397 Miami Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date February 2017
we have wanted to go through the Panama Canal for a long time. this is our second time on the Jewel, she is an awesome ship. the first time was spectacular. it is a little hard to live up to that. the new management at NCL, it appears ... Read More
we have wanted to go through the Panama Canal for a long time. this is our second time on the Jewel, she is an awesome ship. the first time was spectacular. it is a little hard to live up to that. the new management at NCL, it appears are more concentrated than ever on making money. the prices for photos have been raised, the prices of drinks has been raised and are measured out exactly. NCL had a reputation for giving an outstanding cruise for a reasonable price. however those deals seem to be drying up. the food remains very good, the service by the crew excellent, the entertainment and activities remain good and the shore excursions were outstanding. jewel class ships are so easy to get around on. we were more than lucky with the weather. embarkation went very well, but disembarkation was in a little bit of disarray. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I have wanted to sail the full Panama Canal cruise for years. Now that we are retired, my husband and I could do it! We flew to Miami two days before departure, so we could have some fun in Miami. We cruised the Bay of Biscayne-a great ... Read More
I have wanted to sail the full Panama Canal cruise for years. Now that we are retired, my husband and I could do it! We flew to Miami two days before departure, so we could have some fun in Miami. We cruised the Bay of Biscayne-a great time-and got to see all of the boats and yachts in the harbor for the Presidents' Day holiday weekend. We got to the port early for embarkation, but were held up because the ship was not ready on time. The wait was about 1.5 hours-not what I expected. The ship, the Jewel, is an older ship that has been refurbished. We happen to like the mid-range size of the Jewel. Cruise companies are going to the large-size ships, with which we are not enthralled. Our cabin was on deck 10, midship, a perfect place to be, especially with a balcony. The cabin and bathroom are tight, but are adequate for sleeping and showering. We had a coffee maker and refrigerator in our cabin. These were nice features: we could get up and have our morning coffee on the balcony, watching sea turtles, dolphins, and whales! Yes, we did see them. The dining options are good. There are two dining rooms that serve the populace, as well as the buffet in the Garden Café and O'Sheehan's. We do not use the for-a-fee restaurants because we always get good meals in the 'free' restaurants. The entertainment was good. Iain, our activities director, is a comedian/magician as well. We had a hypnotist and a comedian, aerialists, the show band and performers, and various singers. All were good. There were so many activities around the ship that no one could be bored. There were good excursions for most ports. We did not book anything for Nicuaragua and Guatamala because they required long distances/times to get to them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
10 friends celebrating one our friends birthday. Some of the group have cruised before but it was our first big cruise. We really enjoyed our experience on the Jewel. The staff made us feel very special, and were so perfessional and fun ... Read More
10 friends celebrating one our friends birthday. Some of the group have cruised before but it was our first big cruise. We really enjoyed our experience on the Jewel. The staff made us feel very special, and were so perfessional and fun to be around. We did an excursion at every port using both private and ship excursions. We got to see so many differen and wonderful place, people, architecture, and animals and we felt safe doing so at every port, which I was concerned about before we sailed. Most ports had a little sample of the culture set up so if you didn't want to venture to for off the ship you didn't have to. The food and entertainment on the ship was very good and plentiful, you could always find something to eat and do at most times of the day. Our home was an inside cabin, which is what it is. It had everything we needed but we were only there to sleep. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Even if you know the history, have seen the documentaries and understand the engineering, a full passage of the Panama Canal is a MUST for any lover of history, science or travel. The senior crew members were very assessable and were ... Read More
Even if you know the history, have seen the documentaries and understand the engineering, a full passage of the Panama Canal is a MUST for any lover of history, science or travel. The senior crew members were very assessable and were quite willing to answer questions from the very basic to the very technical. The food set up at the buffet provided a good flow with multiple food islands. Lines were minimal, even during peak hours due to this setup. The ship was exceptionally clean and the staff, with few exceptions was very attentive to the passengers needs. Our cabin on the 8th deck was quiet and well laid out. The showers were better than other ships I have cruised on. My only complaint with the Jewel was the fitness center. None of the upright exercise bikes worked properly. The seated bikes were Technogym brand, which, in my opinion are not nearly as good as Life-Fitness products. The gym was also to hot during most of the cruise. On the bright side, the weight equipment included dumbells up to 75 lbs., incline benches and older life fitness machines (better than the newer designs in my opinion), all of which was well maintained. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Unfortunately, this cruise started out poorly and never really got much better. My husband has an issue with standing for extended periods of time, so we requested an "assisted boarding". I made sure we had the documentation ... Read More
Unfortunately, this cruise started out poorly and never really got much better. My husband has an issue with standing for extended periods of time, so we requested an "assisted boarding". I made sure we had the documentation stating we requested the assisted boarding but that didn't help. When we arrived, I requested assistance but was told to have him sit on the concrete benches while I stood in line and someone would help me once we got inside. Well, that didn't happen. The women at the door only wanted to look at my boarding paperwork and push us along to another long line and up the escalator to another long line to the search and X-ray station. Yes, along the way, I showed my paperwork and repeatedly requested assistance to no avail. One women said, "Oh, yes, just get in this line and once you are checked in, someone with assist you." Well, at this point, mad and frustrated, I left my husband in line and went to the front of the line and asked the gentleman guiding people to the next window for help! He waived to the manager and she called me over. Although, she did check us in right then, she made no comment or apology. She just sent us over to sit and wait for assistance. We sat there and watched all of the people in the very long line board the ship. We have been on 10 cruises and the friends we were with have been on 18 cruises and neither one of us have ever seen this kind of lack of customer service. It will definitely be something we consider when choose a cruise line in the future. As far as rating the ship, cabin, entertainment, ports, excursions and service, I would have to say, they were just okay with one exception. On the Puerto Quetzal - Casa Santo Domingo & Antiqua (PRQJ1811) shore excursion, we rode the bus for over an hour and a half to be dropped off in the Antigua town square. We then walked and walked and walked. Yes, we were aware of the amount of walking we would be doing, but because the bus couldn't get down many of the street because of the width, it also couldn't get down the rest of the streets due to road maintenance. Our tour consisted of basically walking around the entire town square trying to get back to the bus. Yes, we were with the tour guide but because we had to do all the extra walking, we didn't have any time to visit anything with one exception- the Jade shop. We were very short on time at this point so our visit to the coffee planation was very brief. You couldn't see everything. A few glaring negatives; dining room service was extremely slow, not enough outside covered seating, lack of service in the lido buffet, everything is an extra cost, movie in theater was repetitive, the food at Chin Chin and O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill was uneatable, and now you can't even bring on a bottle of water or bottle of wine without an extra charge. We originally chose Norwegian based on a pleasant past experience. Yes, it was several years ago and things do change, but we weren't prepared for this type of change. Overall, I would have to say, we were disappointed. Would we choose Norwegian in the future, with so many other options out there, I don't think so! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I always wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. The Jewel was sailing on the dates of my 45 anniversary, so that is why we picked NCL Jewel. I usually sail with Royal and Carnival. The Jewel built in 2004 and went into dry ... Read More
I always wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. The Jewel was sailing on the dates of my 45 anniversary, so that is why we picked NCL Jewel. I usually sail with Royal and Carnival. The Jewel built in 2004 and went into dry dock 2014 if I remember correctly. The ship is showing it's age. I can not say if it was because of the length of the cruise, the average age of the passengers, or what but I didn't find much to do on this ship. If you are under 40 and are used to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, you will not like this ship. It is NOT a party ship. We ate at three of the specialty resturants. Cagney's Steak house, the steak was decent, but the sides sucked. Sorry no other word for it. Modero, which is a Brazilian steakhouse was great. The Teppanyaki Room, a Japanese restaurant was maybe average. The buffet food was pretty tasty, but not much verity over the course of 14 days. Luckily I love rice cause that was the number one side every day. Everyday they had BBQ out by the pools. This was great. The excursions were okay. My favorite was Cabo where we did whale watching from a zodiac. I liked Cabo enough that I am planning a week there. I was very disappointed in Acapulco cliff divers. It was so crowded that I never saw a diver hit the water. But, NCL was very understanding and refunded half the cost of the excursions. The reason for this cruise was the Canal and recommend that everyone should experience it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
It was our 25 wedding anniversary, we chose going through the Panama canal. This was our first cruise. We disembarked on every stop. We enjoyed the sunshine, the itinerary was geared to the older folk, but we found things to do in the ... Read More
It was our 25 wedding anniversary, we chose going through the Panama canal. This was our first cruise. We disembarked on every stop. We enjoyed the sunshine, the itinerary was geared to the older folk, but we found things to do in the sports part of the ship. The entertainment was good until the nights with the two Russian circus couple, they were the highlight and wished for more. The main buffet was also a good feature but towards the end of the cruise, we picked O'Sheehans as our place to go for wings. We loved the freedom to eat when we wanted to. We enjoyed meeting all the staff from different countries. I would have enjoyed a tour of the ship, and only found out later that they did have a tour. More information could have been put on the ships wedsite on our tablet, time change/current time; our port and excursions etc. It would have been nice to have a digital clock in the cabin to see the time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
For our fiftieth wedding anniversary, we decided to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. We had done a round trip partial transit ten day cruise several years ago, but this time decided to do a full transit. We embarked on the cruise ... Read More
For our fiftieth wedding anniversary, we decided to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. We had done a round trip partial transit ten day cruise several years ago, but this time decided to do a full transit. We embarked on the cruise in Miami, FL. We are wintering in Apollo Beach, FL, near Tampa, so we and the other couple cruising with us rented a car and drove to Miami the day before the cruise. We stayed in the Best Western in Kendall overnight, turned in the car at a lot near the cruise port, and took the free shuttle provided by the rental car agency (Budget) to the port. We arrived at the port at around 12:00pm. We had a fairly short wait outside before the line started moving, and once the line started moving, we were onboard by about 12:45, and our room was ready for us. We had a mid-ship balcony cabin, 9068, so we were very centrally located for everything on the ship. The cabin wasn't as large as others we have been in, but it was sufficient. It could do with some new carpeting and new drapes. There was a king size bed, a couch that could be made into a single bed, a table, and a chair. The table was under the TV, which was on the wall, a flat screen LCD TV. The on/off button on the remote didn't work, so we had to turn the TV on manually, but all the other buttons worked. TV is very limited - MSNBC, FoxNews, BBC News, CNBC, a sports channel, and several NCL channels where they showed movies, TV shows, and the game shows that were played in the Spinnaker Lounge in the evenings. It was not interactive like on some cruise ships. Our room steward was very nice and very accommodating. We had to ask for robes twice before we got them (on other cruises they were already in the room). There was also a refrigerator that was full of booze and sodas that you had to pay for. Also, in one of the closets, there was a safe for valuables. There was plenty of storage space, hangers, drawers, and shelves, so we could unpack our suitcases for the 2 week trip and place them under the bed to get them out of the way. Part way through the cruise they gave us an offer for laundry - fill one bag with laundry and they would wash it and fold it for you for $19.95. It's a great deal and was good for the whole trip. We only had laundry done once. We had the six night dining package, so we ate in five of the six specialty restaurants, and they were all wonderful! Teppenyaki is a Japanese hibachi grill where the chef prepares the meal right at the table. You could have steak, chicken, fish, or any combination of them all. It was wonderful!! Moderno is a Brazillian steak house where servers come to your table with several different types of meat - chicken wrapped in bacon, beef, sausage, pork ribs, beef ribs, and lamb. Plus some delicious grilled fresh pineapple. La Cucina is a delicious Italian restaurant with wonderful food. Le Bistro is a great French restaurant, and Cagney's is a wonderful steakhouse. We ate in all of them, and the food was exceptional! We made reservations in all the specialty restaurants before we got on the ship, and I'm glad we did, because the restaurant reservation desk lines were always very long. We also got the times we wanted by making our reservations early. One restaurant that always seems to fill up quickly and is a favorite is the Teppenyaki hibachi grill. It has very limited seating and is very popular. For lunch, we ate in Tsar's Palace several times because we really liked being served rather than standing in line and then looking for a table. Another nice sit-down place is O'Sheehan's Irish Pub with pub food. We ate there a few times (it is complimentary). The only problem with it is