24 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Western

This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment was average, at best. This particular cruise had a Nickelodean theme and therefore I think it was more family-oriented. Food was average. There was more than the normal number of specialty dining restaurants, which led me to believe they were more interested in getting you into those restaurants to spend money than they were to making good food in the buffet and main dining room, although the main dining room was beautiful and never busy. The servers in the dining room were very attentive. Our steward was a very nice guy, but he seemed to be overloaded, like maybe they had cut back on stewards so he had too much to do. The hallways were always crowded with cleaning supplies. I would rate this ship on par with Carnival - nothing special. I was expecting more due to the rating of the ship. I don't think we'll sail on Norwegian in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Just returned and wanted to give some feedback on the Jewel. She is still a Jewel. We sailed her back in 2005, transatlantic repositioning, Barcelona to Miami. I thought she was so different then and still is today. The colors are bright ... Read More
Just returned and wanted to give some feedback on the Jewel. She is still a Jewel. We sailed her back in 2005, transatlantic repositioning, Barcelona to Miami. I thought she was so different then and still is today. The colors are bright and airy. Very Caribbean. Not the usual cruise ship. Very clean ship with lots of "washy - washy" being promoted. This cruise we had the family suite # 11024. Very roomy for just the two of us. We could have fit two or three grandkids in the spare room with no problem, but would have been tight for teens or adults. Not a lot of closet or drawer space in the room, but we were able to utilize both rooms and had an extraordinary amount of storage. A very pretty flower arrangement was in the suite, three bottles of champagne (which I was happy to give to others celebrating on this cruise) were delivered on day two with a bowl of fresh fruit and Godiva chocolates, ( (we hoarded the chocolates). Canapés were delivered every afternoon. DH loved the chocolate chip cookies. Also delivered were chocolate covered strawberries (twice), finger sandwiches, assortment of chocolate confections, cheese and crackers, cake, and canapés. We really didn't need to go out to eat with all the food the butler brought us. We didn't use the butler Teodore, but he was always there just in case. Anthony, room steward kept the room tidy. We had the ultimate dining, ultimate drink packages. The dining was great, we ate in all restraunts except Le Bistro (heard it was real good). Cagney's was so good we ate there twice..... The Italian food was just average. Moderno should not be missed, we ate at Chin Chin's twice also, but the best was Tapanyaki, a must also. Unless you want to get plastered every night the drink package is not a good deal. We received the drink and dining packages as incentives for getting a suite so we did not purchase them. I do not understand why you cannot get bottled water or coffee bar items on the drink plan instead of alcoholic beverages. We received a bottle of wine for being platinum members and several other perks which we were able to give to another couple traveling with us. NCL was very accommodating in letting us include them in on our perks such as embarking and disembarking early, a meet the crew get together in The Haven, using my drink card to get them soft drinks, special seating in the theater, free dining coupons, etc. We did purchase the thermal spa passes and found this very relaxing. We did the dune buggy/snorkel in Cozumel. Highly recommend but not good snorkeling. The old Belize River /Altun Ha in Belize, nice but long and the catamaran/snorkel in Honduras, very very good. The entertainment was good for the most part. Really enjoyed the "de je vous" couple. Our cabin was located under the pool area. Quiet most of the time. Did hear the band some nights, but only till mid night or so. Really not a problem. A few chairs being moved around, but again not a big deal. A curtain between the master bath area and the bedroom provided little privacy. Toilet flushing resonated through the sleeping area. We decided to use the 2nd toilet in the other bedroom to not disturb one another at night or naps. Glad to have the second bathroom. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. Everyone working the Jewel was very friendly for the most part. I would recommend NCL.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our cabin was the smallest we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises thus far. Bathroom especially tight although the shower door was nice instead of the usual shower curtain. Ship seemed to be efficiently run and well maintained. As ... Read More
Our cabin was the smallest we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises thus far. Bathroom especially tight although the shower door was nice instead of the usual shower curtain. Ship seemed to be efficiently run and well maintained. As bad (small) as the cabin was, the crew that we encountered was among the best we have run into. Our room steward was friendly and efficient as was the representative at the internet cafe. All of the wait staff that we encountered in the Main dining rooms, the specialty dining, and the cafe were all excellent. The staff assigned for special diets was exceptional helping my wife with her gluten free dining.  They treated her like a Queen, greatly appreciated. Most of the staff in the bars, customer service, etc. were also great. The ports we visited were so-so. I guess we might have appreciated them more if we were into snorkeling, etc. Overall, a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Was on Jewel 2/28 to 3/7 to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. We were just searching the last minute cruises out of Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans, to see what kind of deals were out there. We live less than 3 hours from the two ... Read More
Was on Jewel 2/28 to 3/7 to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. We were just searching the last minute cruises out of Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans, to see what kind of deals were out there. We live less than 3 hours from the two Texas Ports. Got a discounted Penthouse Suite at the front of the Jewel with the ultimate beverage, ultimate dining, $300 OBC, and $100 OBC. All our other cruises (10) have been in a balcony. We really enjoyed the suite. We were on the Jewel for 16 nights, when it came from Los Angeles to Houston thru the Panama Canal, this past fall. With Steven Jacobsen in charge of all onboard Hotel Operations, and Messiah Ritzinger in charge of all onboard Food and Beverage Operations - you are in "GOOD HANDS." These two men are the "BEST" that I have seen on any cruise line. You will see them all over the ship, making sure that every thing is going smoothly. We really enjoyed this cruise in the suite! Richard Remulta was our butler. He was just a phone call away - if we needed anything. Florentina Popa was our Concierge, always ready to help us out. She usually answered our questions before we could ask them. Florentia always greeted us by our name, whenever we saw her around the ship. Being in a suite you got to eat breakfast and lunch in the Monderno. It was never crowded in there. The French Pressed Coffee served there was great. We even had Richard bring us the French Pressed Coffee with our early breakfast, on the morning of disembarkation in Houston. After breakfast we met Florentia, and she escorted the suite cruisers carrying their luggage, off the ship first. That was a nice option. We had to get home early to pick our Jack Russell up from the "Puppy Hotel", because they closed at noon. Since we had the Ultimate Dining Package, all our evening meals were at the specialty restaurants. Our favorite was the Teppanyaki. The chef puts on a show while cooking your meal on a grill in front of you. The Moderno served all kinds of meats sliced off skewers they brought around to your table. It was good, but not much in side orders to go along with the meat, though. Cagney's was like a steak/sea food place. We ate there twice and service was very slow. Le Bistro was the French place and we enjoyed it. The Mongolian Hot Pot cooks your choice of meat and vegetables in a pot, on top of a warming plate, in the center of your table. That was pretty neat. Chin Chin an Asian place and La Cucina an Italian place were the least favorites. I think we should have skipped them and went to one of the main dining rooms. Enjoyed the Ultimate Beverage package. We are not big drinkers, but it was nice to have wine at meals, drinks/beers in the casinos, at the shows, around the pool, sitting in the bars and on deck, etc. Did get my share of the Pepsi products, too. We wouldn't buy the package, though. On the Panama Canal Cruise we both got enough points on our casino cards, for free drinks in the casino. Used our $400 OBC to buy a future cruise credit with Norwegian for $250, and got $100 back in OBC. So that left a $250 OBC balance. We took the balance of OBC in three separate transactions at the casino, where we got cash. They charge a 3% fee - so it cost $3 for getting $100 cash at the cashier. Wanted to make sure we didn't leave any nonrefundable credit when we got off the Jewel. It worked out fine, since we weren't taking any excursions, buying drinks, or specialty dining. We had been to Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize on two other cruises (one exactly one year ago on the Caribbean Princess out of Houston). So we just got off the ship late, walked around the ports for a little shopping and came back to the ship early. We went to all the evening shows in the theatre. Some of the performers were the same ones we saw on the Panama Canal Cruise, 5 months earlier. May have varied a little, though. It would have been nice to see a little more rotation, of them between the other ships. It probably saved us money - keeping us out of the casino. This was our 11th cruise overall, and 3rd with Norwegian. We enjoy the anytime dining! You are on vacation and shouldn't need to eat at a certain time. It is nice to be flexible. Another thing I like, is being able to wear shorts to most of the restaurants. Le Bistro was the only one I had to wear long pants at. You can't wear shorts at night to Tsar's either, but there is always Azura. Learned this from the previous cruise. The Norwegian Employees starting at the top with Steven Jacobsen and Messiah Ritzinger and all throughout the Jewel, are so friendly and helpful. I never ran into one employee that didn't seem to enjoy their job, and they would always greet you with a smile. Can't forget the "Washy Washy Guy" at the buffet. He is a very good singer and guitar player. Saw him when the crew put on a talent show in the theatre. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Embarkation – quick, easy, priority embarkation for Haven guests Haven Experience – as background, we booked a two-bedroom suite last July for five of us girls. The prices dropped SIGNIFICANTLY and included all the great perks within ... Read More
