6 Istanbul to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

We just returned from an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on the Norwegian Jewel and loved it. Our flight from Boston was smooth and there were no hitches as far as luggage was concerned. Embarkation was fairly easy and we were on the ship ... Read More
We just returned from an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on the Norwegian Jewel and loved it. Our flight from Boston was smooth and there were no hitches as far as luggage was concerned. Embarkation was fairly easy and we were on the ship by 1 P.M. We had the opportunity to get an upgrade to a Penthouse which we took. We were in the stern section so there were no strong breezes when we opened the sliding glass doors. Our cabin was quite nice and included a coffee and tea maker which took a little practice in using. After lunch in the garden cafe we explored the ship. It is quite spacious and ia really spotless. As latitudes members we had invitations to Captains cocktail parties and other get togethers with cruise critic members. The food on the Jewel was better than the other Norwegian ships we have been on. (Majesty,Star and Spirit). The Tsars Palace is the main dining room and is quite fancy. The Azura diningroom is more cosy and has the same menu. We also ate at Le Bistro which was outstanding as well as Cagney's, Blue Lagoon, The Tapas restaurant,Great outdoors and of course the Garden Cafe. The shore excursions while pricey made maximum use of your time ashore. We saw an awful lot in a short period of time; Ephesus, Mykonos, Santorini,Crete,The pyramids in Cairo, Alexandria, Corfu and finally Athens. We took this cruise for the interesting ports of Call. The staff was very friendly and helpful. This is one of the reasons we keep sailing on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The ambience is very low key and most people don't dress up at night. This bothers my wife to some extant. The one criticism I do have about Norwegian Cruise lines is smoking. The only place you can smoke inside are the 8 seats at the Cigar lounge on Deck 6. You can sit in your cabin and smoke but who wants to do that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We booked this cruise for the itinerary, even though we had visited most ports of call before. We did hesitate about booking with NCL, as we are big fans of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We still have mixed feelings about the Freestyle ... Read More
We booked this cruise for the itinerary, even though we had visited most ports of call before. We did hesitate about booking with NCL, as we are big fans of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We still have mixed feelings about the Freestyle Dining. It is great to have the choice of restaurants on the Jewel and to be able to turn up at either of the main dining rooms at any time in the evening. However, we found that we didn't get to meet many people because frequently there was only a table for two available for dinner, even though we indicated that we'd be happy to share. The food was of usual 'cruise ship' standard, perfectly fine and service in the dining rooms was good. We don't usually take in many shows on cruises but we made a point of seeing the Cirque Bijou show (based on Cirque du Soleil) and it was fantastic. Previous reviews have mentioned bad organization for disembarking at ports and this continues. Also if you don't take NCL's shore excursions, you are given virtually no information and a sketchy map only. We weren't warned about the distance from the dock to the town center at Corfu, for example. Taxis were very scarce and it was a 4-5 km walk in hot sun. We felt that shuttle buses should have been available there and at a couple of other ports, I'm sure passengers not on shore excursions would have been happy to pay for them. Bizarrely for our two-day stay in Alexandria, the daily newsletter said 'stay on ship's time' but didn't tell you what the local time was. We liked the bathroom in our cabin, which had a sliding door to separate the toilet, plus a transparent sliding door on the shower, which works much better than a curtain. The tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin are a great idea, pity our stewards never replaced our teabags and coffee even when we asked. There was ample storage space, however the cabins are small. We had an outside with porthole, which worked OK with the twin bed setup that was incorrectly done for our arrival. When made into a queen configuration, there is only room on one side of the bed to get in and out. I either had to crawl over the bed or slide from the other side through the three inches of space between the overhanging edge of the dressing table top and the bed. That maneuver would have been impossible for many people, lucky that I'm small and slim. Some people that we met inspected our cabin and said that their inside cabin was even smaller. The lighting was shocking, very dim. Our cabin stewards were the laziest we've ever come across in the dozen or so cruises we've taken. They didn't bother to introduce themselves at all; we rarely saw them and they did the minimum amount of work. Some days they missed our cabin altogether and we had to call Reception to get it made up. The 'Activities' were pathetic, there were very few, even allowing that this was a port-intensive itinerary. We've never seen the opening hours of the Kid's Club, Library, Spa and Internet Cafe listed as activities before, they were obviously there to plump up the list. I went for one of the few scheduled fitness classes, only to have the instructor not turn up, so I didn't bother to try any more but did my own workout. The gym is very well equipped. In summary, we feel that overall the Norwegian Jewel doesn't come near RCCL and Celebrity standards and doubt that we'd cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
History: I am 22 year old girl who just graduated from college. I went on this trip with my mom as part of graduation present. This was our first cruise. Also I don't have great grammar just fyi. Overview: A wonderful cruise and ... Read More
History: I am 22 year old girl who just graduated from college. I went on this trip with my mom as part of graduation present. This was our first cruise. Also I don't have great grammar just fyi. Overview: A wonderful cruise and even better itinerary. I am sold for life on NCL. Also to us this cruise was more about the ports then the cruise so we didn't do as much activities as we could of. We were just too tired from sight seeing and spent all our time in the spa :). Check in: We came in on KLM. If you have to fly oversea in economy this is way to go great free food and even free alcohol on the airplane. Also getting a passport was very easy in Istanbul even though we were a bit worried. We had Ekol pick us up from the airport and drop off up at the cruise ship. Then we made it to cruise ship around 3 and there was no line at all and we made it through checking in less then 10 mins. It all went so smoothly I could not believe it. Room: Our room was great. We had a fabulous deal and were upgraded to ocean view DD and the price was still a lot lower then what we started at with. We loved our TA. The room had lots of storage and was perfect for two people. I was really surprised about the bathroom. I accepted to be really tiny but it was very nice. The shower had even enough room to shave?. Our room steward was always friendly and helpful. We had little towel animals every day. Food: We loved the food everyday except once. The new 48 hour rule for reserving specialty restaurants instead of reserving for the whole trip was GREAT. I read about a lot of people having issues reserving restaurant times so we were a bit worried, but everything went very well. We always got the restaurant we want around the time we wanted. We tried all specialty restaurant and the two main restaurants. Our favorite was the steakhouse. The waiters and service was always good at every restaurant except Tsars. AT Tsars service slow and I did not like the food that night. Azura, Tangos, and Italian restaurant were all great free food options for dinner. The Grill at the pool was my favorite place for lunch. There hamburger there were just delicious. Breakfast was always great with lots of variety. And the food was never cold, except if it was suppose to be ? It was normally crowed in the breakfast area in the morning before we hit port but we would just take our food outside to the pool area and eat the food there. We could watch the ship pull into port without tons of people around us. They also served drinks out at the pool so we did not have to go back into to get drinks. Overall with food just love the option of eating when ever you want, where ever you want, and dress how you want. Optional Formal Night: One of our few complaints. They did not inform us that it was happening that night. I checked the daily a few times no mention that tonight was formal night. I guess if we looked at menus ahead of time we would have know that it was formal night cause of the lobsters being served. A lot of people were not dressed up that night but I asked a few if they knew of it being formal night and they said "No they did no." But we just wore our dresses when we went to Le bistro which works out fabulous because everyone was more dressed up in there anyway and we got our pictures taken that night. Also through out the cruise I saw lots of people dressed up too but still lots of people who were not. Spa: We spent a lot of time in the spa. We got the pass to relax in the spa. The stone /heat loungers are WONDERFUL. After a full day of sight seeing it was lovely to just grab a book and just relax. We went there enough all the spa ladies got to know us by name and were always nice and friendly. We also took advantage of the spa specials that were shown on the dailies. The massages, facials, reflexology, manicure, and predicators were all very relaxing and very good. Disembarkation: We got the first color off the ship and make sure you get into line very early when they give tickets the line was huge. We got first one off since we only had one day in Athens and wanted to make the most of it. We woke up at 5am and NCL had hot breakfast already out. Then we took our carry on off the ship which was really easy no one else was up. Then we met up with George the famous taxi driver and off we went. So overall very smooth later one it could have been bad but if you just got up early no problems at all. Itinerary Istanbul: We spent two days one night in Istanbul. Ekol was the company we used and they took care of us. We they fit in the stuff we wanted to do which was a lot and did it all cheaper then NCL tours. It was great having our own private tour; we learned so much and got to move at our own pace. We went to the Bizarre and got rugs, jewelry, and other gifts. It was great having our guide there she we keep us being ripped off and will help us bargain. When you’re in the bizarre remember do not be nice, just say no cause some of the shop keepers will really try and take advantage of you. Then we went to belly dancer dinner which was good food and great entertainment. The next day we went to see the Hippodrome, St Saint Sophia, and Topeka Place. Our guide was very informative, interesting and really nice person. Izmir: We used Ekol again in Izmir, Turkey. From there we drove to Ephesus which was a great Ionian, Greek/Roman ruins. I would also recommend seeing the Terrace houses even though they cost a bit extra well worth it. It gets you out of the sun for a little while and has beautiful mosaics and frescos. Our guide was very informative was a archeologist who has worked at this site. He knew a lot of very interesting details and took great pictures for us. Mykonos: This was going to be our beach day, but sadly it was rainy and cloudy most of the day. We did not get a guide here; Mykonos has a great bus system to get to most of the beaches. We went to Paradise beach, took some pics and try to lie down and relax, but it was just too cold. Then we went to back to the main town did some shopping. Mykonos is though very expensive town so we did a lot of just window shopping. A Paradise Beach towel coast 20 something euros, which I think is a bit ridiculous. Anyways try to find some shops off the beaten path and the shops get a bit more reasonable. Mykonos it self is very cute place though. Santorin: First this is the worst planned Greek island. If more then one ship is docked trying to get to Fira is very hard because you have to get on a gondola type thing which is very inefficient. So if you want to see the Island you need to get off on the first tendering boat possible and quickly get into the line because it will get worse. We got off on the first boat and got up to Fira really quickly. Then we went to a museum which was definitely very fascinating for people who love history. Afterwards we went on a Volcano Hike and Hot Springs. Volcano hike was gorgeous but the Hot Springs was defiantly something you can miss. Crete: We went with NCL tour in Knossos. Knossos is a very fascinating site but was really over crowed. We were packed like sardines in this ancient site. Also I really just do not NCL tours there expensive and can hardly hear what the tour guide said. Egypt: I would defiantly recommend Champion tour package of 2 day on night in Cairo. We had our own private guide instead of the huge tour groups of NCL and was cheaper then NCL. We got to move at our own pace and had our own driver. Our Tour guide was very nice and informative and was able to customize our tour for what we wanted to do. Olympia: We had a group formed on roll call of about 14 people. Our tour guide was great. By sharing this group it was again cheaper then NCL but still a smaller group then NCL tours. Athens: We did this on our own which is really easy because of Athens fabulous metro system which even has artifacts inside it. Makes sure to visit Acropolis before 9 am because that is when all the groups come. We stayed at the Fresh Hotel which was a very hip, comfortable hotel. With a very cool bar/lounge/pool area with a view of the acropolis would recommended to any young adults. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
This was the Oct. 9 sailing from Istanbul to Barcelona. We have done more than 30 cruises, and we would both rank this one as #1 or #2! It's a tossup with South America two years ago, also with NCL. The ship is new, so we expected ... Read More
This was the Oct. 9 sailing from Istanbul to Barcelona. We have done more than 30 cruises, and we would both rank this one as #1 or #2! It's a tossup with South America two years ago, also with NCL. The ship is new, so we expected and received a higher level of luxury than on our other NCL (8) cruises. The theme is Caribbean, somewhat jarring in the Med, but it grows on you. There were issues, but overall, it was a great cruise. I cannot say enough about the staff. At every juncture, they were incredible. We had a mini-suite, so we had access to the concierge, and had arranged for a cruise critic gathering early on in the Garden Villa thanks to our hosts who stayed there. Alex was the concierge and he was outstanding. He helped us with local arrangements, dining reservations and even a repair to our luggage. I was surprised to find out that he is not included in the tip calculations, so we made sure to find him at debarkation and remedy the situation. He seemed most appreciative. Everyone else, waiters, cabin steward, dining room personnel, bar staff were the best we have encountered. The food: First, the positive. The Garden Buffet is the best we have ever encountered. The only issue is just before disembarking for the ports it gets VERY crowded and tables are hard to come by. On most days, they opened Mama's also, so it did relieve the congestion somewhat. The individual stations for different food choices are exceptional. They tend to use a LOT of oil, so you may want to ask for a little less. My wife finally asked the cook at the omelet station to cut the oil about 80% and she said they were very good after that. The specialty restaurants were also exceptional. The quality of food and the service were outstanding. Kudos to all those folks. Now for the dining rooms, Tsar's and Azura. The preparation and quality were also good here, but the menu selection was the worst we have experienced on any cruise. I am a very adventurous eater, and will try most anything once, but I finally got tired of strange food choices, weird spices and poor cuisine in the dining room. If anything, lunches were worse with the exception of the cold fruit soups (only served at lunch) and forced us into the buffet more often than we would have liked. We really enjoy the dining room experience, especially on sea days, and this was the only negative from the entire trip. I saw a LOT of people ordering the "available every day" choices for the same reason. There were a couple of exceptions, when the food was outstanding, but we often found ourselves looking for the ice cream machine or fruit in the buffet after dinner. It is my understanding from a friend who is on the ship now (we met up in Barcelona to pass the torch) that the line has replaced the chef who designed the current menu because of passenger complaints. We would agree with that decision. The Accommodations: Our cabin (11156) was a mini-suite on the stern of deck 11. We couldn't have been happier. Lots of storage, well laid out and immaculate. The view from the balcony was incredible on sailing days. Our steward was wonderful and we were very comfortable, and we slept well every day of the trip. The Entertainment: We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. The guest performers were all great and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. A word to the wise - Don't arrive late! Not because of the crowds, but because of the humiliation! The production shows (2) were amazing. These kids don't have an ounce of fat on them, and it's easy to see why! Don't miss them. There were no problems finding seats, even on the one show nights, and the theater is state of the art. To address some negative comments earlier - it's a cruise ship, not Broadway. We also have been to Broadway, Opera Houses, etc. Manage your expectations and you will have a good time. Compared to our other cruises, this one gets a solid A. The Ports: The ports were amazing. We were asked to pick our favorite on the comment card, and it was impossible. We had great experiences at each one, and the history had us awestruck so many times. We used private guides in every port except Venice and Dubrovnik (on our own) and had great experiences at each, for less cost than the shore excursions, and in some cases to places that the tour buses were not allowed. Our lunch in a little town on the Amalfi Coast may have been the highlight of the trip! It's so small and the roads are so winding, that only smaller vehicles are allowed. There were two groups of us in small vans, and we arrived about the same time and had the whole place to ourselves. A pitcher of wine, two plates of antipasti, two pasta entrees, dessert and shots of Limoncello - 20 euros per person! The most amazing view I have ever experienced - priceless! Every one of the tours was professionally done, we got back to the ship in plenty of time and our cost was 30% - 60% lower than the ship's tours. I would suggest this approach to anyone cruising. We haven't booked ship's tours in years, and have had nothing but positive experiences. We did a ton of research for a year before we left, and used these guides. I have attached contact info and our ratings: Istanbul: Kagan Kosagan (kosagan@yahoo.com) - he and his wife Lale are both licensed guides and were spectacular. We consider Kagan a friend now and will plan on returning for more of his country. I give him an A++++, simply because there is no way of rating the best guide we have ever had in any place! See additional comments below. Izmir: Ephesus tour, booked through Ephesustours.com. We got a great guide, a nice van and a wonderful tour. A solid A. Athens: We used Dennis Kokkotus at d.limo@yahoo.com, or website greektravel.com/taxi. He is the son at the bottom of the webpage. Has a 6 door Mercedes limo that he seems to be able to park anywhere - very personable and a great trip. Grade A. Dubrovnik: On our own. It's an easy city to walk and the tenders drop you right at the gate to the city. Beautiful. Venice: Also on our own. Some very bad comments from some ship's tours - see above. Very crowded. Take the public boat to Burano if you want to see what Italy would be like if designed by Disney! Slower pace, better prices, beautiful city and wonderful people. Naples: We used Drive Amalfi (driveamalfi@hotmail.com). The company is owned by Salvatore, but our CC friends booked him first. They added a van driven by Roberto for the Amalfi / Pompeii tour. He couldn't have been better, see the notes about the lunch above. They arranged for a private guide at Pompeii - this is a great idea. You can get easily lost here, and the audio guide is pretty dry (we listened in on a friend's headset). Grade A+ Rome: We heard about how great Stefano (allagrande@hotmail.it) was, but again our CC buddies beat us to the punch! We got Marco, who was a great driver and maneuvered his way through Roman streets when traffic wasn't moving. Our only problem here was lunch - we think the restaurant overcharged us, and we sort of hold him accountable here. The drive back to the ship was also done at 140 kph in a rainstorm, and some of the group were a little nervous, but we got back safely. Only because of the lunch, I give him a B. Barcelona: Worth a visit and a beautiful and interesting city. We stayed an additional 3 days at the Renaissance. See comments below. Miscellaneous: The embarkation and debarkation processes were the smoothest we have ever encountered. I'm sure the Latitudes line helped at the beginning, but nobody seemed to be hassled or stressed during the process. We boarded late on Sunday, so there was no real line, and it took about 2 hours for our luggage to arrive. One of our bags had a bent handle (somehow it got opened during loading) but the ship's carpenter fixed it readily enough. About the front and back ports. We stayed in Istanbul for 3 days pre-cruise at the Sarnic Hotel in the Old City. It was nicely done, all new fixtures, beds, baths and tile, but a little spartan. Still for 70E per night, it was hard to complain. We were 2 blocks from the Blue Mosque and close to everything so we did a lot of walking. We hired a private guide for 2 days ($120 per) and he was critical to our positive experience in the city. The city is remarkable. I don't know what we expected, but it was extraordinary in every way. The people were wonderful, the sites stunning and Kagan (our guide - pronounced "Cahn" as in James Cahn!) could not have been better. Our Garden Villa pals hired his wife, Lale, and had the same experience. Do not drive here. These people make the Italians look conservative! It's not uncommon to back up 5 or 6 blocks if you want to go the other way! Traffic was unbelievable in the Old City, but everyone seemed to keep their sense of humor, and would often get out of their cars to help someone maneuver around a logjam. Amazingly, I don't think we saw one seriously dented vehicle. We could have used a few extra days, and the idea of going back to visit is being entertained as we speak. We have been to Barcelona before and enjoyed the city, so we were looking forward to it. It's still a beautiful place with a lot to do, and we did have a good time, but this time we found the people to be a little unfriendly and pushy. Last time high school Spanish and sign language worked well for us, this time we got a lot of surly looks. We also had a bad experience with a thwarted pickpocket (Placa d'Espanya) and some police (we think) that left a sour taste in our mouths. Added to the train breakdown one evening that required a subway, walk and taxi detour back to our hotel through a not-so-nice area of town, and we were both a little stressed. For a place whose restaurants don't open for dinner until after 9PM, it's amazingly hard to find a cab after 10! The food was typically good and we still enjoy La Rambla, but be careful! The highlight, as on our last trip, was the Monastery at Montserrat. It's about a one hour train ride out of the city and is the most amazing setting you will ever experience. Easy to do, but again the crowds were a little daunting. Got much better in the afternoon. All in all, don't let the negatives concern you. The entire trip rates an A+, even with the little problems. I would also recommend time in Istanbul if you can afford it. In order of preference, our ports: 1. Istanbul 2. Amalfi Coast and Pompeii 3. Izmir (Ephesus) 4. Rome 5. Athens 6. Dubrovnik 7. Venice (go to Burano - amazing!) 8. Barcelona (visit to the Monastery at Montserrat is the best part of the port) From 1 to 6, the differences were so small as to be inconsequential. Venice would have rated higher if we hadn't been there before, and if the crowds had been more manageable. We did enjoy Burano (not Murano), and the Jewish Ghetto (thanks to some CC friends!) a lot. You saw my comments about Barcelona earlier. Another word of advice - we ran into people from 3 separate ship's tours who had been abandoned in St. Marks Square and left to find their own way back to the ship. In one case, their guide told them the lines were too long for her to wait, so she bought tickets for the Doge Palace, passed them out and then left. Two days later, the ship had not made any sort of retribution. I guess it's Caveat Emptor no matter what your plans. A couple of these folks were severely handicapped and it was not a good situation. I didn't hear about any problems in other ports. We shared a water taxi with one of those groups, and met people from the other two the next day. It was a hassle getting back late, so be careful. As always, it's a good idea to know a little about the port and to have a back up plan just in case. Someone asked about age diversity - I would estimate the average age to be early-50's to mid-60's with a generous sprinkling of younger folks and a few older ones. Actually, the crowd was a little younger than we originally expected. I will say, that it was an active group. I met very few people who hadn't been on the go most of the trip. Of course, the others could have been asleep in their cabins! Please don't focus on any of the negatives, none were bad enough to even partially negate our experience. Be flexible, roll with the punches, get to know the locals and have a great time! The ship is beautiful, the staff is great and, as I said, it was one of our two best trips of all time! By the way, our CC group was amazing! We spent time with a number of these folks on a regular basis and are proud to call some of them lifelong friends now. This is a great place to meet people, and if you're traveling alone, as we were, it's like sailing with friends from the very first! Bon Voyage! Jay & Barb - Cruisin' for 24 years! Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
By way of background, my wife and I are a retired couple in our 60's, and have sailed on approximately 20 cruises, most of them of 14-days or longer duration,. We book balcony cabins, and over the years have sailed on Carnival, Royal ... Read More
By way of background, my wife and I are a retired couple in our 60's, and have sailed on approximately 20 cruises, most of them of 14-days or longer duration,. We book balcony cabins, and over the years have sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity and NCL. This cruise represented our third cruise on NCL and our second on the Jewel, the last being an October 2005 cruise to New England and Eastern Canada shortly after the launching of the Jewel. The 12-day 10/9/06 sailing of the Jewel from Istanbul to Barcelona is the subject of this review, although for us it represented the first leg of back-to-back cruises which continued on from Barcelona to Miami. Our overall impression of NCL and the Jewel was once again favorable, although we found a slight deterioration in some aspects of the experience since our initial Jewel sailing in 2005. We enjoy most aspects of NCL's Freestyle Cruising, particularly having the ability to travel with no dressy clothing on a trip, which for us, represented being away from home for a month. We tend to eat in the same place at the same time, but still enjoy having the option to do otherwise. We dined in two specialty restaurants, Cagney's and Tepanyaki restaurants. Cagney's was a wonderful experience, and we proceeded to book this restaurant for two evenings on the second leg of our cruise. Tepanyakis was a pleasant evening, although we felt the food was rather ordinary and not up to the quality of land based Japanese steak houses. We tended to eat in Tsar's most meals, and avoided the Garden Buffet except when it was the only open venue available. Jewel rotates two captains, and the captain changed mid-cruise in Athens. The new captain is a delightful and personable young gentleman, and both captains added a great deal to the cruising experience. The evening entertainment in the theatre is generally quite good, although we didn't attend all the performances offered. The ports on this cruise were outstanding, and were the primary reason we selected this cruise. We booked two NCL tours and, while they were conducted as well as possible, we were a bit disappointed in how little one sees on a large bus tour in congested ports such as Istanbul and Athens. We used private van tours in Naples and Rome and found them vastly superior and at less cost. Although we enjoyed this cruise immensely, there are two major aspects of it we found disappointing. First of all, NCL has watered down the cruising experience considerably, as have some of the other major lines, and does not offer a great deal to passengers in the way of on board day time entertainment or other small extras once a part of cruising. There is very little in the way of interesting port talks or other lectures of interest previously offered on most cruises. Classes are offered in photography and computer usage, all at a rather steep cost of $30 per class. Internet usage is prohibitively expensive, and not a great deal is included in the cost of the cruise other than a room and meals. I realize the argument that this has kept cruise prices low, and I understand it reflects the efforts of the industry to appeal to a broader market. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that so little is offered in the way of interesting and fun things to do, particularly on a long cruise. During our 2005 sailing, we were very impressed with the quality and the presentation of the food on the Jewel. Unfortunately, since that time, NCL has changed its menus with fewer offerings, and more dishes which one might classify as rather ordinary food, with creative dishes, shrimp cocktails, quality steaks and similar items becoming almost a thing of the past. Frequently we resorted to the Striploin steak and the Caesar Salad which are always available, because we found little of interest on the menu. The approach seems to be, that if you wish something above the ordinary, you may dine in the specialty restaurants for an additional cover charge. My other comment relates to a seeming diminished attention to detail on the Jewel. Our understanding was that in the early months of the Jewel it was staffed with NCL's star hotel manager and its best crew from other ships. Since then, most of these experienced officers and crew have been replaced by others with apparent less experience, and this was reflected in many ways in the overall operation of the ship. Crew members often seemed confused and inexperienced, particularly in the dining rooms, but we had similar experiences at the front desk, tour operations and the like. Although the individuals appeared willing, their inexperience with the task at hand was sometimes evident. All in all, it didn't seem to be the tightly run ship it was in October 2005. To summarize, we enjoyed the Istanbul/Barcelona first leg of our cruise very much, but felt a little touch of sadness that the well run and beautiful Jewel of October 2005 had perhaps slipped a bit in the ensuing year, and hope that the trend toward bare bones cruising will not continue further. Also, we are hopeful that the apparent inattention to small details and the inexperience of many of the Jewel's crew will eventually end, and the ship will return to the glory of its first few months of sailing following its maiden voyage of 2005. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
Booked our NCL cruise in Nov. 2005, so we enjoyed planning, learning about the ports, about the ship, etc. Took pre and post cruise tours and they were really worthwhile. The Hotels, although far from the cities' centers were ... Read More
Booked our NCL cruise in Nov. 2005, so we enjoyed planning, learning about the ports, about the ship, etc. Took pre and post cruise tours and they were really worthwhile. The Hotels, although far from the cities' centers were excellent. We were picked at our hotel, taken to the port and waited less than 5 mins. for check in. The Jewel is a beautiful ship, very spacious, with wonderful restaurants, big cabins, and above all: excellent service. Our cabin steward and stewardess were tops. They were so good that we tipped them a nice amount of money, besides what they were to get from the $10. charged for tips daily.  Everything was spotless through the ship. The meals were above average, and the special restaurants offered food that was the best. We even used room service: very good. The convenience of freestyle is really unique: no need to rush for eating, no dressing up unless you felt like it. Not knowing the ports' languages we chose ship tours for every port. They were expensive but worth every penny. The guides knew their business, were helpful, took into consideration that most of the passengers were seniors, and did not rush us, and even the ship waited for our tour buses in Santorini when we were late! I only wish the daily "newspaper" gave more news, and offered more information on the ports, maps of the cities, etc. I bought a book in the gift shop which has all the Mediterranean ports and it helped us to understand and enjoy our tours better. The photos were very expensive, but well taken.The tax free shops were a disappointment. They mostly had jewels, few NCL souvenirs, and souvenirs and T-shirts of ports we were not visiting!!! The books in the library were not that exciting, but I had brought my own. In short, it was an exceptionally good tour, and we will cruise with NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
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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