24 Norwegian Jewel Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Our first Norwegian cruise but it will not be the last. the refitted Jewel was a pleasure, the sky lounge, multiple bars and sitting areas allowed us to view Alaska as we sailed by and hang out as a multi-generational family. The ... Read More
Our first Norwegian cruise but it will not be the last. the refitted Jewel was a pleasure, the sky lounge, multiple bars and sitting areas allowed us to view Alaska as we sailed by and hang out as a multi-generational family. The entertainment was outstanding, especially Ana and Vlad and the Circus Bijou. The food was great, plenty f choice in the buffet, the Irish bar had a great selection as did the Chin Chin Asian restaurant but e mainly ate in the Tsar's main dining room where Alex and team, the special diets co-ordinator made my cruise. Eating out with severe allergies and food restrictions can be a nerve-racking operation with limited choices and constant fears of cross-contamination. Not so on the Jewel. Every day Alex and team brought menus, from whichever restaurant I wanted for me to pre-select, then they and the chef created my food, brought special items (the gluten-free breads were the best I've ever had), the smoked salmon benedict and cinnamon french toast for breakfast were outstanding and every dining experience a delight. Thank you so much. PS Alaska was amazing too. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I went on this cruise to see the glaciers in Juno. It was absolutely breathtaking! The services in general on the cruise was wonderful. And the food at the restaurants were very tasty. The shows were spectacular. I also met some sweet and ... Read More
I went on this cruise to see the glaciers in Juno. It was absolutely breathtaking! The services in general on the cruise was wonderful. And the food at the restaurants were very tasty. The shows were spectacular. I also met some sweet and friendly people on board, including a couple of Australian sisters named Robyn and Jennifer, a nurse name Warren and his wife Shannon, an Irish couple named Dominic and Yvonne. My only regret is that I did not exchange my contact information with them. I don’t know how, But I hope to get in touch with them again. Maybe one of them will give me, Harry Potter, a shout. Overall, this was a fun cruise with lots of activities for our ages. I Will go on this cruise again because Norwegian was so good to guests with vision and mobility disabilities. This is important because my father has two bad knees and I have low vision. Clin729@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We went on The N.C.L. Jewel The Cruise was from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver,British Columbia. This was a wonderful seven day Alaskan Cruise. We were located in the two bedroom family villa suite in The Haven and it was sufficient for the ... Read More
We went on The N.C.L. Jewel The Cruise was from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver,British Columbia. This was a wonderful seven day Alaskan Cruise. We were located in the two bedroom family villa suite in The Haven and it was sufficient for the four of us I believe it might not be should you have more than four people. The service in our suite was superior and give most of the credit for that to our concierge Dilip he made sure we were happy and brought everything we could wish for, he helped us get off the ship very easily at the different ports of call he escorted us off at each port of call.Dilip also helped us get to the entertainment we wanted to see. My only regret is that I purchased a spa pass I probably would not have purchased had I known that the roof of the Haven Center Spa was covered, on some other cruises sometimes the roof area of the Haven Pools have not been covered and it gets too cold. The food was excellent and the spa services were very good, however they did not have acupuncture on this cruise, which really disappointed me as that was one of things I was really looking forward to. I got a shave and tooth whitening from Lynda and she knew her stuff it was the best I have ever had, she is brilliant. The other spa treatments I had where three massages from Rumbi, Should you need a massage she is the best. ‘:The food was very good especially at the specialty restaurants.9 Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. ... Read More
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. We had a balcony a couple besides our stateroom is my wife's high school classmate from 1971 and 6 other new guest with NCL and first time cruisers. We had a great time and and had a lot of specialty dinners. Our group had received a lot of surprises from the Senior Officers that we have met on previous cruises with Norwegian and made our cruise more enjoyable not only for us previous cruisers but for our 6 other friends that we brought with us. They even sent fresh tropical fruits from Indonesia was sent to all our cabins. Shore excursions was great that we all got into the same bus every time we book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Traveling with a disabled person, was concerned that it would be a nightmare but was very happy with the attention given that made sure our trip was comfortable. Every issue and concern was resolved immediately. Embarkation and ... Read More
Traveling with a disabled person, was concerned that it would be a nightmare but was very happy with the attention given that made sure our trip was comfortable. Every issue and concern was resolved immediately. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy. Sydney was an absolutely beautiful pier. The food and service at Cagneys was delightful. Selection of food was varied and very good in all other restaurants. Felt the taste of the food of the Chinese restaurant Chin Chin did not live up to my exceptional experience in the Norwegian Gem. Not sure if they modify the food taste and spices based on where in the world is sailing from. The tours were all good to excellent. My cabin Stewart was one on the best I ever had and I have been on dozens of cruises. The disability officer on board was exceptional. We were lucky and had exceptionally smooth voyage with minimal rough seas. The entertainment was varied and unquie. The cirque Bijou was mesmerizing and worth the trip. One on the better shows I have seen. The other shows were good as well. Had great lounge singers. Fell in love with Carrie who played guitar and sang songs in some of the lounges. Had small glitches in the 13 days aboard but every one was resolved to my satisfaction. Pleased with the customer service orientation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They ... Read More
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They were friendly. We appreciated a crew member who was always nice and kind to us every time we ate. He was professional, always smiling and would say hi to us every time we saw him while we were eating. I was amazed on how many people worked on the cruise and how they all work really hard to make our vacation special for my family. We were lucky to be able to have this opportunity to do this. The excursions were a lot of fun which there were many excursions to meet all of our families wants and need. It was fabulous Thank you to the Crew - The Norwegian Jewel for the trip to Alaska on June 10th 2017 Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Wonderful cruise, fantastic staff, good food, clean ship. We chose Norwegian for their freestyle dining, that was great, we could eat when we wanted at 6 restaurants, so we didn't purchase a dining plan, however we did spend extra ... Read More
Wonderful cruise, fantastic staff, good food, clean ship. We chose Norwegian for their freestyle dining, that was great, we could eat when we wanted at 6 restaurants, so we didn't purchase a dining plan, however we did spend extra to eat at the hibachi grill Teppanyaki our last night...we upgraded from an inside cabin to a rear balcony cabin, SO glad we did, we couldn't have asked for a better view- 180 degrees! Quiet, we couldn't hear our neighbors or the ship and we had a personal balcony to view the glacier! Kudos to our room steward Remo..he took good care of us. We waited 35 years to go to Alaska, we were seeing everything we could, so our excursions were longer, we did book thru the ship. Yes, they were more expensive, but we didn't worry about being left behind if we were late. On & off ship was easy, having everything tied into your room key was convenient. We recommend the trip to George Inlet Lodge, the salmon bake was scrumptious (& I don't like salmon!) and Lenny was a fantastic tour guide on the bus ride to the Yukon! Buchart Gardens in Victoria smelled heavenly. On ship, games were pricey, but free entertainment was good. Loved the musicians. Of course, drinks were high..we didn't purchase a beverage package, as we are not drinkers, but did pay for soda. Carrying your own water bottle was easy too, just fill up at the restaurants. Only complaint I would have is the casino is a smoking area, and we had to walk through there to get to the theater & front bar to play the crew games. Some days the smoke was pretty strong. Staff was wonderful, they really went out of their way to accomodate you. My husband is handicapped, and the ship is very easy to navigate. Over all, we DID NOT want to get off the ship in Seattle! We will definitely be returning to Norwegian for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was a bucket list. my Parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this year and Dw myself our 14 year old and my parents took a 2 bedroom penthouse suite. the trip was amazing, we stayed 3 night at the Edgewater hotel one pier down ... Read More
This was a bucket list. my Parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this year and Dw myself our 14 year old and my parents took a 2 bedroom penthouse suite. the trip was amazing, we stayed 3 night at the Edgewater hotel one pier down from the ship pier very convenient. and the hotel even carted out luggage over on embarkment. when we arrived we were checked in and whisked on board. the room was ready so we were allowed to leave our carry on in the haven and head to maderno for lunch as we looked over at the Edgewater hotel. watching the Seattle sky line disappear into the distance the 14yr old dawned his swimsuit and took to the heated sapphire pool (this he did almost every day all the way up to skagway first week in September. the staff are amazing the ship is not new by i have no complaints. she is much smaller than BA (1/3) so it is a different feel. in some ways the BA had a more intimate feel in the haven. we enjoyed Karen Roland Ronald and Wayan very much this is a great team between these fantastic four it would not have been the same without them. ant the highlight of the entertainment imo is JP, the magician/comedian, if you can do not miss a chance to see him. the entourage was a but disappointing, boy was bullied second to last night. this was the worst pert of the trip. if you use this tool on board watch who/what is going on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
From Vancouver Canada area and drove down to Seattle the day before to see some of the sites. Traveled with another couple. Had a wonderful time. From the time that we got into to line to broad the ship in Seattle was given wonderful ... Read More
From Vancouver Canada area and drove down to Seattle the day before to see some of the sites. Traveled with another couple. Had a wonderful time. From the time that we got into to line to broad the ship in Seattle was given wonderful service I walk with a cane so at the dock in Seattle was put in a wheel chair to get through the security check and once got our key card was handed off to someone from the cruise line and taken up to our room. Lots of crew at the top of gangway to welcome you to the cruise with music. The rooms were very clean and had great service from Jhoel who was friendly and took great care of our room and greeted us by name every time we saw him. Jhoel made sure that we had a different animal made up with towels every night. Really missed having my bed made up in the morning and turned down at night when got home. Turning the bed down at night meant that he turned the bed side lights on for us. The ship had lots of different activities that we could take part in. I loved the hot tubs and the adult only swimming pool. The swimming pool was salt water and a great size to do laps which i like to do. Was very thankful that I had taken my swimming goggles. The water was a nice temperature. We had joined the cruise critic before leaving on the trip so took part at the Greet and meet and got information from the officers that attended. At this meeting they stressed that if you had a problem please let them know right away so that they could take care of it. We had some problems with our toilet not flushing but called the service number and they fixed it right up. As well had a flood of water from the bathroom that they cleaned up right away and came in and sanitized the bathroom and the carpet. They put a blower in the room for a couple of days drying the carpet which didn't bother us that much. This to me showed how good their service was because they fixed up a problem right away There are lots of choices to eat on this ship from garden café that was a buffet to sit down restaurants that gave 5 star services. Our favorite was the Tsar Place restaurant that was at the back of the boat and had a Russian decor to it. The food was excellent and the service was top notch and atmosphere very relaxing and like a 5 star restaurant. Went to chin Asian food for a meal and the food was good. As well had some Meals in the O’Sheehan’s pub. Services were great and the food okay. Went to the Azura for a meal the food and service was great but atmosphere very loud and busy. Had a meal in the le Bistro and had an excellent meal and the service was great. David has rack of lamb and I had tenderloin