6 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

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
Impressive ship, rather new and fully loaded (even with passengers). We took the 7 days West Mediterranean Route from and to Barcelona via Messina (Sicily), Naples (Capri), Civitavecchia (beachday), Livorno (leaning tower of Pisa)and ... Read More
Impressive ship, rather new and fully loaded (even with passengers). We took the 7 days West Mediterranean Route from and to Barcelona via Messina (Sicily), Naples (Capri), Civitavecchia (beachday), Livorno (leaning tower of Pisa)and Villefrance (beachday). Despite interesting ports/spots our destination was the NCL ship! Our inside stateroom on 9th floor was nicely decorated, almost clean (but don't look under the bed!) and had a comparable roomy bathroom (we often took advantage of the comfortable shower). The interior was functional but the illumination is definitely too dark, so you hardly see your personal belongings in the storage compartment/safe close at the door. Also some more compartments near the bed were missing. Nevertheless, we slept very well also caused by quite aircon and ventilation. Unfortunately the housekeeping was not introduced to us which underlines the rather unpersonal touch of bigger ships. The "garden cafe" is by far the most unpleasant location: loud, overcrowded and badly designed. A long floor and way to take a cup of coffee or helping yourself at the buffet. Unfortunately the freestyle cruise was often misinterpreted by unsuitable dress codes including muscle shirts or pure swimwear. We preferred the main restaurant TSAR's were you are served by friendly staff for breakfast and dinner. The special restaurants are polarizing. Our favorite was the sushi/sashimi bar, whereas the steakhouse didn't met or expectation esp. not price wise. The pool deck was always crowded and extremely loud. The animation program during the days at sea by the cruise director and his team was not our style. So we left the area immediately. Not even or 9yr old son was in favor such a "funny" program. We often asked ourselves, were are the wooden floor trim of the pool deck surface gone? The metal ground is rather unpolite at hot outside temperatures and pretty slippery when wet. The nightlife was always a highlight. We didn't miss any show. The musicians and dancers were mostly unbeatable. You should have your seat early and order your drink on time. A midnight buffet at the pooldeck is not presented at our trip. The Kids Management Policy is a simply not acceptable. Our son (9yrs/ 8mos)was not allowed to be in the same kids group with his friend (10yrs/1mos)due to strict age split (x to 9yrs and 10yrs +). We had to ask the German Cruise Management to explain this regulation to our irritated boys. Luckily the friendly officers (incl. the captain) were highly appreciated. Our summary: As for our next cruise we'll looking for a smaller ship which will meet our experiences from past cruises (e.g. NCL Dream/Windward) again. Less people, more familiarity, personal treatment. But nevertheless, NCL Jewel is an impressive ship, rather new and fully loaded. CU, Karsten, Birgit @ Felix Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Overall, our cruise was uneven. It's hard to write a balanced review when there was so much gap between the highs and the lows, but I'll give it a shot! Embarkation from Barcelona was smooth, but the lines were long. We arrived ... Read More
Overall, our cruise was uneven. It's hard to write a balanced review when there was so much gap between the highs and the lows, but I'll give it a shot! Embarkation from Barcelona was smooth, but the lines were long. We arrived a little before noon, and the line went right outside onto the sidewalk. We had a minisuite on deck 11. It was lovely -- especially having a bathtub, and a reasonably sized one at that. I had presumed it would be like the little shallow tubs you often find in midrange hotels, but this was a proper tub, comfortable for my six foot sweetie to use. What luxury! Another pleasant surprise was a chair on our veranda with a reclining back. The second chair was regular wire mesh. We asked our steward for a third chair (third bathrobe, third cup etc&the room had been set up for two) and he looked doubtful, but went off and came back with another regular garden chair. He told me we couldn't have 2 reclining-back chairs because they take up too much balcony space and it would be unsafe (?), but when he couldn't fit the regular chair through the doorway to our stateroom, he disappeared and returned with a second reclining back chair. So, we are happily ensconced in our minisuite. Got our chairs, got our books, got our fresh flower (one gerbera daisy -- it was in pretty sad shape by day 5!) and all is well with the world. As an added bonus, the dEcor was a little more subdued than the NCL photos. I think some changes have been made. Unfortunately, we had air-conditioning malfunctions twice during the week, but a maintenance worker arrived right away both times. The muster drill was way more comfortable than the RCCL ... we all went to the theatre and