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Sail Date: September 2008
We were very please with our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We traveled with our parents, another couple and most importantly our two year old. I was very please that the ship was a younger crowd and one that would not mind a toddler ... Read More
We were very please with our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We traveled with our parents, another couple and most importantly our two year old. I was very please that the ship was a younger crowd and one that would not mind a toddler rubbing shoulder (ankles) with them. We stayed in the 3 bedroom Garden Villa and were treated very well. The embarkation process was extremely smooth as there was priority embarkation and debarkation with the suite. This is the only way to do it with kids. The service was also very top notch, especially for the price of the cruise and the crew/passenger ratio. The dining set up was also very conducive to having our son on board along with the fact that we are very non committal when it comes to when and where we have to be. The itinerary of the ship was fantastic and threw in a couple of days at sea which are needed when you really want to relax. We did not do any of the shore excursion through the ship. The atmosphere on the ship was fun and lively and service matched that. I would definitely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was to be a trip of a lifetime, it was not our first cruise and our second on NCL this year. Weather in Boston delayed our flight into Logan and long story short we missed flight to Barcelona and had to fly into Nice the next day. Due ... Read More
This was to be a trip of a lifetime, it was not our first cruise and our second on NCL this year. Weather in Boston delayed our flight into Logan and long story short we missed flight to Barcelona and had to fly into Nice the next day. Due to our travel agency booking us as part of a group it made contacting NCL very hard as they would not speak to us directly and travel company had closed for the day. I am not pleased that internet agencies are booking people as part of group without our knowledge. The itinerary was to be Nice, Pisa, Rome, Corsica, Mallorca, Madiera , Gibralter with 5 days at Sea. This was changed due to a problem with the ship that was known to NCL all season long, Corsica,Mallorca & Gibralter were all shortened to 4 hours and Madeira was completely canceled. Making our time at Sea 8 long days. We arrived at Nice after the excursions had left so we missed our trip to Monaco, check in went well except the shore security was sending our luggage onto a Royal Caribbean Ship luckily my husband caught that. Front desk staff was lovely and we were shown to our cabin ,a balcony #10124 mid hall between the elevators very quite. We were exhausted and missed Monaco all together I had already been but not my husband. We had lunch on outer deck ,great outdoors by the pool, was fine burgers etc. Bought my soda card and watched Nice slide away as we sailed from port. I had had a fall in Boston and my knees and legs were in a great deal of pain and swollen. So I rested and we were in no shape to take excursion the next day as it had lot's of walking. I explained problem to excursion staff and they allowed us to get a refund as I was ill and trip included a great deal of walking. Took a private cab tour of pisa very nice 120.00 Euros for the two of us. Excursions were very high priced we were better just hiring a cab in most ports. Took Rome A Baroque City and it was terrible,our guide was not very good and by the time we got to the Vatican , there was rebellion. She just dropped us in line and told us to be at the bus in 45 minutes. There was no way we could even get thru the line at this point and we stayed and went in any way. Turns out all other tours guide stayed with them and took them into the building she just didn't want to. This tour was 159.00 a person and not worth it. Food on ship was susstandard and dysentery broke out, as did a respiratory infection and many were confined to their cabins. Main restaurants were terrible at best, Buffet was ok and variety was good, however people forget their manners and were touching food and then putting it back . Really gross, staff didn't seem to pay attention. Specialty restaurants were offering two for one but after 9pm only, we ate in Cagney's three times as it was the only good food on board. The Bistro was very bad, we have eaten in the Bistro on the Majesty and it was very good. Blue Lagoon had the best buffalo wings we have ever had, desserts were not very good. Chocolate buffet was same so-so desserts they serve all cruise long, chocolate sculptures were melting as buffet area got so hot. The shows we good and bad, Second City was funny as were David Merry and Lenny Windsor. Musically shows were good with the exception of the Original Drifters, there were no members of the Drifters in this group the only member of the Drifters that was in this group died in July and he had only been a Drifter for a few months in the 50's before the group had all the hits.They sang and were off key much of the time and constantly asked us to applaud them and there efforts. There was a second show we passed on it later in the cruise. The cruise director and her department failed us miserably on this cruise. We would have thought that since there was such a long time at Sea there would have been extra effort to keep us amused. There was not, they were constantly trying to sell us into the Spa,Casino or over priced Bingo. No BBQ's at the pool, no real daytime activities at all.All activities were informal which meant they dropped off boxed games and decks of cards in rooms and left. On another note the cruise directors wardrobe was completely overboard, she has a lovely figure but her nighttime clothes were way over the top and too tight. Her wardrobe was very revealing and sometimes my husband was embarrassed by it.  