32 Norwegian Jewel Senior Cruise Reviews

We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Meh
One and done, complied with bucket list and 7k poorer. I upgraded, I thought to a larger cabin facing but it turned out to be a basic hotel room size, bed hard as a rock couch hard as a rock but it was my first time so maybe my ... Read More
One and done, complied with bucket list and 7k poorer. I upgraded, I thought to a larger cabin facing but it turned out to be a basic hotel room size, bed hard as a rock couch hard as a rock but it was my first time so maybe my expectations were too high. And also the Wi-Fi that I paid for sucks so bad that nobody should buy it, just do without. I know it’s a satellite-based Wi-Fi but they shouldn’t try to sell it if it doesn’t work. The room TV was nice except it didn’t work unless you want to watch commercials for people trying to sell you watches, diamonds and artwork, up selling everything on the ship when I see there’s not much to look at when on the high seas. Crew was very friendly and the excursions made the trip. If I had to do it again I’d fly to Ketchikan and use that as my base of operations. The people of Alaska make it a great place to visit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they ... Read More
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they had thrown together and mashed the food together from the night before on several occasions. Even the meals in the dining room sub par. My daughter had to remind the waiter on 3 occasions about missed things and one night a waiter got the orders wrong 4 different times. He just wasn't listening. Nodding his head and off he went. That happened more often then usual from our past cruises. We were Mid ship 5067 and 5069. Inside. But don't ever book anything in that area because the bars are above you and all you get until 2 in the morning is banging, sliding of equipment and noises I never knew existed. Sleep was challenging to say the least. If you have any mobility problems don't do the Thermal Spa. Trying to get in and out of the hot tubs was difficult. I wasted $186 and could only go there once. I was terrified I'd fall trying to get in and out. I was not the only one who felt that way. Others had the same concerns. Unfortunately when they refurbished by the Jewel and the Jade they left the seats in the Stardust theatre with no upgrades. When you sit down it is almost like falling onto the floor and the seats are slanted downward so it is uncomfortable. Unless there is a destination only NCL does at a decent price, I am not sure I would cruise with them again. The specialty restaurants were okay but found the ones on the Jade better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a bit of exploring we went to the buffet for a drink and a snack. Much the same as all other buffets people piling plates like it was to be their last meal and difficult to find a seat. No announcement came so we went looking to find our cabin was ready. The room was clean and tidy but a bit on the small side to other cabins and rather less storage. The balcony was also on the small side and a bit scruffy. My wife's luggage turned up fairly prompt but no sign of mine so off we went exploring and to have a cocktail or two. Time for dinner and still no luggage. I informed our cabin steward who said she would go and find out where it was. We didn't see her again until 3 days later when she said hello and asked how we were. The next time was our last night when she asked us to fill out a card that chose a crew member who excelled. So it was off to dinner in the clothes I had been wearing all day. Dinner was ok but nothing to brag about. Back to the cabin still no luggage so off to customer services. I told them of the problem and rather offhandedly the lady asked me if I had checked the luggage room. when I replied no I though luggage was always delivered to the staterooms. She said I should have checked there. Keep calm I told myself. I had to ask her where it was and made my way there. I located my case in the said room and was told it had been held back because there was a pair of scissors in my case. I had to get the scissors out and show them and was then told they were ok and I could take my case. This was now 9.00pm. My wife asked them why the information had not been sent to our room instead of us having to go round investigating. Norwegians customer experience is slowly going down the pan. Dining was not a great experience. We used Azure once and thought the room was dark and the low ceiling made it feel too compact and the meal was average but service was very good. Chin Chin was bright and cheerful and the meal was excellent as was the service. The other nights we had dinner in the Tsars Palace. This is a very delightful room, bright, spacious and luxurious. Service was ok most nights but there were some excellent waiters. The meals were quite mediocre and didn't live up to the opulence of the room. One night I had a lamb shank that was served with a slice of carrot and half a roast potato. I am not a huge eater but this was a bit ridiculous. Another night we ordered Irish coffees and as soon as they arrived we could see they were not right. The cream had all dissolved into the coffee, we picked them up and they were cold. We told the waiter who took them away and replaced them. The replacements weren't cold but slightly warm. We just left them. We told our waiter the following night and he told us they had run out of the whipped cream and were using powdered cream. He told us he would personally make coffees for us. The ones he made were very good. We found a lot of the meals we had were very average and quite often they were only warm. This was the only cruise where I only had one cooked breakfast due to the first one being lukewarm. The rest of the time it was toast, fruit and cereals. Bar service in general was very good except for when they ran out of mint for the mojitos. There was only one night where the entertainment was excellent. This was the Circus act. Some of the acrobatics were spectacular. The rock night was enjoyable. Two of the nights had solo female singers who I thought we just ok. The other night was not my scene at all with some very weird artists. the strangest being one huge overweight guy dancing in a leotard. It made me wonder why females have to cover their breasts when this guy had bigger breasts than some of the girls and he had them swinging about everywhere. But he was well received but not by me. The resident band were very good and performed a wide variety of songs. I cant comment on the activities on board as we only had one sea day so didn't explore. Cant comment on excursions either as we planned our own. We could not find any information on the ports we visited. This was our first Norwegian cruise and we found nothing that would make us want to cruise with them again Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I decided I would like to take a Christmas/New Year cruise to relax for awhile. Our first couple of days were not too bad as we found our way around and studied the dining facilities etc. On our third day we arrived in Melbourne where we ... Read More
