Since this was our first cruise with NCL (we've done 3 others on another line), I read the reviews here before we left. When I saw several that said the crew wasn't as friendly or helpful as on other ships, I thought "surely not", but I'm sorry to report that that was our experience also. Not every crew member, of course. Our cabin stewards were great and we did occasionally meet someone who was cheerful and eager to help, but mostly the crew seemed depressed. No one was rude to us, but no one seemed to have much energy. The service (and food) in the main two dining rooms was terrible, so much so that we finally started eating at the buffet on deck, even though we would have preferred the dining rooms.
The food was another area of disappointment. On our other cruises, the food was GREAT. Dangerously so. On the Jewel, the food on the buffet was good (but not great) and the food in the dining rooms was poor (at best). The menu in the dining rooms would sound great but the actual food just didn't seem very professionally prepared.
But all in all, we enjoyed the cruise. It was nice to get to a warm climate in the middle of January. The ship is nice and NCL didn't seem to be selling constantly like, say, Carnival does. And although the ship was full, it didn't seem as crowded as our Carnival cruises, but that might have been because this seemed to be mostly an older crowd. Oh, and getting on and off the ship was about as easy as it gets. (By the way, this was out of Houston, sailing to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize in January).
This was our first inside cabin and we thought it would be claustrophobic but it wasn't. It's the same size as the other cabins and the only real negative was that we couldn't tell if it was light or dark outside (or rainy or sunny). We've had both balconies and windows on other cruises. Balconies are great; windows are okay. Balconies get used, but believe me, you're not going to spend any time sitting on your bed looking out the window (if you can even see out the window without standing up). So from now on it's either a balcony or an inside cabin.