398 Norwegian Jewel Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. This was our 23rd cruise, our second with NCL. I was very hesitant to go on another NCL cruise because my first experience (2006) was not that great. However, NCL was offering great deals, so my we decided to book at the last minute, and I am glad we did. Our incentives included a free Ultimate Beverage Package and $100 shipboard credit. It was too good to pass up! Embarkation: We live very close to the cruise terminal, so we had friends drop us off. We arrived around 11 AM and by noon we had dropped our bags in our cabin and were sitting by the pool. The weather was a little dreary, but still warm/dry enough to hang out. Cabin: Since we booked at the last minute, we didn’t select our cabin. Dining: We only dined in all of the complementary dining rooms (O'Sheehan's, Chin Chin, Asura, Tsar’s Palace, Topsiders, and the Garden Café). We ate breakfast at both the main dining room and O’Sheehans where both were pretty good. We ate lunch at Topsiders and the Garden Café, and alternated dining rooms for dinner. The dinner food was OK, nothing special, but not bad. Our only disappointment was there was no “lobster night”. In order to have lobster you must dine in one of the specialty restaurants which is at an additional cost. Receptions: We attended the Cruise Critic reception which was very nice. The cruise director, Julie, along with the many of the ship officers also attended and it was a nice personal touch. We also attended the Latitudes (Past Guests) cocktail party which we really enjoyed (again the senior staff was in participation.) On formal night, the captain was available for photos, which was nice. (We haven't seen that happen in years on other cruise lines.) Ports of Call: We didn’t do any excursions because we had just visited the exact same itinerary a few months back. However, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed just walking around the pier. Debarkation: Wasn’t bad at all, we were off the ship and home before 11 AM. It was wonderful cruise, the ship was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and our room was nice. We are already looking into to booking our next NCL cruise when the Jade comes to Houston this fall. (Please forgive any typos as I am typing on a very small screen :-) ) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My husband and I try to cruise every other year and usually with a group of other family members. This was our 4th NCL cruise and the first one that was just my husband and I. This was also the first time we cruised out of Houston and ... Read More
My husband and I try to cruise every other year and usually with a group of other family members. This was our 4th NCL cruise and the first one that was just my husband and I. This was also the first time we cruised out of Houston and had no idea what to expect. We flew into Houston the day before the cruise and purchased the hotel package with transfers through NCL. We flew into George Bush and stayed at the Marriott Intercontinental at the airport. On Saturday, there were about 25 other people waiting for the bus to the port also, we met a few and visited with them for a bit. Suddenly we realized that it was 12:20 and still no bus. One of the couples we were talking to asked at the front desk where the bus was and they said that it is there by 11:45-12:00 every week, well it was 12:20 so he was officially late. The problem here is that there was no NCL representative at the hotel like there has been in the past when we have bought the hotel/transfer package in other port cities. NCL needs to remedy this issue, we had no one to ask what the issue was and the hotel staff had no idea. Carnival had 2 Reps there earlier for the people they were transferring. The bus guy finally showed up an hour late for our 1 hour ride to the port. He was sooo rude, NCL needs to look seriously at the company they use for this service in Houston. The wife from the one couple said “where have you been you are over an hour late,” and he rudely replied “I don’t work for you and you have until 4:00.” Um no we didn't, the ship leaves at 4:00. Special note here he was also the driver on our transfer back to the airport from the port and he just as crabby and rude to everyone a week later. We finally got to the port, checked in and were on the ship at 2:30, so the check in process was not nearly as bad as the transfer from the hotel to port. We were in a aft balcony on Deck 10, it was back by the elevators so that worked well for my bad knee. The ship was clean and well kept during our week on board. The 3 ports we visited were Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Excursions- we pre-booked and paid for all our excursions through the ship prior to sailing and thy were all beach getaways this trip. On Monday we stopped in Cozumel. We booked the Passion Island with lunch excursion through the ship. Originally we were to go at 9:30 AM but there was a note when we boarded that said the time had changed to 11:30. No big deal, we had a leisurely breakfast, showered and headed out about 10:30. We boarded a boat and off we went to Passion Island. This is a private Island so there were no vendors coming at you and bothering you. We swam, snorkeled and lazed in the sun all day until it was time to return to the ship at 3:00. Once back on board we napped, showered and got ready for the evening’s festivities. On Tuesday we were in Belize and it was our granddaughters 9th birthday who was at home and had asked for a birthday present from Belize. We went to another private island called Starfish Island. It was very windy on this day and hot, but since we were a little burned from Cozumel we rented a big umbrella so we were shaded when not in the water. This was a cool island and also did not have vendors after you. There was an area that had star fish, a lobster, conch and other marine animals that you could hold and learn about. I held a rare 6-legged starfish. It is amazing how heavy they are when they are alive. There was also a gift shop that we went into and bought birthday presents for the two we left at home whose birthday was this day. We got on the tender and headed back to the ship, had a late lunch on board, napped showered and got ready for the evenings festivities again. The next day was Roatan and we had never been here before. We booked Maya Key private island retreat. We were really sunburned from the last two days so we got chairs in the shade of the trees. This place was so cool, they had an animal refuge with sharks, turtles, different kinds of birds, moneys, cats that were rehabbing; a Mayan ruin museum that you could go into and learn about the Mayan civilization; great snorkeling along the worlds second largest reef. Maya Key is right across the channel from the dock and was literally a 2 minute boat ride. We were a little sun sick so we went back to the ship a little after lunch so we could shower and snack and wander around the ship. We have to give kudos to all the staff from our room steward, Concierge, servers, cruise staff, entertainment staff, and officers, they all did a fantastic job making this the most relaxing week and enjoyable week we have had for a long time. The entertainment on this cruise was really good. We loved JP, the comedic magician, Band on the Run Show, the game shows and Cirque de Bijou. The comedian on this cruise started a little slow and really was not as funny as some others I have seen on past cruises, but really that does not make or break my cruising experience. I know food is subjective but we were pleased with all the food and service we had on this cruise except for the service in Chin Chin. It is a good thing this is a no charge venue anymore because if it was I would have asked for my $$ back. The waiter got our order wrong and even though we tried to tell him we didn’t order some the stuff he brought, he left it there. My husband asked 4 times for green tea and never did get it. And we ordered dessert, but it never came so we just left and went to the buffet for dessert that night after the show in the Stardust Theater. Some people would have let that totally ruin their vacation, but we are easy going and laughed about it all that night. We had meals in Tsar’s, Azura, Le Bistro, which we loved, the buffet and Chin Chin. We usually had breakfast in Moderno and a couple of days we did lunch there also. As I said before the food was all good in our opinion and the service was good too except for the one venue mentioned earlier. The positive outweighed the negative this trip and the negatives were more of a bump in the road for us, but we are easygoing and it would take a lot to ruin a trip for us. Things we learned: If we cruise out of Houston again we will stay in a town closer to the port that offers rides to the port at a reasonable rate. I learned this from other cruise critic members that attended the meet & greet. Fly into Hobby Airport next time, it is closer to the port y about 15-20 minutes. We will be back NCL, we already have our 2017 cruise booked on the Jewel to the Mexican Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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
This Cruise was a celebration of my wife's battle of overcoming Cancer. We left Kansas City the night before and arrived in Houston almost two hours late due to air delays. We stayed at the LaQuinta on NASA Parkway, and basically just ... Read More
This Cruise was a celebration of my wife's battle of overcoming Cancer. We left Kansas City the night before and arrived in Houston almost two hours late due to air delays. We stayed at the LaQuinta on NASA Parkway, and basically just slept, ate breakfast and left. The taxi ride to the hotel and cruise terminal was fine, and the driver was great about telling us bits of information. Upon arrival to the cruise terminal, we gave out bags to the gentlemen outside, and that was the last time that we saw them until they ended up at our stateroom door later on. The Embarkation process was easy, as we were given a boarding group number, and once that was called we proceeded onto the ship where we had lunch at O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill on Deck 8 Mid. I will say that most of the food on board is pretty bland and flavorless, but overall very good- More on that later. We were allowed into our staterooms a little before 1PM, and upon entering the room, the congratulations package that I had ordered for my wife was there with streamers and a large cake. The cake was vanilla with Lemon and Strawberry- WHAT?! What celebration cake is lemon and strawberry? Where is the chocolate?? :) We dropped our bags in the room and explored the ship, including the booking of a couple of shore excursions. 4PM was the departure time, and we headed up to the very front of the ship to see us pull away. (Deck 14 I believe) The ship's horns are right above that deck, so when we did start moving, everyone soiled themselves when the 3 blasts of the horn sounded. The shows on the Jewel were amazing, and the cruise director, Jaime was awesome at keeping us up to date with everything that was going on. The restaurants were all nice, and had quite a few options. It is very easy to overdo it here. The Garden Cafe was the buffet, and the highlight there was Washy Washy man, with his guitar that he would play for hours on end and sing about washy washy to tunes like "London Bridge is falling down"... "Washy Washy Good For you, Good For Me, Good For Us..." The biggest rip-off by far is the pictures on the ship- you spend over $130 for 10 pictures. That piece is highway robbery in my opinion. Also, the tax and duty-free shops were good from some things, and not good for others, so be careful and know what you are buying. The port shopping consultant on board, Dani, was amazing and was honestly probably our hero of the cruise. When we stopped in Roatan, we were in Diamond's International. It was Dani's day off, and she came through in street clothes, but still worked with the salespeople to get us the best deal possible. We did shore excursions in Cozumel and Roatan. In Cozumel, we did the Dune Buggy and Beach Snorkel. This was a great relaxing and fun excursion for people who like adventure and can drive a MANUAL Transmission. It was painful to see all of the people who couldn't and were killing the clutch and transmissions on the buggys. In Roatan we did the South Shore Zip Line Adventure, and that was beyond amazing. It was only about a 20 minute or so bus ride to the location, and once we got geared up, we began the zip line adventure. It was absolutely amazing to zip line over the forest of Roatan, and is something that I will remember for a LONG time. A small note, you CAN bring your cameras with you even though the sign says not to... They are just not responsible if it gets dropped or broken. Overall, for a first cruise, I can't find much to complain about other than the cabin and the rip off that the pictures were. (See Cabin review for more on that) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
