Sail Date: April 2014
This was our first cruise and nothing like expected. It was all so noisy with Americans hootin' and hollerin' from morning to night. When the compere says "who's going to beach tomorrow?" is it really necessary for ... Read More
This was our first cruise and nothing like expected. It was all so noisy with Americans hootin' and hollerin' from morning to night. When the compere says "who's going to beach tomorrow?" is it really necessary for the deafening OOO OOO's. The pool disco was trying to make itself heard in England, we sat on a deck above but still couldn't make ourselves heard. The shows at night were full of self congratulations for the crew. I know they do a good job but we were paying a lot for it. Very few people even bothered to change for dinner, I know it is freestyle, but some effort would have been only courteous to restaurant staff and fellow passengers. Food was nice enough but it would also be nice to have different choices in the two main restaurants. Perhaps, being English we fail to appreciate how other nationalities enjoy themselves, but it was definitely not for us   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland ... Read More
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland America. Ship information - the ship is big and crowded. Finding a lounge chair remained largely elusive for the week as scores of passengers threw their towel on a chair in the morning and sometimes didn't show up until late afternoon. Pools were insanely crowded as were hot pools. Activities - trivia was meh. Activity cards are a pain to remember, and prizes are pretty lame - had we known, we wouldn't have bothered. Service - Cabin service may have been really late in the day, but super nice stewards. The washy washy guys were amusing - at first. Port & shore excursions - we booked independently. Embarkation - took nearly 3 hours. In a word: Ugh. Cabin - Our cabin was clean and small, but, we didn't spend much time there. Very personable cabin crew. Dining - Hit and miss. The MDR ranged from barely edible to pretty good. Lunch was very average, 80% the same stuff every day. Hit and miss service in Azura. Excellent service from Isabel and Putu. Meh from everyone else. Did not find the food at the premium restaurants worth the cover. Entertainment - Comedian started out well, but, mostly a sales job, hawking his books and pitching his TV show. Magician JP was excellent. Rest of shows -meh. Disembarkation - fine Summary - Pluses: Lots of nice people working on the ship. The magician. The clothes line in the shower. Minuses: First, the smoke from the casino wafting up to 7 and down to 5 so you practically asphyxiate if you are a stair climbing person. Second, the crowds of ill mannered people. Do you ever say please or thank you? Lots of grunting, overfilling plates and jockeying for position in the many lines for food in the Lido. Also, lots of Daisy Dukes, bathing suit tops, wifebeaters, flip flops and dirty / torn clothing in the MDR everywhere. Our biggest takeaway? You get what you pay for. The smaller ships may be more expensive, but, to us, very worth it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I have been on the NCL Jewel 2 years ago to Alaska and that trip was great, this trip was just so~so. First, embarkation was slow~ the slowest ever on the 8 NCL cruises that I have been on. Once on board every thing seemed to run smoothly ... Read More
I have been on the NCL Jewel 2 years ago to Alaska and that trip was great, this trip was just so~so. First, embarkation was slow~ the slowest ever on the 8 NCL cruises that I have been on. Once on board every thing seemed to run smoothly with the muster drill and getting signed in for Kids Club ( 8 year old), making a few dinner reservations and getting all of our luggage. Just for the record, I hate not having preprinted luggage tags ( they stopped 2 years ago)~ that is a changed that I do NOT like and will never like. You can either print them yourself with flimsy copy paper that can easily come off, or get them from the porter at the dock who seems ticked that you don't have your bag tagged already. This was the first time cruising as Platinum Latitudes and we did receive a few nice perks~dinner for 2 at a specialty restaurant no more than $20 ( just not Cagney's) . One for each my husband and I and the Casino gave us 2 nights at Cagney's. We were able to eat at Le Bistro ( wonderful, one of the best meals of the trip), Moderno also very good my favorite thing at the all meat place is the pineapple . The 2 nights at Cagneys was also very good, the wagu sliders were very good. Other food on the ship just so~so. I love the oatmeal cookies but could never find them out so i just ordered them from Room Service~ problem solved. The staff is awesome, always accommodating. I saw several times that staff was getting in trouble by supervisors( maybe that would be better done not in front of guests) , this happened several times. JP the magician was awesome again and by far the best entertainment on the ship. Music just OK, the Le Cir Que Bijou was just OK, but remember I have seen it already and first timer would have loved it. Shore Excursions, we did our own thing in Cozumel, the dolphins swim booked by the company myself saved us about $200 for the day,taxis are so available not an issue to go it alone. Belize we did a ship tour to Water Caye for a beach day