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Background: My wife (25) and I (26) were on the May 22nd- 29th sailing aboard the NCL Jewel. We had zero experience with NCL as this was only our second cruise, and I must say we were spoiled on our first cruise which was RCL Liberty of the Seas (a massive ship). We chose NCL because of price, time line and the fact it left from NY. Embarkation: I live in Cherry Hill near Philadelphia, and we decided to take the bus since we did not want to pay parking and could not have someone drop us off or pick us up. We took an early bus (Bolt Bus from Cherry Hill mall). After a short taxi ride we arrived on pier around 10:45. At the time they were not letting anybody through and had a small wait. As we were there early the process to get into the terminal was quick and painless. However, we did have to wait in the terminal for about an hour before we were actually boarded. All in all it wasn't that bad as a process since we were there early. We heard the Buffet would be crowded so we went to the TSAR's to eat (will do food later). Stateroom: My wife and I are in agreement that since we are rarely in our room that instead of splurging on a balcony we save that money and put it towards the excursions or other cost of cruising. Our stateroom was in 11131 all the way at the aft of the ship. I was nervous about this as I read a lot of reviews saying that it was noisy and you can hear everything from the Garden Buffet above you. After staying in the room I must say I was glad the buffet was as close as it took me only a couple seconds to get food and eat haha. I will be honest and say you will hear some noises but you really have to be listening for them to be that bad. Like all cruise reviews it depends on the person I guess. I will add this with RCL's liberty of the seas the inside rooms are pretty big but bathrooms tiny (especially the shower). The inside room on NCL Jewel were a little small but the shower was pretty big for a cruise boat and I enjoyed that. Service: Overall service on the ship was great except for a few small bumps. We did encounter some people with poor attitudes and we immediately put in some "Dear John letters". Our main CD was Ian B. (I don't know how to spell is last name forgot), he was a great CD very funny and very engaging. I also enjoy the work of his assistant the great Bingo boy Sinan. I will add this that I did purchase the Soda plan and while it was worth it, it seems like not one server is happy when you show them that little sticker. Be prepared to wait a little bit on getting your soda or refills. Other than that service was great. Food: I understand this is a subjective topic but I will add my two cents. I thought the food was great where ever I went (Except once). I love breakfast and ate it at the garden buffet every day except the once I did the Le Bistro Brunch (more later). For all those who complained about not enough seats must have not realized that Mama's kitchen in the Aft was open for anyone to sit in (for breakfast and sometimes lunch). Of course if you go eat during the real busy times you will have trouble finding a seat for dinner. I only ate Lunch or dinner at the Garden buffet twice as my wife and I were usually too full from breakfast or because we like to enjoy the MDR and its ever changing menu. We mainly dined at the Tsars and only did Azura once (small and can get loud). Overall the menu was diverse and tasty. I liked everything I tried and my favorites by far were in desert category. If you see the peach and blueberry cobbler or the sugar free lemon pie please order double because they are spectacular. I spent a couple lunches and many late night 4th meals at the Blue Lagoon because the Buffalo wings there are amazing (recommended by fell CC members). On one of the dress up or dress down nights we chose to eat at Cagney's and although the dinner takes longer it was great food. Last but not least was the Le Bistro Brunch ($15pp cover); the buffet and salad bar were great. If you are doing this I recommend not ordering the Eggs Benedict as it is the same thing you can get upstairs in the Garden Buffet. Other than that it was well worth the extra cover. Entertainment: Overall I was quite pleased with the entertainment on board the ship. The best of all I must say was the Cirque Bijou show as the performers are quite talented. I would recommend getting there early as it fills up quick at both Shows. The same performers were in "Band on the Run" which is an entertaining flash back of songs and dance through the 70's. Jean Pierre the magician/comedian is also a must see as it was an overall pleasing performance (a lil adult humor at times but mostly above the heads of little ones). The Second City comedy group is hilarious whether at the clean night showing or their adult show later on in the night. The chocolate goddess of love was just ehh. We saw her on opening night and it was funny because she embarrassed (in good fun) 4 grown men, but we chose not to see her full show. I must say I wish the final show which makes up acts from the cruise crew lasted longer as many did ethnic dances or routines and were quite entertaining. Overall I enjoyed the secondary late night entertainment. Dancing with the Jewel Stars was a great hit as was the not so newlywed game. I thought the Quest game could be better as if you weren't on a team you weren't really involved. Make sure you get there early as seats fill up fast however, I will add this do not be like the rude people leaving the theater early just to get seats. The White hot party was a blast so make sure you bring some white to