1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
As usual a little late with this review, but, better late than never!! Like any cruise, everyone’s opinions and experiences are different, which is what makes the Cruise Critic reviews so interesting. This was our 7th NCL cruise. ... Read More
As usual a little late with this review, but, better late than never!! Like any cruise, everyone’s opinions and experiences are different, which is what makes the Cruise Critic reviews so interesting. This was our 7th NCL cruise. Panama Canal had been on my bucket list for a very long time, so I was very excited to finally be going. We booked this cruise 9 months before departure and did a fair amount of research/recommendations beforehand. All the ports were places/countries which we hadn’t visited previously. Pre Cruise We decided to spend 3 nights in Miami. First visit and we opted for a boutique hotel in South Beach. Great fun experience and we also used the hop on hop off bus to tour all the areas of Miami. Embarkation We were fortunate to have VIP status for this cruise which made the check in and embarkation process very easy. Looking round the embarkation hall there seemed to be some lines but didn’t hear anyone complain about the time it took to board. Sail Away Party Worth the time it took for me to organise it. Although difficult to know exactly how many people were there (most did wear red) it was very nice to have the opportunity to meet up with some of the Cruise Critic members before the Meet & Greet. Meet & Greet The Meet & Greet was not as well attended as it could have been. I find it annoying that people sign up and then don’t turn up. The ship caters refreshments according to the number of people that the Cruise Critic organisers give. Maybe something to think about before you sign up next time!! There was a very good turn out by the senior crew members who came to meet and talk to us. Their presence was appreciated and those who attended had a very enjoyable time. Casino Good size casino with plenty of tables and slots. Bonus for me was that it actually wasn’t too smoky!! Shopping Probably the most boring I’ve seen on any cruise ship to date. Cabin Mid ship balcony – deck 9. Comfortable bed, spacious and kept really clean and well serviced by our cabin steward Clariza. (She got a Hero report from me!) Never had to ask for anything more than the first time and the cabin was always ready by the time we went back to it. She got to know our routine very quickly! Plenty of storage space and even the bathroom wasn’t too bad. Would be nice to have a bit bigger table on the balcony and it’s time that the ship went interactive on the television system. Crew Members The majority of crew members were happy, smiling, helpful and very friendly. (Always the odd exception!) With the majority of tips prepaid or added automatically, there’s not that tendency to ‘overwork’ the tips!. However, we still tend to give a little extra to those that deserve it. Food Overall, there was plenty of food available on the ship at all times! We had the ultimate beverage package which worked very well. We were able to try the new Main dining room menus that started the week we boarded. We found these menus very good. 15 day rotation, so always something different each evening. Plenty of choice, good size portions, favourites kept on the starters menu in addition the daily ‘Classic Entrées’ and the changing daily Featured Entrées dishes. All the food was good quality, nicely presented and the hot dishes were hot! Not bad desserts too. I was sorry to see the 3 ‘a la carte’ items on the menu have been removed as I personally thought that that was a great idea for those that wanted something different without needing to go to a speciality restaurant. Perfect for families. Both main dining rooms were very nice but overall we much preferred the Tsar’s Palace. Well spaced tables and good wait staff. Didn’t eat in the buffet very often but what we did have was fine and there were certainly choices to suit everyone. The design is good with island stations for a lot of the food. Like most buffet areas, there is never enough seating and at busy times that often meant food going cold whilst you tried to find seating or having to take it in turns to get your food. Ate several times in both O’Sheehan’s and Chin Chin restaurants and thought the food was good in both of them. Particularly enjoyed having a complementary Asian Restaurant. Moderno (VIP) The Suit/VIP guests get to use this restaurant exclusively for breakfast & lunch. Initially very poor service here although this was quickly remedied by management after complaints were made. The quality of the food is very good but the menus remained exactly the same for the entire 15 days. I would also add that these limited menus have not changed for at least the last 5 years!! If you want to eat lunch there every day it’s quite a challenge! Speciality We had 2 speciality dinners included as platinum latitudes members. We chose the Bistro and Moderno. Have to say that these were the worst two meals, regarding food and service, that we had during the entire cruise!! Inclusive dining packages may well be part of the reason for this drop in standards?? Entertainment/Activities Some shows were better than others but again that’s down to personal taste. We particularly enjoyed Jeri Sager, The Le Cirque Bijou and The Souled Out Band. There was music and dance provided for everyone and of course my favourite ‘The White Hot Party’! Ian is a really good cruise director. Always around and very friendly and approachable. He also has a good team. Plenty of dance classes, lessons, trivia, bingo, exhibitions, lectures, poolside dance parties, etc. so there was always something you could do. However, I never did work out why the Fyzz lounge was always so cold! Ports of Call Ports of call were Cartagena, Columbia – Puntarenas, Costa Rica – Corinto, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala ,- Acapulco, México and Cabo San Lucas, México. All new places for us and we really enjoyed all the excursions we took. (some NCL, some private). Particular bests for me were Antigua and the Cliff Divers in Acapulco. Panama Canal This day more than lived up to expectations! Don’t want to say too much as it’s something you want to experience firsthand. However the ship did a really good job of making it a great day with various events. Very interesting documentary film a couple of days before and live commentary during the transit. Disembarkation Disembarkation was not as bad as I feared but still quite a long line for US Immigration but it did move at a reasonable rate (at least when we disembarked at 9.30am!). Post Cruise We stayed overnight in LA and then flew to Orlando for 4 nights. Visited Epcot and Kennedy Space Centre, both of which were brilliant! Overall we had a really great holiday and NCL remains a favourite cruise line for us as it really suits our life style very well. Additional thanks to Claus for his time and to our Concierge Virginia. And, of course, to the very approachable Captain Pelle Fredriksson for such a wonderful smooth sailing. Now looking forward to researching for a new adventure in the not too distant future! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this particular itinerary because of the unusual ports of call, especially Central America. This did not disappoint in the least. However, the NCL experience could have been better. First of all, embarkation was complete chaos ... Read More
We chose this particular itinerary because of the unusual ports of call, especially Central America. This did not disappoint in the least. However, the NCL experience could have been better. First of all, embarkation was complete chaos and very disorganized. Long lines and half-way into our wait, quite a number of agents just "disappeared" making the wait even longer. No system at all. Maybe they should follow another cruise line by having staggered check-in times depending what deck you are booked on. The ship itself was very disappointing. Did not realize it had no open atrium, so it felt very enclosed. I didn't like that most of the bars were next to each other in a long line. No special area to go to. There wasn't a small cafe where you could get light snacks such as sandwiches, cookies and coffee which I definitely missed. Although I liked the choice of dining when we chose to, I did not like the "freestyle" experience seeing tattered t-shirts, shorts, beach sandals being worn by some of the passengers in the dining rooms in the evening. This especially so in the Azura Dining Room. I think there should be some sort of dress code in the evenings. Casual dress should be worn for the buffet only in the evenings. As such, I didn't wear a second evening dress as most people didn't even bother. I think it is nice to see ALL passengers dressed for formal nights. No shrimp cocktail was served in main dining rooms, only once on the buffet that we noticed. Small coffee cups in dining room too, why??? The entertainment was excellent as was the cruise director, but do not think I will travel NCL in the future, unfortunately. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise because it was Her turn to choose! It has been on Rachel's bucket list for awhile now. Mine too, a win win I call it! This was our first time on Norwegian and It was not a disappointment. I enjoyed the choice of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was Her turn to choose! It has been on Rachel's bucket list for awhile now. Mine too, a win win I call it! This was our first time on Norwegian and It was not a disappointment. I enjoyed the choice of food in the garden cafe, specialty restaurants, and the other dining options as well. Our cabin was # 4573 inside, no problems at all. The ships decor was a pleasant surprise from our most frequent line, Carnival, with a more conservative wood theme in the cabins and throughout the ship. I have read some reviews saying the ships interior was faded, and out dated. I