206 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

We decided to give Norwegian a try after several Princess cruises, a Carnival and a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Our trip started out by one of our bags not being delivered to the room and the other bag having the 2 bottles of wine removed (no ... Read More
We decided to give Norwegian a try after several Princess cruises, a Carnival and a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Our trip started out by one of our bags not being delivered to the room and the other bag having the 2 bottles of wine removed (no note, nothing before hand explaining the "Corking fee policy") I went down to the service desk, and they sent me to the "Penny Pincher" area....Where I was promptly charged 15.00 per bottle of wine and received my bag. That began a series of unpleasant occurrences.... The second night on the ship, we discovered a bat crawling on our balcony.... which then promptly flew into our cabin. I get that the crew can't control nature and a bat flying into the cabin wasn't the problem, it was that after calling two times to have someone come up and remove the bat, which had crawled behind shelving, we were told that the head of housekeeping was in a meeting. 30 minutes later we enlisted the assistance of two housekeeping crew members who were passing by our cabin and who promptly removed the bat. (Bravo to the house keepers!) The next 3 nights were followed up with a neighboring balcony's drain backing up. The noises sounded like many toilets backing up and the black water that spewed out of the drain quickly spread down the row of balcony's leaving behind black tarry, sticky substance ( I don't think I want to know its origin)! Our first call about it was at 6am after a sleepless night of the noise. We were told by the service desk that it was because of the rain and normal. They sent a crew member up with a towel to clean it up.... Now that was just funny. There was far too much water and goo for a towel. The next call happened the next morning, There was more black water spewing from the drain. This time we were told that they clean deck 12 at 1am, and it was water from that running down the pipes. Air was in the pipes and pushed the water back up onto the balcony. The next day, I took video and went down to the service desk to show them the dark water coming up the drain and flowing onto the balconies. The front desk supervisor was good. She called maintenance, had them up in our room and on the balcony snaking the drain. They got a huge chuck of something out... closed it back up, cleaned up the balcony and apologized. The front desk supervisor gave us dinner at the steak house. The next morning.... surprise! There was more gurgling (although not as much or as loud) and more black crap on the balcony. We waved the white flag and gave up. Out of the 7 days, I think we were able to use our balcony 2 times without black gross stuff accompanying us. The customer service on the boat was fair at best, with the exception of our steward. He was very good and was tipped accordingly! At the end of the day I found this to be a very poorly managed experience. Communication to passengers is not a priority and the lack of initiative and response to concerns is just poor customer relations. I can say I gave Norwegian a try.... Back to Princess I go! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We were two adults and one kid . The cabin ; Size was ok for a ship ( like a NY hotel room ) Bed was twin and comfy . Pillows were good and planty . Open sofa was good for my kiddo but for an adult or tall kid will come short. TV was ... Read More
We were two adults and one kid . The cabin ; Size was ok for a ship ( like a NY hotel room ) Bed was twin and comfy . Pillows were good and planty . Open sofa was good for my kiddo but for an adult or tall kid will come short. TV was not working . Shower was good Toilet have a wired angle which make it very tight . Room service : Cleaning was good. Very good service . Recognized by name when we passed by . Towel animals for my kiddo on daily basis . Food : Breakfast is good but the same for the week , no changes or specialty items. Lunch ; decent but not exciting , some changes through the week. Dinner ; They offer two restaurant complimentary , and one bar restaurant . Food was good but portions are small ( we always ordered two appetizers , two main dishes and etc.. per person ) . Service is slow , in some cases took almost an hour to get our food. Buffet for dinner was like dog food in two times i tried it, very shameful . Deserts : on restaurants they are good , on buffets don't even bother as they are all bad. Snack ; Snack next to the pool consist from burgers and hotdogs , the burgers were dry as hell, as they dont cook them there but reheat them and get them to be a big glob of overcooked meat. YUCK ! the great-outdoor ( at the back of the boat ) have more decent selections but nothing amazing ( Deserts are good though ) . Pros : Go wherever you want whenever you want . Cons : Get used to the lines , poor service , long wait for food . And the biggest issue is when you come from offshore like at 2 or 3 pm ... you have nothing to eat but dry burger and overcooked dogs . Activities for adults ; Many games like deal or no deal , bingo and other crap . Deal or no deal is rigged and a scam , bingo is bingo nothing exciting here . Overall there is almost nothing interesting to do that doesn't require you to pay for , and even if you pay the activities suck big time. The reason i will never cruise with NCL again is due to that reason . Being stuck on a boat for a week with nothing to do is not fun in my book . As the weather was not great we did hoped for stuff to do and were very disspointed when there was none. Activities for KIDS ; The nickelodeons stuff is a joke . Art and craft for example they don't activate the kids , a crew of idiots come with paints and post cards to color . And they were just sitting on the floor and painting the cards themselves`s . Instead of interacting with the kids they were playing by themselves . This type of behavior and approach was the same with all the other activities. Minimum effort , and doing "stuff" to to say they did . If you expect the Dora characters or something like that , you might see them twice during the cruise . We paid for breakfast which was ok , they charge 20$ per person including adults and offer the same breakfast shit with tons of food coloring . The show was ok but that's was the ONLY time when all 6 characters were presented to the kids. Kids club : We did not used the kids club . as they do not allow you to see the kids while they are there nor to get in to see whats going on . I dont trust them with my kid seeing the way they operate and behave there. Drinks ; Drinks were good but pricey . Many times where there was activities in public places the bar in that area was closed. most of the times at least half of the bars are closed. The only good service you receive on the board is from the bars , as they know they receive tips directly conclusion ; I had high exceptions and got these crushed very fast. We did enjoy our vacation just because it was a vacation , but i am a guy that like to do stuff and see interesting stuff. A vacation for me is more then 3 meals a day of good food . If that is all i get i can stay at home and go to 3 nice restaurants every day . If you look to sit all day doing nothing beside eating and reading a book or listen to tunes this is not the crusie for you. If you look for activities and excitement look elsewhere . As my first cruise i am very disappointing and i know that NCL is off my books forever . Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First I want to say that until this cruise, NCL was our favorite cruise (although that was our first cruise many years ago). After multiple cruises on Carnival (way to many), Celebrity, RCCL, and Princess, we were excited to be back on NCL ... Read More
First I want to say that until this cruise, NCL was our favorite cruise (although that was our first cruise many years ago). After multiple cruises on Carnival (way to many), Celebrity, RCCL, and Princess, we were excited to be back on NCL for this family cruise with our two daughters, their husbands and children, and one set of in-laws. We loved cruising enough that both our daughters were married on cruises. I should have known that this cruise was doomed from the beginning when NCL double charged my credit card for the final payment and then took almost two weeks correcting the error. Our boarding experience was one of the best; although that may have been because we arrived very early and were some of the first to arrive. Unfortunately, that changed when my key didn't work for my cabin; leading to my first 45 minute wait at the guest services desk. Once I got to the desk, the service was quick and friendly as it was on all of my subsequent trips to the desk. We were excited to have the communication / phone app available so that we could keep in touch with each of the 10 people in our group. I didn't think the $7.95 price per person was outrageous but felt that it should have been included. The free part of the app worked fine for the most part but the only part that was valuable was the ability to check our account on our phones. Everything else was pretty much useless; for example, the dining options simply gave a brief description of the restaurants. I was expecting menus which would have been very helpful. The big problem though was that the paid portion was absolutely worthless. The phone system NEVER worked. Well, actually, it did work one time when I was at the guest services desk trying to get the charge removed. I called that person's phone and it worked. I had tried at least 20 or 30 times prior to that and not one call went through. While the messaging service did work, it was worthless because it did not generate any notification that a message had come through. The only way we got messages was if were in the app AND in the messaging section. Again, WORTHLESS. It would take much to much time to itemize everything that went wrong but let me summarize: Meals took at least two hours and frequently two and 1/2 hours. We had a four year old and an eight year old with us. Obviously, this was unacceptable; especially when one or both of the kids had fallen asleep waiting for our meals. We at in O'Sheehans pub four or five times and NEVER got everything we ordered. There