Sail Date: June 2014
My wife and I took this trip based on how well liked similar cruises to Alaska were enjoyed. Alaska and the Ports of Call on this trip provide for an amazing experience that should be enjoyed regardless of what kind of ship takes you ... Read More
My wife and I took this trip based on how well liked similar cruises to Alaska were enjoyed. Alaska and the Ports of Call on this trip provide for an amazing experience that should be enjoyed regardless of what kind of ship takes you there! The Jewel is a very nice ship and we found the cabin, restaurants and common areas all well appointed and very well maintained. A little refurbishing might be in order for some things but that did not stand out nearly as much as I might have expected after reading other reviews. We had a nice aft suite room and I would highly recommend an aft room to anyone taking this cruise. It provided a sheltered (no wind) place to sit outside and simply enjoy the views in comfort. Lots of walking to get around the ship when you start at the back of it to begin with though. Where this ship does get only fair grades is on the food and access to facilities. The food was sub-par to what we had enjoyed while cruising even 15 years ago. More options indeed but cover charges come in to play if you are looking for a particular kind of meal, and even then they were not awesome. Cagney's was likely the best, followed closely by Teppanyaki, though the flavors of the dishes were repetitive. We tried likely at least 10 times to eat at the Garden Cafe but not once could we find a table to sit at. Looked like a good variety but some of the food had been out to long to be enticing. Pool Grill was closed other than in Seattle or Victoria and it took some of the pressure off the Garden Cafe. They really should look at a way to use canopies and space heaters to allow guests to use this area more and keep the grill open. Offer more variety and as stated take some of the pressure off the other non specialty restaurants. We did enjoy the freestyle dining and the more casual dress code. We tried all the other open restaurants and Tsar's was likely the best. O'Sheehan's very often had tables free and if you waited a short while for a window booth you would get it. Problem with all restaurants is that the menu selection is limited and varies little throughout the cruise so you have to mix up your choices to get more variety. Plenty to choose from and with the exception of the Garden Cafe we never waited very long to be seated anywhere. Suite guest used Monderno's for breakfast and lunch and even though it had a set menu it was always immediately available, excellent food and exceptional service. One of the best perks to booking a suite. I have read reviews describing a poor attitude from staff and from our Room Steward to waiter all the way up to the Captain I can say that the crew on this trip went out of their way to ensure guests had a wonderful experience. The on board entertainment was wonderful as well, though you can miss the first nights revue and find something else worthwhile to do. Spinnaker's Lounge is a great place to sit back and relax in some soft chairs with a great view as you sail the Inside Passage. Booked all my own excursions outside of the ship either online in advance or just simply walking off the ship and talking to vendors along the waterfront. Much better deals and more options available. Some great experiences to be had as well. Do a bit of online searching before hand to find out what tours might suit you best and fit the time you have ashore. Overall... extremely satisfied having enjoyed a great cruise to an even more wonderful destination. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Even though my husband had 28 years of sailing experience, he had never been on a cruise. We were very pleased with the time that we spent on our Alaskan cruise. Prior to our cruise, I read numerous reviews on this site and they were most ... Read More
Even though my husband had 28 years of sailing experience, he had never been on a cruise. We were very pleased with the time that we spent on our Alaskan cruise. Prior to our cruise, I read numerous reviews on this site and they were most helpful so here is a review of what we experienced. Food: We paid for the Ultimate Dining Package and it was well worth it. We enjoyed all of the restaurants and visited Cagney's twice. Moderno has an amazing salad bar. The only criticism that we had with Moderno was that the bar was very close to the dining areas. The particular night that we ate there a few very loud customers were at the bar for a time. But regardless, the food was great...so much of it to enjoy. Save room for desserts. The experience at the Garden Cafe wasn't great. We had to dodge other vacationers and seating was hard to find. We started going to Tsar's Palace, ordering room service or going to O'Sheehan's