Sail Date: December 2013
We went on the NCL Jewel and my family was really pleased. We booked the ocean view. So when I came inside, our cabin came with a free wine bottle! Later that day, a worker knocked the door and gave us free chocolate covered strawberries! ... Read More
We went on the NCL Jewel and my family was really pleased. We booked the ocean view. So when I came inside, our cabin came with a free wine bottle! Later that day, a worker knocked the door and gave us free chocolate covered strawberries! Garden Cafe is the cafe on the ship and the food was spectacular! They had over 30 items and they even had Indian and Chinese food! Every evening they had a chocolate fountain in the cafe. One of the nights they had a late night chocolate buffet which was amazing! I will say, the atrium is not that amazing. When we went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, we had to take a boat to land. The cabins are smaller than the cabins on carnival and they only clean your room 2 times a day. My children enjoyed the towel animals. The kids club was nice and at the end of the cruise they put on a circus! Every day there would be one show that was performed at 7:15 P.M AND at 9:15 PM. The magic and comedy shows were so good. The main dining rooms had food that pretty much was the same like Azura ( a main dining room) might have broiled salmon and T'sars( another main dining room might have baked salmon. One difference was that the Azura was a regular restaurant and T'sars was a fancy restaurant. One thing the children loved was before you go inside Garden Cafe there was a "Washy Washy Guy" and he would give a squirt of hand sanitizer and sing "washy washy is good for you, good for me good for us Washy Washy everyday makes you healthy", in the tune of the nursery rhyme London Bridge. This was a amazing cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We had a wonderful 7-night cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I am sure my DW will write her own review, so this one will be from my perspective. We drove from Columbus, Ohio to New Orleans, over the Thanksgiving holiday. We ... Read More
We had a wonderful 7-night cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I am sure my DW will write her own review, so this one will be from my perspective. We drove from Columbus, Ohio to New Orleans, over the Thanksgiving holiday. We spent a night in Birmingham, Alabama, then two nights in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We thought about staying in NOLA and getting a "Park and Cruise" deal, but the big college football game was that weekend, so we were decided to stay about an hour and 15 minutes east. We drove into NOLA Sunday morning and parked at the Convention Center lot for $12 a day. We booked this online and had no problem getting in. We were early enough to leave our stuff in the car and head over to Cafe du Monde for Sunday morning beignets, which are so good! EMBARKATION: Smooth as silk. We got to the terminal about 1 or so, and there was a small line through security and to check in, but they both moved right along. We were on the ship by 2 and right to our cabin. Our luggage arrived by 4 and we watched the turn around and sail away from the lower sundeck (Deck 12) on a cool, but comfortable afternoon. CABIN: We were upgraded to an outside obstructed view cabin on deck 8, which looked out at a lifeboat. No problem at all, since all I wanted was the natural light. I do not spend time at all staring out the window, since I can just go up to the pool deck and look out all I want!! The bathroom had doors that separated the shower from the sink, and sink from the toilet. it is small, but manageable. The bed was comfortable and I slept well each evening. Everything worked, except the safe. The batteries died on the safe the final morning, prompting a call to our concierge to get security to come up and fix it, which they did, and we were able to get our passports and my DW's purse out in plenty of time. One thing I did notice was that our cabin steward never addressed us by name. Not once. This was the first cruise that this has happened. Just something I noticed. I even went out of the way to call him by his name each time I saw him, but he never called me or my DW by name. Otherwise, my room was always clean and taken care of. THE JEWEL: The Jewel is the namesake of the class of ships. I found her to be very well laid out and easy to navigate once I was familiar with the layout. Being on deck 8 forward put us right in the center - main restaurants and shops down and aft, most everything else up and aft, Stardust Theater down and forward. Pretty easy. The ship was always clean, nicely taken care of, and the public areas were easy to navigate. Nothing ever seemed to be ignored and the ship itself was a pleasure to be enjoyed. THE STAFF: The ship is the Jewel. The staff is the diamond the sparkles the brightest! I was the organizer of our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. We had a fantastic turnout for the event, which was attended by about 8 officers who welcomed our group, answered our questions and made us laugh and feel right at home. I believe the officers were impressed as well, citing the great turnout. They offered our group members an opportunity to dine for an evening with one of them, and many took advantage of that. Our gift exchange was a hoot, and we even made a few dollars on our slot pull in the casino!! There wasn't a staff member that we encountered who didn't take good care of us or anything that we needed. The drink server by the pool remembered me whenever he saw me (I fell in love with the Mudslide drinks I enjoyed...) and one of the MDR waitstaff, a woman from Thailand, I think her name was Simreepe (?), who was an assistant during the SOLAS assembly drill, chatted with me and remembered me the entire trip. She really was delightful and very pleasant! We were lucky enough to be given a concierge and she was exceptionally good and very attentive to us. From being able to dine at Cagney's for breakfast and lunch, to a complimentary dinner there, a wonderfully informative Bridge tour, priority disembarkation, a cocktail party with the Captain, to taking care of the safe issue on the last day. Just a superb woman and wonderful asset to NCL. DINING: We dined in the Garden Buffet, Cagney's Steakhouse, both Azura and Tsar's Palace, and Blue Lagoon. The MDR's were wonderful, with really tasty food and great service. We had to wait for Tsar's Palace one evening, but they gave us a pager and a coupon for a drink at any bar while we waited, which was very nice. The food at the buffet was rather good as well, with the selections changing on different evening to reflect a theme - Caribbean, German, etc.. The chocolate buffet was there as well one evening, The Blue Lagoon is a casual place on deck 8, so easy for us to get to. Very good fish and chips. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows I did attend, and the activities I did were quite fun, thanks to the wonderful staff that SIn, the Cruise Director, had, Sin was quite good and very funny. He was filling in, so not sure if he will be there if you sail, but he is quite good!! We were able to have a private bridge tour, and it was quite special to see how the ship functions. Highly recommended if you can get it. PORTS: Each port had it's own unique style, The contrast of the rugged hills of Jamaica with the flatness of Grand Cayman, and the bustle of Cozumel, was fun. The Jewel's crew even welcomed passengers back on board in Cozumel with music and dancing! Right in front of the Carnival Magic, which was docked next to us! They looked very jealous... DISEMBARKATION: Had priority disembarkation, so it was very painless. In fact, we were probably eating at Cafe du Monde before the second wave of people were off the ship!! OVERALL: The best cruise that we have taken!! The staff was the best, the ship was great, the ports were wonderful, the food very good. Truly value for the money, and the experience was over anything I had hoped for! I thank all of the Cruise Critic folks for coming to the Meet and Greet! I also thank the staff of the Norwegian Jewel for ta fantastic vacation!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
This was my and my college aged sons first cruise. After reading many reviews I was somewhat nervous as what to expect and experience. Let me say we had a wonderful week and will be returning on another Norwegian cruise. Sailaway day: ... Read More
This was my and my college aged sons first cruise. After reading many reviews I was somewhat nervous as what to expect and experience. Let me say we had a wonderful week and will be returning on another Norwegian cruise. Sailaway day: Lines were long however we got to the Port of New Orleans and was on the ship within an hour. I did bring 5 bottles of wine on board and got the corkage stickers without any issues. This did save me on purchasing any wine on board but you do have to take your wine with you to dinner or the bar. The server who opens your wine gets the tip from the corkage fee. We did check our luggage and once on board our cabins were not ready so we took our items with us and got something to eat in the garden cafe which everyone else did too so we had to sit outside. Our cabin was ready around 1:30 pm and luggahge arrived around 3:30 pm. The weather in NOLA was chilly so we quickly ate and went to explore the ship with all items in tow. (the wine got heavy) We toured the spa and after reading many reviews chose to get the spa package for each of us for the week. You must be over 18 to go to the spa. The spa is a great place to get away from the crowds. Included in the spa is steam bath, sauna and whirlpools and heated chairs...I really loved the chairs. Both sons ages 18 & 21 loved the spa too. It was $149 for the week so it isnt cheap but really enhanced our experience. Sea Days: We went to the spa, I used the gym on all sea days and went to 2 wine tasting events on these days. The kids went to the casino, arcade, and hung out at the pool bar. Kids over 18 but not 21 can have beer and wine with parenta permission but can only get one at a time which I did sign for my 18 yo. We did go to the comedian show which was really funny. Dining: Our main place to eat was Tsar's Palace in the evening men do need pants or jeans not shorts and close toe shoes. We did one pay restaurant the Teppanyaki and it was good but not as good as our local Shoguns. Not sure I would go again. We also ate at Azura's which is cramped and service not as good as Tsar's. Blue Lagoon was our go to place for different eating times which was good but not exceptional. I consider myself a foodie so the overall the food was average and we quickly learned the beef is low quality so we stuck with fish and chicken and starters. You can get as many of these as you like and one evening I had 3 starters for my meal. Best desert was the Chocolate decadence on the next to last night. Getting off the ship was so easy.. We did not check our bags we carried them off and were off thru customs and to the car in less than hour.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first cruise on Norwegian, and we were pleasantly surprised. From our check-in, to embarkation, to retuning back to New Orleans, everything was great. We travelled in what NCL calls a mini-suite, and it was a bit cramped with ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian, and we were pleasantly surprised. From our check-in, to embarkation, to retuning back to New Orleans, everything was great. We travelled in what NCL calls a mini-suite, and it was a bit cramped with two adults and two teens. We managed just fine though, and felt the cost to book a cabin above this category wasn't necessary. The Jewel is very nice for its size and age, and is maintained well. NCL waitstaff was very attentive and we never wanted for anything. We went to the first night show, and I wasn't too impressed. That opinion changed over the week, and I must say the production on day 6 was probably the best we have ever seen on a ship (aerialists, dancing and singing). The comedic magician (J.P. Parent) was great as well. Meals in the main and secondary dining room were all very good. We ate in three of the ship's specialty restaurants. Steak place was above average. LeBistro (French) and Moderno's (Churascarrea) were excellent. Dining and food options are many and varied, and we never felt too rushed or crowded. The ships dining "status" system that shows wait times, availability for seating, etc. was very helpful. We had multiple spa treatments between the four of us over the course of the cruise, and they were all very good. We paid to have access to the "relaxation room" with private aromatherapy pool, heated chaise lounges, etc. and were glad we did. We had rainy weather on embarkation day and first day at sea, and it was crowded then. The remainder of the week, we had wonderful weather and the facilities never felt crowded. The ports of call on this voyage (Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya) were all places we've visited before, and definitely an enjoyable itinerary. We had a fabulous trip, and will definitely cruise with Norwegian again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This cruise exceeded my expectations. I’ll admit I read lots of reviews of the ship and prepared myself to not expect much. I have to say I wonder if some of the people were even on the Jewel. Embarkation was a piece of cake. DH and I ... Read More
This cruise exceeded my expectations. I’ll admit I read lots of reviews of the ship and prepared myself to not expect much. I have to say I wonder if some of the people were even on the Jewel. Embarkation was a piece of cake. DH and I cruised out of NO before and I enjoyed NO so much that when we had an opportunity for a second cruise out of NO we jumped at it. We pre-booked our parking at the Fulton street garage and took the trolley to Café Du Monde enjoyed some beignets and had a leisurely walk back to the garage to get our luggage and head to the port by shuttle around 12:45. Shuttle dropped us off and we basically walked right on the ship. The ship was nice, and easy to navigate. It took a day or two to figure out where everything was and the best way to get from place to place but that’s part of the fun! The first sea day we had a CC meet & greet. We had a great turnout and it was nice to meet all the folks we had been chatting with over the months leading to the cruise. We had a gift exchange of gifts that were unique to each person’s home state. That was lots of fun and we learned a little about some of the states too. NCL went out of their way to make us feel like they appreciated us sailing with them. I don’t remember exactly how many officers came but there were a lot. They talked a little about the ship and themselves and answered our questions. They give us a card with their phone numbers and seemed sincere when they said to call if we needed anything. They had a sign-up sheet that we could sign up to have dinner with an officer. DH and I didn’t sign up but talked to CC friends who did and they really enjoyed it. We saw several of the officers during the cruise and they remembered us which surprised me with the number of people they encounter every day. The food was good for the most part. The steak did leave something to be desired in the dining rooms but then again I think my expectations may have been high. We ate several of our evening meals in the dining room and enjoyed the specials each night. The desserts in the dining rooms were lacking but there was always something good at the buffet if we really wanted something sweet. The buffet was surprisingly good and the Blue Lagoon was good. We especially liked the wings at Blue Lagoon. We don’t usually pay extra for the specialty restaurants but did try Cagney’s this time. It was as good as I expected. The nightly entertainment was good overall. Some better than others but then again we all have different tastes and expectations. I always remember I’m on a cruise ship, not Broadway, not Las Vegas, etc. There are inherent limitations based on the venue. There was always something to do. The activities staff worked hard to make things fun. There was lots of trivia, name your tune, quiz type games during the morning and afternoon. Sin was our cruise director and watching him act out the clues made it worth going just for that. The evening “game shows” were lots of fun and laughs too. My DH who usually just tolerates the game shows when I drag him with me joined in and had a great time. Here’s a little advice - Look at the daily and you’ll find lots to do that doesn’t cost a cent. Go participate, meet new people, who cares if you don’t know anything about Broadway show tunes or movie lines. As one of the activities staff said – who cares you’re never going to see these people again, have fun. Don’t forget to pick up your activities card and get it signed when you participate in an activities staff event. The more you play the bigger the prize! Special kudos to the officers and staff when we were in Cozumel. As we were walking back to the ship there was loud dance party music playing. We turned the corner and it was a party. We got to walk (or dance in most cases) the red carpet. The red carpet was lined with officers and staff welcoming us back. The kids got to dance with Sponge Bob or other Nickelodeon characters. There was a Carnival ship sharing the dock and I had to laugh when I saw Carnival staff members sneaking over to get their pictures taken with Sponge Bob. Disembarkation was pretty smooth too. We carried off our luggage and were eating beignets at Café Du Monde before we knew it. Overall, I’d have to say this was the best cruise I’ve been on so far. We’re planning on cruising next to Alaska and we enjoyed the Jewel so much we’re looking at booking the Jewel for Alaska too.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned home from seven days on the NCL Jewel. Have been on one other Carnaval cruise. In short, out experience on this cruise was wonderful. Service was great. Someone to help you anytime for whatever you need. The food was endless. ... Read More
Just returned home from seven days on the NCL Jewel. Have been on one other Carnaval cruise. In short, out experience on this cruise was wonderful. Service was great. Someone to help you anytime for whatever you need. The food was endless. The Garden Cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style. Complete with craving station, crepe station, omelet station, and burger, dog, pizza line. The food here was well prepared and beautifully presented. The up-charge restaurants are worth the investment. The Italian restaurant, La Cucina was excellent. The steakhouse restaurant, Cagany's served Black Angus beef. Very nice and the beef top shelf. Several of the speciality restaurants booked up early. Monitors around the ship keep passengers up to date on the reservation status. I should mention the Tsar's and Azure are free and offer excellent food. I think the service is good as any restaurant I have ever visited. The ship was spotlessly clean. Must attention is given to hand sanitation which is comforting. I appreciate dining on china and heavy flatware. Our mini suite on comfortable and spacious. It had a refrigerator which was very handy. The balcony provided fresh air and beautiful views. Did I like this cruise? You bet!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I meant to do this review earlier, but life intervened. Since I found reading the reviews of the Jewel really helpful in planning our cruise, though, I thought I’d at least try to get a few notes down. OVERALL EXPERIENCE – This was ... Read More
I meant to do this review earlier, but life intervened. Since I found reading the reviews of the Jewel really helpful in planning our cruise, though, I thought I’d at least try to get a few notes down. OVERALL EXPERIENCE – This was our first time cruising, and we were both a bit dubious. We’re middle-aged, childless, middle-income, fairly well travelled. Our concerns – Would we hate the food? Would we be turned off by the herd atmosphere? Would we be surrounded by screaming kids? Would we have claustrophobia?? No on all counts. We had a wonderful time, and we’re looking forward to our next cruise ASAP. HIGHLIGHTS – catamaran snorkeling excusion (Roatan); dinner in LeBistro; Chef’s Table; wine tasting; winning $50 at roulette; just the whole cruise experience – loved it. LOWLIGHTS – steak (?) at Azura; somewhat slow service in restaurants; Garden Buffett. Overall, not many! EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION – We drove to NOLA, spent the night at the Omni near the French Quarter (enjoyed it), had dinner at K-Paul’s (really, really enjoyed it). We were cruising with friends who are cruise and NCL vets, and they wanted to get on/off as quickly as possible. We packed lightly, got to cruise parking at the Julia terminal early (maybe 9:30?). We walked from the car to the terminal, got checked in very quickly, and were eating lunch in Tsar’s a little before noon. At the end of the cruise, we were ready to walk off the boat at 7:30 a.m. on the last day with our light luggage – we were among the first off the boat. Smooth all around – we were on the interstate before 8:30 a.m. OVERALL BOAT IMPRESSIONS – comfortable, extremely clean, well laid out. It didn’t seem crowded at all (well, except for the buffett…. See below). I enjoyed the spa, the library (checked out a couple of books for see days), hanging out by the pool with a drink, coffee in the atrium, walking around the outside deck, checking out the duty free. For us the size of the boat (ship…. My husband kept correcting me…) we just right – not too small and not so large that it was a pain to get places. FOOD AND DRINK – Overall, we were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. We usually ate breakfast at Tsar’s or the Great Outdoors and were always happy with the choices and quality. We used room service a couple of times – I think the limited choice is understandable given the magnitude of the task. It was nice to get hot beverages, fresh fruit and cereal when we didn’t want to go out – always on time and fine. We had dinner twice at Azura and this was a mixed bag – the first dinner was really good, the second (steak and lobster) not good at all – lobster way too salty and the steak was…. Mystery meat. Yuck. Also service in Azura was very hit or miss. Our friends who have travelled NCL several times speculate that it was just understaffed – hard to say whether this was a one-time or ongoing problem. Cutbacks? That was the only truly bad meal I had on board. I really disliked the Garden Buffett for two reasons: (1) way too crowded and noisy and (2) food just ok. Not bad, but there are much better alternatives. We really enjoyed “freestyle” – we loved the ability to decide when/where/how dressed up depending on our mood. SPECIALTY DINING – we had really good experiences with this. We had dinner at Le Bistro once – food excellent, service super slow. The food was so good, though, that next cruise we’ll probably do two dinners there. Dinner at Cagney’s once – the food and service were very good, but we wouldn’t go back. As good as it was, it was just a steakhouse – we would go back to Le Bistro instead because in spite of the service problem, the food was much more interesting. Dinner at Chin-Chin once – very good. OTHER FOOD AND DRINK – We didn’t think the wine/cocktails were too outrageous. About what you’d expect to pay in a restaurant. We took a bottle of wine on board and paid the corkage, but next time we won’t . The wines by the glass on board give you flexibility and are reasonable. Enjoyed ‘bar alley’ and hanging out with a hard cider. We attended two wine-tastings in the Bistro space and enjoyed both – interesting, informative, and well-organized. CHEF’S TABLE – this deserves its own mention. For me it was the highlight of the whole trip. All four