32 Norwegian Jewel Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. ... Read More
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. We had a balcony a couple besides our stateroom is my wife's high school classmate from 1971 and 6 other new guest with NCL and first time cruisers. We had a great time and and had a lot of specialty dinners. Our group had received a lot of surprises from the Senior Officers that we have met on previous cruises with Norwegian and made our cruise more enjoyable not only for us previous cruisers but for our 6 other friends that we brought with us. They even sent fresh tropical fruits from Indonesia was sent to all our cabins. Shore excursions was great that we all got into the same bus every time we book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Good food staff very attentive & friendly and well trained on the boat Let down by shore excursion fiasco! Also the embarkation person to allocate our cabin forgot his glasses & logged us into the wrong stateroom . We had ... Read More
Good food staff very attentive & friendly and well trained on the boat Let down by shore excursion fiasco! Also the embarkation person to allocate our cabin forgot his glasses & logged us into the wrong stateroom . We had to get the supervisor to sort this out ! BAD EXPERIENCE RE TENDERS IN KOH SAMUI RE LACK OF SUFFICIENT TENDERS RE COST ISSUE (HAD A 2.5 HOUR WAIT TO LEAVE SHIP + 2.5 HOUR EMBARKATION DELAY TUI MANAGED IT WELL & BOUGHT IN LOCAL TENDERS IN FRONT OF NCL We booked a premium brand but were not given premium service ! It ruined our first port of call & both myself & wife returned to the boat ill ! We will be very reluctant to recommend again after this opening experience THE CAPTAIN GAVE A POOR EXCUSE 3 days after the event blaming it on passenger safety & as recompense would not use tenders in HALONG BAY insulting as the original itinerary never mentioned tenders on this stop Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First time to Vancouver, on Norwegian, and to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary. I highly recommend this cruise and itinerary; It was a grand slam for those following October baseball right now. Embarkation a little slow but the ... Read More
First time to Vancouver, on Norwegian, and to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary. I highly recommend this cruise and itinerary; It was a grand slam for those following October baseball right now. Embarkation a little slow but the disembark was VERY efficient and smooth. (Though we really didn't want to leave!) Entertainment was the best we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. Loved our ocean balcony cabin and room. Dining was outstanding particularly in the specialty restaurants Cagney's, Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse), and Le Bistro. Weaker links were the Italian specialty dining (not the food per se but the menu) and O'Sheehans, though I liked the atmosphere in the latter especially for watching Sunday NFL football. The service on the ship everywhere was good to outstanding and we liked very much the different themed bars. We only did one of the Norwegian shore excursions, The Road to Hana Deluxe, and that was magnificent and informative. We went on other island excursions on our own or with other tour groups we contracted with once off the boat. We loved them all - in some cases we got better bargains. Rented a car to Laihana the second day in Maui and enjoyed it without being committed to being on a bus all day. Spent time in Honolulu afterward and did our own tours including Pearl Harbor. We will definitely go back to Vancouver, to Hawaii (we added a timeshare to our existing one stateside!), and very much look forward to cruising again on Norwegian. Though once you do this particular cruise, you will realize 5 days at sea in the Pacific is a bit much to repeat a second time through. We wished they had an indoor pool and thank God we got the spa plan which overlooked the ocean and was VERY relaxing. When we go back, I think we will just do a Hawaii tour and schedule a Vancouver BC / Calgary Banff Canadian trip as a separate vacation. Still, it is more than worth experiencing once. Thank you, Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They ... Read More
We choose this cruise for all the family members to get together which there were all ages. We all had a great time. The Crew was amazing. I was amazed on how helpful they were in addition to the Crew who was in the buffet area. They were friendly. We appreciated a crew member who was always nice and kind to us every time we ate. He was professional, always smiling and would say hi to us every time we saw him while we were eating. I was amazed on how many people worked on the cruise and how they all work really hard to make our vacation special for my family. We were lucky to be able to have this opportunity to do this. The excursions were a lot of fun which there were many excursions to meet all of our families wants and need. It was fabulous Thank you to the Crew - The Norwegian Jewel for the trip to Alaska on June 10th 2017 Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this ship because of previous Norwegian cruise line experience and that it was leaving out of Seattle. However, we felt the Jewel fell short in the dining experience. The food at the Buffet and the dessert area were disappointing. ... Read More
We chose this ship because of previous Norwegian cruise line experience and that it was leaving out of Seattle. However, we felt the Jewel fell short in the dining experience. The food at the Buffet and the dessert area were disappointing. There always seemed to be the same choices and the flavors were monotonous. One night they advertised a seafood buffet and had a picture of shrimp. We felt really mislead when we found only fish and some Paella. They had no other seafood. We were doubly disappointed when we talked to guests from a neighboring ship who delighted in being served king crab legs on their ship's buffet. Azura, one of the complimentary dining rooms, had some better choices for dinner most nights, but we found it mediocre at best. The service was super slow in Azura. It took about 90 minutes to get thru dinner. Several meals were way too salty, so much so they were inedible. Other items were super spicey. We thought they should indicate on the menu when something would be spicy hot. The waiters in several restaurants routinely took a drink order from one person and ignored everyone else at the table. It was as if they were not trained to go around the table and ask if everyone wanted iced tea so they could bring it all at once. As a result they spent too much time going back and forth just bringing one tea at a time and racing off before anyone else could ask for one too. Little things like cream cheese and lox were absent from the buffet. There was never a big chocolate night like on other ships. There were not enough chairs and tables in the buffet so we had to circle like sharks looking for a spot. I expect that on Carnival but not on Norwegian. The entire dining experience was frustrating. Even using room service fell short. We ordered tea and coffee and they brought cream but no sugar. We had an early excursion and didn't have time to wait for a re-delivery. The staff on the ship were very pleasant and helpful. The entertainment, Cirque show and the Tina Turner tribute were both great shows. Reynaldo, one of the bar waiters was awesome. He was a funny, friendly face each day. He learned our names and took an interest in us. Bingo cost upwards of $39 to play. The beer and wine tastings were $20 plus 18% gratuity. We just didn't want to pay that much. $5 bingo would have suited us better. We traveled with one person in a wheel chair. The hallways were sometimes tough for her to negotiate because the cleaning staff had trash bags, ice coolers and vacuums in the halls. As for excursions, we booked two thru the ship and two thru another web site. We had a great experience with both excursions booked elsewhere. We even saved about $10 per person on those tours. Of the 2 tours we booked thru the ship, one was fine and one fell short. The whale watching in Victoria was the one that didn't measure up. We spent about 75 minutes getting to the whales and 75 minutes returning, with only 30 minutes to whale watch. They only stopped the boat once, and only for a few minutes, so we were stuck trying to take pics while moving and breathing engine fumes. When we came back to Shore we had to circle for 45 minutes because the operator didn't have a dock far enough away from other cruise ships coming in. We had to wait till the big ships docked before we could get in. This took time away from shopping and left us just bobbing around waiting. We did use the I concierge app to text each other on the ship. I would give it 3 stars out of 5. It sometimes would not alert us when a text came in. It gave a few of us a running total of our daily expenditures, but for some of us this didn't work. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have sailed NCL before (not the Jewell) and they were decent trips, but this old piece of scrap metal built in aug 2005 is in very poor condition, all the floors need to be change, the stateroom carpets are fitly, 10th floor in around ... Read More
