Ship: The Jewel holds 2376 passengers and 1089 crew. I like Norwegian's brightly colored decor on their ships. This is the size ship I prefer to cruise on.
Activities: Since my sister-in-law and I both scrapbook, we enjoyed the craft classes that were offered.
Service: After a bad experience on the NCL Gem at Christmas, I was pleasantly surprised with the attitude and friendliness of the staff.
Stateroom: We had a balcony and its the only way to cruise! Our cabin looked like it could have used some refurbishing, however. The showers on NCL ships are the best. Roomy with lots of hot water. Plenty of storage room, too. On four prior NCL cruises, we found a Mr. Coffee in our cabin. How wonderful to have fresh brewed coffee when you wake up! The Jewel, however, just had a pot to heat hot water. Instant coffee just doesn't make it! You don't automatically get bathrobes anymore. We had to ask for them. No mints on the pillow at night, either. Our More
cabin steward, Marlon, was just wonderful and took very good care of us.
Dining: Well, we only had lobster offered once and on the first night of the cruise which I thought was odd. The food was good with a couple of things outstanding. Be sure to order the crab patty appetizer and the salmon on the alternate menu. Don't look for any shrimp cocktails, they're history. They weren't even offered once. Also, no escargot, either. I think NCL does a good job with their breakfast and lunch buffets and its really nice to have the Blue Lagoon (open 24 hours a day) available. On our dinner menus we told to ask about the regional specialty entree. It was certainly not for the region we were travelling in as it was tacos, burritos, etc. Certainly nothing reflecting Canada or New England.
Entertainment: Absolutely the BEST entertainment on any cruise ship I have been on!!! After our first stop in Sydney, a local group, the Cape Breton Trio, was invited on board to perform a local folklore for us. They were very good. Went to see Kenny Byrd's (ventriloquist) show. I didn't expect much, but was really surprised at how funny it was. The absolute best ever shows were Incanto and Le Cirque Bijou. WOW! The shows featured Alesia and Massimo, who were superb. If you don't care about your itinerary, book this ship for the shows!
Ports: We both liked our tour to Peggy's Cove from Halifax the best, but our other tours were good, too. The only problem with tours, however, is that you never seem to have enough time to explore the area and take pictures. In Halifax, they have a pink bus that is free for sightseeing right from the port.
Disembarkation: We carried off our own bags. I certainly like this better than giving up my luggage the night before. Less
We took the Peggy's Cove tour from Halifax and it was a good pick. The drive to Peggy's Cove was very scenic (a few places to stop for photos would have been nice). Peggy's Cove consists of a small fishing village with some souvenir shops and a beautiful lighthouse. I didn't have enough time here. Even if we had just another half hour would have made a big difference. Perhaps, you could rent a car in Halifax and make the drive yourself.
Another pretty port! Unfortunately it was raining for most of our tour. We went out to Portland Head Light (we saw it from the ship when we were sailing into Portland). Its a very scenic lighthouse on a rocky coast line. Again, I felt rushed here. There was a small gift shop here, but I really didn't get a chance to look around in it. Next, we went to the small village of Kennebunkport. We went to Alisson's for lunch. Be sure to try the lobster bisque (the best I've ever had!). The lobster rolls weren't anything special, however. We had time to do a little shopping in Kennebunkport, but it wasn't much fun in the pouring rain!
We did the Best of Saint John-Top 10 tour. We saw a lot including the reversing river with the tide coming in and later with the tide out. We went to a beautiful beach where we searched for "wishing stones". I found several, but they were confiscated when we boarded the Jewel. The officer did let me make my wish before he took them. So, if you find "wishing stones" here, only keep the small ones and keep them in your pocket when you get back on the ship! There is a small restaurant on the beach, so be sure to try the seafood chowder because it was excellent. We stopped in the small village of St. Martins where there are two covered bridges and a few souvenir shops. Again, I felt rushed here and would have liked just a little more time.