Six of us departed Olympia at 5 a.m. to drive to Seattle, parked our car at Pier 66 (where our ship would return), took a cab to the Amtrak King Street Station, and enjoyed a 4 hours stress-free trip to Vancouver, B.C. We spent the night in Vancouver, enjoyed the free buffet breakfast in our hotel, and taxied to the Canada Place cruise terminal at approximately 11:30 am. We were able to check in, the usual sit and wait, and boarded the ship around 12:30 pm.
Four of us had cruised together before, (we had 2 newbies with us) so we knew to go the opposite direction of the buffet, and had a leisurely lunch at the Tsars - the Main Dining. They called that our rooms were ready before we even finished lunch. After sail-away we all went outside to watch the ship "barely" clear the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. Well, I'm sure there was plenty of clearance, but when you are on the deck looking up, it sure doesn't appear that way! And looking back at the city from the ship, Vancouver is always such a beautiful site!
We almost always stay in a BA - balcony, on the 8th, 9th, or 10th floor. The Jewel is laid out very similar to our last cruise on the Pearl, so we did not have too much of a problem finding our way around. We met our Steward, Mark, right away, and our rooms were perfect. Lots of storage (remember to put your empty luggage under the bed!); and after unpacking we headed to our duty station when called around 4:15. It's nice that you no longer have to wear life vests to the drill - and it was inside!
Throughout our SHORT 3-night cruise, we ate in the Tsar Main Dining room, the Buffet (mainly for breakfast and lunch), the Azure Dining room, and the Moderno Churrascaria. We love Cagney's and the Le Bistro, but since it was such a short trip we weren't able to take advantage of all the great specialty restaurants. We had one minor glitch in the main dining room for dinner our first night, with our server who seemed to forget we existed. We had to ask for our ice tea 5 times before it was delivered. Although we ordered dessert with our meals, several wait staff came up after dinner and asked what we would like for dessert. We still didn't get dessert until at lest a half hour after we had completed dinner.
We did not do any excursions, or even get off the ship for that matter. We live so close to the Canadian border, we have experienced the port cities many times. It was nice to just be on the ship and relax.
The shows were good. We could have done without the ventriloquist. Unfortunately we didn't go to the last show, which was apparently the best one. All of the bar music groups were very good.
Disembarkation went fairly smooth, although they were a little behind the time-lines they had originally assigned. It was not a big deal to us, as we just carried our luggage off and our car was waiting in the garage across the street.
The weather was OK - not sunbathing weather, but hey - it's May in the Pacific Northwest! The waves per the Captain's Log on the TV were never above "wavelets" - 0.5' to 1.5' - that part we liked a lot!
As usual, NCL came though with a great cruising experience. We really enjoy everything about their ships, and especially the freestyle experience. We haven't booked our next cruise yet, but there will certainly be one in the not-so-distance future!