119 New Orleans Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

The ship rocked and shook continuously. If the constant rocking and chugging does not make you sick, then the constant singing in the inferior buffet dining about "washy, washy, washy" will make most definitely nauseate you. ... Read More
The ship rocked and shook continuously. If the constant rocking and chugging does not make you sick, then the constant singing in the inferior buffet dining about "washy, washy, washy" will make most definitely nauseate you. This was my 10th cruise; second on NCL. The first time was 20 years ago on a different ship which at the time was probably new and simply re-christened as the Jewel. We had a balcony room which was exactly the same size as any other ship I have been on - only this one was completely outdated. The food was awful. Usually I try to lose 10 pounds before going on a cruise so I can eat away and not feel guilty about gaining. I probably lost 15 pounds on this cruise. The choices that were repeated nightly were slim. The "specials" of the night were especially disgusting. Our steward kept the room clean but didn't seem overly excited to clean or replenish towels and toilet paper as needed. I am a neat-freak so I do not let the room get messy. There were three of us in the room - and cruise lovers know you are not in the room that much. But when we would go out for the day and come back at 2ish and the room still had not been cleaned and the hallways smelled like dirty socks - well it was not pleasant. The weather played a factor in docking in Belize so it took longer than normal to get on the tender to take us to the island. There were so many people trying to get off at the same time and it was so unorganized, but those who had excursions planned were given first priority. So since we were one of those with priority, we were re-routed through a section of the ship that I am quite certain whoever has shares in NCL would have flipped out that we were even privy to this area. It showed their survey scores. Guess what? They were ALL terrible - every section was 80 or below. It is not a kid-friendly ship. The entertainment was mediocre. The dining staff made new rules every night. One night men could where shorts; the next my 18 year old son came in with shorts and was told he could not enter the half-full dining room. Seconds later four older gentlemen all in separate parties entered the dining room wearing shorts. After speaking with all 4 men I found out the hostess had told them the same, but they told her there had been no dress code regarding shorts the previous nights, so she let them enter. I went from person to person until I got to the 6th person who finally was a true angel; he cared. None of the 5 before him cared to listen to my complaint; passing it off to the next person. This 6th man, who was the ONLY person on the ship who seemed to really truly care about the passengers calmed my down, called the kitchen and had a pizza sent to my son's room. The next night he arranged for champagne and a fresh full size chocolate cake to be delivered to our table. That was the ONLY positive part of this entire debacle. Other than that one truly wonderful experience with the head of the dining area who had to be called in after arguing continuously with the 5th person, I would never, ever, ever - even if it was free, go on this ship or this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our first cruise and nothing like expected. It was all so noisy with Americans hootin' and hollerin' from morning to night. When the compere says "who's going to beach tomorrow?" is it really necessary for ... Read More
This was our first cruise and nothing like expected. It was all so noisy with Americans hootin' and hollerin' from morning to night. When the compere says "who's going to beach tomorrow?" is it really necessary for the deafening OOO OOO's. The pool disco was trying to make itself heard in England, we sat on a deck above but still couldn't make ourselves heard. The shows at night were full of self congratulations for the crew. I know they do a good job but we were paying a lot for it. Very few people even bothered to change for dinner, I know it is freestyle, but some effort would have been only courteous to restaurant staff and fellow passengers. Food was nice enough but it would also be nice to have different choices in the two main restaurants. Perhaps, being English we fail to appreciate how other nationalities enjoy themselves, but it was definitely not for us   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more ... Read More
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more relaxing than the usual 7-day cruises, it is a warm weather cruise and there are an almost equal number of port and sea days. This was our 10th Norwegian cruise; we have also cruised once on Crystal. We are unapologetic Norwegian ambassadors! Pre-Cruise Preparations - My husband has emphysema and travels with a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), and mom walks with a cane or a rolling walker. That said, traveling can be challenging in this situation. We contacted Norwegian's Access Desk to inform them that we would need 2 wheelchairs at embarkation and disembarkation. We also advised them that mom needs a low/no salt diet. The representative said that once on board we would be contactd to pre-order her meals. More on that under Dining. The airline also requires advance notification with doctor's signature that we are traveling with a POC, as well as the request for wheelchairs for distance. Travel to Embarkation - We flew United to NOLA on Good Friday. We decided to fold, duct tape and check the walker as luggage. It came through with no problem. The wheelchair porters/pushers were prompt and very helpful. The Airport Limosine driver went above and beyond fitting us and our three large, one medium, one carry-on, a POC and the walker in the Town Car (yes, we always manage to overpack!). New Orleans - We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, booked through our travel agent. It did not disappoint. The room included "Continental Breakfast" but we ordered a full breakfast and it was covered. We dined at Galatoire's in the French Quarter on Saturday night. Good food, but getting to the upstairs dining room was difficult for mom to walk all the way to the back of the restaurant through a crowded dining room, up the elevator, then back to the front dining room, then back again after dinner. We took a trip to Rouse's market to purchase 8 bottles of wine. Embarkation - We caught a taxi to the port for $7 per person. The taxi dropped us off at the terminal. After we unloaded all our luggage and the porter put it on his cart we found out we would have to walk a long hallway to get to an entrance that would have been closer, and no wheelchairs were available until after we went through security. It would have been better to go to the furthest entrance. We went to the head of the line as mom can not stand for longer than a few minutes without pain. The security agent got us an escort that took us through security quickly. We knew to hand carry our wine, and were directed to the corkage table to pay the $15/bottle corkage, and then to the section to wait for a wheelchair. We waited about 30 minutes for our turn to get 2 wheelchairs. They were very slow in coming. Eventually we got the wheelchairs, got checked in quickly, taken to the VIP lounge and on to the ship. Yay! The Ship - The Jewel was going into dry-dock immediately after our cruise. There was some wear and tear visible that I assume will be upgraded in dry-dock. The ship was clean and the crew was quite visible in cleaning. We had a 2-bedroom Haven Villa and mom was next door in a Haven Penthouse. The living room, bedroom and master bath are exactly the same in both cabins, but the balcony is 1-2 feet deeper in the 2-bedroom. The cabins are luxurious with wood paneling, queen bed in the master bedroom, lots of closet space and storage space in the master bedroom and bath. Minimal storage in the second bedroom. Hot water was slow in coming to the cabin, we had to run the shower to get it more quickly. The butler and steward were fine, though not impressive. We have had some that matched us much better and may have unfair expectations. Dining - We ate at five of the specialty restaurants and in Azura main dining room the rest of the nights. Le Bistro, Cagney's, Chin Chin, Mama's/La Cucina are always our favorites. We also ate at the Teppanyaki, which was better than the last time. Mom needed a low/no salt diet. We were not contacted as promised by the Access Desk rep, but the first night at Azura we asked about it and were introduced to one of our Vacation Heroes, Felicitas J. She was helpful, knowledgeable and a delight. She explained that mom could see the next night's menu and pre-order so sauces and dishes would be prepared with no salt. She also explained which restaurants prepared foods "a la minute" with low/no salt and which needed a pre-order. The result was that it worked extremely well and mom had minimal ankle swelling. We like Azura as it is midship and easy to get to from the Haven. Most of the time the food was varied, good, and well prepared. Ports - Cartagena - we didn't get off this time as we've been there twice before. Huatulco - rglcruise organized a tour with Adelino. He had a late model 13 passenger van and took us through Huatulco to Santa Maria. We walked through a portion of the town, had quesadillas with fresh made tortillas, and watched a carniceria wield his knife. He also told us the history of the area. We drove up into the mountains to a coffee plantation and small town. Adelino was great a communicating his love of his home nation and state. Puerto Vallarta - Just off the ship is a small area with shops to purchase souvenirs and the ever present Diamond International. Walmart is within walking distance from the port for those sundries you've run out of. Cabo San Lucas - This is a tender port. Lots of shopping and restaurants at the dock. Also, there are lots of opportunities to catch an independent operator for a tour of the area by boat. Disembarkation - We arranged with Virginia, the concierge, to have the wheelchairs pick us up. They came a little after the designated time, but then whisked us off very quickly.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since ... Read More
