24 Houston Senior Cruise Reviews

The cruise on the Norwegian Jade was the best cruise I have taken so far. I was slightly skeptical before boarding the ship because some of the reviews were shaky. The embarkation process was very smooth, and very fast. We boarded the ship ... Read More
The cruise on the Norwegian Jade was the best cruise I have taken so far. I was slightly skeptical before boarding the ship because some of the reviews were shaky. The embarkation process was very smooth, and very fast. We boarded the ship without any obstacle. The food on the ship was outstanding. Some restaurants were better than others. I would recommend Le Bistro for a fabulous cuisine, and Teppanyaki was outstanding for a presentation while dining. The number of specialty restaurants was remarkable. You could eat french, brazilian, italian, japanese, chinese, sushi and steakhouse. Of course, on nights you don't want to pay for specialty dining, the food at the complementary Grand Pacific dining room is also delicious. You can also eat at the Alomar dining room for free, but it is more cramped and noisy. The cruise staff made the days exciting with awesome shows in the Starsust Theater, and game shows that are sure to entertain the family. The days at sea were not boring at all. Our cabin steward was extremely friendly. He greeted me by my name, and showed outstanding work ethic and customer service. Overall, the ship was beautiful, and very clean. People complained that it was woenough out, but it was in great shape. The Jade was as good as new. I have been on 3 other cruises, and Norwegian sold me. This was the best cruise I have been on by far. I will stick with Norwegian, and I am part of the Norwegian family. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case ... Read More
21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case on our recent Key West and Bahamas voyage with Princess Cruise Lines on the Caribbean Princess. We have just been aboard the Caribbean Princess in late November 2015. That voyage was not especially remarkable. In fact we considered it to be, on balance, slightly below par for Princess. Thus, our expectations may have been set lower on this trip. We arrived slightly early for prescribed our check in and boarding time but breezed through check in and went directly onboard and to our stateroom in about ten minutes time. The cabin was immaculate. We were greeted cheerfully by the attendant who, throughout the course of the journey, did an excellent job. Virtually everyone we encountered was helpful and polite. No issues. Our dinner attendants were among the best we have had on any cruise line. Polite, helpful and engaging. I am generally critical of cruise ship meals, but on this voyage it was obvious that Princess had taken the quality of their cuisine up a notch. Certainly one could pick a nit or two if one wanted, but quality, selection, assortment, preparation, presentation and variety were all at a good standard. The onboard entertainment was quite good. On this trip Princess had a “Voice of the Ocean” competition which we thought might be hokey but turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We loved it. As far as the ports are concerned Key West is basically a box that we wanted to check off. Crowded, expensive, dirty and unappealing. The history is fascinating however, as is the Mel Fisher Museum which although pricey is a must. This was our first visit to Freeport and we were not impressed. Due to a diesel generator malfunction and choppy weather we diverted from Princess Key to Nassau. We had not been to that port in thirty years and found it to be crowded, unappealing and dirty. The brightly colored building we remembered were sporting the same coat of paint they had on thirty years earlier. We walked around the town for miles, down the crumbling roads and sidewalks and past derelict buildings. Surprisingly, however, everyone we met was pleasant, helpful and cheery. Our trek to the Bahamas National Art Museum was worth the walk. The docents were informative, pleasant and helpful. We highly recommend this stop. The return voyage was uneventful as was our disembarkation experience. We did the “walk off,” and when our elevator doors opened on deck 7 we simply merged with the line of passengers already exiting and proceeded to customs. The entire experience, including our walk to the car, took about fifteen minutes. Special acknowledgement is deserved by our Cruise Director, Lee Childress. Although a quick “Google” search might reveal some undeserved bashing of Lee, we feel he was a special gift. Choose ten people and one will get ten different opinions of a topic. We loved Lee. Thanks in part to Lee, Princess made time available each day for an interdenominational bible study hour. He also arranged, and led, a nondenominational worship service. Princess has a daily LGBT get together hour for those so inclined. They also have a Dr. Bob & Bill W. session every day. For those of us who are Christians it was a true blessing to have these few minutes set aside for worship. Good job Princess! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so our embarkation and disembarkation went like clockwork. Princess gets high grades for overall service from the friendly crew, excellent dining, and superb entertainment. The single person acts from comedians Carl Strong and Steve Moris were lots of fun and left us wanting to see them again. The "Piano Man" and "Do You Wanna Dance" production shows are old Princess staples but with new voices, dancers, and costuming they continue to be fresh and very enjoyable. The new production show "Bravo" was absolutely brilliant and I hope we get to see it again. The voices of the 4 primary singers were showcased in several genres of music and the show was thrilling. Activities run by the Cruise Director's staff were excellent with a particular nod to the game shows and trivia contests. The adagio dancers and the violin duo did a fine job with their acts in the piazza. All of our dinners were presented well and the quantity and quality of food served left nothing to be desired. It's nice to see some new menu items. Arman and Francisco were a great wait staff team in the Coral Dining Room. They usually brought us a small sample of the evening pasta to go with our entree's and that was a nice touch. We enjoyed the International Café offerings for breakfast and lunch which we took up to our balcony and enjoyed the view while eating. Our cabin on the Caribe Deck amidships was wonderful and Henry our cabin steward was mighty nice and good at what he does. Port calls occurred in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, and Cozumel. We walked to Mahogany Bay in Roatan strolling past the tourist trap gift shops and decided we should have gone snorkeling instead. We took a cave-tubing excursion in Belize that was wonderful and a great value. Eight ships (and about 30,000 passengers and