16 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We booked this as a Christmas present to out adult kids/spouses. We stayed at the Best western in Seabrook that has a 50.00 Car parking /shuttle to the boat.(not sure I'd recommend. I think someone there got my CC number...Though ... Read More
We booked this as a Christmas present to out adult kids/spouses. We stayed at the Best western in Seabrook that has a 50.00 Car parking /shuttle to the boat.(not sure I'd recommend. I think someone there got my CC number...Though can't prove it yet.)Rooms were ok-Breakfast was nice. For the Jewel- We Had 3 rooms One balcony and 2 ocean views(on turned sideways 8090) honest- rooms felt a bit small. But were ok. When they join beds together..still a crack down the center.MEH. Service over all was excellent. People were nice- helpful.. Only real issue was I pre-ordered a Birthday Cake for my daughter in law- They got a note saying it was not available- they would refund and send strawberries- NEVER CAME... and got a bottle of wine(we don't drink so its a waste) so she took it too the Service desk which only offered to trade for 4 cans of soda.. wow really?? But as I said all the other experiences were great! TZAR's palace was our families Fav! we ended up eating there 5 of 7 nights! Food was Excellent! Ranging from Ribs, to Salmon to Roast Duck , Chicken, Prime Rib.. the Garden was great for Breakfast and late nite snacks. Azul(very slow service) OShehans good food- a bit slow on service. Cir de Bejuol is not to be missed! It was out standing!!! and the Duo night was equally great. Deal or no deal was a fun activity and Bingo callers need new jokes! Star-fish Snorkel was Raining like crazy- but still a good trip..Even our 4 yr old grandson went and had a great time!(Banana Coast) Snorkel the Barrier reef in Belize was ok- not what I expected..but reef was cool. Swim with the dolphins Excursion was great! My daughter and daughter in law both went and had a time of their life! great pics too!(cozumel- chukkanuab) Kids club for grandson was good- Not Disney- but good. Embarkation and Disembarkation both went smooth in Houston- Much better than Princess!! WE WILL TAKE the Jewel Again! Had a great time! Great FOOD... very relaxing ;)   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I booked our cruise two weeks prior to sailing We're in our 60's and have cruised since 2006. This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). We usually cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines but were looking ... Read More
My wife and I booked our cruise two weeks prior to sailing We're in our 60's and have cruised since 2006. This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). We usually cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines but were looking forward to experience NCL style cruising. We had an ocean view cabin on deck 5 and also had the Ultimate Beverage as part of our cruise package. The itinerary was Cozumel, Belize, and Trujillo Honduras. We drove to the cruise terminal on the day of the cruise from Granbury, Texas. The cruise terminal located near La Porte, Texas is called the Bayport Cruise Terminal. It is located in a remote area that is without any other businesses other then the cruise terminal and a parking lot. Don't count on being able to buy any last minute items you may need before boarding from a nearby gas station or convenience store because there are none near the cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal around 11:00 AM and parked without problems. We had reserved our parking space online for $75.00. We did not drop off any luggage with the terminal porters. We carried our luggage thru security without difficulty and after only a few minutes of waiting we had our key card to our room and a boarding group number. We sat for no more then 30 minutes then our boarding number was called. We walked into the ship carrying our luggage and went to our cabin to drop them off. Our cabin was not ready, but our cabin steward allowed us to drop off our luggage in our room. There was a announcement for the passengers saying the cabins were not going to be ready until 1:30 PM. We went to the Tsar's Palace dining room for lunch which was one of two main dining rooms. The other main dining room is called the Azura. The Tsar's Palace dining room was very nice and nearly empty. We read online that most people went to the buffet on deck 12 for their lunch and didn't know lunch was also served in the Tsar's Palace. Lunch is served Restaurant style from a menu with a starter, entree, and dessert. There was one difference between the two dinning rooms. Tsar's Palace has a stricter dress code then the Azura dinning room in the evenings. You can't wear shorts at the Tsar's Palace in the evenings except on the first night when most people are still waiting for their luggage. Both dinning rooms allowed shorts during breakfast and lunch, but only the Azura allowed shorts in the evenings. The following dinning facilities are complimentary: Azura Garden Cafe (Buffett) Great Outdoors O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill Tsar's Palace ============================== Extra Cost dinning facilities Cagney's Steakhouse $30.00 per person Chin Chin Asian Fusion $15 per person Let Bistro French $20.00 per person La Cucina Italian $15 per person Modemo Brazilian $20 per person Mongolian Hot Pot $15 per person Sushi Bar A La Carte. Teppanyaki $25 per person There are also 13 different bars located on the ship. We liked the Spinnaker bar because of the great views. Located on deck 13 near the bow of the ship, it offers full bar service as well as generous comfortable seating with panoramic views from the front of the ship. We ate multiple times in the Tsar's Palace and Azura main dining rooms. We preferred the Azura dinning room because we could wear shorts in the evenings. The menu was the same for both restaurants. Service took about one hour in either restaurant . Both included bar service. The Garden Cafe Buffett was very nice. We liked the way it was set up with multiple, separate stations for the various food items. One station for desserts, one for salads, one for sandwiches, one for wok cooking, and one for other hot foods. There was also a children's area with everything set up for kids. Tables, chairs, and Buffett items there were all at a child's height. It was popular with families with small children. Soft serve ice creams with a variety of toppings were available. During lunch it seemed there was a crew member who served the ice cream. Between meal times the ice cream was self serve. The ship had a live band playing in the pool area several times during the cruise. I'm not sure if the band was playing every day or not, but we saw it several times when we were in the pool area. During the evening shows there was also a 7 piece band providing the music for the main production magic show The TV in the cabin was a flat screen model complete with remote with sleep timer. The channel selection was limited compared to what have experienced on other cruise lines. This by itself is not a big issue for us. What we viewed as a problem was the only channel that showed national network shows. It would start showing a show like The Big Bang Theory and without warning after about 15 minutes into the show, it would switch to something like The Mentalist. After you got over the previous show being terminated before the end of the show and started watching The Mentalist, it would suddenly terminate before the normal ending and jump to another show. I don't think we ever managed to see a show end normally for the whole week. We don't sit in our cabin all day watching TV, but like we watch some TV before going to sleep and enjoy seeing what shows are available when they don't terminate suddenly and jump to another unrelated show. Not a deal breaker for us, maybe there was a problem with the TV, it wasn't anything worth complaining to Guest Services. Just something we noticed and didn't care for. I'm not going to write much about the cruise ports, we've been to Cozumel and Belize many times but had not been to the NCL port of Trujillo where we were tendered. The tender process for NCL was very organized compared to Carnival tender operations we have been on. Trujillo appears to be a new port for NCL and there was very little to be seen right at the port. Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was easy and quick. Diamond and Platinum passengers are allowed off the ship first. Then passengers who are carrying ALL of their luggage are allowed to leave the ship and proceed thru Customs. We were off the ship by 7:15 AM and on the road home by 7:30 AM. We noticed there were more Customs agents manning all of the Customs stations in the terminal. At the Carnival terminal we noticed there are not enough Customs agents to man all the Customs stations on numerous occasions which can really slow down getting thru Customs. Our overall impression of the Jewel was favorable with the exception of the FreeStyle dinning which we did not care for, although many cruisers seem to like it. A major part of cruising for us is meeting new friends during meal times and especially during the evening meal. We like to compare our day with our table mates, find out what excursions they took and finding out if they enjoyed them. We prefer assigned seating at a specific time and sharing a table with other cruisers. Not everyone may like that style of dining, but it's what we like. That alone will keep us from cruising with Norwegian again. To sum things up, we liked most everything on the Jewel. The food was decent and would of been even better if delivered to our table while it was hot. The shows were great, the live music near the pool and during in the main theater for the magic show was great. The only really negative thing for us was the FreeStyle dinning, and we knew it was going to be different then Carnivals dinning with assigned seating and assigned times. We thought we would give it a try and see if we liked it. Turns out FreeStyle dinning is not for us, but that's just our opinion and opinions are like belly buttons... everyone has one. Keep on cruising Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and ... Read More
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and families such as Nickelodeon Slime Time and White Hot party. The first day: When you first arrive at the ship, you want to head to guest services and ask for the ship layout and schedule. This will help you find your way around the ship and plan your day. Without these two key pieces of paper you will be lost. If you have kids, ask about their Splash academy and Entourage program. Splash academy and Entourage: These two programs are for kids ages 3-17 and have their own program. The Splash academy (ages 3-12) acts as a "childcare" but allows your child to have fun and learn new skills. At the end of the cruise they put together a circus featuring all the children in Splash academy. Entourage(ages 13-17) is a place for teens to hang out, play foosball, air hokey, Wii, and more. They have different activities for the teens such as foosball tournaments and charades. Pools: The Jewel has 3 different pools, one for toddlers, kids, and adults. All three are located on deck 12. The toddler pool is a small 2ft deep pool with a small slide and Jacuzzi just for them. The kids and adult pool are shaped the same way but the kids pool has a horrible slide.Half way down, you stop and you have to push yourself down. Overall the pools are good for small children and relaxing but no major excitement. Entertainment: Each night the ship hosted entertainment for all ages in the Stardust theater. They had gymnasts, jugglers, and a comedian preform throughout the seven nights. Most of the shows were preformed twice during the night. If you weren't interested in shows they had music and dances on different decks. In your stateroom TV, they also showed previous shows on board and a wide range of movies such as the Giver, and Divergent. Food: The Jewel had a wide range of restaurants from buffets to fancy sit down places. The major restaurant, I think, is Garden Cafe. It is a buffet with ice cream throughout the entire day and each night has slightly different cuisines. For example, one night they had a Mexican cuisine and another night the featured seafood. Unfortunately though, breakfast is always the same at Garden Cafe and at the other complimentary restaurants. In conclusion, the Norwegian Jewel is an awesome ship with fantastic shows, activities and food. It hosts activities for all ages and keeps you busy throughout the day with an option to relax. The crew makes you feel special and helps in any way they can. Overall the Jewel is a fantastic ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
From the start I noticed issues. I'll keep it brief: clearly an understaffed ship. Service in bars and restaurants, including the pay restaurants, was brisk, harried, with some service personnel snapping at each other due to being ... Read More
From the start I noticed issues. I'll keep it brief: clearly an understaffed ship. Service in bars and restaurants, including the pay restaurants, was brisk, harried, with some service personnel snapping at each other due to being overwhelmed. I watched one bartender literally sweating, alone, behind a bar trying to keep up with the orders and it wasn't happening. He got on the phone and begged for help but none arrived. Felt bad for him to be honest; these people already work hard as it is. Cagney's was excellent; again service was a problem. Chin Chin was quite simply, awful. No other way to put it. Service again was bad, but worse than any other place, and food went into the trash. I saw this happening at most other tables. We waited an hour for food that was not good at all, an no compensation of any kind, not even a visit to our table by the maitre'd. The French restaurant was excellent, but again service was rushed. So sad, because I'm happy to pay for the meal, but slow down and let me enjoy. Cabin service was excellent, pool side was fun and lots of food options to choose from. Saw some great shows as well. But overall it was just meh. The overall service was enough for me to steer clear of this line forever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our 3rd cruise but first for Norwegian, Everything was great, we really did enjoy this ship. We went on a budget so we got a inside cabin and the Bed was so Comfortable and the Pillows were the Best! I miss them already. The cabin ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise but first for Norwegian, Everything was great, we really did enjoy this ship. We went on a budget so we got a inside cabin and the Bed was so Comfortable and the Pillows were the Best! I miss them already. The cabin was pretty tight but we expected that, it was hard to manuever the luggage around as no place really to put it except lay it on the bed when ready to get clothes out. When we arrived we had a nice tray of choclate covered pineapple wedges and the next day a nice bottle of wine was delivered. The food was good, no complaints except the coffee was way to strong for me and as I love bacon for Breakfast it was alwas so greasy. I know they have to cook alot of it at a time but it was alwas pretty greasy no matter what day or when. They provided plenty of cleaning of your hands, one Guy that sang, Washy Washy, Happy, Happy all day long and it got to be pretty funny, but the idea was for everyone to keep hands washed Hand santizers everywhere you go so that was a good feeling. I loved there Big dining room that were we normally ate dinner, Couldn't go in there at night in shorts so was little more upscale but the service was outstanding, The menu changes every night. We would usually eat breakfast there too, althou we did choose the buffet at times which was HUGE, but too many people and hard to find a place to sit. No matter what you needed they would provide the best service to get it to you. The entertainment was great, So many choices of what you wanted to do, makes the cruise more enjoyable, We traveled with our Daughter and her husband and as they are in there early 20's they enjoyed the music at the pool side and meet alot of people they partyed with. We did two excursions one in Cozmel for shopping, One in Belize City to visit ruins, (worst trip we took) Roads were Horrible and we didn't enjoy the ride at all. Then last stop was in Honduras and the ship had made a stop in Banana Coast, This was the 2nd time the ship had stopped there and the people were thrilled to see us, Very Friendly, It was extremly hot (86% humidity) I couldn't take the heat hardly, After a little walk we stopped into a covered area that faced the beach and sat down for a cold beer, The staff didn't all speck English so they had to get translators to help, People of that area were walking around selling there trinkets that got kinda of annoying, Keep saying no and they would move on but they 15 others would come by. We did meet one buy that did speak English and we had a nice visit with him and he explained the Honduras way of living, He told us where he lived they had no electricity so no TV. I found that interesting how they lived. Other than that this Cruise was well worth what we paid!. Oh and forgot to mention the Dismarkment was the worse.. Somehow they never could get clearnce for us to get off ship and we stood in line around the ship for 3 hours. That was Bad but they did walk around with cookies and pastrys to apease us. I know it wasn't there fault but people were tired and getting upset. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I, along with her sister, sailed out of New Orleans the second week of January. Embarkation was very smooth and orderly. We visited the ports of Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. There are two ports on the Honduran ... Read More
My wife and I, along with her sister, sailed out of New Orleans the second week of January. Embarkation was very smooth and orderly. We visited the ports of Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. There are two ports on the Honduran island of Roatan(Mahogany Bay and Coxen Hole). Our ship docked at the Coxen Hole port. The port is secured by a high privacy wall within which there is a very limited number of shops for the ship's passengers to visit...... furthermore, item selection in those few shops is very limited and scattered. My suggestion (to Norwegian) would be to secure rights to dock at Mahogany Bay or else visit some other Caribbean port or island. As far as the other ports that we visited, they were all very interesting, entertaining and worthwhile. Cozumel has it all....shopping, excursions, beaches, rentals, etc. Service on the ship was good(I'm not a fan of mandatory tipping as Norwegian requires---they put it on your account at the first of the cruise and you pay it whether or not someone deserved it! That, my friend, is NOT a tip[gratuity]....that is a service charge!) The nightly entertainment was very good.....comedians were good, magician was fantastic, singers were extremely talented and the production shows were great......the cruise director(Jamiee) was one of the best that I've ever cruised with......she kept us informed of things that we needed to be informed about....and she did not get on the PA system and ramble about this and that....she was to the point and then "out of sight"! If I was given the opportunity to change ONE thing and one thing only about this ship and its management, it would be this: When you're showing sports activity on a TV screen, show sports that are popular with Americans seeing as the overwhelming majority of your guests are Americans! We do not play soccer, nor do we want to watch it ! We like football, baseball, and basketball......go with the majority....show football, especially during football season! If there's not a "live" game on, then show last Sunday's reruns.....anything but SOCCER ! No evidence of that old NoroVirus monster.....there were hand cleanser dispensers everywhere as well as workers at the entrances of all dining areas with their little hand sprayer bottles. Debarkation was great....."self assist" debarkation is a breeze if you're able to carry all your luggage off the ship! New Orleans is working hard to make the Julia Street Ship Terminal very "guest friendly". In summary, the Jewel is a great ship with comfortable surroundings and accommodations. I look forward to a return visit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this ... Read More