and both meals cooked to perfection and the desert crème brulia was outstanding. The Shows were all very good. My favorite was the Band on the run which had music from the 70 and 80 And le Cirque Bijou shows. Both were great can’t pick my favorite. Spend some time in the Casino and did win a little but good entertainment. The Spinnaker’s lounge was a great quiet area where you could have a drink and read or talk but have shows come on periodically that disrupt everything. Would be nice to have a quiet are inside when weather bad as the library too small. Another way that the ship shone in its service was that they always had wheel chairs to help people that needed them to get on and off the ship. When in Skagway when we disembarked we were the furthest from the mainland and there was quiet a walk from the ship. There were golf carts being run by the dock that took us to the end to catch our tours bus but was not running at 1700 when returning to the boat not sure who runs these but would be nice to have them running longer. However got half way back to the ship when someone from the jewel meant me with a wheel chair and took me back to my room. I had been walking with a lady who was walking with a walker and she was getting back on to the valder dam and no one from the ship came to help her up the ramp. But the jewel had people walking halfway down the dock to get its customers. One of the high lights is the day that we went up to Glacier Bay and the captain had the ship doing 360 so that we could see the glaciers from all angles. The weather was perfect and the scenery was outstanding. Ports of call Ketchikan We rented an electric car from rain barrel and were able to travel through the town to see some of the sites this was helpful for me especially as having some difficulty walking around Juneau Has pre booked a execution that took is first on a whale watching tour where we did see lots of whales Then up to mendall glazier where I enjoyed the visitor center and other enjoyed a walk to the falls. Then finished with a tour of the city sites. Skagway Another high lite. Had pre booked a tour with deyadave who picked us up at the dock and we traveled by small tour bus up to emerald lake Yukon and then driven back to Fraser where we took the train back to skagway. If ever up to Alaska deyadave gives a great tour up to the Yukon. Stopped in car cross Yukon for lunch at a small place called the bakery and the soup of the day salmon chowder was excellent. Dave was very knowable about the area and was quite the combian. Would take his tour again in a heartbeat. When in skagway take time to go to the forestry service office and watch the film about the gold rush. In Skagway would have been nice if the golf cart shuttle they had in the morning to move people along the dock to area that all the shuttles came to to pick up passengers would have run into the early evening. Not sure if this is the cruise ships responsibility or the skagway dock. Glacier Bay Not enough words to describe how wonderful it was Icy point. Small area. Well worth taking the shuttle into town. There is a wonderful building that active artist working on totem poles and other wood art work. Sitka Hired a taxi to take us around group of 4 cost 65 and hour. Was able to see the bear sanctuary that was sad to see the bears in captivity but others are heeled and released . As well the rapture center which heal birds to be released. Saw the bishop’s house and the church which was very interesting. Having the taxi was nice as the weather wasn’t that great. Victoria Has a nice look around town have been to Victoria as live in Vancouver and have family there. Weather was beautiful. Vancouver Home again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I want to say that I read tons of the reviews on here before going on the Jewel and I went with very low expectations. I was worried to be quite honest after reading them especially since I've been on the Golden Princess 2 years ago ... Read More
I want to say that I read tons of the reviews on here before going on the Jewel and I went with very low expectations. I was worried to be quite honest after reading them especially since I've been on the Golden Princess 2 years ago and I had something to compare it to. We drove to the cruise since its only a 41/2 hour drive from Eugene, Oregon. We used the Republic parking garage on Wall St. It has a sky bridge to the embarkation terminal. Just know you have to drag your luggage up and down 2 elevators if you come before 11am. NCL lets you onboArd at 11am sharp and not before. I didn't read that on any of the reviews here so hope this helps. Ncl lets you pick an arrival time before that as early as 9:30am but you'll be waiting in their non VIP lounge (with free oj and water). We were with my mom who needed a wheelchair so we were onboard first along with the VIPs. I have no complaints they were awesome in getting us on. The attendant Ricky was super nice and took us everywhere we needed to go. Since our room wasn't ready until 1pm (thanks to the reviewer who recommended packing a carry on by the way) he suggested we go to the garden cafe buffet and eat. He took us there and we were on our way. Seriously though that was great service and how nice we didn't have to go looking for the place! Kudos to Ricky! The Buffet was busy and continues to be so throughout the cruise but we always found a seat. We found the buffet dining area on the aft (back) of the ship to be our favorite spot. Yes, you'll be walking a ways to get your food but you'll exercise off all the food you eat. The buffet by far was the best food we had on the cruise. OSheehans, Azura and Tsars were as expected, service slow and the food was not as good as Princess. They skimp on the seafood dishes and skip crab and lobster altogether but I knew that from the reviews! We didn't pay for the ultimate dining but we were full every meal. They're always feeding you. On the pool deck they'll have lots of bbq. One time they served clam chowder and sourdough bread which hits the spot for the swimmers in the cold Alaskan temperatures. Speaking of the pool it was warmer than the indoor pool at the Golden Princess! The slide was why we chose this ship over the Pearl. My kids loved it...I and everyone else had to paddle ourselves down it! There is a covered kiddie only pool and hot tub which was seldom full. It's nice to have when its cold and rainy. We only had rain a couple times the rest was sunny. We brought our kids, a 9 year old, two 7 year olds, and a 4 year old. They went with us two years ago as well. While Princess was kind with our kids their kids program was nothing compared to NCLs. They have a great program that doesn't put your child in front of a TV or video game all day. They do have movies on port days and the WII on certain mornings. They have the kids playing creative fun games and circus tricks. They have a circus show at the Stardust theatre to display these tricks that they learn. They have slime time which the kids can play in too. We also played shuffleboard, basketball, soccer and tennis with our kids. I forgot to mention in the Garden buffet there is a kids family area where you can eat and they have their own kid size buffet area. How cool is that? It is always full of adults (who don't read the sign) but we were able to sit there twice. Our first port was Ketchikan and I must say I like that NCL arrives at most its ports at 7am unlike Princess. The Jewel parked right in front of the town and you can walk right into the shops. The Princess did not and you either walked or take a free shuttle with hundreds of impatient and pushy cruisers. We went to the Discovery Center since we had already been to Ketchikan and did a great tour with Ketchikan taxi cab tours. If you have a Golden Age Pass you get into the discovery center free along with 3 other people. Kids were free also! My kids did a scavenger hunt and all won a luggage tag. What a deal! Next was Juneau and we were not as close as the Princess was to town. That's ok because they had free shuttles going every 10 minutes. We walked around here. Go into the visitor center. They are full of good tips and plus they had free forget me not Flower seed packets! That's a good souvenir to have...Free. The next port was Skagway. Again, we were farther out than princess. The shuttles here were $2 one way. Unless you can't walk don't take the shuttle. The town is not that far About 5 minutes walk. We walked into the first visitor center on the corner and it has a museum and a movie on the gold rush. They even had a free 1hour walking tour. We did it along with our kids and didn't regret it. After the tour we took a break and had lunch on the boat. After lunch we went to the kids playground in downtown and it's the nicest cutest playground I've seen. The last port was Victoria Canada. We got there early, 4:30. We ate dinner first at the Garden Cafe then met with Fresh Air Tours. They had a clean 15 passenger van and a car seat and 2booster seats for us. It was a private tour And we told our driver, John where we'd been before and what we'd like to see. It was a 2hour tour for $150 Canadian dollars total for 8 people. We went to the Governors house and there happened to be a procession going on and our driver drove along with the procession. Nice bit of Canadian culture. We also liked the Craigdarroch Castle and Mt.Tolmie. One more thing about the boat. The Mandara spa is a good place to see whales. Check out Spinnaker Lounge and it's funky chairs and chaise lounges. We also watched the Dancing with cruise staff contest and that was hilarious! To end this review I want to say to those who do complain about the staff, remember that these people work everyday with little break for 8months in a row. They have to deal with rude and entitled people all the time. They don't get paid like we do in the U.S. Yet some manage to smile and greet us everyday, some even sing the washy washy song day in and day out. So let's just cut these people a break. Great, go have a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My bucket list thing to do was go on a cruise to Alaska. I was booked on the Norwegian Jewel with a life long friend who hadn't even been a plane before, let alone a ship!! The ship was awesome!! The crew was very personable. The ... Read More
My bucket list thing to do was go on a cruise to Alaska. I was booked on the Norwegian Jewel with a life long friend who hadn't even been a plane before, let alone a ship!! The ship was awesome!! The crew was very personable. The housekeeping lady was very friendly and helpful to two "old ladies" and we enjoyed her bubbly personality and the towel animals. The variety of the shows every night was super. The helpfulness of the staff in the dining room was appreciated as we both had canes. The Shore Excursions were eye-opening. I was very impressed with the ship and crew and God-willing I hope to book another cruise in a couple of years. Thank you for a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The terminal in Houston is beautiful. The embarkation procedure was terrible, but NCL has no control over this process because it is land based and union rules need to be followed. I have mobility problems and need to use a walker at ... Read More
The terminal in Houston is beautiful. The embarkation procedure was terrible, but NCL has no control over this process because it is land based and union rules need to be followed. I have mobility problems and need to use a walker at times. Also, I was in a suite. I could not use the suite or handicap line because we arrived just at the time a lot of new workers on the ship were boarding and they were using the handicap and suite security line. Snaking through the long line was difficult. As suite guests, the ckeck-in process took longer than usual, because Florentina, the concierge, spent a lot of time chatting with other guests. Eventually, it was our turn. The young assistant escorted the passengers who were staying on deck 11 to their rooms. She led us to the escalator including me with my walker. I asked for an elevator. She said it would be okay for me to ride the escalator. The situation was frightening as I tried to get on the escalator. A young man came to my rescue and led me to the elevator. After that incident was resolved, we made it to our lovely two bedroom/two bath family suite. This is not a Haven suite. I think I'm spoiled. When I cruise NCL again, how will I ever be able to book anything else? I have a dilemma. Should I bore you with the details or have you go to youtube and search NCL Family Penthouse Suite.? Youtube won, but the shower jets that come from all directions with great pressure is fantastic. I want suite 11518 again and again! I ate lunch in Modenaro each day. On port days our butler, Lazaro, brought our hot breakfast right on time. The other days I had breakfast in Modenaro. Same menu each day which I liked. I only ate in O Sheehan's once. The chicken pot pie was good. DH and I shared the artichoke dip which we both like a lot.. The escargot in Le Bistro is the best I have ever eaten and the fillet is excellent. The steak in Cagneys was good, but I liked Le Bistro better. In the three ports we used NCL shore excursions. Highly recommend River Safari and Mayan Ruins in Belize. Enjoyed Playa Maya Lunch and Open Bar shore ex in Cozumel. There are plenty of loungers in sun and shade, pool, water park, inflatable raft which has a trampoline, ropes course, climbing wall, slide, and rope swing. In Trujillo, the Campo Del Mar beach has coarse sand and the slope is too steep for young children to enjoy. The small raft's ladder is hard is hard to climb. The entertainment is fantastic!!!!!!!! The Le Cirque show currently on Jewel is the best at sea. I have been on 7 cruise lines and have seen several Le Cirque style shows. When I was on Jewel in 2011, I liked the show very much. This was even better. The officers on this ship are very friendly. The captain leads by example. One night, I was invited to an officer's dinner. I had chest pain that afternoon and an abnormal EKG. I had to stay in the medical center and missed the dinner. After dinner, Jon, the officer in charge of something about the environment, came to see me in the medical center. I was very impressed with his kindness. There are so many excellent things about this cruise. I wish I had written the review sooner or taken notes. I wrote lots of note cards and put them in the box by the Guest Relations desk. I have a favorite officer and I wrote his name and position on the recommendation card and noted, "He is my Favorite." Be sure to fill these cards out throughout the cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My husband and I took our first cruise in about 20 years on the Pacific Coastal Cruise, 9/ 20-25/2014). Since we were from the Los Angeles Area, and the cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, it was almost embarrassing at first to answer the ... Read More
My husband and I took our first cruise in about 20 years on the Pacific Coastal Cruise, 9/ 20-25/2014). Since we were from the Los Angeles Area, and the cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, it was almost embarrassing at first to answer the question "Where are you sailing to?" But we learned right away not to say Los Angeles, but that it was a Pacific Coastal Cruise. Embarkation was a breeze, in that our Vancouver City Tour shuttle delivered our luggage directly to the cruise line and it was waiting for us just outside the cabin. The food was marvelous, especially in the specialty restaurants. The buffet was good, but not great. Teppanyaki was a marvelous restaurant, even though it cost a little more, because the food was delicious, plentiful and the chef put on a great show. Cagney's, was good, the steak humungous, we couldn't finish. The star restaurant of the ship was Tzar's Palace. Situated on the stern, if you can get a seat by the windows you get a great view. We ate there as we departed San Francisco, and got great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge. It was exciting to see the Golden Gate bridge come into our view over our heads, I have always wanted to sail under it. The entertainment was good. Especially the first and second nights. The comedian, Russ Rivas was a stitch, and his "naughty" show late night was also hysterical (with no four-letter words, thank you very much!). Fabio Dini was great as well, although I was not too keen on the 70's shows, I guess I'm too old for that! The tour from Astoria, Oregon entitled Ultimate Oregon Coast was great as well, although there weren't too many airplanes in the Air Museum any more. The service was remarkable, the crew very congenial. The cute young man at the Java Café asked me every day about the name of the color of my outfit each day, and said he was tickled to be learning about new colors. (Boysenberry, Turquoise, etc.) What a great memory this will be. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager ... Read More
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager vacationers allowed to board at noon. We need wheelchair assistance, and have found it is better to wait until closer to noon, when attendants and WCs are released to pick up guests. There was a special, shorter line for those using canes, walkers and rollators, which proved a big help. Our first lunch was in Tsar's main dining room, rather than braving the super busy Garden Cafe buffet on deck 12. Daniela proved the excellent service NCL is known for, and we noted a new luncheon menu in the past couple of months. Scallops, Caesar Salad and cheeseburgers proved tasty and filling as we waited for the announcement that cabins were now ready for us. Muster is a short process without need for life vests, and then it was time to be underway. Well, at least that is the information in the ship's Daily newsletter. We had plans to meet with others in our robust Cruise Critic roll call for a Sail Away party, and I was looking forward to getting some great shots from Port side as we slowly cruised past the French Quarter. In one of the Jewel's few 'oops' moments during our 13 night modified Panama Canal repositioning cruise, no one owned the PA to inform us that due to the double length of our cruise, from the Jewel's more typical 7 night Western Caribbean run, and with the addition of a 2 week dry dock now tacked onto the end, lots and lots and lots of provisions and building supplies would be needed to see us through. This delayed Sail Away by 4 or 5 hours beyond that posted...not a major disappointment, but one that could easily have been explained sooner rather than later. Our first of many Sea Days, the Group Event Coordinator had helped to set up our Meet & Greet, with at least 70 CC members in attendance. There was a full compliment of department managers, with Hotel Director Richard Janicki introducing the friendly officers and fielding some spirited Q&A with a bit of extra information about Jewel's planned dry dock. As several CC members in the know had speculated, Blue Lagoon would become transformed into the 24/7 Comfort food and bar, O'Sheehans, also taking over space from the starboard side of deck 8 mid ship Moderno's Brazilian Grill. Moderno's would move up to Deck 13, in the annex portion of Cagney's Steak House near the Star Bar. A well-needed facial recognition system was being installed in the Photo Department, so no more hunting and stooping and surveying thousands of photos for your own special bunch. It would also save on both chemicals, paper and so forth, a win-win situation all around! Besides the usual Dry Dock refurbishments, a special deck 15 penthouse of the Haven type, was being included, and we were all thrilled to be reassured that the Spinnaker Lounge with the great ceiling to floor Forward windows, would be retained. I'd asked for a special room set-up to better the interaction between roll call members and we also enjoyed light refreshments and the feedback that our opinions were valued. Janicki did remark, "We read Cruise Critic, but I must say sometimes reading a particular review I must wonder if we were on the same cruise as someone saying it was dreadful." We divided our meal time between the more opulent Tsar's and the smaller, more frentic Azura main dining rooms. The menus are the same as ones introduced in 2011, with one side being 'always available' standbys such as strip or rib eye steaks, burgers, baked chicken, salmon, lanmb shank, spring rolls, mushroom quesadillas, a variety of pastas and salads. Service continued above average throughout, and it was of interest to note a Surf & Turf night featured real Maine lobsters vs the wimpy rock sort previously offered. The noise level is increased in the more casual Azura, whose hot pink and orange color scheme create a different vibe than the cream, sage green and gold of Tsar's. The lowered ceiling also influences this and of note, the chairs in Azura's are rock hard and not comfortable at all, which should help ensure more rapid turnover of diners. We sometimes selected Garden Cafe buffet for a quick breakfast and tried the poolside Grill a couple times for burgers, very good hot dogs and more. A special Bavarian feast was held toward the end of our cruise, and Messiah Ritzinger's Free State of Bavaria touches could be seen through the variety of sausage, schnitzel, kraut and Bavarian cream pastries...very well done! We enjoyed Blue Lagoon, just a few steps from our cabin, for breakfast and lunch or late evening snacks. Besides the burgers and chicken wings, the fried fish and Chef Salad were good, not to mention the cheese cake and brownie sundae. It was always nice to be able to whisk covered dishes back to our digs, and the small refrigerator helped with any midnight munchies. We did not try room service or the option of the always available anywhere $5 pizza. We dined at several of the specialty/fee restaurants including Moderno's, Le Bistro, Chin Chin and Mama's/La Cucina. A favorite senior waiter, Sheddy, attended us at Moderno's and Cagney's, while another favorite Assistant MaitreD and also a special senior waiter, (Rizaldi), had us coming back to the Asian Fusion spot a second time for succulent lamb curry, broccoli beef, chow fun noodles, BBQ spareribs, deep fried calamari and the wonderful pancakes with bananas, caramel syrup and coconut ice cream. We used the Card Room and back portion of the buffet between meals for our group's Farkle games and variety of card games and enjoyed musical serenading in the Crystal Atrium and deck 6 lounge area outside Le Bistro. Several of the CD led audience participation game shows could be seen re-played on our 24" LCD TV, as well as a half dozen first run movies including Frozen, The Hobbit Part 2, Desolation of Smaug, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity and so on. Our cabin was located on deck 8 midship, a great location close to so much. Since the ship's tenders are strung up outside the windows here, the category is Oceanview Obstructed. Luckily the tender was strung several feet lower outside rooms 8100 and 8102, so that we had a good view, at least 60% at all times. Perhaps due to approaching dry dock, there were only 2 incidents of crew walking past our window, and no surprises or loud banging or maintenance overall. This accessible cabin has 36" no threshold outer and bathroom doors, with light switches and climiate control about 3 feet from the floor. Both the hanging rod in the closet and oversink mirror in the bathroom have easily grasped cords to lower them to wheelchair or scooter height, a definate plus. The room is about 20% larger than non-accessible sideways cabins, and the hallway on deck 9 actually is partially over these rooms; perhaps the dearth of small ones on the PC itinerary accounts for the fact there was little to no noise of running or stomping feet? We did need to call Guest Services desk several times during the cruise and the interaction was all right. Our immediate needs were attended to and we were able to get questions answered without making the trip down there again and again. We didn't attend any of the large production shows due to (chronic) health issues and decision to grab as much restful sleep as we could. Luckily, on NCL, there is never a need to do anything but exactly what we'd like...in that respect, our vacation was tailor-made to suit our interests and needs. The itinerary was changed as we would no longer be disembarking in Los Angeles, which was a big part of our choice in this cruise; we'd be just a short flight from our West Coast home. We also lost 2 ports, one of them the highly anticipated Costa Rican port, the other of less interest. This gave us more sea days and the choice of disembarking in either San Diego or San Francisco. NCL considered San Diego an additional port-true if you were taking the full 15 days, but not the case if this was your disembark point. We decided to take the shorter version since our nonrefundable plane tickets were at LAX. We now had a 4, rather than 2, day stay in Southern California, totaling 3 weeks in all. I think it would have been best with the original mix of port and sea days and the Los Angeles disembark, but the entire Jewel crew made us forget the small quibbles and feel pampered to the max. It also helped that we were traveling with such a wonderful bunch of CC members as well! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more ... Read More
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more relaxing than the usual 7-day cruises, it is a warm weather cruise and there are an almost equal number of port and sea days. This was our 10th Norwegian cruise; we have also cruised once on Crystal. We are unapologetic Norwegian ambassadors! Pre-Cruise Preparations - My husband has emphysema and travels with a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), and mom walks with a cane or a rolling walker. That said, traveling can be challenging in this situation. We contacted Norwegian's Access Desk to inform them that we would need 2 wheelchairs at embarkation and disembarkation. We also advised them that mom needs a low/no salt diet. The representative said that once on board we would be contactd to pre-order her meals. More on that under Dining. The airline also requires advance notification with doctor's signature that we are traveling with a POC, as well as the request for wheelchairs for distance. Travel to Embarkation - We flew United to NOLA on Good Friday. We decided to fold, duct tape and check the walker as luggage. It came through with no problem. The wheelchair porters/pushers were prompt and very helpful. The Airport Limosine driver went above and beyond fitting us and our three large, one medium, one carry-on, a POC and the walker in the Town Car (yes, we always manage to overpack!). New Orleans - We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, booked through our travel agent. It did not disappoint. The room included "Continental Breakfast" but we ordered a full breakfast and it was covered. We dined at Galatoire's in the French Quarter on Saturday night. Good food, but getting to the upstairs dining room was difficult for mom to walk all the way to the back of the restaurant through a crowded dining room, up the elevator, then back to the front dining room, then back again after dinner. We took a trip to Rouse's market to purchase 8 bottles of wine. Embarkation - We caught a taxi to the port for $7 per person. The taxi dropped us off at the terminal. After we unloaded all our luggage and the porter put it on his cart we found out we would have to walk a long hallway to get to an entrance that would have been closer, and no wheelchairs were available until after we went through security. It would have been better to go to the furthest entrance. We went to the head of the line as mom can not stand for longer than a few minutes without pain. The security agent got us an escort that took us through security quickly. We knew to hand carry our wine, and were directed to the corkage table to pay the $15/bottle corkage, and then to the section to wait for a wheelchair. We waited about 30 minutes for our turn to get 2 wheelchairs. They were very slow in coming. Eventually we got the wheelchairs, got checked in quickly, taken to the VIP lounge and on to the ship. Yay! The Ship - The Jewel was going into dry-dock immediately after our cruise. There was some wear and tear visible that I assume will be upgraded in dry-dock. The ship was clean and the crew was quite visible in cleaning. We had a 2-bedroom Haven Villa and mom was next door in a Haven Penthouse. The living room, bedroom and master bath are exactly the same in both cabins, but the balcony is 1-2 feet deeper in the 2-bedroom. The cabins are luxurious with wood paneling, queen bed in the master bedroom, lots of closet space and storage space in the master bedroom and bath. Minimal storage in the second bedroom. Hot water was slow in coming to the cabin, we had to run the shower to get it more quickly. The butler and steward were fine, though not impressive. We have had some that matched us much better and may have unfair expectations. Dining - We ate at five of the specialty restaurants and in Azura main dining room the rest of the nights. Le Bistro, Cagney's, Chin Chin, Mama's/La Cucina are always our favorites. We also ate at the Teppanyaki, which was better than the last time. Mom needed a low/no salt diet. We were not contacted as promised by the Access Desk rep, but the first night at Azura we asked about it and were introduced to one of our Vacation Heroes, Felicitas J. She was helpful, knowledgeable and a delight. She explained that mom could see the next night's menu and pre-order so sauces and dishes would be prepared with no salt. She also explained which restaurants prepared foods "a la minute" with low/no salt and which needed a pre-order. The result was that it worked extremely well and mom had minimal ankle swelling. We like Azura as it is midship and easy to get to from the Haven. Most of the time the food was varied, good, and well prepared. Ports - Cartagena - we didn't get off this time as we've been there twice before. Huatulco - rglcruise organized a tour with Adelino. He had a late model 13 passenger van and took us through Huatulco to Santa Maria. We walked through a portion of the town, had quesadillas with fresh made tortillas, and watched a carniceria wield his knife. He also told us the history of the area. We drove up into the mountains to a coffee plantation and small town. Adelino was great a communicating his love of his home nation and state. Puerto Vallarta - Just off the ship is a small area with shops to purchase souvenirs and the ever present Diamond International. Walmart is within walking distance from the port for those sundries you've run out of. Cabo San Lucas - This is a tender port. Lots of shopping and restaurants at the dock. Also, there are lots of opportunities to catch an independent operator for a tour of the area by boat. Disembarkation - We arranged with Virginia, the concierge, to have the wheelchairs pick us up. They came a little after the designated time, but then whisked us off very quickly.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. Our cabin, category IE, was huge, but then we did require wheelchair accessibility! We got unpacked and went after some lunch. Just after the muster drill, we met with several others from the Cruise Critic chat for sail away. That was the beginning of some wonderful new friendships. Our cabin was on a dead end hallway, right by the deck four exits. Even though it is categorized as an inside cabin, we were on the hull of the ship, no window or port hole. At the first port of call we had to wend our way to the elevators for breakfast, but it was quick when we debarked and embarked at ports. We were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was, most of the time. The morning we anchored in Belize, there was a lot of racket from the tender docks being lowered. We did enjoy hearing the ocean waves while we were underway. We've had cabins all over ships: forward, high, low, inside, balcony, and really have no favorites. When we have an inside cabin we turn the TV to the bridge cam, turn the volume off, and there's our window to the world. That sunrise wakes us up every time! The Cruise Critic group met with officers on day 2. That afternoon many of us participated in a cabin crawl/poker run. We had cabins from inside to The Haven to crawl to! The entertainment was great, thanks to cruise director Jaime! Group Coordinator/Access Officer Cherry was right on target with my special needs, even anticipating what was needed next. Our cabin steward, Newman, surprised us with a wonderful zoo, even leaving each towel animal when making new ones. We were able to take a picture of our whole zoo at once! The excursion desk was quite helpful in assessing what excursions we could take with my wheelchair. Food opportunities all week were beyond wonderful! We ate in Cagney's, Teppanyaki, and Le Bistro as well as Tsar's Palace. We will brave the buffet to get ice cream, but prefer not to eat there. All too soon we returned to New Orleans, but we have two Cruise Rewards for future cruises!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We headed out in February for a beautiful cruise on the Jewel for 7 relaxing days. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we were treated with some of the BEST service from the staff on this cruise. The food was outstanding! KUDOS to the dining staff ... Read More
We headed out in February for a beautiful cruise on the Jewel for 7 relaxing days. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we were treated with some of the BEST service from the staff on this cruise. The food was outstanding! KUDOS to the dining staff and their Executive Sous Chef and Double KUDOS to Mr. Messiah for having such a fantastic staff in the Food division. Our cabin Stewart was top notch with a smile and willingness to take care of anything you might need! Everywhere we went on this ship we encountered smiling friendly workers. The down side of this cruise........ Lack of entertainment for adults over 30 and under 80. Come 10 Pm the ship shut down. There were no interesting shows or entertainment for the guests after 10 pm.When we say the ship shuts down at 10 PM we mean it shuts down. They close the adult Jacuzzi, the pools and most all Bars at 10 Pm Even the ONE bar open was a dud.With mainly workers present. The shows provided were good but there was no variety of choice each day. We are not bingo players and found that at times after dinner that there was nothing for us to do, If the show of the day was not to our liking. It appeared to us that the line catered more to the elderly and the super young and forgot about us in the middle. All in all this was a great cruise and will cruise this line again if for nothing else than the great service! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were two first-time senior cruisers, one of whom has limited mobility and requires a wheelchair, and travelling with our son's family, including their toddler. We booked a handicap accessible cabin, which we could not view on line ... Read More
We were two first-time senior cruisers, one of whom has limited mobility and requires a wheelchair, and travelling with our son's family, including their toddler. We booked a handicap accessible cabin, which we could not view on line and hoped for the best. We did pre-cruise planning with the customer service desk, which was quite professional, competent and comfortable with our circumstance. Reading some of the reviews, re: limited cabin space, etc., we had some reservations. Embarkation: NCL assistance was very helpful, and supportive of our special needs and expedited our boarding. Amazingly efficient considering the masses. Cabin: How absolutely pleased that our anxieties weren't warranted. To start, we could wheel our chair into and around the cabin and easily into a bathroom, which had access to a shower with fold down bench/hand-held shower head, and ample, sturdy 'grab bars'. Mirror, sink, toilet and toiletry shelves were arranged, in kind. Closet was accessible with ample storage space, too. Our balcony was well worth the added cost and made it possible to enjoy the stunning Alaskan scenery with terrific accessibility, convenience and relative privacy. Food: We ate mainly in the Tsar's Palace dinning room and at the buffet in the Garden Cafe. And though the latter had reserved seating for handicapped persons, it was quite limited. This was not a problem as we found seating for our family, elsewhere. The staff were exceedingly friendly, accommodating and helpful, especially in the Tsar's Palace who were attentive, accommodating and considerate to our special needs, including dietary ones. In fact, staff/crew were the same throughout the ship and our voyage. Excursions: Not being certain about how we'd be in our times in ports, we did not make excursion reservations beforehand. We chose to do so on the day-of and locally; this was fairly easy, e.g., plenty of taxis, etc. Of note, each time we disembarked, we were greeted by a Jewel staffer, asked to help and who wheeled my wife down to the shore and upon our return, another staffer wheeled her back onto the ship. Kudos! Entertainment: Fun, high energy but limited and not very accessible seating for handicapped individuals, e.g., narrow aisles, limited space between rows of seats. Not much one can do but a limitation, nonetheless. Disembarkation: What a civil and sane approach, i.e., select the time you wish to depart and remain in your cabin until your "color"/time is called. Staff expedites process quite well. Bags meet you in the terminal. And you're "on the street" shortly after retrieving your bags. In closing, big time kudos to NCL for their disabled friendly attention, consideration and service and for the layout and amenities in our cabin. On behalf of my special needs family, "well done!" and thanks for making our voyage so enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date July 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 is my personal experience on the Norwegian Jewel, others may have a different view but this is mine. We booked a back to back cruise, 7 days on the Norwegian Jewel, spend a night in New York and then board the Norwegian Gem for ... Read More
This is my personal experience on the Norwegian Jewel, others may have a different view but this is mine. We booked a back to back cruise, 7 days on the Norwegian Jewel, spend a night in New York and then board the Norwegian Gem for another 7 days. We are hooked on cruising. My wife and I booked these cruises back in May 2011. We enjoy cruises that are longer than 7 days. By booking a back to back it fits our needs. Day one -â€" We drove from Delaware to the port in Manhattan, it took approximately 3 hours. We decided to park in the ports parking area. The procedure was quick and easy. Boarding the Jewel was also quick and easy, we knew what to expect since we have been on more than 25 cruises over the past 15 years. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Line. Our preference is Norwegian due to the "Freestyle" and the affordability. Both make the cruise very relaxing and enjoyable. Our cabin number was 11654 on deck 11 aft. We enjoy the aft cabins and try to book one whenever possible. The cabin was large due to it being handicap accessible. It was kind of plain; one picture on the wall, and the layout of the furniture was somewhat strange. It contained all the necessary items. Our room steward Steven was very accommodating and professional, always a smile and willing to please. He did an excellent job. The room needed a comfortable chair for my wife and when I mentioned it to Steven he informed his supervisor ( Hopdun Smith) who addressed my request immediately. Absolute excellent service from Steven and Mr. Smith. On the first night I had to speak with the hotel director, Mr. Hugo Vanosmael, what an outstanding person. I explained "my" problem and he resolved it very quickly. I was extremely impressed with the staff on the Jewel. They are truly professional and extremely good at what they do. The treatment on Norwegian ships has always been outstanding. The next morning Concierge Ryan Rabe approached my wife and I, offered any assistance we may need. I cannot say enough about the outstanding staff on the jewel. Day 2 -â€" Sea day, raining, seas with white caps but smooth ride. Sun finally showed in the afternoon. Just relaxed and enjoyed the service. Day 3 -â€" We arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida. Since we go mainly for the cruise and not the ports we decided to stay close to the ship. We did take a $5 cab ride to the local mall just to see what was there. Day 4 -â€"It was scheduled to be a day of fun, sun, picnic on the private island Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.....didn't succeed....The waves and winds were too strong for tender service so the Captain having our safety as his priority determined to press on to Bahamas. This was disappointing but not the end of the world. "Safety First". Day 5 -â€" Nassau, Bahamas -â€" a great day at Paradise Island enjoying the sites and the people. We went to the Big Dig and the Aquarium at Atlantis. We took the boat taxi to and from, $4 each way. A cab ride is $5 and probably quicker. The evening was special as we were invited to eat dinner with the hotel director and 3 other couples, good conversation, good food and a great time. Day 6 -â€" Sea Day -â€" A relaxing day. NCL has a great "Freestyle" program, beautiful ship, plenty to do, good food and a great staff. We really enjoyed the excellent performance of the "Le Cirque Bijou". Do not miss this show and the after show from the crew...very, very enjoyable. We also enjoyed the entertainment provided by "Crazeehorse". NCL has great entertainment throughout the ship. Day 7 -â€" Sea Day -â€" TOTAL RELAXATION! Day 8 -â€" We were provided VIP disembarkation, we walked off after breakfast, headed to our hotel to return Sunday to board the Norwegian Gem....we had a Great vacation on the Norwegian Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were very excited when we booked our cruise but also apprehensive about traveling with our 8 year old son, who has autism and is on a very difficult special diet (gluten free, casein free, soy free, corn free). He can also be loud and ... Read More
We were very excited when we booked our cruise but also apprehensive about traveling with our 8 year old son, who has autism and is on a very difficult special diet (gluten free, casein free, soy free, corn free). He can also be loud and act impetuously and since he doesn't "look" handicapped, people are not always understanding. With lots of help, we ended up having a fabulous time! I never thought I would say this, but I came home refreshed! And my son, who is addicted to his home routine, did not want to leave the ship! First of all, we contacted Mike at Autism on the Seas. Even though we did not book through them, he sent us a package to help us with boarding and dietary issues - pecs for getting my son prepared, a handicap card for the ship - even a T-shirt to help identify us at check in! I can't say enough about Autism on the Seas, their assistance really made a difference for us! I hope we can book through them in the future. We live near Philly so we had a friend drive us to the port in NYC. It was easy to find and unload the car, porters were helpful and we were ushered to the handicap line when we showed our Autism of the Seas card. We got to the port later than we wanted (around 2pm), due to some issues at home, but still in plenty of time. The line was very long, but the handicap line was much shorter. To my surprise, it took us over an hour to be checked in, and by the time we got on the ship, the very long line of "regular" passengers was gone and we were some of the last people to get on the ship. I don't know what made the handicap/VIP line so slow - I would use it again just to save being crowded but would hope it would move faster. In any case, we were on the ship by 3pm and were allowed to use the VIP muster station which was in the theater. LOVED this - not crowded, we did not have to wear the life jackets, so much easier than previous muster drills that were PURE MISERY for my autistic son. This was quick and easy. We spent some time on the deck watching the ship sale away from NYC (AWESOME!!) and then headed to our cabins to unpack. We were greeted with a fruit basket and bottle of champagne, plus a bottle of wine in each room! Not sure how we scored all of this - we are past NCL cruisers, also traveling as "VIP's" due to my son's handicap and also were registered as Cruise Critic members - we had quite a few perks this trip and I never knew exactly why! :) CABINS: We had two interior cabins due to the fact that balconies make me nervous with my son - he is a climber! They were typical interior sized rooms, enough room for us to have 3 in each room and not be too jammed in. (Yes, there were SIX of us in all!) A great bargain, no complaints! Rooms were clean, we had enough storage and the beds were comfortable. Our steward did a great job, but we hardly saw him. Did not mind in the least - he kept us stocked with clean towels and the cabin was spotless every day, plus we got the cute towel animal most nights. I came in one time when he was cleaning and saw he was on his hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor - now that is service! DINING: The first night was hectic and we were confused. We had been given a list of GF/CF food items that we could special order to bring aboard the ship but I was unsure of how to access them. We went to the Azura restaurant and there was a wait, but as soon as they heard that my son had the special diet, "Mr. P." the maitre'd sat us right down and went over the food options with me. My son had plain chicken breast and plain white rice and was happy as can be. Like most kids with autism, he has a limited diet - he likes chicken, rice, pasta, shrimp and hot dogs - all of this was available during the cruise and they had stocked up GF hot dog rolls, rice pasta and GF bread so every night he was able to have something on his short list of "must have" foods. Also available were gluten free cookies, pizza crust, bagels, and waffles - if you have a food allergy, NCL will give you a list and you can just choose what you want! We did learn that it would be better (for us) to eat in the same restaurant each night. So no real Freestyle. We called each day and made a reservation in Tsars Palace for 5:30. They will say you do not need a reservation for the main restaurants, but we found it helpful to have one and requested the same servers each night - and at the same time I could call the Maitre'd and pre-order whatever foods our son wanted to have for dinner that night. If you find servers you like, ask them where they work for dinner and request them! Your service will be more personalized for sure! The dinners did take some time - one night we were there from 5:30-7pm - so service was somewhat slow, but we were on vacation and did not really care. For breakfast, we ate every morning in the Blue Lagoon. The buffet was going to be too chaotic for my son to deal with and all the food choices that were not allowed for him would just have driven him bonkers. Other family members ate in the Garden and liked it. I loved the omelets in Blue Lagoon and my daughter loved the French toast - my son brought his own GF rice crisp cereal on board and he ate that each morning with some OJ. This is where we met our favorite servers, Janice and Danillo, and asked to have them serve us for dinner each night. They were fantastic and I also cannot say enough about the helpfulness of both Maitre'd's that I got to know. Very friendly too. Lunch for my special diet kid was usually a hot dog or two (without the bun) from the pool area because we never wanted to get dressed for a dining room. And for the rest of us, something from the barbecue - always very good! The dinners in the main dining room were great for the most part. (We did not do any specialty restaurants.) Some things that I had and liked - Jerk chicken & plantain, the lobster (half a tail - order two!) - chicken cordon bleu, turkey dinner and shrimp & swordfish kabobs. These were all very good. I limit sugar and have to also note that they had a sugar free dessert option each night. They were OK - some aftertaste from the artificial sweetener. No complaints from me though, I was happy to have the option available. Our first day at sea was rough and the weather was not great, but my son loved it that the pool was not crowded. We spent time at the pool and got used to the ship. "Dress up or not" night was fun - we dressed up somewhat. NICKELODEON: We booked before we knew this was a NICK cruise but we were excited to see the characters, especially my 2 year old daughter. I did hear some complaints on the board with some nervous that the whole cruise was going to be Nick themed. Not at all!! You hardly saw the characters. The information was given in the dailies each day as far as "Meet & Greet" times or breakfast with the characters, and there were some poolside shows and one night there was a Nick themed show, but otherwise they were not in evidence. If you don't want to see the characters, you don't have to - if you want to see them, you can. We did the character breakfast and one meet & greet with Dora and enjoyed the shows. Loved it all. EXCURSIONS: We only booked one excursion through the ship and it was not all that great - it was transfer only to the Disney park. It took longer than advertised to get there (and not due to traffic) and the staff on the piers were NOT helpful in directing us to the bus we needed. As a matter of fact, one woman yelled at us because we were waiting for my 11 year old who was straggling about 10 feet behind us. She told us we could NOT wait for him, that if we wanted him with us we should have waited for him on the ship. ??? Needless to say, we ignored her and waited for my son to catch up. But then we felt so rushed, I ended up hitting a crooked spot in the sidewalk and falling all the way to the ground while carrying my 2 year old. NOT GOOD. No one from the excursion even checked to see if I was ok - my ankle was twisted very badly and while I have to blame my own lack of grace in some measure, it would have been nice to have more direction as to where to go, or at the least had someone to check if I was OK. The people at the bus were nice. The day at Disney was too short, my ankle was in bad shape the rest of the trip - all in all, I would not do this again, not enough time. The time frame needs to be more honest (it is NOT an hour to get to Disney, more like 1.5 hours+ of driving alone - and then it takes a long time to get off the ship.) In the Bahamas, we booked our own day trip at Blue Lagoon, which is a dolphin encounter and private island. Allow at least an hour to get there - water taxi to the Paradise Island Ferry and they pick you up there. We almost missed the boat. Booking this yourself is a LOT cheaper than doing the ship excursion and very easy if you contact Blue Lagoon direct. This was a FABULOUS day. The private island was not crowded, the water was beautiful and the actual dolphin encounter was incredible! Even the ride to and from the island is beautiful. I highly recommend everything about Blue Lagoon except the food. Not great, just burgers and hot dogs and not even good ones. But who cares?? We came back and ate dinner on the ship. POOLS: My kids loved the pools and hot tubs. Unfortunately, the decks were very crowded and unless you went up early and pirated a chair or two, there were no seats to be had near the pool. It seems like LOTS of people had this idea because there were saved seats all over the place - I saw one woman who had the same two seats saved each day and no one ever sat in the second seat, she just used it for her lunch plate. Ugh. Same person was rolling her eyes at every kid on the deck - really she should have just sat up a level or two where it was nice and quiet. Once my ankle was walkable again, we did go up a level or two to the sun decks and always found chairs there. It was MUCH quieter too, and bar service available as well. If anyone wants a quieter option, just go upstairs! Maybe that would leave seats open for some of the parents who need to actually watch their kids by the pool. This has nothing to do with NCL though, they did a great job of keeping the pools clean and warm - and quite honestly most of the other guests were VERY understanding and nice. Traveling with a child who has autism is nerve wracking - it is hard to know when they are going to melt down - almost everyone - staff and guests included - were GREAT about it. There was a poolside barbecue most days and that was very good, I also enjoyed the reggae band and tried the drink of the day each day - yum. NOTE - the decks can get very hot - wear Crocs or pool shoes or you will burn your feet! SODA: My kids all got the soda bracelet and used it a lot on the ship. One thing to note, the bartenders were very slow about filling the soda orders for kids. Still worth it - for $32 they never had to bug us for drinks and we got to bring home a nice souvenir cup. KIDS CLUB: My older kids LOVED the kids club, we hardly saw them unless we insisted. My son with autism also liked it. He was not able to spend as much time as he would have liked because there were too many kids most days. I have to note, the ship was FULL - 2,819 guests - and with this being a Nick cruise, the kids club was also full a LOT of the time. I think the staff of the kids club did a great job, even with my son with autism - when they were not overcrowded he was able to go and color, watch TV and use the mat play area. HOWEVER - I do think that if NCL is going to gear these cruises toward children with the NICK theme, they need to increase the Kids Club staffing. One day I went to pick up my son and the room was WALL TO WALL with 6-9 year olds (maybe 40 kids?) and there were only 2 staff members available. They looked nervous and frazzled. Wouldn't you be? I felt bad for them, they were all very nice, just overworked. My daughter would not even go to the club - she tried one day and it was just too overwhelming for her. (Can't blame the crowds entirely for that though, she is a mama's girl!) ACTIVITIES: We spent most of our time by the pool - we are not gamblers and not into Bingo or art auctions - As I mentioned, we did the breakfast with the characters - my daughter loved it! She got to meet Dora, Diego, The Avatar, Spongebob and Patrick - they all came to the take a picture with her and did a little bit of dancing. It cost $15 per adult and $10 per child, but worth it. My husband and older boys went out and did Karaoke a few times in the Fyzz lounge - they had a blast! They also checked out the chocolate buffet but weren't that thrilled with it - too crowded, too much waiting. I did not go myself, just relating what my husband said. ENTERTAINMENT: I enjoyed all the shows - the 70's review and Cirque really stand out. We got to Cirque early and sat 15 rows back as I read in another review on here - be sure to do that! It was very full and you really will miss something if you sit up closer. The Nick shows were all very fun too! We went together with the kids to all the shows (not the adult only shows) and everyone enjoyed them, even my 2 year old. SHIP IN GENERAL: The ship was very clean and we loved it! Loved the view from the Spinnaker Lounge and from the back of the ship in the Great Outdoors. The promenade was also very nice, there were a lot of nice areas with beautiful views - always able to find a spot to look out at sea! We have sailed with Carnival and Royal Caribbean and I do not recall that they had so many areas where you could enjoy the view this way. Even in the dining rooms - Blue Lagoon and Tsars Palace - you could look out at sea - gorgeous! AUTISM COMMENTS: My son did great, so much better than