359 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

We've taken five cruises on NCL, all in the Haven going back about six years. We had certain expectations based on that past experience, and we were disappointed with a number of them. Let's start with the embarkation. My ... Read More
We've taken five cruises on NCL, all in the Haven going back about six years. We had certain expectations based on that past experience, and we were disappointed with a number of them. Let's start with the embarkation. My wife needs a wheelchair to get from the curb to the cabin. We had to wait 45 minutes sitting outside in Los Angeles before a wheelchair came and this was after I nagged half a dozen employees to get their attention. In the past, there was a "Haven" lounge area before we got onto the ship where we had a snack, got our ID cards, had a chance to meet with the Concierge and had a nice welcome. And then we were personally escorted to our cabin. Not so this time. No lounge, no welcome. We did get escorted to our cabin, but I think that was because of the wheelchair. The cabin, a two bedroom suite, was as we expected. Very clean, very well appointed. The decor has been updated and is much better. Everything worked as it should. But. In the past, Haven passengers were given a couple of bottles of liquor/wine of their choice. This time not. We had snacks/treats delivered every afternoon as part of the Haven butler service, but there was very little variety. On a fourteen day cruise it got very repetitive. The cabin service, butler, steward and concierge was without fault and is, of course, one of the big attractions of the Haven service. We especially love the unpacking and packing of luggage. In the private pool area, there were a lot of gaps during the day, when there was no service. As for the dining, we knew what we were getting into and so there were no surprises. NCL has some nice variety in restaurants, but we find that the flavoring of dishes in the specialty restaurants is just too timid. We were disappointed that Cagney's, which used to be open for breakfast and lunch for Haven passengers, is now only for dinner. The Moderno space is where Haven passengers can get lunch and breakfast. Speaking of Cagney's, this is our favorite NCL restaurant and we ate there about every other day. But what happened to the menu? The number of choices is much less than the original and we missed the variety. Perhaps our biggest disappointment was the cancellation of the Chef's Table special dinner. We had done that on every one of our prior cruises. It was a great opportunity to meet like minded dining companions. So, I think this will be our last "Haven" trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. ... Read More
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. We watered it down. Decor in dining rooms was not as elegant as some larger ships. Personnel were fabulous. Our room stewardess (last name Harris) was very friendly and helpful. A woman who worked in various positions, especially the games played, (Shirley I think) was a true joy. I think she was having as much fun as we were. Shows in main theater were very good. Pool area was crammed with chairs, many of which were saved and no one ever came to sit there. Many times, we could not find a chair. A sign stated that chairs remaining unoccupied for 1 hour would be cleared for other guests. That never happened. Apparently some guests reserved a chair in the sun and another one in the shade. That shouldn't be allowed when so many other guests are looking for a seat. The ship is older but is clean and well maintained. We purchased the soft drink package. Water was not included and should have been. Over all, the trip was a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We did this cruise to do something different and to see places we wouldn't normally do. Getting on and off the ship was an experience not a good one, it took over 2 hours of queuing to get on and even longer to disembark! The cabin ... Read More
We did this cruise to do something different and to see places we wouldn't normally do. Getting on and off the ship was an experience not a good one, it took over 2 hours of queuing to get on and even longer to disembark! The cabin was comfortable but needed bringing up to date. The buffet restaurant I would not recommend not because the food was poor but because no matter what time you went it was always full. Struggled to get a table and I was always bumping into people. Hated it! We always used Tsar Palace it was more relaxing. I thought the entertainment was average there was the occasional act that was good. The one thing that was excellent were the staff cannot fault them at all. We enjoyed all the port and excursions, we did 3 with the ship and others we arranged ourselves. Can recommend the humpback whale watching. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Going through the canal was great. Having to go clear to Catagena is terrible. The NCL personnel are great. Food was good. Some entertainment was real good some not very good. We were ripped off on some excursions through NCL. We went on ... Read More
Going through the canal was great. Having to go clear to Catagena is terrible. The NCL personnel are great. Food was good. Some entertainment was real good some not very good. We were ripped off on some excursions through NCL. We went on an excursion with Julio; Cesear was our guide; went to volcano climb to the top and slid down on a 8 inch board. Service people went out of their way to help. The activity on the ship is lacking. It was an older crowd that might have been part of it. The water slide on the ship is lame; why did they even put it on? Food in dinning room, buffet and barbecue on deck was really. we were a group of 8 and been planning this for a couple of years to go through the canal we enjoyed our cruise. Disembarkation in LA was slower than should have been. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Average cruise with limited daytime activities and below par evening entertainment On board costs extravagant with a cost of 4,000 usd for a medical issue which could have been resolved in 30 minutes but took 4 hours Excursions are ... Read More
Average cruise with limited daytime activities and below par evening entertainment On board costs extravagant with a cost of 4,000 usd for a medical issue which could have been resolved in 30 minutes but took 4 hours Excursions are very expensive and can be found cheaper on arrival at port with some pre planning Wifi on board is ridiculous with a cost of 270usd for the trip. Wait until you reach port and go to a bar for free! The spa is equally not value for money with treatments at least double a decent spa on land The staff constantly pester guests to undertake treatments. Drop the costs and the staff would be kept busy working instead of selling The bars are understaffed with only one person working no matter the time , waiting for a drink is the norm. The casino is uninviting as it's a smokers haven, if you allow smoking at least ventilate the area! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our eighth cruise and second on the Norwegian Cruise line. We chose this cruise because of the extensive port calls, 9 in 16 days including the full transit of the Panama Canal. First the Pros of this cruise. We had ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise and second on the Norwegian Cruise line. We chose this cruise because of the extensive port calls, 9 in 16 days including the full transit of the Panama Canal. First the Pros of this cruise. We had phenomenal weather, each day, sunny, warm, highs in 80's Each port visited was well planned, easy on/off only Cabo had tenders We took a varied number of excursions through Viator, Dream Vacations, and Norwegian and enjoyed them all. The Panama Canal documentary and subject matter expert was excellent The entertainment the first week, (comic/fiddler), singer and hypnotist were very good The ultimate drink package was great, we drank all,of our allowed daily caloric intake! We found O'Sheehans Pub, Cagneys and Churascaria restaurants to be very good Most disappointing Food and food portions very small and many meals to have little taste, I.e. Clams casino has four small clams, a friend and I had to look for the duck, on the duck dishes, eggplant was served in two small quarter sized portions. To be served a bone-in ribeye steak, lobster tail, or surf and turf, a supplemental charge of $19.99 - $24.99 for each meal charged to your cabin. Our other cruises had these meals free on first and last nigh cruises Pastries and deserts, very bland, dry, not much taste. Beds combined to make queen very uncomfortable and seam very visible Usual other comments about the Jewel being an older boat, carpets stained, events during sea days, very repetitive, casino was void of any excitement etc. Embarkation took 1.5 hours, at least most of it was shaded in Miami, the disembarkation took almost three hours, only had 4 US Immigration people checking in almost 2000 US citizens. Not as Funny, in that there were an equal number of 4 Customs people checking non-US citizens as well. Never did understand why there are not more Custom Agenta for US Citizens returning back to the US. Summary - Value for our money, was below average on this fairly expensive cruise, compared to our other cruises on Celebrity and Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The staff were very friendly and great service with smiles. Donovan, and Cindy were outstanding waiters. Christian was our cabin maintenance and he is a happy polite and hoping he will receive a raise in wages or position if he ... Read More
