6 Norwegian Jewel British Columbia Cruise Reviews

We chose NCL for our first cruise September 2012 because of the "Free Style" spirit and the ports of call. We don't want to have a set time for meals, don't want to dress up and don't want to be paired up with ... Read More
We chose NCL for our first cruise September 2012 because of the "Free Style" spirit and the ports of call. We don't want to have a set time for meals, don't want to dress up and don't want to be paired up with people we don't enjoy. Our first trip was on NCL Dawn and we LOVED every minute of it, even in the smallest, inside cabin in rough seas. The staff was absolutely wonderful. No complaints, couldn't have asked for more. Our second trip with NCL was aboard the Jewel. This time we went with an aft-facing suite because of the added space, the view, and the little "extras" advertised as perks -- concierge to get seats at the shows we wanted to attend, etc., and a butler! "What would I do with a butler?" I thought. Turns out, the butler was fabulous! He personally delivered room service each morning (we are early risers) with a great smile and lots of hot coffee. Anything we might want, he was there to provide. Superb service. The concierge, it turns out, was useless. His entire focus was on those in the larger suites (too little of him to go around, perhaps, or he assumed we were not excellent tippers?). The few times we asked for help with seating, he said he would check and get back to us, which he never did. On one specific occasion, he asked us to meet him in the theater so he could seat us in the VIP section. We waited, and waited and waited until 5 mins after the show started and then found seats for ourselves, not together and not reserved. I've never felt "less than first class" in my life. Thanks for rubbing that in. We would have been happier in the inside cabin with the friendly staff. Oh, and the butler got a very substantial tip at the end of the cruise (equivalent to two days' passage). The "entertainment" in the theater was awful: Band on the Run. They should be on the run and not aboard a cruise ship. It felt like a high school musical forced to use the second or third string players. Horrible. The staff throughout the ship was just not as crisp, as friendly, as happy, as those on the Dawn. They appeared tired, overworked, unappreciated. We are booked on an upcoming cruise on the Pearl and another on the Star. If we can't get that loving feeling back (as we received on the Dawn), we'll be looking elsewhere.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I have cruised many times and this cruise tied for last place. I traveled with my adult daughter on this 7 night repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Nainamo, and Vancouver on ... Read More
I have cruised many times and this cruise tied for last place. I traveled with my adult daughter on this 7 night repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Nainamo, and Vancouver on the Norwegian Jewel, rated 4.5 stars by my travel agency. We made our own travel arrangements and they were fine. The ship, in my opinion, was highly overrated. It had few amenities and what amenities it offered were generally an additional fee. The ship had two central, open air pools and hot tubs, all of which were generally filled with families with children. The only option was the spa facilities which cost an additional $30 per day per person and were only available if you booked a spa appointment. Our stateroom (balcony category BD on deck 10) was tiny. It had a refrigerator but was filled with expensive "mini bar" products so it was really of no use. To its credit, it had the best bathroom I have ever seen on a cruise ship with separate toilet and shower facilities with sliding glass doors. Activities were generally fee based and expensive. There were a few dance classes and deck games, but everything else was costly. We ended up spending a lot of time in our cabin watching very limited television. Service was generally poor and we found guest services staff to be particularly rude and dishonest. The ports and excursions were the highlight of the cruise though not without drawbacks. Tour guides were excellent and we enjoyed a bus tour of Cannon Beach and Seaside in Oregon and a winery excursion on Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, the Oregon tours were on school buses. Dining was a real problem. The free dining rooms had waits of 40+ minutes (no reservations accepted for parties of 2) and service was very poor. I received my food in a free dining room more than 10 minutes before my daughter's arrived and when we complained the server didn't seem to understand that the dishes should be served at the same time. Service in the fancy dining room was not much better. We avoided the buffet after being greeted by loud music and door guards with hand sanitizor spray chirping "happy happy washy washy." Entertainment was very mediocre except for one comedian who was excellent. The production cast was set to disembark in Vancouver, so perhaps that explains their performance, but the musicians were not much better. The embarkation and debarkation process were good and ahead of schedule. No criticism there. In sum, I will avoid Norwegian in the future and do more research on the ship I am selecting. I ended up with sticker shock and a sense that my week's vacation could have been spent much more happily elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 ... Read More
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 minutes only to be greeted by a hostess who handed us a pager and told us to return in a half an hour. Once we got into the dining room it was very loud and crowded. The service waa less than spectacular. Picture your average hotel wedding reception service. The food was average and took forever to be served. We left before desert since we couldn't stand to sit there a minute longer. We took the rest of our meals at the crowded buffet who's food was no better but was faster and the variety better. If you want to find good food on this ship head to The Grill for lunch.I mentioned the bad service to a NCL rep upon our return and he claimed that the service and crowd control is better on te 7+ day cruises. How is this possible when our same staff cleared us off the ship and started a 7 day cruise the same day. Do they magically start offering the new cruisers better service? I think not.When we arrived our room steward knocked and entered our room no less