2,380 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

We sailed on the Jan 1st voyage of the Norwegian Jewel. The ship is a gem, but in need of polishing. The boat is beautiful. Bright, large and what you would expect from a new ship. Our room, a mini suite with a balcony was spacious, and ... Read More
We sailed on the Jan 1st voyage of the Norwegian Jewel. The ship is a gem, but in need of polishing. The boat is beautiful. Bright, large and what you would expect from a new ship. Our room, a mini suite with a balcony was spacious, and contained more than enough storage for my family of four to stow belongings - with room to spare. The Jewel was the first experience we had with Freestyle cruising. In fact, the Freestyle concept is what led us to try NCL. With two children (ages 11 & 7), we thought the freestyle dining would provide us with additional flexibility. It really wasn't the case. While you get to pick and choose where you dine each night, it is extremely important to do homework in advance to know where you'd like to dine, and then make sure you book reservations that first day to ensure you get a time to your liking. While the main dining hall is always available, the 'better' restaurants book up fast. It's not early versus late seating options, but you do find yourself locked into a set of times. A big downfall to Freestyle cruising is the service. You no longer have the same wait staff for every meal. Each meal a new set of faces. We really missed the pampering: having our waiter know this one prefers chocolate milk, that one white and I drink lots of coffee without ever having to ask (beyond that first day). With Freestyle, it's more like dining at any basic restaurant at home - basic service. On past cruises we often received great tips from our waiters on what to do and where to go. That rapport never surfaced with the Jewel. And on the subject of food, we're not sure but suspect all the dining comes from a central kitchen. Feeding thousands is a big task, so don't expect gourmet dining. Basic at best. I do give thumbs up to the Cooking Lite menu available in the main dining room. Breakfast especially, was very tasty. Great flavor and not your average items. Thumbs down to charging for the 'specialty' restaurants. If you're going to charge, offer above and beyond. We dined at the steakhouse one night. My husband's steak was average. My salmon tasted just like the one I had two nights before. For $10 extra per person, we expected more - much more. On a cruise with Disney, we dined in its Palo restaurant. There we felt the extra fee well worth it as the restaurant had its own kitchen, and the food could compete with the best restaurants we had at home. An experience rather than another meal! Positives on the Jewel: our stewards for the cruise were wonderful. Like your traditional cruise, they remained the same. A request for an extra padding for the pull-out couch (my daughters complained it was too hard) appeared night two along with an extra blanket. They learned quickly we were early risers (and our youngest not an night owl) and had the clean up/ turn down cycle timed perfectly to match us. Also kudos to the kids club. Both of my children loved it. The activities age appropriate, and the staff terrific. If I had a request it would be for some type of pager system - especially for the younger kids. At check in you provided a location you planned to be in, but what happens if there's an emergency and you've decided to visit the casino rather than the dance floor? Overall our experience wasn't bad. We were able to enjoy the sun, had fun and relax. A jewel in the making, but polish needed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2000
This ship was amazing. The enormity and yet beauty of all the areas is really nice. It's decorated in a very fun style, lots of colors and styles, but cruise ships are supposed to be that way. The room was probably one of the ... Read More
This ship was amazing. The enormity and yet beauty of all the areas is really nice. It's decorated in a very fun style, lots of colors and styles, but cruise ships are supposed to be that way. The room was probably one of the smaller on the ship, but it worked for us. And we loved the fact that the shower had doors and not a cold, shower curtain that sticks to you when the water comes on. There was also really nice colored tiles on the floor, I like them! Find the hot tub tucked in the corner by a kid's slide (which is rarely used) up at the pool deck. You practically get your own tub with a window view directly out to sea. The jets could last a bit longer on the timer, they are only a few minutes for some reason. Drinks are a bit expensive on the ship, about $4.5 after tax for a domestic beer. But you can often get your own items on and mix your own drinks at your leisure to save some cash. The Garden Cafe has a cappuccino, espresso, cafe latte machine which is excellent. Don't pay for coffee in the bars, go upstairs to deck 12 and get your own. It's great! Try adding a bit of their good soft serve ice cream to one, sometime. The Cirque Bijou show was the best of all the entertainment nights. Overall, the shows were ok, but not the greatest. The Second City group from Chicago was on during our week, but they were boring and not funny to at all, it was dragging! Our stops were San Juan, Antigua and St. Thomas. In Antigua, go to the info booth, call Dollar rental and have them come pick you up at the port. We rented a car (about $50 + $17 insurance + $20 temp permit) and had a great adventure seeing the island! We drove about 3/4 of it. We were so glad we did it. Wouldn't mind coming back here for a week, planning on doing a lot of relaxing. The food and atmosphere of the Azura was our favorite. The chateaubriand on one of the first few nights was incredible, the best of the week. The Azura felt like a restaurant you might find in a cosmopolitan city with the closeness, charm, lighting, decor, good food and good waiters. We went there almost every night and had a good time and great food. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
My husband and I were lucky enough to be on the 13 night inaugural voyage of the Norwegian Jewel around the Mediterranean this summer (August 2005). An easy, swift and orderly embarkation procedure at Dover was soon to be followed by the ... Read More
My husband and I were lucky enough to be on the 13 night inaugural voyage of the Norwegian Jewel around the Mediterranean this summer (August 2005). An easy, swift and orderly embarkation procedure at Dover was soon to be followed by the materialization of the colourful ribbons and jewels that adorned the Norwegian Jewel herself. (We had some idea of what to expect - yet only artist impressions of the ship!). On first inspections we were amazed by the vivid and modern interior throughout the ship that was highlighted with contemporary armchairs in many of the bars and restaurants. On closer scrutiny we started to notice however subtle accents of 50's and 60's in some of the furniture choices in the bars. Outside there was an energetic feel around the pool area incorporating the theme of the circus that appealed to the child within. There were also many large colourful palm trees that bejeweled the jewel at night. The interior theme throughout the stateroom decks incorporated mahogany wood and turquoise that flowed effortlessly into the staterooms. We resided in a category JJ inside stateroom which was designed with storage as top priority. There were seven ample storage shelves, and a roomy wardrobe. Of course other features were a separate dressing table with hairdryer, safe, fridge, a well laid out bathroom and TV (although not flat screen as in the more superior staterooms). All over the ship there were many strategically placed flat screens displaying information about all of the ten restaurants and their occupancy - rating from busy to full. This proved vital in avoiding the rush at the Garden cafe (buffet style restaurant) and to generally gauge busy eating times. As Norwegian Cruise Line prize themselves on their freestyle cruising we attempted to sample some of the ten restaurants - ranging from Cagneys steak house, Mama's Italian kitchen, Le Bistro French restaurant and the Chin Chin Asian restaurant (including a sushi bar!). The booking of the desired restaurants proved easy at first using the reservation desk at reception, however as word got out amongst fellow guest there were many queues and block booking of meal times over the two weeks. Another point to make here is that many of these speciality restaurants had a cover charge ranging from $10-$15 which would have to be considered with large groups. These cover charges had been reduced by $5 per person from the original printed prices on the menus. Overall the speciality restaurants provided excellent service, using more experienced and efficient staff. Only on one occasion the booked dining time of 8.00pm was made later due to large numbers and hence we were offered a complimentary bottle of wine which pleased us. The main dining restaurants differed in design from being modern as in the Azura restaurant and grand as in Tsar's palace. Both were equal in terms of broad taste/themed menus and good service. The chocolate buffet was the best that we have ever experienced on a cruise and we were stunned by the artistry shown in the chocolate "Big Ben clock" and ice sculptures. The bars and lounges were regularly called upon throughout the two weeks and we were most impressed with the efficient and friendly service throughout. Most drinks were reasonably priced however some of the speciality cocktails and alcoholic smoothies were over $9. "Bar city" on deck 7 compromised of many of the Jewels unique bars - Malting's beer and whisky bar, Shakers Martini cocktail bar and our favourite -Magnum's Champagne bar which offered a deluxe range of champagnes to be indulged on formal nights. However the night always ended in the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13 which had live music and then a DJ. Overall the entertainment from many of the performers around the bars and lounges was excellent and could not be faulted. The dance company produced two impressive shows with acrobatic expertise. There was a hugely talented comedian on board and some great lectures provided during the day. There were a good range of activities provided during the day and many art auctions to tempt you to part with cash. The assistant cruise director had a jovial personality and created many quiz nights (jeopardy, Mr & Mrs, The weakest link etc.) for guest participation - which were hilarious. There are very few if any negatives that we can find with the Norwegian Jewel. Given the fact that this was the inaugural voyage and lots of mistakes could happen we and NCL we fortunate. It was clear that there was good management and swift action throughout to prevent any guests from having a good holiday. We would wholeheartedly recommend the Jewel to fellow cruisers and hope you have an enjoyable time as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
The reason I'm writing this review is that there is only one other review presently for this ship, and it is so positive, I can only think they went on a different Norwegian Jewel to the one my family went on! Don't take me ... Read More
The reason I'm writing this review is that there is only one other review presently for this ship, and it is so positive, I can only think they went on a different Norwegian Jewel to the one my family went on! Don't take me wrong, there were very strong positive points about the ship itself; however, the way it was run, and the fellow passengers that had been attracted to this cruise, due to incredibly reduced prices for booking last minute, rather spoiled it for my little family. We ourselves had a very nice time on the Jewel on its' Maiden"ish" Voyage, but truly only because we did our usual thing of spending a lot of time on our own balcony during the day, and going to areas such as the Atrium/Promenade Deck where few passengers were attracted. Unlike some British travellers, we go into a holiday determined to have a good time, whatever the circumstances. Let's face it, we came away from last year's holiday saying we'd had a good time, having been stuck in our villa for a total of 5 days with 2 hurricanes going by! Truthfully, there were numerous faults with the facilities (for us). I know others we spoke to felt the same, so I don't feel I'm whinging or making comments that are consistent across all NCL ships. 1) Getting food at anywhere other than the Garden Cafe was a nightmare from about day 3 onwards. All of the prime times got booked up (for the whole cruise booked ahead), leaving dining times of 5:30pm or 10pm in some restaurants; others were consistently fully booked. Luckily we caught on to this early enough and booked at T'Sars for the whole cruise, which is basically the only place we ate other than a couple of nights in Mama's Kitchen. 2) The Buffet Restaurant was in terrible condition. Bits of food everywhere, tables not being cleaned, food ground into the floor, etc. In addition, compared to Carnival, we found this food quite "School Dinner" like, with dry burgers, grotty sausages, and burned pizzas. 3) NCL did something rather foolish. Having been unable to fill the boat just one month before the cruise, they opened it up to the British at bargain rates, including children for free! Unfortunately, that attracted a type of person on to the ship that I wouldn't normally share a bus with! I've been on a number of cruises out of Miami, where Carnival have opened it up to very poor people from Southern Florida. However, I can't say I've ever met an American who is at all disrespectful, and certainly nobody as scummy as some of the people on board the Jewel. By the way, I'm British myself, and am completely ashamed of some of the antics I witnessed onboard, such as one 10 year-old child who was walking down the corridor wiping the chocolate cake from his feet into the carpet, creating a chocolate mark several metres long, laughing as he went! How the chocolate cake got there in the first place I didn't want to know! Basically, out of 500 children onboard, 100 were signed up to Kid's Club (including our daughter), the other 400 being allowed to run riot round the ship, day and night! 4) The staff in T'Sars were very badly trained. The food wait times were ridiculous, very few of the waiters spoke sufficient English, the food was often not very hot, the wrong drinks were usually delivered, etc. 5) The Garden Cafe is extremely badly laid out, so that you pick up your food and then have to walk miles for a clean table. This gets worse of course when you've inevitably forgotten something or can't carry everything at once. 6) The state of Deck 12 (created because of point 3) made it unusable, with teenagers hogging the pools and Jacuzzis, not to mention the fact that there was food squashed into the deck, and drinks spilled everywhere. Disgusting! 7) Most of the stops were very good, but Almeria was horrendous. My advice is if you're doing a cruise there, don't bother getting off the ship! The place stank and the roads were stacked high with rubbish (unto 3m high - I'm not kidding!). One of the crew I spoke to said that his little group were attacked verbally by locals, and people were later in the streets smashing bottles, kicking passing cars, and generally acting drunk and disorderly. 8) Ice cream machines – These broke down after about 3 days, and were replaced by a member of staff serving scooped ice cream. This was fine in some ways, but they did not run it as regularly as they would have with the machines. We often found it to be unavailable, such as before 1pm and after about 5pm! 9) Splashdown Kids Club – Despite only a fifth of children being signed up, this was too busy really. My wife works in childcare, and she feels that if kids are shouting and all excitable 100% of the time, she's failed. Kids in big groups need to be kept calm, and that certainly wasn’t the case at all. Amy had nightmares regularly during the cruise due to simply being over excited, and it got so noisy that she refused to go a few days, as she just wanted some peace and quiet! 