302 Norwegian Jewel Bahamas Cruise Reviews

My husband and I, along with another couple, just returned from the New York to Bahamas cruise on NCL. This was our 5th cruise on NCL and our 2nd to the Bahamas. Overall, I thought the cruise was very nice and relaxing. Contrary to ... Read More
My husband and I, along with another couple, just returned from the New York to Bahamas cruise on NCL. This was our 5th cruise on NCL and our 2nd to the Bahamas. Overall, I thought the cruise was very nice and relaxing. Contrary to many of the reviews I have read, we thought the food was very good considering the price of the cruise. The only specialty restaurant we visited was the steak house, Cagneys. Although the service and food were very good, I do not understand why people pay $25 a person to eat at the specialty restaurants. We ate most nights at Tsar's, and I thought the food and service were both extremely good. Having been on this cruise before, however, I do believe the week we chose this time was a lot less crowded than the last time. We never once waited for a seat in the main dining rooms. When we were in the Bahamas, we took the bus to the Sheraton/Wyndham hotels to use their beach and facilities. We all enjoyed the day and thought that was a good choice. The last time we took this same cruise, we chose the excursion to the Lagoon. I think if you have children, the Lagoon is a much better spot, but if not, the bus or a cab to the hotels and purchasing a day pass for use of their facilities is a much better option. Great Stirrup Cay (the private island) was just okay. The last time we took this cruise we stayed on the boat that day and had a lot of fun. We decided to take the tender over to the island this time. The island was not what I expected. I've been to many resorts with beautiful beaches so I was a little disappointed. We did walk a distance to a more private, peaceful spot and we enjoyed the day. When you first get off the tender and see all the chairs so close together, it's a little disappointing. If you walk a little further, it is much prettier and less crowded. There are portable bars set up close by so you don't have to walk a mile for a drink. The food served on the private island was very good. The Florida port was a boring stop. We stayed on the boat and relaxed because the last time we went to Cocoa Beach and were not impressed. Disembarkation in New York was a mess. Both the cruise line and the Port Authority should be ashamed of themselves for the lack of direction and organization. This is our 5th cruise out of New York and Boston, and this is the only time I have ever seen such disorganization. Almost forgot, in terms of entertainment on the ship, please do not miss the hypnotist's adult show in Spinnaker Lounge or the game show "Quest" on the last night in the Spinnaker Lounge. Both shows were unbelievably funny. I can't say anything bad about this cruise other than the disembarkation in New York was ridiculous. The service we received on the ship was outstanding. We didn't have any problems with our stateroom. Additionally, I have to say that all food servers in the main dining room and Cagney's were outstanding!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We have traveled on NCL many times but this cruise was the best. Although we didn't care much about the itinerary, the crew and staff MADE this cruise awesome. We have noticed that whenever Hugo V is the hotel director, the crew ... Read More
We have traveled on NCL many times but this cruise was the best. Although we didn't care much about the itinerary, the crew and staff MADE this cruise awesome. We have noticed that whenever Hugo V is the hotel director, the crew members and staff seem to be much friendlier and more exuberant than on other ships. We always travel in the suites so we expect quality service but this time was so much more special than any other cruise--we were amazed. From all the waitpersons in the restaurants to our steward, Jeremiah, our butler Maden, to our concierge John, we had outstanding service. Our needs were anticipated before we even expressed them. Jeremiah was a magician--when we left our cabin and then returned--he had cleaned, refreshed, restocked everything! Does he ever sleep? Our butler took care of us completely--bringing us hot coffee and rolls in the morning within minutes after our request to fixing the phone when we had problems with it. And, John, omygod--John is the ultimate concierge--he called us to see if we wanted to make dinner reservations! He was always available not matter what time of day or night--another person who did not sleep. And what a cheerful person! By the end of the 7 days, we really felt as if we were part of the the NCL family. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was my 5th NCL cruise and I am happy to report that they keep getting better! The Jewel was a beautiful ship with lots to do for all ages. Embarkation in NYC was easy. We arrived at 11:00 and wee on the ship by 11:30. Rooms ... Read More
This was my 5th NCL cruise and I am happy to report that they keep getting better! The Jewel was a beautiful ship with lots to do for all ages. Embarkation in NYC was easy. We arrived at 11:00 and wee on the ship by 11:30. Rooms weren't ready yet so we went up to the buffet and had some lunch then walked around and toured the ship. It was cold that day so no swimming for anyone but it was nice to be able to look at the city and the weather was good for the giant chess game, ping pong, and using the basketball court. Room was ready at 1:00PM and we headed down to check it out. I have had 2 other balcony cabins on NCL and this one definitely had it's pluses and minuses. The balcony cabins on deck 8 on the Jewel are semi enclosed which offers a nice ammount of privacy but unless you want to look at what is directly in front of you be prepared to hang on the railing. The bed was comfy and there was more than enough space for our things. Bathroom had standard NCL soap/shampoo dispensers and a new addition for me was the coffee maker in the room (well it heated water and you could add instant coffee or tea which was provided). It came in handy when you didn't want to wait for room service and you were not interested in leaving the cabin! We did experience a problem on our 1st sea day as the ship lost an engine. The way they handled it was perfect and we didn't miss out on anything. We ended up having 2 sea days going due to slower speed and moved Port Canaveral to on the return trip. We ate at the main restaurant Tzar's Palace 5 nights and had Cagney's and Le Bistro the other two. The food at all of the restaurants was very good and the service was always top notch. If you do want to eat at 7:30 in one of the main dining rooms expect a 30 minute wait...at least they gave out coupons for free champagne while you were waiting! Blue Lagoon (24 hr restaurant) had good food as well and always check out the BBQ at the pool around lunch time. In addition to hot dogs/hamburgers they have ribs, chicken, sausage, and a lot of other good stuff on rotation! One of the best things about this cruise was the entertainment! The shows were FANTASTIC and the best I have ever seen on any cruise line. The Comedy Magic of Jean Pierre was hilarious and the acrobatic duo was INCREDIBLE. If you take this cruise you MUST attend this show! They also have "Le Cirque Bijou" which I won't spoil for you but is a MUST MUST MUST see (try to sit 6+ rows back). The ship bands were great as well and if you can make it to the Rock Night by the pool it is a great performance of live Rock Music from 1980-2013 which you don't usually see on a cruise ship. There was always something fun to do on both sea and port days from line dancing class to trivia and art seminars. NCL has really stepped up in the activity department and you never felt like you had nothing to do! In terms of what we did in port: -Nassau: Dolphin Encounter at Blue Lagoon WELL worth the cost. We got 30+ minutes in the water with the dolphoins and got to dance, kiss, hug, and feed them. To our surprise we were also able to use the beach on Blue Lagoon after the encounter so we got to sit and relax and have some drinks afterwards. -Great Stirup Cay: This was a true surprise. The beach was clean and sandy, water was crystal clear, and the food they served was good. Lots of lounge chairs available and bar servers offering drinks if you needed them. Water is shallow so you can stand for quite a bit and there are almost no waves. We went snorkeling around the beach and there were TONS of fish within 30 feet of the shore. -Port Canaveral We did not get off of the ship here and opted for massages on board in the spa instead...good choice in my opinion! My husband and I booked this cruise before we realized it was a Spring Break week and we were worried for nothing. There were lots of kids on the boat but with the kids activities, Nickelodeon shows, and the separate kids pool you never felt like you were crowded by kids or that you couldn't enjoy some adult time! We got into NYC almost 3 hours later than planned due to the earlier engine issues but they were great about keeping the buffet open and making announcements so you knew what to expect. I love NCL's policy of letting you stay in your room until you get off the ship...so much more relaxing! We went with the easy walk off and even with the delay were off the ship and heading home at 9:45am. All in all this was a wonderful cruise and I will definitely be sailing NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The Norwegian Jewel was perfect for a first time cruise with our children (21 and 15). We left New York on a chilly Sunday, boarded effortlessly and were eating the first of many meals within an hour. The staff is friendly, attentive and ... Read More
The Norwegian Jewel was perfect for a first time cruise with our children (21 and 15). We left New York on a chilly Sunday, boarded effortlessly and were eating the first of many meals within an hour. The staff is friendly, attentive and happy. The ship is beautiful and clean. Upon entering our cabin, I was concerned with the size but once the suitcases were stowed under the beds, it was okay. There were 2 twin beds we pushed together which allowed the high riser to fit. The last was the pull down from the wall which my daughter thought was cool. We camp often in a tent so it wasn't too scary to us! The bathroom is big, there is a lot of cubbies,drawers and a closet so there was lots of room for all of our stuff! The seas were continuously rough the first full day which had my son quite sick but I heard that this was uncommon. After that it was smooth sailing :) We ate in all of the free dining areas and never got bored with the food (my son is very picky). We saw the Cirque Show-amazing!, the Duo Elegia-wow!,Jean Pierre-hysterical and magical!, Farewell Showtime-wonderful! Our ship stopped in Port Canaveral (we went to Cocoa Beach-sunning and shopping), Great Stirrup Cay-gorgeous, lots to do or just relax, and last, Nassau-beautiful-shopping galore, many historical and interesting attractions-we walked all over..Queens Stair, Senor Frogs, Fort Fincastle, Junkanoo Beach, Straw Market to name just a few! We opted out of the shore excursions because they were pricey and we felt it would be stressful being on a time constraint (that's not relaxing).The island is beautiful! It was fun taking the tender over, getting on was a little scary but thrilling too! There were plenty of lounge chairs as we were 5th tender over. There was lots to do but we didn't snorkel because it was a little too chilly for us but many were enjoying the sand, ocean and music! The food was great and we relaxed,carefully sunned and took lots of amazing pics! Everyone was friendly and happy-great experience! Totally easy to get off ship, plus the captain got us to Nassau an hour earlier!, so we were off and running! Easy to get to shopping areas, taxis available everywhere but almost everything is in walking distance! We came back to eat lunch and off we went again! Of course, there is a lot of pressure to take tours and buy goods but the locals are always friendly and polite when you refuse :) Coming back onto the ship was so fun! Some of the crew lined up with music playing we danced on to the ship...wet hot towels provided to clean your hands, smiles and dancing! The other ships didn't have that! Again, easy to get back but very secure! We heard someone got left behind in Nassau, yikes! We saw seals and dolphins swimming at sea, my daughter swears she even saw a whale! We played bingo, shuffleboard, basketball, golf and walked around the ship so many times. There is always something happening somewhere on the ship! All in all, for our first family cruise, amazing! When we got back to New York, we chose the Express Walkoff and it was terrific! We docked at 7am, we ate our last full amazing breakfast, grabbed our bags, walked off the ship to a friends waiting car and were home (Long Island)by 10am! The island is beautiful! It was fun taking the tender over, getting on was a little scary but thrilling too! There were plenty of lounge chairs as we were 5th tender over. There was lots to do but we didn't snorkel because it was a little too chilly for us but many were enjoying the sand, ocean and music! The food was great and we relaxed,carefully sunned and took lots of amazing pics! Everyone was friendly and happy-great experience! Again, totally easy to get off ship, plus the captain got us there an hour earlier!, so we were off and running! Easy to get to shopping areas, taxis available everywhere but almost everything is in walking distance! We came back to eat lunch and off we went again! Of course, there is a lot of pressure to take tours and buy goods but the locals are always friendly and polite when you refuse :) Coming back onto the ship was so fun! Some of the crew lined up with music playing we danced on to the ship...wet hot towels provided to clean your hands, smiles and dancing! The other ships didn't have that! Again, easy to get back but very secure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have just returned from our week long Bahamas cruise with NCL. The ship: Overall acceptable but lacked the wow factor in the centre of the ship. The atruim was lacking that photo opportunity. The rooms were ok, the bathroom was ... Read More
We have just returned from our week long Bahamas cruise with NCL. The ship: Overall acceptable but lacked the wow factor in the centre of the ship. The atruim was lacking that photo opportunity. The rooms were ok, the bathroom was perfectly serviceable. Food was pretty good but the seats to people ratio is way off, by the time you have found your seat your food is not hot-please go at non rush hour times to avoid this. The staff were the usual 'friendly helpful' style, with the wishy washy cleaners being the difference to other ships. The NCL experience: Again pretty good, entertainment was good-magician (JP) and acrobats (Duo Eglia) were excellent. The bad: The ship is quite clearly set up for selling selling selling once your on board, from bingo to excursions and this gets pretty tiring after a bit. The ship is also completely set up for kids with little or no thought for the 'paying guests' (us adults). There is nowhere or no entertainment that is not hijacked or spoiled by very young children or underage, inexperienced drinkers. The ship lacks an adult only exclusive environment where you can relax. The stairways at night resemble a street corner and are to be avoided. NCL need to address this and fast as security is not to be seen and enforcement of regulations is non existent.Every night an announcement goes out about the theatre with the first 3 rows being kid free and every night the first 3 rows are packed with 6, 7 and 8 year olds, much to the annoyance of the entertainers and cruise director but still nothing is done. It is only a matter of time before a drunk child goes overboard on a dare that goes wrong. Good value yes, but they need to tweak their approach to make them definite repeat customers Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
To tell you the truth I was not expecting much after reading reviews here but actually glad I went expecting little because it made it that much better. We live an hour outside the city in NJ drove in to city around 10 and parked at ... Read More
To tell you the truth I was not expecting much after reading reviews here but actually glad I went expecting little because it made it that much better. We live an hour outside the city in NJ drove in to city around 10 and parked at Alliance on W 43rd st after dropping off wife and 2 sons (3 & 6 yrs old) (10 min walk to terminal) I chose this option simply because I didn't want to lug our baggage so dropping off to porter was easier. We had a penthouse family 2 BR suite so priority embarking was smooth and took us all but 5 minutes after returning from parking to be on the ship. Went straight to Cagneys for lunch which was great then to the cabin which was ready about 1pm. We have cruised once Western Carib on Carnival Liberty 3 years ago w/ my older son and had a small suite but it was nothing like this. I can see how these suites are the first to get booked. Complete privacy for all and tons of room not to mention the shower w/ all those jets and tub overlooking the ocean my wife and kids favorite part. Rough seas heading down to Cape Canaveral dodging a storm but nothing crazy. Kids took right to the kids club from the onset which was great for my wife and I. They were testing out new hours for kid's club 9-12pm, 2-5pm, 7-10pm so they would go for 2 hours at a clip here and there so it's not like it got overwhelming for them and they liked the fact it was broken up and they got to spend time as a family and time playing. Nick themed cruise so they said....please. Ok the horrific breakfast for $20 a head consisting of cold pancakes and eggs was the highlight as this was the only time we saw the characters and turned out to be their favorite part of the cruise getting pics w/ all of them. Cape Canaveral didn't wanna waste time going to Disney on a short a stop so we went to Ron Jons Cape Caribe purchased a room for the night to use their water park which is amazing and the kids had a great day. Off to Stirrup Cay what a beautiful little island. Kids had a blast in the ocean and we got some R & R lounging in the sun on a beautiful day that was perfect at 75 degrees. We are all for the freestyle cruise experience don't want to be told what time we have to sit down for dinner especially w/ the kids. This night we went to the french restaurant and had our best dinner of the 7 nights. Kids were well behaved and managed the 2 hours it took to complete our meal. We also went to Mamas, Cagneys, Zars 2 nights and buffet one night w/ kids. Kids joined us on 4 of the 7 meals other 3 we took them to buffet then to kids club while wife and I had some alone dining time so overall dining experience was perfect just wish the food was better. As for the food I'd give it a 5 out of 10 overall and pretty much was hit or miss. This I found was NCL's weakest part of the cruise experience. We ordered in for breakfast from Cagney's almost every morning which was probably the highlight of our dining experience. As for the best part of the cruise for us was the suite itself and the impeccable service top to bottom from our Steward Richie, butler Nelson concierge John made our cruise fabulous despite the below average food. These guys went out of their way and delivered on so many levels of service they should be commended for their efforts. Not to leave out the hosts/hostesses and 90% of the servers at the restaurants who were all eager to serve w/ a smile. At Nassau we took a taxi after reading the horrible stories about the water taxis and not wanting to walk far w/ the kids. We purchased a day pass at the Riu which is next door to Atlantis which included open bar and food for the day as well as use of the beach and pool. We stayed here before and while it's not a luxury resort compared to Atlantis it's on the most beautiful stretch of beach in Nassau and it allowed us to simply walk next door to Atlantis. Trip home was relaxing and we loved the 2 sea days to unwind using the spa frequently which we found to be excellent. The kids at this point really fell in love w/ the kid's club making friends and almost crying when it was time to go. I am an avid poker player so I took full advantage of the live no-limit $2/4 cash hold em game that took place each night around 11...so after the kids and wife went to sleep daddy spent a few hours at the table each night. Didn't quite pay for the cruise but let's just say the competition isn't like you would find in your typical card room at a casino. Similar faces each night very friendly table and lots of laughs, this was another highlight for me this vacation. All in all a great cruise experience despite the below average food. I really hope NCL takes notice of these reviews about their food quality and goes to work on the menu....maybe a Gorden Ramsey intervention or something but it really needs menu face lift and new chefs. Despite this I'm still giving this cruise an 8 out of 10 and would not hesitate to book again w/ NCL that is if I can ever get my wife back on a ship as she is suffering badly w/ that maldisembarquement syndrome thing where she still feels like she's on the ship. She's a big researcher and has herself terrified that she's going to be like this forever so I pray it ends quickly because we love the cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My family and I were on the NCL Jewel round trip sailing from NYC to Bahamas. This was our second cruise with the line and on the Jewel, and like many other passengers we were excited to be there. Embarkation was smooth as expected, our ... Read More
My family and I were on the NCL Jewel round trip sailing from NYC to Bahamas. This was our second cruise with the line and on the Jewel, and like many other passengers we were excited to be there. Embarkation was smooth as expected, our balcony cabin was ready, clean and on time, but we did have some problems. We were missing beach towels in our cabin, there were 4 of us in the cabin and 1 beach towel. I spoke to my steward about this and nothing was done. I called housekeeping still nothing was done, it was not until 4 sailing day when arriving to Grand Stirrup Cay [GSC] and a change of steward that I was to receive my towel (2 were given, total of 3). I pre-ordered wine for the first day of the cruise. Wine bottle was there but 0 wine glasses...once again I asked the steward and once again I was ignored.. I got glasses from the main dining room. I also pre-ordered chocolate covered strawberries for my kids for the first day... and that arrived late. On the first night my family and I went to Azura's for dinner. Service was horrendous. It took the server 15 minutes to take our order, 20 minutes to get our appetizers, 35 minutes for the main course, I'm not kidding! another 20 minutes for dessert...let's just say I was kind of mad, but I did not want to ruin my vacation complaining. Oh my kid asked for a soft drink that he did not get...and the server was annoyed when I asked 2 time around for his drink. We ended up eating at Tsar's for the remainder of the trip. I did notice that most of the crew were tired and inattentive, except when wanting for me to buy drinks... 4 times I had a server jump in front of me aggresivly wanting me to order a drink. it became a joke with my family. The public restrooms that I visited were dirty, which surprised me, because when I sailed back on NOV 2011 one of things that impressed me were how well kept the restrooms were. At GSC, the food was unappetizing and cold. The beach was dirty with old used drinking straws and cigarettes butts in the sand, beach service was non existent. For example, I tried to get attention of a server for drinks (go figure)I was ignored, my DH had to go to the bar and get some. The Cruise Director Jaime, she was ok... it felt like she was trying to hard to entertain guests. Assistant CD Joel, rude, condescending and not funny. I only saw 2 shows, the comedy of David Naster outstanding..JP the magician same old routine and boring. Overall, the cruise was ok, but I missed the little things such as having my steward knowing my name and having him and her giving me some attention. When my DH approached me in getting cruise rewards, I was apprehensive in going to another sailing with this line, but I believe in second chances and I'm giving them another chance in impressing me again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Freestyle cruise was awesome! Background: My family went for my father's retirement. My parents (in their 50s) my brother (29) me (23) and my other brother (21). We had two stateroom balconies down the hall from each other. On the first day everything went so well! First of all, you CAN bring cases of water and soda with you on the cruise. Even though no one told us that! Also, we snuck on rum runners full of various alcohol. The first day boarding went VERY smoothly. I thought we would be on line for HOURS but it took us under an hour to get everything settled and be on the ship! Then, we were on the ship for probably 30 minutes (around 130/2 ish) when they told us our rooms were all ready! We got our luggage promptly after that, although they leave your bags in the hall so you can check to make sure they are yours... this made me nervous because anyone could walk on by and take your bag. We got my father shrimp cocktail as a welcome gift and it was a surprise. There was a note when we got there that we had to CALL and get it delivered. This posed an issue because he wanted to go explore and we had to basically lie to him for an hour about why we didn't wanna leave the room. After we got the shrimp (delicious and huge, worth the money) we went to explore. There was food out immediately and we were able to have burgers and hot dogs and chicken out on the deck while we left port. This cruise I would say is not for people who do not like not having a schedule. The dress attire is casual, although people were in dresses and suits sometimes at night. Also, they give you a list of what is going on in the day but you get to pick. We thought this was AWESOME. We got to pick and choose what we wanted. Deal or no Deal is 20 bucks a person which is a little ridiculous so if you don't want to spend extra, don't do that. We went to Cagneys the steakhouse specialty restaurant which I thought was "okay" I'd rather not spend the extra money and just go to the included dining. We also went to the Hibatchi restaurant which starts with "Tep" and I won't try to spell because I won't do it right. This is a MUST GO. It was AMAZING. The environment was great and the food was delicious. 25 dollars absolutely worth it. The two included dining areas were good too. The food was delicious and the waits went quick if there was one. The buffet was also great. There were so many selections so you never have to have the same thing twice if you don't want to! Chicken, veal, burgers, dogs, sandwiches, salad, a whole pig one day, ice cream, dessert....it goes on. Alcohol is NOT overpriced I don't think. A family of 5 drinkers spent over 2000 dollars BUT we all drink and it was 7 days. Also, my brother and I got over 100 dollars in buy backs which was awesome. They also have a drink of the day out by the pool which was nice because it was discounted. The staff is AMAZING. They are friendly and smiling and will remember you and your drink if you treat them well. We tipped generously because these people deserved it. They were GREAT. For first time cruisers, you do feel the boat and the first day at sea was rough because we were rocking but it is a boat and that is over the control of the ship obviously but it is just a note. The ports were good. The private island was great but GET THERE EARLY. Get up and get out early so you get a lounge chair! Then it is awesome! Nassau was good shopping and we went snorkeling which was fun. Senor Frogs is a great place to eat there. The bars on board were good and at night Spinnakers becomes a nightclub type place which was fun. I would do a cruise again and am actually thinking about it for my boyfriend and me because he would love it. I would recommend this to anyone who just wants to relax and have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I was on the NCL Dawn in October, and felt it was lacking in the 'FUN' dept. This was probably because it was a cold weather Canada cruise, but I was hoping the Jewel experience would be different. We were not disappointed! ... Read More
