Our experience on the Norwegian Jewel was exceptional. While some might have felt it was a rough ride earlier in the week, with December's Tropical Storm "Olga", we had a wonderful experience. The ship is everything a new ship could offer. At registration NCL didn't give us a deck plan for the ship, so the first few hours were interesting trying to find our way around. But seasoned cruisers usually figure things out pretty quick. We're not going to post reviews of the ports since we can comment more appropriately at those specific boards. The food was pretty much what we expected. No real complaints, don't expect any great steaks except in the premium 'steak house' and don't expect lobster even when the menu says 'Lobster'. The dining room portions are fairly small, but you can order two of anything, so we don't have a problem with that either. The entertainment on board was exceptional. The variation of shows made the cruise interesting. We especially enjoyed the Cirque' show with the overhead performances. The cruise critic party was especially nice with the appearance of the Captain, Hospitality Head, and Cruise Director with staff. This made an impression on us and they were interested in our input.
The Freestyle Cruising is not for everyone, but the Norwegian Jewel was designed with this type of cruising in mind. We did an NCL Freestyle cruise three years ago and were not really impressed as the dining room had long lines and the service was really below par (for any dining experience). This time was much different. We experienced practically NO WAITING at any of the restaurants. The service was very good with some exceptional servers that we actually got to know (and requested to be served by at later dining times). The food quality wasn't outstanding, but we are not going to complain because it was about what we expected. Being able to have flexibility with your schedule from day to day is a real advantage. While one port might have you back to the ship late, you don't need to rush to get showered and to the dining room by your schedule dining time or settle for the buffet. Freestyle does make sense and is a definite advantage when the ship is designed for this like the Norwegian Jewel.