623 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife ... Read More
My wife, daughter and I have cruised three times on Norwegian, twice with Royal Caribbean and once with MSC and we looked forward to this trip to the beside the shores of Alaska and BC. The cruise overall was wonderful! My wife generously upgraded our balcony room to a Haven suite as a birthday gift. We've had suites before on RC and MSC, but this one was significantly larger including a separate second bedroom / bathroom for our seven year old. The Haven itself is fantastic. Haven areas are on the restricted decks (14 and 15) and include private dining for breakfast and lunch in Moderno, a covered pool/hot-tub that is nice and warm on the coldest/windiest of Alaskan days, a private area on top of the ship (on deck 15) where you can enjoy 360 degree views, butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority seating in the theater, priority embarkation and debarkation, etc. Truly awesome! We were very spoiled for the week! Overall, this is the way to see the coastline. There are some places where it just makes sense to go by ship. Norway (which we did on MSC after Norwegian canceled our cruise without explanation) and Alaska glacier areas are two examples. We spent innumerable hours watching gorgeous scenery out of our balcony with hours and hours going by with no sight of humans. Spectacular! OK, but onto the cruise stuff you guys might care to read about. First, service. We were pretty segregated the whole trip, so we didn't interact much in the public areas of the ship with the exception of listening to music in a bar or two. Our cabin steward, butler (Loy) and concierge (John) were all great. We asked a lot from John during the trip and he was intelligent, helpful and fully understood the context of what his guests would want. In our experience, not many crew members (especially non-native English speakers) are very good at getting the nuances of American culture even after a decade or more working on ships. John just "got it" and made our cruise much better that it would have been without his assistance. Such staff are worth attracting to the ship because they can accomplish more than a dozen 'newbs' can. We spent a bit of time chatting with the General Manager as well, who I think has one of the coolest jobs. OK, so all-in-all the service we received was great. Public service, I really can't say one way or the other albeit we ran into a couple service staff that would randomly bring up how they had toddlers at home that they only got to see every 8 months. We have run into this story many times before (always from SouthEast Asian staff) and I'm cool with it as long as it doesn't sound like a pity story in an effort to get additional gratuity. If we have been speaking with you frequently and we ask, fine, but don't bring it up out of the blue, please people. It's odd. Music: We had a Spanish guitarist that was quite talented and my daughter danced (mostly alone) for at least an hour. We didn't get much in the way of jazz which was surprising for a cruise full of retirees. The show band did a bit and were quite good. None of the other musicians did much for us. There was a Phillipino group singing pop tunes which was pretty awful, but there were enough people watching so at least some people thought it was OK. At least there wasn't a Calypso band on board. Entertainment: We thought it was surprisingly good. Generally the shows don't do much for us. We saw a hypnotist that we had seen before in the Canary Islands, a couple shows with the main dance/musicians, a smart comedian (geared to older age audiences) and a couple shows that were "Cirque" themed. The Cirque stuff was the best. The rest were quite good as well. Cabin: Mostly covered above, but overall it was excellent. Some of the tiles on the bathroom floor were loose and there was an odd frame thing around the master bath toilet flushing button, but the rest was in good shape and very clean. Specialty Dining: We didn't eat in any non-specialty restaurants this trip unless you count having sushi and other stuff at Chin Chin. Everything cost extra in the specialty dining, of course, but we were surprised by how much more expensive it was as compared to Norweigan's prior cover-charge approach. The prices were comparable to what I would expect to pay for a similar restaurant at home, which didn't take into account what we weren't eating at the main dining room / buffet, etc. I am fine with paying 'a la carte, but at least make the pricing reasonable, folks! Perhaps that was why many of the restaurants looked pretty empty at least at the early-ish times were were eating. OK, for the details; Chin Chin: the cheapest of the bunch as most of the food is free. The food was quite good quality and our service there was excellent. It was a bit loud and crowded, but that's fully understandable. We got the last available table which was by the entrance to Teppanyaki, so my daughter got to watch the show (again). The show band was playing for part of dinner downstairs, so that was pleasurable. The sushi from Sushi was excellent. In retrospect, I would have repeated this place more than once. La Cucina: Any Italian would lose their mind in this place. The food was 'meh', albeit the pasta dish we had was prepared perfectly. Italian cuisine must consist of the freshest seasonal ingredients, and the rule is to not screw up the great ingredients by overcooking or over-embellishing. I got the Osso Bucco and was sadly disappointed. It was of poor quality, not prepared well, not flavorful, and didn't even come with the marrow fork. I asked for one and the (Filipino) staff had no clue what I was talking about. Who serves Osso Bucco without a marrow fork?! Not anyone that has familiarity with Italian cuisine. Anyway, I viewed this as a symptom of not hiring more people that are familiar with the cuisines and service expected from a restaurant of that theme. C'mon Norwegian, stop hiring 90% of your staff from the Philippines just because they are cheap and can't sue foreign countries. We know what you are doing! Teppanyaki: This is a typical cheap Japanese steak house. Sit around the grill and get a little show. Service was poor, the food was fine, and the "Japanese chef" was almost as good as you'd find in a comparable place back home. Le Bistro: Good food, good service, somewhat limited menu, and a nice view out the windows (we were eating while passing whales which was really cool). Cagney's: This was the best restaurant in our opinion. The steaks and veal were excellent. The sides were priced separately and were quite expensive but tiny portions. What the heck? Very good service from our favorite server. The sommelier however was really irritating and had no clue what he was doing. He showed up at our table like Lenny and Squiggy arriving at Laverne and Shirley's apartment with a loud "Hello!". He then proceeded to open and pour our wine, but poured my glass and then my wife's. The rules are simple people: The one who orders the wine is asked to taste. Then you serve it to the oldest woman down to the youngest and then the men. Oh and he poured massive pours. What the heck? I was visibly irritated and made a comment to our server. I'm sure anyone server on the ship could have served the wine properly. Why this guy couldn't is a mystery, but I ran into him again at Moderno. This time he obnoxiously pretended to speak Spanish (he was Filipino) and was desperate to point me to a bottle. (I can choose my own wine, thank you very much!) I later complained about his boorish behavior to John, our concierge who relayed it to the head sommelier. Moderno: We ate here for breakfast and lunch every day as we were in the Haven. Service was excellent and the food quality was good, but the menu never changed over the seven days. We mentioned it to the General Manager, but he didn't think it was an issue except on longer cruises. For dinner it is a Brazilian steakhouse that gets its food from the kitchen in Cagney's. The food quality was good, but some of the staff didn't understand the whole 'red card means stop, green card means go' thing. Its basic rules for a Brazillian steakhouse people. The servers bringing the meat should know this. Beverages: Good, but overpriced. Oh, I forgot to mention that we selected a beverage package as one of our free incentives for booking the cruise in the first place, but when my wife upgraded to a Haven Suite, they took this benefit away without telling us. It became a whole two days of trying to sort it out through our concierge, who ended up losing that battle on our behalf. They charge a lot for drinks on this ship. A typical mixed drink was $11+ and a can of soda was $3.50. The drink packages are really expensive too. After a day or two we figured