I was on the NCL Dawn in October, and felt it was lacking in the 'FUN' dept. This was probably because it was a cold weather Canada cruise, but I was hoping the Jewel experience would be different. We were not disappointed! There were many spring breakers and families with children on the Jewel during our March 17 trip, but everyone was well behaved and having a good time. The spring breakers did tend to take over 2 of the hot tubs, but no one really seemed to mind. I don't think anyone else was dying to get in them since 10-15 kids were in each one for most of the day, drinking non-stop for hours...and never once getting out to go to the bathroom. Hmmm. The shows were all good, the comedian was very funny! We also watched a couple of games that were very entertaining - Battle of the Sexes trivia (hilarious!)and Quest(insane!!! Don't miss this one!!) We liked the food better on the Jewel, too. The Garden Cafe is set up much better than the Dawn. It has the circular stations that are more like the Windjammer on RCCL. There is also a great outdoor dining area right off the Garden Cafe, so enjoyable to sit out there and watch the ocean! We ate in both of the dining rooms once, but didn't bother on the other nights. The food was slow to arrive and was just ok, we felt. The selection in the Garden Cafe was much bigger. One area that NCL excels in is desserts. YUM! The chocolate buffet was especially gorgeous and delicious! Our cabin was located in a great spot - directly next to the Atrium and very easy to find. It was a little noisy at night but nothing too bad. Our stateroom attendant didn't introduce herself for the first 4 days but she did an excellent job with our room. We had an obstructed ocean view that gave us a good view of the water. The room was good size with comfy beds. No complaints. I don't know whether we were just lucky or whether the captain is just a great navigator but we felt virtually NO boat motion the entire week. Amazing! It was the smoothest cruise I've ever been on, and we were expecting just the opposite, figuring NYC-Bahamas in March would be a rough ride! All in all, a wonderful experience on the Jewel. If anyone has specific questions, feel free to email ekb2004@comcast.net Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I just returned today from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. The reviews I read here in advance were of so much help that I thought I would write my own comprehensive review in hopes that it may be of help to future travelers, particularly ... Read More
I just returned today from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. The reviews I read here in advance were of so much help that I thought I would write my own comprehensive review in hopes that it may be of help to future travelers, particularly those with children, as it was myself, my husband and our 6 year old daughter on this trip. Just a little bit about us so you know where I am coming from with my opinions. This is only our 3rd cruise, 2nd on NCL. We did the Boston to Bermuda cruise on NCL Dawn last April. I chose this cruise on the Jewel because it is easy for us to get to NYC, as well, I have wanted to sail out of NYC because I have heard from others about the nice views while sailing away. Also, this is one of the few NCL ships which has the Nickelodeon themed events and we thought our daughter would like that. I am not a relaxing cruiser, I like to have my freestyle daily with me and I'm always hurrying from one event to another. Cruiseport/Embarkation: We live in Maine so we drove to Connecticut the day before and then drove into the city early Sunday morning. It was St. Patty's Day and we were concerned about street closures due to the parade. We had no idea how easy it was going to be to get to the cruiseport. It was excellent! Our GPS brought us right there, no problem. Instead of a garage it is a parking lot that is literally right next to the boat. It is expensive ($245 for 7 days) but I think it is totally worth it. Embarkation was very easy and well coordinated and we were on the ship having lunch by 11:30. It was a far easier place to sail out of then Boston and the sail away by the Statue of Liberty was awesome, even though it was freezing :-) Cabin: We had an oceanview picture window room on the 5th deck. I had wanted to have a balcony but when I booked they were all sold. Our room was fine, no issues. It was exactly the same as the room we had on the Dawn last year. The beds are very comfortable. Some people have mentioned in reviews that the tv's are old and that is true, it is not a flat screen, but it didn't bother me any, it worked just fine. We were quite happy with the room, and even though our boat was full of spring breakers it never got too loud. Food: I could say a lot about this, but I'll try to keep it as short as possible. Buffet - We don't generally like buffets but if we are in a hurry we will go there for a quick breakfast or lunch. This buffet was not good, actually I truly feel that awful is an adequate way to describe. I'm not picky and when we did go I tried several different things and it all just seemed like cheap, sub-par food that was pushed out quickly with not much care. Couple that with the mobs of people and dirty tables and it was not appealing. The positives: the washy-washy guy and girl were fun, the soft-serve ice cream machines, and the anytime coffee. I will say that there seem to be plenty of staff working in the buffet cleaning all the time, however, we had a full ship and some of the guests are just slobs so it is not the crews fault that it was messy, they were doing the best they could to keep up with it. Chocolate Buffet -- They have this one night in the Garden Cafe. They have some pretty impressive chocolate sculptures and ice sculptures that are fun to see. The chocolate, however, leaves much to be desired. I'm not sure what you could do to mess up chocolate but the offerings they have for this are terrible. It was the same way on the Dawn but we figured we'd go see this and see if it was different. One thing, the black forest cake, was the only thing remotely tasty. They only had about 6 different things but just had them spread out over the whole buffet area and most of them tasted like something you would get off the week old discount section in the bakery area of the grocery store. They were dry and tasteless. But, it is worth going to see the sculptures. Blue Lagoon -- this is the complimentary 24 hour cafe that overlooks the atrium, so it is a good place to be if you want to have a bite while listening to someone play in the atrium. We loved this area on the Dawn and the food was great, so we were happy to see that the menu was the same on this ship as it was on the Dawn. We ate lunch here our seond day and were very disappointed. First off, the waitress we had was not friendly. She acted like she was put out that she had to wait on us. We got the spinach artichoke dip which was one of our favorites from the Blue Lagoon on the Dawn, however, it was not the same. Actually it was bad, to the point where it tasted spoiled so we didn't eat it, we just had the chips. Our regular meals were okay, they were adequate but not good. We didn't eat there for the rest of the cruise. Azura - this was one of the two main dining rooms. This and the other dining room have the same menu each night. We ate here one night and the atmosphere is nice, the more casual of the two. This dining room is also much smaller than the other so it fills up very fast and usually has a wait of a half-hour or more. Tsar's Palace - this is the more formal of the two dining rooms. It is very large so there is usually no wait. It opens at 5:00 PM and does require men to wear pants for dinner. This room has large windows at the back with a great view. We had breakfast and dinner here most every day. The staff in here was wonderful! Very friendly and attentive, especially to our daughter. The menu doesn't vary much from night to night but we found plenty of good food to eat. My husband had several decent steaks and I especially liked the basil pesto pasta. The only thing we didn't care for much was the prime rib on the last night, but pretty much everything else we had in there was good, especially the desserts! There was a dessert called chocolate decadence that they served on the final night and it was to-die-for! It is extremely rich and I recommend ordering vanilla ice cream on the side to eat with it. Also, the bread and butter pudding was great (again with vanilla ice cream ordered on the side). If you can't tell, I prefer dessert to any other part of the meal :-) But also all of the soups and salads that we had for starters were very good. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants, mostly because we were more focused on the shows and entertainment than the food, and we were happy with Tsar's. We usually went to dinner early so we could get it out of the way and have our evening clear for events. The one place we were going to try was Mama's but the night we wanted to go they were full until 8, and then we heard other guests who went saying it wasn't good. Again, just heresay. I heard nothing about the other specialty restaurants from this trip. Room Steward: I think from what I heard most of them are great! Our guy was very friendly when we arrived and introduced himself right away. We had great experiences the previous two times we had cruised so we thought this was going to be another one. We really didn't have any major problem with him, he did a fine job of make up/turn down service. Just a couple of things that kind of bugged me: We would leave for dinner and turn our dial to "turn down cabin" so he would know we were gone for a while. One night we did this but then had some time after dinner so decided we would go back to our room for a few minutes. We forgot we had turned the dial and he knocked on the door. My husband answered and explained we would only be there for a few minutes. He asked us to turn our dial back to the normal position and change it again when we leave. So we left a few minutes later and we again turned it to "turn down" status. When we got to the theater it was quite cold in there and my daughter wanted her sweater so my husband went to the room to get it. Our steward was just going in and when he saw my husband coming he said he would come back. My husband stopped him and explained that he was only grabbing a sweater and leaving. When my husband told me this he was laughing and said "the guy seemed a little pissed off and I can't blame him". I disagree, I understand that he needs to get the rooms done, but it was still early and it's our room, we should be able to go in it as we please! So that annoyed me a bit, but I didn't have the interaction with him myself. Also, a nice bartender at Topsiders by the pool gave us a Stella Artois beer glass earlier in the week when we ordered a large bottle. He said "this is yours to keep". We were happy about it because we have some Amstel gold rimmed glasses in a bar that we have and this would match. Anyhow, my husband cleaned it and set it up on the shelf behind the tv with other items of ours. When he went to pack it on Saturday night he realized it was gone. We figured that the steward took it. I can't blame him, I'm sure he thought it was an empty bar glass. We were afraid to ask about it because I didn't want to get the bartender in trouble in case he's not supposed to give them away, although, I suspect it is something they do frequently. So we let it go, and my husband said he was happy anyway because he had a Stella Artois large bottle that he had kept from earlier in the week. He kept the cork for it and had cleaned it out and it had been sitting on the desk for a few days. We got back later that night after turn down to discover that the steward had removed it. Again, I don't really blame him because I'm sure he probably thought it was trash, but my husband was not happy, he thinks that the steward should have asked us about it before removing it from our room. Wait Staff/Bar Staff -- With the exception of the lady in Blue Lagoon that one day (mentioned above), the wait staff and bar staff were fantastic. Very friendly and patient. One special mention: Mauricio Tuiza in Tsar's. This guy was awesome, he stood out among everyone. He was wonderful and we really enjoyed interacting with him. The wait staff moved around the room each night so we only had him once but he was the best! In comparison to the Dawn, I think the wait staff was better on the Jewel. Entertainment -- We do as many activities and entertainment as possible on the ship. I live by the freestyle daily :-) I will give NCL credit, they are not going to let you get bored on one of their ships! There are many who like to just lay by the pool and relax, but for those of us who like to go, go, go, this suits us well. Every morning there was some type of aerobics or other exercise activity offered early, around 7. I never participated in these, although I really should have after all of the desserts! There was some type of trivia most mornings and I participated in that which was always a lot of fun. Then on sea days there were usually a variety of activities, either music, game shows, bingo, etc., then we would fit lunch in and always plenty to pick from in the afternoon. We got off the ship at each port but there were still activities for those who chose to stay behind. There is a show in the theater every night which runs twice, once at 7:30 and again at 9:30. We saw all the shows, mostly at the 7:30 time. The entertainment on this ship was good, quite a bit better than on the Dawn, although that wasn't bad. For a run-down: 1st night - welcome show....this is where you meet the cruise director, Jaime, and then you get a brief glimpse of some of the acts you will see during the week, and you will see a song and dance from the ships singers/dancers, who were really good. 2nd night -- Band on the Run...Carnival had a similar show when we went on that in 2011. The talent on this was better. It was a half-hour show with 70's music. It wasn't spectacular but it was pretty good if you like that type of music and worth a half-hour of your time. 3rd night -- David Naster, comedian. When we saw him on the welcome show I didn't think he would be that funny but we still caught his show at 9:30 after getting back on the boat in Port Canaveral. I was so wrong! this guy is hilarious! He's not adults only, however, he's edgy enough that I probably wouldn't bring my child to the show, although most things would go over her head. He was good, though, I highly recommend his show! 4th night -- Duo Elegia -- This is a husband and wife acrobatic team and they are unbelievable! It's not just your run-of-the-mill show, it is really good. 5th Night -- Jean Pierre something? He is a magician/comedian. I think he's kind of annoying and a lot of his act is him being a pervert, but his illusions are pretty impressive so it's definitely worth going to see. And then he will stay after and you can purchase his magic kit/book. He also offered a workshop for kids the following day in the theater where he showed how to do some tricks, but we were not able to make that one. 6th Night -- Le Cirque Bijou -- this is their major show. Reading prior reviews helped me to prep for this one. They said do not sit in the first 6 rows because people drop from the ceiling and you won't be able to see them. We got in line at 7 and sat 8 rows back in the center and it was perfect! The dancers/singers and Duo Elegia are the main part of this show. It is a really good show. I was not sure how it would be because the "big" show on the Dawn was a huge disappointment, however, this one certainly was not. At the end of this show Jaime came out and brought on all of the staff from all areas of the ship so they could be recognized. It was really nice, I always like that part. 7th night -- Goodbye show -- Jaime hosted this and opened by reading off a top 10 list of the dumbest questions ever asked by cruise guests. It was really funny, a huge hit. Then they showed the video of the past weeks highlights. The rest of the show was pretty much all Jean Pierre again. Some of his tricks were really good, and he is funny sometimes but he really does get old after a while. None of the shows last more than 45 minutes. I recommend seeing all the shows but the best shows were Le Cirque Bijou and David Naster. However, my personal favorite entertainment came after the show in the theater, up in the Spinnaker Lounge. The game shows that incorporate the guests. Some of them: Perfect Couple, Newleywed Game, Dancing with the Jewel Stars, and the best one: The Quest. The good thing is that if you do miss any of these they usually show them on the tv so you can see them when your getting ready in the morning. If you only see one of these, try to make sure you see the quest. It is 18+ and is on the last night at 10:30 but it is totally worth it, it is hilarious!! Entertainment Staff: Sassy Stephanie, Amazing Alicia, Legendary Leslie, Zesty Zack, Jersey Boy Joel and Dazzling Devyn. I think I got them all. They were all really good for the most part. Leslie was the best, he has a great personality for this. But they were all pretty good and friendly. Although, the last day we attended several activities which were hosted by Stephanie and she just seemed tired and annoyed with everyone and was a little snippy with a couple of guests during a couple of the activities. I have to give her a break, I'm sure it is very hard to do this week after week, and probably some people are completely obnoxious, so I won't completely hold it against her, but the others were still friendly. We played Bingo one time because we wanted to, well I wanted to :-) It was expensive but fun. I also played Deal or No Deal once and that was fun and only $40 for two of us. Kid's Stuff: So one reason we chose this cruise was that it is a Nickelodeon cruise. There was a whole Nick staff and they seemed very high energy during all of the Nickelodeon events, which were mostly free. There was a character breakfast which we attended for $20 each. It was held in Spinnaker and it was cute. The breakfast was done nicely with kid-themed food. Spongebob, Patrick, Dora, Diego, the Fairy Oddparents all came out and danced along with the Nick staff and then all of the characters went to different corners and the kids got in line to meet them. Here's the thing: All week there are other events that the characters are at and plenty of character meet and greets which are free. I do not think that the character breakfast was worth the money. It was basically a meet and greet with breakfast. My daughter just wanted to meet them. I really would strongly suggest saving your money and taking your kids to the free meet and greet and other events. They had a family deck party one night which was great, along with a Dora Dance Party and Dora Storytime, and Slime Time Live gameshow. Kid's Club: My daughter had gone to the kid's club on the Dawn so she was not shy about going to this one. She loved it so much that I had to beg her to spend time with us! The counselors all have cute nicknames. My daughter especially liked Lipstick and she was usually the one at the front and very friendly. They gave us a list of their theme days/nights. And the best part was when they created a circus show that the kids performed in the theater. It was so cute! The security in this area will make you feel okay about leaving your kids here. It is a great service and it made her feel like she had some really great experiences independent of her parents on the ship. Ports of Call/Shore Excursions: Port Canaveral: We went to Universal Studios. We were lucky to have beautiful weather. This worked out well. We had nice coach busses to take the groups over. They left on time and it was about an hour ride. It gave us about 6 hours to explore at Universal and we were lucky that it wasn't busy at all there that day. I had also purchased express passes ahead of time so we were able to do all of the rides during the time we were there and also do some shopping and get an ice cream. It was a very expensive excursion but we all really enjoyed it. We were back in time to catch the 9:30 show that night. Great Stirrup Cay: This is NCL's private island. They dropped anchor and had a continuous flow of tender boats to bring people over. My husband and daughter were very excited to go to the beach but I hate the beach! I am pale and burn really easy. I spray tan, not real tan :-) Anyhow, we didn't do a shore excursion so we were really in no hurry to get over there. They had a person sitting out by the pool area to hand out tender tickets. We were near the end because we didn't get them until late, but it was fine with us. The tender boat was fine and it is a real short ride to the beach. It is nice. There are some local vendors set up selling t-shirts, hats, etc., and someone doing hair braiding. They also have a very large blow up waterslide that you can pay to go down. You can use your keycard for that. As well, you can use your key card for drinks. They also serve a buffet lunch at the beach. We had lunch first and it wasn't bad, your typical bbq type lunch. It was fine. Then my daughter and husband got in the water to play. All beach chairs were taken and there was nowhere to sit in the shade so I just found a place to sit, although in the sun. They were in for about a half-hour and then decided to come out and we headed back on the tender boat. If it were just me I would stay on the boat at this stop and enjoy the peace and quiet. Nassau: Okay, well....we had a not so great expeience in Nassau. We had a shore excursion booked to go to the Atlantis for a tour of the aquarium and The Dig. We had some time to kill before going there and wanted to walk down to Diamonds International to look at the watches. You have to walk through this building and from the time you get to the end of the pier from your cruise ship you are hounded, or rather, bombarded by people offering to take you on tours of the island, offering to braid your hair, wanting to rent you a scooter. They are relentless! There are some nice shops downtown, with some tourist shops mixed in. We went to a few but then started to head back the other way. At about 10:45 we headed back toward the pier. Again, walking through the throngs of people offering their services and a hair braiding lady is offering up her services. Well my daughter heres this and wants her hair braided. I had promised her she could do that at some point on the vacation so we stopped. The lady had pictures and Stella picked what she wanted which were braids and beads across the top of her head like a headband. I asked her how much and she said $3 per braid. Now, let me stop here and say that I had seen some of the braid work that was done the day before and there didn't seem to be a huge number of braids. I asked her how long and she said 10-15 min. and my daughter was pleading with me so I told her okay. Now I know I should have haggled but I was tired and just wanted to get it done. She had us follow her back to the hair braiding area which is basically a covered gazebo. My husband went to get some cash from the ATM while they started on her hair. I knew immediately that I was in trouble because the braids were tiny. They were so skinny they barely looked like braids. But then they would combine a couple of braids into one bead so I was hoping they were counting by beads not braids. They kept going and we were getting really concerned, not just because of money but we were afraid we would miss our shore excursion because it was taking much longer than what they had said. They finally got done and told us $120. We only had $102 on us and she said that was fine. I really wanted to throw $40 at her and walk off because that is about how much it is worth, but then again, this is my stupidity for agreeing so we gave her the $102 and then had to run to meet our excursion. We did catch it on time and the bus to get there was sketchy but the Atlantis is really great to see. Other than the Atlantis I wasn't a huge fan of Nassau, it was a bit sketchy aside from a few of the nice stores. Pool -- the pool area on this ship is pretty nice. There are actually two pools, both with salt water and about 80 degrees, and then 3 hot tubs around the pool area and a large shower. However, the more pool space means less deck chairs so if you want one you've got to be really early. The kids area is off to the side and kids have their own hot tub and then a toddler pool. Also, I forgot to mention the waterslide. It's not huge and my daughter was big enough to go down it. She went once and didn't seem to care about going again and I didn't think much of it but a few days later she told us that the guy who is working at the top of the waterslide yelled at her to go when she was on it so she thought he was mean. I don't know what happened, I wasn't up there with her, so that is only her account. The layout was similar to the Dawn. My only complaint would be that there are many activities which are held in the Spinnaker and that is on 13 forward and not easy to get to quickly. But you'll learn your way in a few days! Sorry for the long review. It was a great week and we have great memories. Can't wait to do it again! If you're going, hope you have a good time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Since the first I time Iaid eyes on a model cruise ship as a child, I had dreamed of travelling on one of these magnificent floating resorts. On February 24, 2013 I realized that dream when I set sail on the Norwegian Jewel from NYC to ... Read More
Since the first I time Iaid eyes on a model cruise ship as a child, I had dreamed of travelling on one of these magnificent floating resorts. On February 24, 2013 I realized that dream when I set sail on the Norwegian Jewel from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas. In this review I will share my experiences through the eyes of a first time cruiser. Let's start at the beginning... Boarding After a short cab ride from Penn Station, we arrived at the cruise terminal. Our checked bags were quickly whisked away and we headed into the terminal to begin our check-in process. After filling out a health questionarre, we reached the check-in desk and set up our account and received our room keys. Enroute to the gangway, we had our photo taken in front of a big picture of the Jewel. The first picture I took on the ship was of a few cast members in costumes, ranging from Sandy Squirrel to two dancers in sailor costumes. The atmosphere was fun and cheerful, music was playing, and I immediately felt welcomed. Cabin Accomodations Our balcony cabin on deck 10 forward was, to us at least, perfectally satisfactory. Storage space was very good, and we found enough room under the bed for our luggage, which we stored our shoes in to save space in the cabinets and closet. There was also a digital safe in one of the cabinets, which was useful for holding our passports, watches, and DSLR camera when I wasn't all over the ship taking pictures with it. The bed was comfortable, and the small couch was nice for use during the day when the bed was made. The bathroom provided some additional storage space for toiletries, and was ideally sized with the exception of the toilet, which was in a bit of a tight spot. In some spots the carpetting looked a bit old and worn. This didn't bother me a whole lot, as I figured it just came with the age and use of the ship. Our room steward was super friendly and always kept the room looking and smelling beautiful. We were also greeted by a different towel animal each night. While eating my fruit salad on our first morning at sea, I was treated to dozens of beautiful dolphins swimming along with the ship. That experience alone made the upcharge for the balcony completely worth it, and is one of my most cherished memories from this cruise. Public Areas Cruise ship decor has always seemed a touch gaudy to me, and the Jewel was no exception. Gratuitous use of bright tropical colors and shiny artificial woods left my retinas feeling a bit overwhelmed. It all seems a bit overstyled and overstated, and yet the ship lacked a sense of grandeur. The atrium was rather small and unimpressive, and the adjoining eateries polluted the air with the smell of several different kinds of food blended together. The atrium was also frequently used by jewelry vendors, and this occupied a decet amount of space and interrupted the flow of traffic, and I wondered if NCL couldn't find a better place to put these tables and displays. The gift shop seemed like an afterthought, residing at the very back of deck 7. It was pretty much one open space, and although it fuctioned, it lacked any real character. The classic, wrap around promenade deck was one of my favorite places to spend time. It was when walking here, close to the ocean and in audible range of the sound of the water rushing past the bow, that I really felt I was out to sea. Entertainment Entertainment spaces were nice enough. The theater was a nice size and the seats were reasonably comfortable. The shows were hit and miss. I wasn't a fan of the production company, however Duo Elegia were an absolute thrill. One of my favorite performers was the slightly corny but very enjoyable comedic magician, Jean-Pierre Parent. I loved his idea of blending comedy and magic, and it was a unique experience. For me and my husband, one of our favorite things to take in was watching our fellow guests participate in the various game shows set up by the cruise staff. The best ones seemed to take place at the Spinnaker in the evening, when everyone was sipping on an adult beverage and inhibitions were seemingly dropped into the vast ocean, along with clothes in some cases! The Spinnaker is also a perfect spot to enjoy the view from inside the ship. Karaoke was tons of fun, and there were even regulars who would come back several nights, which helped give the Fizz Lounge an almost familiar, neighborhood feel. We also chose to attend one of the art related seminars, which I found interesting and informational. As a bonus we were given prints of some works of art, which made cute souvenirs. Aside from live entertainment, there is no rock climbing wall, no mini golf, no surf simulator, and no zip line type of entertainment. We didn't notice not having these items, as there was always something to do somewhere. There is a ball court, and the usual pools and hot tubs, with some areas set aside for children, including a small water slide. I would say this ship is better for kicking back rather than being thrilled. Ultimately, we never found ourselves bored. We