80 Norwegian Jewel Senior Cruise Reviews

Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the ... Read More
Background to review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, this cruise was our first family cruise since my daughter Emily was married. We booked the Garden Villa for 7 of us. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event and it could not have been more fabulous. No ship or cruise can be the best at everything, but on the NCL Jewel the combination of the ship, the crew, the entertainment (outstanding), the excursions, the food, the friends we met, made for an outstanding week. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) • The Garden Villa experience can’t adequately be expressed in words. It was the BEST. • Food quality was superb everywhere. We had the Ultimate Dining Package and ate in Teppanyaki, Le Bistro (2), Cagney’s (2), La Cucina, and Moderno. • Entertainment was excellent. Probably the best dance group I have seen on any cruise line. Do NOT miss Le Cirque Bijou…..OUTSTANDING. • The staff was friendly and helpful and our Concierge, Florentina Popa, was outstanding as well as our Butler, Erlindo Doca, and our room steward, Alexandro Legarda. • We hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Garden Villa with over 70 attendees. Garden Villa: When I booked the Garden Villa over a year ago, Wendy, my wife, thought I was foolish to spend that amount of money on a week cruise. After the week was over, she told me the experience of this past week was worth way more in memories than the money we spent. On Sunday, we hosted the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party in the Villa with more than 70 attendees. NCL did a great job in organizing and setting up the event with several officers in attendance. Our group did a gift exchange organized by SimplySuzy. After the gift exchange, 30 of us headed to the Casino for the slot pull organized by Cocruzlvrs. The casino gave us a couple of bottles of champagne and tee shirts for the highest winners. We lost 55 cents per person but almost hit the jackpot twice playing the Wheel of Fortune. A great time was had by all. On Wednesday, we celebrated the birthday for two members of our group. Florentina, Erlindo, and Alexandro decorated the living room with balloons and had a large cake waiting for us when we returned from our excursion in Belize. A couple of us, especially me, took advantage of the Jacuzzi and Steam Room that was on our patio between the master bedroom and the living room. On deck 15, above our living area was a private sun deck with chairs, a hammock, and tables. The sun worshipers in our group used this area extensively. DINING: Some people criticize anytime dining but I prefer it. It allows me to control when and where I eat based upon the day’s activities. Other people may prefer traditional dining because they are able to meet other cruisers and develop a relationship with them. Besides breakfast and lunch in Moderno’s, we ate at the buffet in Garden Café, Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and O’sheehans. I have absolutely NO complaints about the food at any venue. I could have eaten at the buffet every night and been happy; it was that good. Le Bistro was outstanding. It was NOT crowded and provided a great dining atmosphere with great food. Only complaint I might have at Le Bistro’s was the amount of time it took us to dine. However, with 9 of us at our table each night it could have been a factor. This was our first time at Teppanyaki’s on any cruise. I highly recommend this to everyone. The experience provides a fun time for all but the food is outstanding. I can’t wait to book this on our next cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the Stardust theater were OUTSTANDING. Two shows are definitely labeled as “DO NOT MISS”: Band on the Run and Le Cirque Bijou. Do not miss the final Farewell Variety Showtime on Day 7. It provides a great emotional high and a fitting tribute to a great cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the port in Belize. We are interested in checking out that area. We decided to get a balcony room since we didn't know if we would cruise again. We loved it. We liked the more casual dining options of Norwegian. Every night was a new themed food night at the buffet and was done very well. The two restaurants that come with your cruise were good, also, although we thought there could have been a little more variety from night to night. There are a lot of specialty restaurants available for an extra charge, but we felt that the food that was included was so good, we did not feel the need. The entertainment that was included with the cruise was fun and entertaining. Our shore excursions were good - a little spendy, we thought, but comparable to other cruise lines. In an effort to maintain safety for the cruisers, they have a touristy area that is cordoned off from the rest of the town in both Belize and Trujillo, Honduras. It would have been nice to have the availability of a tour guide who would just walk you around the local area. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park ... Read More
Port of Houston The Port of Houston provides easy access. Upon arrival, we were guided to the terminal entrance where a porter unloaded our luggage. The next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. Parking was easy. We were able to park near the entrance. Upon entering the terminal we were guided to the registration area. Since we were staying in The Haven area we entered a room set aside for suite and latitude guest. After a short wait, we received our room keys. Then an employee of the ship escorted us to our suite and the Moderno Restaurant for lunch. It took quite a while for all our luggage to arrive. The embarkation was a wonderful experience. The Haven If you want to be truly spoiled, this is the place to stay. We had four adults in a two bedroom suite. Our butler, Lazaro and steward, Alexander made sure our every need and wish was granted. All our request were met. Each afternoon a snack was delivered to our suite. Our suite was kept spotless. Richard is the butler in The Haven area. Each morning we had a quiet breakfast in The Haven. We ordered off the menu. My husband had omelet, bacon and toast each morning. I had waffle and fruit. The food was delicious. Guest in The Haven have several breakfast and lunch choices: room service, The Haven area, Moderno Restaurant, or any other open eating restaurant on the ship. We also ate several lunches in The Haven. The concierge, Florentina made my life easier. She scheduled all our tours. She scheduled dinner reservations. She reserved a section of the Stardust Theater. The only time I stood in line was the last night. I stood in line at Customer Service to pay gratuities for the wonderful service we had received. Each of them deserved more than I gave. The Haven is very relaxing. The suites are very nice with a private balcony. Our suite included a living, dining area, 2 bedrooms, and 2 baths. The master bath includes 2 sinks, tub, and huge shower. The actual Haven includes many areas for lounging, an eating area, a pool, a hot tub, an exercise area, and a private sun deck. It was never crowded. Note: The second bedroom is small and really for children. We ate all our dinners except one in the Azura Restarant. Kathryn and Donald were excellent wait staff. Service was good. Our meals were very relaxing. One night we ate at the Tsar's Palace. This service was very poor. In fact, this was the only poor service we received on the ship. Entertainment was excellent. The Stardust Theater provided first class shows. The various musical groups around the ship were great. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstrations, art auctions, and internet café. The Behind the Scenes tour was very educational. It was enlightening to see all the preparation that goes into each meal. I enjoyed seeing all the equipment in the laundry. Of course, it was exciting to visit the bridge. I would highly recommend this tour.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise ... Read More
Our first cruise on NCL was more than 20 years ago. I was perusing some of the cruise sites and found this one for what I felt was a price we could turn down. We booked and got some nice on-board credits. The Houston/Bayport cruise terminal is less than and hour and a half from home. Don't know why we haven't done this before. The Jewel is a nice ship. There is evidence of ware and tare here and there but overall she is in good shape. We enjoyed every aspect of the ship except our cabin. We tried a couple of the specialty restaurants. They were good. The dining room and buffet were good also. Our most pleasant surprise was the entertainment. All the shows were excellent. The ship didn't feel over croweded. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Food was outstanding. We prefer the main dining room but we're often lured to the buffet with its themed nights, salad bar, fresh wok, etc. Edwin and Artemio were outstanding servers. Laundry service provided washed and ironed shirts ... Read More
Food was outstanding. We prefer the main dining room but we're often lured to the buffet with its themed nights, salad bar, fresh wok, etc. Edwin and Artemio were outstanding servers. Laundry service provided washed and ironed shirts on hangars and folded everything else wrapped in tissue in a basket - really great at a full bag rate. Ben Kitchen was an outstanding cruise director. He took could care of the bridge players. He hired a superb educator to teach us about Panama each day sea. Ben provided an interesting interview with staff around the ship for his morning tv show. We hired taxis at the ports for about $20 per person for four hours - four of us. We took the taxi driver out to lunch with us and tipped. The non-air conditioned cabs in Mexico were fine when we opened the windows. Burger King has free wifi so stopping there lets us download current email and our local new spare - both to be read later on the ship. We loved walking on the promenade deck in the evening. Many folks spent sea days on deck chairs on the promenade deck reading and resting. Orlando kept our quiet, little inside cabin immaculate and he was always cheerful. Thank you Orlando. Great cruise!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This is a lengthy review, and I will try to break it down into stages, we were travelling in our favourite Suite, 10500 at the very front so we would have a grandstand view of all the activities. We are Platinum Latitudes and had ... Read More
This is a lengthy review, and I will try to break it down into stages, we were travelling in our favourite Suite, 10500 at the very front so we would have a grandstand view of all the activities. We are Platinum Latitudes and had pre-purchased all our tours and the Ultimate Dining Package (UDP) of which more later. We flew London to LA with Air New Zealand on the Hobbit Special and had a fantastic flight in Premium Economy, stayed two nights in LA then moved to the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro where we met up with some of the Roll Call members. We moved to the ship around 1130 and following check-in were met by the Concierge, John D’Souza and were soon eating lunch in Moderno. Our cabin was ready and we were settled in with a great view of the USS Iowa moored ahead of us. I had written to NCL Corporate and offered to give six talks on a diverse range of subjects at no charge and soon met the Cruise Director, Ben Kitchen, who had lived near us and knew our town, most unusual. Ben said that he would give me a day’s notice, and then shook me a bit by telling me I would be performing in the Stardust Theatre, what an honour. I had expected one of the smaller venues and put on three presentations during the cruise, Genealogy, Interviewing Dogs, and Reading Body language. Destinations MAZATLAN We were due to stop at Cabo St Lucas, but this was changed to Mazatlan and we changed our tour to the Shrimpfest which was held at a beautiful house, with magnificent views, a four person xylophone band and excellent food and a ready supply of drinks. The owner Leonique Vanderveerdonk had just returned from Edinburgh, our home town, and it was great to chat about her adventures, a very hospitable woman. This was a great tour and we really enjoyed. Puerto Vallarta We booked the City sights which were classed as a Level 1 tour, but it did not start well with great difficulty getting off the bus at the first stop, we also seemed to miss out some of the sights as the main interest of the guide was for us to buy jewellery and food. Whilst he was very knowledgeable, some of the sights were better seen through a telescope! Huatulco Sadly the weather had turned and we got off the ship in a very heavy downpour, our nominated tour guide, the only one with an umbrella, ordered us to stand out in the rain, so by the time we boarded the coach for our Old Huatulco and Mexico traditions tour we were thoroughly soaked. The rain had stopped by our first venue where we had turned right up a small road and we noticed a large group of people standing at the junction. We assumed that they were waiting for a bus and they were, ours, as after we had passed they dragged trees across the road to prevent us leaving. The students had an issue over getting their diplomas and as we were the first cruise ship of the season they decided to hold us to ransom. We sat on the coach for nearly two hours before walking nearly a mile through the torrential rain and through what was now a major traffic jam involving nearly 200 vehicles to coaches that had been sent to rescue us and the tour was abandoned. Argovia Coffee trail and flower plantation We nearly cancelled this trip after the previous day but were so glad we didn’t. Although expensive it was worth every penny, a great guide and driver and with only nine of us, it was perfect. We were met with fresh coffee and a stunning location and thoroughly enjoyed a seven hour tour, including some excellent food. If you ever go to Puerto Chiapas, visit Argovia, you will enjoy the experience. Scenic Costa Rica An excellent guide and an interesting tour with a driver who kept stopping the bus and gathering flowers, fruit and fauna for us to examine. We started the tour with the obligatory shopping but it was a pleasant location with good facilities and good coffee. We stopped in a square where the local children danced traditional dances for us which was very enjoyable, and free banana’s to boot. Panama Canal transit (this was a free tour!!!) With a start time of 5:30 am, the transit was a terrific experience and is best viewed by looking at the photos I have uploaded on flickr. Go to flickr.com/photos/magickpyggie/sets and click on the Jewel to see all our pictures from the trip. It is amazing that they can fit a ship through those locks with only 2 feet either side, great navigating. As our Suite is just under the bridge, we had a stunning view of the whole thing. Cartagena Hop on Hop off This tour was advertised as a 90 minute tour and turned out to be the tour from hell. For whatever reason it took us two hours to get to the beginning of the tour and then a further 90 minutes to complete it, we just seemed to be passing the same places over and over again. The people on the bus knew that everyone on the bus was angry and suddenly they could not speak English, and we all had to get off one Hop on Hop off bus at the end of the tour to get on another identical bus to get back to the ship. We do hop on, hop off everywhere and this was the worst ever, be warned if you go to Cartagena. Every time we had an issue with Shore Excursions it was sorted out with great cheerfulness and professionalism by Liliana Oana, Shore Excursions Manager and her team who settled everything to our satisfaction. Such a nice lady. The Ultimate Dining Package (UDP) We decided to have the UDP and were given a discounted price as Platinum Latitudes members to cover the two free dinners with wine. We only pre-booked one meal at Teppanayaki to join a group of twelve other Roll Call members before we joined the ship, and used iConcierge on a daily basis to book our restaurants of choice. We usually dine around 7 pm and never had a problem except for the last day when we used the Concierge, John D’Souza to work his magic and get us into Cagney’s. We were curious that all the restaurants appeared very quiet and so we got superb service and a quiet ambience to enjoy our food. Being on the UDP package allowed us to try things we would not have paid extra for, such as the Mongolian Hot Pot at Chin Chin, a very nice meal, with some good theatre. At every meal we were visited by the Executive Sous Chef, Ravindra Dulipalla, from Bangalore who is a delightful man and we always had a chat about the meal we had chosen. The wait and hostess staff were all excellent and it would be wrong to select any one for extra praise as they all worked hard to make our meals special. Breakfast and lunch was always taken in Moderno, where the modernisation of the Star Bar looks very good. Strangely, and because we booked the furthest Suite from the food and I experimented with fish and chicken dishes, I managed to lose 8 lbs during the cruise! The Cruise We always sail in the Jewel class ships as we like the size and the facilities, the only exception being the Norwegian Star on a Baltic cruise, and it was good to compare the three ships we had sailed on and overall the Jewel, whilst being the oldest, also became our favourite. This might have been due to the outstanding crew on board and we made a lot of new friends amongst the crew and made new friends amongst the passengers and just enjoyed the ambience of a great experience. We only went to the Stardust Theatre twice, once to see the Four Seasons Tribute quartet and to see You just have to laugh with David Naster. Our Butler, Lazaro and our Room Steward Johnson looked after us very well, Lazaro filling a Thermos flask for me every night for an early morning cup of English tea, and Johnson with a ready supply of towel animals! They did a great job of looking after us. The Roll Call was expertly managed by DorothyB who did a magnificent job, plotting, planning and organising everything from the Meet and Greet for over 120 people which took the crew by surprise with its size, to the Cabin Crawl, Poker draw, Slot pull, Scavenger hunt and culminated in lunch for over 70 of us in Tsars Palace on the last sea day. Great effort and everyone enjoyed the cruise all the more due to Dorothy’s efforts. We disembarked at Houston and were soon off the ship and with the help of Alfie Barrete, Guest Relations Manager we managed to secure a porter that got us through Customs in rapid time. A limo into Houston, and two days later we flew home, exhausted, but what a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first cruise longer than the usual 7 nights. Have decided it will be our one and only 16 night cruise! This cruise thru the Panama Canal was on our bucket list, though. There were 4 couples (family) and booked it 18 months ... Read More
This was our first cruise longer than the usual 7 nights. Have decided it will be our one and only 16 night cruise! This cruise thru the Panama Canal was on our bucket list, though. There were 4 couples (family) and booked it 18 months early, to get a lower price. We all met up on the Jewel, since we flew in to San Diego and Los Angeles on different days. My wife and I stayed at the Crown Plaza in San Pedro the night before, and they took us to the cruise terminal the next morning. The embarkation was fast and easy. The disembarkation in Bayport (Houston) was very slow and disorganized! That may have been because it was the Jewel's first trip in there and the large amount of cruisers getting off. They even made those continuing on to the Western Caribbean to get off and board again. Never heard of that before! Welcome to Texas. Also, Texas now has a state tax for liquor and cigarettes brought in, plus the usual federal tax. The customs officials were waiting for one couple to claim their luggage and took them aside. They had packed silverware from the ship in their luggage. I guess they didn't know their luggage would be x-rayed when coming back into the U.S. All the Jewel employees on this cruise were so friendly and helpful! This was our 10th cruise, and have never seen another crew like that. From the washy-washy guy at the buffet - all the way up to Steven Jacobsen, Hotel Director. Steven greeted us when we got off at the ports, and he was always there when we got back. They gave out cold most towels, drinks, and cookies on our return. That was nice! Never experienced that on any previous cruise. We ran into Steven all over the ship - he was always smiling and asking how our cruise was going. Messiah Ritzinger, the Food and Beverage Director, was also always around the ship visiting and checking the food and drinks being served, too. Very friendly man from Bavaria in West Germany - and even had an Octoberfest at the pool on our last sea day. Ben Kitchen was a great Cruise Director who seemed to be everywhere, too. Kind of hard to understand the Aussie sometimes, but won't hold that against him. All the shows in the theatre were great. We had a mid ship family balcony room. The sink/mirror was in the middle of the bathroom. The shower on the left side, with a sliding door separating them. And the toilet was on the left side with a sliding door, too. That area seemed a little tight. The room was nothing to brag about. Our 2 large suitcases (max allowed on airplane) wouldn't fit under our bed. The safe was deep and had a lot of room to lock up everything. We did accidently leave the safe open twice and nothing ($$$) was taken. My Aunt next door dropped an envelope with $700 on the floor in their cabin, and they rushed back when she noticed it missing from her purse. The room steward had put it on their bed, when cleaning up their room. I DEWA PUTU MARGUNA (or as we called him "D" was our room steward. A very honest man! He took very good care of all of us. We only took one shore excursion booked thru the Jewel, and that was Las Caletas in Puerto Vallarta. Not really impressed with it - even though they rated it very high. The other ports we went right off the ship and got the same thing they offered or more, for less than 1/2 their price. We very disappointed in Cartagena Columbia, though. The traffic there was terrible, the people not friendly, and nothing worth buying there. It had really changed since we were last there 14 years ago - and it was supposed to be a dangerous place back then. The beaches on the Pacific side of Mexico are not the same as those on the Caribbean side of Mexico. The food on this cruise wasn't the best we have experienced on our cruises. With the 16 nights, you saw a lot of the same things on the rotating evening menus at Tsar's and Azula. Ate breakfast and lunch at Tsar's most of the time. Marcella was our usual hostess when we showed at Tsar's for breakfast or lunch, and at Azula for the evening meal. She greeted us by our name and was always smiling, when we showed up.. Marcella was a great hostess! The buffets were always crowded and your food on the tray got cold looking for an empty table. We ate our evening meals mostly at Azula, because you could wear shorts there. Tsar's had the same menu, but shorts were not allowed for the evening meal. Mostly everyone ate early on our cruise. If you had to wait for a table, they gave you a pager and coupons for a free glass on champagne at the bar nearby, while you waited. Our group of 8 only had to wait 2 nights, but we usually ate around 8:00 pm. Never did use the room service, or order the $5 pizza.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent ... Read More
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent bikes-- the exercise room stayed empty most of the time but the tread mills, elliptical machines and bikes stayed very busy. The food was the best. We ate at both the freestyle dining rooms -- Azure and Tsar's for dinner And the Cafe on deck 12 for breakfast and lunch. The choices were amazing and there were plenty of serving stations so there were virtually no lines. We were greeted regularly by the officers as they moved through the dining room. Our excursions were as advertised and went well. They were worth the money. One was cancelled in Puerto Vallarta b/c of lack of participation but there was room on another which turned out to be a lot of fun. We rode the camels in Cabo San Lucas and our guide was a scream. I loved it. The only issue we had was the shuttle to the airport. We had to wait an hour after disembarking for a bus-- there were several which filled up fast. We were told that there weren't enough buses available that day. Don't know if it was NCL or the bus company that messed up but next time we will take a taxi. The shuttle for 2 people was $30. No idea what a taxi would cost but there would be no wait. OVERALL, we had a wonderful trip. The passage thru the Panama Canal was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager ... Read More
This is my 6th cruise and 4th with NCL. We have sailed the beautiful Jewel-class Jewel before, and like the mid-sized ships with about 2,200 pax. Embarkation was easy, the lines moving smoothly beginning about 11 a.m. with eager vacationers allowed to board at noon. We need wheelchair assistance, and have found it is better to wait until closer to noon, when attendants and WCs are released to pick up guests. There was a special, shorter line for those using canes, walkers and rollators, which proved a big help. Our first lunch was in Tsar's main dining room, rather than braving the super busy Garden Cafe buffet on deck 12. Daniela proved the excellent service NCL is known for, and we noted a new luncheon menu in the past couple of months. Scallops, Caesar Salad and cheeseburgers proved tasty and filling as we waited for the announcement that cabins were now ready for us. Muster is a short process without need for life vests, and then it was time to be underway. Well, at least that is the information in the ship's Daily newsletter. We had plans to meet with others in our robust Cruise Critic roll call for a Sail Away party, and I was looking forward to getting some great shots from Port side as we slowly cruised past the French Quarter. In one of the Jewel's few 'oops' moments during our 13 night modified Panama Canal repositioning cruise, no one owned the PA to inform us that due to the double length of our cruise, from the Jewel's more typical 7 night Western Caribbean run, and with the addition of a 2 week dry dock now tacked onto the end, lots and lots and lots of provisions and building supplies would be needed to see us through. This delayed Sail Away by 4 or 5 hours beyond that posted...not a major disappointment, but one that could easily have been explained sooner rather than later. Our first of many Sea Days, the Group Event Coordinator had helped to set up our Meet & Greet, with at least 70 CC members in attendance. There was a full compliment of department managers, with Hotel Director Richard Janicki introducing the friendly