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since our previous cruises had on the more traditional RCCL line ships. Although the food in the premium restaurants we tried was very good, the main restaurants and buffet we re just mediocre. But it was about what we expected from a mid - grade cruise line. The mini suite was a little smaller than RCCL's but the balcony was just a bit larger so the room was very comparable. On board activities were about as expected and the shows were well done. One caveat - NCL nickel and dimes just about everything so be prepared to pay extra for nearly everything. The huge problem came about on the fourth day and it basically ruined the rest of the cruise for us. We were on the pool deck that morning and when we went back to our room there were crewmen in the next stateroom dressed in hazmat gear, including suits, head covers and respirators working on something in the room. I could see the cover from the side of the bathtub leaning against the wall in the hallway outside the room and also saw a crewman spraying something in the room. That process was partially repeated the following week - we saw more crewmen with respirators spraying something in that room. The night after the first incident, my wife and I had trouble sleeping because we were coughing almost constantly. These symptoms continued for the duration of the cruise. In fact we are still sick 3 days after disembarkation. After the second incident, I questioned someone at the Customer Service desk about what the crewmen were doing and why it appeared to affect our health. The woman called our room later with a story about them installing something. In full hasmat gear? I had the opportunity to talk to the room's occupants on the last day of the cruise. They were unaware of the crew's work in their room and the woman said she was suffering from the same ailment starting around the same time. Caveat Emptor! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We were first time cruisers and we decided to choose NCL. We cruised to the Western Caribbean. Our ports were: - Cozumel, Mexico - Roatan, Honduras - Belize - Costa Maya, Mexico Embarkation was fairly easy although the wait time was ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and we decided to choose NCL. We cruised to the Western Caribbean. Our ports were: - Cozumel, Mexico - Roatan, Honduras - Belize - Costa Maya, Mexico Embarkation was fairly easy although the wait time was over 30 minutes. Once on the ship, it was easy to navigate to our floor/cabin. Our room was an inside cabin and it was small but clean. We never had any issues with the cleaning crew. The bed was always made and the cabin was spotless. The crew members were friendly and always smiling. We never encountered any issues when asking questions or needing guidance. Our biggest 'Port' disappointment was Belize. We did not book an excursion. The port shopping area was small and the locals were not very friendly. We were eager to get back on the ship and forget the visit. Cozumel was very nice and we booked the Dolphin Excursion via NCL. It was a great experience and I would recommend it highly. We chose an excursion outside NCL for Roatan. We booked a 'resort for the day' and spent the day at Club Natale Bay. It was quiet and very relaxing. We had access to the beach and to the resort, itself. We did not book an excursion for Costa Maya, but the shopping area was nice and the locals were friendly. The food was another issue. Tsar's Palace and Azura basically had the same menu. It varied slightly from night to night. Tsar's required that men wear pants whereas Azura had a more relaxed dress code. The buffet had quite a few menu options but the food was not that tasty. We did pay to upgrade to Moderno Churrascaria (brazilian steakhouse) and we were disappointed. It seemed that once the waiters made their first round with the meat selections, they did not return again for some time. After waiting 10 minutes for a dessert menu, we decided to skip it and just pay for our bill. Perhaps, if we had chosen to upgrade all of our meals via their dinner package for $119, we would have had a better overall food experience.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent ... Read More
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent bikes-- the exercise room stayed empty most of the time but the tread mills, elliptical machines and bikes stayed very busy. The food was the best. We ate at both the freestyle dining rooms -- Azure and Tsar's for dinner And the Cafe on deck 12 for breakfast and lunch. The choices were amazing and there were plenty of serving stations so there were virtually no lines. We were greeted regularly by the officers as they moved through the dining room. Our excursions were as advertised and went well. They were worth the money. One was cancelled in Puerto Vallarta b/c of lack of participation but there was room on another which turned out to be a lot of fun. We rode the camels in Cabo San Lucas and our guide was a scream. I loved it. The only issue we had was the shuttle to the airport. We had to wait an hour after disembarking for a bus-- there were several which filled up fast. We were told that there weren't enough buses available that day. Don't know if it was NCL or the bus company that messed up but next time we will take a taxi. The shuttle for 2 people was $30. No idea what a taxi would cost but there would be no wait. OVERALL, we had a wonderful trip. The passage thru the Panama Canal was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We took this Panama Canal repositioning cruise from New Orleans to San Francisco. It was very relaxing and we loved the ports we stopped at. There were only 4 ports on this 15 day cruise--1 day was the Panama Canal. NCL is not a high ... Read More
We took this Panama Canal repositioning cruise from New Orleans to San Francisco. It was very relaxing and we loved the ports we stopped at. There were only 4 ports on this 15 day cruise--1 day was the Panama Canal. NCL is not a high class cruise line--the cruise itself was very casual--only one "formal" night as far as I could tell and that was barely advertised. The food on NCL is at the regular dining rooms is generally fair--the unlimited dining package is a great deal--and the food is excellent at the Cagneys steak house, Brazilian steak house, and French restaurant. As far as "fast food"--their Burgers and Pizza are lousy and there is the same menu daily at sit down breakfast and lunch--I shouldn't complain though--I still managed to gain an unacceptable amount of weight on the cruise. It's not a huge ship--there are 2 swimming pools on the Lido deck--have gotten used to hanging out at the back of the ship's pool on other lines and we missed that. Not a lot of indoor areas where you can sit and watch the view--also some of the indoor areas are designated concierge level areas only during certain hours--so indoor space is very limited. Not sure that I would do a colder weather cruise like Alaska on this ship. Casino was VERY friendly--there wasn't a huge crowd gambling and the pit bosses were very generous with buying drinks even though we weren't technically eligible point wise yet for that. The ship was scheduled to go into dry dock right after our cruise--but all facilities were open, clean and functional. Wouldn't have known that a dry dock was planned except that it was announced. Cruise critic activities were very nicely done on board--the meet and greet was well attended by officers and we had an active cabin crawl--we were even allowed access to the Haven Suite area. Had last taken an NCL cruise 2 years ago and since then they have had a major attitude adjustment. Have never in all my cruising experience of over 20 cruises been asked so many times how the cruise was going?, did I have any suggestions?, and what could they do to make the cruise better? After talking to the staff--they asked for our room number and we received chocolate covered strawberries (on more than one occasion). The staff is 100% committed to giving the guest a "dream vacation".   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was out 6th cruise with NCL... We enjoyed the cruise and like cruising with NCL but had two bad experiences this time that will keep us from cruising with NCL until we have cruised with RCL a couple of times... Overall we have been on ... Read More
This was out 6th cruise with NCL... We enjoyed the cruise and like cruising with NCL but had two bad experiences this time that will keep us from cruising with NCL until we have cruised with RCL a couple of times... Overall we have been on 11 cruises and the main reason we have cruised with NCL and Carnival is that we can drive to New Orleans in 5 hours.... Overall the cruise was good but our first and only meal in the MDR was on the first night aboard... We had the lobster and filet beef... Not very good at all... the lobster was so small and very chewy and the filet was not good at all in any way... It was not a filet but a thin strip steak with many tough bites that could not be swallowed.... Because of that and because we found the buffet to be great we chose not to eat any other times in the MDR... We chose to leave the ship in New Orleans on Sunday Morning and carried our two small carry on's off the ship as advertised by NCL.... WOW! what a mistake.... we had been told we could leave the ship at 7:45 a.m. so we arrived on deck 6 with our two small luggage's at 8:00 a.m. To our great surprise there were approximately 1000 passengers ( per the front desk) waiting in line on deck 6... The line went down the length of the ship in one hallway and back up the other hallway...(this is a 8:10 a.m.) over half of these passengers had large suitcases and the hallways were almost blocked and unpassable....No one was allowed to leave the ship... We went back to our room for 30 minutes then I called the front desk where a NCL employee told we that no one could leave until the ship was cleared by customs... That is not the problem... The problem is that no one in authority every got on the speakers to announced the problem ... this allowed more people to crowd in the stairwells and other decks trying to get to deck 6.... It was dangerous and unsafe but still the Captain nor anyone tried to announce or explain the problem... We went to the buffet for awhile and came down to deck 6 at 9 a.m. when the cruise director finally announce that we could now start leaving the ship... After leaving the ship we had walk the length of the NCL ship and the length of the Carnival berth to that building to go through customs... We then walked the same distance to leave the building and go to the parking lot... This bad taste would ruin cruising with NCL for many first time passengers but this was out first bad experience leaving a NCL ship... Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager ... Read More
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager vacationers allowed to board at noon. We need wheelchair assistance, and have found it is better to wait until closer to noon, when attendants and WCs are released to pick up guests. There was a special, shorter line for those using canes, walkers and rollators, which proved a big help. Our first lunch was in Tsar's main dining room, rather than braving the super busy Garden Cafe buffet on deck 12. Daniela proved the excellent service NCL is known for, and we noted a new luncheon menu in the past couple of months. Scallops, Caesar Salad and cheeseburgers proved tasty and filling as we waited for the announcement that cabins were now ready for us. Muster is a short process without need for life vests, and then it was time to be underway. Well, at least that is the information in the ship's Daily newsletter. We had plans to meet with others in our robust Cruise Critic roll call for a Sail Away party, and I was looking forward to getting some great shots from Port side as we slowly cruised past the French Quarter. In one of the Jewel's few 'oops' moments during our 13 night modified Panama Canal repositioning cruise, no one owned the PA to inform us that due to the double length of our cruise, from the Jewel's more typical 7 night Western Caribbean run, and with the addition of a 2 week dry dock now tacked onto the end, lots and lots and lots of provisions and building supplies would be needed to see us through. This delayed Sail Away by 4 or 5 hours beyond that posted...not a major disappointment, but one that could easily have been explained sooner rather than later. Our first of many Sea Days, the Group Event Coordinator had helped to set up our Meet & Greet, with at least 70 CC members in attendance. There was a full compliment of department managers, with Hotel Director Richard Janicki introducing the friendly officers and fielding some spirited Q&A with a bit of extra information about Jewel's planned dry dock. As several CC members in the know had speculated, Blue Lagoon would become transformed into the 24/7 Comfort food and bar, O'Sheehans, also taking over space from the starboard side of deck 8 mid ship Moderno's Brazilian Grill. Moderno's would move up to Deck 13, in the annex portion of Cagney's Steak House near the Star Bar. A well-needed facial recognition system was being installed in the Photo Department, so no more hunting and stooping and surveying thousands of photos for your own special bunch. It would also save on both chemicals, paper and so forth, a win-win situation all around! Besides the usual Dry Dock refurbishments, a special deck 15 penthouse of the Haven type, was being included, and we were all thrilled to be reassured that the Spinnaker Lounge with the great ceiling to floor Forward windows, would be retained. I'd asked for a special room set-up to better the interaction between roll call members and we also enjoyed light refreshments and the feedback that our opinions were valued. Janicki did remark, "We read Cruise Critic, but I must say sometimes reading a particular review I must wonder if we were on the same cruise as someone saying it was dreadful." We divided our meal time between the more opulent Tsar's and the smaller, more frentic Azura main dining rooms. The menus are the same as ones introduced in 2011, with one side being 'always available' standbys such as strip or rib eye steaks, burgers, baked chicken, salmon, lanmb shank, spring rolls, mushroom quesadillas, a variety of pastas and salads. Service continued above average throughout, and it was of interest to note a Surf & Turf night featured real Maine lobsters vs the wimpy rock sort previously offered. The noise level is increased in the more casual Azura, whose hot pink and orange color scheme create a different vibe than the cream, sage green and gold of Tsar's. The lowered ceiling also influences this and of note, the chairs in Azura's are rock hard and not comfortable at all, which should help ensure more rapid turnover of diners. We sometimes selected Garden Cafe buffet for a quick breakfast and tried the poolside Grill a couple times for burgers, very good hot dogs and more. A special Bavarian feast was held toward the end of our cruise, and Messiah Ritzinger's Free State of Bavaria touches could be seen through the variety of sausage, schnitzel, kraut and Bavarian cream pastries...very well done! We enjoyed Blue Lagoon, just a few steps from our cabin, for breakfast and lunch or late evening snacks. Besides the burgers and chicken wings, the fried fish and Chef Salad were good, not to mention the cheese cake and brownie sundae. It was always nice to be able to whisk covered dishes back to our digs, and the small refrigerator helped with any midnight munchies. We did not try room service or the option of the always available anywhere $5 pizza. We dined at several of the specialty/fee restaurants including Moderno's, Le Bistro, Chin Chin and Mama's/La Cucina. A favorite senior waiter, Sheddy, attended us at Moderno's and Cagney's, while another favorite Assistant MaitreD and also a special senior waiter, (Rizaldi), had us coming back to the Asian Fusion spot a second time for succulent lamb curry, broccoli beef, chow fun noodles, BBQ spareribs, deep fried calamari and the wonderful pancakes with bananas, caramel syrup and coconut ice cream. We used the Card Room and back portion of the buffet between meals for our group's Farkle games and variety of card games and enjoyed musical serenading in the Crystal Atrium and deck 6 lounge area outside Le Bistro. Several of the CD led audience participation game shows could be seen re-played on our 24" LCD TV, as well as a half dozen first run movies including Frozen, The Hobbit Part 2, Desolation of Smaug, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity and so on. Our cabin was located on deck 8 midship, a great location close to so much. Since the ship's tenders are strung up outside the windows here, the category is Oceanview Obstructed. Luckily the tender was strung several feet lower outside rooms 8100 and 8102, so that we had a good view, at least 60% at all times. Perhaps due to approaching dry dock, there were only 2 incidents of crew walking past our window, and no surprises or loud banging or maintenance overall. This accessible cabin has 36" no threshold outer and bathroom doors, with light switches and climiate control about 3 feet from the floor. Both the hanging rod in the closet and oversink mirror in the bathroom have easily grasped cords to lower them to wheelchair or scooter height, a definate plus. The room is about 20% larger than non-accessible sideways cabins, and the hallway on deck 9 actually is partially over these rooms; perhaps the dearth of small ones on the PC itinerary accounts for the fact there was little to no noise of running or stomping feet? We did need to call Guest Services desk several times during the cruise and the interaction was all right. Our immediate needs were attended to and we were able to get questions answered without making the trip down there again and again. We didn't attend any of the large production shows due to (chronic) health issues and decision to grab as much restful sleep as we could. Luckily, on NCL, there is never a need to do anything but exactly what we'd like...in that respect, our vacation was tailor-made to suit our interests and needs. The itinerary was changed as we would no longer be disembarking in Los Angeles, which was a big part of our choice in this cruise; we'd be just a short flight from our West Coast home. We also lost 2 ports, one of them the highly anticipated Costa Rican port, the other of less interest. This gave us more sea days and the choice of disembarking in either San Diego or San Francisco. NCL considered San Diego an additional port-true if you were taking the full 15 days, but not the case if this was your disembark point. We decided to take the shorter version since our nonrefundable plane tickets were at LAX. We now had a 4, rather than 2, day stay in Southern California, totaling 3 weeks in all. I think it would have been best with the original mix of port and sea days and the Los Angeles disembark, but the entire Jewel crew made us forget the small quibbles and feel pampered to the max. It also helped that we were traveling with such a wonderful bunch of CC members as well! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our first cruise with Norwegian and our third overall....the first two being with Carnival. I have to admit I was skeptical after reading the boards...so many negative comments...I was seriously worried that we'd made a ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Norwegian and our third overall....the first two being with Carnival. I have to admit I was skeptical after reading the boards...so many negative comments...I was seriously worried that we'd made a mistake sailing on the Jewel. We were pleasantly surprised and I am glad to report that you should ignore all of the negative remarks about NCL and Jewel. We drove to NOLA from Cincinnati....a very easy 12-13 hour drive. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Superdome the night before our cruise. Found a good rate through stay123.com that included parking for the week. The total for the room and parking was $189 which I thought was fair for a Saturday stay in NOLA during the French Quarter Festival and parking for 7 days. The hotel was very nice no problems at all. I seriously don't understand all of the complaints that I've read. We were on the eleventh floor and the noise from the street could be heard if you were listening for it. We walked to the FQ around 4 PM and did not return to our hotel until about 9 PM. On the way back we didn't realize that Loyola turned into Elk Street once you were on Canal so we got a little lost coming back and I did not feel safe. Nothing happened but I do not recommend walking to the Holiday Inn at night. Take a cab! We (husband and I in late 40's) got a cab about 10:30 Sunday morning...the hotel was very busy and trying to find the bellman was difficult. Finally we hailed our own cab and we got to the Julia Street port in about 10 minutes. There was a lot of traffic and congestion at the port at that time but it was manageable. We got our number and waited for about 40 minutes until they called our number. We then showed our passports, set up our sail cards, had a photo taken and boarded the ship. The line to get on the ship moved slowly but it was not a miserable process. By 1:00 we were eating lunch in Tsar’s dining room. Cabins were ready right around 3 PM and they announced it over the PA system. Sail away took place at 5 PM and it took about 9 hours to get down the Mississippi to the Gulf. We at dinner every night at Tsar’s as we like dressing up for dinner. The first night they told us there would be a 20 minute wait and we were given a voucher for a free glass of champagne or soda. The wait only took about 10 minutes. Sunday was Surf & Turf night and we had no complaints about the food. We chose not to eat at any of the specialty restaurants and did not regret our decision at all. We found the food to be plentiful, delicious and always available. Monday was a sea day. We spent most of our time at the pool. We also did a martini tasting which was a lot of fun and a very good value (we each received 6 mini martinis for $15 per person). My only complaint of the entire cruise is how NCL handled the payment for those who attended the martini tasting. They collected everyone's cards at once