did sometimes opt to nap, or just enjoy the crisp air from our balcony. It wasn't hard to find an available lounge chair in a public space on this cruise, even when the weather warmed up as we made our way further south. The Spa Shortly after boarding we were given a tour of the spa facilities, which resulted in the decision to purchase passes for thermal suites for the duration of our cruise. This gave us access to a communal spa area, with thermal loungers and a large hot tub with lounger inside, all with views of the ocean from the forward facing floor to ceiling windows. Unfortunately, we never did manage to find an available thermal lounger whenever we visited the spa. Also available with the pass were areas set aside seperately for each gender. The seperate facilities included hot tubs and lounge chairs with floor to ceiling windows at the front corners of the ship. In addition to this was a sauna, with it's own ocean views, a steam room, Japanese cold plunge tub, showers, lockers. Cool water was also available to drink. Because of all the other many activities grabbing our attention, we only used the facilities four times, but I personally felt it was worth the added expense, as it added a large heap of luxury to our experience. It's a delight to start or end your day in a spa. Dining There are a number of restaurants on the ship. Some are included, and some are not. We did decide to try out most of the cost-added eateries, with some mixed results. The Garden Cafe and adjoining Great Outdoors buffets were convenient and the quality was perfectly acceptable. We usually ate breakfast here and sometimes visited for a snack between meals. We did feel that the flow of hungry patrons was very poorly organized. There are stations every which way, some foods repeated and some didn't, and nobody seemed to know which way they were going, myself included. I really think NCL should put some thought into creating a more orderly experience for this dining venue. However, the ability to enjoy a quick open air meal on the back of the ship is a highlight of the Great Outdoors. The chocolate buffet also takes place at the Garden Cafe. It presented more like a chocolate showdown, as people crowded around the chocolate covered strawberries like seagulls on a french fry in a fast food drive-thru. Again, lack of flow created an almost Black Friday type of affair. We sat down for lunch at Tsar's Palace, the main dining room, on only one occasion. The food was fresh and the service was quick. We sat near the windows at the back of the ship which provided a lovely view and wonderful light. I would have happily come back to this restaurant if not for the fact that there were so many other options. The menu at Blue Lagoon, the ships 24 hour dining option, was quite limited. This is the place to come to if you're feeling peckish, or if you need to soak up some excess booze with somethig like mozzarella sticks. I would not choose to eat an actual full meal here. Azura, the secondary main dining room, did not stand out in any way. It felt a bit tight, but the food was satisfying and service was very good. We had our very first dinner at sea at Cagney's. The service was top notch, rivaling that of upscale restaurants back on land. The food was delicious and rich. This space definitely evokes a sense of masculinity with it's cowhide chairs and dark color pallette. The lighting was soft and provided a sultry ambiance. I highly reccomend enjoying a meal at Cagney's. Chin Chin had a tantalizing menu, and we found ourselves ordering many different items to enjoy almost tapas style. The flavors were bright and we enjoyed every item ordered. The hubby absolutely loved the banana pancake dessert, and even had cravings for it after our cruise. La Cucina was uninmpressive. The meal was unremarkable and the decor was very much like a certain Italian themed restaurant chain back home. I don't think this restaurant warrants the extra cost, as food quality didn't seem any better than that of the main dining rooms included in your fare. Moderno is a rodizio style restaurant, where you are brought several varieties of meats on a cycle until you're ready to burst. The salad bar which is included with the meal provides you with a nice selection of cured meats, cheeses, pasta salads, and even a couple of soup choices. I have dined at rodizios many times before trying this cruise ship variant, and I was sadly disappointed. The service was excrutiatingly slow, and the meats were barely warm when they were served to us. Perhaps this retaurant was just having a bad night, but it left us wanting a do over at a true rodizio back home. Le Bistro is hands down my favorite restaurant on board the Norwegian Jewel. The food, the service, the atmosphere, were all superb. I truly felt like I was dining at a fine restaurant in a metropolitan city. It's location in the ship is convenient as well. Right outside their doors are bars, lounges, and the casino, available to you after a luxurious dinner. In this way you can make dinner there a sort of night on the floating town. Our overall impressions of dining aboard the ship were very good. There are fancy Peugot salt and pepper grinders at every table everywhere, a touch I enjoyed. We never had a rude or inattentive waitor, and we never had to wait for a table. Great Stirrup Cay I will never forget the feeling of waking up and having a private island right outside my balcony at my disposal for the day. This would become another fondly cherished memory for me. Disappointingly, Norwegian has not built a dock here in the last 30-something years of ownership, so this is a tender port. Tendering was fairly simple, and we were transported to the island in quick fashion. We had one excursion, the Waverunners. Before getting on, you sit in a room and watch a video that warns you, to great extent, of the dangers involved in the activity you are about to partake in. On land, I love speed in a car, but out on water where I can't swim, I was uncomfortable even with a life vest on. I do wish the excursion had been longer, because as we headed back I was finally getting used to controlling the waverunner and might have gotten more enjoyment out of it at that point. The rest of the time we laid out on the beach and played in the gorgeous, calm waters. Unfortunately we didn't time the lunch very well, so we were left with scraps of pizza and cake. This was our fault entirely, so I can't really speak on the quality of the food there. I do like that there is a food option on the island, however. My impression of the island was that it needed some serious sprucing up. There were random slabs of concrete that looked old and forgotten, and clashed with the natural scenery. The winding lagoon the tenders enter through also looked very much manmade and just plain unnattractive. I would love to see NCL invest in a few aesthetic upgrades for their own private island. Final Thoughts The biggest disappointment of the whole cruise was that it had to come to an end. Even after two rocky nights at sea that left me temporarily frazzled, I never wanted to live on land again. I couldn't help but gush to anyone with ears about what a wonderful time I had. I urged anyone who had not tried NCL, or even cruising at all, to book a cruise because they would abolsutely love the ease of it all. I am thankful to NCL for making my first cruise a dream come true. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My young adult son and I just returned from his first cruise experience. NCL gave accommodations to make the cruise possible with my son's special needs. They did what they said they would do ... and more! It not only made this ... Read More
My young adult son and I just returned from his first cruise experience. NCL gave accommodations to make the cruise possible with my son's special needs. They did what they said they would do ... and more! It not only made this trip possible but gave my son a wonderful experience cruising and he cannot wait to go again. Anticipating the cruise I had spent a great deal of time researching online. I read a lot of reviews and did get a bit concerned reading some of them. We didn't experience any of the big issues reported by others. We both thought the food was fine and plentiful, the crew very helpful and courteous, and the ship clean and well maintained. We came home healthy and relaxed. We did get some great tips from this site and others including bringing an over the door shoe rack which kept everything organized and decreased the clutter. Highlighters, a clock, insect repellent and a few other items we learned about certainly made our experience easier and more fun. We only wish we had taken the advice regarding taking half the clothes and double the money! I think sites like this, which help you have realistic expectations regarding your cruise experience, make for a successful, enjoyable, cruise experience. So thanks Cruise Critic! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This cruise is designed for NY/NJ area residents who don't want to fly. Probably 3/4 of the ship were locals. As Chicago area residents we always have to fly somewhere to catch a cruise, so usually go south and get the full warm ... Read More
This cruise is designed for NY/NJ area residents who don't want to fly. Probably 3/4 of the ship were locals. As Chicago area residents we always have to fly somewhere to catch a cruise, so usually go south and get the full warm weather escape. Flights to NYC were cheap, so gave this a try. Enjoyed a day in NYC prior to cruise. This cruise gives you 3 warm days. The 4 sea days are cool (40s and 50s F). Not great balcony weather, so if booking winter out of NYC, an interior or ocean view may be a better value. Cabin 8040 is a "hull" balcony. It is cheapest, as most prefer a full view. On winter out of NYC, the hull is actually a benefit - extra wind protection. Hull also offers extra privacy. Neighbor can't peek around wall. Jewel was in good condition. I have read a few others complaining about stuff. When you see presentations of the new Breakaway, you see room for improvement. However, the ship was as good as it was when we sailed in 2008. If you like Jewel class, your expectations will be met. I like buffet-ing at the aft facing great outdoors area -- something the Star/Dawn don't offer. Cruising by the NYC area is one of the highlights. If you plan on watching from your balcony, embarking port side, sees the statue of liberty. Starboard sees NYC. Reversed for 6am return. Your best views will be outside on top deck. Ports - Cheap cruise if you don't go to theme parks. The only ship excursion we took was a $13 shuttle to Cocoa beach in Port Canaveral. Nice to have a port with US mobile access. There is shopping by the beach if you need anything. Great Stirrup Cay was good for snorkeling. Bring your own gear -- cost to rent ($40) is about what I spent purchasing. You can skip fins, but vest is required. Nassau just walked around. Walked to water tower / queen stair / fort area that you can see from the ship. Not much to town area. Caught some dunkin doughnut wifi to catch up with home. Walked along Junkanoo beach. Since we didn't spend much at ports, purchased the 3 pack specialty restaurant deal online. Cagney's and Bistro were worthy upgrades. Mama's (Italian) didn't seem like much of an upgrade over MDR. Overall enjoyed food on ship. Burned off most of it walking laps around promenade (3 laps = mile). Disembark - Storm related delays others have reported seem to be cleared up. We did self walk out and were out by 8:30am with no lines. Walked over to a shuttle service to airport. Enjoyed the vacation. Purchased a cruise reward (future credit), so will likely continue on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My Mother and I cruised together on this ship. I had "won" a free cruise from my local casino and paid port charges and taxes - I paid an extra $150 for an Oceanview and was glad I did. Total price for the trip was $700 for ... Read More
My Mother and I cruised together on this ship. I had "won" a free cruise from my local casino and paid port charges and taxes - I paid an extra $150 for an Oceanview and was glad I did. Total price for the trip was $700 for the two of us, courtesy of Casino at Seas. This was my first time on NCL. I had cruised 6 times previously all with Celebrity. While the two cruise lines are different, they are both great. I enjoyed eating when I wanted to and not dressing up on NCL but I liked the daily activities more on Celebrity. Our room 8104 was spacious for an Ocean view with plenty of storage room and a great room attendant, Rustee. He kept our room spotless and often left us a nice surprise (towel animals) most evenings. The entertainment was the best I ever encountered on a cruise - a comedian, a magician, a duo who performed aerial feats and a great troupe of singers and dancers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I really believe that the staff on this cruise went out of their way to make the entire experience incredible. Every day they were friendly, fun, witty and interactive with everyone they met. They made each show, game & events one - ... Read More
I really believe that the staff on this cruise went out of their way to make the entire experience incredible. Every day they were friendly, fun, witty and interactive with everyone they met. They made each show, game & events one - of - kind !! Although the destination was an ultimate goal for us to see the on-board activities were outstanding. The entertainment was by far very well put together and executed. The dining staff were attentive and professional. The house keeping staff were on their A-game providing the most quality in everything they did to make our room cleaned each and every time we came back to our room. Every person we met made the trip amazing ... the energy we felt from each person made our trip one that we would come back to time and time again. This was an incredible experience !! Thank you PS. I did not get to drop off my comment card when disembarking and I wanted to recognize the staff that cleaned our room day and night during our trip. His name was JAMES FLORES 8TH FLOOR - JEWEL- BAHAMAS VACATION PORTING FROM NYC - JAMES FLORES was incredible and took very good care of us each and every day with a smile and a positive attitude. Thank you James - I hope you get recognition !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Hello future cruisers who plan on taking a cruise on the Jewel :) I know that a lot of people check out the reviews to give them reasons on to why they SHOULDN'T go on this ship, or is this ship horrible, or to tell them about the ... Read More
Hello future cruisers who plan on taking a cruise on the Jewel :) I know that a lot of people check out the reviews to give them reasons on to why they SHOULDN'T go on this ship, or is this ship horrible, or to tell them about the HORRIBLE service. But this isn't going to be one of those. Just so you know. . . all cruise ships have poor reviews, its impossible to please every single person on board, so of course you will have that one person that will complain. Was this ship in perfect condition, no but it sure looked great. So here I go. . . How to start things off, join cruise critic. Why? you can join the roll call, find out what you should bring, and meet fellow cruisers that will be traveling with you. *another thing, the bf and I are 25 and 26. Just so you can read our review from that stand point. (the day before our cruise is snowed 4 inches, we were ready to leave) day 1. leaving NYC. My boyfriend and I decided to go on this cruise in early summer. So we put out deposit down, and made payments on this cruise until October 1st. Which is awesome, not many cruise lines allow you to make payments. But we left the Lehigh Valley at 9:30am, hit a little bit of traffic into NYC (its New York, you will hit traffic, get over it) and got dropped off at Pier 88 around noon. It was not packed at all. Since we cruised before, we are Latitude members and walked straight through security and got our room keys right away. While your waiting on your room key, they make you fill out a form asking if your sick or not. All the Pier Employee's were happy and pleasant. As your walking, you walk in front of a green screen to take a photo that you will see in the photo gallery on board. They did have coffee for you to drink but the bf and I decided to just get on the ship. This is where "Washy-Washy" starts. When you get on the ship, they spray your hands with anti bacterial liquid, which is great, because norovirus STINKS. When you walk on board, they scan your room key card to make sure its you, and off you go. Your on vacation. The first thing we did was schedule our reservation for the Chefs table. They only do one of these so book yours fast. Its amazing. As soon as we did that we went to Tsar's and got lunch. The cheese steak taste just as good as Pat's! If your from the Philly area you know what Pat's cheese steaks taste like. During lunch we heard the announcement that the rooms were ready by 12:45!!! Which is great if you on a cruise. Our room was great. It was a bit odd for us because on our last cruise we got the Owners Suite and went down to the Aft Facing Cabin. But we are ALWAYS doing the aft facing cabin from here on out. The view is amazing, and you smell the bread from the bakery all the time. Its great. The bathroom is a little small, but it was a wonderful room. We ate dinner at the Moderno and almost had to be rolled back to our room. The view leaving NYC out of an aft facing balcony is beautiful, you won't regret it. day 2 day at sea and New Years Eve. This vacation was all about relaxation for me. All I wanted to do was read my nook, catch a few shows and eat great food. Which is what I did. This was the day we met up with fellow cruise critic members and did the meet and greet with a few of the crew and the slot pull. That was awesome, met some really cool folks. New Years Eve was "dress up or not" night, which the bf and I did decide to get dressed up. A lot of people were in ball gowns, tuxedos etc. Bands played in every bar. We partied in Spinnaker Lounge and had a blast. The band on stage was Next Stage, they had confetti when the ball dropped, noise makers, hats etc. It was jammed packed and a very good time. Everyone was happy! DAY 3 This it the day we were in Florida. Everyone still seemed happy from the night before, I ran into a few miserable people who were hung over, but you just ignore them. Sitting on our balcony (aft) seeing all the boats and seagulls was neat. And going into Port was interesting, I enjoyed seeing Port Canaveral and the NASA sign. This was the day we visited family and had pork and sauerkraut. We got back on the boat on time, and left Port on time. It was another great day. The food all over the ship is amazing. Day 4... Great Stirrup Cay. This place ROCKS! I mean that. You can rent a huge blue float, take your drinks, your book (in my case) and a camera, and just float, for hours. Doing nothing. Tons of people had the same idea. Plenty of lawn chairs. Just bring your own towel. If you lose your room towel, you have to pay $25 for yours. Just an FYI. The food was decent, and you get to take a tender to the island. The island right next to it was Royal Caribbeans private island. So they had two ships anchored off shore. It was neat to see. Also the people watching is incredible. You can walk around, there is a mini straw market, and also mini bars everywhere. Loved this place. This was also the night we did the Chefs dinner. Which I had no complaints, some of the food wasn't for me, but I had a bite of everything. 9 course meal, why wouldn't I? Day 5 . . . Nassau, I've been to Nassau numerous times now. Nothing great. The straw market is cool, negotiate all your prices. But Senor Frogs is where ALL the fun is. We drank a lot, and enjoyed looking out at the 5 cruise ships that were docked. (yes 5!) beautiful at night, totally different world down there. I can't remember where we ate at that night, but I do recall saying that the bread was amazing. Day 6. . sea day -_- This was the day I wished I didn't drink so much. I was sick most of the morning because I was a moron and drank to much the day before. All my fault. By noon I was walking around feeling normal. That night we ate at Chin Chin. Incredible food. It was amazing. Jean Pierre sat next to us, and he talked to us a bit, he was funny. (See his show! You will laugh your butt off and think to yourself, "did he just say that?") This was also the night of the variety show, they do this beautiful masterpiece at the end called "Fountains". Its great. Sit in the front or as close to the front as you can get. I loved it, I sat right in the center. Day 7... Sea Day I walked around a lot, and ate a lot. I didn't want the food to go to waste, so I made sure I had a bit of everything. This was the night of the chocolate buffet, just try it out or walk through it in the garden cafe. Did a lot of packing, and we tipped our room steward, who always read my little post it notes, made great towel animals and was very sweet. Things I missed, which were a lot. We also seen the show Cirque Bijou. This show was amazing, The strength and creativity that these performers have is out of this world. I couldn't imagine doing this on land, let alone on a moving ship. The Variety show you get to see a bit of everything, its like a sampling, see that show on the first night, read your Freestyle Daily. Tells you everything you need to know. Did our stateroom show wear and tear? Yes it does, but it isn't anything horrible. The first time I showered, my shower drain was clogged, and I was standing in 4 inches of water. I called the front desk, and someone was there right away to fix it. We always had clean towels, beds made and hot food. Dan the Man was a really funny cruise ship director! Always smiling. Captain Lars was very funny as well to hear over the loud speaker. I know this was really lengthy, but I wanted people to know what a great time this was. Oh and we had one night of poor service in the mdr but we didn't let that ruin our night or our cruise. It was packed. I didn't blame anyone... Getting off the ship was a breeze, the bf and I decided to just walk off at 8am, we had our own luggage, and we waited in a small line. Walked off, it was that simple. There are a ton of taxi's waiting at the end of the pier, we took our bags, jumped in a cab took it up to the Staten Island Ferry. Which is free! (not the cab, the ferry) Went on the ferry, dropped off our bags. Went on the ferry again. Got our tickets for the WTC tour, seen that. Then we went to Crumbs bake shop. A great end to our trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I spent many years (10+) saving for what I thought would be a dream vacation for me and my 15 year old son for a 7 day trip to the Bahamas. While booking I upgraded to a Balcony room and was advised that I would be in a smoke free ... Read More
I spent many years (10+) saving for what I thought would be a dream vacation for me and my 15 year old son for a 7 day trip to the Bahamas. While booking I upgraded to a Balcony room and was advised that I would be in a smoke free enviroment, my dream was to have morning coffee at sunset on the balcony......huh what a joke as both my stateroom neighbors were extremem smokers, and I have severe ASMATHA, and did not travel with a nebulizer machine, only an inhaler, I was not able to use my balcony, as my neighbors lived on thiers, what a waste of alot of money. Next when I was viewing my the rooms online the wonderful video shows a great 19 inch flat screen, when booking i was told yes there would be a flat screen and a perked coffee machine in each state room, NOT. The TV in our room was so ancient, it was 13 inches or less and a dinosaur. The coffee in my room was a packet of instant with something to heat up water, hot pathetic for spending a 1000.00+ per person that I couldnt get perked coffee in my room or sit on my expensive balcony. The state room was smaller than what it appeared to be online. the Bathroom was adequate. Our steward was wonderful. The embarkemnt took forever out of NewYork. The food was okay. The service at the Azure was great by one particualr waiter. The recreational activiteies were a bore, they repeated themselves over and over, there was no rock climbing for my teen, no bowling, no movies, no comedy club, repeaded art lectures and auctions to get you to spend money. The shore excursions were the best part of the trip, more fun off the boat than on it! Then 24 hours upon return to the boat I attained a rash, I reported it to the front desk, and was told not to worry about it, or I could see medical for 180.00 dollars, WHAT?! SO I went to the crusie consultant who told me I probably got sand fleas and it would go away in 24 hours, it didnt go away until after I got home. NCL didnt care. When I came home on 12.23.12 I sat down and wrote all my complaints down, on 12.24.12 I composed a letter to customer relations and emailed them. It was recieved on 12.28.12, it is now 1/14/12, and I have called 5 or more times with no resolutions to my concerns. I am not a happy NOrweigan sailor. I await a resolution to my concerns, to top it off, durin my 3rd or 4th call, I learned my assigned case review was out sick on disability and no one was reviewing my concerns, how can I be happy with such poor customer service? Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I decided to book this cruise (12/23) to get away during the holiday and just relax. It was out of NY so this was great since we don't like to fly.Embarkation was relatively easy. The folks at the checkin were business ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book this cruise (12/23) to get away during the holiday and just relax. It was out of NY so this was great since we don't like to fly.Embarkation was relatively easy. The folks at the checkin were business like and efficient. Rather than give you a long narrative of the cruise let me just hit the highs and lows for us. THE GOOD: THE CREW - We found the crew and staff to be consistently friendly and helpful. I am surprised by some of the comments that people were rude because that was not our experience at all. THE SHIP: The ship was clean and appeared to be well maintained. I saw no evidence that there was poor maintenance. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was actually pretty good. The magician/comedian as particularly entertaining (Jean-Paul??) THE BAD: THE FOOD: I'm not really saying the food was "bad" it was just mediocre. If you're on a cruise spending $1,000+ per person mediocre=BAD. Not what you would expect. I was bored by day 3 and really didn't look forward to dinner as I had on our prior cruise (another cruise line). I don't think you should have to go to a cover charge venue to get a special meal. One night they had "surf and turf". The turf looked like it was cut from a normal sized filet mignon. I thought it was a childs portion. THe lobster tail was similarly undersized. Not once on the cruise was shrimp cocktail offered as an appetizer. Surprising! The Garden Cafe which was an alternative was buffet style and I felt like I was in a poorly managed food court at the mall. We went there once. THE CABIN: We stayed in a BB Balcony cabin and we were really surprised how small it was. The bathroom was really small. I though if you were a plus sized person you would definitely have a problem. Would we go "freestyle cruising" again? Regrettably no. THe bad just outweighed the good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First I must confess that our experience on this trip was made much better by our gradual change from being inside cabin cruisers to the Suite Life. So, take my review with a grain of salt knowing that the Suite perks on NCL are amazing. ... Read More
