About the reviewer: I’m a 29 year old male who sailed with his 61 year old mother onboard the 10-day January 2, 2011 sailing of the Norwegian Jewel roundtrip New York City to San Juan (Puerto Rico), St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Maarten & Tortola (BVI). This was my 9th NCL (8th for Latitudes Program as one was a charter) and my mother’s 7th NCL cruise. I’ve sailed on other cruise lines including Celebrity (3x), Royal Caribbean (1x), Princess (5x) and Carnival (1x). In the last two years I have found myself sailing exclusively with NCL for several reasons including their continuous innovation in the cruise industry.
Transportation Services: Super Shuttle
Each time we cruise in the winter months we always leave a day early and book a hotel in the embarkation city for insurance purposes. We transferred from JFK to the hotel via Super Shuttle service. I would not recommend them as they overfilled the van with people and left no room for excess luggage and so I held a lot of my own luggage for the uncomfortable stuffy ride to the hotel.
Pre-Cruise Stay: City Club Hotel – Midtown East, New York City, New York
City Club Hotel is a very well appointed four star boutique hotel with rooms that are small like you’d find in Barcelona or any major European city. Marble in the bathroom and feather bedding which were all very nice and very elegant. I am happy to report that as of my January 1st stay at this hotel there were no signs of bed bugs in the hotel room. The front desk staff was very helpful in getting us around on foot to sights in NYC as I had never been before. I highly recommend a stay at this hotel.
Embarkation: In NYC I have read horror stories about the embarkation process and disembarkation process. I encountered no problems with either. After clearing security in a brief wait (less than 10 minutes) we were waited on at the check-in counter and were escorted off to the ship where mom and I were greeted by a friendly face. Vivian from the restaurant staff was in the line greeting us and instantly recognized me! What a nice way to start the cruise!
The Ship: After having a dry dock in early December 2010 to repair her azipod bearing, a sprucing up of the ship’s interiors occurred as well. Lots of new carpeting could be found in several public venues and still looked as good as new on the inside. This was my fourth time on this ship in less than 4 years and she’s always looked really good inside.
The Cabin: Our cabin for this cruise was 11026, our first-ever mini-suite. This is the highest accommodation where you can split the primary bed into a twin configuration without someone sleeping on the uncomfortable pull out. Since I was cruising with my mom I thought I’d point this out for people looking for this info. The cabin itself was in fairly good shape and the bathroom was much larger than the balcony cabin with a tub. The tub has a high threshold which can give a person with an arthritic knee some trouble getting into. The room itself was in good condition although somewhat dusty in places.
Food: This cruise brought some new menus into the lineup that mom and I have grown accustomed to. Dinner 1-7 were split up amongst the new menus for the other three nights. This kept us on our toes but the hostess at guest reception helped us figure out which night Dinner 5 menus (turkey as the entrée) was being served and we booked accordingly for Cagney’s Steakhouse.
The lunch menu for the main dining room also changed to a fixed menu which after 10 days became boring. I can understand the streamlining of the process expense wise but I do miss the daily change in NCL’s cold soups during the lunch service. That’s where most of them were. You could find them up in the Garden Café but that was hit or miss.
The only specialty restaurant we tried was Cagney’s Steakhouse. Food was excellent as always and the meat served to order with good cuts of meat used. Cagney’s fries were great too! I usually order the Porterhouse Steak for the extra $10 cover charge because I love steaks. I was astonished when the waiter told me that I would have to pay $20 extra because it is served for two people. When did that change? I have always paid the $10 additional and not liked it very much but $20 additional for a steak I can get a similar size of at home for $25 (the cover to Cagney’s alone)? This particular menu item should be put separately or have some sort of fine print stating it’s for two people (which it always has) BUT if a single person orders it then its $20 additional. The menu does not say it and I have never been asked to pay it before. I was very irritated by this because I probably would not have booked Cagney’s otherwise. The Porterhouse steak is always a highlight of my cruise with Princess and NCL but I will not be paying $45 for it on NCL.
