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A little bit about us, we are a family of four. Mom and Dad in their 30’s, with a five year old daughter and two year old son (will be three in January). For the adults, this was our 10th cruise. However, this was our first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. This was our daughter’s second cruise and our son’s first cruise. Thanks to fellow cruise critic member KiaOra, I am stealing your review format. I like it a lot and allows me to compile my thoughts more succinctly. Pre-Cruise We live in Phoenix so we drove to the Los Angeles area the day before embarkation and stayed at an Embassy Suites in Santa Ana. The next morning we had an easy drive to the port. I will say of all the ports I have been to, this port had the least signage and we wandered aimlessly to figure out how to drop bags and then park in the surface lot. If you are driving to San Pedro, parking is currently $17 per day in the surface lot. Embarkation Due to upgrading/upselling to the two-bedroom family penthouse suite, our embarkation process was very simple. I was attempting to surprise my wife with the upgrade and managed to keep it a secret until we went into the “priority” check-in line. Word of caution, similar to TSA security, you are not allowed to bring liquids through security. This was a bit of a surprise as we had filled our reusable water bottles and had to suck them down while in line. There was an option to get out of line and dump in water fountain but we didn’t want to do that. After getting through security I took us to the priority line and we were checked-in within about 10 minutes and headed over to the “Lounge” area to enjoy snacks and drinks prior to boarding. About 30 minutes later we were escorted onboard by a butler who took us to our room to drop off our carry-on luggage and then off to Moderno Suite lunch. Ports Puerto Vallarta – we had a great time. This was the day of my wife’s birthday and she really wanted to swim with the dolphins. We booked outside of the ship and went to Dolphin Discovery and Aquaventures water park. We booked outside of the ship and saved a few bucks. Just a fair warning, they take LOTS of pictures and those pictures are expensive. We purchased the “main” package and it was about $132 US, the nice thing was that we got all the pictures electronically. The water park was AWESOME and my kids had a great time. I would highly recommend this excursion. Mazatlan – We did a Stone Island excursion, also booked outside the ship. This was a nice relaxing day on the beach with lunch, drinks and shopping. Cabo – We did not have an excursion here. We took the tender to the harbor and hired a water taxi to take us to Medano Beach. This was another relaxing day on the beach. At the beach there were lots of vendors with the normal arts/crafts and an occasional food vendor. Dining & Drinking Overall, we found the food in all of the restaurants to be good to outstanding. We had three nights of specialty dining. We ate at Cagney’s, Teppenyaki and Le Bistro. The food in these three restaurants was outstanding! We ate in Tsar’s three nights and found most of the food to be very good. We ate in Chin Chin one night and this food was ok. Not the best and not the worst Chinese food we’ve eaten. We pretty much steered away from the buffet. Mom and Dad have never really enjoyed buffets. With that said the Crepe station was amazing and we had crepes multiple times! Our kids really liked the kid’s area buffet. They thought it was really neat to be able to get their own food. Although, they “don’t like” most of what was there. Additionally, we had the Unlimited Beverage Package and we USED it. We never had a problem getting a drink from a server or bartender. Every once in a while they would want to see both of our cards but that was not a big deal. We never ended up ordering a drink over $15 and we tried lots of different drinks. Entertainment We attended three of the evening shows and found them to all be very good. Both of the kids really enjoyed the acrobatic shows and we enjoyed the comedy show. You can always find music on the ship, some better than others but the music was plentiful. On our sea days we spent most of our time at the pool enjoying the hot tubs and the kids loved the big slide! Disembarkation Overall this process went very smoothly. However, the customs line was very long but the port staff did a great job of keeping it moving. We collected our bags, hired a porter, retrieved the car, loaded up and hit the road for Phoenix.

Awesome Family Cruise!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by fmigali

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Family Penthouse with Balcony
A little bit about us, we are a family of four. Mom and Dad in their 30’s, with a five year old daughter and two year old son (will be three in January). For the adults, this was our 10th cruise. However, this was our first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. This was our daughter’s second cruise and our son’s first cruise.

Thanks to fellow cruise critic member KiaOra, I am stealing your review format. I like it a lot and allows me to compile my thoughts more succinctly.

Pre-Cruise

We live in Phoenix so we drove to the Los Angeles area the day before embarkation and stayed at an Embassy Suites in Santa Ana. The next morning we had an easy drive to the port. I will say of all the ports I have been to, this port had the least signage and we wandered aimlessly to figure out how to drop bags and then park in the surface lot. If you are driving to San Pedro, parking is currently $17 per day in the surface lot.

