54 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Bahamas

Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each other. On the first day everything went so well! First of all, you CAN bring cases of water and soda with you on the cruise. Even though no one told us that! Also, we snuck on rum runners full of various alcohol. The first day boarding went VERY smoothly. I thought we would be on line for HOURS but it took us under an hour to get everything settled and be on the ship! Then, we were on the ship for probably 30 minutes (around 130/2 ish) when they told us our rooms were all ready! We got our luggage promptly after that, although they leave your bags in the hall so you can check to make sure they are yours... this made me nervous because anyone could walk on by and take your bag. We got my father shrimp cocktail as a welcome gift and it was a surprise. There was a note when we got there that we had to CALL and get it delivered. This posed an issue because he wanted to go explore and we had to basically lie to him for an hour about why we didn't wanna leave the room. After we got the shrimp (delicious and huge, worth the money) we went to explore. There was food out immediately and we were able to have burgers and hot dogs and chicken out on the deck while we left port. This cruise I would say is not for people who do not like not having a schedule. The dress attire is casual, although people were in dresses and suits sometimes at night. Also, they give you a list of what is going on in the day but you get to pick. We thought this was AWESOME. We got to pick and choose what we wanted. Deal or no Deal is 20 bucks a person which is a little ridiculous so if you don't want to spend extra, don't do that. We went to Cagneys the steakhouse specialty restaurant which I thought was "okay" I'd rather not spend the extra money and just go to the included dining. We also went to the Hibatchi restaurant which starts with "Tep" and I won't try to spell because I won't do it right. This is a MUST GO. It was AMAZING. The environment was great and the food was delicious. 25 dollars absolutely worth it. The two included dining areas were good too. The food was delicious and the waits went quick if there was one. The buffet was also great. There were so many selections so you never have to have the same thing twice if you don't want to! Chicken, veal, burgers, dogs, sandwiches, salad, a whole pig one day, ice cream, dessert....it goes on. Alcohol is NOT overpriced I don't think. A family of 5 drinkers spent over 2000 dollars BUT we all drink and it was 7 days. Also, my brother and I got over 100 dollars in buy backs which was awesome. They also have a drink of the day out by the pool which was nice because it was discounted. The staff is AMAZING. They are friendly and smiling and will remember you and your drink if you treat them well. We tipped generously because these people deserved it. They were GREAT. For first time cruisers, you do feel the boat and the first day at sea was rough because we were rocking but it is a boat and that is over the control of the ship obviously but it is just a note. The ports were good. The private island was great but GET THERE EARLY. Get up and get out early so you get a lounge chair! Then it is awesome! Nassau was good shopping and we went snorkeling which was fun. Senor Frogs is a great place to eat there. The bars on board were good and at night Spinnakers becomes a nightclub type place which was fun. I would do a cruise again and am actually thinking about it for my boyfriend and me because he would love it. I would recommend this to anyone who just wants to relax and have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The Norwegian Jewel was perfect for a first time cruise with our children (21 and 15). We left New York on a chilly Sunday, boarded effortlessly and were eating the first of many meals within an hour. The staff is friendly, attentive and ... Read More
The Norwegian Jewel was perfect for a first time cruise with our children (21 and 15). We left New York on a chilly Sunday, boarded effortlessly and were eating the first of many meals within an hour. The staff is friendly, attentive and happy. The ship is beautiful and clean. Upon entering our cabin, I was concerned with the size but once the suitcases were stowed under the beds, it was okay. There were 2 twin beds we pushed together which allowed the high riser to fit. The last was the pull down from the wall which my daughter thought was cool. We camp often in a tent so it wasn't too scary to us! The bathroom is big, there is a lot of cubbies,drawers and a closet so there was lots of room for all of our stuff! The seas were continuously rough the first full day which had my son quite sick but I heard that this was uncommon. After that it was smooth sailing :) We ate in all of the free dining areas and never got bored with the food (my son is very picky). We saw the Cirque Show-amazing!, the Duo Elegia-wow!,Jean Pierre-hysterical and magical!, Farewell Showtime-wonderful! Our ship stopped in Port Canaveral (we went to Cocoa Beach-sunning and shopping), Great Stirrup Cay-gorgeous, lots to do or just relax, and last, Nassau-beautiful-shopping galore, many historical and interesting attractions-we walked all over..Queens Stair, Senor Frogs, Fort Fincastle, Junkanoo Beach, Straw Market to name just a few! We opted out of the shore excursions because they were pricey and we felt it would be stressful being on a time constraint (that's not relaxing).The island is beautiful! It was fun taking the tender over, getting on was a little scary but thrilling too! There were plenty of lounge chairs as we were 5th tender over. There was lots to do but we didn't snorkel because it was a little too chilly for us but many were enjoying the sand, ocean and music! The food was great and we relaxed,carefully sunned and took lots of amazing pics! Everyone was friendly and happy-great experience! Totally easy to get off ship, plus the captain got us to Nassau an hour earlier!, so we were off and running! Easy to get to shopping areas, taxis available everywhere but almost everything is in walking distance! We came back to eat lunch and off we went again! Of course, there is a lot of pressure to take tours and buy goods but the locals are always friendly and polite when you refuse :) Coming back onto the ship was so fun! Some of the crew lined up with music playing we danced on to the ship...wet hot towels provided to clean your hands, smiles and dancing! The other ships didn't have that! Again, easy to get back but very secure! We heard someone got left behind in Nassau, yikes! We saw seals and dolphins swimming at sea, my daughter swears she even saw a whale! We played bingo, shuffleboard, basketball, golf and walked around the ship so many times. There is always something happening somewhere on the ship! All in all, for our first family cruise, amazing! When we got back to New York, we chose the Express Walkoff and it was terrific! We docked at 7am, we ate our last full amazing breakfast, grabbed our bags, walked off the ship to a friends waiting car and were home (Long Island)by 10am! The island is beautiful! It was fun taking the tender over, getting on was a little scary but thrilling too! There were plenty of lounge chairs as we were 5th tender over. There was lots to do but we didn't snorkel because it was a little too chilly for us but many were enjoying the sand, ocean and music! The food was great and we relaxed,carefully sunned and took lots of amazing pics! Everyone was friendly and happy-great experience! Again, totally easy to get off ship, plus the captain got us there an hour earlier!, so we were off and running! Easy to get to shopping areas, taxis available everywhere but almost everything is in walking distance! We came back to eat lunch and off we went again! Of course, there is a lot of pressure to take tours and buy goods but the locals are always friendly and polite when you refuse :) Coming back onto the ship was so fun! Some of the crew lined up with music playing we danced on to the ship...wet hot towels provided to clean your hands, smiles and dancing! The other ships didn't have that! Again, easy to get back but very secure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My young adult son and I just returned from his first cruise experience. NCL gave accommodations to make the cruise possible with my son's special needs. They did what they said they would do ... and more! It not only made this ... Read More
My young adult son and I just returned from his first cruise experience. NCL gave accommodations to make the cruise possible with my son's special needs. They did what they said they would do ... and more! It not only made this trip possible but gave my son a wonderful experience cruising and he cannot wait to go again. Anticipating the cruise I had spent a great deal of time researching online. I read a lot of reviews and did get a bit concerned reading some of them. We didn't experience any of the big issues reported by others. We both thought the food was fine and plentiful, the crew very helpful and courteous, and the ship clean and well maintained. We came home healthy and relaxed. We did get some great tips from this site and others including bringing an over the door shoe rack which kept everything organized and decreased the clutter. Highlighters, a clock, insect repellent and a few other items we learned about certainly made our experience easier and more fun. We only wish we had taken the advice regarding taking half the clothes and double the money! I think sites like this, which help you have realistic expectations regarding your cruise experience, make for a successful, enjoyable, cruise experience. So thanks Cruise Critic! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I spent many years (10+) saving for what I thought would be a dream vacation for me and my 15 year old son for a 7 day trip to the Bahamas. While booking I upgraded to a Balcony room and was advised that I would be in a smoke free ... Read More
I spent many years (10+) saving for what I thought would be a dream vacation for me and my 15 year old son for a 7 day trip to the Bahamas. While booking I upgraded to a Balcony room and was advised that I would be in a smoke free enviroment, my dream was to have morning coffee at sunset on the balcony......huh what a joke as both my stateroom neighbors were extremem smokers, and I have severe ASMATHA, and did not travel with a nebulizer machine, only an inhaler, I was not able to use my balcony, as my neighbors lived on thiers, what a waste of alot of money. Next when I was viewing my the rooms online the wonderful video shows a great 19 inch flat screen, when booking i was told yes there would be a flat screen and a perked coffee machine in each state room, NOT. The TV in our room was so ancient, it was 13 inches or less and a dinosaur. The coffee in my room was a packet of instant with something to heat up water, hot pathetic for spending a 1000.00+ per person that I couldnt get perked coffee in my room or sit on my expensive balcony. The state room was smaller than what it appeared to be online. the Bathroom was adequate. Our steward was wonderful. The embarkemnt took forever out of NewYork. The food was okay. The service at the Azure was great by one particualr waiter. The recreational activiteies were a bore, they repeated themselves over and over, there was no rock climbing for my teen, no bowling, no movies, no comedy club, repeaded art lectures and auctions to get you to spend money. The shore excursions were the best part of the trip, more fun off the boat than on it! Then 24 hours upon return to the boat I attained a rash, I reported it to the front desk, and was told not to worry about it, or I could see medical for 180.00 dollars, WHAT?! SO I went to the crusie consultant who told me I probably got sand fleas and it would go away in 24 hours, it didnt go away until after I got home. NCL didnt care. When I came home on 12.23.12 I sat down and wrote all my complaints down, on 12.24.12 I composed a letter to customer relations and emailed them. It was recieved on 12.28.12, it is now 1/14/12, and I have called 5 or more times with no resolutions to my concerns. I am not a happy NOrweigan sailor. I await a resolution to my concerns, to top it off, durin my 3rd or 4th call, I learned my assigned case review was out sick on disability and no one was reviewing my concerns, how can I be happy with such poor customer service? Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- ... Read More