out that we'd never drink enough to make the package worthwhile even at the high prices, so we just paid for what we wanted. We bought bottles of wine every night (which were reasonably priced), so at least that was fine. Fitness Center: They have a whole room full of nice bikes that they only allow to be used when there is a spin class. The rest of the bikes were awful, my wife tells me. I used the treadmill once, which was fine, then I started running on the track on deck 13 instead which involves frequently asking people to move when they are blocking the track. Shore Excursions: We did our own for the most part. We took a helicopter flight and landed on a glacier, we took a cool train ride into Yukon territory (that one was cruise arranged), we kayaked with sea lions, seals and humpback whales, and we did a sled-dog training event. All were awesome and the ones we arranged were cheaper than the ship excursions, but they were still pricey. That said, all were worth it! Why This is Our Last Large Ship Cruise: We just learned how much these ships pollute the air. One cruise line in its European cruises pollutes MORE than every car in Europe combined. What the heck?! It turns out that they could "scrub" the exhaust, but then it just dumps sulfuric acid into the ocean directly. It appears that having your hotel / restaurants move around with you everywhere is wasteful. Who knew? Anyway, we'll just do more fly and drive trips which albeit bad, have much less of a carbon impact than a big ship. Time to go nuclear, folks! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was recommended to me by United Cruises once I told them I was interested in an Alaska cruise. i was given several choices, but I was interested in doing SE Alaska because years ago I had done a different Alaska cruise which ... Read More
This cruise was recommended to me by United Cruises once I told them I was interested in an Alaska cruise. i was given several choices, but I was interested in doing SE Alaska because years ago I had done a different Alaska cruise which took me to Sitka, Valdez and ended up in Anchorage where I got to see Delani National Park, which was quite a treat for the senses. Everything was really nice onboard except the food. I found it to be very average in every sense. I never ate anything that mesmerized me. I guess Norwegian has to cut corners somewhere. Otherwise, the cruise was very enjoyable. The entertainment was OK. The highlight of the entertainment for me was the winner of American idol 12 season, a lady whose last name was Glover. She was amazingly good and she performed flawlessly to the delight of the entire theater which gave her a standing ovation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted the itinerary so I chose this cruise and I have been cruising primarily on NCL. On the Jewel the staff makes you feel like family. The entertainment this cruise ( end of Sept) to Alaska was excellent. Stateroom was great and ... Read More
Wanted the itinerary so I chose this cruise and I have been cruising primarily on NCL. On the Jewel the staff makes you feel like family. The entertainment this cruise ( end of Sept) to Alaska was excellent. Stateroom was great and the Jewel was recently renovated. Recognized the Hotel Director Steven as I have cruised on the Jewel a few times previously. The food was good, some menu items better than others. Some of the food a bit bland, but good! The most remarkable thing that occurred was that my hotel steward found and turned into me an large diamond stud earring that had come out off my earlobe. I had not noticed that it had come off until he said he found it on the floor of my stateroom. Very commendable. So honest. I was very impressed by that. On my wish list, less shopping talks and more history, geography and cultural information! You cannot go wrong choosing NCL Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Beautiful ship, well appointed. All bars had awesome staff, especially Magnums and O’Shanahons . Specialty restaurants that we picked had wonderful food. We didn’t buy and shore excursions, (too $$$$) but, did do the port shopping ... Read More
Beautiful ship, well appointed. All bars had awesome staff, especially Magnums and O’Shanahons . Specialty restaurants that we picked had wonderful food. We didn’t buy and shore excursions, (too $$$$) but, did do the port shopping experience. Disappointed in daytime entertainment options when we returned to ship. Appreciated the hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship. Best entertainment by far was Fire and Ice (Michael Jackson/ Tina Turner) done by Rosie. . The entire staff on the Jewel had the best attitudes, always with a smile and asking if we needed help. Dan the Man was fun and helpful with announcements. Loved the drink package and the Specialty Dining. We are already planning on returning soon. Maybe the 16 days thru the Panama Cancel, Florida to LA where we live. We took advantage of the CruiseNow package. I personally have cruised on Cardinal Cruise Line.......I will never go back. I’m in love with NCL! Thank you for a very enjoyable cruise Gail Ropp Traveling with Lance Lomax Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 6th Alaska cruise, 3rd on NCL. We flew to Anchorage on Saturday for the Monday cruise. You do need to plan $100+ to get yourself to the port. We did a taxi from Seward with another couple to save $. The train/bus options are ... Read More
This was our 6th Alaska cruise, 3rd on NCL. We flew to Anchorage on Saturday for the Monday cruise. You do need to plan $100+ to get yourself to the port. We did a taxi from Seward with another couple to save $. The train/bus options are either morning or early afternoon. We booked guaranteed less than a month before the cruise. Got a good price and all 5 options. Room assignment given within a week. The pros: We enjoyed this midsize ship better than last year’s Bliss. Less crowds and easier to navigate. The Jewel’s dry dock was well done. Balcony room was smaller than others, but well-planned storage makes it tolerable. Staff was efficient and courteous. Dining rooms and buffet were very good. Easy to get on and off the ship. We took advantage of the future cruise certificates, after reading the contract we could see no downside to committing to future NCL cruises. The cons: the weather was grey and damp, not NCL’s fault. We still enjoyed the views and ports, just didn’t get great pictures. Also due to weather, we missed Tracey Arm and stayed in Juneau until 9 pm. La Cucina was our least favorite dining room. Meat we ordered was dried out and flavorless, veal and chicken cacciatore. We will skip this option next cruise. Overall, we find the NCL ships to be more elegant and the clientele more to our taste. Although we are Carnival platinum, we think we’ve outgrown the fun ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 35th Anniversary and my wife's retirement. Inside Passage itinerary was on wife's bucket list. I Chose NCL because we had our honeymoon cruise with them in the Caribbean. I chose the mini ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 35th Anniversary and my wife's retirement. Inside Passage itinerary was on wife's bucket list. I Chose NCL because we had our honeymoon cruise with them in the Caribbean. I chose the mini balcony suite 11094 in the middle of the ship as an upgrade to our usual window room. Boarding was ok, not great. Line moved steadily, but no one was checking appointment times, it was just kind of a free for all. No issues getting on the ship. Our room was ready when we boarded. Cabin Steward was a sweetheart, kept things in great shape. Entertainment around ship was ok, not great. Production Cast in Stardust theater was excellent overall. The lounge acts were so- so. The comedian was hilarious. Casino Staff was totally excellent, I was addressed by name from day one, and they all were very pleasant to be around. Buffet was ok, only ate breakfast and 1 lunch there. Staff was nice, and washee washee crew had a blast Specialty Restaurants: Moderno was good, ate night one, plenty of food to choose from, and staff was friendly Le Bistro night 2, disappointing. Service had no sophistication at all, food was just ok, nothing special about it at all and extremely small portions. no name recognition, no celebration recognition... Teppanyaki- great company at the table, fun time. food had zero flavor, very typical of this type of restaurant. Our Chef was a novice....very friendly, but certainly needed to hone his show skills more before being turned loose. everything was rushed...deserts were terrible Cagneys- saved for last night, arrived half an hour early, got sat 40 minutes later. Waited 10 minutes and finally waitress came over and asked for dinner order before even