wear (you do not have to but it's all in good fun). For those worried about nickelodeon please do not. Besides witnessing one slime show you have to try to see the characters. I never once saw Dora or SpongeBob and never thought the ship was overrun with kids. Shore Excursions: Our first stop was in Port Canaveral. We had some trouble getting off the boat as the lines were held up and became a little long. Other than that it was a great experience as I chose to do the surf lessons from Ron Jon Surf academy and my wife watched/ recorded from the beach. This was an experience of the lifetime and I recommend it to all with caveat saying there is a reason why most surfers are "ripped" or in great shape. Surfing is a workout and you will get pounded by the waves and it is very tiring. Our next stop was the NCL owned island of Great Stirrup Cay. The tender process did take some time but it allowed my wife and me to sleep in a little and enjoy breakfast. The island is small and because we were doing Atlantis aqua adventure the next day we decided to just lie around and tan. The island and water were beautiful. There were not enough chairs until later in the day so we laid our towels out. I will say this and not to do with NCL but I am appalled a people general rudeness and lack of caring. People routinely stepped on our towels and trampled on our stuff even with us sitting right there. That I can get over but the lack of caring from people is sick. By the end of the day the beach was littered with trash, cigarette butts and bottles. It's a shame really. Lastly we went to Nassau Bahamas. There we decided to enjoy the day at Atlantis Aqua Adventure. We did not go through the boat; we did our own thing through comfort Suites. All I can say it was cheaper and faster than doing it through the boat. We got there a lot earlier than the people who went through NCL. Aqua Adventure was great time I especially enjoyed the rapids river as it is different and more fun than the lazy river. Debarkation: As others have said this was a mad house. I guess NCL forgot it was fleet week so we disembarked at the small pier. They were only allowing 60 people off at a time and it was a mad house. Whether walk of Color luggage tag no one was listening and everyone was getting in line to get off. This was understandable because a lot people had flights and buses (Me) to catch. The line stretched from the fwd of the ship to the Aft with people and their luggage. That line was the only long part because once in the terminal for US citizens it was pretty much grab your luggage and go. We made our bus with plenty time to spare. Overall: Great Trip, Great food, great shows, great almost everything. I enjoyed freestyle cruising. I will say that I am a fan of the bigger boats so my next NCL experience probably will be with the Epic.

Small ship but great experience overall.

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by hailmary25

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2010
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Inside
Background: My wife (25) and I (26) were on the May 22nd- 29th sailing aboard the NCL Jewel. We had zero experience with NCL as this was only our second cruise, and I must say we were spoiled on our first cruise which was RCL Liberty of the Seas (a massive ship). We chose NCL because of price, time line and the fact it left from NY.
Embarkation: I live in Cherry Hill near Philadelphia, and we decided to take the bus since we did not want to pay parking and could not have someone drop us off or pick us up. We took an early bus (Bolt Bus from Cherry Hill mall). After a short taxi ride we arrived on pier around 10:45. At the time they were not letting anybody through and had a small wait. As we were there early the process to get into the terminal was quick and painless. However, we did have to wait in the terminal for about an hour before we were actually boarded. All in all it wasn't that bad as a process since we were there early. We heard the Buffet would be crowded so we went to the TSAR's to eat (will do food later).
Stateroom: My wife and I are in agreement that since we are rarely in our room that instead of splurging on a balcony we save that money and put it towards the excursions or other cost of cruising. Our stateroom was in 11131 all the way at the aft of the ship. I was nervous about this as I read a lot of reviews saying that it was noisy and you can hear everything from the Garden Buffet above you. After staying in the room I must say I was glad the buffet was as close as it took me only a couple seconds to get food and eat haha. I will be honest and say you will hear some noises but you really have to be listening for them to be that bad. Like all cruise reviews it depends on the person I guess. I will add this with RCL's liberty of the seas the inside rooms are pretty big but bathrooms tiny (especially the shower). The inside room on NCL Jewel were a little small but the shower was pretty big for a cruise boat and I enjoyed that.
Service: Overall service on the ship was great except for a few small bumps. We did encounter some people with poor attitudes and we immediately put in some "Dear John letters". Our main CD was Ian B. (I don't know how to spell is last name forgot), he was a great CD very funny and very engaging. I also enjoy the work of his assistant the great Bingo boy Sinan. I will add this that I did purchase the Soda plan and while it was worth it, it seems like not one server is happy when you show them that little sticker. Be prepared to wait a little bit on getting your soda or refills. Other than that service was great.
