593 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

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
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we ... Read More
Our family has sailed three times, two with Carnival and this one. Therefore, we can only compare to Carnival, but here is what we discovered. Getting on and off the Jewell was very easy, but that could be due to a smaller port than we left from before. We sailed from Miami in the past. This ship was not very elaborate at all. It seemed cheap and lifeless compared to the other two ships we were on. We were immediately disappointed once we stepped foot on the ship. However, you have to give them a chance, right? We were greeted outside the ship with two gals dressed as sailors and balloons like a 90's prom, however, there was not a single person inside the ship directing you where to go. We had to ask staff and then they didn't seem to know much. They acted like this was their first time on the ship. We weren't greeted with free champagne as Carnival had done. The buffet was very small. A hometown buffet seemed to have more food than this ship. The desserts were the worst I've ever had and how can one go wrong with pizza, but this pizza had no flavor and was just terrible. The flow of the buffet seemed much simpler than the one on the Carnival ship, but that is probably due to the small size of it. The Carnival ships have seating on both sides and back of the ship for buffet guests. This ship is so much more narrow that seating was only on one side for buffet diners. They want you to spend even more money to dine at one of their pay restaurants. We refused to give this cruise line anymore money for dining. The two main dining rooms that are included had the worst service ever. People were slow to be seated and then even slower to be served. Not once did anyone lay my napkin on my lap as on the Carnival ship. I thought I may like the freestyle dining, but early on I decided I did not. I liked getting to know waiters on the Carnival ship and having them treat you in a way that makes a cruise feel special. There was not one waiter on the Norwegian Jewel that made me or any members of our family feel special. The food was mediocre at the main dining rooms. I was never "wowed" by any meal like on the Carnival. The entertainment was pretty good on the Jewel, but once again, the theater was so much smaller and lacked that luster of the other two ships. There were a few neat rooms such as The Spinnaker and Fyzz, however. The hallways were very narrow and often cluttered with coolers. Our stateroom was smaller than before and the bed setup for four people in an inside stateroom was extremely cluttered. On our Carnival ship, two beds came down from the ceiling that allowed at least some room to walk through. On the Norwegian, a trundle bed was pulled out and set up in between two twin beds. This meant the entire floor of your stateroom was covered with bedding. No place to sit or walk through. Too crowded for sure. The shower was larger than Carnival's and the only major thing I liked about our cabin on this ship. Everything else pertaining to the bathroom was very small and crowded. We enjoyed our ports of call and getting on and off the ship was great with the exception of Belize which had to be tendered in. We had to wait 2 hours before we could get off the ship on this date. If you want off the ship earlier at this port, you better book an excursion. Your excursion is your ticket to getting off the ship first. I wouldn't say our cruise was terrible because we love cruising, but we won't cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First some background (for perspective): We are late-50's, semi-retired, frequent cruisers. We have cruise on many different cruise lines and this was our 8th and 9th cruises on NCL.Here is the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Bottom ... Read More
First some background (for perspective): We are late-50's, semi-retired, frequent cruisers. We have cruise on many different cruise lines and this was our 8th and 9th cruises on NCL.Here is the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Bottom Line:Good:- Overall value for the money. A great vacation for a relatively low price.- The itinerary for the 8 Dec cruise: stops in Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, and Costa Maya. A fantastic itinerary for divers like us.- Food. Decent food in dining rooms and the buffet. Don't have to shell out a single penny for paid restaurants and you can still eat very, very well.- Serice in dining rooms and buffets: excellent.- Entertainment. Mostly fun and worth your time.- Disembarkation: went very smoothly and efficiently when we finally departed.Bad:- Cabin service. Ours was slow, spotty and inefficient. (Good effort, but I think they're undermanned.)- Service desk: undermanned and not knowledgeable.- bar service: slow and drinks are pricey; not a good combination.Ugly:- the 1 Dec itinerary. The stops at Montego Bay and Grand Caymen are IMHO a waste of time.- the casino. For those of you who know anything about blackjack; stay clear of the ship's $5 tables. 6-5 payout on a natural and dealer can hit on soft 17. That means a BIG house advantage. The only way to get "Vegas" odds is to bet the $50 tables. - back to back cruise support; no good information or help from anyone. Hey all I wanted was info on how to do this; everyone was clueless- overall attitude of ship's officers: don't even think about bothering these guys who think they are too good to talk to customers. Bottom Line:- this cruise line has become the industry discounter. Service may fall short of their competitors, but you can get a great price for a week where they feed you, clean your cabin, take you to a few nice ports of call, entertain you and treat you well (for the most part). So basically it's a good deal! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Overall we had a good time. The ship looked in pretty good shape, clean. The staff, for the most part, were pleasant and in good spirit. Plenty of smiles and greetings. Heard housekeeping staff singing while they cleaned. Our mid-ship ... Read More
Overall we had a good time. The ship looked in pretty good shape, clean. The staff, for the most part, were pleasant and in good spirit. Plenty of smiles and greetings. Heard housekeeping staff singing while they cleaned. Our mid-ship balcony seemed a little tight but was clean and had plenty of room for our clothing, bags fit easily under the bed. The food was just OK. The extra price for the steak house was too high. $60 for two? Should have been more like $30. The prices on the ship were higher than what we have experienced on previous cruises. For instance, a 950ml bottle of Kahlua was $19.99 on board while a 750ml bottle was $14.99 at my local supermarket. The watches and jewelry were also a little too high to be considered a good deal. The show "Band on the Run" was good. The best place to be seemed to be Spinnaker Lounge. The best band was Groove International (reggae, R&B). The worst was Twosome Awesome (yes, they also had the worst name). Tsar's Palace was great one night, great food, great service. Then another night it was the complete opposite. Terrible food and terrible service. Must be a management issue. Azura was great the first night we ate there. There was a terrific waitress from Croatia named Danjella (J is silent) She was all smiles and seemed to inspire the other waiters who were also smiling and humming. The next time we at there we got a real grouch. No smiles. His service was efficient but the experience was not so enjoyable. We certainly did not feel welcome. We had excursions at Cozumel (Nachi Cocom), Roatan (West Bay), and Costa Maya, which is really Mahahual, Mexico(Nohoch Kay). We didn't plan on anything at Belize. Good thing since it rained the entire day. Can recommend all but the majority of us seemed to like Nohoch Kay the best. Super friendly staff and excellent food. Overall OK. But we will probably go back to Carnival or Royal. Embarkation in New Orleans was pretty easy. Disembarkation was pretty simple. The border folks just looked at our declaration form and said move along. Out in no time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my and my college aged sons first cruise. After reading many reviews I was somewhat nervous as what to expect and experience. Let me say we had a wonderful week and will be returning on another Norwegian cruise. Sailaway day: ... Read More
This was my and my college aged sons first cruise. After reading many reviews I was somewhat nervous as what to expect and experience. Let me say we had a wonderful week and will be returning on another Norwegian cruise. Sailaway day: Lines were long however we got to the Port of New Orleans and was on the ship within an hour. I did bring 5 bottles of wine on board and got the corkage stickers without any issues. This did save me on purchasing any wine on board but you do have to take your wine with you to dinner or the bar. The server who opens your wine gets the tip from the corkage fee. We did check our luggage and once on board our cabins were not ready so we took our items with us and got something to eat in the garden cafe which everyone else did too so we had to sit outside. Our cabin was ready around 1:30 pm and luggahge arrived around 3:30 pm. The weather in NOLA was chilly so we quickly ate and went to explore the ship with all items in tow. (the wine got heavy) We toured the spa and after reading many reviews chose to get the spa package for each of us for the week. You must be over 18 to go to the spa. The spa is a great place to get away from the crowds. Included in the spa is steam bath, sauna and whirlpools and heated chairs...I really loved the chairs. Both sons ages 18 & 21 loved the spa too. It was $149 for the week so it isnt cheap but really enhanced our experience. Sea Days: We went to the spa, I used the gym on all sea days and went to 2 wine tasting events on these days. The kids went to the casino, arcade, and hung out at the pool bar. Kids over 18 but not 21 can have beer and wine with parenta permission but can only get one at a time which I did sign for my 18 yo. We did go to the comedian show which was really funny. Dining: Our main place to eat was Tsar's Palace in the evening men do need pants or jeans not shorts and close toe shoes. We did one pay restaurant the Teppanyaki and it was good but not as good as our local Shoguns. Not sure I would go again. We also ate at Azura's which is cramped and service not as good as Tsar's. Blue Lagoon was our go to place for different eating times which was good but not exceptional. I consider myself a foodie so the overall the food was average and we quickly learned the beef is low quality so we stuck with fish and chicken and starters. You can get as many of these as you like and one evening I had 3 starters for my meal. Best desert was the Chocolate decadence on the next to last night. Getting off the ship was so easy.. We did not check our bags we carried them off and were off thru customs and to the car in less than hour.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
NCL vs. DCL vs. RCCL There's a big difference between the D and the N! For comparisons sake we'll toss in the comparison the RCCL too! We are die hard DCL fans having sailed DCL five times including a 14-night transatlantic all ... Read More
NCL vs. DCL vs. RCCL There's a big difference between the D and the N! For comparisons sake we'll toss in the comparison the RCCL too! We are die hard DCL fans having sailed DCL five times including a 14-night transatlantic all on the classic ships. We've done RCCL twice and decided to give the NCL Jewel a try. We have two girls (ages11 and 8) and we are your typical 40-something, mid-western family. Why NCL? The timing was perfect for our kid's school break and it left from NOLA-- a city we love and where we thought the kids might have fun doing a swamp tour, eating beignets, etc It was a Nickelodeon cruise, so we thought that might signal family friendly. Indeed there were over 800 kids on board--just shy of 30% of the cruising guest population... Add their parents and a big demographic on this cruise was families with kids. Our initial impression of NCL Jewel was that it is a ship that was built for a time when NCL's focus was primarily adults and a shift in focus on families has been retrofitted into an older model. The intent is there, but it's like going into a building that's been repurposed-- some things work better than others. Also, our second impression of NCL facilities is that it has the feel of a "starter home" from a cheap contractor. It looks pretty when you move in, but you start to notice cheap fixtures, nail pops that go unfixed, thin walls, poor insulation, etc. That's how the NCL Jewel feels--- it's bright and cheery, but for a ship only built in 2005, the maintenance is slow. We noticed rusty rails, chipped tables, fading teak, soiled carpet, lots of indents from chairs on the deck flooring, broken theater seats, etc Each in of itself is a minor issue not worth thinking about, but they add up to a "cheaper feeling" environment. Embarkation: While we love the "introduction" on DCL, the NCL process moved quickly and was unique. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and there was a short, quick moving line. Porters took our bags (with the stapled bag tags, which I thought was odd, but we received all of our bags--- so it must not be an issue). The port staff were pleasant. It lacked the unique flavor if DCL (Mickey hands, etc)... But fine. We boarded immediately and landed on an outside deck where they ran our cards. There as a big colorful balloon arch ( just like your early 90's prom) and a few dancers. A large speaker was blaring festive music--- so it was a fun entrance. We ended up entering the actual ship near guest services and were kind of lost. There wasn't anyone really directing guests and lots of people were sort of sitting and milling around. Eventually we ask a staff member about lunch options and she directed us to elevators. Having never been on the ship, it was hard to navigate and not much guidance. Our initial impression of NCL was that it was bright and colorful, mixed with typical cruise ship glitz of mirrors, faux flowers and shiny, neon lit surfaces. Some of the lounges had cool furniture which was kind of fun (Fyzz Lounge, Spinnaker’s). For comparison, we find DCL to be a bit "classier" in style. RCCL has much of the same feel as NCL, but not as bright. I also don't recall much of any pomp upon embarkation at all with RCCL. I also recall RCCL and DCL requiring a bit longer of a wait to board, but that just may be port differences. Both DCL and RCCL had staff ready to move people along....we felt less lost even on new to us ships. First impression of Meals: On NCL, we found our way to the "garden buffet" which was in the back of the ship. It's equivalent to any of the other buffets. It's set up like RCCL in "stations" which are easy to navigate as opposed to DCL's cafeteria style on a Magic and Wonder… Lots of variety including Indian and Asian options. The table areas are much larger than both RCCL and DCL, so big that we missed the fact that we could have found a table outside. The food itself was pretty mediocre. We could certainly find things to choose from, but nothing stellar. We are not food snobs, although we like variety--- so if we thought it was mediocre, the true "foodies" of the world would be dismayed. We definitely thought DCL and RCCL had better food quality. There was a BBQ at the pool later on...again, food was just ok—hot dogs, burgers, etc. Like RCCL, NCL doesn't offer soda as an option without buying a soda package. There were flavored waters, lemonade, and tea available. One flavored water was sugar free and there was unsweetened ice tea. We did buy one soda package for my husband eventually. It was about 50 bucks, but he is diabetic...so worth it to give him more drink options. We had our first dinner at Azura. It's freestyle dining, so we just showed up like a regular restaurant and we were seated pretty quickly. It was nice that we could just go in whatever we were wearing rather than running back to change for the dining room. On DCL and RCCL, we like eating in the main dining room (or assigned restaurant on DCL), but dressing up for dinner isn't always practical. To be fair, I doubt either would have denied us service in casual capris and t-shirts, but still....we try to follow the expected norms. So were seated in a fun velvet booth that the kids thought was awesome. The service was friendly, but no effort to personalize the experience or get to know what we liked since we would likely not have them as servers again. It was formal service and the typical course line-up. The food varied from good to just ok to downright bad. For example, I had the ribeye that tasted like it was frozen and right off the Cisco truck...but it was accompanied by spinach that was cooked perfectly and clearly started as fresh that day. My husband ordered the mahi mahi that was well seasoned. The desserts were quite good, which is usually where I find things more pretty than tasty. However, my daughter really enjoyed the lemon sorbet and I thought the chocolate raspberry truffle cake was excellent. I'm not a huge sweet eater, but chocolate truffle is one of my favorites. However, I ended up with this almost every-night as the dessert menus didn't change. It was tiring by the end... On other nights we tried the other main dining room with similar quality results. The steak was tough, the salads flooded with salty dressing, the soups sort of tasteless.....we did find a little restaurant called Blue Lagoon that had cheese sticks and wings....good for snacks. Again, these were likely just frozen, deep fried fare.... But ok for snacks. The wings were good! We did discover the downfall of "freestyle" though as we didn't time things right and realized we were going to be incredibly rushed to make the main show. Both DCL and RCCL, by the nature of the scheduled dining times, assure that everyone makes it to the main events. Also, while the staff was pleasant we never found them willing to go the extra mile....so drinks were refilled slowly, coffee arrived after we finished dessert, it was difficult to find a steak knife, etc. There was no need to really please the customer since service isn't tied to tips in any way. For example, DH asked if there was any other sugar free option besides SF tiramisu one night (not a coffee fan, but also diabetic). Waitress simple said she didn't think so, but would ask. She never came back with an answer, even when the rest of us were served dessert. On DCL, I'm betting they would have found an alternative SF option from another venue and RCCL always has a SF ice cream option listed. We found out later that there was indeed SF ice cream available, but she just didn't bother to find out. This level of food and service was a running theme to the point that the food quality was laughable by the end. I've had better food in school cafeterias. Steak so full of gristle I had to saw through it...one night they served a black bean soup that was clearly reconstituted from a dried mix--- but not even thoroughly cooked so the beans were CRUNCHY! Really? Couldn't even break out canned black beans? We push it aside and they eventually took it away, but never asked why we didn't eat it or if they could replace it with something else. We adopted a strategy of ordering multiple items in hopes of finding something edible among them.... On both DCL and RCCL the food was much better. Hit or miss items on both for sure, but the "misses" were only occasional and quickly replaced with alternatives. We didn't try the specialty restaurants because I couldn't imagine how the food could suddenly be worth 30.00 per person if the base line was so, so bad. We were so glad we didn't encourage friends to join us because we would have been embarrassed to have brought them there with such bad food! On a good note....the lobster was small, but tasty though. Entertainment: The entrainment in the NCL Stardust Theater seems to fall somewhere between DCL and RCCL. The cruise director, Jamie, appears to be sharp and witty without being crass. It's a different approach than DCL as the CD doesn't wear an officer's uniform? On DCL, we've always found the CD's to be class-acts. However, we've always been very put off by the RCCL CD's who seem to major in jokes appropriate for adolescent boys and find mocking children and senior citizens appropriate humor. On this NCL trip, Jamie opened the first show by recognizing the couple married the longest, greeting the children, etc. There seemed to be something for everyone! DCL is, of course, very family friendly. Unless specifically noted, one can safely assume all events are rated G or a light PG. There are some versions of acts that have an adult version later in the evening in an adult-only venue...but that's fine. We've gone to these without our kids...and they are still pretty tame. The main shows in DCL are true stage productions and are top notch. However, they almost all are Disney themed, so one has to embrace that going into their vacation--it's a Disney cruise! We found much of the RCCL entertainment to be less then family friendly and this was similar for elements of NCL. The comedian, Noodles, at the first showing in the main theater was completely inappropriate for the 800+ kids on the ship. Many of his jokes were in poor taste because they were racist/ethnically derogatory (I didn't know people still told "pollock" jokes), but whatever. It was the jokes about four-hour erections and climaxing that really were the ones he might have better saved for a later show. I noticed several families get up and leave. I just hoped it would go over my kid's heads. It would have been just as easy to leave these jokes out and still do an entertaining set. I wondered how he could look out at his audience with kids sitting right near the front and be comfortable delivering such content. He's a regular, so NCL must approve of it and it's similar on RCCL. There was a show band night of 70's music that I found boring, but DH thought it was ok. The magician was funny and my girls liked him. The Cirque Bijoux was a big hit with my kids, but it was standing room crowds so I could only see pieces of it and the story line was hard to follow. The folks on the silks were pretty cool though. We skipped the final "concert " which I gather many do since there was only one show. In other entertainment, there were lots of trivia quizzes and mock game shows (which we liked as adults) and I know there was a casino, bingo, etc as they announced events from time to time. However, they weren't hyped like on RCCL. Both NCL and DCL seem to make an effort to try to make an "event" of various activities. Theme music, costumes....big intros with enthusiastic staff. In my opinion, I think Disney's execution is a bit more polished-- better costumes, more thematic sets, themed music, etc--- but I appreciate NCL's effort. Karaoke was a hit as usual and NCL made an effort to include kids (as does DCL). On RCCL, we often felt like staff was just going through the motions and couldn't wait to finish to move on to whatever their next responsibility was. Events weren't always well attended either and folks would show up and leave frequently. Outside the theater, the RCCL big events were the Quest (an adults only scavenger hunt) and a late night 70's party. Not bad things to have to appeal to the masses, but these were the BIG events that were hyped all week and neither had any appeal for kids. The message that kids were to the afterthought was a theme. NCL also had a Quest, but it wasn’t quite as hyped. NCL’s big event was the “White Hot Party”---and they hosted two versions, one for 18+ and one for kids/families. We attended the family one and it was pretty well-attended for the first ½ hour or so…then the teens sort of wandered off. They dressed them all in togas and decorated for the party---there was effort made to make it as unique as the adult version. There is no casino on DCL, so that wasn't even part of the cruise. We aren't gamblers typically and they always seem smoky, so we didn't spend much time in the casinos on NCL or RCCL. Just from a walk thru, RCCL's seemed bigger and more active though. Family-Friendliness; This is the Big One for us! We travel as a family, pay for a family and want a family friendly environment. As noted above, DCL really shines in this area. There are plenty of events for families to do together from games shoes, dance parties, games, crafts, etc. We often travel with grandparents in tow too making it multigenerational and they really do have events for all ages. RCCL is not this! On both cruises, we have felt that RCCL mocks children and only accommodates their needs out of pure necessity, not as an embraced business philosophy. There were very few "family" events on the RCCL cruises---some events for kids (mostly within the kids club programming) and lots for adults--- but not many organized events for both. Even the acts at the earlier time slot often contained language and sexual content not appropriate for kids. The attitude we felt was that the assumed goal is to escape your kids by sticking them in kids club so you can get to the real fun. NCL fell in between again. There were plenty of events for families to do together. Slime Time live was fun to watch. There were circus clinics that included teaching both kids and adults to spin plates, juggle, etc. This was more fun than I thought it would be. They had karaoke that included kids for the first hour and then switched to an adults only venue. They made a point of fitting in as many kids as possible. Again, it was sort of a retrofit where they were trying to fit kids activities into adult spaces (as opposed to DCL which has designated family spaces where events wouldn't need to be cut-off for one group or another), but the effort to include kids is appreciated. There was a Wii bowling challenge--- and I usually think of things like video games as sort off a half-effort at programming, but we saw it in action and it was well attended by mostly middle school boys. Kids Clubs: Our girls have always enjoyed the kids clubs on DCL. We feel they are given lots of personal attention and there are lots of age -appropriate activities. We also like the fact that there is a "tween" club that goes to age 13 in a separate facility. We do find that the activities are a bit redundant in the kids clubs, if one cruises more than once every few years. We did find that it's important to go to the opening events on the first night, especially if you are traveling in a small party (so you haven't brought along cousins, for example, as built in companions) and especially the Tweens seem to "group up" during the first few events making it harder to make cruise friends if you come in later. We also liked that parents can give ages 8 and up permission to self-check in/out (or maybe it was that our 11 year old could check the 8 year old in & out). Either way, this made it convenient to just send them off to the clubs after dinner, etc. Dd 11 would take the wave phone, so we knew we could contact her and she could let us know if she checked out. They seemed to really enjoy the NCL clubs as well, especially our 8 year old. Our 11 year old regularly checked herself in and out and asked to go and participated in activities. They separate the groups as 3-5, 6-9, 10-12. The oldest group-tweens met in the teen facility when the teens were elsewhere. My dd11 preferred this. Dd11 could check in and out on her own with our permission, but dd8 could not. It wasn't a big deal, but with no paging system or wave phones, we were forever checking in to see if she wanted to leave. Dd11 made a group of friends and with no wave phone, it was a bit of an issue in keeping up with her whereabouts. Not because she was irresponsible, but because there was no means of easy contact. She would checkout to go have lunch or a snack and would have to run back to the stateroom to leave a note, but we wouldn't always go back to get it..or if we did, it was inconvenient. We liked the fact that if they check themselves in, they have to stay for two hours. She found this frustrating and I'm not really sure what the reasoning was behind this rule, but I liked knowing where she was for a given amount if time since there was no other means of communication. Also, NCL didn't use wrist-bands outside of the kids club. They put them on when they entered and left them when they checked out. This was more comfortable than the clunky bands on DCL. The clubs themselves appeared to have enthusiastic counselors and a variety of activities. The closing over the meal hour wasn't so much of an issue as I thought it would be because my kids usually swim then anyway. I did hear other parents grumbling a bit though. The fact that they charge after 10:30 was annoying since it meant adults couldn't really participate in late night activities. There was a fee on port days until 5pm too. This was a bit annoying since we came back early on a rainy day and they were looking for something to keep them busy. However, my younger daughter read a book and my older daughter found some other girls in her “group” to go to the Blue Lagoon with—so she was set. The culminating kid’s "show" on NCL was a circus for which they had learned tricks all week. There seemed to be a lot of participation and the circus was in the theater. This was similar to DCL's "Friendship Rocks". Each has its own flavor and DCL gives them all t-shirts and features a video....but NCL featured smaller groups of kids actively engaged in showing of a new "skill" ( ex--dd8 did plate spinning). If I recall, RCCL did a small talent show, but it was in an out of the way lounge and featured a small audience and not a lot of careful prep. So overall, DCL's kids clubs had more "polish" and seemed to go farther with professional facilities for each age group...and, of course, the Disney characters are a central feature. NCL had the Nick characters, but they were more of an add-on and maybe it felt this way because we aren't that into Nick. My girls watched Dora when they were in preschool, but not recently. They aren't into Sponge Bob so that was lost on us. Others may be more into it. We did go to a few Nick family events including Slime Time Live and a few dance parties and they were fun, the "Nick team" was definitely energetic....but I spent most of my time cringing that my kids would end up covered in slime or with a head if hair full of whipped cream. This was definitely MY issue though—others probably didn’t care. On a ship without self-laundry, this was a concern. My dd was ask to mash a whipped cream pie in her face right after having her hair "braided" in Jamaica. Luckily she mashed it herself and kept it to her face....I'm not sure how I would have gotten smeared whipped cream out of a head full braids. Again, for other parents this may have been less of an issue---so I’m not faulting NCL for my hang-up. I would rank the kids clubs with DCL ahead, but NCL had a fine program and we were happy with it. We would return for the kids program. RCCL, for a comparison, was by far (based on our experience) lagging behind. On the two RCCL cruises we've taken, my kids were downright bored. The facilities were plain, counselors pleasant enough most of the time, but not overly engaging with the kids....and the activities weren't timed out to know when to go....and many repeated and were simple things that didn't involve a great deal of creativity...that said, there were a few highlights here and there that they liked--- but the didn't ask to go and wanted to be picked up quickly. At one point, I found my younger daughter (then 6) wandering in a hallway having been separated from the group as they moved around the ship. I alerted the staff to the fact that I had found her and was going to just go ahead and take her with me for the evening and they didn’t really seem at all concerned. Staterooms: This was the odd thing. We booked an ocean view room for four and were assigned a room for three. When we inquired, it seems that all of the standard staterooms are only equipped for three. There indeed were two twin beds (which could be pushed into a double) and one bunk directly over one of the twins. Hmm...we figured perhaps the other bunked pulled down from the ceiling like on DCL? Nope-- when we returned we found a cot propped in the middle of the two twins! The real odd thing? There was an 8 inch metal handle protruding from the side of it upwards right smack in between two mattresses with the desk blocking the end of one. So essentially we had a giant bed for three that filled the entire 1/2 of the room wall to wall....with an 8 inch handle to fall over in the dark smack in the middle and a ladder on one side and the desk on the other side. There was no way for the person under the bunk to safely get out off bed without climbing on top of the person in the middle. And the person on the other side against the wall had to do the same, plus straddle the 8 inch handle in the dark. I can't figure out how any engineer could have conceptualized this idea as a safe one! I can only figure that NCL is trying to retrofit for families as it changes its corporate focus. Needless to say, we had Guest Services and the Hotel Manager come look and they agreed it was odd, but said that's how they do it. In the end, we had them at least shift the cot to the far right so the handle was against the wall and not in the middle. Now it was just my immediate family and my girls are fine with sharing a bed with the parents....but some kids (including teens) and non-family immediate family units might object more to being quite that cozy. In the end, we slept DH on the left, me in the middle, and dd11 next to me leaving dd8 and all her stuffed animals in the bunk as she tosses and turns the most. It was like camping in a tent all in a row in one bed. Weird! Sure enough, anytime anyone needed to use the restroom, they would have to climb over me.... We think DCL has the best bunk set up as they don't come down over the main bed so there is no head bumping. Instead a couch flips into a bed and a bunk pulls down from the ceiling. On RCCL they flip down over our bed on each side making sitting up on bed inconvenient, but at least everyone has his or her own sleeping space. NCL, however, had the best storage for a standard stateroom. There were 6 drawers (plus a desk drawer) and then lots of recessed shelves deep enough for clothing, shoes, etc---and the closet. We always seem to be stumbling over our things in DCL and RCCL and DCL usually has a coffee table to trip over or have removed. NCL managed to fit a desk, a small table and two night stands in without taking up much space. We couldn't use the nightstands due to our mega-bed situation, but we stacked them against the wall without a problem. There was a small refrigerator that we didn't use with a mini bar in it, but it was out of the way. DCL had cool boxes that never seem to cool much and no minibar at all-- which we like! We don't ever use that stuff and it takes up space. RCCL has a messy minibar of junk that takes up space on the desk and, when asked, the stateroom attendant just moves it to a shelf thus using up shelf space. They did finally remove it when we pressed the issue, but it was a bit of a hassle that wasn't necessary. The shower on NCL was hands down the best...it was pretty roomy for a cruise ship. You could actually pick up the soap when it dropped. DCL's is ok and some might prefer the tub, but NCL was better. RCCL was the smallest and hardest to use-- like showering in a tiny cylinder! The toilet on NCL was in it’s own “closet” though---some might like the privacy of it since others could be in the bathroom at the sink. However, the wall and “closet door” took up valuable space thus making using the restroom a tight, uncomfortable experience and we just had one person in the bathroom at a time anyway. NCL had a nice, normal hair dryer---which was really helpful. I always have to bring my own on other cruise lines which takes up luggage space. Overall: So, all in all, I would say that we would definitely pick DCL over NCL and RCCL if all things were equal (price, timing, ports, etc). The food is better, the entertainment is better, the Kid’s Clubs are top notch and the facilities kept up. It’s just a better quality experience overall for us. However, it does come at a cost…so sometimes the trade-offs might be worth it. I would do NCL again if the price was right, but I would go into it eyes-wide-open about the food expectations and maybe take some granola bars with me! We actually have another RCCL trip planned in the future….the price and timing were right and it is a very port heavy itinerary, so we won’t really be experiencing much of the entertainment or kid’s clubs---so it seemed like an ok option since or priorities for that trip will be meals and sleeping. So that’s my impression of the three lines. I’m sure others have different takes depending on their preferences and priorities. I’m sure I’m definitely a bit DCL biased since we’ve cruised them more often…..but read the review with a grain of salt from your perspective and hopefully some of it was helpful to your planning. Let me know if you have questions!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We went on the NCL Jewel and my family was really pleased. We booked the ocean view. So when I came inside, our cabin came with a free wine bottle! Later that day, a worker knocked the door and gave us free chocolate covered strawberries! ... Read More
We went on the NCL Jewel and my family was really pleased. We booked the ocean view. So when I came inside, our cabin came with a free wine bottle! Later that day, a worker knocked the door and gave us free chocolate covered strawberries! Garden Cafe is the cafe on the ship and the food was spectacular! They had over 30 items and they even had Indian and Chinese food! Every evening they had a chocolate fountain in the cafe. One of the nights they had a late night chocolate buffet which was amazing! I will say, the atrium is not that amazing. When we went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, we had to take a boat to land. The cabins are smaller than the cabins on carnival and they only clean your room 2 times a day. My children enjoyed the towel animals. The kids club was nice and at the end of the cruise they put on a circus! Every day there would be one show that was performed at 7:15 P.M AND at 9:15 PM. The magic and comedy shows were so good. The main dining rooms had food that pretty much was the same like Azura ( a main dining room) might have broiled salmon and T'sars( another main dining room might have baked salmon. One difference was that the Azura was a regular restaurant and T'sars was a fancy restaurant. One thing the children loved was before you go inside Garden Cafe there was a "Washy Washy Guy" and he would give a squirt of hand sanitizer and sing "washy washy is good for you, good for me good for us Washy Washy everyday makes you healthy", in the tune of the nursery rhyme London Bridge. This was a amazing cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first cruise on Norwegian, and we were pleasantly surprised. From our check-in, to embarkation, to retuning back to New Orleans, everything was great. We travelled in what NCL calls a mini-suite, and it was a bit cramped with ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian, and we were pleasantly surprised. From our check-in, to embarkation, to retuning back to New Orleans, everything was great. We travelled in what NCL calls a mini-suite, and it was a bit cramped with two adults and two teens. We managed just fine though, and felt the cost to book a cabin above this category wasn't necessary. The Jewel is very nice for its size and age, and is maintained well. NCL waitstaff was very attentive and we never wanted for anything. We went to the first night show, and I wasn't too impressed. That opinion changed over the week, and I must say the production on day 6 was probably the best we have ever seen on a ship (aerialists, dancing and singing). The comedic magician (J.P. Parent) was great as well. Meals in the main and secondary dining room were all very good. We ate in three of the ship's specialty restaurants. Steak place was above average. LeBistro (French) and Moderno's (Churascarrea) were excellent. Dining and food options are many and varied, and we never felt too rushed or crowded. The ships dining "status" system that shows wait times, availability for seating, etc. was very helpful. We had multiple spa treatments between the four of us over the course of the cruise, and they were all very good. We paid to have access to the "relaxation room" with private aromatherapy pool, heated chaise lounges, etc. and were glad we did. We had rainy weather on embarkation day and first day at sea, and it was crowded then. The remainder of the week, we had wonderful weather and the facilities never felt crowded. The ports of call on this voyage (Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya) were all places we've visited before, and definitely an enjoyable itinerary. We had a fabulous trip, and will definitely cruise with Norwegian again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just returned home from seven days on the NCL Jewel. Have been on one other Carnaval cruise. In short, out experience on this cruise was wonderful. Service was great. Someone to help you anytime for whatever you need. The food was endless. ... Read More
Just returned home from seven days on the NCL Jewel. Have been on one other Carnaval cruise. In short, out experience on this cruise was wonderful. Service was great. Someone to help you anytime for whatever you need. The food was endless. The Garden Cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style. Complete with craving station, crepe station, omelet station, and burger, dog, pizza line. The food here was well prepared and beautifully presented. The up-charge restaurants are worth the investment. The Italian restaurant, La Cucina was excellent. The steakhouse restaurant, Cagany's served Black Angus beef. Very nice and the beef top shelf. Several of the speciality restaurants booked up early. Monitors around the ship keep passengers up to date on the reservation status. I should mention the Tsar's and Azure are free and offer excellent food. I think the service is good as any restaurant I have ever visited. The ship was spotlessly clean. Must attention is given to hand sanitation which is comforting. I appreciate dining on china and heavy flatware. Our mini suite on comfortable and spacious. It had a refrigerator which was very handy. The balcony provided fresh air and beautiful views. Did I like this cruise? You bet!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this ... Read More
My sister & I arrived 3 days early to our Sunday Nov. 10th departure. Totally enjoyed New Orleans, my third time there, and her first. As this was our 2nd NCL cruise, first being 2011 NCL Epic Transatlantic we had high hopes this cruise would be as good. We each had our own inside cabin, next door to each other, as she is a night owl, and we both enjoy our privacy. From the first step on the ship.... it was disappointing. I have sailed over 34 cruises, and never have I walked along the deck (100 yds. or so) to enter the ship by elevators. We were looking forward to the overwhelming experience of entering an atrium area, or large lobby. By elevators? Really? Our cabins were not ready until 1 pm, and we were onboard at 11:30 am. We made our way to the spa to preset our weeks appts. Our 1st and most important part of our vacation!! LOL. Went then to buffet. Nice and spacious for a buffet, and will organized. Love the attention to the hand sanitizing!! Washy Washy was great!! (YouTube NCL washy washy). Cleanest ship by far with this detail. WIsh Princess would catch a clue how to implement this!!! Big disappointment was the food. Dining room was horrible. Warm salads, cold soups. Best dinner was the specialty teppanyaki, well worth the $25 fee. You can get anything you want on the menu, combined.... they don't tell you that, but we learned from someone ordering from our table! So order up and enjoy all the filet, seafood you want! Shows were by standard....just a cruise show. Guess I'm spoiled with having been on the Oasis/Allure and seeing broadway shows, etc. Casino was very smoking. Wish they could learn how to upscale there ventilation system in that part of ship. Spa was awesome. We both bought the week pkg. to enjoy the sauna/steam, hot tubs, and reclining tiled lounge chairs..... so worth the $119 for the whole week. They only sell a certain amount, so this area is not over crowded, well worth heading to spa upon boarding to insure we got this package. Overall it was fun, as my sister and I just made the best of it, but I will not be cruising NCL again, as there are better cruise companies in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Bottom line: The dinner dining experience in both of the two main dining rooms was the worst we have had on any cruise. This was our eighth cruise, our second on Norwegian. Our first cruise several years ago on NCLs Dawn was amazing - the ... Read More
