1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Despite the ship-wide good service, the negatives. Other than the 3 meals we had in the specialty restaurants, the food was below par. Salads were the only decent options. Food in cafe/buffet seemed to be hotter, more options, etc. but ... Read More
Despite the ship-wide good service, the negatives. Other than the 3 meals we had in the specialty restaurants, the food was below par. Salads were the only decent options. Food in cafe/buffet seemed to be hotter, more options, etc. but dealing with the crowds was not ideal. Unless you book The Haven, don't expect much from this NCL ship. In fact, I will not choose NCL again. I'll stick to Celebrity for the big ship 'economy' cruising. The ultimate beverage package was hardly ultimate. Unless you intend to booze your entire cruise, don't bother, as it does not include bottled water or coffee at the coffee bar. Upselling was big part of the cruise. Seemed like they were always looking for a way to make a few more bucks. A bit distasteful in my opinion. At least the toilets and AC worked and we found our way to avoid the crowds, kids, noise and lousy food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Oct 9-16 i was on the ncl jewel, 4 days before we left we got a email from the cruise line that we would miss mazatilon. the port we wanted to go to. we could not rebook the cruise ti close to sailing. had they sent the email early we ... Read More
Oct 9-16 i was on the ncl jewel, 4 days before we left we got a email from the cruise line that we would miss mazatilon. the port we wanted to go to. we could not rebook the cruise ti close to sailing. had they sent the email early we would have rebooked. they didnt give us a choice.make a long story short we missed cabo too. they knew this ship needed repairs they tried to fix it in seattle, they also did repairs on the ship like carpeting the stairs blocks the stair ways. i didnt book this cruise to go on a repair cruise , we had a haven mini suite, the air barley worked the cabin boy never made our room up late afternoo and turn down was at 9pm at night, he didnt keep very clean. room service was not good never got any butter or creams in the morning for our rolls . there was also a fire on board to 5 hours out. this ship should not have been out on the open ocean. the best food was la bristal and cangys. the rest was just food. the casino was so hot my hair was wet. the slots were tight. when they said we were not going to cabo the whole ship went crazy people were so mad there was a muntity on board the lines were huge to get to guest services . i didnt pay to stand in lines trying to find what they were going to do. we got 50.00 for the room and 25% off the next cruise and port charges. there was a lady lawyer on board she took emails from us she had 30 pages front and back that she took to corropt on monday she lives by there. ncl should give every person on that ship a free cruise. we waited 8 months fro this cruise , to have it ruined by ncl. we bought candy on board and it was all spoiled yes they took it back but the candy we took home was spoiled. we have been on 8 cruises never have i been on one like this. one highlight was in the martini bar the waitress mi, was great she was friendly and could not do enough for us always had a smile on her face happy to us everyday. she gets a 100% from us. great job mi. we are waiting to see what ncl will do to make this up to us and everyone else on this cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Only selected this cruise because they cancelled all cruises from Houston three days after I booked. Had to use the $250 deposit. Should have just eaten the $250. NCL doesn't care about it's customers. Change in itinerary and ... Read More
Only selected this cruise because they cancelled all cruises from Houston three days after I booked. Had to use the $250 deposit. Should have just eaten the $250. NCL doesn't care about it's customers. Change in itinerary and can't even contact me or my TA. NCL is to cheap to take ship out of service for three weeks they try fixing and updating while at sea. I've never been on a cruise where they're replacing carpet during the cruise. If they know it takes 12 hours to get from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo then why play the game of everybody on board at 1430 to hopefully leave at 1500. Why didn't you just let us have a second full day and have everybody back on at 1830 to leave at 1900? Don't get the dining package. just seems odd that on the first sea day five couples show up at Teppanyaki with 1730 reservations, but according to NCL none of us had reservations and all of us had their dining package. Turned out all my reservations were non-existent. Only place that had somewhat comfortable chairs was the Shakers lounge. Even the seats in the atrium seating was uncomfortable. Went to Cagney's Steak House, the seat cushions were so worn when I sat down the only thing holding me up was the wood frame of the chair. Don't even want to talk about how worn out the mattresses are. In 2014 NCL published story about change in MDR menu. Only change was loss of prime rib and lobster from menu. MDR food still terrible. Now expect you to pay $26.00 for a lobster tail. If you wanted steak in MDR $17.00 Only cruise where food in the buffet was better than the MDR. Their goal is to get everyone to spend money in their speciality restaurants. It takes three idiots to check in one group at the Tsar dining room while other people are standing waiting. The one thing that NCL does do good is their production shows. It's a shame that NCL treats people this way and expects their staff to make up for corporate incompetence. Recommend change name to No Clue Line or Nucklehead Cruise Line because it's run by a bunch of knucklheads. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and to see if we might like to start cruising with NCL. Took about 30 minutes to decide once was enough. We had the ultimate beverage package which included nothing but alcoholic drinks. Had to ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and to see if we might like to start cruising with NCL. Took about 30 minutes to decide once was enough. We had the ultimate beverage package which included nothing but alcoholic drinks. Had to purchase specialty coffee and bottled water. The poor servers spent as much time apologizing to the guests as they did serving. We ate in the specialty restaurants each night (part of our package). It was good, service was fairly good in most places. Our only main dining room experience was for breakfast our server was very sweet and nice, but slowwwww. Cabin attendant was also nice and efficient, we are used to getting to know and converse with our stewards. He said hello to us twice in 5 days. No communication about anything from start to finish. Cabin was small but lots...LOTS of storage, the shower was one of the best on any ship. We purchased the thermal spa pass and used it a lot. As always there were chair hogs and people that couldn't understand the concept of quiet and serenity. When it was good it was very very good, glad we spent the money for the most part. We didn't watch any of the evening shows so no comment on that. We have been on older refurbished ships with other cruise lines, in our opinion the Jewel showed her age. Not a very elegant ship, but this is very subjective, other guests found her beautiful. Final day was completely disorganized and poorly managed. It's like management on this shop missed Cruise Organization 101. Bottom line NCL is not for us, but we are quiet, non-party people. We have busy social work lives and prefer to just enjoy each other's company when cruising. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
If you don't mind golden corral quality food or less 3 times a day, I guess it's not bad. The truth is, the food was absolutely horrid, and I don't mean, not good, I mean, not edible some times. It was probably the biggest ... Read More
