200 Norwegian Jewel Senior Cruise Reviews

This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and ... Read More
This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and refurbished, with a welcoming crew. The NJ passengers are a much broader age group than the RC ships overall and had fewer scooters. Unlike RC in Galveston, departure and return were very smooth from Bayport Terminal and occurred on Deck 7. Shore excursions used Deck 4, easily accessed as compared to RC which often requires the use of interior stairways. Tendering to Trujillo on the lifeboats was exciting, especially the return journey which occurred in heavy tropical rain and rough waves due to the swollen river currents meeting the incoming sea currents. However, the pilots of these tenders did an outstanding job for long hours. I enjoyed the historical tour of Trujillo and the shopping area at the dock. I had been to Belize and Cozumel previously. The overall layout of the NJ was quite different from the RC ships and I prefer the RC layout. NJ hallways in cabin areas were more narrow and the cabins are smaller overall. Dining rooms are all over the ship and the major shopping area is at one end of Deck 7. There are plenty of elevators (3 sets, forward/mid/aft) but some of them only go to certain floors. The very rear area of the buffet facility (the Garden Room) on Deck 12 is outdoors, largely covered, has good seating and a smaller food service area which made it my favorite place on the ship for relaxing, people watching, and reading. Unfortunately, the very windy weather often hindered the use of Deck 7, but you could walk around the entire ship on that deck. There do not seem to be as many deck chairs on the NJ as on RC. I prefer the RC pool deck facilities and the RC miniature golf. The meals on NJ were adequate, better in the dining rooms than in the buffet, but the meals on RC are much superior with a more formal service from the waiters which I enjoy (and can still wear rather casual clothes). My friend and I never had a problem getting a table in the NJ dining room anytime we walked up (and at varying times each night). I think the NJ entertainment was better scheduled and higher quality overall than what I have seen on RC. The magician and the comedian on the NJ were interesting and there was a very good aerial performance, as well as good singers in various club areas. Guest services is on Deck 7 and in a bad location as lines of customers and photography sets and club patrons and people just walking thru all compete for floor area near that desk area. Additionally, beware if you have one name (usually determined by the government) on your passport and a somewhat different name on your credit card (usually determined by you and used by your bank). Although NJ takes your credit card info when you book, giving it plenty of time to check your credit (and names), it may send a letter to your room, once you have sailed, telling you that you must pay in cash. You will have to dispute this and listen to the guest services worker tell you that "booking" and the "financial" departments do not share info about you, which I find absolutely ridiculous. Certainly, I had no intention of having to "stand in a long line" at the guest services desk to clear this up and there should have been no need for it. Good think I did carry a credit card with at least part of my name the same as on the passport. NJ insists your passport name and your banking name must be the same, something I have never heard from two other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and our 11th cruise overall. The ship was nice but could use some updating in the public areas. Our cabin was very nice and I especially liked the layout of the bathroom with a real shower door and a real private commode area. The crew on this ship, like the other Norwegian cruises we have been on, was outstanding. The only issue we saw was that the dining rooms seemed to be understaffed thus the service was slow. The food was about average for this category of cruise ship. The entertainment was probably the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fairly fast. Parking was $80.00 far the week which I consider to be a little steep. The ports of call were Cozumel, my favorite on this itinerary, Belize with crystal clear waters for snorkeling but you have to tender there and the "Banana Coast" in Trujillo Honduras which you also have to tender to get too. This was the first ever visit to this location by a cruise ship and it showed. They simply aren't ready for prime time and probably won't be for years. Very little shopping or anything else to do there. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This ... Read More
I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This was our second Alaskan cruise and this time we were taking two of our grandchildren. We had taken a Disney cruise in January, and picked Norwegian because of their contract with Nicholodian thinking there would be more appeal for our 7 and9 year old grandsons. Overall this was a good choice, but don't go expecting Sponge Bob and Patrick to be ever present like the a Disney characters. This is still a cruise that caters to adults. The five star parts of this trip were the entertainers, shows, overall cleanliness of the ship, and easily the most attentive cabin steward that we have ever had. Somewhat disappointing was the age and decor in need of updating, and the food while tasty was not up to the usual gourmet cruise ship standards. The cabins are small partly because the bathroom are larger than on most ships with a tub shower combination instead of the usual micro shower. Beds were comfortable. Although smoking was restricted to the casino and balconies, my wife was upset by the noticeable smoke odors in many areas of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had ... Read More
