3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was a very clean, happy ship. The washy-washy staff even had a guitar and would serenade us as we entered the buffet. We ate at all of the complimentary venues except Azura. All of them had tasty choices. My favorite for embarkation ... Read More
This was a very clean, happy ship. The washy-washy staff even had a guitar and would serenade us as we entered the buffet. We ate at all of the complimentary venues except Azura. All of them had tasty choices. My favorite for embarkation day is always the Shrimp Sandwich on Pretzel Bun in the Tsars. Even though the lunch menu there does not change, I never had the same thing twice. The Chin Chin was good and the fried calamari was plentiful. We also ate at O’Sheehans and the burger was good. We ate all our dinners at Tsars. There are scones, cookies and fruit daily in the Great Outdoors at 3PM. Stephen Jacobsen was our Hotel Director and made sure that every staff member under him was a team player and he gave out his phone number freely to make sure there were no problems that went unresolved. He was out in the public areas almost all the time interacting with cruisers and staff. We didn’t have any problem finding loungers at the pool. The comedian and comedian-Magician were both very good. The Latitudes’ Party had cheese and crackers and of course drinks. We had fun doing a few trivia games. We did all NCL excursions and they turned out fine. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Repositioning cruise is a great value and a fabulous itinerary with San Francisco and Victoria stops. We only had to purchase one-way flights home since we were able to embark from our local port of Los Angeles. I don't need a bikini, ... Read More
Repositioning cruise is a great value and a fabulous itinerary with San Francisco and Victoria stops. We only had to purchase one-way flights home since we were able to embark from our local port of Los Angeles. I don't need a bikini, binge-drinking cruise at my age so I enjoyed the cool, northwest climates. Although, we had very nice, warm weather on our excursion days. We could not believe the menus and the food offerings. They were tremendous. We chose the Unlimited Dining Package to take advantage of the discount on three specialty dining restaurants: Moderno, Le Bistro, and Cagney's. Each one was fabulous with unbelievably delicious choices and the best service possible. We have been boasting ever since we disembarked. We felt a little like royalty in Tsar's Palace with the Salmon Benedict! We truly enjoyed the musical entertainers, especially Lisa Volk on piano and R. R. on guitar. The Cirque de Bijoux was particularly impressive with the singers, dancers and acrobatics. We were touched by the staff filling the stage and theater, and then lining the hallway afterward. I know they must do this every week, but man, I'm a softie. The ship was a beauty, and always so clean! Our cabin steward, Charlton, was perfect and very stealthy. He always managed to monitor when we would be out to tidy up and provide new sheets and towels. He always had a joke for us when we saw him, too. I'm sure there could be a few more modern touches to the Jewel relating to technology, but we enjoyed un-plugging during the cruise since the WiFi is WAY too expensive. We spent time in the Thermal Spa Suite with two passes. I can't tell you how wonderful the steam room and heated mosaic lounge chairs and jacuzzi pool were. I also took advantage of the Med Spa services. Anyone who needs a happy place should steam and dunk and lay on a heated lounge chair. Brink your shades because on a sunny day, the light reflecting from the ocean is very bright and beautiful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because it went where we wanted to go. We loved it. Our first time with Norwegian. Why had no one told us before? We have only ever cruised with Princess. We will definitely go Norwegian again. The rooms are a little ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went where we wanted to go. We loved it. Our first time with Norwegian. Why had no one told us before? We have only ever cruised with Princess. We will definitely go Norwegian again. The rooms are a little smaller, but who cares? The bathrooms are MUCH larger. Actually spent time lounging in the shower. So many food options too. Staff was friendly attentive. Cirque shows and musicals were outstanding. We never felt crowded and never waited in a line-up. I hate buffets and yet these had beautiful and delicious ethnic foods. And (OMG!!) an espresso machine for your morning coffee included. Help yourself. We also loved being able to get on and off the ship with such ease. No hassles. It seems they just assume you know what you are doing so no one is directing you at every corner. Thank you, Norwegian! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east ... Read More
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east coast the day before arriving at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles airport well after 11:00 p.m. Good choice, we had points, so a freebie, but the location was great and the shuttle to airport in the morning to meet NCL shuttle was best way for us. We paid $25 each to have NCL shuttle us from LAX to San Pedro port. About half hour bus ride, but with all NCL folk. Could have gotten Super Shuttle for $18 or so, but they would have stopped at hotels along the way. Plus I felt more comfortable having NCL be in charge. Check in was fairly easy, we are Latitude and got through the line quick, but lines weren't bad for others not Latitude at about 11:30. We traveled light, carry on and backpack for the 7 days, so no experience with the luggage drop this time, although it looked pretty crowded and confusing for first timers. Our room was on the 11 deck and a mini suite. Always book balcony, so this was a first and OMG to have a big bathroom, with a full size tub and separate toilet area made all the difference. It will be hard to go back. We had more storage than we've ever had although the balcony was a bit smaller, but adequate. Grabbed lunch in Tsar's for a nice sit down lunch and avoided the buffet crowds. Met some nice folk in the line checking in and ended up having quite a few meals together. Couple sea days were much needed for us and we didn't mind. Lots of activities on board if you wanted to participate. First port was Puerta Vallarta, we usually don't book excursions, but a $50 credit enticed us. Glad for our choice of John Huston's property, Las Caletas. for $139 each. Nice 1/2 hour double decker boat ride to island, music on board. I would do this excursion again. We had a great time partaking in the cooking class with the chef. No crowds. Made seafood paella, guacamole, salsa and sea bass ceviche. Wandered around the property which wasn't crowded at all. Many little areas with hammocks overlooking and overhanging the water, nice walking paths, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkle, swimming etc, all included in the price. Lots of life guards everywhere watching. There are some huge rocks in the water, so be aware and wear water shoes. Also had about 4-5 little "islands" that you could swim out to, really a large float that had a palm tree, hammock, umbrella and deck chairs to sit on. Very tropical. Food was awesome at many little areas and open air restaurants, also included was food and mucho drinks. Please tip the guys tho, they worked so very hard the whole time we were there. Walked to the top where they had zip line, giant slide that spit you out in the water - was going to do it until I climbed to the top and asked a couple guys who had just finished. They were pretty macho, and said it was fun, but the force of hitting the water was pretty intense. That's all I needed to hear as I didn't want to end up in a Mexican hospital. Loved this excursion and loved that once we got there, we didn't have to pull out our wallets for anything! Mazatlan- winged it and probably should have planned better or stayed on board. Planned on going to Stone Island as I had read reviews on how to get there and planned on going to Lety's restaurant, but ended up wandering around like a tourist near port - not much there. Cabo San Lucas - was windy and cool. Excursions cancelled. Had planned on renting a catamaran, but it was a no go. Lots of long sleeve and sweatshirts sold there. Took a pedal bike for $8 to Old Town, which we thought would be a town, maybe church, historical stuff. Ended up being vendor market, with anything from meat, poultry to clothing. Stunk to high heaven. Grabbed a cab back and wandered around the Marina and shops near the port. You really need to get out of the port area or have a plan. Weather didn't cooperate for many. Another sea day and back to San Pedro. Entertainment - Ended up being picked