If you don't mind golden corral quality food or less 3 times a day, I guess it's not bad. The truth is, the food was absolutely horrid, and I don't mean, not good, I mean, not edible some times. It was probably the biggest disappointment I've seen in a very long time during a vacation. The staff was okay, not as friendly as Disney and the bar tenders had issues making my drinks. The rooms were clean, but dated and the bed was uncomfortable, a worn 7 inch mattress on top of a steal frame with no give. We had an issue with billing, stupid computer glitch, and after the 3rd day, I had to stand at the desk, for over an hour, continuously saying, I'm not leaving without resolution to get anyone to take ownership over it and solve it. To me, vacation should be without hassle, without issue, easy and comfortable. We really enjoyed the locations we visited and ensured to keep a positive mental attitude regardless of the issues we faced, but we'll never use Norwegian again. Bed and customer service aside, the quality of the food - even the upgraded dining options which we tried them all - is just not up the the quality we expect. Our next cruise, we'll return to Disney Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
staff was good some where not happy but still helped when asked. Main dinning was below avg food and when lobster was on the menu there was an up charge of $25 to get lobster. the app had the entertainment nights wrong so I missed the one ... Read More
staff was good some where not happy but still helped when asked. Main dinning was below avg food and when lobster was on the menu there was an up charge of $25 to get lobster. the app had the entertainment nights wrong so I missed the one show I wanted to see. Buffet was good compared to main dinning. We had the ultimate drinking package the we got as a perk for having a mini-suite but could not get a drink while in Victoria, BC so if you paid for it there was one whole day that you paid for and not get a drink. Had good excursions. The white pass train was great in Skagway. In Ketchikan the eagles, toetems and lighthouse is a must do. Would do Alaska again just not on NCL. The mini-suite was nice and the bathroom was good size. The ship overall was okay but all the talk about tanzanite was too much Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I have been on 9 cruises. 2 Royal Carribean, 1 Regent, 2 Holland America, 2 Carnival, and 2 Norwegian. We had a terrible time 2 years ago on the Norwegian Epic. But we wrote and shared our concerns and they gave us some credit (not much) ... Read More
I have been on 9 cruises. 2 Royal Carribean, 1 Regent, 2 Holland America, 2 Carnival, and 2 Norwegian. We had a terrible time 2 years ago on the Norwegian Epic. But we wrote and shared our concerns and they gave us some credit (not much) to come back. We had an opportunity to go with Norwegian again with a group. I have to say, group or no group, I will not be taking Norwegian again. Maybe I am fortunate enough to have cruised before things started getting so big, busy, and casual, but they Norwegian has taken what is special about cruising and turned it into obvious shortcutting and maximizing their profits not our experiences. The bathrooms were nice. A very roomy shower. The cirque show was excellent- that is if you aren't sick of Cirque shows by now. Using the NCL shuttle was super easy both directions. The French Restaurant (Le Bistro) and Steakhouse (Cagney's) were excellent. Unfortunately that is all of the nice things I have to say. So many times, that I lost track, I would ask a staff member a question and they would leave to go get the answer and NEVER come back. The food was so bland and downright gross. One night we ordered chicken cordon blue in the main restaurant. I kid you not, it looked like a frozen breaded chicken patty with some kind of gross cheap cheese sauce poured over it. The food was bland, low quality and at times downright inedible. The "trough" as we liked to call the buffet, had the same things day after day and passengers in line in front of me discovered mold on the cheese. Food was awful! Service was awful! We forgot and had our do not disturb sign on and when we came back we realized our mistake. We left again a few minutes after returning and realizing our mistake. We changed the sign to "Make up cabin" only to return several hours later with our sign turned back to Do not disturb with a note that said they had tried to clean cabin but could not due to DND. BUNK! Our cabin steward did nothing special. In fact when we prepared to leave we found an entire bag of trash tucked away under our bed. The one show was pretty good. The rest were awful. The comic guy was awful. The "So you think you can dance" contest had some hot shot young man (staff) dancing with a 65+ year old woman. He danced her so hard we were sure she would be broken the next day. It was disturbing to watch. In a nutshell- this was a huge disappointment. And if you like anything at all about traditional cruising, don't take anything Norwegian. I have reconfirmed this to be the case. Gluten free was doable though tough. Never did get disembarking instructions. Ship dated. Food was terrible. Entertainment was just so-so. Service was terrible. It was just bad. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This cruise was very disappointing! First of all, Norwegian cancelled our Skagway port. This was very upsetting, especially since I found out 2 days before sailing! This was going to be the highlight of our ALASKAN cruise. Instead we had ... Read More
This cruise was very disappointing! First of all, Norwegian cancelled our Skagway port. This was very upsetting, especially since I found out 2 days before sailing! This was going to be the highlight of our ALASKAN cruise. Instead we had to spend an extra day in Seattle. Seattle is wonderful, but I paid to see ALASKA!!!!!!! The Norwegian Jewel is an average ship. The cabins were well laid out and relatively up to date. Dining was average. I really wanted Lobster while on vacation, but AZURA restaurant was out of it both times I tried to order it. How do you run out of lobster on a cruise!?!? Buffet was substantial, but very little variation in food choices. Service was very good. Entertainment was cheesy and shows were short. I found myself bored most of the time. DUCK Tour was just okay. Helicopter tour was cancelled due to poor weather (no fault to NCL). Ketchikan port was dirty and stinky. Juneau port was good but we didn't have much time there. I will not be cruising with Norwegian ever again! I am so disappointed with my trip and unfortunately I don't have much to say about it other than. "it was okay". I don't think Norwegian did a very good job of making it up to us that our time is Skagway was cancelled! We got a whopping $152 refund per person! The highlight of my ALASKAN cruise was the time spent in Victoria, BC and Seattle. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Upon check in at the check in counter, at the port counter of the cruise line, the entire passengers was given a notice that due to an unexpected ship repair, the cruise ship will need to be back in Seattle port a day early. So they ... Read More
Upon check in at the check in counter, at the port counter of the cruise line, the entire passengers was given a notice that due to an unexpected ship repair, the cruise ship will need to be back in Seattle port a day early. So they cancelled one of our port stops, to return to Seattle on their needed time. They refunded each passenger one night of stay for their room/hassle of missing a port. So instead of 2 days at sea we had 3 full days at sea, 48 hours in Seattle port. ( We slept on the ship as a hotel room for the last 48 hours) On the ship the only thing to do on the sea days was, get drunk (if you even drank), play shuffle board, EAT, or spend tons of money at the spa for all services that you could afford. Of course you could have slept but we had did that enough. Not enough to do on this ship to be at sea for 3 full days. Too cold for outside pool and we don't drink. The second port we went to, all aircraft was grounded due to fog. We had a helicopter ride scheduled with dogsledding. That did not happen. (that was not the cruise lines fault) BUT the cruise of a lifetime for me (and I don't know if I will ever have the chance to go again) just kept getting worse and worse. From check in, on...........Very disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I have cruised other cruise lines before and was very disappointed with Norwegian. They canceled our port visit to Skagway, Alaska and only notified me 2 days before sailing. They were only going to give $100 onboard credit as ... Read More
