3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Panama Canal 19 Night Cruise NCL We are an active retired couple who have been on about ten cruises and especially enjoy longer ones with many sea days. Cruising on the Jewel through the canal was an outstanding experience. ... Read More
Panama Canal 19 Night Cruise NCL We are an active retired couple who have been on about ten cruises and especially enjoy longer ones with many sea days. Cruising on the Jewel through the canal was an outstanding experience. The crew and fellow passengers were exceptionally friendly and the ship was in very good condition; very clean and well administrated. I had worried about the heat and humidity but it turned out to be not an issue. The hottest/most humid weather near the equator was like any hot summer day back home in Ohio. This review will be detailed to help future cruisers plan and make decisions. We planned very well based on the suggestions on Cruise Critic. Thank you! Port of Houston: We arrived at Hobby and took Supershuttle which we booked ahead of time. It was about $75 for four of us to travel to Seabrook. I don’t believe there are hotels near the port that offer a free shuttle from either airport. We stayed at the Best Western Seabrook Suites after reading other reviews of the slim pickings in the area at Baypoint Terminal. The hotel was just fine and had a free shuttle that was well used by the cruisers. The hotel attempts to do their best but many use the shuttle for their water and Pepsi shopping and that causes waits and back ups. There are no restaurants within walking distance so the shuttle stays busy. I would definitely stay there again. We took the shuttle in the late afternoon to Kenah Boardwalk and there are a number of nice restaurants and shops. It is a pleasant place to spend an evening but severe storms came through around the dinner hour and put on quite a show all night. This was the only significant rain we experienced on the entire trip! Embarkation We arrived at the port at 10:20 and were processed through quickly and were allowed to board at about 11:30. We chose to eat at Tsars even though NCL always seems to direct people up to the buffet. The rooms were ready at about 1:00 and the muster drill was in various venues, not the promenade deck. Sail away was a bit overcast but no rain. Fellow Passengers The average age was 66 but the group seemed to be very energetic and active. Lots of walkers, exercisers and dancers so the ship was hopping. The group was very positive, greeted and talked with one another. Most were from Seattle/Western Canada and Houston. There were several hundred Germans and an assortment of other internationals. Most couples were eager to share tables in the MDR. There were maybe a dozen children onboard and all were very well behaved! Cabin- Balcony We scored a free upgrade and were given a very nice balcony on the 10th Deck. Ours was slightly forward of the forward elevators which made for a very quiet location. The deck and chairs needs some maintenance but the rest of the cabin provided enough space and there were bathrobes and a coffee maker (bring your own coffee and filters since the quality they offer is poor). Bring magnets and/or magnetic jumbo clips to keep your papers orderly, a nightlight and a Belkin travel adapter with USB ports. There was an egg crate top on the mattress which makes the bed a bit softer. We slept very well each night. Dining Tsars and Azura: The menu and quality of food is the same in both venues and the service was the best we have experienced on any NCL cruise. Efficient, pleasant and no waiting. I think the UDP had a positive impact on these restaurants. I only saw pagers being used once but they give you a free drink while you wait. I would rate the food average in the world of mainstream cruising. Nothing was really memorable nor was anything very disappointing. The food was always hot and served promptly. O’Sheehans: We enjoyed dining there because of the atmosphere. You can enjoy the music below or the views from the windows. The staff was either very friendly or somewhat somber, but everyone was efficient. The food was okay. The corned beef and cabbage soup was my favorite. Personally, I like the atmosphere but wish they would just bring back the Blue Lagoon menu. Chin Chins: Average Chinese food and perhaps our only dining disappointment. You would think the entrees would be served with rice or that the server would suggest it. We had to order it after the fact and it came out much later. The service was mediocre. I agree with others that it is obvious that Chin Chins was not a good value when it was a cover charge restaurant. It is not very popular even for free. Moderno: The service and food were exceptional. This follows the Brazilian steakhouse concept. My only negative was that the diner probably eats WAY too much protein at this place (how do you spell G-O-U-T) but that isn’t Moderno’s fault. Very well done and it was a smart move to put it in the much nicer location. Buffet: We loved the stations which made the traffic flow more efficient and the selection was excellent. The breakfast buffet offered absolutely everything you might want. The sugarless desserts were always excellent and a surprise. They have a cuisine theme each evening. Well done! Pool Deck/grilling: There were some very nice luncheons provided outside on the sunny days. Don’t miss out on those. They are listed in the dailies. I will add that NCL has very recently implemented a room service charge of $7.95 and also has a new policy that prohibits passengers from bringing food from the dining rooms and buffet. This new policy is now fleet wide but started the day after we disembarked so we didn’t experience this. The only abuse I saw was a man bringing a huge plate of whole fruits to his cabin (likely to take off the ship). I can imagine that people who are not feeling well or are feeling some leg/foot problems would be greatly inconvenienced by this new policy. I bring a travel mug each morning to the buffet and fill it up to take a better grade of coffee to the cabin to drink while we get ready. This new policy, if it is really enforced, would be a reason for me to not consider NCL again. Maybe I will work on designing food concealment bags for NCL cruisers. Entertainment in the Stardust- This has been known as an area where NCL shines, but we were a bit let down in a few areas. First the very good to excellent: Danielle Bitton- excellent performer and dancer David Nastor- comedian- fast paced and funny! LeCirque Bijou- the aerial performers were very good and there was some singing and dancing (not much). Oh What a Night (Four Seasons quartet) and George Solomon (singer/dancer- lead of Oh, What a Night) Luminescence (aerial) Folkloric Show from Mexico was stunning! David Levesque- Violinist and comedian (pretty good) and lecturer on historical topics (really good as a lecturer- a man of many talents) Disappointments: The NCL Singers and Dancers- they were talented but there were no shows that I considered to be well choreographed to display their talents or very creative. The set designs were really a letdown. Band on the Run was the only show that had the typical stage performance. What happened to the Jean Ryan style