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this cruise would be as good. We each had our own inside cabin, next door to each other, as she is a night owl, and we both enjoy our privacy. From the first step on the ship.... it was disappointing. I have sailed over 34 cruises, and never have I walked along the deck (100 yds. or so) to enter the ship by elevators. We were looking forward to the overwhelming experience of entering an atrium area, or large lobby. By elevators? Really? Our cabins were not ready until 1 pm, and we were onboard at 11:30 am. We made our way to the spa to preset our weeks appts. Our 1st and most important part of our vacation!! LOL. Went then to buffet. Nice and spacious for a buffet, and will organized. Love the attention to the hand sanitizing!! Washy Washy was great!! (YouTube NCL washy washy). Cleanest ship by far with this detail. WIsh Princess would catch a clue how to implement this!!! Big disappointment was the food. Dining room was horrible. Warm salads, cold soups. Best dinner was the specialty teppanyaki, well worth the $25 fee. You can get anything you want on the menu, combined.... they don't tell you that, but we learned from someone ordering from our table! So order up and enjoy all the filet, seafood you want! Shows were by standard....just a cruise show. Guess I'm spoiled with having been on the Oasis/Allure and seeing broadway shows, etc. Casino was very smoking. Wish they could learn how to upscale there ventilation system in that part of ship. Spa was awesome. We both bought the week pkg. to enjoy the sauna/steam, hot tubs, and reclining tiled lounge chairs..... so worth the $119 for the whole week. They only sell a certain amount, so this area is not over crowded, well worth heading to spa upon boarding to insure we got this package. Overall it was fun, as my sister and I just made the best of it, but I will not be cruising NCL again, as there are better cruise companies in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our adventure started on Saturday, February 18, 2012. They say you can board at 11am, but the problem is that you still have people coming off the ship at that time. We (myself and Daughter 8 years old) met my parents (they paid for the ... Read More
Our adventure started on Saturday, February 18, 2012. They say you can board at 11am, but the problem is that you still have people coming off the ship at that time. We (myself and Daughter 8 years old) met my parents (they paid for the trip). You go to pier 88 on top and as you walk inside they have people taking your suite cases. Then you go through a maze of lines. Since we were were in the priority check in, we went on a short line, but the line for others went faster than ours. Very disorganized and confusing. Once information provide, pictures, credit card and passport information, we got to wait at The Priority Lounge. A room with seats, beverages of coffee, tea, juices and water and fruits and danishes. We waited and then we went on the ship and told to head to Cagney's steak house for lunch. Well, they were very disorganized and it's an extra charge of $25 a person. for children if they do the standard menu it's free it not it's another charge. During the cruise ship you have to hand sanitize your hands all the time. After a crazy disorganized lunch, we were seated needed more time and then forgot about. matre d' spoke with 2 waiters and still nothing, until finally one came by. After lunch we heard the announcement that the rooms were not ready. By the time we walked we entered the room, met with our Ship's Steward His name was Romero and he was amazing. He took the time to assist in every way, and remembered our names. our room was on level 10, we had a suite which was nicer than my home. We had a butler and before the trip we were excited about the butler. (never had one) and disappointed when we he arrived. He filled our beverages and gave us fruit and sandwiches in the afternoon right before we were to eat dinner. Our room had a pull out couch, which was great and hard. All foam. The living room had a TV set (flat) 2 entrances to balcony on side of ship. A comfy chair and another to lie on. A table to eat at, cabinets had wine and glasses, all the menus for the restaurants. Refrigerator and coffee machine, a bathroom with toilet and sink. The next room had a computer, desk, nice size bed, TV set in wall, another balcony in the front of the ship. Bathroom had dual sink, shower in one area, toilet in another, bathtub and flat screen TV, two windows to see out and the other to see side deck. In the evening if the lights were on in the bedroom Romero came and closed the curtain. The light bothered the captain's view of the ocean. One night the door wasn't closed correctly, turns out on the back of the door, is a latch that keeps the door open. For those that stay in these room. Announcements were made but never in the rooms always in the hallway. They had a schedule of each day's itinerary. They had a leaving port party at the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13th. They had Spongebob come out. Thing to know if you've never cruised NCL. The right side of the ramp is where you form a line to have your picture take with Spongebob. Lucky for us, my step father was taking pictures so he got to the very beginning of the line. There was a long line. They suggested Azura's for dinner. When we arrived it was packed for 4 people, had room for 2 people. When asked about the wait, the matre d'/hosts, had a find out the wait, it was 20/30 minutes. We went to Tsar's palace. Which is in the back of the cruise ship. Chin Chin, Mongolian Hot Pot and Jazz Brunch is $15 a person. Sushi A La Carte you pay for the pieces. Teppanyaki, hibachi make sure you make reservations when you enter cruise ship. They were full only 10pm meals were available. Le Bistro (French) $20 extra, Mama's Italian and Tango ($10 extra). I'm not a restaurant expert but the food was okay. Not much to brag about. I didn't mind the Garden Cafe which was self service, buffet style, which was fine for me. They had 2 ice cream machines that were in the Garden Cafe one when you first come in on your right, past the coffee machines and one in the back where they had another Buffet style restaurant. The front machine serves dual chocolate and vanilla ice cream, then vanilla and chocolate. That machine had the pink ice cream was in the back. ice cream cones and sprinkles and chopped cookies. Kids clubs - they had an assortment and they went by your child's age. It was to compare to Disney it was really different. But, they did do a lot with the children. They started at 9:00am and ended at 10:30pm, after that you had to pay additional costs for the kids club. They reminded you that they are not a baby sitting service and if your child has to be changed they will contact you to change your child. 2 days at sea after leaving New York City, and the view of the city was amazing. We arrived at Port Canaveral at 12:00pm and left and 9:30pm. We went to Coco Beach and walked around a bit, not much happening. Tuesday we headed towards Great Stirrup Cay. We did snorkeling and had a nice time. Get off the ship early to save your seats. Then on Wednesday we were at Nassau, Bahamas. Waited on a long line for the excursions. Last bus left Atlantis @ 5pm and came every 1/2 hour after 1pm. The water was choppy and you had to walk a lot. Hot Dogs were $6.50, so bring lots of credit cards, most areas take credit cards and no cash. We did the swimming with Sea Lions, which were a bit scary for me being so big. But, it was a nice experience. We'd go back to Atlantis, Bahamas just to experience what we missed out in during the day. All in all it was a nice time. But, I still LOVE the Disney Cruise better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our 4th trip on NCL, but our 1st on the Jewel. We've sailed RC before and primarily sailed the Caribbean. We've departed from NJ before (cape liberty), but this was our first sailing out of NY and having done it, will ... Read More
