Sail Date: February 2006
This was our 4th Caribbean cruise, our third on NCL. We looked forward to this one as our first was on the Dawn shortly after it went into service. The Jewel was touted as a sister to the Dawn...identical in many ways. We had loved the ... Read More
This was our 4th Caribbean cruise, our third on NCL. We looked forward to this one as our first was on the Dawn shortly after it went into service. The Jewel was touted as a sister to the Dawn...identical in many ways. We had loved the Dawn. We, and the other couple we travel with, book our cruises directly with NCL by telephone. Usually no problems but this time it took much longer to change or add items like insurance and ground transfers after the initial booking. There seemed to be a language barrier that the NCL staff had in not understanding our requests or being able to converse fluently in our country's language. We were disappointed that points earned from our new NCL MasterCard were not allowed as onboard credits on this trip. Embarkation was a breeze as we arrived at the Port of Miami before noon, having spent several days in FL prior to the cruise. The lines were long, but we accidentally discovered the line for Latitudes members and found it to be much shorter and faster. If you have cruised with NCL in the past, always look for the Lats lines. No help from the staff directing the lines as they pointed everyone to the main pile-up. Our cabin, an AF mini-suite with private balcony, was ready for our arrival and in excellent shape. We were disappointed to find the fridge packed with mini-bar stuff at exorbitant prices and were never told that one bottle of water ($4.50) was on the house. I didn't want to take the chance. Due to choppy seas we later discovered an annoying noise in the patio doors that woke us often during the night, as well as slamming doors across the hall which were used by the crew at an extremely annoying frequency. I asked the crew members there to please close their door quietly and found no improvement. Housekeeping was barely O.K. as on several nights the beds had still not been turned down upon our arrival after 10 p.m. The price of drinks, as well as wine in the dinner venues was outrageous. We budgeted plenty for this item but still thought we did not get our money's worth, especially at the Sky High bar where pina coladas seemed almost virgin. Good pina coladas were had at the bar in the great outdoors aft. Dining on the Jewel was really good. We always enjoyed the breakfast buffet and breakfasts in the Tsar's Palace. Food quality was at least good and service in most venues was good. We additionally dined in the Mamma's Italian Restaurant and wondered how in heck they decided to put a restaurant under the basketball court: thump, thump ad infinitum. Food was good enough to make up for it. Also had reservations in the Tex-Mex venue and found selections average. The experience here, as in most dining venues, was spoiled by many very young children and parents who did not make an effort to quiet them. A word here about family friendly cruising and our opinion: if you need to use a double-stroller, block the hallways with it, or have babies that belong in the church's cry room, STAY THE HECK HOME!!!! This cruise was badly in need of some adults only retreats! We love babies too, but took pains not to inflict them on other people, in church, restaurants, or other public places. Thank God pets were not allowed as I believe many would have tried to bring them too. We found entertainment to be superb!!!! After Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas painful attempts last year, NCL's Jean Ann Ryan's cast were beyond expectations. Never have we seen a more energetic, coordinated, and entertaining group of dancers and singers. The Cirque on Friday was awesome and lived up to the week long hype. The newlywed game and other entertainment in the Spinnaker was the perfect way to end an evening. We took shore excursions at every port of call. The Roatan tour and beach club was interesting at the iguana farm and beach, but this one we would scratch the next time around. Roatan is definitely "third world" and the many "pistoleros" we saw guarding businesses in town discouraged us from independent exploration. Grand Cayman's snorkel/Stingray City combo had transportation problems with excessive waits for buses. Otherwise the reef snorkeling, stingray kissing and beach club were superb. Even if you're a shorebird, don't be afraid of this one...the stingrays were like a group of friendly puppies! Ocho Rios is a challenge if you stray beyond the pier. We tendered in early to see the city and buy gifts but beat a hasty retreat to the shopping village after being accosted every ten feet by offers for rides and tours. Caution: my wife agreed to hair braiding at the rate of $2.00 a braid. It didn't take long before there were 20 braids and a hefty bill - bargain for less. Overall, tendering to each port was less desirable than itineraries we simply docked. Disembarkation was also a breeze as we found our luggage and bus to Ft. Lauderdale in ample time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