Fitness: Since the cruise had so many sea days built into it I did use the fitness center twice during the voyage. During the sea days the gym was always packed, no matter the time you went. I would do the cardio out on the Promenade Deck and go up to Deck 12. There is standard weight bearing machines and a row of treadmills along the windows with a dozen bikes. Midway through the cruise the entire setup of the weight bearing machines was changed and I’m dumbfounded as to why because the new setup had them all on top of each other and no room for anyone to use some of them. The original design worked fine and it had been that way for the past three cruises from 2007 to midway through this cruise. I don’t know if it was to accommodate more equipment or what but suddenly two more bikes popped up in the free weight area. It was already cramped in that space before the addition of those bikes. If people want more cardio then use the running track on Deck 13 or walk on the Promenade Deck.
Enrichment: NCL U had several tastings throughout the cruise but mom loved the guest lecturer series which featured lectures on “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the “Bermuda Triangle.” Mom specifically wanted me to mention them because it gave a great alternative to other afternoon activities (such as trivia or poolside games) and it was informative. She said she has not seen any such lectures before on NCL and would hope that NCL continues them, especially on voyages with a lot of sea days.
Service: There was excellent service provided by familiar faces I had met on my previous Jewel cruises in 2010 but when you deviated from those that knew me and had already received STYLE cards for their exceptional service, the rest of the service was spotty at best. Room service on this cruise was a point of aggravation. Even after talking with Brian, Jewel’s Hotel Director, about the service issues (ie: constant busy signals during non-peak times, connecting to room service using the front desk, room service not bringing requested ice water timely or one night not even at all), these problems persisted. For a string of three days we received the requested ice water in a timely fashion every morning at the same time. It stopped thereafter and we had to try and get through to order it when it was needed. It was a very simple request that became an annoyance on this sailing and something I have not encountered previously onboard the Jewel.
With trying to keep this as brief as possible, here is a day by day account of my 10 Caribbean Adventure onboard the Norwegian Jewel:
Day 1 – New York City, NY: Embarkation went very smoothly. We opted to dine in Tsar’s Palace which was open for lunch. We were waited on by a very nice lady named Ruby Jean whose excellent service made our embarkation luncheon special and earned her a STYLE card. Afterward, we spent some time getting settled into the cabin before the boat drill. After the SOLAS required drill when going back to our cabin I spotted another familiar face onboard – Cherryl Senadrin (Bar Waitress in Spinnakers this cruise). After a brief talk and a huge hug to welcome me back onboard it was time to watch the Jewel sail.
We watched the Jewel go down the river past the Statue of Liberty at dusk and under the Verrazano Bridge. What an incredible sight and this alone made sailing out of chilly NYC worth it in my opinion! I thought we’d crash under the bridge for sure but realized we had plenty of clearance or else they wouldn’t sail from there!
This night we dined again in Tsar’s Palace and with unimpressive service. Unfortunately I didn’t grab the waiter’s name this night because I was in a rush to get to the 7PM engagement in the Star Bar. Tonight’s prime show was a variety welcome aboard featuring the Comedy & Magic of Jean Pierre Parent. Having sailed with illusionist Jean-Pierre before on Spring Break 2010 on the Jewel, it was great to see him perform once again. It was the first of many times this cruise that Jean-Pierre was around. I think after Tim Kaminski signed off the Jewel, Jean-Pierre has stepped up as being the most hands on entertainer onboard the Jewel with fellow guests and being everywhere.
Tonight was the welcome aboard Toga Party in Spinnakers Lounge. Pre-party music was spun by NCL Jewel’s own resident DJ Jean. I gave her a CD with a December update of current house (vocal) songs. DJ Jean is the most incredibly talented resident DJ in the NCL fleet for resident DJs. She turned over the party to so-called “Celebrity DJ” Ty Adams who was late for his first night. I would have been honored if Kevin on the Cruise Staff had let me spin since he thought I was the Guest DJ! DJ Jean came back (thankfully) at the end of the night from 12:30AM to close and the cruise was off to a great start in the disco!
Day 2 – Sea Day: Started the day off with breakfast in the cabin overlooking the ocean through the balcony door. Still too cold to use the balcony today but it didn’t matter as there was a Cruise Critic Meet & Greet setup for 11AM. I got to meet Jean-Pierre personally after the gathering and got caught up. I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with Silas, the Cruise Director, about the White Hot Party and ensuring it would stay true to its theme. I addressed my concerns over the lack of Grey Goose at the Star Bar during the first evening’s FOD. He forwarded the information to Gianna, the Bar Manager and the issue was resolved by the night. I spoke briefly with Brian Walters, the Hotel Director, about the memories from Spring Break and how I’d like to have a cruise very much like that again. I told him the DJ is what counts the most for me in Spinnakers and he said he’d confer with Silas about the matter.
