Cruised on the NCL Jewel last week of September 2011. This was our first cruise to Canada/New England, and we had a great time. We love sailing with NCL and this was our first cruise on the Jewel for the Canada New England itinerary.
We flew in to NYC on September 24th, into JFK airport. Found out after booking that NCL does not offer transportation from JFK - should have booked into La Guardia instead. Our plane was one hour late, so we were a little rushed getting to the ship - should have listened to the advise of flying in the day before the cruise. Luckily traffic was very light and our cab made it into the city with plenty of time ($45 flat fare into Manhattan + tolls and tip = $65) Traffic into Cruise terminal was terrible, it took us about 1/2 hour to reach the ship after we got to terminal.
Embarkation was a breeze. We are latitude members having cruised on NCL many times before, so we were escorted to a special line with no waiting! We checked all our luggage at the entrance - should have kept our hand luggage with my husbands medications - so we proceeded to the buffet for a nice lunch while we waited for the staterooms to be ready, which happened at 2:00 pm promptly, EXCEPT of course for the hand luggage that had the meds, which was not delivered to our stateroom until after 5:30 PM!
Leaving New York Harbor is a great experience. We went up to the sun deck on the deck 13 and had a great view of the Harbor, The DJ played patriotic songs, including God Bless America, and of course NEW YORK, NY as we passed by the Statue of Liberty. It was quite beautiful.
The Jewel is a great ship, it is kept immaculately clean. All the common areas are updated and looking great. We found the entertainment to be very varied and having something for every taste. There is a nice small library, a card room, and many areas where you can relax. The Stardust theater is huge and very comfortable. The Spinnaker lounge is fabulous offering panoramic views.
Our cabin was a mini-suite on deck 11 mid ship. The balcony was superb! The cabin was huge, bed was wonderful, and our bathroom even had a full sized tub! We had a fully stocked refrigerator, and a coffee maker. Our room steward was very attentive and made sure our room was made up and turn down service was offered every night.
Food on the Jewel is plentiful and available at any time of day or night. The Buffet offers a variety of foods. We chose to sleep in most mornings and hit the breakfast buffet around 10:30 for brunch. They offer hot and cold choices, and we always took advantage of the made to order omelette stations, where they will cook your eggs to order.
There are many choices for Dinner, but we dined at the Tsar Palace most days. One side of their menu has pretty standard choices that stay the same everyday, and the other side offers choices that change daily, including a daily Chef's special that is usually very good.
On other cruises I have purchased the Soda card since I do not drink alcoholic beverages, but this time I chose the Bottled water special instead, which offered six one-liter bottles of water for $20. Drinks are available throughout the ship, and are paid with your room key depending on what you have, prices range from $5 to $10 depending on what you have, and always include tip.
This itinerary has two days at sea, and stops in Sidney, Halifax, St John, and Portland. I will post reviews of these ports separately.
Disembarkation was very easy for us as we carried out our own luggage, and were able to leave the ship at our leisure. There was a slight delay with Customs, but it cleared up within 15 minutes. We took a yellow cab to our Hotel in Times Square across the pier.
All in all we had a great time on this cruise. We look forward to our next one!