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Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,389 Reviews

First Time Cruisers - Good Experience on NCL Jewel/Haven

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by buckeyetricia

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Courtyard Villa with Balcony

Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Musher’s Camp (our favorite) and Zip-Lining In Skagway, and Lumberjack Show and Electrics Buggies in Ketchikan. Cagney’s was our favorite. Also loved The Garden Buffet and Sheehan’s Pub. Not as fond of Teppanyaki. Generally – food was good.fresh, with a variety of choices including fruit and veggies. All of our staff encounters were positive - everywhere. Hand sanitizer used everywhere. We liked the suite and thought NCL did a good job at finding space for storage throughout all spaces. Embarkations in Vancouver was well thought out and smooth, though prepare for lines. Disembarkation in Seward was managed well, too. Some cons to note: sports court was disappointing, and any outdoor activities were limited, including shuffle board, ping pong, and golfing after around 6pm. Huge checkerboard on deck, no pieces in container. Pools were ok but not used much given temperatures. Arcade premium pass is expensive – if you choose to play games without, they run about $1.50 per game, give or take. There are a limited number of games one can pla using the package. Several are still pay to play. Great entertainment. Loved the dinner and adult drink packages. Wouldn’t do soda for kids again given that ours don’t drink much, and there is complimentary lemonade and iced tea at most places. Bottled water is overpriced, and none of us got sick with drinking the water onboard. NCL needs to add specialty coffee drinks to their premium drink package like Princess. And laundry - they did offer a bundled laundry mid cruise for $20 - anything you could fit in their laundry bag. It took two days to get it back. Great first cruise - would go again if we found the right deal.

buckeyetricia's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Villa with Balcony
Cabin H4 14XXX

Overall - very happy with the suite. When you enter, the smaller one of the two bedrooms is right inside the door. Inside this room, the closet/storage space is on one side and a small 3 piece bathroom is on the other. Small, but it had everything you could need. 2-3 steps past that is the room itself. The top bunk bed pulls down from the wall (ladder stored in closet). We left it down for the duration of the cruise. Under that, perpendicular direction to the top bed, is a couch. It sits flush to the back wall, but when turned, it opens up to another bed. We left this open too. In the corner underneath the top beds is a TV. Room has a hairdryer, too. Small room but we spent most of our time outside of the cabin.

Past this room, you walk into a small common space. Small counter, with a cabinet that has coffee/wine glasses, Keurig type machine, cruise use telephone, ice bucket. Small table for four. Then a small couch (probably could be used for a bed), little table and wall mounted TV. Past that is the balcony - seemed smaller than I thought, but great for viewing.

Off to one side is the second room/bathroom. Going through the door, the bedroom is on the right. Separating this area from the large-ish 5-piece bathroom is a heavy curtain. The bedroom has a little nightstand on each side, a phone, a cabinet that’s on an angle, with another TV underneath it. Small, yes, but it had everything we needed, and we had no problems maneuvering to get to the bed.

The master bath has two sinks and a vanity area on one side, and a decent amount of closet space and drawers, a toilet in an enclosed space (clear striped door), and a shower with multiple heads on the opposite side. The shower door is also clear. There is a window in the shower that faces out, with people walking below. But, there is a light shade to pull down for coverage - though I don’t think anyone can clearly see you. Also in the bathroom, along the outside wall, with balcony visible, is a beautiful tub. Same deal with window facing out and shade. Hairdryer in a drawer, lots of nice little toiletries.

The four of us each had a suitcase and a backpack. We unpacked everything at the start of the cruise and were able to store suitcases away. We actually thought that, given space constraints, NCL did a good job making good use of nooks and crannies for storage.

We heard the ship was renovated Nov 2018, and our room was still in great shape.

We liked that our cabin was not near the Haven’s pool/hot tub place. A fair bit of foot traffic made carpet in the hallway near that general area a little damp. Not soaking, just damp.

Haven courtyard has a sauna, hot tub and small pool surrounded by chair/ottomans combos. There was also a space for eating breakfast and lunch (same lunch and breakfast menu used at Moderno for Haven guests), with a courtyard valet who took and served orders. Nice coffee station with (typically) pastries and fruit in the morning, cookies in the afternoon. This food station is cleared away at night. The ceiling is a retractable roof, though it's kept closed during cold temperatures.

Upstairs, Deck 15, there is a Haven sun deck, for 16 and older. For AK, it didn't get much use except when the ship took us to see glaciers. There are chairs all over, and there are a few "cabana" type structures that would be great when the sun is out. Part of Deck 15 has private, walled off space for the two largest 3-bedroom suites.

Elevator to get to Haven suites is mid-ship only, key access. You can also go to deck 13 (mid) and walk up a flight of stairs to key access entry.

Haven staff - honestly, all NCL staff everywhere we went - was wonderful. For Haven, there was a concierge who seemed to run the show. We saw him for key things that applied to all Haven guest. The other three we met several times a day, in passing or with requests - a butler, housekeeping and the courtyard valet). Top notch all three of them.

Enjoyed our family time on this ship and in our cabin!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


The system is well thought out. With a couple of cruises leaving the same day, there were lines, but they kept them moving well.

Lumberjack Show

It's a crowded show, with lines to get in - but it was well worth it. Humorous competition between a couple of US and Canadian lumberjacks was a great way to learn more about all that this trade entails. Would recommend without hesitation.

View All 333 Lumberjack Show Reviews

A young man who grew up in Ketchikan gave the tour. He was clearly passionate about this area, and he shared many personal experiences. We were lucky and had a gorgeous sun-filled day. Be prepared for rain. Tour lasted about 2.25 hours - covered some beautiful scenery in a small area of the temperate rain forest. Most delicious pancakes served, too.

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Mendenhall Glacier

We took a tour that combined whale watching with a trip out to Mendenhall Glacier. We had about an hour to spend here, and it's important to note that one of the hikes is about 45 minutes. This one gets you a little closer to the glacier. There is a short hike for photo opportunities. Overall, this piece of the entire excursion was short, and it didn't compare to the glaciers we saw on board the ship.

View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Whale Watching

We took a tour that combined whale watching with a trip out to Mendenhall Glacier. One of the crew was a naturalist and quite knowledgeable about whales and the area. His commentary was well received - just the right amount. Upstairs is mostly standing room only outside, with limited seating indoors. Downstairs is all indoors. Nice snack bar. Saw many humpback whales. Recommend without hesitation.

View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Dog Sledding

Our favorite - and not because of the puppies! Great ride out from port with commentary about Skagway's history. Beautiful scenery everywhere. Musher's Camp was well planned for visitors. Dog/Carriage ride was awesome! Learning about the intense training mushers do was interesting. Meeting puppies was a bonus. Nice little store. Recommend without hesitation.

View All 163 Dog Sledding Reviews

Our excursion was called LAST FRONTIER ZIPLINE & ADVENTURE PARK. For two older parents and teens - we all enjoyed this! We had two guides and a third gal finishin up training. Colton and Andy B were great with both ages groups, and incredibly patient with guest nerves. Recommend without hesitation.

View All 57 Ziplining Reviews
Glacier Bay

Cruise driven tour of some key glaciers. Absolutely stunning. NCL maneuvered the ship at different angles so that all guests got an up front view.

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