of singing and dancing? Sam Fedele – this comedian needs an energy boost and better material Didn’t see/Wasn’t interested: Hypnotists, Ventriloquist, Juggler, Showtime: It’s Broadway (heard it was not great and “screechy”) Last Night Goodbye show- watched a few songs and left We enjoyed most of the dance lessons and the variety of dancing in the Spinnaker and Fizz Lounges. Most classes were well taught but a few instructors who were the Stardust dancers went too fast (here’s how to do salsa…now do it twice as fast.... Much better when professional instructors are brought on board although a few of the cruise staff did a fine job. The International Show Band, Twice as Nice and the Alambre Trio were excellent. There were two other performers, a guitarist and a pianist who were very good, but we are dancers and didn’t frequent their shows. The only group that was a bit disappointing was Next Stage. I don’t quite know what the problem was, but they were often late with one member showing up late, but the group often rallied and did a good job. There was a mute DJ and a robot could probably have replaced him. The White Hot Party wasn’t well thought out and the CD staff made some errors in the show schedules. The party was fun but not as well done as on other ships. Stardust is just too small for the “kick off”. It was packed out! Fitness and Pool The fitness center is clean and there was a steady flow of passengers using the facilities. Never very crowded. The pools are pretty small and not crowded. No major chair hogging. A little advice and bragging time: I worked out at the fitness center on most days and used my Fitbit to measure my steps and stairs. My highest achievement was about 23,000 steps and the equivalent of 48 sets of stairs in San Francisco. I eat a pretty moderate but fruit heavy breakfast and an appetizer, nice entrée and dessert for both lunch and dinner. I gained NO weight on this 19 day cruise. My secret is to keep moving and never stuff yourself so that you feel full when the next meal time arrives. I’m hungry at each mealtime. Activities There is plenty to do onboard with crafts, games, sports, movies, trivia, gambling, seminars, etc. The staff did a great job of keeping a nice variety of activities available. The food demos were way too crowded at the atrium. Maybe Spinnakers would be better. The Latitudes party had to be divided into two days because of the large numbers. I wish that the MOC would figure out something other than “who has been married the longest” and “what are your secrets to a happy marriage” when surveying the audience. Cruise Critic Be sure to join your roll call and go to the Meet and Greet, Cabin Crawl, luncheons, Slot Pull, LRC games, etc. if they are organized by a nice person on your roll. A few people organized independent tours which were always superior to the Ship excursions and less expensive. We met a few people who we wished were our neighbors back home (Paul and Tanya and John and Connie.., loved all you cruise critics!). Ports Cartagena, Colombia- Don’t be afraid to get out and see this town. I have to say that I was a bit underwhelmed but glad I went so I can say I was in Colombia. Some nice shopping. We went with Dora and it was nice but I felt we were given too much time in their friends’ shops. This is a very hot port so dress appropriately. Panama Canal- Doing the Panama Canal wasn’t on my bucket list but I have to admit to absolutely loving the experience in retrospect. Be sure to watch a youtube video ahead of your trip and read “Path Between the Seas”. I skipped the part about the French construction since this is a very long book. I had a great appreciation for the experience because of the book. The Jewel had a historian/narrator onboard all day and he broadcasted from the bridge. Don’t feel that you need to find one place and stay there. Keep walking around to find different experiences but stay hydrated. We made a banner for our balcony and got our photo taken from the dock. They offer banner craft making times the two days before the canal. Puntarenas, Costa Rica- We went on the Rainforest Adventure and Aerial Tram (ship excursion) which lets you ride through the canopy of the rain forest. The view from the tram depends on where you are placed. This is a place where you get the best views if you are heavy/tall as they have to balance out tram with the weight of the guide in the back. Being the shortest/smallest was a disadvantage as I was placed in back of all the bigger/taller folks and my views were blocked. The heaviest people got the “best front row seats” and could see everything as we approached. This is in a private park at the EDGE of the rainforest so you won’t really see animals except in cages and terrariums. The ride there took 90 minutes each way and the views were generally uninspiring with many shacks with metal roofs, gravel, etc. Too much time spent in transit Still, a nice experience although you would likely see the same reptiles and amphibians in better displays at a major USA zoo. I would look into going into a National Park next time. The port city and countryside is very depressed and well, there is no other word except “trashy” that conveys the look. The residents just throw trash everywhere. It seemed a major contrast to the country’s efforts to protect their rainforest when the town/country folk just throw things everywhere. I didn’t see this in any other county. Ship excursions: this experience reminded me why we rarely do them. This was pretty expensive and the driver won’t drop you off in the shopping area. Not a huge issue, but a private tour would be more accommodating. They told us it is the ship rule that they have to return all passengers to the ship. Hualtaco- there is a very nice beach that is safe and clean right by the docks and it is free. We did some shopping and had a beer at a beach tent. All was fine until a woman surrounded by several young teen girls approached my husband (I wasn’t around). I saw her later showing a binder of photos of young girls for hire to single men on the beach. That ruined my opinion of that port since it was so obvious and overt. Despite that, a nice port. Acapulco- oh, why does NCL go there? The best thing I guess I can say is that I had the experience of being in a sketchy port. There was a huge military police presence that was there to protect the passengers, likely because of the recent violence/killings and drug trafficking. Jeep/trucks with mounted machine guns at the ready circling through town and scores of police near the port. I didn’t hear of one passenger saying they enjoyed that port. Passengers like the Cliff Divers but many ship tours were shorted on their time in port or had a luncheon that was reportedly really bad. The hustlers were overwhelming and it was just plain old icky around the port. Most people just walked a short distance and then felt like it was time to return to the safety of the ship. Cabo San Lucas- a refreshing port- more upscale and you felt relatively safe. We took a tour to Land’s End on a glass bottom boat- lots of operators right at the dock so don’t book onboard. The trip was really scenic and lovely. Glad we did that. The town has many stores for shopping, souvenir and upscale. Find Burger King for