for the Newly Wed game and that was fun as it always is. Husband always shy, but agreed this time - go figure. Good memories and a DVD to show at holidays with our kids! We love NCL's entertainment. The "kids" in the song/dance troupe were very good and we enjoyed each night something new and different. The comedian Sam's early shows were hysterical and his late night adult show even better. Don't come late unless you want to be made fun of. JP was a magic/comedian and was also very entertaining - no we couldn't figure out his tricks. Will be on Penn & Teller coming up. I think NCL had it's act together and the staff was spectacular. We met the Cruise Critic people and the Officers the second day, they arranged a private tour of the galley for us on the last sea day. I have NEVER seen such a clean "restaurant" their last score was 100% and I can see why. Latitude cocktail party always a nice touch as they try to make you feel special.Captain was very nice and seemed to take much time with each guest we saw him interacting with. He was hoping to dock and be there for the birth of his first grandchild, so I hope he made it. Good staff, all seemed happy and under control. We enjoyed the complimentary restaurants and ate mostly at Tsars and Chin Chin. Usually got breakfast at the back of the ship and ate it there. Very nice bartenders there and quieter. Went to every show available and enjoyed them all. Bought a couple "future cruise" deals they were promoting. Can use within 4 years, so that keeps us coming back. Probably do Pride of America again (#4) to Hawaii as we love that one and our special balcony room which I won't mention the number here! Or Greek Islands, depending on how the world situation is. The NCL staff was super friendly, accommodating. Pedro the cruise director was really good, restaurant staff, bartenders (First time for beverage package, and I will say it was worth it, but not in the calories). Can't really say we had any issues, but then again, we go on a cruise not trying to be picky and complaining. You're on a cruise people, things happen, roll with it or make yourself miserable. It's a floating hotel, you're not unpacking, or driving. Relax. P.S. Getting off the boat was another matter I almost forgot - if you have a flight - leave early because we were backed up quite a bit. When you leave gangway, don't wait for an elevator - find the escalators - I think to the far left as you leave gangway. We got shuttled into a line that was for elevators and we didn't know there was an option until too late. Every wheelchair, handicapped, elderly person got to the front of the line we were in and only so many could fit in 1 elevator. Also you will be in a long que to go through customs once you get off the elevator/escalator. Don't cut your flight close by staying on the boat too long. Good half hour plus in custom line, plus the elevator line, made for an hour plus after we left the ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Needed a short refresher cruise from a home port. We have sailed on several NCL ships including the Sky, Sun, Gem, Jade, Epic, Star, POA, and this last cruise on the Jewel. NCL has been consistent in their delivery of a nice lower cost ... Read More
Needed a short refresher cruise from a home port. We have sailed on several NCL ships including the Sky, Sun, Gem, Jade, Epic, Star, POA, and this last cruise on the Jewel. NCL has been consistent in their delivery of a nice lower cost product with a casual atmosphere, a little too casual in some venues....We have also sailed Princess, Disney and will be trying Celebrity in September 2017. The entertainment was adequate. The comedians Sam Fedele and Bob Brizendine, were FANTASTIC! Could have watched these Comedians all cruise. Luminescence was very good. The NCL group Souled Out was Fantastic! The Alambres trio were very good. The production show Band on the Run was TERRIBLE, Hokey and the Choreography of these talented kids was insulting to their talents. Le Cirque Bijou wasn't much better and we left after the Hokiness of Band on the Run. The food was typical, very good and ate too much of it. I do wish they did have a basic dress code, the tight tank tops on Men that looked dirty (also go by another name) should not be allowed in main dining rooms, very tacky. The service was pretty good in most venues with a few hiccups at O'Sheehans. The bar service was good, bought drinks individually and thought the $$ was fair. The food and dining experience was MUCH better in the Pay for Play venues. I liked Teppanyaki and Cagney's the best. Overall we had a great time, I make my own fun so really didn't have a big agenda. I wouldn't chose this ship until after a major refurbishment, I would chose another NCL ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I've wanted to do a Pacific Coastal since I started cruising. When I look at the Jewel the time and schedule were right along with the cost so I went for it. I got the beverage package and enjoyed that with many good drinks, and a ... Read More
I've wanted to do a Pacific Coastal since I started cruising. When I look at the Jewel the time and schedule were right along with the cost so I went for it. I got the beverage package and enjoyed that with many good drinks, and a couple of not so good pre-mixed ones, ick. I do wish NCL would allow for coffee drinks on the package but I was able to get a regular coffee with Baileys on the package at the Atruim. I had originally purchased an interior room but it went directly to a guarantee instead of letting me choose my cabin. That was fine with me since I didn't have any location requirements. When it finally was assigned about 70 days out, they had put me in a porthole cabin which I wound up liking very much. I also purchased a spa pass and enjoyed the spa thermal suite at least once a day. Since I had gone over the 250 minutes on my last cruise I just purchased the unlimited internet and decided I would do a live thread on the Norwegian board. It's titled "Live from the Jewel - 4/30/17 Pacific Coastal" there and under my CC name CoffeeGoddess. We did a cabin crawl and most of the cabins were really nice, except for the balcony on the balcony cabin. the coating had peeled up in places and the people in there talked about sticking to the floor when it heated up. Actually the entire Deck 14 forward on the ship was just like that with the coating missing in many places. Food was good, I ate in Azure twice for dinner and it was excellent with great service both times. Tsar's once at embarkation and it was super slow service; Sushi once and took a bit for the chef to come since I was sat exactly as they opened but the sushi was worth the wait. I also ate in O'seehans once and service there was also slow and the Garden Buffet always had a crowd but the food was good and I could always find a seat. The only real issue on this cruise was when I was waiting for the Group Coordinator, Luis, for our CC M&G. He was late, hadn't put up any signage, and when he finally showed blamed me because I hadn't called him back. Turns out after hearing from a couple of other people who had set up M&Gs with him on other sailings this very typical of him. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
we came with a party of 38 people the service on board was excellent, the food at the buffet had a lot to offer and was very good, and the fine dinning was excellent but some of the servers could have been a little more friendly, the on ... Read More
we came with a party of 38 people the service on board was excellent, the food at the buffet had a lot to offer and was very good, and the fine dinning was excellent but some of the servers could have been a little more friendly, the on board activities had a lot to offer or you could sit back and enjoy the cruise. This was my 3rd cruise and my first with Norwegian and was by far the best. Our Cabin was always clean as was the bath room the stewards could have not done any more to make us feel welcome. Being a smoker there were a few places one could go with out being a social out cast. My partner and I were very happy with the service so much so we will be going with Norwegian on our next cruise to Alaska next year. Would like to thank all the crew for a wonderful break Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I are Gold card holders with Carnival having been on 15+ cruises with them over the last 7 years so when we decided to try something different we went with NCL because the port in Long Beach California is so close by. As a ... Read More