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- we wanted to cruise out of NY or Baltimore, and had to cruise Thanksgiving week, so there were only a couple options. The main objective of our trip was rest and relaxation! The Room: We were in Balcony Stateroom #10086. It was a great location...near the mid-ship elevators and stairs, and either up or down just a couple decks to almost everything important to us (food, alcohol, spa and gym, pool deck, theater, etc.) Unfortunately we had smokers in the cabin next door, and also somewhere else around us, and rarely found it enjoyable to spend any amount of time on the balcony. The cabin was a little tight, but there was a ton of storage and it was more than adequate for a week. Our cabin steward was okay, but not great -- we stopped getting towel animals on the third day, we never got ice, and didn't even get turn down service a couple nights. The Itinerary: Let's just say we didn't choose this cruise for the ports of call. The weather all week was incredibly windy -- Captain Lars remarked on it several times. Even in the warmer locales (Florida and the Bahamas), it was WINDY. We didn't get off the ship at Port Canaveral, instead taking advantage of spa specials and a less-crowded pool and hot tub. Our visit to Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled because of the choppy seas, and we ended up pulling into Nassau the night before we were due to arrive. That was the only port we had booked an excursion -- the sea lion experience at Blue Lagoon. We really enjoyed it, although there was a little bit of confusion about when and where exactly we needed to be for our swim. I would go back to Blue Lagoon again. By the last sea day of our cruise it was very cold, very windy and very rainy. The Spa: Even before we boarded we had kind of decided to purchase the week-long spa pass, and it was totally worth the $149 cost. The women-only side (and I'm assuming the men-only as well), had a large hot tub, steam room, dry sauna, fancy showers, plunge pool and comfy Adirondack-type chairs. The co-ed Relaxation Room had the larger "therapy pool" and the much-discussed heated ceramic loungers. Heaven! We went to the spa every day and sometimes twice a day. We often showered in the spa rather than in the cabins. I do think the spa pass should give you a discount on spa services (say, 15%) for a little added value. We took advantage of a port-day special for a massage/facial combo, which was great. My friend even went for acupuncture on the next to the last day, in hopes that it would help her seasickness. The Food and Drink: This was definitely an area that I had some concerns about before we sailed. My friend is a vegetarian and is allergic to onions, so finding food for her can sometimes be a challenge. And I am a bit of a foodie, and had heard mixed reviews about NCL cuisine. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised on all accounts! I would rate the food as good to very good. There were some outstanding selections in the MDR, as well as the Blue Lagoon. We usually did breakfast, and occasionally lunch, at the buffet. It was generally kind of a madness but there was a lot of variety, and we loved eating in the Great Outdoors section. We ate at both Le Bistro and Cagneys, and of the two, I would definitely recommend Le Bistro....I still think back on that Coq Au Vin! My friend didn't make any advanced arrangements for her special diet, but on the first night we were introduced to one of the "Special Diets" servers in the MDR. The two women she worked with throughout the cruise -- Nancy and Rebecca -- made it possible for her to order ANY food on the menu to meet her dietary restrictions, with advanced notice (usually 24 hours). The only downside is that we couldn't be totally flexible in our dining plans (although we could eat whenever we wanted, in either MDR), and that sometimes our meals weren't timed to come out exactly in synch -- so maybe I would still be on my app while she had her main course. No biggie. I didn't find the alcoholic drinks much more expensive than I would pay in any big city or upscale bar, and there were Happy Hour and other specials advertised in the Freestyle Daily. I loved the champagne cocktails at Magnums, Margarita Madness at Moderno bar and the fact that they also had hard cider on board, as well as beer. The Entertainment and Shipboard Activities: We took advantage of a lot of the fun activities on board, like trivia, game shows, dance and exercise classes and interactive events. We saw a couple live productions, which I thought were well-done and there was always live music in one or more of the venues. The Cruise Director (Dan the Man) and his staff were GREAT. We found so many things to do that they often overlapped and we missed out on something. The pool deck was usually very crowded (unless we were in port or getting ready to dock) and we didn't spend that much time up there. Lots and lots of kids (700+) on board that week! OVERALL, I loved my week on the NCL Jewel. The service was great, the amenities were great and I found it to be good value for my vacation dollars. I will definitely cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Despite Sandy the week before, we had things well in hand and were determined to go for our 7 day cruise the week of 11/4/12. My DH turned 35 while aboard, and this cruise in part was our much delayed Honeymoon. We live local to NYC, ... Read More
Despite Sandy the week before, we had things well in hand and were determined to go for our 7 day cruise the week of 11/4/12. My DH turned 35 while aboard, and this cruise in part was our much delayed Honeymoon. We live local to NYC, only about 40 minutes away by car. We were lucky enough to have family drive us in. No traffic issues. Pier 88 had no power of it's own, they were plugged into the ships power. We got there about 11:30. Check-in was quick and efficient, with quickly moving lines and good cheer. Lines for different check in lanes were clearly marked ( Suites, Top level Latitude Members, general check in). Things were a touch crowded, but I think they had to consolidate operations some due to using ships power. Because we were suite level, after check in we had a side room to wait in with some light snacks and water/coffee/juice. We met our Concierge for the trip, Ruth, who had a big smile despite being very busy. We were escorted onto the ship within a half hour. One of the many Suite Perks NCL has is Cagneys Steakhouse for Breakfast and lunch with no charge. So we were able to enjoy a leisurely lunch in a busy but not crowded venue while waiting for the rooms to be ready. Lunch was delicious and the staff was a delight. Lots of stories about the trip out the week before ( the Jewel outran Sandy the week before). Staff was curious about how all of us now on board had fared, and worked really hard all week to take our minds off of the going ons back at home. Rooms were called ready quickly. We had an S3- Owners Suite with Large Balcony. Please see the room review for details, but know it was amazing! Food and Drinks: First Night is lobster night, but we skipped it in favor of trying Moderno. No lines, no wait, and the food was absolutely amazing! We repeated the experience the last night and it was still delicious but not as over the top amazing as it was the first night, in part I am sure because it was much more crowded. We also went to Le Bistro (fabulous, I suggest the Les Quatre Cornets) Chef's Table ( very worth the price if you like 9 course meals full of well prepared and explained meals, before and after dinner drinks, wine pairings, and good conversations. They GIVE you copies of pictures from the event and a signed menu included in the price). Tsar's was ok the night we went ( dress up or not night, very very busy but food was delicious. ) We snacked at the outdoor buffet a few times, food was always good. Breakfast and Lunch at Cagneys was a set limited menu for the week, but the food was excellent and varied and we never were bored. We had splurged on a cabana on GSC and ordered food, which was excellent. We also ordered in breakfast to the room twice and dinner once, it was all delicious and hot. Drinks were also a plus mark. Price wise, they ran on par with bars in NYC. Good selection. Allen created martinis that were to die for. S3 perks included 3 bottles in the room, all liter sized and decent selection. S3 10504 also had a Pod coffee machine at our sailing. We didn't get a soda pass, but sodas are included in the room at the level we stayed in, which helped. Entertainment: We enjoyed it immensely! We saw all the Stardust Theater shows except for the magic show ( it conflicted with Chef's Table ). The shows were fast paced and entertaining. We went to the first Deal or no Deal, which was fun. We enjoyed the White Hot Party, VIP Cocktail reception, CC Meet and Greet. Casino was a fun way to slowly loose money. It depends on the number of smokers on your cruise of course, but for us, we could play up till 9 or so in the evening before the smoke became to much for me. Fire and Ice and Next Stage were both awesome. Special Kudos to Next Stage out by the pools for Rock Night. The other ships all around looked dead and our space was jamming with little ones on up! Duo Elegia are not just talented acrobats, but have to be one of the cutest. sweetest couples ever! Ports: We booked our excursions through the ship. At Port Canaveral, fast exit of ship, great tour guide/bus guide to Islands of adventure. It was not crowded at all, so we rode coasters and did all we wanted and then some. GSC we took a priority tender and made it too the island. Sleepyheads didn't fare as well, they stopped tendering early and the last tender back was at 1:30 pm. The island suffered Sandy Damage. Bringing Aqua-shoes for the beach right now is a good idea. But buildings seemed okay, cabanas were fine, and seemed minimal other damage to our eyes. Really enjoyed the time we had there. Nassau we wound up being here two overnights due to the early leave time at GSC. We didn't book any excursions here, and now we know better for next time. The close to port area is all high end shopping, crappy common trinkets, and a straw market that has lots of vendors but not much variety. We had fun at a Pirate museum, but would have done better going for an excursion tour or adventure tour. Lesson learned :) Senor Frogs was so boisterous you could hear them clearly on the ship! :) Staff The Staff was absolutely the best this week. Big smiles, inquires as to how we had fared back home. Madel was an amazing, attentive butler. Once he realized we weren't the type who asked for a lot, he asked around and things just started showing up :). Lots of fresh OJ was consumed along with a bottle of spirits thanks to him! :) He also made sure we had sandwiches waiting for us when we got back from the ports. He is funny and personable and will go out of his way to get you anything you want :). Maria, our room steward, seemed to be everywhere at once. We never had to ask for a thing, it was always already there in good supply. She kept us laughing the whole trip! We had great experiences with Ruth, the Concierge as well. She handled every request perfectly, made recommendations so that everything we did would be to a high standard, and made sure the delays at the end of the cruise due to the pier still being powerless did not make us have to delay our scheduled pick up via family. Other: As was expected on a cruise on a school off week, there were a lot of kids. Staff said about 700 of the 2700 pax on board were kids. That ship swallowed them. They were around, but not overwhelming in our opinion, and the ones we encountered throughout the cruise were in good spirits and reasonably well behaved. We did not have the problems other reviews have mentioned. The Current Bora Bora Spa pass deal is $149 a person for the 7 days and includes aromatherapy scrubs. No couples discount. We went for about an hour everyday and found it worthwhile. Hot tubs, showers, saunas all in working order and not crowded. Pool Area: We didn't use it daytime ourselves, we sunned on the front Facing Balcony the S3 has, but anytime we went through the area, which was multiple times a day ( we walked all over to explore and to not have to use the gym ;) ) there were always available loungers reasonably close to the pool. Hot tubs were a crowded issue, but the pools themselves were kept in the mid 80's and were not particularly crowded. Disembarkation is the only place where we hit a surly or rude person. Not a NCL Staff member, but a Port of NY employee. Nothing major, but annoying. In short, the cruise was exactly the delightful getaway we wanted and needed it to be. We meet some great people, staff, CCer's and pure strangers alike. Would definately do NCL and Suite living again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our first cruise and we were more than excited to go. We were invited by Casino of the Seas and they did everything to make it amazing. We only live about 3 hours from the NYC port so my sister drove us up the night before. It ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were more than excited to go. We were invited by Casino of the Seas and they did everything to make it amazing. We only live about 3 hours from the NYC port so my sister drove us up the night before. It was a bit crazy getting to the port, but nothing to terrible. Once we got there we were informed the escalators were out because there was still no power at the port from Sandy. They guys downstairs said we could leave our bags with them and they would go on the ship or carry them up the stairs. We of course opted to leave them with the guys and away we went. Lines seemed really long to check in but I think in 10 minutes we were through and boarding the ship. It was too early to get into our stateroom so we decided to start touring the ship and see what we could find. Monday we were meeting in Star Bar for the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. We also did a slot pull afterwards. Met some nice folks and we were invited to the officers dinner on Thursday night so got to spend a little more time with the nice folks we met. The food overall was pretty decent. My only complaint was about burgers..I felt like that was always down your throat. Always plenty of fruit :) We ate at Chin Chin for the Mongolian Hot Pot that was nice....several nights we enjoyed sushi at the sushi bar. It was always fantastic. The pools were always open except at night. They were so nice and warm and enjoyable. Hot tubs were excellent as well and always full, people would always let others in and everything. We also enjoyed different entertainment. Played Deal or No Deal all times it was a blast each time. Nicki was fantastic at what she does. CD Dan the Man awesome....ACD Joel awesome! Brenda Kaye, the hypnotist...she was so entertaining and her show was so much fun. I think almost every night we ended up in the Spinnaker Lounge. It was the happening place in the evening. The best for me at least was the "party" band NEXT STAGE. I saw them where ever they were all week long. Lanie blew me away with all the songs she could sing and how amazing her voice really is. The rest of the band as well does a phenomenal job. Feel I found a new friend there. Every day we also hit up the casino. The staff in there was always so pleasant and remembering faces too. We won here and there and my DH won 2 bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine also. There were so many awesome things that they totally beat out the last sea day and its rough seas. I almost forgot all about it. The ship was gorgeous by the way. Everywhere was nice and they were always making sure everything was clean. We have already started planning our next cruise and I don't think I would pick any other cruise line no matter what. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My best friend and I turned 50 this year and decided to treat ourselves to a cruise. This is the first cruise for both of us, and we chose NCL Jewel on the suggestion of my sister and bil who had cruised several months earlier for their ... Read More
My best friend and I turned 50 this year and decided to treat ourselves to a cruise. This is the first cruise for both of us, and we chose NCL Jewel on the suggestion of my sister and bil who had cruised several months earlier for their anniversary. They loved their cruise so we decided to try it for ourselves. We chose to depart out of NYC. We live in Ma. so we took the train into the city and then a cab to the port. Very easy and convenient for us. Our big worry prior to sailing was the approaching storm, we were not sure how the ship was going to avoid it, but went on faith that captain and crew knew what they were doing and weren't going to put 3000plus people into grave danger! The embarkation process went pretty smoothly and did not take much time at all, and we were on the ship in time for lunch! Every cruise employee we encountered was pleasent and welcoming. Our stateroom was ready before 2pm, and our luggage was delivered by 4pm.The room was actually larger than we expected with plenty of closet and drawer space. Since we didn't expect to spend much time there anyway, it suited our needs more than adequetly! We set sail on schedule and got ready for our adventure! It started to get rocky a couple hours out, and the first night was definately crazy as the ship rocked and rolled. My friend got a bit sick the first night and went to bed very early, as did many other guests from what I heard later! But I was fine so I just walked around the ship (or should I say lurched...lol), and explored a bit. We hit the worst seas in the middle of the night but after that we were much more stable. Monday we attended a meet/greet with Capt. Hoydal and a few other officers, and he put us completely at ease with his professionalism and confidence. We all agreed that he did a fantastic job guiding us through the storm with as little upset as possible. If this is the worse cruise I ever experience... I can't wait for the next one! Tuesday we called at Port Canaveral, and it was a beautiful day. We took a shuttle to Cocoa Beach for some shopping and beach combing. The shuttle was easy to find and the drivers were friendly. We were unable ro call at GSC on Wednesday as scheduled due to storm damage so we had an extra sea day and pulled into Nassau half a day earlier than planned. My friend and I were lucky to have been invited to the officers dinner that night and dined with the Food and Beverage Director and one other couple. He was a charming and engaging man who made us feel quite comfortable, and every time he saw us after that he greeted us like dear friends! Later that night we dressed up for the halloween party..GREAT time! Lots of innovative costumes too! Thursday we had the day in Nassau. We chose not to do any of the ship directed excursions, but instead took a taxi tour with another group. Much less expensive than the others, and got to see parts of the island the usual excursions don't see. The island is beautiful and sad at the same time! We toured the Queens stairway, Fort Fincastle, and then to Paradise island and the Atlantis. Lots of photo ops and history! We then spent some time souvenier shopping and browsing the straw market. Friday and Saturday were both at sea days, but we never lacked for entertainment! We went to shows, played trivia games, listened to music, walked around the ship exploring...and we stayed busy! Neither of us drink, swim or gamble much, and yet we were still so busy we never got the chance to even crack open the books we had brought with us! Every show we attended was fantastic...every activity we joined in made us laugh and was fun. The food for the most part was very good...we did not dine at any of the cover charge restaurants but did eat at Tsars, Azura and the buffet frequently, with no complaints! If you can't find something delicious to eat at each meal...it is your own personal pickiness, not the selection!! Also remember that they are preparing food for over 3000 people/3 meals plus snacks a day...that takes some major planning and prep! Friday evening was the awesome chocolate buffet...what a sight! and then we went to the White hot party...another terrific time!! Saturday came all too fast...but the "Fountains " show was the cherry on top! Very funny. We chose a 9:45 disembarkation time so put our luggage out the night before so we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning and not be in the crush of people rushing to get off early. When it was our turn to disembark we walked off with almost no lines and found our luggage. The port had no power yet, just a few lights run by generators, so we pretty much were just waved through. (They processed non-US citizens from the ship...US passport holders were waved through). Overall it was the trip of a lifetime! We truly felt like we were on vacation! We made some friends, met tons of new people, got to see some fantastic sites, and enjoyed every minute in spite of Sandy! My friend said even though she was sick the first night, she would do it all over again! We are already planning for next year...... :) Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We are seasoned cruisers who decided to take our Daughter, Son-in-law, and two grand-kids ages 8 and 6 on a surprise cruise for school vacation. We chose the Jewel due to the embarkation port being within driving distance, and the fact ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers who decided to take our Daughter, Son-in-law, and two grand-kids ages 8 and 6 on a surprise cruise for school vacation. We chose the Jewel due to the embarkation port being within driving distance, and the fact that it was a Nickelodeon cruise. We booked last minute and got great rates making the trip affordable during school vacation week ( when we checked last fall the rates were out of our range and quite a bit higher than "usual"). We also felt the Jewel was the right size ship for their first experience - not too small but not so huge that they would be overwhelmed. The kids/grand kids are not big "beach" people and prefer pools so we knew we would spend a lot of time on the ship and less time in ports and we planned accordingly. Embarkation and Parking - NYC was an easy port to get to by car coming from MA ( 4 hour drive) and parking was a breeze. I heard people comment on the cost of parking ($245/week) however for our family to take the train or bus would have cost much more than the parking and price of gas so we felt it was an economical way to arrive and we didn't have to worry about packing for TSA approvals! We arrived in the parking area about 10:20 am and we were checked in and boarded by 11:30 am. Note: because our port of exit and entry is US the small children did not need passports - certified birth certificates were accepted with no question - the adults all have passports so no issues there. On line check in makes the process go very quickly as well as long as you have all your paperwork with you. Staterooms - Because this was a last minute booking our options were limited and we were inside forward in "family" staterooms - Daughter, Husband and two kids chose one cabin and DH and I the other (would have been more comfortable with one of the kids with us but they both wanted to be with mommy and daddy). Cabin space was fine for two, okay for three, but very crowded for four - extras were stored in our cabin - but we are campers with an RV and 5th wheel so we are used to small spaces LOL. Our cabin person was okay - he did seem to be confused with the number of people and quite often we were shorted towels in the 2 person cabin (and yes we were registered as 2 and 4), he also was very bad at bed making and our bottom sheet was never all the way down the bed (picky but it bothered me that I had to remake the bed every nite). We had some issues with getting service - the safe was closed in cabin 2 upon arrival and it took until Sunday nite to get someone there to open it so it couldn't be used until then. By day 3 the shower door was sliding back and forth in cabin 2 all nite and we requested repairs. We left for the day and it was removed to fix it - that took over 24 hours to get back and to come back from a beach day with no shower door was not nice - no offer was made to give us another cabin (there were empty ones near us)to use for just that day - trying to get 6 people thru one shower for dinner was tough and what would have happened if we didn't have two cabins? I did make my frustration known at the front desk, but feel that NCL did not do enough for our inconveniences. Dining - Traveling with kids makes things a little different from what we are used to and we knew that before departure. We usually prefer to "dress" for dinner, but knowing our 8 year old grandson is a creature of habit we didn't want to have a battle every evening so we had planned to eat in Azura most nites as that dining room is more "casual". We did eat in Tzar's 3 nites and it was disappointing that we got the grandson "comply" yet saw adults being allowed into the dining room in sneakers and shorts. The food was good - not great but it's "included". We do not utilize the "fee" based restaurants - the food is not a priority for us on a cruise but we do like to try new things and found the menus to be very basic - and never saw Creme Brulee on the menu at all! And for those who don't drink soda or alcohol, you are limited to water or milk at dinner - Lemonade is only for the "kids" now at dinner. We ate at the buffet every morning and always found the right things to keep us happy. Lunches were either at the buffet or poolside and again plenty of choices for everyone. We tended to eat light at lunch because we like to eat dinner early and catch the early "shows" Juices are only served in the morning - through out the day you are limited to water, coffee or tea - no lemonade any more - unless you drink soda or alcohol your choices are slim. Ports - We stayed on the ship in Canaveral (we have all been to the "parks" and the kids were not interested in the NASA tour) Knowing we would be on the beach the next two days we decided to use the ship - great idea as so many people got off the ship we had plenty of room to explore! We enjoyed the pool and buffet with no crowds! See Port reviews for GSC and Nassau Service - overall, in my opinion, "freestyle cruising" is hurting the service we used to see on board. You don't get to know your wait staff and because they don't "work for" the envelope at the end of the week, they don't seem to be interested in "impressing" you at the table. We had mediocre service most of the week, often having to ask for things more than once, like lemons for water, coffee at the end of the meal, dessert.... in the entire week we had only one waiter who went out of his way to impress us - Mauricio made napkin creations for the kids, checked on us often to make sure everything was okay, and came and said hello when we didn't get seated at his table next time. He was our "hero" for the week and so noted on our comment card! Since we are not "drinkers" I can't comment on the beverage staff but they seemed plentiful and always looking for business - because they "work" for their tips and it shows! Entertainment - there was something for everyone - the kids (and adults)all liked Jean Pierre (JP) the comedic magician - he does a "show and tell" for the kids exposing how some of the tricks are done as well as answering questions from the kids (maybe only because it was school vacation week?); the hypnotist Brenda Kaye was very good as well and we enjoyed the Q&A they did together - they really love what they do and it shows. The gymnasts couple was good but the show got very lame in the middle - we appreciated their strength and precision more. The production cast was okay - not the best we have seen and some of the dancers seemed very new and stiff - the singers were good but not great - we went to all the shows at 7:30 due to trying to get the kids to bed at a decent hour. We were glad to catch the "crew" show and heard some great voices on stage - amazing that NCL has such talent in the "crew" and they don't promote them to the shows. Overall this was a great cruise for the children's first time out -there was plenty for them to do, and grandson liked the kids club although he didn't go every day - he's a shy one and very sensitive and there were some aggressive kids in the club that didn't go over well with him - it's a shame since we felt he would really have more fun there - again left wondering why NCL can't call the parents and dismiss the bad behavior kids... In summary it was a good cruise and we got what we expected out of it - no more but no less. For us it will be our last NCL for a while - we will either go back to Princess or try some other lines - we are finding that "freestyle" is not our style and that's okay - you pick the cruise that you think will suit your style and this one was chosen for the kids. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We left from NYC in April and it was still quite cool weather, so keep in mind the time of year you leave, cause this takes away from your 7 day cruising, we were stuck inside cause of cool weather leaving and returning. Beautiful clean ... Read More
