84 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

NCL Jewel February 20-27 2011 Nickelodeon All Access If you enjoy waiting on lines... this cruise is for you. Will I ever cruise again? Maybe. On NCL? Only if they paid me my $9k back. On a Spongebob cruise? Not a chance. ... Read More
NCL Jewel February 20-27 2011 Nickelodeon All Access If you enjoy waiting on lines... this cruise is for you. Will I ever cruise again? Maybe. On NCL? Only if they paid me my $9k back. On a Spongebob cruise? Not a chance. Executive summary: The good - cheerful and helpful staff, some with the patience of saints; nice ship / rooms / restaurant areas; good entertainment program (of course heavily kid oriented for this cruise); the spa The bad - So-called Great Stirrup Cay "private island" is more like a penal colony, a horrendous, crowded, construction-covered hellhole (stay on the ship!); many passengers are loud, obnoxious, and pushy and have no sense of how their kids (or they themselves) should behave in public; NCL is always trying to sell you something The ugly - two out of four debarkations (not Florida or Bahamas but private island and final stop) and many organized events and activities were organizational fiascos involving hours on line, leaving one to wonder whether this is the first time they have ever organized having everyone get off the ship. First, where we are coming from: we are a CT based, not too snotty but not trashy family of four. Two normal 40ish parents, a seven year old girl, and a 16 year old manchild. We had no idea what to expect and in many ways were pleasantly surprised. First, embarkation at Pier 88 was relatively smooth. We had lunch at Tsar's Palace which our daugher said was "the fanciest restaurant ever." Then to the cabin, a mini-suite, which was the size we expected. The bathroom is great, and the balcony more than adequate size. Our son started the trip tentatively then hooked up with a crew of teens and was thereafter only seen during sleep hours from 1am-9am or so. We had most of our meals at the Garden Cafe, the buffet restaurant, as this was one deck up and very convenient. The food is varied and good, and what I loved most was the "Indian Selection" every day at lunch and dinner. The first organizational train wreck was Kid's Crew. On a normal cruise with 2,400 passengers there might be what, 400-500 kids? For this Nick cruise let's assume there were maybe 1,000-1,200 or maybe half the total passengers. The counsellors were upbeat and doing their best, but it seems as if no one anticipated hundreds of kids trying to check in for the kid club on the first full day. It took 45 minutes to get our girl in for 90 minutes of play, then another 30 minutes to check her out. Procedures are good as far as making sure no one steals your kid, but overall the experience was such that she didn't want to go back at all, cramping the parents opportunities for an hour or two of fun here and there. This sentiment was shared with many, many other parents. Disembarking in Florida was fine as the ship was at a pier. We didn't do any shore excursions, we met my parents and went to Cocoa Village, a cute little town maybe 20 minutes from the terminal (a taxi and day spent here at indie shops and restaurants is highly recommended). Nice day. Great Stirrup Cay: the "there's no place like home" moment. The ship does not dock here since the water is not deep enough, so there are "tenders," boats that ferry passengers to the island. Tickets were handed out for boats 1-9 on a first come first served basis. Ours was 5 so we dutifully went down to the appropriate deck when summoned by Silas the Terminally Happy Cruise Director. Apparently no boats had even left yet so throngs of angry parents and impatient kids were in line winding up the stairways. The dumb ones, that is... the smart ones took the elevator straight to 4 and blitzed right into the mob. One off-duty dancer was dispatched to deal with the angry mob, to no avail. She, and we, were overrun by aggressive, large linebacker types (and you should have seen their parents) who just wanted off. We waited over an hour, hot, sweaty, and frustrated as they slowly loaded the boats. When we finally got to the island, the real disappointment set in. They cram everyone into a crescent shaped beach big enough for one fourth the actual number of people. Food, the only truly mediocre meal of the cruise, is set up in pavilions which are sort of temporary feeling wooden structures. To round out the charm, backhoes and tractors drive by at the nearby construction sites that completely surround the beach. Thankfully we didn't pre-rent snorkel gear not only because the water was a bit cold, but mostly because swimming with all those people was just not going to happen. The Hippo Slide is a disgrace and should be free, charging $5 per slide or $20 "for the day" is inexcusable when the line is long and it was kind of lame anyway. The kids had fun here but staying on the boat for a spa, a meal, or a nap is the best bet here. Bahamas: fortunately the boat docks here so disembarking was not too traumatic. Atlantis was booked up online before the cruise but when we first got on the ship, I ran to the shore excursions desk and sure enough 24 new spaces had opened up. Atlantis is worth every penny. We liked it so much we may go on a dedicated trip there. Won't go into the day except to say we were happy NCL got more spaces and again, it was a perfect day. Entertainment: the 70's show on Tuesday night ("Band on the Run") was slightly cheesy, Vegas- type song and dance entertainment that is not my thing but was well performed and nicely done. The Spongebob (Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke) show had the kids screaming and was fantastic for them. The "Cirque Bijou" was again not my style but some song and dance action with acrobatics thrown in. There were a couple of premiere screenings (a Spongebob episode, a Nick movie, and an episode of iCarly with Q&A with one of the cast members) which the kids liked also. Overall, the performers clearly work very hard and this entertainment probably compares very well with other ships. Oh, the Stardust Theater is very nice. You can't believe you're on a ship. Very cool. Even though there are two shows of just about every event, get there early. Sometimes there are lines at the upper level (starboard side of deck 7), and other times you can go right in and grab a seat. If you show up at the posted time you will be disappointed with your seats, so whether or not there is a line, go early. Jean-Pierre, a magician / comedian from Canada, was brilliant. Absolutely the best show on the boat. A riot. Pool: small, crowded. The water is recirculated and well heated salt water, which is fine, but the pools are so small. Did I say they are tiny? Spa: the mother/daughter massage is an ingenious way to get people in early. My wife went three times (ouch). Bonus: the last evening, Saturday, we were treated at sunset to a pod of whales off our port side (toward the shore) blowing, breaching, and diving. At one point there were so many spouts we couldn't count. Their dolphin playmates jumped around in pairs, quickly approaching the ship and surfing the bow and stern waves. This was an amazing thing to see, an abundance of frisky and playful mammal life just a few miles off Baltimore or so. Final disembarkation nightmare: we chose "free track," i.e. to leave with our suitcases when they say to. It was a redux of the tender disaster. We went down to 7 and joined a conga line going around a few corners. My wife and I asked at different times what the deal was and were told we were in the right place. There was another line clearly disembarking and we were told that was the "wrong" line. Ok. We waited and waited and finally I lost patience and approached another staffer. She expressed surprise that several hundred people were waiting around the corner "over there" and that she'd let guest services know. COME ON. Would a cordon, or a sign, or a few staffers to tell people the drill really be