We have sailed NCL before (not the Jewell) and they were decent trips, but this old piece of scrap metal built in aug 2005 is in very poor condition, all the floors need to be change, the stateroom carpets are fitly, 10th floor in around cabin 10078 had serious sewage issues so every day we had that lovely aroma to walk by. Others also have water back up, and NCL does not believe in maintenance, another example would be the elevators, the bells and up down Arrows don't work on most floors, Worst food smallest food court of any ships around, never any place to sit! I don't think these greedy owners have ever cleaned their HVAC system,and even the smokers couldn't breath in the Casino, just a horrible time, never again NCL. OH Did i mention everyone got sick. Pure greed, these ships pay for them selves in the first year but no one thinks they should spend any money on updating or even simple maintenance! John T Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Just came off the Vancouver/Alaska/Seattle , 8 days cruise. The staff were ALL very friendly, and the ship was very comfortable and clean. We enjoyed all the shows, and the entertainment ( except the comedian ) he wasn't that great. ... Read More
Just came off the Vancouver/Alaska/Seattle , 8 days cruise. The staff were ALL very friendly, and the ship was very comfortable and clean. We enjoyed all the shows, and the entertainment ( except the comedian ) he wasn't that great. And, the food was cold in the Irish Pub ( which I really dislike ) . The Steak House was the best ever !!! We had a Ocean Balcony Suite # 11506- and it was very comfortable and spacious for 2 people. Only thing, is that it was noisy above us. Not sure who or what was making all the noise. Not nice when you are trying to sleep. Bed was very good . Bathtub was great . We did not get out on the deck, because the weather was pretty cool and wet. I like this ship much better than the Dawn. Looking forward to my next cruise to Hawaii in the fall. Love the Beverage package . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Partly because of price but not significance difference. Organization of boarding procedure in Miami - extremely poor - substandard. Service and employees - very good. Excursion vere very poorly organized mainly information to ... Read More
Partly because of price but not significance difference. Organization of boarding procedure in Miami - extremely poor - substandard. Service and employees - very good. Excursion vere very poorly organized mainly information to participants to and how to leave ship. Returning from excursions well organized. Entertainment - shows were one of the lowest quality we experienced.. FOOD VERY POOR based on central Europe standards. Wiener schnitzel served clearly showed, that the chef did not see even picture how the wiener schnitzel looks like. French soup was served eleven times on occasion even twice - lunch and supper and it did not tasted as french onion soup. Pasta was grossly overcooked even when served in Italian Cuisine Restaurant. Great majority of the food served were of East Indian origins using strange spices and combinations. Corn sitting in the sweetened milk, roast beef served but no mashed potatoes just to name few. When I tried to mention this issue to supervisor of servers, she was more concerned about the cabin number where are staying in instead of to listen about the issue of food. I said please accept my apology to bother you. Disembarking in LA did have some shortcomings and direction to transportation using busses to an airport should be streamlined. We experienced much better environment, service and food on MSC and other smaller Greek's company - name I could not recall. Based on our experience we booked next cruise South America using different cruise line. Disappointed, that MSC does not have itinerary we like. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My wife and I had never been to the Panama Canal and some of the other ports. This was a bucket list trip. We went with a group of 54. Norwegian's subcontractor for port transfers SMS Shore Operations did a terrible job at both LA ... Read More
My wife and I had never been to the Panama Canal and some of the other ports. This was a bucket list trip. We went with a group of 54. Norwegian's subcontractor for port transfers SMS Shore Operations did a terrible job at both LA and Miami. It took us about an hour and a half to get from LAX to the ship (most of the time was at LAX awaiting transport). Our group had to be split into several buses. You would think they would provide a dedicated bus for such a large group. Also, you would think the bus would be waiting after the plane arrived. The transport in Miami didn't go much better. Again, we were split between two buses. Once we were loaded on the bus, the bus driver discovered a problem that prevented him from going to the airport. We had to transfer to another bus. The Jewel was a very clean ship despite how old she is. The room was spacious for a cruise ship of this size. Entertainment was very good. Randon Lauron was outstanding and every time he performed in the Magnum lounge it was packed. He should be part of the main entertainment in the Stardust. The Jewel Band was also outstanding. The first night of dining at Tsar was not that great but got better thereafter. Ate at Cagney's twice and once at Le Bistro. Both were outstanding. Recommend purchasing the specialty meal package. It is well worth the money. The internet was very slow and ate up the time very quickly. We went on an excursion at every port. Cabo San Lucas was not that spectacular unless you are looking to purchase a condo or time share. Acapulco was very interesting and well worth it. We were the first bus to the cliff diving at La Quebrada and had fantastic views. The views from Hotel Las Flamingos and the Fort of San Diego were fantastic. Wish we had more time at Antigua, Granada and Cartagena. The best shore excursion was Discover Costa Rica. Rolando was the best guide we had the whole trip. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was the second cruise I have been on... and I really DON'T think I will do another.... bottom line very expensive, food is MARGINAL (and yes we paid the "better dinning package" and the Drink package ) While the ... Read More
This was the second cruise I have been on... and I really DON'T think I will do another.... bottom line very expensive, food is MARGINAL (and yes we paid the "better dinning package" and the Drink package ) While the cabin service was excellent, the restaurant service was NOT... and the COFFEE was plain HORRIBLE! Hot tub was warm... NOT HOT. Entertainment was "okay" but nothing to write home about. You end up getting nickel and dimed .... Pay for WATER (it's NOT in your drink package) play a game of bingo and it's $30. Room was nice, just really glad we paid the PREMIUM because the small rooms looked like a closet. It was also nice to have a mid room for the rough days at sea. Whatever you do, DO NOT EAT at the Asian themed room! It was the worse Chinese food I have ever encountered! The other "tip" is that all the tourist shops give a kickback to the cruise liner for "recommending them"... Come the end of the season, they just follow the ships.... reason for going was to be with a group, which was a good way to unite, but expensive way to do so. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Left LA round trip Mexico (a cruise that we've done 24 times prior) with stops in Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. I enjoy this itinerary because it is relaxing and after traveling there so many times, I know where to Christmas ... Read More
Left LA round trip Mexico (a cruise that we've done 24 times prior) with stops in Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. I enjoy this itinerary because it is relaxing and after traveling there so many times, I know where to Christmas shop. I just love Mexico and their culture and people. The Jewel was my first time on the NCL Line. Their embarkation is the BEST by far. We arrived at 9:45am and was on the ship unpacking at 11:00am. Lunch was served and then off to the upper deck to just lounge around and get into the cruise spirit. It was like you had this extra day on the cruise. Off for a nap then ready for dinner. The choices of restaurants was wonderful and each one carried a theme as to the cuisine. Our room 9104 with our room Steward 'I Dewa Putra' was incredible. We explained to him our preferences about 'real sugar versus chemical sugar' and we enjoyed regular coffee instead of decaf. Towelselections, bed arrangements, and other incidentals that make our trip our own. He remembered, and was just a wonderful gentleman who worked around my schedule of sleeping late (10:00am) and continental breakfast by room service. He was the intrigitual part of making our vacation unique and special to us. Our room was the smallest we've been in with the bathroom toilet area even smaller!! I'm 6'4" and 220 lbs. I banged by elbows everywhere in the toilet area. Just how many passengers can you put on a ship? See NCL. Not good. The food from what I was served was poor to fair. My spouse's meals were enjoyed with gusto. One evening I ordered room service for dinner and had the "herb 1/2 chicken with veggies, baked potato, and a side sauce". It was INCREDIBLE!!! Seriously it was one of the BEST meals of the cruise. My other meal was from Chin-Chin Restuarant. Again one of the best meals that was INCREDIBLE!! The support staff who tends to your food orders, does so with such professionalism. Friendly, humorous and just full of life. They are amazing. Now comes the bad part. Effective August 15, 2015, NCL started this "Service Charge" of $13.50 daily for certain staterooms and $14.50 daily for suites. Read the "Ticket Contract" about these fees and its states in Paragraph 3 sections (a) to (d) about how the fees are up to your discretion but these fees are USED, dispersed and dispersed to the staff and crew subject to "JOB PERFORMANCE" reviews. That makes each and every passenger over the age of three (3) becoming a part of the employer/employee relationship. Then try to go to the Pursers Office (front desk) and get these fees removed from your account. After 4 hours of discussions about how you get a refund between 2-4 weeks, I made it very clear that I had spoken to my Credit Card Company and was told by said Credit Card Company that if NCL refused to cooperate I would be able to dispute the entire balance and that my balance due could be tied up for 60-90 days. When you "do the math" there was 2,700 individuals on board my cruise. It was a FULL cruise. 