Just came back from a 5 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Jewel, from Vancouver to Los Angeles. There were stops in Astoria and San Francisco.
Some random observations are as follows:
We generally had a very good time and would do it all again or recommend NCL to our friends.
The ship was in good shape and I heard that it was recently upgraded. The contemporary look was nice.
I thought the staff was great. The Cruise Director (Dan the Man) and Assistant Cruise Director (Krazy Kristine) were standouts as was their team. There were so many activities going on and each was hosted by a staff member. We went from activity to activity and if something was not our cup of tee, we just went and found something else to do.
The number of bands and variety of live singers were a real plus.
The buffet was really well done and had different stations like in Las Vegas. I found it better than on my two previous cruises with different cruise lines. For one evening, the entire buffet was used for a "Chocolate Buffet". It was quite the sight and had wow factor.
The evening performances were absolutely outstanding. Top notch and professionally done. The singing and dancing team, show band, and aerialist combined to make the evening entertainment most memorable. The Cirque Le Bijou was absolutely stunning.
For a change, I enjoyed not having to go dress up for formal dinners in the Main Dining Room.
One of the main dining rooms, Tsar's, is in a really great room with windows on all three sides and a high ceiling. They had a three piece band playing on some nights. I am not sure if the type of music suited the atmosphere. Maybe it is just me. The food was very good and consistent with other cruise lines.
Between the Main Dining Room and buffet, there was no need to visit the specialty restaurants although they all seemed quite reasonable and had a great selection of different types of cuisine.
The fitness center was more than adequate in size and had very new equipment. Strange that the dumbbell area was not available until 9am. I recall that this is because of noise from the dumbbells being dropped and the associated noise that might impact guests below. As I typically use dumbbells, I had to adjust my routine to suit.
Not just on NCL, but all the cruise ships all seem to offer free classes to sell other services. The "Secrets to a Flatter Stomach Class" was focused on how to release the toxins in the body which is a little far fetched IMHO.
One of the first staff encounters on board was a young staff member who greeted everyone entering the buffet with a spray bottle of hand sanitizer. She gave everyone a quick squirt and announced herself with a quick "Washy Washy...... Happy Happy!!" It was a very pleasant (cute) way of doing something that could have been very intrusive. Many of the guest also thought this was very well done and something that is very necessary. The "Washy Washy Girls" even got a special mention at the crew farewell function.
I attended my first Cruise Critic function. I thought it was great that the Cruise Director and Jewel's senior team made an appearance.
Perhaps it is because I recognized him from the Cruise Critic function, but I noticed that the Hotel Director, who is a very senior officer, was at the end of the gangway wishing guests a good day in San Francisco. To my surprise, he was also there on our way back. I thought this was a real nice touch. I also saw him once again at disembarkation wishing everyone well. I guess these are the small but important things that we noticed and appreciated. Other officers came around during dinner to say hello and ensure our meal were fine.
The rooms and housekeeping was just fine. I know it is impossible to be perfect, but I found a yellow stain on the top of the toilet lid. It could have been glue or something else. It did not wipe off so I assume that it was something permanent. It just made me feel a little grossed out whenever I saw it. The beds were really comfortable. The inside room was small but very adequate.
On the ship, there is a gallery that looks into the bridge. This was very interesting to be able to see this part of the ship. Very unique.
All in all we had a real nice time. The staff and number of activities stood out. We would do this again on NCL.