7 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Panama Canal & Central America

SImply a great cruise - The ship was fantastic, the crew incredibly attentive and polite, the food delicious, and the entertainment top notch. Loved all restaurants except Cagney's atmosphere did not do the food, or the other ... Read More
SImply a great cruise - The ship was fantastic, the crew incredibly attentive and polite, the food delicious, and the entertainment top notch. Loved all restaurants except Cagney's atmosphere did not do the food, or the other Cagney's on other NCL ships credit (we were seated by the kitchen, it was loud and not intimate at all). We loved Tsars main dining (the best comp dining we have had on a cruise yet), Tepanyaki, the Brazilian steak house, and the BBQs on deck. We purchased 8 specialty dining on this 14 day cruise prior to the cruise, and as the complimentary dining was so great, we probably should have purchased fewer. Passage through the canal will be a cherished memory for the rest of our lives - truly awesome. Read a good book about the construction of the canal prior to the cruise so you can try to appreciate what a marvel it is. The stops - we didn't care too much for Cartegena (took an NCL tour), or Acapulco (poor city has been destroyed by the crime/ gangs/ perception, etc), but loved Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatamala, and Cabo. My advice: try to book a smaller on-line tour group instead of the tours arranged by the ship (way too many people, too expensive). We thought we might get bored with so many sea days, and a 14 day cruise - we certainly did not, I could have done it again in a hearbeat (and I am sure we will in the future). Thank you to the crew of Jewel and to NCL for putting together the best cruise we have ever had (prior to this we have been on about ten). Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. ... Read More
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. We watered it down. Decor in dining rooms was not as elegant as some larger ships. Personnel were fabulous. Our room stewardess (last name Harris) was very friendly and helpful. A woman who worked in various positions, especially the games played, (Shirley I think) was a true joy. I think she was having as much fun as we were. Shows in main theater were very good. Pool area was crammed with chairs, many of which were saved and no one ever came to sit there. Many times, we could not find a chair. A sign stated that chairs remaining unoccupied for 1 hour would be cleared for other guests. That never happened. Apparently some guests reserved a chair in the sun and another one in the shade. That shouldn't be allowed when so many other guests are looking for a seat. The ship is older but is clean and well maintained. We purchased the soft drink package. Water was not included and should have been. Over all, the trip was a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Staff members, great, especially assistant who booked our Valentine's Day dinner and Tarynn, in the internet shop. Say hello...Very sweet person with the most terrific smile and laugh. She made my cruise. The ship's activities ... Read More
Staff members, great, especially assistant who booked our Valentine's Day dinner and Tarynn, in the internet shop. Say hello...Very sweet person with the most terrific smile and laugh. She made my cruise. The ship's activities were abysmal. The ship's band, Souled Out, grew tiresome REALLY fast. The ship had a great DJ;he was left to start playing near MIDNIGHT. If you are in your 50s and would like to REALLY dance off the nice meal from Cagneys, you best prepare yourself to start then or suffer with Souled Out. The constant hawking of bingo cards and products, especially after a nice relaxing massage, defeats the purpose of the massage. It is equivalent to being hassled at the ports, and I don't mind being hassled at the ports, honestly. But, seriously, the masseuse would not take no for an answer! No more spa passes for us. Dining room dinners, awful. Buffet and Chin Chin, edible. Tropical Four, a good band. If you go for the ports, you will love this cruise. If you are in your 50s and would really love to dance to a DJ spinning good records, fuhgetaboutit, until near midnight...by then, your blood sugar will have sufficiently damaged your innards and your ears hurt from listening to Souled Out, as the poor thing struggle to live up to the songs you are familiar with. :) 60 mins of Souled Out is ENOUGH, Mr. Cruise Director. Let the DJ play! It is all the 50 somethings have to look forward to...as during the daytime, there is hardly anything to do, but people watch. And, that, we did a LOT. Just so you know.... :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
New ports that we've never been to made us book this cruise, and we always have been pleased with NCL. The ports were so interesting, our steward so caring, ship was lovely, though we use the ship more to get to destinations rather ... Read More
New ports that we've never been to made us book this cruise, and we always have been pleased with NCL. The ports were so interesting, our steward so caring, ship was lovely, though we use the ship more to get to destinations rather than participate in ship activities. Moderno was our favorite specialty restaurant. Having been to Brazil, it was a fabulous experience on board. Mini-suite nice, but wouldn't book the 11th floor again. Some sort of noise problems some nights, not all, even though Guest Services tried to resolve. We never experienced this before and still wonder what caused it. Shopping not as good on board as other cruise lines. Enjoyed this ship, though, as we prefer the smaller ships and not the newly constructed mega ships. We are now Elite with the loyalty club, and will certainly be back on NCL again. We've traveled through the Caribbean several times with NCL, Alaska and TransAtlantic and have always enjoyed our experiences with them. This Pacific Cruise was great with Cabo, Acapulco (thought Mexico is letting this gorgeous city deteriorate), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Colombia. Ole!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
First timer on NCL, first time on this route. Positives - inside stateroom, good size esp. the shower (no poolng from inadequate drainage) compared to Princess outside window room my only other cruise trip. Programs and entertainment ... Read More
First timer on NCL, first time on this route. Positives - inside stateroom, good size esp. the shower (no poolng from inadequate drainage) compared to Princess outside window room my only other cruise trip. Programs and entertainment were well balanced though it took 3 days before the proper bands and types of music can be decipher for proper dance venues for those who wanted to dance. Negative - Chin Chin the complimentary Asian fusion restaurant choice was below par compared to the level of cuisine at the other choice venues. It felt insulting (as an Asian) what they tried to pawn off as Asian fusion food. The Chinese/Japanese items were not authentic. And I was even enticed to give them another chance, thinking may be they're training rookies. They had rookies in training as wait serves in all the the other choice venues and it was obvious but the food for the most part was excellent. Second chance to Chin Chin was not any better, the steam dumplings were mushy and udon texture was papery or under cooked. I figured it was me but the displeasure was affirm by another Caucasian travelers whom also stated they've had better. I did not do a lot of research prior to departure but figured not a whole lot one can do with the short time in port. The brief maps provided by Diamond/Emerald sales were helpful but not for every port. Several port City's, I was at a lost with no maps and were afraid to venture out, especially with the level security seen on disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I have cruised exclusively with NCL and have completed 7 cruises. NCL has a new boarding policy that is horrible. On all my other cruises you boarded when after you checked in. NCL now issues group boarding numbers. We waited after check ... Read More
I have cruised exclusively with NCL and have completed 7 cruises. NCL has a new boarding policy that is horrible. On all my other cruises you boarded when after you checked in. NCL now issues group boarding numbers. We waited after check in for 45 minutes before being able to began the boarding process. The ship is a sister ship to the pearl which I have been on 3 times. Food was good but not great. NCL used to have a lobster night that was excellent but stopped it a couple years ago along with a chocolate night. NCL has also rearranged the staff responsibilities and they do not get to leave the ship as they once did. I think being over worked shows on some of the staff members and NCL doesn't seem to care. Under the old CEO staff was taken care of a lot better and cruises were better. We stayed in a balcony room on deck 10 which was very centrally located to both shows, restaurants and other things to do on the ship. We purchased a 5 meal plane and ate at Tappanyaki twice and Cagneys three times. Tappanyaki- Show was great, Food was amazing. The venue was somewhat cramped and more elbow room would be good. Cagneys- Best steak I have ever had. Plenty of choices of both steaks and other main course as well as sides and desserts. Ports-VERY DISAPPOINTING. limited on shore excursions or thing to do in the ports due to economy of locations. Best port was Cabo which you have very little time in. Acapulco was just dangerous as evident by all the marines and police. Entertainment was good as always and offered several times for most shows. Something for everybody. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! The Jewel is a bit older, and seems geared to an older crowd. We chose a cruise that was after school spring breaks and of a length that most working adults could not get away: hence, it was nearly all retired people. While we are younger, that pace was ideal for us. We don't drink or gamble or need spectacular shows to keep us entertained: spending the day reading, talking together, meeting a few interesting people and having a menu of possible but not pressing events was just ideal. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but having a cabin steward make up our cabin every morning and return to tidy it before bed was heavenly! We had cute towel animals whenever we got out of the cabin for turn down. Some people have complained about the food on Jewel, and I will admit that one of the meals we had at Chin Chin during lunch time was cold: the tea was cold, the entree's were cold, it was like some piece of equipment had failed. However, everything--even the too cold food--was prepared artfully, creatively with fresh and appropriate ingredients, inventive recipes with influence from multiple cultural traditions. While I will grant that there were repeat dishes on the menus and buffet, there were many choices and specials to keep it interesting. It was also easy to eat a delicious and healthy diet--many fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar free desserts, multiple protein choices. While there were tempting desserts and breads, if you wanted to avoid them, there is no need to feel deprived. A few days into the cruise, we discovered that the Italian Restaurant next to the Garden Cafe is open for overflow seating during breakfast and lunch! So we took our buffet plates in there, where the tables are charming wood, the walls real brick arches, and the viewing of the ocean is ideal. We enjoyed long brunch conversations while watching sea turtles, porpoise, and flying fish go by. I enjoyed dragging my husband to the dance lessons offered most days. There were several kinds of linedancing, swing dance, waltz, square dancing salsa and merangue. The one thing I did wish was that the instruction was more geared to just dancing with a partner to music rather than doing a routine. Those teaching are show dancers and seemed to relate more to teaching a dance to perform rather than teaching how to lead/follow and a vocabulary of moves. I had heard that there would be sales at the store just before the last day but that did not happen. Rather, there were specials on various items throughout the cruise and not everything went on sale at any given time. I was also surprised that the number of things like games offered at the store was limited. However, if you wanted any toiletry, candy, t-shirt, underwear, clothes, luggage, etc it is a good (if expensive) option. I liked shopping there. We booked ship excursions in all but one port, where we had a private guide. You do lose a little time when the ship first docks when you choose to do this--you have to wait until the tour operators are ready for you, and wait your turn to disembark. This means an extra two hours on board sometimes. In Cabo San Lucas, we were able to grab an early tender and meet up with our tour at the pier instead of waiting to be dismissed from the ship with our group. This allowed us to do some shopping that we would not have had time to do. I loved that you just don't hear "no" on board. No one tells you when to eat or sleep or where to be or what to do, it is completely relaxing. The staff is laid back and friendly and really good at making you feel welcome. They have also apparently toned down some of the selling that perhaps has happened on other ships or in other times, because we did not feel pressed to buy drinks or anything. Yes, you can definitely spend a lot of extra money: but no one is going to make you feel bad if you choose something else instead. We stayed at the Best Western Suites in Seabrook before we boarded. It has a free shuttle to the cruise port and is a terrific place to be the night before a cruise. I wish there had been more educational opportunities on board, lecture series or the like. Don't miss the Spinnaker Lounge, even if you don't drink! It has the best views and the most unusual furniture. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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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