found that to be false. I personally find many of Carnivals ships to be gaudy, so a wood theme worked for me. We experienced no problems on embarkation or debarkation(Miami / San Pedro) or at any of the ports of call. My wife found the entertainment a little weak, but the Circus show was great! We found the crew to be friendly, for the most part, and willing to help with any needs that were asked. The people on this particular cruise was a bit older, as we are in our forties and lower fifty's, and wanting to unwind from the daily grind, we found it refreshing to not have to fight for a spot in the Jacuzzi, or pool. We met some really great people too, Clive, Gaile, & Noela from Australia, Mark & Toni from Minnesota, Lenny & Vickie(squiggy) also from Minnesota. Among others, Great crowed! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My Husband has always been a Panama Canal Buff. So when I saw this cruise I gave it to him for our 38th wedding anniversary. Actually we spent our 39th for this cruise. Everything was great from our cabin steward Priscilla to the ... Read More
My Husband has always been a Panama Canal Buff. So when I saw this cruise I gave it to him for our 38th wedding anniversary. Actually we spent our 39th for this cruise. Everything was great from our cabin steward Priscilla to the waiters at the restaurants to the entertainment director Ian, The shows were top rate, the food was excellent, there were many open dining restaurants, we at a Tsars (a dressier place), the Azurre same food as Tsar(not as formal) food was great in both places. We ate at Chin Chins Asian cuisine, we had a waitress there named Frenz both times and she made us feel extremely welcomed.O Sheehans was like and English?Irish pub Good food. Frenz was also part of the washy-washy team and made it fun to remember the sanitizer before meals. The shore excursions were fantastic, I am 61 y/o and Ziplined for the first time, the instructors made ir very easy and non scary! The Norwegian Jewel lived up to her name. I will cruise with Norwegian again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
SImply a great cruise - The ship was fantastic, the crew incredibly attentive and polite, the food delicious, and the entertainment top notch. Loved all restaurants except Cagney's atmosphere did not do the food, or the other ... Read More
SImply a great cruise - The ship was fantastic, the crew incredibly attentive and polite, the food delicious, and the entertainment top notch. Loved all restaurants except Cagney's atmosphere did not do the food, or the other Cagney's on other NCL ships credit (we were seated by the kitchen, it was loud and not intimate at all). We loved Tsars main dining (the best comp dining we have had on a cruise yet), Tepanyaki, the Brazilian steak house, and the BBQs on deck. We purchased 8 specialty dining on this 14 day cruise prior to the cruise, and as the complimentary dining was so great, we probably should have purchased fewer. Passage through the canal will be a cherished memory for the rest of our lives - truly awesome. Read a good book about the construction of the canal prior to the cruise so you can try to appreciate what a marvel it is. The stops - we didn't care too much for Cartegena (took an NCL tour), or Acapulco (poor city has been destroyed by the crime/ gangs/ perception, etc), but loved Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatamala, and Cabo. My advice: try to book a smaller on-line tour group instead of the tours arranged by the ship (way too many people, too expensive). We thought we might get bored with so many sea days, and a 14 day cruise - we certainly did not, I could have done it again in a hearbeat (and I am sure we will in the future). Thank you to the crew of Jewel and to NCL for putting together the best cruise we have ever had (prior to this we have been on about ten). Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise because my brother pics all our cruises and I just trust his choices..lol. I have been traveling with Norwegian for 4 years now and it is amazing. So spoiled by the time i get home,have a hard time adjusting. We had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my brother pics all our cruises and I just trust his choices..lol. I have been traveling with Norwegian for 4 years now and it is amazing. So spoiled by the time i get home,have a hard time adjusting. We had the most wonderful crew, but our waiter was one of the most pleasing people i have ever met. Word of warning...on this ship and a few others. The pull out bed is as hard as a rock, so it would be fine for kids, but not adults. Even though it was so hard our room steward brought extra padding and blankets to make it a softer experience..Thanks to all the crew and we will be back traveling with you next and forever..I know i should quit smoking, but if i choose not to i may have quit going, because i see Norwegian is sending surveys out asking if you would cruise if it was no smoking. Im done if they do..cancel the food for heavy people..they wont be going either then.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