I decided I would like to take a Christmas/New Year cruise to relax for awhile. Our first couple of days were not too bad as we found our way around and studied the dining facilities etc. On our third day we arrived in Melbourne where we would spend the next two nights and fortunately we have relatives there so spent the time with them. Two days at sea took us towards New Zealand and the sounds. Then everything went wrong. First of all I came down with acute gastro which we were told was taken onto the ship by a passenger and this was the night before Dunedin so had to spend the next couple of days in the cabin with room service (not that I was up to eating anything). As I started to recover my husband came down with it so another two days spent in the cabin. By the time we were feeling well enough to venture about we had missed the first 4 ports of call. I went up to the Garden Cafe as I did not really want to eat too much and thought that it would be the best approach. How wrong could I have been. None of the food there could persuade me to eat other than a couple of crackers and two slices of french stick. I found most of the bread on board seem to be sweet as though there was sugar in it. Had a look at a desert and whereas I like apple crumble I could not persuade myself to have choc/orange sauce on it. (where was the vanilla custard) so decided against it. I think they need to change their menu a little more as most days there might have been a couple of different dishes but mostly everything was the same. It is also a sad affair that I had to purchase a half a dozen bottles of water for the cabin which obviously went on our bill but could have drunk as much alcohol as we liked because we had the drinks package included in our fare which by the way was not cheap. We paid over $11,000 or the two of us and heard a few passengers bragging that they had managed to get their trip for $1,500 each. OK they had an inside cabin but that is a big difference. On a good note the ship itself has a good layout and the couple of shows I did manage to see where very good. I was surprise there wasn't a few more chairs with small tables on deck 7 most of the seating was around the swimming pool area and in the sun so found myself sitting on the balcony of the cabin so I could have a drink at my side and look out to sea. We have traveled extensively on cruise ships previously so in the end was very disappointed with this venture on a new to us cruise company. No more Norwegian for me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise mainly for NCL's Freestyle cruising, so we could eat when we wanted, drink when we wanted and just have a good time. Embarkation - sheer mess. Half our fault, half the cruise port. Taxis pull into a completely ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for NCL's Freestyle cruising, so we could eat when we wanted, drink when we wanted and just have a good time. Embarkation - sheer mess. Half our fault, half the cruise port. Taxis pull into a completely separate area than other modes of transportation, so we had half of our party split up (as half of us took the baggage and older people and the rest walked). One couple in our group split, but didn't hand each other passports, figuring we would meet up after baggage drop and proceed to customs. Long story short, we were all kinds of crazy meeting back up. I am disappointed that NCL doesn't have separate lanes for anything less than platinum. I feel silver and gold travelers likely have their "stuff" together and can get through embarkation quickly and easily. Also, every traveller entered from the right... had to walk in one lane past everyone else (20 or so agents), then get your card, and walk back through one lane to exit back out right again. Colossal waste of time when they could have had it flow much better. Security crew was fine... no issues getting on or off the ship in ports. Food - On the previous cruise on the sister ship, we were invited to what is on this ship only Haven dining for breakfast. I do miss the crabcakes Benedict and it was half the reason I wanted to push for Gold or Platinum levels. Overall, the Baltics cruise had a crew that was a little more caring in their preparation, and many of the ethnic dishes were cooked more "authentic" than I felt this ship had. I guess I mean that this ship had a little blander food. The curry wasn't as curried, the spicy wasn't as spicy. Maybe as someone mentioned, this was a different demographic than a Euro-crowd. Dining Staff - Without doubt, the worst crew I have experienced in my 10+ cruises. One waiter in particular in O'Sheehans wins the crown for absolute worst. Not only did he not write down my order (insisting he had it memorized), but then when every one else in a 10 person table's food had come out except mine, he acted totally indifferent when I told him I was disappointed he not only didn't get it wrong, but didn't get it at all. He then said he had put the order in correctly, and it was coming, but it didn't come for another 10 minutes making it obvious that he had to order it again for the first time. I did feel that everyone was just going through the motions on the waitstaff. I will say that Chin-Chin was the most consistent in terms of good service, although this was specifically what I thought of when I thought that some of the ethnic dishes just weren't authentic enough. Room staff - Zero complaints. Very friendly, room was always clean although I rarely saw him... I did go to a friend's balcony though, and for the price they paid, I would hope the NCL staff goes through and touches up some more of the paint and things. Lots of chips and cracks and was not as clean as our inside cabin. Ports... Skagway and Juneau were awesome! Had the best clam chowder ever in Juneau, and Jamison from Chilkoot Tours made our Skagway tour awesome. We didn't have a plan in Ketchikan and ended up taking a "shuttle" bus from one of the vendors just off the ship. It was ok but not anything special. It was the tour guide's first day though. Fitness equipment - The gym was packed at peak times, which was fine, I didn't REALLY want to work out or I would have gone at a non-peak time. The basketball hoops were in disrepair, the tennis court was abysmal, and none of the basketballs were round (still don't know how that happened). There was no signage as to where to check equipment out either. As always, we walk off the ship with our luggage, so no complaints on disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le ... Read More
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le Bistro still our favorite. Proper cleanliness throughout the ship - male thermal suite always maintained well. Entertainment fair to poor. Same shows as 4 years ago. Music way to loud all venues. (When asked to pipe down upon port arrival [so we could enjoy Japan's Pier Greeting Performance by musicians and dancers] the topside pool musicians said no because its in our contract. Ruined the arrival for many.) This being an Orient cruise only 1 local entertainment brought on board although we ported at 8 different piers. Most disappointing. Cabin bedding terrible -- Norwegian changed mattresses for us and still could see the slump in the beds. Felt like sleeping in a hammock. Service charges are non-stop. Though our service charges were paid up front, still hit up with charges every time we orderrd a drink, food, or activity. These are a major rip off for all cruisers. Unusually long waits for NCL sponsored Destination Tours, and long lines on-board to book these tours. Do so before sailing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were on a South America Cruise with NCl Sun. The attitude of the staff was more to be desired. Food just ok. We tried this NCL Jewel for Cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong. Entertainment was average to below expectation. Same artists ... Read More
We were on a South America Cruise with NCl Sun. The attitude of the staff was more to be desired. Food just ok. We tried this NCL Jewel for Cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong. Entertainment was average to below expectation. Same artists rotating to take their turns. Little changed. On Sea day, the ship entertainment is dead. Nothing happening and the daily programme is the same like the previous day.Why can,t we have a movie in Stardust theatre everday or have a large screen facing the swimming pool to show recently released movies If you go on Princess Cruise lines, you have entertainment on the big screen rather than same old muscians playing the same songs. Have you ever wondered if people near the pool really listen to what they are singing about. BORING. Needs to put on an entertainment that is refreshing and enjoyable. I hope the message gets to the entertainment dept. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this particular cruise because it went Sydney to Sydney and as we live near Sydney it was very convenient. The itinerary was also very attractive with 9 ports to visit. Embarkation went smoothly, even for first timers on NCL. ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it went Sydney to Sydney and as we live near Sydney it was very convenient. The itinerary was also very attractive with 9 ports to visit. Embarkation went smoothly, even for first timers on NCL. We went on board and were told that the cabins were not quite ready, so went for lunch at O'Sheehan's Irish Pub and were pleasantly surprised. My husband had soup and a burger and I had the tuna sandwich. Rather pleasant I must say. Once the cabins were ready we found ours easily. Cabin 8050 with a decent oceanview (not quite 7unobstructed, but pretty happy). The beds were made up as a queen so as soon as we met our cabin steward (Mark) we asked him to split them up so there was a lot more room. Our luggage was delivered quickly and even though there wasn't a lot of cupboard space I managed to fit all our clothes in it. 6 Large drawers and some open shelves helped a lot too. Quite adequate surprisingly. There were quite a few clothes hangers, but I bring everything on hangers so we had more than enough. In general the cruise was good. There was plenty of entertainment on board, music everywhere. Could have done with some quieter areas for reading as the Spinnaker's Lounge and Fyzz Lounge were also used for general entertainment. We played scrabble in the card room and that was good. The only negative there that we encountered people bringing in their meals and drinks which should not be allowed. The main negative for us was the FOOD. We had breakfast in the Outdoor Café most days. Could not stomach the Garden Bufffet at all. It reminded us of a shopping mall's food court, HORRIBLE!!!!! For lunch I was usually O'Sheehand's and for dinner we went to both Azura and Tsar, both served the same food. Azura was a bit dark, whilst Tsar's was bright. We met some lovely people during our shared dinners nd that was a highlight, because the food was in general abominable. The plates looked like a dog's dinner and the quality was rather low. Extremely disappointing as cruisers generally really look forward to their dinners. Desserts very dismissable. Blueberry cheesecake? What was that? And pavlova in a meringue nest??? The best thing about the dinners was the bread and the ice water. We used Chin Chin which was not the best Asdian place we have ever been to. One day we booked La Cucina because my husband wanted Spaghetti Marinara only to find out that Marinara is just a sauce, NO seafood whatsoever. We walked out before ordering. Teppanyaki was very disappointing. I have never seen fake Japanese Teppnyaki chefs before and the one we had was particularly clumsy as he dropped his chopping knives several tims. He then proceeded t9o cook a whole bunch of garlic for the fried rice and added spoonfuls of garlic butter several times. The filet mignon was beautiful, or would have been if h had not drowned it in soy sauce. Unbelievably salty. It cost us a bomb and was on of the worst meals we had. The service though throughout the ship was impeccable. From our cabin steward Mark to to wait staff, everyone did their best. Happy with the crew. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Very nice ship, fitted out well, plenty of eateries and bars, but the allowable dress code, was appalling. I understand people like to relax and unwind, but there is a time and place, where you need to make an effort and night time dining, ... Read More
Very nice ship, fitted out well, plenty of eateries and bars, but the allowable dress code, was appalling. I understand people like to relax and unwind, but there is a time and place, where you need to make an effort and night time dining, is that time. Far too many people, rocking up in board shorts, singlets and thongs and expecting to be allowed entry to the Dining Rooms. We are not snobs by any means, but we do like to make an effort and dress appropriately, when we enter and are served a meal, in the ships main dining room. You want to dress and act like rednecks, then go to the Buffett. We did notice that waiter service, in the bars and dining areas, appeared to be cut back a little, compared to other ships. The food on board was very good, but we have experienced better on other Cruise Lines. Staff were very good, as we have found on other ships, but lacking in numbers on this ship. All the on board venues, both dining and entertainment, could have used some additional staff also, but on the whole, our cruise was good. The main theatre entertainment on this ship was exceptional and probably the best we have seen throughout our 15 cruises so far. The smaller bars provided reasonable music, but nothing you would write home about. Cruise Director and staff were always mingling with the passengers and available to answer questions. The Captain and ship's officers were seen to be walking around the ship daily and always speaking with the passengers. We joined the ship in Papeete and the whole process of getting on board, seemed to take forever, but this may have been the first time, a ship has embarked hundreds of passengers here and the facilities were just not up to task. Disembarking in Sydney was fine without any problems. As stated above with minor grievances set aside, I would recommend this ship for future cruises, if your happy to hang out in your shorts and thongs all day, then this is the cruise line for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I chose this cruise to take my Grand Children on our yearly Grand Children vacation during the Labor Day week. We have done this cruise before with other Grand Children ages 6 - 12. The only real positive thing I can say is the ... Read More