than four times the first hour. We finally put up the Do not disturb sign. Then we had a strange male steward knock on our door twice saying our friends ordered us a pillow. We had no friends on the cruise. Our steward also pushed our suitcases to the back and hid a plastic bag of fresh linens under our bed. I guess she wanted to save time when we left.We were on a tight budget and were happy to have the $35 on board credit. We only had one cocktail and had to leave behind some precious photos in the gallery because of the cost. When we went to leave I looked for my final statement since I knew I went a little over. I could not find the statement so I called te front desk. She informed me that we had a $46 CREDIT!! I asked her how was this posible. Apparently the cruise line had charged the three of us $23 per person Alaska tax even though we were not going to Alaska. Somewher along the way they put the credir on our account and never told us. I was in tears...we passed up so much, the drinks, better meals in the nicer dining rooms and of course our photos were now gone forever. They would not give me the credit back but said they would be mailing a check. It's been 11 days and still no check.Please don't believe the easy disembarkation process. We were told not to get in line due to a delay in customs. We stood in line for an hour only to find the delay was not with customs but the single NCL employee trying to check everyone off the ship. I don't understand the reason to lie to us about it. I would suggest to anyone using NCL to hold onto your bags and walk them off yourself. It's much faster and safer if you are hoping to catch a flight.On a positive note we took our 8 year daughter who lived in the kids club. The staff is very professional and she had a great time. Ports of Nanaimo and Victoria were wonderful.Will think long and hard about using NCL again. A cruise should be a luxury experience not the type of service you would have gotten if you would have just stayed home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We flew to LAX the morning of the cruise (all other times we have flown in the evening before). Representative met us at baggage claim, coach arrived soon, trip to ship was fine. Embarkation went well. Our mid-ship balcony cabin was ... Read More
We flew to LAX the morning of the cruise (all other times we have flown in the evening before). Representative met us at baggage claim, coach arrived soon, trip to ship was fine. Embarkation went well. Our mid-ship balcony cabin was spacious and appealing - except for the dirt. The only surfaces that were not dirty were sticky. The room was never adequately cleaned. My wife tried to clean the balcony door herself to no avail. Just over halfway through the cruise the HVAC stopped working right and the room became very cold. The first solution tried by maintenance was to shut off the system and hope we did not notice. We noticed. The next solution was to tell us to live with it. This typified the attitude of the hotel staff - passengers were a bother. We had sailed 18 months earlier on the NCL Dawn and were delighted. Our interior stateroom on the Dawn was kept in top shape. Lounge and entertainment staff were attentive. The Dawn was kept clean. Public areas on the Jewel repeatedly had trash left out for twelve hours or more. I drank no alcohol on the cruise; perhaps that explains why on the Jewel my drink orders were routinely forgotten. The Dawn had no such issues. The lounge musicians, with the exception of Michael Masci at the piano, were forgettable. Not bad, just not up to the standards of a lower-tier cruise line. We ate twice at Mama's Italian Kitchen and once at the Oriental Fusion specialty restaurant. Food and service were excellent. In those two restaurants the staff had a service attitude and attention to detail. The main dining rooms were another story. The Azura Main Restaurant was chaotic with service that would not be tolerated at most fast food restaurants. We ate there once and vowed never again. Our first dinner at Tsar's Palace was a delight. The waiter was personable and helpful. His menu suggestions were excellent and he went above and beyond what we expected. Our second dinner there we requested the same waiter at the check-in desk. The hostess assured us she had passed on the request. When escorted to our table we were told that the only description that had been passed was "Some Indonesian guy" and it was too general. The waitress was adequate, but we still left disappointed at the lack of attention to detail. We ate one evening in the buffet; it was infinitely better than Azura. We made frequent use of the Blue Lagoon 24 hour restaurant for snacks and drinks. The restaurant was always clean and the staff always on their toes. We loved the port call in San Francisco. The Hop On/Hop Off bus tour was well worth the money. We could have stayed there longer. Astoria, Oregon, was a bust. We took the Seaside/Cannon Beach tour, which included a very very very short stop at a magnificent group of tall rock spires used for migratory bird nesting. Right back on the bus and into the two towns for shopping. The tour guide recommended all sorts of pedestrian places to shop, owned by his friends. These are small towns with small town attractions and establishments. A waste of time. We toured Victoria on our own. It is truly beautiful. Nanaimo was a pleasant surprise. We took one of the typical "Best of.....plus underwater basket weaving and nuclear weapons design" tours. Pleasant people, pleasant countryside, well organized tour, the cranberry farm proved far more interesting than we could have expected. Disembarkation in Vancouver went well. We chose to carry off our luggage and go directly to the bus to Seattle for our flight. The bus service was comfortable, quick and pleasant. How two ships in the same fleet could differ so much is astounding. The Dawn was just short of crisp; the only thing crisp we found on the Jewel was leftover French Fries matted to the floor. The ship was dirty, the staff had no service orientation, and in general the hotel staff failed to perform. We might give NCL another try, but it will be several years. This Jewel simply did not sparkle. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We travelled on the Jewel from New York to Vancouver. The cruise was 24 nights. We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal transit. Our longest cruise to date had been 14 nights and we were interested how we would manage with so many ... Read More