and it was fine, wouldn't do it again but ok for the day. Roatan was on our own again we went to the Iguana Farm, so much fun, we loved it and the rest of the day at Parrot Tree Resort, beautiful, not crowed and it is a lagoon of the most beautiful turquoise water. I was glad I chose that place because the wind was very strong that day and waves were rough and since this was a lagoon it was very calm for our 8 year old. The trip in Roatan was booked through Excursions Roatan and had a very good guide who stayed with us the whole time and spoke very good english, thank you Sandy for a great day. No stop in Costa Maya, too rough to dock. We were disappointed we didn't get the last beach day but took much needed naps in the cabin that day. The ships tour that we got for being a Platinum was a joke~ didn't get to see much of the ship , only a teaser to get you to pay big$$$$ for the other tour that showed the stuff you really want to see,should have taken a nap instead of going on that one~ Biggest disappointment of the trip. Kids Club did not WOW my little guy as in the past, and Team Nick on the cruise 2 years ago was much better, maybe we just need some new stuff to do, not the same every cruise. All in all we like NCL and paid the money for down payment for a cruise in the next 4 years just not next year, I think I need a break from cruising for a year and I will see you in 2 years. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had ... Read More
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had in the past cruise we did. It was our second cruise with NCL (the other being on the Spirit to Bermudas a few years ago). So we knew it was not the standard we had with Celebrity or Princess, but we were aware there would be some difference. New Orleans port is, for what we saw, going under renovation. I hope it will be easier for people to be going through traffic as you have to wait many minutes just to be dropped with your luggages by the taxi: buses, cars, taxis all converge in a small area and it is chaos. We were litteraly 3 to 4 blocks away in a hotel but not close enough with our luggage to walk it. So the taxi was $7 per person ($14 for two) for a ride that should have lasted 3 minutes, but they charge per person as they know they will be stuck at the drop off zone. Once on the ship, we were able to get to our cabin quite rapidly, but that was after we were like a herd of tourist waiting in line for something like 45 minutes. Room: (inside cabin just under the casino). We were concerned a bit that the room that had been assigned to us would be noisy, but really, we heard nothing the whole week. The size of the room as OK and as expected. It was clean and our room stewart was always smiling and pleasant. He did an excellent job. One thing though: the matress on the side of my husband was really showing years of abuse, being shaped almost as a banana. We did not tell anybody, but maybe we should have mentioned it. Food: At first, we could not understand why some people had been complaining about the food. It was good and there was a good variety. But as the week progressed, we found it to be repetitive and very standard. The Garden Cafe Buffet presented many stations, but when you think about it, a whole section was for Indian food and stir fry. Personnally, we love exotic food, but it was always the same thing. For the pasta bar, it was pasta and your choice of sauce. Nothing else: no vegetable, no chicken, not shrimp. Pasta and sauce. I was told I would have to book at the paying restaurant if I wanted shrimp in my pasta! I had to laugh about it. They did offer a package at $119 per person to go and eat in any of the a la carte restaurant, but we relied on our past experience and left it open as we thought the main dining room would offer a better experience. Really, that is not what happened. On one of the evening, I really was disappointed with their "new Orleans combo of shrimp and beef". My idea of New Orleans style shrimps is not 3 breaded shrimps beside a small steak. I would have thought it would have been more creative. As for dessert, we were not the only one finding that there was way too many dessert made of gelatin. In the end, everything tasted the same. They did have the chocolate fountain at night at the Garden Cafe, but their main thing was the Bread Pudding. Yes it was very nice, but all by itsef in its category. I remember some sorbet (coconut once and pineaple another night) that were very good. We did eat at the Bistro (French cuisine). It was very good. We had the duck magret and confit and as for the started, the 4 cornets. Nicely presented and refined as well. we did attempt to eat at Moderno. We had heard that the food was really excellent. Oooops. Major problem there. Three of the restaurant a la carte gives on the Atrium: Chin Chin, Moderno, and the Sushi Bar. We had a reservation for the Moderno at 8.30 PM (they are not opened on lunch time except on sea days). We sat down and when our waiter came to take our order, we could not hear him. He almost had to scream so we could hear him. The inconceivable thing is that since there are no walls seperating the restaurant from the atrium, the shows scheduled (that night was a tribute to Neil Diamond) are so loud that you cannot hold a conversation! And it was until 9.30 PM. When the manager of the restaurant came to see us because we wanted to leave, he was very