7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Reading the blogs in regards to the Norwegian Jewel were spot on. Ranking: 1) Entertainment (the entertainment staff really does a great job on the Jewel) 2) Activities (there is something to do every hour of every day on the ... Read More
Reading the blogs in regards to the Norwegian Jewel were spot on. Ranking: 1) Entertainment (the entertainment staff really does a great job on the Jewel) 2) Activities (there is something to do every hour of every day on the Jewel. You will never get bored.) 3) Room (Penthouse room at the front of the boat had a huge deck with amazing views) 4) Service (everyone was very friendly and helpful. We had a Butler, Rex and a private Concierge, Bruno. Both were very helpful and attentive.) 5) Food (This was the biggest disappointment. The food was beyond horrible. We were looking forward to our ports of call just to get decent food. The Teppanyaki specialty restaurant had the best food.) NCL has a nice relaxed dress code. Which comes in handy when you are out on shore excursions all day and want to go to dinner when you get on the boat without having to change. Definitely check out the spa, its well worth it. Check out Lauron Randon in Magnums Champagne Bar. Great 70's singer. . Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there ... Read More
First cruise ever, last on NCL. The ship was nice, did not seem dated to me as some say BUT.... Staff - friendly but usually only if prompted for help - I think I saw my room steward twice, both times because I needed something - there was no lifejacket I could find (someone had stowed under the bed) and no robe unless you ask and that is for a mini suite? Food was simply horrid, with very few exceptions. The best food of course was in the specialty restaurants Le Bistro was very good, Cagney's was average, and Teppenyaki could take it or leave it. The normal food, was at times disgusting. Corned beef sandwich in O'Sheehans was simply cold rye toast with fatty corned beef - no sauce, cheese, toppings of any kind. Gross. Fries that came with anything were always cold, in fact nothing I ate was ever hot as most meals should be, lukewarm food at best, even eggs and soup. Again, gross. One night I was tired so ordered room service. I tried a cheeseburger, who can make a bad burger? NCL. Cold bun, mayo, thin beef patty and a totally unmelted slice of cheese. No cold fries this time, stale potato chips in a bowl. Really really bad. That was just a couple of examples I could go on. So if you want a nice cruise, pretty scenery (weather was gorgeous and sunny) and are on a DIET, sail NCL cause I actually think I lost a few pounds on that food. The other disturbing observation was a sewer smell that permeated the stateroom corridors much of the time, especially as you approached mid ship, and not just on one floor. Someone has a sewer leak? I asked a steward in passing if he smelled that? He either did not understand me or did not want to talk about it and brushed me off. Sewer fumes, again gross. Too bad too, everyone is asking about how my cruise was, knowing it was my first. and NCL blew it,and yes I am telling everyone who asks just how....... next time based on the feedback from others in the ports will try Princess, everyone on the Coral and Crown I met loved it. Sigh. Good to be home. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We embarked the Norwegian Jewel on June 4th from Seattle. We stayed in an inside room, no window or porthole. SHIP: PRO: The ship was overall very clean. CON: The ship was very outdated. CABIN: Overall our cabin was ... Read More
We embarked the Norwegian Jewel on June 4th from Seattle. We stayed in an inside room, no window or porthole. SHIP: PRO: The ship was overall very clean. CON: The ship was very outdated. CABIN: Overall our cabin was good. Our housekeeper was very polite and nice. They cleaned our cabin twice a day which was above and beyond. Although the room itself was clean, it was outdated. Favorite part of the room would be the spacious shower. DINING: OK, we as a family found the dining to be terrible. They offer a few different types of "free dining" all in which didn't serve good food. Luckily they had a salad bar which is what my family and I lived off of. There were a few things that we found to be ok. Waffles, salad bar, fruit, toast, and coffee. They had very little vegetarian options as everything had meat, even the chow-mien. Overall, they served the same things in the Garden Cafe, which is where we primarily ate. O'Sheehan's was by far the grossest food I've ever eaten in my life. Chin Chin's as well ... worst Chinese food ever. A young child actually went running out and threw up all over the floor. Tzars - "fancy restaurant" food was OK nothing to rave about about or complain about. Azura - my parents found there meal to be better there then Tzars and I was the opposite ... We both said the same things nothing the rave about. The menus pretty much stayed the same throughout the ship varying with one or two items a night. They provide speciality restaurants, we as a family did not attend any as they where about 30$ a person, there was four of us so do the math .. about 120$. Another upset would be the price of drinks, we are not heavy drinkers so buying the drink pass at 79$ a day would not benefit us. For example a Moscow Mule was $15.95 pus 18% gratuity. All mixed drinks where in the $16-20 range plus 18% gratuity. Beers were 7$ plus 18% gratuity. They make you pay a gratuity every swipe rather it be one coffee, or 2 drinks at the bar... & no you cannot keep a tab open. ENTERTAINMENT: WORST ENTERTAINMENT EVER: OK, sailing to Alaska you spend quite a bit of time on the boat as a total amount of time spent in the ports were a combine maybe 30 hours. The boat had little to do, and we often just walked laps due to being so bored. We wanted to play deal or no deal ... cost 19.95 to play a game ... Couldn't enjoy the pool as it was too cold outside and windy. The things we did included the 3 game shows spread throughout the week, the comedy show (ehhh), and the Circus show - this show was actually really neat to watch and we enjoyed it very much. There was a "white hot party" it was ok ... the staff made it enjoyable but it died out quickly. Overall, you where often left not knowing what to do so we caught up on all new release movies in our room. SERVICE: OK, the overall service was great. The staff was very attentive, and it was cool seeing all kinds of different cultures. There was one hiccup with service which included the shore excursion desk. In Juneau we were supposed to dog-sled but due to weather it was cancelled - which I understand safety first. However, there was about 25-30 of us who had planned that excursion - we met in the stardust theater at 7:15 AM and where told at about 7:40 that they were not flying helicopters. So everyone ran the the excursion desk to plan another adventure for the day. Arriving to the desk there was one person working - anyone who has planned or done an excursion you understand that you leave in early AM by around 8:30 depending on what you are doing. We waited in line for about 90 minutes until we were finally able to pick an excursion ... Here's the hiccup as she was helping guests in the line she was also answering phone calls from individuals in their rooms. Two of us wanted to plan dog-sledding for the following day in Skagway .. We finally got up to the counter and she told us to wait as she answered the phone and put three people down for dog-sledding in Skagway ... We proceeded to say that we wanted to dog-sled in Skagway since it was cancelled in Juneau ... she states " we are all booked for that trip I just gave away the last 3 spots" ... hmmm I've been waiting 90 minutes .. Anyways - all of the buses had left besides a whale watching tour and we picked that ... We had 6 minutes to get off of the ship and head to the bus ... We were very upset as where the people all around us. I went up to the service desk and asked if any of them could help or if the cruise director could assist the one lady .. the response was that only shore excursion people have access to the computers. Although the women said dog-sledding was sold out in Skagway we walked to the building and asked if they had spots ... They were AWESOME people and gave us 3 different times to choose from and it was 60$ cheaper. PORTS/EXCURSIONS: 1. Ketchikan: We did Jeep and Canoe Adventure : It was amazing and the people were wonderful ... we canoed across a lake, they served amazing clam chowder and I don't prefer clam chowder .. We then jeeped to a mountain side and the views were spectacular. Would recommend this tour. 2. Juneau: Whale watching - Overpriced and I could of lived without .. We did see whales but none breeching and hardly any tails. They people were very nice and served hot coco and snacks. 3, Skagway - Dogsledding - AMAZING if you can do it I would recommend doing it. Once in a lifetime experience 4: British Columbia: Zip-lining - It was a blast and they guides where very nice with a great sense of humor. Would recommend this tour. Overall, I would recommend bringing your own snacks on board .. As we entered the first town a lot of people went to the stores and bought sodas and snacks as a lot of people agreed to the food being bland and ehh. I would recommend if you can to buy your excursions on land, they were cheaper. I didn't like the fact that they nickel and dimed you for EVERYTHING!!! I wish we as people were able to tip who we wanted and how much we wanted because some did not deserve a tip and others deserved more. I wouldn't recommend this cruise for younger people as the entertainment lacked. Overall, I am happy we were able to see Alaska and enjoy a family vacation. We as a family decided that we would never cruise with NCL again as we have enjoyed other cruise lines better. The quality what not worth the overall price of the vacation. Thanks for reading .. I am not trying to be a negative nancy, I just wanted to write what our experience was like on the cruise and how we felt. I wish I could be more positive. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I wanted to write a review because as a first time cruiser there was a lot I did not know or fully grasp until I took this trip. So I wanted to do as in depth a review as possible because I feel sometimes reviews don't say enough. ... Read More
I wanted to write a review because as a first time cruiser there was a lot I did not know or fully grasp until I took this trip. So I wanted to do as in depth a review as possible because I feel sometimes reviews don't say enough. So you know I am a single male, I traveled with a friend, and had no kids in tow. We opted for a inside room and had the pick 2 of 4 amenities options and chose to go with the Unlimited Beverage and Ultimate Dining Package. Start of the day we went to the World Cruise Center in Los Angeles, went in took a right past the Battleship to the terminal. When you go in especially early, people are leaving so there is a lot of commotion, we checked in our bags, I carried on a bag pack with some spare clothes and my toiletries as was suggested by many. So we had stand in line answer some health questions and since we were no Latitudes members (being first timers) we were given a number and had to wait until our number was called for us to be able to go on the ship. So as we finally got on the ship, we headed over the O'Shenohans or whatever the Irish pub was on the 8th floor and decided to try out lunch. You should know the menu at this restaurant stays the same for breakfast and lunch. We did not have an opportunity to eat here for dinner as we wanted to try the other many options on the ship. So each bar has drinks they specialize in and can vary from amazing to yuck, and depending on the bartender that all can change. Standard pub food was served wings, strips, mozzarella sticks for appetizers and corn beef sandwiches, meatloaf, chicken pot pie for lunch just to name a few. Strawberry shortcake and cheesecake 1 or 2 other items for dessert. It was good I quiet enjoyed it, its true you can order multiple of anything in this restaurants, Chin Chins, and the main dining rooms Azura and Tsars. The grill upstairs and the Garden Cafe were buffet style. To continue on the discussion of food we did have the Dinner package to four restaurants and decided to try Le Bistro, Tepanyaki, La Cucina, and Cagneys. We also ate dinner in bother Azura and Tsars and Chin Chins one night each. Le Bistro As this is an Ala carte restaurant the dinner package works differently, each person gets one appetizer, one soup or salad, one entree, and one dessert. The food to me was just so so, they are located on the 6th floor and we believe they share a kitchen with Tsars and Azura so some food may cross over for convenience making the cuisine feel nice but not wow. My friend did get to try escargot and the lobster which was included, I decided to opt for the lamb and some cones. The Hazelnut dessert was my favorite overall. Tepanyaki Its dinner and a show, we were crammed into a small room accessible through Chin Chins on the 7th floor. There was four cooking tables in a fairly tight space, so it gets pretty tight and noisy. Food was good, they watch out for allergies, I had the chicken udon which was you know Asian food on a ship, getting it to be average is my highest expectation. You got to choose your entree, you were given miso soup and salad and a dessert to top it off between fresh fruit or a green tea cake, The garlic butter fried rice was good. La Cucina So again different rules here for dinner package, as