ant then laid them out on the bar for us to pick up. There was a mistake made on my card and I was charged for someone else's tasting. Luckily she was honest and had the charges removed from my card. Note....the charge was still on my card at the end of the cruise. We reported the mistake and it was taken care of promptly. Not a complaint, we just feel that the cards should have been handled in a different manner. On Monday we ate lunch at the buffet and we were pleased with the selection. Kenny Byrd (the ventriloquist who entertains on Jewel) joined us for lunch and we had a great time chatting with him! We did an excursion at each port that we did not book with NCL. I will review those separately. Getting off at each of the ports was very easy including the tendering process in Belize. Be sure to read your daily news for tips on how to get a ticket to tender etc. They give those to you for a reason and it really helps keep you organized and aware of the activities that take place on the ship. At each port (except Belize), NCL staff are there to greet you with water, cool washcloths and popsicles...they make you feel like royalty and that they are truly happy to see you. My husband and I are not "show" people but we did see Kenny Byrd's show and the finale concert that took place on Saturday. Kenny Byrd was hysterical and the concert was good not great but again....I am not really into that kind of variety show. We did happen to find out by chance that they were showing movies in the Stardust Theatre. We never heard or read a thing about movies so not sure how everyone found out about them. Maybe we just overlooked something and we probably wouldn't have watched a movie anyways but if you are into movies, you should try and find a schedule. We do not play BINGO or gamble so we did not use that Casino other than to change large bills into small. The ATM is also located in the casino. It costs $5.50 to use it so use it sparingly. I was told that the ATM sometimes runs out of money towards the end of the cruise. We used it on Tuesday and didn't have a problem. The onboard gift shop had a little bit of everything...I had to use it because I ran out of dental floss and it was very convenient. I think I can do better at Macy's than what they were selling the perfume for but it appeared that a lot of people were buying. We went to line dancing lessons the first night onboard and it was fun. That was the only time that we made it to the “disco”. We really wanted to go to the White Party but we were exhausted and fell asleep! Next time, we will pace ourselves and save our energy…lying in the sun really tires you out after 5 days! We went to a few of the game shows and again wanted to go to Quest on the last night but fell asleep. Maybe it was the time change, the sun, the alcohol or all three! We got up really early every day so we had a hard time staying awake at night! We did another martini tasting on Saturday; again it was a lot of fun and entertaining. We tasted 6 different martinis (from the previous tasting) so it was again worth the money. Television channels are very limited but who really needs TV on a cruise? There were 2 news channels, 2 movie channels, Nickelodeon channel and a sitcom “on demand” channel. We are already thinking about booking our next cruise…and hope to make it on Norwegian!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My Mother & I took this identical cruise in January of this year and were very disappointed. So when the opportunity presented itself to take it again (with my husband) decided to try again. For the most part I was pleased. The staff ... Read More
My Mother & I took this identical cruise in January of this year and were very disappointed. So when the opportunity presented itself to take it again (with my husband) decided to try again. For the most part I was pleased. The staff was way friendlier then in January. We purchased the Ultimate Dining Package again and were not disappointed. We ate in Cagney's, Teppanyaki (2), Le Bistro (2) & La Cucina (2). All were excellent and well worth the additional money. We steer away from the buffet as a rule. The few times we had breakfast there the workers were very surl, it was overcrowded, and the quality was poor. We went to two Latitudes parties. The rum punches are great (and free). The Captain, Kenneth has a great personality and seems quite nice. The rest of the senior officers do not mingle, nor do they seem very friendly. I'm used to Hotel Director, Armando Da Silva (Jade & Spirit), he is very charming, he and his staff get out daily, remember your names, send you wines and cheese/fruit trays. Make you feel special. The Cruise Director, Jaime, is good. Not phony like many of the others. Romeo, the Cruise Consultant, is the best by far. I've been on this exact cruise 3 times over the past year (although one was on the Star- much better then the Jewel) so the destinations are pretty blah for me. This time w opted for the Tulum ruins in Cozumel, and the zip-ining in Roatan. Ruins - bad, too hot, boring guide. Zip-lining - great, nice short scenic drive Belize is fun, great shopping, good food. Costa Maya, nothing special. Shows were poor. They must be in the midst of changing staff. There were three female dancers, all horrible. Bad singers. Broken seats scattered throughout showroom. The Russian aerialists were good, but the male should stick to aerialism, he is not a very good singer, although as good as what was on stage. All in all a relaxing cruise, but nothing special. We are going on a 9 day Baltic cruise on the NCL Star next month, hope it's better. I might have to think about changing cruise lines. Such a shame, I have loved NCL so much.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We recently went on a cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We emarked at new Orleans, Went to Cartagena Columbia, Huatulco mexico, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. And disembarked in San Diego California. The cruise staff were ... Read More
We recently went on a cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We emarked at new Orleans, Went to Cartagena Columbia, Huatulco mexico, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. And disembarked in San Diego California. The cruise staff were wonderful. They did everything to accommodate your needs. No is not in their vocabulary unless it's impossible. The rooms were spacious. I thought the bathroom was a little cramped. But it's a cruise ship so I got used to it. It was easy to disembark at the ports. Norwegian does a great job making it easy for you yet going through the usual security checks necessary in today's world. The onboard entertainment was exceptional. However I felt they lacked a little in this department. Especially outside around the pool area. I would like to have heard more rock and soft rock music. The crowd's average age probably was 60 or more. So maybe that was the reason. My main complaint was the food. I personally am not into Indian or exotic type spicy foods. Most were Amercians onboard. I think it is wise to bait the hook to suit the fish. I love chocolate cake, but I wouldn't fish with it. You find the bait the fish like. The food needed improvement. Perhaps it was do to who the cook is. Seems they prepare what they like. Also the desserts were not especially good. Chocolate cake, Banana Cream Pie, apple pie, Brownies, creme Brulet and cookies were not there. The best food on the ship was the French Fries, and Vegetable egg rolls. Food needs improvement. I've been on three cruises. RC and Carnival and now Norwegian. and the food on the Norwegian Jewel was the worst. Not a fan of free style cruising. Often we would go to a restaurant and even though we were there first, It made no difference as tables were taken by others making reservations. So if everyone is making reservations you might as well have assigned seating. It kind of nullifies the idea of freestyle cruising come when you want. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We (two adults and our eleven year old son, plus we brought a couple and their son along too) traveled by limo to get to the port which made it all easy and stress free. Checking in and getting ready to board was also an easy process. ... Read More
We (two adults and our eleven year old son, plus we brought a couple and their son along too) traveled by limo to get to the port which made it all easy and stress free. Checking in and getting ready to board was also an easy process. Every one was nice and helpful. From the moment we stepped aboard the ship we were greeted with smiles and a happy welcome aboard. Hand Sanitizer- NCL does its best to keep us healthy and germ free. I appreciated all of the Washy Washy! Anytime that you walked into a dining room, on to the ship or into any public area there was a hand sanitizer waiting for you. Sometimes they would even sing you a song about it. Cabin: We were on the ship and let into our cabin in no time. We were located 10608 balcony, Mid ship. Perfect location for families, Splash Academy and the buffet (where the ice cream is at) was just two floors up. The space and storage in the room was fine for the three of us, we had enough cubbies and closet space for our clothes and shoes. A Balcony on port side is the best to see the ports when arriving and leaving. The balcony was a little hard to get to when the sofa bed is out but the bed easily slid right out of the way. The bathrooms had a nice sliding door in them to separate the toilet from the vanity and shower area. Room Steward- We had the best room steward, always a happy greeting from him. Our room was always clean and straight. He learned our schedule and made sure that he was never "in our way" and that we had everything that we could need and more. And the towel animals are always a favorite of ours too. Kids Club- As soon as we got on board we went to find Splash Academy and to sign up. The crew invited us in and explained how everything worked and introduced themselves to us and our son. It was a hit with our 11 year old son. He enjoyed hanging out with the crew and his new friends. He was always ready to go! Activities- There are always tons of activities to choose from. A few of the ones that we did were, line dancing, wine tasting and bingo. All were fun! Public Areas- They was always somewhere that you could find a nice area to either hang out with friends or to be alone. The Pool area was always crowded, there are plenty enough chairs if the passengers would stop "saving" the chairs with their towels and leaving them like that all day. The bar and grill next to the pool was always ready to please with food and drinks. Dining- Lots of choices! The buffet food is really good and the staff does an outstanding job of keeping the passenger chaos controlled by keeping the food filled, the area clean and the tables ready for the next person. The sit down table service was great and preferred by