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For background, we have cruised Disney, Royal Caribbean and most recently the NCL Getaway all Caribbean destinations so we were excited to try Alaska. We are generally easy to please people, we go with the flow.My expectations were not high for the Jewel based on some of the reviews, but we had a great deal and went with it. The fact that we had fabulous weather helped, not a drop of rain on our whole Alaska trip! Everyone said that was highly unusual. Pre-Cruise: We flew in the night before, stayed at The Roosevelt Hotel and decided to explore Seattle the morning of the cruise. We liked Seattle a lot, we mostly spent our time in the Pike’s Market area. We had a fantastic salmon/avocado/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich at the Rub With Love Shack. We then walked back to the hotel and took Uber to the cruise port around 12:30pm. Embarkation: I didn’t print enough luggage tags so we paid a porter to get us a couple tags and take our luggage away, very much worth the $5-10 to avoid the lines. Once inside there was no wait at the Casino At Sea line or Lattitudes line. We checked in and got right on board. Room: The ship is older but it was surprisingly clean and kept up well, and I loved the “Jewel tone” colors. The only exception would be the carpet in our stateroom, it was pretty worn. I know the ship is scheduled for a dry dock, so hopefully this will be part of it. We had an inside room for the first time, besides not knowing if it’s day or night it wasn’t bad. We would do it again. There was a lot of storage and the bathroom shower was a decent size. The legroom by the toilet was a bit tight and we aren’t big people. Our room steward Paola was great, she came twice a day always with a smile and kept us stocked with towels. Not having enough towels is our one pet peeve, but we had plenty of towels the whole trip so we were happy. We are easy to please. She also cleaned the bathroom with bleach, loved that as well. Like other NCL ships, the TV programming isn’t the best, not many choices. However they do have 2 movie channels for free which play some new movies (Beauty and The Beast, Kong: Skull Island). We brought along some of those battery tea lights from the Dollar Store, this was a good idea for a nightlight. We also bring those magnetic hooks for hanging things. Pool Deck: This was a huge improvement over The Getaway ship. There were 2 good sized pools plus a smaller kids area. They never seemed overly crowded and the pool deck was fun without the obnoxious games or drunk people. There is only 1 waterslide which was for small kids though, nothing for older kids. This was fine with me since I wasn’t traveling with kids, but if I was I’m not sure I would take this ship. There didn’t seem to be too much for them to do. Food and Drink: I was also surprised here. We liked the food at the buffet especially the Indian food and salmon choices. My hubby is Indian so we were able to get our fix of Indian food during the entire cruise. They also had a nice Mexican night which we enjoyed. We ate at Tzar dining room mostly since we didn’t like Azure, ceilings were very low and it was darkish, we prefer open and airy. Service was always good and attentive, they are quick to take your plate no matter where we were. Food always came out warm, we didn’t have cold food like others have posted. I think I ate different types of fish every night, it was delicious. A few times they brought out the big charcoal grills onto the pool deck for BBQs, we saw salmon, chicken, beef and pork. We didn’t see this on the Getaway. The layout of the buffet was better as well, I didn’t like the big horseshoe shape of the buffet on Getaway. At the back of the buffet is a nice outdoor area to sit and eat with a beautiful view. We thought the desserts were also better on this ship (especially on the buffet), not sure why though. This time we took the drink package and certainly used it and got our money worth. I found that drinks such as martinis or rocks drinks were much stronger then the fruity drinks. I never got the drink of the day, often they came out of a pre made mix. Employees: Here is really where the Jewel shined. Everyone had a smile, I think the tone was set by Captain Pelle. He was very personable, we often saw him out and about talking with people, taking pictures, joking, and even greeted us getting back on the ship once. I haven’t really seen that on other ships but I have limited experience. The cruise director Richard was great, always out and about as well, very energetic and fun. Always someone to take your drink orders. Shows: We caught the Cirque show, one other “dance” type show, and the Tina Turner show. We liked them all. You would think Tina was with you! I don’t usually do the comedy or magic shows so we skipped those. Activities: From what I remember we watched ice carving, fruit carving, officer and captain Q&A, entertainment crew Q&A. Those are the types of things I like, we skipped bingo, deal or no deal, game shows. We had Thermal Spa passes and this was divine! The spa is old, still has the 80s seafoam green motif going on and is a little worn. I hope this will be revamped during dry dock. But anyway, there is a steam room (scent didn’t work in womens), sauna, cold pool, hot tubs, relaxation areas. Those heated loungers made me fall asleep. On the first day we were the only ones in there. I heard they didn’t sell a lot of passes so it was never crowded. We often found ourselves heading to the Spinnaker lounge to sit on these comfy chairs and watch the ocean with its panoramic view. It had a great vantage point with glass all around. We saw some whales, a seal, and (I think) pod of dolphins swimming by. There were a few nights we were so tired from being out all day that we went to bed pretty early so we wouldn’t be dead getting up early the next morning. We are not generally early morning people. Ports: Ketchikan: We took an early bus up to Totem Bight. This was much smaller and not much of a “hike” as I had hoped but it was pretty. We then had to decide between Rainbird trail and Creek St/downtown. We opted for Creek St/downtown. We only saw maybe 10 salmon in the creek, but did see eagles. We enjoyed all the shops and general atmosphere of the place. Things were cheaper here, the Glacier soap was less here than in Juneau. Juneau: We bugged out early again ~7:30 and took a taxi straight to Mendenhall glacier. It was nice to get there a little before the tours. Saw a bear with 2 cubs on the roadside. We saw many more red salmon in the stream there and more eagles. Hiked down to Nugget Falls which was fabulous! We ended up taking the blue bus back and walked around town for a bit. We then boarded the small boat tour for Endicott Arm and Daws glacier. We got pretty close to the glacier and saw some calving. This was a great day for us but we were pooped after all that. Skagway: We took the Dyea Dave tour to the Emerald Lake. This was very enjoyable, stopped at waterfalls, a small desert, and again saw a bear with 3 cubs on the road. We had to drop people at the train on the way back and it was late, so this ate up some of our shopping time in town. The guide was great and knowledgable about the area. Victoria: We got off the ship and took a Pedi-Cab tour for 2.5 hours. It was really good, we saw lots of beautiful gardens at Beacon Hill Park, fed a peacock, and got lots of history from the guide. We had plenty of time to explore downtown and Fishermans Wharf. We wanted to do Butchart Gardens but then we wouldn’t have much time for anything else. We were happy with the gardens at Beacon Hill though. We took a nice walk back to the ship. Disembarkment: We had an early flight (11:00am) so we lined up for early walk off at 7:15. The line started moving at 7:53 and off we went. We heard some yelling up front, I think people were trying to squeeze in the line from the atrium area. Security came and took care of that, some people were in line a long time and were not having any of that nonsense. We took Lyft to the airport which was very quick. Checking into Jetblue was easy, no line. Security lines were a bit long, it took about 25 minutes to get through but we still had plenty of time to spare before our uneventful flight back home.

