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Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,389 Reviews

Panama Canal Transit; Awesome Trip!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by daryleann

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2016
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

I read with interest the reviews about the 'old Jewel' but you would never know it was old as the signs were interactive and the colors were bright. Yes, our cabin showed wear, but it is bound to show wear after all the many cruisers. We had a super soft pillow top mattress, and flat screen tv, and the shower with a door instead of a curtain was a bonus. Putting the water closet in it's own 'closet' was not great as it made it even more cramped, but that is the way of things now so one must "go with the flow."

Having been on many cruise ships on many lines, we, as an older retired couple, feel lucky to be able to visit all the corners of the world and as we have gained in years, the cruise ship has become the best way to visit small countries.

Our cruise critic roll call had a lovely meet and greet in Le Bistro, where several top officers attended - we felt honored to have so many show up! And after the first week we also had a nice lunch in the Tsar's Palace and the service there for our large group was superb! The group coordinator did a super job of offering to get our small groups off at the tender port of Cabo, and it made it super easy to gather together.

The one thing I found different from our other cruises was the entertainment. We were surprised that there were not many shows featuring the dancers and musicians, but we were also pleasantly surprised at the quality of the dancers and gymnasts that the ship had instead. Their presentations were superb - and it was a real treat for us! The comedians were good; after awhile they all do the same jokes, but we still find them entertaining. And if you get a chance to hear the violinist, don't miss it! Not like any symphony you have attended - this was toe tapping entertainment at its best!

Getting on and off the ship seemed to be one long endless line. In Miami they kept you inside instead of out in the sun, but still was a long wait. Leaving in LA, I thought the line would never end, but then it passed so quickly - because each turn brought you next to another passenger that you had eaten with or met in an activity. Before we knew it, we were loaded onto a bus to go to the airport - our first time using a ship shuttle, and I must say, it was the smoothest flowing option I could have chosen!

Activities were a bit different from what we were used to, also. I have played trivia in many ships, but this ship had them at 9:15 or so and late in the afternoon, where we were getting ready for dinner. Therefore, I only did one - which people (and I) attended because it said Abba - did not even mention trivia. We thought it was going to be music. And there were no prizes. Granted we have too many luggage tags and flashlights, but still...

I sewed while they did one bingo, but other than that, none of the activities interested me. There does not seem to be many aimed at those who have cruised often. Napkin folding, towel folding, etc - all are for the new cruiser. I did see lots of table of dominoes and bridge.

I summary, this was a great cruise and the staff did an excellent job of entertaining and feeding us - which is why we cruise, isn't it? And who can't love going through the Panama Canal!?!

daryleann's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin BB 10624

Nice functional cabin. The desk chair was taking up valuable space, so we put it out on the balcony. Should have put the small stool out also, but it fit under the T.V. desk well enough. Moved the glasses and coffee pot as we did not need them. Only problem was when we put our suitcases under the bed, they got moved into the center when attendant vacuumed - which made them hard to retrieve. Be sure to put them end in - so they stay a bit closer.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Cartagena (Colombia)

We took a taxi/trolley tour - advertised as A/C but then they put 3 couples out on the back end - NOT a/c. Beware!

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

We organized a tour through Thumbs Up and had a great time seeing the crocodiles and boat ride. We had two different cruisecritic groups from our roll call.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

We did the Antigua on your Own through NCL then just wandered for several hours. I wish we had been able to see some homes or courtyards - the buildings were so plain, but I got a glimpse inside one and it was all I had imagined Guatemala to be.


Since we had been there many times, we toured the fort directly across from the ship. Easy to get to, and when it began pouring, easy to get back once it slowed down, without getting too wet.

Cabo San Lucas

This was the coolest it has been on our many visits to Cabo. We wandered to the dolphin encounter pool and watched the show and those who were swimming with the dolphins. It cost us two dollars and included one can of soda. Get deal!

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