A little background information; This was our 15th. cruise, 5th with NCL, 3rd on the Jewel. I sailed with my partner & we are in our 30's, from the UK.
We flew in on the day of the cruise as it was only a 2hr flight. We arrived at Barcelona airport at 10am & after retrieving luggage & taking a taxi (28 euros) we arrived at the cruise terminal. There were no lines at all, so we registered our credit card & handed over our cruise ticket & was told we would be allowed to board at 11.30am. Embarkation, easiest & quickest ever, we were in our cabin at 11.30am.
The Cabin: An inside cabin that did seem small, but had enough drawers, hangers & wardrobe space to put everything. No need to bring your hairdryer as the one provided is near professional. Having the bed made up as a double does make the room smaller as you lose the walk up the middle you have if they are set up as singles. The pillows were hard & I did ask for feather ones. I got one, so my partner & I had to share. I do like NCL's bathrooms, although still obviously quite small, well set out & the shower with a sliding door is excellent. My 6ft 4" partner did not get on very well with the toilet placed at an angle though. We did decide that this would be our last inside cabin though, as basically because you have no natural daylight you could sleep all day & night & we did on a couple of occasions!
The Ship: To me she is still very new looking & apart from a few stains on carpets here & there there was nothing to tell us otherwise. I love all the colors on The Jewel, I do not find them distasteful at all, as other reviewers have noted, only rich & interesting to the eye. I love the Fyzz Lounge where everything appears as bubbles, even the chairs. The Theatre is sophisticated with expensive wallpaper & dragonfly printed carpets to the entrance. Very good sight lines, although not as good from the balconies. I do miss a little drinks table though. The Spinnaker Lounge was my favorite lounge & we spent most nights there after whatever theatre show we had seen.
The Food: I would say good to very good. We personally preferred the Azura Restaurant over the Tsars (regular restaurants), as it was more intimate & cosy. We received better service there also. We went to the Mexican Restaurant (no charge), this was very good, portions are big so beware. We also went to Cagneys & Chin Chin, which were both very good. These were both pay restaurants, but we took advantage of the daily happy hour 2 for 1 offer between 5.30 & 6.30pm. this was available at all the pay restaurants apart from Teppanyaki, Mongolian Hotpots & Sushi. Also excluded were Cagneys specials (ie. surf & turf) & Le Bistro tasting menu, although there are plenty of other choices on the menu, so do not let this put you off. This offer is available every day. I would suggest booking, whichever restaurant you want to eat in, even if you book on the same day, as there were queues on the days we did not book. Although the maximum we had to wait was 20 mins.
The entertainment: In a word, excellent! The Cruise Director was John Ibrahim & was a very personable guy who was in that many places I thought there was at least 2 of him. His favorite word was, smashing! During the week we had 2 shows by the Jean Ann Ryan company, Band on the Run & Cirque Bijou. Both excellent, although I preferred Band on the Run. Very upbeat, great costumes & the cast looked like they loved performing it. They have some very talented dancers/singers. We also had a singer, Daniel Bouchet who I thought looked like a young Eulio Inglesius & certainly had the Spanish ladies swooning, as he sang in Spanish & English. Magician Shaun Farqhuar, very good & I normally do not like magicians & The Edge who basically was a juggler although he was not billed as this. He was very very funny & kept picking on people who came in late to the show. Also there was the Second City, who I personally did not think were as good as I have seen previously on the Jewel, I did not think one of the ladies was very good at improv at all, but again I still enjoyed there act. All this together with various musicians & bands etc around the ship meant that we were spoilt for choice, excellent!
Staff: All staff without exception were very friendly, helpful & attentive & our cabin stewards Leah & Chris looked after us well.
Fellow Cruisers: This cruise I think was full & there were lots of children. We were not used to this as we do not normally cruise at this time of year, but to say how many there were I do think they were quite well behaved. They did sneak into the adult only pool, but I did see a deck steward asking them to get out. There were quite a few nationalities on this cruise & many from Spain, so to accommodate them announcements & entertainment introductions were said in English & Spanish, which is only right, but again something we are not used to with NCL.
Debarkation: We did the express debarkation as we had an early fly & just kept our luggage with us & walked straight off at 6.30am. No queues, no problem.
So to summarize, this was a fabulous cruise on a great ship with wonderful entertainment & very good food. We will definitely cruise with NCL again.