This was my fifth cruise on NCL, my previous being on the Dawn. On my last cruise on the Dawn be had BA cabins on 10 deck at overlooking the stern of the ship, we booked the same cabin on the Jewel. A few weeks before the sailing we received an e-mail offering an up-grade to a suite. We decided to opt for this as it was a 9 night cruise with three sea days. What was not disclosed by the NCL sales person was that we had been sold a "Disabled Suite" and they had down graded their much publicized L'Occitane bathroom products to some obscure product line which fell well short of the excellence of L'Occitane's products. I will confine this review to the areas that specifically cover the suite experiences as other experiences are fully and well covered in other peoples reviews.
This is were the suite paid off big time. The private check-in lounge at Miami was a dream and totally stress free. Within minutes we were onboard and escorted to our suite.
We entered suite 9672 and were very impressed at the space, but shocked at the lack of decorating esthetic which would have been more appropriate on a Carnival Vessel. The big shock was, where was all the furniture? The suite was like a big vacant warehouse furnished with just two chairs, a miniscule table, a bed and a vanity stool. Where was the promised dining table and chairs so touted in the description, where was the sofa, so prominently featured in all the pictures ????..we were looking basically at an unfurnished suite, well suited to a disabled person in a motorized chair who needs space for maneuverability, but wholly unsuited for able bodied people and far removed from the much publicized description of the suite on NCL's own website. Despite all this, we were happy with the space, that is until the next day when we ordered room service breakfast and discovered that actually eating it became a major logistical nightmare. This is where Henry, our fabulous Butler, stepped in and arranged for a dining room table, two chairs, and a chair for the balcony deck. After this we loved the suite, however, one wonders what can the management of NCL be thinking when it sells a disabled suite to a non-disabled couple without notification and then fails to see it is furnished up to acceptable standards for people who do not require space to move motorized wheelchairs.
This is where the NCL suite concept really comes into play. We were blessed to have Henry who was unbelievably attentive. We ate almost all our breakfasts in the suite, and lunches when we returned to the ship too late to have lunch in one of the restaurants. He also set up evening parties with canapes. Henry was always cheerful, attentive and a delight and made the whole trip a stellar one. He is the reason I would seriously consider using a suite again
This position is just a huge waste of space, and needs serious attention in NCL. Ours Alexander was a bit like Paris Hilton, always smiling but a master of doing absolutely nothing if it involved any effort. Our observations on the lack of suite furniture and the need to see that it was appropriately furnished for non disabled guests was greeted with " Oh, we cannot possibly move furniture around based upon guests mobility". On another occasion the Internet Cafe was unmanned and as it was the final day of the cruise and people were online checking in, the Internet Cafe Manager had failed to see the printer was filled with paper before absenting himself. As the charge for service cost $0.75 a minute this omission was unacceptable. As Alexanders Office was next to the Cafe I went to him for a resolution of this problem. There were many really un-happy campers by this time in the Internet Cafe. Instead of removing paper from his printer ( what about the concept of guest service ? the appropriate action would have been to first fill the internet cafe printer from the paper in his own printer and refill his printer ) he went off to find some paper which was eventually produced. By this time most of us had run up sizeable bills for what was in essence NCL's Internet Cafe Manager's mistake !!!!. The other use of the concierge was to make restaurant reservations, which were correctly done, but honestly this does not require the creation of a separate position and secretary to do this. My advice to NCL is to look at what a professional Concierge does and train the people in that position accordingly, or save some money and eliminate the position
One of the suite benefits was the ability to use Cagney's as an exclusive suite guest restaurant for breakfast and lunch. We took full advantage of this and loved the calm and serenity of this benefit. Full marks to NCL for this concept
A complete disaster, but this was not under the control of NCL, so they are forgiven. Got off the ship 90 minutes after the scheduled time and only just made it to Miami Airport in time for the Flight
A fantastic trip, NCL just keeps getting better and better with each trip with fantastic attention to detail. Their ship the Jewel was spotless, their staff incredible, always smiling and helpful wanting to please. NCL really tries to keep all its passengers healthy with constant hand disinfection. Would I get a suite again ? Definitely but stay clear of the disabled ones.
High Point - Henry the Butler Low Point - Alexander the Concierge.
Hope this review helps all of you thinking of getting a suite.