us. We enjoy a more quiet and controlled dining experience so we chose to eat in the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants and their food was delicious and the service was excellent. We also enjoy some room service which is always a winner. Entertainment- Our cruise director always made sure that there was plenty to do and let us know when and where it was happening. The shows were all very good and a good mixture of different types of entertainment, something for everyone. The comedian and magician were a hit with us. Spa- Ahhhh the spa ;) What a wonderful thing and the service was excellent. I purchased the week long spa pass and I enjoyed every second I spent in there. It was so nice to be able to go to the spa anytime that I wanted to get into the steam room, the Jacuzzi, the sauna or just to sit and relax on the hot stone lounge chairs, especially after port play. I also had a massage that was so relaxing. The entire spa staff was professional and personable. Ports and Excursions-Our Itinerary was Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. In Cozumel we made chocolate and loved it. We went to Altun Ha ruins in Belize, awesome and very educational. In Rotan we did the archeological hike and wildlife tour, it was beautiful! We did not get to port in Coast Maya because the waves were so high that they would of washed us off of the pier. Thanks goodness our Captain keeps us safe! So we had an extra day at sea and the Cruise Director changed the daily schedule so we all had lots of fun activities to choose from. The Staff- We were treated like royalty. We got to meet the top crew men and women of the ship on our first full day which was a treat. Anytime that they saw us they would make an effort to say hello and to make sure that we were having a great time. The entire staff was incredible and made this tip for us! We could not of asked for a better crew. So Happy!! Disembark - We got up on our last morning to have breakfast in Cagney's then headed to our room for our carry off bags then it was time to disembark. Our color was called and we walked right off and headed to customs. No problem, easy as pie. We brought with us a family of three, this was their first cruise and NCL did not let us down. I was so proud for them to be aboard the Jewel with this crew showing them how cruising is suppose to be. This was a great trip with NCL, the ship is awesome and the crew is outstanding, each and every one of them were our vacation hero's! I have already pre-booked our next NCL cruise and ready to start planning.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but ... Read More
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but even though it is a smaller ship, it was still hard to locate some places you wanted to visit. Some of the staff were very helpful while others could care less if they helped you. The housekeeping staff was excellent and did everything they could to make your trip enjoyable. You have to pay a cover charge on most of the restaurants on this ship. I enjoyed Tsars Palace where the food was excellent and staff very courteous and helpful. Food was always delivered on time and the atmosphere of the restaurant was great. I tried Azures Restaurant but was not pleased with the service I received. The Garden Cafe buffet was excellent where you could find any type of food you desired. I was impressed with the guys at the entrance sanitizing your hands each time you entered. This was important for me as I came down with the norovirus on another cruise. I enjoyed all the ports we entered. Getting off and on the ship was very easy. As to the freestyle cruising, I, personally, was not happy with it. You go into a restaurant to enjoy dinner with your Sunday clothes on and you could be seated next to someone with shorts, flip flops and tee shirt on. This did not impress me. Because of this, I probably will not cruise with Norwegian again. It is great for people who want to go around in shorts and bathing suits all the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our first cruise ever and we had a great time! I understand from seasoned travelers that the dreadful lines at embarkation were unusual, due to the Mardi Gras traffic/parades/crowds, so I'll not comment further on that ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we had a great time! I understand from seasoned travelers that the dreadful lines at embarkation were unusual, due to the Mardi Gras traffic/parades/crowds, so I'll not comment further on that aspect. We missed lunch entirely, but there was a nice bowl of fruit in our room (8630 Aft, reviewed elsewhere), and BAGUS, our butler, arrived soon after with a plate of snacks to hold us over until dinner. We explored the ship and left him to unpack our bags - what a treat that was! We also had a lovely flower arrangement of roses, daisies, and mums on the table and a bottle of champagne on ice. Bagus brought sandwiches and sweets every afternoon, as well as an invite to early-view the chocolate buffet (which was WOW to see), an invite to meet the officers for cocktails in The Haven, priority tendering instructions, etc. CONNIE, our steward, was truly outstanding - a real gem. She kept the room continuously spotless and supplied with plenty of clean towels, Elemis toiletries, and the cutest towel animals. My fav was the little mouse peaking out from under the pillow on our last night. We had a concierge assigned to us but we never utilized her services, although when we chanced to see her here and there she was quite friendly. We'd already made dinner reservations and show reservations were completely unnecessary. Our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was held Saturday morning in the Star Bar. We met the several of the ship's officers and were treated to cookies and lemonade. It was nice to meet the people we'd been chatting with on the Roll Call. We visited each of the bar locations at some point and our favorite was The Great Outdoors, Deck 12, Aft. The Spinnaker Lounge was lots of fun - late night parties especially. The Fyzz Lounge was another favorite and we tried to catch Duo Luna wherever they played. We paid for a "Beer Tasting" which was fun but the beers were a joke - a beer tasting that includes Miller Lite? That still cracks us up. We'd purchased the Ultimate Dining Package (a great value @ $120 each) and made dinner reservations prior to boarding for a specialty restaurant each night. We went to the Restaurant Reservations desk in the Crystal Atrium on Deck 7 to get UDP stickers put on our cards and change a few reservation times. We never got around to eating in either of the main dining rooms, but we did eat a few times at the Garden Café, which is the gi-normous buffet - nice omelets to order. We passed through the Blue Lagoon dining room where people seemed to be eating nothing but chicken wings and enjoying them enormously. :) Breakfast and lunch at Cagney's was included with our suite, so we ate many meals there. The breakfasts were especially wonderful, the service attentive, the coffee quite good, and the atmosphere was blissfully peaceful. Towards the end of the cruise we just kind of got tired of eating 3 squares a day (!) and skipped a few. Le Bistro on Sunday night was a WONDERFUL way to kick off our first cruise. We had salads, mushroom soup, escargot, duck, steak, chocolate Napoleon and crème brulee. The crème brulee is NOT to be missed. The steak and duck were as good as we've had at many nice restaurants in New Orleans and the service was excellent. In fact, the service was excellent at ALL of the specialty restaurants. Monday night was at Chin Chin, the Chinese restaurant (or Asian fusion as they call it). It was practically empty the entire cruise - they should probably be re-thinking this one. The food was just okay, honestly - not really even as good as our fav local Chinese restaurant. Excellent service, but ho-hum food. Tuesday night was at Teppanyaki, the hibachi-style restaurant. What fun! I'd never been to one before and was just delighted with our chef and his routine. The seating is limited to 32 at a time (divided into 4 tables of 8), so make your reservations early. The food was very good and the only thing I wasn't wild about was the green tea cake and ice cream dessert. That must be an acquired taste, however I'm glad I tried it. Wednesday night was at La Cucina, the Italian restaurant. The brochure pics make it seem like it's just a pizza/pasta, family-style place. In reality, it's fine Italian dining, and plenty of romantic tables for two. We had ossobuco and pork (not veal) marsala. Everything we tried was yummy. Thursday night was at Cagney's, the steak house. We had salads, steaks, baked potatoes - a great meal! Dessert was raspberry crème brulee. Not my cup of tea at all - too much raspberry crème by half. We prefer traditional crème brulee, but you have to try new things, right? The upcharge for Cagney's is $30, but we think Le Bistro ($25) is really the best of the specialty restaurants. Friday night was at Moderno, the Brazilian churrascaria. You start with a trip to the excellent soup and salad bar, followed by the parade of meats, accompanied by 4 side dishes, including garlic mashed potatoes. There were 3 desserts to choose from, including cocoanut flan, but we opted for grilled pineapple topped with cinnamon - delish! Saturday night we were back at Le Bistro with a special bottle of wine we'd brought on board for the occasion ($15 corkage fee). Salads, the most exquisite scallops we've had in a long time, escargot again, onion soup, and steak again. A delicious apple tartine and surprisingly just okay profiteroles for dessert. A lovely meal to mark the end of our vacation. We went to the "big show" every night (7:15 or 9:15) and agreed that The Comedy & Magic of Jean-Pierre was hands-down the best show of the cruise. We also attended a smaller Saturday morning show he did with mostly card tricks and several children from the audience. Great fun! Other shows were Band On The Run, Le Cirque Bijou, a comedian, and a musical review where each entertainer did a song or two. We didn't go to Deal or No Deal, Bingo, or the casino, etc. I would have enjoyed a few trips to the casino if not for the smoke, UGH. One thing to note is at least some (perhaps all) of the previous night's entertainment was shown throughout the day on TV. Jamie de Souza, the cruise director, is hilarious! We didn't indulge, but the pools were well attended, and the poolside barbecue looked scrumptious from our upper deck perch. Looks like lots of fun for the kiddos with Sponge Bob and company and a decent enough water slide. The Carnival water slide on the ship next door kind of put ours to shame though, hahaha. There were lots of opportunities to do stuff throughout the day and night - something for everyone really. Does a pastry or sushi demo float your boat? How about towel animals and napkin folding? Learn to cha-cha or the choreography to "Thriller", participate in the karaoke, contests, and raffles - there's entertainment everywhere. We went on excursions (reviewed elsewhere) at each port, so "relaxing" was done on our balcony, with the exception of the Costa Maya port where we spent the day at MAYA CHAN. That was the BEST day of the cruise as far as we're concerned. Definitely look them up. Disembarking was easy. We packed our bags and placed them in the hall before going to bed Saturday night. Sunday morning we had a nice breakfast, walked off the ship with our hand-carry, met up with our bags outside of Customs, spent about 3 minutes in line at Customs, and rolled our bags out of the building and onto a shuttle to the Fulton Street parking garage (covered, $12/day in advance). Easy peasy! One side note - we thought we'd bring bottled water and Coke Zero but changed our minds at the last minute - and it turns out we didn't need it anyway. The water on board was fine and there was bottled water included on several excursions so we rarely had to buy a bottle. And I pretty much cured my Coke Zero habit by not drinking it for a week, which is not really a bad thing! We really loved our cruise vacation and can't wait to go again.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with a family vacation a few days before Spring Break. My kids are 13 & 14. Due to our crazy schedules, we felt we needed some quality family time. We have been on 4 cruises as a family and ... Read More
My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with a family vacation a few days before Spring Break. My kids are 13 & 14. Due to our crazy schedules, we felt we needed some quality family time. We have been on 4 cruises as a family and 3 have been on NCL. Our first was on Disney when the kids were young. Freestyle dining works out great for my family. We took Amtrak from IL to New Orleans. Once we arrived to the station, the line for taxis was very long. The train was late, so perhaps that is why. We (actually my husband) decided we could walk to the hotel.( 5 suitcases, 4 backpacks, 1 cooler, 3 small string backpacks and my big purse. Yep – we must have been quite a site!) But it was probably for the best because I do not think we would have got a taxi for at least an hour. Once I switched suitcases with my husband, the walk wasn’t that bad. It took us maybe 15-20 minutes to get to the Marriott Convention Center. This hotel is across from the port. Great location! The next day we just walked across the street and down a small block and we were there. After arriving at the hotel, we showered up and changed and had a nice night. We have been to New Orleans before so we knew our way around. We went to Grand Isle for dinner and Café Du Monde for dessert. On Sunday my husband and daughter ran 4 - 5 miles around the city and took some great photos too. We left the hotel around 12:30 and walked across the street to the terminal. As soon as we got there, someone took our luggage and then we entered the building. Embarking took about an hour from when we arrived to when we got on the ship. A worker there said it is normally much quicker. We went straight to the buffet for lunch. I was glad we went there first because it was closing when we left. We went to the Spa to get passes. For $150 each (adults only), you get to use the Spa the full week. Saunas, Hot Tubs, Steam Rooms – it is very relaxing. There is a section for co-ed too. I would meet my husband in there most days. They have these heated tile lounge chairs that were so comfortable I feel asleep each time. CABIN: Our cabin was 8568. It was an obstructed window room. It had two small port holes that we really could not see out of. The windows were fogged up. If you put your face right next to the window you could see a little, but we just liked it for the light that came through and it is also bigger than the inside rooms. The bed was VERY comfortable. Better than most hotel rooms. My son slept on the bunk that pulled out from the wall, which was not very comfortable. My daughter had the pop up bed next to ours and that was only slightly better. The closet is large but only had about 10-15 hangers. I had brought 20 extra hangers, knowing that we would need much more. Between the closet, the drawers, and the shelves, there was plenty of space for our clothes and things. Most of our luggage fit under the bed and one went into the closet. CREW: The crew on this ship was the best! Everyone was so friendly, especially all the cabin stewards we would pass on the way to our cabin. Jamie the Entertainment Director was also the best we have had. I saw her so many times walking from place to place and she always greeting me. All of the waiters and waitresses that we had were also very friendly. I cannot say enough about this crew. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was great! We missed Band on the Run, but my daughter and I saw all the other shows. The 4 of us all loved the comedian Dave Naster. His show was so funny! He also put on a session about Bullying and about how laughter can help during a crisis. He seems like a great guy to know. The magician/comedian show was very funny. Two shows that you do not want to miss! We have played the Deal or No Deal before, so we only played once this time. That was fun, but of course we did not win. We stayed away from Bingo. They also had three movies in the theater that we watched: Frozen, Catching Fire, and Gravity. The movies were also shown on the TV but it is more fun to watch it in the theater. We went with our daughter to the family white hot party. We just watched but she had a great time dancing with a friend she had made. We also listened to music in a few of the bars a couple of nights and really enjoyed it. However, most nights we were pretty tired after port days and after the shows. We probably went to bed around 11 each night. PORTS: We have been to these ports before, so we didn’t really feel like we had to do much. (Plus we were on a budget due to another vacation planned for June) In Cozumel we took a taxi to Chankannab National Park. The taxi ride was $12 and it cost $21 ($19 with a coupon I found) each. We had been there before and we had swam with the dolphins and had a great experience, so we decided to go back. It has a beautiful beach with nice lounge chairs, and nice walking paths. My husband and daughter snorkeled too. I was hoping to see the sea lion show but we missed it. There is a pool there too in case you don’t want to go into the ocean. The next Port was Belize. I decided to get my hair cut and highlighted that morning in the salon since I didn’t get a chance before we left. It cost me a fortune, but that is to be expected on a ship. Then my daughter and I took a late tender and went and did some shopping at the port. We stopped at the Wet Lizard for cokes and salsa. We stopped there b/c of the wifi but we were not able to get on. Then we found a frozen yogurt place and she said it was really good. We had a nice time shopping together. The 3rd port was Roatan. The four of our shopped at the port and then went to the straw market, which is really just a building that you go to the second floor to see some ladies all selling the same thing. However, there was a place called the Crusty Crab that had wifi so we bought something to drink and sat there on our phones checking email and posting pics to FB. It is a very small place and almost everyone there was a crew member. We saw a couple of people video chatting, probably with family back home. Our last port was Costa Maya. This was to be the highlight of our trip because we booked an awesome beach resort. However, after trying to dock, the port authority told the ship they should not. The water was really rough! This was SOOOO disappointing to my family. Never again will I have our best excursion on the last day. I will make sure it is earlier so that if this happens again, we can book something else for the next port. Instead we found a spot by the pool but in the shade and had a pool day. The kids pool is right next to the adult pool. I think this works out really well. There is a slide but all the kids going down (no matter the size) seemed to get stuck in the same spot and would have to push themselves down. Not much fun, according to my daughter. FOOD: My daughter always wanted to eat at the MDR and my son always wanted the buffet. So we compromised. As a family we ate at both MDRs and then one night went to La Cucina and had a great meal. On the other nights, the boys went to the buffet and the girls went to the MDRs. We did have to wait a few times, but each time that happened it was for about 20 minutes and they would give us a slip for a free coke or champagne at the bar. I have read reviews that said the service was slow. We never experienced that. In fact it was quite the opposite on the days my daughter and I ate alone. The servers were always very polite. Once night when the four of us were eating, the waitress brought us two extra appetizers to try. Then for dessert she brought us what we ordered and also surprised us with a banana split as a bonus. That was a nice surprise! The only two things that we thought were missing on this ship was a diner and an irish pub. On the Spirit and the Dawn, the Blue Lagoon is set up more like a Diner. On the Jewel it was a normal restaurant and you had to wait to be sat. We prefer the diner feel. We also missed the Irish Pub that is on the Sprit and the Dawn. Leaving the ship was very easy. We chose to get off at 10 since our train did not depart until 1:30. It was easy to find out luggage and customs only took about 5 minutes. We did have to wait about 15 min for a taxi, but that wasn’t long. We had enough time to drop off our luggage with Amtrak and walk to Hard Rock Café and then for Frozen Yogurt near Bourbon. It was a great vacation and awesome family time.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our experience on the Norwegian Jewel was fantastic. I am raving about freestyle cruising and absolutely love the concept. We did spend an extra 20 bucks each one night for the Teppanyaki restaurant and it was well worth it. The service on ... Read More
