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I never thought I would say it but I've just been on a cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it. My perception had always been that cruising was all about formal dining, cocktail parties, fancy dresses and diner jackets - not my scene at all. I'm pleased to report that on this, our first cruise with Norwegian, we found something of the highest quality but altogether more relaxed. We would definitely cruise with them again. We started with a couple of days in Anchorage and were blessed with some wonderful weather which enabled us to explore the downtown area where there is plenty to see and do. Must see attractions included the Anchorage Museum (at the Rasmuson Centre) and the outdoor market on West 3rd Avenue (opposite the Hilton and weekends only) - not often you get the choice of salmon taco or reindeer burrito! From Captain Cook's monument there were some great views across Cook Inlet towards Mt. McKinley. Top tip: breakfast in the hotels is expensive so head out to one of the many diners in town. The transfer to Seward cruise port is a minimum of 3 hours by coach or train. We chose a full day excursion with an informative and entertaining commentary by Alaska Cruise Transfers. Route included some stunning scenery and included lengthy stops at a wildlife refuge (black and brown bears, musk ox, caribou, bison, moose, wolves etc) and at Exit Glacier (where we saw bears and eagles in the wild) - highly recommended. There was a small queue at embarkation for initial check-in but thereafter getting on and off the ship in ports was extremely slick and straightforward (never took more than a couple of minutes). Our bags were delivered direct to our room and arrived within the allotted time. Key things about the cruise itself: - Level of cleanliness and service throughout was first class - Balcony cabin was spacious, in good condition and cleaned daily - amazingly quiet and very effective aircon - Multiple dining options - no queuing or standing on ceremony - just turn up and eat - Main buffet restaurant was busy but the other restaurants included in the basic package were great - friendly waiter service at the contemporary Azura, chinese Chin Chin, traditional Tsars Palace and the Irish Pub - food was all top end restaurant standard - Several speciality restaurants for additional cost - we tried the Moderna Brazilian which was excellent and kept us entertained all evening - Decor a little dated but all in good condition - understand a refit planned this October - As ever drinks can be pricey - we had an inclusive package 'free' as part of the deal - would have been $89/day if bought on board - tea, coffee and bottled water also expensive but can be found for free most of the day in the Garden Cafe - The shows in the main theatre were surprisingly high quality and up with what we would find in nearby Manchester (UK) - band, singers, and acrobats all very impressive - different show each night - Otherwise we spotted nearly 50 activities on board each day; games shows, spa, shops, casino, club for teenagers, dance, art auctions etc etc - There is a pretty relentless (but never overly pushy) drive to get you to spend once on board with various promotions for art, jewellery, excursions, raffles, future cruises etc - would be easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment - Can't comment on facilities for kids as we didn't have any with us BUT the real star was the scenery. Snow capped mountains, glaciers running into the sea, narrow straits, endless forests, 4 ports en route all with something to offer. Trips were of a good standard but seemed expensive to me - at most ports it was possible to head out on a self-guided tour.

Far exceeded our expectations; excellent dining choices, entertainment & service

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by MikeHaydock

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
I never thought I would say it but I've just been on a cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it. My perception had always been that cruising was all about formal dining, cocktail parties, fancy dresses and diner jackets - not my scene at all. I'm pleased to report that on this, our first cruise with Norwegian, we found something of the highest quality but altogether more relaxed. We would definitely cruise with them again.

We started with a couple of days in Anchorage and were blessed with some wonderful weather which enabled us to explore the downtown area where there is plenty to see and do. Must see attractions included the Anchorage Museum (at the Rasmuson Centre) and the outdoor market on West 3rd Avenue (opposite the Hilton and weekends only) - not often you get the choice of salmon taco or reindeer burrito! From Captain Cook's monument there were some great views across Cook Inlet towards Mt. McKinley. Top tip: breakfast in the hotels is expensive so head out to one of the many diners in town.

The transfer to Seward cruise port is a minimum of 3 hours by coach or train. We chose a full day excursion with an informative and entertaining commentary by Alaska Cruise Transfers. Route included some stunning scenery and included lengthy stops at a wildlife refuge (black and brown bears, musk ox, caribou, bison, moose, wolves etc) and at Exit Glacier (where we saw bears and eagles in the wild) - highly recommended.

There was a small queue at embarkation for initial check-in but thereafter getting on and off the ship in ports was extremely slick and straightforward (never took more than a couple of minutes). Our bags were delivered direct to our room and arrived within the allotted time.

Key things about the cruise itself:

- Level of cleanliness and service throughout was first class

- Balcony cabin was spacious, in good condition and cleaned daily - amazingly quiet and very effective aircon

- Multiple dining options - no queuing or standing on ceremony - just turn up and eat

- Main buffet restaurant was busy but the other restaurants included in the basic package were great - friendly waiter service at the contemporary Azura, chinese Chin Chin, traditional Tsars Palace and the Irish Pub - food was all top end restaurant standard

- Several speciality restaurants for additional cost - we tried the Moderna Brazilian which was excellent and kept us entertained all evening

- Decor a little dated but all in good condition - understand a refit planned this October

- As ever drinks can be pricey - we had an inclusive package 'free' as part of the deal - would have been $89/day if bought on board - tea, coffee and bottled water also expensive but can be found for free most of the day in the Garden Cafe

- The shows in the main theatre were surprisingly high quality and up with what we would find in nearby Manchester (UK) - band, singers, and acrobats all very impressive - different show each night

- Otherwise we spotted nearly 50 activities on board each day; games shows, spa, shops, casino, club for teenagers, dance, art auctions etc etc

- There is a pretty relentless (but never overly pushy) drive to get you to spend once on board with various promotions for art, jewellery, excursions, raffles, future cruises etc - would be easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment

- Can't comment on facilities for kids as we didn't have any with us

BUT the real star was the scenery. Snow capped mountains, glaciers running into the sea, narrow straits, endless forests, 4 ports en route all with something to offer. Trips were of a good standard but seemed expensive to me - at most ports it was possible to head out on a self-guided tour.
MikeHaydock’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 10572
- Balcony cabin was spacious, in good condition and cleaned daily - amazingly quiet and very effective aircon - level of cleaniness first rate
- plenty of space for 2 on the balcony
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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