He wanted to cover her with a robe. The staff on most the most part was fine not very helpful but were constantly selling , selling , selling. Many bar waiters circulating the buffet trying to sell drinks. I felt on this cruise the soda card was a waist, too expensive 129.00, would not purchase it again on a long cruise. The respiratory infection circulating on the ship had many people sneezing, coughing and running fevers. I succumbed to a fever of 40 Celsius, which I didn;t know was 104 until I got home and did the math. It was about 250.00 for the ship's doctor and meds. Even with such a high fever I was not confined to my cabin, that would have required the outbreak to be reported to the CDC. The passengers on the ship were a mix of older people and only 3 little kids. By the end of the cruise the attitude was thank goodness it's over, most people we spoke with would never sail on NCL again and even as a Silver Lattitudes member ,I have to say it may have ended our run with them too. We sailed thru NOEL and had 12+ foot waves, level 7 winds which is near gale force. Lost ports and were only given a 100.00 shipboard credit nothing else.The shortening of the other ports to 4 hours was not worth it as so many people trying to get off ship took over an hour just to get off. At checkout many people were having the mandatory service charge removed as the service was poor in most areas. I think NCL owes the people on this cruise an apology Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was our second time on the Norwegian Jewel. The first time was in September, 2007 and was an ok trip. Since we wanted to do a transatlantic crossing from Europe to America and wanted to visit Funchal Madeira Portugal we decided to ... Read More
This was our second time on the Norwegian Jewel. The first time was in September, 2007 and was an ok trip. Since we wanted to do a transatlantic crossing from Europe to America and wanted to visit Funchal Madeira Portugal we decided to give the Jewel another chance. BIG MISTAKE. Upon checking in we find that Funchal Madeira, Portugal had been taken off the itinerary. They said that it was due to an engine problem that had occurred in the last few days. That was a blatant lie since I had been reading about the problem on Cruise Critic Roll Call for week. However, NCL said that it would not effect any itineraries. I have since found out that some friends went on this ship in July, 2007 and that they were told of the engine problem at that time. We were given $100 onboard credit (we were in a mini suite on deck 11). This is the same amount given to people who booked an inside cabin on deck 5. At the first port we bought a bottle of wine at a local store. Upon returning to the ship the bottle was taken away from us. When we protested they said that if we paid a $15 corking fee we could have it back. Isn't that extortion? The food was terrible. Never had a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, cherries jubilee or Baked Alaska. I can get better food at a local diner in my hometown. A few waiters seemed interested in making the dining experience pleasant most seemed to just be doing a job that they disliked. The free style dining is a little misleading. You don't eat when you want you eat when they have room in the dining room. There was as much as an hour wait. Give me assigned dining anytime. We are Silver Latitudes members and did not get an invitation to the Captains's cocktail party. The only time that an (optional)formal night was mentioned was for a photo op with the captain. We docked so far from the towns that we had to take shuttles. Both times we had to pay to ride the shuttles. One time it was $8.00. They said that due to limited space you must purchase you tickets the day before we got to port. When some friends tried to purchase tickets the night before they were told that they were sold out, however the next morning we watched the crew selling tickets at the door of the bus while people in line with pre purchased tickets were ignored and not able to get on the bus. Return to ship via these shuttles was pure chaos. We watched some of the crew arguing with each other in from of the passengers. One night after the show the cruise director announced that all tours the next day would be leaving from the theater. Our tickets clearly stated that we were to meet on the pier. The next morning we went to the theater as she instructed when someone with the tour staff asked us why we were there. When we told her she said that we needed to get to the pier pronto. She told us that the cruise director did not have the authority to speak for the tour dept. We should not be involved in inter departmental spats and power struggles. I would like to say that our room steward was very good at his job and was very helpful and one of the few bright spots for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
We were on the sailing out of Barcelona on 2nd September to Istanbul. Boarding was a breeze, we had been in Barcelona for 5 nights prior so organized a taxi from our hotel to pick our group of 8 up at 1.30pm and within 15 minutes we were ... Read More