of us (me, DH, and couple friends) are foodies. When we saw there was a sign-up for a Chef’s Table for an $89 per person upcharge we all signed up. It was worth every penny. There were fourteen diners in a special room in the Bistro. Champagne in the bar while we gathered; Counting the amuse Bouche and granite, there were nine courses with three wines. They took pictures of all of us with the Executive Chef, Mr. Santos and gave us both a complimentary group shot and couple-with-chef shot. With each course, Chef Santos came out and talked about what it was and what went into its pre, and the sommelier talked about each of the wines. After dinner, they sent us as a group to the whiskey bar for complimentary coffee and after dinner drinks. The food was really excellent, interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable throughout. At the end of the dinner, Chef Santos told us that he had arranged an extra Christmas gift for us – a private tour of the kitchen operations/galley the next morning. So next morning we gathered again for a fascinating tour of the galleys – an unbelievably clean and efficient operation. The whole experience from beginning to end was a delight – we really felt like special guests. I would highly recommend the Chef’s Table to anyone who enjoys food. OTHER ACTIVITIES – we enjoyed the carol sing in the atrium (although as someone else said, the piano players seemed to want to get it over with as soon as possible – we couldn’t keep up.) The captain was there singing away with everyone else. My husband loved the snorkel/catamaran trip in Roatan, and was very complimentary of the organization and friendliness of the crew of the excursion. My main ‘activity’ was reading on the balcony and looking at the ocean, with a nice side trip to the spa. DH attended some shows and trivia contests and the like – said they were enjoyable. OUR CABIN – forward min-suite with balcony on deck 11. We are both “big and tall” people, and we were very comfortable. The bathroom was well organized and the shower was big enough. The room was well laid out with plenty of storage. We’re glad we got a balcony – it makes the room seem much bigger and is a great place to sit out and read or have a drink if you’re looking for quiet. Bed was roomy and comfortable. Walter, our steward, was great – he was friendly and helpful, and we always had everything we needed. Excellent towel animals, too.  So… we’re converts. We’re saving up for our next NCL cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This is my fourth cruise, third carrier. 50 year old couple/empty nesters. The NCL Jewel was a nice ship. Clean, tidy and well organized. Staff ratio was good , overall size of the ship and layout and flow worked. There were enough ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise, third carrier. 50 year old couple/empty nesters. The NCL Jewel was a nice ship. Clean, tidy and well organized. Staff ratio was good , overall size of the ship and layout and flow worked. There were enough restaurants and food variety that one should not have a problem finding something worth eating. The main plus was the crew. Sorry Captain but we all know who runs the ship (Inside). That right, RIchard Janicki, Hotel Director runs a tight ship! Staff uniforms were pressed and sharp. His team did not look like they rolled out of bed like some other lines I've been on. Each member was on their toes and looking to assist passengers. I watched how they interacted with guests and each attempted to ensure that the guests had what they needed. Now I know there might be a few that disagree and that's ok because you can't please 2600 guests but the crew did their best . I would be re-missed if I didn't point out that Noel Chaves, Restaurant Manager was always on the floor to ensure guests enjoyed a great dining experience. Katya Plyakova, Beverage Manager has a great selection of wines and two good tasting events. Unfortunately, someone needs to share with NCL that the beer tasting of their low qualify beer choices is not a beer tasting event. It could use some improvement by adding two or three higher end micro beers. I have no real complaints and would recommend NCL to first time cruisers Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Our 3rd consecutive Christmas cruise, we thought we would be kicking it up a notch going from our previous cruises on the Carnival Conquest to a more $$$ trip on the the NCL Jewel. We were disappointed in finding both the cabin and bath ... Read More
Our 3rd consecutive Christmas cruise, we thought we would be kicking it up a notch going from our previous cruises on the Carnival Conquest to a more $$$ trip on the the NCL Jewel. We were disappointed in finding both the cabin and bath much smaller than on our similar class Carnival cruises. The service and interaction with our cabin steward was also lacking. I don't ever recall being called by name. The carpet in the cabin was worn, dirty and in need of replacement. The hallways were narrower then on any ship we have ever sailed on, and the one to our room was frequently cluttered with ice chests, totes of cleaning supplies and carts of towels making passage difficult. The menu choices in the dining room as well as the service (downright rude at times) was also less than what was offered by Carnival. One of the biggest failings was the dessert offering both in the dining room as well as the buffet line. No chocolate melting cake here! What was mostly offered was what we referred to as, jiggly gelatin-like desserts. Only after we had turned in our comment cards on the last day of the cruise did the assistant maitre d' visit our table in the room and offer us dessert choices one would expect to be served in the main dining room, selections they had sent to us from the ships' specialty restaurants. I'm sure those dining around us wondered where the heck the creme brûlée and Tiramisu came from! Vegetarian options were also limited. My daughter requested a simple garden salad and was told by the server that wasn't possible. We later found out the rule was "if it's on the ship, a guest can have it." We appreciated the thought that went into making sure everyone sanitized their hands before entering the buffet and restaurants. However, standing guard at entrances with a squirt bottle and saying "Washy Washy" for seven days was a bit overkill. There were some positives, however. We greatly enjoyed the extra touches throughout the trip. NCL did a great job bringing the Christmas spirit aboard. They offered a holiday show, Christmas candies, Christmas dinner, caroling, and broadcasted church services. They also offered flavored water and cold towels when returning from excursions. The entertainment was also excellent as was the embarkation and debarkation process. We also had no problem getting off the ship for excursions and had funk at all of our ports. We had a great time, but probably won't sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first time on Norwegian and first time sailing from New Orleans. We've been on six other cruises. Living close to New Orleans, we drove to the port. We parked at a lot on Convention Blvd for 84 dollars for the week and ... Read More
This was our first time on Norwegian and first time sailing from New Orleans. We've been on six other cruises. Living close to New Orleans, we drove to the port. We parked at a lot on Convention Blvd for 84 dollars for the week and were driven to the port. The line to get through security was long, only two x-ray machines were in operation. Once past security things went quickly and we were on the Jewel in no time. Cabin 8072 is an obstructed ocean view. There was no view as the two small windows were covered in an opaque film, I guess to prevent the crew from seeing into the cabin. We ate most of our meals at the buffet. The buffet is laid out well and there was plenty of food. Omelts to order and plently of bacon. We ate twice at Tsar's and found the food and service to be very good. Both my wife and I thought the food on Jewel was very good. We went to the theatre three nights and the entertainment was good. We had beautiful weather the entire week except for a brief rain in Cozumel. We did ship's excursion in Jamaica and Cozumel. Went to Appleton Estate Rum tour in Jamacia and Tulum ruins when in Cozumel. While at sea we worked on our suntan. Never has trouble finding a recliner to lay on. Room stewart keep the room in good shape. I'd do this cruise again as we had a very good time. We were impressed with Norwegian and the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Our Jewel sailing last week exceeded expectations in both the culinary experiences and the service throughout the ship. This was our fifth NCL sailing so we knew what to expect coming in- and the Jewel excelled! We were in an aft corner ... Read More
Our Jewel sailing last week exceeded expectations in both the culinary experiences and the service throughout the ship. This was our fifth NCL sailing so we knew what to expect coming in- and the Jewel excelled! We were in an aft corner suite on the 10th deck. The room was large and the balcony was terrific. The bed was extremely comfy and the bathroom with full tub was dandy. Dining- we enjoyed the chef's table and bonded with the other attending guests- there were 13 guests at the private table setup in LeBistro. We also had very good dinners in Cagneys (rack of lamb), LaCucina (veal ossobucco) and the remaining evenings in Tsars (lobster, lamb shank twice and prime rib) as you can see I blazed a carnivorous trail while my wife had mostly seafood and she was likewise very pleased. Also, on the first sailing night we had the most scrumptious, tender lobster tail we had ever had on a cruise ship. Also, despite the poor reviews of Mamas (LaCucina) our meal there was exceptional from start to finish. A bonus was an invite to the captains cocktail party in the Haven where we consumed Manhattans and Appletinis with many fine hors d'oeuvres. Ports- we have visited all three islands previously and opted for our own adventures instead of any planned excursions: Montego Bay- the ship docks at a commercial pier that is close to the main dock and is a 2 minute mandatory shuttle ride. I wanted to find a private taxi and just cruise around to areas where we could avoid seeing any tourists. We were very lucky to meet Sheryl McIntosh (1-876-855-5002) who was happy to drive us around while reciting interesting historical facts about Jamaica. She also can be found on Facebook. We told her we wanted to find the least expensive Blue Mountain Coffee and some Jerk Seasoning to bring home - she took us to the locals grocery which was the size of a Walmart and very busy with locals doing their everyday shopping- she brought us right to the coffee aisle and found the seasonings quickly and helped direct us through the speed checkout line which which is almost an oxymoron as the "speed line" was obviously still moving on island time. We actually found the simple experience of grocery shopping entertaining with Sheryl's expertise. Grand Cayman- we are both experienced divers but decided to just do a snorkel on this trip so had brought our own gear. We are huge fans of public transportation when we travel and GC proved to have an exceptional system. Only 1-2 blocks away from where we tendered in is the bus depot. The "buses" are actually new air-conditioned minivans and a one way trip was only $2.50. Locals hop on and off on their way to work or to run errands. We took about a 15 minute ride to "Cemetery Beach" which is part of 7 mile beach. There is a sandy trail leading directly to a gorgeous beach that adjoins a sunny oceanfront cemetery. Large sea-grape trees provide shade and there is plenty of beach to spread out on. We snorkeled directly out from the beach about 100 yards to the reef which was loaded with elkhorn and brain corals, sponges, sea fans and an abundance of tropical fish as well as some large snapper and jacks. The visibility was excellent and we enjoyed a very