5 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Bahamas

Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each other. On the first day everything went so well! First of all, you CAN bring cases of water and soda with you on the cruise. Even though no one told us that! Also, we snuck on rum runners full of various alcohol. The first day boarding went VERY smoothly. I thought we would be on line for HOURS but it took us under an hour to get everything settled and be on the ship! Then, we were on the ship for probably 30 minutes (around 130/2 ish) when they told us our rooms were all ready! We got our luggage promptly after that, although they leave your bags in the hall so you can check to make sure they are yours... this made me nervous because anyone could walk on by and take your bag. We got my father shrimp cocktail as a welcome gift and it was a surprise. There was a note when we got there that we had to CALL and get it delivered. This posed an issue because he wanted to go explore and we had to basically lie to him for an hour about why we didn't wanna leave the room. After we got the shrimp (delicious and huge, worth the money) we went to explore. There was food out immediately and we were able to have burgers and hot dogs and chicken out on the deck while we left port. This cruise I would say is not for people who do not like not having a schedule. The dress attire is casual, although people were in dresses and suits sometimes at night. Also, they give you a list of what is going on in the day but you get to pick. We thought this was AWESOME. We got to pick and choose what we wanted. Deal or no Deal is 20 bucks a person which is a little ridiculous so if you don't want to spend extra, don't do that. We went to Cagneys the steakhouse specialty restaurant which I thought was "okay" I'd rather not spend the extra money and just go to the included dining. We also went to the Hibatchi restaurant which starts with "Tep" and I won't try to spell because I won't do it right. This is a MUST GO. It was AMAZING. The environment was great and the food was delicious. 25 dollars absolutely worth it. The two included dining areas were good too. The food was delicious and the waits went quick if there was one. The buffet was also great. There were so many selections so you never have to have the same thing twice if you don't want to! Chicken, veal, burgers, dogs, sandwiches, salad, a whole pig one day, ice cream, dessert....it goes on. Alcohol is NOT overpriced I don't think. A family of 5 drinkers spent over 2000 dollars BUT we all drink and it was 7 days. Also, my brother and I got over 100 dollars in buy backs which was awesome. They also have a drink of the day out by the pool which was nice because it was discounted. The staff is AMAZING. They are friendly and smiling and will remember you and your drink if you treat them well. We tipped generously because these people deserved it. They were GREAT. For first time cruisers, you do feel the boat and the first day at sea was rough because we were rocking but it is a boat and that is over the control of the ship obviously but it is just a note. The ports were good. The private island was great but GET THERE EARLY. Get up and get out early so you get a lounge chair! Then it is awesome! Nassau was good shopping and we went snorkeling which was fun. Senor Frogs is a great place to eat there. The bars on board were good and at night Spinnakers becomes a nightclub type place which was fun. I would do a cruise again and am actually thinking about it for my boyfriend and me because he would love it. I would recommend this to anyone who just wants to relax and have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I had been skeptical about taking a cruise over spring break, but having a daughter attending University in NYC it seemed like a great way to spend time with her and do a bit of traveling at the same time. Did I mention she also had a ... Read More
I had been skeptical about taking a cruise over spring break, but having a daughter attending University in NYC it seemed like a great way to spend time with her and do a bit of traveling at the same time. Did I mention she also had a birthday during this time frame? Looking at ship availability and NYC departures - she voted NCL and the Bahamas. Flying in a couple of days ahead of time, I stayed with friends prior to meeting my daughter at the Pier. I know better than to try and catch a ship when completely jet lagged. This was my 6th NCL Cruise, her 2nd with. The first on the Jewel for both of us. Checking in at the Latitudes desk was a breeze as was dropping off luggage. Less than 15 minutes, including security, and we were on the way to the ship. My daughter's suitcase was outside the room 15 minutes after the rooms released. Mine took a tour of the ship prior to arrival outside our door. I promptly notified the desk and the suitcase (perhaps I should buy one that is not black?) was located. One of the pursers checked back with me several times to make sure that everything was all right. Our cabin was neat and clean with great cabin steward service. Our schedule varied widely; our steward managed to clean-up, turn down and otherwise keep the place organized in spite of my early hours and the daughter's rather late night forays. Our cabin was midships and parallel to the line of the ship rather than the standard set up. It was comfortable for two people and not rated for more than two. The small desk was useful. Both the shower and toilet area inside the bathroom had sliding glass doors - much nicer than open or curtains. It was noisy early evening with