Embarkation – quick, easy, priority embarkation for Haven guests Haven Experience – as background, we booked a two-bedroom suite last July for five of us girls. The prices dropped SIGNIFICANTLY and included all the great perks within a few weeks of sailing. Oh well! We all know how that works. For anyone who has the flexibility to wait – you cannot beat the current fares for the Haven right now. • Room Steward – OK, not great. Our second time in a suite and both times we had “lack-luster” room stewards. Kind of strange. • Butler “Erlindo” – good • Concierge “Florentina” – good • Haven Attendant “Jon” – outstanding. Took care of the Haven from sun up to late afternoon. Always had a smile on his face and the five of us loved his “copy that” and “happy” responses to all requests. He’s a keeper! • Mini gym – recumbent bicycle and treadmill. Great for me, since I cycle each morning. Deck 15 (only accessible from the Haven I think) provided the perfect spot for my stretching and core building exercises so I never had to fight the gym crowds. Food – Specialty restaurants • Teppanyaki – excellent, great quality and huge quantity. Chef was very entertaining • La Cuchina – excellent salmon, pasta carbonara – friendly service • Moderno – very good food, but extremely slow service. After 1.5 hours – decided to quit Complimentary dining • Azura – nice casual atmosphere. Fair service and fair food • Tzar’s – beautiful atmosphere. Fair service and fair food • O’Sheehans – nice casual atmosphere – good for people watching. Fair service and fair food. • Buffet – nicely laid out with a great selection that should meet anyone’s needs. Only ate there for lunch. Entertainment • “Band on the Run” – good, not great • Comedian - OK • Russian Couple – AWESOME! • Cirque – AWESOME! Splash Academy - one of us girls was my 8-yr old granddaughter - she loved Splash Academy. They put on a Circus that last sea day. It was great. Excursions • Cozumel – Fury Snorkel & Beach tour – GREAT!!! Snorkeling was good and the beach time with all the large water toys was great for all ages. • Banana Coast – Tranquility Bay was awesome. Quiet, serene, excellent massage ($45 for an hour). The name fits – enjoyed a beautiful day there. Overall – a very nice cruise. I’m a freestyle fan and really enjoyed the relaxation.   Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Just returned. Sailed 2/7 out of Houston. A great port. Parking less than 50 yards from terminal. New, clean and fast. Jewel, had 2400 cruisers, long ship. We were on 9, mid with a balcony. Room size fine but furnishings and rug were worn ... Read More
Just returned. Sailed 2/7 out of Houston. A great port. Parking less than 50 yards from terminal. New, clean and fast. Jewel, had 2400 cruisers, long ship. We were on 9, mid with a balcony. Room size fine but furnishings and rug were worn and dated. But didnt interfere with trip. Plenty of storage, bed & pillows great. Room steward excellent. Overall boat decor had a 70's feel but everything was shining and well kept for age. Although alot of people it never felt crowded. FOOD: Buffet in Cafe was very busy but vg variety and everything we tried was good to VG. Staff friendly and helpful. Breakfast very busy. we ate at far end away from buffet and always had a seat. We ate breakfast there and two dinners . Ate other dinners in Azura. Unlike other cruises you do not sit at same table at dinner, can eat anywhere. We really liked a waitress so we ask for her section each dinner. Food vg, timely service. We ate around 5:30 no trouble with seating but by 6, it got very busy. Chocolate night was wonderful! ENTERTAINMENT: we did early show. Russian acrobats, comedian/magician and comedian were awesome. Others entertaining but not memorable. Really fills up for acrobats!!! Music in other lounges and pools VG but normal. POOL: at sea days lounges fill up fast and early. We sat at a table above the pool area on 13 and could see and hear everything. It is very noisy and active. Drinks alittle pricey and service good. Pool grill for lunch was VG!! OTHER: the Library for quiet reading was excellent. Didnt use SPA, was very pricey. Fitness Center was VG. Classes and daily activity nonstop and worth it if you had interest. Gift shop large and pricey. Wait till last day for sales!!! We didnt eat in any of the Specialty restaurants but heard people say Chin Chin was bad???? We did eat lunch in O'Sheehans (part of pkg) one day. Irish pub, very limited menu but chicken pot pie was awesome. Service very poor! Java Cafe for coffee was inadequate. No seating to lookout, bake shop very limited. Often only one barista. Seating for quiet space very very limited. EXCURSIONS: We did Chocolate Tour in Cozumel. Fun, learned about Mexico history. We made our own chocolate and 20% off in their store. Kao Kao, VG!! In Belize We did Alta Hu 1/2 day. Tender ride in is long 5 miles and sea was rough but process was very efficient and safe. A third world country. Roads were AWFUL!! Bus was fine air conditioning fair. Sound system fair but guides very knowledgeable .About an hr ride each way. Tour was VG, alot of standing and walking. ruins were awesome. Take bug spray. Vendors items VG, not pushy and very politr. Negotiation is expected. Buy some Plantain chips VG!!! WATER $1 OFF SHIP. $4.50 on. Buy off, refill empty bottles at cafe. At Tender Pier Grill have the Seafood Fritters, wunderful!!! Everything was very safe! In Trujillo rode tender in, not as long. Process again very smooth and timely. This is a new port, opened 10/15/14. Very pretty, mountains rise right above the docking area. We didnt do an excursion. They were very limited and reviews not very good. We walked around, shopped in new little shops, enjoyed the couple of things to see all very walkable.. We were only boat in port. Felt like most who went a shore did what we did. WWe enjoyed the ocean view, breeze and newness.. A change from Belize, OVERALL: it was a very fun week. The staff on board and the beautiful weather made it great. We traveled as a couple so we ate alone, different from other cruises (this was our 8th, first on Norwegian). The FREESTYLE is a neat idea, lots of flexibility for eating. We will travel Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Sailed on Valentine's day, easy boarding, nicest terminal we have used to date. Our fifth cruise, fourth different cruise line we have used. Feel this was the best one yet. Not as many passengers than the other ships carried, our ... Read More
Sailed on Valentine's day, easy boarding, nicest terminal we have used to date. Our fifth cruise, fourth different cruise line we have used. Feel this was the best one yet. Not as many passengers than the other ships carried, our cabin was the roomiest we have ever had as was the bathroom. Paid more for our last cruise with smaller cabin and no refrigerator or coffee maker like the Jewel offered. Paid a little extra for the upgraded meal plan, only felt three of the six restaurants worth the extra money, but they were really good and would do again. Great entertainment for the most part, did have a lounge singer we avoided, she hit a lot of flat notes, no idea how she got a job as a vocalist. Tried all the restaurants and enjoyed all, only complaint was some of the severs seemed less than happy with their job, but others were exceptional. Gift shop deceiving about duty free liquor, beware if you use Texas port because they nail you when you debark! Will definitely consider Norwegian first from now on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the ... Read More
Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the Garden Villa for 7 of us. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event and it could not have been more fabulous. No ship or cruise can be the best at everything, but on the NCL Jewel the combination of the ship, the crew, the entertainment (outstanding), the excursions, the food, the friends we met, made for an outstanding week. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) • The Garden Villa experience can’t adequately be expressed in words. It was the BEST. • Food quality was superb everywhere. We had the Ultimate Dining Package and ate in Teppanyaki, Le Bistro (2), Cagney’s (2), La Cucina, and Moderno. • Entertainment was excellent. Probably the best dance group I have seen on any cruise line. Do NOT miss Le Cirque Bijou…..OUTSTANDING. • The staff was friendly and helpful and our Concierge, Florentina Popa, was outstanding as well as our Butler, Erlindo Doca, and our room steward, Alexandro Legarda. • We hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Garden Villa with over 70 attendees. Garden Villa: When I booked the Garden Villa over a year ago, Wendy, my wife, thought I was foolish to spend that amount of money on a week cruise. After the week was over, she told me the experience of this past week was worth way more in memories than the money we spent. On Sunday, we hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Villa with more than 70 attendees. NCL did a great job in organizing and setting up the event with several officers in attendance. Our group did a gift exchange organized by SimplySuzy. After the gift exchange, 30 of us headed to the Casino for the slot pull organized by Cocruzlvrs. The casino gave us a couple of bottles of champagne and tee shirts for the highest winners. We lost 55 cents per person but almost hit the jackpot twice playing the Wheel of Fortune. A great time was had by all. On Wednesday, we celebrated the birthday for two members of our group. Florentina, Erlindo, and Alexandro decorated the living room with balloons and had a large cake waiting for us when we returned from our excursion in Belize. A couple of us, especially me, took advantage of the Jacuzzi and Steam Room that was on our patio between the master bedroom and the living room. On deck 15, above our living area was a private sun deck with chairs, a hammock, and tables. The sun worshipers in our group used this area extensively. DINING: Some people criticize anytime dining but I prefer it. It allows me to control when and where I eat based upon the day’s activities. Other people may prefer traditional dining because they are able to meet other cruisers and develop a relationship with them. Besides breakfast and lunch in Moderno’s, we ate at the buffet in Garden Café, Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and O’sheehans. I have absolutely NO complaints about the food at any venue. I could have eaten at the buffet every night and been happy; it was that good. Le Bistro was outstanding. It was NOT crowded and provided a great dining atmosphere with great food. Only complaint I might have at Le Bistro’s was the amount of time it took us to dine. However, with 9 of us at our table each night it could have been a factor. This was our first time at Teppanyaki’s on any cruise. I highly recommend this to everyone. The experience provides a fun time for all but the food is outstanding. I can’t wait to book this on our next cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the Stardust theater were OUTSTANDING. Two shows are definitely labeled as “DO NOT MISS”: Band on the Run and Le Cirque Bijou. Do not miss the final Farewell Variety Showtime on Day 7. It provides a great emotional high and a fitting tribute to a great cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Several years ago my wife and I sailed to Alaska aboard the NCL PEARL and had a wonderful time with great food including lobster the first night. We are retired and this latest Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel for our 50th anniversary was ... Read More
Several years ago my wife and I sailed to Alaska aboard the NCL PEARL and had a wonderful time with great food including lobster the first night. We are retired and this latest Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel for our 50th anniversary was disappointing in many ways. Smaller Atrium with only a piano and no live music. The buffet food was not that good, had burnt crust pizza, luke warm food, tough meat, biscuits that crumbled apart, some of the buffet food was good, but it was usually everyday common food. Lots of children running all over, some people dressed like slobs. The Azura and Czars palace restaurants had better quality food and great service but we were annoyed by roaming photographers and a "loud mouth" we shared a table with. Cagney's was very good and enjoyed the meal, superb waiter service, but within one hour later we both had a diarrhea from it, perhaps the mushrooms? Never did see any lobster, king crab, prime rib anywhere except the "specialty restaurants". On disembarkation, we saw a poster advertising prime rib that night at O'Sheehan's bar and grill (was not on our cruise). All the alcohol drink prices very high with automatic gratuity of 15%. The head bartender at the cocktail lounge didn't know how to make a Bacardi cocktail and insisted it was Bacardi rum mixed with Pepsi or just on the rocks. Oh boy!!! The ship itself (Jewel) was older than the Pearl, not as nice but was well kept up. I got scolded by one of the photographers (Russian girl) for taking a photograph inside that area and was ordered to delete it off my camera. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable, the stewardess was FANTASTIC, so very friendly and took care of all our needs, gave her a big tip. Theater shows we attended at the Stardust theater were good, but many did not appeal to us because they were for children or adult themed. Unlike the Alaska sailing, all there was to see, was the sea itself and not much to do on board except eat, drink, gamble, walk around, sit by the pool (water too cold to swim) or go into the hot tub for a little while. The shore excursions were okay except for the switch NCL pulled on us... we booked our cruise when Roatan was port of call, and made plans for a good shore excursion, then they switched to Banana Coast and left us with bad choices for a shore excursion there. We took one that was supposed to be a walking tour through what we thought was jungle preserve with monkeys and wildlife to see. Instead it was a muddy road trip in a bus without air conditioning and arrived at a vegetable farm with fruit trees and rescue habitat for a few native animals. Got covered in fire ants walking around while being shown tomato plants, onions, limes, lemons, etc., how not to touch things like cashew nuts. Terrible tour!!!!!!!! Hope things get better there, so much poverty. But the people were friendly despite a hundred or so armed police all over the place. Lots of police presence in Belize and Cozumel also, bars on windows, razor wire, run down shacks. I tried to buy tourist junk from the people who needed the money just because they could use it and not the fat cats who own the fancy shops. In Belize, the trip to Altun Ha was very good and our tours guides fantastic. Enjoyed that excursion. Same with the mini-sub tour in Cozumel but did not feel comfortable walking around and within 1-block off the main tourist street we turned around and went back because of all the shady characters and run down businesses. Anyway, I was spoiled by the Alaska trip and doubt that I will ever take another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and ... Read More
This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and refurbished, with a welcoming crew. The NJ passengers are a much broader age group than the RC ships overall and had fewer scooters. Unlike RC in Galveston, departure and return were very smooth from Bayport Terminal and occurred on Deck 7. Shore excursions used Deck 4, easily accessed as compared to RC which often requires the use of interior stairways. Tendering to Trujillo on the lifeboats was exciting, especially the return journey which occurred in heavy tropical rain and rough waves due to the swollen river currents meeting the incoming sea currents. However, the pilots of these tenders did an outstanding job for long hours. I enjoyed the historical tour of Trujillo and the shopping area at the dock. I had been to Belize and Cozumel previously. The overall layout of the NJ was quite different from the RC ships and I prefer the RC layout. NJ hallways in cabin areas were more narrow and the cabins are smaller overall. Dining rooms are all over the ship and the major shopping area is at one end of Deck 7. There are plenty of elevators (3 sets, forward/mid/aft) but some of them only go to certain floors. The very rear area of the buffet facility (the Garden Room) on Deck 12 is outdoors, largely covered, has good seating and a smaller food service area which made it my favorite place on the ship for relaxing, people watching, and reading. Unfortunately, the very windy weather often hindered the use of Deck 7, but you could walk around the entire ship on that deck. There do not seem to be as many deck chairs on the NJ as on RC. I prefer the RC pool deck facilities and the RC miniature golf. The meals on NJ were adequate, better in the dining rooms than in the buffet, but the meals on RC are much superior with a more formal service from the waiters which I enjoy (and can still wear rather casual clothes). My friend and I never had a problem getting a table in the NJ dining room anytime we walked up (and at varying times each night). I think the NJ entertainment was better scheduled and higher quality overall than what I have seen on RC. The magician and the comedian on the NJ were interesting and there was a very good aerial performance, as well as good singers in various club areas. Guest services is on Deck 7 and in a bad location as lines of customers and photography sets and club patrons and people just walking thru all compete for floor area near that desk area. Additionally, beware if you have one name (usually determined by the government) on your passport and a somewhat different name on your credit card (usually determined by you and used by your bank). Although NJ takes your credit card info when you book, giving it plenty of time to check your credit (and names), it may send a letter to your room, once you have sailed, telling you that you must pay in cash. You will have to dispute this and listen to the guest services worker tell you that "booking" and the "financial" departments do not share info about you, which I find absolutely ridiculous. Certainly, I had no intention of having to "stand in a long line" at the guest services desk to clear this up and there should have been no need for it. Good think I did carry a credit card with at least part of my name the same as on the passport. NJ insists your passport name and your banking name must be the same, something I have never heard from two other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual dining options of Norwegian. Every night was a new themed food night at the buffet and was done very well. The two restaurants that come with your cruise were good, also, although we thought there could have been a little more variety from night to night. There are a lot of specialty restaurants available for an extra charge, but we felt that the food that was included was so good, we did not feel the need. The entertainment that was included with the cruise was fun and entertaining. Our shore excursions were good - a little spendy, we thought, but comparable to other cruise lines. In an effort to maintain safety for the cruisers, they have a touristy area that is cordoned off from the rest of the town in both Belize and Trujillo, Honduras. It would have been nice to have the availability of a tour guide who would just walk you around the local area. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park ... Read More
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park near the entrance. Upon entering the terminal we were guided to the registration area. Since we were staying in The Haven area we entered a room set aside for suite and latitude guest. After a short wait, we received our room keys. Then an employee of the ship escorted us to our suite and the Moderno Restaurant for lunch. It took quite a while for all our luggage to arrive. The embarkation was a wonderful experience. The Haven If you want to be truly spoiled, this is the place to stay. We had four adults in a two bedroom suite. Our butler, Lazaro and steward, Alexander made sure our every need and wish was granted. All our request were met. Each afternoon a snack was delivered to our suite. Our suite was kept spotless. Richard is the butler in The Haven area. Each morning we had a quiet breakfast in The Haven. We ordered off the menu. My husband had omelet, bacon and toast each morning. I had waffle and fruit. The food was delicious. Guest in The Haven have several breakfast and lunch choices: room service, The Haven area, Moderno Restaurant, or any other open eating restaurant on the ship. We also ate several lunches in The Haven. The concierge, Florentina made my life easier. She scheduled all our tours. She scheduled dinner reservations. She reserved a section of the Stardust Theater. The only time I stood in line was the last night. I stood in line at Customer Service to pay gratuities for the wonderful service we had received. Each of them deserved more than I gave. The Haven is very relaxing. The suites are very nice with a private balcony. Our suite included a living, dining area, 2 bedrooms, and 2 baths. The master bath includes 2 sinks, tub, and huge shower. The actual Haven includes many areas for lounging, an eating area, a pool, a hot tub, an exercise area, and a private sun deck. It was never crowded. Note: The second bedroom is small and really for children. We ate all our dinners except one in the Azura Restarant. Kathryn and Donald were excellent wait staff. Service was good. Our meals were very relaxing. One night we ate at the Tsar's Palace. This service was very poor. In fact, this was the only poor service we received on the ship. Entertainment was excellent. The Stardust Theater provided first class shows. The various musical groups around the ship were great. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstrations, art auctions, and internet café. The Behind the Scenes tour was very educational. It was enlightening to see all the preparation that goes into each meal. I enjoyed seeing all the equipment in the laundry. Of course, it was exciting to visit the bridge. I would highly recommend this tour.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise ... Read More
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise terminal is less than and hour and a half from home. Don't know why we haven't done this before. The Jewel is a nice ship. There is evidence of ware and tare here and there but overall she is in good shape. We enjoyed every aspect of the ship except our cabin. We tried a couple of the specialty restaurants. They were good. The dining room and buffet were good also. Our most pleasant surprise was the entertainment. All the shows were excellent. The ship didn't feel over croweded. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and our 11th cruise overall. The ship was nice but could use some updating in the public areas. Our cabin was very nice and I especially liked the layout of the bathroom with a real shower door and a real private commode area. The crew on this ship, like the other Norwegian cruises we have been on, was outstanding. The only issue we saw was that the dining rooms seemed to be understaffed thus the service was slow. The food was about average for this category of cruise ship. The entertainment was probably the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fairly fast. Parking was $80.00 far the week which I consider to be a little steep. The ports of call were Cozumel, my favorite on this itinerary, Belize with crystal clear waters for snorkeling but you have to tender there and the "Banana Coast" in Trujillo Honduras which you also have to tender to get too. This was the first ever visit to this location by a cruise ship and it showed. They simply aren't ready for prime time and probably won't be for years. Very little shopping or anything else to do there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but ... Read More
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but even though it is a smaller ship, it was still hard to locate some places you wanted to visit. Some of the staff were very helpful while others could care less if they helped you. The housekeeping staff was excellent and did everything they could to make your trip enjoyable. You have to pay a cover charge on most of the restaurants on this ship. I enjoyed Tsars Palace where the food was excellent and staff very courteous and helpful. Food was always delivered on time and the atmosphere of the restaurant was great. I tried Azures Restaurant but was not pleased with the service I received. The Garden Cafe buffet was excellent where you could find any type of food you desired. I was impressed with the guys at the entrance sanitizing your hands each time you entered. This was important for me as I came down with the norovirus on another cruise. I enjoyed all the ports we entered. Getting off and on the ship was very easy. As to the freestyle cruising, I, personally, was not happy with it. You go into a restaurant to enjoy dinner with your Sunday clothes on and you could be seated next to someone with shorts, flip flops and tee shirt on. This did not impress me. Because of this, I probably will not cruise with Norwegian again. It is great for people who want to go around in shorts and bathing suits all the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. Our cabin, category IE, was huge, but then we did require wheelchair accessibility! We got unpacked and went after some lunch. Just after the muster drill, we met with several others from the Cruise Critic chat for sail away. That was the beginning of some wonderful new friendships. Our cabin was on a dead end hallway, right by the deck four exits. Even though it is categorized as an inside cabin, we were on the hull of the ship, no window or port hole. At the first port of call we had to wend our way to the elevators for breakfast, but it was quick when we debarked and embarked at ports. We were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was, most of the time. The morning we anchored in Belize, there was a lot of racket from the tender docks being lowered. We did enjoy hearing the ocean waves while we were underway. We've had cabins all over ships: forward, high, low, inside, balcony, and really have no favorites. When we have an inside cabin we turn the TV to the bridge cam, turn the volume off, and there's our window to the world. That sunrise wakes us up every time! The Cruise Critic group met with officers on day 2. That afternoon many of us participated in a cabin crawl/poker run. We had cabins from inside to The Haven to crawl to! The entertainment was great, thanks to cruise director Jaime! Group Coordinator/Access Officer Cherry was right on target with my special needs, even anticipating what was needed next. Our cabin steward, Newman, surprised us with a wonderful zoo, even leaving each towel animal when making new ones. We were able to take a picture of our whole zoo at once! The excursion desk was quite helpful in assessing what excursions we could take with my wheelchair. Food opportunities all week were beyond wonderful! We ate in Cagney's, Teppanyaki, and Le Bistro as well as Tsar's Palace. We will brave the buffet to get ice cream, but prefer not to eat there. All too soon we returned to New Orleans, but we have two Cruise Rewards for future cruises!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had ... Read More
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had in the past cruise we did. It was our second cruise with NCL (the other being on the Spirit to Bermudas a few years ago). So we knew it was not the standard we had with Celebrity or Princess, but we were aware there would be some difference. New Orleans port is, for what we saw, going under renovation. I hope it will be easier for people to be going through traffic as you have to wait many minutes just to be dropped with your luggages by the taxi: buses, cars, taxis all converge in a small area and it is chaos. We were litteraly 3 to 4 blocks away in a hotel but not close enough with our luggage to walk it. So the taxi was $7 per person ($14 for two) for a ride that should have lasted 3 minutes, but they charge per person as they know they will be stuck at the drop off zone. Once on the ship, we were able to get to our cabin quite rapidly, but that was after we were like a herd of tourist waiting in line for something like 45 minutes. Room: (inside cabin just under the casino). We were concerned a bit that the room that had been assigned to us would be noisy, but really, we heard nothing the whole week. The size of the room as OK and as expected. It was clean and our room stewart was always smiling and pleasant. He did an excellent job. One thing though: the matress on the side of my husband was really showing years of abuse, being shaped almost as a banana. We did not tell anybody, but maybe we should have mentioned it. Food: At first, we could not understand why some people had been complaining about the food. It was good and there was a good variety. But as the week progressed, we found it to be repetitive and very standard. The Garden Cafe Buffet presented many stations, but when you think about it, a whole section was for Indian food and stir fry. Personnally, we love exotic food, but it was always the same thing. For the pasta bar, it was pasta and your choice of sauce. Nothing else: no vegetable, no chicken, not shrimp. Pasta and sauce. I was told I would have to book at the paying restaurant if I wanted shrimp in my pasta! I had to laugh about it. They did offer a package at $119 per person to go and eat in any of the a la carte restaurant, but we relied on our past experience and left it open as we thought the main dining room would offer a better experience. Really, that is not what happened. On one of the evening, I really was disappointed with their "new Orleans combo of shrimp and beef". My idea of New Orleans style shrimps is not 3 breaded shrimps beside a small steak. I would have thought it would have been more creative. As for dessert, we were not the only one finding that there was way too many dessert made of gelatin. In the end, everything tasted the same. They did have the chocolate fountain at night at the Garden Cafe, but their main thing was the Bread Pudding. Yes it was very nice, but all by itsef in its category. I remember some sorbet (coconut once and pineaple another night) that were very good. We did eat at the Bistro (French cuisine). It was very good. We had the duck magret and confit and as for the started, the 4 cornets. Nicely presented and refined as well. we did attempt to eat at Moderno. We had heard that the food was really excellent. Oooops. Major problem there. Three of the restaurant a la carte gives on the Atrium: Chin Chin, Moderno, and the Sushi Bar. We had a reservation for the Moderno at 8.30 PM (they are not opened on lunch time except on sea days). We sat down and when our waiter came to take our order, we could not hear him. He almost had to scream so we could hear him. The inconceivable thing is that since there are no walls seperating the restaurant from the atrium, the shows scheduled (that night was a tribute to Neil Diamond) are so loud that you cannot hold a conversation! And it was until 9.30 PM. When the manager of the restaurant came to see us because we wanted to leave, he was very gracious and understanding. He also said that he has that kind of problem every week!!!! I sure hope that the refurbishing due in May will take cake of this problem. Already that the ship atrium is far from being impressive... this is really a major problem. No wonder there was always room in the restaurant. We did sample the sushis at the Sushi Bar before a late dinner and it was good. Shows: They were all excellent. Very impressive that show called Le Cirque Bijou. The performers were really on the ball and gave it all they had.Jaimie the cruise director is far from acting like on of these Diva we had seen on an European ship one day: she did a very good job, was funny without being vulgar, and we felt she really enjoyed people and her job too. Good for you Jaimie! She was accessible and always smiling. A good asset for NCL. As for all of the personnel, we can honestly say that they are very pleasant and work so hard to please their guests. Even the captain seems to be a good sport and seems close to his passengers. He also seems to show appreciation for his team (from the people in the laundry room to his officers). See below for our port reviews. In all, we enjoyed the destinations. We knew we did not want to spend too much, so we figured we had what we paid for. Was it a good deal? It was a honest deal. Knowing what we know, we would have paid a little bit more as we missed the dining experience this time. For us, it is part of the fun of cruising. We really look forward to these wonderful dinners. We hope that this will have been helpful.. And we take this opportunity to thank the family who was part of the cruise critics community and invited us, after the roll calls, to visit the Villa they had rented. It is rare that people will share this privilege. The mother (Christmas Carole) was a lovely lady. I will remember them for a long time.   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
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed ... Read More
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed different from my cruise on the Star in April 13 was no happy crew greeting us with music and dance as we boarded. Guess this should have been a indication of how it was going to go from there.... We ate in the Tzar dining room as a group three times and each time the service was very good. The first time was lunch after boarding and then twice for dinner. We made reservations and the table was always ready with no wait. I wish I could say that this service continued to other times that I dined there. The service was from fair to downright bad! Service was at best sporadic and if you wanted something you were always having to flag a staff member down to ask. I ate in the buffet one night and it was OK. Nothing spectacular. The Blue Lagoon was a favorite of mine on the Star and was looking forward to dining here for several meals on the Jewel. Breakfast was good and the first couple of days, service was fairly good. Same thing for lunch. As the days progressed the service became really slow. The young lady who would seat you never did smile! She acted like she didn't want to be there, didn't care you if got a seat or not and one time was on her cell phone not paying attention to people that were waiting. I've been to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel many times so I'll leave the port reporting to someone else. I will say it was the first time that I've ever docked at the commercial terminal in Jamaica (Montego Bay) and it appeared as though it was a first for NCL as well. Information given was not totally correct but didn't cause big concerns. Just aggravations. I was confined to my cabin the days we were in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with the flu. My family said they enjoyed both ports. I'll add here that room service was the best! Always arriving quickly. I had a mid-ship balcony stateroom on deck 10. It was exactly what I expected as I has sailed this category before. Ample storage for two people. Love, love the balcony, especially when confined to cabin! The entertainment I did get to see was good as were some of the game shows. The Art auction which I went to once, was to pushy. I've bought art on board cruises in the past but never encountered the pushy sellers. Only went one time because of them. Overall, everyone in our family group had a wonderful time, no thanks to the sourpuss crew. I won't give up on NCL because of this. Bought a furture cruise credit and will be looking to see where I want to go next.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on NCL. We were a group of 6, 4 in our late 50's and 2 "80-ish" aunties. Our overall comment on NCL is that they need to update into the technology age for their web site, their pre-cruise ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on NCL. We were a group of 6, 4 in our late 50's and 2 "80-ish" aunties. Our overall comment on NCL is that they need to update into the technology age for their web site, their pre-cruise registration and embarkation process, provide the ability to view onboard charges from your cabin, and improve the wi-fi on the ship. That being said, it was a wonderful cruise overall. Cabin: No surprize, NCL cabins are small, but here was plenty of storage space. The glass doored showers are hands down above most cabin showers, even in some suites! Beds were quite comfortable and bedding very nice. Towels were soft, clean, and well sized. Willie, our cabin steward, provided excellent service, brought a coffee pot the first day, and removed the items from the refrigerator as requested. We did notice the shelf above the 'mini-TV' was dusty as was the shelf in the nightstand, but otherwise the cabin was clean. Dining: We ate both in the Tsar and Azure dining rooms multiple times for dinner and found the service to be quite good, and food above average. We did request Clement in Azure as a waiter because we loved his service and personality. Breakfast was at Blue Lagoon or the buffet. We enjoyed Blue Lagoon for breakfast and lunch multiple times, but did feel a couple of the waitresses needed mood enhancers! The Garden Cafe (buffet) had a wide variety of foods that were tasty, and the crepe station every evening was definitely a favorite stop! Merwin knew my husband by sight and always knew he would go to the chocolate fountain and add chocolate to his crepes. The lobster in Tsar's was probably the best we have ever had on a ship - very tender and so tasty! We did eat at Tango's and Mama's Italian. Didn't feel Tango's was worth the cover charge - but may have been because we are used to a different taste in mexican food totally. Mama's was tasty, well presented, and enjoyed. Entertainment: We felt the entertainment was excellent in the main theater, as well as in the smaller venues throughout the ship. Cirque Bijou is amazing, Cat's Meow were wonderful, the pianists in the lounges very good, and bands in Stargazer and pool entertaining. Comedians, jugglers, hypnotists were good, usual cruise entertainment. There are multiple places on the ship to enjoy quiet time alone, read a book, enjoy the ocean, listen to music, or people watch! Excursions: our expectations of Roatan were low since we had been there 5-6 years ago and there was nothing there. However, the day at Maya Cay was so relaxing and interesting it made the stop worth getting off the ship. The veterinarians/biologists provided information about the animals, answered all questions visitor's came up with, the beach is very nice, the pool clean, and food reasonably priced and tasty. The area is still under development with projects underway to expand the island activities. We will be back in November and will visit again to see the changes. The trips on the Atlantis submarines in Aruba and Curacao were enjoyed by the aunts as were the city tours which allowed them to see many places without the long walks. In Belize, 4 of us chose to do the cave tubing and zip line combination from Island Marketing ($99/pp) and thoroughly enjoyed both. Side benefit is that it is dry season in Belize still, so no bugs! We have been there in October and mosquitos were a problem walking thru the rain forest to the caves. Snorkeling on Tortola was a highlight - we saw a 4-5 ft sand shark! In Aruba we spent time on Eagle Beach enjoying the sand and sunshine. Curacao was our shopping day and it was plenty warm! Overall: This was probably our best NCL cruise to date, and encouraged us to return to NCL again in the future. They have improved the freestyle dining significantly in 5 years, and made it a pleasant experience. The ship is lovely - the purple, teal, green, hot pink color schemes are a definite mood booster, and the huge murals on the staircases of various astrological items are interesting and beautiful. We found the decor refreshing and relaxing. Some of the staff need some customer service training - mostly the front desk! Wear armor if you have to go down to get a new cabin key - they want to make you feel incompetent if your key stops working (happened to 3 of us during the cruise). The asst cruise director (Jennie I think) has a way to go - spends too much time trying to be cute and flirt and not enough time making sure guests are comfortable and happy. We addressed that formally on the ship and received several calls from ship management apologizing for her actions and ensuring us she would be talked to about her actions. Would we do it again? most definitely! Weather was perfect for 12 of the 13 days, and overall we felt it was above average sailing. Kudos to the Jewel!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
About the Reviewer: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Jewel on January 3, 2009 out of Miami with port calls in Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico). This was ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Jewel on January 3, 2009 out of Miami with port calls in Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico). This was my 6th NCL cruise and my mom's 5th NCL cruise. We've both sailed on other lines including Princess (5x) and Carnival (1x). I've sailed on other lines including Royal Caribbean and three times with Celebrity. Pre-Cruise Stay: Red Carpet Inn - Fort Lauderdale, Florida For our own insurance on the cruise we flew down on January 2, 2010 and we're thankful we did as a snowstorm struck New England. We arrived at the airport slightly delayed but called for the hotel shuttle which was quick and convenient. When we were on our way back to the hotel two other groups had called to be picked up so we turned around and headed back to the airport. We circled the airport for a while and found one of the couples and then finally checked in. I didn't book this hotel and I wouldn't stay there EVER again. The hotel was in the middle of no where and didn't make me feel safe at all. The rooms looked like they might have been hastily renovated and everything had a cheap feel to it with the floor being warped and the beds being hard as rocks! Friends who we met up with in Fort Lauderdale said there room looked completely different and they got it for much less than we did. Lesson learned, look elsewhere for deals or better yet, stay at the post cruise hotel we did at the Double Tree in Miami! Transportation to Miami Cruise Port: SAS Transportation Thanks to other Cruise Critters I learned of this little jewel for transport between the hotel and the cruise port in Miami. For $15 per person we were there in no time, arriving around 11:15AM to the pier. Embarkation: Since we arrived early to the pier the other Jewel passengers were still clearing out of customs and the ship was not ready. There was a small line for checking in which grew throughout the day. We were in the waiting area for approximately 10 minutes before they started boarding the vessel with numbers. Our friends who were sailing with us arrived later in the afternoon and were part of a very long line of passengers. Later we learned this was because a Royal Caribbean ship which shares the berth on occasion with NCL had taken the Ethernet cables with them that are used for computer terminals at check-in. NCL had to scramble to find replacements and as a result there were less than the usual number of people available for checking in. We had a great embarkation that flowed fairly smoothly though because we arrived early. Sadly when we boarded the champagne welcome aboard bubbly was gone. I had later learned this stopped when the Jewel had repositioned in November. It was a nice way to kick off the vacation and I do hope NCL re-instates it. Upon boarding the vessel friendly staff and crew greeted us and made us feel at home immediately. The Ship: The Norwegian Jewel was built in 2005 and is not showing her age anywhere onboard. Mom and I sailed on the Jewel in May 2007 doing the Greek, Turkey and Egypt itinerary and spent 12 days aboard her so we knew our way around very easily. The public rooms had great carpeting, excellent upholstered soft comfortable chairs and elegant ambience. While we toured the ship with a couple we cruised with before onboard a Princess cruise, the major public venues used by mom and I this sailing were Tsar's Palace (main dining room deck 6 aft), Azura (deck 6 midship dining room), Le Bistro (NCL's signature French Bistro - Deck 6), Stardust Theater (Deck 6 & 7 forward), Atrium, Garden Cafe, Great Outdoors, Body Waves Fitness Center (Deck 12), Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 13 midship) and Spinnaker's Lounge (Deck 13 forward). These specific venues will be looked at much more in-depth following. All the public areas onboard the Jewel look like the ship was just put to sea which means there is a good maintenance team onboard! The Stateroom: Our cabin was 9038 and our friends had the neighboring 9036. Both were category BC balconies and the price was an incredible steal for the accommodations. Both of the rooms were in excellent condition. Willie was our room steward and he did an excellent job of keeping the room immaculate all week long, including when some glitter got loose. His impeccable cleaning abilities got him a STYLE card and a nice tip. Food: This is a subjective area and there is always much debate about it. The menus onboard the Jewel were the exact same menus we dined with before on the Spirit 7-day in May 2009 and were also the same from the previous year. We knew which days we'd be hitting the dining room and which days we could venture to other restaurants. NCL's cold soups are so great that I wouldn't want to miss any of my favorites which include chilled melon, strawberry, blueberry, banana and peach soups. If you haven't tried NCL's cold soups then you must on your next vacation! Our food was always cooked to order where necessary, hot and served promptly. Special requests were usually granted including requesting larger portion sizes of some favorites like prime rib and mom's nightly special side order request. The crew were always happy to oblige with any request and they were rewarded for their going out of their way appropriately. Prime Rib and Beef Wellington are two dishes not to be missed in the main dining rooms. Cagney's Steakhouse offers phenomenal cooked to order steaks as well as jumbo sized shrimp cocktails. Mom loved the seafood options available in Cagney's and thoroughly enjoyed the salmon dishes offered in the main dining room as well. Service onboard the Norwegian Jewel was exceptional as it was on my previous cruise onboard the Norwegian Spirit but to go through the exceptional service where it was encountered here's a day by day break down of what we did, who we encountered and sometimes what we ate: Day 1: Miami, FL - Embarkation: In about 45 minutes from being dropped off to the pier we were on the ship. This occurred just after boarding started at noon. Since staterooms are not available until 2PM we dined in Azura main dining room for lunch. We started out with excellent service offered by Elvis, who was also onboard in 2007 when we sailed. It was nice to see a familiar face and he also remembered Nalan, our primary waitress in Tsar's Palace on that sailing. Elvis did a wonderful job serving us and attending to our every need. We wasted some time floating around the ship hoping to find the couple we were traveling with and with visiting and passing through each public space it brought back fond memories of our previous cruise. Due to an embarkation snafu we ended up sailing an hour later than usual because of the US security requirements requiring the manifest be handed over one hour prior to sailing for inspection. Irregardless the sail away party continued on a cold, cloudy Miami Sunday. When we were finally under way our luggage had finally arrived to our stateroom. Since we were one of the earliest people at the pier we couldn't figure out why there was such a delay and as a result we opted to dine in Azura. Service was exceptional by the wait staff. After the dinner it was off to a quick Friends of Dorothy gathering before running to the early show. Entertainment this evening was an opening show by comedian Tim Kaminski in the Stardust Theater. Tim was hilarious with his comedy. The Wizard of Oz skit he did with audience members was just too funny. Everything was clean comedy though and while he did poke fun at different areas nothing was offensive to anyone (in my opinion). Tim would be around the rest of the cruise doing performances and out and about on the ship. I got to interact with him on several occasions and thought he was not only a good comedian but a great individual. It's not often guest entertainers mingle like he did. It reminded me of Jane Powell, the Chocolate Goddess of Love and her very friendly personality. Tim is a great entertainer and not to be missed! This night I was too exhausted to keep up for the late night disco so it was off to bed after the show. Day 2: Sea Day: Breakfast room service was actually a half hour early but it helped get me up in time and up to the Garden Cafe to get my own breakfast so mom and I could meet up with Jane, cruise staff, for the organized staff activity of Walk-A-Mile around the Promenade Deck. Jane is very friendly and made the three laps fly by and it is a great way to meet your fellow passengers! Thankfully the time on this ship was at 9:30AM for walking. Next it was back inside to freshen up after walking about another four miles and time to get ready for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet which was at Malting's Beer & Whisky Bar on Deck 6 mid-ship at 11AM. Rochelle Brown touched base to confirm the event while I was doing the Walk-A-Mile but she greeted me promptly upon arrival. Thanks to another CC member (trish1c) for the name tags! All major department heads were present at the meet and greet and did a nice informal introduction. John O'Hara, Jewel's Hotel Director, did a nice speech for the group and then introduced each department head. Sadly the Captain and the Cruise Director were both ill and unable to attend the gathering but John did a nice job of giving us all a warm welcome aboard and handed out his card to everyone in the group with his number so that if there were any problems they could be dealt with as quickly as he could - and he really meant it! It was nice to see such a strong showing of Cruise Critic members as well! Thanks to everyone for showing up! It was a real nice time with catering from NCL's food and beverage department. After a quick break for lunch it was time for the poker cabin crawl organized by another Cruise Critter. We started off by visiting a standard balcony cabin and then worked our way up to mini-suites, suites and finally a courtyard villa cabin (all were CC roll call members). This was a nice way to explore the ship's accommodations and a place I didn't see in 2007 while onboard (the Villa complex). This was nice way to get to know the fellow CCer's and to make new friends for the rest of the week! Off to dinner tonight in Tsar's Palace which is the aft main dining room. I always feel like royalty when dining in this, the most elegantly decorated restaurant on the ship. The waitstaff treated us like royalty as well and this evening we were graced with the excellent service offered by Alexandra. Dinner food and service were excellent. There was a bit of a hang up between the appetizer and the main course but that was because there were so many people sat at the same time (not her fault, the kitchen was overwhelmed). Tonight's show was Band on the Run featuring the singers and dancers of the Jean Ann Ryan Company. This show is a tribute to the 70's and features the live show band performing. Overall it was a great show and a definite one to catch! The disco opened incredibly late the whole cruise up in Spinnaker's Lounge. There was always a Latin hour before the actual club opened. I've never seen a 12:30AM disco start before. This was much too late and made the evening drag for me. I was finally able to get a CD to DJ Watson containing some vocal house music for the upcoming White Hot Party. After listening to the first few songs of the night (hip hop) I gave up and called it a night. The disco was off to a very disappointing start. Day 3: Roatan, Honduras: Land ho! Finally warmer weather prevailed even though it was cloudy and I was just thankful I could wear shorts for a change! We didn't have any organized excursion and just decided to explore the new mall area that had been built since our last visit. Thanks to Willie our impeccable stateroom steward we knew that the best time to get off the ship was by 10AM because they were doing mandatory lifeboat drills after that including the sounding of the ship's alarm system! Thanks for the head's up Willie. We bumped into fellow CCer's ashore before returning to the ship. I did a power walk around the Promenade Deck for two miles before going up to the Body Waves Fitness Center. The fitness center has tons of cardio equipment and some free weights available. Definitely the most well stocked fitness center I've seen in a while. After completing the workout it was off to the Garden Cafe for lunch. Blueberry soup, vegetable curry and cooked to order Asian noodles were just a few of the things that made it to my plate. Yummy selection there! Tonight we dined in Le Bistro which is NCL's signature French Bistro. This is the first time we have ever tried this dining venue on any NCL ship and while we've seen the dEcor, dining there is something one must truly experience. The menu has escargot available, succulent lamb and tenderloin. It was a nice dinner and the service by Marisol Lamorena was just exceptional. She was so friendly and because of the smaller dining venue she was able to converse with us and could really offer friendly service. She brought us samples of some dishes and recommended we try them irregardless of what we ordered. If you dine in Le Bistro, definitely ask for her as your server. She was the first to receive a STYLE card this cruise from us for her exceptional service. Tonight's spotlight show time was a 22 year old singer named Chantz Powell. This was the worst entertainment of the whole cruise for both mom and I and usually we sit it out to the end but this performance we actually got up and left. Chantz is a soul meets Michael Jackson moon-walking performer. I am not sure what target audience he was supposed to be hitting but he didn't hit it with mom or I. This night was the night of the pub crawl. While I didn't partake in it, I did bump into the crawlers every where. Since the crawl was supposed to terminate at the Caribbean Deck Party it was fun watching everyone pour into Spinnaker's Lounge where the party was moved to because it was raining up on deck and very cold and windy. The party seemed a bit more subdued because of the venue change. The disco picked up later and some fellow young CCers and I began to dance the night away. It was a pleasure to meet John O'Hara, Hotel Director, up in the disco and ask him some questions about changes NCL has made. The first of which was where was what happened to the champagne bubbly when boarding? NCL discontinued it in November fleet wide. What happened to Monte Carlo night? This was also eliminated effective two week's prior to our sailing. A question from the couple we were traveling with made me wonder where the bathroom amenities basket went. The answer was that NCL didn't see people using them so they have now just placed what people used most which are the lotion and the washing gel. Thanks for the information John and once again thank you for the hospitality you showed during this cruise to both mom and I. Day 4: Belize City, Belize: SHORE EXCURSION: Lamani & New Jungle River. This is a full day long excursion but well worth the price. You are taken on an incredibly fast high speed boat tour down a river while looking for wildlife. Upon arrival at the ruins you'll need to lather up the bug spray which we forgot (whoops)! Get ready for a real jungle trek after having a native lunch. Going around the old ruins which are still largely covered by the jungle made me feel like a real world explorer. This was a great NCL offered tour and I highly recommend anyone who likes to go off the beaten path to take it! A small note about the terrain though, it's a bit uneven and this tour wouldn't be recommended for people with any difficulties in walking. Mom had a bummed knee and this prevented her from traversing one path but they did have a more suitable longer path around it which another tour guide took us down. We were the second to last tender back to the ship and mom had very minimal time to shop shore side before we returned back onboard. It was off for a quick dinner in Tsar's Palace before going to another fantastic performance by the Jean Ann Ryan Company called Country Gold. This is another performance not to be missed. After the main performance of the evening it was time to run back and change for the most anticipated nightclub event of the entire cruise: NCL's WHITE HOT PARTY. I was up there for the pre-party and all the cruise staff was on hand as well as John O'Hara, Hotel Director. At 10:30PM Kenosis started performing live before the dancers of Jean Ann Ryan did a quick number and the dance floor opened up to what was supposed to be a night of house music. DJ Watson did play some house music including the new Lady Gaga Bad Romance remix. I just couldn't figure out why on a night that was geared to a faster bass beat that DJ Watson would continuously play hip hop music. It drove me NUTS! Luckily I made a bunch of new friends on this night because I wasn't out on the dance floor and it made the rest of the nights in the disco more tolerable! This was one of the later disco nights of the cruise. Day 5: Costa Maya, Mexico: With a noon tour departure it allowed for sleeping in and what an idea that was! I felt bad for Willie because he'd already knocked once to turn it down and so I cleared out and got something quickly to eat and went back to brush my teeth when he tried for a second time to clean the cabin and I was there. Mom went ashore and I just took my jacket and went up on deck and slept. =) The winds were fierce up there and it was again chilly so the windbreaker came in handy. SHORE EXCURSION: Off to the Chacchoben ruins for the afternoon NCL excursion. The tour guide was informative and you could hear him very well all over the bus. This short tour gives you the historical significance of the ruins and offers you a tour of sacred Mayan ruins. This was my second time to these ruins which were more excavated then when I last saw them in 2003. I would recommend this afternoon tour to anyone who wants to see something exciting and sleep in a bit! After a quick freshening up it was off to Cagney's Steakhouse for a 5:45PM dinner reservation. Viviana was our server for this incredible meal that brought back memories of the sunset dinner we had there in Mykonos, Greece in 2007. The shrimp cocktail was succulent and the rib-eye steak was phenomenal. Mom's filet mignon was also very tender but cooked to her liking. Viviana's service earned her a STYLE write up as well because it stood out. If you go to Cagney's make sure you ask for her, especially for special occasions as a table behind us celebrated a birthday and she did such a great job handling it for them. After enjoying a quick trip to the Friends of Dorothy it was off to spotlight show time of Cat's Pajamas. This is an a cappella group consisting of four guys who I'd seen throughout the week at several events and in the disco. Tonight was their primary show and while I would have missed it otherwise I'm happy that a few of their groupies who were onboard (Kate, Kelly and Kathleen) talked me into going. It was a great performance that I enjoyed. These guys are very talented performers who are onboard for only the next few weeks. Next it was up to Dancing with the Jewel Stars in the Spinnaker Lounge. This was not to be missed. Your fellow cruise passengers get up and dance with different members of the crew who are experts at different styles of dancing. Chris from the production company rallied hard to win but ultimately another couple won. The losing couples are interviewed and the whole thing is just hilarious. Don't miss this and be sure to cheer on your fellow cruise guests and the hard working crew members who participate! After the show the disco opened and I stayed and had a nice time with the people in attendance. Day 6: At Sea: Room service was prompt as usual for sea days and after grabbing a hot plate of food from the Garden Buffet it was time to dine out on the balcony! Jane hosted the Walk-A-Mile again and we conversed more about our travels around the globe. This walk flew by! This lazy day at sea provided more time for a work out after which we went up for lunch at the Great Outdoors. It was a nice relaxing day and then it was time for a disco nap. That evening we had dinner in Tsar's Palace and because of the show tonight was hyped all over the ship everyone flooded the dining room. The service was great but the time between courses was a bit lengthy. The kitchen simply was swamped as the dining room was sat all at once. Luckily Cherryl, my favorite bar waitress onboard, was covering our side of the dining room and she kept stopping by while checking on her section and we'd continue the conversation. If you want a good bar waitress then find Cherryl! She'll take good care of you and always is smiling and she's so very pleasant with personality. Next it was off to Cirque Bijoux in the Stardust Theater. Seating went VERY fast, faster than any other performance this cruise and as a result mom and I couldn't get a seat together. Thanks to Carlos Zarate, the concierge, for getting us seats in the suites and villa section just before it opened to the rest of the people who were crammed into the theater. Cirque Bijoux is an incredible show! You do not want to miss this Cirque style show with hints of Irish step dancing and aerial acrobatics. From our vantage point we were able to see everything. It was a great theatrical experience put on by the Jean Ann Ryan performers. Excellent work guys and gals! I had missed this performance on the Jewel in 2007 and I can't believe what I missed!! This is a MUST SEE! After a brief stop in the cabin to get changed for the disco it was off to the Chocoholic Buffet in the Garden Cafe. This is another signature NCL event. I LOVE chocolate! Cruising with orthodontics means that you have to cut back on the amount of sweets. I took this one night off to splurge and splurge I did! Each action station had the same chocolates available and the displays were different from the last time we sailed on the Jewel which was an added treat! Went to the disco afterward to dance off the sugar rush and stayed until the disco closed. I had a blast with fellow passengers and members of the crew who were in attendance. The club closed around 4:30AM. Day 7: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas / Sea Day: Mom woke me up fairly early as she was getting ready to leave the cabin after sneaking out for her breakfast earlier. We'd pulled up to the island and dropped the anchor. Royal Caribbean's island is next door and either the Majesty of the Seas or a sister to her pulled up and then turned around and left. We stayed though and some tendering occurred before the weather got really rainy and windy. I didn't get off the ship and finally the decision was made around 11:30AM to make it a sea day. A hastily put together FreeStyle Daily was issued out and suddenly there was a lot to do again onboard! Nice work by the cruise staff for getting the Daily out so quickly and for trying to fill in the blanks for sunbathers with no where to go. I caught the matinee show of the Cat's Pajamas just in time after waking up from yet another disco nap. Met up with a bunch of friends there and the performance was with different songs than before. These guys are really talented and have a large repertoire to pick from. After the Cat's Pajamas performance it was up to the $5,000 Bingo where Jane was in attendance. She tried to convince me to play but I'm not a gambling man. I went along with the friends I made but had to leave early to get ready for another exciting dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse. The couple we were sailing with chose Cagney's and it was a great dinner had by all. This time I had a cooked-to-order succulent T-bone steak, shrimp cocktail and the clam chowder. All of them were mighty tasty and I definitely recommend Cagney's for a special dinner. The wait-staff and food there are both exceptional. Sadly we couldn't have Viviana as she was the designated floater that evening to help out in other areas as required. After a quick stop at the Friends of Dorothy it was off to the Crew Talent Show for one show only at 8PM. I think the Jewel has the MOST talented crew I've ever heard at sea. They have some exceptionally good singers amongst their crew and this show is not to be missed. Show up and support your fellow crew members because they work hard and even if they don't sound up to par they've already broken their backs for you all week and the least we as passengers can do is cheer them on! This was not the case this cruise, all of the performers were GREAT and standing ovations were definitely warranted! The show culminates with FOUNTAINS which was being performed for the 527th time. LOL It's hard to describe it other than it's a must-see and the comedian Tim Kaminski was in it as opposed to Que (Cruise Director). He did a really great job and the goggles were just hilarious! Back to the room for it was time to pack and get ready to bid adieu to the Jewel and get ready for the disco. I missed Tim's farewell variety show completely but managed to get up to the Adult Quest Game Show upstairs in Spinnaker's. This was a fun way to end the cruise by hanging out with newly made friends and doing all sorts of things. Thanks to John O'Hara (Hotel Director) and the security officer for giving our team a few props for the show! This is an adult's only game show and very much a must attend and get involved event! What happens in the Spinnaker STAYS in the Spinnaker Lounge!! The last night in the disco is always a sad one because you run around saying goodbye to all your new found friends and exchanging emails and not to mention busting a few moves out on the dance floor. I hope the friendships made onboard continue on and that I can sail with all of these great people again! Day 8: Miami, FL - Disembarkation: Luckily with staying out so late at the disco the previous night I was able to snag the Aqua colored bag tags to be the last ones off the ship (or the last group off). Since we had a post-cruise hotel stay at the Double Tree in Miami we couldn't check in right away and needed to stay onboard the Jewel as long as we could. John O'Hara wanted to know how the cruise went and gave mom and I a call to pass along some information to us as well about an upcoming Norwegian Spirit cruise. It was a nice way to be sent off from the Jewel and when our color was called we made our way down to the gangway. It was an easy end to an incredible week of active, yet relaxing experiences onboard the Norwegian Jewel. Conclusion: This cruise was an absolute steal for the price paid and will be a lasting memory! Forget Celebrity Cruise Line's trying to treat people famously - NCL treated mom and I famously. The hard work of so many require specific acknowledgement again starting with John O'Hara (Hotel Director) for rolling out the red carpet and giving us VIP treatment onboard. He went out of his way to make sure that every cruiser onboard had a good time and we were no different! Thanks John!! Other people who onboard who created lasting memories due to their impeccable service were Willie (our incredible stateroom steward), Jane (cruise staff), Cherryl (Bar Waitress), Marisol Lamorena (Le Bistro Waitress), Alexandra (Best Tsar's Palace Waitress), Vivianna (Best Cagney's Waitress), Carlos Zarate (Concierge) and Que (Cruise Director). Special mention to the folks of the Jean Ann Ryan Production Company for their phenomenal work with the production shows and for being great people to hang out with onboard including Richard Oaxaca (Dancer), Erik Hall (Dancer), Samee Nann (Dancer), Chris "Chrissy" McQuade (Dancer), Jessica Quarles (Principal Singer), Betsy Padmonsky (Principal Singer), Jodie Gibson (Dancer) and Joanne Donn (Wardrobe Supervisor). Without all of these people the Norwegian Jewel wouldn't glisten in the Caribbean. If you see any of them onboard a future sailing say hello to them for me and know that you're in for one GREAT cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I was pleasantly surprised at being greeted by numerous staff members and a glass of champagne upon boarding the Norwegian Jewel. This turned out to be the only personal contact of the whole cruise. The room stewards never introduced ... Read More
I was pleasantly surprised at being greeted by numerous staff members and a glass of champagne upon boarding the Norwegian Jewel. This turned out to be the only personal contact of the whole cruise. The room stewards never introduced themselves. With the "freestyle" dining, you never have the same Waite staff twice, so they don't get to know you and you don't get to know them. In the past when I cruised, knowing the Waite persons and them getting to know what and when I wanted certain things, such as coffee, was part of feeling "pampered" on a cruise. The staterooms on the Norwegian Jewel are substantially smaller than other ships I have cruised on. I had the privilege of seeing inside stateroom and balcony... The redeeming quality of this cruise was the entertainment. I was on this ship Dec. 13 - 20, 2009. The entertainment for this cruise was incredible. The Cats Pajamas, Ken Grove and Cirque Bijou were amazing! I do not and will not pay "cover charges" to go into "theme" restaurants, so I ate at the public restaurants, The Garden, T'Sars, Azura, Blue Lagoon.. Blue Lagoon was very good, the others were only adequate. The food over all was unimpressive. Will I cruise Norwegian Jewel again.. probably not. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our second cruise overall and with NCL. We sailed to Alaska last year in July with a group of 20 others and nearly all of us came back for this cruise. We flew to Miami the day before cruise departure and were among the first to ... Read More
This was our second cruise overall and with NCL. We sailed to Alaska last year in July with a group of 20 others and nearly all of us came back for this cruise. We flew to Miami the day before cruise departure and were among the first to board the ship on the morning of departure. All was handled very efficiently by NCL and we were soon on-board for lunch, though that was confined to the Market Place buffet as all the other restaurants on board were not yet open. A little more waiting till 2pm when our cabins became available. Then at 4pm we cast off. Shipboard, everything went very well throughout the cruise. The staff were pleasant and catered to every need. We ate dinner almost every evening in the Tsar's Palace, served by a great staff matching the behavior of our cabin staff. With a soda pop pass, I found out that the waiter if asked, would bring a Pepsi to the table. Also I occasionally ordered and was served a baked potato in lieu of the main course even when it wasn't on the menu. If you like appetizers on the menu, you can order several instead of the usual dinner courses. I'd like to see availability of soda in the Market Place. The Market Place buffet was better stocked with more variety than on our Alaskan cruise on the Star the previous year. If you want to steal cookies, get them at lunch. Hardly a paper napkin on the ship except at the ice cream dispensor. We stayed in a balcony cabin this time around, having learned how nice they are, and I'd do it again unless price differences between inside and balcony cabins were great. A slight discomfort was in being downwind from smokers in the balcony next to us. The cabin, larger than an inside cabin was well suited to unpack our suitcases and live out of the cabin closet rather than from bags on the floor. The bathroom shower was also just fine. We didn't see very much of the entertainment, but some of the group did and said that it was quite good, especially the ventriloquist. We did go to some of the presentations about ports and shopping which were ok, but I wonder if art, jewelry and diamonds aren't a business plan throwback to the days when only the very rich went on cruises. How could I possibly verify the value of a painting, way out at sea? Also the Dali-Disney art presentation on the Jewel was the same one that was on the Star last year. I guess they still haven't sold those pieces. Bingo cards were in each cabin and we took ours to the bingo presentation that seemed to get way out of hand. Only $80 for this electronic gizmo that contained 97 cards - that's $20 per game, and if there was more than one bingo winner in a game, a little calculation would prove that you couldn't break even very easily. But there was a line up for those bingo machines - poor uneducated folk. In the evening just before bedtime, we went up to the hot pools. They should be open till midnight and open again at 6am; they were closed at 10pm, and didn't open till 8am. One of the group who likes to do this arranged for port tours. We took some shipboard-arranged tours and some arranged separately from NCL. All of them turned out pretty well, including a shipboard arranged Lamanai ruins tour from Belize, and a privately arranged tour from Costa Maya to Kohunlich ruins the next day. The best shopping bargains are at Roatan, though selection is meager. Costa Maya wares were, well Mexican, with sellers always on top of you. You should bargain there. Things for sale in the Bahamas except for shells seemed to be quite flimsy, so we didn't buy much there. Oh, the nicety of a thick tee-shirt. If you want to buy t-shirts on board, wait till the last cruise day when they put them on sale. Since we had a day to burn in Miami before we flew home the next day, we bought a shipboard tour to the Everglades. Good idea. Baggage was handled from the get-go, the tour was excellent, and our bags were put off the tour bus when we got to the Miami airport. Overall, I rate this cruise as very satisfying. Read Less
Sail Date November 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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