This was our 4th trip on NCL, but our 1st on the Jewel. We've sailed RC before and primarily sailed the Caribbean. We've departed from NJ before (cape liberty), but this was our first sailing out of NY and having done it, will definatelty look to do so again. For those in NY or planning to travel from NY, its a breeze. We're out on Long Island, so had someone drop us off at 1pm, there was a 10 minute line, 10 min registration process, and we were on board in about 20 minutes total. Cape Liberty was also easy, but about 30-45 minutes for the entire process. Because we travel with kids (7,5,1), any time spent waiting excesively can turn into an issue with the younger ones. After fdoing the math and figuring out the cost/headache/bag charges/etc of flying to FL vs the extra charge of sailing from NY, we're probably ahead by $100pp (5 of us) and less frustrated. The boat itself was nicely appointed. Since we've sailed many times, we now opt for inside cabins and the savings that come with those. One point for the inside cabin..our room, and the room of another family we spoke with was laid out a bit differently. We usually have cabins with 2 bunk beds that are attached to the wall; with this room, one was, but the 4th bed was a pull out from Under that came up between the two single beds, making one large giant bed that stretched the width of the cabin. Worked well enough for us as a family, but I kept thinking, what happens if 4 friends are traveing..this forces 3 to sleep in one bed :/ As many have commented, the bath stall is very large on this ship; the rest of the bath is standard size. To make that larger stall, they did tap into some of the cabin space. Kids Club: We spent most of our time here and out poolside. The club is just inside the pool area, making it close/acessible. They take kids from 3 and up, so we had to keep our 1yr old with us. No separate babysitting options avail. The kids are grouped from 3-6, and 7 and up. There is no cost for the club when the ship is at sea. You do pay per hour after 10pm, or when docked. It was $10/hr for both kids. Both absolutely loved it, and my oldest preferred that vs the pool area at times. The staff there did make it lots of fun, and they had lots of different activities daily. Pool area: Large circular slide - goes slow until you pick up your feet and then you whip down. My son got hurt by another child who didn't wait for him to clear the bottom area. I saw many in their teens and 20's whipping down and leaving a bit of skin at the bottom of the slide - just a head's up. There is a 2nd pool on the other side of the stage and this was where most of adults congregated. The entire area was a bit smaller that other ships we've traveled, and this is becaue of the space given up by the larger suites. They have their own private pool/sunbathing area, and this does take out some of the space alloted to the general area. The first 2 and last 2 days where we were at sea were the days when chairs/tables are at a premium. Each day, they had BBQ out at the pool area, and the menu considted of bbq chicken, ribs (DELICIOUS), sausages, etc. This was a highlight and lines got a bit long at times. Servers were always around trying to sell the standard bucket of beer, buy 5 get 1 free. They had daily drink specials, some we tried which were just okay. Club Nick: So while this wasn't a full Nickelodeon cruise, there were a few activities daily that kept the kids busy. Dance with Dora, meet spongebob, take pics with with them, 3 Nick shows in the theatre where families and kids got onstage and did the typical callenges, 2 challenges in the pool area, designing your own picture frame. These were good distractions w/o being too overwhelming. Entertaimnent: with a 1 yr in tow, we didn't go to all shows, but most of the shows typically play on the cabin TV, so we saw some of that. The commedian (forgot his name) from America's got talent was a HUGE waste of 60 minutes. Nothing special or spectacular. The last show, similar to Circ du solei, was well worth it and very entertainig (acrobats,dancing, hanging from the ceiling, etc). There was a guitar player in one of the bar lobby area, a la John Mayer, but I personally didn't care for him. there was also a paino player who had a Billy Joel tribute, which was enjoyable. Dining: the two main dining rooms were just okay, nothing special. The menu was a bit disappointing. With the younger kids, we ended up doing the buffet 3 times, and the kids and I enjoyed being able to taste everything vs having 1 entree. I actually preferred these over the dining rooms. We did eat at Cagneys with another couple and that was a very good meal. We also ate at the Japanese restuarant (hibachi style) and that was Exceptional. Kids enjoyed, but the cusine itself was very delicious. These restaurants were either $20 or $25pp, but kids under 12 were 1/2 price. I'd definately recommend taking the kids to the Japanese, and had we done that 1st, we would have gone back for 2nds. Unlike other ships, the attire on the Jewel was VERY laid back. Mostly shorts, jeans, polos. I rarely saw button downs, I saw perhaps 3 ties, and 2 jackets, and only 1 person in a tux. most of my suits/blazers sat in the closet so if you enjoy dressing up/formal, you'll be one of a few doing so. Most of the staff was hospitable, but not everyone greeted us wiht a warm 'hello', but none were rude either. Announcements are only heard outside the cabin. There's no control knob for an in=room speaker - that's both good and bad - you're not woken by the cruise director talking about bingo, but you also don't hear that the ship has docked/cleared and okay to proceed to 4th floor to get of. Daily agenda is FULL of stuff to do, so take a highlighter so that you can plan on which things you want to do. I did not use the Spa, but my wife and friend did and she said it was nicely apponted and enjoyable. No hard sell on their prodcuts, but she still came back with a bag full of stuff which were reasonably priced. Excursions: This was a last minute trip for us since we already have a vacation booked in July. With a 1 yr old, we weren't sure what we would do. When we cruise by ourselves, we alternate between going on our own vs the planned excursions. This time, we played it by ear and ended up booking no excursions. However, we ended up going to a beach at each port (Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Maarten, Tortola). In PR, we took the city bus which cost us about $8 for all of us r/t. The beach wasn't the greatest, but we saw some of the city, and the ride was ~20 mins which is the longest the baby could stand. No fee at beach, snacks and coconuts at vendor stand. At the other 3 islands, we found taxis at the ports and the cost was again 1/4 of an excursion. We didn't feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point (except the hilly areas in tortola when the roads were wet). The taxis cost either $9, $8 or $4 for adults and kids were either 1/2 px or free. Just talking to the drivers gave us a sense of what beaches we wanted (away from tourists). At one point in St. Thomas, the driver stopped at one of the tourist beaches to drop off other passengers, and while pretty, it was crowded and many people hawknig their wares. We opted for the other tranquil beach and it was beautiful, seculded, great lunch, and the driver waited for us the 3 hours we were there (Hidden Cay if I recall the name). In St Maarten, we again took a taxi to a near beach around the first bend. It was in a private resort area, but no entracee fee, nice beach, great restaurant and we also got to enjoy the pool area. Tortola - not much to do there, small island, we went to a local beach and found many of the same people from the Jewl. Theres usually a sense of not having to worry when you book via the cruise line, but we befrended another family that did take excursions, and almost always, our trips were as good as, if not better, than theirs, and cost us Significantly less - If you're adventurous, go it on your own, and spend the $$$ you save at dinner or at the bar :) Overall, as a last minute trip Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This being my 5th cruise, it was the second time leaving from NYC and the first time we took our 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter with us. The children go on vacation with us every year to Florida where we have a week at a ... Read More
This being my 5th cruise, it was the second time leaving from NYC and the first time we took our 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter with us. The children go on vacation with us every year to Florida where we have a week at a time share resort in Orlando. We were anxious to see how the four of us would enjoy a cruise vacation compared to a land-based, luxury resort vacation. We are from Canada, so unlike many of the passengers, we required flights in and out of NYC. Getting flights to NYC is easy and we spent a fantastic weekend in the city at the front of the trip. Getting to the ship from our hotel by taxi was fast and easy. The lineup to board was about 25 minutes. We checked our luggage in one of the restaurants (as the rooms were not ready) and proceeded to the Great Outdoors at the stern of the ship for lunch. It was sunny but cool and we opted to move indoors to eat. The lunch was a full buffet and a very enjoyable start to the cruise. By 2 oclock, the room was ready and retrieved our luggage and unpacked. The room was a balcony stateroom on deck 9. Before seeing the room, we were leary of the four of us spending a week together in such a small cabin. Our fears were unfounded as the room was well laid out and we had plenty of space to move around comfortably. There was ample closet space, shelves, and drawers for us to put away our belongings. Our winter coats etc we placed in suitcases under the double bed. The sleeping arrangements were a double bed, a pull out loveseat, and an ingenious bunk that retracted into the ceiling during the day. The bathroom was in three compartments, a shower with glass sliding door, a vanity, and a toilet, also with a sliding door. I am 6'2 and had lots of space to shower, shave, and...read the paper. We had originally booked an ocean view room, but upgraded to a balcony. It was worth the extra money and I advise it. You will have more space, it lets all that sunlight and fresh air in, and there is nothing better than a room service coffee on your private sundeck first thing in the morning. The room was attended to by Greg and Ramone, both of whom were very professional and friendly. The room would be made up as soon as we left for breakfast and would be turned down as soon as we left in the evening for dinner. The towel animals were a hit with the children. Every time we returned to the room it was sparkling clean and tidy. The food is a big part of taking any vacation, and the Jewel certainly has lots to offer. We did not attend any of the specialty restaurants