My partner and I decided in late October to take a last minute cruise from New Orleans in Early mid November ohm the Norwergian Jewel just to get away and relax a bit. This is our third cruise with Norwegian in three years so we are obviously Norwegian fans. We are very successful in business and work for ourselves. I would say that though we tend to be somewhat frugal we will splurge and enjoy small luxuries when possible. On our past two trips we chose an Ocean View Stateroom on the Spirit and a Balcony on the Epic. This time I started with an inexpensive Inside guaranty cabin for $299 ea (I was being very frugal). However, we had a big contract come through so I then upgraded one week later to a mini-suite gty cabin for $200 more each. Still a great bargain. The mini Suites on the Jewel are a bit larger and fitted out a little nicer than the standard Balcony Staterooms. However mini-SUITE is a bit of a misnomer as they do not include any of the luxuries included in a real suite such as: Priority Embarkation, seating in the balcony 'boxes' for shows, Captains Cocktail Party, Bridge Tour, Private Suite Only dining every day in Cagney's for Breakfast and Lunch, Butler and Concierge Service, hors d'oeuvres and sweets delivered to the cabin late afternoon and each night before bed, Champagne and fresh flowers upon arrival in the cabin, Priority tinkering to shore, and basically being treated like royalty. All of these little luxuries are included in the penthouse suites. However there is one category even higher which is the Haven Suites on Deck 14 with private access to a sliding glass roofed courtyard with a tiny pool (probably 16' by 8') and deck chairs which are shared by 12 -14 suites in this private area.
As we were a guaranty mini-suite category we weren't assigned a cabin until two days before the cruise but were very shocked and pleasantly surprised to be upgrade for free to a 2 Bedroom-2 Bath Penthouse suite with all of the luxuries listed above except the Haven Courtyard access. I started researching the cabin number ( Stateroom 11518 - the Opal Suite ) and found that the one negative is that it is located below the weight room and the treadmill area. Several comments indicated that this was very loud and quite disruptive for relaxation from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm each night. We decided this would be an issue if we were paying the extra $600- 800 each to choose this suite but we could certainly live thorough the noise and not look a "gift horse in the mouth"! This turned out to be the right mind set. The gym was loud as people were constantly dropping weights and it sounded like the ceiling could come don a few time. We honestly did get used to it and even had a good sense of humor about it.
The suite itself was incredible! Using our card keys we entered into an entry foyer with two doorways. The first door leads to a small interior bedroom and nicely sized private bath with it's own key card access door. Rubber door stops were provided to keep the doors propped open if you so choose. Also accessed from the foyer was a second card keyed door that lead to the main area of the suite (also with a door stop provided). This triple locked door configuration makes the suite perfect for families or room mate situations. Just be careful through! If one of the doors swings shut they automatically lock. I'll explain why this can be a problem in moment. :-0 The main door to the suite proper is flanked by really cool looking lighted columns creating a some what grand entry. Through this door is a lovely wood paneled living area with a table and four chairs, mini bar and cappuccino maker, sofa, two chairs and entertainment center with one of four flat screen televisions and a dvd player.
A fairly small balcony is off the living room with two very nice wicker looking padded deck chairs, a small end table, and a foot stool. They are nicer than the chairs on the neighboring non-suite balconies. The view from the 11th floor bacon is unobstructed and very nice. Through the main sitting room is an opening with a very heavy and substantial glass pocked door leading to an open concept grand master bath. The master bath is breathtaking! Unlike any other stateroom configuration I have ever seen, there is a soaking tub and a walk in luxury shower that extend out past the balcony and give you panoramic views of the ocean! The shower actually has one wall that is a floor to ceiling glass panel with a sheer drop down to the water below. There is a privacy screen that can be lowered but it isn't needed unless you are in port facing a dock. The shower itself has two shower heads (one is a removable hand held sprayer) and two body sprays. All of the fixtures are Hans Grohe slimline modern sprayers. Very elegant and high end. The main pat of the bathos a marble floored are with an eight foot long double vanity, multiple mirrors, glass shelving with elegant glass jars for provided toiletries such as cotton balls and bath salts. There are several different lighting sources such as recessed lighten and wall sconces. There is a separate glass enclosed water closet area with a privet phone and a flat screen tv over the tub. In the are you walk into from the living room there is a carpeted section with a large floor to ceiling clothes closet and a built in cabinet housing two safes, armoire storage, and four drawers. There were also multiple compartments, doors, and drawers in the bath are. Too many to use them all. On the interior wall of the open concept bath is a curtained nook for the VERY COMFORTABLE queen sized master bed. It sits in a wood paneled and mirrored alcove with a chandelier over the bed, room to both sides for end tables with drawers, shelves, plugs, phones, and wall mounted halogen reading lights. You can also control most of the lights in the bed/bath sea of the suite from wall mounted switches to either side of the bed. The alcove contains another flat screen tv, built in media center with dvd player, and more storage.
One funny story about the three locking doors from the foyer. My partner decided he was going to sleep on the sofa in the living room. between reading habits, television watching, etc... this is how we live now. The first night of the cruise he got up about 2:00am and went through the door to the foyer and then through the door to the interior guest room to use the secondary bathroom. Somehow he knocked the door closed to the main sitting room which automatically locked! He tried knocking softly so as not to wake the neighbors but I didn't hear him all the way through to the master bed alcove. He ended sleeping in the guest room and remained locked out until I discovered him in there the next morning. Needless to say we made sure the doors remained propped ope the rest of the cruise. :-)
I know this is long and detailed. So to sum up: Eric the room steward was fantastic. John De'Souza, the head concierge was incredible. He even went out of his way to make us comfortable as a same sex couple though we aren't obvious in any way. All of the other suite guests were ver friendly and accepting of us as well. We never felt out of place or uncomfortable.
This was one of the best vacations we have ever had!
My partner and I have been together for 27 years. We are life partners and business partners in a very successful Interior Design Firm in Northern Alabama. Though we are both males we fit in well with any group and have never experienced any real negativity or blatant negativity form anyone. I only mention then because we found that Norwegian Cruise lInes has always been very gay friendly and accommodating.