With gratitude to my fellow cruisecritic members for their past reviews, I happily write my review of NCL Jewel-cruise week August 21-28, 2010.
The NCL Jewel is now my favorite ship. The Jewel has the friendliest crew, entertaining activities and great food.
I will touch on all the key highlights but sadly I may forget many as I am suffering from PCD (post cruise depression).
For a little background, I traveled with my dh, ds, and dd. This was our 5th cruise-3rd with NCL.
Embarkation was an absolute breeze. It was the fastest, most efficient and most painless process we have ever experienced. We were on board and eating lunch shortly after arriving at the pier.
The NCL Jewel had the best cuisine in terms of taste and variety. You will not go hungry but you will likely gain weight. :( The Jewel offers several different restaurants included in the cruise fare, all offering a myriad of delicious choices of food. We had heard rave reviews about the restaurants that were available for a nominal charge. We chose to celebrate my daughter's birthday at Teppanyaki. Teppanyaki is a Japanese restaurant where the chefs entertain you while they cook your food on the hibachi. We all enjoyed the show and it was a perfect way to celebrate our dd's birthday.
We all enjoyed the freestyle dining- "eat wherever, eat whenever". We never waited more than 5 minutes for a table and found that freestyle dining so convenient not to have to a dining schedule dictate our daily schedule. Freestyle also offered the advantages of traditional dining. On our first visits to Tzar and Azura's main dining rooms, we liked our prompt courteous servers. For our return visits, we requested the same servers and our requests were gladly met. We enjoyed seeing the same servers who already know our preferences.
NCL Jewel has the Nickelodeon themed activities. All the children seemed to enjoy the activities. However, for those passengers who are not interested in these activities, there is no need to see them as they were only offered in certain venues around the ship and at certain times. The Jewel also offers a wide array of other activities including basketball, tennis, arts and crafts, karaoke and trivia games. All enjoyed by my family.
There are 2 main pools- one is an adults only pool. The other has a twisty slide that even the adults enjoyed. There is also a very small pool with a slide for young children. Of course, there are several hot tubs too!
The theater shows were all entertaining and ranged from Cirque Bijou (my personal favorite) to a magician and Second City improv group.
On a final important note, the Jewel has the friendliest crew at sea. On opening night in the theater John O'Hara, the Hotel Director, introduced himself and provided everyone with his telephone extension. He implored everyone to call him if they had a question or concern. I witnessed Mr. O'Hara walking about the ship and making sure that everyone was having a great time. I also witnessed the Captain walking about the ship throughout the week and answering passengers' questions such as "who is navigating the ship when you are not at the bridge? and "what is a nautical mile?"
Based on the crew, activities and food, NCL Jewel is my favorite!