that the menu is the same every day. At Tsar's Palace, it changed from day to day. One place we found our last couple of days on the ship was La Cucina for breakfast and lunch. It is open for both meals, and is very quiet and out of the way. I wish we had found it earlier in the cruise! For dinner, we ate in the specialty restaurants, in the Azura main dining room, Tsar's Palace main dining room, O'Sheehan's, and up in the Garden Cafe. The Garden Cafe periodically had themes - one night was Asian food, and one night was Caribbean food, etc. We loved the freestyle cruising, where we could go to dinner any time and anywhere we wanted. Entertainment was some of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. The Jewel singers and dancers were extraordinary, and they had a wonderful Broadway singer come sing for us, a comedienne who was hilarious and included her 8 year old daughter in her final performance on the ship (they both play the violin), and a fantastic Russian acrobatic couple who did all kinds of acrobatics using trapezes and long pieces of fabric. There was also a magician and a hypnotist. The cruise director, Iain, was hilarious and ended every show with a "joke of the day." He also hosted silly game shows, and in the afternoons, did Q&A's with the entertainers. The itinerary was fantastic. We saw four places we have never seen before - Cartagena, Colombia, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Corinto, Nicaragua, and Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala. Plus, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, where we have been before. Not to mention the whole Panama Canal, which was spectacular. We had a narrator that spoke about the workings of the locks, the history of the canal, and about Panama. We also saw a National Geographic documentary on the making of the Panama Canal the day before we got to the canal. They showed it on the big screen in the Stardust Theater. My husband and I both said that our favorite part of the canal was seeing the "Culebra Cut" where they had to blast through the mountains to get the canal through. All the shows were held in the Stardust Theater, a huge theater on decks 6 and 7. They also showed big screen movies in there on sea days and held port and shopping talks in there. Plus, anyone who went on any NCL excursion in any of the ports, met in the Stardust Theater and went off the ship as a group to get on their buses. It meant much less pandemonium on the pier. The game shows were held in the Spinnaker Lounge, a lounge at the top front of the ship. During the day you have beautiful views of the sea or ports of call. At night there is always something going on in there. Also, on sea days, Spinnaker is called a "quiet zone" for most of the day, so if you want to go up there and read a book or rest in a comfortable chair, that's the place to go for peace and quiet. Drinks on this ship are the most expensive I've ever seen on a ship. A glass of Chardonnay was $8.95, or $11.50 if you wanted a large one. A single shot of "bar" whiskey was $8.50. If you wanted single malt Scotch, it was $10.95. Many people had the Ultimate Beverage Package as their booking bonus, so there were lots of drinks being passed out. On other ships, we've seen 2 for one drinks in certain bars, but not on this one. The only special was the drink of the day, and that was $7.95. They did have two Martini tastings, with different Martinis at each one, and they had several wine tastings - we did one of them. They also had a Mojito tasting which we didn't do, and a Margarita tasting, which we also didn't do. All of the bar waiters are extremely friendly and accommodating. Service was excellent. Shore excursions were great. We did one in all but one of the ports. The guides were very informative, spoke very good English, and were friendly and funny. In Cartagena, we did the Magnificent Cartagena shore excursion. We saw a beautiful church and we also walked through a section of the old city that was beautiful, and went in two museums. In Puntarenas, Costa Rica, we saw a nice folk dance show put on by children, and they even got my husband and brother-in-law up and dancing with them! In Corinto, Nicaragua, we saw two beautiful and totally different looking churches. In Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala, my husband and I didn't do a shore excursion because nothing offered looked interesting to us, so we just got off the ship and walked around the thatched-roof "Palapa." There were lots of things for sale, but I just bought a magnet. In Acapulco, we went to see the cliff divers and had a spectacular view of them, then were taken to a couple of places to shop. In Cabo San Lucas we did the Snorkel and Sail to Santa Maria Cove. It was a beautiful trip. My husband snorkeled and I stayed on the boat. It wasn't a sailboat, which was a little disappointing, but it was a nice, comfortable boat. My husband is a jogger, so he spent a lot of time up on deck 13 on the jogging/walking track. He also went to the fitness center and used the treadmills and lifted weights. There is a walking area on deck 7 where you can walk all the way around the ship, which we would do from time to time. They ask that you walk only, not run or jog on that deck. Disembarkation was wonderful and perfectly smooth. We were flying out the day after we got off the ship, so we signed up for an