for breakfast. Great choices and good service. Excursions: The Best of Skagway is hard to beat. We went up the mountain by bus and down by train. The weather was beautiful and the scenery hard to beat. We took the trolley in Ketchikan and it was informative. The driver was funny and knowledgable. The horse drawn trolley ride in Canada was okay but pricey for what you saw. The Ship: Marlon was our cabin steward. He always met us with a smile and made me laugh when I found his towel animals every evening. He attended to any need that we had and was always a cheerful addition to our day. We didn't encounter any crew members that seemed out of sorts or rude. Everyone was very accommodating. Even the Wishy Washy men and women were happy to do their job and did it well. We were disappointed in the Bingo. When it's electronically done, who knows? When several people called BINGO together they had to split the money. We didn't see anyone win big. Deal or No Deal was entertaining. The casino was a bit disappointing because of the smoking. The free rum punch is very tasty, but everyone else was crowing the casino that night for a taste so go early. Embarking and disembarkation was smooth and easy. We settled up our charges early in the day prior to the disembarkation day. It paid off. We didn't by the drinking package. Drinks of any sort are expensive, cocktails or sodas...but we would have never spent enough to justify the drink package. Internet is costly and slow. We took a power strip for the room and we were glad we did. The room had a lot of storage and under bed storage if you need a place to store your suitcases. We took advantage of the mid-cruise laundry special which allowed you to stuff a bag full and it was washed and pressed for $27. That was incredible...my husband was amused when his t-shirts arrived on hangers. Do most of your shopping in Ketichikan. It has the best selection and prices. Fleece jackets, windbreakers and sweatshirts are very reasonably priced. So, all in all it was an incredible time from start to finish. We can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
If you like food, even a little bit, I advise against travelling on the Norwegian Jewel (and by extension, the entire Norewegian line). The food is terrible (buffet and complimentary restaurants). Many people are happy with the food. Good ... Read More
If you like food, even a little bit, I advise against travelling on the Norwegian Jewel (and by extension, the entire Norewegian line). The food is terrible (buffet and complimentary restaurants). Many people are happy with the food. Good for them. I am happy for them. But if you actually like food, you will not be happy with NCL. I'll not even discuss the buffet, other to say that A. it's elementary school cafeteria quality food, and B. that buffet food also shows up in the restaurants. So, the complimentary restaurant food: American cheese in the omelettes? (Maybe it was velveeta, but it was still inedible.) Thin baked bacon, the cheapest possible on the international market. I didn't care/dare to even try the sausage. They serve the same cuts of meat and call them different things. As in, the same thin processed cut of meat is served as 'rib eye steak', 'sirloin steak', and 'new york strip'. The same sausage is served as 'bratwurst' and 'kielbasa' (of which it is neither). And the same strip of meat served as 'short ribs' and 'baby back ribs'. The shrimp was fine. It's shrimp, seemingly tough to ruin. Mashed potatoes were fine. Asparagus was ok. Chicken dishes were ok but low quality. Salmon was run of the low end mill. My gal had some fish one night she took one bite of and left the rest. I had fish and chips one night...square fish blocks...terrible. They seemed to only have one gravy the entire trip, for all the dishes. The lamb shank was all right, but pretty gamey. It was not even close to 'fine dining' There was not a single sucessful desert, in the buffet or otherwise. The cheesecake was not actually cheesecake (you need cream cheese as an ingredient for that). The apple pie thing was so solid and gelatinous that you could bounce it off the floor. By day two every ounce of excitement at what desert might offer was drowned deep in the dark depths of a cold, cold ocean. Granted, I'm comparing the food to my one experience on Royal Caribbean. Where I was EXCITED to go to lunches and dinners. 