It’s All About the Pearl

Norwegian Pearl and Holland America Rhyndam

Ships in Ketchikan, my original photo of the Pearl

It all started with a random picture.  An Alaskan wilderness small-ship cruise I once took on the Safari Quest ended in Ketchikan on a beautiful sunny fall day.  Strolling through town, camera in hand, I just happened to glance at the cruise ship dock and thought a couple ships sitting there looked picture perfect.  So I took the perfect picture.  Perfect for me anyway.  I had just started writing this cruise ship blog, and the photo I took that day of the Norwegian Pearl and Holland America Rhyndam ended up as the banner on the top of my blog.  Norwegian has such colorful ships and the Pearl is an especially pretty one.   Very photogenic too.  Cut from that photo, the Pearl is also my profile picture on facebook and wordpress gravatar.

At the time I had never sailed on either ship.  I had sailed with both Holland America (on the Oosterdam) and Norwegian (on the Sun) at that point, but never the Pearl or the Rhyndam.

cruise ship anchored

Norwegian Pearl

About a year ago we spotted the Pearl in Grand Cayman while cruising on Carnival Liberty.  Quite excited to spot my banner ship I took pictures of course, but none turned out as nice as my original one from Ketchikan.  On this year’s cruise the Pearl stopped in Grand Cayman along with Carnival Magic, Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam, Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas, and the Coral Princess.

cruise ship anchored

Pearl at Great Stirrup Cay

The Coral Princess looked tiny in the Caribbean next to so many larger ships and the Pearl, which is bigger than the Sun, was not one of the bigger ships in the area either.  Quite a change from the cruise I took in Alaska on the Sun where we often spotted the Coral Princess in port where it and the Sun seemed like the biggest ships there at that time.  Funny thing about that trip, it turns out the current captain on the Pearl was also the captain of the Sun when I sailed on it.

view from Mystic Mountain Jamaica

Pearl in Jamaica

Shortly after last year’s trip, John booked us for the trip we took this fall.  We started with a transatlantic on Carnival’s Breeze, a ship so new it was not even built yet at the time we planned our trip.  He figured we’d already be in Miami at the end of that cruise so we might as well spend a week cruising around the Caribbean.  We love Caribbean cruises.  We booked on the Jewel.  I thought at least it was a sister ship to the Pearl so I would get some idea of the design of it on the inside, though the decor varies even among sister ships.

cuise ship docked in Jamaica

Pearl in Jamaica

After a couple months or so we got a notification from Norwegian that our trip had gotten switched from the Jewel to the Pearl.  I felt quite elated at that news, finally a chance to sail on the ship that has graced the banner of my blog since nearly the beginning of its existence.  (The blog’s existence that is, the Pearl launched in 2006.)

cruise ship carpet

fish carpet in halls between staterooms

Norwegian Pearl is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Ornate ceilings and fancy decorated walls give way to brightly colored whimsical carpets.  In the hallways to the passenger rooms tropical fish adorn the carpets.  The areas near elevators have plain blue, making them quite easy to spot from down the hall due to the lack of fish.

Throughout the ship as one public space gives way to another, the décor changes, never leaving any doubt as to where one area ends and another begins even when walking through a line of three bars in a row.  Each area has its own carpet, most brightly colored and decorated with cheerful patterns.

It’s not just the ship that makes a cruise on the Pearl special.  The very friendly crew seem quite happy with their jobs and more than willing to do whatever they can to give passengers a wonderful vacation.  The ship gets top ratings on health inspections and safety too.

model of cruise ship

Pearl Model in Bridge Viewing Room

The Pearl had something I have not seen on ships I sailed on previously.  Just behind the bridge it has a viewing room with windows into the bridge so any passenger can come and watch the bridge crew at work whenever they want.  That room also contained a large size model of the Pearl.

cruise ship Christmas ornament

Norwegian Pearl Christmas Tree Ornament

At the gift shop I got my own tiny ship.  A Christmas ornament Pearl to add to my collection of cruise ship Christmas tree ornaments.  I try to get an ornament of each ship that I sail on.  I’m missing both the Holland America ships though.  I don’t know whether Holland America doesn’t have them, or if they were just out of them on both the Oosterdam and the Westerdam when I took those cruises.

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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12 Responses to It’s All About the Pearl

  1. sharechair says:

    I’ll be on the Jewel in a few weeks! Woo-hoo! Trying to learn what to do in the ports, now. I’ve never cruised the Southern Caribbean. Excited, and counting the days!

  2. In St. Thomas we were at the local street market, where you can buy hand-made larimar jewelery, as well as other local knick knacks. While there, which is an easy walk from the ship, several van tour operators had signs for “Island Tour” $20 each. Since we only had $30 left, as we had not planned on any tours I told them that is what we had, which they gladly accepted. The van tour lasted about 3 hours and was amazing. We highly recommend just exiting the ship in St. Thomas and finding a van tour. And don’t forget to look for the little street market.

    We were just in St. Maarten and took a cab to Princess Julianna airport, more specifically Maho Beach, which sits just 30 feet from the end of the runway. You’ll find a beautiful beach and be amazed as small planes, private jets and yes, BIG commercial 747-400 behemoths come so close over your head it blocks the sun. When KLM landed they were only about 30-feet over our heads. When the jets take off they often take off in the same direction they landed, and go to the back of the runway and sit with jet engines cranked up, which sends people running or flying into the sea. Check out the YouTube videos. Just remember to pick a spot to the side, not directly behind the jets.

    In Antigua we did a great snorkling/kayak tour that Lois will write about on this blog. Antigua was pretty. I have some images of St. Maarten and Antigua posted on my Face Book fan site, My Travel Tastes. My Cruise Stories also has a Face Book fan site titled the same as this blog.

    I hope you enjoy your cruise!
    John, husband of Lois, owner/writer of My Cruise Stories.

    • sharechair says:

      Thank you so much for your information! When I travel, I love to gather every detail that I can, to make the most of our time in the ports. I had heard about those airplanes, so we will certainly catch a cab to take us to that beach. It sounds like something you have to see, at least once. And I truly appreciate your advice about the tours in St Thomas. I enjoy knowing what to expect, and this sounds perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me advice. I am now pouring through the Cruise Critic boards every day, gathering whatever I can. We have cruised to Bermuda twice (on the Explorer) and took a Celebrity cruise to New England. This is our first cruise to the Caribbean. (and we have a Baltic cruise booked for June!) Again…. love this blog, and thank you for your help!!

  3. cindy knoke says:

    Love the photos and the description!

  4. Chris says:

    I guess it woudn’t be a good thing to do for the cruise ship company but it would be cool to see all the Norwegian ships togather with their interesting paint jobs.

  5. Barbara Borstad says:

    Glad you finally got to cruise on the Pearl. Judging from your photos, you sure have seen her in a lot of places. That bridge viewing room looks really cool!

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