10% was 3 years and under, that leaves 2,430 X $13.50 (average) = $32,805.00 daily X 7 days = $229,635.00 per week of "Service Fees" that NCL purports goes to the entire staff BASED upon compensation packages for each individual's. $229,635.00 X 4 weeks = $918,540.00 in "Service Fees" per month. Do the staff and crew get a "Performance Review" monthly or quarterly, half a year or annually? As a business owner you're paying NCL's payroll. If not then where is the "Service Fees" actually going to? After the signing of the "required documents" where you have to state why your not willing to give your stewards, waitress, bartenders and the like a tip, I made it VERY clear that I was not going to complete any of that as I wasn't, at the time, displeased with any of the service staff. I tip to whom I wish, not what is expected by NCL. The guilt trip that ensues is enough to make you lash out against NCL having their hands in your pockets trying to get every penny, nickle, dime, quarter and dollar. Room Service is $7.95 with 18% gratuity. Any other cruise line does not charge this. I do in fact give room service staff a tip for bringing my meal to me. I give individuals CASH not placed upon my account. I've always done this. AND never had to be charged for "room service"!! These policies of paying for the payroll of the staff and crew on board the ship is really a disgrace. NCL has take the position that although this is not mandatory, the front desk comes across as this is the way things are and does EVERYTHING in their individual powers to discourage you from waiving your RIGHT not to do this. It is despicable and not the way to grab money from your passengers. The ship was very nice and kept clean. All crew and staff when they walked by you would smile and say Good morning/afternoon/evening. They made you feel good with being onboard. The disembarkation was unique as well. NCL has this "easy walk off" and if you have limited luggage, can carry your luggage off with you, you can leave early when the ship has been cleared. Just stand in line and first call your off. This was wonderful. All in all, this cruise was comfortable, relaxing and just what the doctor ordered. The constant penny, nickel and dime attitude of NCL is not. Will I travel on NCL again? Time will tell. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date October 2015
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, ... Read More
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, which was troubling. Norwegian upgraded us to a Balcony Room, but there was still a large difference between what we initially paid, and the discounts being given, and would not provide further compensation. After putting that aspect aside, we boarded the cruise and tried to enjoy ourselves. We had selected the Dining Package, and made reservations the subsequent day(s) we would be at-sea. The first night we ate at the Buffet for lunch and Sushi Bar for dinner. After experiencing what the free food at the buffet was like, and the paid food at the mediocre Sushi Bar, we decided it would be best to cancel our Food Package, and go with the Drink Package instead. I was told it needed corporate approval, but as long as it was an option to one of the initial packages we could select, that they would approve and any monies spent would be credited back. (2) days after the fact our cruise is ½ over, and the request was Declined after having spent monies, because it was stated it was never an option in the original package (which we have emails attesting to otherwise showing the Drink Package being available if we didn’t select the Dining Package). The food on the ENTIRE cruise was mediocre at best, and it was very disappointing to have our request denied on our Honeymoon, and some of the extra features we were told about over the phone, were never even offered to us (ie. Cake and Champagne was supposed to be delivered to our room for our honeymoon gratis, but never was received any of the nights). I also asked that a one-time charge on my credit card be issued, to cover for some of the drinks I intended to purchase, and find they issued additional charges that I NEVER authorized, and now have to wait for holds to be released by my bank for the charges. We are very disenchanted with Norwegian’s policies, and see little reason to go back/let alone provide any referrals to family/friends at this point. The food from the Buffet seems to be "recycled" into the other restaurants (ie. One night they had Antipasta, and the next night there was a "Vegetable Salad" with the same stuff. Grilled Chicken was turned into Fried Chicken the next day). The cruise feels like a time-share were we should have been paid, as before/after every show either the entertainers or the staff, try to sell you something. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian. This 10 day Alaska adventure was our 23rd NCL cruise. It was our 4th Alaska cruise on NCL but it was the first time we cruised in ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian. This 10 day Alaska adventure was our 23rd NCL cruise. It was our 4th Alaska cruise on NCL but it was the first time we cruised in September. Previously we were on the Pearl/May, the Star/August and the Jewel/August. We traveled to Seattle one day before embarkation. We stayed near the airport at a hotel advertised as 3 stars, but it was small, semi-modern and while it had a restaurant on-site, it was order at the counter and they deliver it to the table. Beer and alcohol was available but I didn't see a bartender. The room was booked through a discounter for $75/day, extremely reasonable for the Seattle area. They had a complimentary airport shuttle and would also shuttle you to nearby restaurants/shopping. But I was shocked to find condoms in the nightstand! When mentioning it upon check out, they too were surprised and offered a small compensation but since it was booked through a discounter, all she could do was offer us more points on their rewards program. Other than the condom issue, the room was clean, the staff friendly, and they had a complimentary shuttle to the airport (and to the light rail stop), we would stay here again. Several in our group returned to Seattle after the cruise and stayed for an additional day or two. Prior to the cruise, I had contacted a shuttle service for transportation to Pier 66. Pickup was scheduled for 10AM. We had 18 in our group and we had reserved a 20 passenger van, all for a cost of $10/pp. One of the problems was that they sent a bus as there were many more than the 18 passengers in our group. Several weeks before the cruise, I contacted the shuttle company advising them of our final numbers and reminding them one passenger was using a mobility scooter. We were all surprised when the person with the scooter was actually using a large electric wheelchair. The bus driver tried in vain to load it into his bus (which did not have a lift) and eventually called for another bus with a lift. Other than the wheelchair incident, we were all loaded on the bus and enjoyed a scenic route to the pier as there was an accident on the Interstate. We arrived at the pier by 11:15AM. Embarkation was easy. When we arrived we were surprised to see we had VIP status so we were immediately whisked to the VIP lounge and escorted to the ship. Many other passengers were already on the ship at this time. A few weeks prior to the cruise, we noticed a large price drop for balconies. We were originally in an ocean view cabin on deck 8 but we upgraded to a B3 family balcony for an additional $300. We had a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet arranged by another deladypilot. It was very well attended by both passengers and crew. The hotel director, Stephen Jacobsen, spent several minutes telling us of the cruise and what to expect. Afterwards, we had a fun gift exchange MC’d by another cruiser, SantaCruz. My role on the CC rollcall thread, was to keep a Google spreadsheet listing CC user names/real first name/cabin numbers, etc. It was helpful to keep track of numbers participating in the events planned. We also had a slot pull and a celebration dinner. (BTW, as Platinum NCL cruisers, we could have taken a Behind the Scenes tour but it was scheduled the same time as our M&G.) We were in a B3 family balcony, 9526, it was in a nice location forward and port side. We never felt any motion when others complained (and the white bags were out). Family balcony only means it has a connecting door which can be unlocked if you have the adjacent cabin booked with a friend or family member. I heard a baby crying a few times during the cruise but nothing else. The cabin itself is small but with ample room to store your clothing in the closet or on shelves and 3 drawers. We use packing cubes for our clothing and just leave the foldables in the bags and stack them on the shelves or place in a drawer. Luggage goes under the bed. A hanging toiletry bag kept small items handy