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We went on one of the busy Spring Break cruise weeks while our kids were on Spring Break. It was my husband and myself on our 7th NCL cruise and 7th cruise, and our sons 9 and 6, one on his 2nd NCL cruise and one on his first cruise. My husband and I like to cruise when it is less crowded and a better deal, but we also wanted to take our kids on a cruise that they would be old enough to remember. It is hard to find a time when they are out of school. We were worried it would be super crowded. I’m happy to report the ship did not feel overly crowded or overrun with kids – however, on overrun with kids, I had an expectation of their being kids. They also handled kids club well. There was some time lines to check in/out, but we were never turned away and it did not look over crowded peeking in. It looked like they planned well for the capacity. Now that I covered my crowded concern, back to the cruise. We left after school on Friday, March 6th and drove from DFW to Houston. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express at Airtex Dr. It was north Houston, to break up the drive some, and just off the Hwy 45. It worked well and included breakfast for an easy start the next day. We left the hotel about 10am for the 1 hour drive to the port. Like others have mentioned, you drive through to drop off luggage and then drive around to get your parking ticket (pre-pay) or pay for parking. We were gold for the first time, so we got priority check-in and did not wait any time. However, they did not give us a number to broad the ship; be sure to get this when they give you the health questionnaire after security. When I asked at check-in how we know when to get on the ship, they sent us back to the front – squirreling out the in… priority check-in, but not priority boarding… We got on the ship about noon, so about 1 hour in all. On the ship, we had lunch at the MDR and got to try out the new menus. During the cruise, our 9 year liked the adult menu, while our 6 year liked the kids menu. After lunch, we explored the ship and then went to the room to see if ready (we always seem to miss the announcement when they are ready). We had connecting rooms that came locked. We call the room steward number, and our room steward, Putu, came to unlock them. He also said he saw our luggage and would bring it soon. He was great at making the kids feel special. Our room was prepared with the gold package – tender tickets, disembarkation tickets, laundry discount, ship pin, and party invite, which was nice because we could figure out how it all worked – and the welcome gift. Our kids like Kid’s Club, and we found plenty to entertain them. It was even a challenge some trying to get all activities because they had things going on at Kid’s Club as well as separate from Kid’s Club including the Double Dare game show, learning balloon animal making, learning magic tricks, Dora dance party, and family cupcake making. We went to all but family cupcake making. The kids felt they were too old for the dance party with character photo shots. The Kid’s Club is closed for 2 hours for lunch and dinner now, which is a change, on sea days. It was a little more challenging, but we made it work with electronics at dinner to entertain the kids. Kid’s Club was open during more hours on port days and just charged port play fees during the lunch and dinner times. We did not get to attend the prior guest parties or as many shows with the kids along. Of those that we saw, the acrobats were the best. The magician comedian and Cirque were also very good. We attended the M&G and had a gift exchange; it was fun. Cozumel: We caught a taxi to Chankanaab. It was about $13 for 4; set rate. Note your pier name for return later. We had the coupon for Chankanaab from their web site. We explored the ruins; there was someone make tortillas that we got to sample them. Then checked out the lagoon and crocodiles. We brought our own snorkel gear and borrowed the free life jacket. You have to provide one id to borrow one or more. We just brought our passports on shore; for this, I wished we had brought our driver’s licenses instead. Regardless, it worked well. My husband and oldest son snorkeled and enjoyed it. Our youngest enjoyed the pool; an adult has to go in with them – cannot just supervise from the side. We also had a snack from pool side food stand where we could watch the dolphins while eating. We also watched the Sea Lion show. It was in Spanish and English but still challenging to understand. The person speaking did not seem too concerned about being understood. Though just watching the Sea Lions was nice. When we were ready to go, there were taxis available and was called over for us. Belize: We pre-booked the Stingray and shark ray alley snorkel tour from Coral Breezes. Since we were carrying snorkel equipment, people wanted to sell us a tour, but when told we were already booked, they pointed us in the right direction and recommended we check in first then walk around. We easily found the Coral Breezes rep; she recommended a restroom break and then meeting back. We were in a tour with one other family (8 people total on our tour). They collected payment and lunch orders; then boarded us on the boat. Some people mentioned boat trouble; our boat did not have any trouble. The waters were a little rough. We had two tour guides that did a great job. They talked after the water calmed bit; we pass several interesting islands – one that was someone’s home that was worth $30M because it had a retaining wall all around and one built over 30 years by the owner bring in buckets of sand. On Caye Caulker, we had restroom break time and got snorkeling equipment for those that needed it. Back on the boat, the sharks and rays came for food. The sharks moved to another boat that pulled up before we got in the water. While snorkeling, there were rays swimming around too! We then swim over to the coral; it was pretty. The current was strong, so it did get tiring. The boat came to pick us up. My oldest son swim the full time; our youngest got back on the boat early with one of the tour guides. I was afraid he would be crying (he does not have the happiest personality normally), but we got back on he was happy talking about to drink the water in a bag. They did very well with the kids and keeping up with all the guests. Back on Caye Caulker, we had lunch with real sugar Coca-Cola and walked around. After returning to Belize City, we did a chocolate tour at Moho Chocolate factory. It is not a big tour, but nice and included samples of a milk shake and different chocolates for $2/pp. Banana Coast: We did not plan anything for Banana Coast. The mountains in the background were beautiful. We took the tender. They have shopping and a beach right by the tender drop off. There was a big pile of sand, so it looked like they re-sanded often. It was a nice beach with a view of the cruise ships, shells, sea glass, and pelicans diving for food. We all enjoyed the cruise!

