10 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Caribbean - Western from Miami

We have always booked cruises leaving the NYC area since we are not fond of flying. However, this cruise looked very interesting and we couldn't pass it up..So we flew down to Miami the same day as the cruise. It wasn't as bad as ... Read More
We have always booked cruises leaving the NYC area since we are not fond of flying. However, this cruise looked very interesting and we couldn't pass it up..So we flew down to Miami the same day as the cruise. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be but we still don't like flying.Anyway,embarkation was all right especially since we were Latitudes members with a balcony so our line was a lot shorter.Since we knew that our cabin would not be ready we headed to Tsars for lunch and met some of our CC buddies... The balcony was roomy enough for us.We usually unpack my luggage and keep DH's on the sofa..Our room was kept very clean by Jill and her partner, which I forgot his name. Both of them were very friendly and would stop to talk to us and see how our day was. We always give an extra tip to the cabin stewards because they deserve the most.They even had towel creatures to meet us every night CC MEET AND GREET- the M&G was wonderful since we had about 150 people. We met Captain Costas, Hotel Director, John O'Hara (Yes Mrs.O'Hara, he was wonderful and couldn't do enough for us...EXT 8888!!!) Cruise Director, Iain, the Comedian, Tim and others...I must say that for 13 days you always saw all of them around the ship. If you said hi, they would stop to talk to you...I even saw the Captain shopping in the Duty Free shop...I love when the staff is visible to the passengers. it make good Customer relations DINNERS:: I am not going to get into detail since we thought all the dinners were very good. We did eat at Cagneys, Mama's Chin Chin, Blue Lagoon Garden Buffet and both dining rooms. the only problem we had was the second time we ate at Mama's. We were with other CC members and told the waiter that we had to be out by 9 but we were still eating at that time.Even though it tasted good, my pork saltimboca did not have a piece of prosciutto on it. DH seafood pasta didn't have any taste to it either. With that in mind, the next day we got a call from the Restaurant manager, who apologized for the service and the food. She then gave us a bottle of wine and a free meal in any speciality restaurant we would like. I though that was very generous. We have to say that our favorite was Chin Chin for a specialty restaurant. SHOWS: I am surprised that there weren't any more Jean Ryan shows on this cruise, especially since it was for 13 days. We did like the comedian Tim, Matilda, and Cirque Bijiou..Of course the crew's talent show was great and so was the "FOUNTAINS"...but all the other's were only ok...nothing special... POOL AREA: Now this is where I have a lot to say...like on so many other ships there are those deck chair hogs that spread their towels on the chair..but I never seen it as bad as it was on this ship...there was a group of passengers from Russia that would be up at 6 am to commandeer deck chairs on 2 sides of the pool. I even saw a man who saved a chair just for his bag...no one ever sat in it but his bag..I witnessed an elderly woman go to one side of the pool pick up her cover up from a chair and then come back to the other side and sit in another chair, leaving the other chair with just a towel on it. I truly believe that crew members should be able to clock the time that the chairs are vacant. I was told one day that I can let the crew member know when an hour was up on this particular chair and he would remove the towel. I did not feel it was up to me to do that but for them to keep an eye out PASSENGERS: The majority of the passengers on the ship were pleasant and friendly.I met many wonderful people on this cruise. However, the Europeans and the French Canadians were very rude and nasty.Just because they THINK they can wear a speedo or a bikini doesn't make them special..I had a few comments made about me that weren't very nice and upset me very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
A bit of background on us, we are a professional married couple, both of us in our 50's. This was our 7th cruise, the second on NCL. My wife and I booked this cruise as a last minute cruise, lately we have found that it works out ... Read More
A bit of background on us, we are a professional married couple, both of us in our 50's. This was our 7th cruise, the second on NCL. My wife and I booked this cruise as a last minute cruise, lately we have found that it works out better for us to pick a week that we can get cheap airfare, then work a cruise later. We had our first NCL experience on the Sky last October and really liked it, so the decision was between NCL and Carnival this time. Called CAS and found that we were eligible for a comped inside, deal done! We upgraded to a balcony on 10th floor midship, great choice. We had rented a car in Tampa the week before and drove to Miami Sunday morning. National and Alamo have a free shuttle to the port, which works out great. Dropped off the car at around 1:00 and were on board around 2 or so. I had 3 bottles of wine in my carry-on, security saw them and escorted me to the corkage table where I paid $15 per bottle, which was expected. My wife had a 6 pack of Coke and water in her carry-on and they never said anything about them. Our room was already for us upon boarding, which was great so we could drop off our stuff. I found the room to be a bit small, but it was very clean and set up nice. Love the fridge at eye level, we immediately emptied the mini-bar contents and stowed our wine and soda. We really liked the bathroom set up with the sliding doors for shower and toilet. Balcony was fine, and the floor to ceiling sliding door gave the room a bright airy feel. We met some Cruise Critic folks at the Sky Bar at sail-away, probably not the best spot to do a Meet and Greet, as there is a very LOUD band playing at sail-way right below the bar. First night dinner was in Tsar's Palace, this place is beautiful! We found the food to be better than expected, and service was fine. After dinner we hit the casino, lots of new games, but tough to get a big win. Second day we ate breakfast in Tsar's, hardly anyone there and the food was outstanding. I love the dining room because you can get real juice, not the watered down swill that they serve in the buffet. I also noticed on this ship that they will seat you by the windows without asking. On every other ship we have been on it seems you have to be a celebrity or beg to get a window seat. Rest of the day we toured the ship, hung out by the pool and relaxed on our balcony. Never much of a problem finding a chair on this ship, which was a pleasant surprise. We went to a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in the morning, got to meet the Captain, Hotel Director, Cruise Director and of course comedian Tim Kamenski. Had dinner in Azura, had to wait about 1/2 hour for a table. Had the mini-shrimp-lobster, it wasn't bad. They do have a good Caesar salad you can order every night, and you can get it with anchovies which I love. Next day was Roatan, we rented a scooter from Capt Van's and did a self tour of the island. Was really surprised at the military presence on the island, we went through at least 3 checkpoints, although they just waved us through. Returned the scooter and hung out at West End for a while, kind of a quaint spot with a nice beach. Had dinner in Teppanyaki tonight, we were very impressed! Great show and the food was wonderful. Well worth the $25 cover. Next day we arrived in Belize -guess what? 3 other ships were here! We decided to forgo the trip to shore, we have been here before and didn't feel like taking the long tender ride into shore. Ship was mostly empty all day, so we hung by the pool and did some gambling. My wife was not feeling too well, so I had wings and fish and chips in Blue Lagoon for dinner - really good. Arrival in Costa Maya the next day and it was HOT! 93 degrees and very humid. My wife was still not up to par, so I just went up on shore to check things out. They have a huge touristy complex with shops, bars and one great big pool. Looked like everyone was enjoying themselves. Spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing. Friday at sea, we got invited to a tour of the bridge. That was really cool, the Captain gave a talk, answered questions, and then let us roam the bridge and take pictures. I really enjoyed that! Spent the rest of the day relaxing and doing a bit of gambling. Dinner again at Azura, we ate late, no wait, no complaints on the food or service. Great Stirrup Cay got canceled on Saturday due to heavy seas, so another relaxing day at sea. Had dinner at Mama's Kitchen, I ordered the Lobster Ravioli which were wonderful. Would highly recommend this restaurant, we were seated at a great window seat with a spectacular view. Debarkation was not so good on Sunday, we had forgot to tag our luggage, so we have no idea what color we were. We finally headed down at around 10:30, the lines were crazy. When we finally got to customs, they wouldn't let my wife who is Canadian, but US resident in the US line, so we had to wait close to 45 minutes just in that line. The lady directing people to the lines was very rude to my wife, this was probably the worst part of the cruise. We didn't get out of the building until almost noon. Overall impressions of the ship is that she was very clean, very well maintained. We saw no signs of wear and tear. Food was above average and service was very good. We spent a lot of time in the casino and the staff was very friendly and always were there with a drink when we needed one. We love playing slots and there was a good selection, although I would have to say they were on the tight side. Blue Lagoon was really nice, we enjoyed chicken wings and Won Ton soup several times on the cruise. Loved being able to have something to eat besides pizza after midnight. The 2 specialty restaurants were great and worth the surcharge. Dining rooms were pretty and good food. We really enjoyed our week and would do this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Just arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was ... Read More