nice 2 hour snorkel. There are no facilities to rinse after so we did our best to dry out our gear on a tree and laid out on our towels. Bring water and any snacks as there is nothing available- just a pristine, beautiful beach. We hopped the bus back into town- there is a shaded bus stand right across the street from the cemetery. Cozumel- We have traveled all over this island previously and decided to just hoof it to a very cool tiki bar we had previously stumbled upon - Wet Wendys - I believe it is about 3-4 blocks away from the pier area off of 8th avenue but google can help you locate this fine restaurant/bar- it is owned by Americans. The house margaritas are made from scratch and are ginormous, fish tacos were authentic Mexican fare - much better than the ones I experience in our home town beach restaurants. I anchored myself at the open air bar while my wife would wander off to shop. The service on the ship was very good. Our SuperHeros were: Rommell, waiter in Cagneys who always had a smile and displayed a wry sense of humor. When I had dinner in Cagneys I opted for the wedge salad- when he served the salad he sang, "Wedgie-wedgie" to the same cadence as the "washy washy" song. Kumar, bartender in the Star Bar and sometimes poolside. He explained to us that his specialties were "tantalizing martinis" so we soon renamed him "Kumartini Rocks!" He was alot of fun. Ernesto, bartender poolside. He is an obvious veteran and leader of the bar staff. His service was quick and efficient and he serves some very strong drinks. Elvina, #1 concierge. She never missed a beat on any of our requests or dinner reservations. She is a pro. Chef Angelito Santos, he put on a great chef's table with his course descriptions and also provided a fantastic behind the scenes private galley tour. He has a great sense of humor and laughed when I caught him fixing the model train that was running in the lobby at the large Christmas Gingerbread display. My only Jewel neg is that while I enjoy playing blackjack in the casino, the cigarette smoke proved intolerable. Thanks to all of the Jewel staff- you succeeded in exceeding our expectations. Fire away with any questions, I'll do my best to answer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We've just returned from our Western Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Jewel... here are our highlights (and lowlights!) Ship: The ship was really nice and we were happy with the amount of activities that were offered. We never swam ... Read More
We've just returned from our Western Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Jewel... here are our highlights (and lowlights!) Ship: The ship was really nice and we were happy with the amount of activities that were offered. We never swam in the pool because it was usually either rainy or loaded with kids (the cruise was during their school break), but we weren't too upset about it. We purchased a spa package that allowed us to use the private hot tubs which were much more relaxing than the ones on the pool deck. Overall, we were happy with the activities on the ship and were never at a loss for something to do. Room: Instead of splurging on a room with a balcony, we chose to pinch our pennies and spend that money on excursions. I was dreading staying in an interior room with no window, but it actually wasn't too bad space wise. There was a lot of closet space and the suitcases fit perfectly under the bed. We actually slept like babies because the room was pitch black when the lights went out, but don't forget to set your alarm or you'll accidentally sleep all day. Food: We really had no complaints about the quality of the food onboard the Jewel, but at times the service was pretty poor. We tried two of the specialty restaurants: Moderno (Brazilian Steakhouse) and Teppanyaki (Hibatchi). The service at Moderno was horrible... we had to ask the hostess twice to send our waiter over once we sat down and it took forever for him to bring our drinks. Teppanyaki, on the other hand, was totally worth the upcharge. The service and food there were incredible. In regard to room service, I think we were a bit spoiled because our last cruise was with Holland America. We kind of expected more options to be on the room service menu like the Holland America ship, but we didn't end up using room service very often anyway. Ports: The cruise visited Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, and Costa Maya. I'll go through each of them separately. Overall, we had a fun time and would definitely cruise with NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed ... Read More
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed different from my cruise on the Star in April 13 was no happy crew greeting us with music and dance as we boarded. Guess this should have been a indication of how it was going to go from there.... We ate in the Tzar dining room as a group three times and each time the service was very good. The first time was lunch after boarding and then twice for dinner. We made reservations and the table was always ready with no wait. I wish I could say that this service continued to other times that I dined there. The service was from fair to downright bad! Service was at best sporadic and if you wanted something you were always having to flag a staff member down to ask. I ate in the buffet one night and it was OK. Nothing spectacular. The Blue Lagoon was a favorite of mine on the Star and was looking forward to dining here for several meals on the Jewel. Breakfast was good and the first couple of days, service was fairly good. Same thing for lunch. As the days progressed the service became really slow. The young lady who would seat you never did smile! She acted like she didn't want to be there, didn't care you if got a seat or not and one time was on her cell phone not paying attention to people that were waiting. I've been to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel many times so I'll leave the port reporting to someone else. I will say it was the first time that I've ever docked at the commercial terminal in Jamaica (Montego Bay) and it appeared as though it was a first for NCL as well. Information given was not totally correct but didn't cause big concerns. Just aggravations. I was confined to my cabin the days we were in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with the flu. My family said they enjoyed both ports. I'll add here that room service was the best! Always arriving quickly. I had a mid-ship balcony stateroom on deck 10. It was exactly what I expected as I has sailed this category before. Ample storage for two people. Love, love the balcony, especially when confined to cabin! The entertainment I did get to see was good as were some of the game shows. The Art auction which I went to once, was to pushy. I've bought art on board cruises in the past but never encountered the pushy sellers. Only went one time because of them. Overall, everyone in our family group had a wonderful time, no thanks to the sourpuss crew. I won't give up on NCL because of this. Bought a furture cruise credit and will be looking to see where I want to go next.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We had a group of 4 cruised with NCL Jewel before Xmas last year. Since this is our first time, there is no reference to compare with. We live only one hour away from NOLA, lucky for us we don't need a hotel. Embarkation is pretty ... Read More
We had a group of 4 cruised with NCL Jewel before Xmas last year. Since this is our first time, there is no reference to compare with. We live only one hour away from NOLA, lucky for us we don't need a hotel. Embarkation is pretty fast, bringing all necessary documents and pre-printed boarding pass definitely accelerated this process. Food is fine. Our favorite restaurant is Azura and Tsar's palace, which provide standard four-course meal for dinner (steak in Azura is really nice). The big buffet dinning on the upper deck (sorry I forgot the name) is close to everything (i.e. pool, card room, fitness center, playground etc.) The only complaint about the food is we barely got any seafood. (I know this is NCL, but we actually expected lobster or so) Among the three ports (Georgetown, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Cozumel), we like Grand Cayman the most. The most disappointment is the shore excursion we attended in Georgetown, which we bought from the ship. We thought we would go soft with our first shore excursion for the safety sake, which was proven a wrong decision, and the worst part is the 30-min shopping in a really small shop in the middle of nowhere. For that reason, we took a taxi to the beach by ourselves in Grand Cayman. Love the water and the beach there. However, the NCL shore excursion we bought on the ship for the submarine in Cozumel is pretty nice. And we still have the time to go to beach by ourselves after the excursion. But the water and the beach is big disappointment compared to Grand Cayman, probably the taxi driver didn't take us to the good place. For dressing, we saw people dressing in formal attires, but 80% of them worn whatever you want to be comfortable including us. But jeans and flipflop are not allowed in the two main dinning room. Overall, first time cruise is pretty pleasant. No hassle no worries. I've seen people in a large group bringing walkie-talkie, which I think is really a good idea since there is no way to get in touch with your friends once you are out of your cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we ... Read More
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we left from before. We sailed from Miami in the past. This ship was not very elaborate at all. It seemed cheap and lifeless compared to the other two ships we were on. We were immediately disappointed once we stepped foot on the ship. However, you have to give them a chance, right? We were greeted outside the ship with two gals dressed as sailors and balloons like a 90's prom, however, there was not a single person inside the ship directing you where to go. We had to ask staff and then they didn't seem to know much. They acted like this was their first time on the ship. We weren't greeted with free champagne as Carnival had done. The buffet was very small. A hometown buffet seemed to have more food than this ship. The desserts were the worst I've ever had and how can one go wrong with pizza, but this pizza had no flavor and was just terrible. The flow of the buffet seemed much simpler than the one on the Carnival ship, but that is probably due to the small size of it. The Carnival ships have seating on both sides and back of the ship for buffet guests. This ship is so much more narrow that seating was only on one side for buffet diners. They want you to spend even more money to dine at one of their pay restaurants. We refused to give this cruise line anymore money for dining. The two main dining rooms that are included had the worst service ever. People were slow to be seated and then even slower to be served. Not once did anyone lay my napkin on my lap as on the Carnival ship. I thought I may like the freestyle dining, but early on I decided I did not. I liked getting to know waiters on the Carnival ship and having them treat you in a way that makes a cruise feel special. There was not one waiter on the Norwegian Jewel that made me or any members of our family feel special. The food was mediocre at the main dining rooms. I was never "wowed" by any meal like on the Carnival. The entertainment was pretty good on the Jewel, but once again, the theater was so much smaller and lacked that luster of the other two ships. There were a few neat rooms such as The Spinnaker and Fyzz, however. The hallways were very narrow and often cluttered with coolers. Our stateroom was smaller than before and the bed setup for four people in an inside stateroom was extremely cluttered. On our Carnival ship, two beds came down from the ceiling that allowed at least some room to walk through. On the Norwegian, a trundle bed was pulled out and set up in between two twin beds. This meant the entire floor of your stateroom was covered with bedding. No place to sit or walk through. Too crowded for sure. The shower was larger than Carnival's and the only major thing I liked about our cabin on this ship. Everything else pertaining to the bathroom was very small and crowded. We enjoyed our ports of call and getting on and off the ship was great with the exception of Belize which had to be tendered in. We had to wait 2 hours before we could get off the ship on this date. If you want off the ship earlier at this port, you better book an excursion. Your excursion is your ticket to getting off the ship first. I wouldn't say our cruise was terrible because we love cruising, but we won't cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I am very new to cruising..the last time I was on a cruise was about 20 years ago and it was a Royal Caribbean ship and it was a 3 night cruise. This past week we sailed on the Jewel and I would like to tell you about our experience. ... Read More
I am very new to cruising..the last time I was on a cruise was about 20 years ago and it was a Royal Caribbean ship and it was a 3 night cruise. This past week we sailed on the Jewel and I would like to tell you about our experience. Boarding was very easy and our room was ready when we arrived. The only problem (and I found this out on our last night) was that we were supposed to have towel animals on our bed each night. We did not have these on any of our nights onboard. Our room was also not very clean and I had to ask each day for 1 extra towel and on a few days I had to ask for the bathmat. The bathroom floor was unclean and so I cleaned it each day and the glass shelves were very dusty. I had no idea that tips were automatically deducted each night at $12 per person. To us, this seemed like a lot for the poor service we had in the housekeeping area. Last time I cruised I remember we put tips in envelopes for each person. This seems better to me since tips are for service. If you are guaranteed a tip, then maybe you won't try as much to please the consumer. Room service was brought to our room twice for breakfast. The first time everything was good. The second time we got old fruit so we opted to eat breakfast at the buffet on a few days and at the great outdoors which is behind the buffet and faces the back of the ship. Great views in this area. Anyway, other than our housekeeping issue the staff onboard was very very friendly and helpful. The food onboard was pretty good, we ate one night at Tzars and the rest of the nights at Azura's and two nights at buffet. All the workers in the restaurants were awesome...we couldn't have asked for better service. We only did 1 specialty restaurant and that was the Bistro for the Jazz brunch and we did enjoy ourselves. On one night they had a chocolate extravaganza. There were plenty of delicious desserts and there were plenty of children onboard, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was rather upsetting to see children walking with huge plates of desserts and then leaving most of them on the table uneaten. Especially with so many workers from the Phillipines who have families that are at home suffering..to see such a waste was awful. I was a bit disappointed in the pool area. I went down to enjoy the hot tub on our first full day at sea and I was not able to get in any of them. It was a chilly day and there were children in all of them even though some said adults only. I was able to use when we were in Costa Maya as we had no onshore activites other than taking a stroll through the shops. I did enjoy them once I was able to use them. The entertainment was good. We made a few of the shows and all of the ones we saw were great. We especially like the magician/comedian...he was hilarious! I am sorry I do not remember his name. We also saw Jeri Sager who was also very entertaining. I have been spending my time in all exclusive resorts in Punta Cana, Mexico, Jamaica for the past 20 years and having to pay for so many items was very new to me. I wanted a slice of coffee cake at the java cafe and was told it is only complimentary if I pay for coffee. I do not drink coffee so I was unable to try a complimentary slice. I was also surprised at the price of bingo. We went down to play on the last evening and the price was $49 for 3 games. The frustrating part that right before the game that paid the most, they sold cards for $10. On the all exclusive trips we have been on, bingo is free and so are many other games. They give out prizes like bottles of rum, tshirts etc...for free. This really was so different and something I was not used to and actually did not like paying extra for the games. We had a balcony stateroom midship, deck 9. It was a nice room...we had a place for everything. The view of the sea from the ship was wonderful and the rocking of the ship so soothing. My husband and I both slept fantastic. It was also easy getting around the ship and elevators were close to everything. A little bit of walking and going up and down steps but we did not mind at all since it helped us burn some of the calories from all the food. Oh and the pizza was very good...just not sure why we had to pay a room service charge of $5.00 to order a pizza when it is free on the buffet and you could just bring it to your room. We did two excursions, in Belize we went to Altun Ha and it was great. We learned a lot from our tour guides who were very passionate about the Mayan Culture. The other excursion was in Roatan and I am still frustrated that they did not cancel our trip or refund most of our money. In the morning we went to the stardust theater to meet up for our trip. Many trips that day were cancelled due to the weather which was windy and rainy. Our excursion was a tour of the Roatan and a boat ride on Dixon cove. I booked this trip solely for this boatride. We could hardly take any good pictures because when we got to our stops it was so rainy you could barely see let alone take pictures. Then we were taken to the boat but it was pouring rain, the boat had 2inches of water in it and the seats were soaked. Of course no one took the ride since it was to dangerous. The tour guide came to all of us and had us write our cabin numbers down and the reason we did not take the boat ride. I waited two days to see if we would be refunded and did not hear anything so I went to the excursion desk. I was told that they had no idea we did not take the boat ride and they would call me to tell me their decision on a reimbursement. We were only given a 25% reimbursement. I thought we should get all our money back as they should not have sent us in this type weather, especially with cancelling so many of the other excursions that day. All in all the trip was nice..even with some issues. We will be taking another cruise in January aboard the Royal Princess. We booked this one last year with some friends. It is a newer ship and we were upgraded to a suite so we are looking forward to the larger room and to again be on the sea. Maybe we will have a bit better experience on this ship. I will let you know.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ... Read More
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ended up under splash academy with very energetic kids running back and forth till 10:30 PM so forget about sleeping till then. we walked around, watched shows or what not so it was not too big a deal. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth only issue was the pulling into the terminal which took us 1 hr to go around the block due to the convention and the cab driver making the wrong turn. Jewel is going to be dry docked to get a face lift next year. I loved the lay out of the garden cafe. Food was great. Variety was good too. we ate out only 1 night. Due to hurricane in Philippines, few of the employees were replace with new people. ALL THE staff was wonderful. Calling home from the ship was only $1.99 a minute - not bad, . My cabin steward Mark called every body by their first name. How he remembered - god alone knows NCL charges $25 if you loose their towel - like all the other cruise ships ( some charges up to $40 - absurd) so make sure you don't loose them. Cab from the hotel near airport to the pier was $34 for 2 of us. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My partner and I decided in late October to take a last minute cruise from New Orleans in Early mid November ohm the Norwergian Jewel just to get away and relax a bit. This is our third cruise with Norwegian in three years so we are ... Read More
My partner and I decided in late October to take a last minute cruise from New Orleans in Early mid November ohm the Norwergian Jewel just to get away and relax a bit. This is our third cruise with Norwegian in three years so we are obviously Norwegian fans. We are very successful in business and work for ourselves. I would say that though we tend to be somewhat frugal we will splurge and enjoy small luxuries when possible. On our past two trips we chose an Ocean View Stateroom on the Spirit and a Balcony on the Epic. This time I started with an inexpensive Inside guaranty cabin for $299 ea (I was being very frugal). However, we had a big contract come through so I then upgraded one week later to a mini-suite gty cabin for $200 more each. Still a great bargain. The mini Suites on the Jewel are a bit larger and fitted out a little nicer than the standard Balcony Staterooms. However mini-SUITE is a bit of a misnomer as they do not include any of the luxuries included in a real suite such as: Priority Embarkation, seating in the balcony 'boxes' for shows, Captains Cocktail Party, Bridge Tour, Private Suite Only dining every day in Cagney's for Breakfast and Lunch, Butler and Concierge Service, hors d'oeuvres and sweets delivered to the cabin late afternoon and each night before bed, Champagne and fresh flowers upon arrival in the cabin, Priority tinkering to shore, and basically being treated like royalty. All of these little luxuries are included in the penthouse suites. However there is one category even higher which is the Haven Suites on Deck 14 with private access to a sliding glass roofed courtyard with a tiny pool (probably 16' by 8') and deck chairs which are shared by 12 -14 suites in this private area. As we were a guaranty mini-suite category we weren't assigned a cabin until two days before the cruise but were very shocked and pleasantly surprised to be upgrade for free to a 2 Bedroom-2 Bath Penthouse suite with all of the luxuries listed above except the Haven Courtyard access. I started researching the cabin number ( Stateroom 11518 - the Opal Suite ) and found that the one negative is that it is located below the weight room and the treadmill area. Several comments indicated that this was very loud and quite disruptive for relaxation from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm each night. We decided this would be an issue if we were paying the extra $600- 800 each to choose this suite but we could certainly live thorough the noise and not look a "gift horse in the mouth"! This turned out to be the right mind set. The gym was loud as people were constantly dropping weights and it sounded like the ceiling could come don a few time. We honestly did get used to it and even had a good sense of humor about it. The suite itself was incredible! Using our card keys we entered into an entry foyer with two doorways. The first door leads to a small interior bedroom and nicely sized private bath with it's own key card access door. Rubber door stops were provided to keep the doors propped open if you so choose. Also accessed from the foyer was a second card keyed door that lead to the main area of the suite (also with a door stop provided). This triple locked door configuration makes the suite perfect for families or room mate situations. Just be careful through! If one of the doors swings shut they automatically lock. I'll explain why this can be a problem in moment. :-0 The main door to the suite proper is flanked by really cool looking lighted columns creating a some what grand entry. Through this door is a lovely wood paneled living area with a table and four chairs, mini bar and cappuccino maker, sofa, two chairs and entertainment center with one of four flat screen televisions and a dvd player. A fairly small balcony is off the living room with two very nice wicker looking padded deck chairs, a small end table, and a foot stool. They are nicer than the chairs on the neighboring non-suite balconies. The view from the 11th floor bacon is unobstructed and very nice. Through the main sitting room is an opening with a very heavy and substantial glass pocked door leading to an open concept grand master bath. The master bath is breathtaking! Unlike any other stateroom configuration I have ever seen, there is a soaking tub and a walk in luxury shower that extend out past the balcony and give you panoramic views of the ocean! The shower actually has one wall that is a floor to ceiling glass panel with a sheer drop down to the water below. There is a privacy screen that can be lowered but it isn't needed unless you are in port facing a dock. The shower itself has two shower heads (one is a removable hand held sprayer) and two body sprays. All of the fixtures are Hans Grohe slimline modern sprayers. Very elegant and high end. The main pat of the bathos a marble floored are with an eight foot long double vanity, multiple mirrors, glass shelving with elegant glass jars for provided toiletries such as cotton balls and bath salts. There are several different lighting sources such as recessed lighten and wall sconces. There is a separate glass enclosed water closet area with a privet phone and a flat screen tv over the tub. In the are you walk into from the living room there is a carpeted section with a large floor to ceiling clothes closet and a built in cabinet housing two safes, armoire storage, and four drawers. There were also multiple compartments, doors, and drawers in the bath are. Too many to use them all. On the interior wall of the open concept bath is a curtained nook for the VERY COMFORTABLE queen sized master bed. It sits in a wood paneled and mirrored alcove with a chandelier over the bed, room to both sides for end tables with drawers, shelves, plugs, phones, and wall mounted halogen reading lights. You can also control most of the lights in the bed/bath sea of the suite from wall mounted switches to either side of the bed. The alcove contains another flat screen tv, built in media center with dvd player, and more storage. One funny story about the three locking doors from the foyer. My partner decided he was going to sleep on the sofa in the living room. between reading habits, television watching, etc... this is how we live now. The first night of the cruise he got up about 2:00am and went through the door to the foyer and then through the door to the interior guest room to use the secondary bathroom. Somehow he knocked the door closed to the main sitting room which automatically locked! He tried knocking softly so as not to wake the neighbors but I didn't hear him all the way through to the master bed alcove. He ended sleeping in the guest room and remained locked out until I discovered him in there the next morning. Needless to say we made sure the doors remained propped ope the rest of the cruise. :-) I know this is long and detailed. So to sum up: Eric the room steward was fantastic. John De'Souza, the head concierge was incredible. He even went out of his way to make us comfortable as a same sex couple though we aren't obvious in any way. All of the other suite guests were ver friendly and accepting of us as well. We never felt out of place or uncomfortable. This was one of the best vacations we have ever had! My partner and I have been together for 27 years. We are life partners and business partners in a very successful Interior Design Firm in Northern Alabama. Though we are both males we fit in well with any group and have never experienced any real negativity or blatant negativity form anyone. I only mention then because we found that Norwegian Cruise lInes has always been very gay friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ... Read More
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ended up under splash academy with very energetic kids running back and forth till 10:30 PM so forget about sleeping till then. we walked around, watched shows or what not so it was not too big a deal. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth only issue was the pulling into the terminal which took us 1 hr to go around the block due to the convention and the cab driver making the wrong turn. Jewel is going to be dry docked to get a face lift next year. I loved the lay out of the garden cafe. Food was great. Variety was good too. we ate out only 1 night. Due to hurricane in Philippines, few of the employees were replace with new people. ALL THE staff was wonderful. Calling home from the ship was only $1.99 a minute - not bad, . My cabin steward Mark called every body by their first name. How he remembered - god alone knows NCL charges $25 if you loose their towel - like all the other cruise ships ( some charges up to $40 - absurd) so make sure you don't loose them. Cab from the hotel near airport to the pier was $34 for 2 of us. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We've cruised a fair amount in the past few years & are now Platinum on NCL. Had booked this cruise months ago & had an inside room. My wife (she's the one who constantly is checking NCL for "deals") found a ... Read More
We've cruised a fair amount in the past few years & are now Platinum on NCL. Had booked this cruise months ago & had an inside room. My wife (she's the one who constantly is checking NCL for "deals") found a mini-suite for only a couple hundred dollars more & I call our NCL TA and upgraded....then, had our luggage tickets, just about packed, etc., & the Thursday before we left, I received a phone call from NCL in Miami wanting to know if we were interested in upgrading to the Haven. I had no idea what that was, but contacted my wife & looked info up & said "Heck Yeah!" Lady said that if I hadn't answered, she'd just "go on to the next person on the list!" Have been out of New Orleans several times in the past years & no problem getting there. Parking in an "open" lot sucks though! Our first cruise there, NCL had a parking garage, but guess Carnival has both of them now???? Dropped luggage off & parked. Once we showed the "tickets" w/the Haven on it, we were escorted to a "special" check-in, & then to the "VIP Lounge." Nice amenities & met our Butler, Concierge, etc. In approx. 10 minutes, we were escorted to the ship & to our rooms. Rooms were amazing! I ran the M&G the next day & we did a Cabin Crawl....got to see an Aft Balcony (first for us) & a Penthouse (also first for us.) The Penthouse was exactly the same room layout as ours. BUT, we had access to the Haven Pool area....small pool, but had a hot tub....plenty of lounge chairs, etc. PLUS, we had access to Cagney's for breakfast & lunch IN THAT AREA w/our own private waiter....Penthouse folks could use Cagney's itself, but not access our area. Our waiter, Benny, was FANTASTIC! One of the few times on a cruise where I've agreed w/my wife that he/she deserved an extra tip ($). Anyway, treats every day in the room (usually 2-4), service, etc. We're spoiled for life re: cruises now! Pretty much anything other that an Owners Suite is going to be a letdown! But, that won't stop us from cruising! P.S. Ate at Le Bistro (good as usual), Tapanyakki (not impressed), & Moderno (LOVED IT!) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
This was our first cruise as a family. I have cruised before but my husband and kids (5y girl, 7y girl, and 9y boy) had not. Our 7y daughter has autism (moderately verbal, echolalia with severe sensory issues). We drove from Ohio to NOLA, ... Read More
This was our first cruise as a family. I have cruised before but my husband and kids (5y girl, 7y girl, and 9y boy) had not. Our 7y daughter has autism (moderately verbal, echolalia with severe sensory issues). We drove from Ohio to NOLA, stayed overnight near port and boarded the ship early on Sunday for a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The Port of New Orleans is a disorganized mess. There is a lot going on and, if you drive, you have to get in several different car lines- one to drop bags, one to park. The signage is confusing and there are a lot of people walking in places that only cars should be. They have the sky walk from the lot to the pier shut down so you have to walk in the busy intersections, over a rail road and road ways. If you have anyone with sound sensitivity- take ear muffs, you'll need them! Prior to the cruise our TA setup an escort through the security line that was a godsend. NCL sent a representative that helped us by pass a line the would have taken hours and would have prevented our ASD 7y to board- she would have been in full meltdown if we waited in the line. Instead we boarded in less than 10min. The escort then took us to check in and allowed us to bypass this line as well. We were staying in a Family Suite AB so we were afforded suite perks and the escort took us to the VIP lounge prior to boarding to meet our concierge and butler. Then we were taken to Cagney's for lunch and then to our suite. We booked the AB Suite for the perks because we were not sure how well our ASD 7y would do on her first cruise. We wanted a larger room, the shower and tub would help during meltdowns and food from almost anywhere on the ship could be delivered (so we wouldn't miss out if she didn't fare well and we were stuck in the suite). Best decision we could make. Our other children loved the kids club and pool. Our ASD did not tolerate the restaurants well and had no desire to go to the kids club (I think there was too much noise for her)- so we spent a lot of time in cabin, on the balcony and had several meals delivered. She did not use the tub for meltdowns as much as it was for entertainment. The suite also allows priority tenders- escorted past the line in GC without an issue. It also comes with snacks delivered in the afternoon and prior to bed (cookies each night- kids loved it). The snacks range from sandwiches to chocolate covered strawberries. I also had pitchers of iced tea delivered which was nice while sitting on the balcony watching the ocean. There was also a complimentary bottle of Prosecco for the suite which was nice in the evening- mixed with a little juice it kept our bar tab down. The suite itself has a large bedroom/ bath with a tub, dining and sitting area, kids bedroom/bath and a large balcony. It was a good amount of space for us and the kids fit nice in the bedroom with a pull down. We also liked the coffee machine and we had the fridge emptied for sodas/juice we brought on board (also our ASD has the fun skill of being able to open pop tabs- that is an expensive skill when a minibar is involved). The restaurants we did venture our to were great. Cagney's for breakfast everyday was a treat- the staff were great and they were really nice to the two other kids. They have good choices for breakfast and a nice little buffet of fruits, cereals and sliced meats/cheeses to pick from. The choices for lunch were good but they had few kids choices so we ate several lunches at the outdoor buffet or Garden Café. We also ate at Chin Chin, Mama's and Le Bistro. Each specialty restaurant was worth the cover for choice and serving size. Service was always prompt and they accommodated us with a sleeping child at times without a problem. Also had several meals delivered by butler from MDR- always prompt and hot.The ASD 7y didn't eat much due to her sensitivity and pickiness- pizza, cereal, grilled cheese, and cookies. We spent a lot of time by the pool. Pool chairs are at a premium and NCL does nothing about people saving chairs- it makes it hard to