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
Sail Date: November 2014
The ship rocked and shook continuously. If the constant rocking and chugging does not make you sick, then the constant singing in the inferior buffet dining about "washy, washy, washy" will make most definitely nauseate you. ... Read More
The ship rocked and shook continuously. If the constant rocking and chugging does not make you sick, then the constant singing in the inferior buffet dining about "washy, washy, washy" will make most definitely nauseate you. This was my 10th cruise; second on NCL. The first time was 20 years ago on a different ship which at the time was probably new and simply re-christened as the Jewel. We had a balcony room which was exactly the same size as any other ship I have been on - only this one was completely outdated. The food was awful. Usually I try to lose 10 pounds before going on a cruise so I can eat away and not feel guilty about gaining. I probably lost 15 pounds on this cruise. The choices that were repeated nightly were slim. The "specials" of the night were especially disgusting. Our steward kept the room clean but didn't seem overly excited to clean or replenish towels and toilet paper as needed. I am a neat-freak so I do not let the room get messy. There were three of us in the room - and cruise lovers know you are not in the room that much. But when we would go out for the day and come back at 2ish and the room still had not been cleaned and the hallways smelled like dirty socks - well it was not pleasant. The weather played a factor in docking in Belize so it took longer than normal to get on the tender to take us to the island. There were so many people trying to get off at the same time and it was so unorganized, but those who had excursions planned were given first priority. So since we were one of those with priority, we were re-routed through a section of the ship that I am quite certain whoever has shares in NCL would have flipped out that we were even privy to this area. It showed their survey scores. Guess what? They were ALL terrible - every section was 80 or below. It is not a kid-friendly ship. The entertainment was mediocre. The dining staff made new rules every night. One night men could where shorts; the next my 18 year old son came in with shorts and was told he could not enter the half-full dining room. Seconds later four older gentlemen all in separate parties entered the dining room wearing shorts. After speaking with all 4 men I found out the hostess had told them the same, but they told her there had been no dress code regarding shorts the previous nights, so she let them enter. I went from person to person until I got to the 6th person who finally was a true angel; he cared. None of the 5 before him cared to listen to my complaint; passing it off to the next person. This 6th man, who was the ONLY person on the ship who seemed to really truly care about the passengers calmed my down, called the kitchen and had a pizza sent to my son's room. The next night he arranged for champagne and a fresh full size chocolate cake to be delivered to our table. That was the ONLY positive part of this entire debacle. Other than that one truly wonderful experience with the head of the dining area who had to be called in after arguing continuously with the 5th person, I would never, ever, ever - even if it was free, go on this ship or this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Our cruise vacation started off at the Marriott in the french quarters, great location but a bit pricey for the accommodations. Parking is valet only and will cost 35.00 plus tax per day. The rooms are small and the decor is more like a ... Read More
Our cruise vacation started off at the Marriott in the french quarters, great location but a bit pricey for the accommodations. Parking is valet only and will cost 35.00 plus tax per day. The rooms are small and the decor is more like a 2-star but the beds are very comfortable. They had a Starbucks and we enjoyed having that option at the hotel. First off me and my husband are in our late 30's and have no children. We like to vacation and don't mind spending extra money to get better service and accommodations. This is why we book suites when we cruise. We booked the 2 bedroom family suite with balcony. We've stayed in this suite before and enjoyed having the two bathrooms and really love the layout of the suite. Although we didn't use the second bedroom it was nice to have a place to store our luggage. The good- --The Unlimited Beverage Package was good. We enjoyed trying different drinks each day and our favorite two was the Bloody Mary and Bushwacker. --The breads were great. They give many options in your bread basket each night at dinner and I really was glad to sample each. --The Roasted Chicken at lunch in Cagney's and the Cagney fries. --The shows were great and we really enjoyed the ones that we watched. --Had many really nice staff members through out the ship. --Our fellow cruise passengers were friendly and everyone seemed to mingle well. --The coffee in the suites was nice and I enjoyed many cups. --I lost a 200.00 casino ticket and it was turned in by a staff member! How great was that. kudos for keeping honesty alive. --Easy on and easy off ship. The Bad- --Number one would be the POOR quality of food. This was a major disappointment. I was shocked at how bad the quality of food was. We are in no way hard to please. The bacon was so thin it was like eating bacon flavored tissue paper. The food was cheap tasting even the burgers and fries. Cold soggy wings at blue lagoon. I really am put off on how bad the food was. I really felt ripped off because I paid a lot of money for this cruise and would have been fine eating decent fries and burgers and couldn't even get that! The steaks were thin and not as described. Soup was blah. Pork was small over cooked and tasteless. Salt shakers were either not working or broken. Ncl really has pushed the limit with the quality of food. Buffet at Golden Corral is better than the food they served us on our cruise. --The hip hop music at the pool was strange. Most of the people enjoying the pool area was 50 and above. I think the music was more suited for the staff? --The sewer smell throughout the ship, and the mold smell from our shower...