6 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Fitness Cruises to Mexican Riviera

This is our third time with NCL on the Mexican Riviera. Our second cruise on the Jewel. The Jewel was refurbished since the last time we were on it although I don't remember any significant differences from our 2014 cruise. The ... Read More
This is our third time with NCL on the Mexican Riviera. Our second cruise on the Jewel. The Jewel was refurbished since the last time we were on it although I don't remember any significant differences from our 2014 cruise. The ship's condition was, in general, quite good. Our inside cabin (10617) was, well, an inside cabin. A nice quiet one mostly thanks to quiet neighbors. Deck 10 is nice since it is below other cabins. I wouldn't recommend anything on Deck 11 (where all the mini-suites are) because of the potential noise from the activities (restaurants, pool, gym, Splash Academy) above on Deck 12. I am a guy who wants to be asleep by 10 p.m. The only criticism of the particular cabin I have is that the lower portion of the shower appears to be deteriorating. Minor issue. Our cabin steward, Deu, was efficient. Good towel animals--always a source of amusement for me. We ate at Garden Cafe, Teppanyaki, Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Moderno. All were very good to excellent. I learned that one now has to ask for smoked salmon at breakfast in the Garden Cafe. A minor hassle but I got my beloved salmon most mornings. The steaks at Cagney's always are excellent, and my lamb at both Moderno and Le Bistro were top notch too. Service left little to be desired at any of the specialty restaurants. The evening shows were all good. We attended each one except for one of the comedians. I've seen "Band on the Run" a few times before. Always entertaining. "Luminescence" with the acrobats was new to me and the lighting effects were very engaging. I did attend a "meet and greet" with three of the performers. It was interesting to hear about their history and experience onboard. The gymnast/dancer from the Ukraine, Alexis, was very personable and told us a bit of his struggles to get from the Ukraine to a job with NCL. I "invested" in a pass to the Thermal Suites at the spa on the advice of other folks on Cruise Critic. A great investment. The men's side of the area was generally quiet, a good place to relax with a wonderful view from forward on Deck 11. The facilities are pretty compute with hot tub, steam, sauna and assorted showers. I found the common room (which includes heated tile couches) to be full of people who yammered constantly. I mostly avoided it. There is a sign what requests quiet but even the crew members don't respect it. Having been on the same cruise before, we limited our shore excursions to a great walk around Mazatlan. It is worth walking to the beach and seeing the divers and the great sculptures. I was not approached by annoying street vendors. The only annoyance was super aggressive cab drivers trying to lure us into a cab when we wanted to walk. I'm thinking pepper spray next time but that would be wrong. In Puerta Vallarta, we walked around a bit, visiting the local Starbucks. Embarkation was a breeze. I noticed there was a section for Platinum and Platinum Plus but once we had our key cards, we walked directly onto the Jewel (and into the Garden Cafe). Disembarkation was OK too but the lines getting off as we descended the ramps were confusing. No big deal. We had an 8:45 a.m. disembarkation time scheduled and were on our ground transport and rolling by 9 a.m. I thought the Cruise Director, Pedro, was "OK". We all have our on tastes. The Cruise Next lady, Cristina, was helpful. The session with the ship's officers (Captain, Hotel Director, Engineering head) was very interesting and worth attending. I'm a daily gym rat. The gym on the Jewel is fairly large (and I did note that the floors had been replaced since my last visit there), and has adequate equipment. It opened at 6 a.m. daily. I appreciated that. Some mornings it was fairly full, other times pretty empty. The stationary bikes, stair steppers and treadmills all have good entertainment options if you have plug-in headphones to go with the video. Their is a locker room attached. I appreciate the Bridge viewing room aft on Deck 11. It is run to see the bridge. No tours of the area. We did get to see backstage, the laundry area and the main kitchens. Worth the walk. No children on this trip so I can't comment about that. I attended a couple spa-related sessions (free) with the acupuncturist, Echo, and the "Good Feet" gym guy, David. They were both interesting. I didn't buy anything. I would definitely go on the same cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our dining experiences were all good and satisfactory from breakfast to dinner. We tried different restaurants and they were all excellent in food and services. All the waiters and attendants gave excellent services including our ... Read More