Food: I understand this is a subjective topic but I will add my two cents. I thought the food was great where ever I went (Except once). I love breakfast and ate it at the garden buffet every day except the once I did the Le Bistro Brunch (more later). For all those who complained about not enough seats must have not realized that Mama's kitchen in the Aft was open for anyone to sit in (for breakfast and sometimes lunch). Of course if you go eat during the real busy times you will have trouble finding a seat for dinner. I only ate Lunch or dinner at the Garden buffet twice as my wife and I were usually too full from breakfast or because we like to enjoy the MDR and its ever changing menu. We mainly dined at the Tsars and only did Azura once (small and can get loud).
Overall the menu was diverse and tasty. I liked everything I tried and my favorites by far were in desert category. If you see the peach and blueberry cobbler or the sugar free lemon pie please order double because they are spectacular. I spent a couple lunches and many late night 4th meals at the Blue Lagoon because the Buffalo wings there are amazing (recommended by fell CC members). On one of the dress up or dress down nights we chose to eat at Cagney's and although the dinner takes longer it was great food. Last but not least was the Le Bistro Brunch ($15pp cover); the buffet and salad bar were great. If you are doing this I recommend not ordering the Eggs Benedict as it is the same thing you can get upstairs in the Garden Buffet. Other than that it was well worth the extra cover.
Entertainment: Overall I was quite pleased with the entertainment on board the ship. The best of all I must say was the Cirque Bijou show as the performers are quite talented. I would recommend getting there early as it fills up quick at both Shows. The same performers were in "Band on the Run" which is an entertaining flash back of songs and dance through the 70's. Jean Pierre the magician/comedian is also a must see as it was an overall pleasing performance (a lil adult humor at times but mostly above the heads of little ones). The Second City comedy group is hilarious whether at the clean night showing or their adult show later on in the night. The chocolate goddess of love was just ehh. We saw her on opening night and it was funny because she embarrassed (in good fun) 4 grown men, but we chose not to see her full show. I must say I wish the final show which makes up acts from the cruise crew lasted longer as many did ethnic dances or routines and were quite entertaining.
Overall I enjoyed the secondary late night entertainment. Dancing with the Jewel Stars was a great hit as was the not so newlywed game. I thought the Quest game could be better as if you weren't on a team you weren't really involved. Make sure you get there early as seats fill up fast however, I will add this do not be like the rude people leaving the theater early just to get seats. The White hot party was a blast so make sure you bring some white to wear (you do not have to but it's all in good fun).
For those worried about nickelodeon please do not. Besides witnessing one slime show you have to try to see the characters. I never once saw Dora or SpongeBob and never thought the ship was overrun with kids.
Shore Excursions: Our first stop was in Port Canaveral. We had some trouble getting off the boat as the lines were held up and became a little long. Other than that it was a great experience as I chose to do the surf lessons from Ron Jon Surf academy and my wife watched/ recorded from the beach. This was an experience of the lifetime and I recommend it to all with caveat saying there is a reason why most surfers are "ripped" or in great shape. Surfing is a workout and you will get pounded by the waves and it is very tiring.
Our next stop was the NCL owned island of Great Stirrup Cay. The tender process did take some time but it allowed my wife and me to sleep in a little and enjoy breakfast. The island is small and because we were doing Atlantis aqua adventure the next day we decided to just lie around and tan. The island and water were beautiful. There were not enough chairs until later in the day so we laid our towels out. I will say this and not to do with NCL but I am appalled a people general rudeness and lack of caring. People routinely stepped on our towels and trampled on our stuff even with us sitting right there. That I can get over but the lack of caring from people is sick. By the end of the day the beach was littered with trash, cigarette butts and bottles. It's a shame really.
Lastly we went to Nassau Bahamas. There we decided to enjoy the day at Atlantis Aqua Adventure. We did not go through the boat; we did our own thing through comfort Suites. All I can say it was cheaper and faster than doing it through the boat. We got there a lot earlier than the people who went through NCL. Aqua Adventure was great time I especially enjoyed the rapids river as it is different and more fun than the lazy river.
Debarkation: As others have said this was a mad house. I guess NCL forgot it was fleet week so we disembarked at the small pier. They were only allowing 60 people off at a time and it was a mad house. Whether walk of Color luggage tag no one was listening and everyone was getting in line to get off. This was understandable because a lot people had flights and buses (Me) to catch. The line stretched from the fwd of the ship to the Aft with people and their luggage. That line was the only long part because once in the terminal for US citizens it was pretty much grab your luggage and go. We made our bus with plenty time to spare.
Overall: Great Trip, Great food, great shows, great almost everything. I enjoyed freestyle cruising. I will say that I am a fan of the bigger boats so my next NCL experience probably will be with the Epic.
hailmary25’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IC 11131
Inside room was small but bathroom was spacious as far as cruises go. Closet space was adequate. I was right under Buffet but the noise was not as bad as people made it out to be. Overall the room was fine.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins