Review of Jewel -- October 14 to Bahamas Wife and I both mid-fifties, DW newly diagnosed with MS. 3rd cruise and all with NCL, 1st time with a balcony.
Day 1 -- Boarding
Embarkation was a bit hectic with 2 ships leaving the port on the same day. Our son dropped us off at the pier at around 12 noon. A mass of passengers were moving very slowing into the terminal. We found a porter for the Jewel and gave him our 2 suitcases, keeping a camera bag and an overnight bag. We entered the terminal and were directed to the far end of the terminal were the Jewel passengers were being checked in. Once entering the latitudes line it took 45 minutes to board the ship. The person checking us in was very nice and very quick. We boarded the Jewel and were greeted by crew welcoming us aboard. I asked if the staterooms were ready and was told yes. We proceeded to our stateroom 10132.
We were very happy with the room. It was very clean, the roses I had ordered for my wife were in place and she was very surprised and happy with them. (just a hint for all you guys out there).
We opted to skip lunch at the Garden Cafe and went to Tsar's for a quiet lunch. After lunch we went back to our stateroom. Our 2 checked bags had arrived already so we unpacked and then watched from our balcony as the ship pulled out to head down the Hudson. At 3pm they started to announce the upcoming muster drill and we were to meet in Tsar's so we headed down there. When we opened the door we saw the 8pack of water we had checked had been delivered. We were surprised at the number of people who don't pay attention during the muster drill, using cell phones or just talking and joking around.
We then went up to the sail away party which was packed so we headed to the Great Outdoors, not as crowded back there and we watched as we passed the Freedom Tower.
We had dinner in the Garden Cafe, many selections and we only had trouble finding a place to sit a few times during the cruise.
We walked around the ship after dinner for a bit doing some exploring. The Jewel is a beautiful ship.
We went back to our stateroom and sat on the balcony enjoying the quiet.
Had breakfast in Tsar's. No waiting for a table. Service was excellent. At 11:00 we made our way to the Star Bar for our meet and greet. Thanks to CTCruiser001 for making the arrangements. Only 10 attended along with the Cruise Events Officer, The Captain and the Hotel Director. We signed in and the list became an invitation for Dinner with an Officer which occurred later in the cruise. I had heard about the Behind the Scenes Tour but asked if it was possible to obtain just a tour of the Bridge since my DW was unable to walk all over and climb up and down stairs. The Captain told the Events Office to arrange something for the group. Can't hurt to ask. The meet and greet broke up about 11:15 and we had time to make our way to the Spinnaker Lounge for the first of a number of chances to play BINGO during the cruise.
We grabbed a light the Garden Cafe and then wandered around and just relaxed. We had dinner in the Garden Cafe also and found many options to choose from to satisfy ourselves. Then we headed to the Stardust Theater for the first of the week's shows. This was the Welcome Aboard Show which included a number by the Jewel Production Cast, a number by Fire and Ice, Night Stage, and the Magician/Comedian and the Acrobats. After the show we headed up to Garden Cafe for some snacks to take back to our cabin were we sat on the balcony relaxing and enjoying the ocean breeze.
Day 3 - Port Canaveral
We opted this morning to try Room Service and had coffee, tea, juice, fruit and pastries delivered. It arrived exactly at 8am which is the time I requested. We received a call five minutes prior to let us know it was on the way.
We choose to do the Pontoon Boat tour of the Banana River. The boat ride was about an hour and half and we saw dolphin, many different types of birds and some manatees. The guides were very informative about the area. We enjoyed the excursion very much. Upon returning to the ship we were met by the crew handing out cool, scented washcloths. My DW didn't like the scent but I thought the idea was nice.
We had dinner at Azura that night. We had a short wait of 15 minutes and then were shown to a table. Dinner and the service were excellent. After dinner we went to the Stardust Theater for the Production Cast of Band on the Run. This show was great.
Day 4 - Great Stirrup Cay
Today for us was a rest and relaxation day. We had breakfast at Tsar's, went to the pool. Very quiet since most passengers were over at Great Stirrup Cay. We had no problem getting chairs near the pool or a table in the Garden Cafe at lunch time. We had dinner reservations at Mama's and had a very delicious meal. Very attentive waitstaff and we though the meal was worth the $10 per person charge.
Day 5 - Nassau
We had decided to do the Dolphin Encounter at Blue Lagoon. After getting off the ship my DW and I found it a little confusing trying to find the right group for the Blue Lagoon. We were given wristbands to wear and then were told to follow the guide. We walked about 15 minutes to the dock for the boat that would talk us to Blue Lagoon. The boat ride was nice, about 30 minutes. When we docked at Blue Lagoon it was a short walk to the area for the dolphin encounter. We were first given a 20 minute educational program about dolphins then we were directed to the small pools were the dolphins were. We then had a chance to get in the pool standing on a waist deep platform and our picture was taken while the dolphin kissed one member of the family. In our case my DW got the kiss. After the pic was taken about 8 of us got on the platform and we each had a turn feeding the dolphin, kissing her, hugging, dancing and stroking her belly and back. When our group was done we got out and they had the DVD playing already on the TV screen. You purchase the DVD or single pics at the gift shop. We only bought the pic of my DW getting kissed. Single pic was $16. On the whole the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter was great fun. We loved it. When we got back to the ship, the crew was out at the gangplank handing out the cool, scented washcloths again. Music was playing and the crew was dancing and making coming back onboard a big party atmosphere.
This was the night for the Dinner with an Officer. We had signed up for this at the CC Meet and Greet and we had received a letter earlier in the week that we would be dinning with the Hotel Director Hugo. We were told to meet in the Art Gallery at 7:00pm. When we arrived we found that joining our group was CTCruiser001 and his new DW. Another couple not from CC also joined us. Hugo was a few minutes late thinking it was for 7:30. He led us to our table at Tsar's. Hugo told us that wine and drinks were complimentary with the meal. We had a delicious meal and great conversation with Hugo and the other couples with us. We finished around 9 so that we had time to make the 9:30 show if we desired.
That night was the Magician/Comedian Jean Pierre Parent. My DW does not like magician/comedians so she opted to skip the show and wanted to go back to our cabin and read on the balcony. After I escorted her back I returned to the theater for the show. I've seen better magicians and I've seen worse. I thought he was very good for a cruise ship show.
Day 6 and 7 - Sea Days
There were many activities going on these days, we played bingo, went to the casino, relaxed on the decks or on our balcony. The captain made an announcement that the ship would be slowing down in order for the coast guard to airlift a passenger in distress. It was remarkable watching the coast guard helicopter hover over the ship.
Friday night was the Le Cirque Bijou show. What an amazing show. Afterwards we went to the chocolate buffet. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the chocolate buffet.
Saturday was another day just taking it easy. The last Bingo game was at 4:30 and they were also raffling off the free cruise. The Spinnaker Lounge was packed. We met up with CTCruiser001 and his DW there. Two games of Bingo were played before they drew the winning ticket. Unfortunately we did not win but congrats to the winner.
Disembarking - We choose to have our bags picked up the night before and not do self disembarkation. We choose the 10:30 time and hag a nice breakfast in Tsar's and then went and picked up our 2 carry on bags and went up to Garden Cafe to wait. At 10:30 it seemed that they were running behind so we just went down to the Atrium and got in line even though our color had not been called yet. We disembarked found our other luggage and proceeded through customs. We were outside across the street on the corner by 11:15. We called our son who had been waiting around the corner.
On the whole we had a blast on this cruise. We enjoyed every minute. My DW did get tired a few times from walking but we tried to space things out so that she had time to sit and rest.
All the staff we came into contact with could not have been more pleasant. We never had an unpleasant encounter from check in to disembarkation. We didn't mind the "Washy Washy", anything that would help from spreading germs was a good thing as far as we were concerned.
The food was good, not great but not horrible either. I was more disappointed in the desserts.
We were very happy with how clean the ship appeared to be. We loved our stateroom. Maybe next cruise we'll try for a suite. We'll see how that goes.
We love sailing with NCL and look forward to another cruise with them. We don't have anything booked but we did put down a deposit while on board.