Okay, so here's my review of the 2 week NCL Jewel Repositioning Cruise, departing April 11th from Miami and returning April 24th in NYC.
Please note - in regards to my review: 1) I am 30 years old 2) I was traveling with my partner, and my parents (sep rooms) 3) I am always gracious to have "a hot meal", regardless of culinary expertise 4) I stay out late (past midnight)
Here's the quick 411
Overall - I had a blast - amazingly good time. Loved every minute. The ports were great, the weather was great, and the excursions booked thru NCL were awesome. No complaints there!
As for the clientele - it was basically a floating nursing home. More on that later.
There were a couple "Families" on the ship - but I must admit - I rarely saw (or heard) children - which is a good thing.
Aside from 95% of the people on this ship - I was part of an elite few who actually stayed up past 10pm. In fact, after dancing and partying, I found myself having wings and beer at 3am, at blue lagoon. (Granted, there were only 4-10 people in the restaurant) The only bar/dance place that was open was Spinnakers, which was fairly decent. Also, 20% off all cocktails after 6pm was a nice bonus.
Getting on the boat - very quick , very efficient - no concerns. Just do yourself a favor - don't wear a green shirt on the first day, or your embarkation photo will be of a floating head.
Getting off the boat - Do yourself a favor - avoid the lines at 8:30 am for "Express walkoff" - and wait until 9:30. My partner and I went from our stateroom, to customs, to a sidewalk in NYC - in 17 minutes. No lines, no waiting.
Food - can't complain at all. Buffets were decent, Tsars was good, Blue lagoon was good. Room service was good. The variety of foods was good too. Heard fabulous things about Cagney's. Overall, I can't complain.
Drinks - expensive. Very, very expensive. $9-$10 martinis. $7 fosters. Add 15% gratuity, and it's even more. Best deal is beer buckets during the day, or cocktails after 6pm, when on discount.
Shorts and flip flops were allowed in the dining rooms at dinnertime. This irked me, b/c I specifically came back to my room to shower and put on "dinner attire" to have a nice meal with my family - and yet, I sat next to some people who looked like they just left the pool area. Talk about trashy.
"Adults only" shows should be enforced - there were 3 drunk teenagers (14, 16, and 17) at one of the comedian shows, and they were clearly intoxicated and swearing constantly. They should have been escorted out.
Plates and silverware were hard to find in the buffet at peak hours.
Some wear/tear on the ship (carpets ripped in hallways, etc)
While I didn't take this cruise to sit in my cabin to watch t.v., I have to admit, the t.v. station lineup was a little poor. Oh well.
"Ami" at the customer service desk is the rudest person I've ever met in my entire life. We can all do WITHOUT her.
If you're on a boat with a bunch of old people - expect to use the staircase a lot. These old people can't do 1 flight of stairs(up or down), so the elevators are constantly in use.
If you're on a boat with a bunch of old people - expect to walk at a pace that is half of what you typically walk at. I'm 6'4", and found myself frustrated with the blue hairs moving at a snail's pace.
If you're on an excursion with a bunch of old people - expect to be embarrassed by their horrible right wing/left wing/clueless questions. I was mortified by some of the comments these old people made in 3rd world countries. Yes, we all know, America has its strengths and weaknesses - but when you're a guest in a foreign country, you act gracious and understanding. Period.
If you're on a boat with a bunch of old people - avoid breakfast *exactly* at 8am, lunch at *exactly* 12noon - and dinner at *exactly* 5pm. These old folks are on a strict schedule when it comes to food, and generally clog up the dining rooms and buffets at these times.
If you're on a boat with a bunch of old people - expect (some) of them to lack basic understanding of decency and respect in the buffet lines. I fought some old broad for the last plain croissant, and she cussed me out. Whatever lady, I won, you lose.
If you're on a boat with a bunch of old people - expect to see lots of walkers and motor scooters. (Frankly, there was 1 nice person on the boat who truly needed the scooter.. the other 10 people were just morbidly obese and too lazy to walk. How do I know this? Because we ALL saw these fat "handicapped" people physically running to the dessert buffet)
Be sure to check out the chocolate buffet - and when I mean "check out" - I mean, check out the PEOPLE. The only thing bigger than the piles of desserts on people's plates - were the people themselves. Gluttony at it's best.
Finally - if you need a reprieve from the old folks - book a "level 3 activity" excursion - like cave tubing, zip lining, snorkeling, etc. I found myself on active excursions with only 10-12 people, all were younger, which was great.
The entertainment staff (singers, dancers, etc) were always out and about after 9pm, hanging out with us young people. It was fun to converse with them, hear about life on the ship, and their careers. Really good information.
Laly Domiguez up in the star bar was the best waitress ever. She ran into us at port in Aruba, with a warm smile and a big hug. Very awesome.
While the cruise director was fun and very entertaining - would it kill him to gain a few pounds? I felt like he was the Karen Carpenter of the ship....
There was a good percentage of Gay/Lesbian folks on the boat - met a lot of cool people from around the country - very fortunate to have made these friends, for they made late-night partying and dancing so much better.
Overall, I loved every minute on that boat. Aside from the old people - it was a great time, and I got what I truly needed - Peace, Quiet, Relaxation, time away from my job, and time with my partner.