The afternoon brought the Latitudes Party for Gold level on up. At this meeting I met Lucianna who pointed out my “I am EPIC” t-shirt that NCL gave me for winning an essay contest in late April 2010. She loved it and made sure she stopped by to talk to me after the Latitudes presentation. We stayed in Spinnakers for some afternoon activities while mom got to know two friends I made the previous evening. Small world that one of the couple actually was in the same graduating class as her!
After talking the rest of the afternoon away it was time for Tsar’s Palace and tonight we had Durgisa as our waiter. The service was spotty at best and very inattentive. This was the second night this happened. A special request for chopped fresh garlic with the main course for my mom brought her a jalapeno pepper minced. My mom is sensitive to spicy foods and her mouth and GI tract burnt for quite a few hours after ingesting a mouth full. It made me lose hope for a good dinner service in Tsar’s Palace.
At FOD, Gianna (Bar Manager) stopped by and greeted the entire group which was very kind of her. She introduced me by name to Big Al, the bartender there who always greeted me by name whenever I was in the Star Bar for the rest of the cruise. Gianna also recommended seeking out the band “Twist of 8”. Her recommendation proved to be a good one because this band was phenomenal all cruise long!
Featured spotlight performance in Stardust tonight was the Cat’s Pajama’s vocal group. I had also sailed with this performing group in January 2010 and knew what to expect. They had changed the songs performed and the lead singer (Graham) left. It was nice to see Skinner back onboard though and the performance was just as good as it was before. This is a great group and I do recommend any cruiser who is blessed to have them on their sailing to see this acapella band.
Since the NCL resident DJ wasn’t spinning tonight in Spinnakers I stayed and listened to the “Celebrity DJ” Ty Adams before retiring for the evening.
Day 3 – Sea Day: In the morning I took my time to get on the move and then went outside to the Promenade Deck and then up to the gym to do a workout. In the afternoon after eating lunch in Tsar’s Palace again I went to the Mr. Sexy Legs contest. The Cruise Staff were hard pressed to find participants. Had I known that there were different categories I would have entered!! Every entrant was crowned this cruise! Stopped by the library to talk with my DJ friend Jean before heading down to get ready for dinner and take a disco nap.
Up for dinner at Tsar’s Palace again and we were sat in Marisol Lamorena’s section. Marisol waited on mom and me once during the January 2010 sailing in Le Bistro and she remembered us. At first I gave her a funny look because usually I’m the one walking up to crew and going it’s so nice to see you again. When she did it I knew we FINALLY had our waitress team for the rest of the cruise!! What a blessing it was to have her again! She handled mom’s special nightly request with ease and also remembered that I liked larger portions of the meats that I ordered. We enjoyed her service this evening immensely and were so happy she’d found us and we’d found her!!
Spotlight Showtime: Band on the Run with NCL Productions. I had seen this production 7 times prior on the Norwegian Jewel but I do enjoy my disco music so I took in the sights to see what changes were made since Jean Ann Ryan is no longer onboard. The set had changed quite a bit and so did the costumes and some of the dance moves. The order of the songs was also re-arranged. The changes kept me intrigued and it was a good performance.
Tonight was a Spinnakers night even though the resident NCL Jewel DJ Jean was stuck doing family disco earlier in the evening. “Celebrity DJ” Ty Adams spun the post 70s party. If it were not for friends made already onboard and through other means I probably would not have stayed as long. Hip hop music gets old quickly. It was a 2 drink night and then it was off to bed.
Day 4 – Sea Day & San Juan, Puerto Rico (3PM arrival): After a relaxing morning and some walking around the Promenade Deck after the bridge tour (thanks to Elwyn Ocampo, Group Service Coordinator for getting it organized for the Cruise Critic group), it was time for lunch and from which I happened upon the Nick Live! Poolside. What a cool little concept which looks fun for all to get involved regardless of your age and it’s equally fun to watch (which is what I did). The winner gets slimed and the loser gets a pie in the face!! Finally at 2PM the local pilot for San Juan was brought onboard and we began our approach. We watched the ship pull in from the comfort of the balcony on our mini-suite.
