This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on NCL. We were a group of 6, 4 in our late 50's and 2 "80-ish" aunties. Our overall comment on NCL is that they need to update into the technology age for their web site, their pre-cruise registration and embarkation process, provide the ability to view onboard charges from your cabin, and improve the wi-fi on the ship. That being said, it was a wonderful cruise overall.
Cabin: No surprize, NCL cabins are small, but here was plenty of storage space. The glass doored showers are hands down above most cabin showers, even in some suites! Beds were quite comfortable and bedding very nice. Towels were soft, clean, and well sized. Willie, our cabin steward, provided excellent service, brought a coffee pot the first day, and removed the items from the refrigerator as requested. We did notice the shelf above the 'mini-TV' was dusty as was the shelf in the nightstand, but otherwise the cabin was clean. Dining: We ate both in the Tsar and Azure dining rooms multiple times for dinner and found the service to be quite good, and food above average. We did request Clement in Azure as a waiter because we loved his service and personality. Breakfast was at Blue Lagoon or the buffet. We enjoyed Blue Lagoon for breakfast and lunch multiple times, but did feel a couple of the waitresses needed mood enhancers! The Garden Cafe (buffet) had a wide variety of foods that were tasty, and the crepe station every evening was definitely a favorite stop! Merwin knew my husband by sight and always knew he would go to the chocolate fountain and add chocolate to his crepes. The lobster in Tsar's was probably the best we have ever had on a ship - very tender and so tasty! We did eat at Tango's and Mama's Italian. Didn't feel Tango's was worth the cover charge - but may have been because we are used to a different taste in mexican food totally. Mama's was tasty, well presented, and enjoyed. Entertainment: We felt the entertainment was excellent in the main theater, as well as in the smaller venues throughout the ship. Cirque Bijou is amazing, Cat's Meow were wonderful, the pianists in the lounges very good, and bands in Stargazer and pool entertaining. Comedians, jugglers, hypnotists were good, usual cruise entertainment. There are multiple places on the ship to enjoy quiet time alone, read a book, enjoy the ocean, listen to music, or people watch! Excursions: our expectations of Roatan were low since we had been there 5-6 years ago and there was nothing there. However, the day at Maya Cay was so relaxing and interesting it made the stop worth getting off the ship. The veterinarians/biologists provided information about the animals, answered all questions visitor's came up with, the beach is very nice, the pool clean, and food reasonably priced and tasty. The area is still under development with projects underway to expand the island activities. We will be back in November and will visit again to see the changes. The trips on the Atlantis submarines in Aruba and Curacao were enjoyed by the aunts as were the city tours which allowed them to see many places without the long walks. In Belize, 4 of us chose to do the cave tubing and zip line combination from Island Marketing ($99/pp) and thoroughly enjoyed both. Side benefit is that it is dry season in Belize still, so no bugs! We have been there in October and mosquitos were a problem walking thru the rain forest to the caves. Snorkeling on Tortola was a highlight - we saw a 4-5 ft sand shark! In Aruba we spent time on Eagle Beach enjoying the sand and sunshine. Curacao was our shopping day and it was plenty warm! Overall: This was probably our best NCL cruise to date, and encouraged us to return to NCL again in the future. They have improved the freestyle dining significantly in 5 years, and made it a pleasant experience. The ship is lovely - the purple, teal, green, hot pink color schemes are a definite mood booster, and the huge murals on the staircases of various astrological items are interesting and beautiful. We found the decor refreshing and relaxing. Some of the staff need some customer service training - mostly the front desk! Wear armor if you have to go down to get a new cabin key - they want to make you feel incompetent if your key stops working (happened to 3 of us during the cruise). The asst cruise director (Jennie I think) has a way to go - spends too much time trying to be cute and flirt and not enough time making sure guests are comfortable and happy. We addressed that formally on the ship and received several calls from ship management apologizing for her actions and ensuring us she would be talked to about her actions.
Would we do it again? most definitely! Weather was perfect for 12 of the 13 days, and overall we felt it was above average sailing. Kudos to the Jewel!
9032 - nice balcony, very quiet room, easy to access off the elevator, nice storage, terrific bathroom!