officers and fielding some spirited Q&A with a bit of extra information about Jewel's planned dry dock. As several CC members in the know had speculated, Blue Lagoon would become transformed into the 24/7 Comfort food and bar, O'Sheehans, also taking over space from the starboard side of deck 8 mid ship Moderno's Brazilian Grill. Moderno's would move up to Deck 13, in the annex portion of Cagney's Steak House near the Star Bar. A well-needed facial recognition system was being installed in the Photo Department, so no more hunting and stooping and surveying thousands of photos for your own special bunch. It would also save on both chemicals, paper and so forth, a win-win situation all around! Besides the usual Dry Dock refurbishments, a special deck 15 penthouse of the Haven type, was being included, and we were all thrilled to be reassured that the Spinnaker Lounge with the great ceiling to floor Forward windows, would be retained. I'd asked for a special room set-up to better the interaction between roll call members and we also enjoyed light refreshments and the feedback that our opinions were valued. Janicki did remark, "We read Cruise Critic, but I must say sometimes reading a particular review I must wonder if we were on the same cruise as someone saying it was dreadful." We divided our meal time between the more opulent Tsar's and the smaller, more frentic Azura main dining rooms. The menus are the same as ones introduced in 2011, with one side being 'always available' standbys such as strip or rib eye steaks, burgers, baked chicken, salmon, lanmb shank, spring rolls, mushroom quesadillas, a variety of pastas and salads. Service continued above average throughout, and it was of interest to note a Surf & Turf night featured real Maine lobsters vs the wimpy rock sort previously offered. The noise level is increased in the more casual Azura, whose hot pink and orange color scheme create a different vibe than the cream, sage green and gold of Tsar's. The lowered ceiling also influences this and of note, the chairs in Azura's are rock hard and not comfortable at all, which should help ensure more rapid turnover of diners. We sometimes selected Garden Cafe buffet for a quick breakfast and tried the poolside Grill a couple times for burgers, very good hot dogs and more. A special Bavarian feast was held toward the end of our cruise, and Messiah Ritzinger's Free State of Bavaria touches could be seen through the variety of sausage, schnitzel, kraut and Bavarian cream pastries...very well done! We enjoyed Blue Lagoon, just a few steps from our cabin, for breakfast and lunch or late evening snacks. Besides the burgers and chicken wings, the fried fish and Chef Salad were good, not to mention the cheese cake and brownie sundae. It was always nice to be able to whisk covered dishes back to our digs, and the small refrigerator helped with any midnight munchies. We did not try room service or the option of the always available anywhere $5 pizza. We dined at several of the specialty/fee restaurants including Moderno's, Le Bistro, Chin Chin and Mama's/La Cucina. A favorite senior waiter, Sheddy, attended us at Moderno's and Cagney's, while another favorite Assistant MaitreD and also a special senior waiter, (Rizaldi), had us coming back to the Asian Fusion spot a second time for succulent lamb curry, broccoli beef, chow fun noodles, BBQ spareribs, deep fried calamari and the wonderful pancakes with bananas, caramel syrup and coconut ice cream. We used the Card Room and back portion of the buffet between meals for our group's Farkle games and variety of card games and enjoyed musical serenading in the Crystal Atrium and deck 6 lounge area outside Le Bistro. Several of the CD led audience participation game shows could be seen re-played on our 24" LCD TV, as well as a half dozen first run movies including Frozen, The Hobbit Part 2, Desolation of Smaug, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity and so on. Our cabin was located on deck 8 midship, a great location close to so much. Since the ship's tenders are strung up outside the windows here, the category is Oceanview Obstructed. Luckily the tender was strung several feet lower outside rooms 8100 and 8102, so that we had a good view, at least 60% at all times. Perhaps due to approaching dry dock, there were only 2 incidents of crew walking past our window, and no surprises or loud banging or maintenance overall. This accessible cabin has 36" no threshold outer and bathroom doors, with light switches and climiate control about 3 feet from the floor. Both the hanging rod in the closet and oversink mirror in the bathroom have easily grasped cords to lower them to wheelchair or scooter height, a definate plus. The room is about 20% larger than non-accessible sideways cabins, and the hallway on deck 9 actually is partially over these rooms; perhaps the dearth of small ones on the PC itinerary accounts for the fact there was little to no noise of running or stomping feet? We did need to call Guest Services desk several times during the cruise and the interaction was all right. Our immediate needs were attended to and we were able to get questions answered without making the trip down there again and again. We didn't attend any of the large production shows due to (chronic) health issues and decision to grab as much restful sleep as we could. Luckily, on NCL, there is never a need to do anything but exactly what we'd like...in that respect, our vacation was tailor-made to suit our interests and needs. The itinerary was changed as we would no longer be disembarking in Los Angeles, which was a big part of our choice in this cruise; we'd be just a short flight from our West Coast home. We also lost 2 ports, one of them the highly anticipated Costa Rican port, the other of less interest. This gave us more sea days and the choice of disembarking in either San Diego or San Francisco. NCL considered San Diego an additional port-true if you were taking the full 15 days, but not the case if this was your disembark point. We decided to take the shorter version since our nonrefundable plane tickets were at LAX. We now had a 4, rather than 2, day stay in Southern California, totaling 3 weeks in all. I think it would have been best with the original mix of port and sea days and the Los Angeles disembark, but the entire Jewel crew made us forget the small quibbles and feel pampered to the max. It also helped that we were traveling with such a wonderful bunch of CC members as well! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more ... Read More
We are a early 60's couple who booked the Panama Canal cruise for the third time. This time my mother, who just turned 90, came with us, wanting to see the new locks on the Canal. We love this itinerary because the 13 days is more relaxing than the usual 7-day cruises, it is a warm weather cruise and there are an almost equal number of port and sea days. This was our 10th Norwegian cruise; we have also cruised once on Crystal. We are unapologetic Norwegian ambassadors! Pre-Cruise Preparations - My husband has emphysema and travels with a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), and mom walks with a cane or a rolling walker. That said, traveling can be challenging in this situation. We contacted Norwegian's Access Desk to inform them that we would need 2 wheelchairs at embarkation and disembarkation. We also advised them that mom needs a low/no salt diet. The representative said that once on board we would be contactd to pre-order her meals. More on that under Dining. The airline also requires advance notification with doctor's signature that we are traveling with a POC, as well as the request for wheelchairs for distance. Travel to Embarkation - We flew United to NOLA on Good Friday. We decided to fold, duct tape and check the walker as luggage. It came through with no problem. The wheelchair porters/pushers were prompt and very helpful. The Airport Limosine driver went above and beyond fitting us and our three large, one medium, one carry-on, a POC and the walker in the Town Car (yes, we always manage to overpack!). New Orleans - We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, booked through our travel agent. It did not disappoint. The room included "Continental Breakfast" but we ordered a full breakfast and it was covered. We dined at Galatoire's in the French Quarter on Saturday night. Good food, but getting to the upstairs dining room was difficult for mom to walk all the way to the back of the restaurant through a crowded dining room, up the elevator, then back to the front dining room, then back again after dinner. We took a trip to Rouse's market to purchase 8 bottles of wine. Embarkation - We caught a taxi to the port for $7 per person. The taxi dropped us off at the terminal. After we unloaded all our luggage and the porter put it on his cart we found out we would have to walk a long hallway to get to an entrance that would have been closer, and no wheelchairs were available until after we went through security. It would have been better to go to the furthest entrance. We went to the head of the line as mom can not stand for longer than a few minutes without pain. The security agent got us an escort that took us through security quickly. We knew to hand carry our wine, and were directed to the corkage table to pay the $15/bottle corkage, and then to the section to wait for a wheelchair. We waited about 30 minutes for our turn to get 2 wheelchairs. They were very slow in coming. Eventually we got the wheelchairs, got checked in quickly, taken to the VIP lounge and on to the ship. Yay! The Ship - The Jewel was going into dry-dock immediately after our cruise. There was some wear and tear visible that I assume will be upgraded in dry-dock. The ship was clean and the crew was quite visible in cleaning. We had a 2-bedroom Haven Villa and mom was next door in a Haven Penthouse. The living room, bedroom and master bath are exactly the same in both cabins, but the balcony is 1-2 feet deeper in the 2-bedroom. The cabins are luxurious with wood paneling, queen bed in the master bedroom, lots of closet space and storage space in the master bedroom and bath. Minimal storage in the second bedroom. Hot water was slow in coming to the cabin, we had to run the shower to get it more quickly. The butler and steward were fine, though not impressive. We have had some that matched us much better and may have unfair expectations. Dining - We ate at five of the specialty restaurants and in Azura main dining room the rest of the nights. Le Bistro, Cagney's, Chin Chin, Mama's/La Cucina are always our favorites. We also ate at the Teppanyaki, which was better than the last time. Mom needed a low/no salt diet. We were not contacted as promised by the Access Desk rep, but the first night at Azura we asked about it and were introduced to one of our Vacation Heroes, Felicitas J. She was helpful, knowledgeable and a delight. She explained that mom could see the next night's menu and pre-order so sauces and dishes would be prepared with no salt. She also explained which restaurants prepared foods "a la minute" with low/no salt and which needed a pre-order. The result was that it worked extremely well and mom had minimal ankle swelling. We like Azura as it is midship and easy to get to from the Haven. Most of the time the food was varied, good, and well prepared. Ports - Cartagena - we didn't get off this time as we've been there twice before. Huatulco - rglcruise organized a tour with Adelino. He had a late model 13 passenger van and took us through Huatulco to Santa Maria. We walked through a portion of the town, had quesadillas with fresh made tortillas, and watched a carniceria wield his knife. He also told us the history of the area. We drove up into the mountains to a coffee plantation and small town. Adelino was great a communicating his love of his home nation and state. Puerto Vallarta - Just off the ship is a small area with shops to purchase souvenirs and the ever present Diamond International. Walmart is within walking distance from the port for those sundries you've run out of. Cabo San Lucas - This is a tender port. Lots of shopping and restaurants at the dock. Also, there are lots of opportunities to catch an independent operator for a tour of the area by boat. Disembarkation - We arranged with Virginia, the concierge, to have the wheelchairs pick us up. They came a little after the designated time, but then whisked us off very quickly.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but ... Read More
I wanted to visit the Western Caribbean and saw where the Jewel sailed from New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the "freestyle" cruising as this was my first Norwegian cruise. The Jewel is a very pretty ship, but even though it is a smaller ship, it was still hard to locate some places you wanted to visit. Some of the staff were very helpful while others could care less if they helped you. The housekeeping staff was excellent and did everything they could to make your trip enjoyable. You have to pay a cover charge on most of the restaurants on this ship. I enjoyed Tsars Palace where the food was excellent and staff very courteous and helpful. Food was always delivered on time and the atmosphere of the restaurant was great. I tried Azures Restaurant but was not pleased with the service I received. The Garden Cafe buffet was excellent where you could find any type of food you desired. I was impressed with the guys at the entrance sanitizing your hands each time you entered. This was important for me as I came down with the norovirus on another cruise. I enjoyed all the ports we entered. Getting off and on the ship was very easy. As to the freestyle cruising, I, personally, was not happy with it. You go into a restaurant to enjoy dinner with your Sunday clothes on and you could be seated next to someone with shorts, flip flops and tee shirt on. This did not impress me. Because of this, I probably will not cruise with Norwegian again. It is great for people who want to go around in shorts and bathing suits all the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly easy, as embarkation goes. We were told we couldn't get into our cabin yet, but could drop our luggage down the corrider. Before we got to that location, an anouncement came over the PA that cabins were ready. Our cabin, category IE, was huge, but then we did require wheelchair accessibility! We got unpacked and went after some lunch. Just after the muster drill, we met with several others from the Cruise Critic chat for sail away. That was the beginning of some wonderful new friendships. Our cabin was on a dead end hallway, right by the deck four exits. Even though it is categorized as an inside cabin, we were on the hull of the ship, no window or port hole. At the first port of call we had to wend our way to the elevators for breakfast, but it was quick when we debarked and embarked at ports. We were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was, most of the time. The morning we anchored in Belize, there was a lot of racket from the tender docks being lowered. We did enjoy hearing the ocean waves while we were underway. We've had cabins all over ships: forward, high, low, inside, balcony, and really have no favorites. When we have an inside cabin we turn the TV to the bridge cam, turn the volume off, and there's our window to the world. That sunrise wakes us up every time! The Cruise Critic group met with officers on day 2. That afternoon many of us participated in a cabin crawl/poker run. We had cabins from inside to The Haven to crawl to! The entertainment was great, thanks to cruise director Jaime! Group Coordinator/Access Officer Cherry was right on target with my special needs, even anticipating what was needed next. Our cabin steward, Newman, surprised us with a wonderful zoo, even leaving each towel animal when making new ones. We were able to take a picture of our whole zoo at once! The excursion desk was quite helpful in assessing what excursions we could take with my wheelchair. Food opportunities all week were beyond wonderful! We ate in Cagney's, Teppanyaki, and Le Bistro as well as Tsar's Palace. We will brave the buffet to get ice cream, but prefer not to eat there. All too soon we returned to New Orleans, but we have two Cruise Rewards for future cruises!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our first Norwegian cruise and I must say it was great! From the beginning to the end it was nothing short of wonderful! We have been celebrating our 25th Anniv. all year long since April of 2013. We have been on 6 cruises during ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise and I must say it was great! From the beginning to the end it was nothing short of wonderful! We have been celebrating our 25th Anniv. all year long since April of 2013. We have been on 6 cruises during this time......two Disney and 4 Carnival.....and we agree that our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel was by far in a category of its own.....which in our opinion is Great! The food was sooooo delicious! Mr. Messiah and his crew do a fantastic job! The service was very good and the wait time was just like any other restaurant that you order food from with table service. The buffets were the best ....no complaints here! The crew members there were all willing to please you in anyway to make you satisfied. The captain would walk around and talk with the guests and take pictures it made us feel special. That's probably why the crew members were always so friendly and helpful because their boss was always being the example. Everyone was so helpful in so many ways it would take a long list to describe. Thank you Romeo for making us feel special on our first cruise with Norwegian. And inviting us to the captains party!!!!! He is the guy to see if you are wanting to get $100.00 on board credit if you are planning to take a 6 or more night cruise within the next four years, you can put $250.00 down and receive the $100.00 on board credit to spent on your present cruise. I thought this was fantastic because we plan on taking another Norwegian Cruise before the four years is up. Another great incentive from Norwegian....Thank You ...Thank you!!! The room steward was great! He always made sure I had an extra towel and ice in the bucket and our room was always so clean. The whole ship was clean, we didn't see a rust stain of any kind anywhere on the ship. The whole place is spotless!!!! The port of calls were amazing .....and the excursion prices where reasonable...we even got to the ports earlier then the time we were supposed to and we got to disembark early and easy...that was wonderful!!!! In Cozumel we went to Passion Island all inclusive for $70.00 each includes boat ride to and from port, loved it beautiful beach great food and drinks!!!! In Belize.we went to Bacab Jungle Park Pool and lunch....$54.99 each .....it was a wonderful fun day there in the sun !! Roatan was great......we booked our beach excursion through Island Marketing Ltd....West Bay Beach...Banarama Beach....$66.00 for two of us, includes transportation to and from port, a lounge chair , a drink and entrance fee, ask for Ms. Karen she is a great tour guide and will help you get set up on beach.....this beach is sooooooo beautiful!!!!!! crystal clear water and the sand is so smooth under your feet in water....No Rocks or Shells!!!! In Costa Maya......they have a beautiful huge swimming pool to use free with swim up bar to buy drinks .......but we had booked an excursion to Tequila Beach, $64.00 for two of us, includes all drinks and food and lounge chair, umbrella but the cab was $3.00 a piece for each way.......the water was clear but there was rocks and shells at bottom........Not my favorite! Next time we will stay at port and enjoy the pool for Free! I would recommend this cruise to anyone who needs a break from the real world and take a trip into paradise for the best vacation you need to have! Try this cruise and you will not regret it and if you do you are probably hard to please to begin with!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot ... Read More
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot say enough about the staff aboard the Jewel. We will now be taking the Jewel out of Seattle to Alaska because of the staff and ship. I would give the total experience a 4.5! Food 4.0 - New to free style dining, really like it! We stayed with all the included eating venues. Cabin 4.5 we had a balcony (the only was to cruise IMO) Staff 5.0 Entertainment 4.5 Excursions 5.0 Food was good. We ate in the main dining room twice and decided we were more of the buffet upstairs kind of people. If you don't eat early or late there can be a wait for seating in the dining areas. Cabin- very nice. Rod our steward took very good care of us. Love the coffee pot in the room - coffee on the balcony in the morning is awesome. Staff - can't say enough! Entertainment - two things stand out. The group Next Stage was awesome! Cover style with awesome music. Latin Four on deck played nice Caribbean and Latin music.. really good with Coconut rum and Sierra Mist. But our fav was a soloist named Randon. He played acoustic guitar and sang 70's folk and light rock. We looked for him in the evenings to jell out. NCL hold on to him! Excursions awesome. Cozumel we took a Mexican cooking class ( I know.. but I know us, we would need out of the sun for a day after a day at sea with AMAZING weather). Oscar was the chef/instructor. WHAT A BLAST, then beach time at Playa Mia. Belize - cave float and Zip Line great time! Roatan - snorkeling and beach, amazing reef and guides. Costa Maya - segway tour, very cool things, we want one for tooling around our development now. The guides/instructors were amazing. We spent 1/2 hour learning how to ride then 2.5 actually riding. Juan, Christian and Daniel, you guys ROCK! We then went to Blue Bay to hang at the beach. Beautiful spot! Had some drinks, went for a swim, relaxed under the straw cabanas. Life was GOOD! REALLY recommend this cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed ... Read More
This was a much anticipated cruise as we were a group of 8 family members traveling together, two were first time cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze since we had one person requiring wheelchair assistance. The first thing I noticed different from my cruise on the Star in April 13 was no happy crew greeting us with music and dance as we boarded. Guess this should have been a indication of how it was going to go from there.... We ate in the Tzar dining room as a group three times and each time the service was very good. The first time was lunch after boarding and then twice for dinner. We made reservations and the table was always ready with no wait. I wish I could say that this service continued to other times that I dined there. The service was from fair to downright bad! Service was at best sporadic and if you wanted something you were always having to flag a staff member down to ask. I ate in the buffet one night and it was OK. Nothing spectacular. The Blue Lagoon was a favorite of mine on the Star and was looking forward to dining here for several meals on the Jewel. Breakfast was good and the first couple of days, service was fairly good. Same thing for lunch. As the days progressed the service became really slow. The young lady who would seat you never did smile! She acted like she didn't want to be there, didn't care you if got a seat or not and one time was on her cell phone not paying attention to people that were waiting. I've been to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel many times so I'll leave the port reporting to someone else. I will say it was the first time that I've ever docked at the commercial terminal in Jamaica (Montego Bay) and it appeared as though it was a first for NCL as well. Information given was not totally correct but didn't cause big concerns. Just aggravations. I was confined to my cabin the days we were in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with the flu. My family said they enjoyed both ports. I'll add here that room service was the best! Always arriving quickly. I had a mid-ship balcony stateroom on deck 10. It was exactly what I expected as I has sailed this category before. Ample storage for two people. Love, love the balcony, especially when confined to cabin! The entertainment I did get to see was good as were some of the game shows. The Art auction which I went to once, was to pushy. I've bought art on board cruises in the past but never encountered the pushy sellers. Only went one time because of them. Overall, everyone in our family group had a wonderful time, no thanks to the sourpuss crew. I won't give up on NCL because of this. Bought a furture cruise credit and will be looking to see where I want to go next.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Boarded at Balyntine Pier in Vancouver - wonderful and what an improvement over Canada Place. From the taxi dropping us off to boarding the ship 15 miutes. Our first impression, happy and festive. Lots of music everywhere. Our cabin was a ... Read More
Boarded at Balyntine Pier in Vancouver - wonderful and what an improvement over Canada Place. From the taxi dropping us off to boarding the ship 15 miutes. Our first impression, happy and festive. Lots of music everywhere. Our cabin was a mini-suite 11514, great room and the drape that separated the bed and sofa was great. New flat screen tv. two chairs a nice touch. Bed and linen very nice. Hated the tub. Real high to step into, for older people could be dangerous. Would have rather had a shower that big. Coffee maker in room - GREAT. Refrigerator actually kept things cold. Had four nice deep drawers for clothes and plenty of hanging area. Ship was very nice and showed no wear we noticed. Did not see any smoking in the clubs, that was good. However our neighbors who were ahead of us on the ship smoked all the time on their balcony, make it impossible to use our balcony, nasty. Never waited long for any dinner in any of the free venues, and if we did wait they offered us a free glass of champain or a soda for the inconvience. The food was wonderful, best lamp shank I have ever had. I had read the beef wasn't all that but my DH had the ribeye and said it was good. Fresh bread at every meal. Great soup and salad choices. The buffet was amazing and I had eggs benedict 5 mornings in a row. YUMMY, NO COMPLAINTS about the food, and we are foodies. Didn't go to the shows, but heard good reviews from other passengers. The weather was pretty awful out of Victoria into Astoria but the crew did their best to keep everyone safe and happy. Astoria is a wonderful little town with a treasure of vintage shops. Then off we went to San Fransciso, we had been there many times so didn't have anything planned but getting off and on the ship was quick and easy. Then another wonderful day at sea and our final stop at LA. We went to the guest services to inquire about debarking and they gave us our choice of time. We debarked within 10 minutes of the scheduled time. Walked off the ship and were in a taxi in 5 minutes. Amazing. This is only our second Norweign cruise out of 30 cruises we have taken - we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
