1 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Baltic Sea

Trip notes:   Landed at Heathrow. Toured airport several times. Once by Hertz bus and several passes in rented car. Rented Ford Mondeo, diesel with manual shift. The usual initial discovery of instrumentation and controls was enhanced ... Read More
Trip notes:   Landed at Heathrow. Toured airport several times. Once by Hertz bus and several passes in rented car. Rented Ford Mondeo, diesel with manual shift. The usual initial discovery of instrumentation and controls was enhanced by being on wrong side of car. Had to have Hertz tell me trick to get into reverse. Drove to Maidstone in mild rain. Barb provided guidance via screams.   Surprisingly we arrived at hotel, but had to wait till noon for room. First room was nice, but not available till 3. Room they gave us was not up to par, noisy end of hall, not updated. I requested that we get first room and kept luggage in 2nd room till 3pm. Rain had stopped but day remained cloudy.   Went to downtown Maidstone. Traffic is a maze. Thank God for roundabouts. Found several sites but did not tour. Returned to hotel to check in. Got recommendations for eating and parking downtown. Returned to town for fish and chips.   Toured Maidstone. It had small core section of "old town" Tried to get into bishops house it is closed to public and now used only for wedding receptions. Toured carriage house, price was right free. Second day was sunny but cool. We went to Cantabury cathedral in AM and Leeds castle In the PM.   Drove to Dover saw ship dock, dropped off luggage dropped off car walked to ship   Embarkation: This was our first NCL experience on the Jewel. waited in queue, was quite crowded. NCL passed out information regarding the prior cruise having a norovirus outbreak so they were busy cleaning the ship. Ship was spic and span when we finally got to our rooms around 1:00 PM. Cabin was nicely appointed bed quite comfy with duvet coverlet. Mini bar in room but you need to pay for everything. Tv included Fox news and EsPN and the BBC, they also had an assortment of movies available. Didn't meet any of the cabin stewards immediately. All the help is very friendly. Liked the idea of the toilet being separated by the sink so two could use the bathroom at once. Actually had a shower door instead of a curtain and that was nice. Room also had hairdryer that actually worked quite well and vanity. Lots of mirrors to check yourself out and room for clothing. Dining: Liked the idea of freestyle dining Tsars Palace (sit down ) was usually average or above on most items. Didn't care much for the garden cafe buffet as it was always crowded and there was no law and order to anything. You always find guests who push and shove and cut in the lines. The first five days of the cruise they had to plate the food because they were afraid of the norovirus or the swine flu scare. The specialty restaurants we didn't try as my husband preferred not to pay for the service charges in the restaurants. There was a good cafe called Blue Lagoon which had comfort foods of home and had the best hot wings. It was a pleasure having lunch there or even breakfast although the menu was limited. The service was usually good in all restaurants. All wait staff were courteous. Shopping: shopping onboard there was always something to occupy my time ...the bijou boutique sold everything for 10.00 and was next to the library...was only open at night. There are some good perfume and liquor duty free buys but other than that you are probably better off shopping in ports. Port of call and excursions: I have to say they saved the best for last as Stockholm was a very pleasant surprise. Although the prices are high the excursion to the Vasa Museum is well worth it. The port does have a hop on hop off bus but this is one port we decided to do with the ship. The sail in and out of the port is the most beautiful with islands of wildlife, small fishing villages and sailboats, quite idyllic and peaceful. Stockholm is a clean and well laid out city. I only wish NCL had stayed a little longer.   WARNING: Russia requires a visa unless you are with a sanctioned tour group meeting certain requirements, i.e., in-country less than 48 hrs. etc. Visa costs $130 plus S&H, so canned tours end up less expensive then doing it on your own. In addition to NCL, there are private tour companies that are sanctioned, but you need to booking advance. St. Petersburg: Since we had been to this city before we knew what we would see again. The ship's tours are quite expensive so we opted to do a private tour on our own after reading cruise critic members recommendations and I am so happy we did that. We booked with Alla Tours and they were wonderful, a small group of 14 together in a Mercedes minibus with an English speaking guide named Valya, (who knew her history). The tour was 300 Dollars per person for two days of full touring and included everything even two lunches one a sitdown and the other a box lunch - a two and one half hour tour of the Hermitage, the St. Catherines Palace, Peter and Paul fortress, the Church of the Spilled Blood, Peterhof gardens and hydrofoil ride back to the city, Yusopav's Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral, of course a shopping stop. Note: vip...book this tour before leaving home. they will send you the required forms for a visa (necessary in Russia), your tour tickets and confirmation. When arriving in Russia, the customs officers will require a passport, copy of passport, your tour documents, landing card (given by ship) and your Russian visa (supplied by Alla or other tour company)...you can print these on your home computer..once you see how much money you save you will be very happy. The guides use a headset system and she has a microphone so you can hear all in the museums and palaces, vip, as they are very crowded especially the Hermitage Museum. A nice touch also was the gift they gave us at the end of the tour. Warnemunde (Berlin port)...we didn't take the Berlin tours, too far away and too much time on trains..Instead we took a train right from the port to Rostock about a 20 minute pleasant train ride. You then get on a tram and it takes you into the middle of the city. Nice outdoor farmers market along with a very helpful Tourist Information office with bathrooms. Nice cobblestoned streets with a lovely Lutheran church (St. Mary's)...try one of the hotdogs or sausages from one of the many vendors..or a nice pretzel. There is an internet cafe on one of the main streets, its in a building with an arcade. Copenhagen: Beautiful city, again we took a bus into the city from the port. About a 20 minute walk I would guess. Very expensive city if you are planning on eating or purchasing souvenirs. We opted for a nice canal ride which lasted about 40 minutes. Watch out for bicycle lanes in the city, don't get in their way or they will call you stupid, as I found out. Tallin, Estonia. What a nice old city very easily walkable from the port, lots of cobblestoned streets, this is where I bought a lot of souvenirs although the prices could have been better. Still cheaper than the other ports. Old town is very accessible, but the Upper town you would be wise to take a bus or taxi as its quite far away. Helsinki, Finland: This is one other port we took a tour. Based on some other comments from cruise critic we decided that we wanted to go to Porvoo, the 2nd oldest city in Finland to see the wooden houses..the second part of the trip was to a horse farm (they raise horses for racing) and the owners let you into their home for homemade cake and coffee. Very laid back and pleasant experience. Unfortunately the drive out there was 40 minutes each way so it took a chunk of time out of the excursion. Helsinki, again you can get the Hop on hop off bus ...if you go downtown the Rock church is a must see, along with the open air market. I visited here about 7 years ago and remember the prices were better then. Entertainment on Board: some of the shows were very good, among the ones I would rate the highest are the comedy show, the Russian violinist and the Cirque De Soleil type of show. We didn't think the magic show was very good but kids do like it. The tricks were not very imaginative. All in all, the entertainment is above average. Bars/Lounges: We didn't utilize these so I cannot comment on them.  Conclusion: My main comments would be that all in all the Norwegian Jewel lived up to my expectations. While lines like Cunard and Princess are probably a step above, Norwegian is a good value for the money spent. I would have no qualms taking another Norwegian cruise line tour...My only big complaint are the four sea days but the itinerary worked well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
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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