3 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Cruise to Nowhere

Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we ... Read More
Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we were on the Jewel a short time ago we didn't need to do to much exploring. The ship is designed well. It's easy to find your way around. We arrived at the terminal at 10:15am and were seated in the waiting area by 10:45. A record in my opinion. We were actually the first ones to go through the metal detectors. We got number 5 for boarding, we thought we would be on sooner than we did. There was some glitch in the boarding but we did get on by 12:15. It really isn't bad waiting. Once on the ship we headed for the buffet area and found all the food there to be very good, many choices for all tastes. DW is a vegetarian and she found enough to eat. After lunch we left the area to give others a place to sit, being it was cold we knew the area would fill up so we went to the Spinnaker lounge to wait for our room to be ready. The rooms were ready earlier than expected and we proceeded to it. We always get a balcony but figured it was a short trip and why not try an obstructed ocean view. The room and the hallway had a strange odor that we noticed throughout the entire cruise. It actually smelled like sewage. We were in room 8590 just in case you wanted to know. We did sail away in the spinnaker lounge as did mostly everyone. We met a fellow firefighter and his wife, it was their first cruise, so we had a lot to talk about. It was great to see the city skyline from there, since all of our cruises are from New York we will probably go there from now on, even on nice days. We decided to check out the main dining room Azur's for dinner, big mistake. My wife ordered the Salmon, there were so many bones in it she couldn't eat it. We sent it back and received an apology from the Maitre D who took our room number, but we never heard about it after that. I'm sure others Salmon wasn't going to be good either. The entertainment on this cruise was top notch. We went to the show that night and loved the show, I won't give it away but only to say you must attend the shows. I know people call this cruise the booze cruise, but after a long day of travel we turned in for the night and slept better than we have in months. The first sea day was filled with many things to do. Most of the big things to do like bingo were held in the spinnaker lounge and it got very crowded. We sat at a four top and met two great people. They were doing a Father-Daughter weekend, she was from Pennsylvania and he was from Massachusetts. Since my birthday was this day my DW treated me to a spa treatment of my choice, she wanted one also so we spent some time there. It was great! We later went to the buffet for lunch and met two other fantastic people who needed to sit down due it being so busy. We hit it off immediately and we were all laughing like we had known each other for years. It turned out it was his birthday that day also. That after noon they had a drawing for a free cruise but it wasn't run so well, it was in the spinnaker lounge and it was mobbed, and ran over the time it was supposed to start, we had to leave due to dinner reservations. My DW wanted the dinner that night to be special and she knew how much I love a good cut of meat. So we went to Moderno, it's a new Brazilian restaurant where they come around with meat on swords and you have a green tag for more or red one for enough. She being a vegetarian,I knew it would be hard to go there, but they had a salad bar and she did have a little meat(don't tell anyone). We got there at 5:30 and weren't served till 6:30, the sides were served after we finished eating. At 7pm we decided to forget dessert and got the check to leave. Other guests were a little more vocal and demanded their money back. In a word the service "stunk", but in all fairness it was the kitchen not the wait staff. We went to the buffet and had dessert there. The show that night was amazing. "Le Cirque Bijou". It is a must see and you should sit higher up in the theater. We did and had a great view. Since we don't drink alcohol, we weren't in the mood to go to many of the bars, but we did go to the Casino which on both nights was packed. Everyone looked like they were having a great time winning and loosing. We lost on the roulette table but had fun doing it. The ship has a cigar room and I sat and smoked a good cigar while my DW read a book. On the last day we decided not to rush off the ship like we usually do. The ship got into New York at 7am, we had an early breakfast and decided to walk off at 7:30. We caught a cab to Penn station and made the 8:10 home. We were home by 9:45am. Overall this was a fantastic 2 days away from it all. We have been thru so much in our lives this past year with Hurricane Sandy and a death in the family, that we needed to do this for our sanity. I highly recommend a cruise to nowhere, we are booked on one in January 2015 on the Breakaway. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at ... Read More