10) Employee relations – During my cruise, I witnessed about 10 tellings off of employees by senior managers. I do not expect to have this sort of thing going on around me during a so called luxury cruise. Managers should take employees off to offices or quiet areas in order to do this sort of thing. Anyhow, it ended up we felt, with employee relations becoming very bad, and staff were quite obviously working to rule. And yes, I had to agree with them. 11) Disembarkation – We booked a long while ago at a high price, for a balcony room. However, that seemed to make very little difference to the disembarkation process, and we were actually the last colour to leave the ship. People who have booked onward travel with NCL get preferential treatment, closely followed by people flying out, even if that flight isn’t that same day! The next to leave bizarrely were decks 4 & 5 who had been the troublesome crowd throughout the cruise, and were then able to join the queue for the buses ahead of all of us people who had paid 3 times as much for our cruises. 12) Dover – If you can avoid a cruise in and out of Dover, do so. There were over 400 people waiting for buses to get to the car park, and they were only managing 2 buses per hour (they claimed every 15 minutes, but I only witnessed two go by during our walk). We were at the back of the queue, so we walked 2 miles with all of our luggage, having been unable to get a taxi also! However, on reaching the car park an hour later, the car park was still jam packed of us Jewel cruisers, and I suspect some people would have waited another 2 hours beyond that! So in conclusion, were these problems the fault of NCL or the people onboard? I guess it was NCL that invited them onboard by reducing last minute prices ridiculously, and then did very little to encourage these people to supervise their children, nor did they do much to tidy up after them. Also, I think the whole Freestyle cruising attracts a type of British person onboard (irrespective of price), who would not normally go on a cruise at all. Would I sail with NCL again? No chance! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
My husband and I chose a cruise for our honeymoon, and it was a dream of ours to cruise the Med. It was an amazing experience being on an inaugural cruise in the Mediterranean on our honeymoon! There were some wonderful aspects to cruise. ... Read More
My husband and I chose a cruise for our honeymoon, and it was a dream of ours to cruise the Med. It was an amazing experience being on an inaugural cruise in the Mediterranean on our honeymoon! There were some wonderful aspects to cruise. The embarkation was a breeze, the quickest that I had ever encountered. We had splurged and got a room with a balcony which was incredible. We were very happy with our room. The cruise director's staff was amazing, they really kept us entertained. The excursions were fantastic, it was really hard choosing, you could not have gone wrong with any of them. The staff at the excursion desk were very helpful and professional, and knew what they were talking about. The spa was very professional and what a treat! Well worth it! (just make the appointment well enough in advance, especially on a sea-day). The entertainment was spectacular, especially their 'Cirque Bijoux' show. Very talented performers were on board. The decor on the ship is beautiful, very colorful, each area being very unique. There was not a wide variety of artwork however, mostly photos. I found that there was always somewhere to go and something to do. We had spent a lot of money on this trip, especially coming all the way from Canada, it was disappointing to hear that there were discounts given to other passengers. My husband and I noticed a lot of young children on-board. We figured since it was holiday season, that we just picked to cruise at the same time as several families. What was unfortunate was the behavior of some of the children. I had to yell at two young boys to stop throwing their shoes around on the staircase, they could have hurt someone! Their father was at the elevators totally oblivious to the fact that his kids were acting inappropriately. The cruise staff it seemed were helpless to do anything either. It was difficult getting a reservation to the specialty restaurants i.e. Mama' Kitchen and the Tepanyaki, you pretty much had to make the reservations on the first couple of days on the cruise. A suggestion to NCL would be to work on improving the service and food selections in the main dining rooms. However I have been on an NCL cruise before, this wasn't the case, therefore this might be just something that will work itself out with experience. Since we were on our honeymoon, and spent quite a bit, it was disappointing that the cruise line didn't do anything to help us celebrate our honeymoon. My sister bought us a honeymoon package, but if it wasn't for that, you would have never known that we were on our honeymoon. No upgrades what-so-ever on the plane; NCL hotel; cruise itself. And no special "little somethings". It was on our second last day on the ship that we discovered that there was a laundry room with an iron. There was absolutely no mentioned of this ANYWHERE. Not even a sign outside the door. What would help is if NCL mentions this on their website, or includes in on their floor-plan! We ended up paying for ironing services! In the end we figured that since this was their first sailing, that all of the wrinkles still needed to be ironed out. However, since it was our honeymoon, it was difficult to get angry. We pretty much had smiles on our faces the whole trip. :) I would recommend this ship to anyone considering it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
Path of the Vikings - Dover to New York 4th September 2005 Boarded the 'Jewel' at Dover and soon in our mini suite with balcony on deck 11. This was our first time with NCL and with 'Freestyle' cruising which we ... Read More
Path of the Vikings - Dover to New York 4th September 2005 Boarded the 'Jewel' at Dover and soon in our mini suite with balcony on deck 11. This was our first time with NCL and with 'Freestyle' cruising which we enjoyed very much. It was great to eat where and when we wanted. As a couple if we wanted a table for two at dinner there was no problem. If you had to wait for a table they gave you a pager and offered you a complimentary glass of champagne in any bar while you waited. Enjoyed breakfast in the cabin each day. Excellent service. Room service would phone before they delivered the breakfast and it always arrived on or just before the time it was requested the night before. As a brand new ship, top features for us would be - the Tsar's Palace main dining room - very ornate. the Stardust Theater - great seating for shows. Seats tiered so able to see well from any seat. Must mention two great production shows - 'Band on the Run' and 'Cirque Bijou.' Ports of call - highlights Reykjavik, Iceland Arrived 7am and took full day Golden Circle tour including lunch. Magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, geyser area , the view of Reykjavik from the 'Pearl'. Newport, Rhode Island - Visited two fabulous mansions of the Vanderbilts, The Breakers and the Marble House. Downside - Missing port of St. John's, Newfoundland due to rough seas. However, ship very stable so no seasick problems ! Getting up at 5am before arrival in Newport for US immigration ! Arrived on schedule in New York and docked with Concorde on one side and QM2 on the other! Finally thanks to our cabin stewardess Teti from Indonesia, a great cruise director Paul Baya, great food and entertainment, special award to the acrobats in the show 'Cirque Bijou' Freestyle cruising is definitely for us and look forward to our next cruise with NCL on the Jewel or another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
The Jewel is the newest ship in NCL's fleet. The ship is beautiful and well run with an experienced friendly crew. For anyone who has sailed on the Dawn the layout of the Jewel is very similar. We sailed the Canada/New England ... Read More
The Jewel is the newest ship in NCL's fleet. The ship is beautiful and well run with an experienced friendly crew. For anyone who has sailed on the Dawn the layout of the Jewel is very similar. We sailed the Canada/New England itinerary for the past 4 autumns on different cruise lines but enjoyed sailing on the Jewel and the 11 day cruise even more than the standard 7 day cruise that does a NYC round trip. EMBARKATION -- Since the Jewel was the only ship in on September 29 (Thursday) embarkation was easy and quick. A pleasant surprise for us was that our room had been upgraded to Penthouse status. We soon found out the advantages of being in a penthouse; butler, plasma screen television and concierge service, chocolate dipped strawberries, doorbell, I think you get the picture. ITINERARY -- Boston, The Canada/New England itinerary is fairly standard for most of the cruise lines. By departing on Thursday we docked in Boston on Friday when everything is open. The last several times we did this itinerary we docked in Boston on Sunday when most stores etc. are closed. There is a lot to do in Boston but you do need to take some form of transport from the pier, it is too far to walk into town. Cabs and transport buses are available at the pier. Bar Harbor You need to tender in from the ship at Bar Harbor. The town is an easy walk with many shops, stores and restaurants to visit. There are beautiful areas to just sit and people watch or visit the park up the hill from where the tender leaves you off to view the ocean, ships and New England scenery. Halifax This Canadian city is a port of call for all cruise ships. You can easily walk into town along the boardwalk for sightseeing or shopping. There is even a casino downtown for anyone who has not lost enough in the ship's casino. If you are interested in renting a taxi for some sight seeing there are plenty on the pier. One word of warning, be sure you negotiate price in Canadian or US $, how long you wish to engage the service and is the price for the cab or per person. One group we knew had a bad experience with one driver who rents a stretch white limo (the only one at the pier). He scammed them into paying several hundred dollars more than agreed to for an afternoon's rental because of what he said was their misunderstanding of his price quote. Quebec City Depending where you dock you may have to use the bus shuttle to drop you off in Old Quebec and bring you back to the ship. Quebec is a beautiful city with many interesting sights and lots of history. There are many cafes and stores to visit. Read up on the sites before leaving the ship so that you see the things you may want to see, but didn't know were there. Cruising the Saguenay River -- This is part of the trip which I found quite interesting and beautiful. The ship had a person tell us about the river's history, the native peoples and the geology of the area as we sailed up then back down the Saguenay. Sydney This is a port where you can easily walk into the town. On days when the ships are in there are local vendors at the pier and near town who offer their crafts for sail. The town is not large with limited things to see and do, but charming nevertheless. Saint John Saint John is another small Canadian town that is within easy walking distance from the pier. It is bigger than Sydney with more to see and do. There is an interesting cemetery at the top of the hill that also doubles as a beautiful park. THE SHIP -- We experienced excellent food in all the restaurants we ate in, and we ate in them all! I'm amazed that the quality of the food, as well as the variety, is so well maintained and with such consistency. Mama's Italian Kitchen and Teppanyaki (Japanese) were VERY popular so plan to make your reservations well in advanced. The sushi bar was a personal favorite of mine. Who can beat all you eat sushi lunch for $5? There are monitors near the restaurants that show how busy the restaurants are around the ship—great idea. You can be at one and see that others are less crowded. There are no buffet lines on the Jewel. The set up is to place large oval stations that provide for such things as a salad station, entrEe station, dessert station etc. It works very well and there is never a long line to contend with when going to dine at the Garden Cafe. There are launderettes for the passengers (which strangely were not shown or advertised in the original maps). This is an important feature, especially for passengers on longer cruises. The casino is large and full of the newest slot machines. The entertainment was excellent throughout the cruise with one criticism about the singing and music at the shows; louder does not make it better, it makes it louder. FreeStyle Cruising is an NCL trademark and I enjoy it a great deal. You eat when you want in resort casual attire. The crew was absolutely wonderful. Everyone we dealt with was pleasant and helpful. We recognized crew members (and they recognized us) from other NCL ships we sailed on this year. This was a great cruise experience for us on so many levels. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
We enjoyed this trip more because of the itinerary and reason for doing it than anything else. We wanted to see fall foliage and in Quebec we were not disappointed at all. The other ports we were a little early for fall foliage but enjoyed ... Read More
We enjoyed this trip more because of the itinerary and reason for doing it than anything else. We wanted to see fall foliage and in Quebec we were not disappointed at all. The other ports we were a little early for fall foliage but enjoyed them just the same. We had a trainee at embarkation so it was a little slow but still OK. Our room was great as we had a Verandah to go on. My wife has tendency to get motion sickness but with the sea bands did well but having a verandah always makes the difference for her. If she can get air she does much better. The entertainment was High quality as the Ryan company was very very good but the three shows were duplicative of each other in performance other than the music was different. The Jewel did not have enough different things to do like Princess has but what they had was pretty good. The movie situation is poor as it was held in the spinnaker lounge as well as the Stardust theater where it is more appropriate. The movie selection also not great in fact one movie several people walked out, as not appropriate for clientele on board. Spa and fitness center were great. Library was very good. Did not do the bar scene so can't comment. Cruise director Paul Baya was very good. His staff was also top notch. Hotel Director Klaus was the best ever and is best we have seen. The food was good especially in the specialty restaurants. The Filet Mignon in Cagney's was one of the best I have eaten. The Main dining rooms were beautiful but the waiters and waitresses made three mistakes in our orders during the cruise and the most upsetting thing was they would post a menu and we would make reservations accordingly and then they changed the menu just before opening. The worst was the farewell dinner, in the Tsar's posted filet mignon and when we were given the menu in the restaurant it was replaced with NY strip. It was still good but I was very upset not to get the filet mignon I was anticipating. Mama's Italian rest. was very very good and you do not have to pay extra to go there, but you must make reservations early in the cruise or you will be left out unless you like to eat at 10pm. The buffet was good with plenty of assortment and the lay out is the best I have seen on any of our cruises. Coffee was very strong so went to hot tea often. The Service by the staff was the best we have had especially since the ships went to automatic tipping. The staff was very visible and greeted you every time you went by one. In spite of the mistakes they were still the best. The cabin stewards and stewardesses were also fantastic and you were always greeted no matter where you were on the ship. Our CC group was small (6) (which may have turned out to have been a blessing) but the meeting was good and the ship staff that attended including Klause the Hotel director were fantastic and each one of them gave us there cards and they took our room numbers and from there the gifts kept on coming. Canapes delivered to our cabins each day, VIP tender tickets and disembarkation, VIP captain's cocktail party, special invite to a specialty rest free, and breakfast and lunch in a specialty rest where there were no more than ten people each time we were there, and more!! One final food comment is the menu's tended to repeat themselves on a three day cycle, or so it seemed or it moved to the different rest when we did. In total it was an excellent cruise on a very nice ship with the best staff you could ask for in spite of errors or mistakes or carpet that already needs cleaning or replaced on a ship less than 6 months old. If the staff stays I would highly recommend a trip on this jewel of a ship. This Itinerary is also the best behind Princess Alaska itinerary. Feel free to email for more info as long as you mention the Jewel in the re box. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
