I recently came home from a beautiful 10 night caribbean cruise. I was on the Norweigan Jewel which left out of New York on 1/23/2011 for 10 nights.
Upon booking this cruise my initial concerns were: a) my cabin right outside of the elevators and b) leaving out of New York in the dead of winter.
I can assure you that neither presented an issue. My cabin was 11574, a mini suite. I could not hear anything from the elevators at all. It was actually quite convenient to be there. I could hear some noise from above from time to time, but nothing to be too concerned about (no major interuption). The balcony was great! The size was great (you could fit a two lounge chairs on it) and the view was great (not obstructed in anyway).
The ship itself was pretty. I really enjoyed all of the bright colors! My only complaint is that there was too much space dedicated to specialty restraunts and the main store. I wish there were a few more bars or lounges to chose from.
The staff was excellent. Every morning my husband and I ordered a specialty coffee drink and every morning the woman at the coffee counter would smile and say "Your usual."
Our cabin stuart could have been better. As soon as we arrived we gave him a $10 tip thinking that this would provide immediate incentive for him to keep the room nice. One time we came back to our room and there were towels still on the floor. Also, we were nice enought to collect our trash (i.e.- Plastic bottles and empty paper cups) and put them into one area for ease of disposal but we had to ask him to please throw these items away.
I found it useful and fun to bring an iPod player on board. We listened to relaxing music on the balcony as we ordered room service.
We brought a few bottles of wines and a bottle of champagne with us (of course we paid the corkage fee). When I opened up one of the bottles of wine, I found it to be just awful! I was so upset because I bought two bottles of it which amounted to $30 in corkage fees. I brought it down to the service desk and they were kind enough to take each bottle from me and credit me the corkage fee. I thought that was great!
I will have to say that the one thing I really really did not like was the casino. I'm not a big gambler, but you had to walk through it in order to get to other parts of the ship and it smelled of smoke. It was an awful smell.
The pool was nice and the slide looked like a lot of fun. I really enjoyed sitting by the pool and watching the games. The only time I ever knew I was on a Nickelodeon cruise was when I would watch their pool games and it was pretty funny. I do wish that NCL would have done a better job of enforcing their rules about chair reserving. The rules in the "Freestyle Daily" indicate that if your belongings are on a chair for more than 60 minutes, they will be removed. I saw many chairs that have towels on them for well over 2.5 hours without any sight of an owner. This is always aggrevating.
I thought the food was fabulous! I think it was the best food that I've ever had on a cruise. The room service menu had a great variety, the salad bar was fresh and abundant, the main dining rooms had terrific food. However, I will say that we went to 3 specialty restaurants and quickly realized that neither the food nor the service in the specialty restaurants were worth the extra charge. Not that the food was bad, it was excellent! However, you could get the same quality of food and better service in the main dining room (which is free). The service in the specialty restaurants was lacking.
As for the activities. I thought they made everything a lot of fun. If you like Martini's the "Martini Tasting" is a great value! For only $15 you can try 4 Martinis. You Martini lovers know that this is a good deal. Also, they make it a lot of fun and it's a new way to sample something you may not have had (beware, these are full sized martini's... not really "samples"). I loved Karaoke and I loved Brooke who was the cruise staff member running most of the Karaoke events. I highly recommend Karaoke even if you are only watching, because when they call the names of the participants they tell you where they are from and it's a great way to meet people from you area. We made quite a few friends this way.
The shows were the best that I've ever seen on a cruise! It was a great mix of comedy, variety, Vegas style, magic and some sensational acrobatics!!! WOW! I really loved all of the shows. GET THERE EARLY! The seats go fast!!!
Finally, the weather... on embarkation day it was cold but they made it so much fun! Seeing the city sky line and the Statue of Liberty was AWESOME! By the afternoon of the first day at see you could sit by the pool with a light sweater. By the second day at sea you could go swimming! All of the islands were very warm (and SUNNY). The second to last day at sea (on the way home) was surprisingly warm. The last day at sea was COLD (Boooooo). Overall, the weather was great!