NCL Jewel review Western Caribbean Feb 5, 2006 EMBARKATION -- Embarkation was fast and smooth, but the people we dealt with were not very friendly or nice. They just wanted to do their job and get us on the ship. STAFF -- But once we ... Read More
NCL Jewel review Western Caribbean Feb 5, 2006 EMBARKATION -- Embarkation was fast and smooth, but the people we dealt with were not very friendly or nice. They just wanted to do their job and get us on the ship. STAFF -- But once we on the ship, the staff was extremely nice and pleasant. Everyone always said hi with a smile. Also a large part of the staff are European and they were extremely friendly. I give NCL the highest marks for this, the staff couldn't have been any nicer. SHIP DESIGN The ship is very nice and new, but lacks the large center atrium most ships have today. We found ourselves walking back and forth between the front and back of the ship many times per day to eat, go to the shows and playing sports. NCL should learn about ship design from the other cruise lines and put everything in one central location, instead of having everything spread out all across the several decks and the front and back of the ship. Also with our 3 days at sea, we had to skip Cayman because of weather, it is very clear that the pool area is just too small for 2000 people to try to fit into. They were numerous people complaining because there was no place to sit on either the pool deck or the deck above. This was the same situation on the private island, with 2000 people trying to sit on a 500 ft beach, it just doesn't work. NORWEGIAN JEWEL: GOOD MORNING AMERICA'S GIRLS' WEEK OUT -- Unfortunately, this was also the week of Norwegian Jewel: Good Morning America's Girls' Week Out. Where they had over 300 females and Good Morning America's broadcasting from the ship. Not only did they broadcast from the ship, they took over the whole ship. Most of the non GMA passengers said if they would have known about it, they would not have sailed that week. That is why NCL did not advertise it or let any of the non GMA passengers know about it, until we were on the ship. Most if not all of the Girls' Week Out people were very rude, arrogant and disrespectful of the other passengers on the ship. WE WOULD NOT HAVE SAILED IF WE HAD KNOWN about Norwegian Jewel: Good Morning America's Girls' Week Out. As one person called us "regular" passengers, she should have called us "2nd class passengers". That's how we were treated and that's how we felt since NCL was so glad for the free publicity from GMA, they forgot about the non GMA passengers. DINING -- We only ate in the main Tsar's Palace dining room twice. The first and second night of the cruise. The first night we had escargot which were excellent, clam chowder which had no taste and prime beef which was also very good, but the portions were very small, so I had to order 2 prime beef dinners. The second night was the Captains Welcome dinner. They had lobster on the menu, but it was the worst tasting lobster I have ever had. I was very disappointed. The lobster was very hard and had no taste or flavor. We did go to the dining room again on Friday night which was French Night, but they didn't have anything French on the menu, no escargot or onion soup. In fact they had nothing that interested us on the menu. So we left and went to Tango's for dinner. I would say the main dining room food was about the same as a casual dining restaurant. The service on both nights was outstanding. There is only one formal night one the ship and you have to go to the Tsar's Palace dining room if you are dressed nicely. One person went to the Azura dining room and wondered why no one was formal. There is also the Garden Cafe, which is a buffet restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you would expect, the food is the same as any good buffet restaurant. With one exception, one day for lunch they had a roasted pork, which is absolutely the best roasted pork I have ever tasted. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS -- NCL has several excellent specialty restaurants. My first feeling on this was that I am not paying extra to eat on a cruise ship, but the food was well worth it. In order of the taste of the specialty restaurants are Tango's Tapas free, Cagney's steakhouse 15.00 but 7.50 before 6 30 PM, Le Bistro 10.00 but 5.00 before 6 30 PM, Blue Lagoon free sushi bar 5.00, Mama's Italian Kitchen free. Tango's Tapas has absolutely the best food on the ship with the nicest atmosphere with live music and singing from the reception area and it's all free. The onion blossom is nice and spicy, the best onion blossom I have ever had. The large chili and the hot and cold tapas are also excellent. The cheese sticks and the jalapenos were only ok. For dinner we had the ribs, which were excellent, tender and tasty, the steak and shrimp fajitas which were very good and the fish which had no taste. None of the desserts here are worth mentioning. The service was outstanding. Cagney's Steakhouse -- The atmosphere was not as nice as I had expected. How many nice classy steak restaurants do you know of that has a very loud and unattractive open kitchen, well this one does. Also many of the GMA females were also eating here. They were all very loud and drunk, yelling and screaming throughout dinner. We had the jumbo shrimp cocktails which were excellent, the French onion soup very good and the onion rings excellent. For dinner we had filet mignon which was good and rack of lamb which was excellent. The best steaks we had were at Le Bistro. As can be expected, the portions were very small, so I had 2 rack of lamb dinners. For dessert I had the cheese cake, this is absolutely the best cheese cake I have ever had. They serve the same cheese cake at Le Bistro. Much better that cheesecake factory. The service was outstanding. Le Bistro -- The atmosphere at Le Bistro is much nicer than Cagney's and there is no open kitchen noise. We started with a salmon appetizer which was good, then a tuna set in a salad, which we didn't like. The tuna was slightly cooked. We then tried the escargot, we can easily say this was the worst escargot we have ever tasted. Not only that, when they brought it out, it was so hot that it hurt to eat it. We saw people all over the restaurant shooting the escargot out of their mouths because of how hot it was and the waitress didn't say a word about the heat to anyone. That is the main reason I rate Cagney's higher than Le Bistro. Bad tasting escargot that is too hot to eat. But dinner did improve. We ordered the sea bass which was excellent and the filet mignon with foie gras and wine sauce. This was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. I had 2 of them. For dessert we had the awesome cheese cake. The service was very good. Blue Lagoon -- This is the 24 hour restaurant. It is very nice sit down service, not a buffet. The chicken wings with hot sauce were excellent, so were the fish and chips. We tried several other items on the menu, but those 2 were the best. The service was outstanding. Sushi bar -- The sushi bar was fast and efficient. We ate there for lunch, but its the same for dinner. The sushi was good, but extremely limited in selection as they have only tuna and salmon. For people that like sushi, I would recommend you try it once, as we did. The service was good. Mama's Italian Kitchen -- This is the only restaurant I would not eat at again, even though its free. The atmosphere is not nearly as nice as the other restaurants. Its located right across from the buffet. The food was not as good as the main dining room. The only food I liked here was the selection of antipasto as an appetizer. The beef and cheese were excellent in the antipasto. For dinner we had the small shrimps and the lasagna, neither was any good. None of the other foods are worth mentioning including the desserts. Its also here we got the worst service from a waiter that just didn't seem happy with what he was doing. But his attitude did improve when his superior gave us a rating card for the restaurant. The service was ok. Overall I would rate the food on this ship as very good. But it really depended on where you ate and what you ate. We had food ranging from the worst we have ever tasted to the best we have ever tasted. Fortunately we had more of the best we have ever tasted. Also that was the first private island I have ever been on that they didn't serve ribs for lunch. ENTERTAINMENT -- The first night, which was Monday night we had Band On The Run Show. It was a very good singing and dancing show, unfortunately none of the guys in the show could sing and all the girls sang superbly. The second night we had Second City comedy, which had some good parts to it. The third night we had a magic show. It was easily the worst magic show I have ever seen. The fourth night we had an excellent comedy and magic show, this was of course with a different magician. On Friday night we had a nice French circus show, which was followed by a Second City comedy in the disco. This again is where Good Morning America's took over the ship as Mike Barz volunteered for the