were always at least two or three items missing from our order. Drinks were never re-filled (Tea, water, sodas, etc). In fact, one time someone came by to ask if we needed anything. When we told her we were very unhappy with the service and that we had been waiting for over 1/2 hour with empty glasses, she offered to have a supervisor come by and speak to us. We declined, saying we just want our drinks refilled. We never saw her again. My wife and I had purchased chocolate covered strawberries (six strawberries for $12.95) to be delivered to our daughters' cabins at departure. Only one daughter received hers but there were only two strawberries and the other daughter didn't receive hers at all. When I complain, again, everyone acted very concerned and the head of room service was contacted and he came down immediately to speak to me. He apologized and said he would take care of it and send an order of strawberries to me to make up for the problem. Sounded good but I never received the strawberries. I found out the next day that they had delivered both orders to my daughter's cabin. Virtually every meal came with one or more pieces of dirty silverware. Also, I watched one of the servers (I was bored waiting for my food) take coffee cups from a bin and place them in a drawer. She picked up everyone of them by putting her fingers inside the cups. I lost track of the meals where I ordered iced tea at a meal and never got it. My granddaughter was served hot chocolate with a huge chunk of paper in it. It looked like it was a straw wrapper. Probably the worst thing was that they messed up my 4 year old grandson's birthday. We paid to have his cabin decorated for the birthday and to have a cake delivered with dinner. When we went to his room 1/2 hour after we were told they would be done, NOTHING. When my daughter went to the guest services desk (again!) she was told that they had tried but that the family was in the room so they left. That was impossible since were all together waiting for our slow service in O'Sheehans at the time. They finally got the room decorated but at dinner that evening, we waited for the cake. Again, nothing. They had forgotten it. They were very nice when we complained about it (again!) sending bottles of wine and strawberried to us but the fact remained that they screwed up his birthday celebration. Yes, this is the abbreviated version. There were numerous other problems. Now, I hate to be completely negative so I will say that the room steward did a good job although I never met him (and no one on the ship ever called us by our names except for the people that took my numerous complaints). The teppanyaki dining had excellent food and service. We had one waiter (Christian) in the Tsar dining room that was great. That reminds my of one other thing. This is minor but bugged me. They seem to have a problem with the English language. I saw the Tsar dining room spelled Tsar, Tzar, and Czar. I read about the baby back ribs being served in O'Sheens (in the daily news letter) only to see on other publications that they were short ribs. Not the same thing. It took the waiter three trips back to the table to figure out what we meant when we ordered "a bacon omelet and a side of bacon". One of there specialty drinks that they were promoting everywhere was a "Le Fizz". My wife loved these and ordered them frequently. Not until the last night did she get one without have to explain what it was - over and over again - sometimes even spelling it out for them. For the first time in over 15 cruises, no one complained about having to leave the ship at the end of the cruise. Instead, one of my daughters said (two days before the end) "I'll be so glad when this is over". Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Departure: From Ballantyne pier instead of Canada Place. Even travel agent was sure the ship was leaving from Canada Place which we checked in for Alaska in August in 30 minutes We were not informed of this Not on our tickets and very ... Read More
Departure: From Ballantyne pier instead of Canada Place. Even travel agent was sure the ship was leaving from Canada Place which we checked in for Alaska in August in 30 minutes We were not informed of this Not on our tickets and very hard to find on website.We Learned from a Cruise Critic posting. Very inconvenient. Need Taxi to get there instead of 100yard walk from seabus or skytrain at CANADA PLACE. There are no shuttles from Canada Place to Ballantyne pier Ballantyne pier: 2hr to clear customs security & check luggage basically due to lack of staff. Queued for 30 min in the sun to check luggage. This would be great in vancouvers usual rain. The call your number group system was a joke as no-one called and there were no signs or PA San Francisco: Not informed of pier change to Pier 27 here either. Not informed of free shuttle to pier 39. LA: This was the start of a new leg of the cruise We were going to have a relaxing day onboard. At 10am a pa message informed that power will be off from 10am til 11.30am. Our inside room has no emergency power and is totally black. We're panicking to wash dress before the lights quit and basically had to leave the ship. Were not informed anything re going ashore here in LA in transit to avoid line ups with people checking baggage customs etc. we were issued "in transit" stickers. Then on returning to the ship in the clothes we wore, no bags at all. had to line up for half hour 85f to get aboard. (they seemed quite able to fast track people in wheel chairs & other "special" people) Royal Carribean in Seward AK we fast tracked in a transit line zero wait FOOD: Poor. They just don't seem to understand meat potatoes & veg.(Rice was always available) Mashed potatoes were almost impossible to get even on asking the head chef. They would get it just for you that day usually just as you were finishing the meal and made you feel a real bother. And as for asking for any other accompaniments dijon, mint sauce, even broccoli or some green veggies if you wait 15 minutes it might show up once. The Main Dining Rooms are no better. They have quit having lobster night. They try to do gourmet and just succeed in looking chintzy. STAFF & MANAGEMENT: I must say the staff, stewards, bar staff etc were very good. Management & service desk just had a bunch of scripted excuses and occasionally if you really got loud they would try to fix a problem. CONCLUSION: This ship NORWEGAN JEWEL is starting to look quite run down the cabins are very small compared to other cruise lines and they seem to be cheaping out on everything from food to the Terminal ports & ports of call which seem to be in remote places miles from where you wish to be. Going through Panama canal was hard to find good viewing places. The Platinum members possibly recieve more quality treatment. which may explain some of the better reviews here. We have also travelled Princess & Royal Carribean also which are both head and shoulders above Norwegan. THE GOOD: Panama Canal is very worth doing. Very interesting and spectacular.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and I did the end of season Seattle departure/Vancouver disembark voyage. We enjoyed the main buffet food. There was always a tremendous selection and good quality. We opted for the dining package, eating dinner in different ... Read More
My wife and I did the end of season Seattle departure/Vancouver disembark voyage. We enjoyed the main buffet food. There was always a tremendous selection and good quality. We opted for the dining package, eating dinner in different restaurant venues each night. This option was not very popular, because never were the restaurants more than half full, however the food was good at most of the venues, and was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the buffet, but really wasn't necessary. This is a budget cruise, the entertainment on the boat as just so-so at best. Norwegian is more interested in selling you stuff than providing meaningful entertainment. They had a small casino, that was not well attended, except by smokers is it was allowed in the is area. It kept us away it smelled to badly there. The stops, Skagway, Kechican, and Juneau, weren't very interesting, mostly just seasonal tourist shops. We did take in the Taku Glacier lodge tour, which included a 20 minute seaplane flight and king salmon dinner which was the highlight of the trip, followed by the Skagway railway trip. We did the Victoria Buchart Gardens tour, and it was OK. There was not time in Victoria to do anything else. Ending the trip in Vancouver was good, as it gave us another city to explore. Problem was, my wife became sick with the flu on the second to the last day of the cruise, and I got sick a day later. Our cabin attendant told us everyone in our corridor was sick. The flu hit us hard and it took about 4-5 weeks to fully recover. My wife and I haven't been sick like this ever. When sharing our experience with friends, they tell us getting sick on the big cruise ships is a very common experience. This will be our last big ship cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My husband and I have been on many cruises with Princess, Royal Carribean and Holland and this was by far the worst week we have ever spent. They couldn't give me a cruise to anywhere I would want to go to ever have me cruise with ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises with Princess, Royal Carribean and Holland and this was by far the worst week we have ever spent. They couldn't give me a cruise to anywhere I would want to go to ever have me cruise with this cruise line ever again. There were hot tubs and ones marked "children only" and not only did they use those but they took over the adult ones and not one cruise person would do anything about it. We purchased the all inclusive alcohol package and while in port in Seattle we tipped extra and then we got charged a sales tax. However, no one told us not to tip extra in fact when they give you the slip to sign there's a spot for extra gratuity so we gave and at the end paid an extra 35.00 we shouldn't have had to The food was nothing at all what we have experienced on other cruises, pretty boring and even the dining at dinner was nothing spectacular which we have experienced on the other cruise lines. And to get coffee is the biggest joke I have ever seen, the set up area is hideous, no organization whatsoever, everyone is bumping into each other because it's a small little area on either end of the dining room and the cups are so small 10 ozs - it's like really give me a break. My 2 friends and I went for messages and immediately it's let's see what we can sell you and they hound you till you leave. My friend had a facial and she wanted to leave but the girl kept her by insisting on showing all kinds of their crap for sale for outrageous prices which she ended up buying one product to get out. We got home and she found it 17.00 cheaper on the internet talk about a rip off. Overall we were never so glad to get back and felt like it was a big waste of money for this cruise. We plan on doing the same Alaska cruise next year on a more professional cruise line so if you want to enjoy your cruise don't go on Norwegian!!!