Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by peacey: Spectacular excursions and an OK cruise
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Spectacular excursions and an OK cruise
It was quite an experience! We are from Florida so we flew to Seattle WA (arriving near midnight Friday). Up at 5:00 AM to catch the Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver BC. Arrived in Vancouver about an hour late. Took a quick taxi to the port to find the worst embarkation process ever. Stood in line for security and customs for almost 3 hours. Finally made it on board to be told by a ships officer that we could go to our room or the buffet but then found that we could do neither because the ship was conducting its mandatory muster drill. At least a third of the passengers were still on the dock at this time! Did Norwegian not hear about what happened in Italy recentl involving a Costa ship?
Anyway, not a good way to start a cruise but thankfully that was the worst part of it. We had a balcony on the port side. A nice room but I was surprised that it was smaller than any other cruise ship I have been on. I wish these ships would ban smoking on balconies!
We ate in the More Garden Cafe buffet most of the time but did try each of the dining rooms and one specialty restaurant (Mamas Italian). Mamas was excellent and for only a $10 pp cover charge was a very nice meal for a special occasion. The food and service in the other dining areas was OK but not exceptional (as has been the case on all other cruises that I have been on).
The entertainment on board was top-notch. The ships production company shows were outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised that there was so much acrobatics and gymnastic elements in the shows. The musicians at the various bars and lounges were also outstanding. The only drawback was when they were performing at the same time in different lounges. I couldn't be two places at once.
We booked an excursion for every port (except Victoria) through NCL and all of them were spectacular. The only disappointment (if you can call it that) was that the glacier excursion boat only got us about 200 yards closer to the actual glacier than the Jewel. I should have saved my money and stayed on the Jewel.
We booked a tour in Seattle (our de-embarkation point) so we had no problem getting off the ship. After our tour the bus took us to the airport so that worked out fine.
The only other comment I have about the cruise was the price of bingo. It was about 3 times more than other cruises I have been on so I did not play.
Some of the ships staff were very friendly and helpful. However, I must say I was less than impressed with the majority of them. They did their jobs but I got the impression that it was just a job and they were not happy doing it. The help in the buffet area were extremely slow in cleaning tables and providing any kind of service.
Besides our room steward, the only other crew members that stood out were the "washy washy" girls that sprayed disinfectant on each persons hands as they entered the buffet area. Less
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Cabin review: BB10538 Balcony
10538 - smaller than I have seen on other cruise ships. Bathroom was exceptionally tiny. Hardly any drawer space for clothing. Had to put a couple pieces of furniture on the balcony in order to have room to walk around in the room. Quiet and comfortable.
Port and Shore Excursions
It was a good tour but as I said in my review, the tour bout was only about 200 yards closer to the glacier than the Jewel was. I would have been warm and richer if I had just stayed on the Jewel.
Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour
Had a wonderful time. Loved the stories told by the crew and seeing and handling the crabs. But the most spectacular part was being so close to bald eagles as they snatched bait fish out of the ocean right next to the boat. You will want to take video of this.
White Pass Scenic Railway
Took a bus ride up and through the White Pass into the Yukon in Canada. Saw some bear and mountain sheep along the way and lots of snow in the higher elevation. Had lunch in Caribou Crossing, Yukon and then a bus ride back to Fraser where we boarded the train to Skagway. Spectacular views from this train. You'll want to sit on the right side when going down the mountain and sit on the left side if you start in Skagway and go up the mountain.
This was a fantastic tour on the fastest boats in Victoria. Eagle Wing whale watching is located on Fisherman's wharf on it is about a 10-15 minute walk from where the Jewel docked. However, we were slow in getting off the ship so Eagle Wing picked us up at the dock and drove us to Fishermans wharf. Having a fast boat is real advantage because they can cover more water in 2.5 hours than any one else. We saw harbor seals, california sea lions, elephant seals and observed a pod of killer whales for close to an hour. Great photo opportunities.