comedy show. He was on stage for 5 minutes, but he couldn't follow one direction he was given. They would tell him, say one word as the second person in line. He repeatedly kept saying full sentences that made no sense and worst of all he had no idea when he was to speak, even though he was the second person in line and he was supposed to speak second. Eventually Diane Sawyer had to go on stage and remove him, because he was making such a fool of himself. He spoiled the whole comedy show. On Saturday night they had a talent show for passengers trying to get a contract with NCL, please skip that one. Overall it was a nice enough cruise despite Norwegian Jewel: Good Morning America's Girls' Week Out, but it would have been much nicer without them on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
This was our second sailing with Norwegian and we were looking forward to another great cruise on this line. My mother always said say something "nice" before being critical. The Jewel's bright colors were exceptional. Very ... Read More
This was our second sailing with Norwegian and we were looking forward to another great cruise on this line. My mother always said say something "nice" before being critical. The Jewel's bright colors were exceptional. Very vibrant and cheerful. It is a BIG ship! Get out your walking shoes to board the Jewel! We walked straight through boarding and continued walking that seemed like a half mile on the RAMP to get to the gangway. We boarded forward and our cabin was midship, needless to say we were exhausted by the time we got to our cabin. (Same thing in reverse as we debarked.) The cabin was beautiful and spacious. We had a tub so the bath was pretty large. Not too much storage space though. The only place I could find a comfortable place to sit was in the piano bar. The cabin furniture was put in for durability, not for comfort. The bed and bedding was good, only two chairs & a small table on the balcony. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. It was very difficult to get to the main dining room as you had to get off the elevator on the 7th deck, walk all the way back to the aft elevator (stairs)to go down to the 6th deck only to walk down another set of stairs to the dining room. Dining room food left a lot to be desired. The selection was sparse and instead of being able to order a steak and baked potato if you did not like what was on the menu, you could pick grilled chicken. This chicken choice must be an attempt get you into the steakhouse huh? (If you go to a special restaurant it is half off for early dining) No one in our party of 4 ever asked for seconds, not even on the desserts. The buffet was good and had a good selection, breakfast was always good and plenty. They even had GRITS! It is true you have a pot to heat water for instant coffee or tea, YUCK. Room service was excellent. The chocolate buffet was beautiful and tasty and very crowded. The ports we visited all had docks, only at the Great Stirrup Cay did we have to be tendered. The on board entertainment left a lot to be desired. Everywhere you turned there was advertisements, buy this, do that, most merchandise on board was over priced and a poor selection. It was not my favorite cruise experience. All in all the staff was great, we really like "freestyle dining", we enjoyed the ports but I probably will not sail the Jewel again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
First, we are a family of four with 8 and 12 year old girls. This was our first cruise. provided me so much information that improved my cruise experience, I feel compelled to write this review to do my part for the ... Read More
First, we are a family of four with 8 and 12 year old girls. This was our first cruise. provided me so much information that improved my cruise experience, I feel compelled to write this review to do my part for the community. General: The ship was pretty full. The cruise director said we had about 750 kids on board (winter break), but it didnt feel like that many kids were running around. This was not a cruise for people looking to pick up pretty people. The vast majority of passengers were middle-aged and overweight (like me). The benefit to this (for the passengers, not the cruise line) was less drinking and very few drunks misbehaving. Pre-board: Heres a little tip, we flew the redeye from Seattle to Miami (only direct flight) which landed at around 6:30 am on cruise-day. What to do with the time before boarding? Take the free Marriott shuttle to the Airport Marriott, have breakfast and then lounge by the pool until you take a cab to the port. I caught a nice nap while the kids played in the pool. This was not sneaky, we called the Marriott in advance and they approved this request. Embarkation: Arrived around 10:45 which was relatively early for a 5:00 PM departure, but embarkation was in full swing. We shot through with ease. Cabin(s): We booked a BB balcony and an inside across the hall. My wife applauded this decision many times throughout the trip. 4 in a single cabin would have been an unmitigated disaster. Each cabin was fine in size and appointment. The design of the bathroom should win an award for space efficiency. Im a big guy and would have liked a little more legroom on the john and when drying off from the shower, but those are my only complaints. Ship in General: The Jewel is in excellent condition and is maintained perfectly. It has something for everyone, but is balanced. The gym was nice, but we didnt use it. The Spinnaker Lounge on the top deck is a wonderful place to steal away a quiet moment with a marvelous view while in port or during the day when its not being used for bingo, etc. Programs: Too much cheesy sales going on. Who goes on a cruise to buy a Turkish rug? You wouldnt believe how much hype (public announcements, daily newsletter, etc.) was dedicated to stuff like this. I think it cheapens the experience. They should do more meaningful stuff like more cooking classes, etc. Theyve morphed bingo into something expensive and not very fun- turnout reflects this. Shows: Only went to one, which was Cirque de Bijou. It was excellent and not to be missed. Seats were available almost all of the way up to show time, however, the prime ones were gone 20 minutes prior to the show. Pool Experience: Our kids did not like the salt water pools. It bothered their eyes. In fact, the kids pool was not used all that much. The small slide was kind of cool in that it used real warm fresh water and doesnt dump you into the pool, but instead into a catch area. It was used quite a bit. The bands that played between the pools were great and added to a great mood around the pool area. Drink service was pretty good. My biggest grip about the whole cruise is the reserving of chaise lounges. I know many feel the same way, but nothing seems to be done about it on any cruise line. I calculated that if the reserved furniture was freed up, there would have always been enough furniture in the prime areas. Food: We followed the advice on the Cruise Critic boards and made dinner reservations for the week right after arriving on board. Used the telephone to expedite matters even further. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Garden Cafe (main buffet). Im not sure why people complain about this venue. Yes, its not exciting, but there are many choices and food stations, so you rarely have to wait for anything. Sit outside out back for a nice change of scenery. We also took the kids here for dinner several times and let them eat alone. They liked that very much and it freed up the wife and me for romantic dinners. We ate dinner only in Mommas (Italian and free!), Le Bistro (French) and Cagneys (Steak house). All were very good. Even the lobster, which some people were complaining about on the boards during the two months leading up to our cruise. Were early people and were rewarded by only paying 50% of the cover charge for reservations between 5:30 and 6:30. This applied to everyone on the ship for the entire cruise. I do believe that NCL has reduced the menu choices since last year based upon my reading on Cruise Critic and my experience on board. Food at these restaurants was good, but choices were not as many as you might expect (not bad, but not great). Service at Le Bistro was first rate with both a waiter and assistant pouring over you. Steak there and at Cagneys was great. My wife thought the spinach salad at Le Bistro was the best salad shes ever had. BTW- the menus for the main dining rooms didnt look very good. It seems NCL wants you to eat at the specialty restaurants. Kids Club: They do a good job of dividing the kids up by age groups. The counselors were great (please tip them well), but the program was minimal in my opinion and the activities and facilities were limited. My kids have been privileged to attend kids clubs at land resorts before and always raved about the fun. On the ship, there were shrugged shoulders a few days on whether or not they wanted to go back. That said, they were really bummed when they were punished for bad behavior on the last day of the cruise by not being allowed to go to the pajama parties at the kids club that night. Ports: We did the exotic Western Caribbean itinerary. Did the private tour with Victor Bodens company on Roatan and that was nice. Tendering on Grand Cayman was not difficult, even with 4 other big ships in port before us. Snorkel tour to Stingray City (which does not really go to Stingray City, but instead Stingray City Sand Reef) was cheesy due to too many other boats, but the kids liked it as a novice experience. On Jamaica we hired Orville Taylor as a private guide based upon Cruise Critic input. He drove up in a minibus that could have held 25 people and welcomed the four of us. I thought I was being scammed at first and thrown into a group situation, but I was wrong. We had to do the waterfall at Ocho Rios and were happy we did. One important note- Exit the way you came in, even if the guard points you to the main exit. The main exit forces you to walk through a long maze of very aggressive sales booths. One saleswoman grabbed my wife and wouldnt let go. Bad experience. We also did the river tubing on Jamaica which was fun, but quite thrilling. One person got hurt and my oldest daughter was very frightened when her tube got stuck on a branch in a section of whitewater. Orville took us to a friend for some shopping. My wife said she was scammed there, even though she gave the person a generous tip as charity. After that we went back to the ship. Even though both Roatan and Jamaica had a lot of poverty, Jamaica was much more scary and the people of Roatan nicer and more friendly. The first not-great weather of our trip arrived on our last full day at the private island (GSC). We stayed on board the Jewel to enjoy a quiet pool area. Staff on the Jewel: First rate all around. Disembarkation: Smooth, however, if its a hot day, you may want to do express disembarkation early in the morning to avoid having to stand in a 15-20 minute line in a metal building that is not air conditioned and was very hot on a 75 degree day. Overall: We are now sold on the cruising thing and will do it again, however, next time without the kids. Not sure we can leave the freestyle cruising thing and go to the standard cruising dinner protocol on other lines. I hope this review helps you. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Embarkation  Very smooth. We arrived at Miami port about 10:45am and were onboard by Noon. One surprise, I didnt expect to have to use my passport, but had brought it in case, and it was required for the Bahamas (their private island). ... Read More
Embarkation  Very smooth. We arrived at Miami port about 10:45am and were onboard by Noon. One surprise, I didnt expect to have to use my passport, but had brought it in case, and it was required for the Bahamas (their private island). Cabin  Wonderful. It was a mini-suite on deck 11 with a balcony. Plenty of closet/storage space, large bathroom which is extremely well laid out, good strong hot shower, nice seating area w/small coffee table in front of the TV. Balcony was certainly large enough to be comfortable and the chairs are mesh, not plastic, as we had seen on most other ships. Nice touch. We were expecting a DVD, but didnt have one (must not have been the right cabin category). Laundry was four doors down and we used it twice. Bring your own detergent, and softening sheets, or quarters $1.00 per box and there is no dollar changer. Service  Cabin steward and helper were outstanding. We requested them remove the hot water pot, and empty the refrigerator the first day so we could have cold water and soda (leaving a $20 for their effort). Extra pillows and a top sheet and we were happy campers. They were always ready to assist with pleasant good mornings and smiles. Three mornings my DF went up to get us breakfast and the steward was already at the door to open it when he came back with both hands full of plates of food. Now, thats service! We never found one special bartender, but most were good at remembering your drink after the first few days. Entertainment  The musical extravaganza was exceptionally good, but not for children. Magician was funny, and we also enjoyed the Cirque show. Of course, one favorite is Karaoke, and the game shows (Almost Newlywed, & Family Feud) were hilarious! Good job by the crew on these also. Freestyle Dining  Is certainly for us. I made reservations by 4PM on Sunday after arriving at our cabin. No problems getting our 8pm reservations. We enjoyed them all, and found the service was as good as at the main venues. I did hear people complaining about not being able to get reservations, however there were always empty tables when we went, so not sure whats getting jumbled up. Restaurants  SNAFU at Teppenyaki, ended up leaving because they could not understand we wanted our lobster tail (Monday formal night) with our order. When we asked the waitress she looked totally lost and disappeared for twenty minutes. We were the only two people at a table for 8, and still hadnt placed our order when others seated down at the same time at another table were getting their salads. Ended up at Tangos and was very pleasantly surprised. Mamas Kitchen was good, Cagneys was outstanding, and we liked the variety from the Cafe. It was usually crowded, but we just sat down where available chairs were and met some wonderful people and had good conversations over breakfast! Only complaint was the eggs, which were runny  but they had an omelet station so we were fine. Best breakfast by far was at Tsars. I really enjoyed Azura dEcor and layout, also excellent food. Coffee was horrible, very strong, but we had brought our own coffee pot for the room, so even that wasnt a problem. I will say the room service menu was extremely limited. One secret we discovered was the Blue Lagoon restaurant. It is closed when the specialty dining rooms are open, but it is open all other times. We only discovered this the last day, and I was truly sorry. I sincerely appreciated the sanitizing stations everywhere on the ship. In fact, before actually walking onto the ship you are asked to use their sanitizer, the restaurants have them at every entry, the casino, everywhere! Ports - We opted for independent shore excursions and enjoyed our time. Pool  Area was beautiful, but not as user friendly as it could have been. Both pools are joined and there really could have been better separation between the two. Live music in the afternoons was enjoyable and we did like sitting at the Sky High bar and watching the activities on the pool deck! Rarely saw an available chair, but many with just towels. Spa  DF said the $60 for use of the sauna and hot tub was well worth it. The hot tubs at the pool deck are not kept as hot as that in the spa. He went at least twice a day. Ship  Is a jewel. I wasnt sure about the color scheme, but it really works! Everywhere you look inspires a happy feeling. Debarkation  Again went very smoothly. It took us less than one hour from start to driving away from the port. In conclusion, we loved NCL and will definitely travel with them again. We will probably try some of their other ships, but would not hesitate to go on the Jewel again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
We left Christmas day from Miami- the transportation from Ft. Lauderdale was fine - the embarkation process took over an hour- but the boat was almost to full capacity so it was crowded. We had a balcony room mid ship on the 10th floor- ... Read More
We left Christmas day from Miami- the transportation from Ft. Lauderdale was fine - the embarkation process took over an hour- but the boat was almost to full capacity so it was crowded. We had a balcony room mid ship on the 10th floor- room was very small. Two adults and two children barely fit- we had taken a Disney cruise 3 years ago- the same category room on the Disney ship is MUCH larger- Every evening the couch and murphy bed were made up for the kids- the problem is that once the beds come down- you can't get out onto your balcony- so we thought we would enjoy the "fresh air" at night once the kids went to bed, but we never once made it out there at night- The Disney cruise staterooms are longer so when the beds come down they are vertical leaving walking space around the cabin. There were only three small drawers for four people, but the closet was a good size, and there are four cubbies behind the door- the bathroom was extremely nice- the shower was always hot with good water pressure-always clean and the staff assigned to our room was outstanding!!!! The concept of freestyle dining had its pros & cons- the nice part is that you could eat whenever you wanted, but unfortunately not where you wanted- we tried to make reservations for the week at 4pm and most places were already booked- we had pretty good luck calling at 5pm and getting cancellation spots. The food was good- mostly a european flare- we loved the soft serve ice-cream. The scrambled eggs were the worst we have ever had- really runny and curdled- but there was a fresh egg station for fried eggs and omelettes The pool area was also disappointing- not great for kids- the water both pools starts at 4 feet 11 inches- unless your kids are great swimmers, they can't even swim in the pools- only two pools on board- one for kids one for adults- most chairs were claimed by 9am so we didn't even get to sit down on the days at sea. The entertainment was fair- most not appropriate for kids- the magician was good/ the band on the run show was risque as well as the cirque bijou- these are not geared towards families at all- The is beautiful- the staff was friendly and helpful- lots of extra charges- be careful- 15 percent gratuity on all drinks- the spa was beautiful but just to go to the relaxation room you had to pay $60 for the week just to step foot in the door! A massage averaged $110 on tod of that! they claim that staff shouldn't be taking tips, but many deserved a little something here and there. The excursions were all excellent- organized and efficient- we got off on all of the islands with the children and had a great time- felt safe everywhere we went- Overall it was a good experience- not sure if we would cruise NCL again until the kids are either older, or we go alone. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