We were on the sailing out of Barcelona on 2nd September to Istanbul. Boarding was a breeze, we had been in Barcelona for 5 nights prior so organized a taxi from our hotel to pick our group of 8 up at 1.30pm and within 15 minutes we were at the docks, 20 minutes later we were on board! Our bags were down in our cabin within the next 20 minutes, our room stewards had introduced themselves and we were unpacked and ready to explore. THis review is mine and my partners comments only, not the whole group we were with. The ship was very clean and bright with staff everywhere welcoming us. This is how we found the ship and staff for the duration of our cruise. Eating: I LOVE freestyle and the fact you don't have to dress up if you don't want to, for me personally, that is what a holiday is about. We ate at the Garden Cafe and the Great Outdoors Cafe for the entire cruise with the exception of one night when we went to Cagneys Steak House. It was very nice for a change but the food at the other two places was exceptional and we were very happy to eat there. I don't believe that people can complain about the food! Cabin: Lovely cabin with balcony and I would definitely pay the extra for this level of cabin again, it was worth every penny. Deck 10 was a good location, no noise and handy to everything. The only grizzle I would have about this is that our group booked together through a travel agency and when we were allocated cabins, three were in a row and then there was another group in between us and the last couple, why? I don't know. Activities: We did not partake in many onboard activities, I played Bingo one day and thought it was a rip off so didn't return. Enjoyed 1 show in particular the Circ ? and went to another couple which filled in a pleasant hour in the evening. I Went to the library and swapped a couple of books I had read in their swap a book cabinet which is a great idea. We enjoyed the casino on more than one occasion and had fun trying to win! Bars: We mainly used the outside bars on Deck 13 or the Spinnaker Lounge which had fantastic views, we also used room service often and sat on our balconies while enjoying a drink along with a late afternoon snack from the Great Outdoors. Shore Excursions: After reading previous write ups I hired Romeinlimo for both the Rome and Naples stops and would recommend them to anyone. They were fantastic, professional, fun people and well worth the money. Possibly slightly cheaper than the boat tour and it's far easier to get around in an 8 seater van (airconditioned) than a bus. The drivers will do anything you want to and take you on your own itinerary if requested. The extra we paid to get a guide at The Vatican was worth every Euro, she was fantastic, all organized by Romeinlimo. Rome was a breeze with them, no queuing at any of the landmarks we visited, dropped off right at entrances to places and driver always waiting (with the air con on) when we returned. Naples was great too, driver waiting to pick us up as soon as we disembarked, straight to Pompei, ahead of all the bus tours and no queuing, on to Sorrento and then Positano before heading back to the boat, a fantastic day. The other nice thing about Romeinlimo is they didn't go to "their brother/father/uncles" shop to try and get you to buy things. Venice we did by ourselves, really easy to walk around and plenty of time with an overnight stay and another 1/2 day on shore if you wanted to go back. An easy place to get lost in but that's half the fun. Dubrovnik: Probably our favorite Port. It was beautiful, walked around by ourselves and walked around the town wall which is a must do. Would have liked more time at this port. Athens: Hired a taxi from the Port, were (over)charged?, I think we paid about 50 Euro each and we probably could have done better. We were taken on unscheduled stops to the brother/father/uncle shops and an overpriced dodgy restaurant where the service was shocking (but the location was fantastic) Drivers could not (or did not want to) speak very good English so spent their time on their cellphones talking to who knows who. Consequently no other sights were pointed out apart from the most common tourist attractions but we did get taken to the changing of the guard at Parliament House which was worth the 50 euro in itself for the spectacle. All in all, I'd just suggest you shop around as there were plenty of options portside and we possibly shouldn't have taken the 1st one we were offered BUT we did get to see all the major attractions so I don't regret it at all. Izmir: Loved this Port too. The Port itself is a lovely clean place with lots of information to get your bearings and choose what you would like to do. Just before you leave the gates outside there is a billboard set up with prices to the major/main attractions and plenty of taxis waiting. We decided to go it alone and walked outside and haggled our own price of 60 euro to go to Ephesus and HOuse of the Virgin Mary and then the Market on the way home. Driver didn't speak a word of English and we don't speak Turkish so it was very interesting but he was lovely and went out of his way to do all he could so we enjoyed our day enormously. We never did get to the market as we decided to do some shopping at Ephesus and then call in to a leather shop on the way home. THere was a bit of a panic toward the end when we didn't see any landmarks we recognized near the wharf and we were due to be on board in 1 1/2 hours but we underestimated our man and we were deposited safely with 1 hour to spare and an exhilarating day to talk about. Ephesus would be my favorite ruins (and believe me, we saw lots of ruins!) Istanbul: Last stop and one day on shore before disembarking. As we were staying an extra 4 nights we were in no hurry to do anything in particular here so just wandered until we found ourselves at the Egyptian Market which led to the Grand Bazaar where we spent the day being pursued by shop keepers! A fantastic experience,just go with the right attitude! I never once felt threatened in any way in Turkey, they just do business differently there and it's great fun. Would I cruise again? Not sure, my partner, definitely would. This was a very busy schedule and if we went again I think I would choose something a bit more laid back with less interesting Ports of Call. WOuld I change anything? Not on your life, we had a fantastic time and i wouldn't have missed it for the world. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I devoured Cruise Critic write up's for months before coming on the cruise and it helped enormously with the tours we chose and the what to see at the Ports we called at. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Background information: This was my seventh cruise, third one with norwegian cruise lines. I cruised with my husband, mom and dad, and my sister and her fiance. Embarkation: We flew from Boston to NYC, NYC to Paris, and then Paris to ... Read More