many appetizers, desserts, pizzas, and soups or salads but only 1 entree. I ordered all the pizza three were good but the fourth the meat sauce pizza was weird. The food was overall enjoyable about the same level as well just a hair under Oliver Garden. The restaurant on the 12th floor gave us a nice view of setting sun as we left Puerto Vallarta. Cagneys On the 13th floor towards the back is Cagneys right next door to the Brazilian BBQ which we did not eat. Cagneys is like a traditional steakhouse. You order your meat and sides separately. You can order two sides at this restaurant and 1 appetizer and 1 soup or salad and 1 of the cuts of meat. I went for the Porterhouse which was huge and hard to finish, but cooked a bit under but I expected that for the size of meat. It was good overall. The restaurant was low key, we had a later dinner, and the cheesecake I had was good. Chin Chins If average is what I expect as a high point for Asian food on a ship, I would say it did not meet this expectation. Chin Chins was just a waste of a meal, but if you come from outside of a major urban center with lots of Asians and Asian food, Chin Chins might be an okay place to eat. Located on the busy 7th floor next the Fyzz lounge and Atrium was easy to find and right above the lounge in front of Le Bistro and the Martini bar where live music played every night. Tsars and Azura The main dining, the decor could not be any more different from each other, Azura was like a psychedelic eatery with fancyish food. The dress code was more relaxed than Tsars but felt more cramped. Tsara was opening dining area, towards the back of the ship, it had pictures of nobles in portraits on the walls and felt a little more open then Azuras. The menu was the same for both, a set of items that were similar every night and the rest changed daily. I had to say the food was just as good here as it was in the Specialties, if I had to only eat in Tsars or Azuras, I would be content because food was at time exceptional. Garden Cafe Its a big buffet and outside was Topsiders Grill, its a buffet, massive amount of decent food, available most of the day. Room Service Is not free, its 7.50 and up depending on how crazy you order. Breakfast in the morning is included if you put out your order before 4AM, it is delivered between 5-10. It includes pastries a maximum of 2 each, cereal, coffee, and juice. Things like eggs, and other stuff come with the 7.50 charge. Finally the coffee bar, they were missing items, because well I guess they weren't loaded or baked or something but it was unfortunate to advertise a cupcake and dessert bar but be very limited on selection. They had two of the four or five cupcake choices, and the coffee was good but it wasn't as good as say a Starbucks, it left you hanging a little bit. My friend tried almost every drink on the boat in nearly every bar, she had an enjoyable time at Spinnakers, the Sake Bar, and O'Shays. Highlights for her included Pisco Punch, Mango Meltdown, and Chilada. She said the Negroni was gross and a couple of the martinis were just meh. She loved the drink at the Sake bar, Wasabi something. Entertainment The ship has three main areas for night life Spinnakers, the lounge in front of Le Bistro, and Fyzz. Spinnakers on the 13th floor had all the parties, dancing, it was the night club on the ship. The music grew tiresome after the first few nights and for people wanting to relax more and be social well Spinnakers is a club. In the day activities like Bingo, and movies occurred here it was great for big group stuff and had wonderful views. Fyzz at night had dance lessons,trivia and karaoke. We usually had family from 10-11, and from 11-12 was adult time. Karaoke was limited on selections and the same few people always sang. Each night they taught the basics of a lot of dances like salsa, triple swing and hop hop. We also had trivia done here and presentations for like jewelry and stuff. The lounge in front of Le Bistro next to the champagne/ martini bar, had live music every night. It was nice to hear, but I never really sat down to listen for very long. They had theme nights, and so if you had a particular music you liked, it was a nice place to relax and be social with friends. During the day as well as night there was of course the pool, the super expensive video arcade, the casino trap, basketball court, shuffel board, a game room and a little library. All these activities were good and added to bring the monotony of doing the same things over and over. I went to three shows in the Stardust, the shows are at 7:15 and 9:15, I saw Rod Long a comedian, JP a magician comedian,and Bijou the Cirque style acrobat and dance show. Bijou is the most popular on the ship and clearly for the all the pizzazz its justified. Rod Long was funny but there was something enjoyable about JPs show that I did enjoy very much. So I did a massage and got a pretty nice deal on Embarkation day. I did the Elemis Aroma Therapy massage. In essence you strip down to almost nothing they lather you up in a seaweed cream, stick you in a plastic streamer, have you shower it off, and then they steam you again. After that they give you a massage, it was unique and slightly uncomfortable because well I am a big guy and they gave me a paper underwear that was clearly to small, at some point we just gave up and there I was just butt naked to the world. The massage was nice though and I felt good for the rest of the trip. I did not venture into the gym, I should have but I passed on that. I did however enjoy the Therapy Suites, it was a nice place to find quiet, and to relax. I highly recommend paying the extra for the serenity. I can imagine on the newer ships they upped this feature and it must be even more so delightful. Shore excursions were expensive, I ventured away from that and decided to book elsewhere. I am glad I did because I was not about to spend that much money on something that was 1/3 the cost. For us Cabo was okay, we ventured to San Jose and it was more real Mexico to us, Mazatlan was my favorite city, and Puerto Vallarta we did a taco tour was very enjoyable. Going away from the cruise ship excursions was a little uneasy because if you're late back well, see ya later. As the last part of this review, I participated in the art Auction. It was enjoyable. Everything was really expensive and at time it felt like we were dealing with an oil salesman. We did purchase a Winnie the Pooh etching "third level of collecting" for 75 which made my friend really happy. Disembarkation was a little less fun, my friend lost an item, and something in my bag shattered. We opted to check stuff in but the line for customs is long, next time I'm walking my bag off. The cool thing was, the form was easy, you do one for all the people in your household (same last name), you itemize all the items and even though we brough more then 1 liter of alcohol they let us slide right through. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Have just returned to Australia after cruising to the Mexican Riviera on the Norwegan Jewel. Being "foreigners'' we had not known where to stay precruise but are glad we decided on the Doubletree Hilton at San Pedro beside ... Read More
Have just returned to Australia after cruising to the Mexican Riviera on the Norwegan Jewel. Being "foreigners'' we had not known where to stay precruise but are glad we decided on the Doubletree Hilton at San Pedro beside the boat harbour. This wonderful hotel provided a sanctuary for weary travellers before and after our cruise. Great room - yummy biscuits - a free shuttle to town anytime (and to the boat on cruise departure day) + free carparking if you need it - free baggage storage and pickup after the cruise. Highly recommended by me and my fellow travellers. Now to the cruise. WOW - loved this. When we arrived at the pier there she was the Norwegian Jewel which I had only ever seen in pictures before. I have to say she was a beautiful lady and I was impressed by her clean sleek appearance. Embarkation was quite orderly and within acceptable time limits - got on the ship and of course what do you do straightaway! EAT and DRINK of course. The cabins were not available until 1pmish which was not outrageously long considering that they feed you and also have to set up for this new intake of passengers and get everyones luggage delivered. We had only got on at 11.30ish. Have not been on a cruise for many years but it seems to me that these cruises are so abundant in food and alcohol and soft drinks that it is hard to comprehend. Disembarkation was just as orderly as embarkation and if you wish to wheel off your own luggage is much quicker than having it collected. Just remember though that the staff cannot help or assist you in any way as they are bound by union rules. All in all myself and my family loved this cruise and had not much to grumble about - value for money. TIPS FROM A FIRST TIME CRUISER If you like a drink on a hot day DO buy the UBP . We had 2 free ones and purchased the 3rd one onboard and dont regret it. If you dont drink alcohol consider one of the non alcoholic ones. If you want peace of mind about the cost of drinks - even though the drink packages seem expensive and if you like beers wines or cocktails regularly then I highly recommend that the UBP is for you. They soon add up! Dont be like us and try to dodge the free photo opportunities that they provide everywhere. Get as many done as you want as when you go to view them you only need to buy what you want. You dont have to eat in the specialty restaurants to get a good meal. Tsars offers a great sit down breakfast right on the back of the boat next to the window and its included. Azura has another good enough meal which is part of the deal but most of all the meal options in the Garden Cafe are not to be sneezed at - more often than not they have a great big turkey - a huge leg of pork or piece of beef - no one goes hungry on this boat and each night has a different theme. You can also dress up if you want or go casual if you choose - nobody cares - be warned though that Tsars requires men to wear long trousers for evening dining. Chin Chin and Osheehans were also good charge free options. Remember FOOD is the word on this boat. If you miss breakfast there is always another option like a spread at the Great Outdoors - a fabulous outdoors barbecue on the pool deck daily (weather permitting) and even in the Casino they lay out food for the peckish and no doubt other places that my bloated and overfed body couldnt get to!!! Disembarking at ports is orderly and well organised - passenger safety is paramount - and I was highly impressed with the polite attitude of the staff on this ship. Should you wish to book an excursion from onboard or when booking there plenty of options and also you can get a driver when you go onshore who will show you all the sights and luckily we never got ripped off. Mazatlan has umpteen dozen english speaking volunteers at strategic points all around the port (expats I think) who are pleasant and helpful about all aspects of their chosen place of retirement. Take advantage of their knowledge. The Norwegian Jewel has a great attitude towards cleanliness on board - there are the washi washi guys who offer antiseptic spray and also free standing dispensers everywhere on the ship - the womens restrooms display signs asking you to washup and open the doors using paper towels. There were no signs of illness on this ship. All you need to do is heed the signs. Activities aplenty on this ship. From Bingo Deal or No deal deck games reading walking shows ping pong deck quoits heaps of kids activities recipe demonstrations music and bands round the pool - you name it - not to mention the nightly shows in their wonderful theatre. There are many that I cant remember but the list goes on. If you are tempted to take some bottles of wine onboard - dont bother - unless you are a real lover of particular wines. We never once were challenged for taking our alcoholic drinks to our cabin. Look for the free icecream dispensers - they are VERY popular. On Deck 11 if you walk all the way down the passageway on the right hand side of the ship from back to front - you will find a viewing window which allows you to see whats going on on the Bridge. Found this by mistake and it was interesting. I suggest you check your onboard account the day prior to disembarking to make sure there are no stuff ups - ours was fine - but some peoples wasnt and the queues are long on the last day. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We booked a suite and an adjoining room, as we had six people. So four of us slept in the suite and two in the adjoining room. The agent who recommended this didn't fully explain all the benefits of a suite. If you can do it, do ... Read More
