8 Barcelona to Transatlantic Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

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 October 2007
This was the second sailing on NCL and the first on the Jewel. We left Houston to fly to Barcelona, stayed overnight at the Tryp Apollo hotel, which was very nice and came with a full buffet breakfast. Transfers to the ship was on a ... Read More
This was the second sailing on NCL and the first on the Jewel. We left Houston to fly to Barcelona, stayed overnight at the Tryp Apollo hotel, which was very nice and came with a full buffet breakfast. Transfers to the ship was on a comfortable bus and the luggage went on a truck. Very comfortable. Check in went smoothly and did not take long. Our cabin was in top shape, although very small. The ship is nice, with a promenade deck on deck 7. The public rooms are small. The cabin steward was fantastic. Always clean towels and towel figures every other night and very accommodating if we needed something. The evening entertainment was the best I had ever seen. We have been on 12 previous cruises, and this was, by far, the best. Never wanted to miss a performance. The food was mediocre, to say the least. The wait staff hustled, but the food came out from the kitchens at a snails pace, even in the specialty restaurants. Cagneys steak house restaurant was the best. Mamas was good. Tangos for Tex Mex was ok. Chin Chin was unusual, but if you stuck to the menu items you knew, they were good. Make your reservations for the specialty restaurants as soon as you board, because they do not take walk ins and they book fast for the entire cruise. We didn't get in a few of them. Shore excursions were good. Overpriced, but good. Buses were waiting. If a lunch was provided, it was good. Not much free time because of time constraints. The cruise director and staff were fabulous. Very personable people and always with a smile. We played a lot of Trivia. They had a lot of activities for everyone throughout the days at sea. My husband was tired from going to the front and then back of the ship for all the activities. Bingo was expensive - very expensive. They now have electronic machines for bingo, which almost eliminates the paper bingo from winning. Come with a lot of money if you want to play Bingo. The casino had a good amount of slots starting at a penny. They didn't pay well, but it was fun. Free cocktails were served during certain hours of the day and a daily chance for a free pull to win a cruise was a big hit. the captain was very nice, eager to talk with you and was very personable. The bar service was good, but pricey. The gift shops were very pricey and were located in the back of the ship, with the exception of a small shop on the same floor as the pursers desk. The ship handled very good in rough seas. A small amount of rocking, but not as bad as other ships we've been on. When the cruise was over, debarkation went smoothly and fairly quick. The biggest problem was after you got your luggage and passed through Customs, trying to get on a bus to take you to the airport. We had to wait quite awhile and be pushy along with everyone else to get your bags on the bus and get seated. It was a little disorganized. Overall, the trip was wonderful. The ports were wonderful and the ship and staff were great. The only big disappointed was the food and the time it took to get to the table. Freestyle dining is good in one way. Eat when you want and where you want (as long as you have a reservation). On the other hand, you don't have the same waiter each night which is part of the fun when dining. For the price, it was a good trip. However, if you like to be more pampered, I would suggest another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
By way of background, my wife and I are a retired couple in our 60's, and have sailed on 20 cruises, the majority of them of 14-days or longer duration. We book balcony cabins, and over the years have sailed on Carnival, Royal ... Read More
By way of background, my wife and I are a retired couple in our 60's, and have sailed on 20 cruises, the majority of them of 14-days or longer duration. We book balcony cabins, and over the years have sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity and NCL. This cruise represented our fourth cruise on NCL and our third on the Jewel, the first Jewel cruise being an October 2005 sailing to New England and Eastern Canada shortly after the launching of the Jewel. The 15-day, 10/21/06 sailing of the Jewel from Barcelona to Miami, is the subject of this review, although for us it represented the second leg of back-to-back cruises, the first part being a 12-day cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona originating on 10/9/06. A review of the earlier cruise has been previously posted on this forum. Most of my comments in the earlier review pertain to this sailing as well. Although the ports of this cruise were not as appealing to us as the Istanbul/Barcelona itinerary, we booked it primarily to experience the enjoyment of a longer cruise returning to near our Florida home, and also to enjoy additional Mediterranean ports, and to eliminate the long return flight to the US. In this review I will generally limit my comments to those aspects of this sailing that differed from the first. Our overall impression of NCL and the Jewel was once again favorable, although we found a significant and puzzling change in some aspects of the experience on this sailing. Because this was a repositioning cruise back to the US, the passenger profile changed quite dramatically from the earlier Istanbul/Barcelona cruise. On the earlier cruise, there were about one-half American passengers with the majority of the remainder being Europeans. On this sailing, the passengers were generally older and almost entirely Americans and Canadians. It would appear that this significant change in passenger profile had a dramatic effect on the overall restaurant operations of the ship. Americans tend to eat earlier than Europeans, and on several occasions we found the two main dining rooms swamped before 6:00 in the evening. This never happened on the earlier cruise. Also, there were some large groups on the ship, and on several occasions they almost entirely took over both dining rooms, leaving little space available for those not part of the groups. As a result, not only was it difficult to obtain a table, even at an early hour, but table service bogged down badly, with long delays before ordering and between courses. On several occasions we left the dining room without desert or coffee, simply to avoid another long wait and in order to obtain a seat for the 7:45 show in the theatre. On one occasion we were in the dining room over 1-1/4 hours before being served our entree. The long delays in service seemed to extend to breakfast and lunch in the dining room as well. Often these dining rooms were quite chaotic with high noise levels and harried waiters, to the point where we booked many nights in the specialty restaurants, simply to have a more pleasant and relaxing dining experience. In general, although we enjoy some of the features of Freestyle dining, it simply doesn't seem to work as well as traditional dining when there is a homogeneous passenger profile who all seem to want the same thing at the same time. With this major exception, this sailing was similar that that which was the subject of my earlier review. The crowded conditions extended to the laundry facilities and finally to embarkation which, at least for those of us who disembarked about in the middle of the pack, was the most chaotic I have seen in twenty cruises, although the final confusion in the port facilities seems to be the responsibility of the Port of Miami. Interestingly, I have seen this passenger profile in two transatlantic cruises, making me inclined to avoid these sailings in the future. Overall, it was an enjoyable cruise with interesting ports of call. My comment in the earlier review regarding the lack of interesting onboard activities applies even more to this sailing with the long Atlantic crossing. I will probably sail NCL again, although I must admit my enthusiasm has been tempered somewhat since the wonderful sailing to Canada on the Jewel in October 2005. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
This was our 5th NCL cruise and our friends first.  We flew to Barcelona and spent 2 nights at the Tryp Apollo booked by our agent at a lower rate. The hotel is central and the city has bus tours running every 30 minutes to all the famous ... Read More
This was our 5th NCL cruise and our friends first.  We flew to Barcelona and spent 2 nights at the Tryp Apollo booked by our agent at a lower rate. The hotel is central and the city has bus tours running every 30 minutes to all the famous sites. We did a harbour tour then ate in a small tapas bar close to the hotel. Embarkation was smooth and our luggage arrived quickly. As a new ship the Jewel is beautiful and has corrected some of the other ships problems. The theatre is a true theatre with clear visibility from every corner. The garden cafe has been expanded with stations for different foods reducing lineups.  We preferred the Tsar Palace and met our friends there often. We tried Cagneys, Mamas Chin Chin the Blue Lagoon and the sushi Bar.  We find all of the meals satisfying but do not expect outstanding. My husband is a great cook so we are spoiled.  I have a mobility problem and was very concerned about the shore excursions. I went to the Internet and booked private tours for Florence and Rome for a little more than the ships rates for 4 of us.  It was so successful I would do it again for every port. In Florence we had Thierry who took us every where we wanted to go including the local restaurant he goes to with his wife. Lunch there was 50 euros for 5 of us and was the best pasta we had eaten. John of Top Tours in Rome showed us the city then took us to Monte Mario to a beautiful hilltop restaurant. We enjoyed the ports without tours after that. Our friends took ship tours for every port and saw more than I did but I was satisfied. The weather was a surprise. Being a Canadian I think Nov. Cold .Not in the Mediterranean. It was sunny and warm except one day in Gibraltar where it poured.  