Just arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was very favorable. Embarkation: We arrived in FLL 2 hours later than scheduled, but still in plenty of time for SAS to get us to the port without problems. Having read here that SAS was a good bet, we tried them, and they did not disappoint. We did have to wait quite a while in the terminal before numbers were called, and this was perhaps because of the time change? I'm not sure. However, once numbers were called, the process was quick and smooth. Photos: I have to say that most of the photos taken by ship's photographers were hurried, and not well done. We did not do a sitting, and that probably would have made a big difference in how they turned out. I was pleased that you could decline to have all the pictures taken at dinner, etc. In the past we have purchased photos, but didn't find a single one worth buying this trip. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. While it was smaller than some other lines, we found that the bathroom configuration of the space was superior, and the rest of the cabin very adequate. We could have used more drawer space, but that is a small matter, and the shelves accommodated extra things nicely. The beds are much more comfortable than we have experienced on other lines, and having broken a vertebra in my spine a little while before the cruise, a comfortable bed was much appreciated! We love having a balcony, and spend quite a bit of time on it; we always take binoculars, and so that makes viewing things from the balcony much more interesting. This time we saw flying fish several times, huge schools of fish at the surface, and birds diving for them - it made the water boil!! We also saw either a dolphin or a porpoise - don't know which. Of course, it is fun to observe other ships - tankers, container ships, yachts, and other cruise ships as well. Having that private space on a balcony is totally worth it to us, but we would probably still cruise and enjoy it without if we couldn't afford to have one. Freestyle: Having never cruised NCL, and having enjoyed formal nights before, we thought we would miss them. However - I have to say that we loved the relaxed atmosphere and feel of freestyle!! We dressed up a little, but not at all black tie. It was just so relaxing to be able to do whatever we wanted. We were seated with others several nights, and left to ourselves on others. Met some great people, and were able to enjoy ourselves separately as well. A nice mix, and again - VERY RELAXING!! We were truly ON VACATION!! Food/Beverage: We had planned to stop for soda and water before boarding, but it just didn't happen, because our flight was delayed so much. So we purchased a soda card - just one. I am much more addicted to soda than my husband, and so I became familiar with the bars. The woman who is in the Java Cafe mornings is a sweetheart - remembered that ice hurts my teeth - and was always a smiling beginning to my day!! We don't drink alcohol - so I cannot speak to how they manage wine service, etc. I do have to say that I never felt "nickeled and dimed" as I have frequently read as a complaint on this board. Did they try to sell raffle tickets at every show? Yes - and that happens on all the lines. Did bar staff go around the pool or on the beach offering drinks? Yes - and that also has happened on every cruiseline we have been on. Can't speak to the luxury cruiselines, because we have not done Seabourne, etc. I know food is a pretty subjective thing; but I have worked in food service at one of the premiere hotels when I was young. I have a feel for what should happen - even in large banquet service. We ate breakfast either in Blue Lagoon or the Garden Cafe. The omelet stations are still there, and they are really good! They also have eggs benedict in Garden Cafe - something I didn't expect! One time the English Muffin was pretty tough - must have been sitting a while - but otherwise none of the breakfast items we tried were disappointing. We tried Tsar's, Azura, and the Garden Cafe for lunch, and could always find something refreshing and delicious. Dinners, we mostly ate at Tsar's. The lobster was tough, but difficult to serve that many and have a different outcome, I think. Swordfish was a little fishy - but okay. Once, my turkey scallopini was a little burned. If you complained, it was addressed immediately, and either replaced or something else brought out. This happened even if the complaint was only that you didn't like the dish. The souffle was consistently delicious. The creme brulee was also delicious - more on that later. Taboulle was flavorful and delicious. We found that our food was always brought to us cold if it should be cold, and warm/hot if it should have been. Meats were cooked as ordered!! We took the advice of many of the cruise critics, and tried the other restaurants. Our favorite was Le Bistro. The staff here were superior, although we rarely found any problems with any of the staff in the main dining rooms. The hostess truly went out of her way to ensure that our dining experience was thoroughly enjoyed. The chef sent out a couple of things that we didn't order - just "compliments of the chef" - and they were a treat! Earlier I noted that the swordfish in the main dining room was a little fishy. NOT SO at Le Bistro - where it was truly the best we have ever eaten! The duck was good as well. The escargot is also superior here to the main dining room. I said I would say more on the creme brulee - and I will. In the main dining room it was served with a chocolate ganache, and that was a delicious addition!! However, for the lovely presentation with the fruit basket, as it is served in Le Bistro - it gets full marks! The Chef sent out chocolate truffles that were soooooo delicious!! I make chocolate truffles, and have had some from people who are considered great chocolatiers - but these were superior! Service/crew We had great service wherever we were on the ship. Ahmad and Marc were our room stewards, and they were always ready to do whatever to make us more comfortable and ensure that our cruise was enjoyable. All over the ship, people smile and speak politely to you, as they are busy polishing, etc. to keep the ship gleaming. Were there streak marks on the mirror? Yes, once - but we chose to ignore the little things, and just relax! There was a disagreement with the purser's desk. They said at one point that our credit card was declined. When I called my bank, they told me that two authorizations had come through for $800 - and they questioned it because we had not told them we were leaving the country. My bank told me there was over $3000, so they wouldn't decline. Purser's desk told me that they had never sent this $800 through. Finally, I was able to use another card - and we are still waiting for the $800 to come off. My bank is watching this for me. Hope I don't have a problem about this, but will deal with that if I have to do so. We were able to go to the meet and greet - thanks to Jake for setting that up! - and while there meeting several members of the crew, the captain invited us all to the bridge for a tour. That was a great experience - not to be missed!! I have read good things on these boards about John, Paul, and Captain Costas - I cannot say his real name, sorry. These crew members are approachable, genuine and delightful people!! They truly want to make your cruise everything it should be - magical! Entertainment: One word: WOW! The Jean Ann Ryan Co. is professional and talented! We do not expect the onboard entertainment to rival shows we have seen on and off Broadway and in Europe - but these shows do just that. Alicia is a highlight every time she comes onto the stage - but the whole company is wonderfully gifted. The musicians are amazing - especially the saxophonist!! Even the poolside entertainment is really good. Don't - DO NOT - miss the Cirque du Soliel!! The comedian, Tom/Tim? Kaminsky is also a true headliner! Shore Excursions: We just walked around in Roatan. We had planned to catch a taxi to a beach - but they were all expensive at the original parking lot. Later on we realized that we could have hired one off the beaten track for much less. However, by that time, we had spotted a small private beach right off the main road - and we had it to ourselves for the entire afternoon! In Belize, we took the ship's tour to Lamanai. Tour guide that we had was knowledgeable about wildlife and birds, botany, and Mayan History! We were able to see howler monkeys, cormorants, igrets, herons - many types of birds. We climbed to the top of the pyramid in Lamanai, and what a view! Long day, but totally worth it!! In Costa Maya, we had arranged to meet with David Villagomez, "The Native Choice" for a tour of Chacchoben. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough!! David and Ivan are both Mayan, and Ivan's family actually lived at this site. This ruin was not excavated until the 1990s, and was not opened to the public until 2001. There was not a question asked thJust arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was very favorable. Embarkation: We arrived in FLL 2 hours later than scheduled, but still in plenty of time for SAS to get us to the port without problems. Having read here that SAS was a good bet, we tried them, and they did not disappoint. We did have to wait quite a while in the terminal before numbers were called, and this was perhaps because of the time change? I'm not sure. However, once numbers were called, the process was quick and smooth. Photos: I have to say that most of the photos taken by ship's photographers were hurried, and not well done. We did not do a sitting, and that probably would have made a big difference in how they turned out. I was pleased that you could decline to have all the pictures taken at dinner, etc. In the past we have purchased photos, but didn't find a single one worth buying this trip. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. While it was smaller than some other lines, we found that the bathroom configuration of the space was superior, and the rest of the cabin very adequate. We could have used more drawer space, but that is a small matter, and the shelves accommodated extra things nicely. The beds are much more comfortable than we have experienced on other lines, and having broken a vertebra in my spine a little while before the cruise, a comfortable bed was much appreciated! We love having a balcony, and spend quite a bit of time on it; we always take binoculars, and so that makes viewing things from the balcony much more interesting. This time we saw flying fish several times, huge schools of fish at the surface, and birds diving for them - it made the water boil!! We also saw either a dolphin or a porpoise - don't know which. Of course, it is fun to observe other ships - tankers, container ships, yachts, and other cruise ships as well. Having that private space on a balcony is totally worth it to us, but we would probably still cruise and enjoy it without if we couldn't afford to have one. Freestyle: Having never cruised NCL, and having enjoyed formal nights before, we thought we would miss them. However - I have to say that we loved the relaxed atmosphere and feel of freestyle!! We dressed up a little, but not at all black tie. It was just so relaxing to be able to do whatever we wanted. We were seated with others several nights, and left to ourselves on others. Met some great people, and were able to enjoy ourselves separately as well. A nice mix, and again - VERY RELAXING!! We were truly ON VACATION!! Food/Beverage: We had planned to stop for soda and water before boarding, but it just didn't happen, because our flight was delayed so much. So we purchased a soda card - just one. I am much more addicted to soda than my husband, and so I became familiar with the bars. The woman who is in the Java Cafe mornings is a sweetheart - remembered that ice hurts my teeth - and was always a smiling beginning to my day!! We don't drink alcohol - so I cannot speak to how they manage wine service, etc. I do have to say that I never felt "nickeled and dimed" as I have frequently read as a complaint on this board. Did they try to sell raffle tickets at every show? Yes - and that happens on all the lines. Did bar staff go around the pool or on the beach offering drinks? Yes - and that also has happened on every cruiseline we have been on. Can't speak to the luxury cruiselines, because we have not done Seabourne, etc. I know food is a pretty subjective thing; but I have worked in food service at one of the premiere hotels when I was young. I have a feel for what should happen - even in large banquet service. We ate breakfast either in Blue Lagoon or the Garden Cafe. The omelet stations are still there, and they are really good! They also have eggs benedict in Garden Cafe - something I didn't expect! One time the English Muffin was pretty tough - must have been sitting a while - but otherwise none of the breakfast items we tried were disappointing. We tried Tsar's, Azura, and the Garden Cafe for lunch, and could always find something refreshing and delicious. Dinners, we mostly ate at Tsar's. The lobster was tough, but difficult to serve that many and have a different outcome, I think. Swordfish was a little fishy - but okay. Once, my turkey scallopini was a little burned. If you complained, it was addressed immediately, and either replaced or something else brought out. This happened even if the complaint was only that you didn't like the dish. The souffle was consistently delicious. The creme brulee was also delicious - more on that later. Taboulle was flavorful and delicious. We found that our food was always brought to us cold if it should be cold, and warm/hot if it should have been. Meats were cooked as ordered!! We took the advice of many of the cruise critics, and tried the other restaurants. Our favorite was Le Bistro. The staff here were superior, although we rarely found any problems with any of the staff in the main dining rooms. The hostess truly went out of her way to ensure that our dining experience was thoroughly enjoyed. The chef sent out a couple of things that we didn't order - just "compliments of the chef" - and they were a treat! Earlier I noted that the swordfish in the main dining room was a little fishy. NOT SO at Le Bistro - where it was truly the best we have ever eaten! The duck was good as well. The escargot is also superior here to the main dining room. I said I would say more on the creme brulee - and I will. In the main dining room it was served with a chocolate ganache, and that was a delicious addition!! However, for the lovely presentation with the fruit basket, as it is served in Le Bistro - it gets full marks! The Chef sent out chocolate truffles that were soooooo delicious!! I make chocolate truffles, and have had some from people who are considered great chocolatiers - but these were superior! Service/crew We had great service wherever we were on the ship. Ahmad and Marc were our room stewards, and they were always ready to do whatever to make us more comfortable and ensure that our cruise was enjoyable. All over the ship, people smile and speak politely to you, as they are busy polishing, etc. to keep the ship gleaming. Were there streak marks on the mirror? Yes, once - but we chose to ignore the little things, and just relax! There was a disagreement with the purser's desk. They said at one point that our credit card was declined. When I called my bank, they told me that two authorizations had come through for $800 - and they questioned it because we had not told them we were leaving the country. My bank told me there was over $3000, so they wouldn't decline. Purser's desk told me that they had never sent this $800 through. Finally, I was able to use another card - and we are still waiting for the $800 to come off. My bank is watching this for me. Hope I don't have a problem about this, but will deal with that if I have to do so. We were able to go to the meet and greet - thanks to Jake for setting that up! - and while there meeting several members of the crew, the captain invited us all to the bridge for a tour. That was a great experience - not to be missed!! I have read good things on these boards about John, Paul, and Captain Costas - I cannot say his real name, sorry. These crew members are approachable, genuine and delightful people!! They truly want to make your cruise everything it should be - magical! Entertainment: One word: WOW! The Jean Ann Ryan Co. is professional and talented! We do not expect the onboard entertainment to rival shows we have seen on and off Broadway and in Europe - but these shows do just that. Alicia is a highlight every time she comes onto the stage - but the whole company is wonderfully gifted. The musicians are amazing - especially the saxophonist!! Even the poolside entertainment is really good. Don't - DO NOT - miss the Cirque du Soliel!! The comedian, Tom/Tim? Kaminsky is also a true headliner! Shore Excursions: We just walked around in Roatan. We had planned to catch a taxi to a beach - but they were all expensive at the original parking lot. Later on we realized that we could have hired one off the beaten track for much less. However, by that time, we had spotted a small private beach right off the main road - and we had it to ourselves for the entire afternoon! In Belize, we took the ship's tour to Lamanai. Tour guide that we had was knowledgeable about wildlife and birds, botany, and Mayan History! We were able to see howler monkeys, cormorants, igrets, herons - many types of birds. We climbed to the top of the pyramid in Lamanai, and what a view! Long day, but totally worth it!! In Costa Maya, we had arranged to meet with David Villagomez, "The Native Choice" for a tour of Chacchoben. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough!! David and Ivan are both Mayan, and Ivan's family actually lived at this site. This ruin was not excavated until the 1990s, and was not opened to the public until 2001. There was not a question asked that David didn't know the answer! The man's knowledge of Mayan history, the ruins, the religious philosophy, the daily life, the plant and animal life there is encyclopedic!! Our tour lasted twice as long as the other tours there - but we came away with a burning desire to visit again and learn more about this important archaeological at David didn't know the answer! The man's knowledge of Mayan history, the ruins, the religious philosophy, the daily life, the plant and animal life there is encyclopedic!! Our tour lasted twice as long as the other tours there - but we came away with a burning desire to visit again and learn more about this important archaeological find! David also told us of a new dig that may be even more important than this - where we will also visit in the future! Our ship was able to tender us in to GSC, and we spent about 3 hours snorkeling there. You are forced to wear a small life vest, and that was a little frustrating, because then it is very difficult to do any diving for a closer look! However, lots of things to see if you took your time, and let the fish come out, rather than hiding in the rocks, etc. Other passengers: This ship had a great mix of ages. I love seeing children enjoying themselves, and most of the time the kids we saw were very well-behaved. This was a spring break cruise for college kids, and that was good to see. Of course, Kev and I fit in with the approaching seniors - but most that we saw were still very active and willing to try. I have to say one thing. At the first port and also the last before GSC, we saw people escorted off the ship. I don't know what the woman who was escorted off in Costa Maya did - but a couple a few doors down from our cabin was escorted off in Roatan for smoking pot in their cabin. People - just don't be stupid!! Keep your illegal substances and activities at home, and just have a great vacation!! Overall experience/evaluation: Will we cruise with NCL in the future?? You betcha!! This cruise made it hard to come home to work! But hey - we work, so that we can save for the next cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband and I have been on over 30 cruisers and are senior citizens. Went on the Norwegian Jewel to celebrate our anniversary. We looked forward to dining in the elegant Tsar's Palace restaurant, but it turned into a big ... Read More
My husband and I have been on over 30 cruisers and are senior citizens. Went on the Norwegian Jewel to celebrate our anniversary. We looked forward to dining in the elegant Tsar's Palace restaurant, but it turned into a big disappointment when we sat looking at people next to us dressed like they were going to a hockey game, or a "bar." Even though it was stated in the daily newsletter that "smart casual..long pants" were required, I would say that MOST of the groups were "under-dressed". One night there were several men sitting eating with baseball caps on their heads, and wearing SHORTS! Dungarees were worn by MOST of the yuppies, and even though they might have been "designer jeans", they definitely didn't belong in the Tsars Palace! We felt sorry for the Maitre'd and Assist. who were powerless to refuse these people admission to the restaurant. Because the topside buffet restaurant , Garden Court, no longer has trays, we decided after a few frustrating mornings there, to try and find someplace else where we could be "waited on." Can't believe NCL is doing away with the TRAYS!! The first few mornings, it took us 4 trips back and forth between the restaurant and our table, which was quite a walk back towards the stern. Without a tray, one can only carry a glass of orange juice and a plate of eggs. Then it's another long walk back to fetch your coffee and a muffin. Bring that back to the table. Then another walk back to maybe fetch some fruit. By the time we had everything we wanted to eat for our breakfast, our coffee was lukewarm and the eggs were cold! Don't the "powers to be' realize that for senior citizens to make 3 or 4 trips back and forth between the buffet area and their table requires a lot of walking and effort and we get out of breathe with all that walking back and forth? Whoever had the idea of NO TRAYS should be fired! It's a TERRIBLE IDEA. Maybe they should institute waiter service in the Garden Court. Thank God we found the Blue Lagoon restaurant on the 4th day and we ate there every morning after that! They had waiters and the food was delicious. We liked it so much we ate there every lunch too! We enjoyed the ship but won't book NCL again until they go back to having trays in the Garden Court restaurants. Entertainment was A++...The variety and number of lounges was excellent. We could always find music playing for dancing somewhere. Food was ordinary, even in Tsars Palace. Nothing exceptional except in the Bistro. The Italian Kitchen was just average. Prices for the special restaurants too high. Valentine's Day was $45 per person ... and we opted NOT to pay that kind of money ($90 a couple for one meal. The Freestyle is too free.. too loose... and pretty soon, if they don't tighten up and start enforcing some of the rules, people will be coming into the dining rooms in bathing suits! One more thing... underage teenagers were coming into the Adult Only shows at 11 p.m., and although it was announced that no one over 18 should be in the room, NO ONE walked around and kicked them out. They were there at both Adult Only shows we saw, giggling, and carrying on, and none of the cruise director's staff asked them to leave even though they obviously were 14 or 15 yrs. old and definitely NOT 18! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Jewel Jan 3, 2010 - Jan 10, 2010 This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL having previously sailed the Sky (before she was the POA), the Dawn & the Gem. It was DH's 2nd cruise, all on NCL. We had gotten engaged on the Gem two years ... Read More
Jewel Jan 3, 2010 - Jan 10, 2010 This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL having previously sailed the Sky (before she was the POA), the Dawn & the Gem. It was DH's 2nd cruise, all on NCL. We had gotten engaged on the Gem two years earlier and were on board to celebrate that anniversary. Embarkation was awful. We arrived at the pier around 1 pm hoping to be behind all those people who had to be first on board. Usually that is a good time to arrive but not this time. The line still snaked out of the building. We made it through the 1st turn but the man ran out of the health questionnaire forms and said we could get them inside. When we got inside the reps were annoyed because we hadn't filled out the forms we didn't have. When we were about 10 people away from the x-ray machines the system broke down. All we were told was that there were problems with the computers. We could see people milling about down the hall but that line wasn't moving either. It took about 45 minutes -1 hour to straighten out. To TSA's credit they were letting ship's personnel through and were letting people through to the bathrooms but you had to come back out again. They also relaxed the no cell phones rule but still wouldn't let you take pictures. Later at our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet I asked the hotel director, John O'Hara, what happened. He explained that the Jewel usually follows another NCL ship that ports on Saturday but there was a problem and an RCL ship used that space the day before. That must have been fun for the RCL folks to see all the NCL fishes & signs for freestyle everywhere. Anyway, according to him, the RCL folks sailed off with the computer cables. While I enjoyed meeting John his explanation didn't make much sense. They had obviously already boarded several hundred passengers so what cables did they use for that and why did the system suddenly stop? A fellow passenger who had gotten on board said they were having problems earlier too and only had 5 computer stations open for distributing sign and sail cards and setting up the on board accounts. We felt bad for the harried staff but the passengers were very cooperative the whole time, at least that we saw. Those lucky few who made it through got to have the ship all to themselves for some extra time. This was our 1st experience with the "new" liquor / corkage policy. When you go through the detectors, if they see a bottle in your carry on you are directed to a table off to the side. There you show the staffer your bottles & they write out what you have & charge you corkage billed to your cabin but you keep the bottles. It appears as a dining room charge. This was much better than having ships personnel cart them away and return them later. Previously I was unable to get my champagne back for sail away so I stopped trying to bring any on board. Especially, after the annoying embarkation, we were surprised that there wasn't champagne waiting. It wasn't until we came back & read the boards here that we learned that NCL stopped the complimentary welcome glasses. What a shame. The ship itself: The dEcor looked like every other NCL ship . . . same furniture, similar carpets, identical wood veneer. Our balcony cabin could have been on the Dawn, the Gem or the Jewel. The layout was also the same. If you have been on one, you can find everything on the Jewel. There is no rock wall or bowling. The beds were comfortable. The bathroom is large enough. They have a nice feature where you can slide a door to the toilet so even though it's tiny 2 people can use the bathroom at the same time. I wish they would add a drawer for papers under the vanity. The lighting in the cabin is also too yellow for applying makeup. We do like the wheel attached to the cabins. You can use it to ask the steward to make up your cabin, turn it down or leave you alone. The steward also spins it back to welcome when finished. Our cruise had lousy weather so we were in the cabin a lot. I only saw the stewards twice in the hall but when I left them notes, they provided what we requested: ice, a corkscrew, more room service menus etc. They were kind enough to make 3 towel animals for us; the monkey hanging from the ceiling scared me when I opened the cabin door that night (lol). I don't understand why they shut the blinds every time. The food was OK. I'm a food snob so it's hard to make me say Wow! Room service was served as hot as possible (meaning warm when it got there) but they were prompt. I didn't appreciate the server who insisted that she come into our cabin to set the tray down. I made my husband answer the door after that & when he said "my wife is still in bed" they simply handed him the tray. The fruit all over the ship was out of season & less than succulent but that's Mother Nature not NCL. We ate in the two main dining rooms. Tsar's Palace was nicer and more elegant but Azure was simply more convenient. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Le Bistro. I liked the old menu better. My duck confit was tough which was disappointing. I wish they would bring back the braised beef ribs; I loved that! We had been sent a bottle of wine by an officer and they gave us the "complimentary" wine list but we couldn't find a wine to agree on so I asked for the real wine list. Previously, on other ships when we did that they just deducted $25 or $30 from the price of our better / more expensive bottle but this time they charged us full price. It was still an amazing bottle of wine that had aged beautifully on board & was magnificent for its age as a result so I can't really complain. The action stations at the buffet in the Garden Cafe were fine. They had the same food on both sides of some but there were differences on the others. NCL did go a bit cheap on the cheese. There were now only 2-3 kinds of cheese & neither was flavorful. You could also only get hot dogs and hamburgers out by the pool. On the other cruises they served pizza and sandwiches there too and we missed that because we didn't always want to walk all the way to the back of the ship from our cabin all the way forward to get a snack. I guess my biggest complaint were the desserts, they just weren't as good as past cruises. Even the ice cream tasted more like ice milk to me. Also the chocolate buffet was not great; they had about 7-10 different desserts but that was it. The few sculptures were smaller than before but they were intricate & beautiful. I actually liked the smaller ones because I always though that was a waste of food. There were rarely any other food carvings. Maltings became our favorite bar. We were able to watch all the football games, see the comings & goings, as well as enjoy from a distance the band near Magnums on the other side of Bar City. I wish they had shown some of the games on the jumbotron in the main lobby above the Java cafe because the 2 big screen TVs at Maltings just weren't big enough. Big Al, the bartender, was wonderful and although I was never able to catch his name the waiter is Maltings is a doll. He has an infectious smile & a dry sense of humor. The Western Caribbean ports were what I expected and I didn't care for them. We booked independently and just had the worst luck. I was pleasantly surprised in Costa Maya. Somebody explained that they were still rebuilding after a previous hurricane. They did a terrific job. There are shops & a piazza. Inside there is a wonderful pool, with a swim up bar. They also built a "beach" area with lots of day beds, some hammocks etc. We couldn't quite figure out if you could get in and out of the water but it was still a lovely idea for those who would like to get off the ship but who don't really want to take an excursion. Other ports of call should take lessons. The entertainment: Our cruise was filled with college students. For the most part they were fun, energetic, polite, young people who were enjoyable to spend time with. We did see one unfortunate boy who seriously over indulged in Costa Maya. He was transported back to the ship unconscious where he was met by the ship's doctor. He managed to vomit just outside the gangway so we know he lived. Although they were vertical, his friends weren't in much better shape. The last two days we had some rough sailing due to the weather; I'm sure those kids were rather miserable. The Jewel offered a Pub Crawl. For $25 per person you visit 5 bars & have 6 drinks. They usually get about 25-30 people to participate. Given this demographic they had 96 participants which shocked even NCL. It was a boisterous group. It was so much fun they even had a reunion! I was surprised that I didn't hear more complaints about this. We got noisy. At various points, two different musical acts aboard ship stopped playing because the pub crawlers drowned them out. We saw a few unhappy faces on a few parents when the pub crawl invaded the normally PG rated karaoke in the Fizz lounge. Overall Dan Olsson, our host for this event, and his assistant, "Tequila Chat," did a fantastic job keeping this group together. Some of the trivia they asked was hard. To keep people from shouting out answers rather than being called on, "violators" had to do 10 push ups or pay $10. I understand the White Hot Party was a blast. I packed and wore a special outfit but wasn't feeling all that well the day after the 1st Pub Crawl (go figure) so I conked out before it began. My husband had a great time. The on board comedian, Tim Kaminski, is very funny. I don't generally like comedians but went to his show for my husband. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. As part of his act Tim makes fun of a previous passenger who helped herself to the entire serving bowl of broccoli at the buffet; I don't want to spoil the rest of it for you. Being the prankster that he is, my husband along with a little help from the Hotel Director, John O'Hara, arranged for a large bowl of broccoli to be delivered to the comedian at 4 a.m. Via e-mail we understand that this "tradition" is continuing Poor Tim. We didn't get to see the Circus show because we didn't get there early enough. Even the standing room was packed, so we left. At one minute to show time, the VIP section was still completely empty. We think they should have let the passengers in attendance use it at that point. Cat's Pajamas is a wonderful acappella group that even manages to sound like the instruments. It turns out we had previously had dinner at Tapanayki with Grant Hendrickson from the show on our Gem cruise in January of 2008. It was nice to see him again and we wish him & his fellow performers well on their upcoming tour in Branson, MO. Que Hundermark, the Cruise Director, is also very funny. He & Tim look a bit alike so they use that to their advantage. Normally I find Cruise Cirectors to be over bearing and I spend my time aboard avoiding them. Que wasn't obtrusive at all. He does make this weird sound - chica chaca - when he ends his announcements. That got old fast; I can only imagine how grating that noise must be to his fellow crewmates who have to hear it week after week. There were a few downsides. They have a "new" towel policy. No more honor system. You get two pool towels in your cabin & that's it. They will replace them as needed but they will charge you if they aren't there at the end. You also have to sign out towels if you want extras. They raised the prices of the specialty restaurants and no longer offer 2 for 1 specials for late night diners. The last night the waiters from Le Bistro, which was empty, were bargaining with passengers at Bar City for reduced covers. NCL also added covers to the Mexican place and the Italian place. That is the cheapest food ever but NCL wants you to pay. It's not worth it to me especially since the Italian food is sooooo bland. If they had garlic on our cruise it certainly didn't end up in my food. The best flavors were the Indian and Jamaican dishes. They now hold the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in a for pay restaurant so even that is not free anymore. The new "BAGS" program where for $19.99 per bag they will deliver your bags to your airline still has a few kinks. One of our Cruise Critic friends lost her luggage but between NCL & her airline they finally found it. She did say NCL offered to send somebody to the airport to help look which was very proactive on their part. I suppose the worst thing was the ports & shopping stuff. It was such a scam. They were pushing the same jewelry and the same stores all the time. We really want to know how much of a kickback NCL gets from these recommendations. If they aren't getting paid we can't think of a valid reason to continue to annoy passangers like this. It is very obnoxious but with a little effort not too hard to avoid. Disembarkation went as smoothly as possible. It's never pretty. Once outside we met a great lady who runs a bus company. Her name is Harriet Quarles and her company is Harriet Quarles Transportation. Google her for contact information; cruisecritic gets picky about direct recommendations. She took us to the AP for $10 per person rather than the $25 plus tip a cab would have cost, so no matter if you are traveling alone, as a couple or with a group (for whom she will negotiate an even better price per person) and need to arrange transportation from the port to the airport consider giving her a call ahead of time. On our way out of the port we did pass two taxi accidents. We were happy to be in a bus. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This is my 2nd cruise on the Jewel (1st was 3 years ago), 8th cruise with NCL and 24th cruise overall. The 1st time on the Jewel 3 years ago, I thought NCL was the best. I thought NCL had the best food, best ship, best service ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise on the Jewel (1st was 3 years ago), 8th cruise with NCL and 24th cruise overall. The 1st time on the Jewel 3 years ago, I thought NCL was the best. I thought NCL had the best food, best ship, best service and nicest crew. During the last 3 years I raved about the Jewel and told everyone taking a cruise to try NCL. That has changed after my cruise on the Jewel last week. The ship and cruise line has drastically changed to be the worst for its customers and the best for its own bottom line. NCL = Never Care Line and you will see why. EMBARKATION THIS WAS A MESS. We got to the port at 12 30 PM only to see a long line of about 400 passengers waiting to enter the building IN THE HOT SUN. THIS WAS NOT FUN. After about 45 mins we got inside the building and through security, only to find another very long line of about 500 passengers waiting to check in. After another hour in line we were finally able to get on board the Jewel. THIS WAS NOT A GREAT START TO A VACATION, this theme of long line for everything continued throughout the cruise. At a 2 15 PM we finally got on board. I thought to myself, great we can go to our cabin and start relaxing on our vacation. HOWEVER EVERYONE ON THE SHIP HAD TO WAIT ANOTHER HOUR BEFORE THE CABINS WERE READY. NCL used to have someone walk you to your cabin, not so anymore. GARDEN CAFÉ The buffet on the 12th deck was always overcrowded and many times we could not even find seats. Many times we had to find seating all the way at the back of the ship. The food in the buffet was always bland and the buffet always had lines, NOT AN ENJOYABLE experience. ALSO, 2 DAYS DURING LUNCH THEY RAN OUT OF PLATES AND CUPS IN THE BUFFET, THIS IS UNHEARD OF IN THE RESTAURANT WORLD AND COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE ANYWHERE. TSAR MAN DINING ROOM THIS IS THE AREA WHERE I SAW THE BIGGEST DECLINE IN SERVICE. 3 years ago, the waiters and waitresses were very nice, pleasant and efficient. Now they just throw the food at you without even a smile on their faces. Every time you ask for something, they act as if they are doing you such a big favor. NO MORE ARE THE DAYS OF GREAT SERVICE. I GUESS SINCE THEIR TIP IS ADDED AUTOMATICALLY EVERYDAY, THEY FEEL THEY ARE GOING TO GET PAID WITHOUT PROVIDING ANY SERVICE AT ALL. Also the selections, portions and quality of food provided is not very good. BASCIALLY THEY WANT YOU TO PAY EXTRA TO GET GOOD TASTING FOOD AND SERVICE BY GOING TO A PAID RESTAURANT. Also this dining room has a very long wait time. One day for breakfast we ordered bagels, salmon and tomatoes. THE TOMATOE WAS VERY GREEN AND THE SALMON WAS BLACK ALL OVER AS IF IT WAS SPOILED. I DON'T SEE HOW THEY THINK THEY CAN SERVE THAT KIND OF FOOD AND THINK SOMEONE WILL ACTUALLY EAT IT. I WOULD NOT EVEN GIVE THAT FOOD TO MY PET. IT THEN TOOK 20 MINS TO GET A MANAGER TO RESOLVE THE SITUATION. I HAVE PICTURES OF THE DISH THEY SERVED US, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. AZURE SECONDARY DINING ROOM Since the service was so terrible in TSAR, we tried this dining room, something I never had to do 3 years ago. I must say the service was much better than TSAR and would recommend this dining room every time over the service and wait time at TSAR. CAGNEYS STEAK This was my 4th experience at Cagney's and it was the most expensive. Never Care Line has raised the price from 15.00 per person to 25.00 per person (I am going to talk about the drastically higher prices for everything later). The service was excellent, but the food was not as good as the last 3 times I have been at Cagney's. The medium well prime rib I ordered came all bloody, then our waitress told us, that is what a medium well prime rib is, all bloody. Knowing better we asked for the manager who was shocked and immediately had the cook prepare a correctly cooked medium well prime rib which tasted very good. For 25.00 I would not recommend Cagney's. TANGO SPANISH This was my 5th dining experience at Tangos. As usual the food and service was excellent. But again the price went from FREE to 10.00 per person. NCL has started charging for everything possible which does not make an enjoyable vacation. Murder Mystery Dinner I have been to the murder mystery dinner before. It was very disorganized and not fun. It used to be free, now Never Care Line charges 15.00 per person. SKIP IT. PRICES Let's talk about prices from 3 years ago (on the Jewel) and 2 years ago (on the Pearl) THEN NOW TANGO free 10.00 MAMA free 10.00 MYSTERY free 15.00 GYM CLASSES free 12.00 FRENCH 10.00 20.00 STEAK 15.00 25.00 CHINESE 10.00 20.00 JAPANESE 15.00 25.00 SUSHI 10.00 15.00 TIPS 10.00 12.00 4 x 6 photo 9.95 19.95 Embarkation 4 x 6 photo for 19.95, GET REAL. YOU CAN GET A 8 x 10 photo for only 5.00 more TIPS Never Care Line now automatically charges 12.00 per day FOR tips, a 20 percent increase from 10.00 it used to charge. LET ME GET THIS, MUCH WORST SERVICE, 20 PERCENT HIGHER TIPS, they really are NEVER CARE LINE = NCL. CABIN Nice balcony cabin on the 10th deck very close to restaurants and activities and yet very quiet. The balcony was very small though, you can barely relax on it and you cannot eat on it, too small. To get a bigger balcony, you have to upgrade to a mini suite on the 11th deck. Princess cruises have a balcony twice the size for the same price. LINES EVERYWHERE Everywhere you went there were always long lines waiting for you. To get off the ship at ports, to get back on the ship at the ports. To eat at the buffet, to eat in the dining rooms. At customer service, at the shore excursion desk, at the photo gallery. Never Care Line needs help with their crowd management. TOURS Never Care Line tours are very much overpriced and very disorganized. Do yourself a favor, take an independent tour or don't take a tour at all, you will enjoy yourself much more. SHOWS I must say the shows on NCL are excellent, the best of any cruise line, this is the onlty thing that has not changed since 3 years ago, they have the same excellent shows. DISEMBARKATION This was good, we got off the ship 30 mins early, but then there was a long line to get our luggage, the usual with Never Care Line. SUMMARY I don't know if we will ever cruise with Never Care Line again. Once I thought highly of Never Care Line, now I would never recommend Never Care Line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
