norwegian pearl cruise ship photos
Norwegian Pearl Facts & Figures
Owner/Operator:Norwegian Cruise Line
Year built:2006
Builder:Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany
Former names:-
Gross Tonnage:93,502
Length:294.1 m (964.9 ft)
Beam:32.2 m (105.6 ft)
Passengers (normal):2,376
Passengers (maximum):4,080
Service speed:24.0 kn
Sister Ships:Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Pearl History

Built (as most Norwegian Cruise Line ships) by Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Pearl was delivered on November 28, 2006. She sailed to Rotterdam and Southampton before crossing the ocean. She was christened on November 16, 2006 in Miami and has sailed to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Mexico and Alaska ever since.

Norwegian Pearl Photo Gallery
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Norwegian Pearl Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos
From the ShipParade Archives: Norwegian Pearl On Board Report
All photos and text: © 2006 Bart de Boer (unless otherwise noted)
This article was first published on December 26, 2006. Decor, services and amenities might have changed since publication

Forty years ago NCL successfully initiated 7-day Caribbean cruises from Miami and grew into one of the most popular cruise lines in the world. After a rough spot in the nineties the cruise line was purchased by the Genting Group in 2000. Under new Malaysian ownership, NCL was completely restructured and a vast number of product innovations were introduced which have lead to a rebirth of Norwegian Cruise Line as one of the world's leading cruise lines.

Norwegian Pearl at Rotterdam. This photo © Cees de Bijl

Norwegian Pearl is the living proof of NCL's newfound success. Built by Meyer Werft, the 93,502 vessel was delivered on November 28, 2006 at Eemshaven, Netherlands and sailed directly for Rotterdam to host a rousing one night pre-inaugural party enabling travel and media representatives to sample the line's  unique 'Freestyle Cruising' concept. 

With 12 restaurants, 11 bars, the world's first oceangoing bowling alley, a sports court, climbing wall, beautiful Spa, 4,390 sq ft Garden Villas and a host of colorful spaces, Norwegian Pearl managed to wow her 1,800 invited guests on the overnight cruise to nowhere from Rotterdam. Let's quickly hop on board to discover the "Freestyle Difference" of this colorful ship.

Norwegian Pearl at Rotterdam. This photo © Cees de Bijl
Norwegian Pearl at Rotterdam. This photo © Cees de Bijl
Norwegian Pearl at Rotterdam. This photo © Cees de Bijl

Compared to other cruise ship foyers, Norwegian Pearl's 2-deck high Crystal Atrium is of rather modest dimensions. And instead of glass elevators and towering heights, you will find a 24-hour casual eatery and a giant screen showing a larger than live CNN newscast. Welcome to Freestyle Cruising!

Java Bar

Despite the fact that  Norwegian Pearl's Crystal Atrium is "only" two decks high, you will not be able to miss it. Thanks to its distinct carpeting with oversized swirls, cool color combinations and fun design details, the Atrium is the place to see and be seen during all hours. It is home to the 24-hour Reception, a Shore Excursion Desk, Boutique and the very popular Java Bar. 

Completely free-standing in the middle of the atrium floor, the Java Bar serves as a natural gathering place and has some very attractive seating areas on the port side with views over the Promenade Deck through large windows. On the other side of the bar, there is seating in the center of the atrium next to the larger than life LED screen that is far too overpowering. Too bad, as the location and setup of the Java Bar is unrivalled.

Imaginative animal photos in the forward stairtower

Two curved grand staircases lead up to the upper level of the Crystal Atrium. The horseshoe shaped area is divided in two separate parts connected by a serving area. On the starboard side, the 24-hour Blue Lagoon is a casual eatery, serving snacks and simple favorites (like a bowl of chili or pasta) around the clock. All food served in the Blue Lagoon is included in the cruise fare.

On the port side, the upbeat and colorful Mambos Tapas Bar lures most guests with its fun carpeting (follow the instructions on the floor and you're an experienced mambo dancer in a matter of seconds!) and south of the border cuisine. Overlooking the giant TV screen on one side and sea & sky on the other, this place is perfect if you are looking for a casual dinner. 