We disembarked the ship for a brief time in search of some shopping in Old San Juan. The items were unique that we sought and it was a nice quest to go through the town in search of them. It gave us something to do outside of me taking a dozen or so pictures of the Jewel’s exterior. It was back to the ship for dinner with Marisol in Tsar’s Palace before mom and I split up for the evening.
Spotlight Showtime: Bill Hildebrandt. Mom caught this show on her own and she said this guy was amazing but since most people were ashore in San Juan it was poorly attended. Mom also said he was the best comedian out of all of them on the cruise. I missed this performance as I was ashore in San Juan with new friends exploring the FOD side of San Juan.
Spotlight: San Juan Nightlife for me! Off to Candado to Krash Klub on Ponce de Leon Avenue for some nightlife. Problem was the bar didn’t open until 10PM and so we were left walking around the area without a cab ride and wound up in a nice Asian restaurant where there were 5 shots for $10. A local promoter pointed us in the direction of a new bar and dance club called Eagle Bar San Juan which was also on Ponce de Leon just a block down from the Krash Klub. This club opened at 9PM but of course was dead given the early hour. When the seven of us showed up, we were the party. Eagle Bar was a blessing as they were playing true vocal house music. Our group had a great time at this bar and I highly recommend it to other Friends of Dorothy who want to venture out in San Juan. Our taxi van came back to pick us up at 10:45PM as we had designated. Be sure to arrange this with the driver when he drops you off. This area wasn’t frequented by too many taxis.
Back onboard for sail away, the Island Nights Deck Party was underway with so-called “Celebrity DJ” Ty Adams. It was poorly attended until the all aboard and once the ship was under way I headed back into Spinnakers to enjoy the party with DJ Jean who was spinning the alternate party. The party didn’t pick up until after the deck party ended but it was great to have good music to dance to onboard for a change. Eagle Bar set the pace for the night and I was happy I could continue it back onboard until the wee hours of the morning!!
Day 5 – St. Thomas: After breakfast we headed out to the K-Mart just outside the port area and then into town. We had no set agenda as all the items needed for the White Hot Party were now in place. In downtown Charlotte Amalie we ate lunch at Café Amici and looked around for souvenirs and just took in the sights of the downtown before heading back to the ship. The fort is still under construction which mom and I was hoping to check out.
Back onboard it was dinner in Cagney’s restaurant as we set sail. Off in the distance the Queen Mary 2 was leaving as well and our waiter, Mr. Gomes, was very excited about seeing the QM2 so it made us inquisitive on watching her movements as well. Minus the sticker shock of the Porterhouse Steak (see above), the whole dinner service at Cagney’s Steakhouse was excellent. Mr. Gomes did a nice job.
Spotlight Showtime: Magician & Illusionist Jean-Pierre Parent. I had seen this show previously in March 2010 but it was still fun. It’s only as good as how the audience who participates makes it. It was a nice show. Good job Jean-Pierre!
After the show it was listening to some good dance tunes with Twist of 8 in Fyzz before retiring for the evening. St. John’s awaits and this was a new port call.
Day 6 – St. John’s, Antigua: We arranged an afternoon tour so we got off the ship in the morning and explored the downtown part of St. John’s. We were in port with another larger Costa ship and the town shopping area was quite small. As a result it was a little crowded until the ship left at 2PM. We looked around in some shops before heading back to the ship for lunch.
NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Antigua Island Highlights: Since this was our first time in Antigua, mom and I wanted to see what the island had to offer. This tour brought us to a cultural center which surprisingly had a wonderful presentation of the history of Antigua using an around the room video display and intelligent lighting. I was quite impressed with this presentation/production. Next it was off to Shirley’s Point for an overlook of Falmouth Harbor and the Royal Naval Dockyard before heading to the Dockyard for the last stop of the tour. We were given a brief guided tour and then left to explore the grounds on our own for about 45 minutes. This tour was very nice and the people of Antigua were very nice and welcoming. They really do appreciate the tourists at all the spots visited on this tour. I would highly recommend this tour for those who are not beach people.
Back onboard and after dinner in Tsar’s Palace with the phenomenal service of Marisol it was a quick stop at FOD before heading into the 7:30PM show.