crew) were in Cozumel on the day of our port visit so we pretty much steered clear of the town that day. The only sad part of the cruise was the post-cruise shore excursion to the Johnson Space Center. Advertised as a 2 hour 15 minute tour we had about 1 hour 20 minutes of time to tour JSC and the guide's direction to take a tram tour to the Orion Deep Space Mission Control Center and the astronaut training facility was a dud. We waited 20 minutes for the tram to depart and we got perhaps 15 minutes of content In an hour long period that was meaningful. Our guide was sub-standard and we were told we had to be back on the bus that would take us to the airport at noon. None of the 45+ people on our bus had a flight that departed before 3:30pm and we got to the airport in time to wait 90 minutes for the check-in counter to open. The Princess Shore Excursion office responded to my letter describing the poor excursion which they had contracted from a Houston vendor in a VERY satisfactory manner, well beyond what I expected them to do. Their conciliatory tone and desire to do what was right is commendable. JSC has great potential as a good excursion but you need to have a good guide and you need at least 2+hours to see the exhibits (forego the trams!). We are not very keen with the new structure of the boutiques. Now that EFFY has a stranglehold on jewelry we don't see the variety we used to like. There did not seem to be much in the way of reasonably priced clothing items and accessories and we did not see too many people in the shops which suggests Princess has a bit of a problem in this area. We thought the ship was in good shape and the ongoing maintenance effort continues to be a strength. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days ... Read More
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days before now when more cabins per worker and more tables mean a decrease in service. We did Cozumel, which has a nice new shopping pier there, Roatan, and Belize with their Maya ruins, beaches and many attractions. Our balcony cabin was clean and well kept with no evidence of wear. Dining was excellent-never ran out of things to eat. Entertainment was the star-the 3 dance floors were the best we have seen, and the main theater shows were very good-talented and entertaining. Embarkation took 1 1/2 hours, but disembarkation only 30 minutes. In all-it was a very good ship especially for the rate we got. Would go again. We are diamond on Royal, but Princess has a better product-at least on this our first Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. ... Read More
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. What a VALUE ! Truly a bargain. This was our 7 th Princess cruise. Sailed once on Celebrity and were disappointed. And are put off by upscale, pretentious, absurdly expensive lines like Regent, Seabourne, Silver Sea etc. There were many dire, negative reviews about this cruise, which generated much pre-cruise anxiety, but none of them materialized for us. Embarkation was slow for regular passengers, but speedy for Elite ones ( Platinum ( us), Suites etc). But overall highly organized. Princess consistently excels at moving large groups of people efficiently. Port of Houston ugly and strange, set amongst refineries, and a boring, unscenic 35 min cab ride from our Four Seasons hotel downtown. But, that said, Houston a relatively short easy flight from California, so we're sorry to hear Princess abandoning this port for good We sailed away 7 hours late due to major underwater repairs ( didn't inspire confidence), but our schedule and itinerary were not affected. The Caribbean Princess decor looks rather dated and tired, but ship was immaculate, spotless. And still a very pretty Italian- built ship. Great care was taken to avoid Norovirus around the ship, in bathrooms and buffet. Our mini-suite was immaculate ( I'm a stickler) and very comfortable, and whoever designed that space initially, a genius. Love the full bath, large closet, generous storage ( more than we heavy packers with 2 50 lb bags could even fill!) 2 flatscreen TV's, down pillows, comfortable, large bed. Comfy waffle weave robes. Terrible stiff towels. But serviceable. Our steward Robert, could not have been more friendly, attentive, responsive, and hardworking. Food choices were varied and good to great ( in Crown Grill and Sabatini's--well worth the extra cover charge). I've been a gourmet cook for decades. My husband is an oenophile and found the wine list excellent and well-chosen. Enjoyed the International Cafe in the Atrium--lovely for a quick bite of pastry, gourmet salads and sandwiches. Service was attentive and professional. Waitstaff mostly well-trained and friendly. Especially ( this applies to all crew) if you make the effort to engage them, inquire about their home country, etc. Only downside, terrible un drinkable poorly mixed cocktails. Entertainment was, well mostly, entertaining. Princess Theatre comfortable and attractive venue. Professional Princess Orchestra/band outstanding. Dancers & singers attractive and talented. Loved their youthful energy. Glitzy, hokey but fast- paced musical shows. Outstanding comic/musician Steve Moris. Standing O. Ship activities: the usual variety. Mostly low-brow and hokey, like bingo. Terrible art auction of unmitigated shlock art. Princess should upgrade with some lectures/ cultural/ nature activities.for the college-educated. But overall, what you'd expect. If you have mediocre expectations, you'll be fine. I do love that something fun and silly is always going on in the pretty Atrium. And enjoy the live music there. Crew was mostly young, friendly, international, trained to please. It's fun to engage them and ask about their home countries. Then many bloom. The rude, impatient Internet Cafe manager was a disgrace. And the Internet pricey and slow. Wonderful, varied, and adventurous excursion choices. Roatan snorkel and catamaran sail delightful. Roatan was a charming stop. Unspoiled island. We had cool weather in Belize. Highly recommend the Lamanai Ruins excursion. But not for the faint of heart--jungle " cruise" is actually wild 50 mile long speedboat ride. Risky but exhilarating. Ship anchored quite far out from Belize City and long tender ride to shore an adventure in itself. More cool weather in Cozumel and our snorkel/ sail was sadly cancelled. But fine to explore Cozumel all day. I should add how impressed we are by the thoroughness and efficiency of the first afternoon's Muster Drill. Princess takes safety very seriously and crew appears well prepared. We experienced a shockingly chaotic one on Celebrity. Now to the tricky part. The demographic that sails with Princess isn't our social/ educational demographic. Some are truly boorish, clueless schlubs and shleppers. The quintessential Ugly Americans. That said, most are solid, friendly, well-behaved middle Americans who are enthusiastic and open to trying something new. They go all-out on formal night. Good for them. But we'd love to make some new like-minded friends on these cruises. Guess the solution is to bring a group of friends. Overall, an enjoyable, well-managed cruise---and tremendous value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Staff is outstanding in trying to make sure you have a great vacation. All of them smiling, asking what they can do for you, very well trained. Boat is okay, have seen fancier ones but this was still nice. The casino is small with few ... Read More
Staff is outstanding in trying to make sure you have a great vacation. All of them smiling, asking what they can do for you, very well trained. Boat is okay, have seen fancier ones but this was still nice. The casino is small with few table games available. The food was really good. Only one meal that we did not like, the rest were memorable. The entertainment was for all different age groups and demographics. Plenty of planned events to keep your interest. Enjoyed many things we never did before. Wanted to play bridge but their games people did not do that so we were on our own to find other couples for bridge. They did supply materials for many games. Overall this was a very enjoyable short 4 day cruise and we would do it again to just get away for a few days on an inexpensive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
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
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
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
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
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how ... Read More
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Parking at the terminal was a breeze. There was no covered parking but we were able to rent a canvas car cover for our vehicle ahead of time from the Port Authority of Houston (and get a small discount). Once inside the check-in went speedy and you were given a boarding slip. There was plenty of seating and after about a 15 minute wait, our section was called aboard. The Emerald Princess is a medium size ship (by today's standards) but seemed well kept up and very clean. Our cabin had a large 4 person balcony and we especially liked the closet area to hang clothes and store luggage. Our room steward did an excellent job keeping our room neat and tidy. Extra towels and wash cloths were quickly delivered when needed. Room service even opened our own wine bottles and provided us with wine glasses. The in-cabin menu was sufficient to satisfy us when we didn't want to leave. The buffet had many offerings and a wide variety. It tended to be crowded at peak times so be sure to check both sides to find the less crowded one. Tons of desserts, too. We liked almost everything we tried. We did the anytime dining but reserved a table ahead of time each day to eliminate the wait. If you reserve a table when the dining room first opens, you have a good chance of getting a table for two. Once seated, the service was outstanding. We barely got settled in before waiters and servers were tending to us. The happened at all three meals. I can't remember the last cruise where the service was so attentive. The next surprise was the how delicious the food was. Even breakfast turned out to be tasty and well-prepared. This impressed us so much that we got on the waiting list for the Chef's Table. Luckily, someone dropped out and we were able to enjoy a whole evening of champagne, appetizers, an incredible multiple-course (I forgot how many courses!) dinner including filets, lamb roast and huge lobsters. All this at a special table in the middle of their dining room. Afterwards, we were given a photo of us with the chef plus a signed copy of his recipe book. Nice touch! Meanwhile, the ship cruised on. We stopped at Cozumel, Honduras and Belize. We did a chocolate and wine tasting excursion at Cozumel. This was fun and tasty. At Honduras, we did a beach and lunch excursion. Unfortunately, it was an arduous journey over the mountain to reach the beach. Once there, it was a nice beach with plenty of tree covered lawn chairs. We didn't tender at Belize since we had been there before but did the couple's spa instead which was enjoyable. Sadly, they actually charged extra to relax around the spa pool area afterwards so we passed and relaxed on our balcony. Disembarkation was well organized but the terminal was a little sluggish so if you are flying out early, be sure you fill out the card requesting an early disembarkation. Overall, an excellent experience. We were impressed with how much better our cruise was than we thought it was going to be. Based on this experience, we are planning a Princess Alaska cruise in 2016. 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
Was on Jewel 2/28 to 3/7 to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. We were just searching the last minute cruises out of Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans, to see what kind of deals were out there. We live less than 3 hours from the two ... Read More
Was on Jewel 2/28 to 3/7 to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. We were just searching the last minute cruises out of Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans, to see what kind of deals were out there. We live less than 3 hours from the two Texas Ports. Got a discounted Penthouse Suite at the front of the Jewel with the ultimate beverage, ultimate dining, $300 OBC, and $100 OBC. All our other cruises (10) have been in a balcony. We really enjoyed the suite. We were on the Jewel for 16 nights, when it came from Los Angeles to Houston thru the Panama Canal, this past fall. With Steven Jacobsen in charge of all onboard Hotel Operations, and Messiah Ritzinger in charge of all onboard Food and Beverage Operations - you are in "GOOD HANDS." These two men are the "BEST" that I have seen on any cruise line. You will see them all over the ship, making sure that every thing is going smoothly. We really enjoyed this cruise in the suite! Richard Remulta was our butler. He was just a phone call away - if we needed anything. Florentina Popa was our Concierge, always ready to help us out. She usually answered our questions before we could ask them. Florentia always greeted us by our name, whenever we saw her around the ship. Being in a suite you got to eat breakfast and lunch in the Monderno. It was never crowded in there. The French Pressed Coffee served there was great. We even had Richard bring us the French Pressed Coffee with our early breakfast, on the morning of disembarkation in Houston. After breakfast we met Florentia, and she escorted the suite cruisers carrying their luggage, off the ship first. That was a nice option. We had to get home early to pick our Jack Russell up from the "Puppy Hotel", because they closed at noon. Since we had the Ultimate Dining Package, all our evening meals were at the specialty