watch 3 smaller kids in the pool without having to stand the entire time. The pool is salt water but the kids enjoyed it. The water slide is only open from 10a-6p, which makes it hard to explain to the special needs kid who wants to ride it at 8a and 8p.The pool deck always has a band or some sort of entertainment. The kids participated in the Nickelodeon events and the hubs did a relay to win beer. Waiters are plentiful and there is a small buffet mid-day and the Garden Café is close. We saw several shows and listened to several cover bands in different bars. All were good. The Band on The Run was fun. Twosome Awesome did a great Beatles rendition. We also did the Dora Dance Pty and went to the White Hot Party. All were fun and had great music. As with any cruise alcohol is expensive so plan accordingly. There was also the usual cruise classes and exercise sessions- we did not participate in any. Montego Bay Jamaica is a beautiful yet very poor port. We took a cab $5/person to Doctor's Cave Beach. The cab let us out 5 blocks away from our destination and we had to walk. The "Hip Strip" is very seedy and the people of MoBay are pushy and don't lose any opportunity to sell anything. There are people pushing "ganja" right at you. I did not feel "unsafe" but it is a place to know where you are going and be confident- watch your belongings and give firm "no's". However, once you get to the beach you are in a crystal blue paradise. Chairs and umbrellas cost but t is worth it. There is a café, waiters delivering drinks on the beach and calm blue water. People are also selling things on the beach. The 5y got her hair braided and loved it. The ride back to the pier was less intimidating- we ate lunch on the ship and waited for sail away. We tendered in Grand Cayman. For ASD you need ear muffs again- the boats are loud and completely filled with people(so a lot of voices). We then took an excursion to Sea World Observatory boat. It was really neat and perfect for ASD- not completely enclosed and there is an upper deck if you encounter problems. The guide was nice and pointed our fish to my other two kids- they were fascinated. After that we walked around and shopped. We ventured to Burger King to get nuggets for the ASD (because she had only eaten cereal and pizza in days)- it was really expensive and they did not have nuggets. Stopped at duty free to pickup Doritos (for the ASD) and tendered back to the ship. My son was impressed with the cold towels (there was no greeting in Jamaica). Cozumel was a later day than the other two. We left the ship and walked through a market and around the streets close to port for a while. The ear muffs came in handy again- a lot of cars and people. The people of Cozumel also try to sell everything but they are less pushy than in Jamaica. We got several souvenirs and stuff for the kids. Then we took an $18 cab to Mr Sanchos (free beach and a VIP section). The water is gorgeous and there are free beach chairs. There is food and alcohol available and water toys to rent. My hubs and son rented a jet ski. We got tacos and nachos delivered along with some drinks. There is also a VIP section that charges $50/person for unlimited alcohol and use of a pool and water toys- we chose the free (pay as you go) because we had kids with us and could not possibly drink that much alcohol. In all we spent $45 and had a really good day. Then we took another cab ride (this time $25) back to port. Upon boarding the ship this time there was a huge greeting line with music and cold towels- the kids loved it (even the ASD). One service we did use a lot of was the kids club. My ASD 7y only went one night- sounds did echo and she did not seem interested in the activities. However, the other two LOVED the kids club. They asked to go as soon as they were done in the pool everyday. The activities for the day are adjusted for age. The did crafts and a princess parade for the little ones. They also did a pirate scavenger hunt for all ages that they both liked. Before this cruise I did not understand why anyone would send their kids to a kids club on vacation- I thought "I like taking vacations with my kids why would I send them away". I was so wrong. The kids loved it and it let them make friends. It also gave us a little down time (even though we had the ASD 7y with us she was usually asleep and we could put ear muffs on and take her along to dinner and shows). I would not hesitate now to let them go as long as they want to. The night that the ASD 7y did go, she had a great time and we were able to eat a whole meal and go see a cover band in a bar before they called us to pick her up- that was nice and the staff handled her well. Another thing we noticed is that there is a person at the door but a "wanderer" could easily get by them- so we warned them that our ASD 7y was a wanderer and may try to get out. Disembarkation was easy. We were in priority due to the suite. We met the concierge and were walked off quickly. Finding a porter in baggage claim was difficult and the porters have to walk all the way across a busy street in traffic, over rail road tracks to your car. It was awkward and I felt compelled to tip more than I would have if they just had to go to the curb. We will definitely be cruising as a family again and will chose NCL because this experience was nice and the suite perks are helpful with ASD. It is more laid back than other lines and it fit well for our family.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
First, this was my first cruise and my girlfriend's 5th We arrived on time (actually we had VIP boarding but due to a medical problem that morning boarded with the rest of the passengers). We received our shipboard cards and asked ... Read More
First, this was my first cruise and my girlfriend's 5th We arrived on time (actually we had VIP boarding but due to a medical problem that morning boarded with the rest of the passengers). We received our shipboard cards and asked about the ultimate beverage package. We were told that that had been received and there was nothing we needed to do. The ship was pretty and in good condition. We found our room, which happened to be a handicapped room so it was a bit bigger. My girlfriend said the ship was one of the prettier she had been on. So off we went and had a drink apiece. After each drink they give you a ticket which you sign which includes the auto-gratuity of 15% plus any additional gratuity you want to add. At a second bar we were again presented a bill and we inquired about the drink package we had purchased. The barmaid said we didn't have the sticker. So my girlfriend goes off to guest services who ask her to prove we paid for it. So my girlfriend goes to the room, but our itineraries had been printed before we had purchased it (we added it the day before). So now she went to the purser's office who asked for proof. Fortunately she found an email on her phone where it showed that we had paid. Then after the purser found "proof". So the purser out the sticker on our guest cards. Then she went back to guest services to get the previous charges taken off. They did this, but not after a 45 minute wait in line. Now here is the deal...all in fine print. you can have a mixed drink but it must list under $10.00 d includes a single ounce or 1.5 ounces or liquor per 12 ounce drink. A double would have been over the $10 limit and resulted in a full charge to the account. Beer was included up to $5.95 per beer. Wine could only be purchased by the glass and was only covered to $8.00 a glass. Each drink had to be billed separately. No giving the bartender your card and just getting refills as needed. No bottles of wine. If you brought your own wine on board, they confiscated it and you could retrieve it. They added a $15 corkage fee for each bottle whether you drank it in your room or brought it to the restaurants. The drinks were expensive given the minimal alcohol content. $8.75 was the average price. This contrasted to on shore where the drinks were almost overly potent...but $5-$7 each. The ultimate beverage package was $49/day per person and everyone in the room had to buy it. They still charged the automatic gratuity to account. Wine by the bottle (which is not included in the beverage package) runs 2-3 times liquor store prices. One could buy a bottle of grey goose vodka....for $120. The duty free shop sold it, but they put it away until you got back to your embarkation point. Duty free alcohol purchased ashore was similarly taken away from you and given back the night before disembarkation. They will allow you to bring your own soft drinks on board and being borderline diabetic I had sugar free tonic water. Eventually my girlfriend and I learned to go order the alcohol straight on the rocks, combine it into one drink and add our own mixers. The food in the main dining room was Freestyle. No reservations. It was fair to good except for the steaks which were clearly select or utility grade beef. The fish, chicken and pork were better. Breakfast in the main dining rooms was good. On the initial day at sea, seas were high and my girlfriend was a bit motion sick. I went to the main restaurant. They offered to either let me eat alone and then pack food for her, let me wait and take the food, or deliver it. I chose delivery. 5 minutes later they were there with out meals (as opposed to room service....see later). Additionally there was a buffet on the twelfth floor which was fine too. Not great food, not terrible, but not open late. 3:30 in the afternoon was a difficult time to find anyplace to get a snack or meal. We pre-paid for 3 specialty restaurants. The hibachi restaurant (Teppanaki) was standard Hibachi fair. Of course they lost the record we had already paid and charged us again. The steak house (Cagney's) was quite good. Of course the specialty restaurants were an extra $25 per person per meal. Two of our 4 excursions were cancelled due to weather. No fault of the cruise line. On the hand they are often late in notifying you and the excursion desk has minimal hours and minimal staff. So by the time you get there you find that everything is booked. So one day we took off on a tour or Roatan (honduras) with a taxi. It lasted as long and was 2/3 the price. I guess the cruise line marks up the tours quite a bit. Of course if you go about on your own and are late getting back the do not hold the ship. If it is their excursion they will. Dining late is difficult. No midnight buffet and limited menu where you can find food. Two attempts at room service were horrific. 45 minutes for an ice cold dry burger one. The second time at 11:50 PM I called and was once again and was told 45 minutes. After 55 minutes nothing had arrived. I just left, went to a comfort food restaurnant and was back in 10 minutes. Steward service is $12 per person per day. So I guess we spent $168 additional to have the room cleaned. They did bring ice and I did leave a tip. What surprised me the most was that there was no guide or magazine to the ship as to what was where, when it was open, etc. One had to ask to receive the daily guide (which we learned by the 4th day). When we had a request....such as an extra customs declaration form we were told to come to guest services....which was always undermanned and entailed a 45 minute wait. Internet was so slow as to be painful. It was as slow as dial up or even slower. Wasted $20 trying to check one e-mail. Of course they charge for internet. Finally, you will receive luggage tag to put on your luggage before disembarkation. Just like before we embarked, they take your luggage and eventually deliver it to your room (they lost one piece). What they don't tell you is that you have to go to guest services to get these for disembarkation. By the time we had called to find out we were well into the late disembarkation times. This company or this cruise has a serious communication problem. Every financial error is in there favor. They lost that we had signed up for their drink package....then made drinks so weak that beer was stronger. They lost that we had paid for the specialty restaurant so we had to get that refunded. The bill is inscrutable. There is a $30 non-refundable credit...for what it is unclear. So with the cancellations of the excurisions, I will get a credit to my credit card. But the $30 non-refundable credit went down to $25.60. I was so tired of arguing with them I gave up. There are few adult activities on the ship. The sports bar had one channel and no sound. We could watch European soccer on Saturday when college sports were on. There was bingo, a casino, and a show or two. Not much. Better dining was available....all at a higher cost. What it comes down to is that I think they sell the cabins cheap, the drinks expensive and weak, and then nickle and dime you at ever turn. I calculated it out and even though we drank quite a bit, we lost money on the drink package. We like good wines. We brought wine with us. We should have brought a case, paid the $15 corcage fee and been happier. The cruise was nice, but I think I will go with another cruise line in the future. Final note, customs in New Orleans seems not to care how much alcohol one brings in. The ship board people gave bad information. You are allowed one liter duty free per person. The shipboard people said..."as much as you want". We told customs 2 liters per person.....they just waived us through. I guess 2400 people arriving at once overwhelms them a bit.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I have been dreaming of a cruise for several years. I had been planning to do one, and I was offered a free cruise from Horseshoe Casino. After upgrading, fees and taxes, it seemed to equate to a buy a cruise get one free. It was not a bad ... Read More
