Sail Date: July 2018
This was the first cruise for my husband and I and our three adult children. We decided to do a cruise because it was our first trip to Alaska and a cruise seemed a good way to get an overview. We chose the Norwegian Jewel because we ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my husband and I and our three adult children. We decided to do a cruise because it was our first trip to Alaska and a cruise seemed a good way to get an overview. We chose the Norwegian Jewel because we were a bit late making travel arrangements and the 7-day southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver had availability and fit into all of our calendars. None of our land arrangements prior to or after the cruise were part of the cruise package. After considering our cabin options we decided on two 2-bedroom suites - one for the "kids" (they're not kids at all) and one for my husband and I. I thought some of the perks I'd read about would be frivolous and even silly - things like having a butler and concierge - but in reality they were quite helpful. Our concierge met us as soon as we were checked in and escorted us up to our suites. He also met us in a designated place before every shore excursion and escorted us to the front of the line of folks waiting to exit the ship, so there was never a wait. He was also available to make/change dinner reservations for us, helped us locate a few belongings that ended up in the lost and found, and made sure we were happy throughout the trip. Other perks of this cabin level included having exclusive access to the Moderno Restaurant for breakfast and lunch, as well as access to The Haven sundeck for glacier viewing. Afternoon snacks were delivered to our room each day by our butler - chocolate-covered strawberries, a crudite plate, fresh fruit, and cheese and crackers were among the afternoon surprises. We truly enjoyed the food in the a la carte restaurants, particularly Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro. But we were underwhelmed by the quality of the food at Azura, Tsars Palace, Cin Cin (and the sushi bar) and O'Sheehan's. We like to have dinner relatively late (8:30 or so) and found much of the food in these restaurants to be less than fresh and not hot by the time we were served. And it was somewhat ironic that in an area where the best salmon on the planet is so plentiful it's often given away in some towns, the salmon on the ship was all previously frozen. As for shore excursions - I booked them all myself, prior to the cruise, and opted for tours with small, independent tour operators in each port, rather than the large-group excursions offered by the cruise line. I'd do exactly the same thing again because they gave us a more intimate, "up close and personal" look at the areas we were visiting. We enjoyed the shows as well as the lounge entertainment and found the service throughout the cruise to be outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
NCL surely had the best entertainment on board. Thats the best part of the cruise other than of course the shore excursions which we have to book at additional cost (so not really part of cruise experience). However there were a few ... Read More
NCL surely had the best entertainment on board. Thats the best part of the cruise other than of course the shore excursions which we have to book at additional cost (so not really part of cruise experience). However there were a few negatives. Sports facilities are not good. There were just broken tennis rackets, no tennis balls available to play other than some rain drenched old balls that were left on the court and there was no one to help even when they advertise open play hours. For other Indian vegetarians out there planning a cruise this is probably not the right food option. Rice used is jasmine rice and other sticky rice instead of basmati which is non sticky and goes well with indian palate. Also in general the veg options were not the best dishes of the chefs on board. Desserts section however was excellent. Also none of the other restaurants (other than garden cafe) had an selection of veg options which was really disappointing as we could not visit any onboard restaurant like azura or tsars palace even though we tried booking a table. This was disappointing as we travelled with parents who are a bit aged. The other cruise line we did before had much better food selection for Indian vegetarians. Lastly, one of the other things we observed was that none of the ships crew other than some specific location we had to go to had any idea as to where any place on the ship was. Simple questions like where is "tradewinds" which is the shopping store would get blank stares when that crew member was literally a few feet away from the tradewinds location. That was really funny and i think they can do a better job of training all crew members of every available facility on board. This tradewinds was not an isolated incident, crew members regularly failed to point out where things were when asked although tradewinds was very funny because of how close this crew member was to the actual location we were looking for. I won the ping pong competition on board but did not have any option to select my prize. Only available option was an XXL T shirt which i cant use. Could have been better managed. However it is also nice to point out some nice things. We enjoyed the dance classes they offered, the movie shows, the music (fire and ice, onboard musician crew and on and on) and MOST SPECIAL was the daily Broadway type shows they did in star dust theatre which were beyond fabulous. Read Less