From the ease of the check-in process to disembarking today, all went smoothly and with efficiency. I booked this cruise March 2014 and the sail became our second cruise; our first on Norwegian for us and veteran floating friends sailing ... Read More
From the ease of the check-in process to disembarking today, all went smoothly and with efficiency. I booked this cruise March 2014 and the sail became our second cruise; our first on Norwegian for us and veteran floating friends sailing with us - so we had no latitude perks to begin this voyage. The officers and crew were wonderful, visible -very approachable and always asking if everything was going well. The entertainment was spectacular and the food extraordinary. Dining: We elected the Ultimate Dining package and made reservations prior to sailing. After learning the show times, we made a couple of time adjustments with no problem. One morning we had breakfast in Tsar's for the experience. Our frequent cruise friends said we would have to wait in lines - maybe on the cruise line they most often frequent. We had no wait and received exceptional service - in all of the venues. Two days (at least) grills were on the pool deck and beef and chicken grilled and served - scrumptious. Ice cream REAL ice cream everyday! Shore Excusion: We have taken excursions through resorts and other vacation destinations. The Chankanaab Shore & Snorkel Cozumel was the BEST we have ever experienced. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Best of Roatan is a misleading title so read the fine print-this is a cultural experience and 14 people in a 9 passenger van is no fun. Only disappointment is the Ship is leaving Houston ... but we have already booked on the sister ship coming to Houston, Norwegian Jade. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We decided due to the reviews to sail Norwegian Cruise lines this go around. We decided to ask some friends to cruise with us, and unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment for us. I have cruised 5 times and my wife now 3 times. Our ... Read More
We decided due to the reviews to sail Norwegian Cruise lines this go around. We decided to ask some friends to cruise with us, and unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment for us. I have cruised 5 times and my wife now 3 times. Our guests had cruised a couple of times. The ship was decent, appointed and nice looking. It is cast as a "Freestyle" cruise and we had hoped for more from it. The service was the worst issue that was in need of repair! I'll give one example....we went to one of the complimentary restaurants to eat. It was listed as one that allowed cruise apparel. Meaning shorts and flip-flops acceptable. Several couples ahead of us, were told they could not eat. The sign at the podium even said the other restaurants required pants, etc. It was unbelievable that so many of us were told we could not eat even under their rules. Finally we were allowed to seat. This is where it went sideways for me. I sat down and the waiter handed me the menu. He then reached for my water glass but first knocked (or slapped) my menu out of his way to reach for my water glass! I looked at him he smiled, then slapped it back out of his way to set my water glass down! Most of the time the workers were indifferent to customer service when we interacted with them. It was 8:30 pm and I went to eat something. The buffet was closed, the two restaurants near the pool were closed and we had to go eat at one small restaurant with 5 items only. So they were not lying "you can eat 24/7." One last issue you should know, is the alcohol. Our plan was not to drink much and just pay as we went. By the end of Sunday we added up money. Here is how they operate, every drink requires a receipt to be signed by you. Your name, additional tip on top of the 18% already paid. Does not seem very ease of use to me. Not to mention as an example i tried 12 shots of a whiskey and not even as much as a slight buzz. Which means they are not only cutting, but seriously cutting the alcohol to save money. Once these issues were spoken with about to the management, they decided that some strawberries and a bottle of wine were the answer to assist. I am grateful they tried, but seriously the lack of customer service was the worst issue, lack of food to be had, just because it was evening time. Not late night, evening time. One last issue was we saw our cabin attendant for the first time on Thursday evening. As much as this pains me to say, Carnival was better at customer service than this Norwegian ship. I do not rate all of their ships like this one as I have not sailed on them. But I am not sure that I'll take the time to find out either. It's not terrible but not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great ... Read More
my wife and I sailed on the Jewel for the second time this year and found it just as good as the first time we sailed on her. During the entire trip we had no issues with any one or anything on board. the meals were above average to great and this covered room service all the way to the paid restaurants. the staff, from room stewards, bar staff and senior staff were the best we have encountered in all of our cruises. I found that anyone who got upset about the washy washy part of eating has never been sick on a ship. once they experience that, they would never be bothered with it again. We would sail on the Jewel again and intend to! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read ... Read More
I feel a little guilty only giving 3 stars - since we had a great trip. But I just finished the Norwegian survey and realized that there was really more wrong with this ship than I thought. Every cruiser feels they are an expert - I read most reviews from this trip and disagreed with much of the criticism - so really - you need to keep an open mind when you read the reviews. Keep in mind your own expectations, experiences and preferences and then weigh in our comments. This was our 12th cruise. 5th on a Norwegian. I would have to say - this was probably my favorite ship. Least favorite? Breakaway - too damn big. But I will agree with a previous review - Rock of Ages was a GREAT show as was all the entertainment on the Breakaway. Entertainment on the Jewel - eh.....not great but still worth watching. I love a smaller ship - and this was smaller but large enough where you didn't feel too crowded. The negative - there were lines at times - especially at the bars. Yes - bar service was mostly horrible - especially at poolside. We had the ultimate beverage package (UBP) and had to wait an inexcusable amount of time for service. Even extra tipping in cash didn't help. Drinks were severely watered down and smaller. BUT - you get what you pay for and in reality - you paid for unlimited so if you are disappointed in your drink - throw it out and find something else. Food - it was okay. Not like the olden days when food was everything - presentation, selection, taste, etc. But again - you get what you pay for and when you pay for freestyle - your experience takes a hit. Never have I cruised where I went to an open dining room (Azure) and had to ask for a server. Nor do I understand how the other open dining room (Tsar) would not let you in with shorts. Same menu, service, etc. I can guarantee my husbands shorts and Tommy Bahama shirt cost more than most diners in the room - but that is a bit caddy so I apologize. Food was still good and plentiful. We also ate at Cagneys - Super good and the Italian (La Cucina??) - which was very good but too much food. Spa - I had a decent hot stone massage and facial while in port in Honduras. Be aware - even though you may spend $200+ on a spa treatment - that still does not give you access to the actual spa. You need to pay extra for that and I thought that was absolutely outrageous. It made no sense to me and I let them know it. PORTS - LOVED Cozumel - and if you like to bar hop - you must choose the Cozumel Bar Hop (not an excursion offered by the ship - you need to search for activities from the island). This was a very well organized, CHEAP, and fabulous day. We went to the opposite side of the island and went to out of the way bars with beautiful views, great drinks and really great staff. A definite must. Belize - We didn't sign for an excursion this time because we wanted to see the city on our own. Big mistake - if you can't handle locals in your face trying to get you in their cab - then book an excursion. Honduras - Banana Coast - this was the last time Norwegian would ever be at this port so I will leave my comments to myself. So - now you see why I chose an average rating. BUT - I would still choose this ship again - but only with different ports. It was still a wonderful and relaxing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first time cruising out of Houston. Parking at the Port was easy as was driving in and out of the Port. You must purchase parking pass on line to receive the $75/week rate otherwise it is $80. We arrived about noon and ... Read More
This was our first time cruising out of Houston. Parking at the Port was easy as was driving in and out of the Port. You must purchase parking pass on line to receive the $75/week rate otherwise it is $80. We arrived about noon and embarkation was smooth. It takes roughly about 4 hours to get out of the Port of Houston, so all alcoholic beverages have a tax on them, and the casino won't open until later that evening. Also if you buy any alchol on board for carry off, Texas greets you after you go through customs to collect there tax. We brought out the max so we paid an extra $15. NCL did not tell us this, but this is why there were so few sales as it is not really duty free. Our food was delicious everywhere we ate. We stuck with the included restaurants. We ate in the main dining area where we got excellent service from Leo. We ate several times at O'Shannihans, and enjoyed the food there as well as our favorite server, Sarafena. Chin Chin was probably the weakest link here, but it was still good. Loved the barbecues at the pool and the buffet was good for breakfast and snacks. We did seem to have to wait about 30 minutes for the main dining room, so treat it like any busy restaurant, put your name in and then go have a drink. Entertainment had some good, some not so good. The Russian dancers were fabulous, so was the comedian Nestor. Didn't care for the card trick guy, but my husband liked him. The NCL dancers were very good, the singers were just OK. There are many talented musicians on board and the last day played lots of our fav music, we like classic rock, rock, and do not like disco. Seems like everywhere we went to dance, that's all they played BUT they always had a full dance floor. If I heard YMCA again I thought I would go crazy. I am wondering if we just couldn't stay awake long enough for the good stuff. What was missing on this cruise was a dueling piano bar, or at least a lively piano singer. In Cozemuel we went to the State Park, great place for snorkeling, swimming with the Dolphins, zip lining, good facilities. I think the taxi ride was $12 for 2. Belize we went ashore and went on a horse drawn carriage tour. We just caught it outside the gate. After going out I didn't really feel safe just walking around so we went on the tour. Cost was about $25 plus tip. If we go there again, we will just do an excursion from the pier, such as snorkling or going to the beach. We went to the new poet Truijullio. Interesting place. We walked up to the town and did a little shopping, then went to the beach. Water was very nice, though the beach isn't the cleanest place. I think it will get better as time goes on. Our room was a balcony room, very nice. Loved the bigger bathroom, and we had a coffee pot in our room. Our attendant did a very good job. We had the Utlimate Beverage Package for the first time as it was a special NCL was running. We saved all our receipts and decided we will probably buy it the next time, as it would have saved us a few bucks. Overall we had a very nice cruise and can't wait for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Traveled with spouse, son, and daughter over spring break. We came into Houston the night before and stayed at the Marriot South(?) near Hobby. We took a taxi the next morning to Houston Terminal. It cost us $65 for the ride. Embarkation ... Read More
