The Jewel did not appear to have comfortable places to sit & read - a frequent activity of transatlantic cruisers. Even the library chairs were uncomfortable. With the very cool , windy weather, lounging on the pool deck was not an option. The entertainment was good , as well as the food in Tsar's Palace(free) restaurant. Freestyle dining made it possible to catch the shows twice, which we usually did. The first production show, Band on the Run had excellent singing & dancing. The 2nd production show had a country music format. The 3rd was entitled Cirque du Soleil & included breathtaking gymnastic feats. The cast did a fantastic job on all 3 shows. We thoroughly enjoyed The Skinny German Juggle Boy, who not only was a tremendous juggler, but also VERY Witty & amusing. The Hypnotist was entertaining , as well as informative. The comedian was funny & incorporated the audience into his act. The soprano, Jennifer Fair, had a well trained voice & pleasing personality. The ship's crew presented their talent as one of the shows. The cabin stewards worked efficiently as a team & did the usual towel folding thing. The lack of formally scheduled lecturers was a HUGE omission for a cruise with so very many sea days. At least Rich, the cruise director, responded to our disappointment by rounding up a few passengers to give lectures by the 3rd sea day. They were well attended attesting to the need for intellectual stimulation in addition to the "beer University" and other similar type activities.
Embarkation was somewhat slow compared to other cruise lines, especially COSTA. Debarkation, on the other hand, was well done.
The incessant hawking of "CRACKERS" - pull tabs, was annoying & done 15 mins. before each show in the Stardust Theatre. Bingo was another rip off, with handsets selling for $ 49 & up for a prize of $100 to start with. There did not seem to be many folks paying extra money for the specialty restaurants which probably was a reflection of the value seeking consumers who paid a very reasonable price for this cruise.
We have been cruising for many years on over 45 cruises on the popular cruiselines and will have second thoughts about choosing Norwegian again. Not having to dress formally was a plus , but not having comfortable seating & incessant quests for the passenger to pay extra for so many activities was a definite minus. Shore excursions were expensive & there was so little time in the Azores & Vigo that going too far afield on your own was prohibitive. More time should have been allotted to these two ports as we were near the final port of Dover many hours before the official docking time of 5 AM.
For those within driving distance of Miami , staying at a nearby motel, such as the RED ROOF INN or Las Quintas proved to be a good value . They offered parking for up to 14 days @ $4 per night & a reasonable room rate ($79). Included was a free ride to the port offered at 1 PM and a shuttle from the airport every half hour, also , at no charge. They also offer "breakfast" of coffee,tea, juice, bagels & individually wrapped danish.
NCL had no control over the weather , however, the ship was rocky only a few minutes out of Miami- most unusual . Due to the windy weather, the first 3 or 4 days were also rocky requiring meclizine for some of us.
In conclusion, there were positives & negatives on this cruise.