sat down while they did an airline-like demonstration of how to fasten your lifejacket. Evidently the theatre is where we were to go in case of an emergency ... seriously ... personally, I'd be heading for the lifeboats and to heck with the rules! Food The Tsar's Palace was fine. Not outstanding, but nothing to complain about, either. It was the only alternative to the buffet at breakfast and lunchtime, and that alone made it shine like a beacon. I had really good fresh-squeezed OJ at breakfast, and the service was consistently good. The buffet, on the other hand, was more all you can stomach than all you can eat. I heard a number of people complaining that the buffet food has gone way down from previous years. The buffet did serve waffles, omelettes, eggs to order etc. at breakfast, and it had a self-serve cappuccino/espresso machine and soft-serve ice cream going all day. However, the lunch and dinner food was pretty bad, and should be avoided. The setup of the buffet has nearly all the tables very close to the serving stations, so it is noisy. On the other hand, you can go to the great outdoor, a lovely table area at the aft (just keep walking through the buffet...you'll get there). One side smoking, one side non-smoking, and (I didn't figure this out until a couple of days in) it has its own buffet table which had different food from that in the main buffet. It also offered cream scones for afternoon tea (self-serve). The alternative restaurants were really good. We dined at all of them except Cagney's (just never got there) and Blue Lagoon (fish and chips and burgers). Le Bistro had the most fabulous salmon appetizer and French onion soup, but our steaks were a pretty flavorless. The presentation of the main course is a bit cheesy (As we say in Paris, un-deux-trois, et viola! while they lift the cover off your dinner. Puh-leeese!) Chin-Chin Asian was our favorite and served a variety of foods from Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan and India. Mama's Italian was a real surprise; we had a fabulous meal there and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We really liked the freestyle dining concept. The only hitch was that we did not go straight to the Blue Lagoon on the first day to make reservations, and consequently there were nights when we had dinner in the Tsar's Palace or Azura's by default, because everyone else was full. Kind of takes a bite out of the concept of what you want, when you want it because you do have to plan ahead. Pool and spa The pool was a huge hit with the kids on the ship, and it helps that there is a little kids' pool that is separate, and that the family pool has a waterslide. The rule that kids can't go in the hot tubs without an adult was widely ignored (I didn't care, but some folks might). The drawback to the pool area is that the adult pool is right beside the family pool, so if you are seeking tranquility this is not the place to do so. Hardly anyone ever entered the adults' pool. Also, all the deck chairs are clustered in the open area around the pools, and the shady areas at the sides of the ship are filled with tables and chairs. Again, I hardly saw anyone using the tables, and those of us who burn in the Mediterranean sun (okay, me) were dragging lounge chairs into the shade and having to push tables and chairs out of the way to make room. One nice note...a spray bar spritzes you with tiny drops of cool water periodically if you sit right at the edge of the covered area. Very pleasant. The spa was quite lovely. I had a haircut and a pedicure. I would highly recommend the pedicure as you get to sit in a cushy armchair looking straight out through huge windows to sea. Oh yeah, my feet felt great afterward, too! Kids' program My 11 year old daughter went straight to the kids' program the first night to sign up. Like other cruise lines, the kids are divided into groups by age. The kids' area was terrific. The preteens got to use the teen club (I guess the teens were elsewhere) with a full disco lighting system, a popcorn machine, X-Boxes, computer games, a music video jukebox, a miniature pool table and ping-pong. My daughter loved the kids' club and we couldn't drag her away! One note to new family cruisers, though...the kids' program on this cruise, like most, offers activities during shore time but the vast majority of kids at that time will be little ones who are left there while their parents are sightseeing. Older kids will find this very boring. The kids' program offers one night when the kids have dinner together (yes, this means the parents get an adult night!). Or, if you prefer to dine in adult surroundings, you can feed your offspring at the buffet (kids don't seem to mind the food) and take them to the kids' club when it opens at 7pm, then go for dinner yourselves. Other stuff There is a fully stocked card and games room, with loads of cards and board games, and no one gets cranky if you take them to your room. On the other hand, the library shelves are locked except when the librarian is present...even the free book exchange shelf! Logic, please? We never went to the shows or the casino. We did meet up