We've sailed on Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity before so we were looking forward to our first NCL cruise aboard the Jewel.
The New Orleans Cruise Port is adjacent to the old Riverwalk and Convention Center and was somewhat a pain to get to. It may of been newly refurbished as there weren't signs directing people anywhere.
After almost boarding the ship without checking in (Port staff had no clue) - and after 30 minutes in line, we finally checked in and boarded the ship.
Our first objective was to sign up for the "Ultimate Beverage Package" which ends up being $400 a person, both people in a room MUST purchase so there goes $800 right out the door. What they don't really make obvious - is that the package doesn't cover all your drinks. Bottled water and specialty coffees ARE NOT included. We were hit with a $6 charge for a bottle of water!
Dinner in the "Tsars" dining room was a bit stuffy, because you have to wear pants. We wanted to use our beverage package, but there were no Beverage / Wine Stewards to be found. We discovered most people don't change for dinner, and eat at the "Azure" dining room - which was always busier than the other.
After a few days in, we began to notice that a good portion of the staff, maybe 50%, were somewhat new to working on a cruise ship. According to other cruisers, half of the trained staff on the Jewel went to go work on the new Norweigan Epic. Learning this let us switch our patience modes, but our patience only goes so far.
I doubt we'll return to NCL anytime soon. They aim to upcharge you for EVERYTHING - so much that it got annoying. Don't buy the beverage package unless you can drink 8 drinks a day MINIMUM.