My friends and I went on the Norwegian Jewel cruise from 5/10 to 5/22 which cruised the Baltics. The cruise line made a bad impression from the beginnning. Check in was a breeze but then we had to wait a long time in a crowded room to be allowed to board the ship. Worse, people who arrived later than us were allowed to board the ship earlier. There was a breakout of the Norovirus on the last cruise and the staff successfully did everything they could to prevent this from happening on this trip.
Our mini suite was beautiful especially for the price we paid. Few restaurants were free. The free ones includes the Tsar's Palace and Azura's as well as the Grand Buffet. There was a wait for Tsar's and Azura's and the Grand Buffet was a zoo. The food at all these places was good not great. Service was very good. Tsar's has a great view. The Grand Buffet has great brownies. The italian restaurant and Tango's was not worth the extra money. The hibachi place and Le Bistro were. We were allowed to dress casually, but if you dressed too casually at the Tsar's, the staff will lie to you and tell you that there are no seats available (don't go in shorts). There is a wait to go into the restaurants but it is not excessive. The best view/seating is at Spinnakers bar, but the waitressing staff is indifferent and rude in direct contrast to all the other waiting staff on the ship. If anyone from NCL is reading this, please do something about that situation.
The excursions were overpriced. Better and cheaper trips to St. Petersburg and Berlin could be found with independent tours such as sbp. The biggest disappointment was disembarking in St. Petersburg. Though Russian customs was a nightmare, the ship exacerbated the situation by letting the people that took ncl excursions disembark first and even allowed them to cut in line at customs when the rest of us had been waiting for over an hour. It caused a lot of bad feelings. Also, in Sweden there was not a convenient way to get in town. The people on the hop on hop off bus will try to drop you off at the Vasa at 9. Beware it does not open until 10. They do it so they can go back to the ship and get more people. The people who don't get off at Vasa, they drop off at stop one. The countries themselves are gorgeous.
The entertainment was hit or miss. The band 60280 was excellent; the Cirque Bijou was the best show I've ever seen on a cruise line ever. The comedian was funny. The $12 per day for services was worth it since it included the waiting staff at the restaurants as well as the stewards. The steward charged me for a bottle of water from the mini bar that I bought somewhere else on the ship. Otherwise, she was very good. There was a Russian Bazaar night I recommend. There was a great lecturer who lectured about the Berlinn air lift. This cruise was much better than the princess cruise line I was on and the carnival one but not as good as cunard.