9 out of every 10 dishes was GOOD on that boat. 10 out of 10 dishes on the Norwegian Jewel were not only not good, they were disappointingly not good. There was no reason to complain to the servers. There was no reason for them to look at our 90% unfinished meals and ask if they could take it back or make it better or bring something else (only one waitress out of the 15 or so that served us over the week actually asked).....because there was nothing to fix, and nothign better to bring out as a replacement. They didn't 'miss the mark'. They had no mark to hit, and they suceeded at their goals, which are to make cheap buffet quality dinners. My gal and I laughed...there -really- was nothing to complain about, because they were serving exactly what they were aspiring to serve. Unfortunately, what they were serving was crap. It's a good thing I got food poisoning and didn't have to eat anything for two days, because that's two days I didn't have to go to meals and look at the lowest of low quality meals and decide which were the least insulting to put down my gullet. I don't actually blame the boat for the food poisoning (because who knows what that was from), but I do blame the cruise line for not giving a damn about my dining experience, and for having such low standards and subjecting me to them. The boat itself was fine, always on time, well run, etc. No complaints there. Getting on/off the boat was easy for ports of call and embarkation/arrival, etc. The room cleaner guy was just fine, the restaurant service was ok (but without the high standards I experienced on Royal Caribbean...they were just doing their job/just walking around with 'food' as opposed to delivering 'great food because that's important to us'. Alaska is BEAUTIFUL. NCL food is TERRIBLE. Royal Caribbean sells a cook book of the food you had on your vacation. NCL does not. For good reason.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Yes, this is my first cruise and it felt like I was being transported to another place in time. I have read other reviews and I just have to say that I have very few complaints about NCL. I ate at the Garden Cafe. If I wanted to eat early, ... Read More
Yes, this is my first cruise and it felt like I was being transported to another place in time. I have read other reviews and I just have to say that I have very few complaints about NCL. I ate at the Garden Cafe. If I wanted to eat early, I snagged a table early and went up to the next deck for a quick mile walk in time to be back when the dining room opened. If it was crowded I took my food aft. Aft was my favorite spot, especially around sunset. Yes it was too chilly a few times and a heater back there would have been nice. The one time I couldn't get a table and it was too cold outside I took my plate back to my cabin and ate on the balcony. I tried eating at Tsar's but I didn't like the front desk gal. I was cruising solo and she stuck me smack dab in the middle of the restaurant all my by lonesome. It wasn't a pleasant dining experience. So I went back to the Garden Cafe after that. The food was wonderful. Some of the highlights was smoked salmon at breakfast, the baby arugula and the salads were sublime, there was a nice steak bbq out by the pool that I enjoyed, and I liked the Indian food and the Chocolate Night. The manager even got to recognize me and always gave me a nice smile and hello. And who could forget the Washy Washy Group. I bought the spa package and sitting at the bow enjoying the views in the hot tub was quite nice. My excursions were wonderful. A hike/canoe trip in an old growth rain forest in Ketchikan, the whale watching expedition not so great unless you want to pay and arm and a leg to see whale bubbles and a whale tail, and a hike/rafting adventure on the ChilkootTrail. I liked Skagway the best although the tavern at the end of the main street was out of spruce tip ale. I had a reindeer hot dog at the "food court" and went to the National Park Visitor's Center to see the film about the Gold Rush. Anyways, back to the ship. I only saw the last show, the Cirque Bijou and it was spectacular. I wish I had gone to more of the shows. I did have a problem with my stateroom and the staff at NCL more than compensated me for the inconvenience. Their customer service is outstanding. I saw nothing but smiles on all the staff. And if someone wasn't smiling and you said hello to them they would smile back and say something pleasant. So I really don't understand why some cruisers find the staff unsmiling. My cabin stewards were Wilmer and Angel (best.cabin steward.ever) and I know the NCL staff reads these reviews so I want to let them know that these gentlemen are outstanding. My complaints are that the staff doesn't enforce certain rules. There were children in the adult hot tub and too many times people were having the most annoying conversations in the relaxation area at the spa. Who wants to be relaxing and hearing someone talk about some tv show where some kid is killing another kid. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. There aren't big crowds to maneuver except at the Garden Cafe. It's a lovely ship with a lovely crew. I was sorry my first cruise had to end. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I have cruises a couple of times in the past (both times on Royal Caribbean), so I am not brand new to cruising. If this had been my first cruise experience, then I would never have cruised again. The food was horrible. It was inedible ... Read More