in the bathroom. You must be organized or the cabin would get claustrophobic. There is a very small table on one side of the bed and a fold out couch on the other. My husband uses a CPAP machine, set it on the couch and used an extension cord to plug it into the 110 outlet. There are 3 outlets in this cabin: 1 on the desk, 1 by the vanity and 1 in the nook by the ice bucket. To make more room on the desk/table, I moved the coffee maker since we never used it. I put it on the shelf behind the TV and didn't impede our viewing of the TV. If we would've had any motion of the ocean, I would have moved it back to the table. I put it back on the table before we disembarked as the room steward has 19 cabins to maintain and service, quite a feat for anyone, but he was always smiling and willing to go the extra fathom (mile). Since we had VIP status, we were invited to have breakfast and lunch in Moderno. We ate breakfast there a few times and lunch twice, but we preferred O'Sheehan's for breakfast. The coffee was infinitely better there and they had good choices for breakfast, even getting a fruit plate even though it wasn't on their menu. The first lunch we had in Moderno was good, but the second one wasn't. I tried the swordfish and it was very overcooked. The Garden Cafe was mobbed most of the time. Breakfast was especially bad. One morning, my husband said he was going to "beat the crowd" and went there by 7AM. He said it was horrible. People were eating like it was their last meal! We did enjoy a few items in the buffet. They offer a very nice salad bar and my husband enjoyed the stir fry items. And in the evenings, they had a crepe station set up. We had to have them a few (too many) times! We enjoyed our meals in the dining rooms. Portions are a reasonable size. I had tilapia one night which was very good. Dinner with an Officer was offered and we met the Staff Chief Engineer. We were joined by two other couples and had a lovely evening with conversation and good food and complimentary wine. We were surprised, though, that the group photo taken before dinner was no longer complimentary. Instead it appeared on our folder at the photo station for a cost of $24.99! It was a horrible photo as one lady was looking down at the floor; the photographer should have checked his images before dismissing us. We didn't purchase the Dining Package or the Alcohol Package but we had a $150 on board credit and we both received dinner for 2 certificates for being Platinum NCL cruisers. We ate in LeBistro twice, Moderno once and LaCucina once. We also had a few drinks for sailaway and made a purchase in the gift shop. In the end, we had a balance of $15 in our OBC account, so a person can eat well and not spend a ton of money. ChinChin is still one of our favorite restaurants and is now complimentary. Some menu items are gone but our favorites were still available. We never had a problem getting a seat, but we eat early. Rating: 5. O'Sheehan's was our choice for a quick meal one evening when neither of us wanted to go to the dining room or fight the crowds in the buffet. I had the chicken pot pie and it was terrific! The puff pastry was the perfect topping! I also had to try the caramel chocolate cheesecake. Way too sweet but good! Overall rating for O'Sheehan's: a solid 4. LeBistro is always a wonderful meal. Whether starting with the mushroom or onion soup or a salad, it's all good. Our normal entree is the beef tenderloin and this time was no different. It was cooked to perfection! And the desserts! The creme brulee is always wonderful, but one evening our waiter brought out an additional dessert: a wonderful chocolate cheesecake. We prefer LeBistro over Cagney's any day. Rating: 5. LaCucina was OK. I doubt we'll go there again. My husband ordered lasagna and said it was no different than the lasagna they serve in the dining room. I had a lobster pasta dish which had 4 smallish pieces of lobster and a lot of pasta. Rate that meal a 3. Moderno is the meat eaters dream. We've gone to Moderno on many other ships so we know the routine. Green card for more, red card when you're done. The salad bar was extensive and varied. Lots of good stuff there. We asked our waiter for more of the cheese bread and had to remind him. The wait staff bring skewers of meats/sausage/chicken to your table and serve you directly from the skewer. Some of the meats and chicken were dry and flavorless. The portions of beef tenderloin tiny. I had to specifically ask for the fish and it was so dry I could hardly swallow it and the shrimp was so small it was barely a bite. Pineapple is usually served several times during the meal to clean your pallet, but not this time. It came right before dessert and most of it was from the core of the pineapple. Dessert was the papaya cream. Overall the dinner was a disappointment and it also would be rated as a 3. Our Cruise Director/Director of Entertainment - Philly Joel - had lined up a variety of acts for this 10 day cruise. The NCL song and dance troupe put on Band on the Run and their Cirque show and two Broadway type shows. All were very good. Be sure you get a balcony seat close to the railing for the Cirque show so you can appreciate the aerial acts. Other acts included a magician, juggler, hypnotist, comedian, and the Las Vegas Tenors (great!). After 10PM though, there is not much going on with the exception of the White Hot Party held near the end of the cruise. The last afternoon of the cruise, the crew had a talent show and CD Joel joining in by singing too. Joel was very visible and eager to make your cruise your best yet. The ship's officers were constantly out and about. Steven Jacobsen was often seen throughout the day and would always stop for a short conversation. Captain Niklas Persson made appearances several times during the cruise. Someone always stopped by during dinner asking if everything was done to our satisfaction. In fact, after the meal in LaCucina, we spoke to one officer and the next day we received chocolate covered strawberries. (Now chocolate covered strawberries are a treat but between the VIP status and our comments at dinner, we must’ve received 8 plates of them during the cruise. Enough already! ;) ) This ten day cruise had stops in 6 ports, plus we cruised Glacier Bay. We also had two sea days. In each stop, we were told how lucky we were to have such fabulous weather. We only had heavy rain in one port. But it was cold! There was snow on the mountain peaks and if you were out in the wind, you’d better have your ears covered. Since we had already been to Ketchikan, we only walked around the town and did a bit of shopping. It rained off and on but it wasn’t a heavy rain. Shopping at this time (the last cruise of the season in most ports) meant for crazy deals. Even the ship’s gift shop had all the Alaska items on sale at an unheard of 75% off! In Juneau, we booked a helicopter tour through Viator with Coastal Helicopters. Wow! I thought I’d be nervous but instead was mesmerized by the scenery! After weigh-in, they outfitted everyone with overshoes with studs so we could walk in the glacier, then loaded everyone in the 6 passenger helicopter according to weight. I always get the middle seat in the back so not the best for photos but it was still wonderful. We landed on Herbert Glacier and were able to do a bit of walking although the pilot said to stay very close. We saw water standing in several places and crevasses you wouldn’t want to fall into. DH was hesitant about the helicopter but afterwards he said it was the highlight of the cruise. We had also been to Skagway a number of times so we booked a glass blowing glass with Jewel Gardens also through Viator. I was nervous about this one as I didn’t want to ruin my glass masterpiece. We made either a blown glass paperweight or ornament, so we did one of each. Again, a highlight of our cruise. Cruising Glacier Bay was awesome! We had perfect weather and while cold, there was still plenty to see including wildlife … seals and mountain goats … along with glaciers calving and glaciers as far as you could see. It is something you truly need to experience yourself. Icy Strait Point is a fishing camp made into a cruise port/stop. They had a nice gift shop (more bargains) and a lovely nature trail which we enjoyed very much. After being on or near glaciers for the past several days, it was refreshing to be in a rain forest. Hoonah, AK is a short bus ride away. Unfortunately, most if not all, of the shops in the tiny town were closed for the season. ISP is a tender port but they are working on a pier which should be ready for the 2016 season. Sitka was the only port where we really needed rain gear. Some people took the shuttle into town and returned immediately. We decided to walk a little and enjoyed a few hours of window shopping /exploring. It was the Running of the Boots in town and also the cruise industry was cooking free hotdogs and hamburgers for the residents, thanking them for their hospitality during the cruise season. We’d never seen in our cruise history. Victoria is one of our favorite Canadian cities. Again, we’d been here in the past and since my knee was bothering me, we took the bus to the downtown area and walked up to Chinatown and back down to the Empress Hotel. We stopped for a beer at a sidewalk café and returned to the ship fairly early as she was in port until 11:59 PM. Again, the weather was perfect. We arrived in Vancouver right on time and had one last breakfast in O’Sheehan’s with two of our Cruzin Cuzins. Disembarkation was a breeze. It’s always nice that NCL has officers and crew on deck to say one last good bye. Once we were off the ship, we were directed to our luggage and then to the shuttle bus to the airport. We had not prearranged for this but it was easy. With the Canadian conversion, the price was about $12pp. Customs in YVR is mostly automated and it went very smoothly. We were at our gate a couple of hours early. I was shocked my StraightTalk phone was able to connect to wifi and I could retrieve emails. (I had great cell phone coverage in all the ports, even in Glacier Bay using my ST phone.) To summarize, this was a fantastic cruise. We met so many people, had a great crew, and of course, we were with our Cuzins, too. We had the perfect weather for Alaska in September. We bought several cruise rewards so you know we’re going on at least 4 more NCL cruises. :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having sailed on Princess, Celebrity and Holland America this cruise line was not all bad. The staff from Officers to Room Stewards were very friendly and always said hello. Our Room Steward introduced himself and always kept our room ... Read More
