Background we are married and in our mid 40s. We live in Southeast Michigan. We have been on 10 cruises on NCL, 2 on Celebrity and 2 on Carnival. We booked this cruise as a last minute getaway 14 days prior to departure. We used the cruise web site to book the trip.
Getting to Boston due to a bad flight experience going into New Orleans in January my husband prefers not to fly. This means we have started to drive everywhere. Boston is exactly a 12 hour drive from Detroit so we left at 5:00 Am on Friday morning and were in Boston by 5:00 PM that night. We hit bad traffic on the Mass Pike into Boston at rush hour (of course) but we should have planned better. We stayed at the Westin in South Boston (Westin Waterfront) which is by the conference center but absolutely nothing else. I paid $150.00 on Price Line and the hotel web site listed rooms for $269 for that night on their web site. The Westin is very nice and the staff was very helpful. We ended up eating in the hotel pub that night which was fine but pricey.
Saturday Morning we have departed from Boston on a Bermuda cruise so we knew where the pier was, etc. We parked in the temporary drop off location, dropped off our luggage and went to lunch at Yankee Lobster. After lunch we parked in the cruise terminal parking garage and walked over to the terminal. A pleasant surprise to find out it is $16.00/day to park in the cruise terminal (in Detroit you pay $25.00/day at the airport).
Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes and that was with a trainee doing our check in. I have to say it was the easiest embarkation ever.
The rooms were not ready so we walked around the ship and became acquainted. The Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship. I saw no worn carpet, no areas that need an upgrade, nothing. Everything is beautiful and well maintained.
Our Stateroom we were assigned cabin 3557 which is an inside. The cabin had a lot of storage. There is storage behind the mirrors at the vanity and in the bathroom. The cabin also has a small couch which is nice. Often interior cabins do not have couches or anywhere to sit. The bathroom is very small. Everything was clean! The only criticism about the room is that the bed is hard. Also, that crack in the middle of the bed be careful! It makes adult activities that much more interesting.
Food food is subjective and I have read many reviews where people rave about the food on Royal Caribbean. The food was acceptable but I didn't find anything to rave about. It all seemed to be missing salt and pepper. We did eat one night in Chops and the food was good but the onion soup was completely tasteless.
Dining Times being NCL cruisers we signed up for My Time dining thinking that it worked like Free Style. I just spent 7 days on My Time and I still don't understand it! You need a reservation to eat when you want to? I don't know when I am going to be hungry on Tuesday. The waiters were very friendly and service was excellent. I don't know if I would do My Time again. I really just don't see the difference from traditional dining.
Staff Wow are they a friendly group! We never passed one person who didn't say hello. The bartenders seem to remember us and would have my husband's beer waiting. It is great in this service challenged world to spend a week with friendly people who really seem to care that you have a good time on your vacation.
Entertainment Overall it was good. We are not variety show type people but every show seemed to be full. We found one set of comedians, Mario and Daniel, to be offensive. They were telling very racial jokes that we did not think were appropriate. We finally walked out when we couldn't take it anymore.
Itinerary This was a New England/Canada cruise. Boston was 70s and we were worried we wouldn't have enough summer clothes. That changed very quickly. Unfortunately we hit bad weather. It still was a good time but we sure got wet in the ports. The solarium became our favorite spot to go to warm up and dry off.
Day 1 Portland Maine
In Portland we took a bus from the pier that went around the town. The town is very walkable and we did not want to walk around in the rain. We went to the Victoria House which is beautiful. We finished up our day in the Irish Bar on the waterfront.
Day 2 Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is also small and walkable. We did take Oli's Trolley (I think $28.00 pp) and go to Acadia National Park. Although it was wet and on/off foggy we still saw some incredible sites. We ate lunch at the restaurant right on the pier and it was okay, not exceptional.
Day 3 St. Johns, New Brunswick
When you dock in St Johns it appears that you are very far from the town. We paid $10.00 to take the shuttle and we could have easily walked. I wish we had organized a tour for St. Johns. We didn't get to see too much. In the afternoon we went to the Reversing Falls and did the Jet Boat. That was FUN! The guy who runs the boat is crazy and hilarious. Of course we were wet but I would do this again in a minute.
Day 4 Sea Day FINALLY. Just relaxed and had fun!
Day 5 Halifax, Nova Scotia
Wow, Halifax is beautiful. We did the Hop on Hop Off bus through the ship. Good thing because there were 5 ships in port and they were not selling tickets independently. We went to the Citadel and were there when they shot the large gun at noon. Unfortunately it was 42 degrees so looking around was not an option.
In the afternoon we did a pub crawl tour through the ship. It was fun. It is expensive - $84.00 pp but very fun. They have a piper and a band that goes with you and we got to hear some great local music and get to see some fun local spots.
Day 6 Sea Day just more relaxing
Day 7 Time to go home (sad face).
Again, being NCL people we signed up for Express Departure. But they still had you meet in the dining room. I didn't get it but it worked out.
We were off the ship and in our car by 8:45 AM and on our way home to Detroit. 12 hours later home sweet home.
Overall an excellent vacation and one I would not hesitate to recommend to everyone. We are booked in May on Explorer of the Seas and already looking forward to it. If I can answer any questions please let me know.