This was our 5th cruise with NCL and our 2nd on the Jewel. We traveled by bus from NE Pennsylvania to NYC, took a cab (about $10 including tip) to the pier. We checked in and, after a short wait, were on the ship by 11:45. We had lunch at Tsars when it opened at noon. Cabins were ready by 2PM and our bags were delivered soon after. We had a partially enclosed balcony cabin on deck 8 forward. This type balcony was a plus on this itinerary as we enjoyed it with very little wind. The cabin was fine with plenty of storage and our cabin steward, who took very good care of us, introduced himself immediately.
The Jewel is very clean and well maintained. True, there's no grand atrium that you may find on other ships but the Jewel is very attractive and its easy to find your way around. Just the right size.
The food and service in the main restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner was very good. The chilled soups are wonderful along with the variety of breads freshly baked on board. We only had to wait for a table once, and then only about 10 minutes. We had dinner in 2 specialty restaurants, Chin Chin (well worth the surcharge) and LeBistro (service exceptional, food maybe worth the surcharge). We ordered room service for breakfast a couple of times. It arrived at the time we requested on the order form and we even got a phone call that breakfast was on the way. We had a couple of lunches at the buffet.
We did the "Behind the Scenes" tour. At $55 per person its expensive but we really enjoyed it. The tour lasted almost 4 hours. For those who think that all the food comes from the same galley, not true. The specialty restaurants each have their own.
Our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was on the first sea day. The Captain, Hotel Director, Cruise Director, and other senior staff members were all there to welcome us and answer questions. Join the roll call for your cruise and participate. You'll be glad you did.
The music in the lounges was very good. We especially enjoyed the Alambre Trio, who we had seen last year. The shows were very good too, especially the magician JP and Cirque Bijou.
We did walk-off disembarkation with our luggage and were off the ship 30 minutes after it was cleared.
I've read reviews with complaints of poor service and unfriendly crew members. Our experience is totally opposite. We've had great service and find the crew on board delightful. It's true that NCL may charge for some things that other lines include in the fare but I'd rather pay a lower fare than pay for things I don't want. Someone said they never had to pay for yoga classes before. I thought "You paid for it, and so did everyone else."
We took advantage of the Cruise Rewards again and plan to return to Bermuda next year.