I had cruised with NCL 2 times prior , on the SEA out of Houston , fabulous experiences, great service, so when I referred my friend for his 40th birthday a cruise on the Jewel I knew it would be great... was I shocked and so disappointed.
To begin with, the birthday room package i had paid weeks for in advance never was up in the stateroom until I tracked down the steward and asked him to please take care of it immediately, it was put up after we went to dinner later that night .
The 15% auto gratuity on drinks and waiters is beyond belief, 99% of the time we could not get drinks and had to go to the bar ourselves for service and yet still had to pay the 15%, the employees were more interested in conversation with each other to worry about the guests. We sat at the bar at the casino for almost 30 minutes one night , and gambling , and no one EVER came and asked for a drink order.
The reception desk and excursion desk are extremely rude , and the language barrier is beyond belief , we had the wrong colored luggage tags given to us 3 different times, we started just to point to menu choices instead of trying to ask for the food as the repeat back was usually incorrect.
We had been told excursions were sold out or nearly sold out and after booking received notice the morning of the excursion that the excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest ! Everyday seemed like going to work on this cruise the little forms and daily guide line inspections seemed like a ritual and we felt as though we spent 80% of our time complying with routine seemingly simple procedures that took up a lot of our vacation time. Going to this desk , or that desk for questions and answers , it was way too much work for a vacation .
The 2 formal restaurants were great on food presentation but again , not many smiles nor pleasantness, we felt many times as we were imposing . No extra towels in the staterooms when requested, day after day and yet we still paid the $10 per day gratuity , AND after the birthday package was delivered , it was nice with a nice cake, the room steward took it upon himself to remove the cake after just a day or two when there was almost 3/4 of it left , we had it covered up and setback not in the trash . I can go on for the whole 7 days of poor poor service and frustrations , and not even touch base on the ports of call and maybe 3 days of shopping the same diamond stores is just a bit much, and the classes offered in the fitness center were never published anywhere so we could be prepared and sign up before they were full, and being a previous cruiser I knew when and where to ask certain questions,or so I thought , but do you think my friends will ever cruise again, not sure but if they do it certainly not be NCL , and me I think I am doing some major cruise line shopping before I ever book again.