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at the buffet by 12:15! Dining: Speaking of buffets, I read all the previous negative reviews, and I just don't get it. You must be a really picky eater if you cannot find something you like. Ok, the Jewel did not have all the fancy Chef named stations as other lines have, but you could easily choose from very good pizza, hamburger, hot dog stations, to pressed sandwiches, pasta to order, chinese, indian, and american fare food. Since we boarded early, the food was hot, plentiful, and the choices were endless, our 2 buffet lunches and 2 buffet breakfast's were excellent. We booked dinner online in advance a month before the cruise, and on night #1 we ate at the excellent Braziian BBQ called Moderno's and were were not disappointed for the $20 upcharge per person. The salad bar was fresh with cold seafood, salads, soups, olives, cheeses, breads etc. The main meal came with delicious sides of garlic mashed potatoes, fluffy rice and black beans, and fried bananas which were tasteless. The highlight of course were the skewers of piping hot flavorful meats, including garlic beef, lamb chops, sirloin, filet mignon, chicken, chorizo, etc. The place was fun, it was buzzing with energy, and the desserts of flan and papaya ice cream were delicious also. Word got out the food was so good there, that it was fully booked on night #2. Dinner night #2 we ate at the French Bistro, and surprisingly, we were a little disappointed. Appetizers of escargot swimming in garlic, mussels in a cream sauce, and scallops were good. Main course of roasted duck and pork with apples, were boring, not hot, and had very little flavor. Only my filet of beef was excellent, but it had a weird tasteless potato gratin as a side. This place was not worth the $20 upcharge, and it appears it gets served out of the main kitchen so why all the fuss? Cabin: We had a mini-suite on deck 11, right below the outdoor deck, the pool, the spa the gym and Garden Cafe buffet, a perfect location. The suite was wonderful, it had a queen size bed and sofa that became a full size bed that could be separated by a curtain, gave the feeling of 2 rooms in one! We had plenty of room for the 3 of us, and we drank coffee brewed from our in suite coffee maker, and also had beer and wine on the balcony. Plenty of storage room, and a bathroom with a shower and bathtub combo, very serviceable. Pool/Spa/Gym: What a good time we had lounging in the outdoor hot tubs during a snowstorm, people were having a grand time, and the outdoors pools were heated and full of happy people, even though the temps were in the 40's and 30's. Excellent gym, which was full on day 2 sea, and the spa was worth the up charge of $45 for the 2-days. Entertainment/Activities: Ok, there were a lack of day time activities, too much bingo, the boring Deal or no Deal game, but the casino was full and fun, the comedian on night #1 was excellent, and the sail away parties or any parties led by the DJ were crowded and rocking. While there was no official disco, the Spinnaker Lounge was where the DJ had us all dancing way past midnight. We saw the Band on the Run show on night 2 which was good. The piano player who did Elton John was very entertaining, and most of the live music at the different venues were very good. Would have been nicer for few more activities during the day 2 at sea like wine tasting, ship and kitchen tours, etc. Getting off the ship: Best system of any cruise line, its hotel style, just walk off anytime after 7:30 with your carryon bags. We walked off after breakfast at 9, and were home in our driveway by 10:30. Overall: This was our 2nd cruise to nowhere, a two-nighter this time on the NCL Jewel, last year we were on the Gem. Quick comparison between the 2, the Jewel is a little dated compared to the Gem, there was no Bliss Lounge, in its place was the largest at sea store I have ever seen. In some respects I thought it was a waste of space. The Jewel like the Gem has a pay for fee Spa, but while nice, the Jewel's hydrotherapy pool was much smaller than the Gem's. Another gripe, why doesn't NCL have an indoor atrium and walkthrough decks? You can't walk across deck 6 from one end to the other, you have to go up a deck to deck 7 and back down to get to the casino? But overall, what a rocking good time for the 2 days at sea, we were never bored, the NY crowd was all into partying, we saw plenty of fun bachelor and bachelorette parties. We will take another 2 night cruise to nowhere on NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL ... Read More
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL "Suite Life" and were so excited about experiencing it. We landed at the Miami airport around 12:45 PM and joined our friends in the baggage claim area. The four of us stood in the taxi line for 1 minute and were on our way to the pier. The taxi was $24 total for all 4 people. This was a HUGE savings from the $40 per person transfer fee we would have paid NCL thru our travel agent. Besides, the NCL documents indicated that purchasing their transfers did not guarantee we would arrive on the ship timely. Once we left the airport we arrived at the Pier within 20 minutes. Quick - Fast - and PERFECT!!! The "check in" security area was clearly marked with individuals validating our documents. Being a 2 day cruise and with check-in time being 5:00 PM, we walked straight through the lines with minimal wait time. This was a great way to start a cruise. Once passed the security check in point, we found the "Suites and Villa" check in area. We met our Concierge and sat down until they called us to pick up our room keys. The Suites and Villa area was very nice and included a beautifully prepared spread of cookies, water, orange juice, pond cake, etc. This was exactly what we needed since we had not eaten since breakfast. The food was very pretty but lacked flavor or taste. So, we didn't eat much of it. We were escorted on the ship with a couple on the 9th Floor Suite and our friends who were also in a suite. We were sooo impressed with the champagne and welcome photos offered by the ship. It was AMAZING!! When we walked into the Atrium and saw all the beautiful wood grains we were totally impressed!! Room / Cabin: Our Penthouse suite was beautifully arranged and my fears of gaudy furnishings were quickly dismayed. There was a "Freestyle Daily" and a welcoming note from the Concierge and Butler. The curtains were open and the light reflected in just beautifully. The cabin had been decorated with "Bon Voyage" themed streamers, a beautiful white cake, fruit plate, champagne, a bottle of sparkling water and chocolate covered strawberries. (Yes, we had pre-ordered the streamers, cake and strawberries). We felt very special and we though the tone of the cruise was set. Unfortunately, once we began moving around the room the problems soon surfaced. We began opening the drawers and found trash hidden in drawers, 2 inch thick dust and personal items from the previous cruisers within the drawers. We were totally shocked. We then noticed only two towels in the bathroom. So, we called the butler who assured us we could get an extra set of towels. The problem was as soon as we left the cabin, the extra towels were taken. This occurred multiple times each day since it appears the Butler and the Cabin Steward didn't communicate. The most alarming thing that happened on the cruise was the night I got sick. I went to the bathroom and found the box of tissues which only had five tissues. So, I had to use toilet paper until the next morning. I accidentally threw up on the sheets and ASSUMED the cabin steward would automatically change them. After breakfast, we returned to our cabin and I immediately turned the sheets back. To my shock and amazement, the dirty sheets were still on the bed. I immediately went out into the hall to find the cabin steward. He stated that he did see where I had the accident but he didn't have sheets on his cart to change them. According to the cabin steward, the sheets are ONLY changed every three days and there was nothing he could do. I got angry and stated, "You are going to change these sheets or I'm heading straight down to the Purser's Office!" At that point he said that we would find some sheets and try to accommodate my "Special Request". UNEBLIEVEABLE - SPECIAL REQUEST TO CHANGE DIRTY SHEETS?? PLEASE. I chatted with the other couple traveling with us in the next door suite. They admitted they had the same experience within their room. Also, another cruise critic member had a similar issue and had another person contact the Purser's Office concerning the cleanliness of her room. To me, this it TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!! Lifeboat Drill: The lifeboat drill began at 3:30 which I thought was a bit early since passengers were not required to be on the ship until 5:00 PM. We were stationed in the Tsars Place Restaurant. I thought this was early since guests were not required to be on the ship until 5:00. The lifeboat drill was very nice and comfortable since we sat at a table instead of being outside near the lifeboats in the heat. Kudos to NCL!! After the drill we went back to our rooms to rest until the Cruise Critic Sail Away Party. Food: During the cruise, I ate at the following restaurants: • Blue Lagoon (Deck 8) - the Blue Lagoon restaurant. It was so nasty that I threw up within two minutes of consuming part of the Sugar flavored Macaroni and Cheese. I tried the Wonton Soup but hot water would have been tastier. So, I ordered the Spinach and Artichokes dip and it was undistinguishable. I couldn't find the Spinach, Artichokes or cheese within the dip. However, the chips were excellent. The food was soo bad that I would have preferred to bring my own. I found out that several other people had the same experience concerning the food. Saying the food was "bad" was a compliment considering. • Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 13) - Excellent breakfasts and lunches. These were free for the Suite guests and we took advantage of this daily. My favorite item was the Crab Cakes Benedict. Unfortunately, the portions were so small that I had to make a double order just to get one regular portion. (The crab cakes were the size of a One Dollar coin). I have yet to figure out how they found English muffins in the same size. I must admit the staff was very gracious and did not mind providing the additional portions. • Garden Cafe (Deck 12) - This was a free restaurant and was terrible at best. The only positive thing was the employee who asked everyone to sanitize their hands before proceeding into the buffet. We soon found out that if you stated you were not going to eat, the employee did not require you to sanitize your hands. I selected rotisserie chicken, two types of soup, crapes, pizza and various mouse deserts. The chicken was beautifully prepared but was bleeding once you got closer to the bone. The pizza had no color on the bottom which was weird since it had been brought directly out of the oven. The chicken broth soup was so bad that a bouillon cube would have been much preferred. I tried the Broccoli Cheddar soup but it was like water with broccoli pieces. So, I passed. The Caesar salad had no taste while the Mouse tasted and looked like Flan. (I don't like Flan). The only decent desert was the Crapes which used an extra sweet cherry pie filling. • Mama's Italian Kitchen (Deck 12) - There was a $10 per person charge for this restaurant. The atmosphere was quite and very casual and the service was excellent. My Caesar salad was prepared table side and was excellent. However, the pasta could have used additional seasonings. I would have preferred Rago or some other bottled variety to what was served. Entertainment: What entertainment? I couldn't find any. I guess we had to either select a movie, go to the art auction or Gamble. There wasn't any entertainment. I guess there's not much effort put into a two day cruise. Shore Excursions: We were scheduled to stop at the private island, so I didn't expect too much. What we got was less that I even expected or imagined. The ship did dock at Freeport, Bahamas for several hours. We didn't mind since we just wanted the opportunity to step off the ship. However, when we went to Deck 11 and looked over the side of the boat, there were only four local vendor shops open. Also, the island didn't look real interesting so we decided to stay on board. However, another cruise critic member did go to a local beach and had wonderful pictures of the day. Debarkation: This was very easy and I couldn't wait to leave. We did VIP self assist and walked right off the ship. We were in a LONG line and waited about 30 minutes to go thru homeland security. We were greeted by very nice NCL representatives who asked how our cruise went. Needless to say, they got an earful. The representative didn't really appear to be surprised by our comments. The representative indicated that we should write a letter to NCL and tell them about our experience so that changes could be made in the future. We did exactly that. We found a taxi outside the Port and couldn't wait to get back to the Miami airport for real food. Overall impression: My overall impression was that NCL is, "All flash but no substance". The food is bad, the cabins aren't clean and there are no activities. We took this weekend cruise to determine if NCL would be an option for next year's Mediterranean or Alaska cruises. After our experience, the answer is NO. We wouldn't try NCL again if they gave us a free cruise. We would rather spend money where we can get decent food and a clean room. Therefore, our future cruise dollars will go to Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
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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