seeing if we wanted a drink, when I said we wanted to get something to drink, she just left. 5 minutes later guy comes over to take order for decent bottle of wine (100$+) We wait 10 minutes and he comes back with wine....not a great presentation, and then wants to get paid for wine on the spot. Very weird. Waitress comes back and takes order..pretty much all she was was an order taker...never refilled wine glasses, or attempted to engage us in conversation. Ribeye Steak was of very poor quality, Filet was cooked correctly. cheesy grits were excellent. She brought us the wrong desert to start, correct desert was ok, again, not great. Spa- took the tour the first day and the hard sell was almost unbearable...we did get a couple massage the next day which was AWESOME! I did buy thermal spa passes before the cruise...an expensive mistake as we never found the time to use them at all used the fitness center once, it was more than adequate Shore Excursions: Most booked independently : Ketchikan:Misty Fjords Seaplane on Carlin Air thru Viator.com- Excellent! Crabfeast and Lumberjack Show thru AlaskaShoreexcursions.com- Excellent Juneau: Best of Juneau thru shoreexcursionsgroup.com- Excellent ( Whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier, and Salmon Feast) Skagway: Best of Skagway thru NCL ( Bus RIde, Train Ride Down White Pass, another Salmon Bake, Red Onion Tour) Excellent Cruise Director was good...The views were humbling, and with the exception of the specialty restaurants missing the service mark most of the time, and the food being probably no more special than what was served in the main dining rooms, we really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my birthday present to go to Alaska!!! A beautiful trip! To see the Glaciers up close was amazing. A must see State. Everyday was better than the last day! Definitely get a balcony for this trip... waking up to those views ... Read More
This was my birthday present to go to Alaska!!! A beautiful trip! To see the Glaciers up close was amazing. A must see State. Everyday was better than the last day! Definitely get a balcony for this trip... waking up to those views everyday are breathtaking!!! Even laying in bed bed looking out out the water is so relaxing and refreshing. The entertainment and activities on board were great... definitely something for everyone. I took advantage of the Spa and it was wonderful, to relax and get pampered. The ports and excursions were so fun! The train rain is a must! The staff was fantastic. The drinks and food were good. The higher end dining rooms were great, nice to dress up! The embarkation and disembarkation were extremely organized all the to the airport!!! Thank you Norwegian Jewel... hopefully I'll see you again soon for another cruise to another destination Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise as the itinerary included both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and I could not recommend it more wholeheartedly, especially if you can fit the cabin we had in your budget. This was a couple's trip and belated 25th ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the itinerary included both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and I could not recommend it more wholeheartedly, especially if you can fit the cabin we had in your budget. This was a couple's trip and belated 25th anniversary adventure. Our suite really made this cruise sensational, particularly as we were blessed with wonderful weather. We were in cabin 10500, right at the front, directly under the bridge. Taking breakfast in our suite on glacier days was absolutely wonderful. Embarkation in Vancouver was seamless and departing from this city was ideal for us. We flew in from Sydney a few days earlier and enjoyed many magical eating experiences traversing this very walkable city. Getting out into the fresh air, spending time in Stanley Park and a Gastronomic Gastown Tour on foot helped us adjust to the time difference. Once on board on embarkation day, we had lunch in Moderno which provides breakfast and lunch for suite guests for the duration of the cruise. We had breakfast here three times, and had the breakfast delivered from here to our suite on glacier days. Henry, our butler, brought the breakfast and set the table for us. He was wonderful, as was cabin attendant, Rene. We had a few lunches in Moderno as well and found the service and food selections really good. We had a three specialty dining package and chose Le Bistro, Cagney's and Teppanyaki. Teppenyaki was a lot of fun and highly recommended. Cagney's steak was perfectly cooked, and the meal generally was very good, although we waited far too long and our first waiter was quite disinterested. They use an iPad for wine selections and you can't narrow selections to the $15 limit of the beverage package, which was a bit dumb. Le Bistro didn't acquit the french onion soup as well as you'd expect. The crout was soggy to the point of dissolving and the cheese was overpoweringly plentiful and runny. It was difficult to eat. The rest of the meal was quite good though and the service, although patchy, was attentive. We also ate in Azura a couple of nights and found the service excellent and the meals very enjoyable - the rib eye was a standout. Most of our entertainment was our cabin balcony, although we attended Velvet (kitchy but fun) and Le Cirque Bijou (amazing, spectacular). We also happened upon one round of trivia and a married couple game, both had witty hosts and were good for a laugh. The bar staff were great and very accommodating. Special shout out to the Rum Cake cocktail in Magnums, tasted just like Christmas Pudding! All of our excursions were arranged through the ship - a little more expensive than private arrangements perhaps, but for simplicity, we were happy with our choices. Getting on and off the ship in each port was easy and uncomplicated. First stop was Ketchican, with the Aleutian Ballad our chosen tour. The guys on the boat were great and you didn't need to be a fan of World's Deadliest Catch to enjoy all the seadog stories and appreciate how tremendously dangerous crab fishing in the Bering Sea is. This was our first opportunity to see Bald Eagles and sea life of all kinds, including crabs, a variety of other crustacea and a very cranky octopus. Ketchican itself is quite interesting, but the highlight was the salmon struggling valiantly to climb waterfalls and ford fast flowing rapids to reach their spawning ground. In Juneau, we took the helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier and dog sledding. Spectacular!! The views from the helicopter were incredible, as the icefields came into view over the hills surrounding the port. The dogs were gorgeous (especially the puppies!) and just love running, with our musher (an Iditarod competitor) very interesting and sledding on the snow exhilarating. Well worth the money - but as previously mentioned, this was a special trip. Juneau day was rounded out with king crab legs at Tracy's Crab Shack (get the mixed plate but order the extra crab leg, you won't regret it) and a lost afternoon at the Red Dog Saloon with a hilarious old guy conducting singalongs and a superb barman. Our Skagway tour was Froschel Wildlife Centre, a ferry ride and bus trip away in Haines. This centre takes in injured and orphaned creatures, hosted by Steve who was a bit nuts but lots of fun. We saw a very well trained wolverine, fed a porcupine, kissed a moose, got charged by a bear and up close and personal with minks, reindeer and other beasties. The guide on the ferry and driver of the bus were very entertaining and educational. At the end of the cruise, we spent a further week in Alaska on a self directed trip. We were fortunate to see the northern lights at Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks, enjoyed two fabulous journeys on Alaska Rail (Seward end port to Anchorage and Fairbanks to Anchorage), and a remarkable 12 hour bus trip in Denali with lots of bears, moose, caribou and Dall Sheep as well as an arctic squirrel and geyrfalcon and chick. Apparently only 30% of Alaskan visitors see Denali and we were fortunate to see this spectacular mountain on the train trip back to Anchorage. We were also very lucky with timing to see beautiful fall colours. This really was a trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed every minute. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was ... Read More
