Our experiences on the Jewel were mostly excellent. Our room was great - we had a balcony and it was wonderful to be able to sit there and relax, read, drink coffee, think... We enjoyed the food - the free style dining experience - lots of choices - particularly liked Azure and Tsar served dining as well as the Garden Cafe for lots of choices. One night I ordered two entrees at the Tsar restaurant and both choices were excellent - portions were small and the two entrees were just the right amount. We ran into only one difficulty when we asked for ice cream at the Blue Lagoon restaurant(we had just seen it served to a guest next to us) and were told that they were not allowed to serve ice cream as it wasn't on the menu. When I pointed out that the guest next to us had just been served - the waiter rolled his eyes. We decided to leave at that point.
One other problem occurred when I asked for a refund for a snorkeling excursion. The boat that took us out to the reefs had a broken ladder. The water was really rough and when I tried to get back into the boat, the tour guide had to yank me up so that I wouldn't get cut on the missing handle on one side of the ladder - I was really bruised on my arm. I didn't complain/mention it until the last day when I checked my bill - the excursion director told me that I should have mentioned it earlier in the week - and that he would be unable to refund the money - I believe that it's the responsibility of the cruise line to check out the tour/excursion boats and whether I asked for a refund that same day (I was exhausted and sore!) or the last day was a moot point. IN any case, I'm following up with NCL's customer service tomorrow. There was a lot of what I consider "hard" sales going on - really pushing the purchasing of jewelry, art, drinks, etc. Interestingly enough I didn't see much purchasing going on - either the economy is really affecting purchasing or...people were turned off like I was! The seminars were only so-so. The art director and jewelry expert read mostly from the slide presentations and seemed to stumble quite a bit.
All in all - it was a nice experience - we were there not to purchase a bun ch of stuff, but to relax! - the shows were excellent, the ship never seemed crowded - even though it had almost 2500 guests, the food was very good and except of just a few "bad" customer service situations, the overall cruise experience was well worth it. I do recommend getting a balcony at least once when you cruise as it gives a neat perspective. We purchased the on-board $250 option and will be going on another NCL cruise within the next 4 years.