so I cant comment on those, although they seemed to be popular options for most people. We had room service delivered every morning with coffee and hot chocolate. We ate breakfast at the main buffet half the time and the other half at the Blue Lagoon. The Garden Cafe was over the top and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Being Canadian, we do get a little picky about our coffee. It has to be hot. The coffee machines on the ship served fresh ground coffee but sometimes it was hot and sometimes just warm. It has to be hot. Enough said. The Blue Lagoon served a nice simple breakfast. It has a limited menu but it is nice to get served sometimes rather than buffet. It was never crowded and its a really nice upscale decore with all seats right on the windows. Once I sent my scrambled eggs back for not being cooked, ordered sunny side up instead, and they came back not cooked. That was the only food issue that came up the entire week. It is very well staffed and is open 24 hours a day. We ate lunch most days at the Garden Buffet. It is the best buffet on any ship. There are so many stations and it is so well designed that there is never any lines. It had food that would suit all tastes, from burgers and fries to sushi and Indian and everything in between. Getting a seat within 25 feet of the buffet at lunch was a challenge, however, there were dozens and dozens of tables in the surrounding areas, including the Great Outdoors and Mamma's kitchen, all open to the buffet guests. Staff and crew also ate there and were quite friendly and interactive with the guests. The Captain and many of the officers were seen there daily chatting away and smiling. We ate dinner at Tzar's Palace 2/3 and Azura 1/3 of the time. Both were great. The waiters were professional and the maitre d' were much more visible and interactive than on any other ship. In the past, a maitre d' would greet you at the entrance and that"s it. On the Jewel, they visit every table and ask you how your meal is going and if there is anything they can do for you. Food is very subjective, everyone has a different oppinion of what makes great food. I would say that the overall experience in both dining rooms was outstanding for the price of the cruise. Was the food the best I have ever eaten? No, but it was really good. I had fish every night and was pleased with the selection from night to night: halibut, talapia, salmon, lobster, shrimp kebobs. My wife had steak, roast beef, lobster, and shrimp kebobs. One night she had scallops as an appetizer and we had never seen scallops so small before that we thought they made a mistake with her order. The children were treated royally in the dining rooms and we appreciated the extra attention they received. The youngest, our daughter, ordered from the childrens menu, and our son, the 11 year old, ordered from the adult menu. They always had lots of chocolate milk and juice and bread to keep them occupied while waiting for the food to arrive. Each night we went to dinner at 6pm and were finished in time to go get great seats for the show by 7pm. The show started at 7:30 and the seats were mostly filled by then. The entertainment was fantastic and was a highlight of the trip. Each night we continued to be more impressed then the previous night. Take the time to go to the shows, you will be glad you did. We have gone to some shows in Vegas that would be comparable. The ship itself is clean and bright and really interesting decor. There is something for everybody to do on board from the pools and waterslide, the spa and gym, tennis, basketball, golf, ping pong tables, shuffle board, library, games room, kids club, arcade, karaoke, bingo, night clubs, and on and on. If you can't find something to do or enjoy on this ship, you may be just one of those hard to please people. My daughter loved the kids club so much she is still talking about it a month later. By the way, parents, there is NO CHARGE for that! It's included. They did parades, crafts, contests, I dont know all what they did but she loved it. My son made about a dozen friends to play sports with and was having a blast with the table tennis, oversized chess board, basketball, tennis, golf etc. All the equipment was available to borrow and he just loved every minute of the whole cruise. We didnt even get off the ship in Canaveral. The day we stopped in Canaveral was sunny and hot, and we skipped our plans to go ashore and head to Cocoa beach. We were enjoying the band by the pool, the ship was a little more relaxing, and they set up some webber charcoal barbeques by pool in a buffet that was too good to pass up. So we stayed and played. The next day we stopped in Great Stirrup Key. It was a beautiful island in the middle of the ocean. Some people were getting impatient in the line to get off the ship and were cutting line and being rude to fellow passengers by pushing and shoving. I can only think this must happen every Wednesday on the ship so I am suprised that the process was not better controlled and managed by the multitude of staffers. Enough on that. The tenders were really big and held lots of passengers once they loaded up. It was about a 2 minute tender ride to the island. The food was all set up, a complete hot and cold buffet including pizza, salads, burgers, pasta, you name it, they served it. It was a beautiful sunny day and the most incredible beach we have ever swam at. The following day was Nassau. If you've ever been on a cruise, chances are you've been to Nassau and not much has changed there. We took a cab to a hotel at cable beach and paid the fee to use their pool area, beach area, and water boats (kayaks, paddle boats etc) Another beautiful beach and less crowded and much less expensive than Paradise Island. We'd been to Paradise before and wanted to try something different. The kids liked the beach but were a little frightened of the downtown area and couldnt get back on the boat fast enough. This vacation compared favorably to a land based vacation for our family. For my wife, it was nice that she could spend so much time reading and relaxing instead of picking up after us or meal planning. For me, I liked not having to drive anywhere and I liked every aspect of the entire vacation. The kids enjoyed being on the boat as Suite Life on Deck is one of their favorite shows. They thoroughly enjoyed it and are still talking about it. The freestyle meals worked perfectly for us, we ate when it was convenient and we definitely had lots to eat. Many of the people on board were families with children, so I'm not sure I would recommend this particular cruise to my parents and their friends in their 70's. That being said, it is a great ship for grandparents traveling with their grandchildren. I would highly recommend this boat for families traveling with kids. If you are a newlywed couple looking for nightclubs and discos and late night partying, this is probably not the boat for you. The clubs tend to be more karaoke and piano bars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our 4th cruise. We have taken Norwegian 3 times (The Dawn) and Carnival (Victory) once. First off, we were disappointed with the design of the Jewel. We had heard it was newer version of The Dawn. Well, they did a number of things ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. We have taken Norwegian 3 times (The Dawn) and Carnival (Victory) once. First off, we were disappointed with the design of the Jewel. We had heard it was newer version of The Dawn. Well, they did a number of things we didn't like. They made kids club much smaller! The on-deck play area for kids and water slide was pathetic, certainly not as nice as The Dawn. The gym was smaller and was tucked into midship, and they eliminated the movie theater. So if you have kids, big letdown right off the bat. We started day #1 by checking our kids into Kids Club. We have one child with autism and explained that he needs to move around a bit. We NEVER had problem on The Dawn, so didn't think there would be an issue on this trip. Well 10 minutes after he was in there, they kicked him out. All they did was lecture us on what he did wrong, not inquire as to what he might like to do to help him integrate better. Please understand, there were 6+ counselors for 10 or so kids. Instead of interacting with them, they were LOUNGING on the windows talking amongst each other. What did they have the kids doing? Coloring in a circle on the floor? Do they understand boys like move around a bit? Well, we certainly didn't feel comfortable with staff, and NEVER brought him back. Like I said, never a problem on The Dawn with him. One of my other sons went to this Kids Club a couple times and for first time ever on cruise ship, said he was BORED in Kids Club. Lots of coloring and doing next to nothing. Once when we picked him up, a counselor was SLEEPING on window sill while kids were doing what you ask? Yup, you guessed it, coloring.... The staff including room stewards, wait staff, and whole crew seemed lackluster. After day 3, there must have been an outbreak of virus because we could no longer serve ourselves food. What made this a big inconvenience is staff did not serve plates, food and drinks, fast enough, thus long lines ensued. To top it off, we all had stomach issues on boat, for first time cruising. So I give this cruise a "D-" if you have kids, and a C if you don't. The entire staff could learn a whole lot by taking a cruise on The Dawn to see how to treat passengers. I actually hate to write such a negative review, but am just relaying our thoughts about the cruise. I will try another cruise line next time around. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our first sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line. We had four people in our party--two adults and two children (ages 8 and 11). We had chosen this cruise because it was one of the few "Nickelodeon at Sea" cruises that was a ... Read More
This was our first sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line. We had four people in our party--two adults and two children (ages 8 and 11). We had chosen this cruise because it was one of the few "Nickelodeon at Sea" cruises that was a 10 night sailing instead of a 7 night and it left out of New York which meant no airfare for us (yay!). We chose to get to and from New York by hiring a driver from a local limousine company. The cost of this (from South Jersey) was about $400 roundtrip + tip. We found this to be very reasonable considering the fact that parking, tolls, and fuel to park at the cruise terminal would have been almost $400 for the 11 days. Doing it this way also allowed us to relax during our ride and not have to fight the city traffic. We arrived at the cruise terminal about 11:00 am. When we got there, things were very organized. It looked like a lot of people and we tought we were going to be waiting forever, but it ended up taking us about 35-40 minutes total from when we got there, to when we actually boarded the ship. As soon as we got on the ship, we went directly to Tsar's Palace for lunch and avoided the crowd at the buffet (as recommended by other Cruise Critic reviewers). After we were done eating they started calling us by the decks whose rooms were ready. Ours (deck 9) was ready about 2:00. We went to our rooms as soon as they were called. We had gotten two inside staterooms. We had sailed this way on our last cruise and found this to work well for us. It gave the 4 of us extra room without being a financial strain on our family as a suite or villa would have. The rooms were very clean and comfortable and were a decent size (considering it's a cruise cabin). The layout of the bathroom was nice and the shower seemed larger as well (compared to our previous cruise on RCCL). The shower has a detachable shower head and has a dispenser for shampoo and body wash. If you have longer hair as I do, remember to bring conditioner, as it is not provided in your stateroom. Everything in the room was great and it had lots of storage space. The only negative was an outdated 13" TV...but since we watched very little of it, it didn't matter much to us. The housekeeping staff, especially Bayron, was great and kept our room spotless. I was a little let down by the lack of towel animals on our cruise. We only had two during our 10 nights--we got spoiled on RCCL getting a new one every night and the kids were looking forward to it. If anyone has a celebration on their cruise and are curious, I purchased the birthday package for my daughter who turned 8 on embarkation day. This package cost me $30 (you have to pay for it at least 2 weeks prior to sailing) and it included a birthday cake left in your room, a couple of happy birthday signs, and some streamers. My daughter loved it and thought it was wonderful how the NCL people knew it was her birthday and decorated the room for her (ha ha!). You can also request a cake in either of the main dining rooms and they will bring it out and sing to the birthday person. The Jewel was beautiful!!! All of the the public areas were meticulous and were beautifully decorated. When we docked next to other ships in port, their ships paled in comparison to the classiness of the Jewel. Although she is a few years old, they do a wonderful job of maintaining her. Our meet and greet was fun. It was great to see all of the people that I had been talking with on the boards these past few months. We also got to meet some of the officers and management of the ship. Make sure you go to yours if you are signed up, as it was also great to see these familiar faces throughout the rest of your cruise. The quality of the food on the Jewel was ok. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. We were always able to find something we liked. But in all fairness, for those of you that want a comparison, the food on RCCL was much better. If you want to pull something positive out of that--having "just ok" food on the cruise wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as I didn't overstuff myself and gain the weight that I did the last time we cruised. We ate mostly at the buffet for breakfast, the poolside grill or the buffet for lunch, and Tsar's or Azura for dinner. Other than a couple of good waiters in Tsar's Palace--Alexander and Horace--food service overall on this cruise was very poor. There was an outbreak of the norovirus on our cruise and we heard a large number of the staff were affected. I have a feeling that a lot of staff that normally work in non-food service areas were pulled into the restaurants to serve the guests since the normal servers were sick. This caused us to have some very bad meals. The biggest problem was the language barrier--other than knowing the names of the foods on the menu, if you had to ask for anything else, you were in trouble cause they had no idea what you were saying. This became very frustrasting. The other big issue was the timing of the food delivery. There were times when 3 appetizers were delivered and the 4th person had to wait 20 minutes for their appetizer to arrive. Another instance was when two of us had our dinners, and the other 2 took 15 minutes to come out. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea. Because of this norovirus outbreak, everything in the buffet was no longer self-serve. They had staff set up to hand out plates and silverware, and you could not use the tongs to get the food yourself, you would point to what you wanted and they would put it on your plate. They even had staff members sanitizing your hands at every doorway throughout the public food areas, to the point that if you walked from one end of the buffet to the other, you got sprayed twice. This didn't bother me much because I work in the healthcare field and I am a bit of a germophobe already. The only thing that really DID bother me about this is that the staff did not follow the same sanitation procedures that we did. The guests were all squeaky clean and yet I saw NUMEROUS staff members sneezing into their hands and then continuing to hand out plates or serve drinks. This disgusted me because I felt that they were the reason that this norovirus was spreading. I did find that there were not a lot of late night poolside events as compared to our cruise with RCCL. We were hoping for things like midnight barbecues and parties. They did offer a chocoholic buffet one night (unfortunately it was not poolside). Don't waste your time at this. We are all chocolate lovers (as I'm sure most of you are), but the chocolate cakes and cookies were dry and awful. The only reason I would say to go is for the comic relief of seeing all of the people form a HUGE line wrapping around the ship and CHARGE into the buffet once they opened the doors. We all laughed at them as you would have thought they'd never seen chocolate in their lives! Keep your small children closeby as they will plow over them to get to the chocolate (that sucked anyway!) On to a happier subject...the Nickelodeon at Sea activities. I was a little worried before we sailed because so many reviews said that there weren't many Nickelodeon activities. This was very untrue. The only thing is (if you are not sailing with children you will like to hear this), you have to seek them out as they are not right in your faces. At the beginning of the cruise, if you have a child with you, they give you a schedule of all of the planned Nickelodeon events. There is about 2 each day. This schedule tells you what the event is, what time, and where it is going to be held. As long as you follow this schedule, there is plenty of Nickelodeon activities. They had lots of meet and greets with various characters, slime time shows, Nick arts and crafts, and the character breakfast (an extra fee--$15 for adults, $10 for children). The Nickelodeon staff was awesome and our entire family loved them!! Billy was the leader of the gang, and then there was Dana, Justina, Joel, and Brian. All of them had wonderful personalities and made this cruise so enjoyable for our family. In fact, because we showed up for every Nickelodeon event, they asked us to be in the big Slime Time Live show on stage and of course...we got slimed--yuck!!! The only thing that I would say was disappointing (and this has nothing to do with the Nick crew) is that we were disappointed that NCL did not incorporate the Nickelodeon theme into their kids club...then it would have been perfect. My kids enjoyed the kids club although there were not a lot of kids on this cruise. This caused my 11-year-old son to be grouped with the 6-9 year old kids which he was not to happy about at first, but ended up having a good time. All of the evening shows were very entertaining! Our entire family loved them! Out of all 10 nights, there was only one or two that I thought were just ok...all of the others were great and a must-see. All of the ports we visited were great--San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Maarteen, and Tortola. Tortola was the only one that we were a little bit let down by because we visited on a Sunday when all of the local businesses are closed, so there wasn't much to do--but the island did look gorgeous. We did not book any excursions with NCL so we don't have any reviews on that for you. We booked one Snuba excursion privately (through the internet) in St. Thomas which also gave us free admission to Coral World which is a must-see. We got to see a sea lion up close and personal, and my kids got to hand feed stingrays, sea turtles, and iguanas. They also got to pick up starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. This was an incredible experience! Other than that, most of the ports were spent at either the beach or browsing in the stores. This was the first 10-night cruise that the Jewel had sailed, as all of the ones that were sailed recently had been 7 nights long. This was definitely noticed as it seems like they ran out of steam on day eight. Alot of the staff looked tired, and alot of the food and activites were repeated (even our favorite Nickelodeon slime time show was seen twice). It was noticed even more because our last 2 1/2 days were at sea and we were looking for things to do. I guess the last thing to say is be sure to bring your cameras on this cruise as NCL's photos were very expensive at $19.95 a print!!! Another thing that they missed their mark on was that they didn't make a cruise DVD for you to buy. When we sailed RCCL, they filmed all of the main events and parties during our cruise and then sold the DVD's for about $20-$25 for you to have as a souvenier. We were looking forward to buying this as we participated in so many things on this cruise, only to find out that the only DVD that NCL sold was a generic one about the ports that we visited. What made this even more puzzling is that we know they videotaped these events because you can watch them on your stateroom TV throughout the cruise...so why not put them all together and make a few bucks off of it--it makes no sense! Overall, I would sail the Jewel again. I just hope that they make some improvements to the food service staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We just returned from our 10 day caribbean cruise. A little background about us. My wife and I are in our mid to late twenties. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean and NCL. We were accompanied by my family. Embarkation was very ... Read More
We just returned from our 10 day caribbean cruise. A little background about us. My wife and I are in our mid to late twenties. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean and NCL. We were accompanied by my family. Embarkation was very fast. We arrived at the pier at 10:30 and were eating lunch in Tsars Palace by noon. This was the fastest embarkation we have had and NCL has this part perfect. The weather on the way down was sunny and warm on both of the sea days. I attended the Cruise Critic meet and greet and got the pleasure to meet a lot of nice people. We also got to attend a private bridge tour which was very informative. We enjoy getting away from the cold winters in Connecticut and this itinerary didn't let us down. We couldn't of asked for nicer weather during this cruise. Sunny and temperatures in the mid 80's was the norm for the week. In San Juan we walked around and did some shopping. We've been here several times. St. Thomas was the highlight of our cruise. We docked at 9am and took the taxi to Red Hook which took less than 25 minutes. We took the ferry to Cruz Bay St. John's and went to Francis Bay. We had the beach to ourselves. The snorkeling was very good. We saw several sea turtles, stingrays, and some large tarpon. We took the 3pm ferry back to do some shopping in St. Thomas. Antigua greeted us to another great weather day. We decided to go to Pineapple beach. We had a great beach day. We decided to go to Orient beach while visiting St. Maarten. We got padded loungers at Kakao and stayed here until early afternoon. We wanted to see the planes come in at Maho. For anyone who hasn't done this, it is a must. It's fun every time we go. We were bummed out that the tour to Jost Van Dyke had been cancelled, so we booked the Virgin Gorda Baths. Great place to visit. We only had a half day in Tortola and Captain Wayne made sure we enjoyed every minute of it. The Food on this cruise was good. There were two nights that there wasn't anything on the menu in the main dining rooms that caught my eye. We went to the specialty restaurant Tangos one night. The lobster tacos were yummy and all the food delicious. This was our favorite night. We also went to Le Bistro which was very good as well. The beef tenderloin was to die for. The service on the ship rated very high. The staff made sure you were going to enjoy the cruise, going well above and beyond their responsibilities. We met a lot of new faces and made a lot of new friends. Any negative reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, and unfortunately many seem to carry a grey cloud over their head. You just can't make some people happy. It was appalling to me to see some passengers treating the crew in a rude manner. Especially when we felt the service was exceptionable. Make sure to ask for Joel and Akash in the Azura Dining room. Luciana, the cruise consultant helped us out a lot. Although, we did not have a suite we saw a familiar face from our past cruise, Adrian. If you have a suite, he is the best Concierge. He is top notch when it comes to making sure that your going to have a cruise of a lifetime. Captain Lars did an exceptional job maneuvering the ship. I never could tell when we were coming into and out of ports of call, it was so smooth. Make sure not to miss the behind the scenes tour. We thought the tour was very informative and were able to see how hard the crew works to make sure everyone has a great experience. The entertainment was overall very good. Massimo and Alessi in Incanto and the Cirque show were a must see. Embarkation was a breeze. We decided to walk off with our luggage. NCL has the express walk off down to the tee and we were on our way home only minutes after they let us off. Only Con we have is that our cruise is over. Already looking for our next cruise with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was my family's fourth Eastern Caribbean cruise in as many years. Although we didn't have plans for a cruise this winter as I took a "Honeymoon Cruise" in September, when I saw the prices and mentioned them to the ... Read More
This was my family's fourth Eastern Caribbean cruise in as many years. Although we didn't have plans for a cruise this winter as I took a "Honeymoon Cruise" in September, when I saw the prices and mentioned them to the family the response was "Book It!". We live in the NY area, on Long Island, so the trip to the ship is normally a "piece of cake". The day before the cruise we got a foot of snow and were concerned about the limo ride. As luck would have it everything was cleaned up and we had no problems. That was the first good news. The Embarkation had to be one of the best ever. We had arrived early because of our unfounded fear of traffic delays. The trip through security and the pre-boarding check in was a snap and well organized. We did have to wait almost an hour while they "cleaned" the ship. They said they do that every few trips but we suspected some "norovirus" might have occurred last trip. When the boarding started everything went smoothly. Our cabin, a mini-suite, was as expected. Our last two trips were on the NCL Gem in the same cabin type so we knew what to expect. We did spot a notice that they were offering a "Special Deal" for the first 50 folks with a 10 day pass to the spa for $119. We signed the wives up and they loved it. We departed about 30 minutes late due to the extra cleaning I suppose. There are two "Main Dinning Rooms". The bigger one "Tzar's Palace" is entered from deck 7 aft and a smaller one on deck 6 called Azure. Our experience on the Gem was the smaller one was better. Although they share the same kitchen the service and noise level was better in the Gem's "Magenta" dinning room. The opposite was true on the Jewel. The small dinning room had poor service and it seemed no dress code. I try not to be a "prig" but if I want to see sloppy people eating in flip flops while their children play computer games at the table I can go to Mc Donalds at home. The Tsar's Palace on the other hand was 4 star every time. We also ate at "Chin-Chin" Chineese and Mama's Italian Kitchen. Both of these "pay resturants" were worth every penny. To qualify that, I am Italian and I love to cook. I do not go to Italian resturants because, as all Italians know, Mom's cooking was best. I have to admit even the sauce at the buffet was good. (Sorry Mom)Somebody in the kitchen knows what he/she is doing! To conclude my "ship review", the ship is well laid out. The stations at the buffet were a big help. The first two days were tough with the crew serving food but it got better after that. I suppose there will always be people wandering about as if they hadn't ever been on a buffet before or are new to food. The bussing at the buffet was quick and it wasn't to hard to find a table. I thought the food was above average and better then the Gem. The ship itself was very clean and, as usual in my experience, the cabin attendants were wonderful. My only complaint with the food service was the coffee area back aft of the Garden Cafe was often closed. I understand they don't serve food there all day. There is a great seating area with tables back there and there were always folks sitting out side with a cup of coffee or some iced tea. When they closed the food line they also closed the coffee machines causing you to have to walk into the buffet to get a cup of coffee or an iced tea and then walk back through the crowds. My other complaint was with the "Customer Service Desk". The short version was I booked three cabins at the same time, through the same agent, with the same credit card. We were to receive $100 cabin credit from NCL and an additional $140 from the Booking Agent. One cabin did get the additional $140 but the other two did not. I went to the desk to have them fix the oversight assuming they would contact my agent, their "Travel Partner", and fix it. Not so. Their responce was to "contact the office in Miami" and then decline the credit. When I asked for an explaination they told me to see my travel agent when I got home. After being "jerked around" for most of the cruise they said my agent agreed to give me a credit when I got home. I have worked in Customer Service for 31 years and never would have gotten away with that. THey should have issued the credit and worked it out with my agent, their "Travel Partner" in my opinion. My brother and I both spent the cruise with the feeling we were being "ripped off" and being treated poorly till the last two days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I must say that if this were my first cruise I probably would not ever cruise again; fortunately this was my seventh cruise and I know that our experience on the Jewel is not the standard in the cruise industry. I should note that five of ... Read More