Our experience on the Norwegian Jewel was fantastic. I am raving about freestyle cruising and absolutely love the concept. We did spend an extra 20 bucks each one night for the Teppanyaki restaurant and it was well worth it. The service on the ship was the best I've experienced in the industry thus far after 10 cruises on four different cruise lines. The NCL officers, staff, and crew were warm, welcoming, helpful, fun, and made customer service a top priority. Very impressive. I would love to go on another NCL cruise someday. While the ship is not really new (built in 2005 I think), it is well maintained and still sparkles in most areas throughout the interior. As an engineer, I must say in my humble opinion that the German built ships such as the Jewel have noticeably better quality, finish, materials, and workmanship than their Italian and French built counterparts. I must admit that this is the geek in me coming out, so others may not care as much or pay attention to the engineering quality, etc. Overall, we had a wonderful experience and enjoyed New Orleans too. It was fun to be on the Mississippi River for several hours departing and returning. The only downside that I will mention is that the Captain, for reasons he explained as weather related, decided to not dock at Costa Maya. So, we only got three of our four stops. I am still baffled by the decision as the wind and waves were not bad at all, and it was 80 degrees and sunny. The other three stops were just great though! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just completed the Jewel Cruise and have read many reviews of the cruise and ship. The bottom line is to each their own. Things that people complain about are a matter of personal taste. For instance.. dining freestyle, my wife and I love ... Read More
Just completed the Jewel Cruise and have read many reviews of the cruise and ship. The bottom line is to each their own. Things that people complain about are a matter of personal taste. For instance.. dining freestyle, my wife and I love the freestyle since we like to eat when WE want to eat and not be tied to a time. I agree that the dining food is not the best but we enjoyed the buffet and the specialiy restaurants, Once again it is a matter of taste. I have sailed NCL 7 times over the last 2 years and would not go on any other line. I love the ships, the staff and all that the ship has to offer. One person commented on the cost to park prior to the cruise stating 35.00 a day. Again they did not do their homework., We parked for 8.00 a day at a Fulton lot which I booked online and they shuttled us to and from the ship without a problem. Embarkation was great and port stops were smooth. As far as noting the bad for this particular cruise and other NCL cruises I have one major complaint. The excursions on the ship are a complete ripoff. For example, in Belize, we did the zipline and the river float through the caves. It was 95.00 per person with a company that I booked online prior to the cruise... the excursion desk was 149.00 a person, The exact same itinerary..... On a similar note we did an Alaskan cruise and booked a helicopter trip from the excursion desk to the Mendenhall Glacier (due to my laziness to investigate) and they charged 800.00 for two. Once we got off the ship it was 500.00 for same trip. I complained to the excursion desk and they gave me lame excuses but I felt better with my venting. All in All I would highly recommend NCL for any cruise... Like I said each person has their own needs Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland ... Read More
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland America. Ship information - the ship is big and crowded. Finding a lounge chair remained largely elusive for the week as scores of passengers threw their towel on a chair in the morning and sometimes didn't show up until late afternoon. Pools were insanely crowded as were hot pools. Activities - trivia was meh. Activity cards are a pain to remember, and prizes are pretty lame - had we known, we wouldn't have bothered. Service - Cabin service may have been really late in the day, but super nice stewards. The washy washy guys were amusing - at first. Port & shore excursions - we booked independently. Embarkation - took nearly 3 hours. In a word: Ugh. Cabin - Our cabin was clean and small, but, we didn't spend much time there. Very personable cabin crew. Dining - Hit and miss. The MDR ranged from barely edible to pretty good. Lunch was very average, 80% the same stuff every day. Hit and miss service in Azura. Excellent service from Isabel and Putu. Meh from everyone else. Did not find the food at the premium restaurants worth the cover. Entertainment - Comedian started out well, but, mostly a sales job, hawking his books and pitching his TV show. Magician JP was excellent. Rest of shows -meh. Disembarkation - fine Summary - Pluses: Lots of nice people working on the ship. The magician. The clothes line in the shower. Minuses: First, the smoke from the casino wafting up to 7 and down to 5 so you practically asphyxiate if you are a stair climbing person. Second, the crowds of ill mannered people. Do you ever say please or thank you? Lots of grunting, overfilling plates and jockeying for position in the many lines for food in the Lido. Also, lots of Daisy Dukes, bathing suit tops, wifebeaters, flip flops and dirty / torn clothing in the MDR everywhere. Our biggest takeaway? You get what you pay for. The smaller ships may be more expensive, but, to us, very worth it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I usually cruise on Carnival but we decided to try Norwegian. There are pros and cons but I think overall I enjoyed Carnival the best. Room: Very clean and comfortable beds Staff: Very friendly and go out of their way to help you. Always ... Read More
I usually cruise on Carnival but we decided to try Norwegian. There are pros and cons but I think overall I enjoyed Carnival the best. Room: Very clean and comfortable beds Staff: Very friendly and go out of their way to help you. Always a smiling face to help you. Dining: Freestyle dining...liked and did not like. I enjoyed having our same waiter everyday on Carnival so I missed that. We went early to dinner in the Tsars most nights and for breakfast. The service was excellent and we did not have to wait in line. The food was average...limited menu. The Eggs Benedict was delicious. The buffet was very crowded and seating outside was limited. I am not a big fan of buffets but we did try it once. You have to pay extra for all the specialty restaurants form $15 -$30 per person. Even pizza was an extra $5. Home service was free except for certain ports. (See the small print) Fees: There were many hidden fees-food, activities, gym, spa. Beware!! Alcohol: Very expensive!! The drink of the day was $7.25 plus gratuity and tax or a whopping $9!! You cannot bring any alcohol on board. Any alcohol that you buy in port must be checked in. I would suggest buying a bottle of wine or bucket of beer. Entertainment: Excellent at night. Do not miss any of the shows. They are at 7:15 and 9:15. We always went to the 7:15 show and did not have any trouble finding a seat. After the show try a dance class. We went to the thriller and line dance class and had lots of fun. Daily Activities: Boring and not much of a variety unless you love trivial and bingo. On deck: Never had a problem finding a lounge chair. There is a deck on level 14 or 15 that gets you away from all the music if you want a quiet place to read a book while you lay in the sun. A Waiter services that deck also. Ports: Loved everyone of them!!! (See reviews for each port) One thing about Norwegian they were very organized and got you on and out in the ship very smoothly. The over all experience was good. I would take this cruise again just to go to the same ports!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My girlfriend and I sailed on the Norwegian Jewel from New Orleans for our 7 day Western Caribbean Cruise. We embarked March 23rd and disembarked March 30th. Our Ports of Calls were Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and ... Read More
My girlfriend and I sailed on the Norwegian Jewel from New Orleans for our 7 day Western Caribbean Cruise. We embarked March 23rd and disembarked March 30th. Our Ports of Calls were Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and Costa Maya, Mexico. This was my second cruise with NCL and my girlfriends first ever cruise. We loved it, The ship was clean and our balcony cabin was clean and well taken care of. Our Cabin Steward was great as well. I don't think we had one complaint. The food was good. Great selections, both the Speciality Restaurants and the Garden Café and other "free" dining experiences. We had an awesome time at the Sushi Bar where Christopher made us great sushi rolls. We loved it so much we dined there more than once. We recommend the French Restaurant onboard (Le Bistro) where we had a great dinner one evening. In fact, we had great experiences at every restaurant we ate at onboard the Jewel. We loved the "washy, washy" guitar playing crew members who made keeping the norovirus free of the ship fun. The entertainment was simply amazing with several magic shows, comedian shows, Cirque Bijour and musical entertainment. Jamie, the Cruise Director and her staff did a fantastic job keeping us entertained. The Jewel is a Nickelodeon Ship and the staff and crew kept all the children occupied at all times. With over 600 children onboard we feared screaming kids all over the ship. Not the case. We saw Square Bob Sponge Pants and Dora entertaining the kids every day. Every crewmember and staff onboard were very courteous and friendly. We had the chance to meet several of the officers of the Jewel, including the Master and were even selected to join the ships safety officer for dinner one night; which was a great experience. We took a "Behind the Scenes Tour" which ended with a tour of the bridge while underway. This was another great experience. Our excursions were well organized and the tendering in Belize was coordinated well and done with great care. The only disappointment, which was not the fault of the crew was that our port stop at Costa Maya was cancelled due to 6-8 foot swells and 40 knot winds which prohibited the docking of the ship. But then again, the professionalism of the Master and her crew in keeping our safety in mind was important. Instead we spent another day at sea and Jamie and her staff broke into high gear and kept us entertained. Simply put.......Norwegian Cruise Lines is an amazing cruise line and we will continue to use them for our cruise vacations. Two recommendations for this ship which would make it more convenient for the passengers would be to have (1)restaurant menus in each cabin so we could better decide where to dine and (2) have food trays in the Garden Café so passengers wouldn't have to make several trips to the buffet to get all their food. That would be very nice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't that great.. Most of the times, I would spend the whole day just doing nothing but walking around the ship because it was the only thing I could do! Basically, it was complete BOREDOM. Even my whole family was bored! There was nothing to do but bingo and trivia, bla bla bla.. but the only thing that was worth waiting for were the concerts and comedy shows. And by 'worth waiting', I mean that I would count the minutes until they would start! 'Surprisingly', the minutes felt more like HOURS because of how much I was dying. Jewel needs to add more fun activities in schedules than just boring, adult ones. There's families joining aboard! No, I'm not talking about the nickelodeon slime activity, because there's also such things as families with older children who won't be as entertained. By older kids being entertained, yes, I know there's a kids club, but to the kid's opinion, they didn't enjoy it.. They sometimes didn't even want to go because of how boring it was. Freestyle cruising in the Norwegian Jewel wasn't fun when it comes to dining.. We didn't get to meet many people, which also lead to more boredom, of course. (like I'm going to count how many times I said 'bored', past, present,etc...) This also made us miss the opportunities to eat some of the really good food from one dining room from another.. I really wanted to eat this meal at this one dining room, but the food I wanted at another seemed equally as good, but I really wanted to try out this main course at another dining room! Jeez, got these problems all the time before dinner. Freestyle cruising when dining also didn't make us get close to our waiters. In normal cruises where there isn't freestyling, the kids would be very close to them as they got to make crazy napkin folds with them, too. Dining would usually come out as fun, but not in the Jewel... Jewel is a great ship, but I'm guessing what I'm targeted by more is Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is our second time on the Jewel. First time cruising for my family was from New York in 2011. This one went from New Orleans. We arrived in New Orleans and had a blast touring the city. My wife is Filipino and had never been to NOLA. ... Read More