I chose this cruise to take my Grand Children on our yearly Grand Children vacation during the Labor Day week. We have done this cruise before with other Grand Children ages 6 - 12. The only real positive thing I can say is the "Splash Academy" is still top of the line. The Grand Children want to attend and request to return when we pick them up. Other than that, the cruise was disappointing on many levels. 1) The entertainment did not meet the audience expectations. The cruise director was not in tune with the overall audience. He had Mo Town entertainment for an audience of people who like to dance 1950, 60 etc. They even were playing Caribbean music as we pulled into Victoria. They even hip hopped "Unchained Melody. As we passed the music venues it was apparent the cruise director was out of tune, low to no audience. On a positive note there was a Trio of musicians that we were able to dance to the music, we had to dance in front of the Concierge desk or in the walkway. 2) The port stays were reduced from earlier cruises. We were limited in time to do 2 things. Such as Juneau, we just finished the Glacier and had to rush back to the ship, no time for sight seeing, shopping and souvenirs. The Norwegian Pearl was moving in as we were pulling out. NCL may have saved money on port charges, but cruisers were not really happy. 3) Food at the complimentary restaurants was mediocre at best, servers looked they were in training. Did their best but nothing to write home about. 4) The specialty restaurants were great, for the extra money you get the service you expect from all restaurants. Specialty Restaurant servers entertained the Grand Children and made their experience memorable. 5) I walked into bingo looking for my spouse and the Bingo caller said I was confusing everyone by standing. Oh well I just left. I did hear her ask what numbers people needed, found that interesting. 6) The room stewards were efficient and nice. The Cigar lounge was nice, and attendance were efficient. Front desk and Restaurant reservations were efficient. For these reasons I have a problem of paying a mandatory Service Fee for eachpassenger, When the service and entertainment is not up to par for NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My 85-year-old mother-in-law is finally getting to her bucket list and took my husband and me on this cruise. Her money. She is not wealthy. She has never led an extravagent life-style, so this was a huge deal for her. I helped make the ... Read More
My 85-year-old mother-in-law is finally getting to her bucket list and took my husband and me on this cruise. Her money. She is not wealthy. She has never led an extravagent life-style, so this was a huge deal for her. I helped make the reservations and schedule air flights. She was shocked at the cost, but hey, she's 85 years old, and things just aren't as cheap as she'd ever remember! But no sooner did I book the cruise, then the add-on charges came. The gratuity fee - okay, she got that and paid it. The cost to have anything besides water, coffee or tea on board. The additional gratuity that was added because there was a rate increase after we booked. On board, it was the cost to do anything. When embarking, we were taken to the buffet line immediately, only to find out later that there was a charge for eating at it since we hadn't left the dock yet. Entertainment costs everywhere. Bingo - $40 a card. Alcohol was outrageously expensive - we figured that out before we left and actually got their alcohol package, where we could drink as much as we wanted for one cost - only to have another gratuity cost slapped on that meant we had to drink an additional 3 drinks a day to make it worth while. Pressure everywhere to buy from them - photographers constantly taking your picture, saying you don't HAVE to buy (but of course they're only taking your picture so you will buy). To do any activities in their fitness center - all cost. Dining entrees with extra costs attached, even in the "free" restaurants. Casino fees, if you play some games (didn't know that until afterwards and it was billed to me). If you wanted help finding transportation that was not NCL related, the staff didn't keep information on hand. We had to be on a bare-bones budget, and I've never worked so hard in my life just making sure whatever move we made did not cost us. We still managed to somehow get charged $204 onto our card for some things we had no idea why ($56 is what I was expecting). That's the bad side. There are mediocre sides. The ship looks dated. But it's still very nice. Food was plentiful and interesting, but far from gourmet. Very crowded at times, which was very unnerving for my mother-in-law, especially in the buffet restaurant. My mother-in-law was in a wheelchair, and the deck hallways were very narrow. For some reason, the housekeeping staff kept their cleaning carts in the hallways, making it impossible to pass them in the hall - mom had to get out of the chair, toddle a few steps while I folded the chair, passed it by the cleaning cart, then opened the chair again and wheel her about 80 feet to the next cleaning cart. . . usually 3 or 4 each trek. It also made the deck hallway look very dowdy. The good sides, and there are plenty: Great staff! A large majority are Philipino, so there are some language barriers, for which I am willing to tolerate, since I saw how damn hard those people worked! We befriended a couple of them - they work 10 months 7days a week, then get two months off. That was hard to see, but have to admit, don't know any Americans who would do this kind of schedule! They WORKED HARD! We were all very impressed. My mother-in-law took a shine to one server in particular, who greeted her with a hug every time we saw her - it made the difference for my mother-in-law! Our cabin steward, with whom there was a huge language barrier, did a fantastic job. Bartenders were good, although not a single consistent drink the entire cruise. We loved our cabin, even though it wasn't anything fancy. Since we had someone in a wheelchair, we got a handicap-accessible cabin for the three of us. It was to sleep 3. Still don't understand why they had a bunk bed as one of the beds - one of us had to get into it each night, and none of us are spring chickens. Obviously, mom always got a real bed. . . . But it was large and spacious, to accommodate the wheelchair, and always clean as a whistle. Hint - if you're going to Alaska in June/July, remember you'll have light in the sky most of the night - whether you want a window or not depends on whether you want to see light in the sky all night. This is the first time we've traveled with my mom-in-law as a handicapped person. We got royal treatment for this, going to the head of most every line, and privileged seating many places. It was nice, I admit, but I can see someone abusing this, like they do in Disneyland. But, most importantly, the staff treated my mom-in-law like she was the most important woman in the room, and she so needed that. It truly was the trip of her lifetime! Overall - if you don't mind spending money haphazardly, there is plenty to spend money on in this trip. Otherwise, be prepared to shell out at every turn. Ask lots of questions before consenting to anything they give you. You can have a good time, but it may be more work than you think it's worth. We loved Alaska! That view was FREE! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this ship because of previous Norwegian cruise line experience and that it was leaving out of Seattle. However, we felt the Jewel fell short in the dining experience. The food at the Buffet and the dessert area were disappointing. ... Read More
We chose this ship because of previous Norwegian cruise line experience and that it was leaving out of Seattle. However, we felt the Jewel fell short in the dining experience. The food at the Buffet and the dessert area were disappointing. There always seemed to be the same choices and the flavors were monotonous. One night they advertised a seafood buffet and had a picture of shrimp. We felt really mislead when we found only fish and some Paella. They had no other seafood. We were doubly disappointed when we talked to guests from a neighboring ship who delighted in being served king crab legs on their ship's buffet. Azura, one of the complimentary dining rooms, had some better choices for dinner most nights, but we found it mediocre at best. The service was super slow in Azura. It took about 90 minutes to get thru dinner. Several meals were way too salty, so much so they were inedible. Other items were super spicey. We thought they should indicate on the menu when something would be spicy hot. The waiters in several restaurants routinely took a drink order from one person and ignored everyone else at the table. It was as if they were not trained to go around the table and ask if everyone wanted iced tea so they could bring it all at once. As a result they spent too much time going back and forth just bringing one tea at a time and racing off before anyone else could ask for one too. Little things like cream cheese and lox were absent from the buffet. There was never a big chocolate night like on other ships. There were not enough chairs and tables in the buffet so we had to circle like sharks looking for a spot. I expect that on Carnival but not on Norwegian. The entire dining experience was frustrating. Even using room service fell short. We ordered tea and coffee and they brought cream but no sugar. We had an early excursion and didn't have time to wait for a re-delivery. The staff on the ship were very pleasant and helpful. The entertainment, Cirque show and the Tina Turner tribute were both great shows. Reynaldo, one of the bar waiters was awesome. He was a funny, friendly face each day. He learned our names and took an interest in us. Bingo cost upwards of $39 to play. The beer and wine tastings were $20 plus 18% gratuity. We just didn't want to pay that much. $5 bingo would have suited us better. We traveled with one person in a wheel chair. The hallways were sometimes tough for her to negotiate because the cleaning staff had trash bags, ice coolers and vacuums in the halls. As for excursions, we booked two thru the ship and two thru another web site. We had a great experience with both excursions booked elsewhere. We even saved about $10 per person on those tours. Of the 2 tours we booked thru the ship, one was fine and one fell short. The whale watching in Victoria was the one that didn't measure up. We spent about 75 minutes getting to the whales and 75 minutes returning, with only 30 minutes to whale watch. They only stopped the boat once, and only for a few minutes, so we were stuck trying to take pics while moving and breathing engine fumes. When we came back to Shore we had to circle for 45 minutes because the operator didn't have a dock far enough away from other cruise ships coming in. We had to wait till the big ships docked before we could get in. This took time away from shopping and left us just bobbing around waiting. We did use the I concierge app to text each other on the ship. I would give it 3 stars out of 5. It sometimes would not alert us when a text came in. It gave a few of us a running total of our daily expenditures, but for some of us this didn't work. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. ... Read More
Cruise was chosen because of length and destination. Buffet food was delicious, but ice cream machines were not always functioning. It would have been nice to have an ice cream machine near the pool. Coffee was too strong for our taste. We watered it down. Decor in dining rooms was not as elegant as some larger ships. Personnel were fabulous. Our room stewardess (last name Harris) was very friendly and helpful. A woman who worked in various positions, especially the games played, (Shirley I think) was a true joy. I think she was having as much fun as we were. Shows in main theater were very good. Pool area was crammed with chairs, many of which were saved and no one ever came to sit there. Many times, we could not find a chair. A sign stated that chairs remaining unoccupied for 1 hour would be cleared for other guests. That never happened. Apparently some guests reserved a chair in the sun and another one in the shade. That shouldn't be allowed when so many other guests are looking for a seat. The ship is older but is clean and well maintained. We purchased the soft drink package. Water was not included and should have been. Over all, the trip was a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our 5 th cruise with ncl. 3 of them on this ship. We are latatude members because we have traveled with them so many times. We are awarded certain perks. Standing in line for over 2 hours is not one of them. No more bringing soda ... Read More
