115 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

I am a 21-year-old college student who dreamed of going on a cruise with my friends over summer vacation. After nine months of planning and waiting, my friends and I sailed Norwegian Jewel embarking from NYC on May 15th 2010 to May 21st ... Read More
I am a 21-year-old college student who dreamed of going on a cruise with my friends over summer vacation. After nine months of planning and waiting, my friends and I sailed Norwegian Jewel embarking from NYC on May 15th 2010 to May 21st 2010. From the moment we arrived in our room, problems arose. Our faucet had nothing but boiling hot water, making it impossible to brush our teeth or enjoy a simple glass of water. After continuous complaints to the front desk, two "plumbers" fiddled around with the faucet for a while, and the problem was never fixed after we left. Eventually, we just gave up trying to solve that problem. That night, we accidentally spilled fruit juice on our sheets, acknowledging our mistake; we expected the sheets to be changed the next morning. When we returned from the pool deck that afternoon, we noticed the room was clean, but the same pink stain was still on the sheets. We found this utterly disgusting and obviously complained. The next day we expected the problem to be fixed with no further complaining. Boy, were we ever wrong. We had clean sheets on the bed that we spilled the punch on, but to our repulsion, the sheets were just moved from the bottom bunk to the top bunk. Am I stupid? I clearly noticed a bright pink stain on the top bunk. At this point, the blood was boiling in my system. I was finished being nice and gave the front desk a piece of my mind. After a roll of the eyes and after threatening to lower my tips, suddenly the problem was fixed. Arguably the rudest thing we encountered happen on the third night of the cruise at the Karaoke Bar. My brother approached the bar, trying to make a decision on a drink. The bartender snapped his fingers at my brother and proceeded to say "Hurry up, I got customers." My brother, clearly fed up with Norwegian's antics gave the bartender a piece of his mind. He told the bartender to give him his card back and reminded him who was paying his salary. He told the bartender he was going to complain and the bartender said, "Go ahead". Wow, how terribly rude. Who is this guy to tell my brother to hurry up? Does he remember who indirectly pays him? We complained AGAIN to the front desk, they understood and took his name down. On the first day of our excursions in Port Canaveral, I took a bus trip with brother to Universal Studios sponsored by NCL. The ride there was fine, but the ride back was anything but that. The 100 degree weather and 100 percent humidity on a bus with no A.C and a bus with a disgusting bathroom that reeked of something unexplainable was poor planning on NCL's part. The elderly were beginning to get sick and everyone was infuriated. After we got off the bus, the whole bus immediately complained to the shore excursion desk. Expecting a full refund, we were merely refunded 30 dollars. That was the end of the line, and everyone on that bus explained they would not be sailing NCL in the future. The overall layout of the ship and service presented by the staff was unimpressive to say the least. The jogging track felt like it was in the middle of everyone's way, and trying to get from point A to point B was like trying to navigate through a forest because of how many obstacles we encountered. Chairs and tables were constantly in everyone's way, there was no path designated through the ship. The service on the ship was laughable. The waiters and waitresses were so rude when we would ask for seconds or if we needed anything else, it was as if we were bothering them. The food was mediocre; some days were better than others. If I were to give the food a rating it would be a 6 out of 10, no bragging rights there. Overall, after researching NCL service and complaints on all currents sailing ships including The Epic, I have noticed a similar trend in complaints. From the smallest complaints to the computer system failing on The Epic, none of this surprised me. It is no wonder Norwegian owns the smallest amount of ownership in the cruise industry. "Freestyle cruising" was made a mockery by all the passengers on the ship. This was the farthest thing I had in my mind when I wondered what a cruise was all about. This is why I will only sail Royal Caribbean or Carnival. I almost made the mistake of giving Norwegian a second chance by booking The Epic until I read hundreds of complaints about the layout of the ship. I vow to never sailed Norwegian again, and believe me; I spread the word to anyone who ever thought of sailing Norwegian. By listening to the countless passenger complaints on our ship, the thousands of Youtube comments of the poor NCL service, and the hundreds of thousands of complaints of NCL online on various complaining sites, I regret ever sailing NCL, and vow never to again unless it is greatly improved. I should have realized, you pay cheap, you get cheap. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL ... Read More
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL "Suite Life" and were so excited about experiencing it. We landed at the Miami airport around 12:45 PM and joined our friends in the baggage claim area. The four of us stood in the taxi line for 1 minute and were on our way to the pier. The taxi was $24 total for all 4 people. This was a HUGE savings from the $40 per person transfer fee we would have paid NCL thru our travel agent. Besides, the NCL documents indicated that purchasing their transfers did not guarantee we would arrive on the ship timely. Once we left the airport we arrived at the Pier within 20 minutes. Quick - Fast - and PERFECT!!! The "check in" security area was clearly marked with individuals validating our documents. Being a 2 day cruise and with check-in time being 5:00 PM, we walked straight through the lines with minimal wait time. This was a great way to start a cruise. Once passed the security check in point, we found the "Suites and Villa" check in area. We met our Concierge and sat down until they called us to pick up our room keys. The Suites and Villa area was very nice and included a beautifully prepared spread of cookies, water, orange juice, pond cake, etc. This was exactly what we needed since we had not eaten since breakfast. The food was very pretty but lacked flavor or taste. So, we didn't eat much of it. We were escorted on the ship with a couple on the 9th Floor Suite and our friends who were also in a suite. We were sooo impressed with the champagne and welcome photos offered by the ship. It was AMAZING!! When we walked into the Atrium and saw all the beautiful wood grains we were totally impressed!! Room / Cabin: Our Penthouse suite was beautifully arranged and my fears of gaudy furnishings were quickly dismayed. There was a "Freestyle Daily" and a welcoming note from the Concierge and Butler. The curtains were open and the light reflected in just beautifully. The cabin had been decorated with "Bon Voyage" themed streamers, a beautiful white cake, fruit plate, champagne, a bottle of sparkling water and chocolate covered strawberries. (Yes, we had pre-ordered the streamers, cake and strawberries). We felt very special and we though the tone of the cruise was set. Unfortunately, once we began moving around the room the problems soon surfaced. We began opening the drawers and found trash hidden in drawers, 2 inch thick dust and personal items from the previous cruisers within the drawers. We were totally shocked. We then noticed only two towels in the bathroom. So, we called the butler who assured us we could get an extra set of towels. The problem was as soon as we left the cabin, the extra towels were taken. This occurred multiple times each day since it appears the Butler and the Cabin Steward didn't communicate. The most alarming thing that happened on the cruise was the night I got sick. I went to the bathroom and found the box of tissues which only had five tissues. So, I had to use toilet paper until the next morning. I accidentally threw up on the sheets and ASSUMED the cabin steward would automatically change them. After breakfast, we returned to our cabin and I immediately turned the sheets back. To my shock and amazement, the dirty sheets were still on the bed. I immediately went out into the hall to find the cabin steward. He stated that he did see where I had the accident but he didn't have sheets on his cart to change them. According to the cabin steward, the sheets are ONLY changed every three days and there was nothing he could do. I got angry and stated, "You are going to change these sheets or I'm heading straight down to the Purser's Office!" At that point he said that we would find some sheets and try to accommodate my "Special Request". UNEBLIEVEABLE - SPECIAL REQUEST TO CHANGE DIRTY SHEETS?? PLEASE. I chatted with the other couple traveling with us in the next door suite. They admitted they had the same experience within their room. Also, another cruise critic member had a similar issue and had another person contact