My wife and I are Gold card holders with Carnival having been on 15+ cruises with them over the last 7 years so when we decided to try something different we went with NCL because the port in Long Beach California is so close by. As a note to understand some of my perspectives we are both in our early 50’s. My goal with this is to try and relate many of the questions that I had about the differences between the cruise lines and the overall ship experience. Frankly this is something that I looked all over the internet for and couldn’t find much about. First and foremost, here is what I believe is the main difference between the two; Carnival is setup as a weeklong party and NCL is set up as a weeklong vacation. I know that doesn’t completely make sense but try to think about it. NCL was all about relaxation and Carnival is all about partying. For myself, I don’t believe this changes the overall ratings of the cruises it just made things feel a little different. It is hard to walk around on a Carnival ship without being asked if you want a drink, on NCL… I had to wait multiple times in line at a bar because they didn’t have the bar staff approaching people that were sitting down. I sat 18 feet from the bar (yes I know I could get off my butt and go to the bar but there was a line) for over 20 minutes and then finally got up since no bar staff came around. (as a side note, on day one this wasn’t the case….. I just don’t know where all the staff that was there on day one disappeared to the rest of the cruise.) This wasn’t the case in the Casino where they always had plenty of staff to get you a drink. My wife and I also joked that on Carnival you dodged strollers and on NCL you dodged walkers…… again this is not a bad thing. On day one the ship was filled with the sounds of James Taylor, ACDC, Kansas, Zeplin,….. I could go on and on but the point is I knew 90% of the music that was played on this ship. ( you could really feel that they are going after my generation) On Carnival the music is party music, calypso by the pool to give the Jamaican vibe and more modern music in the other areas. Again, this doesn’t make things better, just different. My final comparison before I actually just focus on this specific cruise and ship. The atmosphere… the visuals, the overall appearance of the ships interior. Carnival is again a party... crazy colors and bright lights and odd décor that just makes your eyes bobble a bit when you are really drunk. NCL was much more elegant, relaxing, sit a spell……. Overall I love being on a cruise ship and getting away from the world. No phone, no email, no noise of the world bugging you. I hate that they are now starting to offer internet packages on the ship…. I go to these things to get away from it all….. 15 minutes away from port your phone stops working and just let the peace of life flow over you. Now this specific cruise and ship: We had an interior cabin. I like this since I can have a few drinks in the early afternoon and go to the cabin and take a nap in darkness. Awesome. It is also so much cheaper and what the hell do people spend huge dollars for a fancy room when there is so much to do on board? Maybe I am just a cheap skate…….. I would rather spend the money on the extra dining and drinking. Dining 1. It’s a cruise ship guys…. I read some reviews and they complain the buffet wasn’t exceptional, etc… It is a buffet. That’s all. And guess what, it’s basically the same buffet on day one as day 5 and day 7. I say that to let you know you are going to get sick of it. It is good but pace yourself so you don’t eat everything on day one thinking it will be different tomorrow, it’s not. So, try one thing today, one thing tomorrow, etc... this will keep the overall feel of it fresh. Dining 2. NCL has an interesting concept where you can go to various restaurants that are included in the price and a few that you pay extra for. We went to the Chinese restaurant and were surprised that it was pretty good. I suggest this to everyone…. and its free… (remember I can be a cheap skate) We also paid for the teppanyaki. We had a great time and the food was great, not amazing, great. I suggest this also. We never went to the “dining room” so I can’t say anything about that. Embark and debark… it’s a ship. Most of the waiting is due to security. There was a line but who cares, you’re on vacation. Getting off the ship was fast and simple. We always carry our own bags. Entertainment. The magician comic was the best on board. The other shows were okay. We did fall asleep with these two acrobats that just bored the crap out of us. I WILL STATE THIS AGAIN THOUGH… THE MUSIC WAS AWESOME! It was just nice walking around the ship and finding so many great live singers playing music that I grew up with. 70’s and 80’s tunes 90 % of the time. I was happy. Fitness and Recreation. I think this is the sports category……. The only exercise I got was lifting a drink up….. have to read someone else’s review to find out about this. Overall I had an absolute blast…. I always do. If you come to relax and just enjoy life, you will be doing well. If you come to be treated to 5 star service and the most amazing food on the planet…. You better start spending some serious cash and not bother with either Carnival or NCL. It is a good time. Good food. Good Drink. Peace and quiet. One last thought… not trying to be a jerk or anything…. If you have little ones that have to be in a stroller, take them to Disneyland. I know these cruises have a kids area, I have never been inclined to visit that part of the ship, but do you really go on a cruise to push a stroller around? How about if you go on a Disney cruise, twice the price, but the kids will probably have a great deal more fun. Just a thought. Enjoy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This is our third time with NCL on the Mexican Riviera. Our second cruise on the Jewel. The Jewel was refurbished since the last time we were on it although I don't remember any significant differences from our 2014 cruise. The ... Read More
This is our third time with NCL on the Mexican Riviera. Our second cruise on the Jewel. The Jewel was refurbished since the last time we were on it although I don't remember any significant differences from our 2014 cruise. The ship's condition was, in general, quite good. Our inside cabin (10617) was, well, an inside cabin. A nice quiet one mostly thanks to quiet neighbors. Deck 10 is nice since it is below other cabins. I wouldn't recommend anything on Deck 11 (where all the mini-suites are) because of the potential noise from the activities (restaurants, pool, gym, Splash Academy) above on Deck 12. I am a guy who wants to be asleep by 10 p.m. The only criticism of the particular cabin I have is that the lower portion of the shower appears to be deteriorating. Minor issue. Our cabin steward, Deu, was efficient. Good towel animals--always a source of amusement for me. We ate at Garden Cafe, Teppanyaki, Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Moderno. All were very good to excellent. I learned that one now has to ask for smoked salmon at breakfast in the Garden Cafe. A minor hassle but I got my beloved salmon most mornings. The steaks at Cagney's always are excellent, and my lamb at both Moderno and Le Bistro were top notch too. Service left little to be desired at any of the specialty restaurants. The evening shows were all good. We attended each one except for one of the comedians. I've seen "Band on the Run" a few times before. Always entertaining. "Luminescence" with the acrobats was new to me and the lighting effects were very engaging. I did attend a "meet and greet" with three of the performers. It was interesting to hear about their history and experience onboard. The gymnast/dancer from the Ukraine, Alexis, was very personable and told us a bit of his struggles to get from the Ukraine to a job with NCL. I "invested" in a pass to the Thermal Suites at the spa on the advice of other folks on Cruise Critic. A great investment. The men's side of the area was generally quiet, a good place to relax with a wonderful view from forward on Deck 11. The facilities are pretty compute with hot tub, steam, sauna and assorted showers. I found the common room (which includes heated tile couches) to be full of people who yammered constantly. I mostly avoided it. There is a sign what requests quiet but even the crew members don't respect it. Having been on the same cruise before, we limited our shore excursions to a great walk around Mazatlan. It is worth walking to the beach and seeing the divers and the great sculptures. I was not approached by annoying street vendors. The only annoyance was super aggressive cab drivers trying to lure us into a cab when we wanted to walk. I'm thinking pepper spray next time but that would be wrong. In Puerta Vallarta, we walked around a bit, visiting the local Starbucks. Embarkation was a breeze. I noticed there was a section for Platinum and Platinum Plus but once we had our key cards, we walked directly onto the Jewel (and into the Garden Cafe). Disembarkation was OK too but the lines getting off as we descended the ramps were