First I must confess that our experience on this trip was made much better by our gradual change from being inside cabin cruisers to the Suite Life. So, take my review with a grain of salt knowing that the Suite perks on NCL are amazing. We plan ahead to afford a Penthouse Suite for these perks and would highly recommend them. Had we been in an inside cabin we would have spent a great deal less, had an equally great time, but missed out on the perks. That said, here you go. Embarcation was a dream. We arrived at port about 10:30, having stayed the night before just over the GW Bridge in Ft. Lee N.J. The drive down the Hudson Parkway was uneventful until we shot past the entrance to the parking deck. Our vacation began perfectly with a quick U turn complete with a honk and hand gesture from a genuine NYC cabbie! We checked our bags at the curb after parking on the second level of the parking deck. (prepaid $245 and parked on the top level, being careful not to park under a light. Cruise Critic reviewers had advised this to avoid bird poop!) After a brief wait in the VIP lounge (about 30 minutes) we were briefed by Ruth the concierge. checked in at the desk quickly and were issued our key cards. As a group we were escorted on board by a staff member and taken to Cagneys. We were seated between two families that were our initial entertainment. On the one side a woman talked incessantly for the whole time we were there seemingly about anything that came into her head-rarely pausing except to eat, and then continue talking. The dad on the other side of us had extensive questions for the server about dietary restriction, explaining in great detail about how their son was "nearly a vegetarian" asking whether there was any dairy in anything, for olive oil for the plain pasta they ordered for him. After all of this, watching this young man eat a large plate of fries with ketchup as his parents ignored him was delightful. As others on CC have observed, Suite perks on NCL are wonderful in terms of the space, service. The room was familiar as we'd been in it on a previous cruise. The butler joked that his job was done since we knew the room. NCL sent a large fruit basket with a bottle of red wine. A nice bottle of champagne (okay it was cheap carbonated Chablis, but the bottle was nice!) was in the room and our steward brought a floral arrangement shortly after we arrived. We toured the spa in the early evening, choosing a pass for the week given the prediction of overcast to rainy weather at least until Tuesday. The spa, which we had never been in before is huge! The private hot tub, sauna, steam room, cold tub and the heated loungers from which we can look out the front of the ship became the highlight of our trip. I am delighted to report to my fellow Friends of the Leaf that the cigar room is complete! It is quiet and well ventilated and very comfortable. What a treat, since there is no cigar smoking on balconies any longer. As an added bonus for those of you that combine cigars and alcohol, bar service is available in the lounge. Our CC Meet and Greet was Monday morning in the Star Bar on 13. It was attended by approximately 40 of the over 100 people who asked to be included on the roll call. NCL did a great job of providing plenty of space, markers, name tags and loads of food. Ruth the concierge even arranged for a birthday cake for a CC member who was celebrating their birthday that week (they didn't show for the Meet and Greet, so other attendees happily took the cakes with them). Tuesday we didn't get off at Port Canaveral but thoroughly enjoyed the relatively empty ship, tanning on the balcony, a cigar on deck 13 and some time at the spa. An elderly o woman wandering about the men's locker room was a highlight (of sorts). I was relieved to be in a robe as she calmly wandered about. She left when told to do so and given directions back to the front desk. More evidence that the most fun on a cruise can be the unexpected! Wednesday at Great Stirrup Cay was a blast. I highly recommend priority disembarkation as we got to wait in Le Bistro and then Ruth our concierge led us to the tender a back way. The island has had major renovations since we were there last in 2009. A new channel for entry onto the island, more space on the beach and the "Flight of the Fancy" snorkeling trail as well as much improved buildings and a small version of a straw market. Snorkeling was a treat and I spent several hours exploring the underwater flora and fauna as well as the sunken artifacts placed there by NCL to make the area more interesting. We went back to the ship by about 2 as we had arrived on the island by 9:30 and that was enough sun for the day. A great acrobatic show in the evening that is not to be missed. In Nassau. after another great breakfast in Cagneys we made the obligatory walk into town. We found some last minute gifts and of course a Hard Rock t shirt for our toddler grand daughter! Four huge cruise ships in port today with thousands of relatively wealthy people disgorged into Nassau. A Disney mega ship was to our left all day. This ship has music and movie soundtracks blaring from the top deck at all time and this got rather old by late in the afternoon. We spent the afternoon soaking up some more sun on our balcony then went to the spa for a soak and the heated therapy chairs. There were several really loud snorers there today! Dinner at the Garden Cafe' (what a great selection of things to choose from!) In the evening JP's comedy magic show in the Stardust theatre was great fun! The trip back to NYC was overcast and very rough going. The staff and crew of the ship did a great job of handling everything within their control and made a rough couple of days as enjoyable as possible. We didn't notice a lot of our fellow passengers out and about during these two sea days and suspected that sea sickness had taken its toll. When the sea sickness bags are posted between the elevators in each stair tower, it's a bad sign! We were admittedly somewhat green ourselves at least the first day. Caught up on some great movies in our room and were thankful to feel much better the second day. As an aside, the combination of Ginger tea and some Ginger had candies we'd brought handled our nausea well. As a bonus, there were none of the side effects of Dramamine or Bonine (e.g. ' what happened to Tuesday?'). Fountains was held Friday I guess because it was too rough to risk Cirque Bijou (we didn't attend either of these shows so can't give you a review, sorry). Disembarcation was smooth. If you want to leave with the early risers remember to bring all of your luggage with you rather than having it carried off the night before. Otherwise you'll have to get back on the ship and wait. (Don't ask how I know this!) Driving out of NYC was equally a breeze. A quick trip through the Holland tunnel and onto the highway for our trip back to beautiful Ohio. In short, this was a great trip. We may reconsider whether the convenience of driving to the port is offset by the higher potential for rough seas on this itinerary. My hunch is that the captain can't sail around rough weather and stay on schedule so perhaps this is just a risk of sailing out of NYC. I'd be interested to hear from others on this itinerary as my information is obviously quite limited and I'd love to sail out of NYC more often. Rosko9 Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Six of us went to this cruise leaving NYC to FL and Bahamas. Booked it 3 months prior, not sure if we got the best rate, but this week's rate is quite reasonable for a mini-suite so we splurged on one, with my in-laws across in an ... Read More
Six of us went to this cruise leaving NYC to FL and Bahamas. Booked it 3 months prior, not sure if we got the best rate, but this week's rate is quite reasonable for a mini-suite so we splurged on one, with my in-laws across in an interior cabin. Husband and I have been seasoned cruiser, bringing along our 4 yrs old and 20mo old daughters. This is what i recalled for our cruise. Positive: 1) Nick team was phenomenal. We love love love Dora, Diego and sponge bob. The meet and greet was very organized, and it moved quickly. Lot of activities for kids all ages, even under 2. 2) Love the welcome back party atmosphere when returning to the ship at Nassau, Diego was there to greet us back, and there were some guy on stilt too, it was quite a show. Even attracted some passenger from Disney dream to gawk from their balconies. 3)Service was quite consistent, some names popped up for us: Eric, our room steward was exceptional, always a smile to greet us with names. Jiwan, in Tsar dinning room, was quite patient with us, kids and all. 4) Rooms was quite nice, with 4 in the room, it really never feel crowded. Ample storage space, and we brought a lot of stuff. Room for improvement: 1)The under 2 Zoo's location is a bit odd, but it serves its purpose. Beware of strong wind when opening the door to the pool, it snaps back very quickly and can easily shorten a finger or two. Also, I always ponder why is the designated smoking section tables located right by the kiddie pool area? I keep smelling smoke when the kids were in the kiddie pool...not cool. They should consider moving it somewhere further away from the kids, imho. 2) Food wasn't exactly bad, we always managed to find something we like. Just a comment about the chocolate buffer being hosted on the last night, making the buffet extremely crowded, not really well thought out. oh, i would really like to see more variety of fruit being offered. BTW, the watermelon was horrendous, love the grapefruit. 3) Cruise director Dan the man was alright, i don't see him much except during shows. I think Jersey Joe was a bit funnier, his skit on Dancing with the Jewel star as a backstage correspondent was hilarious. I see him around the ship much more, and he is quite personable. 4) Great stirrup cay was pretty, but it has a lot of construction going on. we booked a clam shell on the ship, and I am glad we did, as it serves as a tender ticket so we don't have to wait in line to get one. i don't particularly like how close they are to each other, nor the site where they are placed, they were right next to a body of questionable water, and it was quite far back from the sea. 5) Kids club check in and check out was awfully slow, and in a really narrow location. That was the main reason why we didn't place our 4 yr old there much. we used it for less then an hour, and she didn't really ask to go back. The bottom line is, we enjoyed the cruise, especially the kids. Love the nickelodeon theme, even for people that are not in the kids club, they would have something to do. I hope my review is helpful, as i often get a lot of helpful advice from here.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We probably would have enjoyed the cruise more if we had not had not booked room 10004 (Owners Suite with the large balcony) from the beginning. We felt isolated from the Haven amenities and did not feel we received the same level of ... Read More
We probably would have enjoyed the cruise more if we had not had not booked room 10004 (Owners Suite with the large balcony) from the beginning. We felt isolated from the Haven amenities and did not feel we received the same level of service as the Haven guests. If we had booked a lessor category and been upsold or upgraded this room we would have loved it. But, paying for this room made us feel like chumps every time we trudged up two floors to the Haven and repeatedly explain who we were. People staying on the 14th floor in the Haven received better service, they were on a nicer floor, they had more privacy and were treated with more respect by the staff than we were...on the 10th floor. It didn't matter that we paid more for our room than anyone else (other than the Garden Villa people) it came down to location, location, location. And, we were in the wrong location. So, word of warning to those people who plan to book the Owners Suite: Please rethink this. You will have a smaller room in the Haven but you will have the amenities right at your fingertips. You really will be treated differently by the steward and the butler (more on him later) on the 10th floor. On the 10th floor there are only two rooms that are "Haven" rooms. You are sharing your steward with non-Haven staff. They are not going to give you the same level of service so don't expect it. They can't give you the same level of service because they are busy with the balcony suites and the penthouse suites. The same is true with your butler. Norwegian, you should do something about this and give people who stay in the Owners Suite the option of paying more to participate in the Haven or not. It was a hassle to get there and a hassle using things like the hot tub or pool. Using the Haven hot tub was not a better option for us because we were required to go the 14th floor and back to our room on the 10th floor, through security doors, walk by people's rooms, and walk down a long hallway to and from our room. Our butler was useless. We saw him the first day. He watched my wife unpack. Why do I mention this? Because Norwegian specifically states the following is a perk for penthouses and suites on it's web site, "Butler to unpack your luggage." Our butler watched us unpack. The next day, my wife asked him why he did not help her unpack and he (the butler) told my wife that he didn't notice that she was unpacking. I must say that I was appalled at his deplorable lack of attention to details since there were three suitcases on the bed and my wife kept putting clothing on hangers. Our butler, on the other hand, managed to move around my wife and show me where the remote control was on the tellie. My wife asked the butler to explain his duties to her. The butler refused to explain his duties to my wife and preferred that she ask him when she needed something. Then he would tell her if that was something which fell within his job. My wife explained that she would rather know--up front--what his duties as a butler were so she could utilize him in this capacity. He refused a second time and a third time when asked again. My wife told him that she had dealt with staff such as him and they were generally lazy. If he didn't tell her what he did...she couldn't ask him to do it. That was the pretty much the last we saw of our Butler. Our concierge, Ruth, was amazing. She more than made up for our Butler. Ruth took care of everything from a plumbing problem (our shower overflowed) to getting us transportation to the airport. We really enjoyed the excursions we took. Our first stop was Orlando. Since we are amusement park people we opted for Universal Studios and the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Tons of fun. Loved the rides, butter beer, and food. The next stop was Great Stirrup Cay. I've heard mixed reviews about this place but we really liked it. Sort of a diamond in the rough. I don't know why Norwegian doesn't do more with this place. It's a marketing dream. They should put a couple more permanent structures on the property and offer overnight camping (glamping) as an excursion. Kids would love it. Parents would love it. And, romantics like me would love it. Park the ship in the ocean for a night and offer slow midnight sailings around the island with a glass of wine and soft music. Give everyone a chance to hear the lapping of the waves and see the stars. Geez, we're out in the middle of the ocean and it's still difficult to see the stars. We also liked the Bahamas. I think our cruise got lucky because there were mechanical problems and we had to sail directly to the Bahamas. So, we had 2 nights there instead of one day. Made all the difference in the world. We were able to shop, hang out at the beach, just relax. Back on board the ship, we really didn't have any complaints. We ate most of our meals at the Tsar Restaurant. We didn't go to any specialty restaurant because we were being pissy about our room and butler. But, we didn't go to anything really. Not the Captains Party or anything. We mostly stayed to ourselves. One of the perks of staying in a suite is that you eat complimentary breakfast and lunch at Cagney's. I believe we ate there twice for breakfast and once for lunch. The food was fine. We just weren't all that interested. We like to wander. We had hamburgers at the pool one day. Went to the buffet when we needed a snack. Had room service for breakfast on the morning we went to Orlando. We loved the entertainment on the ship. We felt the entertainers were very talented and you could see they really enjoyed what they were doing. Such a nice change from other ships we have been on. We have been on some cruises where you can tell the entertainers are just miserable. We enjoyed every show we attended. My last complaint. Not a big one but it was annoying. Someone kept taking mineral water and soda out of our fridge. We didn't care because we don't like mineral water and regular soda. But, my wife was pretty upset when the diet soda started to disappear. We would have complained to our butler but... ...oh wait. Never mind. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- ... Read More