17 days of cruising left me feeling spoiled rotten. The Jewel is a very nice ship and there are plenty of things to do. On this cruise, there were a couple of places that were very hot and HUMID, which doesn't suit me, but going ... Read More
17 days of cruising left me feeling spoiled rotten. The Jewel is a very nice ship and there are plenty of things to do. On this cruise, there were a couple of places that were very hot and HUMID, which doesn't suit me, but going through the Panama Canal was exciting and worth the sweat. The food in the main dining rooms and the buffet was good, but nothing special. One week of eating the "included" meals isn't bad but for a 17 day cruise we needed to get some variety and we ate in the specialty restaurants 8 times. If it is in your budget, I highly recommend Cagney's, Le Bistro, Chin Chin and Mama's. The entertainment on board was fabulous and there was plenty of variety. The service, especially by our "bar servers" and room steward was outstanding. Boarding was speedy but disembarkation was a disorganized mess. I love the daily newspaper things they give out, but a lot of it is redundant and there is a lot they could include but don't. It seems they are constantly pushing the spa, shopping and art auctions... and don't tell you much about the ports we'll be visiting (well, except to push the shore excursions). We visited Colombia (no need to ever go there again), Costa Rica (beautiful country), and several places in Mexico. I'm not a shopper, but I do usually buy some souveniers and stuff. In 3 of the places we stopped, the sales pitches never stopped and the vendors were annoying, which only makes me turn and walk away. Cabo San Lucas is gorgeous. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I am a man of few words so here is my review. Embarkation, Flawless. Got there @ 11:00 and they started calling people early. I was on the ship by 12:15 p.m. Staff: Super Friendly, everyone smiled and said hello. Seemed very genuine ... Read More
I am a man of few words so here is my review. Embarkation, Flawless. Got there @ 11:00 and they started calling people early. I was on the ship by 12:15 p.m. Staff: Super Friendly, everyone smiled and said hello. Seemed very genuine with few exceptions. Food: Are you kidding me. This was my 8Th cruise on various ships and the only way they could have had more food was to put a buffet in the restrooms, perish the thought. Overall quality good to very good. Bread and rolls outstanding, Toast Station, Waffle Station, 3 Omelette Stations, Food hotter than most cruise ships and Chocolate milk always available where as on R/C you have to ask for it. Strongly recommend Tsars Palace, and a late night snack @ Blue Lagoon. Chicken Wings cooked fresh and hot sauce outstanding. Afternoon they have Mozzarella Sticks. Only way I got those on other cruises was at welcome back party. Ate @ Cagney's and would probably go with French Restaurant next time and get the Boneless Rib eye for 2. Cupcakes available @ no extra charge all day and Ice Cream served not ice milk. Entertainment: I saw the opening show and it was good. Cruise Director Dan "the man" was great. We were picked for newlywed-not so newly wed game and their method of random picking is great. Very tastefully done.The Magician was terrific and Comedian Stasso was very good. The Stars of the Cruise for my money were Fire and Ice. I believe they are now on vacation but they literally put on a concert like show every night and at one show, The Tribute to Motown had a conga line going through the atrium. Debarkation, a breeze as we did walk off. Overall: Top three cruises for sure maybe even in the top two. First cruise is always hard to top. Best bang for buck ever. Positive far,far outweighed the negatives. Negatives: Going in I booked the Cruise knowing it was a Nickelodeon Cruise. I felt that being the week after Thanksgiving would limit the children and we like the idea of getting out and back on Saturday as being from Vermont you have to allow for bad weather and give yourself an extra day on return. Lots of Kid's to my dismay. Some better behaved than expected others rude. Big Chinese contingency and best behaved goes to those kids. One night they put on a Concert Piano demo in Tsars Palace @ dinner. Fantastic Positives, Wow Factor in Effect. Staff Outstanding, Cleanliness was evident, Buffet attendants all over and kept up with cleaning off tables. Great Cruise. Thanks NCL!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Fodd was good and plentiful. The entertainment was superb. Embarkation was a breeze. Ken the cruise director was fantastic, always directing a fun time for all on the cruise. Scott, his assistant cruise director, was high energy and a ... Read More
Fodd was good and plentiful. The entertainment was superb. Embarkation was a breeze. Ken the cruise director was fantastic, always directing a fun time for all on the cruise. Scott, his assistant cruise director, was high energy and a quick wit. I know that this cruise to Canada and New England would be great as Kevin Sheehan, the CEO for Norwegian, was on the cruise with his wife and daughter on vacation. Where to begin. The entertainment. Rosie, of Fire and Ice, is a tremendous singer, doing reviews of Tina Turner, MoTown, Michael Jackson and Soul Train. What a voice. David Naster, is a veteran comedian, with many laughs and some profound insights. Modal Magic-great singers and music. Incanto-what great acrobats. Manniso and Alessia. The NCL singers and dancers-what great shows and also great acrobats especially at the last night's show, Le Cirque Bijou. Kenny Byrd a great ventroloquist. Harry O'Donoghue a great Irish story teller, comedian and singer. The happy action was on the ship, the ports in Canada and New England were so-so Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Norwegian Jewel Cruise September 17 to 14th, 2011 Traveling with 6 couples was a great experience for all of us combining good friends with great scenery. We left New York City Harbor and had a great time taking in the Empire State ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Cruise September 17 to 14th, 2011 Traveling with 6 couples was a great experience for all of us combining good friends with great scenery. We left New York City Harbor and had a great time taking in the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline before heading in for dinner. The cruise was on the Norwegian Jewel based on some research, talking to our travel agent and reading reviews on this site. We took a limo early Saturday morning that dropped us off right at the pier that was really nice and then picked us up for the return. Dining we ate breakfasts in the Garden Buffet and most lunches. It was good and you could get all types of food including eating healthy with a lot of fruit up to eggs, bacon, waffles, etc. We ate around 8:00 am and it was never crowed until later. Lunches except on the day we got on the ship when we ate at the Tsar's Palace offered many options as well. Evening meals we preferred the Tsar's palace as they could seat 12 together most of the time. We did eat at Chin Chin one evening and it was good Chinese food, but did not make us change from the Tsar's Palace. Also tried Azura's but it was noisy and the food was the same. Of course you can eat your way through the day. Activities: we went to most of the evening shows in the Stardust theater and liked the 70s dance show, the Incanto show with a man and woman who were tremendous acrobats and Murray the Magician. Murray also gave some magic trick lessons that you should not miss and get there early to get a seat. Also the show on the last night was great. We did take advantage of other performers who were located in the different areas based on the type of music they played. Fitness Center and deck for walking on 7 were all part of our routine and the last day most of our group took advantage of the pool as it warmed up. The early part of the trip was cool and was a nice change from the hotter weather we had been experiencing at home. Sydney, Nova Scotia Here we decided to take the NCL excursion to the Fortress Of Louisbourg that was the morning trip that left at 10:30 and was 3 ½ hours. Our guide was very informative and shared some interesting stories about the site from his boyhood that brought depth to the visit. Once we arrive, he took us on an hour tour and then left us alone for 45 minutes. We saw several homes and buildings all that were reconstructed. A soldier demonstrated the preparing of her rifle to shoot and described her uniform. We bought some bread baked in the bakery and spent time inside several buildings including eth Governor's home in the Fort. We skirted showers because there was an afternoon tour that was hit by showers so we felt lucky to tour the site in the morning. It was a great choice. There is a small building at the cruise terminal where crafts are sold by local craftsperson, but we did not fine much for us Overall a great trip that we would do again and take in some other areas to tour because these ports have a lot to offer for excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We took the Florida/Bahamas cruise for the second time in two years. Last year we didn't enjoy our side excursions at all, so this year we booked Epcot and the Atlantis Waterpark. We got to see just about everything we wanted to see ... Read More
We took the Florida/Bahamas cruise for the second time in two years. Last year we didn't enjoy our side excursions at all, so this year we booked Epcot and the Atlantis Waterpark. We got to see just about everything we wanted to see at Epcot and totally enjoyed ourselves on the Lazy River at the Atlantis. We like Norwegian since no one pushes you into anything and you can dress up or down as you see fit. Two nights we went to the buffet (which I found very good), three nights to Tsar's restaurant and once to the Italian restaurant and once to Cagney's. Believe it or not, we were disappointed in Cagneys. It wasn't nearly as good as we remembered last year. Mama's Kitchen was excellent and well worth the $10 pp to eat there. We did eat all of our breakfasts and lunches at the buffet. My husband and I like the variety and don't mind serving ourselves at all. Checkin was very easy this year. In fact, so was checkout. We had no problem getting off the ship for our excursions, either. The staff was friendly and so was our room steward. Very pleasant and our rooms were always spotless. We didn't get off at the private island this year. Last year we did and I felt like a sardine...........it was much too crowded. Maybe once they finish the renovations we will try it again. We stayed on the ship and enjoyed a day at the pool instead. This was our sixth Norwegian cruise. I feel you get great value for your money and wouldn't hesitate to take another one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was the first time we cruised from New York City and the process was very easy. We took an Amtrak train to Penn Station and got a cab to the pier. Getting through security did not take long, but there was some delay in checking in ... Read More
This was the first time we cruised from New York City and the process was very easy. We took an Amtrak train to Penn Station and got a cab to the pier. Getting through security did not take long, but there was some delay in checking in since there were lots of Latitude members on this cruise. It was still an easy process. Once we boarded the ship, we checked our carry-on bags at the Fyzz Lounge and went to Tsar's Palace for lunch. Had a delicious meal and great service (thanks, Bernadette) without all the crowds at the buffet. The sea days were very nice and we sat out on the Promenade deck or the pool deck each day. It was smooth sailing and a very relaxing way to start our vacation. We love to read and found the library to have an excellent section of books. The Promenade deck is a great place to read and to watch the ocean. On several sea days, we attended various events designed for Cruise Critic members and for Latitudes members. It's always nice to meet new people who share a love of cruising. The tour of the Bridge for Cruise Critic members was very informative and greatly appreciated. Our cabin was on deck 9 starboard and was adequate in size. We usually select an inside cabin since we find we sleep better there. The closet, drawers, and shelves provided enough room for all our belongings. It was very quiet and convenient to other areas on the ship. Since we've been to San Juan before, we decided to walk around Old San Juan and revisit our favorite places. The promenade along City Wall is very nice and takes you to San Juan Gate as well as Fort del Morro. At dusk, it was nice to see Christmas decorations in some of the city squares and streets since Three Kings Day was going to be celebrated later in the week. St. Thomas is always a fun port to visit. Because there were 2 other large cruise ships in port that day, we just did some shopping at Havensight Mall and spent the afternoon soaking up the sun by the pool. It was very nice since the pool wasn't crowded with most people having gone ashore. We did the Antigua Beach Escape (NCL tour) and had a great time. Sandhaven Beach was very nice with lots of room to spread out and to enjoy the surf. Lunch was included as well as two drinks (with rum or without). The food was quite good and was served buffet style. In St. Maarten, we went on the Orient Beach Rendezvous (NCL) and had a marvelous