Having sailed on Princess, Celebrity and Holland America this cruise line was not all bad. The staff from Officers to Room Stewards were very friendly and always said hello. Our Room Steward introduced himself and always kept our room clean with interesting towel animals and good service. The food in Tsar's Palace was great as was the service for all the five times we ate there. Azura although the same menu and friendly was not as good, with its service staff. The Garden Cafe was always a good variety of food that was tasty. We did not like the breakfast in O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill. We only ate at one Pay Restaurant....Le Bistro and were disappointed that although we paid a cover charge there were still items on the menu that we had to pay for. We ate early 5:30 because we had 10 people in our group and the place was not full yet waiters were looking at us but not coming over to serve. The food was good but the service did not pick-up until the end of the meal 3 hrs later. The shows were excellent especially Le Cirque Bejou. The two acrobats on another night were amazing. We enjoyed the Michael Jackson Thriller Dance and the Hot White Party. The Bar Staff were very slow often we went to the bar and got our own drinks except for an excellent waiter at the sky bar. We did not drink much as there was gratuity(expected) and another service charge (not expected on drinks). The schedule of ports was disappointing because we did not even come close to Sawyer Glacier and not arriving in Victoria until 5:00 P.M. was not great. All in all this cruise was fun because we were 10 people celebrating a special Birthday but as far as some other experiences...we think we'll be going back to other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My husband and I have been on 12 cruises but February 2015 we took our first NCL cruise out or Houston on the Norwegian Jewel. We had an amazing time. Everything was so organized. They got us on and off the ship in record time. The staff ... Read More
My husband and I have been on 12 cruises but February 2015 we took our first NCL cruise out or Houston on the Norwegian Jewel. We had an amazing time. Everything was so organized. They got us on and off the ship in record time. The staff was knowledgeable and courteous. The food was always scrumptious. My favorites were the chicken pot pie and the buffalo wings at O'Sheehan's and the french toast and fresh made omelets we had every morning for breakfast. The entertainment was heart intense. Great shows. We really had an awesome time. The crew made it so hard for us to book a cruise with another cruise line. We are now fans of NCL. Thank you so much for a memorable time on the Norwegian Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was the first cruise my husband and I have ever taken. The cruise was arranged through Country Family Reunion and Larry's Country Diner and therefore they chose the cruise line. I had read numerous reviews of the ship prior to ... Read More
This was the first cruise my husband and I have ever taken. The cruise was arranged through Country Family Reunion and Larry's Country Diner and therefore they chose the cruise line. I had read numerous reviews of the ship prior to leaving and was a little concerned because I had read some poor reviews about food. I did not feel that way at all. My only complaint was at breakfast every day in the Garden Café we would have a hard time finding a table. Even if we chose different times to eat we always had to search for a table and then one of us would have to stay and hold our place. I was very impressed with the cleanliness. I was concerned about that and there was always someone providing hand sanitizer. My only other complaint was on the last night of the cruise the staff seemed to be done with taking care of us and wanting to move on to the next group. service was slow that night. On departure morning we did have to ask that a table be cleaned to sit down. My suggestion to the cruise line is to train the staff that even though the cruise is coming to an end these customers are still expecting the same treatment We ate at all of the complimentary restaurants and also at Cagney's. All the food was good. Unfortunately at Cagney's we were next to the area where the waiters fill water etc. I would request to not sit at this area. We had a wonderful cruise and I would cruise Norwegian again. I loved the freestyle dining and the casual atmosphere. We did not go to many of the entertainment venues because our entertainment was part of the package that we had purchased. We did see some shows in the lounge and they were good, but of course when you have tickets to see your favorite country stars it is hard to top that. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the ... Read More
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the balcony and some space to spread out. Since we were in a suite, we had priority embarkation (awesome), a butler (imperative), and breakfast/lunch at Cagney's (the best perk of all). We arrived in NOLA and it was rainy, so we skipped the french quarter and just boarded the boat. We had lunch at Cagneys (seriously, have I told you it was the best perk) and explored the ship a bit. Our room was awesome. I slept in every bed in the room during our 7 night stay, but preferred the lounge chairs on the balcony or the floor to any of the beds. I kid you not, I slept on the floor 3 of the 7 nights and on the patio 2x. The bed was hard as a rock, as was the pull down bunk and the pull out couch. I have a bad back, so it was easier to sleep on the floor and know what I would wake up with. MDR food was pretty crappy as was the buffet, but again, I am on a special diet and cant have fried food, dairy, or sugar, so most of the options for me were removed before we got started. The ports of call were great and I will re-state again that the suites have the priority stuff and we were on the first tender off the boat in Belize which meant we got to our excursions earlier than anyone else. We booked all the excursions through external sources and were very happy with all of them. Coral Breeze Tours (Belize), Argel and Adiel King (cozumel), and Subway Watersports (Roatan) were all excellent and I will do them again. The boat was clean, there were no lines for food (ever) and the shows were fine. Don't spend the money on the hibachi restaurant (it sucked) but go ahead and pop for cagneys if you aren't in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I went with a group of 130 ppl. The food has definitely changed with most of the cruise lines from what others said in the ports from the other ships. This was my 10th cruise but my first on Norwegian. The food was good in the buffet. I ... Read More
I went with a group of 130 ppl. The food has definitely changed with most of the cruise lines from what others said in the ports from the other ships. This was my 10th cruise but my first on Norwegian. The food was good in the buffet. I was disappointed with the food in the main dining rooms. It seems like they are trying to push the cruisers to the specialty (for an extra fee) dining rooms. I never went to a specialty dining room. The people I know that did go to the Japanese Steak House said that it was good and worth the extra $25 that they paid each for their meal. I wish that I would have just stuck with the buffet. The ship was clean and they were squirting our hands with sanitizer every time we entered the ship and buffet. There were self serve sanitizer balls at every dining room and many other places on the ship. We had a great room steward, but some friends complained that they couldn't get extra water delivered to their room fridge. ( they were on another deck with another steward). Overall the destinations were what made the trip special. The room and balcony did seem smaller compared to the ones I've been on with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We've sailed on Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity before so we were looking forward to our first NCL cruise aboard the Jewel. The New Orleans Cruise Port is adjacent to the old Riverwalk and Convention Center and was somewhat ... Read More