gracious and understanding. He also said that he has that kind of problem every week!!!! I sure hope that the refurbishing due in May will take cake of this problem. Already that the ship atrium is far from being impressive... this is really a major problem. No wonder there was always room in the restaurant. We did sample the sushis at the Sushi Bar before a late dinner and it was good. Shows: They were all excellent. Very impressive that show called Le Cirque Bijou. The performers were really on the ball and gave it all they had.Jaimie the cruise director is far from acting like on of these Diva we had seen on an European ship one day: she did a very good job, was funny without being vulgar, and we felt she really enjoyed people and her job too. Good for you Jaimie! She was accessible and always smiling. A good asset for NCL. As for all of the personnel, we can honestly say that they are very pleasant and work so hard to please their guests. Even the captain seems to be a good sport and seems close to his passengers. He also seems to show appreciation for his team (from the people in the laundry room to his officers). See below for our port reviews. In all, we enjoyed the destinations. We knew we did not want to spend too much, so we figured we had what we paid for. Was it a good deal? It was a honest deal. Knowing what we know, we would have paid a little bit more as we missed the dining experience this time. For us, it is part of the fun of cruising. We really look forward to these wonderful dinners. We hope that this will have been helpful.. And we take this opportunity to thank the family who was part of the cruise critics community and invited us, after the roll calls, to visit the Villa they had rented. It is rare that people will share this privilege. The mother (Christmas Carole) was a lovely lady. I will remember them for a long time.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We where in suite 5074 with a large window, but no balcony. It was a nice room with plenty of room. We did a 12 day cruise last year on Carnival with a balcony that had a lot more room, but we felt there wasn't a big need for all that ... Read More
We where in suite 5074 with a large window, but no balcony. It was a nice room with plenty of room. We did a 12 day cruise last year on Carnival with a balcony that had a lot more room, but we felt there wasn't a big need for all that extra space this time. We have been on two cruises with Carnival and this was our first one with NCL. Our reasoning for choosing NCL was that it had four ports instead of three for the same cost. The drive to get there is two hours longer each way, but worth it for that extra port. All our excursions where fantastic and we enjoyed everywhere we went. Getting off and on the ship was easy, and everyone we met on the excursions where fantastic!!! We where very disappointed in the ship. It started with the freestyle dinner. The line was half an hour long and once we got in there, they couldn't find a table for us, so we stood in front of people eating, waiting for them to finish, then moved to another table that was a mess and waited for it to get cleaned up, when another table opened up and we went to that one and waited for it to get cleaned up. Total chaos. Our food came quickly, but it was bland and overcooked. We went to the other restaurant the next night, but had a reservation. This time we only had to wait ten minutes for a table, but the food was just as disappointing. We ate at the buffet for every meal after that. There are all places to pay extra to eat that we where told has better food, but it goes against our grain to pay extra for food on a cruise. We also felt that the design of the ship is based on making the restaurant's included in the price of the cruise so packed and of poor quality that it forces some people to pay for a decent meal. We heard the same from other guests on the ship. There is just one buffet area and it's on the right hand side of the ship. It has three eating areas, but sometimes they where all full and you had to eat outside or in one of the pay to eat areas. They ran out of glasses several times and one time during dinner there where not forks anywhere. We had to walk to another eating area to get them. All the staff where friendly, but totally clueless about how to help us out find glasses or forks when that happened. The food was decent and we didn't starve, but we came back from the cruise weighing what we did when we left. That never happened on Carnival!!! The onboard entertainment is what you expect from a cruise line. Poor singing and dancing. They had a Showtime show every night with the same people who did pretty much the same thing every night with different outfits and different songs, but after three shows, it kind of became obvious it was just the same thing over and over again. Comedy was fair and the magician was hilarious. The seats where the worse ever. Very uncomfortable and nowhere for the servers to get you drinks. They packed us in and it became painful after 45 minutes of sitting, so the last part of the show was always in discomfort. Overall the ship had the feel of a poor design with too much of it used for pay for restaurants and not enough space for entertainment or the buffet. I give the ship a C rating at best. Everything about it was just average or fair. We don't feel where ripped off or anything negative like