This was our second cruise on NCL. When we were booking we decided to spend the slightly higher price for a Forward Penthouse since the cruise was 9 days long and had 4 at sea days. We never regretted it for a minute.
Arrival in New York:
We drove to New York and visited relatives. Getting to the cruise port was easy but the morning of the cruise there was a bicycle race and it caused difficulty for some. My cousin who we visited before the cruise took us to the port so we had an advantage of a driver who was familiar with the streets. We found the express check in for penthouse suites and above great. We were taken to the concierge waiting room and escorted to our room. We enjoyed the treatment this sort of treatment throughout the cruise.
Our Cabin was forward and our balcony just below the bridge facing forward. The cabin gave us a great view entering and leaving each port. The suite was roomy with a table and four chairs along with a desk and sofa. There was a large window and a watertight door to the huge deck where we could sit and relax. .There was no real wind due to the ship design made most of the wind pass above you. We took many pictures on the trip down the Hudson.
The concierge and his assistant were ready to help for anything we asked for and our Cabin Steward and Butler took great care of us. Antonio the butler asked if we would like canapÃ©s each day and we found them each day on our table. The service was excellent for example as a young child I developed a taste for Haribo Gummi bears, I found they were in our mini bar/pantry. My wife and I ate the pack and when the pack was replaced with another brand I asked if there were any of the Haribo bears available. The next thing I knew each day a bowl of Haribo Bears was on our table along with the canapÃ©s and other treats. This sort of service was not asked for but was delivered.
Our cruise was the week after Easter so there were very few children on board even though the Jewel has Nickelodeon cruises. The cruise staff stated there were close to 1000 children the week before.
We ate in most of the specialty restaurants aboard the Jewel. One perk for having a penthouse was we got to have a great breakfast and lunch in Cagney's each day. We had dinner in Cagney's the first night. The dinner at Cagney's was great as was the service. We were given a cake for at the table for our anniversary, after we had already ordered our dessert. The Cake was delivered with the wait staff singing at the table. We ate our dessert but the cake was taken away. When we got back to our room the cake was sitting on the table. This was done without us even asking for it. Our meal at Le Bistro was an excellent also. The only specialty we felt wasn't worth it was the Teppanyaki. We had fun and met some people at the table we talked to most the cruise which was great, but the meal itself was no better than we have where we live but cost as much as we would spend locally so to us it wasn't worth the up charge. We also had three meals in the Tsars Palace dining room. We checked the menu each morning during our breakfast in Cagney's and went to the dining room on the semi formal nights when the menu had prime rib and then Beef Wellington, the third dinner was the dinner with the ships officers we were invited to. The other specialty restaurant we liked was Tango's where we really enjoyed our meal.
The shows were very good Band on the Run was outstanding and Le Cirque Bijou was spectacular with the aerial feats. We enjoyed the newly Wed game show they did in the Spinnaker Lounge it was hilarious. The one real miss was Deal or No Deal which was just a way to try to make money for NCL. For $25 they sold you a games card and you were to use it while each contestant was up on the stage, but the first time you opened it and found your card was a loser, anyone with half a brain knew it was a loser for each additional show since the card would not change. It was a real scam and was the only thing that annoyed me about NCL during the cruise.
On the whole the cruise was well worth the money and we will do it again.