17 Houston First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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 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
This was our first cruise and we had a blast. Too many kids for us due to Spring break, but we found our quiet places. The food was excellent, the staff was attentive, and the shows were amazing. All in all, freestyle cruising worked very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had a blast. Too many kids for us due to Spring break, but we found our quiet places. The food was excellent, the staff was attentive, and the shows were amazing. All in all, freestyle cruising worked very well for us. We highly recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines and will cruise with them again! ☺ Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my first cruise however my partner had been on many. We were very impressed with the ship and all of the amenities it had to offer in addition to the staff who were all outgoing and friendly all of the time. Our stateroom was at ... Read More
This was my first cruise however my partner had been on many. We were very impressed with the ship and all of the amenities it had to offer in addition to the staff who were all outgoing and friendly all of the time. Our stateroom was at the back of the ship on 11th level and it was awesome with a balcony where we could sit and look out onto the ocean and beautiful skylights. In addition we paid extra for the meal package to include the private restaurants & the drink package which made the trip even better with wonderful cuisine options and no worries about a huge bar bill at end of cruise. I would highly recommend NCL for your optimal cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
As first time cruisers, my wife and I did substantial research on various items, such as; what to pack, what to bring, what to expect. Well, we're glad we did, most everything we packed was useful; especially packing an extension ... Read More
As first time cruisers, my wife and I did substantial research on various items, such as; what to pack, what to bring, what to expect. Well, we're glad we did, most everything we packed was useful; especially packing an extension cord with multiple outlets for all the gadgets we all now tend to carry; phones, tablets, etc., also we packed a very handy lanyard with a plastic holder for your stateroom card (which you will need on a frequent basis). We invested extra to enjoy every night at a fine dinning location onboard. That was a great hit for us, each night we looked forward to a new adventure in dinning. I might say, all the dinning places were very good to excellent and the wait staff was superb! The ship is larger than even imagined; many, many, places to eat at, a nice casino with most all gambling venues, pools, jogging track, basketball court, outdoor dinning, sunning decks, towels provided, stateroom TV with up to the minute news, ship location, winds, temperature, speed of the ship, direction, movies, what is happening on the ship as far as activities for children, teens, and adults. They have soooo much going on you'll not be able to attend all. They have entertainment that rivals live entertainment in Las Vegas! Not to mention the beautiful theater where the shows are. If you enjoy peaceful environment they a great library, reading room, and other areas that are peaceful (with lots of people watching too). The entire crew from the Ship Hotel Director to ALL employees were friendly and helpful. We travelled to the embarkation port (Houston) from San Antonio, we prepaid our parking at the lot provided. All was very convienant. As far as disembarkation coming home, that too was easy as we carried our own bags and went through customs quickly with no problems. Got into the vehicle and drove home. What a good way to cruise! We highly recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines...we have a trip to Alaska planned already. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I just returned from a 7-night cruise on the Norwegian Jewel with three ports of call: Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. I traveled with my wife and her parents, siblings, and their spouses, staying in a block of rooms on the fifth deck. Once I ... Read More
I just returned from a 7-night cruise on the Norwegian Jewel with three ports of call: Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. I traveled with my wife and her parents, siblings, and their spouses, staying in a block of rooms on the fifth deck. Once I got oriented, I could get from one part of the ship to any other in less than five minutes. The food was excellent and the service in the full-service restaurants was fantastic, although occasionally a little slow. The entertainment, which consisted of several types of live music, dancing, and acrobatics, as well as comedy and magic, was very good, but not always appropriate for children. The large theater generally filled up for each of the two evening shows. I did have to negotiate wet decks during my early morning runs, although there were plenty of treadmills available in the exercise room as an alternative. The weight equipment was in excellent shape. There were also several types of fitness classes available, some of which required an additional fee. The combination basketball/tennis/soccer venue was only open during certain times, but it wasn't that heavily used. The deck chairs on the 12th and 13th decks would fill up by late morning on each sea day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Our trip started as an adventure in booking a timeshare. We couldn't find anything and airfare is so expensive, so we decided to try a cruise again. It's been 3 years since a week cruise on Carnival so we looked for something 2-3 ... Read More
