I'll start with the highs: We enjoy the Jewel's size-not too big, not too small. The staff were all great, as usual. We enjoyed the shows. We ate mostly at specialty dining for dinner, and we liked them all, especially Cagney's. In Ensenada, we walked to the fish market and had some great fish tacos. In Cabo, we took a ship's shore excursion to the Casa Dorado Beach Resort and it was great. Clean beach, great service, nice chairs with umbrellas. The included buffet was great. It came with two drink coupons per person. The spa/thermal suites on board are always a favorite for us. They were never crowded, even though this was a busy Spring Break cruise. My husband likes cigars, and it is nice that there is a dedicated space on board for this. We went to the gym most days, it was well maintained and not crowded.
Now the lows: Embarkation was a disaster. A rumor said that there were passengers from the previous cruise who were stowaways so there was a delay while they were found. ( I mean...I get it..I never want to leave a cruise either, but still. ) The issue was that passengers were left in a long line in the parking lot for almost three hours in the hot sun. The only water offered was from employees with the Disney Cruise at the next pier. Not one word from a Norwegian rep the entire time, nor was there any apology or explanation later. There were older people and families with young children waiting in that line. Not OK. Another big low was the Stone Island shore excursion in Mazatlan. It was a ship-sponsored trip. It was a dirty beach with stray dogs and so many people hawking trinkets. There were armed police in full gear and weapons walking the beach. I guess that is good? We had to barter to get uncomfortable plastic chairs and a table. One of us had to stay with our belongings the whole time because we were told if they were left they would be taken. Nice. The bathroom was not clean, and the whole area smelled like the septic or whatever was leaking. We did see families paying extra to ride a banana boat, and for them I hope it was a good trip.
I gave this four out of five because most of the time all was well. It was a great trip. The two issues were not trip ruining, and it is important to keep everything in perspective. The embarkation situation will probably never happen again, and I will never book the Stone Island trip again....and neither should you!
We were in an aft-facing penthouse with large balcony. This was a great cabin and we would book it again. We like the extra space, and having a full lounge chair on the balcony is great. Honestly one of the best parts is the Nespresso coffee maker in the room. So nice being able to make coffee and enjoy it on the balcony without having to deal with room service or the mele in the buffet area, all in one of the comfy robes in the room! It was clean and comfortable. An aft room is our favorite. It came with a butler, who was very kind but we really weren't sure what he should do? We aren't super picky or demanding, so it was mostly a hello. He did set us up with extra coffee pods, so that was good. Ok...one thing that this ship was amazing for...suite and Haven passengers get priority boarding at ports. This was so worth it. When we would get back to a port, we would see the amazing concierge Neo with a sign, and we would follow him to priority boarding. We usually took the stairs, but they would also hold an elevator. Disembarkation was a breeze. We have been in a suite on Princess, and it was not like this. No perks when it really matters...coming back hot and tired from being in a port. Nice job, Norwegian!
The Casa Dorado resort excursion via the ship was GREAT! The resort was safe, clean, and everything we needed was there. They had nice chairs with umbrellas and towels for us to use. The buffet was yummy. The trip came with two drink tickets, but when we ordered a third drink with lunch it was $27 each...yikes! Stick with the tickets! We will do this excursion again.
Stop right now and don't go to the Stone Island "Resort". First of all, it is not an island, and it is most definitely not a resort. There were stray dogs begging for our lunch, police in full gear with weapons on the beach, and tons of people hawking trinkets, and strangely, donuts, all day. We had to barter to rent an uncomfortable chair and we couldn't leave our belongings because we were told they would get taken if we did. We tried to leave early and go back to the ship but couldn't. The bathroom was awful and the whole area smelled as if the septic had failed. Nope.