We travelled on the Jewel from New York to Vancouver. The cruise was 24 nights. We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal transit. Our longest cruise to date had been 14 nights and we were interested how we would manage with so many sea days. We really enjoyed this cruise but have decided that shorter cruises/less sea days are more appropriate for us. We enjoyed all the ports except Puerto Chiapas where we took our only ship booked tour, Mangroves. It was very disappointing. Everywhere else we either booked tours privately or took taxis. Our balcony cabin was on deck 10 forward. The motion of the ship was not a problem even when we had rough seas. The cabin was fine and there was plenty of storage. Having travelled on the Star last year where I hadn't really enjoyed the food I was concerned that the same issues would apply but I found the food to be good. We usually ate in the main dining room and while sometimes we had a pager we found the wait was usually less than 20 minutes. Service was usually good, our only issue was with the lady at the entrance of the dining room who was brusque and failed to acknowledge us on many occasions. We also ate in the Garden Cafe and while it was certainly crowded we always found a table towards the back of the ship or in the Great Outdoors. The food was varied and everything we tried was good. We never found the pools to be crowded, there were so few children on the ship we rarely saw them. There were always loungers available by the pools whenever we needed them. We didn't go to many shows but enjoyed the live music playing around the ship. Reading previous reviews proves that the same cruise can be different for different people. We had a lovely time and never felt pressured to spend, spend, spend. I would certainly travel with NCL again if the itinerary was right for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have been regular cruisers, having cruised about 10-15 times. We are in our mid-sixties and really don't participate in a lot of activities. We are just happy sitting out on the balcony; reading and watching the world go by. Being ... Read More
We have been regular cruisers, having cruised about 10-15 times. We are in our mid-sixties and really don't participate in a lot of activities. We are just happy sitting out on the balcony; reading and watching the world go by. Being in customer service fields, we look forward to cruising to see examples of good customer service. Over the past few cruises with Celebrity, we have seen a decline in the quality of service and were looking for something more. The Haven concept on NCL intrigued us, and we booked a four-day repositioning cruise (Pacific coastal) on the Jewel as a short getaway. The ship was in A-1 condition throughout. Very little wear and tear. As expected, NCL quality (but not service) was a step downward from the other lines that we have cruised on recently. Everyone was smiling and greeted us throughout the ship, something like Crystal does. Some even learned our names. Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, which was very nice. We noted that almost all the cabs in the area seemed to be Prius' and we were concerned about fitting all our bags in one cab. We asked Eric, the bellhop to arrange a town car to drive us to the cruise ship terminal. It worked well and we arrived curbside at the terminal in 15 minutes for $30. Our bags picked up, we headed inside at 11 AM. After some computer glitches (this was the embarkation crew from San Diego as NCL doesn't usually go out of the Port of Los Angeles), we were escorted to the holding room for suite passengers. Unfortunately, the incoming cruise had some immigration issues and boarding was delayed about two hours. Ruth, our concierge, did her best to keep us comfortable and informed. Once the ship was cleared, we went right on and were escorted to Cagney's for lunch. While in the restaurant, the announcement was made that the rooms were ready. We chose a two-bedroom suite in the Haven, one of the nicest laid-out rooms that I have seen in over 20 years of cruising. The decor was a little kitschy, but was not overtly obnoxious. Teodoro, our butler, came in shortly to introduce himself. He turned out to be great -- never missed a request, always wishing he could do more (we're pretty self-sufficient). Later our room steward, Edgardo, came in. Quietly efficient and always smiling. He kept the room in tremendous condition. Kudos to a great team! Since the weather was cloudy and windy most of the time, we abandoned our plan of vegging out on the balcony and instead spent most of our days in the Haven. They kept the roof closed all days but one when they cracked it open about 10 feet. Lovely and peaceful. Got more reading done than on most seven day cruises. Thanks to Teodoro, Edgardo and Ruth, we got into "cruise mode" quickly and relaxed as much on this cruise as on longer ones. We had been concerned about interlopers sneaking into the Haven and interrupting the serenity there. There were three couples that came up a few times from non-suite cabins, to join with a friend who had a suite. They were mildly loud but usually left in an hour anyway. Still, there was plenty of space for all of us. The bar menu seemed a little limited, consisting of name brands mostly. I drink straight, high-quality vodka and my wife drinks gin. The offerings were mostly only well-known brands with nothing unusual or special to try. Some other cruises offer one or two boutique brands, making interesting choices. After reading several Cruise Critic reviews about the mediocre food in the regular dining venues, we made advance reservations in Cagney's and once we found a server we liked, we stayed with her throughout the cruise. Heidi gave us very refined, unobtrusive service. She was terrific! We only ate at the main dining room once and were served warmed-over eggs that were gelatinous and rather unpalatable. The server there was very attentive. Disembarkation in Vancouver was flawless. With three other cruise ships at Canada Place, we had to use the alternate pier, Ballentyne. Things moved without a hitch. We left our room around 9 and were in a cab by 9:30 (not a Prius). Our hotel (another Renaissance) room wasn't ready, so we strolled the city and met some old friends in the interim. All in all, a great cruise. Would gladly sail with NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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