Norwegian Jewel April 4th, 2010
Please excuse my habit of being ALL OVER THE PLACE with my writing.
I will start by mentioning the gathering set up for the folks who were on the CruiseCritic Roll Call for this cruise. It was set up for the first day at sea, 11am, in the Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar on deck 6. NCL was very nice to work with on setting this gathering up and a class act as usual.
The Captain was on hand to greet us and we were all most pleased he took the time out of his busy schedule to be there. Officers from various departments were in attendance also. Our Cruise Director, (Ian), spent time with us and along with Tim Kaminski, comedian, we shared a few laughs and had a great time. Just after the Captain and the many officers left, the Hotel Director, John O'Hara, stopped in and spoke with us. Tim, Ian, and John stayed a good while longer and we certainly appreciated it.
The one thing I found to be the common thread among them all was the love of what they do, pride in their ship, and willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. If you walk off the ship disappointed - you likely didn't talk to John. He's everywhere all the time!
Hats off to all of them and big thank you from those CC Roll Call folks who were at the gathering. A special thank you to EL, Event's Coordinator, who contacted me on the ship and helped set up the gathering.
One last thing about CC group meetings while I on a roll. A reminder to all the folks who plan on attending such a function. Please show up and be on time. In the case on NCL, the Captain will often show. He's on time and usually has the floor first. Those arriving late are apt to miss the Captain altogether - not to mention an uneasy feeling for those who set it up when the Captain takes the time to talk to a room of two or three people. We did OK this time but there was a couple awkward moments. Also, many invitations are provided during this time for events during the cruise. You can;t get the perks if you're not there. In the case of the Jewel, the perks were good and as number of them involved the Captain, Officers, Cruise Directors and others.
Now, on to the ship and such:
This is a personal review and doesn't claim to represent CC members who may have attend the fore mentioned meeting. Again, this is my personal review. A great ship, great meals, high level of sanitation, neat everywhere and the staff were as cordial as could be. It is their ship, they are proud of it, and they are most pleased to have you aboard.
Port of Miami: Worked out well. The transportation to and from Fort Lauderdale can add up and flying into Miami would be better I suppose, but we have better airline connections to Fort Lauderdale. We went a day early and stayed in Miami. Spent some time at Bayside Market and toured downtown a bit. Embarkation as good. Folk at the desk were friendly. We got there about 12:30 and were on board by 1:30 pm. The line was long when we arrived but we kept moving along a a fair pace.
Our Itinerary was Roatan, Costa Maya, Belize and Great Stirrup Cay.
I won't go into the stops as the Jewel has now repositioned. This was the most tendering we have ever done and (3 out of 4 stops) and I will avoid that in the future. We don't mind some, but a great deal of time is spent riding to and from the ship.
We found the Tzar's Dining Room, a main dining area, to be one of the nicest we have seen in some time. The service was great, the food was very good, and it was all well presented.
The Azura Dining room is also a main dining area and a bit smaller than the Tzar's. The service was also go there though it seemed to be handled a bit different than the Tzar's. Same menu and all very well prepared and presented.
We did try Mama's Kitchen and enjoyed it very much. My wife enjoyed the decor and we ate our lunch in there from time to time. It is OK when no one is playing basketball just above it. Not an issue in the evening. Great food and wonderful table service provided by Mr. Tan. This dining room has an extra fee now. The last time we traveled with NCL this was a free/reservation option. Same was the case at Tango's. We didn't eat there but there is now a service charge as well.
The Blue Lagoon was pleasant on this ship. Good service and very good food. Most food options here are of the burger/fish and chips type. A nice change from the bigger meals.
The Garden Cafe. Most love the set up but I can never get over feeling like a ball in a real life Pin Ball machine. I guess I'm just a line service type. This is a number of stations and I never did figure it out. All the food was good and presented well at all times. I also was pleased to see wait staff helping people with special needs with their food and trays.
Cagney's Steak House. We stopped in on the last evening. Very nice location and most comfortable surroundings. We had great service from a table waitress, Mrs. Tan. The food was well presented and we certainly left with our fill. Though we had no issue at Cagney's, and we certainly enjoyed it, I'm not sure the whole presentation was far enough above the regular dining rooms that I would do it again. In fact, a few years ago we would go to get the larger cuts of beef and big Lobsters, but now there is an extra charge on top of the extra charge for these items. Again, we certainly were satisfied with the experience, just not quite what we expected based on past experience.
Overall Service: Excellent. A very good service staff who seem to take ownership and pride in their positions. The Captain, The Hotel Director, John, Cruise Director and all Staff I spoke to were always eager to please, proud of their ship, and easily accessible at any time. Even the ship's comedian, Tim, was involved with a good deal of the daily passenger contact. Great folks who we hope to meet again.
Activities: If you've cruised before you will find the usual things to see and do on the ship. All done well and by a great staff of folks. The shows were very good. The a number of acts were on tap. A comedian, Tim, who I mentioned before. A great guy and funny as well! The big shows were great. Broadway type shows with the final one involving a great deal gymnastics and rope/line/bungee work from the ceiling. Cirque Bijou as I recall.
Pool Area: Lucky us, we had about 700 kids on board with us. It was still good over all. A very nice area with a number of activities. I'm not complaining about the ship in anyway, but another pool area or adult pool/hot tub area would make this ship perfect in my book. A bit busy in the pool area throughout the whole cruise. I would have mentioned it to John, the Hotel Director, but I suspect he had more important things to do than build me another pool area.
SPA/GYM: We both used the Gym and we took advantage of the extra fee Thermal Spa. I am glad we did and enjoyed it a great deal. I would have liked the price a bit lower for the full 7 days, but I don't expect that happening anytime soon. The gym was very nice and well equiped.
We had a great time. If you plan to take and NCL cruise, the Jewel should do just fine.
Well appointed Cabin (10022)
A bit smaller than some other lines, but not a show stopper by any means.
There is a refrigerator, stocked, with a bit of room for personal items. TV, Balcony (with 2 chairs and small table), Toilet and shower area both have sliding glass doors. In room safe. One full length closet and a number of shelves. Bedside stands are just that and have no drawers or such. There is a 2 cup coffee maker in the room as well. I would suggest bottled water for a good cup.
Bed is for two and there is a small couch that makes into a bed.