excursion in LA. We did the excursion that took us through LA, to Hollywood, and then to the Farmers' Market for lunch, then to the airport. We got off the ship, went through customs, went to the black zone to pick up our luggage, and went to our waiting tour bus. At the end of the cruise, we were dropped off at the Southwest terminal where we printed out our boarding passes, then went to the bus stop where the hotel vans stop. It was so easy! My husband and I were both concerned that a fourteen day cruise would be way too long and we would both go stir crazy, but that wasn't the case. We both had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My husband and I along with two other couples booked this Panama Canal cruise. My husband and I have been on a lot of cruises (17 for him and 19 for me). My husband is 63 and I am 58. We were excited about this cruise because every port ... Read More
My husband and I along with two other couples booked this Panama Canal cruise. My husband and I have been on a lot of cruises (17 for him and 19 for me). My husband is 63 and I am 58. We were excited about this cruise because every port was a new port for us. Also, crossing through the Canal was on our bucket list. We normally sail with Carnival. This was only our second Norwegian cruise. We booked the UBP because we didn't want to be nickled and dimed for every little thing. Some days I almost got my money's worth in just sodas. I was initially upset about the new bottled water policy but we both brought on a Brita water bottle that filters your water for you. Even the days we had water straight from the tap, it wasn't bad. We had an inside on the 11th floor. Some mornings there was a little noise above our room. We may have been above the kitchen. It never did wake me up, but if you were awake, you could definitely hear it. The food was very good (probably not as good as Carnival's in my opinion) but definitely a lot of choices. We ate in the main dining room for 12 of our 16 nights on board. We did like the buffet food and thought it was a little better than Carnival's. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, but we did have sushi at the sushi restaurant a couple of times. There were plenty of activities on board. Some of my friends were participating in 5 or more activities every day. I did go to most of the shows in the evenings but other than that I only went to about 5 other activities the whole 16 days. My husband and I like to just relax and read. We did get off at every port but other than Guatamala, we booked all our excursions on our own. I would have to say (for me) the Mexican ports were my favorite. Overall, I enjoyed my cruise. In fact, we have another 16 day cruise booked for next January on Norwegian from Sydney, Australia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We did this cruise to do something different and to see places we wouldn't normally do. Getting on and off the ship was an experience not a good one, it took over 2 hours of queuing to get on and even longer to disembark! The cabin ... Read More
We did this cruise to do something different and to see places we wouldn't normally do. Getting on and off the ship was an experience not a good one, it took over 2 hours of queuing to get on and even longer to disembark! The cabin was comfortable but needed bringing up to date. The buffet restaurant I would not recommend not because the food was poor but because no matter what time you went it was always full. Struggled to get a table and I was always bumping into people. Hated it! We always used Tsar Palace it was more relaxing. I thought the entertainment was average there was the occasional act that was good. The one thing that was excellent were the staff cannot fault them at all. We enjoyed all the port and excursions, we did 3 with the ship and others we arranged ourselves. Can recommend the humpback whale watching. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was a really terrific cruise. Spent a few extra days in Miami prior to sailing and went into every port of call. The crew and staff were fantastic. Food was great minus a few small problems. Entertainment was great and we enjoyed ... Read More
This was a really terrific cruise. Spent a few extra days in Miami prior to sailing and went into every port of call. The crew and staff were fantastic. Food was great minus a few small problems. Entertainment was great and we enjoyed talking to fellow cruisers. Saw whales, sea turtles and crocodiles from the ship and was fascinated by the Panama Canal history and how it works. Enjoyed the ports of call and what they had to offer. Had a couple of rough nights at sea but wasn't extreme. Diversity of cruisers made it interesting and it was enjoyable to get to know so many people. The cabin was good - we had a forward cabin with a balcony on the 8th deck (Probably the least expensive balcony option) which was a good choice for the weather and the number of sea days. Provided a great space to get away from others for awhile and read a book or enjoy coffee on the balcony. Service was truly exceptional. Some of the shore excursions were a little pricey for what you got so we did book a few less-expensive private tours that weren't on big buses. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Going through the canal was great. Having to go clear to Catagena is terrible. The NCL personnel are great. Food was good. Some entertainment was real good some not very good. We were ripped off on some excursions through NCL. We went on ... Read More