We left New Orleans on Feb 2nd 2014 in the total fog. We did enjoy the city as it gave it a mysterious ambiance especially when you think about the cemetaries and legends that are vehiculed about it. Embarkation was not the easiest we had in the past cruise we did. It was our second cruise with NCL (the other being on the Spirit to Bermudas a few years ago). So we knew it was not the standard we had with Celebrity or Princess, but we were aware there would be some difference. New Orleans port is, for what we saw, going under renovation. I hope it will be easier for people to be going through traffic as you have to wait many minutes just to be dropped with your luggages by the taxi: buses, cars, taxis all converge in a small area and it is chaos. We were litteraly 3 to 4 blocks away in a hotel but not close enough with our luggage to walk it. So the taxi was $7 per person ($14 for two) for a ride that should have lasted 3 minutes, but they charge per person as they know they will be stuck at the drop off zone. Once on the ship, we were able to get to our cabin quite rapidly, but that was after we were like a herd of tourist waiting in line for something like 45 minutes. Room: (inside cabin just under the casino). We were concerned a bit that the room that had been assigned to us would be noisy, but really, we heard nothing the whole week. The size of the room as OK and as expected. It was clean and our room stewart was always smiling and pleasant. He did an excellent job. One thing though: the matress on the side of my husband was really showing years of abuse, being shaped almost as a banana. We did not tell anybody, but maybe we should have mentioned it. Food: At first, we could not understand why some people had been complaining about the food. It was good and there was a good variety. But as the week progressed, we found it to be repetitive and very standard. The Garden Cafe Buffet presented many stations, but when you think about it, a whole section was for Indian food and stir fry. Personnally, we love exotic food, but it was always the same thing. For the pasta bar, it was pasta and your choice of sauce. Nothing else: no vegetable, no chicken, not shrimp. Pasta and sauce. I was told I would have to book at the paying restaurant if I wanted shrimp in my pasta! I had to laugh about it. They did offer a package at $119 per person to go and eat in any of the a la carte restaurant, but we relied on our past experience and left it open as we thought the main dining room would offer a better experience. Really, that is not what happened. On one of the evening, I really was disappointed with their "new Orleans combo of shrimp and beef". My idea of New Orleans style shrimps is not 3 breaded shrimps beside a small steak. I would have thought it would have been more creative. As for dessert, we were not the only one finding that there was way too many dessert made of gelatin. In the end, everything tasted the same. They did have the chocolate fountain at night at the Garden Cafe, but their main thing was the Bread Pudding. Yes it was very nice, but all by itsef in its category. I remember some sorbet (coconut once and pineaple another night) that were very good. We did eat at the Bistro (French cuisine). It was very good. We had the duck magret and confit and as for the started, the 4 cornets. Nicely presented and refined as well. we did attempt to eat at Moderno. We had heard that the food was really excellent. Oooops. Major problem there. Three of the restaurant a la carte gives on the Atrium: Chin Chin, Moderno, and the Sushi Bar. We had a reservation for the Moderno at 8.30 PM (they are not opened on lunch time except on sea days). We sat down and when our waiter came to take our order, we could not hear him. He almost had to scream so we could hear him. The inconceivable thing is that since there are no walls seperating the restaurant from the atrium, the shows scheduled (that night was a tribute to Neil Diamond) are so loud that you cannot hold a conversation! And it was until 9.30 PM. When the manager of the restaurant came to see us because we wanted to leave, he was very gracious and understanding. He also said that he has that kind of problem every week!!!! I sure hope that the refurbishing due in May will take cake of this problem. Already that the ship atrium is far from being impressive... this is really a major problem. No wonder there was always room in the restaurant. We did sample the sushis at the Sushi Bar before a late dinner and it was good. Shows: They were all excellent. Very impressive that show called Le Cirque Bijou. The performers were really on the ball and gave it all they had.Jaimie the cruise director is far from acting like on of these Diva we had seen on an European ship one day: she did a very good job, was funny without being vulgar, and we felt she really enjoyed people and her job too. Good for you Jaimie! She was accessible and always smiling. A good asset for NCL. As for all of the personnel, we can honestly say that they are very pleasant and work so hard to please their guests. Even the captain seems to be a good sport and seems close to his passengers. He also seems to show appreciation for his team (from the people in the laundry room to his officers). See below for our port reviews. In all, we enjoyed the destinations. We knew we did not want to spend too much, so we figured we had what we paid for. Was it a good deal? It was a honest deal. Knowing what we know, we would have paid a little bit more as we missed the dining experience this time. For us, it is part of the fun of cruising. We really look forward to these wonderful dinners. We hope that this will have been helpful.. And we take this opportunity to thank the family who was part of the cruise critics community and invited us, after the roll calls, to visit the Villa they had rented. It is rare that people will share this privilege. The mother (Christmas Carole) was a lovely lady. I will remember them for a long time.   