Our dining experiences were all good and satisfactory from breakfast to dinner. We tried different restaurants and they were all excellent in food and services. All the waiters and attendants gave excellent services including our stateroom person. The shows and entertainment were great. The gym has modern equipment that I was able to use and enjoyed. We enjoyed playing in the casino although I lost quite a bit of money. Would be nice if I got some back but did not happen. We took 2 excursion tours and we both enjoyed it. The tour guides was very good and knowledgeable and the price was great too. Overall we had a great time. This is our first rime to cruise with NCL but would take NCL again for our future cruises if given special deals and offers. My husband is a retired Military and be nice if we get some good Military offer too. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We booked two weeks before sailing and got an enclosed balcony cabin for the first time - we loved it! Ultra quiet and quite roomy. Storage space was limited, but okay for a 7 (or 10) day cruise. Our flight was delayed on sail day, so ... Read More
We booked two weeks before sailing and got an enclosed balcony cabin for the first time - we loved it! Ultra quiet and quite roomy. Storage space was limited, but okay for a 7 (or 10) day cruise. Our flight was delayed on sail day, so we were very happy to see the NCL ladies at the airport for our transfers to the ship. However, when we got to the port, they did not know we were coming, the porters had been dismissed, and the greeters were confused that we were so late. All was eventually worked out, and we got aboard about 1.5 hours before sailing. Service was great in the main dining rooms, not so great in the Bistro and La Cucina. We thought the food in the main dining was better than in the 2 for-pay restaurants we ate in. We are Platinum, so did not have to pay - would have been very disappointed had that not been the case. We canceled any other reservations we had and returned to Azura, our complimentary dining room of choice. We extra-tipped everyone there who made our dining experience so pleasant. Breakfast in the Tsar Palace was great also. Go there on disembarkment day to wait for your color to be called - service was fast and the food was hot. We only went to two shows as the regular show timing did not fit with our dining plans - I don't think we missed much, based on the two shows we did attend. The Thermal Suite was very nice, with 2 exceptions: the robes are too small for people of size (of which there were many on the ship), and people tended to hog the heated ceramic loungers in the suite - no time limits are posted as guidelines. When I pointed both of these issues out to the staff member, she just smiled (about the robes) and said "That would be rude" (about people hogging the ceramic loungers). We expected a "Spring Break" atmosphere aboard this cruise, given that it was a 7 day Mexican Riviera, and we were not disappointed. However, there are plenty of quiet spaces aboard for those who do not want to indulge in the party. Since we travel to Mexico extensively, and have visited all the ports numerous times, we did not do shore excursions, so I have no advice for that. We did go ashore in Mazatlan to the coffee purveyor in the first building at the port - for a $3 Coffee Americano (really good) you got their wi-fi - as we wanted to check our email without paying the ridiculous prices for wi-fi on board ship. The Jewel is a really nice ship, well-maintained with a great crew. The Captain was the most accessible that I have sailed with - he loves to talk. If you are looking for a nice get-away, I highly recommend this ship (except for the the for-pay restaurants and the too-small robes in the cabins and the spa). Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and ... Read More
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and charging corkage for it when you are dropping off your bags at the curb. We received ours at 9pm the first night, ridiculous system currently in place. They have an adult pool and children's side by side. Smoking is upstairs above it at the Sky High Bar and fun crowd. Many Children, Elderly and Honeymooners on the ship. Not a lot of teens. The restaurants have similar food (Tsar's and Azur). When returning from a excursion you are double checked and xray machine for alcohol. If you have it is confiscated and returned to you on the last night. The Las Caletas Hideaway excursion is very fun, but not recommended for anyone who has a hard time walking. Free stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, inner tubes, kayaking and fun floating docks. Decent Lunch too. You cannot bring a wheelchair. Beware of being bombarded with Mexicans when leaving the ship in Mazatlán and Cabo trying to sell you taxi rides and ship rides. It's crazy. Do not let them touch you, by putting bracelets on you ..SAY NO. Be prepared when leaving the ship to stand in a line with hundreds of people.. be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This sailing was my second cruise. I went with a friend from college, and we were both excited to see Mexico. Overall, I was generally pleased with the sailing, and the way that Norwegian handled some hiccups along the way. The original ... Read More