We booked a suite and an adjoining room, as we had six people. So four of us slept in the suite and two in the adjoining room. The agent who recommended this didn't fully explain all the benefits of a suite. If you can do it, do it. The room was so much better than two regular rooms. And the benefits were outstanding -- private breakfast and lunch area, a butler and concierge, early boarding etc. It was so nice to have a meeting area where everyone could meet, and our butler always had appetizers in our room before dinner so our entire party could enjoy a nice cocktail hour before dinner. Both sets of grandparents were also on the cruise, so overall there were 10 of us. The ship offered something for everyone -- the teenagers, the twenty-somethings, the grandparents, and my wife and I. We were very impressed with the specialty dinning restaurants and the nightlife on the ship. What impressed me most is that everyone had a great time -- no matter the age. The one downside is that the shore excursions were only ok. We had a problem with one, and NCL refunded us 20%. But it was not at all what was advertised. The ship's pools and hot-tubs are small, but the weather wasn't really conducive to enjoying the pool/ laying out. I thought the drinks included in the beverage package were of a really good quality -- much better than I expected. Overall, my family had a wonderful vacation. I thought the NCL employees were very responsive when we had various issues that arisen. And if you take a cruise with NCL, make sure you organize a Cruise Critic reception. Senior management came to it and gave us their direct dial numbers. We used these several times, and it made a big difference. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
We just finished our trip on the NCL Jewel. I learned one thing I can state with absolute certainty. When a person on the staff uses the phrase, "I will look into it.", they are really telling you to go away because they ... Read More
We just finished our trip on the NCL Jewel. I learned one thing I can state with absolute certainty. When a person on the staff uses the phrase, "I will look into it.", they are really telling you to go away because they don't care enough to help! This canned phrase, used by most of the upper staff, is simply a polite way they use to say I will do the bare minimum to make you go away! The primary reason for my lack of satisfaction in from three events. One involving my 15 month old son getting sick, one involving people smoking on the balcony two rooms toward the bow of the ship in front of ours and the third being terrible service in the Tsar's Palace restaurant. The biggest problem was the horrible, rude incomprehensibly poor behavior and judgement of the staff when my son threw up in his stroller directly next to the registration desk. Let me paint the picture. We were headed to dinner at Azura with me, my wife our 4 year old and the baby. The baby erupted and threw up all over himself and his stroller. Nightmare! It was terrible and we didn't know what to do. We wanted to clean up our son, but to move him without a towel would have spread the puke everywhere. Had we pushed him back to the room in the stroller we would have spread vomit through the whole of the ship. We didn't want to do that. We used all the wipes we had and were begging for something to help clean up our son and stroller. We were literally next to the desk and we asked for help three times! The lady who we talked to treated us horribly and did not communicate the situation properly to housekeeping. We literally were stranded next to the desk for 20 minutes before help arrived. We asked three times for help during this time! All we wanted was a towel to pick up our son and clean the vomit from his whole body and stop the pooling vomit from spilling. She responded with a curt, I have called housekeeping twice when we pleaded for help. She then went back to helping other guests in line despite our mini crisis. No less than three members of the staff walked by us and did nothing! After 15 minutes and having asked twice for help and being treated rudely, we got help from the desk supervisor who called housekeeping again to let them know it was an urgent matter after I stepped into the front of the line and loudly demanded help for the third time. After that they were there in 5 minutes. No parent should ever have to sit in a high traffic area of the ship, next to the registration desk and be treated in a similar fashion. Shame on the front desk for being so poorly trained and so incredibly rude. This was gross negligence on the part of the staff. It was embarrassing as a parent to have to sit there and wait so ling for help with people walking by us the whole time, not to mention the helpless feeling of not being able to pick up and comfort our crying son as we didn't want to spread the vomit everywhere. I complained about the treatment at the front desk and I got the standard, "Let me look into it"! The first person I spoke to said, this does not meet the criteria for compensation, what do you want me to do. At that [point in time I had asked for nothing and was simply registering a complaint about the behavior and the indifference of the front desk as a whole. The assistant hotel director, a nice man but his response was "I'll look into it" We also got the same from Hotel Director after leaving a note in his box... Ill look into it! They sent an empty gesture of a bottle of wine and some chocolate covered strawberries. They should have been more attentive to the baby and us as parents. They should have offered some compensation for the incompetence! The second problem was they were essentially non responsive to the passengers smoking on the balcony. The lady in the room in front of ours took pictures of the people in both of the next two rooms smoking cigarettes and also, what smelled like pot on the balcony. Again, we were traveling with a 4 year old and a baby and could not open our door because of the smell of the two different kinds of smoke wafting into our cabin at all hours of the day and night for most of the cruise. I spent over $500 to upgrade to a balcony room we could not use. It was terrible. They should have fined the people in the other rooms and credited the upgrade in full back to my account! The third problem was that the service staff in Tsars Palace was rude and did some really gross things. The biggest problem outside of the disinterested service and lackluster meal was when the server put her entire hand into my older son's ice cream, wiped it on her leg and then served it to my son hoping we didn't see her stumble and put her hand in the ice cream. After she dropped it at the table and asked if we needed anything else we asked her for a different ice cream as we saw what she had done. She lied to us and said she was already going to get a different one, but her actions of putting it on the table and starting to walk away was not what had actually happened. Other than these problems, the ship was nice, but dated. The elevator third to the right in the aft of the ship was broken and made several people get stuck. Besides that, the staff was cordial and nice for the most part. The service was generally lacking, but it was a full ship. Our room steward, Hilary, was awesome! He made the trip for us and was a real pro at his job! He was wonderful! Chin Chin was really good, with the appetizers being better then the main courses. Azura was fantastic with great service and really attentive waitstaff. The buffet was really great and we enjoyed our times when we ate there. The Great Outdoors on the back of deck 12 was an amazing place to have breakfast and we did so everyday! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
It was just my husband and I on this trip. I have never cruised before, so I can't compare it to anything, but it didn't have as much glamour as I was expecting. Still, the ship was very clean and service was very good. We ... Read More
It was just my husband and I on this trip. I have never cruised before, so I can't compare it to anything, but it didn't have as much glamour as I was expecting. Still, the ship was very clean and service was very good. We arrived in San Pedro the night before the cruise and stayed at the Doubletree Hotel. Most of the rooms have just been renovated, so everything was very nice and new. Our room looked out on to the Marina, which was a nice touch. The next morning we took the hotel shuttle to the port. It was very organized and quick. We left right on time. (you sign up for a time when you check in) The port was a bit of a mad house when we arrived at around noon. The porters didn't have enough luggage carts, so people were crowding around the luggage drop off area. There was no kind of line or signage about where to go. Luckily we spotted a porter and since we had priority tags he agreed to take our bags. Check-in was smooth but a little confusing. The staff directed us to the line for Haven guests, but we weren't in the Haven...we only had a penthouse suite. Anyway, the Haven line is apparently for both Haven and Suites. We waited in a separate lounge area until the concierge took us on board. While this is a nice touch, it's a little unnecessary for just 2 people. Lots of awkward small talk. We were escorted to Moderno for lunch and to wait until our rooms were ready. Surprisingly, they were ready around 12:30! Lunch in Moderno was very good. Cabin Our cabin was an aft penthouse suite on deck 10. There was more than enough room for 2 people, lots of closet/drawer space and an excellent shower in the bathroom. The bed was so comfortable. We always got a good night's sleep and woke up refreshed. The balcony was huge with 2 loungers, a small table and a chair. Our butler (Jennifer) pampered us beyond belief bringing snacks every afternoon and even setting the table with a white tablecloth when we ordered room service breakfast. Our cabin steward (Marrgie) was also awesome! Our room was always made up by the time we got back from breakfast and turned down by the afternoon. I was surprised by the in-house movie channels. There were a lot of new releases. The only annoying thing was that there wasn't any kind of guide so you never knew when a movie was going to play. Food -Ate in the MDR (Tsar's) the first night. Food was great. Service a little slow, but not bad considering it was a holiday sailing so it was a completely full ship. -Teppanyaki - food was fine, but the experience marred by an obnoxious family at our table. I probably won't go back on my next cruise. -La Cucina: very good. A bit Olive Garden-ish, but the food was very good. Great wine list and service. -Cagney's: awesome. How can you go wrong with steak. -Moderno: didn't eat dinner here but we had breakfast here almost every day (it was included for suite and Haven guests) and breakfast was very good. They do French press coffee which I'm not usually a fan of...but this coffee was very good. Buffet: ate here one time and it was gross! I don't know if it was the time of day or what, but the selection was bad and the food even worse. Plus, it smelled really bad from some kind of fish chowder they were serving. We joked that it was trash stew. Thermal Spa: got a weeklong pass but only managed to get here 3 days. Still, it was worth it. The sauna had a window with a great view of the ocean. Art auction: a lot of fun...at first. Then the auctioneer turned into a condescending jerk when nobody bid on the overpriced art. The art staff told us to tell them about any artwork we were interested in and it would be included in the auction. We waited and waited, but it never made it on to the block. They said they ran out of time and couldn't include every piece, but they put up stuff that no one had marked or was interested in. Well, on the bright side we probably saved ourselves $1500. We left empty handed and annoyed that we wasted 3 hours of our time. We didn't get to any shows. Tried one time, but it was packed so we left. Casino was fun, but don't expect to win on the slots. We hung out at the martini bar a lot and always had good service. Overall, it was a great cruise but the ship was a little more basic than I expected. For example, There wasn't a grand atrium. The atrium looked like a hotel lobby. We still had a great first cruise experience and plan to do it again next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
So good things first: A.) This was our first cruise and the embarkation / disembarkation at all the ports (including LA) was fast. We were particularly worried about the disembarkation at LA because we had a flight to catch, but there ... Read More
