3 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Pacific Coastal

We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east ... Read More
We have kids and grandkids in LA area, so we were looking for a cruise that left out of LA. We've been on 5 NCL cruises - 3 being Pride of America to Hawaii. We chose it for the departure port and 7 day itinerary. Flew in from east coast the day before arriving at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles airport well after 11:00 p.m. Good choice, we had points, so a freebie, but the location was great and the shuttle to airport in the morning to meet NCL shuttle was best way for us. We paid $25 each to have NCL shuttle us from LAX to San Pedro port. About half hour bus ride, but with all NCL folk. Could have gotten Super Shuttle for $18 or so, but they would have stopped at hotels along the way. Plus I felt more comfortable having NCL be in charge. Check in was fairly easy, we are Latitude and got through the line quick, but lines weren't bad for others not Latitude at about 11:30. We traveled light, carry on and backpack for the 7 days, so no experience with the luggage drop this time, although it looked pretty crowded and confusing for first timers. Our room was on the 11 deck and a mini suite. Always book balcony, so this was a first and OMG to have a big bathroom, with a full size tub and separate toilet area made all the difference. It will be hard to go back. We had more storage than we've ever had although the balcony was a bit smaller, but adequate. Grabbed lunch in Tsar's for a nice sit down lunch and avoided the buffet crowds. Met some nice folk in the line checking in and ended up having quite a few meals together. Couple sea days were much needed for us and we didn't mind. Lots of activities on board if you wanted to participate. First port was Puerta Vallarta, we usually don't book excursions, but a $50 credit enticed us. Glad for our choice of John Huston's property, Las Caletas. for $139 each. Nice 1/2 hour double decker boat ride to island, music on board. I would do this excursion again. We had a great time partaking in the cooking class with the chef. No crowds. Made seafood paella, guacamole, salsa and sea bass ceviche. Wandered around the property which wasn't crowded at all. Many little areas with hammocks overlooking and overhanging the water, nice walking paths, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkle, swimming etc, all included in the price. Lots of life guards everywhere watching. There are some huge rocks in the water, so be aware and wear water shoes. Also had about 4-5 little "islands" that you could swim out to, really a large float that had a palm tree, hammock, umbrella and deck chairs to sit on. Very tropical. Food was awesome at many little areas and open air restaurants, also included was food and mucho drinks. Please tip the guys tho, they worked so very hard the whole time we were there. Walked to the top where they had zip line, giant slide that spit you out in the water - was going to do it until I climbed to the top and asked a couple guys who had just finished. They were pretty macho, and said it was fun, but the force of hitting the water was pretty intense. That's all I needed to hear as I didn't want to end up in a Mexican hospital. Loved this excursion and loved that once we got there, we didn't have to pull out our wallets for anything! Mazatlan- winged it and probably should have planned better or stayed on board. Planned on going to Stone Island as I had read reviews on how to get there and planned on going to Lety's restaurant, but ended up wandering around like a tourist near port - not much there. Cabo San Lucas - was windy and cool. Excursions cancelled. Had planned on renting a catamaran, but it was a no go. Lots of long sleeve and sweatshirts sold there. Took a pedal bike for $8 to Old Town, which we thought would be a town, maybe church, historical stuff. Ended up being vendor market, with anything from meat, poultry to clothing. Stunk to high heaven. Grabbed a cab back and wandered around the Marina and shops near the port. You really need to get out of the port area or have a plan. Weather didn't cooperate for many. Another sea day and back to San Pedro. Entertainment - Ended up being picked for the Newly Wed game and that was fun as it always is. Husband always shy, but agreed this time - go figure. Good memories and a DVD to show at holidays with our kids! We love NCL's entertainment. The "kids" in the song/dance troupe were very good and we enjoyed each night something new and different. The comedian Sam's early shows were hysterical and his late night adult show even better. Don't come late unless you want to be made fun of. JP was a magic/comedian and was also very entertaining - no we couldn't figure out his tricks. Will be on Penn & Teller coming up. I think NCL had it's act together and the staff was spectacular. We met the Cruise Critic people and the Officers the second day, they arranged a private tour of the galley for us on the last sea day. I have NEVER seen such a clean "restaurant" their last score was 100% and I can see why. Latitude cocktail party always a nice touch as they try to make you feel special.Captain was very nice and seemed to take much time with each guest we saw him interacting with. He was hoping to dock and be there for the birth of his first grandchild, so I hope he made it. Good staff, all seemed happy and under control. We enjoyed the complimentary restaurants and ate mostly at Tsars and Chin Chin. Usually got breakfast at the back of the ship and ate it there. Very nice bartenders there and quieter. Went to every show available and enjoyed them all. Bought a couple "future cruise" deals they were promoting. Can use within 4 years, so that keeps us coming back. Probably do Pride of America again (#4) to Hawaii as we love that one and our special balcony room which I won't mention the number here! Or Greek Islands, depending on how the world situation is. The NCL staff was super friendly, accommodating. Pedro the cruise director was really good, restaurant staff, bartenders (First time for beverage package, and I will say it was worth it, but not in the calories). Can't really say we had any issues, but then again, we go on a cruise not trying to be picky and complaining. You're on a cruise people, things happen, roll with it or make yourself miserable. It's a floating hotel, you're not unpacking, or driving. Relax. P.S. Getting off the boat was another matter I almost forgot - if you have a flight - leave early because we were backed up quite a bit. When you leave gangway, don't wait for an elevator - find the escalators - I think to the far left as you leave gangway. We got shuttled into a line that was for elevators and we didn't know there was an option until too late. Every wheelchair, handicapped, elderly person got to the front of the line we were in and only so many could fit in 1 elevator. Also you will be in a long que to go through customs once you get off the elevator/escalator. Don't cut your flight close by staying on the boat too long. Good half hour plus in custom line, plus the elevator line, made for an hour plus after we left the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
If you have never cruised, or are a pro, I am sold on the Norwegian Line. Everything went smoothly and effeciently--the entertainment, spotlessly clean cabin, polite and informative service personnel, and, of course, the delicious food. ... Read More
If you have never cruised, or are a pro, I am sold on the Norwegian Line. Everything went smoothly and effeciently--the entertainment, spotlessly clean cabin, polite and informative service personnel, and, of course, the delicious food. We had meals at three venues: the topside Buffet, where the abundant food coices make it an adventure to browse and pick; and at the elegant Tsar's Diningroom, with it's large menu, but where I ordered a steak, perfectly grilled, that was not on the menu; and at the supurb French bistro, where they even served perfectly-garlicky snails. Kudos for another wonderful memory. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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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