This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review ... Read More
This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review will be a comparison and overall review of our time aboard the Jewel.
We flew in the day of the cruise and had some friends pick us up from the airport so I cannot comment on the cost of transportation roundtrip from the airport nor can I comment on hotel accommodations/parking.
The ship was much larger than Carnival's Pride boat and there was much more available in terms of entertainment. The downside to that however was that many of the activities available we not of interest to us. Much of the concerts/live music/music in general catered to country or rock music. Considering we are more pop and r&B lovers, we did not enjoy much of what they had to offer. That was very disappointing especially when you have two back to back at sea days. What we did enjoy was the comedy show featuring JP and the Le Cirque Bijou (both presented in Stardust) and two of the adult only games in Spinnaker. During the at sea days we spent most of our time in our room sleeping, watching the new release movies or relaxing in the sun. My advice to the activity coordination team on the Jewel would be to diversify entertainment options. Because of this, I would not recommend the boat to other couples who like us are very active, enjoy diverse experiences and are traveling alone on the boat.
On the brighter side, the passengers were very, very friendly. We met really nice, easy going people on the boat and it was not hard to strike up conversation. I know you cannot guarantee this on each sail, but it was very welcomed considering this was not something that we found on Carnival's boat.
The food was just okay. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants because we knew that if we wanted anything that was offered, we could easily find those things at home. We did opt for the Chef's Table since it occurred on our anniversary night so when you have a chef preparing dinner for you, you know it has to be GOOD! The Chef Table did not disappoint, but we did find out from another couple that the menu is the same regardless of which boat you sail on with Norwegian. I do not know how true that is, but if we decide to cruise with Norwegian again, I'll be sure to look into it.
My husband and I personally felt that the food offered on Carnival's boat was very diverse, different and exciting. We tried things we normally would not try like alligator, shark, frog legs, ect. When we saw a more Americanized version of dinner being served EVERY night in the main dining halls, we were very disappointed. The breakfast at the Garden Cafe could use refreshing as well. I grew tired of the breakfast options after Day 2 of our 7 day cruise.
Our Cabin was pretty good for the most part. We stayed in 8073 and although the room appeared very clean we noticed a few issues. Our sheets had black marks and stains on both the sheets and the comforter. We immediately called to have them replaced along with the pillows. We also had a problem with the toilets backing up or not being able to be flushed atleast once a day. It was very annoying to have to call once per day to have someone fix the issue. I should also note that when you enter the hallway from the elevators or O'Sheenans and you first pass cabin 8093, I smelled a sewage-y smell that did not last the entire cruise but was present for the first 2-3 days. I can only assume many of the toilets in my cabin area had toilet issues as you would see the plumbers accessing the toilet pipes outside the cabin throughout the cruise.
In terms of the staff, I would definitely give them average or below average scores. The crew at Carnival really made us feel appreciated, welcomed and knew us by name. I was so touched and connected with them that I cried when our cruise came to an end. With Norwegian, we barely saw of cabin stewards, the staff never went above and beyond and we truly felt like just another number. That was a feeling I could have done without. We noticed that our last two days on the boat (which were at sea days) room service nor the reception desk would answer our calls. When we finally got through to room service (they actually called us back) they patched is through to room service and they picked up immediately. I should also note that room service was VERY VERY slow with food arriving cold at best.
Embarkation was not as bad as disembarkation. When we embarked, the lines were long, move pretty swiftly, but the hostesses did not provide us with a map. For disembarkation, we felt that the customs process could have been smoother without the longer than normal wait lines.
Overall, I would not cruise on the Jewel again, but I would not rule out cruising with Norwegian again. Read Less