So good things first: A.) This was our first cruise and the embarkation / disembarkation at all the ports (including LA) was fast. We were particularly worried about the disembarkation at LA because we had a flight to catch, but there were no problems there (ship arrived at 8am, we were at LAX with our luggage by 10:30am). B.) Food, entertainment (especially the acrobatics and the magic show) and on-board activities were great. C.) Ports were gorgeous and felt very safe. Temperature at the ports were perfect for swimming but not too hot. D.) And last but certainly not least, our steward was very friendly and helpful. The folded towel animals were adorable! Now the bad (from least to worst): A.) Ship is gorgeous but noticeably aged. The toilet needed to be serviced our second day because it lost suction. The cabin door stopped locking after our third day. The toilet was fixed in 30 minutes. The non-lockable door took 2.5 hours to get a carpenter on-site (during which time we were stuck in the cabin to make sure our belongings were safe). B.) Don't expect lost keycards to be deactivated by guest services. We lost a keycard by the pool and went to guest services to get it deactivated and a new one issued. New card never worked (didn't open the door at all, after 3 trips to the service desk for a rep there to check). Old card was eventually returned to us by another guest. We were astonished to realize that it still opened out cabin door and scanned into the ship and the dining areas - guest services assured us it was deactivated immediately. And below you can read about our continuing saga with guest services: C.) Service on the ship was great everywhere except at guest services. General questions were fine (how do we disembark / tender, etc) but be prepared for an extremely unapologetic and accusatory attitude if you actually have a complaint. My sister and I were up on the 14th deck taking pictures of the sunset after we came back from Mazatlan and were unaware that the deck was booked for a private function. A man from the party that booked the deck told us to get off the deck less than politely. We are two petite sized females and didn't want to argue with other guests so we left. However, we felt uncomfortable that this happened and it certainly dampened our mood. Moreover, we were confused as to why a crew member wasn't there to inform us that this was the case and that another passenger essentially shooed us off the deck. Thus began our story. 1.) We went to the service desk to figure out what happened. The rep there told us the deck was indeed booked and gave us a freestyle daily to figure out which areas were closed at certain times. We thought maybe we were in the wrong and didn't read freestyle daily correctly. 2.) Freestyle daily had no mention that the deck was closed to the public. Now it seemed like the service rep didn't give us correct information. So we returned. And the second rep told us there would be no more of these private functions that would book out public areas. Still no mention of any apology that there was no crew to close off the area / explain. (There were private functions booked in at least 2 dining areas, one of which became closed to the public, after he told us this.) 3.) Guest service assistant manager came out. We explained the situation to him. He told us he was there around that time and didn't see us. Which sounded like he was calling us liars. We told him we have pictures during the sunset showing the time and place. At that point, he asked us if we wanted the guests from the function to apologize. No! We didn't have a problem with the other guests - they probably paid for the deck and felt equally confused as to why we were there. We just wanted an apology from NCL that this happened and more importantly, that there would be more clear information in the future so we wouldn't be put in this uncomfortable situation again. No apology given. He repeated that he was there and didn't see us. The entire experience with guest services changed what was originally curiousity and a hope for a just an apology (not monetary, just acknowledgement and reassurance) into what felt like accusation. It left a fun cruising experience with a bitter aftertaste and makes us seriously consider another cruise line even though we love the idea of freestyle cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Norwegian Jewel was our first cruise. From the very start the staff was very friendly and courteous. Our porter for the 7 day cruise was Emerson. He was Awesome! He was always smiling and willing to help us in any which way if needed. ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel was our first cruise. From the very start the staff was very friendly and courteous. Our porter for the 7 day cruise was Emerson. He was Awesome! He was always smiling and willing to help us in any which way if needed. Rooms were cleaned twice a day and smelled good with clean towels. The ship itself, pool area, food areas, was in great shape, neat and very clean. The shows were entertaining and funny. The comedian Nassar was ok. But the other entertainers were A-plus. We liked the Dj at Spinnaker Lounge better than the poolside Dj. The Reggae band played really well, and covered some good old hits that had us grooving and dancing. Norwegian hired a great staff! The food in the dining areas were good and plentiful. We didn't try the specialty restaurants, so I won't comment on them. But next cruise I will definitely try them out. We booked our shore excursions through Norwegian so that way it'll be no issue with the boat leaving without us. It was a little pricey, but worth it. You can book an excursion excluding Norwegian for much cheaper when you leave the boat. But you must make sure you're back in time before the boat set sail. Getting off the boat was a breeze with Norwegian. But to expedite your departure off the ship if you have to catch a flight. You will have to carry off your own bags, and get your transfers to whatever airport you're leaving from. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was ... Read More
This is a long review and thank you for reading: please save yourself some time and look at the section headings to see if they’ll apply to your needs. This was my first cruise ever. While there were good points, the trip overall was a disappointment and while I may take another cruise someday I do not plan to go with NCL again. Readers should note that I’m not a typical traveler, and some/all my complaints may be non-issues to many others. I went with my mom on this trip. It was her seventh cruise, first (and probably last) with NCL as well. Trip: 09/29/2015 to 10/04/2015 Itinerary: Vancouver, BC > Victoria, BC > Astoria, OR > Los Angeles, CA Trip Type: Pacific Coastal Re-positioning Who I am: In my mind it is important to explain who the reviewer is, so that readers can put what they’re reading in perspective to their own lives and lifestyles to see if it is relevant to them. I’m a 32-year-old male business professional from Minnesota without children—and doesn’t particularly care for them, either. While there weren’t a lot of kids on the trip, what they lacked in numbers many made up for in verbosity. I also don’t care for crowds, so that this was a sold-out ship didn’t help. Why I Travel: Photography. This cruise was part of a larger, 11-day trip we took, spending four nights in Seattle and a fifth in Vancouver, before I flew home from Los Angeles. In that time I took over 9,000 photographs. Unless doing portrait work, people are the enemy to most photographers, and most people are utterly oblivious to the shots they’re ruining on a ship. I also understand this is a non-issue for most people. I’m used to getting up at 5:00 a.m. (or earlier) just to beat the crowds whenever possible. Nickeled and Dimed: This trip was a five night/six day sales pitch, trying to drive my bill higher and higher at every turn. I felt like if they could have flipped me over by my ankles and shaken the money out of my pockets they would have. While I understand this is standard operating procedure for a cruise ship it is still disappointing. The Most Frustrating Part: The day before we were supposed to disembark the ship we received an envelope placed above our room number (between 10:00 a.m. and noon) with information inside stating that our shore excursion (and ride to the airport) was canceled. We went to the Shore Excursion desk to discover our options. The Shore Excursion desk was closed until 5:00 p.m., which led us to the Customer Service counter. We felt put off, and a gentleman at the desk was supposed to contact the Shore Excursion staff. We didn’t feel good about this. After talking with another guest, she recommended we go back to the Customer Service desk and talk to the lady with the three stars on her blazer. This person contacted the Shore Excursion staff. As we were returning to our stateroom the phone rang. We were able to choose a new shore excursion in Los Angeles with airport drop-off. Prior to talking to the lady with the three stars we had been stonewalled, let down, misdirected, or lied to by several other employees. There is a lot of “pass the buck” and broken communication on this ship, which is so frustrating. The Ship: Vividly decorated and while sometimes confusing in its layout it is a beautiful vessel. It is regrettable that passengers have to walk through the casino or shops to get from one end of the ship to the other on Decks 6 and 7, but I’ve been assured that this cash grab attempt is an industry standard and not endemic to NCL. I got many beautiful pictures from Deck 14, the Sun Deck. It was also a nice place to run away to when the crowds got to be too much. The Stateroom: We stayed in room 11042 (mini-suite), on the Starboard side of the ship. The staff split the bed for us after we arrived. This room was a lifesaver. The Garden Café on Deck 13 was often too busy to even get a table at, and we ate at least three meals in the stateroom, using the desk, coffee table, and sofa to accommodate food trays. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly, accommodating, but we always felt that our room was being taken care of last. I’m not sure if NCL gives priority to previous guests, if there’s a “tip culture” we’re not aware of that happens on the first day, or exactly why we were always the last served—and it could be as simple as a sick colleague that he was filling in for—but it was strange. He did do an excellent job. Tsar Dining Room: Gorgeous, but arrive 30+ minutes early to get a table anywhere close to a window. The food was generally delicious, but (and maybe this is a Minnesota thing) I had to beg to get coffee before dessert—and even then it sometimes fell on deaf ears. There is a rigidly-enforced order to which meals are served and deviation is strongly resisted. The wait staff was sometimes curt when a request was made. That said, the room was truly gorgeous, and the food was 20 times better than what was in the Garden Café. It was spoiled at times by screaming children, but this is a failure in parenting (remove your children when they’re awful!) and not NCL’s fault. Ship Amenities: I don’t swim, but prospective passengers should know that the pools are small. They have two hot tubs, which were heavily-used. The art is expensive but much of it beautiful at the auctions. Shows: I loved almost every show I went to (show up early! There’s fierce competition for good seats!), especially Band on the Run and Cirque Bijou. Both of these shows were in the Stardust Theatre on Deck 7 at the bow—the Tsar Dining Room is all the way at the stern on the same deck. Fred Bevill (comedian) in the Spinnaker Lounge (Deck 13) was terrific! Magnum Wine Bar: The ship is full of restaurants, bars, and other places to spend lots of money, but the best place on the ship—for me—was the Magnum Wine Bar on Deck 6. Fabrizio (piano player) regaled a healthy crowd every night while the fantastic Filipino bar staff bantered, mixed, smiled, shook, stirred, and delighted nearly everyone—these guys were awesome. From Elton John to Italian pop, Fabrizio has incredible range. The bartenders possessed all of the pizzazz that was missing from the restaurant staff, and embodied the spirit of customer service that was utterly missing from the Shore Excursion workers. Cruise Director: We flat out despised his persona. His voice was grating and he reeked of false smarminess. We’d even go out on our balcony to avoid hearing his voice during his daily briefings over the PA. We avoided him at all costs. Restaurant Staff: The serving staff in the Tsar Dining Room performed their tasks adequately. For non-managerial employees there was no joy, showmanship, or indication that they enjoyed their jobs. Mr. Messiah (in charge of the ship’s restaurants) was instrumental in helping me when no one else did—thank you to him. I don’t know if the staff was burned out from a long tour of duty, but morale is lacking and customer service was uninspired. Getting help was very difficult in the Garden Café. English barriers were a frequent problem for many of the staff. When I asked (begged?) for a tray, a worker cleaning up the counters by the beverage dispensers took his rag, cleaned off a spill tray, and offered it to me. I was (and still am) appalled that the tray wasn’t first sanitized through a dishwasher. Shore Excursions: We went to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. While I did get a few good photographs the trip was an anguished frustration for me. There were many people when we arrived, and it was a full-on, Disney-worthy crowd by the time we left: people are the enemy for a photographer trying to capture delicate flowers, sweeping vistas, and lovely waterways. Astoria greeted us with thick fog that lifted as the day wore on. From what we saw it is a lovely town. I didn’t realize we’d be taking school buses from the Knapp school district or that our trip to Cannon Beach would be shortened so the buses could go back and pick kids up. I also twisted my ankle badly, but powered through the pain so I could get the pictures I wanted—though I’m still using photo-editing software to crop out the people I couldn’t work around. Los Angeles wasn’t what I expected. It is pretty, though. The tour guide on our bus was grating and obnoxious, but we got to the TCL (Grauman’s Chinese) Theatre and then the airport—the most important parts. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I are both well traveled and in the past preferred independent travel, however with a small child we decided to try a cruise to simplify the logistics. Did it ever! Returning to the same charming cabin (we did mini-suite ... Read More