free Wi-Fi with purchase. The port and sailing vessels were very nice. San Francisco- We had never been there so didn’t quite know what to expect. We love this city. The wharf area is safe and has been cleaned up we were told. We bought tickets to Alcatraz for the 9:30 tour online weeks ahead of the cruise as they often sell out weeks in advance. The dock for the ferry to Alcatraz is just a 5 minute walk from the pier. The ship passengers had to go through US Immigration (the one and only time) so that took a while. Alcatraz was a very worthwhile and well organized trip. We returned to the ship for a quick lunch and a power nap and then headed off to Fisherman’s Wharf and down to Ghirardelli Square. Those low rider cars were a blast to see. The line for the Cable cars was quite long and we will save that for another time. Sunday afternoon is pretty crowded anyway! NCL added three hours to the port time in SF and we sailed past Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk. Go to the Great Outdoors on deck 12 for the best view- outside with a great opportunity for nice photos or video. Astoria, Oregon- We kept our fingers crossed as sometimes the cruise ships aren’t allowed to enter because of the dangerous weather/rough wave conditions. We saw what they were talking about when we left the port at the end of the day. Yikes! This port is absolutely charming. The town makes a great effort to welcome the visitors and even engages their city and school buses to shuttle people around. We first went to the Marine Museum which is a great experience (even for someone like me who is just mildly interested). We then hired a taxi for $20 each way to take us to Fort Clatsop and we are so glad we did. This is the site of the winter home of Lewis and Clark when they finally made it to the Pacific. You felt like you were in a primitive forest and the natural surroundings are amazing. I highly recommend going! We qualified for the $10 Senior Pass for the NPS, so that was a great bargain. We didn’t make it to the Astoria Column but heard it was also a very nice experience. The downtown isn’t very worthwhile for a visitor unless you want to eat at a local restaurant. Shopping is mostly antique/crafts. Souvenirs are sold at stands at the dock by the locals. Victoria, British Colombia- A very nice CC friend organized a tour with Nico from “I Love Victoria” sightseeing tours. The bargain of the century! For $14 pp, he took us for a tour of the city, sang to us and took us to Butchart Gardens (entry fee extra) which is about 30 minutes away. Our trips in the past to Victoria were always in the evening making the gardens not a wise choice. Be sure to go there during the day as it is perhaps the prettiest garden setting I have ever seen. This was in early May and the flowers were out in full glory. Only the roses were not in bloom. Try to get there early as it gets quite crowded. Nice gift shop and restaurant/coffee shop. Two hours is just enough time, although you could spend longer. Nico dropped us off on route to the ship wherever we wanted in Victoria. We got off at Hudson Bay near China town and walked the rest of the way to the ship along the harbor. There are lots of benches along the harbor and they have a Fisherman’s Wharf where you can have a lunch/snack. If you are able to walk, do this instead of the shuttle. Debarkation in Seattle- Very smooth with no customs requirement. We had a 2:30 flight so we stored our baggage at the terminal for $3 per bag and walked to Pike’s Market. We had arranged for Seattle Express to pick us up at the terminal and drive us to the airport. $12 pp and very efficient. We had a wonderful driver from Poland named Adam. High marks. Southwest lines were very efficient and we had a fish lunch at an airport place. There are two good fish eateries there. In summary, this was really an outstanding experience. Most of the ports were memorable and the ship experience was really excellent. I would highly recommend this trip but unfortunately, it seems that NCL is doing only one PC cruise next year rather than the four in 2015. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole ... Read More
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole cruise. Embarkation was fine, as we arrived just after noon, had lunch in the main dining room and found our cabin to be ready after lunch, with bags arriving within an hour or so - muster drill was a breeze, then on to Sail Away party by the pool. Great fun and we even won a free drink The whole crew was made to be high quality by the staff and crew - activities we attended were fun - sailing through Panama Canal interesting. We had a really great private tour in Costa Rica, going to see POAS volcano, oxcart factory and lunch at a local restaurant suggested by our guide. A great day for our group of 8. The cabin was small, with no room to walk on either side of bed, but bed was fine and there was enough storage areas in this inside cabin we used just to sleep and occasional nap. All directors attended our Meet & Mingle party on day 2 - they gave us their phone numbers and told us they aim to please, which they did. We saw directors everywhere, every day. The shows were good, just had some duplicated during the last 9 days. Dining was not over the top, but quite good on most days, with so many ways to fix chicken, it was amazing. Got cake on my birthday, chocolate covered strawberries and wine without asking, just because we were there. Mints on the pillow each night & towel animals continued throughout the cruise. Our private tours in Cabo, Victoria and Seattle went really good too, not missing a beat and even a nice private airport transfer. Great people made our longest cruise to date enjoyable for us - We should have signed up for another cruise, but waited until we got home to book with our discount broker for 2016 Grand Med Cruise - come along and join us on May 7, 2016 from Barcelona - NCL included the Ultimate Dining Package at no added cost expect the 18% gratuity added in advance. Not sure why they don't share the $12.95 per day that we will pay when cruising, but guess others have those funds earmarked - shame on you for not sharing. At least NCL does not claim to give all of the service charges to the crew, but I guess they can hash that out and hope to have other good crew members, even though the cruise line pays too little and many work around the clock to keep everyone satisfied. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We are a late 60's couple married 46 years with at least 14 prior cruises to our credit, 5 long cruises across the Atlantic with lots of sea days. This was a much anticipated cruise with lots of research including the McCullough book ... Read More
