This was my fifth cruise and fifth cruiseline. Overall, my husband and I had a wonderful time, but I have to say that this was not my favorite ship or favorite cruiseline.
The ship -- In my opinion, the ship is average. I have been on some truly beautiful ships, and this is not one of them. Our room (10th floor balcony) was slightly below average and not spotlessly clean, as it has been on other ships.
Service -- I thought this ship offered the lowest level of customer service I have ever had on a cruise. The staff was not especially friendly or accommodating and the service in the restaurants was often painfully slow and inattentive.
Restaurants -- The freestyle dining concept was kind of strange. On the first day, my husband and I made reservations at Cagney's (very good) and Chin Chin (pretty good). The rest of the week we stopped by the restaurants (rather than making reservations) and got into every one of them. This mystified us because when we More
phoned for reservations, we were always told that they were fully booked; HOWEVER, when we just stopped by to see if they could "squeeze" us in, they always could. And every restaurant always had dozens of empty tables. Our guess is that this is some sort of method of controlling the number of diners per restaurant, but I imagine that passengers who couldn't get reservations would have been very upset if they had known that so many tables went unused! Odd.
Ports -- For us, the trip was more about the ports than the ship, and the excursions that we took were all outstanding. Because our outbound flight was cancelled, we missed Barcelona :(, but we had been there before.
In Messina (which we had also been to before) we took the "Godfather" tour. Lots of fun but, if you haven't been to Sicily before, I would have to recommend an excursion to Taormina and/or Etna. I
n Naples, we took the "Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii" tour. It was a very long, busy day, but the sites were great.
In Civitavecchia, we only took the bus transportation to Rome. This was VERY expensive, but it raised our comfort level about getting to/from Rome. The guide on the way in was fantastic and offered very helpful advice.
In Livorno, we took my favorite excursion.
Since we had already been to Florence, we took the "Cinque Terre" tour. The Cinque Terre is gorgeous and the tour is a lot of fun.
Lastly, our least favorite port was Villefranche -- but that's because we love Italy so much!
Overall, if you get a "deal", I'd recommend NCL and the Jewel, but there are better ships and, I think, better cruise lines. Less
Norwegian Jewel Cruises to the Western Mediterranean