26 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Caribbean - Western

My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we decided to book at the last minute, and I am glad we did. Our incentives included a free Ultimate Beverage Package and $100 shipboard credit. It was too good to pass up! Embarkation: We live very close to the cruise terminal, so we had friends drop us off. We arrived around 11 AM and by noon we had dropped our bags in our cabin and were sitting by the pool. The weather was a little dreary, but still warm/dry enough to hang out. Cabin: Since we booked at the last minute, we didn’t select our cabin. Dining: We only dined in all of the complementary dining rooms (O'Sheehan's, Chin Chin, Asura, Tsar’s Palace, Topsiders, and the Garden Café). We ate breakfast at both the main dining room and O’Sheehans where both were pretty good. We ate lunch at Topsiders and the Garden Café, and alternated dining rooms for dinner. The dinner food was OK, nothing special, but not bad. Our only disappointment was there was no “lobster night”. In order to have lobster you must dine in one of the specialty restaurants which is at an additional cost. Receptions: We attended the Cruise Critic reception which was very nice. The cruise director, Julie, along with the many of the ship officers also attended and it was a nice personal touch. We also attended the Latitudes (Past Guests) cocktail party which we really enjoyed (again the senior staff was in participation.) On formal night, the captain was available for photos, which was nice. (We haven't seen that happen in years on other cruise lines.) Ports of Call: We didn’t do any excursions because we had just visited the exact same itinerary a few months back. However, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed just walking around the pier. Debarkation: Wasn’t bad at all, we were off the ship and home before 11 AM. It was wonderful cruise, the ship was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and our room was nice. We are already looking into to booking our next NCL cruise when the Jade comes to Houston this fall. (Please forgive any typos as I am typing on a very small screen :-) ) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read ... Read More
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read most reviews from this trip and disagreed with much of the criticism - so really - you need to keep an open mind when you read the reviews. Keep in mind your own expectations, experiences and preferences and then weigh in our comments. This was our 12th cruise. 5th on a Norwegian. I would have to say - this was probably my favorite ship. Least favorite? Breakaway - too damn big. But I will agree with a previous review - Rock of Ages was a GREAT show as was all the entertainment on the Breakaway. Entertainment on the Jewel - eh.....not great but still worth watching. I love a smaller ship - and this was smaller but large enough where you didn't feel too crowded. The negative - there were lines at times - especially at the bars. Yes - bar service was mostly horrible - especially at poolside. We had the ultimate beverage package (UBP) and had to wait an inexcusable amount of time for service. Even extra tipping in cash didn't help. Drinks were severely watered down and smaller. BUT - you get what you pay for and in reality - you paid for unlimited so if you are disappointed in your drink - throw it out and find something else. Food - it was okay. Not like the olden days when food was everything - presentation, selection, taste, etc. But again - you get what you pay for and when you pay for freestyle - your experience takes a hit. Never have I cruised where I went to an open dining room (Azure) and had to ask for a server. Nor do I understand how the other open dining room (Tsar) would not let you in with shorts. Same menu, service, etc. I can guarantee my husbands shorts and Tommy Bahama shirt cost more than most diners in the room - but that is a bit caddy so I apologize. Food was still good and plentiful. We also ate at Cagneys - Super good and the Italian (La Cucina??) - which was very good but too much food. Spa - I had a decent hot stone massage and facial while in port in Honduras. Be aware - even though you may spend $200+ on a spa treatment - that still does not give you access to the actual spa. You need to pay extra for that and I thought that was absolutely outrageous. It made no sense to me and I let them know it. PORTS - LOVED Cozumel - and if you like to bar hop - you must choose the Cozumel Bar Hop (not an excursion offered by the ship - you need to search for activities from the island). This was a very well organized, CHEAP, and fabulous day. We went to the opposite side of the island and went to out of the way bars with beautiful views, great drinks and really great staff. A definite must. Belize - We didn't sign for an excursion this time because we wanted to see the city on our own. Big mistake - if you can't handle locals in your face trying to get you in their cab - then book an excursion. Honduras - Banana Coast - this was the last time Norwegian would ever be at this port so I will leave my comments to myself. So - now you see why I chose an average rating. BUT - I would still choose this ship again - but only with different ports. It was still a wonderful and relaxing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great ... Read More
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great and this covered room service all the way to the paid restaurants. the staff, from room stewards, bar staff and senior staff were the best we have encountered in all of our cruises. I found that anyone who got upset about the washy washy part of eating has never been sick on a ship. once they experience that, they would never be bothered with it again. We would sail on the Jewel again and intend to! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review ... Read More
This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review will be a comparison and overall review of our time aboard the Jewel. We flew in the day of the cruise and had some friends pick us up from the airport so I cannot comment on the cost of transportation roundtrip from the airport nor can I comment on hotel accommodations/parking. The ship was much larger than Carnival's Pride boat and there was much more available in terms of entertainment. The downside to that however was that many of the activities available we not of interest to us. Much of the concerts/live music/music in general catered to country or rock music. Considering we are more pop and r&B lovers, we did not enjoy much of what they had to offer. That was very disappointing especially when you have two back to back at sea days. What we did enjoy was the comedy show featuring JP and the Le Cirque Bijou (both presented in Stardust) and two of the adult only games in Spinnaker. During the at sea days we spent most of our time in our room sleeping, watching the new release movies or relaxing in the sun. My advice to the activity coordination team on the Jewel would be to diversify entertainment options. Because of this, I would not recommend the boat to other couples who like us are very active, enjoy diverse experiences and are traveling alone on the boat. On the brighter side, the passengers were very, very friendly. We met really nice, easy going people on the boat and it was not hard to strike up conversation. I know you cannot guarantee this on each sail, but it was very welcomed considering this was not something that we found on Carnival's boat. The food was just okay. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants because we knew that if we wanted anything that was offered, we could easily find those things at home. We did opt for the Chef's Table since it occurred on our anniversary night so when you have a chef preparing dinner for you, you know it has to be GOOD! The Chef Table did not disappoint, but we did find out from another couple that the menu is the same regardless of which boat you sail on with Norwegian. I do not know how true that is, but if we decide to cruise with Norwegian again, I'll be sure to look into it. My husband and I personally felt that the food offered on Carnival's boat was very diverse, different and exciting. We tried things we normally would not try like alligator, shark, frog legs, ect. When we saw a more Americanized version of dinner being served EVERY night in the main dining halls, we were very disappointed. The breakfast at the Garden Cafe could use refreshing as well. I grew tired of the breakfast options after Day 2 of our 7 day cruise. Our Cabin was pretty good for the most part. We stayed in 8073 and although the room appeared very clean we noticed a few issues. Our sheets had black marks and stains on both the sheets and the comforter. We immediately called to have them replaced along with the pillows. We also had a problem with the toilets backing up or not being able to be flushed atleast once a day. It was very annoying to have to call once per day to have someone fix the issue. I should also note that when you enter the hallway from the elevators or O'Sheenans and you first pass cabin 8093, I smelled a sewage-y smell that did not last the entire cruise but was present for the first 2-3 days. I can only assume many of the toilets in my cabin area had toilet issues as you would see the plumbers accessing the toilet pipes outside the cabin throughout the cruise. In terms of the staff, I would definitely give them average or below average scores. The crew at Carnival really made us feel appreciated, welcomed and knew us by name. I was so touched and connected with them that I cried when our cruise came to an end. With Norwegian, we barely saw of cabin stewards, the staff never went above and beyond and we truly felt like just another number. That was a feeling I could have done without. We noticed that our last two days on the boat (which were at sea days) room service nor the reception desk would answer our calls. When we finally got through to room service (they actually called us back) they patched is through to room service and they picked up immediately. I should also note that room service was VERY VERY slow with food arriving cold at best. Embarkation was not as bad as disembarkation. When we embarked, the lines were long, move pretty swiftly, but the hostesses did not provide us with a map. For disembarkation, we felt that the customs process could have been smoother without the longer than normal wait lines. Overall, I would not cruise on the Jewel again, but I would not rule out cruising with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Having cruised a few times before, we were very happy with the NCL JEWEL. An older ship, but has been remodeled/updated recently. The ship holds around 2500 guests and about 1000 crew, I think. There are 14 decks.. But most of the ... Read More
Having cruised a few times before, we were very happy with the NCL JEWEL. An older ship, but has been remodeled/updated recently. The ship holds around 2500 guests and about 1000 crew, I think. There are 14 decks.. But most of the activities is on 6-7,12-13. Embarkation was fine..standard security ,etc.. No real problems in Houston. Our room was fine..see below.. Food was good..and Plentiful! The Garden Cafe buffet had decent food..not fantastic..but they did vary the menu with themed nights. Tsars palace and Azura ..main dining rooms were fine also.. Freestyle cruising..eat anytime..never really had any long wait times to find a table. o'sheehans pub was also a nice change of pace diner..all those are included in price.. their Premium restaurants are nice! We only ate at Cagneys Steakhouse, on our anniversary.. Food there was Great! Highly recommend. The ship has a lot of options in eating. The lounges/bars were nice too. spinnaker lounge had great views of the water..and was spacious ! Some great game shows,etc.are held there! Dont miss the white hot party..tons of fun..and wear white! But the highlight of our trip was the Amazing shows in the Stardust Theater.. Don't miss one, if you go, because they are high production events. The Cruise Director, Jamie walker, is fantastic! She is very personable, helpful,funny, and amazingly she seemed to be at most events during the day! Great asset to the Ship! The pool area was nice, although I'm surprised it's not larger, as a lot of people congregate there during the day.. Ports were fun, especially the NCL Party atmosphere when boarding the ship! All in all, we had a Fantastic Vacation! Highly recommended for first timers, families, and those wanting to get away from the stress.. the. Jewel is Not a ship for those looking for lavish living, although I heard the Haven Suites are amazing! We will cruise again on NCL, for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Our trip started as an adventure in booking a timeshare. We couldn't find anything and airfare is so expensive, so we decided to try a cruise again. It's been 3 years since a week cruise on Carnival so we looked for something 2-3 ... Read More
Our trip started as an adventure in booking a timeshare. We couldn't find anything and airfare is so expensive, so we decided to try a cruise again. It's been 3 years since a week cruise on Carnival so we looked for something 2-3 weeks away. We have only cruised Carnival before and enjoyed each one. The thought of going through the chaos in Galveston was not a pleasant thing. So we search for a cruise out of the Houston Baypoint Cruise Terminal. We focused on Norwegian and Princess. We opted for the Freestyle! We booked a mini-suite, bought a romance package and had some credit onboard. This ended up only being a 55 minute drive and very easy parking. Embarkation was easy. My first impression was it seemed to be all "seniors" on the ship. That wasn't the case but since I'm part of that group, it was ok! Overall this was a great trip. The Norwegian staff did a great job. We relaxed and partied. The excursions were plentiful and in all price ranges. Buffet food was perfect for what it was. I would recommend taking water as it's not always available in large quatities. Part of the Romance package included dinner for 2 at Cagney's and Le Bistro. Both meals were very good and service was attentive and not rushed. Food in the main dining rooms Tsar Palace and Azure was okay. The last night was Prime Rib. My only gripe was that the meat was barely a quarter inch thick! It must have been because we ate late. The last 3 nights ended up in the Spinnaker Lounge which had activities from Newlywed Game, White Out Party and Live DJ, Bands and dancing. We only made one show in the Stardust Theater so we can't comment on the talent. The best part of the cruise was meeting people from all over the country and Europe. I could not find anyone from Houston! For all those folks from out of state, I'm sorry you have to see the ugly side of Houston in order to get to the ship. But if you had to go to Galveston you would quickly forget the ugliness and think what a beautiful cruise terminal in Houston! We will cruise with Norwegian again and hopefully a lot sooner than 3 years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Embarkation went smooth. Upon arriving at our Cabin 10050 we discovered someone elses luggage. The steward told us to go to the front desk. After waiting in line 30 minutes they told us to go back to our cabin and someone would meet us ... Read More
Embarkation went smooth. Upon arriving at our Cabin 10050 we discovered someone elses luggage. The steward told us to go to the front desk. After waiting in line 30 minutes they told us to go back to our cabin and someone would meet us there. After wasting another 20 minutes it turned out that someone had mistook their room number while the steward was cleaning and had left their luggage. For the most part the Crew was great. Food was mostly pretty good. We learned that if dinner was bad at the restaurant that O'shehans had good Burgers and desserts. The breakfast buffett seemed to be the same every day. There was not nearly enough seating and your food could be cold by the time you found a seat. We found out that you could eat in the Italian restraunt where their was plenty of seating and quiet. For the first 2 days the entertainment that we like (comedians,magic) was lacking. It got better further into the cruise but did not compare to other cruises we have been on. There were only 4 Hot tubs that were around the main pool. It appears there were more Hot tubs that only the Suite rooms had access too. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
A little about us: We are new empty-nesters out celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our first vacation as a couple (a.k.a. no kids). Turns out, we are also snobs - food snobs, vacation snobs, just plain old snobby people. I was a ... Read More