the Purser's Office concerning the cleanliness of her room. To me, this it TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!! Lifeboat Drill: The lifeboat drill began at 3:30 which I thought was a bit early since passengers were not required to be on the ship until 5:00 PM. We were stationed in the Tsars Place Restaurant. I thought this was early since guests were not required to be on the ship until 5:00. The lifeboat drill was very nice and comfortable since we sat at a table instead of being outside near the lifeboats in the heat. Kudos to NCL!! After the drill we went back to our rooms to rest until the Cruise Critic Sail Away Party. Food: During the cruise, I ate at the following restaurants: • Blue Lagoon (Deck 8) - the Blue Lagoon restaurant. It was so nasty that I threw up within two minutes of consuming part of the Sugar flavored Macaroni and Cheese. I tried the Wonton Soup but hot water would have been tastier. So, I ordered the Spinach and Artichokes dip and it was undistinguishable. I couldn't find the Spinach, Artichokes or cheese within the dip. However, the chips were excellent. The food was soo bad that I would have preferred to bring my own. I found out that several other people had the same experience concerning the food. Saying the food was "bad" was a compliment considering. • Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 13) - Excellent breakfasts and lunches. These were free for the Suite guests and we took advantage of this daily. My favorite item was the Crab Cakes Benedict. Unfortunately, the portions were so small that I had to make a double order just to get one regular portion. (The crab cakes were the size of a One Dollar coin). I have yet to figure out how they found English muffins in the same size. I must admit the staff was very gracious and did not mind providing the additional portions. • Garden Cafe (Deck 12) - This was a free restaurant and was terrible at best. The only positive thing was the employee who asked everyone to sanitize their hands before proceeding into the buffet. We soon found out that if you stated you were not going to eat, the employee did not require you to sanitize your hands. I selected rotisserie chicken, two types of soup, crapes, pizza and various mouse deserts. The chicken was beautifully prepared but was bleeding once you got closer to the bone. The pizza had no color on the bottom which was weird since it had been brought directly out of the oven. The chicken broth soup was so bad that a bouillon cube would have been much preferred. I tried the Broccoli Cheddar soup but it was like water with broccoli pieces. So, I passed. The Caesar salad had no taste while the Mouse tasted and looked like Flan. (I don't like Flan). The only decent desert was the Crapes which used an extra sweet cherry pie filling. • Mama's Italian Kitchen (Deck 12) - There was a $10 per person charge for this restaurant. The atmosphere was quite and very casual and the service was excellent. My Caesar salad was prepared table side and was excellent. However, the pasta could have used additional seasonings. I would have preferred Rago or some other bottled variety to what was served. Entertainment: What entertainment? I couldn't find any. I guess we had to either select a movie, go to the art auction or Gamble. There wasn't any entertainment. I guess there's not much effort put into a two day cruise. Shore Excursions: We were scheduled to stop at the private island, so I didn't expect too much. What we got was less that I even expected or imagined. The ship did dock at Freeport, Bahamas for several hours. We didn't mind since we just wanted the opportunity to step off the ship. However, when we went to Deck 11 and looked over the side of the boat, there were only four local vendor shops open. Also, the island didn't look real interesting so we decided to stay on board. However, another cruise critic member did go to a local beach and had wonderful pictures of the day. Debarkation: This was very easy and I couldn't wait to leave. We did VIP self assist and walked right off the ship. We were in a LONG line and waited about 30 minutes to go thru homeland security. We were greeted by very nice NCL representatives who asked how our cruise went. Needless to say, they got an earful. The representative didn't really appear to be surprised by our comments. The representative indicated that we should write a letter to NCL and tell them about our experience so that changes could be made in the future. We did exactly that. We found a taxi outside the Port and couldn't wait to get back to the Miami airport for real food. Overall impression: My overall impression was that NCL is, "All flash but no substance". The food is bad, the cabins aren't clean and there are no activities. We took this weekend cruise to determine if NCL would be an option for next year's Mediterranean or Alaska cruises. After our experience, the answer is NO. We wouldn't try NCL again if they gave us a free cruise. We would rather spend money where we can get decent food and a clean room. Therefore, our future cruise dollars will go to Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Norwegian Jewel 11/29/2009 - 12/06/2009 Embarkation: Since we drove in the night before we arrived at the Port of Miami at around 10:00 am. We were about the 10th passengers on the line for check-in and passing through security was ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel 11/29/2009 - 12/06/2009 Embarkation: Since we drove in the night before we arrived at the Port of Miami at around 10:00 am. We were about the 10th passengers on the line for check-in and passing through security was very easy and smooth. Once through security, it was on to the check-in counter to receive our keys and then to the "staging area" where you wait to board. One thing I found annoying about the way NCL boards their passengers is that even though you may have arrived at 10:00am, a passenger who arrives at 11:30 but is booked in a suite will be boarded before you. An announcement was made by Q the cruise director at 11:30am that boarding would now begin, and to feel free to visit the buffet, or Tsars Palace for lunch while we wait until 2pm for our rooms to be ready. On other cruise lines we have been able to go straight to our cabin to see if it was ready however this was not the case on the Jewel as they set up ropes so that you will not enter the passageways. We didn't mind anyway as we had very few carry-on items and were hungry for lunch. Our first impression of the overall appearance of the ship was that it was beautiful. We also noted that even though it was a few years old it was exceptionally maintained. After receiving our complimentary champagne (OJ for the kids), we opted for Tsar's Palace for lunch since we usually find the buffet way too busy on embarkation day and we really wanted wind down and relax for a little while after our long drive. Lunch in Tsar's that day was lovely, and we assumed all our meals to follow would be served with the same impeccable service we had received then. Wrong assumption on our part, more to follow... Off to the Splashdown Kids Club to sign the kids up. Our kids have always enjoyed this part of cruising! Sign-up took only a minute and we were able to meet some of the staff and get a schedule for the week's planned activities. Our Cabin: Traveling as a family of four, including myself, my husband, our daughter who is 9 and our son who is 6, we figured that we would book a mini-suite for our voyage so that we would have a tad more space as well as a tub if we needed it for the kids. At 2pm an announcement was made that we could now go to our cabins so, we headed down to our mini-suite #11548. The mini-suite in reality is little more that a glorified balcony but, it was immaculate and nicely acquainted. I will say that I found it strange that our cabin steward, Rezaldo did not have it prepared for 4 occupants (extra towels and such) as the stewards are always aware in advance of how many people will be in a cabin. I will also say that throughout our cruise, we noticed continual little things that Rezaldo missed. Small things like providing ice daily, an empty tissue dispenser and leaving dirty glasses after he'd serviced our cabin left us feeling that Rezaldo was not measuring up. The Cruise: Sea days were very pleasant and you could choose to be as busy or not busy as you wanted to be. We spent most of our sea days by the pool. I've often heard many complaints about lounge hogs but I really did not encounter many of them. There seemed to be plenty of lounges but they could use more little tables for holding drinks. The music by the pool was also festive and pleasant. My one poolside gripe would be that the bar staff is a little pushy and annoying at times. Our ports of call were Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya and Great Stirrup Cay. All of the ports were enjoyable to us, but since we booked our excursions privately, there's not too much to review pertaining to NCL. In both Roatan and Belize City the tendering process could really use improvement. You must go to an assigned location to stand in line to wait for tender tickets. For our cruise on the