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my 11th cruise, and my first (and probably last) cruise with Norwegian. I have heard that the Norwegian Pearl is better than the Jewel, but I'm not sure if that's saying much. The Jewel needs a lot of work. The staff is ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise, and my first (and probably last) cruise with Norwegian. I have heard that the Norwegian Pearl is better than the Jewel, but I'm not sure if that's saying much. The Jewel needs a lot of work. The staff is very up and down as far as service goes and some were just plain rude and nasty (don't bother going to the Guest Service Desk-very nasty people). Our room steward must have been new (like it was his first cruise ever) because he left a lot to be desired. At one point, my husband had to find us towels (they kept disappearing from our room and were not replaced) and after 2 days we started getting our own ice so we had had some ice and cold water in the room to drink. He made the towel animals out of our WET TOWELS and left them on the bed so our bed had a nice wet spot in the middle. The food in the main dining rooms (Azura and Tsar's Palace) was just plain awful. I think they are doing this on purpose so you have to pay extra to eat at the alternative restaurants (although those are not that much better either). Their Garden Café Buffet was really the only edible food on the ship (it really wasn't that bad especially for buffet food). The Tsar's Palace sign in area for dining needs to be reconfigured because the desk is right outside of the elevators and in the middle of everything. They should put it down the stairs in front of the doors OR shut off the middle elevators during prime dining hours so you don't have people getting off the elevators in the middle of everyone standing around waiting to be seated (that's a whole other issue it itself). The ports of call and the excursions we took were AMAZING and the whole trip to Sawyer Glazier was the most amazing site you'll ever see. You just might want to take the cruise to Alaska on another cruise line (maybe Carnival or Holland America). I really wish I could say the ship experience was better, but it just wasn't. Also (and finally) they should carry more than just Pepsi products. I couldn't count the number of people that were scrambling for Coke products at the ports of call! They were lined up at the vending machines and anywhere else they could get a Coke or Diet Coke. This may be a little thing, but to some it was a pain. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, ... Read More
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, 'common' inside area with comfortable seating to enjoy the views. Restaurants have peripheral windows if you are lucky to score one when dining, the buffet has a wall of windows, as does the Irish Pub. Magnum's has windows, but for some reason, the decorator decided to make high backs on the (very uncomfortable) benches so if you are sitting in one of the chairs opposite the bench, all you see is sky. One quiet place with a view is the library, but sssshhhh, must be quiet so this isn’t the place to gather for a nice, relaxing conversation with a fellow traveler. And it was always full...wonder why? Guess others wanted a quiet space apart from the bars! So, if you aren't eating in a restaurant/buffet, go outside, but the chairs aren’t too comfy. I think the ship could benefit by having groupings of comfortable seating with a view where one could read, enjoy a coffee or drink, without having to go to a bar or restaurant. RCL had this & it was really nice. The mustering exercise was useless. RCL’s was top-notch. * Freestyle dining: NCL makes it sound so great, but everyone tends to want to eat at the same time so why not have assigned seating times to avoid rush times, relieve stress off the staff, etc.? Service staff friendly, but service is definitely slower during peak times. Plus, the atmosphere & ambience is so relaxed it seems to diminish the 'specialness' of cruising. Even though NCL pushes 'freestyle', & they have an 'optional' dress-up night, we saw a number of couples/families/individuals dressed up every evening. I think when people decide to go on a cruise, they want to dress up. We decided we weren't a fan of the freestyle dining. * Restaurants w/surcharges: If you prefer dining in a more refined & quiet atmosphere, without a bunch of little ones running around, this may be a great option. These 'upscale' restaurants have a suggested dress code, but we never witnessed it being enforced so why have it? Baseball caps & flip-flops kind of ruin the ambience. In the end, it still rankles me that these options have a cover charge on top of the cost of the cruise itself. Perhaps all cruise lines do this these days?? * Food: HUGE disappointment. Average & sub-average are the best descriptors. Very institutional. I did expect (hope?) that on an Alaskan cruise, they would offer indigenous seafood ie. Salmon, halibut, king crab (the salmon offered was Atlantic salmon) but to no avail. Buffet is great if you want lots of options; wonderful for kids, teens & people who just have to have piles of food. We only did lunch here; the soups were consistently awful. Salad bar was passable. B-fast in Tsar's was consistently good. Tried the Irish pub for b-fast one day & lunch the day we boarded - ick. Avoid this place. And no Irish beer in an Irish pub?? Open dining rooms had a few items that changed daily, majority of the menu remained the same. Ho hum. Beware of the descriptions: Cherries Jubilee is nothing but vanilla ice cream with canned cherries (pie filling?) on top. Option: hit the paid dining restaurants for dinner. Quite a clever plan on NCL's part. Based on previous cruise experience, we opted not to purchase the paid restaurant dining package because cruise ships are known for their awesome food. Mistake. We ate at the French, Brazilian, and Japanese restaurants, with the best of those being the French Le Bistro. Food beautifully presented and prepared. Japanese (Benihana-style) was least favorite. Miso soup horrible, main meats overcooked, green tea dessert was yucky. Brazilian food decent, many options. None of the paid restaurants we went to rose to the standards of fine dining or what you think of when thinking of dining on a cruise ship. Good, certainly better than the buffet, but wonderful and delicious? Nope. If I went to them in my hometown, I wouldn't return. On RCL, I remember having wonderful midnight food buffets with beautiful fruit displays and carvings - nothing like that here. Also, restaurants have limited hours. Judging from other online reviews, it seems NCL is gaining a reputation for sub-par food. * Staff & service: This is where the Jewel shines. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. Waitress in Le Bistro said she had been w/NCL 13 years; that says a lot about the organization. *Final thoughts: Alaska is beautiful, people we talked with in shops & tour guides/leaders were very friendly & welcoming. The Jewel was very disappointing, average. You can't put a price on memories, but our experience on board the Jewel did not provide a good return on investment. We will not sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I really enjoyed meeting several crew members of whom I left comment cards and specifically those Sales Associates in all gift shops with a special shout out to Natasha and Newton as well as my tour service person and Java Bar attendants ... Read More
I really enjoyed meeting several crew members of whom I left comment cards and specifically those Sales Associates in all gift shops with a special shout out to Natasha and Newton as well as my tour service person and Java Bar attendants from the Philippines and India. The hotel accommodations were excellent. After awhile I didn't enjoy the food as it all began to taste the same and it was the same meals over and over again. Asian food is okay but not every single day. The food selections except pasta and omelets were bland and all tasted the same. The prime rib on the second night was exceptional. It would be nice to have Mexican food asan addition to other meals. For me, it was the staff that made a difference in this cruise rather than entertainment or food. The comic was just okay. The circus was good. Overall, I would not go on this cruise ship again as again, for me, if not for those I left comment cards for, the cruise was a bust. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just got home from a wonderful holiday travelling through Canada and ending it with an Alaskan cruise. The ports of call were wonderful and the weather just brilliant. The Jewel not so great. The food and the service were terrible. The ... Read More
Just got home from a wonderful holiday travelling through Canada and ending it with an Alaskan cruise. The ports of call were wonderful and the weather just brilliant. The Jewel not so great. The food and the service were terrible. The buffet restaurant was just mayhem the food choice was good but absolute chaos. The noise level horrendous. The Tsar and Azure the service was terrible you had to wait ages for the staff to take your order then wait an age for them to deliver each course. The food choice was terrible and stayed the same all week apart from the chefs special which changed daily. The plates were cold and the food luke warm. The chocolate buffet was a disaster and not even worth a visit. The entertainment was ok not brilliant and much the same most evenings. They do 2 shows 7.15 and 9.15pm each evening, perhaps they should consider making the later show adults only or at least older children only as we had to walk out at one show because the noise level of screaming younger children was too much to bare. The bathrooms in the cabins are like small caravan toilets, not much room to move around. I would not sail on a NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since ... Read More
