Another great time on the Jewel: Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by ny-outdoorsman

Norwegian Jewel 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Another great time on the Jewel

Sail Date: April 2012
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
On 28 April (Saturday), my wife and I left our home in Staten Island, and two hours later were getting onto the ship. Processing was quick and efficient. Met up with our friends from Delaware who had the cabin next door. I purchased the soda package right away. I also found a bottle of Merlot from Diana at We spent an enjoyable afternoon in the Spinnaker Lounge, watching NYC fall astern.
We ate about half our meals in Tsar's Palace, and half in the specialties, with 2X in Chin Chin, and Le Bistro. Let me eat every night in Chin Chin, and I will be happy, the meals are very good. (Think I had 3 appetizers and two entrees, each time we ate there. Relax, I went to the gym, and walked too.) I prefer Tsars to Azure, as the view is much better. The band in Tsar's was entertaining too. One of the wait staff who also performed could get a job as a singer, no doubt. Only little negative is that sometimes they wait staff in Tsar's was unsure what or how the More regional special was. Food was actually very good wherever we ate. Every wait staff was super nice, and attentive.
Entertainment was good. The Jewel Singers/dancers were excellent. The magician JP, was a riot, as was the comic David Naster. Brenda Kaye the Hypnotist was talented. Amazing to me that people volunteer to be hypnotized! Our Cruise Director, Dan the Man was very good. Also a great singer too!
There were lots of non US folks on board, with probably the most from Australia. They are the most fun to be with!!! Always made announcements in English, German, French and Italian. I do wish some folks would stop talking when their language is not being spoken though, so you can hear what the announcement is!!!
I think there were only 23 kids on board, but still they would end up being in the jacuzzis by themselves sometime. However, I did see a crew member tell a kid that the adult pool was for adults. Attaboy!!!
Think there were about 8 sea days. Most days, we ate breakfast in the Garden Cafe. Mamas Restaurant was open to accommodate the overflow, a wise move. We prepaid all our excursions, a good move, since some were closed out during the cruise. Also a better budgeting move, as ours cost about $900 total, for two.
The canal transit started at 5:45 AM on 5 May, Saturday. Amazing feat, given it was done in the early 1900s. Lake Gatun is remarkable, as those "islands" you see are really mountaintops. We had dome a river cruise with many lock last years, so were familiar with the process, but these locks were much much bigger. Lots of narration while we transited, plus Dan the Man and the ship photogs were on land videoing us as we went by in the locks. A nice touch. Plus, the captain opened up the crew area on deck 6 fwd, and that gave us great canal views.
A note on the officers: they were always around, willing to talk, very personable (not like on the Coral Princess 2 years ago, when you NEVER saw them).
Another small negative: about 1/2 way on the trip, the entire ship got noticeably hotter. I asked, and apparently some senior folks were cold so they raised the temp. Note to NCL: Give the folks with slow blood a sweater if they complain about the temp. You can only take off so much clothing, but you can put on a lot!!!
Our steward, Mariano, like the NYY pitcher, was very good, up there with the best we have had.
Finally, never saw any staff in the gym, and did see a passenger fall right off one of the treadmills and grabbed him from falling badly. Should be someone there, no?

Overall, a really god trip, very enjoyable. Not hesitate at all to jump back on the Jewel!!! Less

Published 05/23/12

Cabin review: MB11520 Mini-Suite with Balcony

Cabin 11520, and 11522 had the beginning of the gym above them, so early in the morning, sometimes at 6AM, you could hear a person running on the treadmill. Pound, pound, pound...

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Port and Shore Excursions

I went sportfishing (rating 5), my wife did a tour of the harbor (rating 5), and shopped. Were 6 of us on the boat, two of us caught a marlin. Both were 7 ft, 120 lbs. Catch and release, lot of fun, good group of folks, except for the US couple that were stick in the muds. Had a good time swapping fishing stories with John, the Aussie on the boat with me.

City Tour

Our guide, Ben Torres, gave us each tour stickers, which all said "Ben Torres", but he said he was the original. He took care of us, helping us with vendors and shopping. We started out at a fishing village, watching a man repairing a net and throwing it. I have one, they are not easy to do! Lots of military standing all over, watching. We next went to a beachfront restaurant with good local fare, and entertainment. Beer was good, $3. We then went to an emerald museum/store. That was interesting, and purchased some things. There is a 1st, 2nd, 3rd best price! Bargain for it, they like the game too!!

Disembarkation went very smoothly. Had a 12:54 United flight back to NYC, no problem making it.

On 1 May (Tues) we took a cab ($12) to the Bayside Mall, just to walk around a bit. Could not find Puerto Chiapas Mexico, below, so am writing about it here. Rating: 5++. We did the Banana Co-op and Rural Community. This is the BEST tour we have ever done. Drove about a hour, to a small town of 800, south of Tapachula (700K). First went to a primary school, with grades 1-6 plus a computer class. Went into two classrooms and met the kids, who were adorable, and smiling, glad to practice their English, and us our "Spanglish". We also gave school supplies to the teachers, and then watched a dance presentation. Then went to the local church, where the ladies gave us lunch. I ate mine, my wife's, and the Aussie across the tables lunches. Liked the fried Plantain chips. Then went to a Banana plantation, where Roger our guide (day job is an English teacher) and the manager explained the whole process. Was especially enjoyable for my wife, a retired teacher. Could not also find Huatulco below either, but that was mostly uneventful. Rating: 3. No bargaining here, no purchases as a result. Shops near the ship were not friendly, almost surly. Went to a cooking demo, then lunch inside in the a/c. Watched a chef cook outside, we all melted, as was hot as the devils oven, no fan, nothing.
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Culinary Tour

This was a fun tour, with Alejandro, our guide. Took a bus tour of the town, then went to Hacienda Dona Engracia, where we had a tequila tasting, then lunch, then great entertainment. My wife bought a beautiful leather pocketbook, for $70, which started out at $120.

City Tour

I did the zip line, my wife went touring with our friends.


Zipping was fun. All the guides were patient with our group, which varied in age and ability. a photo of me zipping cost $20. Longest line was 1028 ft. Very safe, folks. Perspired buckets, but they had water bottles for you along the way. We then had a nice local foods lunch, then a "zoo tour" with our knowledgeable guides all of which have degrees in bio,wildlife conservation, etc. Very eco-friendly place. Jonathan, our zipping guide, seemed like the man who was respected highly by all the other guides.

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