(gross)! --Multiple public restrooms were foul smelling and needed cleaning. --Casino was to small and over crowded. Reeked of smoke...many smokers on our cruise. Smoking doesn't bother me but if you are bothered by it you will want to stay clear of the casino because it's bad, and you will definitely smell like a smoker when you leave. Had the food been up to par this vacation would have been great. When I book my next cruise I will search out other cruise lines to find one that most meets our needs. Food isn't everything on vacation but we like enjoy ourselves and splurge on foods we wouldn't normally eat, but NCL made this impossible. Next time I will read more reviews and search other cruise lines.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
My husband and I decided to take a cruise after 20 years and do I feel stupid. I saw the add for free balcony upgrades and thought GREAT. well that didn't happen. We got one of the poorest rooms on the ship. We did an excursion every ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a cruise after 20 years and do I feel stupid. I saw the add for free balcony upgrades and thought GREAT. well that didn't happen. We got one of the poorest rooms on the ship. We did an excursion every day and in all was very disappointed. We went to Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. In Cozumel we did the zip line, not what we expected at all it was fun but we just went from tower to tower. Not worth the money. Don't plan on walking down the street of Cozumel because you are accosted by people wanting you to go in there shops and buy, and spend. Belize was very dirty. We did the air boat ride hoping to see some wild life and didn't see much of anything. On the pier we waited for the tended to return to the boat (about 80 % of the passengers were over 55) there was a tent with chairs. It was about 90 out and we wanted to sit for a minute. We were treated like trash because it was a VIP area and security almost got physical with us and would not let us sit; even though no other passengers were there. Roatan was nice and we did the nature and archeology tour. We did see spider monkeys which was fun but all the ruins were reproductions which was disappointing. Costa Maya we did the snuba which sounded fun, but save your money. We just walked off the beach and say trash and garbage with a few fish in the water. Be prepared that with every excursion even though you pay for them they also expect a tip, even the bus driver. The food on the ship was very good but be prepared to wait to get into the two main dinning rooms. All in all I wished I had saved my money. I feel like an idiot thinking this would be fun. NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We ( my mom, boyfriend and I) decided on the Norwegian Jewel because it was the cheapest price for the locations it was going to. We live in Oklahoma and decided that we would drive to New Orleans. The ship went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, ... Read More
We ( my mom, boyfriend and I) decided on the Norwegian Jewel because it was the cheapest price for the locations it was going to. We live in Oklahoma and decided that we would drive to New Orleans. The ship went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Getting on the boat was simple enough and our room was not ready until about 1pm and that was fine because we went and ate at Tzars Palace. Food Our first thought on the food was that it was pretty good. The desserts on the other hand were weird and it seemed like every single dessert item was made with gelatin. The first dessert we tried was chocolate mouse( the best of the three), some sort of berry cheesecake( did not taste anything like cheesecake), and Panna Cotta (very rubbery and tasteless). I love dessert and I love to try new desserts, but the ones on this boat were just plain strange. Even the chocolate cake we had contained weird jelly balls throughout the slice. The only good dessert we had was in a pay restaurant( we tried the hot pot) and it was a green tea cake with green tea ice cream and it actually tasted like what it was supposed to. The food was pretty good and we actually had our room a floor below the buffet which was nice because that was out favorite place to eat on the boat. Each day in the buffet they would have a different theme and the food would change to be a part of the theme such as when we were in Mexico there was mexican food or when we were in the Caribbean they served Caribbean food. We decided to try the pizza delivery for $5 and it was the most disgusting pizza we have ever eaten. It did not taste like real cheese and the "cheese" was about an inch thick. So if your thinking of trying the pizza delivery, think again and just go to the buffet and get a slice or two there. The pizza at the buffet was actually