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was giving out confusing info regarding leaving the theater. People were exiting the ship without any knowledge of the train. Upon disembarking, I turned over my voucher to the Train and received my seat assignment. Total misinformation from NCL. Inside Cabin 9673 was very quiet. Cabin Steward Muhammad Shalahuddin was very gracious, helpful and attentive. As a solo cruiser, when eating in the buffet-my table was cleared regardless of my iPad, book, or backpack being visible. I was hit, bumped, knocked, kicked and pushed by small Asian women moving in herds. Cruisers leaving food and dishes outside of their cabin. It’s rude, makes it difficult to pass the narrow hallways with others and cabin crew’s carts. Those leaving elevators all took the same idea that no one else was around and continued to block the exiting area to have a conversation. Casino’s Black Jack was seemingly not controlled by number of people at the table coupled with amount the person was playing/hand with the dealer pushing buttons at each hand. On the brand new ships: Epic, Breakaway, Getaway, Bliss and I’m guessing the upcoming Encore, the dealers are always pressing buttons before each hand is dealt. (Cruiselines don’t have State Gambling Laws to follow). CAGNEY’S STEAKHOUSE-enjoyable with great service LE BISTRO-located off a bar area with “live music” the hostess closed the outer doors which silenced the bad performer. The chocolate fondu is the best dessert. LA CUCINA- Why is the Caesar salad removed from this menu? This restaurant is directly under the basketball court. People at 8:00pm were playing basketball and the entire ceiling of La Cucina was shaking while being pounded. Cruisers all were questioning the wait staff. The answer was, “the court is closed but people climb around the closed ropes.” Why wasn’t security called to address this huge issue while people were paying extra for the specialty restaurant? AZURA RESTAURANT: very noisy Thermal Suite Spa- clean, quiet, single-sex areas, with a handful of people. Sam, the Spa Manager is delightful, sweet, and engaging. VELVET- very disappointing for NCL’s live entertainment. The (Lexi) female lead’s pitch was often off. The company dancers were poor. Feet, arm placement, hands of all the dancers were always off and never together. The extremely overweight male “dancer’ (Marc) that appeared on stage was simply outrageous, hideous and far from entertaining. He simply was laughable and horrifying. My 10th NCL Cruise- the sound techs continue to be clueless in sound production: Balance, treble, bass, and dynamic levels were all problematic. THE COMEDY OF ACE GUILLEN: This act should be re-named, ACE GUILLEN: HIS MUSICAL OUT-TAKES. There was no comedy to this performance. However, the last night on the ship, Ace did a show featuring his ‘adult comedy.’ He was quite funny. LE CIRQUE BIJOR: most entertaining featuring (Vlad & Anna) and (2 male gymnasts). The dancing was together. A NCL person said VELVET was a new production. POOL: has a lifeguard on duty. I was baffled by the Alaskan ports claiming ‘duty free’ when we are traveling in the US. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on ... Read More
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on effort past selling shore excursions. The ship was basic - everything you'd need no matter where you're sailing to. The cabin was efficient. The dining rooms were average - although the specialty dining rooms were very much worth the extra money! Service was what was expected - except for in O'Sheehans... some of the rudest staff members on the high seas. The Alaskan ports are absolutely breath-taking and a must see for every one! We'd do this cruise again only because the price is right and the ports speak for themselves. If you're looking for a more authentic Alaskan experience, I'd recommend Holland America, but the NCL Jewel is a great budget friendly way to see it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian ... Read More
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian restaurant Chin Chin, Tepanika Tsar's Palace Dining room and the buffet. Mica was our favorite waitress and Mary Lo the BEST Hostess! We enjoyed them all, in particular Cagney's and Tepanika. Tsar's Palace is quite beautiful and the service was simply wonderful . . . as a matter of fact the service everywhere on the ship was the incredible, the friendliest staff with anticipating your needs (and I have been on over 30 cruises). Really loved the shows, the acrobatic show and Carl Strong comedy being the favorites. Went to the spa for 4 different treatments, Sam gave the best pedicure and manicure I have every had! John D'Souza was an incredible concierge and during disembarkation when things started to get back up and not going as smoothly, John was right in the middle of it, fixing things for a better easier flow! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Very disappointed in the entertainment except for the comedian. the food was great but the buffet was a zoo. there should have been another one for that many passengers. We went to the dining room for all our meals after the first day ... Read More
Very disappointed in the entertainment except for the comedian. the food was great but the buffet was a zoo. there should have been another one for that many passengers. We went to the dining room for all our meals after the first day which always took longer. The food was great everywhere but the desserts were poor. They all looked beautiful but tasteless. Our Junior suite was a perfect size and the balcony was just the right size but it never got cleaned and there was hair and dirt on it. I personally washed the table off each day. The girl looking after our cabin was very nice and helpful but run off her feet with all the cabins she had to look after. We talked to lots of staff and got to know them in the restaurants and everywhere else on the ship and they are all extremely friendly and polite. NCL needs to have more help for the cabins though. Tons of employees in the dining rooms, but cleaning staff no.The shore excursions were great but extremely expensive. You are better off to go ashore and book your own. There are lots waiting for you and you don't have to worry about getting back to the ship before it sails because everyone knows when you have to be back. You just have to be sensible about what you want to do. The ship is beautifully decorated no expense spared there. We booked the Denali 12 day trip and when we got to the buss at the end of the cruise it was not the "luxury coach" they advertised. The seats were too close together and depending on which seats you sat in your knees were touching the back of the seat in front of you so no stretching. No TV screens, there were a few through out the bus but they are never used. There was a group of 12 people plus their tour director from "Tours of Distinction" who immediately "Reserved" the first 6 rows of the bus for her group and this was on a NCL bus! They had all their meals booked and paid for while the rest of us were dropped off in the middle of downtown and given an hour to find our own. There were 49 people on the bus and the other 36 people on the bus were not impressed and it was discussed a lot. people even spoke up about the unfairness of it but it was ignored. I feel sorry for Patrick our bus driver because it seemed the T. of D. guide was calling the shots. The Denali Forest is awesome but come on 5:30 in the morning for pick up and 6-8 hours on another bus that was like a school bus. We were all crippled getting off at the end of the day. The train we were supposed to ride on with the dome cars was not running for 2 days before we got off the ship but no one told us until we asked because we were hearing it was cancelled and that was the biggest reason for that part of the tour. Finally we were informed we might be able to get on it tomorrow. Wild fires and slides had stopped it. I know you can't control these things but we should have been informed before we ever got off the ship, they knew 2 days earlier that the train wasn't running. This whole experience left a bad taste in our mouth and we won't be sailing with NCL again. When you pay over 11 thousand dollars not including airfare for a cruise you expect better. The exercise room was a quarter the size needed. There were lots of activities for children but only 3 decks of cards in the games room and it was packed. We bought a deck of cards but was difficult to find somewhere quiet to play where the wind didn't blow the cards away. The buffet dining tables were not available to use and the dining room that they told us to use, the lady who is the one in a uniform was in there listening to someone playing the piano and she shooed us out of there even when we told her the signs on the table told us to go there if we wanted somewhere quiet to play cards. There was a casino or you could go to one of the lounges to listen to employees of the ship sell you a service on board or where to shop at their stores at the next port. Everything was geared to get more money out of you. I thought cruises were inclusive except for alcohol but I soon found out the paying never stops. The one major thing we learned was the cruise lines have created an industry where every port they pull into , the majority of the businesses are owned by them and the locals have no control. We felt much better shopping for trinkets and T-shirts from Anchorage and Fairbanks where you could buy something actually made by someone in Alaska not china and cheaper. I wonder are all cruise ports of call the same. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our cabins were kept spotless and we always enjoyed the placement of our kids stuffed animals. Whenever we had a question, our stuffed animal wrangler/room steward, was more than willing to stop what he was doing to explain things to us. ... Read More