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Sail Date: July 2018
It came with our Gate One travel package. We booked our Alaska vacation land and sea cruse with Gate One. We very much enjoyed seeing Denali park and Anchorage, AK. prior to our cruise. We boarded the Norwegian Jewel in Seward, AK. The ... Read More
It came with our Gate One travel package. We booked our Alaska vacation land and sea cruse with Gate One. We very much enjoyed seeing Denali park and Anchorage, AK. prior to our cruise. We boarded the Norwegian Jewel in Seward, AK. The embarkation process went very well. We chose an outside cabin with a balcony; it was an excellent choice. We had excellent meals while on board the Jewel and very much enjoyed eating in the Tsar's Palace. The food, service and ambiance in the restaurant was excellent! We also enjoyed eating breakfast in the Garden Cafe, O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill, and Topsider's Grill. We spent as much time outside on the deck as possible, lying on the chase lounges and enjoying the delicious "Drink of the Day." The Hubbard Glacier was awe-inspiring! We enjoyed the entertainment on several occasions, especially the comedian, Kevin Jordan. We took several shore excursions, especially the Whale Watching in Icy Straight, the White Pass Scenic Railway in Skagway and the Saxman Village tour with their totem poles. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise through American Airlines Vacations. We chose an aft facing mini-suite on the advice of a friend. He was correct; it was great. Embarkation was crazy and far too slow. We found the dining only average with the ... Read More
We chose this cruise through American Airlines Vacations. We chose an aft facing mini-suite on the advice of a friend. He was correct; it was great. Embarkation was crazy and far too slow. We found the dining only average with the exception of the French dining. The food was very good and Ian Palmer was outstanding. He was very professional and made our evening one to remember. Other dining experiences were simply average. The food was average and the service was tired. Many staff were simply rude and seemed like they wished they were elsewhere. General dining was average, but NCL needs to get another way to say sanitize your hands at entrances better than "Washy-Washy". That's just annoying and stupid. In the bars, most servers were rude and unhelpful. At the same bar, they range from extremely rude (Dragan) to extremely good (Alonzo Mateo). Our dealings navigated to Mateo but he was sick the last day. Our Cabin Steward was excellent. Our shore excursions (Tram in Juneau) (Train in Skagway) (Rainforest & Raptor Center in Ketchikan) were memorable and without an issues. A blast! Debarkation was simple and pleasant. Chose the early time and take your own luggage. Lines were short, speed through processing rapid and people were helpful. There is no Uber in Vancouver so take the cab. All in all, this was a great vacation and we have great pictures. Most of that "great" vacation was spent on excursions or on deck looking at scenery. If I were to do it again, I would find another cruise line to hopefully find friendlier staff in general. Yes, there were exceptions. But, in reality, if you are exposed to over 100 and can only enjoy the experience with three, something is amiss. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We selected the cruise for the time available and for the destination. We spent three days in Seward prior to embarking. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward after a quick evening in Anchorage. We highly recommend the train as a ... Read More
We selected the cruise for the time available and for the destination. We spent three days in Seward prior to embarking. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward after a quick evening in Anchorage. We highly recommend the train as a means to travel! We were able to do some things in Seward that were also available in the ports like whale watching. We stayed outside of Seward and didn’t rent a car as there are some travel options in the town. Food in Seward was good and the locals were very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and easy. We were traveling as a couple and left the kids at home as we were celebrating our 25th anniversary. We have never been on a cruise before and overall we enjoyed it. The cabin was small as expected, but very functional. We were able to move around easily and all of our “stuff” fit well in the spaces provided. My preference is for a soft bed, but this bed, as could be expected, was hard and difficult for me to sleep on. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We ate at multiple restaurants, but the Azura was our favorite and never disappointed. Overall we found the food to be satisfactory. I didn’t want to do the dress up every night option although some people did. Either way worked out fine as some people dressed up and others didn’t. We had read that Alaska cruises are a little laid back. The scenery during the trip was amazing. My wife’s only regret was that we didn’t get a cabin with the balcony which she highly recommends. We spent more time on the ship looking at the views of the inside passage than we did at the shows although my wife caught a few and said they were excellent. There is a casino feel to the cruise. There is more than enough for anyone that has different interests on the ship to be entertained. We didn’t sign up for excursions through the cruise. We did get off the ship and find things to do. Sometimes we explored the port city, other times we found an excursion and still other times we explored and went back to the ship (Icy Straight). We did get a couples massage which was a positive experience as I had never had a massage, but the bed was killing me! The negatives were the time we spent in each port. We were in Icy Straight all day and only for a few hours in Juneau. If we cruise again we will examine that a little more. Overall we loved Alaska and we enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first cruise on NCL and our first real vacation in 18 years. We chose the Alaska Cruise and Denali Explorer by Rail more than a year in advance to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We compulsively pre-booked restaurant ... Read More