good. They also served food by the pool, but be careful because we saw them making what looked like stir fry noodles with vegetables so we went over and each got a plate. My mom and I do not eat seafood and my boyfriend is allergic to shellfish. This dish was filled with shrimp and clams and all sorts of seafood. I'm glad we saw it because that could have been bad. There was no sign letting people know what it was. Room Our room was great. We had the mini suite which we paid about $900 per person. We had a giant balcony and it was nice to be able to relax on the balcony. The couch in our suite folded out to a big bed which my mom slept on and our steward Orlando pulled out and put up each day. He was such an amazing steward! The bathroom was not as small as I thought it would be. Our room was nice and quiet and we were not around any of the clubs or anything so it was a good spot. Entertainment I'm not sure why everyone seems to like the entertainment on this boat. I'm actually kind of baffled by what they call "entertainment". We tried several times to go to shows but the shows were so dumb that we left. I was really excited about the Cirque Bijou or whatever it was called. We got to the show early and got some great balcony seats. The show started and my boyfriend and I were looking at each other and laughing because it was so childish and they were not even doing anything that was interesting or fun to watch. The first act was a girl that stood on the shoulders of a man and all she did was hold two hula hoops and twirl them around her arms. The audience sure loved that for some reason because there were cheers and applause ? I was expecting something similar to cirque du soleil. Boy were we disappointed! We decided to give it another chance to impress us. The next act was a few people on stage dancing? it seemed like they were trying to do some sort of Indian dance with their arms or something but it just looked like something that a kid could come up with. We tried to stay for another act before we left but as soon as we saw adults doing cartwheels and a few flips we about died of laughter and had to leave. Don't expect anything professional if you attend these shows. We were really disappointed with the entertainment onboard and I feel like the only entertainment we liked was going to the art auctions on board to watch people get suckered into buying "art". I won't lie the auctions were very engaging and were pretty fun and you get free art just for going. We went to the newlywed not so newlywed game show which was pretty entertaining to watch. Pool The pool was pretty small and was cold almost the whole time so we did not really get to swim unless we wanted to be freezing while doing it. We did get in the hot tub twice, but it was not really as hot as other hot tubs I've been in. They were not bad though, but they were always crowded. Fitness Center We only went in there a few times but the machines are really nice and have touchscreen monitors. You can play games on the monitors while exercising or even watch the ocean through the widow or from a camera on deck. When we first booked I thought that they were going to have free zumba sessions, but you have to pay for those and the only free stuff in the fitness center were not very good, mostly seminars about fitness. Random In the daily newspaper thing we noticed that the actives with a star are pay activities. So when we saw a martini tasting with no star we got excited to finally see and try something you don't have to pay for. When we got there they told us it was $15 per person. What a crock. For the price we paid there should be more free things to do on the boat. We went to a pastry making seminar, but when we got there it was retarded. There was already a cake made and they just got a random person from the audience and had them put icing on it and some berries... I'm sorry but this is not a pastry making seminar. I did not pay to come on this cruise to watch some woman try her hand at decorating a cake. My mom got sick with food poisoning the day before our last port. The nurses in the infirmary were very nice and kind to her. If you go down there for food poisoning you don't have to pay, which was nice. Originally my boyfriend and I went to the shop to see if they has any medicine for sale, but they didn't, so we went o ask if they had any in the doctors and when we asked they said we should bring her down and there would be no charge. It's a good thing we brought her down because my mom ended up having to be taken down there again to get an IV for dehydration. They were very professional and treated us like family. They gave my mom Gatorade packets and medicine and even called to check up on her for the rest of the trip. Overall It was not bad, but I feel like all the seminars on the ship were there only to get you to buy something. The entertainment was lacking in professionalism and uniqueness. There are more pay restaurants than free ones. I feel like everywhere you go on the ship they are trying to get more money out of you. WE are never going to book on a Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Where to begin? I have been on several Cruise lines (including previous NCL cruises) and this was the WORST cruise ever! It started off on a disappointing note when we entered the ship. NO music. NO welcome champagne. NO excitement. We ... Read More