Shore Excursion Desk

Crystal Atrium
Crystal Atrium with Reception Desk
Java Café
Looking down from Mambo's Tapas Bar
Blue Lagoon 24-hour restaurant
Blue Lagoon 24-hour restaurant

Elevator bank

Crystal Atrium

Java Café with huge screen
Crystal Atrium
Crystal Atrium
Java Café
Mambos Tapas Restaurant
Mambos Tapas Restaurant
Amidships stairtower

Norwegian Cruise Line first introduced some of the most elaborate suite accommodations on Norwegian Star. Called "Garden Villas", these seagoing apartments are the epitome of luxury sea travel. On Norwegian Pearl, two Garden Villas are perched high atop the ship and measure 4,390 sq ft (534 sq m) each.

Garden Villa # 14000 - One of the guest bedrooms

You enter the Garden Villas by ringing one of three door bells. A spacious marble-clad hall leads to wards the huge living room, featuring grand views of the Pool Deck below through floor to ceiling windows. An intimate  outdoor patio with Jacuzzi has a staircase leading up to a private sundeck with hammocks. There are 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. And the services of a butler.

One deck up is a secluded area with two more suites. These elegant Deluxe Owner's Suites are a lot more modest than the extravagant Villas, but the forward-facing balconies with Jacuzzis of these Owner's Suites make them highly desirable.

Private Courtyard for Courtyard Villa occupants

NCL successfully introduced the Courtyard Villa concept on the Norwegian Jewel. Only accessible to 'Courtyard Villa' guests, the courtyard can be closed off in inclement weather by a sliding glass roof and has a tiny dipping pool, a steam room, some fitness apparatus, while one deck up there is a large sun deck with lots of room to stretch out in the sun..

But even if you haven't got the money to splurge on a suite, you can rest assured that you'll be well off on Norwegian Pearl. Nearly 800 of all 1,197 guest staterooms have sea views, with an impressive percentage of private balconies thrown in. Staterooms feature a colorful décor (some may find it too colorful), have a well-appointed bathroom with semi-separate toilet, coffee-making facilities (an NCL exclusive) and crisp duvets on every bed. And wait until you see the funny comments on the toiletries provided!

Colorful corridors - with music playing 24/7

Mini Suite # 11078, Category AF
Mini Suite # 11078, Category AF
Garden Villa # 14000 - Private patio with Jacuzzi
Garden Villa # 14000 - Private patio
Garden Villa # 14000 - Master Bedroom
Owner's Suite # 15000 - with a forward balcony overlooking the pool deck

Private Courtyard for Courtyard Villa occupants, as seen from the private sundeck

Mini-Suite # 11078 - Bathroom with tub and separate toilet

Garden Villa # 14000 - Master bathroom with sliding glass door leading to the private patio
Garden Villa # 14000 - Living room
Garden Villa # 14000 - Living room overlooking the main swimming pool
Owner's Suite # 15000 - Bedroom
Owner's Suite # 15000 - Living room
Private Courtyard for Courtyard Villa occupants
Obstructed View Stateroom # 8954

In the warm waters of the Caribbean, Norwegian Pearl's Tahitian Pool will surely be one of the most popular places on board. Decked out in bright green, aqua and pink, it has a large yellow waterslide, two pools, three Jacuzzis and a whole lot of deck lights that are cleverly disguised as palm trees.

Tahitian Pool

On a ship that carries a maximum of 4,000 guests, expect your 'place in the sun' to be a crowded one. With a large portion of the upper decks given over to the joys of the "suite life" and the aft decks being the center of attention for sports and food fans, there is only a limited amount of open deck space for Norwegian Pearl's non-suite guests.

So, where to go to lay your towel on a deck chair in the early morning hours? First, there is a sun deck all the way forward. Glassed in, it has a few comfy cushioned lounge beds overlooking the Tahitian Pool. One deck lower, you will find a lot of deck chairs on both starboard and port sides. And of course there is the main pool area. But as the waterslide takes up a lot of space, your chances to lie down next to the two pools is very small

Tahitian Pool lighting. Tacky? I guess so!

When the Tahitian Pool is buzzing, the band is playing in the gazebo and the waterslide is occupied by frolicking kids, where better to go than the blissfully serene Samsara Spa, located just forward of the main pool area. Run by Steiner's, Norwegian Pearl's spa is a huge facility, holding 15 different rooms where a number of new treatments are available to guests.

Of course you'll find a Hair Salon, Fitness Center, and Aerobics Room, but new on Norwegian Pearl is the small hydrotherapy pool that is located adjacent to a simply superb forward-facing relaxation. Oh, and don't miss the male and female thermal suites, with glass-walled saunas, rasul baths and steam baths. So, why not spend a full day at sea right here?

Tahitian Pool covered seating area

Tahitian Pool with Garden Villa complex in the background
Tahitian Pool with Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge in the background
Waterslide, taking up a lot of much-needed space!
Hair Salon
The Library
Couple's treatment room at the Samsara Spa

Hydrotherapy Pool, Samsara Spa

A novelty for NCL: a rock climbing wall

Live music at the gazebo, Tahitian Pool
Despite the cold weather the mood was festive as Norwegian Pearl set sail from Rotterdam
Samsara Spa
Male Thermal Suite, Samsara Spa
Relaxation Room with forward views, Samsara Spa
Male Sauna - with glorious ocean views!
Basketball & Tennis Court with terraced seating

One of the most popular attractions on any NCL cruise is the 'Freestyle Dining' concept, offering guests a choice of twelve different restaurants. The cruise line has done away with fixed meal times, fixed seatings and gives you a chance to tickle your taste buds in a new setting every night. From Sushi to Pasta to Steak to Burrito, it's a bit like a culinary trip around the world! 

Fabergé eggs everywhere at the Summer Palace Main Restaurant

Thanks to LCD screens showing the availability of all restaurants real-time, your wait for a table for dinner will never have to be long. Having dinner in one of the specialty restaurants will set you back anything between US$ 15 and US$ 25 per head. But even if you don't want to spend a dime extra, you still have ample 'Freestyle' choice.

For a traditional served breakfast, lunch or a la carte dinner, head for the Summer Palace Restaurant. With a capacity of 600, this is a big place with a décor inspired by Russia's famous Petersburg Palace, including paintings of the Emperor's family. Even the famous Fabergé eggs were not overlooked.

Indigo Main Restaurant

On the same deck, separated from the Summer Palace Restaurant by the galley is Indigo. Done in a trendy, modern bold style with oversized neon artwork and a colorful carpet, NCL serves some slightly more modern dinner selections here which again are included in the cruise fare. Should you have a small appetite, head for the Blue Lagoon on the upper level

of the Crystal Atrium. This is also the place to go after a long night of partying as it is open around the clock. But there is more... Up on deck 12 is the large Garden Café. Despite the huge buffet area, the place gets very crowded during peak meal times, so take our tip and head straight for the Great Outdoor Restaurant all the way aft, where the buffets are the same, the lines are shorter and you'll have more chance to find a table.

Grand entrance to the Summer Palace main Restaurant

Summer Palace Main Restaurant
Summer Palace Main Restaurant
Summer Palace Main Restaurant
Garden Café buffet lines - soooo spacious!
Garden Café buffet lines
Garden Café

Garden Café

Summer Palace entrance

Summer Palace Main Restaurant
Indigo Main Restaurant
Indigo Main Restaurant
Garden Café
Garden Café kid's corner
The Great Outdoors buffet lines
The Great Outdoors

Despite the fine selection of main eateries, guests on our overnight pre-inaugural trip from Rotterdam were understandably lured by Norwegian Pearl's many specialty restaurants. Having enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse myself, I can see why so many guests choose to go 'restaurant hopping'! 

Jade Garden artwork

Personally, I wouldn't mind having dinner every night at the Lotus Garden complex on deck 7. This three-in-one restaurant is home to a bright, large a la carte section serving up Asian fusion cuisine, including Korean-style ribs and Mongolian Hot Pots. Then there's the Sushi Bar. And last but not least, let's not forget the intimate and ever-popular Teppanyaki Room!

NCL once introduced Le Bistro, the first-ever specialty restaurant at sea. After so many years, Le Bistro is still going strong and on Norwegian Pearl the intimate 129-seat French eatery is decorated in an attractive fin du siecle style, complete with period paintings.

Jade Garden artwork

On Norwegian Pearl's upper decks, there are two more specialty restaurants. Adjacent to the Garden Café (and serving as extra seating capacity during peak hours) is La Cucina, a casual Italian restaurant made to look like Grandma's own kitchen. Here you will be able to build your own pasta dish and socialize with 95 fellow guests.

Ah, and there's Cagney's Steakhouse up on deck 13. This all-American steak and seafood place comes complete with an attractive 1930s look and an open galley that serves up some very fine food. If our dinner is anything to go by, Cagney's is definitely a winner.

Teppanyaki Room

Secondary atrium with Jade Garden sushi bar (upper level) and Magnum's Champagne Bar (lower level)
Jade Garden entrance, with sushi bar to the right
Jade Garden oriental restaurant
Jade Garden Sushi Bar
Cagney's Steakhouse

Cagney's Steakhouse

Le Bistro artwork

Le Bistro French restaurant
Le Bistro French Restaurant
La Cucina Italian Restaurant
Cagney's Steakhouse
A horse is a horse ... of course. Cagney's artwork
Cagney's Steakhouse with open kitchen in the background

It's about time for a drink! Norwegian Pearl has an impressive array of watering holes perfect for that before or after dinner drink. Let's start up on top at the Spinnaker Lounge. This 372 seat secondary show lounge up on deck 13 doubles as an observatory by day. What better way to see the world pass by than to lie down on any ultra-trendy couches with your loved one?

Star Bar

The Spinnaker Lounge is done in a remotely nautical decor with lots of blues and whites and a really pretty bar area. In my opinion, the cheap looking pub-like metal chairs on the starboard side are a bit of a letdown. Still, the Spinnaker Lounge proved to be a popular after-dinner venue on our one-night pre-inaugural trip, with live music and a rockin' good atmosphere!

Located a bit out of the way amidships on deck 13 is the very pretty Star Bar. Its loud but warm color scheme and comfortable black chairs make it the perfect location to go to for a pre-dinner drink while seeing the sun set over the Tahitian Pool. Cheers!

Magnum's Champagne Bar & Sushi Bar

But for the true pub crawler there is no better place than Bar City down on deck 6. Within the space of less than 100 feet, there are three distinct bar areas, each appealing to a different taste and decorated in a different style. First up is Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar overlooking the charming secondary atrium with its grand staircase and backlit ceiling.

More metropolitan in style is Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar, while the 'gentlemen's club' decor of the Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar obviously appeals those who are looking for a pint or a wee drop of whiskey.  

Spinnaker Lounge

Post-modern seating in the Spinnaker Lounge
Spinnaker Lounge's nautical-inspired bar
Shaker's Martini & Cocktail Bar
Magnum's Champagne Bar, with Shaker's in the background
Magnum's Champagne Bar

Secundary Atrium - very classy!

Spinnaker Lounge

Very casual bar-type seating on the port side of the Spinnaker Lounge
Shaker's Martini & Cocktail Bar
Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar
Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar
Magnum's Champagne Bar with grand staircase leading up to Lotus Garden
Corona Cigar Club

The cruise line that once entertained us with full Broadway musical shows has obviously moved with the times. Premiering on Norwegian Pearl, the high-energy production show 'TUBEZ' features inline skating, BMX bikes, skateboarding and some dazzling acrobatics.

Strike! Norwegian Pearl's bowling alley

Three decks tall, the 1,000 seat Stardust Theatre is a true floating entertainment venue that would would not look out of place in any city ashore. The theater-style seating is sufficiently staggered to assure unobstructed views for most guests. With a state of the art sound and light system, you should enjoy NCL's well-produced shows to the fullest.

Norwegian Pearl has a huge casino. The Pearl Club Casino has a very upbeat, happy-go-lucky look with a lot of reds, greens and yellows. An inviting bar takes care of any liquid refreshments while you're busy gambling.

Busy dance scene @ Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub

We've saved the room everyone is talking about for last. All the way aft on deck 7 is the sensational Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub. Sure, it has the world's first seagoing bowling alley (expect to pay to be able to use it). But it is the over the top nightclub section with its double lounge beds, LCD screens in the ceiling and a bar with gilded dragons that makes Bliss THE place to be.

And so we come to the end of our virtual tour of Norwegian Pearl, a sizzling new addition to the NCL fleet. With its colorful decor, a friendly crew and  'Freestyle' lifestyle, this ship will dazzle younger guests with a multitude of choices. Perhaps NCL's 15-year old advertising slogan says it best: "It's different out there". Norwegian Cruise Line has returned with a vengeance! 

TUBEZ - a high-energy show in the Stardust Lounge

Stardust Theatre
Stardust Theatre
Pearl Club Casino
Bowling at the Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub
Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub

Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub

Spectacular acrobatic acts as part of TUBEZ, one of Norwegian Pearl's hi-paced production shows

Stardust Theatre
Pearl Club Casino
Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub
Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub
Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub
Bliss Ultra Lounge Nightclub
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