Traveled with spouse, son, and daughter over spring break. We came into Houston the night before and stayed at the Marriot South(?) near Hobby. We took a taxi the next morning to Houston Terminal. It cost us $65 for the ride. Embarkation was not too bad. This was our second NCL cruise(3 of us) and we were in 2 average cabins. Therefore, no perks that gave us priority boarding. Nevertheless, the line moved fast enough to not be frustrating. The Jewel is a beautiful ship. I was excited to board her and I was looking forward to a good time and wanted my 28 year old daughter to be impressed enough to not be sold out to a competitor cruiseline that has a reputation of being a "fun" ship. I wanted to win her over to NCL because that is the direction that I was going, and since we cruise together most of the time, I didn't want to always be on that "fun" ship. ;). Well, it is what it is. She was not impressed and I was disappointed. Here is why: THE FOOD- We all felt that the Garden Cafe was not good. At all! We figured that it was because it was buffet. So, we went to both MDRs. The Tsar was better than Azura. However, neither was anything to get excited about. Me and spouse tried Chin Chin. It was so so. No need to go back twice. We ate at Le Bistro, Moderno, and Cagney's. We liked Le Bistro the best. Cagney's and Moderno was just okay. We did not get the UDP. So we paid the surcharges. Le Bistro's bill was around $150 for the four of us. It was just my husband and I that went to Cagney's and we spent around $100. Forgot what we spent at Moderno. I think the surcharge was twenty dollars each.I heard a couple other passengers complaining about the food. We told them that Le Bistro was delicious. However, they felt that you shouldn't have to pay extra for food. We did it because we wanted good food and that appeared to be the only way to get it. THE ENTERTAINMENT- I expected more. I guess because of what we experienced on the Epic. Don't get me wrong. Some of it was good. I really enjoyed the Russian couple and the magician. Not impressed with the comedian, Cirque Bijou, and definitely wasn't impressed with the lounge entertainment. I enjoyed all the ports including Trujillo. I would have to say that Trujillo was most enjoyable because we had a local person to pick us up and took us within the city. Don't worry. It was planned. Local business person. Felt very safe. In Cozumel we went to the beach. Great time at Mr. Sanchos. All inclusive pass for fifty dollars included food and all drinks. 15 year old son said he enjoyed himself. He likes that "fun" ship better. Disembarkation took a longer time than embarkation due to customs. But that is expected. In summary, I am happy to say that although me, husband, and daughter were dissapointed, daughter is willing to give NCL another chance! Husband and I are already planning an escape on the Escape. Hopefully the food, cabin, and entertainment will be great. I am still on a mission to win over daughter to NCL. Unless the Escape dissapoints! We know how to make our on fun, but we expected more. Come on NCL! Work with us! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Family of 4, dh (32), ds (11), dd (9) and myself (32) on our second cruise. First was with Carnival...I didn't want to compare the two lines, but in all honesty, it is very hard not to. Embarkation/Disembarkation Fast, easy and ... Read More
Family of 4, dh (32), ds (11), dd (9) and myself (32) on our second cruise. First was with Carnival...I didn't want to compare the two lines, but in all honesty, it is very hard not to. Embarkation/Disembarkation Fast, easy and efficient. No complaints whatsoever. Cabin Yes, this was an inside room, but wow, I guess I just didn't realize how poorly set up it would be. The pullout bed was fine, but I really wish there would have been two. Instead, there was a cot that they would put in between the two full size beds. My feet dangled from the cot, so I had to take one full size bed, hubby took the other full size and dd took the cot in the middle. So that meant I couldn't sleep beside my husband one night on this cruise. Very upsetting. Dining Food was SALTY. There were some meals that I couldn't even eat due to the poor flavor (seafood bisque) even the desserts were just ok. The "volcano" cake they have wasn't even a volcano lol! I guess there just is no comparison to the similar cake served on Carnival, we ate that every single night on Carnival. There just wasn't anything worth writing home about when it came to food on this trip. I'm not sure if it is because Norwegian wants us to fork over the money to eat at the for-fee restaurants, but I honestly never had a bad meal on Carnival. Ports Cozumel Amazing, you cant go wrong in Cozumel. We did some snorkeling and visited a beach club. It is way cheaper just getting someone on the port to take you to a beach club then to go through the ships excursions...half the price or more...had a great time! Belize City I don't know why this is a stop. This city is nerve wracking. If you aren't with a tour, you better just stay at the port. I would not visit here again. Oh...apparently, there is no beach in Belize City, but you wouldn't want to go in that water anyway, very murky. Banana Coast, Honduras Wow! Loved this port! So beautiful and friendly locals! We did the Cascades, the ship charges $39 for kids...if you go on your own (a taxi will take you there, $25 per hour, they will take you on a tour of the city as well if you want) the Cascades don't even charge for children, what a rip off...and its about a 10 minute ride from the port...do they really need to charge $39 for a 10 minute ride for a child? Anyway, the cascades were beautiful, a must see! Entertainment Snore fest! I think all the shows were very cheesy. There was only 1 performer that was entertaining, JP the Comedic Magician. Very cool show. Otherwise, no thanks. There was hardly anything to do during the day that interested us. The band at the pool played the same 10 songs over and over again every single day. We found ourselves at the pool all day, for most of the cruise. On Carnival, we were constantly running around trying to get to all the activities, that just wasn't the case on this ship. Kid's Club I waited in line for over an hour just to sign the kids up for this club, they had one staff member helping a super long line of parents. (Carnival had you sign the kids up online before you even got on the ship, much easier) I probably would not have cared about waiting in that line had I known my kids would not be interested in at least ONE activity. They did not go to any of the activities, they said it wasn't something they were interested in. Now, these are the kids who when on the Carnival ship did not want to be with us parents because they preferred being at the kids club! So they were looking forward to going to the kids club and were honestly disappointed. As was I. Summary Would I travel using Norwegian again? Probably not. We had a great time because we love being with each other, and that is what mattered most. We made the best of it. I would have to say that we prefer Carnival over Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Just returned from the April 4th sailing on the Jewel. This was our 5th cruise, having been on the Star, Breakaway(twice), and the Epic. We had an AMAZING time. Not sure why people are saying that the ship is “worn” or ... Read More
Just returned from the April 4th sailing on the Jewel. This was our 5th cruise, having been on the Star, Breakaway(twice), and the Epic. We had an AMAZING time. Not sure why people are saying that the ship is “worn” or “dated”. This ship is from 2005, hardly “dated”. Some of the carpet may be a bit faded in places, but does that really ruin your cruise? We had booked a window stateroom, and were able to upgrade for $20 to a balcony. Room was standard, adequate. Houston: The port facility is nice, but the area is not scenic. I highly recommend booking Super Shuttle for transport. We got RIPPED OFF on Houston Cab Co. going from the Hobby Airport to the port ($90!!) when everything we read said it should have been $35-$40. We booked Super Shuttle for the ride home as soon as we got check in for the cruise. They took us both for $54 and it took half the time. That makes sense, as the driver took a totally different route, proving the cabbie ripped us off. Live and learn. FWIW, NCL charges $35pp for their transfers to Hobby, so the Super Shuttle is a better deal. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and organized. Drinks: We had the package deal that included the Ultimate Beverage Package. This is a no brainer folks. We’ve bought the UBP in the past. For two people (as they make everyone in the cabin get it who is of legal age) would cost you about $800. The dining package promo is worth $240 and the onboard credit promo was $300. So the UBP is the best value, unless you don’t drink. At all. Any drink under $11 is covered and any wine under I believe $10 is covered. Also your sodas. One thing we did notice this time is that because they offered the UBP as a “freebie”, the drinks were carefully measured and/or down right watered down. This happens at all inclusive resorts too. No biggy, you just drink more. BUT, if you are PAYING for your drink, I’d be pretty annoyed, and some who picked a different package or missed the promo period were indeed paying. Food: We opted (as we always do) for the Ultimate Dining Package. At $119 pp. it more than pays for itself. The food in the MDR’s is good, we just prefer a fancier atmosphere and love love love the food. We did Cagney’s twice, LeBistro twice, Moderno once, and Teppanyaki once. All were great, except the service in Moderno was AWFUL. Half the meats never came out, and we didn’t get our sides until we were nearly done. They did however send us up a nice cheese tray with wine at sail off the following day which we shared with another couple to make up for it. Buffet was good for breakfast (Hint: Head to the back of the ship, and go outside – there is a smaller breakfast buffet out there that is never crowded and never a long wait for an omelet). Lunch we usually did the same place OR the big BBQ grills out by the pool (sad these are not present on the bigger ships). O’Sheehan’s continues to be the worst free food venue on all NCL ships. Never had a great experience there. Casino: For the gamblers out there, this was the QUIETEST casino we’ve ever seen at Sea. Payouts were TERRIBLE, which is probably why! I lost $800 on blackjack, I talked to another couple who had lost $5K, and another lady who lost about $1K on slots (those always lose anyway). Bingo payouts were also very, very low. Entertainment: This was probably the best entertainment on any NCL ship we've been on (although i still love Breakaway's Rock of Ages show, which ive seen 4 times!). Go to every show. You wont be disappointed. Ports: Visited Cozumel, Belize City, and Trujillo. We had done the Tulum Ruins in Cozumel the last time, so we opted for shopping this time. We went to Dani’s port shopping presentation and learned a TON. I bought a beautiful necklace after hearing her informative advice. Here’s a hint tho. If you want jewelry, do NOT buy it at the very first Diamonds International. There are 4 there, and the necklace I wanted dropped in price (which I was negotiating) exponentially as went from store to store. First store wanted $3500, I got it at store #4 for $1500. In Belize, we did the Altun Ha ruins with the River Boat cruise. The ruins were much smaller than Tulum, but you were allowed to climb them which was fun, and they probably won’t allow it for much longer. The River Boat was a nice ride (it’s about 21 miles) but we didn’t see much for wildlife but you can’t plan that. The lunch was yummy (and included). Authentic red beans and rice with chicken. Bring your passport, you can get it stamped immigration, located at Pier #4. Trujillo we debated staying on the boat due to safety. We ultimately did go over there, the immediate port area is nice, and police presence is everywhere. We walked up the main street into the town (very sketchy) but then hiked up the hill to the Fort which had the best views of the ship and sea. There are also more local vendors up by the fort, that had nicer stuff and better prices. Again, military/machine gun presence here for safety. Bring your passport, you can get it stamped at immigration, in the same building where they sell tickets to the Fort. Yes, the Fort is not free. They wanted $3 which we did not pay. I’ve been to Bermuda 3 times and did tons of the forts there at no charge. Seen one you’ve seen them all. Afterwards, we sat on the beach at a nice little outdoor beer shack. Safety in numbers here, we stuck together as a group of 4. I did take numerous photos of the beachfront as I’m sure in but a few years it will be filled with commercial hotels and the like as they continue to develop this port. Great for the locals in terms of jobs, etc. but there is something to be said about the natural beauty. Jaime, the cruise director, was amazing. The only cruise director we liked better was Pedro on the Star back in 2012. She was a close second. Sadly, I heard a rumor that she is “retiring” from NCL and going to settle down with her new husband who also works on the ship. I’m happy for them as they are both nice people, but a big loss for NCL indeed. We are now off on the Getaway this fall! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just got off of the Norwegian Jewel two days ago.This was the first cruise for my wife and I. Before we headed out, we wondered how it would compare to the land-based vacations we have taken in the past...Here is what we thought: ... Read More
We just got off of the Norwegian Jewel two days ago.This was the first cruise for my wife and I. Before we headed out, we wondered how it would compare to the land-based vacations we have taken in the past...Here is what we thought: About us: To give you a little perspective, we are a couple in our early to mid 40s. We have three children, but none of them accompanied us on this cruise (for the first time in 20 years). We have vacationed in about every way possible on land...everything from rustic cabins in the woods, road trips to Disney (from Illinois) on a budget, to the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica..and everything in between. Accomodations: We booked an aft facing Penthouse suite. It was awesome, and comparable with a very nice hotel..perhaps a bit smaller than the Ritz, but very comfortable. The soap/shampoo/ conditioner supplied in the room is all high quality. The shower had great water pressure. The suite was well lit, modern, and clean..all the things you hope for. If there was one drawback, I would have liked more channels on the television.. programming choice was pretty limited. The difference versus land-based: I have never stayed at a resort with service quality as strong as this. It was incredible-better than the Ritz. Our stateroom was made-up twice a day by an amazing room steward who always turned down our bed,set the lighting in our room, drew the curtains every night, created a new towel animal for us, and left mints on our pillows. We were impressed-every night. We had an assigned butler who would drop off snacks to our room every afternoon. She did a fantastic job of making sure we had everything we needed, and was very prompt and knowledgeable. I cant think of a way to improve service or cleanliness of the room. Food: We have stayed at "all-inclusive" resorts before and have never been overly impressed with the food quality. This is different. We had the Ultimate dining package, so we ate at a different specialty restaurant every night. I highly recommend the Ultimate dining package. we feel it made a substantial difference in our cruise experience, and combined with the perks of being in a suite (eating at Modernos for breakfast and lunch) The food experience was exceptional. We never had a bad meal anywhere...and we had a lot of meals. Land-based differences: There are so many food/drink options, and they are all so appetizing that you WILL overeat..and wish you could eat more. Service at the restaurants and room service is very good. Entertainment: There is a different show in the main theater every night. The quality of the shows varies, but most are good to very good..and they are free. Besides the main shows, there is a plethera of music throughout the ship every night. There is enough variety to please everyone of all ages. Overall impression: We think this cruise was a good value for our money. It was truly a pleasurable/memorable experience. We will cruise again...but not until I exercise enough to lose the 5 pounds I gained on this cruise. I know I skipped a lot of details , so please feel free to contact me at: fasmtrcycl@yahoo.com with any additional questions you may have. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I sailed on the NCL Jewel before and when I saw it sailed from Houston this was a no-brainer for my gift of a cruise to my niece. I have preconceived notion of what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised and a few areas. First, I ... Read More
I sailed on the NCL Jewel before and when I saw it sailed from Houston this was a no-brainer for my gift of a cruise to my niece. I have preconceived notion of what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised and a few areas. First, I heard there was 750 children on board and I would say 99% of them were extremely well behaved. I enjoyed sharing the cruise with them. In fact I Delighted in seeing their joy and reaction to several things. I had expected to play a lot of trivia on board as I have enjoyed it in the past. However, the trivia on board to Jewel has changed dramatically. I am not a fan of the large group on screen and video trivia. We played a few times and had fun but it was not as enjoyable. I had also expected that the casino would be extremely crowded and smoky, but actually the reverse was true. It was quite pleasant and my 18-year-old niece actually had fun. This was her first time to gamble legally. Since we did win quite often, I hope she doesn't think it's that way all the time. Ha ha. We took three ships sponsored excursions. In Cozumel we did the dolphin ride and it was great. We bought pictures as Momentos and although they were pricey we are glad to have them. In Belize we did the Lamanai Ruins and riverboat ride. I had inquired at the shore excursion desk as to what time we would return and they told me 3:30. However it was after 4:40 when we actually returned. I was supposed to be at the spa by 4:20 so I was very anxious and trying to get back. In Trujillo we did the Campo del Mar beach break. This was a perfect ending to be able to relax and play in the small ocean waves. We were in a penthouse suite on deck nine and we really enjoyed the sweet suite perks with breakfast and lunch in Moderno as an incredible one. But I would have to say one of the best perks of the cruise was meeting and having as our concierge, Hanno. He really made our trip special. We also had a great Butler, Jennifer and an awesome room Steward, Errol. We went to a few of the shows, David Naster, comedian and Cirque Bijou. They were both nice. Weather was great all week. And it was smooth sailing on the open sea. I stayed away from the open deck and pool as I am not one for huge and loud crowds. But everyone out there seem to be having a great time. I had to spa treatments well on board. Sadly, the floating bed for the seaweed wrap was broken, this had been my first choice. Instead I had the bamboo massage and later the Thai poultice massage. If you like a deep tissue massage, Ni Mati is the one for you! Both massages were outstanding. We had two dinners at O'Sheehans, one at each Chin Chin's, at Teppanyaki, La Cucina and Le Bistro. We also had La Cucina served ensuite one night. Favorites were Teppanyaki and Le Bistro. Not that fond of the food at Chin Chin but the sushi was outstanding. And it was gorgeous too. We played deal or no deal and bingo. My niece won two pull-tabs at deal or no deal and I won $34 in bingo. Just some fun things to do to pass the time. In combing my platinum and suite perks, we really felt pampered. My niece is now spoiled for life. Ha ha. The only negative was that a few items came up missing from our room. On the second day I noticed an expensive blush brush was gone from my drawer and on day five my niece came to lunch and stated she forgot her cell phone in the room. When we went back we could not find it and we haven't seen it since. We have a slim hope it might show up in the laundry and Cano filed a report for us. Fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Went on the Easter trip, out of Houston, with 3 stops: Cozumel, Belize and Trujillo Honduras. First freestyle cruise for us. Disappointing to say the least. The nickling and diming was absolutely out of control. The main dining ... Read More
Went on the Easter trip, out of Houston, with 3 stops: Cozumel, Belize and Trujillo Honduras. First freestyle cruise for us. Disappointing to say the least. The nickling and diming was absolutely out of control. The main dining area (Garden) served at best diner quality food. The Washy Washy guys with their spray bottles were in your face, insisting that you disinfect your hands, disregarding the fact that you told them that you just showered. The ONLY place that served semi decent food was unfortunately, the Irish pub, aka O'Sheehen, and even there, the burgers were the size of a children's meal burger with an over sized bun. We tried all their restaurants, including the ones that you had to pay, I would discourage anyone from spending extra for these restaurants. The dishes are dirty, Tsar's Palace sports torn curtains. Azura's table linens are covered in stains and lint from old age. The food is medicare at best, and poorly presented. The menu at the Azzura and Tsar Palace are identical. The chefs have much to learn about proper food preparation and presentation. VERY limited drink menu. The unlimited alcohol cards that we purchased covered drinks up to $11 if you wanted a drink (single malts especially) that was more, you had to pay for the entire drink. The rooms: We had a mini suite. Everything is miniature size. The beds are tiny (Children size single). The mattresses are absolutely old, torn, beat up, and sagging. The linens are OLD, torn and stained yellow. We had our linens changed 4 times, it didn't matter, all were torn, with yellow stains on them. We spoke to the room steward, and he said that most of their linens are like this. The Bathroom: We had a Jacuzzi tub. The toilet itself and the seat are toddler size. The towels are rough and thin. I learned the hard way when I wiped my face for the first time. Bring your own conditioner. Before you assume that we're spoiled, oversized Americans, we're not. We're normal size people, who paid for what we thought was a decent cruise, but didn't get what we usually get from other cruises back. We're frequent cruisers, we experienced, Holland America, Costa, Royal Caribbean and the Burger King of the Seas, aka Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