Going through the canal was great. Having to go clear to Catagena is terrible. The NCL personnel are great. Food was good. Some entertainment was real good some not very good. We were ripped off on some excursions through NCL. We went on an excursion with Julio; Cesear was our guide; went to volcano climb to the top and slid down on a 8 inch board. Service people went out of their way to help. The activity on the ship is lacking. It was an older crowd that might have been part of it. The water slide on the ship is lame; why did they even put it on? Food in dinning room, buffet and barbecue on deck was really. we were a group of 8 and been planning this for a couple of years to go through the canal we enjoyed our cruise. Disembarkation in LA was slower than should have been. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Average cruise with limited daytime activities and below par evening entertainment On board costs extravagant with a cost of 4,000 usd for a medical issue which could have been resolved in 30 minutes but took 4 hours Excursions are ... Read More
Average cruise with limited daytime activities and below par evening entertainment On board costs extravagant with a cost of 4,000 usd for a medical issue which could have been resolved in 30 minutes but took 4 hours Excursions are very expensive and can be found cheaper on arrival at port with some pre planning Wifi on board is ridiculous with a cost of 270usd for the trip. Wait until you reach port and go to a bar for free! The spa is equally not value for money with treatments at least double a decent spa on land The staff constantly pester guests to undertake treatments. Drop the costs and the staff would be kept busy working instead of selling The bars are understaffed with only one person working no matter the time , waiting for a drink is the norm. The casino is uninviting as it's a smokers haven, if you allow smoking at least ventilate the area! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was my first time with Norwegian. Honestly, I was very disappointed with everything, from food to entertainment. For 15 days, we had the same menu in the Garden Café, in specialty dining venues like Chin Chin, Teppanyaki, ... Read More
This was my first time with Norwegian. Honestly, I was very disappointed with everything, from food to entertainment. For 15 days, we had the same menu in the Garden Café, in specialty dining venues like Chin Chin, Teppanyaki, Moderno,... and they were not that good either. On other cruise liners, the waiter/waitress normally came over asking for what we want for our drinks but not here. When I asked, they simply directed me to the station so I could "serve" myself. The entertainment most of the time were one-man shows. Except for the circuit performance near the end of the cruise, all were mediocre. I was disgusted by the way the entertainment staff, if I remember correctly his name was Henry, conducted at the Shout about Movie game. When a lady asked him to stand in the middle of the room in order to be fair to both teams, he responded that she should be actively engaging instead of "complaining". On a positive note, the disembarkation of Cabo San Lucas went smoothly with Norwegian tenders. We bought this cruise due to its interesting itinerary but would not do it again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Partly because of price but not significance difference. Organization of boarding procedure in Miami - extremely poor - substandard. Service and employees - very good. Excursion vere very poorly organized mainly information to ... Read More
Partly because of price but not significance difference. Organization of boarding procedure in Miami - extremely poor - substandard. Service and employees - very good. Excursion vere very poorly organized mainly information to participants to and how to leave ship. Returning from excursions well organized. Entertainment - shows were one of the lowest quality we experienced.. FOOD VERY POOR based on central Europe standards. Wiener schnitzel served clearly showed, that the chef did not see even picture how the wiener schnitzel looks like. French soup was served eleven times on occasion even twice - lunch and supper and it did not tasted as french onion soup. Pasta was grossly overcooked even when served in Italian Cuisine Restaurant. Great majority of the food served were of East Indian origins using strange spices and combinations. Corn sitting in the sweetened milk, roast beef served but no mashed potatoes just to name few. When I tried to mention this issue to supervisor of servers, she was more concerned about the cabin number where are staying in instead of to listen about the issue of food. I said please accept my apology to bother you. Disembarking in LA did have some shortcomings and direction to transportation using busses to an airport should be streamlined. We experienced much better environment, service and food on MSC and other smaller Greek's company - name I could not recall. Based on our experience we booked next cruise South America using different cruise line. Disappointed, that MSC does not have itinerary we like. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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