42 Houston First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me ... Read More
Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me nothing in this world would seem to please that person. For us - the service was second to none - the food was outstanding - the cabin was admittedly tiny, but then we expected that, and the sea wasn't 'knocking us from wall to wall' although it was unusually rough, but is that really Princess's fault!! The beds were incredibly comfy, and my pillow was perhaps the cosiest I have ever had in a 'hotel' style environment. Our only niggle is the 2 pools are too small for 3.5k guests, but then it is a boat!! Having said that we feared a mad scramble for sun beds, and there were enough to go around, and incredibly it wasn't crowded either. Theatre shows - amazing!! West end standard. Alcohol - a bit expensive, but we knew that, so were grateful we didn't over indulge. NEVER saw a drunken person once! We chose to eat 'anytime' dining, and apart from the first night which coincided as my 50th birthday too (where we ate in Coral), we ate in the Horizon buffet every night and we couldn't fault the choice, or quality of food. We didn't do the formal nights as frankly dressing up and trying to be something we're not wasn't our thing and some sites were to be best forgotten!! Guys from across the pond - a 'please' and 'thank you' in customer services goes a long way, and believe me, gets noticed when it's short coming!! I was astounded at the amount of times I heard a demand for food or drink with neither word at the beginning or end of the request. The waiters may be waiting, and most were from many different parts of the world, but they didn't need to constantly be made to feel servile. More so to witness hats being worn at dinner and many not making the least bit of effort to dress for dinner, even if it was just casual dress was disappointing to see. Princess actually ask that guests wear what they would do for a casual dinner - SO, a lot of you go to dinner in short shorts and scrappy T-Shirts do you??? So - in summary, where those choose to put down a company who I believe actually couldn't really have done much more than they did, perhaps if only the company could do a review about the customers, about trying their best to please people who in truth simply will moan at anything, then that would be a review worth reading!!! As they can't - I've done it for them. For the reasons above cruising isn't for us, based on being surrounded by people who want to eat and be lazy all day every day (the sites we witnessed proved that one!!). Perhaps there wasn't enough food guys! I am English - though you would have worked that out I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience. We drove to Houston and found the ... Read More
We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience. We drove to Houston and found the port easy to find, quick to part and embarkation experience was efficient, shame this was on of the last cruises out of Houston. We were able to get on the ship by 12, found our room quickly and dropped any carry on's we had and headed to the Grand Pacific for lunch. We steered clear of the buffet based on cruise critic reviews, and were about the 10th people in the main dining room. Had a fantastic lunch and headed back to the room to find all the luggage delivered and got to work putting stuff away prior to the safety drill. After the mandatory fun we went to the pool deck to watch sail away. I felt that the deck was pretty crowded (especially once the weather turned nicer) but never had an issue getting a drink at the bar! We had the UBP promo, the bar staff was very friendly, never had to wait more than 2 minutes and also found the wait staff to be wonderful as well. Dining - We stuck to the buffet for breakfast which had wonderful choices, seating could be overwhelming, but you just had to look around. Ate one night in Alazar, thought that was just fine, good service and food was good. Ate twice in Blue Lagoon, the first night, service was great, fast and good food. Second time, service was pretty poor, took about 10 minutes to get a waiter to acknowledge us, food took forever to come out, we never went back. Ate at Jasmine Garden once, husband and I liked the food, kids weren't impressed. Entertainment - Saw David Naster (took the kids to the bullying show) thought he was very good. The Elements show was fantastic, Cripton was entertaining, and the Who show was good I thought. Children's Clubs - Our kids loved the Splash Academy. Based off reviews we made them go the first night (even though they were not overly thrilled) and they were so mad when we "made them leave" they couldn't wait until 10 am to head back the next day. We were pretty apprehensive prior to cruising just leaving our kids with "strangers" but the staff was excellent and I highly recommend NCL's children programming. Service - our cabin steward (Rodrigo) was AMAZING!!!!! He was very attentive, knew our names on day one and always asked how the kids were. It was my son's 7th birthday on board and he made sure to say happy birthday and give him a cupcake. All the staff on board the Jade was friendly and very hard working. We didn't come across anyone without a smile on their face and asking how you were doing. Excursions - we booked all of our excursions on our own. We did Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel. This was ok, winds and water were very very rough, so I think it would have been much more enjoyable if we weren't getting beat against the cages. In Belize we booked cavetubing/ziplining through cavetubing.bz (Valintino Rayes (sp?)) This was a great experience. I would highly recommend this company. In Roatan we went to Little French Key, we did the basic package ($55/USD) and would probably upgrade to the one including food and drinks when we go back. This location is beautiful and we hated to leave. We will definitely return to LFK if we visit Honduras again. We are hooked on cruising, our kids say they prefer it to our annual Disney World trips. We had such a fun time, we already booked our next cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had fantastic weather, great excursions and enjoyed the cruise. We arrived on the Friday and checked into the Doubletree beside the Bush Airport it had a supplied shuttle and we went to a cajun restaurant down the street and had ... Read More
We had fantastic weather, great excursions and enjoyed the cruise. We arrived on the Friday and checked into the Doubletree beside the Bush Airport it had a supplied shuttle and we went to a cajun restaurant down the street and had fantastic seafood dishes. We bought a few drinks and snacks for the cruise had a leisurely breakfast and ordered an uber to get us to the port. It was simple and quick and cost $47 for the two of us. We checked our bags and checked in for the cruise we got zone 5 and loaded the boat approx. noon. We went ot our room and checked it out small but functional, the mattresses looked worn and had a ridge in the middle of the mattresses. We had room 5574 mid ship, I liked the location we spent a lot of time on the 6th floor evenings in the lounges and ate at Alizar 3 times. We had dinner in the Grand Pacific I had made reservations and we got the worst possible table beside the prep station this pissed me off a little, service was good and we enjoyed the meal. Cozumel we just went ashore and wandered around doing some shopping, the Mexican vendors are very aggressive and i wanted to pummel a few of them they were so disrespectful, ask for a price and then the pressure sales tactics after were rediculous. Belize- The highlight, swam with the sharks and Rays had a great lunch on the island. The tour company was great and we booked through NCL. Honduras=--We went on the Jolly Roger catamaran snorkeling adventure, great snorkeling and friendly staff good lunch and beautiful soroundings Overall lots of fun we met some great people enjoyed the musicians in the lounges nightly, the comedy and acrobatic shows were excellent. The magic show was ok not my thing. I don't know if I will cruise again I prefer to go to a destination and explore it more than the 6hr window that you get with cruising. We loved Belize and will make that a future destination to visit. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the ... Read More
Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the breakfast selection. Two of our three destinations were cancelled, one due to engine trouble with the ship. But by far, the worst aspect of the cruise, was the customer service. Easily the worst customer staff I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing. Constantly making promises that were never met, claiming supervisors/management would be in contact with us concerning our issues. None of these things ever happened. The only compensation given for all these issues was a paltry $50.00 credit, and a credit towards a future cruise booking, which we won't be using. Apparently their idea of compensation for such a poor experience is the customer giving them more money. Company and staff refused to take ownership of any of the problems, and the story was different depending on which person you spoke to. We will be booking all of our future cruises with a different cruise line. The only positive parts of the cruise were that embarkation and disembarkation from ports of call were very easy and went quickly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Suprised I liked it so much! Took my 16 yo son for Spring Break. Cozumel, Belize, and Rotan. The room was decent (interior - no frills), good entertainment, and pretty good food. The workers were all friendly and really nothing to ... Read More
Suprised I liked it so much! Took my 16 yo son for Spring Break. Cozumel, Belize, and Rotan. The room was decent (interior - no frills), good entertainment, and pretty good food. The workers were all friendly and really nothing to complain about. Dining was in the "free" places (did not pay extra for any meals) and all were good, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Excursions were Playa Mia in Cancun (buffet, open bar, and sitting on the beach). If you need free wi-fi, go to Hooters in Cozumel, spend about $13 us and they will give you the code!!! Belize: Altun Ha. Long bus ride through the country and only about an hour and a half on site of the Mayan Ruins), Bay Islands: Forgot the name, but it's the private island with the animal refuge (about a 5-10 minute boat ride from the dock). Snorkeling $18, lots of animals to check out, and snorkeling on the reef. I am looking forward to my next cruise, as I am hooked! Tip....You can bring a case of water or soda, so do it! Also bring your own cup. 5 oz glasses don't cut it for me! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first cruise, I took my mom ( who is 79 and needs a wheelchair or scooter to get around) - and I was disappointed and also some things were great. However, more disappointed than great. Customer service needs a lot of ... Read More
This was our first cruise, I took my mom ( who is 79 and needs a wheelchair or scooter to get around) - and I was disappointed and also some things were great. However, more disappointed than great. Customer service needs a lot of help....even a little bit goes a long way. RUDE and not helpful AT ALL. ******* Beware I am going to write a novel ************** Check in was amazing - however, once one the ship - we were not EVEN greeted coming on board and we didn't stand in line....we didn't know where to go. Not even a HI. We made our reservations for the upgrade in dining and the lady/girl was EXTREMELY rude!! I asked some questions, because I didn't know what I was doing and she acted like it was putting her out to do her job. Found our stateroom, and Paul who was in charge of our room - knew our names and greeted us...he was AWESOME....Kudo's to PAUL all week long, he went above and beyond for us and he made this cruise better than it would have been with out him. We were suppose to keep our scooter in the room but if we brought it in you could use the bathroom at all without backing the scooter out into the hall way, and it barely fit as it was....very inconvenient. We found out on day 4 they have a charging station on deck 11 and they would come get it. So, when we called the first night - AGAIN the customer service DESK was freaking rude. they did come get it. We heard all these wonderful things about cruising, and expected to be pampered and have all this excellent service, yeah....ok. The SPA went above and beyond....I would do it everyday!! The service was above meeting your needs, customer service made you feel special and like you were the only one on the ship. Can't say enough about the spa, customer service desk on the main deck needs to go take some lessons from them on how to treat clients. We had the dining upgrade for our package here is the breakdown: * Pacific Main dinging was the best experience of the cruise - and it was free - not part of the upgrade package. I had the best risotto of my life, and the Cornish Game hen was baked to perfection!! Our waiter was spot on, and awesome - seriously the single best meal I've had in a VERY LONG TIME...and I entertain a lot of clients from other countries due to my job. My mom's meal was no exception - perfection! Congrats this was a grand slam and what we were looking forward too on this cruise. We had breakfast here too, and it was just as good.....hands down the best place on the ship. * Jasmine Garden - the worst meal we had on the ship. Seriously, I was very disappointed. The bright spot...the dumplings both steamed and fried were the highlight of the meal. My noodle soup came out basically cold. Mom's sweet and sour pork was luke warm at best. the fried rice was so oily we didn't eat it. The shrimp were so over cooked, we didn't finish the meal. We left and went to the Garden Café to eat. Worst meal we had on the ship by far. The table was dirty, asked for a cleaner glass for my mom. Icky from start to end. * Upgraded Specialty first one was the Brazilian Steak/BBQ - my mom loved it - never had anything like it before, she LOVED it. Tried all the different types of meat, she enjoyed herself. I've eaten at Brazilian before this one as slightly above average, I thought the buffet could have been better, it was pretty generic. The meal was good, and I enjoyed it. * Upgraded Specialty 2 - Italian - excellent food and service! The wine suggestion was spot on and it was a great experience by both of us. Service food, and cleanliness were great. The tiramisu was to DIE for....loved it. * Upgraded Specialty 3 - Cagney's steakhouse - beside the horribly rude customer service - they must have been working at Cagney's the night we ate there....hostess never ONCE acknowledged us, and had reservations and waited 30 minutes - because people kept walking up and she would help them and ignored us- I finally stopped a man in a suit who seated us. I was ticked off - BAD. Our dinner took over 2 hrs, our waiter was horrible - I honestly think he forgot about us. The we got our steaks, ICE cold....we sent them back. 30 min. later came out again, and the potatoes were cold. The butter was still hard, and the potato was COLD. The 3rd time - they actually brought me a steak cooked correctly, hot and it was the wrong steak. I ate it. All over the ship this was the "THE place" to eat...I wouldn't go back there at all - had better steaks at my local diners. Not to mention the absolute rudeness of everyone at Cagney's. * Upgrade Specialty 4 - French - this is almost a tie between the Pacifica and Le Bistro - the was absolutely the best food and atmosphere and it was second by a nose only to Pacifica. it would have won the meal battle, but my scallops came out luke warm at best, and our service was VERY slow, and if tried to ask him something he would just say he'd be back and keep going.....it took forever to get waited on....however, the food was to die for, perfection the escargot, scallops, cornets...all of it was spot on....LOVED it. The casino is below average - however the poker tables were Tons of fun, we had a set of regulars that played and we had fun...the house rake was ridiculous, the dealers Marcus, Vaso, and Viktor make it a ton of fun. I didn't meet anyone who won any money in the casino at all. $25 Pia Gow? Really? Team Trivia was a blast and so was the family insanity. Bingo was fun, but it was way to expensive for the 1-3 games you play - it's a racket for sure and the payout....what they keep 50% or more? Mom loved it so, OK. it was fun, but expensive. We had a family in the room next to ours with 2 kids, who cried and screamed and threw tantrums all freaking day and night! the dad was screaming at them and they would cry louder, and 1 time locked him out side on the balcony. The one time made him go in the hall way which he ran up and down at 2 am screaming and crying. Couldn't get any sleep. Cozemul was awesome, and mom had a wonderful time - she had never been out of the country....it was wonderful. NOW - this is probably the part which bothers me the most about the trip - I called NCL direct and must have said a thousand times, Mom was special needs we had to have a scooter to go anywhere. Over and over I made this statement, and we bought an ADA accessible room - everything! Over and over told them we were first time cruisers we didn't know all the questions to ask..... or what to expect. Belize and Honduras - mom never got to go ashore, because they have tender boats. NO pier docking!! So if you have a scooter or WC - most people didn't get to go visit because they were allowed on the tender boats due to weight limits and other liabilities....so for 2/3 rd of our cruise mom couldn't get off the ship and ENJOY and EXPERIENCE the parts we PAID for....NO where did it state we would use Tenders!! we didn't know to ask! Don't you think when booking and stating over and over about needing special needs and scooters someone should have said she wouldn't be able to get off in the ports? To me this is extremely poor customer service. It should have been brought to our attention, so we could check our options. I am 50/50 if I will cruise again...but if I do, it won't be on Norwegian - EVER. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We just had to get away from the cold (we live in Canada) and we wanted to try something new, so we decided to cruise for the first time. It was the best decision we could have taken by far. Having two young boys to entertain, our ... Read More
