3 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to British Columbia

I have cruised many times and this cruise tied for last place. I traveled with my adult daughter on this 7 night repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Nainamo, and Vancouver on ... Read More
I have cruised many times and this cruise tied for last place. I traveled with my adult daughter on this 7 night repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Nainamo, and Vancouver on the Norwegian Jewel, rated 4.5 stars by my travel agency. We made our own travel arrangements and they were fine. The ship, in my opinion, was highly overrated. It had few amenities and what amenities it offered were generally an additional fee. The ship had two central, open air pools and hot tubs, all of which were generally filled with families with children. The only option was the spa facilities which cost an additional $30 per day per person and were only available if you booked a spa appointment. Our stateroom (balcony category BD on deck 10) was tiny. It had a refrigerator but was filled with expensive "mini bar" products so it was really of no use. To its credit, it had the best bathroom I have ever seen on a cruise ship with separate toilet and shower facilities with sliding glass doors. Activities were generally fee based and expensive. There were a few dance classes and deck games, but everything else was costly. We ended up spending a lot of time in our cabin watching very limited television. Service was generally poor and we found guest services staff to be particularly rude and dishonest. The ports and excursions were the highlight of the cruise though not without drawbacks. Tour guides were excellent and we enjoyed a bus tour of Cannon Beach and Seaside in Oregon and a winery excursion on Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, the Oregon tours were on school buses. Dining was a real problem. The free dining rooms had waits of 40+ minutes (no reservations accepted for parties of 2) and service was very poor. I received my food in a free dining room more than 10 minutes before my daughter's arrived and when we complained the server didn't seem to understand that the dishes should be served at the same time. Service in the fancy dining room was not much better. We avoided the buffet after being greeted by loud music and door guards with hand sanitizor spray chirping "happy happy washy washy." Entertainment was very mediocre except for one comedian who was excellent. The production cast was set to disembark in Vancouver, so perhaps that explains their performance, but the musicians were not much better. The embarkation and debarkation process were good and ahead of schedule. No criticism there. In sum, I will avoid Norwegian in the future and do more research on the ship I am selecting. I ended up with sticker shock and a sense that my week's vacation could have been spent much more happily elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 ... Read More
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 minutes only to be greeted by a hostess who handed us a pager and told us to return in a half an hour. Once we got into the dining room it was very loud and crowded. The service waa less than spectacular. Picture your average hotel wedding reception service. The food was average and took forever to be served. We left before desert since we couldn't stand to sit there a minute longer. We took the rest of our meals at the crowded buffet who's food was no better but was faster and the variety better. If you want to find good food on this ship head to The Grill for lunch.I mentioned the bad service to a NCL rep upon our return and he claimed that the service and crowd control is better on te 7+ day cruises. How is this possible when our same staff cleared us off the ship and started a 7 day cruise the same day. Do they magically start offering the new cruisers better service? I think not.When we arrived our room steward knocked and entered our room no less than four times the first hour. We finally put up the Do not disturb sign. Then we had a strange male steward knock on our door twice saying our friends ordered us a pillow. We had no friends on the cruise. Our steward also pushed our suitcases to the back and hid a plastic bag of fresh linens under our bed. I guess she wanted to save time when we left.We were on a tight budget and were happy to have the $35 on board credit. We only had one cocktail and had to leave behind some precious photos in the gallery because of the cost. When we went to leave I looked for my final statement since I knew I went a little over. I could not find the statement so I called te front desk. She informed me that we had a $46 CREDIT!! I asked her how was this posible. Apparently the cruise line had charged the three of us $23 per person Alaska tax even though we were not going to Alaska. Somewher along the way they put the credir on our account and never told us. I was in tears...we passed up so much, the drinks, better meals in the nicer dining rooms and of course our photos were now gone forever. They would not give me the credit back but said they would be mailing a check. It's been 11 days and still no check.Please don't believe the easy disembarkation process. We were told not to get in line due to a delay in customs. We stood in line for an hour only to find the delay was not with customs but the single NCL employee trying to check everyone off the ship. I don't understand the reason to lie to us about it. I would suggest to anyone using NCL to hold onto your bags and walk them off yourself. It's much faster and safer if you are hoping to catch a flight.On a positive note we took our 8 year daughter who lived in the kids club. The staff is very professional and she had a great time. Ports of Nanaimo and Victoria were wonderful.Will think long and hard about using NCL again. A cruise should be a luxury experience not the type of service you would have gotten if you would have just stayed home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We chose NCL for our first cruise September 2012 because of the "Free Style" spirit and the ports of call. We don't want to have a set time for meals, don't want to dress up and don't want to be paired up with ... Read More
We chose NCL for our first cruise September 2012 because of the "Free Style" spirit and the ports of call. We don't want to have a set time for meals, don't want to dress up and don't want to be paired up with people we don't enjoy. Our first trip was on NCL Dawn and we LOVED every minute of it, even in the smallest, inside cabin in rough seas. The staff was absolutely wonderful. No complaints, couldn't have asked for more. Our second trip with NCL was aboard the Jewel. This time we went with an aft-facing suite because of the added space, the view, and the little "extras" advertised as perks -- concierge to get seats at the shows we wanted to attend, etc., and a butler! "What would I do with a butler?" I thought. Turns out, the butler was fabulous! He personally delivered room service each morning (we are early risers) with a great smile and lots of hot coffee. Anything we might want, he was there to provide. Superb service. The concierge, it turns out, was useless. His entire focus was on those in the larger suites (too little of him to go around, perhaps, or he assumed we were not excellent tippers?). The few times we asked for help with seating, he said he would check and get back to us, which he never did. On one specific occasion, he asked us to meet him in the theater so he could seat us in the VIP section. We waited, and waited and waited until 5 mins after the show started and then found seats for ourselves, not together and not reserved. I've never felt "less than first class" in my life. Thanks for rubbing that in. We would have been happier in the inside cabin with the friendly staff. Oh, and the butler got a very substantial tip at the end of the cruise (equivalent to two days' passage). The "entertainment" in the theater was awful: Band on the Run. They should be on the run and not aboard a cruise ship. It felt like a high school musical forced to use the second or third string players. Horrible. The staff throughout the ship was just not as crisp, as friendly, as happy, as those on the Dawn. They appeared tired, overworked, unappreciated. We are booked on an upcoming cruise on the Pearl and another on the Star. If we can't get that loving feeling back (as we received on the Dawn), we'll be looking elsewhere.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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