I have cruised other cruise lines before and was very disappointed with Norwegian. They canceled our port visit to Skagway, Alaska and only notified me 2 days before sailing. They were only going to give $100 onboard credit as compensation, which was nothing for the price paid for cabin... This was an Alaska Cruise and we only visited 2 ports, with one being a very short and rush stop in Juneau! I had booked an excursion at Skagway and was really looking forward to it. They did credit me a refund for the excursion. Disembarkation for cruise excursions in Juneau, Victoria and Seattle were very disorganized. On the up side the nightly entertainment was good. The comedy and magic show were nice the Cirque show was fantastic.The food was tasty. My cabin was very well kept very attentive cabin steward (Gemil), I did notice some wear and tear but overall it was in good condition. Great view of glacier from cabin, comfy bed, cabin size was adequate, plenty of storage space. Bathroom size a little tight. I liked the fact that I was able to leave the ship using The Easy Walk-Off Disembarkation and not have to deal with the crowds waiting for transportation to airport. Alaska was something on my bucket list and this cruise did not fulfill it. I do plan on going to Alaska again to fulfill my bucket list but it will not be with Norwegian! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
BEWARE. Norwegian just completely cancelled our stop in Skagway, which we found out about on the second day of our cruise. Guest Services claimed that all guests were informed PRIOR to the trip (some guests stated they found out a day or 2 ... Read More
BEWARE. Norwegian just completely cancelled our stop in Skagway, which we found out about on the second day of our cruise. Guest Services claimed that all guests were informed PRIOR to the trip (some guests stated they found out a day or 2 beforehand), but neither ourselves nor our travel agent were aware of the itinerary change. Apparently, they needed to schedule ship maintenance, so we came back to Seattle a day early and just sat in port. This was very disappointing to us as we were wanting to go on an ALASKA cruise, and only ended up at 2 ALASKA ports. We had traveled to Seattle a day early and had already seen what we wanted to there, so we just sat on the ship all day the last day of our "cruise". Our Skagway excursion was what we were MOST looking forward to this trip, and once we found out we would not be stopping there, we spent our day at sea trying to re-plan our trip, book new excursions, etc. Additionally, the itinerary is their Sawyer Glacier route, and well, we bypassed that as well and were re-routed to Dawes Glacier. If that had been the only change it would have been fine, but the whole mood of the trip was ruined by the itinerary changes and it just wasn't as much fun or as interesting as we had hoped for. Norwegian should plan maintenance on their own time and dime, not at the expense of people's vacations. Children (age 9) were mostly bored by kids' activities and the other entertainment/activities an board were just ok. Found ourselves bored much of the time, which on one hand is okay (it's vacation and nice to not HAVE to do anything), but it would have been nice to have some other fun activities to look forward to versus just roaming around the ship day after day. There's just not much to do on the ship except eat and drink. There is a casino on board and they had bingo games and Deal or No Deal. Also a few okay shows (comedy, magic, Cirque De something-or-other). All were just okay. Staff was mostly friendly, but certainly not over the top in terms of any sort of above and beyond service. Many just seemed bored... just another ship-full of people for them... and again, many of the guests were upset by the itinerary change, so again, general "ambiance" was poor. I overheard another guests saying "worst cruise ever". Being my first cruise, I have no basis of comparison, but it certainly didn't meet my expectations as far as what I've hear from other friends and family members. I *might* cruise again, but only to a warm destination, for a shorter duration, and definitely on another ship/cruise-line. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I chose NCL based on a great cruise in Europe on NCL we took a couple of years ago. This cruise was very disappointing from several aspects. First, due to mechanical issues, they eliminated one of the Alaskan stops, Skagway, and ... Read More
I chose NCL based on a great cruise in Europe on NCL we took a couple of years ago. This cruise was very disappointing from several aspects. First, due to mechanical issues, they eliminated one of the Alaskan stops, Skagway, and replaced it with a day in Seattle. We were notified a couple of days ahead of departure date. As we already had flights and hotel reservations for a 3 day visit in Seattle, we had no interest in an additional day at the end of the cruise. Also, we had a private tour booked in Skagway, so lost that deposit. I didn't book a 7 day Alaskan cruise to only have 2 stops in Alaska! They did credit us with a refund equal to 1/7 of the trip costs. The service level ranged from the "A" team to "C" team. As an example, in one restaurant, I requested orange juice with my breakfast. I had to ask 3 different people before actually getting any. Another meal, after waiting about 30 minutes, the waiter asked if we were ready for dessert....we hadn't even gotten appetizers yet! Bottom line, they did not meet expectations for service! On the day we docked in Seattle, it took several hours to get off the ship. I've never waited that long....not sure what the issue was. But we were told we could get off at 8am and it was almost 11 before we were off the ship. Good thing we didn't make any reservations for tours that morning. On a positive note, our cabin steward was outstanding and we did experience some great dining experiences (Chin Chin staff was stellar). Would I book a NCL cruise again?...No! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was a family cruise (13 people) and the trip to Alaska was indescribable. Leaving from Seattle was great. We arrived early to tour the area and experience a snapshot of Seattle. The embarkation process was welcoming and warm. The ship ... Read More
This was a family cruise (13 people) and the trip to Alaska was indescribable. Leaving from Seattle was great. We arrived early to tour the area and experience a snapshot of Seattle. The embarkation process was welcoming and warm. The ship is nice (dated) but nice. We entered our room (with balcony) and there was a good amount of space - closets, bathrooms and queen bed. The balcony was also an good size (other ships have larger balconies). Cleanliness - Our room had a soiled robe hanging in the closet (beyond disgusting); dirty q-tips were found under the bed; multiple small patches (antinausea) found stuck to the shelves by the TV and the coffee machine. The rug needed to be vacuumed from the dust along the wall and the bathrooms (general commentary among many of us) all smelled like urine. No trash receptacles in the theater. Inevitably you sit on a drink bottle, glass or food. Infection Control - The guise behind true infection control practices. Most of the guests had their personal water bottles and were filling them at the water fountain contaminating the water. I video taped and reported it to the food director who said "we cannot control everyone" yet they had staff at the entrance with water bottles singing 'washee washee'. Never saw staff cleaning elevators or handles as we have on our past cruises - cleaning and disinfecting. Costs - The expensive food package does not include WATER (seltzer or not); the food if you do not buy the food package is not worth the spend. We purchased 4 restaurants and decided on 2 nights and were going to wait for the reviews once on board to make the next reservations. It's not worth the cost - go ala carte. It's the same food mirrored from the other "specialty" restaurants. No value there. Customer Service - The cruise director was only seen when on stage hosting or MC'ing. Never engaged the guests, was never seen out and about the ship inquiring about anyone's experience. Many of us made this observation throughout the cruise. The staff overall were had there heads down and/or were rude (rarely smiling). The restaurant hosts win the emmy for rudeness. The few entertainment hosts were great! Clearly they understand entertainment and engagement. We applaud their director who was great at motivating the crowd and her staff. Great job! Overall - this is an amazing trip. Alaska is breathtaking. We look forward to going back. The 2 days at sea were a waste and the Cruise Director did not plan or engage guests to not feel that impact. Norwegian will not be our next choice and we do not recommend it for such a great Alaskan trip. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We spent 2 days in Seattle at the Marriott prior to boarding the Jewel and had a wonderful time there. The Marriott is right across the street from the Port so we just walked over with our suitcases when it was time for the cruise. ... Read More
We spent 2 days in Seattle at the Marriott prior to boarding the Jewel and had a wonderful time there. The Marriott is right across the street from the Port so we just walked over with our suitcases when it was time for the cruise. Embarkation was quick. No long lines and the staff was very helpful. Disembarkation when we returned to Seattle was very easy and again we didn't have to stand in lines. We were very disappointed in the rooms and the food. We went to 2 specialty restaurants and they were very good, as we expected. But the main restaurants, dining rooms, and buffets were mediocre at best. The dining rooms and buffet had some standard items available daily and then new items each day but the other restaurants and all of the breakfast menus never changed so the food got pretty boring at breakfast and lunch each day. The staff was nice but didn't go above and beyond. The exception was our room steward. He was so friendly and helpful but our room wasn't particularly clean. We looked for something that rolled under the bed and came out with cheerios, skittles, and an old water bottle that weren't ours. The shows were pretty good but not amazing. The exception was the Cirque D Soleil style acrobats and the hypnotist. Both were wonderful. We had a lot of time at sea and luckily there were quite a few activities for the sea days but it was annoying that so many activities had a fee. The rock wall was free but bowling had a fee for example.I prefer that all on board activities be included in the cost. Our shore excursions were excellent! We booked the Mendenhall Rafting and The Mushers Dog Sled Camp through Norwegian and they were both pricey (as all excursion are) but well worth the money and so well done! We booked a private crab boat trip through ShoreExcursions.com and it was our best excursion of all! Apparently there were over 600 children on our cruise. My children are 9 and 11. They went in the Kid's club for an hour the first day but it was so crowded that they never went back. We could either allow our children to charge on their room card or turn off the charging completely. On other cruises we have been able to allow them to charge up to a certain limit or on certain items but that wasn't an option. After running up a lot of charges int he arcade early on the trip, we had to turn off their charging completely because there weren't any other options. Though we loved the Alaska itinerary and our children thoroughly enjoyed the experience, we will not cruise on Norwegian again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The ship is very dated The food was not very good anywhere in the free places, not sure about paying for more since we did not go to the pay restaurants. I felt like my college food was better then the Deck 12 Buffet. The Staff ... Read More
The ship is very dated The food was not very good anywhere in the free places, not sure about paying for more since we did not go to the pay restaurants. I felt like my college food was better then the Deck 12 Buffet. The Staff did not seem happy Always a line to get on the ship, off the ship. We checked in at noon and did not get our bags to our room until 7 PM The kids program was not very good, lots of things were canceled due to weather but it was totally fine. The shows were average at best, and the themes seemed to repeat each night with the same acts - the rope couple, the comedian, etc. We have been on most cruise lines and will never go on a NCL boat again - I think Carnival might even be a better option. Stick to a a boat that is not older then 5 years old, this boat is tired. Overall your better to pay a little more and go with a better cruise line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 1st and unfortunately last NCL experience. We had a good time cause that's what we do, but NCL could have made it much better. Embarking and debarkation were the best, otherwise we were disappointed. - Room service ... Read More
This was our 1st and unfortunately last NCL experience. We had a good time cause that's what we do, but NCL could have made it much better. Embarking and debarkation were the best, otherwise we were disappointed. - Room service was not available, phone just rang and no one answered. - Suite was not cleaned in a timely manner, in both Juneau and Ketchikan where we were only in port til 1pm we returned to the ship at 1 to find our room had still not been serviced despite "make up room" sign on door. - Food selection and dining room hours were very limited. Food quality at buffet was poor, only fruit available was melons, salad bar was wilted, after 10pm only food available was old pizza, burgers and fries sitting under heat lamps. - Entertainment was good but very limited, same acts performed multiple evenings. - Photo gallery still prints pics and did not offer digital only versions nor did they have the option to buy and post directly to facebook, instagram or twitter - Cocktail service was a challenge to find, bar hours were limited and bar staff inadequate. - Twice we received the wrong food orders in dining rooms. - Cruise was titled "Sawyer Glacier Experience" which is why we selected it, however we ended up not going to Sawyer Glacier at all. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this cruise and ship for the Alaska experience. Our check in process was hours long due to slow computers. Not starting off well. We stayed in the Haven. People in the cabin next door were smoking. Our cabin was smoke ... Read More
We chose this cruise and ship for the Alaska experience. Our check in process was hours long due to slow computers. Not starting off well. We stayed in the Haven. People in the cabin next door were smoking. Our cabin was smoke filled. Security notified-they did not even come up to investigate. No follow up. This continued all week. Extremely disappointing. The crew was average (this was our 10th cruise). We experienced long waits for food at the specialty restaurants and staff that told us to "just go to the buffet after the meal" so they did not have to "go downstairs" to get certain items which were part of the meal. Sports courts are used all day by the kids club and closed at 5. Shuffleboard also is locked up by 8 (even though the sun is up until 10). The spa is again average. 6 colors to choose from for manicures and pedicures. They messed up the timing our scheduled mani/pedi---even after the concierge had scheduled them himself and then were quite rude when I did not want to be separated from my 9 year old daughter. Alaska is amazing. That is the reason everyone is on the ship and nothing can ruin the experiences you have while on shore. However, with all of the choices available, I would not cruise Alaska on the Jewel. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Dining: I will start by saying the Dining was great, and what little entertainment they had, was also pretty good (Wasn't much of it). Enjoyed the buffet, and dined at a few of the specialty restaurants. I would do that part again. ... Read More
Dining: I will start by saying the Dining was great, and what little entertainment they had, was also pretty good (Wasn't much of it). Enjoyed the buffet, and dined at a few of the specialty restaurants. I would do that part again. Ports: I thoroughly enjoyed every port in Alaska, breath taking views and the excursions were affordable and worth the money. The only port I wasn't satisfied with was British Columbia. Wasn't much to see or do that interested me or anyone in my group at least. Embarking and disembarking was smooth overall, but I will never understand they none of the employees allowed people to cut in line constantly. This was a huge issue for me and my group. One instance was on the last day of leaving the ship they actually opened the doors on deck 7, where we had been in line for maybe 20-25 minutes and let a group of 15 people cut in front of us without any explanation... Activities.. well here is where one of my bigger problems were. I went with a group of people in late 20's and 30's, we had a hard time finding activities for our age group. Bingo was really expensive and short lived, so we tried that 1 time, not worth it. Tried getting a ball for the basketball court.. was never successful due to it closing at 5 pm and always having planned activities during the day. Tried using the hot tubs at night, but they close before it gets dark too... Freestyle what??? Cabin: It was a small interior cabin that got the job done. My main complaint was the bathroom being that you had to sit sideways on the toilet. Water pressure was good, water was warm, bed was alright. Sidenote: Watch out for the minibar inside your stateroom. We got charged $3.00 PLUS 18% restocking fee for each can of pop we took from the fridge. We were unaware that this wasn't covered by the ultimate drink package, I even looked over the fine print that was on the paper attached to the fridge. Sneaky sneaky, they got us but they wont get us again. All my complaints about this fell on deaf ears. It should just simply be on the fridge even if its in fine print. Would I cruise with NCL again? Probably not. Overall my experience at the ports were great, but i found myself being bored on the boat more than i would have liked. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there ... Read More
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there was no lifejacket I could find (someone had stowed under the bed) and no robe unless you ask and that is for a mini suite? Food was simply horrid, with very few exceptions. The best food of course was in the specialty restaurants Le Bistro was very good, Cagney's was average, and Teppenyaki could take it or leave it. The normal food, was at times disgusting. Corned beef sandwich in O'Sheehans was simply cold rye toast with fatty corned beef - no sauce, cheese, toppings of any kind. Gross. Fries that came with anything were always cold, in fact nothing I ate was ever hot as most meals should be, lukewarm food at best, even eggs and soup. Again, gross. One night I was tired so ordered room service. I tried a cheeseburger, who can make a bad burger? NCL. Cold bun, mayo, thin beef patty and a totally unmelted slice of cheese. No cold fries this time, stale potato chips in a bowl. Really really bad. That was just a couple of examples I could go on. So if you want a nice cruise, pretty scenery (weather was gorgeous and sunny) and are on a DIET, sail NCL cause I actually think I lost a few pounds on that food. The other disturbing observation was a sewer smell that permeated the stateroom corridors much of the time, especially as you approached mid ship, and not just on one floor. Someone has a sewer leak? I asked a steward in passing if he smelled that? He either did not understand me or did not want to talk about it and brushed me off. Sewer fumes, again gross. Too bad too, everyone is asking about how my cruise was, knowing it was my first. and NCL blew it,and yes I am telling everyone who asks just how....... next time based on the feedback from others in the ports will try Princess, everyone on the Coral and Crown I met loved it. Sigh. Good to be home. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I have previously sailed on the Norwegian Jewel to Alaska in 2015, although the earlier cruise was the 10 day version not the 7 day version. I will be sharing with readers my perceptions of the good, the bad, and the ugly. To begin with, ... Read More
I have previously sailed on the Norwegian Jewel to Alaska in 2015, although the earlier cruise was the 10 day version not the 7 day version. I will be sharing with readers my perceptions of the good, the bad, and the ugly. To begin with, the Jewel is becoming dated. Although the cabins are fairly decent, the decor needs an overhaul. My particular cabin deserves special recognition for being located in a horrible spot on the ship. If one values peace and quiet, please avoid cabin 11574 by all means. It is located directly below the Splash Academy, and at various times judging from the sounds emanating from above, rather than kids, it sounded as though a herd of wild elephants was engaged in a disco stomping contest. The food on the ship was above average, if dining in either the cafe or the two specialty restaurants that we dined in, Le Bistro and Cagney. However, we did dine one night in the virtually deserted Tsar's Palace. That should have been an immediate red flag. But given the delightful decor, we were beguiled into the belief that the fare was edible. Not so!!!! This was our 10th cruise, and the offerings in Tsar's Palace were by all means absolutely awful from start to finish. They should close this restaurant and move Splash Academy and the teen club to this area of the ship. Moving on to the port visits, our stay in Ketchikan was abbreviated and only lasted around six hours. If that wasn't bad enough, the following port stay, Juneau was even less and lasted a mere five hours. Skagway was ten hours, and Victoria was around six and a half hours. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We embarked the Norwegian Jewel on June 4th from Seattle. We stayed in an inside room, no window or porthole. SHIP: PRO: The ship was overall very clean. CON: The ship was very outdated. CABIN: Overall our cabin was ... Read More
We embarked the Norwegian Jewel on June 4th from Seattle. We stayed in an inside room, no window or porthole. SHIP: PRO: The ship was overall very clean. CON: The ship was very outdated. CABIN: Overall our cabin was good. Our housekeeper was very polite and nice. They cleaned our cabin twice a day which was above and beyond. Although the room itself was clean, it was outdated. Favorite part of the room would be the spacious shower. DINING: OK, we as a family found the dining to be terrible. They offer a few different types of "free dining" all in which didn't serve good food. Luckily they had a salad bar which is what my family and I lived off of. There were a few things that we found to be ok. Waffles, salad bar, fruit, toast, and coffee. They had very little vegetarian options as everything had meat, even the chow-mien. Overall, they served the same things in the Garden Cafe, which is where we primarily ate. O'Sheehan's was by far the grossest food I've ever eaten in my life. Chin Chin's as well ... worst Chinese food ever. A young child actually went running out and threw up all over the floor. Tzars - "fancy restaurant" food was OK nothing to rave about about or complain about. Azura - my parents found there meal to be better there then Tzars and I was the opposite ... We both said the same things nothing the rave about. The menus pretty much stayed the same throughout the ship varying with one or two items a night. They provide speciality restaurants, we as a family did not attend any as they where about 30$ a person, there was four of us so do the math .. about 120$. Another upset would be the price of drinks, we are not heavy drinkers so buying the drink pass at 79$ a day would not benefit us. For example a Moscow Mule was $15.95 pus 18% gratuity. All mixed drinks where in the $16-20 range plus 18% gratuity. Beers were 7$ plus 18% gratuity. They make you pay a gratuity every swipe rather it be one coffee, or 2 drinks at the bar... & no you cannot keep a tab open. ENTERTAINMENT: WORST ENTERTAINMENT EVER: OK, sailing to Alaska you spend quite a bit of time on the boat as a total amount of time spent in the ports were a combine maybe 30 hours. The boat had little to do, and we often just walked laps due to being so bored. We wanted to play deal or no deal ... cost 19.95 to play a game ... Couldn't enjoy the pool as it was too cold outside and windy. The things we did included the 3 game shows spread throughout the week, the comedy show (ehhh), and the Circus show - this show was actually really neat to watch and we enjoyed it very much. There was a "white hot party" it was ok ... the staff made it enjoyable but it died out quickly. Overall, you where often left not knowing what to do so we caught up on all new release movies in our room. SERVICE: OK, the overall service was great. The staff was very attentive, and it was cool seeing all kinds of different cultures. There was one hiccup with service which included the shore excursion desk. In Juneau we were supposed to dog-sled but due to weather it was cancelled - which I understand safety first. However, there was about 25-30 of us who had planned that excursion - we met in the stardust theater at 7:15 AM and where told at about 7:40 that they were not flying helicopters. So everyone ran the the excursion desk to plan another adventure for the day. Arriving to the desk there was one person working - anyone who has planned or done an excursion you understand that you leave in early AM by around 8:30 depending on what you are doing. We waited in line for about 90 minutes until we were finally able to pick an excursion ... Here's the hiccup as she was helping guests in the line she was also answering phone calls from individuals in their rooms. Two of us wanted to plan dog-sledding for the following day in Skagway .. We finally got up to the counter and she told us to wait as she answered the phone and put three people down for dog-sledding in Skagway ... We proceeded to say that we wanted to dog-sled in Skagway since it was cancelled in Juneau ... she states " we are all booked for that trip I just gave away the last 3 spots" ... hmmm I've been waiting 90 minutes .. Anyways - all of the buses had left besides a whale watching tour and we picked that ... We had 6 minutes to get off of the ship and head to the bus ... We were very upset as where the people all around us. I went up to the service desk and asked if any of them could help or if the cruise director could assist the one lady .. the response was that only shore excursion people have access to the computers. Although the women said dog-sledding was sold out in Skagway we walked to the building and asked if they had spots ... They were AWESOME people and gave us 3 different times to choose from and it was 60$ cheaper. PORTS/EXCURSIONS: 1. Ketchikan: We did Jeep and Canoe Adventure : It was amazing and the people were wonderful ... we canoed across a lake, they served amazing clam chowder and I don't prefer clam chowder .. We then jeeped to a mountain side and the views were spectacular. Would recommend this tour. 2. Juneau: Whale watching - Overpriced and I could of lived without .. We did see whales but none breeching and hardly any tails. They people were very nice and served hot coco and snacks. 3, Skagway - Dogsledding - AMAZING if you can do it I would recommend doing it. Once in a lifetime experience 4: British Columbia: Zip-lining - It was a blast and they guides where very nice with a great sense of humor. Would recommend this tour. Overall, I would recommend bringing your own snacks on board .. As we entered the first town a lot of people went to the stores and bought sodas and snacks as a lot of people agreed to the food being bland and ehh. I would recommend if you can to buy your excursions on land, they were cheaper. I didn't like the fact that they nickel and dimed you for EVERYTHING!!! I wish we as people were able to tip who we wanted and how much we wanted because some did not deserve a tip and others deserved more. I wouldn't recommend this cruise for younger people as the entertainment lacked. Overall, I am happy we were able to see Alaska and enjoy a family vacation. We as a family decided that we would never cruise with NCL again as we have enjoyed other cruise lines better. The quality what not worth the overall price of the vacation. Thanks for reading .. I am not trying to be a negative nancy, I just wanted to write what our experience was like on the cruise and how we felt. I wish I could be more positive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a ... Read More
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a real cruise. Overall, the ship was an odd ghost town. Most bars were closed. When we got to the pool finally (around 7pm) there was just one other family up on deck. We didn't see entertainment people the whole time. The one live music we saw, in the lounge at 10pm, was sparsely attended and odd. The staff said there were two shows in the theatre but there was just one, which we missed due to a slow dinner. Everything seemed picked up and like our time onboard was a hiccup before the real cruise started. First, due to a six-hour Amtrak delay, we weren't even sure we'd make the boat. More than an hour on hold with NCL and they said 'someone from the port will call you,' though nobody ever did. We weren't sure if we were going to Vancouver just to miss the ship, and nobody could tell us whether the ship could/would hold. Second, we didn't arrive at the port till 5:45pm. And STILL we waited 45 min for customs. We were told that people who arrived earlier waited hours. (It was a good thing there was a long line, since that's what kept the ship from leaving.) We completely missed our 6:30pm dinner reservations. Third, we chose this ship because our 5-year-old was psyched about the waterslide and the climbing area in the kids club. When we boarded, our "Freestyle Daily" told us the waterslide was only open till 6pm-- so we missed it entirely. It wasn't open at all the next day. Despite my pleas, and the fact it was still sunny and 70+ degrees, there was no opening the slide. Fourth, the kids club didn't actually have the play gym as in the photos - the staff said they had taken it out for the night. The kids area had just a bunch of tumbling mats. Another hard loss for our kiddo. Fifth, despite the empty restaurant, it took more than an hour to get our dinners at the 'Tsar's Palace' free restaurant. Sixth - and I'd say worst - the next morning was a real 'get off the ship NOW!' experience, despite the 'disembark by 9:30am.' Our room was made up with our luggage in it while we were at breakfast at 7am. Around 8am, a worker came by the outside of the ship and sprayed down our balcony - asking us to step off it and inside - leaving the seating wet and the ceiling dripping. There were no balls for the sports court and the pool was never opened. It was a complete waste. This is pretty much the opposite of the experience we had on Princess last fall, where the boat was packed, it was fun, it felt like a real getaway. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My husband and I are frequent cruisers, and our first cruise experiences were with NCL. We always had a great time, but felt as though they liked to "nickel and dime" passengers a bit too much with promotions. Nevertheless, we ... Read More