This was our first cruise on NCL and our first real vacation in 18 years. We chose the Alaska Cruise and Denali Explorer by Rail more than a year in advance to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We compulsively pre-booked restaurant reservations and shore excursions, and were glad we did. We also had NCL take care of our flights and airport transfers, but will do our own flights next time. Embarkation was lengthy but our timing was good and we missed some of the delays that others experienced. We chose a balcony cabin and spent many happy hours watching the scenery, including whales, glaciers and sea otters. Our cabin was small, but serviceable; we had a king-sized mattress. Our room steward Ali was great and we saw him every day. Our favorite restaurant was Le Bistro (my husband loved the French onion soup), followed by Moderno (especially the salad bar). Cagney's was just okay, although the service was good. We liked Tsar's Palace and Azmara, but ChinChin was truly awful. We had room service once, but my husband usually brought breakfast back to our room. We did not like the coffee; much too acidic. O'Sheehan's was decent, but had a limited menu. As we had prepaid our service charges, we did not tip our servers. I gather from the reviews that this was a mistake. Oops! We worked out in the fitness center three times, and were disappointed to see that broken machines meant people had to wait in line. I had a spa treatment which was very expensive but worth it. The "upsell" did not bother me, as I just said no. We did not see any of the entertainment, but did spend time in the casino, which needs some newer machines. The laundry deal for $19.95 midweek gave us a chance to address some of our packing mistakes. We had three great shore excursions, and saw wildlife on every one. We saw bald eagles in Ketchikan, and 17 whales doing a "bubble feeding" in Juneau. We had to rush through the Mendenhall glacier, and will have to see it again. In Skagway, we were disappointed in the White Pass Railway, but the Yukon Suspension Bridge add-on saved the day. We saw a mother bear and her cub eating dandelions by the side of the road just after crossing the border into Canada on our way to the bridge. We also had the time to walk around in each port, and would love to re-visit them all. Debarkation was easy, as we were the first group off due to our train schedule. We enjoyed riding in the glass dome railcar, and the food and service on the train were good. We wish we could have spent more time in Denali. The schedule of the land portion of our package was grueling; we had to get up at 4:30am one day and 6:00am another day. That might have worked out better if we were staying in one place, but we moved repeatedly. We enjoyed the Alaska Zoo, but had no other need to see Anchorage. We felt a lot of time was wasted in Fairbanks, and our accommodations there were not great. We would rather have spent more time in Denali and taken excursions there. So, all in all, we had a very good time and are certainly willing to try NCL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Expensive, but worth the investment. Staff did an excellent job. Quite an amazing operation! The land portion was very enlightening, although the tour guide was a bit terse with the participants. Denali is not to be missed. As nice as ... Read More
Expensive, but worth the investment. Staff did an excellent job. Quite an amazing operation! The land portion was very enlightening, although the tour guide was a bit terse with the participants. Denali is not to be missed. As nice as the cruise was, seeing Denali was a critical part of the success of the trip. Transfer to ship was handled fairly well. The cabins are small and require some adjustment to get used to.Dining was very good. Entertainment was enjoyable. Pools were not their strong point when it came evaluating the trip.Need more tables in the library. Three isn't near enough for the entire ship. Lounges are starting to show their age. Suggest renovation. Cruise Director and his Team did an especially fine job. Sorry we missed the tour of the bridge and the session on what it takes to run a floating hotel.Would definately consider this cruise line for any future cruises. The really have it dialed in... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This 7-night northbound cruise to Alaska from Vancouver was a nice time. I had cruised the Dawn before (post refurbish) and this ship was very similar (Jewel has The Great Outdoors but no specialty Mexican restaurant). I read the reviews ... Read More