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- we wanted to cruise out of NY or Baltimore, and had to cruise Thanksgiving week, so there were only a couple options. The main objective of our trip was rest and relaxation! The Room: We were in Balcony Stateroom #10086. It was a great location...near the mid-ship elevators and stairs, and either up or down just a couple decks to almost everything important to us (food, alcohol, spa and gym, pool deck, theater, etc.) Unfortunately we had smokers in the cabin next door, and also somewhere else around us, and rarely found it enjoyable to spend any amount of time on the balcony. The cabin was a little tight, but there was a ton of storage and it was more than adequate for a week. Our cabin steward was okay, but not great -- we stopped getting towel animals on the third day, we never got ice, and didn't even get turn down service a couple nights. The Itinerary: Let's just say we didn't choose this cruise for the ports of call. The weather all week was incredibly windy -- Captain Lars remarked on it several times. Even in the warmer locales (Florida and the Bahamas), it was WINDY. We didn't get off the ship at Port Canaveral, instead taking advantage of spa specials and a less-crowded pool and hot tub. Our visit to Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled because of the choppy seas, and we ended up pulling into Nassau the night before we were due to arrive. That was the only port we had booked an excursion -- the sea lion experience at Blue Lagoon. We really enjoyed it, although there was a little bit of confusion about when and where exactly we needed to be for our swim. I would go back to Blue Lagoon again. By the last sea day of our cruise it was very cold, very windy and very rainy. The Spa: Even before we boarded we had kind of decided to purchase the week-long spa pass, and it was totally worth the $149 cost. The women-only side (and I'm assuming the men-only as well), had a large hot tub, steam room, dry sauna, fancy showers, plunge pool and comfy Adirondack-type chairs. The co-ed Relaxation Room had the larger "therapy pool" and the much-discussed heated ceramic loungers. Heaven! We went to the spa every day and sometimes twice a day. We often showered in the spa rather than in the cabins. I do think the spa pass should give you a discount on spa services (say, 15%) for a little added value. We took advantage of a port-day special for a massage/facial combo, which was great. My friend even went for acupuncture on the next to the last day, in hopes that it would help her seasickness. The Food and Drink: This was definitely an area that I had some concerns about before we sailed. My friend is a vegetarian and is allergic to onions, so finding food for her can sometimes be a challenge. And I am a bit of a foodie, and had heard mixed reviews about NCL cuisine. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised on all accounts! I would rate the food as good to very good. There were some outstanding selections in the MDR, as well as the Blue Lagoon. We usually did breakfast, and occasionally lunch, at the buffet. It was generally kind of a madness but there was a lot of variety, and we loved eating in the Great Outdoors section. We ate at both Le Bistro and Cagneys, and of the two, I would definitely recommend Le Bistro....I still think back on that Coq Au Vin! My friend didn't make any advanced arrangements for her special diet, but on the first night we were introduced to one of the "Special Diets" servers in the MDR. The two women she worked with throughout the cruise -- Nancy and Rebecca -- made it possible for her to order ANY food on the menu to meet her dietary restrictions, with advanced notice (usually 24 hours). The only downside is that we couldn't be totally flexible in our dining plans (although we could eat whenever we wanted, in either MDR), and that sometimes our meals weren't timed to come out exactly in synch -- so maybe I would still be on my app while she had her main course. No biggie. I didn't find the alcoholic drinks much more expensive than I would pay in any big city or upscale bar, and there were Happy Hour and other specials advertised in the Freestyle Daily. I loved the champagne cocktails at Magnums, Margarita Madness at Moderno bar and the fact that they also had hard cider on board, as well as beer. The Entertainment and Shipboard Activities: We took advantage of a lot of the fun activities on board, like trivia, game shows, dance and exercise classes and interactive events. We saw a couple live productions, which I thought were well-done and there was always live music in one or more of the venues. The Cruise Director (Dan the Man) and his staff were GREAT. We found so many things to do that they often overlapped and we missed out on something. The pool deck was usually very crowded (unless we were in port or getting ready to dock) and we didn't spend that much time up there. Lots and lots of kids (700+) on board that week! OVERALL, I loved my week on the NCL Jewel. The service was great, the amenities were great and I found it to be good value for my vacation dollars. I will definitely cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our first cruise and we were more than excited to go. We were invited by Casino of the Seas and they did everything to make it amazing. We only live about 3 hours from the NYC port so my sister drove us up the night before. It ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were more than excited to go. We were invited by Casino of the Seas and they did everything to make it amazing. We only live about 3 hours from the NYC port so my sister drove us up the night before. It was a bit crazy getting to the port, but nothing to terrible. Once we got there we were informed the escalators were out because there was still no power at the port from Sandy. They guys downstairs said we could leave our bags with them and they would go on the ship or carry them up the stairs. We of course opted to leave them with the guys and away we went. Lines seemed really long to check in but I think in 10 minutes we were through and boarding the ship. It was too early to get into our stateroom so we decided to start touring the ship and see what we could find. Monday we were meeting in Star Bar for the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. We also did a slot pull afterwards. Met some nice folks and we were invited to the officers dinner on Thursday night so got to spend a little more time with the nice folks we met. The food overall was pretty decent. My only complaint was about burgers..I felt like that was always down your throat. Always plenty of fruit :) We ate at Chin Chin for the Mongolian Hot Pot that was nice....several nights we enjoyed sushi at the sushi bar. It was always fantastic. The pools were always open except at night. They were so nice and warm and enjoyable. Hot tubs were excellent as well and always full, people would always let others in and everything. We also enjoyed different entertainment. Played Deal or No Deal all times it was a blast each time. Nicki was fantastic at what she does. CD Dan the Man awesome....ACD Joel awesome! Brenda Kaye, the hypnotist...she was so entertaining and her show was so much fun. I think almost every night we ended up in the Spinnaker Lounge. It was the happening place in the evening. The best for me at least was the "party" band NEXT STAGE. I saw them where ever they were all week long. Lanie blew me away with all the songs she could sing and how amazing her voice really is. The rest of the band as well does a phenomenal job. Feel I found a new friend there. Every day we also hit up the casino. The staff in there was always so pleasant and remembering faces too. We won here and there and my DH won 2 bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine also. There were so many awesome things that they totally beat out the last sea day and its rough seas. I almost forgot all about it. The ship was gorgeous by the way. Everywhere was nice and they were always making sure everything was clean. We have already started planning our next cruise and I don't think I would pick any other cruise line no matter what. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My DH and I sailed on the Norwegian Jewel on 11/25/12 in an ocean view cabin (first time) on deck 5. Lets start at the beginning. Embarkation went very smoothly even though the Gem was also preparing to leave and it was crowded. No ... Read More
My DH and I sailed on the Norwegian Jewel on 11/25/12 in an ocean view cabin (first time) on deck 5. Lets start at the beginning. Embarkation went very smoothly even though the Gem was also preparing to leave and it was crowded. No complaints here. We sat the atrium and just tried to unwind, we were not ready for the craziness we were sure was happening at the Garden Cafe. We are from the Jersey Shore and had just gone through Hurricane Sandy, as I am sure many others on the ship did as well, and we just wanted to sit and relax for a few. About 1:15 announcement came rooms were ready so down to the 5Th deck we go. Upon arriving in the room I was pleasantly surprised. I must admit I was very apprehensive about staying in an ocean view since I had never done so before. We have stayed in the Deluxe Owners Suite, Aft Penthouse suites, mid ship balcony on my other cruises but never down this low and in this category. My apprehension quickly melted away as I found the room to be roomier than I expected with tons of storage. Our room steward, Raimond, came in and quickly asked if the room was to our expectations and if we were unhappy with anything to please let him know. Other than the Deluxe Owners Suite we never had that experience before. We assured him the room was great and thanked him. I will take the opportunity to say here that he was a great room steward, kept the room clean and gave us whatever we needed and always with a smile. So I learned YOU CAN travel comfortably in a room that is not a suite. I was one of the one's who would always say "no way" I can't go back to a regular room, I was wrong. I can travel more often and be just as comfortable. THE SHIP: This is my second trip on the Jewel. She is still a beautiful ship but definitely needs some TLC. Our rug in the cabin needed to be replaced. You could see it was worn. Some areas of the ship needed new carpeting, new seat cushions, just an overall pick me up. Common area restrooms needed to be cleaned more often. PORTS: We did not visit any ports. This was a rest and relaxation cruise for us and since we have done this itinerary previously and were not interested. We spent the days by the pool in the sun and 80 degree temps. It was great. RESTAURANTS: We booked four specialty restaurants: Mama's which was very good. Moderno which was absolutely horrible. The food was overcooked, dry and tasteless. I would not consider eating here again. It was a waste of money. Cagneys was very good as usual. Le Bistro was our best meal of all the specialty restaurants. For some reason it was very slow as far as service that night, our waitress seemed overwhelmed and it was only 6:30. It took quite a long time to receive our food but was worth the wait. The onion soup was hot and delicious and my husband's scallop appetizer was excellent. Main entrees were good as well. We wanted to make a show and were,quite frankly full, at this point. We noticed other diners were taking desserts to go so we asked to do the same. Our waitress came back after taking our dessert order and told us she would send dessert to our room since it was so busy and she did not want us to wait, so off we went. Later on that evening when we returned to our room looking forward to those desserts, we found NOTHING. They were never sent. Now I know that is not a big deal to some because food is everywhere and dessert is everywhere. However, if you pay an additional fee for a "Meal" at a specialty restaurant you should receive the entire meal. We had dinner one night in Azure and it was very good, service was excellent. The other nights we ate in the Garden Cafe. I found that the food was never hot, it was warm but never hot. It was OK for dinner a couple of nights and for lunch. Actually it was better for lunch than dinner. We did go to the Blue Lagoon twice and were pleasantly surprised at the improvement in service and food and overall attitude. In the past the Blue Lagoon was notorious for neglecting passengers waiting to be seated and even taking your order. Glad to see someone finally listened because I know, from reading the reviews and filling out the surveys, many passengers complained SHOWS: Band on the Run should not be missed. We thoroughly enjoyed the Not so Newlywed Game; Dancing with the Jewel Stars. The passengers make the cruise. The shows were entertaining and I would recommend not to be missed. Fire and Ice were also very good. She is one high energy performer. We attended the Motown show and were not disappointed. The Fyzz lounge was fun. Karaoke was a blast and we supported everyone up there singing their hearts out!! CREW: The were pleasant and helpful. Never saw the cruise director "Dan the Man" except at the shows which he hosted quite well. Jersey Joe was also fun and did a great job at Dancing with the Jewel Stars. CASINO: The usual, no wins. These machines are super tight but I guess since there is no regulation and they can set them whatever way they choose as far as payouts not much to say. If you go be ready to lose. I did see a couple of decent jackpots but considering the amount of people in the casino for 7 days and after speaking to fellow passengers, these were few and far between. DISEMBARKATION: Very orderly. We did not self embark. We were off the ship by 9:15, through the terminal and through customs and in our car in no time at all. No complaints here. OVERALL: As I said in the beginning this was a rest and relax cruise and that is precisely what we did. We had a great time and would not hesitate to cruise the Jewel again. Next cruise Breakaway to Bermuda in June. Booked a Mini Suite. I have never been on a new ship and have not been back to Bermuda in 18 years. We are excited about this cruise and can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
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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