My husband and I are both well traveled and in the past preferred independent travel, however with a small child we decided to try a cruise to simplify the logistics. Did it ever! Returning to the same charming cabin (we did mini-suite with balcony, totally worth the money), no unpacking and repacking, having easy choices for meals and ability to eat when we were hungry -- that helped make the trip more relaxing. Our toddler liked Splash Academy, the staff there made a big effort to make the kids feel welcomed, and we only wish we'd taken greater advantage of its awesome hours to have more time for ourselves. Ten days was actually a good period, we really hit our stride around day 6-7. For entertainment, we only saw the Cirque Bijou performance, which we really enjoyed though the volume was too loud. We brought ear plugs b/c I heard the tech rehearsal, but a man next to us who was hard of hearing from his army service said it was too loud for him too -- it just became noise, not music. The service was wonderful - everyone genuinely warm and willing to help. Prior to the cruise I was grumpy about the mandatory service charge, but once I was on the cruise I felt it was completely deserved! We even gave our steward a little extra. The Washy Washy guy is a genuine joyful daily presence. While some decor may seem dated to people more attuned to that than me, I found everything just fine, our cabin in perfect shape, and the ship is clean - everything is sparkling! You see staff cleaning, polishing, all the time. They have a trip you can book for a Backstage Tour - fascinating, totally worth the money if you are at all curious about how this cruise experience is created. Food: I am a foodie, but we just ate at the complimentary restaurants to put our money in other areas. Food was fine considering the volume they are cooking for, and the fact that I did not have to cook and clean up only enhanced the meals. Lots of variety at the Garden Cafe, we both loved the muesli there, delicious and the exec chef even gave me the recipe. Opportunity to get vegetables during meals. And what's not to love about a soft serve ice cream machine?! We also tried Tsar Room, but that felt too formal for us with a toddler so we ended up at Garden Cafe (eat breakfast in La Cucina, more mellow) and Azura for dinners. We tried O'Sheehan's one night and liked that, but never made it there for breakfast b/c of our Garden Cafe muesli addiction. If we were doing it again, we might wait until our toddler was a little older, at least 5. Between a preschool change a few weeks prior and then the cruise, there was a lot of new for him and we experienced a ton of meltdowns from our usually mellow child. He hit his stride late in the cruise, but I think an older child would be less overwhelmed and you can also take more advantage of Splash Academy evening hours to have a date night, every night! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
From Vancouver Canada area and drove down to Seattle the day before to see some of the sites. Traveled with another couple. Had a wonderful time. From the time that we got into to line to broad the ship in Seattle was given wonderful ... Read More
From Vancouver Canada area and drove down to Seattle the day before to see some of the sites. Traveled with another couple. Had a wonderful time. From the time that we got into to line to broad the ship in Seattle was given wonderful service I walk with a cane so at the dock in Seattle was put in a wheel chair to get through the security check and once got our key card was handed off to someone from the cruise line and taken up to our room. Lots of crew at the top of gangway to welcome you to the cruise with music. The rooms were very clean and had great service from Jhoel who was friendly and took great care of our room and greeted us by name every time we saw him. Jhoel made sure that we had a different animal made up with towels every night. Really missed having my bed made up in the morning and turned down at night when got home. Turning the bed down at night meant that he turned the bed side lights on for us. The ship had lots of different activities that we could take part in. I loved the hot tubs and the adult only swimming pool. The swimming pool was salt water and a great size to do laps which i like to do. Was very thankful that I had taken my swimming goggles. The water was a nice temperature. We had joined the cruise critic before leaving on the trip so took part at the Greet and meet and got information from the officers that attended. At this meeting they stressed that if you had a problem please let them know right away so that they could take care of it. We had some problems with our toilet not flushing but called the service number and they fixed it right up. As well had a flood of water from the bathroom that they cleaned up right away and came in and sanitized the bathroom and the carpet. They put a blower in the room for a couple of days drying the carpet which didn't bother us that much. This to me showed how good their service was because they fixed up a problem right away There are lots of choices to eat on this ship from garden café that was a buffet to sit down restaurants that gave 5 star services. Our favorite was the Tsar Place restaurant that was at the back of the boat and had a Russian decor to it. The food was excellent and the service was top notch and atmosphere very relaxing and like a 5 star restaurant. Went to chin Asian food for a meal and the food was good. As well had some Meals in the O’Sheehan’s pub. Services were great and the food okay. Went to the Azura for a meal the food and service was great but atmosphere very loud and busy. Had a meal in the le Bistro and had an excellent meal and the service was great. David has rack of lamb and I had tenderloin and both meals cooked to perfection and the desert crème brulia was outstanding. The Shows were all very good. My favorite was the Band on the run which had music from the 70 and 80 And le Cirque Bijou shows. Both were great can’t pick my favorite. Spend some time in the Casino and did win a little but good entertainment. The Spinnaker’s lounge was a great quiet area where you could have a drink and read or talk but have shows come on periodically that disrupt everything. Would be nice to have a quiet are inside when weather bad as the library too small. Another way that the ship shone in its service was that they always had wheel chairs to help people that needed them to get on and off the ship. When in Skagway when we disembarked we were the furthest from the mainland and there was quiet a walk from the ship. There were golf carts being run by the dock that took us to the end to catch our tours bus but was not running at 1700 when returning to the boat not sure who runs these but would be nice to have them running longer. However got half way back to the ship when someone from the jewel meant me with a wheel chair and took me back to my room. I had been walking with a lady who was walking with a walker and she was getting back on to the valder dam and no one from the ship came to help her up the ramp. But the jewel had people walking halfway down the dock to get its customers. One of the high lights is the day that we went up to Glacier Bay and the captain had the ship doing 360 so that we could see the glaciers from all angles. The weather was perfect and the scenery was outstanding. Ports of call Ketchikan We rented an electric car from rain barrel and were able to travel through the town to see some of the sites this was helpful for me especially as having some difficulty walking around Juneau Has pre booked a execution that took is first on a whale watching tour where we did see lots of whales Then up to mendall glazier where I enjoyed the visitor center and other enjoyed a walk to the falls. Then finished with a tour of the city sites. Skagway Another high lite. Had pre booked a tour with deyadave who picked us up at the dock and we traveled by small tour bus up to emerald lake Yukon and then driven back to Fraser where we took the train back to skagway. If ever up to Alaska deyadave gives a great tour up to the Yukon. Stopped in car cross Yukon for lunch at a small place called the bakery and the soup of the day salmon chowder was excellent. Dave was very knowable about the area and was quite the combian. Would take his tour again in a heartbeat. When in skagway take time to go to the forestry service office and watch the film about the gold rush. In Skagway would have been nice if the golf cart shuttle they had in the morning to move people along the dock to area that all the shuttles came to to pick up passengers would have run into the early evening. Not sure if this is the cruise ships responsibility or the skagway dock. Glacier Bay Not enough words to describe how wonderful it was Icy point. Small area. Well worth taking the shuttle into town. There is a wonderful building that active artist working on totem poles and other wood art work. Sitka Hired a taxi to take us around group of 4 cost 65 and hour. Was able to see the bear sanctuary that was sad to see the bears in captivity but others are heeled and released . As well the rapture center which heal birds to be released. Saw the bishop’s house and the church which was very interesting. Having the taxi was nice as the weather wasn’t that great. Victoria Has a nice look around town have been to Victoria as live in Vancouver and have family there. Weather was beautiful. Vancouver Home again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
First cruise from a young couple from California, If you are thinking of choosing to vacation on a cruise after looking at the offers be sure to at least have 2x the budget you expected to spend. We had balcony rooms that were supposed ... Read More
First cruise from a young couple from California, If you are thinking of choosing to vacation on a cruise after looking at the offers be sure to at least have 2x the budget you expected to spend. We had balcony rooms that were supposed to be around $1500 per person. So we said great for 3k we are going on a cruise. That was just the start of the spending. You need to book your plane ride to get to the sailing port if you don't live near and do hotel and transportation if you don't want to miss the ship because of airline trouble. The closer you get to the cruise date you receive all sorts of new charges including the ship obligatory gratuity which is a way of handing the tips for the crew to you instead of the cruise line paying them for it out of your ticket price. It may be a way for the staff to be motivated but they also expect gratuity on the ship for many services. Charges never stop through the trip so expect to have at least 2x your ticket price added to your vacation in order to get through it. We ended up spending north of 5k so be aware of that and we were mid range frugal. Overall spending was above 6k because of side excursions in Seattle and an extra night there. The biggest bait and switch of all was what they call the UBP or ultimate beverage package which we got. It couldn't be further from what the name implies. You can't get bottled water, coffee, canned softdrinks or any of the sort. You do get to have non canned softdrinks, water, some wines, beers and other alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails after you do a voucher every time instead of just swiping your cruise ID card and be done with it. They did not specify on the ship if the cabin faucet water was drinkable so you get killed with water bottle prices in the rooms which are about 7x normal store prices. We did manage to get a couple of bottled waters from a port but then we had to carry them after our excursion which was tiring and not worth it in the end. The alcoholic drinks and coffees/other drinks in the bars have a tax that you also have to pay like local port taxes or whatever they call it. We ended up paying about $50+ on top just on drink taxes and we didn't drink much. If you think you will be zipping a lot expect to be charged a lot more. It also has to be mentioned that bar personnel expect gratuities so drop them a few bucks once in a while or you will be kind of ignored and wait a lot longer for drinks the second time around. That said bar personnel was courteous and good spirited for the most part. The staff from your room stewards all the way to the senior officers and captain were all very well mannered and happy to help you at any point, special consideration to the restaurant and buffet staff as they have tough shifts and they still greet you with a smile and good service. If anything can be said about Norwegian Cruise Lines is that the staff has a good attitude and does their best to make it a pleasant experience at every turn. The balcony cabin was very well equipped and clean, we needed to wait until 1PM for them to be ready as they were still cleaning from the previous cruise that left earlier in the day. This could be improved by making boarding later instead of forcing you to be there at 10 or 11 in the morning to board. It is a way for you to know the ship, start consuming and spending as your room gets ready. Bean counters have been examining maximum profit chances at every turn here, but it makes it feel like cattle hoarded and not like passengers at moments. We ate mostly at the Buffet and twice at other restaurants like the Tsar & Azura. Food was mostly fine besides the TexMex night at the buffet which was pretty awful. The quality of that buffet was extremely bad but the rest of the days was fine. The Lobster night at the buffet was ridiculous as it was a bunch of pasta with traces of lobster tail. If we got a couple of small pieces it was a miracle. Fortunately the taste and flavor of most of the food every day was really good. The breakfast was our favorite. We would have loved the buffet to stay open later than 10PM as sometimes other activities have to be interrupted for dinner. There should also be a restaurant that is 24hrs open not just the room service for snacks. Now if you stay within the hours you will enjoy the ports much more as you will be in sync with the ship/excursion schedules. The Tsar looks like a vegas version of a Moscow palace but the Aft view was marvelous while we had dinner, highly recommend at least one night dinner there to check it out. The buffet had severe crowding problems every day, you could barely get a table and you had to walk very long stretches with your food up and down to eat at your table. The