confusing. No big deal. We had an 8:45 a.m. disembarkation time scheduled and were on our ground transport and rolling by 9 a.m. I thought the Cruise Director, Pedro, was "OK". We all have our on tastes. The Cruise Next lady, Cristina, was helpful. The session with the ship's officers (Captain, Hotel Director, Engineering head) was very interesting and worth attending. I'm a daily gym rat. The gym on the Jewel is fairly large (and I did note that the floors had been replaced since my last visit there), and has adequate equipment. It opened at 6 a.m. daily. I appreciated that. Some mornings it was fairly full, other times pretty empty. The stationary bikes, stair steppers and treadmills all have good entertainment options if you have plug-in headphones to go with the video. Their is a locker room attached. I appreciate the Bridge viewing room aft on Deck 11. It is run to see the bridge. No tours of the area. We did get to see backstage, the laundry area and the main kitchens. Worth the walk. No children on this trip so I can't comment about that. I attended a couple spa-related sessions (free) with the acupuncturist, Echo, and the "Good Feet" gym guy, David. They were both interesting. I didn't buy anything. I would definitely go on the same cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Our dining experiences were all good and satisfactory from breakfast to dinner. We tried different restaurants and they were all excellent in food and services. All the waiters and attendants gave excellent services including our ... Read More
Our dining experiences were all good and satisfactory from breakfast to dinner. We tried different restaurants and they were all excellent in food and services. All the waiters and attendants gave excellent services including our stateroom person. The shows and entertainment were great. The gym has modern equipment that I was able to use and enjoyed. We enjoyed playing in the casino although I lost quite a bit of money. Would be nice if I got some back but did not happen. We took 2 excursion tours and we both enjoyed it. The tour guides was very good and knowledgeable and the price was great too. Overall we had a great time. This is our first rime to cruise with NCL but would take NCL again for our future cruises if given special deals and offers. My husband is a retired Military and be nice if we get some good Military offer too. Thank you Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our third cruise, We have been choosing different cruise lines to compare whiich is best for us. The Royal Carib and Princess were first. We rated this vacation as 5/5. We liked the ship, the food, the people, the room, the ... Read More
This was our third cruise, We have been choosing different cruise lines to compare whiich is best for us. The Royal Carib and Princess were first. We rated this vacation as 5/5. We liked the ship, the food, the people, the room, the bathroom, the balcony, and the entertainment. The buffet was always delicious and the formal dinners were fantastic. No reservations were ever needed. We boarded in Long Beach and this process was very efficient. We enjoy ships that cater to less than 2300 guests. It is easier to get around the mid size ships. The sea and weather were all perfect. We would do this trip again. We highly recommend the NCL Jewel. 1- Mediterranean summer 2015 on the Royal Carib Vision of the Seas- 12 days 2- Vancouver Reposition 2016 on the Princess Ruby - 5 days 3- Mexican Riviera spring 2017 on the NCL Jewel - 7 days Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Norwegian's " freestyle" cruising is in our opinion the best way to enjoy the Mexican Riviera. You don't have to plan your time around structured dining times. Eat when you want, where you want and enjoy their non ... Read More
Norwegian's " freestyle" cruising is in our opinion the best way to enjoy the Mexican Riviera. You don't have to plan your time around structured dining times. Eat when you want, where you want and enjoy their non formal atmosphere. The food was mostly great with a few " hit and misses". The bartenders for the most part were really fun and made the trip even more enjoyable. Service through out the ship was excellent. We enjoyed perfect weather..... We were very surprised by the quality of the 2 shows we attended. We both live in Las Vegas so we are familiar with good quality.....these two were really good for a cruise ship. Having been to the Mexican Riviera many times we did not part take in the shore excursions. But had a blast in each port. This was their last trip down . The ship was 100% full but you never felt crowded. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
NCL Jewel-April 23-30, 2017 Sunday to Sunday itinerary (San Pedro, CA-Sea day-Sea day-Puerto Vallarta-Mazatlan- Cabo-Sea day) This was my first NCL cruise. Flew into LAX on day of cruise a Sunday. 30 min. after landing via Lyft ... Read More
NCL Jewel-April 23-30, 2017 Sunday to Sunday itinerary (San Pedro, CA-Sea day-Sea day-Puerto Vallarta-Mazatlan- Cabo-Sea day) This was my first NCL cruise. Flew into LAX on day of cruise a Sunday. 30 min. after landing via Lyft we were in line to start the cruise. (11:40am) Showed boarding pass and passport at 11:45am, done with security at 11:50am in Casino at Sea (CAS) line 11:55am. Done with check in at 12:15pm and onboard at 12:20pm and we went to our cabin to drop off carry on’s. Went to Tsars dining room for lunch at 1:15pm. At 3:15pm we went to Azura dining room for the emergency drill. Took a drink in and it was no problem, we did not have to take lifejackets with us which is a change for me as I am use to taking it and demonstrating it on other cruise lines. Was a welcome change. If you want to hear the announcements that go on in your stateroom tune to channel 23 on the TV. Drill was over by 3:50pm. 4:20pm the horn sounded and we were ready to sail. We went back to our cabin at 5:30pm and our luggage had arrived-it was still outside. CREW From 67 different countries After the Le Cirque show the senior officers and some crew came on the stage to thank us passengers for cruising with NCL. I really felt the crew was sincere in having us onboard. The customer service was outstanding. At the M & G Steven Jacobsen the Hotel Director gave us a card with all the officers’ names and extension phone numbers and on the last day/night of the cruise delivered chocolates to our stateroom. This was the best I have experienced. On Monday our first sea day there was a meet the Captain event in The Atrium area from 5:15pm to 5:45pm. We had our photos taken and Captain Pelle was so nice and took the time to say hello with no rush. We enjoyed this feature as other ship companies I have been on this does not occur, you rarely see the Captain. We went to the Senior Officers Q & A in The Fyzz Lounge and enjoyed the talk. FOOD We managed to eat in all the complimentary food venues. O’Sheehans for breakfast & lunch, Azura for dinner, Tsar’s Palace for lunch & dinner, Chin Chin for dinner, Great Outdoors for lunch, Garden Café buffet for lunch and 1 dinner. We had the drink package-UBP (soda & alcohol) included in our cruise fare as a perk and we enjoyed it very much. We brought empty water bottles on and used them when going ashore and filled them in the buffet area with a clean glass. We brought them back empty in each port except in Cabo just to test the theory and it worked. Bottles of water are not included in the UBP like on other cruise lines, which I think NCL should start doing. Also NCL is very strict with bringing any water onboard, but we survived. If you wish to purchase onboard the Adult & teen (13years+) soda program it is $7.50/person/day + 18% gratuity. The Ultimate Beverage Package(UBP) is $79./person/day +18% gratuity. If you would like a chance to dine with the Officer’s, sign up at the guest services desk and you will be notified if you are chosen. The dining times are listed in Freestyle daily-newsletter. Here are a few examples: Garden café 7am-10:30am for breakfast, noon-2:30pm for lunch, 5pm-9:30pm for dinner. On Friday night (Cabo) was an optional dress up or not night. ENTERTAINMENT Learned at the Behind The Curtain Q & A that the singers & dancers train 1-2 months in FL before getting on a ship and the typical contract is 6 months and the max is 9 months contract. They stay as a group together once they start. Singers & gymnasts have their own cabin and the dancers are 2 to a cabin. We met Brittany from AZ our current state. We saw most of the shows. Welcome Aboard show, Michael Jackson tribute with Fire & Ice band (Mac & Rosie)-excellent, we saw a tribute to Motown by Fire & Ice band that was very good. We also very much enjoyed Tribute to Soul Train with Fire & Ice. We also saw a Tina Turner tribute with Fire & Ice (absolutely excellent). Sam Fedele a comedian, Beatles tribute with band Souled Out, Rock & Pop night with Souled Out and 80’s night with Souled Out. Luminescence which is an acrobatic & light show- it was great. The White Hot party was the night we left PV. We saw a Mexican Folkloric show the day we were in PV at 4:15pm- I believe they are brought onboard so early in the afternoon because they are local and need to perform their show and get off the ship. They were very nice to listen to. We saw Jean Pierre Parent a comedy/magician show which was very good and funny-usually I don’t care for this type of show but I enjoyed him. On the last night of the cruise Sam & Jean paired up for a Farwell show. We also saw on the last night The Show band and Souled Out in the theater doing a musical concert. We saw the Le Cirque Bijou show which is a music and acrobatic show.