Spring Break cruise

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by tammyjw305

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2015
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
We went on one of the busy Spring Break cruise weeks while our kids were on Spring Break. It was my husband and myself on our 7th NCL cruise and 7th cruise, and our sons 9 and 6, one on his 2nd NCL cruise and one on his first cruise. My husband and I like to cruise when it is less crowded and a better deal, but we also wanted to take our kids on a cruise that they would be old enough to remember. It is hard to find a time when they are out of school. We were worried it would be super crowded. I’m happy to report the ship did not feel overly crowded or overrun with kids – however, on overrun with kids, I had an expectation of their being kids. They also handled kids club well. There was some time lines to check in/out, but we were never turned away and it did not look over crowded peeking in. It looked like they planned well for the capacity.

Now that I covered my crowded concern, back to the cruise. We left after school on Friday, March 6th and drove from DFW to Houston. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express at Airtex Dr. It was north Houston, to break up the drive some, and just off the Hwy 45. It worked well and included breakfast for an easy start the next day.

We left the hotel about 10am for the 1 hour drive to the port. Like others have mentioned, you drive through to drop off luggage and then drive around to get your parking ticket (pre-pay) or pay for parking. We were gold for the first time, so we got priority check-in and did not wait any time. However, they did not give us a number to broad the ship; be sure to get this when they give you the health questionnaire after security. When I asked at check-in how we know when to get on the ship, they sent us back to the front – squirreling out the in… priority check-in, but not priority boarding…

We got on the ship about noon, so about 1 hour in all. On the ship, we had lunch at the MDR and got to try out the new menus. During the cruise, our 9 year liked the adult menu, while our 6 year liked the kids menu. After lunch, we explored the ship and then went to the room to see if ready (we always seem to miss the announcement when they are ready). We had connecting rooms that came locked. We call the room steward number, and our room steward, Putu, came to unlock them. He also said he saw our luggage and would bring it soon. He was great at making the kids feel special. Our room was prepared with the gold package – tender tickets, disembarkation tickets, laundry discount, ship pin, and party invite, which was nice because we could figure out how it all worked – and the welcome gift.

Our kids like Kid’s Club, and we found plenty to entertain them. It was even a challenge some trying to get all activities because they had things going on at Kid’s Club as well as separate from Kid’s Club including the Double Dare game show, learning balloon animal making, learning magic tricks, Dora dance party, and family cupcake making. We went to all but family cupcake making. The kids felt they were too old for the dance party with character photo shots. The Kid’s Club is closed for 2 hours for lunch and dinner now, which is a change, on sea days. It was a little more challenging, but we made it work with electronics at dinner to entertain the kids. Kid’s Club was open during more hours on port days and just charged port play fees during the lunch and dinner times.

We did not get to attend the prior guest parties or as many shows with the kids along. Of those that we saw, the acrobats were the best. The magician comedian and Cirque were also very good. We attended the M&G and had a gift exchange; it was fun.

Cozumel:

We caught a taxi to Chankanaab. It was about $13 for 4; set rate. Note your pier name for return later. We had the coupon for Chankanaab from their web site. We explored the ruins; there was someone make tortillas that we got to sample them. Then checked out the lagoon and crocodiles. We brought our own snorkel gear and borrowed the free life jacket. You have to provide one id to borrow one or more. We just brought our passports on shore; for this, I wished we had brought our driver’s licenses instead. Regardless, it worked well. My husband and oldest son snorkeled and enjoyed it. Our youngest enjoyed the pool; an adult has to go in with them – cannot just supervise from the side. We also had a snack from pool side food stand where we could watch the dolphins while eating. We also watched the Sea Lion show. It was in Spanish and English but still challenging to understand. The person speaking did not seem too concerned about being understood. Though just watching the Sea Lions was nice. When we were ready to go, there were taxis available and was called over for us.