I have cruises a couple of times in the past (both times on Royal Caribbean), so I am not brand new to cruising. If this had been my first cruise experience, then I would never have cruised again. The food was horrible. It was inedible swill. In the buffet area, there weren’t enough seats so we often had to stand to eat. Also in the buffet area was a nice display of menus for the paid restaurants on board. How tacky is that? To me, NCL was saying “We have decent food on this, but you have to pay extra to get it.” When we arrived in ports, our goal was to find edible food. We also ate in the formal dining rooms and O’Sheehan’s. Special requests were never honored. Some servers were awesome, but most were mediocre. Steak ordered “medium” was burned and so tough it could not be eaten. Potatoes were always cold. I can’t stress enough how bad the food was! We learned on this cruise that cruise lines pay for lengths of stay in ports and docking spots. Before choosing a cruise, see how long the ship stays in port. Our port stays were not as good as other ships and the Jewel was always docked the farthest from any attractions. In Victoria, we were docked about a mile from town. Don’t worry, though. For only $10 per person, Norwegian would provide bus service to town. If you do not like cigarette smoke, then stay away from the forward section on decks 6 and 7. The stink was absolutely terrible. Smokers were also allowed to smoke on the deck where people were walking for exercise. We had trouble with cigarette smoke on Royal Caribbean also, so this issue is not unique to NCL. The entertainment lacked variety. If you like music, then you’re set. Just about every performance area had music every night. If you want variety, then you were out of luck. There was a comedian/magician one night who was fantastic – I would highly recommend him. And, there were excellent dancers a couple of other nights. But, other than those three nights, everything else was just music. On the good side, our cabin and steward were fantastic. We had an aft facing balcony (room 9674, which I highly recommend). We were able to see everything from the comfort of our balcony. The magician was fantastic. The dancers were fantastic. The dancers from Russia were especially great, although I cannot understand why the female could not find a bra that could be hidden. It was very distracting and very tacky to see her entire bra while she was dancing. For most of the excursions, you were better off not purchasing them from NCL because of the inflated prices. Example: In Juneau the glacier visit and tram were $79.99. Off ship I was able to purchase that excursion plus a tour of the city for $64.00. The exception was the train. It’s just as cheap to purchase on the ship. Finally, NCL (like all other cruise lines) does not pay a lot of their employees. They require mandatory tipping to pay employees’ salaries. It feels like slave labor to me, so I won’t cruise again. Of course, Americans are paid using a different pay scale. If anyone wants to fight discrimination, start with the cruise lines! I won’t travel with NCL ever again. If I do cruise again, which I probably won’t, it will be with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We recently traveled in a party of 15 on the Jewel to Alaska, with members of our party ranging in age from 4 to 76. Ports of call were Ketchikan, Juneau, a spectacular cruise down the Tracy Arm, Skagway, and Victoria. Embarkation in ... Read More
We recently traveled in a party of 15 on the Jewel to Alaska, with members of our party ranging in age from 4 to 76. Ports of call were Ketchikan, Juneau, a spectacular cruise down the Tracy Arm, Skagway, and Victoria. Embarkation in Seattle went smoothly, although it was a little sluggish. Our cabins were fine to very good. This was our first time on NCL, and we were impressed to be greeted with free bottles of wine in each cabin along with plates of chocolate covered strawberries. All of our cabins were on Deck 9 with three interior cabins and two adjoining balconies. The cabins were comfortable, and we loved the relative privacy of our balconies. I highly recommend a balcony cabin for the Alaska route. We were able to sit on the balcony early in the morning and late at night to enjoy the scenery without having to find a rail elsewhere on the ship. This helped us spot several whales, pods of dolphins, and even the occasional sea lion. The beds in the cabin were fine, and we were happy that they were standard sizes, not smaller like you get on some cruise lines. A twin was a twin, two twins pushed together made a king. We had two problems of significance. One of the interior cabins had a very bad bed -- my sister-in-law got no sleep at all the first night. It turned out that the bed had its supports bent