The staff were very friendly and great service with smiles. Donovan, and Cindy were outstanding waiters. Christian was our cabin maintenance and he is a happy polite and hoping he will receive a raise in wages or position if he wishes. Our room was 9055. I did not like the idea of having to look for a breakfast, lunch and dinner place to sit and eat on deck 12. It was always crowded. I felt the hot meals were very spicey and I heard that comment a lot from others. The trip itself was brilliant and the places we visited were exciting. There was disentry on the ship but the staff were on top of it and wishy washy was everywhere. There was a problem when coming off the ship. Apparently the border control had few staff and there were at least 10 of us still on the ship at 12pm. when the new passengers were beginning to board. The one and most important complaint I received as a cruise critic was this, As you had to go through the casino to the Stardust theatre you walked through a smoke haze. So many people complained about the smoking in the casino. I did speak to Ian the director and he said that Norwegian did try to stop the smoking but there was less money spent in the casino so they decided to let people smoke again. There it is in a nutshell......Norwegian care more for more monies than they do for passengers health. One day someone will sue for passive smoking and perhaps they will do something about it. There are folk who don't smoke and love to have a try at the casino. Why they cannot build on to the cigar room and put a few pokies in that room for the smokers would be a better idea then we do not have to have our health affected. The other main concern was that the outside lounges were taken up by people who just put their towels on the lounges and walked away for hours. This should be stopped to make it fair for everyone. If a person walks away for more than 15 min then the staff should be vigilant and have the right to take the towel away and allow another to use the lounge. I know this is an ongoing thing but it is not a fair practise at the moment. I hope Nowegian can bring into an effect something to stop this. Too many sun lovers and not enough lounges. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Booked this Panama Canal cruise from L.A. to Miami to cross off my bucket list. Got a great price inclusive of air and transfers. Embarkation at San Pedro went relatively smoothly. Food at Garden Cafe was average at best. Breakfast was ... Read More
Booked this Panama Canal cruise from L.A. to Miami to cross off my bucket list. Got a great price inclusive of air and transfers. Embarkation at San Pedro went relatively smoothly. Food at Garden Cafe was average at best. Breakfast was the same each day, ;lunches and dinners had a bit more variety. Nice that they had Congee for breakfast every morning. Coffee was horrible, with no flavour at all. Juices were overly sweet. Pasta Station was quite good, Had dinner most nights in Azura Dining Room. Our Special Diet Server, Melody, was awesome looking after our no sodium requests. Communication was extremely poor, as even though we preordered the night before, hostess and waiters always gave us the regular menu when being seated and looked confused when we informed them that we had already ordered off the special diet menu the night before. This info need to be filtered down to the staff a lot more efficiently. Cabin was made way too late in afternoon, sometimes not till 1:00pm or later. Poorly designed room, as there were no electrical outlets close to our beds. They were located far away, and had to borrow two extension cords from Guest Services to plug in medical equipment. Absolutely hate that NCL adds on a mandatory $189 USD service charge onto account, and had to plead with Guest Services to remove them, as we wished to tip in cash an amount we felt was consistent with service provided. The customer should determine amount, not the Cruise Line. Entertainment onboard was superb, went to every 7pm show at Stardust Theatre. Cruise Director, Iain Bagshaw was the best I've ever seen. Absolutely hilarious, personable, and a Magician to boot. Enjoyed Raegar, Dan Bennett, David Naster, Chris Pendleton, George Solomon, and Elegy (Rinat and Elena). All shows were throughly entertaining. Ports of Call were just ok, stayed mostly close to port and did our own walking tours. Keep in mind that these are not cosmopolitan cities, so overall not too bad. Constantly pestered in Acapulco by taxi drivers and guys wanting to set us up for massages with young senoritas. Was asked eight times during two block walk from terminal to restaurant. Ship is outdated, but knew this being going onboard. Overall , a very geriatric crowd as we felt like kids onboard compared to other passengers. Would I repeat, probably not, unless it was a smoking great deal presented to me... Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We flew in from London and stayed that night at an airport hotel before being transferred to the ship. My wife and I chose this cruise be cause it gave us the opportunity to do some whale watching, travel the Panama Canal and get some ... Read More
We flew in from London and stayed that night at an airport hotel before being transferred to the ship. My wife and I chose this cruise be cause it gave us the opportunity to do some whale watching, travel the Panama Canal and get some warm sunshine. Embarkation was pretty quick compared to some we have experienced. Disembarkation was slow due to congestion at the port of Miami. We were 30 minutes late in getting off. Previous comments claimed that the ship was looking tired. We did not think so although the colour scheme was a bit too garish for our taste. All the public areas seemed well cared for. Our cabin (10566) was clean but at first seemed to have a slightly funny smell. This went with time. Our main complaint was that the bathroom was miniscule again compared to others we have experienced. It was impossible to sit on the toilet and close the door due to the position of the toilet. There was no room for a bedside table on one side as the couch was up against the bed. The balcony was adequate . Dining was OK ish with bog standard offerings on the complementary menu. More interesting dishes were charged extra. This is something we have not experienced before. One American guest with a lot of Norwegian cruise experience claimed that this is a trend that has been going on for some time. Even the Italian speciality restaurant for which a charge was made really did not have more than average food on offer. As we had an all inclusive beverage package we were not forced to pay the high prices for drinks. Interestingly this package did not include the mini bar or bottled water in the cabin!! It also had a strange limitation on the value of any individual drink but allowed you to order any amount of the drink in smaller quantities! There was a good range of entertainments on offer during the night with a very energetic song and dance team and some good comedians. We were sad that there were no interesting speakers on offer so cruise days could drag. With one exception all the crew were attentive, helpful and polite. Our cabin steward was there if you wanted him but did not intrude if you did not. The excursions were well managed except on one tour when it was impossible to hear the guide due to a poor sound reproduction system on the bus. The ports had the usual tourist traps that meant that you hade to walk past lots of stalls offering local stuff getting on and off the ship. Would we use Norwegian again? Only if the locations visited were of interest. We much prefer Cunard and Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Unless you pay for the more extravagant excursions, most coastal Mexican towns/ports are very similar with a lot of souvenir shops and pushy junk vendors. In Puerta Vallarta, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a must see. In ... Read More
Unless you pay for the more extravagant excursions, most coastal Mexican towns/ports are very similar with a lot of souvenir shops and pushy junk vendors. In Puerta Vallarta, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a must see. In Mazatlan, the open air buses were down, so there was no affordable way to see the city. In Cabo San Lucas, the Harbor is beautiful and the best view of it is from the ship. A quick trip (1 hour) to shore to see some seals, pelicans and other wildlife was all you needed. On-board, the crew and staff were friendly and helpful, our stateroom steward was great. The entertainment was good (some of the musical acts were very loud and garbled), The food was fair, except for La Cucina was excellent and Chin Chin was terrible. The New Year's Eve Party was very fun with our traveling friends. The Game Shows were cute and funny, Trivia was a great place to meet other passengers, although several of the MCs had very thick accents and were very hard to understand. In some cases, it turned into a game that the first team to decipher the question in English deserved an extra point. We will take more cruises, and would not rule NCL, but this cruise did not instill any significant loyalty beyond the value (Free Ultimate Drink Package, Tips included, $100 on-board credit plus a great price from our travel agent). A great All-inculsive vacation to be remembered. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We haven't cruised NCL in the past 25 years and now I know why. Ship was fine, upgraded to a mini suite so cabin was very nice. Staff was attentive. This was a New Years cruise, and did not have access to any Collage bowl games. This ... Read More
We haven't cruised NCL in the past 25 years and now I know why. Ship was fine, upgraded to a mini suite so cabin was very nice. Staff was attentive. This was a New Years cruise, and did not have access to any Collage bowl games. This was not ACCEPTABLE. Many cruisers were very upset.. since when can't you wa ch the rose bowl parade and the Ros Bowl game. Now for the food, mediocre at best in Tsars, Azure and Osheehans. They really want you to go to the specialtys. La Bistro, excellent as was Cagneys. Modernos was good but felt rushed. There should be an age limit at specialty restaurants as infants crying at dinner was unacceptable. Will not go on NCL AGAIN, we are elite on Celebrity and will continue to cruise on them. There is no need to go to their specialty restaurants, as the food in the dining room is of a much higher quality. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise to do something different over New Years. We traveled with friends and the cruise was suggested by one of our friends. It was in general a fun cruise. The ship is a little tired. I did however, dislike the smoking in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to do something different over New Years. We traveled with friends and the cruise was suggested by one of our friends. It was in general a fun cruise. The ship is a little tired. I did however, dislike the smoking in the casino as I felt like I was in an ashtray and did not stay more than 4-5 minutes, the odor carried into some of the lounges and exiting the shows you would pass through the casino. The elevators were extremely slow so you were forced to use the stairways more than you would like. In the future i would be looking for a newer ship with the amenities that are necessary for medical devices, CPAP machines. I would probably look at a higher end cruise line. The embarkation and disembarkation process is much better than it has been on our past cruising experiences. At the end of the day we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I've heard multiple people on this cruise say NCL has changed dramatically in the last year or so and it would be their last time. The spa is smaller than the other ones but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Of course, everyone wants to go ... Read More
I've heard multiple people on this cruise say NCL has changed dramatically in the last year or so and it would be their last time. The spa is smaller than the other ones but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Of course, everyone wants to go to the gym at the same time causing it to be overcrowded so make sure you go around dinner time or early afternoon and even then, the ventilation seemed to be lacking but the staff were friendly. I bought tequila in Mexico and they keep in the hold but I forgot to get it the night before because they used to deliver it to the room and when I tried to call NCL, they said they were closed for the holidays. Again, I tried to call the day after and the day after but still closed until I finally reached a customer rep who said it was impossible to ship it. I notified the rep I lived near the port and can pick it up if it's stored there or when the ship returns but he informed me it was still impossible to retrieve the item for return. Yup, I forgot it and upon further research, many others have had the same problem on not having items returned both non alcoholic content and alcohol. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was given to me as a promotion (reduced price) from Pechanga Casino in California. Even though the service in the ship was pretty good, the one thing that soured my cruising experience was by far the food! I have never in my ... Read More
This cruise was given to me as a promotion (reduced price) from Pechanga Casino in California. Even though the service in the ship was pretty good, the one thing that soured my cruising experience was by far the food! I have never in my life been subject to such crappy food! The average American school lunch is a million times more decent and tastier. The buffet style food served in the Jewel was just horrible! Any kind of meat dish was dry and pretty much everything lacked flavor. In others words, I was eating whatever just to make the hunger go away! Even the majority of the complimentary restaurants were mediocre! The only food that was decent enough to enjoy was the one that was grilled outside by the pool. The only complimentary drinks was pretty much ice water and some crappy ice tea and lemonade. The ship seemed kind of small because there were only two pools. You have to pay for Wi-Fi, which in my opinion, really sucks. They constantly show the same stuff on television ( I think I saw the NCL commercial with Pitbull over 200 times!). This was my first and last cruise with NCL! The food that was being served for a week pretty much ruined what could have been a memorable cruise ship vacation Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is now our 3rd cruise with Norwegian. By far it was the best one yet, but they've got a long way to go to be nearly as good as the other cruise lines. The Jewel is an awkward ship, there really is no grand atrium with massive ... Read More
This is now our 3rd cruise with Norwegian. By far it was the best one yet, but they've got a long way to go to be nearly as good as the other cruise lines. The Jewel is an awkward ship, there really is no grand atrium with massive glass elevators. The staff on the Jewel far exceeds that of the other two ships I have been on (Getaway & Spirit). The previous two cruises with Norwegian, the staff has been terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were unfriendly, slow and did nothing but complain about co-workers. This is the first time on Norwegian where the majority of the staff were actually friendly and smiling. There were certainly a few that were miserable and should not be in the hospitality industry, but again most of them were great! There is O'Sheehan's restaurant on the Jewel, like many of the Norwegian ships. Our other experiences at O'Sheehan's was fantastic, but not on the Jewel! Both of us thought the food was terrible, to the point we felt sick when we left. The place was empty, with maybe 12 tables full, we waited over ten minutes for someone to come up to us, finally I went to the hostess and asked that she send someone over. Unlike other cruise lines, there is not much to do on the Jewel. Activities are few and far between. Of course there was bingo and deal or no deal and a few trivia sessions, but not much more going on. On the last day, the elevator broke down while we were on it. We were stuck inside. There is no cell service inside so we could not call anyone. We rang the emergency button and got no response, we rang it again and still no response, third ring still no response. Finally a fourth ring, we got a very rude staffer on the elevator intercom that screamed "Stop pressing the button, we know you are there. We will send an engineer to check it out", um.....ok, why did you not answer the first three rings and then come on screaming at us on the fourth ring!?!? Thankfully we were only stuck in there for about 25 minutes. I don't have kids so did not realize that Thanksgiving week was a school vacation. NEVER AGAIN will I cruise on a school vacation, they said there were approximately 830 kids on the ship. Believe me, it was noticeable!! Toddlers screaming in the restaurant (late too at like 8:45 p.m., go to bed), kids running through the halls and on the decks! Overall we had a great time. Would have preferred to be on another cruise line. I think we are done giving Norwegian chance after chance to show us they can be as good as the rest of the cruise lines. Next two cruises are already scheduled on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We are silver level so have been on previous Norwegian cruises, as well as other cruise lines. Cabin was very small and & "tired"... bathroom Formica missing....bathroom floor didn't feel clean, carpeting had ... Read More
We are silver level so have been on previous Norwegian cruises, as well as other cruise lines. Cabin was very small and & "tired"... bathroom Formica missing....bathroom floor didn't feel clean, carpeting had stains...very.disappointing....we did have a balcony on 9th level.... Buffet was not up to our expectations... desserts very disappointing...minimal selections. We went to three specialty dinners....Italian was the best....dining room dinner menu selections were good. The entertainment was excellent....very enjoyable! Casino small and extremely smoky...I had to leave because of smokers....should have non-smoking areas.... we had a beverage package that was included in our booking...we are not big drinkers, but this was a nice change for us. Enjoyed cocktails and bar staff. Captain was extremely visible..He was often seen walking on decks....he always gave good talks about various ports and cruises.... cruise Director was very good,.... I think many passengers had drink packages and therefore there were more rowdy people on board than in our past cruises.... Embarkation could have been better organized....we were organized in 'groups'.... it was quite noisy....the people calling groups needed a microphone or a better way to communicate.... overall the cruise was okay, but definitely disappointing..... Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I just returned from a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the NCL Jewel. If I had to give it a rating between 1 and 5 stars it would have to be a 3 star cruise. I will start with the good points of the cruise. The crew is phenomenal on the ... Read More
I just returned from a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the NCL Jewel. If I had to give it a rating between 1 and 5 stars it would have to be a 3 star cruise. I will start with the good points of the cruise. The crew is phenomenal on the Jewel. Everyone was kind, courteous, and helpful. Always smiling and happy. I don’t use the pool area but I would walk by it on my way to the Library. Even on sea days I noticed available loungers. Also on the pool deck on sail away day they had a massive barbecue for the passengers. Very long lines to get food and drinks. Embarkation and Debarkation was a breeze. One of the easiest I have ever done and I was at the airport 4 hours before my flight home. I ate at Cagney’s Steakhouse which, as usual, was fantastic. Some of the best steak and service on the seas. I have just finished sailing on the NCL Sun and Escape and my opinion is the Jewel needs refurbishment. I do understand that at the beginning of the year she will go in for it. Everything was old, frayed, spotted and uncomfortable. Crystal Atrium chairs seemed to be spotted with drink spills, the carpet on every deck where it meets the tile was frayed and showing what was underneath the carpet. The layout of the ship didn’t make any sense to me. The Crystal Atrium, Deck 7, has Guest Services, Shore Excursions, Restaurant Reservations, Credit Desk and the Java Café all crammed into one spot. For some reason the photographers set up two stations almost every night and you couldn’t get to any of the service desks because it was so crowded. They also had entertainment there during the afternoon and night which made passengers feel like sardines in a can. The Main Dining Rooms were located at each end of the ship but to get to Azura you had to take an elevator to Deck 7 and catch a special elevator to Deck 6 to get to it. The food at the Garden Buffet was terrible. I didn’t care for any of it with the exception of the boxed cereal and English muffins. The Main Dining Rooms, Azura and Tsar’s were not very good either. The food was heated but the service was slow every night. I tried it three different times and waited for food one night for over 30 minutes and finally walked out never eating dinner and over 20 minutes the other two nights. I ate all meals in O’Sheehan’s after that. It is great pub food, hot, service is great and most passengers forget it even exists. The entertainment was just mediocre. Band on the Run was good, the comedian, Rex Havens was very good, Luminescence, with Hajime and Maud was unbelievable. It was a light and aerial act and I wanted to see the second show, it was so good. John Pierre, the adult comedian and magician was not very good. The most serious problem I had was not NCL’s fault but I felt that something should have been done about it. I understand the some people will get upset with me for saying this but next door to my cabin was a husband and wife and a 1 ½ year old boy. There was a locked connecting door from their room to mine. Unfortunately from the minute the child got in the room until the day we disembarked he either screamed or cried the whole time. It was not a quiet cry it was a loud screaming cry of a temper tantrum. He played with the lock and door handle on the connecting door and banged and banged on the door all the time. I try to take a nap around 1 pm every day and because of the child I couldn’t. I don’t understand why parents feel a cruise for a very young child is a good thing. They can’t go to Splash Academy, they are too young. His poor parents looked frazzled and frayed by Thursday. I went to Guest Services to be moved and was told that this is not a good reason to move to another room. I am sorry but I paid for my cruise just like they did and it truly ruined my cruise for me, which isn’t fair to me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first time with NCL and probably our last. We booked this with a small group of friends and the organizer bailed on us. We were curious about NCL and the price was decent so we went ahead with the cruise as planned. The ... Read More
This was our first time with NCL and probably our last. We booked this with a small group of friends and the organizer bailed on us. We were curious about NCL and the price was decent so we went ahead with the cruise as planned. The ship was okay, our mini-suite was okay but both could use a face-lift. Their decorators could use a lesson or two. No complaints about the food, actually it was better than anticipated. We ate in their specialty restaurants 5 times and in the regular dining rooms a few times. The food in the regular dining rooms was very good and the buffet was pretty good. My husband and I along with our friends appreciated the fact we could get fried eggs for breakfast on the buffet. My only complaint was no Lox and bagels except as salmon flavored cream cheese but you can't have everything. The staff were wonderful and absolutely no complaints there. Our cabin steward kept our cabin very clean and when asked for something always took care of it immediately. This was our 4th cruise to Mexico so we didn't care about the ports or shore excursions. My husband and friends enjoyed the Cirque de Soli type show. Our only regret was signing up for Thermal Spa. Very small, the men and women are kept separate except one area. Drink package is very misleading. Another error on our part. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and ... Read More
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and charging corkage for it when you are dropping off your bags at the curb. We received ours at 9pm the first night, ridiculous system currently in place. They have an adult pool and children's side by side. Smoking is upstairs above it at the Sky High Bar and fun crowd. Many Children, Elderly and Honeymooners on the ship. Not a lot of teens. The restaurants have similar food (Tsar's and Azur). When returning from a excursion you are double checked and xray machine for alcohol. If you have it is confiscated and returned to you on the last night. The Las Caletas Hideaway excursion is very fun, but not recommended for anyone who has a hard time walking. Free stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, inner tubes, kayaking and fun floating docks. Decent Lunch too. You cannot bring a wheelchair. Beware of being bombarded with Mexicans when leaving the ship in Mazatlán and Cabo trying to sell you taxi rides and ship rides. It's crazy. Do not let them touch you, by putting bracelets on you ..SAY NO. Be prepared when leaving the ship to stand in a line with hundreds of people.. be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We took this cruise to use up points we had before they expired. Chose inside cabin because not worth the extra $$$s to upgrade. Dining at night was barely OK and service in the "free" venues was at best, tolerable. Food was ... Read More
We took this cruise to use up points we had before they expired. Chose inside cabin because not worth the extra $$$s to upgrade. Dining at night was barely OK and service in the "free" venues was at best, tolerable. Food was served luke warm. Waiters offered little opinions of what to choose and were having no desire to be working there. Chin Chin was the worst. O'Shanigans not much better. Ate lunch there once and dinner there once. Both times it was like watching a group of people stumble over each other trying to do as little as possible. Main meal came out before salads, drinks came as you were finishing. Cruise director Archie was on his last cruise and he was winding down and getting ready for his new career off the ship. Entertainment was good and then just ok. Comedian/magician was to me, the best part. 2nd best was the French how with the various aerial artists. Singers from the ship were semi ok 2 good and 2 not so good. Cabin guy was wonderful. Always ice, nice towel creatures in room at night and room clean and tidy everyday. Drinks on board were weak to say the least but expensive. Get wine, something that can't be watered down or drink water, coffee or tea. We had never been on a cruise to the west side of Mexico so we wee looking forward to seeing something new. Ports were Ok, but not really close to walking distance in town like other ports we have been to on other cruises. We enjoyed the excursions we picked for each port and chose to get them from a 3rd party due to cost of on board excursions prices. this was our 3rd cruise on NCL but it has been 10 years since last one. Will probably resume our preferred cruise lines for future travels. NCL needs to focus on it's customers and get their employees on a more "user friendly" attitude. Ship was nice but it is only a part of the journey. Staff makes up the rest and that was where I find the most issues. Sorry Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We are a young family with 3 kids, ages 6, 4, and 3. We recently went on a Norwegian Cruise with 3 other families. Our previous two family cruises were on the Disney Cruise Line. This was not our first choice, but we thought hey, why ... Read More
We are a young family with 3 kids, ages 6, 4, and 3. We recently went on a Norwegian Cruise with 3 other families. Our previous two family cruises were on the Disney Cruise Line. This was not our first choice, but we thought hey, why not? Unfortunately, we realized this cruise was not suited for our young family's needs and desires. Ship - B The Jewel was a little tired, a little worn. The bathrooms, pool, and atrium area were all beautiful and looked to be recently remodeled. I was very impressed with the beautiful pool area. There was a decent sized family pool with a smaller wraparound deck to sit on, and an equally sized adults only pool. Both pools were flanked by two hot tubs. The family pool also had a great water slide! The pool is much better than the pools on the Disney Cruise ships, mostly due to space vs user ratio. Cabin - A Our Deck 11 mini suite cabin was spacious, with a large comfortable bed, and a smaller pull out bed that slept our two kids fine. We also had a walk out balcony that offered incredible views. The bathroom was decently sized and well designed with pocket doors for privacy into the toilet and shower tub. The closet and drawers had ample storage space for our family of 5 and the under the bed area was enough for our 2 large suitcases! We put our bulky stroller out on the balcony, though I think it would've also fit under the bed. Dining - B I believe the reason why people choose Norwegian is for the ample amounts of food that are always available. There was no shortage of food on this boat. Everywhere I turned at every moment, there were people eating! We ate most of our meals at the Garden Cafe buffet with our kids, which had plentiful and varied dining options. I had a slider once and it was great. The regular fries were disgusting. The curly fries were delicious but I only saw them once. My kids regularly ate pizza and hot dogs. I stuck to the Indian food (yum! The head chef is from India), the salads, and fruit. There was a crepe station that my daughter went to once. She also tried all the different beautifully displayed cakes. Each night the buffet had a different theme: Mediterranean, Asian, South Western, seafood, etc. But the American junk food staples were always present, as were the Asian style foods. We went to Tsar's twice and it was fine. It really all depends on what you order. We went to Azura's once and I also enjoyed my food there. The grill O'Sheenans (I think) had disgusting fish and chips but I think my hubby enjoyed his buffalo wings. Our friends' boys loved the pot pies. Chin Chins was a hit or miss. The seafood udon I ordered had zero flavor. The hot and sour soup was good. Other things were salty. If I had to do it again I would probably skip the specialty style free dining such as Chin Chins and O' Sheehan and stick to the buffet or the main dining rooms. During sea days, they serve a delicious BBQ lunch on the pool deck! I also read many conflicting things about the drinks. We had the Ultimate Beverage Package. There were some delicious cocktails on board but you definitely have to ask for a double or triple shot (or a floater). No point in drinking all the calories and staying sober! After awhile I stuck to the wine. The Malbec was very good! We did not tip each time we ordered a cocktail like I read somewhere. I am not sure how they made their cash but I think it somehow adds up at the end. Either way I am sure they would appreciate an extra tip. I also read a lot of complaints about the coffee. People complained there was no place to get free coffee on the ship. This is untrue. We had a coffee maker in our cabin, and coffee was always flowing in the Garden Cafe. We did not pay extra for the UBP but I would recommend having it! Activities - D This is what colors my opinion about NCL the most. 80% of the daytime activities were geared towards adults, and specifically selling things. "Buy a Raffle Ticket for this auction!" "Come see our tanzanite earrings!" "Visit the Art Gallery for champagne and buy this art!" "Ladies Free Pamper but buy this foot insert!". We skipped all of those. The few daytime family activities they had were Origami, Pool side games and activities, and a few cooking demonstrations. One HUGE complaint I have is that NOTHING on this ship is open until 9am with the exception of breakfast. It is unfortunate enough that having young kids means a 6:30am wake up time, but even worse when you have to twiddle your thumbs for 2.5 hours waiting for SOMETHING to do on boat, whether it be the kid's club, or anything else. Also, the television choices in the cabin were dismal. 10 channels, 5 of them being NCL advertisement, 2-3 being news, and the other 2-3 being adult content. There were those mornings when my kids were awake, hubby and I were trying to use the bathroom and get ready, and the kids were going bonkers being crammed into a tiny room. A little TV show would've helped ease the pain!!! Nighttime Activites - the reason why our friends chose this line was for the night life. They had lots of great adult or older child oriented shows in the evening. We went to a magic show and two acrobatic shows, all of them which were very entertaining and excellent. My youngest kid was not interested at all, so that was unfortunate. There were some amazing musicians on boat. I especially enjoyed the Prism band on the pool deck at night. Their singers were incredible! One of them was doing a Selena medley and she rocked it! There was some dancing in the Spinnaker Lounge late at night. My biggest gripe with the evening activities was that I could not go to any of them, and they were the only ones I was interested in (see lame daytime activities above). More to come on why I couldn't go... Splash Academy - C The main reason why we go on cruises is because we love the idea of having some adult only time on vacation. We've had such positive experiences with Disney Cruise Line and we were hoping for a similar experience here. We didn't get it. Here is why. Splash Academy is much smaller. Families are not NCL's target audience, so they don't invest a ton into the childcare. I get that. But I did not understand their hours. They are open 9-12am, 2-5pm, and 7-10:30pm. Why? Is it not possible to rotate employees in and out so that you are open longer? For families whose kids wake up so early, it is nice to have an earlier drop off time. DCL is open 7-midnight every day, with no closures. I didn't want to dump my kids off and not see them an entire day, but it would've been nice to have the flexibility in my schedule. Maybe drop them off earlier in the morning so I could work out, then do some pool time mid day. Etc etc. As a result of their dinnertime closure, I felt like I was eating for HOURS every evening. First I took the kids to dinner at the buffet. Then wait for Splash Academy to open. Then I would drop them off and go to my own dinner. And here is the best part. On TWO separate nights, when I went to drop off my younger kids, they told me they were FULL. At occupancy. And my children could not go in. WHAT?! You know how many kids and their exact ages before the boat even leaves! You should be prepared to staff this! This ruined TWO nights of dinner plans. So instead I wandered around the boat, looking for something to do with the kids that was age appropriate and enticing. Because there was no way I was going back to the room of boredom (why don't you have a kid's channel?!!!) Also, Splash Academy closes at 10:30. Yes, you can pay extra for late night hours, where the kids play Wii and stuff, but no thanks. (Yes normally my kids are asleep at that time, but some of those excursion days they took a late nap, so a later bedtime was in store.) So all of those fun nighttime activities...goodbye. You sounded fun. On the plus side, Splash had many fun and engaging themed activities happening. My oldest child had fun. After a couple of days, my youngest refused to go. My middle could be bribed. Service - A+ Thank you, to all the hard working, friendly, and smiling crew members. You really made the NCL a nice place for 7 days. You were wonderful. Thanks for all that you do. Ports and Shore Excursions - A+ We were transported off and on very easily and treated well. Coming back on board NCL provided us with cold towels, lemonade, water, and ice cream. Getting off the boat there were always photographers and different photo ops with props and people in costume. We enjoyed our time in Mexico. We did not pay for any port excursions so I cannot speak for that. Extra - - They have a library on the 12th floor which I loved exploring. There were kids books and books in many different languages to check out and read. I scored the first night and found Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! - There is a game room next to the library. We had a special date night with our daughter there and played Monopoly. That was a nice touch. - They also had a Video Arcade that we took my son to on our special date night. Our package included a $50 free arcade credit. There aren't a ton of games, but the ones they had held the interest of kids ages 3-12 (those were the ages of the kids we were traveling with) and beyond. Note: Arcade is open from 9am-10:30pm. - Gym - hubby and I both spent a lot of time here. The gym is very nice and well equipped. It was spacious enough but got busy at certain times of the day. The downside was there were some free classes that I tried to take but they canceled them with no warning. Not surprisingly, the pay to exercise classes went on without a hitch. - Photos - those photographers are into their jobs and will take quite a few of your family in every single configuration and pose! We had a package for 50 prints free. While our family did not have 50 shots to take home, some of our friends took quite a few family photos. Overall I thought this cruise was well priced, but much better for older adults or people traveling without children. The Disney Cruise Line is much more oriented for families. For example: 1) Kid's club open 7am-midnight with no closures. Extremely large kid's club with so many people on staff. Much more interactive and fun. Good for all ages - I met some teens and asked them if they liked it. It was an overwhelming yes! 2) They will even feed your kid in the kid's club for no additional charge during dinner or lunch hours if you want to have a special meal to yourselves. They also pick up your kid early from the main dining halls and take them to the kids club so you can finish your 3-4 course meal in peace. 3) There is always family friendly activities on board. Meet characters, take an art class together, watch a movie in their full sized movie theater or on the pool deck, play family games together. etc. There was always something to do that was family oriented and fun 4) The evening shows are better suited for kids. Sometimes the storyline was hokey, but the production value was Broadway standards and so was the talent. My youngsters always enjoyed them I know this was long but hopefully informative! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We sailed out of LA and made it as far as Puerto Viarta when the ship broke down and we had to spend overnight in port, as well as being told we would not be traveling to Mazatlan To say that it was uncomfortable is nothing but the truth ... Read More
We sailed out of LA and made it as far as Puerto Viarta when the ship broke down and we had to spend overnight in port, as well as being told we would not be traveling to Mazatlan To say that it was uncomfortable is nothing but the truth no a/c and it was quite muggy. We broke down because of mechanical problems that had been fixed earlier in the year. I have to say that the only bright star of the cruise was the staff onboard they had to deal with a couple hundred or more extremely angry passengers, which I can't blame them. On top of that Norwegian has decided that the California coast is no longer to be sailed. Only cruises on west coast is Alaska in spring. Sorry to say might have to cruise another line, which would be sad as I generally enjoy sailing with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise for the ports it was visiting, the inclusions along with the freestyle option. For our honeymoon we wanted to be able to do what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. The freestyle cruising option was great for ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports it was visiting, the inclusions along with the freestyle option. For our honeymoon we wanted to be able to do what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. The freestyle cruising option was great for this. We could go to dinner in our flip flops and casual wear or we could get dressed up if we wanted to. That flexibility was great. The overall appearance of the ship was outstanding. It was very clean, updated and the attention to every detail was fantastic. We had a balcony room and for a cruise ship it was very spacious. The upgrade to this style of room was well worth it and I would never cruise in a non-balcony room again. The staff was always there to tidy up the room and provide anything we needed. The temperature was always perfect, water was hot and plenty of storage space (and the bed was very comfy!). We had the unlimited beverage package included which is great when you want to consume alcoholic beverages (pretty much anything you want is included). Be cautious of the mixed drinks as they are VERY watered down. The safest bet for a good drink is a martini, wine or beer. The one disappointment (which I know is fairly standard when cruising) is the non-alcoholic beverages were not included. They were able to give us all of the alcohol in the world, but if we wanted a plain coffee we would have to go to the dining room and have breakfast to get it or pay for it at the bar (just add booze and it's included). The food at the complimentary restaurants was very good. I wouldn't claim it to be over the top 5-star status, but it was very good. There was always a good variety of food options to chose from and you can, of course, order as much as you want. If you want to have any of the specialty foods (e.g., steak, lobster, etc.), expect to pay extra. If you only want to consume what's included, expect to eat at the same 3 restaurants or one of the buffets (buffets are NOT our thing, but if that's your thing you'll have a wide variety of food options; however, it's a buffet... enough said?). Probably the BEST part of the cruise was the entertainment. NCL clearly puts a LOT of energy and focus on ensuring they hire some top talent. The entertainers, singers, performers, comedians, aerialist, dancers, etc.; all absolutely phenomenal. We attended each of the shows while onboard and hands down the best part of the ship! We did opt to purchase the shore excursions through NCL. If you've never cruised before or if you've never visited the destination, I would highly recommend this option. They do a fantastic job at ensuring you see the destination, learn about it and give you a VERY good variety of sights. The tour guides / companies