6pm and finally 9pm. That's where communication stopped. We arrived at 9pm along with 2000 others who waited in a very long line for several hours. In fact, we finally boarded the Pearl at 1 AM! That's right, FOUR HOURS later...no communication by NCL, no one to direct people, no attempt to accommodate all these people waiting on the streets of Tampa. Further, the lanes to even drop of luggage were blocked off meaning that all those people waiting were crating along luggage for a seven day trip. I am a seasoned traveler. I've been to 48 of our states. I've been to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia. I've also taken SEVENTEEN cruises! I don't expect everything to go smoothly. Cruise lines CANNOT control the weather BUT they CAN control the way they respond to the weather. Whoever is responsible for managing embarkation should be fired. This was an unacceptable inconvenience for hundreds of passengers. So what should NCL have done? 1) communicated to passengers NOT to come to the terminal until after 11pm 2) NOT blocked off drop off lanes for luggage 3) provided water for those standing in line 4) provided staff to direct the queues and to keep people informed of what was going on 5) apologized immediately and profusely for their incompetence 6) provided financial compensation 7) taken the elderly, the handicapped and families with small children to a safe and comfortable environment to wait 8) provided a projected sailing time for local residents and allowed them to wait at home I know all of this takes time and resources. BUT this is NOT NCL's first year in the cruising business! Are we to assume that in all of their years of operation, they have never encountered fog before? Now, all that said...the cruise was STILL very special and a great experience EXCEPT for embarkation.

Great cruise but DISASTER OF AN EMBARKATION PROCESS!

Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review by moonmonkey

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
The Norwegian Pearl has recently been refurbished and is a beautiful ship. The food in all the specialty restaurants and the main dining room was very good. Some of the staff were fantastic. Will, the bartender in the mid-ship 8th floor lounge was the best; friendly, pleasant and fun! Most of the staff were polite, friendly and service-driven. One of the female excursion desk people was rude and sarcastic but she was the only person we encountered that wasn't pleasant. The spa staff were a bit disorganized but were mostly friendly. The Spinnaker Lounge was our favorite place because the band Innovation played great jazz and very danceable music which is important to us because we are ballroom dancers.

So what should have been a great vacation was nearly ruined by a poorly managed embarkation process. Tampa Bay had been shut down by the Coast Guard due to fog and the Pearl had been stranded 10 miles off the coast waiting to come into port. At first, NCL seemed to be on top of it. We got text messages telling us that the boarding process would be delayed and not to come until 3pm, and then 6pm and finally 9pm. That's where communication stopped. We arrived at 9pm along with 2000 others who waited in a very long line for several hours. In fact, we finally boarded the Pearl at 1 AM! That's right, FOUR HOURS later...no communication by NCL, no one to direct people, no attempt to accommodate all these people waiting on the streets of Tampa. Further, the lanes to even drop of luggage were blocked off meaning that all those people waiting were crating along luggage for a seven day trip.

I am a seasoned traveler. I've been to 48 of our states. I've been to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia. I've also taken SEVENTEEN cruises! I don't expect everything to go smoothly. Cruise lines CANNOT control the weather BUT they CAN control the way they respond to the weather.

Whoever is responsible for managing embarkation should be fired. This was an unacceptable inconvenience for hundreds of passengers. So what should NCL have done?

1) communicated to passengers NOT to come to the terminal until after 11pm

2) NOT blocked off drop off lanes for luggage

3) provided water for those standing in line

4) provided staff to direct the queues and to keep people informed of what was going on

5) apologized immediately and profusely for their incompetence

6) provided financial compensation

7) taken the elderly, the handicapped and families with small children to a safe and comfortable environment to wait

8) provided a projected sailing time for local residents and allowed them to wait at home

I know all of this takes time and resources. BUT this is NOT NCL's first year in the cruising business! Are we to assume that in all of their years of operation, they have never encountered fog before?

Now, all that said...the cruise was STILL very special and a great experience EXCEPT for embarkation.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD 8546
good, clean, small. normal and within expectations
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins