2 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Bahamas

From the time we boarded to the time we departed, my vacation experience was characterized by waiting on lines with inconsiderate fellow passengers and inept staff. Here's a very telling observation I made on our second day at sea: I ... Read More
From the time we boarded to the time we departed, my vacation experience was characterized by waiting on lines with inconsiderate fellow passengers and inept staff. Here's a very telling observation I made on our second day at sea: I commented to my husband at 10:00am that every machine in the gym was occupied, every table in the Garden Cafe was occupied, and every lounge chair by the pool was occupied. How could the Jewel not have enough space to accommodate all the passengers they booked?! This overcrowding detracted from everyone's experience and really ruined the vacation for me. We were part of a large group so we ate most meals in the Garden Cafe. It was like eating in a cafeteria -- the food was plentiful but nothing special. I liked that they had Indian food every day but the food signage at the buffet stations didn't match what was offered. For example, they kept an 'Omelet Station' sign up all day but when I asked for an omelet at lunch, they said they're only available at breakfast. And on more than one occasion I was unhappy to find ham in what was labeled 'Eggs & cheese'. They could do a better job with the lines if they organized the layout better. For example, syrup and toppings were placed before the pancakes and waffles in the buffet line so people had to go through the line twice or just cut the line (which is what most people did). Same thing with the soft serve ice cream. There were never fewer than 15 people in line for soft serve ice cream and part of the problem is that the toppings were placed before people got to the ice cream machine. Other general complaints about the Garden Cafe: they often ran out of drinking cups and the staff was always underfoot pushing carts through the dining room and making us get out of their way instead of them watching out for us. I could go on about the other restaurants but I'd rather focus on my other chief disappointment - - the pools. There was simply not enough space in the pool area or in the pools themselves to accommodate everyone who wanted to use them. People hoarded chairs early in the morning and absolutely none were available by 8:00am. Walking the deck was an obstacle course through lounge chairs and discarded food - - some on plates and some spilled. The Kiddie pool was ridiculously small (capacity of 7, I'm guessing) and had a slide that ended about a foot before the wall which seemed poorly planned and dangerous. It was stuck back in a stuffy corner that got as hot as a steamroom with little ventilation. I never saw any staff supervising the area though I witnessed several young kids slipping down the steps from the kiddie hottub. There were two main pools, one for adults only. Both pools were relatively small and given the family orientation of this cruise, the one pool that was open-to-all was constantly overcrowded. Both pools had a uniform depth of nearly 6 feet which meant most people couldn't stand and therefore had to hang off the sides, which also got very overcrowded. It was ridiculous. And making matters worse was the total lack of consideration the passengers displayed and the inaction by staff to do anything about it. I saw a child vomiting over the side of a hottub and not only did their family not remove the child from the situation, it took the staff 15 minutes to do anything about cleaning it up. I also saw a man in the open-to-all pool spit chewing tobacco in the water and swish it away with his hand, hoping no one had noticed. I am still completely incredulous that anyone would do such a thing! I could on to complain about the children's activities featuring lines over 40 minutes to decorate a cupcake or make-your-own pizza, both of which ran out of supplies in the middle of the event. But I think what I've written already speaks volumes and helps explain why I will never again consider an NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Embarkation: Took the Yankee Trails bus from upstate NY and got picked up at 9:05a at our local Wal-Mart!(How convenient!)Got to the pier around 10:30a and as latitude members getting through security was a breeze! In fact, ... Read More
Embarkation: Took the Yankee Trails bus from upstate NY and got picked up at 9:05a at our local Wal-Mart!(How convenient!)Got to the pier around 10:30a and as latitude members getting through security was a breeze! In fact, everyone at the pier had an easy time getting through security and checking in to the ship. We were onboard before noon and went directly to the Tsar dining room for lunch which was great! Even got the seats by the aft windows!!! The beginning: My wife and I just returned from our cruise to Cape Canaveral, GSC, and Nassau. This was our third trip with NCL and our first on the Jewel. The Jewel is a beautiful ship and just like the threads that I read here on CC, the staff/service was excellent! The rooms were made up early and you no longer need to bring life vests to the muster drill! We did the sail away party, had dinner in the Azura dining room, went to the early Welcome show (which was at 7:30p), did a bit