My husband and I are frequent cruisers, and our first cruise experiences were with NCL. We always had a great time, but felt as though they liked to "nickel and dime" passengers a bit too much with promotions. Nevertheless, we decided to cruise on the Jewel to the Mexican Riviera and give them another try. We used an NCL provided bus from LAX to get to the port, as San Pedro (port location) is over a half hr. from the airport. NCL provided an easy bus transport for the best price I could find. Since it was Sunday, traffic was light, too. We made it to the port in good time. That's where things started going south. We had booked a Penthouse Suite, which includes a lot of bells and whistles, obviously, since any cruise passenger wants to get what they pay for. One of those things is priority boarding and VIP treatment on-board. In fact, whenever we've been in a Suite on NCL in the past, we've always been escorted onto the boat with a Rep.... sometimes even a ship officer. Well, the moment we entered the port, we were "herded" like cattle into a "holding area". We looked around and didn't see any signs for VIP's or Suite Passengers. When we showed the first NCL rep our tickets, we expected to be shown to a VIP area. Nope. The lady very gruffly sent us into a cattle chute with long lines and we waited for a good 20-25 min. until we got to a rep at the desk. Again, we were unimpressed, as he was non-committal and didn't even welcome us with a "hello". Since we were both a little perturbed by that time, I explained that we may have been sent to the wrong line, that we were Suite passengers. Well, his eyebrows finally went up, and he told us to wait where we were. We watched him walk clear across the terminal (huge building, by the way) and we were left standing there, thinking... "He's going to the VIP area, because that's where our key-cards are! We were right. He came back with our cards. Then he sent us over to where he'd gone. Finally, we saw the VIP/Suite area, clear across the enormous terminal and not well designated with signs. Immediately another rep saw us and asked us to sit outside the VIP area in another "holding pen". I went to another Rep... a lady outside the VIP/Haven welcome center and showed her my key-card. I told her I was a Suite passenger. She was very nice, but informed me that I still needed to sit in the "holding pen" and wouldn't be given access to the VIP area. When we finally boarded the ship, the security officer couldn't get our key cards to even work! Our first stop on board was in yet another (fortunately short) line to get new key cards. Here's where I have to say how wrongly we were treated for what we paid as Suite passengers. We didn't know it at the time, but all passengers have color-coded key cards and they'd given us the wrong color. Now you'd THINK that maybe one of the on-board service reps like the one behind the Guest Services desk would catch that mistake? Nope. So up until Day 5 of the cruise, we had the wrong colored cards, not designating us as Suite passengers.... after PAYING EXTRA for the privileges associated with VIP's! On one of the port stops, we were supposed to receive Tender privileges. When I came back from my shore excursion, I showed the attendant my card, asking where the Suite/VIP line for boarding the Tender was. He looked at me like I was from Mars, since I had the wrong-colored card at the time. At that time, I didn't realize a big mistake had been made, and at least he was nice enough to check and got me on board one of the boats without a wait. It was our sweet Butler... a very kind lady who caught the card/identity mistake on Day #5 of the cruise. She got us new cards and apologized, though there were only two days of cruising left. THEN, the head Concierge made a huge deal of it the next morning at breakfast, "touching base" with us to make sure we were enjoying our cruise. A lot of good THAT did. We'd already received rather poor service up until that point, and the trip was almost over. No bottle of wine or "consolation" except his verbal "touching base" was offered us. Spending the extra money on the Penthouse Suite had been a HUGE disappointment. We had read that the Jewel was an "older ship". However, we've sailed on plenty of older, well-maintained ships, and have always been very impressed with the upkeep and maintenance. Until March 27, that is. When we finally made it to our cabin, both of us were shocked. There was a quarter sized HOLE in the hall carpet, the bed-skirt was dingy, wrinkled, and worn. The fabric on the two lounges on our balcony had moldy spots and obviously hadn't been cleaned in months. Even the balcony curtains were snagged in places and just very tired and worn-looking. This was a Penthouse Suite. The rest of the ship seemed in fairly good condition, aside from some of the wooden decks which looked like they could use a good re-finishing... really bleached out. We are big Bingo players, one reason we've always enjoyed NCL, since Bingo is a big deal on board their ships. However, even Bingo was a disappointment. For those people lucky enough to win, the pay-offs were the lowest we'd ever experienced on an NCL boat. The last Bingo payoff on the last day of cruise is typically the largest one... aboard the Jewel it was a mere $700. I can tell you that for the amount they charged to play along with the hefty number of passengers playing, that payoff should have been significantly more on the last day of the cruise!!! For the most part, we just felt service wasn't all that great. On past NCL cruises, usually two people cleaned our room, daily, even when we only occupied an Ocean-view room. On the Jewel, one lady cleaned our Suite, and bless her heart, she always seemed harried and exhausted. I really felt sorry for her. Even wait staff wasn't as attentive. Most of the time, I had to ask for another drink, as staff wasn't attentive to water being low in a glass or a wine-glass being almost empty. I've already mentioned the brusqueness of the Port staff. It goes without saying that when someone pays good money, especially for a SUITE, that service should be stellar. Our best and most impressive contact on board was our Butler. She was FANTASTIC. Two of our Shore Excursions were canceled. We had to come up with a different plan twice, but it worked out okay. Overall we enjoyed them, aside from the gratuitous "shopping stops" at jewelry stores and even a furniture market! Good grief, who goes on a Cruise to buy FURNITURE??????????? Still, we enjoyed the Mexican culture and the guides were all very friendly and sociable. It was interesting seeing some of the real Mexican villages in Mazatlan and our guide staff in Puerto Vallarta was the absolute BEST we'd ever experienced. So bravo, there! The other highlight was the food. We did receive Suite dining privileges for Breakfast and lunch in a specialty restaurant, and we made SURE we got to use those!!! Though the service wasn't always the best, the food was dynamite. My husband is a carnivore and loves steaks. Cagney's served up a super Filet Mignon and he was overjoyed to get to have that for breakfast daily with eggs. My favorite meal had to have been the Lobster at Le Bistro. Very tasty. In fact, it was so good, we returned to that restaurant our last night of the cruise, only to find they were out of the lobster. Also, Le Bistro's take on fondue was mighty sweet. We were very thankful the food was so good, since some of the wait-staff barely cracked a smile when serving us. Honestly, I felt like they may not have been treated very well by management and short-staffed. They just didn't look happy like other staff we've experienced on board other ships. Disembarkation went a lot better than our embarkation. We took a tour of LA, so we met inside the Stardust Theater. The Theater is beautiful and spacious. We did one show that really impressed... based on Circque de Solais. It was very professional and enjoyable. Sadly, the hassle and poor service we experienced on board the Jewel, as well as the very poorly appointed Penthouse Suite in such sad condition has made it highly unlikely that we'll never to sail with NCL again. I certainly hope that readers here on Cruise Critic will have a better experience than we did. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