This is our second time on the Jewel. First time cruising for my family was from New York in 2011. This one went from New Orleans. We arrived in New Orleans and had a blast touring the city. My wife is Filipino and had never been to NOLA. She was in awe of the food there. Unfortunately this kind of spoiled the dining on ship! I have to say having cruised on the Jewel before we knew what to expect for dining, but I also feel the quality and variety has diminished since our inaugural cruise 3 years ago. Same restaurants but food was not as impressive. I won't go so far as to say it was awful or we hated it but it was a bit unimaginative and boring compared to what we remembered. Oddly enough this time around I found the buffet to be more interesting and the two dining rooms less so. We usually ate at Azura both cruises and found this time it was quite ordinary. We did try Moderno one night and it was a nice change, though not phenomenal. This trip we opted for a balcony room and I was very happy we did so. Much nicer than any of the inside or window rooms to have both the extra open feeling and the fresh air. From now on I will always book a balcony! The room size was very adequate. There were three of us sharing the space and it worked out ok. Steward was terrific as usual, and all the Filipinos on ship were great. I found this trip that the non-Filipino staff were less friendly than what we were used to but still NCL seems to focus on service. We booked one shore excursion (Altun HA in Belize) and it was a complete waste of time and money. Never again. Alternatively in Roatan we booked an independent tour guide from Roby's Tours nd it was the best experience we ever had. They provided us with a private can and guide and they were at out disposal all day for $125. It was great and the highlight of the trip. We unfortunately had our stop at Costa Maya cancelled due to weather and safety and that not only kept us from one more shore opportunity but cause an extra sea day which tend to get a bit boring. In addition the seas were a bit rough and my family started to feel the consequences. We opted for the walk off disembarkation and found it to be the right decision although the majority of the ship did also so it was a bit time consuming. All in all it went pretty smoothly however. We were off the ship and through customs in less than an hour. I would like to try a little higher quality cruise line like Oceana or Regency or Celebrity for a future cruise, but for now we are booked in November on the NCL Spirit in Europe so I will give NCL one more chance to impress! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I have been on the NCL Jewel 2 years ago to Alaska and that trip was great, this trip was just so~so. First, embarkation was slow~ the slowest ever on the 8 NCL cruises that I have been on. Once on board every thing seemed to run smoothly ... Read More
I have been on the NCL Jewel 2 years ago to Alaska and that trip was great, this trip was just so~so. First, embarkation was slow~ the slowest ever on the 8 NCL cruises that I have been on. Once on board every thing seemed to run smoothly with the muster drill and getting signed in for Kids Club ( 8 year old), making a few dinner reservations and getting all of our luggage. Just for the record, I hate not having preprinted luggage tags ( they stopped 2 years ago)~ that is a changed that I do NOT like and will never like. You can either print them yourself with flimsy copy paper that can easily come off, or get them from the porter at the dock who seems ticked that you don't have your bag tagged already. This was the first time cruising as Platinum Latitudes and we did receive a few nice perks~dinner for 2 at a specialty restaurant no more than $20 ( just not Cagney's) . One for each my husband and I and the Casino gave us 2 nights at Cagney's. We were able to eat at Le Bistro ( wonderful, one of the best meals of the trip), Moderno also very good my favorite thing at the all meat place is the pineapple . The 2 nights at Cagneys was also very good, the wagu sliders were very good. Other food on the ship just so~so. I love the oatmeal cookies but could never find them out so i just ordered them from Room Service~ problem solved. The staff is awesome, always accommodating. I saw several times that staff was getting in trouble by supervisors( maybe that would be better done not in front of guests) , this happened several times. JP the magician was awesome again and by far the best entertainment on the ship. Music just OK, the Le Cir Que Bijou was just OK, but remember I have seen it already and first timer would have loved it. Shore Excursions, we did our own thing in Cozumel, the dolphins swim booked by the company myself saved us about $200 for the day,taxis are so available not an issue to go it alone. Belize we did a ship tour to Water Caye for a beach day and it was fine, wouldn't do it again but ok for the day. Roatan was on our own again we went to the Iguana Farm, so much fun, we loved it and the rest of the day at Parrot Tree Resort, beautiful, not crowed and it is a lagoon of the most beautiful turquoise water. I was glad I chose that place because the wind was very strong that day and waves were rough and since this was a lagoon it was very calm for our 8 year old. The trip in Roatan was booked through Excursions Roatan and had a very good guide who stayed with us the whole time and spoke very good english, thank you Sandy for a great day. No stop in Costa Maya, too rough to dock. We were disappointed we didn't get the last beach day but took much needed naps in the cabin that day. The ships tour that we got for being a Platinum was a joke~ didn't get to see much of the ship , only a teaser to get you to pay big$$$$ for the other tour that showed the stuff you really want to see,should have taken a nap instead of going on that one~ Biggest disappointment of the trip. Kids Club did not WOW my little guy as in the past, and Team Nick on the cruise 2 years ago was much better, maybe we just need some new stuff to do, not the same every cruise. All in all we like NCL and paid the money for down payment for a cruise in the next 4 years just not next year, I think I need a break from cruising for a year and I will see you in 2 years. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. What a great experience! First let me say that we have sailed on Carnival and Royal many times, but this was our first experience with Norwegian. I will begin by saying that ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. What a great experience! First let me say that we have sailed on Carnival and Royal many times, but this was our first experience with Norwegian. I will begin by saying that unlike some who post, I have never been on a cruise I hated. In my mind even a not so great trip is still better than a week at work. With that said, I will outline some of the differences I noticed. First of all the ship appears to accommodate fewer passengers for its size than some other ships we have been on. That gave us the feeling of a bit more space in the public areas. As with most ships the rooms are a bit on the small side. The bathrooms however are designed with one feature that should be standard on all ships. It has a sliding glass door. That may seem like a small thing but on other ships we have been on they have a small curtain. It almost always allows water all over the floor. We booked at the last possible minute. Literally 7 days prior to sailing. Because of this we didn't have much choice on room selection. We were assigned to deck 8 mid ship. We were concerned because the public spaces were directly below. After looking on a map of the ship we determined we were directly above the Karaoke room. We had absolutely no issue with noise. The bonus of deck 8 was that the 24 hour restaurant was located on that floor. This made it super convenient to slip over and get a cup of coffee or snack without schlepping all over the ship. This is something to consider if you like to keep late hours. By the way, the 24 hour restaurant is the the best kept secret on the ship. I think most passengers don't even realize its there. There is almost never a wait to be seated. I also have to say that we found the staff to be more attentive than other lines we have been on. This is not to say the others had problems because they did not. Its just that we noticed more personal attention from the ships officers. Many times we were approached by them and they would ask about our experience. Afterward they would record our room numbers. Much to our surprise we would find a small gift awaiting us in our stateroom along with a note from them thanking us for sailing with them. I thought this was a very nice personal touch. Norwegian also offers something called the Ultimate Dining Experience. For about $120/person you get unlimited dining in any of the specialty restaurants on the ship. Since my wife and I had been to many of our port calls many times, we decided to skip most of the excursions. Instead, we opted for the dining experience. What a treat. This has to be the best value of any offering I have seen on a cruise line. The food was really a step up. If you like fine dining, this is something to experience. Overall I say kudos to Norwegian for a great trip and a tremendous value.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
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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