We left from NYC in April and it was still quite cool weather, so keep in mind the time of year you leave, cause this takes away from your 7 day cruising, we were stuck inside cause of cool weather leaving and returning. Beautiful clean ship, with bright bold colors, lots of bathroom located around the ship. Shows: JP the comedian/magician was great. Spa: did not use this facility, too pricey Gym: so so nothing great. Pools: 2 available, 1 for adults only, salty pool, and 1 for kids Resto: We booked Cagney's and Tappanayaki each $25.00/person Cagney's great steakhouse and Tappanayaki, great show, food was a little salty. Azzurra, very good food, no REZ needed, different menu every night. TSAR: big ballroom style, No REZ needed, good food, a little salty, We also had brought our own bottles of wine, they didn't give us any trouble, some we paid corkage fees for and some we didn't. $15.00/bottle. Garden cafe: breakfast place, lots of variety Drinks/Beverage: you could buy buckets of 6 beer ~$20.00, try the drink of the day, every day there's a special drink. "Rebelious" so good. Duty Free: boring, those need to be upgraded. They should also upgrade to being able to see your expenses on the TV, like Carnival, but you can always swing by the front desk & they will print up a copy for you. *** Iron available just call concierge and they will bring it to you and pick up later on Parking: we left our car in the "Manhattan Cruise" parking lot for a price of $35.00/day, it can be quite pricey, but you are right next to the pier. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We just returned from a 7 nite cruise from NYC on the Norwegian Jewel to Florida/Bahamas. What a great time!! first off, if you have teenagers, there is no other way to go!!! All I have to say is, WOW. Something for them to do from 9am ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 nite cruise from NYC on the Norwegian Jewel to Florida/Bahamas. What a great time!! first off, if you have teenagers, there is no other way to go!!! All I have to say is, WOW. Something for them to do from 9am till 1am. Helped it was spring break, of course. We took a bus from Braintree Ma to NYC Dock, we would never do that again, ride was too long, bus uncomfortable and stopped way too much. Also, keep in mind, of this is the way you go, ship docks at 7am, need to be out of cabin by 9 am, off ship by 10am, and bus doesn't come till 1 PM. First nite was freezing on ship, as was the next day, kind of a bummer,, but should have expected that as we were leaving from NYC. Staff was fantastic! Food was fantastic! We went out to 3 fee restaraunts, they were good, but the free,included ones were just as good, if not better. The only one I would say to check out is, teppanyaki, fun and delish. Cabin was great, Deck 11 is perfect, mini suite with balcony. Shore excursions: we did islands of adventure at universal, it was a blast! Norwegians island, stirrup cay is awful. Stay on the ship. Free Buffett is a zoo, beach was lame. They are doing construction work, so it looks like they Re trying to make it better, but, I just don't see it. waste of trip, everyone goes, so it would be a great day to stay on board. We also did Blue Lagoon beach for excursion in Nassau, FABULOUS! Gorgeous beach, so worth it. You can walk around, see dolphins, sea lions, etc. don't buy any star excursions for blue lagoon, buy them at beach, cheaper. Free lunch was awesome. This was my fave day. It was perfect. The pool area is very small, and very crowded, the above decks are really nice to lounge, tip, u HAVE to get up early (7am) go down, find your chairs, spot, etc and claim it with towels, books, hats, whatever, but you must or you won't have anywhere to sit. If ou get a nice spot. It's fantastic. Tsars breakfast is delish, also, the back deck on floor 12 has a great breakfast and outdoor seating beyond the buffet area, it is so nice. Azur is delicious as well. We had 2 13 year olds with us, they LOVED the blue lagoon restaraunt, it is open 24/7. The kids had the time of their l,Ives, we never saw them, they didn't want to leave. The soda package is a must for kids, so easy. All and all. This was our first cruise and it was fantastic, we would definitely do it again. We would take our own car to NYC, and would not spend $$ on restaraunts, not worth it, and finaly stirrup cay is awful, ship it for the day. :) Other than that, have nothing but positives!!!! Loved it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We just returned from our first ever cruise. I was nervous and excited as we began our journey onto the ship. Would it be as nice as everybody has said? WELL, it was! CC helped me beforehand with many questions and info, so I hope this ... Read More
We just returned from our first ever cruise. I was nervous and excited as we began our journey onto the ship. Would it be as nice as everybody has said? WELL, it was! CC helped me beforehand with many questions and info, so I hope this will help someone too. We took the NCL bus from Providence to NYC. It was a little unorganized to find out which of the 3 buses we were to be on, but once everyone got on the buses all was well. Of note, the bus has a bathroom, and we stopped once at a rest stop for a quick 15 minute break. The bus took us right to the NCL entrance, and of note if you have all of your luggage tags in place on your bags, you may proceed directly into the terminal and they will take care of your bags. The check-in process was very smooth. As you enter the ship the first thing is you have to use the anti bacterial gel before you get on. As a nurse, this was the beginning of my assessment of the cleanliness of the ship. The ship is spotless! I am someone who is used to the Disney vacation quality of cleanliness and service. The cleanliness surpassed that expectation. Everything sparkles and is constantly cleaned. I even watched a woman polishing each of the liquor bottles in her bar one morning! We stayed in mini-suite 11550. It was roomy and had a full tub, which was nice. The toilet had a glass sliding divider to close if you chose. All of the towels and linens were very clean and smelled of bleach. The room was made up twice a day, and we always had enough towels. Of note, you have 2 beach towels for the pool, and need to take them onto Stirrup Cay, as there are no towels given out on the beach. We had a beautiful balcony, with sliding door. The balcony was well worth the extra money. There was a small TV, which we rarely had time to watch. BUT, when we had a chance, they had some new movies, such as The Artist and Warhorse. I did enjoy the fact that you could watch some of the shows from the days before if you were unable to attend. Dancing with the Jewel Stars and the Not so Newlywed game were very entertaining. We also enjoyed the Captain's Log report which is continuous, and shows how far you have traveled. The Captain and his crew's work station are located in the front of the ship on this floor and it was very interesting for a first time cruiser to see them at work. As far as the ports, we did not find anything of interest in the Cocoa Beach area. So, we went to NASA and saw the Discovery the day before it was leaving the site forever. This was a good place to visit, especially for history buffs. Great Stirrup Cay was beautiful. They have tender boats, which I will say could make someone seasick very easily! The ocean was a color blue that is so different from our ocean here in RI. We rented a clamshell, and we had one where there was a screen in the back so the breeze could pass through. Not all of the clamshells have this, so be choosy if this is what you would prefer. We also did not want to be near the big inflatable children's slide, so if you prefer a more quiet area, walk opposite from that area and you will find additional clamshells in a more serene site. The construction did not bother us at all. They did have a huge BBQ buffet and it was very good. But beware of the birds, as someone left a plate on a table for a moment and the birds quickly took the food away. Also, be aware we did not go very far out in the water and very large fish, sting rays and even a manatee were among the swimmers. We booked the SEE and SEA excursion for Nassau, and you pick it up right where you get off of the ship. This was fun, and I enjoyed the submarine ride where you observe all different types of aquatic life. We actually saw 2 nurse sharks. FOOD: I am thankful to the CC for suggesting going to Tsar's for lunch as we 1st got on the ship. It was not busy and very good. We ate there most times for breakfast as the buffet is not our thing now that our kids are grown and we were traveling just the 2 of us. I did hear people say the kids prefer the buffet. We ate at Cagney's- very good, Le Bistro- OK but service was weak, Mama's- very good, Moderno's- excellent! We enjoyed many activities, but our favorite was the afternoon martini tastings. We went to all 3 tastings during the week. Price is $15pp at each tasting, and you get 4 different martinis which were never repeated during the different sessions. They also had games where you could win another martini! We had a good time in the casino, the shows were very good, and the poolside Mr. Norwegian Jewel contest was hysterical. The activities are just too lengthy to list, but every day you receive a list of the next day's choices to help you plan. Bring it with you each day! I did have a massage at the spa which was good, but I will say was pricey compared to other vacations I have been on. I hope this review was helpful. This was one of the least stressful vacations I have ever had. We have already put a deposit for 2 additional cruises in the future! I will be happy to answer a question if you like! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Let me 1st say I'm a 1st time cruiser and CC helped me out alot. I chose this cruise because my son wanted a Nickelodoen Cruise. It took me 1 1/2 years to decide to book the cruise so I read pretty much everything. Somethings scared ... Read More
Let me 1st say I'm a 1st time cruiser and CC helped me out alot. I chose this cruise because my son wanted a Nickelodoen Cruise. It took me 1 1/2 years to decide to book the cruise so I read pretty much everything. Somethings scared me and some were very helpful, so if I help 1 person it works for me. Day of boarding I had family drive my son and I to NY from South Jersey. it was about a 2 hour drive. We got to port about 10:30am. It was little confusing since we didn't know where to pull up. My dad pulled up to the side of the road past the boat next the Sea, Air, and Space Museum. It was a short walk back to the port. Once in front of building someone took our bags and we took elevator up. It didn't look right and I asked the guy a bunch of times if he was really an employee...lol. Gave him a tip for the help. Once off the elevator we went thru security and had our carry-on bags checked. went thru a few lines and then got to the desk where they took our pictures and gave us the room cards. I was putting a cash deposit so they let me know to do that once on ship. They gave us a waiting # in no order (22) and we sat in the waiting area. The started calling #s by 11:30am so it was half hr earlier than we were expecting. Because of CC I knew to go to Tsar's Palace-deck 6 for lunch cause everyone else pretty much went stright to buffet-deck 12. As we were walking to Tsar's we passed by Fyzz Lounge where they were holding the carry-on bags, so we sign our in. We got to Tsar's about 11:50am and waited til 12pm when they open. Hanging on the walls was there menu so my son already knew what he wanted for lunch. Once inside I told the waiter I had purchased online a soda card for my son and she said thats fine. Once we were done with lunch we went to the front desk to put a deposit. I had prepaid all the excursion when I paid for the cruise so that was once last stop. By than we picked up our carry-on bags and headed to the pool...oddly enough the water was ok and weather was nice, so my son was on the slide and in the pool until about 2pm when rooms where ready. Rooms We had an mid inside room-5561. We met our stateroom attendant, Raimond,and he asked our names and let us know if we needed anything let him know. We loved him. He was very kind and friendly to us both. He treated my son great as well. The room was ok for us two but I can't really see more than two people in that room. Space in closet was more than I thought and drawers as well. The bathroom was fine too but once again more than two people would have killed me. Splashdown Kids Academy After checking the room out we went back to 12th deck to the kids center. I signed my son up but I never thought he was going to be in there much. Boy was I wrong, I counldn't get him out of there. They kept talking about the new program but once again I've never been so didn't have anything to compare it to. I do know some of the staff in the kids club were new so they were really nice. So nice that one night one of the guys had an off for a couple hours and he went to see the magic show. Well my son seen him ran up to him started talking his ear off and they was nice enough ask where we were sitting because he would sit with us to see the show with my son. That to me was great. Staff never really have off while on a boat, they will have been seen but to spend that time with a child you have to watch pretty much everyday is going extra in my book. By 5:30pm on the 13th deck in the Spinnaker Lounge they had a Splash Academy and Nickelodeon Presentation where we got to meet the whole Splash Academy and Nick Crew. After the presentation we had our 1st meet and greet with Spongebob. It was pretty orangized or as much as they can with kids which I loved since I can't deal with disorganization when it comes to kids. Boat Drill By 3:15pm they had a mandatory Life Boat Drill, now people here I do have to say we all know its not fun hell I never been on a cruise and I didn't really went to see that. If anything it made me a little nervous but don't be rude but talking or being on cell phones when they ask you not to. This is when I felt I was in school again with the bad kids that never shut up. The boat started moving by 4pm and I didn't even realize but when I did we were up on the 13th deck taking pictures. Food Let me just say this was were I got mixed reviews, but once again I never cruised so don't have anything to compare it to. Although I will say some people complained about choices, I had too many to choice from and never ate anything twice in the week. There was time I wanted to cause it was so good but I also wanted to try other stuff and I wasn't going to let myself over eat either...lol. The 1st night we ate at the outside buffet by the pool, but every day and night we mixed it up. Since I was working on a single mom budget we didn't eat at the pay restaurants. One day I did pay for the Nickelodoen breakfast which was $10 for my son and $15 for myself, Nickelodoen was the reason we went so had to do that. To me it was worth it. Blue Lagoon was like a little secret, I remember reading on CC about their bownie sundue but almost forgot about that place. Good wings!!!! The waiters were very nice and took care of us as in any restaurant if not better. We also ordered room service one day as well. Sea and Port Days 1st sea-Sunday day was bad. We hit a nor'easter on our way to FL so we had rain that day and big bad waves. People were triping over themselves but I'm happy to say we didn't get sick.