restaurants. Our favorite was the Teppanyaki. The chef puts on a show while cooking your meal on a grill in front of you. The Moderno served all kinds of meats sliced off skewers they brought around to your table. It was good, but not much in side orders to go along with the meat, though. Cagney's was like a steak/sea food place. We ate there twice and service was very slow. Le Bistro was the French place and we enjoyed it. The Mongolian Hot Pot cooks your choice of meat and vegetables in a pot, on top of a warming plate, in the center of your table. That was pretty neat. Chin Chin an Asian place and La Cucina an Italian place were the least favorites. I think we should have skipped them and went to one of the main dining rooms. Enjoyed the Ultimate Beverage package. We are not big drinkers, but it was nice to have wine at meals, drinks/beers in the casinos, at the shows, around the pool, sitting in the bars and on deck, etc. Did get my share of the Pepsi products, too. We wouldn't buy the package, though. On the Panama Canal Cruise we both got enough points on our casino cards, for free drinks in the casino. Used our $400 OBC to buy a future cruise credit with Norwegian for $250, and got $100 back in OBC. So that left a $250 OBC balance. We took the balance of OBC in three separate transactions at the casino, where we got cash. They charge a 3% fee - so it cost $3 for getting $100 cash at the cashier. Wanted to make sure we didn't leave any nonrefundable credit when we got off the Jewel. It worked out fine, since we weren't taking any excursions, buying drinks, or specialty dining. We had been to Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize on two other cruises (one exactly one year ago on the Caribbean Princess out of Houston). So we just got off the ship late, walked around the ports for a little shopping and came back to the ship early. We went to all the evening shows in the theatre. Some of the performers were the same ones we saw on the Panama Canal Cruise, 5 months earlier. May have varied a little, though. It would have been nice to see a little more rotation, of them between the other ships. It probably saved us money - keeping us out of the casino. This was our 11th cruise overall, and 3rd with Norwegian. We enjoy the anytime dining! You are on vacation and shouldn't need to eat at a certain time. It is nice to be flexible. Another thing I like, is being able to wear shorts to most of the restaurants. Le Bistro was the only one I had to wear long pants at. You can't wear shorts at night to Tsar's either, but there is always Azura. Learned this from the previous cruise. The Norwegian Employees starting at the top with Steven Jacobsen and Messiah Ritzinger and all throughout the Jewel, are so friendly and helpful. I never ran into one employee that didn't seem to enjoy their job, and they would always greet you with a smile. Can't forget the "Washy Washy Guy" at the buffet. He is a very good singer and guitar player. Saw him when the crew put on a talent show in the theatre. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my third cruise and my friends first. I chose Houston port because of flights available for me and she could drive. We found a great hotel near the port where she could leave the car while we sailed. I had previously sailed out of ... Read More
This was my third cruise and my friends first. I chose Houston port because of flights available for me and she could drive. We found a great hotel near the port where she could leave the car while we sailed. I had previously sailed out of New York and Miami. Although I had been to Cozumel before this was by far a much nicer stop than my last visit. I really think it was the difference in the ports that we stopped at this time. There is no word or phrase that I can find that describes the beauty of Coxen Hole, Hondorus. We had a private tour of the island and an excursion by boat through the mangroves. Absolutely wonderful. We were also quite happy with the port shopping. The Jewel has an on board shopping adviser. She was knowledgeable and helpful in making that experience better than my previous cruises. I liked the fact that Norwegian has vetted the local shops and extended a warranty to those on the approved list. It saved time and gave us comfort that we weren't being taken advantage of. Our cabin was close the elevator that was central to most of the dining facilities. We enjoyed being able to eat when and where we chose. It was like making a decision at home and going to a local restaurant. No first and second seating. From a buffet to BBQ at the pool or formal dining you chose when and where. The only way we will go again. The service was phenomenal. I celebrated my birthday during the week and they went all out to help me celebrate. From cake to balloons and streamers in our stateroom.This cruise was by far my BEST ever. We are now planning when and where we do our next Norwegian vacation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Just returned. Sailed 2/7 out of Houston. A great port. Parking less than 50 yards from terminal. New, clean and fast. Jewel, had 2400 cruisers, long ship. We were on 9, mid with a balcony. Room size fine but furnishings and rug were worn ... Read More
Just returned. Sailed 2/7 out of Houston. A great port. Parking less than 50 yards from terminal. New, clean and fast. Jewel, had 2400 cruisers, long ship. We were on 9, mid with a balcony. Room size fine but furnishings and rug were worn and dated. But didnt interfere with trip. Plenty of storage, bed & pillows great. Room steward excellent. Overall boat decor had a 70's feel but everything was shining and well kept for age. Although alot of people it never felt crowded. FOOD: Buffet in Cafe was very busy but vg variety and everything we tried was good to VG. Staff friendly and helpful. Breakfast very busy. we ate at far end away from buffet and always had a seat. We ate breakfast there and two dinners . Ate other dinners in Azura. Unlike other cruises you do not sit at same table at dinner, can eat anywhere. We really liked a waitress so we ask for her section each dinner. Food vg, timely service. We ate around 5:30 no trouble with seating but by 6, it got very busy. Chocolate night was wonderful! ENTERTAINMENT: we did early show. Russian acrobats, comedian/magician and comedian were awesome. Others entertaining but not memorable. Really fills up for acrobats!!! Music in other lounges and pools VG but normal. POOL: at sea days lounges fill up fast and early. We sat at a table above the pool area on 13 and could see and hear everything. It is very noisy and active. Drinks alittle pricey and service good. Pool grill for lunch was VG!! OTHER: the Library for quiet reading was excellent. Didnt use SPA, was very pricey. Fitness Center was VG. Classes and daily activity nonstop and worth it if you had interest. Gift shop large and pricey. Wait till last day for sales!!! We didnt eat in any of the Specialty restaurants but heard people say Chin Chin was bad???? We did eat lunch in O'Sheehans (part of pkg) one day. Irish pub, very limited menu but chicken pot pie was awesome. Service very poor! Java Cafe for coffee was inadequate. No seating to lookout, bake shop very limited. Often only one barista. Seating for quiet space very very limited. EXCURSIONS: We did Chocolate Tour in Cozumel. Fun, learned about Mexico history. We made our own chocolate and 20% off in their store. Kao Kao, VG!! In Belize We did Alta Hu 1/2 day. Tender ride in is long 5 miles and sea was rough but process was very efficient and safe. A third world country. Roads were AWFUL!! Bus was fine air conditioning fair. Sound system fair but guides very knowledgeable .About an hr ride each way. Tour was VG, alot of standing and walking. ruins were awesome. Take bug spray. Vendors items VG, not pushy and very politr. Negotiation is expected. Buy some Plantain chips VG!!! WATER $1 OFF SHIP. $4.50 on. Buy off, refill empty bottles at cafe. At Tender Pier Grill have the Seafood Fritters, wunderful!!! Everything was very safe! In Trujillo rode tender in, not as long. Process again very smooth and timely. This is a new port, opened 10/15/14. Very pretty, mountains rise right above the docking area. We didnt do an excursion. They were very limited and reviews not very good. We walked around, shopped in new little shops, enjoyed the couple of things to see all very walkable.. We were only boat in port. Felt like most who went a shore did what we did. WWe enjoyed the ocean view, breeze and newness.. A change from Belize, OVERALL: it was a very fun week. The staff on board and the beautiful weather made it great. We traveled as a couple so we ate alone, different from other cruises (this was our 8th, first on Norwegian). The FREESTYLE is a neat idea, lots of flexibility for eating. We will travel Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Sailed on Valentine's day, easy boarding, nicest terminal we have used to date. Our fifth cruise, fourth different cruise line we have used. Feel this was the best one yet. Not as many passengers than the other ships carried, our ... Read More
Sailed on Valentine's day, easy boarding, nicest terminal we have used to date. Our fifth cruise, fourth different cruise line we have used. Feel this was the best one yet. Not as many passengers than the other ships carried, our cabin was the roomiest we have ever had as was the bathroom. Paid more for our last cruise with smaller cabin and no refrigerator or coffee maker like the Jewel offered. Paid a little extra for the upgraded meal plan, only felt three of the six restaurants worth the extra money, but they were really good and would do again. Great entertainment for the most part, did have a lounge singer we avoided, she hit a lot of flat notes, no idea how she got a job as a vocalist. Tried all the restaurants and enjoyed all, only complaint was some of the severs seemed less than happy with their job, but others were exceptional. Gift shop deceiving about duty free liquor, beware if you use Texas port because they nail you when you debark! Will definitely consider Norwegian first from now on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the ... Read More
Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the Garden Villa for 7 of us. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event and it could not have been more fabulous. No ship or cruise can be the best at everything, but on the NCL Jewel the combination of the ship, the crew, the entertainment (outstanding), the excursions, the food, the friends we met, made for an outstanding week. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) • The Garden Villa experience can’t adequately be expressed in words. It was the BEST. • Food quality was superb everywhere. We had the Ultimate Dining Package and ate in Teppanyaki, Le Bistro (2), Cagney’s (2), La Cucina, and Moderno. • Entertainment was excellent. Probably the best dance group I have seen on any cruise line. Do NOT miss Le Cirque Bijou…..OUTSTANDING. • The staff was friendly and helpful and our Concierge, Florentina Popa, was outstanding as well as our Butler, Erlindo Doca, and our room steward, Alexandro Legarda. • We hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Garden Villa with over 70 attendees. Garden Villa: When I booked the Garden Villa over a year ago, Wendy, my wife, thought I was foolish to spend that amount of money on a week cruise. After the week was over, she told me the experience of this past week was worth way more in memories than the money we spent. On Sunday, we hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Villa with more than 70 attendees. NCL did a great job in organizing and setting up the event with several officers in attendance. Our group did a gift exchange organized by SimplySuzy. After the gift exchange, 30 of us headed to the Casino for the slot pull organized by Cocruzlvrs. The casino gave us a couple of bottles of champagne and tee shirts for the highest winners. We lost 55 cents per person but almost hit the jackpot twice playing the Wheel of Fortune. A great time was had by all. On Wednesday, we celebrated the birthday for two members of our group. Florentina, Erlindo, and Alexandro decorated the living room with balloons and had a large cake waiting for us when we returned from our excursion in Belize. A couple of us, especially me, took advantage of the Jacuzzi and Steam Room that was on our patio between the master bedroom and the living room. On deck 15, above our living area was a private sun deck with chairs, a hammock, and tables. The sun worshipers in our group used this area extensively. DINING: Some people criticize anytime dining but I prefer it. It allows me to control when and where I eat based upon the day’s activities. Other people may prefer traditional dining because they are able to meet other cruisers and develop a relationship with them. Besides breakfast and lunch in Moderno’s, we ate at the buffet in Garden Café, Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and O’sheehans. I have absolutely NO complaints about the food at any venue. I could have eaten at the buffet every night and been happy; it was that good. Le Bistro was outstanding. It was NOT crowded and provided a great dining atmosphere with great food. Only complaint I might have at Le Bistro’s was the amount of time it took us to dine. However, with 9 of us at our table each night it could have been a factor. This was our first time at Teppanyaki’s on any cruise. I highly recommend this to everyone. The experience provides a fun time for all but the food is outstanding. I can’t wait to book this on our next cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the Stardust theater were OUTSTANDING. Two shows are definitely labeled as “DO NOT MISS”: Band on the Run and Le Cirque Bijou. Do not miss the final Farewell Variety Showtime on Day 7. It provides a great emotional high and a fitting tribute to a great cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship ... Read More
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship provided the wheel chair. From then on the embarkation went very smoothly. We were registered and in our cabin within fifteen minutes. Whether this was because we had assistance from a crew member helping my wife board or not, guests seemed to move through the lines quickly and efficiently. Cabin: We were in a balcony cabin on the Baha (11th) deck. The cabin was faily spacious and laid out to our liking. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom and shower were a bit cramped, however. The balcony was roomy and well-appointed with two chairs and a small table. The cabin and balcony were clean and well-maintained. The only material deficiency I noticed was the inability of the TV remote controller to turn the TV on or off. This was reported to maintenance by our cabin steward but was never rectified during our cruise. The location of the cabin was far aft, starboard side of the vessel. It was convenient to dining but a very long way from the theater and fitness center. The room was quiet but susceptible to ship movements. Ship’s Condition: Emerald Princess was commissioned in 2007 and refurbished in 2012. Overall, the interior spaces were in excellent condition. There was some rust on exterior surfaces. The maintenance crew worked throughout the cruise painting, scraping, etc. The exterior of our cabin (balcony) was washed down including doors, windows, and railing. Food: Meals in the dining rooms and the Horizon Food Court were above average for cruise fare. Menu selection was varied and the dining room presentations were excellent. Fast food included hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, bratwurst, and knockwurst. All items were above average to excellent. The International Café offered salads, pastries, and some sweets. All were very good. A word to the wise: do not eat in the Horizon Food Court on the day of departure. It is much too crowded, very difficult to find seating, and some food items run out. A better alternative is to eat in one of the dining rooms upon arrival to the ship. Service: Service aboard the Emerald Princess has markedly improved since we last sailed on Princess. Even though we were assigned AnyTime Dining, the waiters and assistant waiters were friendly, attentive, and efficient. Our room steward, Allen, was one of the best we have ever had over our 25 cruises. The room was always clean and towels were replaced twice daily. Pool towels were allowed to be left by the pools and were replaced in our cabins daily as well. Assistance for my wife with her wheel chair was wonderful in all venues. Princess should be very proud of their crew; they were wonderful. Entertainment: The ship’s production numbers were awful; much below the standards set by most cruise lines. The singers reminded me of some amateur hour talent show. The dancers were never in sync and the productions themselves were weak at best. Henry Hood played in several venues and was fair at best; he had an annoying way about him and was a consummate self-promoter. The only saving grace was singer/guitarist, Duncan Tuck, who was excellent. Princess really needs to work on this aspect of their cruises as they are being far outclassed by Holland America, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Fitness Center: The ship’s fitness center was well-outfitted with adequate cardio equipment, excerpt for upright bicycles. There were only two for a passenger load of 3100. Use of the treadmills was limited to the hours of 8 AM to 8 PM since there were some cabins below the workout area. Not a bad idea. Ports: We visited Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel. My wife and I choose to remain on board for most of the ports. I did walk around Cozumel and found it safe and clean for a Caribbean port. Cannot comment on ship sponsored excursions. But in talking with other guests, I didn’t hear of any significant problems. Ship’s Officers: Most of the ship’s senior officers were readily available and quite visible throughout the cruise. I had occasion to speak to the ship’s captain several times during the voyage. He was always friendly and quite informative. Debarkation: We again required wheel chair assistance for my wife. It was handled efficiently and courteously. The crew member who helped my wife even stayed with her until I brought the car around, and helped load our luggage. We couldn’t have been more pleased. It is little things like the above that made our experience most memorable.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and ... Read More
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and I booked 2 staterooms with balconies and was pleasantly suprised to see we got upgraded to a mini-stateroom with $50 ship credit from Princess and $50 from Vacations To Go! My parent's room (Caribe 10 Deck) had a larger balcony with four chairs so we liked to sit outside with them and shared their complimentary champagne. I was able to bring my own wine (1 per person) and kept it in the mini-fridge. We were treated with such friendliness, starting with the parking people at the Houston Port cruise terminal to every single Princess employee! Parking (paid on-line,) embarkation, customs and debarkation were super smooth! We have twice sailed on Holland America to Alaska before but the Emerald Princess was larger and just as nice. However the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean are rougher seas and I was seasick a few times. I tried the ginger tablets, essential oil, and wristbands, and reluctantly used Dramamine on the last day only to fall asleep for two hours! I did feel better the rest of the day. I even felt seasick while snorkeling in Belize. Our room steward, Robert, was quite efficient and friendly -- wish I could sneak him home with me and my house would magically be clean! We opted for the early 5:45 pm seating for dinner and totally enjoyed the food and impeccable service. Our waiters, Chaiyut and Kiattisan, from the Philippines, were prompt and professional. My parents had dinner in the Crown Grill one night and raved about the lobster. My husband and I went to Sabbatinis which was equally good and very romantic. We never skipped dessert either! Needless to say, I'm on a diet now. One morning we had breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room where it's nice to sit down and order from a menu and dine with other folks. On port days, we opted for the buffet breakfast because it was faster and we had excursions booked. We enjoyed eating breakfast from the Caribe Cafe and sitting outside on the bow deck, enjoying the fresh air and view. Lunch was just okay, nothing special. We are not big drinkers, but occasionally bought a glass of wine or beer. Not a great selection so I'm glad I brought