2 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a ... Read More
We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a person. Not a bad price, and the luggage was next seen in our cabins. As latitudes members, my husband and I were ushered into the "special" line for check-in. There were so many repeat cruisers, that as we shuffled along in the long line,we watched first-timers whiz right past us, through check in, and on board! We had lunch in the buffet, and then went to our cabin. It was always neat and clean, and the stewardess was friendly and helpful. Except, that she was not pleased when we carried glasses from our cabin anywhere else on the ship. In fact, she wouldn't replace them! We ended up bringing glasses from the dining room for our own use! Since they are no longer provided automatically, we requested bar soap, lotion and robes, and got them all. We used several excursions, and they were all what we expected. We also organized a boat excursion in St. Lucia on our own for eight, and decided that was our BEST day of the trip!! Others in our group took tours, and some just picked up taxis, etc. in ports...everyone was happy with their choices. Meals....well, things sure aren't what they used to be! I agree with other reviews in that the buffet food did look like cafeteria fare. My favorites were the pretzel rolls and the ice cream. The food area is quite large, and I find that by the time I make my choices, fill my plate, and get to a table, my food is cold. No beverage service was provided at the tables, and no lemonade was available as on other NCL ships. We ate in the Blue Lagoon many times and preferred it because the choices were good, and the service was quick and efficient. The dining room...we ate mostly in the TSAR...varied. We had a couple wonderful, entertaining, waiters, and then we had one waitress who was just rude and unhelpful. Unfortunately, we had her on the surf and turf night! When additional lobsters were requested, she brought them, plunked them down and ignored us the rest of the meal. No melted butter was served with any of the lobster. We asked for more water (our glasses were all empty), and finally got another waiter to bring it. Same thing with bread. Three of us had ordered dessert before the meal. We got ours, but no one took the others' orders. Two of them eventually ordered dessert, but the third person was skipped. And, regarding the lobster, what is the policy on "seconds". Since we had contact with so many people in our group, we compared stories. Some had several lobsters, some were told they could only have one, some others requested to see the Manager, and he told them only one. There needs to be a set policy!! We had one bad experience for breakfast in the Tsar too, but it might have been because we joined another couple who had already ordered. I think we confused the waiter, and had to wait forever for our order...when the eggs benedict arrived, they were hard-boiled. Since we had waited over 30 minutes for them, I was reluctant to send them back, but the waiter RAN and got another plate...which was perfect!Other observations...the gym was very nice,I would like the casino better if there was no smoking, but don't spend much time there anyway. The ship was neat and clean, except for our balcony which had trash in the "gutter" the entire trip. We also prefer the balcony "no smoking" policy of other cruise lines. The cabin storage is more than adequate, but those TV's have got to go!! The beds are extremely comfortable! One comment heard often was that the ship is noisy...there are very few "quiet" places to go to read, etc. The music in the dining room was so loud, you had to scream at your table mates. We did enjoy the dinner with a staff member...very informative. We also enjoyed the entertainment...some of the best we've seen. The disembarkation. Because we were a large group, NCL provided a staff member to explain things two days before the cruise ended. She gave out the colored luggage slips so that we'd all be together. She explained that those needing assistance would meet in another area and we would all be re-joined in the customs area. Sounds good; didn't work! Because of the storm "Sandy" damage, some things are not working as usual in the Terminal. Our departure was over an hour late, we had to stand outside in the freezing cold, and the luggage claim area was a zoo! Because the Gem was also disembarking, it was very crowded and everyone was told to "keep moving". We tried to keep our people together, but some were outside the terminal, some were at the bus bay, and others were inside!! Eventually everyone was located, but only because someone in our group knew a Terminal Employee and asked her to help out. All in all, it was nice to get away from the cold, and we enjoyed the group of people we were with. NCL is not our first choice of cruise lines, but it is handy in NYC. We plan to try the Breakaway when it's available, and have put a deposit down on it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We just returned from 9 glorious days on the Jewel. As a background, this was our 7th cruise, 4th with NCL. Pre-Cruise Hotel We stayed at the LaQunita Airport East because it had free shuttle from airport to hotel and from the hotel ... Read More