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
We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a ... Read More
We joined a group of 42 others on this cruise. We travelled to NYC by tour bus, and were directed to a parking space outside the Terminal. Our luggage was removed from under the bus, and we were informed that the charge/tip would be $2 a person. Not a bad price, and the luggage was next seen in our cabins. As latitudes members, my husband and I were ushered into the "special" line for check-in. There were so many repeat cruisers, that as we shuffled along in the long line,we watched first-timers whiz right past us, through check in, and on board! We had lunch in the buffet, and then went to our cabin. It was always neat and clean, and the stewardess was friendly and helpful. Except, that she was not pleased when we carried glasses from our cabin anywhere else on the ship. In fact, she wouldn't replace them! We ended up bringing glasses from the dining room for our own use! Since they are no longer provided automatically, we requested bar soap, lotion and robes, and got them all. We used several excursions, and they were all what we expected. We also organized a boat excursion in St. Lucia on our own for eight, and decided that was our BEST day of the trip!! Others in our group took tours, and some just picked up taxis, etc. in ports...everyone was happy with their choices. Meals....well, things sure aren't what they used to be! I agree with other reviews in that the buffet food did look like cafeteria fare. My favorites were the pretzel rolls and the ice cream. The food area is quite large, and I find that by the time I make my choices, fill my plate, and get to a table, my food is cold. No beverage service was provided at the tables, and no lemonade was available as on other NCL ships. We ate in the Blue Lagoon many times and preferred it because the choices were good, and the service was quick and efficient. The dining room...we ate mostly in the TSAR...varied. We had a couple wonderful, entertaining, waiters, and then we had one waitress who was just rude and unhelpful. Unfortunately, we had her on the surf and turf night! When additional lobsters were requested, she brought them, plunked them down and ignored us the rest of the meal. No melted butter was served with any of the lobster. We asked for more water (our glasses were all empty), and finally got another waiter to bring it. Same thing with bread. Three of us had ordered dessert before the meal. We got ours, but no one took the others' orders. Two of them eventually ordered dessert, but the third person was skipped. And, regarding the lobster, what is the policy on "seconds". Since we had contact with so many people in our group, we compared stories. Some had several lobsters, some were told they could only have one, some others requested to see the Manager, and he told them only one. There needs to be a set policy!! We had one bad experience for breakfast in the Tsar too, but it might have been because we joined another couple who had already ordered. I think we confused the waiter, and had to wait forever for our order...when the eggs benedict arrived, they were hard-boiled. Since we had waited over 30 minutes for them, I was reluctant to send them back, but the waiter RAN and got another plate...which was perfect!Other observations...the gym was very nice,I would like the casino better if there was no smoking, but don't spend much time there anyway. The ship was neat and clean, except for our balcony which had trash in the "gutter" the entire trip. We also prefer the balcony "no smoking" policy of other cruise lines. The cabin storage is more than adequate, but those TV's have got to go!! The beds are extremely comfortable! One comment heard often was that the ship is noisy...there are very few "quiet" places to go to read, etc. The music in the dining room was so loud, you had to scream at your table mates. We did enjoy the dinner with a staff member...very informative. We also enjoyed the entertainment...some of the best we've seen. The disembarkation. Because we were a large group, NCL provided a staff member to explain things two days before the cruise ended. She gave out the colored luggage slips so that we'd all be together. She explained that those needing assistance would meet in another area and we would all be re-joined in the customs area. Sounds good; didn't work! Because of the storm "Sandy" damage, some things are not working as usual in the Terminal. Our departure was over an hour late, we had to stand outside in the freezing cold, and the luggage claim area was a zoo! Because the Gem was also disembarking, it was very crowded and everyone was told to "keep moving". We tried to keep our people together, but some were outside the terminal, some were at the bus bay, and others were inside!! Eventually everyone was located, but only because someone in our group knew a Terminal Employee and asked her to help out. All in all, it was nice to get away from the cold, and we enjoyed the group of people we were with. NCL is not our first choice of cruise lines, but it is handy in NYC. We plan to try the Breakaway when it's available, and have put a deposit down on it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was a cruise I had planned to celebrate my 60th birthday with my sister. She was my guest and birthday gift to myself. We traveled with 4 of my girlfriends as well. One of the girlfriends was a first timer so everything seemed great ... Read More
