5 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Singles Cruises to Alaska

We went to Alaska on the Jewel. I was so impressed with how well the ship was maintained and kept clean. The staff was so nice and friendly. The officers and crew were awesome. We had the pleasure to meet the Captain several times and ... Read More
We went to Alaska on the Jewel. I was so impressed with how well the ship was maintained and kept clean. The staff was so nice and friendly. The officers and crew were awesome. We had the pleasure to meet the Captain several times and it was obvious he cares about his ship. I enjoyed looking at all the plaques from the ports of call that the Jewel has been to, she's been all over the world. I really enjoyed the cruise into the Endicott Arm and Dawes glacier. It was so peaceful and magical and i appreciated the Captain navigating us through the chunks of ice so quietly and slowly. It was truly magical. I was nervous after i booked this cruise because of the bad reviews about the food being barely edible. But i found that to be the complete opposite. They had such a wide selection of fresh and delicious foods to appeal to everyone! I am a picky eater, i mostly eat whole fresh foods , and the Jewel had everything i needed at the buffet to make delicious meals . A fresh salad bar, low cal dressing options, fresh fruit that was chilled and delicious, yogurt, cereals, lots of lean meat options, cheeses, whole grains, fresh breads, etc. They also had the typical casino style buffet dishes which i never find appetizing and are not edible regardless of where i go. I didn't eat any of those dishes so i can't give a review of them. If someone served themselves a gross looking buffet dish and complains its gross, that's on them. My meals were delicious. I wouldn't expect everyone to find every buffet dish to their liking. I was really happy with the selection of foods, there was something for everyone. We also had a meal at Cagneys, it was a nice meal. And we had a meal at Teppanyaki's and it was just ok, the food is too heavy for me, i prefer lighter meals. At the two free dining rooms, i was able to order salads and an appetizer for my meals and they came fresh and tasted just fine. The entertainment was awesome, there are some wonderfully talented people on this ship, from the choreographers to the set designers to the actors to the musicians. I really enjoyed the shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I had always wanted to do the Alaska cruise and so we decided to go with NCL. This was a 7 night cruise starting from and terminating at Seattle. The embarkation was pretty smooth and the ship was sparkling, it is 10 years old but ... Read More
I had always wanted to do the Alaska cruise and so we decided to go with NCL. This was a 7 night cruise starting from and terminating at Seattle. The embarkation was pretty smooth and the ship was sparkling, it is 10 years old but seemed to be brand new. The cabin was somewhat cramped but that was to be expected. There were more than enough activities to keep all on board occupied 24x7. They have a theater where there were a mix of shows Vegas style, poolside BBQ and parties, a great variety of all kinds of restaurants with eclectic menus. The staff were all extremely courteous and efficient and the service was generally of a high standard. They have a lot of activities for children.We had three shore excursions which were well planned and covered interesting sites. All in all a good trip except for a major billing problem wherein they erroneously charged me upwards of $4200. this was a major inconvenience and as of writing this charge though accepted by them as an oversight has still to be reversed. The entire trip was soured by one accounting clerk's slip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This is my 4th cruise and 4th cruise line. It was my first time with NCL. We headed out on Aug 29th, 2015 doing the inside passage of Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. The ship was very average in every way. The food was pretty poor - ... Read More
This is my 4th cruise and 4th cruise line. It was my first time with NCL. We headed out on Aug 29th, 2015 doing the inside passage of Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. The ship was very average in every way. The food was pretty poor - average. The entertainment was average, service was average. If you have never cruised before and don't have anything to compare it too you will probably rate it as good. The two things that really annoyed me about this cruise was: 1) They tried to ram raffle tickets and this quick pick scratch offs things down your throat every single day - multiple times a day. Instead of scratch offs though they were these little door things you open. 2) Smoking! There were so many smokers on there that you would have thought it was a smoking cruise. Why smoking is allowed anywhere these days other than in peoples cars and house in beyond me! Would be sitting down on a quite area of the ship when a smoker or two would either come sit close by or just stand there smoking. Got ran off several times a day due to smokers. Also, was in the casino quite a few times and was doing really good on roulette one night until a few smokers came and joined the table. I had to leave the casino and work up with a sore throat the next day. Trying to think of some positives about the ship but really can't. It was not bad at all and I am not trying to be negative. It was just very average in every way. The ship layout was not good. There is about 2300 passengers on board and it seemed like it. I went on the emerald princess a few years ago and the ships are the same size - The emerald princess had almost 3100 passengers but somehow it seemed the Norwegian Jewell had twice as many passengers as the Emerald Princess. Felt like cattle being led to the eating trough most days. Excursions: We did not book anything through NCL as with any cruise line they add 20% for themselves. We booked everything on our own and had no issues. In Ketchikan we did salmon fishing - Unfortunately, the weather was not good for fishing and they were just getting over major storms and flooding. Still had fun though. Juneau - probably most least favorite place. However, we did the float plane - 5 glaciers and taku lodge with Wings airlines and I thought that was great! they food was great! salmon was amazing! Skagway - This was my favorite of all the stops. We did the Yukon deluxe and had Brian as a driver and guide. Very funny and likable guy. Also, very smart. Was a great excursion! Last stop was Victoria, BC. Is a pretty neat city. Not a ton to do, but worth a visit. I think 5 or 6 hours here and you have done about all there is to offer. All in all - an average cruise with good excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I will start by stating a few things that certainly influenced this review. This was my first cruise ever, and I was vacationing alone. Prior to getting on the ship I tried to find some info for first time cruisers, what to expect, what ... Read More
I will start by stating a few things that certainly influenced this review. This was my first cruise ever, and I was vacationing alone. Prior to getting on the ship I tried to find some info for first time cruisers, what to expect, what there was to do, things particular to Norwegian from their website, but it just didn't exist. So I did what most people do and talked to friends and family that had cruised before. I also read some stuff on this website. In my opinion, the crew and staff on the Jewel made things very uncomfortable and confusing (particularly on the embarkation day) for 1st timers. For example, I knew that they were having a lunch somewhere, but once you got on the ship there were no signs or crew members directing you where to go. I eventually found my way to the buffet but once there it was soooo crowded, they was no where to sit, plus I was by myself,so I had to carry my food, drink, ect all with me (along with my carry on because rooms weren't ready yet) and search for a place to sit. I also knew (from speaking with friends/family) that sodas would be extra so I paid for the soft drink package and got a sticker and mug, but had no clue how it worked to get a drink at the buffet. I ended up just eating a little because the 1st time I got up I came back to my seat being taken. (As a side note on the buffet I will say I only ate here twice more, both times feeling it very difficult to find a seat, and also that the food was never better than OK, and most of the dishes I tried were terrible) I also felt very disappointed with the ship activities, particularly on the 2nd at sea day. It seemed that the majority of activities were either aimed at children or gambling. My family/friends had all told me stories about things they had done on ships from seeing movies, to watching culinary and sushi demos, music, ect. While I will say they did have many musical acts in the evenings, during the day activities seemed very limited unless you wanted to shell out $50 per bingo session during the day. As far as port and shore excursions I have a few points. Due to the length and travel time needed to get to Alaska from Seattle and back port time is very limited on this cruise. While in port I did chat with people on other ships, as well as at several of the ports all aboard times for each ship at port were listed, and the all aboard time for this ship was much earlier than any other. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed every single excursion I did. (Ketchikan- AK Logde and sea feast, Juneau- Mendanhall Glarier by helicopter and guided walk, Skagway White pass rail and Gold panning, sled dogs and 40 below experience, Victoria- Orca whale watching) That being said, if I had not gone to the excursion desk by chance before meeting for my excursion in Juneau I would have not been notified the excursion I had originally booked was cancelled in time to select a different one. While I understand a rule not to call a stateroom prior to 7am, if a excursion is meeting at 7:30 there should be some exception to this so people can actually make new plans and make them. The excursion staff was not the most pleasant or helpful, and that's putting it gently. The last point I will discuss in this review is dining. While I obviously was underwhelmed in the buffet, the rest of the dining experience I will call a mixed bag. I ate at both main dining rooms, and both Chin Chin and O'Sheehans (the other 2 complimentary restaurants on board) I also paid the eat at 1 signature restaurant; Tepanyaki. As far as variety and selection, I was very happy with my choices, and with the exception of the fried chicken night at O'Sheehans, enjoyed every meal (foodwise) at each restaurant. It should be noted that while very food, the portion size at chin chin in tiny, I ordered 2 entres and could have easily eaten 3 with no issue. The reason I call my overall experience a mixed bag was primarily the way you are handled as a single diner. Norwegian does "freestyle" dining, so you are not assigned a dining room or service time each evening. They also don't seat you with others, this meant that I was seated alone at nearly every meal. Occasionally (like breakfast, I am sooo not a morning person) this was nice, but it did make for an isolated feeling some days. If you are going in a group this wouldn't be an issue, it just was for me as a solo vacationer. Overall, I enjoyed my time in Alaska, I don't think I will give up cruising. It was my first time, but next time I will absolutely try a different cruise line. Perhaps if I am going with someone else I may give Norwegian another try, but its unlikely. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
NORWEGIAN JEWEL  ALASKA CRUISE  July 20-27, 2013 Just returned from a 7 day Sawyer Glacier cruise to Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. I was traveling with 2 friends. This was one of the best cruises I have taken, and I am so glad we did ... Read More
NORWEGIAN JEWEL  ALASKA CRUISE  July 20-27, 2013 Just returned from a 7 day Sawyer Glacier cruise to Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. I was traveling with 2 friends. This was one of the best cruises I have taken, and I am so glad we did an Alaska cruise. We originally booked an interior stateroom, which did raise some concerns about being cramped. Two days before the cruise, NCL called to offer an upgrade to a balcony cabin for a very reasonable price. We were extremely glad we took advantage of the upgrade. We made extensive use of the balcony. I would now say having a balcony on an Alaska cruise really makes a major difference in your experience. We were still a little crowded in the 205 sq ft balcony stateroom, so I can just imagine how cramped the original 143 sq ft interior stateroom would have been. PRE & POST-CRUISE HOTELS & TRANSFERS We purchased one night pre and post-cruise hotel packages from NCL in Seattle. We arrived rather late (from three different cities) the night before the cruise, so we did not really get to enjoy the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle. It was a very nice hotel, but I actually liked the Crowne Plaza where we stayed the night after the cruise better. The room at the Crowne Plaza was much more spacious. Both hotels are conveniently located in downtown Seattle with easy access to all attractions. Transfer to and from the ship and hotels was included in the hotel packages. They transfer you on a large coach. I am not sure this was really a convenience, however. Our transfer from the Renaissance Hotel to the ship went pretty smoothly, but the transfer from the ship to the Crowne Plaza took a long time because they had problems opening and closing a door on the bus to load a passenger in a wheelchair. I would think these things would be regularly inspected to comply with safety regulations, but it seemed this door had not been used or tested in a very long time. All in all, I think we would have had a quicker and smoother transfer from hotel to ship and vice versa if we had taken a taxi on our own. EMBARKATION Embarkation went fairly smoothly. The Seattle cruise terminal used by NCL is a bit cramped. There is only one security screening area, and the line was long and winding, but it moved fast. Once we got through security, the check-in desk was very cramped with makeshift stations set up on tables to add additional check-in stations. You were shoulder-to-shoulder with the people checking in at the stations next to you. Check-in went pretty quickly and we walked right on the ship. They announced staterooms were ready while we were having lunch right after boarding. We left Seattle right on time at 4 pm. GENERAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE JEWEL I have sailed on the Norwegian Star and Dawn, so the layout of the Norwegian Jewel was very familiar. Although its a newer ship than the Star, Dawn or Sun, which I have also sailed on, I found the Jewel to be more worn than any of these other ships. There were no serious issues, but the furniture was more worn than I have seen on other NCL ships. This was especially true of the chairs in the Tsars Palace dining room. They were nicked, scraped and chipped. Perhaps the Jewel has not yet gone into dry dock for refurbishment. I dont want to make too much of these relatively minor issues, as they really did not impact our enjoyment of the cruise at all. One of the things that really makes me cringe when reading reviews on Cruise Critic is the phrase: Its showing its age. Usually people who say this are the ones inspecting every inch of the ship with a microscope. STATEROOM As previously mentioned, we were upgraded to a balcony. I cant imagine having done this cruise now without the balcony. I like the general decor of NCL cabins. I like the wood (laminate?) walls and the colorful but tasteful design. I also like NCL showers such as they have on the Jewel, Star and Dawn the best of all cruise lines I have been on, The rectangular showers are quite roomy, and I like the glass doors instead of a shower curtain. Id prefer they did not have the wall separating the sink area and toilet. I think that makes the bathroom a little cramped, but its not a big deal. Because there were 3 of us in the cabin, the sofa turned into a 3rd bed. I find the beds on NCL ships to be very comfortable. I've read complaints about the beds being hard, but I prefer a firm bed. I slept on the sofa sleeper bed. It did not feel like a sofa sleeper at all. It felt like a regular bed. I would have liked a thicker pillow though. When the stateroom attendant opened the sofa sleeper in the evening, it did block easy access to the balcony, but we were able to squeeze through to the balcony without much difficulty. Storage space in the stateroom was very good. Some of the furniture in the cabin looks like it had been a while since it was dusted. DINING We ate in both main dining rooms, at the buffet, the poolside BBQ, Cagneys, La Cucina and Moderno. I thought the food was good at all locations. Selection was good. We ordered the delivery pizza ($5 charge for a large pizza) to eat on our balcony while we were sailing through the Tracy Arm. The pizza was hot, fresh and very tasty. It was much better than the free pizza at the buffet. Seating at the buffet was often a challenge, more so than I experienced on the 3 other NCL ships on which I have sailed. The Jewel has a Great Outdoors seating area as an extension of the buffet at the back of the ship. Im not sure this is very practical for an Alaska cruise, however, since it was often too cold to sit out there to eat while at sea or at night. Food got cold pretty quickly when seated in the Great Outdoors area. They seemed to be pumping heat into the area from somewhere, but it was not adequate in countering the cold winds. During lunch and breakfast, they do open La Cucina for overflow seating for the buffet. It was easier to get a table there on most days. My biggest complaint with the buffet was the lack of utensils. Most tables in the Great Outdoors area lacked baskets with the pre-wrapped utensils, salt and pepper shakers and condiments. Tables that had the baskets often were empty or only had one or two set in the basket. On previous NCL cruises these baskets were always filled with sets of utensils and staff were always walking around with trays to refill the baskets with new sets. I never once saw staff carrying trays to refill the utensil sets in the baskets. By the time you found a table and then searched for a set of utensils, your food would often be cold. I liked that the buffet had several islands rather than a cafeteria line setup, but all the food islands were all at one end of the buffet. If you were seated in the Great Outdoors it was a long walk back to the food stations to get dessert or seconds. It would have been better to position the food stations in the center. The layout and management of the buffet on the Jewel were definitely inferior to the buffets on the 3 other NCL ships I have sailed on. I ate in the buffet on the Jewel less frequently than on other NCL ships due to these problems. ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment on the Jewel was fantastic. We really enjoyed the shows in the Stardust Theatre. Band on the Run was on the second night, and the acrobat couple from Ukraine called Soul Duo who performed on night 4 were incredible. Their show is not to be missed. The Soul Duo team also performed in the Le Cirque Bijou show on night 6. This is another must see show. PORTS Ketchikan Ketchikan is more of a working fishing port than a tourist destination. I think Ketchikan works best as a starting point for excursions in the area. The ship docks right in the center of town, so everything in town is an easy walk. The Creek St area was cute, and the waterfront area in town was nice. They have a visitor center with clean restrooms right on the waterfront. We visited the Totem Heritage Center, which was interesting. It costs $5 to enter. It was fun watching the floatplanes take off and land right alongside the ship. They sure have a lot of floatplanes in Ketchikan. Theres the Lumberjack show right in town, which I wish we had done instead of the Duck tour. The Duck tour was very disappointing, and it cost $42 a person. I have done the Duck tour in Boston and thought it was fantastic. Of course, Boston is a large city with countless cultural and historic attractions. The Ketchikan Duck tour included a short drive through the center of town, followed by a short sail in the harbor. You can see everything in town much better on foot. The highlight of the water portion of the Duck tour was the closed Burger King and the story of why it failed in Ketchikan. The failure of the Burger King had to do with the position of the drive-up window and fierce winds in winter. Fascinating! ? Also, the Duck tour vehicle was enclosed in plexiglass with only small portholes for ventilation. The roof was clear plexiglass, which allowed the sun to beat down on the passengers. This created a greenhouse-type environment that was stifling I wanted to do the catamaran cruise to the Misty Fjords, but it was very pricey. Another alternative I liked was the canoe and rainforest hike excursion. My friends and I dithered about what to do in Ketchikan, and we opted for the Duck tour only upon arrival in Ketchikan. Juneau Juneau is a nice, clean town. We did the rafting trip on the river at the Mendenhall Glacier booked through Viator ($135/per person). Views of the glacier and mountains were beautiful on this trip. The rapids were fun but not too rough, making the excursion appropriate for all ages. I was surprised a bit that the river passed through a suburban area towards the end of the trip. We looked at more backyards than wilderness during this portion of the trip. The provided snacks of salmon spread, crackers, reindeer sausage and veggies at the end of the rafting trip. We saw a couple of bald eagles, but no other wildlife on the river. The free shuttle takes you from the ship to the visitor center at the base of the Mt Roberts Tramway. Here all the tour companies have booths where you can easily arrange any type of excursion in the Juneau area. The price for the shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier was $8. Im not sure if that was roundtrip or not, as we had transportation included in our excursion to the river rafting at Mendenhall Lake. Tracy Arm/Sawyer Glacier We departed Juneau at 1:30 pm and arrived at the entrance to the Tracy Arm around 4:00 pm. The weather was beautiful when we left Juneau, but it got misty and overcast when we reached the Tracy Arm. This did not really impact our enjoyment of the Tracy Arm, however, as we could still see everything pretty well. The ice flow increased the deeper we got into the fjord. We had a good view of the Sawyer Glacier, but we could not close enough to see it calfing due to the heavy ice flow. Seeing the Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier was quite an experience. Skagway Skagway is a real frontier, Gold Rush town. It is very clean and well-preserved. We booked an excursion to British Columbia and Yukon, which lasted 6 hours, so we didnt have much time to explore Skagway. Its a small town which consists of one street in its commercial district, so we did manage a quick tour of the town when we got back from our excursion. Its a short walk to the ship from town, but it started raining pretty hard while we were walking back so we were pretty wet and cold when we boarded the ship. British Columbia & Yukon Excursion We booked this excursion through Viator. The tour was run by Frontier Excursions & Adventures. Our guide Ian was excellent. They picked us up at the dock and we drove up the Klondike Highway into British Columbia and then up to Carcross, Yukon. The snow-capped mountains and glacial lakes were spectacular. Lunch was provided at the Caribou Crossing stop in Yukon. It consisted of tasty BBQ chicken, half a baked potato, coleslaw and donuts for dessert. Drinks are available for purchase. They have a small museum and gift shop as well as a petting zoo for children. They also have sled dogs there that you can play with and take pictures with for free. You can also travel up to Carcross, Yukon on the White Pass Railroad from Skagway. I believe the rail excursion costs quite a bit more (approx $170/per person) than we paid ($103/per person) for the van tour. Going by van we saw the same scenery as the rail trip and had more flexibility to make stops at scenic spots. Also, I dont know if they transport the rail passengers to the Caribou Crossing stop outside Carcross. Sailing the Inside Passage One of my friends said the scenery sailing the Inside Passage made him feel like he was in the Lord of the Rings movies. Sailing the Inside Passage is a stunning voyage that everyone should have a chance to experience. Snow-capped mountains, glaciers, deep green forests, the sea, the sky all contributed to an amazing experience. Sunsets (around 10 pm) were a blaze of color. We didnt see as much wildlife as we hoped, but the animals are not adhering to a schedule for our benefit. We saw some dolphins, a brief glimpse of an orca, a couple of bald eagles. We did not see any bears or moose. Victoria, BC We arrived in Victoria at 2:30 pm on our last day. We opted to sightsee independently. We walked around town and took a short harbor cruise. Victoria is clean and cute. I liked it more than I expected. FELLOW PASSENGERS The demographics of our cruise were very diverse. There were young, old, middle aged, all races, multi-generations families, singles, couples, groups of friends, all types of relationships represented. There were a lot of children on the cruise, and they were all very well behaved. The group on this cruise was a fun group, which was evident from day one by the number of people participating in the sailaway dance party. The Spinnaker Lounge was always crowded at night, and the vibe during all activities was upbeat and fun. WEATHER Weather was variable throughout the cruise. I personally did not mind times when it was cold or rainy. It seemed appropriate for the Alaska experience. We had nice weather in Ketchikan and Juneau during our port calls. As mentioned, it started to rain hard at the end of our stay in Skagway, but it was clear and sunny for our excursion up the Klondike Highway to Yukon. It is important to be prepared for any and all types of weather though n an Alaska cruise. Sweatshirts or hoodies, a light raincoat, a warm jacket and gloves and definitely welcome, especially when it gets cold . When it was sunny, temps were spring-like, but it could be very cold and windy at night on deck or sitting on the balcony of our stateroom. DISEMBARKATION We were among the last to disembark (at 9:30 am) since we had a pre-arranged transfer from the ship to the post-cruise hotel booked through NCL. The disembarkation process went very smoothly. Luggage was easy to find when we got off the ship. As previously mentioned, the transfer to the hotel was delayed due to problems getting the door to load a wheelchair passenger onto the bus opened and then closed again. Thankfully our trip on this bus was a short one. Not sure what this says about the overall maintenance of the bus.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
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

Find a Norwegian Jewel Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click