Crossing the Atlantic we were swimming and enjoying smooth seas and sunny days. On the ship we found lots to entertain us. One member a golfer attended every golf clinic and felt the teacher Mike Vanye was excellent.  Of the 5 cruises I've been on the cruise director Mike from Cambridge was the best. His down to earth humour and sincerity shone through his interactions with the guests and his team.  The Karaoke contest of the staff was hilarious and the crew show not to be missed especially Fountains. You had to be there. David Naster is always a hit. I find the Jean Ann Ryan shows repetitious but energetic. High praise for the Cirque Bijou. It was great.  I played Blackjack for a week on $20 and ended up with $70.  The dealers were friendly and helpful. Being a large ship there is a lot of walking. I learned to pace myself and plan so that I was not going back and forth. Our cabin steward Boris was a kind efficient employee who took good care of us. This ship has ice cream makers in the garden cafe which were a big hit with this crowd. They started with the cones then moved on to bigger and bigger containers cups glasses and soup bowls. We did the express walk off and arrived at the airport with lots of time to do the endless lines for security. This was a great trip and I highly recommend the NCL Jewel. One of the friends had cruised on other lines but said she was sold on the freestyle dining. My best wishes to anyone looking forward to a cruise. Have fun. Sandy Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
Where should I begin? This was a nice cruise with fantastic ports of call. THE SHIP The Jewel is a very attractive and modern ship...........seemed very long from one end to the other. I always shortened the walk by going on the floors ... Read More
Where should I begin? This was a nice cruise with fantastic ports of call. THE SHIP The Jewel is a very attractive and modern ship...........seemed very long from one end to the other. I always shortened the walk by going on the floors where the action was to distract myself from the amt of walking. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. It was spotless top to bottom. In all the eating areas, there was a new gizmo and a person standing there to see to it that your hands would be cleansed/sterilized. The staff is very congenial always and can't do enough for you. Rooms are decent enough and the bathroom I found to be larger than other ships; in particular the shower stall seemed double size. Mike, the cruise director, although only 28 yo does a very nice job with the cruise. Other staffers are good also. There are dining rooms galore. The new and added cost dining rooms seem to be all the vogue, although I don't believe in them. Maybe this ship I should have! On to................. THE FOOD Well if you are going for food, you will be sadly disappointed. The few times I went to the dining room, I was more than unhappy. Steaks/meat were of a poor quality, either too tough or too soft. They couldn't seem to get it right. I think I've been spoiled by the meat on Carnival ships which is always great! An example of a typical appetizer was coconut crusted.............chicken strips! Items you could get at your local Denny's. All shrimps were of the minivariety. I don't eat those at home and on a ship for sure not. So much for the dining rooms. People that went to Cagney's the steakhouse said that the food quality was great. However, service was always good. Lobster tail was only served once on a 2 week trip, first go round was good, 2nd one wasn't. Drawn butter was not served. The Buffet/Garden Cafe Bottom line...........this was good! Breakfast was a huge variety and items were freshly made according to how you like it. Eggs made to your specifications before your eyes, omelettes, fresh waffles, sigh. There were special coffee machines that people seemed to like preparing uniquely specialty coffees. And so many tea choices, WOW! But alas no hot chocolate. For lunch there were men preparing in woks, a mixture that you had concocted on your own. You put it on the plate and they cooked it up for you. There was always a large item being carved up every day of one kind or another, turkey, veal, pork whatever and might change as lunch wore on. Good news, the desserts were just as good as they looked. Seemed like there was always something that you might like for lunch or dinner which is more than I could say for the dining rooms. ENTERTAINMENT was good enough. Almost all the entertainers had a product for sale after their show. Now we have a new way for the ship and entertainer to catch some extra bucks. Exiting the ship seemed pretty simple. Luggage was there as planned and a short line for customs and it was all over. I must admit that NCL's dining whenever is a very nice thing. There is sometimes a short line or a wait, but still you are eating when you want. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