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since our previous cruises had on the more traditional RCCL line ships. Although the food in the premium restaurants we tried was very good, the main restaurants and buffet we re just mediocre. But it was about what we expected from a mid - grade cruise line. The mini suite was a little smaller than RCCL's but the balcony was just a bit larger so the room was very comparable. On board activities were about as expected and the shows were well done. One caveat - NCL nickel and dimes just about everything so be prepared to pay extra for nearly everything. The huge problem came about on the fourth day and it basically ruined the rest of the cruise for us. We were on the pool deck that morning and when we went back to our room there were crewmen in the next stateroom dressed in hazmat gear, including suits, head covers and respirators working on something in the room. I could see the cover from the side of the bathtub leaning against the wall in the hallway outside the room and also saw a crewman spraying something in the room. That process was partially repeated the following week - we saw more crewmen with respirators spraying something in that room. The night after the first incident, my wife and I had trouble sleeping because we were coughing almost constantly. These symptoms continued for the duration of the cruise. In fact we are still sick 3 days after disembarkation. After the second incident, I questioned someone at the Customer Service desk about what the crewmen were doing and why it appeared to affect our health. The woman called our room later with a story about them installing something. In full hasmat gear? I had the opportunity to talk to the room's occupants on the last day of the cruise. They were unaware of the crew's work in their room and the woman said she was suffering from the same ailment starting around the same time. Caveat Emptor! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't that great.. Most of the times, I would spend the whole day just doing nothing but walking around the ship because it was the only thing I could do! Basically, it was complete BOREDOM. Even my whole family was bored! There was nothing to do but bingo and trivia, bla bla bla.. but the only thing that was worth waiting for were the concerts and comedy shows. And by 'worth waiting', I mean that I would count the minutes until they would start! 'Surprisingly', the minutes felt more like HOURS because of how much I was dying. Jewel needs to add more fun activities in schedules than just boring, adult ones. There's families joining aboard! No, I'm not talking about the nickelodeon slime activity, because there's also such things as families with older children who won't be as entertained. By older kids being entertained, yes, I know there's a kids club, but to the kid's opinion, they didn't enjoy it.. They sometimes didn't even want to go because of how boring it was. Freestyle cruising in the Norwegian Jewel wasn't fun when it comes to dining.. We didn't get to meet many people, which also lead to more boredom, of course. (like I'm going to count how many times I said 'bored', past, present,etc...) This also made us miss the opportunities to eat some of the really good food from one dining room from another.. I really wanted to eat this meal at this one dining room, but the food I wanted at another seemed equally as good, but I really wanted to try out this main course at another dining room! Jeez, got these problems all the time before dinner. Freestyle cruising when dining also didn't make us get close to our waiters. In normal cruises where there isn't freestyling, the kids would be very close to them as they got to make crazy napkin folds with them, too. Dining would usually come out as fun, but not in the Jewel... Jewel is a great ship, but I'm guessing what I'm targeted by more is Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital ... Read More
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital letters. It was nothing more than a balcony room. The only difference was in the bathroom, you had a sliding door that closed the toilet area off from the rest of the bathroom. We paid extra for that?? When we spoke with the guest services they were less than helpful and were not concerned in the least about us. The buffet was as expected ... normal buffet food, but decent. We went to the main dining room one night and were so disappointed in both the service and the food. We both ordered steaks that had no taste and were very fatty. The service which we have come to expect on other cruise lines was not at all evident on Norwegian. We decided to try the other main dining room, and found the same issues. The menu was basically the same as it had been in the other dining room and unfortunately, the food and service were also the same. We decided to pay the extra surcharge and try the Brazilian steak house and Cagney's Steakhouse also. We found both to be very good food and exceptional service. It is sad that with the cost of the cruise, you must pay extra to get a good meal. The venues on the ship were activities were held were small and crowded. Overall we were very disappointed with Norwegian and will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I were just on the Norwegian Jewel for a 7-day cruise. Having sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, I highly recommend choosing one of those companies instead! We did have a few good experiences, but overall it ... Read More
My husband and I were just on the Norwegian Jewel for a 7-day cruise. Having sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, I highly recommend choosing one of those companies instead! We did have a few good experiences, but overall it was a very frustrating experience and we regret sailing with Norwegian and giving them any money! Good: - The embarkation process was smooth. We didn't have to wait in long lines and the staff were friendly. They also did a good job with our luggage. - The entertainment was awesome - they really had great shows with a lot of good talent. We loved that the comedian was able to be clean while being hilarious! Also, the singing, acrobatic, and magic performers were also worthy of note as they were all wonderful. - Getting tender tickets and all port access was very smoothly handled. - We were in an interior cabin and thought the rooms were great - there was plenty of storage, lots of hangers and places to put your things. In addition, the showers were quite large even though the bathroom was small. Well laid out, for sure. The beds and pillows were comfortable. Bad: - We HATED the free-style dining. Don't get me wrong - it was great to go when you want. However...the staff was not interested in you and your experience at all. Since you don't have the same crew member serving your table each night, there is no incentive for good service....which is why you get BAD BAD service. The service is slow and the staff was not eager to please. In fact, most of them were quite miserable. - We were never able to get seats down by the pool (and the pools are very small and get crowded)...people throw a book or a towel on the chair and "save" them all day for themselves to have whenever they want. - The whole ship was kind of dingy...yucky carpeting and awful style. There was a huge lack of things to do on the ship, especially during the day. Awful: - THE FOOD IS HORRIFIC!! I had a steak one night that I literally had to spit out because it tasted so rancid. UGH....That was the start...we tried 3 different places that night and everything was terrible - bland, bad food. Worse than the cheapest buffets you can get at home. How hard is it to make a good tasting dessert? I tried a bite of a bunch of things throughout the week and only once found something that was worth the calories to eat. My husband and I lived off of bread, fruit, and cheese for most of the trip since the food was so horrible. Much of the food lacked in flavor and was downright bland. This was the talk of the ship - most people didn't want to speak up and say anything, but this is what you hear. Even the crew says that the food is crap (when you can get them to speak with you candidly). Speaking of the food...we had heard that better food was at the restaurants. However - we paid $400 a person already for the cruise. Who wants to pay more?! That's ridiculous...we vowed not to give Norwegian a single extra dime after the first two days since we were so displeased. Hopefully this review helps you to make a more educated decision about your cruise line choice. My hubby and I wrote this one off as a 'lesson's learned' and figured it was at least good to experience the ports that we visited. Oh, one more thing - don't be afraid to use the off-board shore excursions as long as you do your homework. We tried this and saved a lot of money by just doing some good research beforehand - we had great experiences each time. The cruise ship will try to scare you away from them, but we found everything to be top-notch. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just completed a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. Had a mixed experience---some good , some bad, some ugly. Let's start with the good: - Emarking was very smooth and no issues. - Breakfast in the buffet food was very good. - Stage shows ... Read More