-we liked the show. The Stardust Theater on The Jewel is first come seating, no reservations are needed. We participated in trivia quite a few times throughout the cruise and enjoyed when Pedro hosted. We really enjoyed everything that Souled Out band performed as well as Fire & Ice band. Cruise Critic We had about 21 members attend the meet & greet and we had a wonderful time meeting our fellow roll call members and the officers. We met at 11am on the first sea day. They really go out of their way to please you as guests of the ship. We were invited to attend a galley tour for our last sea day, but unfortunately neither of us brought closed toed shoes, so we could not participate. MISC. In San Pedro, PV, & Mazatlan we docked Starboard side. In Cabo the tender was on the port side. I used the internet services and paid $3.95 initial set up fee and the per minute fee. My most expensive session was $4.75, but I don't know how many minutes that was. I am just looking at my final bill. I bought 2 photos for a total of $49.90-which seems higher than other lines I have cruised. On deck 11 forward is a viewing room of the bridge and a lot of memorabilia for the ship. Noticed the evening we left Cabo a self serve photo machine was set up in Spinnaker Lounge just as you entered on the port side in the back. So we took a few photos and e-mailed them for free to our family & friends. The disembarkation is way different then I am used to, but I liked it. You don’t receive any forced disembarkation instructions; you go to an area by guest services and get your own luggage tags for when you want to get off. If you have a transfer to the airport then you get a tag that corresponds to your flight time. The luggage needs to be outside of your stateroom no later than 1am on the last evening. There was a fill the bag of laundry for $19.95 offered but we did not need this. Said promo was available any day until April 28th. The fish on the carpet swim forward so that way you know which way is forward and which way is aft. I really liked how you could look at your photos that had been taken by the ships photo staff. On the front of your FREESTYLE card (room key card) is a photo gallery number. You can look for the binder or scan your card in one of the photo kiosks. Real easy to do. Also on the front of the card is your assembly station (muster) which is very nice as well. The Jewel made her maiden voyage in 2005. We set our clocks one hour forward before going to sleep (Monday night) and also on Tuesday night. On Wednesday night (PV) we set our clocks 1 hour back. On Friday night we set our clocks back one hour before going to sleep. Wow this exhausting. Ports PV- we were cleared to go ashore at 8:40am (we did not go that early). We took the blue & white bus (we gave the driver $1.USD and he gave back pesos. On way back to the ship we gave $1. USD and no pesos back which was fine.) that says Centro and got off in the Malecon area, but on the way back to the ship we should have got off at Wal-Mart, but we thought bus would go a little farther down the street, but it did not, it turned right by the Wal-Mart and we took a “little” tour of the neighborhoods. Once back to the port area they looked in our bags. At top of gangway we showed our cruise cards. We never had to show ID. Prior to gangway they were handing out water & lemonade and cold towels. Such a nice touch. After the security x-ray scan on the ship the crew were passing out cookies. We headed to the theater to see the Mexican folklore show. Mazatlan- we were cleared at 8am to get off the ship (we did not get off that early). You must take a compulsory shuttle to the terminal as it is a working ship port area. We walked the blue line (you find it just outside the main gate) into the old town. A few USA/Canadians are stationed along the route to give any tourist information if needed. We walked around the town, ate lunch at Panama restaurant which was mostly locals and we ate very good fish tacos and the bakery was delicious. Then took a pulmonia back to the ship. (for 2 people I think we paid $8 USD total) Cabo- the first tenders started around 7:30am.( we did not get off that early) When getting back onboard we only showed our cruise card and no ID. Pierside tender offered water and towels. Once off the tender and after security scan the crew was offering cookies and ice cream. Back in San Pedro we were cleared at 7:45am. 8:15am/8:20am they called green & yellow tags. Gray & Orange tags were called 8:35am which was me. I only saw 1 elevator and 1 escalator to get down to customs/immigration. Done with customs at 9:10am. I found my luggage easily and was on my way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Background information This was my first cruise and spent hours reading and agonizing my choice I booked then found web site after web site reviews. I will say one thing don't go on a review alone as you can be on the ... Read More
Background information This was my first cruise and spent hours reading and agonizing my choice I booked then found web site after web site reviews. I will say one thing don't go on a review alone as you can be on the same ship as another and have a completely different time Ship information Norwegian Jewel April, 23 Mexican Riviera Activities We had the best time went to many shows while they are not Broadway they were a close second for being on ship we loved the late night games The CD group were so great at bringing out the best in people Service No problem with any service on board, while I have to see if you are a tipper they might bring that drink a little sooner Port & shore excursions we did not do any excursions just wandered Getting off the boat is on the 4 th deck so a breeze to disembark Travel to embarkation port whole other issue airline travel has gone down hill Cabin I picked a 4th deck cabin #4554 and it was great, the ship is old and so it shows wear and tear but this is ok... feels like home ;) Dining we loved Modernos, and Cagneys we ate in all the dining areas and we happy with all Prime rib night in the buffet was the best Entertainment Fantastic Disembarkation off the boat in 45 minutes Summary I loved my firth cruise and can't wait to go again my husband not so much the movement rocked him but sea band next time might help :) Met wonderful and happy cruisers Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked this cruise way in advance to celebrate our granddaughters (GD) 11th birthday. We flew to LAX on the morning of embarkation as we are only a two hour flight away. From LAX we boarded the NCL transfer bus and within 30 ... Read More
We booked this cruise way in advance to celebrate our granddaughters (GD) 11th birthday. We flew to LAX on the morning of embarkation as we are only a two hour flight away. From LAX we boarded the NCL transfer bus and within 30 minutes of landing we were on our way the port. This was her first time on an airplane, seeing the ocean and first cruise and she was super excited. When we pulled into the the port after about a half hour ride from LAX, she was amazed at the sight of the Jewel waiting for us. She said, "it is way bigger than I expected." Embarkation was a breeze, we walked right in was through security, check in and boarding the ship within 30 minutes from when we arrived at the port. We boarded the ship and went to the outdoor grill and had a burger for lunch, after lunch we went to Splash Academy to sign up our granddaughter. We got her all signed up, met her counselor, got a list of activities for the week and then set out to explore the ship and show the GD where different venues were and get her a soda. A few minutes later, they announced that rooms were ready so we went and dropped off our carry on bag, changed into swim suits and headed to the pool for a swim for the GD until time for the Muster Drill. We went to the Muster Drill when it was time and after that went back to our room to watch sail away from our balcony. During the week we had dinners in Azura, one of the main dining rooms, Moderno, Garden