Belize:

We pre-booked the Stingray and shark ray alley snorkel tour from Coral Breezes. Since we were carrying snorkel equipment, people wanted to sell us a tour, but when told we were already booked, they pointed us in the right direction and recommended we check in first then walk around. We easily found the Coral Breezes rep; she recommended a restroom break and then meeting back. We were in a tour with one other family (8 people total on our tour). They collected payment and lunch orders; then boarded us on the boat. Some people mentioned boat trouble; our boat did not have any trouble. The waters were a little rough. We had two tour guides that did a great job. They talked after the water calmed bit; we pass several interesting islands – one that was someone’s home that was worth $30M because it had a retaining wall all around and one built over 30 years by the owner bring in buckets of sand. On Caye Caulker, we had restroom break time and got snorkeling equipment for those that needed it. Back on the boat, the sharks and rays came for food. The sharks moved to another boat that pulled up before we got in the water. While snorkeling, there were rays swimming around too! We then swim over to the coral; it was pretty. The current was strong, so it did get tiring. The boat came to pick us up. My oldest son swim the full time; our youngest got back on the boat early with one of the tour guides. I was afraid he would be crying (he does not have the happiest personality normally), but we got back on he was happy talking about to drink the water in a bag. They did very well with the kids and keeping up with all the guests. Back on Caye Caulker, we had lunch with real sugar Coca-Cola and walked around.

After returning to Belize City, we did a chocolate tour at Moho Chocolate factory. It is not a big tour, but nice and included samples of a milk shake and different chocolates for $2/pp.

Banana Coast:

We did not plan anything for Banana Coast. The mountains in the background were beautiful. We took the tender. They have shopping and a beach right by the tender drop off. There was a big pile of sand, so it looked like they re-sanded often. It was a nice beach with a view of the cruise ships, shells, sea glass, and pelicans diving for food.

We all enjoyed the cruise!
tammyjw305’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Ages 7 to 9
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OA 8622
Our connecting cabins worked well. The cabins were small; I would not have wanted 3 people in one room. Though the rooms were small, they had a ton of storage that we did not begin to use all of. The TVs are flat screens; the kids came in better than ours. We missed the sofa since the room was smaller, but the two desk areas were nice.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    We pre-booked the Stingray and shark ray alley snorkel tour from Coral Breezes. Since we were carrying snorkel equipment, people wanted to sell us a tour, but when told we were already booked, they pointed us in the right direction and recommended we check in first then walk around. We easily found the Coral Breezes rep; she recommended a restroom break and then meeting back. We were in a tour with one other family (8 people total on our tour). They collected payment and lunch orders; then boarded us on the boat. Some people mentioned boat trouble; our boat did not have any trouble. The waters were a little rough. We had two tour guides that did a great job. They talked after the water calmed bit; we pass several interesting islands – one that was someone’s home that was worth $30M because it had a retaining wall all around and one built over 30 years by the owner bring in buckets of sand. On Caye Caulker, we had restroom break time and got snorkeling equipment for those that needed it. Back on the boat, the sharks and rays came for food. The sharks moved to another boat that pulled up before we got in the water. While snorkeling, there were rays swimming around too! We then swim over to the coral; it was pretty. The current was strong, so it did get tiring. The boat came to pick us up. My oldest son swim the full time; our youngest got back on the boat early with one of the tour guides. I was afraid he would be crying (he does not have the happiest personality normally), but we got back on he was happy talking about to drink the water in a bag. They did very well with the kids and keeping up with all the guests. Back on Caye Caulker, we had lunch with real sugar Coca-Cola and walked around.

    After returning to Belize City, we did a chocolate tour at Moho Chocolate factory. It is not a big tour, but nice and included samples of a milk shake and different chocolates for $2/pp.
    View All 182 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Chankanaab National Park Tour
    We caught a taxi to Chankanaab. It was about $13 for 4; set rate. Note your pier name for return later. We had the coupon for Chankanaab from their web site. We explored the ruins; there was someone make tortillas that we got to sample them. Then checked out the lagoon and crocodiles. We brought our own snorkel gear and borrowed the free life jacket. You have to provide one id to borrow one or more. We just brought our passports on shore; for this, I wished we had brought our driver’s licenses instead. Regardless, it worked well. My husband and oldest son snorkeled and enjoyed it. Our youngest enjoyed the pool; an adult has to go in with them – cannot just supervise from the side. We also had a snack from pool side food stand where we could watch the dolphins while eating. We also watched the Sea Lion show. It was in Spanish and English but still challenging to understand. The person speaking did not seem too concerned about being understood. Though just watching the Sea Lions was nice. When we were ready to go, there were taxis available and was called over for us.
    View All 236 Chankanaab National Park Tour Reviews