We are a late 60's couple married 46 years with at least 14 prior cruises to our credit, 5 long cruises across the Atlantic with lots of sea days. This was a much anticipated cruise with lots of research including the McCullough book "Path between the Seas". Of course the cruise was much more than the day we spent going through the canal. We like lazy at sea days with lots of time to read and relax. If one watches carefully, even the open ocean can have visual rewards. First the misses. The tours and travels were not really capable of dealing with a handicap scooter and coordination with tour operators was marginal. We had to cancel several tours because we were informed the tour operator could not accommodate a small 3 wheel, take-apart scooter , only to find when we walked out on the dock there were lots of huge buses which would have accommodated us easily. We even asked a bus driver if the scooter could be loaded and he assured it could easily be done. The lack of meaningful lectures was sorely missed. The selection of movies available was interesting to say the least, but playing "The Hobbit" 8 times a day was annoying. I could go on, but why bother. The Azura dining room was dark and noisy, Tzar's was much better and open almost every day for all meals. Some nice bits. Osheehan's and ChinChin were greatly appreciated. Food everywhere and no need for a coke package if you can do with fruit juice, coffee and water at all times. The Jewel rides VERY smoothly and was extremely well handled. Our Steward Paul was a wonderful part of our cruise. look up "Quiet efficiency" and his picture will be there. The library on board was one of the largest I have seen on any boat and even had a few Atlas's available to peruse. Read Less
Sail Date: April 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
From the ease of the check-in process to disembarking today, all went smoothly and with efficiency. I booked this cruise March 2014 and the sail became our second cruise; our first on Norwegian for us and veteran floating friends sailing ... Read More
From the ease of the check-in process to disembarking today, all went smoothly and with efficiency. I booked this cruise March 2014 and the sail became our second cruise; our first on Norwegian for us and veteran floating friends sailing with us - so we had no latitude perks to begin this voyage. The officers and crew were wonderful, visible -very approachable and always asking if everything was going well. The entertainment was spectacular and the food extraordinary. Dining: We elected the Ultimate Dining package and made reservations prior to sailing. After learning the show times, we made a couple of time adjustments with no problem. One morning we had breakfast in Tsar's for the experience. Our frequent cruise friends said we would have to wait in lines - maybe on the cruise line they most often frequent. We had no wait and received exceptional service - in all of the venues. Two days (at least) grills were on the pool deck and beef and chicken grilled and served - scrumptious. Ice cream REAL ice cream everyday! Shore Excusion: We have taken excursions through resorts and other vacation destinations. The Chankanaab Shore & Snorkel Cozumel was the BEST we have ever experienced. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Best of Roatan is a misleading title so read the fine print-this is a cultural experience and 14 people in a 9 passenger van is no fun. Only disappointment is the Ship is leaving Houston ... but we have already booked on the sister ship coming to Houston, Norwegian Jade. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Good excellent service. Good. People Good. Food. Entertaining was good. Sleeping room good. Always kept nice and clean Clean linens.good excellent Service.I. felt like really good. Can't wait to go back ... Read More
Good excellent service. Good. People Good. Food. Entertaining was good. Sleeping room good. Always kept nice and clean Clean linens.good excellent Service.I. felt like really good. Can't wait to go back again.would have It any other way.all personnel Was always nice happy. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
The embarcation was quick, efficient, and professional. We did not have our correct documents but with more effort on agents part that was not a problem. The inside cabin was sufficient for our needs. We were midship and felt no movement ... Read More
The embarcation was quick, efficient, and professional. We did not have our correct documents but with more effort on agents part that was not a problem. The inside cabin was sufficient for our needs. We were midship and felt no movement whatsoever when at sea. We were in cabin 10607 and our cabin steward, Mr. Adonis Canada, HP#4827, was absolutely the very best cabin steward we have ever had. He was efficient, professional and ever present for any of our request. The entertainment was also excellent. The music and dance themes were broadway quality. All the entertainers performed at one hundred and ten percent. The acrobats exhibited mesmerizing feats of strength and skill; and the comedians, we never stopped laughing. The food in all the restaurants was plentiful and of good quality and taste. All the employees were fresh and clean, polite and smiling. We were part of the gambling guest. The ony issue that could be imporved is to have two "Texas Hold Um", tables. Since the Jewel is not usually selected for gambling cruises It has only one table and the casino supervisor advised that has always been sufficient in the past. The GETAWAY has two tables and is sufficient to get on some time during the day. The disembarcation was a smooth as the embarcation. We were able to leave quickly. All said, it was one of the best cruises we have been on and we would reccomend Norwegian Cruise Lines to anyone, especially first time cruisers. Respectfully, Tom and Connie Young Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. All of the crew members were very helpful. Our room steward, Eddie, was wonderful and worked around our schedule to make sure the room was taken care of. The servers in the restaurants were very attentive ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. All of the crew members were very helpful. Our room steward, Eddie, was wonderful and worked around our schedule to make sure the room was taken care of. The servers in the restaurants were very attentive and professional. The only issue I had was in Teppanyaki. They gave our dessert to us late, then within a few minutes of getting it, a server told us we needed to hurry so they could set up for the next round of diners. The food, for the most part, was excellent. We went to the Mayan Ruins from Cozumel. Even though it was a hot day and there was lots of walking, I completely enjoyed it. Our tour guide, Angel, was so informative about the Mayans, their history and culture, that I couldn't wait to get on a computer and find out more about them. At Belize we went to an island for a day of swimming and sun. The island was beautiful. My only complaint was that there wasn't enough time there! Roatan was unbelievable. We went to Tabyana. What a beautiful resort! The whitest sand and bluest water I have ever seen. Had a wonderful time. Didn't think much of the lunch they served (BBQ chicken legs/thighs, hamburgers and hot dogs) so I ate the rice and beans and fruit. We didn't do a lot of the activities on board, but this was more about relaxation and getting away. There were a lot of different things to choose from. I was quite surprised at how fast disembarkation was. We were off the ship, got our luggage and went through customs very quickly. I think from the time they told us we could disembark until we got through customs it was probably 15 minutes. I am not a "seasoned cruiser" having only been on one other 14 years ago, but I can say that I had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
A great time was hadn by all. Negatives were few, terrible tea and coffee. Entertainment was best ever. Shore tours were very entertaining and enjoyable. Internet access fees are a joke. Too many money makers (selling pull tabs) at every ... Read More
A great time was hadn by all. Negatives were few, terrible tea and coffee. Entertainment was best ever. Shore tours were very entertaining and enjoyable. Internet access fees are a joke. Too many money makers (selling pull tabs) at every occasion. Crew were not consistent in cashing these tickets. Cashier left a bad taste becauseofher rudeness. I have another cruise already booked and paid, but I refuse to purchase any more pull tabs. Overall the cruise was a big success. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we decided to book at the last minute, and I am glad we did. Our incentives included a free Ultimate Beverage Package and $100 shipboard credit. It was too good to pass up! Embarkation: We live very close to the cruise terminal, so we had friends drop us off. We arrived around 11 AM and by noon we had dropped our bags in our cabin and were sitting by the pool. The weather was a little dreary, but still warm/dry enough to hang out. Cabin: Since we booked at the last minute, we didn’t select our cabin. Dining: We only dined in all of the complementary dining rooms (O'Sheehan's, Chin Chin, Asura, Tsar’s Palace, Topsiders, and the Garden Café). We ate breakfast at both the main dining room and O’Sheehans where both were pretty good. We ate lunch at Topsiders and the Garden Café, and alternated dining rooms for dinner. The dinner food was OK, nothing special, but not bad. Our only disappointment was there was no “lobster night”. In order to have lobster you must dine in one of the specialty restaurants which is at an additional cost. Receptions: We attended the Cruise Critic reception which was very nice. The cruise director, Julie, along with the many of the ship officers also attended and it was a nice personal touch. We also attended the Latitudes (Past Guests) cocktail party which we really enjoyed (again the senior staff was in participation.) On formal night, the captain was available for photos, which was nice. (We haven't seen that happen in years on other cruise lines.) Ports of Call: We didn’t do any excursions because we had just visited the exact same itinerary a few months back. However, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed just walking around the pier. Debarkation: Wasn’t bad at all, we were off the ship and home before 11 AM. It was wonderful cruise, the ship was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and our room was nice. We are already looking into to booking our next NCL cruise when the Jade comes to Houston this fall. (Please forgive any typos as I am typing on a very small screen :-) ) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I try to cruise every other year and usually with a group of other family members. This was our 4th NCL cruise and the first one that was just my husband and I. This was also the first time we cruised out of Houston and ... Read More
My husband and I try to cruise every other year and usually with a group of other family members. This was our 4th NCL cruise and the first one that was just my husband and I. This was also the first time we cruised out of Houston and had no idea what to expect. We flew into Houston the day before the cruise and purchased the hotel package with transfers through NCL. We flew into George Bush and stayed at the Marriott Intercontinental at the airport. On Saturday, there were about 25 other people waiting for the bus to the port also, we met a few and visited with them for a bit. Suddenly we realized that it was 12:20 and still no bus. One of the couples we were talking to asked at the front desk where the bus was and they said that it is there by 11:45-12:00 every week, well it was 12:20 so he was officially late. The problem here is that there was no NCL representative at the hotel like there has been in the past when we have bought the hotel/transfer package in other port cities. NCL needs to remedy this issue, we had no one to ask what the issue was and the hotel staff had no idea. Carnival had 2 Reps there earlier for the people they were transferring. The bus guy finally showed up an hour late for our 1 hour ride to the port. He was sooo rude, NCL needs to look seriously at the company they use for this service in Houston. The wife from the one couple said “where have you been you are over an hour late,” and he rudely replied “I don’t work for you and you have until 4:00.” Um no we didn't, the ship leaves at 4:00. Special note here he was also the driver on our transfer back to the airport from the port and he just as crabby and rude to everyone a week later. We finally got to the port, checked in and were on the ship at 2:30, so the check in process was not nearly as bad as the transfer from the hotel to port. We were in a aft balcony on Deck 10, it was back by the elevators so that worked well for my bad knee. The ship was clean and well kept during our week on board. The 3 ports we visited were Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Excursions- we pre-booked and paid for all our excursions through the ship prior to sailing and thy were all beach getaways this trip. On Monday we stopped in Cozumel. We booked the Passion Island with lunch excursion through the ship. Originally we were to go at 9:30 AM but there was a note when we boarded that said the time had changed to 11:30. No big deal, we had a leisurely breakfast, showered and headed out about 10:30. We boarded a boat and off we went to Passion Island. This is a private Island so there were no vendors coming at you and bothering you. We swam, snorkeled and lazed in the sun all day until it was time to return to the ship at 3:00. Once back on board we napped, showered and got ready for the evening’s festivities. On Tuesday we were in Belize and it was our granddaughters 9th birthday who was at home and had asked for a birthday present from Belize. We went to another private island called Starfish Island. It was very windy on this day and hot, but since we were a little burned from Cozumel we rented a big umbrella so we were shaded when not in the water. This was a cool island and also did not have vendors after you. There was an area that had star fish, a lobster, conch and other marine animals that you could hold and learn about. I held a rare 6-legged starfish. It is amazing how heavy they are when they are alive. There was also a gift shop that we went into and bought birthday presents for the two we left at home whose birthday was this day. We got on the tender and headed back to the ship, had a late lunch on board, napped showered and got ready for the evenings festivities again. The next day was Roatan and we had never been here before. We booked Maya Key private island retreat. We were really sunburned from the last two days so we got chairs in the shade of the trees. This place was so cool, they had an animal refuge with sharks, turtles, different kinds of birds, moneys, cats that were rehabbing; a