Where to begin? I have been on several Cruise lines (including previous NCL cruises) and this was the WORST cruise ever! It started off on a disappointing note when we entered the ship. NO music. NO welcome champagne. NO excitement. We had to walk around and wait for our cabin to be ready. Once Tzar's was ready for lunch, our entire party of 17 went to eat. They refused to push tables together so we could all be at one table. We waited over an hour to get our food. The wait staff was rude and inattentive. The food was tasteless. Bad start that will prove to only get worse. One of my suitcases was delivered to the wrong cabin and I reported it to the Service desk. I was told it should reach me by 8:00pm. Well, by 10:00pm it still had not arrived. All they could say was "we are still looking for it" and I had to spend $39 in the gift shop for a few basic toiletries. My bag showed up 3 days later. I found out later that they have complimentary toiletry items but I was never offered that, even though I had been in contact with the service desk numerous times. We decided to take advantage of a "special" NCL offered prior to our cruise...3 specialty restaurants for $57 (they chose the three...LaCucina, Cagney's and Le Bistro). You HAD to eat at LaCucina's on the 1st night. The food was AWFUL. Then we found out we missed out on the Surf & Turf in the open dining rooms. On our Le Bistro night, there was lobster on the menu, but you had to pay an additional $10 for it! SERIOUSLY??? There is a $20 cover charge already! Everyone else got it for FREE on embarkation night!!! We decided to stick to the buffet because Azura and Tzars had such SLOW service and the wait staff was terrible and rude. They acted like they were doing us a favor by taking our order and bringing out our food. However, for the most part, the food everywhere was not good. The desserts (except for the creme brûlée in Le Bistro) were tasteless. On our last day at sea, we planned out what we wanted to do. There was a magician show at 11:00 and a comedy show at 12:00 in the large theatre. The art auction was at 1:00. Well, the magician set up a table ON THE STAGE to sell his book and some magic items after he completed his act. He continued to sell until 12:15, causing the comedy show to start late. This in turn caused the comedy show to run late. Because we were seated in the 3rd row, we weren't going to be rude and get up and leave before the show was over. So, I missed the art auction. They should not allow anything to be sold on the stage and they should keep things ON TIME. One night we went to listen to a band doing a Bob Marley tribute at Magnum's Lounge. They were fantastic, but we had to leave early because the amount of smoke from the casino and the cigar bar (one on each side the lounge) was overwhelming. They really need a better ventilation system. By far, the RUDEST staff was in the Blue Lagoon. They literally would take your order (after waiting 20 minutes) by asking "what you want?" in a sharp tone. When my sister asked for a refill on her coffee, the waitress said "self serve!" as she pointed to the coffee area. There are so many other things I could say, but I'm sure some of my other family members will write their own bad experiences soon. We all agreed we will NEVER sail on NCL again. People, please think long and hard before going on this ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since ... Read More
My wife and I looked forward to cruising the Panama Canal. We chose the NCL Jewel because my wife had never been to New Orleans and we figured we could kill two birds by sailing from there. We also wanted to try Freestyle Cruising since our previous cruises had on the more traditional RCCL line ships. Although the food in the premium restaurants we tried was very good, the main restaurants and buffet we re just mediocre. But it was about what we expected from a mid - grade cruise line. The mini suite was a little smaller than RCCL's but the balcony was just a bit larger so the room was very comparable. On board activities were about as expected and the shows were well done. One caveat - NCL nickel and dimes just about everything so be prepared to pay extra for nearly everything. The huge problem came about on the fourth day and it basically ruined the rest of the cruise for us. We were on the pool deck that morning and when we went back to our room there were crewmen in the next stateroom dressed in hazmat gear, including suits, head covers and respirators working on something in the room. I could see the cover from the side of the bathtub leaning against the wall in the hallway outside the room and also saw a crewman spraying something in the room. That process was partially repeated the following week - we saw more crewmen with respirators spraying something in that room. The night after the first incident, my wife and I had trouble sleeping because we were coughing almost constantly. These symptoms continued for the duration of the cruise. In fact we are still sick 3 days after disembarkation. After the second incident, I questioned someone at the Customer Service desk about what the crewmen were doing and why it appeared to affect our health. The woman called our room later with a story about them installing something. In full hasmat gear? I had the opportunity to talk to the room's occupants on the last day of the cruise. They were unaware of the crew's work in their room and the woman said she was suffering from the same ailment starting around the same time. Caveat Emptor! Read Less
Sail Date: 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
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
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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