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As a loyal Princess customer I was somewhat excited to see how different the Norwegian Jewel would be. I was very excited based on the reviews posted here and was looking forward to seeing Italy with my husband and friends for the first time. Unfortunately, I will remain a loyal Princess customer as the experience on this ship was quite disappointing for the amount of money we spent. The ship itself is quite nice with lots of theme rooms and very colorful all around. We had booked into a mini-suite with a balcony and the balcony size was excellent and the room not too bad- though not that much bigger than an interior room on Princess! Embarkation was a breeze so we were excited thinking the service would be great. This was where the great service stopped. In the restaurants (including the cover charge ones) we found that they were extremely inflexible and simply asking for another basket of bread at dinner was met with rolling eyes. Trying to get a waitperson to get you a drink while in the general Garden Cafe (it was a buffet) was very difficult- even though they were standing at their station leaning against the counter. We were charged for laundry that we never sent out for and by the time we had to leave the ship, they still had not credited us back. We often felt that as long as we were spending money, they were great but the minute you wanted to use a coupon (sent by the cruiseline) the answer was, "let me look into this", "we don't honor those here", or "it's out of our hands- accounting makes the final call". It was quite a departure from Princess where their service was all about making you happy and not having you waste your time fighting over $10! At any rate, i will say some positive things about the boat. If you are going to go and enjoy quality food then you will need to book at the cover charge restaurants. The main dining room was just average. Le Bistro was the best meal we had on the cruise- service, atmosphere, selection and quality were all there. Next would be Cagney's- a steakhouse with great window seats and great food. Finally, you have to try Teppanyaki's- it is a Japanese steakhouse style where they cook in front of you. The food is fresh, the atmosphere is fun and the chefs are great! The ports of call were excellent and wanting to err on the side of caution decided to bite the bullet and purchase bus tickets for "Rome on Your Own" and "Florence on Your Own" so that we would not have to worry about traffic and getting back to the ship in time. In both of these locations we then got the double decker bus tours which ranged from 12 to 20 Euros for the day once we arrived in the city. This was by far an excellent thing to do as it allowed you freedom throughout the day to see what you wanted. The great thing about taking the "on you own..." options was that there was always a guide on the bus who handed out great maps of the city and locations of interest. They were extremely knowledgeable and basically spoke the whole way in from the port so that you were well versed in what to do and what not to do. In Naples, my husband and i did the half day Pompeii tour and again, we had an excellent tour guide and it was just enough time to see alot of Pompeii. Our friends took the "highlights of Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii" and were not nearly as happy as us- they spent 2 hours in traffic and had very little time to actually experience each of the places they went. Finally, in Villefranche, you really don't need to purchase any tour as a train is right there when you tender in and it's only a 7 minute ride into Nice! Sicily was phenomenal and I would recommend anything that gets you into Taormina for the day- it's absolutely beautiful! Because my husband spoke Italian, we bargained with a few taxi drivers to take us in from the port and ended up with a fantastic guy named Giovanni- we will never forget him as he made our first port so memorable. If you choose this option, expect to pay 90 euros each way- that was for 4 people in the car. If you plan to stay in Barcelona and want to see the city i would highly recommend Hotel Jazz. I had checked Trip Advisor and there wasn't one bad review- now i can see why. The price was reasonable, the room clean and modern, the service friendly and excellent and they have a pool on the roof that overlooks the city. A great find. If, however, you are looking to relax and don't care about the city then you MUST go to Gava Mar. Gava Mar is 7 minutes west of the airport and the hotel we booked is geared towards executives. It is directly on the beach yet has grounds all around and the most beautiful pool. Every room has french doors that open onto the Mediterranean and it's very modern and clean. It was a complete surprise for us right down to them having a car waiting at 4:30am to take us to the airport. The hotel is called AC Gava Mar and is excellent. So I think I've said it all- though not the best service, Norwegian had the best itinerary so we're glad we went. We won't, however, book with Norwegian again.

Norwegian Jewel - Western Mediterranean

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Jennifer Morra

Trip Details
As a loyal Princess customer I was somewhat excited to see how different the Norwegian Jewel would be. I was very excited based on the reviews posted here and was looking forward to seeing Italy with my husband and friends for the first time. Unfortunately, I will remain a loyal Princess customer as the experience on this ship was quite disappointing for the amount of money we spent. The ship itself is quite nice with lots of theme rooms and very colorful all around. We had booked into a mini-suite with a balcony and the balcony size was excellent and the room not too bad- though not that much bigger than an interior room on Princess! Embarkation was a breeze so we were excited thinking the service would be great. This was where the great service stopped. In the restaurants (including the cover charge ones) we found that they were extremely inflexible and simply asking for another basket of bread at dinner was met with rolling eyes. Trying to get a waitperson to get you a drink while in the general Garden Cafe (it was a buffet) was very difficult- even though they were standing at their station leaning against the counter. We were charged for laundry that we never sent out for and by the time we had to leave the ship, they still had not credited us back. We often felt that as long as we were spending money, they were great but the minute you wanted to use a coupon (sent by the cruiseline) the answer was, "let me look into this", "we don't honor those here", or "it's out of our hands- accounting makes the final call". It was quite a departure from Princess where their service was all about making you happy and not having you waste your time fighting over $10! At any rate, i will say some positive things about the boat. If you are going to go and enjoy quality food then you will need to book at the cover charge restaurants. The main dining room was just average. Le Bistro was the best meal we had on the cruise- service, atmosphere, selection and quality were all there. Next would be Cagney's- a steakhouse with great window seats and great food. Finally, you have to try Teppanyaki's- it is a Japanese steakhouse style where they cook in front of you. The food is fresh, the atmosphere is fun and the chefs are great! The ports of call were excellent and wanting to err on the side of caution decided to bite the bullet and purchase bus tickets for "Rome on Your Own" and "Florence on Your Own" so that we would not have to worry about traffic and getting back to the ship in time. In both of these locations we then got the double decker bus tours which ranged from 12 to 20 Euros for the day once we arrived in the city. This was by far an excellent thing to do as it allowed you freedom throughout the day to see what you wanted. The great thing about taking the "on you own..." options was that there was always a guide on the bus who handed out great maps of the city and locations of interest. They were extremely knowledgeable and basically spoke the whole way in from the port so that you were well versed in what to do and what not to do. In Naples, my husband and i did the half day Pompeii tour and again, we had an excellent tour guide and it was just enough time to see alot of Pompeii. Our friends took the "highlights of Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii" and were not nearly as happy as us- they spent 2 hours in traffic and had very little time to actually experience each of the places they went. Finally, in Villefranche, you really don't need to purchase any tour as a train is right there when you tender in and it's only a 7 minute ride into Nice! Sicily was phenomenal and I would recommend anything that gets you into Taormina for the day- it's absolutely beautiful! Because my husband spoke Italian, we bargained with a few taxi drivers to take us in from the port and ended up with a fantastic guy named Giovanni- we will never forget him as he made our first port so memorable. If you choose this option, expect to pay 90 euros each way- that was for 4 people in the car. If you plan to stay in Barcelona and want to see the city i would highly recommend Hotel Jazz. I had checked Trip Advisor and there wasn't one bad review- now i can see why. The price was reasonable, the room clean and modern, the service friendly and excellent and they have a pool on the roof that overlooks the city. A great find. If, however, you are looking to relax and don't care about the city then you MUST go to Gava Mar. Gava Mar is 7 minutes west of the airport and the hotel we booked is geared towards executives. It is directly on the beach yet has grounds all around and the most beautiful pool. Every room has french doors that open onto the Mediterranean and it's very modern and clean. It was a complete surprise for us right down to them having a car waiting at 4:30am to take us to the airport. The hotel is called AC Gava Mar and is excellent. So I think I've said it all- though not the best service, Norwegian had the best itinerary so we're glad we went. We won't, however, book with Norwegian again.
Jennifer Morra’s Full Rating Summary
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