This cruise is designed for NY/NJ area residents who don't want to fly. Probably 3/4 of the ship were locals. As Chicago area residents we always have to fly somewhere to catch a cruise, so usually go south and get the full warm weather escape. Flights to NYC were cheap, so gave this a try. Enjoyed a day in NYC prior to cruise. This cruise gives you 3 warm days. The 4 sea days are cool (40s and 50s F). Not great balcony weather, so if booking winter out of NYC, an interior or ocean view may be a better value.
Cabin 8040 is a "hull" balcony. It is cheapest, as most prefer a full view. On winter out of NYC, the hull is actually a benefit - extra wind protection. Hull also offers extra privacy. Neighbor can't peek around wall.
Jewel was in good condition. I have read a few others complaining about stuff. When you see presentations of the new Breakaway, you see room for improvement. However, the ship was as good as it was when we sailed in 2008. If you like Jewel class, your expectations will be met. I like buffet-ing at the aft facing great outdoors area -- something the Star/Dawn don't offer.
Cruising by the NYC area is one of the highlights. If you plan on watching from your balcony, embarking port side, sees the statue of liberty. Starboard sees NYC. Reversed for 6am return. Your best views will be outside on top deck.
Ports - Cheap cruise if you don't go to theme parks. The only ship excursion we took was a $13 shuttle to Cocoa beach in Port Canaveral. Nice to have a port with US mobile access. There is shopping by the beach if you need anything. Great Stirrup Cay was good for snorkeling. Bring your own gear -- cost to rent ($40) is about what I spent purchasing. You can skip fins, but vest is required. Nassau just walked around. Walked to water tower / queen stair / fort area that you can see from the ship. Not much to town area. Caught some dunkin doughnut wifi to catch up with home. Walked along Junkanoo beach.
Since we didn't spend much at ports, purchased the 3 pack specialty restaurant deal online. Cagney's and Bistro were worthy upgrades. Mama's (Italian) didn't seem like much of an upgrade over MDR. Overall enjoyed food on ship. Burned off most of it walking laps around promenade (3 laps = mile).
Disembark - Storm related delays others have reported seem to be cleared up. We did self walk out and were out by 8:30am with no lines. Walked over to a shuttle service to airport.
Enjoyed the vacation. Purchased a cruise reward (future credit), so will likely continue on NCL.