This was our 5 th cruise with ncl. 3 of them on this ship. We are latatude members because we have traveled with them so many times. We are awarded certain perks. Standing in line for over 2 hours is not one of them. No more bringing soda or water on board, company policy. Once on board the room was great. Large bathroom with a tub. If you bring your own coffee be sure to bring basket type filters. They don't sell any on the ship. When are the cruise ships going to start puting more than one electrical plug in? I'm tired of bringing my own power strips. Cabin stewards were great as usual. Food was just average. Lots of Germans on board to cruise through the canal so we had Bavarian food in the buffet. BBQ on the swim deck was good. We had free dinners in the specialty restraints. The Cagney restraunt had the best filet I ever ate. We ate there 3 times. No more free lobster in the main dining room, company policy. No more midnight chocolate party, company policy. The entertainment was average. Seen most of them on other NCL sailings. How bout something new. The shore excursion to the jungle train ride and boat ride was lame. The train traveled next to the road we drove in on. We did happen to see a few monkeys. The rride up a river to see alligators was also lame. We did see a couple of alligators , lots of birds and many rare Michelin black wall tires. Also a few Nike shoes on the bank. Can ya clean up the mess a little Costa Rica. The hop on hop off buss in Cartagena worked for us. We stopped at the beach and went swimming. Why did the maintainace crew close and paint the swimming pool on the ship for a couple days on the hottest part of the trip? Of all the ships we have been on , Ian was the best cruise director . He had magic tricks in the morning and jokes at night after the shows in the main theatre. Gina Welch our personal cruise consultant was very good to us over the years, we will miss you. Come on NCl can ya get your ship together? Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We flew in from London and stayed that night at an airport hotel before being transferred to the ship. My wife and I chose this cruise be cause it gave us the opportunity to do some whale watching, travel the Panama Canal and get some ... Read More
We flew in from London and stayed that night at an airport hotel before being transferred to the ship. My wife and I chose this cruise be cause it gave us the opportunity to do some whale watching, travel the Panama Canal and get some warm sunshine. Embarkation was pretty quick compared to some we have experienced. Disembarkation was slow due to congestion at the port of Miami. We were 30 minutes late in getting off. Previous comments claimed that the ship was looking tired. We did not think so although the colour scheme was a bit too garish for our taste. All the public areas seemed well cared for. Our cabin (10566) was clean but at first seemed to have a slightly funny smell. This went with time. Our main complaint was that the bathroom was miniscule again compared to others we have experienced. It was impossible to sit on the toilet and close the door due to the position of the toilet. There was no room for a bedside table on one side as the couch was up against the bed. The balcony was adequate . Dining was OK ish with bog standard offerings on the complementary menu. More interesting dishes were charged extra. This is something we have not experienced before. One American guest with a lot of Norwegian cruise experience claimed that this is a trend that has been going on for some time. Even the Italian speciality restaurant for which a charge was made really did not have more than average food on offer. As we had an all inclusive beverage package we were not forced to pay the high prices for drinks. Interestingly this package did not include the mini bar or bottled water in the cabin!! It also had a strange limitation on the value of any individual drink but allowed you to order any amount of the drink in smaller quantities! There was a good range of entertainments on offer during the night with a very energetic song and dance team and some good comedians. We were sad that there were no interesting speakers on offer so cruise days could drag. With one exception all the crew were attentive, helpful and polite. Our cabin steward was there if you wanted him but did not intrude if you did not. The excursions were well managed except on one tour when it was impossible to hear the guide due to a poor sound reproduction system on the bus. The ports had the usual tourist traps that meant that you hade to walk past lots of stalls offering local stuff getting on and off the ship. Would we use Norwegian again? Only if the locations visited were of interest. We much prefer Cunard and Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Booked this Panama Canal cruise from L.A. to Miami to cross off my bucket list. Got a great price inclusive of air and transfers. Embarkation at San Pedro went relatively smoothly. Food at Garden Cafe was average at best. Breakfast was ... Read More
Booked this Panama Canal cruise from L.A. to Miami to cross off my bucket list. Got a great price inclusive of air and transfers. Embarkation at San Pedro went relatively smoothly. Food at Garden Cafe was average at best. Breakfast was the same each day, ;lunches and dinners had a bit more variety. Nice that they had Congee for breakfast every morning. Coffee was horrible, with no flavour at all. Juices were overly sweet. Pasta Station was quite good, Had dinner most nights in Azura Dining Room. Our Special Diet Server, Melody, was awesome looking after our no sodium requests. Communication was extremely poor, as even though we preordered the night before, hostess and waiters always gave us the regular menu when being seated and looked confused when we informed them that we had already ordered off the special diet menu the night before. This info need to be filtered down to the staff a lot more efficiently. Cabin was made way too late in afternoon, sometimes not till 1:00pm or later. Poorly designed room, as there were no electrical outlets close to our beds. They were located far away, and had to borrow two extension cords from Guest Services to plug in medical equipment. Absolutely hate that NCL adds on a mandatory $189 USD service charge onto account, and had to plead with Guest Services to remove them, as we wished to tip in cash an amount we felt was consistent with service provided. The customer should determine amount, not the Cruise Line. Entertainment onboard was superb, went to every 7pm show at Stardust Theatre. Cruise Director, Iain Bagshaw was the best I've ever seen. Absolutely hilarious, personable, and a Magician to boot. Enjoyed Raegar, Dan Bennett, David Naster, Chris Pendleton, George Solomon, and Elegy (Rinat and Elena). All shows were throughly entertaining. Ports of Call were just ok, stayed mostly close to port and did our own walking tours. Keep in mind that these are not cosmopolitan cities, so overall not too bad. Constantly pestered in Acapulco by taxi drivers and guys wanting to set us up for massages with young senoritas. Was asked eight times during two block walk from terminal to restaurant. Ship is outdated, but knew this being going onboard. Overall , a very geriatric crowd as we felt like kids onboard compared to other passengers. Would I repeat, probably not, unless it was a smoking great deal presented to me... Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We haven't cruised NCL in the past 25 years and now I know why. Ship was fine, upgraded to a mini suite so cabin was very nice. Staff was attentive. This was a New Years cruise, and did not have access to any Collage bowl games. This ... Read More