Background information: This was my seventh cruise, third one with norwegian cruise lines. I cruised with my husband, mom and dad, and my sister and her fiance. Embarkation: We flew from Boston to NYC, NYC to Paris, and then Paris to Barcelona on Air France. No problems with any of flights, however, we were exhausted since we flew overnight and there was a six hour time difference. We finally arrived in Barcelona with no sleep at around 12 pm. We took the local taxi to the pier which cost about 25-30 euros.They also charge a baggage fee. Be careful they do try to rip you off. We were on the boat by 1 and put our small bags in our room. You might want to put a bathing suit and tanning lotion in a small bag because the bags don't come to your room to much later. We then went to the Garden Buffet for lunch. Reviews in food section. The Boat: I thought the boat was nice. We traveled on the Dawn last summer and felt that the Dawn was slightly nicer. I like the glass elevator on the Dawn and the Jewel did not have a really great entrance. Other than that, the boat was nice, not the best, but good. I liked the idea of all the bars( such as champagne bar, martini bar, etc) all in one location. It was nice to sit here and listen to the piano after dinner. The pool area is very crowded but I expected this. We were never able to get 6 seats next to each other since by 10 am, all the chairs were already "reserved" with towels. Norwegian needs to make a better system for this. People leave towels for hours at a time. They did have 2 pools and 2 hot tubs although a lot of kids younger than 13 used the hot tubs without adult supervision. Entertainment: The entertainment on Norwegian is some of the best. Due to the very long days, we only went to 2 shows but both were fantastic. We wen to the Jean Ryan company performance and Cirque Birjoe( not to be missed). My husband and parents also went to see a magician named Sean that they loved. At night, there was a lot to do around the boat. They usually had a band playing in the Spinnaker Lounge and lots of other entertainment around the ship. We usually went to the show and then to the casino and called it a relatively early night since we were so tired. Excursions: The ports were the absolute highlight of my trip. Everyday we had an incredible time. We did 2 excursions by the boat and the remaining days we used ROMEINLIMO( more information to follow). In Messina, we did the Taormina and Sicilian Vineyard excursion. We went to Taormina and had beautiful views of Mt. Edna and saw the Roman theater. We then went to a beautiful vineyard and had incredible wines, that we bought, and a home cooked italian feast. It was so much fun. The next excursion we did via the boat was Monaco and Nice highlights. This tour was really worth it as we saw things that I don't think we would have been able to see on our own. The trip went to Monte Carlo. Nice and Monte Carlo are beautiful and not to be missed. The BEST part of our trip was using a company called ROMEINLIMO( www.romeinlimo.com). We had the best driver named CARLO. We used him on Wednesday to Naples, thursday to Rome, and friday to Florence. He had everything planned out for us including all the prearranged tours to Pompeii,Vatican, David,etc. If we wanted to do something else, he was very accommodating. For lunch he took us to some of the best places that were reasonably priced. Truly was the best way to see the ports in the limited amount of time we had. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Food: The food on the Jewel I thought was very good to excellent. The garden buffet was okay for lunch the first and last day. Nothing to special but they did have variety. We ate breakfast most days in the dining hall before our excursions began. Breakfast was always good. For dinner, we ate in 2 of the speciality restaurants-Le Bistro and Chin Chin. Both meals were great although I did miss the chocolate fondue at Le Bistro. The main dining hall food for dinner was mostly excellent. Disembarkation: Big problems here but not the cruise fault. Another passenger mistook our baggage for their baggage so i was missing a huge suitcase at the end. Luckily, we and the other family were staying in Barcelona so we got it back later on in the night. Disembarkation overall was very easy. Barcelona: We stayed for four nights at Hotel Jazz in Barcelona. Incredible hotel and city. Loved Barcelona and hotel jazz. Highly recommend Salamanca for dinner in Barcelona. If you are a seafood fan, you will love all the food. Please feel free to email me with any questions.My email is dentistmel@hotmail.com HAVE FUN!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
We are a married couple who have been on 15 previous cruises the seven last years, and this was our 3rd cruise with NCL. We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, and we have never had a smoother and faster embarkation than on this ship. ... Read More