of gambling, and we were off to a great start!!! Oh ya, the weather was perfect every day!! Okay, some rain early in Nassau and a passing shower in Fla.! What else is new! On our first day at sea we had our CC M&G with the NCL senior staff including Hugo the Hotel Director, Kris the Food/Beverage Director, Rochelle the Group coordinator, Dan "the man" cruise director, and more...! We had a pretty good showing and it was great to meet all the peeps I'd been chatting with! The staff all spoke to us and we could put our names into a raffle to eat with the staff and just like I read on CC, if you'd like to eat with the staff, you have an excellent chance!! Coffee and dry snacks were served. We wound up eating with Hugo the HD one night, with another couple from CC, and some other quests. Hugo was the perfect host and we all had a great night!! Room/Food/Shows/Casino/Booze: We had a BA center cabin 10086 with a perfect location near the elevators, pool, buffet... and an empty space across the hall! We had the cabin steward empty our fridge the first day and loaded it with water and ice tea we had brought on board via checked in luggage! The food was excellent at both the Tsar and Azura dining rooms! They had new items every night on the left side of the menu and standard selections on the right side of the menu. And don't forget, you can get ice tea at no extra charge in the dining rooms, but you now have to pay for cappuccino! We always ate early and we never had a wait. The Blue Lagoon was very good, always open, and we had the wings several times and my DW liked the tomato soup and Fish/chips. I did try the meatloaf once and it wasn't that good for me! The buffet was huge with lots to choose from and we loved the pasta bar! We had dinner at Mama's kitchen which was excellent for the $10/pp cover with a real good multi course Italian meal. We had Chicken Parmesan and some carbonara (see pics) and they were amazing!! There are also barbeques all the time and food services in the "Great Outdoors" aft area on deck 12 with seating outside and/or in Mama's kitchen! Also; if you like strong coffee, use the machines with the two spouts as they served fresh ground coffee every cup and it was great! We caught all the shows and liked them all! The band and dancers were excellent and they also had some specialty dancers who were amazing as well as some gymnastic type entertainment which was amazing. We really liked Buzz the comedian and Murray the magician, and don't miss Band on The Run,Duo Artmotion and Le Cirque Bijou! The casino was nice though there was only one roulette wheel with a $10 minimum. However, they did have an automated game with around 10 seats for what I call "quick" roulette with an actual wheel and computer payouts. I saw something similar in Vegas and really enjoyed it as sometimes the real table is too slow with payouts and chip staking. You can bet around every 20 seconds after a roll. I play the same 5 numbers every time so I bet using the repeat button was nice and easy. I am a moderate gambler but usually win one night during the cruise but the table was tight and no winning for me. We're not big drinkers, but I did participate in the Margarita tasting $15/pp for 4 drinks (and a few more shots), and had some Yager and Goldschlager shots during a German beer special at the pool!! Cape Canaveral: Thought about going to Coco beach but the sign with a jellyfish warning stopped that! Instead we had a great day on the ship by the pool and with all the people off the ship it was perfectly quiet with no crowds anywhere!!! GSC: Rented a clamshell the day we got to the ship which also included priority embankment on the first tender! The water was rough on the trip over and back but the E ticket ride was worth it! Got the second clamshell in the first row and it was excellent! Get one in row one or you'll be looking at the back of mine!!;) The beach was beautiful though I didn't find many fish while snorkeling but it could have been me! They had a nice area for the bq lunch/beverages, a small shopping area, and several bars. Nassau: Went on a catamaran/snorkel excursion. It's about a 15 minute walk from the ship to the cat and my DW and I walked over ourselves in the rain just to see the ship leaving. Luckily one of the staff was there and radioed them back and the rain stopped! We had a nice boat ride and some pretty good snorkeling with a nice crew! Last year we did one with free booze on the return but on this one they offered reasonably priced drinks with a kick! Did a little shopping then back to the ship for a nice lunch, and another quiet day onboard! Disembarkation: Getting off was a breeze! With freestyle, you basically pick your time and color and other then some rain and a slippery gangway, and a slowdown in customs, it wasn't that bad getting off!! Final Thoughts: We luved the Jewel and it was great meeting all our CC friends and meet lotsa new ones! The Jewel was a beautiful ship, with the best staff we ever cruised with! Great food, great staff, fantastic weather, excellent entertainment, great peeps, good ports = GREAT Cruise!! Thank you NCL Jewel staff! If you have any questions let me know. I am a CruiseAholic and Luv2Cruz!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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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