Sail Date: January 2000
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: February 2005
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: August 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: September 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: October 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
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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