Jewel this was the Photo Center. I would not mind the requirement of a ticket at all, if NCL actually required the tickets to board a tender. However, our tender tickets were never requested (nor were anyone else's) and in fact, many people who did not have tickets boarded the tenders anyway. Great Stirrup Cay has probably seen better days. We've visited the private islands of Costa, Carnival and Royal Caribbean and all of them could run circles around NCL's private island. As we viewed the island aboard the first tender, we saw what seemed to be a large amount of lounge chairs, but once the island was full of passengers, it became quite clear that there were not enough. Beach umbrellas were an extremely rare commodity; I would say that there was maybe 1 umbrella per 40 lounges. After 6 days of Caribbean sun, there were many red vacationers scavenging for beach umbrellas. We found that some of the buildings such as the buffet and some of the bars were looking fairly run down. We were also disappointed with amount of trash in the sand. We saw straws, forks, and many, many rusty bottles caps. One other thing that may not have affected my family personally but we still find rather awful was that NCL actually ran out of potable drinking water for about 2 hours on the island. I'm not talking about bottled water which you could buy; I'm talking about free potable water. Talk about terrible customer service, I find it hard to believe that with as many stops as NCL has made over the years to their own island they wouldn't know how much drinking water needed to be brought ashore. This is just an assumption of course but perhaps beverage sales were down and they needed to make some up? Regarding the Garden Cafe (buffet) and restaurants on the ship, we found most of the food quite enjoyable. However the service left much to be desired. In the buffet, often there were empty tables but good luck waiting for them to be cleared. Aside from the buffet we dined in Tsar's Palace (main dining), Azura (main dining) and Mama's Italian Kitchen. In both of the main dining rooms the food was very enjoyable but it was always about halfway though the main course before our drinks would arrive. And once the main courses were served never did anyone stop by the table to see how things were going. Most nights we waited very long times before having to wave someone down to order dessert. I guess the caring attentive service is lost in the freestyle. We definitely enjoyed our dinner at Mama's Italian Kitchen and we did notice a big improvement in service there. But then, that was the one restaurant we had to pay to eat in. Splashdown Kids Club: Our kids really enjoyed the activities. The staff handed out a schedule of planned activities which helps you with choosing if and when your kids will go. Our kids usually choose for themselves and I will say more often than not when we went to pick them up at the planned time, they wanted to stay longer! But there were instances when the scheduled activity never happened - our kids mentioned this because they were looking forward to them. We did mention this at the front desk at which point we were told "that the schedule is strictly followed" and that "our children must have been mistaken". I am one hundred percent sure that my kids would remember if an ice cream party had taken place or not and personally I believe these comments could only be taken as an insinuation that our kids had lied. Honestly, this was just the first instance of bad customer service at the front desk. I'm not sure if this is an NCL issue or just a Jewel issue but it would appear that they make a lot of mistakes in regards to charges to On Board Credit accounts. While I heard several stories from fellow passengers regarding this, we had 2 significant instances of this but I'll just share the first. The first day on board we decided to by the kids' soda cards (bracelets for kids). The charge was $4.00 per day + 17% gratuities which should have resulted in a charge of just over $64.00. When we checked our account a few days later we saw that we had been charged over $100 by the Sky Bar! We explained the error to the front desk clerk (with receipt in hand) and were sent to see the gentleman at the Java Cafe. He had no idea why we had been sent to see him and in turn sent us back to the front desk. Once back at the front desk, the clerk then wanted us to go to the Sky Bar to clear this up. At this point I became a bit annoyed. What kind of customer service makes the customer chase down the right employee to fix a mistake that's not even their fault? I pointed this out and asked to speak with a supervisor but was told that that would not be possible as they were all in a meeting (I'm thinking you keep at least one supervisor available) but that she would forward the information and have it corrected. The second issue with our on board credit was also an overcharge issue (again we had the receipts) for which we received the same type of run-a-round to get it corrected. While many people will say that I should be satisfied that the issues were corrected, I find these mistake and lack of customer service something you would expect from amateurs not a company that has been in business as long as NCL has. I also wonder, for all the mistakes that are caught, how many are not. Overall, we did enjoy our cruise but then, we would enjoy any vacation together. NCL (or any other cruise line for that matter) could never stop us from having a great family vacation. That being said, NCL could have made a great vacation more relaxing and comfortable. Poor customer service and lack of quality in certain areas would never detract from us having a good time but great customer service and better quality certainly could have enhanced it! Disembarkation: We chose to disembark on our own. This process went extremely smooth and we were off the ship and in our car by 8:30am. As we drove out of the Port of Miami, we waved so-long to the NCL Jewel, and goodbye to NCL forever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Free to wait and wait in lines from the buffet to the main dining rooms. During these tight times extra pay restaurants are a hard sell. Especially when you do not get that much better food or service so..... expect long lines at the ... Read More
Free to wait and wait in lines from the buffet to the main dining rooms. During these tight times extra pay restaurants are a hard sell. Especially when you do not get that much better food or service so..... expect long lines at the regular restaurants. 30-45 minute waits were common most evenings. Trying to plan dinner times so you could also get to the shows was futile we missed several or got to the theater to find it full. One of the advantages of traditional dining is a show just for your dining time. The food was passable in the main dining rooms mostly tasteless. We did 4 early bird half price dinners.  Tango, not bad food wise but we both ordered two appetizers and no soup or salad the waitress brought them both at the same time???? Was one to sit and get cold while we ate the other??? Sent one back. Le Bistro nice atmosphere  had the extra cost Cote de Beouf for two. Very nice beef but I can have wonderful Prime rib on Celebrity for free. Mamma's very nice Osso bucco service was very nice but we were the only people in the place??? Tapenyaki the food was good not great didn't really need some guy throwing eggs around though. Why is it they have a 24 hour restaurant The Blue Lagoon but it is not open at 6am for breakfast??? And the Tsars Palace opens at 7:30am even when in port with tours starting at 8am???? We were in Lock down from Norovirus from the previous cruise for three days. No salt, pepper, sugars you had to find a server to get you some. The lines in the buffet were unbelievable. Two people serving coffee and juice from 6-6:30 the two more from then on for 2300 people. Please!!! Why didn't they go around with tea carts and help serve people at tables like on Celebrity? I was in a wheel chair and with a cane for the cruise due to a broken foot. Did any staff help??? NO!!!!! On Celebrity, Holland America a waiter would help with your try and plates etc. Absolutely the worst service ever on a cruise. We just are getting back to normal after the cruise on May 10th. Loved all of the ports. Can't say I care much for the NCL Jewel this was our 2nd sailing on her with the 1st being last Sept on the transatlantic. The service on board is the worst of any ship I have sailed on. So I thought I would spread a little advice about the cruise. Beware if you are taking a private tour in St. Petersburg. Getting off is an ordeal. We got in line on deck 5 center at 7:30 and didn't get through customs until 9. NCL trys to blame it on the Russian customs but.....They are no worse then US custom in fact they didn't finger print us as the US now does, it seemed to me to be largely NCL's fault for selling too many tours at the same time to try to get them all off the ship at once. they told us the ship was sold out but for one room but a large number of singles were on board putting the head count at 2300 with nearly 2000 on NCL tours. At one point the Hotel manager tried to get those of us on private tours to get out of the line. We were on the pier at that point and some did but we got them back in line. And then NCL was telling their tour guests to cut in line. We were in the customs building nearly done after almost two hours of standing and me with a cane due to a broken foot. NCL was telling them their bus would leave without them. Total mess. NCL needs to get their act together. Stagger their tours. Make sure their tour guests fill out their forms correctly so they do not slow the lines. And why is it the only place to eat breakfast on these days was the buffet. The Tsars Palace did not open until 7:30???? For who since by that time most everyone was in line trying to get off the ship. Even the so called 24 hour restaurant the Blue Lagoon was not open we got there at 6 and they told us they didn't open until 6:30. So much for open 24 hours!!! And with two staff persons trying to serve coffee and juice to hundreds. What a total mess. So be careful and enjoy. If you haven't yet booked tours in St. Petersburg try Den Rus. We did their value tour and it was the best. It is only $295 they covered everything with the best tour guides. You are Guarenteed a tour no need to find other to lower the price. The company has a US base in Florida you use a CC and are charged in US dollars. We had wonderful meals included with wine and champagne. No need to deal with packed restaurants we just walked in and were seated and treated to great food in very nice restaurants. We heard the horror stories from some on the NCL tours so do your home work and you will have a great time. Hop on Hop off buses worked great in Copenhagen and Tallinn we got city bus passes in Helsinki and Stockholm. The train to Berlin is a long ride 3 hours each way so plan ahead it is only an 8 minute walk from the pier and only 168 euros round trip for two. In Berlin get a Hop on Hop off with the headphones like Tallinn and Copenhagen. The live tour on ours was hard to hear and understand with the accent of the guide. It wasonly 10-15 euros in Berlin. The highlight in Berlin, the old Parliment building with the glass dome it is free and a wonderful sight and views, Copenhagen, Tivoli. Tallinn the old city is a delight with very nice people. Helsinki we took a ferry boat ride, free with our one day city bus pass to the island with a fort, just beautiful. Stockholm, the old city and Vasa and the ride in and out of the port. These have to be the best port I have ever visited!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
First, the pluses.  The stewards and wait people were first rate throughout the ship.  They were helpful, solved problems, attended to requests with efficiency, warm, and personable.  They deserve a large applause, and certainly more ... Read More
First, the pluses.  The stewards and wait people were first rate throughout the ship.  They were helpful, solved problems, attended to requests with efficiency, warm, and personable.  They deserve a large applause, and certainly more than NCL pays them.  The cabin with balcony was fine, and met all our needs, especially quiet.In terms of extras, the Thermal Spa pass is well worth the price, because it offers the only quiet, calm, and relaxing spot on the ship.  It's a bargain for what one getsthe only bargain on this ship.  The overall Cruise Critic page misrepresents this ship seems out of date.  For example, tips are now $12 a day for person, not $10.  Eight of ten restaurants require extra charges of $15-$25 per person, and we couldn't see that they were worth that much extra money.  The food did not deserve 5 stars.  It was not bad, but can best be described as casino cafeteria.  A lot of it, many choices, but not much concern for taste or appearance (except in extra-pay restaurants, which made some attempt here.)  Now for a few of the minuses.  -Money grubbing nonstop.  Heavy marketing of port tours, special sales, etc.  Major use of "bring-em-in" events to give something away free and do a sales pitch.   Announced over loudspeakers, numerous flyers, etc.  Stopped in buffet with urgings to try a pay-for restaurant meal.  The worst was being led to believe our ticket included the tips and then find we had to pay them at the end of the cruise.  Many people we met, much more experienced than we were, commented how tacky this marketing was and that it was not typical of other lines.Moneygrubbing part 2: High priced  drinks of all kinds and personal items in the store.  Be sure you have your special soap or toothpaste with you or you'll be shocked by their prices.  NCL Tours: We took only one because we had only 6 hours in Stockholm, but it matched what others said about their experiences at other ports.  The first 4 hours were great.  The last two we were left on our own to find a place to eat in a souvenir heavy location.  If advertised as such that would be one thing, but we did not expect such.  Fortunately we are good independent travellers and did well on our own.Shopping advisory:  Another NCL tour weakness.  I did find the shopping expert helpful in explaning how to get from a port to downtown, what bus to take, and her lectures had useful information.  But she also directed people to well-known tourist trap-restaurants or stores.  The Talinn tour restaurant, for example, is well-known for its faux medieval ambiance and food.  Noise:  Please, can I have breakfast without irritating music blaring away?  No wonder some groups took over the tiny library to have peace and relative quiet.  Great top deck pool and tubs, but also noisome bands or tapes. Hey, I like a lively atmosphere, but not forced everywhere (to make me anxious and gamble? buy a $1000 watch???)Lying to passengers: St. Petersburg showed their true colors.  Like many, we booked an independent tour for that city, DenRus (most highly recommended).  We were directed to a separate line for processing.  It was much longer than the NCL tour line, and when people complained about this, we were told "the Russians insisted on this."  In fact, we learned of DenRus people who went into that line anyway and had no trouble.  Leading up to this, NCL kept warning that independent tour people would have additional troubles, and in one case even suggested they might not be able to leave the ship.Entertainment: Cheaply produced.  Some interesting individual acts (e.g. magicians), but the dancers were worse than school performers and given cheap costumes.  We couldn't believe only 1 in 100 who audition as a dancer is hired, as their documentary on the TV explained.  The productions were poorly directed and choreographed.  We enjoyed then because at times they were so bad and brought out the rare cynics in us.  Our local garage bands were better than several we heard around the ship.This was our first NCL cruise, and our last.  Fortunately, we are very easygoing people, and one shouoldn't think we had a terrible time.  The sea, the ports, the wonderful people we met more than made up for the schlock of the provider.  Go Baltic, but go with another line.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
To make a long story short, this trip was by far the worst cruise we have every experienced. The service was horrible, not one staff member was friendly, smiled, or seemed to enjoy their job. The food and food service was worse than ... Read More
To make a long story short, this trip was by far the worst cruise we have every experienced. The service was horrible, not one staff member was friendly, smiled, or seemed to enjoy their job. The food and food service was worse than waiting in line at a fast food restaurant. It seemed we waited for ever for our beverages, and forget asking for them to leave the bread basket, against the policy. When we first boarded we went up to eat at the Garden Cafe, the beef carver gave me a sliver of meat, when I requested another small slice, he told me I would have plenty of time to eat, I had the whole cruise to eat all I wanted. Rude I thought. We left at 6pm for dinner, the cabin steward was right outside our cabins, when we returned at 10pm our cabins had not been turned down, and when I finally found the steward to request a turn down, he replied " if you wanted an earlier turndown, you should of called the front desk". hmmm Rude again, and here it is 10 pm at night... We had to go to the reception desk 6 times concerning our card to charge items, it just never seemed to work, and we were always sent back to the front desk, because the stores, bars ect... always told us our account was not opened, but closed, and when we went to the reception desk they always assured us our accounts were open, no problems, go ahead and use, but after the 4th time of not working we finally demanded to speak to a manager. We ended up speaking to a Spring Taylor, who assured us she would take care of the credit issues, but unsurprisingly we still had the same problem twice again, then decided not to purchase anything else on board.Forget about Freestyle cruising. We went to dinner at Azures,one of the main dining area, and were turned away because of the dress code.No shorts after 5 pm. My boys did not pack dress slacks, just dress shorts, so again we were back to see Spring Taylor, and she had to notify the restaurant manager that it was ok for the kids to wear shorts to the dining room, Azurs and Tsar's. We were not the only ones refused entry, there were quite a few,who were also mislead by the Free Style Cruising concept.While pool side When we tried to order soft drinks using our unlimited drink sticker, the waiters never came back with the drinks,hmm probably because no tip or cost was required. When we ordered a PinaColada we had the drink , required tip and bill within 3 minutes. We witnessed a waiter argue with an elderly man about the ginger ale he ordered.The elder wanted to switch his can gingerale to a diet coke, and the waiter argued on and on that he ordered a ginger ale,so finally the elderly man told him to go ahead and order the diet coke and he would pay for that also. It was amazing to watch customer service flying out to sea over a ginger ale. We were served military style in the buffet area, due to staff shortage due to illness. Not a single passenger could serve themselves, even the plates, drinks, everything was handed to us by a employee.We had to be squirted into our hands disinfectant coming and going. That wasn't so bad, keeps down on the germs I imagine. Our entire experience on the ship was unacceptable, the only time we enjoyed our time was during a day trip in Cozumel at a private beach club called Nachi Cocom. They were great. The food was great, the drinks tasty, the service outstanding. I am happy to say they received the large tip, that would of gone to the NCL tip, if they would of done the job. By the way, NCL charges $12 a day per person for service charge to go towards the cabin steward and wait staff. You do not have to pay this, as we opted not to. No service ,no tip. What a shame. We have never been ones to skimp on tipping,or offer good reviews on service , however there is always a first, as was this cruise line. To bad, next time we will stick with RCCL, they know how to treat guest. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
I would like to tell you about mine and my wife's experience taking cruise on Norwegian Jewel January 9th January 18th, 2009 (Stateroom #9019, which we bought, but don't lived, and stateroom #5564 where we lived, but didn't ... Read More
I would like to tell you about mine and my wife's experience taking cruise on Norwegian Jewel January 9th January 18th, 2009 (Stateroom #9019, which we bought, but don't lived, and stateroom #5564 where we lived, but didn't buy). Our troubles began when we arrived in Miami from Minneapolis, took transfer bus from airport to cruise terminal. Terminal crew didn't allow us to go to the ship, with explanation that our booking is not in the system for this cruise. I showed them printed copy of all documents, as confirmation that we bought this cruise, but it wasn't enough. They told us that somebody canceled our cruise, and we should call to our agent in Minneapolis and talk with her. They asked us about colors of our suitcases, to pull them out of the ship. We were sitting at terminal for about 3 hours, before they finally let us know that it wasn't our error. We spent about an hour after that waiting for ship access. It was total 4 hours waiting time. We left home at 5a.m, and at 5p.m we finally went to the ship. All that time we were without food and water. Can you imagine what kind of feeling we had during these 4 hours? Officer from the ship came to us with "sorry", and suggested us to upgrade our stateroom on another one with window and on the 5th floor. We didn't have choice at that time. We had a choice to go home or take that room. We took it. Let me explain why our room without window on the 9th floor was better than the new one with window on the floor#5. We bought 9th floor intentionally because it is close to upper floor (12th), where pools, buffet, and all activities take place. I prefer room without window, because it is vacation time, and I don't want to know is it day or night outside my room. So, our compensation for 4 hours of humiliation due to cruise's error was room with window, bottle of wine, and invitation to visit restaurant without cover fee ($15-$20 per person). I can't express it with a different word than humiliation, because when you spend your money to buy service, and then without reason get rejected of such service without reasonable explanation - it is humiliation. In the middle of the cruise time our stateroom #5564 was flooded. Crew installed fan in the room to provide extra ventilation to get rid of water on the floor. Fan was noisy, and since it wasn't effective, we used towels to take extra water from the floor. Management gave us complimentary dinner in one of the restaurants for such inconvenience. There are about 5 restaurants on the ship, which had cover charge between $15 and $25 per person. They gave us choice to pick up one of them with the cheapest entrance fee $15. We came to restaurant, ordered food, and discovered that we are eligible to order only certain meals, not all of them, which we saw in the menu. O.k. let it be! We understood that we are not the prime customers, who paid cover charge, but we are people, who received free complimentary dinner. In about 5-10 minutes, manager of restaurant came to us, said "sorry", and gave us free bottle of wine. A bottle of wine did not improve our moods. I would like to compare this experience with my recent cruise experience with Grand and Golden Princess ships. On these ships you may go everywhere at any time. All decks and all seats in the theatre are for common use. On Norwegian Jewel it is private area in the middle of the ship on the upper deck, and certain seats areas in the theatre, which only privileged people can use. I understand privacy in the staterooms, privacy, when you book restaurant for event (because it is temporary). I have a hard time understanding the privacy on the ship deck, or seats privacy in the theatre. All of us are passengers, and all common areas should be for everybody. With such privacy, which i saw on Norwegian Jewel, I felt like a second class citizen. At the end of our trip, I decided to eat ice cream, and bring it to my wife. Buffet at aft area, where I was at that time, was out of ice cream cups. Waiter suggested me to use coffee cup instead. Since I only allow myself to eat ice cream couple times per year, I decided that eating it from a coffee cup was not an option for me. I went to the front of the ship, found my wife and told her that there are no ice cream cups on the ship. She didn't believe me. We went to the buffet at the front of the ship and found cups there next to an ice machine with a person who served ice cream. When we asked for one of them kinds on the menu, waiter told us that machine is out of such type and suggested to take different type. We took ice cream, which was available at that time, not the one that we wanted to eat. Another time my wife couldn't find salt on our table, but there were 3 jars with pepper. Now it is time to tell something positive. I like that everywhere on the ship you have hand sanitizers. I like hospitality of the crew members. They are hard working people doing everything to make us happy. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, Alex Nikitsin Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
I guess I would have to start off by saying, I am a frequent cruiser and wanted to experience the "freestyle" Norwegian experience, but what a mistake that was. My husband and I booked the Jewel for our honeymoon, and as soon as ... Read More
I guess I would have to start off by saying, I am a frequent cruiser and wanted to experience the "freestyle" Norwegian experience, but what a mistake that was. My husband and I booked the Jewel for our honeymoon, and as soon as we walked onto the ship we noticed the differences in the cruiseline from other cruiselines we have been on. The dining experience was absolutely horrible. Throughout the 9 nights we were on the boat we tried to tell ourselves that tomorrow night would be better....it never got better. The food in the dining room tasted like nothing but grease. The waitstaff was there to push you in and push you out and had no customer service skills whatsoever. One night, we dined by ourselves (2 of us) and we waited and hour and 15 minutes before we received out entree. The waiter never asked us if we wanted anything to drink besides water, just filled our glass and left. On a separate occasion in the dining room, the waitress took a fork from me and gave it to the man sitting at the table next to me. When I asked her what she was doing and if she was seriously taking my fork and giving it to a complete stranger her response was "what, you weren't going to use it." I was utterly disgusted with this, especially seeing how I had had a horrible cold the entire trip and was constantly coughing. Next I would not believe that you had to pay a cover charge to eat at the specialty restaurants. I couldn't believe it when I was comparing the menus from the specialty restaurants to the main dining room and they were serving the same food some nights. I guess you are just paying for the smaller atmosphere, but give me a break! I dined at both Cagney's, and the Tangos restaurant. Cagney's the food was decent but the steak tasted overwhelmingly greasy. However, I must say, the waitress there was the best we had all cruise. On the other hand, Tangos, was HORRIBLE. Everything seemed like it was set up and had just come from the microwave. Chips were stale, cheese was like canned cheese whiz, just HORRIBLE. Next to move to the shows, The Cirque Bijou was the best the Jewel had to offer and if it wasn't for that amazing talent and the 2 gymnasts there would have been no show. The normal dancers and singers were no where near as good. Every show they did the same dance moves and were not the greatest singers. There was never anything new to anticipate. The juggler was sort of funny, but he didn't have very exciting tricks, it wasn't that great that the Jewel should have had him in 2 separate shows. The Magician was pretty cool. Embark and Disembark was HORRIBLE as well. It seemed as though the cruise staff had no idea what was going on and how to handle the situation. Absolute Chaos! Needless to say, my husband and I tried to make the best of our cruise while we were at each of the islands, but as for the boat itself, the only positive thing I have to say about it is that it was clean and the rooms were good size and layout. Overall, I would never recommend Norwegian to anyone, nor will I book another cruise on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
My family sailed on the Norwegian Jewel, from Dover, UK, to the Baltics on 5/29/08. I would like to tell you a few things about our trip. I have tried to express my feelings by phone, but it appears that NCL could care about those of us ... Read More
My family sailed on the Norwegian Jewel, from Dover, UK, to the Baltics on 5/29/08. I would like to tell you a few things about our trip. I have tried to express my feelings by phone, but it appears that NCL could care about those of us who work 9-5. They work those hours and appear to care less about those of us who are looking for a vacation. It seems that with today's economy, you just may have SOMEONE who would listen. Apparently not. (Guess what? Most other lines do!!!). Our ports of call were absolutely amazing and we would not have missed them for the world. However, the ship experience was horrible. This was the 7th cruise for our family. I will not mention any of the lines that we have traveled with, but each experience was far superior to NCL. It began with the cruise itself. Their description made NO mention of the difficulties it would take to get to the port of debarkation. After my initial booking, it took me several months to coordinate everything. Unless we wanted to pay a minimum of $160.00 dollars for a cab from the airport to downtown London, we had to take a bus to Victoria Station and walk three blocks with all of our luggage to get to our hotel (which I had to research and pay for myself). THEN, we had to get to Charing Cross Station (12 Pounds cab fare), to catch the train to Dover Priory. THEN, it was an additional 8 Pounds to get from the train station to the ship! (I won't go into the return trip). Once we got to the ship, I thought things would be fine. On the second day, one of the persons in our cabin became ill. Before she woke me up, she discovered that she had her period. She went to the reception desk to look for tampons. The person behind the desk gave her two packages with a handwritten receipt. At approximately 9 AM, I went with her to the ship's Doctor. She was told that she would have to stay in the cabin for at least 24 hours, as they feared that she had the "Norwalk" virus, and that she would receive a $200.00 credit which would appear on her statement at the end of the cruise. SHE DID THAT. During that day, I went to the Excursion desk to book an excursion in Russia, as I was afraid they may sell out quickly, and I took her card. Whoever was at the desk had NO problem booking the excursion without her presence and using her card , even though she wasn't there. Was that her fault? When we questioned why she had not received the credit on the last day of the cruise, we were told that they had her on camera outside of the cabin on the day that she was confined. I would like to see that evidence! I felt that they were looking for any excuse to not give her that which she was entitled to. I would love to see those tapes! Furthermore, how long did it take for your employees to input a handwritten receipt??? The meals on the ship were mediocre at best. You call it "Free style dining". I call it "Free-for-all dining". With the exception of a couple of restaurants, there was a cover charge of $10.00 to even enter, not to mention more charges if you wanted something extra. As far as I was concerned, we paid enough to go on this cruise. The Garden Cafe, (where most people ended up) had very bland food. I feel that we were served leftovers from the high priced restaurants. Any time we entered the restaurant, we were unable to touch anything. We were handed EVERYTHING, including plates and utensils, salt and pepper, ketchup, etc. One could not even enter an eating establishment without having your hands sprayed. If we tried to even pick up the tongs to serve ourselves a salad, the crew chastised us. There was one morning when I had to wait for FIFTEEN minutes for two slices of toast! I also have issues with the crew. Our cabin steward was overly friendly, to the point of being obnoxious. If I heard "I only want to make you happy!" one more time, I could have vomited. We took two younger persons with us. One was 20 and the other 26. Had we known that the average age over 80 years of age, we may have reconsidered our plans, as there was very little for them to do. As it is, I am 54 years old and I was bored to death after 10 PM. There was no one around at that time! I tried to amuse myself at the casino, but last call was at 1:30 AM. Also, on the last day of the voyage, ALL of the hot tubs and pools were closed. (Wasn't it to be a relaxing day at sea?) In brief, the staff was horrible, the food was blasE, the entertainment was ridiculous, and the pre and post trip information was non-existent. I would never recommend NCL to anyone. I participated in their post-cruise e-mail, but have heard nothing in response. I don't think they even care! That's why I am putting this in writing and will be more than happy to share it with anyone who will listen. I intend to share my concerns with all of the major on-line booking companies. I have requested that they please do not send any further promotions to my e-mail or home address, but they continue to Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Our family went on the nine day Eastern Caribbean aboard the Jewel. Embarkation was long, crowded, and hot, due to computers being down. No announcements were made to inform passengers what was occurring. This was our second time aboard ... Read More
Our family went on the nine day Eastern Caribbean aboard the Jewel. Embarkation was long, crowded, and hot, due to computers being down. No announcements were made to inform passengers what was occurring. This was our second time aboard the Jewel and this time was very disappointing. Our staterooms (two of them) were filthy upon arrival. Old toothpaste on faucet, dirty shelves and carpet with crumbs, old coffee dripped down coffee pots, mirrors that were spotted with hairspray. We spent the first hour cleaning the cabins ourselves. The staff of the Jewel seemed tired and not friendly or helpful. We had two connecting balcony cabins. I had placed a call because we could not get one balcony door open without a struggle. The housekeeping person was cold and rude when he arrived to help us. After a few complaints our door was repaired. It is amazing more people due not fall ill to food poisoning on this ship. Food selection and quality are poor. Food is often cold or so overcooked from laying around. A mayonnaise container was nearly empty, so the staff simply removed the lid and set out some forks. Guests were digging out mayo by sticking their hands and forks down into the container. When I brought it to an employees attention he attempted to dig some out for me. I informed him this was completely unsanitary. He informed me that they were close to the end of the shift and if I wanted mayo that's all there was. People were allowed to eat in the buffet room with bare feet and bathing suits. Hand sanitizers located throughout the ship were empty. The food in the main dining room was terrible, the steakhouse was good, but my steak was sent back for being overcooked. We tried Chin Chin, but that food was poor as well. I was very disappointed, especially since we had to pay the $10 cover charge. Blue Lagoon was good. This ship was very overcrowded and there were lines everywhere. We stood in lines at the front desk, shore excursion desk, for food, drinks, everywhere. It would be difficult to get a table in the buffet due to too many people, and dirty dishes. Teenagers were aloud to run around the ship at all hours, yelling, bumping into people and sitting in stairwells at all hours. In the morning the quiet rooms like the Library would be filled with dirty dishes, food and drinks. No one would clean these rooms at night. And forget ever getting a lounge chair on the deck. You would have to claim a chair by 5AM. NCL had a new towel policy this year and we were given beach towel in our room and told we would be charged $25 for each missing towel. On three different occasions the person who cleaned our room, did not replace our towels. I would have to call and wait for new towels to be delivered. The people in the cabin next to us were charged $100 for missing towels that he claimed he left in the room. It was not relaxing, and you feel as if you can not let your towel out of your sight at the pool. The shows at night were pretty good, except for a magician. I actually had a good laugh because it was so bad. If Samana is a stop for you, stay on the ship. Nothing to see, very depressed area. Shore excursions are overpriced and crowded. You are treated like a group of cattle. Overall the crew appeared tired and sick of people. They were not helpful and not friendly. Disembarkation was just as bad as embarkation. Long lines, hot and miserable. Woman in front of us passed out while waiting. In the past we have cruised with Celebrity Cruise Lines and NCL. We will return to Celebrity. NCL was very disappointing, has cut costs in all areas. Stay away from NCL or be very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