This sailing was my second cruise. I went with a friend from college, and we were both excited to see Mexico. Overall, I was generally pleased with the sailing, and the way that Norwegian handled some hiccups along the way. The original itinerary had us sailing out of San Pedro on the 9th, spending the 10th and 11th at sea, spending the 12th, 13th, and 14th in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas respectively, spending one more day at sea on the 15th, and finally arriving back in San Pedro early on the 16th. A little over a week from sailing, we were informed by Norwegian that the ship would overnight in Puerto Vallarta and skip Mazatlan so they could take care of some maintenance. This maintenance ended up taking longer than NCL anticipated, so we left Puerto Vallarta almost 12 hours behind schedule and had to skip Cabo San Lucas entirely. So, the final tally was two port days (both in the same port) and four sea days. Embarkation was painless. NCL has you pick an embarkation time during online registration, which seems to avoid big lines at the check-in counter. We walked right up to a counter when we got there, and even when the line got a little bigger later in the day, it never seemed to be more than a few minutes. We boarded around noon, and our stateroom was ready at around 1:30, just as we were finishing lunch. Debarkation took a little longer, but I'd say we were off the boat and waiting for a cab within half an hour of leaving our stateroom. The crewmembers handling this process seemed to have everything under control. The ship itself seemed to be in good shape. The public areas were well decorated and furnished, and everything seemed fairly new/contemporary. There were thoughtful touches throughout. The library, for example, had a door that had been adjusted to close slowly & noiselessly (as opposed to slamming & disrupting everyone inside). Similarly, the cabin was nicely appointed, and didn't show any signs of wear. I usually ate lunch at the buffet, which was alright. In addition to the usual/expected buffet fare (pizza, burgers, fried things), they had a decent selection of more healthy/lighter stuff, like salads, grilled vegetables, grilled chicken breast, and stir fry, as well as a seemingly endless supply of fruit. For a picky eater like me, that was a nice surprise. It seemed like they had a great deal of variety at their dessert table, and the few desserts I tried were quite good. We tried three speciality restaurants (Moderno, La Cucina, Le Bistro), which I thought were generally underwhelming. The menus are interesting, but the actual food wasn't that much better/more distinctive than what you could get at the buffet or the main dining room for free, and the preparation was inconsistent (my pasta was undercooked in La Cucina, and my lamb was overcooked/underseasoned in Le Bistro). They were a nice change of pace on the ship, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat at any of them on shore. If I were booking again, I'd skip the unlimited dining package and just stick to the main dining room or buffet. We ate dinner at Azura a couple of times. The food wasn't amazing (again, about what you'd get at the buffet), but we liked the more relaxed and quieter atmosphere compared to the buffet. Service was consistently slow, and some of the portions were pretty tiny (we had to go to the buffet to top off after one meal). We eat a lot, so this might not be an issue for most people. Overall, I thought the food was mediocre to decent. I didn't starve, but I generally eat better at home. I felt the same way about my last cruise, which makes me think I'm a harsh food critic. That said, I didn't go on the cruise for the food, so I'm not holding that against NCL. We didn't partake of too much entertainment on the ship. We only really saw the shows at night, which we enjoyed. There were two different comedians and some acrobatic shows. I was disappointed that there weren't more enrichment activities available. My last cruise (on Celebrity) had some guest speakers give lectures on science and history in the theater on sea days, which were genuinely interesting and educational. The closest thing NCL had was a sales seminar on diet supplements. Thanks, but no thanks. The fitness facilities were pretty good for a cruise ship. In terms of strength equipment, the gym had the standard complement of cable machines (leg press, shoulder press, lat pulldown, chest press, leg curl, seated dip, back extension, cable row, I'm probably