Mayan ruin museum that you could go into and learn about the Mayan civilization; great snorkeling along the worlds second largest reef. Maya Key is right across the channel from the dock and was literally a 2 minute boat ride. We were a little sun sick so we went back to the ship a little after lunch so we could shower and snack and wander around the ship. We have to give kudos to all the staff from our room steward, Concierge, servers, cruise staff, entertainment staff, and officers, they all did a fantastic job making this the most relaxing week and enjoyable week we have had for a long time. The entertainment on this cruise was really good. We loved JP, the comedic magician, Band on the Run Show, the game shows and Cirque de Bijou. The comedian on this cruise started a little slow and really was not as funny as some others I have seen on past cruises, but really that does not make or break my cruising experience. I know food is subjective but we were pleased with all the food and service we had on this cruise except for the service in Chin Chin. It is a good thing this is a no charge venue anymore because if it was I would have asked for my $$ back. The waiter got our order wrong and even though we tried to tell him we didn’t order some the stuff he brought, he left it there. My husband asked 4 times for green tea and never did get it. And we ordered dessert, but it never came so we just left and went to the buffet for dessert that night after the show in the Stardust Theater. Some people would have let that totally ruin their vacation, but we are easy going and laughed about it all that night. We had meals in Tsar’s, Azura, Le Bistro, which we loved, the buffet and Chin Chin. We usually had breakfast in Moderno and a couple of days we did lunch there also. As I said before the food was all good in our opinion and the service was good too except for the one venue mentioned earlier. The positive outweighed the negative this trip and the negatives were more of a bump in the road for us, but we are easygoing and it would take a lot to ruin a trip for us. Things we learned: If we cruise out of Houston again we will stay in a town closer to the port that offers rides to the port at a reasonable rate. I learned this from other cruise critic members that attended the meet & greet. Fly into Hobby Airport next time, it is closer to the port y about 15-20 minutes. We will be back NCL, we already have our 2017 cruise booked on the Jewel to the Mexican Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
After 8 cruises, our first cruise with the Norwegian Cruise Line was on the Jewel out of Houston on April 11. Where do I begin? The first thing we noticed was how happy and friendly the employees were. One mid afternoon we were in the ... Read More
After 8 cruises, our first cruise with the Norwegian Cruise Line was on the Jewel out of Houston on April 11. Where do I begin? The first thing we noticed was how happy and friendly the employees were. One mid afternoon we were in the Garden Buffet grabbing a bite when we noticed an officer and a fairly large group of workers came out with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to a gentleman working in Buffet area. I have never seen this on any other cruise ship I've been on. Everywhere we went, there were officers mingling and talking with cruisers. Very nice feeling. They were even helping clear the tables in the Buffet, and still pleasantly chatting with their workers and people eating in the area. I also loved the gentlemen singing a greeting to us as we entered the buffet. Next, the food! OMG, it was delicious! Especially the pastries. We also had an awesome experience in the SPA. Everyone was wonderful! We had the Breakfast with Diamonds excursion in Cozumel with a lot of help from the beautiful shopping guide. She was very helpful. The only minor complaint was the size of the cabin, but the bed was very comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My first time on a cruise was with another brand name. I was worried that I might be somewhat bored but that was not the real issue. The main thing was the environment. Norwegian's Jewel, on the other hand, was quite nice ... Read More
My first time on a cruise was with another brand name. I was worried that I might be somewhat bored but that was not the real issue. The main thing was the environment. Norwegian's Jewel, on the other hand, was quite nice everywhere. It was modern, well lit and overall just fun from a design perspective. There were enough activities and yet there was also a delightful amount of "me time". This was truly a fun vacation. We loved the Ultimate Dining Package with only one exception. We had one of the worst meals ever, on or off a cruise ship, when we went to the Brazilian Churrasco restaurant. While the appetizer bar was quite nice, the main issue was that no one could correctly cook the meat. The garlic beef was so overcooked it was simply inedible and the filet, although pink, was tasteless and chewy. The ribs were completely dry and the meat would not release from the bones. The picanha was also overcookerd and was not properly served (it should be cut off in slices and not served as a chunk). The sausages were dry and also tasteless. We attribute the poor restaurant results to a lack of customers later in the evening. We believe that when the crowd was reduced, they had over-produced the meat and that meant that it had been cooking a long time. We talked to another couple and they had exactly the same comments. The next day we did receive a nice apology gift from the Hotel Director and that was a positive comment. But even more impressive was the honesty expressed by our server when we met her on a following night. She told us that the entire staff had had the issues seriously addressed after having received four complaints. That was a very reassuring comment. Cozumel and Belize were both nice ports. On the flip side, Roatan (Honduras) was horrible. You could sense the economy was poor due to the small number of shops open. The pier was also small and you just did not feel safe to leave that security zone. We walked a couple hundred yards away to find a bar with WiFi and felt intensely uncomfortable. Despite that one dinner, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we are going to book another cruise on this same vessel; but next time we will take advantage of a special offer to have a suite. It should be grand. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment was average, at best. This particular cruise had a Nickelodean theme and therefore I think it was more family-oriented. Food was average. There was more than the normal number of specialty dining restaurants, which led me to believe they were more interested in getting you into those restaurants to spend money than they were to making good food in the buffet and main dining room, although the main dining room was beautiful and never busy. The servers in the dining room were very attentive. Our steward was a very nice guy, but he seemed to be overloaded, like maybe they had cut back on stewards so he had too much to do. The hallways were always crowded with cleaning supplies. I would rate this ship on par with Carnival - nothing special. I was expecting more due to the rating of the ship. I don't think we'll sail on Norwegian in the future. 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