We flew with British Airways from Manchester England to Miami USA. The service on the plane was excellent. We stayed overnight in Miami in The JW Marriott Hotel which was really nice. Next day we embarked on the Norwegian Jewel for a ... Read More
We flew with British Airways from Manchester England to Miami USA. The service on the plane was excellent. We stayed overnight in Miami in The JW Marriott Hotel which was really nice. Next day we embarked on the Norwegian Jewel for a back to back cruise. Our first call was Cozumel Mexico (great value for money hear). The Ship balcony cabin smaller than I am used to. The balcony was big enough for two chairs only, a sunlounger would not fit which was very irritating. The ship itself has no major focal points like staircases etc, leaving a feeling of cheapness. Dress code There is no dresscode. This means to the experienced cruiser do not bother packing tuxedos and fancy dresses as we did. My experience of making an attempt to dress up when other passengers walk about in shorts and flimsy flip flops in the bars, made us look quite obsurd.Even on the cocktail nights passengers were actually having their photo taken with the captain dressed like this. It is at this point i realized I had come to the American version of a cross between Butlins and a caravan site at Skegness. The food All restaurants where a fee is paid have the same menu every day. The Blue lagoon Is free and this also has the same menu everyday.Ps your starter and main meal are served together. i sent back chips and Fish (the worst I have ever tasted) Chef blamed it on his small galley). Never heard that one before The Tsar, Mammas, and the other one which i forget have a repeat menu based on five days. Food in the non paying restaurants are in the main truly awful. First night I left all three courses which were served to me in 20 minutes the whole experience. The service was poor, culminating in the waiter asking me if I had enjoyed my meal despite seeing all three courses virtually un touched. I had similar poor food in the other non paying restaurants. it was clear I was in danger of being the first ever cruise passenger to lose weight on a ship. we spent the next 11 nights in the paying restaurants Cagney's $20 dollars per person CHin Chins $10 Le Bistro $10 a major improvement. Being an Englishman I like cheese and Biscuits. I sent back no end of plates which had got curled up sweaty cheese on it. I finished most nights having to teach my waiter the different names of cheeses , for it was another world to them. Roquefort and stilton requests will lead them to bringing you Gorgonzola. You just cannot get the staff with the exception of a jamaican waiter called Elvis who was clearly light years ahead of this lot. There is also the Teppanyaki restaurant which caters for around 40 passengers. You have more chance of dining with the Queen of England as their are over 2000 passengers trying to get in. Dining times Free style cruising means eat when you like. The reality is 6pm till 8.30 pm you will wait in long lines. The waiters will also rush your meal as they need to keep the lines down. Freestyle is based on cramming as many passengers on the ship, in the hope that we do not all turn up at the same time. My party ate at 9.30pm as this was the only quiet time we could get. Burgers All burgers on the buffet are always cold. along with many other foods. I suggest when ordering your burger ask a staff member if you can find one to stick it back on the grill.There is in my opinion a serious risk of a food poisoning outbreak like on the old Topaz ship. Ship activities Sunbathing. My god was I glad i had a balcony. They were packed like an overcrowded seal colony. , personal space did not exist on sea days I called it Steerage, like on the Titanic. Bingo Two fees. Pay either $36 dollars and be told you virtually cannot win (as said by the bingo caller) or pay $150 dollars (yes it is not a typo) for four games, competing for four prizes. Also expect to be plied with raffle strips at $20 dollars at a time. every one a winner. Reality is nearly all are one dollar prizes which you can claim from the casino.How degrading is that having to queue for one dollar. Beware these strips are sold in the theater and many other areas. never heard who benefited from them. Drinks Double Martini Rosso $12 dollars Bailey Doubles $12 dollars Carona Bottle lager $5.50.Being on a back to back you can see how all staff including the cruise Director have been brainwashed in to telling the same jokes to each intern of passengers. they have attempted to package what staff say to you just like McDonalds and KFC did in the seventies. Only they do it badly. Do not get me wrong being a waiter with such training or a chef producing the same meal week in week out, would not inspire me to look forward to my work. This is a ship which has had its soul ripped out of it. The Managers have focussed on profit giving inferior meals and using every opportunity to fleece it customers. This is my 16th cruise And this was my first and last time with Norwegian cruise lines. This cruise line gives cruising a bad name. I suggest they recruit managers from P&O, princess, Celebrity, Cunard or Royal Caribbean to show this company how it is done. Try P&O or Princess they are very good Steve Cooke Sheffield England Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
This was our second time on the Norwegian Jewel. The first time was in September, 2007 and was an ok trip. Since we wanted to do a transatlantic crossing from Europe to America and wanted to visit Funchal Madeira Portugal we decided to ... Read More
This was our second time on the Norwegian Jewel. The first time was in September, 2007 and was an ok trip. Since we wanted to do a transatlantic crossing from Europe to America and wanted to visit Funchal Madeira Portugal we decided to give the Jewel another chance. BIG MISTAKE. Upon checking in we find that Funchal Madeira, Portugal had been taken off the itinerary. They said that it was due to an engine problem that had occurred in the last few days. That was a blatant lie since I had been reading about the problem on Cruise Critic Roll Call for week. However, NCL said that it would not effect any itineraries. I have since found out that some friends went on this ship in July, 2007 and that they were told of the engine problem at that time. We were given $100 onboard credit (we were in a mini suite on deck 11). This is the same amount given to people who booked an inside cabin on deck 5. At the first port we bought a bottle of wine at a local store. Upon returning to the ship the bottle was taken away from us. When we protested they said that if we paid a $15 corking fee we could have it back. Isn't that extortion? The food was terrible. Never had a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, cherries jubilee or Baked Alaska. I can get better food at a local diner in my hometown. A few waiters seemed interested in making the dining experience pleasant most seemed to just be doing a job that they disliked. The free style dining is a little misleading. You don't eat when you want you eat when they have room in the dining room. There was as much as an hour wait. Give me assigned dining anytime. We are Silver Latitudes members and did not get an invitation to the Captains's cocktail party. The only time that an (optional)formal night was mentioned was for a photo op with the captain. We docked so far from the towns that we had to take shuttles. Both times we had to pay to ride the shuttles. One time it was $8.00. They said that due to limited space you must purchase you tickets the day before we got to port. When some friends tried to purchase tickets the night before they were told that they were sold out, however the next morning we watched the crew selling tickets at the door of the bus while people in line with pre purchased tickets were ignored and not able to get on the bus. Return to ship via these shuttles was pure chaos. We watched some of the crew arguing with each other in from of the passengers. One night after the show the cruise director announced that all tours the next day would be leaving from the theater. Our tickets clearly stated that we were to meet on the pier. The next morning we went to the theater as she instructed when someone with the tour staff asked us why we were there. When we told her she said that we needed to get to the pier pronto. She told us that the cruise director did not have the authority to speak for the tour dept. We should not be involved in inter departmental spats and power struggles. I would like to say that our room steward was very good at his job and was very helpful and one of the few bright spots for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
