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There were 8 people in our family group, 6 adults and two children aged 8 and 12. Previous cruise experience ranged from none to 4 cruises. None of us had been on Norwegian or the Jewel. We had 4 cabins: 11012 (SC 2 bedroom Suite) 11628 (MB Minisuite port side near stern) 11554-11156 (connecting aft-facing M1 Minisuites). All seemed quite pleased with their cabins and experienced no real noise issues. The SC was under the library, the MB under La Cucina and the M1s under Great Outdoors. Public Spaces. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink. Dining. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink. We had dinner in Tsar’s Palace once and Azura 3 times. The food was neither outstanding nor awful. A couple of our group had breakfast in Tsar’s Palace once or twice. Our first specialty dinner was in Cagney’s, no complaints. It isn’t Ruth’s Chris but pretty good for a cruise ship. Moderno was a hit, most not having eaten in a churrascaria before. Our final specialty restaurant was La Cucina, which was my favorite. Being in a suite I had breakfast in Moderno one time. If I didn’t have family with me I would have eaten there for breakfast and lunch more frequently. We didn’t make it to Le Bistro, Teppanyaki or Chin Chin. Chin Chin doesn’t take reservations and there always seemed to be a line. I liked O’Sheehan’s, had a couple of lunches there and one breakfast there. The fish and chips were good, but the corned beef hash didn’t live up to its hype. The butler brought us breakfast in our suite most days. I’m not a fan of buffets. I only had breakfast there once and it was cereal and bananas. Oddly the milk choices were whole milk and skim. I am used to seeing 2%. I didn’t find much that interested me for lunch. The pizza was not very good, even when it first came out of the oven. The crust was doughy and the sauce bland. My doctor would have liked me to have a turkey burger or a garden burger, but the sign said it would take 15 minutes to prepare. They were making paninis a couple of the days. The Cuban one was tasty, the Mexican one not so much. My wife liked the buffet a lot. Drink. We found ourselves at Magnum/Shakers/Maltings fairly frequently, nice place for a before dinner drink or for a night cap. Topsiders and the Pit Stop were the closest bars to our suite, limited selection but a quick and easy place to grab a drink for the cabin. One pet peeve was that the menus listed Bulleitt Rye but no bars had it. Twice I ordered it and saw the bartender grab the bottle of Bulleitt Bourbon. I spoke with the Beverage Manager about this, and he said he’d look into it, but it never materialized. Service. Our butler (Lazaro), concierge (Dilip) and steward (Jonex) were great. We had sent a letter in advance asking for help in setting up a brief Bon Voyage party/toast. We didn’t arrive at the port until 5 pm, and the party was set for 6:45. I had my doubts about it getting set up, having read reports that such requests are typically ignored, but everything was ready and perfect. We had to tender in Icy Strait Point because the Norwegian Joy behemoth was in port. Dilip arranged priority tendering for our entire party of eight. The bus crew in the buffet were way too intrusive, often trying to grab one’s plate before it was finished. In dining rooms, on a couple of occasions, I had my glass of San Pellegrino ($6 a bottle with gratuity) “refreshed” with iced tap water. Fitness Center. We used the Fitness Center a couple of times. There was plenty of modern well-maintained equipment. My only criticism was that there were only 4 bikes (2 upright, 2 recumbent), making them often unavailable. In another room on Deck 12 (labeled Aerobics on the deck plan) there were a large number of bikes not in use, apparently for some sort of spinning class. Based on the demand I saw, some of these should be moved the Fitness Center. Splash Academy. There weren’t a lot of kids onboard, given that school was still in session in parts of the country. Age groups were combined. Our 8-year-old granddaughter had a blast. Her 12-year-old sister went once and did not return, not being interest in hanging out with little kids. Entertainment. Stage shows are not our thing, did not attend. The lounge and pool side performers seemed talented. Cruise Director. Don’t normally care but this guy’s voice was extremely annoying. Excursions. Icy Strait Point. We did the “Wildlife and Bear Search Tour” from Alaska Shore Excursions. We were aware that May was not the best time to see bears, but we did see a few and several eagles. The tour guide was informative and entertaining. The best option in ISP may well be whale watching, but all in our group had done a whale watching tour out of Dana Point a few years earlier. We all had fun and he dropped a few of us in Hoonah on the way back. We had beers in a brewery pub and walked back to town. Juneau. “Dogsledding on Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter” This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well. Skagway. We rented two Jeeps from DIY Jeep Tours. The jeeps had CB radios to communicate back and forth, as well as audio narration. I had also purchased Murray’s Guide to the South Klondike highway. We did a round trip to Emerald Lake in the Yukon. The rental place was a bit disorganized. Make it clear when making the reservation that you want the included lunch and be aware that you are going to have to refill the tank when you are done. This took us much farther than the White Pass Railway, we saw a lot of the same scenery and were able to stop and take pictures when we wanted to. Skagway is a nice little town and much less of a tourist trap than Ketchikan or Juneau. Ketchikan. Not much to see here, lots of opportunities to separate you from your money. Creek Street is a nice photo op. We just walked around, shopped, found a dive bar. Transfers. Embarkation. This cruise was in a tight window and half of our group didn’t get into Anchorage until late the night before embarkation. The train to Seward is quite popular be it leaves way too early to suit our late arrivals. We purchased the “Anchorage to Seward Wildlife Tour & Transfer” from Alaska Shore Experts. Nice scenery and narration along the way, a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and a 5 pm arrival at the port. It suited our needs well Disembarkation. We bought the $15 transfer to the Vancouver Airport from NCL. It was awful. We stood in line in a hot room for nearly an hour waiting to board the bus. Overall. We really liked the Jewel. If we were to cruise on Norwegian again we’d definitely seek out a Jewel class ship if it were an option. I find it ironic that it is considered a small, old ship. It carries 2367 passengers and was christened in 2005. That makes it about the same size as others ships we been on (discounting the 700 passenger Adonia) and the newest ship. It looked sharp after its dry dock. The size made it not seem crowded, didn’t see any long lines (although the concierge helped a couple of times).

Best. Vacation. Ever.

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by pbenjamin

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Family Penthouse with Balcony
There were 8 people in our family group, 6 adults and two children aged 8 and 12. Previous cruise experience ranged from none to 4 cruises. None of us had been on Norwegian or the Jewel. We had 4 cabins:

11012 (SC 2 bedroom Suite)

11628 (MB Minisuite port side near stern)

11554-11156 (connecting aft-facing M1 Minisuites).

All seemed quite pleased with their cabins and experienced no real noise issues. The SC was under the library, the MB under La Cucina and the M1s under Great Outdoors.

Public Spaces. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink.

Dining. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink. We had dinner in Tsar’s Palace once and Azura 3 times. The food was neither outstanding nor awful. A couple of our group had breakfast in Tsar’s Palace once or twice. Our first specialty dinner was in Cagney’s, no complaints. It isn’t Ruth’s Chris but pretty good for a cruise ship. Moderno was a hit, most not having eaten in a churrascaria before. Our final specialty restaurant was La Cucina, which was my favorite. Being in a suite I had breakfast in Moderno one time. If I didn’t have family with me I would have eaten there for breakfast and lunch more frequently. We didn’t make it to Le Bistro, Teppanyaki or Chin Chin. Chin Chin doesn’t take reservations and there always seemed to be a line. I liked O’Sheehan’s, had a couple of lunches there and one breakfast there. The fish and chips were good, but the corned beef hash didn’t live up to its hype. The butler brought us breakfast in our suite most days. I’m not a fan of buffets. I only had breakfast there once and it was cereal and bananas. Oddly the milk choices were whole milk and skim. I am used to seeing 2%. I didn’t find much that interested me for lunch. The pizza was not very good, even when it first came out of the oven. The crust was doughy and the sauce bland. My doctor would have liked me to have a turkey burger or a garden burger, but the sign said it would take 15 minutes to prepare. They were making paninis a couple of the days. The Cuban one was tasty, the Mexican one not so much. My wife liked the buffet a lot.

Drink. We found ourselves at Magnum/Shakers/Maltings fairly frequently, nice place for a before dinner drink or for a night cap. Topsiders and the Pit Stop were the closest bars to our suite, limited selection but a quick and easy place to grab a drink for the cabin. One pet peeve was that the menus listed Bulleitt Rye but no bars had it. Twice I ordered it and saw the bartender grab the bottle of Bulleitt Bourbon. I spoke with the Beverage Manager about this, and he said he’d look into it, but it never materialized.

Service. Our butler (Lazaro), concierge (Dilip) and steward (Jonex) were great. We had sent a letter in advance asking for help in setting up a brief Bon Voyage party/toast. We didn’t arrive at the port until 5 pm, and the party was set for 6:45. I had my doubts about it getting set up, having read reports that such requests are typically ignored, but everything was ready and perfect. We had to tender in Icy Strait Point because the Norwegian Joy behemoth was in port. Dilip arranged priority tendering for our entire party of eight. The bus crew in the buffet were way too intrusive, often trying to grab one’s plate before it was finished. In dining rooms, on a couple of occasions, I had my glass of San Pellegrino ($6 a bottle with gratuity) “refreshed” with iced tap water.

Fitness Center. We used the Fitness Center a couple of times. There was plenty of modern well-maintained equipment. My only criticism was that there were only 4 bikes (2 upright, 2 recumbent), making them often unavailable. In another room on Deck 12 (labeled Aerobics on the deck plan) there were a large number of bikes not in use, apparently for some sort of spinning class. Based on the demand I saw, some of these should be moved the Fitness Center.

Splash Academy. There weren’t a lot of kids onboard, given that school was still in session in parts of the country. Age groups were combined. Our 8-year-old granddaughter had a blast. Her 12-year-old sister went once and did not return, not being interest in hanging out with little kids.

Entertainment. Stage shows are not our thing, did not attend. The lounge and pool side performers seemed talented.

Cruise Director. Don’t normally care but this guy’s voice was extremely annoying.

Excursions.

Icy Strait Point. We did the “Wildlife and Bear Search Tour” from Alaska Shore Excursions. We were aware that May was not the best time to see bears, but we did see a few and several eagles. The tour guide was informative and entertaining. The best option in ISP may well be whale watching, but all in our group had done a whale watching tour out of Dana Point a few years earlier. We all had fun and he dropped a few of us in Hoonah on the way back. We had beers in a brewery pub and walked back to town.

Juneau. “Dogsledding on Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter” This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well.

Skagway. We rented two Jeeps from DIY Jeep Tours. The jeeps had CB radios to communicate back and forth, as well as audio narration. I had also purchased Murray’s Guide to the South Klondike highway. We did a round trip to Emerald Lake in the Yukon. The rental place was a bit disorganized. Make it clear when making the reservation that you want the included lunch and be aware that you are going to have to refill the tank when you are done. This took us much farther than the White Pass Railway, we saw a lot of the same scenery and were able to stop and take pictures when we wanted to. Skagway is a nice little town and much less of a tourist trap than Ketchikan or Juneau.

Ketchikan. Not much to see here, lots of opportunities to separate you from your money. Creek Street is a nice photo op. We just walked around, shopped, found a dive bar.

Transfers.

Embarkation. This cruise was in a tight window and half of our group didn’t get into Anchorage until late the night before embarkation. The train to Seward is quite popular be it leaves way too early to suit our late arrivals. We purchased the “Anchorage to Seward Wildlife Tour & Transfer” from Alaska Shore Experts. Nice scenery and narration along the way, a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and a 5 pm arrival at the port. It suited our needs well

Disembarkation. We bought the $15 transfer to the Vancouver Airport from NCL. It was awful. We stood in line in a hot room for nearly an hour waiting to board the bus.

Overall. We really liked the Jewel. If we were to cruise on Norwegian again we’d definitely seek out a Jewel class ship if it were an option. I find it ironic that it is considered a small, old ship. It carries 2367 passengers and was christened in 2005. That makes it about the same size as others ships we been on (discounting the 700 passenger Adonia) and the newest ship. It looked sharp after its dry dock. The size made it not seem crowded, didn’t see any long lines (although the concierge helped a couple of times).
pbenjamin’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin SC 11012
The suite was great. We had been in a larger suite in the past but this was nicely furnished and well organized. The bed in the second bedroom, with an egg crate pad, was quite comfortable. The location worked well for us, not far from the pool area, the buffer, the fitness center just up a few flights from the Magnums/Martini/Maltings bar complex. The service was great (see below). Going forward, this is the way we will travel. Quirks; the door on the second bedroom locks when closed and you need your key card to reopen it. It is possible to be locked out of it... With the light on in the shower you are visible from the balcony of the adjacent mini-suite.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Wildlife Tour
    We did the "Wildlife and Bear Search Tour" from Alaska Shore Excursions. We were aware that May was not the best time to see bears, but we did see a few and several eagles. The tour guide was informative and entertaining. The best option in ISP may well be whale watching, but all in our group had done a whale watching tour out of Dana Point a few years earlier. We all had fun and he dropped a few of us in Hoonah on the way back. We had beers in a brewery pub and walked back to town.
    View All 63 Wildlife Tour Reviews
  • Dog Sledding
    This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well.
    View All 147 Dog Sledding Reviews
  • Helicopter Tour
    This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well.
    View All 120 Helicopter Tour Reviews
  • Mendenhall Glacier
    This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well.
    View All 870 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
  • Ketchikan
    Not much to see here, lots of opportunities to separate you from your money. Creek Street is a nice photo op. We just walked around, shopped, found a dive bar.
    View All 1,754 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ketchikan Cruise Port Review
  • Jeep Tour
    The jeeps had CB radios to communicate back and forth, as well as audio narration. I had also purchased Murray's Guide to the South Klondike highway. We did a round trip to Emerald Lake in the Yukon. The rental place was a bit disorganized. Make it clear when making the reservation that you want the included lunch and be aware that you are going to have to refill the tank when you are done. This took us much farther than the White Pass Railway, we saw a lot of the same scenery and were able to stop and take pictures when we wanted to. Skagway is a nice little town and much less of a tourist trap than Ketchikan or Juneau.
    View All 22 Jeep Tour Reviews