that difficult? Do they go through this every time? I am ok with waiting on line if it is the right line, the fair line, the line where my family is not being screwed over by aggressive, obnoxious families who came downstairs 30 minutes after us. There is no justice. After an hour plus of this we got into customs, etc. I recommend against the color-coded baggage thing (they take your bags the night before and load them in the customs house for you) because it looked like a nightmare to try finding your bags as well as very easy for someone to make off with your stuff. A note on incidentals: our $2k supplemental bill broke down approximately as follows: $500 Atlantis (worth it), $500 spa (ouch), $300 in automatic gratuities of $12 per passenger per day, and $700 of who knows what... drinks, photos (yes we bought many, damn it), and other crap we didn't need but binged on anyway. It is completely controllable and if you're careful you don't have to spend much in addition to the tickets ($6,800 for four in a mini-suite in our case). Overall, I commend NCL Jewel's crew and never felt at any point that they were slacking or not doing their best. From the Scandinavian drivers and engineers to the American/British/Australian entertainers to the German chefs to the Filipino kitchen and cabin staff, all were fantastic and perpetually smiling. (Don't let me leave out the eastern Europeans and Brazilians but broadly speaking my pigeonholing stands). They work grueling 6-8 month contracts, seven days a week, many of them sending most of what they make to their families. We tipped our stewards extra (Winnie and Randolph are stars) because they did such a great job with our cabin during make up in the morning and turn down in the evening. Unfortunately they were set up to fail by NCL Corporate who obviously did little to prepare the crew for what would be a very abnormal cruise resulting from the Nick deal. The one major recommendation is that the crew communicate with each other as well as with passengers regarding procedures for lines, disembarkation, and special events, and then ENFORCE those procedures. It's not that hard. This simple problem led to 90% of the ill-will, and negative conversations were repeated like a game of telephone between parents getting more and more annoyed by each adverse event. Unfortunately, it was a huge relief, a pleasure akin to the dentist's drill stopping, to get off the boat. One final peeve and recommendation for NCL if they ever read this as it will boost their profits: they charge for soda and alcohol which we knew going in, and was fine. Let's say me, wife, son and daughter ordered wine, beer, and sodas respectively. NCL insists on closing out the check right there and then for that round which means hand them the card, sign, tip, get the card back. This discourages me from what I really want, which is to order a second round and and after dinner espresso, because I don't want to sign again. NCL would have happier guests and higher profit margins if they would keep the drink check open throughout the entire meal. We would have consumed 50-100% more alcohol and a coffee after each lunch or dinner at Tsar's, Azura, or Blue Lagoon if this had been the case. Final finally: the kids had a blast, and isn't it all about them? (Ha!) My wife and I may cruise again but would probably try something different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The big "hits" * Fun entertainment, especially for the kids. * Specialty restaurants were very good (especially Teppanyaki). * Comfortable rooms (with decent sized bathrooms). * Great staff. * The kids camp was great for the
The big "hits" * Fun entertainment, especially for the kids. * Specialty restaurants were very good (especially Teppanyaki). * Comfortable rooms (with decent sized bathrooms). * Great staff. * The kids camp was great for the young kids ( Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My family and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on NCL's Jewel. We sailed 5/22/10 - 5/29/10. Our ship left from NYC and sailed to Port Canaveral, FL, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas and Nassau, Bahamas. Our group consisted of myself ... Read More
My family and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on NCL's Jewel. We sailed 5/22/10 - 5/29/10. Our ship left from NYC and sailed to Port Canaveral, FL, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas and Nassau, Bahamas. Our group consisted of myself (31), my husband (31), our 2.5 yr. old son and my mother (58) and sister (26). We've all cruised in the past with other lines. This was our first cruise on NCL. What got us to try NCL was 1) Price 2) Sailing out of NYC. We are from CT and enjoyed leaving out of NYC and avoiding the hassle and expense of flying down to FL (as we have done with prior cruises). Other than typical Manhattan traffic, leaving from NYC was convenient and we would do it again. I'll start with the Pro's of the trip: We enjoyed the 'freestyle dining" option. It allowed us the opportunity to eat dinner when we were hungry, rather than at a designated time. We weren't forced to schedule our days around dinner time. We also enjoyed eating with our family exclusively, rather than having to eat with other passengers. Not that we are anti-social, but we prefer eating with one another. Most of our dinners were in Tsar's which is their fancier dining room. While NCL doesn't push "dressing up" for dinner, most guests looked presentable although you will see some in shorts, flip flops, jeans and sneakers in the dining room. While we didn't dress up to the extent we would on other cruise lines for dinner, we did put some effort into our dinner attire, while others looked like they showed up in beach attire. No biggie, just a heads-up. We attended two shows. The first was a magic/comedy show. The magic itself was typical card tricks, etc., but the comedy thrown in with guest participation and some mild "adult humor" made the show very enjoyable. We also attended "le Cirque Bijoux'. I would have to say that was the highlight of our time on the ship. I've been to Cirque shows in the past and considering the size of the stage, the swaying of the boat (we were in some pretty choppy water at that time), the show was really amazing. The show began at 7:30 and the theater started getting filled shortly after 7, so get your seats early. Overall, most of the staff was friendly. Like anywhere else, you'll get a few that are grumpy, reluctant to help or just plain clueless, but all in all, we thought the service was as expected on a cruise. Our room stewards (Charlie and Sara) were super friendly and called my son by name whenever we passed in the hallways. Like other cruise lines, they'll leave the towel animals on the bed in the PM, which my son looked forward to every evening. The room stewards also left a "farewell" handwritten note on the desk on our final night, which was a nice touch, something to add to the scrapbook. We enjoyed the ports, we went on an excursion to Walt Disney World. We would have enjoyed more time there as the park was packed and it was extremely hot that day, but that's another trip. Great Stirrup Cay is their own private island. Get off the ship first thing. We waited for a while to get off and there were no available chairs (or there were chairs with just towels on them). We found a small patch of sand to put our towels and remained there for the afternoon. The water was beautiful and warm, my son had a blast. My husband had one small glitch, he asked for 1 Corona, signed the slip and was brought back a bucket of Corona's. He didn't pay attention to what he was signing and was stuck with 6 Corona's. Usually not a big deal, but he felt he got suckered in to that purchase, which they wouldn't remove from our bill as "he signed the slip". The last stop was Nassau, my husband went scuba diving which he thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of us went to Ardastra Zoo and Gardens. The zoo is the size of a postage stamp, but was enjoyable. Our