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Old 12-23-2008, 08:40 AM
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Dec 14-21. 9 in our group. Our cruise on the Pearl got off to a very auspicious start. Our first dinner (first night)in the Indigo main dining room was less than stellar. Service was surly...at best. Same problem with our first 2 breakfasts in the Summer Palace (I actually got up and poured myself a coffee refill...which the head waiter did NOT at all appreciate) and again on our first visit to the Blue Lagoon. Our second evening of dining, this time in the Summer Palace, was perfect. Our waiter was absolutely wonderful and we were going to request him throughout the rest of the cruise. Unfortunately, the location of that dining room (rear of the ship) made for some of our party to feel queezy because of the rolling of the ship. So...we never got to eat there as a group again. Oddly, we made reservations for each night, but were made to wait in line anyways. The reservation is only held for 15 minutes, so there was a chance that we would lose our table if the line was long enough. Luckily that never happened. That was a little weird I thought. The poolside service was awesome the whole time and service was much improved throughout the remainder of the cruise.

Our camera was stolen from one of the lounges the second night. Our fault...we left it on the seat. Security combed thru the tapes and eventually found the thief (an adult passenger). The staff did a great job of keeping us informed throughout the process. Just our luck we get the one dishonest person on the cruise to pass by our stuff when you see everyone else leaving purses, etc to keep their table. Lesson learned.

There were some "hidden fees" (if you can really call them that) that we noticed and if not for this forum we would have not known about. The drinks and the souvenir cups: $2.00 extra if u dont carry the souvenir cup w/ you when you want another drink. 50 pound luggage maximum (tho if you try and get the fee for going over that weight no one can tell you what it is). Corkage fee for alcohol onboard: A simple phone call to customer service will only tell you that you are allowed to bring alcohol on board, they dont tell you about the corkage fee UNLESS you ask (again, I was aware of that thru here).

This was our first time sailing with NCL as opposed to Princess which is our normal line of choice. Some of our opinions on the 2 (and of course, only our opinion): Food quality is better on Princess in the main dining rooms though we thought the buffet was better on NCL. Service seems to be a little more consistent on Princess, though NCL was great after our first couple of encounters. We also thought our balcony room was a little smaller as opposed to Princess, though we thought the shower was bigger. We were very happy with the entertainment provided and the Ukrainian couple were AWESOME. The pool raggae band only played for one hour total on each of our sea days, which was unfortunate, cause we really liked them. They were scheduled for "12:00 to whenever." Seemed like a younger crowd on the Pearl which we enjoyed...maybe too much .

Overall, we had a great time (as we always do when cruising). Princess will still be our first choice, but we would definitely go with NCL again. Each is going to have their plusses and minuses and no one is going to be absolutely perfect. Can't wait for our next cruise!!!!!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 08:40 AM
kkontny's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: orlando FL
Posts: 91
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Dec 14-21. 9 in our group. Our cruise on the Pearl got off to a very auspicious start. Our first dinner (first night)in the Indigo main dining room was less than stellar. Service was surly...at best. Same problem with our first 2 breakfasts in the Summer Palace (I actually got up and poured myself a coffee refill...which the head waiter did NOT at all appreciate) and again on our first visit to the Blue Lagoon. Our second evening of dining, this time in the Summer Palace, was perfect. Our waiter was absolutely wonderful and we were going to request him throughout the rest of the cruise. Unfortunately, the location of that dining room (rear of the ship) made for some of our party to feel queezy because of the rolling of the ship. So...we never got to eat there as a group again. Oddly, we made reservations for each night, but were made to wait in line anyways. The reservation is only held for 15 minutes, so there was a chance that we would lose our table if the line was long enough. Luckily that never happened. That was a little weird I thought. The poolside service was awesome the whole time and service was much improved throughout the remainder of the cruise.