We had an amazing experience. The staff were incredible. Never saw a grumpy face. Every day on board we were made to feel very special. The specialty restaurants provide a quality meal. I am 74 and the just had the best Lamp Chops at ... Read More
We had an amazing experience. The staff were incredible. Never saw a grumpy face. Every day on board we were made to feel very special. The specialty restaurants provide a quality meal. I am 74 and the just had the best Lamp Chops at Moderno's that I have had in my entire life. 14 days sounds like a long time, but with all of the activities and ports of call, it was never boring. The entertainment was very diverse. They had a young man that did a Neil Diamond tribute. If you closed you eyes, you would think Mr. Diamond was on stage. There were other professional entertainers along with their own staff. Very enjoyable. The freestyle cruising makes things less rigid, but I can say that some people don't the part when going to the high end restaurants. This trip through the canal should be put on everyone's Bucket List. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Going through the canal was an interesting experience. Hard to believe they have been using them for over 100 years and still working like clockwork. The film about the building of the canal was very enlightening. Colombia, Costa Rica, ... Read More
Going through the canal was an interesting experience. Hard to believe they have been using them for over 100 years and still working like clockwork. The film about the building of the canal was very enlightening. Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala were all different and we enjoyed our excursions in each port. Catamaran and walled city in Cartagena was a hilite for me. The coffee plantation in Costa Rica a close second and I don't even drink coffee. We had been to Acapulco and Cabo before, so enjoyed returning! The staff is amazing, always smiles, good mornings, etc. Especially want to mention the washy washy staff, who played guitar and sang us into our breakfast and lunch each day with smiles and squirts of hand sanitizer. The entertainment was amazing and varied. Jeri Sager has a truly great voice, thoroughly enjoyed Jean Pierre's magical comedy. Chris Pendleton is truly funny, David Naster was good. The hilite for me were the performances by the Russian aerialist duo and Le Cirque Bijou where the jewel cast of singers and dancers joined in for a cirque du soleil like performance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
I wanted to see the Panama Canal and surrounding countries. This was my retirement present. This was a great price, and the idea of a 14 day cruise sounded wonderful. It did not disappoint. Getting to see the panama Canal was absolutely ... Read More
I wanted to see the Panama Canal and surrounding countries. This was my retirement present. This was a great price, and the idea of a 14 day cruise sounded wonderful. It did not disappoint. Getting to see the panama Canal was absolutely awesome, plus we got visit Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. It was so amazing. The staff was beyond exceptional and service was wonderful. My room was clean and our needs were always met. Everyone was very friendly and acted like they enjoyed their job. The entertainment was excellent and their was so many offerings of things to do on the ship you were never bored, plus it seemed to me there was something for everyone. I definitely cruise with them again. The excursions offered were great and so were the guides that did them. Book early though because they do sell out. This whole experience in my opinion was a 5 star event! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted to experience a full transit of the canal and booked this trip with friends. We had a great time and the canal experience was unforgettable in every way. The ship is beautiful and the staff was very good. NCL has some ... Read More
We wanted to experience a full transit of the canal and booked this trip with friends. We had a great time and the canal experience was unforgettable in every way. The ship is beautiful and the staff was very good. NCL has some opportunities available to improve on management of large numbers of people (embarkation and tender days were not the best for managing the flow of people). The shows were very good.We enjoyed all of the ports (we book private tours in ports and have always been satisfied with them!). The weather was good but hot. The food in the buffet and the restaurants was very good (the buffet was not always the hottest food but far from cold and very enjoyable). The one small "hiccup" we had with bar service was handled very professionally and we were very satisfied. All-in-all an excellent two weeks. We have always enjoyed our NCL cruises. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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