592 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This ... Read More
I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This was our second Alaskan cruise and this time we were taking two of our grandchildren. We had taken a Disney cruise in January, and picked Norwegian because of their contract with Nicholodian thinking there would be more appeal for our 7 and9 year old grandsons. Overall this was a good choice, but don't go expecting Sponge Bob and Patrick to be ever present like the a Disney characters. This is still a cruise that caters to adults. The five star parts of this trip were the entertainers, shows, overall cleanliness of the ship, and easily the most attentive cabin steward that we have ever had. Somewhat disappointing was the age and decor in need of updating, and the food while tasty was not up to the usual gourmet cruise ship standards. The cabins are small partly because the bathroom are larger than on most ships with a tub shower combination instead of the usual micro shower. Beds were comfortable. Although smoking was restricted to the casino and balconies, my wife was upset by the noticeable smoke odors in many areas of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
August 23-30 was cloudy, drizzly, rainy, cool but we still managed to do all we had planned. Embarkation was a breeze. Our first cruise on NCL. 15th cruise in total. We were onboard having lunch in Tsar DR at 12:30 and at 1 we heard the ... Read More
August 23-30 was cloudy, drizzly, rainy, cool but we still managed to do all we had planned. Embarkation was a breeze. Our first cruise on NCL. 15th cruise in total. We were onboard having lunch in Tsar DR at 12:30 and at 1 we heard the announcement that the rooms were ready. Because of reviews about the food I had paid for the dining pkg and had made reservations ahead for Moderno the first night. I tried their Classic Caipiroska cocktail even though I am not a cocktail drinker but it sounded so different and it was very good. The salad bar is amazing. Be sure to try the mushrooms, hearts of palm and yellow beet salad. I had seconds of those. Don't take the bread from the buffet table, wait for the Brazilian cheese bread to be put on your table. Meat: lamb chop very good, chicken breast/leg very good, beef ribs excellent, all other meats (except sausage which we didn't try) were tough. Desserts okay. Sides were rice (plain), black beans, garlic mashed very good and fried sweet bananas excellent. Evening show introduced dancers, Nickolodian and comedian. Pretty good show. Breakfast in Garden Cafe early. Several omelet stations. Other cruises we've been on had only one and always a big line up so this was great. Breakfast was great. We noticed prime rib being served one evening and it looked really good but..we had the dining pkg. Tried bingo but as with other cruise lines it is overpriced. I am a bingo player so I know that to get a full card in 47 numbers is almost impossible. I play 3 times a week and I've never seen it done yet. So you might as well wait for the last session of the week when they offer a $1000 in whatever numbers it takes. 55 is definitely possible for a full card. It had been 30C when we left Seattle but the temperature had quickly dropped to 20C and continued to go lower over the week. The Seattle sun disappeared never to be seen but briefly again. First time we'd heard a ship's foghorn. Lunch in Tzar. Do try the roasted peach dessert if they offer it. That was the best dessert of the entire cruise! Dinner at Teppanyaki. Very entertaining but way too much food. Better than saying too little but a lot of waste of seafood, chicken and beef. Even the guys could not finish. Entertainment tonight was Duo Deja Vu, a couple from Russia who combined dance, gymnastics, acrobatic skills and even singing. Excellent. Do not miss it. Clocks back 1 hour tonight. Ketchikan: 16C, rainy and foggy. Breakfast at O'Sheehan's. Food okay, coffee undrinkable. (Do look in the Garden Cafe for the coffee units with the beans on top. Grinds your coffee fresh.) Bought ahead the tickets for the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show from NCL because same price as at the show. 1 1/2 blocks from pier. Great show even in the rain. Get there early so you can sit in the tiered, covered section. Late comers are given a poncho and chair and seat in front to the side. Not as good a view. After show tour Creek Street. We even saw a fellow catch a salmon while we watched. Lunch at O'Sheehans. Chicken pot pie is excellent. Dinner at La Cucina. My husband loved the calamari, ossobuco and tiramisu and I enjoyed mixed salad, pork scallopini and rhubarb pana cotta. Show tonight was the comedian David Nester and he was very funny. Juneau: 14C and pouring rain. Breakfast again in Garden Cafe. Met 5 others as we had arranged a tour to the glacier which was less expensive with 7 of us sharing the cost. (Met through cruise critic roll call.) Explored Nugget Falls and Mendenhall Glacier. We were soaked even with rain ponchos and waterproof jackets under that. Back to ship to change and the rain stopped for a bit so we took the free shuttle into town and had lunch at Tracey's King Crab Shack because we had seen it a year ago on Top Chef. Expensive but if you like crab do go here. Look on their website so you know what to order. Ship left Juneau early and we sailed to Tracy Arms and up to the glacier in the bay. Fantastic scenery. We bought a balcony cabin just for this but it was rainy, cold and windy and we had to keep going in to get warm. The ship rotated in the bay so we saw all sides. Dinner at Cagney's. My filet was very good but my husband found his New York strip loin was tough. We did not see the show this night because it was a music night and we do not like loud music. Skagway: 15C and cloudy, but not raining! We had bought the NCL tickets for Best of Skagway and White Pass Railway. Expensive but definitely worth it. Bus trip up. Train down with the most amazing scenery both ways. Liarsville Salmon Bake and entertainment. Gold panning. Red Onion Saloon tour of upstairs where the madames entertained the guys. Stay in town after or the bus will take you back. You can see the ship from the corner in town but there is also a free shuttle. Dinner at Chin Chin. Appetizers were great. Entrees are what you would find in any Chinese restaurant. Not impressed and server was just not good, she had not been trained well. Deal or no Deal was fun. Show was comedy and magic of Jean Pierre Parent and he was very good. Clocks forward 1 hour tonight. Thursday was a sea day. Eggs Benedict in main DR were okay. Service was bad. Dinner at Le Bistro with 3 friends we had met on the glacier excursion. This was the best restaurant so far with the best trained servers so we booked it again for the next night. The pork was really good as was the steak, scallops, duck, everything any of us tried was very good. Show was Le Cirque Bijou. If you only go to one show, go to this one. Excellent! Victoria: cloudy but 19C and finally warm enough to go on the balcony and out on deck. Breakfast and lunch in MD and both times I left food. It just was not good and no one cared to even ask why I didn't eat it. The friends we had met lived in Victoria and they had made arrangements to disembark there so we met them and they gave us a tour of Victoria. It seems like a very nice place. Enjoyable tour. Dinner at Le Bistro was once again excellent. Last entertainment included all the singers and dancers. By the way, the casino closed at 9:30 that morning and did not reopen. Maybe has to do with not being in international waters from Victoria to Seattle? Seattle: We booked the NCL excursion Best of Seattle so were off early. Went up the Space Needle and toured Pike's Market and were dropped off at noon at the airport. Worth the price I thought. If you've read this far then you have probably guessed that we enjoyed the entertainment onboard, all of the shore excursions we went on and the ship in general. Our room steward was excellent. We were not impressed with the training the servers had received. We really expected that the females would be served first, that wine would be not be poured from across the table, that the plate would be presented with meat forward as it was set out by the chef, etc. but that only happened correctly in Le Bistro with Chin Chin being the worst. We will probably not sail NCL again but who knows. We seem to go with whatever line has the itinerary we want. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
OK, first off, I very rarely write reviews. But after reading so many bad reviews about this cruise I decided I would write one as well. Maybe because I read the reviews before going, I was not expecting a lot in regards to the food. I ... Read More
OK, first off, I very rarely write reviews. But after reading so many bad reviews about this cruise I decided I would write one as well. Maybe because I read the reviews before going, I was not expecting a lot in regards to the food. I agree with most of the reviews about the food in the main dining halls. We went to the Garden Café way too many times. My daughter liked the food there and the ability for her to choose anything. The food there was decent. Some items better than others. We went to Tsar's Palace once. The food wasn't great. It was ok. My daughter's hamburger was raw so she didn't eat anything. We ordered room service a few times and that was definitely the best way to eat with the complimentary dining options. We had dinner the first night in the Teppanyaki Room and that was well worth the upgrade price. My wife and I really enjoyed the dinner there. My 6 year old did not, but she is so picky we didn't expect her to like much of anything there. The next night we had dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse and loved it so much we went back the very next night again. I can't say enough about how good their steaks were. I could have had that every night of the cruise if we hadn't decided to explore many of the other options. Deserts here were by far better than any of the other dining locations. Our next to last night we had dinner at La Cucina and were disappointed. We figured after the great meals at the previous two specialty dining we should be pleased here, but were not. The Italian meals were no better than what you get in the Garden Café or Tsar's Palace. Heck, I would have preferred to eat at Olive Garden instead! Save your money and go to Cagney's. We also had some great meals at the ports. In Juneau, don't miss out on Tracy's King Crab Shack. It's literally just a couple of shacks just off the port where you dock. They had the best Alaska King crab legs I have ever had!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The ship, crew, food and entertainment were great. As usual the drimks were expensive. The onboard activities were fun and the pool drck could accomodate all who wished to enjoy (this was not the case for our last cruise on Carnival. ... Read More
The ship, crew, food and entertainment were great. As usual the drimks were expensive. The onboard activities were fun and the pool drck could accomodate all who wished to enjoy (this was not the case for our last cruise on Carnival. Boarding and unboarding in Seattle as well as at ports of call was organized and efficient. The only thing we did that we would not recommend was gold panning on Sagway. Typical tourist trap that was not worth the money. On the other hand do not miss the whale watching in Juneau or the Duck boat tour in Victoria. (THE duck in Vitoria is significantly better than Ketchican). The lumberjack show in Ketchican was very enjoyable even in the rain (arrive early to be under cover.) The other word to the wise arrive at the pier for departure as early as possible the Seatle traffic in that part of town is terrible and the parking deck directions were not good. Get their by noon if you are driving. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was a father/son trip. My son was 7yo at the time of the cruise, and I was 36. We departed from Seattle, the Marriott Waterfront hotel is directly across the street and was an easy walk for us to make. The cruise ship had it's ... Read More
This was a father/son trip. My son was 7yo at the time of the cruise, and I was 36. We departed from Seattle, the Marriott Waterfront hotel is directly across the street and was an easy walk for us to make. The cruise ship had it's +'s and-'s. The staff was absolutely wonderful. Everywhere I turned there was scaring and eager staff member. The food was neither lights out great, nor run of the mill. The food was fresh and tasty. The endless soft serve ice-cream was a popular stop for my son....and I must confess that I never protested stopping by the ice-cream machine. We really got a kick out of the ice sculptures and fruit animals. They really tried to make the food fun. The Czars dining room is spectacular. The peking duck was very nice. Our cabin was an ocean view, as seen between two life boats. It was what one would expect from a cruise ship cabin. The ship itself was very nice. I wasn't crazy about the kids program, and only had my son there one day. The Nickelodeon character events were fun for the younger kids. The pool area was very ordinary and my son had little desire to hangout. My son did enjoy the large outdoor chess board, the golf driving range (though it wasn't all that convenient) and the shuffle board. The comedian and magician were wonderful sources of entertainment during the cruise. The shore excursions were AWESOME. Panning for gold in Juneau was outstanding and a must for anyone traveling with little boys. Also, the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan was unforgettable, and an absolute must for anyone who hasn't ever seen such a show....and for those traveling with little ones. These events were fun for the entire family. Also, when in Ketchikan look for the works of local native furrier Christy Ruby. I bough a seal/otter trapper hat and a seal/otter purse. Both were gifts for dear friends, and I've never been so popular! If you don't have time to shop in Ketchikan, you can also find her work on Etsy.com   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just back from our cruise jun 27-jul 5 to Alaska from Seattle and the survey said "mixed results". The good; Our balcony cabin on the 8th deck was always well kept by staff. Staff I felt for the most part was very attentive. My ... Read More
Just back from our cruise jun 27-jul 5 to Alaska from Seattle and the survey said "mixed results". The good; Our balcony cabin on the 8th deck was always well kept by staff. Staff I felt for the most part was very attentive. My wife is a glutton free and corn intolerant (this really sucks btw). Had it not been for the chef who managed the O'Sheenans, my wife would have had been forced to eat the same thing over and over again. This chef after listening to my wife explain her frustration said to her "Madam, you come to my restaurant and I will take care of you". Indeed he did. As a matter of fact she ate far better than the rest of our entourage of eight people. He made her custom made meals thereafter and they were simply great. The float plane tour of the five glaciers was worth every cent of the $210.00 bucks. Alaska is stunning! Our ship Captain expertly maneuvered this massive vessel up the straight to see the glacier and got us as close as possible to the glacier, and then turned the ship 360 degrees in the channel and got us out. I thought that was pretty cool driving. The not so good; The shows were less than okay. One night they had this singing Russian guy come out in a tux and he belted out every ones favorite russian tune, only problem is we don't speak Russian. Worse, it was like watching your grandpas favorite re-run of "The Lawrence Welk Show". And then it got really bad. His pixy wife comes out and grabs a hold of these drape like ropes dropped from the stage ceiling. Up she goes spinning around like a little angel. Parents better cover juniors eyes cause he is going to get a healthy dose of crotch shots. I guess otherwise enjoy the view. Seriously it was comical watching. Had the dude pierced his nipples, put a chain in between and then spun his wife around the stage, then that would have been something to watch. The staff amateur show was just that amateur. But hey if you like Mrs. Guntskys 4th grade class pageant growing up, this show is for you! The really bad: Food sucked! Remember what I said about my wife. She told the ship months ago about her dietary restrictions. "No problem we got you covered" is what were told. The real gig is there is a set menu and if you want to deviate from the menu, say Iike how about grilling those veggies instead of steaming. Can you add curry to the rice. Blank stay like you get at the DMV office. Waiters honestly don't know what to do when you go outside the box. Thank fully we stumbled across the one chef who go outside the box. I can eat anything and the best description I can describe the food is high school cafeteria for breakfast. Lunch and dinner is a hybrid of Dennys. If you upgrade and pay for the food if was far better in the boutique restaurants. But it begs to ask NCL, why? My kid said the bacon was like cardboard cut-outs, spay painted and warmed up. Gotchas: Couple massage was great. Better read the fine print though. It read 149 bucks for a couple massage. Great deal told my wife let's go. This two girls had hands of magic. We missed the part it was 149 each plus 18% gratuity. I missed that and tipped both girls a 20 spot to boot. All port had the usual trinkets galore. Suggest renting a car and hightailing it our of town and see the really Alaska. Excursions were great so check those out. Oh-took my 13 year old zip lining. If your not a afraid of height or speed this tour is for you. Day two in open ocean was somewhat rough. I was fine, but 3 out of our 8 tossed their cookies. I called day 2 barf day. Great way to meet your shipmates at the stern barfing over the railing;-) Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
First the Ship. The Jewel is a nice ship with some recent additions including a Humidor room, Sheehan's Bar and Grill, Mojito bar and an improved Photo gallery. The common areas were in great shape and well maintained. We had a ... Read More
First the Ship. The Jewel is a nice ship with some recent additions including a Humidor room, Sheehan's Bar and Grill, Mojito bar and an improved Photo gallery. The common areas were in great shape and well maintained. We had a balcony room (which I highly recommend for the Alaska itinerary). It was nice but the room was showing its age. The ship was built in 2005 and will probably get a refurbishment soon. The food at the buffets are ok to good, the main restaurant's good to very good and the specialty restaurants very good to excellent. I recommend Cagney's Steak House! I traveled with my wife and 9 yr old son and loved the freestyle concept. Experienced cruisers had to get used to this but we preferred it. Now Alaska. It was amazing. The views from our balcony were unbelievable. We didn't see as much wildlife as we hoped but that was ok. The weather was cold (average high in the mid fifties) with sun, clouds and rain everyday. If you blinked the weather changed. Bring rain gear and a warm jacket for the days at sea; particularly if you go early or late into the season. We hope to cruise on Norwegian again but out of Boston (my location ) or New York to save on travel. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel wasn't the best, and especially was not what I expected. The nicest thing about it in my opinion, was the Embarkation, which didn't even take long at all! Other than that, the rest of the experience wasn't that great.. Most of the times, I would spend the whole day just doing nothing but walking around the ship because it was the only thing I could do! Basically, it was complete BOREDOM. Even my whole family was bored! There was nothing to do but bingo and trivia, bla bla bla.. but the only thing that was worth waiting for were the concerts and comedy shows. And by 'worth waiting', I mean that I would count the minutes until they would start! 'Surprisingly', the minutes felt more like HOURS because of how much I was dying. Jewel needs to add more fun activities in schedules than just boring, adult ones. There's families joining aboard! No, I'm not talking about the nickelodeon slime activity, because there's also such things as families with older children who won't be as entertained. By older kids being entertained, yes, I know there's a kids club, but to the kid's opinion, they didn't enjoy it.. They sometimes didn't even want to go because of how boring it was. Freestyle cruising in the Norwegian Jewel wasn't fun when it comes to dining.. We didn't get to meet many people, which also lead to more boredom, of course. (like I'm going to count how many times I said 'bored', past, present,etc...) This also made us miss the opportunities to eat some of the really good food from one dining room from another.. I really wanted to eat this meal at this one dining room, but the food I wanted at another seemed equally as good, but I really wanted to try out this main course at another dining room! Jeez, got these problems all the time before dinner. Freestyle cruising when dining also didn't make us get close to our waiters. In normal cruises where there isn't freestyling, the kids would be very close to them as they got to make crazy napkin folds with them, too. Dining would usually come out as fun, but not in the Jewel... Jewel is a great ship, but I'm guessing what I'm targeted by more is Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I usually cruise on Carnival but we decided to try Norwegian. There are pros and cons but I think overall I enjoyed Carnival the best. Room: Very clean and comfortable beds Staff: Very friendly and go out of their way to help you. Always ... Read More
I usually cruise on Carnival but we decided to try Norwegian. There are pros and cons but I think overall I enjoyed Carnival the best. Room: Very clean and comfortable beds Staff: Very friendly and go out of their way to help you. Always a smiling face to help you. Dining: Freestyle dining...liked and did not like. I enjoyed having our same waiter everyday on Carnival so I missed that. We went early to dinner in the Tsars most nights and for breakfast. The service was excellent and we did not have to wait in line. The food was average...limited menu. The Eggs Benedict was delicious. The buffet was very crowded and seating outside was limited. I am not a big fan of buffets but we did try it once. You have to pay extra for all the specialty restaurants form $15 -$30 per person. Even pizza was an extra $5. Home service was free except for certain ports. (See the small print) Fees: There were many hidden fees-food, activities, gym, spa. Beware!! Alcohol: Very expensive!! The drink of the day was $7.25 plus gratuity and tax or a whopping $9!! You cannot bring any alcohol on board. Any alcohol that you buy in port must be checked in. I would suggest buying a bottle of wine or bucket of beer. Entertainment: Excellent at night. Do not miss any of the shows. They are at 7:15 and 9:15. We always went to the 7:15 show and did not have any trouble finding a seat. After the show try a dance class. We went to the thriller and line dance class and had lots of fun. Daily Activities: Boring and not much of a variety unless you love trivial and bingo. On deck: Never had a problem finding a lounge chair. There is a deck on level 14 or 15 that gets you away from all the music if you want a quiet place to read a book while you lay in the sun. A Waiter services that deck also. Ports: Loved everyone of them!!! (See reviews for each port) One thing about Norwegian they were very organized and got you on and out in the ship very smoothly. The over all experience was good. I would take this cruise again just to go to the same ports!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is our second time on the Jewel. First time cruising for my family was from New York in 2011. This one went from New Orleans. We arrived in New Orleans and had a blast touring the city. My wife is Filipino and had never been to NOLA. ... Read More
This is our second time on the Jewel. First time cruising for my family was from New York in 2011. This one went from New Orleans. We arrived in New Orleans and had a blast touring the city. My wife is Filipino and had never been to NOLA. She was in awe of the food there. Unfortunately this kind of spoiled the dining on ship! I have to say having cruised on the Jewel before we knew what to expect for dining, but I also feel the quality and variety has diminished since our inaugural cruise 3 years ago. Same restaurants but food was not as impressive. I won't go so far as to say it was awful or we hated it but it was a bit unimaginative and boring compared to what we remembered. Oddly enough this time around I found the buffet to be more interesting and the two dining rooms less so. We usually ate at Azura both cruises and found this time it was quite ordinary. We did try Moderno one night and it was a nice change, though not phenomenal. This trip we opted for a balcony room and I was very happy we did so. Much nicer than any of the inside or window rooms to have both the extra open feeling and the fresh air. From now on I will always book a balcony! The room size was very adequate. There were three of us sharing the space and it worked out ok. Steward was terrific as usual, and all the Filipinos on ship were great. I found this trip that the non-Filipino staff were less friendly than what we were used to but still NCL seems to focus on service. We booked one shore excursion (Altun HA in Belize) and it was a complete waste of time and money. Never again. Alternatively in Roatan we booked an independent tour guide from Roby's Tours nd it was the best experience we ever had. They provided us with a private can and guide and they were at out disposal all day for $125. It was great and the highlight of the trip. We unfortunately had our stop at Costa Maya cancelled due to weather and safety and that not only kept us from one more shore opportunity but cause an extra sea day which tend to get a bit boring. In addition the seas were a bit rough and my family started to feel the consequences. We opted for the walk off disembarkation and found it to be the right decision although the majority of the ship did also so it was a bit time consuming. All in all it went pretty smoothly however. We were off the ship and through customs in less than an hour. I would like to try a little higher quality cruise line like Oceana or Regency or Celebrity for a future cruise, but for now we are booked in November on the NCL Spirit in Europe so I will give NCL one more chance to impress! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our experience on the Norwegian Jewel was fantastic. I am raving about freestyle cruising and absolutely love the concept. We did spend an extra 20 bucks each one night for the Teppanyaki restaurant and it was well worth it. The service on ... Read More
Our experience on the Norwegian Jewel was fantastic. I am raving about freestyle cruising and absolutely love the concept. We did spend an extra 20 bucks each one night for the Teppanyaki restaurant and it was well worth it. The service on the ship was the best I've experienced in the industry thus far after 10 cruises on four different cruise lines. The NCL officers, staff, and crew were warm, welcoming, helpful, fun, and made customer service a top priority. Very impressive. I would love to go on another NCL cruise someday. While the ship is not really new (built in 2005 I think), it is well maintained and still sparkles in most areas throughout the interior. As an engineer, I must say in my humble opinion that the German built ships such as the Jewel have noticeably better quality, finish, materials, and workmanship than their Italian and French built counterparts. I must admit that this is the geek in me coming out, so others may not care as much or pay attention to the engineering quality, etc. Overall, we had a wonderful experience and enjoyed New Orleans too. It was fun to be on the Mississippi River for several hours departing and returning. The only downside that I will mention is that the Captain, for reasons he explained as weather related, decided to not dock at Costa Maya. So, we only got three of our four stops. I am still baffled by the decision as the wind and waves were not bad at all, and it was 80 degrees and sunny. The other three stops were just great though! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. What a great experience! First let me say that we have sailed on Carnival and Royal many times, but this was our first experience with Norwegian. I will begin by saying that ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel. What a great experience! First let me say that we have sailed on Carnival and Royal many times, but this was our first experience with Norwegian. I will begin by saying that unlike some who post, I have never been on a cruise I hated. In my mind even a not so great trip is still better than a week at work. With that said, I will outline some of the differences I noticed. First of all the ship appears to accommodate fewer passengers for its size than some other ships we have been on. That gave us the feeling of a bit more space in the public areas. As with most ships the rooms are a bit on the small side. The bathrooms however are designed with one feature that should be standard on all ships. It has a sliding glass door. That may seem like a small thing but on other ships we have been on they have a small curtain. It almost always allows water all over the floor. We booked at the last possible minute. Literally 7 days prior to sailing. Because of this we didn't have much choice on room selection. We were assigned to deck 8 mid ship. We were concerned because the public spaces were directly below. After looking on a map of the ship we determined we were directly above the Karaoke room. We had absolutely no issue with noise. The bonus of deck 8 was that the 24 hour restaurant was located on that floor. This made it super convenient to slip over and get a cup of coffee or snack without schlepping all over the ship. This is something to consider if you like to keep late hours. By the way, the 24 hour restaurant is the the best kept secret on the ship. I think most passengers don't even realize its there. There is almost never a wait to be seated. I also have to say that we found the staff to be more attentive than other lines we have been on. This is not to say the others had problems because they did not. Its just that we noticed more personal attention from the ships officers. Many times we were approached by them and they would ask about our experience. Afterward they would record our room numbers. Much to our surprise we would find a small gift awaiting us in our stateroom along with a note from them thanking us for sailing with them. I thought this was a very nice personal touch. Norwegian also offers something called the Ultimate Dining Experience. For about $120/person you get unlimited dining in any of the specialty restaurants on the ship. Since my wife and I had been to many of our port calls many times, we decided to skip most of the excursions. Instead, we opted for the dining experience. What a treat. This has to be the best value of any offering I have seen on a cruise line. The food was really a step up. If you like fine dining, this is something to experience. Overall I say kudos to Norwegian for a great trip and a tremendous value.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We (two adults and our eleven year old son, plus we brought a couple and their son along too) traveled by limo to get to the port which made it all easy and stress free. Checking in and getting ready to board was also an easy process. ... Read More
We (two adults and our eleven year old son, plus we brought a couple and their son along too) traveled by limo to get to the port which made it all easy and stress free. Checking in and getting ready to board was also an easy process. Every one was nice and helpful. From the moment we stepped aboard the ship we were greeted with smiles and a happy welcome aboard. Hand Sanitizer- NCL does its best to keep us healthy and germ free. I appreciated all of the Washy Washy! Anytime that you walked into a dining room, on to the ship or into any public area there was a hand sanitizer waiting for you. Sometimes they would even sing you a song about it. Cabin: We were on the ship and let into our cabin in no time. We were located 10608 balcony, Mid ship. Perfect location for families, Splash Academy and the buffet (where the ice cream is at) was just two floors up. The space and storage in the room was fine for the three of us, we had enough cubbies and closet space for our clothes and shoes. A Balcony on port side is the best to see the ports when arriving and leaving. The balcony was a little hard to get to when the sofa bed is out but the bed easily slid right out of the way. The bathrooms had a nice sliding door in them to separate the toilet from the vanity and shower area. Room Steward- We had the best room steward, always a happy greeting from him. Our room was always clean and straight. He learned our schedule and made sure that he was never "in our way" and that we had everything that we could need and more. And the towel animals are always a favorite of ours too. Kids Club- As soon as we got on board we went to find Splash Academy and to sign up. The crew invited us in and explained how everything worked and introduced themselves to us and our son. It was a hit with our 11 year old son. He enjoyed hanging out with the crew and his new friends. He was always ready to go! Activities- There are always tons of activities to choose from. A few of the ones that we did were, line dancing, wine tasting and bingo. All were fun! Public Areas- They was always somewhere that you could find a nice area to either hang out with friends or to be alone. The Pool area was always crowded, there are plenty enough chairs if the passengers would stop "saving" the chairs with their towels and leaving them like that all day. The bar and grill next to the pool was always ready to please with food and drinks. Dining- Lots of choices! The buffet food is really good and the staff does an outstanding job of keeping the passenger chaos controlled by keeping the food filled, the area clean and the tables ready for the next person. The sit down table service was great and preferred by us. We enjoy a more quiet and controlled dining experience so we chose to eat in the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants and their food was delicious and the service was excellent. We also enjoy some room service which is always a winner. Entertainment- Our cruise director always made sure that there was plenty to do and let us know when and where it was happening. The shows were all very good and a good mixture of different types of entertainment, something for everyone. The comedian and magician were a hit with us. Spa- Ahhhh the spa ;) What a wonderful thing and the service was excellent. I purchased the week long spa pass and I enjoyed every second I spent in there. It was so nice to be able to go to the spa anytime that I wanted to get into the steam room, the Jacuzzi, the sauna or just to sit and relax on the hot stone lounge chairs, especially after port play. I also had a massage that was so relaxing. The entire spa staff was professional and personable. Ports and Excursions-Our Itinerary was Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. In Cozumel we made chocolate and loved it. We went to Altun Ha ruins in Belize, awesome and very educational. In Rotan we did the archeological hike and wildlife tour, it was beautiful! We did not get to port in Coast Maya because the waves were so high that they would of washed us off of the pier. Thanks goodness our Captain keeps us safe! So we had an extra day at sea and the Cruise Director changed the daily schedule so we all had lots of fun activities to choose from. The Staff- We were treated like royalty. We got to meet the top crew men and women of the ship on our first full day which was a treat. Anytime that they saw us they would make an effort to say hello and to make sure that we were having a great time. The entire staff was incredible and made this tip for us! We could not of asked for a better crew. So Happy!! Disembark - We got up on our last morning to have breakfast in Cagney's then headed to our room for our carry off bags then it was time to disembark. Our color was called and we walked right off and headed to customs. No problem, easy as pie. We brought with us a family of three, this was their first cruise and NCL did not let us down. I was so proud for them to be aboard the Jewel with this crew showing them how cruising is suppose to be. This was a great trip with NCL, the ship is awesome and the crew is outstanding, each and every one of them were our vacation hero's! I have already pre-booked our next NCL cruise and ready to start planning.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with a family vacation a few days before Spring Break. My kids are 13 & 14. Due to our crazy schedules, we felt we needed some quality family time. We have been on 4 cruises as a family and ... Read More
My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with a family vacation a few days before Spring Break. My kids are 13 & 14. Due to our crazy schedules, we felt we needed some quality family time. We have been on 4 cruises as a family and 3 have been on NCL. Our first was on Disney when the kids were young. Freestyle dining works out great for my family. We took Amtrak from IL to New Orleans. Once we arrived to the station, the line for taxis was very long. The train was late, so perhaps that is why. We (actually my husband) decided we could walk to the hotel.( 5 suitcases, 4 backpacks, 1 cooler, 3 small string backpacks and my big purse. Yep – we must have been quite a site!) But it was probably for the best because I do not think we would have got a taxi for at least an hour. Once I switched suitcases with my husband, the walk wasn’t that bad. It took us maybe 15-20 minutes to get to the Marriott Convention Center. This hotel is across from the port. Great location! The next day we just walked across the street and down a small block and we were there. After arriving at the hotel, we showered up and changed and had a nice night. We have been to New Orleans before so we knew our way around. We went to Grand Isle for dinner and Café Du Monde for dessert. On Sunday my husband and daughter ran 4 - 5 miles around the city and took some great photos too. We left the hotel around 12:30 and walked across the street to the terminal. As soon as we got there, someone took our luggage and then we entered the building. Embarking took about an hour from when we arrived to when we got on the ship. A worker there said it is normally much quicker. We went straight to the buffet for lunch. I was glad we went there first because it was closing when we left. We went to the Spa to get passes. For $150 each (adults only), you get to use the Spa the full week. Saunas, Hot Tubs, Steam Rooms – it is very relaxing. There is a section for co-ed too. I would meet my husband in there most days. They have these heated tile lounge chairs that were so comfortable I feel asleep each time. CABIN: Our cabin was 8568. It was an obstructed window room. It had two small port holes that we really could not see out of. The windows were fogged up. If you put your face right next to the window you could see a little, but we just liked it for the light that came through and it is also bigger than the inside rooms. The bed was VERY comfortable. Better than most hotel rooms. My son slept on the bunk that pulled out from the wall, which was not very comfortable. My daughter had the pop up bed next to ours and that was only slightly better. The closet is large but only had about 10-15 hangers. I had brought 20 extra hangers, knowing that we would need much more. Between the closet, the drawers, and the shelves, there was plenty of space for our clothes and things. Most of our luggage fit under the bed and one went into the closet. CREW: The crew on this ship was the best! Everyone was so friendly, especially all the cabin stewards we would pass on the way to our cabin. Jamie the Entertainment Director was also the best we have had. I saw her so many times walking from place to place and she always greeting me. All of the waiters and waitresses that we had were also very friendly. I cannot say enough about this crew. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was great! We missed Band on the Run, but my daughter and I saw all the other shows. The 4 of us all loved the comedian Dave Naster. His show was so funny! He also put on a session about Bullying and about how laughter can help during a crisis. He seems like a great guy to know. The magician/comedian show was very funny. Two shows that you do not want to miss! We have played the Deal or No Deal before, so we only played once this time. That was fun, but of course we did not win. We stayed away from Bingo. They also had three movies in the theater that we watched: Frozen, Catching Fire, and Gravity. The movies were also shown on the TV but it is more fun to watch it in the theater. We went with our daughter to the family white hot party. We just watched but she had a great time dancing with a friend she had made. We also listened to music in a few of the bars a couple of nights and really enjoyed it. However, most nights we were pretty tired after port days and after the shows. We probably went to bed around 11 each night. PORTS: We have been to these ports before, so we didn’t really feel like we had to do much. (Plus we were on a budget due to another vacation planned for June) In Cozumel we took a taxi to Chankannab National Park. The taxi ride was $12 and it cost $21 ($19 with a coupon I found) each. We had been there before and we had swam with the dolphins and had a great experience, so we decided to go back. It has a beautiful beach with nice lounge chairs, and nice walking paths. My husband and daughter snorkeled too. I was hoping to see the sea lion show but we missed it. There is a pool there too in case you don’t want to go into the ocean. The next Port was Belize. I decided to get my hair cut and highlighted that morning in the salon since I didn’t get a chance before we left. It cost me a fortune, but that is to be expected on a ship. Then my daughter and I took a late tender and went and did some shopping at the port. We stopped at the Wet Lizard for cokes and salsa. We stopped there b/c of the wifi but we were not able to get on. Then we found a frozen yogurt place and she said it was really good. We had a nice time shopping together. The 3rd port was Roatan. The four of our shopped at the port and then went to the straw market, which is really just a building that you go to the second floor to see some ladies all selling the same thing. However, there was a place called the Crusty Crab that had wifi so we bought something to drink and sat there on our phones checking email and posting pics to FB. It is a very small place and almost everyone there was a crew member. We saw a couple of people video chatting, probably with family back home. Our last port was Costa Maya. This was to be the highlight of our trip because we booked an awesome beach resort. However, after trying to dock, the port authority told the ship they should not. The water was really rough! This was SOOOO disappointing to my family. Never again will I have our best excursion on the last day. I will make sure it is earlier so that if this happens again, we can book something else for the next port. Instead we found a spot by the pool but in the shade and had a pool day. The kids pool is right next to the adult pool. I think this works out really well. There is a slide but all the kids going down (no matter the size) seemed to get stuck in the same spot and would have to push themselves down. Not much fun, according to my daughter. FOOD: My daughter always wanted to eat at the MDR and my son always wanted the buffet. So we compromised. As a family we ate at both MDRs and then one night went to La Cucina and had a great meal. On the other nights, the boys went to the buffet and the girls went to the MDRs. We did have to wait a few times, but each time that happened it was for about 20 minutes and they would give us a slip for a free coke or champagne at the bar. I have read reviews that said the service was slow. We never experienced that. In fact it was quite the opposite on the days my daughter and I ate alone. The servers were always very polite. Once night when the four of us were eating, the waitress brought us two extra appetizers to try. Then for dessert she brought us what we ordered and also surprised us with a banana split as a bonus. That was a nice surprise! The only two things that we thought were missing on this ship was a diner and an irish pub. On the Spirit and the Dawn, the Blue Lagoon is set up more like a Diner. On the Jewel it was a normal restaurant and you had to wait to be sat. We prefer the diner feel. We also missed the Irish Pub that is on the Sprit and the Dawn. Leaving the ship was very easy. We chose to get off at 10 since our train did not depart until 1:30. It was easy to find out luggage and customs only took about 5 minutes. We did have to wait about 15 min for a taxi, but that wasn’t long. We had enough time to drop off our luggage with Amtrak and walk to Hard Rock Café and then for Frozen Yogurt near Bourbon. It was a great vacation and awesome family time.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland ... Read More
We thought it would be a great idea to try a mainstream cruise line after hearing good things about NCL from others. We usually choose Windstar or Star Clippers or other small ship, but I've been on a dozen cruises, including Holland America. Ship information - the ship is big and crowded. Finding a lounge chair remained largely elusive for the week as scores of passengers threw their towel on a chair in the morning and sometimes didn't show up until late afternoon. Pools were insanely crowded as were hot pools. Activities - trivia was meh. Activity cards are a pain to remember, and prizes are pretty lame - had we known, we wouldn't have bothered. Service - Cabin service may have been really late in the day, but super nice stewards. The washy washy guys were amusing - at first. Port & shore excursions - we booked independently. Embarkation - took nearly 3 hours. In a word: Ugh. Cabin - Our cabin was clean and small, but, we didn't spend much time there. Very personable cabin crew. Dining - Hit and miss. The MDR ranged from barely edible to pretty good. Lunch was very average, 80% the same stuff every day. Hit and miss service in Azura. Excellent service from Isabel and Putu. Meh from everyone else. Did not find the food at the premium restaurants worth the cover. Entertainment - Comedian started out well, but, mostly a sales job, hawking his books and pitching his TV show. Magician JP was excellent. Rest of shows -meh. Disembarkation - fine Summary - Pluses: Lots of nice people working on the ship. The magician. The clothes line in the shower. Minuses: First, the smoke from the casino wafting up to 7 and down to 5 so you practically asphyxiate if you are a stair climbing person. Second, the crowds of ill mannered people. Do you ever say please or thank you? Lots of grunting, overfilling plates and jockeying for position in the many lines for food in the Lido. Also, lots of Daisy Dukes, bathing suit tops, wifebeaters, flip flops and dirty / torn clothing in the MDR everywhere. Our biggest takeaway? You get what you pay for. The smaller ships may be more expensive, but, to us, very worth it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital ... Read More
Having cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past, we thought we would give Norwegian a try. We booked a seven night cruise out of New Orleans in a "mini suite". They should put the word "mini" in capital letters. It was nothing more than a balcony room. The only difference was in the bathroom, you had a sliding door that closed the toilet area off from the rest of the bathroom. We paid extra for that?? When we spoke with the guest services they were less than helpful and were not concerned in the least about us. The buffet was as expected ... normal buffet food, but decent. We went to the main dining room one night and were so disappointed in both the service and the food. We both ordered steaks that had no taste and were very fatty. The service which we have come to expect on other cruise lines was not at all evident on Norwegian. We decided to try the other main dining room, and found the same issues. The menu was basically the same as it had been in the other dining room and unfortunately, the food and service were also the same. We decided to pay the extra surcharge and try the Brazilian steak house and Cagney's Steakhouse also. We found both to be very good food and exceptional service. It is sad that with the cost of the cruise, you must pay extra to get a good meal. The venues on the ship were activities were held were small and crowded. Overall we were very disappointed with Norwegian and will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had ... Read More
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had in the past cruise we did. It was our second cruise with NCL (the other being on the Spirit to Bermudas a few years ago). So we knew it was not the standard we had with Celebrity or Princess, but we were aware there would be some difference. New Orleans port is, for what we saw, going under renovation. I hope it will be easier for people to be going through traffic as you have to wait many minutes just to be dropped with your luggages by the taxi: buses, cars, taxis all converge in a small area and it is chaos. We were litteraly 3 to 4 blocks away in a hotel but not close enough with our luggage to walk it. So the taxi was $7 per person ($14 for two) for a ride that should have lasted 3 minutes, but they charge per person as they know they will be stuck at the drop off zone. Once on the ship, we were able to get to our cabin quite rapidly, but that was after we were like a herd of tourist waiting in line for something like 45 minutes. Room: (inside cabin just under the casino). We were concerned a bit that the room that had been assigned to us would be noisy, but really, we heard nothing the whole week. The size of the room as OK and as expected. It was clean and our room stewart was always smiling and pleasant. He did an excellent job. One thing though: the matress on the side of my husband was really showing years of abuse, being shaped almost as a banana. We did not tell anybody, but maybe we should have mentioned it. Food: At first, we could not understand why some people had been complaining about the food. It was good and there was a good variety. But as the week progressed, we found it to be repetitive and very standard. The Garden Cafe Buffet presented many stations, but when you think about it, a whole section was for Indian food and stir fry. Personnally, we love exotic food, but it was always the same thing. For the pasta bar, it was pasta and your choice of sauce. Nothing else: no vegetable, no chicken, not shrimp. Pasta and sauce. I was told I would have to book at the paying restaurant if I wanted shrimp in my pasta! I had to laugh about it. They did offer a package at $119 per person to go and eat in any of the a la carte restaurant, but we relied on our past experience and left it open as we thought the main dining room would offer a better experience. Really, that is not what happened. On one of the evening, I really was disappointed with their "new Orleans combo of shrimp and beef". My idea of New Orleans style shrimps is not 3 breaded shrimps beside a small steak. I would have thought it would have been more creative. As for dessert, we were not the only one finding that there was way too many dessert made of gelatin. In the end, everything tasted the same. They did have the chocolate fountain at night at the Garden Cafe, but their main thing was the Bread Pudding. Yes it was very nice, but all by itsef in its category. I remember some sorbet (coconut once and pineaple another night) that were very good. We did eat at the Bistro (French cuisine). It was very good. We had the duck magret and confit and as for the started, the 4 cornets. Nicely presented and refined as well. we did attempt to eat at Moderno. We had heard that the food was really excellent. Oooops. Major problem there. Three of the restaurant a la carte gives on the Atrium: Chin Chin, Moderno, and the Sushi Bar. We had a reservation for the Moderno at 8.30 PM (they are not opened on lunch time except on sea days). We sat down and when our waiter came to take our order, we could not hear him. He almost had to scream so we could hear him. The inconceivable thing is that since there are no walls seperating the restaurant from the atrium, the shows scheduled (that night was a tribute to Neil Diamond) are so loud that you cannot hold a conversation! And it was until 9.30 PM. When the manager of the restaurant came to see us because we wanted to leave, he was very gracious and understanding. He also said that he has that kind of problem every week!!!! I sure hope that the refurbishing due in May will take cake of this problem. Already that the ship atrium is far from being impressive... this is really a major problem. No wonder there was always room in the restaurant. We did sample the sushis at the Sushi Bar before a late dinner and it was good. Shows: They were all excellent. Very impressive that show called Le Cirque Bijou. The performers were really on the ball and gave it all they had.Jaimie the cruise director is far from acting like on of these Diva we had seen on an European ship one day: she did a very good job, was funny without being vulgar, and we felt she really enjoyed people and her job too. Good for you Jaimie! She was accessible and always smiling. A good asset for NCL. As for all of the personnel, we can honestly say that they are very pleasant and work so hard to please their guests. Even the captain seems to be a good sport and seems close to his passengers. He also seems to show appreciation for his team (from the people in the laundry room to his officers). See below for our port reviews. In all, we enjoyed the destinations. We knew we did not want to spend too much, so we figured we had what we paid for. Was it a good deal? It was a honest deal. Knowing what we know, we would have paid a little bit more as we missed the dining experience this time. For us, it is part of the fun of cruising. We really look forward to these wonderful dinners. We hope that this will have been helpful.. And we take this opportunity to thank the family who was part of the cruise critics community and invited us, after the roll calls, to visit the Villa they had rented. It is rare that people will share this privilege. The mother (Christmas Carole) was a lovely lady. I will remember them for a long time.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
1. Background: we are late-fifties, with 30 cruises on many cruise lines and 11 cruises on NCL. 2. Review: Overall a good value based on low price, great itinerary, decent service, decent food, decent entertainment. This ship and this ... Read More
1. Background: we are late-fifties, with 30 cruises on many cruise lines and 11 cruises on NCL. 2. Review: Overall a good value based on low price, great itinerary, decent service, decent food, decent entertainment. This ship and this cruise line lacks the "Wow" factor of other lines; but the low price makes it a good value. a. Embarkation. Smooth and fairly efficient. If you get there early (before noon) plan to wait in lines (security and check-in) for about an hour before boarding. b. Itinerary: excellent. 4 Stops in Belize, Cozumel, Roatan, and Costa Maya. All stops were good or great scuba diving locations. Plenty of time to enjoy shore excursions or just enjoy a beach day. c. Ship: OK. Older, smaller ship, fairly clean and public areas were decently maintained. Easy to find your way around. d. Cabin: Good. Inside cabin was small but adequate. Cabin service was good. e. Food: OK. (No need to spend money on pay-as-you-go restaurants.) - Main dining rooms were too slow. Plan on 2-2.5 hours to eat dinner. Decent variety. Most dishes were pretty good. But the time factor means food sometimes comes cold. Orders were sometimes wrong. - Buffet was good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes a bit crowded but could always find 2 seats. Most food was tasty, and there was a pretty good variety of hot and cold dishes. - Blue Lagoon was a great place to get a snack 24/7 especially wings. - "Room Service" was a joke. Tried to call them twice; it took 15-20 calls to get through. When I did get through the food that came was terrible. IMHO not worth your time. f. Entertainment: pretty good; worth going to for the most part. Comedians were funny and production shows were pretty good. Pianists and bands around the ship were pretty good. g. Value. Low prices: inside cabins were going for around $300 plus tax. At this price this was a great deal.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First things first, this was our first ncl cruise and the first time in new orleans. Also, there were 4 in our group all over 50 years of age. We have been loyal to royal in the past so we were a bit nervous of what to expect from ncl. We ... Read More
First things first, this was our first ncl cruise and the first time in new orleans. Also, there were 4 in our group all over 50 years of age. We have been loyal to royal in the past so we were a bit nervous of what to expect from ncl. We arrived NOLA around 6 pm and stayed at the intercontinental, it is under renovation but all was well. As a matter of fact our room wasnt ready so they gave us a suite. Not much time to see or do anything as it was a long day flying down from Canada. We showed up at embarkation around 11:00 am and found it one of the easiest procedure yet, however the taxi drop off location was a bit of a mess. Our rooms were ready around 1:00 so we had a couple of hours to explore and have some lunch. The garden buffet was well stocked and there was lots of tables available. Once in our cabin ( balcony) we did notice some areas that needed some attention so we pointed them out to our cabin attendant and they were immediately taken care of. Our ports of call were Cosumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. We went cave tubing in Belize ( I highly recommend it) and we explored the Myan Ruins in Costa Maya ( it was awesome as well). Cosumel is Cosumel as this was our third time there and we found Roatan a bit sketchy outside the port area. During the cruise we went to a specialty restaurant for dinner 5 times. All were great with Cagneys being our favorite ( we went there twice). Also we had the Blue Lagoon twice, once I brought it back to our cabin and once we sat down at a table. Their wings are fantastic!!! All in all we enjoyed this cruise and even took advantage to their future booking special and placed 250.00 down on a future cruise and enjoyed a 100 obc on this cruise. We have 4 yrs to decide on a cruise but it wont take us that long to decide I am sure. Disembarkation was just a easy as embarkation. We stayed one night at the Hilton Riverside (very nice) which is an easy walk from the pier. I timed it and it took us less than 8 minutes. We walked outside and found out after that you can do it inside which would have been easier I am sure. Our day in New Orleans was great. The weather was nice and my wife and I grabbed a map and got a daypass on the trolley system ( 3 dollars for the day ). We explored the sights and sounds and truly enjoyed New Orleans so much so that we would like to return and spend more time there. All I can say is NCL we will be back and New Orleans hope to see you soon.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the ... Read More
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the balcony and some space to spread out. Since we were in a suite, we had priority embarkation (awesome), a butler (imperative), and breakfast/lunch at Cagney's (the best perk of all). We arrived in NOLA and it was rainy, so we skipped the french quarter and just boarded the boat. We had lunch at Cagneys (seriously, have I told you it was the best perk) and explored the ship a bit. Our room was awesome. I slept in every bed in the room during our 7 night stay, but preferred the lounge chairs on the balcony or the floor to any of the beds. I kid you not, I slept on the floor 3 of the 7 nights and on the patio 2x. The bed was hard as a rock, as was the pull down bunk and the pull out couch. I have a bad back, so it was easier to sleep on the floor and know what I would wake up with. MDR food was pretty crappy as was the buffet, but again, I am on a special diet and cant have fried food, dairy, or sugar, so most of the options for me were removed before we got started. The ports of call were great and I will re-state again that the suites have the priority stuff and we were on the first tender off the boat in Belize which meant we got to our excursions earlier than anyone else. We booked all the excursions through external sources and were very happy with all of them. Coral Breeze Tours (Belize), Argel and Adiel King (cozumel), and Subway Watersports (Roatan) were all excellent and I will do them again. The boat was clean, there were no lines for food (ever) and the shows were fine. Don't spend the money on the hibachi restaurant (it sucked) but go ahead and pop for cagneys if you aren't in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I, along with her sister, sailed out of New Orleans the second week of January. Embarkation was very smooth and orderly. We visited the ports of Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. There are two ports on the Honduran ... Read More
My wife and I, along with her sister, sailed out of New Orleans the second week of January. Embarkation was very smooth and orderly. We visited the ports of Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. There are two ports on the Honduran island of Roatan(Mahogany Bay and Coxen Hole). Our ship docked at the Coxen Hole port. The port is secured by a high privacy wall within which there is a very limited number of shops for the ship's passengers to visit...... furthermore, item selection in those few shops is very limited and scattered. My suggestion (to Norwegian) would be to secure rights to dock at Mahogany Bay or else visit some other Caribbean port or island. As far as the other ports that we visited, they were all very interesting, entertaining and worthwhile. Cozumel has it all....shopping, excursions, beaches, rentals, etc. Service on the ship was good(I'm not a fan of mandatory tipping as Norwegian requires---they put it on your account at the first of the cruise and you pay it whether or not someone deserved it! That, my friend, is NOT a tip[gratuity]....that is a service charge!) The nightly entertainment was very good.....comedians were good, magician was fantastic, singers were extremely talented and the production shows were great......the cruise director(Jamiee) was one of the best that I've ever cruised with......she kept us informed of things that we needed to be informed about....and she did not get on the PA system and ramble about this and that....she was to the point and then "out of sight"! If I was given the opportunity to change ONE thing and one thing only about this ship and its management, it would be this: When you're showing sports activity on a TV screen, show sports that are popular with Americans seeing as the overwhelming majority of your guests are Americans! We do not play soccer, nor do we want to watch it ! We like football, baseball, and basketball......go with the majority....show football, especially during football season! If there's not a "live" game on, then show last Sunday's reruns.....anything but SOCCER ! No evidence of that old NoroVirus monster.....there were hand cleanser dispensers everywhere as well as workers at the entrances of all dining areas with their little hand sprayer bottles. Debarkation was great....."self assist" debarkation is a breeze if you're able to carry all your luggage off the ship! New Orleans is working hard to make the Julia Street Ship Terminal very "guest friendly". In summary, the Jewel is a great ship with comfortable surroundings and accommodations. I look forward to a return visit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our sixth cruise but our first on Norwegian. We were excited to try out this cruise line as all of our other experiences had been on Carnival. Boarding the ship was relatively smooth and much like Carnival. My first impression of ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise but our first on Norwegian. We were excited to try out this cruise line as all of our other experiences had been on Carnival. Boarding the ship was relatively smooth and much like Carnival. My first impression of the boat was that the decor was more modern than what I had experienced on previous cruises. We went to the buffet to have lunch and wait for our rooms to be ready. The food at the buffet was okay - nothing to write home about. I sampled two or three deserts but found them to be very disappointing and after a bite of each, I threm them out. There were no bar servers wandering around to purchase a drink from - I am used to them wandering through the dining areas with a tray of the drink of the day. I am not a huge drinker but I do like to start my cruise off with a fruity cocktail. As promised our rooms were ready at about 1:30pm. The oceanview room had a nice large window with a window sill large enough for me to sit in the window and look out. I knew from information online that the room was going to be about 20 sq.ft. smaller than the rooms we usually have on Carnival. I was pleased with the storage in the room-in fact this is one area where Norwegian has outdone the competition. It was also extremely nice to have the mini fridge in the room. We did not purchase any of the drinks from the fridge but we had carried on a case of water and we were able to place a few bottles in the fridge to keep them cold. Then I went to the bathroom and boy was that a surprise! It was soooo small! I am a plus sized lady but this was ridiculous. I had to squeeze through the opening to get to the toilet and then squeeze back out to the areas where the sink was - same story with the shower. I will say the shower size was fine once you were actually in there and it was nice to not have a curtain clinging to you while trying to wash. The toilet area was ridiculous - you could lean your head on the wall in front of you (where your knees basicallay touch the wall) while sitting on the toilet. We ate dinner with some others we were cruising with (42 in our group) in the Azura dining room. We were impressed to see Steak and Lobster on the menu the first night but it was short lived the steak was a thin tough piece of meat that was not appealing. I later found out that they do not grill their steaks instead they pan sear them and finish them in the oven. We did not eat at any of the restaurants that you have to pay for but some of our friends did. Their opinion is that the cruise line skimps on the included food and serves better food in the specialty restaurants so you will spend more money. My husband and father ordered fish in Tsars Palace and were served half cooked fish that smelled spoiled. When we complained they apologized took our cabin number and later sent chocolate covered strawberries to our room. The only thing I can say was consistently excellent on the boat was the Salmon at dinner in Azura dining room and the omelets in Tsars Palace. Carnivals included food is by far better quality than what we were served on Norwegian. We received excellent service from a few people on board but mostly it was hit and miss. The first night at dinner our server raised her voice to me when I moved my tea glass closer to the edge of the table in an effort to make it easier for her to reach to refill. She insisted I move it back before she would fill it. She had little to no personality and was rude. This was not a good way to start a trip. The next morning we received excellent service from Charmaine in the Tsars Palace and she restored our confidence that we would be treated right. Our ship stopped in Cozumel, Belize, Honduras and Costa Maya. Honduras was my favorite stop - we booked a private island tour through island marketing prior to leaving home. This was not through Norwegian but was a wonderful experience - we will definitely do it again. In Belize we did the Calypso train tour and it was interesting but it was a bit disappointing that the tour did not include touristy areas. Next time I would try to book an excursion to a beach area because the tour presented Belize as a very poor and shabby area. In Costa Maya my husband scuba dived and enjoyed it . I looked around the overpriced shops at the end of the pier. They have a beautiful pool right there in the middle but after seeing that a rum and coke at the pool/senor frogs was $16.50, I decided to head back to the ship and enjoy the pool/hot tub there which we had practically to ourselves. Shows on the boat were better quality than Carnival. The store seemed to have a nice selection on board as well. There did not seem to be as many activities, games and shows going on during the day as what I am used to unless you wanted to do aerobics or fitness stuff. Debarkation was easy breezy as we picked 9:20 as our time. We ate at the buffet before debarking and walked right off the ship and through customs. The porter took our luggage all the way to the parking lot and it was so nice. Norwegian would definitley not be my first choice in the future. Overall I was disapointed considering that this trip was a couple hundred dollars more per person than we normally pay with carnival - I just expected better food and service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We are a family of four from Saskatchewan Canada. Kids ages are 2 weeks shy of 3 years old (we'll get into this issue later) and 5 1/2. We sailed on the January 5th sailing of the Norwegian Jewel. -Embarkation was great. Bags were ... Read More
We are a family of four from Saskatchewan Canada. Kids ages are 2 weeks shy of 3 years old (we'll get into this issue later) and 5 1/2. We sailed on the January 5th sailing of the Norwegian Jewel. -Embarkation was great. Bags were taken out of our hands by cruise staff outside the port entrance. Very easy, either print tags at home or they provide you some. Big lineup inside only took maybe 20 minutes. It was well organized at the port and staff were friendly. -The staff on this ship are TOP NOTCH. Every single staff member that we encountered went out of their way to make our stay great, in particular with our kids. The kids club people are SO great my son cried and didn't want to leave, in particular one lady named Popsy. The Nickelodeon staff are also wonderful and all the Nick events were great and the kids LOVED them. Erik went out of his way and knew my kids names and everything. There is one thing that was not exceptional and that was the fact that my daughter was two weeks shy of 3 years old. She was not permitted in the kids club at all (it is a parent-free zone) and she was so sad and jealous that her brother got to go. The under 3 room is more geared towards 18 month olds and there is no leadership there just free play baby toys for parents and babies. There was one under three activity a port day and they were ALWAYS at 5:30... could you pick a more inconvenient time?!? Anyway, that's my only beef about this whole cruise. I would not recommend sailing with a "grown up" two year old that is close to three. -The weather was pretty bad, it was actually sweater weather in Cozumel. Obviously this is not the cruise ship's fault. -There is TONS to do for all ages on this cruise. There's deal or no deal and bingo daily, lots of fun evening games and parties for the adults (that we did not attend as there is no baby sitting for a two year old ... GRUMBLE*** ) -We went to one show, Cirque Bijou, an acrobat performance... so great, LOVED it. -Watched some of the couples and cruise people games on t.v. and they were hilarious. They had dancing with the stars and a couple game, really great. -We stayed in a very basic stateroom, it was clean and our steward was great. Not huge obviously but plenty big enough for our family of four. -Embarkation at port literally could not have been better in any way. We NEVER waiting in a single line-up. And there was a tender port they assign you a number and you get on that boat or any one later than that. SO easy. Really great job. -We basically only dined in the "free" restaurants and the food was excellent. Azura served up lobster and steak for me and a chicken dish for the hubby. Kids had kid food. It was wonderful. LOVED getting to choose when we wanted to eat and not have assigned seating. The Buffet was really good too. They had a Mexican theme night among other things. Lots of choices. We really liked it. We had Sushi once and it was really great too. The Japanese Steakhouse looked really good too. -There seemed to be some good shopping on the ship, we didn't shop much - The weather wasn't great so we didn't swim on the ship. My son liked the waterslide and it's cool they have a kids only hot tub. -SERVICE WAS EXCEPTIONAL, seriously top notch. PORTS: All the ports had pushy pushy sales people at every turn, but I expected this. Just have to say no and try not to make eye contact. In Honduras people will follow you whether you want them to or not and give you a little bit of history and expect a tip. Just saying. COZUMEL: Windy, rainy and cool. But Playa Mia on a nice day would be GREAT. Awesome kids waterpark, little park for them to play on, a store that sells beach toys and merchandise, a large buffet (which to be honest really wasn't very good) and they have water sports and water trampolines, a swim up bar. I would recommend on a nice sunny day for sure. BELIZE CITY: We took a horse and buggy ride which was quaint though the sights and history are, to be truthful, not that exciting. Anyway, we still enjoyed it. I also enjoyed a curb-side coconut with the local rum added ;) I don't think the snorkeling or scuba happened due to water conditions, but this is the second largest barrier reef in the world and the largest natural one. I'm sure it was out of this world. HONDURAS: We went to Gumbalimba Animal Preserve. We had SO MUCH FUN. The foliage is lovely. The pirate stuff is a little contrived (not many artifacts and the cave is man made) and the insectarium is all preserved specimens, but interesting. The rope bridge was really fun. There were lots of pretty humming birds at the feeders. The animals are all imported but that didn't concern me. We got to hold a parrot and take our own pictures, the parrot ate the top of my son's hat off, he couldn't stop laughing. The money's are the stars of the show. They were on and off of us for at least 20 minutes. They stole my daughters kid camera (we got it back) and she thought that was so funny. They also stole this lady's water bottle, took the lid off and drank it! It was just special if you love animals like I do. COSTA MAYA: The port has a pool and shops and places to drink so you don't actually have to leave. But we took the cheap bus ride into the town and payed to have pop at the Senior Frogs. Really nice beach, but the water is really shallow due to a natural reed break a short distance out. You can snorkel here, we didn't. As it was the only hot day, my husband and I were lobsters. But we had a wonderful time. So did the kids.I didn't eat there so I don't know what the food is like. We did the walk off disembarkation and just walked off at our leisure. If you can't carry all your luggage or don't wish to you are assigned a color I think and you leave at the time assigned. Really, really easy and friendly port officials. OVERALL we LOVED this Ship and our time here. Sea days were fun and I almost wish this ship only did three ports to add that extra sea day to relax. Very much worth the money we paid !! Be aware though there is some nickle and diming with the extra restaurants and pop which was not terribly affordable. If you drink it can get pretty expensive as well, since we only have a little it was fine for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our second cruise on NCL and we have cruised many times out of New Orleans (our home port) on CCL and RCL. We (wife and I) have been on over twenty cruises and have never had a bad time. Getting on the Jewel was very fast, get ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL and we have cruised many times out of New Orleans (our home port) on CCL and RCL. We (wife and I) have been on over twenty cruises and have never had a bad time. Getting on the Jewel was very fast, get to the pier around 10:45 or 11 and you will be on board around 11:30. Don't forget if you are a latitudes member there is a special quicker line for you. Parking is $112 in the outside lot called the whale lot. Food on this ship in all areas is very good and some of the best I've had on a cruise ship. However, the service in the main dining rooms for either lunch or dinner is some of the worst and slowest service ever. I believe because they already have their tips and the staff does not really work for them anymore as they did back in the day of tip envelopes. Many cruise lines are going with the prepaid tips and service is really suffering because of this. Dress on this ship anywhere is VERY casual and the majority simply wear slacks, nice shorts, polo style shirts or simple sun dresses. Leave your formal items at home. Multiple times we waited in MDR for either lunch or dinner for over 30 minutes before we were served ANYTHING, and several times we were the first ones into the MDR. Our main problem with NCL is the Anytime Dining which is anything but "anytime." We had a group of 11 and the only time we could ever get a reservation was either 5:00 or 9:00. Then when we showed up for our time we were given a pager and told they would beep us when the table was ready. usually this wait would be from 15 to 30 minutes. This also seemed to be happening for others with groups for two or more. Multiple times in the MDR's it was just my wife and I for breakfast or lunch and we experience waits of nearly 30 minutes just to receive our drink order. The two specialty restaurants we ate in were outstanding, The Brazilian restaurant where they served all the carved meat is not to be missed and the fry table is outstanding. Overall the food is excellent, but repeats items often, but the service is some of the worst ever. The ship is very clean and the staterooms (we had a balcony and my kids had an inside cabin) are your average cruise line type in decent condition. The shower is larger than most other lines and the hairdryer is the best hairdryer I have ever used. The TV is horrible with no ability to access your account online and the channels come and go for no reason. Our room steward was excellent and most of the other cruise staff are friendly. We did not like the lay out of the ship and found it flowed poorly with us always having to go up or down and front or back, it seemed like a boxy old house and not planned very well. Had a great time, but due to the anytime dining we won't cruise NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
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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