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Just returned from a wonderful 7-day Western Med. cruise on the NCL Jewel. July 13-22, 2007. We are a family of 5. Parents ages late 40's with 3 teens, 2 girls 17 and 15, boy 12y.o. We chose the Jewel because of cost and itinerary. We had never been to Europe and this was a great way for us to see so many places and not have to drag 3 kids thru tiny hotels in Italy. Barcelona was place on embarkation. We arrived 1 day prior to allow adjustment to the time change. We stayed at the Hotel Majestic which gave us 2 rooms (not adjoining) but was a perfect location and place for us to see Barcelona. We visited the Rambla, Bari Gotic, Gaudi houses before boarding the cruise on Sunday. Embarkation to the Jewel was easy. We arrived to the port around 2 pm and had to wait about 15 min to get our cabin keys and check in. We explored the cabin and had lunch at the Garden Cafe (my son and husband wanted "real food" as Barcelona is a real seafood place!) Then we went to our cabins and were greeted by 2 wonderful stewards (Mario and Indra) from the Philippines. Our luggage was there. We had 2 adjoining minisuites with a huge adjoining balcony, lots of closet and drawer space. My 3 teens were a little cramped with all their stuff so we were very glad we took the upgrade offered to us from the BA to AF balcony cabins. It was definitely worth the price. The bathtub/ BR was very spacious. The rooms were kept spotless. Every morning we had room service bring coffee and muffins early for us so the kids could sleep in a little. On the first day everything was open with their staff so you can book things and get to know what's available, e.g. the spa, workout room, kids clubs, etc. The spa pedicures and massages book up fast! Dining: Somehow despite reading this board just about every day for 2 mos. I still didn't get the "Freestyle". Somehow we messed up on getting this down until 2 days into the cruise. Here is what you need to know. There are 2 restaurants that have open seating daily, no surcharge, no reservations -Azure and Tsars. We liked Tsars better for atmosphere but the menus in both restaurants are the same on a given day but change daily. The new menus are posted daily, not in advance so it makes it hard to choose what days you want to eat there. We liked the Mon. and Thurs. menus for us. Tangos also is no surcharge, no reservation and the food is Mexican and very good. Tangos is the central reservation area also for the speciality restaurants. If you want to eat at Cagneys, LeBistro, ChinChin or Teppanyaki (surcharge) you must have reservations. For Mama's (no surcharge) you must have reservations too. We didn't realize this because there are boards posted that say which restaurants have seating, and wait times. So we wanted to eat at Mama's, which said "no waiting" on the board to find out that they were booked up for 2 nights. We were disappointed so we went to Tsars didn't care for the menu that night (Wed.) so the person at Tsars called up to ChinChins and arranged for us to eat there even though they were booked up. We were very happy that the NCL dining staff tried very hard to please us. You can make reservations 2 days in advance by phone or at Tango's. We liked all the restaurants. Each had their own personality. Our least favorite was Azure because it is too close to the Cigar Bar (Yucky smells in the hall) and it was dark and modern. Tsars is nicer and the water views were better. Chin Chins was my favorite but you should try them all. As for the other areas, the shows were fun. We loved Second City Comedy and there were 2 shows most nights so we went to the 9:30 shows. My teens went to some of the teen activities and thought they were kind of silly but I don't think my kids are the best of judge. They like to hang together anyway. The pools were pretty to look at but with the Temp. in Italy being over 90 each day the pool water was very warm, salty and not refreshing. Only my husband and 15 y.o. enjoyed them. The adult pool only pool often had kids in it and there was no supervision to keep the kids from jumping and splashing. The smokers were also not abiding by the rules and smoked around the pool although there is a designated area for them. Unfortunately, the NCL pool staff didn't enforce this which makes it very unpleasant for the non smokers. Disembarkation was very easy for us. We chose our own carry off so we could leave anytime before 10 a.m. We could have easily made a 10 a.m. flight home but being worried about it, we had arranged a night stay in Barcelona and left monday 10 a.m instead. Shore excursions were varied for us by port. We had arranged some private and some ship and some on our own. We are used to a fast pace so having to wait for the stragglers to board the bus was annoying (we had to wait 45 mins one day) and felt we saw so much more for less money on our private tour in Rome. The shore excursions we picked were Messina - "Taoromina and the Beach", loved Taoromina, the beach was nice, the kids enjoyed swimming in the Med., Naples- did Capri on our own. Rome with private driver, private Vatican guide- fantastic day, made it back to the ship over 1 hour before the tour buses and saw so much more. Florence- did "A Taste of Florence", museum walking tour of the outside, lunch on our own, shopping exploring on our own in the afternoon, Cannes-"St. Paul de Vence", ships tour tendered us in. Very easy and quick, loved St. Paul, great town, shopping was my favorite there, with over 1 hour to walk around Cannes before tendering back to ship. Overall, beautiful ship. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Would definitely recommend it. Have fun.