As background we're late 50's cruisers who've have run the gamut of cruise lines RCL, HAL, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, and NCL to include sailings in the Western Med, Northern Europe, Alaska, Caribbean & Tahiti, and ... Read More
As background we're late 50's cruisers who've have run the gamut of cruise lines RCL, HAL, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, and NCL to include sailings in the Western Med, Northern Europe, Alaska, Caribbean & Tahiti, and Transatlantic, now twice, on ships carrying from 700 to 3000 pax. We set up our own air from Florida overnight to Barcelona arriving on the morning of the cruise since NCL was not coming up with decent fares. We arrived at 8:00am for a 7pm sailing and had booked an NCL transfer to the pier, but we had a surprise mini-tour of Barcelona since NCL didn't want us for embarkation that early. It was as nice a tour as some you pay for. Embarkation was quick at noon in the Latitude Member line. Luggage came 3-4 hours later. Who cares it's there and we're there! The cabin: Verandah amidships (don't they seem to be getting smaller on the newer ships) was 170 or so sq.ft. plus 40 for the verandah,and was well designed ergonomically,with just enough storage space for two. The separate commode and shower with glass doors situated on either side of the vanity was novel. It was nice not having to get intimate with your shower curtain every evening. The bed was a true king-size also not two studio sizes pushed together to equal a queen as we've seen sometimes. And the mini-refrigerator actually kept the drinks cold! Bernard our steward and his assistant Mary Cris met us at the door. They were super the entire cruise (we've never had non-attentive cabin stewards on any cruise line). We think there's a hidden camera in the room so they know when you're out even for a short time. The first dining experience: Cattle call!! The buffet is always a zoo at embarkation and the Jewel was no different except this Chinese fire-drill (or if you will a typical day at Mickey-D's except it's adults) was to be a repeat every morning and most afternoons especially on sea days. Get your own coffee & juice and clean your own table spot. Picture 2400 passengers competing for 400 seats (the other side of what would be a buffet area on most ships was Mama's specialty restaurant) and you'll get the idea. However the buffet food we were to discover, was to among the best possibilities on this ship. At the 2 main dining rooms, lines were often long, food was sub-par and often cold. To add insult to injury a $6 glass of wine only fills 1/3 of the goblet (it's pre-measured). Scratch-off the dining rooms except for Captain's lobster dinner and forget about prime-rib on this cruise. Specialty restaurants: Take a sheet of paper with all your events/excursions/captain's dinner times with you and go stand in the reservation line on embarkation afternoon. If you don't, getting a reservation will be difficult. Cagney's $15pp cover ($7.50pp before 6pm) had excellent steaks and top notch service (aha!, so this is where all the waiters were), as did Le Bistro -$10pp(get the chocolate fondue dessert). Mama's was OK and quiet. Tango's Tex Mex (no cover) had pretty good fajitas and ribs. Excursions: We booked thru our travel group using Portside Tours which was a great outfit at nearly every port. Corsica, Mallorca & surprisingly Madeira Island were all terrific stops with both scenic vistas and villages and city shopping to do at much less cost than NCL's tours. Often we had one way receivers with ear buds so you could lag behind and still hear the excellent commentary. And your bus becomes like one big extended family after a few excursions. Hint: Go on your own in Gibraltar because if the weather closes in and the cable cars don't run, you still can shop for crystal! Entertainment: Other than the fact that each theater venue was packed as early as 45 mins. before showtime, this is NCL's high point, as we remember having excellent entertainment on the Sun, but this Jean Ann Ryan troupe was outstanding. Don't miss Cirque Bijou!! Around the ship: Except for the crowded buffets and entertainment venues, there seems to be plenty of room elsewhere on the ship. The small lounges with guitarists and pianists were quiet places for pre/post dinner drinks. Their pianist Vladamir Krevian outside Le Bistro was superb. We bought his CD and we never do that. There is a promenade deck circling the ship for walking off your excess food where 3 laps (ugh!) is 1.4 mis. Even in an Atlantic gale, this ship was stable enough to walk the promenade even if you did feel like a drunken sailor. Overall: All in all, if you keep in mind that NCL must have researched and discovered that fancy ship food is not the thing driving cruise bookings, but rather it's ports and entertainment at a more than fair price, then this transatlantic cruise did offer good value for the fare charged. However, we'd rather see both interesting ports and a quality product, so we're doing the Greek Isles on Oceania next. But we're not sending back our Latitude Pins yet because of one less-than-spectacular cruise on the Jewel. Dan & Cheryl, Debary FL Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