time. Our group went to the Kakao Beach section where we enjoyed the warm water and the soft sand. Lunch was included and the restaurant setting was very tropical - tables nestled along the edge of the beach and under palm trees. We had 3 choices for entrees, and the food and service were very good. No complaints - would do again! We decided to relax and enjoy our morning in Tortola. We've been there before so we simply walked along the streets of Roadtown. The Crafts Alive Market Village is a great place to shop since most of the items are hand-crafted by local people. The food on the ship was very good with a variety of selections each day. We ate breakfast in the Garden Cafe each day and loved having so many choices. To avoid crowds, we always sat at a table near the Great Outdoors area. Most of our lunches were there, too, since we really liked the soup selections as well as salad and pizza. The only downside on this cruise was not being able to serve yourself at the buffet once we got to San Juan. This was a precaution done to prevent illnesses from spreading on the ship. The beverage lines were quite long but the crew did the best they could in a difficult situation. It was an inconvenience but a minor one in the whole scheme of things. We never got sick so we were appreciative of all the precautions taken by NCL. Dinners were mostly in Tsar's Palace where we had excellent service when seated in the "expansion" room. Very quiet atmosphere with a great wait staff. Two nights we had dinner at Mama's and thoroughly enjoyed both the meal and the atmosphere. Thank you, Reinaldo, for taking such good care of us! One night we had dinner at Tango's with Kris Carlson, Food & Beverage Director. We had sailed with him on the Jade and were very happy to see him again. The meal was excellent - especially the lobster tacos. A big thank you to Kris for making our cruise so special! The entertainment was good and provided quite a variety of shows. Cat's Pajamas vocal band was really great and we went to see them again when they were in the Spinnaker Lounge. It was a standing room only crowd there. INCANTO with Massimo & Alesia was exceptional and not to be missed. We enjoyed Lumiri Tubo's performance and went to see her again in the Spinnaker Lounge. Le Cirque Bijou was on the last night of the cruise and was a magical show which included singing, dancing, gymnastics, and aerial performances. Quite a finale! Disembarkation went smoothly. Many passengers took advantage of the easy walk-off. We decided to wait in a lounge until 10:15 am to leave the ship. Since the luggage is color-coded corresponding to times, it was very easy to locate our luggage and go through Customs. It was one of the fastest disembarkations we've ever had. Overall we had a very enjoyable cruise. The service was excellent, and the staff did their very best to make sure guests would have a great cruise. Their smiles and attentiveness didn't seem forced. Our cabin stewards worked very hard and were always friendly and courteous whenever we saw them. With 33 cabins to care for twice a day, they did an outstanding job. Captain Lars and his senior staff were very personable, approachable, and set the tone for the high level of service provided by all the crew. We love the concept of freestyle cruising and the relaxed atmosphere found on NCL ships. After 9 cruises on NCL, we do feel part of the NCL "family" and plan to cruise with them again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our 7th cruise on NCL - first time on the Jewel. We prefer NCL because of the quality of service and Freestyle suits us. The Ship For those fans of the Dawn and Gem, the Jewel is a combination of the best features of ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise on NCL - first time on the Jewel. We prefer NCL because of the quality of service and Freestyle suits us. The Ship For those fans of the Dawn and Gem, the Jewel is a combination of the best features of both those ships I think when they say " the Jewel has a great staff and crew" it says it all. John O'Hara is a great HD and has genuine concern that your cruise on the Jewel will be the best ever. His "Dear John" letter box is in the Atrium opposite the desk and he welcomes all comments and concerns which in our case were addressed immediately. Elwynn Ocampo couldn't be nicer and more helpful with our Cruise Critic Meeting, Bridge and Galley tours which were excellent. John D'Souza was the Concierge and was always there to help us and answer any questions that we had. Shona our CD was fabulous as always. When we first boarded we met Antonio at the Sky High and he became our favorite bar person. Everyone we met had a greeting and a smile on their face. We felt that the staff and crew of the Jewel took great pride in what they were doing. Stateroom Our preference is a balcony stateroom on the 9th or 10th deck - not too high, not too low, and a good size room and balcony. Our room steward Andre was fantastic. We met him immediately and what a great job he did. The room was always made up and immaculate. We always had clean towels and dry pool towels. He was immediate with any special requests. Restaurants We are not "specialty restaurant" people. We prefer the flexibility of the Main Dining Rooms, Blue Lagoon and Garden Buffet. Tsars was our favorite. Service was great, the food excellent and always hot, and we were always seated immediately. Our only wait time was just 10 minutes on lobster night and then they gave us a beeper. We found the Garden Buffet to be excellent. It has separate food stations eliminating the usual long buffet line. The main sitting area was always busy but you had the option of additional seating in Mama's or outside in the Great Outdoors (our favorite). Of course we couldn't miss the fish and chips at Blue Lagoon. Entertainment The shows and entertainment were really good - definitely something for everyone at any time. Our favorite was the Fyzz Lounge because they always had something different going on. Shona and Sinan kept everything going around the ship. We especially liked that the pool activities were back and enjoyed the Dancing with the Jewel Stars. We were a little concerned about Nickelodeon being on the ship but unless you were actually looking for it, you didn't notice anything different. We did go to see it at the pool one day and the kids certainly were enjoying it. Ports We have been on this itinerary before. It's nice for a 7 day cruise and for families. Key West used to be part of this itinerary - wish they would put it back in some of their Bahama itineraries for a little diversification. In Port Canaveral we did the Airboat Adventure Excursion to Lone Cabbage Fish Camp. Much better than our previous airboat rides. The airboat had a little more zip in it. Saw the Rescue Team wildlife talk which was very interesting and sampled alligator tail which was very good. Nice improvements to Great Stirrup Cay. Loved the clamshell. Many more activities than the first time we were there. Met our neighboring clamshell people and we all agreed that we could just stay anchored there for three days. Unfortunately our stingray tour was cancelled so we just went back to Atlantis. We did the Beach Break and totally enjoyed the beach. The Dig and aquariums are always good. Got to see everything we missed the first time. Conclusion We found the Jewel to be another great NCL ship (with superior staff and crew) and so look forward to sailing the Jewel for 10 days to the Caribbean in February. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on NCL. We were a group of 6, 4 in our late 50's and 2 "80-ish" aunties. Our overall comment on NCL is that they need to update into the technology age for their web site, their pre-cruise ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on NCL. We were a group of 6, 4 in our late 50's and 2 "80-ish" aunties. Our overall comment on NCL is that they need to update into the technology age for their web site, their pre-cruise registration and embarkation process, provide the ability to view onboard charges from your cabin, and improve the wi-fi on the ship. That being said, it was a wonderful cruise overall. Cabin: No surprize, NCL cabins are small, but here was plenty of storage space. The glass doored showers are hands down above most cabin showers, even in some suites! Beds were quite comfortable and bedding very nice. Towels were soft, clean, and well sized. Willie, our cabin steward, provided excellent service, brought a coffee pot the first day, and removed the items from the refrigerator as requested. We did notice the shelf above the 'mini-TV' was dusty as was the shelf in the nightstand, but otherwise the cabin was clean. Dining: We ate both in the Tsar and Azure dining rooms multiple times for dinner and found the service to be quite good, and food above average. We did request Clement in Azure as a waiter because we loved his service and personality. Breakfast was at Blue Lagoon or the buffet. We enjoyed Blue Lagoon for breakfast and lunch multiple times, but did feel a couple of the waitresses needed mood enhancers! The Garden Cafe (buffet) had a wide variety of foods that were tasty, and the crepe station every evening was definitely a favorite stop! Merwin knew my husband by sight and always knew he would go to the chocolate fountain and add chocolate to his crepes. The lobster in Tsar's was probably the best we have ever had on a ship - very tender and so tasty! We did eat at Tango's and Mama's Italian. Didn't feel Tango's was worth the cover charge - but may have been because we are used to a different taste in mexican food totally. Mama's was tasty, well presented, and enjoyed. Entertainment: We felt the entertainment was excellent in the main theater, as well as in the smaller venues throughout the ship. Cirque Bijou is amazing, Cat's Meow were wonderful, the pianists in the lounges very good, and bands in Stargazer and pool entertaining. Comedians, jugglers, hypnotists were good, usual cruise entertainment. There are multiple places on the ship to enjoy quiet time alone, read a book, enjoy the ocean, listen to music, or people watch! Excursions: our expectations of Roatan were low since we had been there 5-6 years ago and there was nothing there. However, the day at Maya Cay was so relaxing and interesting it made the stop worth getting off the ship. The veterinarians/biologists provided information about the animals, answered all questions visitor's came up with, the beach is very nice, the pool clean, and food reasonably priced and tasty. The area is still under development with projects underway to expand the island activities. We will be back in November and will visit again to see the changes. The trips on the Atlantis submarines in Aruba and Curacao were enjoyed by the aunts as were the city tours which allowed them to see many places without the long walks. In Belize, 4 of us chose to do the cave tubing and zip line combination from Island Marketing ($99/pp) and thoroughly enjoyed both. Side benefit is that it is dry season in Belize still, so no bugs! We have been there in October and mosquitos were a problem walking thru the rain forest to the caves. Snorkeling on Tortola was a highlight - we saw a 4-5 ft sand shark! In Aruba we spent time on Eagle Beach enjoying the sand and sunshine. Curacao was our shopping day and it was plenty warm! Overall: This was probably our best NCL cruise to date, and encouraged us to return to NCL again in the future. They have improved the freestyle dining significantly in 5 years, and made it a pleasant experience. The ship is lovely - the purple, teal, green, hot pink color schemes are a definite mood booster, and the huge murals on the staircases of various astrological items are interesting and beautiful. We found the decor refreshing and relaxing. Some of the staff need some customer service training - mostly the front desk! Wear armor if you have to go down to get a new cabin key - they want to make you feel incompetent if your key stops working (happened to 3 of us during the cruise). The asst cruise director (Jennie I think) has a way to go - spends too much time trying to be cute and flirt and not enough time making sure guests are comfortable and happy. We addressed that formally on the ship and received several calls from ship management apologizing for her actions and ensuring us she would be talked to about her actions. Would we do it again? most definitely! Weather was perfect for 12 of the 13 days, and overall we felt it was above average sailing. Kudos to the Jewel!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