my own favorite wine to sip on before dinner. Once, I got the Drink of the Day in Cozumel -- a delicious frozen margarita. Unfortunately they ran out of straws. One thing I was surprised about were all the sales promotions for jewelry, art, spa services, etc. -- pages of ads in the daily newsletters, PA announcements. If you attend an informative seminar, there was a sales pitch to endure. When you get off the boat in port, you walk through all the duty-free, Tanzanite and diamond shops. When you get back on, the spa people were there to entice you for their services. On-board activities were definitely geared to an older crowd although younger people might like Knitters, Bible Study, Bridge, Bingo, Speed Sudoko, seminars on non-surgical face lifts and footprint analysis. I would have preferred more cultural, historical, wildlife presentations with a naturalist that doesn't have anything to sell! I participated in Zumba one morning but there were too many people crowded on the dance floor of the Fusion Night Club. The Brit instructor looked a bit out of shape too. Since I had my husband captive on the board, so to speak, and he hates posing for photos, I booked a session to take those beautiful black and white portraits in the Platinum Studio. Our photographer, Rozanna from South Africa, played music, offered a glass of wine, and got us laughing -- all in 30 minutes. As a result, the poses were very natural. The next evening she presented us with nearly 80 images in a slideshow where we narrowed our choices down to 4 poses and got a free 8X10. Before the photo shoot, I had my hair styled in the salon by Sushant from India. I thought it was well worth the $49 because my hair is always frizzy and Sushant transformed it! Quite a sweet guy, only 21 years old, and he's seeing the world! Afterward he did try to sell me two expensive hair products that I declined. For entertainment after dinner, we enjoyed Tom McTigue, an excellent comedian who happens to play the photography teacher in the Oscar-nominated film, Boyhood! The magician was okay, not David Blaine-caliber, but a fun show. If you want to see a show, make sure you get there 1/2 hour ahead of time. We skipped the song & dance and disco shows and watched recently released movies on TV instead. There's a good band that plays rock, country and pop covers out by the big pool during the day -- my 83-year old dad really liked it! On sea days I would find a quiet spot on deck, stretch out in the sunshine and read a book. Bliss! I did yoga in my room because the offered class ($12) was too early for me. Excursions -- In Roatan, we got a private tour with Victor Bodden ($25 for 4 people) plus $10 at the iguana farm where you get to feed them. Iguanas are ALL over the place, even in the trees. Another $5 at Monkey Business where the little cappuchins and macaws jump on your shoulder, plus $10 for lunch. Our guide was informative and drove us all over the island. However, he did take us to an souvenir shop that was twice as expensive as the shops at the Mahogany Bay cruise terminal shops. In Belize City, we used Sun Kissed Excursions, also known as Ecotours, for Goff's Caye Beach and Snorkeling. $40 each, not including lunch. It was a 35-minute boat ride from the port to the beach where we were provided the equipment, then jumped off the boat and snorkeled half-way around the island in turquoise blue water. I did see a lion fish but not much else. Plus I was getting seasick. After 45 minutes of snorkeling, we had about a couple of hours to lay on the board. It started getting crowded as we were leaving around 1 pm. Cave tubing and zip-lining would have been fun too but we had already done that at a previous trip to Belize. My parents also used Sun Kissed Excursions to go to Lamanai Mayan ruins by way of a speedboat on the river. They loved it! No need to book expensive excursions in Cozumel. We just hired a taxi and for $25 each, the driver spent 3 hours driving us all around the island, stopping at Playa Palancar for a hour where we sat on the lovely beach before the crowds came around 10 am. In all, the crew on Emerald Princess works really hard at trying to provide a vacation for all kinds of people, even LGBT, singles, children and seniors. The only drawbacks were all the sales pitches and not enough active activities geared to younger people.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual dining options of Norwegian. Every night was a new themed food night at the buffet and was done very well. The two restaurants that come with your cruise were good, also, although we thought there could have been a little more variety from night to night. There are a lot of specialty restaurants available for an extra charge, but we felt that the food that was included was so good, we did not feel the need. The entertainment that was included with the cruise was fun and entertaining. Our shore excursions were good - a little spendy, we thought, but comparable to other cruise lines. In an effort to maintain safety for the cruisers, they have a touristy area that is cordoned off from the rest of the town in both Belize and Trujillo, Honduras. It would have been nice to have the availability of a tour guide who would just walk you around the local area. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park ... Read More
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park near the entrance. Upon entering the terminal we were guided to the registration area. Since we were staying in The Haven area we entered a room set aside for suite and latitude guest. After a short wait, we received our room keys. Then an employee of the ship escorted us to our suite and the Moderno Restaurant for lunch. It took quite a while for all our luggage to arrive. The embarkation was a wonderful experience. The Haven If you want to be truly spoiled, this is the place to stay. We had four adults in a two bedroom suite. Our butler, Lazaro and steward, Alexander made sure our every need and wish was granted. All our request were met. Each afternoon a snack was delivered to our suite. Our suite was kept spotless. Richard is the butler in The Haven area. Each morning we had a quiet breakfast in The Haven. We ordered off the menu. My husband had omelet, bacon and toast each morning. I had waffle and fruit. The food was delicious. Guest in The Haven have several breakfast and lunch choices: room service, The Haven area, Moderno Restaurant, or any other open eating restaurant on the ship. We also ate several lunches in The Haven. The concierge, Florentina made my life easier. She scheduled all our tours. She scheduled dinner reservations. She reserved a section of the Stardust Theater. The only time I stood in line was the last night. I stood in line at Customer Service to pay gratuities for the wonderful service we had received. Each of them deserved more than I gave. The Haven is very relaxing. The suites are very nice with a private balcony. Our suite included a living, dining area, 2 bedrooms, and 2 baths. The master bath includes 2 sinks, tub, and huge shower. The actual Haven includes many areas for lounging, an eating area, a pool, a hot tub, an exercise area, and a private sun deck. It was never crowded. Note: The second bedroom is small and really for children. We ate all our dinners except one in the Azura Restarant. Kathryn and Donald were excellent wait staff. Service was good. Our meals were very relaxing. One night we ate at the Tsar's Palace. This service was very poor. In fact, this was the only poor service we received on the ship. Entertainment was excellent. The Stardust Theater provided first class shows. The various musical groups around the ship were great. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstrations, art auctions, and internet café. The Behind the Scenes tour was very educational. It was enlightening to see all the preparation that goes into each meal. I enjoyed seeing all the equipment in the laundry. Of course, it was exciting to visit the bridge. I would highly recommend this tour.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise ... Read More
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise terminal is less than and hour and a half from home. Don't know why we haven't done this before. The Jewel is a nice ship. There is evidence of ware and tare here and there but overall she is in good shape. We enjoyed every aspect of the ship except our cabin. We tried a couple of the specialty restaurants. They were good. The dining room and buffet were good also. Our most pleasant surprise was the entertainment. All the shows were excellent. The ship didn't feel over croweded. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We flew from Oakland to Houston Hobby on Friday, April 18th and took the free shuttle to the Marriott. Hotel and room very nice. Our shuttle driver helped us make taxi arrangements to the port for the next morning. We traveled with two ... Read More
We flew from Oakland to Houston Hobby on Friday, April 18th and took the free shuttle to the Marriott. Hotel and room very nice. Our shuttle driver helped us make taxi arrangements to the port for the next morning. We traveled with two other couples, so there were six of us. We had to use two cabs with all the luggage. Bayport Embarkation: This was very smooth and efficient. We are Platinum so very little wait. I think we were on the ship by 12:15. We dropped off our carry-on luggage in our cabin and went to the International Café for lunch. This was so much less crowded than the buffet usually is at that time. We relaxed and just soaked it all in. The ship was beautiful with decorations of giant Easter eggs making it even more festive. I was on this ship, Caribbean Princess, nine years ago. She is a beautiful ship. The upholstery is a bit worn in some of the public rooms, but hopefully that will be taken care of when she goes into dry dock in May. The crew was friendly and accommodating, as always. Our cabin steward made sure we had whatever we asked for, was friendly when he saw us in the hallway, and made up our room constantly. Yet, he was mostly invisible, as I have explained to friends they are supposed to be. Our dining room staff in anytime dining in the Coral Dining Room was terrific. We had 8 people and made a reservation for the same table and time every night. Therefore we had the same servers. Very accommodating, and we showed them our appreciation with extra tips on the last night. We did this for our cabin steward too. The food was good. If you didn't like something they made sure to get you something else instead. Perhaps sometimes the food was a bit better in the past (more gourmet), but we still think Princess does a terrific job of feeding all those people and it's better than average. We also loved the International Café (love the chicken salad), and the pizza and hot dogs and fries on deck were superb! We got a drink package for $7.50 a day that included all soft drinks, juices, and mocktails. We don't drink alcohol so this was great for us. We only needed one for each cabin, so it is really a value. Entertainment: As always, we loved the nightly entertainment. The shows were very good, though we did think one was a lot louder than we liked for comfort. The comedian was hysterical. We had already seen the magician on a previous cruise, so didn't go again. We love to listen to music and dance and a few of the groups onboard were very good. The one in Explorer's Lounge was too loud one night so we had to walk to walk out. Our favorite by far was listening to Bert Stratton play piano and sing in the Crooner's. We went every night, at some point in the evening. I had first seen him 9 years ago, and he is as good as ever. Very entertaining and extremely personable. My friends all enjoyed him immensely. He really made our cruise so special! Cozumel: We went to the Mayan ruins. Princess excursion. It was so extremely hot and humid! Lots of steps up and down, and so it was tiring. Gorgeous when you get to the ruins and see the beauty and the sea. The transfer to the motor coach was air conditioned and very comfortable. You have to take a boat to the motor coach. It was also air conditioned. Roatan: We did our own private excursion to Little French Key. I had heard about it on Cruise Critic roll call. Had a lovely day. It's beautiful there. It rained, but we didn't much care. The lunch was so good and you also get two drinks a person. The little rescue zoo was fabulous and I got to hold the monkey, Lisa. They had a Jaguar cub there and they took him swimming and we got to touch him. Took lots of photos. We love animals so this was a high point. The water and beach were gorgeous. Very well maintained. Some of our group went snorkeling. It was a wonderful beach day! We walked through Mahogany Bay before returning to the ship. Looked nice on that beach too. Belize: We tendered in and looked for a short tour or something. We decided not to go to the ruins there since the heat really took its toll on us in Cozumel. We took a city tour and were shocked at the poverty! I hear that if you travel out to one of the islands it is much different, but we were in Belize for so little time, we couldn't do that. We walked around the shopping port before going back on the tender. Lots to do on the ship, but not enough time to do it all. Most free time during days on the ship were spent relaxing up on deck. We like to turn the lounges around to face the rail so we can see the water. Usually can find shady spots. DH did play Bingo once, and stopped in the casino one afternoon for a short time. We somehow never got to Trivia or dancing lessons this trip. But we had lots of fun. Disembarkation: This was very organized. Found our luggage easily. Princess really has this down. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014

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