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

Incredible Panama Canal Cruise on NCL Jewel

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by fjkjr

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2017
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony

SImply a great cruise - The ship was fantastic, the crew incredibly attentive and polite, the food delicious, and the entertainment top notch.

Loved all restaurants except Cagney's atmosphere did not do the food, or the other Cagney's on other NCL ships credit (we were seated by the kitchen, it was loud and not intimate at all). We loved Tsars main dining (the best comp dining we have had on a cruise yet), Tepanyaki, the Brazilian steak house, and the BBQs on deck. We purchased 8 specialty dining on this 14 day cruise prior to the cruise, and as the complimentary dining was so great, we probably should have purchased fewer.

Passage through the canal will be a cherished memory for the rest of our lives - truly awesome. Read a good book about the construction of the canal prior to the cruise so you can try to appreciate what a marvel it is.

The stops - we didn't care too much for Cartegena (took an NCL tour), or Acapulco (poor city has been destroyed by the crime/ gangs/ perception, etc), but loved Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatamala, and Cabo. My advice: try to book a smaller on-line tour group instead of the tours arranged by the ship (way too many people, too expensive).

We thought we might get bored with so many sea days, and a 14 day cruise - we certainly did not, I could have done it again in a hearbeat (and I am sure we will in the future).

Thank you to the crew of Jewel and to NCL for putting together the best cruise we have ever had (prior to this we have been on about ten).

fjkjr's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony

Excellent cabin - plenty of storage

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Beautiful city - stayed at a hotel prior to cruise.

City Tour

Wasted a significant amount of time waiting for the tour to be called. Felt there was way too many people, felt rushed the whole time, and spent way too much time looking at "local artisans" crafts. Truly amazing these local artisans can make thousands of exactly the same "hand made" items that look exactly the same and provide inventory for so many "local artisan" stores. These Columbian artisans are evidently busy folk. Also more expensive than some of the private tours we took on other ports.

View All 367 City Tour Reviews
Mangrove River Tour

Took the "Ten in One" tour and enjoyed every bit of it. Great tour guide - very informative. We felt we did so much in such a short period of time. The bit of the country we saw and the people were wonderful. A very different feel and experience compared to Cartegena.

View All 35 Mangrove River Tour Reviews
Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Went on a private tour through Viatar (I forget the tour company name), and it was great. Learned so much about the country, its people and politics - fascinating. We will always take smaller, private tours in the future.


What a sad city - so sad to see it fall so far from its previous splendor. One feels bad about the economic plight of the folks who used to work in a booming tourist industry (our taxi driver told us five years ago there were two ships in a week, now one a month). Even though one feels bad it is easy to get extremely annoyed at their pushy sales pitch.

We went on our own to the fort (just walk across the street), and greatly enjoyed it. We then took a taxi to the hotel (Miramar?) that hosts the cliff divers. Hint: Go early, get a good table and order their very tasty lunch and enjoy a cold beer - you will get a great view.

Cabo San Lucas

As different as night is from day, this city is that different than Acapulco. Here the tourist trade is booming, and walking around enjoying the shops and a cantina or two is a great way to enjoy a day - which is what we did (had a very short stop here).

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