A little about us: We are new empty-nesters out celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our first vacation as a couple (a.k.a. no kids). Turns out, we are also snobs - food snobs, vacation snobs, just plain old snobby people. I was a little hesitant about cruising. Here's my list of fears: 1. If I don't like a land vacation, I just get in the car and go home. Can't do that on a cruise. 2. I'll be trapped on a boat with no escape. 3. I'll have to eat every meal with potentially weird or annoying people. 4. Cruises are for uppity people. I might be a snob, but I am not uppity. There is a difference. 5. I'll be bored senseless. 6. I'll have to tolerate everybody else's snot-nosed, poorly behaved kids. 7. I'll have to tolerate rude grown-ups. 8.I can't eat when I'm hungry. 9. If I forget something small, I can't make a quick Wal-Mart run. 10. I'll get seasick. 11. The cabin will be tiny, the bed uncomfortable, the shower will suck. 12. I hate buffet food and buffet people (just the coughing, sneezing, line-cutting gluttons). 13. Cruising is for old people, really old people. 14. The food will be bad. 15. I'll have to buy a special gown and shoes for formal night. So, before booking, I did a little homework. I wanted plenty of ports, lots of activity, few kids, but not an uppity, wealthy old-people cruise. Norwegian offers freestyle dining, which really appealed to me. They also offered four ports on a 7-day cruise. BINGO. #3,4,8, and 15 have already been eliminated. #5 is looking better. Next, what to pack? What does a middle aged couple need on a 7 day cruise? I packed everything. Two pairs of boots, two pairs of heels, two pairs of sandals, two pairs of sneakers, and a pair of water shoes. 9 pairs of shoes for 7 days? Who does that? A newbie, that's who. Truly, I needed half that. Eight hair products? I needed one. In short, here's what I learned I didn't need: flat iron, bronzer, big jewelry, more than 3 tank tops, gym clothes, jeans, more than 3 cute tops, huge bottles of shampoo & conditioner. What I needed more of: clean underwear. Seriously, I showered twice daily: once in the morning, then again after getting all gross during excursions. Once you've got sand and salt water in your undies - those are done. Time for a fresh clean pair after your evening shower. NCL doesn't offer DIY laundry service, and I'm not going to spend my vacation hand-washing my underwear in the sink either. I did pack "adventure" clothes for excursions and daytime on board, and also dresses for the nights. I just had too many adventure clothes. Two swimsuits is a must, four is too many. Sweaters for chilly nights and restaurants helped, too. Other stuff I'm glad I packed: a small pharmacy (Tylenol, Naproxen, Meclizine for nausea, antacids, Immodium, and antacid). I didn't need more than a couple Tylenol, but I knew I was covered. Helpful hint: Extra Strength Midol comes in blister-packs that travel super-easy and contains 200 mg Naproxen (great for arthritis pain). Also found a clever canvas jewelry organzier at Wal-Mart and an over-the-door shoe holder that hung on the bathroom door. Magnetic clips stuck to the metal cabin walls and were used for our itineraries and my jewelry (that I wore about 1/3 of). So, onward to the review. Boarding was relatively painless. We did have to wait in line, herded like cattle, but the line did move relatively quickly and people in general weren't rude about it. The staff was helpful in directing people. We arrived at 11:30 for a 12:00 boarding and the actual wait time was maybe 30 minutes. The staff did require a photo ID, then they took pictures of us pre-boarding (like a DMV mug-shot, so be prepared for that) Every time we got on or off the ship, our key cards were scanned through a computer and our pre-boarding pics came up. Once we got our key cards, we were offered the first opportunity to get a picture. Theme park photographers are pushy: cruise photographers are not. They asked if they could take our pic and many people turned them down without a hassle. The photographers didn't harrass or pressure anybody. But, they didn't tell us that it would be a full-body shot, so we had all our cruise documents, a jacket and our carry-on in the shot (it completely ruined our pic). Also, we did have to go through a metal detector. No big deal, except I made the mistake of wearing huge amounts of metal jewelry. Security kept asking what I had that was metal? Uh, my necklace, bracelets, and earrings - all highly visible. She insisted that I leave them on, although I insisted that they were all easily removable. So, yay - I got my very first pat-down. Lesson learned - minimal jewelry through security. We finally boarded and the crew had a little "welcome aboard" party for us, complete balloons, a banner, and DJ Felix spinning the club music. We checked out our room, which wasn't ready yet. But we were able to put our carry-on luggage inside and explore the ship a little. Don't know where I learned this, but the little fishies on the carpet always "swim" to the front of the ship to help you orient yourself. Once we found our room, it was pretty easy to locate again, except for one time when we thought we were headed to the front, but the fishies disagreed and let us know that we were on the Starboard side, not the Port side. Gotta love the fishies! Remember how much stuff I packed? Four big ole suitcases and a carry-on duffel. I put everything away in the cabin with ease. Even had room to spare! Plenty of hangers provided in the closet, they gave us two robes, and the provided hair dryer was more than adequate. In the bathroom, there were dispensers for hand soap, shampoo, and body wash. The body wash even smelled pleasant (not like hotel soap). Little shelves in the bathroom held most all of our toiletries. Little shelves in the shower held all my necessary shower equipment. Provided drawers and shelves all held massive amounts of clothing. Mirrors are everywhere in the room - glad I lost weight pre-cruise! We were able to set the temperature easily to our liking. The bed was two twins pushed together, so there was a big ole hump in the middle. But the pillows were delightfully fluffy, the bed comfortable, and the room was clean. The towels were big and fluffy and plentiful. Although most other rooms were bigger than ours, we found the simple balcony room to be plenty roomy and comfortable. It suited us quite well. The balcony had a sliding door and was more enclosed than I had envisioned. It was really sweet to have a private area to sit and watch the world go by. I didn't think I would use and enjoy the balcony nearly as much as I did. We spent a lot of quiet time drinking wine and watching the waves. We had seen maps and pictures of the ship before and wondered what was with the tacky carpet? It really helps to keep you oriented to where you are and what's down the hall. Directories of what's on each floor are near every stairwell and elevator - makes it super-easy to find your way around. The food: The food was great, a wide variety of everything was always available. My husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy, while I prefer fresh fruits, veggies, and lighter fare. We were both satisfied with the meals. We've also discovered that we are food snobs. On our first sea night, we were served steak and lobster. We were not impressed at all, but everybody else raved about how great the steaks and lobster were. Dessert was warm bread pudding, which was truly heavenly. Other meals were better, nothing spectacular,butt they were plenty edible. Not fine dining always, but much better than your average American chain restaurant. Portions were perfect, considering three courses were always served. The meal portions are smaller than chain restaurants, but if that doesn't fill you up, you can always get additional portions. We chose not to leave the table bloated and miserable, but were always full after dessert. The buffet offered plenty of selection, both for the carnivores, the herbivores, and the pizza-and-pasta lovers. Several small buffet lines meant no waiting in long lines, hence no line-jumping, very little rudeness. Fresh fruit was always available, plenty of selection, and the "usual fare" of comfort food was always available. A kid-sized buffet full of kid-friendly foods was also located next to a family seating area. Tables were smaller, so you weren't forced to eat your meals at a table for 12. Plenty of 2-tops and 4-tops to go around. Larger groups could push tables together pretty easily as well. The washy-washy crew at the buffet was cute. Several people really got into it, singing and dancing their way into the buffet area. Unlike some other cruise lines, it wasn't some lonely guy singing off-key. There were usually two or three people singing, playing the guitar, and generally trying to have fun while keeping everybody's hands sanitary. They did a great job and were always adorable. I have no idea what kind of hand sanitizer they used, but it wasn't the sticky gel stuff and it didn't make your finger foods taste funky either. Paid restaurants: We tried three. Teppenyaki was our first, we ate their on our anniversary. If you want to try it - get a reservation, that place fills up every night. The chefs try to keep things lively, a very party-like atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was our 25th anniversary and I was dressed to the nines with hair done, stilettos, and a nice white dress. I had no idea anybody would be throwing food at me! At other tables, the chefs chose wisely who to select to catch bites of egg in their mouths (the loudest male with the Hawaain or NCAA shirt). Ours didn't. He threw egg in my hair. Twice. Buzzkill. I was not amused. We had received a card earlier to our stateroom that said to bring the card to wherever you choose to celebrate your big day, and we had done that. So, after dessert, the staff came and sang happy anniversary to us. It was cute. Best part was the girl at the next table to loudly announced that we couldn't be married 25 years because I barely looked 25 years old! OK, so that made up for the egg-in-the-hair and egg-on-the-dress incidents (he missed twice). SInce we were too full to eat our complimentary anniversary cake, they offered to bring it to our room. Too bad it arrived at 11:45 p.m. If they offer it to go, you might want to check to see if they'll just box it up and then you could take it with you. We tried Chin Chins on formal night, after discovering a long wait time at both main dining rooms. We were promptly seated in a nearly empty dining room (2 other tables). Our orders were taken after ten minutes. Ten minutes later, some horrible karaoke started in the open atrium area below us. We could hear the cheers being shouted from Teppenyaki. The dining room started to fill up, our tummies started getting hungrier and hungrier. The karaoke got worse, and we were still waiting on appetizers thirty minutes later. We left and went to the buffet - still in our formal attire. Surrounded by those who chose NOT on "dress-up-or-not night", we filled our bellies with delicious buffet food while being stared at by the shorts-and-tank-top crowd. Suited us fine, as the stares in our direction ended as soon as a small parade of toga-clad teenagers came through the buffet, cheering and gleefully waving their arms in the air. Our third paid restaurant was Moderno's Brazilian steakhouse. It's located mid-ship, so the only way to cross the ship is to either cut through Moderno's or the Blue Lagoon or take a flight of stairs up and down. For a paid restaurant, I wasn't impressed with the number of people just cutting through to get from point A to point B. The salad selections were okay. They didn't offer any Italian or balsamic dressings - only ranch, Thousand Island, and French. Most of the salads were high-fat pastas. So, after salad, you have a card that you turn over on your table to greed to indicate that you're ready for the main courses. Servers stop by and offer very small portions of different meats and some cinnamon-grilled pineapple. We were offered the pineapple first, then chicken, beef, lamb, pork, until we were full. We turned the cards back to red to indicate that we were ready for dessert. We were again offered chicken, beef, lamb, pineapple, more chicken, and more pineapple. Our drink glasses were empty and our waiter nowhere in sight. They did have some desserts on the menu that we were interested in, but we were seated within an inch of a very large rowdy party table (literally, an inch - we were damn near AT their table, separated only by a small railing) and kept getting offered meat, meat, more meat, and pineapple. Frustrated, we left. Moral of the story regarding paid restaurants: you're not missing anything by sticking to the free offerings. The food quality is not any better than the free MDRs, the service is certainly not better, the atmosphere is not better either. We were perfectly happy with Azura, Tsar's (which is more upscale and we preferred), and the buffet. The money we spent at Teppanyaki and Moderno's was money down the drain. Tsar's Palace does have a dress code that they do enforce. We were very politely turned down for service because DH was wearing shorts. Rather than changing clothes, we went to Azura and the food was just as good, service just as good. Excursions: We booked beginning SCUBA through NCL and the rest of our excursions privately. With a little research ahead of time (which is really fun anyway) you can book your excursions privately, support the local economies, and save a few bucks. For convenience, book online through NCL's website if you're pressed for time and don't want to research. A lot of people booked after they boarded, wasting valuable cruise time looking through pamphlets to book their excursions. NCL has videos of theirs on the website and you'll get more cruise time if you book ahead. Also, your favorite stuff will more likely be available! "Front desk" service: (Not sure what it's called on a ship). These people are super-helpful! On day one, my sandal broke and I wish I could recall her name, but this very nice person got some super-glue and helped glue to back together for me. The glue held until I got home and unpacked, but hey, that's what I get for buying discount sandals, right? She was very helpful and didn't roll her eyes and announce "that's not my job". Activities: Our cruise started with a dance party at the pool. The staff really helped get everybody out of their chair and dancing, from the very young to the very old. It was cuteness overload to watch from Top-Siders bar & grill. They have a pool and hot tubs just for kids/families and another pool and hot tubs marked for adults only. Yay! Our Freestyle Daily was delivered to our stateroom each night with details about events and activities for the following day. Yes, some of the offerings we thought were stupid, but ya know, some of it was kinda fun, too. We were able to try different things, some we might not have otherwise tried. The best part was that most everything was in an open area, so we could go in, check it out, and make a very graceful exit if we chose. We played Deal or No Deal and won a free 8x10 photo. We played one round of Bingo and realized that Bingo was a big-spenders game. The casino: I don't get it. Why do people sit in front of video monitors in a windowless room on a cruise ship? Oh, so they can smoke! Yeah, I didn't go to the casino except to cash in my $1 winning ticket from some silly game show. We loved the game shows, the staff kept those very entertaining. I loved the free dance lessons, my husband - not so much, but he did give a valiant effort. Not everything was for us, but there were plenty of things we enjoyed, plenty to try, more stuff to do than we could ever do. There really was something for everybody. We enjoyed the hot tubs, the demonstrations, the free concerts (surprisingly, the Neil Diamond impersonator appealed to young and old and really got the crowd moving), the cheesy games, and sitting on our balcony. We were never, ever, ever bored. Our itinerary made four stops for a seven day cruise. We loved it! We got off the ship every chance we could to enjoy the Caribbean sun and surf. Our only NCL excursion was the beginning SCUBA in Cozumel and we LOVED it. There were five in our group - two couples and a single guy. The instruction didn't take too long, just a quickie safety demo. We "dove" right from the beach and our dive master gave each of us a quick safety test in shallow water before diving. One of the people in our group didn't want to SCUBA after the shallow water, so she was allowed to float on the surface along with us (she basically snorkeled while we SCUBA'ed). All four of us who did the activity came up all smiles at the end. The area had showers, lockers, an outdoor bar & grill and a cantina cabana. The food was amazing - fresh mahi-mahi for me and a big ole beefy, beanie burrito for him. We were offered massages at pretty reasonable prices, but turned that down since DH isn't really a massage person. We all were given credit for the dive towards PADI certification if we wanted to do that. Entertainment: It just wasn't for us. I said earlier. there was something for everybody. We aren't into watching big production shows, we aren't into the circus or watching acrobats. If anything provides a forewarning of "sit there and be amazed" - I'm out! The theater seats are cramped, the seating is in long, narrow rows, and it's just not for me. Keep in mind, though, that I don't watch movies either. Disembarkation was a bit of a mess. Nevermind - it was a complete mess. We chose to schlep our own luggage (easy off, right?). Unlike disembarking at the pier (from the fourth floor), we used the seventh floor to disembark and waited in a long line that didn't move for 40 minutes. Once the line stretched from aft to the foreward theater and back through itself, things got really confusing. Nobody could determine where the line ended and nobody could use any of the seventh floor because the lines were so long it blocked the whole floor. Since the line to disembark went through itself, plenty of line-jumping confusing came about. Although the staff did their best, it was nothing short of a complete clusterf*** and the exhausted people who were carrying all of their own luggage literally from stem to stern of the ship and back were a little cranky. Meanwhile, it was time to start disembarkation for those who opted not to carry their own luggage. This was the only time the majority of the staff seemed truly flustered. Needless to say, we did survive getting off the ship and made it home. In short, we had a great time. We felt like the entire staff bent over backwards to ensure everybody had a good time. Let's revisit that list of fears, shall we? 1. If I don't like a land vacation, I just get in the car and go home. Can't do that on a cruise. I didn't want to get off the ship once we arrived back at port. I seriously considered stowing away in a stairwell or trying to steal a staff uniform. It was the best vacation of my life! 2. I'll be trapped on a boat with no escape. I did escape - to the hot tub, to the balcony, to the lounge, to each port. It was delightful. 3. I'll have to eat every meal with potentially weird or annoying people. Weird and annoying people are everywhere in life. They were never at my table. In fact, we offered some seats of our four-top to a lovely couple for one lunch and had a great time with fascinating conversation! 4. Cruises are for uppity people. I might be a snob, but I am not uppity. There is a difference. The uppity people stayed in the butlered, super - expensive rooms and I never saw 'em. We hung with the younger crowd, the party crowd, the beer-drinking crowd. 5. I'll be bored senseless. Never a dull moment. We had some tranquil moments that we chose, but there was always something to do. 6. I'll have to tolerate everybody else's snot-nosed, poorly behaved kids. The kids were well-behaved and adorable! A couple of toddlers even crashed an adults-only dance party and yes, I even enjoyed their gleeful dancing. 7. I'll have to tolerate rude grown-ups. Meh, one or two out of over 2,0000? I'll take those odds! Everybody seemed very happy. 8.I can't eat when I'm hungry. I could eat any time I wanted - food was always available (but sometimes I was too busy to eat) 9. If I forget something small, I can't make a quick Wal-Mart run. I brought everything anyway (except the super-glue) 10. I'll get seasick. The seas were a little rough on the last few days, but no nausea or vomiting, just a touch of vertigo. 11. The cabin will be tiny, the bed uncomfortable, the shower will suck. The cabin was plenty spacious, the bed was comfortable if you didn't want to snuggle with your partner, but I did have plenty of hot water and plenty of water pressure. The temperatures were highly variable and the shower was a definite do-not-flush-zone. But I showered twice daily in relative comfort. 12. I hate buffet food and buffet people (just the coughing, sneezing, line-cutting gluttons). Unlike Golden Corral, the buffet didn't attract those who are out to "get their money's worth" out of a buffet. We did get a giggle at a little boy who brought a plate stacked barely high enough to carry loaded with nothing but bacon. But you know those stereotypical face-stuffing gluttons? Yeah, they weren't there. Just nice people who were having a nice meal with their loved ones. The buffet food wasn't limited to comfort foods, either. Plenty of soups, salads, curries, stir-fries, etc. 13. Cruising is for old people, really old people. . . . . who are very young at heart. The geriatric set was out there dancing, singing, playing, shopping, snorkeling. So were their kids . . . and their grandkids. We found plenty of people our age to hang with, and truly enjoyed some time with people much older than we are. 14. The food will be bad. It wasn't five-star dining, but it was good food. We never went hungry. 15. I'll have to buy a special gown and shoes for formal night. Although I did dress up for formal night and I did wear dresses every single day of the cruise, it wasn't mandatory. People wore what they wanted, from shorts & tank tops to evening gowns. And somehow, it worked. I never felt uncomfortable because of what I chose to wear on any given day. One last note: We did all the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle activities. Not only did we get to know some of the people we would travel with, it also gave us a peek into the different rooms, a fun way to get to know each other, and helped us find familiar faces. I highly encourage this! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital ... Read More