Our camera was stolen from one of the lounges the second night. Our fault...we left it on the seat. Security combed thru the tapes and eventually found the thief (an adult passenger). The staff did a great job of keeping us informed throughout the process. Just our luck we get the one dishonest person on the cruise to pass by our stuff when you see everyone else leaving purses, etc to keep their table. Lesson learned.

There were some "hidden fees" (if you can really call them that) that we noticed and if not for this forum we would have not known about. The drinks and the souvenir cups: $2.00 extra if u dont carry the souvenir cup w/ you when you want another drink. 50 pound luggage maximum (tho if you try and get the fee for going over that weight no one can tell you what it is). Corkage fee for alcohol onboard: A simple phone call to customer service will only tell you that you are allowed to bring alcohol on board, they dont tell you about the corkage fee UNLESS you ask (again, I was aware of that thru here).

This was our first time sailing with NCL as opposed to Princess which is our normal line of choice. Some of our opinions on the 2 (and of course, only our opinion): Food quality is better on Princess in the main dining rooms though we thought the buffet was better on NCL. Service seems to be a little more consistent on Princess, though NCL was great after our first couple of encounters. We also thought our balcony room was a little smaller as opposed to Princess, though we thought the shower was bigger. We were very happy with the entertainment provided and the Ukrainian couple were AWESOME. The pool raggae band only played for one hour total on each of our sea days, which was unfortunate, cause we really liked them. They were scheduled for "12:00 to whenever." Seemed like a younger crowd on the Pearl which we enjoyed...maybe too much .

Overall, we had a great time (as we always do when cruising). Princess will still be our first choice, but we would definitely go with NCL again. Each is going to have their plusses and minuses and no one is going to be absolutely perfect. Can't wait for our next cruise!!!!!
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for the comprehensive review! (And I'm glad security was able to identify the evildoer. Guess he missed the part where it says "all public rooms are subject to video surveilance").
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:23 AM
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quote:
The drinks and the souvenir cups: $2.00 extra if u dont carry the souvenir cup w/ you when you want another drink.


Let me get this straight - if you bought a soft drink package but didn't use the souvenir cup you had to pay $2 for a refill?

And your luggage was weighed by the cruise line?
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:32 AM
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The $2.00 was for alcoholic drinks, not soft drinks. We had to carry around that souvenir glass all the time, and if we forgot it, it was a trip back up to the room to get it. And as for the luggage: I asked myself that same question...how in the world r they going to weigh every bag? When I was told of this policy, I thought check in w/ NCL might be the same as when u check in an airport. We dropped off our bags on the curb as normal, so IMO, there is no way they're going to weigh a bag unless maybe it's so grossly heavy and they pull it aside??? 2 different phone calls to customer service, had us put on hold while they checked into the policy, in which they couldn't "quote us anything."
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for the clarification on the drink price.

Strange that nobody has an answer about the luggage surcharge.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 10:40 AM
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Welcome back, Keith!

Thanks for posting this detailed, fair and balanced review.

Did you get your camera back? I certainly hope so. I left mine in a taxi on Cozumel, and actually got it back. I think theives should be made to walk the plank.

I don't know much about NCL granted, but I have never heard of weighing ship luggage. That would be a hoot of a proposal for CCL.

Dwayne
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 10:47 AM
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we did get the camera back. took til Friday, but we got it back...thats all we cared! And funny you should mention walking the plank...as I suggested to the front desk personnel that they throw them overboard. And stealing a camera?? Doesnt EVERYONE bring a camera with them on a cruise? But I guess a thief will take anything. And I also had never heard of a luggage weight restriction, and I'm not sure customer service had either by their responses!!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 10:48 AM
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I've seen people take more luggage on a 3/4 day cruise then I take on a 12 day cruise.! I haven't yet seen a cruise line start a weight limit though.
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2008, 10:49 AM
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I'd like to think that, as a minimum, NCL has banned the thief from ever cruising again, and has shared that info with the other lines.
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