Buffet, Teppanyaki and O'Sheehan's. Breakfast and lunch were in Cagney's and the buffet throughout the week. The food was good this trip, but food is subjective so I will not dwell on that. In Moderno on Tuesday, the Restaurant Sr. Officer, Noel presented our GD with a birthday cake and the waitstaff sang Happy Birthday to her. I cannot compliment the Ships Sr. Officers enough and the spectacular job done by all in each of their areas from the restaurant workers, activity staff to housekeeping and entertainment. All the shows were great throughout the week and our GD actually ended up not going to the Splash Academy during the week, due to our scheduling of other activities in conflict with the schedule for Splash Academy. She met the Captain and other Sr. Officers and they made sure to make her first cruise very memorable and special for her. The service we received this trip was amazing. In Puerto Vallarta we went on the Pirate Ship Adventure excursion and we highly recommend this excursion. It is an all day excursion that serves breakfast and lunch on a pirate ship. There is also a pirate show put on while sailing to "skull Island" where the pirates take any kids on a treasure hunt while parents relax and enjoy an open bar and service by your own personal Pirate. There are kayaks that you can take out and a banana boat they hook to the back of a motor boat and offer rides on. This is a 6 hour tour and we thought it is worth every penny charged. In Mazatlan we took the Topless Bus Tour. This was a nice relaxing tour and let's you see the highlights of Mazatlan from the comfort of a topless bus. We toured the town, got a history of the city, an exquisite Cathedral, cliff divers and the lighthouse were just a few of the highlights of this tour. There was also a stop with time to shop in the "Golden Zone". This was about a 3 hour tour and very interesting. We did the carry your own bags off disembarkation as we had an early flight from LAX back home. We had concierge service so we also had priority disembarkation and were some of the first people off the ship. We caught the early transfer and were at LAX, bags dropped off and through security by 10:30 AM for our 11:30 AM flight home. I have to say LAX is one of the worst organized airports I have been in for a while. Any other airport, we would have been though baggage drop off and security within 20-30 minutes, not at LAX. All in all we would rate this vacation a 9 out of 10 and would go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having traveled on Celebrity Cruises for our first cruise last September, we thought we'd try Norwegian. Our expectations were only partially met and the shore excursion to Puerta Vallarta was a scam. We had a balcony and while there ... Read More
Having traveled on Celebrity Cruises for our first cruise last September, we thought we'd try Norwegian. Our expectations were only partially met and the shore excursion to Puerta Vallarta was a scam. We had a balcony and while there was enough space for the suitcases to go underneath the bed, the room it was tight but very liveable. The room attendants were pleasant and always in good spirits. The same could not be said for wait staff nor those working in the buffet. They did their job efficiently but most seemed to have stopped by the medical centre on the way in to get a personality bypass. There were a couple of highlight shows like the Magician and Cirque style circus while the house band Band On The Run was more like an RSL troupe. The pool area was always crowded although the pools themselves were not. However you could always find a lounge, and the quiet area was a bonus for those looking to escape the shenanigans next to the pools and the accompanying bars. If there was a drawback it was the lack of wait staff around the pool asking people for drinks and also in several bar areas. That was one of the advantages of Celebrity, was that where ever you ventured there was sure to be a waiter approach you for drinks. Not Norwegian. The restaurants were varied and well serviced and the meals were more than adequate. One downside was the constant pitching to sell instant lottery tickets which came with free raffle tickets for an upcoming cruise. Every time there was a show or a function, out would come the spruiker, last chance this, last chance that. Even when they went to conduct the raffle they were still pushing instant lottery tickets - tickets that did not designate how many were on offer, your chances of winning (ie 1 in 2000) etc. Even there Deal Or No Deal game, which cost $US20 to buy a card, only handed out $130 and $89 and the money was toom credit - not cash despite some 50-100 tickets being sold. The scam: As for Puerta Vallerta. We did the Mexican Fiesta. The tour guide was annoying at best, nauseating at worst. When we got the to the Tequila factory, the deal included luinch and a drink. The drink was cordial in a plastic cup although none of the 40 people on our group knew that so when the waiter asked if we would like Margaritas - no mention of price or offering any other drink, just the flavours available - the entire group said yes. After lunch the waiter started asking everyone for $US6. There were several who didn't pay and other, like us, tried to reason with the tour guide that this was never explained by the waiter. The tour guide became aggressive "Amigos, you must pay". It left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. The waiter's then had the audacity to ask for tips. We did not do another on-shore excursion after this. Overall, the room was great, the food was fine and the boat was sufficient although it had too many dead ends. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
After numerous Caribbean cruises my wife and I decided to try a cruise on the Mexican Riviera. I am happy to report we loved the Jewel and all of the ports. I will say that we had perfect weather all week, including the first two days at ... Read More
After numerous Caribbean cruises my wife and I decided to try a cruise on the Mexican Riviera. I am happy to report we loved the Jewel and all of the ports. I will say that we had perfect weather all week, including the first two days at sea. Since I love to sit on deck and our balcony and hit the beaches while in ports, great weather means we had a great cruise! The Jewel is a good ship in spite of her age. We have been on several larger ships that feel more crowed. The Jewel's showrooms, dining rooms and public areas felt open and seemed well sized to accommodate all guests. The smaller ship made it very easy to exit and return to the ship while in port - we did not have to wait to exit or return at any port. Nothing was memorable about the food. I give all of the restaurants an average rating. (We ate at both dining rooms, the steak house, Japanese restaurant, and Brazilian steak house. While I am not a foodie and live for desserts, some of the main dining room food was just not good and had to be set aside. The steakhouse was by far the best meal on the ship. Next time I will eat at the steakhouse more than once. I am a fitness guy and hit the gym most days on the ship. I thought the gym was better than many other ships. The equipment is not better, but the workout area and equipment was always available. Try to get on equipment on a large ship like the Getaway, you need to wait in line. I also spent a fair amount of time in the casino and suffered through the smoke haze to indulge my gaming compulsion. Great casino staff and service. Please note I am a non-smoker. The bad new is the casino is the only common area of the ship that still allows smoking. Ports - We had a great time in all of the ports. We book nothing through the ship and just freestyle while in port. It is true that if you leave the main port area you can find taxis and excursions at a fraction of the ship cost. You will need taxis in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan due to the port locations. We visited the downtown and romantic zone in Puerto V and then hit the beach. We hired a taxi for the morning for in Mazatlan for only$20 per person. Our driver was a 70 year old gentleman that grew up in the city. He showed us everything and then took us to a nice beach and restaurant to enjoy the afternoon. The last port was Cabo. This was my first time in Cabo, I was not disappointed. The place is beautiful! It would be a fun place to spend a few days. We did the standard boat tour of the arch and other rock formations.($15.00 per person) and was dropped on the main beach. From there we hit the beach and walked back to the tender area stopping at Cabo Wabo on the way. We had to be back on the ship at 2:30 - I wish we had more time at Cabo. I would definitely book this itinerary again! Happy cruising! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I had purchased two Cruise Rewards on a prior Norwegian cruise and I had to use them before they expired. Well I was amazed that this cruise line had really changed a lot. I had a few issues on my prior cruise about 4 years ago. ... Read More
I had purchased two Cruise Rewards on a prior Norwegian cruise and I had to use them before they expired. Well I was amazed that this cruise line had really changed a lot. I had a few issues on my prior cruise about 4 years ago. Embarkation was very smooth. When we boarded the ship our room wasn't ready. An announcement at 1 p.m. said all the rooms were ready and to enjoy your cruise. Our room wasn't ready but we waiting for the cabin steward to finish. We were tired and wanted to rest before the life boat and safety drill. it was nice that you did not have to take the life jacket to the drill. Everything was smooth on the drill and our cruise began. The buffet was big and roomy and I could maneuver around with my walker. The variety was amazing and the food was hot and fresh. My husband even commented that this cruise was like night and day from the last one. When we went to the 'freestyle dinner' there was never a long line. We we're always able to walk in and be seated. The service in the buffet and dining room was great. They were always filling up the water in the dining room and the food was served quickly. This ship was very nice. We were able to find our way around the ship. There are helpful signs posted throughout the ship of where everything was located. Our cabin was great. I was able to have a handicapped cabin. The bathroom was accessible for my walker. We only went to one show "Bank on the Run" and it was very good. We have sailed the Mexican Riviera several time so we did not book any shore excursions. We did not travel with children but there were a lot of kids on board. My main concern with Norwegian is they do not have a self-serve laundry. Since I have mobility issues I like packing light and was not able to go with one suitcase and small essential bag. We have been on 49 cruises and having laundry service is important to us. We have free laundry service on two other cruise lines. Both of these other cruise lines have self-serve laundry facilities and I visit them. We have decided not to go on Norwegian again because we like to go for 14 days and unable to maneuver all the luggage required. We usually do back to back cruises and have laundry service. This was a great cruise and it was a hard decision. When we disembark the ship it was quick and we had no issues. Pier 92 at the World Cruise Center in LA has a huge freight elevation for disembarking passengers and we did not have to wait in a huge long line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our 6th cruise with Norwegian. The Jewel is our favorite ship. Everything accessible and has an open lay-out. There are 2 pools to accommodate everyone. But no matter which ship or which destination, the staff and crew have ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with Norwegian. The Jewel is our favorite ship. Everything accessible and has an open lay-out. There are 2 pools to accommodate everyone. But no matter which ship or which destination, the staff and crew have always gone above and beyond to ensure our trip is as fun and as trouble free as possible. Very impressed by several crew members remembering us from previous cruises. Yes, we're talking about you Pedro and Katie! In Puerto Vallarta we enjoyed the Las Caletas Hideway. This Island was beautiful and lives up to it being a featured excursion. CJ and his crew (boat #6) were very entertaining both on the ride to and from the Island. The nightly entertainment on the shop was first rate. Different shows every night to appeal to everyone's taste. Also, they had two seating times so everyone had a chance to enjoy the show. Just wish we were young enough to stay up late for all the activities! We feel part of their family and are considering making the Mexican Riviera cruise an annual event. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having sailed on Royal Caribbean for 32 cruises it was time to try something new. Truth be said my girlfriend & I had a great experience on the Norwegian Jewel. The staff, food, entertainment, stateroom were quite nice. Liked everyone ... Read More
Having sailed on Royal Caribbean for 32 cruises it was time to try something new. Truth be said my girlfriend & I had a great experience on the Norwegian Jewel. The staff, food, entertainment, stateroom were quite nice. Liked everyone being inside side for Muster drill instead of out side on the deck. First night Dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse The filet mignon was as good as you can get. Second night Moderno Brazilian BBQ believe this is where the phrase( Where's the Beef) came from they keep bringing different cuts till you tell them to stop. Next O' Sheehan's Irish Pub Chicken pot pie - fish Chips yum. Next couple nights Buffet and dinning room (Good). Finial night Teppanyaki Chefs put on a fun show. And don't miss the pool deck BBQ for lunch. Also tried some new cocktails Pomegranate Margarita and Mango Meltdown very tasty. We have already booked our next cruise. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to try NCL, having cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and loved it, we thought we should try a different cruise line to compare. Overall we felt that this cruise was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to try NCL, having cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and loved it, we thought we should try a different cruise line to compare. Overall we felt that this cruise was disappointing in most aspects, From friendliness of staff to organised activites, we felt that they fell short in comparison to other cruises and ships we were on. The worst thing I think was the food. We were served the toughest cuts of meet or its wasn't cooked to its best,and served moldy raspberries and brocoli that had gone past its best, Cagneys stake house on the other hand was excellent, the stake was cooked to perfection and the service was excellent. Our stateroom attendant was very good and kept our room clean and stocked with the necessities, and the overall cleanliness of the ship was ok but the toilets were always in need of attention, which in my opinion was quite an important matter. Activities were poorly organised and the staff didn't seem to quite have the enthusiasm we were used to. On the other hand we thought the cruise dancers/singers and other acts were very good. Excursions were quite well organised but on one particular occasion we had lunch provided by the NCL from a restaurant and later suffered food poisoning. This unfortunately impacted on the last few days of our cruise and resulted in my sister missing out on a planned excursion to cabo san lucas. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
My husband, two teen boys (ages 16 and 13), and my mother booked two rooms (connecting mid-ship mini suites) on the Norwegian Jewel during the kids' spring break. We wanted to drive to the port, so we chose a ship leaving from Los ... Read More
My husband, two teen boys (ages 16 and 13), and my mother booked two rooms (connecting mid-ship mini suites) on the Norwegian Jewel during the kids' spring break. We wanted to drive to the port, so we chose a ship leaving from Los Angeles. We also knew we wanted some beach time so we chose the Mexican Riviera itinerary. What attracted us to Norwegian was its casual cruising policy - we liked the idea of eating whenever we wanted to, and avoiding stuffy dress code policies. Embarkation was a decent experience. We had one of the first embarkation times, and got there early, so we did have to wait in line. However, everyone is pretty excited to go on the cruise, so we spent time chatting with others in line. Inside, everything was easy to navigate, and they have a well planned system to get you onboard. Completing the eDocs made this process very simple. It is nice to hand over your luggage and get ready to go on board. Bring a swimsuit and anything you need for the afternoon in a carry on!! That way you can relax and enjoy the rest of the day onboard, without worrying about when your luggage will show up in your room (which won't happen till late in the afternoon). The room was cozy. Our king bed was very comfy, but my son was not super happy on the rather hard sofa bed. The TV was not high quality (newer ships have the flat screen TV's) but since we didn't spend a ton of time in the room, it was fine. I will never cruise without a balcony! It was great to eat breakfast or just sit and stare at the ocean. We saw lots of marine animals. The food was fabulous! We loved going to the buffet (where they sang the washy washy song and made sure no one got in without sanitizing their hands. The