We've sailed on Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity before so we were looking forward to our first NCL cruise aboard the Jewel. The New Orleans Cruise Port is adjacent to the old Riverwalk and Convention Center and was somewhat a pain to get to. It may of been newly refurbished as there weren't signs directing people anywhere. After almost boarding the ship without checking in (Port staff had no clue) - and after 30 minutes in line, we finally checked in and boarded the ship. Our first objective was to sign up for the "Ultimate Beverage Package" which ends up being $400 a person, both people in a room MUST purchase so there goes $800 right out the door. What they don't really make obvious - is that the package doesn't cover all your drinks. Bottled water and specialty coffees ARE NOT included. We were hit with a $6 charge for a bottle of water! Dinner in the "Tsars" dining room was a bit stuffy, because you have to wear pants. We wanted to use our beverage package, but there were no Beverage / Wine Stewards to be found. We discovered most people don't change for dinner, and eat at the "Azure" dining room - which was always busier than the other. After a few days in, we began to notice that a good portion of the staff, maybe 50%, were somewhat new to working on a cruise ship. According to other cruisers, half of the trained staff on the Jewel went to go work on the new Norweigan Epic. Learning this let us switch our patience modes, but our patience only goes so far. I doubt we'll return to NCL anytime soon. They aim to upcharge you for EVERYTHING - so much that it got annoying. Don't buy the beverage package unless you can drink 8 drinks a day MINIMUM. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
. . . on a ship, that is! First off, I think a cruise is always the most relaxing of vacations, and have to have one every year. This was the one and only for us in 2013. However, we picked NCL only because we were part of the Aquafest ... Read More
. . . on a ship, that is! First off, I think a cruise is always the most relaxing of vacations, and have to have one every year. This was the one and only for us in 2013. However, we picked NCL only because we were part of the Aquafest group on board - an association of GLBT folk who each year at Hallowe'en partially charter a ship for a great party. NCL works well for these events, with its "Freestyle Cruising". The party was fun, the ship was fun, the crew was fun, but outside of an Aquafest function we would be sailing on another line. Embarkation was great. We're from New Orleans, so, of course, it's a fantastic place to start your trip! We were on the ship quickly and smoothly. In time for the lunch we always enjoy on sailing day in the main dining room - here, Tsar's Palace. This is a good idea. You avoid the push and shove of the buffet, and are seated for a refined, civilized experience. The ship is decently laid out and easy to get around. I have never seen such clear markings of where the venues are on any ship in the past. Also, the elevators have guides, telling you what is on each deck. This was my first cruise I did not walk the ship deck to deck before sailing to familiarize myself with it. We were able to join the group party at the Sky Bar instead! That said, there is a massive bottleneck between the pool deck and the buffet, as it skirts the pool grill and goes past the pool's restrooms. Two columns in the middle of this path were padded, gridiron style - a reminder of past boo-boos. It appears the pool deck at one time had paths on both the port and starboard sides, allowing for better flow. The port side is closed at both ends - aft by a hot tub that is an obvious addition. A pleasant consequence is there is a nice secluded place by the pool and two hot tubs in the forward port corner of the pool deck. The pool deck on the Jewel is quite large, accommodating two large pools and four hot tubs, plus the one that was an afterthought. The itinerary includes the usual Western Caribbean suspects: Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and The Magic Mayan Kingdom (a/k/a Costa Maya). I understand there's a different set of itineraries too, including Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Again - we were on board for the party, and not the ports. At Cozumel we had a booked excursion through Cozumelwatersports.com. A catamaran/snorkel excursion that was absolutely fabulous. Not too large. A real catamaran. The cast and crew very attentive to safety and comfort. Will do again. NCL quite often, for more money, places you on a cattle boat with 80 people for a "snorkel/sail". Yes, Belize is third world. But not everyone gets to live in the USA. Explore the city. Stay on the main street that goes over the pivot bridge. Absorb it. Watch your wallet, especially when someone "bumps" into you. Ignore the men trying to sell you their sisters. We walked down this street to St. John's Anglican Cathedral, and enjoyed a delightful treat of early 19th Century Caribbean architecture. You could absorb the history from the plaques on the walls. Across from the back of the church is the Government House, open as a museum. Some fine displays of Belize in the past, and a great specimen of old colonial days. I thought I was in a W. Somerset Maugham story! Wondering around the grounds of Government House the staff pointed out to us two iguanas in the trees. What a treat. Walking back the children were being let out of two schools on our route, and it was great to see them in their starched white uniforms. (Much more presentable than the typical American kid, I might say.) Back in the tourist village we went to our favorite shop, The Loom Ltd., which sells pillow covers, runners, etc., to find them in the midst of a liquidation sale. Budging them out of their space? Diamonds International. As if they need more room! At Roatan we did a beach party with our Aquafest group, and it was a blast. A great beach club. Great Honduran beers. Great fun! Not too much at the Coxen Hole port, it appears. Consider an excursion here. Costa Maya was another beach party, one that NCL gave to Aquafest for free. Thank goodness we did not pay for it, as it was a poor cousin to the Roatan experience. 45 minute bus ride each way - but in a comfortable bus. Not much in the way of shaded areas, and no umbrellas. However, a very special young lady pointed out an open thatched hut with recliners and chairs - even a table and a counter - and we enjoyed the day there. Great food and beverage service. But, we might not have been so happy if we had to pay for it. Costa Maya is a huge disappointment, and we are glad that next year, when the Jewel sails from Houston for the Aquafest cruise, it will be off the list. As for restaurants: We are used to dining well - both at home and when traveling (we're from New Orleans!). The only restaurant on board worthy of the upcharge, we concluded, is Le Bistro. The food there is excellent. The staff is the most coordinated and pleasant of any of the dining rooms on board. We ate there four times - twice as scheduled dinner - once as part of the "Chef's Table" event - and a fourth time for the Jazz Brunch the final day at sea. I would recommend all of it. Especially Chef's Table. A multi-course meal with champagne and three different (and good) wines - for about $80.00 per person. A couple photos, too! And, after dinner drinks. The food and service were memorable. Look for this - especially the day you board. We found out about it from a pleasant lady bringing specialty restaurant menus around the main dining room on the day we sailed. Or, ask about it at a specialty restaurant desk in the lobby the day you board. On future cruises we will likely eat in the main dining room for dinner on the other nights, as we did our first night - when we had a pleasant meal. Cagney's is just a steakhouse, and while the food was good, it was rushed and the service was poor. We were ignored after our entrees were served. Moderno, a churrascaria, is a meat lover's orgy - maybe too much. We did not like some of the flavors. The salad bar there is wonderful, though. At Chin-Chin's (Asian flavas) we really enjoyed the appetizers, but our entrees were like the Chinese take out we can get back home. We have yet to have done the hibachi tables they have, though - that might be fun. Finally, we cancelled the Italian restaurant in favor of another Le Bistro dinner after hearing a few bad things, and recalling some less than stellar meals in the Italian restaurants on other NCL ships in the past - moreover, the ship was giving it away to the Aquafest group, another sign . . . On sea days - wait for the cookout on the pool deck. Much better than the buffet, and they stir up a wonderful paella! It is kind of hard to get a drink on this ship. On the pool deck I would observe more crew clearing tables than I would beverage servers. Not the fault of the crew, for sure. A staffing matter. We did not do any ship entertainment because the Aquafest demimonde took up our evenings. There is a great guy who sings and plays piano in the Martini bar on deck six. This bar, and the adjacent Maltings, are among the more civilized venues on board. Overall - a great time! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my 23rd cruise overall, and my eighth cruise on Norwegian. I booked with the Aquafest LGBT group’s annual Halloween sailing, and our group made up almost 500 of the Jewel’s 2100 passengers. I’ve sailed on the Norwegian Pearl ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise overall, and my eighth cruise on Norwegian. I booked with the Aquafest LGBT group’s annual Halloween sailing, and our group made up almost 500 of the Jewel’s 2100 passengers. I’ve sailed on the Norwegian Pearl twice, a sister ship of the Jewel, as well as the Norwegian Dawn twice. Both ships are similar to the Jewel in design and capacity, so I had high expectations for the Jewel. I received the first indication that those expectations would not be met when I checked in. In the past, passengers received a pocket-sized brochure and map of the ship along with their key card. But on this day, I was handed a poor-quality black-and-white photocopy of that map. Norwegian’s continued cost-cutting has become evident even before stepping aboard. Strike one. On my other seven Norwegian cruises, I’ve always admired the friendliness and efficiency of the staff and crew. So I was surprised when after I boarded, I went to the Guest Relations desk and asked where the check-in area was for the Aquafest group. The agent behind the desk stared at me blankly. Then she asked her colleague if she knew what the “Aqua Fresh” group was. I corrected her twice. The colleague didn’t know either. Could it be that the Jewel’s staff was not prepared for a group that was occupying one-quarter of the ship this week? Luckily, another Aquafest passenger was nearby and overheard the conversation, and informed me where to go. Strike two. After checking in with Aquafest and meeting their staff, my friend and I headed up to the Garden Café for lunch. At some point, I heard the news that a surprise CDC health inspection was taking place – this is done approximately every six months on every cruise ship that operates out of the U.S. And when I saw the incredible disarray of the lunch service in the Garden Café – empty food trays not being replaced in a timely manner, lack of fresh plates, many items mislabeled or not labeled at all, etc. – I assumed it was due to the crew’s attention on the health inspection. But as the week progressed, I learned that the inspection was not the reason. These problems persisted throughout the week. Over eight Norwegian cruises, I had never seen the buffet restaurant so poorly managed as it was on the Jewel. Strike three. The Norwegian Jewel struck out in the first inning without a single hit – and I’ve only been on board for an hour. Throughout the week, there was nothing in particular that the staff or crew did to sway my disappointment from the first day. Even the service at dinner that first night in the Tsar Palace was quite slow. Other dinners that week were in specialty restaurants or in the Azure dining room, which had pleasantly prompt service. Our other dinners were in La Cucina, Moderno Churrascaria and Cagney’s Steakhouse – all were as enjoyable as I’ve experienced them previously on other ships. One exception to the lackluster staff was the beverage manager, Katya. She was very friendly and sociable. Because the Aquafest group provided its own entertainment for the guests, I didn’t get to see much of the Jewel’s entertainment. I did see Band on the Run and Jean-Pierre’s magic show – both were very entertaining and enjoyable. But the best aspect of this cruise was the itinerary. New Orleans is a great embarkation port, and my friend and I enjoyed spending two nights here, plus one more night after the cruise ended. The cruise had four ports of call: Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. During my previous calls to Cozumel, I went to a nearby resort and bought a day pass. But because Norwegian uses the downtown pier, it was very convenient to walk around the town and explore the shops. Aquafest had also invited its guests to visit Senor Frogs, where we enjoyed a raucous daytime party atmosphere before heading back to the ship. In Belize City, we took a ship excursion to Altun Ha, a very impressive Mayan historic site. Our tour guide, who had a Mayan background, was excellent in explaining some of the history and architecture relevant to the pyramids. We had the ability to climb to the top of the largest pyramid, which was quite the treat. In Roatan, we joined some other Cruise Critic members for a catamaran sailboat charter, provided by Radical Adventures. This was the highlight of the cruise! Captain Ed and his wife Julie, along with a crew of three locals, sailed us to a secluded cove for a couple hours of snorkeling and a delicious lunch. And in Costa Maya, Aquafest had arranged an excursion for the entire group at a beach club about 30 minutes away. If I had to rank my eight Norwegian cruises solely based on the onboard experience, I would have to rank this cruise as the lowest one. I’m worried that Norwegian’s cost-cutting, as well as all the focus they are putting on Epic, Breakaway and Getaway, is having a detrimental effect on the rest of the fleet. Norwegian needs to do more to ensure that its passengers looking for a mid-sized ship experience are not being ignored. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My husband and I recently cruised to Alaska with some best friends who were first time cruisers as well as 40 plus others. Prior to leaving one of the items we discussed was what great service and food we had on other cruise lines with ... Read More
My husband and I recently cruised to Alaska with some best friends who were first time cruisers as well as 40 plus others. Prior to leaving one of the items we discussed was what great service and food we had on other cruise lines with them. We chose to have dinner 3 nights in specialty restaurants because of the fabulous food we had on a Princess cruise in January. My husband and I agreed that the food was only slightly better than the dinining room. Waiters and services in the specialty restaurants were great. Waiters and services in the regular dining room were minimal to say the least. Our D/R waiter was very impatient and made my friend very uncomfortable. I am typically very easy to please per my husband. I guess I was so disapointed with the caliber of the food by comparison to other cruise lines. That being said not all food was bad, but desserts were terrible on the buffets and borderline in the dining room. This ship needs a new pastry chef! Dry, dry, dry! Now for the good things: room was very nice (balcony on 10th floor). Raymond always kept the room very nice and had a very friendly personality. Baths in these rooms were nice but as usal small. Our room had a nice size shower with a shower door (much better than getting water all over the floor from a curtain) and a hand held shower head that could be adjusted up or down as needed. Very nice! Our room connected with our friends and that worked great. Dressing area was a little small but still ok. Beds slept nicely not too hard. Our excursions were very nice and worth the money except for Victoria. We took a horse drawn trolly tour which was too short. in Victoria. My husband went fishing in Ketchican and caught a fish, saw an eagle and whale. We rode the train in Skagway (amazing) into Canada and went to the Mendenhal glacier in Juneau. Sailing in fijord to Sawyer glacier (unbelievable). I am going to sign out because I have said enough, LOL and hope this helps someone. :-) Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Ship: Despite being an older ship, the Jewel is gorgeous. Everything I came across was in working order. They layout was easy to navigate with plenty of activities to keep busy and places to walk and explore. Room: Our cabin (9124) was ... Read More
Ship: Despite being an older ship, the Jewel is gorgeous. Everything I came across was in working order. They layout was easy to navigate with plenty of activities to keep busy and places to walk and explore. Room: Our cabin (9124) was everything I expected, with the exception that the bathroom was larger than I thought it would be. My husband is 6' 3" and 270 lbs. He fit in the sink and shower area comfortably. The toilet area was a little cramped for him but he survived. The bed was not hard and uncomfortable like I had read in previous reviews, it was just fine. Despite multiple settings on the thermostat the room only had two temperatures; Arctic or Hades. Our room steward was friendly enough but he kept removing the beer buckets we were trying to save and also he took my souvenir cup I paid for. Never saw him after the first few days so I could ask for it back. He provided clean towels and straighten out the bed sheets, that was it. Ships' temp: before leaving on my cruise I tried finding out what the average temp of the public places on the ship were like. All responses said "The ship is climate controlled. The inside temp will be the same whether you are in the Caribbean or Alaska." I am here to tell you THIS IS NOT TRUE. If you are under 125 lbs. have circulation issues or issues regulating your temperature you will get cold. The only time I was not cold was after a few drinks and shaking my booty to a few songs in the Spinnaker Lounge late night. And those cute "little old lady" sweaters don't cut it. Bring a lined hoodie sweatshirt or even a light lap blanket to all public venues. Main dining/Buffet: Most of it was edible. None of it was great. Some of it was a mystery. The first day I was excited not to have to cook. By the third day I felt like I was on "Survivor" scraping by trying to find some plain rice and toast. (Ever hear of a person LOSING weight on a cruise? Yep, I did.) This food should be simple and good but NCL somehow manages to take regular dishes and add strange spices, grease or seafood to it to make them disgusting. Sure have some seafood rice, but offer some plain rice next to it please. And how does one screw up pizza? When grease is an option for an extra topping its not hard to see why. Tepanyaki: Worth every penny. Best food I had on the ship. We have a Tepanyaki at home and it costs way more than $25 a person to eat there so getting the same great taste and quality on the Jewel for that price seemed like a bargain! Side note the room gets extremely loud when all tables get going at once. Guests with hearing aids may find this atmosphere uncomfortable. Moderno Churrascaria: Disgusting. You couldn't PAY