EMBARKATION My wife and I took this cruise the last week of March 2015 out of Houston with my brother and his wife. We drove in early Saturday morning from East of New Orleans and arriving around 9:15am were one of the first one's ... Read More
EMBARKATION My wife and I took this cruise the last week of March 2015 out of Houston with my brother and his wife. We drove in early Saturday morning from East of New Orleans and arriving around 9:15am were one of the first one's there at the terminal. Currently only two ships use this terminal, it was very nice and easy to navigate. I parked literally in the first row next to drop-off, there was plenty of parking available at $80 for the entire week. Getting on and off the boat was fast and easy, there were very friendly associates working at the terminal, nothing rude like my encounters in New Orleans or Ft. Lauderdale. THE SHIP I have read that the Jewel is old and out-dated, but generally did not find this to be the case. Norwegian's décor is funky and chic, I found the bold color combinations kinda cool and eclectic. Most activities occur topside on the pool deck. BOOKING I booked Norwegian out of Houston for the value, and the ability to go to a couple of ports we had not experienced. I was neither over-impressed nor disappointed. Their options to choose among free unlimited beverage, unlimited restaurants, no tips or cabin credit is an excellent value. My wife and I stayed in 8118 while my brother and his wife had cabin 5502. Was able to book for around $2500 for four of us plus tips. At least one of us in the party probably consumed $1000 in free drinks. FOOD The Garden Café is the main buffet-area for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a good assortment, would have preferred the staff to serve coffee/tea, rather than just walking around picking up empty plates and wiping tables, which they did perform pretty frequently. The omelet station is okay, remember to plus-up your omelet by finding items like sausage outside the cooking area or whatever you want on yours to present to the chef who would gladly oblige you. My favorite seating area was along the open-air back of the ship which provided a fabulous breeze and excellent view versus eating inside. In the seating area open tables were hard-to-find, very close together, and even at the food stations everyone was constantly running into each other. I did not like this at all, Norwegian should close La Cucina restaurant on the other side and open it up the Garden Café!!! There are two dining rooms on board, Azura and Tzar's. Shorts are allowed in Tzar's on the first night only, after that slacks are required. The wait times as part of 'freestyling cruising' are annoying. Make reservations in advance if you chose to eat at either dining room or the specialty restaurants. My brother had the sirloin steak at Azura and said it was the worst steak he had ever eaten - mine was very tough but flavorful and free, so be cautious depending on your expectations. O'Sheehans Irish pub was visited about four times. There is a limited venue, of marginal offerings. Don't miss the Chicken pot pie however, it was excellent! We only selected one specialty restaurant onboard - Teppanyaki for hibachi grill. There are less options than my neighborhood hibachi restaurant, and at $90 for 3 of us was under-impressed so we opted to eat our other meals at the "free" venues. The best surprise was the daily grilling at the pool decks around lunchtime. The brisket was excellent, this was definitely my favorite eating area on board, I should have eaten there more often. ACTIVITIES / ENTERTAINMENT Hands-down my favorite venue on the ship included performances by NEXT STAGE. The Fab Five Filipinos were top-notch and ultra approachable. I am accustomed to good music while cruising - but these guys rocked the house! Lanie the lead singer needs to be discovered as she is big time, but the whole group is talented musically and vocally. Jerome on lead guitar was fun and crazy good. I know this is a cruise review, but it would not be complete without noting the talent of these guys. JP the Magician was also excellent. He is a comedian and singer as well. The Russian acrobats should not be missed. Avoid the casino. Shopping in the ship's stores is off the beaten path and I am certain impulse buying is negatively impacted by it. The ships photo gallery on deck 7 is very user-friendly and organized. I preferred this much to RCL. EXCURSIONS This was our third time to Cozumel - and best so far. Went to Chakanaab Park. It was $21pp to get in, $15pp for snorkel gear, and $13/4 taxi fare one-way. This was a great choice! The snorkeling was fantastic, as was the free sea lion show when we got there. I highly recommend this activity if you are still trying to figure out what you want to do in Cozumel, the park is beautiful. 20 oz cokes were only $1, and the underwater camera for sale there was less than I paid for mine at Walgreen's back in the states. I booked ButtsUp! cave tubing through cave-tubing.com at $50pp before the trip. Another great choice! Our guide Avito was wonderful. He took care of anything we asked. You should not go to Belize and miss this. Finally, I booked in advance through Island Marketing an Island tour with Karen Jones. She was superb, and showed us the entire island. My favorite area was the West End. SUMMARY Our first cruise with Norwegian. Will probably try them again, but on a larger ship. Navigating this one at 93,000 tons I found the pathways chopped up - having to walk through a shop to get from point A to B. It was a fun cruise, the staff is about 70% Filipino and the whole crew is outstanding. Norwegian has done a good job maintaining the ship. I think it was an outstanding cruise for the money! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We took this cruise during our Spring break in Manitoba Canada. We had a group of 12 total (3 families), split up into 4 Balcony rooms on Deck 9. My wife, daughter an I were on the Jewel in July of last year for an Alaskan cruise. We ... Read More
We took this cruise during our Spring break in Manitoba Canada. We had a group of 12 total (3 families), split up into 4 Balcony rooms on Deck 9. My wife, daughter an I were on the Jewel in July of last year for an Alaskan cruise. We flew into Houston the night before the cruise, and stayed at the Best Western Plus in Seabrook. This hotel specializes in pre and post-cruise stays, and provides a free shuttle ride to and from the cruise terminal. The hotel was adequate. We used the free shuttle to go to the Kemah boardwalk area the night before the cruise and had a good time. We also stayed post cruise and used the shuttle to visit the Johnson Space Center. The staff were friendly, and the rooms clean and adequate. There are not many things around the hotel (A Subway and a Gas Station with a large convenience store), so if you are staying here, use the shuttle to get some entertainment time. Embarkation was quick and well handled. Due to it being Spring Break there were over 700 under 18 on board. This lead to very crowded kids activities and areas. Overall I feel the staff did an appropriate job in provided for all the kids, and still trying to have the rest of us have a good time. For entertainment we found the live music in the bars and lounges to be our favorite, we particularly liked Next Stage especially their acoustic set, and White Hot Party set. We also enjoyed Paulo's guitar and vocals. We only made it to a couple of shows in Stardust (David Nastor (the comedian), and the Cirque Bijou). Both of these shows were excellent as well (but expectations are a little higher when you're watching the main stage). In Cozumel we spent our time walking along the shore line and shopping. We picked up most of our souvenirs for people here as we expected it to have the best port shopping (and I feel we were right about this). The color of the water in Cozumel was absolutely amazing! We arranged a cave tubing excursion in Belize. I had originally planned to book through NCL, but our party chose to save some money and book privately. This led to some frayed nerves in navigating the tender process. I then also wen the wrong way in the cruise terminal and we ended up outside the safe area, and walking around trying to find our tour operator. We did find them eventually, and the tubing was good, although rushed (due to our lateness). I feel it was a good experience for our group to see the countryside of Belize and the effect of poverty in a 3rd world country. For stress free excursions book through the cruise line for tender ports. Our final port was Roatan Honduras, and here my wife and daughter had a Dolphin encounter at Anthony's Key Resort. They absolutely loved the experience and the beautiful setting of Anthony's key. I spent my time nursing a rum punch hangover with some more drinks, and chatting with other cruisers. We ate our breakfasts by the large rear windows in Tsar's Palace. There were not many who chose to come to the main dining room for breakfast, so service was great, and the views also. We all felt that the omelets were the best choice at breakfast. For our dinners we tended to eat at Azuras. We had a couple children with us, so we wanted to eat early, which worked well as we never had to wait in line at all. We did have all 12 in our group eat together one night. We chose to eat in Tsar's and it seemed that this dining room was far more empty than Azuras. My wife, daughter and I also ate in Le Bistro one night. I was a nice small room, and had more attentive service. The french press coffee here was far, far better than the coffee in the main dining rooms. The food was all served at correct temperatures, and the plating was beautiful. We had a few meals and snacks in the Garden Cafe (Buffet area) but we found sticky tables and spills were not cleaned up and left the area feeling dirty and not as appetizing. The European/American style food was a little bland, but the Asian style foods had great flavors and I enjoyed them. The two kids that we had with us enjoyed their time at Splash Academy, and I overheard other parents saying that once in their kids didn't want to come out either. It was nice to be able to leave our iConcierge number with Splash Academy rather tan predicting where we would be and constantly phoning to update them as to our location. We made use of the iConcierge app on the ship. We tried using it on an iPhone 4, and HTC one (android) and couple of blackberrys (Z10 and Z30). Installing on the blackberry's involved side loading the app, but it still worked. We found the best performance on the iPhone, this was an old iPhone with no SIM card, and it still worked just fine as only WiFi is needed. The blackberry's needed to have the app closed and relaunched occasionally to keep it working. On the Android device we had problems with it dropping off the ships wifi, so the app really did not work effectively on this device. We didn't spend a lot of time troubleshooting, and just spread out the other's to cover. We liked having the ability to send messages, but I don't find a use in the phone as it was too loud in most areas to try to have a phone conversation, so I think they should look at dropping the phone portion and maybe expanding the app to support tablets. The disembarkation took longer than we expected. The line up was longer than they had even set up barricades for, and I could hear comments from others that there were worried that the long lines might cause them to be late for flights. If you are flying out the same say, give yourself as much time as possible to get through. We were staying in Houston that night, so we just had a long delay, but were not affected in any other way. Overall, we enjoyed this trip, and we are planning on another cruise with NCL. We enjoyed our previous cruise to Alaska more than the Western Caribbean, so it will most likely be in Alaska again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was going to be our 9th cruise, third on NCL, first on the Jewell. There were plenty of activities to do on the ship. Plenty of food to eat as well. The food was average. I expected more of a variety in the dinning rooms. Food was ... Read More
This was going to be our 9th cruise, third on NCL, first on the Jewell. There were plenty of activities to do on the ship. Plenty of food to eat as well. The food was average. I expected more of a variety in the dinning rooms. Food was good though. In the main dinning rooms, service was a little slow, dinner took about 2 hours at dinner services, dinning room was not even half full. Ports were good, Cozumel, Honduras, Belize. This was the fist time that we left from a Texas port. I will NEVER leave from a Texas port again. We were told that when you buy alcohol, it is duty free. You can buy 3 liters per person duty free. THIS IS NOT TRUE. As soon as you get through with deportation and you get ready to walk out the exit door, there are people standing there asking if you have bought Alcohol or cigarette's. Then you have to go to Texas tables and PAY for buying liquor & cigarette's. THESE TWO ITEMS ARE TAXED IN TEXAS SO IT COSTS YOU THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY AS IN A STORE. Then when you go to the airport you have to pay the airlines for special liquor packages. So actually this liquor COST US MORE than buying it in a store and having the hassel of transporting it back home. My advice on buying liquor, DON'T. Leaving from a Texas port, DON'T. The cruise part was great, afterwards was not. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review ... Read More
This was my husband and I's first time aboard any of the Norwegian boats and our second cruise. Our first cruise was with Carnival Pride and we sailed with a group of friends. On this particular cruise, we sailed alone. This review will be a comparison and overall review of our time aboard the Jewel. We flew in the day of the cruise and had some friends pick us up from the airport so I cannot comment on the cost of transportation roundtrip from the airport nor can I comment on hotel accommodations/parking. The ship was much larger than Carnival's Pride boat and there was much more available in terms of entertainment. The downside to that however was that many of the activities available we not of interest to us. Much of the concerts/live music/music in general catered to country or rock music. Considering we are more pop and r&B lovers, we did not enjoy much of what they had to offer. That was very disappointing especially when you have two back to back at sea days. What we did enjoy was the comedy show featuring JP and the Le Cirque Bijou (both presented in Stardust) and two of the adult only games in Spinnaker. During the at sea days we spent most of our time in our room sleeping, watching the new release movies or relaxing in the sun. My advice to the activity coordination team on the Jewel would be to diversify entertainment options. Because of this, I would not recommend the boat to other couples who like us are very active, enjoy diverse experiences and are traveling alone on the boat. On the brighter side, the passengers were very, very friendly. We met really nice, easy going people on the boat and it was not hard to strike up conversation. I know you cannot guarantee this on each sail, but it was very welcomed considering this was not something that we found on Carnival's boat. The food was just okay. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants because we knew that if we wanted anything that was offered, we could easily find those things at home. We did opt for the Chef's Table since it occurred on our anniversary night so when you have a chef preparing dinner for you, you know it has to be GOOD! The Chef Table did not disappoint, but we did find out from another couple that the menu is the same regardless of which boat you sail on with Norwegian. I do not know how true that is, but if we decide to cruise with Norwegian again, I'll be sure to look into it. My husband and I personally felt that the food offered on Carnival's boat was very diverse, different and exciting. We tried things we normally would not try like alligator, shark, frog legs, ect. When we saw a more Americanized version of dinner being served EVERY night in the main dining halls, we were very disappointed. The breakfast at the Garden Cafe could use refreshing as well. I grew tired of the breakfast options after Day 2 of our 7 day cruise. Our Cabin was pretty good for the most part. We stayed in 8073 and although the room appeared very clean we noticed a few issues. Our sheets had black marks and stains on both the sheets and the comforter. We immediately called to have them replaced along with the pillows. We also had a problem with the toilets backing up or not being able to be flushed atleast once a day. It was very annoying to have to call once per day to have someone fix the issue. I should also note that when you enter the hallway from the elevators or O'Sheenans and you first pass cabin 8093, I smelled a sewage-y smell that did not last the entire cruise but was present for the first 2-3 days. I can only assume many of the toilets in my cabin area had toilet issues as you would see the plumbers accessing the toilet pipes outside the cabin throughout the cruise. In terms of the staff, I would definitely give them average or below average scores. The crew at Carnival really made us feel appreciated, welcomed and knew us by name. I was so touched and connected with them that I cried when our cruise came to an end. With Norwegian, we barely saw of cabin stewards, the staff never went above and beyond and we truly felt like just another number. That was a feeling I could have done without. We noticed that our last two days on the boat (which were at sea days) room service nor the reception desk would answer our calls. When we finally got through to room service (they actually called us back) they patched is through to room service and they picked up immediately. I should also note that room service was VERY VERY slow with food arriving cold at best. Embarkation was not as bad as disembarkation. When we embarked, the lines were long, move pretty swiftly, but the hostesses did not provide us with a map. For disembarkation, we felt that the customs process could have been smoother without the longer than normal wait lines. Overall, I would not cruise on the Jewel again, but I would not rule out cruising with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Just came back from our 7 night cruise out of Bayport Houston to the Western Caribbean. We set sail on March 28th 2015. The embarkation process was real smooth. We got there pretty early, around 10:30 and there were lots of people already ... Read More
Just came back from our 7 night cruise out of Bayport Houston to the Western Caribbean. We set sail on March 28th 2015. The embarkation process was real smooth. We got there pretty early, around 10:30 and there were lots of people already there. The lines move fast and before you know it, you are aboard the ship. We happened to bring a case of water, which the porters will not bring onto the ship. You do have to bring it yourself, so if the room isn't ready when you get on, you will be lugging this around the ship. It was worth the hassle because everything on the ship is an upcharge. We opted for the $200 room credit instead of the other options, but had we thought about it, we would have picked the speciality dining. We've cruise before, on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, so we were used to a gigantic ship. The Jewel is pretty small. We had the aft part of the boat with cabins on the 8th deck. This proved to be fairly inconvenient since everything seemed to be at the front of the ship. Elevators were slow, so we took to using the stairs quite a bit. We had three ocean view rooms, two adjoining and one a few doors down. The rooms were actually pretty nice. The kids loved the bunk beds and the bathrooms were quite large considering we were on a ship. The ship had been renovated in 2014 and it seemed like they spent money on the rooms and some common areas. The boat is small and it definitely feels like it. The corridors do not go through the decks completely. Many times, you have to walk through a store, a restaurant, or up another floor to get to the other side of the deck you really want to. There aren't many stores, so hopefully, you like the general store/jewelry/and snacks one. The prices weren't bad, just wanted to be more options. The central coffee place was great, the cake boss has a case of goods that were delicious. It was however very slow for prepared drinks. Expect to wait 5 minutes for a two drink order. Right above it was the O'Sheehan's Irish pub. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner 24-7. The service is pretty good, the food is a little hit or miss though. We tried almost all the restaurants. Here's the quick rundown. Tsar and Azure main dining rooms were just okay. Some of the food was overcooked. I ordered fish and it was pretty well done. Some people in the party had much better meals, I probably picked poorly. Cagney's steakhouse was the best of the bunch. The Teriyaki option was popular and good, so make your reservations because it'll be filled before you get on the ship. La Cucina was good as well. We tried the sushi restaurant on the second night, the fish was fresh and great. We tried the restaurant again on the fifth day and the fish seemed less fresh. We also tried the Chinese restaurant and found the food to be poor. On every cruise we go to, we always book the Chef's table. For those that don't know, its a special dinner with food from the head chef. It is a long meal with many courses and wine. Well worth it and definitely a great experience. It also comes with a tour of the ship's kitchen, which was a great way to see how things get done. The kitchen was very clean and smaller than you think. Entertainment options: Shows nightly at 7:15 and 9:15. The shows are the same with plenty of seats. The shows are okay. The band on the run was kinda boring. The Russian duo was impressive. The comedian was funny for adults and kids did not get his material. The best show was the Cirque-type show. All the entertainers pitch in and help out in all the shows so it's kind of a cool family vibe thing. My two kids (6 and 8) found the splash kids' club to be boring, though each time we picked them up they would say they had a good time. We used it sparingly, so I'm sure others would have a better time than us. The ports were fine. We had Cozumel, Belize City, and Roatan, Honduras. We never book excursions through the ship, instead we book at resorts themselves for a day-use pass. In Cozumel, we stayed at the Presidente. The kids loved it and it had plenty of things to do, plus a nice room for a day and 45 dollars in food credit. Great way to spend the day. The resort had a nice beach, tide pools for the kids, and a huge pool. Would go back for sure. Belize, we tendered which took 30 minutes to get off the ship and ended up in the Belize port. The shopping was okay, and like everyone else says, do not go to the city. There is really no point in getting off the ship in Belize, and quite frankly I do not know why they even go there. The last port was Roatan. We booked the number one option from trip advisor. Little French Key. This place had it all. Animals, food, beach...so much to do and such a great highlight for the trip. Trust me, book it and enjoy. Of course, the Jewel also spends the least amount of time here. That was annoying. Overall, it was a cheap, nice, and relaxing trip. I don't think we will be going on NCL again, it just wasn't the right mix for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first cruise and we had a blast. Too many kids for us due to Spring break, but we found our quiet places. The food was excellent, the staff was attentive, and the shows were amazing. All in all, freestyle cruising worked very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had a blast. Too many kids for us due to Spring break, but we found our quiet places. The food was excellent, the staff was attentive, and the shows were amazing. All in all, freestyle cruising worked very well for us. We highly recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines and will cruise with them again! ☺ Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Me and my partner have cruised once before, a few years ago. We liked it so much that we decided to try it again for our vacation this year. She teaches at a university, so the week of spring break was our only option. We got a ... Read More
Me and my partner have cruised once before, a few years ago. We liked it so much that we decided to try it again for our vacation this year. She teaches at a university, so the week of spring break was our only option. We got a fantastically cheap deal; even with airfare from LA it was the cheapest exotic international vacation option we could find. The ship is in fine shape, don't let the reviews about it being old scare you. It is well maintained and recently refurbished, and you have to look hard to see any imperfections. It is midsize, which was actually quite nice; it didn't take too long to get anywhere on the ship, but there was still plenty to do, including a casino with poker, library, cigar room, water slide, spa, exercise room, six hot tubs, many restaurants, and constant entertainment and games. The dining was fantastic; much better than the previous Carnival cruise we went on. Every night we ordered 3 appetizers and 3 desserts each, then went to the buffet for more afterwards. Not every dish was amazing, but most were. We only paid for one premium dinner, at Le Bistro, the french restaurant, and it was well worth it. The lobster was truly delicious. We were so satisfied with the regular dining the rest of the nights we felt no need to spend more on premium dining. The entertainment on the ship is top-notch. It was rated #1 for all Norwegian ships. There were events all throughout the day, and the main nightly entertainment in the stardust theater was phenomenal almost every night. Having specific areas for kids and teens made it especially nice; there were almost no screaming babies or kids being stupid to bother us. The staff and service was quite good. My respect for them grew as I learned how they don't have a day off for many months in a row, and how hard it must be to have all those cabins ready by 11 or noon when all the cabins aren't even empty until 9. We applied to have dinner with one of the officers, and were able to have a nice dinner with the hotel director. It was very nice, and we learned that sometimes these dinners are canceled due to lack of interest, so don't hesitate to apply. There were only 3 ports, but I liked each one. The only downside was they were all in a row; it would have been nice to spread them out more so I could recover from having to get up early. Cozumel is beautiful, but it is possibly the biggest tourist trap. It is geared towards getting everyone to hang out on the beach and get wasted. The beaches are beautiful and the drinks tasty so this isn't a bad thing, but if that isn't your scene go for the snorkeling. The excursions are overpriced but the water really is nice. We did the cooking class on Playa Mia with Louise; probably not worth the $80, but it was lots of fun, and it came with a free open bar and an hour or two hanging out on the beach as well. Belize isn't as bad as a tourist trap. Everyone said Belize City wasn't a great place to hang out, so we took the excursion to the Lamanai Mayan ruins. It was our favorite excursion, but it took a long time. An hour bus ride to a boat, an hour boat ride (with beautiful wildlife and monkeys, going fast on a speedboat) to the ruins, a delicious lunch, and the ruins themselves were really cool. Then the same boat and bus back. Long but worth it. Trujillo was our favorite port. I echo other reviewers who say that it is refreshing to have a place that hasn't yet been converted into a giant overpriced tourist trap. The goods here were very cheap and we saw the most beautiful jewelry and art here. We didn't do any excursion but just shopped and explored old town and were quite happy to spend the whole day doing this. We had saved all of our shopping money for this point and we weren't disappointed. The people really are poor, and it is nice to know that the money you're spending will really benefit these poor folk's lives. Embarkation and disembarkation were as expected. The email said embark at 2 pm, but one can actually board by about 11 am, so show up early, avoid the rush, and wait on the nice ship. We cut it close, with our flight landing at about 1, and there was no reason for that. Overall I was even more impressed by this cruise than our first one. This ship and it's crew were fantastic, and I'm sold on Norwegian over Carnival. Considering the cheap prices for cruises on this ship, I was afraid it would be sub-par, but it is not at all. In fact I'd specifically return to this ship over a different one. In summary, this is a top quality cruise ship with budget prices since it is slightly old. Don't hesitate, it's worth it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We went on one of the busy Spring Break cruise weeks while our kids were on Spring Break. It was my husband and myself on our 7th NCL cruise and 7th cruise, and our sons 9 and 6, one on his 2nd NCL cruise and one on his first cruise. My ... Read More
We went on one of the busy Spring Break cruise weeks while our kids were on Spring Break. It was my husband and myself on our 7th NCL cruise and 7th cruise, and our sons 9 and 6, one on his 2nd NCL cruise and one on his first cruise. My husband and I like to cruise when it is less crowded and a better deal, but we also wanted to take our kids on a cruise that they would be old enough to remember. It is hard to find a time when they are out of school. We were worried it would be super crowded. I’m happy to report the ship did not feel overly crowded or overrun with kids – however, on overrun with kids, I had an expectation of their being kids. They also handled kids club well. There was some time lines to check in/out, but we were never turned away and it did not look over crowded peeking in. It looked like they planned well for the capacity. Now that I covered my crowded concern, back to the cruise. We left after school on Friday, March 6th and drove from DFW to Houston. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express at Airtex Dr. It was north Houston, to break up the drive some, and just off the Hwy 45. It worked well and included breakfast for an easy start the next day. We left the hotel about 10am for the 1 hour drive to the port. Like others have mentioned, you drive through to drop off luggage and then drive around to get your parking ticket (pre-pay) or pay for parking. We were gold for the first time, so we got priority check-in and did not wait any time. However, they did not give us a number to broad the ship; be sure to get this when they give you the health questionnaire after security. When I asked at check-in how we know when to get on the ship, they sent us back to the front – squirreling out the in… priority check-in, but not priority boarding… We got on the ship about noon, so about 1 hour in all. On the ship, we had lunch at the MDR and got to try out the new menus. During the cruise, our 9 year liked the adult menu, while our 6 year liked the kids menu. After lunch, we explored the ship and then went to the room to see if ready (we always seem to miss the announcement when they are ready). We had connecting rooms that came locked. We call the room steward number, and our room steward, Putu, came to unlock them. He also said he saw our luggage and would bring it soon. He was great at making the kids feel special. Our room was prepared with the gold package – tender tickets, disembarkation tickets, laundry discount, ship pin, and party invite, which was nice because we could figure out how it all worked – and the welcome gift. Our kids like Kid’s Club, and we found plenty to entertain them. It was even a challenge some trying to get all activities because they had things going on at Kid’s Club as well as separate from Kid’s Club including the Double Dare game show, learning balloon animal making, learning magic tricks, Dora dance party, and family cupcake making. We went to all but family cupcake making. The kids felt they were too old for the dance party with character photo shots. The Kid’s Club is closed for 2 hours for lunch and dinner now, which is a change, on sea days. It was a little more challenging, but we made it work with electronics at dinner to entertain the kids. Kid’s Club was open during more hours on port days and just charged port play fees during the lunch and dinner times. We did not get to attend the prior guest parties or as many shows with the kids along. Of those that we saw, the acrobats were the best. The magician comedian and Cirque were also very good. We attended the M&G and had a gift exchange; it was fun. Cozumel: We caught a taxi to Chankanaab. It was about $13 for 4; set rate. Note your pier name for return later. We had the coupon for Chankanaab from their web site. We explored the ruins; there was someone make tortillas that we got to sample them. Then checked out the lagoon and crocodiles. We brought our own snorkel gear and borrowed the free life jacket. You have to provide one id to borrow one or more. We just brought our passports on shore; for this, I wished we had brought our driver’s licenses instead. Regardless, it worked well. My husband and oldest son snorkeled and enjoyed it. Our youngest enjoyed the pool; an adult has to go in with them – cannot just supervise from the side. We also had a snack from pool side food stand where we could watch the dolphins while eating. We also watched the Sea Lion show. It was in Spanish and English but still challenging to understand. The person speaking did not seem too concerned about being understood. Though just watching the Sea Lions was nice. When we were ready to go, there were taxis available and was called over for us. Belize: We pre-booked the Stingray and shark ray alley snorkel tour from Coral Breezes. Since we were carrying snorkel equipment, people wanted to sell us a tour, but when told we were already booked, they pointed us in the right direction and recommended we check in first then walk around. We easily found the Coral Breezes rep; she recommended a restroom break and then meeting back. We were in a tour with one other family (8 people total on our tour). They collected payment and lunch orders; then boarded us on the boat. Some people mentioned boat trouble; our boat did not have any trouble. The