This was a cruise I had planned to celebrate my 60th birthday with my sister. She was my guest and birthday gift to myself. We traveled with 4 of my girlfriends as well. One of the girlfriends was a first timer so everything seemed great to her but the other 5 of us had cruised several times and so we had something to compare this cruise to. I've cruised on NCL 2 other times and everything seemed fine but I'm not sure if the crew was still in shock from their Hurricane Sandy experiences or what? But the dining hall waiters in Tsar seemed to be in a trance the whole week. We had to ask for coffee every night and if each person didn't ask personally, you got nothing. We had to ask for salt and pepper, utensils once, and generally you just felt like you were annoying them if you tried to get their attention. The Azure staff seemed a bit more "with it." One night in the the Azure a group of 8 children, no adults, were seated near us. The bunch ranged in age from about 14-7. Like all kids, they were loud and all the adult parties around kept looking at each other. I did speak to the maitre d on the way out about them being seated without supervision and the answer I got was, "Madame, this is a dining hall, they are allowed to come in and eat." Even if there are rules posted, no one ever enforces them. But then, this is true on all cruise ships that I've been on when it comes to children. I was a teacher for 32 years so I know how children should be acting in public. I had to get out of the hot tub because I was told by a mother that her 6 year old prefers the hot tub to the pool as her child was diving underwater in her goggles. Let's face it, in today's world, the kids run the households at home so why would we expect it to be any different on a ship? I must say that I did hear a pool attendant one time tell a child to stop jumping from the hot tub seat into the center of the hot tub but again no parent was in the with the child and the rule states that if a child is in the hot tub, so should their parent. So the attendant should have told the child to get out altogether. I probably won't choose NCL for a 4th time even though I like the anytime dining, you just don't get the feeling in the dining halls that you're really welcomed or on this voyage, even acknowledged.My other complaint was that the public bathrooms were always in need of attention the entire week. I NEVER once saw a restroom attendant cleaning and one particularly rocky evening, the restroom outside of the Spinneker Lounge had "puke" all over. My girlfriend had to flag down a drink server and bring it to his attention to call for a clean up. Every cruise ship that I've ever been on, someone is always keeping the restrooms spotless throughout the day.There were always papers on the floor and sink area was always wet. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My wife and I just returned from the Norwegian Jewel's May 26-June 2 Alaska trip. While we were not bowled over by excellence, we thought the ship, crew, entertainment and food were all at least pretty good. THE SHIP was somewhere ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the Norwegian Jewel's May 26-June 2 Alaska trip. While we were not bowled over by excellence, we thought the ship, crew, entertainment and food were all at least pretty good. THE SHIP was somewhere in between the gaudiness of some Carnivals and the opulence that (I assume) the high-priced lines offer. All in all, an enjoyable place to spend a week. It's laid out in easy-to-follow fashion and seems to have about the right amount of space for everything. The casino's smokiness was noticable, but well contained. One complaint I had was the seating in the main theater, which I found awfully tight. Kind of like flying coach. I also thought it was unfortunate the giant windows in the up-front Spinnaker Lounge were difficult to see through because of trapped moisture and/or insufficient cleaning. A real missed opportunity for a dynamite view. THE CREW was quite good, as it seems they usually are on cruises. They're human, so there's always a couple who seem preoccupied or who forget something, but nobody's perfect -- even me, my wife says. THE ENTERTAINMENT was something we really enjoyed. We live in a rural area and don't have a lot of chances to see live entertainment, so this is one of the things we especially enjoy when we go on cruises. The showy song-and-dance nights were fun, and we also enjoyed Jean Pierre, the magician, and Brenda Kaye, the hypnotist. They both did demos and Q and A's around ship during the day as well as nighttime shows. But the big hit, especially for my wife, was Fire and Ice, a duo that played soul-Motown stuff almost every night