This 7-night northbound cruise to Alaska from Vancouver was a nice time. I had cruised the Dawn before (post refurbish) and this ship was very similar (Jewel has The Great Outdoors but no specialty Mexican restaurant). I read the reviews about the Jewel being next for refurbishing and rolled my eyes. Who cares if the decor is dated? Well, eventually small things take their toll. It's not a dump by any means, but there are lots of areas with worn carpet, torn vinyl, stained chairs, and overall gaudy decor. Again, this mostly doesn't matter, but newer is definitely nicer. Embarkation in Vancouver was somewhat complex and I found some of the workers there gruff. Vancouver is a great city, so take some time to explore it before you board or after your cruise. Our room steward did the minimum: one night he didn't leave the paperwork for the next day, when we boarded, the dirty ice bucket was still in the room, and he wasn't overly friendly. I saw other guests hugging their steward upon leaving but there was none of that with us. Perhaps he's overworked. The Great Outdoors is a huge plus and a perfect spot to eat and enjoy the views, or just get a beverage and hang out. This area and the Spinnicker Lounge are packed on glacier-viewing days, so watch out. We had great weather so were able to get great views of the glaciers. Make sure you're outside for disembarkation. We saw whales and orcas on more than one occasion. Eat in the dining rooms over the buffets whenever you can. Overall the food was good. The Garden Cafe gets packed during peak breakfast hours despite their openeing La Cucina and The Great Outdoors for overflow. One con is some of the staff seemed to be slightly disgruntled. One bartender said "yes?" like I was bothering him before I ordered $30 in drinks (no UBP here). He must have sensed that I was caught off guard by how abrupt he was because he gave me the drinks for free. O'Sheehan's was something I looked forward to. The service was very bad. The host and most of the servers were not concerned with providing good service. The menu seems to be an older, condensed one (only hot and mild chicken wings, for example) and the food was hit or miss. The portions are tiny, so order accordingly. All of the shows were good. We particularly enjoyed the last night when the staff singers did an informal singing show. The other productions were good too. Director JC Sanchez was nice and did a good job. He was friendly when we saw him on deck. Hopefully once the ship is refurbished, the staff with have more enthusiasm for their work. The pace and "feel" of an Alaska cruise is different from the warm-weather ones. It was almost 100% middle aged couples and lots of tourists from Asia. This was not a party boat. Our three stops (Juneau, Ketchikan, and Scagway) were nice, calm places to walk around and shop, unless you take an excursion. We did the scenic train to Anchorage when we disembarked in Anchorage. We had to get up very early, but it was a nice experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
This is our second Alaska cruise on the Jewel. The first was great even with lots of rain and very cool temperatures. This cruise was fantastic as we had the same good cruise experience coupled with mild weather with lots of sun and only a ... Read More
This is our second Alaska cruise on the Jewel. The first was great even with lots of rain and very cool temperatures. This cruise was fantastic as we had the same good cruise experience coupled with mild weather with lots of sun and only a few sprinkles. The service and food were very good. We had a favorite bartender and waiter who served us very well. The perks were wonderful. We particularly enjoyed the glacial views from the Haven deck. We were able to expand our knowledge of the ports and take excursions we had not taken previously. Our conseige was excellent and provided us with great service. He was always available to assist us. We enjoyed the entertainment and experienced several new performers and new routines. We explored Vancouver before the cruise and were very impressed by this beautiful city with flowers everywhere and great weather. Disembarkation was perfect and very easy. Embarkation did not go very well. Suite guest received no preferential service, not ever Haven guest. In other ports when we were suite guest we were guided through special fast moving lines. Great trip with great value, we hope there will be a third trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The Jewel is an average size ship, Not a really large one. We had a really Long wait and lone lines during embarkation process. It took longer than expected. The Alaska cruise is colder than other cruises, even in June /July. There ... Read More
The Jewel is an average size ship, Not a really large one. We had a really Long wait and lone lines during embarkation process. It took longer than expected. The Alaska cruise is colder than other cruises, even in June /July. There are no chairs set out on the deck and not a lot of outside deck activities. The entertainment in the ship was moderately good. After several days, the same performers, singers, musicians, began to be repetitive. We enjoyed our time on shore. We had some very enjoyable excursions. The food on the Jewel was moderate. There were some good meals in the specialty restaurants, we enjoyed Cagney's. The complimentary restaurants were moderately good. They tried to change up the menus and offer different things throughout the week. They included a lot of ethic foods. The quality of the food was moderately good. The staff was always helpful and very friendly. The ship was clean and well kept. We liked the itinerary of this cruise and that was probably the main reason we chose this one. 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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