We are a married couple who have been on 15 previous cruises the seven last years, and this was our 3rd cruise with NCL. We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, and we have never had a smoother and faster embarkation than on this ship. Upon arriving at the port, embarkation took only about 30 minutes until we were on the ship. It was also the best disembarkation ever, no hustle at all to leave your cabin at a fixed time, and no problem having room service breakfast, and it was also delivered on the requested time. Luckily we did not trust the warning given on board during the cruise, that it would only be a limited number of taxis available at the port with arrival, and that we therefore were advised to buy shuttle bus tickets to Barcelona Airport. From our color tag was announced about 8 am for disembarkation of the ship, and afterwards picking up our luggage at the terminal, the whole process took only about 35 minutes from we left our stateroom on deck nine, to we said goodbye to our taxidriver at Terminal B at the Airport. When disembarkation from Voyager of the Seas this May, also from Barcelona, we bought a shuttle bus transfer on board to the airport. This was with much more hustle than picking up a taxi on our own. Much faster was it also to take a taxi. Norwegian Jewel is a very nice ship. Our balcony cabin was nice and clean, and it was very well taken care of by our two nice cabin attendants from the Philippines. Comments about some of the restaurants and cafes on board: The Garden Cafe on the Jewel is redesigned compared to the Garden Cafes on board the NCL ship's Dawn and Star. On the last mentioned two ships, we found the Garden Cafes to be a very canteen look a like. On the Jewel it is placed separate food stations for different menu selections on the floor, which is a great improvement. We are however not a great fan of the Garden Cafe, it is still noisy and crowded. On the other hand we really loved the Ship's Great Outdoor Cafe. Coming from a place with long winters, we mostly loved to sit out in the open to eat lunch and breakfast. Fortunately the weather was warm and sunny during our whole cruise. The buffet menu at the Great Outdoors was limited, but it was easy to pick up more menu selections on the nearby Garden Cafe. We found the quality of the buffet food to be quite alright and with a lot of selections - not outstanding in the gourmet sense - but acceptable nonetheless. With the the exception of two, we had all our other dinners in one of the two the main restaurants, Tsar's Palace. There are two main restaurants on board with waiter service - Tsar's Palace and Azura (same menu). On this cruise we were unfortunately very disappointed with the menu selections for the main courses for dinner at Tsar's Palace and Azura. The choices were limited, and for instance if you are a fan of fish- and seafood, we only found for two days during the cruise that they had a seafood-/fish dish on the menu. The limited dishes offered was however mostly tasteful and with a nice presentation. The reason for the limited menu selections is of course that NCL wish to push their passengers to use the cover charge restaurants. We had two dinners in the cover charge restaurant Le Bistro. We find the food to be of a high quality and with a nice presentation. However, we were disappointed that they no longer had Filet Mignon on the standard cover charge menu to $15. Instead they could now offer a Chateaubriand on the special menu, for $10 in addition to the cover charge of $15. Strange enough, we also found the waiters in Le Bistro to be a bit more in a hurry, than we for instance experienced in Tsar's Palace. Except for one waiter, we were very satisfied with the waiter service in Tsar's Palace, both for dinner and breakfast. We were also very satisfied with the service from the wine stewards (yes, they have wine stewards in Tsar's Palace). The head waiters in Tsar's Palace were also attentive. Compared to the Dawn and Star, Jewel's Italian Restaurant is no longer a part of the Garden Cafe, but has its own interior, except for a few table at the Great Outdoors (not everyone was happy with the last point). A nice touch, we had no trouble at all getting a table for two for all our meals, not in anyone of the restaurants we visited on board. Some comments about the pools and the Jacuzzi on Pool deck: After our opinion, the Jewel has a lot of offers to kids concerning water activities, and though we are not travelling with children, we support that. There is a little kid's pool, with a Jacuzzis for the parents/parents with children. The children's/ youngsters pool are at the same size as the only adults pool. In addition they have two jacuzzier and also a waterslide, besides the pool. Nearby the children's/youngsters pool is the adult's only pool. Unfortunately, still with all this offers for water activities, the children's/youngsters are also using the adult's only Pool, and the two Jacuzzis for adults. We were very disappointed with that, and there were only a few times that the Pool/Deck staff prevented other than adults to use the Pool/Jacuzzis. We have seen much better Pool/Deck staff on other cruise lines. This is a huge lack of supervision/management. We think NCL does a good job with bands playing on Pool deck. However, we think the bands should rotate more. Most of the time there was a reggae band playing, and after a few days we had preferred another repertoire. This was a cruise in the Med. and not in the Caribbean! The itinerary: We are very found of the itinerary in the Western Mediterranean. We have only one complaint, it was all to short a stay in Villefranche on the Côte d'Azur. The last tender was already leaving Villefranche at 2.15 pm. The entertainment: We found most of the entertainment on board to be of a good quality. Conclusion: We really like the freestyle cruising concept, and we also find most of the crew to be very service minded. But as you will understand reading this review, my wife and myself find both positive and negative thinks on our cruise with the Norwegian Jewel in the beginning of August. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
We were a party of a late-50's couple with an adult daughter. We had no problems in Barcelona, coming from Germany where we had spent the night with friends. Getting onto the ship was a breeze. Our bags were delivered promptly. Our ... Read More
