Norwegian Jewel Review

Perfect Place to Relax and Have a Little Adventure

Review for the Panama Canal & Central America Cruise on Norwegian Jewel
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Tw in OR
First Time Cruiser • Age 50s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Apr 2015
Cabin: Family Oceanview Picture Window

This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation!

The Jewel is a bit older, and seems geared to an older crowd. We chose a cruise that was after school spring breaks and of a length that most working adults could not get away: hence, it was nearly all retired people. While we are younger, that pace was ideal for us. We don't drink or gamble or need spectacular shows to keep us entertained: spending the day reading, talking together, meeting a few interesting people and having a menu of possible but not pressing events was just ideal. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but having a cabin steward make up our cabin every morning and return to tidy it before bed was heavenly! We had cute towel animals whenever we got out of the cabin for turn down.

Some people have complained about the food on Jewel, and I will admit that one of the meals we had at Chin Chin during lunch time was cold: the tea was cold, the entree's were cold, it was like some piece of equipment had failed. However, everything--even the too cold food--was prepared artfully, creatively with fresh and appropriate ingredients, inventive recipes with influence from multiple cultural traditions. While I will grant that there were repeat dishes on the menus and buffet, there were many choices and specials to keep it interesting. It was also easy to eat a delicious and healthy diet--many fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar free desserts, multiple protein choices. While there were tempting desserts and breads, if you wanted to avoid them, there is no need to feel deprived.

Cabin Review

Family Oceanview Picture Window

Cabin O1

Ideal room and location! Perfectly quiet. Has four more drawers than a balcony cabin, so lots of storage. The window is large and has a ledge wide enough to sit on if you aren't too big. I really felt like it had more room than my parent's balcony cabin, because of the bed placement. And without the door open to the outside, the temperature stayed more steady/less humid.

The door that would open to adjoin the next cabin is on your right, after you pass the wardrobe/tv area. If you have four people in the room, there is a trundle bed under one of the king/twins, and a bunk on the right wall. I thought that bunk would be inconvenient, but it doesn't get in the way when it is folded up.

The room has two chairs, a stool and one with a back, and a table that can be moved front and center for a room service picnic.

The bathroom door has hooks and rods for hanging towels, so putting a shoe holder there with toiletries does not really work. There are three small shelves with railings that work nicely, but I did wish I had some kind of little basket or something for my toiletries so they wouldn't slip off.

The closet has a fold down shelf so you can hang blouses and pants one above the other, and a light in the back of it.

There are plug ins at the desk, under the TV, under the fridge, and over the mirror in the bathroom.

Nearly all the walls are magnetic and I brought magnetic hooks with me which let me hang my lanyard up by the desk, and make a kind of collage of postcards collected on the trip. I also used the magnetic hooks in the bathroom to hold up the cord of my toothbrush so it could sit on the top shelf without the cord hanging in front of the mirror. I had considered bringing christmas lights for the room but wasn't sure about plug ins or if the walls were magnetic all around-- using the magnet hooks would have worked just find for that, I think.

We were in the room a lot over the 16 days and heard hardly a peep from the rest of the ship. Being near the stairs/elevator at midship was ideal.

There is apparently no end of hot water or water pressure--heavenly showers, as long as you like!

Keep your expectations in line with this being an older well-cared for ship, and you will not be disappointed. The carpet in the room definitely shows wear. But everything is clean and in good repair. We were very happy with our room.

Port Reviews


Interesting place, surprised a little by all the oil. We felt safe. The cruise terminal is isolated in an industrial area. We stayed at the Best Western and found it very adequate--good breakfast and free shuttle.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

We booked a private tour that we found on Trip Advisor, Tratursa. We were THRILLED with the experience. Where the busloads of other cruisers got to catch glimpses of wildlife if they were lucky, we got to hand feed monkeys and coatis, and the driver turned around to show us several different plants or animals of interest. Instead of a long communal table, our lunch was private to just our group. Our stops were carefully chosen as the best, cleanest, least expensive and most positive possible. We loved not feeling rushed and saw so much more than we would have in a big group.

San Francisco

We enjoyed driving around this beautiful city with friends. Lots of character. We saw Sausalito, the Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight Ashbury (?), China town. So much diversity! The airport was easy to use.

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