Spotlight Showtime: INCANTO featuring Massimo & Alesia. Having sailed on the Jewel so frequently I had come to know this duo and both are incredibly talented. Alesia competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games representing her home country. This show featured the two of them together in a very inspiring way. I’m happy they got their own show separate from the work they were doing in the other productions including Cirque Bijou.
Spotlight: NCL’s White Hot Party (Poolside): This was the first time the White Hot Party was moved under the stars on the Jewel. Due to the high humidity the pool deck was too slippery for the NCL production dancers to do their dance number. I was decked out in my full attire including the glitter. After the expected big party line dances, the DJ failed to inspire me to dance. He played a set of three vocal house songs before playing the same hip hop music he always played the entire cruise! I was NOT pleased with this at all. If he likes hip hop that’s one thing but I know he was told by the Cruise Director to play more house music this night and he still refused to. This dampened my enjoyment of the party and made my elaborate attire far too overdone for the party.
Luckily resident DJ Jean was doing the alternative party in Spinnakers and she was spinning the house music that you had to beg Ty to play. After some convincing I got a large crowd to move from the deck party to Spinnakers and the party continued well into the night and the early hours of the morning. I closed the party that night in Spinnakers as it is my favorite night of any NCL cruise. Too bad DJ Jean just couldn’t have spun the whole night because she knew what she was doing for that night a lot better than the so-called “Celebrity DJ”.
Day 7 – St. Maarten: Off to a late start after taking a shower and hoping that most of the glitter came off from the prior evening. I felt bad for the stateroom steward who really didn’t do a thorough job cleaning prior on this cruise to deal with the small trail of glitter in the cabin that wasn’t contained in the bathroom. We walked into Philipsburg from the ship and this was a first for us. We’d never been to this city before and it was hustling. We just walked around and had lunch at one of the beach side restaurants called Bare Foot. Very nice cuisine and authentic jerk rubbed chicken. Delicious!!
Back onboard it was dinner in Tsar’s Palace with Marisol again with Donato Ching becoming our fantastic Tsar’s Palace Wine Server and thereafter stopping by FOD before…
Spotlight Showtime: Comedy Talents of Steven Scott. Mom and I enjoyed this comedian. He was pretty funny with clean jokes and really didn’t offend or pick on anyone’s race, gender or sexual orientation. A comedian who can still be funny without picking on any of those is a good comedian!
After staying up late the previous night I was beat. Off to bed early so I could be ready for our last port call…
Day 8 – Tortola, British Virgin Islands: Afraid I would over sleep and after turning in quite early the previous evening compared to the rest of the cruise, I was up to watch the ship pull in at 6AM. After getting up to the buffet and then getting back to the cabin it was time for…
NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Tortola Highlights: Since mom and I had called in Tortola once before in 2005 due to Hurricane Wilma re-routing our ship and most of the island being unprepared for tourists, we wanted to see if things hand changed since our last visit. This tour showed us the entire overview of the island while driving and stopping at scenic look outs. The tour continued on to Cane Garden Bay where we spent an hour at the beach. This long of a stay at the beach was unexpected as the form said it was a short stay there. In the end we spent 1/3 of the tour time at the beach which was not what mom and I were looking for. If the beach is your thing and you want to see a little of the island as well then I would recommend this tour. Also, keep in mind it’s an open air bus that you’re on so if you have any arthritis problems in your lower extremities then ask to sit in the cab or have someone place a step stool for you at each stop.
Back onboard I utilized the early sail away to get my final workout of the cruise in the gym while everyone else was out on deck getting sun. It was this day that I discovered the reconfigured gym and thought it was incredibly cramped with a light usage. When I stepped into the abdominal machine it was on top of the chest press machine. In order to get to the water fountain you had to go through people using equipment without getting hit. Very strange setup indeed and the Staff Captain talked to the Fitness Director to have it changed even more. I hope it was for the better but that’s uncertain. Either way, the free weight area is going to be a lot smaller for future Jewel cruisers.
Dinner in Tsar’s Palace tonight with Marisol again and then it was off to FOD for a quick hello to the attendees before going to…
SPOTLIGHT SHOWTME: Singer Lumiri Tubo: After performing at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City she graced the Stardust theater stage. Her renditions of Nat King Cole favorites and Whitney Houston gave me goose bumps. Lumiri is a fantastic guest entertainer onboard and I truly enjoyed her vocal sensation throughout the rest of the cruise. She joined the ship in St. Thomas. If you have the opportunity to see her I would highly recommend her if you’re a fan of Nat King Cole or even if you’re not!