We have been on multiple cruise over the past few years including 4 other cruiselines. This cruise was a bit different in that the Roll Call was very active. BOARDING: Wow, this was easy! We took a group bus from the hotel in Barcelona to ... Read More
We have been on multiple cruise over the past few years including 4 other cruiselines. This cruise was a bit different in that the Roll Call was very active. BOARDING: Wow, this was easy! We took a group bus from the hotel in Barcelona to the pier. Since we left our baggage tags on the desk at home, we pulled our bags out from the group, walked to the curb and got new tags. Walked inside, stood in line maybe three minutes and we were on our way. Oh yes, we did not have cruise tickets either. I handed the guy our online registration copy and they gave us our room keys. Walked onboard and had a one minute wait there. Did not see any evidence of booze police, though there was a table by the elevators to collect stuff. No line there! We opted not to stop either. CABIN Found our cabin with no problem on deck 9 towards the back. Fully functional balcony BB cabin. Had at least two 110 (US type) power outlets and internet jack. They provided a pot to heat water for instant coffee or tea. Bed was fine for sleeping. We had a pullout couch that was marginally comfortable for sitting, but okay. Bathroom is really tight but works. In room safe handled my notebook computer just fine. If you have one of those newer ones with the monster screens, you might have problems. SHIP First walk around the ship found us getting more lost than on other ships, maybe due to so so many restaurants. We did the buffet and ate outside which was great since it was around 70 and sunny. Food was great. Signed the first of way too many checks for two glasses of wine. Least expensive was $13.23 with tip for two. CRUISE CRITIC Meet n Greet: The cruisecritic rollcall was very active for this cruise and we were fortunate to have Karen & Louis host the get together in their Garden Villa. The turnout was great and lots of new friendships were made. Sandy set up and coordinated the gift exchange. We now have another NYC t-shirt to add to our collection. The party went strong for almost two hours with Carla and I among the last guests to leave. I think Karen would have stayed up all night chatting with us. They were great folks. Their 18 year old daughter was a wonderful host. LOST? This is where I stopped doing my daily reports. Will just try to adlib and add some comments. Things turned into a real blur after the first day. GENERAL SHIP COMMENTS- I will cover what I can remember of the ports, but here are some overall ship and cruise comments first. FOOD -Though we did hear some folks complain considerably, most people were very happy with the food. We really had no problems other than a dish here or there. We walked in the Bistro the 2nd night and LOVED the quiet atmosphere and great service along with very good food, for only $10. Went back a second time to relax and enjoy the meal. Also ate in each of the main dining rooms, with great experience. Probably did the buffet the most, just for ease. Blue Lagoon was a sleeper - meaning not many ate there, but food was great. Did Tangos with some new friends one night and had a great dinner. Cagneys was fine as was the Japanese Chop-chop dinner. Breakfast got boring, but then again, how many choices are there? Room service is the basics, but we often did a plate from buffet and took back to the room. Again, Blue Lagoon was a nice alternative. CASINO - Not sure how often NCL does this but the casino had certain times each day for 3 or 4 hours when they offered free drinks. It sort of made sense until I explained it to our accountant! The casino was fun with a good variety of table games and slots. They did have a number of Black Jack, Slot and Texas Hold Em Tournaments. Though the house took their share, it was a good time. There were Texas Hold Em games late most nights, but even with two thousand people onboard, they had trouble getting enough players sometimes. Slots all took dollar bills and returned tickets instead of coins, assuming you won. If you plan to gamble alot, sign up for their card early so they can track your play and reward you accordingly. ENTERTAINMENT - We did not do all the shows, but enjoyed those that we attended. The seating in the main theatre allows for MANY to attend, but once you are seated, you are seated. If you want to have a drink at the show, take it with you. ACTIVITIES - There appeared to a wide range of activities from Bingo to towel animal classes. The library was basic and had very limited hours. Card room was often full of Bridge players. Daily newsletter kept you informed of what was going on. Overall, we found the staff to be very open, friendly and