I just got back today from the October 10th sailing early this morning. I had an amazing time. I loved Freestyle cruising. It was such a different experience [read mediocre] from my only other NCL cruise on Norwegian Dream in 1998. ... Read More
I just got back today from the October 10th sailing early this morning. I had an amazing time. I loved Freestyle cruising. It was such a different experience [read mediocre] from my only other NCL cruise on Norwegian Dream in 1998. Highlights for me included the specialty restaurants. I felt Cagney's and Chin Chin's Teppanyaki were the best. Le Bistro was a close second and their serving size of seared foie gras was enormous. I don't get that much in Manhattan for only an additional $8! I loved being able to make reservations for all the restaurants and we only ate in the Tsar's Palace twice and never in Azura (the two main dining rooms). I made most reservations on the first day of the cruise and it was easy to get other reservations later on too. Embarkation was a breeze in a cab to the pier with no wait in line (arrived with an hour to spare). The only thing about the cruise which was really aggravating was the lack of advance information given about Bar Harbor. Nowhere on their website did they say we would be tendering. (As another aside, NCL's website is really awful.) Everyone had to clear Immigration and get up at the crack of dawn to do so (at least 6am). We had to scramble as this was the only day we did not book their tour. We had a private car waiting for us on the dock and we were late. NCL could have warned people not to book anything for at least 2-3 hours after docking. They also preferentially let their tours go on the first few tender boats. My dad went on the ship tour and tried to explain to me about their hydraulics for ship stabilization. I did get mildly seasick the first night but amazingly did really well overall - only needing to prophylactically use those accupressure wrist bands and take some Meclizine occasionally even when we were in a gale and the captain slowed the ship's speed down. Usually, I would be comatose in my cabin and miss dinner completely. I loved the bright, fun decor of the ship. The staff were very professional and friendly. The buffet was pretty meager for lunch and dinner. They repeated themselves in the stations. Their bread puddings were excellent though. The Chocoholic Buffet was excellent but it seemed to have less choices than I recall on the previous NCL cruise I took. They could also put out their dinner menus earlier in the day for the main restaurants. I went to more shows than usual. I loved the comedian, David Naster and also thought the Le Cirque Bijou was the best show I have ever seen on a cruise. Their Iron Chef competition was also fun but a little different from the show. Better get there early. I did my obligatory bingo but those handheld computers for some users slowed the game down as people kept entering in the wrong numbers. They also need to hold it in a bigger venue as often they ran out of room and people were standing in the back. Another highlight for me was the Bora Bora Spa. I recommend everyone get the Cruise Spa Pass for $65. You can use the facilities for the entire cruise. I loved going from the steam room, to ice drench shower, to sauna, to the cold dip pool, to the whirlpool. They also had fruit and drink available. There is also a coed room with heated tiled lounge chairs and another kind of pool where you can lie on steel bars with air jets to relax more. You also have great views from the front of the ship. The ports were very good. Quebec was my highlight. You can just walk to the Old City and do everything on your own. There is nothing to see in Sydney so sign up for a tour. The Ride the Rapids in Saint John was really fun but do take their recommendation of bringing a spare set of clothes as we all got totally drenched. Bar Harbor was so special because of Acadia National Park. We hired a car service which was wonderful as we could go at our own pace and make more stops than when you are trapped on a bus. Halifax - we did the Peggy's Cove Route which was really great too. Boston - it was disappointing that they charged $12 for a shuttle bus from the pier to Quincy Market. I have never been on a boat when they charged for that! Overall, I had a fantastic, relaxing time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this ship and hopefully can take it again next year from Athens to Istanbul! Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
This was our 6th cruise on NCL and having enjoyed the Norwegian Dawn,we had to to sample her new sister ship Norwegian Jewel. We were not disappointed. She is a beautiful ship for which her builders in Germany can be very proud. Upon ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on NCL and having enjoyed the Norwegian Dawn,we had to to sample her new sister ship Norwegian Jewel. We were not disappointed. She is a beautiful ship for which her builders in Germany can be very proud. Upon boarding, we were happy to see many familiar faces from the Dawn including the talented cruise director Paul Baya. After arriving in our cabin, we had an excellent lunch in the opulent Tsar's Palace, which does for Russia what the similar Venetian Restaurant did for Italy on the Dawn. We began each day there having breakfast at table #8 to fine food and service. ACCOMMODATIONS: Since this was the only time Norwegian Jewel would be sailing out of New York, we felt we had to experience her innovative courtyard villa cabins. To say we were delighted would be a gross understatement. By far, the best accommodations we have had on over 30 cruises. The cabin is huge and could easily handle two adults and three children in the second bedroom. There were four TV sets including one above the tub, two showers, two bathrooms and two safes. The private courtyard was bright, with a glass retractable roof. It had numerous lounges including one under a canopy which will be ideal in the Caribbean. At first sight, the pool appears small but it has controllable jets at one end where you can set the speed of the current to swim in place. A great place to swim on the rainiest day. There was also a whirlpool and gym with treadmill and another exercise machine. Private gender steam rooms and showers on each side of the gym. At the opposite end of the courtyard is a huge service bar which butler stocks throughout the day with juice, soft drinks, pastries, sandwiches and other goodies. If you want to celebrate a special occasion on a cruise, try a courtyard villa. You won't be disappointed. DINING: We enjoyed breakfast every morning in the Tsar's Palace with their delightful selection of dark breads, especially the walnut bread, cheese blintzes and eggs sardou. Familiar faces there were a familiar trio from the Dawn Romanians Florina, Nicolina and Christina. Best place to start the day. We would have liked to have had lunch there more often but the luncheon menu was rather limited so we usually had lunch in the Garden Cafe buffet which offered great variety. It tended to get crowded but if you don't mind walking a bit from the buffet, the tables aft in Mama's Italian Kitchen are a wonderful place to enjoy lunch or breakfast. For dinner, we really enjoyed Cagney's ably hosted by aptly named Maitre D' Joe Cagney and excellent service by one of our "Romanian All-Stars" from the Dawn- Elena. We also enjoyed dinner in Mama's Italian Kitchen, pizza to order and a large choice of pasta and sauces expertly served by Jana from Slovakia Alena and Alga from Romania. Of the main restaurants, we preferred Azura for dinner as it was less crowded than Tsar's Palace and outstanding service by Efrem from the Philippines and Patricia from Poland had us returning to their tables many nights. Finally, we arranged a dinner for our Cruise Critic group at Tango's and even though 40 of us showed up, the staff handled our individual orders with aplomb by their efficient staff. Everybody seemed to enjoy the Tex-Mex offerings and the Hotel and Food and Beverage Directors, Klaus and Sean stopped by to assure everything was in order. We thought the food and service throughout the ship were universally excellent. ENTERTAINMENT: The Jewel showband provided great dance music in Spinnakers almost every night. Pianist Vladimir and violinist Jacob were popular nightly in the Star Bar. They could have used a larger, less smoky room. We felt sorry for the pianist in Bar Central who had to play next to the open cigar room, the smoke of which was evident throughout the area and even the deck above. It should be an enclosed room. We had looked forward to some of our favorite musicians from the Dawn, Pamala Stanley and Anna Y Los Vientos who were scheduled to be on the Jewel. Unfortunately, they left before we boarded due to medical reasons. However, the Big Time Quartet which replaced them in the atrium were very good and played to a large appreciative audience nightly. The outstanding performer in the Stardust Theatre was pianist Juan Pablo Subirana whose piano virtuosity evoked memories of Carmen Cavallarro, to whom he paid tribute during his brilliant performance. The three production shows by the Jean Ann Ryan company were very good but we felt the material selected was not up to the talent and energy of the performers. The first show "Band On The Run" featured the music of the Seventies. Other than a Village People medley and "American Pie," the musical selections were little known to the older audience who would have appreciated music from the Carpenters, Barry Manilow and Saturday Night Fever, music that was more representative of the seventies. The second show "Country Gold" managed to showcase songs little known to any but the most fervent country music fans. The familiar music of Dolly Parton, Patsy Kline and Loretta Lynn would have been more appreciated. The final production "Cirque Bijou" was so spectacular in its superb athleticism that you could easily forgive the unrecognizable musical score. The excellent cast was never mentioned in the Freestyle Daily program so it is hard to identify performers who deserve recognition. There was a dance couple from Beloruss who were show stoppers. Her contortions were unbelievable. Several members of the cast performed in Spinnakers on the final evening but again I felt their considerable talent was too often wasted on songs few in the audience had ever heard of. The exceptions were Cruise Director Paul Baya combining with a member of the cast in a familiar selection from "Phantom of the Opera" and a rendition of "If I Loved You" which made all the other selections pale in comparison. Overall, the entertainment was very good. ACTIVITIES- I thought CD Paul Baya did a fine job providing lots of varied activities throughout the cruise. We especially enjoyed the numerous trivia contests, as many as three a day, where host Fernando Alexis a.k.a. Antonio Banderas, stood out with his hilarious, convoluted presentation of the questions and answers. "Name That Tune" was also very popular and well attended. Country dancing by Amy and the ballroom dance lessons of Igor and Natalia were very well attended. There were not enough no charge fitness classes but the few there were were well done by Lori from the UK. PORTS OF CALL: Weather influenced many proposed shore excursions. Rain in Boston caused us to cancel the Duck tour and rain in Quebec prevented our biking excursion to Montmoncy Falls. Weather was delightful in Halifax and we enjoyed walking through the beautiful Public Garden, the Citadel and along the waterfront. The best day ashore was in Bar Harbor where we rented bikes and rode along the carriage trails, surrounded by the fall foliage in beautiful Acadia National Park. SUMMARY- Comparisons to the Dawn are inevitable. I preferred the soaring glass elevators in the Dawn atrium, the indoor lap pool and the separate cinema on the Dawn. However, the Jewel has two large outdoor pools, one with a slide that doesn't end among the swimmers in the pool. Finally, the courtyard villas provide accommodations not available on any other cruise ship yet, though I suspect other cruise lines will soon follow in NCL's innovative wake. The only fault I could find with this ship was that poorly located and inadequately enclosed cigar room. Hopefully, that shortcoming will soon be corrected. Finally, I cannot say enough good things about the friendly and efficient staff of this ship. They are obviously well trained and for this Hotel Director Klaus from Austria, NCL's best, should take a bow. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
We left New York on 10/21 on the 11-day cruise to New England and Canada. This was our 4th NCL cruise. We anticipated that the weather might not be too good and basically that's how it turned out. Half the trip was very cold and ... Read More
We left New York on 10/21 on the 11-day cruise to New England and Canada. This was our 4th NCL cruise. We anticipated that the weather might not be too good and basically that's how it turned out. Half the trip was very cold and rainy, the last half became much better. The Jewel is a "Jewel". We sailed on the Dawn 2 years ago and were so impressed by the freestyle program and the ship that we didn't want to go any other way. We weren't disappointed. The Jewel handled rough seas like a hot knife through butter. Hardly felt a thing. That's important for anyone who has a weak stomach. We arrived at the ship around 3PM with sailing time at 4PM. We did this because we have learned not to arrive at 1PM when boarding first starts because everyone else is there at the same time. It took us all of 5 minutes to get on the ship. We had an inside cabin since I believed that we wouldn't spend much time in the cabin anyway, so why spend the extra money. There's plenty to spend on in the casino, the specialty restaurants, the photos, extra tips for excellent service, excursions, etc., etc. Also, no light shines through in the mornings and one could sleep all day! That brings up another point, the ship is incredibly quiet. We never heard a door slam or any noise from a next door cabin. Not even the toilets flushing. Hmmm...maybe everyone waited till we were out of the room later in the morning? The ship, like the Dawn, is absolutely beautiful. And pretty much laid out the same way. The food was excellent especially in the specialty restaurants. The buffets were different every day and had excellent food. We were stuffed from morning till night. Service was excellent from the waiters to the room staff. One thing though, if you eat in the big dining rooms, the service can be slow. So be prepared and relax. It's not the end of the world. Entertainment was once again outstanding. From Dave Naster the comedian to all of the Jean Ryan dancers and singers. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Paul Baya, the cruise director and his staff do an excellent job. We love the freestyle program because we eat when we want, where we want, what we want. Not everyone likes it this way because they like set times, at a set table, with the same people. Then this is not the cruise line for you. If you want flexibility, great food and service, a beautiful ship, lots of activities, the Jewel can't be beat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
We arrived at the pier around 1 pm. Since this was an 11 day sailing we purchased the 1 month parking pass for $180.00. We checked in our luggage and headed inside the terminal. We were greeted with extremely long lines which were at a ... Read More
We arrived at the pier around 1 pm. Since this was an 11 day sailing we purchased the 1 month parking pass for $180.00. We checked in our luggage and headed inside the terminal. We were greeted with extremely long lines which were at a complete standstill. We felt the entire process was a mess and needs major improvement. Our entire time on line was over an hour. We boarded the ship and of course we amazed by how beautiful and colorful everything was. Not the drab colors we had always been use to. You cannot get a full appreciation of the colors from pictures but really have to see for yourself on board the ship. We took many pictures around the ship but the true richness of the different colors could not be captured as with the human eye. Even as we walked around during the entire cruise we noticed everything being scrubbed down and cleaned day and night inside and out. Amazing. We were VERY impressed by the hand sanitizers at the entrance of every restaurant. Never saw that before. We even were served by employees wearing gloves in the buffet which is also a great idea to prevent germs from being transferred. NCL gets an A+ for cleanliness and hygienic practices. The Mini-Suite cabin was more than roomy enough for the both of us. It was the nicest cabin we had sailed in by far. Comfortable sized balcony. I could even stretch my legs out with no problem (I'm 6'3"). Perfect size for two people. We were concerned that the service provided would be below par compared to what we had come to expect from other lines, since the tips are automatically charged to your account. NOT. We found the service to be wonderful with very few errors made by the servers. The thing that we noticed was the employees demeanor seemed much more pleasant all around the ship. It's obvious that they enjoy working for NCL and enjoy the "Free Style" system. Much less stressful working conditions compared to other cruise lines. We felt the Concierge service is really only valuable if you are in a Penthouse cabin or above. I compared the Mini Suite category to the ugly stepchild of the suite family. Always watching the other suite categories getting perks we can't get. The only thing we used Concierge for was making all our reservations when we boarded the ship. We could have done this ourselves. That was it. We ate in Le Bistro and Cagney's exclusively for the entire 11 days. The food, service and ambience were superior. A special mention goes to Elena in Cagney's and Melvin Lobo, the Assistant Maitre D' in Le Bistro. Melvin deserves a promotion. He was wonderful and extremely friendly and became a FRIEND to us. Special mention goes to the entertainment on board. Paul Baya was great and always entertaining. The shows were far superior compared to anything we have witnesses on any other cruise line. The Jean Ann Ryan Company were fabulous. We found ourselves watching both shows when they were performing. They are NOT to be missed. In closing I want to say a special thank you to Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier. We had a small issue which came to his attention during the cruise. He went out of his way to listen to our concerns and genuinely cared about our opinions. He honestly turned a great cruise into the most enjoyable cruise we have ever taken. We had never met anyone who cared so much about his guests. We certainly intend to sail with NCL again and again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Norwegian Jewel Canada/New England Cruise, 10/21/2005- 11/1/2005 Background: This was our 6th cruise, dating back to April, 2002, all have been with NCL. We are great fans of NCL FreeStyle, their service, food, ships, and entertainment, ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Canada/New England Cruise, 10/21/2005- 11/1/2005 Background: This was our 6th cruise, dating back to April, 2002, all have been with NCL. We are great fans of NCL FreeStyle, their service, food, ships, and entertainment, and we were disappointed by the Jewel. Arrival/Return: We made the 1 ½ hour drive from our home in Connecticut, parked at the pier, where we took advantage of the new elevators in the garage, paid the monthly fee of $180, and set foot in the terminal at 11:30 a.m. We were directed to a Latitudes waiting area where we spent no more than 10 minutes, before we began the "Embarkation" process. Only the VIPs were ahead of, along with some travel agents who went onboard for a presentation. By noon we were in our cabin, took a quick tour of Decks 7 and 12, and headed for a nice lunch at Tsar's. Upon our return home, Disembarkation was smooth to say the least, beginning at 8:30 am, and we were on the Henry Hudson Parkway by 9 am. One of the longshoremen took our bags on his cart, took us up to the pier level where our car was parked. I retrieved the car, loaded it up away from the hustle and bustle of passengers leaving, taxis arriving, etc., and we headed home. Ship: Of course it is a beauty, sparkling clean and bright, in show room condition. They are constantly maintaining it in mint shape, as I saw them replacing a patch of carpeting that led to a kitchen area, probably soiled from heavy use or spillage. Outside, crew was spotted regularly power washing the hull while we were ashore, right up to sail away time. Staff: Jewel staff is certainly consistent with the high quality service we have come to expect with NCL. Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier heads up a team of top notch managers and associates. We met Klaus in 2003 on the Dawn, and have sailed his former ship, the Dawn three times. Accordingly we were excited to have the opportunity to cruise with him on the Jewel, and enjoyed every minute of it. Our experience has been that all staff have been trained to go above and beyond our expectations, as they constantly do exceed our "rising" expectations. Some fear that non traditional dining eliminates the motivation to excel, but we've never sensed it. From cabin stewards to wait staff to senior staff, right up to the Captain and Hotel Director, NCL service has always been terrific for us. Restaurants: S.T.Y.L.E. is the way to go for us, as we love the options available so we can match our daily plans with dining preferences, allowing us the freedom to pick our restaurants each day in line with our schedule. It also allows us to modify dining plans as needed. For instance, on this trip we met a couple late in the cruise who had not eaten in any of the Specialty restaurants, because they did not get their reservations in early enough. As big fans of NCL, we wanted them to experience Cagney's with us, so we were able to change our reservation from two to four, and they fully appreciated and enjoyed the evening. Our preference for food and service is the Specialties, so as soon as we boarded, we made our reservations for two nights each at LeBistro, Cagney's and Mama's, 6 pm each day. As FreeStyle Dailies were delivered, we occasionally modified our schedule. We also managed to sneak in a nice unscheduled dinner at Tango's. Being our 6th cruise, we have developed some favorite menu items we look forward to at each restaurant, including Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup, Escargot, and Chocolate Fondue at LeBistro, Filet Mignon and the daily FlambE at Cagney's, and Lasagna and Tiramisu at Mamma's. Cagney's also offered a 1 ½ lb. Maine Lobster, as good as I've ever had. The new station arrangement at the Garden Cafe enticed us to eat there more often than usual, mainly some breakfasts and a couple of dinners. No longer self-service, we never found much of a wait. As noted often on the board, we enjoyed taking our meals into Mama's for a quiet dining experience. We also appreciate the hand sanitizers at each entrance. Entertainment: NCL entertainment has built a reputation for great shows and high quality entertainers, and the Jewel does not disappoint. Starting with the Jean Ann Ryan Shows, they are "Don't Miss" productions. Three great shows of continuous singing and dancing are held in a spectacular setting at the Stardust Theater. Lead singer Eric Reid is a favorite of ours. Other shows included a terrific comedian, David Naster, a highly skilled and entertaining juggler, Romano Frediani, and other fine artists each evening. We also enjoy the passenger talent show, as well as the crew version. Our favorite band aboard NCL ships is a 7 piece band called the Ironics. Hailing from the Philippines, three young ladies sing the majority of their songs as a trio, but often performed solos and duets in their nightly location in Spinnakers. The cold weather limited their poolside shows to the sail away. Their music spans recent decades, and were focused on an audience who head to Spinnakers for their listening and dancing pleasure. The Ironics basically sing everything, and will take requests and dedications, and are a very personable group. Other quality music can be found throughout the ship in the Atrium, Fyzz (recorded), and piano locations. Fyzz is the place for Karaoke, including three sound booths for small groups to reserve and have their own private venue. Cruise Director Paul Baya is the best we've experienced, though all of them have been terrific. This was our 2nd time with Paul, and he is a classy guy, very professional, very entertaining, and is an excellentis also very energetic, and seems to be everywhere. Excursions: Though we did not take advantage of many ship sponsored excursions, there was a wide variety of offerings which allowed passengers to experience the highlights of the six port cities we visited. Since we booked this cruise at the last minute, we pretty much waited until we arrived in port to finalize our plans for the day, also taking any cold or inclement weather into account. Since this was the last of four New England/Canada cruises for the Jewel, I'll skip the details, but we enjoyed our visits to each city, and were grateful for the terrific welcomes and farewells we experienced throughout the journey. Sydney stands out as one where a local singer performed a lengthy welcome concert upon arrival, and a sizeable band did the same upon our departure. The "finale" included a moving tribute from a female soloist, singing "The Star Spangled Banner," "Oh, Canada," and "God Bless America" as we watched from above while the Jewel prepared to sail. It was also common to be warmly greeted by bagpipers. Dawn vs. Jewel Notes: - Though cold weather negated the regular use of the hot tubs, we would much prefer at least one hot tub in a location similar to the Dawn's facility located in the bow. - The large water slide was very inviting on the warmest of days, but never did try it. - The permanent nature of Mama's is much nicer than LaTrattoria, though we enjoy both. - Not pleased about the Cigar Bar not being enclosed on the Jewel. - Having enjoyed a number of late night grilled snacks and pizza on the Majesty's outdoor grill, I was a little disappointed the Great Outdoor Grill did not have a similar offering. - We did not miss the Cinema, as when tried to go to the theater on the Dawn, too many others were thinking the same thing, and it was always filled. We did enjoy two recent release movies in Stardust. On a related issue, we did miss the fresh pop corn machine from the Dawn. - Speaking of the popcorn machine, located in the Pearly King's Pub, we really missed that bar and atmosphere. We preferred the separate bar locations to the Jewel's multi themed approach. No big deal, but just our preference. - The new Blue Lagoon setup has its pros and cons. It has a more formal look to it, and no longer has any "walk up" features. I liked going by there in the morning or evening for a quick coffee, and maybe a cookie or two. On the Jewel, it is now a nice place to stop for breakfast, a new alternative. The menu is limited, but there appears to be something for everyone. Some items were not readily available, but our waitress offered to get them for us, but we chose to order what was available. At night, the Blue Lagoon area serves as an extension to Tango's. We also noticed that Tango's was a popular spot during the day for passengers to play cards and other table games. - The Specialty restaurants had half price dinners from 5:30 - 6:30 each evening. Other: - As a "Frequent Flyer" at NCL Martini Clinics, I preferred the Dawn and Star venue at Star Bar. I'm assuming they were moved to the Martini Bar on the Jewel to showcase the new area, but would suggest the clinic themselves would be more entertaining, enjoyable, and yes, educational, at the more "secluded" and "captive" area. - The Jewel sent a strong contingent to our Cruise Critic gathering prior to arriving in Boston. Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier led his group with a great welcoming talk, and invited everyone to call the appropriate staff if they needed with anything. The best part of such an offering from Klaus and his NCL counterparts is that they mean it. They do not want you to feel unsatisfied with any particular issue or problem, rather you give them a chance to fix it. - Ruth Haggar was the Concierge on board, and now has an able assistant, Haley. One of them is always available to those passengers they serve. I'm assuming the new courtyard villas necessitated the added staffing. Summary: The Jewel is a beautiful ship, and her staff is a credit to the industry and NCL. We don't know what are future holds for cruising, but we will certainly look favorably upon another voyage on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Embarkation, we had no problems, the lines moved quickly, very efficient personnel, they even had snacks and drink to help pass the waiting for boarding time. Cabin, beautiful, efficient, balcony had Plexiglas so you had full view. Nice ... Read More
Embarkation, we had no problems, the lines moved quickly, very efficient personnel, they even had snacks and drink to help pass the waiting for boarding time. Cabin, beautiful, efficient, balcony had Plexiglas so you had full view. Nice chairs. Beds, we found very comfortable. Plenty of storage. Public areas, beautiful, wonderful colors, well decorated. Pools nice plenty of chairs available. Staff, They were exceptional, beyond my expectations. I will be honest with the $10 a day service charge, I thought the staff would not be working as hard. After all they would still get their tip. That was not the case. I felt they were fantastic, always greeting you with a smile and very helpful. Our cabin steward was fantastic and we NEVER had a bad wait staff. They are incredible. The food was wonderful, I did try some things that I didn't like, but they were quickly removed and an alternate food brought. Even the buffet was great, food fresh and good. Try the pasta bar, it is terrific. Desserts were fantastic, Don't miss the flambees at Cagney's, a wonderful restaurant. We tried all the restaurants with exception of Chin, Chins, we just rant out of times to eat. My husband loved blue lagoon for lunch and breakfast. He is a dinner's kind of person. Le Bistros was fantastic my personal favorite Mama's, we love Italian food. It was like being in mom's kitchen. The entertainment was excellent, from the game shows to the full evening shows. The cruise director and his staff were the BEST. They made everyone have fun. My husband made it to every bingo game and I even learned to successfully fold a napkin. THey work SO hard to make sure everyone if having a good time. They work well together. The crew even did a talent show, it was great. Knowing they did this during their free time shows how much they want to please the customer. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
My husband and I have taken a one night Inaugural Voyage on Norwegian Jewel in November, 2005. This was our seventh cruise, and first on NCL. Previously we cruised with Carnival, RCCL, Princess and Celebrity. I have to begin by saying that ... Read More
My husband and I have taken a one night Inaugural Voyage on Norwegian Jewel in November, 2005. This was our seventh cruise, and first on NCL. Previously we cruised with Carnival, RCCL, Princess and Celebrity. I have to begin by saying that I had no expectations for this cruise and this was just a way to sample the NCL and decide if we ever want to spend more than one day on their ships. Embarkation: Ship was leaving from the Miami port. Embarkation was much disorganized; there was a two hours line to get on the ship. There were many agents but they were slow and inefficient. At one point all computers froze and it took NCL agents 20 minutes just to reboot. After the lengthy process of waiting to get on the ship, we were greeted by 4 members of the crew onboard and two jars of sanitizing liquid. They insisted that every one sanitize their hands and move on. No champagne, no cold towels, no people to help you with luggage and take you to your cabin. Cabin: We had a midrange balcony cabin, as we always do on all ships. NCL's cabins are less then small, they are tiny. I cannot imagine having this cabin for 4 (2 adults and 2 kids). The two of us could not go in the same direction at the same time in this cabin. Balcony was tiny, bathroom was minuscule. You pretty much had to keep bathroom door open to move around the bathroom. There was an empty mini fridge and a safe in the cabin. No robes, no beach bags, no ice, no sweets, no ashtrays. Everything was bare to the minimum. Decor: I have to say a few words about the decor of the rooms and the ship in general. It looked like either a paint truck had an accident on this ship or the color designer was totally blind. All doors, carpets, and few walls and cafes were bright greenish aqua. Cabin had a mix of purple, maroon, aqua, red, orange and yellow all over it. Casino floor and ceiling was red, blue, yellow, and green squares, walls were aqua and orange, and slots and tables red and green. You could not stay in the casino for more then 20 seconds without getting dizzy spells just from the colors. Pool deck had all colors mixed together - orange, green, blue, aqua, yellow, pink, magenta, purple. Theater is bright aqua with bright orange and yellow. All cafes, bars and public lounges are in terrible colors that do not match together. I know and love modern, and this was not it. It was horrific. Also there is nothing on this ship to take your breath away, no great lobby, no marble, no columns, no crystal, no glass elevators, no huge flower arrangements, no great galleries, no sculptures. Basically, there is nothing to write home about. Shops: The gallery shops had very poor selection; there were only a few cosmetic products, very small jewelry stand, and few t-shirts. There is no flower shop and no gift shop that we could find. Restaurants: I was pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of restaurants. Cover charges are minimal and choices are very good. There are French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese restaurants in addition to two main restaurants and a buffet, also a grill and pizzeria. For an Inaugural Dinner there was a choice of oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, forest mushroom soup, fillet mignon, prime rib, salmon, crawfish, chocolate mouse, and Crème Brûlée. We went to a main Tsar’s restaurant because we wanted to get an idea of regular dining on NCL. It was creatively decorated and there was no line. The waiter came with menus including a water menu. We asked for water with lemon and ordered our meal. We got one glass of water each, and were not able to get more throughout the dinner. We asked three waiters for refill and still did not get it. No one came to take our wine order. The meal was fine, but there was nothing special about it. No decorations, no special presentations, and no gourmet tastes. I have ordered cappuccino but it took so long to make it that we left without coffee. We also had snack and breakfast at the buffet and it was ok. There were no variety, and no delicatessens, but you could get a bread and cold cuts, pizza, stew, coleslaw and coffee for snack; and omelet, cereal, cold cuts, coffee and fruits for breakfast. Service: Service is poor in every area on this ship. Pool towels are not picked up in a timely manner, no wine service at dinner, no wine service at the theater, no hors d'oeuvres at midnight. No service whatsoever at the buffet. It also takes about 20 minutes to get a $10 martini at the piano lounge. Entertainment: It was the best surprise on this trip. Main production was spectacular - very talented cast of dancers, singers and gymnasts, good production, and decorations. We enjoyed the show and there was a standing ovation from audience at the end. The rest of the entertainment was from average to mediocre. The stand up comedian was what we could expect on NCL, we walked out after 10 minutes of listening to his blabber. Musicians and singers on the pool deck were voiceless and talentless. Group that was playing by main reception area in the middle of the ship was terrible. The singer could not carry a tune in any song. Piano bar was empty so pianist never got near the piano. Pianist near the casino played for 15 minutes and then turn on a recording for 25 minutes, then played again for another 15 minutes. There was so called adult dance party at midnight in the lounge. It turned out to be loud rap music. There was Karaoke and a 70th music after that at the club. All music on the ship was themed disco and 70th. So there was no variety, no talent, and no choices of entertainment. In addition: There is a library, beauty salon, fitness room, and a spa that we have not used due to a short trip. Overall: If it is your first cruise or if you can get NCL really cheap – go for it, you can always do better next time. If you like to be pampered, or just be taken care of – go with another cruise line. Everything on this ship was 3 stars. If you usually stay at 2-3 stars hotels and go to diners to eat – this is the ship for you. If you like 5 stars service on land, do not take NCL, whatever you save on tickets is not worth the disappointment. My question has been answered by this one day cruise. I will not take any trips with NCL. My favorite cruise line is Celebrity, and RCCL comes close second. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Arrived In Miami November 5, 2005, around 12:00noon. Taxi to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami cost $24.00plus tip 6 bags $1.00 p/bag my cost. Checked in and the room was available immediately. The room located on the 12 floors over ... Read More
Arrived In Miami November 5, 2005, around 12:00noon. Taxi to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami cost $24.00plus tip 6 bags $1.00 p/bag my cost. Checked in and the room was available immediately. The room located on the 12 floors over looks part of the bay and the drawbridge. Comments we read on Trip Advisor stated it was noisy constantly. We found the noise not bothersome. After opening our luggage we walked around looking for a bite to eat. While there were a few fast foods (sub & pizza shops) they were full of students, besides we were looking for more of a sit down type restaurant. Returned to the Hyatt Regency had lunch at their restaurant. The service was poor. Took 50 minutes to have food delivered. My wife and granddaughter (teenager) came first. I had to ask where mine was. I told them if it wasn't prepared don't prepare it. (Club sandwich). Choice not to eat there for breakfast. Buffet $18.95 per person. Taxi to the pier 10:20AM arrived about 15 minutes later. Taxi reasonable with tip $12.00. Two lines for entrance to NCL check-in. Suites and Gold Latitude's Members. Checking was slow compared to previous years. You had to complete your customs cards (this caused the delay), credit card and pictures. 11:40AM were able to board. We went directly to our room 10th deck with balcony starboard side. We chose this side, as the islands we were stopping would be seen from this side. After unpacking the carry on went to lunch at the Garden Cafe. Lunch typical buffet. Hot and appealing. Recommended. From this point I will break down the week into section entertainment, restaurants, excursions and other. Entertainment: We found most of the shows entertaining. The Jean Ryan & Co. shows were outstanding. Comedian was good. The show "Second City was actually boring. Decided against going to the Spinnakers Lounge were it was to continue. The Star Bar we found very inviting. Had a very good piano player every evening. The bar was very relaxing with a good bartender Santos and waitress Leila. Restaurants: Tsars - food is good. Service is great. The Assistant Mat'd excellent. Very caring has wonderful personality and has a sweet outlook for good customer service. Had know problems with seating. We dined general between 6:15PM and 7:00PM. While they don't take reservations one night we were a party of 9 call my concierge who took care of this. We ate there 4 times during the week, 3 dinners and 1 breakfast. Le Bistro - food outstanding - service outstanding - Reservation and Coverage charge of $10.00pp Cagney's Steak-House - food good - service good - Reservations and cover charge $15.00 Was not overly impressed. Steak is Steak. Fish is Fish Mom's Italian Restaurant - food good - service was good - Reservation, no cover charge. We're a party of 3. We did not have reservation. W arrived just as they opened at 5:30PM. Others with reservations arrived were seated then we were seated (3 minutes) Garden Cafe - food good - service is buffet - with several hundred people the cleanliness was most impressive and the stocking of the buffet. 3 separate stations drinks (milk, coffee & teas away from the food kept the flow of traffic moving. Ate there several times and for late snack. A great place for breakfast. Excursions: San Juan - we just ventured off the ship and walked Old San Juan. Been there many times. Antigua (St. John's) - beautiful Island with very nice people. Took the ship's excursion to swim with the Stingrays. This is a must. It's a control area. Bernie the lead person was very informative and extremely helpful. Especially those with a fear of the water or who could not swim. Recommend this to non-swimmer and the advance. St. Thomas - did off shore excursion with Sonny Liston. In his absents Godfrey filled in. Sonny had his vehicle in repair shop. Both very good. Picked up at the ship. Went shopping in Port Charlamaia for 2-½ hrs. Picked up and traveled to the mountain top for picks and sightseeing. Then we went to Coki Beach and then back to the ship. Back in time to shop at the new mall. All this for $20.00 per person. Well worth the money. Great Stirrup Cay (private island) signed up for the ship snorkeling, not worth it this year. No fish to speak of like previous years. The island has not really recouped from the hurricanes. Getting into the water was very difficult for many. Very stony As for the ship and crew they are EXCEPTIONAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Since no one has yet posted a Review of the 11/4 NCL Jewel Cruise, let me be the first! We arrived at the pier around 12:30. The Non-US Citizens go to a line on the left and all others, including Latitudes, go to the right. There were ... Read More
Since no one has yet posted a Review of the 11/4 NCL Jewel Cruise, let me be the first! We arrived at the pier around 12:30. The Non-US Citizens go to a line on the left and all others, including Latitudes, go to the right. There were already many people there by 12:30 so you may want to arrive earlier to avoid the crowds. It took about 40 minutes to get through this line and on to the next room where you receive your key cards. You are then grouped together to begin going through the x-ray machines and then it's on to the ship. Once aboard, we headed straight to our room. The first thing we noticed was how bright and colorful the ship is (both inside and out). We stayed in an interior room (5571) on the 5th floor and were pleasantly surprised with the room. The room was about 1/3 bigger than our room on the Majesty and had a fabulous layout. Once the beds are put together, they are in the middle of the room instead of one side being up against the wall. It just made it a lot easier to get in and out of bed. They were 5 huge shelves right behind the door which held all of our clothes. The closet is a nice size and there are 3 more drawers on the other side of the closet. There is also a nice little table area under the TV (great for laying books, change, sun glasses, or whatever you might need within a finger tips reach). There was also a full length mirror. The bathroom was nice. The toilet was a little close to the wall when you sit but I can't complain. The shower water would go from warm to extremely hot every minute or so be careful. I wrote this fact on my comment card so maybe the water temperature will be adjusted before long. The water pressure was great and the shower had liquid soap and shampoo dispenser (just in case anyone forgets theirs). The first day at sea was fabulous. Got up early and ate breakfast (as we did every morning) in the Garden Cafe. We went to deck 14 and had no problems getting a lounge chair (this was around 10 am). Plenty of waiters around to bring you drinks but none were every pushy or overbearing. Many people left towels in the chairs for hours without ever losing their spot. There were also some European women who felt it was not necessary to go to the "Free Style" (topless) area to sun bathe topless (this is just to warn people who may have kids). It was also very windy most of the time but I don't think that can be controlled. It wasn't so bad that it ruined the days but you did have to tie your lose articles to the chairs so they wouldn't blow away. I didn't swim in the pools but the hot tubs were a nice place to go on the first night when we encountered a brief squall. We were the only ones there and had all the hot tubs to ourselves. However, after about 10 minutes, we began to get cold as the water was not very hot. The Garden Cafe serves the same breakfast every morning…runny scrambled eggs, sausage, tater tots, fruit, pancakes, etc. They also have an omelet station, waffle station and an egg station (where you can get eggs cooked anyway you want them). The Garden Cafe also has a separate Vegetarian Section. The Vegetarian Section looked very good but I am such a picky eater that I don't think I tried anything new. There is also a self serve ice cream station towards the rear of the Garden Cafe. The have vanilla, chocolate and swirl ice cream and it can be topped with chocolate sprinkles, colored sprinkles and jelly beans. There's another cafeteria section at the very back of the Garden Cafe. They offer the same food as the Garden Cafe but it's usually less crowded and serves breakfast later than the Garden Cafe does (by about half an hour). We also ate in two of the dining rooms, Azura and Tsar's. They both serve the same menu but we enjoyed the atmosphere more in Tsar's. Tsar's is absolutely gorgeous with Russian themes and artwork throughout the restaurant. One night we had to wait to be seated but we only had to wait about 10 minutes. The desserts are fantastic. The ice cream is always great but on Saturday night, I had an Italian dessert that was fantastic. It was vanilla ice cream stuck between two Italian pastries smothered with chocolate syrup. MMMMM. We also ate in Cagney's Steakhouse and was a little disappointed. The service was very slow and we were in there for almost 3 hours! I had the Filet Mignon with Rice Pilaf and potatoes. They also have several other steaks (like a porterhouse) which they charge and extra $10 on top of the $15 cover charge ($25 total). Several in our group ordered those steaks and although the food was great, the slow service detracted from our overall enjoyment. Of all the places we ate, I enjoyed Mama's Italian kitchen the best (and it's not because I am Italian…). We had to make a reservation to get in as they were booked almost every night on the cruise. So make your reservations early! The service is fantastic and the food was wonderful. I ordered a pizza (which is about the size of a small pizza you would order in any restaurant) and Chicken Parmigiana. Absolutely fantastic!!! In San Juan, we took a taxi to El Morro. We then walked through the city back to the ship. We even past a McDonalds and a Walgreens. I really enjoyed stopping in the little shops but everything was more expensive than I thought it would be. T-shirts were between $20-25. I guess I expected it to be cheaper like Cozumel. In Antigua, we went to Dickenson Bay. We got there by taxi ($20 round trip) and enjoyed a wonderful day the beach. We rented an umbrella and beach chairs ($22) for the day and you could rent jet ski's or just lay back and enjoy the sun. I played some locals in a game a pool and won…that was the highlight of the trip as the bartender had bet the locals $100 that I would win and was more than gracious by providing me with free Rum Punch after I was successful. I would recommend you find an excursion in St Thomas. We walked to downtown (a few miles walk) and got rather bored after about 2 hours. There's nothing but shopping in the downtown district. Others that I cruised with found local tours that took them by open air taxi's for tours around the Island and had a wonderful time. They said the views were unbelievable. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see more of the Island. I believe we were the fist ship to visit NCL’s private island since the Hurricane. The tender lines were VERY long so be sure to get an early ticket. There were still tender lines at 11:30 am (we docked at 9 am). We ate at the Garden café as I thought I was being thrifty by not spending money to eat on the island. Little did I know that NCL catered their own food to the Island. They had hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn on the cob. It looked so good that I wanted to eat again, but I refrained. Some of my friends went snorkeling but stated there wasn’t much to see. The water was also colder than I was used to but that didn’t deter us from enjoying the day. A sunny, beautiful day in the Bahamas with the FMOT is better than any day at work! Disembarkation was a little frustrating for me. Since I had an 11:30 flight, I planned on carrying our luggage off and taking advantage of the early disembarkation. However, since my BF is Russian, all non-us citizens have to wait until EVERY single non-us citizen has been cleared by immigration before leaving the ship. That means that if some people don’t pay attention or don’t understand English, one or two people can hold up the disembarkation of all non-us citizens. We were finally allowed to leave the ship at 9:30 am (we still carried our own luggage). All others leave the ship according to the colored luggage tags that are delivered to your room. You can always go to reception and ask for earlier tags if requested. If you need a taxi please follow this advice!!! After leaving the staging area, we were advised to go to the right and stand in the taxi line. By this time, there were about 100 people already in line. They were only allowing 2 taxi’s at a time to pick up these passengers. At this rate, I knew we would never make our flight. I asked a policeman if there was anything I could do to get a taxi so I wouldn’t miss my flight. He advised me to walk in the opposite direction and pick up a taxi. About 30 taxi’s were waiting on the side of the road because for some reason, the people directing the traffic were only allowing two taxi’s in at a time. Advice = after clearing customs and walking outside, go to the left about 50 yards to pick up a taxi. Otherwise, you could be waiting in line for who knows how long. I’m sure some of you have many questions that I have not answered. Please feel free to email me at erby2283@yahoo.com and I will be happy to answer your questions if I can. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
I just returned from the first Western Caribbean itinerary on the Norwegian Jewel. The boat is gorgeous.....bright colors and rich woods- but no tackiness. The layout of the boat is nice although I do miss having a 4 or 5 story atrium. But ... Read More
I just returned from the first Western Caribbean itinerary on the Norwegian Jewel. The boat is gorgeous.....bright colors and rich woods- but no tackiness. The layout of the boat is nice although I do miss having a 4 or 5 story atrium. But the Jewel more than makes up for it with the lounges, bars and restaurants. My husband and I ate at Azura, Le Bistro, Mama's, Chin Chin and Tapas. We didn't get to eat at Cagney's- we made reservations for the last night there but many people told us that dinner took 2 1/2-3 hours there. It was totally booked the whole cruise...I guess they couldn't get in as many people as they wanted due to the long dining times. Azura was very good- it's one of the main dining rooms with no surcharge. Its on the smaller side (compared to Tsars) which makes it more romantic. Again, the food was excellent as well as the servers. Le Bistro was out of this world-I could have eaten there every night. Mama's was OK.......its Italian-but I'm from NY- so to wow me with Italian food on a cruise is difficult. Chin chin was also excellent- my bil ate the $5 all you can eat sushi there at lunch one day and was almost cut off. He said the sushi was the best he'd ever had-he should know- he's a professionally trained chef. The only reason we didn't eat at Tsars was due to its location- its located directly at the front of the ship...and my husband tends to get a little seasick. There's much more motion at the front of the boat-so we stayed midship at Azuras. Our room was good size- my husband and son and I all had plenty of room as well as a balcony. The bathroom setup was great....the toilet and shower were on opposite sides of the sink-so there was plenty of room in there. My 3 1/2 year old son spent a lot of time at the kids club. Every morning the first words out of his mouth were "is the kids club open yet??" He couldn't wait to get there. The staff was super- my son LOVED Donna, Janet and Dina. The kid's club has age appropriate activities....my son did the pizza party, pirate parade, crafts and other stuff that kept him occupied. He hated the port days because he had to wait until 7pm for the club to open. They even brought the kids to the Stardust theater for a couple of the shows. One gripe I have with the kids club- they need to post the next days activities...or list them in the Freestyle Daily. One night we got to the club at 7:30 only to find out the kids had left to see the show- so we had to wait until they returned at 8:30 to sign him in. That messed up our dinner reservations at LeBistro but they accommodated us at the later time. The islands were nice.....Roatan is still developing a lot. I have a feeling in the next few years it will be a much bigger destination. We went to the West End Beach (gorgeous) and stayed for a few hours. Grand Cayman was busy that day-5 other ships in port. We still got to swim with the rays but Georgetown was a madhouse. Ocho Rios wasn't bad as long as you took a tour OR just went to the Island Village located between the cruise ship docks. Food. What can I say about the food? I gained 6 lbs in a week! Everything was top notch......even the garden cafe food was delish. I wasn't thrilled with the Blue Lagoon but there were so many other choices that it didn't matter. The waitstaff go above and beyond to make sure that you're happy. And I was. The shows at Stardust were great....Cirque Bijou was the best. I also liked the Second City comedy show- very funny stuff. After the 9:30 shows most parts of the ship get very quiet. The spinnaker lounge did have some action but for the most part it was quiet. The casino offered the most entertainment for late night. Paul Baya is a good cruise director.......but I have a feeling he's a frustrated performer. He's very witty with his remarks during his presentations but isn't as available to everyone. The assistant cruise director Kunani was also good....I saw a lot of her especially at the Bingo games. I also spent a bit of time at the martini bar/lounge area. It seemed to be a meeting place/hangout place. It got very busy there after dinner. All in all we had an exceptional time. We did talk to some other cruisers.....some raved, some ranted but for the most part everyone had a great time and loved the ship and its crew. I would most definitely book another trip with Norwegian especially on the Jewel. We LOVED the freestyle dining- especially travelling with our son. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
We were on the November 13 W. Caribbean cruise of the Jewel. Embarkation was a breeze. We are Latitude so we went right up-sat for a while-sustained by snacks and coffee and then we were taken to our room. We had a mini-suite. It was great ... Read More
We were on the November 13 W. Caribbean cruise of the Jewel. Embarkation was a breeze. We are Latitude so we went right up-sat for a while-sustained by snacks and coffee and then we were taken to our room. We had a mini-suite. It was great although I think balconies are a waste of money. I never see anyone using them for anything but smoking. We had our stewardess bring a bowl of fruit—she was super. She kept our room spotless. We were supposed to have concierge services but she never returned my call (to make reservations for us) so I did it and it worked out fine. I guess she was busy helping the folks (all doctors!!!) in the Garden Villas! This was the best cruise we have ever taken. The ship was great. We ate at every restaurant and there is not a loser in the bunch. The people are great. There was lots of fun without the sleaziness -----except for Bingo. They had small crowds—no one much played—one had to rent an expensive machine or charge numerous sheets—no buying of a single Bingo Card for $5. I heard a lot of griping about that. Good Things about the Jewel I will forget -------FoxNews and CNN. Good Movies (Mr. and Mrs. Smith—didn't get to see it—wish they had more—they had a real theater) Tangos and Mama's Italian Kitchen--no surcharge---and best special restaurants-Cagney's-very good, Chin-Chin-very good, Le Bistro-good. Rates were half price from opening until 6:30pm., never crowded, great food all around except for breakfast scrambled eggs--Awful!! get an omelette or fried eggs. The Blue Lagoon--no extra charge--has a hamburger that is restaurant quality. The best I have ever had on a ship. Great food there--never a crowd--great views from the windows. In the Spindriffer Lounge-top deck--decadent lounge daybeds--where you can lie by the window--read or dream-listen to music--few people ever find it---just a great experience. Bread on this ship was great. Rolls, toast, pastries--tasted like they were fresh from the oven. Jams and butters are from Denmark. I could have eaten the blackberry jam by the spoonful. They serve a lot of cream brulee in the specialty restaurants and it is always great. We ate in the Tsar's Restaurant—beautiful. And the Azure. Never a crowd, but we eat early. Around 6 or 7. Mama's was beyond excellent--book it on your first night before it is too late--ditto for Tangos. Chin Chin's was the most unique. There were a lot of activities. I went to a good perfume seminar. The enrichment lectures about our destinations were interesting. We missed some because we were on tours but caught what we could. The young lady, Amy, who did our trivia contests was fantastic. Sweet and able to get a diverse competitive crowd laughing and playing together. The cruise director I never met or saw much. (Unlike on Holland America and Carnival-they were all over the place!)I saw one show--Cirque ?-it was super. Really good. Dancers wore very revealing costumes if you have children. The bands on this ship are really great. We ate at Tangos and the band playing made it a super experience. The excursions were good. In Honduras we took the city tour. The poverty is stupefying, but the guide was sweet and enthusiastic. I came back to the ship feeling I had learned a great deal about the country. Well worth the money. Grand Cayman Island was a surprise. It is wealthy. Clean. Burger Kings. McDonalds. Sub Shops. Our Tour guide took us to 'Hell" and to the Turtle Farm. He was funny and sweet. Well worth the money. Again—saw a lot, learned a lot. Jamaica-----different story. On the city tour we were taken to a big old plantation house where we saw gory pictures of the Spanish killing Indians with dogs, then English people killing and beating slaves—everything was brutal violence. The estate was rotting—it just felt evil. Then we went to a place to get a drink. It was so nasty I didn't drink mine—everything was covered with mold. Then we went to two places to shop—one an art museum ?? if it could be called that—that had primitive art for high prices—then to another place to shop. With poverty so high on that island—they sold t-shirts made in China!! Why not make them there and try to help those people? Unlike Honduras where I felt the people were making an effort to become at least a second world nation, Jamaica seemed to be going the way of Haiti—rotting away. (We were in Haiti in 1972) And Jamaica is so beautiful—or could be—but as it is now—when I got back to the ship, I took off every stitch I had on and took a cold shower. Washed my hair and brushed my teeth and then made my husband do the same. I would not get off the ship if I had to do it again—and some of the people were hostile. Be careful in Jamaica. If you use the internet—watch your minutes—it is pricey. Best Tip about the ship-----The Blue Lagoon. The food, the views, the atmosphere. Disembarkation- We had a good breakfast. Then you can wait in your room or in a lounge or on one of the glorious window seats they have on Deck 7 ( as we did.) We were off the ship by nine and on our way home. WARNING----If you are driving. Miami is still recovering from Wilma—and that hurricane did a job on that city!!!!. Motel rooms are hard to come by---all the way up to Jupiter. Make sure you have a secured reservation before you set out. Expect high rates. Usually at the end of a cruise—I am ready to get off and go home. This time I would have loved to have had another week to explore that beautiful ship. We have cruised on NCL before, Holland America and Carnival. This ship was the best. And I loved free styling and I did not expect too—my husband did not put on a tie one time. He loved that. He wore sports shirts and nice pants—on formal night we ate at Mama's. If you plan on taking a cruise---I highly recommend this one. It has the class of Holland America and the fun of Carnival!! And even without set companions at dinnertime (and we have always loved ours) we still made plenty of friends on this trip. No running children. It was an older crowd of Americans--lots of Brits and Scotch. Quite a few Japanese--and several young couples from Switzerland and Scandinavia. Most of the Help is from what was once Yugoslavia. They are very competent and very nice. Always friendly and someone was always scrubbing on that ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
