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Norwegian Jewel Review

Panama Canal amazing experience!

Review for the Panama Canal & Central America Cruise on Norwegian Jewel
6-10 Cruises • Age 40s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Jan 2023
Cabin: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony


We were on a repositioning itinerary from 7-night Mexican Riviera to Panama Canal. We selected this cruise because we would visit some different countries while traveling towards the canal. The following itineraries will be in the southern Caribbean, but still with a Panama Canal crossing. There were only about 1500 passengers onboard, so it was much easier than normal to reserve a specialty dining restaurant (more later). We were scheduled to visit Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. When we boarded, there was a note that we would not be calling in Nicaragua. Many people were disappointed, and several people asked about this during the Q&A sessions with the senior crew members. The officers present did their best to answer the questions.

Dining (Complimentary)

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony

Our cabin was spacious and comfortable. We had a decent-sized balcony and used it often on the at-sea days for peaceful relaxation. There was room for two people to change clothes without running into each other. The cabin had a sofabed with a screen, so we could have had 1 or 2 more people in the room. The bathroom had sufficient space for two. However, I wondered who thought of the shower drain design, which was at the forward end of the shower stall. It did not drain well on its own, so we had to try to push the excess water into the drain with our feet.

If you can get a higher-level stateroom for a good price or with an upgrade, I’d recommend it. On our last cruse on the Jewel, we bid on an upgrade to an aft-facing penthouse with a larger balcony that had butler service. That was even better!

Port Reviews

Cabo San Lucas

A bit touristy around the marina. We tendered in, and things went smoothly. We took a sailboat excursion and walked around the town a bit. Lots of people made the journey to Cabo Wabo, but we didn't feel the need to do that.


We liked the boat excursion to watch a private cliff diver show. Didn't do much else, as it felt inconvenient to go shopping and worry about return transportation. The town is pretty spread out, and you'd need to organize a tour or other transportation that you could count on.

The old locks were amazing. I loved that the 100-year-old design was still working with original equipment. We went back after the cruise to the visitor center and to the museum in Panama City.

Puerto Vallarta

One of our favorite places to visit in Mexico. We walked around on our own after taking a taxi into town. The malecon statues were still delightful, and we enjoyed our day. I wish we'd had more time to enjoy a dinner in town too.

San Diego

We stayed one night before embarking. The USS Midway is worth the time to visit. We met up with some friends and had a great afternoon. The port is very close to the airport if you arrive on embarkation day, but the line outside the terminal was pretty long.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Antigua was wonderful, as long as you don't mind the long bus ride there and back. We appreciated having a tour guide while visiting Antigua, but we would have liked more time on our own. Guatemala was nicer than I expected.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

We took an excursion to the Pura Vida gardens, which were nice, but more limited than I expected. We did see some scarlet macaws flying around, which was really interesting. Again, a moderately long bus ride. We stopped to see the crocodiles in the river, and had a little while to walk around the area near the port.

Colon (Cristobal)

This would have been fine as a port with excursions to the nearby sights (Fort Lorenzo, Gatun Lake, maybe the canal visitor center) but Colon is not a good place to walk around alone. There isn't anything to do within walking distance of the port, and visitors are advised not to go out alone. We were picked up after the cruise to go to our hotel in Panama City, which was fine.

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