forgetting a couple), two flat benches, and dumbbells up to 75 pounds. There were also about 20 treadmills, 2 upright bikes, 3 recumbent bikes, and a couple rowing machines. The staff offered the standard complement of fitness classes (for a fee), which took place in a separate room; a nice touch, since those of us in the main gym didn't have to hear the soundtrack for spin class. As long as I avoided peak times, I never had to wait for anything (being a cyclist helps, since everyone wants a treadmill). There's also a jogging track on deck 13, and a walking circuit on deck 7. I ended up booking my own shore excursions, which turned into two bike rides, once for each port day. On the first day I did a mountain bike ride with Eco Ride Mex tours. I went with the Vallejo route, which was a pretty easy and very scenic 13 or 14 mile round trip into the mountains. This was a lot of fun. The climb up was just hard enough to get the blood pumping after two days on the ship, and the ride down fast and bumpy enough to be fun without being intimidating. I followed that on the next day with a ride to El Columpio, led by Bici Bucerias. This was the highlight of my trip; it's a 55ish mile ride through & south of PV, ultimately ending in a decent climb to refreshments and views. Just a great way to get an up-close and personal view of PV & the areas surrounding it. Both outfits had good, well-maintained bikes and knowledgeable guides, and I'd highly recommend either of them if you're a biker looking for your fix after too much time at the buffet. We were happy with the service and crew. Our room steward always greeted us if he saw us in the hallway & asked if we needed anything, and the staff at restaurants were friendly and pleasant to us. I spent a lot of time on sea days reading in the Spinnaker lounge, and the bar staff there were great at making sure that I had everything I needed, but not in a way that interrupted my book. We never met the cruise director or any of the officers, but they always seemed to be around and mingling with the guests. My only criticism is with how communication around the itinerary change was handled. The first communication (an email not too long before sailing) was fine, and gave me time to book a second shore excursion in PV. I cut that second excursion a bit short to be back on the boat in time for a 2pm sail away on the second PV day, but we ended up not sailing until almost midnight. I'm not sure if anyone on the crew was in a position to do this, but if someone had said "our new sail away time is 8pm, go back out and have fun", I could have seen more of the town before we left. That said, it's hard to fault the crew for this...given the length of time it took NCL to communicate their official response to us, I can imagine them being just as much in the dark as we were. Overall, I liked my experience on the Jewel. I basically wanted a floating hotel with food, ample sun, a quiet place to read, and eventual visits to some Mexican ports where I could do stuff, and I got almost all of that. If communication around the mechanical troubles had been handled a little better, I wouldn't really have anything to gripe about. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I try to take 2 cruise every year This was our second for 2015 on Norwegian Jewel The first one was on Princess The embarkation process was one of the fastest By 11:30 we were on board The food was better than on Princess ... Read More
I try to take 2 cruise every year This was our second for 2015 on Norwegian Jewel The first one was on Princess The embarkation process was one of the fastest By 11:30 we were on board The food was better than on Princess tastier and more variety We were lucky to have a very good room steward On day 1 water temp in the pool was 67deg F I asked the Captain to get a tour of the area where they process the ocean water prior to entering the pool but he had new regulations and could not accommodate the request On day 2 water was 70 deg F but debris was floating in the water I swim with a dive mask all the time so I see more details in the pool than the crew doing the cleaning. The pump jets and the recirculation did not seem to work On day 3 the water was clear 80 deg F the jets were working . I still wonder why it took 3 days to get to this point In CABO SAN LUCAS we tendered to shore and the process was very fast and well setup My wife liked very much the entertainment. I usually stay on deck The boat had a very good Zumba instructor. His name was Cristian. Beats all the ones we saw on PRINCESS by a mile. Coming back we had one day with 20ft swells but the boat stabilizers worked very well and the ride was very smooth to me With the exception of the pool we had a very good time and we would go back on this ship Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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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