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital letters. It was nothing more than a balcony room. The only difference was in the bathroom, you had a sliding door that closed the toilet area off from the rest of the bathroom. We paid extra for that?? When we spoke with the guest services they were less than helpful and were not concerned in the least about us. The buffet was as expected ... normal buffet food, but decent. We went to the main dining room one night and were so disappointed in both the service and the food. We both ordered steaks that had no taste and were very fatty. The service which we have come to expect on other cruise lines was not at all evident on Norwegian. We decided to try the other main dining room, and found the same issues. The menu was basically the same as it had been in the other dining room and unfortunately, the food and service were also the same. We decided to pay the extra surcharge and try the Brazilian steak house and Cagney's Steakhouse also. We found both to be very good food and exceptional service. It is sad that with the cost of the cruise, you must pay extra to get a good meal. The venues on the ship were activities were held were small and crowded. Overall we were very disappointed with Norwegian and will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We sailed on the Jewel the week of 2/23/14. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. Overall, we had a great experience. There is a lot to say but I'm going to organize my feedback by category for simplicity. Embarkation: Easy ... Read More
We sailed on the Jewel the week of 2/23/14. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. Overall, we had a great experience. There is a lot to say but I'm going to organize my feedback by category for simplicity. Embarkation: Easy Breezy. The port of New Orleans was easy to access from all of the touristy areas of New Orleans, so its perfect for travelers who want to spend some time in the city before or after the cruise. Getting on the ship was efficient and easy. The only thing that was kind of confusing is that the boarding groups were a combination of numbers, letters and casino card guests. Since we are new to Norwegian and to this port, we weren't exactly sure what kind of order they were going in. For example, it went something like this... we were boarding group 2 - they called boarding group 1 so we got excited that were would be next... then boarding group A, boarding group B, Casino Group, boarding C... Even if we were the 5th or 6th boarding group, it would have been nice to at least have some idea of how many groups were still in front of us. Small critique, but that is really the only thing that could be changed to reduce confusion. Everything else was great. Room: We stayed in a mid-ship balcony room on deck 10 (10582). This was a great central and quite location, close enough to the elevators but we did not have problems with hearing foot traffic in the halls. The room is a normal sized cruise cabin, small but organized well to maximize space. Storage space was adequate for both of our things without trouble. There is a small flat screen TV with limited channels. Bathroom feels small since its organized into 3 compartments - the sink is in the center with a toilet and shower area on either side. The toilet area has a sliding door with frosted plexiglass and same with the shower. This is designed so two people can utilize the bathroom at once and still have some semblance of privacy. The toilet area was small if you close the sliding door, however, we usually just used the regular bathroom door instead since we didn't need to both use the bathroom at once. The balcony was a nice size with two sitting chairs and small table. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the comedian, Micheal. We went to his regular show as well as his late night adult only show. The regular one was better but the adult only was okay too. We didn't really care for the magician/comedian, Jean Pierre. We thought he came off as bit abrasive and wasn't that funny. We also really enjoyed the newlywed game and perfect couple game. We attended a couple trivia sessions as well, which were fine and pretty much what we expected. Service: The first day, there seemed to be a lot of staff dedicated to high pressure sales of the water, beverage and food packages, which we didn't really like. Staff in the buffet were friendly and quick to clear plates. Staff in the main dining rooms was very slow and unfriendly at lunchtime but the waitstaff was more friendly and attentive at night. The waitstaff in the specialty dining rooms were the best, quick to refill drinks and always asking if they could get you anything more. The biggest area where we found disappointing with regard to service was the hostesses. In La Crucina, the hostess was rude to us when we didn't have a reservation and arrived at 5:45pm. She told us there was no availability until 8:30pm, even though the menu screens showed the restaurant was green (which was supposed to mean immediate seating available) from 6:00-8:30. We asked her why the menu board didn't reflect that they were full and she said they had availability for one guest, so the board won't show full - but not availability for our party of 2. The hostess at Azura was not very friendly either. Our room steward was okay but we did not think he was as good as the room steward we had on our last cruise. He was nice and kept the ice full, no complaints but didn't go above and beyond really either. We did find out half way though the cruise that ours was the last one for most of the staff - they were about to go on a 2-4 month break in the home countries, after having worked 7 months on the ship, so that could explain the few spotty areas we did encounter with regard to service. I would be excited and a little distracted too! Food: 1) Buffet: The buffet always felt sanitary, with the washy washy people standing guard outside, however, we felt the selection was somewhat limited compared to our buffet experience on carnival. There was a salad station, pasta station, pizza station, local (rotating) section, an Indian food section, a crepe station (which was in a separate room) and dessert. The Indian food was really really good and flavorful and the crepes were delicious. Everything else was just okay. Seating was at a premium in here, it was really hard to find a place to sit during peak hours. 2) Tsars & Azura: These are the two main dining rooms. I like that they only enforce a dress code in Tsars, leaving Azura as the more casual option, however, I wish there was more of a difference in the menus to make it feel like they were two distinct restaurant venues. The menus were almost exactly the same. Food ranged from okay to good. 3) Java Cafe: Coffee was okay, nothing special. I would consider the quality to be just slightly below the normal quality one would get at the big name coffee bars in the US. 4) Blue Lagoon: This is a free dining option with bar food type items - hot wings, mozzarella sticks, sandwiches, etc. We had one light lunch here, which was pretty good. 5) La Crucina: The italian restaurant. We really liked this one. The restaurant had a very cute Italian Kitchen decor and was pretty quiet and tucked away near the back of the ship. We ate here two nights and tried the lobster pasta, pizza, lasagna and chicken parm. The pizza was much better than what we had at the buffet. The soup appetizer was really good as well. The lasagna was just "ok" and the other entrees were really good. 6) Cagneys: I'm vegetarian so I probably didn't appreciate this restaurant as much as others would. My husband had steak with au gratin potatoes and broccoli, which he really enjoyed. The steak arrived with a garlic butter slice on top, which added a lot of good flavor and he also said it was cooked perfectly. The waiter asked him to cut into the center when it was first delivered to make sure that the it was cooked to his liking. He really appreciated that they put so much effort into making sure the meat was cooked the way he liked. 7) Le Bistro: We really liked this place but the food is very rich. It was apparent that the food was high quality and the service was top notch at this venue. 8) Chin Chin: This is well worth the $15 cover charge. The food is cooked very well and the appetizers are really tasty. They also have hot pot at certain tables that you have to request ahead of time, we saw others doing this and it looked like they enjoyed it. Ports: 1) Cozumel: We booked the Mayan Ruin tour through the ship. Our guide, Juan, was really nice and informative. He was a Mayan descendant. He kept us entertained both directions and was excited to share his culture. Tulum is very very hot, make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. The ruins were really beautiful and it was really cool to see iguanas roaming free everywhere throughout the park. They no longer allow anyone to climb on the ruins, so everything was seen at a distance only but still very cool. 2) Belize: We booked the Cave Tubing and Rainforest Hike Tour through the ship. We thought this was the best choice because of the time and distance required for the tour. If you book through the ship, it gives you piece of mind that they won't leave you behind if you tour runs late. Also, Belize is a tender port and having a tour booked through the ship allows you to leave on as early of a tender as you like. If you book independently, you are required to be in line by 7am to try to get an earlier tender ticket number to make it to your tour. We thought this made it well worth it. Lunch was provided before our tour at the cave tubing site, buffet style then we started our journey to the river. We felt very safe, they only allow 8 guests per guide and equipment was in good shape and included hard hats with lights as well as life jackets, which they require you to wear in the water. They suggest water shoes because sandals get lost in the current, they have them for rental for $3 if you don't bring any, but we brought our own. Our guide was very nice and friendly but seemed a little rushed. He mentioned it was his last tour of the day, so maybe that was it. He had us walk through the jungle really quick, we only briefly stopped twice for him to show us termites and a pineapple but then back to the trail. We passed 4 groups along the trail and in the cave, so I know we were going faster than other groups. Although we might have liked to take a slower pace to really enjoy the walk through the beautiful jungle, we still had a wonderful time. We really enjoyed the walk. We arrived at the river and the guide gave us a couple minutes to swim around the water while he linked our tubes together then we were off. The cave was amazing and the lights on our hard hats came in handy. There were a few tiny rapids but it was mostly calm and we felt very safe the whole time. All in all, we loved it. 3) Roatan: We booked with Little French Key. We were not sure what to expect since it was the first time we didn't book through the ship and first time in Roatan, but we found Larry and Dave very easily just outside the port gates. They put us in a van with a few other guests and drove us to Frenchy's 44 which was about a 20 minute drive from the port. We then took a small ferry just across the water to Little French Key. It was absolutely beautiful and ended up being our favorite excursion of the entire trip. The water was clam and clear and the staff were extremely friendly. Drinks were delish, especially the monkey la la. They also had a small zoo with rescue animals which was very cool. There were a couple jaguars that were in an enclosure that we thought looked a little small but otherwise all the animals looked very happy and well taken care of. They will let you hold the monkeys, we went into the pen in the large spider monkey enclosure which was cool but their most shining star is undoubtedly "Lisa" the monkey. She is the sweetest most cuddly animal I've ever seen, I was ready to smuggle her back to the US! Everyone should ask to hold her, it will make your trip! We also went snorkeling which we really enjoyed. There was a good variety of fish and the reef was amazing. Little French Key is definitely a place not to be missed during your visit to Roatan! 4) Costa Maya: We reserved Maya Chan Beach and had a great time. It is an all inclusive, funky beach resort. They only allow a small number of guests so it provides a really nice experience. It never felt crowded and the staff treated us like family. Everything was included - alcoholic drinks, food, water toys and the snorkel and kayaking tour. The food was incredible. The beach did have some trash floating in the water, but we did research in advance and know that this is an issue in the entire Costa Maya area because of their location, all beach resorts in this area have similar problems. It was not too much but the only thing that could be improved in a perfect world, but again, it wasn't Maya Chan's fault either. We would definitely go back here! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot ... Read More
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot say enough about the staff aboard the Jewel. We will now be taking the Jewel out of Seattle to Alaska because of the staff and ship. I would give the total experience a 4.5! Food 4.0 - New to free style dining, really like it! We stayed with all the included eating venues. Cabin 4.5 we had a balcony (the only was to cruise IMO) Staff 5.0 Entertainment 4.5 Excursions 5.0 Food was good. We ate in the main dining room twice and decided we were more of the buffet upstairs kind of people. If you don't eat early or late there can be a wait for seating in the dining areas. Cabin- very nice. Rod our steward took very good care of us. Love the coffee pot in the room - coffee on the balcony in the morning is awesome. Staff - can't say enough! Entertainment - two things stand out. The group Next Stage was awesome! Cover style with awesome music. Latin Four on deck played nice Caribbean and Latin music.. really good with Coconut rum and Sierra Mist. But our fav was a soloist named Randon. He played acoustic guitar and sang 70's folk and light rock. We looked for him in the evenings to jell out. NCL hold on to him! Excursions awesome. Cozumel we took a Mexican cooking class ( I know.. but I know us, we would need out of the sun for a day after a day at sea with AMAZING weather). Oscar was the chef/instructor. WHAT A BLAST, then beach time at Playa Mia. Belize - cave float and Zip Line great time! Roatan - snorkeling and beach, amazing reef and guides. Costa Maya - segway tour, very cool things, we want one for tooling around our development now. The guides/instructors were amazing. We spent 1/2 hour learning how to ride then 2.5 actually riding. Juan, Christian and Daniel, you guys ROCK! We then went to Blue Bay to hang at the beach. Beautiful spot! Had some drinks, went for a swim, relaxed under the straw cabanas. Life was GOOD! REALLY recommend this cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the ... Read More
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the balcony and some space to spread out. Since we were in a suite, we had priority embarkation (awesome), a butler (imperative), and breakfast/lunch at Cagney's (the best perk of all). We arrived in NOLA and it was rainy, so we skipped the french quarter and just boarded the boat. We had lunch at Cagneys (seriously, have I told you it was the best perk) and explored the ship a bit. Our room was awesome. I slept in every bed in the room during our 7 night stay, but preferred the lounge chairs on the balcony or the floor to any of the beds. I kid you not, I slept on the floor 3 of the 7 nights and on the patio 2x. The bed was hard as a rock, as was the pull down bunk and the pull out couch. I have a bad back, so it was easier to sleep on the floor and know what I would wake up with. MDR food was pretty crappy as was the buffet, but again, I am on a special diet and cant have fried food, dairy, or sugar, so most of the options for me were removed before we got started. The ports of call were great and I will re-state again that the suites have the priority stuff and we were on the first tender off the boat in Belize which meant we got to our excursions earlier than anyone else. We booked all the excursions through external sources and were very happy with all of them. Coral Breeze Tours (Belize), Argel and Adiel King (cozumel), and Subway Watersports (Roatan) were all excellent and I will do them again. The boat was clean, there were no lines for food (ever) and the shows were fine. Don't spend the money on the hibachi restaurant (it sucked) but go ahead and pop for cagneys if you aren't in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
A little background, This is my 3rd cruise and I totally love cruising. I have been on Princess, CCL, and now NCL. We are in our late 30's and mid 40's. Like to think of myself as a very simple guy. Hotel: We got a great deal on ... Read More
A little background, This is my 3rd cruise and I totally love cruising. I have been on Princess, CCL, and now NCL. We are in our late 30's and mid 40's. Like to think of myself as a very simple guy. Hotel: We got a great deal on the Hyatt French Quarter. Great location but overall I was a bit disappointed in the French Quarter, I knew that it was a party area but it was not very clean. Once we got over to the French Market / Jackson Square area it was more what we expected out of New Orleans. Embarkment was super easy. It was a bit of a maze to get to the check in desk but once we got there it was super simple. Overview: When we got on the ship and began to walk around both my wife and I first noticed that there was no real WOW factor to the ship. No grand atrium, The hallways while clean did not shine with brass and bling. It took us back that there was no live music in the atrium and the welcome consist of a few staff members in a line at the end of gangway. This is not a bad thing but it was just something that caught our eye. Cabin: We had Cabin 10098 a mid ship Balcony. Very nice location just off of the elevators (We did not hear noise from the elevators the whole trip.) Had a wonderful room attendant, Wilmer. We asked him once we got to the room to remove the extra chair and table to give us a little more room. He was more than happy to do it. Food: I have read over and over that there are reviews about there being issues with the food onboard. We ate 3 times at Tsars, once in Mama's, once at Moderno, twice in the Buffet and one night we did room service. All except for room service were wonderful. My room service Burger was overcooked and super dry. The bun was a rock. On the flip side. The dinner I had at Mama's was one of the best meals I have ever had on a cruise. Ports: Cozumel - Due to rain our plan shore tour was cancelled. We opted for Chankanaab Belize - We did the cave tubing. This was an amazing tour. We went with Carlos Chan. Roatan - We did the Maya Key private Island. Very nice relaxing day Costa Maya - We did the ruins with Native choice. This was by far the most amazing and wonderful tour of the whole trip. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise and I would be happy to do another cruise with NCL if the itinerary and the price are right. I dont know that NCL won us over so much so that we would only cruise with them but we will certainly give them consideration when booking our next cruise. IF you are looking for a great cruise with plenty to do or nothing to do than this is a good cruise for you. IF you are looking for the WOW factor then the Jewel may come up a little flat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was the best vacation/cruise I have ever experienced. I was very nervous at first having never cruised before. Didn't know what to expect or if I would even enjoy it for that matter. We traveled with 6 other couples that are ... Read More
This was the best vacation/cruise I have ever experienced. I was very nervous at first having never cruised before. Didn't know what to expect or if I would even enjoy it for that matter. We traveled with 6 other couples that are cruise veterans. I can only tell you we had the time of our lives. All the staff made us feel like we were at home and part of their family. They ALWAYS had a smile on their faces and were going above and beyond to show everyone a great time. I was so impressed with the cleanliness of the ship and how they are so adamant about sanitation. The food and selection of food was great as well. We never went hungry or waited a minute for service. I especially appreciated watching how well everyone worked together and how much they took the time to thank us and their crew for all their hard work. The Cruise Director, Captain and their Executive Staff made their presence known and were eager to assist you. They didn't just hide in their offices and talk over the intercom all day. I highly recommend this ship and cruise line to everyone and anyone. I am so happy with the way the trip turned out and I can be a very picky person. Kudos to Norweigan. Hope to be cruising with you again really soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, ... Read More
Oh, what high hopes we had for Norwegian. We perceived it as a luxury liner, a step above the rest. Boy, were we wrong. First, the things we liked - embarkation/debarkation was very fast and efficient. This was our sixth cruise total, third cruise line, and it was by far the fastest. Bueno. The mini suite on 11 was very nice - bigger than the balcony rooms we have been on, but not a true "suite". It had a tub - gasp! And a nice big balcony. We LOVED the shore excursions - we went to Cozumel for a nice relaxing beach party, Belize for snorkeling over a great reef, Roatan for outstanding snorkeling - amazing!! Last was Costa Maya, for Mayan Ruins - very informative, very nice tour. The washy washy guy and antiseptic dispensers all over the place was very nice - and wise. We appreciated that. So that was the good stuff. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We had our experience with service on those lines - which was good - so we expected more from NCL. Instead, we got much, much less. FIrst we had to park on a surface lot - $112! And got a nice scratch on my door as a bonus. Carnival, right next door, is a covered deck, and cost less. The use of space is not great - it feels very small and closed in. No large open awe inspiring spaces. The pools on 12 were average, but the waterslide was worse that you would find at the kids splash park downtown. The fitness area is a joke - treadmills, like 4 of them, with an equal number of ellipticals, are nose to the window - NO circulation, and a 30 minute limit, due to the scores of people wanting to use them. The ceiling is inches above your head. Very inadequate. The shows with the magician/comedian were okay. But there was really nothing else to do on board! We kept looking and the Breakaway flier to find something - yawn fest. We went to the Fizz lounge every night - that was fun, but it was small, and night after night that was it? Bummer. And the food - the two main dining room food was mediocre at best. Nothing stood out as being good. No signature dishes. Which left you with the option to go to one of the restaurants - and pay more. Was that really just an option though? If the food was blah in the main dining rooms, so you have to eat where it costs $15 - $40 a head more. Really? After paying more than the average cruise? The nickle and diming begins. Then there is the 18% gratuity tacked on to every food or drink you purchase, whethere you wait for the waitress to walk two feet to the bar, and take 20 minutes to return - or just belly up to the bar yourself. Welcome to the gratuity. "Service". Norwegian has a systemic problem here. The wait staff - except for one waiter - was dismissive, condescending, or worse. Want a refill on your water? Forget about it! Iced tea to drink? Good luck. And extra appetizer? We were actually told no!! Seriously??? We had purchased a 3 restaurant deal through the NCL website - we were excited about that. Well, they had no record of our purchase. After hours at the customer "service" desk, I finally went online and showed them my bank statement where NCL took my money in September!! They never conceeded this one. They fought to the bitter end - they did give us the package days into the cruise, but continued to repeat the mantra "we haven't heard back from coorporate yet." I guess the carrier pigeon died. Chocolate fantasy night - yes yes yes! Beautiful! Ooh, ahhh....tasted meh. Disappointed yet again. That was our first and last cruise. NCL wanted us to pony up $12 per day, per person for "service". We removed those bogus charges and palmed cash generously to our steward, and the one waiter who gave a crap. We do a week long cruise annually - we are RUNNING back to Carnival. Good food, great service, fun - yes, and it costs less. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My wife and I took this cruise out of New Orleans as our honeymoon. It was a 7 night with 4 port stops. This was our 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian. The priors being Carnival (twice on the Triumph and once on the Conquest). ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise out of New Orleans as our honeymoon. It was a 7 night with 4 port stops. This was our 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian. The priors being Carnival (twice on the Triumph and once on the Conquest). Embarkation from N.O. was same as always; actually much quicker this time, as we were later(ish) in getting to the port. We usually arrive at 11:00 and wait in line, however this time we didn't arrive until 2:30; walked right through w/ no lines, awesome! Only issue I had was going through the scanners, the port security guy confiscated a pocket knife out of my wife's purse that I had given her some years ago. He stared at it and said "yep, longer than 4 inches". I looked at him and sarcastically said something to the effect of "Yeah you keep telling yourself that". He told me they'd "mail it back to us". I laughed and said "whatever". They never took our address. I then looked at my wife and LOUDLY said "You'll never see it again". I've taken that knife on 3 previous cruises w/ no problem...it is legal length. I am also a police officer and really wanted to just snap on those $6 an hour nose picking security guards, but decided against it...it was time to get on the ship and have fun. Anyway we boarded the ship and went straight to our room. Deck 4, room with a porthole window. Nice room, although considerably smaller than rooms on Carnival (didn't care). They knew it was our honeymoon and said we'd get some kind of gift. So we enter the room, and sure enough there is a bottle of wine, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries (that were INCREDIBLE!), and a card to take to the dining room for a free cake. Very nice indeed! Funny thing is, we also had TWO seperate single beds! We just laughed. I mean, we've been together for 16 years and just now got married, so no biggie, still though... :-) I was very impressed with the bathroom. Much more elegant than Carnival's pepto bismol pink bathrooms. LAYOUT: Ok so we tour the ship to get to know the layout. Very different from Carnival, but we found it VERY easy to navigate. Basically, everything you need is on decks 7 and 12. Easy enough. Ship was very nice and well thought out (layout wise). We frequented the shop daily and nightly (after lunch and dinner, kind of our routine). The gift shop, "Trade Winds" I believe it is called, is HUGE! Just before entering the shop, you'll walk through the hallway where they put all the pictures they take on display (starboard side). DINING: We ate lunch in the main buffet (I'm awful with names, I think it was called the Garden something). VERY good food for cruise ship buffets...much better than Carnival. It was also a MUCH better layout. Carnival's is a single file line, where as this is more of an open room with multiple buffet tables. So much easier to navigate, w/ little to no lines. And who doesn't love WASHY WASHY and the songs!? Fine dining we jumped back and forth between the Azura and the T'czar (again, names?). The Azura is a bit cramped and more contemporary, where as the T'czar was very, very nice. On a side note, if you're an ice cream lover like myself, the T'czar serves it in larger glasses :-) Unlike the buffet, food quality in the fine dining was......ok. Presentation was nice, but the selection and quality were mediocre. We dressed up every night, and went there more for the experience than the food. We didn't do any of the "pay" dining; we've paid a lot already, and find it ridiculous to pay additionally. SHOWS: We went to a few, and loved them all. The Band on The Run was the best (imo). I found myself drooling over on of their dancers, Kate Barrett. I'm not gonna lie, she is gorgeous, and can dance like no other. My wife didn't mind, she just occasionally rolled her eyes and would say something to the extent of "you're a dork" :-) PORTS: Cozumel, this was our 3rd time there. We love it, but decide to wing it (did that at all the ports). We each rented a scooter for 30 bucks each and took off. A couple of hours later, my wife wrecks hers. Long story short, we had to go to an ATM and get $400 to pay for the damages. Ugh, but, it is what it is I guess. Cozumel is beautiful, and we ate at Margaritaville. Belize, we shopped. I bought a very nice Bulova watch for a ridiculous low price! Roatan, BEAUTIFUL. We rented a "cab" and toured the island. Technically it was a 1992 Corolla w/ a driver, a guide, and us. Long narrow windy roads full of potholes. But we loved it! Tipped the driver and guide and they cried (!?). Reason is, the $ exchange rate is 20:1! Costa Maya: BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL! The port there is wonderful...dolphins, a small beach, a long windy pool, shopping, and of course Senior Frogs and Carlos and Charlies. Here's a tip, don't eat at Senior Frogs...they are smoking crack when it comes to their food prices ($15.50 for a burger). Debarkation was 10 minutes from ship to car! I am NOT lying about that! Could not believe it. We chose Norwegian this time to try a change. It was nice, no doubt. Most notably is the clientele, which is obviously due to the price. There was, however, a LARGE group that was on the ship, "Auqafest". It is a gay group. Supposedly they made up %25 of the passengers...we found it to be more like %50. Neither of us could care less, but I have to admit, by the end of the cruise I had had enough of the overweight, hairy men in speedo's making out. The (adult) pool was over run with them day and night. Luckily there weren't many children on board, as it was not exactly family friendly. Also, for you first time cruisers, the sales pitch you get EVERYWHERE, both on the ship as well as ports, does tend to get old. Just thought I'd throw that in there. In conclusion, we had a wonderful time. Was the price difference worth leaving Carnival to change to Norwegian? No. I think we'll go back to Carnival, but if given the opportunity would jump right back on board Norwegian again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have always booked cruises leaving the NYC area since we are not fond of flying. However, this cruise looked very interesting and we couldn't pass it up..So we flew down to Miami the same day as the cruise. It wasn't as bad as ... Read More
We have always booked cruises leaving the NYC area since we are not fond of flying. However, this cruise looked very interesting and we couldn't pass it up..So we flew down to Miami the same day as the cruise. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be but we still don't like flying.Anyway,embarkation was all right especially since we were Latitudes members with a balcony so our line was a lot shorter.Since we knew that our cabin would not be ready we headed to Tsars for lunch and met some of our CC buddies... The balcony was roomy enough for us.We usually unpack my luggage and keep DH's on the sofa..Our room was kept very clean by Jill and her partner, which I forgot his name. Both of them were very friendly and would stop to talk to us and see how our day was. We always give an extra tip to the cabin stewards because they deserve the most.They even had towel creatures to meet us every night CC MEET AND GREET- the M&G was wonderful since we had about 150 people. We met Captain Costas, Hotel Director, John O'Hara (Yes Mrs.O'Hara, he was wonderful and couldn't do enough for us...EXT 8888!!!) Cruise Director, Iain, the Comedian, Tim and others...I must say that for 13 days you always saw all of them around the ship. If you said hi, they would stop to talk to you...I even saw the Captain shopping in the Duty Free shop...I love when the staff is visible to the passengers. it make good Customer relations DINNERS:: I am not going to get into detail since we thought all the dinners were very good. We did eat at Cagneys, Mama's Chin Chin, Blue Lagoon Garden Buffet and both dining rooms. the only problem we had was the second time we ate at Mama's. We were with other CC members and told the waiter that we had to be out by 9 but we were still eating at that time.Even though it tasted good, my pork saltimboca did not have a piece of prosciutto on it. DH seafood pasta didn't have any taste to it either. With that in mind, the next day we got a call from the Restaurant manager, who apologized for the service and the food. She then gave us a bottle of wine and a free meal in any speciality restaurant we would like. I though that was very generous. We have to say that our favorite was Chin Chin for a specialty restaurant. SHOWS: I am surprised that there weren't any more Jean Ryan shows on this cruise, especially since it was for 13 days. We did like the comedian Tim, Matilda, and Cirque Bijiou..Of course the crew's talent show was great and so was the "FOUNTAINS"...but all the other's were only ok...nothing special... POOL AREA: Now this is where I have a lot to say...like on so many other ships there are those deck chair hogs that spread their towels on the chair..but I never seen it as bad as it was on this ship...there was a group of passengers from Russia that would be up at 6 am to commandeer deck chairs on 2 sides of the pool. I even saw a man who saved a chair just for his bag...no one ever sat in it but his bag..I witnessed an elderly woman go to one side of the pool pick up her cover up from a chair and then come back to the other side and sit in another chair, leaving the other chair with just a towel on it. I truly believe that crew members should be able to clock the time that the chairs are vacant. I was told one day that I can let the crew member know when an hour was up on this particular chair and he would remove the towel. I did not feel it was up to me to do that but for them to keep an eye out PASSENGERS: The majority of the passengers on the ship were pleasant and friendly.I met many wonderful people on this cruise. However, the Europeans and the French Canadians were very rude and nasty.Just because they THINK they can wear a speedo or a bikini doesn't make them special..I had a few comments made about me that weren't very nice and upset me very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
A bit of background on us, we are a professional married couple, both of us in our 50's. This was our 7th cruise, the second on NCL. My wife and I booked this cruise as a last minute cruise, lately we have found that it works out ... Read More
A bit of background on us, we are a professional married couple, both of us in our 50's. This was our 7th cruise, the second on NCL. My wife and I booked this cruise as a last minute cruise, lately we have found that it works out better for us to pick a week that we can get cheap airfare, then work a cruise later. We had our first NCL experience on the Sky last October and really liked it, so the decision was between NCL and Carnival this time. Called CAS and found that we were eligible for a comped inside, deal done! We upgraded to a balcony on 10th floor midship, great choice. We had rented a car in Tampa the week before and drove to Miami Sunday morning. National and Alamo have a free shuttle to the port, which works out great. Dropped off the car at around 1:00 and were on board around 2 or so. I had 3 bottles of wine in my carry-on, security saw them and escorted me to the corkage table where I paid $15 per bottle, which was expected. My wife had a 6 pack of Coke and water in her carry-on and they never said anything about them. Our room was already for us upon boarding, which was great so we could drop off our stuff. I found the room to be a bit small, but it was very clean and set up nice. Love the fridge at eye level, we immediately emptied the mini-bar contents and stowed our wine and soda. We really liked the bathroom set up with the sliding doors for shower and toilet. Balcony was fine, and the floor to ceiling sliding door gave the room a bright airy feel. We met some Cruise Critic folks at the Sky Bar at sail-away, probably not the best spot to do a Meet and Greet, as there is a very LOUD band playing at sail-way right below the bar. First night dinner was in Tsar's Palace, this place is beautiful! We found the food to be better than expected, and service was fine. After dinner we hit the casino, lots of new games, but tough to get a big win. Second day we ate breakfast in Tsar's, hardly anyone there and the food was outstanding. I love the dining room because you can get real juice, not the watered down swill that they serve in the buffet. I also noticed on this ship that they will seat you by the windows without asking. On every other ship we have been on it seems you have to be a celebrity or beg to get a window seat. Rest of the day we toured the ship, hung out by the pool and relaxed on our balcony. Never much of a problem finding a chair on this ship, which was a pleasant surprise. We went to a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in the morning, got to meet the Captain, Hotel Director, Cruise Director and of course comedian Tim Kamenski. Had dinner in Azura, had to wait about 1/2 hour for a table. Had the mini-shrimp-lobster, it wasn't bad. They do have a good Caesar salad you can order every night, and you can get it with anchovies which I love. Next day was Roatan, we rented a scooter from Capt Van's and did a self tour of the island. Was really surprised at the military presence on the island, we went through at least 3 checkpoints, although they just waved us through. Returned the scooter and hung out at West End for a while, kind of a quaint spot with a nice beach. Had dinner in Teppanyaki tonight, we were very impressed! Great show and the food was wonderful. Well worth the $25 cover. Next day we arrived in Belize -guess what? 3 other ships were here! We decided to forgo the trip to shore, we have been here before and didn't feel like taking the long tender ride into shore. Ship was mostly empty all day, so we hung by the pool and did some gambling. My wife was not feeling too well, so I had wings and fish and chips in Blue Lagoon for dinner - really good. Arrival in Costa Maya the next day and it was HOT! 93 degrees and very humid. My wife was still not up to par, so I just went up on shore to check things out. They have a huge touristy complex with shops, bars and one great big pool. Looked like everyone was enjoying themselves. Spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing. Friday at sea, we got invited to a tour of the bridge. That was really cool, the Captain gave a talk, answered questions, and then let us roam the bridge and take pictures. I really enjoyed that! Spent the rest of the day relaxing and doing a bit of gambling. Dinner again at Azura, we ate late, no wait, no complaints on the food or service. Great Stirrup Cay got canceled on Saturday due to heavy seas, so another relaxing day at sea. Had dinner at Mama's Kitchen, I ordered the Lobster Ravioli which were wonderful. Would highly recommend this restaurant, we were seated at a great window seat with a spectacular view. Debarkation was not so good on Sunday, we had forgot to tag our luggage, so we have no idea what color we were. We finally headed down at around 10:30, the lines were crazy. When we finally got to customs, they wouldn't let my wife who is Canadian, but US resident in the US line, so we had to wait close to 45 minutes just in that line. The lady directing people to the lines was very rude to my wife, this was probably the worst part of the cruise. We didn't get out of the building until almost noon. Overall impressions of the ship is that she was very clean, very well maintained. We saw no signs of wear and tear. Food was above average and service was very good. We spent a lot of time in the casino and the staff was very friendly and always were there with a drink when we needed one. We love playing slots and there was a good selection, although I would have to say they were on the tight side. Blue Lagoon was really nice, we enjoyed chicken wings and Won Ton soup several times on the cruise. Loved being able to have something to eat besides pizza after midnight. The 2 specialty restaurants were great and worth the surcharge. Dining rooms were pretty and good food. We really enjoyed our week and would do this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Just arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was ... Read More
Just arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was very favorable. Embarkation: We arrived in FLL 2 hours later than scheduled, but still in plenty of time for SAS to get us to the port without problems. Having read here that SAS was a good bet, we tried them, and they did not disappoint. We did have to wait quite a while in the terminal before numbers were called, and this was perhaps because of the time change? I'm not sure. However, once numbers were called, the process was quick and smooth. Photos: I have to say that most of the photos taken by ship's photographers were hurried, and not well done. We did not do a sitting, and that probably would have made a big difference in how they turned out. I was pleased that you could decline to have all the pictures taken at dinner, etc. In the past we have purchased photos, but didn't find a single one worth buying this trip. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. While it was smaller than some other lines, we found that the bathroom configuration of the space was superior, and the rest of the cabin very adequate. We could have used more drawer space, but that is a small matter, and the shelves accommodated extra things nicely. The beds are much more comfortable than we have experienced on other lines, and having broken a vertebra in my spine a little while before the cruise, a comfortable bed was much appreciated! We love having a balcony, and spend quite a bit of time on it; we always take binoculars, and so that makes viewing things from the balcony much more interesting. This time we saw flying fish several times, huge schools of fish at the surface, and birds diving for them - it made the water boil!! We also saw either a dolphin or a porpoise - don't know which. Of course, it is fun to observe other ships - tankers, container ships, yachts, and other cruise ships as well. Having that private space on a balcony is totally worth it to us, but we would probably still cruise and enjoy it without if we couldn't afford to have one. Freestyle: Having never cruised NCL, and having enjoyed formal nights before, we thought we would miss them. However - I have to say that we loved the relaxed atmosphere and feel of freestyle!! We dressed up a little, but not at all black tie. It was just so relaxing to be able to do whatever we wanted. We were seated with others several nights, and left to ourselves on others. Met some great people, and were able to enjoy ourselves separately as well. A nice mix, and again - VERY RELAXING!! We were truly ON VACATION!! Food/Beverage: We had planned to stop for soda and water before boarding, but it just didn't happen, because our flight was delayed so much. So we purchased a soda card - just one. I am much more addicted to soda than my husband, and so I became familiar with the bars. The woman who is in the Java Cafe mornings is a sweetheart - remembered that ice hurts my teeth - and was always a smiling beginning to my day!! We don't drink alcohol - so I cannot speak to how they manage wine service, etc. I do have to say that I never felt "nickeled and dimed" as I have frequently read as a complaint on this board. Did they try to sell raffle tickets at every show? Yes - and that happens on all the lines. Did bar staff go around the pool or on the beach offering drinks? Yes - and that also has happened on every cruiseline we have been on. Can't speak to the luxury cruiselines, because we have not done Seabourne, etc. I know food is a pretty subjective thing; but I have worked in food service at one of the premiere hotels when I was young. I have a feel for what should happen - even in large banquet service. We ate breakfast either in Blue Lagoon or the Garden Cafe. The omelet stations are still there, and they are really good! They also have eggs benedict in Garden Cafe - something I didn't expect! One time the English Muffin was pretty tough - must have been sitting a while - but otherwise none of the breakfast items we tried were disappointing. We tried Tsar's, Azura, and the Garden Cafe for lunch, and could always find something refreshing and delicious. Dinners, we mostly ate at Tsar's. The lobster was tough, but difficult to serve that many and have a different outcome, I think. Swordfish was a little fishy - but okay. Once, my turkey scallopini was a little burned. If you complained, it was addressed immediately, and either replaced or something else brought out. This happened even if the complaint was only that you didn't like the dish. The souffle was consistently delicious. The creme brulee was also delicious - more on that later. Taboulle was flavorful and delicious. We found that our food was always brought to us cold if it should be cold, and warm/hot if it should have been. Meats were cooked as ordered!! We took the advice of many of the cruise critics, and tried the other restaurants. Our favorite was Le Bistro. The staff here were superior, although we rarely found any problems with any of the staff in the main dining rooms. The hostess truly went out of her way to ensure that our dining experience was thoroughly enjoyed. The chef sent out a couple of things that we didn't order - just "compliments of the chef" - and they were a treat! Earlier I noted that the swordfish in the main dining room was a little fishy. NOT SO at Le Bistro - where it was truly the best we have ever eaten! The duck was good as well. The escargot is also superior here to the main dining room. I said I would say more on the creme brulee - and I will. In the main dining room it was served with a chocolate ganache, and that was a delicious addition!! However, for the lovely presentation with the fruit basket, as it is served in Le Bistro - it gets full marks! The Chef sent out chocolate truffles that were soooooo delicious!! I make chocolate truffles, and have had some from people who are considered great chocolatiers - but these were superior! Service/crew We had great service wherever we were on the ship. Ahmad and Marc were our room stewards, and they were always ready to do whatever to make us more comfortable and ensure that our cruise was enjoyable. All over the ship, people smile and speak politely to you, as they are busy polishing, etc. to keep the ship gleaming. Were there streak marks on the mirror? Yes, once - but we chose to ignore the little things, and just relax! There was a disagreement with the purser's desk. They said at one point that our credit card was declined. When I called my bank, they told me that two authorizations had come through for $800 - and they questioned it because we had not told them we were leaving the country. My bank told me there was over $3000, so they wouldn't decline. Purser's desk told me that they had never sent this $800 through. Finally, I was able to use another card - and we are still waiting for the $800 to come off. My bank is watching this for me. Hope I don't have a problem about this, but will deal with that if I have to do so. We were able to go to the meet and greet - thanks to Jake for setting that up! - and while there meeting several members of the crew, the captain invited us all to the bridge for a tour. That was a great experience - not to be missed!! I have read good things on these boards about John, Paul, and Captain Costas - I cannot say his real name, sorry. These crew members are approachable, genuine and delightful people!! They truly want to make your cruise everything it should be - magical! Entertainment: One word: WOW! The Jean Ann Ryan Co. is professional and talented! We do not expect the onboard entertainment to rival shows we have seen on and off Broadway and in Europe - but these shows do just that. Alicia is a highlight every time she comes onto the stage - but the whole company is wonderfully gifted. The musicians are amazing - especially the saxophonist!! Even the poolside entertainment is really good. Don't - DO NOT - miss the Cirque du Soliel!! The comedian, Tom/Tim? Kaminsky is also a true headliner! Shore Excursions: We just walked around in Roatan. We had planned to catch a taxi to a beach - but they were all expensive at the original parking lot. Later on we realized that we could have hired one off the beaten track for much less. However, by that time, we had spotted a small private beach right off the main road - and we had it to ourselves for the entire afternoon! In Belize, we took the ship's tour to Lamanai. Tour guide that we had was knowledgeable about wildlife and birds, botany, and Mayan History! We were able to see howler monkeys, cormorants, igrets, herons - many types of birds. We climbed to the top of the pyramid in Lamanai, and what a view! Long day, but totally worth it!! In Costa Maya, we had arranged to meet with David Villagomez, "The Native Choice" for a tour of Chacchoben. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough!! David and Ivan are both Mayan, and Ivan's family actually lived at this site. This ruin was not excavated until the 1990s, and was not opened to the public until 2001. There was not a question asked thJust arrived home from a truly memorable cruise on NCL Jewel. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised quite a bit on other lines. I was worried, having read some really negative reviews here. However, our experience was very favorable. Embarkation: We arrived in FLL 2 hours later than scheduled, but still in plenty of time for SAS to get us to the port without problems. Having read here that SAS was a good bet, we tried them, and they did not disappoint. We did have to wait quite a while in the terminal before numbers were called, and this was perhaps because of the time change? I'm not sure. However, once numbers were called, the process was quick and smooth. Photos: I have to say that most of the photos taken by ship's photographers were hurried, and not well done. We did not do a sitting, and that probably would have made a big difference in how they turned out. I was pleased that you could decline to have all the pictures taken at dinner, etc. In the past we have purchased photos, but didn't find a single one worth buying this trip. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. While it was smaller than some other lines, we found that the bathroom configuration of the space was superior, and the rest of the cabin very adequate. We could have used more drawer space, but that is a small matter, and the shelves accommodated extra things nicely. The beds are much more comfortable than we have experienced on other lines, and having broken a vertebra in my spine a little while before the cruise, a comfortable bed was much appreciated! We love having a balcony, and spend quite a bit of time on it; we always take binoculars, and so that makes viewing things from the balcony much more interesting. This time we saw flying fish several times, huge schools of fish at the surface, and birds diving for them - it made the water boil!! We also saw either a dolphin or a porpoise - don't know which. Of course, it is fun to observe other ships - tankers, container ships, yachts, and other cruise ships as well. Having that private space on a balcony is totally worth it to us, but we would probably still cruise and enjoy it without if we couldn't afford to have one. Freestyle: Having never cruised NCL, and having enjoyed formal nights before, we thought we would miss them. However - I have to say that we loved the relaxed atmosphere and feel of freestyle!! We dressed up a little, but not at all black tie. It was just so relaxing to be able to do whatever we wanted. We were seated with others several nights, and left to ourselves on others. Met some great people, and were able to enjoy ourselves separately as well. A nice mix, and again - VERY RELAXING!! We were truly ON VACATION!! Food/Beverage: We had planned to stop for soda and water before boarding, but it just didn't happen, because our flight was delayed so much. So we purchased a soda card - just one. I am much more addicted to soda than my husband, and so I became familiar with the bars. The woman who is in the Java Cafe mornings is a sweetheart - remembered that ice hurts my teeth - and was always a smiling beginning to my day!! We don't drink alcohol - so I cannot speak to how they manage wine service, etc. I do have to say that I never felt "nickeled and dimed" as I have frequently read as a complaint on this board. Did they try to sell raffle tickets at every show? Yes - and that happens on all the lines. Did bar staff go around the pool or on the beach offering drinks? Yes - and that also has happened on every cruiseline we have been on. Can't speak to the luxury cruiselines, because we have not done Seabourne, etc. I know food is a pretty subjective thing; but I have worked in food service at one of the premiere hotels when I was young. I have a feel for what should happen - even in large banquet service. We ate breakfast either in Blue Lagoon or the Garden Cafe. The omelet stations are still there, and they are really good! They also have eggs benedict in Garden Cafe - something I didn't expect! One time the English Muffin was pretty tough - must have been sitting a while - but otherwise none of the breakfast items we tried were disappointing. We tried Tsar's, Azura, and the Garden Cafe for lunch, and could always find something refreshing and delicious. Dinners, we mostly ate at Tsar's. The lobster was tough, but difficult to serve that many and have a different outcome, I think. Swordfish was a little fishy - but okay. Once, my turkey scallopini was a little burned. If you complained, it was addressed immediately, and either replaced or something else brought out. This happened even if the complaint was only that you didn't like the dish. The souffle was consistently delicious. The creme brulee was also delicious - more on that later. Taboulle was flavorful and delicious. We found that our food was always brought to us cold if it should be cold, and warm/hot if it should have been. Meats were cooked as ordered!! We took the advice of many of the cruise critics, and tried the other restaurants. Our favorite was Le Bistro. The staff here were superior, although we rarely found any problems with any of the staff in the main dining rooms. The hostess truly went out of her way to ensure that our dining experience was thoroughly enjoyed. The chef sent out a couple of things that we didn't order - just "compliments of the chef" - and they were a treat! Earlier I noted that the swordfish in the main dining room was a little fishy. NOT SO at Le Bistro - where it was truly the best we have ever eaten! The duck was good as well. The escargot is also superior here to the main dining room. I said I would say more on the creme brulee - and I will. In the main dining room it was served with a chocolate ganache, and that was a delicious addition!! However, for the lovely presentation with the fruit basket, as it is served in Le Bistro - it gets full marks! The Chef sent out chocolate truffles that were soooooo delicious!! I make chocolate truffles, and have had some from people who are considered great chocolatiers - but these were superior! Service/crew We had great service wherever we were on the ship. Ahmad and Marc were our room stewards, and they were always ready to do whatever to make us more comfortable and ensure that our cruise was enjoyable. All over the ship, people smile and speak politely to you, as they are busy polishing, etc. to keep the ship gleaming. Were there streak marks on the mirror? Yes, once - but we chose to ignore the little things, and just relax! There was a disagreement with the purser's desk. They said at one point that our credit card was declined. When I called my bank, they told me that two authorizations had come through for $800 - and they questioned it because we had not told them we were leaving the country. My bank told me there was over $3000, so they wouldn't decline. Purser's desk told me that they had never sent this $800 through. Finally, I was able to use another card - and we are still waiting for the $800 to come off. My bank is watching this for me. Hope I don't have a problem about this, but will deal with that if I have to do so. We were able to go to the meet and greet - thanks to Jake for setting that up! - and while there meeting several members of the crew, the captain invited us all to the bridge for a tour. That was a great experience - not to be missed!! I have read good things on these boards about John, Paul, and Captain Costas - I cannot say his real name, sorry. These crew members are approachable, genuine and delightful people!! They truly want to make your cruise everything it should be - magical! Entertainment: One word: WOW! The Jean Ann Ryan Co. is professional and talented! We do not expect the onboard entertainment to rival shows we have seen on and off Broadway and in Europe - but these shows do just that. Alicia is a highlight every time she comes onto the stage - but the whole company is wonderfully gifted. The musicians are amazing - especially the saxophonist!! Even the poolside entertainment is really good. Don't - DO NOT - miss the Cirque du Soliel!! The comedian, Tom/Tim? Kaminsky is also a true headliner! Shore Excursions: We just walked around in Roatan. We had planned to catch a taxi to a beach - but they were all expensive at the original parking lot. Later on we realized that we could have hired one off the beaten track for much less. However, by that time, we had spotted a small private beach right off the main road - and we had it to ourselves for the entire afternoon! In Belize, we took the ship's tour to Lamanai. Tour guide that we had was knowledgeable about wildlife and birds, botany, and Mayan History! We were able to see howler monkeys, cormorants, igrets, herons - many types of birds. We climbed to the top of the pyramid in Lamanai, and what a view! Long day, but totally worth it!! In Costa Maya, we had arranged to meet with David Villagomez, "The Native Choice" for a tour of Chacchoben. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough!! David and Ivan are both Mayan, and Ivan's family actually lived at this site. This ruin was not excavated until the 1990s, and was not opened to the public until 2001. There was not a question asked that David didn't know the answer! The man's knowledge of Mayan history, the ruins, the religious philosophy, the daily life, the plant and animal life there is encyclopedic!! Our tour lasted twice as long as the other tours there - but we came away with a burning desire to visit again and learn more about this important archaeological at David didn't know the answer! The man's knowledge of Mayan history, the ruins, the religious philosophy, the daily life, the plant and animal life there is encyclopedic!! Our tour lasted twice as long as the other tours there - but we came away with a burning desire to visit again and learn more about this important archaeological find! David also told us of a new dig that may be even more important than this - where we will also visit in the future! Our ship was able to tender us in to GSC, and we spent about 3 hours snorkeling there. You are forced to wear a small life vest, and that was a little frustrating, because then it is very difficult to do any diving for a closer look! However, lots of things to see if you took your time, and let the fish come out, rather than hiding in the rocks, etc. Other passengers: This ship had a great mix of ages. I love seeing children enjoying themselves, and most of the time the kids we saw were very well-behaved. This was a spring break cruise for college kids, and that was good to see. Of course, Kev and I fit in with the approaching seniors - but most that we saw were still very active and willing to try. I have to say one thing. At the first port and also the last before GSC, we saw people escorted off the ship. I don't know what the woman who was escorted off in Costa Maya did - but a couple a few doors down from our cabin was escorted off in Roatan for smoking pot in their cabin. People - just don't be stupid!! Keep your illegal substances and activities at home, and just have a great vacation!! Overall experience/evaluation: Will we cruise with NCL in the future?? You betcha!! This cruise made it hard to come home to work! But hey - we work, so that we can save for the next cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband and I have been on over 30 cruisers and are senior citizens. Went on the Norwegian Jewel to celebrate our anniversary. We looked forward to dining in the elegant Tsar's Palace restaurant, but it turned into a big ... Read More
My husband and I have been on over 30 cruisers and are senior citizens. Went on the Norwegian Jewel to celebrate our anniversary. We looked forward to dining in the elegant Tsar's Palace restaurant, but it turned into a big disappointment when we sat looking at people next to us dressed like they were going to a hockey game, or a "bar." Even though it was stated in the daily newsletter that "smart casual..long pants" were required, I would say that MOST of the groups were "under-dressed". One night there were several men sitting eating with baseball caps on their heads, and wearing SHORTS! Dungarees were worn by MOST of the yuppies, and even though they might have been "designer jeans", they definitely didn't belong in the Tsars Palace! We felt sorry for the Maitre'd and Assist. who were powerless to refuse these people admission to the restaurant. Because the topside buffet restaurant , Garden Court, no longer has trays, we decided after a few frustrating mornings there, to try and find someplace else where we could be "waited on." Can't believe NCL is doing away with the TRAYS!! The first few mornings, it took us 4 trips back and forth between the restaurant and our table, which was quite a walk back towards the stern. Without a tray, one can only carry a glass of orange juice and a plate of eggs. Then it's another long walk back to fetch your coffee and a muffin. Bring that back to the table. Then another walk back to maybe fetch some fruit. By the time we had everything we wanted to eat for our breakfast, our coffee was lukewarm and the eggs were cold! Don't the "powers to be' realize that for senior citizens to make 3 or 4 trips back and forth between the buffet area and their table requires a lot of walking and effort and we get out of breathe with all that walking back and forth? Whoever had the idea of NO TRAYS should be fired! It's a TERRIBLE IDEA. Maybe they should institute waiter service in the Garden Court. Thank God we found the Blue Lagoon restaurant on the 4th day and we ate there every morning after that! They had waiters and the food was delicious. We liked it so much we ate there every lunch too! We enjoyed the ship but won't book NCL again until they go back to having trays in the Garden Court restaurants. Entertainment was A++...The variety and number of lounges was excellent. We could always find music playing for dancing somewhere. Food was ordinary, even in Tsars Palace. Nothing exceptional except in the Bistro. The Italian Kitchen was just average. Prices for the special restaurants too high. Valentine's Day was $45 per person ... and we opted NOT to pay that kind of money ($90 a couple for one meal. The Freestyle is too free.. too loose... and pretty soon, if they don't tighten up and start enforcing some of the rules, people will be coming into the dining rooms in bathing suits! One more thing... underage teenagers were coming into the Adult Only shows at 11 p.m., and although it was announced that no one over 18 should be in the room, NO ONE walked around and kicked them out. They were there at both Adult Only shows we saw, giggling, and carrying on, and none of the cruise director's staff asked them to leave even though they obviously were 14 or 15 yrs. old and definitely NOT 18! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Jewel Jan 3, 2010 - Jan 10, 2010 This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL having previously sailed the Sky (before she was the POA), the Dawn & the Gem. It was DH's 2nd cruise, all on NCL. We had gotten engaged on the Gem two years ... Read More
Jewel Jan 3, 2010 - Jan 10, 2010 This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL having previously sailed the Sky (before she was the POA), the Dawn & the Gem. It was DH's 2nd cruise, all on NCL. We had gotten engaged on the Gem two years earlier and were on board to celebrate that anniversary. Embarkation was awful. We arrived at the pier around 1 pm hoping to be behind all those people who had to be first on board. Usually that is a good time to arrive but not this time. The line still snaked out of the building. We made it through the 1st turn but the man ran out of the health questionnaire forms and said we could get them inside. When we got inside the reps were annoyed because we hadn't filled out the forms we didn't have. When we were about 10 people away from the x-ray machines the system broke down. All we were told was that there were problems with the computers. We could see people milling about down the hall but that line wasn't moving either. It took about 45 minutes -1 hour to straighten out. To TSA's credit they were letting ship's personnel through and were letting people through to the bathrooms but you had to come back out again. They also relaxed the no cell phones rule but still wouldn't let you take pictures. Later at our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet I asked the hotel director, John O'Hara, what happened. He explained that the Jewel usually follows another NCL ship that ports on Saturday but there was a problem and an RCL ship used that space the day before. That must have been fun for the RCL folks to see all the NCL fishes & signs for freestyle everywhere. Anyway, according to him, the RCL folks sailed off with the computer cables. While I enjoyed meeting John his explanation didn't make much sense. They had obviously already boarded several hundred passengers so what cables did they use for that and why did the system suddenly stop? A fellow passenger who had gotten on board said they were having problems earlier too and only had 5 computer stations open for distributing sign and sail cards and setting up the on board accounts. We felt bad for the harried staff but the passengers were very cooperative the whole time, at least that we saw. Those lucky few who made it through got to have the ship all to themselves for some extra time. This was our 1st experience with the "new" liquor / corkage policy. When you go through the detectors, if they see a bottle in your carry on you are directed to a table off to the side. There you show the staffer your bottles & they write out what you have & charge you corkage billed to your cabin but you keep the bottles. It appears as a dining room charge. This was much better than having ships personnel cart them away and return them later. Previously I was unable to get my champagne back for sail away so I stopped trying to bring any on board. Especially, after the annoying embarkation, we were surprised that there wasn't champagne waiting. It wasn't until we came back & read the boards here that we learned that NCL stopped the complimentary welcome glasses. What a shame. The ship itself: The dEcor looked like every other NCL ship . . . same furniture, similar carpets, identical wood veneer. Our balcony cabin could have been on the Dawn, the Gem or the Jewel. The layout was also the same. If you have been on one, you can find everything on the Jewel. There is no rock wall or bowling. The beds were comfortable. The bathroom is large enough. They have a nice feature where you can slide a door to the toilet so even though it's tiny 2 people can use the bathroom at the same time. I wish they would add a drawer for papers under the vanity. The lighting in the cabin is also too yellow for applying makeup. We do like the wheel attached to the cabins. You can use it to ask the steward to make up your cabin, turn it down or leave you alone. The steward also spins it back to welcome when finished. Our cruise had lousy weather so we were in the cabin a lot. I only saw the stewards twice in the hall but when I left them notes, they provided what we requested: ice, a corkscrew, more room service menus etc. They were kind enough to make 3 towel animals for us; the monkey hanging from the ceiling scared me when I opened the cabin door that night (lol). I don't understand why they shut the blinds every time. The food was OK. I'm a food snob so it's hard to make me say Wow! Room service was served as hot as possible (meaning warm when it got there) but they were prompt. I didn't appreciate the server who insisted that she come into our cabin to set the tray down. I made my husband answer the door after that & when he said "my wife is still in bed" they simply handed him the tray. The fruit all over the ship was out of season & less than succulent but that's Mother Nature not NCL. We ate in the two main dining rooms. Tsar's Palace was nicer and more elegant but Azure was simply more convenient. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Le Bistro. I liked the old menu better. My duck confit was tough which was disappointing. I wish they would bring back the braised beef ribs; I loved that! We had been sent a bottle of wine by an officer and they gave us the "complimentary" wine list but we couldn't find a wine to agree on so I asked for the real wine list. Previously, on other ships when we did that they just deducted $25 or $30 from the price of our better / more expensive bottle but this time they charged us full price. It was still an amazing bottle of wine that had aged beautifully on board & was magnificent for its age as a result so I can't really complain. The action stations at the buffet in the Garden Cafe were fine. They had the same food on both sides of some but there were differences on the others. NCL did go a bit cheap on the cheese. There were now only 2-3 kinds of cheese & neither was flavorful. You could also only get hot dogs and hamburgers out by the pool. On the other cruises they served pizza and sandwiches there too and we missed that because we didn't always want to walk all the way to the back of the ship from our cabin all the way forward to get a snack. I guess my biggest complaint were the desserts, they just weren't as good as past cruises. Even the ice cream tasted more like ice milk to me. Also the chocolate buffet was not great; they had about 7-10 different desserts but that was it. The few sculptures were smaller than before but they were intricate & beautiful. I actually liked the smaller ones because I always though that was a waste of food. There were rarely any other food carvings. Maltings became our favorite bar. We were able to watch all the football games, see the comings & goings, as well as enjoy from a distance the band near Magnums on the other side of Bar City. I wish they had shown some of the games on the jumbotron in the main lobby above the Java cafe because the 2 big screen TVs at Maltings just weren't big enough. Big Al, the bartender, was wonderful and although I was never able to catch his name the waiter is Maltings is a doll. He has an infectious smile & a dry sense of humor. The Western Caribbean ports were what I expected and I didn't care for them. We booked independently and just had the worst luck. I was pleasantly surprised in Costa Maya. Somebody explained that they were still rebuilding after a previous hurricane. They did a terrific job. There are shops & a piazza. Inside there is a wonderful pool, with a swim up bar. They also built a "beach" area with lots of day beds, some hammocks etc. We couldn't quite figure out if you could get in and out of the water but it was still a lovely idea for those who would like to get off the ship but who don't really want to take an excursion. Other ports of call should take lessons. The entertainment: Our cruise was filled with college students. For the most part they were fun, energetic, polite, young people who were enjoyable to spend time with. We did see one unfortunate boy who seriously over indulged in Costa Maya. He was transported back to the ship unconscious where he was met by the ship's doctor. He managed to vomit just outside the gangway so we know he lived. Although they were vertical, his friends weren't in much better shape. The last two days we had some rough sailing due to the weather; I'm sure those kids were rather miserable. The Jewel offered a Pub Crawl. For $25 per person you visit 5 bars & have 6 drinks. They usually get about 25-30 people to participate. Given this demographic they had 96 participants which shocked even NCL. It was a boisterous group. It was so much fun they even had a reunion! I was surprised that I didn't hear more complaints about this. We got noisy. At various points, two different musical acts aboard ship stopped playing because the pub crawlers drowned them out. We saw a few unhappy faces on a few parents when the pub crawl invaded the normally PG rated karaoke in the Fizz lounge. Overall Dan Olsson, our host for this event, and his assistant, "Tequila Chat," did a fantastic job keeping this group together. Some of the trivia they asked was hard. To keep people from shouting out answers rather than being called on, "violators" had to do 10 push ups or pay $10. I understand the White Hot Party was a blast. I packed and wore a special outfit but wasn't feeling all that well the day after the 1st Pub Crawl (go figure) so I conked out before it began. My husband had a great time. The on board comedian, Tim Kaminski, is very funny. I don't generally like comedians but went to his show for my husband. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. As part of his act Tim makes fun of a previous passenger who helped herself to the entire serving bowl of broccoli at the buffet; I don't want to spoil the rest of it for you. Being the prankster that he is, my husband along with a little help from the Hotel Director, John O'Hara, arranged for a large bowl of broccoli to be delivered to the comedian at 4 a.m. Via e-mail we understand that this "tradition" is continuing Poor Tim. We didn't get to see the Circus show because we didn't get there early enough. Even the standing room was packed, so we left. At one minute to show time, the VIP section was still completely empty. We think they should have let the passengers in attendance use it at that point. Cat's Pajamas is a wonderful acappella group that even manages to sound like the instruments. It turns out we had previously had dinner at Tapanayki with Grant Hendrickson from the show on our Gem cruise in January of 2008. It was nice to see him again and we wish him & his fellow performers well on their upcoming tour in Branson, MO. Que Hundermark, the Cruise Director, is also very funny. He & Tim look a bit alike so they use that to their advantage. Normally I find Cruise Cirectors to be over bearing and I spend my time aboard avoiding them. Que wasn't obtrusive at all. He does make this weird sound - chica chaca - when he ends his announcements. That got old fast; I can only imagine how grating that noise must be to his fellow crewmates who have to hear it week after week. There were a few downsides. They have a "new" towel policy. No more honor system. You get two pool towels in your cabin & that's it. They will replace them as needed but they will charge you if they aren't there at the end. You also have to sign out towels if you want extras. They raised the prices of the specialty restaurants and no longer offer 2 for 1 specials for late night diners. The last night the waiters from Le Bistro, which was empty, were bargaining with passengers at Bar City for reduced covers. NCL also added covers to the Mexican place and the Italian place. That is the cheapest food ever but NCL wants you to pay. It's not worth it to me especially since the Italian food is sooooo bland. If they had garlic on our cruise it certainly didn't end up in my food. The best flavors were the Indian and Jamaican dishes. They now hold the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in a for pay restaurant so even that is not free anymore. The new "BAGS" program where for $19.99 per bag they will deliver your bags to your airline still has a few kinks. One of our Cruise Critic friends lost her luggage but between NCL & her airline they finally found it. She did say NCL offered to send somebody to the airport to help look which was very proactive on their part. I suppose the worst thing was the ports & shopping stuff. It was such a scam. They were pushing the same jewelry and the same stores all the time. We really want to know how much of a kickback NCL gets from these recommendations. If they aren't getting paid we can't think of a valid reason to continue to annoy passangers like this. It is very obnoxious but with a little effort not too hard to avoid. Disembarkation went as smoothly as possible. It's never pretty. Once outside we met a great lady who runs a bus company. Her name is Harriet Quarles and her company is Harriet Quarles Transportation. Google her for contact information; cruisecritic gets picky about direct recommendations. She took us to the AP for $10 per person rather than the $25 plus tip a cab would have cost, so no matter if you are traveling alone, as a couple or with a group (for whom she will negotiate an even better price per person) and need to arrange transportation from the port to the airport consider giving her a call ahead of time. On our way out of the port we did pass two taxi accidents. We were happy to be in a bus. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This is my 2nd cruise on the Jewel (1st was 3 years ago), 8th cruise with NCL and 24th cruise overall. The 1st time on the Jewel 3 years ago, I thought NCL was the best. I thought NCL had the best food, best ship, best service ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise on the Jewel (1st was 3 years ago), 8th cruise with NCL and 24th cruise overall. The 1st time on the Jewel 3 years ago, I thought NCL was the best. I thought NCL had the best food, best ship, best service and nicest crew. During the last 3 years I raved about the Jewel and told everyone taking a cruise to try NCL. That has changed after my cruise on the Jewel last week. The ship and cruise line has drastically changed to be the worst for its customers and the best for its own bottom line. NCL = Never Care Line and you will see why. EMBARKATION THIS WAS A MESS. We got to the port at 12 30 PM only to see a long line of about 400 passengers waiting to enter the building IN THE HOT SUN. THIS WAS NOT FUN. After about 45 mins we got inside the building and through security, only to find another very long line of about 500 passengers waiting to check in. After another hour in line we were finally able to get on board the Jewel. THIS WAS NOT A GREAT START TO A VACATION, this theme of long line for everything continued throughout the cruise. At a 2 15 PM we finally got on board. I thought to myself, great we can go to our cabin and start relaxing on our vacation. HOWEVER EVERYONE ON THE SHIP HAD TO WAIT ANOTHER HOUR BEFORE THE CABINS WERE READY. NCL used to have someone walk you to your cabin, not so anymore. GARDEN CAFÉ The buffet on the 12th deck was always overcrowded and many times we could not even find seats. Many times we had to find seating all the way at the back of the ship. The food in the buffet was always bland and the buffet always had lines, NOT AN ENJOYABLE experience. ALSO, 2 DAYS DURING LUNCH THEY RAN OUT OF PLATES AND CUPS IN THE BUFFET, THIS IS UNHEARD OF IN THE RESTAURANT WORLD AND COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE ANYWHERE. TSAR MAN DINING ROOM THIS IS THE AREA WHERE I SAW THE BIGGEST DECLINE IN SERVICE. 3 years ago, the waiters and waitresses were very nice, pleasant and efficient. Now they just throw the food at you without even a smile on their faces. Every time you ask for something, they act as if they are doing you such a big favor. NO MORE ARE THE DAYS OF GREAT SERVICE. I GUESS SINCE THEIR TIP IS ADDED AUTOMATICALLY EVERYDAY, THEY FEEL THEY ARE GOING TO GET PAID WITHOUT PROVIDING ANY SERVICE AT ALL. Also the selections, portions and quality of food provided is not very good. BASCIALLY THEY WANT YOU TO PAY EXTRA TO GET GOOD TASTING FOOD AND SERVICE BY GOING TO A PAID RESTAURANT. Also this dining room has a very long wait time. One day for breakfast we ordered bagels, salmon and tomatoes. THE TOMATOE WAS VERY GREEN AND THE SALMON WAS BLACK ALL OVER AS IF IT WAS SPOILED. I DON'T SEE HOW THEY THINK THEY CAN SERVE THAT KIND OF FOOD AND THINK SOMEONE WILL ACTUALLY EAT IT. I WOULD NOT EVEN GIVE THAT FOOD TO MY PET. IT THEN TOOK 20 MINS TO GET A MANAGER TO RESOLVE THE SITUATION. I HAVE PICTURES OF THE DISH THEY SERVED US, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. AZURE SECONDARY DINING ROOM Since the service was so terrible in TSAR, we tried this dining room, something I never had to do 3 years ago. I must say the service was much better than TSAR and would recommend this dining room every time over the service and wait time at TSAR. CAGNEYS STEAK This was my 4th experience at Cagney's and it was the most expensive. Never Care Line has raised the price from 15.00 per person to 25.00 per person (I am going to talk about the drastically higher prices for everything later). The service was excellent, but the food was not as good as the last 3 times I have been at Cagney's. The medium well prime rib I ordered came all bloody, then our waitress told us, that is what a medium well prime rib is, all bloody. Knowing better we asked for the manager who was shocked and immediately had the cook prepare a correctly cooked medium well prime rib which tasted very good. For 25.00 I would not recommend Cagney's. TANGO SPANISH This was my 5th dining experience at Tangos. As usual the food and service was excellent. But again the price went from FREE to 10.00 per person. NCL has started charging for everything possible which does not make an enjoyable vacation. Murder Mystery Dinner I have been to the murder mystery dinner before. It was very disorganized and not fun. It used to be free, now Never Care Line charges 15.00 per person. SKIP IT. PRICES Let's talk about prices from 3 years ago (on the Jewel) and 2 years ago (on the Pearl) THEN NOW TANGO free 10.00 MAMA free 10.00 MYSTERY free 15.00 GYM CLASSES free 12.00 FRENCH 10.00 20.00 STEAK 15.00 25.00 CHINESE 10.00 20.00 JAPANESE 15.00 25.00 SUSHI 10.00 15.00 TIPS 10.00 12.00 4 x 6 photo 9.95 19.95 Embarkation 4 x 6 photo for 19.95, GET REAL. YOU CAN GET A 8 x 10 photo for only 5.00 more TIPS Never Care Line now automatically charges 12.00 per day FOR tips, a 20 percent increase from 10.00 it used to charge. LET ME GET THIS, MUCH WORST SERVICE, 20 PERCENT HIGHER TIPS, they really are NEVER CARE LINE = NCL. CABIN Nice balcony cabin on the 10th deck very close to restaurants and activities and yet very quiet. The balcony was very small though, you can barely relax on it and you cannot eat on it, too small. To get a bigger balcony, you have to upgrade to a mini suite on the 11th deck. Princess cruises have a balcony twice the size for the same price. LINES EVERYWHERE Everywhere you went there were always long lines waiting for you. To get off the ship at ports, to get back on the ship at the ports. To eat at the buffet, to eat in the dining rooms. At customer service, at the shore excursion desk, at the photo gallery. Never Care Line needs help with their crowd management. TOURS Never Care Line tours are very much overpriced and very disorganized. Do yourself a favor, take an independent tour or don't take a tour at all, you will enjoy yourself much more. SHOWS I must say the shows on NCL are excellent, the best of any cruise line, this is the onlty thing that has not changed since 3 years ago, they have the same excellent shows. DISEMBARKATION This was good, we got off the ship 30 mins early, but then there was a long line to get our luggage, the usual with Never Care Line. SUMMARY I don't know if we will ever cruise with Never Care Line again. Once I thought highly of Never Care Line, now I would never recommend Never Care Line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
12/6: We Woke at 3AM to shower, dress & drive to train station where we park for free to ride to the airport. Then Delta flies us CLE-CVG in a mini jet that we are told is 35 min flight but take 1.5 hours. Then to wait for the plane ... Read More
12/6: We Woke at 3AM to shower, dress & drive to train station where we park for free to ride to the airport. Then Delta flies us CLE-CVG in a mini jet that we are told is 35 min flight but take 1.5 hours. Then to wait for the plane to MIA which is FC as we bought for the whole trip. So 3 Bloody Marys apiece & great taxi ride to the ship & instant Latitudes line for Silver tho our cards state bronze. Up to 7 to go to Tsars for lunch & we were first there. Great lunch of roast pork, side of shrimp & salad with a cup of cappuccino. Then up to our 10 deck BA stateroom. Seemed small when we alway got minis at least, but OK for $500 each. The luggage showed very fast (2:15) so we unpacked. I got my supplies for Meet & Greet tomorrow, the name tags Jerry printed for the FAMILY JEWELS, as we called ourselves. Had my gift ready too. Then we walked around the ship seeing everything all over again. At the Atrium I was stopped by a man & 3 gals who remembered me from Oct 2008 in Canada. So instant 4 friends. They knew it was our 30th anniversary, so our PCC did her job. Trevor who had my husband's large print daily delivered 7PM nightly for the next day had those 2 best friends. Then Mick, as I called Michelina who is now promoted to Restaurant Mgr. She comes to hug both of us for our great review of her work to Bob Becker, VP. She tells us we are truly family. After Muster Drill we head to Sky Bar for the Sail away & met a good 20 folks. Sprinkles were starting with lightening & top floor isn't desirable for that so we went it for dinner. Back to Tsars at 5:30PM to dinner and we both had more shrimp cocktail, apple soup, the beef tenderloin with double stuffed potatoes and lima beans which neither of us liked. The rolls were wheat & very good. Cappuccino was repeated refilled all dinner & desert. Service was close to 70% Philippines with a few Romanians who were head waiters & they each have a Jr Waiter. We both hit the hot shower, and out on the balcony to leave Miami to for Gulf. Lovely evening & to bed we went by 9PM. 12/7 Up at 7AM, Showered & I washed my hair but the dryer seemed strong but my long hair was soaked after 15 minutes running it on it. SO I walked the ship outside for instant hairdryer with the heat getting warmer to hot by 10AM. Then to Azura dining room for Meet & Greet. The staff there had tables with tablecloths all lined nicely for 60 people. Mayra was replaced with a new Group Event Coordinator Roxanne Brown. Instant friends & very alike. She had 60 spaces for names, stateroom numbers with email addresses for Homeland Security for the Bridge Tour. She stated Captain Kostas (Konstatinos Fafalios) is a friend of mine & I pulled out my portrait taken Oct 2008 with Jonas, the Staff Captain in place of Captain Kostas since he left for vacation halfway thru the cruise. Amazing that the 6 men only Jonas & Kostas are still there. No definate locations for them but Epic was staffing itself. So in walks our Family Jewels to get a name tag & fill out the form for all 60 folks, which everyone did. Tho 10 people didn't make it since TA's with the PHD for NCL U where they learn to be NCL all week. In walked Captain Kostas with Jonas & 9 more Officers. Steve replaced Julian as Hotel Director in October & he leaves Jewel with us to walk across the terminal to Pearl where he will work & Joe replaces him. Mick was there; Eric Cousin, Exec Chef; Mustafa, Food & Bev Dir; Carolyn, Guests Services Manager; Que, Cruise Director; Concierge Avar and 2 others that I did not get name cards for. Great get together for Cruise Critic members with the Captain to ask questions, get to know them all as well as each other. The Gift Exchange was very cute with me having the Captain & his Officers drawing the numbers. The one Officer who speaks very little english draws "M" which turned sideways is "3" the number we needed. Everyone loved it. Jeff even yelled it is "W" also so the Officer felt like one of us. He was cute though out the cruise to everyone.After lunch we did a walk of the ship & a cute couple playing shuffleboard and very good at it decided to teach us the game. So they left to rest & we took over with folks jumping over what we had fired across the floor. Some though we were going overboard but NCL has that blocked. Great to learn a game that goes back a century. The show that night was "Bank on the Run" which is excellent. Songs from the 70's and a great show from Jean Ann Ryan. 12/8 Up at 8AM to shower & dress for a very hot (92) & humid (100%). We are so hot in the room and the mirror behind the bed is like a hot shower was running. So balcony door closes. So to breakfast we go & then to go visit Routan. We did their stores, I got a sea shell charm at Diamond Int'l. For my 30th anniversary present he was going to upgrade my 1 KT diamond tennis bracelet to 2 Kt. $975 we were told. NOPE! So back to the ship where we meet up with Jonas to meet some more new folks with the restaurants, entertainment for that night with Pat Murray and his dummies that he works with. That night will be Matilda his hot Jamaican babe who has been around. What we saw had us going to it that night. Another Capella group "Cat's Pajamas", are 4 guys that know how to entertain, similar to the "Jersey Boys". Again we get them tomorrow. Then they have the art auction with free champagne but just one glass when you walk in, no refills. Pretty boring so we left. Went to the show after dinner and had a great laugh with a very smart dummie. Murray told me it is ie not y since she is a lady. But then his wife comes our with a large Ant named Antonio and we left since it got bad. We get back to our room & as the key goes in the door I see balloons, then walk in to HAPPY ANNIVERSARY across the wall atop the balcony door. Silver bells on the Mirror, cut paper bells that was pulled across the ceiling in 3 directions. A floral arrangement is sitting on the table. But no card. Who sent this? So down to the Atrium I go to find out & they tell me it is BLOCKED. Jerry was in the bathroom & comes out to Eric leaving a cake & I walk in & he has us sit & enjoy a chocolate mouse cake. Then I am handed an envelope that has a note that we are having dinner Saturday night at Le Bistro with bubbly included. I am to call the Concierge to make the reservation, signed by Steve. So that answered that question, The Captain & Officers did this. So up to the bridge with some cake but it is dark one officer on the side. So we ate that too. 12/9 We are seeing tender ships going to HAL across from us in the Gulf o Belize. Again it is so humid & hot at 8AM, I am ready to wear as little as possible. So we board a nice large tender that rode waves very well. Over 100 folks onboard and easy to get off at the shopping area. The people are not pushy, very nice folks. We learn they get 1 cruise ship a week, so they love Pearl & Jewel & wish they come twice a week. Many of us told them we would let NCL know. But they trade off East & West. So we did all the stores, heard all the stories of their families and bought a ceramic gecko that is climbing and look over his shoulder at you & everyone in the room. Different artist did it and for $15 I had to have it. Then to Diamond Int'l for my charm which is binoculars. They had no 2 kt & pushed us to buy a 4 KT for $1400, I told them "Maybe for my 40th". Back to the ship for a cool shower, then I sat outside to dry my hair in 15 mins. Then to dinner which was lobster served on linguine with snapper, shrimp & mussels. Mick stopped us as we walked in and gave us a quick pantry tour. I do not like Snapper but would like 3 lobster tails with 9 mussels in the shells. And she brought it to the table. Forget the butter this is heaven! Not rubbery, melted in your mouth and she brought the Chef out for my applause. He is the boss of all cooks on the ship at every restaurant. So he did this for me that night and folks were staring as they had linguine & all the rest. My husband loved the whole meal that was served to just about everyone. Show is country, which we do not care for. 12/10 Cat's Pajamas night in the showroom and we both loved their style. Costa Maya awaits us and we are sideways at the dock so everyone gets a better view. What was the old place is to the right with skeletons of the old stores and pool that is out of the ground on its side. The other pool is there on the left with the new stores and they have a swimming pool that runs the length of it. So to DI for my charm, which I got 3! A snorkel mask, a beach chair with canopy & as I am presented with a 2Kt diamond tennis bracelet that husband got for $500 with trade of old bracelet, then put a cruise ship on my bracelet that no one else gets one. I am their voice on Jewel & Kiwi, NCL shopping expert from New Zealand got us the deal we wanted. 65% off! Hugs galore for those in the store. Kiwi tells me it was his gift for our 30th. Then back for Tango's with free margarita for dinner. We love the IL POPO, large hotel steel structure with meat, peppers, onions, hanging for you to eat. I also had 3 lobster tacos that were HUGE! What a deal for $10 a person. $5 for full margarita but we passed. Then to the show and can those guys sing. I urge everyone to look for them on cruises with NCL as they are under contract for 3 years. Back to the room to watch CLE Browns vs Pittburgh Steelers & we killed them since they were cold. 12/11 Sea day - So after breakfast we hit the shuffleboard for an hour & gave it to another couple. We are headed to Bahamas. At 11AM we have the Bridge Tour with the Captain and the Family Jewels he met. What a great time he gave all of us. Answered questions, posed for photos, and then the Concierge comes in tell him he has his 2nd group (at 12:30PM) so we left. Went to another art auction for the free champagne. Then back out to enjoy the waves from the sides as we walk and the wake from the back which I missed but we are in front this cruise. Show is the greatest show NCL has on any ship: Cirque Bijou. Be sure to sit underneath the black walkway in the ceiling with ropes coming out of it. The guys fall on us with bungee cords, even high fiving us but I almost got my head kicked if I didn't put it on Jerry's shoulder. The acrobats are amazing, the special effects too. This is THE SHOW! 12/12 is to be Bahamas & NCL's Great Stirrup Cay but we are still racing to it at 9AM. So our for a walk to dry my hair in the wind, then comb it normal & have breakfast. Then we hear Kostas announcing that all ships are detouring from the Bahamas due to large waves that the lifeboats will have trouble with. High winds & waves as he stated. so another sea day. A day to make sure we forgot no one thanking for our surprise. Trevor at the Atrium for the large print daily, Ann from Germany for remembering us from Oct '08. We bought our deposit and got $100 off our bill. Show tonight is the CREW who are International. Great show with the Asst Hotel Director singing, an Indian waiter dancing in Bollywood style, and the greatest show they do FOUNTAINS. 5 guys & a gal with water pitchers that they drink from, hold it in their mouths to become the fountain, down each others back, up their nose, into the audience. They were a laugh & artistic when they got circular in the revolving stage area & all squirting water into the air. Then the skinny guy loses his toga & runs to fix it which had the place in hysterics. A Hawaiian waitress danced. Then the March of 300 employees to say thank you to us for sailing with them and w tell them thank you for making our vacation. Jonas & Kostas are waiting in the back for my hugs of thanks for the surprises. We are family and we will remember it. Back to the room to pack up to go home in the morning. We both agreed how fast the week went by and that is us having a great time. So we both have outfit to wear back to freezing CLE. 12/13 We got breakfast at 7:30AM at Tsars. I had Eggs Benedict with the Raisin Cinnamon French Toast, 4 cappuccinos and a big hug & kiss from Steve who was off to Pearl and going back West. Jerry told him good luck & he tells us to come sail with him. I told him to get us a free room or a good sale & email either of us. He knows we are on Epic next year. But he got Pearl. Then Jonas is with a new hire and as we are taking our carry ons off the ship he is at the terminal to say bye. He has new hires & their paperwork to be completed & get on the ship. As he tells us people come & go on vacations so he is busy in Miami or NYC. Here comes Mick who is headed home to Romania for 2 months. She works 4 gets 2 off. So we grab a cab for all of us but she has a totally different area to go to at the airport. So until next time. Fly back to CLE and 20 degree days but today was 40 with the blizzard eat of us. We got .4" which is fine with me. We are sleeping plenty after our party week and back to reality as we call it. So til Epic next December (12/11/10) or a cheap cruise in April (on Jewel maybe). Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
BACKGROUND ABOUT US: This was our (husband and I) first cruise. After months of research (by me) and looking on this website and other member reviews, we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel 5-day cruise from Miami to Grand Cayman and ... Read More
BACKGROUND ABOUT US: This was our (husband and I) first cruise. After months of research (by me) and looking on this website and other member reviews, we decided to go on the Norwegian Jewel 5-day cruise from Miami to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We live in Upstate NY, I am 27 and my husband is 30. This was our delayed honeymoon/vacation. We do very little traveling. PRE-CRUISE: We decided to fly down a day earlier. I would definitely recommend doing this as it eliminates any stress about getting to the port on time, etc. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel at Miami Airport. I got the pre-cruise package for $220, which included transportation from airport to the hotel and then from the hotel to the port of Miami on day of cruise. This also included the breakfast. I would definitely recommend this hotel. We had a lovely time there (although it was very short since we arrived around 8pm Saturday night and left at noon on Sunday). The hotel staff was very nice. They upgraded our room to a mini-suite with a king-size bed. Although the room and hotel was nice, there was hair in the tub/shower, which was disappointing. The food at the hotel was good. We did not get to use the pool but there were a lot of people using it and it looked nice. If we had more time, we would have used the pool. DAY OF CRUISE: After being dropped off at the port of Miami, there was a porter there to take our bags. We weren't sure what to do then, but we figured it out. We arrived at the port by 1pm and were able to check in. The line was not long and we were able to check in upon getting to the port. There were plenty of staff directing us to where we needed to check-in and they were friendly. Checking in was a breeze. Within a 1/2 hour, we were checked in and were on board the ship. As this was our first cruise, we asked a few questions at the check-in (i.e., how the card works, when we could go to the room, when our bags would get to our room, etc). The man who checked us in was very forthcoming and friendly. They give you a card which you use to get into your room and to purchase anything and everything on the ship (except the casino). We did not have any problems with our card until we came back on the ship after our second port of call. My card did not work for some reason and had to go to the reception desk to get new cards (my husband also had to get one since they were giving me one). Although this was an inconvenience, we had new cards within 5 minutes. SERVICE: The service on the ship was OUTSTANDING! Everyone was friendly, greeted you when you passed, asked how things were going, etc. All of the staff wear ID tags which lists their name and where they are from which we found interesting because there was hardly anyone from USA! POOLS/HOT TUB: We did not use the pool and hot tubs that much as we didn't find them available to us for most of the time. We both are fair skinned so we tended to stay out of the sun the majority of the time. We did find that the pool area was less crowded during port of call days. On our first sea day, we decided to pay $40 ($20 each) to use the Thermal Suite (Spa) for the day. This included use of a female/male separate hot tub, sauna, steam room, showers. They also had a unisex room with a bigger hot tub (thermal pool) and heated lounge chairs. This was well-worth the $20 as the view was INCREDIBLE and there were less people here. They had a reduced amount for the full trip, which we will definitely do next time! One thing we did notice was that the 4 hot tubs in the pool area had signs that they were "adult only" however kids were in them the majority of the time we were in the area. They did have a kids-only pool and hot tub but we rarely saw it being used. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Joe Yannetty was funny! The juggler Barry John was very funny and amazing! Another couple we met on the ship recommended going to see his second show (as we had not gone to his first show). It was definitely worth it! We also went to the Cirque Bijou show which was also recommended to us. It was very good also! We did not go into the casino as we are not big gamblers but we did see it being used. We did not use the Library but if you like to read and forget a book, they have books you can use. They also have a card room, which has games like Scrabble, Yahtzee, Rummikub, Mah-Jong, and Chess. If you like to play board games or cards, check this out! FOOD: All of it was OUTSTANDING! Service was amazing also! We ate at Tango's, Mama's Italian, Azura, and Cagney's Steakhouse. We ate at the Garden Cafe (buffet) for all of our breakfast and lunches. The two main restaurants (no cover charge) were Tsar's and Azura. We ate at Azura once and it was really delicious. We would have eaten there again but wanted to try out the other restaurants. Tango's ($10 cover charge) was a Mexican restaurant and was ok. If we went on this ship again, we probably wouldn't eat here as there are other restaurants we enjoyed more. Mama's Italian ($10 cover charge) was also very nice. It was quiet when we were there (around 8:30pm) which made it even more enjoyable. My husband's favorite restaurant (and I enjoyed it very much also) was Cagney's Steakhouse. We had 8:30pm reservations and it was packed! We only had to wait less than 5 minutes for a table. The food was excellent, as well as the service! It was well-worth the $20 cover charge! We definitely recommend this restaurant if you are on traveling on this ship! PRESENTATIONS: We attended the Port Shopping Talk with Joanna, the Shopping Consultant. Although we had pre-booked our excursions (see below), we wanted to hear what she said about the ports. If you are going on your first cruise, I would definitely recommend attending this and seeing what the shopping consultant has to say. She will give you tips on where to go, what to watch out for, etc. DISEMBARKMENT: This was a very easy process as well! The day before, you have to go and get your own colored luggage tags. Depending on when you want to leave, you pick the color tag that corresponds to the time you want to get off the ship. You pick when you want to leave!! They also have an easy walk-off program where you take your own luggage with you on the day of disembarkment. We chose to leave our luggage out the night before (before midnight) with our luggage tags that corresponded to 9:15 disembarkment. Our flight from Miami was at 1:15pm. We waited on Deck 7 for our color (light blue) to be called and then we left the ship. Going through customs was very easy and we did not have any problems! Finding our luggage was also...very EASY!! Once you reach the ground floor, there are different sections clearly signed and we had no problems finding our luggage. We then crossed the street and within 10 seconds had a taxi-cab and left the port for the airport. Within 45 minutes, we were at Miami airport waiting for our flight. The cab cost $24 with a $2 fee, so the total was $26. Also, when we got up on disembarkment day, our bill was waiting for us. We are very anal, and since this was our first cruise, we wanted to keep track of our money and see how much we spent. We had kept track of our spending in a notebook. Everything you purchase on the ship is charged to your on-board account. Our numbers matched with theirs so we did not have any problems. There was a line at the reception desk Friday morning for those who had discrepancies or were paying with cash/traveler's checks. EXCHANGING MONEY: We had brought traveler's checks with us because we weren't sure how it was going to work in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We were able to cash those in at the reception desk on board. At both ports, every place we went to, they accepted US dollars. We used only cash for anything purchased off the ship. We did not have any problems at all. INTERNET CAFE: This was a little expensive. There is an activation fee of $3.95 to set up your account and to use the internet. We paid as we went, so it was 75 cents per minute. However, they do run specials a couple of the days. For example, since we couldn't leave the ship until 10am for Cozumel, they had a 1/2 off special if you used the internet from 8am to 10am on this day. On the second sea day, they also had reduced fees. Printing was 10 cents per page. Since we had e-tickets for our flight out of Miami, we went on on Thursday (sea day) and printed off our tickets. The internet is really slow. At the end of your session, they do show you how much you used, etc. I know this was a lot of information but if you have never been on a cruise before, I hope our information was helpful to you! I used these boards to check out the reviews/advice prior to our trip and wasn't really sure what to expect on board. OVERALL: We would definitely recommend Norwegian Jewel. It was a very safe and nice ship. The staff were friendly and the food was outstanding. There was a lot to do but don't be stressed about fitting everything in as you probably won't be able to! If you are interested in doing a shore excursion, definitely pre-book ahead of time so you don't have to do it on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Overall, we had a wonderful first time cruise. Lot's of food and activities. Found the staff to be nice overall. Stopped at Cozumel (recommend the Speed Boat excursion if you are highly adventurous, as the waves kept you airborne!), ... Read More
Overall, we had a wonderful first time cruise. Lot's of food and activities. Found the staff to be nice overall. Stopped at Cozumel (recommend the Speed Boat excursion if you are highly adventurous, as the waves kept you airborne!), and next stop was Grand Cayman (very expensive). We did the Catamaran & Snorkeling w/stingrays excursion and it couldn't have been more perfect. Glad we chose the cabin with deck, as we could chill out once in awhile away from the crowds. If you are a sunbather who wants to lay by the pool, get up before 7:00 am and save a lounge chair. Very crowded. Lunch and breakfast was a hit or miss...but we consistently had delicious dinners. Very happy that the passengers ranged from young & old (spring break, so lots of kids). Although we didn't have children w/us, found enough location and activities for adults. One night was "All White Party", in which you dress up in white and party. 99% of the participants were teenagers, who were finally asked to leave at midnight - at which time my hubby and I could party without bumping into children. No problem with getting on the ship (esp. if you have all your paperwork in order), nor disembarkment (we pre-purchased shuttle service to the airport). Flew into/out of Ft. Lauderdale. On our way back home, we were in line at the airport for over an hour. I suppose there were lots of folks arriving on cruise ships that day. Most definitely will cruise again (5 day was ideal for first time cruising), however will try another cruise line. Norwegian seems to nickle and dime you throughout your trip (i.e, for dinner, they have a surcharge for most of the restaurants). You pay for all alcohol and soda. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
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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