expected. Once he got into a routine on the ship, he was super happy - breakfast then hot tub, then pool then lunch, kids club if not too crowded, dinner and a show and then to bed. If he ever needed quiet time in the room, we would go and sit for a bit - brought along his laptop and a few movies - plus the room had Nickelodeon shows airing all the time and some decent movies - so he was happy in the room too. He developed a small obsession with the little store near Tsars Palace and wanted to go for Skittles each night after dinner. Normally these are not allowed, but we figured it was vacation and we let it go. If you have a child with autism and you are thinking of trying this, do it!! My son is hard to manage and he did really well. One small melt down early in the cruise when he wanted to get Skittles and we said no - well, he won that round, LOL. PERKS: As a Cruise Critic member, we got to participate in a Meet & Greet with the captain and other important people on the ship - also got invited to tour the bridge (FANTASTIC) and we arranged a cabin crawl to see some of the other cabin options. All good! The captain was so nice, he answered all of our questions, was very nice to all the kids and just super friendly. Definitely sign up for a Meet & Greet if you can, you will get special treatment!! As past NCL cruisers we were invited to a special cocktail reception in the Spinnaker lounge, where I won a complimentary bag of laundry service - yay! This was very nice, we enjoyed it immensely. Because of our VIP (handicap) status, we also were invited to a cocktail reception in the Villa area of the ship. So we got to see this area twice (once at this reception and once at the Cruise Critic cabin crawl) - really nice if you have the money and a quiet family, LOL. Private sun deck, concierge area, private pool & hot tub. I think our noisy family would not have fit in very well in this area, but if your autistic child is quieter than mine you might like it here - no crowds, more privacy, very nice!! Also we had Priority Tender passes - if we had been able to stop at the private island (couldn't due to bad weather) we would not have had to wait in line to get off the ship, we would be put on the first available tender. Didn't get to use these, but what a help if we had wanted to get off the ship! When it was time to disembark, we also got VIP treatment - We were allowed to wait in the theater and were let off the ship very early. Our luggage was in the VIP area and much easier to find. It was super easy getting off the ship. All in all we had a fantastic trip - lots of good food, lots of good weather, great service and VIP treatment for my son with autism. A few little problems, but nothing that would stop us from going again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
And here we are...back from yet another fantastic cruise on NCL!! This time it was the December 13th 2009 sailing of the Jewel out of Miami. There is sooo much to say, but I'll try to keep it short and sweet and hit the main points. ... Read More
And here we are...back from yet another fantastic cruise on NCL!! This time it was the December 13th 2009 sailing of the Jewel out of Miami. There is sooo much to say, but I'll try to keep it short and sweet and hit the main points. (As for other information...I reserve the right to remain silent!!!) Embarkation was a unique experience for us this time. Normally we process thru the balcony or mini suites window for Latitudes members and it usually goes without a hitch. But this year, one of our group was in a wheelchair, so upon ascending the stairs from the street to the entrance, we found a coral of wheelchairs ready and waiting right there. I hadn't even put my hand on the handle, when I was immediately met by a NCL crew member there to help. He stayed with us the whole time as we cleared security, and then whisks us around alllll the other lines to a special line so that we could process quickly and use the elevator to ascend to the embarkation area. One quick stop for the photo op and we were on the ship with a glass of champagne in hand!!! From arrival at the street to sipping champagne was maybe 20 minutes. Even those in our group that didn't arrive via the "handicap express", said that checking in was fairly easy. The key here is PREREGISTER online and bring a copy of that with you. If you are a Latitudes member, you can use that express line. Suite holders also have their own special lines for those special guests. Disembarkation was handled with equal ease and simplicity. After we finished yet another wonderful breakfast, we made way to the Fizz Lounge where wheelchairs with crew members waited to escort us off the ship, thru immigration, to the luggage area where we collected our bags. I traveled with my group of 9 that became 11, that sometimes swelled to 12, 14 and 20 at times...and a great time was had by all. We had been on the Jewel before, and she is a lovely ship! The ship was very clean and well kept, as is typical of the NCL line as a whole. We all had balcony rooms this time, complete with safe, mini fridge and bathrobes. Our cabin was a handicap cabin, and it was roomy and spacious with plenty of room for the scooter. Our room stewards were kind and efficient. Richard and Joselito are two very sweet guys that were always there when we needed something. The towel animals are always a treat, especially when my constantly being lost sunglasses would miraculously reappear on the towel animals head!! The first thing we did was haul our bags to our cabins. Generally the cabins aren't quite ready, but the room stewards were more than accommodating to let us drop off our bags and roam the ship a bit til the cabin was ready. Second stop was a cocktail at the martini bar by Magnum's Champagne Bar. The VERY BEST BARTENDER on the ship is Edgardo and he's in charge of the martini tastings. Not only does he make the BEST martinis on the ship, he's a hell of a dancer too! Next stop was making dinner reservations. You can always access the dinner reservations attendant on the far right of the registration desk (as you face it). They are very helpful and bend over backwards to accommodate your party and requested meal times. You can book the day you are in and the next night without any trouble. If you have a balcony or mini-suite, you can book the following day as well. The larger suites can book any days ahead that they want. Maracar was working the desk most days, when she wasn't hostessing at Chin Chin's and she is by far simply the most accommodating hostess you'll ever meet. She would go so far as to hunt me down to make sure I had my next reservations made, and then call my cabin to confirm the reservations she'd made for me. We were a large group and had no trouble getting in anywhere we wanted. Sometimes we had to juggle our times here and there, but the crew bends over backwards to accommodate you. I just can not say enough about the food. We did the Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon for simple breakfasts before our excursions. Lunches would be there too, along with grazing at the poolside buffet for quick mid day bites. This year the Jewel tried out two specialty lunches. I didn't make the Jazz Brunch, but we did try the Indian Buffet lunch held in Le Bistro. This was a $15 surcharge and worth the price for generous selections of well prepared authentic Indian dishes. Every dinner we dined at the specialty restaurants. WELL worth the surcharge!!! Don't let those fees scare you off, it's TOTALLY worth it. Things you MUST eat: BBQ Pork Ribs, Dirty Noodles, Lamb Medallions - Chin Chin Restaurant Escargot, Chicken Coq Au Vin, and anything on the menu - Le Bistro Lobster, yes lobster! - Teppanyaki Combination Pizza - Mama's Italian More lobster, Rib Eye - Cagney's The spa prices are pricey as always. But watch your Freestyle Daily for specials. Also physically GO to the spa and talk to the spa crew. They will work special combo deals for you that are listed on the menu of services. You can make an appointment for a treatment and usually negotiate a little extra freebie such as a free Eye Treatment while at the desk. Best Spa Deals: the 10/20/30 plan - 10% off first treatment, 20% of 2nd, 30% off third...combine those with bartering at the counter for a freebie. The other thing I would HIGHLY recommend is the Spa Pass. You pay a flat rate (was $99 for single of $125 per couple for the 7 day cruise or $20 per day individually) and you have access to the mineral baths, hydrotherapy pools, sauna, steam room, stone therapy lounges, cold plunge and the private locker area for the entire cruise. You also have access to the very restful lounge area that sits at the very FRONT of the ship with full glass panoramic views out the bow. The entertainment is always a great value as it's FREE!! I've been to many many Jean Ann Ryan Company productions and had the pleasure of meeting many of the performers, but this particular group was really something special. Not only are they talented and gifted they were so personable, unlike any other cruise I've been on. We would see the performers out and about on the ship and they were always friendly and welcoming, often times actually hanging out with us!! Make sure you see ALL their performances. By the way, if you get a chance to meet Richard (one of the male athletic performers for the JARC), please do so. His smile will light up your day, and his genuine zest for life is contagious. (Not to mention those 12 pack abs!!!) Don't miss the Crew Show. I don't think that the Cat's Pajama's will still be performing, but if they are make sure you see EVERY performance. They are spectacular young men whose acapela talents will mesmerize you. The Fizz Lounge is a great place to hang out and for karaoke, and the Spinnaker lounge seems to always have great tunes spinning. Now I've never been one to generally attend the usual games and things that the cruise director staff puts on, but this trip was an exception. The cruise director Que Hundermark has taken these "game shows" to a whole new level. He single handedly (well not single handed he has a GREAT staff) as taken simple games like "The Newlywed Game", "Dancing With the Stars", and "Qwest" and made them into extremely well attended events on the ship. We attended many, if not all, of them and had the most fantastic time. We laughed til we couldn't breathe in some cases, and won a trophy in other cases. (Details will NOT be disclosed, so don't ask!! LOL ) We've met many cruise directors on our many cruises, several with NCL, and Que is the best yet!! He was always available, always friendly and made each and everyone of us feel like we were the most important person to him on the ship. Speaking of being made to feel like you are important...I'd like to make a point to comment on John the Hotel Director and Mustafa the Food & Beverage Manager. These two men simply never sleep. Especially John O'Hara the Hotel Director. This man was up before I had breakfast and when I would leave the Spinnaker Lounge after dancing all night...he was still there, standing in the back, watching everything that was going on. John and Mustafa were out and about every evening greeting guests at the restaurants. We saw them literally every night, and every night they would stop at our table and visit. And not just stop by...they would chat with us leisurely as if there wasn't anywhere else they had to be. Now believe me, my group isn't all sunshine and smiles, there were a few of us that had comments to make about service from time to time. And each and every time these two gentlemen would listen attentively, take notes, make calls and voila...things happened. Watch your Freestyle Daily for specials in the Duty Free Shop. Great deals on liquor on certain days, plus free tastings! Always, always, ALWAYS mention you are a Latitudes member and get an additional 10-20% off anything you purchase in the shopping area. Just cuz it says Latitudes on your card, doesn't mean you'll get the discount. So ASK for it. NCL University offered all kinds of classes and tastings. Though usually we partake in many, this trips focus seemed to be on the martini tastings. What fun!! Edgardo, the head bartender, served each martini with complete recipes, fun facts about the history of that martini, while running a trivia contest amongst the tasters! One of the guests in our group presented him with a special holiday martini recipe, which he incorporated into the 2nd tasting and gave a complimentary sample to everyone. Do take part in these tastings. They are only $15 and with the 4 samples you'll get...an alcohol bargain on board! Best Hostess - Maracar in Chin Chins Best Head Bartender - Edgardo in the Martini Bar and Spinnaker Best Room Stewards - Richard and Joselito on Deck 10 Best Officers - John Ohara, Hotel Director - Mustafa, F&B Manager - Que, Cruise Director Be sure to tell them the BEADBABE says hello Though I did not really use the casino, some in my group did. They had a few issues which I'm sure they'll be taking up directly with NCL. Since I don't know much about gambling, I'll leave that segment for them to review. The consensus amongst the gamblers in the group was...that standard "casino" rules don't always apply on board. So make sure you know the "house" rules on the games before you start. Despite that due to rough seas and winds, we missed our stop at Great Stirrup Cay, our Captain took us out to sea for an added a sea day....the entire crew bent over backwards to keep us fed, entertained and happy. Additionally, our beloved Captain invited the entire Cruise Critic group to a special tour of the bridge!! This was a very special treat. He allowed us to wander around and ask questions. He was infinitely patient and seemed genuinely interested in our questions. We weren't hurried at all and thoroughly enjoyed this little perk! I can't say enough about this ship...the whole experience was awesome. If you want to know anything specific, I'm happy to answer questions! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I would absolutely go on a cruise with NCL again. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. We were aboard the Norwegian Jewel, which was spectacular. Here are my observationa: Public Rooms - None of them are subtle - think Las Vegas ... Read More