Our trip started as an adventure in booking a timeshare. We couldn't find anything and airfare is so expensive, so we decided to try a cruise again. It's been 3 years since a week cruise on Carnival so we looked for something 2-3 weeks away. We have only cruised Carnival before and enjoyed each one. The thought of going through the chaos in Galveston was not a pleasant thing. So we search for a cruise out of the Houston Baypoint Cruise Terminal. We focused on Norwegian and Princess. We opted for the Freestyle! We booked a mini-suite, bought a romance package and had some credit onboard. This ended up only being a 55 minute drive and very easy parking. Embarkation was easy. My first impression was it seemed to be all "seniors" on the ship. That wasn't the case but since I'm part of that group, it was ok! Overall this was a great trip. The Norwegian staff did a great job. We relaxed and partied. The excursions were plentiful and in all price ranges. Buffet food was perfect for what it was. I would recommend taking water as it's not always available in large quatities. Part of the Romance package included dinner for 2 at Cagney's and Le Bistro. Both meals were very good and service was attentive and not rushed. Food in the main dining rooms Tsar Palace and Azure was okay. The last night was Prime Rib. My only gripe was that the meat was barely a quarter inch thick! It must have been because we ate late. The last 3 nights ended up in the Spinnaker Lounge which had activities from Newlywed Game, White Out Party and Live DJ, Bands and dancing. We only made one show in the Stardust Theater so we can't comment on the talent. The best part of the cruise was meeting people from all over the country and Europe. I could not find anyone from Houston! For all those folks from out of state, I'm sorry you have to see the ugly side of Houston in order to get to the ship. But if you had to go to Galveston you would quickly forget the ugliness and think what a beautiful cruise terminal in Houston! We will cruise with Norwegian again and hopefully a lot sooner than 3 years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and ... Read More
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and families such as Nickelodeon Slime Time and White Hot party. The first day: When you first arrive at the ship, you want to head to guest services and ask for the ship layout and schedule. This will help you find your way around the ship and plan your day. Without these two key pieces of paper you will be lost. If you have kids, ask about their Splash academy and Entourage program. Splash academy and Entourage: These two programs are for kids ages 3-17 and have their own program. The Splash academy (ages 3-12) acts as a "childcare" but allows your child to have fun and learn new skills. At the end of the cruise they put together a circus featuring all the children in Splash academy. Entourage(ages 13-17) is a place for teens to hang out, play foosball, air hokey, Wii, and more. They have different activities for the teens such as foosball tournaments and charades. Pools: The Jewel has 3 different pools, one for toddlers, kids, and adults. All three are located on deck 12. The toddler pool is a small 2ft deep pool with a small slide and Jacuzzi just for them. The kids and adult pool are shaped the same way but the kids pool has a horrible slide.Half way down, you stop and you have to push yourself down. Overall the pools are good for small children and relaxing but no major excitement. Entertainment: Each night the ship hosted entertainment for all ages in the Stardust theater. They had gymnasts, jugglers, and a comedian preform throughout the seven nights. Most of the shows were preformed twice during the night. If you weren't interested in shows they had music and dances on different decks. In your stateroom TV, they also showed previous shows on board and a wide range of movies such as the Giver, and Divergent. Food: The Jewel had a wide range of restaurants from buffets to fancy sit down places. The major restaurant, I think, is Garden Cafe. It is a buffet with ice cream throughout the entire day and each night has slightly different cuisines. For example, one night they had a Mexican cuisine and another night the featured seafood. Unfortunately though, breakfast is always the same at Garden Cafe and at the other complimentary restaurants. In conclusion, the Norwegian Jewel is an awesome ship with fantastic shows, activities and food. It hosts activities for all ages and keeps you busy throughout the day with an option to relax. The crew makes you feel special and helps in any way they can. Overall the Jewel is a fantastic ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of ... Read More
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of Houston on the Emerald Princess (all from Texas). After loads of research before departure, I wanted to put in some notes from our experience. First, we found our departure out of Houston to be flawless. Smooth and easy. A moderate line for embarkation, but, vacation was officially underway, so who cares about a line! All the port employees were smiling, friendly - even jovial. Thanks to all the reviews and information available online, I felt pretty well prepared. Right down to carrying a small bag with anything I'd like to have on hand immediately or even for dinner (we didn't board until 2:00 and dinner was at 5:30). Luggage did take a bit to arrive (mid-evening), but, again, with having the items I really wanted on hand, it was no biggie for us. I cannot say enough about the wonderful staff on the ship. I am lucky to have a husband with the gift for genuine interest in others and he's a great conversationalist. He and I believe in treating our waiter or bartender like a friend and not a servant. I'm sure, because we treat folks this way, we may receive better or more thoughtful service. However we got there, I can tell you we felt pampered 100% by all the staff (steward, wait staff, head waiter and bartenders). All the little details we mentioned up front enjoying were remembered and repeated daily - without a request. For me, that's pampering. Bless the dear soul who brought us coffee and juice each morning with a smile. We had standing reservations for dining daily at 5:30 PM at my in-laws request. My husband and I did not think we'd like the time being so early, but it was perfect. Two large tables takes about two hours to serve and we'd head out each evening to the main show in the theatre. At that point, there's a line waiting to get into to their tables. Choose 5:30 - trust me. We passed on a lot of the ancillary daily activities until the last two days as, I admit, some sounded a bit gimmicky. But, the last two days we participated and had a great laugh and good time. We both agreed, next cruise, we'll be checking out those opportunities daily. MOTION SICKNESS: I chose to use the prescription patch to keep