waters were a little rough. We had two tour guides that did a great job. They talked after the water calmed bit; we pass several interesting islands – one that was someone’s home that was worth $30M because it had a retaining wall all around and one built over 30 years by the owner bring in buckets of sand. On Caye Caulker, we had restroom break time and got snorkeling equipment for those that needed it. Back on the boat, the sharks and rays came for food. The sharks moved to another boat that pulled up before we got in the water. While snorkeling, there were rays swimming around too! We then swim over to the coral; it was pretty. The current was strong, so it did get tiring. The boat came to pick us up. My oldest son swim the full time; our youngest got back on the boat early with one of the tour guides. I was afraid he would be crying (he does not have the happiest personality normally), but we got back on he was happy talking about to drink the water in a bag. They did very well with the kids and keeping up with all the guests. Back on Caye Caulker, we had lunch with real sugar Coca-Cola and walked around. After returning to Belize City, we did a chocolate tour at Moho Chocolate factory. It is not a big tour, but nice and included samples of a milk shake and different chocolates for $2/pp. Banana Coast: We did not plan anything for Banana Coast. The mountains in the background were beautiful. We took the tender. They have shopping and a beach right by the tender drop off. There was a big pile of sand, so it looked like they re-sanded often. It was a nice beach with a view of the cruise ships, shells, sea glass, and pelicans diving for food. We all enjoyed the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I got a cruise bug last summer and booked us on the Jewel. I had been on the S/S Norway in 1996, and again for our honeymoon in 2002, right before it went out of service. Of course, by late July, the biggest room we could get was a ... Read More
I got a cruise bug last summer and booked us on the Jewel. I had been on the S/S Norway in 1996, and again for our honeymoon in 2002, right before it went out of service. Of course, by late July, the biggest room we could get was a minisuite. It slept 4, so that seemed reasonable. (our kids are 3 and 6) We drove to Houston, stayed at a hotel near the terminal, then boarded fairly early the next day. The staterooms weren't ready until about 2 pm, so we had about 3 hours to kill. We had lunch at the Garden Cafe (which was always quite good) and checked out the ship (and bought thermal spa passes....amazing). I also had to stop by guest services/the cruise concierge because they had me listed as a first time passenger, which I am not. THey fixed it for the voyage, and said I had to get it resolved after getting home. Ive been working on it since I got back, and hopefully the techies will merge the accounts soon. I had a great experince with the latitudes customer service lady - she found both accounts, but one was under my maiden name, and the other was "in the archives", whatever that means, so she couldnt merge them. But she told me exactly what to write in the email and where to send it to get results. It says 4-6 week wait for a reply due to the transition for Latitudes to Latitudes Rewards. We were in 115566, which was just down the hall from the elevators, 1 floor down from the Garden Cafe, and right below the kids club. When we got into the room, it was nice and seemed spacious. Our luggage arrived, and we went to dinner at Cagneys (we had the UDP), then dropped the kids off at the kids club. After turndown service, the suite got REALLY cramped. No place to even stand, except right by the bathroom/entrance. It was fine, but keeping the laundry contained was an issue, since all our luggage was stacked inside itself. I have no idea how 4 adults can share a smaller stateroom than that, honestly. The 2 days at sea were fantastic. We would have breakfast in the garden cafe, then drop the kids off at Splash Academy, and go sit in the spa or have some alone time, meet up again for lunch, then take a nap, then dinner (will cover restaurants in a bit), then splash academy and shows. Cozumel, I had prebooked the Playa Mia Deluxe Day Pass. It was obviously a tourist trap, but it was nice. A waterpark area for kids, a playground, another non-kid pool, a big slide/bouncy house thing in the ocean, and a big open buffet. One wierd thing is that the package included open bar, so we assumed that meant any bar there. Nope. They were labelled "Open Bar" and "Cash bar". The Open Bar had things like rum punch and beer, the cash bar had the expensive liquor. However, the rum punch was plenty alcoholic anyway. The buffet was good. Mostly we watched the kids play on the playground and swam with them until it was time to leave. Everybody had a good time, and was EXHAUSTED. Belize City the next day, my 3 yo and I stayed on the ship (she was tired and a bit sunburned). My husband and 6yo got off to go explore and spent maybe 2-3 hours onshore. The day after Belize, we went to Trujillo, Honduras. It was... obviously a very new port. The area where the tenders docked was nice, but the rest of the town was very underdeveloped. Dirt roads (ok, some were paved with ballast stones from Colombian era voyages, but...), stick and mud houses with thatched roofs, corrugated metal houses, people washing clothing, dishes, and bathing in the streams/rivers, etc. We took a tour to the beach, where they had a little setup with 2 small pools, a bar, and a buffet. The beach itself was nice, but VERY steep, with very sinkable sand. We had to go off to a little area off to the side where my kids wouldnt go from sticking a toe in to 6 foot deep water in less than 2 feet. It was still pretty rough, though. Eventually we gave up and went to the pools. The buffet wasnt anything great. The food was traditional Honduran, which was neat, but they kept running out of plates and silverware. I think I may have caught something at this port. (more on that later). The last day at sea was great. Disembarkation was handled really smoothly, also. the line was long at customs, but we didnt do walk off disembarkation and deliberately chose one of the last times, so that's really our fault. Restaurants: Cagneys - we went here twice, it was delicious. Couldnt go wrong. Chin Chin - whatever "asian fusion" food is, it was disgusting. Chicken fried rice was akin to Panda Express, but tasted worse, my moo goo gai pan was kind of OK. My husband's orange chicken was good (it wasnt on the menu, orange beef was but he asked and they accomodated). We had to go to the Garden Cafe to get the kids some edible food. Yuck. Moderno - not as good as Tejas de Brazil, but it was good brazillian food. We liked it. La Cucina - service was super slow, even though we booked/ate early (like 5:30) and were one of 2 tables. The food wasnt very good there, either. Le Bistro - the dining area was amazing, the food was delicious, and my 6 yo even tried escargot :). We also ate in Tsar's Palace one night to give the kids an MDR experience. It was OK. Nothing spectacular, but OK. (it was chocolate night, so all the desserts were chocolate) Kids club: My son didnt have a lot of fun. He was in the 6-9 yo age group, and I guess the counsellors didnt split them up by age or size, so when they played games like Dodgeball, one team was all younger, smaller kids, and the other was all the older, bigger kids. Yeah. That didnt go so well. He did have fun doing the pirate treasure hunt and the circus show. My daughter (3) LOVED the kids club, especially Ariel, who was the check in/lead counselor. We could hardly pry her out of there with a crowbar. We did have a couple of incidents due to their taking the "no help with bathroom" to the extreme - they wouldnt even lead her to the door - so in the end, after 2 accidents, we were told that she either wears a pullup or would be dismissed from the program. I totally understand that POV, so we sent her in pullups. She had a BLAST in the princess parade, the pirate hunt, and the circus show (she had to wag her tiger tail LOL). She is still asking when we can go back on the boat so she can see Ariel. I took 1 fitness class, but found it more useful to use the aerobics room to practice tae kwon do on my own. They were charging $12-15 per class for the non-6 am yoga stuff like aerobics, noweigan fight klub, etc. It was too cold to use the pools the first day and the last day of the cruise, but the other days, my kids had a blast on the slide, and in the kid pool and kid hottubs (such a fantastic idea to separate it!) . I didnt like that they didnt enforce the "no reserving for more than an hour" rule on lounge chairs, but oh well. The shows that we went to were great - one was a comedian, one was a magician, 1 was a pair of russian acrobats - a husband wife pair. He had been in the army and was an MMA fighter, she was trained in the Russian school of rhythmic gymnastics. It involved silk, hoops, and flying out over the crowd, along with amazing contortions. We also went to Le Cirque Bijou, which was pretty much the same thing, just with more people, special lighting effects, and a guy bungee cording down from the ceiling. The kids loved it. The Latitudes party was nice - especially the complimentary drinks, (we didnt buy the UBP). As for the GI bug, the last night of the cruise, both my son and I started having lots of grumbly tummy issues and some... protracted stays in the restroom. It took a few days to clear up, also. Not my ideal post-cruise diet, but oh well. Overall, we had a great time. So great, in fact, that we are booked on the Jade for NEXT spring break, out of Houston, on the cozumel-Harvest Caye- Roatan itenerary. However, this time, I booked us in a 2 bedroom family villa in the Haven. I think it will be much more our style than the minisuite. And as a bonus, we're getting the UBP, UDP, free gratuities AND $300 OBC for booking before 4/6. Im trying to convince my parents to come with us, too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We were apprehensive because we really like meeting new people at our usual dining room set schedule, but we enjoyed going to the different restaurants and trying the different cuisines. Our favorite restaurant was the steak house. ... Read More
We were apprehensive because we really like meeting new people at our usual dining room set schedule, but we enjoyed going to the different restaurants and trying the different cuisines. Our favorite restaurant was the steak house. Didn't like the Japanese style cooking table restaurant that much, but it was OK. Our room was very small, but clean. It was #11649, and was at the very back of the ship on a corner. We couldn't get our suitcases in the closet, so they had to sit in the cabin, and take up living space. We ate most breakfasts in the Garden Cafe, and it was mostly very good. We did eat a few lunches there as well. The ship was wonderful, the crew was very friendly and helpful. We wanted to try the spa services, but they were so expensive we decided not to go there. I thought the excursions offered were OK, but more expensive than say Carnival Excursions. We have had better excursions on other cruise ships. We had a really bad excursion in Belize because the water was really choppy and the current was really strong. It would have been helpful if they had offered snorkels and fins, but they only had masks to see the sharks and stingrays. The shows every evening were the highlight of the cruise. The performers were totally awesome, especially Duo Deja Vue, and David Naster, the comedian. We enjoyed all the shows very much. Disembarkation was pretty easy on this ship, and at this port. Quick and no problems at all. We will go on Norwegian again! Soon, I hope! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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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