This was our first trip on NCL and our last ! This has to be the most unorganized cruise line in the history of cruises. As this was our first and last exposure to "free (means PAY) style its was most unfavourable. The Buffet.. the ... Read More
This was our first trip on NCL and our last ! This has to be the most unorganized cruise line in the history of cruises. As this was our first and last exposure to "free (means PAY) style its was most unfavourable. The Buffet.. the food was cold, the choices limited.. the breakfast - the same everyday cold as usual. The lunch ... same as the breakfast limited and cold. The Dinner ... The "all you can eat sushi" for $5 was limited to about 5 items that truthfully I wouldn't serve to my dog ... In fact My wife was so upset it almost ruined the night but the Executive Chef JP saw how upset she was and got us a table at Chin Chin and we had a semi decent meal. the only other "pay restaurant the Le Bistro was a mediocre meal at best worthy of any Carnival Main dining room fare at best certainly we questioned whether it was worth the $40 bucks we spent as we could have spent that at the Outback and had a better meal without spending $2600 on the cruise. All in all we felt and many other passengers that this was one of the worst cruises we had ever been on. The destinations -- Antigua was awful the rest were just normal. St. Thomas, PR the worst stop of all was the NCL Island in the Bahamas. Can you imagine 2000 odd people crammed onto a beach designed for 500.. I had told my mom to expect some of the best BBQ .... hahahhahah NOT we ended up with HOT DOGS and HAMBURGERS YUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The good -- Our cabin staff were the best the poker was great. This cruise line is to be avoided like the plague.. ( and they put half our luggage in the wrong place so it took an hour to find all our stuff).  The entertainment was mediocre at best in fact the magician one night should be doing bar mitzvahs not cruise ships (the babe he had was hot though). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
We cruised on the Jewel from Miami returning on Christmas day with a group of 12 including 5 under the age of 18. Was one of the best vacations we've had ever! The kids did not participate in the kids programs, but had some fun ... Read More
We cruised on the Jewel from Miami returning on Christmas day with a group of 12 including 5 under the age of 18. Was one of the best vacations we've had ever! The kids did not participate in the kids programs, but had some fun anyway. St. Thomas was the best snorkeling ever, Coki Beach is GREAT! Lots of fish, be sure to get dog biscuits and feed them when you are there. The kids loved the ice cream machines... lots and lots of cones last week! I was a bit disappointed in the food as we have sailed Princess before and I must say, the Princess line has spoiled us. If you plan on eating in any of the 'speciality' eateries, be sure to make reservations as soon as you get on board. Salt water pools kinda suck, as the kids are not used to salt water in the eyes, be sure to bring goggles. Last time we cruised with Princess it was fresh water and we love that feature. The rooms are a tight fit for 4, but it was just fine since we did not spend much time in the room. Plenty of storage for luggage and such. Entertainment was amazing! Cirque Bijou was the best show on the sea! Paul Baya is a great cruise director and has a great team, although I would have enjoyed more pool games on the days at sea. Nice selection of slots in the casino and the tables are well run. Our group came away with around $50, without spending too much time or money. No clocks in the rooms, if you don't want to be late, bring one. Also might consider a night light as the rooms are very dark with lights out. Bathrooms very roomy, shower was nice sized and hot with good water pressure. Bring water bottles to refill as the barstaff seemed annoyed when we asked for glasses of water. If you are going to play bingo, spend the big money for the machine as your chances greatly increase. The ship was nice and clean, but seemed to be neglected a bit as the week went by. Mama's kitchen was nice, but overall the food on the ship was just good. Not excellent. Was a wonderful vacation, but we will cruise Princess next time. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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