We were a party of a late-50's couple with an adult daughter. We had no problems in Barcelona, coming from Germany where we had spent the night with friends. Getting onto the ship was a breeze. Our bags were delivered promptly. Our mini-suite was tight for moving around, but with plenty of storage. For three adults, the mini-suite, with balcony, was a plus. The bathroom was quite nice. Service to our room was fine. They kept us well-supplied with fruit and ice. We made the mistake of booking in August when many other nationalities were on holiday. There were tons of children running around, crashing into us, and not able/willing to read the signs in English about no children under 12 in the hot tubs, or in the adult pool. We were able to use the adult pool once. Complaints to the attendant helped minimally. He explained to us that most of the people on the ship did not speak or read English. Cultural differences were obvious in dress, smoking and demeanor. Other than that, we enjoyed the pool decks very much. We discovered Tsar's Palace early in the cruise and ate there every night. The dishes were well-prepared and interesting enough. Wine choices were what we were used to. Service was excellent. Families with children were well dressed (resort wear), and well behaved. Eating in the buffet area was very much like being in the pool area - children careened around like crazy! But it was very close to our stateroom and we enjoyed the convenience for quick breakfasts and snacks, and drinks. We appreciated the "free" tea, coffee and tap water. Another note about room choice: We were on the 11th. level, mid-ship. Excellent choice, being very close to the elevators, stairs, restaurants and pools. About the excursions: We were very pleased with the guides and transportation. There is no way we could have seen so much, in so little time, on our own. We recommend the Naples/Pompeii trip and the Taste of Florence. Don't buy gold jewelry from the stores recommended by the ship without comparison shopping. Listen to your guides - they know what they are talking about. The prices for the trips seemed reasonable. Note that the all-day trips are grueling even for people in great shape, as we all are. Several people complained, but they probably had not read up on how much walking and climbing was included. The weather was perfect, but very warm in Rome. The guides kept us in the shade as much as possible. Nice. The shows were enjoyable and it was nice to have something to do after dinner. We enjoyed the live bands around the pool deck. Disembarking was a breeze, too. We chose to carry off our own luggage, secure our own taxi, and it took no time at all. Having a late-afternoon flight out of Barcelona back to Germany, we went into the city of Barcelona and enjoyed a walking tour on our own. There were tons of people rolling their bags, too, so having our luggage with us was no problem. I cannot reiterate enough - pack light!! You won't need much. All in all, our family had a fabulous time! We expected to use patience with others and it helped! We expected to spend a lot of money and that helped, too. We expected good value for our money and we got it. We would highly recommend this ship and trip to others. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
My husband and I recently returned from a 1 week cruise on the Norwegian Jewel which we took to celebrate my 50th birthday. We had previously enjoyed two cruises on Celebrity ships. I am writing this review, in part, to alert others to the ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from a 1 week cruise on the Norwegian Jewel which we took to celebrate my 50th birthday. We had previously enjoyed two cruises on Celebrity ships. I am writing this review, in part, to alert others to the differences between the two lines. We left home a day early in order to have a night in Barcelona to explore. I would wholeheartedly endorse this ! Even though we lost some sleep, we did have a bus tour of Barcelona and some time to stroll. The city bus tours are great, but the tape and ear piece method of delivering the spoken parts of the tour were difficult to follow and hear. You have to be careful in Barcelona because there are apparently a number of pickpockets. We did not have any negative experiences. We stayed at the Tryp Apolo Hotel as provided by the cruise line. It was fine-not 5 star but great for one night. Buffet breakfast was very good and included in the price. Embarkation was very smooth and no wait. Our suitcases arrived very quickly. The ship is quite new and in great condition. This is where our comparisons to Celebrity really began. The room was nice, but not as nice as Celebrity rooms. The colors are a bit loud and the pillows were not comfortable. The room steward introduced himself and we rarely saw him again. I realize that this is deliberate but a couple of times I wanted to ask for things and the notes I left in the room were ignored. I think the practice of not directly tipping negatively affects room stewards, waiters,etc. I was spoken to rudely a couple of times on the ship. I don't think this would happen on Celebrity where tipping is personal. Pools and sports areas were well used because there were a lot of children on board. I am not used to seeing ships with so many kids, but since I don't use the pools, it did not matter. The kids were a bit noisy, but it did not bother us. Food is another area where NCL compares poorly. First of all, Freestyle Dining is anything but freestyle. Passengers in suites could book the whole week, but the rest of us could only book two days in advance. Much of one's time is spent scheduling meals. Since the show times are only published the day before, it is difficult to know when a good restaurant time is. Most of the time it was a scramble to get into an alternative restaurant. And an alternative restaurant is what we were after since the food in the regular restaurants was very ordinary. I don't think we should have had to pay extra on an already expensive vacation to get great food. All food on the Celebrity cruises was very good. The chocolate buffet was particularly disappointing. I had