We just had to get away from the cold (we live in Canada) and we wanted to try something new, so we decided to cruise for the first time. It was the best decision we could have taken by far. Having two young boys to entertain, our vacations are very active (Disney, Universal, Six Flags, etc.) and often we come home feeling a little tired. We were a little afraid that our kids would get bored on a cruise for a week but my wife and I needed a to add more relaxation time to the mix. When I refer to relaxation, I mean not only resting physically but also not having to worry about transportation (driving around a city I don`t know is stressful for me, even with a GPS) and food (our kids have very different food tastes). After some online shopping for a cruise, we settled for the Jade. We got what I now consider to be a great deal. We loved everything about the ship. Previous to our trip we read in some reviews that the ship needed some TLC... NCL must have heard because I could not find anything in need of care. From my point of view, one would have to walk around with the sole purpose of finding broken, damaged or rusted stuff before a crew member does. There was always some sort of maintenance work being done and this, without inconveniencing the passengers. There was always some sort of activity going on, we enjoyed the live music, the late night dances and relaxing by the pool. The service was professional, efficient and friendly from start to finish. I loved Cozumel and Roatan but was left wondering why any cruise line would go to Belize, I did not enjoy my time there. I am happy to learn that NCL will have its own little resort starting later this year. Our cabin was just as described in the NCL website, so there were no surprises there. We sleep comfortably, our kids never complained. The dining was fantastic, at one point our kids were eating at the buffet and then we were going to the complementary restaurants (mainly the Grand Pacific) after dropping them off at the children`s club for a more refined diner experience. It was our little date while the kids enjoyed themselves at the children`s club. The evening shows were simply amazing. The singers, dancers, magician and acrobats were much, much better than I expected. The shows were one of my favorite activities on board, I was pleasantly surprised. The embarkation and disembarkation procedures took a little longer than I expected but after considering the number of people that have to get on and off it was understandable. In the end, we had a blast and our plans for future vacations have been radically changed. We will cruise a lot more that`s for sure. The question is, should I continue cruising with NCL or should I try other cruise lines, and since a small ship was able to wow me, I can only imagine what a newer and bigger ship will do. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Let me first say I am not a bot or employee of the cruise. I sell cars in Abilene, Tx. I usually don't write reviews but this cruise had so many negative reviews I just felt compelled to after my experience. We are 2 young couples ... Read More
Let me first say I am not a bot or employee of the cruise. I sell cars in Abilene, Tx. I usually don't write reviews but this cruise had so many negative reviews I just felt compelled to after my experience. We are 2 young couples (between 26 and 30) and 3 of us were on our 2nd cruise and one our first. I can't speak for the negative reviewers experience but if they had the same treatment we did then it is an attitude problem, not the cruiseline's problem. EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION: Unbelievably easy! Literally on and off the boat in under 30 minutes each. We were the only boat docked there at the time so we even got a spot within 100 yards of the boat. Less than half the time of the Carnival cruise we took. FOOD AND DRINK: We had the Ultimate Drink Package which is a MUST if you plan on drinking at all. Beers are about $6 and mixed drinks $8-9 so it is well worth it. The bartenders were very fast and attentive to the crowds and the waits were appropriate to how many people there were. Drinks made stronger upon request (and they took your request serious haha!) The food was very good, even on the buffet. Buffet had an incredibly wide variety of options (I love Indian food and had that almost every day). We got the 5 meal Specialty Dining Package and ate at every Specialty restaurant: Cagney's (Steakhouse), La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French), Moderno (churasciria), and Teppyanaki (Hibachi). All were good, not 5 star knock you back in your seat but very good. Teppyanaki was the highest quality and our favorite. CABIN: Yeah it was small, it's a freaking ship! But it was literally cleaned every time we requested and the shower was actually surprisingly big. ENTERTAINMENT: If you got bored on this boat then I feel incredibly sorry for you. All the stage acts that we made it to were great, Acrobats, Illusionist, Comedian. Only complaint is there was no Adults Only Comedy but I think that was more the comedian that was on the boat's style, not a ship issue. There was also something going on all day from bingo, trivia, couple's game's, stuff in Casino all the time. It just blows my mind there are seriously reviews that there's nothing to do. In all fairness, we don't have kids and aren't senior citizens though. PORTS/TENDERING: I'll keep these short and just say they were all amazing and just say the tendering went very smooth. Only suggestion is if you book an excursion outside NCL be up pretty early to get your tender ticket so you can get on shore first and start enjoying. CONCLUSION: Best vacation ever. Not just cruise but vacation. Norwegian definitely knows how to show a good time. But, I will say, if you are a pack-a-tuxedo-for-dinner or expect-a-waiter-every-10-seconds type cruiser, this may not be for you. Or if you're traveling with a bunch of kids, don't blame the cruise for making you unhappy, it's probably those dang kids.But for two late 20's couples, it was the best time we've ever had. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, vacationing is all about deciding to have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Are all cruise ships this boring? This was our first cruise and we really did not know what to expect. Before we left, our friends went on and on about all of the on board activities and the food. Our travel agent assured us we would ... Read More
Are all cruise ships this boring? This was our first cruise and we really did not know what to expect. Before we left, our friends went on and on about all of the on board activities and the food. Our travel agent assured us we would not be bored—wrong! The food in the dining room was very good, and the service was excellent. We had Anytime dinning and we only had a long wait (40 minutes) on one night. Please note that we always asked to share a table. I do wish that priority was given to those who actually signed up for Anytime dinning. Many of the traditional dinners like to crash our room to the point that there were two nights that we were taken to the traditional seating dining room because it was virtually empty. Now for the activities....Were there any besides the floating infomercial about art, health, beauty, jewelry or photography, and/or activities designed for you to spend additional money like bingo or the casino? Okay, there were trivia games--good luck getting a seat near the game. There were movies under the sun/stars, and there was a nightly "show" which you needed to arrive 45 minutes before to get a decent seat. If you arrived much later you might be lucky enough to nab a single seat between two strangers. I was thankful for the shows since they provided some much needed entertainment; although, they were nothing special or memorable. Shore days seemed to be loaded with great on board activities, which made no sense since the majority of the passengers got off the ship. Out of desperation I went to a line dance class that lasted less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it was not very fun. We even tried to listen to a music group in one of the lounges while having a night cap. The group was actually very good, but we did not arrive at the right time since after 3 songs they took a 30 minute break. Several of the other couples we spoke to mentioned how board they were on this cruise. One man said he had already read 3 books because there was nothing else that interested him. On a positive note, I did enjoy the Theater Tour and the Kitchen Tour, but could not understand the crew member who gave the navigation talk. We loved 2 of our 3 shore tours. Rio Secreto, a tour on the Cozumel stop, was the highlight of the trip. It was worth every penny, and budget an additional $40 to $80 (depending on your negotiation skills) for the photo CD. The lunch served was very good and they offered us free shots of anise flavored liquor. This tour saved the cruise for us, and immediately changed our attitude about cruises. Our second stop was Honduras where we opted for Gumbalimba Park (bring $3 for a locker rental) and Tabyana Beach. Both were fun, and we got great photos with the monkeys and parrots, and enjoyed swimming in the warm Caribbean water. The lunch that was included was excellent, and there was ample security at the beach. If we return to Honduras, we will either do a beach day or snorkeling. Our last stop was Belize and unfortunately, we selected the wrong tour for us. We took the Altun Ha Maya Site and a River boat tour. It was a long hot day, and our guide, Marcela, did not have the energy or sense of humor of our previous guides; however, she was knowledgeable and passionate about her country. I tired quickly of her bringing in “helper” guides who wanted to be tipped but did not add anything to the tour. In all, I think there 10 people who we were asked to tip. The most glaring example of unnecessary guides, was Raquel, who repeated word for word a script Marcela had given earlier. To make matters worse, the lunch served was the worst meal we had on the entire trip; however, I did appreciate the bottled water and bottled soft drink that was included. If we return to Belize we will do the zip line and cave tubing. I was very pleased with our Baja deck 11 balcony cabin, and our steward, Richard, was very attentive. There was a constant "vibration" in the bathroom and throughout the cabin, but we got used to it. In addition, the ship did sway and list more than we thought it would. The TV in the room had 3 movies channels, a couple ESPN stations, and re-runs of the Love Boat. Our remote was hit and miss, and the reception on the TV was not consistent, but I did not take a cruise to watch hours of TV in my cabin. There was someone smoking nearby since when we would open up the balcony door, the smell would fill the room. Richard, the steward had stopped by for some reason and asked if we were smoking in the room. I invited him in and said it was a daily occurrence, but that I could not determine where the smell was coming from. He went out on the balcony, but also could not see where the smoke was coming from. He said he would report it and they would look into it further since smoking is not permitted on the balcony or in the cabin. On disembarkment day, we were delayed into the Port of Houston due to high winds—no fault of Princess or the crew. We had been told that our cruise was the first is several weeks that left the port on time, so it was not a huge surprise to be arriving back late. This meant that our 8:05 AM disembarkment group was moved to after 3:00 PM. Once the ship docked in port at 12:30 PM, we were asked to leave our stateroom which meant all of the public areas were very, very crowded. Thankfully for us, we were driving home, and not flying, as many of our new friends missed connections. If you booked your airfare through Princess, they paid for and arranged all ticket changes. If you booked airfare on your own, then you were out of luck, and Princess seemed very unsympathetic. Many complained that they were forced to buy internet minutes or incur large phone bills to try and rebook while still aboard the ship. Others lamented that the airline ticket change fee might be as much as they paid for the cruise. Lesson to the wise— book your airfare through the cruise line, buy trip insurance or refundable/changeable tickets, and/or add a day or two onto the trip to ensure a stress free flight home. Although we found the ship itself very boring and lacking in quality activities, we thought our cabin steward, dinning room staff and food were outstanding, and we enjoyed meeting new people, and the land excursions so much that we are already planning our next cruise—most likely on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Maybe we were going in with so many preconceived ideas that cruises were the best thing since slice bread? We just found this Cruise just okay! There wasn't lots wrong, it just didn't really meet outstanding expectations? ... Read More
Maybe we were going in with so many preconceived ideas that cruises were the best thing since slice bread? We just found this Cruise just okay! There wasn't lots wrong, it just didn't really meet outstanding expectations? First, everytime I called Norwegian with questions, I was informed that since I did not book directly with Norwegian they cannot help me. Even on the Ship, with questions pertaining to Shore Excursions which again, I was always told that they were unable to help me. I just think, no matter how a person booked the travel, that person is now a Customer of the cruise line but with that kind of customer service, I guess not. We booked the Norwegian Airport/Port shuttle. Our Airport-Port shuttle was so late and we drove around IAH several times, we were 2.5 hours later than the original shuttle time. I wouldn't book a cruise shuttle again, just take a taxi. Everything was EXTRA, drinks, wifi, etc. I didn't mind paying the Service charge with the idea that it eliminates the Gratuities, but if you order a drink you are automatically charged 18% gratuity. I purchased the Specialty meal package automatically charged the gratuity but when they print you out the bill, it has a line for extra gratuity. Always with the hand out. ALL the food was GOOD, no matter where you ate, good selection! The Port and Shore excursion process was a bit tedious with very little information. Again, asking for information to a Norwegian employee the response was always, you did not book through Norwegain, I cannot help you. The Cozumel port was the easiest as they ship docked and you did not need to take a Tender. We did speak to other 'cruisers' and many of them veterans of the cruise vacations but each one of them recommended Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my first cruise and it was not horrible. I've read some real horror stories and feel fortunate none of those things happened to us. I was not impressed, however, with the experience. I'm low maintenance. I don't ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was not horrible. I've read some real horror stories and feel fortunate none of those things happened to us. I was not impressed, however, with the experience. I'm low maintenance. I don't care about having towels folded into animals. I don't need to be besties with the bartender or wait staff. Here's what bothered me about it. There were a ridiculous amount of people. The buffet was like a fight to the death for food. The bartenders were sometimes nice and sometimes rude. There were not enough bartenders. We did not have a drink package, as I absolutely refused to pay $1200 for drinks for 2 people. We do indulge at times, but are not huge drinkers anymore. The problem is there's not much else to do but go to the many bars and drink. So we're paying up to $13 a drink (beer and some other drinks are a little cheaper). They force you to pay 18% gratuity on top of that. They are using the absolute cheapest well liquors available and the drinks are not very strong. Too much mix of any kind means sugar overload or heartburn. I just wanted a few good, strong cocktails. By the end of it, I learned to order something they couldn't water down like a dirty martini. Enough about drinks. I really felt like they nickel and dime you to death. The forced gratuity, the daily $13.95 charge per person, the "free" room service that cost $7.95 per person, etc. When the guy came to lock our mini fridge, he argued with us about what we had taken, which was one very pricey Red Bull. He looked around our cabin and questioned us about water my mother had given me, which she had purchased. He questioned us about a diet Pepsi that we got elsewhere on the ship. Really annoying. The pool: this was a big one for me, as I was looking forward to some pool time in the winter. The pools are tiny. One pool is for adults only. Professional cruisers put their towels on chairs early in the morning to hold them all day. One day we got chairs at the pool. Could I have done the same thing? Yes, but it didn't feel right to me. The day we got there early I saved 2 extra seats for my sister and brother in law and felt really guilty. A lot of these professional cruisers simply do not care about anyone but themselves. We never had beach towels in our rooms. I have never cruised before and didn't know I was supposed to have them. We asked for some at the pool and had to put down a deposit. The guy said they should have been in our room but not his problem. Take it up with housekeeping. When I went to return the towels, the guy didn't speak English and just kept shoving a clipboard at me. I didn't understand what he wanted me to do. Finally, he just motioned for me to put them in the bin. I'm scared I'm going to end up with a charge on my card for them. We had lots of fun in the ports. We did our own thing and did not do the excursions. Be aware that you are going to poverty stricken countries. You are rich to them, and they are trying to survive. They will not hesitate to rip you off, so you just have to be careful. We went to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Be very careful if you leave the port in Belize. It is dangerous. We hired a local to show us around. He was a big guy, packing a big gun. We got to see the real city and enjoyed it, although some things we saw were quite sad. I wish there would have been more time in the ports but I guess that's just part of cruising. One very disturbing thing happened to us. I can't prove anything but my husband may have been drugged. He had three drinks on New Years eve and totally blacked out. He doesn't remember ordering a $200 bottle of champagne. I was shocked and horrified, as we are not wealthy people. Right after that he literally fell over and I had to have help getting him back to the room. I was not intoxicated at all. He drank no more than I did. He felt dizzy and off for at least 24 hours. It was a scary experience and the only motivation I can think of for someone doing this would be the large automatic tip on the champagne. We were told by our guide in Belize that crew members buy drugs in the ports and sell them to passengers, so I don't find it totally out of the realm of possibility that he was drugged. I don't know. Maybe it was just some weird reaction. We will never know for sure. Heads up people. Never assume you are safe. Another thing that may be more of a suggestion than a complaint is that it's really hard if you're traveling with others to find them. The ship is like a city. If you don't plan to meet someone, you probably won't see them. If you text, you're going to be charged ridiculous rates. We should've taken walkie talkies. It would be nice if the ship had an app that would allow you to contact other passengers. I'm sure NCL would charge you an arm and a leg to use it though. My fault for not planning on that one. I found the cabin to be satisfactory. No complaints. They are small but it was fine. There is an amazing amount of storage in such a tiny space. We had a window room on the 5th deck. We liked watching the waves. Over 24 hours off the boat and I'm still dizzy. I feel like I'm on drugs or something. Just be aware of that if you have to go straight back to work or have something to do. I feel like you need a little recovery time. Like I said, this was my first cruise. I did a lot of research but still felt like I didn't know what was going on half the time. I just wasn't a huge fan of the whole experience. I would rather pay more and not feel nickeled and dimed to death or maybe go to an all inclusive resort. That's just me though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, ... Read More
My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, activities, and excursions. We decided to take almost all of the advice contained in our check in paperwork from NCL. We flew the day before embarkation, and stayed at a hotel within 25 miles of port. On embarkation day, our paperwork advised us to show up between 1:30 and 2:00. It stated not to arrive outside this window, as you would be asked to wait until your time, or may be late. We arrived at 1:35 and got in line. Line took about :30. The young lady checked our passports and documents, but was unable to answer any other questions we had about the cruise. We headed for the gangway and boarded. We researched very well, and knew exactly how to get to our stateroom. We stayed obstructed ocean view, port, mid. The room was decent, but the bed was very uncomfortable. The A/C remained on the coolest setting all week, and still did not get comfortable. There was plenty of room for our 3 suitcases, toiletries, etc. The view was not ideal, but we were able to see to one side of a lifeboat whether we were near land or not. Our steward: at first impression he was adequate, offering extra towels and information about the safety drill. Sleeping was a challenge due to temperature, and lack of comfort of the bed. Due to the A/C issue, we sweated a bit, and we requested all of the sheets be changed every other night. The comforter and towels were changed, but never the fitted sheet. We also found our "fresh" pillowcases with stains. We had communication issues all week, and we still don't believe he understands english. This contributed to many issues including overcharges on laundry, and others. We had a few drinks while still in port, and were skeptical when the bartender told us despite the fact that our tabs were around $16, we would only end up paying the tax on each tab until we reached international waters; that was true. After spending $3000 on the cruise, we decided not to spend any more on the "premium" dining options onboard. We tried all of the restaurants included in our cruise price. First was Grand Pacific. We waited about 10 minutes to be seated, and about 15 minutes to see our waitress after being seated. It was as if the cruise staff was not expecting the amount of cruisers on the ship. Our waitress took our orders for drinks, apps, and entrees all at once. She returned to our table 2 times total, once for drinks and apps, and once for entrees. Our food was bland, and barely warm. We began exploring the ship. The bartenders were friendly and upbeat everywhere we went. Unfortunately they were the only staff on the ship, with the exception of a few, that were professional and seemed to care. Sunday morning we attempted to have breakfast at the buffet. The food was poor quality, and not hot. This continued to be the case throughout the week. We attempted to participate in several activities, and several times, we arrived to empty rooms or areas, where the activities never happened. Monday we arrived in Cozumel. We did not prepay for any excursions, due to the high costs, and I'm glad we didn't. At each port, we found that you can easily fulfill any of the excursions sold by NCL for much cheaper than their prices. You can also barter prices and times with the tour operators,taxis, etc. We observed hundreds of fellow NCL guests waiting in the hot sun for later tours, when they could have saved money, and gone on the "sold out" earlier tour if they chose to haggle once in port. We got off the boat(free) and did some shopping at the mall. The quality and prices of typical tourist souvenirs are similar at all 3 ports. Tuesday we arrived near Belize. The waves were rough, and we decided not to leave the ship. Wednesday we arrived at Roatan, and boarded the tender for the island. We grabbed some seats at Monkey Lala's and waited for the lines to dissipate before haggling with a cabbie for a round trip to the west end for $50. They even threw in a translator (who tried to sell us all kinds of things). The west end beach was gorgeous, and americanized enough for us to enjoy a fantastic pizza, and a few drinks at the Thirty Turtle. We may plan a return visit here via airplane. Last tender back to the ship was supposed to be at 5:00, but at 5:15, we found more seats at Monkey Lala to wait for the enormous line to dissipate. The meals continued to be bland, cold, and flavorless, except for Jasmine Garden. This was our only solace in a world of terrible cuisine. I recommend you request Lady as your waitress. She, along with bartenders Aan (pool deck and martini bar) and Garfield (Great Outdoors) were the only 3 members of the NCL team that understood how to provide excellent service, and go out of their ways to make sure we felt appreciated as NCL guests. We could not wait to disembark Saturday morning. We chose the "freestyle" plan, and were anxiously awaiting clearance to get off the nightmare that was the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is my first time cruise so everything on a cruise ship looks new to me. Every night, the ship is loaded with different shows and most of them are actually very good. You can go to the buffet dinning or pay extra to different type ... Read More
This is my first time cruise so everything on a cruise ship looks new to me. Every night, the ship is loaded with different shows and most of them are actually very good. You can go to the buffet dinning or pay extra to different type dinning. One problem is the food is so salty. Not sure what's wrong with the chefs on the ship. People are talking about gaining weight after cruise but not for my family. My wife actually got stomach virus for 2 days after this cruise trip. Another thing I don't understand is the ship departs from Roatan Island at 4PM but arrives at port of Houston the night before the end of cruise. So it looks to me that the ship has plenty of time to get back. If so, why not left people stay in Roatan Island longer? I also call the guest service a few times during the day but nobody answers the phone which is weird. One of my cabin with bad safe but is never fixed during the trip. Overall, the service on the Jade is OK. If I were asked to take another cruise trip, it definitely won't be NCL Jade. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I feel I must have been on another cruise to some of my fellow reviewers. Embarkation went smoothly and we was in our cabin with the luggage by 1.30pm. Pre order bottles of water and our cabin steward emptied the mini bar so we could fit ... Read More
I feel I must have been on another cruise to some of my fellow reviewers. Embarkation went smoothly and we was in our cabin with the luggage by 1.30pm. Pre order bottles of water and our cabin steward emptied the mini bar so we could fit them inside. Our cabin steward was a lovely man who couldn't do enough to make our stay comfortable, every night we had towel animals. This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect but had read previous reviews and were a little concerned. However, we soon realised that our worries were unfounded and we had a really enjoyable time. We had a meet and greet with senior staff who explained that from 2017 they would not be using the port of Houston due to various restrictions and taxes placed on them by the State of Texas, plus the possibility of fog. We did not do any of the shows but spent time in the bars and enjoyed the musicians, particularly Nathaniel who was always ready with an Elton John tune whenever he saw us walk in. We had not booked the speciality dining package but, found the food in all of the restaurants to be of a good standard. The menu was varied each day and you could have as much or little as you wanted. There is no charge for continental breakfast delivered to your room each morning although, a tip of a few dollars is always appreciated. We never really had to wait for a table apart from once, when had a 45min wait. Never really had to wait long for a drink at the bars either and the waiter does come around the tables to see who wants a drink. Also must mention the washy washy happy happy man - he is a legend and I hope NCL recognise the positives comments other reviews have made about him. The Christmas Eve sing a long with Philly Joel and his team was great. Never had a problem getting a sun lounger and used the adults pool and hot tubs. We did Mr Sanchos in Mexico, which was great value at 55 dollars each for all inclusive, just grab a taxi from the pier. Did not book an excursion in Belize but had lunch at the Wet Lizard in port. We booked an excursion with NCL in Roatan to Tabyana Beach, it was expensive at 72 dollars each and only included lunch and a sun lounger. We also used the spa and the beauty salon and prices were comparable to at home. Overall very satisfied with the cruise and thought it was very good value for money. Will definitely be booking with NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all ... Read More
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all attempts at resolution, both on-board and after disembarkation with "customer service". Stateroom 617 1) Accommodations- Princess Cruise lines claims on their website to offer "Premium accommodations and luxurious appointments" for their balcony staterooms, which was the cabin type we purchased. On top of our accommodation being very dirty (we have pictures) there was a deep persistent rattle under our bed, which shook the entire bed, to the point we could not sleep at night. We also experienced night crews working right over our room and noise in the hallways, such as loud thumping, chaise lounges being moved, machinery being run at night etc. We tried to get our room changed, and would have even paid for an upgrade, but the only available cabin was not of similar or better accommodation. There was also a septic stench at times, as the toilet next to our room kept malfunctioning. Additionally, we had a Norovirus outbreak on our ship, meaning we were confined to this cabin under quarantine, and we could not get food delivered to our room. After we disembarked we discovered this 50 year old ship has one of the highest rates of Norovirus. 2) Service Issues- We have numerous complaints documenting the poor service from the room service to the dining staff, and multiple cases of rude employees, saying shocking statements to us like, "It doesn't matter how long your food takes, you are under quarantine". Room service was took anywhere form 1-2 hours, and our order never came to us correctly, missing items, broken coffee pots, etc. Several times when we called the phone just rang and rang. Despite claims by Princess Cruise lines that standards of dining-dressing would be enforced, they never were, adding to the over all lackluster experience. The poor service has continued since we have been off the ship with our dealings with post- cruise customer relations. 3) Product claims- We felt that we have been falsely advertised to- the entertainment was far from "world class" as claimed by Princess, and most of the activities are centered around a "sales" pitch for you to buy something. The food was billed as "gourmet" yet we received microwaved breakfast sandwiches and many other simply terrible items. Additionally, we had asked for a private dining experience, yet we were seated with another couple and served at the same time by the waiter, who treated us the entire time as if we were a "4 some". This is on top of an expensive shore excursion we took that was advertised as "very active" yet was 6 hours of driving, and simply walking at a slow pace over flat ground. Additionally, numerous times on our trip we went to use amenities, hot tubs pools, stores etc, and they were closed. This entire cruise was "oversold" to us. Ultimately, we have pages and pages documenting our entire bad experience. We are seeking a refund for our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Departed four hours late, swimming pool closed 5 out of 7 days. Spending card mixup took 3 hours and part of two days to get credited items that someone else purchased with our room key. Exiting and returning to ship at ports took more ... Read More
Departed four hours late, swimming pool closed 5 out of 7 days. Spending card mixup took 3 hours and part of two days to get credited items that someone else purchased with our room key. Exiting and returning to ship at ports took more time than we got to spend in Honduras and Belize. Food was Goodbar of the time, the 18% mandatory gratuity added on was confusing after paying 300$ prepay gratuity. Very poor communication from ship leadership to passengers. Almost none. Never saw the captain on the bridge, checked everyday several times. Only time I did see him was when we were trying to leave Houston and he was yelling and cussing at the crew loading some type of steel construction stuff, making us 4 hours late! They managed to break both bottles of rum from Belize that they confiscate until end of trip. Lots of other crazy bad hospitality issues like it was there first practice cruise. But, half moon bay in Honduras is amazing, eat the fresh lobster and Conch. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was the very first cruise ever for me and my husband. We enjoyed getting to know some of the crew members & learning about cruising around the world. Loved the destinations visited: Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras; people were ... Read More
This was the very first cruise ever for me and my husband. We enjoyed getting to know some of the crew members & learning about cruising around the world. Loved the destinations visited: Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras; people were extremely courteous and friendly, tasty food and needless to say...wonderful beaches. Unfortunately one of our tors was canceled due to the rain and we couldn't experience cave tubing in Belize so we decided to do snorkeling, which, I highly recommend to anybody who is into water sports, it is absolutely breathtaking. Inside of the ship most of the crew members were friendly and some others were not - I assumed this is part of learning from many different personalities and cultures from around the world. The food was good and there was plenty of variety, I wouldn't say it was excellent but I guess that comes along with the price we paid for it. What we enjoyed the most was the entertainment; great shows every night, talented dancers, phenomenal acrobats, a great magician and a comedian as well. We loved our first cruise experience and are already discussing which will be our next one! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! The Jewel is a bit older, and seems geared to an older crowd. We chose a cruise that was after school spring breaks and of a length that most working adults could not get away: hence, it was nearly all retired people. While we are younger, that pace was ideal for us. We don't drink or gamble or need spectacular shows to keep us entertained: spending the day reading, talking together, meeting a few interesting people and having a menu of possible but not pressing events was just ideal. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but having a cabin steward make up our cabin every morning and return to tidy it before bed was heavenly! We had cute towel animals whenever we got out of the cabin for turn down. Some people have complained about the food on Jewel, and I will admit that one of the meals we had at Chin Chin during lunch time was cold: the tea was cold, the entree's were cold, it was like some piece of equipment had failed. However, everything--even the too cold food--was prepared artfully, creatively with fresh and appropriate ingredients, inventive recipes with influence from multiple cultural traditions. While I will grant that there were repeat dishes on the menus and buffet, there were many choices and specials to keep it interesting. It was also easy to eat a delicious and healthy diet--many fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar free desserts, multiple protein choices. While there were tempting desserts and breads, if you wanted to avoid them, there is no need to feel deprived. A few days into the cruise, we discovered that the Italian Restaurant next to the Garden Cafe is open for overflow seating during breakfast and lunch! So we took our buffet plates in there, where the tables are charming wood, the walls real brick arches, and the viewing of the ocean is ideal. We enjoyed long brunch conversations while watching sea turtles, porpoise, and flying fish go by. I enjoyed dragging my husband to the dance lessons offered most days. There were several kinds of linedancing, swing dance, waltz, square dancing salsa and merangue. The one thing I did wish was that the instruction was more geared to just dancing with a partner to music rather than doing a routine. Those teaching are show dancers and seemed to relate more to teaching a dance to perform rather than teaching how to lead/follow and a vocabulary of moves. I had heard that there would be sales at the store just before the last day but that did not happen. Rather, there were specials on various items throughout the cruise and not everything went on sale at any given time. I was also surprised that the number of things like games offered at the store was limited. However, if you wanted any toiletry, candy, t-shirt, underwear, clothes, luggage, etc it is a good (if expensive) option. I liked shopping there. We booked ship excursions in all but one port, where we had a private guide. You do lose a little time when the ship first docks when you choose to do this--you have to wait until the tour operators are ready for you, and wait your turn to disembark. This means an extra two hours on board sometimes. In Cabo San Lucas, we were able to grab an early tender and meet up with our tour at the pier instead of waiting to be dismissed from the ship with our group. This allowed us to do some shopping that we would not have had time to do. I loved that you just don't hear "no" on board. No one tells you when to eat or sleep or where to be or what to do, it is completely relaxing. The staff is laid back and friendly and really good at making you feel welcome. They have also apparently toned down some of the selling that perhaps has happened on other ships or in other times, because we did not feel pressed to buy drinks or anything. Yes, you can definitely spend a lot of extra money: but no one is going to make you feel bad if you choose something else instead. We stayed at the Best Western Suites in Seabrook before we boarded. It has a free shuttle to the cruise port and is a terrific place to be the night before a cruise. I wish there had been more educational opportunities on board, lecture series or the like. Don't miss the Spinnaker Lounge, even if you don't drink! It has the best views and the most unusual furniture. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My first cruise and it couldn't have been any better unless the captain could have added at least eight more hours to every day! Cabin was excellent, food to much and excellent, crew VERY NICE. Thought the two day sail from Roatan ... Read More
My first cruise and it couldn't have been any better unless the captain could have added at least eight more hours to every day! Cabin was excellent, food to much and excellent, crew VERY NICE. Thought the two day sail from Roatan was going to be long and boring, WRONG so many things to do on the ship and not enough time to do them all. Really wanted to take the ship tour but again not enough time. EVERYONE from the captain to the new friends I made were nothing short of great. Already have my deposit down for next year and might even go again this November. EXCELLENT time! So glad I picked this ship don't know how the people on those HUGE ships (4000 plus) move around. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I had never imagined that I would have such an awesome experience on a cruise. I think what made it so amazing overall was having my partner to share the experience with. We met so many friendly people, both staff and other people on the ... Read More
I had never imagined that I would have such an awesome experience on a cruise. I think what made it so amazing overall was having my partner to share the experience with. We met so many friendly people, both staff and other people on the cruise. The staff deserves the highest praise as they were always so friendly and so helpful. The food was good in the restaurants. We didn't do any of the dress-up dining choices as I had no desire to be dressed up while on vacation. T-shirts, shorts and sandals were our staple. It was so awesome to have breakfast on the rear deck every morning, except for one day we had breakfast at Tsar's Palace and sat near the big windows overlooking the sea. Truly breathtaking! I wasn't too impressed with Cozumel or Belize City. We did do ziplining in Cozumel. It was a short taxi ride to the compound where they had 6 lines, which we did twice. It was a good starter zipline experience. I would definitely do it again, and would love to do the ziplining in Roatan. We didn't do any excursions in Belize City, other than our own trip by taxi to the casino at the Ramada, not far from the docks where we came in and left from the tenders. The casino was quite sad, so we stayed only half an hour. We did a catamaran and snorkeling excursion in Honduras. We had the best time! We sailed from the port next to the cruise ship around the north end of the island where we snorkeled for an hour. It was my first time to snorkel and I enjoyed it very much. I was quite hesitant at first, but having the life jacket to keep me afloat helped allay my initial fears. We saw lots of beautiful fish and coral in the waters just off the coast. After the snorkeling, we returned to the catamaran and were fed and given rum punch. My partner and I then got some people up to dance, as the crew had music going and encouraged us to dance! I hope to go back to Roatan as it was so beautiful and charming. The return trip home was bittersweet. I was sad to be going home but at the same time the amount of time on the trip was just enough. We saw an amazing show called Luminescence, which was Cirque-like. We spent a good amount of time in the casino and cigar lounge and met a number of people there. When my partner lost his ship card, we went to replace it. The woman who helped us, Natasha, was so awesome and she knew we were too, so much that she had a bottle of wine and chocolate truffles sent to our room that night. I highly recommend the Norwegian Jewel from Houston for anyone! I would love to sail on that ship again, but to different ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This Cruise was a celebration of my wife's battle of overcoming Cancer. We left Kansas City the night before and arrived in Houston almost two hours late due to air delays. We stayed at the LaQuinta on NASA Parkway, and basically just ... Read More
This Cruise was a celebration of my wife's battle of overcoming Cancer. We left Kansas City the night before and arrived in Houston almost two hours late due to air delays. We stayed at the LaQuinta on NASA Parkway, and basically just slept, ate breakfast and left. The taxi ride to the hotel and cruise terminal was fine, and the driver was great about telling us bits of information. Upon arrival to the cruise terminal, we gave out bags to the gentlemen outside, and that was the last time that we saw them until they ended up at our stateroom door later on. The Embarkation process was easy, as we were given a boarding group number, and once that was called we proceeded onto the ship where we had lunch at O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill on Deck 8 Mid. I will say that most of the food on board is pretty bland and flavorless, but overall very good- More on that later. We were allowed into our staterooms a little before 1PM, and upon entering the room, the congratulations package that I had ordered for my wife was there with streamers and a large cake. The cake was vanilla with Lemon and Strawberry- WHAT?! What celebration cake is lemon and strawberry? Where is the chocolate?? :) We dropped our bags in the room and explored the ship, including the booking of a couple of shore excursions. 