I have been dreaming of a cruise for several years. I had been planning to do one, and I was offered a free cruise from Horseshoe Casino. After upgrading, fees and taxes, it seemed to equate to a buy a cruise get one free. It was not a bad deal. I also received 2 casino cards that provided complimentary drinks in the casino. We arrived in New Orleans on Saturday and stayed the night. We were able to park for free at the Harrahs Casino garage. On Sunday morning, we drove over and dropped our luggage off. It seemed a bit hectic as there was a lot of cruise traffic for Norwegian Jewel and Carnival. We parked our car, and walked back over to board. The boarding too me was much like boarding at the airport, although it may have been a bit quicker. Our cabin was located on deck 10, midship, port side. One thing I recall is as I exited the elevators and started down the isle, a certain area seemed to have a bad sewer smell. I just walked fast to get by, and was happy that the smell was not near my cabin. In preparing for my trip I knew I have a history of getting motion sickness. Therefore, I had my seabands on, and had the travel patch for behind the ear. The doctor had instructed me to put on when I boarded the ship. I thought better, and figured I would rely on the seabands. I felt good the first day, but basically we were just cruising very easily down the Mississippi River. I thought this is a piece of cake. The first day at sea, I woke up early, and felt fine. We had breakfast and a nice lunch. We walked and explored the ship. The wind was very strong, and I felt a lot of ship movement. All of the sudden I started feeling bad and I applied the patch behind my ear. Well the patch usually takes a few hours. I started feeling miserable. The sea sickness to me is so bad, that you almost feel like jumping into the water and ending it. By this time we must have been dead in the center of the Gulf of Mexico. I had no idea of what to expect, all you see is water, nothing else. I think I thought I would see birds, and fish jumping in the water. My nice husband fetched me green apples and I slept for a while. Later I went to the high center of the ship and tried to relax and get fresh air. Wonderful news the next day, I woke up and felt great. The patch worked. We had another day at sea. The next day we arrived in Jamaica. I booked excursion to see Rose Hall. The trip was long as traffic seemed terrible, and I was surprised that the tour bus took us by their airport. The airport did not seem to be anything to see, and a waste of time. They also took us to Margaritaville, which too me was cliché. Also the tour bus was packed, and there was not a free seat. It seemed miserable. Rose Hall was very interesting and historic and had a nice high view of the ocean. The next day we arrived at the Cayman Islands. I did a beach excursion. It was nice, but did not feel like a lot of time at the beach. I am used to Florida beach, and never really can see my feet through the water. There it was like I could see too much, and there were these little spiny ball things, that you were afraid you would step on. Day 5 we arrived at Cosumel Mexico. I booked the Tulum excursion, as my husband had always wanted to see the Mayan Indian ruins. I did not realize that we would be taking a ferry from Cosumel to Tulum. I was scared to death I would again get sea sick. People all around me got seasick. But this time my patch was on, and I did not get sick. Although it was not a fun time on the ferry. Tulum was beautiful, and worth the ferry ride. I was very pleased with what I saw of Mexico, as I had very low expectations. I was picturing it being dirty and very unpleasant. I found it was great, and was my favorite stop. The ocean and beach on the side of the cliff of the Tulum ruins were simply beautiful. Time just went way to fast. We enjoyed some tacos at Tulum, the salsa and chips are still fresh in my memory, and I cannot wait to go back and have some more. Maybe some day. Day 6 we were back on ship for the last day at sea. The evening was very interesting as it appeared as that we were close to land. We could see a lot of lights and maybe sandbars. I think we were seeing oil rigs. It was dark so it was hard to see. I did see another cruise ship come by. We were able to wave at each other. Day 7, we awoke and we were back in New Orleans. We had breakfast and got off the ship. I removed my patch. I felt great. We walked around New Orleans, and had dinner at Mothers. We spent the night at Harrahs. The next morning when I woke up, I felt bad. I had a rocking feeling, and felt like I was moving. I did not get really sick, but I just did not have balance. I felt like this for almost a week. At that point I said never again will I cruise. Now, the feeling is behind me, and it has been almost 3 months. The cold weather here at home, has made me want to do it again. I do want to try cruising again. I don't know why, but overall I had a wonderful time. Next time, I will do the patch correctly, and I am wondering if one of the bigger ships would help.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this ... Read More
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this cruise would be as good. We each had our own inside cabin, next door to each other, as she is a night owl, and we both enjoy our privacy. From the first step on the ship.... it was disappointing. I have sailed over 34 cruises, and never have I walked along the deck (100 yds. or so) to enter the ship by elevators. We were looking forward to the overwhelming experience of entering an atrium area, or large lobby. By elevators? Really? Our cabins were not ready until 1 pm, and we were onboard at 11:30 am. We made our way to the spa to preset our weeks appts. Our 1st and most important part of our vacation!! LOL. Went then to buffet. Nice and spacious for a buffet, and will organized. Love the attention to the hand sanitizing!! Washy Washy was great!! (YouTube NCL washy washy). Cleanest ship by far with this detail. WIsh Princess would catch a clue how to implement this!!! Big disappointment was the food. Dining room was horrible. Warm salads, cold soups. Best dinner was the specialty teppanyaki, well worth the $25 fee. You can get anything you want on the menu, combined.... they don't tell you that, but we learned from someone ordering from our table! So order up and enjoy all the filet, seafood you want! Shows were by standard....just a cruise show. Guess I'm spoiled with having been on the Oasis/Allure and seeing broadway shows, etc. Casino was very smoking. Wish they could learn how to upscale there ventilation system in that part of ship. Spa was awesome. We both bought the week pkg. to enjoy the sauna/steam, hot tubs, and reclining tiled lounge chairs..... so worth the $119 for the whole week. They only sell a certain amount, so this area is not over crowded, well worth heading to spa upon boarding to insure we got this package. Overall it was fun, as my sister and I just made the best of it, but I will not be cruising NCL again, as there are better cruise companies in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Bottom line: The dinner dining experience in both of the two main dining rooms was the worst we have had on any cruise. This was our eighth cruise, our second on Norwegian. Our first cruise several years ago on NCLs Dawn was amazing - the ... Read More
Bottom line: The dinner dining experience in both of the two main dining rooms was the worst we have had on any cruise. This was our eighth cruise, our second on Norwegian. Our first cruise several years ago on NCLs Dawn was amazing - the food was absolutely superb and the free-styling everything we expected. I should say that we were with a larger group, our two adult children, their spouses and four very young grandsons (0 to 5), so admittedly we were a larger than normal group. First, when we made dinner reservations, we were told 5:30 or 8:30 are the only times one can make reservations for; it did not matter how far ahead we called. So much for so called Free-Styling. We found it was a lot easier to not make reservations and just walk in; after the initial surge of coure. Generally, service was very slow. On another cruise line one would expect at least two servers for a large table. Normally, we only had one who was often not anywhere around. On our first night, it took more that two hours from sitdown to dessert! Our experience on other nights was better, but still much longer than normal. On the positive side, one night we did put in a written complaint and management responded very quickly and was very nice. Food selection - the dinner menu was pretty much the same every night especially for the entrees - there was some minor variation, but not much. Sometimes when the food arrived it was tepid. On one occasion, our oldest grandson's hotdog arrived 30 minutes before the main entrees were served - we appreciated the speed but one would assume everyone's meal should arrive at roughly the same time. Finally, but importantly, we found the taste of the food generally bland. This was nothing like our first NCL cruise. My spouse was so disappointed with the entire main dining room experience, she said more than once, "NCL - never again". Three points on the positive side -- One night we ate at Chin Chin's (you pay extra to eat there) and absolutely loved it! The food was tasty, fast and hot. The server, chief cook and the dining room manager were top notch - beyond excellent. All of them stopped by to talk and were obviously desiring that our experience be the best. Really a good memory! But that did make us wonder - is the quality of the dinner in the main dining room being notched down on purpose to drive people to the pay dining rooms? We would hope not. Since we had two older grandsons with us (4 and 5) we were able to observe the children's care program. Simply WoW!! Kudos to the young adults (and NCL) for this program. We were extremely impressed by the quality of care and creativity of the program. We give it five stars! The shows in the main theater were probably the best we had ever seen - particularly the Cirque du Soleil (sp?) like show - it was GREAT.   Read Less
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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