We were on the Jewel April 12-17,2009,Western Caribbean. Our stops were Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Overall we had an amazing trip, however there were a few things that bothered me about this cruiseline. I'll start with the bad stuff and end with the good stuff. The bathroom in our room could have been much cleaner. There was hair from the previous guests and much dust. We had a balcony room and it was also not clean out there,hair everywhere,yuck!
I would advise staying away from the garden buffet. It is crowded and the food sits there for a long time and is not fresh. You will never find a seat.One night they had a chocolate buffet in there at 11pm. It was insane!People were pushing and shoving, you could barely walk with all the people in there. Unless you bring your kids on the cruise,I would definitely not even go there.What really bothered me was that we were told there was a dress code in the main(free) dining rooms on the ship,Tsars and Azure during suppertime. I saw many people with shorts and jeans on and this should not have happened. The girl at the front should have reminded these folks of the dress code and sent them up to the garden buffet or had requested them to change before returning. Also,on the "formal night" there is no such thing on NCL, very few people dressed up. After supper on this night we just changed out of our formal clothes and joined the casual crowd.On the days at sea I though that there was not much to do,they should have had more "free" activities to do on these days.
Ok now for the good stuff, we ate in the Tsars(free) dining room for breakfast and supper almost everyday and the food was great, BUT you have to wait for it. They are not fast in there, especially on the lobster night.The Blue Lagoon(free) also is great for lunch. We did not eat at any of the "pay" restaurants because we felt that it was ridiculous to pay when food should be included in the cruise price. We also didn't drink much,a strawberry daq. cost $10.00. The shows are amazing and the guy who plays the piano in the main area is wonderful,I think his name was Constantine. They had a band called 60280 that played in the different lounges,they were such a great band!The decor on the ship I also liked alot,some of the lounges made you feel like you were in some big city. I think I prefer the more traditional style of cruising rather then the "freestyle".We were also surprised about the $12.00 per person per day tip charge. The other cruiseline I was on did not do this.
For the excursions,on Cozumel we did the dune buggy. It was lots of fun,but we got very sunburned and the ship did not have anything for sunburn in the store! The store on the ship should definitely have more drug store items. On Grand Cayman we did a snorkel excursion which was fun,but then we did not have much time to explore the island. Honestly, the best part of the trip was leaving the sliding glass door onto to the balcony open and night and falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean!Hope this helps all you future guests of the Jewel!