Just completed a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. Had a mixed experience---some good , some bad, some ugly. Let's start with the good: - Emarking was very smooth and no issues. - Breakfast in the buffet food was very good. - Stage shows were generally good. - Getting off and on the ship at ports was smooth process. Ok--now the bad: - Had a handicapped room assigned. The shower curtain was installed outside the water collection pans on the floor. Was impossible to take a shower without flooding the bathroom floor. -Did not like the dining seating process where you do not get same table . I suppose you could but not clear how to do. I like to sit with same people to develop friendships. -Many of the lounge singers were lacking talent. Lounges were very crowed for those that could really perform. -Ship was often loud in some of the public areas. -Buffet staff was great at picking up your plate. Rarely offerred to fill your beverage.. Drink glasses were small 8oz juice size so lots of trips to beverage bar. -Found out late in cruise that Norwegian has two type of on-board credits. The type I had they called non-refundable and could not be used to pay the gratuities. Was unaware of this until next to last night of cruise -Crew's English was not as good as most of other cruises I have been on. Now the ugly: -First night tried the dinning room walk up process. Very slow and really not managed well. Eventually left the line and made a reservation for later. -Dining room food looked nice but taste/quality was moderate to poor. This was a discussion topic on the cruise among passengers. Many conversations on this topic not initiated by me. Worst cruise ship food I have encountered. -Cruise staff either gave you "sing-song" happy talk when you had an issue or were downright rude. When I complained about dining room was told to try one of the upcharge restaurants. I did but found out to be nothing special. Not any effort to comp the fee. Front desk staff very blunt when I challenged the use of onbaord credits for gratuities. Believe as I walked away was told not to come back. They will probably get their wish. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and it is certain to be our last. One of the main reasons we selected this particular ship and itinerary was because of the Nickolodeon tie-in for the kids. While our seven year old enjoyed the ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and it is certain to be our last. One of the main reasons we selected this particular ship and itinerary was because of the Nickolodeon tie-in for the kids. While our seven year old enjoyed the kids club, the actual Nickolodeon activities were few and far between, as well as very brief when they did take place. The crew and cast members were great fun, and the kid's club staff were great, just a big let down as far as the Nick stuff. The crew was super nice, always smiling and greeting everyone like an old friend. However, some of the bar staff were lacking in proper bar tending skills, making it a crap shoot when ordering drinks ( if you didn't already know the bar tender). We were not affected too much by this since we had purchased the Ultimate Beverage package, but if you were paying for each drink, I would have been very upset several timesaver the week. Along the same lines several of the waiters were, to put it politely, slow. Inattentive is probably more correct, but I was trying to be nice. These waiters were the exception and not the rule. Perhaps my largest complaint was with the food. When looking for the right words to describe it, my wife made the comparison to airplane food. This is the best description that either of us has come up with that can be used in public forums. The "steaks" were thin and full of gristle, the vegetables were tasteless, unseasoned, and often served cold, and the menu was the same every night. In their defense, the buffet occasionally had some good bits, but again it was far and few between and eating the buffet every night sort ruins the entire ambience that we were looking forward to. In comparison to other cruise lines I have traveled with, NCL seemed to have fewer activities, or at least did not publicize them as well and it also felt as if every other activity had a fee associated with it. We made several comments in regard to the food quality, our candid comments were rewarded with a plate of four chocolate covered strawberries, but unfortunately no improvement in the food which would have been far better. One last complaint would be with the on board entertainment....quite frankly I've seen better choreography and execution at dance class recitals. It was very, very poor quality. The comedian and magician were both entertaining and the crew/passenger driven activities were fun as well, but the "extravagant" productions were very nearly laughable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we ... Read More
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we left from before. We sailed from Miami in the past. This ship was not very elaborate at all. It seemed cheap and lifeless compared to the other two ships we were on. We were immediately disappointed once we stepped foot on the ship. However, you have to give them a chance, right? We were greeted outside the ship with two gals dressed as sailors and balloons like a 90's prom, however, there was not a single person inside the ship directing you where to go. We had to ask staff and then they didn't seem to know much. They acted like this was their first time on the ship. We weren't greeted with free champagne as Carnival had done. The buffet was very small. A hometown buffet seemed to have more food than this ship. The desserts were the worst I've ever had and how can one go wrong with pizza, but this pizza had no flavor and was just terrible. The flow of the buffet seemed much simpler than the one on the Carnival ship, but that is probably due to the small size of it. The Carnival ships have seating on both sides and back of the ship for buffet guests. This ship is so much more narrow that seating was only on one side for buffet diners. They want you to spend even more money to dine at one of their pay restaurants. We refused to give this cruise line anymore money for dining. The two main dining rooms that are included had the worst service ever. People were slow to be seated and then even slower to be served. Not once did anyone lay my napkin on my lap as on the Carnival ship. I thought I may like the freestyle dining, but early on I decided I did not. I liked getting to know waiters on the Carnival ship and having them treat you in a way that makes a cruise feel special. There was not one waiter on the Norwegian Jewel that made me or any members of our family feel special. The food was mediocre at the main dining rooms. I was never "wowed" by any meal like on the Carnival. The entertainment was pretty good on the Jewel, but once again, the theater was so much smaller and lacked that luster of the other two ships. There were a few neat rooms such as The Spinnaker and Fyzz, however. The hallways were very narrow and often cluttered with coolers. Our stateroom was smaller than before and the bed setup for four people in an inside stateroom was extremely cluttered. On our Carnival ship, two beds came down from the ceiling that allowed at least some room to walk through. On the Norwegian, a trundle bed was pulled out and set up in between two twin beds. This meant the entire floor of your stateroom was covered with bedding. No place to sit or walk through. Too crowded for sure. The shower was larger than Carnival's and the only major thing I liked about our cabin on this ship. Everything else pertaining to the bathroom was very small and crowded. We enjoyed our ports of call and getting on and off the ship was great with the exception of Belize which had to be tendered in. We had to wait 2 hours before we could get off the ship on this date. If you want off the ship earlier at this port, you better book an excursion. Your excursion is your ticket to getting off the ship first. I wouldn't say our cruise was terrible because we love cruising, but we won't cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this ... Read More
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this cruise would be as good. We each had our own inside cabin, next door to each other, as she is a night owl, and we both enjoy our privacy. From the first step on the ship.... it was disappointing. I have sailed over 34 cruises, and never have I walked along the deck (100 yds. or so) to enter the ship by elevators. We were looking forward to the overwhelming experience of entering an atrium area, or large lobby. By elevators? Really? Our cabins were not ready until 1 pm, and we were onboard at 11:30 am. We made our way to the spa to preset our weeks appts. Our 1st and most important part of our vacation!! LOL. Went then to buffet. Nice and spacious for a buffet, and will organized. Love the attention to the hand sanitizing!! Washy Washy was great!! (YouTube NCL washy washy). Cleanest ship by far with this detail. WIsh Princess would catch a clue how to implement this!!! Big disappointment was the food. Dining room was horrible. Warm salads, cold soups. Best dinner was the specialty teppanyaki, well worth the $25 fee. You can get anything you want on the menu, combined.... they don't tell you that, but we learned from someone ordering from our table! So order up and enjoy all the filet, seafood you want! Shows were by standard....just a cruise show. Guess I'm spoiled with having been on the Oasis/Allure and seeing broadway shows, etc. Casino was very smoking. Wish they could learn how to upscale there ventilation system in that part of ship. Spa was awesome. We both bought the week pkg. to enjoy the sauna/steam, hot tubs, and reclining tiled lounge chairs..... so worth the $119 for the whole week. They only sell a certain amount, so this area is not over crowded, well worth heading to spa upon boarding to insure we got this package. Overall it was fun, as my sister and I just made the best of it, but I will not be cruising NCL again, as there are better cruise companies in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). ... Read More
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). We were disappointed with the cabin stewart, it took 2 days to get a Sierra Mist replaced in our refrigerator. When we called Room Service it took 3 tries to get thru and finally the cabin stewart that showed up, never returned with the pop. I do like that they have a tiny refrig as we were able to get our bottled water cold for the next day. We enjoyed the talent shows. The casino was way too smokey! hard to breath! The service desk was just OK, some didn't give us adequate answers to our questions, others were helpful. We do not like the automatic gratuitee as seems you do not get that great service as before and this is our 8th cruise. desserts had no flavor! Embakation was terrible, long lines, Embarkation was even worse! I will go back to RCL and try the Princess line.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, ... Read More