4PM was the departure time, and we headed up to the very front of the ship to see us pull away. (Deck 14 I believe) The ship's horns are right above that deck, so when we did start moving, everyone soiled themselves when the 3 blasts of the horn sounded. The shows on the Jewel were amazing, and the cruise director, Jaime was awesome at keeping us up to date with everything that was going on. The restaurants were all nice, and had quite a few options. It is very easy to overdo it here. The Garden Cafe was the buffet, and the highlight there was Washy Washy man, with his guitar that he would play for hours on end and sing about washy washy to tunes like "London Bridge is falling down"... "Washy Washy Good For you, Good For Me, Good For Us..." The biggest rip-off by far is the pictures on the ship- you spend over $130 for 10 pictures. That piece is highway robbery in my opinion. Also, the tax and duty-free shops were good from some things, and not good for others, so be careful and know what you are buying. The port shopping consultant on board, Dani, was amazing and was honestly probably our hero of the cruise. When we stopped in Roatan, we were in Diamond's International. It was Dani's day off, and she came through in street clothes, but still worked with the salespeople to get us the best deal possible. We did shore excursions in Cozumel and Roatan. In Cozumel, we did the Dune Buggy and Beach Snorkel. This was a great relaxing and fun excursion for people who like adventure and can drive a MANUAL Transmission. It was painful to see all of the people who couldn't and were killing the clutch and transmissions on the buggys. In Roatan we did the South Shore Zip Line Adventure, and that was beyond amazing. It was only about a 20 minute or so bus ride to the location, and once we got geared up, we began the zip line adventure. It was absolutely amazing to zip line over the forest of Roatan, and is something that I will remember for a LONG time. A small note, you CAN bring your cameras with you even though the sign says not to... They are just not responsible if it gets dropped or broken. Overall, for a first cruise, I can't find much to complain about other than the cabin and the rip off that the pictures were. (See Cabin review for more on that) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After years of turning down cruise options for a vacation my wife and I finally gave in and went on this one during spring break with our youngest son and his family, including three younger children. We had a wonderful time, weather was ... Read More
After years of turning down cruise options for a vacation my wife and I finally gave in and went on this one during spring break with our youngest son and his family, including three younger children. We had a wonderful time, weather was great, and we just can't say enough about the staff. Everyone of them were outstanding. Special "shout-out" to Elvis in the dining room and Leon who took care of our stateroom all week. These two gentlemen went way above and beyond whatever their job description states. The shore excursion that we all enjoyed in particular was swimming with rays and sharks off the coast of Belize. While the smaller boat trip was a bit long, it was well worth it and the cost as the guides (especially Phillipe who was assigned to us) were extremely helpful. He was incredibly attentive and made sure our younger grandchildren, as well as my wife (who didn't even snorkel in Hawaii!) felt safe and had the opportunity to experience everything possible along the reef. A life-remembering experience on this excursion. Another huge shout-out to the Navigator of the Seas staff who made every possible attempt to keep us healthy by constantly cleaning all public areas. None of us, not even the children, had any sickness whatsoever. My wife and I are discriminating travelers so to give this high of an evaluation is meaningful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We noticed immediately that cruise companies cater to people who like gamble and smoke because on the Jewel, Deck 6 is where the casino is located. And adjacent to the casino was the theater, the smoke would invade into that area and it ... Read More
We noticed immediately that cruise companies cater to people who like gamble and smoke because on the Jewel, Deck 6 is where the casino is located. And adjacent to the casino was the theater, the smoke would invade into that area and it would be very uncomfortable. Another area that made us uncomfortable was on Deck 12 near the Spa where the ladies who hang out like "hookers" enticing you into the spa. My wife would not even go near that area even if it was close to the pool. We liked the Deck 7, Promenaded Deck but since it was a smoking deck we could not find a place to relax away from the people went there to smoke. We really enjoyed The Great Outdoors because we could relax under a canopy and drink coffee or water and read while reading or talking. The shore excursions were very fun. Our time in Trujillo was the highlight of our trip because it was the most authentic of all the ports of call. It was not tainted by "Diamonds International" mentality. We loved Belize and Cozumel also. We got lost in Cozumel. I felt our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was poor organized and we didn't get to meet anyone from our roll call. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I found a handful of people complaining about length of time to get a drink. We found the best waiter the 1st day & our group just meshed with him. He had the best personality & went the extra mile for us daily. We usually started ... Read More
I found a handful of people complaining about length of time to get a drink. We found the best waiter the 1st day & our group just meshed with him. He had the best personality & went the extra mile for us daily. We usually started out the day with a nice tip because he was well deserving of it. I hope you all are lucky enough to meet Oswell Raymond. He will make your trip extra special. You will leave feeling like family! Food was always good. The sushi was delicious & well worth the little extra. Music by the pool was always upbeat & fun. The comedian was pretty funny too. My only complaint would be the bathroom close to the pool. It was clean, but each day it stunk like yearn a bit more. By the end of day five I didn't even bother using that room - the indoor room was very close by so, it was never a bother! I am anxious to take my next Norwegian cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just got off of the Norwegian Jewel two days ago.This was the first cruise for my wife and I. Before we headed out, we wondered how it would compare to the land-based vacations we have taken in the past...Here is what we thought: ... Read More
We just got off of the Norwegian Jewel two days ago.This was the first cruise for my wife and I. Before we headed out, we wondered how it would compare to the land-based vacations we have taken in the past...Here is what we thought: About us: To give you a little perspective, we are a couple in our early to mid 40s. We have three children, but none of them accompanied us on this cruise (for the first time in 20 years). We have vacationed in about every way possible on land...everything from rustic cabins in the woods, road trips to Disney (from Illinois) on a budget, to the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica..and everything in between. Accomodations: We booked an aft facing Penthouse suite. It was awesome, and comparable with a very nice hotel..perhaps a bit smaller than the Ritz, but very comfortable. The soap/shampoo/ conditioner supplied in the room is all high quality. The shower had great water pressure. The suite was well lit, modern, and clean..all the things you hope for. If there was one drawback, I would have liked more channels on the television.. programming choice was pretty limited. The difference versus land-based: I have never stayed at a resort with service quality as strong as this. It was incredible-better than the Ritz. Our stateroom was made-up twice a day by an amazing room steward who always turned down our bed,set the lighting in our room, drew the curtains every night, created a new towel animal for us, and left mints on our pillows. We were impressed-every night. We had an assigned butler who would drop off snacks to our room every afternoon. She did a fantastic job of making sure we had everything we needed, and was very prompt and knowledgeable. I cant think of a way to improve service or cleanliness of the room. Food: We have stayed at "all-inclusive" resorts before and have never been overly impressed with the food quality. This is different. We had the Ultimate dining package, so we ate at a different specialty restaurant every night. I highly recommend the Ultimate dining package. we feel it made a substantial difference in our cruise experience, and combined with the perks of being in a suite (eating at Modernos for breakfast and lunch) The food experience was exceptional. We never had a bad meal anywhere...and we had a lot of meals. Land-based differences: There are so many food/drink options, and they are all so appetizing that you WILL overeat..and wish you could eat more. Service at the restaurants and room service is very good. Entertainment: There is a different show in the main theater every night. The quality of the shows varies, but most are good to very good..and they are free. Besides the main shows, there is a plethera of music throughout the ship every night. There is enough variety to please everyone of all ages. Overall impression: We think this cruise was a good value for our money. It was truly a pleasurable/memorable experience. We will cruise again...but not until I exercise enough to lose the 5 pounds I gained on this cruise. I know I skipped a lot of details , so please feel free to contact me at: fasmtrcycl@yahoo.com with any additional questions you may have. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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