ME to eat this food. Calling this place a Churrascaria is a joke if you've ever been to a real one. It didn't matter what animal they brought or how it was seasoned every single piece of meat we got from this place was pure FAT. The ribs, the chicken, the filet, the garlic beef were all 90 to 98 percent FAT. AWFUL. This place should be shut down as it is a scam to charge guests extra for this "joke". The Blue Lagoon: is an out of the way place to eat on deck eight. Unfortunately for us we didn't discover this place until the fifth day. I definitely wouldn't have come home 5 lbs. lighter had I found this place earlier. EAT HERE! Best food included with your fare! The coffee: Over the week the coffee in the Buffet was described as "Acid." "What it would taste like if someone really warmed up a cup of mud." and my personal favorite "This coffee taste like all the reject coffee beans took a warm dump in my cup." Do not be fooled by what the servers tell you. The coffee in the main dining room is DIFFERENT! Don't be afraid to take in your clean soda mug and ask your server to fill 'er up! Much better than paying $4 a pop for a latte or choking down "acid" all week long. Entertainment: The entertainment staff on the Jewel was the hardest working staff I saw all week long! They were awesome! Band on the Run was sexy and fun, yet cute enough for the elders and families to enjoy. I had Abba stuck in my head the rest of the trip after dancing in my seat to this show! Cirque Bijou was phenomenal! If you're familiar with the "Cirque" shows in Vegas you won't be as impressed by this as it is a sampling of what those shows offer. However, I loved the fact that the cruise line staff went above and beyond the regular singing and dancing to perform this act. They didn't bring in special acrobats, it was the same people we had watched and loved all week long and they did a fantastic job! Cruise line entertainment has come a long way since I last cruised. White hot party was an absolute blast! I can see how this even may vary from cruise to cruise though due to the different crowds that may be cruising at the time. Lucky for me we had an excellent group of partiers! The dancers dressed up as angels could have stuck around a little longer than 10 minutes though. NCL would be wise to use the entertainment staff like Sandals uses their "playmakers" to get the party going, keep it going and keep the alcohol flowing. Matt the cruise director: was the only aspect of the entertainment staff that was lacking. He acted way old for his age, wasn't around much and when he was it felt stuffy and boring. On TV he even talked about how he hates crowds. Really? A cruise director that hates crowds? Someone may want to re-think his position as it is my understanding directors are supposed to be super social and outgoing. I've had 60 year old women cruise directors before who ran marathons around the ship compared to what Matt did. Patrick the assistant cruise director more than made up for Matt's stuffiness. Patrick was always around, always enthusiastic and always had an infectious smile! We saw him every day, several times a day and he never hesitated to shout "Hi guys!" to us. Guests: Our fellows guests were overall, polite and friendly. The exception is with a few unsupervised teens running amok. (No problems with babies, small children or even school aged kids the TEENS need more supervision!) I was knocked to the ground getting off the elevator by a teen twice my size. I wanted to report him but my husband talked me out of it after I put he fear of God in him threatening to sue his parents. Another time a teen jumped into my cabin screaming "RAAARRRRR!" when I opened the door to hear announcements. Good thing he had quick reflexes as my fist of fury came within centimeters of his nose. Also abundant snotty teen girls wearing shorts barley long enough to cover their private parts (which I actually saw several times when they would sit down or bend over. Disgusting!) I did not go thought the trouble of arranging eight days of babysitters so I could come on a cruise and put up with OTHER people's ill mannered, spoiled brats. Put your teens on a leash people! A cruise is not a free-for-all, other people paid good money to relax and have fun too! Rough seas: Last but not least I was told by a few people who had been on this itinerary before how smooth the seas were and that seasickness patches were not necessary. WRONG! With the exception of a Transatlantic cruise, this was by far the roughest cruise I've been on. Bring your patches and seasickness meds! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a ... Read More
We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a person. Not a bad price, and the luggage was next seen in our cabins. As latitudes members, my husband and I were ushered into the "special" line for check-in. There were so many repeat cruisers, that as we shuffled along in the long line,we watched first-timers whiz right past us, through check in, and on board! We had lunch in the buffet, and then went to our cabin. It was always neat and clean, and the stewardess was friendly and helpful. Except, that she was not pleased when we carried glasses from our cabin anywhere else on the ship. In fact, she wouldn't replace them! We ended up bringing glasses from the dining room for our own use! Since they are no longer provided automatically, we requested bar soap, lotion and robes, and got them all. We used several excursions, and they were all what we expected. We also organized a boat excursion in St. Lucia on our own for eight, and decided that was our BEST day of the trip!! Others in our group took tours, and some just picked up taxis, etc. in ports...everyone was happy with their choices. Meals....well, things sure aren't what they used to be! I agree with other reviews in that the buffet food did look like cafeteria fare. My favorites were the pretzel rolls and the ice cream. The food area is quite large, and I find that by the time I make my choices, fill my plate, and get to a table, my food is cold. No beverage service was provided at the tables, and no lemonade was available as on other NCL ships. We ate in the Blue Lagoon many times and preferred it because the choices were good, and the service was quick and efficient. The dining room...we ate mostly in the TSAR...varied. We had a couple wonderful, entertaining, waiters, and then we had one waitress who was just rude and unhelpful. Unfortunately, we had her on the surf and turf night! When additional lobsters were requested, she brought them, plunked them down and ignored us the rest of the meal. No melted butter was served with any of the lobster. We asked for more water (our glasses were all empty), and finally got another waiter to bring it. Same thing with bread. Three of us had ordered dessert before the meal. We got ours, but no one took the others' orders. Two of them eventually ordered dessert, but the third person was skipped. And, regarding the lobster, what is the policy on "seconds". Since we had contact with so many people in our group, we compared stories. Some had several lobsters, some were told they could only have one, some others requested to see the Manager, and he told them only one. There needs to be a set policy!! We had one bad experience for breakfast in the Tsar too, but it might have been because we joined another couple who had already ordered. I think we confused the waiter, and had to wait forever for our order...when the eggs benedict arrived, they were hard-boiled. Since we had waited over 30 minutes for them, I was reluctant to send them back, but the waiter RAN and got another plate...which was perfect!Other observations...the gym was very nice,I would like the casino better if there was no smoking, but don't spend much time there anyway. The ship was neat and clean, except for our balcony which had trash in the "gutter" the entire trip. We also prefer the balcony "no smoking" policy of other cruise lines. The cabin storage is more than adequate, but those TV's have got to go!! The beds are extremely comfortable! One comment heard often was that the ship is noisy...there are very few "quiet" places to go to read, etc. The music in the dining room was so loud, you had to scream at your table mates. We did enjoy the dinner with a staff member...very informative. We also enjoyed the entertainment...some of the best we've seen. The disembarkation. Because we were a large group, NCL provided a staff member to explain things two days before the cruise ended. She gave out the colored luggage slips so that we'd all be together. She explained that those needing assistance would meet in another area and we would all be re-joined in the customs area. Sounds good; didn't work! Because of the storm "Sandy" damage, some things are not working as usual in the Terminal. Our departure was over an hour late, we had to stand outside in the freezing cold, and the luggage claim area was a zoo! Because the Gem was also disembarking, it was very crowded and everyone was told to "keep moving". We tried to keep our people together, but some were outside the terminal, some were at the bus bay, and others were inside!! Eventually everyone was located, but only because someone in our group knew a Terminal Employee and asked her to help out. All in all, it was nice to get away from the cold, and we enjoyed the group of people we were with. NCL is not our first choice of cruise lines, but it is handy in NYC. We plan to try the Breakaway when it's available, and have put a deposit down on it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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