Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by MRANDMRSSKGORDON
- Sail Date: August 2012
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Balcony
Arrived in Seattle a day ahead. Didn't want to chance an airline gaffe. Morning of the cruise, walked from our hotel to Pike Place and had time to shop. Around noon we headed to the Pier. Embarkation was EASY. The lines were a little long to drop off baggage but it moved at a good pace. We were greeted repeatedly along the process by land and sea staff. Once onboard, we checked out our room. Was terrific! Just below and down 4 windows from the bridge. Headed to Garden Cafe to have a bite to eat. Watched the Navy families on the shore visiting their enlisted members while we had lunch. We also bought spa memberships the first day. This allowed us to go to the spa each day for the co-ed area to sit in the thermal pool and then lounge on the heated chairs while viewing the scenery from a bank of windows along the front of the ship. No kids allowed - and quiet rules. Also there is a poolside cookout the night the ships leaves Seattle. Burgers, steaks, chicken on large open grills. All the trimmings.
We never ate at a specialty restaurant. Didn't need to. Plenty of choices without them. We had laundry done 2x but waited for the cruise special. It was $24.99 for all we could cram into the bag. The magician is a great entertainer though his jokes might not resonate with younger viewers. But they were good and not offensive. The hypnotist was hysterical - you MUST go to the adult show. We also went to her session on weight loss for kicks. Managed to both be hypnotized with others in the audience. We took in a workshop on detoxing the body as well.
The ship was clean and in good repair. The staff NOTHING BUT HELPFUL. We loved our room steward "Maria" and our favorite waitress "Jenele" who works in Azura. We found both dining rooms to be nice. The view at Tzar's are better but Azura had a more comfy feel. Be sure to have your camera with you in the dining rooms because you might see something you want to photograph. One night a pod (?) of humpback whales passed us. It was just .. well.. incredible.
As is typical, drinks can add up. We aren't soda drinks just libations or tea or water. Water from the tap is fine to drink.
Rooms are tight but that's how it goes on a cruise. We had plenty of space for the 2 of us (closet, drawers, shelfs) but I don't think any more than 2 could be comfortable in the balcony room we had. I said before that I'd never use an inside cabin again. Well now I don't think I can ever go without a balcony again. Very nice to be able to stand or sit outside and feel the air. We did this frequently in our flannel pj's.
The absolutely only downer was our neighbors smoking on their balcony. Going through Glacier Bay it dampened our ability to sit outside and watch the scenery. Smoking is only allowed on balconies and I think on deck 7 outside midship. So NCL does about all it can to keep both smokers and non-smokers appeased.
Getting off the ship was easy. Figure out the time you want off the ship and then get the tags to go on your luggage. Then when its your time to leave, you get off the ship, grab your bags and get a cab. We chose the 8:30 slot since we had flights at 12:45. We didn't go with a group bus trip back to the airport. We just grabbed a taxi. Worked fine and was easy. We arrived at the airport well in advance of our flight. When we do this trip again, we'll probably book a flight that leaves late morning instead.
As I said, we want a do over. But it's not because we didn't enjoy it. It was the best time ever. We met a number of other couples on this cruise who had taken the same cruise a number of times. We get it now. It's so terrific, the ports have so much to offer, and the scenery changes from one area to another. Beats the Carib cruises where you see the same type of islands over and over... and drink rum that's a tad different but yet the same.
Favorite port? ALL. Probably it was bear watching at Ketchikan or Taku Lodge in Juneau. But that's only if we're forced to make a choice.
Pick this cruise... I can't imagine not being happy with it.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Float PlaneTaku Lodge. Absolutely incredible. Another smooth ride. Flying over the glacier from a few different angles made great ops. The meal here was very good. Salmon caught just down from the lodge and cooked over alder wood. Baked beans, reindeer sausage, fruit compote of apples, blueberries and cranberries, a streusel type dessert. The Russian tea was good and warmed us up. The story of the owners was captivating. A bear was under the gift shop but never came completely out. Just his nose and face peeked out from time to time.View All 66 Float Plane Reviews
Float PlaneFloat plane to Traders Bay in Tongass National Park. Smooth flight and very informative. Spectacular views. AJ was the naturalist we met. He was incredible. We watched about 10 bears feast on salmon and even had 2 cubs playing in a tree just feet from the viewing platform. Easy walk for anyone ambulatory. Take an extra camera or extra battery. Never have seen so much green before. Also learned tons about old growth forests.View All 42 Float Plane Reviews
Helicopter TourWe missed the notation in the literature that the ride is a mere 10 - 15 minutes long. It was nice but really not worth the $ - especially since we'd done the float plane. We were lucky that we were seated in the front 2 spots next to the pilot. We could see well out of the front bubble. But if you were in the middle in the back, it'd probably stink. Also, the flight is swift so photos are hard to do. Choppers were in good condition and the company itself - which is right by the ship - seems to be well run.View All 44 Helicopter Tour Reviews
LiarsvilleLiarsville was entertaining and educational. The meal was great - salmon grilled over spruce, baked beans, cornbread, blueberry cake, and I don't recall what else. But it good. The skit was hokey and the replica village a little tired looking. Panning for gold seemed silly at first but then we couldn't quit. Pans are seeded with golden flakes from Canada so be sure to look closely. We learned lots about the Klondike gold rush. We also learned again that many of the workers are there for the summer and then return to America's heartland (Oklahoma among other states) until summer returns.View All 34 Liarsville Reviews
Whale WatchingAnother spectacular experience as we learned about the 3 resident pods. We came upon J Pod once we were near San Juan island (?). The oldest orca is over 100 years old and called Granny though she became a great grandmother the week before we arrived. Saw many many whales though likely the same ones over and over. Saw 2 breeches - they're impossible to capture on film but I got a splash and one in the air. Plenty of time to stay in town but we headed back to the ship and shopped dockside before getting back on.View All 34 Whale Watching Reviews