layout of the buffet table space was not thought out properly considering the amount of people that frequent it. We ended up walking to the outdoor aft section for a more enjoyable experience where there is a more limited food station close by. You will enjoy your meals much more if the wind and weather cooperate. The best part of the trip bar none was sailing the ocean and the ports in Alaska, you will not find terrain and grandiose mountains within ocean fjords like this anywhere except in Greenland or Iceland, northern Norway or Sweden. You cannot experience Alaska until you have been there, it is quite an amazing sight. This is what really made the cruise worth it and unforgettable. Get some excursions and make some talk with the locals it will make the experience much more of an adventure instead of a point A to Point B vacation. You will see how Alaskans live and thrive in harsh conditions and how they love the summer and cruise season and some of the ports we visited live of the cruise season as their primary source of income. Cruises are a very important part of the Alaskan economy and in just that you feel better by contributing to their economy a bit. The Population of Alaska was 736,732 in the last (2014) count. Under 1 million. This population swells to over 2 million with the cruise season from workers from the lower 48 including WA, OR, CA, UT, WY and more. Alaskans that live a full calendar year and are considered permanent residents of AK get also a dividend from Oil corporations from the Alaska Permanent Fund. In the 80s it got as low as $300 and up to $3000+ in 2008 due in part to Sarah Palin as some sort of campaign support gesture. In 2014 they got around $1,800 per inhabitant. It should help pay for basics like heat and gas, no one is getting rich here. One of your trips should be to see the Glacier but be aware that most excursions are too short for enjoying the places you visit for more than a few minutes. Try to get excursions that only visit the glacier for example and not sidetrip to other things like Salmon Bakes or Hatcheries. Those are fine but if you want to do some hikes we suggest you get a tour that stays at the glacier at least 4hrs. If you can afford a close to glacier boat or walk on a glacier with a helicopter you should do it but those were out of our budget. You will still get to see the Sawyer glacier from the ship as it gets as close as possible and you will get an impressive view and it will be the highlight of the trip if you do not leave the ship. You do get a feeling after all is over that you want to visit AK and it's cities for weeks at a time in the summer to get the most out of them. There is a lot to experience and it feels rushed to do it on a cruise. Problem is these places are so isolated that only by sea or air are reachable and some of the air is only by sea plane or Cessna like small planes. Your run of the mill jetliner will only be able to get to Juneau or anchorage in very modest runways. We missed looking at a bear by a few minutes as it was seen by a tour in front of us and it was a disappointment, it is more about luck than anything. Expect patience and luck to play a part in seeing wildlife. We did get to see bald eagles nesting in the wild which was a treat. The shows on the ship were good and as expected for such a ship. Chris Pendleton the female fiddle player / comedian and her 7yr old daughter were probably the best, it was a beautiful thing to see the mother and daughter play so well, it was the highlight of the shows. The magician/comic the worst as it was mostly slapstick and jokes at the expense of passengers and the tricks were only from the card deck. He was not bad but obnoxious, maybe doing the same show on a ship for 8mo makes you go nuts in that case we understand the man, it cant be easy. The acrobats were pretty good but as we have seen this done even better on Vegas with more spectacular venues it feels subpar. The athletics they did are fantastic and probably great by any standard and the venue is what hurts them. We thank all performers for doing it with heart of course. If you are expecting Vegas shows on a cruise ship this is not the one for you. It was more of an AGT vibe to the shows than extreme productions. That said it was fun and entertaining for the most part. Some entertainment like Deal or No Deal was painful to experience as the energy was lackluster even from the staff and it is basically a way to sell scratch tickets to passengers to pay for the prices and extract bonus cash for the cruise line. At every chance they wanted to sell you tickets to bingos, raffles or Deal or No Deal. It felt like the old Vegas strip at some instances. I guess there are a few cruisers that enjoy this sort of thing to get some excitement but it gets old quick. And the Diamond seller lady on the ship on TV and in the main Theater which is basically a paid pusher by the AK, Diamonds International jewelry industry for you to spend on diamonds and other stones/metals in Alaska. Funny thing is most of this merchandise if from South Africa, Russia, South America and Asia. Alaska is not unlike other ports like in the Caribbean which is a tourist trap for jewelers to sell their wares. There is nothing special here except the scenery and location with lower sales tax. But are the prices fair? As with anything it depends but expect the fabulous deals to be fabulous scams for the most part. Shop elsewhere for your jewelry. Do buy stuff on the local stores but refrain from dropping 1000s on jewelry that mostly benefit outside interests and international dealers and not the Alaskan People. Buy stuff they do locally, it will be more authentic and a better reminder of what the place offers. Internet Access: We paid for the full trip Wifi which was $160 , that is crazy expensive and it was extremely slow and buggy. It is satellite internet so it is not ideal and it did cut off at some moments like on the glacier visit which was a low point as we wanted to show family live images. We probably used it sporadically so we probably overpaid, we should have gotten one of the lower packages. Another money pit to the consumer, if you can, avoid it and use your phone plan while on ports of call as there was at least good signal in the towns and from the docked ship. TV on the rooms is terrible like 10 channels with the movie channel aspect ratio on the image squished which ruined the picture; the view from the front of the ship is grainy and low resolution, they could ad a better camera considering how expensive a ship this is. A simple GoPro HD camera would offer a way better view of the heading of the ship. There should also be an Aft view. There should also be a way to monitor the ship progress from the Norwegian App with hi res maps and real time positioning. It would make it better than the TV ship info channel. It was not bad but could be greatly improved. Sure you should be TV less in a trip like this but for late at night on a sea only day it helps to fall asleep. Meet strange people on the ship and on the ports, highly recommended, you might find new friends and or experience a way of life very much distanced from your own. It will make the trip last longer in your mind. All in all the experience was rewarding but could be much better with less selling/pushing and more class by the company in the way they conduct business. The ship needs to be given a full service with balcony wood varnished and or changed, some rugs need to be replaced as they are nearing the end of life also. They need to ad free water bottles to the UBP beverage package, its ridiculous to see people filling water dispensers and even baby bottles with buffet machine water dispensers. Water is a right not one for sale, give reasonable water prices on board it is wrong to press consumers to the extreme. UBP package should have water bottles at least 3 a day. My wife and I loved the experience but the Cruise part will take a long time to regain our trust and choose one. We could have spent a month in an all inclusive Caribbean outfit with fabulous beaches and food for the price we paid and maybe less. It is an expensive proposition and one we will not take likely the next time around. Cruise prices should reflect the entire cost up front and not charge stuff on top before sailing date, it becomes a budget issue way to quickly. I am more inclined to return if I have the full price minus excursions since the booking time, it is a bad business model for the consumer. We thank the staff for their great service and smiles and you made it much better with your sweat and tears, as for the company NCL itself we are not so pleased, You should treat the personnel and the passengers better instead of maximizing profits, no wonder your stock is going through the roof. There is a lot of good in the Jewel but also a lot of self inflicted bad by the pushing and spending, several areas could be improved but we doubt they will. Considering the staff has 8 months of continuous hardship it is amazing to us how well they manage, by the 7th day we were almost ready to capitulate in order to end the cruise even stay in Victoria, it gets very tiresome like an insane asylum at times. Cruising is probably not up our alley any time soon but it was something we wanted to do at least once in our lifetime. As our first cruise a Caribbean one might be in the cards in a few years, other than that the value of the experience is best placed in visiting places and doing your own travel. We saw 10 European nations for under $12k in 2010 which was 1/2 this price, we ate much better meals and we had way more in the way of memories and stories and it lasted 32 days not 7. If you have done everything except cruising, then check it out, you might enjoy it a lot. Freestyle cruising lets you dress casually for most dinners which is great, this is one of the big plus aspects of NWC. Alaska is a now destination for us, not a far away or inaccessible land now, it is an amazing place and one that everyone should visit at some point in their lives if they can and have the means. The cruise makes it much easier but if you want to really experience it do it the old fashion way by staying for a few weeks. And of course bring your camera and lots of memory cards! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
With this being my first cruise, I found it to be a wonderful experience. I had a balcony room with adjoining room with friends. Was very organized on checking into the ship. Many activities on the ship daily that I never did too many. All ... Read More
With this being my first cruise, I found it to be a wonderful experience. I had a balcony room with adjoining room with friends. Was very organized on checking into the ship. Many activities on the ship daily that I never did too many. All of the staff on the ship were very friendly and helpful at all times. Our room steward Seby greeted us daily as we left our room and always had it made up with great turn down service nightly. The staff at the 24 hr dining always had a smile on their face. I was very pleased that they had hand sanitizer going off and on the ship and had someone at the entrance of the open dining there to spray in all guests hands before entering to eat. I have heard through other friends of friends that this was not a good cruise line but I disagree, as this was a great experience made by the great staff on the ship. The shore excursions that I did were good. Some very high priced but some well worth the money. Just dis-appointed that NCL could not answer why an excursion we wanted to do but was not timed until we left Sagway was being offered. Come to find out when we left Skagway and went to an inlet at the base of a glacier a small boat that came back to the ship was that very excursion we wanted to do. So the customer service people answering the phones need to know all the details of each excursion for each cruise. I actually scheduled this cruise through an offer that I received from Total Rewards so it was a great value and price for me. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My husband and I are 1st time cruisers. We have been married for 34 years and are a couple in our fifties who love to enjoy life. We have two daughters and five grandchildren. We live in a small town in Oklahoma. We flew from Dallas Fort ... Read More
My husband and I are 1st time cruisers. We have been married for 34 years and are a couple in our fifties who love to enjoy life. We have two daughters and five grandchildren. We live in a small town in Oklahoma. We flew from Dallas Fort Worth Airport to Seattle Washington Airport to start our trip. We stayed at the Seattle Hilton the night before our cruise. The motel was very pricey but overall a pretty good stay. We just got back from an Alaskan cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We had a room with a big window to look out at the ocean. I wish now that we would have got a room with a balcony to enjoy the scenery more. I have to say it was the best vacation we have ever taken. The ship was beautiful, the staff was amazing and Alaska was breathtaking!! There was a waiter name Roy working the pool deck area that was amazing. He took great care of us and he remembered our names from the first day meeting us. I was expecting the food at the café, etc. to be a lot better then it was. It seemed like we were eating cafeteria food all the time and nothing just stood out and made us want to try it again. The shore excursions that we went on were amazing. I would have liked to spend more time at the ports rather than on the ship. Over all it was a great experience and we will be cruising again for sure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