somewhere. The female singer, with male instrumentalist, did tributes to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. The singer is all energy and really into her music. THE FOOD was mostly good, but there were a few flaws here. We never felt like spending extra money for the specialty restaurants, so I'll limit my discussion to the complementary chow. We thought the buffet was pretty decent for what it is. Perfectly good breakfast or lunch with lots of choices when you don't want to take time for a dining room meal. We never ate there at dinner, though. We ate more meals in the main dining rooms than anywhere else: several breakfasts and lunches and all our dinners. They were slow on a couple of occasions, but we had generally good service there. A couple of dishes missed the mark (a lukewarm soup, biscuits and gravy with hard biscuits and tasteless gravy). Most of the offerings were quite good though, especially the fish dishes. Had good salmon several times. Our only real disappointment on the food front was the Blue Lagoon, the supposed "comfort food" stop that's open 24 hours. They messed up my wife's order both times we ate there, and some of the servers seemed like they were there because they hadn't earned their trip to the big leagues or had been demoted for more seasoning. DRINKS are priced so high, I actually think they'd make more money if they reduced the prices. Maybe some people don't mind paying $9 for a glass of pretty ordinary wine, but I think about how I could buy a whole bottle of the same wine for that back home. They want more than $8 (with the auto-gratuity) for one of those microscopic gin bottles in the mini-fridge? They can keep it. GETTING ON AND OFF could hardly have been faster or easier. About 35 minutes from getting off the shuttle to standing on the ship. About 10 minutes from our cabin to the streets of Seattle at the end. All in all, a great week (despite dreary weather). But next cruise we're taking Carnival to see if the food still as good as we remember it from a couple years ago. While most of the Jewel's food was good, there wasn't much that knocked our socks off as Carnival's did last time. And while we enjoyed seeing Alaska, I think we'll go back to what cruising has meant to us in the past: lazing in the sun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We enjoyed the ship, which was large and comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It may have helped that the ship was only 2/3 full during our cruise, so the staff was not overwhelmed with work. On the last day at sea, I ... Read More
We enjoyed the ship, which was large and comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It may have helped that the ship was only 2/3 full during our cruise, so the staff was not overwhelmed with work. On the last day at sea, I needed a wheel chair to get from location to location. While the rental of a wheel chair was excessive for one day (the week's charge of about $ 230.00), a staff member appeared promptly when summoned to transport me for free. The food was generally well prepared, with the exception of lobster tail and fish on the first night in the Azure Dining Room. The staff also seemed busier there than in the other restaurants. We liked the Tsar's Palace, which was quieter and nicer with attentive service. However, the menu changed very little from night to night. A highlight was the Big Band Brunch at Le Bistro, where we also had a very nice evening meal of Bouillabaisse. The food was really exceptional in this restaurant. There was a great variety of good food at the Garden Cafe, but this venue was very busy and noisy. However, there were no lines. Whenever a staff member noticed that I had a cane, he/she would offer to help by carrying the food. The barbecue on the pool deck on day 4 yielded some very good ribs. Our room had an obstructed view and was well located near the mid-ship elevators. It seemed roomy with adequate storage space and it was quiet despite the closeness of the elevators. The room was kept neat and clean by our room steward, who also made amusing towel sculptures. Ice packs were provided upon request within a reasonable time. Problems such as a stuck toilet and a flood in the bathroom were attended to quickly. The entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was highly variable. The acrobats and gymnasts were quite good, but the comedian was not all that funny. Announcements and music were much too loud. We did like the piano music and vocals in Bar City and the music during the Big Band Brunch was also pleasant and not overly loud. The Big Band music and accompanying vocals at the Tsar's Palace were too loud. The pool area was pleasant, but there too the music was overly loud. During day 2 and 3 the adult pool was overheated to a temperature of between 82 and 84 F, which made swimming difficult. I also had occasion to sample the services at the Medical Center. There was no wait and the physicians seemed friendly and capable, but the bill for medications did hurt. It was disappointing that we did not get to go on the private island at Great Stirrup Cay on day 4, because of rough seas. Instead we spent much of the day at the pool side. The water in the adult pool was somewhat cooler than on days 2 and 3, which made it better suited for swimming. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
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
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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