We cruised the Canal 29 years ago and were anxious to do this cruise again. We had a very good experience.
There was a 2 hour delay at embarkation as there was a surprise Coast Guard inspection so the cruise did not get off to a great start. But once we got on, all was well.
While the entertainment was pretty typical cruise ship entertainment, the quality was very good. All I know is that I left every show very much entertained. Comedy, magic, song and dance - all very high quality. The Cirque du Bijou show was the one exceptional show and is their best overall show.
The cruise director Ian was all over the ship and helped make the cruise entertaining. Some of his humor was corny but heck we're on vacation and I laughed. Pretty good magician too.
While not the newest of ships, the Jewel holds up just fine compared to other ships of similar size and age. It's a great ship to transit the canal. I was able to wander the ship during the canal transit and there were numerous quality vistas.
We had a mini suite and I'm not sure that we'll cruise in anything less in the future. The extra space in the cabin and bathroom was much appreciated. I remember the old days of the standard inside/outside cabins where we had to walk sideways to go from one end of the cabin to the other and the tiny showers with the butt hugging shower curtains. It was nice to actually have a bath tub/shower.
Food was average at the main dining rooms. Sad to say they no longer serve lobster tails as one of the dinners. Fortunately we got the 6 specialty dining restaurant bonus and took full advantage. Cagney's was excellent - try the 29 oz. Tomahawk Chop rib-eye. Moderno also very good.
While not cheap, the shore excursions were pretty good. We did whale watching in Cabo and saw numerous whales. The Rum Distillary tour in Nicaragua was very informative and we did buy some. The Bus, Boat and Train tour in Costa Rica was fun and enabled us to see much of the country in 5 hours.
Disembarkation was very slow. We had a tour and still were stalled getting off the ship and getting to customs. As we finally got close to customs, an agent came to our line, took all of our declarations and told us to walk through and not stop at the customs counter. Needless to say, he did not have to tell us twice. Don't know how back ninth line he went.
Overall one of the better cruises that we've taken and it was our18th (6th with NCL).
Love this cabin and its location. Loved the extra room in the cabin and the larger than average bathroom. There more than enough closet and drawer space. Loved the balcony. Took full advantage throughout the cruise especially during the canal transit. Room steward was a little slow compared to others that I've had on previous cruises. A couple of times we were gone to breakfast for a couple of hours and the room was still not made over. Other than that, no complaints.
Very enjoyable. The crew was knowledgeable and entertaining. We saw numerous whales although nothing really close.View All 90 Whale Watching Reviews