My DH and I sailed on the Norwegian Jewel on 11/25/12 in an ocean view cabin (first time) on deck 5. Lets start at the beginning. Embarkation went very smoothly even though the Gem was also preparing to leave and it was crowded. No complaints here. We sat the atrium and just tried to unwind, we were not ready for the craziness we were sure was happening at the Garden Cafe. We are from the Jersey Shore and had just gone through Hurricane Sandy, as I am sure many others on the ship did as well, and we just wanted to sit and relax for a few. About 1:15 announcement came rooms were ready so down to the 5Th deck we go. Upon arriving in the room I was pleasantly surprised. I must admit I was very apprehensive about staying in an ocean view since I had never done so before. We have stayed in the Deluxe Owners Suite, Aft Penthouse suites, mid ship balcony on my other cruises but never down this low and in this category. My apprehension quickly melted away as I found the room to be roomier than I expected with tons of storage. Our room steward, Raimond, came in and quickly asked if the room was to our expectations and if we were unhappy with anything to please let him know. Other than the Deluxe Owners Suite we never had that experience before. We assured him the room was great and thanked him. I will take the opportunity to say here that he was a great room steward, kept the room clean and gave us whatever we needed and always with a smile. So I learned YOU CAN travel comfortably in a room that is not a suite. I was one of the one's who would always say "no way" I can't go back to a regular room, I was wrong. I can travel more often and be just as comfortable.
THE SHIP: This is my second trip on the Jewel. She is still a beautiful ship but definitely needs some TLC. Our rug in the cabin needed to be replaced. You could see it was worn. Some areas of the ship needed new carpeting, new seat cushions, just an overall pick me up. Common area restrooms needed to be cleaned more often.
PORTS: We did not visit any ports. This was a rest and relaxation cruise for us and since we have done this itinerary previously and were not interested. We spent the days by the pool in the sun and 80 degree temps. It was great.
RESTAURANTS: We booked four specialty restaurants: Mama's which was very good. Moderno which was absolutely horrible. The food was overcooked, dry and tasteless. I would not consider eating here again. It was a waste of money. Cagneys was very good as usual. Le Bistro was our best meal of all the specialty restaurants. For some reason it was very slow as far as service that night, our waitress seemed overwhelmed and it was only 6:30. It took quite a long time to receive our food but was worth the wait. The onion soup was hot and delicious and my husband's scallop appetizer was excellent. Main entrees were good as well. We wanted to make a show and were,quite frankly full, at this point. We noticed other diners were taking desserts to go so we asked to do the same. Our waitress came back after taking our dessert order and told us she would send dessert to our room since it was so busy and she did not want us to wait, so off we went. Later on that evening when we returned to our room looking forward to those desserts, we found NOTHING. They were never sent. Now I know that is not a big deal to some because food is everywhere and dessert is everywhere. However, if you pay an additional fee for a "Meal" at a specialty restaurant you should receive the entire meal. We had dinner one night in Azure and it was very good, service was excellent. The other nights we ate in the Garden Cafe. I found that the food was never hot, it was warm but never hot. It was OK for dinner a couple of nights and for lunch. Actually it was better for lunch than dinner. We did go to the Blue Lagoon twice and were pleasantly surprised at the improvement in service and food and overall attitude. In the past the Blue Lagoon was notorious for neglecting passengers waiting to be seated and even taking your order. Glad to see someone finally listened because I know, from reading the reviews and filling out the surveys, many passengers complained
SHOWS: Band on the Run should not be missed. We thoroughly enjoyed the Not so Newlywed Game; Dancing with the Jewel Stars. The passengers make the cruise. The shows were entertaining and I would recommend not to be missed. Fire and Ice were also very good. She is one high energy performer. We attended the Motown show and were not disappointed. The Fyzz lounge was fun. Karaoke was a blast and we supported everyone up there singing their hearts out!!
CREW: The were pleasant and helpful. Never saw the cruise director "Dan the Man" except at the shows which he hosted quite well. Jersey Joe was also fun and did a great job at Dancing with the Jewel Stars.
CASINO: The usual, no wins. These machines are super tight but I guess since there is no regulation and they can set them whatever way they choose as far as payouts not much to say. If you go be ready to lose. I did see a couple of decent jackpots but considering the amount of people in the casino for 7 days and after speaking to fellow passengers, these were few and far between.
DISEMBARKATION: Very orderly. We did not self embark. We were off the ship by 9:15, through the terminal and through customs and in our car in no time at all. No complaints here.
OVERALL: As I said in the beginning this was a rest and relax cruise and that is precisely what we did. We had a great time and would not hesitate to cruise the Jewel again.
Next cruise Breakaway to Bermuda in June. Booked a Mini Suite. I have never been on a new ship and have not been back to Bermuda in 18 years. We are excited about this cruise and can't wait.