NCL Jewel Alaska Cruise Review
August 17-24, 2013
First let me say this is my second cruise with Norwegian. The first time was great and this one was equally as good as the first. My good friend of 30 years and I decided to go on a cruise in the spring of 2012. We booked for Alaska to go in August of 2013. To keep the cost down we decided to go with an inside cabin at the cheapest price. From there I was able to upgrade to a higher deck for a few dollars more. We had yard sales to help pay for this. About two weeks before we cruised I noticed the prices were dropping and a balcony was going real cheap. Called my pcc and asked if we could upgrade to a balcony and he said yes. So for $60 more we upgrade to a balcony on deck 9 midship. Perfect place to be for Alaska.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
We hit the road on August 17, 2013 to head to Seattle which is about an hour and half from where we live. My friend's husband drove us to the pier. We got there around 10:30 or so. The porter took our bags and we on our way to get checked in. Going through security was a breeze and we were headed upstairs to finish checking in. Beings were past NCL cruisers we went to priority check in. Within 10 minutes we had a boarding number and waited patiently for that number to be called and board the Jewel. Around 11:25 they started calling numbers to board. We were on aboard in about 15 minutes. Had our pictures taken and we were directed to the buffet for some lunch. The food is not too bad for being buffet and there is plenty that is for sure. After eating we decided to take a look around the ship while waiting for our cabin to be ready.
Our cabin was ready about 12:45 so we headed to deck nine to check out our balcony cabin # 9070. A balcony is the only way to cruise. The cabin was pretty roomy for two people anymore and it would be tight quarters. The balcony wasn't too bad. It had two chairs and a small table. After checking out the room and putting away the items from our carryon bags we looked at the Freestyle Daily that was on our beds when we entered. Also I had ordered the Bon Voyage package for my friend and the cabin was decorated for that. It included a cake, which I wasn't aware of when ordering. We had a piece of it to start this cruise off right.
Some of the decor was in need of some TLC but for the most part is was very nice. The bathroom area wasn't too bad. A very large person would have a difficult time turning around in the shower and toilet area. Plenty of closet space and cubbies for everything we brought. Once again we both over packed. Our first night in this cabin we had a horrible noise that keep both of us awake most of the night. When we just get to sleep here it came again. So in the morning I went to guest service and asked. They said they would have someone look into it and by that evening the noise was gone. The noise we believe was coming from the lifeboat right below us. Just glad NCL fixed the problem and for our trouble they sent us a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. Nice touch.
The buffet was pretty good for buffet food. Didn't care for their omelets so didn't eat them again. We ate there quite a few times for either breakfast or lunch and one dinner. We tried several of the specialty restaurants which they charge a fee. The first one we ate was La Cucina ( Italian food). Service was great and the food not too shabby. Would I eat there again yes? The next one is Cagney's Steakhouse and all I can say is it was wonderful. The service and food was top notch and the filet migon was to die for. Yes, I would eat there. It is worth the cost of $30 pp. The Blue Lagoon (no charge) is the all night food place. Small menu to choose from but okay in a pinch. The main dining room is called TSAR. Once again the service and food was pretty good. On our last sea day we were invited to Le Bristo (French) for a Jazz Brunch. Did cost us $15pp and the food and service was great. There is something for everyone on this ship. No one should come away saying they couldn't find anything to eat. If they do then they shouldn't be on a cruise ship. The last place I am going to mention is the CHOCOLATE BUFFET. I missed this on our first cruise and wasn't going to this time. Just let me say if you love chocolate this is your place. I filled my plate with numerous kinds of chocolate goodies and only could eat a couple of things. All in all the food was pretty good. If I didn't like something I knew better and wouldn't order it again.
Norwegian offers a variety of shows that you can attend. We tried to attend a show every night of the cruise and weren't /disappointed in any show we saw.
Saturday, 8/17, we saw the Welcome Aboard Variety Show in the Stardust Theater at 9:30. Great way to start the cruise. Sunday, 8/18, at 2:30 we played the Deal or No Deal game in the Stardust. At 5:15 went to the Fyzz Lounge and played Name that Michael Jackson Tune. We didn't do so well on this. Stardust Theater, 9:30 for the show, Band on the Run. Great show with songs from the 70's to the 90's. Monday, 8/19, Stardust Theater, 7:30 for David Naster, comedian. Very funny man. 8:45 Spinnaker Lounge for the Battle of the Sexes Show. Fun but the girls lost. Tuesday, 8/20, Stardust Theater, 7:30 Soul Duo. Acrobatic couple from the Ukraine and the show was awesome. Wednesday, 8/21, didn't attend a show in the theater but went to the Fyzz Lounge and played Name that 50's & 60's Tune. We did pretty well in this one. Thursday, 8/22, 2:30 in the Stardust Theater, watched the International Crew Talent Show. Very good show and lots of talent from different countries. 7:30 in the Stardust Theater watched the Le Cirque Bijou (acrobatic acts with the Jewel production cast). Another awesome show. They do some of their acts in the air above the crowd. Friday, 8/23, we chose to do nothing.