After we book a cruise, I try to orchestrate that elusive, seamless trip. I like to try new things to see if I can reach that goal. Therefore, I learn something new every time, and that's what I like to share in my reviews. I've ... Read More
After we book a cruise, I try to orchestrate that elusive, seamless trip. I like to try new things to see if I can reach that goal. Therefore, I learn something new every time, and that's what I like to share in my reviews. I've learned a great deal from other reviewers and like to share my thoughts in case it might help someone else. Although I haven't attained my goal, yet, it's fun trying! For a more detailed review of the antics of our group (and true entertainment), I urge you to find the review posted by MrTractor. (It's currently being posted in our Roll Call, but I understand will soon be posted in the Cruise Reviews section. I didn't intend for this to be a novella, sorry, but here goes... A little background on us, we're DINKS (double income, no kids), active mid- to late forties (not late enough to be early fifties), have cruised 18 times, 13 on NCL. We are scuba divers, love to read and dance to big band music. We are completely and utterly addicted to cruising This cruise might be my new favorite (taking the place of our first cruise on the S.S. Norway in 1989), that says a lot! TRANSPORTATION: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale airport because it's cheaper from Denver than United into Miami. We've used www.a1worldwidelimo.com in the past and were pleased with their service, so we arranged for both a ride from the airport to our hotel in Miami and to be picked up at the pier after the cruise back to FLL. We reserved a sedan for the two of us (and our mountain of luggage) for the trip to the hotel. The driver was at the baggage claim area right on time. Cost was $78 including tip. Since we were going to share a ride with a couple back to FLL, we reserved a 6-person stretch limo. Some of the luggage had to ride inside with us on that leg, but we all fit fine and the cost was $52 per couple including tip, which is much more reasonable than two separate cabs. For those that need to fly into FLL for a Miami cruise, we found this to be a much more comfortable alternative to a taxi. Both trips more than made up for the difference in airfare to Miami. PRE-CRUISE: I was really excited when I landed the Intercontinental Hotel on Hotwire for $102. I had always wanted to stay there. Well, we got to the hotel and were informed that some workers from the power company had to extend their stay and they had no room for us. They did, however, arrange a room for us at the Marriott Courtyard just a few blocks away. It was a lovely room and would stay there again; I was just a little disappointed. It's my theory that they bump the low rates first (duh), so I'm not sure I'll do the Hotwire thing again. It also took time to make the change and we were trying to meet people in the South Beach area by 4pm, so that cut it awfully close. So much for that elusive, seamless idea - another lesson learned. We met some of our CC cruise friends at Monty's Stone Crab's outdoor raw bar area because we wanted to see the Jewel sail away for her one-night dinner/dance cruise and I have to have stone crab at least once a year or I suffer severe withdrawal. Their food is awesome and, sure enough, the Jewel came gliding down the cut in all her glory. We were all getting so excited for the next day. I highly recommend this place for a pre-cruise dinner, especially if there will be ships setting sail that day. EMBARKATION: The next morning, after a nice breakfast at Bayside Marketplace (still walkable from the Marriott Courtyard), and a quick trip to Walgreens for some sodas, we grabbed a taxi to the pier at around 10:30a, got to the pier around 10:45 am ($10 + tip). We got in the Suites/Gold&Platinum Latitudes line, as we are both Gold Latitudes and booked an AC penthouse suite for this cruise. The outer doors opened around 11am and after checking in, were directed to the VIP embarkation area where they had coffee, juice and little sandwiches and cake. We met up with two other couples in our group who were also in suites and visited for a bit. Karan, our butler, whose services we shared with one of the other couples, led us onto the ship and as a group, progressively dropped our carry-ons in our suites, moving on to see the others. We were in an AC, deck 10, #10500. The others were in an AA Owner's Suite, deck 10, #10004, and an AB (2-bedroom) on deck 11, #10118. They were all just gorgeous! OUR CABIN (WOW!): (For pictures of this AC, click on the following link: http://community.webshots.com/album/512440027jaJQiA We loved our AC penthouse suite so much (#10500)! We chose it because we learned that the ACs on deck 10 are larger than on deck 9. Deck 9 has larger balconies and smaller cabins. Ours was one of the two in the center on deck 10, under the bump out of the bridge. This caused our sitting area to be much larger than the other two ACs on either side. We called it our sunroom because we seemed to always be sailing into the sunrise and it was very bright and cheery. We had a full sofa and two side chairs, along with two end tables and a coffee table. The others I saw only had a loveseat and one chair. Our balcony was plenty big, with two rattan loungers and a table, nice padded covers that the steward took in at night and put out in the morning and plenty of room around them for guests to mingle. Aside from this the lovely sitting area, there is a dining table for four, a desk area with drawers, a glass cabinet with shelves for glassware, a refrigerator, and an amazing coffee/espresso/cappuccino maker that grinds the beans every time you want a cup! I've got to get one of these! There are two safes (his and hers) in a floor-to-ceiling storage cabinet with shelves, and drawers below that and a vanity area separate from the bathroom with 4 drawers. It also has a lighted tabletop make-up mirror in addition to the lighted wall mirror. A full-strength, styling hair dryer is also in the area, along with spacious storage shelves. A unique addition to the basic large closet provided is that it opens from both sides (vanity area and entry hall), so you don't have to climb over each other in this ship-typical narrow hallway. DH loved this! The bathroom had three sections: a full tub/shower on the left with ceiling to tub sliding glass doors, a sink/vanity area in the center with glass shelves on either side of the mirror and shelves beneath the sink. There was a scale on the floor—no, thank you - and on the right is the commode area with a sliding glass door, however, the glass is not frosted for privacy (like it was in our mini-suite on the Sun), so I didn't understand the point. LOL The bath amenities provided were shampoo, conditioner (yes!), body lotion, face and body bar soaps, sewing kit, shoe buffer, shower cap, cotton balls and Q-tips. They were replenished when used. There was still the typical soap/shampoo dispenser in the shower and soap dispenser by the sink. The bath towels were extra large and very fluffy. Two robes were provided which were really nice; terry cloth inside with a petal soft outer layer. The forward balcony had a heavy, watertight door on the outside and a lighter door on the inside. On sea days, the ship was not sailing at speed, so it was very usable (we even took a blissfully long nap out there one day), but in the evenings, when the ship was really moving, it was really too windy to enjoy. Besides, there are plaques,which ask that you keep the door closed while underway and also to keep your drapes closed at night so as not to encumber the visibility from the bridge. At any time, if the door to the balcony is open and one opens the cabin door, it becomes a wind tunnel and anything not weighted down goes flying. LOL Closing the lighter balcony door solves this, until the cabin door is closed. Also, penthouse suites and above come equipped with wireless phones which made it so easy to keep in touch with fellow cruisers with same, our butler or the concierge. You could also call your cabin from any house phone and the mobile phone will ring, too, if you're trying to find your cabin mate. This was a really nice touch. We all ended up calling them our "Bat Phones." (I know this will be lost on some of the younger readers, LOL.) Last, but not least, our butler, Karan, was just as sweet as could be. Although he was kept hopping 24/7 by the raucous couple in the starboard side Owner's Suite, he had no trouble making time for any of our needs. (HA HA, just kidding, MrTractor!!) At a moment's notice, he set up a nice bar area with glassware, ice, sodas and OJ for a very impromptu sailaway party from GSC with some of our CC friends. This was my first suite with a butler and it was a real treat! This particular cabin is a great value compared to the other ACs, IMO!! THE SHIP: Although we adore the charm of older ships, I have to say, this brand new beauty was amazing. As others have said, the pictures of the dEcor we'd seen pre-cruise showed a lot of unusual colors, but again, as others have said, once you see it in person, it all comes together just beautifully. Bar Central was a great pre-dinner meeting place. One extremely helpful feature was the carpeting in the cabin hallways. It had an underwater theme with Little Nemo's and other fish that only swim in one direction - forward - so you could always tell what direction you were walking. This saved me from a couple of goofs that would have caused me some wild goose chases on other ships. Loved this! DINING: We had the opportunity to try Cagney's, Le Bistro, Tangos, Teppenyaki in Chin Chin and Tsar's. Loved all of them! Cagney's was the least favorite due to a service snafu (they basically forgot we were there for a while), but the company of Will Robinson and Wee Todd, made it a very funny evening (sorry, a little private humor). SHOWS: I'll start out saying we generally aren't show people. Since the Broadway shows on the Norway, which I thought were outstanding, I felt they've been kind of hokey singing and dancing revues. Well, WOW, on this ship, both "Band on the Run" and "Cirque Bijou" were OUTSTANDING!! A must not miss. Those were the only two we caught, and we were both soooooo glad we did! CASINO: I'm a nickel slot queen and was disappointed with the selection. There were many, but none that I recognized (the video type). Only one gave me a decent amount of play for what I put into it. I would have played a lot more if they didn't suck my money in so fast. Loosen 'em up, NCL, you missed out on some bucks! PORTS: This was the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, which included San Juan, Antigua, St. Thomas, and Great Stirrup Cay. We didn't do any ship's excursions this time. In San Juan, we hopped on the free Trolley, which took us to the top of the hill of Old San Juan, so we could continue on foot to the fort, El Morro. We walked back down into town and met up with some CCers for a brewski, while some split off to shop. We all met up again at Barrachina's for their famous Pina Coladas, then DH and I headed back to the ship to freshen up for a gala sailaway party in that raucous couple's owner's suite down the hall. In Antigua, we went scuba diving with two other CC couples. We reserved a spot with www.antiguascuba.com who are located at Nelson's Dockyard on English Harbour. They will also pay for your taxi one way. For other divers, this is apparently the best area for scuba on the island. We went to a place called "Pillars of Hercules," which was a beautiful rock formation above water and a neat, shallow dive with lots of nooks and crannies below. Stopped at a nearby pub for a local brew while we waited for our taxi driver to come and get us. This was a great day with good friends! On St. Thomas, we reserved a dive with Coki Beach Dive Club (www.cokidive.com), which is my favorite for diving because it's so easy. If you reserve a spot with them, they'll pick you up at the ship. Once there, you put on your gear and just walk into the water. Their guides have always been very knowledgeable and friendly. I thoroughly enjoy them. As some divers know, there are dive masters out there that can be a little full of themselves and really take away from the experience. Not true with these fine people. Finally, prior to the cruise, there were rumors that we would be stopping at Nassau instead of the private island. One never really knows until you board, and even then, especially with GSC, sometimes not until they actually get there to determine if it's safe to tender. At our Meet & Greet, we were honored with the captain's presence and he said the plans actually were for GSC, after all. We were really glad about that! We were on the second tender ashore, and I have to say, tendering was an adventure! Boarding it was really rocky! That gangplank was rolling back and forth and up and down. If it had been any worse, I'm sure we wouldn't have been able to stop there. For those who crab about missing the private island, yes, it's a disappointment, but it is absolutely for your own safety. This can be a very precarious situation. Also, for those prone to motion sickness; sit on the top deck instead of below. Filling these tenders take time as they hold a lot of people, and some sitting below on this day couldn't hold their cookies. Tendering back was a lot smoother, however. The change I noticed most about GSC since the hurricane is entering the water from the beach. What used to be a smooth, sandy entry was really rocky and hurt your feet if you didn't take it slow and carefully. Until they can correct this, water shoes would probably be a good idea if you have sensitive feet. Maybe they'll be able to sift through it at some point and make it smooth again. But, I'm glad we got to go, because it was a gorgeous day and a beautiful place. DISEMBARKATION: Being suite passengers, we could have opted for priority disembarkation, but we had a later flight and chose to have a leisurely breakfast with friends and hang out in our cabin until it was time to meet up with them again to catch the limo. I did notice that the Express Debarkation people (those who could carry off their own luggage) were getting off the ship around 7:30am, even though you could still hear names being called to show up for immigration and others to settle their accounts. It was also nice having most of the luggage out of the way when we finally disembarked, and the lines through customs were really short, too. We did have to call the limo company to get status of our ride and hunt him down a bit, but we finally did and that limo was a nice, comfortable ride back to FLL. SUMMARY: This is a beautiful ship and the crew was outstanding. These people honestly seemed pleased to have you there and do anything they could to help you enjoy your cruise. We always feel like we're being welcomed into their home. This is why we always come back to NCL. You just can't beat it, IMO. We also had great times with old friends and made some great new ones, which is the best of all! I urge everyone to join and participate in your CC roll calls. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