were VERY good, VERY accommodating and VERY helpful. In Cabo, their are several tour options as soon as you get off of the boat. This is the one stop we probably could have saved some money and purchased an excursion off of the boat given the NCL excursions are over priced. The one (unexpected) disappointment we experienced was the overall service. The very general, simply put, feedback we have is there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of what is (and isn't) from the staff. They are all just kind of "there" but it's evident left hand wasn't talking to the right hand. We had several experiences where one person would give us information and upon following up, the next person had no idea what the first person was referring to. Additionally, the wait staff and most bartenders were all friendly, but not overly excited to be there and didn't seem excited to be serving their guests. In addition, we had 6 gifts (excursions and specialty dining) purchased for us for wedding gifts to enjoy while we were on the boat. In summary, not a single person we spoke to (around 10 in total) was able to track down or find these ship credits. It took us connecting to wi-fi at one of the ports and contacting NCL directly to understand what happened. On board we got every excuse under the sun, yet none of the explanations matched exactly what did happen. We learned that when a gift is purchased, they much be purchased well in advance of your sail date; otherwise, the credits will not be transferred to your account. That's what happened to us. Our friends and family purchased the gifts the day prior to us sailing. The good news, we were able to transfer the funds as cash to our bank account when we returned; however, the bad new was the funds weren't available to us during the trip. The most disappointing part of this was the service staff wasn't able to help us understand what happened. We (ourselves) got it resolved and still had an amazing honeymoon, but this experience from the service staff was extremely disheartening. All of this being said, the pros and cons even each other out. We would absolutely take this cruise again and recommend it to others with one disclosure.... we will just lower our expectations where we may have set them too high and advise others the same. If you do that, you'll love this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Critic This cruise has been a punishment on our sense of smell. First is the long walk to our cabin which gives us a variety of scents. The mid-ship portion has a nice flowery smell of an air freshener and then we hit the forward ... Read More
Critic This cruise has been a punishment on our sense of smell. First is the long walk to our cabin which gives us a variety of scents. The mid-ship portion has a nice flowery smell of an air freshener and then we hit the forward section where our cabin is and the lovely odour of the head comes wafting to our noses. Now I fear we will be sleeping within the ode de toilet but the fear doesn't bare out as the cabin is odour fee. Two of our bags are present so we unpack those and read the “what's happening today” where we see we shouldn't worry about our stray bag for another 5 hours. So off we go to explore the ship when I spot a familiar looking bag all alone in a hallway near the aft section of mid-ship. The colour tag is not the one I put on it but the personal name tag is mine! So back to the cabin we go and unpack it. I hope the crew member that left it there didn't search for it too long. After a bizarre incident in O'Sheehan's which I will explain later we returned to our cabin. Again through the flowery scent followed quickly by an open sewer but now mixed with diesel exhaust. We open the cabin door and the burned diesel odour has filled our cabin. We vent the room using the bathroom fan and along comes our Steward. We ask him what's up with the smell and he isn't quite getting what the problem is but would have someone look into it. I'm guessing the wind changed direction and since we are going as slow as possible (we are taking all night to do what the ferry does in 90 minutes) it is possible our own exhaust was blowing back to our air intakes as the problem did not reoccur and we never heard back from anyone about it. On our first sea day we decided we were going to sleep in but at 8:30ish (yes that's not yet sleeping in to us) we were woken by the powerful smell of paint. The cabin was full of it. It was so strong I thought they'd painted our cabin as we slept. The smell got stronger as time went by to the point I was considering evacuating to fresh air for fear of a gassing. We did our morning routine and left thinking surely the passageway would be full of the noxious gas but no, it was still its head smelling self. The hall smelled as if the toilet vacuum was venting there. We took our stoned (paint fumes) selves to the front desk. The desk clerk we spoke to went away, presumably to see where there is painting taking place, and after a lengthy absence he returned with a thank you he will look into it and leave us message on our phone. We got a message saying he’d t spoken with the maintenance supervisor and requested any further painting be halted. During the last potion of the cruise the familiar smell of paint returned to our cabin while were out on an excursion. This time the maintenance supervisor came to the cabin and confirmed we were smelling paint (in case we were mistaken?). He said he’d look into it. This was the last we heard from him and the last time we had paint in our cabin. Now for some positive and the O'Sheehan's event. I was having a beer on our first night and while my glass was sitting on the table I noticed it appeared as if I had spilled a bit, however the puddle was growing yet the glass was not overflowing. To see where it was coming from I lifted my glass. Suddenly the glass emptied all over the table and flowed on to my lap and that of my wife. As we leapt away from the fall of the beer I saw the top of the glass in my hand and the bottom of the glass still on the table. Seems the glass cracked all the way around and the beer was oozing through the crack until I lifted it up. The ship did pick up the cleaning bill for both of our outfits without hesitation. We were presented with a bottle of wine and chocolates twice. When I asked the person delivering them he didn’t know why we were getting them. I thought because I made two complaints perhaps? I did notice several others were getting the same thing so unless there were a lot of complaints I doubt this is why. Going freestyle (our first time) lets you eat when you're ready but only if they have space. We tried to make reservations which some of the ship’s paperwork recommended and they allowed it once but every other night they insisted they were not needed. On a couple occasions we arrived for dinner there was no line to get in there were several tables with diners along with empty seats. I guess those folks were not the sociable type cruisers because we were seated on a sofa at the kitchen entrance and asked to wait. After this we were always greeted pleasantly at Tzars by the hostess who, even though we didn’t eat there every night, knew us and our cabin number on sight. She routinely had us seated at or very near the big windows. Our thoughts on the remainder of the ship are mixed. We did like the layout of the ship itself and the variety of places to sit and eat or drink. Which is the purpose of a cruise isn’t it? While the food service was lacking we did find most of the food to be good. Of the eateries we partook most of the servers were not nearly attentive enough. The buffet always had a large selection of food and seating was not a serious difficulty as we have no trouble sharing. While we found the food in the buffet to be good, virtually every edge of every table we sat at was sticky. It seems like they wash the tops but not the sides. Our cabin carpet was very dirty. It looked like it needed a good cleaning more than a year ago. They began to change carpets in the halls during our cruise so hopefully the cabins are getting changed soon. The bathroom was a bit strange as the toilet was in on an angle and one corner of the seat was very close to a wall forcing one to sit sidesaddle. There was a serious lack of water pressure in the sink. Rinsing a toothbrush was a real challenge. We found most of the railings on stairways, elevators and halls to be sticky and in need of the washie washie team! Events during the cruise were disorganized. Of note was the Customs inspection in Astoria. The staff were calling out deck numbers to the que long before the previous decks had cleared Customs. This made the line for screening extremely long. A large number of procedures outlined in the “what's happening today”, on the TV, or over the public address system were in conflict with each other. The Cruise Director staff and the lounge entertainment were a bit cruder with their jokes than I would have expected. They didn’t cross my line as I can be pretty crude however, my wife was not too impressed. The acts were good but their jokes and those of the staff went a bit too far. Other than the smells in the cabin, a sense of a lack of organization, and my higher expectations, the overall cruise was acceptable. I was able to relax and enjoy most of my time onboard. However, for me to sail with NCL again it will have to be the right itinerary and the right price point now that I know what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Overall the cruise was alright considering my wife and I have been on a dozen or so cruises and my mom traveled with us who has been on over 30 cruises. The destination of Alaska was first time that my wife and I had been up there, we ... Read More
Overall the cruise was alright considering my wife and I have been on a dozen or so cruises and my mom traveled with us who has been on over 30 cruises. The destination of Alaska was first time that my wife and I had been up there, we have done quite a few trips to the caribbean & mexico, my mom on the other hand has been all over the place on cruises. We ended up in a 2 bedroom family suite 11524 (a result of an upsale, a worthwhile phone call if you thinking about it) which resulted in us having my mom join us on the trip. This room is directly beneath the gym, towards the back of the gym, the only noise complaints we had were the first two night where the dance crew was working out after the gym was closed and dropped heavy weights directly above the master bedroom. A call to our butlers remedied this situation thankfully. The room itself is nice for a cruise ship, as space is precious onboard and the seating / couch area was nice. On the contrary there are some hiccups in the room, the "second bedroom" is merely a space for another couch to fold out. Once it folds down it takes the whole room, and it stays down the whole trip, it doesn't feel like a true second bedroom. The mattress in that room wasn't comfortable at all, even after adding a egg crate on top of it. Also in that room there is very little storage in that room, magnetic hooks might help hold extra jackets/shirts that don't fit in the small closet. Also we ended up sliding my moms luggage under our bed in the master as there wasn't room under the couch/bed. The second issue with the room is the master bathroom, first thing in there was the size of the head/toilet, its so tight you can't even turn around without bumping into the phone thats in there inadvertantly dialing to set up a wake up call... the second issue with the bathroom is the window between the balcony and the tub. If you are in the tub and someone is on the balcony (or even your neighbors are on theirs) they can look directly into the tub and shower area. Also if you are in port the shower faces directly out to the ocean or the port. My wife and mom did enjoy the lavazza coffee/espresso machine that was in the room. Ronald, our butler, and Dewa, our room steward, both did well and kept everything stocked and cleaned. (Hopefully you like gummy bears and M&Ms because Ronald will keep you stocked up on them) Dining onboard... ugh. That about sums it up. The food was the worst we have had on any cruise. We talked to many people who echoed our observation, and overheard other complaints to the dining staff management. With the free style cruising and open dining options it didn't seem like the wait staff had any incentive to make any of the dining experiences special, or just take 5 minutes of time to get to know you. It started with our first meal while we were in Cagney's (a perk of being able to visit a special restaurant for breakfast and lunch for those in suites) where both my wife and mother were served their meals and I wasn't. It took the wait staff about 5 minutes to realize I didn't have a main course in front of me, he went to go find it,then blamed it on the chef and ended up bringing me the first steak he could find which was well done when I ordered it medium. It continued that night at O'sheenans where I was delivered the wrong desert, and our last night in Azura the server first words to us after we sat down with the menus was "What you want?" The meals we had otherwise weren't anything special, sometimes tasteless, and no lobster on the whole cruise unless you paid $25 extra in one of the main dining rooms. The buffet was insanely packed, looked like most people found a table and then stayed all day, it was usually really loud and congested. They offered additional seating in La Cucina for those which couldn't find tables in the buffet area, otherwise it was outside dining. Otherwise we did have the specialty dining package, we visited Le Bistro, Cagney's, Tappenaki and Moderno. Le Bistro, service was actually good, steak was alright. Cagney's steak was good and service was good. Tappenaki, food portions were a bit small for me, show was good, didn't like the single desert option at all. Moderno's was almost empty when we went, got the cold shoulder from our server, didn't feel special at all. *Note, we pre-booked our seating times for dinner, and found that the only times were definitely later (8:30 or later) at night. Although when we got on board there were plenty of earlier dining times available. When we were at Moderno's when we got seated at 8:30 there were only 8 of the 50 tables filled. My wife and I had the drink package as well, this works out if you like beer and wine, mixed drinks on the other hand sucked. Don't bother order a long island ice tea, its a pre mixed in a bottle at the bar, if you order a mojito they will deliver it with a salad of mint. Best choice is to get something they only have to pour, or bring the bottle out to you. Entertainment wise, my mom enjoyed the quartet of male singers. The Cirque style shows really centered on a single couple, they did well, the rest of the crew did what they could but lacked the talent of the other couple. The ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Straight Point, Glacier Bay, Sitka and Victoria were great. Ketchikan we went to the lumberjack show, it was a lot of fun (they do veterans discounts) later we went to anna belles for some king crab and later took a walk down the harbor. Overall it was a nice place. In Juneau we took one of the local buses up to Mendenhall Glacier, its a really nice park and I suggest going on one of the private tours so you can take your time at the glacier and not have to rush to get back to the bus. Skagway we took the white pass railway and got really lucky with some great weather, it was a great trip up with some amazing scenery. Later we stopped to do some gold panning and check out a dredge. Icy Straight Point was a nice low key day to just walk around the port. They have a small museum about the old salmon factory, had a couple food options, the huge zip line and a small nature trail which we took a walk on. Glacier bay was absolutely fantastic, we got insanely lucky with the sun, and a beautiful layer of snow on the mountains. Sitka we took the bus to town (which is about 5-7 miles from where the boat docs) we just walked around the town, went to the totem pole park, and then walked around the city.Victoria we took a local cab to the Butchart gardens which were fantastic, and its actually cheaper to take a cab and pay for the entrance fee then book through the cruise ship. The ships shore excursions were insanely expensive, leaving us to only do one thing through the ship, there are plenty of other options within the ports that you can do, or book independently and do the same excursions for less. The last thing I would say is that the ship just has a bit of a weird lay out. There isn't a single main meeting/larger area like an atrium, the main store is all the way in the back of the boat (we only visited it once for bonine), it seemed like it was out of the way. Since this was an alaskan cruise we spent a lot of time indoors, and opted to stay more in the suite then other places on board. One smart idea was they recorded your room number for every picture they take of you on board, then when you visit the photo gallery you can either find your cabin's folder with all your pictures or look them up on one of the computer they have simply by sliding your room card. Overall, we got a few days into the trip and then all looked at each other and agreed that we would rather be on a carnival (or insert cruise line here...) ship instead of the NCL Jewel. This will be our last NCL cruise for the foreseeable future. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck cruise hunting! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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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