This was our fifth cruise and was our worst experience for a variety of reasons. Entertainment: The entertainment was awful. They had a magician who isn't worthy of a child's back yard birthday party. Not only was he bad one ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise and was our worst experience for a variety of reasons. Entertainment: The entertainment was awful. They had a magician who isn't worthy of a child's back yard birthday party. Not only was he bad one night, but they had him back to entertain the following evening! The same guy! One the night with the best show, they didn't have enough room to seat everyone. We had to stand at the back of the theater to get a glimpse. Activities: As hard as it is to believe, they managed to totally mess up Bingo. They had an electronic bingo pad to make things simpler, however, the device was not functioning properly and caused a ton of confusion. Many guest workers were summoned to the event to try to calm tempers. This caused workers to miss their assignments at other locations - like a scrabble tournament where nobody showed up to organize. Free Style Dining: This was a disaster also. They used a number of electronic boards to identify the seating availability within these restaurants. This is a great idea however, the boards were usually wrong. They had seating available at restaurants, but when we got there, they were closed. The portions of food in the paying restaurants were so small that it was infuriating. And to top it off, the evening following a paid-for dinner, we ate at the 'free' restaurant, only to have the same offering as the night before where we had to pay! Nickles & Dimes: On virtually all cruises that I had been on before, you were offered a complementary cocktail as you boarded and/or as you left land. Not on NCL Jewel. They offered $9 drinks when you arrived which confused people who thought that the drinks were free. On one occasion, a lady grabbed a drink and walked away only to be chased down by an employee asking for her room key to pay for the drink. Also, on New Year's Eve, staff walked around with glasses of champagne. Free? Of course not; they charged you $6 for a small glass of champagne. And the tipping for their staff was not left to your discretion. All tipping (rooms, restaurants, cocktails, etc) were automatically added to your tabs. This resulted in a lack of motivation for great service. Kids Club: Our party consisted of 2 families with 5 children. As the children are relatives living far away from each other, we intended for them to spend a lot of time together. Unfortunately, NCL ruined that also for us. Our 9 year old child was prohibited from playing in the 10-12 year old Kids Club. Ditto for our 13 year old son who was not allowed to hang out with the 12 year olds. They had a 'no exception' policy. How's that for customer service. Overall Rating: Simply awful and not worth the money. I could go on about the ship, but hopefully, you get the picture. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Where do I begin. Let me start off by saying that I am not a newbie when it comes to cruising. I have been on over 18 cruises and look forward to them every chance I get. We picked NCL for a few reasons. One was that the ship was new and ... Read More
Where do I begin. Let me start off by saying that I am not a newbie when it comes to cruising. I have been on over 18 cruises and look forward to them every chance I get. We picked NCL for a few reasons. One was that the ship was new and we also liked the Freestyle way of dining. Also, I had a really nice experience with NCL on a NEw England cruise a few years back. We had a group of 20 and I can say with great certainty that i will NEVER sail with NCL again. Let me start with the positives. The ship was beautiful and the cabins were very nice. Our cabin steward was right on the ball and kept our room nice and clean. The shows were fantastic. We also can say that our daughter had a ball at the kids club. That is pretty much the positives I can say. Now to the negatives- the food was awful in the main dining rooms. The service we encountered was extremely slow and attitudes were plenty. It got to the point that we had to eat in specialty restaurants which is fine but should not necessary to get a decent meal. The lunch meals were the lowest quality food you could find. Very low quality deli meats. Bottom of the line dark meat chicken and VERY little selection. Just plain AWFUL!! What bothers me the most was the attitude I received from SEVERAL crew members. I was shocked!! The casino crew was also especially rude. We went to play bingo and it was SUPER EXPENSIVE! I think $35 dollars for bingo for a minimal entry is crazy. The photographs were also very expensive. $25 dollars for an 8 X 10 is NUTS! I can truly say I look forward to my next Carnival cruise after this debacle of a cruise. Was booked to go on it again in April but am in the process of switching. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
I had cruised with NCL 2 times prior , on the SEA out of Houston , fabulous experiences, great service, so when I referred my friend for his 40th birthday a cruise on the Jewel I knew it would be great... was I shocked and so ... Read More
I had cruised with NCL 2 times prior , on the SEA out of Houston , fabulous experiences, great service, so when I referred my friend for his 40th birthday a cruise on the Jewel I knew it would be great... was I shocked and so disappointed. To begin with, the birthday room package i had paid weeks for in advance never was up in the stateroom until I tracked down the steward and asked him to please take care of it immediately, it was put up after we went to dinner later that night . The 15% auto gratuity on drinks and waiters is beyond belief, 99% of the time we could not get drinks and had to go to the bar ourselves for service and yet still had to pay the 15%, the employees were more interested in conversation with each other to worry about the guests. We sat at the bar at the casino for almost 30 minutes one night , and gambling , and no one EVER came and asked for a drink order. The reception desk and excursion desk are extremely rude , and the language barrier is beyond belief , we had the wrong colored luggage tags given to us 3 different times, we started just to point to menu choices instead of trying to ask for the food as the repeat back was usually incorrect. We had been told excursions were sold out or nearly sold out and after booking received notice the morning of the excursion that the excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest ! Everyday seemed like going to work on this cruise the little forms and daily guide line inspections seemed like a ritual and we felt as though we spent 80% of our time complying with routine seemingly simple procedures that took up a lot of our vacation time. Going to this desk , or that desk for questions and answers , it was way too much work for a vacation . The 2 formal restaurants were great on food presentation but again , not many smiles nor pleasantness, we felt many times as we were imposing . No extra towels in the staterooms when requested, day after day and yet we still paid the $10 per day gratuity , AND after the birthday package was delivered , it was nice with a nice cake, the room steward took it upon himself to remove the cake after just a day or two when there was almost 3/4 of it left , we had it covered up and setback not in the trash . I can go on for the whole 7 days of poor poor service and frustrations , and not even touch base on the ports of call and maybe 3 days of shopping the same diamond stores is just a bit much, and the classes offered in the fitness center were never published anywhere so we could be prepared and sign up before they were full, and being a previous cruiser I knew when and where to ask certain questions,or so I thought , but do you think my friends will ever cruise again, not sure but if they do it certainly not be NCL , and me I think I am doing some major cruise line shopping before I ever book again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
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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