music from the main atrium. That was less noticeable than some elephants traversing the corridor on deck 9 over our heads a few times. Meals - being on Deck 8 meant the Blue Lagoon was just right around the corner which made it all too easy to stop in for coffee, tea and an extra piece of cheese cake or three. The service there, with only one morning as the exception was always prompt and friendly. The buffet has a great selection of vegetarian (including vegan) entries - more than any other cruise line to this point. Foods are clearly labeled. The wait staff were all knowledgeable about ingredients: including getting items that otherwise weren't available in the dining room but were on the buffet. This gave me the best of both worlds - service and excellent stir-fries, curries and some of the best Indian breads I have had in a long time. Both the Tsar and the Azure are good dining venues. I would recommend making reservations if you want to eat at a prime time. The only specialty restaurant we tried was the Teppanyaki. My daughter (now aged 19) really enjoyed the show. They also did a great job of noting food preferences and allergies prior to starting any of the cooking. The ship (according to the hotel director) had over 1200 passengers in the 21 and under category. Never the less, as someone who spend a lot of time relaxing in lounges, there were no issues with screaming, running, loud or otherwise inappropriate behaving youngsters. There seemed to be plenty of activities during sea days for the younger set while the college age crew had both formal and informal spring break activities. We didn't do any formal tours, rather traveled on our own in Port Canaveral. Grand Stirrup Cay was interesting from a photo and environmental status. Nassau doesn't currently have much for museums if that is your interest (the slavery and emancipation museum is currently a frame only pending renovations, the Art Museum is open on Sundays 1300-1600) but you can have a good time at the Pirate Museum. Like many other cruise ports - there are a lot of stores devoted to tourists with the usual suspects of t-shirts, made in China gee-gaws and chain Jewelry stores. The fitness area was clean and kept strictly to the posted hours which didn't seem to be a problem since I could always get a treadmill at 0600. The attendants were knowledgeable and showed great patience for a few cruisers who just couldn't quite get the coordination required for the elliptical. Plenty of both towels and cleaning supplies on hand. Of note to those who like sauna's/steam baths. You can spend the money on the high priced version run by the spa. Or you can use the one inside the fitness area for free (available from 0600-2300 every day). The library didn't have as great a book selection as some of the other NCL ships and no paperback swap shelf. The library chairs are lined up in rows, uncomfortable, and without side tables. The card room was standard. The extra card room/game room on the 12th deck has been turned in a Photo Studio. Not being a casino or bingo fan - can't provide any enlightenment but it looked like people were having a good time. The main shows emphasis is on aerial performance - both a great Russian duo and several of the NCL dance crew combined for their extravaganza performance. Having seen "Elements" on three different ships, I was delighted with a different show. The rest of the music was heavy on classical rock, modern rock and other loud varieties. I miss classical, but this is spring break and the selections seemed right for the majority of the passengers. The teen (19) reported that the DJs were good, there was plenty of dancing; and that the beer/wine in international waters functioned well. Over all, it was good value for the price. We both had a relaxing vacation. My daughter was able to spend time with other college students in the evenings, I met more than a few other parents along for the ride. I found the service and support people willing to go the extra distance from getting non-alcoholic drinks at some of the member receptions to serving food that wasn't strictly on the menu. Debarkation was not quite as smooth. Getting a good breakfast and walking off the ship was painless. Spending more than 30 minutes in the customs line had not been on my list of *things to do when getting back to NY* but that is not under NCL's control. We did the walk off with luggage which I really appreciate. I would rather leave the tip money for my cabin attendant than pay it to a porter for 5 minutes worth of damaging my bag. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
OK, I'm big on details because I think first time cruisers need answers...so forgive me. Saturday-Embarkation_ New York Piers. Checked in at 11:30am and was about ship at 11:55! However, we were notified upon check in that over ... Read More
OK, I'm big on details because I think first time cruisers need answers...so forgive me. Saturday-Embarkation_ New York Piers. Checked in at 11:30am and was about ship at 11:55! However, we were notified upon check in that over 100 people had gotten sick with Norovirus on the last cruise, so we were offered the chance to change our cruise date. From what I see, no one did, and I have to give KUDOS to NCL for taking the cleaning seriously and making a Code Red Situation palatable...by Weds. of the cruise, we were declared "Clean"! Ate lunch at the Tsar's Palace, one of the 2 main dining rooms-the food here and in Azura (they share the same menu daily), was very good to ok. I had decided ahead of time I wasn't going to pay extra for food, so I skipped the $$ Restaurants-However, I have eaten at many of them on past cruises and they are all very good and worth the price! All the staff was very friendly and the decor of The Jewel was very nice. I have to say that Disney has much more luxurious ships, but you do PAY for it! The Cruise Director's Staff, especially "Boston" Chris and "Dazzling" Devon were wonderful. The staterooms are small but well appointed...I had a large picture window which was great,,,I didn't miss not having a balcony. Raimond kept my room immaculate. since it was cold and rainy in NY, the Sail Away Party was held in Spinnaker's Lounge...which was wonderful since I wasn't in the cold wind, and sat by the wall of windows watching us pass Lady Liberty as they played "Proud to be an American". Very Nice. Day Two was "At Sea", and there was lots to do. I love Trivia and there was plenty of that, plus a cooking demo with yummy samples, a spa tour, and "Family Feud". Breakfasts at the Garden Cafe Buffet were good, if the same, every day. And I usually ate lunch at one of the restaurants, since it's so nice to be served! That night was "Dress up or not" night, and, just a warning, EVERYONE dresses to the 9's! I had my picture taken with Captain Lars, and later went to Spinnakers to watch a shipboard version of "Minute to Win It" which was very funny. (Oh, About the shows...They were fairly lame...the Dancers were not in step and the singers were good but plastic--JP the magician was very funny, but the comedian, David Nasser was just awful (IMHO). Day Three-Beautiful day. Morning at the pool , since by now it was in the 80's, then took the bus for my pre-paid excursion to Epcot. Now, I have been to DisneyWorld 30 times, so I had a blast just looking at the flowers at the Epcot Flower and Garden Show and then having dinner in "France" with my friend who lives in the area. However, as expected, it was VERY crowded and we only had 6 hours there, so if you have never been to Disney OR if you have kids---do NOT take this excursion! It will just dissappoint and aggravate you and upset the kids! Tour Cape Kednnedy or go to the local beaches. Day Four-Great Stirrup Cay-The NCL Private Island. Again, if you have been to Disney's Castaway Cay, you will be very disappointed here. BUT, there was a hurricane 2 years ago which laid waste to the island and they are in the process of re-building and expanding. There was no construction going on the day I was there, so no noise that has been reported by other recent visitors. The day was gorgeous and it was HOT--and there is NO SHADE-No UMBRELLAS! They do offer "Clamshells", those little half tents which would have been great but they were all sold out before we even arrived at the island...so if you want one, book it at least the day before! The sand is whitem, the barbecue was good, but it was a bit small so it got crowded early. The kids all seemed to love the "Hippo" water slide and the water was warm and clear!That night, watched the "Dancing with the NCL Stars" Don;t miss this--it was really fun, even if you just watched and did not participate. Also, Karaoke is also good for a laugh or a surprise, some people can really sing! (Some Can NOT!) Day Five-Nassau, Bahamas. If you have never been here before, I would suggest taking the paradise island excursion and spend the day touring the aquarium and enjoying the beach on Paradise Island, especially if you have kids. I just walked around the shops and climbed a couple of small hills to take pictures of some of the beautiful local flowers and houses (Don;t stray too far, it isn't as dangerous as say, Belize or Guatemala, but it ain't Kansas)!. I went to the straw market (Lots of local items mixed in with the "Made in China" junk. Then walked down to Junkanoo beach-a very peaceful spot...and it's free and scenic. And don;t forget to dicker for bargains! Do NOT pay the asking price! Day Six-Day at Sea-Still beautiful and in the low 80's, so lots of pool and sun! Chocolate Buffet tonight was excellent-take your camera!-Also tonight was NCL's signature "White Hot Party" lots of fun, even if you are not the clubbing type--watching drunks can be very entertaining! And make sure to bring an all white outfit! As a side note...in between activities, NCL had a nice selection of movies on the TV-All newish films that were just up for Oscars. I appreciated that as I had missed some and I like to relax and watch TV before I fall asleep. Day Seven--Rain and cold and rough. Not as rough as I've seen it in the North Atlantic, but bad enough that the vomit bags were placed in various spots on the decks and the outside decks were closed. I love the bumping and splashing, but I know I am in the minority. However, it passed by mid-afternoon and the sun came out! Lots of Activities today...Jeopardy, Movie Trivia, name that tune and lots of good entertainment in all the bars and public areas. Don;t miss the "Liar's Club" game show late night in Spinnakers...it's always a hoot! Day Eight-BYE BYE! Did the "Freestyle" walk-off, and took my luggage with me and walked off the gangway at 9:15am, no hassle, no lines, and hopped in my waiting car and was home by 10:30AM. All in All a very nice week! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
EMBARKATION: We were ominously greeted with a letter informing us that on the previous sailing they'd had an outbreak of gastroenteritis, and we had the option of cancelling our trip for full credit towards a future cruise. We ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We were ominously greeted with a letter informing us that on the previous sailing they'd had an outbreak of gastroenteritis, and we had the option of cancelling our trip for full credit towards a future cruise. We didn't worry too much and just hoped for the best. Embarkation was delayed for extra sanitation measures, but we still boarded by around 12:30. We went straight to Tsar's for lunch (a friend said the buffet was a madhouse -- thank you Cruise Critic!) Service was a bit slow (and we were told as much before we entered) but we were happy to be onboard and our rooms were ready by the time we finished. STATEROOM: We were in mini-suite 11552 with Winnie as our steward. My 8-year-old son just asked me to mention that "Winnie was awesome!" She did take very good care of us. I was a little concerned in the final weeks before the trip that the mini-suite would be too small for all four of us, but I think it worked just fine. My sons, 14 and 8, shared the pull-out bed with no problems, and the only time we had a major bathroom traffic jam was right after Great Stirrup Cay when everyone wanted to shower at once! (Our friend in another room let me come over to use her shower, which relieved the back-up.) But other than that we didn't have any trouble. I was surprised how much more spacious the mini-suite was than my friend's regular balcony room, especially the bathroom. The thick curtains between the two sides of the room and between the room and balcony allowed us to divide it into three sections when needed for privacy. MEET & GREET: We had our M&G on Sunday morning, and it was pretty low-key. Thanks to Linda for stepping up to organize it -- I know you didn't realize you had volunteered to be our "group coordinator!" The best part was that Richard, the cruise director, was there and talked to my boys. They had seen him on stage the night before and had decided he was a real celebrity, so they were ecstatic that he talked to them, and then remembered their names for the rest of the cruise (and even recognized them by name from the stage one night.) KIDS/TEEN CLUB: Unfortunately, I don't have much info to offer. My 14-year-old visited the teen club for about 4 minutes the first night, said that it was full of "surly older kids" and never went back. My younger son just wanted to hang with family, so he never even checked out the kids club even though he's usually pretty social. But we were having lots of fun together, so I didn't mind! ACTIVITIES: We did a lot of family games, including the digital scavenger hunt, the regular scavenger hunt, and several trivia and game show activities throughout the week. These were all run by the "regular" entertainment staff, as opposed to the Nickelodeon staff, which drew a younger crowd. For the grown-ups, we did all three martini tastings over the week, which were a lot of fun and definitely a good deal. The first one was run by Ed who then left for vacation. Orrestas (sp?) and Dino did their best on the other two tastings, but Ed clearly was a lot more comfortable in front of the group. The new guys admitted to being quite nervous, but we all still had fun. Volunteer for games -- they give away free extra shots! SHOWS: We went to shows a lot early in the week and sort of wore out by the end. We enjoyed the welcome aboard show very much, and based on that came back to see David Naster's comedy and Jean-Pierre's comedy/magic, which were also fun. Band on the Run (typical cast singing/dancing with 70's theme) was OK. The boys loved the Pirate-themed acrobat act (my partner, Mike, and I used that night for a romantic dinner opportunity!), and my younger son and I only caught the end of Cirque Bijou, but it looked like it was a big hit. We made sure to catch the end so we could see the crew invited on stage and cheer for them. FOOD: We had our first dinner at Azura, and decided that we liked the atmosphere so much that we never actually had dinner at Tsar's. The food at Azura was good quality hotel-style food. Nothing to do back flips over, but very satisfying. We were not planning to do as many specialty restaurants as we did, but after enjoying the first two so much, we were eager to try more things. We went to Mama's, Le Bistro, Moderno, and Cagney's. All were excellent, and you definitely noticed the upgrade. We thought Mama's and Le Bistro were by far the best values -- Mike had Osso Bucco at Mama's that he thought was incredible (he's the foodie of the family) and I loved my seafood fettuccine as well. Le Bistro was our couple's dinner, and it was every bit as special in both ambiance and quality as I would have expected. Moderno was very good, but I thought $20pp was high for the meat-on-a-skewer concept. We had a very light lunch that day and I still couldn't finish all the samples of meat. My boys asked me to mention that they thought Moderno was the best meal of the cruise. Cagney's was also very good, but I wasn't sure why it was priced higher than Le Bistro, as I had an excellent filet there as well and the overall experience was I thought better at Le Bistro. Of course, Cagney's was the last night and I think everyone was getting a little punchy from being together 24/7 all week, so please take my lack of extreme enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Also, we had the a la carte sushi one day as a light lunch, and found it delicious with prices much lower than what we pay at home. We did breakfasts in the Great Outdoors, the Garden Cafe, Tsar's, and the Blue Lagoon. The cafe had the most selection, but you had to put up with the hordes of people. Tsar's was a little slow but decent. I asked for one substitution one morning and did not get it, but ordering off the menu as written the food was fine. The Great Outdoors and Blue