71 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 ... Read More
Boarded the May mini cruise with high expectations. I think this is where I went wrong. Ship was very crowded. Went to our "Freestyle" dinner at Tzar the first night. As it happens so did everyone else. We stood in line for 15 minutes only to be greeted by a hostess who handed us a pager and told us to return in a half an hour. Once we got into the dining room it was very loud and crowded. The service waa less than spectacular. Picture your average hotel wedding reception service. The food was average and took forever to be served. We left before desert since we couldn't stand to sit there a minute longer. We took the rest of our meals at the crowded buffet who's food was no better but was faster and the variety better. If you want to find good food on this ship head to The Grill for lunch.I mentioned the bad service to a NCL rep upon our return and he claimed that the service and crowd control is better on te 7+ day cruises. How is this possible when our same staff cleared us off the ship and started a 7 day cruise the same day. Do they magically start offering the new cruisers better service? I think not.When we arrived our room steward knocked and entered our room no less than four times the first hour. We finally put up the Do not disturb sign. Then we had a strange male steward knock on our door twice saying our friends ordered us a pillow. We had no friends on the cruise. Our steward also pushed our suitcases to the back and hid a plastic bag of fresh linens under our bed. I guess she wanted to save time when we left.We were on a tight budget and were happy to have the $35 on board credit. We only had one cocktail and had to leave behind some precious photos in the gallery because of the cost. When we went to leave I looked for my final statement since I knew I went a little over. I could not find the statement so I called te front desk. She informed me that we had a $46 CREDIT!! I asked her how was this posible. Apparently the cruise line had charged the three of us $23 per person Alaska tax even though we were not going to Alaska. Somewher along the way they put the credir on our account and never told us. I was in tears...we passed up so much, the drinks, better meals in the nicer dining rooms and of course our photos were now gone forever. They would not give me the credit back but said they would be mailing a check. It's been 11 days and still no check.Please don't believe the easy disembarkation process. We were told not to get in line due to a delay in customs. We stood in line for an hour only to find the delay was not with customs but the single NCL employee trying to check everyone off the ship. I don't understand the reason to lie to us about it. I would suggest to anyone using NCL to hold onto your bags and walk them off yourself. It's much faster and safer if you are hoping to catch a flight.On a positive note we took our 8 year daughter who lived in the kids club. The staff is very professional and she had a great time. Ports of Nanaimo and Victoria were wonderful.Will think long and hard about using NCL again. A cruise should be a luxury experience not the type of service you would have gotten if you would have just stayed home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We sailed with NCL on Norwegian Jewel Jan 6 2013 to Jan 18 2013, and the following were some of our issues, observations and problems. Food. The food was far too salty, the Chimichuri on the steak on night 1 had to be scraped off it was ... Read More
We sailed with NCL on Norwegian Jewel Jan 6 2013 to Jan 18 2013, and the following were some of our issues, observations and problems. Food. The food was far too salty, the Chimichuri on the steak on night 1 had to be scraped off it was that salty and would have rendered the steak inedible. Dessert was our only refuge from the salt. The Chinese restaurant also served its' food too salty, as did the Churasco Restaurant (the Chinese and Churasco were the only specialty restaurants we tried). The types of meals served in the main dining rooms and their quality reminded to of "hotel banquet food". Dinner each night was not something we looked forward to. It was not an occasion or an event, it was just "dinner" we could have been in a diner sometimes. The toaster in the Garden Cafe deck 12 restaurant was badly designed and would spill its slices on to the floor, even with an attendant trying to catch it. Kids Club. Seemed a pretty amateur set up, with dis-interested and dis-engaged staff. I stopped putting our daughter in the club when she was the only child there, as invariably she would end up being put in front of a TV. Also on 3 occasions we were called in our cabin with the message "Your daughter is ready to be picked up", is it not the job of the kids club to engage and occupy the children?? I was told that there were not many children on this cruise, and that is why it was operating the way it was (ie badly). This was a major deciding factor in us choosing NCL, and was a big disappointment. Freestyle News. I thought the layout and design of this daily read was poor, some desk top publishing skills would help here, it was very hard to wade through, I do not remember this being the case with the Princess Patter. Menu. The quality of the menu layout and design also was something that a 1st year hospitality student could knock up, it just did not look that impressive. There were also only 3 courses, We were expecting 5 courses after cruising with Celebrity and Princess. There are too many specialty restaurants. I think that NCL is trying to be all things to all people, and ends up not satisfying as they strive for this goal. Key Cards. The key cards on day 1 did not open our cabin, these actually were discarded by reception with new ones made up. Ship, decor and layout. The ship public areas seemed pokey, you always were having to dodge someone on coming, also I was surprised the learn that the ship was building 2005 and refurbed in 2011, it appears much more dated, not helped by some of the soft furnishing and decor choices, looked a bit tacky and casino like rather than classy. Port information. This was restricted to shopping only, there was no other useful information on the ports, like how to get around (if you were not going on an NCL tour), taxis, that kind of thing, only shopping. Nickelodeon. Ch 34 was suspended when there was a football game on, this was disappointing especially the way that the Nick relationship is played up so much in advertising collateral. I think more could have been done with the Nick characters (Dora et al). There was a live read of a story one day, this was great, but I could not work out how something so simple could not be done every day, Our daughter really enjoyed it, and it was SO simple for the staff to do. ATM. In port the ATM does not work. It only works when the casino operates, we were getting off at Barbados and wanted some cash to do our own tour and buy some presents. I then went to the desk and asked for a "paid out" (a simple thing in any hotel, when the bill is guaranteed with a credit card), only to be told that this cannot be done, so I had no way of getting any cash, and was told I had to get local money from an ATM on land, and I would be stuck with the change of Barbados money. Not an ideal solution. Bars. The table service was non existent sometimes around the level 6 bar areas at aprox 5.30 (pre dinner), often times I would order at the bar, and walk back to my seat. I once ordered 2 of the blue martinis to be told "they are not part of the 2 for 1 deal", to which I replied "I don't care, that is what I want". There is huge inconsistency of wine pouring. We had an 8 bottle wine package, but on the last night ordered by the glass in the bar for a pre dinner drink. My glass of Wolf Blass Shiraz was oxidised or heat affected (I am Australian and know my Shiraz), this was replaced. Our wine was poured from a small jug (I assume 187ml or 6 oz) which is what I would have expected, however I saw some glasses leaving the bar that would have been half a bottle or more (white wine in a red glass). Perhaps the customer tipped the server??. This is NCL profits down the drain though, and I would think that the beverage potentials would be way out. I think you have missed the mark with the beer price of $4.95. I think $3.95 would see an overall increase in revenue. $10.00 plus 15% for 2 beers is too much, not everyone wants the 6 for 5 deal (and some deposit on the container too??) Disembarkation. This was a debacle, it is never good, but this was particularly bad. Hurricane Sandy was blamed several times (it happened 10 weeks ago!), and there were 2 other ships in, surely they did not just drop in, and their existence would have been known about. We had to pay 2 hours wait time for a car that we had booked to take us back to Montclair, a sour taste at the end of a holiday. Overall I was expecting much more from NCL, maybe we have been spoilt by the high quality of our previous Princess and Celebrity cruises. All of our previous cruises required a long flight from Australia (Mediterranean, Panama, Western Caribbean), but we now live in Northern New Jersey. I would have felt very cheated if we flew 20 hours for this cruise!). 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Sail Date January 2013
Just returned from a "Cruise to Nowhere" on the Jewel. I went with my sister and my twenty something daughter. I have traveled on two other cruise lines. Since I have taken nine cruises I think I have enough previous experience ... Read More
Just returned from a "Cruise to Nowhere" on the Jewel. I went with my sister and my twenty something daughter. I have traveled on two other cruise lines. Since I have taken nine cruises I think I have enough previous experience to judge the quality of a cruise. This was my first time on NCL. We wanted to just try it before booking a cruise to somewhere. There are both positive and negative things to mention. Positives - 1. Embarking - We carried our small luggage directly to lunch. So we did not have to wait around for lunch service. Both sit down and buffet lunch were available. We chose the buffet. 2. We arrived at the port at noon and check in had already started. 3. We pre-registered online so check-in was quick and we waited to board the ship about 15 minutes. 3. Since this was a very brief trip we took a very basic room with a window. The cabin was very, very clean. 4. Staff was diligent in making sure to spray everyone's hands as they entered dining areas. 5. Exiting ship upon our Sunday morning return was a delight. We simply walked off and did not have to wait for numbers or letters to be called. So we were off the ship about five minutes after we left our cabin. 6. Shows were good. The 70's show was fun. The comedy act was just okay. But the Cirque show was great. I could easily see that again. 7. Bar service in the casino while sitting at the bar. 8. Elevators - Usually a very brief wait time, except immediately after a show. Also elevators were plentiful. 9. Cute gym. Nice equipment. Everything worked. 10. Common areas very clean. I did not see any worn carpet or worn chairs. 11. Bathrooms in common areas well attended to as they all were very clean. Negatives - 1. Greeting upon entering ship was strange. No one really greeted us except the washy washy person. It was difficult to allow her to spray my hands as I still had my luggage , my purse and my key card in my hands. There was no one to tell us if we should sit down, check our luggage, go to lunch or go directly to our rooms. There was no one to ask. Many passengers were milling about looking just as confused as we were. So we finally went to the desk to ask. This was a bit annoying. 2. Lunch - There was a lot less to select from than on other cruises that I have been on. I walked around a bit so I could carefully select what I wanted to eat. Food was not attractively displayed as I have seen on all of my other cruises. So I ended up having a lot of salad and a small bit of tilapia. Most other foods just looked like cafeteria slop that I could get at any school cafeteria. My daughter just had some pasta and my sister had a small burger. None of us were satisfied with lunch. Dinner - We dined at Tsar's. That was a nice experience. We had surf and turf. Yes, the portions we small. But I was happy about that as that allowed me to room to have salad, a delightful mushroom soup, and ice cream for dessert. All three of us had the same. Surf and turf were what I expected, tasty . Breakfast - This was a horrible experience. Orange juice was watery. It tasted just like flavored water. So all of us chose to just have water. Coffee, just ok. Service, not good, had to ask for everything from salt, to cream to jelly for our toast. Scrambled eggs we barely cooked. They looked awful. Corned beef hash did not look nor taste like corned beef hash. Home fries were cold. It also took about 30 minutes for our breakfast to appear. My sister asked for a different breakfast consisting of an omelet and some toast. They were just ok. My daughter was so disgusted with her meal that she elected not to order anything else. The best part of this breakfast was the water. I had several glasses of this. Dinner - The second night we again ate at Tsar's. Since our previous dining experience was nice we expected the same. The menu was mediocre, poached cod, shrimp with coconut, and some other horrible items I cannot remember. So my daughter and I selected a steak. We thought that would be safe. Wrong idea, tough , steak, hard baked potato. The best part of the meal was the salad and the green beans. The hard ice cream was pretty good. Don't have the soft ice cream at the buffet. The strawberry taste just like medicine. We all normal sized people who enjoy dining ( our sizes are size zero, size five and size nine). We did not get what we expected. I was so happy to get home and have some home made soup. Meanwhile, my daughter was happy to get home and have some eggs and toast. Entertainment - There was not enough to do in the daytime. There were several activities that required a payment. So we did not do any of those. There was not enough to do in the evening. My experience on my other cruises has been just to much to do , not to little. But on this ship it seemed that you were expected to drink yourself silly or go to the casino after the shows. Spa Area - The spa area looked very nice. We were taken on a tour. However, it cost 49 dollars for the two days. This was disappointing as my experience on other ships was that this was gratis. I usually sign up for other spa services that require a fee. But I did not as paying for use of the spa was a real turn off. Motion sickness- I know this must be just a coincidence. But all three of us got motion sickness. This has never happened to any of us before. We had great weather, so who knows. Crew - All were very pleasant. But there seem to be to few staff members around the ship. Our room steward was extremely nice. He even inquired about my sister's condition as she was experiencing motion sickness and offered to get whatever she needed. We were on the 5th level. Will I ever travel NCL again? No, I will not. I would have appreciated more entertainment, edible food, less activities that require a fee and more staff members available to answer any questions or assist with dining services and services in the gym. (There was no one around to offer towels or water, or assistance with the equipment.) The desk was unattended in the gym. Neither I nor my sister or daughter are picky people. We made the best of our cruise because we enjoy each other's company. We will continue to cruise on other cruise lines. I will not recommend NCL to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We've taken 6 cruises and thought we'd try NCL this time for anytime dining and the relaxed dining room dress code. Overall, we had a great vacation, but found NCL service, ship, kids programming and dining to be lacking. ... Read More
We've taken 6 cruises and thought we'd try NCL this time for anytime dining and the relaxed dining room dress code. Overall, we had a great vacation, but found NCL service, ship, kids programming and dining to be lacking. The pluses were the ports and excursions. We booked all thru NCL and they were all fabulous. Almost all of our tours ran late and the ship always waited for our tours to return. Big reason to book with NCL directly. Our cabin was nice sized, but tired (drapes had holes, stained carpet, general wear and tear). This was true of all public areas of the ship. Keep in mind we paid the recommended automatic gratuities despite our issues with service. Food was always below average (i.e. on par with 1980's-era "dorm food") in all venues except Moderno Churrascaria which was excellent. Service was bad all Dining Rooms, Moderno and Mama's Italian. Waits of 30 minutes for beverages and bread was common. Courses were not served together for all peeople at table. Often a couple people would be finished with appetizer and entrees before others at the table were served any portion of their meal despite all orders being taken at the same time. The food at Mama's was not even up to Olive Garden standards. Pizza hut has better pizza than Mama's. Much of the food was from Sysco. We saw it stacked up on pallets and loaded onto ship in Seattle. Items you will not see on the buffet at any time: peanut butter, nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), salsa, tortilla/corn chips, fresh berries (but frozen are there). Potato Chips were served once. Wine was very overpriced, by comparision mixed drinks were $6-$8 seemed a better deal. Kids cereal disappeared fast. I don't know why this was out-of-stock so often. We mentioned our service issues to dining room staff on many different visits. No one cared and service did not ever improve. The washy washy staff sprays your hands with disinfectant as you enter most venues, but the table bus staff does not wipe down tables. IMO, cleared tables were always left dirty in the buffet dining areas. It made we wonder about the general cleaning standards. The kids programming was sporadic with very limited Nickelodeon presence. We did not participate after two attempts which did not yield the "scheduled activity". This was vastly different our expericent with Disney and RCCL. Overall the entertainment was good. David Naster is a funny guy. The show choir/dancers are under-utilized. The juggler was very good. Miss Rosie is entertaining. Our cabin steward was just o.k. Hardly ever saw him. Our room was scrubbed on Day 6 and then he covered the flat surfaces with tissues so we wouldn't get it dirty. This was really annoying. I thought someone pranked our cabin, but honestly it was done to prepare the room for the next occupants. We got the standard towel animals, but nothing else memorable. The NCL Jewel bathrooms are split to theoretically allow a couple people to use the bathroom at the same time. However, this did not work our for us (we had 6 people sharing 2 adjoining cabins). A single door opens into the area with the sink. To the left is a toliet behind a see thru glass door. To the right is a shower with a see thru glass door. There is no way for two people to share the bathroom without seeing "everything" going on in the toliet or shower area. Honestly you really can't have a bad day cruising, but IMO Disney and RCCL are much more deserving of my repeat business and recommendation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
As someone who has been on 12 Cruises (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) I can attest that NCL is the worst cruise experience. If you rode the Staten Island Ferry you would get a smoother ride, better food, and better service. My ... Read More
As someone who has been on 12 Cruises (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) I can attest that NCL is the worst cruise experience. If you rode the Staten Island Ferry you would get a smoother ride, better food, and better service. My family and I just came off a 7 day cruise aboard the NCL Jewel. We were apprehensive to try the freestyle cruising because we traditional enjoy the same servers at dinner, but tried this one because we heard mixed reviews and the price was right. After taking this cruise, I do not know how NCL is still in business. The crews from the front desk staff to the servers throughout the ship were extremely rude and had the "I do not care" attitude. This is attributed to the fact that $12 per person per day is automatically charged to your account and there is no accountability for their service because they will not serve you every night. The ship is narrow and does not handle well in 4-7 foot swells. The ship rocked from the Verrazano's Bridge and kept rocking for 7 days. The constant rocking was so bad, people were throwing up and the pools were closed on the warmest days. If you choose this ship, bring your wallets. The price may be less for the cruise, but you will spend money on specialty restaurants because the food in the dining room and buffet are horrible. NCL nickel and dimes you for everything from meeting SpongeBob for breakfast, to sushi, to cake in the main atrium, to eating decent food. In addition, be prepared for only 2 ports of call because the private island is typically canceled due to weather and the ship generates revenue as people fight for deck chairs, purchase high prices drinks and play $50 bingo. Lastly, since we ate in the specialty restaurants every night, paid extra and tipped those servers so we removed the tips from our account (we did tip the cabin steward cash). When we made this request to the front desk, we were given much resistance as they asked us why... said it was not possible... said it was for everyone on the ship... etc; however, please know gratuity is for services well performed and are NOT Mandatory. If you wish to have your tips removed... stand strong and you can have the tips removes. The total for tips for a family of 4 was $336 in addition to the specialty restaurant fees. In short, go on Carnivals newer ships, Princess or RCCL.... It will be worth it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We had great expectations of this cruise vacation before leaving - becaus of all the suite perks that we should have. Compared to the other cruises we have taken with regular cabins it should be great. The check in in New York was slow ... Read More
We had great expectations of this cruise vacation before leaving - becaus of all the suite perks that we should have. Compared to the other cruises we have taken with regular cabins it should be great. The check in in New York was slow - very slow. We arrived at 12PM and our agent used almost 45 minutes to check us in. She should not have been working at the suite check in. We were directed to the lounge where we were taken on board by the butler to the Tsars Palace (not Cagneys were we could have eaten). The food was cold and bad - a bad beginning of the cruise. After lunch the cabins was ready - the luggage arrived after a short while and we unpacked. We found baby bottles, baby toys, q tips (the ones which you clean your ears with), hand sanitizer, garbage on the Verandah and so on in the cabin. it was not a good start. The second morning we would like to place an order for breakfast at 9AM (2 BLT and 2 cheese sandwiches). It took the butler 1 hour to get this - on other cruises it has never taken more than 45 minutes - normally about 30 minutes. We tried again 2 days later to order a bootle of wine - still 1 hour. The kids club is nothing for Europeans at least. The only thing they seem to care about here is their own rules. No bumping (we were travelling 2 families with 2 kids that not see each other that often - and just 6 months apart - no they are not allowed together), not able to sign in before the opening time - even though all employees were there and it was 2 minutes before opening time. On our Celebrity Cruise in April they did everything so that the kids and parents could be happy - on NCL it seemed like the kids was a burden for them and that the customers was not there for them at all. We hade great expectations with Concierge, Butler, Nick Cruise and Kids club - but was disappointed. We are Norwegian ourselves - and this is not the Norwegian way to treat customers. On the good side - the cabin was great (except from dirty) and the food was better than expected. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
OK, so I tried to book a Disney Cruise, but it was sold out for the entire summer. The character interactions were rushed (what, do these folks have somewhere else to be?) The Nickelodeon staff seemed to want to be in some other place and ... Read More
OK, so I tried to book a Disney Cruise, but it was sold out for the entire summer. The character interactions were rushed (what, do these folks have somewhere else to be?) The Nickelodeon staff seemed to want to be in some other place and not really in tune with who their audience was. I know that I am 'spoiled' by living in Orlando and experiencing the Disney 'pixiedust', but the experience with this cruise was disappointing. The food is next. Now, this being my first cruise, my only expectations were those from people who had cruised before. So I had expectations of high quality and quantity. They fit the bill on the quantity...at least at the Garden Cafe. Quality was adequate, but not what I expected. So I attempted the Freestyle Upgrade to the steakhouse billed as on par with NY or Chicago steakhouses. I was expecting something better than Longhorn's. It was good, but not terrific. The Teppanyaki was very good...maybe even excellent and provided my kids more entertainment than the Kids Club. Speaking of the Kids Club. Another disappointment. I expected more than photocopied Squidwards to color. The kids didnt want to go to the Kids Club which was a total disappointment to me too. Oh, and the giant checkerboard...would it be possible to have the right number of checkers so you could actually play a game? The family pool is tiny and deep. Even though my kids are good swimmers I couldn't relax by the poolside while they swam...they didnt reach the bottom. So unless they wanted to tread water for 30 minutes I had to be in with them the whole time. And the slide was to put it mildly...BORING! It is a such a gradual incline (or decline, I guess) that my daughter had to push herself down (all 48 lbs of her). The room was very nice. I know that most of room stewards are not 6'+, but I am and they might want to invest in step stools to dust the higher parts of the rooms. On a positive note, JP is a great magician and the casino was fun and not too smokey. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Perhaps it was because it was July 4th week but that still is no excuse for the overcrowding, inefficient staff, poor quality of food and the general feeling of "cattle herding" during this cruise. Having cruised a dozen times ... Read More
Perhaps it was because it was July 4th week but that still is no excuse for the overcrowding, inefficient staff, poor quality of food and the general feeling of "cattle herding" during this cruise. Having cruised a dozen times in the past, twice with NCL many years ago on the grand Norway, I was appalled at the service and amenities on this ship. We chose this cruise because we were a large family celebrating our anniversary and we had seven children ranging in ages from 10-1 year. We thought the Nickelodeon theme would be entertaining and to some degree it was. However, the character appearances were few and rushed; they were more interested in having the ship photographer get the photo op with the child rather than the parent. After one such appearance, none of our grandkids were interested in the character sightings.Embarkation took much too long (close to an hour) with inept staff who didn't seem to know what they were doing. Unfortunately, this set a bad tone for what was to follow.The Garden Cafe was a huge disappointment! Often at breakfast, the stations ran out of glasses, cream, plates, you name it. The staff were very slow to respond and were not attentive to the needs of the guests. Many times we had to clear the tables of dishes from previous guests in order to find a seat. The only cheerful staff we encountered were the "washy washy" ladies who sprayed your hands when you entered the cafe. The menus in the cafe were mostly the same thing every day, even at dinner. And, the lunch menu in Tsars Restaurant never changed for the entire week. The food was overly seasoned & salty but plentiful. However there are no trays to carry your food, thus discouraging guests from taking more than they can carry in two hands. And, most of the seating is away from the food stations so people were not willing to make the trip back to get more. On every other cruise line, there are two identical stations at the Garden Buffet so that when one is closed, the other side is open. On the Jewel, they only have one set up and they close down to restock several times during the day so you have to wait if you want something to eat at those times. The cabins were small but adequate. Our room stewards were excellent and did a good job of dealing with children who accidentally wet their bed or vomited. Guests on this cruise were particulary rude and rowdy. One night I was awakened at 4AM by bands of people running and yelling in the hallway. I actually got out of bed and yelled at them which did no good. Many nights people were talking loudly and laughing in the hallway well past midnight. Perhaps we were more sensitive because we had young children trying to sleep. On July 4th the daily newsletter stated that at night there would be a BBQ, dancing & fireworks on deck . Our entire group waited until 10PM for the fireworks; when we finally asked a crew member, we were told, "Oh, the fireworks are the ones you can see on land, coming from other celebrations!" Another disappointment!The swimming pool situation was horrible but it seems to have been addressed in some other reviews (see WishICould & Tam Tam2000.When we went to the reception desk to change the amount of the daily automatic gratuity (which is our right) we were given a very hard time. The staff was discourteous and kept us waiting forever. The final thing I will say is that we were given 3 bottles of wine by our TA and after opening and tasting one bottle, we left the other two in the cabin! I am surprised at NCL and frankly very disappointed. We have done family cruises on two other cruise lines and have never had an experience like this. What could have been a wonderful cruise, was just mediocre! The best part was being with our entire family but we could have done that anywhere! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
If you are not on a 7 day shopping trip and willing to get in line with pagers to eat in the diningroom " DO NO NOT GO ON THIS SHIP " My term while on this cruise was "The Rude Cruise ".Upon embarkation we proceeded ... Read More
If you are not on a 7 day shopping trip and willing to get in line with pagers to eat in the diningroom " DO NO NOT GO ON THIS SHIP " My term while on this cruise was "The Rude Cruise ".Upon embarkation we proceeded to purchase a soda card "unlimited refills" for $50.00 which I thought would be a great investment,since it could be used at every bar or restaurant on the ship! After a couple of hours the sticker they place on my ship-card most have come off from my slipping in and out of my pants pocket.I returned to the booth setup for sales receipt and card in hand to get a new sticker,boy was I in for a embarrassing experience!!!The crew member I spoke to rudely told me THE STICKER Can't Come Off,so I showed him my receipt and quietly said "Well it did" to his loudening repetition of "It doesn't come off" other guests were looking at me by this time and I was feeling humiliated,he said he would need to get a manager and marched off leaving me in the mist of other onlooking guests. The manager and he came back after 5 minutes with her not acting in any more professional way then the staff member,the sticker was replaced after a 38 minute ordeal.This was my first day I reported it to the desk in writing no one contacted me the entire voyage. If besides paying for the cruise you want to pay for your meals this is your cruise,the dining rooms have food that while is not awful its far from wonderful,menus are not traditional and have very odd pairing of foods,I felt having to wait 30 minutes to eat was ridiculous,no reservations are allowed in what the crew refers to as the "Free Dining"This is intended I believe to encourage cruisers to pay for their meals.The shows were wonderful,the cabin staff never interacted with us,yes and no answers,language may have been accountable for this.The weather was bad so that captain canceled the day at the private island with no offer of any refund or credit offered on a future cruise. So many more negative experiences could be noted,but to what point,I think any reader will further investigate the reviews and come to their own decision. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our 4th cruise. We have taken Norwegian 3 times (The Dawn) and Carnival (Victory) once. First off, we were disappointed with the design of the Jewel. We had heard it was newer version of The Dawn. Well, they did a number of things ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. We have taken Norwegian 3 times (The Dawn) and Carnival (Victory) once. First off, we were disappointed with the design of the Jewel. We had heard it was newer version of The Dawn. Well, they did a number of things we didn't like. They made kids club much smaller! The on-deck play area for kids and water slide was pathetic, certainly not as nice as The Dawn. The gym was smaller and was tucked into midship, and they eliminated the movie theater. So if you have kids, big letdown right off the bat. We started day #1 by checking our kids into Kids Club. We have one child with autism and explained that he needs to move around a bit. We NEVER had problem on The Dawn, so didn't think there would be an issue on this trip. Well 10 minutes after he was in there, they kicked him out. All they did was lecture us on what he did wrong, not inquire as to what he might like to do to help him integrate better. Please understand, there were 6+ counselors for 10 or so kids. Instead of interacting with them, they were LOUNGING on the windows talking amongst each other. What did they have the kids doing? Coloring in a circle on the floor? Do they understand boys like move around a bit? Well, we certainly didn't feel comfortable with staff, and NEVER brought him back. Like I said, never a problem on The Dawn with him. One of my other sons went to this Kids Club a couple times and for first time ever on cruise ship, said he was BORED in Kids Club. Lots of coloring and doing next to nothing. Once when we picked him up, a counselor was SLEEPING on window sill while kids were doing what you ask? Yup, you guessed it, coloring.... The staff including room stewards, wait staff, and whole crew seemed lackluster. After day 3, there must have been an outbreak of virus because we could no longer serve ourselves food. What made this a big inconvenience is staff did not serve plates, food and drinks, fast enough, thus long lines ensued. To top it off, we all had stomach issues on boat, for first time cruising. So I give this cruise a "D-" if you have kids, and a C if you don't. The entire staff could learn a whole lot by taking a cruise on The Dawn to see how to treat passengers. I actually hate to write such a negative review, but am just relaying our thoughts about the cruise. I will try another cruise line next time around. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Norwegian Jewel - July 10, thru 17, 2010 Having highly anticipated a week of pleasurable experiences I was extremely upset by this particular cruising ordeal. Unlike my previous experience on NCL's Dawn (2004) the Jewel failed to ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel - July 10, thru 17, 2010 Having highly anticipated a week of pleasurable experiences I was extremely upset by this particular cruising ordeal. Unlike my previous experience on NCL's Dawn (2004) the Jewel failed to live up to my expectations both in activities and service. It was not a good start when the price of my cabin, balcony room class BB, drops in price by $500 weeks before the cruise and when questioned, NCL only offers a $100 stateroom credit. I highly suggest anyone considering cruising with NCL wait, if possible, and if air travel plans are not a consideration, until a couple of weeks before the cruise date to book. NCL has improved its embarkation process. Having arrived at 11:30am on Saturday you proceed to the 2nd floor port terminal. Once there, you are directed to one of two lines for processing. One line being for Latitude members (prior NCL customers) and the other for all others. The shorter Latitude line enabled us to board the ship by 12 noon. From previous cruise reviews we were aware that Tsar dining room (rear deck 7) was open for lunch. We headed there in-lieu of the Garden Cafe (rear deck 12), a big mistake. While quieter, Tsars had a limited menu and the service was slow. Being prepared for our get away party and during the pre-cruise safety drill (life-jackets no longer being required during drill) we were informed that, for some unexplained reason, the re-fueling ship would not be starting our refueling until 4pm, and would cause a three hour delay with the ships departure. Ship left dock at 7pm. Overall Pros: Stewarts do a remarkable job in tending to your room and special needs. The ship provides each individual with their own blue and white striped beach towels. If used during the day they will be replaced the next day. These beach towels are not yours to keep. The ship will charge $25 each towel if not left in your stateroom the final day. Took the Blue Lagoon beach excursion while in Nassau. Well worth the money if you want a leisurely day by the water. The boat ride to the Blue Lagoon takes about 30 mins. Returns were scheduled for 1, 2, or 4pm. We left at 2pm to do some shopping before we got back on board. The waters not deep and food was included. Overall Cons: The pool area is very small considering the passenger ratio. The two pools, one for adults and children and the other for only adults, can each hold maybe 50 to 60 people at once. The adult / children pool being about 25% larger. Don't be surprised that lounge chairs close to the pools are not reserved, via towels and books, as early as 6am. They say items left unattended over 60 mins. will be removed but I've NEVER seen it happen. This is the first cruise I've taken which didn't have a stand-up comedian, very disappointing, and usually a highlight. They did have a five member Second City Comedy troupe which performed planned skits (improved) and they had a comic/magician, Jean Pierre, who spent most of his show doing card tricks. The Cruise Director, Parker, was rarely seen and when seen didn't thrill me (being kind). Asst. Cruise Director, Sinan, was more energetic and amiable. Evening Restaurant service (Tsars dining room) deteriorated during course of cruise. We had one waiter who seemed to disappear. Restaurant menus were also limited and strictly adhered to. No cheesecake listed nor ice cream with strawberry sauce. Only topping available for ice cream was chocolate, butter scotch or raspberry. (they did have strawberry sauce by the Garden Cafe ice cream maker) go figure. Cagney's Dining room not worth the $25 per person cover. On menu Filet Migon comes in 5oz. or 10oz. size, but 10 oz. is nothing more than two (2) 5 oz. pieces together. The 5 oz. piece is about a half inch thick and the size of a silver dollar pancake. (If you're expecting Ruth Chris or The Palm style food and taste you'll be disappointed) My order was overcooked and by the time a replacement was given all other members of my party had finished their dinner. I decided not to accept it, but was still charged a cover charge. On Thursday, NCL had their Chocoholic Buffet. What time?...11 PM. This hour is really unsuitable for families with young children and older adults who can't wait up. Why NCL doesn't have the buffet at a more reasonable time, on the Dawn it was 3pm, allowing people to have coffee or tea with their cakes and chocolate and not worry about getting to sleep. The disembarkation process leaves much to be desired. While NCL may give you an approximate time when you may be "leaving the ship" add an additional 30 to 40 mins. to get through customs. Based on my overall experience NCL needs to make improvements especially in its dining service, and non showtime entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
I just want to start by saying that my family has been very loyal to NCL for years, through frequent cruises and also through positive word of mouth to other people. Many times I've recommended NCL to friends who were deciding on ... Read More
I just want to start by saying that my family has been very loyal to NCL for years, through frequent cruises and also through positive word of mouth to other people. Many times I've recommended NCL to friends who were deciding on which cruise line to choose. Wow, will I feel embarassed when they return from their cruises this summer. While not every part of the cruise was negative- I want to give everyone a picture of what our experience was like, so you can decided for yourselves. Our family includes my two parents, mid 50's, my sister and me (mid 20's). We cruised on the Norwegian Jewel from May 22-29th, 2010. The cruise was round trip from NYC with 3 stops: Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. We had 2 Inside Cabins, which we prefer other than a balcony or a port hole room because of how dark the room gets (it really promotes a nice night's sleep or a nap.) We drove from Philadelphia and parking at the port was easy and without a problem. This was the last stress free part of the trip. Check in: This lasted two frustrating hours,even as Silver Latitude members. The NCL staff seemed disorganized with poor communication between them. You would not get the same answer from two people. Food Service: The most disappointing part of the cruise was the poor and inconsistent service we received at most of the restaurants (Azura,Cagney's, Le Bistro, Chin Chin and occasionally Tsar's). While prior to boarding I read reviews about "bad service", I was shocked at the unprofessional and condescending service we received. Examples: At Cagney's, our waiter seemed disinterested, and at Le Bistro, our waiter was visibly and verbally irritated that we didn't order a bottle of wine at dinner, and let our dirty plates sit infront of us for over a half hour. Another frustrating aspect of the service would have to ask for something like iced tea, ketchup or splenda multiple times before it would be brought to the table. One exception was at Tango's-the waiter Agnelo reminded us of the standard of service that used to be on NCL. Food: Overall the food was good. The Il Popo at Tango's was delicious. The lobster dish at Chin Chin included 3 lobster tails. The Sushi was fresh and some of the best we have ever had. Much of the food at Tsar's was good. Blue Lagoon's food was okay-better after a drink or two. The food at Cagney's was average at best. Activities: My sister and I attended some of the trivia/game shows. These were both fun and funny-the cruise director staff were very energenic. The best events were Win, Lose or Draw and the Quest. My father enjoyed the Irish Whiskey Tasting at Maltings- "Big Al", the bartender, was very informative. We also did the Global Beer Tasting. This was a lot of fun and definitely worth the fee-"Big Al" once again funny and informative. We attended the Murder Mystery...three words for this: Waste of time!!! Not at all what we were expecting, no interaction from the waiters/cruise director staff, etc. It was packets that were handed out that each table had to read and perform with each other. Not even interaction between tables. The staff member running it sat in the corner drinking water and looking bored. Really, NCL? Entertainment: Second City was great- the scripted show and the adult show were hilarious. The magician JP was fabulous. Modal Magic, Los Amigos, Fabrizio, and Angel all provided excellent music no matter where you were on the ship. As far as the Nickelodeon stuff goes-if you didn't want to see it, you didn't. They did a good job of not having Dora the Explorer walk around the ship the whole time or having slime by the pool, etc. One disappointment was "The Chocolate Goddess of Love"-she had a beautiful voice but she sang 3 songs in an hour and the rest of the time talked about how she had to pee or to people in the audience. It was tedious. Ports: We didn't get off at Port Canaveral, but we really enjoyed snorkeling at Great Stirrup Cay and the Zoo/Tour excursion in Nassau. Getting off and on the boat at both ports was quick, easy, and painless. Disembarkation: This was a true mess! They announced it was fleet week and that they would only let 60 people off at a time. We were the first color to be called, and it was 2 1/2 hours AFTER the scheduled time. This is another example of poor service and poor communication- if NCL knew that it was going to be fleet week upon returning, alter the schedule such as arriving back in NYC 2 hours early and start disemarkation then (it very easily could have been done). In conclusion, we were disappointed in this cruise and in NCL. It is not at all what we have come to expect from Norwegian. We would frequently overhear people in elevators or around us complaining about the service. I can't say we would recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was my first time cruising with NCL; have only cruised with Royal Carribean in the past and was hesitant about trying a new one since Royal was top of the line experience. Pros: Stateroom: We had 2 inside rooms since I am a single mom ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with NCL; have only cruised with Royal Carribean in the past and was hesitant about trying a new one since Royal was top of the line experience. Pros: Stateroom: We had 2 inside rooms since I am a single mom with 3 children and this was more cost effective than a suite. The cabin was very clean. Food: There was a decent variety. Overall the food was mediocre to good. Entertainment: The shows were average; Circ de Bijou, comedian and magician were great. There were a variety of venues at night. Ship: It was very clean. The decor was tasteful and not overdone. The sailing was comfortable; we lucked out with beautiful seas and weather. There were nice areas to lay out and great walking/jogging tracks. Excursions: As with Royal, the excursions are extremely costly. We decided to go to a park and beach in Honduras (kids loved it); in Belize we hired a driver and had the most awesome ride with frequent stops to explain the culture; he took us to the Altuna Ha ruins and for 40.00 had the most amazing day. In Costa Maya, we did the zip line which was breathtaking and the last day in the Bahamas was quite costly but enjoyable; we did parasailing which was rather short for our 180.00 and the boat driver made no qualms about requesting a tip. Food on the island was the same as the pool area - blah and boring. Cons: Stateroom: The shower area was adequate yet the water was burning hot; in fact we had no cold water in the bathroom sink. OUr entire floor reeked of sewage from the moment we stepped aboard; they kept putting in requests to fix the problem, yet it never was fixed. Cabin steward never did our towels at night for our room, but did for our other room. The whole staff aboard the Norwegian was cool at best; anytime you requested something (we are not a needy family at all) it always seemed as if you were bothering them. Royal's staff was the most wonderful staff I have ever encountered. As usual on any of these cruises they are out to get you in anyway possible on board. Drinks very costly, extra charges wherever they can, excursions costly as well. There wasn't much for the kids to do when at sea; not enough pool space for the ship; not much for kids to do; video game room 2.00 for every game. The excursions were not well planned, sold out with hundreds of people left to fend on there own. Long waits to tender and unorganized. Food: The restaurants were expensive and a waste of time. For example, Chin Chin cost $60 extra for the four of us and the food was marginal. The best food was in the Tzars Dining Room (no extra charge)- I wish we knew that before wasting so much money on the "specialty dining". Since the tips are automatic, the dining staff did not go out of their way. There were no trays in the buffet area so we needed to juggle out food and drinks. No-one came around with coffee/tea or to ask if we needed anything. I have been on other cruises where service was the norm. Entertainment: There was very little to do during the day. Bingo was very expensive ( the most that I have ever paid). Many activities revolved around selling. Some example of this included the art show and the jewelry shows. There were no ice carving or food carving shows. The Chocolate buffet was like a hoard of people waiting to get into the Golden Corral..lots of kids and unsupervised and disrespectful. Ship: The lobby was nothing special . The ship was confusing to maneuver. The pools and hot tubs were completely inadequate. There was an adult only area that was adjacent to the kids area ( not private and quiet like other ships). There was no set age for the adult hot tubs ( 2 small) or pool so that there were always young teens crowding them. There were 4 tiny hot tubs only-extremely inadequate. Overall we had a great time but, this will be our last Norwegian Cruise. For about the same price, once you take into consideration the "extra costs" for NCL, we can sail on Royal Caribbean which is a much classier line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This is the first time that I have written a review. I have been on about 18 cruises. This was my first experience with NCL. I will share some pros and cons. Pros: Stateroom: We had a nice balcony with great views. The cabin was very ... Read More
This is the first time that I have written a review. I have been on about 18 cruises. This was my first experience with NCL. I will share some pros and cons. Pros: Stateroom: We had a nice balcony with great views. The cabin was very clean. The shower area was large. There was constant very hot water ( as hot at you want it)in the shower. There were nice robes. The storage space was adequate. there were 2 movie channels on TV. We had ample towels. Food: There was variety. The staff was accommodating in the restaurants. For example, I didn't like the sushi so they gave me other asian food instead. Overall the food was mediocre to very good. Entertainment: The shows were great, especially Circ de Bijou ( a must see). There were a variety of venues at night. The casino staff were nice. The comedians were funny as were the "gameshows". Ship: It was very clean. The decor was tasteful and not overdone. The sailing was comfortable ( even in rough seas). There were nice areas to lay out and great walking/jogging tracks. Excursions: These were great. We went Scuba diving in both Roatan and Costa Maya. The zip lines in Belize were awesome ( but beware there is a 1+ hour very bumpy ( unpaved ) ride each way to get there. Cons: ' Stateroom: The balcony was very small. We couldn't eat on it at all. The bed was extremely uncomfortable. The television was very tiny and outdated for such a young ship. There wasn't much too watch except for the movie channels, which weren't operating about 1/2 the time. Food: The restaurants were expensive and a waste of time. For example, Cagney's Steakhouse cost $75 extra for the three of us and the food was marginal. The sushi was also awful. The best food was in the Tzars Dining Room ( no extra charge)-I wish we knew that before wasting so much money on the "specialty dining". Since the tips are automatic, the dining staff did not go out of their way. There were no trays in the buffet area so we needed to juggle out food and drinks. No-one came around with coffee/tea or to ask if we needed anything. I have been on other cruises where service was the norm. The room service was very limited and it took a long time. Entertainment: There was very little to do during the day. Bingo was very expensive ( the most that I have ever paid). Many activities revolved around selling. Some example of this included the art show and the jewelry shows. There were some quiz type programs that were fun but there were no token prizes for the winner ( t-shirts would have been nice). There were no ice carving or food carving shows. Ship: The lobby was nothing special . The ship was confusing to maneuver. The pools and hot tubs were completely inadequate. There was an adult only area that was adjacent to the kids area ( not private and quiet like other ships). There was no set age for the adult hot tubs ( 2 small) or pool so that there were always young teens crowding them. There were 4 tiny hot tubs only-extremely inadequate. There was a sauna/steam room/quiet area/therapy tub that cost $99 a person for the week. On Celebrity, for example, those areas are free ( for adults only). Also, there was eating and drinking allowed in the pools and hot tubs: It was really yucky. Excursions: Overall they were great. The only con is that the private island was small. We also were unable to find lounge chairs- there were not enough. Overall I had a great time but, this will be our last Norwegian Cruise. For about the same price, once you take into consideration the "extra costs" for NCL, we can sail on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity: much classier lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We chose this cruise for the childcare, it was to have childcare for children 2 yrs and over. What they do not tell you, and will not fix this problem as I have already written the cruise line and have given them a chance to fix this ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the childcare, it was to have childcare for children 2 yrs and over. What they do not tell you, and will not fix this problem as I have already written the cruise line and have given them a chance to fix this problem and instead they send me $200 to cruise again- YEA RIGHT, is that they need to tell parents that children have to enter the childcare areas alone with no hesitation and must separate willingly from their parents. Now as a professional in the area of child development I can tell you that no 2 or even 3 year old should willingly enter any room (with stranger, no toys or windows, etc...) without a parent. I take my children to childcare several days a week and my 2 1/2 year old always cries when I leave,but the Professional take him and hold him and comfort him, they do not stand around and do nothing, like the so called childcare professional did on this cruise. Every time I took my son to the entry and HAD to stop since I could not enter the room, he clung to my leg and refused to enter. Eventually my husband had to go and talk to the director of the child care to get her (Onion Ring was her name, REALLY) to get her to hold my son (which we were told was not permissible) so we cold walk away without him running after us. It was a nightmare and I cried, which I am not a person that cries. Did I mention they place the young children ages 2 to 5 in a room the size of most of the cabins (which are small if you know this line) with no windows and no toys out to play with, it was bad and to get to the room you had to walk down a hall that was used by the staff to bring food out to the cafe so you had to stand in line dodging large food carts to get your children in this room. Oh but the teenagers got a huge room, that they never seemed to be in because they were teenagers and never want to be where they should be! It wasn't just this, trust me there was much more... like the child's cafe area that the adults all sat in since there was never any room to eat in the larger cafe, because it seems everyone wants to eat at the same time. Food was OK, but even the higher end restaurants were I wanted fabulous food was just a little better. There are no activities for young children and families, except maybe a 15 minute cupcake making event or a children's movie on one day of the cruise. We did have to pay $50 to go play bingo 2 days, but that was so packed and hard to hear that it was a waste! There are no channels on the TV appropriate for children, and maybe one or two rentals for $10 through the tv, there was not a lot for them to do outside due to the weather, and even if it was nice there is limited things for young children due to the diaper restrictions (which they dont enforce btw) in the children's pool. The staff that was taking care of our room was the ONLY highlight of the whole cruise, the other staff on the ship that had any power or authority were rude and one man basically called me a liar! Oh, but we did get a kick out of the hand sanitizer guy, the motto of the cruise is "happy, happy, washy washy", and you know what I was happy when I washed this cruise out of my life! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband & I have cruised over 30 times with many different companies but had never taken an NCL cruise. We decided to give NCL "freestyle" a try. The ship and cabin were very nice. Freestyle dining was not free in most ... Read More
My husband & I have cruised over 30 times with many different companies but had never taken an NCL cruise. We decided to give NCL "freestyle" a try. The ship and cabin were very nice. Freestyle dining was not free in most cases. Most of the restaurants had a surcharge of $10-$25 per person. We decided to have breakfast & lunch in the Garden Cafe and eat dinner in the 2 free main dining rooms. Service in both dining rooms was very slow. The food was fair to poor. I ordered a margarita the first night and it was the absolute worst margarita I have ever had in my life. I told the waiter it was terrible, he took it back, supposedly added more tequila and gave it back to me. It was still bad. I would not order a drink on this ship unless it would be beer or wine since they can't mess beer and wine up. (I never ordered another drink from any bar.) The second night, it took an hour to get our main entree and my husband could not cut his pork chop with a steak knife. He had to stop someone to get a cup of coffee. I was never asked or offered coffee, tea, a drink anything. I ordered a fish entree both nights and both nights it came served over noodles. No variety here. Our cabin was not serviced the second night - he came by @ 9:45 & I said to forget it. TV channels very poor. The University of Florida Football team ranked at that time # 1 in the nation and the game was being televised on CBS at 3:30. Could we see the game? No, not available. I asked. I asked where there was a sports bar hoping to watch the game. Sorry no sports bar either. We wanted to try NCL out since the Epic will begin sailing beginning this summer. I don't think we will, if you have to pay extra money to get service and a decent meal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We just returned from a week cruise on the Jewel. We booked 8 cabins and had 16 people in out group.The ship was fine. The customer service was horrible. The steward was never around and and turned the cabin down 1/2 the time. Ice? ... Read More
We just returned from a week cruise on the Jewel. We booked 8 cabins and had 16 people in out group.The ship was fine. The customer service was horrible. The steward was never around and and turned the cabin down 1/2 the time. Ice? Forget about. When you do get it, it takes 40 minutes. You will become familiar with the term "no". Examples. . . This is freestyle can we get a dinner reservation at 7? "No." 7:30? "No". Can we order our free group picture. You know the one you promised us in writing of which we have a copy to show you... "No". Do you know where our luggage is? "No". Can we get an extra beach towel and another water glass? "No" Getting dining room reservations for our group of 16 people (8 cabins) required repeated calls tot he hotel director. On past cruises, I never had to contact the hotel director, on this cruise I had to contact him 3 times. Trying to get the free group photo took an entire day even with proper paperwork. That also required a call to the hotel director..so let's make it four. Getting ice in our room was a major task and let's not forget the extra beach towel (our room came with one towel for two people). The is ok and there is plenty of it. The best food is in the specialty restaurants. The steak house is great the others pale in comparison. The Wii system they promise is either broken our occupied. There is one show that is worth seeing and that is on the last night, Cirque Bijou. The room was nice. We were in the rear of the ship and had a balcony. The tv stated we had moderate seas up to 7 ft but when we went on the bridge tour the captain showed us the instrument panel that indicated 12ft seas. Overall, I would book on another cruise line. I cruise because I do not want hassles or grief. I got just that. I would book on Holland America or Celebrity over NCL. Heck, I had better customer service on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Reasonable price for the cruise £600 but once CAPTIVE on board they fleeced every penny (cent) they could from you.NO BAR PRICE LIST'S available, they are at the printers, so we were told, yet they can print a daily events paper !1 ... Read More
Reasonable price for the cruise £600 but once CAPTIVE on board they fleeced every penny (cent) they could from you.NO BAR PRICE LIST'S available, they are at the printers, so we were told, yet they can print a daily events paper !1 x 250ml bottle of Heineken     = $4.95 = £3.00 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £3.451 pint draught Heineken           = $5.95 = £3.60 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £4.141 x 25ml J Walker Black Label    = $6.75 = £4.10 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £4.721 x can diet Pepsi                   = $1.95 = £1.20 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £1.361 x Evian 500ml bottle of water = $2.50 = £1.52 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £1.751 x 25ml Smirnoff Vodka,          = $5.75 = £3.50 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £4.031 x 125ml Merlot wine              = $7.50 = £4.56 + 15% autogratuity (compulsory) = £5.25From the examples above you can get the picture ... cider the same as lager, brandy the same as whiskey etc. .... VERY EXPENSIVE !O.K. being a thrifty Scotsman we went to the bar ourselves by-passing the waiter service but, guess what ?,  the 15% autogratuity was STILL applied.BINGO was nothing more than a total Rip-Off ... no evidence of the monies taken in from ticket sales but after a few visits we estimated prize money to be in the region of 10% to 15% of the gross takings ... the remainder goes to NCL !POKER .. No Limit Hold'em ..  60$ entrance fee but they do not inform you that re-buys are allowed, ALSO 25% of the takings goes to (you've guessed it ) NCL !As for the SHORE EXCURSIONS ....  DO NOT ... I REPEAT .. DO NOT BOOK WITH NCL IN ADVANCE OR ON BOARD THE SHIP. Check on the internet before you sail, you will save a fortune.When it comes to St Petersburg, get your local Travel Agent to arrange for the Visas and again book on the internet ... again you save a fortune.The ship itself ... very nice, excellent food, good entertainment but all let down by the 'RIP-OFF'Would I go again ... NEVER WITH NCL ... ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY. Neil Moffat. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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