with CC buddies (hi, Xander!) who said the dance lessons were lots of fun. Service This is where things got dicey. At 7:15 our first morning, I woke to the realization that a stateroom underneath the gym did not mean innocuous activities above me like stationary bikes and stairmasters. It meant that there were treadmills. Did you know that some people use treadmills to (gasp) jog? Neither did I -- until they were doing it over my head. It was really awful. The gym attendant said he had no idea what was causing the thump-thump-thump that I described to him, but he'd ask the free-weight users to set their weights down quietly. We tried to have breakfast on our balcony, but the thump-thump was even worse there, and reverberated across the steel. I went to guest relations and stood in line. As soon as I described it and the woman checked the ship's deck plans to establish the location of my room, she said Oh, it's people jogging on the treadmills. Okay, so this must happen a lot! The really awful part (other than the noise) was trying to resolve this. I was told to call guest relations next time it happened. In hindsight, this was where things went wrong. Did they think I was having auditory hallucinations? That I was a compulsive liar? Why did they have to verify that this was causing noise in my stateroom? Anyway, like a good little passenger, I went away and next heard it shortly before lunch. I phoned guest relations. No one showed up for about 15 minutes, but I concluded that surely it would be attended to, and left for lunch. On my way out, I changed the do not disturb sign to please make up room. We had lunch, hung out on the deck, and then I stood in line again at guest relations to make sure the noise thing had been sorted. I was told that my complaint had been recorded and that it had been resolved. Good! So what happened when I returned to my stateroom? There was a message on my phone that the crew had come when I called before lunch, but since my 'do not disturb was still up, they couldn't knock on the door. Even though I had just phoned them from the room and asked them to come. Okaaaayyyyy... An hour later, thump-thump-thump. I phoned. No one came. One jogger stopped, but another started. I phoned again. No one came. I phoned a third time. After half an hour, someone showed up, verified that I was not hearing things, and had the treadmills over our room shut down. All told, it took 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, one trip to the gym, two trips to guest relations and four phone calls to solve a problem that one crew member had been able to identify almost immediately. As I remained not impressed with that situation, I decided a few days later to follow up with the manager of guest relations. I left a message in the morning explaining that I had a complaint about the level of service I'd received, and asking him to call me back. Fourteen hours later, I called again to see whether he got the message. By this time, I was getting peeved, and when I asked him why he hadn't returned my call all that time, he said he had other things to do besides answer passenger complaints. This attitude could have some impact on the standards of passenger service overall, doncha think? I remained polite but persistent and the next day he gave us a $200 onboard credit as compensation. Other glitches...my daughter told a woman in the buffet that the OJ machine was malfunctioning, and she replied that it wasn't her station...a waiter in Azura rudely interrupted us while we were speaking to him...my daughter went on a guided tour with the kids' club in the theatre, and was treated to full view of a porno magazine that one crew member was reading in the theatre (she described the picture to me in some detail!) On the other hand...our room steward was terrific...Ashish from India, in the Tsar's Palace, insisted on carrying a tray of lunch foods all the way to the pool so he could serve us on the lounge chairs ... the vast majority of dining room staff and every single maitre'd was great and provided very good service. One night, three young women at a table beside us were being bothered by a persistent man, and the staff removed him quickly and discreetly. Overall It was our first cruise with NCL. I wouldn't write them off, but it won't be my first choice for our next cruise, either. Also, I have learned the value of choosing your stateroom very, very carefully. Pity that the minisuites are all located on Deck 11, which is directly under a deck full of public areas. NCL is more casual than RCCL was, and that suits us fine. It was clear, though, that some of the more "luxe" touches I'd seen on the Mariner of the Seas were missing...no cushy pads on the lounge chairs, no really lovely central atrium area, that kind of thing. However, I do still expect that the food will be good and the service will be better than some of the experiences that we had. I don't need to be fawned over, but I do expect better than what I (sometimes) saw. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
As a loyal Princess customer I was somewhat excited to see how different the Norwegian Jewel would be. I was very excited based on the reviews posted here and was looking forward to seeing Italy with my husband and friends for the first ... Read More
As a loyal Princess customer I was somewhat excited to see how different the Norwegian Jewel would be. I was very excited based on the reviews posted here and was looking forward to seeing Italy with my husband and friends for the first time. Unfortunately, I will remain a loyal Princess customer as the experience on this ship was quite disappointing for the amount of money we spent. The ship itself is quite nice with lots of theme rooms and very colorful all around. We had booked into a mini-suite with a balcony and the balcony size was excellent and the room not too bad- though not that much bigger than an interior room on Princess! Embarkation was a breeze so we were excited thinking the service would be great. This was where the great service stopped. In the restaurants (including the cover charge ones) we found that they were extremely inflexible and simply asking for another basket of bread at dinner was met with rolling eyes. Trying to get a waitperson to get you a drink while in the general Garden Cafe (it was a buffet) was very difficult- even though they were standing at their station leaning against the counter. We were charged for laundry that we never sent out for and by the time we had to leave the ship, they still had not credited us back. We often felt that as long as we were spending money, they were great but the minute you wanted to use a coupon (sent by the cruiseline) the answer was, "let me look into this", "we don't honor those here", or "it's out of our hands- accounting makes the final call". It was quite a departure from Princess where their service was all about making you happy and not having you waste your time fighting over $10! At any rate, i will say some positive things about the boat. If you are going to go and enjoy quality food then you will need to book at the cover charge restaurants. The main dining room was just average. Le Bistro was the best meal we had on the cruise- service, atmosphere, selection and quality were all there. Next would be Cagney's- a steakhouse with great window seats and great food. Finally, you have to try Teppanyaki's- it is a Japanese steakhouse style where they cook in front of you. The food is fresh, the atmosphere is fun and the chefs are great! The ports of call were excellent and wanting to err on the side of caution decided to bite the bullet and purchase bus tickets for "Rome on Your Own" and "Florence on Your Own" so that we would not have to worry about traffic and getting back to the ship in time. In both of these locations we then got the double decker bus tours which ranged from 12 to 20 Euros for the day once we arrived in the city. This was by far an excellent thing to do as it allowed you freedom throughout the day to see what you wanted. The great thing about taking the "on you own..." options was that there was always a guide on the bus who handed out great maps of the city and locations of interest. They were extremely knowledgeable and basically spoke the whole way in from the port so that you were well versed in what to do and what not to do. In Naples, my husband and i did the half day Pompeii tour and again, we had an excellent tour guide and it was just enough time to see alot of Pompeii. Our friends took the "highlights of Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii" and were not nearly as happy as us- they spent 2 hours in traffic and had very little time to actually experience each of the places they went. Finally, in Villefranche, you really don't need to purchase any tour as a train is right there when you tender in and it's only a 7 minute ride into Nice! Sicily was phenomenal and I would recommend anything that gets you into Taormina for the day- it's absolutely beautiful! Because my husband spoke Italian, we bargained with a few taxi drivers to take us in from the port and ended up with a fantastic guy named Giovanni- we will never forget him as he made our first port so memorable. If you choose this option, expect to pay 90 euros each way- that was for 4 people in the car. If you plan to stay in Barcelona and want to see the city i would highly recommend Hotel Jazz. I had checked Trip Advisor and there wasn't one bad review- now i can see why. The price was reasonable, the room clean and modern, the service friendly and excellent and they have a pool on the roof that overlooks the city. A great find. If, however, you are looking to relax and don't care about the city then you MUST go to Gava Mar. Gava Mar is 7 minutes west of the airport and the hotel we booked is geared towards executives. It is directly on the beach yet has grounds all around and the most beautiful pool. Every room has french doors that open onto the Mediterranean and it's very modern and clean. It was a complete surprise for us right down to them having a car waiting at 4:30am to take us to the airport. The hotel is called AC Gava Mar and is excellent. So I think I've said it all- though not the best service, Norwegian had the best itinerary so we're glad we went. We won't, however, book with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
I recently returned from a 7-day cruise of the Western Med aboard the NORWEGIAN JEWEL. We were a party of 9 passengers occupying 3 staterooms on Deck 10. The JEWEL is a beautiful ship with an accommodating staff which made our stay aboard ... Read More
I recently returned from a 7-day cruise of the Western Med aboard the NORWEGIAN JEWEL. We were a party of 9 passengers occupying 3 staterooms on Deck 10. The JEWEL is a beautiful ship with an accommodating staff which made our stay aboard ship very enjoyable. Unfortunately, we did not have the same enjoyable experiences on our shore excursions. The tour in Messina was very good with a wonderful guide. The other 4 tours were not as satisfying for the following reasons: Highlights of Capri, Sorrento & Pompeii  This tour was entirely too long. We were rushed from one location to another and wasted over an hour in line for the funicular up and down the mountain. We had almost no time on our own in either Capri or Sorrento to shop or explore. Had the tour not included Pompeii, it would have allowed us much more time to explore these beautiful locations. It was obvious our guide had a love of Pompeii. We felt we were rushed in the other locations to allow entirely too much time in Pompeii. Rome, Baroque City  Again, it was almost impossible to hear the guide over the traffic and crowd noise. Florence & Pisa  The guide in Florence had a small handheld speaker but it was still impossible to hear over the traffic and crowd noise. Eze & Monaco  Once again, it was impossible to hear the guide. It did not help the situation in Eze when she began her talks before half the tour was caught up to her. The narrow streets made it impossible to get close enough to hear anything. I feel this particular tour was especially a waste of money as I literally learned nothing of the area from this guide due to not being able to hear. We could not even hear her directions regarding when and where to meet after our short free time in Eze. She had to repeat the information several times as the back of the group caught up. If NCL is going to offer tours, I feel they should provide the individual headsets we saw many tour groups wearing. We were not offered this option on any of our tours. In general, all of the tours were very long. Because of this, we returned to the ship too exhausted to enjoy the amenities offered by the ship and crew. I understand the need to take a long bus and/or boat ride to reach a destination such as Capri and Sorrento is a necessary part of the tour. However, if the tours covered a little less ground and allowed more leisure time, I believe your travelers would be happier. It would create less stress and frustration among cruisers. The food aboard ship was not the best but it was plentiful. The Chocolate Buffet boasted beautiful desserts with very little taste. Mama's Kitchen was very good. Tzars and Auzura were okay but nothing special. I was disappointed in the shore excursions and food but our entire party was extremely upset with NCL when we departed the JEWEL. We were not warned of the Iberia Airlines strike which occurred at the Barcelona Airport just days before our departure. We walked into the most stressful, confusing and frustrating travel nightmare I have ever experienced. We were dropped off at the airport to fend for ourselves in a country where we did not speak the language. The least NCL could and should have done was warn us in advance of the situation at the airport and provide personnel to help with translation and sorting out flights. Our flight was scheduled to leave Barcelona at 9:55 am on July 30. It took us almost 2 hours just to get through the lines and checked in for our flight. The flight was delayed and left Barcelona around 1 pm on July 30. We missed our connection in Madrid and had to switch to a different flight from Madrid to Spain  again with no assistance from NCL. We almost did not get all of our party on the flight. Two of us were on standby and were cleared as the last two passengers on the flight to JFK. We were over 4 hours late leaving Madrid. Due to the delays in Spain, we arrived at JFK at 8 pm on July 30 (instead of 3:10 pm as originally scheduled) just as our flights to the West Coast were departing. We had carefully scheduled our flights so we had four to six hours between our arrival on Iberia and our departures from JFK  plenty of time to clear Customs, switch terminals and check in for our flights. Four people in our party had connections to Portland, Oregon, on Jet Blue which has only one flight a day to our location. This meant we had to stay in New York an additional 24 hours before we could catch a flight home. The other 5 members of our party were also stuck at JFK overnight as the airport had shut down for the night so there were no connections to their destinations (San Diego, Atlanta and Seattle) until the following morning. The 5 people in our party traveling to the Pacific Northwest checked 7 bags in Barcelona. None of the bags arrived with us in New York. Our bags finally arrived from Spain at approximately 5 pm on July 31  just three hours before our scheduled departure for Portland. As a result of all the delays experienced by Iberia, we finally arrived home 25 hours after our scheduled arrival. The fact that NCL simply abandoned us in Barcelona is totally unacceptable. As a result of the fiasco in Barcelona, I can assure you no one in our party will sail on NCL again. This is very unfortunate as the ships crew and cruise portion of this vacation was truly enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
My partner and I are cruisers as we live in S. Florida. This was our 10th cruise and our first on Norwegian - The Jewel. The flight from Miami was good but upon arrival to Madrid (to connect to Barcelona) the plane was already gone and ... Read More
My partner and I are cruisers as we live in S. Florida. This was our 10th cruise and our first on Norwegian - The Jewel. The flight from Miami was good but upon arrival to Madrid (to connect to Barcelona) the plane was already gone and we had to be rebooked on the next flight - no problem. The problem was no one was there to meet the plane -- so we put on your walking shoes through the Madrid airport (about a mile around). We finally got on the flight to Barcelona. Then on to Barcelona --we arrived and finally got on the bus to the ship after about another 1/2 -3/4 mile walk in the terminal to ur luggage which was in the opposite terminal from which we arrived. The flight home was better as we went directly from Barcelona to Atlanta and then on to Miami. We arrived at the ship and the first thing we did was to go to our room. The balcony cabin was very nice and spacious. The bathroom was one of the nicest as it had a separate commode area from the sink/shower. We then immediately went make reservations at the specialty restaurants for the nights that we wanted. We ended up eating at Cagney's two nights ($15pp extra, per night) and one night at Le Bistro ($10pp extra). We were glad we did as people could not get normal dinner times (between 6-9) if you did not book early. The Tsar's restaurant was average - some nights better than others. Forget formal nights on this ship -- don't bother to bring the good jewelry. No one dressed nor was it enforced. We had our tuxes and were dressed and everyone barely wore shirts and slacks. Needless to say the second formal night we dressed nice casual. Someone wrote on a previous review "this was the first cruise I didn't gain weight." They were correct. The food is average at best. We are generally use to Celebrity Cruises in which you can't decide between all of the goodies -- here it was like choosing the best of the lot. breakfast buffet and Dining room breakfast was good though you had the problem of people coming and going and running around in buffet serving area due to set-up. The worst of the food was the lunch buffet. I have NEVER been on a cruise line where they served the same thing three days in a row with different sauces or in different styles. As a former shareholder in Royal Caribbean - Celebrity spends $25 per day per passenger. If NCL was spending $12 a day it was a lot. The desserts were awful and they have yet to discover "Chocolate" in their desserts. The excursions were excellent from the ship and we were glad we did it that way instead of trying to set things up on our own. We did the Vatican & Sistine Chapel, Mt. Etna, and Pompeii excavations. The Martini bar with Candy as hostess was very nice and the service was good but the number of staff to numbers of guests was low. They need some more help as they even had casino staff working the re-entry areas at port stops. Casino staff was very nice and casino laid out well though you can not earn any points in their program so don't bother joining unless you are a big gambler. The entertainment was some of the best we have seen on a ship and the theater is beautiful. One show was a Cirque de Soilel show - excellent. Overall,the ship is a beautiful ship -- a bit garish like an Atlantic city casino -- but it works. The staff was very nice and helpful. We had one specific waitress in the Tsar restaurant (Nancy). She was great. The room was beautiful and the value of the cruise with airfare was excellent -- but NCL needs to make MAJOR improvements in their food quality and buffet set-up. Also, the limited choices in the Tsar restaurant basically forces you to the specialty dining --in which this type of food is standard on other cruise lines. As long as you go with these things in mind you will have a wonderful time, get a great tan -- and be dieting at the same time... We did stay in Barcelona for 3 days post cruise and had a wonderful time. We were at the Tryp Apollo; very nice hotel; very good buffet breakfast included. Near La Rambla and the subway which was excellent to get around. Buy the 10 trip ticket to save money. People were wonderful in Barcelona. We look forward to our next trip to Spain. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
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 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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