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We are a married couple who have been on 15 previous cruises the seven last years, and this was our 3rd cruise with NCL. We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, and we have never had a smoother and faster embarkation than on this ship. Upon arriving at the port, embarkation took only about 30 minutes until we were on the ship. It was also the best disembarkation ever, no hustle at all to leave your cabin at a fixed time, and no problem having room service breakfast, and it was also delivered on the requested time. Luckily we did not trust the warning given on board during the cruise, that it would only be a limited number of taxis available at the port with arrival, and that we therefore were advised to buy shuttle bus tickets to Barcelona Airport. From our color tag was announced about 8 am for disembarkation of the ship, and afterwards picking up our luggage at the terminal, the whole process took only about 35 minutes from we left our stateroom on deck nine, to we said goodbye to our taxidriver at Terminal B at the Airport. When disembarkation from Voyager of the Seas this May, also from Barcelona, we bought a shuttle bus transfer on board to the airport. This was with much more hustle than picking up a taxi on our own. Much faster was it also to take a taxi. Norwegian Jewel is a very nice ship. Our balcony cabin was nice and clean, and it was very well taken care of by our two nice cabin attendants from the Philippines. Comments about some of the restaurants and cafes on board: The Garden Cafe on the Jewel is redesigned compared to the Garden Cafes on board the NCL ship's Dawn and Star. On the last mentioned two ships, we found the Garden Cafes to be a very canteen look a like. On the Jewel it is placed separate food stations for different menu selections on the floor, which is a great improvement. We are however not a great fan of the Garden Cafe, it is still noisy and crowded. On the other hand we really loved the Ship's Great Outdoor Cafe. Coming from a place with long winters, we mostly loved to sit out in the open to eat lunch and breakfast. Fortunately the weather was warm and sunny during our whole cruise. The buffet menu at the Great Outdoors was limited, but it was easy to pick up more menu selections on the nearby Garden Cafe. We found the quality of the buffet food to be quite alright and with a lot of selections - not outstanding in the gourmet sense - but acceptable nonetheless. With the the exception of two, we had all our other dinners in one of the two the main restaurants, Tsar's Palace. There are two main restaurants on board with waiter service - Tsar's Palace and Azura (same menu). On this cruise we were unfortunately very disappointed with the menu selections for the main courses for dinner at Tsar's Palace and Azura. The choices were limited, and for instance if you are a fan of fish- and seafood, we only found for two days during the cruise that they had a seafood-/fish dish on the menu. The limited dishes offered was however mostly tasteful and with a nice presentation. The reason for the limited menu selections is of course that NCL wish to push their passengers to use the cover charge restaurants. We had two dinners in the cover charge restaurant Le Bistro. We find the food to be of a high quality and with a nice presentation. However, we were disappointed that they no longer had Filet Mignon on the standard cover charge menu to $15. Instead they could now offer a Chateaubriand on the special menu, for $10 in addition to the cover charge of $15. Strange enough, we also found the waiters in Le Bistro to be a bit more in a hurry, than we for instance experienced in Tsar's Palace. Except for one waiter, we were very satisfied with the waiter service in Tsar's Palace, both for dinner and breakfast. We were also very satisfied with the service from the wine stewards (yes, they have wine stewards in Tsar's Palace). The head waiters in Tsar's Palace were also attentive. Compared to the Dawn and Star, Jewel's Italian Restaurant is no longer a part of the Garden Cafe, but has its own interior, except for a few table at the Great Outdoors (not everyone was happy with the last point). A nice touch, we had no trouble at all getting a table for two for all our meals, not in anyone of the restaurants we visited on board. Some comments about the pools and the Jacuzzi on Pool deck: After our opinion, the Jewel has a lot of offers to kids concerning water activities, and though we are not travelling with children, we support that. There is a little kid's pool, with a Jacuzzis for the parents/parents with children. The children's/ youngsters pool are at the same size as the only adults pool. In addition they have two jacuzzier and also a waterslide, besides the pool. Nearby the children's/youngsters pool is the adult's only pool. Unfortunately, still with all this offers for water activities, the children's/youngsters are also using the adult's only Pool, and the two Jacuzzis for adults. We were very disappointed with that, and there were only a few times that the Pool/Deck staff prevented other than adults to use the Pool/Jacuzzis. We have seen much better Pool/Deck staff on other cruise lines. This is a huge lack of supervision/management. We think NCL does a good job with bands playing on Pool deck. However, we think the bands should rotate more. Most of the time there was a reggae band playing, and after a few days we had preferred another repertoire. This was a cruise in the Med. and not in the Caribbean! The itinerary: We are very found of the itinerary in the Western Mediterranean. We have only one complaint, it was all to short a stay in Villefranche on the Côte d'Azur. The last tender was already leaving Villefranche at 2.15 pm. The entertainment: We found most of the entertainment on board to be of a good quality. Conclusion: We really like the freestyle cruising concept, and we also find most of the crew to be very service minded. But as you will understand reading this review, my wife and myself find both positive and negative thinks on our cruise with the Norwegian Jewel in the beginning of August.