I would absolutely go on a cruise with NCL again. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. We were aboard the Norwegian Jewel, which was spectacular. Here are my observationa: Public Rooms - None of them are subtle - think Las Vegas glitz. The Tzar's Palace dining room is a perfect example - lots of gilt, highly patterned, bright carpets and a grand staircase. Cabins - All are furnished with cherry wood finishing, televisions, a safe,refrigerators, duvets, and bathrooms with showers and hair dryers. They are stylish and comfortable. Dress Code - Casual dress is a very popular aspect of freestyle cruising. Formal wear(black tie or dark suit for men and cocktail dress for women) is optional during the one formal evening. On our trip, about 5% of passengers dressed up in evening wear and tuxedos. The Food (free venues) - There is 24 hour room service aboard ship but we never bothered with it because of all the great dining options. "The Garden Cafe" (indoor) and "The Great Outdoors" (seating area to the rear of the Garden Cafe) are both buffets and are good for breakfast and lunch but are not as good for dinner, sometimes the food was cold. During the day, seats were hard to find but we always found one eventually. They have soft-serve ice cream dispensers and self-serve beverage machines. Excellent choices here were little roast potatoes, sausages and roast tomatoes at breakfast, the pizza, and all the juices. The eggs Benedict were great if you got them while they were hot. On the last night of the trip, the chocolate buffet and ice sculptures were amazing. "The Blue Lagoon" which overlooks the atrium is another option for breakfast or lunch. I liked the Full House breakfast of eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, hash browns and toast. Lunch choices included fish and chips, potato skins, soups, nachos, excellent hamburgers and wings and salads. "The Poolside Grill" is great for morning juices/pastries or burgers/hot dogs for lunch and is quick and convenient. You will be able to listen to live music while you eat. The reggae band "Uprysn" was noteworthy. "Tsar's Palace" had excellent food. It is served by waitstaff who were quick and efficient. We tried "Asura" for dinner only once. It is noisy, because it doesn't have the spaciousness of Tsar's, and generally feels cramped. Deck 7 is the home of reception and shore excursion desks, art/photo galleries, Internet cafe and shops with duty-free items, clothing and jewelry. The Crystal Atrium features the "Java Cafe", awesome light fixtures and an elegant, white, baby grand piano. It also offers outdoor seating when the pool deck is too busy. The pool deck has two pools, four spas, and a big yellow water slide for kids. The pool and spas are almost empty by dinner time, and you can enjoy the sunset from the hot tubs or on a chaise lounge. I found an empty lounge chair poolside most days; there was no deck chair hogging around the pool. "The Spinnaker Lounge" wass sunny and quiet during the day and home to some great entertainment at night - be prepared to laugh your socks off. The Stardust Theatre is the main entertainment venue for nightly Broadway/Vegas-style productions, comedy, music and ventriloquist acts and a Cirque du Soleil-type aerial show called Cirque Bijou. The talented group of gymnasts, acrobats and bungee jumpers played to packed houses. Other entertainment on board included live guitar and piano music available at various locations. My favourite was a group of mariachi musicians. There are also late night parties with themes such as White Nights (where those who attend dress in all white), Caribbean and disco. Other recreational options include a jogging and walking track and a sports deck (with bleacher seating) for basketball, volleyball and tennis. There are also golf driving nets, a shuffleboard court, ping pong tables and a life-size chess set. Shore Excursions - Do not book them on board. They are very expensive and you can pay way less for the same thing by booking privately. Check out Trip Advisor.com for ideas and don't be afraid to book locally. Drinks on Board are expensive. We brought our own decanted liquor and had cocktail hour in our cabin each night before dinner. Also, for security reasons, all bags go through a metal detector and X-ray equipment on returning to the ship on excursion days. Any duty-free liquor is confiscated until the end of the cruise. Karaoke is available at the FYZZ Lounge and in the private red, green or blue karaoke rooms at no extra charge. Gratuity - Each passenger is automatically billed $12 per day. Guests who prefer to tip individually can fill out a form at reception. The Casino offers one penny to $100 slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and poker. My compliments to all the staff for making this the perfect holiday Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
NCL Jewel Repositioning cruise Oct 29 - Nov 13, 2009 Wow! What a great cruise. I have been on 6 NCL, 5 Carnival, 6 Princess and 1 HAL cruise. I am in my 40's and took my 72 year old mom on this cruise. We flew to New York LGA on ... Read More
NCL Jewel Repositioning cruise Oct 29 - Nov 13, 2009 Wow! What a great cruise. I have been on 6 NCL, 5 Carnival, 6 Princess and 1 HAL cruise. I am in my 40's and took my 72 year old mom on this cruise. We flew to New York LGA on October 29 at 6am on Delta. An uneventful flight. We arrived in NYC at around 10:30am. We took a taxi to the cruise pier in Manhattan. We arrived at around 11:30am. We were on the ship by around 12:30pm. We were offered either a glass of Champagne or orange juice upon arrival. I asked the asst cruise director, who was standing right as we walked on board, if a dining room was open for lunch. He said yes to my surprise. We went to Tsars dining room and enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch. The cabins were still not ready so we just explored the ship for a few hours. At around 3pm it was announced that our cabins were now ready. We were in an obstructed view cabin on deck 8. Our cabin was filthy upon arrival. There was trash on the floor, the carpet was stained and was not vacuumed from the previous guests. The table had jam or jelly on it and was all sticky. The shelves looked like they had not been cleaned or dusted in months. The window sill was filthy with dirt everywhere. I think all that the room steward did in my room was make the beds and put fresh towels in the bathroom. I filled up the sink with warm water and was going to get to work on cleaning the cabin when I thought to myself.......What in the world am I doing? I shouldn't need to clean my cabin myself. So I went down to the pursers desk and very nicely asked if I could please have my cabin cleaned and told her the condition of my room. She told me to stay away from my cabin for the rest of the afternoon so it could be cleaned. I returned too early at one point and saw a man in white standing outside my cabin and writing things down on paper. Probably the room stewards supervisor. I left again. I felt bad as my room steward may have gotten in trouble but what else could I have done? NCL was true to their word. Upon arrival in my cabin at around 5pm it was clean. They had not only vacuumed but also shampooed the carpet. All the wood work shined. The table was clean, the window sill was clean, all the shelves were clean. The cabin now sparkled. It smelled a lot better too. They even put new drapes on the window. We were so happy. That evening I went down to the pursers desk and thanked them so much. The next day I received a card asking if my cabin was okay. I returned the card to the pursers desk and again thanked them for cleaning my cabin. The purser was so surprised and said to me "No one ever says thank you." I regret if I got the room steward in trouble but the condition of the room was just plain awful. If he leaves it like this often his supervisor needs to know. Two other cruise critic members also said their cabins were also dirty. So I was not alone. By the way, the view from our window was about 80% obstructed by a life boat. You could see a piece of sky but that is all. There were often crew members that walked outside our window. This didn't bother us. We would just wave at them.......When we were clothed that is. If I was undressed I would hit the deck and fast. Also, at night the whole life boat area is lighted with bright lights. The drapes didn't really block the window all that well so light would flood in. These things did not bother us but I am reporting these as they may bother others that may want to book these obstructed view cabins. We dined mostly in Tsars and only a few times in Azurs dining room most every night for dinner. We never had to wait over a few minutes for a table. We enjoyed the food very much. We are not picky eaters so enjoyed most everything. Sometimes we shared a table with others sometimes we sat alone. Sometimes we were offered coffee after dinner sometimes we weren't and we had to ask but it was no big deal. We sure didn't enjoy such long dinners. It took at least 1½ - 2 hours. I know it is the custom on cruises that dinners take awhile but it seemed worse on this cruise. The time in between courses was far too long in my opinion. After 1 and ½ weeks of this we got tired of it and went to the buffet for dinner instead , where we could eat in a reasonable amount of time. The buffet was hit and miss but we always found something to eat. My biggest disappointment was the Au-gratin potatoes which the buffet served one night. I usually love them, however, the potatoes were practically raw. It was way under done. My mom and I loved the soft self serve ice cream. It was a great anytime snack. We enjoyed the food in Blue Lagoon and ate there 3 or 4 times, however, we found the service to be very lacking. Sometimes we asked for coffee and would never get it. Other times we would wait and wait for dessert to be served. Sometimes after a particularly long wait for desert we just left. We didn't need the extra calories anyway. The cheesecake here was to die for. We had room service breakfast in our room each morning. We would fill out our breakfast card and place it outside our cabin the night before. It was a continental breakfast that included danish, bagels, toast, fruit, cereal, coffee, juice etc. It was quick, good and we got to eat in our pajamas. Breakfast was always right on time and room service would call the room right before coming to make sure we were up and awake.. Entertainment is where NCL excels. We are often disappointed on other cruise lines because NCL has spoiled us. Entertainment was mostly great. You can't please everyone, however, so some shows didn't appeal to us. We had two different comedians. Bill Hildebrandt and Don Friesen. They were both good but I found Bill Hidebrandt to be funnier. I loved the production shows with the Jean Anne Ryan company. There were three of them. The last Cirque Bijou being the best. The juggler Romano Frediani was boring for the first half of his show. He's a talented juggler don't get me wrong but the first half was so slow. Then the show changed to an audience participation show and it was so funny. It was so good that I also went to the second show and laughed again. The best comedian was the ventriloquist, Patrick Murray and Matilda. He was hilarious. I went to all of his shows and it was always new material. He was fantastic. I went to the liar, liar game show and he happened to be a judge. He was so quick witted. He was even hilarious in the game show. There was a Vocalist named Jane Powell with a low voice who I did not care for. I would have thought a man was singing if I didn't see her. There was a hypnotist Dr. Scott Lewis. I have seen much better Hypnotist shows on other cruises so I was disappointed. One of my favorites was an A Capella vocal group called the Cats Pajamas. It consisted of four men. They were great. We had a banjo player who was very talented but after one song on the banjo I am pretty much done. The same with the Violinist. Again very talented but after one song on the violin and I have had enough. I hated the mentalist Jon Stetson but it wasn't his fault. It was a good show it is just that I cant stand not knowing how he was doing the stuff he was doing. The crew had a show and it was also very entertaining. They had the normal parties, deck games, pool games and different game shows. One thing I loved was the Q and A session with the cruise director Que and the Asst cruise director, Ken and two dancers. I just loved hearing about their cabins, their jobs and life on the ship. It was so informative. I loved their idea of dancing with the stars. What a great show. It was so funny. I really liked Que the cruise director. What a hard working guy. His work days are 16 hours long. He was at every single show, party or event. I also liked Ken the asst cruise director. He is funny and acts so gay it is hilarious. He had a great sense of humor. He is also very approachable. I loved them both. We had a huge meet and greet with cruise critic. It was almost too big. I don't think I got to meet everyone. The captain and many senior officers from the ship were there to greet us. Our cruise critic group also got a private tour of the bridge later in the cruise. The captain was great and took an hour to explain all about the bridge and it's different equipment. He seemed happy to do it. All the cruise critic group friends we met were all fantastic and really made the cruise more enjoyable. A small group of us also had the most amazing poker/cabin crawl. We got to see so many different cabins. From an inside to a garden villa. We then had lunch together. This was a fantastic event and really got a smaller group of us to form some great friendships. I went to the latitudes party and after 6 cruises finally won something. I won 10 tickets to the raffle for a free cruise and a game of bingo cards. I didn't win the free cruise or at bingo but I was still thrilled I won something. They served free canapes and drinks at the party also.. I don't go on a cruise to watch TV but it was okay. We got a few channels but sometimes it depended where we were and if we got a signal. We got CNN to keep up on current events. We really enjoyed the 2 movie channels. They showed movies like, Star Trek, The Holiday, The Proposal and PS. I love you. In two weeks we got to watch only 2 movies in there entirety. We saw bits and pieces of others as we were always coming and going. Of course, the majority of the channels were NCL commercials for shore excursions, in port shopping etc. Of course there was the bridge cam and the navigation channel. Those are always nice to have. This ship had two pools. One was adults only. There was also a pool slide. This pool/deck area was just too small for the amount of people we had on the ship. The whole area was so crowded especially on sea days.. There are not very many loungers because there is not enough room for many. This didn't bother me much as I'm not a pool or lounger person. My mom is however. She really liked the pool area on port days when most people were off the ship. On sea days it was just a mass of wall to wall people. Our ports of call were fantastic and they were separated so well. We would hit two ports and have a day at sea. Then hit and few more ports and have another day at sea to rest up. It was prefect. Our first stop was Samana, Dominican Republic. Wow, what a poor country and poor people. On the way to the beach we saw most local men sitting in front of their houses/shacks. They have no jobs to go to. I saw a pig that was just about to be slaughtered, right on the side of the road. The roads in Samana just consist of a series of pot holes. I took a independent excursion with my cruise critic group to Playa Rincon. The taxi ride was long. The group in my taxi was lucky as our taxi completed the trip. The other taxis were not so lucky. One broke down and another had a flat tire. Our taxi driver would be able to drive perhaps 3 or 4 feet then would have to slow down to almost a complete stop to navigate a pot hole. This went on for 30 or more minutes. I'm sure he did this for our comfort. I did enjoy seeing the sights and people along the way though. Finally we arrived at a beach and we boarded a boat for a 10 minute boat ride to the actual beach. It was such a fun ride. The waves were huge and the boat would smack down into them. It felt like an amusement park ride. Loved it. The beach was remote. The water was rough that day and the waves were large but I enjoyed swimming. The water was so warm it felt like bath water. Only problem with this beach is there wasn't enough shade and being a red head I have to have shade. I sat in the sand right next to a man who was selling drinks. He had a tarp up and didn't seem to mind me sitting in a tiny piece of the shade it provided. I took a sandwich and chips from the ship and had a nice picnic lunch. There was a restaurant there but I heard from other people that it was pretty dirty and that insects were a problem. This port was such an eye opener for me. I have been to poor countries before but not like this. It made me so thankful, Our next stop was Tortola. I absolutely loved this port. It is so clean and modern. I booked an independent snorkeling catamaran excursion with Patouche tours. It was an all day tour that included lunch. We had three different snorkel stops and they really gave us a lot of time to snorkel at each stop. The crew of Clive and Branson were fantastic and took such good care of us.. They knew the name of every fish, stingray and critter we saw. We loved to have no noisy motor and sailed with only the sound of the wind and water. If you love to snorkel this is the tour for you. Also the sights of all the other islands around were great.. At the second snorkeling site we anchored and had lunch. We had fruit salad, three bean salad and a turnover type thing filled with spicy meat. The snorkeling in Tortola was fantastic. I have always hoped to retire to Hawaii. Now that I have seen Tortola I am having second thoughts. :-) We had been to St. Kitts several times before so we slept late and just walked around the port area. We didn't even find anything to buy. In Curacao I went to Sea Aquarium beach to snorkel. It was very murky closer to shore but once you got beyond the rocks it was fantastic. Very clear and a great number of fish to be seen. I just made sure to stay close to the rocks as some boats went by there to get out to sea. It was a wonderful way to spend half a day. The portion of beach I was on had hard wooden chairs to sit on and wanted $12. The attendant came when I was almost ready to leave so I choose to sit in the sand for the next 20 minutes.. She was very unhappy with this and told me I had to sit on the rocks. I sat in the sand. She may own the beach chairs but not the beach or sand. This is a large beach with many resorts so if you want a lounger I suggest going down the beach a little farther and getting a nice padded one. In Aruba I decided to be adventurous and took the bus by myself to Boca Catalina, a beach that was said to have good snorkeling. The bus station was across the street from the ship. Very easy to get to. Everyone was very nice telling me where it was. I just asked the bus drivers if they were going to this beach. Again they were all very helpful and nice. I paid $2.30 for a round trip bus ticket. I heard from a couple that took a taxi to the same beach that it was $20 per way. I found that quite a few friends from the ship were there. I found the snorkeling to be okay but not as good as other islands. I caught a bus back to the ship pretty early and went shopping in town. Sail away was fun this day. We went to a friends balcony and watched two jet skiers racing beside our ship as we left port. The captain wasn't too happy with them. He honked the horn at them three times. After this we also saw a pod of dolphins jumping beside the ship. I had never seen that before and it was a highlight. In Roatan I went to Bay islands beach resort. This was a resort in Roatan standards but not normal standards. I went snorkeling on a boat with a bunch of very nice scuba divers. I was the only snorkeler. First mistake. Hurricane Ida really had stirred up the seas and the waves were around 5 feet. The scuba divers went in and submerged. The captain was really only concerned with the divers and stayed with them. He said he would find me and pick me up after the divers came up. It was a drift snorkel. It was around 30 feet deep and the snorkeling was gorgeous. I immediately began to drift. That was fine, I am a good swimmer and a good snorkeler. However the seas were huge and I'm sure the captain of the boat couldn't see me as I was so far away. You always have to look up and around when you snorkel. I heard something and looked up and here is a motor boat speeding past only around 20 feet from me. I'm sure he couldn't have seen me in the waves. He could have easily hit me. I'm sure he wasn't expecting a lone snorkeler in the middle of nowhere. I was all alone in the open ocean with 5 foot waves and my boat was way far away. I thought the boat was so big when I was on it but when it is so far away it looked so small. I thought to myself...This is totally stupid, I shouldn't be out here alone in the middle of the ocean in these waves with the boat way in the distance. I swam as fast as I could back to the boat. It took a long time as I had to swim against the current but was so glad when I got back to the boat. I looked down on the swim back to the boat and couldn't see a thing as the bottom was so far down. Really freaked me out. Then getting back in the boat was so hard. As the boat was pitching up and down so quickly and 5 feet at a time. I was never so glad to get on a boat. One girl got sick on the way back since it was so rough. At least I don't get sea sick. When we got back to shore the resort made us a delicious lunch of Cole slaw, rice and beans and barbequed pork sandwiches. It was a fantastic lunch. My mom loves coconut milk and asked if she could have some. Right away a server went and opened a coconut and served it in the shell with a straw. After I got back to the ship, I still had time in port so went shopping. The minute I got off the ship some man comes up and walks beside me. He is complementing me up and down. I was nice and didn't tell him to get lost. Another mistake. He followed me everywhere and into every shop. I kept thinking to myself....I wish he would go away and just let me shop in peace. Finally, I had enough and headed back to the ship to the secure area where I know he couldn't go. There were lots of people out shopping from the ship but they were not alone. I got back to the ship and he says I owe him $5 for being my escort and protector. Good grief, I never expected that. I am sad to say I paid him and got back on the ship. I now think back and wonder why I paid him. I think I was just so anxious to be rid of him. After this I heard that many men do this there and women who are alone are their target. I had been to Belize before and we had to tender however it was such a longer tender ride than I remember years prior. It took at least 30 minutes if not more. Upon arrival in Belize City we went to the water taxi and took it to Caye Caulker. The water taxi was long at around 45 minutes. Caye Caulker is different than I had ever seen. There are no cars on this island. Taxis on this island consist of golf carts and most people ride bikes. We took a boat out to snorkel. The snorkeling was wonderful. On our second snorkeling stop we got to snorkel with the stingrays. I got to pet and hold stingrays. It was such fun. The water taxi back to Belize city was a long 45 minutes on the return. I shopped around in the secured port area but couldn't find anything I needed. So I boarded the tender back to the ship. This tender trip seemed to go quicker this time. Our last day at sea back to Miami was uneventful for me. A lot of people thought that it was rough and some people got sick. I didn't think it was rough at all and enjoyed being rocked to sleep that night. The last morning of the cruise is when all the trouble started. We disembarked the ship, went thru immigration and we went to find our luggage. It was nowhere to be found. I searched everywhere. Every carousel, every piece of luggage. I searched for 2 hours until we were about to miss our flight home. Our luggage is bright Hawaiian pink flowers, like no one else's. I can spot them from a mile away. They were no where to be seen. NCL was no help at all. One very overworked woman was trying to help 5 people at once. She filled out a missing luggage report and told me to call the phone number on the back of my cruise card. This number is just reservations and they couldn't help me on Saturday morning when I was finally able to call. NCL customer service is only open M-F. So I couldn't contact anyone till Monday. I found it odd that both my bag and my mom's bag both went missing. On Monday I called NCL customer service and they did have my luggage. Thank goodness! I don't know what happened to them. NCL said they were left unclaimed at the pier. I was just so glad they found them. They sent them to us 2 day express and we got them Wednesday. My mom was very unhappy being without clothes for 5 days but was also very thankful it was found. When we got our suitcases we found our light blue luggage tags that we filled out and attached the night before our cruise ended were gone. Upon unpacking we found the luggage tags crumpled up in a small pocket of both our suitcases. I have no idea of knowing but someone ripped the tags off and I think that is why our bags went missing. I believe the room steward tore off the tags off and got rid of them in our luggage as a way of getting his revenge for us reporting the condition of our cabin. I will never know, however, I forgive whoever did it. After resigning to the fact that our luggage was no where to be found we took a taxi to the airport and got ripped off by the taxi driver. I heard afterward that most everyone else was paying $24 plus tip. I was charged way over that plus tip. I did notice he did not take the first exit to the airport he just kept going. So he may have taken us on a side trip. I am not familiar with Miami so have no idea. He also wanted to charge double fare (which I flat out refused) because my mom had a small scooter (40lbs) and a walker. Remember we had no luggage. I put the walker in the taxi. Then I helped him put the scooter in his trunk. I took one end and he took the other. Afterward he rolled his eyes, huffed and puffed and acted like he had just bench pressed 200 lbs. Good grief what an actor. We made it to the airport in time, paid his outrageous fare and told him if he overcharged us it was between him and God. Turns out he did overcharge us and bad. Beware of a taxi driver in Miami by the name of Octavias. After this we encountered a horrendous day of delayed and canceled flights and a broken down plane. This was Delta. The good news is we did finally get home very late that night. Tired, stressed and without any luggage. I have learned from this experience. I have been on many cruises and they have never lost my luggage before. Someone remarked that its like luggage roulette and sometimes your number comes up. At least it was at the end of my cruise and not the beginning. I think I will do express from now on and take my own luggage off the ship. :-) The end of our cruise was extremely stressful but it didn't ruin my cruise in the least. It was a fantastic cruise with a fantastic itinerary and a fantastic price. Thanks NCL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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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