This is my 3rd cruise on Norwegian, twice on the Jewel and once on the Escape. My previous cruise on the Jewel in 2015 (Alaska) was overall a far better experience. My 2016 cruise on the Escape (Caribbean) was amazing. To be fair my experience on this 2017 cruise on the Jewel (Mexican Riviera) was amazing when compared to say any cruise offered by a line like Carnival, but when compared to past cruises with Norwegian it was below average.
Dining in the main rooms was great, always plenty of seating, quality service, and hot good tasting food. Specialty restaurants -
Moderno - Service was fantastic, the quality of the meats was off slightly. Still highly recommend this specialty restaurant on the Jewel.
Teppanyaki - Service and food was good, our chef did not do some of the fun tricks that you expect during this kind of meal but was still good.
Cagneys - Oh boy, the chef in this restaurant (March 2017) needs to be replaced. Sent my tomahawk rib eye back twice, and actually had an argument with the chef over how to cook it. They committed the biggest mistake one can make in a steakhouse, they tried to continue cooking a steak I had cut into. Everyone was rude in that restaurant, tried to make it better by giving me a free drink but still charged us for the meal. It was a customer service disaster in every way. Until they get a new, properly trained chef avoid this place and just go to Moderno. At Moderno they will cook the meat to order (if requested) and it is unlimited. Food comes from the same kitchen but they have different chefs.
Part of me felt like this cruise had a lot of new employees who were not trained properly. Bad customer service at the main CS desk, rude people at the restaurant reservation desk, literally everyone in the photo gallery had no idea what was going on expect the manager (a nice South African guy) and housekeeping was horrible. There was soap in my coffee maker and instead of just fixing it the room stewardess (Marggie) tried to blame the previous guest. It didn't really matter to me how it happened, it just needed to be fixed but she felt compelled to take the time to blame someone else which immediately told me that it was her fault. Had to fight to get an extra bath towel, she consistently missed cleaning / replacing one to two things every time she cleaned the room. Like everyday for 7 days, one or two times I would understand but this was every day. It was exhausting dealing with her.
PORTS / SHORE EXCURSIONS
The one thing I really love about the Mexican Rivera cruises is the whale watching in Cabo this time of the year (Jan, Feb, Mar). The 2 hour whale watching excursion in Cabo (on a catamaran) was great! The boat was clean and comfortable, they had free drinks and snacks, and the guide was knowledgeable. Went out of their way to make sure you saw whales while still being respectful of the whales (didn't get too close, and shut the motor down).
This casino needs a manager who has been to Las Vegas and understands that casinos are suppose to be fun. They need more Wheel of Fortune machines (only had 2), more poker tables, and better trained staff. My boyfriend was literally teaching them how craps works... it was shocking, they didn't understand all of the bets and had no idea how to pay on all bets. A lot of customers who not extremely familiar with the game were getting shorted, big time. Play at your own risk.
Norwegian has upgraded their WiFi and it is worth paying for now! I was able to download an episode of the Walking Dead on my iPad overnight and watch it the next day. It so much faster than before, it is literally the only improvement I noticed on this cruise.
PORT OF LOS ANGELES
This cruise I just took on the Jewel left out of San Pedro, and that place is just a dump. That is not NCL's fault, but if you have never been there just know its a dump. Parking is $18 per day, and your car is out in the open. It will get insanely dirty. The cruise terminal has no A/C and seems to have been built during like WWII and has never been updated. There are escalators and and elevator, but over it is old and dingy.
Cabin 11156 is a connecting cabin to 11154. Cabin 11156 is about 2 feet narrower than the connecting cabin, it is so narrow that to walk by the foot of the bed you have to turn sidways. Other than that this AFT facing mini suite is comfortable, cozy and has a great balcony (with sliding door). Has a sofa, coffee maker, hair dryer, 2 outlets on the desk and a desk chair without arms. The bathroom is not spacious, but the other extra space you get with the mini suite still makes it worth it. The view you get from the AFT rooms is amazing, I stayed in these AFT mini suites for an Alaska cruise and Mexican Rivera cruise, and you can't beat the views. These AFT mini suites are below the outdoor part of the buffet on deck 12, right above the rooms. In the late evening or early morning you can hear them moving the chairs around, and it can be a little noisy. But it never woke me up, and it really wasn't any louder than the TV or the sound of the engines. If you need absolute quite, AFT rooms are not for you. I still feel the view trumps any of the other potential issues (narrow room, loud noises from the buffet or engines).
Side note cabin 11152 is also narrow just like 11156. If you want an AFT facing mini suite I highly recommend booking 11154, its the same price but you get more space.
Overall the carpet, uplostery, bedding, and furniture is not aging well. The ship was refurbished in 2014, but already looks very old and worn. At the Cruise Next presentation on my March 2017 cruise on the Jewel they did announce that the Jewel class ships would be refurbished again in the next couple years, can't happen fast enough!
The city of LA really needs to put money into this port, it is old and decaying.
My least favorite stop of the Mexican Rivera cruise. Puerto Vallarta is like a dirtier version of Los Angeles. You can walk to a Wallmart from the cruise terminal.
So happy the cruise industry is returning to Mazatlan, it is a beautiful city with great beaches. Only wish we spent more time here. You can dock here, no tenders.
The Whale Watching in Cabo is just the best! Take the tour on the catamaran, avoid the small zodiac boat tours.View All 90 Whale Watching Reviews