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, third cruise line, and it was by far the fastest. Bueno. The mini suite on 11 was very nice - bigger than the balcony rooms we have been on, but not a true "suite". It had a tub - gasp! And a nice big balcony. We LOVED the shore excursions - we went to Cozumel for a nice relaxing beach party, Belize for snorkeling over a great reef, Roatan for outstanding snorkeling - amazing!! Last was Costa Maya, for Mayan Ruins - very informative, very nice tour. The washy washy guy and antiseptic dispensers all over the place was very nice - and wise. We appreciated that. So that was the good stuff. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We had our experience with service on those lines - which was good - so we expected more from NCL. Instead, we got much, much less. FIrst we had to park on a surface lot - $112! And got a nice scratch on my door as a bonus. Carnival, right next door, is a covered deck, and cost less. The use of space is not great - it feels very small and closed in. No large open awe inspiring spaces. The pools on 12 were average, but the waterslide was worse that you would find at the kids splash park downtown. The fitness area is a joke - treadmills, like 4 of them, with an equal number of ellipticals, are nose to the window - NO circulation, and a 30 minute limit, due to the scores of people wanting to use them. The ceiling is inches above your head. Very inadequate. The shows with the magician/comedian were okay. But there was really nothing else to do on board! We kept looking and the Breakaway flier to find something - yawn fest. We went to the Fizz lounge every night - that was fun, but it was small, and night after night that was it? Bummer. And the food - the two main dining room food was mediocre at best. Nothing stood out as being good. No signature dishes. Which left you with the option to go to one of the restaurants - and pay more. Was that really just an option though? If the food was blah in the main dining rooms, so you have to eat where it costs $15 - $40 a head more. Really? After paying more than the average cruise? The nickle and diming begins. Then there is the 18% gratuity tacked on to every food or drink you purchase, whethere you wait for the waitress to walk two feet to the bar, and take 20 minutes to return - or just belly up to the bar yourself. Welcome to the gratuity. "Service". Norwegian has a systemic problem here. The wait staff - except for one waiter - was dismissive, condescending, or worse. Want a refill on your water? Forget about it! Iced tea to drink? Good luck. And extra appetizer? We were actually told no!! Seriously??? We had purchased a 3 restaurant deal through the NCL website - we were excited about that. Well, they had no record of our purchase. After hours at the customer "service" desk, I finally went online and showed them my bank statement where NCL took my money in September!! They never conceeded this one. They fought to the bitter end - they did give us the package days into the cruise, but continued to repeat the mantra "we haven't heard back from coorporate yet." I guess the carrier pigeon died. Chocolate fantasy night - yes yes yes! Beautiful! Ooh, ahhh....tasted meh. Disappointed yet again. That was our first and last cruise. NCL wanted us to pony up $12 per day, per person for "service". We removed those bogus charges and palmed cash generously to our steward, and the one waiter who gave a crap. We do a week long cruise annually - we are RUNNING back to Carnival. Good food, great service, fun - yes, and it costs less. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Have just returned from our trip.  Joined ship and was greeted by a waiter with a tray of cocktails. Very nice until we realised that we had to pay for them. We thought it was a welcome on board free drink instead another ruse to get some ... Read More
Have just returned from our trip.  Joined ship and was greeted by a waiter with a tray of cocktails. Very nice until we realised that we had to pay for them. We thought it was a welcome on board free drink instead another ruse to get some money out of us. What a welcome!!!! The pool area was shabby and tacky and the cabins were rather small even with a balcony. The dining was of a high standard and the main restaurant was very spacious and elegant. However there were other restaurants where you had to pay extra which seems very miserly. We found all the staff to be very nice on board the ship. We were required to pay $12 per person per day towards tips for the crew, however each receipt had a space for an extra tip, this put you on the spot and made you feel mean if you didn't give something. If you are going to charge $12 then leave it at that, that's the whole point not to put you in the awkward position of not knowing whether to tip or not. My partner was very disappointed by some of the attire worn by fellow passengers, although to be fair it was advertised as casual, but this needs to be emphasised more, because a dinner suit or evening dress would appear to be out of place. We spoke to other passengers who agreed with this point of view. This is not the first cruise I have been on the last being the Sapphire Princess which was a totally different experience being far superior in every way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I will first start out with what was good: 1. THE STAFF at Sushi, Teppanyaki, Chin-Chin (all treated our 7-year-old son like a little prince), Cagney's for breakfast and lunch (at dinner, I got a backed potato with NO butter and sour ... Read More
I will first start out with what was good: 1. THE STAFF at Sushi, Teppanyaki, Chin-Chin (all treated our 7-year-old son like a little prince), Cagney's for breakfast and lunch (at dinner, I got a backed potato with NO butter and sour cream on the side like I requested while the table next to me got offered all of the accoutrements to include chives, bacon and cheese.) The bartenders and staff at Magnum's, Happy Happy, Washy-Washy Guy (some ppl found him annoying, I thought he was happy-go-lucky and did his job well for someone who has to stand by the Garden Cafe doors daily and spray hands of sometimes grumpy passengers.) Our room steward and butler were great (although this time, we really did not ask much of our butler.) 2. Evening entertainment--Cruise Director, Jamie DeSousa and Assistant, "Sinful Sin" were great--very personable and passionate about their jobs and making sure cruisers had a good time. Band on The Run was OK--but that may be simply because my hubby and I are not huge fans of 70s music. Comedian David Naster was funny and seems to be an intelligent and caring individual as he did daytime presentations on Bullying and another on the heavy subject of Sickness and Death. Good stuff. Soul Duo was great--and Cirque de Bijou was also a great show. NOW, for the bad: 1. In 2010, we took the same Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Star. The original Spinnaker's lounge on the Star was converted into a Deluxe Owner's Suite and our stay there was awesome! Lots of room--large living area with separate bedroom and a spacious bathroom. We went for the aft-facing "penthouse" this time, spent close to the same amount and received a lot less for our money. We have cruise on Norwegian 4 times to include this trip and I want to say this room by far was of least value for our money. It was not much bigger than a regular balcony suite, really. Upon our first few minutes there, I noticed a horrible urine smell coming from the toilet. I thought maybe our 7 year-old son missed the mark (as he sometimes does at home) and I cleaned the floor around the toilet to alleviate the stench (yep--cleaning toilets on my vacation--LOVELY--) to no avail. The smell prevailed throughout the rest of the week to the point of my dreading to go into the toilet in my own room! Our room was made-up, turned-down and cleaned on a daily basis so I doubt that it was the steward and cleaning crew's fault that the bathroom just STUNK. Around Thursday/Friday timeframe, I noticed the same smell lurking around the hallway of the 9th floor. Yuck. So, either ALL toilets were not being appropriately cleaned or there was indeed a plumbing problem on this ship. Note to Mr. Sheehan--We PAY TOO MUCH for a room to smell like URINE! Gross. FIX THE PLUMBING! I'm sure your multi-million dollar home does not smell! 2. I've seen on other reviews that the quality of the food in the "free" places such as the Garden Cafe, Tsar's and Azura was lowered to drive people to the specialty restaurants. This is indeed true. In 2010, I remember getting meals in the main dining rooms aboard the Star and not thinking they were half bad. The food at Azura was OK but the food in Tsar's Palace was atrocious. Greasy, tough steak, minuscule, over-cooked lobster tail, peas and carrots that looked like they came out of a can, luke-warm mashed potatoes--just gross. Waitstaff seemed confused (my mother in law waited 10 minutes for a refill on her coffee) and overworked. All-in-all, they did the best they could with the mess they've been given. Another note to NCL's CEO--WE DID NOT JUST FALL OFF THE TURNIP TRUCK! To lower the quality of your food in the main dining rooms to drive us to the specialty restaurants (where more fees apply) is an INSULT to the intelligence of those who know better (and we do.) 3. The Splash Academy kid's program is a joke. Never have I seen a more jacked-up schedule for a kid's program in my life of being a mom. Again, I've seen other reviews on here and I am relieved to know that we were not the only folks that had issues with this place. Inside the Splash Academy is a jungle gym--which is only available for use during "Freestyle Freeplay" hours of which there were only 17 logged for the ship's itinerary. 9 of those hours were in port (correct me if I am wrong, but I think most parents would jump at the opportunity of getting off the ship WITH their kids in port) and 5 of those hours were EARLY in the morning (7am-8am--IT'S SUMMER VACATION, PEOPLE!) This left a grand total of 3 hours of Freeplay during "normal" hours--with only 2 hours on one sea day and a WHOPPING 1 hour on the second sea day! While I appreciate the effort of the program to provide some educational games and structure for the kids, any mom of a 7 year-old boy with ADHD (that is under control, BTW) would attest to the fact that BOYS LIKE TO RUN and BURN OFF ENERGY. There was either Freeplay or the kids were placed into groups (with no supervision for conflict resolution...my son relayed some kids saying some pretty ugly stuff to him and as a result, wanted to go back even less.) Normally, he would have just walked away from the situation and have done something else--but wait--THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO!! So the kids played a game while the "counselors" sat around yip-yapping by a window. If the child did not desire to play the game (as not every kid likes every game), too bad. They could not run in the jungle gym-they had to take it or leave it. This usually ended in a call to our mobile room phone that our son "wanted to be picked up." On Thursday, there was ONE hour of freeplay and the rest of the activities were dedicated to the "circus" the Splash Academy was putting on. So, if your child did not care to participate in their "circus", they were out-of-luck. We could take him to a Martini-Tasting, yet another jewelry shopping schpeel and Bingo, though. Really exciting for a 7 year-old. The center was also closed on sea days (for our convenience) during 12p-2pm and 5pm-7pm. Here's a clue for them: MOST PARENTS value a quiet kid-free meal now and then. Splash Academy was closed during prime dining hours so as a result, parents with small children had to plan around the staff's schedule! Whose vacation is it, anyway?? So much for Freestyle! The center was OPEN during port hours (which was ridiculous to me as I, for one, would not leave my kid on a ship with people I don't even know while I went out to explore and I'm willing to bet people wanted to take their children off ship as well) and OPEN during late night hours with the stipulation that if they deemed they did not have "enough kids" by 11pm, the center would close. My husband and I did not stay out late--but if we decided to rage at the White Hot party, we probably would have gotten a call. When I have to plan my son's entertainment around a spa appointment or my husband has to plan it around a beer tasting ON VACATION, that's a problem! My suggestion to the staff and to the manager who does the scheduling: 1. MORE Freeplay hours! Kids like to RUN and burn off energy with other KIDS! 2. Be OPEN during PRIME DINING HOURS-_EVERY DAY! 3. LESS Port-Play hours to avoid burn-out of the staff because MOST parents take their children off the ship with them! 4. Allow parents time to PLAN a late night out by having an advanced sign-up list for this type of thing. WORK TOGETHER with your Cruise Director and plot out which nights parents of young children would most likely stay out late and then offer a "Parent's Night Out" option maybe instead of every night--every other evening or something like that--where it's all (staff) hands-on-deck with late-night games (AND FREEPLAY!) 5. ENGAGE the kids! Know their names....get to know what makes them tick. THEY ARE ALL SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT AND SHOULD BE CELEBRATED FOR BEING THIS WAY--NOT PUT INTO A BOX where they are dubbed "disruptive" for not wanting to play a game! I swear the restaurant staff and general cruise ship staff did a much better job of engaging our son than these folks did! That's my two cents. I'd have to say that b/c of Splash Academy, my husband and I did NOT sign up for the next Cruise Credit program as we did in the past and will be looking at Disney unless NCL decides to pull their heads out. We were faithful NCL cruisers until now and even brought other friends and family members along for (several) cruises. Collectively , we spent A LOT OF MONEY--too much to be burdened by inconvenient inefficient scheduling on part of a YOUNG (probably underpaid) and clueless staff of a children's program. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Alaska was beautiful even though most of the excursions we booked through NCL took you to tourist trap style places. We decided to book our excursions thru NCL because I had read if your excursion is delayed for any reason, the ship will ... Read More
Alaska was beautiful even though most of the excursions we booked through NCL took you to tourist trap style places. We decided to book our excursions thru NCL because I had read if your excursion is delayed for any reason, the ship will wait for you if (and only if) it is an NCL excursion. Not to worry! In the future we may do our own excursion booking as we get to port. There are always many, many companies hawking their trips & from what I could gather, they are much cheaper. The excursions we did are as follows: Port 1 Ketchikan: Magnificent Misty Fjords Seaplane- We found out after being on the ship & checking our excursion tickets, that anyone that weighs over 250 lbs. has to pay an extra $100.00 or you can't go. My husband is 6'4' and weighs over 250, so guess what ' At the excursion desk, they couldn't merely add the $100, they had to totally refund the entire excursion & recharge the whole thing at the higher price. (Dumb) The wait for the seaplane took almost an hour as they had 'mechanical problems' and had to bring in another plane. Even though there were still 5 planes sitting there at their dock. We were unfortunately in the very last group to be called & I felt we got gypped out of some of the tour time. We were one of the first planes back to the dock. So others left 15-20 minutes before us & were still out flying when we got back. (Aggravating) The flight was nice enough & we landed on a quiet little lake in the middle of nowhere. The pilot lets you out of the plane to walk on the pontoons. I declined. I was the only fraidy cat to stay in the plane. The ladder was tiny & those pontoons were too narrow for this grandma! I had never flown on a teeny tiny airplane so that was fun. There was room for my husband and me, a family of 3 and the pilot. All in all, it was fun. Port 2 Juneau: Four Glacier Adventure by Helicopter ' This was by far the best excursion of the whole trip. (and no extra charge for my big hubby) You have to wear special glacier boots that go over your shoes unless you already have on hiking boots. The scenery is gorgeous & flying over the glaciers was amazing. Then to land on one & get out & walk on it was just incredible! You could drink the melting glacier that was flowing in little rivers on the glacier (we did) It was worth every penny it cost just to walk on that glacier. They are beautiful! The helicopter held me, hubby & another couple and the pilot. You wear headphones in the helicopter & listen to some music and sometimes the pilot gives updates. If you want to talk, you have to push a button on the ceiling of the helicopter. I mention that because I've never seen that happen on TV or in the movies. If you go to Alaska, do not miss the chance to walk on a glacier! Port 3 Skagway: White Pass Railway & Yukon Expedition ' This was just OK & don't recommend it much. The bus ride up is very long (the lady in front of me was playing candy crush saga which I thought was funny as there was plenty of gorgeous scenery out the windows! But maybe she was bored) (also - there is a microscopic bathroom on the bus) and the stop for lunch is at a tourist trap type place. The BBQ chicken lunch was OK, nothing spectacular. You get a leg & a thigh. The taxidermy 'museum' is just run of the mill stuffed animals. I zipped right through it but did take pictures of the bears so we could say we 'saw bears'. There are a few miniature horses you can pet but then you have to declare on your customs forms coming back into the US that you had contact with livestock! (No big deal, they didn't ask about it, the customs agent didn't even look at the forms) There are 4 or 5 puppies that they said were 11 weeks old you can pet, but watch out for dog poop in the yards everywhere! They were cute. Lots of sled dogs to see, but if chained up dogs bother you, don't go. They are all chained up at their dog houses. From what I gather, that is the norm for sled dogs. The bus driver did pull over once when he saw another bus pulled over and there was a black bear cub foraging for food. I got a few blurry pictures but that is the only live bear we saw all week. We saw a brief glimpse of a caribou from the train on the ride down the hill. If you go, sit on the right side of the train (as you get in from rear of car as we did, when walking in, sit on the right) as that will be the side with the best views going down the mountain. Unless you go out to the platform on either end of the train car. (You are not allowed to go off your assigned train car) My husband spent almost the entire trip on the platform. There isn't much room out there & the people that were first ones out there ' stayed out there so don't delay getting out there or you won't get a turn! They did offer complimentary bottles of water on the train, which was nice, since a bottle of water on the ship costs $2.50 - $5.25! Port 4 Victoria BC: Orca Whale Watching & Wildlife Tour ' The boat took about a 25 minute ride out to where there were reports of whales. It turned out to be one measly whale that surfaced every few minutes. Barely visible except for one quick surfacing where we did get a few photos. (nothing spectacular but at least you can tell it's a whale!) Keep the shutter on 'sport' (continuous shots) as the view of the whale is brief. There were 2 other tour boats from other companies at same spot. The 'wildlife' were a few seals on rocks in the distance on the trip back to the dock. Hard to tell what was a seal and what was a rock. The boat ride was very bumpy & several people were obviously sick & laying down on the benches. I took a Dramamine before going just to be safe even though I've only had motion sickness once in my life & I was pregnant then too so who knows. Some of the reviews on this company's website were out of this world but we were not so lucky. I also heard another co-passenger that went whale watching in a different port tell of a wonderful tale of seeing whales bubble netting. She lucked out! Enough about the excursions, now onto the ship and cruise line itself. The 'free style' cruising was nice as we didn't have to adhere to scheduled meal times, but the buffet was always packed & hard to find a free table. Sometimes there wasn't silver service & napkins in the trays on the tables either. The food didn't vary much at all from day to day, so what you see on the first day ' you will probably see every day after that. We did eat in the other 'free' dining rooms and they were nice enough. Sometimes there were lines waiting to get in. The food was decent & service was 'just ok' ' nothing great. Four of the nights we ate in the extra charge dining rooms. The Teppanyaki (Benihani- like) Japanese dining room was the best of the extra fee dining rooms. The service was great & food was excellent plus the added fun of having the chef cook your food right in front of you & put on a little show. We also ate at Cagney's Steakhouse (it was good) and Le Bistro French (food was good but service was totally awful!) and what is called 'Mama's' (Italian) on the website but it isn't called that on the ship. It was OK too. Our room steward was OK but I had to ask for ice almost daily. He filled the ice bucket half full once a day & that was it. I like ice water at night & it was all melted by then. The towel animals were cute but nothing extraordinary. Same thing as every other cruise ship. The duvet cover on our bed had a hole in it (over an inch long) and the cover on the sofa bed was very worn and faded. The clear plexiglass on our balcony was dirty & didn't look like it had been washed in a good long while. We used one of the bath towels to wipe it down so we could see better. When I cruised on Royal Carribean, the stewards were like ninjas & were mostly unseen but gave excellent service. The stewards on the Jewel were always in the halls, as were the big bags of trash & their carts with the cleaning supplies on them. Very unsightly & were seen way way too often! Comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean, I like RC much better for the service, and the ship was in better condition. On the Jewel, they were always trying to get extra money out of you with their games & their 'free seminars' which were only ploys to get you to buy their very expensive health products. They were even hawking their products when we went for our couples massage that cost almost $300! Like that wasn't enough, they wanted you to spend even more. It was very very annoying We did go to play Deal or No Deal (cost $20 per card to play) one of the first nights & it was a total disaster. The computer went down & it took them almost half an hour to fix it and then it goofed up the entire game & the poor lady that was on stage lost a couple hundred dollars thru no fault of her own. They didn't offer to fix anything for her. We saw her on land at one of our ports & talked to her & she did say they offered her a free dinner to make it up to her. They should have given everyone in the audience a free do over game because it was totally goofed up with the computer going down. We didn't play any more of their overpriced games after that. We took our daughter & her husband along with us as a graduation present for her & told them (NCL) that at the time of booking the cruise. When we got on board, there was a card in the slot by their door telling her happy birthday (what?) and telling her to bring the card to an art auction to receive a free gift. Well, there was no 'free gift' but all they gave her was a 'chance' to win a piece of art in a drawing at the END of the auction, so she would have to sit thru an entire auction that she had no interest in (who buys 'art' on a cruise anyway?) to wait to see if she won anything, something they called a free gift. Very disappointing, not to mention it wasn't her birthday! She did get a little slice of some kind of fluffy icebox cake & the waiters sang happy birthday to her in one of the restaurants. Again, not her birthday but oh well, hey ' free cake! The shows in the main Stardust Theater were OK. The comedian (Dave Naster) was the best. He was very funny! The same dance crew perform at every show, even the "cirque" show. They were talented but just run of the mill cruise type entertainment. All in all, it was a nice vacation, but I will not cruise with NCL ever again. Alaska was beautiful and worth seeing. Pack warm clothes even if you go mid July! I wore my winter coat with the hood on & gloves when we were on our balcony going up the fjord or whatever it was, Tracy's Arm maybe? On the way to Sawyer's Glacier that we barely got a glimpse of from very very far away. The Captain said there was too much ice in the water to venture any closer. He was probably right as there were lots of large chunks in the water. It was very cold that day on that balcony & I was glad I had my coat & gloves to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. It was definitely worth the extra money to have a balcony on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 ... Read More
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 minutes only to be greeted by a hostess who handed us a pager and told us to return in a half an hour. Once we got into the dining room it was very loud and crowded. The service waa less than spectacular. Picture your average hotel wedding reception service. The food was average and took forever to be served. We left before desert since we couldn't stand to sit there a minute longer. We took the rest of our meals at the crowded buffet who's food was no better but was faster and the variety better. If you want to find good food on this ship head to The Grill for lunch.I mentioned the bad service to a NCL rep upon our return and he claimed that the service and crowd control is better on te 7+ day cruises. How is this possible when our same staff cleared us off the ship and started a 7 day cruise the same day. Do they magically start offering the new cruisers better service? I think not.When we arrived our room steward knocked and entered our room no less than four times the first hour. We finally put up the Do not disturb sign. Then we had a strange male steward knock on our door twice saying our friends ordered us a pillow. We had no friends on the cruise. Our steward also pushed our suitcases to the back and hid a plastic bag of fresh linens under our bed. I guess she wanted to save time when we left.We were on a tight budget and were happy to have the $35 on board credit. We only had one cocktail and had to leave behind some precious photos in the gallery because of the cost. When we went to leave I looked for my final statement since I knew I went a little over. I could not find the statement so I called te front desk. She informed me that we had a $46 CREDIT!! I asked her how was this posible. Apparently the cruise line had charged the three of us $23 per person Alaska tax even though we were not going to Alaska. Somewher along the way they put the credir on our account and never told us. I was in tears...we passed up so much, the drinks, better meals in the nicer dining rooms and of course our photos were now gone forever. They would not give me the credit back but said they would be mailing a check. It's been 11 days and still no check.Please don't believe the easy disembarkation process. We were told not to get in line due to a delay in customs. We stood in line for an hour only to find the delay was not with customs but the single NCL employee trying to check everyone off the ship. I don't understand the reason to lie to us about it. I would suggest to anyone using NCL to hold onto your bags and walk them off yourself. It's much faster and safer if you are hoping to catch a flight.On a positive note we took our 8 year daughter who lived in the kids club. The staff is very professional and she had a great time. Ports of Nanaimo and Victoria were wonderful.Will think long and hard about using NCL again. A cruise should be a luxury experience not the type of service you would have gotten if you would have just stayed home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
my husband and myself booked a suite on deck 11 for this cruise.everything from day one was unsatisfactory. our room safe would not function the coffee maker was broken, when it was replaced we were given another machine still containing ... Read More
my husband and myself booked a suite on deck 11 for this cruise.everything from day one was unsatisfactory. our room safe would not function the coffee maker was broken, when it was replaced we were given another machine still containing the dregs of someone elses coffee!!!the overall look of the ship is rather jaded carpets in the public areas were torn and frayed carpets in our companions state room were very stained and marked paint peeling on most of the outside areas.as platinum members we were entitled to a complimentary dinner in the bistro so we booked when we got on for the night of the 14th feb, our booking was accepted, we recieved a call 9 days later tell ing us we could not have the booking as it was valentines day and there was a special menu @$49 per head ,didnt they know this when they took our booking?we contacted the hotel director with our concerns who asked us to take the dinner complementary we explained that we did not want the dinner but at his insistance we went, BIG MISTAKE the meal was inedible my husbands fish was raw and I ordered gnocchi which was dried and stuck to the plate, the menu was no different to the usual menu so why the $49 charge? again we complained and were offerd the obligatory bottle of wine to shut us up(which we again refused) it seems they think a free bottle of wine solves all problems. the dining room staff were a joke we were served meals without cutlery waited 45 minutes just to take an order again we felt like complainers and even as the restaurant manager was talking to us our meals were served and guess what they were the wrong order,we asked why this was so and we were told all the goodstaff had been taken for the new ship the breakaway my question is ,is our money not as good as the people who are going to travel on the breakaway?? food in the buffet again cold and miserable and being a former restaurant owner myself noticed a couple of things that would not pass health inspectors like cold scrambled eggs being put onto the almost finished serving dish and being warmed only by the bain marie (hello salmonella)!!!! we did leave a deposit for another cruise as we have never been disappointed with NCL before but again the cruise consultant was very disinterested and continued reading some kind of material whilst half heartedly getting us to sign paperwork.entertainment was very good and saved the day for us. one big mistake was to stay on board for the week end to nowhere which ended up as a free for all booze week end, people were even taking plates of hot food into the show room!!! they just seemed to trash the ship with no one supervising. all in all NCL let themselves and their loyal customers down on this voyage. this may make them realise that all customers are important not just the ones they are trying to lure to the new ships Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
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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