This is the 2nd time on NCL Jewel which was booked the very last minute. Since the last time has to say she went thru refurbishment and looks a LOT better. NCL took out the Chocolate Night and the lobster night but did have a sea food ... Read More
This is the 2nd time on NCL Jewel which was booked the very last minute. Since the last time has to say she went thru refurbishment and looks a LOT better. NCL took out the Chocolate Night and the lobster night but did have a sea food night on the last day. Cabin was clean and even when we did not wanted it cleaned, Sam cleaned it anyways. Food was ok. Menu hardly changed from November 2014. We had a meet and greet and it was nice to have the Sr officers come to it. We were at Cozumel ; Belize and Rotan - We have been to all these ports before and have to say did not take any shore excursions. This is the last time NCL was going to Belize city and they will be going to Harvest Cay ( NCL private Island) We flew into Houston on the day of the cruise and came back the same day. Houston port is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by industrial. We do cabin Bar Set up and have to say till you leave TX water and go into international waters, your mini fridge is sealed and alcohol will not be in your cabin. So be prepared. Entertainment was good. Circus was AWESOME! that was worth the trip. JP was funny. Sam Greaseman was ok. it was Jaime's ( cruise director's) last cruise. She is good, Friendly and approachable. Wish her good luck. We had priority disembarkation however it was a night mare. Line was so long. People were coming from all direction. once out supper shuttle was right outside so had no worries getting in. ( we had taken round trip blue shuttle for $98) This was an unplanned cruise since we could not wait to get out to the sea due to the crazy winter and glad we did. we have one planned on Epic and another one on Spirit. I am addicted to NCL. 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
The jewel isn't the newest, fanciest ship, but I don't care... I love it :) I felt like it was the perfect size- not too big, not too small. It was older, but it was extremely clean and well-maintained. We cruise once or twice a ... Read More
The jewel isn't the newest, fanciest ship, but I don't care... I love it :) I felt like it was the perfect size- not too big, not too small. It was older, but it was extremely clean and well-maintained. We cruise once or twice a year but this was our first time on NCL (previously we've been on Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean). We quickly became huge fans, and I even put down a deposit on a future cruise. These are the pros we found: The service was excellent. I only found one person (a room steward, thankfully not ours) the entire time that wasn't friendly and helpful. That being said, my mom spent quite a bit of time in the casino, and she assured me the attendants there were not attentive or friendly at all unless you were a high roller. There was never a time we had nothing to do... the biggest problem was deciding between options. The on-board activities were plentiful and fun, and far exceeded our experiences on any other cruise line. My daughter participated in the kids program, and she begged to go back every time it was open (unlike other cruise lines). Sometimes I even pleaded with her, "Don't you want to stay with us and do a family activity?" She didn't :) We loved freestyle cruising (especially no formal nights!). We travel from the midwest to cruise and packing a lot of extra dressy outfits just isn't practical. In advance of the cruise I was afraid that the atmosphere would be too casual and ok, I'll admit, trashy. But, we found just the opposite. Although not dressed to the nines, it was inherently more formal than our experience in the dining rooms on Carnival. We also liked the flexibility to dine with companions or not- sometimes I like to meet new folks and sometimes I want to unwind with my travel companions... the hubby despises dining with others. The food was exceptional. HUGE CAVEAT- the dining rooms were terrible. We tried Azura and Tsars Palace a couple times and YUCK. I jest that the main chef was previously at a nursing home cafeteria because the food was bland, low quality, and lacking taste and presentation. Fortunately for us we had the Ultimate Dining Package, and I will not travel NCL ever without it. We loved, loved, loved Cagneys, Tepanyaki, Moderno. La Cucina was pretty good. I could leave LeBistro next time- too much duck. I wasn't a huge fan of the complimentary Irish pub and grill. Also, I'm generally not caught dead in a buffet, but this ship was the exception- the best buffet we've ever experienced. We dined there daily for breakfast and a couple lunches. Seriously, it was fresher and tastier than either dining room on the Jewel and rivaled the dining room meals on some of the other cruise lines. We really liked the entertainment, for the most part- our favs were the comedian and the comedian/magician. All the game-style shows were pretty funny too. Generally, singing/dancing shows are by far my favorite activity (I will even choose a cruise itinerary to see a specific show) but these on-board shows made me uncomfortable they were so lewd and suggestive. The choreography could rival some gentleman's clubs- definitely not family-friendly. The cast was talented, and I would have preferred to see them in something classier. Those were the best things we noted about the ship. We also loved this itinerary which traveled to Belize, Honduras, and Cozumel. I would go back to any of those ports in an instant. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We had a wonderful time cruising to Cozumel, Belize City & Roatan last week. We experienced the perfect balance of eating, drinking, & entertainment on-board the NCL Jewel. We especially enjoyed "free-styling"! The ... Read More
We had a wonderful time cruising to Cozumel, Belize City & Roatan last week. We experienced the perfect balance of eating, drinking, & entertainment on-board the NCL Jewel. We especially enjoyed "free-styling"! The NCL staff was so friendly & helpful. We felt like we'd made new friends. We'd see them at the restaurants, shops, casino & even the hallways & they'd greet us with big smiles/hellos & some would even be singing! The entertainment was outstanding. We made it to several nightly events in the theatre & at the bars...some took us back in time to "our good ole days" of soul music & a tribute to The Beatles!!! We've been on numerous cruises & felt this one was definitely THE BEST!!! We hope to be back next year!!! Thank you for a wonderful "week at sea"! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read ... Read More