Embarkation

Due to upgrading/upselling to the two-bedroom family penthouse suite, our embarkation process was very simple. I was attempting to surprise my wife with the upgrade and managed to keep it a secret until we went into the “priority” check-in line. Word of caution, similar to TSA security, you are not allowed to bring liquids through security. This was a bit of a surprise as we had filled our reusable water bottles and had to suck them down while in line. There was an option to get out of line and dump in water fountain but we didn’t want to do that. After getting through security I took us to the priority line and we were checked-in within about 10 minutes and headed over to the “Lounge” area to enjoy snacks and drinks prior to boarding. About 30 minutes later we were escorted onboard by a butler who took us to our room to drop off our carry-on luggage and then off to Moderno Suite lunch.

Ports

Puerto Vallarta – we had a great time. This was the day of my wife’s birthday and she really wanted to swim with the dolphins. We booked outside of the ship and went to Dolphin Discovery and Aquaventures water park. We booked outside of the ship and saved a few bucks. Just a fair warning, they take LOTS of pictures and those pictures are expensive. We purchased the “main” package and it was about $132 US, the nice thing was that we got all the pictures electronically. The water park was AWESOME and my kids had a great time. I would highly recommend this excursion.

Mazatlan – We did a Stone Island excursion, also booked outside the ship. This was a nice relaxing day on the beach with lunch, drinks and shopping.

Cabo – We did not have an excursion here. We took the tender to the harbor and hired a water taxi to take us to Medano Beach. This was another relaxing day on the beach. At the beach there were lots of vendors with the normal arts/crafts and an occasional food vendor.

Dining & Drinking

Overall, we found the food in all of the restaurants to be good to outstanding. We had three nights of specialty dining. We ate at Cagney’s, Teppenyaki and Le Bistro. The food in these three restaurants was outstanding! We ate in Tsar’s three nights and found most of the food to be very good. We ate in Chin Chin one night and this food was ok. Not the best and not the worst Chinese food we’ve eaten. We pretty much steered away from the buffet. Mom and Dad have never really enjoyed buffets. With that said the Crepe station was amazing and we had crepes multiple times! Our kids really liked the kid’s area buffet. They thought it was really neat to be able to get their own food. Although, they “don’t like” most of what was there. Additionally, we had the Unlimited Beverage Package and we USED it. We never had a problem getting a drink from a server or bartender. Every once in a while they would want to see both of our cards but that was not a big deal. We never ended up ordering a drink over $15 and we tried lots of different drinks.

Entertainment

We attended three of the evening shows and found them to all be very good. Both of the kids really enjoyed the acrobatic shows and we enjoyed the comedy show. You can always find music on the ship, some better than others but the music was plentiful. On our sea days we spent most of our time at the pool enjoying the hot tubs and the kids loved the big slide!

Disembarkation

Overall this process went very smoothly. However, the customs line was very long but the port staff did a great job of keeping it moving. We collected our bags, hired a porter, retrieved the car, loaded up and hit the road for Phoenix.
fmigali’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 3 to 6
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin SC 11506
As I mentioned, I upgraded to the two-bedroom family penthouse suite, as a surprise for my wife’s birthday. This upgrade came just four days before our departure. We were in Ruby Penthouse Suite 11506. This two bedroom family suite was amazing for our family of four. The kids had their own room and mom and dad had their own room. Our butler, Rodney, was amazing and really treated our family amazing. Took the time to get to know us, our likes and acted upon those likes throughout the week. He brought us sweet and salty snacks every afternoon and kept candy bowls of M&Ms and Gummy bears in our suite at all times. We also had room service several times throughout the week. Rodney would bring the food, setup the dining room table with a table cloth, napkins, etc. and set our food out. Bruno the Concierge was also great. We did not really need to use him a whole lot because we had already pre-booked everything prior to boarding but he was always around, very friendly and did help us with a couple of small items throughout the week. Our room Steward Raymundo was probably the best room steward I have ever experienced in my, now, 10 cruises. Our room was always clean and he always left something special for the kids. When making up the beds, he always laid out the kids stuffed animals in a special way on their pillows. The kids loved to come back to the room to find out what Raymundo had done with their stuffed animals that day. I do know one of the questions I had about the suite prior to departing was how many power outlets there were. Before leaving the last morning, I went through and counted. There are two outlets in the family room, three in the "kids" bedroom, two outlets in the "master" bath vanity and one on one of the night stands in the "master" bedroom. There are also USB outlets in the lights next to the master bed. I am sure many of you can imagine the amount of charging needed with our electronics these days. We never had an issue with charging anything. If anyone has any questions on the suite, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am happy to help!
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews