Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since ... Read More
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since our previous cruises had on the more traditional RCCL line ships. Although the food in the premium restaurants we tried was very good, the main restaurants and buffet we re just mediocre. But it was about what we expected from a mid - grade cruise line. The mini suite was a little smaller than RCCL's but the balcony was just a bit larger so the room was very comparable. On board activities were about as expected and the shows were well done. One caveat - NCL nickel and dimes just about everything so be prepared to pay extra for nearly everything. The huge problem came about on the fourth day and it basically ruined the rest of the cruise for us. We were on the pool deck that morning and when we went back to our room there were crewmen in the next stateroom dressed in hazmat gear, including suits, head covers and respirators working on something in the room. I could see the cover from the side of the bathtub leaning against the wall in the hallway outside the room and also saw a crewman spraying something in the room. That process was partially repeated the following week - we saw more crewmen with respirators spraying something in that room. The night after the first incident, my wife and I had trouble sleeping because we were coughing almost constantly. These symptoms continued for the duration of the cruise. In fact we are still sick 3 days after disembarkation. After the second incident, I questioned someone at the Customer Service desk about what the crewmen were doing and why it appeared to affect our health. The woman called our room later with a story about them installing something. In full hasmat gear? I had the opportunity to talk to the room's occupants on the last day of the cruise. They were unaware of the crew's work in their room and the woman said she was suffering from the same ailment starting around the same time. Caveat Emptor! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't that great.. Most of the times, I would spend the whole day just doing nothing but walking around the ship because it was the only thing I could do! Basically, it was complete BOREDOM. Even my whole family was bored! There was nothing to do but bingo and trivia, bla bla bla.. but the only thing that was worth waiting for were the concerts and comedy shows. And by 'worth waiting', I mean that I would count the minutes until they would start! 'Surprisingly', the minutes felt more like HOURS because of how much I was dying. Jewel needs to add more fun activities in schedules than just boring, adult ones. There's families joining aboard! No, I'm not talking about the nickelodeon slime activity, because there's also such things as families with older children who won't be as entertained. By older kids being entertained, yes, I know there's a kids club, but to the kid's opinion, they didn't enjoy it.. They sometimes didn't even want to go because of how boring it was. Freestyle cruising in the Norwegian Jewel wasn't fun when it comes to dining.. We didn't get to meet many people, which also lead to more boredom, of course. (like I'm going to count how many times I said 'bored', past, present,etc...) This also made us miss the opportunities to eat some of the really good food from one dining room from another.. I really wanted to eat this meal at this one dining room, but the food I wanted at another seemed equally as good, but I really wanted to try out this main course at another dining room! Jeez, got these problems all the time before dinner. Freestyle cruising when dining also didn't make us get close to our waiters. In normal cruises where there isn't freestyling, the kids would be very close to them as they got to make crazy napkin folds with them, too. Dining would usually come out as fun, but not in the Jewel... Jewel is a great ship, but I'm guessing what I'm targeted by more is Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital ... Read More
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital letters. It was nothing more than a balcony room. The only difference was in the bathroom, you had a sliding door that closed the toilet area off from the rest of the bathroom. We paid extra for that?? When we spoke with the guest services they were less than helpful and were not concerned in the least about us. The buffet was as expected ... normal buffet food, but decent. We went to the main dining room one night and were so disappointed in both the service and the food. We both ordered steaks that had no taste and were very fatty. The service which we have come to expect on other cruise lines was not at all evident on Norwegian. We decided to try the other main dining room, and found the same issues. The menu was basically the same as it had been in the other dining room and unfortunately, the food and service were also the same. We decided to pay the extra surcharge and try the Brazilian steak house and Cagney's Steakhouse also. We found both to be very good food and exceptional service. It is sad that with the cost of the cruise, you must pay extra to get a good meal. The venues on the ship were activities were held were small and crowded. Overall we were very disappointed with Norwegian and will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
My husband and I were just on the Norwegian Jewel for a 7-day cruise. Having sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, I highly recommend choosing one of those companies instead! We did have a few good experiences, but overall it ... Read More
My husband and I were just on the Norwegian Jewel for a 7-day cruise. Having sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, I highly recommend choosing one of those companies instead! We did have a few good experiences, but overall it was a very frustrating experience and we regret sailing with Norwegian and giving them any money! Good: - The embarkation process was smooth. We didn't have to wait in long lines and the staff were friendly. They also did a good job with our luggage. - The entertainment was awesome - they really had great shows with a lot of good talent. We loved that the comedian was able to be clean while being hilarious! Also, the singing, acrobatic, and magic performers were also worthy of note as they were all wonderful. - Getting tender tickets and all port access was very smoothly handled. - We were in an interior cabin and thought the rooms were great - there was plenty of storage, lots of hangers and places to put your things. In addition, the showers were quite large even though the bathroom was small. Well laid out, for sure. The beds and pillows were comfortable. Bad: - We HATED the free-style dining. Don't get me wrong - it was great to go when you want. However...the staff was not interested in you and your experience at all. Since you don't have the same crew member serving your table each night, there is no incentive for good service....which is why you get BAD BAD service. The service is slow and the staff was not eager to please. In fact, most of them were quite miserable. - We were never able to get seats down by the pool (and the pools are very small and get crowded)...people throw a book or a towel on the chair and "save" them all day for themselves to have whenever they want. - The whole ship was kind of dingy...yucky carpeting and awful style. There was a huge lack of things to do on the ship, especially during the day. Awful: - THE FOOD IS HORRIFIC!! I had a steak one night that I literally had to spit out because it tasted so rancid. UGH....That was the start...we tried 3 different places that night and everything was terrible - bland, bad food. Worse than the cheapest buffets you can get at home. How hard is it to make a good tasting dessert? I tried a bite of a bunch of things throughout the week and only once found something that was worth the calories to eat. My husband and I lived off of bread, fruit, and cheese for most of the trip since the food was so horrible. Much of the food lacked in flavor and was downright bland. This was the talk of the ship - most people didn't want to speak up and say anything, but this is what you hear. Even the crew says that the food is crap (when you can get them to speak with you candidly). Speaking of the food...we had heard that better food was at the restaurants. However - we paid $400 a person already for the cruise. Who wants to pay more?! That's ridiculous...we vowed not to give Norwegian a single extra dime after the first two days since we were so displeased. Hopefully this review helps you to make a more educated decision about your cruise line choice. My hubby and I wrote this one off as a 'lesson's learned' and figured it was at least good to experience the ports that we visited. Oh, one more thing - don't be afraid to use the off-board shore excursions as long as you do your homework. We tried this and saved a lot of money by just doing some good research beforehand - we had great experiences each time. The cruise ship will try to scare you away from them, but we found everything to be top-notch. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Just completed a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. Had a mixed experience---some good , some bad, some ugly. Let's start with the good: - Emarking was very smooth and no issues. - Breakfast in the buffet food was very good. - Stage shows ... Read More
Just completed a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. Had a mixed experience---some good , some bad, some ugly. Let's start with the good: - Emarking was very smooth and no issues. - Breakfast in the buffet food was very good. - Stage shows were generally good. - Getting off and on the ship at ports was smooth process. Ok--now the bad: - Had a handicapped room assigned. The shower curtain was installed outside the water collection pans on the floor. Was impossible to take a shower without flooding the bathroom floor. -Did not like the dining seating process where you do not get same table . I suppose you could but not clear how to do. I like to sit with same people to develop friendships. -Many of the lounge singers were lacking talent. Lounges were very crowed for those that could really perform. -Ship was often loud in some of the public areas. -Buffet staff was great at picking up your plate. Rarely offerred to fill your beverage.. Drink glasses were small 8oz juice size so lots of trips to beverage bar. -Found out late in cruise that Norwegian has two type of on-board credits. The type I had they called non-refundable and could not be used to pay the gratuities. Was unaware of this until next to last night of cruise -Crew's English was not as good as most of other cruises I have been on. Now the ugly: -First night tried the dinning room walk up process. Very slow and really not managed well. Eventually left the line and made a reservation for later. -Dining room food looked nice but taste/quality was moderate to poor. This was a discussion topic on the cruise among passengers. Many conversations on this topic not initiated by me. Worst cruise ship food I have encountered. -Cruise staff either gave you "sing-song" happy talk when you had an issue or were downright rude. When I complained about dining room was told to try one of the upcharge restaurants. I did but found out to be nothing special. Not any effort to comp the fee. Front desk staff very blunt when I challenged the use of onbaord credits for gratuities. Believe as I walked away was told not to come back. They will probably get their wish. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and it is certain to be our last. One of the main reasons we selected this particular ship and itinerary was because of the Nickolodeon tie-in for the kids. While our seven year old enjoyed the ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and it is certain to be our last. One of the main reasons we selected this particular ship and itinerary was because of the Nickolodeon tie-in for the kids. While our seven year old enjoyed the kids club, the actual Nickolodeon activities were few and far between, as well as very brief when they did take place. The crew and cast members were great fun, and the kid's club staff were great, just a big let down as far as the Nick stuff. The crew was super nice, always smiling and greeting everyone like an old friend. However, some of the bar staff were lacking in proper bar tending skills, making it a crap shoot when ordering drinks ( if you didn't already know the bar tender). We were not affected too much by this since we had purchased the Ultimate Beverage package, but if you were paying for each drink, I would have been very upset several timesaver the week. Along the same lines several of the waiters were, to put it politely, slow. Inattentive is probably more correct, but I was trying to be nice. These waiters were the exception and not the rule. Perhaps my largest complaint was with the food. When looking for the right words to describe it, my wife made the comparison to airplane food. This is the best description that either of us has come up with that can be used in public forums. The "steaks" were thin and full of gristle, the vegetables were tasteless, unseasoned, and often served cold, and the menu was the same every night. In their defense, the buffet occasionally had some good bits, but again it was far and few between and eating the buffet every night sort ruins the entire ambience that we were looking forward to. In comparison to other cruise lines I have traveled with, NCL seemed to have fewer activities, or at least did not publicize them as well and it also felt as if every other activity had a fee associated with it. We made several comments in regard to the food quality, our candid comments were rewarded with a plate of four chocolate covered strawberries, but unfortunately no improvement in the food which would have been far better. One last complaint would be with the on board entertainment....quite frankly I've seen better choreography and execution at dance class recitals. It was very, very poor quality. The comedian and magician were both entertaining and the crew/passenger driven activities were fun as well, but the "extravagant" productions were very nearly laughable. 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
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: October 2013
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). ... Read More
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). We were disappointed with the cabin stewart, it took 2 days to get a Sierra Mist replaced in our refrigerator. When we called Room Service it took 3 tries to get thru and finally the cabin stewart that showed up, never returned with the pop. I do like that they have a tiny refrig as we were able to get our bottled water cold for the next day. We enjoyed the talent shows. The casino was way too smokey! hard to breath! The service desk was just OK, some didn't give us adequate answers to our questions, others were helpful. We do not like the automatic gratuitee as seems you do not get that great service as before and this is our 8th cruise. desserts had no flavor! Embakation was terrible, long lines, Embarkation was even worse! I will go back to RCL and try the Princess line.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, ... Read More
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, third cruise line, and it was by far the fastest. Bueno. The mini suite on 11 was very nice - bigger than the balcony rooms we have been on, but not a true "suite". It had a tub - gasp! And a nice big balcony. We LOVED the shore excursions - we went to Cozumel for a nice relaxing beach party, Belize for snorkeling over a great reef, Roatan for outstanding snorkeling - amazing!! Last was Costa Maya, for Mayan Ruins - very informative, very nice tour. The washy washy guy and antiseptic dispensers all over the place was very nice - and wise. We appreciated that. So that was the good stuff. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We had our experience with service on those lines - which was good - so we expected more from NCL. Instead, we got much, much less. FIrst we had to park on a surface lot - $112! And got a nice scratch on my door as a bonus. Carnival, right next door, is a covered deck, and cost less. The use of space is not great - it feels very small and closed in. No large open awe inspiring spaces. The pools on 12 were average, but the waterslide was worse that you would find at the kids splash park downtown. The fitness area is a joke - treadmills, like 4 of them, with an equal number of ellipticals, are nose to the window - NO circulation, and a 30 minute limit, due to the scores of people wanting to use them. The ceiling is inches above your head. Very inadequate. The shows with the magician/comedian were okay. But there was really nothing else to do on board! We kept looking and the Breakaway flier to find something - yawn fest. We went to the Fizz lounge every night - that was fun, but it was small, and night after night that was it? Bummer. And the food - the two main dining room food was mediocre at best. Nothing stood out as being good. No signature dishes. Which left you with the option to go to one of the restaurants - and pay more. Was that really just an option though? If the food was blah in the main dining rooms, so you have to eat where it costs $15 - $40 a head more. Really? After paying more than the average cruise? The nickle and diming begins. Then there is the 18% gratuity tacked on to every food or drink you purchase, whethere you wait for the waitress to walk two feet to the bar, and take 20 minutes to return - or just belly up to the bar yourself. Welcome to the gratuity. "Service". Norwegian has a systemic problem here. The wait staff - except for one waiter - was dismissive, condescending, or worse. Want a refill on your water? Forget about it! Iced tea to drink? Good luck. And extra appetizer? We were actually told no!! Seriously??? We had purchased a 3 restaurant deal through the NCL website - we were excited about that. Well, they had no record of our purchase. After hours at the customer "service" desk, I finally went online and showed them my bank statement where NCL took my money in September!! They never conceeded this one. They fought to the bitter end - they did give us the package days into the cruise, but continued to repeat the mantra "we haven't heard back from coorporate yet." I guess the carrier pigeon died. Chocolate fantasy night - yes yes yes! Beautiful! Ooh, ahhh....tasted meh. Disappointed yet again. That was our first and last cruise. NCL wanted us to pony up $12 per day, per person for "service". We removed those bogus charges and palmed cash generously to our steward, and the one waiter who gave a crap. We do a week long cruise annually - we are RUNNING back to Carnival. Good food, great service, fun - yes, and it costs less. 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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