Lagoon had the best atmosphere (read: quiet and not as crowded, especially Blue Lagoon) but more limited selections. Lunch for us was in the buffet or Blue Lagoon every day except that first day in Tsar's. So over-all, our take on the buffet is that most of the food was good, and occasionally we came across something that we didn't care for. I'd give it 85% good and 15% "never mind, I'll go get something different." But with so much to choose from, we all found food we liked at every meal, and I personally never felt like I had to go back to the same choices again because there were plenty of good options. For most of the week there were servers at the buffets and you couldn't touch any serving utensils due to the previous outbreaks. People complained about it taking longer, but I actually missed the service when they removed the high alert status mid-week. We did order one $5 pizza to our room right after we got back from Nassau, and it was quite good. The best desserts we had all week were the Chocolate Fondue and Vanilla Crème Brulee at Le Bistro, the Apple Crisp and Raspberry Crème Brulee at Cagney's, the Key Lime Pie at Azura, and the Brownie Sundae at Blue Lagoon (available 11am -- 5pm only.) DEBARKATION: We chose the latest time slot for our luggage tags and took our time eating breakfast in the buffet. Afterwards we tried to move to the Crystal Atrium, but deck 7 midship was a zoo, so we hopped right back onto the elevator and went up to 12, walked forward past the pool area (a little chilly for us to stay out there, but some people were) and went to the card room for a game of Yahtzee that lasted until our tags were called. We took the forward elevators down and didn't even have to wait in line to leave the ship -- customs was also pretty well cleared out and we went right through. Hope you future cruisers found some useful info! Like I said before, this was an awesome family vacation and worth every penny, even at the higher Spring Break prices. I would do it over again in a heartbeat. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Embarkation was a breeze. We didn't have to wait in any lines. We went straight from the cab, in the doors and up the stairs. We were given a number and we sat in the chairs and read our Daily and planned our day while we waited ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. We didn't have to wait in any lines. We went straight from the cab, in the doors and up the stairs. We were given a number and we sat in the chairs and read our Daily and planned our day while we waited about 30 minutes before boarding the ship.We like to have our lunch in the Dining Room on the first day to avoid all the crowds and back-packs etc. We had a lovely window seat where we not only enjoyed the food but also enjoyed the scenery. It was a very relaxing start to our trip.We loved all the choices of Dinning Rooms on the ship. We ate in the beautiful Tsars, Azura, Mama's Kitchen, the Italian restaurant, Blue Lagoon and Buffets. Our favorite was the Italian Restaurant. It was very charming and we had a window seat for the perfect setting. The food there was delicious and our best meal and service on the ship. We can't wait to go back. All of the food on the ship was very good even though we had slow service a couple of nights in the dining rooms. We loved the fact that we didn't have to dress every night and could eat whenever we wanted so we planned our dinners around our activities. Not our activities around dinner. I love that about NCL. We also love that they have grills by the pool. You feel like you are at a cook out and the pork chops we had were delicious. We ordered room service several times and the only complaint is that it took awhile a couple of times to get our food. We especially loved the large brownies with nuts and Vanilla ice-cream for bed time snack one night. The chocolate buffet was very nice too. Out favorite thing being the white chocolate covered apples.The shows on the ship are very nice for children as well as adults. We both loved the comedians and magicians. Crazeehorse was amazing but I thought their show drug on a little too long. We enjoyed all the music on the ship especially out at the pool. They have a very talented group of entertainers. My Granddaughter loved the Kids Club. She never wanted to leave. She loved the staff and they were all very pleasant to the kids as well as the adults. The lines were a little long a couple of nights in the 6-9 year old age group. NCL should do something about that. Possibly have 2 lines for check in. I noticed the other line hardly ever had a wait so they could have checked the 6-9 year old in, in that line too. It must be the most popular age group. My granddaughter also enjoyed all the Nickelodeon activities on the ship.Our room was ok, like most ships, we did have a refrigerator and the beds were comfortable. We had a maintenance issue that was taken care of very quickly which really surprised us and did not hold up our plans for the day. The room attendants were very friendly. They always smiled and greeted us by name in the halls and our room was always neat and clean.Debarkation was a breeze. We were first off the ship and sitting at the airport by 9 am.There were a lot of positives on the ship. Cons, I wish there were more desert choices on the ship. I don't eat cheesecake and it seemed to be on the menu every night. We had slow service in the dining room a couple of nights too but all in all we had a great cruise and we will definitely cruise again on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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