Our cabins were kept spotless and we always enjoyed the placement of our kids stuffed animals. Whenever we had a question, our stuffed animal wrangler/room steward, was more than willing to stop what he was doing to explain things to us. This was our first cruise to ever take. We had our 5.5 year old & 7 month old. Our oldest loved splash academy and our youngest enjoyed being able to drum his hands on any surface he could touch. The food was not our favorite though. It didn’t leave a lot of options some days. It seems like they mainly focused on food from the Asian or Indian cultures. We are a lot of cheeseburgers. Also, the fancier restaurants didn’t have very good descriptions for the types of meals. It we always knew that if we didn’t like a meal there, we could go to the garden cafe to get a burger. I was really hoping they would have some simpler desserts. A lot of them had jellies or “goo” on them, especially the cakes. My oldest d that they had chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies. Overall, we did enjoy our trip and would love to take another in the future with our boys. We would just hope that the food options improve. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. ... Read More
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. We ate in the Tsar, Azura, and Chin Chin. Being vegetarian, they were very accommodating and we could pre-order our meals the day before. Regardless of which restaurant we ate at, Tsar's or Azura, they would have our order. Chin Chin didn't have very many vegetarian options. Being with meat eaters in our group, we wanted to dine together. The others weren't too thrilled with the food there either. The sushi was good, but that's extra charge. The shows were great - Larry Omaha (comedian), Anna and Vlad (acrobats), and the main show on the last night were amazing. Must see!! We missed the Quest but Perfect Couple game was hilarious!! Don't miss it!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Always wanted to travel to Alaska and thought a cruise would be a great way to go. Our travel agent recommended NCL and we had heard good things about the cruise line. All in all we had a great time but it was a rocky start to the cruise. ... Read More
Always wanted to travel to Alaska and thought a cruise would be a great way to go. Our travel agent recommended NCL and we had heard good things about the cruise line. All in all we had a great time but it was a rocky start to the cruise. On the 1st day after we boarded the ship we went to OSheans for lunch. We waited 45 minutes for our food to arrive and it was all served to us at the same.. the drinks, appetizers, entree and dessert. You can imagine how frustrated we were after waiting 45 minutes. All of our hot dishes were cold and by the time we were served we needed to leave as the ship was about to sail. Not a great start. Then the same night in the main dining room (Tzars Palace) we had an extremely inexperienced waiter who was neither competent or friendly. Very disappointed that the dining room supervisor or manager didn’t come by to see how we were doing. The next 2 nights we dined at the specialty restaurants and they were delicious and the staff was amazing. We ate at Cagney's and Le Bistro. The wait staff was more than wonderful and went out of their way to please us. It was our anniversary when we ate at Le Bistro and they brought out a cake to our table for our whole party of 5. We did try the Main dining room the next night and it was much better. For breakfasts and lunches we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The cabin was very nice and spacious. We were in a mini suite with a balcony. Had a few maintenance issues but they were quickly resolved. The entertainment on board was very good. The first night could have been more than just a taste of what entertainers were going to do during the cruise but the shows were excellent (except for the comedian). The ship captain was wonderful when we arrived the 2 Glacier sites. He was able to get us up close to the glaciers and turned the ship 360 degrees so that all on board could get a great view. Had a good experience with the internet on the ship although there is an additional charge. The ports and excursions were fine. We enjoyed the 3 ports that we visited. We also extended our stay in Alaska with a land tour to Denali. The tour guide was just ok and the itinerary could have been tightened up a bit as there was a lot of on your own time. Also all meals were on your own. The hotels we stayed at were also top notch. Also too many consecutive days on the bus for long periods of time. But the places we visited were beautiful and Denali is not to be missed! Wish we could have had more time in certain spots and omitted other stops that were useless. That being said it was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors. By the way our weather could not have been more beautiful. We were very fortunate to have only 1 day of rain during our 12 day cruise tour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted a one way Alaskan cruise and this cruise was most suitable for our dates and timing. Cabin was clean and nice. Our cabin attendant was good and did a great job throughout our journey. This cruise had a good entertainment and ... Read More
We wanted a one way Alaskan cruise and this cruise was most suitable for our dates and timing. Cabin was clean and nice. Our cabin attendant was good and did a great job throughout our journey. This cruise had a good entertainment and activities too. We enjoyed all the shows. Hats off to the hard working Housekeeping and restaurant staff. We booked few excursions through ship and it went well. We could not do much at Juneau port due to not so good weather. This cruise had excellent itinerary. We covered nice ports, beautiful glaciers and some great food at shores/ports too. We are not so pleased with the quality and taste of the food at complimentary restaurants. It’s really very disappointing to see Indian food tastes below average when the cruise had Head Chef and F&B manager from India. This is a shame! Overall we had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have sailed with NCL in the past and we picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary of the land and cruise. The land part was very fast paced with early days and a lot of time on buses. We liked that we got to see so much of ... Read More
We have sailed with NCL in the past and we picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary of the land and cruise. The land part was very fast paced with early days and a lot of time on buses. We liked that we got to see so much of Alaska and our tour guide Madonna and bus driver Steve were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We spent the first day in Fairbanks and the first morning at Susan Butcher's Trail Break Kennels. She won the 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990 Iditarod. Even though she passed away a few years ago, her husband and daughters continue on the tradition. We learned a lot about the history of dog mushing and got to see the dogs first hand. They are all so happy. The highlight was getting to hold the puppies. We then went on to see the Alaskan Pipeline and panned for gold. We chose the optional River Boat Cruise in the afternoon which was also fun and informative. We saw a replica of a Native Alaskan village and it was great to see all of the culture of Alaska. We also saw another presentation for the Trail Break Kennels. We got in to Fairbanks a day early and we stayed at the Rivers Edge Resort.They have a bunch of nice cabins on the river. The restaurant attached is the best in Fairbanks and it was really good! Day 2 was a train ride to Denali National Park. The train was very nice and we had an optional breakfast on board. We then took a bus tour in to the Park. We were on the bus for about 8 hours total but we saw lots of wildlife and tour guide was very informative. He stopped anytime we saw wildlife. We had multiple rest stops and we were able to see Denali (Mt McKinley) which was so beautiful. We stayed at the Grand Denali Resrt. Beautiful views overlooking the river. The restaurant was really good as well. Try the salmon cakes! Day 3 was another train ride to Talkeetna, a cute town where we had lunch. Think Northern Exposure. Then on to Anchorage. We spent the night and then got up to see Anchorage. We stayed at the Sheraton. It took 2 hours to get our luggage. Trying to get coffee in the morning took forever. They were completely under staffed even though they knew 3 tour buses were coming in and leaving at the same time. No apologies and complete indifference. Unfortunately being on a land part of the cruise apparently gives you last priority to board the ship. While everyone else was able to board at noon we were not able to board til about 5:30. We were stalled in Anchorage and then we stopped briefly at the Wildlife Conservation Center. Then stalled again in Seward. By then most of us were done with buses. It should be that you leave by 9am, drive to the Conservation Center and board the ship at noon for lunch. We had a suite as we were traveling with our two adult daughters and it made better sense than to have 2 cabins. Just an FYI. If you have a 2 bedroom suite you only get 1 hotel room on the land part of the cruise which we thought was ridiculous! Luckily we figured this out before and paid more money to get 2 hotel rooms but our tour guide says that a lot of times people figure this out for the first time when they check in. We had the Ruby Penthouse suite which was amazing! Getting a suite gets you priority check in and a concierge who helps you throughout the cruise. Dinner reservations, priority disembarkation at ports etc. Our suite also came with butler service. It was so nice to have breakfast brought to our room or have hot chocolate in the afternoon. Also you had special deck privileges for viewing glaciers. Our suite had a bedroom and bath right when you got in. Think inside cabin. It had a full bed and a twin bed bunk bed. The bathroom was a decent size. Then there was a living room with a table with four chairs and a couch and coffee table and a balcony. It had a refrigerator and Nespresso coffee maker. The second bedroom was right off the living room with a King size bed and a huge bathroom with double sinks, a big closet a tub with floor to ceiling windows and a walk in shower with floor to ceiling windows as well, and multiple jets. We loved the suite!!! Also with a suite you get your own private dining room for breakfast and lunch. The food in there was really good!!! Also you get priority disembarkation and we got through customs very quickly. The ship was recently remodeled and felt new and nice. The only problem is this is a very small ship. So there are not a lot of extra amenities. There is a spa and a casino and a theater but no other things to do. The scenery is breathtaking but unless you are into Bingo or playing cards there is not a lot to do on the ship. The game room (board games, cards, etc.) was packed. They should have made it twice as big with the lack of other activities. Luckily we had our suite. We often brought cards to a bar area and played there. The food was ok. In the upgraded restaurants the food was really good but in the main dining rooms it was just ok. I was disappointed that on an Alaska cruise there was not more salmon or King Crab. We actually ate off the ship in very port and had the most amazing meals. With all of that seafood available it should have been offered more on board. The shows were good with a mix of musical, comedy and a Cirque show. We always got seats no problem and they have people bringing you drinks right up to showtime. The casino was fun but the table had a $10 minimum and went from there. Most sat empty. We would have used the table more if maybe there was a $5 table. The ports of Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were small and could be seen in about an hour or two. Most people took excursions at each port. Since we had done the land part we just walked around, ate and enjoyed the quietness of the ship. The excursions were really expensive. Most were around $200 per person and with four of us that would mean spending another $800. The highlights were the Hubbard Glacier and Dawes Glacier. We were amazed at the beautiful blue iceberg and seeing seals float by on them was so serene. We did have a photo session at the Hubbard Glacier. It is not cost for the session and you pay for the pics only if you like them. For one pic it was $250 and it went from there. If they would reduce their cost we would have bought many more! Beware the drink packages on this cruise are outrageous. Luckily ours were included but it was $900 per person for 7 days. The bar service was great though and you never had to wait for a drink. Ali at the mojito bar was awesome!! He had our drink order down by Day 2 and we only went a couple times. Overall this was an amazing trip. Next time we would pick a bigger ship but that being said I do believe being on a a smaller ship let us go into see some of the glaciers we might not have seen. The service was fantastic. Everyone was very nice and most went out of their way to make sure you had what you wanted. There were 2000 passengers and 1000 crew so you definitely felt like people were there to help you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was on my bucket list, with Panama canal, & a friend was interested enough to come with me. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before embarkation & overnighted in an airport hotel, as it was Canada Day we started ... Read More
This cruise was on my bucket list, with Panama canal, & a friend was interested enough to come with me. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before embarkation & overnighted in an airport hotel, as it was Canada Day we started off for the port quite early, utilising the train service to get there. The streets around the port were crowded, but there were lots of people giving directions & we quickly found where to drop off our luggage. We were pretty early for our check in slot, so we made the most of the carnival atmosphere, sporting flags & temporary (we hoped) maple leaf tattoos. Once it was time to check in we proceeded to the hall, which is where it all went a little awry. As UK passport holders we were directed to a separate queue, this was smaller than the main queue, but it appeared there was only 1 (or possible 2) counters serving us compared to a dozen or so for the main, it moved incredible slowly. Then suddenly they started sending people to all different desks & things sped up, when we got to a desk the woman asked us how long we'd been there & seemed shocked at our response, considering we were processed in less than 5 minutes, I really don't know why it all took so long & can't really understand the logic in the separation to begin with. Anyway, after that we were quite soon aboard. We decided to check if the luggage had been delivered, it had, put in the cabin, take a quick look around, then go for our 1st cocktail of the cruise & a bite to eat. Our steward was often about when we were in the corridor & was always polite & friendly, tho I'm not sure he always understood what my friend was going on about, the room was always tidy & supplies stocked up. I found nearly all the officers & crew very polite & friendly, (there was 1 guy in one of the bars who always looked a bit fed up, but maybe that was just his face), the staff in the MDRs often had a quick chat, as Europeans I think we tended to eat later than a lot of the Americans, so it wasn't as busy as earlier in the evening, & the staff in the bar we mostly frequented realised quite quickly we didn't want 1/2 an iceberg in our drinks. We only used the included restaurants, mostly Azura & Tsar, we tried O'Sheenehan for lunch one day & one evening Chin Chin, the only one to disappoint. We didn't feel the need to go to the specialist places, also my friend is a mostly vegetarian (adding fish for this holiday). We did 2 excursions via NCL & 2 with another company, plus some independently. The NCL were in Ketchican, we went to the Rainforest Sanctuary & Alaska Raptor centre, we didn't see any wildlife, a matter of luck as the group 5-10 mins behind us saw 3 bears, but it was a very informative walk thro the Tongass forest with a naturalist & at the Raptor centre we had a flight demonstration and got pretty close to a large female bald eagle, the centre cares for & rehabilitates injured, but keep some which would be unable to survive in the wild. We also did a duck tour, something I've always planned to do on the Thames, which was fun. In Juneau we did a whale watching tour on a small boat with marine biologist & another naturalist, we saw several whales including a mother & calf, plus a sealion fighting off several gulls who were trying to steal it's salmon. We also went out to Mendenhall glacier & walked the path to Nugget Falls. Our last excursion was in Skagway where we did a coach trip up thro the Canadian border to Yukon, stopping at various interesting spots, a quite relaxing trip. The only shows we didn't attend were the comedian, I find them in general very polarising, but thought all the others very good. The best was undoubtedly Le Circe Bijou, although I also really enjoyed the couple who did the dancing/acrobatic show, but I overheard a woman who thought it was rubbish, horses for courses I suppose. All in all we had a very enjoyable week on board NCL Jewel, I hadn't known what to expect, all my previous cruises having been on European lines, but I would certainly travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
All staff were very cordial and engaging., eager to assist with any of our needs. Loved visiting the ports and especially the glaciers. The ship was very clean and committed to the prevention of infection I especially loved the washy washy ... Read More
All staff were very cordial and engaging., eager to assist with any of our needs. Loved visiting the ports and especially the glaciers. The ship was very clean and committed to the prevention of infection I especially loved the washy washy station and the bathrooms were always clean The cruise line can improve on the selection of entrees offering more exquisite dining without charging an additional fee. I would have liked to see more involvement by the activity staff at the poolside it always makes for a better day when there is a band playing and games to entertain you. We loved our precruise land tour as well. This offered us a close encounter with Alaska’s greatest offerings, we were able to observe moose, brown bears, caribou, dall sheep and countless America’s national bird the bald eagle. Although we were very awe struck with Alaska, we feel the cruise line can upgrade to offer more exquisite dining especially by offering lobster tails as part of the ever changing daily menu. In conclusion we would recommend visiting our 49th state on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I wanted to go to Alaska, experience wonderful and beautiful scenery, experience of a lifetime. Food was good, room with a balcony was perfect. Me and my husband do not do the nightlife, bars or lounges, but we enjoyed the trip, stayed on ... Read More
I wanted to go to Alaska, experience wonderful and beautiful scenery, experience of a lifetime. Food was good, room with a balcony was perfect. Me and my husband do not do the nightlife, bars or lounges, but we enjoyed the trip, stayed on our balcony and eat whenever we wanted. Dressed up two different nights and went to the restaurants. The bike excursion was one of the best, loved it! Train excursion was amazing, and the kayaking was an awesome experience. We went along with my sister and her husband, no children. The choice of excursions were good, and we had a really enjoyable time. Loved the balcony, that made our trip the best it could be. You need an ice cream bar, not just the dispensers with ice cream. The food was good would have liked more fish salmon etc. Boat needs to be updated, but all in all it was amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, ... Read More
Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Musher’s Camp (our favorite) and Zip-Lining In Skagway, and Lumberjack Show and Electrics Buggies in Ketchikan. Cagney’s was our favorite. Also loved The Garden Buffet and Sheehan’s Pub. Not as fond of Teppanyaki. Generally – food was good.fresh, with a variety of choices including fruit and veggies. All of our staff encounters were positive - everywhere. Hand sanitizer used everywhere. We liked the suite and thought NCL did a good job at finding space for storage throughout all spaces. Embarkations in Vancouver was well thought out and smooth, though prepare for lines. Disembarkation in Seward was managed well, too. Some cons to note: sports court was disappointing, and any outdoor activities were limited, including shuffle board, ping pong, and golfing after around 6pm. Huge checkerboard on deck, no pieces in container. Pools were ok but not used much given temperatures. Arcade premium pass is expensive – if you choose to play games without, they run about $1.50 per game, give or take. There are a limited number of games one can pla using the package. Several are still pay to play. Great entertainment. Loved the dinner and adult drink packages. Wouldn’t do soda for kids again given that ours don’t drink much, and there is complimentary lemonade and iced tea at most places. Bottled water is overpriced, and none of us got sick with drinking the water onboard. NCL needs to add specialty coffee drinks to their premium drink package like Princess. And laundry - they did offer a bundled laundry mid cruise for $20 - anything you could fit in their laundry bag. It took two days to get it back. Great first cruise - would go again if we found the right deal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you ... Read More
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you could tell it was an older ship, it was stylish and up to date. We loved that the ship was a smaller one, and I've decided I like that better than the new larger ships. We were very impressed with how close the Captain was able to get us to the glaciers. He was very good at maneuvering the ship through the ice to the glaciers and positioning the ship so everyone could see everything. The views were breathtaking and we were very pleased with this aspect of the cruise. The ship was easy to get on and off at ports. The lines always moved quickly. There was always staff to help you find where you needed to go. We were very pleased that we could keep our luggage with us the last night and take it ourselves on the final day. The one thing we did not care for was the smoking policy. Smoking was allowed in the casino, which smelled up the theatre and the lounges on either side of the casino. Smoking was also allowed at the Pit Stop on deck 13, which meant you could smell smoke all over the pool deck. I also observed people smoking on the open decks while we were docking. - For a small inside cabin, there was ample storage for two people who had severely overpacked. We did bring an extension cord (used for a CPAP) and multi-outlet adapters (didn't use.) The lamps over the beds had USB ports. Our steward, Mark, was fabulous. He made sure to say hello and chat a little every time he saw us in the hallway, was constantly asking what else we needed, and straightened our room several times a day. Our room was very clean before we got there and stayed that way throughout our trip. Our room (8531) was also VERY quiet. - We very much enjoyed the freestyle dining and the fact that food was always available somewhere on board. The food on the ship was good, not great, but good. I had expected it to be better, but it is institutional, rather bland food. The choices were ample, and we found some restaurants to be better than others. Azura was our favorite for dinner. We found the service to be lacking in O'Sheehan's. We never had to wait long in line to be seated, though seating could be tricky to find for breakfast in the Garden Cafe. We had hoped to have more regional food choices, but they did serve a delicious smoked salmon chowder on the pool deck one day, and they did bring on fresh salmon for dinner in Ketchikan. My dad was very happy with the steaks he had in the dining room. We did not try the specialty dining. That said, limited gluten-free choices were there, but not as common as I had been lead to believe by the NCL customer service staff I talked with prior to the cruise. Although the signs said gluten-free muffins were available for breakfast, the staff could never find anything but gluten-free white bread when I asked. There were no gluten-free buns for sandwiches or burgers, no gluten-free breads in the main dining rooms, and no gluten-free desserts other than ice cream or fruit. Other guests with food sensitivities were having issues with dining as well. We also found it very odd that coffee and tea were seemingly only available in the Garden Cafe during the evening, none of the lounges had it. I had been told by NCL customer service that I would get a card for a birthday cake on the last night of my cruise, but that never happened. Even if it had, I doubt that I would have been able to eat it. We had the UBP package and were happy with most of the drinks. We loved the martinis at Shakers and were very happy with the drinks out of the Spinnaker. My dad tried a bottled beer a couple of times and thought it was skunky, but he was happy drinking martinis after that. The bartenders were willing to make changes to the drinks if you asked, and I felt the drinks ran a little strong most days. - Entertainment and activities were plentiful except for the last full day at sea. The main productions were fantastic each night. We were very lucky to have the hilarious Tim Kominski as our comic. We enjoyed most of the evening lounge singers and bands. Most of the "game shows" the cruise staff did were fun. There were many options for trivia, bingo, pictionary, painting, etc... Several of them came with an extra charge. The Q & A's with the staff were all interesting. Unfortunately there weren't many enrichment activities. It would have been nice to have a few more opportunities to hear about the history of Alaska, the gold rush, and all the glaciers/wildlife we were seeing. - We did not do any excursions sponsored by the ship, as we had arranged our own. The port towns were small, but were easy to walk and felt safe, had ample shopping, and had some good restaurants. Maps were available at the visitor centers. The ports were very crowded when there were 4 or 5 ships docked at the same time. - We found the service on the ship to be phenomenal. From our wonderful steward, to serving staff who remembered us in different venues, to the effervescent cruise staff running games, to the bartenders who learned our names and the drinks we liked by day two. Everyone was friendly and willing to chat. The staff of this ship really made our trip very special. - The NCL app was very helpful. You could connect to it without purchasing the wifi package. It would allow you to see your account, book excursions, and see the activities available that day. Thank you NCL. We will definitely be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since ... Read More
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since we were cruising on a budget, we did not book any excursions and found we enjoyed everything else just fine. It is amazing what you can find! We cruised with two teens (16 years old) and our adult daughter. All were able to find something they enjoyed. The teens, however, were disappointed in the "Entourage" (the teen lounge). I think it just wasn't their speed. They enjoyed the pool, the "Card Room" and especially the karaoke nights. Everyone we came into contact with were very professional and pleasant to work with. All were very responsive to questions and requests. After boarding, we had to request that our room steward reconfigure our cabins (our needs changed after booking). They were very prompt and accommodating. The buffet was HUGE and quite tasty. I will have to admit, though, the mousse was anything but mousse. It was more like pudding with too much gelatin. Oh, well. There was plenty of other goodies! Really, the only less than optimal dining experience we had was at Cagney's. I ordered the salmon (typically very good). Unfortunately, I found it lukewarm on the edges and cold and raw in the middle. The wait staff were quick to correct the issue and bring me another plate. However, what I was brought was still the same - lukewarm, cold and raw. The waiter tried to tell me that this was the usual way it was served????? After I sent it back yet again, requesting that it be cooked longer than "usual," I received a well-done piece of salmon - hot/crispy on the outside, hot in the middle and generally dry (now not the best salmon I've had). I decided that I would eat it anyway as service was rather slow and we had already been there almost an hour, but the waiter really seemed to be trying. We were comped the plate and three desserts. Otherwise, in the food department.... if you ever went hungry on the Jewel, it was your own fault! The shows in the Stardust Theater were good, especially the comedian. He had a packed house every show. Even his "Q&A" session in the Spinnaker Lounge was standing room only and that was packed 4 and 5 rows deep! This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and we will do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time! Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too. Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable. We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good. The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good. O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner. The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT. We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad. At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos. Service at the fee based dining was wonderful. I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again. The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days. The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou. On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather. We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth. The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar). The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun. Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth. Luggage management was efficient and fast. The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there. Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so ... Read More
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so upgraded to that. With the new fare, the gratuities, the 20% for the drink package and the taxes, it came to over $1,400. I would have canceled except for Norwegian’s strict cancelation policy. I thought, oh well, I’ll just go. I had not been on Norwegian since the Norway almost 20 years ago and was interested to see how it was now. The extensive dry-dock done in late 2018 made the ship much more to my liking since I have mostly cruised on Celebrity. In fact, my favourite ship of all my 22 cruises was the Millennium so since the Jewel was about the same size I thought I might like it. I arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and it looked pretty crowded. I was pleased at how fast it actually went after I got in line and I was on the ship by 1 pm! My first impression was of the Crystal Atrium. Although attractive, a 2 deck high atrium is not exactly impressive and it was mobbed with people. The cabins were ready by 1:30 and when I checked out my inside cabin, 4579, it was fine, tiny, but fine. I was disappointed that I never actually met my cabin steward though. I don’t really like only having the bed as a place to sit but since I was alone in the cabin I used one as a sofa and one as a bed. As others have pointed out, the toilet is as an awkward angle which made you sit on it sideways. The shower, with a door, was probably the nicest I have ever had though. My impressions of the ship were mostly positive and I liked the decor. I found the Garden Cafe to be extremely chaotic though and I never once ate there. I did find the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship to be delightful and never had a problem getting a table and used the small buffet out there. The public rooms were attractive but I didn’t like the layout of the ship without a circular rotation possible on most decks. I found the food to be good to excellent and enjoyed 4 nights of specialty dining, which was outstanding. I thought the entertainment was of high quality too with excellent singers and dancers. I was a tad concerned that with so many having the drink package that getting a drink might be an issue. I have to say that I never once had a problem getting a drink and found the bar staff to be excellent. I didn’t do this cruise for the ports as I have sailed this same itinerary twice before already and didn’t get off the ship. I usually like to enjoy a bit of less crowded, quieter time while everyone is off on shore excursions but I was surprised at how many people didn’t get off the ship. The muster drill was the best ever and held in Le Bistro for me. No need to wear the life jackets and we could sit down through the whole thing in air-conditioning. My main complaint, which won’t affect many people, is as a smoker, they only designate a small portion of the Pit Stop for smokers. It was always mobbed but since I vape I could sit at the railing overlooking the pool which was much nicer. The only other smoking area besides the casino was on deck 7 port side outside. It was less crowded but with almost no seating. Th cruise was a party atmosphere which was fun and I met many delightful people from all over the world. I would consider cruising with Norwegian again but will probably stick with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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

Find a Norwegian Jewel Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click