12/6: We Woke at 3AM to shower, dress & drive to train station where we park for free to ride to the airport. Then Delta flies us CLE-CVG in a mini jet that we are told is 35 min flight but take 1.5 hours. Then to wait for the plane ... Read More
12/6: We Woke at 3AM to shower, dress & drive to train station where we park for free to ride to the airport. Then Delta flies us CLE-CVG in a mini jet that we are told is 35 min flight but take 1.5 hours. Then to wait for the plane to MIA which is FC as we bought for the whole trip. So 3 Bloody Marys apiece & great taxi ride to the ship & instant Latitudes line for Silver tho our cards state bronze. Up to 7 to go to Tsars for lunch & we were first there. Great lunch of roast pork, side of shrimp & salad with a cup of cappuccino. Then up to our 10 deck BA stateroom. Seemed small when we alway got minis at least, but OK for $500 each. The luggage showed very fast (2:15) so we unpacked. I got my supplies for Meet & Greet tomorrow, the name tags Jerry printed for the FAMILY JEWELS, as we called ourselves. Had my gift ready too. Then we walked around the ship seeing everything all over again. At the Atrium I was stopped by a man & 3 gals who remembered me from Oct 2008 in Canada. So instant 4 friends. They knew it was our 30th anniversary, so our PCC did her job. Trevor who had my husband's large print daily delivered 7PM nightly for the next day had those 2 best friends. Then Mick, as I called Michelina who is now promoted to Restaurant Mgr. She comes to hug both of us for our great review of her work to Bob Becker, VP. She tells us we are truly family. After Muster Drill we head to Sky Bar for the Sail away & met a good 20 folks. Sprinkles were starting with lightening & top floor isn't desirable for that so we went it for dinner. Back to Tsars at 5:30PM to dinner and we both had more shrimp cocktail, apple soup, the beef tenderloin with double stuffed potatoes and lima beans which neither of us liked. The rolls were wheat & very good. Cappuccino was repeated refilled all dinner & desert. Service was close to 70% Philippines with a few Romanians who were head waiters & they each have a Jr Waiter. We both hit the hot shower, and out on the balcony to leave Miami to for Gulf. Lovely evening & to bed we went by 9PM. 12/7 Up at 7AM, Showered & I washed my hair but the dryer seemed strong but my long hair was soaked after 15 minutes running it on it. SO I walked the ship outside for instant hairdryer with the heat getting warmer to hot by 10AM. Then to Azura dining room for Meet & Greet. The staff there had tables with tablecloths all lined nicely for 60 people. Mayra was replaced with a new Group Event Coordinator Roxanne Brown. Instant friends & very alike. She had 60 spaces for names, stateroom numbers with email addresses for Homeland Security for the Bridge Tour. She stated Captain Kostas (Konstatinos Fafalios) is a friend of mine & I pulled out my portrait taken Oct 2008 with Jonas, the Staff Captain in place of Captain Kostas since he left for vacation halfway thru the cruise. Amazing that the 6 men only Jonas & Kostas are still there. No definate locations for them but Epic was staffing itself. So in walks our Family Jewels to get a name tag & fill out the form for all 60 folks, which everyone did. Tho 10 people didn't make it since TA's with the PHD for NCL U where they learn to be NCL all week. In walked Captain Kostas with Jonas & 9 more Officers. Steve replaced Julian as Hotel Director in October & he leaves Jewel with us to walk across the terminal to Pearl where he will work & Joe replaces him. Mick was there; Eric Cousin, Exec Chef; Mustafa, Food & Bev Dir; Carolyn, Guests Services Manager; Que, Cruise Director; Concierge Avar and 2 others that I did not get name cards for. Great get together for Cruise Critic members with the Captain to ask questions, get to know them all as well as each other. The Gift Exchange was very cute with me having the Captain & his Officers drawing the numbers. The one Officer who speaks very little english draws "M" which turned sideways is "3" the number we needed. Everyone loved it. Jeff even yelled it is "W" also so the Officer felt like one of us. He was cute though out the cruise to everyone.After lunch we did a walk of the ship & a cute couple playing shuffleboard and very good at it decided to teach us the game. So they left to rest & we took over with folks jumping over what we had fired across the floor. Some though we were going overboard but NCL has that blocked. Great to learn a game that goes back a century. The show that night was "Bank on the Run" which is excellent. Songs from the 70's and a great show from Jean Ann Ryan. 12/8 Up at 8AM to shower & dress for a very hot (92) & humid (100%). We are so hot in the room and the mirror behind the bed is like a hot shower was running. So balcony door closes. So to breakfast we go & then to go visit Routan. We did their stores, I got a sea shell charm at Diamond Int'l. For my 30th anniversary present he was going to upgrade my 1 KT diamond tennis bracelet to 2 Kt. $975 we were told. NOPE! So back to the ship where we meet up with Jonas to meet some more new folks with the restaurants, entertainment for that night with Pat Murray and his dummies that he works with. That night will be Matilda his hot Jamaican babe who has been around. What we saw had us going to it that night. Another Capella group "Cat's Pajamas", are 4 guys that know how to entertain, similar to the "Jersey Boys". Again we get them tomorrow. Then they have the art auction with free champagne but just one glass when you walk in, no refills. Pretty boring so we left. Went to the show after dinner and had a great laugh with a very smart dummie. Murray told me it is ie not y since she is a lady. But then his wife comes our with a large Ant named Antonio and we left since it got bad. We get back to our room & as the key goes in the door I see balloons, then walk in to HAPPY ANNIVERSARY across the wall atop the balcony door. Silver bells on the Mirror, cut paper bells that was pulled across the ceiling in 3 directions. A floral arrangement is sitting on the table. But no card. Who sent this? So down to the Atrium I go to find out & they tell me it is BLOCKED. Jerry was in the bathroom & comes out to Eric leaving a cake & I walk in & he has us sit & enjoy a chocolate mouse cake. Then I am handed an envelope that has a note that we are having dinner Saturday night at Le Bistro with bubbly included. I am to call the Concierge to make the reservation, signed by Steve. So that answered that question, The Captain & Officers did this. So up to the bridge with some cake but it is dark one officer on the side. So we ate that too. 12/9 We are seeing tender ships going to HAL across from us in the Gulf o Belize. Again it is so humid & hot at 8AM, I am ready to wear as little as possible. So we board a nice large tender that rode waves very well. Over 100 folks onboard and easy to get off at the shopping area. The people are not pushy, very nice folks. We learn they get 1 cruise ship a week, so they love Pearl & Jewel & wish they come twice a week. Many of us told them we would let NCL know. But they trade off East & West. So we did all the stores, heard all the stories of their families and bought a ceramic gecko that is climbing and look over his shoulder at you & everyone in the room. Different artist did it and for $15 I had to have it. Then to Diamond Int'l for my charm which is binoculars. They had no 2 kt & pushed us to buy a 4 KT for $1400, I told them "Maybe for my 40th". Back to the ship for a cool shower, then I sat outside to dry my hair in 15 mins. Then to dinner which was lobster served on linguine with snapper, shrimp & mussels. Mick stopped us as we walked in and gave us a quick pantry tour. I do not like Snapper but would like 3 lobster tails with 9 mussels in the shells. And she brought it to the table. Forget the butter this is heaven! Not rubbery, melted in your mouth and she brought the Chef out for my applause. He is the boss of all cooks on the ship at every restaurant. So he did this for me that night and folks were staring as they had linguine & all the rest. My husband loved the whole meal that was served to just about everyone. Show is country, which we do not care for. 12/10 Cat's Pajamas night in the showroom and we both loved their style. Costa Maya awaits us and we are sideways at the dock so everyone gets a better view. What was the old place is to the right with skeletons of the old stores and pool that is out of the ground on its side. The other pool is there on the left with the new stores and they have a swimming pool that runs the length of it. So to DI for my charm, which I got 3! A snorkel mask, a beach chair with canopy & as I am presented with a 2Kt diamond tennis bracelet that husband got for $500 with trade of old bracelet, then put a cruise ship on my bracelet that no one else gets one. I am their voice on Jewel & Kiwi, NCL shopping expert from New Zealand got us the deal we wanted. 