that, we are just disappointed at how far behind they are in service, entertainment and quality of food compared to Carnival. It is very unlikely that we would ever book another cruse with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our first cruise on a Norwegian ship. The cruise was a good time for us both overall. Here is the good and the bad. The Jewel has "Freestyle Dining" . This is not true. On Princess we had a set dining time about 6:00 ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a Norwegian ship. The cruise was a good time for us both overall. Here is the good and the bad. The Jewel has "Freestyle Dining" . This is not true. On Princess we had a set dining time about 6:00 P.M. We always ate in the dining room and we knew where our table was. We went to the dining room on the Jewel the first night about six and were seated. I had to decline the table because it was on a main isle one table away from the kitchen door. This happened twice. The rolls were always served cold, not hot, the way I think they should be served. The main dishes , that were the same every night, also were near cold and about average in quality. If you showed up any time other than 5:30 -9:00 . they said they were in the process of closing, or the doors were shut. We had do eat about four dinners in the buffet. The Blue lagoon was the 24 Hr restaurant. But anything other than a hamburger or sandwich was not to be found. The severs all appeared to barely comprehend English . and never smiled in all dining rooms. The best food was in the buffett "German night" was very good. And "chocolate night"for dessert one evening was fabulous. My husband enjoys a late night snack . On the Jewel it has to be before 11:00 PM. or the buffett was closed. The coffee bar on deck 6 is top notch . The staff is friendly and helpful. Lavazza coffee is excellent. Did not eat in any specialty restaurants . The ship did not have Tea Time . We enjoyed afternoon tea on Princess. Being able to wear my designer jeans in the dining rooms was a big plus. Entertainment was overall standard cruise ship fare. The shows in the theater were far below Broadway quality. But the comedians were far above average and accomplished that without using foul language. The best entertainment was programmed during the same time slots. So it was difficult to decide what to do. I enjoyed the piano player Fabrizio . He is an excellent arranger of many of my favorite songs.. The italian accent adds a little something extra to the vocals. He should be on the new ship Epic, not on the Jewel. We are country music fans and could not find any on the ship. I also did not appreciate Filipinos attempting to sing Neil Diamond tributes. The shore excursions were as promised. We had a dynamite time at the Costa Maya Ruins . We also enjoyed the Chocolate demonstration. Very entertaining and we learned a lot . Oceanview cabin was livable . Bathroom exceptional. Bed not good ,no top mattress just two 1 inch foam toppers with a caved in box spring. Would not advise a Norweigian Cruise for first timers. It is fine for seasoned cruisers.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Just returned home from my 2nd Western Caribbean cruise on an NCL ship in 9 months. Four of us sailed on the NCL Star last April and loved everything. This time it was my Mom & I, our first mother/daughter trip. Embarkation was ... Read More
Just returned home from my 2nd Western Caribbean cruise on an NCL ship in 9 months. Four of us sailed on the NCL Star last April and loved everything. This time it was my Mom & I, our first mother/daughter trip. Embarkation was smooth, the folks in New Orleans have got it mastered. We were dropped off at curb and having lunch in Tzar's about 30 minutes later. Room was ready, and luggage was all there. Balcony room #9650, was perfect, right by the aft elevators. So far, so good. We purchased the Ultimate Dining package ($117) a few days earlier. They affixed a little seal on our cards so we never had to bother with anything, could eat in any speciality restaurant for the duration of the trip. I've sailed 60 days on NCL during the past two years and cannot abide the buffet. The free dining rooms are fine, but the waits can be quite lengthy. In the past, the specialty restaurants have been superb ... great food and exceptional service. Not on the Jewel. Except for the Italian restaurant, the service was sub-par. One night we went to the Chinese restaurant "Chin Chin" at 7:30. Only a half dozen tables were occupied. I told the waiter that we wanted to be finished in time to go to the 9:15 show. Naturally we were not. My Mother was quite disappointed as that was the only show she wanted to see for the entire cruise. To be fair, the manager, Carena, was very apologetic and brought us complimentary Bailey's on ice. I found all of the speciality restaurant servers to be quite rude and surly. On the other NCL ships I've gone on it was quite the opposite. Management does not even make an appearance. Not sure if it was because we had pre-purchased the ultimate dining package so they wouldn't receive the automatic 15% gratuity NCL tacks on, but I always leave a cash tip - $10-20. The ship was fairly clean. The bathroom in the casino was filthy. The port stops are not too inspiring. Loved our room, housekeeper was awesome. Can't pinpoint exactly where it missed but it did. We're going on a 9 day Baltic cruise in May on the Star, have a 2 bedroom suite. I hope its a good as the previous Star cruise, which was perfect... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our second cruise on NCL and we have cruised many times out of New Orleans (our home port) on CCL and RCL. We (wife and I) have been on over twenty cruises and have never had a bad time. Getting on the Jewel was very fast, get ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL and we have cruised many times out of New Orleans (our home port) on CCL and RCL. We (wife and I) have been on over twenty cruises and have never had a bad time. Getting on the Jewel was very fast, get to the pier around 10:45 or 11 and you will be on board around 11:30. Don't forget if you are a latitudes member there is a special quicker line for you. Parking is $112 in the outside lot called the whale lot. Food on this ship in all areas is very good and some of the best I've had on a cruise ship. However, the service in the main dining rooms for either lunch or dinner is some of the worst and slowest service ever. I believe because they already have their tips and the staff does not really work for them anymore as they did back in the day of tip envelopes. Many cruise lines are going with the prepaid tips and service is really suffering because of this. Dress on this ship anywhere is VERY casual and the majority simply wear slacks, nice shorts, polo style shirts or simple sun dresses. Leave your formal items at home. Multiple times we waited in MDR for either lunch or dinner for over 30 minutes before we were served ANYTHING, and several times we were the first ones into the MDR. Our main problem with NCL is the Anytime Dining which is anything but "anytime." We had a group of 11 and the only time we could ever get a reservation was either 5:00 or 9:00. Then when we showed up for our time we were given a pager and told they would beep us when the table was ready. usually this wait would be from 15 to 30 minutes. This also seemed to be happening for others with groups for two or more. Multiple times in the MDR's it was just my wife and I for breakfast or lunch and we experience waits of nearly 30 minutes just to receive our drink order. The two specialty restaurants we ate in were outstanding, The Brazilian restaurant where they served all the carved meat is not to be missed and the fry table is outstanding. Overall the food is excellent, but repeats items often, but the service is some of the worst ever. The ship is very clean and the staterooms (we had a balcony and my kids had an inside cabin) are your average cruise line type in decent condition. The shower is larger than most other lines and the hairdryer is the best hairdryer I have ever used. The TV is horrible with no ability to access your account online and the channels come and go for no reason. Our room steward was excellent and most of the other cruise staff are friendly. We did not like the lay out of the ship and found it flowed poorly with us always having to go up or down and front or back, it seemed like a boxy old house and not planned very well. Had a great time, but due to the anytime dining we won't cruise NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
December 22-29,. 2013 We arrived in New Orleans one day early and stayed at the Riverside Hilton right on the Mississippi. We had a lovely river front room. Loved this hotel and it's location.. By the way the taxi fare from the ... Read More
December 22-29,. 2013 We arrived in New Orleans one day early and stayed at the Riverside Hilton right on the Mississippi. We had a lovely river front room. Loved this hotel and it's location.. By the way the taxi fare from the airport to New Orleans is $30. I was surprised by the number of people that walked from their hotels to the ship, bags and all. We did this also. I was glad to save the taxi fare to the cruise port. We didn't get to the pier until 1pm. It was the usual mad house of people but it didn't take long to get on the ship. By the time we got on board the staterooms were ready. We found our cabin, dropped our carry ons and went to lunch in the buffet. We really liked the buffet and ate all our meals here except two. The service and food in the dining room was the poorest of any ship I have been on and I have been on lots of cruises and cruise lines. We went to the dining room on the first night thinking that was lobster night, however, they changed the menus around because of Christmas. The service was awful. We were virtually ignored. I could not get my water refilled so I had to drink my husbands water. I don't know what the problem was because the dining room was deserted. I had the Mahimahi which was tasteless and dry. My husband had prime rib which he really enjoyed. We didn't stay for desert as we couldn't get desert menus. We finally got up and walked out. We also went to the dining room on Christmas eve as that was lobster night. The lobster was small but tasty. The steak on the other hand was terrible. It was ¼ thick and I am sure it must have been pork as it was so greasy. Being from Kansas I know my beef. Service was better this night but again we left early as the food was so bad. We went straight from the dining room to the buffet where the food was better. We never went back to the dining room and are glad we didn't. We had a lovely balcony cabin on deck 10. We had an excellent room steward. When we didn't get service because we had our do not disturb sign out he was so upset. As if it was his fault. I think this had to be the best room steward we ever had. Friendly but not intrusive. Our trouble was our balcony neighbors ahead of us. They smoked. It made our balcony unusable as they smoked non stop. Not only did they smoke cigarettes but cigars also and if that isn't bad enough they also smoked weed. Not only did they smoke but when they were out on their balcony they talked loudly. Whenever me and my husband were on our balcony we whispered as to not disturb anyone. Unfortunate to pay all that money for a balcony and not be able to use it, however, we had no recourse. I was sure I was not going to like the cruise director Jamie. At first she really got on my nerves but I must admit she grew on me. Now the assistant cruise director (Sin) was the annoying one. He continually acted like a ADHD 6 year old that needed medication. If he thinks this is funny, he needs to grow up. The shows on this ship were quite good. I am usually really tough on the singers being a singer myself, however, the male lead singer on this ship was exceptional. The other two lady singers were also quite good. The production show I really liked as I like watching all the dancing. We had a magician one night. I personally don't like magicians as I can't figure out how they do the things they do. However, he was quite entertaining as he integrated comedy into his show. We did have one comedian who was funny. At least he made us laugh. The singers and dancers put on a show especially for Christmas. It was lovely. Some Christmas carols and also secular Christmas songs. They did a great job. The ship had caroling in the atrium. It was very crowded. Perhaps they should have had it in the theater where more people could have come. Only problem was the piano player. He played all the carols so fast we could hardly spit the words out. It was like he couldn't wait to be done so he did all the carols in triple time. I went to all the game shows like newly wed game, quest and dancing with the stars. They were fun as usual with a lot of laughs to be had. I am sorry to say my fellow passengers on this ship were not into following rules of any kind. The no kids in the front row of the show room rule was a joke as every night the front row had kids in it. One night two parents had their child sitting with them in the front row when the announcer stated no children in the front row. The child heard this and said to her mother. “Mom we have to move” To which her mother replied. “They don't mean you, dear”. Unbelievable!!! Why have the rule if you are not going to enforce it. Also the no seat saving fell on mute ears. There was the usual seat saving. Then not all the people in their group would come and there would be empty seats in a full theater. I can understand saving a seat for your spouse but this saving 6 seats for family and just sending the kids early is ridiculous. I must say they did have lots of reserved disabled seating in the buffet and in the show room. As this was a Christmas cruise there were a lot families. There were 800 kids on this cruise, however, we really didn't have a problem with them. I think the Children's program must of taken care of them. There were quite a few times kids would run full speed down our hallway like a heard of wild elephants but we endured it. There is really nothing you can do. We never went to the pool or hot tubs. They were just too crowded. The entire pool area was too crowded. The ports of call on this itinerary were exceptional. Cozumel, Belize city, Roatan and Costa Maya. In Cozumel we took at taxi to the Money bar for $10 each way. The beach is wonderful here and the snorkeling is very good. In Belize we went cave tubing with Island marketing. This was a poor excursion. The tubing was very good but I would go with a different company for sure. In Roatan we purchased a beach/transfer package thru Bananarama resort to Tabyana Beach. This was also very poor. The beach was so crowded you could hardly move. You couldn't snorkel because of all the dive boats parked in shore. It was too dangerous to snorkel in among those boats as they can't see you. We had been to this beach previously last year and thought it was beautiful, however, it has now been ruined by overcrowding of people and boats. In Costa Maya we went to Maya Chan beach. This was an fully inclusive beach day and it was fantastic. Food, drinks, beach, kayaking, snorkeling and personalized service. I can't recommend them high enough. We had a good cruise despite the bad dining room food, bad dining room service and horrible balcony neighbors. We paid quite a bit for this cruise and for the money I think I will book Celebrity next time or just do an all inclusive resort. I think we are getting to the age where we prefer being with adults with mature adult behavior.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
4th NCL cruise out of N.O.....getting on an off the ship was super easy. Easy check in and easy off. The ships crew is absolutely fantastic! Excellent service all around from everyone! Great cabin stewards, restaurant/bar staff and ... Read More