Jewel to Alaska Review - Good Trip!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by KarimaJ

31 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Inside
For background, we have cruised Disney, Royal Caribbean and most recently the NCL Getaway all Caribbean destinations so we were excited to try Alaska. We are generally easy to please people, we go with the flow.My expectations were not high for the Jewel based on some of the reviews, but we had a great deal and went with it. The fact that we had fabulous weather helped, not a drop of rain on our whole Alaska trip! Everyone said that was highly unusual.

Pre-Cruise:

We flew in the night before, stayed at The Roosevelt Hotel and decided to explore Seattle the morning of the cruise. We liked Seattle a lot, we mostly spent our time in the Pike’s Market area. We had a fantastic salmon/avocado/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich at the Rub With Love Shack. We then walked back to the hotel and took Uber to the cruise port around 12:30pm.

Embarkation:

I didn’t print enough luggage tags so we paid a porter to get us a couple tags and take our luggage away, very much worth the $5-10 to avoid the lines. Once inside there was no wait at the Casino At Sea line or Lattitudes line. We checked in and got right on board.

Room: The ship is older but it was surprisingly clean and kept up well, and I loved the “Jewel tone” colors. The only exception would be the carpet in our stateroom, it was pretty worn. I know the ship is scheduled for a dry dock, so hopefully this will be part of it. We had an inside room for the first time, besides not knowing if it’s day or night it wasn’t bad. We would do it again. There was a lot of storage and the bathroom shower was a decent size. The legroom by the toilet was a bit tight and we aren’t big people. Our room steward Paola was great, she came twice a day always with a smile and kept us stocked with towels. Not having enough towels is our one pet peeve, but we had plenty of towels the whole trip so we were happy. We are easy to please. She also cleaned the bathroom with bleach, loved that as well. Like other NCL ships, the TV programming isn’t the best, not many choices. However they do have 2 movie channels for free which play some new movies (Beauty and The Beast, Kong: Skull Island). We brought along some of those battery tea lights from the Dollar Store, this was a good idea for a nightlight. We also bring those magnetic hooks for hanging things.

Pool Deck:

This was a huge improvement over The Getaway ship. There were 2 good sized pools plus a smaller kids area. They never seemed overly crowded and the pool deck was fun without the obnoxious games or drunk people. There is only 1 waterslide which was for small kids though, nothing for older kids. This was fine with me since I wasn’t traveling with kids, but if I was I’m not sure I would take this ship. There didn’t seem to be too much for them to do.