About the Reviewer: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Jewel on January 3, 2009 out of Miami with port calls in Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico). This was ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Jewel on January 3, 2009 out of Miami with port calls in Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico). This was my 6th NCL cruise and my mom's 5th NCL cruise. We've both sailed on other lines including Princess (5x) and Carnival (1x). I've sailed on other lines including Royal Caribbean and three times with Celebrity. Pre-Cruise Stay: Red Carpet Inn - Fort Lauderdale, Florida For our own insurance on the cruise we flew down on January 2, 2010 and we're thankful we did as a snowstorm struck New England. We arrived at the airport slightly delayed but called for the hotel shuttle which was quick and convenient. When we were on our way back to the hotel two other groups had called to be picked up so we turned around and headed back to the airport. We circled the airport for a while and found one of the couples and then finally checked in. I didn't book this hotel and I wouldn't stay there EVER again. The hotel was in the middle of no where and didn't make me feel safe at all. The rooms looked like they might have been hastily renovated and everything had a cheap feel to it with the floor being warped and the beds being hard as rocks! Friends who we met up with in Fort Lauderdale said there room looked completely different and they got it for much less than we did. Lesson learned, look elsewhere for deals or better yet, stay at the post cruise hotel we did at the Double Tree in Miami! Transportation to Miami Cruise Port: SAS Transportation Thanks to other Cruise Critters I learned of this little jewel for transport between the hotel and the cruise port in Miami. For $15 per person we were there in no time, arriving around 11:15AM to the pier. Embarkation: Since we arrived early to the pier the other Jewel passengers were still clearing out of customs and the ship was not ready. There was a small line for checking in which grew throughout the day. We were in the waiting area for approximately 10 minutes before they started boarding the vessel with numbers. Our friends who were sailing with us arrived later in the afternoon and were part of a very long line of passengers. Later we learned this was because a Royal Caribbean ship which shares the berth on occasion with NCL had taken the Ethernet cables with them that are used for computer terminals at check-in. NCL had to scramble to find replacements and as a result there were less than the usual number of people available for checking in. We had a great embarkation that flowed fairly smoothly though because we arrived early. Sadly when we boarded the champagne welcome aboard bubbly was gone. I had later learned this stopped when the Jewel had repositioned in November. It was a nice way to kick off the vacation and I do hope NCL re-instates it. Upon boarding the vessel friendly staff and crew greeted us and made us feel at home immediately. The Ship: The Norwegian Jewel was built in 2005 and is not showing her age anywhere onboard. Mom and I sailed on the Jewel in May 2007 doing the Greek, Turkey and Egypt itinerary and spent 12 days aboard her so we knew our way around very easily. The public rooms had great carpeting, excellent upholstered soft comfortable chairs and elegant ambience. While we toured the ship with a couple we cruised with before onboard a Princess cruise, the major public venues used by mom and I this sailing were Tsar's Palace (main dining room deck 6 aft), Azura (deck 6 midship dining room), Le Bistro (NCL's signature French Bistro - Deck 6), Stardust Theater (Deck 6 & 7 forward), Atrium, Garden Cafe, Great Outdoors, Body Waves Fitness Center (Deck 12), Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 13 midship) and Spinnaker's Lounge (Deck 13 forward). These specific venues will be looked at much more in-depth following. All the public areas onboard the Jewel look like the ship was just put to sea which means there is a good maintenance team onboard! The Stateroom: Our cabin was 9038 and our friends had the neighboring 9036. Both were category BC balconies and the price was an incredible steal for the accommodations. Both of the rooms were in excellent condition. Willie was our room steward and he did an excellent job of keeping the room immaculate all week long, including when some glitter got loose. His impeccable cleaning abilities got him a STYLE card and a nice tip. Food: This is a subjective area and there is always much debate about it. The menus onboard the Jewel were the exact same menus we dined with before on the Spirit 7-day in May 2009 and were also the same from the previous year. We knew which days we'd be hitting the dining room and which days we could venture to other restaurants. NCL's cold soups are so great that I wouldn't want to miss any of my favorites which include chilled melon, strawberry, blueberry, banana and peach soups. If you haven't tried NCL's cold soups then you must on your next vacation! Our food was always cooked to order where necessary, hot and served promptly. Special requests were usually granted including requesting larger portion sizes of some favorites like prime rib and mom's nightly special side order request. The crew were always happy to oblige with any request and they were rewarded for their going out of their way appropriately. Prime Rib and Beef Wellington are two dishes not to be missed in the main dining rooms. Cagney's Steakhouse offers phenomenal cooked to order steaks as well as jumbo sized shrimp cocktails. Mom loved the seafood options available in Cagney's and thoroughly enjoyed the salmon dishes offered in the main dining room as well. Service onboard the Norwegian Jewel was exceptional as it was on my previous cruise onboard the Norwegian Spirit but to go through the exceptional service where it was encountered here's a day by day break down of what we did, who we encountered and sometimes what we ate: Day 1: Miami, FL - Embarkation: In about 45 minutes from being dropped off to the pier we were on the ship. This occurred just after boarding started at noon. Since staterooms are not available until 2PM we dined in Azura main dining room for lunch. We started out with excellent service offered by Elvis, who was also onboard in 2007 when we sailed. It was nice to see a familiar face and he also remembered Nalan, our primary waitress in Tsar's Palace on that sailing. Elvis did a wonderful job serving us and attending to our every need. We wasted some time floating around the ship hoping to find the couple we were traveling with and with visiting and passing through each public space it brought back fond memories of our previous cruise. Due to an embarkation snafu we ended up sailing an hour later than usual because of the US security requirements requiring the manifest be handed over one hour prior to sailing for inspection. Irregardless the sail away party continued on a cold, cloudy Miami Sunday. When we were finally under way our luggage had finally arrived to our stateroom. Since we were one of the earliest people at the pier we couldn't figure out why there was such a delay and as a result we opted to dine in Azura. Service was exceptional by the wait staff. After the dinner it was off to a quick Friends of Dorothy gathering before running to the early show. Entertainment this evening was an opening show by comedian Tim Kaminski in the Stardust Theater. Tim was hilarious with his comedy. The Wizard of Oz skit he did with audience members was just too funny. Everything was clean comedy though and while he did poke fun at different areas nothing was offensive to anyone (in my opinion). Tim would be around the rest of the cruise doing performances and out and about on the ship. I got to interact with him on several occasions and thought he was not only a good comedian but a great individual. It's not often guest entertainers mingle like he did. It reminded me of Jane Powell, the Chocolate Goddess of Love and her very friendly personality. Tim is a great entertainer and not to be missed! This night I was too exhausted to keep up for the late night disco so it was off to bed after the show. Day 2: Sea Day: Breakfast room service was actually a half hour early but it helped get me up in time and up to the Garden Cafe to get my own breakfast so mom and I could meet up with Jane, cruise staff, for the organized staff activity of Walk-A-Mile around the Promenade Deck. Jane is very friendly and made the three laps fly by and it is a great way to meet your fellow passengers! Thankfully the time on this ship was at 9:30AM for walking. Next it was back inside to freshen up after walking about another four miles and time to get ready for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet which was at Malting's Beer & Whisky Bar on Deck 6 mid-ship at 11AM. Rochelle Brown touched base to confirm the event while I was doing the Walk-A-Mile but she greeted me promptly upon arrival. Thanks to another CC member (trish1c) for the name tags! All major department heads were present at the meet and greet and did a nice informal introduction. John O'Hara, Jewel's Hotel Director, did a nice speech for the group and then introduced each department head. Sadly the Captain and the Cruise Director were both ill and unable to attend the gathering but John did a nice job of giving us all a warm welcome aboard and handed out his card to everyone in the group with his number so that if there were any problems they could be dealt with as quickly as he could - and he really meant it! It was nice to see such a strong showing of Cruise Critic members as well! Thanks to everyone for showing up! It was a real nice time with catering from NCL's food and beverage department. After a quick break for lunch it was time for the poker cabin crawl organized by another Cruise Critter. We started off by visiting a standard balcony cabin and then worked our way up to mini-suites, suites and finally a courtyard villa cabin (all were CC roll call members). This was a nice way to explore the ship's accommodations and a place I didn't see in 2007 while onboard (the Villa complex). This was nice way to get to know the fellow CCer's and to make new friends for the rest of the week! Off to dinner tonight in Tsar's Palace which is the aft main dining room. I always feel like royalty when dining in this, the most elegantly decorated restaurant on the ship. The waitstaff treated us like royalty as well and this evening we were graced with the excellent service offered by Alexandra. Dinner food and service were excellent. There was a bit of a hang up between the appetizer and the main course but that was because there were so many people sat at the same time (not her fault, the kitchen was overwhelmed). Tonight's show was Band on the Run featuring the singers and dancers of the Jean Ann Ryan Company. This show is a tribute to the 70's and features the live show band performing. Overall it was a great show and a definite one to catch! The disco opened incredibly late the whole cruise up in Spinnaker's Lounge. There was always a Latin hour before the actual club opened. I've never seen a 12:30AM disco start before. This was much too late and made the evening drag for me. I was finally able to get a CD to DJ Watson containing some vocal house music for the upcoming White Hot Party. After listening to the first few songs of the night (hip hop) I gave up and called it a night. The disco was off to a very disappointing start. Day 3: Roatan, Honduras: Land ho! Finally warmer weather prevailed even though it was cloudy and I was just thankful I could wear shorts for a change! We didn't have any organized excursion and just decided to explore the new mall area that had been built since our last visit. Thanks to Willie our impeccable stateroom steward we knew that the best time to get off the ship was by 10AM because they were doing mandatory lifeboat drills after that including the sounding of the ship's alarm system! Thanks for the head's up Willie. We bumped into fellow CCer's ashore before returning to the ship. I did a power walk around the Promenade Deck for two miles before going up to the Body Waves Fitness Center. The fitness center has tons of cardio equipment and some free weights available. Definitely the most well stocked fitness center I've seen in a while. After completing the workout it was off to the Garden Cafe for lunch. Blueberry soup, vegetable curry and cooked to order Asian noodles were just a few of the things that made it to my plate. Yummy selection there! Tonight we dined in Le Bistro which is NCL's signature French Bistro. This is the first time we have ever tried this dining venue on any NCL ship and while we've seen the dEcor, dining there is something one must truly experience. The menu has escargot available, succulent lamb and tenderloin. It was a nice dinner and the service by Marisol Lamorena was just exceptional. She was so friendly and because of the smaller dining venue she was able to converse with us and could really offer friendly service. She brought us samples of some dishes and recommended we try them irregardless of what we ordered. If you dine in Le Bistro, definitely ask for her as your server. She was the first to receive a STYLE card this cruise from us for her exceptional service. Tonight's spotlight show time was a 22 year old singer named Chantz Powell. This was the worst entertainment of the whole cruise for both mom and I and usually we sit it out to the end but this performance we actually got up and left. Chantz is a soul meets Michael Jackson moon-walking performer. I am not sure what target audience he was supposed to be hitting but he didn't hit it with mom or I. This night was the night of the pub crawl. While I didn't partake in it, I did bump into the crawlers every where. Since the crawl was supposed to terminate at the Caribbean Deck Party it was fun watching everyone pour into Spinnaker's Lounge where the party was moved to because it was raining up on deck and very cold and windy. The party seemed a bit more subdued because of the venue change. The disco picked up later and some fellow young CCers and I began to dance the night away. It was a pleasure to meet John O'Hara, Hotel Director, up in the disco and ask him some questions about changes NCL has made. The first of which was where was what happened to the champagne bubbly when boarding? NCL discontinued it in November fleet wide. What happened to Monte Carlo night? This was also eliminated effective two week's prior to