potential motion sickness at bay. For those worried about the matter: IT WORKS!!! Don't bother leaving without a patch in place. Why even risk feeling badly when you can prevent it? No pill to pop, no sleepiness. In 14 people, about half had some minor to moderate sea sickness symptoms off and on. We were the only ones armed with the patch. FOOD: We found the food to be wonderful. The staff offered us "appetizer" portions if we were curious to try an entrée but did not want to have it for our main course. My college age sons tried so many different things I cannot recall. Our request for a special appetizer (off menu) was granted the follow evening. With a smile. We enjoyed most of our dining in one of the main dining rooms. I'm not keen on buffet food so this served my preference well. We did enjoy a pub lunch (fish and chips) one day and slices of pizza another (really quite good). Had a room service lunch of club sandwiches one day as well. Our sons enjoyed a second dinner after 10 PM in their rooms many nights. I appreciated the portion size being reasonable. Not small, but not "Texas sized". You can order whatever you want, but, if you are wishing to show some restraint, it's not hard to do. If you don't have dessert in the dining room, there are options to grab tiny confections at a coffee bar spot. They are really almost better than the main dining room. Grab three and share. ALCOHOL: All over 21 carried a bottle of wine onboard. Husband got one beer package (six for the price of five I believe). He ordered a few extra through the week. I got one canned soda package (diet coke and tonic water) and purchased a smallish bottle of vodka for $17 (room service). We enjoyed a bottle of wine in the evenings as a nice cabernet was available at $15/bottle. We did not spare on the consumption for our liking and felt the prices were reasonable. I had a minor accident that required a visit to the medical facility. Get the insurance that will cover these things!!! This was the last day at sea so not a real downer for the trip. I was surprised that the medical facilities are not available all day every day. It seemed to be 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. I assume there's reasoning behind this, but we had to beg to be let in (doors locked) while my foot was bleeding quite a bit. They'd really wanted me to wait to the afternoon hours. With my right toe toenail ripped half off (there's a story....), I felt pretty emergent. Some insistence by my husband got me in the doors, but, it's the one thing I did not research and wanted to share. It's a bit of a complaint, but, awareness would have been wise on my side to know the hours before the trip began. We had some looking for treat for motion sickness and they were always closed - just by chance. FYI for all to know!! CONDITON OF THE SHIP: There was constant maintenance going on everywhere. Not intrusive, but, evidence of real work being done (varnish, paint, etc. outdoors). Public restroom facilities were CLEAN and plentiful. I'm a real stickler for cleanliness and freshness. I appreciated the sense the ship was well maintained daily. OVERALL: The cost to value ratio worked for us and we are dreaming of indulging again - hopefully this year on a last minute deal. We will go Princess again. We'd both love to do Alaska in a few years. I am happy to report that I am a "cruise person". I wondered if I'd dislike the experience (kind of dreaded part of the year leading up to it). But, I'm sold. Eventually, more interesting destinations may be our goal, but, for now, we both agree the 'floating resort' experience we can get to via driving fits our budget and felt luxurious. We were pulling out our cash and leaving additional monetary tips for all that took care of us - in addition to the room gratuity. That's how much we felt well cared for that week. Thank you Princess!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Terminal: wasy drive to terminal in Pasadena Texas.  The line was long at 4:00 pm but moved quickly. The ship: tastefully decorated not tacky. Showing a little wear but you really really have to look for it. Food: the food was better ... Read More
Terminal: wasy drive to terminal in Pasadena Texas.  The line was long at 4:00 pm but moved quickly. The ship: tastefully decorated not tacky. Showing a little wear but you really really have to look for it. Food: the food was better than I expected. I personally found the seafood better than the other main course options. After all. I am sure the items are frozen items( for the length of this cruise and the amount of people being served.) After the first day I always went with the waiter recomendations and was satisfied with everything. (Be adventurous, if you don't like it send back and order something different) someone told me the food in dinning room was same as specialty restaurants no this is not true for this ship. One of the best meals I had was in the crown grill. We were anytime dinning and a large group most nights 16 . I think that getting seated would have been easier had we chose either first or second seating. Keep in mind if you want to stay in port till you have to board and you like to freshen up before dinner second seating is best option for you. Service: everyone we encountered were both friendly and polite. (Unlike the fellow passenger that ridiculed my husband's dialect one morning.) We are in our 40's most passengers looked like they were older than us. The music being played in the pizza area and piano bar area seemed perfect for our age group. We were also pleased with the entertainment in the princess theater. There was a cold front during our cruise and myself and several other passengers became sick the day before we returned. (4-7.5) waves. We were in cabin A215 balcony.this was toward front on starboard side. Not sure if my location on board caused me to be sick because I did go to breakfast and walk around the ship before I became sick. My husband went to the horizon court buffet and the man in charge gave him a tray of green apples plain potato chips and crackers for lunch along with ginger ale from calypso bar. It passed in a few hours and was able to attend dinner and eat with no problems. Arrival in Port went fine everything smoothly and quickly.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014

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