(Darmamine and sea bands) 3 day-Monday we made it to FL on time and I had prepaid to go to the Kennedy Space Center. I didn't care for it and thought it to be a waste of $ but others said to do the tour. My son and I went back and forth about it and by the time we decided it was to late last tour left. My son enjoyed himself which is what matters to me since he is all into that stuff. 4th day-Tuesday was Great Stirrup Cay because of the storm the waves were still strong but they still got us to the island. Tender ride was crazy, I thought for sure it was going to turn over. When we got to the island pretty much excursions were cancelled. This is were I feel they should have given us a heads up. We didn't know until we got out there. They refunded my $ since I prepaid for snorkeling but even Hippo slide was down. By now my son almost had a major melt down. (I think 4 days and not sleeping normally is what really got to him) But we talked on the lounge chairs and i told him we can't and won't let the weather get the best of us. That is something the cruise line or ourselves can fix so a little swimming, eating at the buffet they had, & Nick Time Live on the Beach fixed him right up. All was good we enjoyed ourselves. Ended our beach day with some shopping at the strawmarket(we found few things with GSC on it). We went back to the ship by 4 or 4:30pm. Ride back was no better, those waves were crazy. 5thday-Wednesday was the Bahamas. Our excursion there was to Atlantis but bus wasn't coming until 11:45am so we got off the boat early went to strawmarket and took pictures. When we were done got back on the boat put our stuff in our rooms and went back outside to wait for the bus. Atlantis is HUGE, we did a 2 hour tour of the Dig, our tour guide was good and nice. It was a lot of walking in and out the buildings so my son got hot and tired fast when the tour was done we walked a little more(not much) to see the bigger sea turtles (my son loves sea turtles) and than he begged to go back to the boat. The last two sea days pretty much was everything and anything they had Nickelodoen and every chance he could get in the Splash Academy he was there. Never did I feel like there was nothing to do. If he was in the academy with the other kids I found stuff to do. I was crazy enough to try the gym on the 1st sea day which was the storm which was a bad idea on my part cause I never made it back thinking i was going to fall everytime. Shows The shows to me were great. The 1st sea night was Band on the Run and I still can't beleive how good they did when us folks couldn't even walk good with the boat rocking. My son let them know it too. They were at the end of the hall way of the theater and my son stopped with a line behind him and told the crew that they put on an awesome show, everybody behind him said "what we were thinking he said." The crew took a picture with him. The magic show with Jean Pierre was another one of his favorites. He even took a picture with Jean Pierre as well and the day after his show he had a show for the kids where he showed them some of the magic tricks. On the last night in the Variety Show he preformed again and I ended up being a part of his trick which only blow my son away even more (me too). Don't miss Le Cirque Bijou that was a great show. I seen it once by myself and than once with my son. Day of Leaving the Ship Saturday we were making our way back to NY so we woke up very early to see the sunrise and than had breakfast. Lots of people on the ship even some staff said it is much better to carry your own bags off. So that is what we did, thinking it still was going to take some time. Well something I was wrong about again...we got the clear to come off the the ship by 8am and by 8:15am we were off out of customs and at the curb trying to figure where my family was. Well because I told them it was going to take some time they were still in Jersey so we chilled out and took some pictures. Had I known it was going to be that easy I would have done bag tags and waited on the boat. Something I learned for the next time. All in all it was a great family vacation. If I can do it again I would love to cruise with Norwegian again. Talking to friends and family who never done freestyle dining I'm asuming I wouldn't like another way. Freestyle for me for sure. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My husband (38), daughter (7) and I (35) booked the Jewel out of NY for our first cruise. We went with my husband's aunt and cousin (20). Read various reviews leading up to the trip, if you go in with no expectations and a desire to ... Read More
My husband (38), daughter (7) and I (35) booked the Jewel out of NY for our first cruise. We went with my husband's aunt and cousin (20). Read various reviews leading up to the trip, if you go in with no expectations and a desire to have a good time, you'll have a great trip. GETTING TO THE SHIP: We drove from NH to NY the morning of the trip. We left at 6am and got to the terminal by 1030am. Parked ($245 for the week) and they were already letting you through security. We went through, checked in, were called almost immediately. We were sitting in Tsar's by noon. FOOD: I tried to avoid the buffet, but I know my husband went a few times with my daughter. He got sick on Sunday night, but we can't decide if it was from the buffet, the motion (rough seas that day), or a combination of the two. (He feels it was the food - he's a boat owner and we've done lots of event cruises and he's never been sick. But we'll never know.) They did have a big selection, though. I think I had one lunch and one breakfast there all week. No complaints. The ice cream toppings kind of skeeved me out, though. Watching a little girl in front of us take sprinkles with her hand, pat them on her ice cream and have them fall back into the public bowl .. needless to say, we skipped toppings. ROOM SERVICE desserts were great (the strawberry pound cake was my favorite!) Breakfast delivered in the morning (continental) was easy and we used it as a way of waking up 2 or 3 times. BLUE LAGOON was another favorite .. the wings, fish and chips, panini, all good. No complaints there. AZURA was beautifully modern and TSAR'S was bright and had a great aft view. The POOLSIDE BUFFET got a lot of our time. It was nice to have snacks and meal options right there when our daughter didn't want to leave the waterslide or kids' hot tub. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: Moderno ($20 pp) My least favorite of the specialty restaurants. The buffet of sides was strange, even for someone who's an adventurous eater like me. Of all the meats, I only liked the filet and bacon-wrapped chicken. LE BISTRO ($20 pp) was excellent. Escargot was great, the French 75 drink was yummy. CAGNEY'S ($25 pp) was a last minute decision our favorite. I'm glad they were able to get us in with no notice. The filet was one of the best things I ate on board. I couldn't wait to try the Cagney Fries, but they tasted like fries, nothing special. DRINKS/BARS: Tried most of the drinks of the day, and then some - all delish! I thought prices were fine, but being from Boston I thought they were fine. My regular purchases were the cucumber gin & tonics and the buckets of beer. I loved that the imported beers cost less than the domestic, since I don't care for Bud/Coors, etc. Drinks ranged from $5-9, in my experience ... buckets of beer were great because you could take them back to your room. And when coming back from the island, we brought 3 beers back with us - when I went to have one at Fyzz later the waiter offered to switch it with a cold one for me. ROOM: We had originally booked an inside (first cruise, we had nothing to compare it to!) but called during the "free balcony upgrades" promo and went from an inside to a balcony for only $117 more. With the rough seas on Sunday, we're so glad we did that and will never book less than a balcony for future cruises. My husband said just being able to see that the waves were not as bad as it felt made him feel better. We watched the sunrise twice on the way home from the balcony, and even sat and had beers and listened to island music once. Size wasn't a huge problem - coming in with 7 bags (large suitcases to small backpacks) we never struggled for space (we did bring an over-the-door shoe hanger, which I recommend!) Bathroom was small and sectioned off. GYM: I only made it there once, on the overcast Sunday. Had a short wait for a treadmill and an interesting time trying to run when they ship was bobbing left and right :) Probably burned some extra calories though! STAFF: Marlon was our steward, he was awesome. Always smiling. I made sure to mention him in our comments when we left, my daughter always looked forward to seeing him. She loved his towel animals each day. We had great waiters in Fyzz Lounge and we really had a great time with everything we chose to do, thanks in part to Boston Chris, Dan the Man and Gorgeous George. They seem like they've been doing this forever and love every minute of it. We had one negative staff instance when we went to Azura .. I left my daughter's key card on the table and went back to ask about it. I asked our waitress about it (because 2 in our party said I GAVE her the key card) and she disregarded what I was asking, just saying "OK, thank you, goodbye!" with a smile. It could have been a language barrier or something, I don't know. But I never found that first card and had to get a new one. PORTS: We had planned on staying on board at PORT CANAVERAL, but after the rocky day before, my husband wanted to feel land. We all went to Cocoa Beach. Went past the excursion people and got the Cocoa Beach Shuttle for $5/pp. Went to Alan Shepard Beach for a few hours. Rented 4 chairs for $30. Went to Ron Jon's (walking distance) and The Sandbar for lunch (great fish tacos and Hurricanes - family friendly during the day). At GREAT STIRRUP CAY, we thought the wind might cancel it altogether, but after a tender ride that rivaled the storm on Sunday (REALLY nerve-wracking, it was so bumpy!) we got there. Were told that all sea-based excursions (like my parasailing and my husband's jet skiing) were canceled, and the clam shells that we booked couldn't be put up either, all due to the high winds. Disappointing. With no one on excursions, finding a chair was almost impossible. In NASSAU, my husband and daughter did the "Sea & See" on the Seaworld Explorer and LOVED it. I went on my own walking tour to see the sites and shop. ENTERTAINMENT: I tried to do it all and failed :) I managed to get in some trivia (fun and laid-back), bingo (expensive, but I went for fun, not to win, so I enjoyed both times), casino (lost again!), the Weakest Link (like speed trivia), karaoke and a few other things. Michael Jackson's Thriller dance lesson was fun to watch (good job, Boston Chris!). Singing in the lounges was all great. Deal or No Deal was fun (and not just because I won $50 and a free photo from the gallery). The shows in the theater were great, such as Pirates of the Ocean, the staff variety show, Cirque Bijou ... the only piece of the variety show I did NOT like (and my daughter didn't either) was the "magician". She went in expecting to see magic, and didn't see any. She wasn't happy after that. :) Quest was a riot, we came in second place thanks to our other teammates. Spinnaker parties were fun and DJ J DAYZ had an excellent play list. KIDS STUFF: Splash Academy was a lot of fun for my daughter. She didn't want to be there all day (and I wouldn't have allowed her to be anyway) but she did go every day, for anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours, sometimes twice a day. Themes each day included Survivor, Under the Big Top, Hollywood Nights, etc. She had something "exciting" to tell us each time we picked her up. I think she would have liked it more if she had had a friend there, but overall she enjoyed it. The Nick Crew was great too - at the Spongebob Meet & Greet, I asked a crew member how long it would take because we were trying to make the Family Cupcake party in the buffet and she told me where to line up when they announced it. (We made the party in time thanks to her help) The poolside stuff was fun too, my daughter got to be captain and get "slimed" for winning - she refused, so I took her place. It was cold. :) CONS: Most of my "cons" had nothing to do with NCL at all. The weather on Sunday, causing us to feel like we missed out on a day. The winds on Tuesday, causing our excursions to be canceled. My sunburn at Cocoa Beach (my fault!). My hangover on Tuesday :) The cost of parking in NY. Other than those things, I wouldn't change a thing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We sailed on the Norwegian Jewel out of New York on March 10th. It was the first cruise for my husband and I. There were 4 others with us and 3 of them have been on other cruises. The weather was chilly but living in the Northeast I know ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Jewel out of New York on March 10th. It was the first cruise for my husband and I. There were 4 others with us and 3 of them have been on other cruises. The weather was chilly but living in the Northeast I know it could have been a lot worse so the 40 + temperatures was fine with me. We arrived at the terminal at 11AM. Our bags were taken as we exited the car. Check in was smooth and organized. We were boarding the ship by 11:30AM. We headed to the buffet which was crowed but we were able to find seats with no problem. We still had to wait for our rooms so we just hung out by the pool and took some pictures. Our cabins were ready by 1:30. We sat on our balconies and took some pictures as we sailed away. Our cabin was fantastic. The steward kept it clean and I loved the little animals she made each night. At 3:15 they mustered everyone to go over safety information. Then we wandered the ship to familiarize ourselves with everything. We had dinner at Tsar's Palace. This was the only restaurant I was not pleased with. I had the strip steak that was so tough I could not eat it. I spoke with another guest later that also had the steak and he said it was very good. Maybe it was a fluke that I got that piece. I did go back to Tsar's when we had dinner with one of the officers. I had the Penne Alfredo and that was very good. We tried a number of the restaurants and my favorite was Cagney's. I didn't mind paying extra for that meal because it was so good. A lot of people spent time at the pool but we didn't. I need temperatures in the 90's in order to go into a pool. We spent time in the casino and joining some of the activities. Boston Chris, Dazzling Devon, Aussie Steph and Nacho Libre were all fantastic. My favorite bar tender was Marsha at the Java Cafe. There were some pretty enjoyable shows on the ship. Linda James is excellent. She sang in various areas of the ship. I really enjoyed her Diva session. There was a tribute to Elton John that was very energetic. We did catch a couple of the shows in the stardust that were good. There were a lot of kids on spring break so they had a lot of activities geared towards them. It kept them occupied, which was good, but I think it took away from our age group. That made a lot of down time for us which caused me to lose a little more in the casino. We stopped at Cape Canaveral on Monday. We took a cab to Cocoa Village. It is a lot like Cape May, New Jersey with the little boutiques. It was a nice afternoon browsing. Next stop was Great Stirrup Cay. The BBQ was Ok. We arrived late and decided not to join in the activities. This is a great place for sunbathers. We wandered around a bit then took the tender back to the ship. Nassau was a disappointment. I found it to be dirty. I am surprised they haven't invested money in it since it is a tourist stop. We did go over to the Atlantis which was quite impressive. The straw market was interesting but it seemed like every merchant sold the same merchandise. We did pick up a few things for the grand kids. Over all it was a wonderful trip. I thought I would enjoy the different ports more than being on the ship but the opposite was true. I didn't realize just how much they had to do on the ship. I wish they would keep more places open while in port but we were never bored. I would definitely recommend this trip and Norwegian to everyone. I liked the idea of eating when I want and where I want so the freestyle worked for me. By day 3 my husband and I decide we are going to take another cruise. Although we haven't booked it yet we have it narrowed down to two, the Southern Caribbean or Hawaii. When we decide, we are going to book with Norwegian. One thing Norwegian needs to work on is the disembarking. We were scheduled for 8:50. Apparently no one abides by the schedule. We had trouble getting an elevator that wasn't full. When we finally reached the 7th floor the line was wrapped all the way around the ship. We were at a stand still for a good 20 minutes. Once it started moving it did move relatively quick. It just seemed very disorganized. They were suppose to call the various color coded tags for disembarking but I never heard any announcements at all. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Left out of NY on Saturday March 24, 2012 - could not have been easier - we were dropped off (about noon) went through security and were on the boat - ON VACATION within about 30 minutes. Our room was not ready so we went to lunch, ... Read More
Left out of NY on Saturday March 24, 2012 - could not have been easier - we were dropped off (about noon) went through security and were on the boat - ON VACATION within about 30 minutes. Our room was not ready so we went to lunch, walked around - by then our room was ready and then our luggage arrived. We settled in and unpacked. I definitely suggest going to the bon Voyage BBQ near the pool - it gets you so pumped for your vacay. Georgeous Georges had a conga line going, the kids were in the pool and I had a cokatil in my hand,the DJ played NEW YORK NEW YORK was we passed the StaTue of Liberty and being the sap thaT I am I got a little teary. Things just got better from there and we had a fantastic week...the kids loved the KIDS CLUB - my 2 1/2 wasn't there nearly as much as my 8 1/2 year old but that was OK. We stopped in Florida and did an AIR BOAT ALLIGATOR excursion - we did the 3 hour one 1pm til 4pm - more than enough - we had met people who had done the 6 hour one - cannot imagine being out and about that long...too much for our young family. Tuesday was GREAT STIRRUP CAY and WE LOVED IT - I had heard a lot of negative things about this stop - yes, it is under construction (cannot wait to see the finished project in 2014) but this was our favorite day - we had GORGEOUS weather and chairs at the water's edge (we were on the first tender going over: this was KEY!!) they brought the food off the boat and it was perfect beachy/picnic food - BBQ chicken, cold salads, etc. LOVED LOVED this day...WEDNESDAY Nassau was great - we did a dolphin excursion (Blue Lagoon Dolphion Encounter) good - not great...fun day - that night we ate at Tepanyaki with just my older daghter and it was great..the rest of the week we were at sea heading home- which again, was fine and relaxing having "nothing" to do but lounge around and relax. Would suggest to anyone THINKING about traveling with a baby younger than 2 1/2: WAIT - it is not worth it - they cannot "do" anything and you are dealing with bottles, diapers, etc. You could not have paid me to take my daughter any younger..she was 2 1/2 and had a great time - they gave us a crib and she slept like a champ, ate everything and loved the pools, hot tub, etc. ONE SUGGESTION for Norwegian - give us a place to just go and hang out with the kids - if our 2 1/2 yr old did not want to go to the Kids Club - then what??!? We had nowhere to JUST GO - I wish there was like a FAMILY ROOM, with tvs, couches, games, (not supervised, snacks, etc just somewhere to go and chill out... Loved the Norwegian crew - loved our first cruise experience and will definitely do it again!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We had an amazing time on the Jewel. Let me start off by saying that out of the group of 8 of us that went only my husband had been on a cruise before, so this was all new to us. We went to New York City on the Thursday before our cruise ... Read More
We had an amazing time on the Jewel. Let me start off by saying that out of the group of 8 of us that went only my husband had been on a cruise before, so this was all new to us. We went to New York City on the Thursday before our cruise left to do a little site seeing and also in case we encountered any bad weather leaving Ohio. The staff from the time we got to the pier to the time we left the pier were absolutely AMAZING! They were helpful, friendly, and just made everything easy! Food -- we ate most days in the buffet for breakfast, lunch, and supper. We were able to find plenty of choices. We didn't mind having the same thing a couple times during the course of a week. I loved the nachos by the pool also! We ate lunch once and dinner twice at Tsar's. Each time we were sat promptly and service was good. The food was pretty good also. We did not try any of the restaurants that had a cover charge. Embarkation -- We arrived at the pier between 10:15 and 10:20. Our bags were taken right away. We only had to wait about two minutes for one other couple before us to check in. We did the online check in so this check in was quick and easy. We showed our passports and gave our credit card and were done in less than 5 minutes. Going through the security was just like at the airport. There was no line and we were through in a couple of minutes. We were given a ticket to hold on to - #22. Then we were seated in the waiting area and told that because of the norovirus outbreak the trip before it would be around 1:00 before we could get on the ship. However, around noon they started calling numbers to board. They called numbers numerically, but it didn't seem like they were passed out numerically. There were people just getting there that got to board before those of us who had been there earlier. Oh well, we made it onto the ship fairly soon after the boarding process started. We headed straight for Tsar's to have lunch. Florida -- we did the Cocoa Beach Shuttle. We knew we could probably get a cab cheaper, but it just seemed easier to do the shuttle. We had beautiful weather -- 86 and sunny! We went to Ron Jon's and Cocoa Beach. Some of the group laid on the beach for the afternoon, others of us walked to the pier and back. We all had a great time and headed back to the ship around 4:00 for some quiet pool time. Great Stirrup Cay -- My sister and I waited in line for tender tickets at the pool, but then we realized that we didn't need them since we already booked the snorkeling. So if you have any shore excursions booked at Great Stirrup Cay don't waste your time waiting in line for tender tickets. Your shore excursion ticket will get you on the first tender if you are down there early enough. We walked down to deck 6 about 9:00 and waited in line for about 5-10 minutes before they called #1 tender tickets and anyone holding a yellow shore excursion ticket. We ended up on the first tender over to the island. Just a hint: the tender unloads from the bottom of the boat up front. We sat on the top of the tender and were able to see a sting ray in the beautiful blue water! We were on the island by about 9:15. Most of us that went have very fair skin so my husband was able to find some shade beside the building where they pass out the snorkeling stuff facing the water. That shade lasted until about 1:00 on that side of the building. So we spent our time snorkeling and just enjoying the weather from the shade. The best place we found to see fish was to the right side of the beach in the opening where the big rock is. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. Don't try to walk directly from the beach to the opening, the bottom of the ocean is VERY ROUGH through that part. Go straight out from the beach then swim over to the right once you are out a ways. Some of us ended up with bruised feet from the rough bottom. We decided to head back to the ship once we lost our shade on the side of the building. The ship was so quiet and there were hardly any people at the pool! Nassau -- We were up early enough to watch the ship dock. That was neat. We arrived earlier than what was planned. We didn't have anything planned for Nassau so we waited a little while to get off the ship. I think we got off around 9:30 or 10:00. We headed to the straw market and did a little shopping. Make sure to bargain for what you want. My sister got a conk shell for only $5.00! On the way back to the ship we found a sports pub called The Green Parrot, I think. We had a blast in there! The bartender was super nice and told us a lot about the island. From there we took a water taxi ($4.00 a person) to Paradise Island. We were glad we did this. We walked around a little while and then walked to the Atlantis Hotel. We caught the water taxi back to the Nassau and we got back on the ship by about 4:00 or so. Our balcony was on port side so we were able to watch the people running to catch the ship at 6:00. Needless to say we didn't leave on time that night! We slowly started making our way back north. On Thursday we still had nice, warm weather! Friday was much cooler. That morning we had rough seas again -- 7.5 to 12 foot waves, but we didn't get sick this time. We started taking Dramamine Thursday morning just in case we had rough seas on the way home. We also wore the sea bracelets. Disembarkation -- we chose the 10:40am time slot and put our luggage out the night before. We had to be out of our rooms by 9:00am then on Saturday morning. We hung out in bar city and waited for our color to be called. It was called by about 10:15 and we left the ship. We easily found our luggage, rearranged a few things for the flight home and went through customs. We were outside waiting on our shuttle by 10:45. I have to say this was the best vacation we have had. I would definitely cruise with Norwegian again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Feb 25-March 3, 2012... This was my first cruise (and maybe my last). My husband convinced me to take a cruise since I refuse to fly (extremely clostrophobic) so we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel since we read about the Nickelodeon ... Read More
Feb 25-March 3, 2012... This was my first cruise (and maybe my last). My husband convinced me to take a cruise since I refuse to fly (extremely clostrophobic) so we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel since we read about the Nickelodeon for the kids. (kids are 6 and 8 yrs old) Let's start off with the cabin. Our room was 9010. Front on the ship and it had a balcony. Room was always clean and our steward James was awesome and would leave little towel animals in our room every night. He was on top of everything. The room was a good size. Bathroom a bit small but it was good for the 4 of us. Now onto the food, Main dining room was ok. Was kind of a pain to get a seat. Food really wasn't that hot and not much of a variety (pretty much samething every night) but it was ok. The washy washy ladies at the door were super friendly. We went to Czars palace to eat one night and it was HORRIBLE! We got seated rather quickly but took 2 1/2 hrs to get our food! (yes u read that correctly) very long time and with the kids made it that much worse. To top it off, they weren't even that busy. The Blue Lagoon was my favorite. Fast food and always came hot. Entertainment was ok I guess. They really didn't have that much saw Dora and Diego once. I never saw Patrick or Spongebob. They had Bingo, and shows every night. I guess the entertainment was ok. I wasn't to crazy about it. The pool area was wonderful. Kids had a great time and it was a nice place to unwind. I would definitely recommend the pool area. Oh can't forget the Casino. That was the best. I am really not a gambler but met great people there. Overall, I would have to give it a 2 out of a 5. The first night was incredibly rocky and i literally thought the ship was gonna fall apart. My kids were crying and I was throwing up for about an hr. I don't think i would do Norwegian again. A lot of people on board saying the same. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We boarded at New York and that was very easy and painless. Arrived around 11.30am and only had about 30 minute wait before we were on board & exploring the ship. We took the ship tour at around 1pm, led by 'Boston' Chris ... Read More
We boarded at New York and that was very easy and painless. Arrived around 11.30am and only had about 30 minute wait before we were on board & exploring the ship. We took the ship tour at around 1pm, led by 'Boston' Chris & that was useful to see some of the major spots & get to know one of the fabulous entertainment staff. Can't say enough about the fabulous staff on board the ship. We were always greeted with a smile, many stopped to chat with us. We go to know 'Dazzling' Devyn, 'Boston' Chris & Nacho Libre very well & they felt like good friends by the end of the cruise. Our cabin was an obstructed oceanview 8092, near the Blue Lagoon restaurant. Turned out we had a picture window & only partially obstructed as the view was between 2 lifeboats, so pretty good. Location was great, close to the elevator/stairs & one up from atrium/guest services etc. Ports of call were nice. We weren't totally impressed by Port Canaveral. We took a shuttle bus to 'The Cove', an open air marketplace & although nice, it was small & limited things to buy. Shuttle was a nightmare as there was a long wait to get the next shuttle bus to Cocoa Beach. So we opted to pay extra & take a taxi back to the ship. Nassau was our favorite port of call with all the friendly people & shops. We both (me & my 62yr old mother) got our hair braided. We paid $35 for a half head with beads. They started off by saying $3 a braid, but we set a firm price we wanted to pay in the beginning & were thankful we did that as we ended up with around 25 braids (so would have been around $75!!!). I advise doing the same thing if you want your hair braided anywhere. Set a firm price instead of paying by the braid. Activities on board were plentiful. We took part in most of the trivia sessions, craft activities (Devyn led most of them & was great) & bingos. Bingo was fun, but very expensive we felt. Started at $39 for just on single sheet. If you wanted to share with a partner you could get a 'super bundle' for $69. Payouts were generally around $100-$300 for most games. Shows were great. The NCL dancers/singers were very talented & really enjoyed them. Don't miss the final show of the cruise, it is great! Food was good. We ate at Azura (great service & food), Tsars (got chosen to dine with an officer & it was good service & food again), & the buffet. Buffet was always plentiful with many choices. There was always a carvery item, Indian station, Caesar salad station, pasta station, then other options. Drinks were coffee, tea or unsweetened iced tea for free. There was a bar in the buffet area for alcoholic drinks or sodas too. We took part in the 'Taste of the Best' held at the Le Bistro for lunch one day & I cannot recommend that enough. It is $15 per person & you get to choose menu items from all the speciality restaurants. There was also a small buffet with additional items from the restaurants! Tenderloin from Le Bistro was our favorite, it just melted in your mouth, so very good! Crab cake from Cagneys was good too, as was tiramisu from Mamas. Only downside of the cruise, was the assistant cruise director George. We both took an instant dislike to him. His jokes were lame, banter was annoying & comments/jokes towards fellow staff were totally inappropriate we felt. My mother found him so annoying to the point that she refused to attend bingo if he was calling the numbers. Luckily, as previously said, the rest of the entertainment crew were great! So they made up for George's terrible personality! The ship itself was beautiful. Constantly saw staff cleaning it, from vacuuming floors, washing down the outside, to going with tiny brushes alongside where the flooring met the walls! We had a great time and hope to cruise on the NCL Jewel in the future... just hopefully without George! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Where does a person start? From embarkation to debarkation every minute spent on the Norwegian Jewel exceeded our expectations. I have spent more time on my local supermarket checkout lines than I did (in total) for activities on this ... Read More
Where does a person start? From embarkation to debarkation every minute spent on the Norwegian Jewel exceeded our expectations. I have spent more time on my local supermarket checkout lines than I did (in total) for activities on this cruise. The amazing hospitality and knowledge displayed by staff and crew is truly a rarity. Entertainment is top notch including the "Jewel" on board troupes to each of the specialty entertainers. The magnificent, enormous theatre does not have a poor seat in the house and is truly in itself a sight to behold. The many, many bar and lounges also had fantastic entertainers. One performer, Bernie Martini, should be a super star! The balcony stateroom was immaculately clean at all times and totally equipped with everything a top hotel provides, and the beds were more comfortable!! We dined in 3 of the specialty restaurants for dinner but since the main dining room food was very good (more of a selection needed), I don't know if we would do it again. We could have done without the Port Canaveral stop and would have preferred an overnight stay in the Bahamas. The day at the private island, Great Stirrup Cay was beautiful and there was more than enough to keep one busy. It appeared to us that the kids and teens were having the time of their lives so this is for sure a family oriented ship as well. Our one complaint was the smoking in the casino. We are frequent visitors to the AC casinos near home and looked forward to the casino experience on board. The casino itself is very nice however as the only indoor area that allowed smoking it was impossible to get a breath of fresh air while inside and the acrid smoke really ruined the fun of gambling for us. I wonder why a separate enclosed smoking area somewhere on the ship is not offered instead. We would take another cruise on this ship in a heartbeat, but we will avoid the smokey casino. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our first cruise and for my 50th birthday. Being a due diligence type of person I researched, called NCL and did everything I could do before hand to insure a great time. What I found is that NCL was dishonest on a quite a few ... Read More
This was our first cruise and for my 50th birthday. Being a due diligence type of person I researched, called NCL and did everything I could do before hand to insure a great time. What I found is that NCL was dishonest on a quite a few things. I had read a few different stories on the pre authorization, credit hostage if you will when you board the ship. When I called NCL they said they only pre auth $300 and only add another $300 when your account goes below $100. This is false, as when I was standing at the finance counter, and I stood there for 12 minutes before the 2 women behind the counter acknowledged me, and they were on the phone trying to authorize $500 on an acct, it didn't go through, then they tried $400 etc.......Not to mention this person had money on their account. Before we boarded we put $1000 on our account and double checked with guest relations when we boarded that it was there, and they verfied it was. However, the first 2 days, we were denied room service and drinks and told to go to guest relations as they had no monies on our account. We made four trips there, and on the fifth trip I demanded to speak to a manager, Joe Boyle, he was even worse, unprofessional and outright rude. His words to me were your right its unacceptable, I can't explain it, let me know if it happens again and showed me the door. I went outside call NCL from the ship and they told me, Handle it on the ship and hung up. HOws that? THey did say they would send a message to ship and someone would contact me, THAT NEVER happened. Lastly, it was my 50th bday, granted we were seated a the second to last seating, my husband told the server it was my bday, and they said they were busy and closing and never ackowleged it on my bday, 2 days later in Azura they did. But not on the actual day. If after reading this you still wish to go, here is some info for first time cruisers: YOu pay 12 per day per person over the age of 3 for tips in advance In addition you will 15percent auto tips on any drinks or service, in addition to the mandatory 12 per day. You will be told to tip your bar and food service out of your pocket as the 12 per day does not apply to them If you want to drink soda its either 2.30 each with tip or you can buy a soda card for 51.00 per person for the week Pictures for an 8x10 is $20 or the smaller version is $13, if you buy 4 of one size you get one free, you cannot combine sizes Port Caneveral really doesn't have much. Howevever if you take a cab, its $5 person and they take you pretty much everywhere for that fee. Excursion DO NOT BOOK on the ship, go out and you will find that you will save almost 50 percent for the same thing the ship is offering. Nassau is beautiful, but you have to be back on the ship at 530 whereas in Florida its 10:00, makes no sense. The private island, be prepared to drop at lest 50.00 or more there especially if you want a clamshell for shade Beer is about 35.00 for a six back, mixed drinks run between 8 - 10 each, however they do have drink specials for 6.00 each day, so check your daily mews they give you each day for that drinks special Internet is 75 center per minute plus a 4 dollar activation fee and its as fast as dial up However if you wait to the last day they have an internet special of 12 dollars for 30 minutes Cell Phone. if you take a pic with your cell phone and send it, it will be approx 21 regardless of your carrier. On board its about 3.00 per minute for calls 50 cents to send texts and 15 cents to receive them , your on cruise ship roaming and no cell plan covers that, however you have to call your provider prior to going to make sure your phone is enabled if you choose to use it There are more for fee restaurants than free ones on the ship. Not much different, however Le Bistro was descent, and it was worth it to have a quiet atmosphere and the ambiance was nice. Azura is nice, its a free on, Tsars palace I wasn't impressed with the service, as we had to ask for drinks they never asked Our room steward was outstanding, I have to admit that. I would say that this ship seems to cater to families with small children, so if thats you, you might like it or even love it. I did speak to people on board that loved it, that were cruisers before, but also talked to more people who were first timers likes us and they said like me never again, at least not on NCL. I was not impressed nor did I feel like we were treated as a guest should be. I would like to give BIG shout out to Michelle, who welcomed me, she is member of cruise critic no NCL. Granted, they had a meeting with NCL the second day out, I missed the meeting, SEASICK, perhaps if I had met with Hugo and it was noted I was with Cruise Critic we would have had better customer service, However that should be a given, don't you agree? All in all, IMHO, to spend the kind of money your gonna spend, go to an all inclusive resort and enjoy yourself. BTW: Excursions to Atlantis are from120 to 300 per person on Nassau, but remember your not there that long and people we talked to who went were rushed. Excursions in Florida to Universal are 150 pp and its an hour ride both ways, and people that went, only got to ride 4 - 6 rides before they had to come back to the ship, so again not really worth it. THe cove excursion for the outside market IS NOT A flea market, its basically crafts and its on the pier, not worth the 6 dollars person, go for the surf and company shuttle outside the tunnel when you get off the ship, or take the walmart shuttle or just take a cab at 5 per person and see the sites. Lastly on the luggage, THEY DONT weigh it, we had a bag that was 60lbs, they take and throw it on the roll away, so dont worry about that get your soda and water in florida you can bring it on... NOTE if you bring wine there is at 15 dollar corkage fee per bottle but you cannot bring any other type of alcohol Bingo is done from a laptop, numbers are not pulled and if you get six cards if for one game not six games and that will cost you 69 dollars Do not purchase a massage at the port before the cruise they have specials on the boat, especially during port days, alot cheaper Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
It was a fun-filled activities trip. Entertainment The entertainment was very enjoyable and very well prepared. We attended most of the theater events and the shows were of very good quality. I liked that it offered 2 different ... Read More
It was a fun-filled activities trip. Entertainment The entertainment was very enjoyable and very well prepared. We attended most of the theater events and the shows were of very good quality. I liked that it offered 2 different times to attend. Comedian was super funny and the acrobatic Duo a must see...mesmerizing. My son liked the Nick slime time. Food Food was very good in the main dining areas, buffet and speciality dinners. We went 2 places with cover and they were had very good food, the teppanyaki and cagneys, worth the extra money. The main dining areas, had good food but the wait staff most of times were slow to serve food. I like that you don't have to set times for dinner...already too many planned things. Loved the stateroom (5558) really slept well. It was bigger than i was expecting. My steward was very good to us. Martini tasting a must do for martini lovers....Evelio best bartender... This is my first cruise...it was something to do at least once in your life. I personally would rather be at a resort from day 1 and enjoy warm weather right away. Wish we had sailed from a different port than NY cause would rather had spend more days at port vs at sea. Loved the 2 of the 3 ports of call. Cape Canaveral was a waste of time. Private island was great!! Bahamas Atlantis was super awesome, we did the Dolphin Cay Swim. THIS WAS BEST EXPERIENCE EVER. In Atlantis - did the Leap of Faith slide - vertical slide into shark tank!. For the kids: My son had fun in the sports deck playing basketball. We didn't use the kid club since we felt comfortable letting him run around ship with friends he meet on-board. Swimming pools are small. Jacuzzi were always fulled. Overall would recommend - Jewel as a good ship. I would rather sail from down south in the winter. Avoid to many days at seas unless you like just staying on ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Hello All - Here are my thoughts on cruise! This was our first cruise and we really had a great time. It was my husband, myself, and our 4 year old son on the trip. We drove to the port from Albany and with our GPS we had no ... Read More
Hello All - Here are my thoughts on cruise! This was our first cruise and we really had a great time. It was my husband, myself, and our 4 year old son on the trip. We drove to the port from Albany and with our GPS we had no problems at all. Traffic was not a problem at all until we got to the port where it was very congested since the gem and the jewel were both going out that day. Parking was expensive to leave the car for a week, but well worth it. I never worried about the car while we gone and it was nice to be able to get off the boat at the end of the trip, jump in the car and head right home. I didn't want to mess around with the train or Yankee trials but that was just our preference (a lot of people went that route). There are people everywhere helping direct you at the port on where to go and what to do. We arrived at around 1030, so it was not too busy which was nice. No problems checking in, and we were able to get on the boat around 1130. We went to the buffet for lunch, which was a total cluster, I recommend going to Tsar's. We were able to go to the room at 130 once all the rooms had been cleaned. Our room was a mid ship mini suit, plenty big enough for the 3 of us. It was really nice to have a small for tub for our son, since he still prefers baths to showers. Also noteworthy, I never herd a single sound from our neighbors, so the rooms are either really well insulated or they were just quiet. Days at Sea - Our son usually went to the kids club for an hour, which he loved. They have lots of activities and he always had fun while he was there. The ship offers many choices of the things to do during the day, but we usually just hung by the pool and soaked up the sun. Our son's favorite thing about the cruise was the water slide, so we spent ample time there. There were lots of late night things planned but our little guy goes to bed early so missed out on those. We did go to the show every night. The shows were my favorite part of the cruise. The performers were all amazing. Band on the run and the le cirque shoes were the be best! Truly a must see!! Port Canaveral FL - So many people have said that this was a wasted stop or not worth getting off the boat, but we had a great day. We had no set excursion, so we just got off the boat and took the shuttle to Coco Beach. $5 a person. We went to Ron Jon Surf Shop. We all forgot our sunglasses, so this stop worked out well for us. It was only a couple of blocks from the beach. We walked to a restaurant and sat on the upper deck and had lunch. The weather was so nice and the staff was friendly, the food was good too. We walked along the beach so our son could collect sea shells. The was cold and the shells were small and broken, but that didn't matter to him, it was like gold to him. We were not able to go to the private island because the water was too rough so we just had a day at sea. Nassau - We went to Atlantis for the day. Kind of a cluster to get there, long wait for the shuttle and then not enough shuttles. The weather was overcast until about 1, which was a little bit of a damper. You are able to go to two different beaches and walk though the aquariums. Our son was thrilled with this day. He loved the sharks and seeing all the different fish. The was water was cold but he swam anyway! We left early because food at the resort was really expensive and seems foolish to spend all that extra money when there was a boat full of food waiting for us. My advice, eat a late breakfast, the resort was nice, and our son loved it, but I probably would not do this again. Food - We liked both main dining rooms, the food was hot and good. Blue Lagoon was nice for easy, quick, comfort food. The only extra cost we ate at was Mama's which was very good, I would eat there again. We ate at the buffet for breakfast everyday and usually sat out on the deck. We ate there once for lunch and once for dinner. I would not recommend it, it was always crazy busy and so many people that it was not relaxing or enjoyable at all. Overall the food was very good, not always great, but there are so many choices that it was easy to find something that everyone liked. Staff - Probably the best thing about the cruise. Everyone we encountered was very nice and friendly. All of our waiters went the extra mile and then some. They were all very sweet with our son too. Our cabin steward was such a sweetheart, we loved her. I would cruise with NCL and a lot of that has to do with the staff. We felt very welcome and at home from the first day. One thing that we didn't like was that on the days we were in port we felt like we had to watch the clock all the time so we didn't miss the ship. We were always back way early but that is def one negative about cruising. Happy Cruising All! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We booked our cruise with Norwegian with no problems and found most of our questions were accurate and most helpful. We arrived at the pier around 11am and boarded around 11:50ish. (they did let us on 10 min. early) Check in was ... Read More
We booked our cruise with Norwegian with no problems and found most of our questions were accurate and most helpful. We arrived at the pier around 11am and boarded around 11:50ish. (they did let us on 10 min. early) Check in was absolutely seamless. I had planned on an overhaul being my first time, (no passports.. went with birth certs) and we sailed right through. Nice start! Following up on a tip, I went directly to deck 12 and purchased our soda cards first thing and ate lunch. Tip: When it starts to get crowded at the food buffet, (and it will), do a tour of the ship. Our luggage arrived in our room around 5:30ish so bring a toothbrush in your carry on bag and anything thing else you might need to get you through till then. Our stateroom, 5108 is the 2nd to last room aft. The pluses are there is no traffic going by with other guests,and its a quick dash to deck 4 where debarkation takes place at ports, but there is a staff room access point right across the hall. Regardless,we never had any issues with noise. The beds were firmer than I am accustom but slept well. Everything was in well working order except when I took a shower, the water would get really hot, then ice cold, then hot, cold... I am not sure if this is a normal for this is my first time on a cruise so I am sure the demand for hot water gets tricky.. ( I guess?? ) Housekeeping was fantastic. Thank you Marlin!!!! The food: Tsar's smoked salmon Benedict was wonderful. The steak at Cagneys was good, and the Teppanyaki Room was a blast, however I did not feel the $25 dollar covers were worth it. $15 to $20 yes. Le Bistro is worth the $20 and the atmosphere is nicer than Cagneys in my opinion. I am not a fan of seeing the kitchen when I dine formally (Cagneys), but that's just me. The steak at Azura's was just as good as Cagneys and the same menu at Azura is served at Tsars at night. The lamb at Chin Chin was outstanding and def. worth the $15. TIP: get the Mahi Mahi as well and share!! The Blue Lagoon has the perfect size chef salad...... but avoid the chip and dip. If you're up early, eat at the Great Outdoors.. Nice view of the wake. Order room service in the morning and get a pizza delivery at least once during the trip. The pizza was enormous and piping hot!!! The wait staff in all areas was outstanding. I am not sure why I have seen so many negatives in this area. Great Stirrup Cay was beautiful, even with all the construction. We took advantage of walking around and checking out the sites. TIP: For a great picture of the boat, walk all the way to the right of the island up a small hill. No one really goes there (out of the way) and bring good shoes... there are rocks everywhere, but the view is breathtaking. There are a few huts for some shopping so a little extra cash might be handy if buying gifts. Not much to choose from with the stirrup cay logo however I did not get Spa services but recommend doing a tour on your first day. My kids are older so I also cannot comment on the whole Nickelodeon experience nor the children's clubs, but the parents I met on the ship were very happy with the offerings they received. The shows were wonderful and the activity directors were outstanding. A family vacation worth remembering and I look forward to booking many more with NCL. Thank you to cruise critic for this is a wonderful resourcefulness site. Happy Cruising everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We had an excellent first time cruiser experience on the Norwegian Jewel. I booked it about 60 days in advance through an online booking agent. This was to be my 40th birthday celebration. The timing and price were perfect. NCL was great ... Read More
We had an excellent first time cruiser experience on the Norwegian Jewel. I booked it about 60 days in advance through an online booking agent. This was to be my 40th birthday celebration. The timing and price were perfect. NCL was great to work with from the start. I was reading through different rules and guide lines and had a few questions. On several occasions I called a customer service agent and they were knowledgeable and always willing to help. I immediately joined the Cruise Critic roll call for our cruise and signed up to attend the Cruise Critic members meet and greet. In the roll call, as well as other blogs, I was able to get acquainted with veteran and other first time cruisers. Cruise Critic proved to be my most valuable source of information for our cruise preparation and packing. Every topic concerning cruising is here, from future cruise credits, and understanding the automatic gratuities to washy washy girls. We embarked from New York City. We are from Connecticut so we parked our car at the Metro North Southeast station the cost for 7 days was only $32, it is $30 a day at the pier. The train ticket to Grand Central Station was $12.25pp one way. With this being our first time sailing out of NYC I wasn't taking any chances and arranged a car to meet us curbside at Grand Central through the NCL website. This was about $30. We took a cab to Grand Central when we returned for $10. Embarkation was well organized and pretty painless. We boarded the ship around noon, the staterooms were not ready yet so we wondered around and found a bar and the decks. All this was brand new to us. We were allowed into the rooms around 1:30. Our room was not quite ready so we went and explored for a while longer.The On board entertainment was endless. There was something for everyone. Once we got our bearings on the location of certain things on the ship and where we were in reference to it all we had a great experience! We went to see Cirque Bi Jour in the Stardust Theater. This was an awesome high flying acrobatic performance, a must see. We watched and participated in several game shows like "The weakest Link" "Dancing with the Jewel Stars" and Daily Trivia. When we weren't relaxing in our stateroom and balcony, we were engaged in some form of activity, somewhere, meeting new and interesting people. The spa's Chill Lounge pass was well worth it for us. It was $119 plus tax and gratuity each. There was a men side and a women's side then a couple's area. These areas were child free. Here there were tile lounge chairs that were heated, and facing a wall of windows looking out from the front center of the ship. Other sets of soft seating, a large whirlpool with 2 double loungers in it, and 2 sets of double showers. I purchased a "Total Spa Day" for a discounted price on a shore day. It was the day we were supposed to stop at Great Stirrup Cay, but the seas were to rough and we had to skip it. That did not bother us as much as it did some others. The treatment was 75 minutes and included a mini facial and scalp massage. I added on a hair conditioning treatment. I did have to remind the therapist about the added treatment and was hit with a product sales pitch before I was off the table. I put an end to that and will be sure to prevent it from happening again. Overall the treatment was relaxing and therapeutic and I will do it again.Dining and food were varied and there was cuisine and a setting for everyone. I normally stay away from buffets, have for years for various reasons. We loved the buffets. The food was fresh, good variety at every meal, the menu change everyday, and CLEAN! Tsar's Palace was also a great place to have a sit down meal that is part of the included dining. Very Grand. We did enjoy the Cagney's steak house one evening more for the setting and ambiance of the restaurant. It was a fee of $25 per person, can't say that we would do it again. My husband had equally good steak on the deck at the BBQ the next day. Overall we ate at all the different buffets. Room service was good and convenient for morning coffee and a light breakfast or snack. The Photo services were lack luster. There were several opportunities to have single, couples, and group photos taken just about every evening. The positioning in most cases was amateur at best. All the "professional Style" photos were automatically printed in an 8x10. We wanted 5x7's. In order to get 5x7's we had to pay $20 for each 8x10 and then an additional $12.95 for a 5x7. (yup $34.95 for a 5x7!) We bought 2 8x10, and 1 5x7 that had been taken by them on the deck the day we sailed. The amount of pictures that are printed and don't get purchased is astronomical. Very wasteful. We would have bought more if we could have looked at a proof sheet and chosen what to print and what size. Disembarkation was a breeze. We chose to walk off with our luggage at our leisure. (We watched the luggage handlers while embarking...ouch) There were plenty of cabs at the curb to take us to the train station. We were home and unpacked by 2pm. We had a great time. we have been asking ourselves why we have not done this before? We purchased FCC's while on board, we will be doing it again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
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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