We just returned from 9 glorious days on the Jewel. As a background, this was our 7th cruise, 4th with NCL. Pre-Cruise Hotel We stayed at the LaQunita Airport East because it had free shuttle from airport to hotel and from the hotel to the port, plus a free breakfast. We booked it online on their website at $125/night. As the date got closer the price lowered, so I just "updated" my reservation with the new price...ended up getting it for $85 the day before we left. The hotel was nice enough and the shuttle was easy to use (sign up for a time slot when you check-in). took the 11:00 shuttle to the port. Embarkation We got to the port about 11:20, signed the noro card, went through the scanners, paid my corkage fee for my wine, checked in, went upstairs and waited and waited until we were able to get on-board at about 12:30. Got our free champagne and went to our room. It was not ready, but asked our room steward if we could put our carry-on luggage in the closet and he said yes. Our room was ready about 2:30...got checked luggage at various times between 3:00-6:00. The Ship The Jewel is a beautiful ship, but pretty large. The main hubs of activities are Decks 6-8 and Decks 12-13. Takes a while to get from one end to the other so plan accordingly. The pool deck is very small and it is very hard to get chairs on sea days. We had the best luck on the Sun Deck 14 all the way forward. Kind of windy, but the breeze kept us cool. The bar service wasn't quite as good up there, but we had chairs!! The Activities I was disappointed in the amount of activities offered. Typically there are organized pool games and fun stuff to do, but not too much was really offered on this ship. The cruise director was Rich and the ONLY time you saw him was at the shows and the beginning of any of the organized parties (White Hot Party, 70s night). His staff was always out in full force and they did a great job, but he was rarely seen or heard. The Food The main dining rooms are nice, but the food was not as good as we have previously had. The dinner service was also pretty slow...expect to be there about 1-1/2 hours, so plan accordingly if you are going to a show. The buffet was good, for the first 4-5 days...then we were sick of the food (especially breakfast...always the same thing). The soft serve ice cream was always good. Loved the banana bread and pound cake on the lunch buffets. You have to have the pretzel rolls at the dinner buffets. Wings and potato wedges at the Topsider bar were very good. Chilli Dog at the Blue Lagoon as a midnight snack was also very good. We only ate at one pay restaurant (Tango's). The cost was $10 per person and you received a small margarita. The food was great and full-size margaritas were only $4.95. I would definitely recommend going here! Samana, DR We tendered in to just look around the port, I had read on this website that there wasn't much to do...They were right. Unless you have an excursion, don't waste your time getting off. If you want to "shop" there are some local vendors with stands not far from where the tender docks. The "stores" and "casino" are about a 10 minute walk. Tortola We got off the ship and took a cab to the ferry station (we should've walked, it's not that far). Took the Speedy's 10:30 ferry (it didn't leave until almost 11) to Virgin Gorda (it's about a 35 minute ride). Got off and Speedy's had shuttles for us to take us to the Baths (about 10 minute drive). There is a $3 fee to get into the Baths and it's a rocky walk down to them. At the Baths is a small bar where you can eat and drink, a small beach and the Baths themselves. The Baths were awesome, a must see. You crawl, climb and snake your way through them. I definitely recommend bring water shoes and a water camera!! When we got back to Tortola we stopped at Pusser's Pub (across the street from the ferry) had some drinks and food. Very good. Try the painkiller...it's a doozy!! Antigua Took a cab to Dickinson Beach (about a 20-30 minute drive). Have the driver drop you off past the Sandals Resort by Sneaky Pete's. There are 2 bars right there where you can eat, drink and rent chairs & umbrellas. You can also rent jet skis or go for a banana boat ride. Right by Sneaky Pete's is an open air market with cute things to sell. After our day at the beach we had one of the workers call us a cab and went to the downtown area for a little shopping. It was a very nice day. Barbados Walk outside the port area to grab a taxi and it will save you about $2-$3 per person. We went to Rockley Beach...Not really much to do here. A few vendor huts and a small shopping center about 2 blocks away...not much there. St. Lucia We ended up tendering to port, which we did not expect to do. Booked with Cosol Tours before we left for $65 per person. Cosol was waiting for us inside the port terminal. Yellow Bird (Cosol's brother) was our tour guide. He did an excellent job. We saw the entire island and tried a ton of different local foods all throughout the day. They advertise that there is a mobile bar that goes with you, but it only meets you twice during the trip. Take a small cooler and at the first food tasting grab a few beers/water/pops to take with you...they are more than happy to oblige. I would definitely recommend this trip if you want to see the island and everything it has to offer. A word of warning...the roads are winding and you are changing elevations, so take your motion sickness medicine if you are prone to problems. Yellow Bird did a wonderful job explaining everything about the island and answering our questions. He stopped whenever we asked him to and was very accommodating to us! Disembarkation We had an early flight (11:10 in Miami), so we did the self-disembark. We took our own bags off and got in line on Deck 7 at 7:15. We were probably about 100th in line. They started letting us off at 8:20 and we got through customs, out of the terminal, got a cab and at the airport checking in by 9:20. In retrospect we probably didn't need to do self-disembarkation (normal disembarkation tags started to be released at 8:30...those tags are available self-serve at 3:00am the day before you leave). Disembarkation went very smooth. Getting to the Airport There are shuttles and cabs right when you get off the ship. A cab ride to the airport is $24/cab. The shuttle bus is $10/person. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
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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