This was my third cruise with Norwegian and was really excited. I traveled with my family: mom, dad, and sister this time to the Western Caribbean. The Norwegian Jewel is such a fabulous ship. It's bright, vibrant, and full of energy. We left NY and had a layover in TX before arriving in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday night. We arrived at the Port of Miami Sunday morning and waited inside the cruise terminal for about 30 minutes before numbers were being called. (They tell you not to arrive early because you won't be allowed to enter the terminal, but it was already pretty full when we got there.)
When we boarded the ship we were greeted with champagne or orange juice for the non-alcoholic drinkers. We chose to eat in Azura's because we thought the buffet would have been crowded. (In the past there was only one buffet line, but I'll explain later what was VERY different about the Norwegian Jewel). We had a delicious lunch and then waited around one of the lounge areas until we were able to go to out room. We got a mini suite and it was really very nice inside. The room was big enough that two people could walk around without feeling crushed. The bathroom was big and had a bathtub/shower! The room came with a lot of drawers and a huge closet. Also there was a big bed and a couch which transformed into a couch bed at night. This wasn't one of this you sink into, it was hard, but I got a good night sleep each night. Also on our floor was the Bridge Viewing Window which was really neat to see. It was on Deck 11 and it was opened from Sunrise to Sunset.
The ship itself is really nice and though it feels a bit big a times (I got lost a couple of times, I can't imagine what the EPIC will feel like with I believe 24 levels!) For meals we ate in the Garden Cafe mostly for breakfast, lunch and one dinner. The Garden Cafe was amazing in the fact that it had several food stations and not that one line everyone has to get into for food. It had a salad, soup, grill, ethnic cuisine, Asian, and even a bar station. The food was pretty much the same each day, but I never got the same thing twice. I enjoyed the diff. food stations and got to try a lot of different food. Tsar's and Azura is where I dined in the most on the ship, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Tsar's since it's designed after a Russian Palace. We also tried out Tango's which was really actually good. They serve you chips and three salsas in the place of bread and you also get a complimentary Margarita, (although I'm pretty sure half the cover charge is for the margaritas) I had the Lobster taco's and they were fabulous! Huge chunks of lobster in a cream sauce with some grilled veggies.
At night we went to the daily shows: Mary Ellen Hooper, Ken Groves, and Kranz Powell. Mary Ellen is the funniest person you will ever meet! She was so quick with her jokes about everything and everyone. We saw her one night sitting alone in the Garden Cafe and went up to her and complimented her on the show, and she was really appreciative of our comments. Ken Groves is a ventriloquist much like Jeff Dunham. George is his Peanut and Howard is his Walter. I thought he was really funny and at the end of his show he took photos with everyone and his puppets. Kranz Powell is a musician who sings, dances and plays the trumpets in his show. I thought he was a bit over the top, should have done one of them and not all at the same time! We also went to the Liar's Club which had Mary Ellen, Ken, and Que the Cruise Director. Although it turned out to be a competition against Ken and MaryEllen it was funny. Who knew that lob cock meant a boring and dull person, which MaryEllen called Ken numerous times during the night.
The public areas of the ship were clean and vibrant as well. Bright colored carpets with funky colors and designs. They even had karaoke/wii rooms which if you were lucky to get a room, were pretty fun. They had karaoke and Wii sports. I spent a few hours with my family playing Wii. I can't wait to cruise with Norwegian again because it's freestyle and you never have to be anywhere and you don't have to dress up. Although shorts aren't allowed in any restaurants, lots of people never followed the rule. They want you to relax and not worry about what to wear I guess. Overall I would give the cruise a 9/10 stars!