Bottom line: The dinner dining experience in both of the two main dining rooms was the worst we have had on any cruise. This was our eighth cruise, our second on Norwegian. Our first cruise several years ago on NCLs Dawn was amazing - the food was absolutely superb and the free-styling everything we expected. I should say that we were with a larger group, our two adult children, their spouses and four very young grandsons (0 to 5), so admittedly we were a larger than normal group. First, when we made dinner reservations, we were told 5:30 or 8:30 are the only times one can make reservations for; it did not matter how far ahead we called. So much for so called Free-Styling. We found it was a lot easier to not make reservations and just walk in; after the initial surge of coure. Generally, service was very slow. On another cruise line one would expect at least two servers for a large table. Normally, we only had one who was often not anywhere around. On our first night, it took more that two hours from sitdown to dessert! Our experience on other nights was better, but still much longer than normal. On the positive side, one night we did put in a written complaint and management responded very quickly and was very nice. Food selection - the dinner menu was pretty much the same every night especially for the entrees - there was some minor variation, but not much. Sometimes when the food arrived it was tepid. On one occasion, our oldest grandson's hotdog arrived 30 minutes before the main entrees were served - we appreciated the speed but one would assume everyone's meal should arrive at roughly the same time. Finally, but importantly, we found the taste of the food generally bland. This was nothing like our first NCL cruise. My spouse was so disappointed with the entire main dining room experience, she said more than once, "NCL - never again". Three points on the positive side -- One night we ate at Chin Chin's (you pay extra to eat there) and absolutely loved it! The food was tasty, fast and hot. The server, chief cook and the dining room manager were top notch - beyond excellent. All of them stopped by to talk and were obviously desiring that our experience be the best. Really a good memory! But that did make us wonder - is the quality of the dinner in the main dining room being notched down on purpose to drive people to the pay dining rooms? We would hope not. Since we had two older grandsons with us (4 and 5) we were able to observe the children's care program. Simply WoW!! Kudos to the young adults (and NCL) for this program. We were extremely impressed by the quality of care and creativity of the program. We give it five stars! The shows in the main theater were probably the best we had ever seen - particularly the Cirque du Soleil (sp?) like show - it was GREAT.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our first cruise as a family. I have cruised before but my husband and kids (5y girl, 7y girl, and 9y boy) had not. Our 7y daughter has autism (moderately verbal, echolalia with severe sensory issues). We drove from Ohio to NOLA, ... Read More
This was our first cruise as a family. I have cruised before but my husband and kids (5y girl, 7y girl, and 9y boy) had not. Our 7y daughter has autism (moderately verbal, echolalia with severe sensory issues). We drove from Ohio to NOLA, stayed overnight near port and boarded the ship early on Sunday for a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The Port of New Orleans is a disorganized mess. There is a lot going on and, if you drive, you have to get in several different car lines- one to drop bags, one to park. The signage is confusing and there are a lot of people walking in places that only cars should be. They have the sky walk from the lot to the pier shut down so you have to walk in the busy intersections, over a rail road and road ways. If you have anyone with sound sensitivity- take ear muffs, you'll need them! Prior to the cruise our TA setup an escort through the security line that was a godsend. NCL sent a representative that helped us by pass a line the would have taken hours and would have prevented our ASD 7y to board- she would have been in full meltdown if we waited in the line. Instead we boarded in less than 10min. The escort then took us to check in and allowed us to bypass this line as well. We were staying in a Family Suite AB so we were afforded suite perks and the escort took us to the VIP lounge prior to boarding to meet our concierge and butler. Then we were taken to Cagney's for lunch and then to our suite. We booked the AB Suite for the perks because we were not sure how well our ASD 7y would do on her first cruise. We wanted a larger room, the shower and tub would help during meltdowns and food from almost anywhere on the ship could be delivered (so we wouldn't miss out if she didn't fare well and we were stuck in the suite). Best decision we could make. Our other children loved the kids club and pool. Our ASD did not tolerate the restaurants well and had no desire to go to the kids club (I think there was too much noise for her)- so we spent a lot of time in cabin, on the balcony and had several meals delivered. She did not use the tub for meltdowns as much as it was for entertainment. The suite also allows priority tenders- escorted past the line in GC without an issue. It also comes with snacks delivered in the afternoon and prior to bed (cookies each night- kids loved it). The snacks range from sandwiches to chocolate covered strawberries. I also had pitchers of iced tea delivered which was nice while sitting on the balcony watching the ocean. There was also a complimentary bottle of Prosecco for the suite which was nice in the evening- mixed with a little juice it kept our bar tab down. The suite itself has a large bedroom/ bath with a tub, dining and sitting area, kids bedroom/bath and a large balcony. It was a good amount of space for us and the kids fit nice in the bedroom with a pull down. We also liked the coffee machine and we had the fridge emptied for sodas/juice we brought on board (also our ASD has the fun skill of being able to open pop tabs- that is an expensive skill when a minibar is involved). The restaurants we did venture our to were great. Cagney's for breakfast everyday was a treat- the staff were great and they were really nice to the two other kids. They have good choices for breakfast and a nice little buffet of fruits, cereals and sliced meats/cheeses to pick from. The choices for lunch were good but they had few kids choices so we ate several lunches at the outdoor buffet or Garden Café. We also ate at Chin Chin, Mama's and Le Bistro. Each specialty restaurant was worth the cover for choice and serving size. Service was always prompt and they accommodated us with a sleeping child at times without a problem. Also had several meals delivered by butler from MDR- always prompt and hot.The ASD 7y didn't eat much due to her sensitivity and pickiness- pizza, cereal, grilled cheese, and cookies. We spent a lot of time by the pool. Pool chairs are at a premium and NCL does nothing about people saving chairs- it makes it hard to watch 3 smaller kids in the pool without having to stand the entire time. The pool is salt water but the kids enjoyed it. The water slide is only open from 10a-6p, which makes it hard to explain to the special needs kid who wants to ride it at 8a and 8p.The pool deck always has a band or some sort of entertainment. The kids participated in the Nickelodeon events and the hubs did a relay to win beer. Waiters are plentiful and there is a small buffet mid-day and the Garden Café is close. We saw several shows and listened to several cover bands in different bars. All were good. The Band on The Run was fun. Twosome Awesome did a great Beatles rendition. We also did the Dora Dance Pty and went to the White Hot Party. All were fun and had great music. As with any cruise alcohol is expensive so plan accordingly. There was also the usual cruise classes and exercise sessions- we did not participate in any. Montego Bay Jamaica is a beautiful yet very poor port. We took a cab $5/person to Doctor's Cave Beach. The cab let us out 5 blocks away from our destination and we had to walk. The "Hip Strip" is very seedy and the people of MoBay are pushy and don't lose any opportunity to sell anything. There are people pushing "ganja" right at you. I did not feel "unsafe" but it is a place to know where you are going and be confident- watch your belongings and give firm "no's". However, once you get to the beach you are in a crystal blue paradise. Chairs and umbrellas cost but t is worth it. There is a café, waiters delivering drinks on the beach and calm blue water. People are also selling things on the beach. The 5y got her hair braided and loved it. The ride back to the pier was less intimidating- we ate lunch on the ship and waited for sail away. We tendered in Grand Cayman. For ASD you need ear muffs again- the boats are loud and completely filled with people(so a lot of voices). We then took an excursion to Sea World Observatory boat. It was really neat and perfect for ASD- not completely enclosed and there is an upper deck if you encounter problems. The guide was nice and pointed our fish to my other two kids- they were fascinated. After that we walked around and shopped. We ventured to Burger King to get nuggets for the ASD (because she had only eaten cereal and pizza in days)- it was really expensive and they did not have nuggets. Stopped at duty free to pickup Doritos (for the ASD) and tendered back to the ship. My son was impressed with the cold towels (there was no greeting in Jamaica). Cozumel was a later day than the other two. We left the ship and walked through a market and around the streets close to port for a while. The ear muffs came in handy again- a lot of cars and people. The people of Cozumel also try to sell everything but they are less pushy than in Jamaica. We got several souvenirs and stuff for the kids. Then we took an $18 cab to Mr Sanchos (free beach and a VIP section). The water is gorgeous and there are free beach chairs. There is food and alcohol available and water toys to rent. My hubs and son rented a jet ski. We got tacos and nachos delivered along with some drinks. There is also a VIP section that charges $50/person for unlimited alcohol and use of a pool and water toys- we chose the free (pay as you go) because we had kids with us and could not possibly drink that much alcohol. In all we spent $45 and had a really good day. Then we took another cab ride (this time $25) back to port. Upon boarding the ship this time there was a huge greeting line with music and cold towels- the kids loved it (even the ASD). One service we did use a lot of was the kids club. My ASD 7y only went one night- sounds did echo and she did not seem interested in the activities. However, the other two LOVED the kids club. They asked to go as soon as they were done in the pool everyday. The activities for the day are adjusted for age. The did crafts and a princess parade for the little ones. They also did a pirate scavenger hunt for all ages that they both liked. Before this cruise I did not understand why anyone would send their kids to a kids club on vacation- I thought "I like taking vacations with my kids why would I send them away". I was so wrong. The kids loved it and it let them make friends. It also gave us a little down time (even though we had the ASD 7y with us she was usually asleep and we could put ear muffs on and take her along to dinner and shows). I would not hesitate now to let them go as long as they want to. The night that the ASD 7y did go, she had a great time and we were able to eat a whole meal and go see a cover band in a bar before they called us to pick her up- that was nice and the staff handled her well. Another thing we noticed is that there is a person at the door but a "wanderer" could easily get by them- so we warned them that our ASD 7y was a wanderer and may try to get out. Disembarkation was easy. We were in priority due to the suite. We met the concierge and were walked off quickly. Finding a porter in baggage claim was difficult and the porters have to walk all the way across a busy street in traffic, over rail road tracks to your car. It was awkward and I felt compelled to tip more than I would have if they just had to go to the curb. We will definitely be cruising as a family again and will chose NCL because this experience was nice and the suite perks are helpful with ASD. It is more laid back than other lines and it fit well for our family.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ... Read More
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ended up under splash academy with very energetic kids running back and forth till 10:30 PM so forget about sleeping till then. we walked around, watched shows or what not so it was not too big a deal. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth only issue was the pulling into the terminal which took us 1 hr to go around the block due to the convention and the cab driver making the wrong turn. Jewel is going to be dry docked to get a face lift next year. I loved the lay out of the garden cafe. Food was great. Variety was good too. we ate out only 1 night. Due to hurricane in Philippines, few of the employees were replace with new people. ALL THE staff was wonderful. Calling home from the ship was only $1.99 a minute - not bad, . My cabin steward Mark called every body by their first name. How he remembered - god alone knows NCL charges $25 if you loose their towel - like all the other cruise ships ( some charges up to $40 - absurd) so make sure you don't loose them. Cab from the hotel near airport to the pier was $34 for 2 of us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ... Read More
My husband and I did this for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a long time ago and by the time cruise came around price had dropped and they bumped us from our BA balcony to a Mini suite. Cabin might have been bigger but we ended up under splash academy with very energetic kids running back and forth till 10:30 PM so forget about sleeping till then. we walked around, watched shows or what not so it was not too big a deal. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth only issue was the pulling into the terminal which took us 1 hr to go around the block due to the convention and the cab driver making the wrong turn. Jewel is going to be dry docked to get a face lift next year. I loved the lay out of the garden cafe. Food was great. Variety was good too. we ate out only 1 night. Due to hurricane in Philippines, few of the employees were replace with new people. ALL THE staff was wonderful. Calling home from the ship was only $1.99 a minute - not bad, . My cabin steward Mark called every body by their first name. How he remembered - god alone knows NCL charges $25 if you loose their towel - like all the other cruise ships ( some charges up to $40 - absurd) so make sure you don't loose them. Cab from the hotel near airport to the pier was $34 for 2 of us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). ... Read More
We took the Jewel to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya, mainly as I wanted to snorkel in Belize. I was disapointed as I was told they had cream rinse in the cabins, NOT!! So I finally found some onshore in Belize (I need it for my hair). We were disappointed with the cabin stewart, it took 2 days to get a Sierra Mist replaced in our refrigerator. When we called Room Service it took 3 tries to get thru and finally the cabin stewart that showed up, never returned with the pop. I do like that they have a tiny refrig as we were able to get our bottled water cold for the next day. We enjoyed the talent shows. The casino was way too smokey! hard to breath! The service desk was just OK, some didn't give us adequate answers to our questions, others were helpful. We do not like the automatic gratuitee as seems you do not get that great service as before and this is our 8th cruise. desserts had no flavor! Embakation was terrible, long lines, Embarkation was even worse! I will go back to RCL and try the Princess line.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our first Norwegian Cruise and we loved it. The boarding was a little chaotic for us. We were staying in a balcony suite and were told that we would be taken to a special room where we would be given food and drink and allowed to ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian Cruise and we loved it. The boarding was a little chaotic for us. We were staying in a balcony suite and were told that we would be taken to a special room where we would be given food and drink and allowed to board first when we arrived at the terminal. No one at the terminal knew where we were supposed to go. After being told by security to stand in the wrong line twice we were told to just sit and wait till our number was called. After an hour we caught up with a Norwegian Cruise supervisor, Nigel Garbut. This guy was wonderful and made sure we were taken care of. We were on board and having lunch in Cagney's restaurant twenty minutes after meeting him. After lunch around 1:00 pm our room was ready. Our butler, concierge , and room attendent all came by and introduced themselves. There were fresh flowers, fruit, and a bottle of Champagne waiting for us. My wife and I were celebrating our 30th. Wedding anniversary. All of the staff on the Norwegian Jewel were fantastic and catered to our every whim. We ate at a few of the specialty restaurants during our trip and the food was delicious as was the casual dining at the buffet, Tsar's Palace, and Azura Restaurant. We were allowed to dine in Cagney's for lunch and dinner since we were in a suite. The eggs Benedict was fabulous! We did the ATV riding in Cozumel, Mexico. Well worth it! We also did the Calypso Trolly tour in Belize, I won't be doing that again anytime soon. We were brought to a small cramped room where it was about 98 degrees. After a twenty minute explanation we were brought out to the trolly where we were bombarded by about fifteen vendors who were trying to sell everything from beads to massages, they would not take no for an answer. I was very disappointed that Calypso did absolutely nothing to get these people away. They tour started out well but got a little scarey when we were brought though the southern part of town. A very heavy police presence, bars on every residence and business and even armed (what looked like military personal carrying AK-47 assault rifles. Never again! OK back to the cruise. The shows on board were great and we always found something to do. My wife visited the shopping area and got some great deals on some jewelry. She even won a blue topaz! There was always plenty of food to eat. Besides free room service there is great tasting pizza, burgers and hot dogs by the pool, and last but not least the buffet. There was also a chocolate night which we missed, we were just too exhausted! We have sailed Royal Caribbean and Carnival but nothing come close to our experience with Norwegian. The Norwegian Jewel was clean, well maintained, and the staff was phenomenal! We can't wait to return!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
After reading months of Jewel reviews, I was prepared to be a little let down based on the comments of so many. Boy was I wrong! My wife and I are experienced cruisers including working for Cunard. I will try to keep my comments about the ... Read More
After reading months of Jewel reviews, I was prepared to be a little let down based on the comments of so many. Boy was I wrong! My wife and I are experienced cruisers including working for Cunard. I will try to keep my comments about the ship and crew and not the ports of call. Embarkation was relatively painless, although the construction around the terminal made for a huge traffic jam. Arriving on the ship we were greeted by music and a very welcoming cruise staff, and there was never a let down in the enthusiasm and courtesy for the rest of the cruise. The entire cruise staff had such a positive helpful attitude! Being a cc member I attended a meet and greet and the entire hotel management team showed up. We were given their personal phone extensions and asked that we call with any issues. I don't think they got a call all week! After meeting them I was amazed how often I saw them all week mingling with passengers or overseeing their people to ensure everything ran smoothly. We were a party of seven from 15, 19 and 22 to 50's to 80's so this is a "consensus" review. We had two balcony cabins and one inside cabin. The balcony cabins we big enough for two comfortably, but the third person made for cramped quarters when the sofa bed was out. We will try to get a cabin that has a fold down bunk the next time. There is literally no way to get to the balcony without walking on the bed! Storage was just enough for three. The baths were big, but we felt the glass door for the toilet wasn't needed. In fact the inside cabin was slightly smaller and didn't have the toilet divider and actually felt bigger. Our cabin steward was always available and ready to help with anything. OK - the food. After reading some really bad review we were a little nervous. We ate our breakfasts at the buffet and it was always good and fresh. There was everything you could want including museli( a cruise ship tradition) . Granted, the hollandaise sauce was not what one would get at a nice restaurant, but they are cooking for 3,000! And the ship was full of passengers who seem to develop a feeding frenzy when they hit the buffet. Having sailed NCL before we were familiar with the specialty restaurants and ate six of seven dinners there. We did have one meal in Tsars dining room and I guess our only real let down was the food there was not as good as we hoped. I agree with the previous review that mentioned the canned peas and carrots. I wasn't bad food, it just wasn't the "wow" we wanted it to be. We believe that part of the NCL experience is going to the specialty restaurants. Our review- le Bistro was wonderful. Great food, top drawer service (Budi was our waiter- he doubles as the breakfast "washy washy " guitar player). We ate there twice. The Italian was the most pleasant surprise. Everything was delicious. The osso bucco was outstanding. Again great service. The Churriscaria was a culinary adventure ! Cagneys was a great steak dinner as well. I strongly recommend you plan to spend the extra money and treat yourself to these great restaurants. It will make your cruise so much more memorable. There is very good snack food at the Blue Lagoon. The entertainment was the most pleasant surprise of our cruise. A very funny comedian, a not- to- be missed magician, and production shows that had great dancers. We had a cocktail every night in a different bar and and each one had a unique atmosphere. Prices ranged from $5.25 to $10.00 depending on the drink. The Jewel is not as fancy as some other ships, but has a very relaxed charm. Although a little tired, she is kept clean and tidy by an industrious crew. It was the most stable ship we have ever been on, with very little movement. It was very easy to get around, and even though the ship was full, the layout spread everyone out so we never felt cramped. Our only real negative experience was the staff in the store. They seemed a bit rude and put off if one needed help. In summary we say book your cruise on Jewel. You will be treated wonderfully! Just plan on spending the extra money and enjoy the specialty restaurants. You will have a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my first time to cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines and my last. I only cruised with them because my other cruise for the west coast got canceled. (Thank you Celebrity for not taking a chance on leaving cruisers stranded on a ship ... Read More
This was my first time to cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines and my last. I only cruised with them because my other cruise for the west coast got canceled. (Thank you Celebrity for not taking a chance on leaving cruisers stranded on a ship with problems). I booked a two bedroom family suite in "The Haven". Our suite was called the "Passion Flower Suite." The livind/dining room was spacious, but the decor was awful. The lime green sofa and chairs on a hot pink, purple and lime green carpetleft a lot to be desired. The main bedroom/bath was spacious, with plenty of storage and nicely finished out. Unfortunately, the pillow top bed was lumpy. The second bedroom was tiny. It was definitely for kids and not for an adult. The balcony was large with two comfortable chairs and tables. The screwy thing about the balcony, was the window overlooking the tub. You could not cover the window for privacy while you were in the tub. I appreciated the privacy and security our floor had. Your card had to be used to get the elevator to the 14th floor and to get through the access door to the staterooms. The private courtyard area included a pool, hot tub, saunas, and lots of comfortable seats to relax in. This was where we had breakfast most mornings. There was a continental breakfast there each morning. However, the attention to detail, cleanliness and service were not good. The stateroom services were slow and incomplete. The glass on our balcony and spots of something on the glass bathroom doors were never cleaned. Other areas ( under TV, phone, etc.) had not been dusted in a while. No white glove service here! When I asked the butler about dining in the room he showed me the standard room service menu. When questioned about the upgraded menu we were supposed to have, I was told we could order from the main dining room. Only one night did he bring us a menu and since I never got a piece of meat in the buffet or main dining room that wasn't tough or dried out, I didn't care to use it. Plan on eating at the specialty restaurants ($) for better food. Chin chin and Moderno ($) were good. Skip the Hibachi Grill restaurant, it's to noisy with four grills in one small room and the food is not the quality you expect from a speciality restaurant. Also, the extra fee you pay to eat at the Hibachi Grill, doesn't include the additional tips they request for the cook and extra waiter. The rest of the ship was fairly clean at a casual glance. What bothered me the most was the condition of the public restrooms. Every one I went into had a stall out of order. The sink countertops were always soaking wet. Paper towels littered the bathroom area. I realize this is the fault of my fellow shipmates, but it also showed that they did not get cleaned very often! Like I said, first and last cruise with Norwegian. I will stick with Celebrity Cruise Line!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I was on the 6 day reposition cruise from Vanvouver to Los Angeles, celebrating my 10-year anniversary with my wife. A friend's family also joined us. Booked about 6 months before sailing and paid 1100 for two for an inside cabin. ... Read More
I was on the 6 day reposition cruise from Vanvouver to Los Angeles, celebrating my 10-year anniversary with my wife. A friend's family also joined us. Booked about 6 months before sailing and paid 1100 for two for an inside cabin. One week prior sailing the pricing has gone down to $800 for two, so I called Costco travel. No you will not get a refund for the difference (unless you got a "lowest price guaranteed package), but Costco is nice enough to get NCL to upgrade my cabin to oceanview for free. (At the time the ocean view cabins were about 1000 for two, so I guess you can "exchange" to anything that's under the price you paid originally.) I arrived 3 days early to Vancouver to do some sightseeing, with a rental car that I picked up from Avis @ airport. The return location is Hornby Street that's fairly close to Canada Place. However, this time NCL was assigned to use this "Ballantyne Pier", and I've heard bad thing about that neighborhood, so my original plan of "dropoff -> return car -> walk" was changed to "dropoff -> return car -> taxi". Taxi was $13 from Hornby Street to Ballantyne Street, and $15 including tip was all I paid. Pretty reasonable. Btw, the Port's website is misleading on the directions. You simply take Heatley north and it will drop you in front of the cruise terminal. Don't take Clark unless you're coming from the east. The embarkation was smooth. I love the facilities of Ballantyne Pier. Easy curb-side drop off and less traffic. The entire process from the point the taxi drops me off, to myself reunite with wife and friends, to actually set foot on the ship, was about 35 minutes. Once aboard, we proceed to Tsar main dining room for lunch. It's just much nicer than the buffet. It is very hard to get seats for buffet and pool side since most of the passengers are there, and we have a few carry-on luggages and young children. Many don't realize some ships do have the main dining room open for lunch, and they don't publicize that, so you need to ask. Room Cleaning/Organizing: Great. Rick was the staff. He's just great. Room Maintenance: Our shower door fell off the first day. It was not fixed until the third day. For me it is on the slower side. I do have spa pass so this causes only little trouble, but what if I didn't have a spa pass? Shower doors are pretty much standard, so get one from an empty cabin, or get one from a staff's room, is a better approach. Dining: This is the fourth time I'm on an NCL cruise. This time the food is salty. The first day I thought it's just a rare occasion that the head chef overlooked, but throughout the entire cruise, doesn't matter which dining room we go, the food is consistently salty. Think NCL did that on purpose to push you to try specialty restaurants? Well, the paid restaurants also have the same problem. Buffet is the only exception, so every night after my main dining, after taking just a few bites because too salty, I will proceed to buffet to continue my meals. One thing to point out, desserts are still great. Good varieties and flavors, and even have sugar free version. Spa: The spa pass was $119 because it's only 6 days. It's money well spent. Most of the trip is cold, so spa provided an indoor and quiet place. Male and demale have their own area so if getting completely naked is your thing, then you have a place to go. Of course there also has a co-ed area that you get to relax side by side with your spouse, families and friends. OJ and tea is served all day inthe co-ed area so that's great. On a sea-day I spend the entire afternoon here, staring at sea and listen to the music. Main dining crew: I tink the crew are a little not as friendly as before. My 6 dinners there, only one night I'd say it has the NCL standard I used to get. Very little interactions. Is it because it's reposition cruise? Buffet: For me the buffet scored high this time. Good food, and they have a guy singing the "washing-washing hands" song all day. He's great! Kids loved him. That song still stuck with me. Shore Excursions: I walked all ports. See below: Victoria: 30 minutes walking from pier to down town. (if you want, cab is about $15 including tip, but walking along shore and nice houese are great!) Astoria: the city is selling $7 ticket that gives you all day trolley ride (Runs from just ourside the pier and goes east for a few miles. Not too far. Only one car, runs back and forth. If you can't board at the beginning, you will never be able to board along the way. Most of the people board at pier, and rides all the way, and then rides all the way back.) , all day shuttle bus rides (Pier -> Commercial/10th ->Maritime Museum -> Marine/9th -> Pier. they have 5-6 busses running this route and average wait is about 15-20 minutes), and the transfer bus to Astoria Column (The staff will tell you to be at Commercial/10th at 1PM sharp, but you can pretty much arrive any time after 1PM. The bus stop is on Commercial/10th and on the north east corner, on 10th. They have 2-3 busses running this route and the wait is about 20 minutes) I rode the bus to Maritime Musem, Do some sightseeing, then had to try really hard to board the east bound trolley. When the trolley comes to the stop, our group of six are the only ones getting off. We continue walking east-ward on the river-front walk and visited Pier 39 (has a small bumblebee museum teling you the history of Bumblebee in Astoria). Then we walk back and took 45 minutes (in rain) to get back to Commercial/10th to ride transfer shuttle to Column. Column is great, you get climb all the way up and get some really good pictures. It also has a clean bathroom facilities in the parking lot. SF: We opt to walk from Pier 35 to the beginning of Taylor St cable car, so we can purchase the all day ticket ($14). With cable car $6 one way and $12 round trip, all-day ticket is the way to go. You can ride cable car all day, ride bus 30 to Palace of Fine Art, ride bus 28 to Golden Gate bridge, 39 to Coit Tower, and ride Street Car "F" from Fisherman's back to the cruise terminal. Debarkation: The day before debark you should proceed to excursion desk, and there you can see the luggage tags up for grab. You take the ones that match your schedule. I live in OC so there's no rush, and I pisked the 10AM debark time (and actually get called at 9:30AM the day of debark, so it runs pretty smooth) I had a PrimeTime shuttle picking us up. Pretty easy to find the shuttle stop. Conclusion: Very nice trip. Everything went the way it should, except the food. Food is salty, especially the seafood. I've chat with a few people I met on the ship, and pretty much the same feeling, so it's not just me.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Travelled with friends up to Alaska, great way to see several ports in a short time, which is why we like cruising. We were very lucky to have sunny weather the whole time, truly amazing. The Captain did a fantastic job manuevering the ... Read More
Travelled with friends up to Alaska, great way to see several ports in a short time, which is why we like cruising. We were very lucky to have sunny weather the whole time, truly amazing. The Captain did a fantastic job manuevering the ship, we always were on time and had super smooth sailings. The food in the dining rooms was probably our first let down. With all the variety of restaurants on board, the main dining rooms do not have a large variety to pick from every night. One whole sheet of the menu is "classics" with 3 or 4 appetizers, 3 or 4 main entrees such as baked chicken, then a few desserts. The "unique" menu for the night had maybe 3 items such as meatloaf and poached salmon. Meatloaf? What's so special about that? The service was hit and miss also. One night we were given the wrong meals (there were 5 of us) and another night we watched as they tried to give our meals to another table. Yikes! Anyways, the same food every day was boring. Buffet areas were great, but they kept shutting them down making it hard to find food. There were several times when the only place to get anything to eat was at the back-end of the ship, which if you are sitting at the pool mid-ship you really wonder making the long walk to back of the boat just to get a hamburger or hot dog.Drink service was missing all the time too, there were several times where we had to go find a bar ourselves, just for a soda. Rooms were clean, and my husand loved having a shower door verses a curtain. But one day we ran out of tissue, another day we were charged for items missing from the mini bar but were just on the counter to make room for a snack that was brought back to the room. The decor of the ship needs updating, compared to a other ships the atrium is underwhelming. In our experience RCI ships have beautiful decor, Carnival may be glitzy but it's fun. The decor on the Jewel is tired... it needs refreshing. There was some confusion over Nickelodeon events. Some things are handled by the Splash Academy (daycare for kids) but most are not. We did the Pajama Party with Spongebob, great fun for the kids. But you reserve that through the same desk as the dinner reservations, which was confusing not only for us but for the staff who sent us upstairs to the Splash Academy first. The Splash Academy rep had no idea what to do, we were lucky enough to have a different NCL person come by who did know what to do. Splash Academy was a big hit for our 6 year old travelling with us. She loved it! The shows were great, especially JP the magician. However the seating in the Stardust Theater is very peculiar. The seats are so tight (front to back) that everyone has to stand up to allow people to pass by to an open seat... and with rows 40 seats across you can imagine how difficult that was! No drink service either... no way to get drinks to the middle seats. They tried to sell raffle cards, OMG, everyone had to pass pens and papers across, it was the craziest thing I have ever seen.Ports in Alaska were Ketchikan, Juneau,and Skagway. All very easy to visit from the dock, all had tours you could take separate from the cruise ship. The train in Skagway was fantastic, so much history. If possible, we like taking tours early so we can still walk through town. It might be an early start, but you can see and do more that way. Victoria is beautiful, but most shops close at 6, so if you have a "late" day in port (ours was 2:30-9:00pm) shop first then have a bite to eat somewhere. Or go to the museum which a open til 9pm. You can easily grab a cab right at the dock, $10 a carload. Service charges... you can't get out of paying those daily fees even if the service was poor, as ours was, at dinner. They just refused to remove anything, but did give a us a free bottle of wine for our troubles. This was our first NCL cruise, seeing Alaska was wonderful! We were really not impressed with the ship, or the service, on NCL. Free style seemed to cross over into a low key, figure it out for yourself, style. There was a pervasive lack of service or just enthusiasm on board. NCL staff members are certainly friendly when contacted, just aloof the rest of the time. It's as if they are so busy with other things they have to do they are focused at tasks at hand, not the passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We arrived at our hotel in San Pedro the night before our cruise departed. The Crowne Plaza was very nice and conveniently located near some very good seafood restaurants near the harbor. The next morning, the hotel shuttle transported us ... Read More
We arrived at our hotel in San Pedro the night before our cruise departed. The Crowne Plaza was very nice and conveniently located near some very good seafood restaurants near the harbor. The next morning, the hotel shuttle transported us to the cruise terminal about a mile or two away. Embarkation was as expected, a long delay followed by a rush to line up for boarding. Several groups of "Special Event" cruisers were allowed to board ahead of everyone else who had been waiting a long time to board. I think NCL should not allow this. Board by your boarding number and don't give special treatment to large groups. Boarding went okay and we were finally in our balcony cabin on Deck 9. We went to the buffet for some lunch and then went topside for the sailaway. Leaving San Pedro harbor was beautiful with the gorgeous sunset. The next day was a sea day so we spent most of the day exploring the ship. We had just cruised on her sister ship Norwegian Pearl in June to Alaska, so we were already familiar with the deck plans. The names of some of the dining rooms were different from the Pearl, but the locations were the same. We dined at Tzar Palace on our first night and really enjoyed the lobster dinner. The dining room was almost empty when we were there, but picked up as we were leaving. The staff were very attentive to your needs and were very friendly. During our cruise, we dined at the other main dining room, Azura, and the specialty restaurant, Cagney's Steakhouse. The steaks were excellent and our waiter was always asking us about how we enjoyed our meal. Anyone who cruises should experience a specialty restaurant at least once during a cruise, even though there is an additional charge for eating there. Our first port was Cabo San Lucas. This was the only port that required us to tender. The tender process did not go very well. It took several hours for some people to get off the boat. We were using the life boats from our ship, but later some local vessels were called in to assist with the tendering process. We did not have any shore excursions planned thankfully, so we spent a short time on shore trying out some local food. We were approached all along the pier to the restaurants by peddlers offering boat trips or taxi rides to town, or locals trying to sell their wares. Some of these vendors were very persistent and would not go away. It didn't matter if we were going into town, or returning to the ship, they would harrass you all along the route. This is why I hate traveling to Mexico. Our next port was Puerto Vallarta. Again, we did not schedule a shore excursion and just walked around the area near the pier. A large group of cruisers walked over to the Walmart store near the port. Yes, I said Walmart. There's a high end shopping mall next to the Walmart, but catered to the more wealthy people of the area. After another sea day, we arrived at our next port city of Huatulco, Mexico. The area near the port was filled with shops and restaurants. To get to the city center required a taxi ride. We opted to stay near the port and use the free wifi areas to catch up on my emails. There are really nice shops near the port, so we didn't see a need to go into town. Our next port was Puerto Chiapas, Mexico. This is a small port know mostly for it's coffee and chocolate. There is a large hut next to the pier that has several shops inside. Otherwise, a long walk or taxi ride would get you to the nearest town. Also next to the pier is a large restaurant with a swimming pool. Most of the crew took advantage of the pool and the special discount they had for beer. After another sea day, our next stop was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This is another small port with what appeared to be a flea market atmosphere. The tiny stalls lined a sidewalk along the beach. Everyone appeared to be selling basically the same stuff, so it was easy to get a good deal if you found something you liked. The beach looked like mud, but was just a dirty sand. The water was dirty, but there were many local swimming in the water. If you like rain forests, this is the place to book a shore excusion. There are jungles as far as you could see. The area has several coffee plantations along the mountain slopes. Another sea day, and finally we reached the entrance to the Panama Canal. I was blown away at the sight of Panama City. It's tall white buildings along the coast were not what I expected. Going under the Bridge of the Americas rivaled going under the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we entered our first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks. This is a set of two locks that lift the ship approximatelhy 55 feet. It takes quite a while to attach the ship to the "mules" that will guide the ship through the locks. Although the ship uses its own power going through the locks, it appears that the trains are pulling it along. This is not the case. Our ship is what is called a Panamac ship, meaning it's the largest ship that can fit in the locks. There was barely room on each side of the ship. It was strange watching the ship being lifted in each lock. It was so slow that you don't notice being lifted as you would in an elevator. However, you could tell you were being lifted. The process takes a while while the water fills the locks. Then the gates are opened and you enter the next set of locks to start the procedure all over again. After the Miraflores Locks, the next set is the Pedro Miquel Locks. This lifts the ship to the level of Gatun Lake, 85 feet above sea level. After leaving Pedro Miquel Locks, we sailed under the beautiful Centennial Bridge and into the Culebra Cut. Most of this area is jungle, a we could here monkeys in the trees along the bank. We couldn't see them, but we could certainly hear them. Finally, we reached the last set of locks, Gatun Locks. This is a series of three locks that lower the ship 85 feet back to sea level. It was in these locks where we encountered a very heavy rain storm. The whole trip through the canal took all day. We exited the last set of locks at dusk. The cruise director and photographers took pictures as the ship went through the canal. The DVD they produced was less than I had expected. It wasn't even high definition. I've seen better videos on You Tube. For th $30 they charged for the DVD, I expected a lot more footage of the ship . Our last foreign port was Cozumel. Having been here before, we checked out the shops along the strip. As in most Mexican ports, we were followed by vendors trying to get your business. That is especially true at the big stores like Diamonds International, Colombia Emeralds, and all the other stores you are told to shop at during the shopping seminar given on board. We did find some nice T-shirts. Day 17 and we arrived in New Orleans, my favorite city. Being from Louisiana, it was great eating good southern food again and listening to good Cajun music. While in New Orleans, we visited the WWII museum. This is a must see for anyone visiting New Orleans. It's a very large museum and the movies are a must see as well. The weather for the entire cruise was hot and humid, with the exception of Los Angeles. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and chapstick are a must. We didn't experience the swarms of mosquitoes everyone told us about, even in the Panama Canal. A Panama Canal cruise has been a bucket list trip for me for many years. Now that I've done it, I don't think I will ever need to make that trip again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I will first start out with what was good: 1. THE STAFF at Sushi, Teppanyaki, Chin-Chin (all treated our 7-year-old son like a little prince), Cagney's for breakfast and lunch (at dinner, I got a backed potato with NO butter and sour ... Read More
I will first start out with what was good: 1. THE STAFF at Sushi, Teppanyaki, Chin-Chin (all treated our 7-year-old son like a little prince), Cagney's for breakfast and lunch (at dinner, I got a backed potato with NO butter and sour cream on the side like I requested while the table next to me got offered all of the accoutrements to include chives, bacon and cheese.) The bartenders and staff at Magnum's, Happy Happy, Washy-Washy Guy (some ppl found him annoying, I thought he was happy-go-lucky and did his job well for someone who has to stand by the Garden Cafe doors daily and spray hands of sometimes grumpy passengers.) Our room steward and butler were great (although this time, we really did not ask much of our butler.) 2. Evening entertainment--Cruise Director, Jamie DeSousa and Assistant, "Sinful Sin" were great--very personable and passionate about their jobs and making sure cruisers had a good time. Band on The Run was OK--but that may be simply because my hubby and I are not huge fans of 70s music. Comedian David Naster was funny and seems to be an intelligent and caring individual as he did daytime presentations on Bullying and another on the heavy subject of Sickness and Death. Good stuff. Soul Duo was great--and Cirque de Bijou was also a great show. NOW, for the bad: 1. In 2010, we took the same Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Star. The original Spinnaker's lounge on the Star was converted into a Deluxe Owner's Suite and our stay there was awesome! Lots of room--large living area with separate bedroom and a spacious bathroom. We went for the aft-facing "penthouse" this time, spent close to the same amount and received a lot less for our money. We have cruise on Norwegian 4 times to include this trip and I want to say this room by far was of least value for our money. It was not much bigger than a regular balcony suite, really. Upon our first few minutes there, I noticed a horrible urine smell coming from the toilet. I thought maybe our 7 year-old son missed the mark (as he sometimes does at home) and I cleaned the floor around the toilet to alleviate the stench (yep--cleaning toilets on my vacation--LOVELY--) to no avail. The smell prevailed throughout the rest of the week to the point of my dreading to go into the toilet in my own room! Our room was made-up, turned-down and cleaned on a daily basis so I doubt that it was the steward and cleaning crew's fault that the bathroom just STUNK. Around Thursday/Friday timeframe, I noticed the same smell lurking around the hallway of the 9th floor. Yuck. So, either ALL toilets were not being appropriately cleaned or there was indeed a plumbing problem on this ship. Note to Mr. Sheehan--We PAY TOO MUCH for a room to smell like URINE! Gross. FIX THE PLUMBING! I'm sure your multi-million dollar home does not smell! 2. I've seen on other reviews that the quality of the food in the "free" places such as the Garden Cafe, Tsar's and Azura was lowered to drive people to the specialty restaurants. This is indeed true. In 2010, I remember getting meals in the main dining rooms aboard the Star and not thinking they were half bad. The food at Azura was OK but the food in Tsar's Palace was atrocious. Greasy, tough steak, minuscule, over-cooked lobster tail, peas and carrots that looked like they came out of a can, luke-warm mashed potatoes--just gross. Waitstaff seemed confused (my mother in law waited 10 minutes for a refill on her coffee) and overworked. All-in-all, they did the best they could with the mess they've been given. Another note to NCL's CEO--WE DID NOT JUST FALL OFF THE TURNIP TRUCK! To lower the quality of your food in the main dining rooms to drive us to the specialty restaurants (where more fees apply) is an INSULT to the intelligence of those who know better (and we do.) 3. The Splash Academy kid's program is a joke. Never have I seen a more jacked-up schedule for a kid's program in my life of being a mom. Again, I've seen other reviews on here and I am relieved to know that we were not the only folks that had issues with this place. Inside the Splash Academy is a jungle gym--which is only available for use during "Freestyle Freeplay" hours of which there were only 17 logged for the ship's itinerary. 9 of those hours were in port (correct me if I am wrong, but I think most parents would jump at the opportunity of getting off the ship WITH their kids in port) and 5 of those hours were EARLY in the morning (7am-8am--IT'S SUMMER VACATION, PEOPLE!) This left a grand total of 3 hours of Freeplay during "normal" hours--with only 2 hours on one sea day and a WHOPPING 1 hour on the second sea day! While I appreciate the effort of the program to provide some educational games and structure for the kids, any mom of a 7 year-old boy with ADHD (that is under control, BTW) would attest to the fact that BOYS LIKE TO RUN and BURN OFF ENERGY. There was either Freeplay or the kids were placed into groups (with no supervision for conflict resolution...my son relayed some kids saying some pretty ugly stuff to him and as a result, wanted to go back even less.) Normally, he would have just walked away from the situation and have done something else--but wait--THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO!! So the kids played a game while the "counselors" sat around yip-yapping by a window. If the child did not desire to play the game (as not every kid likes every game), too bad. They could not run in the jungle gym-they had to take it or leave it. This usually ended in a call to our mobile room phone that our son "wanted to be picked up." On Thursday, there was ONE hour of freeplay and the rest of the activities were dedicated to the "circus" the Splash Academy was putting on. So, if your child did not care to participate in their "circus", they were out-of-luck. We could take him to a Martini-Tasting, yet another jewelry shopping schpeel and Bingo, though. Really exciting for a 7 year-old. The center was also closed on sea days (for our convenience) during 12p-2pm and 5pm-7pm. Here's a clue for them: MOST PARENTS value a quiet kid-free meal now and then. Splash Academy was closed during prime dining hours so as a result, parents with small children had to plan around the staff's schedule! Whose vacation is it, anyway?? So much for Freestyle! The center was OPEN during port hours (which was ridiculous to me as I, for one, would not leave my kid on a ship with people I don't even know while I went out to explore and I'm willing to bet people wanted to take their children off ship as well) and OPEN during late night hours with the stipulation that if they deemed they did not have "enough kids" by 11pm, the center would close. My husband and I did not stay out late--but if we decided to rage at the White Hot party, we probably would have gotten a call. When I have to plan my son's entertainment around a spa appointment or my husband has to plan it around a beer tasting ON VACATION, that's a problem! My suggestion to the staff and to the manager who does the scheduling: 1. MORE Freeplay hours! Kids like to RUN and burn off energy with other KIDS! 2. Be OPEN during PRIME DINING HOURS-_EVERY DAY! 3. LESS Port-Play hours to avoid burn-out of the staff because MOST parents take their children off the ship with them! 4. Allow parents time to PLAN a late night out by having an advanced sign-up list for this type of thing. WORK TOGETHER with your Cruise Director and plot out which nights parents of young children would most likely stay out late and then offer a "Parent's Night Out" option maybe instead of every night--every other evening or something like that--where it's all (staff) hands-on-deck with late-night games (AND FREEPLAY!) 5. ENGAGE the kids! Know their names....get to know what makes them tick. THEY ARE ALL SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT AND SHOULD BE CELEBRATED FOR BEING THIS WAY--NOT PUT INTO A BOX where they are dubbed "disruptive" for not wanting to play a game! I swear the restaurant staff and general cruise ship staff did a much better job of engaging our son than these folks did! That's my two cents. I'd have to say that b/c of Splash Academy, my husband and I did NOT sign up for the next Cruise Credit program as we did in the past and will be looking at Disney unless NCL decides to pull their heads out. We were faithful NCL cruisers until now and even brought other friends and family members along for (several) cruises. Collectively , we spent A LOT OF MONEY--too much to be burdened by inconvenient inefficient scheduling on part of a YOUNG (probably underpaid) and clueless staff of a children's program. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We had a great time but it's due to the fact that we were traveling with 3 other families. Overall, for our first time cruising, it was a good experience. Seattle Embarkment: We arrived at the terminal early (11 AM) which gave us ... Read More
We had a great time but it's due to the fact that we were traveling with 3 other families. Overall, for our first time cruising, it was a good experience. Seattle Embarkment: We arrived at the terminal early (11 AM) which gave us lots of time to check-in with no line. There were lots of agents available so the check-in process was very quick. You can even arrange/reserve/or change your dining option before boarding. There was a table with staff to assist you with this. We found out Lobster night will be on the first night so we switched our Cagney's reservation to another night. Note: there was a deal where for $57/adult, you can dine at Cagney's, Le Bistro and Mama's Kitchen (aka La Cucina) which was what our group pre-paid. Dining: Lobster night was average; not impressed. This was on the first night and available at either Tsar or Azura. You get one lobster tail with small steak (tough piece of meat and on the salty side). The lobster taste frozen and slightly overcooked. I asked for second and our server was nice enough to get it for our table without the tough steak. Our favorite was Le Bistro. The food was excellent and the service was A+. Our server, Dorothy, was amazing and really paid attention to our needs. Don't know if others are aware but for the flat fee, you can order as many items as you want from the menu; as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you want. So it is not expensive. Kids 12 and under are half price. The kids in our group were having a feast. They tried everything on the menu and reorder items that they liked several times. Our second favorite is Cagney's. The steaks were excellent. You can decide what sauce and butter to go with your steak. The service here also was very good. La Cucina was average. Service was good but the food was ok; I'd say a little bit better than Olive Garden and close to Macaroni Grill. Note: if you prepaid for dining and there are kids under 12 in your party, make sure to get the refund since it's supposed to be half price. Also check your final statement that the refund took place. There was an issue with one of the restaurants that I prepaid and the refund didn't take place. I had to ask them to fix it on my last day which they did. We ate at the Garden Cafe' quite a bit. Mostly because of the varieties which made it easy to please everyone. Breakfast had lots of selections. There were cold stuff (cereal, yogurt, milk), hot stuff (waffles, pre-made omelets, made-to-order omelets, eggs benedicts which was good, etc.), juices, and coffee. For lunch, there were burgers, hot dogs, fries, salad, some type of grill meat depending on the day (chicken or cornish hen or fish or beef), and some Asian dishes (stir-fried, curry, noodles). Dinner had more varieties as there'd be one main hot dish (roast turkey or prime ribs, or roast pork). There was also a crepe station every night. There was one day where they had 2 small roast pigs being served at the pool area. It was excellent, especially the crunchy skins. The meat was gone within an hour. Can't forget the Chocoholic Buffet. This is a must even if you don't have a sweet tooth or like chocolate. I can't recall which night during the cruise but at 10 PM, the Garden Cafe was completely filled with all sorts of chocolate treats. Not to mention there were several ice sculptures and lots of chocolate arts. Even though they said the start time is 10 PM, one of the crew (Rowan aka Washy Washy Guy) told us to be there early. The kids and I got there at 9:45 PM and the place was already filled with people. Be prepared to be push around 'cause it seemed like some people had never seen or eat chocolate. Some items were really good while some are just ok. Excursions overall were ok; the details are in my individual port reviews. With our big group, we were able to cover most of the excursions. Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour was 3 out of 5. Mendenhall Glacier Explorer was 3 out of 5. Helicopter Glacier excursion got mixed review; the adults liked it while the kids gave it a 3 out of 5. Whale watching was 3.5 out of 5. There was always a show in the main theater, Stardust, at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM. Entertainment was good, especially the two contortionists. Our cabin was 11546, midship mini-suite with balcony. It was small but good. Balcony is definitely a must. There was a bath tub which was a plus so we can bath our 1-year-old. Daily activities for sea days were not appealing. The last thing while on vacation for me is to hear "how to get flat abs in 7 days" or "how to detox in 5 days", etc. Our kids tried the kids club once for a couple of hours and they got bored. There were some activities that were worth it; Salsa dancing, ballroom dancing, and a fruit carving demonstration. Overall, we had fun because we were with friends. Bottom line, get the package dining deal 'cause Le Bistro and Cagney's are a must. Do go on an excursion and definitely get a midship cabin with a balcony. Hope I'm not forgetting anything.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was a first cruise to Alaska and as an introduction to Alaska it was awesome. Our group included my wife and me, our two young adult sons, and my 83 yr. old mother-in-law (who was on her first cruise). It is hard to find anything to ... Read More
This was a first cruise to Alaska and as an introduction to Alaska it was awesome. Our group included my wife and me, our two young adult sons, and my 83 yr. old mother-in-law (who was on her first cruise). It is hard to find anything to criticize. The overall experience on the Norwegian Jewel is geared to a family traveling together. There are activities for young children and if there is a demographic group that may be not well represented it is young adult singles. We did not avail ourselves of any of the specialty dining options, prefering to dine in the Tsar's dining room and Azura, with the occasional foray to the Garden Cafe and the Blue Lagoon. The menu selection in the Tsar's and Azura are varied with several changes as the cruise contiues. Presentation and quality are very good and, of course, you can add extra entrees if you are hungry! Since we cruise for the total experience, we book interior staterooms rather than balcony rooms. Our cabin, though small (143 sq. feet) provided everything we needed in sleeping and bath facilities. It was clean, comfortable and very quiet. Don, our steward was attentive and kept the cabin well supplied and clean (even though we were somewhat cluttered with our "stuff"). Embarcation was quick and easy. I suggest that anyone driving and parking use the Republic Parking service across the street from Pier 66 in Seattle.) We arrived at noon on the day of sailing and had a very nice lunch in the Garden Cafe and followed that up with a tour of the ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the ship. We then went topside and took in the downtown Seattle skyline views and Puget Sound views. Cast-off took place on-time and it was a wonder to watch this large ship navigate through a very busy harbor scene with a lot of pleasure boats running around. A few notes about the shipboard experience. NCL entertainment is well produced and thought out. The entertainers a first class and the shows are well worth it. Comedian/Magician Jeanne Pierre was very entertaining and funny. Cruise Director Jaime de Souza was very personable and made us all feel like we were members of the family. The entertainment was first class and appropriate for all ages. The Cirque de Bijou show in the Stardust Theater was the highlight of the cruise. The other shows were excellent and varied! As a counterpoint to the Stardust Theater productions the various lounge acts were very good and we enjoyed that experience when we wanted less of a "production" experience. The entertainment is appropriate for all ages and parents will not have to worry about any raunchy shows. The ship is clean and well maintained. The staff and crew were very courteous and friendly and really appear to enjoy their jobs. If I was traveling with young children or grandchildren, I would not hesitate to take a cruise with NCL. There are activities onboard ship that are staffed from early morning until late evening and the kids we saw were having a great time. Hope this helps! Enjoy the experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Alaska was beautiful even though most of the excursions we booked through NCL took you to tourist trap style places. We decided to book our excursions thru NCL because I had read if your excursion is delayed for any reason, the ship will ... Read More
Alaska was beautiful even though most of the excursions we booked through NCL took you to tourist trap style places. We decided to book our excursions thru NCL because I had read if your excursion is delayed for any reason, the ship will wait for you if (and only if) it is an NCL excursion. Not to worry! In the future we may do our own excursion booking as we get to port. There are always many, many companies hawking their trips & from what I could gather, they are much cheaper. The excursions we did are as follows: Port 1 Ketchikan: Magnificent Misty Fjords Seaplane- We found out after being on the ship & checking our excursion tickets, that anyone that weighs over 250 lbs. has to pay an extra $100.00 or you can't go. My husband is 6'4' and weighs over 250, so guess what ' At the excursion desk, they couldn't merely add the $100, they had to totally refund the entire excursion & recharge the whole thing at the higher price. (Dumb) The wait for the seaplane took almost an hour as they had 'mechanical problems' and had to bring in another plane. Even though there were still 5 planes sitting there at their dock. We were unfortunately in the very last group to be called & I felt we got gypped out of some of the tour time. We were one of the first planes back to the dock. So others left 15-20 minutes before us & were still out flying when we got back. (Aggravating) The flight was nice enough & we landed on a quiet little lake in the middle of nowhere. The pilot lets you out of the plane to walk on the pontoons. I declined. I was the only fraidy cat to stay in the plane. The ladder was tiny & those pontoons were too narrow for this grandma! I had never flown on a teeny tiny airplane so that was fun. There was room for my husband and me, a family of 3 and the pilot. All in all, it was fun. Port 2 Juneau: Four Glacier Adventure by Helicopter ' This was by far the best excursion of the whole trip. (and no extra charge for my big hubby) You have to wear special glacier boots that go over your shoes unless you already have on hiking boots. The scenery is gorgeous & flying over the glaciers was amazing. Then to land on one & get out & walk on it was just incredible! You could drink the melting glacier that was flowing in little rivers on the glacier (we did) It was worth every penny it cost just to walk on that glacier. They are beautiful! The helicopter held me, hubby & another couple and the pilot. You wear headphones in the helicopter & listen to some music and sometimes the pilot gives updates. If you want to talk, you have to push a button on the ceiling of the helicopter. I mention that because I've never seen that happen on TV or in the movies. If you go to Alaska, do not miss the chance to walk on a glacier! Port 3 Skagway: White Pass Railway & Yukon Expedition ' This was just OK & don't recommend it much. The bus ride up is very long (the lady in front of me was playing candy crush saga which I thought was funny as there was plenty of gorgeous scenery out the windows! But maybe she was bored) (also - there is a microscopic bathroom on the bus) and the stop for lunch is at a tourist trap type place. The BBQ chicken lunch was OK, nothing spectacular. You get a leg & a thigh. The taxidermy 'museum' is just run of the mill stuffed animals. I zipped right through it but did take pictures of the bears so we could say we 'saw bears'. There are a few miniature horses you can pet but then you have to declare on your customs forms coming back into the US that you had contact with livestock! (No big deal, they didn't ask about it, the customs agent didn't even look at the forms) There are 4 or 5 puppies that they said were 11 weeks old you can pet, but watch out for dog poop in the yards everywhere! They were cute. Lots of sled dogs to see, but if chained up dogs bother you, don't go. They are all chained up at their dog houses. From what I gather, that is the norm for sled dogs. The bus driver did pull over once when he saw another bus pulled over and there was a black bear cub foraging for food. I got a few blurry pictures but that is the only live bear we saw all week. We saw a brief glimpse of a caribou from the train on the ride down the hill. If you go, sit on the right side of the train (as you get in from rear of car as we did, when walking in, sit on the right) as that will be the side with the best views going down the mountain. Unless you go out to the platform on either end of the train car. (You are not allowed to go off your assigned train car) My husband spent almost the entire trip on the platform. There isn't much room out there & the people that were first ones out there ' stayed out there so don't delay getting out there or you won't get a turn! They did offer complimentary bottles of water on the train, which was nice, since a bottle of water on the ship costs $2.50 - $5.25! Port 4 Victoria BC: Orca Whale Watching & Wildlife Tour ' The boat took about a 25 minute ride out to where there were reports of whales. It turned out to be one measly whale that surfaced every few minutes. Barely visible except for one quick surfacing where we did get a few photos. (nothing spectacular but at least you can tell it's a whale!) Keep the shutter on 'sport' (continuous shots) as the view of the whale is brief. There were 2 other tour boats from other companies at same spot. The 'wildlife' were a few seals on rocks in the distance on the trip back to the dock. Hard to tell what was a seal and what was a rock. The boat ride was very bumpy & several people were obviously sick & laying down on the benches. I took a Dramamine before going just to be safe even though I've only had motion sickness once in my life & I was pregnant then too so who knows. Some of the reviews on this company's website were out of this world but we were not so lucky. I also heard another co-passenger that went whale watching in a different port tell of a wonderful tale of seeing whales bubble netting. She lucked out! Enough about the excursions, now onto the ship and cruise line itself. The 'free style' cruising was nice as we didn't have to adhere to scheduled meal times, but the buffet was always packed & hard to find a free table. Sometimes there wasn't silver service & napkins in the trays on the tables either. The food didn't vary much at all from day to day, so what you see on the first day ' you will probably see every day after that. We did eat in the other 'free' dining rooms and they were nice enough. Sometimes there were lines waiting to get in. The food was decent & service was 'just ok' ' nothing great. Four of the nights we ate in the extra charge dining rooms. The Teppanyaki (Benihani- like) Japanese dining room was the best of the extra fee dining rooms. The service was great & food was excellent plus the added fun of having the chef cook your food right in front of you & put on a little show. We also ate at Cagney's Steakhouse (it was good) and Le Bistro French (food was good but service was totally awful!) and what is called 'Mama's' (Italian) on the website but it isn't called that on the ship. It was OK too. Our room steward was OK but I had to ask for ice almost daily. He filled the ice bucket half full once a day & that was it. I like ice water at night & it was all melted by then. The towel animals were cute but nothing extraordinary. Same thing as every other cruise ship. The duvet cover on our bed had a hole in it (over an inch long) and the cover on the sofa bed was very worn and faded. The clear plexiglass on our balcony was dirty & didn't look like it had been washed in a good long while. We used one of the bath towels to wipe it down so we could see better. When I cruised on Royal Carribean, the stewards were like ninjas & were mostly unseen but gave excellent service. The stewards on the Jewel were always in the halls, as were the big bags of trash & their carts with the cleaning supplies on them. Very unsightly & were seen way way too often! Comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean, I like RC much better for the service, and the ship was in better condition. On the Jewel, they were always trying to get extra money out of you with their games & their 'free seminars' which were only ploys to get you to buy their very expensive health products. They were even hawking their products when we went for our couples massage that cost almost $300! Like that wasn't enough, they wanted you to spend even more. It was very very annoying We did go to play Deal or No Deal (cost $20 per card to play) one of the first nights & it was a total disaster. The computer went down & it took them almost half an hour to fix it and then it goofed up the entire game & the poor lady that was on stage lost a couple hundred dollars thru no fault of her own. They didn't offer to fix anything for her. We saw her on land at one of our ports & talked to her & she did say they offered her a free dinner to make it up to her. They should have given everyone in the audience a free do over game because it was totally goofed up with the computer going down. We didn't play any more of their overpriced games after that. We took our daughter & her husband along with us as a graduation present for her & told them (NCL) that at the time of booking the cruise. When we got on board, there was a card in the slot by their door telling her happy birthday (what?) and telling her to bring the card to an art auction to receive a free gift. Well, there was no 'free gift' but all they gave her was a 'chance' to win a piece of art in a drawing at the END of the auction, so she would have to sit thru an entire auction that she had no interest in (who buys 'art' on a cruise anyway?) to wait to see if she won anything, something they called a free gift. Very disappointing, not to mention it wasn't her birthday! She did get a little slice of some kind of fluffy icebox cake & the waiters sang happy birthday to her in one of the restaurants. Again, not her birthday but oh well, hey ' free cake! The shows in the main Stardust Theater were OK. The comedian (Dave Naster) was the best. He was very funny! The same dance crew perform at every show, even the "cirque" show. They were talented but just run of the mill cruise type entertainment. All in all, it was a nice vacation, but I will not cruise with NCL ever again. Alaska was beautiful and worth seeing. Pack warm clothes even if you go mid July! I wore my winter coat with the hood on & gloves when we were on our balcony going up the fjord or whatever it was, Tracy's Arm maybe? On the way to Sawyer's Glacier that we barely got a glimpse of from very very far away. The Captain said there was too much ice in the water to venture any closer. He was probably right as there were lots of large chunks in the water. It was very cold that day on that balcony & I was glad I had my coat & gloves to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. It was definitely worth the extra money to have a balcony on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 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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