I have sailed both and I like the Pearl much better. There are a handful out there who think the greatest ship of all times is the Star, I just don't get it. Regardless you will have a good time. Being your first cruise, you will be happy no matter what as first cruises, like first kisses are better than any other. I will also add, though HAL does a great job with Alaskan cruises (they do a great job period) for first time cruisers under 65 I think NCL is a much better choice.
ncl, carnival, HAL, Costa, RCI, commodore,chamdres,celebrity,Princess