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This is our 3rd cruise with NCL and also 3rd time on this itinerary (1st time was on HAL). We put the deposit down for this cruise in 2014, after the last trip. We enjoyed the ports and experience so much that we wanted to do it again. We were traveling with our sons (16 and 20). We had side-by-side obstructed ocean view cabins on deck 8. And as a booking promotion my husband and I had the UBP, which was really wonderful. We’d do that again for sure! Pre-Cruise We flew from PDX to SNA on Thursday the 22nd and spent the day at Knott's Berry Farm, which the boys had never done before. If you do go to Knott's, pre-buy your tickets at least 3 days in advance online: $43 vs. $75 at the gate. The weather was damp, but it was a very enjoyable day, and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner (to go) remains top-notch. We stayed at the Buena Park Courtyard, just down the street and took an Uber to San Pedro Harbor the next morning. Check-in & Embarkation As Latitude members we were in a shorter line and waited maybe 30 minutes to get our keycards before boarding the ship. It was very low-key compared to other embarkations: not a lot of grabby photo ops or upsells. We did take the time to purchase a 12-bottle water package for our younger son, who only drinks water. We went to Guest Services to give parental consent for our older son to purchase wine/beer onboard and admired the beautiful holiday decorations in the atrium. The ship was really decked out nicely. And not too soon after that, the announcement was made that our cabins were ready, so we dropped off our stuff (I always feel better when I can put the passports and cash in the safe and forget about it!) and headed to the Spinnaker. It was important to us to be on a ship with this lounge: previously we’d enjoyed the Spinnaker on the Pearl and really missed it on the Star. This will factor into our future ship choices. Onboard We spent much of the cruise in public areas: on the pool or sun decks, at the trivia games, at karaoke, hanging pretty much wherever the music was. As a family we play many different card games. We love to park ourselves somewhere to play, people-watch and enjoy the time together. We didn’t attend any of the shows except for the final evening with the mentalist, which was so-so. Big shows aren’t our scene. We sat in Spinnaker during Bingo one day (too windy to play cards outside), and that was hilarious to observe! Our younger son took part in the Entourage programming (for teens 13-17) most nights. He said it was mostly fun but a little disorganized. He did enjoy meeting other kids his age and having the freedom to hang out with them at O’Sheehan’s, in cabins or on the pool deck. Ports/Excursions We went on the Pirate Adventure in Puerto Vallarta – for the 3rd time. As a day-long excursion it really can’t be beat price- or entertainment-wise. For $100 per adult (slightly less for children) it’s a 6-hour non-stop day of sword fights, treasure hunts, plank-walking and sometimes wild waves. There are two full meals, bottomless beverages (including alcohol) and time on a private beach. Be prepared to get wet, sandy and maybe a little seasick, but you won’t regret it. We went ashore once in Mazatlan years ago and didn’t enjoy it, so since then we take advantage of having the quiet ship mostly to ourselves. In Cabo we tendered ashore and enjoyed walking along the main sea wall. We did a little shopping, enjoyed some ceviche and tableside-prepared guacamole, plus we went to an informal tequila tasting. We had to be back onboard ship early (last tender at 2:30 p.m.), so it wasn’t much time ashore. Dining Food-wise, we enjoyed the variety of offerings at the buffet for breakfast and the grill for lunch. We opted for Azura most nights and ended up being served by the same wait staff most of the time, regardless of where we were seated. We did spend the extra to dine at Moderno one evening and were sorely disappointed. We would not choose to do so again. The regular and rotating menu at Azura was interesting and varied, and we enjoyed everything we tasted. The fried brie appetizer (I had it for dessert) was a high point. The kids did go to O’Sheehan’s with friends they met on board. Those fried mozzarella sticks are pretty tasty. Crew In our NCL experiences the crew is top-notch. Leciel, our cabin stewardess, was so friendly and attentive. She developed nice relationships with all of us throughout the week. The various bar and dining staff with whom we interacted were so nice and seemed to get our wacky sense of humor. Hopefully we provided some entertainment here and there. Cruise Director Iain (whom we’d met on the Star) was everywhere at once, and his top-notch staff were great fun. As mentioned above, this is an itinerary and ship class that we enjoy, and we’re an easy-going family that travels well together. We are definitely planning another NCL cruise in two years. It just seems like that’s the right amount of time in between voyages for us to plan for, save for and truly appreciate the experience.

Excellent Christmas/Chanukah Cruise!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by JemMonster

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Obstructed Oceanview
This is our 3rd cruise with NCL and also 3rd time on this itinerary (1st time was on HAL). We put the deposit down for this cruise in 2014, after the last trip. We enjoyed the ports and experience so much that we wanted to do it again. We were traveling with our sons (16 and 20). We had side-by-side obstructed ocean view cabins on deck 8. And as a booking promotion my husband and I had the UBP, which was really wonderful. We’d do that again for sure!

Pre-Cruise

We flew from PDX to SNA on Thursday the 22nd and spent the day at Knott's Berry Farm, which the boys had never done before. If you do go to Knott's, pre-buy your tickets at least 3 days in advance online: $43 vs. $75 at the gate. The weather was damp, but it was a very enjoyable day, and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner (to go) remains top-notch. We stayed at the Buena Park Courtyard, just down the street and took an Uber to San Pedro Harbor the next morning.

Check-in & Embarkation

As Latitude members we were in a shorter line and waited maybe 30 minutes to get our keycards before boarding the ship. It was very low-key compared to other embarkations: not a lot of grabby photo ops or upsells. We did take the time to purchase a 12-bottle water package for our younger son, who only drinks water. We went to Guest Services to give parental consent for our older son to purchase wine/beer onboard and admired the beautiful holiday decorations in the atrium. The ship was really decked out nicely. And not too soon after that, the announcement was made that our cabins were ready, so we dropped off our stuff (I always feel better when I can put the passports and cash in the safe and forget about it!) and headed to the Spinnaker. It was important to us to be on a ship with this lounge: previously we’d enjoyed the Spinnaker on the Pearl and really missed it on the Star. This will factor into our future ship choices.

Onboard

We spent much of the cruise in public areas: on the pool or sun decks, at the trivia games, at karaoke, hanging pretty much wherever the music was. As a family we play many different card games. We love to park ourselves somewhere to play, people-watch and enjoy the time together. We didn’t attend any of the shows except for the final evening with the mentalist, which was so-so. Big shows aren’t our scene. We sat in Spinnaker during Bingo one day (too windy to play cards outside), and that was hilarious to observe! Our younger son took part in the Entourage programming (for teens 13-17) most nights. He said it was mostly fun but a little disorganized. He did enjoy meeting other kids his age and having the freedom to hang out with them at O’Sheehan’s, in cabins or on the pool deck.

Ports/Excursions

We went on the Pirate Adventure in Puerto Vallarta – for the 3rd time. As a day-long excursion it really can’t be beat price- or entertainment-wise. For $100 per adult (slightly less for children) it’s a 6-hour non-stop day of sword fights, treasure hunts, plank-walking and sometimes wild waves. There are two full meals, bottomless beverages (including alcohol) and time on a private beach. Be prepared to get wet, sandy and maybe a little seasick, but you won’t regret it. We went ashore once in Mazatlan years ago and didn’t enjoy it, so since then we take advantage of having the quiet ship mostly to ourselves. In Cabo we tendered ashore and enjoyed walking along the main sea wall. We did a little shopping, enjoyed some ceviche and tableside-prepared guacamole, plus we went to an informal tequila tasting. We had to be back onboard ship early (last tender at 2:30 p.m.), so it wasn’t much time ashore.

Dining

Food-wise, we enjoyed the variety of offerings at the buffet for breakfast and the grill for lunch. We opted for Azura most nights and ended up being served by the same wait staff most of the time, regardless of where we were seated. We did spend the extra to dine at Moderno one evening and were sorely disappointed. We would not choose to do so again. The regular and rotating menu at Azura was interesting and varied, and we enjoyed everything we tasted. The fried brie appetizer (I had it for dessert) was a high point. The kids did go to O’Sheehan’s with friends they met on board. Those fried mozzarella sticks are pretty tasty.

Crew

In our NCL experiences the crew is top-notch. Leciel, our cabin stewardess, was so friendly and attentive. She developed nice relationships with all of us throughout the week. The various bar and dining staff with whom we interacted were so nice and seemed to get our wacky sense of humor. Hopefully we provided some entertainment here and there. Cruise Director Iain (whom we’d met on the Star) was everywhere at once, and his top-notch staff were great fun.

As mentioned above, this is an itinerary and ship class that we enjoy, and we’re an easy-going family that travels well together. We are definitely planning another NCL cruise in two years. It just seems like that’s the right amount of time in between voyages for us to plan for, save for and truly appreciate the experience.
JemMonster’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Obstructed Oceanview
Cabin OK 8058
The cabin was just as lovely and spacious as any other we've been in. We actually liked the obstructed view: having the lifeboat hanging right outside ensured no one was ever going to be walking along right outside our window! The bed was a little firm for my particular back, but I still slept beautifully every night.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins