Excellent First Cruise!: Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by 40thbdaycruz

Norwegian Jewel 5
Member Since 2011
33 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Excellent First Cruise!

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
We had an excellent first time cruiser experience on the Norwegian Jewel. I booked it about 60 days in advance through an online booking agent. This was to be my 40th birthday celebration. The timing and price were perfect. NCL was great to work with from the start. I was reading through different rules and guide lines and had a few questions. On several occasions I called a customer service agent and they were knowledgeable and always willing to help.

I immediately joined the Cruise Critic roll call for our cruise and signed up to attend the Cruise Critic members meet and greet. In the roll call, as well as other blogs, I was able to get acquainted with veteran and other first time cruisers. Cruise Critic proved to be my most valuable source of information for our cruise preparation and packing. Every topic concerning cruising is here, from future cruise credits, and understanding the automatic gratuities to washy washy girls.

We embarked from New York City. We are More from Connecticut so we parked our car at the Metro North Southeast station the cost for 7 days was only $32, it is $30 a day at the pier. The train ticket to Grand Central Station was $12.25pp one way. With this being our first time sailing out of NYC I wasn't taking any chances and arranged a car to meet us curbside at Grand Central through the NCL website. This was about $30. We took a cab to Grand Central when we returned for $10.

Embarkation was well organized and pretty painless. We boarded the ship around noon, the staterooms were not ready yet so we wondered around and found a bar and the decks. All this was brand new to us. We were allowed into the rooms around 1:30. Our room was not quite ready so we went and explored for a while longer.The On board entertainment was endless. There was something for everyone. Once we got our bearings on the location of certain things on the ship and where we were in reference to it all we had a great experience! We went to see Cirque Bi Jour in the Stardust Theater. This was an awesome high flying acrobatic performance, a must see. We watched and participated in several game shows like "The weakest Link" "Dancing with the Jewel Stars" and Daily Trivia. When we weren't relaxing in our stateroom and balcony, we were engaged in some form of activity, somewhere, meeting new and interesting people.

The spa's Chill Lounge pass was well worth it for us. It was $119 plus tax and gratuity each. There was a men side and a women's side then a couple's area. These areas were child free. Here there were tile lounge chairs that were heated, and facing a wall of windows looking out from the front center of the ship. Other sets of soft seating, a large whirlpool with 2 double loungers in it, and 2 sets of double showers.

I purchased a "Total Spa Day" for a discounted price on a shore day. It was the day we were supposed to stop at Great Stirrup Cay, but the seas were to rough and we had to skip it. That did not bother us as much as it did some others. The treatment was 75 minutes and included a mini facial and scalp massage. I added on a hair conditioning treatment. I did have to remind the therapist about the added treatment and was hit with a product sales pitch before I was off the table. I put an end to that and will be sure to prevent it from happening again. Overall the treatment was relaxing and therapeutic and I will do it again.Dining and food were varied and there was cuisine and a setting for everyone. I normally stay away from buffets, have for years for various reasons. We loved the buffets. The food was fresh, good variety at every meal, the menu change everyday, and CLEAN! Tsar's Palace was also a great place to have a sit down meal that is part of the included dining. Very Grand. We did enjoy the Cagney's steak house one evening more for the setting and ambiance of the restaurant. It was a fee of $25 per person, can't say that we would do it again. My husband had equally good steak on the deck at the BBQ the next day. Overall we ate at all the different buffets. Room service was good and convenient for morning coffee and a light breakfast or snack.

The Photo services were lack luster. There were several opportunities to have single, couples, and group photos taken just about every evening. The positioning in most cases was amateur at best. All the "professional Style" photos were automatically printed in an 8x10. We wanted 5x7's. In order to get 5x7's we had to pay $20 for each 8x10 and then an additional $12.95 for a 5x7. (yup $34.95 for a 5x7!) We bought 2 8x10, and 1 5x7 that had been taken by them on the deck the day we sailed. The amount of pictures that are printed and don't get purchased is astronomical. Very wasteful. We would have bought more if we could have looked at a proof sheet and chosen what to print and what size.

Disembarkation was a breeze. We chose to walk off with our luggage at our leisure. (We watched the luggage handlers while embarking...ouch) There were plenty of cabs at the curb to take us to the train station. We were home and unpacked by 2pm.