65% off! Hugs galore for those in the store. Kiwi tells me it was his gift for our 30th. Then back for Tango's with free margarita for dinner. We love the IL POPO, large hotel steel structure with meat, peppers, onions, hanging for you to eat. I also had 3 lobster tacos that were HUGE! What a deal for $10 a person. $5 for full margarita but we passed. Then to the show and can those guys sing. I urge everyone to look for them on cruises with NCL as they are under contract for 3 years. Back to the room to watch CLE Browns vs Pittburgh Steelers & we killed them since they were cold. 12/11 Sea day - So after breakfast we hit the shuffleboard for an hour & gave it to another couple. We are headed to Bahamas. At 11AM we have the Bridge Tour with the Captain and the Family Jewels he met. What a great time he gave all of us. Answered questions, posed for photos, and then the Concierge comes in tell him he has his 2nd group (at 12:30PM) so we left. Went to another art auction for the free champagne. Then back out to enjoy the waves from the sides as we walk and the wake from the back which I missed but we are in front this cruise. Show is the greatest show NCL has on any ship: Cirque Bijou. Be sure to sit underneath the black walkway in the ceiling with ropes coming out of it. The guys fall on us with bungee cords, even high fiving us but I almost got my head kicked if I didn't put it on Jerry's shoulder. The acrobats are amazing, the special effects too. This is THE SHOW! 12/12 is to be Bahamas & NCL's Great Stirrup Cay but we are still racing to it at 9AM. So our for a walk to dry my hair in the wind, then comb it normal & have breakfast. Then we hear Kostas announcing that all ships are detouring from the Bahamas due to large waves that the lifeboats will have trouble with. High winds & waves as he stated. so another sea day. A day to make sure we forgot no one thanking for our surprise. Trevor at the Atrium for the large print daily, Ann from Germany for remembering us from Oct '08. We bought our deposit and got $100 off our bill. Show tonight is the CREW who are International. Great show with the Asst Hotel Director singing, an Indian waiter dancing in Bollywood style, and the greatest show they do FOUNTAINS. 5 guys & a gal with water pitchers that they drink from, hold it in their mouths to become the fountain, down each others back, up their nose, into the audience. They were a laugh & artistic when they got circular in the revolving stage area & all squirting water into the air. Then the skinny guy loses his toga & runs to fix it which had the place in hysterics. A Hawaiian waitress danced. Then the March of 300 employees to say thank you to us for sailing with them and w tell them thank you for making our vacation. Jonas & Kostas are waiting in the back for my hugs of thanks for the surprises. We are family and we will remember it. Back to the room to pack up to go home in the morning. We both agreed how fast the week went by and that is us having a great time. So we both have outfit to wear back to freezing CLE. 12/13 We got breakfast at 7:30AM at Tsars. I had Eggs Benedict with the Raisin Cinnamon French Toast, 4 cappuccinos and a big hug & kiss from Steve who was off to Pearl and going back West. Jerry told him good luck & he tells us to come sail with him. I told him to get us a free room or a good sale & email either of us. He knows we are on Epic next year. But he got Pearl. Then Jonas is with a new hire and as we are taking our carry ons off the ship he is at the terminal to say bye. He has new hires & their paperwork to be completed & get on the ship. As he tells us people come & go on vacations so he is busy in Miami or NYC. Here comes Mick who is headed home to Romania for 2 months. She works 4 gets 2 off. So we grab a cab for all of us but she has a totally different area to go to at the airport. So until next time. Fly back to CLE and 20 degree days but today was 40 with the blizzard eat of us. We got .4" which is fine with me. We are sleeping plenty after our party week and back to reality as we call it. So til Epic next December (12/11/10) or a cheap cruise in April (on Jewel maybe). Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
BACKGROUND ABOUT US: This was our (husband and I) first cruise. After months of research (by me) and looking on this website and other member reviews, we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel 5-day cruise from Miami to Grand Cayman and ... Read More
BACKGROUND ABOUT US: This was our (husband and I) first cruise. After months of research (by me) and looking on this website and other member reviews, we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel 5-day cruise from Miami to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We live in Upstate NY, I am 27 and my husband is 30. This was our delayed honeymoon/vacation. We do very little traveling. PRE-CRUISE: We decided to fly down a day earlier. I would definitely recommend doing this as it eliminates any stress about getting to the port on time, etc. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel at Miami Airport. I got the pre-cruise package for $220, which included transportation from airport to the hotel and then from the hotel to the port of Miami on day of cruise. This also included the breakfast. I would definitely recommend this hotel. We had a lovely time there (although it was very short since we arrived around 8pm Saturday night and left at noon on Sunday). The hotel staff was very nice. They upgraded our room to a mini-suite with a king-size bed. Although the room and hotel was nice, there was hair in the tub/shower, which was disappointing. The food at the hotel was good. We did not get to use the pool but there were a lot of people using it and it looked nice. If we had more time, we would have used the pool. DAY OF CRUISE: After being dropped off at the port of Miami, there was a porter there to take our bags. We weren't sure what to do then, but we figured it out. We arrived at the port by 1pm and were able to check in. The line was not long and we were able to check in upon getting to the port. There were plenty of staff directing us to where we needed to check-in and they were friendly. Checking in was a breeze. Within a 1/2 hour, we were checked in and were on board the ship. As this was our first cruise, we asked a few questions at the check-in (i.e., how the card works, when we could go to the room, when our bags would get to our room, etc). The man who checked us in was very forthcoming and friendly. They give you a card which you use to get into your room and to purchase anything and everything on the ship (except the casino). We did not have any problems with our card until we came back on the ship after our second port of call. My card did not work for some reason and had to go to the reception desk to get new cards (my husband also had to get one since they were giving me one). Although this was an inconvenience, we had new cards within 5 minutes. SERVICE: The service on the ship was OUTSTANDING! Everyone was friendly, greeted you when you passed, asked how things were going, etc. All of the staff wear ID tags which lists their name and where they are from which we found interesting because there was hardly anyone from USA! POOLS/HOT TUB: We did not use the pool and hot tubs that much as we didn't find them available to us for most of the time. We both are fair skinned so we tended to stay out of the sun the majority of the time. We did find that the pool area was less crowded during port of call days. On our first sea day, we decided to pay $40 ($20 each) to use the Thermal Suite (Spa) for the day. This included use of a female/male separate hot tub, sauna, steam room, showers. They also had a unisex room with a bigger hot tub (thermal pool) and heated lounge chairs. This was well-worth the $20 as the view was INCREDIBLE and there were less people here. They had a reduced amount for the full trip, which we will definitely do next time! One thing we did notice was that the 4 hot tubs in the pool area had signs that they were "adult only" however kids were in them the majority of the time we were in the area. They did have a kids-only pool and hot tub but we rarely saw it being used. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Joe Yannetty was funny! The juggler Barry John was very funny and amazing! Another couple we met on the ship recommended going to see his second show (as we had not gone to his first show). It was definitely worth it! We also went to the Cirque Bijou show which was also recommended to us. It was very good also! We did not go into the casino as we are not big gamblers but we did see it being used. We did not use the Library but if you like to read and forget a book, they have books you can use. They also have a card room, which has games like Scrabble, Yahtzee, Rummikub, Mah-Jong, and Chess. If you like to play board games or cards, check this out! FOOD: All of it was OUTSTANDING! Service was amazing also! We ate at Tango's, Mama's Italian, Azura, and Cagney's Steakhouse. We ate at the Garden Cafe (buffet) for all of our breakfast and lunches. The two main restaurants (no cover charge) were Tsar's and Azura. We ate at Azura once and it was really delicious. We would have eaten there again but wanted to try out the other restaurants. Tango's ($10 cover charge) was a Mexican restaurant and was ok. If we went on this ship again, we probably wouldn't eat here as there are other restaurants we enjoyed more. Mama's Italian ($10 cover charge) was also very nice. It was quiet when we were there (around 8:30pm) which made it even more enjoyable. My husband's favorite restaurant (and I enjoyed it very much also) was Cagney's Steakhouse. We had 8:30pm reservations and it was packed! We only had to wait less than 5 minutes for a table. The food was excellent, as well as the service! It was well-worth the $20 cover charge! We definitely recommend this restaurant if you are on traveling on this ship! PRESENTATIONS: We attended the Port Shopping Talk with Joanna, the Shopping Consultant. Although we had pre-booked our excursions (see below), we wanted to hear what she said about the ports. If you are going on your first cruise, I would definitely recommend attending this and seeing what the shopping consultant has to say. She will give you tips on where to go, what to watch out for, etc. DISEMBARKMENT: This was a very easy process as well! The day before, you have to go and get your own colored luggage tags. Depending on when you want to leave, you pick the color tag that corresponds to the time you want to get off the ship. You pick when you want to leave!! They also have an easy walk-off program where you take your own luggage with you on the day of disembarkment. We chose