anticipated it for months and it consisted of some recycled choc statues and some ordinary cakes and breads. On a more positive note, shore excursions were a highlight. We took mostly ship organized trips and they were well organized, punctual,and interesting. We did not see many ways to take private taxis the way you can do it in the Caribbean. The itinerary on this cruise makes it very busy if one wants to see as much as possible. We are in our 50's and although we found it tiring, I would recommend seeing as much as you can because there is so much great scenery. Entertainment was very good with the usual variety of singers, dancers, magicians and comedians. The theatre was not as nice as that on Celebrity where there are little drink tables. I would agree with other reviewers about the practice of "nickel and diming" passengers. There were so many little ways in which passengers were asked for more money, such as being sold water at meals. I would rather have paid $100 more for the cruise and have water included. Disembarkation was smooth and uneventful. On the whole, I found that the NCL cruise fell far short of what I expected. I chose the cruise because Celebrity did not offer the same itinerary. I won't make that mistake again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
First, let me start by saying that you should not fly Iberia to get to Barcelona. I flew from Dulles/Madrid/Barcelona, and I am still waiting for my luggage 72 hours later; unfortunately, I found out to my dismay, after the cruise, that ... Read More
First, let me start by saying that you should not fly Iberia to get to Barcelona. I flew from Dulles/Madrid/Barcelona, and I am still waiting for my luggage 72 hours later; unfortunately, I found out to my dismay, after the cruise, that Iberia loses 17 pieces of luggage for every 1000 passengers. Now, onto the cruise. We embarked in Barcelona, 2 passengers in our 30s, with little trouble. Prior to embarkation, we did have to wait for the pre-arranged NCL bus that waited nearly 45 minutes to fill before we could leave from the airport. If we were to do it again, we would take a cab from and to the port; it would have been around the same price (if not cheaper), and easier than waiting for buses to fill up. Upon arriving at the port, embarkation took only 20 minutes until we were on the ship. Luggage, however, arrived much later to our room, with NCL replying that they had til 7:00PM to deliver it. Since this was our first cruise, we really have nothing to compare it to. The short summary is that the food was poor, the "freestyle" dining wasn't, the shore excursions were excellent, and we felt as the week progressed, service seemed to decrease as our bill increased. As the shore excursions were our favorite part of the cruise, and as the cruiser is given the least amount of "real" information about them prior to the cruise, I'll focus on the excursions. Keep in mind we booked all excursions in advance, and we saved about $30 dollars for each excursion by doing so. Taormina & Beach: In the morning, we took a bus to Taormina and briefly toured the town, the highlight of which is visiting the famous Teatro Greco theatre. It was quite amazing to view, but keep in mind, the first part of the tour includes much walking. For the second half of the day, we took the bus to a beach on the Mediterranean sea. The tour includes chairs, umbrellas, changing rooms, and a snack stand. You will need to get towels from the ship and take them with you, however. All in all, a pleasant start of our trip and worth the $79 each for it. Treasures of Naples: We took the tour bus for a brief tour of Naples, including a church and local city area, then took the bus to an authentic Naples' restaurant to make and eat our own wood-fired pizza. The restaurant was okay, the pizza was excellent, but the city of Naples was dirty, graffiti ridden, and felt like the most dangerous of all places visited, although still worth the $79 each we paid for it. I would not tour Naples on your own. Rome and Vatican: A long exhausting day, but one filled with visits to St. Paul's cathedral, the Vatican, and brief stops at the Coliseum, Circus Maximus, a local restaurant, and a brief city tour. The $199 each paid here was still worth the price as our tour guide was knowledgeable, and we got in immediately ahead of people who were waiting hours to get in. Be prepared to be exhausted as this is one of the longest days and much walking is required. Splendor of Florence: Another long exhausting day, but visits to see the "David", the Ponte Vecchio, gold and leather stores, and a walking tour of the city made the $189 tour worth it, along with another good tour guide with walkie-talkie listening devices (as provided in Rome) that made it easier to hear, see, and keep up with our guide. Again, another long walking tour, bear in mind, and you don't get to go to the Ufizzi Gallery on this tour. Also, by now, you will be most accustomed to the guides saying loudly for all to hear, "andiamo" (Let's go!). Highlights of Monaco and Monte Carlo: This tour takes you to Nice, Monaco, and Monte Carlo. It states that it's a brief walking tour, however it's 3 hours of walking. The areas are beautiful, but it's not much to look at other than being amazed at the wealth and opulence seen at Monte Carlo hotels and waterfront areas. Also, be prepared for the poorly working elevators at the Monte Carlo stop that took 30 minutes to get up and into both in and out of the tour area. Overall, I enjoyed the excursions far more than I did my visit on the ship itself. Our cabin was spacious enough, the bathroom for room 5024 is quite tiny, but the larger than port-hole sized window (an upgrade given to us later) made the cabin okay as the 5th floor is close enough to see out into the beautiful Mediterranean as you cruise. Frankly, I would not want to be on the 11th floor, as the Garden Cafe, pools, and children's areas (on the 12th floor) must have been quite loud if you were trying to sleep. One last odd but minor note. If you like soda, you will have to pay $1.75 per can that you have to get from the crew person, or pay $69 for a sticker to drink it all week (again, you will have to obtain the soda from a bar or waitperson). The sticker is not worth it, and I would not pay for it if I were you. In addition, the Garden Cafe had all the same food (except steak) as the sit-down restaurants, and you didn't have to book a time or dress up to get in them. While we may cruise again, with the exception of the itinerary and good shore excursions we experienced, there was nothing about the Jewel, neither the food, entertainment, or lay-out, that would necessarily make us automatically sign up for NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