Food and Drink:

I was also surprised here. We liked the food at the buffet especially the Indian food and salmon choices. My hubby is Indian so we were able to get our fix of Indian food during the entire cruise. They also had a nice Mexican night which we enjoyed. We ate at Tzar dining room mostly since we didn’t like Azure, ceilings were very low and it was darkish, we prefer open and airy. Service was always good and attentive, they are quick to take your plate no matter where we were. Food always came out warm, we didn’t have cold food like others have posted. I think I ate different types of fish every night, it was delicious. A few times they brought out the big charcoal grills onto the pool deck for BBQs, we saw salmon, chicken, beef and pork. We didn’t see this on the Getaway. The layout of the buffet was better as well, I didn’t like the big horseshoe shape of the buffet on Getaway. At the back of the buffet is a nice outdoor area to sit and eat with a beautiful view. We thought the desserts were also better on this ship (especially on the buffet), not sure why though.

This time we took the drink package and certainly used it and got our money worth. I found that drinks such as martinis or rocks drinks were much stronger then the fruity drinks. I never got the drink of the day, often they came out of a pre made mix.

Employees: Here is really where the Jewel shined. Everyone had a smile, I think the tone was set by Captain Pelle. He was very personable, we often saw him out and about talking with people, taking pictures, joking, and even greeted us getting back on the ship once. I haven’t really seen that on other ships but I have limited experience. The cruise director Richard was great, always out and about as well, very energetic and fun. Always someone to take your drink orders.

Shows:

We caught the Cirque show, one other “dance” type show, and the Tina Turner show. We liked them all. You would think Tina was with you! I don’t usually do the comedy or magic shows so we skipped those.

Activities:

From what I remember we watched ice carving, fruit carving, officer and captain Q&A, entertainment crew Q&A. Those are the types of things I like, we skipped bingo, deal or no deal, game shows. We had Thermal Spa passes and this was divine! The spa is old, still has the 80s seafoam green motif going on and is a little worn. I hope this will be revamped during dry dock. But anyway, there is a steam room (scent didn’t work in womens), sauna, cold pool, hot tubs, relaxation areas. Those heated loungers made me fall asleep. On the first day we were the only ones in there. I heard they didn’t sell a lot of passes so it was never crowded. We often found ourselves heading to the Spinnaker lounge to sit on these comfy chairs and watch the ocean with its panoramic view. It had a great vantage point with glass all around. We saw some whales, a seal, and (I think) pod of dolphins swimming by.

There were a few nights we were so tired from being out all day that we went to bed pretty early so we wouldn’t be dead getting up early the next morning. We are not generally early morning people.

Ports:

Ketchikan: We took an early bus up to Totem Bight. This was much smaller and not much of a “hike” as I had hoped but it was pretty. We then had to decide between Rainbird trail and Creek St/downtown. We opted for Creek St/downtown. We only saw maybe 10 salmon in the creek, but did see eagles. We enjoyed all the shops and general atmosphere of the place. Things were cheaper here, the Glacier soap was less here than in Juneau.

Juneau: We bugged out early again ~7:30 and took a taxi straight to Mendenhall glacier. It was nice to get there a little before the tours. Saw a bear with 2 cubs on the roadside. We saw many more red salmon in the stream there and more eagles. Hiked down to Nugget Falls which was fabulous! We ended up taking the blue bus back and walked around town for a bit. We then boarded the small boat tour for Endicott Arm and Daws glacier. We got pretty close to the glacier and saw some calving. This was a great day for us but we were pooped after all that.

Skagway: We took the Dyea Dave tour to the Emerald Lake. This was very enjoyable, stopped at waterfalls, a small desert, and again saw a bear with 3 cubs on the road. We had to drop people at the train on the way back and it was late, so this ate up some of our shopping time in town. The guide was great and knowledgable about the area.

Victoria: We got off the ship and took a Pedi-Cab tour for 2.5 hours. It was really good, we saw lots of beautiful gardens at Beacon Hill Park, fed a peacock, and got lots of history from the guide. We had plenty of time to explore downtown and Fishermans Wharf. We wanted to do Butchart Gardens but then we wouldn’t have much time for anything else. We were happy with the gardens at Beacon Hill though. We took a nice walk back to the ship.

Disembarkment: We had an early flight (11:00am) so we lined up for early walk off at 7:15. The line started moving at 7:53 and off we went. We heard some yelling up front, I think people were trying to squeeze in the line from the atrium area. Security came and took care of that, some people were in line a long time and were not having any of that nonsense. We took Lyft to the airport which was very quick. Checking into Jetblue was easy, no line. Security lines were a bit long, it took about 25 minutes to get through but we still had plenty of time to spare before our uneventful flight back home.
KarimaJ’s Full Rating Summary
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