tour guide then took us around Nassau in an air conditioned bus. He discussed the history of Nassau, pointed out the government buildings and discussed the agriculture. Our tour consisted of the ghetto section of Nassau (his words) and it really made you appreciate what you have back home. Now the Con's: Food portions were small! Our first night in Tsar's Dining Room I ordered the "baby shrimp cocktail" appetizer. Wow, when they say "baby", they mean it! The shrimp were probably ½" each and there were about 2 tablespoons total which where in a "cocktail like sauce". Not what I expected. I hear shrimp cocktail, I think of shrimp with cocktail sauce on the side for dipping. Another evening my husband and mother ordered a meal of "bay scallops" in grits. When the dish was delivered we all started laughing. There were 5-6 teeny-tiny scallops lying in a pudding-like concoction, which was the grits. They weren't impressed. All portions were small. Most of our dinners were at Tsar's. We were never impressed with the nightly menu, but we wanted a nicer dining experience so were stuck here. Sadly, if you wanted a nice cut of meat, "real" shrimp cocktail, lobster tail, etc. you would have to eat at one of their "cover charge" restaurants. We felt gipped. One of the huge perks of going on a cruise is the all inclusive food. We considered paying the $25 p/p cover charge to eat in Cagney's towards the end of the cruise, but we waited too long to make reservations and they were booked. I guess other guests felt the need to eat at the cover charge restaurants as they were always full when walking by. I expect a higher caliber of food in the dining room and I don't want to be forced to pay a cover charge in order to have a nice dinner. Breakfast and lunch were usually had at the Garen Buffet, Blue Lagoon or out on deck. Those meals were probably the most enjoyable. Garden Buffet was usually packed and I always noticed there were never sufficient plates available, no salt/pepper shakers on the table, not enough silverware at the tables. I was always on a hunt to find something that was missing, it was frustrating. Staff should be prepared for the mad dash at meal times and be prepared. They weren't. I purchased the soda-card on the first day ($52!) and did not feel I got my money's worth. I was constantly hunting down refills for my soda. They don't come around and ask if you need a refill at any of the establishments. Water on the other hand is always refilled, I guess they want you to be sufficiently hydrated. This is more of a complaint of the layout of the ship itself which obviously nothing can be done about it, but just a heads-up. The photo gallery is located along a busy corridor which leads to the dining room, a bank of elevators and their large gift shop. When new photos are put on display in the photo gallery the hallway gets very busy, then add the foot traffic going to/from the dining room, gift shop, etc. and this walkway is super congested. Don't wait until the last day to buy your photos, the lines are long, there are only two registers and the place is packed. Pay attention to your final bill. We were charged for a box of Pringles from our mini-bar, which we never ate, or ever had in our refrigerator. It was only $1.73, but multiply that by each guest room and that adds up for them. My husband was able to have it removed from our bill, along with the two arcade charges for games he tried to play with our son that didn't work. He called guest services immediately after he left the arcade to make sure the charges weren't on our account and he was told they were not there, but low and behold, they showed up on the final bill. Once again, not a lot of money, but it's the principle. Lastly, debarkation was a nightmare. We chose the "easy walk off" option, which allowed us to keep our luggage in our cabin and walk off the following morning. Yeah, well, seems like everyone else was doing the same. It took us close to 2 hours from beginning to end. This required us to push a stroller and drag along all our luggage up and down corridors, then outside on the decks. We felt like cattle. Those that chose to leave out their luggage the night before with the colored luggage tags that contained the designated departure time were no better off. We heard a group of people waiting in a common area at 10:30 still waiting for their 9:30 tags to be called. I know leaving the ship is usually a waiting game, but this was by far the worst disembarking process I've experienced. All in all, we enjoyed our trip, but we have prior cruises to compare this one to and enjoyed certain experiences better on other lines. I'm not going to cross NCL off the list, but it won't be our first or second choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Though I had a great time, this is the most disappointing cruise I have been on. Positive random thought: The cabin was very nice. The shower was the largest I have seen on a cruise line. The Circus Bijou show was the nicest show I have ... Read More
Though I had a great time, this is the most disappointing cruise I have been on. Positive random thought: The cabin was very nice. The shower was the largest I have seen on a cruise line. The Circus Bijou show was the nicest show I have seen on a cruise ship Dinning: The first six nights of this cruise it seemed the dining and cooking staff was swamped. We waited twenty minutes for them to take our order, another twenty to get out appetizers, then another 10 to 15 to get the main entree. After the sixth night we started going to dinner after 7:30 and the service was much quicker. The food was from average to disappointing. They seemed to be using cheaper cuts of meat in their meals and it showed. The appetizers seemed incredibly small (single shrimp in shrimp cocktail). The staff was very good but you needed to get their attention. Shore Excursions: The shore excursion department was horrible. I booked this cruise for SCUBA diving, but they canceled 3 out of 4 of my diving excursions because of lack of people. A courteous thing to do would to notify you before the cruise so you can plan accordingly. When I asked them who they would use in port they said they could not tell me or they would loose their job. When I asked them who I definitely should not use, they said they could loose their job if they tell me this as well. Nice to know my safety is not as important as their profits. My wife went on 5 island tours. Two of them were miserable. Belize - Altuan Ruins operated by Cruise Solutions Belize LTD, the bus air conditioning was broken and the road extremely rough roads. Not the best situation to bring a two year old on. Tortola- Tortola highlights operated by Romney, was an open air bus with people packed in so we were hip to hip. My wife and I were unable to sit together. They told my wife to hand my daughter over to some one on the inside for safety. Luckily another passenger was willing to change spot. This tour was rated for all ages. It was 20 minutes late and the guide was also the driver who sat in the front cab. There was no way to ask him any questions during the tour. Walking around Tortola before the tour we found out we could have gotten the same tour in air conditioning for $15 instead of the $40 we paid. *Note when you book online before your tour NCL will say air conditioned bus but on the boat their is a disclaimer that they will use the best transportation locally available. There was plenty of air conditioning vans available outside the gate of Tortola; they chose the cheapest not the best in Tortola. On a positive note, my wife and I had a GREAT tour in Roatan by Fun and Sun tours with Loretta as the guide. Child services- The under two zoo is just an interior room with some well worn toys on the floor, nothing special at all. Summary- Until this cruise I did not care which cruise line I went on, but from now on I will see the brand of NCL as a negative. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We flew into Miami from Wisconsin the night before the cruise. There's just no telling with the weather. Spent the night at the airport Embassy Suite. They were overbooked so we got a room with a different sleeping configuration than ... Read More
We flew into Miami from Wisconsin the night before the cruise. There's just no telling with the weather. Spent the night at the airport Embassy Suite. They were overbooked so we got a room with a different sleeping configuration than we wanted. I was crabby from travelling. The next morning I had to admit that this configuration worked better for my family anyway. Otherwise the hotel was nice, clean and the front desk service was really good. Because we were a family of 5 it was cheaper for us to take a taxi than to take the service everyone raves about on this site. It was an easy ride, detour at the grocery store for diet coke, coke, water, box of wine.... Went through the lines. Paid $15 corkage on a bottle of champagne we brought with us on our carry-on. I felt like they caught me doing something wrong even though I knew about the corkage and planned on paying it. The security guy didn't even talk to me, he pulled it out and walked me over to the table. I wasn't trying to be sneaky. I'm just looking for a "ma'am follow me to the table here and we'll settle up your corkage fee." Not a problem, just a feeling. (I might have had a guilty conscience, but we'll get to that later) We then went to sit in the main "holding" room until it was our group's turn to board the ship. They gave us no instructions as to what was going on. We were just told to sit in the back. Then after 15 minutes or so they explained that we would begin boarding by our rows. It was quite orderly but again, I was told to sit down and wait with no explanations. We boarded the boat and were greeted by the head of the child care staff. She was very nice and gave us the paperwork to register our children and asked us to bring the paperwork up to the "Kid's Club" by 2pm. We did and the kids were excited by the rooms they would be spending time in. We then grabbed lunch at the Great Outdoors. I knew from this site that we should go to a dining room instead but we were ready to put our carry-ons down and have a bite, so we did. This is when the kids found out about the ice cream machine. It was a beautiful thing. When we checked out the pool area there was the BBQ going on and music. My son was dancing like crazy. I've never seen that before. We all had a great time. At 2pm it was announced that we could go to our rooms. We had 2 ocean views with a connecting door. My husband and I slept in one room (the beds were made accordingly) and the three kids next door. We kept the adjoining door open almost always. This is where I really appreciated NCL. The bathrooms were very nice and clean (this is where I am PICKY). The rooms were laid out to make the most efficient use of space. The storage was very good. Our rooms were cleaned and turned down every day without us ever being in the way or feeling rushed out so they could get to our room. Our stewards were very good. The rooms could have been vacuumed better but that is only if I'm really looking for something to complain about. We always had our towels refreshed as we needed. I love to nap so they were really making up our bed twice a day. They also put down and up the bunk so that it was out of the way and yet inviting to a 5 year old after a long day of vacationing. I can't believe the kids didn't fight for the top bunk, but they all wanted the beds they got. We had two towel animals towards the end of the trip and they were very adorable. Not just some swan, but an elephant and monkey, not easy to pull off. The elephant was even wearing my husband's sunglasses on my husbands birthday which made it even more fun. Our 5 year old must have thought they were stuffed animals because 2 minutes after we found the elephant on the beds she came running in waving a towel over her head and said so joyfully "and you guys, he was made out of "towels"". She was incredulous and we all started laughing. That will be my greatest memory of this vacation. That is a good vacation right there. So the kids club was open this night. We grabbed a quick dinner at Azura. They were busy so the service and the food were okay, not outstanding but I've certainly had worse. Then we brought the kids to kids club and my husband gambled a little. We would have done something together but I was a little dizzy from the ship so I went to the room. I was surprised by the dizziness but it was gone in a day, so if your trip starts this way it isn't necessarily ruined. While I was in the room I got a call that my youngest kept going to the restroom and wanted me to pick her up. When I picked her up she wasn't sick at all, it was just packed. I mean chaotic like a zoo. Her brother who is 8 said the same when I checked in with him and he came back to the cabin with me too. I wouldn't have even checked on him but it was so crazy that I accidentally waited in line to pick up a kid from his room instead of hers. So once I was there he said he wanted to come with. None of this really bothered me because I knew it was spring break. I heard a number like 900 kids were on this cruise. I believe it, there were a lot. Anyway, my husband brought home my 11 year old. Once she saw me she cried a little bit too because she didn't have fun either. All of my kids like this type of organized activities. I was shocked. But, there were just too many kids. I'm sure that on any other cruise on the same ship with the same employees my kids would have had a riot. NCL were not prepared for the number of kids on this cruise. We never convinced all three of our kids into the kids clubs at the same times again. Bummer, no alone time for Mom and Dad at all but as I noted earlier, I had some of the best family memories to keep. I left out a paragraph earlier about our luggage. It arrived quickly. I think before 4pm. We chose to smuggle alcohol. We brought a box of wine and 3 of the larger rum runners and 3 of the 8oz ones. It all got through without a problem. I wish I hadn't smuggled the wine because it was the worst wine I've ever had. I'm not that picky about wine, but this box was horrible. It was all they had at winn-dixie and if I had had to go to the naughty room because of this crappy wine I would have been really depressed. The rum runners worked great and if it doesn't interfere with your morals I recommend them highly. Our first day at sea: breakfast at Tsar's. It was right at closing time but they got us in. They had just had a large rush so the service was slow and they apologized. I appreciated the explanation and it was no big deal. We then went to the pool deck. It was packed. Stuffed. No loungers available at all. I would have been mad but everyone was sitting in their seats. There were no "hoarders" to complain of so it was just an at sea day on a super crowded boat. My husband worked out and then I did. The fitness center was super crowded too. It didn't matter because I was dizzy still so I only worked out for a half an hour and then called it a day. But, because it was so crowded I can't give it a high rating. It was very clean. I also refused to pay for a class (like yoga, or whatever) but as crowded as this cruise was it needed to be a pay for class. Anyway, the kids had a great time in the pools, hot tubs and the slide. While there were lots of kids none were obnoxious, rude, loud or rowdy. I was impressed. Finally we all ate a Tsars and had a lovely dinner together again as a family. No one would go to kids club but we had a good time. Roatan: Crummy weather. We got a taxi at the port for $60 round trip. We could have gotten it for half that price if we'd taken the time to find the walkway out of the port and get a cab on the street but I was nervous with the kids. We went to West Bay which is a long stretch of beach. We had a nice time even though it was rainy. We bought knock off sunglasses for my husband($15) and a mohogany fruit bowl($30). We ate lunch at the far end of the beach. The food was good. By that time it was time for the cab back to the ship. Back on the ship, swim a little more by the pool and get ready for dinner. Everytime we ate a Tsars we had to wait at the top of the stairs. Even if it wasn't busy. It was as if they wanted us to experience the wait. It got pretty old and usually just felt like they didn't know where to seat us even though there were many open tables. Belize: the tender situation is ridiculous. We followed the directions but didn't get on Belize until 11:30am. We missed our independent tour. It seems like this might be a problem that NCL chooses not to fix because you really must do their tours at this port. The guests on their tours walked right on to tender boats whenever necessary to get them to their tours. It is NCL's right to do so and passengers would be smart to book their tours through the cruiseline at this port but it was frustrating enough that I don't think we'd ever book a cruise through Norwegian again. We did find a different boat to take us snorkelling and to a beach. The snorkelling was unbelievable to me. The island beach they brought us too was nothing to write home about. But, they did get us snorkelling when we might have otherwise been out of luck. The company was Fab adventure tours. Costa Maya: For us it's "Maya Chan". Check it out on the port boards but this place was really wonderful. It was expensive but it's one of those times when you get what you pay for. We ate and drank well, kids loved the beach and sea, it was a lovely place to lay down on a beach bed and nap. It was holy week so lots of locals had vacations and the cabs were running behind. I think the owner was more worried that we'd miss the boat than we were. And, we didn't come close to missing the boat. Entertainment: Tim K, the comedian was very good. I was on vacation and ready to laugh so I was an easy audience. But, he really likes his job and people and it shows and makes for a great show. The magician, he was good and the kids really liked him. I have no feelings big or small about magicians. The Cirque Bijoux show, well it really is not to be missed. It's not Cirque du Solei but you're on a cruise ship and it's high quality entertainment. I was impressed and enjoying myself the whole time. Again, our kids liked it too. Great Stirrup Caye: Nothing much to say. It was really crowded. No seats available but in this case it seemed like there was lots of chair "hoarding". I actually went back to the ship with one of our children. I relaxed on a lounger (my first time this trip) while she enjoyed the pool. My other two children stayed on the island with my husband and played on the beach the whole afternoon. They didn't mind the lack of lounge chairs. Cagney's: My husband and I ate there one evening when the kids agreed to try the club again one last time for us. The food was very good. My steak was great, my husband was a little too done. He really politely asked about it. He was happy to eat it but wondered if he could have the smaller cut version but more rare than this one (my husband can eat a great deal). They said sure but the second cut they brought out was a crappy piece of steak they had served my daughter at tsars the night before. Not a steakhouse cut. We didn't complain because the rest of the food was very good. The sides were so good we even had a second side each because we couldn't decide. The sides are sized for one person to easily eat so we didn't have to roll ourselves out of there, almost though. Finally, I wonder how others feel about the "Kids Crew" on this voyage. Our food was average, but a real average meaning I'm not complaining and I'm not any thinner. We had a lovely family vacation. Our rooms were perfect for our situation. The entertainment was quite good. In then end I don't want much else from a vacation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I must say that if this were my first cruise I probably would not ever cruise again; fortunately this was my seventh cruise and I know that our experience on the Jewel is not the standard in the cruise industry. I should note that five of ... Read More
I must say that if this were my first cruise I probably would not ever cruise again; fortunately this was my seventh cruise and I know that our experience on the Jewel is not the standard in the cruise industry. I should note that five of my cruises were on Royal Caribbean (who set the bar very high in my opinion). My biggest disappointment with this ship is that it has the potential to be well above average, but sadly fell short. Embarkation to the ship was smooth and uneventful (just the way we like it!) Port staff were courteous and helpful. The ship was clean, modern and inviting. Upon embarkation our room was not ready until mid afternoon, but this is the norm and the remainder of the ship was ready to go (bars, lounges, pools, buffet, etc. The room (a quad exterior cabin on the 8th deck) was again the industry standard; well appointed, clean and functional. The only issues I have with the cabin is that not once did I meet our room steward as he did not come to introduce himself. There were a few evenings he did not lower the bunk. On only one evening did we get a "towel animal" (standard on all other cruises we have been on). Also we did not receive and laundry bags (a bit irritating when they promote low cost laundry services), in fact when my wife's bag finally arrived, she asked the steward or assistant steward for the laundry bags and also told him that we could not access the safe and if he would reset it - this was never done. Incidentally, the laundry which is should normally arrive by 6pm the following day did not arrive for us to have pressed clothes in time for dinner. The less than stellar service we experienced in the room radiated throughout the boat from the bar servers to the wait staff, etc. Again; the ship had so much potential but came up well short. It should be noted that there was one shining star; the assistant maitre d'at Chin Chin (Rozalia from the Philippines); but I will detail this later. Disembarkation at our first port of call (Roatan, Honduras) was smooth and in line with the industry standard (it should be noted that we were docked). Our family decided to take the cruise line excursion "Island Sight Seeing and Beach Break". We have been on many city tours on our cruises and find this the fastest way to get a little history as well as the local flavor of the area. On this tour our guide, pointed out such things as gas stations, sewage treatment plants, the local power authority and little else; not a great start to the trip and not much information on the history or culture of the island. This left us wanting more as the area looks really interesting and vibrant. This is a port of call I would visit again and take a different tour. The beach break part of the tour was good; the beach was nice and well groomed. Unfortunately for us it rained; but hey, that's Mother Nature! Our second port of call was Belize. At this port the ship is anchored and passengers take tenders to the port. For this port we chose the shore excursion" Jungle Tubing and Beach Break" (we did not do the city tour as we were in Belize last year with a different cruise line and took the tour then). Organization for efficiently getting passengers off the boat and on the tenders was the norm; meet in the theatre lounge and wait until your excursion is called. This likely would have gone over smoothly as it has on other cruises but the ship lost power for approximately 45 minutes and microphones, computers, etc. were not working (the ship was operating on emergency power). All that being said, we were able to get off the ship and on our tender to shore. Once on shore we were told our excursion had be cancelled due to rain the night before; again nothing that the cruise line has control of but it would have been nice to know prior to leaving the ship; very frustrating as we carried beach towels and additional clothing for nothing. Day three was Costa Maya, Mexico. The ship was docked at this port of call and disembarkation