This was our first experience on cruising and we just loved it. The ship was great and the "freestyle" is definitely our type. Not having to follow strict schedules and dress codes during vacation is very important for us and ... Read More
This was our first experience on cruising and we just loved it. The ship was great and the "freestyle" is definitely our type. Not having to follow strict schedules and dress codes during vacation is very important for us and this was exactly what we got aboard of the Norwegian Jewel. A very relaxed and joyful atmosphere aboard helped us very much to relax and really enjoy our cruise. We booked a mini-suite AG on deck 11. This is what they call a "Guaranteed" (GUAR) which means that NCL will assign the exact cabin for you. You only have the guaranty that you will have the type of cabin you purchased but you don't know the exact location of it in the deck. Therefore, these cabins are less expensive than the "regular" mini-suites but they are exactly the same. Only the location can vary. We were lucky (because we made an earlier reservation) and we got a technically AFT mini-suite which was really almost mid-ship. Good choice! In purchased the NCL transfer from the airport which worked very efficiently and was a very good option. As soon as we arrived a young lady took care of our luggage and guided us to the bus which was going to carry us to the pier. The check-in was smooth and very efficient, although not using the specific desks which were reserved for the suites passengers. We arrived at the airport by 1.30 pm and we were entering the ship at more or less 3.00 pm. Our luggage was delivered at the cabin by 6.30 pm. The cabin was just fantastic! Very spacious, with lots of storage (more than enough for our needs, but I must confess that we do not travel with lots of stuff...). We had two lower beds that were converted to a queen-size bed, a contiguous sitting area with a sofa, a mini desk and a TV set, a very nice private balcony with two chairs and a small table, and a quite luxury bathroom with bathtub/shower, lavatory and with a separate area for the toilet. The mini bar was ok and we also had an electric kettle which could be quite useful for tea. The air conditioning was very efficient and we must really slow it down at night so that we can reach a comfortable temperature for sleeping. We had just one small problem in the first night which consisted on a persistent "little noise" as if someone was tapping a sort of "Morse code" on the wall. You cannot imagine how this can be irritating when trying to sleep! I figured that the origin of this tapping was a sort of friction in one of the decoration panels of the cabin and managed to fix it by introducing a plastic card underneath the frame of the panel... Problem solved, excellent nights from then on! Our stewards (Indra and Mario) were very efficient and did a great job making us always very comfortable. In what concerns the restaurants we just used the buffet (at the Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors) and the main dinning room Azura. We found it both excellent! We felt no need to go to the speciality restaurants and pay an extra charge when we were receiving such a good service and food in the free restaurants. Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors are just fine for breakfast and lunch and Azura is perfect for dinner, with a cosy atmosphere and a more sophisticated menu. The bars and discotheque were excellent. In what concerns the bars we could always choose between 10 different types of ambiance and music, which was very nice. Drinks and beverages are rather expensive, but I believe that this happens with all the cruise lines... The shore excursions (we only used 3) were ok. The debarkation procedures were very well organized, allowing everybody to choose the most convenient moment to get out of the ship between 6.30 am and 9.45 am. Although we were "independent travellers", we asked for the NCL transfer to the airport. This implied that we let them handle our luggage the previous evening which was not very convenient, mostly considering that we had to pick the luggage once again at the pier after the debarkation... After seeing the kind and dimensions of the suitcases that most of the passengers were handling personally in the debarkation day [as if it were last minute luggage] I will never more let NCL pick up my two small trolley suitcases in the evening prior to debarkation day! Anyhow, we let them handle the luggage again between the pier and the airport, which means they took it into a sort of small truck which departed before our transfer. I was a little bit worried about this but with no reason at all. When we arrived at the airport our luggage was already waiting for us at the drop off point. In general terms, we can say that everything was very well organized and the staff was very friendly and efficient. We spend a very pleasant week aboard and we definitely will cruise with NCL again! Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.1

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