First-Time Cruiser with family- Had a GREAT vacation!: Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by TravelJunkie86
Overall Member Rating
First-Time Cruiser with family- Had a GREAT vacation!
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Embarkation- We arrived at the port at 11:45am and it took about 30 minutes to get on the boat. We immediately went to Tsar's for lunch and noticed that it was pretty empty. I assume everyone went to the buffet instead which was perfectly fine since it allowed us to have a quiet and relaxing lunch. By 2pm, our rooms were ready and we dropped off our purses and toured the ship.
Stateroom- My sisters and I shared an inside stateroom on deck 9 mid-ship. The room was a decent size and there were never any problems with noise. The housekeeping staff cleaned the room twice a day which was great! We got an inside stateroom because we assumed More we would be spending most the day outside which was true. However if I had to choose next time, I would go with a balcony cabin simply because I missed natural light during the week!
Food: We mostly ate at the Garden Buffet due to convenience and selection. The food wasn't bad but I got bored of it by the 4th day. We never had issues finding a table for 5 but we also tend to eat early every meal. I have to give a shout out to the "washy-washy" ladies who greeted us with smiles and songs everyday. Who knew hand-sanitizing could be fun? We ate at both Tsar's and Azura which serves the same menu but we preferred Azura due to the contemporary feeling of the restaurant.
We tried 2 specialty restaurants- Le Bistro and Teppanyaki as recommended by many CC reviewers. We LOVED Le Bistro. To be honest, I think I had better French food at Le Bistro than when I went to Paris! We all devoured our food and it still remains to be the best meal I had on the ship. Teppanyaki was also fantastic and our chef put on a great show for us. I even caught an egg in my mouth! Both specialty restaurants were great and I highly recommend that you make a reservation for both restaurants when you board the ship.
Ports: We headed over to Cocoa Beach in Port Canaveral. We took the shuttle for $15.99 round trip per person. It wasn't the most amazing beach but it gave us something to do outside the ship. The Great Stirrup Cay was even more beautiful than I expected. As a New Yorker, I don't get to see clear blue water at the beach so I was stunned at how clear the water was. They are obviously still renovating the island but the construction sites didn't affect my experience at all. We rented a clamshell for my parents but they complained that it got a little hot underneath after a while. As for Nassau, Bahamas, we bought shore excursion tickets to Atlantis Aquaventure which gave us access to their waterparks and aquarium. The resort is absolutely beautiful and well-kept. Even my parents tried the waterslides and thought they were fun.
Entertainment: We went to ALL the shows during our stay on the ship. Jean Pierre the comedic magician performed 3 out of the 7 shows. He was really funny and is entertaining to both adults and kids. His shows were always packed which speaks volumes about the audience he can pull in every night. My personal favorite was the Duo Artmotion with features a couple doing "Cirque De Soleil" type moves. One show I didn't enjoy was the Steven Scott comedy show. Yes he has the ability to make instrument sounds but that's as good as it gets. The Cirque Bijou show was great! Make sure you arrive early for seats since it will be packed and the best view are seats in the mid-section area.
Overall: Everyone who worked on the ship was extremely friendly and helpful. The housekeeping staff was very accommodating and always had smiles on their faces. I saw many of the Directors and even Captain Lars walking around the ship saying hi to people. Before the trip, I thought there would be a ton of kids and older folks but that wasn't the case at all. There were a good amount of 20-30 year olds as well. I don't have a ton of experiences with cruising but judging from this first one with Norwegian, I would love to go on another one in the near future. Norwegian is a great cruise line and the service is impeccable. Less