Norwegian Jewel - Western Mediterranean

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by cmel

Trip Details
Just returned from a wonderful 7-day Western Med. cruise on the NCL Jewel. July 13-22, 2007. We are a family of 5. Parents ages late 40's with 3 teens, 2 girls 17 and 15, boy 12y.o. We chose the Jewel because of cost and itinerary. We had never been to Europe and this was a great way for us to see so many places and not have to drag 3 kids thru tiny hotels in Italy.
Barcelona was place on embarkation. We arrived 1 day prior to allow adjustment to the time change. We stayed at the Hotel Majestic which gave us 2 rooms (not adjoining) but was a perfect location and place for us to see Barcelona. We visited the Rambla, Bari Gotic, Gaudi houses before boarding the cruise on Sunday.
Embarkation to the Jewel was easy. We arrived to the port around 2 pm and had to wait about 15 min to get our cabin keys and check in. We explored the cabin and had lunch at the Garden Cafe (my son and husband wanted "real food" as Barcelona is a real seafood place!) Then we went to our cabins and were greeted by 2 wonderful stewards (Mario and Indra) from the Philippines. Our luggage was there. We had 2 adjoining minisuites with a huge adjoining balcony, lots of closet and drawer space. My 3 teens were a little cramped with all their stuff so we were very glad we took the upgrade offered to us from the BA to AF balcony cabins. It was definitely worth the price. The bathtub/ BR was very spacious. The rooms were kept spotless. Every morning we had room service bring coffee and muffins early for us so the kids could sleep in a little. On the first day everything was open with their staff so you can book things and get to know what's available, e.g. the spa, workout room, kids clubs, etc. The spa pedicures and massages book up fast!
Dining: Somehow despite reading this board just about every day for 2 mos. I still didn't get the "Freestyle". Somehow we messed up on getting this down until 2 days into the cruise. Here is what you need to know. There are 2 restaurants that have open seating daily, no surcharge, no reservations -Azure and Tsars. We liked Tsars better for atmosphere but the menus in both restaurants are the same on a given day but change daily. The new menus are posted daily, not in advance so it makes it hard to choose what days you want to eat there. We liked the Mon. and Thurs. menus for us. Tangos also is no surcharge, no reservation and the food is Mexican and very good. Tangos is the central reservation area also for the speciality restaurants. If you want to eat at Cagneys, LeBistro, ChinChin or Teppanyaki (surcharge) you must have reservations. For Mama's (no surcharge) you must have reservations too. We didn't realize this because there are boards posted that say which restaurants have seating, and wait times. So we wanted to eat at Mama's, which said "no waiting" on the board to find out that they were booked up for 2 nights. We were disappointed so we went to Tsars didn't care for the menu that night (Wed.) so the person at Tsars called up to ChinChins and arranged for us to eat there even though they were booked up. We were very happy that the NCL dining staff tried very hard to please us. You can make reservations 2 days in advance by phone or at Tango's. We liked all the restaurants. Each had their own personality. Our least favorite was Azure because it is too close to the Cigar Bar (Yucky smells in the hall) and it was dark and modern. Tsars is nicer and the water views were better. Chin Chins was my favorite but you should try them all.
As for the other areas, the shows were fun. We loved Second City Comedy and there were 2 shows most nights so we went to the 9:30 shows. My teens went to some of the teen activities and thought they were kind of silly but I don't think my kids are the best of judge. They like to hang together anyway. The pools were pretty to look at but with the Temp. in Italy being over 90 each day the pool water was very warm, salty and not refreshing. Only my husband and 15 y.o. enjoyed them. The adult pool only pool often had kids in it and there was no supervision to keep the kids from jumping and splashing. The smokers were also not abiding by the rules and smoked around the pool although there is a designated area for them. Unfortunately, the NCL pool staff didn't enforce this which makes it very unpleasant for the non smokers.
Disembarkation was very easy for us. We chose our own carry off so we could leave anytime before 10 a.m. We could have easily made a 10 a.m. flight home but being worried about it, we had arranged a night stay in Barcelona and left monday 10 a.m instead.
Shore excursions were varied for us by port. We had arranged some private and some ship and some on our own. We are used to a fast pace so having to wait for the stragglers to board the bus was annoying (we had to wait 45 mins one day) and felt we saw so much more for less money on our private tour in Rome. The shore excursions we picked were Messina - "Taoromina and the Beach", loved Taoromina, the beach was nice, the kids enjoyed swimming in the Med., Naples- did Capri on our own. Rome with private driver, private Vatican guide- fantastic day, made it back to the ship over 1 hour before the tour buses and saw so much more. Florence- did "A Taste of Florence", museum walking tour of the outside, lunch on our own, shopping exploring on our own in the afternoon, Cannes-"St. Paul de Vence", ships tour tendered us in. Very easy and quick, loved St. Paul, great town, shopping was my favorite there, with over 1 hour to walk around Cannes before tendering back to ship.
Overall, beautiful ship. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Would definitely recommend it. Have fun.
cmel’s Full Rating Summary
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