My husband and I (30s) traveled with my parents (50s) and our 14 month old daughter. We have been on six or seven cruises. This was our second NCL cruise and will be our LAST! We took the Dawn out of NYC in Sept/Oct 2004 and we loved it! ALOT has changed in 3 years. NCL has clearly cut costs and quality and it shows! This cruise was rather disappointing.
THE SHIP: We got some inside information from one of the crew members. When they built the Jewel, they eliminated many of the entertainment areas so that they could make more money with more staterooms and things like a bigger spa.
There are some obvious things that are missing from the Jewel that the Dawn had. The Dawn had a beautiful Grand Atrium with glass elevators. This has been replaced by a less than impressive, low ceiling reception area. The Dawn had an indoor pool that was eliminated in the Jewel. Many of the restaurants have been downsized. On the Jewel, they jammed three restaurants (Tango's/Tapas & Blue Lagoon) in an area where one used to be (Salsa). The Garden Cafe on the Jewel is half the size it was on the Dawn. On the Dawn the Garden Cafe was spacious taking up both the port and starboard side. On the Jewel, it is only on the starboard side. The pools are much smaller on the Jewel and it's nearly impossible to get a lounge chair by the pool whereas on the Dawn there was a whole platform of lounge chairs. Another poor design of the Jewel is that the basketball court is above a portion of the Garden Cafe, Mama's and the Great Outdoors so very often you felt like someone was stomping on your head.