My bucket list thing to do was go on a cruise to Alaska. I was booked on the Norwegian Jewel with a life long friend who hadn't even been a plane before, let alone a ship!! The ship was awesome!! The crew was very personable. The ... Read More
My bucket list thing to do was go on a cruise to Alaska. I was booked on the Norwegian Jewel with a life long friend who hadn't even been a plane before, let alone a ship!! The ship was awesome!! The crew was very personable. The housekeeping lady was very friendly and helpful to two "old ladies" and we enjoyed her bubbly personality and the towel animals. The variety of the shows every night was super. The helpfulness of the staff in the dining room was appreciated as we both had canes. The Shore Excursions were eye-opening. I was very impressed with the ship and crew and God-willing I hope to book another cruise in a couple of years. Thank you for a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
I loved this cruise. My wife and I's first. I think it was key to have an aft-facing balcony. Seeing Dawes glacier bracketed by a 180 degree rainbow with waterfalls coming out of the mountains on the side was perhaps the most ... Read More
I loved this cruise. My wife and I's first. I think it was key to have an aft-facing balcony. Seeing Dawes glacier bracketed by a 180 degree rainbow with waterfalls coming out of the mountains on the side was perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen - all from our private balcony while sipping a drink. Food was great. Staff was great. Entertainment was great. The only down part was a lot of the activities were very infomercialish. The seminar on metabolism was trying to sell you supplements, the seminar on shore shopping was trying to sell you diamonds at stores owned by the cruise line. We could have used real seminars on those subjects. Also, I think that I was the only one to actually swim in the pool - choosing to get in when everyone was on shore in Victoria. Normally it's just too crowded to really swim. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
My wife and I have vacationed virtually every year of our 35 years of marriage, but had never taken a cruise. It appeared to be too confining for the manner in which we like to vacation. We chose the Alaskan cruise because it took us to ... Read More
My wife and I have vacationed virtually every year of our 35 years of marriage, but had never taken a cruise. It appeared to be too confining for the manner in which we like to vacation. We chose the Alaskan cruise because it took us to places that would be impossible or at least difficult to get to any other way. We chose Norwegian because of its good reputation and it was available through Costco. We enjoyed our trip thoroughly. Everything from the dining to the entertainment was enjoyable. We especially liked the options for every meal and especially at dinner. Eating with a bunch of strangers was not appealing to us either and thus another reason to stay away from cruising. Norwegian fixed that with its freestyle dining and the food was diverse and enjoyable. To be sure, the port schedule was still confining, but it was a great way to survey the area. In Juneau for example, we had six hours in port which was just enough time to take an excursion to see humpback whales. A trip well worth the cost, but it was all we had time to do. There was much more we wanted to see in Juneau. However, the trade off for that short time in port was the trip down the Endicot arm and seeing the Sawyer Glacier. Pretty spectacular! I don't see us taking a cruise to the Caribbean or any other tropical destination because of that whole schedule thing, but to areas that are remote like Alaska or perhaps the northeast part of North America. Yes, we will definitely do that and I can't imagine doing it on any another cruise line other than Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Seriously had the time of our lives. We took the 7-day Alaska inside passage on Norwegian Jewel, and wished it was (at least!) twice as long. The staff and crew truly work to make you feel like part of the 'family', and there ... Read More
Seriously had the time of our lives. We took the 7-day Alaska inside passage on Norwegian Jewel, and wished it was (at least!) twice as long. The staff and crew truly work to make you feel like part of the 'family', and there was never a shortage of fun experiences. "Freestyle" cruising is perfect for us, and the many options it affords made for a delightful experience. The only regret is that the 24-hour pub stopped serving 'adult beverages' after 2:00am. My partner and I are night owls, and would have enjoyed sipping Baileys and coffee on deck while enjoying the sea slip past. I would also have appreciated at least one vegetarian option on the late night menu. Small worries, indeed! I have to make special mention of the entertainment on this cruise. In a word, STUNNING! I have been a theatre professional for more than a quarter decade, and these were some of the finest productions I have seen. Kudos, all around. Even the 'smaller stage' shows in the various pubs and bars were exceptional. Our stateroom was great, and kept immaculately clean and well stocked. Tiny, but, really, who wants to spend time sitting in your cabin? We used it to sleep (very little!) and store our stuff. The rest of the time was spent enjoying all that the ship had to offer. Cruise Director Armen and his staff provided so much to do, that we need to book immediately again just to experience the moments we missed while doing other things. The food on the ship is plentiful... Very very plentiful. So many options that you may have trouble watching your waistline. I gained 10 pounds. Seriously. I cannot really rave about anything I ate (good, hearty, mostly buffet style), but there was also nothing to complain about. Perhaps we needed to try the specialty restaurants to be truly blown away. The service is second to none! After the first day, all the servers knew our names and preferences, and were eager to please. Again, these folks succeed in making you feel like a friend or family member. It was difficult to say goodbye to these fine people. As a first time cruiser, I cannot say enough about this trip. I KNOW we will be back, and would recommend this ship to anyone. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Having never been on a cruise before, I didn't really know what to expect but every experience was terrific. Activities ranged from trivia, bingo, game shows, dance parties, casino, entertainment (I'll come back to the ... Read More
Having never been on a cruise before, I didn't really know what to expect but every experience was terrific. Activities ranged from trivia, bingo, game shows, dance parties, casino, entertainment (I'll come back to the entertainment).... something was going on all the time. Loved the freestyle aspect of it as well. Eat wherever and whenever you wanted. There were so many options for free dining that we didn't feel like we needed to pay for the specialty restaurants. The food in the main garden cafe was typical buffet quality. Some things were delish and some were meh. Restaurant food was great though. The staff were amazing. The bar and casino staff were so friendly and the cruise staff were exceptional. They made you feel like we were all part of the same family. The ports were all pretty neat as well. Skagway was my favorite. We took the Ghosts and Goodtime Girls walking tour and learned a lot about the gold rush and Skagway. One thing I was sad about was not being able to use the jogging track. I am a morning runner but each morning the deck was too wet to run on, either from the rain or from the staff hosing the deck down. Luckily the fitness centre had lots of treadmills. Have you ever used a treadmill on a ship with 11 foot swells? Quite the experience! The best party of the cruise was the entertainment. An extremely talented group of singers, musicians, dancers, gymnasts put on fantastic Vegas-style review shows that were full of energy and excellent music. Do not miss these shows! What an incredible experience this cruise was. We are lucky that or first time turned out so well. Can't wait for the next one! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Overall this ship is good. The staff is very nice and our room steward went above and beyond. After a few days some of the stairways and hallways started to smell like an outhouse. I talked to customer service and was told that ... Read More
Overall this ship is good. The staff is very nice and our room steward went above and beyond. After a few days some of the stairways and hallways started to smell like an outhouse. I talked to customer service and was told that people were flushing things they shouldn't of been and that the plumbers were working on it. The smell came and went. Also forget about going to the Garden Café and getting a table. It's going to be hard to do. Tons of people everywhere and kids running all over the place. We really liked O'Sheehan's so we ate primarily there and at Tsar's. Food was good. Desserts were a disappointment. Scenery in Alaska was unreal. Almost everyone I ran into was friendly and helpful, except for the people at the fish processing service. The best part of the trip was fishing in Ketchikan. We caught a 14 lb salmon. The skipper (Captain Bill) recommended that we have it processed at Cedar's lodge, then they would ship it back to our house. I just got 6 lb of salmon yesterday, in a package that was sent without coolant. It's 80+ degrees here, and it was on a fedex truck for 26 hours per the tracking information. I called up to the fish processor but they are telling me all this is normal. If you check tripadvisor reviews for the Cedar's Lodge in Ketchikan you will see other people are reporting being shorted fish as well. Per the fishmonger that I bought a whole salmon from in Pike's Place market (Seattle), the average total return on a king salmon is 65-70% (including head, gills, guts, etc). Incidentally (or not) the fish processor (Cedars) happens to sell King salmon for you to buy. If you do this excursion either throw the fish back or do not have it processed. This really ruined my vacation since the fishing trip was the highlight of it. I tried to call Norweigan customer service but I cannot get through the line. We booked another cruise in April 2016 on the Getaway in Miami but I am so upset about this I may cancel the future cruise. They shouldn't be putting cruise-goers in touch with shady vendors who ruin our best memories. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I had fun on our first cruise. The mini suite was perfect for us since I go to bed earlier than he does. It had a real balcony where we could sit and watch the wonderful scenery. Buffet meals were good, if you don't ... Read More
My husband and I had fun on our first cruise. The mini suite was perfect for us since I go to bed earlier than he does. It had a real balcony where we could sit and watch the wonderful scenery. Buffet meals were good, if you don't mind the school cafeteria atmosphere. Our favorite was breakfast table outside on the deck. Specialty restaurants were delicious and the service was excellent. Entertainment was very good if you like R&B and the Beatles and pop rock which we do. We went to all the theatre performances and enjoyed the comedian most of all. Only complaint I have is that there wasn't enough free time to spend in Juneau and Victoria, but there is only so much you can do in 7 days. Very nice spa and finess center onboard. Everything was sparkling clean and kept that way wherever you were on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
There were four of us on this cruise: husband/wife in 30s, grandma in 60s, and a 2 year-old. Our mini-suite cabin was great. We liked our steward, and we were very comfortable. The food was majorly disappointing on this cruise. ... Read More
There were four of us on this cruise: husband/wife in 30s, grandma in 60s, and a 2 year-old. Our mini-suite cabin was great. We liked our steward, and we were very comfortable. The food was majorly disappointing on this cruise. The organization of port days and shore excursions was not great. Some staff members (restaurants, BINGO) made it a memorable cruise for the WRONG reasons. Kids' activities for an active 2 year-old are not great. This is an under-served population. Staring with the food... We ate at The Garden Cafe a lot, and they had some good dishes, but the best part about this restaurant (which was always packed for every meal) is that you can go back and get something different if you don't like what's on your plate. So, your odds of leaving with a full-enough belly are pretty good. Breakfast is the best meal of the day, so fill up! It's also nice that they have cartons of milk at breakfast, so if your kid turns out to be like mine (he stopped eating on the cruise, and basically drank 5 bottles a day for sustenance), stock up your mini fridge. We at at Tsar's Palace once. The fried chicken was not hot, and the panko crust was soggy on the bottom, as if it had been sitting in a steam tray. One of our pieces of fried chicken (leg/thigh quarter) was raw. Good thing we cut it open first! The server wasn't terribly apologetic or concerned. Just asked if we wanted anything else, and walked away when we said we didn't. We ate at Azura twice. The first time was awesome. Our server was excellent, the food for three of us was excellent, and we were almost all very happy all around. Only my husband was disappointed with his 'striploin steak,' which was extremely fatty, not cooked properly, and cold. The second time was just OK, and we also had a creepy server who kept hovering between our table and our neighbor's, staring at our son. We were very used to extra attention over our little boy, and it was usually very sweet and welcomed, but this was extra creepy. Grandma told us not to worry about it at first, but then the guy just stood there for many, many minutes, staring and not saying anything, and not working... and finally, Grandma was swayed into thinking he was creepy, too. Plus, the food was not great -- the meat in the lasagne tasted like it was chopped up leftover previously-cooked steaks from the night before. (In fact, beef would be a continual disappointment on the cruise. We just didn't know it yet.) Desserts on both nights were pretty good! We ate at Cagney's Steakhouse once, thinking we were in for a treat (at least that's what all the marketing would have you believe!). Well, their menus say they use "Certified Angus Beef," and then try to explain that it's "a cut above" Choice, Select and Prime rated cuts. Well, it must be a literal note about where the cuts come from on the cow, because they were not good steaks, and certainly not better than even Outback steakhouse (I wouldn't even begin to compare with Ruth's Chris, or other even better steakhouses out there). Once again, my poor husband had a super fatty ribeye, which was cold. My filet mignon, which I ordered well-done (and I'm used to being asked if it can be butterflied, and I'm familiar with the fact that steak lovers think I'm an idiot right now. You can have your opinions, but I don't like undercooked meat)... was served to me cooked RARE. I even took a picture, because I was so shocked. My husband, who orders all steaks medium-rare, was kind of grossed out by my steak. It was difficult to get someone to come to our table to check on us, but I eventually got the manager's attention and they took my meal off the bill. During dessert, the waiter came and asked my husband for his room card, so he could process our bill. My husband was eating an ice cream sandwich, and had ice cream on both hands. I told the waiter, "This isn't really a good time." And the water replied, "Take your time," and proceeded to stand right next to our table, staring at my husband. He fumbled for his card just to get the weirdo waiter to go away. I ordered oreo cheesecake for dessert, and it was a huge portion, but didn't taste great. Also of note: every restaurant on this ship is 'all you can eat', and so you'd assume the same would go for these "specialty" restaurants, since they just say you're paying a "cover charge." However, at Cagney's, there's a note on the menu saying that each additional entree will come with a $10 charge. The first steaks aren't worth the $30/pp, folks, so don't bother ordering a second or a third. The side dishes were pretty good, and since those are limitless (and tiny portions), just order more of those if you feel you must try this restaurant. We ate at La Cucina once. First, I'll say that the location of this restaurant was not the best, because it's right under some kind of sports deck. I would not recommend it for a romantic dinner -- we heard a group of people periodically trample loudly over our heads (basketball or running track, maybe?). In terms of food: for my son, I ordered the sausage and pancetta pizza, but minus the pancetta. The waiter told me the pancetta *is* the sausage. I had to politely explain to him that pancetta is not sausage, that it's an uncured Italian meat similar to bacon. When he continued to disagree with me, I firmly explained that " e pancetta" (from the menu) in Italian means sausage AND pancetta, so they're not the same thing. He finally wrote something on his pad and continued with our order. (End of discussion, I guess.) The pizza came out correct from the kitchen, but I wonder how a *specialty* Italian restaurant has waiters who don't understand the menu. Very frustrating. Once again, one of our party ordered a ribeye steak, and once again, it was super fatty, undercooked, and cold. It was returned by this person (who never, never complains about food), and the manager took the meal off our tab. At the end of the meal, we had to rush off to a show on the ship, and the manager was nice enough to send our desserts to our room so we could enjoy them later (after lecturing us about how there's normally a fee for the service -- at a restaurant you just paid for). We had a reservation at Teppanyaki, but decided to cancel it the morning of, due to many factors (but partly because we weren't sure it would be worth $30/pp anyway), and we were not charged for the cancellation. This is a popular restaurant, so I'm sure they were able to fill our vacated seats. Finally, on our last night, we ate at Chin Chin from the "free" (included in cruise price) menu. It was our favorite restaurant experience. The Char Siu noodle soup was a favorite, as were the pot stickers (fried or steamed) and sweet and sour pork. The orange peel beef was (you guessed it) strangely fatty and not great. The Kung Pao chicken was OK but too dry. The desserts we tried (coconut tapioca pudding with mango sauce, red bean and chestnut triangles) were very good. All in all, it was our favorite dinner experience. I'm actually glad we didn't get to go back -- we were able to end on a high note! In terms of organization on the ship, as first time cruisers, we were a little bit clueless some of the time. So, here's a tip: listen to all announcements (channel 23 on our cabin's TV) and ready the Freestyle Daily cover-to-cover, or you could miss something. Restaurants were sometimes open for lunch, sometimes not. Their hours often changed daily. The Garden Cafe frequently closed as soon as everyone was getting back on the ship from a port. On our last shore excursion day, our disembarkation was delayed for an hour. And for that hour, hallways on the desk with a gangway were packed, and there were no cruise personnel acting as traffic cops. So, people were pushing/shoving in the elevator lobby. My husband grabbed ahold of my backpack so that we wouldn't be separated. Some random lady grabbed ahold of his backpack (oh jeeze, people!) and proceeded to pull him down backwards several times as the crowd moved us along. Where were the NCL people? Why wasn't there someone in the hallway saying that people needed to be orderly? Shouldn't they post personnel in the elevators, so that they prevent the lobby from being further cram-packed by panicked people on the elevators wanting to get off on the same floor? Shouldn't they have put people in a holding area until the whole situation was resolved? It was ridiculous, and to be honest, pretty scary. We were very disappointed with cruise personnel that day. Our cruise-sanction shore excursions ran over by an hour on two different occasions, so we were dropped off at the ship, and we had NO time to shop or do any individual sightseeing. The BINGO games were another part of the cruise that were deeply disappointing. My mom won on one of the games (which is neither here nor there, but I call it out to show that we're not just bitter losers). The way they entice you to keep playing and buying more cards is their "big raffle" on the last day of the cruise. The prize is a free cruise for two (no other info was given). Many people were saying that it was very cheap of NCL not to provide any secondary/consolation prizes. How about a free towel folding DVD? How about a NCL Bingo shirt? How about a free latte? Honestly, we're not asking for a lot.. but why not make it more fun for more people? It all seemed very cheap. In addition, one of their BINGO organizers was extremely sloppy and over-the-top at the mic, and many people in the room were upset by him. He went on and on and on about wanting to hook up with a woman from the US or Canada, making it very clear that it was for immigration reasons. (He also commented multiple times on how cute one of the guys in the audience was, so I'm not sure he's really into women, ladies.) He was disparaging to NCL, saying that he and another woman had been assigned together on another NCL ship (the Epic, I think?), and how they'd had an awesome time on that ship. Then, when they found out their new contract was on the NCL Jewel (a ship which we were all paying customers on, at that moment), they were super disappointed. He also talked at length about how he didn't need to take these contracts with NCL, and how he had a better job back home. Twice during the blackout BINGO game he was calling, a new number would appear on screen, and he never said it out loud. I'm not sure the older/visually impaired audience members even caught them, which seems extremely unfair. Since he doesn't seem to care much about his job, or enjoy it, and since he's intent in making the experience miserable/uncomfortable for everyone else, I'd highly recommend that NCL relieve him of his duties. Back on the topic of being cheap: I took my son to the Nickelodeon SpongeBob and Patrick "Meet and Greet" -- which is just an occasion for your kids/family to pose with these special characters, so that you can buy the pics from NCL. The NCL staff bring carts of Nickelodeon-themed merchandise into the room and repeatedly try to get you to buy it for "half price." The SpongeBob walkie talkies were being sold normally for $20, and "half price" for $10. I turned them over, and there was a ROSS (the "Dress for Less" store!) sticker saying the price was $10. So, NCL went out and bought second-run stuff from Ross, to resell on their cruise, for twice the price? That's such a ridiculous rip-off. They were unashamed. They were further unashamed about their hard sell tactics -- one NCL staff member went around to every KID in the room and tried to get them to buy an "autograph book." Behind me, he tried to pressure a little girl into saying she wanted one. He said things like, "Don't you want one? Are you sure? EVERYONE ELSE has one! Don't you want one? Everyone has one, so you don't want to miss out." He said it so many times that when I realized he was talking directly to a little girl of 7-8 years old, I turned around and said, pointedly, that my son didn't have one, so clearly, not everyone has one, and maybe he should leave the little girl alone. It was disgusting salesmanship. Regarding kids' programs: I was led to believe that I would be able to take my child, who is 2 years old, into the "kids' activities" as long as I stayed with him, which was great, since I didn't want to leave him anyway. However, as it turned out, we were not welcome *at all* in the Splash Academy room, and there are no "open hours" when we would be welcome at all. We were only allowed to use the "Guppies Playroom," which is a TINY space next to the kids' pool. Note: When your 2 year old passes by a kids' pool, he's not interested in the playroom on the other side, anyway. However, if you can get him there, he will be thoroughly disappointed at the tiny size, dark lighting conditions, and baby toys available in that space. It's really a baby play room (under 18 months), where parents can go for a little quiet time, where babies won't be trampled by older kiddos running around. Note that toddlers over 2 years old (for most kids) constitute a hazard for infants. We found the Guppies Playroom to be completely disappointing. The Guppies activities involved crayons and chalk, so your mileage may vary, but my son was totally uninterested. He wants to climb, run and jump. He wants to play with loud cars and throw things around. If he's doing art, he wants it to be paint, because it's messier than crayons/chalk. He is a totally under-served demographic on the NCL Jewel. He did LOVE the kids' pool, but we didn't love it so much when there were older kids creating chaos there (with no parental oversight, which should have been enforced). I filled out the survey that NCL emailed to me a couple of days after our cruise. They don't ask the right questions, so it's hard to give a truly honest answer (e.g. they ask a multiple-choice question about timing of port days, but not the level of organization, or how happy we were with the shore excursions themselves). They asked you to rate the kids' program (multiple-choice) but don't offer space to elaborate, not even when you give a low score. At the end of the survey, there is ONE open-ended section for further feedback, but it's limited to 1,000 characters, so it's hard to give this level of detail. I hope NCL pays attention to this review (and I'm sure there are others) and makes some updates. For now, regardless of how nice our cabin was, how nice our steward was, how friendly the majority of staff were, I would be very hesitant to try Norwegian again. I would definitely try out other cruise lines first. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first cruise. I was amazed by how helpful, friendly and genuinely caring the staff was. The food was fantastic. I had delicious seafood 2-3 times a day. We found a bartender that is the best! Kumar made me and my husband ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I was amazed by how helpful, friendly and genuinely caring the staff was. The food was fantastic. I had delicious seafood 2-3 times a day. We found a bartender that is the best! Kumar made me and my husband drinks that were so good. I had him surprise me and after 1 or 2 questions he made me a drink that I loved. Every excursion was great. Not a problem on or off the ship. My only issue was that I was looking forward to Irish food at O'Douds restaurant. Read Less
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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