out of shape, and they had to replace the bed entirely. That fixed the problem. My parent's cabin, on the other hand, had a bathroom that smelled like sewage. It appeared to be coming from the shower drain. They complained daily, and the ship sent a variety of people down to attempt to fix the problem, but by the 7th day (Cruise started and ended on a Saturday; this was Friday) the problem still wasn't fixed. So the ship offered my parents a new cabin -- with ONE night remaining on the cruise! They refused to change cabins with less than 24 hours remaining in the cruise. This was the one instance during the cruise where Norwegian dropped the ball. They gave my parents a $75 shipboard credit, but that was poor compensation for spending a week in a room that smelled of sewage. The balcony cabins had a hot pot with instant coffee and a couple of tea bags. We emptied the mini-bar refrigerator in each room and were able to have space to keep water and other items cold. The bathrooms in all of the cabins were decent sized so they didn't feel claustrophobic. We ate in several restaurants on board, including the main dining rooms. Service was slow in the main dining rooms, sometimes painfully slow, and food was sometimes served cold. We ended up eating in the Garden Café most of the time, where the service was friendly and phenomenal, the food was always hot, and there was endless variety. The only problem with this restaurant was that everyone seemed to agree with us, so it was always crowded and often hard to find a seat. We thought this was the best restaurant on the ship (we didn't pay extra for the special dining), and they had great ethnic food too. The service at Guest Services was prompt but rather indifferent. Stewards were good, but ours seemed grumpy by the end of the week, probably because of the ongoing problem in my parent's cabin. Several of the kids in our party used the kids programs and loved them. Our teenagers were not impressed, though, and the offerings for teens were not as well thought-out as they could have been. Entertainment was typical cruise ship material, but the comedian was hysterical and we really enjoyed his performances (I can't remember his name, unfortunately). The final show of Cirque de Bijou was excellent. Other entertainment options were somewhat lacking, since we don't gamble/dance/drink a lot/or play bingo. But we definitely enjoyed the constant entertainment off our balcony, looking at the scenery go by. We only used the fitness center once, because it was crowded and people were waiting to use the equipment. I was distressed to see that many people didn't bother to clean the equipment after themselves, and there didn't appear to be an attendant paying attention, so I had to clean it before and after I used it. We didn't book any excursions through the ship, so I won't address our shore experiences here. Disembarkation at each port was very easy and lines (when they existed) moved very quickly. Overall, in spite of the shortcomings, we loved the cruise and would definitely consider a trip on NCL again, although we would probably try a different ship and route. If you are considering a trip to Alaska on the Jewel, we highly recommend it. For the price we paid, it was a very good experience overall. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
The Good: The food in the specialty restaurants was very good. Service in these areas was fine and the price for the dining package was reasonable. The views and ports we stopped at were awesome. The Bad: we traveled with our three ... Read More
The Good: The food in the specialty restaurants was very good. Service in these areas was fine and the price for the dining package was reasonable. The views and ports we stopped at were awesome. The Bad: we traveled with our three year-old who would have enjoyed the kids club while we were at dinner however, the staff told him that if he wanted to leave all he had to do was say so and he could rather than engaging him for the very minimal amount of thime he was there. So as a result we were paged out of almost every one of our extra priced dinners because he did not want to be there. The ugly: We we were also traveling with our 7 month old , for whom we paid despite him not eatimg or drinking anything. I understand this is how a lot of cruises work. However, when we got into our room, which we paid extra fo to have a balcony, there was no room for his pack and play. Our room Stewart suggested we have our toddler sleep on the loft bed with a tiny railing, which was so not happening. I contacted Guest Service and they told me there was nothing they could do. . I asked to speak to a supervisor and it was at this point the woman who I was talking to covered the phone and told the woman next to her what was going on. The woman next to her replied , " tell her I'm the supervisor and hand me the phone." It was at this point that I realized we werent going to get anywhere. We honestly would have gotten off the ship but we were there to celebrate my parents 60th birthdays and they have been on over 10 NCL cruises they loved. My infant eneded up sleeping in his carseat in the shower stall for the week and we had to use our expensive balcony to house our luggage and stroller. As compensation, the staff sent us a bottle of wine. Had they even looked at our reservation they would have seen that we spent another $700 for the wine and beer package already. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Chose this cruise due to price of ship and flight. Enjoyed the ports of call so much. Best show on the seas with the male and female acrobats that met in gymnastics school. Passengers were friendly and food was delicious. Especially ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to price of ship and flight. Enjoyed the ports of call so much. Best show on the seas with the male and female acrobats that met in gymnastics school. Passengers were friendly and food was delicious. Especially enjoyed Cagne's Steakhouse and the dessert buffet. Even unknown ports like Nanaimo and Astoria, Oregon were fantastic. Even went back to Oregon on land a year later to explore. The Marine Maritime museam there was excellent and educational. We knew about the tea time at Butchart Gardens and the excursion explorers were there to make it a future excursion! Do yourself a favor and book it yourself to $ave. Take the bus to the gardens for $2! It was so pretty that I want to do a destination wedding there. Not to be missed also is the Tillamook cheese factory in Oregon, though we did not do that on the trip, I've done it by land and it was A+. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Just got home from a wonderful holiday travelling through Canada and ending it with an Alaskan cruise. The ports of call were wonderful and the weather just brilliant. The Jewel not so great. The food and the service were terrible. The ... Read More
Just got home from a wonderful holiday travelling through Canada and ending it with an Alaskan cruise. The ports of call were wonderful and the weather just brilliant. The Jewel not so great. The food and the service were terrible. The buffet restaurant was just mayhem the food choice was good but absolute chaos. The noise level horrendous. The Tsar and Azure the service was terrible you had to wait ages for the staff to take your order then wait an age for them to deliver each course. The food choice was terrible and stayed the same all week apart from the chefs special which changed daily. The plates were cold and the food luke warm. The chocolate buffet was a disaster and not even worth a visit. The entertainment was ok not brilliant and much the same most evenings. They do 2 shows 7.15 and 9.15pm each evening, perhaps they should consider making the later show adults only or at least older children only as we had to walk out at one show because the noise level of screaming younger children was too much to bare. The bathrooms in the cabins are like small caravan toilets, not much room to move around. I would not sail on a NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Enjoyed a cruise in mid-May that left from Seattle ,Washington and went to three Alaskan ports and also a visit to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Awesome trip..... the staff of the cruise ship are VERY attentive, I don't think I ... Read More
Enjoyed a cruise in mid-May that left from Seattle ,Washington and went to three Alaskan ports and also a visit to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Awesome trip..... the staff of the cruise ship are VERY attentive, I don't think I have ever been asked so many times, how things were going? Is there anything you need? Are you enjoying your cruise? The staff were very intune to cruisers needs and did a great job making sure everything was good. The shore excursions were fun , very educational and enlightening . The disembarkation was easy every day, lines move along quickly and you were off the ship and ready to sightsee without any problems. Embarkation was just as easy in Seattle, as every day in the ports. The lines moved along and the the process was easy. I had only been on one cruise before, but it has definitely made me want to go on another cruise. The freestyle dining is okay, the food was good, nothing that special. The Japanese restaurant on board the ship was excellent and the food was delicious there. Food was certainly not a problem since there are many places on board to eat that didn't cost extra. I would definitely recommend the Norwegian Jewel for a cruise. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.2
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 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.1

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