Get Away With Fran

March 22, 2010

My 100th on Norwegian Pearl

Filed under: Cruise — admin @ 3:40 pm

pearl_ship1_web

I am declaring this my 100th cruise. I am on the Norwegian Pearl cruising in the Caribbean this week. And honestly I have no idea if this really is my 100th cruise or not. It may be my 101st or even 110th. I don’t keep an exact list. So I might as well call this cruise a celebration.

As a writer specializing in cruises I have been on a lot of ships. And attending the Cruise Shipping Miami conference last week one number stuck in my head and that is 118. That’s the number of new cruise ships built in the last 10 years. It’s a big number.

I’ve seen a good number of those ships. Which brings me to the 93,000-ton, 2,380-passenger Norwegian Pearl. One of the things that really makes a cruise for me is service.

And from the moment my guy pal and I arrived at the pier in Miami on Saturday for this NCL cruise we’ve experienced nothing but extraordinary service. Now, to be fair I should reveal that there are perks of the trade and one is that you sometimes get VIP treatment. Such was the case at check in (our concierge, Ryan, escorted us on to the ship). But even so, there was no big huge line for anyone to get on in the mid afternoon. That’s a very good thing.

So too is crew in the buffet restaurant working so hard to keep dishes bused and tables clean that one woman asked us if we were finished eating even before we started to eat – seriously, we’d just sat down and our plates were full of Indian food and other goodies from the buffet. Now that’s efficient service!

NCL is different than other cruise lines in that it serves up Freestyle Cruising, which includes the option of eating when you want, where you want and with whom you want. No set schedules. Eat when you’re hungry. And if like me and my guy you want a table for two you can get one easily. This ship has 14 dining options including main restaurants and buffets and eight specialty restaurants that carry a fee (of $10 to $25 per person).

So far we’ve sampled the $15 all-you-can-eat sushi (excellent!) and the $10 TexMex at Mambo’s (the lobster tacos were particularly yummy). Tonight in celebration, we will do Le Bistro ($20). Perhaps at some point we will remember to go to the regular dining room too.

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