I must say that if this were my first cruise I probably would not ever cruise again; fortunately this was my seventh cruise and I know that our experience on the Jewel is not the standard in the cruise industry. I should note that five of my cruises were on Royal Caribbean (who set the bar very high in my opinion). My biggest disappointment with this ship is that it has the potential to be well above average, but sadly fell short. Embarkation to the ship was smooth and uneventful (just the way we like it!) Port staff were courteous and helpful. The ship was clean, modern and inviting. Upon embarkation our room was not ready until mid afternoon, but this is the norm and the remainder of the ship was ready to go (bars, lounges, pools, buffet, etc. The room (a quad exterior cabin on the 8th deck) was again the industry standard; well appointed, clean and functional. The only issues I have with the cabin is that not once did I meet our room steward as he did not come to introduce himself. There were a few evenings he did not lower the bunk. On only one evening did we get a "towel animal" (standard on all other cruises we have been on). Also we did not receive and laundry bags (a bit irritating when they promote low cost laundry services), in fact when my wife's bag finally arrived, she asked the steward or assistant steward for the laundry bags and also told him that we could not access the safe and if he would reset it - this was never done. Incidentally, the laundry which is should normally arrive by 6pm the following day did not arrive for us to have pressed clothes in time for dinner. The less than stellar service we experienced in the room radiated throughout the boat from the bar servers to the wait staff, etc. Again; the ship had so much potential but came up well short. It should be noted that there was one shining star; the assistant maitre d'at Chin Chin (Rozalia from the Philippines); but I will detail this later. Disembarkation at our first port of call (Roatan, Honduras) was smooth and in line with the industry standard (it should be noted that we were docked). Our family decided to take the cruise line excursion "Island Sight Seeing and Beach Break". We have been on many city tours on our cruises and find this the fastest way to get a little history as well as the local flavor of the area. On this tour our guide, pointed out such things as gas stations, sewage treatment plants, the local power authority and little else; not a great start to the trip and not much information on the history or culture of the island. This left us wanting more as the area looks really interesting and vibrant. This is a port of call I would visit again and take a different tour. The beach break part of the tour was good; the beach was nice and well groomed. Unfortunately for us it rained; but hey, that's Mother Nature! Our second port of call was Belize. At this port the ship is anchored and passengers take tenders to the port. For this port we chose the shore excursion" Jungle Tubing and Beach Break" (we did not do the city tour as we were in Belize last year with a different cruise line and took the tour then). Organization for efficiently getting passengers off the boat and on the tenders was the norm; meet in the theatre lounge and wait until your excursion is called. This likely would have gone over smoothly as it has on other cruises but the ship lost power for approximately 45 minutes and microphones, computers, etc. were not working (the ship was operating on emergency power). All that being said, we were able to get off the ship and on our tender to shore. Once on shore we were told our excursion had be cancelled due to rain the night before; again nothing that the cruise line has control of but it would have been nice to know prior to leaving the ship; very frustrating as we carried beach towels and additional clothing for nothing. Day three was Costa Maya, Mexico. The ship was docked at this port of call and disembarkation was a snap. We booked the shore excursion "Dune Buggy and Beach Experience". A lot of coordination by the tour company made this an excellent day; a highly recommended excursion, we had a blast. The tour guides were extremely helpful and courteous. It should be noted that Day 3 was also New Years Eve. We were excited about what events the ship had planned for New Years Eve; boy what a lunch box let down! We have seen more planning go into parties at friend's houses than NCL put into this. The boat welcomed 2010 in with a pop and a fizzle. Really boring and uneventful, the count down was less than enthousiastic and could hardly be heard on the pool deck. Not much to say about New Years day other than the sun was out and it was nice and relaxing by the pool. The pool band Upryzin played frequently throughout the day and brought a nice Caribbean flavor to the poolside. I won't bother mentioning about chair hoarding near the pool as this is common on all cruises that we have been on. Our fourth and final port of call was NCL's private island in the Bahamas. We never made this port due to bad weather; not the ships fault, but they did little to "make-up" for the missed port (i.e. no extra activities, etc.). It was cold and windy on deck and very few people were brave enough to sit outside; I am sure bar sales near the pool were flat which must have been a real hit to the bottom line of the boat as they "push" drinks on you. Every single time I asked for a beer they would try and sell me six noting that I would be charged for 5 beers and get one free; every time I declined they would go into the same sales pitch (they must all be instructed to say the same things). I should also note that compared to other cruise lines, they fall far back in the pack when it comes to drink quality and wait staff service; they are definitely far below both Royal and Carnival; not sure if this is the NCL standard or just this crew. Food on NCL is in par with the industry standard and the "free style dining" is a novel concept. On this ship there are no less than 12 dining venues; 4 included in the cabin cost; Tsars Palace, Azura, Blue Lagoon and the Garden Cafe. All others had a cover charge. While at Le Bistro (our favorite restaurant) we had trouble ordering a nice bottle of wine; our first two choices were unavailable. This has never happened on any other cruises we were on. On paper the choices were good; too bad they did not actually stock the wines! On another evening out we decided to go to Mongolian Hot Pots (another interesting dining venue; NCL does not fall short on interesting dining venues). Only problem here was our table was faulty and we had to cut our dinner short after the seaweed salad appetizer. On a bright note the assistant maitre d'of Chin Chin went out of her way to accommodate us and even provided a complimentary bottle of wine at Azura for our troubles. A real shining star in an average crew. Shows on the Jewel were of the industry standard with the exception of "crew talent night", which was really entertaining and not what you would expect. On our final night on the ship they presented Cirque Bijou; unequivocally the best show I have seen on any cruise. It had a Cirque Du Soleil feel was well executed. Disembarkation was, on the surface well executed. We chose to walk off the boat as we had an early flight in Fort Lauderdale. We arrived in the lounge on deck seven at approximately 7:30 am. The boat was already docked and customs was in the process of clearing the ship for passenger disembarkation. As we waited we decided that a cappuccino would be nice, I walked up to the bar and ordered two; one for me and one for my wife. Much to my surprise they attendant asked for my room key and we were charged for both drinks; not a huge deal but it should be noted that cappuccinos are free in the Garden Cafe. On a bright note we were on of the first ten people to disembark the boat; first my daughters friend, then my daughter, then me and then my wife. All of us disembark with no issues except my wife; apparently there is an issue with her room card. Since my daughter, her friend and I had all passed security we had to keep moving otherwise we would block the gangway. Fifteen minutes pass and I see my wife running down the gangway motioning to me to come back aboard the ship. Apparently there was an outstanding balance on our account. One thing that should be pointed out; those that are leaving the ship with their luggage do not like it when others walk the wrong way up the gangway. We ended up at the concierge desk and all they could tell us is that we owed money on our account; not how much we owed; just that we owed. The overwhelmed desk attendant disappeared into the back room and appeared 15 minutes later noting that everything was okay and that they reactivated our account to cover the outstanding amount; $8.00. Yes, $8.00 the cost of the two cappuccinos. To be polite, what a major disappointment!!!! Not to say that we would never cruise with NCL again; but they would be low on the list. Too bad as the ship has so much potential. As I noted earlier, if this were my first cruise I would probably never cruise again; fortunately it wasn't and I look forward to future cruises with other carriers. NCL scores 6 out of 10 in my book. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
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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