Up to the disco for a night with “Celebrity DJ” Ty Adams spinning. It was a one drink night and then it was off to bed. The DJ was very uninspiring and very stale at this point. Any DJ would know not to play the same song twice in one night – be they a so-called celebrity or an amateur.
Day 9 – Sea Day Heading for NYC: In the morning mom attended the seminar in the aerobics studio called “Eat More to Weigh Less” which she found very interesting. She also went afterward for a Body Composition Analysis with the person who gave the seminar to learn the make up of her body. There was a nominal fee for this service but she gained some insights as to how to help herself lose some of the few extra pounds she has.
Mom and I met up for lunch and then we decided to check out the Destination Talk Lecture on “The Bermuda Triangle” which mom stayed for the entire lecture. I ventured down to the Stardust Theater for the Matinee SLIME TIME LIVE! It was very largely an audience participatory show and it was fun to watch. It was poorly attended as it was still warm enough topside for people to be sunbathing. If you have the opportunity to catch it, I would recommend it – even for adults because it’s comical watching people get all sorts of fluids on them and it’s all in the name of fun!
It was time for a small disco nap before heading to the dining room and the fabulous dinner service provided by Marisol and the wine taken care of by Donato before…
Spotlight Showtime: Variety act of Jean-Pierre Parent & Steven Scott: It was a great show and both are equally talented in their own right.
Adults Only Entertainment: “THE QUEST” in Spinnakers. Usually held on the last evening of the cruise because this outrageously hilarious game show can get somewhat racy by the end of it and well people do things they’d much rather not be known for the next day, it was held earlier this trip! As always QUEST never disappoints and this is my favorite of all the late night game shows. I stayed in Spinnakers later into the night to the Celebrity DJ’s hip hop music because at this point it was a losing battle and I was not going to give up. After an hour and a half from the time of the request, the song “Dirty Talk” was finally played. What a major disappointment this DJ was the entire cruise.
Day 10 – Sea Day Heading to NYC: After a leisurely morning onboard and walking around the pool deck and then a quick lunch in the Garden Café I went to bed for a brief nap and mom attended the Destination Talk: “Pirates of the Caribbean” lecture. She enjoyed this lecture as well.
SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: International Crew Talent Show (3PM): As always it’s nice to watch the talented crew members perform for us. Highlights of this included the island dancer from the Republic of Kirabati and Tinikling Dance, a featured dance of the Philippine crew. At the end of the crew talent show is the featured “FOUNTAINS.” This is always a fun event to watch and either you’ll really love it or think it’s completely gross but either way – it’s a good show! I will not say more as I don’t want to spoil it for future cruisers!!
It was time to go to dinner and again it was the final night onboard so we anticipated seeing and rewarding Marisol Lamorenca for her excellent dinner service throughout the entire cruise. When we arrived at Tsar’s Palace we were told by Rachelle Joy Amoronio, Hostess and Marisol’s roommate that she was in medical and was not feeling well. We were so disappointed by the news. Furthermore, we were sat in another section where the service was lousy. It took 15 minutes to have our order taken and in the interim Donato came by and had already gotten our wine that was held in the back from the previous night. No one in this section was pleased with the service as it was incredibly slow.
In an effort to get back to the stateroom I knew someone who may help me get in contact with Marisol, it was the extraordinaire Elwyn “El” Ocampo who I reached out to. She managed to get Marisol in touch with me and I found out that our favorite waitress was under 24 hour quarantine. Mom and I were devastated but didn’t know what else to do so Marisol, I hope this review gets you a much deserved afternoon off at least! You deserve every award because you are an excellent server!
Spotlight Showtime: Cirque Bijou: This was the first time seeing the modified NCL production after Jean Ann Ryan’s contract ended. The changes to the show stood out more than the earlier Band on the Run production. There was a lot more acrobatics and adagio display and less of the dancers doing things. Quite a few numbers in the show were cut out as well. Actually it seemed like NCL productions is using less people overall to do the show then when Jean Ann Ryan was onboard. The quality of this production was off, especially on the people who were doing the silks in the audience. While watching them I thought for sure they were going to fall off them. I was truly terrified for these performers safety. More practice is definitely needed by these individuals on this apparatus. The ship was not swaying so there was no need to struggle as much as they were.