helpful. Great group. Most events were well organized and everybody seemed to know what they were doing. The cruise director - Mike - seemed to be on top of EVERYTHING that wa going on. PORTS First port was not until mid day which was great. It gave everyone a chance to regroup before the daily hustle began of port after port. VILLEFRANCE/NICE - We arrived around noon and were tendered out. There was congestion at the pier and some confusion as to where the boats were going. Some people missed their tours. We opted to go in, walk around a bit and then grabbed the train to Monte Carlo. Was easy to do. Actually it was just leaving and and were going to pay on the train. Nobody every asked. Walked around Monte Carlo a bit and had two glasses of wine as we overlooked yachts the size of small villages. Those two glasses of wine made NCL look like pocket change. Something like $26 for two glasses. Headed back to the train station and waited in line to get tickets as the departure time approached. Finally a local bumped us to the front of the line so we could buy tickets and ran to the train. Turns out nobody cared if you had a ticket. They also have automated ATM like machines, but we did not have our charge card with us. Twenty minutes later we are walking around Villefrance again and shuttled back to the ship. We heard some bad stories about organized tours. Anytime you have to deal with tenders, you are going to have problems. LIVORNO/FLORENCE/PISA - The port is really for industrial use. You need to take the shuttle even into town. We met up with a few others online and shared a small van going into Pisa and then Florence to see the main sites. Well worth the extra money and I think we saw the same or more than those on the ships tours. ROME - You actually dock in Civitavecchia which is primarily for industrial shipping. You can take a short shuttle to edge of the shipyard and arrive in the local town. We opted to take the train which was about 10 minutes outside the port gates to get into Rome. Train was about an hour. We then met our private guide for the day and began our journey. We opted NOT to use a van to avoid the traffic in town. Good move other than the really tight situation on the first subway due to morning rush hour. Our guide (Mauro) loved to tell us the history of Rome and took us to the Coliseum, Parthenon, Vatican, St Peters and a few other places, talking the entire time about the amazing history of Rome. He took us back the train station at the end of the day and 45 minutes later we were waiting for the shuttle bus at the port. AJACCIO, FRANCE - Another pretty town built along the hills facing the Med. We waited a bit to avoid crowds and took the tender into town, walked around and came back. I sure there was more to see, but we tired. PALMA de MALLORCA - This is an Island off the coast of Spain. We took a ship sponsored tour. What a mistake. The guide would have been fine for maybe 6 people, but not for 40. I guess it was okay, but not big thrill. GIBRALTAR - We arrived at the pier mid day and had signed up for the shortest tour offered that would take you up to the Rock, view the caves and the apes (monkeys). We did walk into town a little before the tour. Not much to see near the port. It was raining and foggy. Lucky for us, our tour was much later in the day when it cleared. Was well worth our time. Due to the weather, we were the last ones back on the ship. They were taking off the ropes as we boarded. FUNCHAL, PORTUGAL - After a day at sea, we stopped at this beautiful city by the sea. We walked into town and came upon the hop on, hop off bus and decided to take it for $10euro each. It made a loop of town with some narrative via headsets. Was a nice overview. We heard that others others had some good tour experiences. Many would have liked to spend more time here. Then it was time to head for Miami. Though many were concerned with so many days at sea and nothing to do, that passed within a few days. The ship offered plenty of activities, if you could remember them. Casino was always open and offered free drinks for a few hours each day. If you did not sleep too late, there were good breakfast options. Library was small and not open enough. We read, ate, hung out, met new friends and had no problem passing time. MIAMI - Process could have been better, though I think it might have been partly the fault of the Port of Miami. Baggage seemed to be a total mess on the pier. It worked out though. If we had been trying for an early flight, the self-disembark would have been better. We had time and found bags in 10 minutes and walked right out to cab. A a few minutes we were at Miami airport for $25. No fuss. Again, NCL did a great job. Staff was great. We will go again. This was a special cruise due to not only the length, but the large group that met via the Roll Call. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
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 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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