to leave our luggage out the night before (before midnight) with our luggage tags that corresponded to 9:15 disembarkment. Our flight from Miami was at 1:15pm. We waited on Deck 7 for our color (light blue) to be called and then we left the ship. Going through customs was very easy and we did not have any problems! Finding our luggage was also...very EASY!! Once you reach the ground floor, there are different sections clearly signed and we had no problems finding our luggage. We then crossed the street and within 10 seconds had a taxi-cab and left the port for the airport. Within 45 minutes, we were at Miami airport waiting for our flight. The cab cost $24 with a $2 fee, so the total was $26. Also, when we got up on disembarkment day, our bill was waiting for us. We are very anal, and since this was our first cruise, we wanted to keep track of our money and see how much we spent. We had kept track of our spending in a notebook. Everything you purchase on the ship is charged to your on-board account. Our numbers matched with theirs so we did not have any problems. There was a line at the reception desk Friday morning for those who had discrepancies or were paying with cash/traveler's checks. EXCHANGING MONEY: We had brought traveler's checks with us because we weren't sure how it was going to work in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We were able to cash those in at the reception desk on board. At both ports, every place we went to, they accepted US dollars. We used only cash for anything purchased off the ship. We did not have any problems at all. INTERNET CAFE: This was a little expensive. There is an activation fee of $3.95 to set up your account and to use the internet. We paid as we went, so it was 75 cents per minute. However, they do run specials a couple of the days. For example, since we couldn't leave the ship until 10am for Cozumel, they had a 1/2 off special if you used the internet from 8am to 10am on this day. On the second sea day, they also had reduced fees. Printing was 10 cents per page. Since we had e-tickets for our flight out of Miami, we went on on Thursday (sea day) and printed off our tickets. The internet is really slow. At the end of your session, they do show you how much you used, etc. I know this was a lot of information but if you have never been on a cruise before, I hope our information was helpful to you! I used these boards to check out the reviews/advice prior to our trip and wasn't really sure what to expect on board. OVERALL: We would definitely recommend Norwegian Jewel. It was a very safe and nice ship. The staff were friendly and the food was outstanding. There was a lot to do but don't be stressed about fitting everything in as you probably won't be able to! If you are interested in doing a shore excursion, definitely pre-book ahead of time so you don't have to do it on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Overall, we had a wonderful first time cruise. Lot's of food and activities. Found the staff to be nice overall. Stopped at Cozumel (recommend the Speed Boat excursion if you are highly adventurous, as the waves kept you airborne!), ... Read More
Overall, we had a wonderful first time cruise. Lot's of food and activities. Found the staff to be nice overall. Stopped at Cozumel (recommend the Speed Boat excursion if you are highly adventurous, as the waves kept you airborne!), and next stop was Grand Cayman (very expensive). We did the Catamaran & Snorkeling w/stingrays excursion and it couldn't have been more perfect. Glad we chose the cabin with deck, as we could chill out once in awhile away from the crowds. If you are a sunbather who wants to lay by the pool, get up before 7:00 am and save a lounge chair. Very crowded. Lunch and breakfast was a hit or miss...but we consistently had delicious dinners. Very happy that the passengers ranged from young & old (spring break, so lots of kids). Although we didn't have children w/us, found enough location and activities for adults. One night was "All White Party", in which you dress up in white and party. 99% of the participants were teenagers, who were finally asked to leave at midnight - at which time my hubby and I could party without bumping into children. No problem with getting on the ship (esp. if you have all your paperwork in order), nor disembarkment (we pre-purchased shuttle service to the airport). Flew into/out of Ft. Lauderdale. On our way back home, we were in line at the airport for over an hour. I suppose there were lots of folks arriving on cruise ships that day. Most definitely will cruise again (5 day was ideal for first time cruising), however will try another cruise line. Norwegian seems to nickle and dime you throughout your trip (i.e, for dinner, they have a surcharge for most of the restaurants). You pay for all alcohol and soda. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We flew into Miami and grabbed the NCL shuttle for 20pp (but was probably 15pp in advance because they offered that price for the ride back) to the pier. Easy enough, although we didn't book it before so we had to walk a few minutes ... Read More
We flew into Miami and grabbed the NCL shuttle for 20pp (but was probably 15pp in advance because they offered that price for the ride back) to the pier. Easy enough, although we didn't book it before so we had to walk a few minutes to sign in & pay. Once on the bus, we didn't have to worry about the luggage anymore. Got to the port in about 20-25 minutes and had to wait in a long, long line outside to check in. It looked a lot worse than it was & were onboard from the Airport in around an hour or so. We were greeted with a glass of champagne in the atrium. While there, we booked our dinner at Cagney's for nite 2, then we were off to the buffet! It was setup nicely with a beautiful selection of foods including sushi, a huge roast at the carving station, pizza, pasta bar and so much more. We found a table for 2 right away and were amazed how well things were moving considering the amount of people swarming the place at once. We had some time to kill before we could go to the room so we checked out the ship a bit and grabbed a drink. Next time, we will put a pair of swim gear in our carry on so we can hit the pool. Before we knew it, we were in the room and off again to our muster station. We got an inside stateroom on deck 10. It was perfect for a short cruise and great for sleeping anytime, day or nite, because it gets very dark. The room was very clean and the bathroom was a nice size and layout. The ship is very clean, has plenty of things to do and places to go. Everywhere we went had a hand sanitizer and everyone is sprayed before entering the restaurants. There was always a show going on or something to do like bingo, the casino, the bars (they had the college bowl games and NFL playoffs playing too) and much more. We ate in most of the restaurants considering its a 5 day cruise. Tsar's palace and the garden buffet was consistantly good. The grill food outside was handy coming back onboard from the islands and around the pool while sunning. Cagney's was sort of a letdown. I booked dinner there for my wifes birthday and even got there alone a half hour before to make sure we were set. The place itself was warm and the service was what you would expect but something was missing. We both ordered steak, her's a filet mignon (medium well) and a T-bone for me. My steak was mostly fat and inedible. My wifes came out way undercooked and was then butterflied and brought back very chewy and charred. We both have eaten in many NY steakhouses and this wasn't anywhere near the quality. Out came the birthday cake, which was placed in front of my wife and they just walked away. Strange. Tango's was pretty good and they took us as a walk-in. We tried the Blue Lagoon the last night before a show. We waited 40 minutes for wings and fish & chips. A table behind us walked out after getting their same dinners ice cold. 2 Lady's sat beside us and ordered the same dinners as us so we told them they could have ours when it comes out. we called the waitress who told me ours would be right out and it also came out cold so we left. Too bad because it looked really good but something was up in the kitchen. After the show we headed to Azura and had a great meal (nice steak). Even after the show let out and the place filled, the service and food were great plus we could wear jeans! We didn't go to the Italian or asian places. It's true about the deck chairs! If you want to sun, you have to get there early to get a spot. We got lucky the first day at sea but never after. Ah well! We headed to the bar stools or regular chairs, hot tub, or Bingo. Speaking of bingo, we were in Cozumel having a ball in the little bars and jewelry stores and headed back to the ship 2 hours early to get a good seat for the $5,000 giveaway. I figured, why not? Everyone would be somewhere else and we would have a good shot. Well, after 40 minutes of trying to get the "system" up and running, they cancelled the big jackpot and played 2 games for Fun! What a jip! They said come back tomorrow, the same day they were giving away a free cruise & the place was mobbed! It was another beautiful day wasted on bingo, I'm such a fool. Nobody won the 5,000 because you have to win in 48 #'s or less. I didn't know that when I wasted 149.00 for the best package (I felt stupid and was very angry). I made up for it in the casino where I won a few bucks. We were at the last table & played till 4am, then they shut us down. The entertainment was hit or miss but I liked the choices we had. Cirque was the best show. We saw the rerun of the newlywed game on tv & it looked hilarious. They did an american idol show with karaoke that was fun. There was a great jazz/blues band playing the last night in the lounge area that I enjoyed. The adult only shows were a little bit more risque' but more entertaining. We always ended at the disco. The Spinnaker lounge is great to chill out at a table and watch the younger people dance. All in all, we had a wonderful time. Nice job NCL! I have had better food and entertainment on Princess and earlier Norwegian cruises but never had so many options plus the price (279pp) was really hard to beat. Maybe that's why the drink prices were so high and some restaurants have a 10-25.00 fee. It's been 9-10 years since I last cruised but I don't remember it being as expensive as a NYC pub but hey, it's a vacation! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
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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