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Trip Report the Norwegian Pearl to Alaska was NOT as bad as I read-we had a great time

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Hi all. I wrote a trip report of our cruise and posted it over in the US section. I thought I could cross-reference it with the cruise forum, but I realize now that I can't. But I thought I would cut and paste what I wrote about the Norwegian Pearl, b/c I read so many negative things that we just didn't experience. We really had a great trip.

Here's my cut and paste from my trip report in the US section:

The Norwegian Pearl

I was not sure what to expect from our cruise. I had heard negative things about cruising in general, and many bad things about the Norwegian Cruise line. I heard that the food was bad and the service was poor. Our experience was nothing like I had imagined or feared.

Food - I consider myself a fairly picky either (I wont’ eat any fast food except Subway), and we thought the food was very good. We especially liked the freestyle dining concept. This allowed us to eat whenever we wanted, and there were no dress up days. We never ate in the more expensive specialty restaurants but only in the main dining room or buffet. We thought the food in the main restaurant was quite good. Each menu featured a selection (for appetizer entrée and dessert) that was a Cooking Light selection. We thought these choices were very good. The food in the buffet was OK, nothing special. The boys LOVED the buffet because it had all their favorite foods well represented.

The only complaint I could say about this is that often we found it difficult to find a table in the buffet.

Our room. We splurged on a balcony room and I was glad that we did. We had a really nice view of the glaciers as we sailed through Glacier Bay. We got a separate interior cabin across the hall from us for the boys. We usually stay in one hotel room, so this was a treat for all of us.

Kids activities. One of the main reasons we chose this cruise was because it had a lot of kids activities. There was a pool with a water slide, a teen club, a rock climbing wall, a bowling alley, a golf area (very tiny) and a sport court with basketball nets. My younger son loved the teen club. My older son felt he was too old for that, so he hung out on the sports court and within a few days, he made friends and they met up on the sports court to play soccer or basketball. They climbed the rock wall several times and went in the pool, although the air temperature was often quite cool for swimming.

Entertainment. Here's where I was most pleasantly surprised. I thought the shows would be corny, but they were very good. There was a comedian who was funny (he wasn't Chris rock, but he wasn't bad either) and there was also members from the Second City Comedy Club who did several improv shows that were very entertaining. One night the ship had a high-energy, funny juggling act featuring two guys who used to be clowns with the Ringling Brothers circus. They were really fun to watch. A few days later, the two former clowns held a question-and-answer session where everyone could ask them questions about being in the circus or working on a cruise ship. I went to an art history lecture, which was simple but well done. It was given by the cruises art auctioneer. What they were auctioning off did not look like anything I would want on my walls. In Skagway, a local entertainer came on board and gave a history of Skagway through stories and song. While in Glacier Bay, a National Park Service ranger came on board and gave a talk about the park.

Service. We are independent travelers and don't ask for a lot. We thought the service was fine and pleasant. One night early in the cruise, we walked in on the Steward making towel animals in our room. My son noticed that the way he molded the towel into each shape was by putting it in his mouth. We declined turn down service, and any more animals, after that.

Gym. The gym was very nice with good equipment. My husband and I used it I think every day we were on board. The spa also looked nice, but I did not partake of any services.

I wanted to share these observations because I read a lot of really negative things about Norwegian that were just not what we experienced. It does seem like their ships vary in quality, but I would recommend the Pearl. We really had a fantastic time. My husband thinks the whole trip might be the best family vacation we've ever taken

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