My husband and myself just got home from the NCL Jewel (7.30.06). What a GREAT cruise!! This would be the 6th cruise for me (3rd for husband) and we both agree that this was the best cruise ever!!! We used NCL air. Direct flight from JFK (Delta) and since we arrived very early Sunday am NCL treated us to a free tour of Barcelona. Nice informative tour.
Embarkation: We boarded the ship approx 12:00. No waiting and was on within 5mins of arriving. TIP: You can but soda and water at duty free shops in the terminal! We ended up leaving port about 2 hours late due to late arriving passengers because of the recent strike at the airport. Our cabin was a obstructed view on 8th deck. It was no problem and would get an obstructed view again. Esp. on this type of port intensive cruise!
Food: We both found all meals to be good to excellent. We only tried 2 specialty restaurants Tapas and Teppanyaki. Both were good with good service. A note on free style restaurants. We felt that having to make reservations defeats the purpose of free style and ate mostly out of Tsars and buffet.
Entertainment: Excellent! All shows were good! My husband especially liked "Edge"!
Ports: We took private guides in each Italy port! All 4 guides were excellent and knowledgeable. Your days are very long but as long as you were prepared...no problems. Wear sturdy shoes ( Yes I wore white sneakers and never felt out of place). My husband wore a pants in Rome...although nobody was declined entry because of wearing shorts. He then wore shorts the rest of the trip!! Bring water and sun block!!! I could go on forever about each port so please feel contact me with any specific questions. In Villefrenche we decided to take it easy and walked around the port. It was very nice and relaxing day after a busy 4 days. If you have a chance make sure you check out the farmers market on top of hill! YOu can get a map and direction at the tourist desk on port!!
We stayed 2 days post cruise. We opted to book our own hotel. Hilton Diagonal Mar. Excellent hotel. It was a bit out of the way but 2 mins from the green line Bus Turistic (hop on/off). Great Mall across the street and 10 min walk to the beach. We took a train to Monserratt (sp) on 2nd day! Worth the trip. No problems with train and cheaper then taking a formal tour. A beautiful place. We used the hop on/off on both days (2 day pass) and found it a great way to see the city as long you are not in a rush to get around!
Return flight: NCL booked us on Air France with only a 50 min connection time at Paris!!! Very nervous about this but Air France had a rep meet us and ran us thru the airport and got us to our connection with mins to spare! Tip: Make sure you have a least 2.5 hours to check in Barcelona...airport very busy!!! We both found Air France to be very pleasant and would use them again!! Both airplanes much nicer then Delta!!!
I hope you find this review helpful and any questions feel free to contact me.