We had a great time. we have been asking ourselves why we have not done this before? We purchased FCC's while on board, we will be doing it again! Less

Published 02/12/12

Cabin review: BB Balcony

I can't begin to rave enough about Norman, our room steward. He was a joy to interact with anytime we ran into him. The towel animals at turn down just made our nights. Every detail was always perfect. (He was leaving for his 3 months off and then going on the Norwegian Sky) We chose a Balcony Stateroom located in the beginning of the Starboard AFT section. Absolutely loved it! There was ample space after tucking away a small stool and adding an over the door shoe organizer to the outside of the bathroom door. There was plenty of room in the closet, drawers, and on shelves to unpack and store 4 suitcases full of stuff. (We know better now LOL). Then they all fit just perfect under the bed, even the huge one. The bed was two put together to make a queen. There was a big lump going down the middle that made it a bit uncomfortable to snuggle. If we each stayed on our own side it was very comfortable. The linens were of good quality. Another good thing is that there was no foot board on the bed so it allowed my my 6ft tall husband to stretch out. We spent a fair amount of time in the room and on the balcony. The room will accommodate 3 adults but it really would be too small if you enjoy taking advantage of room service or spending any time on the balcony or in the stateroom. If the third person is a small child that could sleep on the sofa without opening it, the room would also work. It was perfect for my husband and I. This will be the stateroom location I will always look for first if not the exact same room. The bathroom was also ample after adding the shoe organizer. (Thank you Cruise Critic members for that AWESOME tip! It is in my suitcase for next year.)The shower and toilet have glass sliding doors and the sink and vanity are conveniently located in the middle with a few small shelves and a large well lit mirror. There is a pull out clothes line in the shower. I brought clothes pins to hang our bathing suites after the spa each day. The toilet area was the only area that felt at all cramped, but it was fine overall.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Our last port of call was Nassau. The weather was overcast with periods of rain in the first half of the day. We booked the segway Experience on line ahead of time. After docking we left the ship with room cards and passports this time. We waited on the pier for our guide, who then walked us to the taxi that would take us to and from the segway shed located nearby. It was a short ride through downtown Nassau. We had a blast, and would do it again, even in the rain. We did the early tour and there were only 8 of us in the group. Andrew and Kelly were our instructors and guides. They were both knowledgeable and friendly. They set us up with the segways and safety gear. Andrew was leading the group, he was a lot of fun throughout the whole experience. We went around central Nassau, Andrew stopped and pointed out different things to see and places to eat and drink. Then over to a field where we were allowed to just ride around and really check the segways out. It was 4 couples in our group so Andrew took turns with each couple and our camera's getting picture of us together on the segways. We returned to the shed around noon. The taxi took us back to the pier area. We walked around stopped in a few souvenirs shops and purchased some $5 and $6 t-shirts along with a few other trinkets. We then went and checked out Nassau's public beaches. We found the public beaches in the downtown area to be riddled with litter except for one near Junkanoo beach where we were able to find about 3 shells and a few other small treasures of the sea. We eventually ended up back at Twin Brothers for lupper (lunch & supper). Andrew had recommended it for it's wide variety of native Conch cuisine. We had Conch fritters and some Bahama Mama's. My husband had a fish sandwich and I had the Conch sandwich. Everything was very tasty and plentiful. We could have done with the smaller order of fritters or just the large order and no sandwiches. The bill was a little more than $60. Here, like on the ship, 15% gratuity is tacked on automatically. I noticed this written at the bottom of the pages while perusing the menu. We walked back to the ship, through Nassau center, buying a conch shell and a star fish along the way. There is a building that you go through and have your passport checked before walking onto the pier and through the checkpoint at the ship.
Read 5048 Nassau Reviews

Port Canaveral was our first port of call. We booked the round trip shuttle to Cocoa Beach on line ahead of time for $15 each and the passes were waiting in our stateroom on the afternoon of embarkation. Going on and off the ship was organized, easy, and convenient. We only needed our room card and a photo ID. The shuttle was parked right by the piers and only took minutes to get to. There were discount coupons on every seat for a few different guaranteed merchants including Ron Jon's famous surf shop. The shuttle dropped us off in a centrally located parking lot right near the beach and Ron Jon's. We went to Ron Jon's and made a few purchases, used our 15% off coupon (look at your receipts, we had to have an adjustment made because they skipped the discount on one item), and headed to the beach. The beach was nice, not to crowded, and pretty clean. The water was too cold to enjoy so we lay on our "borrowed" beach towels on the sand and sun bath for a bit while the birds fly a foot or so above our bodies from time to time. This was ok, just don't sit up quick without looking first. We stayed for about an hour and a half and then went back to meet the shuttle that leaves from the lot every 30 minutes. We felt the itinerary was such that we didn't think a rushed pass through any of the larger attractions like the Space Center or Disney at the $$$ they wanted was worth it. Given that it was winter, and having lived in Florida before, we did not book any water based activities ahead of time for any port. We figured if it was that warm and nice we would book them once on board and closer to the port. The climate is unpredictable in the winter season.

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Member Since 2011
33 Forum Posts
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