I've cruised 3 times before: on the old Big Red Boat, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. All of those are known as "value" priced lines. I was expecting something really special from Norwegian, and was disappointed. Not that it ... Read More
I've cruised 3 times before: on the old Big Red Boat, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. All of those are known as "value" priced lines. I was expecting something really special from Norwegian, and was disappointed. Not that it was any worse than the other lines, I just didn't think it was much better, especially for the price. The low points: Embarkation was chaos. I had heard Norwegian had implemented a better method of embarkation, but if they did, I couldn't tell. (Note: if you drive and plan to park there, even though the website says they take credit cards, they don't. Have enough cash to pay for parking up front.) Food was still plentiful, but the quality was lacking. If you wanted to have anything decent, you had to pay the extra fee to go to a specialty restaurant. In fact, I got the impression that the standard dining rooms intentionally lowered the quality of their food in order to get guests to pay the additional fee. Also, since dinner was split between so many restaurants, each one had far fewer dishes to choose from, and there was no variation from night to night in the menu choices. The two best were Chin Chin and Cagney's. Le Bistro was a disappointment, and we cancelled our second reservation to go there. While Mama's Kitchen was free, it was also sub-par. I did enjoy the option of dining when you want, and also the tables for two. The room service menu's, however, were very limited, especially for free items. Another silly note: The mojitos are a standard drink on the menu, and they are delightful. However, be sure to ask if they have mint at the bar. One time I waited 20 minutes for my mojito, and just as I had given up, it came and I didn't want it anymore. Apparently the waiter had to visit several other bars to find mint. Also, note that a 15% tip is automatically added to every drink, and if you don't pay close attention you might not notice. It's quite subtle. The high points: Cirque Bijou! It was the best show I've ever seen on a ship! Very fun! The Cruise Director, Paul Baya was also very good. The staff was awesome. Ironically, we were chatting with a bartender who said that the staff's quarters were not nearly as nice as those on Carnival and Royal Caribbean! He was VERY surprised to learn that Norwegian costs more than those lines. The ship was spotless, and of course, new. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. All in all, it was very fun, but for my money I think I'll go back to Royal Caribbean next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
The ship is beautiful. The staff is eager to help and constantly cleaning up behind people. The shows were fantastic and all worth seeing. We especially loved the Second City Comedy group. We never made any reservations and were able to ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. The staff is eager to help and constantly cleaning up behind people. The shows were fantastic and all worth seeing. We especially loved the Second City Comedy group. We never made any reservations and were able to get into restaurants by getting there between 5:30 and 6pm. The longest we waited was 10 mins. The Garden cafe is open 24 hours with no hassles - one night they served prime rib, the next was skirt steak - in addition to the food always available. They charge a gratuity fee at the end of the cruise but we still carried singles around to tip specific people. Room service is great. We did our own thing (rented a moped) in San Juan and St. Thomas (lovely island) but I would strongly suggest signing up for an excursion in St. John. There is nothing to do on your own. Only negatives of the cruise - everything is expensive and you'll miss some comforts of home. I thought they'd have satellite tv but instead it's 5 channels (one news, one sitcom, 2 movies, and ship info). Internet access is 75 cents a minute - and bring a watch because the clock on the screen has been deleted. If you want to read newspapers - you must sign up at the beginning of the cruise and it's about $4 a day. There are no newspapers to read in the library or for daily sale. The spa looked beautiful but a 50 minute massage was $180 so we passed. I think charge less and you'll attract more customers and repeat business but oh well. Bring reading material for those sea only days. Overall, I would definitely sail with Norwegian again . Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Somewhere in the deepest bowels of hell, where they keep the people who have been very very bad, there is a place where the hell dwellers are forced as their punishment to spend an eternity checking in to board the Norwegian Jewel in Miami ... Read More
Somewhere in the deepest bowels of hell, where they keep the people who have been very very bad, there is a place where the hell dwellers are forced as their punishment to spend an eternity checking in to board the Norwegian Jewel in Miami over and over again. First, you stand on the sidewalk in the broiling sun for half an hour filling out a form no one told you you needed until you arrive. Then, you wait on the check-in line for another 90 minutes. Then you speak to a clueless clerk who does not know how to operate the machinery. Then you wait on another line to enter the next room. Then you wait on line to get your room key. Then you wait on line ("the sitting down line") to wait on line to get thru security. Then you wait on the security line. Then you wait on line to have your picture taken. Then you march in the broiling sun, on a metal walkway, the entire length of the ship, so that they can welcome you on board at the very bow of the ship, so that you can march all the way back to your cabin. Norwegian feels that if they make your life a living hell to get on the ship, the cruise itself won't seem so bad. It doesn't work. Think of the Jewel as a sort of big, ugly bus with high-school cafeteria food that cruises the seas. I was in a category AF mini-suite. The cabin number is 11572. This cabin is directly below the "splash down kid's club", so do not book this cabin unless you like the sound of 200 little feet pounding on your head from 9 to 5 every sea day. The mini-suite was smaller than any comparable cabin I had on Carnival, NCCL, or Princess. The decor of the cabin (and most of the ship) is "colorful". I like color but this ship looked like Walt Disney threw up on it. The predominant color scheme in my suite was lime green, hot pink, yellow and red. I complement them on the bathroom, it was large, well-appointed, has a separate toilet room, and was tastefully decorated. Best ship bathroom I ever had. Forget the all-inclusive cruise. They hit you up on this ship for everything. When three of us got done buying drinks, eating in the up-charge restaurants, and buying water, with the mandatory tipping, we went for another $2800. in 14 days. A regular drink is $4, a double (2 ounces instead of 1) is $8, and a martini can go for as much as $14.50. OUCH. Learn to love Iced Tea. The food on the poolside buffet was uniformly terrible. Low-grade institutional food. The food in the main dining rooms was mediocre, cold, small portioned, and service was what you would expect in a no-tipping situation. Of the up-charge restaurants, the Teppanyaki room and the French place were excellent. Stay away from the steak house. It is over priced and the food was inedible. Forget using any of the spa services unless you like paying extra. One more thing I will mention was the nightmare tender service in Grand Cayman. Do not use their lifeboat tenders. Use the big tenders provided by the port service or you will be stranded in a hot lifeboat bobbing in the open sea for an hour. When you return to Miami, you get to claim your luggage in a steel oven. No I'm not kidding. You claim your luggage in a steel building where the five giant A/C units which are cooling the check-in area vent out. It's like being inside an over for an hour or so. I was done. Suggestion: the Caribbean Princess. Same itinerary, light years better in every possible way, same basic price. DO NOT TAKE THIS SHIP. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
WOW ........... WHAT A SHIP! This ship is Beautiful, NEW, and Large! Where to start.... FOOD... Plenty of it! with 10 restaurants & room service, 13 bars and lounges, you had no problem finding food OR drinks. We found the food very ... Read More
WOW ........... WHAT A SHIP! This ship is Beautiful, NEW, and Large! Where to start.... FOOD... Plenty of it! with 10 restaurants & room service, 13 bars and lounges, you had no problem finding food OR drinks. We found the food very good to GREAT in the speciality restaurants which are worth the extra money. If I was to complain it would be that small children should not be allowed in a few of them. Most kids today would not eat that type of food (sushi, Teppanyake etc.)Makes it hard also for a quite, romantic dinner with kids running/playing in the isles and parents always correcting (if correcting) their children. Note: make reservations on the first day for the week. don't stand in lines, use your room phone much faster! Believe me you will find it hard to hit every restaurant in 7 days, just now enough time. Activities.... There is always room for improvement in this area with the cruise staff, should have more going on. but no complaints on what they did have. The shows were the same as other ships/ cruises. (Stopped counting after 25 cruises and have been on 6 different fleets.) The Staff..... Best Ever! They were great everywhere, always happy and go out of their way to do anything. The room stewards are as all the cruise are doing, is paired. For a large ship we hardly saw them. They were in and out like magic and our room was always spotless. The casino staff on this ship is friendly, wanted everyone to win all the time, which made loosing FUN! We just love the fact that NCL serves food in there. No problem getting free drinks, on this ship just smile and play and the pit bosses would take care of you bill. They have a cash back program now and it not too bad getting credit on your room tab at the end of the cruise. To sum up the ship it is incredible. The decor is light and lively and open. Bands and singers through the ship, at night it was great to get different varieties. We enjoyed them all. Sail away party at every port. The 3 pool are wonderful plenty of deck chairs for all and guess what? The sunbathers have their own decks. No more fighting to get a seat to eat outside. The whole pool area outside 2 of the buffets is all table and chairs. plenty of room, this is the first time one of us never had to find a table while the other got the food. I found the spa to be very nice, we always felt welcomed, and our experiences there enjoyable. (If you are a new comer to the spa world on ships, I would suggest letting staff know so you wont feel lost on what to do and where to get things.) The Islands: Best deals If you smoke, Butts in San Juan at the dock $14 a carton but you have to buy 2 or a case of 5, no single cartons sold. St Maarten you can find them at $12 a carton. San Juan has cleaned up a lot, no more homeless in the streets. The casinos are like 2 stars, hotels. To the left of the docks they now have a open street mkt. for shopping if you did not want to go in and out of the stores. Personally San Juan is still not a rent a car and go see the Island, we still advise caution! don't leave your stuff in a taxi while you run into somewhere, he wont be there when you get back. St Thomas.....Safe as always, walk the streets, rent a car go have fun! most of the stores offer ship delivery. never had a problem with it, nor have I ever heard of any one else having one. St Maarten..... Safe as always, walk the streets, rent a car go have fun! some of the natives/tourist on the beaches are topless here and there. The biggest thing is NO bathrooms on most of them. If you go to a beach where there is a bar/ food place it is well worth paying the $3 to $5 a chair and you get to use the bathroom, eat & drink. We would return to this ship in a heart beat. We are looking a Europe and doing it on this ship. Great Experience, Food, Staff, 5 STAR all the way! Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
CHECK-IN : Being of Belgian nationality, check-in at separate counters for non US-pasport holders went more or less smoothly. We understand the obsession with security in that country but may agents search your baggage and confiscate a ... Read More
CHECK-IN : Being of Belgian nationality, check-in at separate counters for non US-pasport holders went more or less smoothly. We understand the obsession with security in that country but may agents search your baggage and confiscate a little bottle of Calvados (apple brandy from Normandy for my nightcaps)? This has nothing to do with security but everything with stimulating bar sales aboard. Moreover: they don't offer Calvados aboard. Security is thus abused for commercial profit goals. THE SHIP: Obvious effort to keep the ship clean. POSITIVE: All staff friendly, polite and helpful Good variety of food. Excellent services at restaurants except Cagney's. Cabins are compact,well designed. Tasteful colors. Beautiful and complete spa and library. We were almost on our own in both most of the time. Fantastic effort was made for a quality show. NEGATIVE: Cabin acceptably compact but the toilet was far too compact. I kept wondering how the many overweight a and obese passengers managed in there. Tacky, garish decoration at Tsar's restaurant. Horrible, amateurish "artwork" and an inflation of cream white/gold Pool area could well have been designed for a nostalgic circus director by a Las Vegas decorator. PRICES: Nickle-and diming as on most other cruises but really gone overboard on wines (we often were the only ones ordering exorbitantly priced wines), far too highly priced excursions, internet access and newspapers. Reserve really serious amounts from your savings if you want treatments at the Health center. DESTINATIONS: If you balked at the expensive excursions,there is absolutely nothing exciting to do or see except shopping "tax-free". Roatan: Walked 10 minutes from the dock into a dirt-poor, depressing city and returned forthwith. Grand Cayman: 6 other cruise ships disgorging 14.000 passengers into this shopping "paradise". Slightly overcrowded! Ocho Rios: Another dirty, depressing city offering tax-free jewelry,watches and souvenirs. We were constantly approached - not aggressively- with offers for excursions, taxi and "smokes" (?) The Private Island: Crowded beach, black rocks, mud, low vegetation. NOT your idyllic tropical island : a great disappointment. ACTIVITIES: Very little choice except bingo, old movies from the '70s and '80s and "information" on shopping opportunities at next destination. FELLOW PASSENGERS: Clearly most traveled on very restricted budgets. We had the impression that the main purpose of some people's cruising was wolf down as many hamburgers and pizzas as possible. The delicious creations of the cooks were too often neglected in favor of the above. Pity. Some inside cabins contained up to 4 noisy persons. One last remark: I read that at least one former passenger is offended by "revealing clothes" worn by ballet dancers. Should they wear burkha's ??? And yes: European women sometimes sun themselves barebreasted. After seeing extreme brutal kid's video games over there I am reassured those innocent minors will survive the confrontation. If my comments appear snobbish or stupid I am reassured mine are not the worst. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
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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