4th NCL cruise out of N.O.....getting on an off the ship was super easy. Easy check in and easy off. The ships crew is absolutely fantastic! Excellent service all around from everyone! Great cabin stewards, restaurant/bar staff and entertainers. The shows in the theatre were great, JP the magician does and excellent show and is very funny, Band on the Run was great, and the Cirque show was awesome! The food though was about as blah as can be though. Plentiful, but just plain and very, very boring. Repeat cruisers with NCL will be disappointed to find the exact same foods as last years cruise. (NCL changes the menus every TWO years!!) Food is definitely uninspired, under seasoned, plain, boring. (this was repeated over and over by a majority of other guests we spoke with). There was a time when all food was the caliber of the cover charge restaurants. It would be nice to have some more variety, with all the Phillippine chefs onboard, it was disappointing to not have one single dish from their country ever, not even in the Asian cover restaurant!! Why not take advantage of their true talents?? On our cruise, we had to tender in both Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. Major issues with their tender process, it took over two hours to get off the ship in Cozumel (and we were group 4!!), and over an hour to get back on. With very limited time in port - usually 9am - 3:3 pm there wasn't nearly enough time. The line to get back on the ship in Cayman was about 4 blocks long, no other ships in any of the ports had such issues. The dock in Jamaica was in the working cargo area, and very undesirable. It seems everywhere we were the Carnival and RCL ships had the premium docking areas, The cabins were very clean, nicely furnished, but had some issues. No clocks at all in cabins, no way to set an alarm or see the time. TV had very limited channel selection, yet had 5 NCL only channels for them to sell everything under the sun. Granted no one goes on a cruise to watch TV, but in inclement weather, or for late night it shouldn't be that hard to provide more channels. If it can be done in a plane at 40,000 feet it shouldn't be that hard to provide at least a dozen choices on a ship. On deck 11 midship there was always an overwhelming smell of sewerage, not very nice, and apparently nothing can be done about this. Internet charges are pretty outrageous also. You can expect to be nickel and dimed everywhere on board. In cover charge restaurants, many of the specialty entrees had a fee in addition to the cover charge. The photo gallery charges are sheer outrageous! $12.95 for each and every 6x8 photograph, and most of them were thrown away, such a complete waste of paper, chemicals and time. One would think that they would rethink their pricing strategy here! Another disappointment is that when booking a spa massage, you actually have to pay an additional charge to use such things as the sauna, or even take a shower. Another sad example of the nickel and diming! The ship itself is very well maintained, and there seemed to be enough elevators. Big complaint on the pool deck, which crams too many things in one area. the kids pool should be completely separate from the adult area, but they are all in one area. Our cruise had over 500 kids, and you could definitely notice it everywhere! Parents should control their kids better, but of course they don't. Suggestion to NCL, get rid of the water slide. Its crappy and just makes things worse! Huge complaint was on port days, when getting on the ship in late afternoons, the only food available were the horrible hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries on deck, and there was a mad rush for this with not nearly enough workers to handle the crowds. perhaps they should keep the deck bbq open longer, or open the buffet earlier on these days. Note to NCL...if you are going to attempt a chocolate buffet, please get some better recipes for the items you offer, overall they were just awful. Overall we had a pleasant time, however not sure if we would choose NCL again. We did enjoy New Orleans, and had a great pre cruise stay at the St. Philip French Quarter Apt. hotel, which we would highly recommend. It would be nice to see NCL put a real first rate modern ship in the New Orleans market though. It seems Carnival offers a far superior product with the Sunshine. It looks fabulous, and we ran into many guests from this ship and they were all very positive about it. As far as the itinerary, perhaps it would be better if the ship docked rather than tendered, and they could totally replace Jamaica, as most people we talked to thought this was the least favorite stop. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
First some background (for perspective): We are late-50's, semi-retired, frequent cruisers. We have cruise on many different cruise lines and this was our 8th and 9th cruises on NCL.Here is the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Bottom ... Read More