We haven't cruised NCL in the past 25 years and now I know why. Ship was fine, upgraded to a mini suite so cabin was very nice. Staff was attentive. This was a New Years cruise, and did not have access to any Collage bowl games. This was not ACCEPTABLE. Many cruisers were very upset.. since when can't you wa ch the rose bowl parade and the Ros Bowl game. Now for the food, mediocre at best in Tsars, Azure and Osheehans. They really want you to go to the specialtys. La Bistro, excellent as was Cagneys. Modernos was good but felt rushed. There should be an age limit at specialty restaurants as infants crying at dinner was unacceptable. Will not go on NCL AGAIN, we are elite on Celebrity and will continue to cruise on them. There is no need to go to their specialty restaurants, as the food in the dining room is of a much higher quality. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first time with NCL and probably our last. We booked this with a small group of friends and the organizer bailed on us. We were curious about NCL and the price was decent so we went ahead with the cruise as planned. The ... Read More
This was our first time with NCL and probably our last. We booked this with a small group of friends and the organizer bailed on us. We were curious about NCL and the price was decent so we went ahead with the cruise as planned. The ship was okay, our mini-suite was okay but both could use a face-lift. Their decorators could use a lesson or two. No complaints about the food, actually it was better than anticipated. We ate in their specialty restaurants 5 times and in the regular dining rooms a few times. The food in the regular dining rooms was very good and the buffet was pretty good. My husband and I along with our friends appreciated the fact we could get fried eggs for breakfast on the buffet. My only complaint was no Lox and bagels except as salmon flavored cream cheese but you can't have everything. The staff were wonderful and absolutely no complaints there. Our cabin steward kept our cabin very clean and when asked for something always took care of it immediately. This was our 4th cruise to Mexico so we didn't care about the ports or shore excursions. My husband and friends enjoyed the Cirque de Soli type show. Our only regret was signing up for Thermal Spa. Very small, the men and women are kept separate except one area. Drink package is very misleading. Another error on our part. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and ... Read More
This is an average cruise ship with small rooms. (Read my room review) The food was decent and complimentary Juices, lemonade and water when dining. They confiscate your wine at check in (San Pedro) as they have NO SYSTEM for counting and charging corkage for it when you are dropping off your bags at the curb. We received ours at 9pm the first night, ridiculous system currently in place. They have an adult pool and children's side by side. Smoking is upstairs above it at the Sky High Bar and fun crowd. Many Children, Elderly and Honeymooners on the ship. Not a lot of teens. The restaurants have similar food (Tsar's and Azur). When returning from a excursion you are double checked and xray machine for alcohol. If you have it is confiscated and returned to you on the last night. The Las Caletas Hideaway excursion is very fun, but not recommended for anyone who has a hard time walking. Free stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, inner tubes, kayaking and fun floating docks. Decent Lunch too. You cannot bring a wheelchair. Beware of being bombarded with Mexicans when leaving the ship in Mazatlán and Cabo trying to sell you taxi rides and ship rides. It's crazy. Do not let them touch you, by putting bracelets on you ..SAY NO. Be prepared when leaving the ship to stand in a line with hundreds of people.. be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We sailed out of LA and made it as far as Puerto Viarta when the ship broke down and we had to spend overnight in port, as well as being told we would not be traveling to Mazatlan To say that it was uncomfortable is nothing but the truth ... Read More
We sailed out of LA and made it as far as Puerto Viarta when the ship broke down and we had to spend overnight in port, as well as being told we would not be traveling to Mazatlan To say that it was uncomfortable is nothing but the truth no a/c and it was quite muggy. We broke down because of mechanical problems that had been fixed earlier in the year. I have to say that the only bright star of the cruise was the staff onboard they had to deal with a couple hundred or more extremely angry passengers, which I can't blame them. On top of that Norwegian has decided that the California coast is no longer to be sailed. Only cruises on west coast is Alaska in spring. Sorry to say might have to cruise another line, which would be sad as I generally enjoy sailing with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
US.... My wife and I are in our mid-seventies.....middle class I suppose. This was a 'look back' cruise. Our very first cruise was to Alaska on the Norwegian Spirit back in '05. We considered it our best cruise and is ... Read More
US.... My wife and I are in our mid-seventies.....middle class I suppose. This was a 'look back' cruise. Our very first cruise was to Alaska on the Norwegian Spirit back in '05. We considered it our best cruise and is still rated at the top (11 cruises so far). Our last five cruises were with RCL and so decided to try NCL again. In all we have sailed NCL five times and five with RCL and one time with Carnival. (Never again) In a nut shell... The ship was kept very clean and neat and seemed well maintained......... Our room,... #9545 was fine although there was some noise from the crew quarters at times. Close to the forward elevator. Also had the largest shower of any cruise ship we've sailed. Dining... O'Sheehen's...........very limited menu. What we had in a word 'sucked'. Over cooked chicken tenders, chef's salad was missing almost all......just a bunch of leaves. BBQ dry and tough. Yuck. Main dining rooms... Fancy menu with no substance. Over cooked veggies, tough steak and some old fish that we had to send back.......just horrible. Service was poor as well, no recommendations or feed back. Looked bored with their job. We tried both and our experience was pretty much the same. BIG disappointment. Garden Café.... This place ended up our favorite. The food was fresh and tasty......service pretty good. Excellent fruit and deserts as well. Entertainment........ Pretty good. Aside from the NCL dancers the rest were just fine with the production of Le Cirque Bijou being one of the best shows we've seen on a cruise ship. Comic Marc Merchant was funny as hell and topical. Fellow passengers........ OK.......start the flames....... NCL did away with the dress code and at first take we thought....great...we're in Alaska.....who wants to dress up? We should have known some folks were going to take it to a new low. Dirty and I mean dirty jeans and T-shirts. Flip-flops in the dining room. Rude with push and shove the rule. My wife called it the 'Wal Mart" cruise...... Conclusion.... Most likely will return to RCL..........waaaaaaaaaaaaay better service and waaaaaaaay more food choices. I'm sorry to say this but a somewhat better dressed crowd and behavior too... Ports.... Nothing much has changed in the past eleven years. The people are friendly and seemed happy. While beautiful and unspoiled for the most part its way to removed from the rest of the world to be anything but a place to visit.........could never live there... Never been there? You have to see Alaska at least once. The only place we've visited where it's way more beautiful than any post card could show you..... Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
