We had a wonderful 7-night cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I am sure my DW will write her own review, so this one will be from my perspective.
We drove from Columbus, Ohio to New Orleans, over the Thanksgiving holiday. We spent a night in Birmingham, Alabama, then two nights in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We thought about staying in NOLA and getting a "Park and Cruise" deal, but the big college football game was that weekend, so we were decided to stay about an hour and 15 minutes east.
We drove into NOLA Sunday morning and parked at the Convention Center lot for $12 a day. We booked this online and had no problem getting in. We were early enough to leave our stuff in the car and head over to Cafe du Monde for Sunday morning beignets, which are so good!
Smooth as silk. We got to the terminal about 1 or so, and there was a small line through security and to check in, but they both moved right along. We were on the ship by 2 and right to our cabin. Our luggage arrived by 4 and we watched the turn around and sail away from the lower sundeck (Deck 12) on a cool, but comfortable afternoon.
We were upgraded to an outside obstructed view cabin on deck 8, which looked out at a lifeboat. No problem at all, since all I wanted was the natural light. I do not spend time at all staring out the window, since I can just go up to the pool deck and look out all I want!! The bathroom had doors that separated the shower from the sink, and sink from the toilet. it is small, but manageable. The bed was comfortable and I slept well each evening. Everything worked, except the safe. The batteries died on the safe the final morning, prompting a call to our concierge to get security to come up and fix it, which they did, and we were able to get our passports and my DW's purse out in plenty of time.
One thing I did notice was that our cabin steward never addressed us by name. Not once. This was the first cruise that this has happened. Just something I noticed. I even went out of the way to call him by his name each time I saw him, but he never called me or my DW by name. Otherwise, my room was always clean and taken care of.
The Jewel is the namesake of the class of ships. I found her to be very well laid out and easy to navigate once I was familiar with the layout. Being on deck 8 forward put us right in the center - main restaurants and shops down and aft, most everything else up and aft, Stardust Theater down and forward. Pretty easy.
The ship was always clean, nicely taken care of, and the public areas were easy to navigate. Nothing ever seemed to be ignored and the ship itself was a pleasure to be enjoyed.
The ship is the Jewel. The staff is the diamond the sparkles the brightest!
I was the organizer of our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. We had a fantastic turnout for the event, which was attended by about 8 officers who welcomed our group, answered our questions and made us laugh and feel right at home. I believe the officers were impressed as well, citing the great turnout. They offered our group members an opportunity to dine for an evening with one of them, and many took advantage of that. Our gift exchange was a hoot, and we even made a few dollars on our slot pull in the casino!!
There wasn't a staff member that we encountered who didn't take good care of us or anything that we needed. The drink server by the pool remembered me whenever he saw me (I fell in love with the Mudslide drinks I enjoyed...) and one of the MDR waitstaff, a woman from Thailand, I think her name was Simreepe (?), who was an assistant during the SOLAS assembly drill, chatted with me and remembered me the entire trip. She really was delightful and very pleasant!
We were lucky enough to be given a concierge and she was exceptionally good and very attentive to us. From being able to dine at Cagney's for breakfast and lunch, to a complimentary dinner there, a wonderfully informative Bridge tour, priority disembarkation, a cocktail party with the Captain, to taking care of the safe issue on the last day. Just a superb woman and wonderful asset to NCL.
We dined in the Garden Buffet, Cagney's Steakhouse, both Azura and Tsar's Palace, and Blue Lagoon.
The MDR's were wonderful, with really tasty food and great service. We had to wait for Tsar's Palace one evening, but they gave us a pager and a coupon for a drink at any bar while we waited, which was very nice.
The food at the buffet was rather good as well, with the selections changing on different evening to reflect a theme - Caribbean, German, etc.. The chocolate buffet was there as well one evening,
The Blue Lagoon is a casual place on deck 8, so easy for us to get to. Very good fish and chips.
The shows I did attend, and the activities I did were quite fun, thanks to the wonderful staff that SIn, the Cruise Director, had, Sin was quite good and very funny. He was filling in, so not sure if he will be there if you sail, but he is quite good!!
We were able to have a private bridge tour, and it was quite special to see how the ship functions. Highly recommended if you can get it.
Each port had it's own unique style, The contrast of the rugged hills of Jamaica with the flatness of Grand Cayman, and the bustle of Cozumel, was fun. The Jewel's crew even welcomed passengers back on board in Cozumel with music and dancing! Right in front of the Carnival Magic, which was docked next to us! They looked very jealous...
Had priority disembarkation, so it was very painless. In fact, we were probably eating at Cafe du Monde before the second wave of people were off the ship!!
The best cruise that we have taken!! The staff was the best, the ship was great, the ports were wonderful, the food very good. Truly value for the money, and the experience was over anything I had hoped for! I thank all of the Cruise Critic folks for coming to the Meet and Greet! I also thank the staff of the Norwegian Jewel for ta fantastic vacation!!