Norwegian Jewel - Western Mediterranean

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Cruisefrelste

Trip Details
We are a married couple who have been on 15 previous cruises the seven last years, and this was our 3rd cruise with NCL.
We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, and we have never had a smoother and faster embarkation than on this ship. Upon arriving at the port, embarkation took only about 30 minutes until we were on the ship. It was also the best disembarkation ever, no hustle at all to leave your cabin at a fixed time, and no problem having room service breakfast, and it was also delivered on the requested time.
Luckily we did not trust the warning given on board during the cruise, that it would only be a limited number of taxis available at the port with arrival, and that we therefore were advised to buy shuttle bus tickets to Barcelona Airport. From our color tag was announced about 8 am for disembarkation of the ship, and afterwards picking up our luggage at the terminal, the whole process took only about 35 minutes from we left our stateroom on deck nine, to we said goodbye to our taxidriver at Terminal B at the Airport.
When disembarkation from Voyager of the Seas this May, also from Barcelona, we bought a shuttle bus transfer on board to the airport. This was with much more hustle than picking up a taxi on our own. Much faster was it also to take a taxi.
Norwegian Jewel is a very nice ship.
Our balcony cabin was nice and clean, and it was very well taken care of by our two nice cabin attendants from the Philippines.
Comments about some of the restaurants and cafes on board: The Garden Cafe on the Jewel is redesigned compared to the Garden Cafes on board the NCL ship's Dawn and Star. On the last mentioned two ships, we found the Garden Cafes to be a very canteen look a like. On the Jewel it is placed separate food stations for different menu selections on the floor, which is a great improvement. We are however not a great fan of the Garden Cafe, it is still noisy and crowded.
On the other hand we really loved the Ship's Great Outdoor Cafe. Coming from a place with long winters, we mostly loved to sit out in the open to eat lunch and breakfast. Fortunately the weather was warm and sunny during our whole cruise.
The buffet menu at the Great Outdoors was limited, but it was easy to pick up more menu selections on the nearby Garden Cafe.
We found the quality of the buffet food to be quite alright and with a lot of selections - not outstanding in the gourmet sense - but acceptable nonetheless.
With the the exception of two, we had all our other dinners in one of the two the main restaurants, Tsar's Palace. There are two main restaurants on board with waiter service - Tsar's Palace and Azura (same menu).
On this cruise we were unfortunately very disappointed with the menu selections for the main courses for dinner at Tsar's Palace and Azura. The choices were limited, and for instance if you are a fan of fish- and seafood, we only found for two days during the cruise that they had a seafood-/fish dish on the menu. The limited dishes offered was however mostly tasteful and with a nice presentation.
The reason for the limited menu selections is of course that NCL wish to push their passengers to use the cover charge restaurants.
We had two dinners in the cover charge restaurant Le Bistro. We find the food to be of a high quality and with a nice presentation. However, we were disappointed that they no longer had Filet Mignon on the standard cover charge menu to $15. Instead they could now offer a Chateaubriand on the special menu, for $10 in addition to the cover charge of $15.
Strange enough, we also found the waiters in Le Bistro to be a bit more in a hurry, than we for instance experienced in Tsar's Palace.
Except for one waiter, we were very satisfied with the waiter service in Tsar's Palace, both for dinner and breakfast. We were also very satisfied with the service from the wine stewards (yes, they have wine stewards in Tsar's Palace). The head waiters in Tsar's Palace were also attentive.
Compared to the Dawn and Star, Jewel's Italian Restaurant is no longer a part of the Garden Cafe, but has its own interior, except for a few table at the Great Outdoors (not everyone was happy with the last point). A nice touch, we had no trouble at all getting a table for two for all our meals, not in anyone of the restaurants we visited on board. Some comments about the pools and the Jacuzzi on Pool deck: After our opinion, the Jewel has a lot of offers to kids concerning water activities, and though we are not travelling with children, we support that. There is a little kid's pool, with a Jacuzzis for the parents/parents with children. The children's/ youngsters pool are at the same size as the only adults pool. In addition they have two jacuzzier and also a waterslide, besides the pool. Nearby the children's/youngsters pool is the adult's only pool. Unfortunately, still with all this offers for water activities, the children's/youngsters are also using the adult's only Pool, and the two Jacuzzis for adults. We were very disappointed with that, and there were only a few times that the Pool/Deck staff prevented other than adults to use the Pool/Jacuzzis. We have seen much better Pool/Deck staff on other cruise lines. This is a huge lack of supervision/management.
We think NCL does a good job with bands playing on Pool deck. However, we think the bands should rotate more. Most of the time there was a reggae band playing, and after a few days we had preferred another repertoire. This was a cruise in the Med. and not in the Caribbean!
The itinerary: We are very found of the itinerary in the Western Mediterranean. We have only one complaint, it was all to short a stay in Villefranche on the Côte d'Azur. The last tender was already leaving Villefranche at 2.15 pm. The entertainment: We found most of the entertainment on board to be of a good quality.
Conclusion: We really like the freestyle cruising concept, and we also find most of the crew to be very service minded. But as you will understand reading this review, my wife and myself find both positive and negative thinks on our cruise with the Norwegian Jewel in the beginning of August.
Cruisefrelste’s Full Rating Summary
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