All I can say is that everyone was friendly and eager to help. There may have been a few people who could have taken a lesson in manners but it didn't ruin our cruise. Our favorite crew member was our cabin steward, whom we called Mr. R. He was attentive and always had a smile on his face. When he saw us coming, he called us by our first names which were nice. If we needed anything we would leave him a note and when we came back it is was done. People complain about them being pushy about you ordering drinks, I found them to be great. If we said no then they moved on. Mostly we drank water and that wasn't a problem.
Ketchikan - for this port we decided to most of our shopping here. The coupon books they had a bracelet with charms you get from different stores and in other ports. Also they had coasters and we decided to do both. So for about $5 each we now have a set of coasters and a bracelet. We walked the famous Creek Street and looked at the stores and watched the salmon in the creek. The weather here was cloudy but no rain until we decided to head back to the ship.
Juneau - if the weather was nice we wanted to do Mendenhall Glacier. It was cold and rainy so we decided to do some more shopping and head back to the ship. This was our shortest time in port so we went back early. This is the day we headed to Sawyer Glacier. We were only one of two times the ship was able to get real close to the glacier. It was totally awesome. You cannot begin to put into words the beauty of this glacier. This is something you have to see on your own to understand the awesomeness of nature in this setting.
Skagway - cloudy and windy but at least no rain. This is my favorite port because of the history. The gold rush was amazing. We had talked about taking the train if the weather was good but both us were tired and didn't feel like it. We did find the chocolate store and bought a few pieces. Finished shopping and headed back to the ship.
Victoria, BC - late afternoon arrival and the weather was sunny and warm. We went into to Victoria for a stroll. I hadn't been here since 1977 and it has changed so much. Bought a few items and walked around taking pictures. After a couple of hours we decided it was time to head back to the ship. Both of us were missing our hubbies.
While on ship we met up with some people from Cruise Critic. Drew, Donna and their grandkids are from Seattle. Very nice people and well behaved grandkids. The others we met were from Australia. Ronda and Patricia are lovely ladies. We met for a meet & greet to get to know each other. Met again on the last sea day for lunch and pictures.
Dislikes first, the rude passengers who would just stop and not move out of the way or they would push in line to be first. These people were mainly for other countries. I understand you will always have them but it seems there are more of them now. The other is the cruise photographers, they are everywhere and can't take no for answer. Our first cruise picture before getting on was lost somehow. Oh well, we found a couple more that we liked. Other than those we didn't buy their pictures. One more thing for this area, is that we don't have a regular coffee maker in the cabin just a hot pot. Had to use coffee packets (which were pretty good and better than the coffee in the buffet and restaurants).
Now for the likes, just about everything about this cruise falls under the likes. Other than the few dislikes listed above it was all good. Cruising is a treat that I enjoy. Having people wait on me and take care of things so I don't have to worry about anything and JUST HAVE FUN!!!
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Before we could leave the ship we had to decide when we wanted to leave. We chose to leave at 9 am and so our bag tags were purple. Friday night we had to have our bags outside our cabin with the new tags on them. Sure am glad we didn't need to fly because our bags were stuffed full with our treasures and clothes of course. We got up early and called the guys to let them know when we would be getting off the ship. Headed down to the main dining room for our last meal on the ship after that we went back to the cabin for the last time. Picked up our carry off bags and headed to deck 7 to wait for them to announce we could leave the ship. This process went smoothly until I couldn't find one of my bags. It was there, I had just overlooked it. The porters help you with your luggage and they set them on the sidewalk where you will be picked up. While we were waiting, we chatted with others on how they liked the cruise. Some didn't like it for one reason or another, while others enjoyed it.
Would I cruise with Norwegian again, yes!! Would I do Alaska again yes but this time I would do a land tour as well. As for future cruising that is up in the air. I would love to book another one right now but that will have to wait for a few years. We have some land trips to do first and then when I retire in 5 years we want to cruise in Hawaii.
Thank you for reading my review. I hope I covered everything and if I didn't just ask and I will answer.