positives... chose this cruise because of the free style no dressing up etc.liked the itinery.which did not disappoint. Our cabin with a balcony was clean if a little tired looking ( the whole ship needs a refurbishment) .Our room ... Read More
positives... chose this cruise because of the free style no dressing up etc.liked the itinery.which did not disappoint. Our cabin with a balcony was clean if a little tired looking ( the whole ship needs a refurbishment) .Our room steward Noel was excellent and made up for all the negatives. Unfortunately there were not many other positives. Food was reasonable good selection in buffet, we ate mostly in the Tzars Palace restaurant in the evenings where on the whole the food was not to bad lacked a little variety as did Sheenans bar where we ate most lunchtimes. We only had one meal at Le Bistro speciality restaurant the food was good but I would have liked the choice of smaller portions maybe small plates as well as large ones I had to leave half of a very good steak! I did think that it was very over priced for what I would call americanised french food. I have to comment on the dress code in the restaurants & bars in the evenings, although it was not formal attire some of the guests looked as if they had come straight of the farm in well worn clothes and had not bothered to even wash !! this has put me of cruising with NCL again. The cocktail and champagne bars needed a wider selection of cocktails, and there definetely needed to be more speciality coffee bars, I spent 20 minutes waiting for coffee every time and they were not included in the beverage package. The entertainment was mixed the comedian was awful I nearly fell asleep the magician on the other hand was good. The cruise band good & singers & dancers okay have seen better could have done with more mixed variety. Daytime entertainment was non existent except for bingo & trivia could do with decent talks about the ports you were to visit and also a cinema why wasn't there stardust theatre used for films in the day ? More demonstrations needed not art shows or emerald shows all there to get you to ppart with your money. Did not use fitness centre or spa. Took a train tour which was excellent The Alaskan scenery and the visit to the ports including Victoria on Vancouver Island made up for all the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Special last minute offer attracted us and we had been on NCL before. Most of the services varied from good to excellent including cabin steward, bar, entertainment, dining service and the ongoing presence of senior officers. HOWEVER ... Read More
Special last minute offer attracted us and we had been on NCL before. Most of the services varied from good to excellent including cabin steward, bar, entertainment, dining service and the ongoing presence of senior officers. HOWEVER the quality of food in the major no supplement restaurants though served in opulent surroundings left a lot to be desired. Average was probably a generous statement. Consider a menu for evening meal that includes "Bangers and Mash". We also ate at the Asian food restaurant, Given we come from a Canadian province that has a high Chinese population and quality Chinese restaurants we are familiar with this ethnic cuisine. Aboard our ship the two dishes we chose were barely palatable. We have sailed NCL before and have to ask "What is going wrong with the food?" Since a highlight of any cruise is often dining, it is unlikely that, in spite of the excellent service of the staff, that we will be boarding NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is my 4th cruise and 4th cruise line. It was my first time with NCL. We headed out on Aug 29th, 2015 doing the inside passage of Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. The ship was very average in every way. The food was pretty poor - ... Read More
This is my 4th cruise and 4th cruise line. It was my first time with NCL. We headed out on Aug 29th, 2015 doing the inside passage of Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. The ship was very average in every way. The food was pretty poor - average. The entertainment was average, service was average. If you have never cruised before and don't have anything to compare it too you will probably rate it as good. The two things that really annoyed me about this cruise was: 1) They tried to ram raffle tickets and this quick pick scratch offs things down your throat every single day - multiple times a day. Instead of scratch offs though they were these little door things you open. 2) Smoking! There were so many smokers on there that you would have thought it was a smoking cruise. Why smoking is allowed anywhere these days other than in peoples cars and house in beyond me! Would be sitting down on a quite area of the ship when a smoker or two would either come sit close by or just stand there smoking. Got ran off several times a day due to smokers. Also, was in the casino quite a few times and was doing really good on roulette one night until a few smokers came and joined the table. I had to leave the casino and work up with a sore throat the next day. Trying to think of some positives about the ship but really can't. It was not bad at all and I am not trying to be negative. It was just very average in every way. The ship layout was not good. There is about 2300 passengers on board and it seemed like it. I went on the emerald princess a few years ago and the ships are the same size - The emerald princess had almost 3100 passengers but somehow it seemed the Norwegian Jewell had twice as many passengers as the Emerald Princess. Felt like cattle being led to the eating trough most days. Excursions: We did not book anything through NCL as with any cruise line they add 20% for themselves. We booked everything on our own and had no issues. In Ketchikan we did salmon fishing - Unfortunately, the weather was not good for fishing and they were just getting over major storms and flooding. Still had fun though. Juneau - probably most least favorite place. However, we did the float plane - 5 glaciers and taku lodge with Wings airlines and I thought that was great! they food was great! salmon was amazing! Skagway - This was my favorite of all the stops. We did the Yukon deluxe and had Brian as a driver and guide. Very funny and likable guy. Also, very smart. Was a great excursion! Last stop was Victoria, BC. Is a pretty neat city. Not a ton to do, but worth a visit. I think 5 or 6 hours here and you have done about all there is to offer. All in all - an average cruise with good excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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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