Norwegian Jewel - Western Mediterranean: Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by glp123123

Norwegian Jewel 2

Overall Member Rating

Norwegian Jewel - Western Mediterranean

Sail Date: September 2006
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
I recently took the twelve day trip from Barcelona to Istanbul. It was my first and last time on NCL. I will preface my experience by saying that the only other cruise I have taken was the transatlantic trip on the QE2 so perhaps I was spoiled. However the treatment from NCL from the start was shoddy. Arriving in Barcelona early, I wanted to tour the city for the day before going to the ship. I found NCL reps very easily at the airport and asked if they could take my bag to the ship.I called earlier about this arrangement and was told since I booked the ticket on an internet agency they could not take my bag. I figured this coud be fixed at the airport to no avail. I asked if they could charge my room to take the bag but was simply told no. It was ninety degrees in Barcelona that day. Being very well traveled I knew about the express bus to the center of town so lugging my bag onto the bus I was downtown within thirty minutes but I was already sweating pretty badly. I was lucky enough More to ask one of the many town tour guides standing in the Placa Catalonia about bag storage and they led me two blocks to their offices which had lockers. Needless to say I was teed off at this hostile welcome by NCL. They nickle and dime you during the whole time onboard but wouldn't charge me to take my bag. I will say that my room was very clean but turned out to be right next to the stairs and the elevators and was very noisy. Now I'm deaf in one ear so in most cases I can sleep through anything but the banging and running that pervaded the room was constant. It took multiple complaints and one final scene before NCL moved me. They kept saying they were fully booked but somehow found a room four days into the trip. Now about the ship. I can only describe it as a three star Vegas hotel with the crowd to match. The pool is surrounded by these plastic light trimmed palm trees and reggae band played so loudly every afternoon that you had to escape to either ends of the ship for some peace and quiet. The colors in the interior of the ship are garish and while I will say the boat is clean its still tacky tacky tacky. As reported by others I thought the food was awful and only heightened by the truly bad taste of the decorations. The Tsars Resturant is huge with these amateur portraits of russian nobility gazing at you. I can only say this ship is the Imperial Palace and not the Bellagio. I remember ordering a first course of Bruschetta and getting two pieces of toast about the size of a quarter with a tiny piece of tomato. I laughed out loud at the ridiculous portion size of everything. A big word of caution to anyone like me who is traveling alone. The freestyle dining is an awful prediciment for single travelers as you end up eating alone until you hopefully meet people who ask you to join them. The final straw occured when I made a reservation for the chinese resturant paying the extra fee for the honor. I was seated at a table by myself and was then ignored for a good ten minutes. I was looking at my watch saying I'd sit for another five minutes when ten members of the NCL staff entered the resturant, were seated a few feet away and there orders taken. I walked over to the highest ranking officer at the table, tapped him on the shoulder and asked, " I didn't realize that staff were served before paying customers!" Well this set off lots of alarms with all the staff and I left the resturant angry and hurt. I must say two days later the resturant called me and had me back for a complimentary dinner. My anger over all aspects of the ship was such that I had a final blowout at reception and gee an hour later I was told that another room had been found. Now being an expert traveller, I did not sign up for any shore excursions. I know my way around most of Europe and how to get places on my own but I caution those who are unfamiliar with where the train station or simply town is. NCL offers no assistance to those who need to know about shuttle buses to town or directions of any kind. If you haven't paid to get on the bus your on your own. Enjoy the free ice cream cone machine because its the only complimentary object onboard. I will again say the boat is clean and huge and the staff for the most part very friendly. If your looking for a new tacky Vegas hotel that floats this boat is for you and if you like meatloaf go for it. As for me, never, never again. Less

Published 10/20/06

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