food was well covered, and I didn't get an "ewww" feeling from it being a buffet. The main dining rooms offered a good range of food, so you really could get away with not going to the specialty restaurants. However, the specialty restaurants were fun, and I would spend the money again. Next time I would get the specialty restaurants on the Free at Sea plan. Drinks flowed! We had the ultimate beverage package, because we do like to drink on our vacations! Plus, it just minimizes the stress - no worries about how much it is adding up. The drinks can be watered down, however, with the package you just need to ask for an extra shot and you can "customize" it to your liking. :) The only thing not covered on the package was good wine (I'm from California...we love our wine) and any spirits that were over $15 (you just pay the difference in that case). The entertainment was great. They had a cirque du soleil type of show, but I thought the main performers were the best part. They did a cabaret show near the end of the cruise that was a highlight for me. We of course did the fun "Not so Newlywed Game" and enjoyed a few rounds of Deal or No Deal. We even got the teenagers to play Bingo with us, so we ended up having a fun family time in places I never would have expected my teenagers to join us! Speaking of the teenagers, the Entourage club was a bust for them. That might be more my own teens' style than anything good or bad about the club. They did enjoy playing Dodgeball on the ship and the video arcade. Caution on the arcade - my 13 year old didn't pay attention to how much he was playing and ran up nearly a $200 tab on my mom's account. He primed and painted her entire garage to work off that bill. Puerto Vallarta - we went to Las Caletas. It was about a 45 minute boat ride to get there, and then about 4 hours on the island. The best part was the hammocks over the water! The worst part was the jellyfish that made the snorkeling have to change location and closed down the water slide and water park area. The kids were bummed. Mom and I enjoyed wonderful massages and facials though. My 13 year old enjoyed the sting ray and sea lion experience. If you do something like that WASH out their swimsuit afterward. Learned that the hard way from the smell the next day. Mazatlan - We did the Huana Coa zip lining. So scary! But it was fun. Not the most picturesque of scenery though. Very brown and a lot of agave plants (actually those were pretty cool). There is a tequila tasting afterward at Los Osuna that was boring for the boys but my husband and I enjoyed it! We got to bring some home. I wish I had bought the vanilla tequila, I haven't seen it since. Cabo San Lucas - It's kind of cool that you have to take the tender in to this port, but it adds a little disembark/embark time. However, once you get to the dock, you are right there in the middle of Cabo. My husband and boys went snorkeling with Cabo Adventures, while mom and I went shopping downtown. They loved this excursion the most. Mom and I got drinks at Cabo Wabo, then we ate lunch with the guys at Senor Frogs. Had to do the tourist stuff. Now my son wants to go there after graduation when he is 18. Hmm... Disembarkation at the end was easy as well. Pack up your bags and put them in the hallway the night before, then they grab them and have them in the terminal after you get off the ship. This did make me a little nervous about theft, so don't put anything out that you would be nervous about being stolen. The bags are all in one place in the terminal so it's easy to walk out with the wrong one. Just beware that anything valuable needs to be carried by you. Or you can do a walk off where you take your bags and just get off the ship - the drawback to this is carrying all your bags up or down the stairs to the disembarkation deck. We liked having our bags taken off for us so we could enjoy one last breakfast in the buffet. Overall, Mom, Husband, and I absolutely loved cruising, and we have the Jewel to thank for it! It forces you to relax, stop, and enjoy your time. The teenagers were not as enthusiastic, although we had so much fun family time, that I think they will come to appreciate it when they get older. They loved getting to eat whenever they wanted (and they are teenage boys so we definitely got our money's worth). They just didn't love the older game consoles in the teen club and the limited pool space (water slides were "lame" they said). They did enjoy the freedom to roam without parental supervision. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Ease of access to POLA and we really like NCL. Had a great beverage and 3 specialty dining package that was included in our fare. Food was really good and the entertainment was great!! We ate the Le Bistro, Cagneys, and Moderno. My ... Read More
Ease of access to POLA and we really like NCL. Had a great beverage and 3 specialty dining package that was included in our fare. Food was really good and the entertainment was great!! We ate the Le Bistro, Cagneys, and Moderno. My wife thought that Moderno was the best restaurant of the three with a killer garlic beef offering that was a delight on your palette. The buffet seemed to really shine with the food quality and we really liked the fact that you could sit in the La Cucina reataurant space during breakfast and dinner. Service staff was very good and we enjoyed each port. We took advantage of a great offer for future cruises - put down $1000 but NCL only charged $500 for these future cruise deposits that have to be used in 4 years. Obviously, this was a no brainer for us since we cruise 2-3 times per year. Overall, we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose this cruise because i wanted to go to Mexico and you were one of 3 cruise lines that went there. I was very very very very disappointed. I thought the entertainment at best was average. Not one performer stood out at all. I thought ... Read More
I chose this cruise because i wanted to go to Mexico and you were one of 3 cruise lines that went there. I was very very very very disappointed. I thought the entertainment at best was average. Not one performer stood out at all. I thought the food was very good but having to pay for room service was excessive. We went on a couple of excursions and they were great, especially the Nature ATV excursion in Mazatlan I was very upset when I took waters that I bought on the ship on an excursion and could not bring them back on the ship. That seems wrong, it was one of the reasons I bought the water in the first place!!!! Overall, with a couple of exceptions (room steward, brazilian speciality restaurant) the cruise was not great in anyway. Based on this cruise, I most likely would not cruise on NCL, Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Norwegian offers minimal services that are inclusive in the price you pay for the cruise. Most everything else is a shakedown for money. The cruise ship is boring unless you are drunk or don't realize that your keycard is linked to ... Read More
Norwegian offers minimal services that are inclusive in the price you pay for the cruise. Most everything else is a shakedown for money. The cruise ship is boring unless you are drunk or don't realize that your keycard is linked to your credit card. The sales staff makes you feel like you are getting a good deal (i.e. art, some jewelry, bingo, tournaments) but they are just wanting as much money as they can get from you. I won several raffles but it was a SCAM. One raffle I won was for $50 off from the Spa but in the small print at the bottom I noticed that it was only for services with an asterisk. Services with the asterisk started at $150 and up. There were services under $100 but the gift certificate wasn't eligible. Norwegian goes so far as to make you go to Guest Services (no sign for this desk) to remove your credit card from your minor children's key card so they don't buy stuff or play video games, which are $1.50 to $2.00 per game. The cabin had stains in the carpet and dusty shelves. The food in the buffet was often barely warm, coffee was lukewarm, and not a great variety of food. I tried going to the restaurants and buffet at different times to try and see if the food would be better or hotter. I never found a hot meal unless I went to a specialty restaurant. I didn't go to an "up-charged" restaurant that would have been charged to my room but I suspect the food might have been better. The staff seems to do their best to keep the public areas clean except for the handrails on the stairs (very sticky).. A few of the shows offered in the Stardust Theatre were great. The public cleanliness attempts, cabin steward, and entertainment in the Stardust Theatre earned them a rating of two from me. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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