About a month prior to our cruise, I read a litany of recent negative reviews of the Norwegian Jewel. They said the ship was outdated and run-down and the staff was uninspired if not uninterested. I started to think that I had made a ... Read More
About a month prior to our cruise, I read a litany of recent negative reviews of the Norwegian Jewel. They said the ship was outdated and run-down and the staff was uninspired if not uninterested. I started to think that I had made a mistake in booking the cruise. For the most part, my experience did not match the negative reviews I read. But there were some instances that made me question Norwegian's commitment to customer service. The cost of the cruise was reasonable, especially for Easter week. Our cruise included the Unlimited Beverage Package that uncluded some decent whiskeys and mixed drinks, but amazingly, did not include bottled water. Norwegian doesn't need to offer Fiji water like Celebrity does with their Premium Beverage package (which is cheaper than Norwegian's) but they need to offer some bottled water. Our 3 year old very much enjoyed the kids activities in the Splash Academy. We had been concerned after reading that Norwegian had cancelled its affiliation with Nickelodeon. The staff seems to have done well transitioning the activities. The first evening was problematic, mostly because there were so many children on this cruise. In spite of being overwhelmed by the number of children, the staff got to know every child personally and the children enjoyed interacting with the staff. We ate exclusively in the free restaurants. I had considered getting a 3 meal specialty dining package, but was a bit turned off by the fact that Norwegian recently converted most of its specialty dining restaurants to a la carte pricing. The menu options in the two main dining rooms, Tzar's Palace and Azures, were identical to each other each night. The former had a dress code, the latter did not. We ate 3 times in Tzar's and once in Azures. The food was good but not spectacular. The prime rib and steaks came over-cooked every time (my wife likes her steaks medium; she began ordering medium rare and it still came over-cooked) but the rack of lamb that I ordered medium-rare was absolutely perfect. I dislike the fact that Norwegian has added 3 a la carter items to the traditional menu each night, usually a whole lobster, a surf & turf, and a ribeye steak, that you can order for $20 or more. These things should be included in a cruise, at least once per cruise. O'Sheehan's is a quasi Irish Pub that has menu options such as chicken wings (very bad), chicken strips (good) and pot pie (didn't order it but it looked good). We ate there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. The service was slow but the views from a table by the window were great. We went to Chin Chin's (a Chinese restaurant) once. The food was awful. The hot and sour soup was inedible. The calamari was served doughy. The main dish (Peking chicken and shrimp) came with one shrimp. By the time the main course arrived, we decided to walk out and go eat at the buffet. Luckily, the grill at the buffet was serving grilled shrimp kebabs. I grabbed 6 of them and ate them over a bed of white rice and had a great pseudo-Asian meal. One thing that Norwegian did exceptionally well regarding food was the lunchtime grill set-up on the pool deck. One day there was tri-tip and grilled vegetables and another day it was ribs and bbq chicken. I made the mistake of waiting too long the first day (I ate too much for breakfast and wanted to wait a bit to eat lunch) and the food disappeared. I learned from my mistake the second time and ate a huge plate of ribs (before remembering that it was Good Friday and I wasn't supposed to eat meat!) One last thing that really bothered me was regarding the automatic gratuities. We had 3 adults and one 3 year old child in the cabin. They charged us for all 4 automatically, which is not a problem. My preference is to not have the tips charged automatically for my son, but rather use cash tips to give to staff members who dedicated service specifically to him. So, midway through the cruise, I went to the customer service desk to have those tips removed. I was told that, as of January of this year, Norwegian no longer allowed for changes to be made on-board. I was given a form to fill out and and an email address to send the form to. I was told my credit card would be refunded within 2-3 weeks after Norwegian receives the form. If they are going to increase the number of hoops you have to jump through in order to NOT pay the tips, they should just be included in the original price of the cruise. Not being able to adjust them on-board is a bad policy. In the end, I did not give as many cash tips as I had originally intended just because the process was an extra hassle. It ended up hurting their employees. I did submit the form yesterday by email and received a response within an hour, so that was good. But it's an unnecessary hassle that can be handled on the ship. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I am a frequent cruiser but this was my first NCL cruise, and may be my last. I booked 90+ days early to take advantage of the "Unlimited Beverage Package-UBP" (supposed deadline) that was the major selling feature of this ... Read More
I am a frequent cruiser but this was my first NCL cruise, and may be my last. I booked 90+ days early to take advantage of the "Unlimited Beverage Package-UBP" (supposed deadline) that was the major selling feature of this Mexican Riviera adventure. It turns out that the UBP was offered for free right up to the week before departure and my balcony room was offered with this package for LESS than Half the price we paid for this cruise. Ouch! That is a tough way to start a cruise by being taken to the cleaners for over $1,200. And of course, the cancellation policy would have cost more that the savings realized from re-booking at the lower rate. Anyhow we set out for a wonderful week, but soon realized we were on a party boat that gave new meaning to the term "going ugly early-and often". The Jewel is tired and rode hard and it shows with many deferred maintenance items clearly visible to the passengers like: unheated adult pool (kids pool was a balmy 84), broken hand rails, rusty paint spots and worn carpeting. Maybe the food will make up for the roughness of the ship? Not so much as we found the buffet food to be so tasteless and of low quality that we were willing to pay for the specialty restaurants. Like my wife said "lots of choices, but they were all buckets of slop". We tried both dining rooms and found the dining room food to be slightly better than the buffet, but not much. We used our onboard credits to try Cagney's Steakhouse and Teppanyaki but they were not much better than the food at Denny's. With four out of seven days at sea, the ship needs decent dining. We are not picky eaters and typically avoid snobby restaurants, but could not stand the food after a day or two. It seems that the ship budgets a certain amount for food and drink, and the Unlimited Beverage Package seems to steal food dollars to pay for all the drinks. From a value standpoint, we felt it was a rip-off. Why can't cabin credits be used to pay the exorbitant gratuities? Why is it only "soft money" that can be used for the overpriced shore excursions or specialty restaurants? Speaking of gratuities, NCL has figured out how to completely DIS-incentivize their staff and crew by charging mandatory gratuities for everything. It really added up from the 18% on the "value of the beverage package" to the 18% on specialty dining to the $13.50 per day per person for all the other nuisance charges. And the staff was flat out rude when you didn't tip them additionally over and above these already collected tips. This itinerary and ship is all about the booze, tattoo's, and kids running wild while the parents got drunk and NCL delivered big time in those departments! 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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