First some background (for perspective): We are late-50's, semi-retired, frequent cruisers. We have cruise on many different cruise lines and this was our 8th and 9th cruises on NCL.Here is the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Bottom Line:Good:- Overall value for the money. A great vacation for a relatively low price.- The itinerary for the 8 Dec cruise: stops in Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, and Costa Maya. A fantastic itinerary for divers like us.- Food. Decent food in dining rooms and the buffet. Don't have to shell out a single penny for paid restaurants and you can still eat very, very well.- Serice in dining rooms and buffets: excellent.- Entertainment. Mostly fun and worth your time.- Disembarkation: went very smoothly and efficiently when we finally departed.Bad:- Cabin service. Ours was slow, spotty and inefficient. (Good effort, but I think they're undermanned.)- Service desk: undermanned and not knowledgeable.- bar service: slow and drinks are pricey; not a good combination.Ugly:- the 1 Dec itinerary. The stops at Montego Bay and Grand Caymen are IMHO a waste of time.- the casino. For those of you who know anything about blackjack; stay clear of the ship's $5 tables. 6-5 payout on a natural and dealer can hit on soft 17. That means a BIG house advantage. The only way to get "Vegas" odds is to bet the $50 tables. - back to back cruise support; no good information or help from anyone. Hey all I wanted was info on how to do this; everyone was clueless- overall attitude of ship's officers: don't even think about bothering these guys who think they are too good to talk to customers. Bottom Line:- this cruise line has become the industry discounter. Service may fall short of their competitors, but you can get a great price for a week where they feed you, clean your cabin, take you to a few nice ports of call, entertain you and treat you well (for the most part). So basically it's a good deal! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We just got back from a week on the Norwegian Jewel. Basically we were spoiled by Princess. NCL charges Princess prices for slightly above Carnival experiences. The food was average at best in both the restaurants and buffet. The steaks ... Read More
We just got back from a week on the Norwegian Jewel. Basically we were spoiled by Princess. NCL charges Princess prices for slightly above Carnival experiences. The food was average at best in both the restaurants and buffet. The steaks were embarrassing. I had one good dish in the restaurant - it was the braised lamb shank. The highlight of the buffet day in and day out was the Asian/Indian bar. That was good. The service in the restaurants was terrible. We were invisible most times. I know it is a cruise, but you nickel and dime the cruiser to death. The drink prices are too expensive. There 8 restaurants that you have to pay extra for. BOOOOO Two would be good 8 is too much, but people are paying for it and they won't say no to more money. I am already paying top dollar to go on the cruise and you want me to pay for better food? Princess had two pay places and there were more and better food options - and desert options throughout the ship. The "do it yourself" disembarkation process was super easy. That was the best in our four cruises. The spa was nice and the unlimited use was a highlight, but that cost us $300 ($149pp). It was free on Princess. The entertainment was good. The show band was outstanding. We also enjoyed the dance lessons. Daniko was a great teacher. We also needed more time in each port. By the time you got off the boat you had to worry about getting back on in time. This was the bumpiest ride of our four cruises. My wife and I both lost a night each to sickness. Bottom line we will probably not cruise with NCL again in favor of Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland, and Celebrity. Especially if the prices are similar. Kevin Pick 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: October 2013
We've sailed on Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity before so we were looking forward to our first NCL cruise aboard the Jewel. The New Orleans Cruise Port is adjacent to the old Riverwalk and Convention Center and was somewhat ... Read More
We've sailed on Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity before so we were looking forward to our first NCL cruise aboard the Jewel. The New Orleans Cruise Port is adjacent to the old Riverwalk and Convention Center and was somewhat a pain to get to. It may of been newly refurbished as there weren't signs directing people anywhere. After almost boarding the ship without checking in (Port staff had no clue) - and after 30 minutes in line, we finally checked in and boarded the ship. Our first objective was to sign up for the "Ultimate Beverage Package" which ends up being $400 a person, both people in a room MUST purchase so there goes $800 right out the door. What they don't really make obvious - is that the package doesn't cover all your drinks. Bottled water and specialty coffees ARE NOT included. We were hit with a $6 charge for a bottle of water! Dinner in the "Tsars" dining room was a bit stuffy, because you have to wear pants. We wanted to use our beverage package, but there were no Beverage / Wine Stewards to be found. We discovered most people don't change for dinner, and eat at the "Azure" dining room - which was always busier than the other. After a few days in, we began to notice that a good portion of the staff, maybe 50%, were somewhat new to working on a cruise ship. According to other cruisers, half of the trained staff on the Jewel went to go work on the new Norweigan Epic. Learning this let us switch our patience modes, but our patience only goes so far. I doubt we'll return to NCL anytime soon. They aim to upcharge you for EVERYTHING - so much that it got annoying. Don't buy the beverage package unless you can drink 8 drinks a day MINIMUM. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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