our sailing. A question from the couple we were traveling with made me wonder where the bathroom amenities basket went. The answer was that NCL didn't see people using them so they have now just placed what people used most which are the lotion and the washing gel. Thanks for the information John and once again thank you for the hospitality you showed during this cruise to both mom and I. Day 4: Belize City, Belize: SHORE EXCURSION: Lamani & New Jungle River. This is a full day long excursion but well worth the price. You are taken on an incredibly fast high speed boat tour down a river while looking for wildlife. Upon arrival at the ruins you'll need to lather up the bug spray which we forgot (whoops)! Get ready for a real jungle trek after having a native lunch. Going around the old ruins which are still largely covered by the jungle made me feel like a real world explorer. This was a great NCL offered tour and I highly recommend anyone who likes to go off the beaten path to take it! A small note about the terrain though, it's a bit uneven and this tour wouldn't be recommended for people with any difficulties in walking. Mom had a bummed knee and this prevented her from traversing one path but they did have a more suitable longer path around it which another tour guide took us down. We were the second to last tender back to the ship and mom had very minimal time to shop shore side before we returned back onboard. It was off for a quick dinner in Tsar's Palace before going to another fantastic performance by the Jean Ann Ryan Company called Country Gold. This is another performance not to be missed. After the main performance of the evening it was time to run back and change for the most anticipated nightclub event of the entire cruise: NCL's WHITE HOT PARTY. I was up there for the pre-party and all the cruise staff was on hand as well as John O'Hara, Hotel Director. At 10:30PM Kenosis started performing live before the dancers of Jean Ann Ryan did a quick number and the dance floor opened up to what was supposed to be a night of house music. DJ Watson did play some house music including the new Lady Gaga Bad Romance remix. I just couldn't figure out why on a night that was geared to a faster bass beat that DJ Watson would continuously play hip hop music. It drove me NUTS! Luckily I made a bunch of new friends on this night because I wasn't out on the dance floor and it made the rest of the nights in the disco more tolerable! This was one of the later disco nights of the cruise. Day 5: Costa Maya, Mexico: With a noon tour departure it allowed for sleeping in and what an idea that was! I felt bad for Willie because he'd already knocked once to turn it down and so I cleared out and got something quickly to eat and went back to brush my teeth when he tried for a second time to clean the cabin and I was there. Mom went ashore and I just took my jacket and went up on deck and slept. =) The winds were fierce up there and it was again chilly so the windbreaker came in handy. SHORE EXCURSION: Off to the Chacchoben ruins for the afternoon NCL excursion. The tour guide was informative and you could hear him very well all over the bus. This short tour gives you the historical significance of the ruins and offers you a tour of sacred Mayan ruins. This was my second time to these ruins which were more excavated then when I last saw them in 2003. I would recommend this afternoon tour to anyone who wants to see something exciting and sleep in a bit! After a quick freshening up it was off to Cagney's Steakhouse for a 5:45PM dinner reservation. Viviana was our server for this incredible meal that brought back memories of the sunset dinner we had there in Mykonos, Greece in 2007. The shrimp cocktail was succulent and the rib-eye steak was phenomenal. Mom's filet mignon was also very tender but cooked to her liking. Viviana's service earned her a STYLE write up as well because it stood out. If you go to Cagney's make sure you ask for her, especially for special occasions as a table behind us celebrated a birthday and she did such a great job handling it for them. After enjoying a quick trip to the Friends of Dorothy it was off to spotlight show time of Cat's Pajamas. This is an a cappella group consisting of four guys who I'd seen throughout the week at several events and in the disco. Tonight was their primary show and while I would have missed it otherwise I'm happy that a few of their groupies who were onboard (Kate, Kelly and Kathleen) talked me into going. It was a great performance that I enjoyed. These guys are very talented performers who are onboard for only the next few weeks. Next it was up to Dancing with the Jewel Stars in the Spinnaker Lounge. This was not to be missed. Your fellow cruise passengers get up and dance with different members of the crew who are experts at different styles of dancing. Chris from the production company rallied hard to win but ultimately another couple won. The losing couples are interviewed and the whole thing is just hilarious. Don't miss this and be sure to cheer on your fellow cruise guests and the hard working crew members who participate! After the show the disco opened and I stayed and had a nice time with the people in attendance. Day 6: At Sea: Room service was prompt as usual for sea days and after grabbing a hot plate of food from the Garden Buffet it was time to dine out on the balcony! Jane hosted the Walk-A-Mile again and we conversed more about our travels around the globe. This walk flew by! This lazy day at sea provided more time for a work out after which we went up for lunch at the Great Outdoors. It was a nice relaxing day and then it was time for a disco nap. That evening we had dinner in Tsar's Palace and because of the show tonight was hyped all over the ship everyone flooded the dining room. The service was great but the time between courses was a bit lengthy. The kitchen simply was swamped as the dining room was sat all at once. Luckily Cherryl, my favorite bar waitress onboard, was covering our side of the dining room and she kept stopping by while checking on her section and we'd continue the conversation. If you want a good bar waitress then find Cherryl! She'll take good care of you and always is smiling and she's so very pleasant with personality. Next it was off to Cirque Bijoux in the Stardust Theater. Seating went VERY fast, faster than any other performance this cruise and as a result mom and I couldn't get a seat together. Thanks to Carlos Zarate, the concierge, for getting us seats in the suites and villa section just before it opened to the rest of the people who were crammed into the theater. Cirque Bijoux is an incredible show! You do not want to miss this Cirque style show with hints of Irish step dancing and aerial acrobatics. From our vantage point we were able to see everything. It was a great theatrical experience put on by the Jean Ann Ryan performers. Excellent work guys and gals! I had missed this performance on the Jewel in 2007 and I can't believe what I missed!! This is a MUST SEE! After a brief stop in the cabin to get changed for the disco it was off to the Chocoholic Buffet in the Garden Cafe. This is another signature NCL event. I LOVE chocolate! Cruising with orthodontics means that you have to cut back on the amount of sweets. I took this one night off to splurge and splurge I did! Each action station had the same chocolates available and the displays were different from the last time we sailed on the Jewel which was an added treat! Went to the disco afterward to dance off the sugar rush and stayed until the disco closed. I had a blast with fellow passengers and members of the crew who were in attendance. The club closed around 4:30AM. Day 7: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas / Sea Day: Mom woke me up fairly early as she was getting ready to leave the cabin after sneaking out for her breakfast earlier. We'd pulled up to the island and dropped the anchor. Royal Caribbean's island is next door and either the Majesty of the Seas or a sister to her pulled up and then turned around and left. We stayed though and some tendering occurred before the weather got really rainy and windy. I didn't get off the ship and finally the decision was made around 11:30AM to make it a sea day. A hastily put together FreeStyle Daily was issued out and suddenly there was a lot to do again onboard! Nice work by the cruise staff for getting the Daily out so quickly and for trying to fill in the blanks for sunbathers with no where to go. I caught the matinee show of the Cat's Pajamas just in time after waking up from yet another disco nap. Met up with a bunch of friends there and the performance was with different songs than before. These guys are really talented and have a large repertoire to pick from. After the Cat's Pajamas performance it was up to the $5,000 Bingo where Jane was in attendance. She tried to convince me to play but I'm not a gambling man. I went along with the friends I made but had to leave early to get ready for another exciting dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse. The couple we were sailing with chose Cagney's and it was a great dinner had by all. This time I had a cooked-to-order succulent T-bone steak, shrimp cocktail and the clam chowder. All of them were mighty tasty and I definitely recommend Cagney's for a special dinner. The wait-staff and food there are both exceptional. Sadly we couldn't have Viviana as she was the designated floater that evening to help out in other areas as required. After a quick stop at the Friends of Dorothy it was off to the Crew Talent Show for one show only at 8PM. I think the Jewel has the MOST talented crew I've ever heard at sea. They have some exceptionally good singers amongst their crew and this show is not to be missed. Show up and support your fellow crew members because they work hard and even if they don't sound up to par they've already broken their backs for you all week and the least we as passengers can do is cheer them on! This was not the case this cruise, all of the performers were GREAT and standing ovations were definitely warranted! The show culminates with FOUNTAINS which was being performed for the 527th time. LOL It's hard to describe it other than it's a must-see and the comedian Tim Kaminski was in it as opposed to Que (Cruise Director). He did a really great job and the goggles were just hilarious! Back to the room for it was time to pack and get ready to bid adieu to the Jewel and get ready for the disco. I missed Tim's farewell variety show completely but managed to get up to the Adult Quest Game Show upstairs in Spinnaker's. This was a fun way to end the cruise by hanging out with newly made friends and doing all sorts of things. Thanks to John O'Hara (Hotel Director) and the security officer for giving our team a few props for the show! This is an adult's only game show and very much a must attend and get involved event! What happens in the Spinnaker STAYS in the Spinnaker Lounge!! The last night in the disco is always a sad one because you run around saying goodbye to all your new found friends and exchanging emails and not to mention busting a few moves out on the dance floor. I hope the friendships made onboard continue on and that I can sail with all of these great people again! Day 8: Miami, FL - Disembarkation: Luckily with staying out so late at the disco the previous night I was able to snag the Aqua colored bag tags to be the last ones off the ship (or the last group off). Since we had a post-cruise hotel stay at the Double Tree in Miami we couldn't check in right away and needed to stay onboard the Jewel as long as we could. John O'Hara wanted to know how the cruise went and gave mom and I a call to pass along some information to us as well about an upcoming Norwegian Spirit cruise. It was a nice way to be sent off from the Jewel and when our color was called we made our way down to the gangway. It was an easy end to an incredible week of active, yet relaxing experiences onboard the Norwegian Jewel. Conclusion: This cruise was an absolute steal for the price paid and will be a lasting memory! Forget Celebrity Cruise Line's trying to treat people famously - NCL treated mom and I famously. The hard work of so many require specific acknowledgement again starting with John O'Hara (Hotel Director) for rolling out the red carpet and giving us VIP treatment onboard. He went out of his way to make sure that every cruiser onboard had a good time and we were no different! Thanks John!! Other people who onboard who created lasting memories due to their impeccable service were Willie (our incredible stateroom steward), Jane (cruise staff), Cherryl (Bar Waitress), Marisol Lamorena (Le Bistro Waitress), Alexandra (Best Tsar's Palace Waitress), Vivianna (Best Cagney's Waitress), Carlos Zarate (Concierge) and Que (Cruise Director). Special mention to the folks of the Jean Ann Ryan Production Company for their phenomenal work with the production shows and for being great people to hang out with onboard including Richard Oaxaca (Dancer), Erik Hall (Dancer), Samee Nann (Dancer), Chris "Chrissy" McQuade (Dancer), Jessica Quarles (Principal Singer), Betsy Padmonsky (Principal Singer), Jodie Gibson (Dancer) and Joanne Donn (Wardrobe Supervisor). Without all of these people the Norwegian Jewel wouldn't glisten in the Caribbean. If you see any of them onboard a future sailing say hello to them for me and know that you're in for one GREAT cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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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