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We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time! Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too. Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable. We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good. The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good. O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner. The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT. We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad. At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos. Service at the fee based dining was wonderful. I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again. The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days. The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou. On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather. We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth. The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar). The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun. Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth. Luggage management was efficient and fast. The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there. Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change.

Fantastic for families with young children

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Indigofuse

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Family Balcony
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier.

I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time!

Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too.

Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable.

We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good.

The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good.

O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner.

The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT.

We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad.

At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos.

Service at the fee based dining was wonderful.

I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again.

The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days.

The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou.

On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather.

We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth.

The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar).

The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun.

Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth.

Luggage management was efficient and fast.

The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there.

Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change.
Indigofuse’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Balcony
Cabin B2 9640
Spacious cabin with ample and efficient storage, and decently sized bathroom. The toilet stall was a bit small. It was a quiet cabin although we could hear our neighbor in the connecting room when they were speaking loudly, almost shouting. The main bed was comfortable while the pullout sofa bed was quite hard. There was also a 4th pullout bed but we didn't need to use it.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins