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

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
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
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
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

Find a Norwegian Jewel Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click