Immediately following the Cirque Bijou show, the “Norwegian Way” was performed. It is always nice to thank the hard working crew onboard for their hard work.
After some quick last minute packing of items it was off to Spinnakers to say goodbye to all my new found cruise friends and to my wonderful bar staff friends before retiring shortly before 1AM. Disco is over at 2AM on turnaround nights (usually crew curfew anyway but on turnaround days it’s also the passengers).
This night we passed through a storm that would later dump nearly 2 feet of snow in my hometown in MA on Wednesday during the day. The ship was listing to starboard due to the strength of the wind hitting the port side of the ship but it was a minor constant list and no one went flying or anything of the sorts but you could definitely feel like you were walking uphill to go across Spinnakers. I thought it was neat!
Day 11 – New York City – Disembarkation: We sailed up the river as the sun rose and past the Statue of Liberty. We docked shortly after 8AM and the disembarkation process began just after 9AM. We had arranged a transfer through NCL to get to JFK airport for our flight to Boston. We were waiting for what we thought was a bus for over an hour and a half in the terminal and finally at 11:30AM we were brought outside to meet a town car for the transfer to the airport. It was a private town car for mom and I so it was well worth the $40 per person transfer fee. The guy from Intercruises seemed baffled and almost gave our sedan to another couple who was going somewhere else. I thought Miami transfers were the only disorganized ones but I guess New York City needs some polishing by the ground crew as well. The other two couples left behind didn’t have transport to the airport.
Surprisingly our flight was still on-time as Jet Blue was the only airline not to cancel flights to Boston during the height of the storm. It was a turbulent flight home but at least we got home and didn’t have to spend the night in NYC. Thanks to those two special cruise guests who offered up their couch and living room floor for us in case it did happen. Your generosity was so kind.
Conclusion: Those talented crew members left over from when John O’Hara was the Hotel Director onboard continued to provide excellent service while others seemed to be either not motivated to do their job or lackluster. Room service on this trip was such a pain, even after a complaint to the Hotel Director. I know the crew was being worked to the bone because we were on a prolonged norovirus precaution and that means longer hours for them but still service overall should never suffer and it never had before.
It is also time for the “Celebrity DJ” series to go or time for NCL to find real celebrity DJs from the DJ circuit who know how to spin and to do so for all in attendance. If a DJ doesn’t know what a White Party is then NCL really shouldn’t be hiring them as a “celebrity” and letting them have the main event of the cruise. Ty Adams was such a disappointment and for me NCL nightlife is one of the reasons why I book. If I wanted a hip hop only cruise then I would have stayed at home or booked a Carnival cruise.
Minus the above-mentioned issues, the cruise was great. There were several positives including re-uniting with old crew friends and experiencing the comedic wonders of Jean-Pierre and the singing sensation Cat’s Pajamas and Lumiri Tubo. Mom and I also enjoyed the band “Twist of 8” with their vocal and musical abilities to cross several generations of music.
Now I always save the best for last but if it were not for these people, the cruise would not have been nearly as good as it was starting with: DJ Jean Perez (best NCL resident DJ in the fleet), Cherryl Sendarin (Bar Waitress – Spinnakers Lounge) and Quimson “Q” Aquino (Bar Waiter – Spinnaker’s Lounge) for making Spinnakers a great place to hang out when all three were present. A special thank you and deepest gratitude for the wonderful dinner service provided by Marisol Lamorenca (Tsar’s Main Dining Room) and to Donato Ching (Tsar’s Palace Bar Waiter). Each of you has become like family members to me and I will forever cherish the time we’ve spent together over these last three Jewel cruises. An incredible thank you to Elwyn “El” Ocampo (Group Service Coordinator) for helping me out with some special requests this cruise. Even though she wasn’t assigned to help me on this cruise, she was much more helpful than any other staff member onboard who could have and for that I’m forever thankful to her as well! Two wonderful hostesses also deserve special recognition and those are Rachelle Amoronio (Tsar’s Palace Hostess) and Karen Duffis (Cagney’s Restaurant Hostess).
I encourage people who sail on the Jewel up through June 2011 to seek out these people and when you do, expect talented service that earned each of them a STYLE card in their own right.
I look forward to my next Norwegian Cruise Line cruise in the not too distant future.