was a snap. We booked the shore excursion "Dune Buggy and Beach Experience". A lot of coordination by the tour company made this an excellent day; a highly recommended excursion, we had a blast. The tour guides were extremely helpful and courteous. It should be noted that Day 3 was also New Years Eve. We were excited about what events the ship had planned for New Years Eve; boy what a lunch box let down! We have seen more planning go into parties at friend's houses than NCL put into this. The boat welcomed 2010 in with a pop and a fizzle. Really boring and uneventful, the count down was less than enthousiastic and could hardly be heard on the pool deck. Not much to say about New Years day other than the sun was out and it was nice and relaxing by the pool. The pool band Upryzin played frequently throughout the day and brought a nice Caribbean flavor to the poolside. I won't bother mentioning about chair hoarding near the pool as this is common on all cruises that we have been on. Our fourth and final port of call was NCL's private island in the Bahamas. We never made this port due to bad weather; not the ships fault, but they did little to "make-up" for the missed port (i.e. no extra activities, etc.). It was cold and windy on deck and very few people were brave enough to sit outside; I am sure bar sales near the pool were flat which must have been a real hit to the bottom line of the boat as they "push" drinks on you. Every single time I asked for a beer they would try and sell me six noting that I would be charged for 5 beers and get one free; every time I declined they would go into the same sales pitch (they must all be instructed to say the same things). I should also note that compared to other cruise lines, they fall far back in the pack when it comes to drink quality and wait staff service; they are definitely far below both Royal and Carnival; not sure if this is the NCL standard or just this crew. Food on NCL is in par with the industry standard and the "free style dining" is a novel concept. On this ship there are no less than 12 dining venues; 4 included in the cabin cost; Tsars Palace, Azura, Blue Lagoon and the Garden Cafe. All others had a cover charge. While at Le Bistro (our favorite restaurant) we had trouble ordering a nice bottle of wine; our first two choices were unavailable. This has never happened on any other cruises we were on. On paper the choices were good; too bad they did not actually stock the wines! On another evening out we decided to go to Mongolian Hot Pots (another interesting dining venue; NCL does not fall short on interesting dining venues). Only problem here was our table was faulty and we had to cut our dinner short after the seaweed salad appetizer. On a bright note the assistant maitre d'of Chin Chin went out of her way to accommodate us and even provided a complimentary bottle of wine at Azura for our troubles. A real shining star in an average crew. Shows on the Jewel were of the industry standard with the exception of "crew talent night", which was really entertaining and not what you would expect. On our final night on the ship they presented Cirque Bijou; unequivocally the best show I have seen on any cruise. It had a Cirque Du Soleil feel was well executed. Disembarkation was, on the surface well executed. We chose to walk off the boat as we had an early flight in Fort Lauderdale. We arrived in the lounge on deck seven at approximately 7:30 am. The boat was already docked and customs was in the process of clearing the ship for passenger disembarkation. As we waited we decided that a cappuccino would be nice, I walked up to the bar and ordered two; one for me and one for my wife. Much to my surprise they attendant asked for my room key and we were charged for both drinks; not a huge deal but it should be noted that cappuccinos are free in the Garden Cafe. On a bright note we were on of the first ten people to disembark the boat; first my daughters friend, then my daughter, then me and then my wife. All of us disembark with no issues except my wife; apparently there is an issue with her room card. Since my daughter, her friend and I had all passed security we had to keep moving otherwise we would block the gangway. Fifteen minutes pass and I see my wife running down the gangway motioning to me to come back aboard the ship. Apparently there was an outstanding balance on our account. One thing that should be pointed out; those that are leaving the ship with their luggage do not like it when others walk the wrong way up the gangway. We ended up at the concierge desk and all they could tell us is that we owed money on our account; not how much we owed; just that we owed. The overwhelmed desk attendant disappeared into the back room and appeared 15 minutes later noting that everything was okay and that they reactivated our account to cover the outstanding amount; $8.00. Yes, $8.00 the cost of the two cappuccinos. To be polite, what a major disappointment!!!! Not to say that we would never cruise with NCL again; but they would be low on the list. Too bad as the ship has so much potential. As I noted earlier, if this were my first cruise I would probably never cruise again; fortunately it wasn't and I look forward to future cruises with other carriers. NCL scores 6 out of 10 in my book. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
It's been months since I've returned, and I've needed the extra time to temper my comments. Pre-cruising was unpleasant. I had several instances to have to contact the cruise line before departure. Each time, NCL ... Read More
It's been months since I've returned, and I've needed the extra time to temper my comments. Pre-cruising was unpleasant. I had several instances to have to contact the cruise line before departure. Each time, NCL refused to deal with me directly because I hadn't booked directly with NCL, my travel agent had booked my reservation. I'm a Latitudes member and this cruise was my 4th with NCL. So when I had issues and questions regarding Latitudes, I was really upset that they refused to talk to me because I'd booked with a travel agent. I assume they'll only offer you customer service if you've booked directly with NCL (online?) Irrespective of how I book my cruise, a Latitude member should be able to have a Latitude issue dealt with. Embarkation was a circus. The staff at Dover was entirely out of control. There was no direction to Latitudes checkin. There was insufficient seating to accommodate passengers in the waiting area. The air was stifling. Everybody was waiting and waiting for embarkation to commence and when they finally started calling categories to board, they did so without the use of microphones, so it was a "state secret" which category they called. People were getting agressive second guessing what was going on and they were pushing their way to the front of the line. I've never seen such a chaotic, unnecessarily disorganized embarkation. I had booked a minisuite, category AF. We were on deck 11, aft, port side. The cabin was beautiful, but to be honest, it was identical to the balcony stateroom I had been in on NCL Sun. Not at all any more spacious than a balcony stateroom, much to our disappointment. We could have saved ourselves hundreds of dollars had we known this. Our cabin attendants were magnificent. The Tsar's dining room was lovely, but the food was very average. We started looking for alternatives because we disliked the Tsar's food very soon. The buffet upstairs aft was not very good either. And worst of all, the hours of operation were VERY limited. On past cruises, I always remembered the buffet being the one place that was open 24/7. Not on NCL Jewel. So we had to stand in line and wait morning, noon and evening. And late at night, sometimes you were out of luck. I found it to be a major chore to manage knowing the schedule of the dining rooms. And due to Norovirus concerns, for the duration of our cruise, the buffet area was roped off for selfservice...we had to wait in line for drinks to be dispensed for us and for food to be plated for us. This was on our last bleeding nerve after about one day. More staff needs to be out stacking the drinks and food so passengers aren't standing 20 deep to get any thing at the buffet. The Jean Ann Ryan entertainment is phenomenol. Russia is an issue relative to shore excursions. Unless you book your tour to St. Petersburg with NCL, expect to be treated like a 2nd class citizen by NCL staff. We had booked our tour directly with an agency in St. Petersburg and had been warned about this. They advised that we may have to "insist" on being let ashore. We couldn't feature ourselves insisting to be let ashore when the NCL staff is standing there in our way. Upon arrival at St. Petersburg, we had noticed (from our balcony) people disembarking. Yet, when we went down to disembark, we were turned back and advised that the ship wasn't cleared by Russian Port Authorities yet. I filmed the chaos of trying to get disembarked. Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpezkbQbb-8. Basically NCL allowed their tour participants ashore ahead of all of us who had booked our shore excursions privately. What's the diff? Well, we lost hours of tour time by having to wait, penned up in the hallways and gangway area until NCL lets you go ashore. My suggestion to NCL was to have their regulatory affairs management deal with Russian port authorities to ensure that there is sufficient staff at the St. Petersburg port to handle an entire shipload of passengers. Money talks, and with the potential financial impact of thousands of passengers being withdrawn by the cruise lines for lack of sufficient port staff to handle them efficiently, I would think that the cruise lines have a significant bargaining position to force the issue. This situation was highly upsetting for us, but my primary concern in hindsight is to ensure that NCL has every opportunity to do service recovery, to provide their passengers (all passengers, whether they booked their tours by NCL or privately) with a wonderful experience in Russia. Other topic - the pool/spa areas were lovely. The pay restaurants were okay, not great. We tried Bistro and Chin because they had the shortest lines. If you play your cards right, you can visit all the specialty restaurants for half the normal cover charge. The daily schedule includes a little announcement every day about which restaurant is the deal of the day. Look for it! In the end, I believe all cruise lines are fighting for each bit of revenue they can squeeze in this economy. With tempered expectations, you can have a wonderful cruise on NCL Jewel. It is truly a beautiful ship and the staff is very hard working to provide a safe and clean environment and a very nice cruise experience. Go forth and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We went on the Jewel leaving out of Miami (4/3/09) to the 9 day southern Caribbean. I'd cruised with NCL twice before and I have always loved it. My family and I went in one cabin and my elderly grandmother and aunt went in another. ... Read More
We went on the Jewel leaving out of Miami (4/3/09) to the 9 day southern Caribbean. I'd cruised with NCL twice before and I have always loved it. My family and I went in one cabin and my elderly grandmother and aunt went in another. Their first time with NCL. Leading up to the cruise many people told us NCL was bad, good luck with the cruise, etc. We couldn't understand why, since my family and I have always had a positive experience with NCL in the past. Another cruise with NCL is something we're definitely not planning anytime soon! Embarkation- Amazing! The process usually takes anywhere between 30-60 minutes and here it took about 20 to get through everything and get to the ship. When we got to the ship the bubbly was waiting and we had to stay in the lobby for about 5 minutes because the cabins weren't ready. When the announcement was made that the cabins were ready, we proceeded to the cabin. Small cabin, but we knew this since we've cruised with NCL. Gorgeous balcony though. The ONLY downside is that there was dust EVERYWHERE (and I don't mean light dust, I mean layers of dust). There were sand and coke stains on the floor of the cabin, the bathroom, and the balcony. We had to clean the toilet from how filthy it was. We went down to the purser's to ask them to send someone to clean the cabin. Did this twice and no one came. We found the head of housekeeping for our floor and he said he'd send someone to clean it after the lifeboat drill. NEVER Happened. I took pictures, forwarded them to my T.A. and to NCL as well. Great selection of food and amazing quality of it as well at the buffet and at Tsar's. Debarkation- The ship got to every port before it was suppose to including Miami. However, the ship took longer than expected to clear and begin debarkation. Long line for debarkation, but once it started, the line moved rather quick. Ports of Call- The actual islands were beautiful. Breathtaking views, great pictures. In Samana, I suggest the hike to the waterfall. It's about 15-20 minutes and you have to cross a small river (there are people there to help) but it's worth it. Also, if you don't get a tour from the excursion desk, don't freak out, there are people by the ship who are selling tours (we got our tours for $20 pp on each island, and we went to the same places as the ship's tours did) Entertainment- The Cat's Pajamas were amazing! They give it their all and it reflects in their performances. I loved their version of "In the Jungle" in which they used the audience to help make the animal noises. The Jean Ann Ryan shows are not to be missed! The best show of all is Cirque Bijou. Amazing show with acrobatics, dancing, singing and lots more. You need to get there early and get your seats. Both shows were packed and the staff closes the theater down for the safety of the performers prior to the show (you'll understand once you see it). The show ends with the crew members gathering on stage singing the "Norwegian Way" song. I went to the hypnotist's show in Spinnaker. Funny show, nice guy. The White Hot party is one that you cannot miss. The Jean Ann Ryan dancers kick it off with a performance, and then the crew and guests hit the dance floor. At times foam sprays everyone on the dance floor. A word about Bingo-it was okay. It starts off somewhere around $16 to play, but at times it can go up to almost $200 (depending on the deal you want to purchase). When you buy a game of bingo, you are automatically entered in their raffle (they give out prizes from Del Sol, the Spa, the Casino, Colombian Emeralds, etc.) The best bingo day was the last day @ sea, in the first of the 2 bingo sessions (the cruise raffle bingo, not the jackpot bingo). For only $25 you get an NCL bingo t-shirt, the NCL tote bag, 5 $5 instant wins, 6 cards for the jackpot bingo round, and 30 tickets for the cruise raffle. The second bingo session was in the afternoon and the prices to play bingo got steeper. Spa/ Casino- The spa is nice, and I found it worth $20 for the daily pass (you are at sea for 3 full days and for me it was worth it to pay $40 to enjoy the spa for 2 full days than to pay $119 and enjoy it partially for 9 days). It is very peaceful and relaxing. In the casino I recommend signing up for the casino rewards @ sea program. In the booklet they give you come all sorts of coupons where you buy a certain amount of slot credits or chips and the casino matches or doubles it. Tendering Services- Tendering process is chaotic! My elderly grandmother needed to take the service elevator since she cannot be going down the stairs because of her legs. They called the elevator but she had to stand for 25 minutes waiting for the elevator. When the elevator came the lady inside told her that she had other priorities before us (in a very rude tone). When we got to the 4th floor, our tender had already left and another crew member told us we would have to wait until they could find us a tender (we waited about 15 minutes there before anyone could get us a tender. We asked for a wheelchair or at least a chair for my grandmother and a crew member told us that she could not help us and pointed to another crew member that would help us. The gentleman suggested we sit her on the steps or lean her on the railing. We told him that was not an option since she could sit, but getting up was the issue. One of the CD staff members, Peter, was kind enough to get her a chair, and he helped get us a tender to go ashore. Cleanliness- Not good @ all! Other guests in the spa were speaking about this happening to them as well. They found their cabins filthy and the majority of the crew members were unhappy. For us, it took 4 days for the cleaning issue to get resolved, and it only got resolved when we asked to see the head of housekeeping for the ship (she sent one of her assistants to see the room). It was unbelievable and I hope no one has to ever go through that again. Overall- The itinerary for the cruise is wonderful, the ship is beautiful, great shows, but when it comes to cleanliness, friendly crew, and tendering all I can say is improvement is needed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was our first Freestyle cruise with NCL (my wife and I had sailed NCL back in the mid-90s). We were a group of 11 including 3 children (8,6,3). We drove to Miami and apparently arrived about the same time as everyone else. We were ... Read More
This was our first Freestyle cruise with NCL (my wife and I had sailed NCL back in the mid-90s). We were a group of 11 including 3 children (8,6,3). We drove to Miami and apparently arrived about the same time as everyone else. We were forced to park about two miles from the terminal from which we sailed, as one garage has been taken down and the other parking areas were apparently full. Once the drivers reunited with the rest of the party at the terminal the waiting began. Line up around the building, then inside to present paperwork. Strangely we were then sent upstairs to get key cards. More lines for that. Once on the ship, we waited in yet another line on the deck to be let into the atrium. Finally inside the ship, the announcement came letting everyone know that cabins were accessible and off we went to drop carry ons. The cabin itself was inside and as small as expected. My wife, two daughters and I were surprised to find that there was only one fold-down bed. The other appeared at night between the two beds on the floor. It seemed like it would be a tough fit, but really worked just fine. The bathroom was one of the finer we've had on any cruise. Pretty spacious. Nice touch with the shower door rather than curtain. The toilet is arranged quite oddly and necessitates a side saddle approach for those who are tall. Lunch in the Garden Cafe was absurdly crowded. Probably no more so than any other buffet at that time of day, but after so much time spent in line already, some in our party were quite peeved to have to wait for tables to open up (we were not trying to sit all 11 together). Sail away was nice, but chilly. Jackets at sail away always seems odd, especially in Florida. The seas were of decent height, but calmed as the night wore on. We ate at Tsars the first night. The food got mixed reviews. Mostly people thought it mediocre in terms of selection and preparation. I liked the jerk chicken, though. Service was decent. The next night in Azuras, was a disaster. We got a table with a minimal wait (10 minutes at 6:30ish). The services was the slowest I've ever had in my life. We asked nicely if the process could be sped up because the children wanted to go to the kids club and were getting a little antsy. No results. After two hours, not one entree had made its way to our table. We had all had only salad. At that point my wife and I took the kids to the buffet to feed them and drop them off at the kids club. On the way out I told the maitre'd that he should be embarrassed by the service in his restaurant. After the feeding and drop off we returned to the restaurant to meet back up with our party. The maitre'd fell all over himself bringing us food (which was the second best meal of the trip)and gave us his card so that we could call later and have more brought to our cabin. Odd way to make up for a three hour fiasco. We ate at Cagney's the next night. The food and service were brilliant. Garden Cafe, the next, and Tsars the last night (Thanksgiving dinner) service again was good there, food uninspiring. The kids club saw pretty good action from our two kids (8 and 6) and limited time from the three year old (mostly because she napped during the afternoon on sea days). Our kids had a love hate relationship with the club. My oldest said she liked to go but it made her nervous. The six year old wouldn't attend by herself. I think it had a lot to do with the number of kids on this kid heavy family cruise holiday. The place was packed every time we went there. We stood in line for nearly 45 minutes to sign them in on the first night. They have an odd system of wristbands on rings which they must sort through each time you bring a kid. No pagers either. You have to write down where you'll be in case they need to come get you to pick up your kid. We never ended up in the places we wrote down due to any number of reasons. If your kid is in the club for three hours, are you going to stay in one place the whole time? Very strange system of keeping track of kids and parents. The instructors didn't seem too fond of the kids. There was always yelling from the instructors when we were leaving or dropping off. We asked our kids if that bothered them and they said no since they weren't being yelled at. This was the first kids club where I've run into shouting staff. I didn't care for that and in fact on the last sea day, our kids stayed with us by their choice. The general condition of the ship is very good. I liked the color schemes. The only show we saw was Cirque Bijou. It was a cruise ship version of Cirque du Soliel. Not nearly as good, but a respectable effort given their limitations on a ship. We did Stingray City on our own in Grand Cayman. We used Captain Bryan and were very happy. We took a taxi to Chankanaab in Cozumel. That was fun as well. Finally, it seems that the whole Freestyle concept is built around the idea that people go on cruises only to eat. While we all did our fair share of absurd consumption, we felt that the emphasis on the many "pay" restaurants hurts the overall cruise experience. There is a sacrifice of public space due to the numerous restaurants. The atrium is very small; picture nights are absurd with people walking in front of a shooting photographer, or just waiting in a line for him to snap the shot so they can pass by. All of the public spaces that could be used if not for the numerous restaurants would really open up the ship and make it feel less crowded. Further, it's clear, if you're unwilling to pay a service charge, either the food or the service you'll get are going to suffer. The $10 dollar a day charge they use in lieu of tipping is a bad idea. It is a disincentive to provide good service. You see it not only in the dining areas, but also in the staterooms. Never was our room made up before 2pm, or turned down until after 8:30. I've never seen that on any of the 11 other cruises I've been on. Towels not replaced, used glasses left behind. I came back to the room to get a camera, and there stood our steward watching Batman on the tv. He never even looked at me as I searched the room for the camera, just kept watching the movie. I know it's common for people to scold critics with the statement that "a cruise is what you make it". And that's true to an extent. We made it an enjoyable time. But there is blame to go around for the things that weren't right. And enough wasn't right for me to be pretty sure that I'll not be back on NCL again. We've cruised Princess, X, RCI, Disney, and Carnival. All (yes even Carnival) offer a better overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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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