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read most reviews from this trip and disagreed with much of the criticism - so really - you need to keep an open mind when you read the reviews. Keep in mind your own expectations, experiences and preferences and then weigh in our comments. This was our 12th cruise. 5th on a Norwegian. I would have to say - this was probably my favorite ship. Least favorite? Breakaway - too damn big. But I will agree with a previous review - Rock of Ages was a GREAT show as was all the entertainment on the Breakaway. Entertainment on the Jewel - eh.....not great but still worth watching. I love a smaller ship - and this was smaller but large enough where you didn't feel too crowded. The negative - there were lines at times - especially at the bars. Yes - bar service was mostly horrible - especially at poolside. We had the ultimate beverage package (UBP) and had to wait an inexcusable amount of time for service. Even extra tipping in cash didn't help. Drinks were severely watered down and smaller. BUT - you get what you pay for and in reality - you paid for unlimited so if you are disappointed in your drink - throw it out and find something else. Food - it was okay. Not like the olden days when food was everything - presentation, selection, taste, etc. But again - you get what you pay for and when you pay for freestyle - your experience takes a hit. Never have I cruised where I went to an open dining room (Azure) and had to ask for a server. Nor do I understand how the other open dining room (Tsar) would not let you in with shorts. Same menu, service, etc. I can guarantee my husbands shorts and Tommy Bahama shirt cost more than most diners in the room - but that is a bit caddy so I apologize. Food was still good and plentiful. We also ate at Cagneys - Super good and the Italian (La Cucina??) - which was very good but too much food. Spa - I had a decent hot stone massage and facial while in port in Honduras. Be aware - even though you may spend $200+ on a spa treatment - that still does not give you access to the actual spa. You need to pay extra for that and I thought that was absolutely outrageous. It made no sense to me and I let them know it. PORTS - LOVED Cozumel - and if you like to bar hop - you must choose the Cozumel Bar Hop (not an excursion offered by the ship - you need to search for activities from the island). This was a very well organized, CHEAP, and fabulous day. We went to the opposite side of the island and went to out of the way bars with beautiful views, great drinks and really great staff. A definite must. Belize - We didn't sign for an excursion this time because we wanted to see the city on our own. Big mistake - if you can't handle locals in your face trying to get you in their cab - then book an excursion. Honduras - Banana Coast - this was the last time Norwegian would ever be at this port so I will leave my comments to myself. So - now you see why I chose an average rating. BUT - I would still choose this ship again - but only with different ports. It was still a wonderful and relaxing vacation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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 sailed on the NCL Jewel before and when I saw it sailed from Houston this was a no-brainer for my gift of a cruise to my niece. I have preconceived notion of what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised and a few areas. First, I ... Read More
I sailed on the NCL Jewel before and when I saw it sailed from Houston this was a no-brainer for my gift of a cruise to my niece. I have preconceived notion of what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised and a few areas. First, I heard there was 750 children on board and I would say 99% of them were extremely well behaved. I enjoyed sharing the cruise with them. In fact I Delighted in seeing their joy and reaction to several things. I had expected to play a lot of trivia on board as I have enjoyed it in the past. However, the trivia on board to Jewel has changed dramatically. I am not a fan of the large group on screen and video trivia. We played a few times and had fun but it was not as enjoyable. I had also expected that the casino would be extremely crowded and smoky, but actually the reverse was true. It was quite pleasant and my 18-year-old niece actually had fun. This was her first time to gamble legally. Since we did win quite often, I hope she doesn't think it's that way all the time. Ha ha. We took three ships sponsored excursions. In Cozumel we did the dolphin ride and it was great. We bought pictures as Momentos and although they were pricey we are glad to have them. In Belize we did the Lamanai Ruins and riverboat ride. I had inquired at the shore excursion desk as to what time we would return and they told me 3:30. However it was after 4:40 when we actually returned. I was supposed to be at the spa by 4:20 so I was very anxious and trying to get back. In Trujillo we did the Campo del Mar beach break. This was a perfect ending to be able to relax and play in the small ocean waves. We were in a penthouse suite on deck nine and we really enjoyed the sweet suite perks with breakfast and lunch in Moderno as an incredible one. But I would have to say one of the best perks of the cruise was meeting and having as our concierge, Hanno. He really made our trip special. We also had a great Butler, Jennifer and an awesome room Steward, Errol. We went to a few of the shows, David Naster, comedian and Cirque Bijou. They were both nice. Weather was great all week. And it was smooth sailing on the open sea. I stayed away from the open deck and pool as I am not one for huge and loud crowds. But everyone out there seem to be having a great time. I had to spa treatments well on board. Sadly, the floating bed for the seaweed wrap was broken, this had been my first choice. Instead I had the bamboo massage and later the Thai poultice massage. If you like a deep tissue massage, Ni Mati is the one for you! Both massages were outstanding. We had two dinners at O'Sheehans, one at each Chin Chin's, at Teppanyaki, La Cucina and Le Bistro. We also had La Cucina served ensuite one night. Favorites were Teppanyaki and Le Bistro. Not that fond of the food at Chin Chin but the sushi was outstanding. And it was gorgeous too. We played deal or no deal and bingo. My niece won two pull-tabs at deal or no deal and I won $34 in bingo. Just some fun things to do to pass the time. In combing my platinum and suite perks, we really felt pampered. My niece is now spoiled for life. Ha ha. The only negative was that a few items came up missing from our room. On the second day I noticed an expensive blush brush was gone from my drawer and on day five my niece came to lunch and stated she forgot her cell phone in the room. When we went back we could not find it and we haven't seen it since. We have a slim hope it might show up in the laundry and Cano filed a report for us. Fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great ... Read More
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great and this covered room service all the way to the paid restaurants. the staff, from room stewards, bar staff and senior staff were the best we have encountered in all of our cruises. I found that anyone who got upset about the washy washy part of eating has never been sick on a ship. once they experience that, they would never be bothered with it again. We would sail on the Jewel again and intend to! 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
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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